Where Do My Readers Come From?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cemetery Junction

I am just now finishing a film that I discovered on Netflix streaming. It was written and directed by the talented duo Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant the team behind the rightfully celebrated BBC's 'The Office'. I am stunned that I had never heard of this film before and am wondering why it didn't get released in the USA. I LOVE THIS FILM.

Often, when I really like a film, there is a sense of sadness when it ends because much like a good book I do not want it to be over. This is that film for me.


I really do not know what to say about it. I think it has nearly a perfect soundtrack and for me when the film and the music work together it is almost a transcendent experience for me. I really do not have much more to say then I would love it if you tracked this film down and watched it. I do not think you will regret it. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Moment of Compassion

This was a rough weekend. There was entirely to much death and entirely too much politicizing of the gun control issue for my taste. What happened was a horrible thing and really extending your condolences to the families involved and expressing your shock and horror at what happened is all that needs to be said. The rest is just you climbing up on your soapbox be it pro or anti gun control and speaking to hear yourself heard. 

I do not need to hear it and I do not think others do either. I love Facebook because it allows me to keep in touch with so many people from all over the world and allows me the ability to dialogue with them on numerous issues. But it feels like increasingly it is becoming a tool for the loudest of us to angrily proclaim our position as a "right-thinking" person. I realize that I am as guilty of this as anyone and in some cases I am probably works then others in my actions. But this is something that I intend to work on. 

So, I plead with you. Can we just take a moment among the increasing volume of rhetoric that is being thrown about as we all try to recover from this horrible event. Can we just take a moment of silence and think about these families and how this holiday season is going to taste like horrible ash in their mouths. Can we take a moment and just try to understand how painful that must feel and also recognize that we hope it never happens to us or anyone that we know. Can we take a moment and realize that all of the yelling about the right to control or to bear arms does these families mourning their dead children and parents not a whit of good at all. Can we take a moment and be compassionate of others for a change. Because as one of my friends pointed out "those kindergardeners didn't die to make anyone's political point."





Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday, Friday

It is Friday and the premier of the Hobbit was last night. I thought about going to see it but then I thought that while it would have been fun to go to the midnight show.  I also didn't think I wanted to stay up until 3 in the morning because it seems that the movie is seriously long. The reviews that I am seeing and reading all sound like it is a good movie but goes on far to long. Now anyone who watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy that Peter Jackson did before knows that he is a little prone to falling in love with his films and they tend to go on far too long.

As I write that I just realized that I had no real reason for writing it. I am just kind of mindlessly typing away to give myself something to do while I sit at the coffee shop and listen to the DnD podcast that I enjoy so much. But I now just realized that my nose is plugged up and I am finding it hard to breath through it. So I am sitting here with my mouth open and totally mouth breathing. I am sure that I look like a colossal mouth breathing nerd right now!

Yaaa for you Lance. What a shining moment for you. Now I am focused on my breathing and literally having to keep my mouth closed and make myself breath through my nose. What an odd feeling. I am never usually so focused on my breathing it is just an automatic function of my body that happens. It is oddly fascinating to be so focused and aware of my breathing. In and Out and In and Out. I can both feel the air flow and hear it as well since my nose is plugged. I do try to meditate but even that I don't think what I do is true Buddhist meditation it is just me doing some deep breathing exercises through my nose because that calms me down and helps me go to sleep easier which I like. Because often once I get ready to go to sleep and turn off the electronic distractions around me, my mind starts to try to process all of the days events or too understand the big questions in life and that is not the best way for me to get too sleep.

and that is all I have to say for today. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sunday, Sunday

I think that there are days that tend to seem a little more gloomy then other days. I am sure that the weather also has something to do with it as well. but, it feel like Sundays are just a little darker and little more gray then other days. It is also possible that I just tend to notice it more on Sundays then I do on the other days, but I honestly do not know what it is. I just know that it has been that way for years for me. I assume it is also possible that Sunday is also the end of the weekend and maybe my mind just always wants to get me ready for Monday. Because Lord know there is nothing worse then a Monday. The thing is, right now, a Monday is like any other day so there is really no reason for me to dread the day. I know it would feel a little different if I was working every Monday through Friday. Though I am not sure that it would make that much of a difference to me all things considered.

That is all. 

Friday, December 07, 2012

Please, allow me to introduce to you...

A band that I just stumbled upon. Their E P has been out since March but I honestly have not heard of them until today and I really really like their sound. They are a synth pop band and their name is Father Tiger. This is what their website says about them.


"FATHER TIGER is a modern indie synthpop duo with a love of vintage analog synthesizers and everything mid-century modern. Having grown up on opposite ends of Los Angeles county, members Greg Delson and John Russell now both reside in Hollywood, where they met in 2005 at audio engineering school.
Often compared to Cut Copy, M83, Holy Ghost!, Hot Chip, Passion Pit, and Robyn, the band’s sound is nonetheless unique. Combining live drums with programmed percussion, layering numerous rare, vintage analog synths and incorporating a vocal arrangement style reminiscent of the Motown era, FATHER TIGER has crafted a thoughtful, vibrant and upbeat sound of its very own"

So, there you go. I do not think they sound like Robyn at all. In fact I think they are probably far better then she is. But too each his own and I am sure that some publicist wrote that for them anyway. All I know is that I really enjoy their music and I want you to give them a listen. I think you will enjoy it. Listening to them is like getting a nice warm hug from an old friend so just relax into their embrace and let yourself be comforted. You will be all the better for it.







I really like that last Christmas song a lot. It just speaks to me on several levels and I like the guy playing Santa's awesome beard. I only hope I can grow one like that. The next couple of videos are of cover songs the band did and I really enjoy them as well.





I hope you enjoy them and do what I did track them down on Amazon and buy the E P. I do not think you will regret it.



Thursday, December 06, 2012

Ke$ha 'Warrior"

Well here goes nothing, I am giving the latest Ke$ha album a listen and I am not sure what to say. I need to be upfront and tell you that this is not my typical style of music at all. That isn't to say that I am against pop music, because I am not but I generally speaking do not choose to listen to this style of music if I am left to my own choices. That being said I sat down to listen to her latest album with an open mind. I honestly wanted to give it a fair listen and I believe I did just that.

The bottom line for me as far as this album goes is that I didn't hate it. I don't think it was great or amazing or earth shattering and I didn't think it was the worst album I had ever listened to either. But it just didn't do anything special for me. Their were two songs that actually made me really sit up and listen. One was 'Dirty Love' and it featured Iggy Pop. I will pretty much listen too anything with Iggy Pop in it at least once and I think that Iggy and The Stooges "Raw Power" is an amazing early punk album. So that being said I was a little surprised that he showed up on her album. Now both of these songs are NSFW unless you have some headphones on or work in a place that doesn't care like I used too.



Now if you got through it and are still with me. What did you think of that drum line? Or the guitar riff after that? Does it remind you of anything? It does me but I am unable to pin it down. It isn't that everything has to be totally original but it is nice if there is some originality. I give her points for getting Iggy to join her. But honestly is he even being used in a good way? I don't think so. It wouldn't surprise me if he just called that in using skype and then cashed his paycheck. Not that I would blame him. She probably paid good money.

The other song that got my attention was 'Gold Trans Am' all I can say is that it is the dirtiest Steve Miller song I have ever heard. Just nasty.


I will give some time to recover from that audio onslaught. I have some friends who I know like and listen to Steve Miller so I just hope that they listened and will take the time to let me know what they thought about this little gem. I can't say that I disliked it. It was kind of fun but it isn't something that I would listen to other then for the novelty of it.

So bottom as far as this album goes...if you like this kind of music and you like Ke$ha then this is just more of the same and you are going enjoy it. But as far as anything new or different it isn't and it is very much derivative of Lady Gaga or Katy Perry or any of the hot new lady singers that are heavily auto tuned. Though to be fair. Ke$ha is not as good as Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. I am not putting her down. I think that is just the reality of her as a performer.

Also on a side note, Rolling Stone gave her 3 and 1/2 stars and I can't tell from the review if that is being satirical or what? So for whatever it is worth. I believe that I liked this album less then the Rolling Stone reviewer whose name is Rob Sheffield. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Blank Slate

I am writing to you from a place of mental frustration this morning. As I was going to sleep last night, an idea popped into my head. An idea for a story and basic beginning too a story that I thought I would be able to tell without to many problems. I was laying there listening to the story percolate inside my head and I thought I should probably get some of this down in case I forget. But I also felt like I actually needed to sleep and I would be better off if I did that and then picked up the story later. Well as I awoke to a lovely Oregon winter morning I realized that something had escaped me and that was my story. "poof" Just pulled a Keyser Soze and was gone.

But, wait as I began writing this to let you know that all my ideas had vanished, the ideas began  to surface. I could could see them, the words, just swirling below the surface of my mind floating to the top and then sinking. Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah! All is not lost. The world will not be deprived of my wisdom. My intellect will be used to impress others and to make the world a better place for me to live in. What's that you say? "But, Lance, what about other people? Shouldn't you be making the world a better place for them to live in as well?" pssshaw I say. That isn't up to me. I write for myself and to amaze others but making the world a better place? That seems to be a bit beyond my meager abilities as much as I wish I had that kind of power.

Sometimes I do think it would be pretty neat to write that earth shattering piece that shakes the very foundation of all that we believe. But, on the other hand, that sure seems like a lot of work. What about writing something that a few people enjoy and get some value out of and maybe one or two find it a little inspirational as well. That just seems more satisfying to me and if I can make just enough to live on while I am doing that. Then more joy for me. So stay tuned folks. Who knows what might happen.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Musical Legacy

The other day, the AV Club did an article on 21 artists among multiple fields who did some amazing work toward the end of their lives. One of the artists was a man whose music I really enjoy and respect and that was Johnny Cash. They mainly talked about his last two albums both basically recorded during the same set of sessions but the second one "American VI: Ain't No Grave" was released posthumously . Both of these albums are amazing and fair amount of his late in life resurgence is owed to Rick Rubin and you can hear that on the first album he produced American Recordings "CASH" but in these last two albums Rubin stepped out of the way and really it was John and his guitar and the experience is amazing. I believe that these are albums that you should totally sit down and listen to in their entirety. That is the best way to achieve the total experience of these albums and the fact that these songs are coming at the end of his life there is a poignancy to this music that you are not going to get from any other artist.

I think, I should I know that one of the reasons that I like Johnny is because he was a man of transparency. He was who he was and he at least later in life and I think in some way soon after he married June Carter he became a man who was unafraid to expose himself warts and all to the world. He was a man of faith and I think regardless of your position on the existence of God or a higher power you have to respect a man who has faith and who endeavors to live by that code even though his own personal demons make it an extremely hard thing to do. It seemed that most often his songs told those stories and showed his struggles in a clear and transparent manner.

Another thing that I like about his music is that, at least for me, there is a real level of truth to it. So do yourself a favor and check out Spotify. I think anything that you might listen too by Johnny Cash you will enjoy.  I am not an advertiser for the service but as far as being able to track down music for free and give it a listen they have been the best that I have used.

In the end Johnny Cash's music and memory will live forever long after the Biebers and the Chris Browns are a sad footnote in the history of music.
















Monday, December 03, 2012

The Songs of My Youth

We had several different cars when I was growing up. There was a Dodge Dart that I do not remember much about at all. But I am told by people who know better then I do, that it was quite a classic car. The car after that which I remember was a 4 door Dodge Diplomat which wasn't anything special. But what stands out to me in my memory is that it had an 8-track player.

Now just in case some of my readers are too young to remember just what that is let me give you a quick introduction. Before I start this website has far more detailed info then I am interested in giving right now.

8-Track Heaven

Okay, hopefully you made it back here.

These existed before cassette tapes and long, long before today's electronic players and mp3's. But what I really remember is that in my parents care we had 4 8-track tapes. There was Henry Mancini's film themes, I believe a greatest hits of some sort by famed pianist Floyd Cramer, The Who's rock opera Tommy, I have no idea why that was there because neither my mother or father listened to rock music, and I can't remember what the fourth one was but it may have been an Hungarian version of Jesus Christ Superstar. My parents had a family friend who was Hungarian. But, that is a whole nother story so too speak. 

Here is a little taste of Floyd Cramer



This song for some reason has always really stuck with me. I think it is because of his use of the ambient rain noises. I am not sure why that is something that I remember so vividly but I totally do. I suspect that it is considered totally cheesy by today's standards but I still enjoy it. As I sit here listening to it while I write, it just makes me feel calm and mellow. 


The orchestra leader Henry Mancini is up next and if you at all know movies and who created some of the most iconic music of some of the biggest films of the 70's and 80's then you know Henry Mancini. I think this number is his most well known at least by a certain generation. 




I could literally fill page after page with his songs from different movies and his music really does resonant with some people. I know my dad was really into it. But he was a piano player and music teacher and he may have taught some orchestra so it kind of makes sense to some degree. 

As far as The Who and Tommy. Well everybody already knows how much I like The Who but for me on this particular 8-Track I can really only remember one song that stood out to me. I remember singing it to myself both in the car and the house on a regular basis and it may explain a little bit why I like what I like in terms of music. 




I still like a good musical to this day and I am pretty sure that it is due in some way to these three 8-tracks and the amount of times that my father played them in the car. I still also have soft spot for film soundtracks as well and own several of them. It kind of goes too show how much music can affect a child. It makes wonder about kids I see at concerts. I wonder what their parents are thinking and how much damage hearing damage those kids have. 

Is there any type or kind of music that you remember listening too as a kid? Was their something musically that stuck with you as you grew up? Let me know. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Who are you to tell me

I noticed after my post yesterday that there was complaint that I did not include the Who. So I thought that I should address that. It isn't that I wouldn't want to go see the Who live. Because believe me I would have loved to see them live when they were in their prime. But really while I do love the Who. I really love "Quadrophenia" both the 1973 album and the film. The rest of their catalog is amazing and I do enjoy it.


 But what really touches me and touched me in 1987 when I discovered the album for the first time at at  used record store in Bellingham Washington. is "Quadrophenia". It just spoke to the disaffected 17 year old that I was.



There was just something about this crazed kid flying around London and Brighton, high on pills and wanting to fit in but being unable too. I think it was the first time in my life that I identified so much with a character in a song or songs. Which is a little odd because it isn't like I had that much in common with Jimmy but it seemed to be just enough for me to really lose myself in the album. In fact I bought the album based entirely on how cool it was. Between the cover and that it unfolded into a picture book.


It just makes me sad to even look up pictures of the set because I do not have it anymore and that kind of kills me just a little bit. I think that of all the different collectible things that I have owned and lost over the years this is the one that I really do regret losing the most. I think part of what makes it so special is that when I stumbled upon it in the record store I didn't even know that such a thing even existed. So that really added to the impact of it. There was just something magical about the whole thing. I realize that I am probably really romanticizing the whole thing but there was a lot that happened that summer that made things feel that way. It was just that kind of summer. The first summer away from home for an extended amount of time. I was away from my friends with only a couple of people around who know me from Salem and that seemed to really make a difference to me. So give the album a listen and let me know what you thought of it. 


   

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Time Travelin....

I listen to a lot of music and watch a lot of music videos. (Thank you YouTube.) I really, really enjoy good music and one of the neatest and best things about the internet and YouTube is the ability to go back and watch concerts and other live performances of bands that no longer exist or still exist but are just not the same. You know who I am talking about, Rolling Stones, just give it a rest already you are becoming an embarrassment to all right thinking music fans.

When I listen too and watch these performances it always makes me wish that I could go back in time and actually be at the concerts and actually be physically in those venues smelling the air and experiencing everything that is going on around me. I also would like to take a bunch of mushrooms and trip balls during those shows but that is a story best left for another time.

I am inspired today though too look at a 5 year period and I am going to pick 1970 to 1975 and look at 5 concerts that I wish I could have attended and show you some clips of those shows. So why don't you strap in and give a watch and a listen to some good classic rock and try to remember that when these shows were recorded these bands were either struggling to make it big or had already become some of the biggest acts in the world. I hope that the blog today can act as a little time travel machine for you. I also have to give a quick thank you to av.com for this article that sparked my idea. http://www.avclub.com/articles/thick-as-a-brick-pleasures-of-the-long-song,89194/

Pink Floyd - Live at Festival de Musique (San Tropez 1970)



Sadly the video is unembeddable but if you like Pink Floyd at all I would highly recommend that you give it a listen. It is amazing.




Now this one isn't all that happy dippy but Neil Diamond at the height of his formidable vocal powers is something worth listening top. Thank you BBC for making this available to us. So, so good. Bonus, I think he is high as the proverbial kite as well. I just am having a hard time describing in words how much I am enjoying listening to this. There is something that is so good about his music that really touches me.

Now I am really torn because 1972 was an amazing year for music off of the top of my head there was David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" which is one of my all time top favorite concept albums and even as a stand alone album it is amazing. As far as I am concerned there is not a weak song on the album. NOT ONE!!


I couldn't find concert footage but this is the whole album. Do yourself a favor and listen to it.


Led Zepplin was, arguably, the greatest band in the world. This concert is in London and comes off of the "Houses of the Holy album. So good and if you ever get the chance to go to laser Zepplin at the planetarium I will totally let you borrow my van. Rock on!!



One of, if not the master showman of rock n roll Elton John live in London in 1974. Take sometime and give it a look. He could really, really play the piano well.



Finally lets close out this look at potential concerts to go see when I go back in time from 1970 to '75. This band was so good. I have written about them before and I do not intend to repeat myself other then to say this just give them a listen with an open mind. It wasn't just the vocals that made them an amazing band it was also the level of talent that was playing the instruments.


In addition to what I just wrote above I also have something else to share with you my loyal readers. I had a bit of an epiphany today and that is that I really do enjoy writing and furthermore I enjoy it the most when I am writing about music and bands and those type of things with a smattering of television shows thrown in and other entertainment things. So, that is what I am going to concentrate on a little more for know anyway. I am sure that I will also do some writing about other issues now and then as well but I am going to try to give a real effort at focusing more on musical stuff.

Adios, for today.









Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Should I be embarrassed?

Now, anyone who knows me in real life knows that the default answer to that question should be.."Yes, Lance you should be embarrassed and most likely ashamed." But also I do not tend to operate that way. Though there are times where it would probably benefit me to be embarrassed. But the problem is, that while I do at times feel embarrassed, that takes place after whatever particular event takes place.

The reason that this is coming to mind right now, is I am live blogging this as I listen to a comedy podcast at the coffeeshop. Normally this not going to be a problem for anyone who isn't me. But I tend to have a distinctive laugh and I am pretty free about laughing freely and loudly. So this is causing a bit of an issue for me. I am finding this podcast very funny. But, because I am aware of how loud my laughter is I am feeling a little shackled this morning. That is a feeling that I am not used to at all.

Oh!! I would be remiss if I did not give you a link to this podcast. It is called Nerd Poker and it is basically a group of stand up comedy nerds playing DnD  together. Now, those of you who actually know what DnD means may like this. Those of you who do not know what this means will probably not and I am not going to explain it too you. It isn't worth the time for me to bother to explain what DnD is for a bunch of too cool for school types. Who wouldn't appreciate the genius of it anyway. So just LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!

Oh my, sorry about that. I don't know where that came from at all. I may have some residual issues from my youth. So, bottom line is, that if you like comedy and you have played DnD or have some interest in nerd culture then give it a listen. Or if you ever used to watch Mr Show then you have already recognized the name Brian Posehn. Now, as I write that I realize that I may have not actually written his name earlier. So bear with me.

Anyway, I wrote all of that to tell you that I am finding this laugh out loud funny. So give it a listen. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's All In The Details



Well, this was an interesting film. It is a dark, I will say double dark, comedy but not as dark as 1998's Very Bad Things. It also isn't as funny. I am not sure what too say about the film because overall the performances were all very good in the film. The lead was played by Tobey Maguire and the supporting cast was made up of Elizabeth Banks, Ray Liotta and Laura Linney. All very, very solid along with the rest of the cast that had smaller roles.

But while the performances were good and the film looked good on a technical level. The story didn't hold my attention. I basically checked out halfway through and I had to fight falling asleep. It really started to drag in the 2nd act and I felt that it never regained it's steam. The story itself had lots to say about what goes on underneath the surface of a person and the surface of a relationship. Those are good questions to ask and they are good topics for a film. The closest film I can think of that asks those questions is David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Now I know that it isn't at all fair of me to compare this film to Blue Velvet and I am not going to do that, other then to note the similarity of the overall issues that they share in terms of subject matter.

Tobey Maguire's character seems to be trying to do the right thing in life but things just seem to be getting worse and worse and spiraling out of his control. If we/he ever even had control to begin with. but that is a conversation left for another time and another film. This is a film that will leave you thinking and pondering the implications of the choices that the characters make. But it for sure is not a film for everyone and if you like your films to end all neat and tidy then this is not the film for you. It ends messy and with some unanswered questions....much like life does.

Much like the film left me, I can't tell you if I enjoyed it or not or even if I would recommend it too anyone except those who really want to see every Elizabeth Banks or Ray Liotta film. If you are a Tobey Maguire fan from the Spiderman films you would be wise to skip this one. It is rated R but basically that seems to be for language and a little bit of violence. There is no nudity though there is sexual activity and it is playing right now at Salem Cinema. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

bah......

I know, I know, two angst filled rant posts in a row. I do not know what is going on. This is supposed to be the happiest time of the year and instead I want to be all gloom and doom. Things were a lot easier for me when I wasn't at all self aware of things. Then I just did whatever I felt like doing without ever questioning my motivations for those things. The only real difference right now is that while I still do pretty much whatever I want too. I also totally question my motivation for doing those things and then sometimes that can send me into some sort of introspective death spiral and I end up deep, deep down into my psyche where even devils fear to tread.

If I ever had the money to go to therapy I am sure I could be the source for several best selling books and perhaps an award winning film or two. That might be a way for me to make some money. I wonder if I could get paid to be analyzed? It would almost be as masturbatory as writing this blog but instead of writing about myself I could get paid to talk about myself once a week for an hour or so. Or 50 minutes depending on the doctors time. I can already tell, as I write this, that I am feeling better. It seems pretty clear to me that sometimes the best medicine is writing and when I stop doing it the clouds start to form. So even if I am feeling lazy about the writing I need to stick to it even if it is just as a forum for me to ramble about different things as opposed to having some sort of focused writing time or agenda.

Granted it would be easier if I could specialize in some sort of topic or some hot button issue. But my interests are so varied that it is really hard for me to narrow anything down. I like so many different things. I guess I should be happy about that and just ride that wave wherever it takes me. It isn't like it would hurt anything that is for sure.

Thanks for reading this. If anyone reads it. I always helps me to vent things a little bit, even if what I am venting is nothing that is super dramatic or anything. I hope those of you who have read this had a good weekend. I hope to be back writing again soon. Maybe shining a spotlight on whatever is inspiring me at that particular moment.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Musings

Today is one of those days. It is a day where things are just kind of fuzzy and there is a certain gloominess to what I am feeling. The trouble is that I am not sure how to pin down what I am feeling or why I am feeling the feelings that I can't seem to understand. The only thing that I seem to be sure of, is that these feelings are going to make me end up in tears later.

It isn't that I mind crying, because I don't. I feel like it is a healthy release of my emotions and stops me from bottling things up inside. But the problem for me is when I do not know why I am crying. Then it doesn't feel beneficial at all. I am sure that it is vaguely related to this time of year and the season. I know that for many of us this is a time from Oct to the end of Dec of fun and family and thanksgiving and gifting and sharing our lives with others.

But for me, since the divorce, it has become a time of bittersweet nostalgia and I would prefer if it wasn't like that for me at all. But you can't always get what you want.



To be honest...since I have grown older, I just do not really care about the holidays. It just seems to be a time of stress and emotional pain for people. Not a time of relaxation and rest, whatever that means. That is part of my problem  as well, because I am sure that if my holidays were the typical Norman Rockwell picture I would probably complain about that as well.


I just want to smack that little kid in the front right in the chest. I would leap off of the stairs and hit him with a two footed flying kick, knocking him backwards into his family and much like a dominos driving him and his idiot grinning family back out the door like bowling pins!! Little shit and his little shit grin!! 
BAH HUMBUG!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A trip into the past

I went to see the latest Bond film and let me tell you. It did not feel like the latest Bond film. Oh sure, it was well made and had some fancy cars and some neat computer effects. But nothing that hasn't been done in any of the other action adventure films that are out there right now. The problem for me, is that this was not the new Bond. This was not the terse, take no prisoners, ice in the veins Bond of Casino Royale. It wasn't the revenge focused bad ass from Quantum of Solace. It was a trip back into the past to a lamer more crappy James Bond.

This movie felt like a Roger Moore film and that era of Bond films is not one that I particularly want to experience again. I did not enjoy this film. I paid $5 to see it and I DID NOT ENJOY THIS FILM. The film had three people credited as screen writers and I DID NOT ENJOY THIS FILM. The dialogue was stilted and stiff and because of the nature of that dialogue something that was supposed to be emotional ended up not having any kind of significant impact at all. This is a Bond film for the lowest common denominator of fan. The mouth breathers and the bros which there were plenty of in attendance at the film tonight.

I think this was easily one of the worst films in the Bond library and that just makes me sad. They could of done some really great stuff with the franchise and they blew it. It doesn't mean that I am going to walk away and not watch the two other films that are scheduled but my expectations are going to be much lower and I will not be paying full price to see them that is for sure.

This film gets a D from me at best and I did not enjoy it. Which for me is the bottom line.  

The Sky is Falling

I am going to see 'Skyfall" tonight. I am looking forward to it, that is for sure. I have heard and seen some mixed reviews about this latest Bond Film. I have really enjoyed this last group of films. The actions sequences in "Casino Royale" were some of the best things that I have seen on film in a long time. The opening chase sequence is one that I have watched multiple times. That is a link to go watch it for yourself. If you haven't seen it. You should go watch it right now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJubOZLpp4A

I realize that if I am hoping that this latest film is going to be as exhilarating as Casino Royale I am probably in trouble but I am having a hard time keeping my expectations down.

I will be back tomorrow to give you my thoughts. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Surprise, Surprise....

Well, last night was very interesting...I honestly was not sure that Obama would win. But it happened and it seems to have happened without a bunch of accusations of widespread voter fraud from the right. So that is a good thing. I do not think that a lot is going to change on a national level since Congress is still the same.

I am sure the usual suspects will continue to ring the bells of doom and America will continue to roll along. Like it always has. Then four years from now there will be someone new to panic about on one side or the other. But until then lets remember we are all in this together and let's keep on rockin!! Because if we weren't free then why in the world would freaks like this be allowed on stage.


Monday, November 05, 2012

Monday

Today is another day. A Monday to be exact and not much has changed in the world. Now if you listen to some people then it seems like things will be changing tomorrow depending on who wins the American Presidential election. I think this is kind of what it boils down to for some people depending on who gets elected.




Or this





But really it doesn't matter who wins. Life will go on. The earth will continue to spin. The spice will continue to flow. Or in our cases the oil will continue to flow and that really is all that seems to matter.

But for myself I am going to keep on dancing.....





Monday, October 08, 2012

Monday Musings

When I go to the coffee shop, I usually am there for the most important reason and that is too drink coffee. But, I also enjoy saying hello to a few people and sitting quietly in my usual corner spot listening to all of Salems' movers and shakers talk about how important they are. I don't like to be super cynical about people but there are mornings where I want to just grab people by the scruff of their neck and shake them and say 'THE WORLD DOESN'T REVOLVE AROUND YOU!!!" 

But, I like the coffee here and I don't want to be kicked out so I do not do that. As I sat down today with my Americano and muffin I was a little leery because of the two, one much older and the other slightly older then me, gentlemen who were sitting nearby. As far as I am concerned those are the worst too sit by because they seem to feel like they know everything and there is always something to complain about. It just doesn't seem to matter too them. There could be money dropping from the sky and there would obviously be a better way to do it and they are the only ones that know how and people today are just lazy and blah and blah and blah...on and on and on. 

Anyone who knows me also knows that I am not a morning person and I do not do well until I have had my morning hook up. Until then I would really rather be left alone. I don't want to talk to you. I do not care to know who you are or how your day is going. I do not want to discuss the weather or politics or tell you what I am working on. I want to be left alone!! I am not your friend or buddy. You don't know me!! Leave me alone to nurse my addiction. Yes!! I realize I am dependent upon it too function!! NO THAT DOESN'T BOTHER ME!! ...Oh I am sorry was I yelling.  (sigh) There are days when I long for the future so that I can put a privacy cone around myself and be able to sit in peace. That way I can watch people but their personal conversations do not intrude on my existence. To me that would be nice and peaceful. Then I can nod a greeting and make eye contact if I want too. But I also do not have to hear every little thing about whatever it is they have going on. 


Well, I seem to have lost my thread a little bit there. Wow, in the time that I was off writing away up there, those two men I was writing about earlier are still just talking away. So far their conversation has ranged from how expensive a refill is for coffee here to how rude people are today and how they do not talk to each other like they used too or listen to each other. Then it went to politics and finally it wrapped up with a little football talk. Ahhh finally they are gone. Good. Oh!! Yeah!! That is what got me started. One of the men looks over as I sat down with my Americano and muffin and was all "What you working on? Writing a novel?" How dare he ask a civil question of me? Can't he see that I am a junkie looking for a fix? I don't do small talk, Sir. Good day! I said good day. 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Thrown for a Loop by the Master

I went to see a couple of films in the last few days. On Sunday I went up to Bridgeport in Lake Oswego and watched the Paul Thomas Anderson film, "The Master". I am not really sure what to say about that, other then that it was an interesting experience.



The film itself is beautifully crafted and visually amazing. The story on the other hand is kind of aimless and pretty twisted. It is loosely the story of a lost and sad man who has no focus or direction in life. He has a serious drinking and anger problem and then one day he meets basically an L Ron Hubbard type of character. There are some definite similarities between the group that The Master runs and Scientology. But that really isn't the point and the story doesn't really focus on that as much as the relationship between the Jaquin Phoenix character and The Master who is played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I really think that both of these men will be nominated for best actor Oscars and honestly I think Phillip Seymour deserves to win. He just does an amazing job. I realize that this film in not for everyone but I liked this film and it deserves to be seen even if it is a little hard to watch at times. I think sometimes the best films are a little hard to watch and that is what makes them great because they invoke feelings and cause you to think about its effect on you.

Then last night I went to my usual Tuesday night $5 movie house Cinebarre and watched the "Looper". The science fiction film starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.



 The bottom line, and it is hard to find a bottom line in a science fiction time travel film, I really, really enjoyed it. The future world that it is set in I found fascinating and very interesting. It wasn't set so far into the future that it was inaccessible for the viewer and because of that it wasn't dependent on a ton of special effects or computer blue screen effects. In fact, that aspect of it made me interested enough in things to want to find out about the world and the future in which the film is set. Why things were that way and what caused them. I like a film that doesn't feel the need to explain every little thing to me and in this case as one of the characters in the film said...we get into that and then we start diagramming things on the table with straws. It is enough to know the basics of the story. I am sure there are probably some logic gaps and things that the cine-phile might find annoying but I really found this too be an enjoyable film. The action sequences are well done and in such a way that the violence has an impact. That is something that I wish more directors did. In cinema, often less is more. I am being a little vague as too plot because it will be more fun for you if you are a little surprised by things. I say if you are looking for some science fiction and some action then go see this film. I think you will enjoy it.


Monday, October 01, 2012

Speech Has Consequences

I am tired right now. I am tired of all of the Presidential election news. I am tired of people talking like electing Obama to a second term is going to be the end of the world and America as we know it.

"Yea verily, when the Black Devil Barack Obama is re-elected, then truly the real death will come upon America. The Angel of Death with all of the powers of his evil Socialist Masters shall fall upon us. The Communist overlords shall stand atop the smoking ruins of our capital and true patriots shall weep as a Thousand years of darkness shall fall upon us." 

Well, maybe that won't happen. I don't know either way. What I do know for sure is that I made all of it up just now. I didn't read something or study something that made me think I could predict the future because really I also know that you can't predict the future. It is silly to even try. It also benefits no one for me to do so. Now one thing I could do is send out a letter that kind of vaguely predicts things and is geared to scare people and prey on their fears. Their fears may be religious based or they may just be coming out of sheer ignorance but maybe if I can pray on the fears I can get them to send my some money and line my pockets a little bit. I mean really, what harm can I cause? Who is really hurt? What is wrong with a few white lies or grey lies as it were. 

What follows is a letter that Focus on the Family sent out in 2008 just before the Presidential elections. There are 34 things that they say might happen. There is one that maybe happened and 33 others that did not at all. It is an amazing exercise in trying to spread baseless fear.

Focus on the Family letter



 I think people should think before they claim that Obama wants to destroy America. The people like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. Words have consequences and people know that. During the last election as things began to wrap up and it looked more and more like Obama would win, I heard the same kind of talk about Bush. The liberal pundits and conspiracy theorists were sure that Bush was going to call a "State of Emergency" and suspend the election. That didn't happen. That the Republicans would use the electronic voting machines to change results. That didn't happen. America survived Bush and it will survive Obama and if Romney wins the election it will survive Romney. Life goes on.

 The only real difference this time around as far as propaganda goes is that there seems to me too be a lot more biblical speak that is being used to justify the accusations.  They know that the more inflamed they can make the populace the more money they can make. The more books they will sell and the higher their radio and television ratings will be. They don't care about us. I do not even think they care about America. They care about making money. They care about marketing and they care about getting fat on their propaganda while the rest of us shrivel away and get eaten up inside by stress and and anger and fear.

Ahhhhh, thanks for letting me vent folks. Deep breaths, Lance. Deep breaths. You guys be safe out there.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Cobwebs in the Brain

Sometimes Mondays are the hardest days to get moving. Today was one of those days. I made it out of bed but I had slept through my alarm and while my brain may have decided that I needed that extra sleep, I did not agree to that and I do not like it when my body and brain conspire against my wishes. I would much prefer it if I could only sleep a couple of hours a night. I know it is healthier for the body and the mind to get 8 hours or more of sleep a night but I never seem to make that anyway so why not break it down to 2 or 3. I wonder if I could train myself to subsist on that and how long it would be until I went mental from that. When I am feeling foggy on mornings like this one of the things I like to do is to listen to an upbeat song and that sometimes clears the cobwebs from the old noggin. Today was one of those days and I needed this song to get my going. The artist is a Korean gentleman name PSY and the song is super hot right now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coffee-shop Etiquette

So I had an interesting conversation with my father a few weeks ago. He had told me that sometimes he goes and gets a donut and then takes it too the coffeeshop to drink with his coffee. Now this particular coffeeshop has pastries but not donuts. There is a company in Salem called Great Harvest that does some really amazing breads and scones and muffins and cookies and they supply this coffeeshop with those tasty treats but they do not make donuts.

I told my dad that I didn't think it was correct to bring your own treats to a place that already has treats for you to purchase. I do not know store policy on this but it just feels wrong to me. Well today as I was beginning my morning job search and enjoying my super tasty Americano, I noticed a fellow come in wearing a suit and carrying a cup of Starbucks. Now, the perceived quality of Starbucks coffee aside, it really seemed like the wrong thing to me to carry in another companies coffee to drink in a coffeeshop that makes a totally different brand of coffee. I just do not understand why someone would do that.

To me it is like taking my Big Mac to Burger King. Who does that? Why would you do that? Are you that clueless about things? It just makes no sense to me. It probably bothers me more because of how much I love Broadway Coffeehouse  but I also know myself enough to know that if I was in another restaurant and the same thing happened I would be taken aback by it. It seems a real lack of common sense to me to not drink or eat from the place that you are meeting. They are kind enough to provide you a location and sometimes free wireless and other things. The least you can do is too purchase something from them. Because if you continue to not purchase things then it is quite possible that the place could go out of business and no one wants that.

So in closing please continue to patronize your local businesses and support your community. If you are in Salem then by all means give the Broadway Coffeehouse a try. If you like coffee you will not regret it. They serve Stumptown exclusively and that, my friends, is good coffee.

(Puts soapbox away) 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blue Monday

Today isn't a "Blue Monday" but it is a groggy one and this song always gets me going. I love most of the music from the early 80's at least the early 80's new wave stuff. I hope you enjoy it as well.






Wednesday, September 12, 2012

$5 Movie Review

I went out last night and had my usual Tuesday night $5 movie experience at my local Cinebarre and as is the the norm, I enjoyed myself. I usually do and to be honest for $5 it is really going to have to be a bad experience and a horrible film for me not too. I know the Cinebarre experience is not for everybody but I have found that for me it works great and is a pretty inexpensive night out. Now if you buy a bunch of beer and eat and do not look at the price then, yes, you will soon lose all of the savings that you gained by going to the $5 movie in the first place. But that is on you and I not be held accountable for your choices!! I just won't be!!

So last night I went to see 'The Expendables 2' (Trailer below)


For me, the bottom line, and pretty much the litmus that I now measure all of my movie going experiences by at this point. I ENJOYED MYSELF. It was fun and I suspect that I may have even enjoyed it for $10 or more. Now, that being said, lets say I had gone in expecting some different kind of material maybe a darker grittier take on international relations and gun trafficking with perhaps an insightful look at the dangerous nuclear stockpiles laying dormant in some of the old Soviet Union countries. Two things. 1 I would have been foolish to have expected such a thing from this film and it would have been my fault for not paying attention to the trailer or having read anything about the film. 2. I would have been really disappointed because this was not that kind of film at all.

It was a film that really was made for fans of action adventure films and for anyone who had grown up in the 80's since it starred a majority of that decades top action stars. In this case being Stallone, Willis, Schwarzenegger and some other lesser lights as well. If you are a Merchant & Ivory fan this is not the film for you and you have wondered into the wrong theater. This is not a film for everyone but it does not need to be. It does exactly what it is supposed to do which is to blow stuff up and let you as the viewer blow off steam. It is just great popcorn movie fun. So if you are looking for a little escapist fun. Do yourself a favor and take next Tuesday evening and go watch this movie. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Doors


“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.”


― William BlakeThe Marriage of Heaven and Hell


I am not really a fan of Oliver Stone at all. In fact I really think that the best thing he has ever done was to write the original 'Conan the Barbarian' film and pretty much everything else has been overwrought shite. But since I have Netflix and I find myself with a lot of time on my hands right now. I end up watching a lot of movies as I apply for jobs and as I work on my writing. This means that sometimes I watch things that I would not watch at other times in my life. One of those films which I watched just today was Oliver Stones' 'The Doors'.



I hate to say it, but, I like this film. Now I am not sure if that is because I like The Doors as a band. Because I really do. I love their music and in high school I spend a lot of time listening to just The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Cream. So I really kind of immersed myself in their music and in the ideas of Jim Morrison. Now as I grew older I also began to realize that while I really enjoyed the music and liked his singing, as a person Jim Morrison was seriously flawed and had a serious drug and alcohol problem. In the movie it is really easy to get the impression that he is high or drunk almost all of the time so it is not a real shock that he died young. Though to be fair it seemed like a lot of those musicians from that time period were competing to see who could die the youngest and in the most extreme way or the saddest. (Look at that, I got sidetracked)

The other reason that I think I probably enjoy the film is because of the presence of Val Kilmer. While it is true that Kilmer has become somewhat of a sad joke now there was a time when he was arguably the biggest actor in the world. I really enjoyed his work in almost every film of his (Not Batman Forever) that I have ever seen pretty much regardless of the subject matter. Seeing him put on Jim Morrisons' skin is almost freaky because near as I can tell he almost becomes him. His method style of acting can become unnerving for the people around him because he almost becomes the role and when he is playing a dangerous or deranged character he goes all in and there does not seem to be a separation from  the stage to the real life.

I want to recommend a couple films of his for you to watch along with 'The Doors' film. The first is a film that I have talked about before .'Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang'


This film also stars Robert Downey Jr and I think is vastly underrated and kick started the comeback for RDJ. He is amazing and so is Valk Kilmer in this one. The other film is one called 'The Salton Sea'



He plays a drug addicted Jazz Musician in that one. Check them out and you will see a couple of really excellent performances. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Joy of Community

There is a little television show that has been my favorite thing on television for the last three years. Well, this last season it hit a little bit of a road block, in that, CBS decided to move their highly rated and very popular (because people like dumb things) 'Big Bang Theory' to the same time slot so that it could compete directly against 'Community'. This led to a further fall in the ratings and finally the network (NBC) fired the show creator and runner Dan Harmon and then moved the show to Friday nights.

As you can imagine this caused quite a stir among the fan base for the show. I am torn because while I feel a loyalty to Dan Harmon, I also really like the actors that are on the show and I want them to continue working and to continue to enjoy them playing the characters on the show. So I am hoping that the show will continue to be of good quality and enjoyable to me. Also I really should be happy because most shows that I like tend to get canceled within a year or two. I like to think that is because my taste is so refined and of such high quality that the rest of the common people just are not able to handle it.

Really though I am writing this post mainly as an excuse to post a couple of pictures of that cast that I really liked.





This was from an episode where Jeff Winger went undercover as a street Magician a Criss Angel type of character and Britta was his assistant. I found the whole thing highly amusing but what really surprised me was how attractive I found Britta in her costume. I had no idea that her look would work for me like it did. I also thought Jeff looked amazing which left me confused and slightly ashamed but I think that is really just because I was jealous of how he looked and really wish that I pull it off. That would be awesome. 

Have a good week folks. 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

To Be Honest About Politics


This is really how I feel and I felt this way during the last election as well and the one before that. Sure I lean left. But I lean so far left that to be honest I am off of the scale of the typical Democrat and Republican and when the last few Presidential candidates are all rich guys who graduated from Harvard it is hard for me to think that the world is going to be ending if Obama or Romney is elected. We survived 8 years of Bush. We can survive 8 years of Obama and the world as a whole doesn't revolve around what happens in America as much as we would like to think it does. 

Monday, September 03, 2012

Time Travel

I just finished watching a fascinating little film called "Safety Not Guaranteed". Watch the trailer.


The film has been out for awhile and showing primarily in art houses so if you live in Portland you should be able to find it. It is also in Salem at Salem Cinema and I highly recommend going to see it if you have a chance. As well as just enjoying the film as a form of escapism it also made me think about time travel. Really about going back in time and the reasons to do so.

I think most of us have choices that we would rather have another chance to change. For some of us it might mean a chance to ask that lost love out or to fix a mistake we made. Some of us would just want to use the time to make some more money and to make their lives better. I can't imagine anyone going back in time to do anything but making their lives easier in some way. I mean, otherwise, what would be the point of it all. Sure you could go and observe things but why would you not want to fix things and right some wrongs. Sure you might mess up the time stream continuum but if you were the only one that knew it was messed up then who cares.

Disregard all of my amateur philosophizing and give this movie a shot. I imagine it will be out on Netflix soon but either in the theater or at home check it out. I think you well enjoy it.   

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Free Flow

I am sitting in the coffee shop and wishing that I could collect my thoughts better in my head. If I could get them in some semblance of order who knows I might be able to write a book or something. I have bits and pieces of stories all over the place in their but nothing is built up enough for me to to even want to begin the process of trying to build a cohesive story. I am not even sure what that would actually look like.

I know that I enjoy writing when I do it. But often I do not have a reason to lay it all down on paper and if I do not have a reason then it feels to me like I am just blindly stumbling along without any real sense of direction and focus and I would prefer it if my writing had some sort of focus or goal to it. Maybe that is the problem and I just need to sit down and do more straight free writing and just get it out so that I can begin with a clean slate or have those fragments of ideas written down someplace and use that as a building block to begin from.

It would be really easy for me to just sit here and write an abusive and judgmental commentary about the people around me and the way they look and the way they act. It often seems like that is what blogging is for. But I would rather I not write like that. I would rather build something that people find interesting and enjoyable to read. I would love it if my writing caused and emotional reaction but not one of anger. That does not seem healthy at all. Though Lord knows the internet seems to thrive on just that thing. It really seems like hatred or anger drives traffic or button clicks and if you can touch the right emotion then people will light up your blog or article with all kinds of comments.

I wonder if there is even a place on the internet for the nice guy. It often seems that you have to be snarky or abusive and really that isn't me. It used to be. That is for sure. I am just not so enamored of the purity of my opinions anymore. I am willing to be wrong and am willing to listen to an idea when presented to me in a polite and respectful manner.

Like the Judge said in "Caddyshack" "The world needs ditch diggers too."


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Rant

I love the internet! There I said it. I am not ashamed of that either. I love what it can do for me. I love that I have instant access to information about pretty much anything and everything in the world. It lets me pursue any interest that pops into my head or track down any little tidbit about anything that I need to find and that I need to find right now.

But, there is a dark side of the internet that I am rapidly growing tired of. That is the fact that it is often just being used as a platform for people to throw out their ideas or opinions about things. Now I realize the irony of that since I use a blog to do the exact same thing. But it seems like more and more these websites and blogs use anger to drive their traffic. It rarely is that they enjoyed something and want to encourage others to give it a try. It is how much they hated something and hey lets all get together and make fun of it or talk about how lame it is. It is just traffic generated by hatred and angst and the breaking down of others and I am so tired of it.

I do not know that there is a lot that I can do about it other then to not add to their traffic and to not stoop down to the level of the commentators. I do find myself more and more calling people out when they make a comment that is asinine or just mean for meanness sake. What really winds me up is when people seemingly read an article and comment solely because they dislike or hate that topic. I see it often on newspaper articles concerning the Portland Timbers. There are people that hate Soccer, which is fine, but they purposely track down articles about Soccer or the Timbers and make comments about how much they hate Soccer. I just do not get that at all. I do not like the Portland Trailblazers or really Basketball in general but I have other things I can do then look for articles and complain about them. It is of no benefit to me at all to do that.

SO STOP IT FOLKS!! Let's all spread love instead.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Morning Post Olympic Blues

Hey everybody, it is Monday and normally I do not ever have a 'case of the Mondays' but I am feeling a little groggy today so please bare with me.

I watched a couple of things this weekend. The first thing was the end of the Olympics in London. I normally do not watch much of the festival and ceremony stuff but I wanted to check out the closing ceremonies because the music portion of the even sounded like it could be pretty cool. I think overall it was a resounding success. If I had any complaints it would be more about how NBC handled the actual showing of the broadcast then the actual show itself. As usual, despite it being tape delayed, NBC dropped the ball. They really have become a horrible network.

The reason that I am harping on NBC is because along with the Olympics I watched a new sitcom offering of theirs called 'Animal Practice'. Now, do not get me wrong. I don't hate the show with the hate of a 1,000 burning sons. I also made a point to myself to watch it with an open mind. But honestly, in the 20 minutes that the show lasted. It was shown commercial free which was a nice move by NBC I thought. But, I laughed one time. ONCE. That is a horrible ratio. It is possible that since the show was laugh track free that I was confused and didn't notice the cues. But I doubt it. The jokes really fell flat for me and even the actors, three of whom I really like, did not work for me. The show is just plain and fine and is professionally done but it is so, boring and bland. There is literally nothing special about it at all and I guess if that is what NBC is looking for then mission accomplished. Well done.

I think I am going to enjoy following the reviews of the new shows on NBC this season because like the twitter hash tag says, this is going to be a year of epic #NBCFAIL