Does the expression “useless as tits on a bull” mean anything to you?
This was an oft repeated phrase when I worked as an industrial painter/electrician’s assistant with Ontario Hydro back in the summer of ‘98. The phrase wasn’t directed towards me, by the way, but towards the union rep whom had joined the team from “Remotes” after being put on light duty. He’d taken to crawling under transformers and having a nap. Ah, the blue collar life.
Anyway, tits on a bull, that was me yesterday. The connectors in my brain were all disengaged, the spark plugs all misfiring. Thinking, and doing anything that required thinking, were right out of the picture.
We (Emma and myself) got access to the basement portion of our new apartment (the main floor still being occupied by the current tenants) which had just recently been renovated. The landlord and assistant took half of the unfinished basement and “finished” it. But it was (and still is) a pretty sloppy job. The drywall tape wasn’t plastered over properly, the plaster wasn’t sanded (at all), the drywall doesn’t cover the framing they built very well, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the holes for the pot lights in the ceiling are a little too large. And, on top of that, the pipes are all still right there in your face. It’s kinda nasty.
Monday’s first once, twice and third over with the paint didn’t really seem to beutify it much more as the plaster ridges make our nice paint job look sloppy. The colour is lovely though (sunset orange). Painting took a good four and a half hours, plus a half hour walk between old and new apartments (and I was carrying two gallons of paint plus supplies on the way there).
I was quite physically exhausted Monday night when I returned to soon-to-be-old home, but I couldn’t sleep just yet, as Emma said we need to tranfer our domains over to the new server by the end of the month. One hour plus four domain name registration password recoveries later I got to bed, and couldn’t sleep… my body was too tired and everything ached so much it was distracting.
Waking up yesterday morning wasn’t fun, and the whole day was spent in a somnabulaic state. I wasn’t awake, but my eyes were open, and my body was moving.
We had to buy more paint for the ceiling along the way to the apartment (as we hadn’t really figured out what to do with it until about 4:55pm yesterday), some thick-ass nasty stuff from Home Hardware (as opposed to the nice Pittsburgh paints we got from the cool Paint Depot on Queen East, recommended by Kelly). Painting ceilings are a big big big pain in the ass. Painting pipes coming out of the ceiling are an even bigger pain in the ass.
Two coats and a lot of cutting later, the difference was immense. It actually looks quite decent, and not the pit of ultimate darkness (evil!) twas before. I put a fourth coat of the sunset on the walls, as it had dried darker and prettier the night before, so hopefully a fourth coat will work nicely.
We have a lovely violet colour for trim, baseboards and doors, just the doors need to be sanded a bit and primed before I can hunker down (hunker???). That will happen tonight.
Today, I feel fine. Emma transferred over the blogs to the new server and everything went off quite smoothly. I only lost 2 comments in the process, which is more than acceptable.
Tomorrow, we officially take posession of the new apartment, and we have a delightful 15 days of leeway between when we can start moving and when we need to have completely vacated dear ol’ Queenwest (I wonder if RoncesvallesVillage.ca is available, although it’s not quite as cool as Queenwest.ca is). On Thursday morning, Emma and gracious painting expert William will paint the bedroom “arctic tundra” (a subtle green) with some slight white accented colours. Meanwhile, I’ll get set to prime and paint the various Ikea objects we’ve acquired Thursday evening, and much of Friday.
I’m hoping Friday I’ll have time to break for a mid-day viewing of Hellboy, and later in the evening, the uproariously entertaining Lederhosen Lucil will be razing Club Rockit (120 Church St).
Saturday is moving day, the PK and JD are coming down from Barrie to assist in transporting the heavy stuff (we gots a 10ft cargo van for the weekend) and Sunday we’re going up to home depot to purchase all the supplies needed for our various building projects for the month of April. Bizz-zee times.
Does the expression “useless as tits on a bull” mean anything to you?
Once Upon A Time In Mexico
The third in the El Mariachi trilogy (El Mariachi was the $8000 wonder, Desperado the $8m wonder, and this one rings in at around $28m), you need not have watched the previous two films to enjoy this brilliantly absurd bit of actioneering. Antonio Banderas is back as El, Salma Hayek returns in some amusing and creative flashback sequences, Johnny Depp trumps his Jack Sparrow performance as CIA scoundrel Agent Sands, and then there’s Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe, Rueben Blades, Eva Mendes, Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, and even bloody Enrique Iglesias. Though Banderas, Hayek and Depp may have their name on the marquee, there truly is no star to this film, it’s an ensemble picture through and through, with each character, no matter how minute their role, having their moment on screen. It’s a triumph if only for that fact, but that would be selling short the tremedous multi-talent that is Robert Rodriguez (pulling director, editor, and score duties, amongst, surely, multiple other roles guaranteed to piss of Hollywood union types). Rodriguez crafts an nearly indecipherable-upon-first-viewing web of crosses, double crosses, set-ups and misfires, to the point where only serious revolutionary gunfight in the streets of Mexico can resolve all the conflict. Now don’t let that make it sound any heavier than it needs to be, as this is genuine popcorn fluff of the highest caliber, but oh, such delightful fluff it is.
The “10 Minute Cooking School” featurette on the DVD is phenomenal and makes me a little weepy, knowing that Rodriguez already has a career and will never be shooting programming for Food TV (this is seriously the most stimulating 10 minutes of cooking I’ve ever watch… except maybe 10 minutes with Nigella Lawson. Rrrrowr.
The Good Thief
Can I just say how glad I am to have watched this on video. No, not because it’s another in a long line of superbly fine caper films, but because I had the option of putting the subtitles on. Yes, the movie is set in France. No there’s not a lot of French dialogue. But what is there is 2 hours of Nick Nolte grumbling and gurgling his lines out in a prolifically croaked manner that even he’s never attempted before. Mix in a cast of multinationals of varying regional accents, and this is one complicated movie for merely discerning dialogue. But aside from that it’s a densely characterized flick with an atypical outcome, except that it all comes out roses. But fun, nevertheless. Certainly not what I was expecting.
The completed film was kept out of the theatres and off the shelves once the war in Afghanistan started because the producers/studio were afraid to portray the American military in a negative light, and not because its a bad film. Dispense with the excuses, this is a bad film. Not horrendous, merely bad. The kind of movie where you wouldn’t care if the power went out halfway through. It’s a portrait of the boredome of American soldiers on a German cold war military base in 1989, and what these soldiers do to alleviate their boredom. Namely make and sell drugs and deal in black market goods, from drugs to weapons. There’s no comraderie here, it’s cliques of the high school sort, with gang rivalries and accidental apathetic deaths. It’s really a remorseless film that undermines the talent of its stars Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris, Anna Paquin, amongst the rest of the crew.
I understand that it’s supposed to be a satire of sorts, but M*A*S*H it isn’t. It’s dark and bereft of almost anything complimentary, except the fact that Anna Paquin is really cute.
Bend It Like Beckham
You could almost say this film would be contrived, a mere rehash of so many other “disadvantaged youth in high-school sports” type movies, but this British film is different because it also involves racial and cultural differences. Yeah, so do many of the other sports films, but most don’t deal with them as forthright and as humorously as Bend It does. Director Gurinder Chadha pulls a lot of her own personal experience growing up in an Indian family in Britain, growing up in a cultural household that’s lighyears away from world she experiences when she steps outside the front door of the family house. The religious and historical culture aren’t pandered out though, they aren’t explained and described to a patronized audience, they’re just the way things are. But this difference within Britain that so commonly is ignored (but has been handled equally well in the past in the more serious film East Is East) isn’t the centre of the film, no that role is held by Parminder K. Nagra as Jess who deals with the disparity in her love of playing football and her respect of (if not devotion to) her family’s traditions. From this film Parminder landed a plum role on ER, and her co-star Kiera “give that girl a sandwich” Knightly went on to star in Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a cute movie that never lays it on to thick. It’s a bit of a Saturday morning watcher rather than Friday evening fare, but still worth a peek when the time allows.
Man on the Train
I hate to say this, for fear of immediately tarnishing some people’s opinions of this film before they even see it, but Man on the Train is adorable… in a manly way. Here we have two of France’s biggest celebrities, 60’s musical heart-throb Johnny Hallyday, and esteemed actor Jean Rochefort (whom keen filmgoers will recognize from his almost-turn as Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote in Lost in La Mancha), one a tired 50something bank robber, the other a tired 70something tutor. Rochefort as the latter lives alone in his dead mother’s estate, a house, Hallyday observes, is packed with history. Rochefort wishes for Zen minimalism. The two meet by chance after Hallyday steps off a train and into a drugstore where Rochefort is awaiting medication. The two leave consecutively and walk down the street beside each other. Rochefort is a talker, something he notes Hallyday isn’t, but is perfectly okay with sustaining a conversation by himself. Hallyday avoids questions (both asking and answering) and it’s immediately apparent that Rochefort is aware of his suspect nature, and is in awe of the man, whom no doubt has had many great adventures. So too is it apparent that Hallyday is in awe of the other man’s rather uncomplicated life. And the film follows the two as they spend three days together, with their departure set for Saturday, when the elder man is to have a triple-bypass, and the younger man to rob the town’s bank, pressured by some old colleagues. Their destiny looms over them like a dark cloud, but that doesn’t stop either from fantasizing, and role playing as the other.
A charming and engaging film, with a rather typical and unfitting ending (involving a mildly aggrivating “is it real or is it symbolic” moment), but the journey is so completely worth the lacklustre finale. Highly recommended.
Dr Bischinger said: “With the finger you can get to places you just can’t reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner. “And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body’s immune system. “Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine. “Modern medicine is constantly trying to do the same thing through far more complicated methods, people who pick their nose and eat it get a natural boost to their immune system for free.”
Conditions of use: Side effects may include recurring nosebleeds, infection, and lack of desirablilty from the opposite or same sex. If nosebleeds persist, please consult your manicurist. Nose picking is a discreet tactic and not to be used in public places. Do not substitute sharper metal objects, duller metal objects, excessively larger objects or other people’s fingers for your own. Some nostril widening is common in most cases.
If you feel that Nose Picking is right for you, don’t hesitate, start today. Breathe Better, Feel Better.
A message from NPA.
From the Daily Times - I’m certain we need some backup verification on this.
With the excessive perseverance of spam, and the multiplying stress factor it’s having on the internet’s infrastructure,
(” In January, more than half of the e-mail arriving at the world’s biggest Internet provider, America Online, was spam. By March it was more than 70 percent. Now it’s well above 80 percent, or more than 2.5 billion pieces of spam a day. Other e-mail services cite similar statistics. Yahoo says it is handling five times more spam than a year ago.”*)
I’m wondering if the world’s digital connection will soon start having a more relevant societal connection. Will the internet be the reason multiple nations, not unlike the UN join to instigate an international web standard, international internet codes of conduct, international laws and regulations who can sent out what kinds of mail? Will spam, and thus anti-spam legislation bring the world together, banding against trivial digital annoyances instead of, say, mass environmental injustices, or unethical globalization techniques of industrial corporations?
Hey, it’s really not until you understand that it may be the rich that control the government, but it’s the comfortable that need to come out of their apathy and do something to change the world. As the divide between the poor and the rich continually exands, it’s the middle class that need to get involved and become vocal and proactive to affect change. If it takes something as token as spam to bring us lazy consumerists out of our passive ass-groove complacency, so be it.
But, I am I just dreaming here? Is it possible for the entire world to agree on one thing (that spam is a big pain in the arse)? If the globe unites over this one common aggrivation, could it not potentially unite over others?
But, of course it would take complete consensus, every nation would have to be involved. Leave no server neutral, let there be no spam Switzerland where servers may reside without prosecution. Because, all it would take is one place, one safe haven, one small tract of land connected to the rest of the world that declares independance from the rules and flaunts their e-commerce in our beet red faces. Capitalism be damned**.
*and this was written in May of 2003, imagine what it’s like now! Imagine if I did further research than reading one article, and got current information! WOW!
**my mantra, 2004
The first time that writer Charlie Kaufman worked with director Michel Gondry, they made the amusing but slightly sterile Human Nature, a comedy dealing the line where wilderness and civilization intersect. During the filming, they hatched an idea with the help of artist Pierre Bismuth, which became Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, easily one of the most original romantic comedies in recent history.
Jim Carrey is Joel Barish, an awkward introvert who inadvertently finds out that his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had her entire memory of him erased. He locates Lacuna, the company that did the memory procedure and asks for his memories of her to be erased, only to be trapped after he changes his mind.
With that, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind unfolds as we see the relationship step backwards through time as Joel becomes aware of what made him attracted to Clementine in the first place. To fight off the procedure, he ends up hiding his memory of Clementine in different memorie altogether. However, the equally messed up Lacuna staff persist in their job in erasing the memory, leaving us to wonder if Joel will succeed.
Revealing any more of the plot would ruin the pure cinematic delight of watching what happens. Gondry really nails his style here, using subtle effects to help the story unravel. The emphasis is always on the characters, especially Joel, who watches as each memory slowly fades or when he hides in various childhood instances. Carrey underplays to the entire scene, allowing the utterly preposterous to seem utterly natural as people or objects vapourize with each erasure. Hidden under a tuque and sauntering through the cold Long Island landscape, he behaves absolutely Canadian as he struggles to understand how his love for Clementine was never fully grasped. He doesn’t mug or mock his role at all, turning his naturally hamminess off completely. After all his attempts with mawkish drama, he finally manages to show his acting chops and he shines at his most despondent.
Winslet is a whirling dervish of conflict; a wild rose of a woman who changes moods and approaches as often as her hair colour. She is so unbelievably real that it seems garishly painful to see how cruel they can be yet you sympathize that much more. Her impetuousness and carefree attitude pulls Joel slowly out of his shell, yet she herself falls into deep ruts of doubt that bring her crashing down to earth. As the soon-to-be deleted memory, she goes full force into hiding in different people, hoping to remain in Joel’s mind somehow.
The rest of cast pull through with flying colours. British character actor Tom Wilkinson is the head of Lacuna, with his memory-erasing technique brought down to a craft, although his hiring ethics are a bit odd. His staff of three include technician Mark Ruffalo, who’s in the midst of seducing the receptionist Kirsten Dunst, who’s willing to impress people with attempts of intelligence, and an unconventionally creepy Elijah Wood, another tech who uses Lacuna for his own purposes.
As insanely conceptual and technical as the movie is, going so far as being eeriely correct on the science of how memories are stored in the human brain, the reason the movie works is because we want to see how people fall in love even though love hurts. The narrative hops around in past and present, time and memory, leaving us to puzzle through on how feelings develop and how feelings are preserved. We all know love’s lofty heights and love’s gut-wrenching depths. There’s a brief flicker of a scene where another patient carries the belongings of a family pet, and you instantly know the pain of loss associated with it. The question remains: is it better to never feel something painful if it means to never remember why it hurts so? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, through its comedic tale, a tragic and emphatic "no". Because there is no worse loss than completely forgetting what was closest to you. With pain comes identity, with loss comes strength. Losing all that means losing yourself, and the human heart needs to hold onto something.
The problem with being an “indie music guy” is I’m expected to know a lot about music. If I’m to have this snobbish, anti-mainstream attitude I should damn well have done my research and be full of the knowledge of what went on before, right?
Well, “before” what?
Before I was born?
Before I was aware of music?
Before I developed my (ever-changing, never refining) musical taste?
Some (smarmy) people seem to think it’s all important to know the reference points when listening to a new band. You know what I’m talking about. Those ungodly pretentious conversations that “my type” engage in that typically sound like “Oh, these guys are totally riffing on the Kinks circa blah blah blah with a little bit of Costello’s blah blah in there for good measure. But then you know they go off on that alt-country Allman Brothers thing on that one song blah blah blech.”
But really, I don’t give a shit. I really don’t. Not a complete shit anyway. Maybe I give a fart, but definitely not a shit (what a lovely allusion I’ve concocted).
I really don’t care all that much where a band’s derived their influences from, and which band “did it better 20 years before”. Unless it’s painfully obvious that a band is trying to replicate an exact sound (like that shitty Toronto band Hotel that is knocking 80’s U2 so hard Bono just fell off his chair) that really has no need to be replicated, well, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t need to know where TV On The Radio or the Hidden Cameras are pulling their influences from to enjoy the music (or to not enjoy the music, in some cases). If a sound is fresh to me, it’s fresh, if it’s tired, it’s tired.
Why would I want to visit Bowie’s “brilliant album from 1974″ when it sounds like an album from 1974? I wasn’t alive then, I have no frame of reference, and the music has no impact on my life. What someone else is doing with that sound now makes it modern and puts it into a context I can understand. True, the really good music should stand the test of time and not date itself in such a manner (separated from emotional/sentimental connection), but it’s also sad that most music just doesn’t have that longevity.
(I would here draw parallels to filmmaking, and remakes and rehashing of film, only it wouldn’t further my point, as in most cases it’s the exact opposite, where the original version of a film will typically hold up much better that a modernized remake. But then again, remade films are intended for as massive an audience as possible, whereas in indie music realm, a sound or style is incorporated into the artistic vision. I guess it’s the contrast of single person/small group effort as opposed to the massive undertaking and multiple spoons stirring the pot. Or else it’s a really lame contrast which I should never have attempted…hmm, I guess cover songs are the Hollywood remakes of the music world…).
To boil it all down, though, I listen to, mainly, what pleases my ear (there are the odd things I listen to that aren’t necessarily pleasing but engaging or challenging which make the effort worthwhile). I’ve wound up listening to a lot of hip-hop in my life - a genre which recycles sounds more literally that alternative music - and it’s something most alternative music listeners just don’t have an ear for. In fact in many cases rap music is held in outright prejudicial disdain. The naysayers that still hold fast that turntables aren’t instruments are the modern equivalent to the crotchety old man who won’t let go of his Al Jolsen ’78s and his Parry Como 8-tracks.
I grew up in the Euro-culturally diverse town of Thunder Bay, which, despite all its ethnicities is still damnable as a hick-ish, whitebread town. I was one of very, very few people that grew up a fan of rap music, listening to the Fat Boys and Young MC on the radio in grade school, graduating to the playful and innovative Native Tongue family (De La, Tribe, Black Sheep, J.Beez), the black politik of a Public Enemy or and X-Clan, or the funk-laden Digital Underground, the soul of Pete Rock and CL Smooth, or the grittier reality as presented by Naughty By Nature or Erik B and Rakim. And I understood it. I maybe didn’t relate, but I definitely understood.
During that time the media hit upon, and exploited the urban fantasy/black experience elements that NWA, EPMD, Ice-T and Ice Cube went on about (harsh realities mixed with doses of cop killings) to try and draw a negative reaction to rap music, it only proved in the eyes of lost suburban children that punk was no longer the way to go to piss of their parents, gangsta was. Thus emerged the Biggies and the Tupacs, the Dr. Dres and the Snoop Doggs, the bitches and hos and the bling and the bootay which seemed to strike a chord (you know that jarring cord that means dollar signs just appeared in some record execs eyes) and that’s what began to dominate not just the mainstream, but the hip-hop world as well… so I basically vacated, and found electronica, and Brave New Waves, which opened my eyes for the first time in a long time to music that actually contained live instruments. (note, I’ve since returned to listening to hip-hop, but that old grey mare, she aint what she used to be… it’s a lot more selective listening).
I’ve not grown up on a solid backing of Led Zepplin and the Rolling Stones. My first memory of music is me and my sister sitting under a blanket fort listening and laughing ourselves silly to Fats Domino singing “Blueberry Hill” (the song still makes me smile). My mom listened to “golden oldies” (I luckily got a nice dose of Motown mixed in with the sanitized pap) interspersed with ABBA, Boney M, Tom Jones and Neil Diamond records (I naturally have this predisposition towards something with a beat)… so most of the indie pop/rock/punk/industrial/ambiant/underground etc music that Brave New Waves would drop was new, exciting. I would tape the shows and make mixed tapes of my favorite songs, most typically involved a unpolished garagey punk pop sound, raw vocals with weak and warbly instrument playing, or grinding industrial-type things. These sounds, along with stops along the Brit-pop and Tokyo-pop invasions of the 90’s, still carry me forward today, as I’m still finding cds containing songs from these tapes of unnamed bands. Stuff like Slint, Lush, Unrest, the Magnetic Fields, Meat Beat Manifesto, the Orb, Aphex Twin, Neutral Milk Hotel and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult have paved the way for me to enjoy a broader spectrum of work, a more diverse range of sounds.
I think I’m more open than most “indie boys” to newer waves of music because I’m not limiting myself to a common guitar-led sound structure. And yet, I think it’s this same diversity of listening that makes it harder for me to appreciate some of the more scaled down or “normal” indie acts. I find a lot of the top picks from last year boring, or not unique enough. Derivative is a common word I say, not because groups will sound like someone from the past, but sounding like so many others at the present. In some cases it’s like so many artists are working that “we sound like the Strokes” angle, just like so many mainstream bands work that “we sound like Blink 182″ pop-punk angle. It gets really tiring trying to sort out who’s who and why so-and-so is so much different from other people/bands at this time, never mind figuring out why they’re different from other people/bands from 30 years ago.
But back to the point, music is supposed to continually evolve, and just like in human evolution, traits and characteristics of the past are ever present, which is why you will hear influences in a song and still be able to appreciate it as something unique. I simply have no interest in going back to the source, because the source, well, it’s just not fun anymore.
It’s fine to ostracise me because I don’t like Dylan or Zepplin, I don’t care about the Ramones or Elvis Costello, and I’ve never even heard the Smiths or the Pixies (okay, maybe like one song each)… go ahead. I probably deserve it, but let me say, I’m not adverse to hearing the music of the past, but I don’t really have a desire to languish in it either.
(what brought this on? This “best albums” list that observes actually the 101-200 rankers rather than the “obvious” top 100. About 96 of these albums I don’t own, 90 of these albums I’ve never heard in their entirety, about 70 of them I’ve never heard any of them, and about 30 I’ve never even heard of (artist or album). The devotion of the contributors to “classic rock” is telling, and almost all the rap entries are Wu-Tang solo albums. Right. It’s an interesting read nonetheless, and thinking about it, I’d be hardpressed to name 200 albums out of my 500 cds as “favorites”.)
Miramax picked up this Chinese film two years ago to release domestically after it became one of the highest grossing films in that country ever. But, typical of Harvey Weinstein as of late, he didn’t know what to do with the film… he’s been toying with the idea of rescoring the film and recutting it with a new script to suit it better to American audiences. Right.
But this film, which many have seen because of “region free versions” from Asia or downloaded from the internet, has found a large fan base absolutely in love with it (plus it was nominated for a best foreign film Oscar), including Quentin Tarantino.
QT has implored Harv to leave the film as is, and while Harv does as Harv is want to do, he does have a soft spot for QT, so the film is now going to be released as is under the banner “Quentin Tarantino Presents…” and with a brief intro by QT.
But is the film as wonderful and spectacular as everyone says it is? Is it the epic film I’d come to hear it was? Was it indeed the next Crouching Tiger?
There is indeed something exotic, lush, extravegant, serene and beautiful about the film’s visuals, it’s production elements, its costumes and settings. There’s stunning scenery, some elaborate sets, and a sextet of fine actors and athletes that fill out the screen. There are at times hundreds upon hundreds of extras in full costume, choreographed in a pack mentality that is both stunning and a tad comedic.
Despite all this, however the film falls flat in the points where it really counts: story and action. The story is the retelling of how a lowly lawman from an inconsequential prefect defeated the three greatest mercenaries in the land, the very same three greatest enemies of the king. How each of these enemies were defeated is told, retold and then retold again. It gets rather tedious as the truth ever so slowly unfurls.
It would have went down a little easier had the events of the stories been better executed. I’m not sure what’s going on, and maybe we’ve been a little spoiled with all of Yeun Woo-Ping’s consultation on Kill Bill, Crouching Tiger and the Matrix or Donny Yen’s Iron Monkey, but the wire work in this film was sloppy at best, visually awkward, obvious and distracting at its worst.
It’s not a complete waste of time, BUT, it’s a desperate Crouching Tiger wanna-be that never can be. Expect to be disappointed and you might be a little surprised. Expect to be wowed and you will be let down.
of the Spotless Mind… I laughed, I cried. Honestly, I did both. It’s a beautiful, beautiful film. Jim Carrey does a fine job as the everyman, and Kate Winslett plays a fine Dharma to his Greg (yes, she plays a kooky nutter, but with more depth in 2 hours than Jenna Elfman could muster in, what, 4…5 seasons?).
Charlie Kaufman pulls off another fabulous script that tops even “Being John Malkovich” in execution. Michel Gondry fills the screen with so many nuances that you’re never exactly sure what you’re looking at. While there’s a little bit of perplexing crazyness, there’s also not in such excess that it’s convoluted. Much in the same manner, Carrey’s performance is subtle and nuanced, without all of his typical mugging and over-exaggerated acting. He even provides a decent narration.
Supporting roles by Tom Wilkinson, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood and Mark Ruffalo as the crew from Lacona - an organization that can wipe out specific memories, such that it’s like you never had them - help flesh out the science of this slightly alternate world.
The world of the film lives mostly in Joel Barish’s (Carrey) head as memories of his relationship with Clementine (Winslet), memories that are slowly being erased by Patrick (Wood) and Stan (Ruffalo), both who are prone to distraction. Patrick in the meantime is using Barish’s memories to maintain his relationship with Clementine whom he met when she had her memories of Joel erased.
It’s a film that’s complex and strange, but it hits all the right notes all the time, never a misstep. Quite simply one of the finest films I’ll see this year.
I *just* realized that my fly (zipper) has been open since around 6:30 this evening.
During my kindergarten years, my mom was taking the English equivalent of her Finnish nursing courses. She had all these medical books to study and I would frequently cruise through them, overwhelmed by all the names of every body part, but curious of all the different layers. I’d see where my mom had coloured in each membrane and each vascular system. I’d try to understand her shorthand on the transparent overlays. I’d see each bone in the foot, each muscle in the arm and each region of the brain. It looked like half a grownup colouring book and half a roadmap to somewhere foreign yet very closeby: myself.
Looking over the liner notes to Bodysong brings back that familiar feeling, although the watercolours and handdrawn body parts look more like Fantastic Planet instead. The album is the soundtrack to the movie with the same name, which is an interpretation of an average human life. Simon Pummell directed this dialogue-free movie, taking film footage from over the past 100 years.
Providing the soundtrack is the main guitarist from Radiohead: Jonny Greenwood. Greenwood has had an enormous influence within his band, either by rocking out on the guitar or shaping the more experimental parts in the recent albums. He has had a long interest in music such as free jazz and early electronic music, even to the point where he collects long obsolete instruments. During some recent downtime with Radiohead, Greenwood spent six months working on the score to Bodysong, allowing his wilder tendencies to stretch out.
There are a few parallels to Radiohead’s repetoire. The opener, Moon Trills, features violins and pianos that sound as though they’re slowly warming up for the classic Pyramid Song, preparing the little rowboat for heaven. Or maybe they let it ascend already and they’re climbing back down, settling back into the river. Splitter is a fast-paced fusion-era jazz bit, coming across as more insane than the National Anthem breakdown and more like Primal Scream’s brutal Blood Money. 24 Hour Charleston has a stronger Radiohead connection: bassist (and brother) provides the menacing bass behind the banjo, making this sound like a lost experiment from Kid A. Otherwise, Tehellet closes the album, as its ominous strings and mellotron alude to the appropriately named Exit Music (for a Film).
Elsewhere, Jonny’s allowed to branch out into wilder musical realms. Jazzy parts surface in Trench (with its scattershot loops of a plucked double bass, a frantic highhat and wonky horns, making it into a fragmented platoon, caught in a battlefield and not marching in step) and Milky Drops From Heaven (the bass leading a band caught in a vortex controlled like Peter Thomas phoning in from space). Much like Peter Thomas, there are some real scifi moments with arpeggiated synth loops in Moon Mall, the cavernous xylophones that chimes and vibrates into an overwound music box in Clockwork Tin Soldiers and the mournful yet tribal accordion dirge of Peartree. Lastly, the Emperor String Quartet help out with Iron Swallow and Bode Radio/Class Light/Broken Hearts, which are engaging pieces that fight through the blips and maintain their own quiet dignity, beating with its own majestic heart.
It’s hard to pass judgment on a soundtrack to a movie you haven’t seen (Bodysong has only been released in Europe as of this writing, although the DVD is available for purchase), but the diversity and abstraction of the entire album is intriguing, especially for those listeners hooked by the strange sounds from Kid A and Amnesiac. If this is any indication of the work done outside the band proper, I can’t wait to find future solo projects or additional soundtrack work.
The old series was called “Wagon Train” in space. Unless you were born in the 40’s that probably doesn’t mean very much. The old show - created by the TV version of Roger Corman, cheesemeister Glen Larson - was a modest hit upon its first appearance, but it had no endurance. I had fond memories of the show from childhood, and they remained such until I revisited the series back in 1999 when it re-emerged on Space and I realized I actually had fond memories of the action figures. The Cylons visually remained impressive, but the stories were below Lost-In-Space level quality and the fake technical lingo was even more laughable than Star Trek’s.
The new series, while it has it’s hokey moments (specifically, the introductory text seemed like it was written by an 8 year old), it is certainly more serious and less ignorant than the original. But there’s something just not right with the show.
Edward James Olmos steps into Lorne Greene’s shoes as Adama, who’s not the spiritual leader that he was in the original, but still just as philosophical. In this case, he’s anti-networking, and keeps his soon-to-been decommissioned Battlestar as archaic as he can.
The Cylons, we are told, were created by the 12 colonies to be aides, until they became aware, revolted against the humans and engaged in a decade-long war, which last until the colonies released them and allowed them to forge their own territory in space. For 40 years there was no contact with the Cylons until now.
A nearly human Cylon makes her way to one of the prime colonies, seducing one of their preeminent minds and gaining access to the defensive security systems. She manages to infiltrate the colonies technologies and decimates the colonies by using their own computer controlled weapons against them. The colonies are all but obliterated.
In space, most of the Battlestar fleet are too inexperienced and thus incapable of combating the Cylon enemy fighters. The fleet is destroyed, except the incapacitated Galactica.
Using decades old models of starfighters the Galactica’s new fighter fleet is able to battle the cylon ships, but not an effective capacity.
This describes the action of the series, but the majority of this action takes place off-screen and is retold rather rapidly by one of the characters. The scenario is disaster and decimation of epic proportions, and yet all we get is melodrama as Adama and his son Apollo bicker about familial stuff. There’s also military drama, questioning of orders, a lot of pulling rank, a lot of leading the troops into battle type stuff, which is engaging and all, but without the military action to back it up it seems a little hollow and frivolous.
Starbuck in this version is an impetuous female starpilot, a simplified, almost stereotypical character which seems a change as much for shock value for the fast as it is for better storytelling dynamics. There’s also a heavier sexual dynamic which seems a little out of place.
The series, from the first two hour episode, is taking influence from recent (less obvious) sci-fi shows as much as it does its originating series. There’s nothing original being presented here, as I sense a lot of Lexx, Space: Above and Beyond, Babylon 5, and even Earth: Final Conflict amidst the few remaining original Battlestar Galactica influences. Mercifully the whole Greek/Roman elements of the original are represented in names only.
Despite all this, I’m intrigued to see how it will play out. Intrigued, but not excited.
It’s rare that a film these days presents a completely unique experience for the viewer, but American Spendor is definitely that caliber of film. Maybe not taking inspiration from, but definitely in league with films like Terry Zwygoff’s Crumb (a documentary of underground artist Robert Crumb, whose charicature and charicatures play a role in this film) and Ghost World (based on Daniel Clowes comic of the same, and the more unique head-game films of Charles Kaufmann like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and, more specifically, Adaptation. But as much as one can draw similarities, there is a unique format to American Splendor which is devoid of convention and high on charm.
Yes, charm. If you don’t know, American Splendor is the name of a comic book written by self-proclaimed curmudgeon Harvey Pekar. The book explores the exciting aspect of a mundane existance, more specifically his own. It’s completely autobiographical in nature, which the film uses as its impetus, but not as a complete translation… but they don’t fabricate (much) of Harvey’s life beyond how he told it himself, they instead do something far beyond what I had expected… they mish-mashed a documentary with Hollywood-style re-enactment.
The real Harvey Pekar acts as narrator, and interviewee intermittedly throughout the film, as Paul Giamatti plays the Pekar in reenactments. Between the fragmented retelling of Pekar’s stories there are on-set interviews with Pekar and some of the real people he writes about in his comics (including his wife Joyce Brabner and his nerd friend Toby Radloff) while the actors who play them sometimes observe the process in the background. The scenes of the films are interspliced by comic panels, sometimes cutting panel by panel to continue the story. The live actors walk in and out of drawn panels, and, conversly the drawn images enter the real world.
It’s this sort of busting of the third wall that holds onto reality while entertaining and engaging the audience. Getting to know the real Pekar, and understanding that he’s exactly the same guy (if not even more a more exaggerated grump) that Giamatti portrays. Pekar even makes comment on the different interpretations of himself (including the mutiple comic book visualisations, the movie version, and even a stage version (reenacted, obviously), something which resonates when the movie Pekar feverishly questions his own reality. Is he a comic book character that will continue to live on in comics beyond his own real death?
Aside from presenting this life of Harvey Pekar in its many incarnations the film makes the point of celebrating the mundane, making it exceptional. Maybe not an inspiring film, but a pleasurable experience none the less.
Easily one of the best of 2003.
The DVD notably features include audio commentary and a featurette following Pekar and family post film production, celebrating at premiers and parties.
I had dropped my bike off at Duke’s last Friday for their “spring tune-up” which comes in two forms (a) not cheap; and (b) more expensive. Their service staff is a little high-falutin’ for my liking and yet I’ve go there every spring for servicing, because, well, you actually get what you pay for.
Riding during the warm patches of February and March I noticed there were some issues in shifting and braking, and it seemed to me the forks were vibrating a little. The chain needed a good scrub down (as did the rest of the bike) and a good greasing, and I’m sure the gears were all a little unhappy.
I picked Junior up yesterday, paying a $90 tab, but I’ll be damn if ol’ Jr. wasn’t a happy, healthy looking camper… erm, bicycle. Riding it home Jr. seemed a little loose, very responsive, tight new brake cables and pads, exact shifting, no cricketty chain noises… all was good, even if it was a little cool out and I forgot my riding glasses (that keep the wind out of my eyes, which dries my contacts out). But a block away from home I was pushing harder than I thought I needed to and noticed, looking behind, that the back tire had relaxed some.
No biggie though, at home I had the bike upside down, the breaks quick released and the wheel off in seconds. The tire came off the rim lickety-split and luckily I had a new tube kicking around the apartment for just such an instance. After inspecting the wheel and picking out the flecks of glass entrenched throughout (I never did find the culprit that went all the way through though…) I had the tire back together, pumped up, and back on the frame without issue.
Which leads to this morning. I carried Junior downstairs and did a check of the tires just to make sure they were happy and ready to go. And then I headed out into traffic, narrowly avoiding a cabbie that had zipped past a stopped/doors open streetcar. Arsenut. I quickly noted that my right-hand brake, the back brake, wasn’t working. I sighed heavily and pulled myself onto the sidewalk where I realized I hadn’t put the quick-release back together.
*Slaps head* Derp!
The brake back together (*squeeze*squeeze* Yup, it works, but man is that how tight it was yesterday?) and I was off. But it was hard slogging. I know I’m normally not at my peak activity first thing in the morning, and that if I’ve not had breakfast yet my legs usually tire more quickly, but this was rediculous. I had switched into the second level of my pedal gears (I’m usually of the hardest level) and I was switching between 6th and 5th on my aft gears. There was something wrong.
Had I flatted out again? Looking back, no. It looked solid. My front perhaps a little weak. Maybe I’m just tired. Sure, I was still whipping past all those people on their day cruiser one-speeds but I still felt sloth-like.
I arrived at work and I was putting Jr. into one of the basement bike racks (the kind you have to stand your bike up on it’s hind to lock into) and it was really hard for me to rear the handles up. Really, really hard. I could have turned into that big of a wimp overnight. That when I noticed, my breaks were still clasping the rim of my rear tire, like a hobo clasps his shoes when he’s sleeping. I hadn’t put my quick releases back together properly. Hehe. Oops. Brand new break pads, worn down a months worth of riding in 20 minutes…
A charming and adventurous man-and-his-horse picture. It’s a pure movie with no swearing, no sex, perhaps a little innuendo but nothing overt. The violence is there but even it is far from graphic. Conflict is more man (and horse) versus the elements of the desert (Viggo Mortensen’s perpetually dry, chapped, and flaky lips were a nice touch), but there are some nice old-boy western style hijinks.
It was nice to see a film with an almost completely ethnic cast, and much of the dialogue was in another language. All different sorts of people are represented and the differences in the cultures (from the rich and the slaves to the white man and the natives) are nicely explored. The movie perhaps isn’t as deep as it would like to be, but it’s not hurt by its lack of ambition.
There’s nothing singularily impressive within the film, no stand-out moment that makes your jaw drop in awe, but the entire film is so engrossing and entertaining that it’s better that nothing unique detracts from the rest of the picture.
Recommended for the Indiana Jones lover, the western fan and fans of desert adventure movies. Just be wary of the “based on the life of” caption. “Based” is used extremely loosly here.
We’ve got 2 weeks before we can start moving (we’ve luckily got a 15-day window between when we can start moving in and when we have to ditch ol’ Queenwest… of course, we’re paying for that 15 day window, but I digress).
I’ve packed up roughly 2/3 of the books and the majority of the cds and dvds and comics. The computer got packed up today, half the bookshelves are knocked down, as is the desk (thanks Ikea)… but even still, we’re probably only 1/4 of the way there. The bedroom is untouched, and the patio/back yard/garage are basically an afterthought right now, and the kitchen is sure to prove the bane of our existance. And then we’ve got to plug the many holes in the wall and take down whatever lighting we’re actually going to want to take with us (we bought our lighting fixtures when we moved in with the expectation that we were going to be reimbursed… which we never were, much like almost everything else that we expected out of this place that never happened, up to the recent non-repair of our busted-ass oven).
Emma’s desk, because of all the reduced shelving space, looks even more hecktic and chaotic than usual, which I’m sure she’s just loving, and her bookbinding area is screaming.
We have a number of tasks to perform at the new place, including painting the basement and the bedroom, installing shelving, making a headboard and general space configuration… we’ve got most of it figured out, but really only once we get in there will we know what’s what.
At the very least the cat doesn’t seem too stressed out. Which is more than I can say for the rest of us.
Last year it was the great help-me-fix-my-car cd sale. This year it’s the I-Moving-So-It’s-Time-To-Pare-Back cd sale.
(Plus I need to buy some materials for the new place, and other assorted moving expenses including painting supplies and rental van)
Same terms as last year:
- cds are $5 each, cd singles are $2 each, and 2-cd sets are $8 (as identified below)
- all prices are in Canadian funds (if you’re Canadian) and American funds if you’re American (or international)
- you can pay by cheque or cash by mail or in person. I don’t have pay pal. Sorry.
- if you want cds mailed to you, cost is +$1.50 for the first cd, and +$0.50 for each additional cd (cds will be mailed promptly after receipt of payment in the most economical/fastest means necessary)
- please leave a comment to this post or send me an email to emote (A@T) sauna (d.O.t) org. this list will be updated regularly, to note which have been purchased or reserved (on a first come/first served basis)
- all cds are in good/excellent condition
- this “sale” will run until April 1st
AND NOW, CDs!
my Dirty Monkey Bugspray Fun partner Gary decided to dirtymonkify my image (click the link, and witness the before and after)
At emma’s suggestion, I did a little tweak to the lips, hair and eyebrows.
When life becomes a little heavy, a little bogged down, a little tensed-up, well, ladies and gents, you need some beats in your life. Some low-down, deep throbbing, heart stopping beats. You need a rythm for your shoes, a rhythm for you to groove, a pound, a bassline, a breakbeat, a drum machine, a sampladelic relic that will get your bones warm from vibrations.
1) Saturday, March 20th @ the Kool Haus
ZENTERTAINMENT TOUR 2004 feat Amon Tobin, Kid Koala, Bonobo, Blockhead, Sixtoo. $25 Tickets at Rotate, Soundscapes, Ticketbastard.
2) Friday, April 2nd @ Club Rockit.
Lederhosen Lucil with her friends the Parka 3 (acting as both the opening act and the backup musicians - for the first time ever, Lucil will have backup!!)
Keep an eye around town for the funky red and white posters promoting the show, some of them affixed to the walls of cool places by yours truly, a proud member of the LL street team.
3) Monday, April 12th @ the Kool Haus
QUANNUM WORLD TOUR with DJ Shadow, Blackalicious (Gift of Gab and Lateef the Truth Seeker), Latyrx (Lyrics Born and Chief Xcel), DJ D Sharp, Joyo Velarde, and Lifesavas. Not only is the entire Quannum Crew (minus the Poets of Rhythm) on tour, but they’ve collaborated on a tour-only release. Goddamn, it’s going to be one spectacular show.