Archive for April, 2011

This Whovian Podcast

April 22, 2011

This Whovian Life Episode One

I have recently had the honor of an invitation to participate in a Doctor Who related Podcast with good friend and brother-in-arms Brian from the most excellent Who blog Agnostic Whovian. The premier episode is up and running in which you can hear us lament the passing of Liz Sladen, talk about our earliest memories of the show and our expectations for this Saturday’s debut of Matt Smith’s second season as the good Doctor. You’ll also hear a Don Knotts impression and accusations of cannibalism concerning Kirstie Alley.

All in all, it was a delightful experience and one we hope to enjoy every week now that the new season is under way. One never knows what sort of tangent we might fly off on but there’s always the guarantee of excellent Doctor Who talk from two guys who know how to appreciate videotaped interiors.

Learn more here or click the above picture for a direct link to the podcast. Share and enjoy.

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Winter Is Here

April 17, 2011

game of thrones nbo

I don’t often get exited about television. I do, however, get excited about great books. And sometimes, when it appears that one of my favorite novels is going to be brought to life on film by folks who appear to “get it” I do get a bit enthusiastic. Sometimes it’s a rewarding experience, sometimes not.

In the case of HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s sublimely adult oriented series of fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, everything I have seen in previews and on the promotional website leads me to think this thing is being done right.

First off, it looks utterly gorgeous.

When lost in the mental realm of images created in one’s mind whilst reading a novel, one tends to create one’s own set of ideas about how things in a fictional world might look. This is especially true in fantasy and sci-fi. So it’s rare that another’s conception of that world will match or satisfy your own. I think of the absurd imagery in David Lynch’s Dune as an example of how turned off I could be when I perceive that someone’s done it badly (and I otherwise like David Lynch, by the way). I think of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings as someone who did it fairly correctly. The images I’m seeing from Game of Thrones suggest the creators of the series are doing it even better than my own imagination might do. It looks dark and cold in all the right places, misty and lush in others, glaring and hard where needed. The settings and costumes seem perfect.

For once, I’m wondering if a filmed adaptation might actually enhance a written story and not pale in comparison. Perhaps I’m letting my enthusiasm get the better of me, here. I consumed Martin’s novels like they were rich, delicious meals and I was a starving man. I want to do the same this evening at 9 p.m. when the series debuts on HBO.

game of thrones hbo

Update: The opening episode met almost all of my expectations. It was beautifully done. Not only is the art design absolutely masterful but it seems they have managed to bring aboard a genuinely fantastic cast that will bring these characters to fascinating life onscreen. You can’t take your eyes off the gent playing Tyrion Lannister, Sean Bean is brilliantly cast as Ned Stark and the children have all been cast to near perfection. Jaime Lannister, Cersei and the multitude of side characters. The only question to me is whether the wide-eyed beauty playing Daenerys will ever be able to pull off the dramatic transformation required of the character as the series progresses.

Regardless is will be an unbounded pleasure to watch.

Smart Phone, Dumb User

April 16, 2011

iphone 4

So I recently broke down and invested in an iPhone. The time had come. Even though I hardly ever leave the bunker these days, I figured I needed to be prepared for all eventualities. You just never know when your land might be revealed to be an ancient native burial ground and the trees start reaching in the windows to grab you out of your bed. Or from the floor where you happened to pass out. Or the back lawn, shotgun in hand, naked except for a soiled pair of Fantastic Four boxer shorts. Wherever it is you sleep.

Bottom line, you never know when you might have to hit the road in a hurry. No one knows that better than me. Psychotic ex-wives, enemies amongst every secret society on earth and a $15,475 dollar balance on your Amazon credit card are the sort of things you that might cause you to want to go mobile post haste.

Thus, I now have that ability.

Sure, I’ve gone into hiding before. But each time there was a small amount of guilt about my inability, while missing, to stay in touch with my tiny, yet viciously dedicated audience. Yes, it’s true that guilt was easily washed away with various substances and the odd Polynesian prostitute but it would come back quickly whenever I sobered up. So, yeah, every few months or so I would feel bad.

Now, that’s all been solved. Shiny new technology has taken care of the issue. We shall never be parted again.

Some thoughts on this happy little device:

  • Apps are fascinating little things, are they not? I’ll admit to not being entirely impressed with the game selection. A lot of stuff looks like games you find in the $9.99 PC games section at Office Max. Stuff that looked good on Windows 98. Old role-playing games. Countless “free” MMORPG’s and the supposedly cute flash style games featuring brids, penguins and the odd pumpkin. Angry Birds is addictive, I admit, but annoyingly so. You end up wanting to kill the smiling pigs with the helmets and i think I actually said “Fuck you and your mustache, pig!” at least once. Good thing I wasn’t at a traffic stop when it happened is all I can say.
  • The things aren’t made for Man Hands. Texting becomes a bit of a crap shoot as the auto-correct feature turns my constant misspellings into what seem like bad subtitles from japanese monster movies. The term “canker” was recently sent in a business text which was certainly confusing the recipient. I just sent “ham” instead of human. People used to my normal typos are even more perplexed than usual of late. really, you need fingers the size and shape of knitting needles to operate the thing effectively.
  • Otherwise, it’s a pretty handy tool. Custom ring tones can be easily made. I answer right now to Hood’s “The Negatives” but TWG’s “Shut That Door” and MBV’s “Only Shallow” are readily available. Messaging is brilliantly easy. I’m in touch with every science and sports site I like. Twitter is more accessible and I have actually been more active than the twice a year I had been before. Like I said, it keeps me more in touch with folks. Good and bad for someone so naturally anti-social but so be it. It’s a new age.
  • In the end, it’s a new toy for sure but one with a lot more functionality than others, one that I can see will be extremely useful as long as it doesn’t end up at the bottom of Frank Black’s swimming pool like my last phone.

    Note to self: Make sure there’s nothing important in your pockets when you’re standing near a pool and Kim Deal is in a bad mood.

    Wilted Flowers

    April 14, 2011

    Rosebuds Loud Planes Fly Low

    I discovered a new Rosebuds track last night via Kelly Crisp on Twitter, the first peek at their upcoming album Loud Planes Fly Low due to be released June 7th on Merge. I also discovered that she and Ivan Howard, her bandmate and chief songriter in the group, had gotten divorced. It was a strange feeling, the mix of anticipation when you can listen to new music from one of your absolute favorite bands and the uncomfortable feeling deep inside that something essential to what you loved about them has changed. Have a listen, if you are so inclined.

    The Rosebuds – Second Bird of Paradise

    I will admit to you that I had a lot of difficulty listening to the song. The Rosebuds’ music, to me, has always been the most romantic stuff amongst my entire collection. I absolutley adore their take on love songs and there was always something a bit intimate about their approach. See “Wildcat” or “Boxcar” or “Blue Bird”. I attributed this to their love, the strength of their relationship and I liked it. I figured, here I am getting older and here is the perfect mature band to “grow up” with. Married, happy and living a rich, rewarding, artistic lifestyle. I was as envious as I was enamoured with the brilliant songwriting.

    Now the news that they have split. And that, by accounts, the new album will be a mellow and emotional chronicle of something coming to an end. Something I admired greatly. To say this inspires a bit of sadness in this particular music lover is a dramatic understatement.

    Granted, it’s only the relationship that has ended and the band continues on. They will embark shortly on a North American tour together. There is no Boston date, unfortunately, and I wonder if that’s on purpose given the memories here, well chronicled in their earliest song as a couple “Back To Boston”. I don’t know, maybe they will eventually come to the Northeast after the southern dates. I will certainly go and see them. Not only is it always an amazing show but, for all I know, it might be the last time we see them togther.

    Maybe it’s me. I have a difficult time with the notion of divorce. I can’t comprehend how two people can end such an intimate relationship and then still work together comfortably. Tour together, fer chrissakes. It boggles my mind, I must admit. Perhaps I need to be more open minded about it, however. Perhaps they can continue to produce wonderful music together as friends and bandmates and the broken relationship will not affect them. Or maybe it will transform them into something new and different and the music will reflect that.

    I guess that’s what scares me. The Rosebuds I once knew and loved so much have changed forever. There will never be anything like Birds Make Good Neighbors, so heart rendingly romantic and gorgeous, again. No Night of the Furies, so darkly alluring and passionate. Whatever comes next will be different.

    I will purchase listen to Loud Planes Fly Low when it comes out. With a different sort of anticipation than I did for Life Like, perhaps. Not that I don’t expect beauty and wonderful music, but that some of the joy involved might be missing. From me, that is. Not them, necessarily. I would never judge what goes on in someone else’s private life and I know, from my years of fan interaction, they are some of the more wonderful people making music on this planet. No, it’s my own feelings that might affect how I perceive the music this time.

    I will attempt to listen to “Second Bird of Paradise” again today. Last night it was very difficult and my perceptions were darkly coloured.

    In the end, I may just go back and put on “Let Us Go”, the first Rosebuds song I ever heard and my favorite to this day, and listen to it for the millionth time.

    But even that may have changed in meaning, now.

    A day later… I find myself adjusting to the news and coming to terms with it. The sheer unrelenting beauty of this song helps. The video, too. Love has many forms and shapes and is ever evolving. Maybe that’s what I need to understand. Maybe this will help me do so.

    Onward.

    The Rosebuds – Loud Planes Fly Low from 521studies on Vimeo.

    Tell Me You Don’t Want To See This

    April 5, 2011

    hobo with a shotgun

    Rutger Hauer in Hobo With A Shotgun.

    A homeless man with an edge moves into a crime ridden town and decides someone needs to clean up the streets the only way that someone knows how.

    With Pump Action.

    Early running for Movie of the Year based simply on the Concept, Title and that it’s A Fucking Hobo With A Shotgun.