at this moment
I just really don’t care:
- about my co-worker and friend’s going away party
- about having dinner
- about movies
- about music
- about work
- about myself
- about you
- about feeling
- about sex
- about love
- about friends
- about fandom
- about writing
- about blogging
- about intelligence
- about pain
- about insight
- about the US election
- about Iraq
- about the human condition
- about the world
- about skin
- about hangnails
- about teeth
- about headaches
- about sleep
- about consciousness
- about longeivity
- about death
- about heaven
- about belief
- about thinking
- about ground beef
- about sore throats
- about doing anything at all
- about email
- about spam
- about it
- about continuing on with this bullshit
I just don’t give a shit.
I think I’m just going to go home and stare at a wall for a few hours, then, perhaps, I may just snap out of it.
This bout of fab-hap-slappiness was brung to you by Wheaties… breakfast of champions and losers alike.
I went to the dentist for the first time in 7 years…
I had a story there but I’m too lazy to recount it.
It probably wasn’t a good one anyway.
Hey, for anyone that was curious about the Jellyfish (see link on left sidebar) that were done for Nathan Jurivicius’ show at the Magic Pony, Nathan has created a narration for his on-line comic. It’s up for permanent display here on CBC Radio3 (requires flash player). It’s called “FREAKY FABLES: TOYS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT”
Yes, that’s Nathan reading the story with his cute Australian accent. Aww
I fixed my dryer all by myself.
A short review multimedia extravaganzaaar!
A 6-epsiode mini-series currently running on Space (in Canada) on Wednesdays at 10:00.
The first episode premiered last week, a 2 hour pilot which laid out what the show was going to be about, a pretty generic television sci-fi show that bridges the anthology storytelling style of “the Outer Limits” with the government investigators of “X-Files” and the teenage drama of “Roswell” (or “Smallville”, perhaps).
Over the past 50+ years over 4400 people disappeared and were never seen from again… until now, when a mysterious ball of light flash freezes a lake in the northern United States and releases upon it the 4400 who havn’t aged a day since they were taken. The show regularly follows a handful of those that have returned, displaced from their lives, trying to cope with their new world, and the discovery of new capabilities. Each episode has a “guest star”, a one-off storyline which showcases another of the 4400.
It’s fairly standard drama, but it takes itself and the material seriously and, for the most part, deals with the emotions realistically. It’s better than most. DVD of the mini-series is out in December.
The Best of Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
I used to be a big fan of Conan O’Brien’s Late Night show, staying up until 1:35 in the morning to watch it (because the Detroit NBC affiliate would run an episode of Jenny Jones in between Jay Leno and Conan), but more often taping it. I even have Triumph’s first appearance, and it didn’t take me long to catch onto “For Me To Poop On”. I liked Triumph immediately, but it was his report from the Westminster dog show that solidified Triumph as a true comedic genius.
The best of features 8 of Triumphs best skits from Conan, but it also collects the rest of his skits in the special features, although some are not presented in their entirety (which is a shame, especially the Triumph Christmas Special). But, really, it’s low brow mocking (and puppet-dog-humping) of easy targets from John Tesh to Bon Jovi to Star Wars geeks to prospective American Idol contestants… but utterly hilarious through and through.
An Evening With Kevin Smith
I used to be a big Kevin Smith fan (wow, deja vu), and to some degree I still am, but it was “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and his overhyped work on “Green Arrow” that tainted the geek-god status with which I used to hold him. And yet, I sat through almost four hours of this 2-DVD set which is, to put it to basics, an egotistical, media-whorish, fanboys-only amalgamation of Smith’s Q&A sessions at a half dozen colleges throughout the US. And you know, I enjoyed every second of it.
Smith has a knack for speaking intelligently and crassly in the same breath. He stands up for his views but also apologizes for them by pretending to be a vulgar idiot. But the guy has purpose, he’s an entertainer and a provocateur… amidst the dick and fart jokes and pot culture he slips in a few messages. He’s a relatable speaker, sly, quick-witted and a damn fine storyteller.
It’s still watchable by fans only, but you don’t have to be a diehard fan…
The Notorious C.H.O.
Female comedians don’t get enough respect… I’ve heard the term “vaginal” used in describing a number of women’s stand-up acts. And all too often the complaint is their stand-up is “by women, for women”. The sexism inherent in comedy (and throughout the globe) is part of what Margaret Cho fights against… not overtly mind you. While she does speak her mind on any number of topics, from the political to the dangers of obsessing over body image, mostly she subverts by pushing all sorts of boundaries. Gay, bi, straight, leftist, right-wing, athiest, religious, Asian, Afro-Carribbean, Caucasian, Native… she pushes all boundaries, but not with insults, and not by observing differences, but instead by accepting the differences and then ignoring them.
She’s a smart comedian with a crass craft. What’s a joke about midget fisting supposed to prove? I dunno, but I feel a lot more tolerant of it now than ever before. Cho works on you, and doesn’t let up. Accept it she says, and move along. “The Notorious C.H.O.” isn’t as funny as her previous live film “I’m The One That I Want” but it still succeeds in bringing the laughs, and you come out of watching it feeling as enlightened as you were entertained.
The One: The Last Word In Superheroics
A 6-issue mini-series from the 1980’s, published by Marvel’s Epic imprint, “the One” is like a less successful version of Alan Moore’s “the Watchmen” (though it does predate Moore’s series). Writer and artist Rick Veitch pushes on a lot of the same buttons, dealing with the threat of nuclear holocaust and the Cold War through the use of super-heroes. After the malfunction of all the world’s warheads, America introduces its genetically altered heroes, pitting them againsts Russia’s mutated lackey. The lines of good and evil are erased, as neither country is presented as particularly glorious, and Veitch struggles with his debate over the validity of both democracy and socialism, and throws in a rather weak heaven and hell and garden of Eden parable in the end.
It’s a decent tale overall if told in a choppy manner, and unlike the timeless quality (and message) that “the Watchmen” had, “the One” seems permanently stuck in the 80’s… like “the Facts of Life”, “Quiet Riot” or “War Games”. The covers are clever, although generally I find Veitch’s art to be brutally ugly.
“The One” is now out in trade paperback from King Hell Press.
I’ve been watching too many DVDs lately to actually pause and sit down and write about them, thus enter quick takes:
The Snow Walker
It’s your typical “white man reluctantly learns native culture and grows to love it” movie. However, this doesn’t beat you over the head with any message. An unassuming story with amazing visuals of the Canadian tundra.
In the midst of the lot of small-budget, starless films I’ve been watching lately, I was expecting the Tim Burton polish and Ewan McGregor’s charm to actually be to this film’s detriment. Try as I did, I could not dislike this film. It just got to me, I was entraptured. This film is pure storytelling, about storytelling, about a storyteller and it has everything Burton’s films have been lacking in the past ten years. A wonderful film that I didn’t want to end (so I’m going to buy the book it was based on).
Samurai, meet Shakespeare. Shakespeare, meet Samurai.
Ran is master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s rendition of King Lear, pulling the tragedy from old England, and putting it into turn-of-the-century Japan. Yeah, it’s 2 hours and 40 minutes long, and it not only needs every second, but deserves it. Battle sequences that put Gladiator and Troy to shame (hundreds upon hundreds of fully costumed extras). The colours and scenery aren’t as stylized as we’re used to from our epics today, but they’re very basic, traditional, and, jesus, functional.
The best case made for the public domain.
The House of Sand and Fog
A clerical mistake finds Jennifer Connelly being evicted from the house her father willed her, and the house is put up for auction.
Ben Kingsley, an ex-General in the Iranian army and now an immegrant struggling to survive, sees an opportunity to buy the house cheap and sell it for 4 times what he paid and move up his status of living for himself and his family.
Connelly wants her house back but goes about it the wrong way and Kingsley wants to always do the right thing but finds it too hard.
This is one intense film… it’s not suspensful instead it’s moralistically heavy. Who’s in the right? Who is wrong. Everything is so very grey (the visuals are very muted, nothing is bright)… it’s the most depressing film with Jennifer Connelly on a pier since Requiem For A Dream, and yet it’s a fantastic story and film.
In Winnepeg in the middle of the harsh winter, a crazy, frostbitten homeless man has an electric space heater which he tries to sell. Ben is an imposing yet ultimately gentle Native homeless man who is collected enough to suggest that they try to return the heater to Eatons for some much needed cash.
It’s a big dog/little dog show, sweet and interesting but sooo sloooooooow. It would have made a better short film.
d: Alexander Proyas
w: Dave Warner, Alex Proyas and Michael Udesky
(a lazy review)
It’s an “up and coming struggling band” film, and is rather typical of the sort… it tries to be a mix between the Commitments and Trainspotting, but unsuccessfully so. It’s rather dull to tell you the truth.
The local (Australian) live music scene floundering due to the prevelance of the “pokeys” (electronic poker machines) taking over the bars, and your regular assortment of band members (the tough chick, the everyman, the druggie drummer, and the depressed guy, as well as the expected extended families and incestual relationship within the band) struggle to get a break… which includes blackmailing (sorta) a big-time producer.
The whole film is bland, including the switcheroo of love interests within the band, and the “aspiring musician” thing just isn’t convincing (they aren’t looking to be a band, they’re looking to sell out… it’s so fakey and unengaging).
There seems to be a lack of direction in terms of story, however it’s visually very cool (the director is, afterall, Alex Proyas, he of Dark City and the Crow), but in the end it’s nothing but really a huge bit of fluff regurgitated by the cat.
I watched the new Episode 4:A New Hope… and really it is new, especially considering the volumous changes that have been effected. I know Episode 4, herein referred to as “Star Wars” like the back of my hand, only I’ve probably looked at the back of my hand more times but with less interest.
Unless I did a complete playing of the original widescreen version beside the dvd version with a lot of pausing and an ear listening intently to both soundtracks and scores, well, there’s really no way for me to do a comprehensive list detailing all the changes. And there were a lot of them… hundreds at the very least. But for the most part, playing devil’s advocate, the changes aren’t very noticeable… subtle additions to scenes, changes in sound effects, and tweaks of pacing that the ordinary viewer wouldn’t notice… The worst changes are still those carried over from the Special Editions from a few years back. The Han & Jabba sequence, and the entering Mos Eisley spaceport sequence are awful looking cg animation which I don’t think was touched up at all since ‘97.
I won’t go into frame by frame detail, instead I give general comments on various sequences or things that are different throughout the entire film.
And yes, I am geek, hear me belch:
I couldn’t help myself.
Or so I say.
I did, in fact, help myself if you really want to look at it.
I bought the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD yesterday.
Yes, yes I did.
And I’m not feeling the least bit guilty about it.
The set was actually cheaper at the HMV than it was on Amazon.ca, so that’s a plus, hey?
I did noticed that I was the only one who bought one during the 20 minutes I was there.
I mean, I love Star Wars. It was my Sunday church growing up. I’ve doubtlessly watched the film well over 100 times.
I even like the prequels. Sure Episode 1 is a little tedious, but I still saw it six times in the theatre… and at least four or five more since then which is more than I can say for most films.
Jar Jar doesn’t even bother me (although the fucking kid does though).
I saw Episode II in the theatres two, maybe three times… and I’ve watched the DVD at least twice. It’s a vast improvement on Episode 1, although Liam Neeson was such a benefit for the first and was sorely missed. The romance parts were painful and forced, though… Anakin and Amidala are nowhere near as good as Han and Leia.
I sort of lost my faith as a die-hard Star Wars fan due to oversaturation sometime in 2000. Too many tie-ins at restaurants and battery companies, too many toys to even afford them, too many books to read, too many comic books without any quality…
I gave it up then, and said, movies only. No more toys, no more playing cards, no more drink cups… just the films.
But I was reaffirmed, slightly at least, by Star Wars: Clone Wars, a series of 3-minute cartoons produced by the team from Samurai Jack… endlessly watchable and rewatchable. Can’t wait for the DVD of that. And hey, this November will see the release of volume 1 of the Droids and Ewoks cartoons. I always liked the Droids, but the Ewoks were a little harder to take (although I absolutely loved the TV movies Return To Endor, and the Ewok Adventure… even if the Quaker Oats guy was in it. Brimley!).
And you know I didn’t really mind the tweaks to the original movies when they were rereleased back in 1997… well, except that Greedo shot first. That’s a load of hooey. But luckily I still have tapes, a widescreen boxed set of the original trilogy, so I’m happy with those. But I don’t watch videotapes that often anymore. I’m a DVD junkie. I need my DVDs, and yes, I’m as equally annoyed by the fact that I can’t get the original versions of the movies on DVD, I’m also a bit curious about what else Lucas has rejigged.
I’ve not watched any of the movies yet, but I did watch the “Episode III” preview which touts the return of Vader. The preview runs about ten minutes and has various members of the cast, crew and design team discussing Vader along with sequences of the making of the new Vader outfit (to fit Hayden C’s frame, which is somewhat smaller than original Vader, David Prowse’s). There was also some footage of the training, as well as the final green screen footage of Anakin vs. Obi-Wan which looked tremendously cool.
There was also a neat featurette on the making of the lightsabre from the first film through to the latest films… very neat stuff, although it gave wind of one of the changes made in the DVD set… when Vader strikes down Obi-Wan in A New Hope, instead of the cloak falling limp, it catches on fire as Vader’s lightsabre swipes through it. Then the bottom half falls to the ground and the upper torso hangs in the air for a few seconds longer before toppling over. It looked so goddamn stupid, and it makes me more irate than Han shooting second.
Hopefully there’s not any more of this shit going on throughout the DVDs because, jesus, the original Star Wars movie should not piss me off…
Also, I note that the advertising keeps saying “For the first time on DVD” meaning it wont be the last time…
An article on the changes, and another
I watched Episode 4 and 5 yesterday and will comment in greater detail on changes made in a future post (I TOOK NOTES, yes I am geek)… but I thought I’d inform you that the scene of Obi-Wan getting sliced in half by Vader and catching on fire as described above is not actually in the movie itself.
I took a closer look at the featurette and it turns out that the getting sliced in half, and delayed upper torso falling down was not a digital recreation but was an actual effect done on-set at the time…. and wisely disposed of due to it’s craptastic nature.
d: Bruce McDonald
w: Don McKellar, Bruce McDonald
Ultra-low budget, poorly acted, badly edited, and barely directed, Roadkill somehow persevered, garnering accolades at the 1990 Toronto Filmfest and a cult following since. Oh, and it also launched Bruce McDonald and Don McKellar to Canadian non-anonimity (as we don’t exactly have superstars in Canada… unless they play hockey of course).
Thankfully both men went on to much better things (almost immediately) following Roadkill. McDonalds films since have been bright, engaging and thought provoking… something which Roadkill doesn’t even seem to be striving for. McKellar’s work, as a writer (and sometimes director) has been phenomenal since then with engaging satires of various stages of the human condition, which I’m sure is something he was hoping for with Roadkill but it just never got there.
Take 25 years of electronic music (yes, I know electronic music existed before that), Kraftwerk and Gary Numan really bolstering the scene; Orbital, the Orb, Aphex Twin and Autechre really solidifying it as legitimate genre; and modern torchholders like Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, and even Radiohead. Take them all, extract the vocals, and then mash them together into a ball like play dough. This is “Late”, the album pairing b.Fleishmann and Herbert Weixelbaum (traditionally a guitarist) working their 505 sequencer until it smokes.
The 505 “groovebox” has been worked and reworked by artist after artist, and like any instrument, there’s only a limited amount of sounds you can extract from it. But likewise there are always people who somehow are able to recontextualize the sounds, transforming them into something reminiscent of the past and yet wholeheartedly different.
d: Kevin Macdonald
w: Joe Simpson (novel)
It’s not a straight documentary, and it’s not the adaptation of a novel, and it’s definitely not one of those “based on a true story” movies… it is a true story, told from the perspective of the three men involved by the three men involved. Yes it was a book, but more that that, it really happened, and despite the fact that the film takes the first hand recounting of the events in question and intersplices them with reenacted footage of the situation, it doesn’t diminish the impact the film has.
Joe and Simon were two relative strangers who partnered up to take on some challenging climbs. When they decided to tackle the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes - a mountain that’s legendary (or since become) in the climbers circle as one of the most harrowing - well, their journey went as disaterously as can be expected (especially since they made a movie out of it).
I had a dream last night that went so far beyond absurd that when I woke up I was pretty frustrated about the whole thing.
Apparently I was in Japan - Tokyo to be precise - with some of my fellow GTA Bloggers (I don’t remember exactly who came with me but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was David, Jacqui, Carla, Rannie and Jeremy). There was a huge blogging convention going on and we were a day early.
The hotel was pretty ritzy - as I would imagine all hotels are pretty ritzy in Tokyo - and yet the lounge was a dull scene.. It wasn’t an ugly place, but we were all sitting at the bar, the rest of the place with its circular booths virtually empty. On a stage in front of a large bank of tinted windows (it was night so I’m not sure how I know they were tinted) was a pretty drab space-pop band backing up a lilting space-pop chanteuse. The whole thing was putting us to sleep, and the gin’n'vermuth wasn’t helping.
But then out of nowhere a trio of Japanese-beatnik-hipsters approached us and infected us with their enthusiasm.
“Hey, okay!” They moved and stood in a triangular formation, the leader had a bright white smile permanently etched onto his face. His companions, a male and a female, were both wide-eyed and grinning but exposing no teeth. “You guys are bloggers, right!”
“Yeah,” I said barely lifting my heavy head up from the bar, “how’d you know.”
“We can spot bloggers miles around. Canadian?”
“Right,” I responed, managing to sit upright finally.
“Aha,” he said, and he slapped his hands together. The lights around him seemed to be brighter than everywhere else.
“You want to come with us. We show you good time, Canadians.”
Everyone hopped off their stools except me. “Come see band. Good fun-time band, not boring stuff like this. Planet Smashers. Ska make you dance!” And behind him his two compatriots started kicking their feet skank-style.
“Planet Smashers? Here?” I perked up, and hopped off my stool. “Hey, ho, let’s go!”
And we went.
Along the way I was chatting with Jacqui (I think), asking her about Japanese money, because I had none so far, just our pretty Canadian bills. She explained to me that the Japanese had money similar to the Euro, only here they called it the “en” (the eeee en), and roughly converted one Canadian dollar was worth a 10en bit.
Don’t even say it, as I know quite well this is incorrect.
We arrived outside the club, which was actually inside a shopping mall. Everything inside was closed except for this one area with blaring music and a giant blue curtain in front of it. All the other stores had big grey slab walls erected in front for nighttime security (don’t ask me how that works ’cause I don’t know). Everyone went to the curtain, where a big burly but not quite sumo-sized bouncer stood at the entrance. He didn’t ask for id, he simply pulled the curtain back slightly and tapped everyone on the back as they went in.
I hung back noticing the ginormous bank machine on a nearby wall.
The thing was a grey tank, and had two terminals to service people… however I couldn’t read any of the signage as it was all in Japanese, which I not only can’t read but can’t even begin to comprehend, so feeble is my brain.
There was a very go-go-space-girl already at the one terminal, and I tried to observe her in action at the machine to see how it worked. She was just finishing up her transaction, pulling a large black card out from one slot in the terminal and putting it into another slot. She retreived her stack of oddly shaped bills (about 2/3 the size of our money) and pulled out her card. She saw me watching her as she packed up her shiny silver purse, and she looked scared. I smiled politely but the white stranger was perhaps even more menacing with a toothy smirk. She clomped away in her white vinyl platform knee-high laceup boots, while I was left examining this machine that only seemed slighlty less complicated than a console on the Enterprise.
My first step was to put in my bank card, thankfully the screen also was displaying in English… but its instructions past “insert stripup” were nonexistant. After my card and pin number were accepted, a long card, like the black one I saw the girl move around minutes ago, ejected from the machine. It was about 10 inches long and the width of a credit card… it had all these holes in it, as well as silver foil on it, and a bunch of tiny tiny switches. The silver foil was like that you would find covering a tray of Claratin or Dentine Ice, you would have to punch through it to get your pill/gum and in this case, there were all these obvious spots for you to punch through, as beside each of these spots were a number 100en, 200en doubling itself all the way to k96en (which I guessed was 9600en). I punched the 200 en and noticed all the little switches, which had Japanese characters beside them. Perhaps this was account information? I randomly pushed some of them, and they clicked when moved from 0 to 1 or vice versa. There was a slot on the machine that had a little flashing light so I supposed that’s where I was supposed to stick this horrendously long punch card.
It made some clicky-whirry-old-fahioned-processing sounds (like the grind of a dot-matrix printer) and then something flashed on screen. “PRESS YOUR OPTION” it said… although I had no idea of what option it meant. I looked around… there were buttons, dials, slots, switches, lights and the like everywhere. I randomly hit something, and the machine went ballistic with noises sounding like an electronic jackpot machine that just cashed out.
From above me a microphone fell down, and I became very confused. On the screen was a Street Fighter meets Bad Dudes style side scrolling fighting game. My head was about to explode but I figured I should play… but there were no joystics, and the microphone had little lights on it that flashed every time someone hit my avatar.
I said “Ach” into the microphone and my character hunched over throwing his arms in front of his face. I said “hit”, “punch”, “left”, “right”, “kick”, “punch”, “kick” until 8 seconds later my character was on the ground “dead” because it didn’t respond to anything I said.
Another short-skirted, ponytailed girl walked by. She stepped a little closer to me and the machine to see what was going on, got a look, giggled (her hand covering her mouth) and kept walking.
A black card, like the one I had seen before, ejected out of a slot. Up close it actually looked like those Florida voting cards I’d seen on the news with all these punches taken out of it and a few “hanging chads”.
I put it into the slot like the girl did before me, and nothing happened, except my bank card was spat out. A few tuchscreen options then appeared on the monitor, nothing English though. The backdrop image was something akin to the baby in the sun looking over the fjord like on Teletubbies, only less childish but still ungodly bright. I touched one section and a whole new set of selectors appeared. I pressed another random selection and the whole screen went blank.
An exact duplicate of my bank card shot out of another slot, only this card had gold foil lettering on it, but it was still a TD green card.
It seemed like I’d been at this machine for hours at this point, when the guy who rescued us from the louge appeared behind me. I knew he was there because things were brighter all of a sudden.
He noticed my confused look and at the blank screen on the machine and laughed heartily. He said “Give me card,” with his palm up.
I gave him the new gold lettered card the machine gave me. He wiped the back of it on his pants and stuck it in a slot I didn’t even see. The screen went blue and he moved with the quickness as other cartridges needed to be moved from one place to another. It took him less than 10 seconds before he was handing me my money, and his last step was to put the gold lettered duplicate in a slot that essentially ate it and made a horrid grinding noise.
I was curious about the whole procedure but also extremely frustrated. I was going to ask my new saviour what the deal with the machine was, to get an explanation but, well, then I woke up… the vivid memory of defeat branded to my brain.
And I was looking forward to seeing the Planet Smashers in concert again.
I started doing some spring cleaning… finally.
Yeah I know it’s the late weeks of September, but well, better late than never.
I woke up Saturday and took to the storage room like Bobby Fisher took to chess. Yeah, I mastered that beeyotch, spending a good four hours making the back room more spacious and capable of holding lots more stuff. Amongst the glut of crap that I guess by default belongs to the landlord (but most likely belonged to someone else… really who knows) I found a couple hundered posters from between 1998 and 2002, and some postcards from a former tenant/owner dating between 1980 and 1984. It’s kind of weird to step into the past like that, with postcards from a stranger’s travels.
After rearranging the back room, I started working in the recroom, moving things into storage and unpacking some things that have just been sitting around for a too long. I progressed to tacking the dishes and an arm-load of water bottles (why do we have so many, and yet, we can never find one when we need one?). The litter box beconed with malevolent odours, so it deserved a much needed cleaning. Following that the tub got a cleaning, then the bedroom took a-changin’. I started the laundry and decided to shower, with the expectation of having an evening out. As I stepped out of the steam, it sounded like the dryer had stopped. After dressing and going down to fold clothes I realized that the dryer hadn’t stopped, the barrel just wasn’t turning anymore (but the heat was still being pumped).
Grabbing the screwdriver I began to dismantle the dryer… it took a while to figure out how to get into where I needed to get into. The back plate only revealed the venting system, but not the motor which is where the problem most definitely was. As I tossed the dryer around, I could hear things clunking inside, Using a flashlight and glancing through holes I could see the dryer belt flopping around inside. I managed to pry the frame apart and get at the motor, and yeah, the belt was the only thing gone.
I was exhausted as was Emma. I cooked up some burgers on the BBQ, and we spent the evening watching the home decorating lineup on TLC instead of going to the movies (we did take a jaunt out for ice cream though, rambling through the small town cheesy carnival that Roncesvalles becomes during its “Harvest Festival”).
The show Clean Sweep really hits home with us, as Emma and I both have a tendency to clutter. Emma’s particularly frustrated with her office/bookbinding space, so today I took the aggressive Australian role (aka Peter Walsh) and Emma took the giggly homeowner role and we opted to take the challenge of demessifying the front room.
I left her to sort through her books (with the objective of cleaning off one of the two IKEA 4×4 bookshelves) while I took off to the renovation ghetto (up at St. Claire and Keele where Home Depot, Rona, and Canadian Tire are all withing shoe tossing of each other) to look for a dryer belt. I kind of thought I wouldn’t find something that would be so specialized but I didn’t want to deal with the Sears parts center after the aggrivating the last time with the washing machine.
However, upon coming home and calling, they had my belt (for $12) which they’re shipping to the Sears in the Eaton’s Center some time this week. So, easy peasy. Good.
Coming home I took the air conditioner out and put the storm windows back up, and I continued pushing Emma to clean up her workspace, until we finally dismantled one of the bookshelves (I’ve since re-mantled it in the basement but modifying it into an unsturdy 4×2). I finally subsided with the cleaning binge by vacuuming the increasingly dirtyfied rug in the basement (we’re going to have to toss that puppy in the industrial washer down the street soon).
I relaxed on the couch to watch some kickass wheelchair Paralymics basketball (it’s more fluid than regular basketball, and more aggressive than hockey, and more fun to watch than both) alternating with the World Poker Tour (who would have thought poker would be so much fun to watch?).
And now… now I look at my computer, and everything grinds to a halt. Hello life. How are ya?
d: Stephen Chow
w: Stephen Chow, Kan-Cheung Tsang
Shaolin Soccer, when you boil it down to its essence, is a damn silly movie, full of larger than life characters who use their super-powers to play soccer.
Okay, yeah, they aren’t really super powers but instead the strengths granted to them by their practice of shaolin kung-fu.
A family of six brothers, eached trained to strengthen an individual part of their body (eldest brother is Iron Head, little brother #6 is Weight Vest), are all down on their luck, bumbling fools who just can’t seem to get it together (although eldest brother #3 seems to be doing well enough with a stock market job and a family we never see). When a disgraced former pro-footie wants to show his evil ex-teammate-cum-boss that he’s still a formidable opponent, he reunites the brothers to create the ultimate team.
d, w: Brian de Palma
I had actually heard some good things about this 2002 film from legendary(?) director Brian de Palma. I can’t exactly remeber what it was I’d heard, or who had said it, but I was in the mood for some light, unchallenging and borderline unwatchable fare, and yup, it delivered.
Under the guise of “sexy film noire”, de Palma tries to define the phrase “femme fatale” with (need I remind you, model-turned-actress) Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, having her cavort around in nearly nothing, seducing women and men with equal zeal, and be as dupicitous as any conniving film noir vixen should be. And shes got some weird multiple personality or hidden past or something which explains it all. I dunno.
You may or may not have seen this by now, but apparently KRYPTONITE bike locks with the circular key are capable of being picked with a BIC pen
Here’s a video of the procedure… and another… and a blog about it.
Now, add to the fact that I had my rear light stolen a month ago, my front light actually fell off (and promptly was run over by a car) the next day, and now I need to buy a new bike lock… jesus.
Sure it looks like it takes a bit of twisting to get that BIC to flick the lock, but it still takes only 20 seconds for him to open the damn thing. Oi.
last Saturday’s Boondocks cartoon, for anyone who’s been to the theatre in the past, oh, 2 years or so.
(click image to enlarge)
I’ve said it before, I say it now… if you don’t read “Boondocks” then you don’t know what you’re missing. You really don’t. I’m not sure if you care about what you’re missing or not, or even if you did know what you were missing you would care… “You don’t know what you’re missing”… who came up with that phrase? It’s a dumbass phrase, really, if you think about it. Best not to though
by Stefan Fatsis
The subtitle on this work of non-fiction is “Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players”.
I can hear you scream out now, sarcastically mind you, “OH BOY! A book on Competitive SCRABBLE! Let me at it!” I know, I probably would have had the same reaction two years ago, but then a couple things happened.
First, I got caught up in the “literati” (a SCRABBLE knock off) scene on Yahoo games with some friends for a time, then Emma’s mother and I started bonding over the SCRABBLE board when she found out I liked to play (she even gave me a board of my own), and finally, Carla got me tickets to the film Word Wars at the Hot Docs festival earlier this year.
That documentary film by Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo was partially inspired by the book “Work Freak” I found out. The film introduced me to the world of the “expert SCRABBLE circuit” and particularly to the personalities of “GI” Joel Sherman (the man of 1000 maladies), Matt Graham (the surly pill-popping comedian); Marlon Hill (the boisterous brother from Baltimore); and Joel Edley (the zen master of SCRABBLE). These men - real men - appear more as characters on screen with such exaggerated neuroses that you’d be sure they were made up by some writer. They were so unique, such interesting personalities, Marlon and Matt a very odd Odd Couple, Edley the most dispised (and envied) man in the game, and GI Joel, so much larger (and weirder) than life. These guys were so much fun and so interesting to watch (and the film make a case for the validity of SCRABBLE as a competitive sport, much like chess) that I was interested and wanted to know more.
In steps this book.
d, w: Sylvain Chomet
My one regret in watching Les Triplettes de Belleville (english translation: the Triplets of Belleville) on DVD this past weekend is that I didn’t watch it in the theatre instead.
Obviously jumping on the bandwagon quite late in the game in singing this films praises, but still, I can’t help it. This was the best animated film I think I’ve ever seen. Yes, better than Finding Nemo and Princess Mononoke. Far better that pap like Shrek and Ice Age. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “family entertainment” but it’s really an accessable film, by the sheer fact that it’s virtually dialogue free.
writer: Phil Hester
artist: Mike Huddleston
Phil Hester is best known on the comics scene as an artist, recently on a long run of the successful Green Arrow relaunch (with Kevin Smith, Brad Metzler and Judd Winick on writing chores). He’s been around for years, and he’s a solid storyteller with his pencils even if his art is a little bland. But artists-turned-writers, akin to musicians-turned-actors rarely get the credit they deserve, and dammit, Hester can tell a good story.
“The Coffin” is the first of Hester’s written work I’ve read, and it’s not as light as some artists’ first ventures. He tackles heaven, hell, the devil and the soul, as well as wealth, power, greed and irresponsible parenting. It’s a heavy tale disguised in the form of a sci-fi/superhero comic.
“The Coffin” is the first of Hester’s written work I’ve read, and it’s not as light as some artists’ first ventures. He tackles heaven, hell, the devil and the soul, as well as wealth, power, greed and irresponsible parenting. It’s a heavy tale disguised in the form of a sci-fi/superhero comic.
The first episode of Justice League Unlimited cropped up on YTV last night, and I have to say, the show made me giddy like I was 8 years old again.
Back when the Superfriends were on (later becoming “Challenge of the Super Friends” and then “Superfriends” again, and then the “SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show” tying in with the toy line) I liked the episodes enough but there weren’t enough obscure characters for me. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are great and all but, man, when it went into it’s last season, pimping heavily the toy line and they used the new gods characters like Darkseid and Orion, bringing in Firestorm and Cyborg… jeesus that was cool.
Well, as cool as that was, Justice League Unlimited is even better. No more made up for tv characters like Samurai, Apache Chief, and Black Vulcan. Instead we get dozens (if not more) obscure characters taking the spotlight away from the “core” lineup (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter)… this first episode had Green Arrow, Supergirl, and Captain Atom (CAPTAIN FUCKING ATOM!!! Who ever thought he’d be on a cartoon show??? Voiced by formery CSI’s George Eads) working together to fight Brimstone, a gigantic lava creature in the comics, here turned into an enormous nuclear robot. FUN!
But not just that, the opening scenes had the Justice League hosting a welcome session to a whole host of new heroes. I took some time with the pause button and captured the majority of who was there.
Big geek fun ensues: