Archive for the ‘Futurama’ Category

hpl;oveSOUNDTRACK: PINKISH BLACK-“Razed to the Ground” (2013).

pinkishblackAfter playing No Age, Lars Gottrich came in to show what real heaviness is with a new song from Pinkish Black.  Unlike most of Lars’ songs, this was neither death- nor speed- metal.  Rather it has a very 80s goth sound.  But it’s more Birthday Party than Sisters of Mercy.

There’s no guitars, just loud drums (with a lot of cymbals), a pulsing bass keyboard riff and some spacey high keyboard notes thrown along the top of the song.  There are elements that I liked about the story.  However, the synths in the solo give it a very cheesy horror movie feel and I have to admit that although I like a lot of bands from the era, this feels like a pale imitation.

[READ: June 20, 2013] “The Call of Cthulhu” and “The Whisperer in Darkness”

Both of these stories appeared in Michel Houellebecq’s H.P. Lovecraft book, but I wanted to treat them separately for ease of searching and discovery.

After my long history with Lovecraft and after reading Houellebecq’s book, I anticipated being blown away by these stories.  And so, with my expectations so high, I was naturally disappointed.  I was especially disappointed with how normal these stories seemed.  Houellebecq made me think the stories were practically non-narrative in form—that they eschewed all manner of conventional storytelling.  That his writing was so weird that no one would publish it.  But in these two stories everything seems completely normal.  Psychologically these stories are different, but aside from content, they are fairly conventional stories.

Maybe they aren’t mind blowing because they were written nearly 100 years ago and the entire world has changed drastically since then.  It may also be because I have read all of the derivatives of Lovecraft enough that there’s nothing new in his work.  And it may also be that in the past 80 years, we have thought of things that are much scarier than these, in part because of Lovecraft himself.  Or maybe I would have been into them a lot more had I read them when I was a teenager.

“The Call of Cthulhu.” (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 3, 2013] Cirque Zuma Zuma

zumaCirque Zuma Zuma was the final theater show of our 2012-2013 season.  When I bought tickets for this I didn’t realize that it was designed as an all ages show (hint, shows that start at 7PM are for families, shows that start at 7:30 are for adults only).  So I felt a little bad that the kids didn’t come as there were so many kids there.  And they would have enjoyed this, although it’s probably just as well that they had a nice night with their grandma.

So Cirque Zuma Zuma is an African-based show of dance and acrobatics.  There was a large banner that said that Cirque Zuma Zuma had been on America’s Got Talent.  Now, I don’t quite understand this as the announcer of the show seemed to say that the performers were from countries in Africa.  How could they be on America’s Got Talent if they are not American?  I don’t get it.

zuma2Anyway, the show got off to a rousing start with drumming.  Lots of drumming.  There was a man with two drums (big bass drum sounding drums) and then two drummers who were playing what I thought of as an African bongo but which I believe is called a Djembe.  And, man, they pounded the hell out of these things.  It was amazing how musical three (or four) drums can sound.  They played lead drum parts while the bass drum kept a steady rhythm.  And then the dancers came out.  Two women and a man dressed in what I assume is a traditional outfit.  And they danced.  Ecstatically.  Nonstop.  For about eight minutes.  And what frenetic and crazy dances they were.  They moved with such force and power.  It was really amazing and it looked exhausting.

Then came the acrobatics.  And was surprised at just how many of the acrobatic pieces were the same as ones done by the Chinese acrobats.  It strikes me as odd that two very distinct cultures would do the same kinds of things.  Are these just standard feats that contemporary performers learn?

The first was the climbing of and doing handstands on a stack of chairs.  The big difference here was that these chairs were very large (as opposed to the many tiny ones the Chinese acrobats use).  It was still impressive, and the chairs looked quite wobbly, but it was weird to open with a show stopper from another Cirque.

Other things that they did which we had already seen were jumping through hoops, spinning hula hoops, foot juggling and hat juggling.  It was very strange to see these same things.  The big difference was the music, which was African as opposed to Asian. (more…)

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I’ve more or less stopped counting milestones on this site.  But today I hit a quarter of a million views.  Sure, some site get that traffic in a day, but it’s not bad for a site that’s all about the books I’ve read.









And since I’m at 250,000, here’s a snapshot of my most popular posts: (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THURSTON MOORE-World Cafe Studio, November 16, 2007 (2007).

This World Cafe set is a nice contrast to the all-acoustic performance mentioned yesterday (even if it was recorded earlier).  Thurston has a full band with him (including Steve Shelly on drums).  Samara Lubelski from the other session is here too.  The band brings new dimensions to what are mostly the same set of songs.  Both sets included “The Shape is in a Trance,” and “Fri/End” but this one also includes “Honest James.”  The contrast is striking though.  The songs are bigger with the band (and allow for more intricacies) but they are still intimate.

  The interview is also interesting.  David Dye is a fantastic interviewer and he gets some great (and funny) answers out of Thurston. The whole description of how the lyrics to “Fri/End” came about is really cool (if unlikely).

Thurston and NPR: perfect together.

[READ: April 15, 2011] The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis.

This was a wonderful Christmas surprise from Sarah this year.  It is a beautifully packaged (slipcase with a cut-away opening) hardcover edition of the 2002 & 2005 Simpson/Futurama crossover comics issues.

Despite all of my fondness for The Simpsons and Futurama, I never really got into the comics (gotta draw a line somewhere).  But they have Matt Groening’s seal of approval, and they play jokes with things that the show never really touches (not to mention, the shows never tries a crossover event–I can’t even imagine how that would work). (more…)

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On July 25, I reached 90,000 hits.
It took me seven months to get from 60,000 (Dec 25, 2009) to 90,000.
It took me nine months to get my first 30,000 hits.

There are some obvious contributing factors to this improvement (not the least of which is links from referrers that make absolutely no sense whatsoever (and which are pretty clearly spam, but hey, numbers are numbers, right?)  But the most obvious is the huge outcry at the failure of Scholastic to continue publishing the Ulysses Moore series.

If you Google “Ulysses Moore” I am the first post (after the official Scholastic site, Amazon, and fantasticfiction).  I have received so many comments from people who are frustrated that the can’t finish the series. It is amazing that so many voices are ignored.  As you can see, this series has garnered me 4020 views.

At 60,000 views I posted some theories as to why I thought these posts were so successful.  Since very little has changed (mostly just a little shuffle of the top ten), I won’t bother repeating that.  But, there is one post (see the bottom, hee hee) which has absolutely skyrocketed in just a few short months.

1. 4020 views posted April 25, 2009 [was #1 at 60,000: 1663 views]
Pierdomenico Baccalario–Ulysses Moore series Books 1-4
SOUNDTRACK: PEARL JAM-Vitalogy (more…)

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I have concluded that I have personally killed or mortally wounded every TV show that I adore. Sports fans have their rituals that ensure their team will win, and I have a ritual that ensures a show will stay on the air: don’t watch it.

Here is a list of TV shows that I have single-handedly (with some help from my wife) sent to an early grave:

Pushing Daisies
Aliens in America
Arrested Development
Clerks the series
Greg the Bunny
Dead Like Me
Police Squad (although really, how many more episodes could they have made of this nonsense?)

[Notice that there’s a real pattern here of Fox picking up great, weird cutting edge shows and then canceling them after one or two seasons.  It makes me love and hate Fox at the same time].

Freaks and Geeks*

[although I don’t know how to classify the weird reprieve they’ve gotten in releasing DVDs and a new season]

*Okay, technically I caught these shows on DVD after they were cancelled, and yet, the point remains that I would have loved them if I knew about them. (more…)

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geek1I have a Periodicals page already, but I rarely look at it or update it.  So, over the next few months I’m going to mention a magazine that I subscribe to.  When I’m all caught up, I’ll remove that page.

I was inspired to do this when I got the latest Geek Monthly. I stumbled upon Geek magazine last year when I was gathering magazines for the library’s annual magazine survey.  I really enjoyed it and when I saw the next issue it was a Futurama feature, so naturally I had to subscribe right then and there.

And since then I have not been disappointed.

They have fun geek quotes from famous and non-famous people.  Some short articles about tech gadgets and new products. And an Ask Alienware category for high tech and gaming questions.

geek2They’ve also started a Green section (this latest one has a computer built into a cardboard CPU unit…very cool).

They also have a music section (six album reviews and an interview with a cool geeky person).  This latest issue has a great interview with Will Oldham & The Arcade Fire.

There’s obviously the interview with the cover person (Zach Braff & Nathan Fillion are recent cover stars).  Plus, there’s other film-related articles.  (An interview with Wallace Shawn and an inevitable piece on Battlestar Galactica).  There also usually an opinion piece about a film or TV topic, and sometimes a debate on a subject (Film Adaptations of Books).  There’s also a regular Rant from Mark Altman, and Secrets of a Lady Geek.

As you get near the back, you get film reviews (mostly sci fi & horror, but there’s also some comedies and documentaries), and DVD reviews.   And, of course book reviews (comics and otherwise).

And then you get one of my favorite sections: product reviews.  The Office Arsenal shows awesome gadgets that you can bring to work (sadly I don’t work in an environment where Nerf rockets and Super Soakers would be appreciated.)  But the best part has to be random reviews at the back of the magazine.  Things like: MyGlowKeys, or Van Dorn Gourmets Onion Dip and Bath Bomb, or the thing that’s been making me laugh for days: FX Neo: Hard Minty Eyedrops, which has the hilarious review: “Hard. Minty. Eyedrops.  I can’t think of two more terrible adjectives for something I’m supposed to stick in my eye.  Hot stabby eyedrops?  Grating infectious eyedrops?  Nope, can’t do it.” (more…)

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winkieSOUNDTRACK: THE FLAMING LIPS-Oh My Gawd!!!..The Flaming Lips (1987).

gawd1The cover of this disc makes a statement.  And it should tell you everything you need to know about the music inside.  It’s got skulls and psychedelic colors and Oh My Gawd!!!  And yet, it doesn’t, exactly.  It’s not quite as out there as the cover might make you think.

Because it’s funny how much this disc’s first song sounds like the Replacements (except where he starts singing about his brains falling out and everything exploding…not quite ‘Mats material).  But Wayne sounds like early, sloppy Paul Westerberg, and the riffs are not too far off from some of the early ‘Mats records.

Even the wonderfully titled 9 minute epic  “One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Afternoon” isn’t quite as much of a freak out as you might expect.  In fact, the early instrumental part is one of the prettiest melodies they’ve done.  It is particularly interesting given its sparse instrumentation.   The song does eventually drift back into earlier Pink Floyd territory (“Astronomy Domine” etc). But it’s “The Ceiling is Bendin'” that is the freak out you’re looking for, with a fun drum fading and the chaos.  “Maximum Dream for Evil Kenevil” on the other hand is a noisy mess (a fun noisy mess, but a noisy mess nonetheless).

It’s clear that they’re doing some good experimentation with audio effects.  And yet “Can’t Exist” is a delicate little song with just a light touch of feedback.

The first half of “Prescription: Love” is a rocking instrumental that would not sound out of place as a Nirvana B-side (but since it came before Nirvana, let’s say maybe on an SST Records track.  The second half returns to the garage rocking sound (with some funky deep vocals dubbed on…the first of many experiments with voice on future albums).

“Ode to C.C., Pt. 2” feels like it’s going to take of in an explosion but never does. But it has the excellent line “Hell’s got all the good bands anyway.”  “Can’t Stop the Spring” is another fantastic riff rocking song, and it starts and end with a classical music sample.  [Which I can’t place right now, sadly].

The disc ends with “Love Your Brain,” a 7 minute piano workout –which ultimately ends in the destruction of the room.  It sounds like every instrument in the place is destroyed.

So this disc expands the sonic weirdness of the Flaming Lips’ first disc, and it also showcases their growth as musicians.  It’s not a brilliant album by any means although it is quite good.  The most interesting thing is seeing how much they are experimenting with sounds now, and how it will pay off for them later on.

[READ: Late 2006 & December 2008] Winkie

I read this book two years ago, and my memory of it is not that great.  I’m only including it because I really enjoyed it at the time, and would like to make some record of having read it.

UPDATE: I have decided to re-read this book while on P breaks at work.  I am now utterly unsure whether or not I read the book fully last time.  I have just finished it again, and I was totally surprised by so many things (although one or two things did trigger my memory) that I really had to wonder if I finished it.

So, the story is about a stuffed bear named Winkie.  Winkie was a beloved toy of the Chase family and most recently of Clifford Chase [see author’s name now].  As the story opens, Winkie, the stuffed bear, is being tackled by the FBI as they arrest him for terrorist activities.  [You can re-read that sentence to see if your brain digested it.] (more…)

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