autobiography Blog

merry christmas…

…from the Wandering Jew, Alan Rickman, and Space Cat.

josh shalek at andy wedding



alan rickman returns to falling rock

This blog would be nothing without esteemed thespian Alan Rickman.  His name has generated more views than any other single keyword or phrase.  I’m counting, of course, all the misspellings of Alan Rickman’s name.  Thank goodness for the intuitive nature of Google.  I’m not exaggerating by saying that you would not be here reading these words if not for Alan Rickman. Never one to disappoint, I hereby present Mr. Rickman’s triumphant return to Falling Rock National Blog:

Be sure to watch past 4:50. That’s when it really goes down.

Stay tuned for all the latest Rickmania news.

Blog comic book

Tomb of the Zombies IS HERE

The headline does not lie.  This morning I drove to the venerable Portland institution, Brown Printing, and picked up six boxes of the good stuff.
And by “good stuff” I of course mean zombie books:
The order form is up, so please order early and often.
You too can live like the 1% with your very own copy of Tomb of the Zombies:
Who am I, some kind of ad man?
Nah, I only sell books I believe in, like those drawn by me.
Tomb of the Zombies is the funniest story about the living dead since Joyce.
Read it now before it gets made into a major motion picture starring Rashida Jones as Kate and Alan Rickman as Levon the werewolf.


rickmania returns!

Upon the release of the indie art house film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Alan Rickman will complete his portrayal of Severus Snape.  The world will not be the same.

I like to imagine this was filmed at Alan's real house.

Alan, you have given us so much throughout these 8 Harry Potter movies.  Specifically, you have driven traffic to my blog like no other celebrity or event.  Perennially, the keywords “Alan Rickman” (and more than a few misspellings of that name) have brought dozens and dozens of visitors to this little blog.  Why does your name bring up my blog?  Are there no other worthy writers extolling your virtues as master thespian?

Hands off, Helena. Rickman is for all of us.

New readers may think I’m not being serious.  They may wonder if I’m just using Mr. Rickman’s name in a cynical attempt to drive traffic to this blog.  To them I say BEGONE.  For this is a place where Alan Rickman is revered only slightly less than Bill Watterson and Moses.

Alan Rickman making Maggie Smith look even cooler than usual.

Alan, if you Google your name and visit my blog, welcome.  You have found a true fan, not just of your work as Snape, but for all the wonderful roles you’ve played throughout the years.  From Die Hard to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Galaxy Quest to the Ang Lee version of Sense and Sensibility, you always make your roles your own.  You play badass as easily as comic, something I admire.


Even though Harry Potter has come to an end, let us rejoice!  We have many more years of Alan Rickman ahead of us.


Long live Rickman!

Blog reviews

rickmania is here to stay

alan-rickman-alan-rickman-111662_500_573I joined the rest of the free world last night in finally seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  Although it was not the tour de force on par with Prisoner of Azkaban, it was certainly dynamic, funny, tense, and provided a good diversion from my miserable life for a couple hours.  (For a more thorough and well-written review, please see McBone.  To see how Harry Potter stands up to the Julianne Moore rating scale, see West Lawn Park.)

Harry’s latest magical mystery tour has him scouring the bucolic English countryside in search of Horcruxes.  If you don’t know what a Horcrux is, shame!  No, just kidding.  A Horcrux is an object in which a magical person can hide a piece of his or her soul.  Lord Voldemort, being the evil guy he is, split his soul a bunch of times and Harry has to find and destroy all the pieces before he can tango with Voldemort himself.

I’ve long liked the Potter series because it is a timeless story about a goofy redhead who falls in love with a bossy girl.  A tale which for some reason resonates with me.

A few notes to the filmmakers, which will undoubtedly be ignored because they’ve already finished Part 2.  More Alan Rickman, please!  This movie was sorely lacking in Rickman.  It barely registered on the Rickman scale.  Second, although I enjoyed the animated tale of the Deathly Hallows – it was my favorite part of the book as well – I found the animation a little too computer-y.  Too similar to all the other animated effects throughout the film.  I was hoping for something more old-fashioned, like stop-motion or, heck, regular old hand-drawn 2D.  But I’m picky about that kind of thing.

The cinematography, after the first two movies, has been exceptional, and for this film it became the identifying mark of the story.  Harry and Hermione’s road trip and the melancholy tone of the film all made cinematography hugely important.  It is a beautiful film to look at.

Even though we have to wait until next summer to see the titillating conclusion, we all know how this story ends: Harry, Ron, and Hermione play a concert on a roof.  Get back, Harry!Emma_Watson_in_Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows-_Part_I_Wallpaper_10_800


being thankful for rickman

Alan Rickman is back!

It took me a few days to realize why this blog has been reaching an unprecedented number of views lately.  Turns out it’s all due to Sir Alan Rickman.

As a few of you know, the new Harry Potter movie was recently released into the suburbs.  It has done pretty well there.  The media hype is, unsurprisingly, focused on Alan Rickman.  As this blog is THE source for all things Rickman, it is the first destination of many a Potterhead.

So here you go, a pre-Thanksgiving dose of The Man, Rick:alan rickman alan rickman ladder
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Blog fiction

you probably think this post is about you

For years people have been asking Carly Simon who the song ‘You’re So Vain’ is about. Since she slept with Warren Beatty and Mick Jagger, she has – by extension – slept with 3/4 the population of the world. The song could almost literally be about all of us.

Carly has played coy since 1973; there is no reason to suspect she’s about to spill the beans anytime soon. So, my dear readers, I’m going to spill the beans for her. The song is a composite of men, as she’s long hinted it was. Who those men are will definitely surprise you. galactus-lores

1) Galactus. This destroyer of worlds was created by Jack ‘King’ Kirby in 1966 and has been causing trouble for superheroes ever since. He took some time off blowing up galaxies to sleep with Carly Simon in 1967-1968.skeletor

2) Skeletor. Though most of us know Skeletor as the rival to He-Man in the 1980’s, Skeletor was a freshman State Senator in New York in the early Sixties. He and Carly Simon smoked a little weed late one night and the rest is history. 348190444_a6910b821f_o

3) Alan Rickman. The Dark Avenger. Dashing, British, and sometimes quite evil, Alan Rickman has been burning up the silver screen for many years. Before that, he burned up the bedsheets with Carly Simon in 1969.jaba_the_hut_needlefelted

4) Jabba the Hut. Seen here with his favorite fuzzy bunny. Jabba the Hut loves to party, and coincidentally so does Carly Simon. When his stretch limo pulled up to a young singer/songwriter hawking tunes for change, Carly jumped at the chance to play for a “private party” back at Hut Manor.living_brain

5) The Living Brain. Who wouldn’t fall for this guy?

I certainly hope you have been properly educated as to the men behind the hit song ‘You’re So Vain.’ These men are all vain, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love ’em.

Blog reviews

beautiful rage

king-kong_01The thing I like best about King Kong is his unadulterated rage. When he beats his chest, it is the purest emotion in all of cinema. It is this rage that puts Kong above a mere technical feat: the special effects serve the character. King Kong becomes real. He fights that dinosaur not out of social obligation but from a primeval rage that flows through his primate heart. He breaks free from his shackles and climbs the Empire State Building partly for love, but mostly because he is royally ticked off (pun intended). And who could blame him?

My point is, King Kong was a huge hit not because of the cutting-edge technology that brought him to life, but because he was a true Hollywood icon. Put Kong up there beside Hannibal Lecter, Jack Torrence, and Alan Rickman in Die Hard as indelible performances in movie history. Kong deserves to stand beside (and tower over) the most revered movie nemeses of all time.

I finally got to see Avatar in IMAX 3D. Sitting in the very front row, my first thought as the landscape of Pandora flew across the screen was “if I throw up, I will make sure to do it on my brother’s lap.” Fortunately for him, I did not experience motion sickness from the 3D experience. I just sat back and enjoyed the spectacle.

The Haitians didn’t make a deal with the devil. James Cameron did. Think about it: the Haitians get to be slaves, then impoverished free people, then get hit by a huge natural disaster they were completely unprepared for. James Cameron, on the other hand, directs the biggest grossing movie of all time, then directs the biggest grossing movie of all time. This guy doesn’t pull a Lovely Bones: he keeps making the biggest success of all time, over and over.

Avatar has been so successful not because of its plot. The story is what my grandmother would have called “a space western.” Cowboys and Indians, the industrial machine versus the Noble Savage. We also get to find out what James Cameron did these past ten years. He watched CNN while eating his cereal in the morning, then wrote what he had just seen in the afternoon. A story can hardly be called allegory when you have a line like “fight terror with terror” and a corporation that behaves exactly like certain American corporations in certain mineral-rich countries halfway around the planet.

But what the heck. Nobody ever accused James “BIG EXPLOSION” Cameron of being too subtle. Or, as the saying goes, “I’m not stupid and you’re not exactly subtle.” Avatar succeeds on spectacle and in creating a world rich in detail: the forest-moon of Pandora.

The protagonist of the film is certainly not Sam Worthington’s grizzled Marine, Corporal Jake Sully. Nor is it Sigourney Weaver; although she does put in a truly noteworthy performance as chain-smoking research scientist Dr. Grace Augustine, who is hell-bent on educating the Na’vi (those giant blue cat-people) and converting them to Christianity. The film’s protagonist is not Alan Rickman, nor is it the Ewoks. It is the prettiest cat lady of them all, Neytiri (played by Zoe Saldana, also a new resident of my List).

It is Neytiri who ultimately carries the film. Neytiri is the movie’s King Kong – a creature only completely realized onscreen, a technological marvel who also happens to have as much character as any of the humans acting beside her. Unlike past computer-generated characters, Neytiri is beyond the point of mere intellectual curiosity. Maybe it was just me, but when she hissed at that robot near the end of the film while trapped underneath a Pandorian saber-toothed tiger, all thoughts of the animation that went into creating her flew right out the proverbial window. I was there, rooting for that cat lady.

I enjoyed Avatar. Sure, it wasn’t exactly 2001: A Space Odyssey in terms of coupling groundbreaking special effects with incredible story. But I do find myself thinking back on it days after I saw it. In today’s world, with so many stories competing to grab and hold your attention, I find that remarkable. There are many movies I could barely recall for you, and some others I wish I couldn’t, but I reckon Avatar will never be among them.4198676709_c59db8b534_b


YOUR SOURCE for Alan Rickman


According to Google Analytics, the top keyword search for this blog in the last month was “Alan Rickman.” When did Falling Rock become synonymous with this British actor? Make no mistake, I’m honored to be in such esteemed company. Mr. Rickman has proven himself a versatile and hugely talented actor.

But, seriously. Why not “comics” or “Falling Rock” or “hott cartoonist?”

Ah, well. Here’s to Alan Rickman. May his name drive traffic to my blog for many years to come.young+rickman

autobiography Blog

the way love works

In our household, love flows from me to my wife and from me to my cat. Love also flows from my wife to me and possibly from my cat to me. I’ve drawn up a chart to show how the first part of this process works:flow-of-love
This is all very scientific.

Lately, the natural order of things has been perverted. The wily cat has been stealing the love intended for my wife and redirecting it to herself. The flow of love interrupted looks like this:flow-of-love-interrupted

No good can come of this. The cat will drive a wedge between me and my wife, resulting in divorce. I cannot let this happen so early in our marriage. Ten years down the road, sure. By then we’ll definitely hate each other. But the cat is trying to expedite the dissolution of our partnership. I can’t sit by and let this happen.

Dealing with cats is a tricky business. Were I pitted against a human adversary, like Alan Rickman in Die Hard, I’d know exactly what to do. Alan-Rickman-Die-Hard
I’d do exactly what Bruce Willis did in Die Hard. But a cat is not a human, and therefore the usual tricks won’t work.

Wish me luck, dear readers. The future of our household is at stake.