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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in ash966's LiveJournal:

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    Friday, July 25th, 2008
    3:38 pm
    APPLE TV UPDATE

    Oh happy day! The 2.2 update did it--I can listen to internet radio on the Apple TV without having to stream it from my computer. I'm blasting with the big speakers any music that the vast sea of the Internet can provide. You do have to create a playlist of radio stations on iTunes, since there still isn't searching available for radio like with podcasts and YouTube. Get on it, Apple! And while you're at it, could I have an iPod Touch with 80 GB of storage for less than $300? Especially now that LastFM is available on it. That'd be great, thanks.
    3:37 pm
    STILL HATING ON MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTIONS
    Jason had an insightful post on newspapers in the Internet Age on his blog wherein he suggested we donate to keep the watchdogs of the press going. In an aside, he mentioned subscriptions for music:

    To be honest, it's the same thing with music downloads. I've been screaming for monthly subscriptions for years now, and they're still not here. (At least not on the scale of an iTunes or Amazon.)
    Of course, I had to respond.

    Jason:

    I'm sorry to hear you've been screaming for years--you must be very hoarse. I believe the service you're looking for is called Rhapsody. I don't know what counts as "the same scale", but they have ads on TV. I don't know why anyone would pay $12.99/month to rent music, though. I want to own my music, I don't want some company to be able to take my access away or jack up the price at a whim. Rhapsody's main market must be people who don't own much music, have a lot of electronic devices but no interest in learning about podcasts or Internet radio, and have tastes that change on a monthly basis---AKA teenagers. Podcasts are free, internet radio is free, LastFM is free, Pandora is free, Songbird is free, making any streaming Internet audio into a podcast is one-time cost of $15, so why pay $156/year to sample new stuff?

    If an internet radio station is good enough, make a donation. Radio stations also add news, personalities, tour dates, and other added value in addition to the songs themselves, so that's another aspect worth rewarding. I admit I am very anti-subscriptions. I don't have cable and I won't get a PVR because of the monthly fees. I will buy the occasional TV show on AppleTV. Netflix and certain magazines are the only subscriptions that are worth it on a quality-vs-cost basis.
    3:37 pm
    BIG VALLEY, THE ANTI-WESTERN


    I'm not a big Western fan, they tend to be too conservative for a big liberal like me. The strong, silent good guy is the best shot, so he kills the bad guy, saves civilization and marries the schoolmarm (My Darling Clementine, Gunsmoke). I tend to prefer the "adult" Westerns of the 50s like Man of the West, The Unforgiven, 3:10 To Yuma, Johnny Guitar and Warlock that acknowledge that there was sex, racial tension and moral ambiguity on the lonesome prairie. Another interesting variation was Western family drama, like Broken Lance, Duel in the Sun, or Giant, where a powerful paterfamilias was respected throughout the county but had trouble with his own family (Bonanza is a watered-down version).
    The Big Valley is the closest TV came to the adult Western. Of course it was constrained by censorship compared to the movies, but it was daring at the time to have a main character be an illegitimate son of late paterfamilias who is accepted by the family as one of their own (after some conflict, of course). Also, the prostitutes were actually whores, not the fresh-scrubbed "dance hall hostesses" of Bonanza.

    Unlike the usual powerful ranching families in movies and TV, the Barkleys were headed by the strong-willed Victoria as played by the great Barbara Stanwyck, who after the first few episodes took to wearing an all-black cowgirl-dominatrix outfit reminiscent of Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar. Instead of ruling the valley with an iron fist and fearing change, the Barkleys were the 19th-century equivalent of "limousine liberals", always helping the less fortunate, whether they are poor farmers, black ex-cons, prostitutes, Mexican revolutionaries or inmates of a women's prison (Victoria goes undercover and endures beatings in order to expose its inhumane conditions). Unlike the many movie Western heroes who are embittered ex-Confederate soldiers, like John Wayne in The Searchers and the many versions of Jesse James, son Jarrod was the captain of a black Union regiment. Still, they are often resented and even kidnapped due to their wealth. Poor Audra, the daughter of the family, was always being threatened with rape, most memorably by a psychopathic Civil War vet played by Adam West.

    The Big Valley has something for everything with its three brothers: smart, sophisticated lawyer Jarrod; hot-headed diamond-in-the-rough Nick; and quiet, brooding friend-of-the-underdog Heath (Lee Major looks and sounds a great deal like Elvis Presley at this point, which I assume was intentional). Not to mention the uncannily lovely Audra and the intriguingly butch Victoria. There are many great guest stars: having only seen the first DVD of the first season, I've already enjoyed Andrew Duggan as a charismatic-but-warped Civil War general who tries to get the ranch hands to turn to crime, and Jeanne Cooper as the murderous Lady MacBeth of a dying Gold Rush town.

    My other favorite TV Westerns, The High Chaparral and Maverick, are sadly not on DVD, but the 10 discs of The Big Valley, Season 1 should get me through summer reality-show hell.
    3:36 pm
    MOVIES I PLAN TO NEVER, EVER SEE
    From this discussion in Name That Film:


    I've learned from bitter experience that any movie that can plausibly be described as "a triumph of the human spirit" is bunk. Hence, I've avoided the following movies like the plague:

    Life is Beautiful
    Dances with Wolves
    Schindler's List
    Crash (2004)
    Children of Huang Shi
    Biko
    Gandhi
    Amistad
    Bravehart

    Forrest Gump

    These sort of Oscar-bait movies drop off the best-of lists after a few years anyway, to be remembered only as a historical record of what was considered serious and important in the past. (Gentleman's Agreement, A Patch of Blue, The Greatest Show on Earth, anyone?)



    ----------------
    Now playing: Globe - What's The Justice? [00:07:59]
    via FoxyTunes
    Monday, June 23rd, 2008
    9:16 pm
    STUPID INTERNET TRICKS
    lastfmgraph.jpg

    I never get tired of internet services that define me by my tastes. The reason I got into LastFM was because someone else had the widget on their blog and it looked cool. It filled me with a burning desire to have my favorite songs streaming here on Odd Obsession. It also lets me broadcast my soundtrack on Facebook. I don't really use it for recommendations, though. For that, I'm still a bit old-fashioned in using radio, albeit of the Internet variety (it is handy to have all the tracks listed. Listening to regular radio and having to wait for the DJ to say what they're playing seems so frustrating now, doesn't it?) Another hint from Dr. S is searching for lists of bands under a genre like "Stoner rock" on Wikipedia, then going to SeeqPod or MySpace to listen. Really the only reason for MySpace to exist.

    Anyway, for those with a lot of time on their hands, LastGraph offers a lovely visual representation of what you're listening to. I was loving the Hives and stoner rock, wasn't I?
    9:03 pm
    WHO'S LINKING TO ME NOW?
    For pure ego gratification, there's nothing like Flickr Stats. I love checking how many hits I've gotten on which pictures from which web site. Most of the sites are just photo blogs that search certain tags and refresh whenever a new photo with that tag pops up in Flickr, so they don't imply actual choosing due to photographical excellence, but some are from Japan, which is always cool. Note to self: If you want to be big on Japanese blogs, take photos of Neon Genesis Evangelion cosplayers.

    Other than that, my Flickr photos were linked to two mid-century modern design lovers, a Portuguese crafter who was interested in the Flickr plastic bag group, and the enigmatic Wansmile, who may be a Flickr Name That Film member and enjoyed my still from the Italian cyberpunk film Nirvana. Awesome.



    ----------------
    Now playing: Devil Riding Shotgun - Who Am I
    via FoxyTunes
    6:56 pm
    MY PERFECT DAY: EAST METRO EDITION
    Somehow I missed it, but Giant Robot published a "My Perfect Day" story from the Twin Cities a couple of months ago. It's a feature where the writer describes the place they live in the form of a diary entry for a perfect day where they could do all their favorite things in a period of 16 - 20 hours. This one was pretty good, the guy works for the Walker and mentioned most of the cool galleries and museums. It's too bad he apparently never steps further east of the river than Dinkytown, though. Where's the St. Paul love? If I did a perfect day, I'd have to do a Minneapolis one and a St. Paul one, otherwise I'd never fit everything in. Here's my East Metro version, based on certain special days with my sweetie Dr. S:

    9 AM: Early for me, but it's a perfect day and I have a lot to do, so Dr. S tickles my toes. I look out my balcony at the Mississippi: it looks like a perfect day.


    10:30 AM. We walk along the Mississippi River and look for any new graffiti to photgraph. Who needs camping when you have the river in walking distance? I've seen bald eagles, wild turkeys, and a mama duck with ducklings. Then we go over to see if there's some new art at the railroad tracks at 280 and Pelham.

    11 AM: Brunch at Key's on Raymond, a nice, homey Midwestern breakfast and lunch place. There are several in the Twin Cities, each run by a different family member, but the Raymond one has the most character.


    12 PM: I check out Succotash to see what incredible midcentury-modern finds are there today. This is were I got my lovely tiki bar, they were so nice they delivered it to my house at no extra charge.



    12:30 PM: More than just a surplus store, Axman is a museum of oddities. Employees create handmade signs suggesting weird uses for all their stuff. It has to be experienced to be believed. No Halloween is complete without it.

    1:3o PM: We stop at Saigon in Frogtown for some yummy banh mi to take along for a picnic in Como Park. Frogtown is a neighborhood full of Southeast Asian businesses. Its name is ancient and shrouded in mystery.


    1:30 PM: We check out the animals at Como Zoo. It may not be the fanciest zoo around, but it's one of the cheapest ($2 suggested donation). There is also a lovely park, a conservatory, and a slightly pathetic but sweet amusement park. It is a very St. Paul kind of place, small cute and not changed much by time.

    4 PM: The Source is aptly named. Here is the source for all your most geeky needs: Role-playing games, comic books, miniatures, plushes, figurines, funny-shaped dice, DVDs, manga and a calendar of geek events. The staff is friendly and not freaked out by females.



    6 PM: Tomodachi is a little slice of Akibahara in the Twin Cities. There are toys, CDs, stationary, stickers, t-shirts, robots, figures, and plushes from Japan, plus some Asian-inspired toys like Uglydolls. Where else would I get a poseable Tachikoma? Items I've purchased there include: a Domo-kun T-shirt, Badtz Maru slippers and a Samurai Champloo calendar. It's a perfect day, so the cosplaying employee with the furry pink leggings is there and some good J-Pop is playing.

    7:30 PM: There are a lot of Ethiopian places in the Twin Cities, but Fasika is my current favorite. There is so much food for such a good price, we have to each get a giant platter on a big piece of injera bread.

    9:30 PM: We go to the Turf Club and a great local band is playing. The Turf Club is small and unpretentious, just the right size, location, seat/floor ratio, and attitude for a show. The good band ends just in time for us to catch our bus, and we go home thinking of our perfect day.

    Note: This is certainly not everything that could be done in St. Paul, only what could plausibly be done in one day (I'm still taking the bus, but I catch every connection perfectly). I didn't even mention the State Fair, the Art Crawl, the cool old buildings in West 7th and Summit Ave., the Black Sea, the Science Museum, Shish, Punch Pizza, Uncle Sven's. Babani's, Taste of Thailand, Peking Garden, the downtown St. Paul library and the three Carnegie branches, the Art Deco City Hall, Pino's, Khyber Pass, and a downtown that's not filled with ugly buildings because they tore most of the good ones down in the 60's.
    6:55 pm
    10, 000 HITS, BABY!


    Well, thanks to recent posts of the new Intermedia Arts mural and the Como Zoo, I have finally achieved my dream of 10,00 hits on Flickr. I would have more, but apparently Name That Film posts don't count (it's technically 18+, but not for reasons of naughtiness). The popular blog Boing Boing mentioned NTF a couple of months ago, so we were swamped for a while. I prefer getting props for my abilities (at least those of being in the right place to capture street art) than because a lot of people are trying to guess what movie my snap is from, anyway.
    6:54 pm
    I, OTAKU

    So, I went to Anime Detour last month and a good time was had by all, although I did put my back out for a week afterwards, hence the lack of posts in April. Apparently, I can no longer sit cross-legged for any length of time because the nerve in my leg starts hurting, making sitting in a chair very painful, which makes it hard to share my wit and wisdom with all the Jfro fans.

    My dear friend KathySRW let Dr S. and I stay over at her hotel room, which was great and definitely the way to do things. Next time I may spring for a room or split the cost. Kathy's daughter was dressed as Light from Death Note, a 2008 cosplay favorite, along with Bleach, Hellsing, and the ubiquitous Naruto (In my day, ninjas were remorseless killing machines, and that's the way we liked it. Now get off my lawn with your ridiculous orange jumpsuit!) Here's some more pictures from my Flickr account.

    We got to check out some new shows, of which our favorites were Flag and Witchblade. Flag was a serious look at war through the eyes of a photojournalist (literally, the whole show has the appearance of being shot through a camera viewfinder), and Witchblade was pure cheesy superhero fun (a superweapon chooses one woman with extremely large breasts to wield it in every generation, giving her nigh-invulnerability, a thirst for combat, and a desire to go without underwear).

    Anime Science Theater 3000 was a new feature--a good idea, but it didn't live up to the possibilities. The show being mocked was Desert Punk, which didn't seem to take itself very seriously in the first place. I was hoping for a really, really bad old anime from the 80's, something like the Humanoid, named by Jonathan Clements as the worst anime ever made. Even so, the room was packed so close I could hardly breathe. It's a good thing Anime Detour is moving to a bigger hotel next year. The Thunderbird has a certain mid-century charm with its tacky Native American motif, but it's a motel with delusions of grandeur. Watching the cosplay contest on closed-circuit TV is not my idea of fun. Anime is so big now, a second con is starting up in the Twin Cities. Since it's not too accessible to mass transit, I won't be going (unless L'Arc-En-Ciel or Halcali appear live, not very likely in the Jpop-ignorant Midwest). Dr. S might go if it were all manly anime like Crying Freeman, Golgo 13, or Urotsukidoji.

    For more on the anime phenomenon, I direct you to the documentary, Otaku Unite. It's a good history of fandom with some real characters in it. Plus, Kaiju Big Battel, how can you not love guys who dress like monsters and wrestle each other ineptly?


    ----------------
    Now playing: Groove Radio
    via FoxyTunes
    4:21 pm
    Movies that Are Better than the Comic Book or Graphic Novel
    Usually, If I really like the comic book or graphic novel, I don't like the movie quite as much, though I still enjoy it if it doesn't screw things up completely. Examples include: Lone Wolf and Cub, The Crow,Ghost World, V for Vendetta, and American Splendor. Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind is really close, but I feel the comic book is a little bit better in the world-creation department and the ending was more poignant (of course, they are both by Miyazaki, so that's a special case). Mainstream superhero comics are hard to judge because there are so many different writers and inkers (I don't read them much because of that, though I can enjoy the symbolism and mythos in a movie).


    There are a few movies that are better than the comic books, though:

    Ghost in the Shell. It's a good graphic novel, but Shirow gets sidetracked by his love of shiny mecha and cheesy cheesecake (though he does both well). The movie really focuses on the theme without the clutter, and I can watch it again and again.

    The Stormriders. Wing Shing Wa is the master of crazy kung-fu battles, but his story is all over the place and his characters lack personality. The movie distills what's great about the comic into a silly but super-fun cgi Hong Kong version of Clash of the Titans.

    Lady Snowblood. This one is close, but Koike (adapting his own comic) cuts out some of the silliness and the totally shoehorned-in lesbian subtheme of the comic, leaving us nothing but sweet, sweet vengeance.

    I haven't read the graphic novels of Hellboy,Diabolik, or History of Violence, or seen the movie of Persepolis. Any thoughts on these? Someday I'd like to compare the manga, anime and French live-action version of Rose of Versailles (AKA Lady Oscar), but I'm not sure I'm ready to lay out the considerable dough.



    ----------------
    Now playing: Groove Radio
    via FoxyTunes
    Sunday, April 20th, 2008
    6:54 pm
    TV AND ME ARE THROUGH, PART III: ENTER THE APPLE TV
    Here's my report on my Apple TV after having it for one month. I had some trouble setting it up at first, but now it's working just fine. Although it doesn't fulfill my every desire as an on-demand entertainment device and link from Internet-accessible content to my TV, I'm pretty darn happy with it. And no monthly fees. Oh monthly fees, how I hate you! From hell's heart, I stab thee!

    At first, set up was frustrating because it turned out I needed something called a router to share my DSL internet with my computer and Apple TV. The Radio Shack guy knew what I needed, but they apparently sold me one from the back of the closet all covered with dust, because it was old and didn't work. I found a tip online that told me I had to go into the online maintenance and change one setting for reasons unknown, but I couldn't get online to do it. The router company wanted to charge me money to give me customer support because it was out of warranty, so I marched right back to the Shack and demanded a new one. Then it worked after the aforementioned changed setting and downloading the version 2.0 upgrade. I can't blame Apple for the problem, but it would have been nice if the word "router" had been mentioned somewhere in the manual.

    I bought an HDTV at the same time, so your mileage may vary if you have an older TV. I connected it with HDMI because CNet said it was the most freakin' awesome way of connecting things to a TV, and awesome it was. I looked at my photos from iPhoto, and I was like, "Oh, my god, I am the best photographer ever in the history of the world!" I like the way the slideshow pans your photos all Ken-Burns-like while music from your collection plays. Sometimes I just watch the screensaver, which is all your photos flipping around in a hypnotic manner. Podcasts are something I haven't looked looked into that much because I don't drive and (good librarian that I am) I never leave the house without reading material. As for video podcasts, I don't like watching anything over two minutes on my computer or iPod. This is an area I see myself going into more on the Apple TV, as I can listen to podcasts while cleaning or cooking and watch video podcasts on my comfy couch. AnimeTV and Erik the Librarian looked great on AppleTV. Flickr and Youtube can also be accessed, which was fun when I had a few people over last weekend. It's much more comfortable than having 5 people huddle around a computer screen. The remote works well, its controls are a lot like an iPod. It is a little harder to scroll through a long list, though. I have over 5,000 songs in my library, I need better search options. When you search for a song to buy, letters come up and you can type something in, but with your library you have scroll. What's up with that?

    Renting movies was a new feature that made me sit up and take notice. Now we're getting a bit closer to my dream of being able to call up any entertainment I want on demand. It took me about 5 hours to download a whole movie and 2 hours for a TV show, so it's not instant gratification. You have 30 days to watch a movie, so I recommend doing it the night before. My back went out last week and I couldn't sit at my computer, so it was nice to have the option. Also, I have Netflix, but sometimes I don't get enough movies in time for the weekend, or I suddenly feel in the mood for something else. The selection is not large, so I hope it gets bigger. When I want to see something like the 40 Year Old Virgin, with an enormous hold list at the library and a long wait in Netflix, right away, it will come in handy. I don't have the desire to see enough popular movies to make paying 13$/month for HBO to be worth it, but every now and then my interests and that of the majority of the American people converge.

    As some of you may know, Casa Jfro is surrounded by a force field blocking nearly all over-the-air radio and television signals. So what do I do when I want to listen to music I don't own already? Pay monthly fees to a company that will probably become a monopoly soon? I don't think so. So, I listen to internet radio. There are some great stations out there, but then I'm limited to the computer speakers in the bedroom. But, now with AppleTV, I can stream internet radio to the big honkin' speakers in the living room. Hurrah! The only drawback is, you have to have iTunes open and your computer on. It would be nice if internet radio was a option on the AppleTV, though, and you could search for stations and save your favorites. So, all in all, I'm really enjoying AppleTV. The main drawbacks are: not enough movies and shows, no internet radio, and the searching of one's library could be better. However, these can easily be fixed in an update.



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    Now playing: Shockwave Sessions Vol 007 - Martin Roth Mix
    via FoxyTunes
    Sunday, March 16th, 2008
    10:44 pm
    OVERRATED MOVIES
    This is from yet another Name That Film discussion. When it comes to movies, I am full of . . . opinions.



    American Beauty: A re-hash of warmed-over 60s ideas. Suburbs bad! Teenagers good! Military men insane! About as deep as "Pleasant Valley Sunday".

    I also hated Lost in Translation, but it could be just watching people who are miserable because they got a free trip to Japan burns my ass.

    Anything by the British Art School club: Sally Potter, Peter Greenaway, Derek Jarman, and Ken Russell (except for Lair of the White Worm). These movies would be OK for 10 minutes at a time in an art gallery, but not for 2 hours. Caravaggio was just agonizing. Oh look, the Pope has a digital watch! That must symbolize something!

    Betty Blue, Breaking the Waves, King of Hearts, and any other arty mental-illness-exploitation movie. If it doesn't resemble any mental illness anyone has ever seen outside of a movie, it isn't any good. This goes for terminal illnesses as well.

    The Mystery of Kasper Hauser, Apocalypto
    , and any movie with the theme: nature good, civilization bad. If civilization is so bad, why are you making a movie about it? Shouldn't you be out in the woods whittling something?

    Crappy Hollywood studio product doesn't bother me as much as critically-acclaimed arty crap. I usually know better than to see some stinky blockbuster, but bad arty movies insist on their own importance. Unfair, perhaps, but true.




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    Now playing: aztec camera - jump
    via FoxyTunes
    Monday, March 3rd, 2008
    12:01 am
    THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT

    The Hives
    Originally uploaded by britrockatthetop


    I remember back in the late 80's some proto-grunge guy from the college radio station mocked me for going to see the Godfathers. "They wear matching suits!" he scoffed. That was before Urge Overkill made it cool again. I like a band that wears matching outfits, it shows that they are making an effort to entertain me. It doesn't make a crappy band sound good, and it doesn't fit every band -- Guided By Voices' whole thing was "we're regular guys", so they wore regular-guy clothes, but they still busted their asses for the ticket-buying public.

    The Hives are like that--they did everything possible to get the crowd going last Thursday at First Avenue. They reminded me a lot of the Godfathers, what with the suits and the 60s-style garage rock. The main dig against them is that they aren't original, but if, like me, you can't resist the primal lure of garage rock, originality doesn't really matter. If I'm offered a mouth-watering slice of cheesecake, what do I care if someone else make a similar one 40 years ago? That one guy from the Monks died, so I'll probably never see them live. Give the Hives credit, though, not many garage rock bands had more than one good single (there's a reason why the most famous garage rock record is Nuggets), and they've had three albums chock full of catchy songs. Most of the 80s garage rockers like the Fleshtones and Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns killed live, but their albums were pale reflections except for one or two songs.

    Now, if only The Hellacopters and the Nomads will come to town, for the Swedish garage rock trifecta . . .



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    Now playing: Hermano - Letters from Madrid
    via FoxyTunes
    Monday, February 18th, 2008
    1:12 am
    TOP TEN ANIME THEME SONGS

    You Won’t See Me Coming”

    Jean Jacques Brunel (Gankutsuou:The Count of Monte Cristo)

    A dark but energetic techno tune with sinister vocals by former Stranglers bassist Jean-Jacques Brunel that foreshadows the many machinations of the mysterious Count.


    Hikari To Kage O Dakishimeta Mama”

    --Naomi Tamura (Magic Knight Rayearth)

    I’m not too into magical-girls shows, but I love this song. It’s like a lost 70’s bubblegum hit you can’t get out of your head.


    Tandem”

    --HALCALI (Mr. Stain on Junk Alley)

    Another song that really sticks in your ear, this hip-pop song with a Latin/Ska beat makes me want to dance every time I hear it.


    Ready Steady Go”

    --L'Arc-en-Ciel (Fullmetal Alchemist)

    This anthemic pop-punk song perfectly represents the innocent but determined spirit of the show’s Elric Brothers.


    Tank!”

    --The Seatbelts (Cowboy Bebop)

    A jazzy 60’s –style instrumental is perfect for this retro-futurist series that is full of references to 60s and 70’s Japanese and American television.


    Guardian Angel”

    --Juno Reactor (Texhnolyze)

    A dark techno-industrial tune sets the mood for this dystopian science fiction anime.


    Yume no Shima Shinen Kouen”

    --Susumu Hirasawa (Paranoia Agent)

    Off-beat electronica with unidentifiable World-Beat influences (Tibetan? Finnish? Bulgarian?) sets the stage for a thought-provoking anime.


    Cruel Angel’s Thesis”

    --Yoko Takahashi (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

    A techno number so upbeat it starts to sound sinister as the anime gets darker and darker.


    Yakusoku”

    --Akino Arai (Windaria)

    An oldie but goodie, this yearning ballad perfectly conveys the tragedy of the anime’s star-crossed lovers. Not recommended for people with low 80’s pop tolerance (I can’t get enough, myself).


    Cautionary Warning”

    --John Sykes (Black Heaven)

    A show about a former Metal guitarist whose music saves a whole planet needs a kick-ass opening tune like this one from former Whitesnake guitarist John Sykes.



    Bonus worst anime theme song: “Stray”–Steve Conte (Wolf’s Rain)

    The Wolf’s Rain soundtrack is by anime soundtrack goddess Yoko Kanno, who also did Cowboy Bebop, but this opening theme song just annoys me. It’s so mellow and middle-of-the-road, more for a dentist’s office or a romantic TV-movie on the Hallmark Channel than a dark and thoughtful science-fictional adventure. The first time I heard it, I was already tired of it.





    1:07 am
    FAVORITE MUSICAL NUMBERS IN MOVIES
    Everything in The Band Wagon, Singin' in the Rain, and Meet Me in St. Louis is good. Other favorites:

    The Nicholas Brothers, "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo", Orchestra Wives
    Marilyn Monroe, "After You Get What You Want", There's No Business Like Show Business
    Jo Kennedy, "Body & Soul", Starstruck
    Ethel Merman & Donald O'Connor, "You're Just in Love", Call Me Madam
    John Cameron Mitchell, "Wicked Little Town", Hedwig & the Angry Inch
    Angela Lansbury, "Little Yellow Bird", The Picture of Dorian Gray
    "Sodomy", Meet The Feebles
    "Jaan Pehechaan Ho", Gumnaam (featured in Ghost World)
    Anna Karina, Sami Frey, & Claude Brasseur "The Madison", Band of Outsiders
    Mick Jagger, "Memo From Turner", Performance
    "Buckle Down, Winsocki", Best Foot Forward
    Dolores Gray, "Thanks A Lot, But No Thanks", It's Always Fair Weather
    Gene Kelly, "Pirate Ballet", The Pirate
    "Pop! Goes My Heart", Music and Lyrics
    "Chal Chaiyya Chaiyya", Dil Se
    "Gala Gala Happy", City Hunter
    Marlene Dietrich, "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have", Destry Rides Again
    "Sukiyaki", A Hero Never Dies
    Jonathan Rhys Meyers & Shudder To Think, "The Ballad of Maxwell Demon", Velvet Goldmine

    Unfavorite: anything from The Sound of Music. It's so wholesome it makes my teeth ache. Music and dancing is supposed to be sexy, dammit!

    Here's a selection of all the ones on the list I was able to find on YouTube for your enjoyment:


    Monday, February 4th, 2008
    9:09 pm
    TV AND ME ARE THROUGH, PART II: A NEW HOPE
    Well, the combination of the writer's strike and the horror of the new television season has made me very, very glad for Netflix and its delivery of quality television on DVD to my home. At this rate, I may even pull the plug on the $10-a-month fee I pay to Comcast to get any TV reception in my scenically located bachelorette pad.

    My dream is that someday, I can think of a movie or TV show I want to see, then instantly transfer it from my computer to my TV, all without the yoke of an oppressive monthly bill from the cable or dish companies. Well, now that Apple TV lets you rent movies, it's coming pretty darn close. And the price has dropped, so why not? The main draw-back is that if they come up with something even better in a year, I'll feel stupid. Still, it's a better bet than buying a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player, which are much more expensive than Apple TV and also require buying movies in a new format. The media is talking about Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as if it's a VHS-vs-Beta thing, but what if it's more like DAT or laserdisc or 8-track, and both formats represent a dead end which will be rejected in favor of some sort of streaming option? That's my guess, anyway.



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    Now playing: Echo & The Bunnymen - The Game
    via FoxyTunes
    9:07 pm
    GETTIN' MY MACRO ON

    I just got a new super-slick Nikon Coolpix S51, so I'm hoping to bring my photography up a notch. I can actually take pictures of small things, dark landscapes, and indoor scenes now. Look at Mr. Blik here. You can actually see the dust covering him! Not to mention, there's some bokeh going on. I'll have to give all my toys the treatment.

    PS. This is my 100th post. Yay me!
    ----------------
    Now playing: Lowrider - Flat Earth
    via FoxyTunes
    9:07 pm
    FAME WHORE UPDATE
    Well, I got a release form to sign from Henry Owings, so it looks like I might be in the next Chunklet book, The Rock Bible. Next stop, The New Yorker! That Sasha Frere-Jones needs to be taken down a peg or two.



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    Now playing: Groove Radio
    via FoxyTunes
    9:06 pm
    FUN WITH PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS

    doggiepooposter
    Originally uploaded by ash966
    There was a thread in the Flickr Name That Film group about making fake DVD covers for movies that are never likely to get a release from the arty label Criterion. I submitted my favorite Korean stop-motion movie about a talking turd, Doggie Poo.

    PS. You don't ever want to search for "doggie poo" in Google Images. Trust me on this.




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    Now playing: 9lb Hammer - Carl's Theme
    via FoxyTunes
    Friday, December 28th, 2007
    7:48 pm
    DISAPPOINTING ENDINGS
    WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR HIGH TENSION, I AM LEGEND AND FIGHT CLUB





    From this discussion in Flickr Name That Film:

    I Am Legend had a disappointing ending, although I still liked it. It would've gone from good to great if they'd chosen an ending closer to the book. The Last Man on Earth had the closest to the original ending, unfortunately the mutants there looked like people with a bad hangover.

    The ending of High Tension totally ruined it for me. If you're going to do the "unreliable narrator" thing in a movie, you have to drop hints or set it up in some way. I felt the same about Fight Club, although it's a much better movie. Just no set up at all for the twist. I haven't read the book, I assume the author did a better job.

    Successful movies with an unreliable narrator:

    Kind Hearts and Coronets
    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    Lolita (1962)
    The Blade (1995)









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    Now playing: Big Audio Dynamite - E=MC2
    via FoxyTunes

    Current Mood: chipper
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