Weird Wednesday: Hot Rodding the Silmarillion

Many people are aware that the published Silmarillion was compiled by J. R. R. Tolkien’s son Christopher, with an eye towards consistency and concision at the expense of poetic detail, from a wide-ranging variety of incomplete (and often mutually contradictory) manuscripts left by JRRT. I have read some volumes (not all) of the History of Middle Earth, which includes many of the source texts Christopher Tolkien used, but I have only recently become aware of the third-party scholarship showing how it all came together, in books like Arda Reconstructed. Also interesting are the fan attempts to construct more comprehensive and poetic-sounding Silmarillions than the one published by Tolkien’s son. These can seem a little dry, because for copyright reasons, they are basically citations to texts compiled in the History of Middle Earth.

This one is a “finished” one-fan project:

This one, the work of many hands, has been ongoing for twenty years:


Weird Wednesday: The Pride & Prejudice Comparison Videos are Back!

In 2021, Mistress of Pemberley created a series of comparison videos on youtube for the many surviving* film and TV versions of Jane Austen’s most famous novel, and I had great fun following along. She’s run into some account troubles, and had to restart the series from scratch, now with improved video quality and chapters. I encourage you all to like and subscribe!

* There are around four or five lost hour-length “digest” TV versions of P&P, including a Canadian version which featured Patrick MacNee as Darcy, plus two lost miniseries length versions broadcast by the BBC in 1952 and 1958 (with Peter Cushing and Alan Badel, respectively, as Darcy) plus a lost Castilian-language miniseries from 1966 (with Pedro Becco as Darcy). If you have copies of any of these lurking in your parents’ attic, please digitize them and put them up on Youtube, Vimeo, Rumble and Bitchute before handing the originals over to the rightful owners at the BBC, CBC, or TVE. My inner P&P completist would thank you for any of them, and one of my many inner fangirls would be particularly grateful for the 1952 version.

Weird Wednesday: Dr. Who and the Daleks on Blu Ray

I’d seen the sequel (Daleks Invasion 2150 AD) years before on VHS, having heard that it was the better of the two movies. I didn’t hate it: not enough of a Whovian to care about the continuity issues, too fond of the top-billed actor to object to any PG-ish film that gave him a likable and somewhat prominent character. But I didn’t feel like I had a strong grip on what was going on (see: not much of a Whovian, above), and the film didn’t interest me enough to survive the Great VHS Purge of Ought-Something. (But then again very little did.)

Recently picked up both films on Blu Ray, because they were cheap and I felt like stockpiling blu-rays for…reasons, and watched Dr. Who and the Daleks. Seeing Basil of Baker Street and the Inspector from Dracula AD 1972 stalk around in tacky alien makeup and costumes took some getting used to. Never did get used to the awful techno-babble.

Even so, I thought this was a charming little movie with some cool big-screen visuals, plus a hilarious precursor to the Storm Trooper Impersonation sequence in A New Hope and goofy but entertaining performances from the main players. (Although, if you have some inexplicable need to see the top-billed actor being humorous, you would probably be better off with Revenge of Frankenstein, Island of Terror, or Legend of the Werewolf.)

And now, I suspect, Invasion 2150 AD will make more sense when I watch it on blu ray. Somewhat. Anyway, my opinion of this film doesn’t matter much, and I doubt I’ll find anything to say about the sequel, but I wanted to say: boy, sometimes it just doesn’t pay to skip the introductory adventure, no matter how badly the reviewers trash it.

Weird Wednesday: Leaving Twitter

Well that didn’t last long. Twitter was fun, but enabled too much of the snarkier, ruder side of my personality, and exposed me (even with the world’s most aggressive blocking approach) to more negative news than is probably good for me. After being seeing how rude I had gotten in my comments on another person’s WordPress site, I decided to deactivate my twitter account, to reduce the dopamine hits I’ve been getting from my own snark, and see if that helps. I’ve been neglecting my own WordPress site, so will try to focus more attention on that, and generally do my best to mind my own business.

Weird Wednesday: Why Movie Dialogue is So Often Unintelligible

I sympathize with most of what they’re talking about, but I disapprove of their attempt to throw Frank Herbert’s world-building under the bus for Dune Part 1’s dialogue issues. That’s really on the actors. The easiest characters for me to understand in terms of dialogue in that movie were Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac, some stage experience plus prior sci-fi experience plus voice-acting experience) and Chani (Zendaya, singing experience, by extension at least some stage experience, also some sci-fi experience). The hardest to understand were Paul (Timothee Chalamet, practitioner of the Meisner technique, which values improvisation, emotions and “authenticity” above wording), Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson, ESL speaker), and Stilgar (Javier Bardem, ESL speaker).

Weird Wednesday: Why is It Furry?

I generally like Moleskine notebooks. I don’t have any good reason for it. They feel right in the hand (do you know that bit in Princess Bride, the book, about a sword’s balance? Like that). The fancy limited editions make easier for me to keep tabs on where particular ideas might be: alot of the early concept work for Star Master is in the yellowish orange Gundam notebook, my initial reactions to seeing Orgoglio e Preguidizio for the first time are in the green and beige Oz notebook, but also some of them were later transcribed to the blue 007 notebook, which also houses an awful lot of fantasy mystery brainstorming, and so on. I’ve even found a velvet-covered one at a price I could live with. Even so, I find myself asking, why is there a furry moleskine? And why is it sold out?

Weird Wednesday: Poohs and Prejudice

Okay, that might have been a overly click-baity way of talking about the fact that A. A. Milne (author of Winnie-the-Pooh), once adapted Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the stage. The BBC broadcast a radio version in 1967, with Derek Jacobi voicing Darcy. Surviving copies of the play in book-form will set you back a few hundred dollars, but you can listen to the radio adaptation for free.