Friday, May 26, 2006

Professor Brainerd's Movie Quiz

After finishing the Van Helsing quiz, I pulled up this one and found, to my surprise, that I had already finished most of it. I guess I put it aside to work on the more recent quiz. I've finished it up, so here are my answers:

1) Describe the moment when you knew you loved the movies:
I'd say the first time I went to the Drive-In to see Song of the South. I remember one time, probably not long after that, when I was hanging out at my cousins' house, and I got it into my head that we should go see a movie. I kept saying "I want to see a movie." One of my cousins turned on the TV, flipped around and found a movie playing and said "look, there's a movie." Like that's the same thing!

2) What prop or costume from a film do you most covet?
The Ro-Man costume from Robot Monster.

3) Take a famous role and recast it (for example, Audrey Hepburn instead of Andie McDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral):
A better League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Peter O'Toole as Quatermain, Alec Guiness as Jeckyl, Peter Sellers as Griffith, Omar Sharif as Nemo, Christopher Lee as Moriarty, cameo by Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes.


John Cleese as Quartermain, Michael Palin as Jeckyl, Eric Idle as Griffith, Terry Jones as Mycroft Holmes.

But those are really more like new movies than recastings, so how about Jack Nicholson as Han Solo (chosen after considering Burt Reynolds and Steve McQueen). Seriously, think about Han's early dialogue with Luke, as 70's Jack might recite it.

4) Charlton Heston or George Kennedy?
That's an odd pairing. I honestly can't decide. Heston is such the obvious choice, but Kennedy is a great character actor, probably better at what he does than Heston is at what Heston does. But then again, Heston can kick ass on post-apocalyptic jive-talkin' mutants, Roman pagans, and African army ants, then go toe-to-toe with General Ursula. But then again again, there is Police Squad...

5) Best performance in an otherwise terrible movie:
Obvious, but I'll go with Ian McDiarmid in Revenge of the Sith.

6) Worst performance in a famously revered or otherwise great movie:
This one gets mentioned a lot, but Keanu really stinks up Coppola's Dracula.

7) Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing?
You know what? I'm not that big a Christopher Lee fan. I like him, but he's not one of my favorites. So Cushing. Peter is utterly badass.

7) Favorite Walter Hill movie:
The Warriors. I remember that trailer scaring me as a kid. First the baseball gang with the bats--that just struck me as so brutal, using a bat as a weapon--and then the shot of the gang hanging off the bus chasing the Warriors, that was so frightening! I love the sort of epic journey of that movie through NYC, and the idea of all these gangs dressing up in theme costumes.

8) Favorite musical score from a movie:
PeeWee's Big Adventure, by Danny Elfman. I like Mancini's A Touch of Evil score, too.

9) Describe the most scared you’ve ever been in a theater, or the scariest moment you recall seeing in a movie:
This movie gets a lot of shit, but The Blair Witch Project is really the scariest movie I've ever seen. Part of it is that you never really see anything, but I think even more it's the amount of time you spend with the characters before things start going wrong. By the end, I wasn't in a theater watching a movie, I was lost in the woods with the Blair Witch chasing me.

10) Ingrid Pitt or Barbara Steele?
Barbara Steele (although I agree with Paul--I want to write in Caroline Munro!)

11) Favorite Holiday Movie (doesn’t have to be Christmas oriented):
I guess this is the obvious answer, but It's A Wonderful Life is as good as it gets.

12) Worst Holiday movie (doesn’t have to be Christmas oriented)
Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Which may be the worst movie, period.12) Your all-time favorite hammy actor:Brian Blessed. The energy he puts into "Flying blind on a rocket cycle?" could power New York.

13) Favorite Federico Fellini movie:
I'm just starting to get into Fellini, and I've only seen 3 of his films, and I'm not sure what I'd pick between 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita. I guess I'll go with La Doce Vita.

14) Your favorite film critic:
FX Feeney. Honorable mention to Danny Peary for his early influence.

15) Jason Lee or Jason Mewes?
A little Mewes goes a long way. Lee.

16) Best use of a natural location setting in a movie:
The temple of Angor Wat in In The Mood For Love.

17) Worst squandering of a natural location setting in a movie:
The temple of Angor Wat in Tomb Raider. There are a lot of natural treasures that movie squandered.

18) Favorite song from a movie:
"Science Fiction Double Feature" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Film geeks' national anthem.

19) Madeline Kahn or Teri Garr?
Madeline Kahn all the way.

20) Favorite Roger Corman Movie:
Top 10:
1. Deathrace 2000
2. Rock-n-Roll High School
3. Caged Heat
4. X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes
5. Psych Out!
6. Masque of the Red Death
7. Bikini Beach
8. It Conquered The World
Well, that's enough, right?

21) Director you’ve always felt deserved more attention than he/she ever got or has gotten up to this point, and a highlight for you from his/her career:
Ralph Bakshi, and I point to the highly underapreciated Fritz the Cat, as well as the insane Streetfight.

22) Michelle Yeoh or Ziyi Zhang?
Michelle Yeoh. Police Story III is the proof.

23) If the movies’ were to give you a Christmas gift, or a gift for 2006, what would it be? (I mean “the movies” in the most general sense—the film industry, the actors, a director making a certain film, whatever)
Since I'm already getting my Beyond the Valley of the Dolls DVD, I ask that Allyson Hannigan be given a lead role in a real movie, preferebly a romantic comedy. And next year, we can talk about getting her hubby an action franchise.

Professor Van Helsing's Movie Quiz

It's taken me about two months to compile all the answers on PROFESSOR VAN HELSING’S JUST-BEFORE-SUNRISE WOODEN-STAKE-THROUGH-SPRING-BREAK QUIZ, posted by Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. But I didn't want to do a bunch of lame, one-word answer (although I ended up doing a few of those anyway). I reserve the right to update this as I think of better answers. So here we go...

1) What film made you angry, either while watching it or in thinking about it afterward?
This is actually the hardest question, and the last one I'm answering. Yeah, Revenge of the Sith, but that's so obvious and easy. Yeah, Armagedon, but that was more because I just hated it's aesthetic, which is more of a gut reaction. I guess I could say The General's Daughter. It's all in the rape, which was treated in the script (properly) as a great crime, but which Simon West filmed as a glamorous porn scene. I've never had anything turn my stomach so much as that, and I'm further angered that this guy continues to have a career!

2) Favorite sidekick
Chest Rockwell!

3) One of your favorite movie lines
It would have to be something uttered by Sam Jackson in Jackie Brown, but which line? "He was an employee I had to let go?" "Bitch, don't make me put my foot in your ass?" "I didn't hear you wash your hands?" There's so many, but the one that most sticks with me is "That's why they call it fuckin' with ya."

4) William Holden or Burt Lancaster?

5) Describe a perfect moment in a movie
Walt Disney's The Jungle Book. The wolves that have raised Mowgli have tried to keep him protected from Shir Khan, the tiger, who considers Mowgli a potential threat if he allows him to grow up. But Mowglie has gone off on his own. He befriends a group of vultures, and arm in arm they sing a sentimental song about being friends to the end. As they reach the last line, another voice interrupts--a smooth, rich baritone, which sings the last line for them. They look over to see Sheer Khan, his arm around Mowgli, having joined the group. With a quick "nice knowin' ya, pal" the "friends" fly off, leaving Mowgli with the tiger. (I'm remembering this as best I can, last time I saw it was 1991)

6) Favorite John Ford movie
Not a big Ford fan. I guess I'll go with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

7) The inverse of a question from the last quiz: What film artist (director, actor, screenwriter, whatever) has the least–deserved good reputation, artistically speaking. And who would you replace him/her with on that pedestal?
This is one of the hardest for me (in fact, it's the second-to-last question I'm answering). A few years back, I'd probably have some answers, that I'd write with lots of exclamation points and all-cap words, but I think my mind is a bit more open these days, and at the same time, I don't want to pick some lame, obvious choice like Denise Richards (who really should not have a career outside of porn, but whatever). But OK, this guy's not exactly legendary, but he does have a cult following that is as undeserved as that of the Highlander series: Ted V. Mikels. I've actually never seen some of his more famous films, like The Corpse Grinders and Blood Orgy of the She Devils (one of the best titles ever), but the two I have seen--Astro Zombies and Doll Squad--are pretty unimpressive. Astrozombies is a pretty average B-movie scifi flick, with Tura Satana's performance being the only thing that really stands out about it, and Doll Squad is an amazing premise with no follow-through (even Satana doesn't impress me much in that one). As to the question of who should replace him? Actually, most of the people I can think of are more well-known than Mikels, but I can't see how anyone familiar with Jack Hill's films would bother giving Mikels' stuff a second glance.

8) Barbara Stanwyck or Ida Lupino?
Nobody beats Stanwyck. She's just too much: too sexy, too smart, too dominating. She's the embodiment of the femme fatale.

9) Showgirls-- yes or no?
Yes, Yes, Yes! It's the Beyond the Valley of the Dolls of the 90's!

10) Most exotic or otherwise unusual place in which you ever saw a movie
Just before leaving for college, my family went on a cruise to the Bahamas. I watched Hannah and Her Sisters for the second time in the theater on the boat. I was alone in the theater. I only watched about 30 minutes of it, then the film broke or something. It's probably pretty lame to be on a cruise in the Bahamas and be down below in a dark theater watching a Woody Allen movie, anyway.

11) Favorite Robert Altman movie
My first instinct is to say The Player, but the strength of that movie really lies in its script, not Altman's direction. I've only seen part of The Long Goodbye, so I can't really claim that. So I guess I'll go with Nashville.

12) Best argument for allowing rock stars to participate in the making of movies
The American Astronaut. Honorable Mention: The films of Jim Jarmusch.

13) Describe a transcendent moment in a film (a moment when you realized a film that just seemed routine or merely interesting before had become become something much more)
The tree-rape in Evil Dead certainly qualifies. Up until that point, it just seems to be a typical, bad 80's horror flick. The fourth or fifth plot twist in Wild Things, when you realized exactly what the script was up to. The "bouncing ball" during "Wig in a Box" in Hedwig and the Angry Inch is probably my favorite, but you could hardly describe the movie up to that point as "routine." I know I have a perfect example that I'll remember after I post this, but for now...

14) Gina Gershon or Jennifer Tilly?
Gina Gershon. Like Stanwyck, Gershon is one of those great femme fatales that I always fall for, and those curled lips are so delicious!

15) Favorite Frank Capra movie
It's a Wonderful Life. That's an obvious choice, and there probably aren't that many for me (I'm not that well versed in Capra's films), but it really is one of the great films of all time.

16) The scene you most wish you could have witnessed being filmed
The Yardbirds performance in Blowup, even though I know they were lipsynching. I don't know, though, it would be great to see them filming one of the Three Stooges pie fights.

17) Robert Ryan or Richard Widmark?
Richard Widmark.

18) Name a movie that inspired you to walk out before it was finished
Japanese movie called...Parasite Eve or something? It was a double feature with Cat Soup (Nekujiru-so), and I had no interest in seeing it in the first place, but I watched the first scene just to see if it would be interesting. It was a scientist explaining the scifi premise of the movie, and it was such a ridiculous affront to logic that I had to leave. Besides, what a lame way to start a movie.

19) Favorite political movie
Dr. Strangelove, with Paths of Glory following behind.

20) Your favorite movie poster/one-sheet, or the one you’d most like to own
Not that I'm any great fan of Pumpkinhaid, but this is a damn cool poster:

21) Jeff Bridges or Jeff Goldblum?
I like Goldblum, but he's one of those actors that a little goes a long way. Bridges is The Dude, so he has to win.

22) Favorite Ken Russell movie
Gothic, which may have something to do with me getting laid immediately after watching it in college.

23) Accepting the conventional wisdom that 1970-1975 marked a golden age of American filmmaking in which artistic ambition and popular acceptance were not mutually exclusive, what for you was this golden age’s high point? (Could be a movie, a trend, the emergence of a star, whatever)
The Fox executives allowing Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Myra Breckenridge to be made.

24) Grace Kelly or Ava Gardner?
I never really "got" Grace Kelly. Ava Gardner wins, just for Night of the Iguana.

25) With total disregard for whether it would ever actually be considered, even in this age of movie recycling, what film exists that you feel might actually warrant a sequel, or would produce a sequel you’d actually be interested in seeing?
Tomb Raider. Both movies were terrible, but I swear there's a good movie waiting to be made in there. And really, it wouldn't even have to be THAT good--we are talking about Angelina Jolie with an English accent and enhanced breasts, wearing boots and kicking ass. How they managed to turn that into not one but TWO movies that don't interest me...only in Hollywood, man, only in Hollywood.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Summer's Here And The Time Is Right

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Good Eats!

I've been doing a lot of eating out lately, and probably will be doing a lot more in the next week or so (as various groups seem to want to take me out to eat for my birthday). So a post about the delicious goodies I've been ingesting seems appropriate.

A taco truck has taken up residence around the corner from my house, and I tried it out friday night. I got one asada, one carnitas, and one pastor taco. Tasty tacos (a buck a piece), and a nice couple working the truck. Obviously, more convenient for me than for other people.

Saturday I had some errands to run in Hollywood, and I stopped for lunch at Dino's Burgers on Pico and Normandie, legendary for its chicken plate. For some reason, I was thinking that Pico was the next major street after Santa Monica, so it ended up being a longer detour than I planned on, but man was it worth it. For 4.25, you get half a chicken. It's got some sort of sauce or dry rub on it, bright orange/red, that looks like it will be really spicy, but isn't. It's grilled, and set on top of a pile of french fries, with a little container of cole slaw on the side. The chicken is good (although the breast was a little bit dry), but the fries are the shit! They've absorbed all the concentrated chicken drippings, so they taste like greasy singularities of chicken flavor.

Saturday night, we ended up back in Hollywood for some sort of Katrina benefit outside one of the studios at Hollywood and Gower. That was nice--sun dipping down, light fading, cool breeze in the air, historic studio and hotel signs visible over the walls, DJ spinning some mellow, funky grooves while the traffic buzzed by on Hollywood--living in this town can be pretty nice sometimes. They served some pulled-pork BBQ and baked beans, and actually some pretty good cornbread, which went pretty well with a cup of Newcastle.

Dino's Burgers
2575 W. Pico Blvd. (east of S. Normandie Ave.)
Los Angeles
(213) 380-3554

The taco truck...I think it's "Margarita's" or something, and is based out of Sun Valley, but it's parked out front of the church on Eagle Rock Blvd., just south of Yosemite, at night.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Top 10 Trader Joe's Items

This season's Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer has a list of their top 100 best products, which actually includes surprisingly few of my favorites. So, as I'm bored, here's my infinitely superior list.

1. Homestyle Salsa Especial. I don't know what it is about this stuff. It's the most perfect salsa I've ever tasted. It's spicy and flavorful, but there's something else about it too, something comforting, as if there was a little bit of chicken soup mixed in. I go through at least one container of this stuff a week.

2. Caribean Frozen Fruit Bars. They haven't had these in the store for a month now, and if they don't start stocking them again soon, I'm gonna have to kill somebody. These are the best frozen treats in the known universe, although I also like the Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Bananas.

3. Glatt Kosher Chicken. You wouldn't think so, but the difference between these chickens and any others you buy at the supermarket is astronomical, and since my favorite meals to cook at home are plain baked or roasted chicken and chicken soup, rice or dumplings, a good chicken is an essential for living.

4. Lemon Chile Pistachios. A fun little snack for the summertime. Goes great with rum-n-coke while tending the BBQ.

5. Salads. I eat them for lunch at least twice a week. I started off eating the Chinese Chicken Salad, but that gets to be too sweet for every day eating. I've come to prefer the Cobb, Chicken Ceasar, and Southwestern Chicken Salads, but the Greek Salad, which has no chicken, is the one I could eat every day. The other Southwestern salad, the one with black beans, corn and citrus dressing, is great too. And now they have this tri-tip salad that's just off the hook.

6. Marinated Tri-Tip. So convenient, so tasty. Just throw it on the grill.

7. Coffee. I start every day with a cup of TJ's coffee. In the cold months, I go for the darkest roast, which used to be Bay Blend, but now it's Volcano. When it's warm, I try different kinds--Kenya AA, Guatamala/Antigua, Moka/Java, Smooth and Mellow Blend (which is very good), whatever.

8. Stilton Cheese with dried apricots in it. Crazy combination, but it's very good.

9. Scharfenberger Milk Chocolate Bars. I don't really like dark chocolate. I like breaking it into little pieces and mixing it in with vanilla ice cream, but it's not something I want to eat. These are great, because they're milk chocolate bars that actually taste like good chocolate.

10. Marinated Butterflied Shrimp. Big ones, frozen, ready after a few minutes in the oven or on the grill.

What are your favorites?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Spittin' Wicked Randomness, Vol. 11

The Life Stuff:

Fuck this ceiling fan! I've tried hooking it up a dozen times, returned one fan to get a replacement, tested the wires, tried every wire combination (black to black and blue to blue, black and blue to black, black and blue to blue), and I cannot get it to come on. It's frustrating the hell out of me, because I know that the previous fan was getting power (but had a short circuit, and needed to be jiggled and tilted to get it to work). Urrrrrgh!!!

I made some banana bread last night, which turned out well. This was the first time I've ever made anything with Crisco, and I don't think I mixed it well enough--there's a couple big Crisco flakes in the loaf. I tried to fake Bobbie out and brought her the crisco can and asked "do you want some vanilla frosting?" But I didn't let her actually taste it--I'm not that cruel!

The Music Stuff:

Alice Cooper's first two albums (on Frank Zappa's Straight label, before Alice signed to WB) Pretties For You and Easy Action. I've wanted to hear these for so long. The first one is pretty weird. I mean, they're both pretty weird, but the first one is even weird by Alice Cooper standards.

Some Florida punk nostalgia for me: Florida hardcore band Roach Motel's Roach and Roll 7". The mixtape that first got me into punk rock had two of these songs, including the terrible little racist song "Wetback." I thought that song was hilarious back then (I was 15), now it sounds embarassing at best, dangerous at worst. But "Shut Up" and "Now You're Gonna Die!" are both great slices of punk rock. Some time in the future I might dedicate a whole post to reconciling idiotic songs like "Nip Driver" or the Angry Samoan's "Homosexual" with my adult views. You can read my unsuccessful attempts at rationalization in the comments to that post.

I heard "C30 C60 C90 Go!" from Bubblegum Machine two years ago, and it immediately replaced "Wild in the Country" as my favorite Bow Wow Wow song. It's a song that celebrates taping songs off the radio instead of buying them! How very relevent! Bedazzled links to a YouTube video!

The Political Stuff:

Fresh Air has a piece on sweatshops in U.S. territory that is essential listening. This ties into the Abramoff/DeLay scandal, evil conservative ideas about capitalism, and immigration all in one segment.

Also listen to the May 7th edition of Live from the Left Coast, an interview with Antonia Juhasz, author of The Bush Agenda, who claims that the Iraq war is a smashing success to the small group of Bush's friends for whom it was launched in the first place. If you prefer to intake information through your eyehole, maybe try this AlterNet interview.

The L.A. Times (through Marc Cooper) has a great comeback for the anti-imigration jerkoffs who say "MY ancestors were LEGAL immigrants!"

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), for example, says his grandparents — Dutch immigrants who settled in Nebraska — didn't try to get ahead by breaking the law. Rather, they made it through "frugality … hard work, grit, honesty," he says. "They would be very upset about people who didn't do it the right way." Such comparisons between past and present miss a crucial point. There were so few restrictions on immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries that there was no such thing as "illegal immigration." The government excluded a mere 1% of the 25 million immigrants who landed at Ellis Island before World War I, mostly for health reasons. (Chinese were the exception, excluded on grounds of "racial unassimilability.")What's more, statutes of limitations of one to five years meant that even those here unlawfully did not live forever with the specter of deportation.

And most of the immigrants since WWI were legalized through some sort of "amnesty" program. So there.

And a reminder of what the Republicans are all about. On the new tax bill that Bush signed into law yesterday:

When first proposed, the Senate version included a revision of arcane accounting rules under which the oil companies were escaping taxes by being permitted to undervalue oil in storage. This change would have netted the federal government approximately $5.1 billion in taxes. When the House and the White House objected, the provision was removed.

Also present in the original Senate bill was an extension of expiring college tuition deductions designed to help middle class Americans handle the spiraling cost of higher education. According to Sen. Charles Schumer, who talked to bloggers on a conference call yesterday, the savings to middle America was approximately the same as the amount originally proposed to tax the oil companies. During reconciliation of the House and Senate bills, the tuition deductions were stripped.

So. We are presented with our metaphor: continuing tax breaks for Bush's oil cronies in the same amount that was denied the middle class to educate its children.

Lady Vengeance (Park Chan-Wook, 2005)

I have a bit more trouble nailing down my feelings on the third installment of Park's "Vengeance Trilogy"* than I did with the first two. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a brilliant film that I couldn't quite connect with, while the second installment, Oldboy, is--I really believe this--a cinematic masterpiece of the rarest order. I'm not really sure where to put Lady Vengeance. It definitely had a greater impact on me than Mr. Vengeance, and I definitely liked it less than Oldboy (which may be unfair, since it's a much more sedate film).

It's a beautiful film, thanks in no small part to Yeong-Ae Lee. Like Min-Sik Choi (who also does great work here) in Oldboy, Park gets great mileage out of Lee's incredibly expressive face. Byeong-ok Kim also turns in a great semi-comic role, his overly-expressive face reminding me of Allen Joseph's ghastly smile in Eraserhead. Park's camera has a knack for finding fantastic sights, and this film makes great use of color, specifically white (used to represent purity, innocence and pennance) and red (representing both sin and the path of vengeance).

While Oldboy was equally succesful as a drama, comedy, horror movie, action movie, mystery, and art film all at the same time, Lady Vengeance uses all those elements, but remains solidly a drama, as dark a drama as anyone could conceive. There are no hammer fights to get the fans cheering in the aisles, but by the time the film reaches its absurd, gruesome, and emotionally devastating climax, nobody watching could remain unaffected.

But somehow--and I've had several days to ruminate on it, but haven't been able to quite identify the source of my feelings--there seems to be something off, some thematic element that isn't quite touched. Guem-ja's vengeance feels like an empty act (which such vengeance must always be) in the face of the unspeakable atrocities that she is avenging, and considering her own guilt in the situation, it just seems a little too cathartic, too cinematic. It may be an unfair point, since they are seperate stories, but I feel like Park made Oh Dae-su's vengeance seem more morally ambiguous than Guem-ja's, when it was never really clear if Oh Dae-su was even responsible for the crimes he was accused of in the first place (dancing around these plot points is hard work, so forgive me if these sentences sound a bit convoluted).

Park Chan-wook may be the best director working today. Next up for him is a vampire movie. To say I'm giddy with anticipation of that one would be an understatement.

"Trilogy" may be the wrong word, since the three stories are only related thematically, but tryptich, or triptych, or whatever, sounds pretentious, and I obviously can't spell it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Lady Vengeance? Too Soon!

I went to see Lady Vengeance at the Nuart Saturday night, but I'm not really ready to write about it. It's such a complicated movie, and my feelings are still jumbled about in my head. So instead, I'll tell you about the meal I had before the movie at Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken in Culver City.

With a two-piece lunch, you get 2 pieces of chicken, "kettle fries," a biscuit, and three little plastic containers full of a vinegary hot sauce, an equally vinegary BBQ sauce, and honey. The chicken is in a similar style to Dinah's Fried Chicken in Glendale--tough, brown crust, not very crunchy, moist meat inside--but not nearly as good. Very average fried chicken. The kettle fries are good-sized steak fries, but nothing to distinguish them in taste or texture from any other fries. The biscuit was actually the hilight of the meal. This would be an above-average biscuit back in Georgia, which makes it about the best biscuit I've had in L.A. It's fluffy and light, like fresh-baked biscuits should be. (The Delicious Life came to a similar conclusion a while back) Other advantages: they served coke in the glass bottle, and the form-fitting plastic chairs are surprisingly comfortable.

Time to kill before the show, so I went by Record Surplus and ended up buying Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra CD, which deserves (and will eventually get) it's own post.

I also watched Munich over the weekend. I thought it was pretty pathetic that the Academy chose Crash over Brokeback, but choosing Crash over Munich is just unforgivable. Such a great movie. Spielberg is really stepping up his game. Munich is really a brilliant choice for a story: no matter what anlge you choose to take in the telling, you're going to end up with a fantastically entertaining movie because you're hanging your story on a structure that involves, what, 9 assassination attempts? People talk about the limitations of having to make commercial movies, but if you start with a commercially appealing concept, you can do just about anything with it.

As for Sunday, all I'm going to say is that installing ceiling fans sucks.

Friday, May 12, 2006

We Got The Power!

Behold the blog responsible for sucking up most of my time recently: Power Records! I had several of these when I was a kid, including The Incredible Hulk at Bay!, Captain America and the Falcon in And A Phoenix Shall Arise, and one that I don't see listed on the site, the Fantastic Four's origin (which I think gets scratched on the first Jurassic 5 EP). In fact, I still have two of them:

Bran, those are actually your's that you left at the Mona Lane house. There were some others, I gave them to Brandie and Stephen, then took these back when I found out they had damaged the other records. Kids!

So I cooked some Dodger Dogs yesterday. Get this--Dodger Dogs are big footlongs. Von's sells Dodger Dogs, but they don't sell any buns big enough to fit them! Super A does have buns big enough for them--but they don't sell Dodger Dogs! So I had to go to two different grocery stores just to have a meal of Dodger Dogs! The world is insane!

I just found out that my favorite politician--Oakland mayor, former California governor and presidential candidate Jerry Brown--is running for State Attorney General. Patt Morrison has a good conversation with him up, and he sounds impressive in contrast to the to gubernatorial candidates who I heard debate on KPCC last week, who just sounded like depressingly typical politicians.

And don't forget: Lady Vengeance opens in L.A. today!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Patio

Comedy tonight! Come see Bobbie Oliver, Sally Mullins, Derick Jackson (3 of the funniest people in L.A.) and more tonight!

Ice House Annex
24 N. Mentor Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91106
Showtime: 8pm
Admission: $8 + 2 drink min.

I'll be the guy in the back with the video camera, trying to not make the footage look so orange this time.

We assembled our Target-bought tiki bar Saturday, so here's some shots of our "backyard" (moving here from Georgia, it was hard to think of it as more than an alley, but I think we've made a nice, comfy spot back there).

Turn the corner, and the patio space is where the bar is. Now Bobbie is insistent that we need new furniture to go with the bar.

A closeup of the driftwood carving hanging behind the bar, purchased at a flea market in Georgia.
And a few nighttime shots to get an idea of the mood.

Not really going for an "authentic" tiki ideal. My main inspiration is the climactic scene from Y Tu Mama Tambien. I want that comfy, Mexican fishing village atmosphere.

Some music to set the mood for the patio: Get the Number One de Dakar song here. Absolutely fantastic. And follow it up with a couple Cut Chemist tracks.

Elsewhere: check out the first episode of Space Squad 21!

Arts and Crafts projects for this summer!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nice Photo

From Ken Burns' Jazz, Vol. 6.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

This and That

So we're in Target this weekend, and we walk past the patio section, and we stop to once again admire the bamboo "tiki bar" that we've been coveting for a while, and whadyaknow? It's on sale--$100 off! Well, how can we be expected to resist a bargain like that? So I drove the car home, took both seats out of the back of the van, drove back to Target and picked the thing up. Perfect price--cheap enough that we could convince ourselves we could afford it, expensive enough that I won't be able to blow off assembling it. It's going to look great in our back patio, already decorated with lots of bamboo.

I lost an ebay bid for a few paperbacks I was interested in (3 books from this series), finished reading Peter Bagge's Hate collection Buddy Does Seattle (Fucking amazing. I was especially tickled by the reference to Sam Kinison as the "straight male equivalent of Andrea Dworkin"), started John D. MacDonald's A Deadly Shade of Gold, got some new guitar strings. I watched Orson Welles' The Trial and taped Mr. Arkadin off of TCM. I thought I'd save myself having to shell out for the expensive Criterion DVD (let's face it, the idea of watching all three versions and comparing and contrasting sounds great, but in reality, I'm never gonna actually do it), but it ended up being the "Confidential Report" version, so I didn't watch it. I've been on a bit of an Orson Welles kick since watching the incredibly entertaining F for Fake last year.

I need to remember to start bringing my camera with me when I go out. Found myself in Santa Fe Springs this weekend, and there was this bowling alley with the grooviest retro-googie sign I've ever seen. People talk about the cool sign at the Mar Vista Bowl lanes, but this kicked it's ass! I'll get a photo if I ever go back there, but I'm rather hoping not to.


Space Squad 21: a scifi spoof featuring, among others, my friend Bran. No episodes up yet (hurry up, guys!), but some funny commercials. Keep an eye on it!

If you liked Funky Batman, you'll love Funky King Kong! Seriously, you know what I love about this song? Listen to the second verse: it perfectly describes the action from the famous T-Rex fight in the original film, right down to Kong playing with the jaw! Also, check out the theme from The Green Slime.

Patt Morrison has a conversation about that Net Neutrality bill, complete with the usual convoluted explanations of how the free market will make everything better. It's amazing how people can spew such bullshit with a straight face, but I think James Gattusso of the Heritage Foundation gets his ass handed to him here. (I also liked the piece on the Downtown Library fire)

Even more amazing to me is that the Democrats can't come up with an explanation of how the estate tax, a tax which only effects people with millions of dollars of accumulated wealth who are already dead sound like a good idea! Taylor Lincoln explains the who and how behind it to Ian Masters.

And Stephen Colbert is a hero.