yeah, we got back from our cleveland mini-vacation sunday night. we had a great time with the recycled rainbow crew, hanging out with interesting people and experiencing live art and music. i improvised an audio performance at around 4:30 in the morning that got lots of kudos, but my recording was unsalvageable, so no mp3 for you.
as i mentioned in the comments at syntax's blog, it was nice to perform using a decent cross-fader for a change. my improv style depends heavily on the cross-fader, but the one in my mixer has a short so that if you flick the switch all the way to either side, both channels will play. in order to get only one channel, you need to move it, say, 95% of the way instead of 100%, which is a real pain (and it took me a couple trouble-prone performances before i diagnosed this problem). at RR, i was using someone else's mixer, so i got to relive the joy of a working fader. i really need to get a new cross-fader before my next performance.
i haven't been blogging this week, but i have been spending lots of time online... working on other people's websites. jon nelson was so pleased with my work on some-assembly-required.net that he's asked me to help him renovate his other websites. and i even have a paying gig building another site (though hardly a living wage; i'll probably earn enough to buy a new cross-fader, though). i can't really discuss either of these pages before they go live; i only mention them so you know i'm alive and doing stuff.
over the weekend we went to see x-men: the last stand and i was a bit disappointed. there were a few great scenes, but overall it was like they tried to pack way too much stuff into one movie. some of the highly-touted new characters (like angel and madrox) were barely used and could've been cut altogether without losing much. others were so far in the background that i didn't even recognize them until i was reading stuff online afterward (like callisto and psylocke). other characters who were essential in the previous movies are also shoved to the side: nightcrawler isn't in the film at all, rogue is barely in the film (and she should be one of the emotional centers of the "cure" storyline), cyclops disappears after the first 10 minutes... and don't get me started on all the characters who are killed, de-powered, or seem to be on the wrong side (madrox and psylocke working for the brotherhood?).
the main problem is that there are two major plots in the movie, each worthy of its own film, and each suffers because of the other's existence. the idea of a "mutant cure" is great fodder for x-men stories, and could've made a great movie, but on top of that, the filmmakers are trying to squeeze in the "dark phoenix" story. the dark phoenix is one of the quintessential x-men stories of all time, and it is not handled well here. we get a bunch of people who are scared witless about how powerful jean is, and sure, jean flips out and kills a couple people, but the rest of the movie she just stands around like a doofus. the phoenix—supposedly the most powerful being on earth—spends most of the movie just standing there while far less powerful mutants move the story forward. arguably the biggest x-men epic of all time is relegated to a subplot in this movie, and not a very satisfying subplot, either.
this is frustrating because, after some missteps in the first x-men movie, they got a lot of stuff right in the second film: while the plot points weren't always faithful to the comics, they got the heart of the x-men right. but this time, while there were a smattering of nice moments, there were some pretty blaring flaws (the worst of which i won't mention, because they'd constitute major spoilers).¶