April 2009

So, Carolyn, Christian, Parthena, and I saw Freezepop Thursday 4/16/2009. It was Carolyn & I’s second time seeing Freezepop, and Christian & Parthena‘s 1st time. It was the smallest venue I’ve EVER seen a show at. The band was just hanging around like normal people.

20090416 - Freezepop concert - (by Christian) - Carolyn, Parthena, Clint - 3493210142_8337242e7e_o

They played 15 songs — 3 more than their AnimeUSA show. They played 10 of the 12 songs they played at AnimeUSA, a new song called “Lady Spider”, Tenisu No Boifurendo and Tender Lies from my favorite album of theirs, Freezepop Forever, as well as Ninja Of Love and Thought Balloon.

I basically had my foot ON the stage most of the show… if I’d fallen I’d probably have messed up the performance (haha). They pretty much solely did requests. I requested Freezepop Forever, but they said they can’t do that without Kasson Crooker. I also requested Robotron 2000 but Liz was like “We haven’t practiced that in 3 years!” or something.

After the show, I was interviewed with a fancy huge camera — in part because my T-Qualizer shirt and trippy outer shirt got their attention.

I had to sign a model release and everything! They gave me their card and had recorded 35 hours of total footage so far. They liked my shirt so they said I’d probably make the final cut of their Freezepop documentary. I hope to obtain the footage someday, but I know that’s quite unlikely.

It was also the birthday of one of the members, so there was cake. Which was shared with the audience! (Unfortunately it was coffee cake.)

I also went up and talked to Liz Enthusiasm a bit afterward, and said “Bye Jussi!” to kind of freak her out that I knew her real name :)

I was also caught on video during “The Final Countdown“, the only cover song they play… which seems to be the final song of their performances…

^ You can see Carolyn and Christian at the end. Parthena‘s in there too if you know where to look, but is not recognizable. My shirt sticks out like a sore thumb and you can see me moving around like an idiot. Kind of embarassing, but I was probably having more fun than whoever might want to watch the video and make fun of me was having at the time :)

After the show ended, I took Parthena home and Christian came in and chatted for 45min followed by one of the unaired episodes of the excellent failed adult cartoon Slacker Cats. Carolyn did NOT get much sleep that night and needed a nap after work the next day :)

The full setlist for this concert is posted HERE. Here are Christian’s videos from the show:

Super Sprode:

Tenisu No Boifurendo:

Science Genius Girl:


To see every concert I’ve ever been to, go to my List Of All Concerts page. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Not currently available on Netflix.] This was about Alistair Crowley, who I’ve probably been intersted in since hearing “Mr. Crowley” by Ozzy Osbourne. :)

PEOPLE: Nobody significant, exceeeept: Bruce Dickinson, singer of Iron Maiden, co-wrote this. And he plays the landlord/blind man (uncredited). First I see Bon Jovi in Cry_Wolf, and now this?! It’s bad enough with Marky Mark being in movies. Singers shouldn’t act. They especially shouldn’t write movies (yes, this applies to Quest For Festeroo too). Please make it stop.

QUIRKS: Oh God please make it stop. Basically, Crowley spends 4 days resurrecting himself into the body of Simon Callow, a university teacher. At one point, he pisses on his class. Actually, there may be TWO pissing scenes.

BAD STUFF: Everything. Confusing and random. The script is poor. The camerawork is poor. Poor acting. They don’t really make it clear that the one character in the beginning is L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the dangerous cult of Scientology. They don’t emphasize what is significant.

I needed a LOT of explaining from Carolyn, who can pick up on character subtleties better than me. Usually movies that confuse me this much are anime movies that confuse me because the characters names are all long Japanese names, and they are animated with perfect facial features that aren’t very distinctive. But I had similar problems with this movie simply because everything was so poorly done.

CONCLUSION: This was the worst movie I’ve watched in a long time. Carolyn sort of disagreed. Sort of. She said she saw the POTENTIAL this movie had, but that it didn’t live up to it. There is a good story, but it was trapped inside the movie, like a sculpture is trapped inside a block of wood until you carve it out.

While that may be the case, currently this movie just SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS ass.

RECOMMENDATION: Usually in this section I recommend what kinds of viewer should watch something. But this recommendation is for one of the creators, not one of the viewers:

Bruce Dickinson, please go back to making shitty music I don’t like, and stop making shitty movies I don’t like. I already know not to listen to Iron Maiden (Yea, I’m into metal, but hate Maiden. Sue me.), but I didn’t know not to watch this movie because it wasn’t called “Iron Maiden”. Oh the horror.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Nobody watched this, but IMDB gave it a 5.2. It is NOT deserving of this rating. (more…)

Yes, I blew him off, unfortunately.

Sometime around March 1st, 2000 — a year after moving out of my parents house — my Mom called me to tell me that someone had called looking for me. This had only happened once prior; an ex-girlfriend who I refused to call back. He had, apparently, found my video list online, figured out my last name (which I now try not to mention, but didn’t care bout back then), paid attention to where I lived, and gone through the phonebook and found our phone number. He was the only person to ever use my webpage to call me. But I had moved out, so he talked to my mom. She gave him my email address instead, but pretended that she wasn’t sure it was the right address — presumably to leave me an out if I decided not to reply.

On March 2nd, 2000, I received an email from Gary Portnoy. He had stumbled upon my vhs video catalog and noted that I had taped the final episode of Cheers. Hello. His email said: “My name is Gary Portnoy. I am a songwriter living in New York. I am the writer and the singer of the theme from “CHEERS” (Where Everybody Knows Your Name). / I would very much like to speak with you about a video in your collection, as listed on your web site. / I spoke with your mom. She wasn’t sure if this was still your e-mail address or not, but I figured it was worth a try. (She said she would speak to you within the next day or so.) / If you could, I would really appreciate it if you would call me at 914-666-xxxx tonight (Thursday) or tomorrow morning, or at 212-246-xxxx on Friday afternoon, or back at 914-666-xxxx on Saturday. I realize this is a long distance call for you; I promise to cover the charges. Or, if you prefer, I would be happy to call you. / I hope this doesn’t seem too crazy to you. I hope to hear from you soon.”

I always liked to imagine this being said in the voice of Lionel Hutz (Phil Hartman) from The Simpsons. “Hi! My name is Gary Portnoy! You might remember me from such classic TV themes as Cheers, Punky Brewster, and Mr. Belvedere!”

It actually was a bit too crazy for me. I found out that what he wanted was a copy of my VHS recording of the last episode of Cheers. It was a bit too much for me at the time, so I eventually stopped responding.

By the way, my personal VHS recording of the Cheers Series Finale DOES NOT contain the post-show segment, where the cast comes out of the Cheers bar and seems to be visibly drunk in real life. I don’t think that bit was released on DVD, because Cheers was highly controversial in that it took place in a bar and thus tacitly endorsed drinking, and then sold it to families where children would watch people drink all the time. Bad P.R. Recall that That 70’s Show had a HUGE backlash before episode #1 aired simply because they smoked pot in it. Nothing has really changed…. So anyway, if someone could find that segment and let me know where to get it — I’d love to see it again. In case no one remembers, that night in 1993 was a big deal, as Cheers had run for 11 years:

So this was a weird experience that I figured I should write down before I forget the details. (I had to GREP txt files of old acm.vt.edu email dumps just to figure out what happened to blog this…)

I’d dealt with online people on the phone before — voice verification (to prevent fake/dupliate accounts) in the BBS days was a standard practice. But I’d never had a celebrity called me on the phone. I’d emailed with a few celebrities (April Winchell) and well-known musicians (Bobby Steele, Voltaire) before, but I don’t usually get a chance to talk to them on the phone.

So. That’s it.

For reference, Gary Portnoy co-wrote (with Judy Hart Angelo) and sung not only the Cheers theme song, but the Punky Brewster theme as well. He also composed the music to the Mr. Belvedere theme. In 2007, Gary released a new album, Dynasty, with a “full” version of Mr. Belvedere, sung by himself. Purchase that version DRM-free HERE for 99 cents. You can also get the full two-verse version of the Cheers theme song HERE. If those links fail to work, this is the link to Gary Portnoy (in general) on Amazon: LINK. It’s quite strange hearing Mr. Belevedere sung in his voice, instead of the goofy voice NBC chose to use. (more…)

While at X-Day last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in “Ask Dr. Hal”, where people wrote down a question for Dr. Hal to answer. He is very good at giving 3-minute answers to 3-second questions. I cheated and slipped in a “two part question”, that was really 2 questions.

1) Why is the sky?
2)Why does The Conspiracy value cleanliness so much?

Awesomely, Dr. Hal managed to talk for six minutes to answer these 2 questions. Eventually, the Hour Of Slack radio show broadcast my answers. I extracted them and re-hosted them for my personal posterity. Now presenting: Dr. Hal Answers Clint’s 2 Questions:

20080703ish - X-Day at Brushwood - Hour Of Slack - Rev. Ivan Stang & Dr. Hal - (from SubGenius.com)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] If anyone watched the 2007 film Bee Movie… This is where it *seems* they stole their ideas from. (In reality, they probably didn’t steal anything — there’s only so many ideas, and everything has been done.)

PEOPLE: Directed by John Payson — a nobody. Except that he directed The Residents Icky Flix DVD, something that ranks in the top 10 strangest things I’ve ever seen. (John The Canadien will agree, and we both have Mark to thank for forcing this on us.) And he was a producer for MTV’s Liquid Television. Which explains how the original “Joe’s Apartment” short that this movie is based on made it to MTV in the first place.

Also, Billy West (aka Stimpy from Ren & Stimpy and Fry from Futurama; also the star of Comic Book: The Movie) is the voice of Ralph Roach. However, in typical MTV tradition, most voice actors are not known voice actors.

Otherwise, the movie is mostly full of nobodies. Except Moby.

QUIRKS: Cockroaches. Thousands–perhaps millions–of swarming cockroaches. That you can’t control. That fall onto you. And your date.

And… The first ever feature film produced by MTV Networks.

Also, there was one moment that made Carolyn LAUGH HER ASS OFF. I had to rewind and play it a good 10 times until she built up a tolerance to it. It’s really just a 2 second special effect that words can’t put justice too. But that moment was at least memorable for it’s affect on Carolyn! :)

BAD STUFF: Some songs? That try to be cute? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. They’re bad enough that if you are previewing the movie before watching it… And run into these… They very well may scare you into waiting 2 or 3 years before finally summoning up the strength to go though with watching this. There are *TWENTY-TWO* songs on the soundtrack. But this isn’t a musical. There’s only a few songs that take over the movie. The rest of the soundtrack is probably background music being pushed on people by MTV.

CONCLUSION: Not the most memorable movie (I wrote this review 2 months later). I don’t really remember a lot of the particulars. I do remember DREADING watching this movie. It was at the bottom of our watching list for a few years. We finally watched it on a Monday night.

I think it might have exceeded our expectations — but only because they were *extremely* low. Still, it’s nice to not be let down. The movie was alright.

RECOMMENDATION: If you liked Bee Movie, you should watch this just to see the similarities. If you were a fan of the original “Joe’s Apartment” MTV sketch, then you might want to watch this for the sake of completism. If cockroaches make you cringe (as they do I) — you might want to watch this just to see something you hate being played off as “cute”. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.

However, if you want a great movie, or even a really good movie? This isn’t it.
And despite there being cutsey songs — this movie has profanity and such. It’s not for kids. If you want a cute movie — this isn’t it. If you want a disgusting movie masked as a cute movie — this is it.

MOVIE QUOTE: [Walter Shit, performance artist, has been lying in a pool of blood, pretending to be dead for 2 days]
Walter Shit: “I wanted to express how cold, how pitiless this city really is.”
Joe: “Nobody touched you for two days?”
Walter Shit: “Spitting doesn’t count.”

COINCIDENCES: (Bee Movie, Joe’s Apartment) Within a week, watched 2 movies that had insects talking to humans, where a human saved an insect’s life, creating a interspecies diplomatic breakthrough, where later there was a flower parading.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Benj liked it.

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] One of those movies I first heard about via some stupid rag magazine that was sent to my house inexplicably for a year (Nylon).

HAIKU REVIEW: Musical soulmates,
Looking for a secret show,
Find themselves instead.

PEOPLE: Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad, Juno, Extreme Movie [which we’re watching tonite]) plays his standard awesomely awkward role as leading man, with the lovely but big-lipped Kat Dennings (aka daughter Marla from The 40 Year-Old Virgin) playing the leading lady. I’m not the only one who thought she looked like she could have played Bella from Twilight (aka Kristin Stewart). Compare the two of them: [1] [2]. She also reminded me of Ellen Page from Juno, but maybe that was because Michael Cera was standing next to her. They’re all good looking brunettes.

Ari Graynor plays super-hot-but-drunk Caroline, Alexis Dziena plays hot-but-bitchy Triss.

QUIRKS: Based on a book. Very musically-themed and music scene-themed. Michael Cera (Nick) is the only straight kid in a gay punk band. He’s the too-sensitive guy who just got dumped by a manipulative cheating bitch who happens to be friends with Norah, who happens to want to pretend to have a boyfriend — who happens to be Michael Cera. Hilarity and antics ensue when a drunk Caroline complicates his gay friend’s plan of hooking the two of them up.

Does anyone know what Nick’s ringtone was? Is that a Dinosaur Jr. song? I recognized it, and didn’t see any song in the soundtrack listing that seemed to match it.

BAD STUFF: The story of Caroline’s chewing gum? Sooooooooooooooooooo gross.

CONCLUSION: This was a really good teen romance/adventure movie! Nothing particularly ground-breaking or ultimately special or gimmicky — it was simply executed well. All the fun of a typical Saturday night teen caper style movie, yet with a deeper sentiment than the standard “kids just want to get laid” that you get from most caper movies (i.e. Detroit Rock City, Sex Drive, The Sure Thing).

4/5 stars on Netflix, 8/10 on IMDB (rounded up from 7.5 because Carolyn gave it an 8).

RECOMMENDATION: If you want to watch an adventure that is also about “musical soulmates” … This is a good teen romance adventure comedy film. By having well-executed aspects of both romance and adventure, this movie succeeds on several fronts simultaneously, making it quite refreshing.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Detroit Rock City is probably the most similar to this — but it has no real romance. This does.

MOVIE QUOTE: Thom: Would someone mind telling me where we’re going?
Norah: You know how some people like to eat at the same places?
Nick: Yeah.
Norah: Well Caroline likes to barf in the same places.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Ian realy liked it. Glen liked it. Lauren W said it was cute. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] A generic action movie in high definition? Okay… And oh, it’s based on a comic book? I did not find this out until after watching it, but now things make a bit more sense, as this has a superhero angle of sorts.

HAIKU: Wanted brings action;
Non-stop ridiculousness.
Crank is still better.

LIMERICK: There once was a movie named Wanted.
Whose level of action was quite vaunted.
Inspired by Crank
That’s who they should thank.
Overly-serious viewers may be daunted.

PEOPLE: Angelina Jolie. And I daresay she looks hotter in this movie than in 90% of movies she’s in, due to her hair style and such. Tho going from “super frickin’ hot” to “super frickin’ hot plus better hair” isn’t much of a difference when you’re talking about Angelina Jolie. And we also have Morgan Freeman in a prominent role. And The Russian director? This is his first American film. The main character is played by James McAvoy, someone unknown to us. He reminds me of Toby MacGuire from Wonder Boys or something. He is a VERY UNLIKELY superhero, which is why he was well-casted for this movie.

QUIRKS: Based on a comic book. This movie… was also a broadway musical?!?! WTF?!?!?! And of course, 2 sequels are in the works already.

The main quirk is that he has a superhero power of sorts. It’s not easily describable other than “killing really good”. He can shoot the wings off of a fly.

The beginning of the movie, where he is just a normal person, is quite awesome in that they do a really good job(with voiceovers–something people seem to be against? but they are good for rapid characterization!) establishing just what a weasily neurotic loser the main character is. And they had to do this fast, because the movie ended up being 2 hours… And the egronomic keyboard used as a weapon is the greatest thing ever. (In a keyboard fight, one with an ergonomic keyboard would totally kick the ass of one with a non-ergonomic keyboard — not that that’s what happened in the movie.)

BAD STUFF: Completely unrealistic fight scenes. At least The Matrix used the excuse of… A matrix / false reality. But the unrealistic fights that go on here happen in OUR reality. Smashing a guy in the face with a keyboard, only to have bloody keys spelling out “FUCK YOU” flying at the camera (one of the AWESOME scenes in this movie) is actually more realistic than some of fighting scenes. These guys, somehow, caused bullets to bend around things. This was never explained in detail, although apparently these may be special bullets. A lot of stuff is never explained.

And the movie itself doesn’t really come to a SUPER-satisfying conclusion. Of course there is your usual triumph over adversity, but I think perhaps they didn’t want to close things out as much as they could because they were expecting a sequel. It reminds me of what happened with The Golden Compass

The movie is also somewhat reminiscent of Mr. And Mrs. Smith, “except it wasn’t a piece of crap”, adds Carolyn. (Out of the last 300 movies we’ve watched, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is in the top 5 for us disagreeing. I loved it, she hated it.) But anyway — assassin guilds. Ruthless. In both movies.

CONCLUSION: 3 stars / 6 on IMDB. These ratings “feel low”, though. That is my “generic pass” rating, and this was a bit more than generic. I’m tempted to give it a 7 on IMDB.

As an action movie, this one definitely delivers some GREAT action. And since they make it plainly clear that they’re not aiming for realism here — the action is indeed a bit more unique than your average action movie. I look forward to the other 2 movies; maybe the franchise will grow on me.

RECOMMENDATION: Action lovers? See this. Angelina Jolie lovers? See this. If you’re not in control of your life, and you feel insignificant? You may just identify with the main character and REALLY like things.

MOVIE QUOTE: [first lines] Wesley: [voice-over] It’s my anorexic boss’ birthday. This means there’s a certain amount of inter-office pressure to stand around the conference table, eating crappy food and pretending to worship her. Acting for five minutes like Janice doesn’t make all our lives miserable is the hardest work I’ll do all day. My job title is account manager. I used to be called an account service representative, but a consultant told us we have to manage our clients, and to not service them. I have a girlfriend who I neither manage or service. That’s my best friend Barry fucking her on an Ikea kitchen table I picked up for a really good price. I’m finding it hard to care about anything these days. In fact, the only thing I do care about is the fact that I can’t care about anything. Seriously, it worries me. My name is Wesley Gibson. My dad walked out on my mom when I was seven days old. Sometimes I wonder if he ever looked into my baby blue eyes and asked himself “did I just father the most insignificant asshole of the twenty-first century”?

COINCIDENCES: Much like Hancock, this movie dealt with a “real life” super-hero in *our* universe. And the hero was quite unlikely. Though this time, he was a spineless loser instead of a drunk asshole. But both movies coincidentally hinge on the premise of an unlikely hero transforming into a real hero. Plus, we watched both movies in 720p :)

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: A few of queued it, but nobody has rated it yet. (more…)

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