The Universe and Me

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Held in kryptonite

Movie: Superman Returns. A fun action adventure film that was well done and entertaining. Since I wasn’t expecting an Oscar contender and therefore wasn’t disappointed, I’ll be silly and ask a couple questions my inquiring mind wants to know.
1) Does Clark Kent always wear his Superman suit under his clothes? And if so, wouldn’t the cape be somewhat cumbersome and humpback-forming? Or does he carry that in a pocket and attach it to his collar just prior to takeoff?
2) What in the world is Lois Lane doing sneaking cigarettes on the sly when she has a highly fragile, seemingly allergic to everything, asthmatic child? Even if she’s smoking outside, the smoke is going to cling to her clothes and hair and that poor kid’s gonna have a wheezing attack, sure as Superman can fly. Get on the patch honey! And word to Superman: you might want to look into gaining custody if Lois is going to be so irresponsible of a mother.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Reunited and it sounds so good

Hope it's okay to lift these pictures. Two Fridays ago, the Sugarcubes performed their reunion concert to honour the 20th anniversary of the release of their first song. From all reports, the band sounds exactly like they did the last time they played together 14 years ago: Fantastic! Since there was a lot of filming going on (and projected onto screens behind the band),I have hopes that someday (please all you kind people at Smekkleysa I'm beggin' ya!) a DVD of the hour and ten minute concert will be released. Here's the setlist:
01 Traitor (Icelandic)
02 Leash Called Love
03 Deus (Icelandic)
04 Water (Icelandic)
05 Bee (Icelandic)
06 Planet
07 Shoot Him (Icelandic)
08 Walkabout
09 Mama
10 Pump (Icelandic)
11 Regina (Icelandic)
12 A Day Called Zero
13 Ammæli
14 Coldsweat
15 Blue Eyed Pop
16 Motorcrash
17 Delicious Demon
18 Hit
19 F'ing in Rhythm & Sorrow
20 Luftgítar (with Magga out from behind the keyboards, dancing with Björk, special guest Johnny Triumph on vocals and band members' sons Hrafnkell Flóki and Örnólfur Eldon playing real guitars)
You can watch a lot of snippets at You Tube.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Start walkin'

Movie: Kinky Boots. British film about a small shoe manufacturing company in a small town that’s in dire financial troubles due to a changing market. When the owner’s son takes over and is overwhelmed, a worker about to be made redundant spouts out at him that he needs to change with the times. Because it’s a movie, he happens upon a cross dresser/performer and sees the difficulty in a man trying to fit into and wear women’s boots and realizes there’s his new niche market. The film was cute and entertaining and fun. The title made me think back to when we were kids and lived in the town next door. One of my social butterfly sister’s friends lived nearby, so we sometimes saw him around. His favourite expression was “nifty boots.” Much in the same way kids today say “cool” or the hippies in the sixties used “far out,” if he thought anything “neato,” including, I think, some boots my sister actually did wear, he said “nifty boots.” Funny how some things you never forget.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The sky is falling

Movie: An Inconvenient Truth. Way back in the other century, when I was young, we used to have winters where the snow would be over our heads for months. I remember riding up to school and seeing drifts higher than the school bus. Now our winters here in the northeast consist of a two or three snowstorms with maybe a couple feet of accumulation. So I don’t need to be convinced there’s global warming happening. Who or what is to blame is a debatable question. This may be merely a cyclical thing that will right itself or man’s carbon emissions may be destroying the earth. Whatever you believe, you can find out how much carbon you personally emit at either Carbon Counter or the movie’s Carbon Calculator. My own rate is much lower than the average because I don’t see the need to drive an immense SUV and it’s been far too long since I’ve been lucky enough to fly anywhere. Otherwise, the PowerPoint presentation is thought provoking but the documentary sometimes veers off into personal Gore territory which seemed like unnecessary tangents and some sour grapes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Movie: The Da Vinci Code. Maybe I’m just not Fundie enough, but I don’t see the problem with postulating that Christ may have been married. It wouldn’t make Him any less divine in my mind. This movie makes a point of pointing out several times “what really matters is what you believe.” So taking it, and the book, seriously seems misguided. I read the book shortly after it was published and found the first half almost breathtakingly exciting and interesting. The second half couldn’t keep up that pace, but it was still very entertaining. The movie seemed to do the opposite. The first half drags. The clues and codes seem forced. They don’t flow naturally in the story. The Teabing character is clumsily introduced, as in, “Hey! I just remembered, I know this Brit living in France who’s an expert on the Grail. Let’s drop in on him!” Then Teabing, who is the most interesting character in the book, is stuck with what seems like ten or fifteen minutes of exposition that no special effects could help. After that it does pick up and start to move quicker, but by then it was tough to care. It seemed like the movie was reigned in the entire time and I can’t help wondering what it would have been like had it been allowed to take off.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lost : I do

Lost. 3.6. We learn via the flashbacks that Kate was ironically married to a policeman. But the domesticity of taco night didn’t suit her. Yeah, me either. It’s been established in seasons past that Kate is a runner. Give her the opportunity and she’ll bolt every time. The island, it seems, is testing that tendency. Without the marshal to chase her, is it still as much fun, or necessary? And what would be a good enough reason for her to stay? Love? Her husband would probably say not so much. A baby? She seemed rather relieved when she told her husband the EPT test was negative. Relieved she didn’t have to stay and live normally and think about someone else for once.

Locke hopes Eko died for a reason. And he really hopes to one day find out what the reason might be. While burying Eko, he notices words on the prayer stick urging him to look north. Perhaps that’s the direction of the second island. Ben’s hair is starting to go all Einstein. The round glasses give him a Himmler look, which is even scarier. Jack refuses to do the surgery based on the hope of release, even though it seems Ben arranged for Michael and Walt to go home. Even when he’s told The Others will kill Sawyer, he still refuses. Wow, he really hates Sawyer. There’s a compound breach. Alex has escaped, which makes us ask why she was being held captive. She’s quickly captured but has the chance to tell Kate they’re going to kill Sawyer like they killed her boyfriend, probably Carl.

Kate climbs out of her cage and releases Sawyer from his but he tells her there’s no place to go since they’re on the second island. Why he thinks they couldn’t hide or even swim to the other island (it didn’t look that far away) remains a mystery. Jack hears someone on the intercom and suddenly the door is open. He discovers the monitor room and a convenient gun closet. As he’s noticing Sawyer and Kate entangled on one monitor, Ben appears behind him, saying he’s surprised Kate didn’t go for Jack instead. Oh please. Most girls go for the “bad boys” every time. Read some psychology, man.

So Jack decides to do the surgery after all. Why, because he’s jealous? That didn’t seem like a plausible enough reason. And sure enough it wasn’t. During the surgery, Jack cuts into Ben’s kidney sack. He’ll bleed to death in an hour. This gives Kate an hour head start and she really should use the time to run, even if she can only save herself. Or tell Jack they’re on a second island and feel escape is impossible. One thing we do learn is that The Others truly care about Ben’s welfare, which means Juliet was lying. Before surgery, Ben wonders if Alex asked about him. So there must be a reason why he’d expect her to. Best line: Sawyer’s “And how was your day, honey?” Not that good. Next: Desmond freaks about his newfound superpowers, but not until February.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Please don't hate her

Lay Low is the stage name of musician Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir. Apparently at the urging of a friend earlier this year, she uploaded a couple of her songs to her myspace page and it would seem didn't have to do anything else. Cod Music heard her and contacted her and now she already has her first CD out. It's a mix of folk and blues. Folk music with bluesy singing. Johnny Cash meets Eartha Kitt. Check out her ""Please Don't Hate Me" video at You Tube and her site for a few more songs.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Love a Parade

I will wake up and write about some Icelandic musicians I’ve been meaning to. First up is a band named Shadow Parade. Originally from Akureyri, now based in Reykjavík. They started as an electronic duo of Beggi Dan & Jón Gunnar, then moved to more traditional instruments and added brothers Andri Magnusson and Magnús Örn Magnusson on bass and drums. Later Örn Eldjárn on guitar and Bjarni Margeirsson on keyboards completed the band. Their music is described as “gritty folk rock,” “a blend of midnight melodies, bittersweet melancholy and sweeping romanticism.” Radio 2 has been playing their “Dead Man’s Hand” song, a very Leaves-esque staggering work of art. Their first CD, titled Dubious Intentions, seems to be due for Icelandic release November 18. If any American record companies would like to pick it up and sell it over here, I’d be appreciative.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Lost : The Cost of Living

Lost. 3.5. This episode’s flashbacks belong to Eko and are mostly a rehash of what we’ve already seen. After he took over Yemi’s church, some militia guys showed up and demanded the vaccine which he refused to surrender. So main militia guy killed a village woman. Next time they show up, Eko isn’t any more accommodating. In fact he’s deadly with a knife. Back on the island, either his conscience or the island itself is bugging him to confess. When he doesn’t, when he rationalizes his actions away, says he did what he had to in order to survive, the black smoke monster kills him. So the lesson may be to realize that actions taken with what you think are the best intentions may not be the correct things to do. Maybe. Interesting how when the smoke is first approaching Eko, it backs away when Locke appears. Yemi’s body has gone awol along with Jack’s dad. Was the body part of an Others ruse or did they move it or is he not really dead? Or has the island cured his death?

Jack confronts Ben about the tumor and Ben plays dumb, then berates Juliet for showing the x-rays. Ooh, more tension. Later Ben admits to Jack that the tumor is his and Juliet’s been trying to coerce him with a hamburger and some flirting into wanting to operate. And that somehow explains why Juliet so closely resembles Sarah. To the whacked out writers, perhaps. Juliet shows Jack a homemade video where she’s doing her best follow the rotating placard Dylan impersonation. Ben’s a dangerous liar. No! I’d have never guessed. Some of The Others want a change. They want Jack to operate on him, but to purposely botch the surgery so Ben will die. Um, if Jack doesn’t perform the surgery at all, doesn’t Ben still die? Well, Jack likes to play Mr Fix It, so I doubt he’ll rush right into breaking the Hippocratic Oath. So if the island can cure Rose’s cancer, why can’t it cure Ben’s?

When Desmond (who really should have his own show) mentions the hatch computer being used to communicate with the other hatches as well as save the world, Locke takes a bunch of the Lostaways, including the two annoying newbies, to the Pearl Station. Totally forgetting that a couple days ago, island time, he watched Jack on one of the television screens, he about smacks himself upside his bald head when Nikki suggests they try to use the TV’s to monitor other hatches. Sayid rewires something and they see a brief image of a guy wearing an eye patch who blocks the camera when he realizes he’s being watched and brings about the wonderful line “I guess he’ll be expecting us” from Locke. Next: Eko tells Locke, “You’re next.” Is that a collective you or a specific you? Note to ABC: Unless you’re the BBC, 6 episodes does not a season make.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pandora's Musical Box

The website Pandora Internet Radio serves as a personal radio station. If you enter artists you like, it will generate a playlist of those artists and ones if finds similar. If you don't like its suggestions, you can tell it to never play that song again. Registering appears to be free unless you want to subscribe. I hope this will provide me a way to find some good new music. There are so many bands out there and not many venues to hear them.