Monday, December 25, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

"Me, I Want A Hula Hoop"

It's only just the beginning of December and Christmas music is already all over the radio. Now, I don't mean to shit on all Christmas music, but I think we can all agree that 99% of the yuletide tunes out there suck big time. So in the spirit of not being a total grinch this year, I present my top five Christmas songs.

5. Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
I love the guitar on this track. Now, you might not immediately know what song I'm talking about here, but trust me, you know this song. Just think of any Christmas-y type movie made in the last fifteen years or so. This is usually the song playing during the traditional of montage of holiday hijinks.

4. The Chipmunks - The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)
Sure, it's a novelty song, but just try and deny that you know every lyric by heart. I suspect that every parent has a deep seeded hatred for not just this track, but the whole Chipmunks phenomenon. Though I feel bad for kids growing up with the Chipmunks these days, because they'll never know the childish joy of listening to the old LPs. When you're a kid, the only thing that's more fun that listening to the Chipmunks is listening to them at various unintended speeds on your record player. If you play this track at 78 rpm and you're bound to give someone a seizure.

3. The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick
I think the Beach Boys are part of my musical DNA. Both my first casette and CD were Beach Boys collections. When they come out with music in neural implant form, I'll be sure to pick up Pet Sounds before anything else. Now, I like this track for a variety of reasons (not just because I think there's a hidden satanic message in it). Back in their heyday, the Boys put out several albums a year. So you can just picture a scenario wherein Brian Wilson and the gang are sitting around some big conference table with the execs from Capital Records. "Um, Brian, we love all these surf tracks, but, uh.... Do you think you could make a Christmas album?"

2. Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmas Time
Paul is probably my favorite living Beatle (sorry Ringo), mostly because his post-Beatles material is the only stuff I can stand. Now, I have no idea when this track came out or what was Paul's motivation for making a Christmas song with probably the single most bizarre synth riff you've ever heard, but it's still one hell of a good Christmas song. Expect to hear this on the radio and in the shopping malls aproximately 4000 times before December 25th.

1. Run DMC - Christmas In Hollis
As if there was any doubt that this track would be number one on my list. If you haven't heard this song, download it NOW. It is the only Christmas song you will need to hear this year. Just imagine a vintage mid-to-late-80s rap song complete with Christmas samples. The Reverend Run starts it all off by telling the story of how he found Santa's wallet and returned it to him, only to receive a fat wad of cash for his good natured efforts. After that DMC schools us all on what a proper Christmas in Hollis entails. Complete with a list of all the fine foods that Mom will be cooking for the big festive meal.

And since it's just not enough to tell you how great a song this is, I present the vintage video for Christmas in Hollis:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

30 Shopping Days Left

I can't believe it's almost Christmas. Wasn't it just Halloween or something?

I've got most of my Christmas shopping done, but I still expect another mall trip or two will be required in the near future. I'm not looking forward to fighting my way through various malls and Wal-Marts for those last minute gifts.

As much as I love seeing those clips on the news of people running over top of one another and getting in fist fights over the year's top items, I actually hate to be in midst of such situations. I guess that's schadenfreude for you.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

On a completely unrelated note, Guns n Roses played in Halifax last week. I didn't go for a variety of reasons. Thankfully, though, someone was good enough to post on Youtube what would have been my favorite moment from the show. For your viewing pleasure, I present Bubbles and Axl Rose singing "Liquor and Whores."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Such Heroic Nonsense!"

Apparently, Transformers: The Movie has just been given a 20th anniversary special edition DVD release. While the geek in me is giddy with anticipation, my inner-cynic can't help but see this as a cash-in opportunity/cross-promotion for the upcoming live action Transformers movie. But rest assured cats and kittens, I'll have my grubby paws on this DVD as soon as I can find it.

If you grew up in the eighties and you haven't yet seen Transformers: The Movie, shame on you. It's the kind of movie that couldn't be made today. Not just because kids these days won't watch any cartoon that isn't 110% Japanese, but simply because of the sheer number of deaths in the movie. Heck, within the first thirty minutes Optimus Prime bites the big one. Can you imagine what kids went through at the theatre during this? There they were, five or six years old, having just witnessed the dramatic demise of the guy on their pajamas.

On of my favorite things about the movie is that it featured Orson Welles as Unicron. Apparently, Orson hated the movie, but I can't really blame him. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have started your career in the greatest movie ever made and ended it playing a talking killer planet?


There's plenty that could be said about what you're going to see here, but I don't want to spoil the magic.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Brown Leafed Vertigo

Things I did not do this month:
1. Write Chuck Palahniuk some fan mail. (I did just get a copy of Invisible Monsters though.)
2. Watch a buttload of horror movies in celebration of Halloween. (And I seriously have buttloads of horror movies.)
3. Keep the blog up to date. (Sorry blog fans.)
4. Win ten million dollars. (Publishers Clearing House can suck my arse.)
5. Think of a clever thing for #5. (Sorry list fans.)

Things I did do this month:
1. Went to a Halloween party this past weekend. (Dressed as a hobo.)
2. Got a flat tire. (Today.)
3. Got trained to handle and dispose of Household Hazardous Waste.
4. Picked up a copy of the new Maltese Falcon Special Edition DVD.
5. Read an awesome book about B-Movie king Roger Corman called How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime. (Recommended reading for any movie geek.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

"Send Me A Postcard."

Chuck Norris movie review #5: Invasion U.S.A.

Plot: Chuck Norris is a retired CIA agent living on the bayou with his pet armadillo when a group of communists decide to invade the United States. Chuck is hesitant to get involved until the commies kill his native-american-fanboat-driving buddy. Then all hell breaks loose as our hero single handedly takes on the entire communist insurgency. Those pinko bastards had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

How you can tell this movie was made in 1985: All the C's are there: cold war politics, communism, cocaine, and Chuck Norris.

Best depiction of communists as soulless killing machines: We start with a nice establishing shot of a quiet suburb, straight out of Anytown, USA. Some neighborhood kids are playing football in the street (despite the fact that it's night), some teens are making out in a Trans Am (that dude is totally gonna score), and a nice, white, Christian, nuclear family are decorating a tree on their front lawn (well, actually Dad and the kids are decorating, Mom's in the kitchen cooking supper). Suddenly, a non-descript truck pulls up and a couple of commies with rocket launchers start blowing up houses. In the span of thirty seconds, the commies blown up five or six houses and then take off. No one in these houses had anything to do with the rest of the movie. They were simply there to appear to be wholesome and then appear to be on fire.

Quammy's favorite scene: It's Christmas time in Miami (or wherever this movie is supposed to take place) so the commies decide to start some shit in a shopping mall. Chuck Norris, hip to their plan, drives his pickup truck into the mall (literally) and starts kicking some ass. This leads to a major shoot-'em-up and then to a truck chase through the mall.

Now, ever since I was a kid and saw the Blues Brothers movie for the first time, I've always wanted to drive a vehicle inside a shopping complex. Whenever I see a show car in a mall, I dream about being the guy driving it around inside the building. If I ever direct a movie it will have a vehicle-inside-a-mall sequence.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

R.I.P. Six Pack

I'm not much of a drinker. That is not to suggest that I don't drink. It's just that I can't drink very much (or very well, depending on how you look at it). It was typical for me to pick up a six pack before heading out to a party. That way, I'd have enough beers to catch a buzz and appear to be social, but not enough to find myself puking behind a boat house (hello, 24th birthday).

But those days are over now. It was recently announced that the almighty NSLC is going to discontinue the sale of six packs in their stores. My local liquor store hasn't had six packs in stock since the end of August. I just assumed that they were out of stock after a vigorous race week, since Chester folk love their booze so much. But no, the six pack has been pulled from the market.

So what does this mean? Well, for most of you, nothing. You can probably hold your booze and/or you didn't buy six packs in the first place. For me, it means that I'm gonna have to pony up the other four dollars every week or so and pick up an eight pack. Which means that I will get drunker than I usually tend to, which can only spell disaster for the few people who will hang out with me on the weekends.

Rest in peace noble six pack, we hardly knew ye.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Bill Groundhog-Day, Ghostbustin'-Ass Murray!"

Today was Bill Murray's 56th birthday. I'm of the opinion that Bill Murray is one of today's greatest living actors. The movies he's done in that past few years have totally surpassed the work he did twenty years ago (most of which remain classic to this day). In honor of Mr. Murray here's a clip from Coffee and Cigarettes in which our man has some coffee with RZA & GZA. Enjoy.

If you're a fan of Bill Murray, you have to see...

[1979] Meatballs
[1980] Where the Buffalo Roam
[1980] Caddyshack
[1984] Ghost Busters
[1988] Scrooged
[1991] What About Bob?
[1993] Groundhog Day
[1994] Ed Wood
[1998] Rushmore
[2001] The Royal Tenenbaums
[2004] The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Possibly his greatest performance)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What She Said.

Damn, Whitey, that's cold.

Friday, September 01, 2006

"We Could Live Forever Tonight."

I happened to be reading Wikipedia today and there was a headline on the main page about how Edvard Munch's painting The Scream was recovered yesterday. The painting was stolen (for the third time) two years ago. And while The Scream is probably my favorite painting, I always have to laugh when I read about famous works of art that get stolen or defaced. Like when people go into museums and throw stuff at old paintings. How does a person get to the point where they say to themselves, "Alright, today I'm going to sneak some sulfuric acid into a museum and destroy some priceless art work. I don't see how I have any choice in the matter."

On a completely unrelated note, it's the 40th anniversay of the Beach Boys masterpiece Pet Sounds. Critics and music geeks always place Pet Sounds in competition with the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the title of "best album of all time." It apparently says a lot about you, depending on which side of the debate you find yourself. I, myself, am a Pet Sounds guy. As much as I like the Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's is not my favorite album of theirs. I could maybe see Revolver or Rubber Soul going head to head with Pet Sounds, but not Sgt. Pepper's. So, if you're a music buff and you haven't heard Pet Sounds yet, I urge you to seek out a copy of it. This may sound dumb, but try and get a copy that has the original mono mix of the album. Brian Wilson is deaf in one ear, so that's how it was meant to be heard.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Race Week Recap

Chester is a town full of old money and older people. And since the town is right on the water, sailing is a big part of the local "cultural" identity. So in the middle of August every year, the local elite throw themselves a little party known as the Chester Race Week. During this week, which is really only four days, sailors and sailing enthusiasts from all over descend on Chester to rejoice in all things sailing related.

On the last few nights of Race Week, the Chester Yacht Club opens its doors to the general public. The small club and its smaller lawn area overflows with people from every tax bracket. Millionaires stand shoulder to shoulder with blue collar joes, all waiting in line to trade their drink tickets in for rum drinks and beer in plastic cups.

The real treat, for a jaded guy like myself, is the chance to see people that I've haven't seen for countless years. It's like a high school reunion every summer, but with enough booze to go around to make it all palatable. I bump into old friends, bullies from high school, the guy I used to play G.I. Joes with when I was seven, old teachers, former neighbors, kids I used to babysit and countless people with whom I make an effort to avoid eye contact.

Over this past winter, the Yacht Club underwent some serious renovations. This meant that the open grassy areas of yesteryear were made smaller and less grassy. Also, in a move that seemed almost baffling, it meant half as many port-a-potties as usual. On more than one occasion I found myself going directly from the bar, with a full drink in hand, to the port-a-potty line. And by the time it was my turn to urinate, I had alreay finished my drink.

While many specific memories from this year's Race Week are difficult to recollect, I do know that I had enough of a hangover after it was over to reasonably assume that I enjoyed myself.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"There Are Some Things A Man Just Can't Run Away From."

For this guy, one of those things happens to be this blog. Since nothing really exciting has been going on in my life for the last week or so, I thought I'd at least tell you about some of the movies I've been watching. (But fear not, dear reader, Chester Race Week kicks into full effect this weekend, so you can expect a hangover induced post in the near future.)

First up is one of my favorite westerns, 1939's Stagecoach. This movie is chock full of awesome characters, from the drunken doctor to the gentleman gambler and even a hooker with a heart of gold. Film geeks like myself will tell you that not only was Stagecoach the first western to be filmed in Monument Valley, but it was also the movie that made John Wayne a star. Also, rumor has it that Orson Welles was somewhat obsessed with this movie. He apparently privately screened it some forty times while he was making his masterpiece, Citizen Kane.

Nextly, a pair of 80s classics, Revenge of the Nerds and Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise. I recently managed to scare up a copy of the out of print Nerds/Nerds II DVD from Ebay, so I was pumped to watch these flicks again. Sure, I have them on VHS, but how long will those puppies hold out for? Anyways, what I can tell you is that these movies still hold up pretty well, despite their age and identification with all things 80s. The first Nerds movie was a bit more slapsticky than I remembered and when you see them both back-to-back you can't help but notice how the two movies are pretty much identical. Not that solving your problems with a creative song and dance routine ever gets old though. These flicks are required viewing for any fan of 80s movies.

Return of the Living Dead has to be one of my favorite movies for a variety of reasons: it has zombies, it has a punk rock soundtrack, it's totally 80s, and it has zombies. I guess it was originally meant to be a continuation of George Romero's Living Dead series, but ask any horror movie purist and they'll tell you Return isn't even in the same league as Romero's flicks. A lot of them won't even recognize this as a zombie flick because it has probably the first appearance of fast zombies, as opposed to the classic lumbering slow zombies. But, all horror movie politics aside, this flick is pretty good. I even got my hands on the elusive workprint version of the movie, a rough cut featuring some twenty extra minutes of alternate scenes and dialogue. If you like zombies, you have to see this one at least once. Return of the Living Dead is b movie schlock gold.

And finally, a movie I haven't seen in a long time that I'm looking forward to seeing when it finally comes to DVD next week, The Wizard. Anyone who remembers the hoopla surrounding the release of Super Mario Bros. 3 back in the late 80s must have at least some recollection of the marketing tie-in that was The Wizard. While it is little more than a ninety minute commercial for vintage Nintendo games and products ("I love the Power Glove. It's so bad.") I'm still stoked to see it again after all these years. Maybe I just long for the days when seeing someone else play Double Dragon seemed so awesome. I don't know why it has taken them this long to put The Wizard out on DVD, fans have been crying for a release and snapping up bootlegs for years now. The Wizard even made a recent list of the top twenty-five most wanted DVDs. The Wizard finally makes it to DVD on August 22nd (you can read a review of the DVD here), so be prepared to push a few fanboys out of the way if you want to get a copy of when it finally hits the shelves.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Sultry Sounds Of Sackville

Well, now that my hearing is about back to normal (or about as good as it will ever be) I might as well tell you about my trip to Sackville, NB, last weekend.

You see, Bagtown (as it is apparently referred to by the locals) was playing host to the Sappy Records Music Festival, a three day celebration of New Brunswick indie rock. Also, it just so happened that the last day of the festival would feature a performance by one of my all-time favorite bands, Eric's Trip.

I began the journey to Sackville early and slightly hungover. But after three and a half hours over torn up roads, I reached my destination. My first obstacle was to find my hotel, sorry, my motel. I had some printouts with me from Yahoo maps, but as my friend Danielle suggested, "Yahoo maps is full of lies." Thankfully, Sackville isn't very big, so it didn't take me too long to reach the motel.

My next obstacle was the motel itself. I had reserved a room at the Tantramar Motel. Now, while it is possible that at one point (say the late 80s) the Tantramar Motel might have been a thriving location, it seems to have descended into a poorly run Mom 'n Pop type establishment. I don't mean to give the impression that it was a bad or dirty place, it just seemed very slack. My key wouldn't work, so I was instructed to jiggle the doorknob until it sorted itself out. It was lame, but I wasn't going to let a shitty doorknob ruin my weekend.

Eventually, I met up with a bunch of my New Brunswick friends. It was a mini Flophouse reunion. (The Flophouse being the nickname of a house many of us shared near the STU campus in Fredericton.) We headed down to what was advertised as a record fair. Now, as a record collector, when I hear the words, "record fair," I expect to find lots of reords for sale. Unfortunately, this wasn't really the case. There were a few tables set up with records, most of which had been released by Sappy Records themselves. I did manage to pick up an Eric's Trip LP and few cool 7"s, but I was hoping to drop some serious cash on vinyl.

While at the record fair, I also managed to score an Eric's Trip t-shirt, but it took a little doing on my part. You see, as a fat guy, I don't tend to fit into the hipster sizes you normally find at merch tables. So, I made some inquiries into larger sizes. Lucky for me, the guy who made the shirts happened to be there and he was kind enough to silkscreen a fresh shirt for me. He also hooked a friend of mine up with a ticket for that nights sold-out show. He totally did us a solid. And if I could remember his name, I would totally plug his print shop.

Sometime later, my friends and I made it down to the show, you know, the thing we came to Sackville for. It was being held at George's Fabulous Roadhouse. I'm not saying that it was fabulous, that's just what the place is called. The bar was small and hipsters tend to be tall, so while I didn't actually see many of the bands, I was able to hear them loud and clear.

One band, the Singing Saws, set up a large tent in the middle of the bar. They had people standing inside the tent spinning it around and shining funky lights while the band played. I didn't care much for their music, but I was impressed by the whole tent and lightshow shtick.

The band I was most surprised by was Purple Knight. Lead by Mark Gaudet, the drummer from Eric's Trip, Purple Knight put on one hell of a show. While I know little of the band's history, they are celebrated icons of the Moncton music scene. I was right up front for their set. I also happened to be very close to the speakers, so I was pretty much deaf by the time they were done.

The last band (and the best band) of the evening had to be Eric's Trip. I would have driven to Sackville just to see them, even if no one else was playing. Despite having broken up several years ago, Eric's Trip manages to put on a handful of reunion shows now and again. And I was lucky enough to be at one of those shows this time around. They were amazing. They played virtually every song of theirs that I wanted to hear. Everyone was super psyched to see them play. And while I'll admit that the band was a little rusty (maybe because they hadn't played together in more than five years) they still managed to rock my socks off.

Following the show, my newly hearing-impaired friends and I found our way back to the motel and called it a night. A few hours of sleep and a big, greasy breakfast later, I was back on the road.

And that, my friends, was my exciting trip to Sackville.

Friday, July 28, 2006

"Should I Stay Or Should I Go?"

No, this isn't a post about the Clash, it's actually a post about the Rolling Stones. You see, the Stones are going to be playing a show in Halifax in September and I can't decide if I should go or not. Tickets go on sale on Monday, so time for debating the issue is very limited.

What bugs me most (even more than the $99 ticket price) is the fact that they haven't announced who'll be opening for the Stones. I look at it this way, if the opening act is good it's like a bonus for the money you spent to see the main act. But, if the opening band sucks, you feel like an idiot because part of your admission went to a bunch of douchebags. Knowing my luck, if I decide not to go, it'll be announced that the Who are playing a secret opening slot. And if I do decide to go, the opening act will turn out to be someone like Journey and I will have to kill myself.

What's a guy supposed to do?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Few Things I Miss From The 90s

- Mixtapes
- Crystal Clear Pepsi
- Nirvana
- Jean Chrétien choking out protesters
- Duckman
- A time when almost no one had cell phones
- Eric's Trip
- The novelty of laser pointers
- Kids in the Hall
- Laughing at people who thought yo-yos were cool
- Pogs
- When Much Music (or MTV) played music videos
- Mr. Show
- The distant hope that the Star Wars prequels would be awesome

What do you miss?

Monday, July 17, 2006

"Do You Guys Have A Problem With Being Quiet?"

Duck I went camping with some friends over the weekend. We went to Kejimkujik National Park, a beautiful spot about an hour and a half away from where I live. I'd been to Keji maybe twice before, but I never remembered the place being quite as busy or as modern as it was this time around. For starters, the camp grounds are littered with public bathrooms with indoor plumbing, soap dispensers and electric hand dryers (the kind that sense when your hands are under them). Since when did camping involve freely dispensed soap?

Also, as I mentioned, the place was rather busy. My friends and I, a motley crew of twenty-somethings, had three adjoining sites in the midst of what seemed to be the section of sites reserved for families. The major problem with that is that families tend to enjoy starting their day bright and early, while twenty-somethings often enjoy sleeping off their hangovers until well into the morning.

And if you were wondering about the above quote, it came from one of the park's rangers as he escorted us back to our respective sites for being too loud and rambunctious (ie: drunk) on one of the beaches well past quiet time. Personally, I think the whole quiet time thing is ridiculous. Who the hell wants to go to bed at 11 when you're camping anyway?

Duck Did you know that one of the alternate titles to the original Transformers cartoon show was Super God Robot Force? I'm seriously not kidding.

Duck Spaceblood, the rockingest band currently residing in Fredericton, NB recently had one of their songs chosen as "Song of the week" by Exclaim magazine. You can check that track out by going here.

Goose Mr. T is giving up his trademark gold chains. After witnessing the devastation in New Orleans first-hand, Mr. T decided that it was no longer appropriate to adorn himself with piles of gold. This thoughtful gesture is only further proof that Mr. T is one of our greatest living heroes.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Noise From The Great White North

Seeing as tomorrow is Canada Day, I thought I'd put together a little list of some of my favorite albums of yesteryear made by Canadian artists. Since all best-of lists are biased on behalf of the list maker, I will fully admit that this list is biased in accordance to my tastes as they were over the last dozen or so years. Nothing on this list was released after 1999, so there is a complete absence of any newer hype-worthy Canadian bands (ie: The Arcade Fire, Death From Above 1979, Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, etc.). In the end, this isn't so much a best-of list as a retrospective of five good Canadian-made albums that really don't get any play these days.

Moxy Früvous Bargainville (1994)
In the early 90s, every busker in Ontario must have been dreaming of making it big. Thanks to the grass roots success of Barenaked Ladies, Moxy Früvous went from the street corner to centre stage with their debut album Bargainville. When it first came out, I loved it for its comedic elements, songs like King of Spain, Spiderman and My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors. But, seeing as I'm a such a big fan of the Beach Boys (Pet Sounds > Sgt. Pepper's), I can't help but love the harmonies on this album. What makes this album still enjoyable today is that a lot of the leftist political messages still ring true. The environment is still in danger, blue collar work is still rough and there is still war in the middle east. Songs like Stuck in the 90s, with the line "buy a new gameboy for the fun and the fashion," are even more appropriate today than they were twelve years ago.
Download: River Valley, Stuck in the 90s, The Drinking Song, Gulf War Song

Burnt Black Nervous Wreck (1996)
The girl I went to my high school prom with introduced me to this great Halifax-via-Yarmouth band. They had a heavy sound with some alternately haunting and screamy vocals. It was no surprise to me that the lead singer would go on to work with bands like Wintersleep and Kary, as well as have a half dozen other bands of his own (ie: The Trephines, The Remains of Brian Borcherdt and Holy Fuck). I remember trying to get my hands on a copy of this album for years. I even wrote the band, only to be surprised some weeks later with a long, hand-written letter and some stickers. I would eventually come to acquire this CD from a pawn shop in Fredericton, NB. While it remains criminally out of print, this album is a cornerstone of what would become the Halifax sound of later years.
Download (if you can): Purpose Served, Leaving You, Coming of Estrus

B.T.K. Birth Through Knowledge (1998)
While this album of white-boy rap stylings isn't quite on par with the other albums on this list, it should be noted that it is still a good album. BTK came and went from the Canadian music scene faster than......well, it was just fast. Ask anyone today about BTK and they will immediately think your talking about an American serial killer. Nobody remembers the great video for Peppyrock featuring all those puppets and Sesame Street parodies. But that's the way it goes. You have one moderately successful track with a clever video to back it up and then you're forgotten before the year is over.
Download: Peppyrock, Superchile

Gob How Far Shallow Takes You (1999)
This was the last good Gob album. After this, Gob traded skate punk for the oh-so-lucrative pop punk sound, with albums like The World According to Gob and Foot in Mouth Disease. I almost got to see Gob once in concert when I was in University, but it ended up that I had to go the opera instead (seriously). This album can almost be considered the last album to be spawned from the punk revival of the mid-90s (read: Green Day, The Offspring). After this, popular punk became pop punk (read: Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan). Thankfully, this last blast of credibility from Gob still sounds good today.
Download: On These Days..., Beauville, What To Do

Eric's Trip Forever Again (1995)
I only started listening to Eric's Trip a few years ago, but I have since become obsessed with the band. I have shelled out some serious cash for their vinyl singles and I'm planning on making the pilgrimmage to Sackville, NB in August for their reunion show. This album is probably my favorite of all the band's records. From start to finish, it's an indie rock extravaganza. Rick White was a genius when it came to making lo-fi recordings. The album sounds as if it were lovingly cobbled from various archival recordings that could have been easily lost to the ages. It's really a shame that Eric's Trip isn't more well known. Despite having been the first Canadian band signed to Sub Pop (a tradition continued even today by bands like Wolf Parade), many of their albums are either out of print or are simply overlooked by record stores. Do yourself a favor and seek out a copy of this album.
Download: New Love, Girlfriend, Always There, View Master

So, kids, that's it for your history lesson. I have a big day of drinking and fireworks ahead of me tomorrow, so this will have to tide you over for a while.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"I Am Looking For A Dare To Be Great Situation."

I know I promised something Moxy Fruvous related in my last post, but two things prevented me from doing so: John Cusack and a turtle. I'll get Cusack out of the way first and then I'll tell you about the turtle.

Today is (or was, depending on when you're reading this) John Cusack's 40th birthday. I happen to be quite the Cusack booster. In fact, my appreciation for the works of John Cusack once bordered on obsession, but I'm better now, he doesn't need any more stalkers. So, I was all set to sit down and write a post about the various Cusack flicks you should run out and watch (like Better Off Dead..., One Crazy Summer, Say Anything..., Grosse Pointe Blank, and High Fidelity to name but a few) when I heard my Dad yell out, "you wanna see a turtle?"

As it turned out, this turtle had somehow found its way to the parking lot of what was once the gas station across the street from where I live. I approached the turtle cautiously, took several pictures and made at least one Crocodile Hunter joke. I wasn't really sure what to do with said turtle. Should I let nature take its course or should I intervene? Such a philosophical quandry for someone in a gas station parking lot. In the end, it was decided that this was no place for a turtle. So with the help of my friend Adam and some neighbors, we took the turtle down the road to Stanford Lake and set it free. The turtle must have appreciated the change of scenery because it immediately shuffled its way into the lake and swam away.

So, barring any more celebrity birthdays or errant wildlife, my next post will be about Moxy Fruvous in some way, shape or form.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Am A Bad Blogger

I used to criticize bloggers who would go weeks between posts, but that was when I was unemployed and had 8+ hours to spend online in the run of a day. These days, I'm gainfully employed and my internet time has to be carefully rationed between checking my favorite mp3 blogs and scouring eBay for choice finds. But fear not blog-fans, I promise to pay more attention to my blog. So, look out for more B movie reviews and Sunday morning hangover reports.

If you've read this far, you may be asking yourself what I'm doing for work these days. The new job I alluded to earlier is that of a scalehouse operator at the local sanitary landfill. What does that mean, you might be asking yourself. To which I might suggest that you are one nosy bastard, but I'll tell you anyway. It means that I monitor the weights and loads of vehicles entering and exiting what is commonly referred to in rural communities as "the dump." Though glamorous it is not, as a new employee of the local government, I earn a good wage and will be privy to various benefits in the new future.

Also, my new job has provided me with the means to get a car. Every morning I cruise to work in style in my new (to me) 2003 Pontiac Sunfire. Boy, oh boy. It's a good car and it's in great shape. Though I still managed to get a flat tire the other day, which totally sucked ass. This is actually my first car, I had never really wanted to own a car before, but since my new job is 20+ minutes away from where I live, I had little choice in the matter. I know and care very little about cars, so don't expect me to be one of those guys who spends all his time "tricking out" his "ride" with fancy rims and a stereo worth more than the vehicle itself.

And finally to whet the appetite of anyone still reading this blog of mine, I'm brainstorming a special blog entry in honor of the upcoming Canada Day holiday. I'm not gonna give too much away, but I will say that it may or may not involve Moxy Fruvous.

Monday, May 29, 2006

"The Next Time I Have To Come In Here I'm Crackin' Skulls."

Sad news blog fans, beloved character actor Paul Gleason died over the weekend. Though best known for his role as Principal Richard Vernon in the John Hughes classic, The Breakfast Club, Gleason had roles in almost 100 different movies as well as appearances in numerous TV shows. He will be missed.

Select Filmography:

[1983] Trading Places
[1985] The Breakfast Club
[1985] Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
[1987] Morgan Stewart's Coming Home
[1988] Die Hard
[1993] National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1
[1994] Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love
[2001] Not Another Teen Movie
[2002] Van Wilder

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's My Blog-O-Versary

Yeah, sorry about that title. But today marks one year of blogging for the old Quamster. And what a year it's been... Anyways, I have some good news. I got a job. It's by no means a glamorous job, but seeing as I've been unemplyed for some nine or ten months, I'm not one to make waves at this point. Also, I just read about the Sappy Records music festival going on in August in Sackville, NB. There's gonna be lots of good music, including a reunion performance from one of my favorite bands, Eric's Trip! So, I'm gonna do whatever I can to get out to Sackville this August to check out that festival. And finally, a quick thank you to anyone who has been reading my blog. I don't know who you are, but you make it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"How About A Nice Game Of Chess?"

There's a lot of things I miss about the '80s: the cold war, working Pac Man arcade machines, Ally Sheedy, and the almost complete absence of cellphones (to name a few). It was while watching WarGames that all these fond memories came flooding back to me. For those who don't remember, WarGames was a precautionary cold war tale in which Matthew Broderick comes within seconds of causing World War III. Using technology that predated the Nintendo, Broderick manages to hack into NORAD computers and set in motion the mutually assured destruction of both Russia and the United States.

WarGames is a prime example of what makes watching '80s movies so enjoyable today. It's like watching a time capsule full of antiquated technology, products, popular culture and politics. In one brief scene Broderick and Sheedy are sitting in front of Broderick's computer (a beastly machine that uses 8" floppy discs) drinking cans of Tab and playing a computer game with graphics just slightly ahead of Pong. Broderick even uses one of those modems that you have sit the phone's receiver on.

The movie is also full of notable '80s character actors like Barry Corbin, Eddie Deezen, Maury Chaykin and Alan Blumenfeld. There is even a scene at the beginning of the movie with a young Michael Madsen, a full nine years before he cut the ear off a cop in Reservoir Dogs.

Bonus Section

I had been thinking a lot lately about the song "Any Sense of Time" by the old school Halifax band The Inbreds, so I was quite blown away when I heard it on the season finale of Trailer Park Boys. So, for your enjoyment, I present:

[MP3] The Inbreds - Any Sense of Time

(FYI: I'm stealing this download link, so I don't know how long it will be good for.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

They Don't Make Bootlegs Like They Used To

In an effort to free up some space on my computer, I've been trying to get rid of as many old files as I can. It was it this spirit of PC cleanliness that I stumbled across a copy of Within The Woods, the "prequel" to the Evil Dead trilogy. It's likely that I downloaded the file some three or four years ago but never got around to watching it. I know I've made numerous attempts to watch it before, but the incredibly poor video quality has always kept me from going the distance.

Within the Woods is more or less a condensed version of Evil Dead. At just over 30 minutes, it touches on a few plot points that would eventually surface in the later Evil Dead movies along with a few 70s horror movie cliches. A group of young people get together at a creepy cabin in the woods. Said cabin happens to have been built over an old Indian burial ground (a fact that they are well aware of). In the process of digging a fire pit for a weenie roast, a grave is disturbed, all hell breaks loose, and the remaining twenty minutes are full of screaming and gore.

Now, the version that I downloaded was very dark and blurry, so I had to assume I knew what was happening from time to time. It's possible that there are some decent quality copies of Within the Woods out there, but I can't see myself making too much of an effort to track one down. Some fans on IMDB claim that they're willing to pay up to $50 for a copy, but my guess is that they haven't seen it yet. "Lost" classics are always worth more before you find out why they may have been lost in the first place.

If you like to know more, consult your local library, or read this article.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Happy Life Day."

I have seen something that no sane human being should have to ever see, The Star Wars Holiday Special. Shown on TV once in 1978, the special was supposed to reward eager Star Wars fans as they waited for Empire Strikes Back to be completed. The result was a televised atrocity of unimaginable proportions. If you never see the Holiday Special, consider yourself lucky. Long considered a rare lost gem among Star Wars fans, the special does more to harm the legacy of Star Wars than to help it.

The Holiday Special centers around Chewbacca's family as they await his return to the Wookie home world for "Life Day." Not an entirely bad premise, until you remember that Wookie's don't talk like you and I. So, what you end up with is an hour and a half of Wookies growling at each other like tortured llamas at a zoo. Worse yet is the fact that one of the Wookies, Itchy (Chewbacca's father), looks like roadkill.

You might be asking yourself, "how could it get any worse?" Two words: Jefferson Starship. That's right, Jefferson freakin' Starship. Nobody likes Jefferson Starship, not now, not ever. If you say you like Jefferson Starship, you're a filthy liar.

I guess, in an effort to pad out a story that would have been better done with mimes, the producers of the Holiday Special decided they needed some variety acts. Throughout the Special there are songs by Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll, and Bea Arthur (a freakin' Golden Girl for God's sake). There's also some juggler/tumbler types that make Cirque du Soleil look like God's gift to the masses.

Also, periodically throughout the Special, the Wookies would check in with various members of the cast of the original Star Wars movie. We get to see Harrison Ford hugging Wookies (he literally hugs every Wookie three times each). We also get a look at a coked-out Carrie Fisher, who sings a song so bad it would make a deaf person cringe. But most famously, we get to see Mark Hamill fresh from his disfiguring car accident. They put so much makeup on Mark Hamill to hide his scars, he is almost unrecognizable.

Now, it must be said that there is one (and only one) redeemable aspect of the Star Wars Holiday Special and that is the fact that it introduced Boba Fett into the Star Wars universe. At one point during the Special, there is a brief cartoon interlude where we see the first encounter between Boba Fett and our other favorite Star Wars characters. The animation is pretty weak, much like the early Droids cartoon series itself, but the fact that we got to see some kickass bounty hunter action in the middle of a major crapfest makes up for the sloppy work of those Korean animation house slave laborers.

So, if nothing else, you now know that the elusive Star Wars Holiday Special was a television event that far surpassed the suck factor of Fonzie jumping the shark and the last episode of Seinfeld combined. I can't stress this enough, the Special is so bad, it cannot even be enjoyed on an ironic level. For your own mental health and personal well being, never EVER watch the Star Wars Holiday Special.


They're finally going to release the original theatrical versions of the classic trilogy on DVD. This means no more CGI X-Wings, no new musical numbers, Boba Fett's original voice and Han shoots first. This is a great time to be fan of the classic trilogy who was pissed off by all the changes Lucas made in his "Special Editions." The DVDs won't be out until September and they will apparently only be available until Dec. 31st 2006.

And finally, George Lucas has been immortalized in action figure form. A younger, bearded Lucas has been made into a Stormtrooper, proving once and for all which side of the Force Lucas is really on.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vacations, Discounts, Magnetic Tape & My Newfound Boredom With Myspace

Duck I have to apologize for the lack of new posts here on the blog, but I'm in a bit of a slump right now. I'm basically forcing myself to post this just so I can say that I at least posted something new.

Duck I went to Fredericton about two weeks ago to visit some old friends. It was a good opportunity to catch up with people and visit all my old haunts. I got to go to my favorite pawn shop, Digital World. The good folks there were happy to see me and they even gave me my old 20% discount.

Duck I've been buying a lot of VHS lately. While I was in Fredericton, I went to the local Jumbo Video. They were selling off a considerable portion of their old VHS stock to make room for their DVDs. I was able to pick up a few sweet titles, most of which have yet to see the light of day on DVD. It kind of pisses me off that video stores are getting rid of their old VHS selections because I'm such a big fan of old movies, but at the same time it usually means that I can get my hands on the old titles as they're being purged from the shelves.

Duck If you haven't already noticed, I've become a bit smitten with You Tube. As much as I love it though, I have to admit that the site is far from perfect. I can't tell you how many times I've clicked on a link to what I thought was going to be something cool, only to find out that it's been removed due to copyright infringement. What is odd though, is that most of the time I'm on You Tube I'm watching commercials. Not ads forced on me by the site, but actual commercials like Devo's Honda Scooter commercial, Jack White's Coca-Cola ad and Wes Anderson's awesome American Express ad.

Goose I'm officially bored of Myspace. I still use it to keep in touch with friends (at least the ones I've actually had face to face conversations with) but I no longer want to spend more than five minutes on it. It's become just another inbox for me. I check it everyday to see if anyone's written me or if I have have any new friends and then I get bored. I blame the kids of today, what with their stupid haircuts and their lousy emo music.

Friday, April 07, 2006

"So, Religion's For Fools, Eh?... Fools And Liberals!"

I just finished watching the Clone High DVD box set and I was reminded of just how great this show was. So I thought I'd write about it. So, here we are. If you didn't happen to catch Clone High during its brief run back in 2002, you really missed out. Allow me to offer a brief explanation for the uninitiated: The show centered around a high school populated by teenaged clones of historical and cultural figures. Imagine a show where a teenage Abe Lincoln (who's best friends are Joan of Arc and Ghandi) is in love with Cleopatra who is dating JFK, and they all go to high school together under the watchful gaze of their principal and his robot butler. Sounds confusing? It really wasn't. The show even had some great celebrity guest stars like Marilyn Manson, Tom Green and John Stamos.

Originally aired on MTV in the US and on Teletoon in Canada, the show was a send-up of teen dramas. Which is surprising when you consider just how much MTV tends to pander to teens rather than to point out their foibles and imperfections. MTV cancelled Clone High in the US without airing all the episodes due to protests over the show's portrayal of Ghandi. So, like a number of other great cartoons that came out around the same time (ie: Mission Hill, The Oblongs and Undergrads), Clone High came to an end long before its popularity began to fade. The DVD set was released here in Canada last year, though it remains unreleased in the US.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm Already Waiting In Line For My Tickets

Damn you Korean animation-house slave labourers, draw faster!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

"You're The Posse Of The Future."

Wow. What a powerful anti-piracy message. I can't believe piracy didn't stop dead in its tracks after this video came out. I mean, I never knew just how many nerds I was hurting. I'm gonna delete all my mp3s and video files and you should too.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Why Don't They Make Novelty St. Patty's Day Hats For People With Big Heads?

All my life, I've been cursed with a slightly larger than average head. This has drastically affected my ability to wear hats. Now, while my head isn't freakishly big (like, say, that of Sloth from The Goonies) it's just big enough that I can't wear any of those "one-size-fits-all" hats that you average headed people can wear. So really, it's no big deal, except when it comes to St. Patrick's Day. I love those green plastic St. Patrick's Day novelty hats, but alas, I can't wear them. They're just a wee bit too small for my head. So imagine my shame as the hats were being passed around the Black Pearl and I had to gingerly rest mine on the back of my head. Sullen in the fact that it was not a proper fit. Oh, cruel fate, why do you mock me?

Today is/was the day after St. Patrick's Day, which means that I'm a bit hung over. Being half-Irish (I wore green, did you?) I was obligated to have a few drinks last night. I stayed away from green beer though. You can dress up a glass of draught any way you like, but it's still cheap swill. And while my friends and I managed to bring our A game to the celebration, I couldn't help but be surprised by the lack of St. Patty's Day drunken shenanigans in my community. My town is notorious for its alcoholism and yet it was unsettlingly sober and quiet on the most Irish of holidays.

I haven't much else to say. This post was mostly intended as a cop out from doing a recap on the last week or so and as a peace offering to those who are concerned that my blog is turning into a DVD review column (this means you, Fairbanks). So, until I watch something Chuck Norris related, this will have to hold you all over. I'll throw in a few video links, because if CNN is any indication (and when have they been wrong?), everyone loves internet videos.

Most Honorable Video Links

First off, a compilation of the "famous" Trunk Monkey ads. When news shows do reports on internet videos (aka viral videos) the Trunk Monkey ads always seem to get mentioned. I guess demographics don't lie, people like monkeys.

Next up we have Volkswagen's Unpimp My Ride ads. A great series of ads featuring Peter Stormare, everyone's favorite nihilist from The Big Lebowski. Check out the three ads here, here and here.

Someone once asked, "what the hell is wrong with German people?" And while I don't know the answer to that question, I present you with a clip of Germany's least patient citizen. I can only hope that this kid never gets the opportunity to sire offspring.

And finally, a classic Super Mario Bros head to head competition. Two guys square off in front of a crowd to see who can beat the beloved Nintendo game in the least amount of time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"Get Me A Beer, Kid."

'I have a pretty strict criteria for seeing movies, they must star Chuck Norris.' - Stephen Colbert March 6th, 2006

I couldn't agree with you more Mr. Colbert.

So, it was in this spirit that I watched the Chuck Norris classic Lone Wolf McQuade the other night. A movie that would foreshadow Norris' own career and show us all that no other man could quite portray a Texas Ranger like our man Chuck.

1983 finds our bearded hero playing the role of J.J. McQuade, a man who keeps a pet wolf at home and wouldn't drink an imported beer if you paid him. A Texas Ranger who plays by his own rules but always gets the job done. But in spite of his solid record of kicking ass and taking names, McQuade's superiors don't care for his "lone wolf" style of Texas justice. Enter Kayo, McQuade's new hispanic junior partner. Together, the two begin to investigate a series of illegal arms deals. This leads the duo to encounter Rawley Wilkes (played by David Carradine of Kung Fu and Death Race 2000 fame) and Lola, his lady love.

In no time at all Norris steals Carradine's woman. All it took was a display of his ass kicking abilities (and really what woman could resist that?). So, in retaliation, Carradine sends Norris' daughter to the hospital (the oddly named Eastwood hospital, for those with keen movie watching skills). After that, it's all out war. First, Norris shakes down Carradine's business partner, who (I shit you not) is a midget in a wheelchair. Then, Norris, his hispanic partner and the only fed who isn't a candyass go on an all-out raid on Carradine's secret compound.

That pretty much sums up the plot, but no one really watches a Chuck Norris movie for the plot. Norris fans will wanna seek this movie out for the great fight sequence between Norris and Carradine. Also, in my favorite scene, Norris gets buried by bulldozers indside his nitro boosted Ram Charger. So, instead of slowly suffocating, he turns on the nitro, guns the engine and literally drives out of the ground. A feat that only Chuck Norris could accomplish. Also worth noting is that the music in this movie is all over the map, at times it sounds like an Ennio Morricone spaghetti western score, while at other times it sounds like music from The A-Team.

So, if you can find yourself a copy of Lone Wolf McQuade, check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Best Song I Heard This Week

I heard one of the greatest songs ever the other day. It's Franz Ferdinand doing a cover of the Gwen Stefani track "What You Waiting For?" It starts off in the traditional Franz Ferdinand post-punk fashion as they plod through Stefani's lame lyrics. But the best part, which elevates the track from a quirky cover to a brilliant send-up, is during the build up when the forgettable pop tripe suddenly becomes Billy Idol's "White Wedding." Genius. You can download the song here (scroll down, way down). I highly recommend it.

I guess the only other thing worth mentioning is that the good folks at Exclaim! published some comments I sent in regarding Wolf Parade's debut album. My comments are among those featured in the February issue of the publication as part of results from their 2005 Readers Poll. This marks the fourth time that my comments have been published by Exclaim!. If you can't get to your nearest record store to pick up the issue, you can see my comments by clicking on the following link and scrolling down to the section regarding Wolf Parade's album (my comments are 8th in that section).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Welcome To My World."

There are a lot of things that have gained popularity over the last few years due to the boom in internet culture, two such examples would have to be: mullets and Chuck Norris. Thankfully in 1991, perhaps anticipating their place in culture-to-come, these two things met in a little movie called The Hitman.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "how did I manage to miss such a culturally significant movie like The Hitman?" To which I would have to reply, "I don't know, I just don't know." Lucky for you though, I just finished watching it, so I can at least fill you in on some of what you've missed.

Our story begins, like many action movies, on the loading docks. Our hero Chuck Norris and his partner are on a stakeout, looking for suspicious activity. During their investigation a drug smuggling operation is discovered, some guys get their asses kicked (courtesy of Mr. Norris) and our hero is betrayed by his partner. Later, at the hospital, our hero is recuperating after multiple life-saving operations. Since, as we all know, Chuck Norris cannot be killed, not even after being shot multiple times, then falling out of a building on to a station wagon. Chuck Norris' boss decides that as far as the public is concerned, our hero died in the line of duty.

Flash forward three years to the bustling metropolis of Seattle. We're introduced to the crime syndicate run by one Marco Luganni (played by Al Waxman, which is the first clue among many that tells us that this movie was filmed primarily in Canada). After some tough guy back-and-forth, we learn that Luganni's new number-one-guy is Chuck Norris. That's right kids, after survivng a near fatal shooting, it only took Chuck three years to become second in command of one of the west coast's biggest crime families. But don't worry kids, Chuck didn't go bad, our mulleted man-of-action is actually deep undercover trying to put an end to Luganni's gang of Italian-American stereotypes, their French Canadian competition (who are from Vancouver), and a group of Iranians who are somehow in the middle of everything.

I don't want to give everything away, but there's plenty of action, a bizarre love interest, a few roundhouse kicks and a tender subplot wherein Chuck helps an underprivileged kid stand up to the neighborhood bullies who chase him home from school everyday. Action, romance, and racial sensitivity, all of which you would expect from a Chuck Norris movie.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I Almost Forgot To Give This Post A Title

First things first, I was watching The Colbert Report last night and Stephen Colbert totally referred to C.H.U.D., one of my all-time favorite movies. It was during the threatdown, in a story about terrorists tunneling out of prison, a fiendish criminal scheme that could only have been orchestrated by the C.H.U.D.s. Being such a big fan of the 1984 movie, I was impressed that Colbert would even be familiar with C.H.U.D., but I was even more impressed when the man took it a step further by letting all the folks at home know just what the acronym stood for.


If I had a hat, it would be off to you, Mr. Colbert.

So, this past Friday I was in another poker tournament at the local kick-and-punch. I did a bit better this time, coming 15th (or so) out of 70. I'll be playing again this coming Friday and I hope to do even better. I'm a little worried though, as much as I like playing at these tournaments, I don't wanna become one of those aging, drunken assholes that I have to play with. Those guys seriously piss me off.

Clinic has a new single out and it's available as a free download on their website. I'll be the first to admit that Clinic isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea, I can't say I've ever really known anyone else who was into them. But John Peel thought they were cool, they toured with Radiohead, and Internal Wrangler has to be one of the best albums I've heard in the last five years. So, if your taste in music borders on the eclectic side of indie bands, you might wanna check them out.

And finally, for you rockers out there, The Raconteurs (Jack White's new band) have a single coming out soon. You can listen to the tunes on their very cool and very retro website or you can proabably still download them from here.

Good Time Super Happy Go Go Links

First off, we have a digital short from SNL, this one is a mock music video concerning the Young Chuck Norris. It's not as funny as the Lazy Sunday clip, but anything Chuck Norris related deserves a look.

Night of the Living Dead in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies. It's pretty self-explanatory but it's also pretty darn funny. If you check out the site you'll see that the 30 Second Bunnies re-enact lots of movies, this just happens to be their newest (and my personal favorite).

Here is another live interpretation of a classic Nintendo Game. This time it's a band doing the music to Contra. They're playing it live with a big screen showing the game in progress behind them. It's pretty cool stuff.

Remember those "Whassup" commercial parodies where they dubbed the commercial over cartoon characters and whatnot? No? Well, now you're at least up to speed. Here we have a clip similar in concept to those older parodies, except this has dialogue from the movie Office Space over clips of the Justice League.

Here is a clip of a monkey washing a cat in a sink. No further explanation necessary.

And finally, a cool commercial from the Super Bowl featuring MacGyver. It kills me that this commercial is so cool. But who doesn't love MacGyver? Seriously, who?

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Bombs Ready, Buddy!"

Part I - The South Park Movie

I just finished watching the South Park movie again, since I finally broke down and picked it up on DVD. That Trey Parker is a genius. I must have seen this movie at least three dozen times since it came out back in '99, but even today, it still makes me laugh. I used to have a VHS copy that I watched religiously, but I lent it out, never to see it again (ahem, Jason Frasier). But thanks to a gift certificate and a trip to one of my most hated of places, Bridgewater, I made the leap to DVD. And, boy howdy, I'm glad I did.

Part II - Poker

I seriously love Poker. I don't know if I've mentioned this enough in the past, but I've become quite the fan of playing poker. I recently played in a Texas Hold 'Em tournament at the local Dooly's (aka Chester's kick-and-punch). And while I didn't win (not even close), I still managed to have a pretty good time. Now, for the most part, I found the people at this tournament to be a little too into playing poker. But, thankfully, most of the guys from my regular game were there. Since I was among the first ten players (out of sixty) to be eliminated from the tournament I got to play for a while at the loser's table. Some might see shame in that, but it was actually more fun playing at the losers table than it was playing in the actual tournament. So until the semi-legality of playing poker at a pool hall becomes a real issue, it looks as though the tournament is going to become a regular thing. And you can bet I'll be there.

Part III - Myspace

I'm sure many of you out there who are at least somewhat internet savvy have already heard of the online phenomena that is Myspace. So, I hate to admit it, but I too have joined the ranks of the Myspacers. I'll be honest though, I still haven't really figured out what the whole point of Myspace is. By now I've spent a fair bit of time trying to increase my "friend" count and I've tried to get my personal info on there so people know that people know that I'm really into Devo. Hell, I've even got it set up so my page plays "Cars" by Gary Numan whenever you go on it. But, it's almost like I've hit a wall or something. I don't know what to do next. The same thing happened to me when I first played The Sims, it was great at first and I was amazed at just how much you could do, but after a while I just kinda got bored with all the possibilities.

Another part of having a Myspace page is keeping a blog, but I'm already too commited to this blog to simply switch over. I couldn't do that to all my faithful readers. No, that would be wrong. So, no matter how cool it makes me feel that I've got David Byrne and Wolf Parade among my Myspace friends, fear not proud reader, I shall not abandon you.

Part IV - Arctic Monkeys

If you havent heard it already, I urge you to listen to a newish song by the band Artic Monkeys called "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor." The band is from the UK and I've come to enjoy this song, despite the fact that a lot of the band's other material is along the lines of The Libertines. Why must all young British rockers think they need to sound like Pete Doherty, who for the most part is little more than a poor man's Keith Richards?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pitfalls Of The Democratic Process

For the record: I didn't vote conservative.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

"Nobody Likes Reality Anymore."

I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya (to quote the great Jim Anchower), but seeing as it's an unseasonably warm day here on the South Shore, I thought I should update the old blog.

I've been playing a lot of poker lately. Seems everyone in town plays Texas Hold 'Em these days. The local Dooly's is even having a poker tournament next week. I'm not sure if I'll enter the tournament, even if it is semi-legal. I guess it should be said that, even though I consider myself a decent poker player, I've won maybe $6 in the last two or three games that I've played.

I watched *batteries not included last night. If you don't remember this movie, imagine it as a cross between Short Circuit and Cocoon, but without Steve Guttenberg. It's a story of an elderly couple and some bohemian types trying to save their run down apartment building form being demolished by greedy land developers, a plot used many times in the '80s. But for our "heros," salvation comes in the form of little UFO-type robots who appear out of nowhere for no particular reason. You can easily fill in the rest of the blanks without thinking too hard. I remember liking this movie when I was a kid. Though, I have to say that the special effects have not held up all that well over the last 19 or 20 years.

Happy Happy Fun Links

First up is a video that has to be seen to be believed, William Shatner singing Elton John's "Rocket Man" at a '70s Sci-Fi awards ceremony. I'm pretty sure Family Guy has done a parody of this before, with Stewie doing Shatner's part. Now, it's kind of a long clip, but stick with it.

Next up is the most offensive South Park clip I have ever seen. I guess this is from the Aristocrats movie, which is essentially famous comedian after famous comedian telling their own version of this unbelievably obscene joke.

Thirdly, we have some people with too much time on their hands doing a Pac-Man impersonation. This seems to be going on at a University/College campus and only a fraction of the students seem to find it funny at all. Damn uppity intellectual types.

This one has to be my favorite video from 2005. It's a SNL short called "Lazy Sunday." Probably the funniest thing I've seen on SNL since Will Ferrell left. I guess it caused quite an internet buzz after it aired. There were bootleg t-shirts out and I even saw it mentioned on CNN once.

This one seems to be part of a growing trend, doing real life impersonations of classic Nintendo games. This time it's Punch Out. I don't know who would do this or why, but it's pretty funny and very accurate. Recommended for anyone who's played the game or watched their friends play it for hours on end.

And finally the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny. This one kind of reminded me of Grand Buffet, a mediocre white boy rap group I saw open for Wesley Willis once. All in all, this video is mostly stupid but there is a moment about two-thirds of the way through that is sheer brilliance. So, if you're gonna watch it, stick with it until the end.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Second Worst Club Sandwich I've Ever Had

I went into Halifax yesterday with some friends. By the end of the day I had been dragged from one end of Mic Mac Mall to the other. I say dragged because I really didn't have any kind of shopping agenda while I was there. I felt like I was a kid again because all my friends wanted to go into various clothing stores, while all I wanted to do was look for music and DVDs. I kinda drew the line when some of them went into American Eagle, so I made a quick bee line for Music World, which was thankfully only a few feet away. I picked up the new Wolf Parade CD and Gremlins and Orca: The Killer Whale on DVD.

After all the shopping we, unfortunately, went to East Side Mario's for dinner. I had never been to East Side Mario's before and if I never go again I won't be too disappointed. Our waiter wasn't all that great, but I probably wouldn't have a lot of pride in my job if I worked at a crappy chain restaurant either. I started with the nachos which were actually quite good. About halfway through I did have to get conservative with my salsa and sour cream usage but other than that the nachos got an ethusiastic thumbs up from me. But then sometime later they brought my entrée, a Tuscan turkey club sandwich. Possibly the second worst club sandwich I have ever eaten, a sentiment I expressed quite openly and loudly while eating it. Now, I say second worst club sandwich only because I have yet to have eaten a club sandwich that caused me to be violently ill and the top spot on the list of all-time worst club sandwiches is reserved for just such a sandwich.

Now, if after reading all of this you get the impression I had a lousy time in Halifax, I should clarify that this was not the case. I'm just more of the type to emphasize the negative. The friends I went with are a great group of people. Their company more than makes up for lousy club sandwiches and less than stellar shopping trips.

On the way home from Halifax we stopped at Chapters and I managed to find a copy of Fight Club that didn't have Edward Norton's face on the cover. While I love the movie, I hate it when a book cover is plastered with actors faces and scenes from the film adaptation. The worst example of this has to be when they slap the movie poster from Blade Runner on the cover of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? While I am a fan of both, the movie has so little to do with the book, the association seems rather pointless.

And in true Chester fashion, a night cannot really be complete without having a few drinks. So we picked up some booze at the NSLC boutique in Bayer's Lake before heading back to town. We ended up playing poker for a few hours and I left the table the big winner with $20 in my pocket. That made me feel a bit better for dropping money on the lousy meal.

Finally, as a side note, my good friend Jared, who has been been living in Houston lately, tells me that Richard Roundtree (the original Shaft) frequently eats at the restaurant where he works. And seeing as Shaft's Big Score! is, in my opinion, the best blaxploitation movie there is, I'm hoping he's gonna get me an autograph.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

"Yippee-ki-yay, Motherfucker."

It's been almost three weeks since my last post, so I'm going to try and recap everything that has happened as best as I can.

Part I - Christmas in Chester
It was a good Christmas this year at the old family homestead. My parents were there and my sister and her husband flew in from Ontario. To get myself in the Christmas spirit this year I tried to watch as many movies that were somewhat Christmas oriented. This meant watching the Die Hard trilogy, Elf and Scrooged. But for good measure, my father and I watched The Godfather Part II.

As far as gifts went, I made out pretty good this year: a new stereo, some CDs, some DVDs, and a Trailer Park Boys t-shirt. I also got some Christmas cash which I parlayed into some choice DVDs during all the Boxing Week madness sales. Nothing says tidings of comfort and joy quite like fighting your way through the crowds at Wal-Mart on Dec. 27th.

I managed to see my friends a lot over Christmas, which was nice. There were a few house parties and trips to the local tavern. One interesting thing that happened to me actually occured on the night of the 25th. I met up with some friends for a few drinks, a walk and some heavy conversation. It was on our way home that we were passed in the street by a local motorist. As the driver passed us, they leaned out their window and yelled, "Pricks!" I had to laugh. It was Christmas day's night (I think you know what I mean by that) and I got called a prick from someone in a passing car. Baby Jesus would be so proud.

Part II - New Year's in Moncton
All the hubbub this year indicated that everyone here in town was going to take it easy on New Year's Eve so they go all out on Levy Day (aka New Year's Day). So, when I got wind that some of my New Brunswick peeps were getting together in Moncton, I thought, "why the hell not." It was a fun time, mostly because I got see some friends that I haven't seen in almost six months.

We ended up going to a party in the suburbs. Our hosts were a young, yuppie-ish married couple. It was kinda weird because I only knew the people I had gone to the party with. Thankfully, my friends know how to have a good time, even in situations where we're the odd ones out. The big countdown culminated with two of my friends having a champagne fight on the balcony. Good times.

But what's a trip to Moncton without shopping? I managed to pick up a few more sweet DVDs, some used books, some Star Wars Pez dispensers, and some cool records courtesy of Spin-It Records. What records, you say? Well, I'll tell you:

Elvis Costello - King of America (LP)
Eric's Trip - Julie And The Porthole To Dimentia (7")
Glenn Danzig - Who Killed Marilyn? (7")
Sex Pistols - Regular S.F. Ippies & Assorted Longhairs (7")
Talking Heads - Blind (12" Single)

Part III - Whitey
I've had a few people ask me about Whitey lately, so I thought I'd bring you all up to speed. In the last few months, Whitey has become a regular fixture around here. He comes to the house at least twice a day for food and scratching. My father feeds him breakfast every morning and I feed him again around dinner time. Whitey lets us pet him and comes willingly into the house when we let him (something that drives my mother crazy).

We recently learned that Whitey is at least seven or eight years old. Whitey's real name was Snowball and he belonged to a family living not far from my parent's house. It would seem that Whitey and the family came to be at odds over the years and now they have kicked him (or her, we still don't know) out of their home. We suspect Whitey was abused by his previous owners. Thankfully, Whitey has warmed up to my family and we continue to show him more attention and affection than your average stray/disowned pet would likely receive.

Part IV - How to become a Minor Media Celebrity in your own Mind
Not long ago, I briefly mentioned that I was published in the local paper. It was a letter to the editor in regards to a poorly written article on music downloading. I had to say that I was quite pleased when my letter got published. I even felt like a minor media celebrity after people started asking me about the letter.

It was two weeks later when my letter received a response in the same letter to the editor section. My responder didn't understand the point of my letter and chose to suggest that I was simply an aging headbanger who was upset that someone had wronged Metallica (whom, the writer suggested, must be my favorite band). For the record, I would like to state that I am not now nor have I ever been a Metallica fan.

After reading the response letter I went through a variety of emotions. I was shocked, I was pissed, I was curious, I was offended, I was amused, I felt a little gassy, and finally I considered revenge. Not violent revenge, but literary revenge. I must have written at least three drafts of my response letter before I decided to just let it go. I guess in the end, my petty squabbling with bad teenage writers at the Chester Clipper had to stop somewhere. I decided to be the bigger man and drop the whole thing. It was just as I suggested with the original title of my letter, kids say the darndest things.