Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Funner things

About 10 years ago, Mr. Willems showed us all something very funny. IB Theory of Knowledge kids, you know what I'm talking about. Or you will. I've been looking for this clip for quite a while, which was difficult until I finally, today, remembered part of the name.

All the Great Operas in Ten Minutes

Coincidentally, one of the comments on Youtube says, "I've been looking for this video for over 10 years! Thanks for putting this out there!!"

Another one of the comments says, "Hey! That's my film! I made the film when I was in film school way back in '92... I'm glad people are still enjoying it! I have DVD copies of this film for sale, if anyone is interested."

In between the saga of my friends and a paper submission deadline, I have been trying to keep a cool head. So, naturally, I read The Shining. It's the story of a man who is stressed out and tired and shut up with his family, snowbound for the winter, in a remote mountain hotel. I never saw the movie, but I saw the Simpsons parody, so I know the guy goes crazy and tries to kill his family. It turns out that the book feels very different from the 8-minute Simpsons rendition. I thought it was a real winner, again, just a really well-executed and deeply felt Stephen King book. Up next, The Stand, Cujo, and Christine. He wrote in On Writing that he was totally high when he wrote Cujo, so I'm not expecting monumental things from it, but The Stand is supposed to be one of his best.

[Stephen King digression: I am going more or less chronologically; I started with The Eyes of the Dragon, then On Writing and The Dead Zone. After that, Misery, I think, then I went back to the beginning, starting with Carrie.]

I also read How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. (Mike) Ford, an amazing writer who passed away last autumn. It is a Star Trek (Original Series) tie-in novel. It is the only Star Trek musical. I laughed and laughed.

I'm almost done with The Knight (the first part of a two-parter) by Gene Wolfe. I was just about done with high fantasy several years ago, when The Wheel of Time, a colossal 12-book epic sort of ran aground as its author, James Rigney (aka Robert Jordan) developed a rare disease and started to fight for his life. It wasn't all bad, but I had the feeling like it was pulling out all the stops and just not making it for me. Except for Bujold, who has five or so fantasies out now, I stayed away.

Gene Wolfe really changed that for me. It is a stupendous story about a boy who slips sort of sideways into another world, falls for a faerie queen, and longs to be a great knight to deserve her love. I really can't do it justice. This is the most perfect straight fantasy novel I have read in a long time. It looks like I'll have to look up the rest of his oeuvre, which is extensive. (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is another great one, but it's really an alternate-history fantasy set during the Napoleonic Wars.)

1 comment:

vince said...

The youtube video on opera is fabulous. I have seen about half of the 10 operas on the video ... now I can skip the other 5!