Monday, August 31, 2009

Is there a joke here?

I've been sorting through stuff as we unpack in this new house. I'm finding a lot of stuff I could put up in a garage sale, which we'll hold this Saturday, what with the long weekend and all.

As one might expect, there are a lot of mementos, intentional and otherwise. I've come across two articles that were more or less left to me by my wife's grandfather after he passed on. Actually, I don't know if he had a will, and if he did, I don't know if he went into so much detail about divvying up his estate, or at least his worldly goods.

I remember there was talk that maybe I might receive a very nice pair of binoculars he had, but that didn't pan out. For one, it was definitely an object of value, and two, I am neither a hunter nor an avid outdoorsman, while a number of Pam's cousins in Idaho are. I resented that, feeling I'd been promised something and... well, really, I am only a grandson-in-law with no particular claim to anything of his.

It seems though, that I did receive a consolation prize of sorts: a necktie he owned with a very cheery Christmas tree pattern, and an old book of photos of Sweden, entirely in Swedish.

In my mind, there are two ways of looking at this. The first is that these were items no one else wanted, so they unloaded it on perhaps the least of all members of the family. The other way of looking at it is that maybe they did see a sort of connection between me and him in this interest in Sweden, and a tie that... well, you probably won't see too many aspiring Bishops and First Presidents wearing it to sacrament meeting, that's pretty certain... but on the other hand...

Now, Merlin was very devout in his beliefs. Very faithful and trusting that the way of the Latter Day Saints is the way, even if he wasn't too religious, so to speak, in practicing it. He offered his Testimony, or the occasional fragment of it, from time to time. Part of it was his recollection of his own mission to Sweden so many years ago. He still uttered the odd phrase or two in Swedish even in his last years. It was clear to see he did love that experience so.

I have a similar love of the place myself, particularly after discovering this was where my family name started and I too set foot there and brought back soil from my own great-great-grandfather's homestead.

We both had a tie to Sweden, much more so than anyone else in the family, so perhaps it was very insightful on someone's part to pass that on to me.

Still, compared to some of the other material things he left that the rest of the clan claimed... well, really, I actually suppose the joke is on them, if their intent was to leave us not so geographically close to him with the crumbs of the feast.

How so? Well, looking through this book, and inspecting this tie, it occurs to me that he and I actually did have that Swedish connection in common. There were times when I actually felt a bit... maybe not "singled out," but I did sort of feel that maybe there was something between us that nobody else shared, not even his daughters.

I could see Merlin still has a certain spark in his eyes, an ambition. A dream. My father-in-law often spoke, often derisively, that apparently he and mum-in-law made a mistake in taking the Old Man to see Casey's Shadow, a movie about horse racing. This apparently inspired Merlin to persue the chance of one day running a horse in the "All American Futurity."

Brent just shakes his head at the thought, "We never should have taken him to see that movie..." and Carolyn (mum-in-law) was up in arms at the thought of him spending all that time and money on "those damned horses," while at the same time both admitted that, "it keeps him alive."

I wonder sometimes though... once in a while, I used to call to arrange to actually ride one of his horses. I even got a pair of boots so I could ride properly (and safely). Nothing much, just a couple of trots down from one end of the pasture to the other, one or two laps, as it were. I sort of wonder if that might have kind of cut me into a slightly closer circle than others? I mean, I don't know of anyone else, least of all the adults, who ever took an interest in this (rather expensive) dream of his. Perhaps he let me in on his dream. Just a bit of it.

That's one thing about people here, I've noticed. People don't dream. They don't have a lot of ambitions beyond getting that job, the house, the small Israelite tribe of one's own, then eventually retiring to a life of doing nothing at all. It's like in Utah parents rear their kids, fill their heads with "dreams," then tell them to put them away when they turn 18, and get serious about life.

Merlin, on the other hand, bucked the system, by holding on to a dream well past the time when the local culture expects him to focus on the afterlife. Maybe I read that in him, and maybe he in me, so we were kindred spirits of a sort.

I think I felt that connection, very faint, but there just the same one holiday at the in-laws' house, not too long before he finally died. He and I went for a walk around the block, it might have been Thanksgiving, and it was just nippy but not frigid, yet.

We walked in silence most of the way, and he finally spoke up to me, like he was confiding some awful truth he couldn't tell anyone else. "I hate getting old."

"I do, too," I agreed. Not that I was indeed getting old, but once I'd turned 30, there were the tell-tale signs of things to come, like the Type-II Diabetes. That was enough, I decided, I don't want to see more organ failures or physical deteriorations... and I certainly don't want to "grow up and get serious," if by that one means settling into a Lay-Z-Boy and waiting to die, never even trying to "punch the envelope," trying to see how close I can get to catching that star.

Like a distant star telling its life story in a single collective burst of energy from all the nuclear reactions in its core... Merlin told me his story, and that it was coming to an end.

His children didn't get it. How could they? Children don't know how to listen.

But I heard it, and I can't wait to ride again.

Update, 6 September: I've suddenly found myself in possession of a rather nice pair of binoculars, the pair Merlin owned. Strange timing that this should suddenly turn up, less than a week after this post originally went up.

I am grateful, just the same. Merlin's legacy goes on.

What am I going to do with it?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Backlogged Thoughts...

I've been more keenly aware of the passage of time, even since moving into the new house. We have a clearer view of the eastern horizon in the mornings when I have time to ponder while I feed the dogs.

Here in West Point, we're a bit further from the light pollution, so I can see so many more stars in the pre-dawn hours, and we're a bit further from the mountains, so the skyline is a little closer to the horizon. The net effect is that I can more accurately observe certain stars and constellations rising in the morning. For instance, shortly after we arrived, I could see the Pleiades just above the horizon, and Orion was just clearing it, looking more like a bow tie than a mighty hunter.

My stars are out now, the stars I kind of associate with my "home" season of the year... Rigel, Betelgeuse, Aldebaraan... the stars in and around the Orion constellation are usually pretty close to dead-overhead when I think to look at them and recognize them. Usually this is in the fall and early winter. Weeks ago, these stars, along with Canopus (the "Dog Star," which reputedly gives the "Dog Days" of August their name), debuted in the morning sky, which reminded me we were easing into Autumn again. A brief whiff of a chill in the air last Monday at around 5 p.m. confirmed it.

Funny thing I noted as I watched the stars, almost before my eyes, rise higher and higher each morning, was that centuries ago, there was a whole caste of people who's social responsibility was to watch the stars, watching for signs or omens of things to come. They came to be known as the "Magi," and were widely revered with certain degree of awe, as people looked on them and wondered, "How did they know that was going to happen?"

Cynically, it was merely a matter of recording close observations, recognizing patterns, and keeping such proprietary techniques under wraps.

Astronomy has always been closely associated with astrology. Indeed, even in the days of Johannes Kepler, the great astronomer who developed the basic Laws of Planetary Motion, the main reason a monarch even kept a stellar observer on staff was to draw up a regular Star Chart that might figure into official state policy.

Even when I was in college, I'd tell people I was studying astronomy, and they'd tell me they were a Pisces, or ask me if I really believed in fortune-telling.

But the ancient astronomers used their knowledge of the cycle of the constellations and the position of the sun in the sky to establish what time of the year it was, and predict or at least advise on matters of the season, like annual flooding and growing seasons. I think the Farmer's Almanac does something similar, these days.

How did it get so out of hand, though, that someone observing the stars came to be known as someone with mystic insights and connections with the gods themselves?

Not sure though, but I've also picked up on this tidbit: apparently, the way we've come to associate certain personality traits with being born on certain dates has much to do with this tradition of really knowing one's times of the year, but it also involves having insight into the environmental conditions a person is exposed to during their gestation.

In other words, one might have an idea of what a person's temprament might be like if they knew what their mother was going though during the pregnancy, and most of all, what their mother was likely to eat during the pregnancy that might affect the brain's development, and thus their personality.

An example of this might be that a person born in October was conceived in late December, early January. In some climes, that means the mother has access to very little fresh food during early pregnancy, mostly dried or pickled foods or else foods that store easily, like grains. The curing or preserving process of these foods might affect the brain chemistry at an early stage of pregnancy in a certain way that's different from someone conceived in June or July (more access to fresh foods and the like), and so their personality is distinctly different.

Nowadays, this effect is less pronounced because we simply have more access to foods of all kinds, so a "Libra" might not be as different from an "Aries" as one might have used to be 3 000 years ago, and now with so many people living on highly processed foods, who knows what effect that has on the modern personality...

Did I mention I really dig astronomy?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Week in Review

A few notes about the week.

First, in the W.O.S.S. (that's Wife's On Swing Shift, definitely not "WUSS") department: To entertain the boys I took them out to a few different parks after daycare, just to get a little nervous energy out, and to get to know the area a bit better.

We went to the nearest one, the name of which eludes me, but it's just down the road, turn, down the road, turn, and there it is. Otherwise, a trudge through one row of houses and a farmer's field, and we're there.

The kids seemed to enjoy themselves, as we took a quick lap around the path around the perimeter of the park. We hung around a bit, as I noticed a slight Autumnal chill in the air for an instant, and Elias played in the sandbox for a bit, before he told me his nose was bleeding. I pulled out a handkerchief and had him hold it to his nose for a while to get the bleeding to stop. He must not have understood me as, when I removed the handkerchief, it was getting rather drenched with blood. We quickly got back to the car, and got home, and he started worrying about the blood. I switched out the bandana (fortunately, I'd chosen the red one, which I think helped keep the panic to a minimum at the park), and got a washcloth soaked in cold water, and told him to hold it to his nose, but to plug his nose and breathe through his mouth.

He cried and fought it for a bit, trying to hang on to the washcloth, and it was turning red, as well. I observed it's very hard to get a person to keep calm in these situations, especially where blood is concerned, and, well, this was also very new to him, so, yeah, of course he panicked.

Eventually, I got him to just plug his nose, and I was able to take the washcloth away. He calmed some more, and before long, yes, the blood stopped, but if that wasn't a lesson in controlling panic...

I'm proud of him, just the same for getting a grip and following my directions. I got another lesson in rearing kids (and a bit of human nature, as well), and Elias got one of his first lessons in what the military used to call, "Self-aid and buddy care."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fine. Be that way.

It occurs to me, after so many times of being about the only optimist in a conversation, that this is what the Village Idiot must feel like.

Okay. Y'all win. Life sucks, period. No, there is no bright side, except that as bad as things are, they can only get worse. No hope in the least.

Out of a job? You'll never find one, let alone a rewarding one that fits your particular interests and skill sets.

So, your S.O. has left you for someone else? Yup. They're probably better looking, smarter, more secure, and better in bed than you'll ever hope to be, even with that "enhancement" surgery.

And that party that won the election? Whether or not you voted for them, they're going to take away everything you own (not that you have a lot, anymore) and force you into a life of praying to some strange entity whose name you can't pronounce and living at the mercy of the state.

Tell me some more about how bad you got it, and I might just give you the family recipe for ricin. Pssh! Nevermind, you'll probably botch THAT up, too.

There. I agree with you 100%, and then some. I'm not trying to cheer you up at all, or even try to get you to look at things realistically. I'm telling you what you apparently want to hear. Feel better, yet?

See, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to respond, anymore. If I tell a person, "Yeah, things really suck for you," am I making the person feel better by affirming their position, or am I confirming their worst fears? If I try to say "Things could be worse," am I telling them things will get better, or am I telling them they're a whiney sack of shit?

This is actually kind of tricky, really, assuming a person does not want to feel bad... maybe there's a kind of feeling people feel on the "surface," but somehow there is some kind of metaemotion going on that feels "good" when one is just wallowing in misery?

Look what I have to sort through (because I care), and then tell me I'm the idiot, huh?

The easy way out is also the wrong way for me. I've been taught that "indifference" is actually a far worse sin than "hate." Somedays, however, like Pontius Pilate, it feels like the easiest, most expedient way to "resolve" someone else's crisis (for me, anyway) is to simply wash my hands of it and walk away, thus leaving the person in crisis in no worse (or better) condition than when I found them, but also leaving me a bit more calloused than I was at the start.

This is where it gets difficult interacting with people. One assumes that there is eventually a "pay off" for patiently trying to help someone. Eventually, and very often very intangibly, to be sure, but verbal cues, like repeatedly being told to "sod off" is as effective an "aversion" therapy over time as shock treatment.

This isn't addressed to anyone in particular, least of all anyone who actually reads these infrequent posts (thank you, by the way), and I'm certainly not "passive-aggressively" trying to make anyone feel guilty about feeling bad. I'm only pointing out that being a "bad ass with a bad attitude," or just being a pessimist is getting to be just enough of a popular ...fad? ...movement, even? ...that it is seriously getting harder for me to take an interest in anyone's "suffering."

I'm no idiot, but I really don't want to "used to care."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Perfect Time for a Perfect Storm

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been… too long since my last confession.

I confess I am envy and covet those whose lives seem freer than my own. I know they must have difficulties of their own, but outwardly, how do they do what they do? Why do I feel punished for doing what I believed at one time to be the right thing?

I confess that I have doubts; doubts in the paths I have chosen, and the paths Your will, through serendipity, have chosen for me. In this time of multiple crises, have mercy on me. I do not ask to be delivered from the folly of my own decisions or my failures to decide, only that you steel me with a resolve beyond what I have exhibited so far, at least to get through this month.

Why did I commit to doing this show? I’m sure it’ll work out, it’ll be a quality show, but it just comes at a time when I simply cannot commit the mental energies it deserves. My sons are only part of it, but coupled with a big to-do at work, and needing to move out of our home in the next two weeks… I thought I was doing the right thing.

I thought I was doing the right thing, agreeing to move into this new house, despite my reservations about it. The structural features I can amend, but it’s another few miles away from everything. A cul de sac with kids my own kids’ ages is wonderful, but what happens when these children reach their Age of Reckoning, when it will suddenly matter that we’re not one of them?

And what of these neighbors, which I gather to be rather fundamentalist in their path to seek You? I recently realized this is the same township that a few years ago essentially drove out a woman one might have termed “fallen” in another time and place. I am not perfect in tolerance, and so I’m afraid such intolerance will test it beyond what it can stand. You have sent me examples, and they have similarly endured, but you know I’m a coward, deathly afraid of having to stand up to popular opinion.

This is where I need your strength, to fight the urge to close myself off, and yet hold fast to the truths Jesus taught.

Another example to live by. And die by. It was at the hands of religious fanatics, seeped in their traditions and laws, that Jesus was humiliated and killed. This is scary, but perhaps scarier still is continuing to live in their midst.

I feel alone, more than ever. One, no, I don’t relate too deeply with a lot of people I’m in contact with, and moving out to points far out west isn’t helping. I rarely see anyone I do relate to, and now with this added distance… whomever I do see likely won’t find as many opportunities to visit.

Thank you, though, for the good time in San Francisco. I haven’t laughed that hard in so
long, it was almost embarrassing, I felt I had to apologize to Mickey and Amos for being, perhaps, that one houseguest that makes the neighbors say, "WTF?!” But it was good. The bon homme… the setting… the wine. Lord, how good it felt at the reception, knowing the proprietors of the restaurant weren’t going to lose their license because one of their patrons (me) imbibed perhaps three, maybe four (I quit counting when I walked through the door) more glasses of wine more than the recommended daily allowance.

And I admit the male ego didn’t suffer any when Mickey’s sister actually seemed… relieved? encouraged? (oh, just let me have my delusions!) when he revealed that I’m one of his straight friends.

It just felt right to be able to laugh out loud like I almost never seem to do, anymore. Laughter, like liquor here in Utah, sometimes seems regulated. It’s planned, rehearsed, and once in a while courteous when one is laughing with someone. Too much control, like everyone is afraid of getting caught in a natural state.

Anyway, Mickey asked me why I was living in Utah. I really didn’t have a good answer, just like I really don’t know why I’m making this move.

I really don’t know why I’m doing what I'm doing.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Towel Day

Wildcard reminds you that in addition to Memorial Day observed in the U.S., Monday May 25 is also Towel Day in memoriam to Douglas Adams, writer of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

No geek can truly call themselves a geek, in my book, but for three conditions:

  1. One must provide the correct answer the question, "What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?"
  2. One must provide the correct question to the answer, "42."
  3. Lastly, one must adequately explain how the answer (as provided in the text of the books or the original radio script) can apply to the question, if at all.

I do not care how many degrees in obscure dead languages you hold, nor how many Microsoft Certifications you're renewing this year, nor even how much time you devote to trying to justify and reconcile every Star Trek story ever written into one continuous "canon," you cannot call yourself a geek unless you can satisfy the above three conditions. Sorry.

I admit this is kind of... ironic, I guess, considering one of the things that has intrigued me about Adams is that as an atheist, he says it's puzzled him that so many "otherwise intelligent people can take (religion) so seriously." Given this paraphrase of a quote of his from The Salmon of Doubt, I genuinely think he would be puzzled and hopefully amused (if there is indeed an after-life, after all) at how his writings have taken on almost scriptural significance to a number of people, just in his lifetime.

I logged onto a number of discussion threads at, checking out a lot of the pre-release buzz over the HHTTG movie before and after it came out, and all the controversy surrounding the choices in casting and... well, everything about it, really. It was staggering to me just how much people asked the question, "But is it canon?"

Canon? You mean, as in some kind of authoritative version of the Hitchhiker's saga? I had to laugh. There is no standard version, not even the five-part "trilogy." Adams wrote I don't know how many iterations and versions of the string of scenarios that comprise the saga, including but not limited to the radio script, the books, the television script, the movie, the text-based computer game... and every one of them is different from the others in some highly noticable way. Canon. As in, like, scripture? Give me strength, I'm sure he's said time and again, not really sure to whom he should address this request.

But that was just an epilogue, compared to the controversy over the number 42. "It was just a funny-sounding number," he said, again and again, yet somehow his words just seemed to drift off into the ether, unheard. He even concocted, or remembered on different occasions, totally different stories as to how he arrived at the number, until I'm sure it became much like his story of how he came up with the idea of a "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." That is, he told the story so many times, so often, he says he forgot the actual incident and remembers only the story he keeps telling about it.

The question is even worse. Somewhere along the way some true geeks (myself included), each independently arrived at the realization that if you use a different number base (base13, to be exact), you can make multiplying six by nine equal to 42. This wasn't the point, he insisted, but somehow this did not deter other wags, starving to impose some kind of meaning on existence, who began to believe that if he did not intend for there to be any kind of pattern implied, then it must be the will of (a/the) Supreme Being, kind of like a number of scenarios depicted in the book series.

What could the man do, but maybe try to make something where there was a "hidden message?" Thus came the now famous "42 Puzzle," in which he hid, I don't know, somewhere around 10 different representations of the number 42 in a 6 x 7 grid of balls, and published it on the cover of a later edition of all five books of the "trilogy." The irony to this is nobody got it.

"Towel Day" is, and probably should be, merely a casual observance with no real "meaning" to it. There probably shouldn't be a lot of todo about it, just a bunch of people walking around carrying a towel for no readily apparent reason, although yes, Adams does demonstrate that the towel is a very handy thing to keep with you, especially as you travel. You may never find yourself in any of the exotic locales nor face any of the truly alien situations he lists, but I'm sure you'll agree there are so many occasions in everyday life where it may astound, perplex, and yet ultimately gratify those around you that you just HAPPEN to have a towel with you.

But as far as the "meaning of life," I think all Adams really had to say was that there is none, but not necessarily in a bleak sense (depending on where he was in his cycles of depression when discussing it). "Nothing matters. Look, it's a beautiful day, enjoy it," he said through Ford Prefect in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. It's strange to me that there don't seem to be a lot of HHTTG fans going around spouting that either, despite that that is probably the most profound truth he'd ever uttered.

Well, that and, "Don't Panic!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


A Review

A Rant, Actually

Right, so I saw Watchmen Saturday. After hearing so many reviews that dinged it for being too similar to the graphic novel, I did have reservations, but I actually enjoyed it for what it was; a kick-ass comic book geek fest movie, complete with state-of-the-art fight sequences, some T & A, and loads of CGI special effects.

I really didn’t mind the tableaus that were lifted directly from frames in the graphic novel. I rarely noticed them at all, so I really didn’t get where people were coming from when they complained it was too much like the novel. What I would complain about are instances where the movie departed from the novel namely in the theme and the mood of the whole thing.

A lot of what made Watchmen what it was as a graphic novel were the sub-plots and actions that happen on the periphery, and a lot of the “supplementary material” that outlined a lot of the backgrounds of the characters.

Obviously, excerpts from books, scrapbooks, and personnel folders just would not work in the video format, so how does a director fill in such gaps that simply won’t transfer? The answer is the director doesn’t, but sadly tries to make up for the lack of character(s) with the pop devices of the day: glum lighting, washed-out color, grimy scene designs, and violent acts calculated to shock the audience (if indeed that’s possible in today’s entertainment market).

Snyder does pretty well at showing the heroes’ origins, and conveying them in at-a-glance flashbacks, but he seems more concerned with reproducing the kick-ass artwork than re-creating the story, themes, and the tone. I’ll be frank. I’ve read the novel something like five or six times, referenced specific sections countless more times, and nearly every time I’ve read it, I’ve come this close to just up and killing myself it was so beautifully bleak and depressing. I really didn’t get that from the movie.

I know, I know. People don’t plunk down good money to sit and get depressed beyond the help of a Zoloft overdose, but then, Watchmen wasn’t written to be the “feel good movie of the year.”

The novel was about largely ordinary people dressing up in weird costumes and fighting criminals. The only really super heroes are “Dr. Manhattan,” and (rather) possibly Ozymandias.

What we got from this movie is essentially that ALL the characters are somehow “super,” mostly from Snyder’s over-reliance on the special effects to carry the scenes. It might be, as the author of suggested, that these fight scenes with all their ludicrous hyper-(non)realism were used to underline these heroes’ separation from the rest of humanity. Deep thought, but these are current conventions in today’s action movies, which only served to downgrade the movie further from a literary adaptation to “Not Another 21st Century Action Movie.”

Don’t get me started on the now-cliché “bullet-time” photography and the repeated slow-mo/quick-time/back to slow-mo fight sequences. Look, we see it daily in luxury car commercials, why not try something novel and just portray the action of the scene without having to try to jack it up another three or four notches with this tired contrivance?

Speaking of the fight sequences, this rather got to me. Apparently being a costumed avenger causes one’s muscle and bone density to skyrocket so that when one’s face is slammed into a granite countertop, it doesn’t crush one’s skull (even assuming Blake’s assassin was that strong), but it does crush the granite into dust.

Same goes for Rorschach’s ability to leap several yards to get to a fire escape ladder, as well as Blake taking out the corner of a brick fireplace with his fist. I mean, come on, already!

On the whole, the characters weren’t all that deep, either. Some have blamed the actors, but Hell, there’s only so much an actor can do with the material (and direction?) given. Malin Ackerman as Silk Specter II? Her job was to look good in latex, and she did that very well. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach? Just do your best Clint Eastwood impersonation, and let the CGI do the rest. For Matthew Goode’s turn as Veidt/Ozymandias, could we possibly broadcast “I am the real villain in this movie” any more without hanging a (CGI, of course) neon sign over his head saying, “I am the real (creepy) villain in this movie?”

As for the ending… well, they kept the final gambit intact, but for what purpose? It ended up, after all that mezzabob with the revised evil… uh, morally ambiguous, rather… plan being just another “The End… or is it?” ending.

(Here be a big spoiler) As for the change in Veidt’s plan… oh, really? Ye Gods, what was that about? Create the equivalent of a nuclear first strike on the major cities of the world, and then blame Dr. Manhattan for it? And then con the world into thinking the good Doc is watching them to be sure they play nice?

Veidt’s plan in the novel, of course, was to convince people of an other-worldly threat, forcing humanity to take responsibility for itself.

Dear God. Pardon the irony of the interjection, but this is the part where I did actually take offense as Hannibal Lector would at being served a McDonald’s Happy Meal. I don’t know letter for letter what Alan Moore’s cosmological views are, but I am reasonably certain after reading V for Vendetta with its theme of throwing off the oppressive yokes of religion and government, he most certainly would not have approved of a “happy ending” where humanity finds salvation from nuclear war in an all-powerful God-figure.

Well, what was I looking for, anyway?

I understand that in order to fully incorporate the peripheral plots, and the information contained in the previously mentioned supplementary material, the movie would probably have to be something to the tune of a full 24-hour, 12-part “mini-series,” and it would probably lose a good half the audience by about episode 3. I do. I totally understand, but damn, it sure lost a lot, being distilled to this almost three-hour movie. The movie only portrayed the tip of the iceberg, but there was nearly nothing that lies beneath. Nothing “under the hood,” as it were.

Maybe then that’s what Alan Moore keeps going on about, why he keeps removing his name from any credits of movie adaptations of his stories. Shit, he’s so serious about it, he won’t even accept royalties for them. It’s a bit like buying a top-end car like a Ferrari, and replacing the engine with a GM four-banger, and keeping the shell just for the looks. Okay, yeah, I do understand Ferraris are hard to maintain, and you can’t drive it at full speed in America anyway, but damn.

Same here: they take Moore’s stories, keep the imagery, but chuck the reason people read graphic novels by Moore because the widest possible audience just wouldn’t get them, anyway. They’re just too damned deep for the Summer Blockbuster Season.

It might be a consolation to him then that I really do not see movies like Watchmen being very long remembered, but will slip into history much the same as V for Vendetta and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, forgotten except as a relic of a time when Hollywood took to mining comic books (in earnest) for ideas.

The problem I see with this whole movie is that while Alan Moore (and others) have inspired huge strides in how comics (or more, graphic novels) are perceived, Hollywood hasn’t gotten this message. Graphic novels are now considered literature, yet Hollywood still seems to see them as juvenile dumb-shows, and adapts them to eye-candy, wait, I mean, film accordingly.