Sunday, June 29, 2003

Oh, I was sorry to hear of the passing of the legendary Katherine Hepburn. Only last night I saw that one of her nieces had been scheduled to talk about her on Larry King's Saturday night show. I think those are repeats, but I find the coincidence really weird.

From LITTLE WOMEN to ON GOLDEN POND, the women was remarkable.
Yesterday, Donna and I had a great time on the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Ride . We had read about it about a year ago and finally had a chance to check it out.

It's a fabulous old train that takes you along part of the old Essex train line, that used to run towards Hartford. The train is comprised of old Pullman cars, many of which were built and in service in the 1920s or earlier. The seats, as you can imagine, aren't as comfortable as we may be used to in contemporary trains, but it does make you appreciate what folks had to put up with to go even relatively short distances in the days before we all had cars.

The trainride takes about an hour, with one of the conductors pointing out the sites along the way, including old trainstations and some of the original homes built in the area. For a few bucks more you can extend your journey by taking the riverboat up the Connecticut River for a few miles. It goes up as far as the Goodspeed Opera house, which once actually had opera performances, but it now used for shows preparing for Broadway or for revivals of older shows.

As with the train, several gentleman took turns telling us of the history of the Connecticut River. It's use by native americans, early colonialists and later as pre-train mode of transportation for cities along the river.

The website will let you know the schedule for both train and boat, as well as some of the special events throughout the year. Personally, I think the idea of having THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE actually taking the kids out each year. We also are considering the POLAR EXPRESS event, since I loved that book when I used to work for a public library, in Brooklyn, NY. Oh, and I can't ignore that on my birthday this year (Dec. 13th) they are having a "Merry Tuba Christmas" concert.

One of the nice views you have is of Gillette Castle up on a hill overlooking the river valley. It was built by turn-of-the-century actor, playwright William Gillette (no relation to the blade folks). When I was a kid a tour of his castle and grounds was the highlight of many summers. Donna and I plan on visiting the place. When we do I'll have more to say. (Sorry the link doesn't take you directly to the Castle site. Look under "Park Maps" and then under E-H. You get a nice photo and a bit of history.)
Just when you think the Supreme Court has shown some compassion and far-sightedness by knocking down the anti-sodomy laws, there is now a move in the Senate to create a Constitutional amendment which would ban 'gay marriages' (or rather state that marriages are restricted to those between 'men & women'.).

Especially find it interesting that these representatives are crying that they want to preserve 'local morales', yet want to enforce those by Federal dictate. Hardly, 'real' conservatives in my book.

As someone who has gay friends and family members this not only bothers me, but angers me. Here's hoping that there are enough intelligent members of Congress to prevent this from even coming up.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Now let me get this straight....

Several months ago there was a big blow-up about one Senator saying how a vote for Strom Thurmond would have been great for America. This guy was all but hauled out, tarred and feathered.

Thurmond passes away and it seems that everybody in the Senate is falling over themselves trying to heap praise on him.

The networks also seem to be working overtime to gloss over Thurmond's segregationist past (though they mention it) and talk about how 'enlightened' he was to actually have a African-American member on his staff. I'm waiting to hear how he actually marched with MLK, but was standing off to one side, so that's why he can't be seen in any photos.

Ya' gotta love it!
On Wednesday, since I had the day off, I took myself to see THE HULK.

I'm not going to say it was either the 'best' or 'worst' "superhero movie ever", but I personally enjoyed it. I can see that those folks who filled the theatre repeatedly for SPIDER-MAN aren't going to love this film as much, but it certainly doesn' t insult the character or his audience.

The film is rather dark, but then if you recall the original stories by Stan & Jack (unlike some reviewers) , you'll see that Ang Lee does stay close to their concept. Lee (not Stan) has also put in the more recent idea that Bruce was abused by his father, although he doesn't actually recall the incident until later.

I thought they did a good job with the CGI effects on the Hulk, and felt he was both 'human' enough, yet demonstrated an inhuman power and rage. The transformation scenes were really well done.

Of course the ending does leave things open for future installments and with a good story I think I'd be more than happy to pay to see the big green guy again.
Well, we knew it was coming, but it's going to take me a while to figure out if my past posts have problems. I don't even know if it's worth it to go back further than the past week or so.

Anyway, this is one of those weeks were good and bad things happen.

On the good side is that Weight Watchers seems to be working. Enough on that, since I know folks really aren't interested, but Donna and I are both happy.

On the not so good side, I went to see the oral surgeon and while the 'lesion/sore' appears to be gone. On the otherhand, there is a small mark on the tip of my tongue. I have to go in next week and if it is still there they will schedule me to have a biospy. *sigh*

I was really hoping, when he told me the other thing was gone it had turned out to be caused by my biting my tongue in my sleep. That's what they had figured. This other item, I think is also self-inflicted by a nervous habit of rubbing my tongue on a rather sharp filling. Once again, we'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I’ve decided to drop BATGIRL & BIRDS OF PREY. Nothing I’ve read about the new creative team on BOP strikes my interest so it seems like a good time to drop the title. As for BATGIRL, the past two issues have been difficult to read. I mean, I've been reading comics for over forty years and I think I can pretty much follow a comics, if the creators have a modicum of talent. Unfortunately, the combination of bad art(maybe over stylised would be a better word for it) and sloppy (that word DOES apply) writing have actually stopped me dead on some pages, trying to figure out what was going on. I really like the Cassandra character, but if it’s an effort to read a book why bother.

While I missed the second issue of the YJ/Titans x-over, the third issue left me with no desire to go back and pick it up. I was sorry to see the death of a long-time character, plus another who I really was not familiar with. Sadly the final page, while probably great for fans of the better-known character, minimized the other. It seems like the DC folks didn't want to antagonize fans of this character, so placed her in a situation that would ensure her availability at some later date. Now knowing what we do about the character, doesn't this deter us from really caring about what might happen to her, since she can obviously rebound from anything?

Needless to say I won’t be picking up either THE OUTSIDERS nor any new TITANS book at this point. I covered some of my reasons last time out, but this mini-series ends on a point that I think should have ended things. Let me get this straight....

Dick Grayson is upset that he and Roy were able to send 'family' to their deaths, so in a month or so Dick will feel just fine about rounding up a group of almost total strangers and send them off? What a heroic thing to do? He certainly did learn solid values at the feet of Bruce Wayne.

I was on the fence regarding JLA and the current storyline WHITE RAGE (as I mentioned before) really does nothing for me. Haven't we seen all this over in Marvel? Also, why would this American Axis (or whatever it's called) be taking marching orders from an African-American (or whatever nationality the behind the scenes villain may be)? Besides, doesn't one of them dress suspiciously like a character straight out of the Arabian Nights? What part of Illinois is he from? After the final issue of this arc, I'm out.

Well, both POWER COMPANY (a surprise to me) & DOOM PATROL (this has been known for months) are going to end after their next issue. Once again, I want to thank the Powers That Be for helping me free up some comic buying dollars. Both of these titles were in my Top Ten, so along with YJ, this means I have room for some non-DC books to move up. :-)

At this rate I don't even have to consider which titles to drop, since DC and Marvel are doing such a great job of doing it for me.

Read AKIKO #50 last night and as usual was delighted. Boy, it's been a while between issues, but it was wonderful to see the whole gang back in good form. Loved having the book broken up into two shorter Akiko tales, plus the little glimpes of other characters and side stories that Crilley tossed in. Mark continues to bring out one of the best 'all ages' comics on the shelves.

Both JSA and JSA: ALL-STARS are terrific. JSA remains one of the best (possibly THE best) DC title that appears safe from cancellation. It's also easy to see why it has so many fans rating it so highly. While the first issue of ALL-STARS wasn't as good as I had hoped, the second issue, featuring the new incarnation of Hawkgirl and the original HM (in a short GA tale) were top-notch. Both showed us the human face behind the masks, plus a side of Hawkgirl that I hope we get to see again. If this is what the rest of the series holds than I've turned around and will be here for the run.

I'll probably have more to say on comics in a day or two. I have the latest issues of POWERS, USAGI YOJIMBO and a few other titles that I'd like to talk about.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Well, I certainly can't fault a diet program that allows me to have sushi on occasion. Donna and I went out to do some shopping and we stopped in at one of our favorite restaurants, Janni. We both love it, since it serves both Chinese and Japanese food. The portions are very decent, they have a nice Sunday buffett and, most important to me, the sushi is always fresh.

On the Points Program at Weight Watchers most sushi is 2 points for four pieces. Naturally, salmon is a bit higher at 3 points. Janni has a great lunch menu that includes a cup of miso soup (2 points), six regular sushi and six pieces of tuna roll, plus a small salad. I was able to enjoy a nice sushi snack and not worry about blowing all my points. I love it!!

If I have a chance later today, I plan on writing about some of the comics I just picked up and update you on those books I'll probably be dropping.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Well, yesterday didn't turn out at all as I had planned.

Donna wasn't feeling well, so she stayed home. Naturally, I didn't want to take off and go to the movies, leaving her at home alone. So I just went to the dentist for a cleaning, as I was already scheduled. Nothing ever can be simple, can it?

As the dental hygenist was finishing up, giving me the usual speech about my failure to floss, she noticed and mentioned that I had a sore or blister on my tongue. Did I know it was there? Well, to be honest we had gone through this earlier in the year when I first noticed such a thing, but when I finally got to the dentist ( a few days later) nothing was there. The next time something showed up I just went to my regular family doctor (since he could fit me in) and was told that it looked like I had either bit my tongue or 'bruised' it by rubbing it against a rather sharp edged filling I have on the side. I left it at that.

This time the hygenist called in the dentist and he agreed that there 'was something' and had me go over to the oral surgeon next door. There I was told that it might be several things, which were minor, or something (which I'd really rather not think about).

Of the minor things mentioned, one was "Geographic Tongue" (who I think fought Aquaman briefly when Eric Larson was writing the book), which is a bacterial infection which comes & goes, but travels to different parts of the tongue. This can be taken care of by brushing the tongue with medication. Another possiblity (and the one I personally think is the cause) is that I might possibly be grinding my teeth while sleeping and a portion of my tongue (the sore/blister is always on the right side) is being bitten or pressed between my teeth, thereby creating the sore. I almost always sleep on my right side, as otherwise I'm snoring into Donna's face. (Others reading this may have personal knowledge of this type of activity on my part!)

One other possibility was implied, but the 'word' was never uttered. I'd rather not go down that road of speculation, but as you can imagine it pretty much put a damper on any desire I would have had to go to the movies anyway. :-(

Fortunately, Donna will not allow me to wollow in self-pity and, as she is medically trained she convinced me that even worse case, I really shouldn't get all upset, since there were things which could be done. I'll let you know how things go, as I'm scheduled to check in with the oral surgeon next Friday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Just a quick comments, since nothing earth-shattering has caught my attention on the news.

I mean, we all know that the 'investigation' in Congress on the whole WMD/Iraq intelligence matter is going to be kept minimal by Republicans to start. The White House will refuse to cooperate somewhere down the line, but unlike the Clinton matter (in which nobody but Clinton's family really was harmed) G.W. & Co. will remain clear of any taint (Can everyone say Iran/Contra? Sure, I knew you could!)

We've already declared victory, so isn't it annoying that the media keeps harping on things like U.S. troops being shot at or killing protesters? Hell, we did such a great job turning Afghanistan into a democratic and completely rebuilt nation that it's only a matter of a few months before we do the same in Iraq. It's those pesky Iranians that you have to watch out for. Besides weren't all the 9/11 hijackers Iranian? :-)

On a lighter note (pun intended), things went well with our first Wieght Watcher's weigh-in. Both of us actually lost a few pounds, so we're pleased so far. As we get used to the 'point system' and estimating portion size things are getting easier. I'll keep you all updated.

That's all for now, unless something of note happens later.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Okay, so let's play some catch-up.

Donna and I spent the weekend in Brooklyn, visiting her family. I also had to pick up some clothes (a new suit, sports jacket, pants, etc.) that I had bought and had tailored. We have a wedding coming up and my old suit not only doesn't fit as well as it once did (we'll see if Weight Watchers changes that :-), but it actually a heavier, winter suit. The new one is lighter and black, so will be perfect when we go on the cruise for those formal nights. I bought a 'tuxedo' shirt w/bowtie plus the studs and cufflinks, so we won't have to rent a tux this time out. Figure it will be perfect for the Captain's Gala, and I can wear a regular white shirt with necktie on the second formal night.

Man, you'd think that when you went off to relax you could do without all that dressing up? To be honest, you have the option of not dressing and going to the Lido Deck for dinner, but there is something special about getting dressed and having your picture taken.

Anyway, Kristina and her pal Devin talked me into playing with their new X-box. I spent several hours on Saturday playing four or five different games. Being a member of the pinball generation, everything beyond Pong frightens and confuses me. :-)

Seriously though, I had fun with the STAR WARS: Jedi (something) game, where you choose to be a character and then fight with light sabers not only the other person, but also various other characters around the Death Star. I learned quickly that I had no talent for the 'racing' game' so gave up after crashing over and over. Actually, worked up a sweat playing some martial arts game, where you again get to pick your character and then 'fight' your opponent. The graphics for all the games are quite good, but I really didn't think the racing game was much better than your typical arcade type machine.

I probably only played PACMAN a couple of times when the game initially came out, so I can't say there was a lot of nostalgia on my part for PAC MAN 2. Still the game does have some nice graphics and it is easy to see why kids would enjoy it. Hell, if I can play and get through several levels, without getting killed I'm sure your typical seven year old would love the game. :-)

I also got talked into playing the Tony Hawks skating game (which I'm sure actually had an interesting name, but that's all I recall). As with all these game (save Pac Man) you can choose a character and even change how they are dressed. My two co-horts seemed to find it extremely funny to remove the top of the one female skater and have her perform sans halter.

Monday, found me driving up to West Hartford for a regional conference on users of Interlibrary Loan. Here at UNH we use a product of OCLC called Passport to do our ILL procedures. They are planning some changes and I think, if I can convince the university to put out the money, I believe we should change to another program which will allow faster ILL service to our students, including direct electronic delivery of journal articles. We'll see how that effort goes. :-(

For those keeping track of such things, I did get lost both going and coming back. I don't think I should be allowed to go any great distances without a skilled navigator. Either that or I should sit down and re-write all directions in a form that I immediately understand and don't have to try to decipher on the fly, as it were. Missing that exit can be a real pain! *sigh*

Not much else to report at the moment, but that can always change. I will try to get in tomorrow to let everyone (eagerly awaiting the news) how I did with WW the first week. Donna and I have really tried to keep within our 'point range' each day and cut down on shacks, super-large portions and fats. Remains to see if it has shown anything after a week. Tune in tomorrow and find out. :-)

Friday, June 13, 2003

I jus wanted to point out this article on Gregory Peck. As I said yesterday the man had class that few other actors, even of his generation, could touch. I can't think of any today who even come close.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Well, ready of not here's the latest Joe Bob review. As of yesterday they haven't posted my first one yet, even though my smiling (if bearded) face is there in the Reviewer section. This makes four down, if anybody is keeping track, with four more already sitting on the dining room table to be read. *sigh*

IN THE FOREST – by Edna O’Brien
Mariner Books; ISBN: 0-618-33965-5

Michen O’Kane lost his mother at a young age. His uncaring and rough father didn’t have much use for the boy and young Mich soon finds himself getting into mischief. It wasn’t long before he was sent off to St. Malachi’s, a ‘detention center’ for juveniles. It was there Michen suffered abuse and torture at the hands of both older boys and the guards, who were supposed to protect him. He couldn’t even turn to the priests, since some of them were more than happy to use a na├»ve boy for their own desires. You can hardly blame Michen for becoming a ‘monster’ in later life.

Mich hears voices and sees visions. The ‘horned’ man who walks beside him tells him to do things and sometimes he cannot resist. O’Kane is tormented by the ‘worms’ that eat at his brain and cause him to laugh or cry hysterically. Gradually growing more and more out of control it is only a matter of time before he does something horrible. The ‘horned’ man wants blood and Mich will not deny him.

O’Brien has taken an actual crime (or rather a series of crimes) and created a haunting work. She has brought to life not only O’Kane, but also the members of his family, those in the village who are terrified of him and the people whose lives he will eventually take. His victims are not faceless, since we come to know these people and are horrified when their paths cross O’Kane’s.

The story takes place in the Irish countryside, which O’Brien brings to life and almost turns it into a character. The woods and fields both tempt and threaten those who enter them. In the end it appears that there may indeed be something in the woods that talked to young Michen, as he slept amongst their branches as a child. Something that may not have gone with O’Kane to meet his final fate but remains to touch others.

I have to admit to initially being annoyed and sometimes confused by O’Brien’s style. A different character tells each chapter and the point of view rapidly changes from that of O’Kane to that of his victims. We sometimes see the same incident from several perspectives, plus O’Kane himself doesn’t seem able, at times, to actually tell reality from the madness that gradually overcomes him.

It really was difficult to get into the book, after the first couple of chapters. The book's initial focus is O'Kane and when it shifts to others it through me. In retrospect, I really did find the book fascinating, though obviously not the style I generally appreciate.

First, O’Brien makes us feel sympathy for the young Michen and then shows us the evil of which he is capable. Even after we witness his madness and the horrors he inflicts we can’t help but still feel sadness at what he has become. It’s never clear, even at the end if Mich was truly mad or was using madness as a guise for his twisted desires. Three stars.

Just a couple of quick comments before work.

I was amazed yesterday to discover that the Dunkin Donuts muffin I enjoy many mornings uses more Weight Watcher points then a ham & cheese omelet. Guess Donna and I will be trying to get up a bit early and have a bowl of cereral before heading out. :-)

I'm sure that there will be a number of Blog and 'net postings on the deaths of David Brinley and Gregory Peck. Both were widely respected in their fields and have deserved the awards they received during their lives. I never met either, but both had a certain class that seems to be missing from the actors and newsmen who followed in their footsteps. In neither case are we likely to see men like them again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Well, we actually did it! Donna and I went to our first Weight Watchers meeting, signed up for one of the programs and picked up all sorts of freebies. As time goes by I'll keep you informed.

In case you're wondering I weighed in at 255.4 lbs. To be honest, I've actually been more than that at times, so I was surprised that it wasn't higher. I know that I'll never be down to what they say is the 'ideal' weight, since I don't think I was at that point except during my early Navy days. Then you had to maintain a certain 'body fat' ratio and be able to do other physical activities, or be put through a special program. It was easier to keep to a certain weight when you had that 'incentive.' :-)

As I said to Donna, I think the meetings will get to me before the dieting. I've never been comfortable in groups of folks I don't know and certainly would not feel good about talking about my diet, etc. to a bunch of strangers. I understand the whole motivational ascpect of the meetings, but I couldn't help but roll my eyes during some of it. Like I said I'll keep everyone abreast of how things are going.

Today is going to be a bitch, since I have to start keeping track of my 'points' as I plan each meal. *sigh* The whole point thing is going to be a pain.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Since Donna was sick, this past weekend, we decided to cancel our plans to head into Brooklyn and stuck close to home. I went shopping on Saturday and swung by the local Tommy K's (the videostore chain) to pick up some movies.

Donna had enjoyed the first HARRY POTTER film, so we watched the second, which we both really enjoyed. I had to explain a few things (as I'd read the book and there's no 'what has gone before' for newbies), but otherwise I think she pretty much followed the whole thing. As reviewers at the time said, it is darker than the first film, but so was the book and each succeeding novel does move towards a moodier style. The second film continues in doing a great job of bringing the books to life. After seeing the first one, I found that I could easily imagine the actors from the film while reading the fourth book.

As time goes on I think some parents may consider seeing the film before bringing their kids. The fourth book has at least one off-camera murder and the riot after the Quidditch match, will make for some disturbing moments for the youngest in the theatre. (Can't wait to see that and some of the creepier things from the third book, when the next film comes out.)

We also saw CATCH ME, IF YOU CAN which was a lot of fun. In some ways it is kind of old-fashioned, and both DeCaprio and Hanks are really good. It's also easy to see why Walken got the Oscar nomination. Solid acting all around! I'd definetely recommend this for DVD or video viewing, since it really works on the small screen, IMHO.

Hanks is great and it's easy to see from this and ROAD TO PERDITION that he can play a wide diversity of roles. The man continues to amaze me with his range. Neither these of films really portray him in the totally sympathetic light one would expect. It will be interesting to see him in the up-coming Coen Bros. remake of the Peter Seller/Alec Guinnes film, LADY KILLERS. I wonder which role he'll be playing?

On other fronts, it actually appears to have stopped raining for a day or so. I couldn't be happier.

Oh and if I have time tomorrow, I'll let you know how things go tonight. Donna and I plan on actually fulfilling our mutual pledge to join Weight Watchers. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Well, while they haven't as yet posted any of my reviews (I've completed and made requested changes to three) they have posted my photo and brief auto-bio over on the Joe Bob site. Go over and check me out with the other Reviewers.

By the way, I haven't had the beard for almost four years now. The photo was taken back in '97 or '98, when I was still working for the Brooklyn Public Library. As I recall somebody was leaving and the pic was shot at their party. I do still have the t-shirt. :-)
Nothing beats being payed to go to seminars and conferences! Not only do you get a break from the normal workaday routine, but you have a chance to meet folks who you may have only 'known' as a voice on the phone or from the e-mail.

I spent most of yesterday (Wed. 6/4) at Yale University. Despite our proximity I've never actually been to Yale and have hardly had any experience at all in New Haven either, except to head down to the main trainstation. To be honest, when I think of New Haven my memories aren't that hot to begin with.

Back in 1969 it was where I was first inducted into the Armed Forces. Eighteen and scared out of my wits, we were grouped together and put on a train to be shuttled off to Whitehall Street in NYC, from there we were sent off to the various Naval Recruit Training Centers around the U.S. The other time was to visit my mother who was undergoing treatment for cancer at the Yale-New Haven Hospital. I can't tell you the number of times I spent hours sitting in the old railroad station (a huge ugly barn of a building, before a major renovation a few years ago) waiting for trains to take me back to my current command. Nah, New Haven doesn't sit well in my memories.

Still, despite the dismal weather, the seminar itself was pleasant and I actually did learn some useful things which I hope to put to good use. We are updating our Circulation/Acquisition system here at UNH this summer and it was nice to get a heads up on some of the things I can expect.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Since Donna was in Brooklyn on Saturday night as well, I decided, rather than spend money on videos again, to see what the Boob Tube had to offer. Fortunately, the SCI FI channel was showing some of those great (IMHO) 'nature goes bad' movies. In this case two different takes on "giant spiders."

Now, let me be up front on this.... I'm completely creeped out by regular 'find them in your backyard or in the corner of the room' type spiders, so why I'm driven to watch automobile sized ones is beyond me. Hell, I thought EIGHT-LEGGED FREAKS was one last years BEST movies, so don't expect much in the way of indepth reviewing.

I think the films show two different ways of going at much the same subject, one of them badly and other with at least some attempt at story and acting.

SPIDERS (2000) - Is aimed at the usual teen market for this kind of thing. Lana Parrilla (who has appeared in NBC's current series, BOOMTOWN and also as a regular on SPIN CITY for it's last season) plays 'Marci Eyre' a college student and reporter for the school newspaper. Discovering that 'mysterious things' may be happening at a laboratory on campus and and several others find that the government is growing giant spiders which they hope to turn into weapons. Frankly, I didn't realize that FBI agents were put in charge of such things and could also, apparently with no fear or reprimand, shoot solders in the head for 'disobeying orders.' I guess I must have missed that back in Basic Training when I was in the service. You can pretty much guess who is going to end up webbed and sucked dry or used as eggsacks. In the end not only does one of the agents (this one a decent guy to rebels against his superior) proves he also happens to be an expert helicopter pilot AND Marci does a great Linda Hamilton/Sigourney Weaver impersonation. Not only does she show she can operate a shoulder-mounted missile launcher, but hanging by a rope dangling several stories up tied to a helicopter at the same. I think she get's extra credit for her faculty advisor for this. This is one of those films you can walk away from and not even wait for the commercials, knowing that you will have missed absolutely nothing.

On the other hand, ARACHNID (2001) appears to have been filmed with primarily Spanish speaking actors, seemingly for a more adult audience. I have to wonder if the movie may have had two different versions, one in English for American video release and the other for international release, either in theatres of video. Chris Potter (who starred in the cable series, QUEER AS FOLK) plays "Valentine" some kind of adventurer/tour guide, hired to lead a scientific expedition into the jungle to discover what had caused the death (by insect/spider) bite of some locals. Maybe the 'on location shooting' in the jungle (The film was released in some countries as AMAZON) adds to the claustrophobic feel. Even though this film like SPIDERS has it's share of characters who you know are doomed from the first reel, you actually do feel some sympathy towards them. You would actually like them to get out alive! The sub-plot of the pilot who brings the group to the island, also being the sister of the Air Force pilot whose encounter with an extra-terrestrial craft brought this all about, does ask the viewer to accept a bit too much coincidence. Still there are actually some really creepy scenes, with the pilot's 'encounter' with her dead brothe especially stand out.

If you have a chance to catch either on cable some boring afternoon, I'd skip SPIDERS and go for ARACHNID. Certainly better than watching some of the crap that COMEDY CENTRAL puts on between reruns of SNL.