Tuesday, September 30, 2014


So I spent all of last night and a big chunk of tonight, basically, trying to send a document on my D drive. Not only could I not do it, I couldn't even open it. Then like a flash it hits me that the D drive isn't part of my hard drive, it's a thumb drive. Embarrassing. But at least I know neither I nor my computer has gone crazy(er than usual.)


Christopher Orr at The Atlantic has been doing a running an evaluation of all the Coen brothers movies released to date. A worthy project, for sure.

Anyone who knows me could tell you I'd rate The Hudsucker Proxy much, much, MUCH higher than Orr does. Then again the world doesn't seem to share my affection for films in which Tim Robbins plays an amiable goofball. See also the general coldness to Cadillac Man, pretty much my favorite Robin Williams movie.

I'd say he's pretty much right about The Ladykillers, but even that exercises the Coens' skill set. It's just that the original drew its power from making variations on a very basic theme: ruffians trying to get the better of a sweet old lady. So their skill at creating specificity and quirk, usually an asset, drags the premise down this time around.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Municipal Saturday Random Ten

Occasinally Downtown Providence - "Downcity" is not a word, boosters - hosts bike races and marathons. They'd better get massive revenue from this, but I don't see much evidence of that. It drives traffic crazy and grinds bus service to a near halt.

I was downtown for part of the night. Happened to be WaterFire night, the second-to-last full lighting of the year. There's some congestion as a result of this too, but it doesn't seem as bad. Or maybe I'm biased because it's colorful.

1. The Band - Chest Fever*
2. Imperial Teen - No Matter What You Say
3. Nellie McKay - Swept Away
4. R.E.M. - Can't Get There from Here
5. Brian Eno - In Dark Trees
6. Beastie Boys - 3 the Hard Way
7. Pink Martini featuring Rufus Wainwright - Kitty Come Home
8. Metric - Artificial Nocturne
9. Fleetwood Mac - Over & Over
10. Earl King - Come On (Pt 1)

* Hudson is God!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nothing to do with anything, really

Tomorrow we'll have Saturday Random Ten. You probably knew that already.

Nothing to do with that, but on balance I'm kind of relieved the No's won in the Scottish independence vote. It's been said credibly that it's England pulling the UK to the right at this point while Scotland is the opposite. I look at it from the perspective of Wales. Cambrians must have been saying to Scotland, "Oh no, you're not leaving us alone with them!"

Nothing to do with that, but the home-viewing movie for tonight was La Rupture, a title that's been translated as "The Breech" and "The Break-Up". It's about a young Belgian mother who leaves with her son when her husband attacks her and the boy. Her father-in-law wants to ruin her so that she'll get nothing in the divorce, so he hires the dissolute son of one of his old colleagues to find dirt on her. On no account is he to manufacture evidence, wink wink.

This is the first film I've ever seen directed by Claude Chabrol. A French New Wave figure, he's known to be influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, which I could see. His style is a little reminiscent of Roman Polanski too, but with a different focus. Villains in Polanski films tend to be highly effective. Noah Cross in Chinatown effectively rules the world, never mind his abused daughters. The Satanists in Rosemary's Baby have it all under control too. La Rupture, by contrast, is a tale of evil upper class twits. Operative Paul Thomas does bad shit, and he and his fanservice-gone-wild ladyfriend do some damage. Yet they have an eerie ability to hit everything except their intended target. All goes to the black comedy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Short & sweet

Experimotion from La Academia de Animación on Vimeo.

This film is from either Spain or Argentina, I think. La Academia de Animacion seems to have branches in both places.

A stop motion short about experimenting on a book about stop motion is what you could call meta, I guess. In this case it's also pretty great.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Future tense

I am going to do a couple of things tomorrow. Afterwards I'll know how they worked.

That sounds evasive and generic. It's actually just a recognition that these things haven't happened yet.

A toast to tomorrow, then.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Crazy Angeleno Saturday Random Ten

What has it been, now? Four days? Five? I don't like missing that long on the blog. Doesn't look good.

So anyway, last night I watched Seven Psychopaths. It's Martin McDonagh's follow-up to In Bruges, and throughout his stand-in character expresses his ambivalence to making an American counterpart to that movie. So while McDonagh certainly swipes some tricks from both Tarantino and the Coen brothers, he does wind up with something that seems to represent him.

Cast is great, although as one of the characters points out there's not a lot going on for women. That character is played by Christopher Walken, in one of his more soulful parts. Tom Waits shows up for a couple of scenes, doing his delightfully eccentric thing. And Woody Harrelson drives it home as a legitimately scary LA gangster.

So, an appreciable movie.

1. Imperial Teen - Overtaken
2. The Beastie Boys - Hey Fuck You
3. Dirty Projectors - Stillness is the Move
4. St. Vincent - Psychopath
5. New Pornographers - Marching Orders
6. Paul Simon - Once Upon a Time There Was an Ocean
7. Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
8. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - Little Unhappy Boy
9. Brian Eno - I'll Come Running
10. Diana Krall - Boy from Ipanema

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

European vacation

So, from the library system I requested Sacheverell Sitwell's The Gothick North: A Study of Medieval Life, Art, and Thought. Why? I'd seen Sitwell mentioned in another book, and figured he'd be an interesting direction to go in. Plus he was the younger brother of Edith Sitwell, who's been one of my favorite poets for some time now.  So that added to the curiosity.

It's odd to read a book whose immediate subject relates to art and architecture and see that it has no pictures. It's just something that I think an editor would flag today. My guess is that since Sitwell was writing about Northwestern Europe, and he was writing for Britons of a certain financial standing, he assumed that much of his audience had seen his subjects or soon would.

As a historian, if he meant to be a historian, he fails, staying away from fact almost entirely. And it's hard to ignore the fact that he's something of a snob. But Sitwell makes up for the lack of photographs and plates. He's a great descriptive writer, with a deep feel for the art and buildings he's writing about. Of course he puts so many words on the page, with very little structure, that it's kind of like readng a blog that's been printed in book form with little in the way of editing.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Sorry to anything or anyone I've neglected in the past couple of days.I've felt a little off.  Saturday night I was caught out in the rain widout* my umbrella.  Next couple of days I was somewhat sniffly, especially at night. I think I'm getting over that now.

Why was I caught out? Because it hadn't looked at all like rain. There were clouds in the sky but they looked bright and non-threatening.  Contrast this with Thursday night, which had dark and ominous clouds and when there was an oppressive moisutre in the air. That night I did take my umbrella when i went out, and we didn't get a drop.

I think the last pages of each chapter have gotten swapped around is what I'm saying.

* (sic)? Maybe a little.

PPS, Got a package in the mail recently, likely to be addressed later.  Well, it had an address on it, but you know what I mean.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Greetings from the Friday Random Ten

Yup, on Friday again.  Which doesn't make a big difference in the scheme of things, I know.  There's the tag "Friday Random Ten", but a lot of things have names that don't really tell you what they are.  For example, "popcorn" isn't corn and you don't pop it.


Should probably think of a better example.

1. St Vincent - Severed Crossed Fingers
2. Cannonball Adderley - I Can't Get Started
3. Brian Eno - Another Green World
4. Pink Martini - Omide Zendegani
5. R.E.M. - Can't Get There from Here
6. Laurie Anderson - Let X=X
7. Elton John - Where to Now St. Peter?
8. Fleetwood Mac - I Know I'm Not Wrong
9. New Pornographers - War on the East Coast
10. Ernie K-Doe - A Certain Girl

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I can hear crickets outside.  This is kind of a surprise, when you think about it.  I live in a city.  Crickets seem more like a rural insect.  Or maybe I just think of them that way because I remember hearing them at my grandparents' house, in the countryside outside of Toronto.  Anyway, as long as they're out there instead of in here, more power to 'em, I guess.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Something I like to do every once in awhile is repost a random short film someone's made with a Kinks song as soundtrack.  If nothing else it (kind of) rewards their good taste.  Anyway, this one is nice.  On YouTube it said "a snowy day in Athens" which I guess they mean Georgia?  Not known for snow, but life is full of surprises.

Format unbecoming

It's kind of a drag to send off a story and get a form letter email a few months later with the "not right for us at this time" thing and "feel free to submit to us again."  (So you won't call the FBI on me?  That's kind.)  These are the publishing world's equivalent of "keeping your resume on file".

I was disappointed but, in this case, not too surprised.  The submission guidelines specified that the text of the story were to be embedded in the body of an email.  Now there are outlets, I'm sure, that have reason to be paranoid about attachments: viruses and the like.  _______ might probably have their reasons.  But the truth is that manuscripts just look better in, well, manuscript format.  And in the body of an email you lose a lot of that and everything gets squished together. 

So, I'll be looking for an alternative in the next couple of days.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pre-electoral Saturday Random Ten

I wonder.  I do wonder if after the primary Tuesday the polling calls will end, or at least ease up.  Or will they continue right through to November.  These phone calls have lost whatever charm and novelty they might have had.

Don't mind the yard signs, though.  They're kind of quaint.

1. Diana Krall - Every Time We Say Goodbye
2. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Watch Your Step
3. Dave Van Ronk - Talking Cancer Blues
4. Lower Dens - Alphabet Song
5. New Pornographers - Champions of Red Wine
6. Amy Winehouse - There Is No Greater Love
7. The Band - The Weight
8. Morphine - Thursday
9. Fats Domino - Poor Me
10. Heidi Bruhl - Wir Wollen Niemals Auseinandergehn

Friday, September 5, 2014

Can't think of a good header

Saturday Random Ten again this week.  The "Friday Random Ten" tag is becoming a relic.  This week I intended to do it on Friday, but Thursday night I found out that iTunes couldn't import music.  Some kind of driver issue which meant that I'd have to reinstall iTunes which, as they say, became a whole big thing.  I eventually resolved it, though.

In less annoying news, a coworker of mine I like is getting married.  It is, I believe, one of those unions that just became legal in the state.  So you can imagine the excitement.  Anyway, I'll have to get in touch with her Monday to congratulate her, which I didn't get a chance to do today.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Imitating life

Dripped from ChezEddy on Vimeo.

This short animated film is weird and fun.  It also couldn't be more French if it were served on a baguette.  Sure it's set in New York, but come on.

Not sure where it sits on the digital-analog spectrum.  It almost certainly had to involve some programming, but there could have been some pencils involved too.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Not to belabor the point

August, over all, was cool for high summer.  Today, the first day of September, wasn't like that.  It was quite hot, and probably one of the most humid days of the year.

When I first went out I was wearing jeans.  I felt like I should be wearing shorts, though.  So I went home and changed.  What I had sort of forgotten was that these were thrift shop shorts, and they're a little big for me.  Really should have worn a belt with them.  When I got home and was climbing the stairs, that was very apparent.  Having your pants fall down goes to waste when you're not at a Friar's roast.