The Universe and Me

Monday, August 28, 2006

Here comes the tidal wave

Movie: Poseidon. Best to say right away that I did enjoy this. There was a lot of action and that action was sure fast-paced. The cast barely had time to countdown to one before that rogue wave struck. However…the characters were two dimensional, underdeveloped and sometimes just plain stereotypes. So if you’re looking for a movie with action but no depth, look here. Surprising, I learned something. If you’re a chauvinistic, obnoxious creep with people who want to help you reach safety, that is NOT the time to criticize and belittle them. Because neither they nor the audience will care if you plummet to a fiery death. In fact, the audience most likely will feel like cheering. I felt sorry for Six Feet Under’s Rico, but he sure did make the most of his limited screen time. For some unknown reason the DVD skipped during the stowaway’s mishap, so I never knew what happened to her. But since I didn’t care about her character, it didn’t much matter. Strange that they would briefly mention things like Russell being the mayor of New York and that it didn’t go well, but they never said why. The mother not being able to keep track of her wandering son in such a life-threatening situation didn’t make sense either. Just as I was becoming sick of the repetitious obstacles (enter a room filling up with water, find way out, enter another room filling up with water, find way out, repeat and repeat) the movie ended. So I could end my dorky review with the ringing endorsement “mercifully short.” But I’d also like to say that the original Poseidon Adventure was so much better for the main reason that there was excellent character development. I saw it as a youngster and found it so intense and disturbing that I remember being unable to sleep all night afterwards. After this Poseidon, I slept with no problem.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Raindrops keep falling

When people ask me what my all-time favourite movie is and I say Brazil, they laugh. A curious reaction. Although I find the ending too violent, it’s the concepts that I find intriguing and sometimes familiar (in a less dramatic way) to my life. Being: the governmental controls and media propaganda, the bureaucratic red tape and endless paperwork, how society is driven by technology filled with glitches, office politics and the dehumanization of office workers, the dehumanization of everyone, ineptitude at all levels, paranoia, an over importance of appearances. These are the aspects of the movie that often make me proclaim (especially when something breaks down at my apartment and I begin to fear what’s in the pipes and behind the walls) “I’m living in Brazil!”

My second favourite movie of all time is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. At surface glance, I’d guess it’s the witty banter between the two characters, bringing their characters depth in endless chase scenes. But there’s more to it than the jokes. There’s the cinematography of the gorgeous Western landscapes. There’s the undeniable handsomeness of Newman and Redford. There’s the hats. But also there’s a camaraderie and friendship the screenplay gives the characters that is something I think most of us are looking for in life, whether it be through friends or spouses. I don’t remember when I first saw this movie, but I make a point of watching it every few years and since I was a kid, have quoted various lines from it. Here are some that I especially appreciate:

Every day you get older, that’s a law.
Like I’ve been telling you, over the hill.
What’s Bolivia?
When I say Bolivia, you just think California.
You just keep thinking Butch, that’s what you’re good at.
Boy, I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.
If I’m dead, kill him. –Love to.
I always thought I’d grow up to be a hero. –Well, it’s too late now.
Meet the future!
Don’t ever hit your mother with a shovel. It leaves a dull impression on her mind.
We got no time for this.
Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
What’s the matter with those guys?
I think we lost ‘em. Do you think we lost ‘em? –No. –Neither do I.
I don’t know where we’ve been and I’ve just been there.
You really think so? – I will if you will.
I couldn’t do that. Could you do that? How can they do that? Who are those guys?
They could surrender to us, but I wouldn’t count on it.
The next time I say let’s go someplace like Bolivia, let’s go someplace like Bolivia. –Next time!
I have to and I’m not gonna.
I can’t swim. –Are you crazy? The fall’ll probably kill you.
You get a lot more for your money in Bolivia. – What could they have that you could want to buy?
This might be the garden spot of the whole country. People might travel for hundreds of miles just to see this spot where we’re standing now.
A few dark clouds appear on your horizon, you just go all to pieces, don’t you?
I’m better when I move.
Morons! I’ve got morons on my team.
That’s what happens when you live 10 years alone in Bolivia, you get colourful.
In my opinion, there are snakes in the jungle.
This place gets no more of my business.
Is that what you call giving cover?
I figured secretly you wanted to know, so I told you.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Vinstri, hægri

When my niece (who is today heading off to college!) mentioned that they drive on the left in Japan, I thought about how Sweden used to, but decided one day to change. They were the last mainland European nation to do so and finally voted in favour of it because most of the cars built in Sweden were built for right-hand driving and because the countries near them already drove on the right. On back roads, with no clear borders, there wasn’t any way to know when you were entering Norway and Finland and should change sides. The Swedish parliament passed the conversion law in 1963 but it didn’t take effect until 3 September 1967, a Sunday, at 5 a.m. So the people were well prepared. A 30+ page booklet was distributed to every household explaining right side driving. All traffic was prohibited at least four hours (and in some cities up to 48 hours) before and one hour after the conversion. Soldiers helped rearrange the traffic signs. When the roads were opened, a very low speed limit was applied so accidents were lesser than normal. The day was called H-day or "Right Day” or “Dagen H” - the H stands for Högertrafik, Swedish for "right-hand traffic". Not to be left out, Iceland switched from the left side to right side driving on Sunday 26 May 1968.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Jerusalem boogie

Well knock me over with a flower. You Tube has a 26+ minute video (including a 3 minute intro speech) of the old Genesis song "Supper's Ready" from a 1973 live performance. One of the comments says it's from a DVD. There's a DVD listed here at CD Universe. I'll have to look into it & see if it's the right one and something I must have.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Eitthvað kúl að segja

The lead singer from Icelandic pop band Á Móti Sól, Magni Ásgeirsson, is currently taking part in America’s television contest Rock Star : Supernova. I’ve never watched it and can’t imagine I will watch however episodes remain. Perhaps if Magni had been the only contenstant. It’s interesting to read around the Internet how people who’ve only heard him sing rock songs on this show find it strange to hear him sing pop song with AMS because for me, it’s the other way around, since I’ve heard AMS songs for years. And if you’d like to, you can visit their home page and click on the drop down list beneath Tóndæmi for some samples of their many songs. There are also a few mp3's listed in Ýmis lög under Tóndæmi and also Auka lög beneath Textarnir. They used to have an Icelandic version of “O Holy Night”on their site, but I haven’t seen it there in some time. Anyway, good luck to Magni in America. To see some videos from AMS, visit You Tube There you’ll find at least three: Keyrðu mig heim (Drive me home), Eitthvað er í loftinu (Something in the air) and Ég er til. The AMS song I like best is the ballad “Á þig.” It’s lyrics and melody mix in a circular way that my mind and ears find very pleasant. Here are the lyrics:

á þig

Um leið og þú komst inn var ég viss um að þú værir þessi
Eina sem ég vildi - þú minntir mig á Hildi
Svo snerirðu þér við og ég sá rassinn, ég sá lærin
ég sá vinstri, hægri ha ha vinstri, hægri

Ég reynd´að hugs´upp eitthvað kúl að segja
Flotta línu flottan frasa en datt bar´ekkert merkilegt í hug

Ég fikraði mig nær þér, fjær þér, nær þér, nær þér
og spurði þig að nafni
Þú hvíslaðir hættu, farðu, þegiðu og sestu
og hætt´að abbast upp á mig

Ég gaf mig ekki strax ég gat ekki hugsað mér að labba burt með
báðar hendur tómar það minnti mig á Ómar
Svo sneri ég mér við, ég settist upp og settist niður
Ég hélt áfram að reyna og sneri mér að þér

Ég reynd´að hugs´upp eitthvað kúl að segja
Flotta línu flottan frasa en datt bar´ekkert merkilegt í hug

Ég fikraði mig nær þér, fjær þér, nær þér, nær þér
og spurði þig að nafni
Þú hvíslaðir hættu, farðu, þegiðu og sestu
og hætt´að abbast upp á mig

Oooooo… æ mig langar upp á þig
þú veist að það er ekkert illa meint
Þó mig langi upp á þig

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Somewhere beyond the sea

What non-incidental song from Lost are you?

La Mer by Charles Trenet

You're from the French version of "the cartoon about fish." Your lyrics are written all over Rousseau's maps and you close out Whatever the Case May Be when Shannon sings you to Sayid.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Do we need 'em? : centipedes

My niece has recently returned from her trip to Japan where they have some large bugs, she says. I’m curious to find out if they’re the same bugs we have here, but only on a larger scale (and if so, why are they so large over there? Does it have something to do with the Godzilla phenomenon?) or different bugs completely. We’d heard rumours there were mega sized centipedes in Japan which made me wonder what purpose those wiggly creatures could possibly serve. There are close to 3,000 different species of centipedes. Pity the poor soul who had to count. Most of them are less than an inch long. They eat larvae, slugs, snails, worms, woodlice, small beetles (lookout Ringo!) and other centipedes. In turn, they provide food for birds, ants, frogs, lizards and small rodents. These little ones sound harmless. It’s when they become up to a foot long and an inch wide that I have a problem with them. These giants eat flies, frogs, snakes, lizards, even the mice and birds that are supposed to eat them. And they can bite humans. A centipede’s first pair of legs acts as fangs that contain poison to ferociously sting their prey. So this brought to my mind the old Genesis song Get ‘em Out by Friday where to fit more people in apartment complexes, the government places a “four foot restriction on humanoid height.” I think we should keep the centipedes but only the small ones.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Svona er sumarið 2006

Over in Iceland (where the temperature is 55 instead of feels like the 100s here in most of the States) they’ve released the annual music CD always titled Svona er Sumarið. I’d have chosen probably half the songs they did. And added some by Hraun, Signia, The Frummenn, KK, Hafdis Huld as well as Jet Black Joe’s “Full Circle” and Jeff Who’s “Barfly” for sure. Even though the last Dikta and Ampop CDs were released in 2005, I’m not sure they should have been slighted, either. Anyway, here’s the list and links to where you can find some information on the bands, if not videos of the songs.

01 Þessa nótt - Í svörtum fötum
02 Losing a Friend - Nylon or their Myspace page. Girl pop band. Video has some nice scenery
03 Farin burt - Snorri
04 Is it Love? - Dr Mister & Mr Handsome - electronica - not my thing. Song here
05 Á röltinu í Reykjavík- Birgitta Haukdal & Stuðmenn. Always fun.
06 Farinn - Friðrik Ómar. Song sample.
07 Sá eini sanni (úr Footloose) - Halla Vilhjálmsdóttir
08 Dirty Mutha - Steel Lord - Techno music.
09 Here We Are - Hera - Don't even get me started on this woman
10 Pink Sky - Fabúla. Song sample.
11 Týndur - Ingó (is this the same guy as the link? If so, his music sounds interesting.)
12 Betra en gott - Greifarnir
13 Always On My Mind - Bríet Sunna. Eek, remake of the Willy Nelson song. I’ve not changed my opinion that covers are unnecessary.
14 Fegurðargenið er fundið - Bermuda. Click on Skrár and then Hlusta which will bring up the song to play.
15 Á leiðinni heim - Buttercup
16 Like You - Vax. And the song's Video
17 Sólin skín - Kung fú. And Video. Come out in the sunshine with me!
18 Heilræðavísur - Start
19 Aldrei - Karma
20 Frjáls - Spútnik. Song sample
21 Okkar leið - Out Loud

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On the dark side

Movie: The Big White. A dark/black/macabre comedy possibly meant to be a parody or homage to Fargo. I thought, if parody was what they were going for, it should have been set somewhere sweltering (like my apartment today, as temperatures here are in the mid 90s) and have the characters desperate for a transfer to, say, Iceland. Speaking of Iceland, as I do, the juxtaposition of snow and blue lighting reminded me of the atmosphere of Noi. Though the movie takes place in Alaska, it was filmed in Winnipeg. Having never heard of it before, I had no expectations, and found myself often amused. Not a great movie, but still good, mostly due to the acting talents of Giovanni Ribisi (looking extremely pale), Holly Hunter (who may have Tourette’s Syndrome, or she may have only read about it in a magazine) and Robin Williams. I didn’t understand Williams’ brother’s character (Woody Harrelson, being maniacal) or his motivation, other than being upset that Williams was trying to collect insurance money for him when he wasn’t dead. Seems a poor reason for a vicious beating, etc. The sound on the DVD wasn’t good and blast it all, the thing wasn’t subtitled, so I may have missed some important lines. DVD creators need to keep in mind I live on a main drag in town and the traffic noise can drown out anyone. Loved the casserole from the dumb or dumber stumblebum kidnapper and everything Hunter did was exceptional. Lot of language not for young ears.