Wednesday, June 27, 2007


"Well, that's just great. You hear that, Ed? Bears. Now you're putting the whole station in jeopardy." [Anchorman]
I will be canoeing on Shasta Lake and worrying about bears and doing all that fun outdoorsy stuff like getting bug bites and sunburned for the next few days, but I'm due to be back by July fourth. I had a themed post planned for that day, so hopefully that'll be happening once I get back. For the meantime, have a lovely weekend, and a great & safe holiday (for those to whom it applies).


Saturday, June 23, 2007


Okkkk. Sorry about the lack of updates. Normally it would be like Whatever, but I know I'm in the middle of posting that box set, so it's totally not Whatever. It's been super-busy over here, and by the time I was able to access the blog again, our house descended into chaos ie, my sister graduated + houseguests + a graa-jation party that I got to help clean up the house for + I missed the Celebrity Fit Club finale (noo!). Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoying the first few days of summer. I'll be leaving for Shasta Lake next week, so I will make sure the rest of Empire is posted before I take off.

For now, enjoy this totally random Big Trouble in Little China picture. I watched it the other night cos the little sister graa-j-ated and she got to choose the movie cos we're all so proud of her and then she fell asleep 20 minutes in. We did, however, make sure to wake her up for one of the classic Jack Burton moments, when he fires a gun in excitement into the ceiling and is totally knocked out by the result.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Hi boys and girls. For the last few days, I have not been access my blog. I actual can't get to any blogspot addresses. . . I can get to the dashboard and I can create posts, but I cannot see the actual blog and posts. Aaah! What's going on? So I dunno if this is a problem just with my connection or it's a general problem, and I dunno if this'll post, but I'll keep trying. Hopefully this will stop being an issue so we can get back to those Empire Strikes Back posts and all that good stuff. Which is to say, hardcore housekeeping to do when all this is back up 'n' runnin'.

**And a great big huge thanks to Ken for supplying the link to the Miss Derringer album! You can access it through the comment on the Miss Derringer post, which should be the previous post. Thankfully I grabbed that before blogger started messin with me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Miss Derringer

Miss Derringer, citing a "[heavy influence]" from outlaw country and girl group pop, sings about "honkytonk subjects like prison, poverty, sobriety, God, death, marriage, murder, and alcohol" (source).
MISS DERRINGER has trouble describing their sound. "Goth Country" is the newest moniker being thrown around. However, Miss Derringer are heavily influenced by many various American musical styles such as early rock-n-roll, outlaw country, early-60s girl groups, punk rock, new wave 80s pop and blues. The band's lyrics tell alcohol-drenched stories about murder, prison, dive bars, and God. [from their myspace]
Singer Elizabeth McGrath, an LA-based artist, is described by the LA Times as "more of a performer than she is a singer," comparing her to Amanda Palmer, saying that, "her woozy, weary rasp is perfectly imperfect for Miss Derringer's cabaret- and country-tinged ditties" (source).

It's fun stuff, along the goth/country lines. I've only been able to hear the tracks they have up on their myspace (anybody got more?), and all the songs are easy to catch on to, with a good, driving beat. It's an outlaw country feel that has definitely been filtered through an alt/goth lens. It's partially encapsulated in the band name, "Miss Derringer," the idea of baby-dolling up morbid subjects. I'm not always a fan of the type of art that the trend would seem to call to mind (and I'm sorry to say that I can't appreciate all of Ms McGrath's pieces, though some are very excellent, especially those with the ), but thankfully the music doesn't at all tend towards that artsy-mall-goth direction, instead lyrically suggesting a more mature approach, more outlaw than taboo for the sake of, more raw than glossy. (As an aside, I don't think anybody has managed to capture the delightful gothic sensibility that Edward Gorey embodied, and despite the influence claimed by artists, they can't quite separate from the cutesy elements that are defining the style nowadays. It's just not my cup of tea, I'm afraid.)

I had read about Miss Derringer on Wikipedia (I was doing that thing where you look up something for no reason and keep clicking on linked subjects and see where you end up. I must have been reading about Social D, whose drummer co-produced Miss Derringer's latest album.) and gave them a listen, so now I'm recommending them to anyone who wants to hear what might happen in Blanche got drunk while listening to Mike Ness solo albums and lost their ironlace-like sound in favor of a poutier, twangier rendering.
* Sweet! As the wise Ken says, it's our lucky day. Check out his comment for a link to Miss Derringer's Lullabies.

The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Radio Drama, Episode 2, "The Coming Storm"

[Darth Clicky]

Episode 2, "The Coming Storm"
Han Solo, still planning to go independent again as soon as possible, sets Chewie to the task of repairing the Millennium Falcon. But when he learns that Luke hasn’t returned to the Rebel base, Han sets out alone to find his friend. Luke, in the meantime, is barely alive - but hearing the voice of his fallen mentor, Ben Kenobi. The image of Ben tells luke to seek further Jedi training on the planet Dagobah, but can offer him no other help. Han finds Luke and sets up a shelter - but his own tauntaun, a beast of burden unique to Hoth and necessary for traversing its surface, dies from exposure to the cold…and now they are both stranded without a way to return to the base.
[Buy from]

I'm pleased so many people are liking the Star Wars posts! Stay tuned :]

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mick Jones

[made with photoshop, using this picture]

Summer Reading: John Ford, The Complete Films [Taschen]

The best thing about Taschen books is the pictures, and the worst thing about reading them is that you hafta design a strategy the allows a full digestion of both the words and pictures. Taschen's book on John Ford gives you the basics on his films and styles, with factoids that you'll come to find are repeated in every documentary about Mr Ford, which is fine, cos then you can sit there and go, Oh yeah, I read that somewhere. Mr Smarty Pants, you and your excellent coffee table books. The worst part about reading this is that you'll sit there for the next hour trying to figure out how you're going to get your hands on a copy of The Informer.

The pictures in this offering are gorgeous, and the softcover book itself is lovely, too. The problem comes with trying to read it. I resorted to reading each chapter, ignoring the pictures, then going back after the end of the section and looking at the pictures and reading the captions, which pretty much repeat what has been said. Going back and forth through the book page by page will probably drive you nuts, especially since the pictures don't always match the text, which is kind of thrown in there where there's space. Still, for John Ford fans, this is a quick, light, and pleasant read, and the glossy photos are divine.

[Buy from Taschen Books]

The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Radio Drama, Episode 1, "Freedom's Winter"

[Darth Clicky]

Episode 1, Freedom's Winter
In the wake of their successful mission to destroy the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance has stirred up an Imperial hornets’ nest. Driven from the relative safety of the Yavin system, the Rebels set up shop on an ice planet called Hoth, which is inhospitable bordering on unsurvivable. This distant outpost requires constant resupply of equipment (and soldiers) capable of surviving sub-freezing temperatures, but the Empire has been tightening the noose by blasting supply convoys out of space. Han and Luke are surveying Hoth’s surface to pinpoint the cause of unusual sensor readings when Luke heads out on his own to investigate what looks like a meteor impact. But before he can reach it, Luke is savagely attacked by a wampa, a vicious carnivore native to Hoth. He’s able to summon the power of the Force to help him escape the wampa’s lair, but even the Force can’t stretch the limits of human endurance - without backup or a way to get back to the Rebel base, Luke is stranded in the frozen wasteland overnight.
[Buy from]

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Since this is a multimedia site. . .

Here's the trailer for The Longest Day. I quite like the film, but the trailer has those hilariously awful old movie trailer taglines, and the announcer presenting them seems about to fall asleep. He says something about international stars ("42 International Stars!") and then intones, flatly, "Here. Are some." Which is then of course followed by a choppy montage of those stars.

Still, this trailer isn't as hilariously bad as the trailer for the Magnificent Seven, where someone, even though the film features one of the most memorable themes in movie history, opted to instead showcase a ridiculous ballad that "The Hero of Canton" would later recall.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ok, I just hafta put this up, too.

Tomasz Baginski's "Fallen Art"

A friend sent me this link of Polish artist Tomasz Baginski's CGI short, which picked up several awards last year. It shows the making of a macabre stop-animation film that is produced with the help of "volunteer" soldiers. Very imaginative and haunting, supposedly a commentary on the "pornography of war." I'm not a huge fan of CGI art like this, but it is pulled off so well and with such grace that I can't find fault with the style.

Hank Williams III - Straight to Hell

I just saw the third Pirates movie last night. Not bad, pretty long, but my two things now are 1) They had better not make another one cos I don't wanna sit through it, and 2) <spoiler> The only reason to watch another one is gone, after having cleaned up and become noble. Boo. But I recommend seeing it if you saw the other two, and if you're seeing it for that reason, I'd recommend seeing it in the theater just cos it'll be big and loud. Zimmer did do a good job with the music, and as much as I bitch about all his epic scores being the same, they really do work, and they really do enhance what's going on onscreen. By the way, the movie starts out like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Musical, but no jazz hands.

Ok, blah blah. Here's Hank Williams III's latest, released early last year. Favorites include the opening track and "Dick in Dixie." "Satan is Real," which starts off the first track, is an actual song by the Louvin Brothers. You can hear it right here (links to blog featuring a wav file).

** This file does not include the 42-min bonus track that makes up disc 2. I unfortunately don't have it.

Straight to Hell


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Tim Armstrong: A Poet's Life

Tim's solo release has him going more ska/reggae, backed by Hellcat buddies the Aggrolites. Catchy and fun, I can't attest to the quality of the lyrics, since 1) I can almost never understand what this man is saying, and 2) I haven't gotten the chance to listen to it carefully yet (that entails putting it on a CD and listening to it in the car while stuck in traffic), but the album, what I've heard thus far, is fun and dependable, and just right for summer. And don't worry. It's not the Transplants.

This began as a thank you from Tim to Rancid fans, to be released one track at a time on the Internet to tide fans over until the next Rancid full-length. But when KROQ in LA began heavily playing the explosive track, "Into Action", plans changed. So here's Armstrong's first solo release, backed by some of the strongest radio support since the days of "Time Bomb" and "Ruby Soho". With a killer old-school two-tone groove, helped along by Hellcat label mates The Aggrolites, "A Poet's Life" is loose, punky, infectious, and shamelessly danceable [from product description].
Tim Armstrong - A Poet's Life


Gimmie Back My Head: Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten Soundtrack

Jim's out to prove he's the coolest kid on the block (again), this time with the soundtrack to the new Strummer doc, The Future is Unwritten.

So head on over and grab that, and don't forget to thank Jim!

Gimmie Back My Head: Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten Soundtrack

We also have the trailer up, right here.

Also, for the kids out there with paychecks burning holes in their pockets, here's a fun 101'ers design from the Angry, Young and Poor store, and for the ladies, the same design on a spaghetti strap baby doll tee.

Summer Reading: Winter's Tale

Winter's Tale - Mark Helprin

I finally finished this book. I bought it last year after reading other Helprin works, and got halfway through before summer rudely ended and I had to go back to school. Paperback or not, I didn't want to carry a 700-page book back to New York, so I left it here. This past Memorial Day, I decided not only was I gonna read it, I was gonna start from the beginning. Luckily, I then caught the flu (that's what I've been doing all week), so I didn't have anything much to do except read this and watch I Love Lucy and Celebrity Fit Club (I love Celebrity Fit Club. Don't tell anyone.)

I'm not gonna try to explain the plot, since I still haven't quite grasped it. The reach of this novel is ridiculous, time- and space-wise, but it always seems to be taking place in a chilly Belle Epoque moment. The scope of Helprin's imagination never fails to astound, and the little glimmers of magic throughout are so precise and well-rendered that they aren't eclipsed by the big bangs and lightshow of the rest of the story. The story centers around several characters, most important of which are the white horse and Peter Lake, a burglar who falls in love with the dying Beverly Penn, and in doing so, manages to enter into a state of being that spans the entire century. The setting is New York City and a few surrounding areas as the city heads into a fiery, cataclysmic, perhaps Apocalyptic millennium.

There are some off putting points with Helprin's sociological worldview, which I have had problems with in his short stories, but his ability to craft a story and his genius in prose is strong enough to make that a minor complaint. Every passage bursts with color, and there is such clarity and skill behind each moment that even when what is going on gets a little muddled, the visual elements behind the action are still present and strong.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Summer Reading List: A Confederacy of Dunces

I am not equipped to talk about this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the background of which is the tragedy of the author's suicide, but I'm here to at least recommend it. Finally finished it the other day after several false starts, all of which were on plane rides, which goes to show that I should just stop trying to read on planes and instead watch the Food Network or one of the twelve ESPN channels or perhaps the America's Next Top Model marathon that always seems to be running.

The book introduces Ignatius J Reilly, who is an insufferable man-child, a lover of Boethius, hater of buses, and supporter of a Divine Right Party, as he encounters a host of amazingly detailed characters who occupy the city of New Orleans and its French Quarter. Beneath the story is a strain and frustration bred by the absurd interpersonal relationships, all of which are based on miscommunication and all of which are happily resolved (which surprised me), save for the two central figures who could not survive without the ridiculous and selfish convictions that cocoon their world views. The prose is bombastic, never a dull moment or lapse in energy. People are always shrieking or crying or shouting or whacking or attacking, revolutions are born and die, along with vice, pornography, baked goods. . . I'm not even going to try. This book is fantastic, and I heartily recommend it.

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