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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Today’s Theme Music – Raise Your Glass

811074_42972383I’m not much for celebrations or parties.  It may have to do with being an introvert, although it’s probably because I’m socially awkward as hell. I ran away for the weekend to avoid having a 30th birthday party. I wasn’t sure if anyone would come if I threw one. And if people did come, how would I entertain them?  I was thrown a 31st birthday party.  It will go down in history as ground zero for the Martian death flu. Some nasty stomach virus was going around and most if not all of the attendees had it before, during, or after the party.  I had it before and during, spending most of the party with my head in HB’s lap; my fever broke just before the opening of gifts.

I haven’t had a birthday party since.

Attending parties is about the same.  I’m a dork, I don’t do small talk well, I always seem to go too deep too fast or I bring up what I think are pop culture references everyone knows. All I get is blank stares. Plus I have no decent party clothes.  Unemployment and weight gain has made me the queen of knit pants and graphic tees. The rare occasions I do dress up I feel overdressed.

So when I was asked to join the live voice chat for KJSR.net’s fifth anniversary show I was terrified.  Okay I’m not special, everyone who is a DJ, listener, or contributor, was asked to join in.  And since they are nice enough to allow me to do a weekly movie review segment (Been Caught Streaming, Friday nights during the Good Times with DJ Charlie show) it seemed like the right thing to do.  But the chat would be happening on and off the air and this was like a celebration so I was being invited to a virtual…party Dun-dun-dunnnnnn!

What if didn’t fit in?  It’s easy to hide most of my awkwardness during a pre-recorded segment.  I knew I couldn’t just hide in a virtual corner, SOMEONE wouldn’t let me do that.  So I talked, tentatively at first.  And you know what? I felt like I belonged.  I was in a virtual room with people I’ve never met and with the exception of a few hadn’t even had a chat conversation with.  Yet I felt more at ease than I had at any “party” before.  Why yes, I’m not normal, but you knew that already.

At 11p.m., the time the first broadcast day of KJSR.net ended, DJ Charlie proposed a toast to the station, DJs, contributors, and friends. Then he played this song. 

My drink was Rum-Chata

It was a nice party

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in introspective, Music, Writing

 

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Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin – Movie 158 of 365

You fight against injustice, only to have the people you are fighting for, fighting with, level injustice against you.  It seems that only now is Bayard Rustin’s story is getting the recognition that it deserves.  The great architect of the 1963 March on Washington, pushed aside time and again from leadership and recognition because he was a gay man.

That actually would be a criminal simplification of the issue.  Mr. Rustin wasn’t  just simply a black gay man, he was outspoken, he was opinionated, he was unflinching, and yes he even made mistakes.  We expect our leaders, our heroes to be squeaky clean, their records and actions to be pure, spotless.  But leaders are still human and this documentary shows the very human side of not only Bayard Rustin, but also of many in the peace and civil rights movements. Through a mixture of archive footage and interviews we get to met the man that  most of us have sadly never heard of.

This is one of my favorite documentaries about the civil rights movement and it’s participants.  You get to see Bayard’s thought process, his struggles, his changes, and ultimately it wipes away some of the mysticism of the movement.  That’s a good thing; it gives you a feeling that anyone can rise to prominence, drop down the depths, and rise again.  It also shows what a life of service looks like. The March on Washington while a major event, was just one of a multitude of examples of Rustin’s dedication to activism and justice. Whether you agree with his methods, his ideology, or not, I think after watching this film that you will agree that this recognition, this appreciation, is much deserved.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Today’s Theme Music – It’s My Life

One of my favorite photos I've taken, with some added photoshop filters.

One of my favorite photos I’ve taken, with some added photoshop filters.

I love music; and along with movie, book, and TV quotes there is probably a soundtrack that accompanies pretty much anything I go through in life.  As I mentioned before I suffer from depression.  There is music I listen to when I’m depressed as well as music I listen to when I’m ready to try and climb out of the pit.  Yes, there is a lot of morose music in that soundtrack, but as probably anyone that experiences depression will tell you, it’s not all about sadness.  Sometimes it’s about anger.

When my depression is triggered by a specific event there is usually a lot of anger bubbling under the surface.  For once I can lash out as something other than near mythical brain chemicals for my pain.  My soundtrack for that has some definite standards; Bullet with Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins, Dragula by Rob Zombie, Violet by Hole, and today’s theme song, It’s My Life by No Doubt.

Now It’s My Life is sort of a bridge song in the depression soundtrack.  It’s not as angry as the rest and the original version of the song by Talk Talk doesn’t elicit the same response as when Gwen Stefani sings it.  It’s about the struggle for restoration of control.  At least that’s how I feel the song.

Oh, it’s my life                                                                                                                        
Don’t you forget

One of the things that is the quickest to piss me off is when people try to run and control my life. Make me be something I’m not, shove me into a mold that I don’t fit.  When I can’t fight back or when it feels that all I’m doing is fighting back it triggers my depression.  I’m not anti-leadership, actually I can be very loyal, but you earn that loyalty. Don’t mistake my delicate nature for weakness damnit or there will hell to pay!  Erm um *clears throat* back to the song lyrics.

And I’ve asked myself
How much do you
Commit yourself?

Sometimes, if I’m honest, it’s my fault.  On the surface it’s easier to be a sheep than to step out and be yourself.  On the surface, but below you pay in spades.  No one can keep you from being yourself but you.  I repeat No one can keep you from being yourself but you.  “But… but…” you say. “I’m a corporate cog; I have to wear the corporate drag.”  I say, “What happens after 5pm is your business.” You reply, “But what if I run into my boss outside of work in full fetish gear?”  I would say take your chances.  Or if you can’t afford to risk your job I would say, your boss doesn’t live in your bedroom or your house do they?  The important thing is you got to be yourself, even if it’s for a few minutes each day or you might as well be dead.  I don’t care if you are under scrutiny 24/7, you still have your brain and if all you can do is fantasize about being yourself, DO IT.

Because…

It’s my (and your) life
Don’t you forget

I’ve included both versions of the song because Mark Hollis’ (Talk Talk) voice is beautiful and this is a rare case where the original and the remake are both excellent.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in introspective, Music, Writing

 

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It Came from Outer Space – Movie 157 of 365

Then at a deadly pace it came from outer space
And this is how the message ran:…

Continuing the homage to Rocky Horror it’s attack of the campy looking space alien otherwise known as It Came from Outer Space. You know how when the monster is finally revealed on screen it is never as scary as you had imagined it in your head? Same goes for space aliens, especially in this movie.  How it inspired fear in anyone I’ll never know, except that it was not from earth.

It Came from Outer Space starts simply enough with John Putnam (Richard Carlson) and amateur stargazer spotting a meteor fall to earth in the Arizona desert.  A really big one.  Along with his girlfriend Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush) and friend Pete (Dave Willock) they go to investigate.  The meteor has created a huge crater that Putnam goes down into and sees that it’s not just a normal meteor but most likely some kind of ship and there is something inside.  But before Ellen and Pete can climb down to see it, the crater collapses burying the object and almost Putnam as well.

Putnam then tries to convince people of what he saw but he’s just written off as somewhere between imaginative, a liar, and just plain crazy.  It’s not until some people in town start to act very odd do people start to believe he may be onto something.  And of course there is the alien.  Why is it on earth?  On a mission of peace, domination, or does it just want to go home?  You’ll have to watch it to find out.

It Came from Outer Space was released in 3D although it isn’t available that way on home video, not like I could see it anyway. Even without the 3D it’s pretty obvious what was supposed to be coming out of the screen at you.  One thing I found nifty was that we get to see things through the eyes of the alien.  They add this sort of bubbled multiple-eyed (think flies) screen treatment when we are seeing through it’s eyes.  There is also a bit of action besides just the usual standing and screaming that is with a lot of these flicks; there are the usual gun shots but we also get explosions.

I found this movie almost as much a thriller as just general science fiction fare.  Particularly with Putnam trying to get people to believe him and later on when it’s no longer clear who can be trusted.  So definitely a good feature from the 50’s to watch.  Just remember when you see the alien you are supposed to scream, not giggle.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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King Kong – Movie 156.6 of 365

Then something went wrong for Fay Wray and King Kong
They got caught in a celluloid jam…

I had already seen King Kong but it had been a really long time.  I’ve also seen the 1976 and 2005 remakes.  The 1976 one made me feel uncomfortable and the 2005 feature, although nicely filmed, was entirely too long for a simple beauty and the beast story.

Because really that is all there is to King Kong.  A beast taken from it’s home, put on display and goes understandably a little nuts and on a rampage but mainly just trying to escape.  Somehow the only person who is not the victim is the lovely delicate flower that is Ann Darrow (Fay Wray).  Okay there is a little more to the story like why they go to Skull Island in the first place, the other dangers they face there and such.  But really no one really remembers that.

The technicals for this movie is great for 1933 although Kong’s size changes from scene to scene. The set for Skull Island is very cool as is the stop animation, including the famous Empire State Building scene. However, I must confess, I’ve never really liked King Kong.  I don’t know why. It’s okay but it annoys me more than anything. Maybe I just feel too sorry for the big guy to enjoy it.  But if you are going to watch a version of this film I would still recommend the original over the remakes.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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The Invisible Man – Movie 156 of 365

And Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear
Claude Rains was the invisible man…

We satisfied the Flash Gordon requirement with watching a couple of serials episodes so not really qualifying as a movie.  Then we watched The Invisible Man.  I’ve seen many episodes of the 1958 television series of the same name but somehow I had never seen the original 1933 movie.

The Invisible Man is a mad scientist movie.  Now our invisible man (Claude Rains) doesn’t start off as mad in the textbook sense, but you have to be a little crazy to use yourself as a guinea pig for an invisibility potion.  But as typical with most scientists in these kind of movies he’s a bitty snotty and aloof thinking his intelligence and daring puts him far and above the common man.  And much like copious amounts of alcohol, the invisibility potion seems to enhance these traits to dangerous, dare we say homicidal, proportions.

Now if our invisible man was completely invisible the whole time it would just come across as a weird ghost story.  But instead, he is dressed in normal clothes, using bandages and sunglasses to cover the unclothed parts.  This will also help the creep factor when the bandage slips or he removes a portion of clothing or bandages.  It’s just weird to just not see anything where there should be a hand, or a mouth; just empty space.  When you consider the movie was made in the 30’s, they pulled off some pretty nifty special effects.

The storyline is excellent as well.  I think the deteriorating mind and morals of the main character saves this movie from being a set of cheap parlor tricks.  The fact they have H. G. Wells literary excellence as a foundation for the screenplay doesn’t hurt either.  However, the injection of small amounts of humor keeps this from being too melodramatic.  That being said this is not a lightweight film; even 80 years later the feature still manages to shock and thrill it’s viewers.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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The Day the Earth Stood Still – Movie 155.5 of 365

Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still
But he told us where we stand …

If you have ever seen the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show (RHPS) you are probably are familiar with lyric above. One day a friend and I were discussing Rocky Horror and somehow the idea sprang to watch all the movies in the song Science Fiction Double Feature from the RHPS soundtrack. Going through it I realized I had seen some but not all of them; a few I hadn’t even heard of except as a line to the song.  So like with most things slightly abnormal, challenge accepted.

So I had seen The Day the Earth Stood Still before, several times, mostly.  I would always catch it late night on TV but I’d either miss the beginning or fade out somewhere near the end.  It took me several viewings before I made the connection between it Army of Darkness.  Here is the scene in that movie to refresh your memory.

But there is more to this movie than some freaky alien words.  At the core this picture is a morality play. Klaatu (Michael Rennie) is an alien who has traveled 250 million miles (that’s really far) to Earth, specifically Washington, D.C. , with his robot Gort (Lock Martin) on a mission of introduction and warning.  It is post World War II and the cold war is just starting to warm up.  Earth apparently has been observed by the rest of the universe for a while. And now with our heightened violence, basically the atomic bomb, we have become potentially dangerous to other worlds.  Klaatu is sent to reason with us, and if that is not possible, the earth will be destroyed.

Now 50’s Sci-Fi movies are generally poorly acted b-grade camp.  But I think The Day the Earth Stood Still is different.  It reminded me of some of the episodes of The Twilight Zone that made it hard for me to sleep as a kid.  Sure if you compare it to today’s movie standards, it’s a little cheesy in parts but the overall message and script is good when you compare it to it’s contemporaries.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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