Thursday, April 01, 2004
So I've got the music of the Barenaked Ladies on my mind. Did you know that they self published their first three albums on cassette, and the third one (The Yellow Tape) went gold in Canada?
As much as I love their music, I've got to say that they've got one of the most conversationally awkward names in the history of recorded audio. Anyway, among my favorites are:
- "In the Car" - Perhaps the greatest anthem to uncoordinated, confused teenage lust.
- "If I Had $1,000,000" - Loads of fun in all of its various incarnations.
- "Another Postcard" - Pure Fun. Monkeys. Heh heh...
- "The Old Apartment" - The lyrics of this song are pretty messed up, but it rocks. For a couple of weeks about a year ago, I'd listen to the "Best of" collection on my way home from work, and this is the first track on that album. For that reason alone I have a fond place in my heart for this song.
- "Inline Bowline" - I don't actually like the song that much, but damnit, I can tie an inline bowline in my sleep.
- "Alcohol" - Both the most fun and most poignant drinking song ever written.
- "Who Needs Sleep" - Greatest ode to insomnia, and...
- "When You Dream" - One of the few modern lullabies that's worth listening to.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Just spent a while nosing through the archives of This is Broken, a site that points out bad elements of user interface design, both in the real and digital worlds.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
I've been in an odd frame of mind all weekend. Partially triggered by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but more due to many other elements.
I left work early today and picked up a few things from the grocery store. The Roommate was at work, so I cleaned the kitchen, lit the grill, and poured a glass of wine. I started listening to Spalding Gray's "A Slippery Slope" on my iPod, which allowed me to fiddle about the kitchen, check on the fire, and take the dogs out as needed. With the house to myself and my mind focused on Gray's monologue, I prepared dinner: a very rare steak, a lovely salad, some sliced Roma tomatoes, and a few slices from a fresh baguette with a bit of goat cheese spread on them.
It's the first time I've listened to Gray since his suicide... It was remarkable how much he dwelt upon the topic, fantasizing about it, getting to act it out once for a movie... And then he went through with it.
The story concerns Gray's lifelong obsession with skiing, but that's like saying that Moby Dick was just about a whale, or Field of Dreams was just about baseball. It was a beautiful story. I've heard it before, but it's been several years. With the exception of The Roommate coming home and the dogs going apeshit once or twice, I was able to enjoy the dinner and the story in blissful solitude.
I read an article recently about how the iPod (or really any portable music device) allows you to create a personal auditory space. I haven't tried shopping while listening to it--somehow it seems rude--but I've heard that doing so is a blissful experience. I love listening to it
P.S. To my one or two readers, fear not, I'm not contemplating suicide or anything weird like that. I've just been in a philosophical frame of mind for the past week, but haven't really felt like writing. Tonight's entertainment was a spur of the moment plan that was carried out almost flawlessly.
The Grifters (1990). Filling in gaps again. As has been shown in several previous reviews, I'm a big fan of John Cusack. (And this movie was directed by Stephen Frears, who also directed High Fidelity.) The Grifters won't go on my list of favorites, but I'm glad I saw it. It's his first adult role, and even though it's not that great, apparently it was enough to help him make a clean break from playing teenagers.
The first half of the movie is pretty entertaining, as you're exposed to various kinds of scams and the way they're performed. The second half is just dark, disturbing, and strange. Even though I didn't care much for the plot, the acting was fantastic. Aside from Cusack, the other leads were Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening. Huston is one of the best actresses of this generation, but the platinum blonde hair and odd pronunciation of "Los Angeles" were really distracting. Plus she's involved in the most disturbing scenes. Oog. Bening was an annoyance and while her part was important, I dont' care much for her as an actress. Moreso, you find yourself wanting her to keep her clothes on.
Moving down the list, there are a few noticeable character actors, but it's always good to see an appearance by Jeremy Piven in a Cusack movie. In this he plays a sailor on a train who gets conned by Cusack. (Piven is joined by Gregory Sporleder playing another sailor--they were two of the group of guys that Cusack hung out with during a few scenes in Say Anything.) Piven and Cusack are old friends--they were roommates at one point--and it's fun to watch them show up together in different films. This first happened in One Crazy Summer and most recently in Runaway Jury.
This one will be easy... Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). #76 on the IMDB Top 250 (and almost sure to rise as more people see it). I saw it Friday night. To say anything about it would be to spoil the experience. Think Memento, Dark City, movies like that--but with different elements and plots, so I'm not giving anything away there. It's best seen if you don't know anything about it.
I was in a bit of a daze after the film; had some interesting dreams that night. Enough said. Wow.