Thursday, January 25, 2007

I sure am glad I bought all that frozen stuff at Trader Joe's...
It seems our microwave has died. Which wouldn't be such a pain if
a. it wasn't an over-range model (thankfully not attached to the stove)
b. B-Fest and a bonspiel weren't eating up my next two weekends
c. we weren't too busy to wait around for an installation, should we not want to attempt it ourselves.

At least they're under $200, so it's not like this'll have to be our anniversary gift to each other.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Movie Log 2007: 4-6
You Were Never Lovelier - This time Fred Astaire woos Rita Hayworth. It was well-done and entertainingly corny, but nothing really stood out about it.

Starcrash, aka Female Space Invaders - Spaghetti space-western starring Caroline Munro (the woman in Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes" video), Marjoe Gortner, and young David Hasselhoff. It was as good as it sounds.

The Groove Tube Despite Starcrash and B-Fest, this could be the worst thing I see all week. This was an abysmal collection of sketches in the tradition of Kentucky Fried Movie, which I wanted to watch immediately afterward just to get the horrible tste out of my mouth. It was cool to see young Richard Belzer, though. The director/writer/star, Ken Shapiro, has gone on to be a writer for the Golden Globes and Daytime Emmys, which explans a lot.
In an effort to apppear less cranky, here are five things I'm especially happy about right now:
*B-Fest is this Friday. Rawk.

*The Pogues are coming to town just after my birthday.

*God Damn, that Hold Steady album is good. Yeah, I know I'm late to the party here.

*also better than it has any right to be: Girl Talk. This Cleveland/Pittsburgh DJ concocts mashup albums using hundreds of samples. This may sound like ADD, but it's actully perfect -- after ten seconds of a standard two-song mashup, you get it and can move on. You can get about half of his album via his Hype Machine links, but I'll probably buy the full thing just so he has an additional $10 for the inevitable lawsuits.

*I'm trying to get more organized at work and decided to resurrect a Franklin Planner that's nearly a decade old. While adding the new inserts, I found an old letter from my grandpa written just after my Jeopardy appearance, telling me how proud he was despite the outcome. That was nice to find.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Movie Log 2007 #3: Girl in Gold Boots (MST3K) After the double bummer of the Wal-Mart doc and polishing off Season 4 of The Wire (just absolutely infreakingcredible; everyone needs to see all of this show, especially you Sorkin/Wolf-ites in my audience), this made for a nice palate cleanser. I especially like the bad splice where a character just pops, seated, into a group scene.

We might have to start screening for Joel-only episodes. Mike Nelson is not the problem. The problem is Pearl. I cannot think of a TV character that ground a show down so much. Scrappy Doo and Cousin Oliver are breaths of fresh air, comparatively. At least with DVDs we can just go right to the movie chapters.
My one football-related post of 2007
Have I told this one before?
In the mid-80s, my circle of friends had gradually included some sports-minded people. Teen peer pressure (and the lack of a technological avenue with which to lovingly bust on them for being insufferable 6 months out of the year) demanded that I start paying attention just to keep up. Simply hopping on the Vikings bandwagon would not do, however. I bought two packs of Topps football cards, and decided I would follow the fortunes of the team which netted the most cards. Luckily, this team was just about to start a brief flirtation with the fickle mistress called Respectability.

Ladies and gentlemen, Go Saints.
Now talk about something else, for crying out loud.
I broke down and bought Guitar Hero II. I'm well on my way to a Zumaya-esque injury.

Between gifts, visits to two used stores over the holidays, and picking at the bones of Tower Records before it closed, we have about 40 CDs sitting around waiting for their debut spins.

My mixed team this year earned a berth in our club's biannual mixed bonspiel. Tired of getting passed around by oldsters, Andrea and I decided to curl with a rookie couple this year, and it paid off. We went 3-2 in our league, and handed the champs their only loss.

And Movie Log 2007 #2: Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price - I'm the choir here, but it was nice (?) to see the problem addressed from so many angles: if you're anti-union but also anti-corporate welfare, all the subsidies WM soaks towns for may disturb you. Or the way the company was using government programs as its healthcare plan. The amateurish production quality was noticeable; in particular, the music was always mixed too loud (which led to unintentional comedy when a Springsteen song popped up: Kirsti: "I used to be a successful small-town singer/songwriter until Bruce Springsteen came to town and drove me out of business..."). In general, the pseudo-word "Mart" in any place name indicates seediness to me.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Some friends of mine are in a band, and on Jan. 1 they launched a new venture, Which is just what it says it is. The first two songs are scene-setters, the second one being a real dud IMO, but the third finds its legs.

Deciding I'd help them out a bit, I sent a note about the site to a pal at Gapers Block. To date GB has posted nothing about But Andrew did post about a Chicago-area guy who just finished his own song-a-day project in 2006, and was featured on the local NPR station. I advised the Beatnik Turtle folks that in order to get proper GB love, one of them needs to get associated with either WBEZ or Coudal Partners, or start crafting.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Movie Log 2007: #1
Curse of the Golden Flower
- Our New Year's Day movie was the new Zhang Yimou epic. Of course it was lush, colorful, well-acted by beautiful people, and cinematically flawless. It also rankled politically. CoGF was critical of the ruling classes, and whims and petty grievances which sent thousands of pawns to their deaths. Something which should be criticized, to be sure -- but I couldn't reconcile that with Zhang's earlier Hero and its blatant nationalist (and slightly less blatant pro-Communist) messsage. Troubling, but worth seeing on a big screen.