Saturday, October 31, 2009

Vending Machines, No. 82

So Many Times

Does it matter at all
Who survives and who falls
When we live under darkness
And hide behind walls
--Stephen Stills

I love this Black Crowes cover of an old Stephen Stills tune:

The Black Crowes-So Many Times
Alt. Link

Maybe the best song I've heard this year.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Alice Russell-Let Us Be Loving

Last month I had a few words to say about the very excellent band Brownout, and about an email I received from their record company, Six Degrees Records. If you haven't already, I urge you to give Brownout a listen...

Anyway, this week I received another communication from the good folks at Six Degrees, with information, links, and whatnot, about another of their artists, Alice Russell...

Now before I continue, and in light of recent rulings regarding bloggers and disclosure, let me state clearly that I have never received a free iPod from Six Degrees Records. Nor have I ever received free all-expense paid tickets to concerts, free CDs, or even free album downloads. Not even a fucking t-shirt.

So you see, if I say good things about a Six Degrees artist, I must really mean it!

Umm... Oh yeah, Alice Russell. Honestly, I'd never heard of her before this week. Some quick research (being the highly trained blogging professional that I am), reveals she's from the UK and she's a soul/R&B singer with a somewhat retro sound that ranges anywhere from Dusty to Aretha. The few reviews I've read were very favorable.

I, of course, haven't heard a complete album yet (ahem!). Though if the tune in the video below is any indication at all, I suspect I'll be checking the rest of Alice Russell's stuff out pretty soon.

Great voice, great band, great slow-cookin' tune that takes off a bit near the end. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Oh yeah, there's a free remix of "Living the Life of a Dreamer" available for download here.

The t-shirt's in the mail, right...?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Water at Night

While some might say that this is a pretty crappy photo, I look at it as being more like the "suggestion" of a photo...

Actually it is a pretty crappy photo, but I like it anyway.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dead Hearts

Last month I posted a couple of clips of Arthur Ganson's kinetic sculpture. Here's a stunning music video/short film (take your pick) featuring another of Ganson's creations, Machine with Wishbone.

I'm not a particularly artsy-fartsy guy, but I so get this... The entire piece is beautiful, but the horse at 4:50... Wow.

Music and direction by Dead Man's Bones, set direction by Jed Hathaway. Seriously, check this out.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vending Machines, No. 82

Espers III

The new Espers album is really quite good. Check this out:

Alt. Link

What, you think I only post heavy metal-type shit? You really don't know me, do you?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Comedy of Terrors

The biggest laugh I'm likely to have this week: 10 Horror Movies For Conservatives To Watch This Halloween:
Halloween is almost upon us and you're probably thinking, "Gee, wouldn't it be great to kick back on the couch and rent a few conservative horror flicks for the big night?"
Er, yeah... So what, exactly, counts as a "conservative" horror movie? Roger and Me? Reds? (And perhaps more importantly, is there a list of "liberal" horror movies anywhere?). Let's have a look at this treasure trove of conservative horrors, and see what insights into the conservative Id we can glean (and laugh at)...

Cloverfield apparently qualifies as a "conservative" horror movie because ordinary people reacted well and the military fought bravely. And it was scary and well done. Right. Moving along...

The Dead Zone is deemed a "conservative" horror movie because..., well, the writer doesn't actually say. I'd probably disqualify it, though, because there's a scene where the hero has sex with a married woman who isn't his wife. Sounds like a stinking liberal commie fascist to me...

Now this is funny: The Exorcist is a "conservative" horror movie because it features
self-sacrificing priests who are fighting spiritually against true evil. That's very rare for Hollywood, where members of the clergy are habitually treated as drunkards, hypocrites, perverts, and villains.
Somebody should tell these guys about art imitating life and all that stuff...

And while they're learning about mimesis, perhaps somebody could explain irony to them as well. Because apparently The Mist (2007), another "conservative" horror flick, is about "how quickly human beings can become primitive again when they're isolated, alone, and in danger." I tell ya, the jokes write themselves around here...

I won't go through the whole list, but here's a nice little gem: The Tripper (2006) will please "conservative" horror movie goers with the "sweet, sweet joy of watching a guy in a Ronald Reagan mask taking an ax to dirty, drug addled hippies throughout the movie." Take the whole family!

I'm certain that others must have thought of this before me, but it seems like the modern "conservative" is, in many ways, the ultimate post-modernist. I mean, with the way they politicize every fucking mundane detail in life, their penchant for ignoring primary texts and relying on interpretations of them, all that crap. They'd make Foucault and Derrida proud...


Wednesday, October 14, 2009




My daughter turns seven later this week, and shichi-go-san (lit. 7-5-3) is coming up next month, so it's time to go for the customary expensive-as-hell photos of her in a kimono. (Don't worry, this isn't one of them!) As usual, we were only permitted a couple of minutes away from the set to take some personal photos. I've been playing around with layers lately, so I thought I'd try this as a way to show the kimono with a less intrusive background. I still need a lot more practice.

The shots we'll have printed are really very nice. A lot better looking than this:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Have you ever noticed...

... that when anyone in the band fucks up onstage they always look back at the drummer? It's worse, even, than the ball player who looks disgustedly at his glove, or the tennis player who gives her racket a dirty look, because we drummers are people, dammit!

So our guitar player makes up a little promo thing for the band and sends it to me:

This is the entirety of the message he included:
You're not really in it, Rick. Sorry. But I like it.
Further proof, Ladies and Gentlemen, as if any were needed, that guitar players lack the ability to count to fucking four, yet still think everything's "cool" because they "like it"!

And in case you're reading this, Colin, have you and the boys given any thought to my suggestion of switching to an all Backstreet Boys format?

This Evening


Friday, October 09, 2009

A Peace of Cake for Dessert

I've been trying to come up with something clever and/or witty to say about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, but all I can manage is a somewhat maniacal cackle.

I'll keep working on it.

I don't know why, exactly, but this seems strangely appropriate:

Well, it's pretty fucking funny, anyway...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I Can't Help It, Stuff Just Comes Out of My Mouth

The circumstances surrounding the incident are irrelevant, but today during one of my classes a student asked me how to spell the word "divorce." As an English teacher and would-be cultural emissary, and as an idiot who could never resist a "straight" line, I did what comes naturally to me. Older readers have probably already guessed what I did. As for the rest of you, do I have to spell it out?

During the ensuing awkward silence I was consoled by the fact that this particular group of students will never lose a spelling bee on the word "divorce." That's the kind of effect I have on students...

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Moon Last Night

Cave (3)

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I'd taken a trip with my family to Yamaguchi Prefecture. The pic below shows the entrance to Akiyoshido, the largest cave system in Japan. (The pics in the previous two posts were taken inside the cave.) The area above-ground is also the largest karst formation in Japan, covering 130 sq. km. and containing over 300 caves. This particular cave has about 1.5 km of tunnels that can be walked through.

Unfortunately it was next to impossible to get any pictures inside the cave (at least with my crappy camera). The ones in the previous posts were taken with the dreaded "night" setting and converted to black and white to get rid of some of the noise and "false" color.

In places the cave really is huge. They could have used it for the Bat Cave. There was a steady stream of visitors, however, so it was hard to get any sense of being in a dark, cavernous space. It would be interesting to be the only person in the cave (and to have really good camera gear).

Cave (2)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Game On!

I'm kinda tired of blogging right now. Usually when I say that I start back up again the next day (or sooner), but I've noticed that it isn't as fun when I try not to swear too much and/or give a shit whether I'm taken seriously. (What, you haven't noticed how hard I've been trying? Jeesh...)

And hockey season has started.

Go Bruins!

Vending Machines, No. 79