Sunday, March 06, 2016
Normally I would post the show on Saturday but I decided ton play a little with the release schedule to see if there is a better response on Sunday instead. All the episodes eventually get their fair share of downloads over time but I did kind of feel that the announcements were falling on deaf ears on Saturdays. Sundays are a day where people are looking to load the new episodes of podcasts to listen to tomorrow at work or on their commute so it might be more upfront in their minds.
I'm trying to play with the metrics and see what happens.
Either way, I think we put together a pretty good episode and it's worth a listen. It's also worth throwing your two cents in if you check it out and like what you hear (or don't like what you hear). We want to get a conversation going about movies amongst cinephiles and listeners so we are trying to encourage people to give us their feedback. Also to go on iTunes and rate and/review the show. But mostly just to reach out and join the conversation so, if you're so inclined, there's your invitation.
A couple of posts back I embedded a web player which gives access to all the episodes so you can either click through up in the first paragraph of this post to go to our LibSyn page or check out everything through the player.
Monday, February 29, 2016
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
It was born of a conversation with a coworker who upheld the notion that Pulp Fiction was the best movie of all time. We disagreed, obviously, and I walked away with the question, "how many 'classic' movies are actually worthy of the title Classic?" So, I got my then roomie Dustin to sign on as my co-host-in-waiting and went about putting together what would eventually become the final released version of the show.
It's a modest effort, to be sure, but we enjoy it. It's been a lot of fun revisiting some of these movies and seeing others for the first time. It's also been really fun getting others to come and sit in with us on our discussions and getting a different perspective on the proceedings. We've only recorded one of these so far but we have more on the schedule and we're looking forward to making it a regular thing in the future.
We're also looking forward to maybe getting some people talking about these movies. Creating a conversation about these films and why they are included on these all-time best lists is absolutely our mandate but we also just want to talk with other cinephiles about movies. As the show grows, hopefully so does its audeince and their participation level. We'll see what happens.
Until then, if you're reading this I urge you to check out the show which I'm embedding in the player below. We're available in the iTunes store as well so if you're an Apple user and you get your content from there, search us out and download some episodes. Also, if you're there, leave a comment and review the show. We really want to know what people think of the podcast.
Take care and I hope you enjoy the show.
Monday, February 16, 2015
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm a bit of a Star Wars junkie. Not in a real over-the-top, walls of collectibles and legally changing my name to Vader kind of way, but I do have multiple copies of all the video releases of the films and television shows, and can hold my own in a trivia battle if need be. I was/am a huge fan of the Clone Wars series and thought that some of the storytelling on that show reached some pretty great heights. In fact, I think some of the best storytelling in the galaxy far, far, away was presented over the course of the series' six seasons. I still go back and rewatch episodes when I want a quick Saga fix.
So, when that show was cancelled and its replacement, Star Wars: Rebels debuted, you would think that I would just pass my love and appreciation for the one show over to the other and continue basking in the weekly doses of Saga greatness. And that would be where you were wrong.
We are officially eleven episodes in on Rebels and I still cannot say that I am remotely sold on the show. Despite hearing how great it is to return to the original trilogy aesthetic from various friends to podcasters in the know, I, personally, have a lot of problems with it.
From a purely design standpoint, I think the show lacks much of the lushness and flat-out beauty of Clone Wars. I realise that the production crew are going for an understandably different look, but there is a weird, synthetic, kind of cartoony feel to most of the characters and environments on the show that really throws me. Plastic might be a word I would use to describe it.
I know that Clone Wars was supposed to look like puppets from a Gerry Anderson television show, so the argument might seem a little odd coming from someone who swears by the look and design of Clone Wars so much, but there was something slightly more tangible to me there in that more stylised version of this world. The painterly textures and elaborate environments always gave you something interesting to look at. And, to be fair, none of the tech looked like it was a Hasbro/Kenner toy. There was a strange verisimilitude to it all.
Another element of Rebels that I haven't enjoyed much is the colour scheme that they have chosen for the characters. It just drives me nuts! Made up of primarily orange and green I don't feel as there is enough in their palette to really distinguish between these characters visually (and that those particular hues are commonly the colour of sick). For one or two characters I think I could forgive it, but for six of them, a little too much for the ol' eye stalks to take in.
Everything else seems to be the same, standard, white and grey environments which are supposed to harken back to the OT but just come off looking bland. Clone Wars based a lot of their look on McQuarrie's artwork (as Rebels claims to) and it had a much more dynamic and interesting colour palette. Granted, OT era stuff is supposed to look less ornate and designy (building on the idea that everything is industrial and m,ass produced), but I think it really hurts the look of the show.
There are several other things that bother me about Rebels but I'm only going to mention one more in this post; the character movement. I don't know what happened between the production of the two shows but we went from characters that stood and moved pretty logically, if not naturally in Clone Wars, to characters that move constantly.
A little weirdly.
Arms, legs, hair, eyebrows...you name it, it's probably moving around on any one of the show's characters as they interact with each other. Or just stand tjhere and do nothing. It really doesn't matter what they're doing, they kind of wiggle and sway regardless. It's like they're all jacked up on something and simply can't hold still. It's really pretty maddening for me to watch and distracts enormously from my ability to focus on the story and just enjoy the show. To be fair, that may be my problem but that's how I see it.
Anyways, since starting this post a couple of days ago the episode "Call to Action" aired with an interesting ramping up of drama and stakes as well as an appearance by Grand Moff Tarkin himself. After all my negative droning earlier I'm as surprised as anyone to say that I think it was a pretty fantastic episode overall. There were moments where I was completely enraptured by what was going on onscreen and Tarkin's presence injected the show with a mucvh needed sense of peril. This was sincerely close to some genuine Clone Wars level storytelling.
Everybody has been praising Rebels over the last few months saying that it has triumphantly made the Wars feel like the OT again. While I can comfortably say this is still not my official position, I have to admit that this episode really nailed it for a change. Hopefully they can keep it up. They just might convert me. This is the first time I'm genuinely anxious to see the next episode. Two weeks is too long this time.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned how much I love live music and seeing bands in concert here before but it's kind of a big deal to me. Music is such a huge part of my life and that loud, sweaty, crowded experience is integral to my overall enjoyment of it. I've had my mind changed at concerts regarding how I feel about a song I previously disliked and I've had artists show themselves to me in a different light than I am accustomed to, bringing me around to appreciating their material where previously I did not. I've fallen in love at concerts and even proposed to my soon to be ex-wife at a concert. Sure, some shows are just shows, but some have served as genuine benchmarks or signposts in my life. Moments I can revisit every time I listen to an album or hear a song that means something special in a mall or in the car while driving to work.
I know I probably sound like a ridiculous, sentimental fool by this point but I own it. I know how goofy I sound, and that's okay. It's how I feel and that's just the way it is. I am prepared for you to judge me and stop reading right here if you haven't already.
The whole purpose of this post is to lament the fact that I haven't been to see a live show in quite some time. The last concert I saw was on March 29th and I went to see Stars with a friend. Amazing show, unforgettable night. Even got to meet Torq after the show and complete my Stars autograph collection so, yay me. I had tickets to see Passion Pit a few months ago but they cancelled and I've passed up or was forced to miss shows by M83, The XX, Phantogram, The National and a stupid amazing lineup at the Rock the Seine festival that I was a week late to see. Gah!!
I'm chomping at the bit, here.
Anyway, there are a couple of decent shows down the road that I'm looking forward to maybe going to in 2014 but I don't know if there is anything coming up before Christmas and that's not cool. Looks like Said the Whale is here in a week or so. Maybe that'll help take the edge off a bit. We'll see.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
God knows I would have liked to. Especially when I was standing by, and could have grabbed a table at, Le Select, where Fitzgerald and Hemingway and their ilk all used to hang their hats and grab a drink. I was passing the place on the way to the Eiffel Tower. I had decided to walk there instead of using any public transportation and, though I knew Le Select was somewhere out there in Paris, had no idea that it would be on the way.
Something to do on the next trip, perchance.
Anyway, one night while lying in bed in my hotel room I was having a tremendous amount of trouble sleeping. It was well after three in the morning and I grabbed my phone which was nearby and started typing away some ideas into my ColorNote app. The goal was to write a poem capturing the moment, perhaps reign in some of the things swirling in my head and commit them to 'paper'. Once everything had been evacuated from my head onto the digital page I tried to muster a bit more and, failing that, found my way to sleep.
I've pretty much ignored that small piece of writing since returning figuring that there might be an idea or two that I can cannibalize for something else down the line, but looking at it again it actually holds up as its own thing. I might be projecting my own experience on it and giving it more body or meaning than it perhaps actually has, but maybe not. I'll probably vet the thing with a couple of people I trust and see what they think. There's an element of...it has a roughness to it that may work in its favour but leaves me uncertain.
What I do know is if I start to try and refine and manhandle what I write it loses all immediacy and starts feeling kind of disingenuous, so I don't really want to tinker with it beyond what it is.
I haven't really done any writing for a while, particularly poetry, and have been trying to step it up a little in these past few weeks. I have gone back to working on a short story that I set aside and have been trying to blog here whenever I have something I think is remotely bloggable. I am hoping that the discovery of this Paris poem may bring some of those inclinations back, as well.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
So, why am I not loving this series five issues in?
The story takes place post-I Want to Believe and does a decent job reintroducing the characters to the reader and setting the stage for the next chapter in the life of Mulder and Scully. The story quickly stops making much sense, however, when Joe Harris, the series' writer, tries to explain the motivations of the story's antagonists and clumsily brings back some characters from the show's past. Despite having five issues to flesh things out and ease the reader into this new scenario, things jump around endlessly from location to location and character to character, and I never quite glommed on to what the heck was going on other than the fact that Mulder and Scully were trying to stop The Acolytes from finding something while simultaneously trying to figure out what the big picture was.
Even at their worst and most convoluted, a mythology episode worked as a story that you were watching; self-contained with a beginning, middle, and end. Where it tended to get confusing was where it fit in the big picture, how it tied in to the web of conspiracies and lies that had been established on the show and what it possibly meant for the future. This story, "The Believers", has all of those elements except I'm not feeling it working as a self-contained thing. Sitting down and reading all five issues this afternoon I didn't feel the flow, and I'm still muddled on what the purpose of the whole caper was.
I am looking forward to the next few issues which, I'm told, will be creature-of-the-week stories. Maybe just having a simple case to solve and creature or weird happening to figure out will get my X-Files juices flowing. I'm also not giving up hope that later stories will shed more light on the events of "The Believers" but, for now, I'm not shouting from the rooftops about how much I'm loving this new iteration.
Also, for the record, I'm enjoying the poop out of Michael Walsh's artwork on the series whatever I may be saying about my level of enjoyment. He's doing some really good work on this book and I'm excited to see where he goes from here as he's only going to get better as time goes on and he becomes more and more familiar with this world and these characters.
So, on that note, carry on and the truth is out there!
Sunday, August 04, 2013
Having said that, the last few days have been a bit rough in terms of getting the work done.
I sat down last night like I've sat down many nights before that and just didn't get much writing done. I'm trying to do it on the computer now so that I can change things quickly and with less scribbling but I'm finding the process cold and...inefficient, weirdly enough. I've been scribbling in my Moleskine and just pounding the stuff out having a gay old time but you can't print that off or e-mail your notebook pages to someone to preview or proof. I do still want a handwritten copy of it in there (yeah, that's the romantic in me) but I need that digital copy.I also have a deadline of today to clean up a section which I promised to send to someone and I'm pulling my hair out trying to get that done in a timely manner.
The poetry I usually write is so immediate and rarely goes through this kind of rewriting process. Maybe a second draft to clean up an idea or two but, ultimately, if I rework a poem too much it breaks. Falls apart under its own weight. Feels manufactured and loses all immediacy and just feels...disingenuous.
This story is in its fourth and a half draft and it's only about 10 pages long. I really expected less, but maybe that's a fault of mine. Not having done a lot of prose work (as in so little it should be considered none) I guess I didn't anticipate what it would take. The need to back away from it for a while to let the dust settle before going in again, the major and minor tweaks that just keep coming every time I sit down with it.
Then, to top it off, there's my own overriding insecurity of whether or not it's any good. To put all this work into it and have it be absolute shite would be pretty heartbreaking. It's not, by any means, a great piece of fiction. I mean, call it what it is. It's a short erotica story. A blip of an encounter between two people done in such a way as to be provocative and sexy. But I still want it to be good, obviously.
So, I continue to toil away at it when I'm not fighting off sleep or dealing with the evil and weirdness in my everyday life.
Hopefully I'll be able to get a grasp on it today and work through the obstacles to get to a satisfactory endpoint.
Wish me luck.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Thinking of Christmas, here's a free Sloan holiday themed track...
Sunday, December 09, 2012
I think when you have more people reading and commenting on your Twitter feed or Facebook page it kind of takes away from the desire to do anything lengthy or blog-worthy. If the roles were reversed, I'd probably spend more time here pondering and writing rather than going for the cheap and quick social media thrills provided by the "other guys".
Anyway, I'm going to put some thought into it and see what I come up with.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Really short post, today, I know. Considering it's been a few months since I've been posting, I thought just about any new content was worthwhile.
Anyway, that's it for me for now.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sounded simple but, really, it was a bit more complicated than I'd hoped. I actually thought I would stress over the tunes more than the sleeve art but I was very, very, wrong. The music came quickly and the actual design came to me very late in the process. I knew that it had to be Jelly bean themed, but other than that I had no idea what I was going to do. Do I paint something? Are there a bunch of dancing Jelly beans all over it like some twisted California Raisin knock off? What materials do I use to accomplish this unknown project?
I knew, at least, that I would need a digi-tray to set the disc in but soon discovered they are harder to find than you might think. Digi-trays are not in high demand on a retail level and do not get stocked by your average, and even your not-so-average, music stores or big box stores. I found some online but I didn't need to order 200 of them, nor did I want to pay $40 for overnight delivery. I wracked my brains and came up with, what I thought was, an ingenious plan.
Hit the music stores that carry used CDs. They often have bargain discs for $5 or less and if they happen to have a disc held in a digi-tray I could buy it for a paltry couple of bucks, peel out the tray, and utilize it in my own far-out disc sleeve. This was something I was able to accomplish at a local shop called The Vinyl Exchange. I found a couple of weird world music discs in cardboard sleeves with digi-trays for $2 each and I was in business!!
I also found an Imogen Heap album and the first volume of Freakazoid!, both for $2, so that was equally awesome.
I grabbed some craft supplies from a local dollar store (cardstock, construction paper to cut into jelly beans, etc.) and proceeded to assemble the case for the disc.
It wasn't a difficult process but it was time consuming. I created and folded the cardstock cover and glued the digi-tray in. Then I cut out each individual jelly bean (all different colours) and glued them on to the cover one-by-one. Lastly, I grabbed a Sharpie and wrote up the liner notes and song info. I wanted to do something design oriented on the disc itself but I didn't have the time or materials so I just left it blank.
I was pretty happy with the results with the exception of how egg-like many of the jelly beans came out, and I attributed the image on the inside of the case to Monet rather than Van Gogh which, as an Art History student, shames me greatly. The person I gave it to doesn't know the difference but I felt like I should still cop to the fubar publicly so perhaps that will go some way to evening out the karma.
I enjoyed the experience, overall, and will likely try it again. I've put together another playlist for the same friend but I don't think the effort for the first one was appreciated much so I may shift the next project to someone else. I'll post images of that one as well when that happens.
Friday, June 15, 2012
The story behind the cake takes us back to Ottawa and a trip I took there with my lovely wife about 2 years ago. We stayed with a couple of friends, Meg and Ian, and after supper on one of the nights we were there Meg brings out this chocolate cake. It's the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever tasted in my life. I can eat piece after piece of this thing but, of course, I'm only allotted the one. I beg for the recipe, which she mails me, and I sit on it for 2 years until I finally decide on my holidays that, yes, by gum, I'm going to make this durn cake for myself and see if I can recreate the magic.
Overall it went well, I guess. There were parts of it that I was unhappy with, and despite being told the frosting was perfect, I didn't really think I nailed it. It was good, though. It was eaten fairly quickly. I shared with friends and family and, although there were critiques, nobody just flat-out disliked it or refused to eat it.
A success on some levels, but I'm hoping with the next effort I can achieve better results. Even slightly better results would make me happy.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
So, I've returned, ever-so-briefly to share with you a band I've recently discovered called Passion Pit. There's a lot I like about this group, and some I don't, but I dig this song and thought I would share it with you. The site I got it from described it as alternating "between car crash drum-and-bass explosions and a plodding melodic pop that bemoans the many stages of grief inherent in heartbreak." That was all they had to say to hook me, what can I say?
Hope you enjoy.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Well, I decided to play around with the customizer and, as it turns out, I probably shouldn't have. What ultimately happened was I mucked about until I mucked it up and now all the presets and sidebar info and everything custom about the blog has been jettisoned. So, the posts are still here but nothing else is. Which, I suppose isn't a tragedy, seeing as I don't post nearly as often as I should, and I don't get a great deal of traffic, so it's likely nobody has even noticed yet.
I'll probably have to come on a little later and do some adjusting to get things back the way I would like them to be. Until then, it's going to remain pretty bare bones here. Maybe I'll compensate by posting more. You never know.
Obviously I figured out how to restore my old template. I'll still probably try and tweak it at some point. Everything else is changing, so I may as well. More on this later.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
One such album/srtist would be Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins which I consider to be one of the best rock albums ever. No hyperbole. The songs, the words, the sounds, are all tremendously good and so very tight. The layered guitars, the insane drums, the ethereal quality of Corgan's voice and lyrics which, I would say, has never been recaptured on any other Pumpkins album make this album near-perfect for me. If I'm trying to get someone to listen to the Pumpkins, I usually toss them Siamese Dream.
Now, from everything I've read and heard, after all the tracks had been put down, Corgan went back and rerecorded the guitars and bass originally played by D'arcy and James Iha. The only tracks he didn't mess with were those of Jimmy Chamberlin because Corgan did not know how to play the drums. This would, if the stories are true, make the whole album a collaboration between Corgan and Chamberlin and all that implies.
Other albums followed but most without Chamberlin as he was kicked out of the band after a keyboardist they were touring with died as a result of a drug overdose which Chamberlin was involved with. I won't get into details but the story is probably detailed here.
Flash forward to the 2007 release of the newly reformed Pumpkins album, Zeitgeist. Now, when I say newly reformed, I should qualify that D'arcy and Iha did not return to the lineup for the same reasons they left the band in the first place. Chamberlin, however, did take the opportunity to reconnect with his old band as Corgan had never agreed to losing him in the first place. So, we have Corgan and Chamberlin together again working on this 'new' album - the same guys who were essentially responsible for Siamese Dream - and it turns out to be utter shit. I don't even consider it a part of the true Pumpkins canon because it sounds like a band trying to sound like the Pumpkins rather than actual founding members of the band making up for lost time.
So, what went wrong? I dunno. Maybe D'arcy and Iha had a much stronger influence on the music than people give them credit for. Maybe Butch Vig was instrumental in bringing everything on SD together the way it did. All I know is that the same guys did it perfectly once and cocked it up royally the second time around. Go figure. Maybe it's true what they say about how you can never really go home again.
And on that note...
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I know it's probably a quirk of my own reading habits, but when there are a dozen other books that are waiting in the wings that I've started, and a dozen more that I'm waiting to get to, "Vicious Circle" just falls a little short on the priority level.