Saturday, January 31, 2009

December Round-Up

Ahhh. December. I love December. Aside from some absolutely horrible work days, it was a great month. Let's take a look back, shall we?

Movies Seen: Fourteen, with none in a theater. I finally got around to seeing "The Dark Knight," and while I liked it, I do have one question for it: Why so serious? There's not a lot of joy in that movie. And by "joy," I don't mean there wasn't enough of "teh funny" or anything like that; I just mean that even after the chase sequences or cool fight scenes I wasn't compelled to utter a "Yeah!" of excitement. It was all just so...serious! Bottom line is, if I want to see a heavy handed movie about crime, I'd prefer it not involve a guy wearing a cape. As for Heath Ledger, I did think he was pretty great, even if his accent really grated on me after a while...

The biggest viewing disappointment--not necessarily the worst movie I saw, just the most disappointing--would be "Hamlet 2." I've read reviews calling the movie one of the funniest of the year, but I think I laughed three times at the most. I don't know. Maybe I just didn't get it.

Books Read: Three. One was a little book called "Compliments of the Season" about the history of the Christmas card that I picked up at the "The Great Dickens Christmas Fair," and it hardly qualifies as a book. The others were the first two books in the "Sookie Stackhouse" series of vampire mysteries that the HBO TV show "True Blood" is based on. They're pure pulp and as such are hard to put down. I read most of the first one on Christmas morning, (I got a set of the seven of the books as a Christmas present), and the second book in a weekend. If you've seen the show and like it, I recommend the books. Once you get past the first one, they aren't much like the TV show at all, and I hear the series is going to venture even further astray from the book series in season two.

Fancy Dinners Out: One, at Bix. It was awesome, as it always is. I hope that place never goes out of business; it's been around since the late 80's, and hasn't changed much since then, and for the most part, that's a good thing. It's a testament to its quality, I think, that it's been around as long as it has. It is pricey, though, so I'm not able to frequent it near as often as I'd like to...

Live Shows Seen: One, the San Francisco Ballet's version of "The Nutcracker," which I hadn't seen since, I think, I was in high school. Thankfully, they've updated their version, and it is much improved. I think my favorite part was the when with the snow queen and the snow flakes (?) are dancing in the fake snow. By the end of the piece, the stage was absolutely covered in fake snow. I'm sure it absolutely sucks to dance in, but it sure was pretty to watch. PBS aired this version as part of its "Great Performances" series over Christmas, so it will probably go into yearly rotation. Try to catch on TV it next Christmas.

Shoes Bought: No shoes were bought in the month of December because I had to save my money for Christmas presents. Tis better to give than receive, of course, but I have to say, I lucked out on the receiving end as I got a lot of loot, including a Wii (weeeeeeee!) lots of DVDs and books, and some assorted other goodies. A nice way to end the year, I tell you what.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Any Time You Try a Decent Crime, You Got 50 Ways You Can Fuck Up...

I haven't seen "The Wrestler" yet, though I want to. But all this Mickey Rourke comeback talk has reminded me what a DOLL he was back in the 80s. I saw him in "Body Heat" when I was 12, and was instantly enraptured. Even with bad skin and greasy hair he was hot. Of course, he looks nothing like that now. Some of it is age; a lot of it is what he did to himself, but the most striking thing to me is how different he sounds. Listen to his soft little voice in this clip!



I'd share popcorn with him any day!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Party Hearty With Bacardi!

It's my birthday this weekend, and if everything goes as planned, the celebration will look a lot like New Year's did!

A Scanlon New Year
I can't wait!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Black! And Stacked! And Packed with Fury!

Whoops! Almost forgot. This week's Tube Tops is up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Thanks MLK for the holiday. My cold has reached the chocking-on-my-own-snot phase, which is always the most horrible for both me and anyone who is around me; I am not fit to be in public quite yet. Back to bed!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Would You Listen To Me? I'd Listen To Me...I'd Listen To Me So Hard

Here's what I did while trying to get over a cold tonight.

About a month ago, I was reading Rich Juzwiak's blog, fourfour and he had a post about a remix of the song "Goodbye Horses" and how the remix was awesome but the mix itself was really bad and would someone fix it and send it to him and someone did and yadda yadda. (Go to the post and download the song!)

Anyway, I downloaded the song, and the entire collection of remixes it came from. But that song, "Goodbye Horses," was the best because it's awesome and also because it was the song Buffalo Bill is listening to when he does his infamous penis tuck dance in "Silence of the Lambs." Here's a lame video of the original song, along with the lyrics, just because.



So, tonight it popped up again as I was listening to music on my laptop, and I once again realized how awesome it is, and thought I'd investigate a little about it. It turns out it's a one hit wonder by "Q Lazzarus," which was fronted by a woman. Or maybe the woman was named Q Lazzarus? Whatever the case, it originally appeared on the soundtrack of an earlier Jonathan Demme movie, "Married to the Mob," a movie I loved at the time of its release. I also have the soundtrack, albeit on vinyl, but decided to dig it out to listen to the original version of the song. But, alas, to my disappointment I discovered the record is cracked in half. Doh! And a brief investigation into finding a replacement (because there are some other good songs on it, and just because) finds that copies are going for about 30 bucks on ebay and Amazon. Oh well.

But it doesn't end there! A little later I watched the Elvis Presley movie "King Creole," which begins with the amazing song "Crawfish."



Elvis singing about one of my favorite foods? Of course I needed to download that! Luckily iTunes had a DRM-free version of the song, which was quickly purchased. And when I went to my library to select the song and play it, I realized I already had a remixed version of the song which was from the same collection the "Goodbye Horses" remix was from!

Weird, right?!

Well, it seemed spooky in my sickness-induced haze. Maybe I should just call it a night.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Game of Life Is Hard To Play

"Battlstar Galactica" spoilers ahead. You've been warned...

I took a short-format screenwriting class in college many years ago, which was a great class, not because I learned much from it, but because it made me realize I never ever want to write a screenplay again in my life. (It didn't help that one of the T.A.s in the class had this to say about my first draft, "Well...it's not like you want to be a writer or anything, right?", the assumption being it was so bad it wasn't even worth criticizing because it wasn't like I had the potential to be a good writer anyway. Thanks for that!)

The other thing it taught me is that suicides in screenplays are often the work of lazy screenwriters, much like the use of the "It was all a dream" fake out ending. One guy in the class, who had obviously seen too many Tarantino movies, and Tarantino-inspired movies, had a violence-ridden screenplay about a guy with gambling debts whose family is threatened unless he pays off the money to the loan sharks he borrowed it from. He goes to Vegas, miraculously wins back all he owes, and then some. So he triumphantly leaves Vegas, and on the drive back home, he pulls over on the side of the highway and blows his brains out. The End.

Immediately everyone in the class, including the teacher, let out the equivalent of a collective "WTF?" The writer was adamant that that ending just illustrated the futility of the guy's life; that even if he had paid off his debts this time, he was still a degenerate gambler, and therefore he might as well kill himself. Most of us weren't buying it, instead thinking that the writer just didn't know how to end his (rather derivative) story, and went for a shock instead. So every time I see a "shocking" suicide in a movie or TV show, I immediately flash back to that class and think, "Yeah. They just ran out of ideas."

I bring this up because that's what I immediately thought when Dualla put the gun to her head in Friday's episode of "Battlestar Galactica." Yes, I was shocked when she did it, but the first reaction was, "Well, that's a convenient way to get rid of a character almost nobody liked." And my second reaction was...tears. 'Cause it really did sadden me. I saw what they were trying to do with her death. But having someone who had for so long been a character that believed in hope, and wasn't a drunken cynic, realize that a happy date with her estranged husband was probably going to be the only happy moment she'd have for a long time, and perhaps forever, take her own life, well, that's pretty dark even for "BSG." I just don't know if they needed to do it.

It's pretty obvious--heavy-handidly obvious, from all the extras sitting around crying, or fighting, or drunk in the halls--that the discovery of a decimated Earth hasn't exactly filled people with joy. But did they really need to have a seemingly happy person blow her brains out to hammer that point home?

But, in the end, it doesn't bother me all that much. It did have an emotional affect on me, and perhaps that's all that matters. And it certainly affected me more than the revelation that Ellen is the Fifth cylon. About all I could muster in reaction to that was, "Huh...Whatever."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hans Solo

I especially appreciate the inclusion of several Wilhelm Screams...



[via Boing Boing]

Real Pickles? Or Fake Pickles?

One of my favorite artists is Donald Roller Wilson. He paints beautiful pictures of weird things, like well-dressed chimps holding giant cigarettes, and cats wearing dresses while smoking. He also writes hilarious but totally deadpan descriptions to all his paintings. I recommend you read every last one of them.

Today I saw posted on Boing Boing an item about some cheap, weird paintings being offered on eBay, and lo-and-behold, they look a lot like Wilson paintings.

Of course, there's no way these are real, and the whole thing is incredibly shady, with the paintings most likely being painted by other people in China, but man. I am really tempted. I mean, how can I live without this painting in my life? I also wonder where fake paintings fall in Boing Boing's whole open copyright BS...

Edited to add: By the way, on that Boing Boing post, I was the one who orginally pointed out the Donald Roller Wilson connection. Just sayin'.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Top Scallops," Coming This Fall To Bravo TV

This week's reality TV locals post is finally up on SFist.

And thus endeth another Monday. All hail the coming three-day weekend. Woo!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Blogs = Logs Stolen By Bandits

This is almost 30 minutes long, but Amy Sedaris is in it, which means it requires your undivided attention.



(If you can't be bothered to investigate what this is related to, just read my Tube Tops post on Sunday. All will be revealed.)

Wide Is the New Thin

Man, HTML is a pain in the ass. It took me an hour, but I finally figured out how to minimize the wasted space on the right and left of this blog so that I can stop shrinking the size of videos I post on here.

Sort of. This is as wide as I can seem to get the posting column to be before the sidebar disappears to the bottom of the page, below all the posts. And I'm sure I broke something that will only show up weeks from now when I try to add a LOLCat picture in a post or something, but whatever. That's all the HTML configuring I can take for now.

So, to inaugurate my new wide capabilities, here is my (and probably everybody's) favorite moment from last night's "Top Chef."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Check Please, Mr. President

Barack Obama once appeared on the PBS show "Check, Please!", the Chicago edition, I presume. The fact that the President of the United States was on that show is, to me, awesome.



Apparently the entire episode will be re-run in Chicago on the 16th.

[via Eater SF]

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Have a Potato!

This week's Tube Tops is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

Oh how I wish Monday were a holiday.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Guess What, I Liked It

I don't know much from "mash-ups," mainly because when it comes to what the kids are listening to these days, I'm way out of the loop. But I'm thinking my lack of awareness actually helps me appreciate this mash-up of the top 25 songs of 2008 even more; for the most part, I don't really know which parts are coming from different songs, so it all sounds amazingly cohesive to me.

Well done, DJ Earworm...if that is your real name.



[via B-Side Blog]