This Year Needs More Color!

I’m writing this post on Friday night.  It has rained or snowed all day and tonight Anne and I have hunkered down for the evening.  This el Nino winter has been gray and wet here in Saint Louis, too wet and way too gray.  Now it is February and I think that we all need some more color in our lives.  Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, which Anne and I visited last month, I give you a little taste of Spring, plus a heaping side of blather.

The DM of the Rings is a web-comic that was produced from 2006 to 2007.  It uses still shots from the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings (LotR) movies for the comic’s illustrations.  It is a parody, but what it is really parodying is not the LotR movies, but the game, Dungeon and Dragons (D&D).  The LotR movies are just the medium, not the message.  The four hobbits are stand-ins for the prototypical D&D player, adolescent, male and irreverent.  Or is that just triple redundant?  The long suffering DM or Dungeon Master is portrayed as the comic’s narrator.  In the game of D&D the DM creates a fantasy world in which the other players roleplay their characters.  The underlying irony of DM of the Rings is that J.R.R. Tolkien’s LotR was the genesis for D&D.  If you have ever played D&D, then I highly recommend this comic.  If you haven’t, then maybe you’ll learn something.

The Academy Awards announced its 2010 nominees this week.  The big change with this year’s nominations is that in the best picture category, the number of nominees has been increased from the usual five to ten nominees.  I was initially excited about this prospect, but soon became disappointed, when I realized that I had only seen one of the ten nominees, Avatar.  I decided to rectify this shortcoming.  To that end I rented the Peter Jackson (Producer) movie, District 9, one of this year’s ten best picture nominees.  The following is Wiki’s synopsis of the movie’s premise:

In 1982, a large spaceship hovers above Johannesburg, South Africa.  Reports suggest that the craft became stranded and dropped to Earth after a command module separated from it and was nowhere to be found.  An exploratory team discovers a group of over a million sick and leaderless members of an arthropod-like extraterrestrial species who are given asylum on Earth.  Some of these aliens engage in criminal and destructive activities, which lead to demands from the human population for more control.  As a result, the aliens, derogatorily called “prawns”, are confined to a government camp inside Johannesburg, called District 9.

Unlike Avatar, where the characters were either aliens or Americans, in District 9 there are no American characters.  More than anything else, this helps to set District 9‘s alien landscape.  South Africa’s apartheid past lends more street-cred to District 9‘s aliens then 3D did to Avatar‘s.  I liked the movie, but Anne was less enthusiastic about it.  We give this nominee one thumb up.