Sunday, April 29, 2007
First time on a swing! Whee!
Who would have thought that mud-eyed me had a
blue eye recessive gene that would equal THIS color?
Daddy's little buddy.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
2) My current hunger for live performances, funny videos, and mass-culture mixed with my inability to do really much of anything for more than ten minutes at a time, has resulted in the perfect storm: an addiction to YouTube. Bring on the democratization of the media! I've found dozens of performances I saw on TV that I wouldn't have been able to get MP3's of on iTunes or anywhere else. A good example would be Eddie Veddar's "Here's to the State of George W" which is better than anything Pearl Jam has done in years, and isn't recorded on any album. Which dovetails nicely with the next point:
3) Jack Valenti is dead! WOOT! He wasn't in truth solely responsible for the insane douchebaggery of the RIAA and MPAA of the last 5 years, but he is to the recording industry what Charlton Heston is to the gun industry.
4) Zola Turn, one of my favorite old indie bands from the SLU days is still making music under the name the LAVAS. It's a little heavier and a little less melodic than before, but hey, so is the world.
5) Imogen Heap is pure genius.
6) The White Stripes have a new single out called "Icky Thump" which is just as deliciously weird and rockin as their older work. Man, am I glad Jack White's done with that stupid "Raconteur" nonsense. Linkin Park also has a new album due out, and really, how bad could that be?
7) My friend from high school Frank Arquitt tried to email me through Classmates.com. I have been absolutely dying to talk to this guy for years, and I unfortunately lost track of him. Frank, if you can get to this site, or if anyone who has a Classmates.com membership can email him, tell him to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8) John's trick this week was learning how to kiss people. And who is is favorite person to lay a big, drooly, barfy smacker on? Daddy. :)
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Jack Valenti, known widely as the man who invented the Hollywood ratings system, died today. What isn't known widely is that he was one of the most powerful lobbyists for the MPAA for 38 years, having a hand in those news stories about college kids going to jail for downloading movies on the internet and getting the horrible and unconstitutional Digital Millenuim Copyright Act of 1998 passed, which makes crimes out of things like making copies of your own DVDs, and prevents the copyrighted material of old-guard Warner-Disney-MGM films and music from essentially EVER entering the public domain. This guy is also the reason children at age 13 can see people having their heads blown off with shotguns but not *gasp* a fully unclothed woman. You can thank this asshole for the lion's share of what is wrong with the film industry in general, and, like someone on Fark.com said:
"Don't let the coffin door hit you in the ass on the way out, Jack."
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Sia and Sophie Barker are temporary frontwomen for Zero 7. If you've never heard this song before, you might recognize Sia from "Breathe Me", the song that played during the extended finale scene of "Six Feet Under".
This is Rilo Kiley performing two of their best tunes "More Adventurous" and "Portions for Foxes". Lead singer Jenny Lewis is also known for having played opposite Fred Savage in the movie the Wizard in the 80's, a movie about a kid Nintendo prodigy. Video isn't great, but the sound is terrific.
Ray LaMontagne and Damien Rice here in a duet of "To Love Somebody" Basically Ray simultaneously channels vintage Van Morrison and Jim Croce with a hint of Vietnam Vet thrown in. This guy is the shit. This performance pairs him with the also excellent Damien Rice, who you will recognize from his spectacular song "The Blower's Daughter" from the movie "Closer".
More Ray LaMontagne, because yeah, he's just that good.
My all-time favorite song being performed by probably the best musician of the last 20 years. Ani DiFranco is my generation's Bob Dylan. I've seen her live twice, and sadly she did not sing this song either time.
The White Stripes single-handedly keeps guitar-based rock and roll alive in the 21st century. You will remember Jack White as the younger hillbilly in the film "Cold Mountain", and on the soundtrack to same. This is their best song in a catalogue filled with terrific songs.
And finally, because I'll probably run out of room on my homepage at this point, and because it's time for me to go to bed, here's a live recording of Joss Stone's haltingly-good song "Right to be Wrong". Bucking the trend of young, talented one-album-wonders, Joss continues to improve with each new effort.
Imogen Heap - "Just for Now"
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Rosario Dawson: "Did you just hit a boat?" (as their white Vanishing Point Dodge Challenger barrels through an old rowboat which is inexplicably in the road).
Also check out "Hold Tight" by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, and "Staggolee" by Pacific Gas & Electric
Monday, April 16, 2007
I did, however, see Children of Men and Grindhouse this weekend, both of which I thought were really good. Tarentino's "Death Proof" was a real suprise, managing to be nearly as good as Pulp Fiction or Resovoir Dogs.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
I watched Little Miss Sunshine tonight, with the very best hopes of digging into something worth watching. So few movies in the last few years have been worth the money spent making them and I was most excited after hearing from literally everyone who saw this film that it was a great movie. I think Little Miss Sunshine is the most overrated, non-funny, slightly depressing thing that I've seen in years. Let me state my reasons:
1) Greg Kinnear cannot act. He just cannot. This man is as wooden and incapable of good acting as William Hung is of good singing. I have hated Greg Kinnear in literally everything I have seen him in. In fact, it has gotten to the point where I will deliberately NOT see films he is in just because I hate him that much. I had a twinge of apprehension when I saw him on the cover of the DVD for Little Miss Sunshine, and I went ahead and watched it anyway. He was/is, just as awful as ever. If only Greg Kinnear was the only reason to not see this film, though...
2) Steve Carell turns in the first performance I have ever seen him in where I thought he was absolutely in no way funny. This man breathes and eats funny, he is funny just smiling a certain way, and yet, somehow, they managed to make him absolutely un-funny in this movie. Nice job.
3) Yes the little girl is absolutely terrific. Every instant she is on the camera, she lights the whole thing right up. But at the end we are treated to a tour-de-force of America's Creepiest Pasttime: the child beauty pageant, including an incredibly disturbing and not-funny pervert in the audience. Did anyone actually laugh at the ending? A little girl entering a meat-grinder of looks-obsessed glamour? The Tammie Faye Baker pageant judge and the Jerry Springer pageant moms? God, I hope not. I find it slightly insulting that the writer of this film would consider me such a typically jaded American that I could find a way to laugh at these uber-depressing trainwreck reasons that foreign countries hate us.
4) The dead grandfather, no matter how good Arkin might have played him, is as cliched and un-funny in 2006 as it was when Chevy Chase did it in Lampoon's Vacation in 1985.
5) The joke about the VW with a bad transmission? Not funny. Just really not funny. The long shots of them running to pop the clutch? Boring after the eighth time.
6) Constant interjection of profoundly depressing topical matter that not only was better acted than the humor, but took up more screen time. It seems almost like the people who made this film set out to make something funny, but then halfway through they decided that it would be better to just paint a portrait of a family who are all on the edge of emotional breakdown. Well, I have news for you Michael Arendt (whose only other writing credit is Toy Story 3), you can't even hold a dim candle to the Todd Solondz films you were trying to emulate. Little Miss Sunshine tried to be a cross between Road Trip, American Beauty, and Welcome to the Dollhouse, and ended up being more like a cross between The Royal Tannenbaums and Jerry Springer.
Most importantly, and perhaps most telling about why I hated this movie was the snarky, intelligensia attitude that it had. It was completely non-transparent, and I felt like I was sitting in the room with the writer as he pounded out his little joke about middle Middle America on his Apple PowerBook while sipping some overpriced designer coffee. This movie felt a lot to me like The Royal Tannenbaums. I know a lot of people that liked that movie. Does anyone really think that winsome, wistful, depressing cliches equal laughter? Where's the cleverness in showing people getting hurt or setting themselves up for real-life disappointment? I don't mind movies that try to mix humor with some seriousness. Something like "Forrest Gump" walked this tightrope admirably. Maybe if Ron Howard had directed Little Miss Sunshine, it would have a) not included the just godawful Kinnear, and b) actually had some genuinely funny jokes in it. No, I didn't think the cop/porn bit was funny, no I didn't think that the Nietzchie/silence thing was funny, and NO, I absolutely did not think that the child beauty pageant sequence was funny. I really found this entire film to be flat, emotionless, depressing, and un-funny.
So you know what, all you people who told me that this was a great film? You're full of shit.
From the Rotten Tomatoes forums:
"That was comedy? Was there anything at all funny in this whatsoever? If that is comedy than I'm a comedic genius. You should see my impression of Christa McAullife's dad watching the Challenger explode."
My thoughts exactly.
Friday, April 06, 2007
I am installing, on someone else's machine (thank christ), a copy of Windows Vista Home Basic, and not only is it the biggest pain in the balls I've ever had installing an operating system, but I literally had to reformat the hard drive on a BRAND NEW MACHINE in order to reinstall XP, and then use the stupid Dell Upgrade Assistant so that when I finally re-reinstall Vista, the brand new laptop doesn't go completely balls-up.
I tried installing Vista without the Upgrade Assistant program from Dell, and I got:
- A non-functional sound card. (WTF?)- A video card error.- Inability to run Office 2003 products.
Let's talk about this for a second here. Vista refuses to support ATI graphics cards? Nice job, Microsoft, ATI is only... oh... 50% or so of the chipsets of all video cards in existence. Never mind poor SigmaTel, the company that makes the chipsets for the sound cards. The laptop's motherboard speaker beeped cheerfully at me as though I had brought the computer with me through a time worm-hole from 1984.
Finally, the system came pre-installed with Microsoft Office 2003. A LAME-O 60 DAY TRIAL VERSION. Thanks an assload, Microsoft, because after 60 days I plan on either a) rediscovering the pencil as a great way to type documents, or b) hanging myself. And that's AFTER I turn off your retarded Account Manager gatekeeper program that didn't even let me set it up to activate your obnoxious copy protection scheme.
So basically my first twenty minutes of Microsoft Vista went something like this:
"Whoa, they don't like ATI for some reason."
"Whoa, the sound doesn't work."
"Whoa, I can't get into Word."
"Whoa, Word's going to stop working in June."
"Whoa, Vista is one great big advertisement/copy-protection scheme by the biggest company in the world."
"Whoa, I need to reinstall XP, because Vista has crippled this BRAND NEW MACHINE."
And then, most importantly:
"Whoa, wait. Why the hell would I want to RE-INSTALL IT?"
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Oh, the shark has pretty teeth dear
And he shows em, pearly white
Just a jack knife has macheath dear
And he keeps it way out of sight
When that shark bites with his teeth, dear
Scarlet billows begin to spread
Fancy gloves though has macheath dearS
o theres never, never a trace of red
On the sidewalk, one sunday morning
Lies a body, oozin life
Someones sneaking round the corner
Could that someone be mack the knife
From a tugboat, on the river going slow
A cement bag is dropping on down
You know that cement is for the weight dear
You can make a large bet mackies back in town
My man louis miller, he split the scene babe
After drawing out all the bread from his stash
Now macheath spends like a sailor
Do you suppose our boy, hes done something rash
Old satchmo, louis armstrong, bobby darrin
Did this song nice, lady ella too
They all sang it, with so much feeling
That old blue eyes, he aint gonna add nothing new
But with this big band, jumping behind me
Swinging hard, jack, I now I cant lose
When I tell you, all about mack the knife babe
Its an offer, you can never refuse
We got patrick williams, bill miller playing that piano
And this great big band, bringing up the rear
All the band cats, in this band now
They make the greatest sounds, youre ever gonna hear
Oh sookie taudry, jenny diver, polly peachum, old miss lulu brown
Hey the line forms, on the right dear
Now that macheaths back in town
Youd better lock your doors, and call the law
Because macheaths back in town
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Sunday, April 01, 2007
"As pathetic as the territorility of the male worker may be, it is not to be easily dismissed, as commentators from C. Wright Mills to Studs Terkel can attest. Men want their space. But why? And here it is mixed in with status displays, pecking orders, and modes of aggression, that we might also consider the need to hide, to get away, to be alone, to be momentarily safe. While the home may be a refuge from work, modern work is also a refuge from the home."
James B. Twitchell's Where Men Hide