Current status: Hungry
Other status: Stressed
Other other status: a little sickly, quite frankly… hoping it’s from all the dust I kicked up packing yesterday
Status N: neck hurts after freak chair shuffling incident (I shuffled in my chair and threw my neck out…?! Getting old)
Status Z: frickin’ sleepy
O status: Ade’s birthday. Happy Birthday, beloved. She’s already gotten most of her presents (out of print GI Joe box sets). t’other she gets tonight. Thanks to the p-junkie for his assistance.
Move status: mostly packed, about 98%.
Appliance status: a lot of nibbles, no takers so far.
Blog status: it’s here, it’s queer… apples.
I like mittens.
Current status: Hungry
There are a lot of things to do in the transition from The Ronces to BOBTown, including mail forwards, address changes on bills and cards and passports (gotta remember this for the Teatown trip in November), and moving various connections (well, internet primarily). Of course, chief amongst the things to do is pack, and it feels like I’ve been packing for ages and a day, and I’m still not done. Today we progressed from 80% completion to 90%, but still what’s left seems pretty daunting. All the odds and ends that don’t fit nicely with other things in boxes, all the furniture that needs to be taken apart, and, oh yeah, the computers.
The kitchen is pretty much packed but I ran out of tape so there’s a lot of open boxes, and a few plates, bowls and cups left out for us to use until move day. The biggest surprise while moving: mouse poop. Mouse? There’s never been a mouse at The Ronces before. And somehow the mouse managed to make its way up to the top shelves of the pantry, those little f-bombers can f-bombin’ climb. Surprisingly all it did was piss and poop and go after the spaghetti (no other foodstuffs even showed signs of scratching or gnawing. I’m pretty sure the mouse is new, as in the past three or four days, since I’ve never seen a mouse, or traces of a mouse here before. I think the fact that this abode is now catless for the first time, plus the cooling weather has left The Ronces a little exposed.
Oh well. We’re outta here in, what, 3 days. Not gonna worry, as long as the little bastard doesn’t stow away. I’ll talk a little more about how much I’m looking forward to living in BOBTown… later… maybe after the move.
There’s a Hot Dog shoppe near Dundas and Yonge called Frankz and though I’ve pretty much been eliminating the whole snout, arseholes and entrails streetmeat from my diet (ever since someone posed the question of “where do the vendors go to the bathroom and where do they wash their hands?”), I had a hankering for a frankfurter. Well, to my surprise Frankz hot dogs are 100% all beef, made from shoulder meat and no filler, made in an all natural casing. Hell, it was practically healthy. I mean, I had fries with it, but they make great fries there too.
You get your choise of 19 toppings, you can have cheese (but pay a little extra for it), and they have three kinds of buns to choose from, and you can get it boiled, steamed or bbq’d. It’s obviously a bit more expensive than the $1 streetcorner fare, but if you want to feel a little bit better about what you’re putting in your body, it’s certainly worth it. At the same time, it didn’t really taste much different than a regular hot dog (although the casing was a little more rigid making the dog kinda … pop every time you bite down on it.
A nice surprise, and a very clean enviro (they even have a liquor license).
Trolls, not just for the internet and bridges anymore
We were having a conversation at lunch today about the various downtown gyms and we were informed about the men’s changeroom and the various… activities that go on there. Apparently the men’s sauna is a notorious locale for the sex, so unless you’re looking to get doubly sweaty then best not to venture in there. More a notice to unsuspecting Finns than anything, heh. Meanwhile, to expand upon it all, we were told about the “sauna trolls”, who I guess are best defined as gym members who never actually partake in any of the facilities but rather troll around the changerooms in a towl (and likely flip-flops) scoping the talent to potentially lure into the hotbox. It’s all pretty fascinating and slightly disturbing, like finding your roommate’s gimp costume (not implicating Rooms in anything, honest).
You know me, I’m a comic book aficionado. I love comics in their many shapes and forms, and despite the anti-tights rantings that many so-called lovers of comics continually spout, I still think that the superfantastic is one thing comic has, can still and likely will always do better than any other medium. Last night’s premiere of “Heroes”, from “Crossing Jordan” creator Tim Kring, did nothing to dispel that fact.
How does one describe heroes? Well, prior to seeing the show, I was telling people that it was like Unbreakable but an ensemble rather than just one person. After watching the show, well, saying such things does Unbreakable a great disservice.
The Pilot to “Heroes” is a weak, fence-sitting effort at catering to both the geek crowd and to the everyman. Either go all-out or keep it eternally grounded, the middle ground doesn’t work for these stories. “Heroes” is attempting to play in the “real world”, where the characters are supposed to be oblivious to their abilities and the concept of “powers” is foreign to them, yet, in each instance the introduction to these characters has them having a sixth sense about what they can do and what they should be doing with their abilities.
w/ Major Grange, the 6ixty 8ights @ El Mocambo, Sept. 15, 2006
w: Paul Haggis (from the screenplay by Gabriele Muccino)
A character in the film states that we’re having mid-life crises earlier these days because things move at such a faster pace than they did for our parents, that’s why so many of us experience a sense of inordinate panic at turning thirty, when, presumably our folks didn’t get there until they were forty.
But that encroaching-thirty panic isn’t the same as what the barrelling-in-on-forty panic is, as the latter generally signals the half-life, “it’s all downhill from here” marker when one reflects on their life and rebels against their status quo. The bordering-thirty panic is a pre-emptive rejection of the status quo, a decision to ignore or delay growing up, and strive to hang on to the sensation of freedom that was one’s twenties while denying responsability. Of course, it’s all relative to who you are, where you live, your background and whatnot, but in essence this is me, and this is Michael, Zach Braff’s character in The Last Kiss.
Michael is just settling into his career as an architect, his girlfriend of three years, Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) is pregnant, and things are comfortable: good, but comfortable. Michael sees his future, like it’s all planned out, and he’s afraid of what it means, specifically growing up, and a lack of surprises. A good friend gets married while another, Izzy (Michael Weston) is crushed by his recent break-up. Michael’s freind and co-worker, Chris (Casey Affleck), is a father and trapped in a verbal and loveless marriage, while their friend Kenny (Eric Olsen) is happy with his solitary life, tending bar and sleeping around. Four separate stages of breaking or broken relationships, accentuated by Jenna’s parents, Stephen and Anna (Tom Wilkinson and Blythe Danner) who are experiencing, once again, strains in their 30-year marriage.
Had a slash dream last night involving Zach Braff and Colossus from the X-Men. My predominantly hetero side feels a little disturbed by this, and that tiny iota that is my homosexual/curious side says “Colossus? Really? Huh.”
Book: Those Who Walk Away, by Patricia Highsmith
Purchased: eons ago… August 11, 2004
Start reading date: July 26, 2006
Finished reading: September 23, 2006
Total days taken to read the book: 59
Average reading speed: 4.24 pg/day
The plot was rather simple: Ray, a young American widower living in Italy, confronts Coleman, his father-in-law who blames him for his daughter’s suicide. Coleman makes numerous attempts on Ray’s life, and yet Ray still attempts to resolve their differences. A game of cat-and-mouse/hide-and-go-seek continually ensues about the Italian landscape. Highsmith paints a vivid and now lost era of low technology and primitive communication, travelling without passports and old fashioned police and private eyes. As much as I like technology, I would love to leave for a civilized yet incommunicado and, to some degree, niave world like the Italy in this book on occasion. Kind of like camping, but with lattés and warm baths.
Now starting Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I’m off to scratch a film off my list. “The Last Kiss”. I havn’t done the alone-in-a-theatre thing for a while (the last Will Ferrell movie which I still need to sit and write a review for) so I’m kind of looking forward to it. Some me time. Not that I need alone time…
Ade is off in Ottawa for a Romance Writer’s Conference for the weekend, but had a delightful evening last night, meeting her mom for the first time and having dinner with them and the wee one.
I’m nearly “done” packing all my piddly crap, but the kitchen is left an the furniture needs to be taken apart. Such is my weekend to come.
Telemarketers annoy me at work now. Yay.
I don’t speak Spanish, to the cleaning lady’s disappointment. No habla espanol :( She was trying to ask me about my buttons on my bag.
Two of my friends back home are suffering some crippling back problems. I get to see one of them tomorrow for a few hours (airport layover following a medical consult) and really wish I could visit the other and help out.
Need to make some phonecalls later. Also need food, and probably sleep.
Also, more time in the day (well, evening actually… ) would be nice. Can we make a 25th hour?
Okay, so a day after complaining that I have no interest in seeing anything, a few adverts in some comics, signage on the streetcar, posters on derelect buidings, and a few teasers on tele later and I have a renewed interest in cinema.
My on-tap films are so (all release dates taken from IMDB, and may not reflect actual release dates in Toronto or your city):
Half Nelson - No idea what it’s about but I hear it’s one of the better films of the year.
The Last Kiss - I may have a man-crush on Zach Braff. I dunno how else to explain my desire to see this film I know nothing about except he’s in it.
Little Miss Sunshine - Looks charming, but at this point I might as well wait for DVD.
Hollywoodland - I was pretty interested in seeing this but I’ve heard it cops out of really looking at ex-Superman George Reeve’s death
Idiocracy - Mike Judge’s oft delayed second film (after my much beloved “Office Space”) still isn’t getting wide release, as it’s distributor (Fox) doesn’t understand the film nor know what to do with it. It’s a social satire about intellectual decay, inspired sort-of by Futurama, except imagine if the dim-bulb from the past wound up being the smartest guy in a mentally-challenged future. Reports say that it’s not really that funny, but “Office Space” was a seether and King of the Hill is always sharp, so I wish to judge (ahem) for myself. It apparently got limited release on September 1st (playing in TO at the Kennedy Commons…?).
The Protector - Tony Jaa is back, in pretty much the same plot as Ong Bak, only with crazier stunts in more nonsensical settings. Think I’ll just borrow my friend’s chinatown special version rather than seeing it in theatres. I didn’t really like Ong Bak all that much anyway.
The Science of Sleep - Michel “Eternal Sunshine” Gondry’s new film. Looks vivid and imaginative, and that’s enough for me.
Fearless - the last Jet Li fight epic. Doesn’t really look very good, but let’s give the man his last hurrah anyway.
The Departed - Scorsese’s new golden boy is Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s mildly more watchable than Al Pachino, but alas, their pairing inspires me little. The Departed is based on the amazing Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs”, so I’m interested to see how it’s been translated, since “IA” was pretty much perfection. Plus, Jack Nicholson, Ray Winstone. Minus, Leo and Marky Mark. I probably won’t like it.
The Queen - Stephen Frears takes a semi-fictional look inside the Family Windsor surrounding the timeframe of Diana’s death. We often see so many American films set inside actual White House administrations, but I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a film set on the inside of the ruling Royal Family. Looks interesting. (Limited Release)
Shortbus - “Hedwig” creator John Cameran Mitchell’s sophomore effort promises lots and lots of actual sex and, what the… Sook Yin Lee? Seriously? I really liked “Hedwig”, and message behind “Shortbus” sounds intriguing, but I don’t know if I’m ready to see this movie. Maybe on video. I feel like a prude, but then I did see Lars Von Trier’s “The Idiots” and it had “real sex” and that film was just insulting and boring (or boring and insulting).
the Prestige - Christopher Nolan is always a draw. It’s got Batman and Wolverine (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) as fueding magicians. It’s based off a Christopher Priest novel I havn’t read. I’m going to lurve this (and I just saw a trailer on tele for it last night… it looks great).
Marie Antoinette - Sofia Coppola’s follow-up to “Lost In Translation”. It got a horrible reception at Cannes, which perplexes me greatly. It seems very Baz Luhrmann-esque, so I’ll probably wait for video.
D.O.A. - Dead Or Alive - cheesecake videogaming comes to the theatre, and rather than the disasterous Uwe Boll, it’s helmed by martial arts master Cory Yeun. Kick-ass titillation I’m going to feel guilty (or embarassed) about seeing… but after it’s over. If you go opening night, watch your shoes … there’ll be a lot of geek drool on the floor.
Sleeping Dogs Lie - A movie directed by Bobcat Goldthwait(!?) about a woman who admits a sexual indiscretion from her youth (think about the title for a second) to her boyfriend and faces the consequences of telling the whole truth. Divisive in its concept, but I hear it’s surprisingly introspective, and I bet there’s probably a few hundred people out there that can relate to the premise. (limited release)
Babel - I’m not excited because it’s Amorres Perros director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film, but because it’s one of those cascading domino-effect films where one action causes another which in turn causes another and on, much in the vein of Magnolia or Siryana. And yes, Brad Pitt is in it.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan - If judging by the trailer alone, this will be the funniest film of the year, and perhaps the decade. The cool and the nerdy kids alike will be sporting Borat-esque accents to crack up their friends. I’ve never even seen “Da Ali G Show” but this looks like a cramp-inducing laugh-fest.
Stranger Than Fiction - A Charlie Kaufmann-esque grounded fantasy which finds Emma Thompson struggling with her latest novel and it’s lead character, who turns out to be a real man (played by Will Ferrell) who hears her narrating in his head. The trailer spoiled the film for me, as it seems to follow an unnatural path in the last act. It could be interesting or it could be “Adaptation”-lite.
FUCK - Totally playing off of the success of “the Aristocrats”, FUCK interviews countless stand-up comedians in an examination of the infamous word. My fascination with stand-up means I desire to see it, but my logic tells me it’s likely a capitalistic token effort. Then again, the director Steve Anderson’s only other credit is “the Big Empty” which I actually quite enjoyed. (limited release)
Casino Royale - a new James Bond returning to Ian Fleming’s novels, and promises of a more grounded, less fantastical 007, as well as an opening sequence utilizing the parquet discipline (which worked damn well in “District B-13″). I’m not the biggest Bond booster out there, but I think Daniel Craig will bring something interesting to the role.
Tenacious D In ‘The Pick of Destiny’ - The world’s hardes rocking metal acoustic duo are back, that’s Jack Black (”JB”) and Kyle Gass (”KG”) in a feature length film that will coast off Black’s celebrity but likely do dismal numbers at the Box Office (”BO”). I was excited for this until I realized that they like the bodily fluid humour a bit more than the conceptual humour, and that their debut album pretty much sucked and blew. But then again, their three-episode musical-sketch comedy is still brill (Sasquatch is a favourite). May be surprising like “Wayne’s World” or it may just be “Wayne’s World 2″
Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlosser’s exposé about the history of fast food and it’s negative impact on society, business, health and practically every facet of daily North American life is turned into a movie, with plot and story and characters. How? Well, I dunno, but Schlosser did the screenplay so he’s butchering his own beef, and it’s directed by Richard Linklater, who is, I dunno, a demi-god of sorts, or something. I’m looking forward to it.
The Fountain - My most anticipated film of the year. I have no idea what to expect, and even if I don’t like it, director Darren Aronofski (”Pi”, “Requiem For A Dream”) will certainly keep me interested.
Let’s Go To Prison - One half of Mr. Show, Bob Odenkirk’s second film is a spoof on prison dramas, although more spoofing the seriousness of “Oz” than the cornball of “Prison Break”. Starring Will Arnett (GOB from “Arrested Development”) which is enough to put a smile on my face already.
For Your Consideration - Christopher Guest and his usual gang (plus Ricky Gervais) return for another improvisational mocumentary, this time about the little film that could, throwing all the actors and crew into a tizzy come big awards season. Guaranteed fun! (Not an actual guarantee). (limited release)
Bobby - I’m not really sure I’m into the Kennedy’s but at the same time I love a good underdog story (for the record, this movie is about Bobby Kennedy’s assasination… the underdog story is that it’s directed by Emilio Estevez).
The Good German - Steven Soderbergh + George Clooney = say no more, I’m there. (limited release)
Night At The Museum - Ben Stiller and Ricky Gervais in a wild mix of live-action and animation as a dull security guard finds things are a little more lively in his overnight shift than he expected. It’s a kids flick, but Marmy has been talking it up for months now, even though she hates Ben Stiller.
The Good Shepard - Robert DeNiro’s directorial debut about the foundation and evolution of the CIA. Could be interesting or it could be extremely dull. I’ll probably wait for video, unless otherwise bored.
Children of Men - I was highly intrigued by the trailer when I saw it last month, with the exception that it pretty much gives away the entire story, but I’ve since forgotten the majority of it. Clive Owen stars as a man charged with escorting a pregnant woman to sanctuary in a world where everyone is sterile and humanity is about to die. Bleak future fiction, perfect for a chilly winter’s day (although, it’s limited release on Christmas may inspire more religious parableing than I desire)
Pan’s Labrynth - The new film from “Hellboy” director Guillermo Del Toro, and that’s enough for me. (limited release)
Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer - The new film from Tom Tykwer (”Run Lola Run”), and it’s got Alan Rickman (unfortunately it also has Dustin Hoffman, aka “the other Hoff”). It’s about a perfume maker who develops a sense of super-smell, and there’s some murderous element entangled, based on the Patrick Suskind novel (I havn’t read that one either).
Renaissance - no idea what it’s about and I’ve only seen the ads in comic books, but it’s a French film that’s fully animated in black and white, which just sounds nifty. I imagine it’ll be Sin City-esque, or maybe not.
Tideland - Terry Gilliam’s creepy children’s story. Good enough, I’m there. IMDB lists it as a 2005 film but it’s just hitting Toronto… erm… eventually.
My movie watching is down. Life’s business is partly to blame, and lack of funds allocated probably doesn’t help, but at the same time, I havn’t had the same enthusiasm for the theatre experience lately, and I realize that I’ve not even been keeping up on the new release schedule. I have no idea what new films came out last week, or the week before, or the week before that. I don’t know what’s coming out tomorrow or next week, and I can’t even think of a film I’m really excited to see that’s coming out soon (although I noticed posters for Terry Gilliam’s new film just went up, so that’s something). A lot of this dead enthusiasm is due, in part, to Roger Ebert’s absence from the critics scene. He was my Friday staple for new reviews, his biweekly Answer Man column always a fun read, and his weekly Great Films re-reviews were always worth noting. I must confess I’m not as much a cinephile without him. Get better soon Roger. I miss you.
My DVD watching is also way, way, way down. That’s primarily due to a lack of time to consume film, but also in large part to a very nasty TV on DVD habit that I have. I’m doing well in terms of consuming the things I got. The recent Adult Swim releases went down very easy, I’ve almost finished off the Flash set from January, and Brisco County Jr. and the animated Tick are getting consumed as a couple. I’m even managing to find enthusiasm for finishing up season 2 of Angel (but that one’s still slow pickings). I’ve got Surface on the backburner, and when Toast is done with Battlestar 2.5 I’ve got to set three days aside for consumption. But, also, I’ve got a love in my life who I want to share a lot of my favourites with, so I’m revisiting some greats, like Harvey Birdman and Arrested Development (with many others on the slate… this could take years…) so movies, well, they just don’t satisfy the same when 2 hours can get you 9 episodes of Space Ghost: Coast To Coast or 6 episodes of Scrubs or 3 episodes of Firefly. TV, you’re getting too good for your own good.
And have I mentioned I rarely ever watch anything on broadcast anymore and really don’t care (although I do miss Survivorman and Mythbusters like I’d miss half a foot). I’m looking forward to Heroes this season, but otherwise I’m giving the rest of the new season a pass. And after subjecting Ade to all my various discs of stuff, it’s only fair that I sit patiently while the Amazing Race runs its course (pun intended), and dammit if I didn’t actually enjoy the premiere.
Sleeping with the dehumidifier on is damaging my hearing. I’m sure of it. While I love the soothing ambiant noise, I’m finding that I’m mishearing a lot of what people say, and I’m chalking up to that, and not my inordinately low attention span. Like today I heard one friend say to another after a big lunch, “So, you ready for a hot dog sunday?”
I started laughing, a little too hard, repeating “Hot dog sunday. Awesome. How would you make one of those?”
My companions looked at me all crazy-like. “What are you talking about?”
“You said ‘Are you ready for a hot dog sunday’.”
“No, I said ‘hot fudge sunday’. At McDonalds?”
“Oh, well, that makes a little more sense. But you were looking over at the hot dog vendor when you said it so I thought you were making a joke.”
“No, but I’m surprised that McD’s hasn’t started making a patty sunday yet.”
And the conversation degenerated from there into a discussion of friends who enjoy the taint, some specifically the McGriddle sammich.
Home Movies Season 4
Home Movies spawned from Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, utilizing much of the cast and crew early on, and a similar technique of recording largely improvised voice sessions based around a loose script which are then animated. While Dr. Katz relied heavily on guest stars and stand-up comedians, Home Movies distinguished itself from its forerunner by having storylines and a heavy helping of music (especially in later seasons) as influenced by the show’s creator and star Brendan Small. The genius in the show lies in its actors and their ability to riff with one another in character. The show started off fairly clean but got a little more adult with each season, yet as a show featuring three children as its leads, it never did strive for South Park level crudeness or social commentary. It’s just a fun, often silly show that has some genuinely inspired madcap comedic moments. Season Four is the final and pinnacle of the series, featuring a hearty dose of musical components (including an episode with Brendan directing a grade-school musical) and some of the more bizarre film satires. While the voice cast is extremely talented (often taking on multiple roles), it’s Jon Benjamin’s Coach McGuirk, the crass and somewhat socially inept soccer coach, who steals the show, whether he’s pumping up his pecs or fleeing from his men’s camping retreat. There are audio commentaries for each episode, in some cases two or three commentaries, the best of which involve guest Eugene Mirman cracking wise and making fun of the other cast members. Oddly there are commentaries by staff members from the Onion and the indie-rock band Modest Mouse, neither one very inspiring or insightful.
Kids In The Hall Season 4
Assuming you’ve progressed through the previous three seasons, at this stage you will know for certain whether you’re a Kids In The Hall fan or not. What I say here isn’t going to make much difference, and the likelihood of someone starting with Season 4 as their first exposure to the classic Canadian sketch comedy troupe is virtually nil. That said, Season 4 isn’t really their strongest season, but they became more esoteric and more adventuresome with their comedy. You can tell that they’ve settled into the groove of doing outrageous but intelligent sketch-com, and, moreover, they’ve learned to exploit the production sketch to its fullest. The production sketch (ie, one shot with high quality film, like a movie, rather than on stage in front of a live audience) pretty much takes over the season, while at the same time the Kids begin to really exploit their minor celebrity and spoof themselves on many occasion, even holding a contest where the prize is having a continental breakfast with towel-wearing bit player (and writer) Paul Bellini. Some of my all-time favourite sketches happen in Season 4 (Cyril St. John: The Escapist, Never put salt in your eyes, the Jersey Guys ["ooh, dat's a good lookin' egg"], The Chicken Lady returns home, Seven Things To Do Today, “Try It Now”, Sausages, Chad’s 13th Birthday, The No Chocolate Diet, a lot of Whores & Rudy sketches [including Kevin's infamously and intentionally bad John Wayne impersonation], the Bad Affair ["Greg Blondehead"]), but that’s unfair because each season has some of my favourite sketches… although this set seems to have more. As with the previous A&E KITH releases, there’s some classic Rivoli stage performances, and two “best-of” compilations with audio commentary. The selections for the best-of (as voted on by fans) is pretty disappointing, even to the Kids themselves, who provide fun commentary which, as always, only leaves you wishing they did it for each episode.
Sealab 2021 Volume 4
Unlike the Kids In The Hall Season 4 above where you likely wouldn’t start with that set, but could if you wanted to, nobody should start watching Sealab 2021 with Volume 4, in fact, nobody should really watch Volume 4 at all. Speaking in terms of the DVD sets, Sealab had jumped the shark partway through the second volume, while the third volume contained some gems, the sad departure of Captain Murphy (after the death of the brilliant Harry Goz) and the agonizing inclusion of ‘Tornado’ Shanks (played by Goz’s son) didn’t rescue the show and it became apparent the writing team was running out of ideas and enthusiasm for the moronic undersea crew. The fourth season only serves to reinforce that, since the majority of episodes not only aren’t funny, but don’t even seem like they’re trying. At some point it became evident that the writers no longer knew how to stitch together their various absurd concepts and scenarios into a coherent and amusing story. Sure, some of the earlier episodes of the show dabbled in utter left-field abstruse comedy, but it was inspired and it played out in a manner that was both funny and made sense. Fourth season episodes seem to be tossing things at the wall (primarily a lot of “violence as comedy”) to see what sticks, and the majority of it just runs down and collects in a smelly pile on the floor. There is one absolutely shining gem, though, in “Shrabster”, which is so good it trumps most first volume episodes. Using the “telling the story backwards” convention that Seinfeld did wonderfully a few years ago, “Shrabster” also uses an old Superfriends convention to transition between scenes which contains one of the funniest reads I’ve ever heard (laughing “Dead african baby indeed…” still laughing “I’m sorry, it’s just so sad”). No audio commentary this time around (which was one of the saving graces of Volume 3) or much in the way of special features, except putting “Shrabster” in order and a few uninteresting ends. Sealab went out with a lacklustre bang: a sickly, suffering Ol’ Yeller that should have been put down long before its end.
The Brak Show: Volume 2
The Brak Show was cancelled around the same time as Sealab 2021, and rightfully so. As a Space Ghost: Coast To Coast spinoff, the show - starring a niave, slightly moronic but endearingly amusing child-like alien - often relied on Brak’s nonsensical sense of humour as its source of comedy, which, though amusing, wore thin. His human looking, cuban accented, pint-sized father, named Dad, spent most of his time in the kitchen with Brak’s nondescript alien mom, named Mother. Brak’s best friend was another Space Ghost alum, Zorak, who took great pleasure in hurting people and destroying things, while their next-door neighbour, Mr. Thundercleese, was an anime-style warrior robot attempting to live a non-violent domestic lifestyle. The 50’s style family comedy scenario, as well as the inherent incongruities of the characters made for an amusing initial few episodes, but the novelty was exhausted fairly quickly. The writers managed to expand the scenarios of the show and broaden their comedy scope for a dozen episodes or so, but by the end of the first DVD volume, one felt there really wasn’t any more they could get out of the concept. Yet, Volume Two, though perhaps not as charming as the first, manages to successfully double up the show’s episodic run and be highly entertaining at that. With the addition of MC Chris to the writing staff, the show managed to add some more conceptual humour to the proceedings. Like Sealab 2021 Volume 4, the Brak Show Volume 2 unfortunately begins using a lot of violence-as-comedy, but they abandon that for some highly entertaining concepts, like a rap battle, a surreal spy mystery, a parody of bizarre Japanese culture (featuring George Takai), a few hilarious cameos by Space Ghost, and a final episode which sends the series out on a high(ish) note. Not essential watching, but certainly fun viewing.
Saturday Night Live: Best of Commercial Parodies
I have a soft spot for SNL in spite of their sketchy record of sketch comedy in the past 30 years, they’ve still managed to produce some of the most culturally pervasive, memorable and relateable comedy in history. At the same time the show has gestated some of the biggest celebrities (and, unfortunately, some of the more annoying ones) and some brought forth some brilliant talent. While each person could probably concoct their own “best of” SNL disc (or four, or ten), none would likely be the same, and until such time as there’s a reservoir of all SNL sketches from which you can choose to make your own DVD, these “Best Of” collections will have to do. Even during its low phases, SNL still manages to crank out a gem every show, usually a production sketch or commercial, and here’s a collection of a lot of them. Some of the funniest bits over the past three decades come from the fake commercials the Not Ready For Primetime Players make, so this collection is mostly laughs all the way through. Unfortunately, the creators of the set felt the need to throw a lot of recent bits (featuring the cast from the past 2-3 years) into the mix, almost overcompensating, and it’s these which fall the flattest, mainly because they havn’t yet stood the test of time. There are a lot of memorable commercials missing (the Adobe car, Scmitts Gay, Swill), which means another set will probably be coming, which is sad, because you would think that they could have collected them all in one place. Oh well. Amusing, but not essential.
My brain hurts.
My body fares a little better.
My cold is practically gone.
The lump on my hand, not so much. The appointment with the specialist lost in the ether somewhere.
I love and am loved.
I have joy but am not without sadness and sorrow, compassion and empathy for the situations that friends and family find themselves in.
Time is at a premium and thoughtspace even moreso. I feel guilty because I’m feeling greedy in keeping a lot of that thoughtspace and time to my own interests. I don’t hesitate to let go of some of it, though, if asked or called upon.
I wish I could sell these washing machines dammit.
I’m looking forward to the move being over. Packing is slow goings and frustrating.
I sense a world in flux around me, and yet my head is stable. I’m grounded while surrounded by chaos. For the most part. I could come unhinged at any second, and then you’ll see a jaw clenching like none other before.
I thank, much belatedly, J & D for their hospitality this past weekend and for sending me home with many goodies to snack on while packing. My waistband grumbles, but I’m satisfied.
A friend came to town a few weeks ago, I was happy to see her. It had been years.
Other dear friends from back home I shall see this weekend at the airport for a few hours during a layover. I’m excited, as it’s been months.
Yet another dear friend is in town the following weekend and I only hope amidst the move and crazy that I get to see her as well… along with the family that also will be in town.
The end of this month/quarter/fiscal year has an odd sense of convergence.
This weekend, the party is in Ottawa. I won’t be there but I know many who will.
I have in my posession the unmastered tracks from the upcoming Parkas album. It’s so totally kick-your-ass rock. Those who’ve been to the live show recently should have an inkling of what to expect. Those who’ve only heard their recorded material… well, you have no idea. But then, I’m really not supposed to talk about it, but it pleases me so… a dozen listens in two days. Yeah. I likes it.
Fatigue setting in.
Randomness hard to maintain.
Quad cd samplers are getting out, wave three.
I havn’t called my Mom back.
Toronto people, I have 2 apartment-sized washers and one dryer for sale…(click for more)
Jamming Culturejamming down your larynx
Banksy is often described as a “guerrilla artist” because of his socially satirical and often imposing manner of art which includes but isn’t limited to highly detailed stencil tagging. His latest project is “remixing” the Paris Hilton album packaging and sneaking it onto store shelves for unsuspecting sheep to purchase. Not only that, but DJ Danger Mouse - who first came to prominence as the mixer of the notorious “Grey Album” which mashed Jay-Z’s “Black Album” and the Beatles “White Album” (and is currently 1/2 of both DANGERDOOM and Gnarls Barkley) - has contributed a full remixing of the Hilton tragedy in the modified package. Some unsuspecting but lucky 500 Hilton guppies in Britain are going to have their mind blown.
Meanwhile, Banksy has a video (nsfw) showing the making and execution of this latest project.
The NHL is NiHiListic
The Hockey News, via ESPN, analyses the NHL satire in Bon Cop, Bad Cop. It’s a good article about how the NHL doesn’t have a sense of humour about itself, nor does it know how to really breed superstars like football, baseball, or especially basketball. What isn’t explicitly said is how “cult of celebrity”-centric America is, and that perhaps if there was more focus on creating off-ice star personalitiess as well as on-ice (as wrong as it sounds, and is) it might actually work as draw south of the border.
The article isn’t exactly sharp on the details of the movie, though, as the writer gets wrong who died in the film, how they died and in what order, but that’s just my nitpickyness. And then there’s the ignorant, but forgivable “genuine midget” comment. (Remember class, the m-word is offensive and not funny).
update - I was thinking a little further about why turning NHL players into media stars wouldn’t quite work the same as NFL or the NBA, which is that the bulk of NHL players aren’t homegrown Americans, and for even more English isn’t their native tongue. American sports lovers can get behind a good “homegrown” story, and America in general is also quite xenophobic, so making a media celeb out of a mumbling Czech player, not likely to happen. The bulk of NFL and NBA players are cultivated from high school and college athletic programs, and while Major League Baseball has accepted some foreigners into their game (mostly Cuban and Dominican) it’s still primarily an American-played sport. Hockey isn’t nearly as international as soccer, but it’s also no where near as isolated as NFL/NBA.
While I agree with Proteau’s statement that “Where other leagues have learned to cultivate and accentuate their star personalities, the NHL’s culture strongly encourages its stars to (a) shut up; and (b) get back in the corner while you’re shuttin’ up,” perhaps it’s because Americans aren’t ready to make champions out of subtitles. Unless NHL players are willing to go for speech therapy and media management courses, I don’t think we’re going to be seeing much change. Who was the last widely recognized (in the public consciousness) hockey player? Wayne Gretzky. Baseball, basketball, football, hell, even tennis and golf have had more prevalent newsmakers and media penetrating sportiers over the past decade.
Despite my statements, though, maybe Proteu is right: the NHL should promote their talent as not just good athletes but also interesting and visible entertainment figures in order to increase interest in the game. To add to my generic statements, if there’s anything the Bush government has proven, American love good spin and rhetoric. Maybe the NHL should poach some of the WWE’s marketing team, or Bush’s many ex-press secretaries(?).
Some New Newsom
Zoilus has received Joanna Newsom’s new album, which is heading for release in November. I was quite agog over Newsom in ‘04 but havn’t really listened to her debut, “Milk-Eyed Mender”, much since. Her latest album, “Ys”, apparently is 5 tracks, each clocking an average of 11 minutes. What intrigues me most, as Zoilus reports from the album press release, is (famed producer Steve) “Albini mic’d the harp in an insane and never-before-done manner! I’d love to describe it further but I don’t want to give away his ideas, in case he wants to do it again sometime.”
While I don’t have much music blogging cred, I too get my own share of pre-releases. Recently I got a demo copy of the first recorded Duloks tracks, which are all skookum, and later this month I’ll be getting a sneak peek at the Parkas studio recordings for their sophomore effort which, from what little I heard in July, should be very exciting.
And finally in music, I Am Spoonbender, the SanFran art-pop group, on 9/11 just released a < ahref="http://www.buyhiddenpersuaders.com/index2.html?checkYes=on">FREE album on-line called “Buy Hidden Pursuaders”. I havn’t given it a listen or digested really what the deal is behind the project, but apparently it’s pretty socially and politically charged. It “is absolutely free because it is the ‘only album that cannot be bought’” states the Agreement clause.
All files are avalable as crazy huge .wav files, so they take some time in obtaining.
Hmmm. A curious event today, as I participated in Wide Right’s Season 9, week 2 episode,, along with a few coworkers as a little lunch hour side-project.
Wide Right, if you don’t know (and chances are if you’re reading this you don’t know because I don’t really know any football fans) is a fairly notorious weblog that dabbles in weekly football pics. This season is the first time Dave (the site’s master) has added a video component (or “vlog”) as his primary entry (kind of like Rocketboom).
To give the behind-the-scenes action, Dave’s trying to make like he has a committee that works on the site with him, which is where my coworkers and I came in. I got to play the angry guy, but I’m not a great actor, in fact, I have this nasty penchant for avoiding the camera when I’m “acting” and then looking directly into it when I’m done, as if I’m searching for “director” approval. I did raise my voice a few times, which got some of my coworkers external to the shoot a little annoyed… oops, but all in the name of fun. It was a blast and if we’re popular enough we may make a repeat appearance.
The Week 2 Wide Right vlog will be available on Thursday, so everyone can see me acting goofballs.
The blog is not on hiatus, but my brain is. So much going on with life, the special lady, work, consumables, other people’s lives, recreation, the weather, the world, fruit flies, the big move to BOBTown (that’s the Bottom Of Boys Town where the Ronces is relocating to) and other such stuff that my brain is tripping it’s breaker roughly every 15 minutes and I’m only getting around to resetting it every 20 minutes, so that’s a lot of downtime where formulating complete sentences doesn’t really happen (thank god our informal work environment doesn’t require structurally and gramatically correct english for email correspondence).
Oh, plus I’m sick, which doesn’t help any. I’m not too sick, but I did take last Thursday as a “work from home” day which also involved having Return of the Jedi playing on DVD (the crappy “Special Editions”… nothing special about them)… but a busy Saturday afternoon of playing with a coughing four-year-old coupled with a weakened immune system has resulted in a pricklish cough. Yes, I’m blaming a four-year-old. Being busy has made me a total melon.
The corn’s too spicy.
Recoup from crazytown commencing any day now.
Patience is permitted.
Across the street from the office I work at is an apartment building where the curiousity that is everyday life goes on, oblivious to its onlookers. One of the building’s tenants steps out onto the balcony and walks in place for about 40 minutes every day. It’s actually more of a shuffle than a walk, kind of a march but not really a shamble. It’s very peculiar and kind of mesmerising.
w,d: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
I’m not sure what I was expecting. The trailers offered a conceptually interesting story about a man, fatally poisoned, with constant surges of adrenaline the only thing keeping him alive. The man is a hitman, and the last act of his life is to get vengeance on the mobsters who killed him, but he must keep sourcing his next hit or rush to keep him alive until them. Frivolous, mindless fun, it looked like, starring the new millenia’s version of Jean Claude Van Damme, Jason Statham (although, to his credit, Statham can actually act if he wants to). Just as the trailers promised, Crank was a frenetic, energetic, outrageously silly action movie, and yet, I was disappointed. Having any expectations for a movie like this is dangerous, and yet I went into Crank thinking I would get a moody action-thriller, when instead it wound up being a gross-out comedy action movie. Had I known it was the latter I probably would have avoided it, since any comedy that’s “gross-out” typically panders to the lowest common denominator and is only tolerable to a point.
The film has a hyperactive sense of style, first-time directors Neveldine and Taylor outpacing even Tony Scott in quick cut editing. The first 20 minutes of the film dive straight into the scenario, but the amount of split screening, camera tricks and screen wipes are dizzying to the point of annoyance. Though Neveldine and Taylor use their editing and effects to create a rather sharp sense of comedic timing and some viscerally stunning shots, the former is lacking in subtlety while the latter aren’t given enough time to sink in. The film, like it’s character, needs to be jacked up to keep going, and thus there’s an ever growing need for the situations to build upon themselves. But after the Blues Brothers-inspired car chase through the mall early on, the movie seems tapped out, like it’s peaked, and yet it keeps going.
Halfway through, we’re introduced to Statham’s love interest, a particularly ditzy and annoying Amy Smart, whose role seems strictly to ignore the situations around her and arouse her man to keep his adrenaline levels up. Unfortunately, this also involves a particularly unlikely, uncomfortable, and over-the-top near-rape scene in the midst of Chinatown with hundreds of people looking on. It’s done in the name of comedy, but even for this film, it’s pretty distasteful. Definitely one of the more degrading roles of the year.