After much deliberation, I’ve decided that I’m not going to hear anything else in the last month of 2004 that’s going to swing my decision away from these 21 songs as my favourites for 2004.
I’ve been contemplating my “best of” list since at least June (thanks to iTunes and playlists and ratings systems I’ve been able to easily keep track of favourite songs)… actually in all reality I’ve been on the lookout since I did last year’s Dirty Monkey top 20 selections.
This year I’ve likely bought more music than ever before, and I’ve certainly downloaded more than ever, plus, I’ve likely read more “rock journalism/bloggerism” than ever. I’ve been more exposed than I ever have (despite the fact that my concert attendance is waaay down from the previous 2 years) and quite frankly it’s exhausting.
Last year I felt like I was a step behind the curve, this year I feel I’ve at least kept up on it, if not stepped ahead from time to time (I hopped on Joanna Newsom, The Futureheads, the Go! Team and TV on the Radio before all their buzz hit… I did sleep on the Arcade Fire I must admit). I spent most of January last year sifting through the dozens of credible best-ofs to pull out new nuggets of joy, I don’t think I’ll need to this coming January.
This list was incredibly difficult to conjure, as it felt like picking your favourite puppy amidst the litter. They’re all so very damn cute, you feel wrong for pushing the one aside to rip another from momma’s teat. What a strange analogy.
In the end I’m extremely happy with this list… it has flow (the order that they appear is not a ranking but recommended playlist, with the disc break between songs 10 and 11).
If you’ve not heard some or most or all of these songs, fear not, they will be cropping up over the next five weeks on the 21 Minutes sidebar. I’ll also be producing a limited number (less than 100, likely) of packaged 2-cd compilations of this list. For those that are interested in a copy let me know before January 1st and I’ll mail/bring it to you on my own dime. I love to preach the power of good music.
click for larger view
Atomic 7: Meet Me In The Shadow Of Love
Bjork: Mouth’s Cradle
The Organ: Memorize the City
Solvent: My Radio
The best albums list isn’t going to be as easy.
After much deliberation, I’ve decided that I’m not going to hear anything else in the last month of 2004 that’s going to swing my decision away from these 21 songs as my favourites for 2004.
I came across 8Bit Peoples this week and I’m still feasting upon it’s pixellated, blurpy goodness.
Their mission statement is to provide fun, quality 8-bit music that reflects their passion for videogames of the 8-bit era. I’ve been slowly dowloading a bunch of their tracks, and it all varies in qualities from track to track, but really if you’re into that classic crunchy C64 sim music it’s fun stuff to sift through.
Hell, there’s even a full ep that deconstructs the theme to Beverly Hills Cop as well as a release of 8-bit XMas Tunes… share it with your family this holiday season. And if you’re of the type, there’s printable covers for each release.
What do they know
Eye Weekly released its Best of Toronto reader’s poll and it’s every bit as awful as you’d expect.
I mean people can vote limited only to their experiences and most people just haven’t experienced a diverse enough cross-section of this city to make a decent nomination for “best” of most things.
I know this because having participated in both Eye and Now’s “Best of” I realized how limited my exposure was to most of the fields they were asking for imput in. So, like so many people, I would just plunk in the default that everyone knows of… like for “best place to buy an instrument” I would write “Steve’s Music” because it’s really the only name I know of an instrument shoppe. I’ve never shopped there so I really have no idea if it is the best place. They could be super expensive or have pretentiously shitty staff, or they could be really decent and super affordable. I have no idea.
I also realized while doing Now’s poll that so much of my “favourites” were limited to the places I frequent around work and around home.
I’ve not really been to a lot of martini bars to make a good decision and the only jazz club I have been to is the Rex. I just don’t have a wide enough range to really fill in those sections.
Best place to buy comics? Well, Silver Snail is certainly the most organized but I like the selection at Beguiling better and all the other stores in this town suckass bigtime (and I know I’ve visited them all). I can answer that one. Best record shop? I’ve been to enough to honestly say Soundscapes. And the best used store is Flash and Crash because they’re the most selective and they give you the most for your discs (Eye readers said Rotate This, which has at any one time about 100 used cds on display for purchase).
The whole thing is also incredibly skewed by the number of university/college student reader votes, people with small disposable incomes aren’t going to be eating in the best restaurants in Toronto. Central Toronto is obviously the key player here, from the Annex down to Queen street between Yonge street and Bathurst… very little reaches outside of that range.
And for gods sake, Mike Meyers as best comedian/Toronto performer (runner up).
The validity of these things is completely out the window.
At least Now had a critics choice to add balance.
oh my kidneys
Reading Steven Grant’s Permanent Damage this week over on Comic Book Resources I realized I forgot to enter his reader’s poll which he prompted for last week.
I doubt he got as many responses as an Eye or Now poll, as I think he published all of his responses to the questions he asked (instead of tallying them up)… and it was an interesting and diverse range, some obvious choices and some surprises.
What’s your favorite comic of 2004
Answers ranged from fan favourites like “Identity Crisis” to unlikely candidates “She Hulk” and “Hard Time” to some enduring classics such as “Fables” and “Y The Last Man”.
My personal favourite ongoing is Y:The Last Man. Just a brilliantly written and executed comic. It’s not as pretty to look at as some of the other books out there but it’s solid storytelling every month, each issue ends with you screaming for more.
Other favourites of mine right now include Ex Machina, Daredevil and Firestorm. Since I read trade paperbacks more than montly titles, and trades come out usually a year after the initial story arc its really hard for me to judge… but these four are so good I just can’t wait for compilations.
What’s your favorite comics-related moment of 2004?
Answers range from things that happened in comic book storylines (resurrection of Colossus in X-Men, the single standing tower at the end of Ex Machina 1) to things that happened in the media related to comics (Spider-man 2’s success, the pimping of comics on the O.C.) to events as comic-cons.
My pesonal favourite scene in any comic book this year was from the second issue of Bloodhound, when Clevenger assaulted the car with the hotel bathroom sink. A powerfully cinematic moment as any I’ve ever seen in comics.
In the world outside of comics, seeing the expansion of the comics shelf at Pages bookstore (and other bookstores for that matter) is very cool, as is the fact that most major entertainment magazines now have a comics section in them.
What’s the worst thing to happen in comics in 2004?
Answers range again from storylines (Avengers Disassemble) to reemerging trends (the continuance of grim and gritty comics like the Marvel Knights line and the Identity Crisis mini series) to media failures (Catwoman, Punisher, etc) to the deaths of so many creators and artists.
I’d have to say the return of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, the reemergence of a Kryptonian Supergirl, all the step backwards in storytelling by people who can’t seem to let go. Rehashing old ideas instead of building new ones… the persistence of company-wide continuity in the DC/Marvel Universes… these serve to stifle creativity and accessibility from outsiders.
Frank at Chromewaves chimes in on his own replies.
My top 20 song picks of 2004, plus the top 7 albums.
Exclaim chimes in with their own best ofs…
Their best moments in comics (not actually titled that but it seems to be the point).
Their best discs by category:
Pop and Rock - topped by the Arcade Fire, Fiery Furnaces, AC Newman, Feist, and Stars. Of their top 20 I have 8 of the albums, have heard 16 of them and the other four I’m familiar with from various reviews.
Metal - I don’t listen to metal
Punk - Punk is dead
Folk, Country and Blues - I’ve heard a handfull of the top 10
Destination Out: Improvised - ach, improv music
Destination Out: Non-Improvised - not nearly as bad as improv music
Hip-Hop - I didn’t really like the majority of the albums listed although my curiousity has been piqued by those I’ve not listened to.
Electronic - I’ve sampled two-thirds of the list and most of it didn’t do anything for me… others like Squarepusher and Mouse on Mars have never done anything for me so I didn’t even bother with them.
Soul - not really big into soul music but seeing Amp Fiddler in the list was nice.
Their best DVD list includes:
The Office 2 as best TV on DVD
The Martin Scorsese Collection as best box set
Dawn of the Dead Ultimate Edition as best special edition
Slacker as best rerelease
Spellbound as best documentary
In their best film list:
Team America: World Police as best comedy
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as best drama
Kill Bill Vol 2 as best Action/Adventure
The Incredibles as best animated
Fahrenheit 9/11 as best documentary
Supersize Me as the best documentary not directed by Michael Moore
Shaun of the Dead as the best Horror
The Motorcycle Diaries as the best foreign language
The Saddest Music in the World as best Canadian
Not fond of their choices?
Enter their readers poll… tonnes of great and not so great prizes to win.
I blazed through Buffy Season 3 in five days. That’s 22 episodes in one concentrated dose. I would say that was a tremedous accomplishment, but I actually made it through Season 2 in less time.
In a blog entry from June 23, 2002 I state
Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD… I watched 16 episodes in 24 hours… now, that doesn’t equal 16 hours of straight Buffy watching (not only because I fell asleep for 7 of them, but because they’re only 44 minutes long so it’s really only more like 12 hours… that makes me feel better)
Now to be fair, I was unemployed at the time, and a practicing shut-in.
I don’t know what my excuse is now.
I actually repeated this great feat of 16 episodes within 24 hours this past Sunday/Monday, and I polished off the rest on Wednesday. I finished off the rest of season 2 on June 24, 2002.
All I can say is the Buffster is a damn addictive show, and the legion of fans already know what I’m talking about. But there are those that shun Buffy for one reason or another, people like Emma, who came downstairs and said “You’re actually watching this?” to which I replied “Yep” and she snickered and went back upstairs.
A few days later I was saying to her that it was the same creator as “Firefly”, which she really enjoyed.
“I know,” she said, but she still wasn’t interested.
“I’ve dated two types of guys,” she said “those who play hockey, and those who watch Buffy.” She was being dismissive of the show and I’m not sure if she was insulting me or not… I guess what she was saying is that other guys have tried to get her to watch the show before and that she hadn’t caved yet… either that or she’d rather play hockey. I dunno.
If it’s for the “cute girl” factor - which I imagine is why most women whose boyfriends try to get them watch the show would be turned off by it - I really don’t find Sarah Michelle Gellar all that attractive. But Allison Hannigan… she’s awesome, major crushage there.
Granted, it’s a silly show… but it’s an incredibly well done silly show. The acting is note perfect, and the writing is sharp. I have some problems with it, notably:
- 1) the action sequences - the obvious cut-to-stunt-double action sequences are tough to swallow at times. I’m proud of the actors on Alias who go as far as they can to do all of their own action work, the duke out between Buffy and Faith was a really great fight made awful by cheesy deceptive editing. And, notice, in almost every major fight sequence somebody’s going through the glass (window or door it don’t matter).
- 2) the implausabilities - don’t any other students use the library? All that death and nobody really questions it (they do an okay job of touching upon this in Season 3, but it’s still hard resolve in my rationalogical brain how people can just ignore all the weird stuff that happens (like zombies trashing a party or vampires taking over the Bronze) and go back to regular life. Really, Buffy and Willow and Xander should have had an army of help long before Graduation Day.
- 3) Is it just me or is Angle able to tolerate sunlight a lot better than most vampires (except maybe Spike).
- 4) The final episode of season 3 was the worst episode of Buffy yet. The action was lame, the effects were weak, the direction was awful, the drama was cheesy (and that’s the thing they always get right) and the comedy was obvious (the other thing they always get right)… and for all the build up, it seemed to end rather easily, very anti-climactic… it stank of TV show production values. And this was a Whedon episode…!
All that aside, as I said, they get so much right, the comedy and the dramatic aspects… the soap operaticness of it works so well, and its addictive nature is scarcely replicated. Six Feet Under would be the only show currently running that comes close to the same level of “oh God I can’t wait for the next episode… I just can’t..” feeling (although Desperate Housewives is certainly trying but it’s not quite as intriguing and the characters aren’t as well developed).
Season 4 would make a nice Xmas gift……..
and in other realms
I was watching the second disc of Lexx season 4.
I know a lot of people can’t stand this show because of its flagrant and open use of double entendres and the perpetual sexual gutter it finds itself in… not to mention the budget special effects and some pretty bad acting from not-so-good-on-the-English German actors (Lexx was a co-financed Canadian/German production). I always found this to be rather endearing. Though formulaic in its own right Lexx really broke all the Star Trek wandering-spaceship conventions, mostly through mass destruction and gratuitous sexuality. Subtlety not a strong suit of the show, but that’s its whole point. It brings out the more basic human qualities to contrast against the less obvious ones.
Season four brings the crew of the Lexx to Earth, an alternative Earth to ours, but barely any different. The president is a sham president (hmm, sound familiar) being controlled by a more malicious, evil party (hmmm?). The planet is obsessed with celebrity and entertainment (no way!) and everybody’s just a little less likeable than they would be on our real planet (the planet was infected with the tortured souls of the Fire planet at the end of season 3).
Episode five kicked off this disk was a Survivor parody (perhaps one of the first) where 10 burly guys (okay, 9 burly men and Stan) competed for a chance to sex up Xev. Of course things don’t go smoothly as the island is infested with robotic alien carrots
Episode six dropped the gang in Newfoundland, which earlier in the season the sham President had given Stan the lordship over. The rock finds not only Stanley’s evil double, but Father Pickle portrayed by Frank Kelly (he played Father Jack on “Father Ted”). In the end, Newfoundland is nuked by the President, let the nihilism continue.
Episode seven and eight round out the second disk with Kai dragging the gang to Transylvania. Here they naturally get involved in dispelling the legend of Dracula, which the writers wrap up nicely into the Lexx folklore… and really kick the piss out of goths along the way.
what are you?
I was never a routine follower of the Batman cartoon from the early 90’s. Oh, I liked it all right, and I would have watched it on a regular basis if it ever aired when I could watch it on a regular basis. Without access to the WB, the only venue I had for the show was either YTV or the local TBT (Thunder Bay Television) station - I don’t remember which - and they aired it during school hours. I was in high school back then so it was a little more difficult to skip class than it had been in university… oh, and our VCR at the time really sucked on reliability.
I’ve probably only ever caught two dozen episodes of the show, but I was always floored by it. Solid storytelling, amazing visuals, great score… it was a mature show that kids could enjoy, and it treated the characters with respect.
Now, thanks to DVD I can start at the beginning (not that it really matters where I start as the show had no overt continuity). And I have… actually, only watched the first episode.
It surprises me how different the first episode was compared to the rest of the series. Reminding me more of 1940’s animation, with muted colours and a fluid, if rushed, character movement, the story was told in a very noirish fashion. Very much inspired by the Fleisher Superman animation, the sensibilities come through. It has a vintage feel to it in every respect, almost like watching a half-century old unearthed treasure from the Warner Brothers’ vault.
The voice actor for Batman/Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) is so perfect, and is so entrenched with the character after almost 15 years that not only do I find it hard to accept another person as Batman, but Conroy is Batman (even in a recent Justice League Unlimited episode where Batman belts out a beautiful tune to save Wonder Woman’s life, I believed it, because the voice is key). He does a great shift from Bats to Bruce Wayne, from husky to chipper without effort. That’s acting. The characters of Bullock and Gordon don’t seem as properly defined as I know they will be later in the series, but the voices are already there, no rough growing pains like the first season of the Simpsons or the first few episodes of King of the Hill. The same can’t be said of the voice actor for Alfred, as he’s snide and annoying here instead of sarcastic but sincere as he is for the remainder of the show.
One of the most amazing things is the show kicks off assuming that the audience knows Batman. They don’t need to explain him, they don’t need an origin story, they just hop right into the adventure. This is how comic-book characters to other media should be. We know the story, give us something new.
It’s going to be interesting watching as the show transitions out from it’s 40’s influence to how it regularly presented itself… I’m curious to see how long it takes. Still, it’s easily one of the best and most accessable cartoons ever.
there’ll be no more nappin’
I realized while watching the second episode of Pee Wee’s Playhouse on DVD that Michael Jackson was trying to transform himeslf into this man-child/human cartoon.
Pee Wee is the modern-day Peter Pan, the boy that never grows old, he’s too child-minded to discriminate and he’s friendly to everyone, even those he doesn’t like.
He’s got all the toys a boy could want and he knows how to have fun, the show is one big allegory for imagination. Claymation brings to life the contents of the freezer, the window and the chair can talk, and there’s a giant beat box robot that spits out the secret word of the day. Visitors are cowboys and beauty queens and kings of cartoons, and a trio of multi-culture pals who come to play and watch the dinosaurs that live in the mouse hole.
There’s something so completely non-threatening about Pee Wee’s Playhouse. The theme song invites you in and you’re glad to be there amidst all the wacky characters that turn up. Claymation, puppetry, computers and cel animation breathe character into everything, and Paul Reubens is as rubbery and herky-jerky as everything else around him.
I loved this show a tremendous deal as a kid, and watching it again for the first time in easily 15 years, I still love it. It’s as vibrant and active and visually enjoyable as it ever was. Though the 1980’s beatbox robot threatens to firmly place it in that era, the 1950’s beehive hairdo, the old west cowboy, the vintage cartoons, the ’60’s beatnik jazz band and really everything about it put the Playhouse firmly into the spectrum of time. Pee Wee is as much a pop culture icon as Alf or Crockett and Tubbs, the only difference is the Playhouse which planted him in the world isn’t quite so dateable. Pee Wee’s Playhouse didn’t try to do anything cutting edge in terms of television and visual technology, instead it relied on well worn, old fashioned technologies and an innovative sensibility to forge its ways into annals of great children’s programming.
Though hardly the same as heavily marketed kidstuffs like Blue’s Clues, these Pee Wee episodes I’m sure could still engage and entertain kids. The attitude is right and the visuals are still unique even by today’s standards.
Whie it would truly be a bit overwhelming to take in a marathon’s worth of the show, I’m looking forward to slowly watching the 50 or so episodes (5 seasons in two boxed sets) over the next few months. I seem to wake up perkier the next day having watched an episode the night before, arising with Cindy Lauper’s theme song gleefully bouncing around in my brain.
Though still relatively unknown in Canada, the Adult Swim lineup of 15-minute zonko cartoons and imported Anime is a huge deal amongst the indie/college crowd in the US.
We’re just beginning to get some Aqua Teen Hunger Force here, and Harvey Birdman and the Brak Show pop up from time to time, but the concept of 15 minutes of surreal animation still hasn’t caught hold. But for those that get it, that have jumped on board the Sealab 2021 repurposed animation bandwagon Space Ghost: Coast To Coast was the first to take animation from old cartoons and resequence them with some new animation to make wonderfully fresh and strangely compelly cartoon comedies. Only Space Ghost went a little further, and became the first ever cartoon talk show host… to interview real people.
I’ve been hip to the SG:C2C vibe since I was given a third generation videotape from a friend of a friend back in ‘98. This was some grand stuff, b-list (and below) celebrities like Adam West and Bobcat Goldthwaite sitting down for heavily edited interviews with a cartoon character. It blew my mind.
A handful of years later, it still does. I’ve been following the show and it’s spawn since then and it’s still impresses me, and entertains me like few other shows do. The DVD sets that are coming out every four months are allowing me to get reaquainted with all these show on a larger screen, as up until now I’ve only watched them as crappy .mov or .avi files on my computer downloaded through a half dozen different sources.
I just polished off Space Ghost: Coast to Coast volume 2, which really shows the progression of the series. Whereas volume 1 presents, for the most part, the idea of “cartoon talk show”, volume 2 expands upon that, adding character and chronology to it, as well as in many cases, a bit of a storyline (such as “Jacksonville”, a delirious spoof on 1970’s tv action dramas… “Space Ghost… I think I’m pregnant”). The odd throwback to a previous show may escape the casual viewer but to the faithful they’re highly amusing, and some of the most rewarding aspects. Like any bit of pop culture, SG:C2C is infinitely quotable, the type of thing that gets people in the know snickering when you drop a reference.
This volume set features a bit more spoofing, kicking off with a 2001 inspired episode where a gigantic computer takes over Moltar’s producer as host of the show. Another episode “Late Show” is a direct riff on the David Letterman show of the same name (actually written by two Late Show staff writers). As enjoyable as these are, it’s when the show gets off kilter with its own inspired mania that it gets really good, such as “Woody Allen’s Fall Project” where a team of amateur actors in costumes reenact favourite interviews from Space Ghost’s past, and they do it shot for shot.
And then sometimes it’s the guests that make the episode great. Jonathan Richman gives a delightfully obtuse interview which was so odd it got it’s own full episode… and television history was made when master chef and tv pitchman Martin Yan “relaxes a chicken” (it has to be seen to be believed).
If you’ve been curious about Space Ghost, but aren’t interested in the growing pains, volume 2 is the place to start. While all the bugs aren’t worked out yet, the groundwork has already been laid so the cast and crew seem freed to do more and more crazy things (episodes don’t stick to any format and they rarely stick to any time restrictions). This sets up SG: C2C volume 3, coming summer of 2005, which will present the 1997 season of Space Ghost when Cartoon Network gave a mandatory 26 episode directive where they really get their foothold into the format and deliver the perfect mix of story and interview. Plus, as the years wore on, Space Ghost’s infamy spread and bigger and better guest stars were booked, and available to do more interesting things.
The audio commentaries here are a vast improvement over volume 1 as well, with guest stars, some tomfoolery, and a good group dynamic, as well as some real insight into the technical difficulties of producing a live-action/cheaply animated cross. There’s never been anything like this.
There are only a handfull of truly great shows on network tv and very few of those are comedies. Really great comedy isn’t usually appreciated by the masses. Great comedy provokes and questions, it’s deceptive and defies expectations. We get stuck with what are called sit-coms… situation comedies where the same thing happens over and over again only in different degrees of severity. This can work, but more often it’s regurgatative tripe that doesn’t really amuse anyone but the laugh track (you don’t hear a lot of “…was filmed before a live studio audience” these days anymore for good reason).
There are shows that arise from time to time that spoof the formulaic tendencies of sit-com land, like Chris Elliott’s “Get A Life” or Parker and Stone’s “That’s My Bush”, but these fail because most people don’t get the joke and they don’t last.
Sitcoms are tired because they stick with a status quo. They don’t progress at all and every episode is a new start. But if that’s your structure, you can have fun with it. The Simpsons and Seinfeld were the first to really explore the concept that you can put your characters through the ringer every episode and then start afresh the next week as if nothing happened (then gain comedy and confusion by adding nuggets of continuity via throwback comments to previous episodes).
On the other side, you can have an ongoing drama within the comedy, bringing in relationships and storylines that carried over a season. Cheers was the first sitcom to establish this, making next week’s episode a must-watch to see what happens with Sam and Diane. As funny as it was, and still is, in retrospect it’s not as well done as they are today by other shows. Friends picked up where Cheers left off and generated a formula for friend-and-romance comedies that we’re going to suffer with for another decade at least.
The best comedies on tv pick up and advance the concepts Cheers and the Simpsons brought to life (oddly enough Fraser fell back into old-school sitcom patterns, and Simpsons has become a tired imitation of itself).
Malcom In The Middle was the first live action family-sitcom to take the Simpsons challenge. It could not only separate each of the characters from the situation in the situation-comedy but it could tear them apart without consequences in the next episode. While I stopped watching the show a couple years ago, I did really quite enjoy it. It’s the first American show I can recall that made use of the quick sidestep… you know when a character mentions something that happened in the past (not an old episode) and it quickly flashes back to show you what they mean, usually some insanely goofy thing the character did, provoking a “what the?” kind of laugh. Corner Gas also works using this technique and is the first Canadian sit-com to do so.
Scrubs grabbed onto this technique and has mastered it. Not only do they do the asides, but they also have narration, which isn’t the easiest thing to do in comedy - the last successful narrated network tv comedy was Doogie Howser M.D. - but Sex and the City made it work and so does Scrubs.
And then there’s Arrested Development, which is the next step up from Scrubs, taking the narration and the sidesteps one step further, as and serialized family sit-com with a storyline and continuity. Each episode segues into the next and yet they remarkably stand on their own. Each character gets their spotlight, every couple of episodes, and the show is smart enough to realize it doesn’t need to have each key player in every episode. This is one fearless program that’s not afraid to mess with convention.
It’s everything television should be, provocative and insightful, equal parts educated and ignorant. It bursts out of the stereotypical comedic character molds (the slut, the dumb guy, the smart one, the sarcastic one) and instead plays with their nuances, bringing out aspects of greed and fear and joy and reservation and any and every emotion that will be useful for the situation. These characters don’t feel trapped by the situation but instead they feel trapped by their own character.
The cast of AD is note perfect, and they seemed to have their incisors in the flesh of their roles from the first episode. Jason Bateman is an easy leading man, and has familiarity on his side… even though he’s hardly been on tv for a decade. He’s the everyman amidst a house of fools. Jeffry Tambor is always a delight, stepping into the dual role of twin brother, one incarcerated for corporate fraud, the other a shifty hippie. And then there’s scenery chewing guest stars like Carl Weathers as a thrifty parody of himself and Liza Minelli as the chief rival and mirror image of the mother of the clan.
There are no growing pains from episode 1 to episode 20. The first episode is just as funny as episode 12, and they’re all as consistently equal to each other. They smartly know it’s not the situation you throw at them that’s funny but how they react.
The DVD is a wonderful collection of the complete first season, with some deleted and extended scenes which I can only imagine were cut for time and story issues, as they’re just as funny as the rest of the episode. There are some commentaries which I haven’t had the chance to explore, but if the ensemble interview is anything it just seems everyone is extremely happy to be working on such a great show.
The only downside to releasing season 1 on DVD so soon after it wrapped was waiting for season 2 to start, and then realizing you’d have to get your dose of AD on a week-by-week basis instead of whenever you want.
The third and fourth season sets of Six Feet Under are being prepared for DVD release next year as the fifth season of that series debuts. That final season will be released within a year of its debut.
You ever get that thing that happens when you’re sick where stringy mucous seeps from the back of your nasal cavety and creeps down the back of your throat, gagging you and so you wake up in a near vomit inducing cacking panic as you run to the bathroom stepping on the cat along the way to hork what only feels like your guts out into the sink until you think you feel better and you go back to bed where you feel you can now sleep soundly only the exact same thing will happen another three, four, five…dozen times and you’ll get a lousy sleep and wake up barely to your alarm and crawl out of bed briefly only to realize that you really don’t feel well so you crawl back in and sleep for another hour until the point where you wake up and realize you really should call and/or email in sick… so you do, and while you don’t really feel much better, you really don’t feel any worse now do you?
Huh? Well, do you?
Anyway, yeah, I spent the day in, and through the miracles of telecommuting I really didn’t get set that far behind staying in constant email contact with the office and having an external log-in to access work apps made working from home rather enjoyable.
Well, that and the fact that I could sit at my computer and work while ploughing through 8 hours of Buffymania (season 3) at the same time… if only I could do this everyday… well, except for the violent coughing up of sticky yellow lumps… that I could do without.
Okay, I admit I wasn’t 100% focussed on work all day, but in my defense it really wasn’t that challenging a day. Plus, the cat was hanging out with me, keeping me company so we had that quality bonding time that I’m sure Work really wants me to have with my pets… right?
(panic and guilt set in as I read an email stating that Pee Wee’s Playhouse volume 1 and 2 have shipped and will likely be here tomorrow… 2weeks ahead of Amazon’s previously listed schedule. Oy).
GAK alerts me to Tokyo’s G-Cans project, a sea/ocean/flood overflow chasm built under the city.
Man that is cool shit. Every one I’m sure says it’s like something out of a science-fiction/anime film, and for damn good reason… that’s wild and crazy architecture there.
art by Frank Cho from wNoodle
TV on DVD
I’m addicted to TV on DVD.
I ploughed through the entire Aqua Teen Hunger Force volume 3 yesterday and the second disk of Space Ghost Coast To Coast volume 2 (hence my enjoyment of the pic above), and I ate up disk one of Buffy season 3. I’m making headway. But I’ve got to devour more soon because there’s lots more on its way:
Scrubs is coming in first quarter of 2005 but when… *meshrug*
Apparently, though, on a recent broadcasted episode Turk had his cellphone number changed to 1-800-CALL-TURK which apparently you can call. You will often just get a prerecorded message but every now and again someone from the cast or crew will actually pick up. How cool is that?
TVShowsOnDVD has a report
I didn’t realize that Lost was being written with Paul (Batman The Animated Series) Dini at the head of the table, and with Alias’ JJ Abrams behind the show. I’m going to have to give it a chance…on DVD. I love you DVD.
by Jon Stewart and the writers of the Daily Show
I wasn’t sure what I was going to get with America:The Book when I bought it… I could have, but I didn’t even bother to open up the cover and peek inside before I plunked my debit card on the counter and stuffed the book into my bag. The cashier looked a little nervous that I had already done that before the transaction was even completed but whether I could afford to or not I was taking that book home.
I flipped through the pages on the streetcar home, my curiosity getting the better of me. Was this going to be a compilation of Daily Show skits in script form? Was it going to be Onion-esque fake newstories or perhaps parodies of real ones? Was it going to be a satirical novel, or a series of essays, or a fake biography of an anthropomorphized land mass?
What I saw confused me … lots of pictures and sidebars, and two-page spreads with pixellated images. It wasn’t until I actually dove into it (or perhaps read the faux-quotes on the back cover) that I realized it was a satirical text book.
If only all text books were like this, perhaps I would have actually read them when I was in school.
The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are a band I’ve heard lots about (they are infamous for their 10 year old drummer) but have not actually had the chance to see live, or, in fact, even hear their sound.
Through random linkage I came across their video for the song “Mountain Trip to Old Japan”, and I have to say it’s highly entertaining. Rachel Trachtenburg is cute as a button with her Wednesday Aadams deadpan face nestled behind her drum kit. The sound reminds me of the nerd-pop of They Might Be Giants, highly infections and the whole family affair is utterly endearing.
Depanneren: Dutch for Dipshit?
Car drives into sea.
Crane comes to pull car out of sea.
Crane falls into sea.
Another crane comes to pull the car and the first crane out.
All photographed for our amusement
If what ails ya doesn’t kill ya, it’ll still make you feel like crap
Has anyone ever had this happen?
You’re eating a rather tart mandarin orange, one with an obviously high acidity level, and you bite into it and the juice squirts directly into the back of your throat like a high-pressure cannon. You start to cough instantly, like you’re choking, only you’re not choking you’re just caught by surprise. The back of your throat begins to burn and no matter how much water you drink that burning wont go away?
By the time you go to bed your throat is still uncomfortable but not too bad, but the next morning you wake up and you can tell that now you have a cold, and that the sensations that are making you cought and giving you a little bit of tenderness are coming from the same location that the juice d’orange had hit not 24 hours before?
Then three days later the cold migrates to your chest and you have fits of coughing like a geriatric who has smoked since they were fourteen?
That ever happen to you?
The best part of New York City was indeed you and me.. but second best had to be Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure. Reviews have been incredibly positive and word of mouth is getting stronger and stronger. The one-man performance has now been extended from its initial three-week run until January 08, 2005. So if you’re going to New York between now and then, I’d highly implore you to see the show, or if you’re not going to NYC and you have a region free dvd player, you can buy a dvd of the performance from Amazon.co.uk
I needs me a region-free dvd player.
Apparently Sony is distributing one in the UK only… which is kinda weird considering Sony is one of the major Hollywood studion distributors that supports region encoding to keep their profits where they belong (different studios can hold the rights to the same film but in different regions… region encoding prevents the consumer from buying the British release of Father Ted on BBC Video instead of the North American release on BFS Video (bad example but you get the idea)).
all mashed out
Remember the Grey Album from earlier this year? Sure you do… it’s the album that DJ Danger Mouse made in one day which recut Jay-Z’s “The Black Album” with samples from the Beatles’ “The White Album”… well for the span of a day or two, you could find on-line the Grey Video (link now disabled, mirrors available here) wherein Danger Mouse spliced together Jay-Z footage with some Ed Sullivan Beatles footage and created an awkward but entertaining video for the track “Encore”.
Ringo at the turntables man…
Paul breakdancin’ and flippin his wig…
My name is…
I’m so oversaturated in pop culture right now, I feel like I’m drowning. Yeah, it’s a silly thing to complain about, there are much worse problems in the world than getting lost in a sea of entertainment, but I’m just pondering to myself how this has happened. I’ve never had this much trouble juggling my entertainment doses, but then I don’t think there’s ever been the same accessability to movies, music, television, comics and books as there is today.
The DVD market is still increasing, and DVD sales are vastly increasing every year (if Van Helsing can sell 4million copies in its first week, the medium’s far from reached its peak), as is the volume releases, sor there’s more choice. Back in the burgeoning days of video in the 1980’s videos cost over $100 each, so it was not a consumer market. And at that cost, most rental stores were selective about what they brought in and cult/rare movies were much harder to find. With the affordability of DVD and internet availability (ola, Amazon) you can find virtually any movie released on DVD any time you want it no matter how obscure the film. If it’s been digitized it’s at your disposal.
Let’s not forget to mention that TV on DVD is really beginning to hit its stride as the massive inventory of 55 years of TV continues to get digitized (hell, there’s season sets of fucking Punky Brewster and Save By The Bell out now). There are also more and more TV channels popping up with more and more niche programming, and as digital recorders (TIVO) become more popular people are now free from the reigns of network schedules. Not to mention that bit-torrent technology has made tv and movies that much easier to download off the internet.
The internet has doubtlessly made music much more accessable across the board. Where before you were limited to radio exposure and television play or judging by magazine reviews and articles the quality of music, now with hundreds of MP3 blogs and various FTP sites, as well as the availabiltiy of things on iTunes and other mp3 purchase sites (then there’s the various p2p programs as well), you can literally hear it all now. You can expose yourself to 20 new songs every day and still not run out of new music to hear.
I don’t know how the true music junkies sift through it all… I have a hard enough time digesting the near 100 disks I’ve purchased this year, never mind the hundreds of mp3s available for download. How does anyone really take in an album anymore when the culture now seems focussed on identifying the latest big thing, then moving along to the next on a bi-monthly basis?
The major players in the music industry are lamenting the loss of their profits due to mp3 sharing, smaller bands and smaller labels are rejoicing, as the internet has given them a bigger venue of exposure.
Much in the same manner, the smaller indie films are getting bigger and bigger release as the festival circuit grows, and the technologies and philosophies behind film production make it easier to do smaller budget movies. The internet helps create buzz, and word-of-mouth carries it along… the life cycle for indie movies is now anywhere from 12 to 24 months in theatre (give or take a few months) as the credit and acclimation grows. Meanwhile the mainstream film is having a shorter release span, with the hopes of recouping sales on DVD before it’s forgotten. As these cycles get shorter volume increases, and there’s so much more to watch in the theatre. And if you live in a major centre, the repertory theatres keep your options wide open.
Reading may be for suckers, but print is far from dead. It’s surely a more European thing to do but publishing isn’t slowing down. The big publishers are being more cautious about what they release and who they publish, but the small press is filling the void and the self-publish/indie press is creating its own movement that’s not even yet made its first yawn, nevermind its roar. But what there is out there to read isn’t lessening either, and used bookstores seem to be as copious as they ever were even if they use used DVDs to pad sales. And Harry Potter is at least giving reading a booster shot in the youth market.
On the other side of print, comic books are finally getting their cred. They’ve grown up enough in their storytelling and their publishing practices that the mainstream media is finally taking notice. With regular review columns in the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly amongst others, they are getting their due. Even though sales of North American comics still haven’t risen to a comfortable enough level do dissuade the annual report on the death of the comics medium, things are picking up, mainly thanks to the trade paperback and Manga (aka “Japanese Manga”).
The trade paperback has been around for nearly 30 years, but it’s only within the past three or four years that their impact has been felt. Not only are trades compiling recent stories but progressively they’re repackaging older stories and series’ for a new generation. And the popularity of the format is having a big effect on the industry. Most new comic book series’ aren’t really judged a success or failure until the first trade paperback comes out, and more and more writers are being told to format their stories to make an apt trade. The smarter comic book stores are now resembling bookstores more than the dingy juvenile castles they once were.
While American comics are primarily being made and consumed by a more adult audience, teens and pre-teens are consuming Manga at a furious rate, often outselling even the more popular of North American titles. If anything is going to bring future generations to the medium, it’s the model the Japanese have set. In their country Manga is a given in most households, and stories are produced that will entice every member of the family. It’s a completely different attitude towards the medium than the shadow of Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent we are finally starting to emerge from.
With the shift in attitudes publishers are making as much of the material from comic’s 80plus-year history available to as wide an audience as possible. Everything’s coming available, collectability be damned, they’re opting to rise up from the niche collector’s market into the realm of readability.
So much choice, so much option. So much available… and I’m just trying to take as much of it in as possible, only the more time goes on, the more stuff is created making the backpile that much more volumous.
d, w: John Sayles
I’ve been trying to write this review for over a month now, and still I’ve got nothing.
Silver City is written and directed by John Sayles, a filmmaker whose movies I have always enjoyed, and yet they never really stick with me. I can’t remember much about Lone Star, or Men With Guns… they just don’t resonate.
Silver City is much in the save vein. I watched it, I liked it, I kinda forgot about it.
No, but he is.
The highlight of my trip to New York was getting to see “Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure” live and then meeting the man afterwards. It was an insanely funny performance/endurance comedy piece, as entertaining as the book if not moreso.
In a story that is strewn with coincidences, it was ironic that we had our own little coinkydink… as following the mildly amusing David Brenner comment from the night before, who just happened to sit next to Emma but none other than the king of latenight’s third guest seat himself… David Brenner. Right there, throughout the whole performance, not laughing - the fact that he wasn’t laughing at this just proves he doesn’t know what’s funny. I’m being harsh. I bet he was dissecting the performance, the timing, the nuances of comedic storytelling, the real-but-unbelievable-therefore-alarmingly-funny coincidences, the pacing and the building up of story… all the great bits… tearing it all apart and missing the sheer joy that was the experience of, yes, real comedy. Or perhaps he was seething with black hearted jealousy at this young-ish British upstart who was so teeth grittingly funny that it was like tiny daggers in his bowels every time the audience laughed. Or perhaps he was learning by reverse engineering the performance. Who but he can say but he.
I did notice he went up to Gorman after the show, but I didn’t see the interaction. I’m curious if Gorman knew who he was, or if he cared.
Anyway, I was pleased as punch to meet Dave-o. He posed very Gorman-esque for this picture (”Can I get a picture with Dave?” “Well, if you have a camera, because if you don’t it’s going to be rather difficult), and was nice enough to get my name right when scrawling in my book.
Bless you with tissues, Dave, for that 2 second period I too felt like a Dave Gorman.
November 13, 12:09am
We were quite about done drinking (scotch after beer, what were they thinking?) and Emma was looking a little green, GAK looked half asleep, and Chris looked… well about the same as when we met up with him.
We paid our sizeable beverage bill and exited the pub and headed towards Broadway to hail a cab. If you’ve seen any kind of video on New York, you typically see the streets flooded with yellow taxi cabs, and you know, it’s pretty much like that. What they don’t tell you is all those cabs are occupied. Hailing a cab while hoisting a tipster isn’t the easiest thing on earth.
November 13, 4pm
Yeah, the morning was a wash… catching up on sleep and attempting as many hangover recipes as possible, and test driving cars, motorbikes, airplanes, helcopters and more on GTA: San Adreas (an immensely sprawling and addictively cathartic game).
We managed to get out of the door on a cool but sunny Saturday before the sun set. I managed to squeak the camera out of its cozy warm pocket and got snap happy. New York is a photogenic city if nothing else (and it’s a lot else).
The view from Brooklyn
Apparently NYC has a rat problem
GAK participates in the time honoured tradition of trash bin diving.
The Brooklyn bridge. Yup we walked that in the midst of wind and freezing rain. Yay for us!
Emergency call boxes are strewn throughout the city.
It’s a good place for wedding pictures.
The Manhattan Bridge. We didn’t walk across that.
Cobblestone streets pop up all around the city, as do abandoned streetcar tracks.
Not sure what stating the obvious has to do with anything (written in pencil, it states “Loser”)… this was slapped onto a telephone booth right in front of us, the sticker apparently coming to New York via Washington DC.
We ate at Grimaldi’s Pizza, voted five years in a row as the best Pizza in NYC. There’s a whole confusing history, but Grimali’s cook their pizza in a coal fired brick oven, and each pizza takes about 6 or 7 minutes to cook.
As you can see, they have no slices and they take no reservations. “DUMBO” is the Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, a new initiative in developing, well, under the Manhattan Bridge.
These were two false walls (well, they were real walls but their purpose was not containing anything)… I assume they were for television shooting purposes but really, I have no idea what the hell they’re all about.
The subways are all surprisingly clean… nothing like the dim, gritty, nasty looking subway cars from early 90’s television/80’s cinema.
The subway terminals were also quite clean (with the odd area under construction and the only litter typically disposed Metrocards), although the odd man under a sheet was not uncommon.
You know, I love how we have new release Tuesdays for cds and dvds, and new comic Wednesdays, TGI Fridays, but what about Mondays? Well, New York has “No Parking Monday”… what a great day! (I also saw signs for “No Parking Thursday” which is equally cool… must be a district thing.)
Apparently people in New York have issues about being the first/middle/last/only child. Uh… right.
More Pictures… click ‘em for larger image
Nov 12, 7:30pm
I don’t remember the name of the bar, but, unlike some people, I at least remember the rest of the evening. CH, Emma’s friend from the Letterman show was meeting up with his friend, a Sports Illustrated rep. I didn’t know if this was business or casual interaction but the quick dispensing of the first round of drinks was a good sign of the latter.
SY turned out to be very nice, down-to-earth and utterly sociable, at the same time feeling comfortable and somewhat out of place in our conversations Canadian (CH and GAK are both ex-pats). Apparently CH once had drinks with Mr. Dressup! MR. GOLDDANG. DRESSUP! Ernie Coombs himself. Wow…. but that’s CH’s story to tell.. mine, I must say are far more tame and less celebrity embued.
After the first three rounds SY had to leave us for other more sporting ventures, but we were not a meager quartet for long after the Letterman interns popped by to watch the Canadians in their beer drinking action (true to form, I was drinking whiskey sours… while their beer may be like water, they don’t mess with their whiskey down south).
The interns were on their way to the latest Bridget Jones fiasco, but dear PM, their ringleader of sorts (and if I have this correct, the go-to-gal for anything and everything behind the scenes of World Wide Pants’ late night television foray) stayed behind, more than a little disinterested in Bridget’s latest hijinks. It wasn’t long after PM sat down that the table beside us became involved in our conversation. I don’t remember the exact trigger words, but they were dirty words used in clean context.
Turns out the majority of the bar was from another country as the lads and lassies beside us were kiwis from New Zealand, amongst other places. They came and went from our conversations, but any time anything dirty was uttered, there they were, back in the thick of things.
Five rounds down, I was done but everyone else was slogging through, slowly but determined. The smarter of us devoured some food. Nasty ass lesser-than-pub-food food, but nourishing food in some small respect.
At one point Emma disappeared in the washroom and was gone for a longer than usual (at least it seemed that way) time. During that time the majority of the bar area we were in cleared out, and so when someone emerged from the washroom we all turned and stared… naturally.
It wasn’t Emma (I don’t remember who it was… some American). She’s like “Whaddayall starin’ at me for?”
“Nothing,” we all seemed to say in unison.
“I just thought you were my fiancee.”
“Nah, she’s still in there.”
CH urged her to have a seat. “Well, come sit down with us.”
“Yes,” I said, you will now be substitute fiancee.”
“Excellent,” CH said. “Now Emma’s going to think she’s been replaced.”
“Yes, go ahead,” I said, “put your arm around me.”
“No, I don’t think I will,” she said.
“Ah, go on” CH said.
“Are you really going to get married,” she asked.
“How old are you?”
“And you’re getting married?”
“Yup. Now put your arm around me, it’ll be funny.”
“No, I should probably get going.”
CH said “What are you drinking?”
“Let us buy you a bud light. Will you stay with us if we buy you a Bud light?”
“No that’s okay.”
“For being a good sport, we’ll buy you a Bud Light.”
“No thanks. I’m going to go now…. Y’all are weird.”
“We’re from Canada,” GAK said. Just then Emma came out. She thought the new girl was another of CH’s friends so she didn’t look nearly as shocked as she would have had the girl put her arm around me. We all laughed heartily anyway, except the girl beside me.
“What’s so funny,” Emm asked.
“You got replaced,” I said.
The girl looked at her and said “Are you really going to marry him?”
Emm looked puzzled. “Yes…?”
“Oooohkay…” the girl said and got up an left. “Bye”
“Bye” we said, “thanks for being a good sport,” I said, then turning to Emm “we tried to get her to put her arm around me, but she wouldn’t.”
“Right,” Emma said.
Some of those things may have been said by Gary or PM… but I can’t remember if PM left before or after this happened. When PM left she said “It was nice being an hono(u)rary Canadian. I got to apologize a lot, which I normally do anyway, but this seemed more official.”
She got up to leave and waved goodbye. “You’re fun people. Hope to see you again some time.”
“You’re welcome back on our show any time,” CH said.
“Yes,” I said, “you’ll be the David Brenner of our late night talk show.” Chris laughed heartily. I’m not sure anyone else got the joke.
David Brenner, if you don’t know, is a horribly unfunny comedian who winds up on Letterman and Leno and Conan and other talk shows on a phenomenally regular basis (compared to most z-grade “celebrities” Brenner’s about a step down from Carrot Top and a step up from Zsa-Zsa or Joey Buttafuoco, to which, if you’re keeping track, I’m not even approaching) participating in painful, partially scripted, pseudo-witty “banter”. I’ve (thankfully) never actually caught Brenner’s stand-up act so that “horribly unfunny” judgement comes from uneducated guessing more than first hand experience.
10pm on 11/11
The check-in, customs, and flight to NYC were easy peasy, with a lousy dinner in a Terminal 2 “restaurant” (T2 is no T3) fortifying our stomachs the plane ride was smooth until we hit a nasty patch of turbulence which turned out to be us landing on the tarmac. Go figure.
We managed to stow everything as carry on so there was no baggage wait… but there was a short wait for our host to arrive, which is fine because I think we landed early.
We hopped into a New York cab (what the locals have taken to never calling a “Crazy Taxi”) and half an hour (and 30 dollars) later (a buck a minute… like old school long-distance phone rates) we were in the lovely neighbourhood (or as they call it in the US “neighBORhood”) of Brooklyn Heights.
Ditching our baggage at Chateau d’GAK (CdG) we hunted for some foodstuffs at a slow pace due to Emma’s foot injury earlier in the day (she stepped on some scrap fencing wire used on the bunny hutch I left sitting on the floor of the storage room, leaving a constellation of small holes and light-but-effectively-painful bruising on the sole of her foot).
GAK found Hobbleong Cassady and I a quite nice Irish Pub (with real Irish people working there, complete with accentage and whatnot… unlike the Irish Pubs in Canada owned by Korean families and whatnot) to eat at (which took a bit of searching for as the majority of bars close their kitchens by 11pm).
We experimented later that evening with a borrowed AERObed (as opposed to the supposedly rare AERO bar which GAK asked me to bring some down due to their negligable availability but we in fact found in New York the next day the while peering into the window of a British themed shoppe) which began to collapse to the point of severe discomfort within the span of three hours. I released the air and we sank quickly to the floor for the remainder of the evening.
New York Times, day 2
It was a lovely dripping day in NYC, a day providing us with the soul chilling wetness one normally reserves for Vacouver/London/Halifax winters… but I guess they’re all coastal cities so it should have been anticipated.
GAK brought his brolly which and Emma her toque (Canadian lingo.. an American would call it a “cap” or “lid” or somesuch) and I was without either, oh and gloves as well.
A grand brunch was had at a Brooklyn eaterie (waffles goddamnit!) strengthening us with the necessary vitavim we need to help us progress with our day of trudging through the largest city on the continent in wet shoes and socks.
We trudged across the Brooklyn Bridge, which isn’t an uncommon feat, but considering the conditions, it was quite, well, challenging. The sky water mixing with the saltwater below, gusting up and forming ice pellets as we crossed the bridge. The wind was heavy and chilling, I used the brolly as a shield but it wasn’t helping all that much.
We roamed Manhattan, destination nowhere, popping into a largesque non-Barnes-and-Noble bookstore and then down to the “only mall in the city” (according to GAK) down on Pier 17. I dropped into Neighborhoodies to get me made a “geek.ent” burgundy hooded zip-up sweatshirt (picture to come, cuz I don’t have it yet… which is another thing… the sloppy weather kept me from pulling out the ol’ digicam, for fear of fuckin’ up it’s electro-innards/outards so we have absolutely no pictures from day one)
We popped around mid-town (methinks) to go to “Tea and Sympathy” but it was packed, so we went… elsewhere, meeting up with a bookbinding client of Emma’s. She was a delightfully friendly and social lass named Christine, a legal student and voracious knitter. We drank our hot chocolate (which wa more akin to the famous “Manhattan luke-warm chocolate” I’d always heard about) and moseyed on our way, nighttime falling hard and fast at around 5pm.
We made our way to Broadway and the Ed Sullivan theatre, where CH - a friend of Emma’s she’d not actually seen in 13 years (!) - works for the Late Show with David Letterman.
CH gave us a pass past the watchful eye of a security guard up to the 11th floor where “all the real work is done”. We met the interns (”Hi interns”) and some other staff people, and the signed photograph of Golden Girl Rue MacLanahan (who oddly enough never appeared on the show).
We were doffed with free “Late Show” schwag, and CH promptly escorted us out the building… to a neighbourhood bar (and the rest of the evening shall be promptly forgotten… well not really, but that’s a story for a little later) …
Everyone’s your friend in New York City
Everything looks beautiful when you’re young and pretty
The streets are paved with diamonds and there’s just so much to see
But the best thing about New York City is… you and me
d: Jonathan Hensleigh
w: Jonathan Hensleigh, Michael France
Three things that went horribly horribly wrong with the Punisher movie:
1) The origin story. It didn’t just go over the top, it stayed there. I question the necessity of an origin story to begin with, especially one that takes up one third of the movies total run-time.
In the comics, Frank Castle’s wife and child are murdered after witnessing some mob activity. In this film, not only are Castle’s wife and child killed (by a magically disappearing pickup truck on a Peurto Rican warf) but his entire family is slaughtered at a reunion to hammer home the point that Frank’s going to be pissed off. They turn this massacre into a silly action piece which comes off, at best, like a 5th season episode of the A*Team.
Frank also gets shot a number of times, but is cured by a religious shamen-type black dude who’s randomly inserted for no reason.
Let’s get this straight, the Punisher doesn’t need an expansive origin story. Periodic nightmares or flashback sequences taking up no more than 5 minutes of screen time, and the odd thirty seconds of expository dialogue would more than suffice.
Maroons - Ambush ***1/2
Feist - Let It Die ***1/2
Menomena - I Am The Fun Blame Monster ***1/2
The Hidden Cameras - I Believe In The Good Of Life ep ****
Handsome Boy Modeling School - White People ****1/2
Diane Cluck: Black With Green Leaves
Diane Cluck: Oh Vanille Ova Nil
Tom Waits: Real Gone
Ellen Allien: Berlinette
ESG: A South Bronx Story
Did you know/Were you aware that dryer sheets and fabric softeners contain numerous chemicals which are excessively hazardous to your health? Though we’re exposed to these in only small doses, the reactions can cumulate over time causing respiratory damage, central nervous system impairment and various skin and allergy reactions.
You have a choice not to use dryer sheets and instead use easier and more economical/environmental solutions. I’m trying some, and I’ll let you know how it works.
Obviously, hang drying outside is easy, but apartment dwellers don’t really have the option most of the time. Static can be reduced if clothes aren’t fully dried in the drier and instead laid out on a rack.
Keeping 100% cottons separate from synthetic fibers (which cause morst of the static) will also help.
You can also stick a sheet of tinfoil in the dryer, apparently, and it will help negate static (I’m trying this right now).
Or you can pour a 1/2 cup of vinegar into the wash cycle. That smell, that’s a sweet smell.
The tinfoil itself worked okay, but things like polar fleece were still pretty static-filled. The vinegar in with the wash worked quite well and things actually feel a little softer because of for some reason. Combine the two and it’s all okay.
Fuckin’ A(team)… Mr. T dolls and everything else T! (thanks Josie).
Vowels are free
This is a great Scrabble word finder. If only I used it in my last game it would have given me bRulziers (created from an existing R, two blanks, L,U,I,S and Z with the “B” blank landing on a double word score and the Z landing on a triple letter [it would have given me a score of 120 - 70+ 50pt bingo bonus] and I would have went out and won the game with my opponent stuck with a full rack)… Brulzies is another word for brulyies which I believe is a Scottish word for a loud argument. *meshrug*
We gots a bunny:
His name is Gir and he’s not fat, he’s a fluffy bunny.
He’s tame which is great, cause he doesn’t bite, and he licks your hand when you pull out his fur (but only when he wants you to).
I’ve been trying to introduce BaileyTheCat to Gir, but the little pussy she is she’s afraid of him and wants to run away at the rabbit’s slightest movements. She is definitely curious of him, but mostly I think she wants in his giant box, which is probably a really bad idea.
too much biking against the wind - a 12+ KM ride across town to Lizvang’s new place on Saturday, had a nice 70km/h tailwind, but I had to face it going home… ouch… that wiped me for most of the weekend, and had another bout with the wind biking to work this morning. It wasn’t so bad but I’ve still not regained my stamina yet (after a couple nights of not-so-good sleep.
My second attempt at karaoke on Saturday - the first time in four years - at the Accordion Guy’s birthday/engagement (to the Redhead) party.
Emm and I didn’t stay long, as she had a headache and I was tres poopded from the afromentioned bike ride. But that didn’t stop me from wrecking the M.I.C… literally, as soon as I touched the thing the karaoke stopped working.
When all was restored to order I “cracked that whip” and “gave the past a slip” “singing” to the electrobeats of Devo and moving with a spastic jerk which can only be called Ian Curtis-esque. Maybe.
It was awful but I had fun, and was gearing up to sing “Proud Mary” spoken-word Shatner style but was mercifully interrupted.
Emma and I bailed before I could rock the microphone once again (if only they had rap songs like “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock… I know that thing inside out)
Kristmazz comz urly
I started seeing XMas shit the first week of October this year, at the exact same time the Hallowe’en candy busted it’s move… friggin October. Thanksgiving hadn’t even passed yet and there was Christmas shit!
Pretty soon “Christmas in July” won’t be just a cheap sales technique from The Brick, but everyone.
I did my first foray into the holiday purchases this weekend, on that brutal headwind ride home. I had to stop, for I wasn’t making very good progress and my legs burned something fierce, like my whole lower body was hemorrhoidal or something. So I stopped at Soundscapes, my favourite local recordings shoppe and killed an hour perusing the shelves and deciding how much
moneycredit I actually wanted to spend. And there it was, my first holiday purchase for my mate Ryan in T.Bay…the expected cd/dvd combo thang I was telling him about and if he can’t remember then I’m not going to spoil it by saying exactly what it was here.
Oh, I guess I did a little pre-shop for Gary with that Canuck tv-on-dvd show that I got for him earlier in October… hmmm… guess I started earlier than I thought.
I was a few too many years late for it, dagnabbit, but Lakehead University has an honest-dag-gosh-nabbit radio station, which is sad because if there’s one thing I’ve always wanted it was my own radio station… not that I have a good radio voice, but it would be nice to force my own musical tastes onto the airwaves… plus all the free music you can get.
My brother-at-arms who has returned to school after a bohemian hiatus, Rick Three has two programmes he’s putting together, one called “Caffeine and Affection” which airs Wednesdays at 7 - 8 AM wherein he plays “superhappyfunwakeupsongs”. The other is called “Invisible Radio” on on Sundays from 2 - 3 PM, playing “new experimental art music”.
The station is still in its infancy and is rough college-based radio, but soon it may find solid footing and its on-air personalities begin to shine through the roughness.
If you’d like to listen, copy and paste this into Real or some other accepting media streaming player:
I’m so jealous right now.
think of the children
Speaking of “superhappyfunwakeupsongs” - which was a song on the awesome Somebody Needs A Timeout compilation last year by Chords of Canada - it turns out that Campfire Records should be putting out a follow up release of indie Canadian acts doing original songs for children called “Turn That Frown Upside Down”. Hopefully no jarring songs by Propagandhi at the end of that one to ruin it for everyone this time. That was weird.
“Turn that frown” expected around Christmas sometime… hopefully.
I was mentioning earlier how I made a bunny hutch for Emma’s new angora rabbit (which she got today and will likely post about soon).
For anyone that wants to see what it looks like Emma made pictures:
Total dimentions: 4′ wide by 4′ tall by 2′ deep…
the bottom left now has a shelf that bisects it which I added this afternoon before going to help Liz move which I was too late for… welcome back to T.Dot Liz!!!