December 27, 2008
Since DOA wasn't as bad as I anticipated, I hunted down Oneechanbara, a zombie-fighting movie starring a sword-wielding woman in a bikini, cowboy hat and feather boa. I don't think I need to say more than that!
DOA: Dead or Alive
When DOA: Dead or Alive first came out, it was only at a theater far from where I live. I figured it was an early release and would go general later. Wrong. It never went wide release anywhere near where I live. So this holiday weekend, in the spirit of cheesy martial arts movies I enjoy so much, I watched it.
I don't understand why this movie got yanked so quickly. It's bad, sure. But I've seen far worse (Uwe Boll, I'm looking at you) last a regular theatrical run. Silly, fun, dumb dialogue and even dumber martial arts choreography, but fine for a long weekend afternoon.
I got my eMusic credits for the coming month, and based on the thirty second samples and some positive reviews, grabbed Mountain Battles by The Breeders. It's the only Breeders album on eMusic, and browsing around, it's not considered their best, but damn! It's pretty damn good.
It feels a lot like Throwing Muses, while being very distinctly it's own sound. I guess it's not too surprising, considering that Kim Deal originally cofounded The Breeders with Tanya Donelly, one-half of the creative heart of Throwing Muses (the other half being Kristin Hersh, who still consistently hits the top of my list).
I seldom grab two albums by the same group, as the ocean of music is quite big, but I might reconsider for The Breeders. Also, Kim Deal was in The Pixies, so I'll probably be picking up Surfer Rosa or Doolittle.
After a few more listens of Mountain Battles, I've concluded that the first half of the album is great. The second half is just okay (sometimes good). Still, a great half-an-album is like a great EP, and the rest is just sorta bonus tracks. It doesn't really hurt to have 'em.
December 25, 2008
Got these two a few days ago:
- Simple Things - Zero 7
- Blues Master - Taj Mahal
I find I'm now waiting anxiously for my next eMusic renewal, as there are a couple of albums I've decided sound quite intriguing. I'll let you know once I get them...
Something To Look Forward To
A new 50FOOTWAVE album. Go Kristin Hersh!
P.S. - I just finished listening to the streaming album, and can't wait to buy it.
December 23, 2008
As I mentioned, work's been quite busy. It let up some over the holiday, which turns out to be a good thing, as Jean needed eye surgery. We've been working with her doctor, Dr. Ma, doing tests over a period of a few weeks, and he finally said she needed a vitrectomy. We had to drive to St. Vincent early Monday morning, when the roads were Hell. In all, most of the day was eaten up.
We drove up again today for a post-op check-up. Roads still sucked, though not quite as bad. He wants us to come up again tomorrow, so I'll still get my shot at a heart attack from stressful driving.
Jean was of course feeling rather under the weather after the surgery. Today she is feeling a little bit better. We have a couple weeks at least of post-surgical hoo-hah. She needs to keep her face pointed at the floor for two weeks, for instance.
Anyway, that's the big news for now. Hope everyone is having a good holiday.
December 20, 2008
Matroska is an open standard [...] primarily used by Free Software-loving hippies [...]
Cut down to the essential part, since I find MKV files annoying as hell...
December 13, 2008
By Gang Gang Dance...
December 09, 2008
Portal: Still Alive
I almost forgot. The pressure cooker has eased up a bit, momentarily, and I have had part of my weekends back. As a result, I grabbed the arcade version of Portal: Still Alive. It's generally pretty flexible on pick-up/put-down, so I managed to traverse it in little spurts. I took most of the Thanksgiving holiday off from work, so I finished it then. The game clocks in at around six hours, but I'm sure I did eight or more, due to my clumsiness and wooden reflexes (there are a few segments requiring quick reaction times).
Like most people reviewing it, I have to say that it was great fun, and felt really original, regardless of predecessors. It's not like I play a huge variety of games, so this felt new to me. What really made it was not just the mechanics of play, but the integration of the humorous 'story', such as it was. I laughed out loud several times. When I completed it, I felt such a sense of accomplishment, that I got a little knot in my throat during the closing song.
No, I didn't try for any of the achievements. That would have ruined my enjoyment. I did try to play through the first few test chambers again with the developer commentary turned on, but after awhile, it got frustrating that the developers would be drowned out by the in-game narration. Seems they thought very carefully about game design, but not about the developer commentary.
All told, I wish there were more clever, fun, short games like this.
With Quantum of Solace out in the theatre, I had a hankering to revisit the original novel that kicked it all off. Grabbed it a few weeks ago, and I've been reading it evenings before bed since then. Just finished it last night, and it is pretty much as good as I remembered. A bit saccharine in parts, but it's kinda the 'birth' of James Bond. I enjoyed it, and will probably read Live and Let Die before too long.
Oh, and it was amusing to be reminded that Bond's first nemesis organization was SMERSH, a Russian counter-espionage agency which translates to "Death to Spies". And yes, while it had apparently ceased to exist by the era Bond supposedly operated in, it was a real organization.
Totally lazy, so find your own links. These were gathered from eMusic over at least a couple months:
- The Singles Collection - Skinny Puppy
- LP3 - Ratatat
- Skalpel - Skalpel
- Hate - The Delgados
- Half Asleep - School of Seven Bells
- Nightlite - Bonobo
- Dial "M" for Monkey - Bonobo
- Permutation - Amon Tobin
- Hey Eugene! - Pink Martini
- Classics - Aphex Twin
- Rocky Horror Motion Picture Show (soundtrack)
Plus two songs from the London Roxy version of Rocky Horror...
And miscellaneous Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes.
The Secret Life of Bees
I'm in the eye of the hurricane for now, so I guess I'll catch up on a post or two. First, I found time to go see The Secret Life of Bees with Renee. Totally a chick flick, which is not to say it was not good. I was deeply moved to see at one point that Renee was crying (chick flick!). I felt good that I could be there to share a shoulder.