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Wait.  The frog breathes fire??  The wolf does flips?  The bear stomps?  The crane has some nifty Jedi-knight shooting powers?  You mean the Zords can now actually fight on their own and have power, whereas before they were pretty worthless alone?  The ape sword fights, and the megazord can fly when the hawk finally gets around to attaching itself? 

Ooh, that was a pretty cool self-destruct of Rito the villainous monster-brother.  He exploded into a skull cloud with a rose in his mouth!  Not bad!

Okay, but the new villain, a vampire bat, looks like a cross between Majin-Buu and Batley from Eureka’s Castle, only he talks like the Taco Bell chihuahua. 

What an odd show this is.  Did I just say that?  It’s almost as if I expected it to not be odd, and so I am proclaiming it to be odd.  Whereas I expected it to be awful, and really it’s quite humorous because it doesn’t take itself seriously, because it knows it can’t.  Which is the true test of some humor, right?  But I must remember not to think that this is anything less than odd.  Henceforth, I cannot proclaim it odd.  Because there is no standard of “normal” for it to go against. 

“Evil makes me so angry!” –Ninjor in Ninja Quest IV

I’m still gonna call this research, though.  Into the realms of the unfathomable!

night,

dawn

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How unfair!  After watching the movie and figuring out whatever it was that I had figured out, things went back in time.  Season three started… okay.  We’re still dino-powered.  And then the script-writers did a total cop-out.  They reused the story from the move in several episodes (four?) called Ninja Quest, in which there was another power failure (this one not caused by Ooze), and the Rangers had to go on another vision quest (to a different place) looking for (not the ninjeti) but the robot-like dude, who put up a very bland fuss, and let’s just say that their argument wasn’t very argumentative anyway.  And what did we end up with?  Another circle, another power surge (lacking the owl-girl, half-naked ninja chick from before), and the new Zords from last time, only plastic instead of shiny.  Let’s just say that not only are the animals now kinda cheesy, but they actually look less spiffy than the old dino ones!  Just look at the bear!  It’s hardly articulated.  It’s like playing with Little People now instead of proper Transformers.

While I have a minute, the unnecessary hand/arm movements of the costumed characters used to punctuate every other word–unnecessary.  And the funny noises that often accompany every whisping whappy hand movement?  Unnecessary.  But I guess considering that their entire faces are covered up… gotta do something.  Otherwise we could use the Lego men to film those sequences and just have them stand there while they did voice overs of the dialogue.  (Cheaper?  Maybe they’ll do that next season.  Or maybe next season they’ll all learn ASL and things’ll get really interesting.  Hey, Aisha, I know you said this out loud, but your hands were uncalled for!)

Seriously, though–a frog?  Poor Adam.

Things were cooler when they called on the animal before… but now the “black ranger power”… not so much.  I hope that doesn’t last too long.  “Mastadon!” “Tyrannasaurus!”  Those had a nice ring.  “Pink ranger power.”  Kinda lame.  Fingers crossed.  They’re new to the new ninja thingamabop.  Filming is getting better… dialogue is getting cheesier.  Why the toss-up, ranger dudes?  Pretty soon we’ll be joined by Ranger Joe (is that tree made of… wood?). 

night,

dawn

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When near success, join a conga line.  The more sinister you look, the more incongruous your celebration, the better.  Enjoy yourself. 

Flower monsters are a must. Who would suspect their begonia of being anything but tame?  Perhaps people who live in the rain forest will be more wary of eight foot tall plants walking nonchalantly down Main Street with their hands in their pockets, because people who live in the rain forest know all about venus fly traps, etc, whereas people walking down Main Street keep their eyes averted from their fellow passers-by, expecting guns, not roses. 

Yeah, I’m still watching Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  Onto Season Three!  Really and truly I should be getting some work done, but I shall count this as “research”. 

Last night while perusing The Japanese Mirror, a book on pop culture in Japan, written by Ian Buruma, I came across a passage about the true nature of television.  It exists, in its utmost popularity, to uphold the status quo.  Not to rock the boat.  Not to change the world.  Not to have a true message.  Its existence proves that there is a majority rule, and that the majority is fairly conservative and unwavering.  We accept certain things on television, and we expect it to contain morality consistent with the majority of our culture.  If it were to rock the boat and make us uncomfortable, we would not hold as much stock by it, nor would we watch it every single night.  Every night.  Night after night. 

From this I must learn something about the nature of pop culture.  In my BFA we were taught to respect our art, to learn and study it and to uphold it to high standards, to accept nothing less.  In my MA, I’m learning the opposite.  It’s about marketability.  It’s about… television?  How can a novel be television?  No, no, but a novel can be written in an accessible format so that more people will be willing to return–night after night.

Where does art meet pop culture?  Can there be a message, while still being entertaining and addictive?  How?  The Campbell’s soup cans have already been painted, so what is left to the rest of us, the Gen X’ers who look out at this world and see that it’s all been done before.  What was popular twenty years ago, because it’s about to be popular again.  We’re just outgrowing the bell bottoms, please, Lord, don’t allow disco to return…

Is it villainous to sell?  Moliere says, “Writing is like prostition.  First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.”  I would adore it if I could have a patron of the arts who would sustain me like Michaelangelo while I create, create, create.  Mwuhahaha!  (How’s that villainous?  Because anyone falling into obsession ceases to be quite human.)  But that’s not going to happen.  This isn’t the world to promote art.  But this is the world that consumes.

night after night

dawn after dawn

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Oooh, shiny

And in between seasons two and three, there’s a movie.  How very Japanese of you.  How anime.  (Well, of course, if you look at any of the monsters in Season Two, they were quite oriental, were they not?  Many had the little woven Chinese hats, too, and the big Zord has a big Sword, which is always sheathed in the manner of the oriental.)  Anyway, falling away from the cheesy momentarily, they polished everything up.  Gave them shiny new suits.  (Wonder what happened to the suits?  Couldn’t keep the pleather for later seasons?  Had to go back to the spandex?  Which is easier to fight in?)  And then, I just had to laugh.  Because the Rangers went from having kinda scary dino-type, or at least extinct, Zords, to… well… frogs.  Poor Adam 🙂  But I gotta say, the use of the tongue of that Zord was quite revolutionary.  That had to be the strongest single piece of any one of those new Zords.  (Which oddly enough did not carry over into Season Three–and I fully expected them to. They were shiny.  Oooh.)  I gotta say, though, Tommy’s hawk was such a cheat!  You can fly with wings, but when you pull your wings together and turn on your tail in order to shoot giant missles out the ends of your feathers, you’re gonna fall straight out of the sky.  Of course, the Power Rangers never quite mastered physics.  Especially in the movie.  Sheesh.  Spiral kicks from like eighty feet away?  Not so much!  I really liked the old fashioned fighting without the cheesy weird special effects to make it all Crouching Tiger-ish.  (Yeah, I had to add the ish.)  What’s humanly possible is beautiful.  It’s like a dance.  It’s been honed for centuries and millenia, teaching from the ancient times, by kata (apparently repetition of a motion, without asking why–like Japanese chefs learn by motion chopping the same thing over and over until they don’t need anything but their muscles know what to do–and they never ever make up new recipes, because it’s all about perfecting what has come before).  Anyway, I’ve been wanting to shout this from the mountain topsd, but I’m nowhere near a mountain top right now… so: Kim, you’re such a liability!  And in the movie, making eyes at Tommy a little more, I know it’s a fighting show, so it’s kinda funny that they have even this smidgen of a hint at Tommy and Kim getting together, being all sweet (buying her a cactus that’s going to suck her back in time and kick her ass).  But Tommy is (somehow) the strongest fighter (not to mention he’s the only Zord with only one animal, and he doesn’t need to fit together in the megazord, and can still be massively huge, which seems unfair, but I guess he’s supposed to be the smartest dude there, so why should I quibble?), but he kept getting smashed because he kept worrying about Kimberly!  The great martial artists (in anime and manga) always say that they cannot fight to their full ability when protecting someone.  And when that someone is on your team… sorry lil miss pink ranger, but you’re a liability!  Do you know this?

I do find it interesting that the theme of the entire show seems to be: as six you are strong, but as five, you cannot survive.  I can understand a theme of: don’t do it alone, bring a friend.  But I find it funny how even when there are five great fighters, they MUST have the sixth one there in order to win.  It’s interesting that none of them are supposed to stand out, none of them as a singular can tip the tide of battle, and yet Tommy is like Da Man.  I do think he’s won a couple times. He’s always the one saying they need to separate–he’ll “take care of this” while the “rest of you go do that”, but then he needs to go join them for the rest of them to win, or vice versa. 

The only time anyone ever almost won alone, though, was when Kim sneezed on that monster who was germophobic…

I must say that thankfully in the movie, Zordon speaks!  By moving his mouth!  It might be the quality of seasons from the tv show, but I swear, that man speaks by breathing hard and wiggling his double chin as a giant head, and that his mouth does not actually move.  Could just be the quality of film I’m watching.  It actually makes me nauseated to watch.  I feel like he’s going to have a heart attack and hyperventilate. But in the movie, mercifully, the earless man speaks.  Frew!

night,

dawn

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One Gnarley Harp

Ha ha!  Ah ha!  I get it, I get it.  So I’m slow.  Not having seen the weaponry in action, every time the black ranger would call out for his “power axe”, I immediately thought of an electric guitar.  It just seemed so out of place.  A guitar, a bow (and arrow, not a ribbon, thank you very much Ink, being able to see it helped avoid confusion), and then a bunch of totally random weapons I can’t remember.  But just to clear up confusion, it now does appear (even though it looks quite a bit like an electric guitar, well, a weird child’s plastic toy figure of one) to be a chop-chop cut-tree type of ax.  Me see. 

Anywho, in the last couple of days, I have followed the Rangers, rolling myself laughing the entire way.  What a grand find!  I have now found that apparently they still make this, only now they use real special effects and it’s all spiffy looking now, comparatively, whereas before, it was total old school.  It was shoe string budget, taken to the limit, with neon paint.  Must I watch fifteen years worth of Power Rangers???  I probably won’t make it that far.  I’m still curious about the evolution of the Man-Who-Will-Become-Vash, so we’ll see how much further I get than the next four years.  If my patience lasts that long.  I find that intertwining martial arts fighting (ooh) with Transformers to be unfair.  One or the other, guys, come on.  I liked Transformers when I was a kid, but to do both?  It’s cheesy, and you can’t devote enough time to either one.  The second they go into mechadroid territory, or whatever it’s called, the fight’s over in a one-two punch.  So before that, you have to endure nearly a minute of (the same?) footage of them calling to their dual-personality beasties.  Now, if you take a unicorn and a triceratops and meld them together, you get four horns, right?  So how on earth can it be either a unicorn or a triceratops any longer?  It’s mathematically impossible.  Not to mention, technically, writers, a mastadon is not a dinosaur.  It’s a mammal, not a thunder lizard.  So no, I don’t like the beasties so much.  Simplicity counts, right?  Yuppers.

Now, quibbles aside, they say that children laugh what, forty-four times a day?  And adults twice?  I’ve gotten my yearly quotient of laughter, then.  I don’t remember the actual numbers, that’s why I’m not a math major.  (Yippee for going back to school, though.  The Power Rangers would be proud of me, because they keep saying that education is going to save the world.)  So this syndicate is obviously doing something right, because I’ve watched maybe twenty episodes in the last two days.  I should (totally!) be working on “zee novel” aka that perilous pen pricking poodle of primary proverbs, and yet, here I am, already planning things to fix up an older novel I was working on right before uni started up in September.  I keep going, Ooh, I misunderstood that; I can so use it!  Lemme borrow a little of this, and a dash of that, and heap on a whole bunch of crazy minsunderstandings, et voila!  Shish boom bah.  Got me a happy little dose of insanity for my own super hero.  But first, sadly, I need to get my elderly woman out of the circus and back home (must she go back home? she never liked it there; it would be mean to take her back home).  I need to TheEnd it, then I can go work on all sorts of other projects.  Am I acquiring Adult Attention Deficit?  Doubtful, considering how much MMPR I’ve watched the last two days.  At least we know I can still sit still.

Tra la la!  But spring fever hit big time.  Curled my hair so it would bounce, wore a dress, went to our how to read stuff in public lesson with our performance poet/love story lady, and I must say, that woman makes uncomfortable eye contact.  Every time our eyes met, I felt she was trying to stare me down.  She was probing my mind.  She can’t have my novel ideas!  No ma’am!  She’s got weird ideas about this whole public speaking thing.  And I do think the five second silence is going to kill me.  Rise gracefully from your seat, walk with dignity to the podium (do not wear a t-shirt with pink little kittens if you’re reading a serious piece on suicide), and then stand there staring down your audience for five seconds.  One.  Two.  Three. Four. Five.  Then introduce yourself calmly.  By that point in time, I’ll have forgotten my name.

night,

dawn

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Morph This!

Snicker.  Ha ha.  Hee hee.  Hoo hoooooo.  Wahahahahaha!

After years of railing against both Barney and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and saying that I will never watch either, what terrible shows, how crummily produced, why did they last so long, yada yada yada… I finally had to watch a little of MMPR.  My reasoning: I rather like Trigun.  I find Vash, the pacifist gunman “seeking the elusive mayfly of love” to be hilarious.  And then I found out that Vash used to be a Power Ranger.  How could this be?  It’s not possible!  Not Vash.  He wouldn’t demean himself.

So first I watched the opening credits.  Ah, what you can do with video on a shoestring budget with some willing stooges on PBS, right?  I laughed myself silly just watching the credits.  I might be able to get into this.  I feel a parody waiting to happen.  (A parody of a parody? That’s already been parodied and is a parody of itself?  If this is possible, I will find a way.) 

Then I finally found a snippet where Mr. Bosch morphs (amid cries of “No, Adam, don’t do it!”).  Snicker, snicker. 

And then he spoke.

And it was Vash!  It’s the sixty billion double dollar man who loves doughnuts!  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. 

Like Adam says in Blast from the Past (albeit about Perry Como), “I could die.” 

Eve: “Over this?”

night,

dawn

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“Hudsucker Proxy”

I love Tim Robbins.  (I love Tom Robbins, too, so it gets confusing.  Thankfully I don’t know either of them.)  When I was younger, I loved the movie “Howard the Duck”.  I know a lot of people hate it, but it tickles my funny bone.  And I like the comic books, too, even though they’re very different (and more perverse). 

But a couple years ago, long after watching “Shawshank Redemption”, I realized what a great actor he was, because I saw him in several movies at the same time.  Looked him up, found out he was the geek in “Howard the Duck” and became enamored.  Anyone who can pull off both “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Howard the Duck” is a great actor.  And willing to take a chance!  I like actors who do crazy roles and give their all.  I enjoyed Ron Eldard for the same reason.  “Sex and the Other Man”, “Just a Kiss”, and “Delivered”, on top of all the serious roles, like “House of Sand and Fog”.

Anyway, back to good old Tim.  I was looking for great funny movies, and came across this movie title a couple years ago… “The Hudsucker Proxy”.  I’ve wanted to see it ever since.  Tim Robbins inventing the Hula Hoop?  How can we go wrong!? 

And we didn’t.  Watched it last night (found a copy at the grocery store, of all places), and wow.  I like it when movies play with the era (set this one back in the 50s) and give us some great characters (like Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Amy Archer) and plays with the cinematography and the story.  The moment it started, and the president of the company stood up on the long table, I was hooked.  This is just one of those movies that I aspire to someday write a novel like.  Quirky, crazy, takes some chances, yet still makes sense.  (Ah, that last one, will I ever get there??)

So this movie is going right up there with “Harold and Maude”, and even “Rosemary’s Baby” as great underrated movies that everyone should watch. 

Why do they even bother to make most of the movies they come up with now?  If I wanted cookie cutters, I’d have gone to culinary school and learned to bake!

night,

dawn

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