In Visual Arts on November 29, 2011 at 8:55 am
- It’s pretty-much uncanny for a movie top 96-97% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomato Meter. True, there is a number of 100%’s… but those are all classics. Films like Citizen Kane, Rear Window, M, and Dr. Strangelove. So it came as quite the surprise to me to see the new Muppets film is currently rated at 98%. Huh. I’ve always been a big fan of the Muppets, but I never dreamed one of their films would be getting such glowing reviews.
- Here’s the Muppets as a certain famous album cover:
- And here they are as a certain famous Fellowship:
Glad to see them back! My favorite Muppet is probably the piano-playing Rowlf the Dog.
In Sonny's Journal on July 17, 2011 at 9:22 am
Morning internet. Little link roundup on this hotttt and sticky Sunday up here in sunny Minnesota:
- This “Why I hate Call of Duty: Black Ops“ video makes perfect sense to me.
- Sean Bean dies in movies and (SPOILER ALERT) TV shows — cough, Game of Thrones, cough, cough — a lot. Often times gruesomely so. In this YouTube video, he dies 21 times. I give you, the “Sean Bean Death Reel”.
- More Inception analysis (particularly the “rules” of the dreams, the characters and their functions and the ending).
- This blog has written Heart of Darkness from the perspective of Cobra Commander from GI: Joe. It’s actually pretty hilarious at times. Here’s how it begins:
July 2, 1988
COBRA City. Shit. Still in COBRA City. Every time I wake up, I think I’m bivouacked under a HISS tank. Then I look around and see I’m stuck here.
Been here a week now. Waiting for a mission, getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room I get weaker. And every minute Joe squats in the bush he gets stronger.
I need a mission.
July 5, 1988
Be careful what you ask for.
I’d just chugged a 2-liter of root beer—Barq’s, the hard stuff—and was on my bed with the sugar jitters when a couple of Crimson Guardsmen busted down the door. They dragged me to a briefing room in a corner of the Terrordrome I’d never seen before.
I was trying to decide if it was OK to open one of the bottled waters on the table when the door opened and Destro and the Baroness strode in.
I jumped to attention.
“At ease,” Destro rumbled. “As far as records are concerned, this meeting never happened.”
- Also, this has got to be top 5 bean-bag chairs ever manufactured:
In Books on May 23, 2011 at 7:52 am
That is a picture of a book from a blog called Chateau Thombeau which seems to specialize in very old photographs of often times obscure stars and celebrities (there’s currently an excellent picture of Truman Capote). The post doesn’t say anything about the book, but at the link is a very high resolution pic for your viewing pleasure. But it is German based on the small “Gebetbuch” (which roughly translates to “prayer book”) engraving near the spine side. Look at that clasp though, that is unreal… what if novels/books all had this amount of care today?
Writing a novel — much less several at once — is fucking difficult*. Just writing alone is hard enough for most people. Yes, the act of sitting down at a computer or moveable type machine and putting letters to screen/paper over and over again for hours on end. I’ve been doing it for a while now, so I have an advantage in that department. But in terms of laying out a novel fully in advance (I’m just talking the big plot points and themes and outcomes), then turning that into a fleshed out story with characters and worlds that breath and whisper through the letters and words back at you, that is a task. The concept I’m working with (for my first ever attempt at a novel) probably lends itself well to a novice, or someone who is completely mad, however; so I got that going for me.
It probably is both helping and hurting that I’m going back to read old Grant Morrison comics right now. It’s funny: his stuff always seems to be better than you remember it, even if you’re re-reading something of his for the 9th time. I do find it a little perturbing how reviewers — websites like IGN – seem to not be able to remove his teat from their mouths; many of them instantly crown anything (no, really… literally anything) he does as a breathtaking modern classic. The guy’s a crazy bastard — who also seems very, very bright — with a whole plethora of crazy things running through his mind… I like that, I like it a lot, but that don’t mean he pisses all over Dostoyevsky.
The only Dostoyevsky I’ve read is The Brother’s Karamazov, which is a daunting read and probably the longest book I’ve ever gotten through entirely. Hyper-Realism isn’t necessarily my cup of tea — it isn’t what I do as a writer and it isn’t what I normally read — but it is entirely admirable. One could argue that it takes more focus and will-power to both write and read realism rather than the more surreal works amongst us. What I really enjoy is that sense of realism, however tedious and “boring” and long, embedded into that which isn’t necessarily real. Like if The Brothers Karamazov – will all it’s style and realism and even story elements — was a science fiction novel set in the Russian 1950′s. And I don’t mean “Hard Sci-Fi”, that literary category assumes something about content, I’m talking purely of style. Now, if The Brothers Karamazov was actually the story of three sons dealing with the death of their terrible father in 1950′s Russia, to be released in 1890′s Russia, it’d probably feel something like a Philip K. Dick novel. But that’s something else for another day.
*(I am whetting my beak with trying to update my other Sonny Wilkins blog more and more; the one which explicitly chronicles his life post-overdose.)
In Film on August 10, 2009 at 12:43 pm
With Dean Martin (Ray), Jerry Lewis (Egon), and Bob Hope (Peter); I think they screwed this up though, Dean Martin would be a WAY better Venkman than Ray Stantz, and Bob Hope looks more like Dan Aykroyd than Bill Murray. Most of this trailer was pulled from the 1940 Bob Hope film called The Ghost Breakers. Found via the Hey Guys Movie Blog. They’ve got a pretty cool John Hughes Retrospective going on right now.
Streamed YouTube version:
In Links on April 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm
There’s some interesting melding of modern and classic video game box art going on right now over at The Minus-World.com. The idea here is to take modern video games – Wii, 360, PS3 – and adapt them as covers if they were released in the 1980′s on the BIG TWO classic systems. I’m obviously talking about Nintendo Entertainment System and Atari Console (or whatever the hell it was called). Two of each, I ‘spose. First up, Atari.
Resident Evil 5 and Halo 3 on ATARI:
More modern games done up all perty-like as Atari Classics HERE. And here’s Fallout 3 and Gears Of War 2 for NES.
More modern games as NES classics HERE.
Random cool Hip-Hop Crew of the day: GLUE. OFFICIAL SITE here. From Cinncy/Chicago/NH.
In Visual Arts on December 19, 2008 at 3:35 pm
An Art show in Sydney called “Live Lanes- By George!” will continue into the new year and end after January. As part of it, artists from “Gaffa Gallery” (an Austrailian Art Gallery, mixed media) have placed gigantic falling Tetris blocks into an alleyway in the city of Sydney, Austrailia. This seems random at first, but there’s typically method to madness, and randomness, behind artists’ ideas. Case in point:
Straight from the Gaffa Gallery.
“This work references the much loved, mesmerizing, enduringly compelling classic single-player video game Tetris, developed by AlexeyPajitnov of the USSR’s Academy of Science in 1985. When playing Tetris, the player must sort a simultaneously random but predictable succession of [falling] shapes in exchange for points and more time in the game. Yet, here, in [this alleyway], pieces are planted into a world that is less ordered and predictable. There are grand implications of error here that lead to questions. Such as who exactly has been playing Giant Tetris? What were they trying to do? Could I have done better? Is the city grid similar to a computer game or different? What brain space am I in when I’m playing games on my computer? Is it more or less alert than when I’m waiting in line for a sandwich? The work seeks to challenge conceptions of the North end of Sydney’s CBD as an orderly, socially cold grid and beckons viewers to assess their own level of interaction, play, and hacking within the city.”
This reminds of what Grant Morrison was trying to tackle with Batman seeing the “grids” of the city. The bare-bones roots where muscles, cells, and skin grow off of. Each city speaks, each city has grids (beyond city blocks). This is very interesting to me. Pictures:
Discovered via http://superpunch.blogspot.com/
In Music on October 14, 2008 at 11:14 pm
It’s still very hard to believe Rick Wright is dead (among others). It isn’t hard to believe, however, that a Pink Floyd reunion will never happen. Fucking intraband relationships. Could Roger Waters really have been that bad of a mate?? It’s interesting to compare, or ask musicians, who would have been a worse bandmate: Waters or Syd Barrett. From what I’ve gathered, mostly from A Saucerful Of Secrets, Barrett was a completely charming and lovable man. That’s not what I mean. The question inquires to what’s worse: being in a band with an asshole controller, or being in a band with an out-of-his-mind drug addict? At first glance, the obvious answer is the former. But the book I mentioned above mentioned some I’d assume to be totally frustrating behavior coming from Barrett during the Saucerful days. He began going up onstage and just standing, not playing his guitar at all (hence the inclusion of Dave Gilmour), for many of these shows. I’d guess that the band would answer Barrett just because they loved him so much. Strange though, Rogers lasted a lot longer than Syd did. Then again, the band never made an album about how much they missed Roger.
I’m really digging the new Oasis CD Dig Out Your Soul. It gets heavy at times… really heavy. In fact, the 10th song, “The Nature Of Reality”, is one of most badass Oasis songs ever written. Oddly enough, written by Andy Bell, the band’s current bassist. The album is full of feedback, Swollen Pickle (or there abouts), and even dropped-D. That isn’t to say there aren’t some delicate, contemplative tracks involved as well though. The album has gotten some fairly scathing reviews from a varied group of outlets. Not very many seem to like it. Most of them complain, in so many words, that it’s the same old shit. Not a good reason to dislike something. I’ve been eating canned pears and pickles my entire life; I’m never going to stop liking either. What’s hilarious is that as both the Rolling Stone and the UK’s Guardian reviews employ the “same old shit” argument, they themselves tear into the band’s latest batch of songs with the same old adjectives and wording. “from its preponderance of plodding midtempo rockers” (R. Stone) sounds pretty damn similar to “the mid-tempo plod that has become Oasis’s default rhythmic setting” (the Guardian). Perhaps music critics should apply “same old shit” to themselves??
The Beatles references still permeate each and every single record review as well. Not one review I found doesn’t make it a point to mention how ridiculous it is that Oasis actually sampled a John Lennon interview and placed it towards the end of the album. Oh, and apparently “The Nature Of Reality” doesn’t “live up to its Helter Skelter intro”. OK- I play guitar, the guitar lick in that line is nowhere near Helter Skelter. And similar… a possibility, at best. Helter Skelter is an open high-E with a 1/2 descending line. This Oasis lick is some sort of Dropped-D blues(ish) riff with a totally different tone altogether. That’s just ONE example of the Beatle-complaints.
I think it’s a really catchy, heavy record with a great style of classic live-rock production that’s hard to find these days. Apparently that’s precisely what makes it suck.
In Books on October 12, 2008 at 1:41 pm
Straight from the American Library Association. Sept. 27th through Oct. 4th is also known as the ALA’s “Banned Books Week”.
- And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
- The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
- Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
- The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
- TTYL, by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit
- It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
- The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
In Sonny's Journal on May 22, 2008 at 2:43 pm
I’m waiting around before I go to work. I’ve mentioned before (not that anyone would know) that I believe we’re coming to a point in popular culture where nostalgia is starting to wreck the ideas of today. Case in point: the insane amount of TV/movie remakes. But nostalgia isn’t always bad. I suppose it’s how you utilize it. I’m sitting here playing Super Mario Brothers 2, Marble Madness, and Paperboy on this old-ass NES. But goddamn, it was plainly obvious to me around 2 years ago, when I started playing my SNES again, that Mario Brothers 2 is clearly my favorite Mario game. Part of this may be because its the only Mario game I’ve played while tripping, but that’s another story. Marble Madness is one of the most ORIGINAL games ever. The only current thing that comes close to it is Super Monkey Ball, which is geared towards the tikes. That’s the really strange thing though, we don’t update the things which would cater nicely to updates. Mutant League Football/Hockey, Marble Madness, Zombies Ate My Neighbors…. THESE are the games that should be updated.
Not only that, but while I’m gaming these by-all-means classics, I’m listening to my girl’s [father's] vinyls. Let me tell you, they sound really fucking good for how old, and in some cases scratched, they are. Abbey Road’s side 2 is fuckin’ brilliant. I realize that this word may be used WAY too much in relation to the Beatles; but Abbey Road’s second side is FULL of un-classics and beautiful obscurity. And holy Moses, this Sly & The Family Stone section from the Woodstock LP breathes “legendary”. Sly Stone was so awesome. The version of “Higher” on this record blows all the other stuff away, excluding Hendrix’s Instrumental Jam/Star Spangled Banner. Sly’s managed to get all these LSD infested heads to actually sing and clap along energetically! Even the folks way up on the hill scream “HIGHER!” with every amount of conviction imaginable. It must’ve been quite a site. So I guess I can’t talk too much shit about nostalgia; while I’m sitting here listening to records from the 60s and playing videogames from the 80s.
But take these fucking double decks that Korg, DigiTech, etc have been making more and more of these days. They’re supposed to simulate the vinyl-DJ experience. OK? So in one package, you get a mixer with these dumb little fucking black spinners (they’re supposed to feel like records, but they’re about 4-5 inches across), and this software for your PC/Laptop which emulates a Turntable setup. These programs come with certain FX that are such bullshit. One tells you exactly how many BPMs your MP3s are without any work at all. One pitch-bends your two tracks so that their speeds match up exactly. It’s such bullshit. So essentially anyone out there with $300/400 and a PC/Laptop can get this program and call themselves a “DJ”. If you aren’t pitch bending/mixing/scratching/combining in an analogue fashion, I’m sorry to say, you ARE NOT A DJ. If you’re mixing together two iPods via a Mac DJ Portal, YOU ARE NOT A DJ. This is yet another example of BULLSHIT nostalgia, not the good variety. There’s lots of skill that goes into Djing the REAL way. It’s tough, and you need either a shit-ton of practice or a musical background to do it well, in some cases both. DJing shouldn’t be something any fucking LA bastard can pickup so that he can mix his Fiest/MIA and 50 Cent/Eminem together.