Monday, April 17, 2017

MST3k Return thoughts

There used to be two camps when it comes to MSTies: Team Joel or Team Mike. I'm in the Michael J. Nelson camp (the 1997 Sci-Fi Channel Latter Day camp) and I enjoy it. Yes, I was introduced later than the die-hards, but I saw the majority of the classic master-riffs that most people acknowledge and remember fondly:

Mike MSTers get:

  • Deathstalker!
  • Mole People
  • Jack Frost
  • Prince of Space
  • Neptune Men
  • Space Mutiny
  • Pumaman
  • Touch of Satan
  • The Final Sacrifice
  • Merlin's Shop
  • Final Justice
  • Diabolik
With Joel, I can only think of a handful of notable ones. Yes, Manos was under Hodgson's watch, I give you that.

Anyway, now it's 2017 and we have a 3rd MST3K Camp: Team Jonah.

I've finished the first episode (Reptilicus) of the Netflix revival, and I have some thoughts.

I've come in with fresh eyes and cautious optimism with it, and really read nothing about it other than it was a Kickstarter project by Joel, and neither him nor Mike were going to be in the new run.

It seems like more of a kids show now than ever. The intro and the segues are really dumb and involve a large amount of poppy music. And, although a lot of their jokes are still esoteric references, you can tell they've watered it down a little for the Netflix demographic. I can't blame them for that, but why are they still riffing old movies if they're targeting a younger audience? I guess licensing rights ($$$) is the answer.

My biggest criticism has to be the casting. Jonah doesn't seem to have any character--he's like Joel and Mike, but he doesn't have anything interesting going on about him. I don't even know where the character was born and raised. Does he have a family? Any interests other than white-boy rapping?

And worse, to my surprise, the voices of Tom Servo and Crow have changed. They offer no explanation, and they probably want you to realize that they are robots with adjustable voice output. This fucks with me really hard, and it's difficult to get past. Kevin Murphy in particular was one of my favorites, especially his joke-writing. Way less annoying than Crow T. Robot (Bill Corbett).

With The Return, it seems they are trying really too hard. The jokes-per-minute (JPM) value is way up to where you can barely pay attention to the movie plot.

They are doing a lot of gags where they interact with the screen, and it's kind of annoying. I wasn't impressed the first time Tom Servo flew around the screen, so why do it three times? Are they showing off their new tech?

Anyway, lots more to watch, even though watching this makes me feel old.

Maybe I'll post again with a large apology to the backers and writers and production crew. Maybe not.

This is also an opportunity to name-drop Master Pancake Theater (formerly Mister Sinus Theater). Their Christmas Show is a must-see.




Monday, March 6, 2017

February Music Selections

Hello!

I've decided to semi-regularly share what I've been listening to on Spotify.

No Joy
Creep
https://open.spotify.com/track/2swoHVIIKyutOuTzbSh7iq

No Joy is best described as "dream metal"... they have a little dreampop but they can also go really hard. Once you get past that they're not a girl band, let this EP take you on a journey. Each song is distinct, and you'll switch favorite tracks with every playthrough. "Flourescent Dread" even goes into  Black Moth Super Rainbow territory.

--

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Patriots Day
https://open.spotify.com/track/1eoOsZ6dnCFVc0tsxQEpMZ

A more-than-just-muzak soundtrack with the best songs starting with Track 8 ("The Night Drive"). Give it a listen!

---

Japandroids came out with a new album, and so did Cloud Nothings. I gave both thorough listens, but really the only standout was the 'droid's "Arc of Bar": https://open.spotify.com/track/0nnhuE1op1Yt3v9vDI4IWt

The Flaming Lips captured my attention for a time, but after repeated listens the album just didn't hold up.

I tried to listen to the new single by Bush, but it didn't inspire me to check out their back catalog.

---

Prince
Sign 'o' the Times
https://open.spotify.com/track/5xP9clzYBKZ6F3u2VZUaBJ



I've been a big fan of this album for years, but right now I have "Housequake" stuck in my head. Starting with that song, the next 4-5 songs are just incredible. My only critique is that the title track could be about 1 minute shorter. It boggles my mind that this came out in '87.

---


Other than that, I've been previewing singles from bands that have recently reunited--Ride, Slowdive, At the Drive-in.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Best of the Year 2016: Song

Hi. I am behind on my "best of" lists. Here's what I thought was the best from pop/rock in 2016:


"Watch Me"
by ANOHNI

"Lightning Turns Sawdust Gold"
by Sleigh Bells

"If I Lost You"
by Garbage

"Waves"
by Kanye West

"Violent Men"
by ANOHNI

"Zodiac"
by Preoccupations

...I will try to describe them later on if I can. For now, just check them out on Spotify or elsewhere.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2016 Retrospective: Loss

Memento mori

As early as summer, I saw signs that people wanted to erase 2016 from history. Just skip it. The passive aggressive memes were strong. It had to do with politics, with socioeconomic outrage, with dying.

Here are some crazy deaths:
  • Harambe (1*)
  • Texas Hot Air Balloon Crash (16)
  • Orlando Night Club shooting (50)

[*Yes, I realize Harambe was an ape. Maybe it's not so crazy.] And then there were celebrity and culturally-significant deaths.

I wasn't a fan of Leonard Cohen, but he passed this year. So did two majorly influential idols of mine in the music arena: David Bowie and Prince. I've already written mostly about the latter, but the first one I am still in astonished about. I mean, it was sudden and it was right near Bowie's birthday anniversary and schedule album release. Still shocked.

And then there were more personal passings. A suicide, and another sudden happening of my grandmother. My maternal grandmother, aged 88, had many scares in the past few years, but she always fully recovered. She was an example of an active, educated octogenarian that broke the stereotype. She still drove herself around, and she was incredibly active in volunteering and card playing social circles. She even exercised. All of this with multiple sclerosis diagnosed some 40+ years ago. What an inspiring person.

Next year (2017) can't have this amount of death, can it? When I think about all the aging rock stars, the icons of the 20th century... does death become the norm? Is it part of growing older? If it is, I must endeavor to create (rather than destroy).

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Entry #010

Beverly Hills, burning off plastic
Scraped it away, I do, I may

...

Hey, who's your man? Dances the alleys
Cape land to colors rolling through the valley

...

Hold tight, horizon eyes
It's writing its name in the sky
It's paradise!
We fade away into the night

Beverly Hills, nuclear winter
What should we wear, and who's for dinner?

...

Hold tight, our love will fade out
It's writing its name in the sky
And I'll stop and stare
We fade away into the night
It's paradise!


...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Internal dialog about the 2016 Election (Trump)


Is this a joke?

Am I so out of touch with the public?

Has Trump even read one book?

I would have voted for almost anyone other than him, but never him.

What side of history do these voters think they are on?

Do I have to buy a gun now (to feel 'safe')?

Does Russia have any redeemable qualities?

Intelligent people shouldn't be scared of their leaders.

What would Grammy think about this situation? 

Does Trump care about anything other than economics and money? Scientific progress? The environment? Crime? Morality?

Are minorities as afraid as I am?

Are women afraid?

Is this better than having Trump as non-President for the rest of my days?

Hopefully, he will be impeached before he gets to the 4th year (and Lame Duck period).

He's freaking 70 years old...

Is this actually better long-term? Next election might be nice.

...more later...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Game of Thrones 2017 Season Predictions

Game of Thrones season six just ended. I really enjoy the show. I've only read the first book, so I'm focusing on the TV universe here when I say that it has jumped the shark. It was a good run, but the pop culture virus that makes all great franchises more consumable, more watered-down, has finally infected the HBO series. Also, George R.R. Martin is apparently no longer the source material for the series--it has begun its own path.

When the season started back in April, I had this funny feeling that the storylines were being dragged out. For instance, Arya was basically waffling around for 3 episodes until something interesting happened. The same goes for Daenerys... a few small scenes could have summed up her story arc, rather than 8 episodes of fluff. And, let's not mention Bran's ability to time travel... what a bad writing choice.

The other problem, and I think it was not a decision by the producers and writing staff, was to have a "Previously, on Game of Thrones" segue to help people understand what scenes are about to unfold. One thing that Game of Thrones (and HBO) could hang its hat on is its elitist attitude toward cable TV. I really hate this opener, but unfortunately this is a really commonplace crutch that is beneficial to newbies, invalids, and the infirmed.

ANYWAY, here are my predictions for Season 7:
  • Something only mildly interesting will be revealed (Episode 1, Episode 4)
  • The Hound and Arya will become a Murder Team (Episode 5)
  • The Wall will be partially destroyed (Episode 8)
  • Cersei will become pregnant (Episode 9)
  • Nothing will happen with Dany's army until Episode 3
  • Bran's magic will reboot the timeline and ruin the entire show (Episode 9)
I'll post and update more as I think of crazy-ass TV tropes between now and next spring. We are Sparta!

MST3k Return thoughts

There used to be two camps when it comes to MSTies: Team Joel or Team Mike. I'm in the Michael J. Nelson camp (the 1997 Sci-Fi Channel ...