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December 6, 2007 12:55 PM

In a move I both disapprove of (the movie deserves more time!) and understand (there were maybe a dozen people there on Sunday evening!), Regal pulled Todd Haynes' impressive I'm Not There after just a week of showings, rendering my review in this week's paper somewhat, er, after the fact. But only temporarily! The Bijou will be picking up the film, starting showings next Friday, Dec. 14. And you should go see it. Really. You should. It's not perfect, but it's fascinating and deeply discussable; go with friends on a night when you can head to Max's afterwards and sit over pints (or pitchers), talking about the movie at length. That's what it's for. And for that, I love it.

December 3, 2007 11:20 AM

Now that the big development scheme for downtown Eugene has failed, park advocates are talking options. New parks in Chico, California and Vancouver, Washington have reinvigorated those cities' downtowns. Both large parks cost less than a third of the price of just one new downtown parking garage in Eugene.

Here's Chico:

Chico plaza

Here's Vancouver, Washington:

Esther Short

December 3, 2007 10:07 PM

So I dropped the ball more times than I can count but here we are at the stand-in finale-of-the-season-so-far and I've got the laptop on my lap, ready to go. So what you get is a (spoiler-heavy) liveblog of episode 11 which is full of rambling, swearing, ire, small moments of happiness and a handful of questions. Needless to say, it will probably not make any sense unless you watched.

Things, shall we say, are really a mess. Click here for the rambling commentary!

Writing Maya this dumb is almost offensive, it's so idiotic. She can't be that stupid, that susceptible to Sylar's ooh-I'm-bad! delivery. She just can't. She can't be so dumb as to not grab the gun while Sylar was weakened from her X-Files goo of doom. This is aggravating.

Wait, all of a sudden everyone hates Mama Petrelli? What took Matt so long to get to poor, dead Victoria Pratt? Why would they immediately assume that Peter helped kill her?

I hope Elle switches sides on account of her pops being a dick. Three cheers for Me. Bennet and his little bouncy ball!

I am rather sick of Peter believing Adam. I wish he would catch on to the obvious: Hello! Hiro can help you get Caitlin back! Adam? He just bosses you around, and for still rather mysterious reasons. The entire universe knows he wants to release the virus. Is "He saved my brother?" really enough to keep you in his pocket? Can it occur to Peter that Adam saved Nathan just to get on Peter's good side? Why is everyone made of stupid?

Oh, Mr. Bennet. Oh, Elle. I fear Kristen Bell isn't long for this show. Going down fighting daddy. That's my prediction as of 9:20 pm.

By the way, before the Vault of Doom I so expected the Haitian to show up and wipe Adam's brain. How long would it take him to heal from that? Can Claire heal from that?

Please kill Sylar. Please kill Sylar.

Elle's so dead. I would so love it if she killed Sylar, but I'm a bit concerned.

Oh NO NOT MONICA!

Micah has a rad power AND he's smart about using it. It's rather refeshing.

Buddy cop flying! Totally awesome. Also, FLYING MAN!

West, please stop stalking. What, now he's smarter and more logical than Claire? GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK, SHOW. Please let Claire be smart again! Please let her not Learn Her Lesson from Stalker Boy! Defiant Claire isn't really making me happy either, but seriously, I would like a female character to do her own thing and be RIGHT. (ETA: And not get shot, though, plz.)

Is that really Mr. Bennet?

What happens when Molly tries to find a dead person? Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Oh, but this might galvanize Maya. In a sad, bad way.

So how did the company get Sylar away from Kirby Plaza?

Oh, so that was no surprise. So Maya showed up as a character, was poorly written (as was Alejandro), and now she's dead. The twins' plotline brought nothing to the show, except some paper-thin premise about picking up Sylar. What was the point? Why create two characters with such an elaborate back story that have no agency and add nothing to the bigger picture? Was their entire point really to drive Sylar to Mohinder? Really? REALLY? HOW MANY THINGS ARE WRONG WITH THIS? Retracted as obviously, um, the show wasn't QUITE that stupid. I hope she goes on a Sylar-hunting spree in the next "volume."

Oh, Claire! It really is Mr. Bennet. PLEASE DON'T KILL HIM AGAIN! Boy, I have a lot of capital letters to use. What is this bunk deal? He's going to go be a bad guy to save them? And he believes this shit? Seriously? Oh, wait. This is some fucked up blackmail. (ETA: But Claire is not shot. So that's something.)

Peter, I think Hiro's power would be a lot more effective than trying to Magneto the door off.

Come on, Peter, be less stupid. Does he remember everything? Or just most things? Does he know Parkman? Peter, ARE YOU A WALKING BRICK? Smart Nathan, yay!
HIRO, FREEZE TIME!

DON'T KILL HIRO!
THAT WAS THE DUMBEST SHIT I EVER SAW HIRO THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU DO YOU FREEZE TIME AND GET THE VIAL FROM WHEREVER THE FUCK IT IS AND THEN YOU TAKE KENSEI AWAY (OR KILL THE BASTARD) AND LEAVE HIM THERE YOU UTTER DIMWIT.

Oh, Peter. Two seconds of smartness, hurrah for that! And the first real use of the nuclear power; that's interesting.

Who's spying on our boys there? Innnteresting. And interesting that it's like (biological) father, like daughter, though a bit too tidy as well.

GET HIM, ELLE!

I begin to think it's Niki who's going to die.

This is so the end of 90210 that one season. Except not really. Also, hello, overused save-someone-from-the-fire-then-die plotline! Goodbye, Niki! You were always so underwritten. You had potential. I'm sorry you had to die, even though as soon as Mohinder said, "The blood ... Niki!" or whatever he said, it was so obvious.

Um, so ... if they kill Elle also I am going to scream in horror and have to be restrained from throwing things. SHOW, STOP KILLING THE WOMEN.

Hiro's back, yay! Oooh, what did he do with Adam. Oh, that is unpleasant. Buried alive is so freaking creepy. And in his family's graveyard. So, so creepy.

Good job, Elle!

This is not a good idea, this going public thing. It's going to look totally batshit. And in a way, it is. So, er, is this part of Matt's moral gray area thing?

What is this uplifting speechifying? Is this his presidential campaign speech? Why would there be so many major news outlets ready to go in in Odessa? WHOA, OK. Who's the shooter? Who was watching them?
Did that look like Peter walking off or was I imagining it? (Will I miss Nathan? Not ... really. I'm just glad it wasn't Elle.)

Could they not give Nathan Peter's blood? Who is Mama Petrelli talking to? So she had Nathan killed? Was she watching? Was that future Peter going back in time to correct a mistake? Is Mama Petrelli still somehow on the Company's good side to some degree, hence the watcher and the shooting and ...

OH NO NOT MORE SYLAR.

Ha, ha, spinach Like Popeye. Ha, ha.

December 3, 2007 11:29 AM

Eugene's new taser policy allows police to shock pregnant women if officers decide to.
Here's video of police shocking a pregnant woman in Ohio:

November 30, 2007 04:48 PM

If you don't like the neighborhood speed humps in Eugene, maybe this would be better.

Effective, but I'm not sure how it translates.

November 28, 2007 01:06 PM

Y'know, I really like to blog. I really do, though my numerous excuses as to why I don't blog often enough take up almost as much space as my blog posts. I like to have opinions about things. I have them, oftentimes, whether I want to or not. But there's this thing going around — I think it's called the "holiday season." You know what it does? It eats time. I swear there are currently only 22 hours and shrinking in each day. So all I have are links. They are good links! No, seriously! Come back!

• The U.K. Telegraph has a list of the top 100 living geniuses. Criteria? "Each genius was then awarded scores out of ten against criteria which included: paradigm shifting; popular acclaim; intellectual power; achievement and cultural importance." It's fascinating, screwy and, to no one's surprise, rather man-heavy. Matt Groening above Nelson Mandela? Discuss.

• For Buffy fans, an interview with former writer Jane Espenson, who also has an awesome blog that is full of writing tips that I really ought to make more use of, even though I do not write for TV. They still work. At least some of them. Jane talks a lot about the writers' strike; for more brilliant thoughts on that, there's always Joss Whedon, whose comments I may have linked to before BUT THAT'S BECAUSE HE'S BRILLIANT.

Ahem. Moving on...

• You know who else is brilliant? Carrie Brownstein, who reviews Rock Band for Slate. I have not read this entire review yet, because I wanted to post to the blog. But I plan to. I also plan to make Brownstein's NPR blog, Monitor Mix, regular daily reading. An excerpt of her brilliance:

Since I've gotten older, and probably for the last five years, my relationship trajectory with live shows goes something like this:

1. See listing in local paper or hear about a show from a friend.
2. Think about going to the show, maybe even put it on my calendar.
3. Start listening to the band's music in anticipation of the show.
4. When people ask me what I am doing that night, say that I am going to the show. I am not lying--in my mind, I am really going to the show.
5. Feel tired the day of show and check out what movies are playing.
6. The night of the show, look at the clock and think about what is happening at the show at that very moment.
7. Rent a movie.
8. Sometime in the next week, hear about the show from someone who went.
9. Tell myself I will see the band next time.
10. Find a new show to plan on seeing.

(Dear Carrie, please don't beat me up for quoting all that. It's just that, well, you just wrote MY show-going-or-lack-thereof story, except you left out 6b. Find a strange burst of energy and go out after all. Find that either 6c. The band was totally overrated and I never want to leave the house again, or 6d. The band was fantastic and I can't believe I've ever been so lazy as to stay home on the couch when I could have gone. These are all still followed by 8-10, but the movie will have to find another night to get itself seen. So sayeth the girl who cannot seem to make the most of Netflix.)

Ahem. Er, moving on...

• How to make Terminator movies suck less (seriously, did you see Rise of the Machines)?: Put Christian Bale in them!

• Then, hey, why not give him some of the 50 greatest fictional weapons of all time? Though I've got to point out some serious flaws in this list. The Master Sword (Zelda) is cooler than many, many of the weapons ranked more highly. Buffy's scythe, at #30, is just about right. The teleporting sniper rifle from Deep Space 9 is just stupid and should never have been invented, even fictionally. Sheesh!

The inclusion of the Sword of Omens ("Give me sight beyond sight!") from Thundercats, on the other hand, is effing hysterical. For more Thundercats awesomeness, check out the swear-tastic outtakes, which were honestly among the things that, in the mid-'90s, made me truly understand the magical wonders the internet had to offer.

• More things I haven't read yet, Wonders of the ’90s version: An interview with Wilson Cruz about his groundbreaking role on My So-Called Life and an interview with indie film queen Lili Taylor, who simply rules.

• Is The National's The Boxer better than The Arcade Fire's Neon Bible? Did anyone really, truly like that White Stripes album? Why haven't I heard the new PJ Harvey? It's almost December, kids: Time to start forming your opinions about what didn't suck this year!

(I kid, I kid.)

(Mostly.)

Until next time, your procastinating blogger signs off. Stay tuned for half-formed musings about Why This Year's Oscar-Bait Movies All Are Full of Dicks!

P.S. Credit where it's due: I stumbled upon many, though not all, of these links while reading Whitney Matheson's super-cool Pop Candy Blog. Someday, maybe I'll be cool enough that people will send ME links, and I won't get all my blog content from Whitney and Boing Boing ... oh, and Whedonesque. But I DID already know about Monitor Mix and Jane Espenson's blog. I swear! And the weapons link is a saved one from last week. Srsly.

November 16, 2007 02:11 PM

This 1972 film (in two parts) shows the beginnings of Eugene's bike system—one of the most popular things ever built in Eugene. Some of the film is quaint, but a lot still applies today. In many ways Eugene has come a long way. But in many others we've gone backward, as shown by the footage of the lively downtown and crowds of kids biking to school. Compare the ambitious vision 35 years ago for greener transportation with today's vision:

I-5 Beltline

November 15, 2007 04:32 PM

... it's just that I always seem to be stumbling across mentions of the Fast Computers in big(ger) media outlets. This time, according to a Computers MySpace bulletin, it's Magnet that's caught on to the Computer-ized bandwagon with a nice handful of words of praise. I'll have to find an actual copy to read, 'cause the review (if that's what it is) doesn't seem to be online yet. Go Computers!

If your band gets writ up like this? Tell me! Blog posts, ahoy!

November 15, 2007 12:11 PM

Via Cute Overload, which owns my soul.

November 14, 2007 12:01 PM

No, not that season. What kind of crabby, no-holiday-spirit person do you take me for? I mean truffle season, which must clearly be nearly upon us, as the following two things came to my attention in the last two days:

1. The Oregon Truffle Festival has announced its dates and new location for 2008: January 25-27 at the Valley River Inn. The usual array of amazing-sounding, truffle-centric events awaits your nose and palate, including truffle growers' forums, dinners, wine pairings and more. This year, I totally lucked out and got to go to the Grand Truffle Dinner, which featured course after course of astonishing truffle-involving dishes; I've since forgotten which wonderful chef created which dish, but I think the incredible truffle pear tarte tatin with sour cream puff pastry, roasted hazelnuts and truffle honey ice cream was a Marché creation. Anyway, point is, if you've got a couple hundred dollars just sitting there and you want to spend it on food? You could do worse.

2. Smithsonian Magazine has an article about Oregon truffle guru Charle Lefevre which, possibly thanks to the magical linking powers of Boing Boing, is currently the site's most-viewed story. Nice!

November 14, 2007 05:56 PM

Looking for that triple bottom line?

The Grist website did some muckraking to get the real poop on green toilet paper:

"The bottom line: You can protect your bum without being a bummer for the earth. For maximum absorbency and (guilt-free) comfort, we suggest Seventh Generation double rolls."

Ah, but should we trust a bathroom tissue reviewer named "Grist?"

For the full review and even more scatological puns click here .

TP

November 14, 2007 05:10 PM

KitzhaberKroger

Just after EW went to press with this week's cover story on John Kroger, the outsider hoping to shake up the Oregon AG's office, Kroger announced that he'd been endorsed by former Gov. John Kitzhaber. Read the press release here .

The Kitzhaber endorsement balances the endorsement by current Gov. Ted Kulongoski of Kroger's Democratic primary opponent Rep. Greg Macpherson.

November 13, 2007 12:35 PM

So I can't blog about last night's Heroes episode because the men's basketball game ran long and I haven't watched it yet. Alas.

The game went well enough, I suppose, but these early games are getting a little dull, and the team seems to be a bit all over the place; one night we're bitching about how Malik Hairston seems to have no fire, no spark, and the next he's taking control of the team. One night we think Kamyron Brown is the next best thing to happen to the Ducks, and the next the ball is slipping out of his fingers. It'll be an interesting season — eventually. But these itty bitty games aren't holding my attention as much as I wish they would.

But ANYWAY (tm Klosterman), I came here to type about something else. Something awesome. Something magical. It reminds me of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power. THIS BABE:

Next weekend, starting with a Thanksgiving matinee, the Bijou will be showing Labyrinth — a shiny new print, no less. I almost went to Portland when one of the McMenamins was showing a shiny new Labyrinth print ... but now all I have to do is stay up until 2 am to watch it here. Sweet!

But, er, all self-centeredness aside, you really ought to go see the Most Awesome David Bowie Movie Ever Made (no, The Hunger totally doesn't count). Who cares that Jennifer Connelly never talks about having been in this film, like she's for some idiotic reason ashamed of it? Who cares that a few of the effects are laughably dated? The goblins are awesome. The little worm who invites Sarah in for a cup o' tea is awesome. Everything is awesome except the Fierys, who kind of freak me out. The Helping Hands? ("She chose down? She chose DOWN!") Ludo? ("Smell .... BAAAAD!") Hoggle? Nasty little fairies? My mom erupting into hysterical laughter over the Bowie crotch shot? (Oops, sorry; wasn't going to talk about my experience with this brilliant flick anymore.)

There's just so much to love. And to quote. Labyrinth will be showing LateNite at the Bijou Nov. 23-25 and Dec. 1 & 2 and hey, if you want to make it into some kind of Rocky Horror thing? I'm totally game.

November 13, 2007 02:38 PM

This week Willamette Week featured excerpts from their former reporter's book. Taylor Clark wrote Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture (Little, Brown and Company, 304 pages, $25.99). Clark got an advance to write the book after he wrote a story for Willamette Week that "examined the charges commonly lobbed at Starbucks and found some of them had scant grounds."

Here's some interesting excerpts from WW's excerpts:

Starbucks makes "$7.8 billion in annual revenues," most of which doesn't make it to the third-world people who do most of the work to produce the coffee.

"The past few years have featured the lowest
inflation-adjusted coffee prices in history—as low as 41.5 cents per
pound, which is far below the growers’ cost of production.
Take a four-dollar cappuccino, for example. According to statistics
from the Specialty Coffee Association of America, only 5 percent of
that price (20 cents) is the cost of the coffee itself—and that’s for
roasted coffee, which the coffeehouse has already paid to cook,
package, and ship. In reality, a nickel more than covers the farmer’s
take for that cappuccino; that’s less than the cost of the cup, sleeve
and lid (7 cents). At a coffeehouse like Starbucks, you’re paying for
dairy products (10 percent, or 40 cents), labor and overhead (71
percent, or $2.84), and, of course, profit (11 percent, or 44 cents).
Upping farmers’ rates significantly would cost the consumer virtually
nothing—but since that’s not how the free market works, farmers are
stuck struggling."

Starbucks has made big bucks off an addictive drug, caffeine.

"Which, depending on your opinions about the issue, would make Starbucks the world’s biggest pusher. The stakes are high for Starbucks in the caffeine debate. Several former and current Starbucks executives told me that they could imagine only one thing that might bring Starbucks down: conclusive scientific evidence that caffeine is unhealthy. If that were to happen, the company would bear a heavy burden; thanks to Starbucks, we’re taking in more caffeine than ever. The company serves the most potent brew in the coffee-house world, which, on a strong day, packs nearly as much caffeine in a single grande cup as three maximum-strength NoDoz caplets."

EW published a review of Starbucked last week here.

Ironically, just as the book came out so did news that Starbucks may have Starbucked itself.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports :

"Dairy prices have skyrocketed, fast-food chains have made it easier
to find a good cup of joe, and traffic in U.S. stores has flattened
amid high fuel prices and turmoil in the housing and credit markets.

Add it all up, and it's dragged the company's stock down nearly 40 percent in the past year....some are wondering if certain U.S. markets have gotten saturated."

Taylor wrote about the "domination" Starbucks has of its market. "Starbucks now owns its market like few other companies in recent
memory. Here’s a challenge: try to name the number two coffeehouse
chain in America. Any ideas?"

Well, actually, Starbucks isn't the #1 place for coffee any more. After Starbucks showed all the money that could be made, that would now be another big corporation—McDonalds. As the PI reports:

"McDonald's has been testing sweet lattes and other espresso drinks in
800 restaurants across the country this year and on Tuesday announced
plans to roll them out nationally over the next two years. The world's
biggest fast-food chain scored big this spring, when Consumer Reports
ranked its premium coffee No. 1, beating Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and
Burger King on taste and value."