When You Were Young
No, I'm not referencing a mediocre Killers song in the title of this post. Instead, I was thinking about the things that scared the bejebus out of me when I was a wee lad.
Back then, vampires caused me to always sleep with the covers up to my chin (because everyone knows that vampires only bite exposed necks). This started after I watched Salem's Lot as a six year old. One scene, in particular, where a vampire is sitting in a rocking chair hissing, gave me nightmares for three straight nights.
My fear was further fueled by a space vampire episode of Buck Rogers. That also gave my sister the creeps. For some reason, we decided that one of the entry ways to our house was the spot where the space vampire could get us. I know...I know...
Anyway, as is to be expected, I ended up getting over that fear and becoming obsessed with vampires (wait, is that really expected?). And looking back, it's hard for me to truly understand how scary those things were. They seem so cheesy now, but I have to assume that in the case of Salem's Lot at least, that people were genuinely scared by that stuff.
As an adult, fantastic creatures like vampires have been replaced by terrorist plots, police brutality, government torture, dying alone and plane crashes (and a scary dancing clown). Yet none of them fill me with a dread that causes nightmares like those I had as a kid. Sometimes I wonder if that's actually a good thing.
Mogwai has a new album out called Mr. Beast. I only picked it up today, but I've already given it three listens and I'm loving it. It is a powerful collection of music, with some of the loudest songs I've heard from that bunch of Scots. Listen to "Folk Death 95" for an idea of what they have to offer. They are coming to Boston soon, and this album guarantees that I'll be there.
Mates of State, that cheery husband and wife duo, have a new album out, which is probably their most focused batch of pop songs yet. They don't really have a clunker on the album, but I'll say that "Think Long," "Fraud in the 80's," and "So Many Ways" are some of the standouts. You can stream some songs from the new album, and others, at their website. Give them a listen and smile.
A Quote About Individuals
I was reading the thoroughly confusing and wonderful book, The Illuminatus! Trilogy, today when I came across a quote from a fictious book that I found rather nifty. It's not necessarily profound, and could probably fit nicely in a bit of anarchist propaganda, but nevertheless, I dig it.
"The most thoroughly and relentlessly Damned, banned, excluded, condemned, forbidden, ostracized, ignored, supressed, repressed, robbed, brutalized and defamed of all Damned Things is the individual human being. The social engineers, statisticians, psychologists, sociologists, market researchers, landlords, bureaucrats, captains of industry, bankers, governors, commissars, kings and presidents are perpetually forcing this Damned Thing into carfully prepared blueprints and perpetually irritated that the Damned Thing will not fit into the slot assigned to it. The theologians call it a sinner and try to reform it. The governor calls it a criminal and tries to punish it. The psychotherapist calls it a neurotic and tries to cure it. Still, the Damned Thing will not fit into their slots."
Mmmm, the 90's
For more 90's nostalgia, check out Joseph Hathaway covering Pearl Jam's "Release." That was probably my favorite song in high school...yes, that means I was a melodramatic m0f0. I also really loved Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" and Soundgarden's "Fell On Black Days." I didn't discover happy music until college.
Emmet Otter Fans Rejoice!
Good news! Good-freaking-news! First, there's a collector's edition of Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. If that wasn't cool enough, I found a source for the soundtrack in handy-dandy mp3 format.
To this day, I have still not worked out the difference between animal based Muppets who can talk and those who can't. The world may never know. Or I may not have read enough interviews with Jim Henson and am just profoundly ignorant.
Also, I watched a zombie battle a shark last night. Did I mention that?
Speaking of flesh eating zombies...err, wait...that didn't come out right.
Anyway, a buddy of mine in DC has opened his own comic book store, and dubbed it "Fantom Comics."
Given that I've always wanted to open my own record store, I envy the intestinal fortitude it took to start his own brick and mortar business. I really hope he succeeds. So, if you are ever in DC, stop by and pick up a JTHM book, and tell Matt that I sent you.
So I was watching Lucio Fulci's movie, Zombie...
And I do believe I got to see a zombie fight a shark. Now I believe I've heard of this scene before, but I never quite expected that it actually happened.
I'm not sure how to feel.
I've spent a bit more time considering Syriana, since it's the only film of note that I've seen lately. I stand by my original opinion that it's a film worth seeing, with a number of quality acting performances. And I'd add that some of the sub-stories within the film were particularly moving (most notably the tale of the two Pakistani boys). However, as time has gone on, the lack of a strong story arc, or strong overall message, has bothered me more and more.
The film could have been trying to point out that the US and Big Oil are shady characters with questionable practices in the Middle East. Well, tell me something I don't know. So, originally, I went looking for a deeper story, and that's where my anti-conspiracy analysis comes in. However, I'm not so sure that message was intentional. Their message could have been as simplistic as "the oil industry is bad, bad, bad" or they might not have had a firm message at all.
That lack of cohesive plot could be a problem for some, and is for me. Like I said, the movie is still worth seeing, and it did leave me thinking about it quite a bit (which is all some films can really hope for). Ultimately, I can't help but be disappointed about what it could have been.
Live Music, where have ye gone?
Since moving to Boston, I've had very little opportunity to dive into the music scene here. My hearing is thankful, even if it leaves me sad. Luckily, the Internet, in its benevolence, has made the bootleg world more accessible than ever.
For this week, I'll just mention that if you have not explored the Live Music Archive at The Internet Archive, then you are missing out. There are plenty of shows archived from great musicians and bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists, Mogwai, Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing too!), Kaki King, Elliott Smith, Dismemberment Plan, Spoon, Guster, and many, many more. If I find any really choice shows, I'll post them here. This is pretty much music geek nirvana though.
My buddy, PJ, recommended that I give Erin McKeown a listen a long time ago. It took me about two years to heed his advice. She sings folk music with a voice from another era...and she does it with a swagger and emotional dexterity that I've rarely heard. I'm still exploring her work, but if you want one song to track down, find "Queen of Quiet." That's the song that won me over.
I just caught Syriana tonight. I'm thinking that I'm probably not supposed to like the film, being the free-market libertarian type that I am. It was way too anti-business. However, I was really impressed with the film's ability to demonstrate how complex the issues involving the Middle East are, with respect to the oil industry. And the acting was generally quite good, with George Clooney being particularly effective.
The film primarily showed that everyone has their own interests, and those interests mesh in all sorts of expected and unexpected ways...ways that make the appearance of there being a conspiracy. But there is no conspiracy...there are just people, doing what they see as best for them, and sometimes those interests align. But there's no conspiracy. People aren't that smart.
Check it out. It's worth your time.
It's a sick, sad world...
In our latest episode of "Where Are They Now," it turns out that the kid who appeared in the Encyclopedia Britannica commericals during the 80's has become a self-described "blogger, actor, and pervert." Needless to say, that second link is NOT SAFE FOR WORK.
A part of me died seeing this person from my childhood memories performing oral sex on some random, amateur porn starlette. Yes, yes...it's a sick, sad world.
That story, courtesy of Fleshbot which is also most definitely NOT SAFE FOR WORK.
You've been warned.
According to a friend of mine, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was on Howard Stern this morning. Supposedly, Triumph quipped, "Libertarians are conservatives who watch porn."
It's that time of year again...
Here we go again!
No, it's not even November, but Massachusetts has already had its first snow of the year. Thus begins an ongoing theme for this site: How much the weather up here sucks. I know those of you in worse climates will call me a wimp and those of you in nicer climates are destined to taunt me. So be it.
However, the snow was yesterday, and it's warm (relatively) and sunny today, which gives me hope that my seasonal depression will hold off for a while longer. So without further ado, let's get to some quick news and notes.
1) November 1 is a couple of days away. Are you ready for NanoWrimo?
2) If you ever have a choice between watching Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and not watching Resident Evil: Apocalypse; my advice is to avoid it at all costs. The first Resident Evil was entertaining. Its sequel, despite having some good actors, attractive female leads, and the always enjoyable setting of a world infested by flesh eating zombies; is a complete mess.
3) However, I would recommend that horror and sci-fi fans make plans to see both Doom and Saw II. The former is just a fun, action movie (albieit with some bad dialogue and a somewhat predictable plot progression), and the latter is just a squirmfest. I couldn't help but flinch whenever some awful, painful torture was inflcited on the characters in the story. My imagination makes movie watching a little tough, sometimes.
4) Boston is treating me well so far. I'm living in a good place, and I have a job that's helping me pay the bills. Good times, my friends. Good times.
I won't make any promises about how much writing I'll be doing here in the future. I'd like to think that updates will become plentiful once again. We'll have to wait and see. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day anymore.
So, I'm back in Boston. I've moved from the muggy swamp that is our Nation's capital, to the cosy confines of New England. With Winter around the corner, I may start posting here again (we'll see). Even if I don't write, feel free to email me.
One last thing before I go. A bunch of musicians, who sell their cds through CD Baby, are donating the proceeds of their cd sales to the Red Cross, to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. If you want to hear some new music AND help the poor folks that have been displaced by Katrina, check out the selection of music and buy a disc or two.