Welcome to the brand new site of Bow. James Bow. After experiencing some technical problems with the Dreaming, I started looking around for a new host. Earlier in the month, I saw a number of bloggers raving about a company called 1 and 1 and their amazing deal for North American bloggers. Basically, sign up with them and get three years free webhosting. E-mail support, lots of webspace, no banner ads, no strings, and all for free.
1 and 1 appears to be a large European webhosting company. It's been around for a while and has good uptime. They're breaking into the North American market and wanted to make a splash in order to grab up a large user base from the get-go. Unfortunately, I did not sign up in time to take advantage of the free offer but, for $10 per month, I received 1Gb of web space, UNIX hosting, good uptime, and the free use of up to three domain names. The Dreaming does not register domain names, and the current registrar I work with charges me upwards of $70 a pop for a year's renewal. So, this represents a substantial savings.
I'm feeling rather guilty leaving The Dreaming after only two months. They are a non-profit volunteer organization aimed at writers and artists, which makes them unique and worthy of support. They're also going through a tough time, at the moment, as they upgrade their equipment. I learned, after I made the change, about their upgrades and their hopes that their problems will have been solved by the end of this week.
I will keep ZPoems.net with them for the time being. This is a static site that could still become useful for Erin's Zeugma poetry group, which fits the Dreaming's mandate and probably taxes their resources less. It also contains no active e-mail addresses, so my e-mail won't go down whenever the Dreaming goes down.
The remaining Sitehouse web pages should be transferred over to 1 and 1 by this weekend. I've learned from my last mistakes of switching webhosts, and this transition should go a whole lot smoother. Matt, you'll be able to FTP to your website using your own login and password. How's that?
Some people have asked me about my RSS feed, which LiveJournal picks up and makes available to its users. Given that LiveJournal surprised me with this service (I had no idea I was being syndicated!), I have no idea how they set it up or how long it will take for them to adjust to my address. Not immediately, if my hunch is correct.
As a LiveJournal user, I have sent a message to their support team, letting them know of the upcoming change. Perhaps they'll be able to change the feed, or perhaps not. In the interim, my new RSS feed can be found here.
On Angel: The Return of Andrew
You know that a Buffy or an :Angel: episode has had an impact when your phone rings just as soon as the show goes to credits. My father called me up twice, once when Willow went psychotic and flayed Warren alive, and again when he saw the videotape of the sudden reappearance of Lindsay. Dan is no different; this past episode, at 11 pm, he called up, all gooey and thrilled to be an :Angel: fan.
Please note that spoilers follow...
I have to admit that the episode ended well, but it got off to a shaky start. A lot of plot points turn on either the remarkable stupidity of Spike (I can see Angel not cluing in until later that the psychotic girl was, in fact, a vampire slayer, but Spike? You were there, man! The clues were all in front of you!), or on a significant rewriting of the Slayer canon (if Dana is getting her memories and her ability to speak Chinese and Romanian because of the pre-Slayer nightmares that all Slayer potentials have, why isn't Buffy able to speak Romanian? Why didn't she recognize "William the Bloody" from the get go? The fact that Dana was brutally tortured and has lost her ability to separate dreams from reality is a fair explanation, but still a stretch).
Also, this episode wasn't quite sure of its tone; it features some brutal violence and some very gritty moments (Dana's earlier predicament is unflinchingly shown and is not, by any stretch of the imagination, family entertainment) and some moments of over-the-top humour (the presence of Andrew). Indeed, Andrew's appearance was a considerable risk. Tom Lenk is a funny actor, and he carried off his scenes well, but some of the dialogue was over-the-top, the reference to Storyteller a little indulgent, and the whole thing in serious conflict with the very dark overtones of this story.
(Andrew's initial scenes and his recap of Buffy's finale episode, Chosen goes on for too long and tells regular viewers much of what they already know. However, I don't criticize the episode for this because you have to remember that Buffy's finale was shown on a completely different network in the United States, and I guess the producers felt that time had to be taken to get the Warner Brothers' viewers who didn't cross over up to speed).
But the story was well-written, especially the last twenty minutes. Angel and Spike both get taken down a notch, and they end up at the end of the episode understanding and sympathizing with each other much more. Spike's realization that it doesn't matter that he wasn't the one who hurt Dana, he's still responsible for a whole lot of evil, was striking, and absolutely perfectly played by James Marsters. Similarly, Angel's reaction to the revelation that Buffy and her friends no longer trust him was also well played by David Boreanaz. Both characters have received considerable shocks forcing them to completely reevaluate their positions, and the final scene in the hospital room capped this off wonderfully.
Spike: "She's (Dana) one of us, now. She's a monster."
Angel: "She's an innocent victim."
Spike: "So were we... once."
The last twenty minutes of the episode also substantially moves the season forward, bringing the after-effects of Buffy's Chosen into play. There's a growing Slayer-Watcher council. They're organized enough to get Andrew to infiltrate Wolfram and Hart and overrule Angel. They don't trust Angel any longer. They don't know that Spike has returned from the dead (Andrew promised not to tell Buffy). All of these things promise considerable plot fodder for future episodes, possibly leading up to an end-of-season climax whose final scene could (dare I hope?) mark the return of Buffy.
So, not bad, though if the flaws had been rubbed away, I would have been much happier.
Character Corruption Watch
P.S: It's not my imagination, is it, that Gunn seems to be sinking deeper and deeper into Wolfram and Hart's corrupting clutches? Angel has doubts, now, but Gunn has none whatsoever. He's going to become a problem. Wesley was standing next to Gunn in the previous episode when they tried to bring Spike back into the flock, as it were, but it's too early to tell if he's been just as corrupted as Gunn. As for Fred... that's probably reserved for later episodes.
P.P.S: Erin refuses to believe that Fred makes whiskey on the sly.