April 9, 2007

Reel Missing

As if a one-legged zombie-fighting Go-Go dancer with a machine gun as a prosthesis wasn't enough reason to see Grindhouse, toss in fake trailers by Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright and Eli Roth, a psychotic Kurt Russel, a five-minute-long single-take Tarantino dialog scene, and the best car chase scene since The Blues Brothers.

Tarantino fans will love the Pulp Fiction references to Big Kahuna Burger and foot massages, women will love the empowered ladies who kick ass, and guys will love all the T and A. Fun for the whole family! (except children and the elderly)

07:55 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

February 27, 2007

Springfield, OR

Here are a few street names in Portland, Oregon:


Bart Simpson

I think not.

21:51 | Entertainment , Travel | Comments (2)

February 13, 2007

Vision On

Does anyone else remember this?

I really dig that funky intro.

I attribute all of my creativity and right-brain activities to this show. Watching them create art out of paper towel rolls, or drawing giant hippoes using soccer field stripers made me believe that I too could be an artist one day. Instead I took computers in school and started this blog.


08:37 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

January 23, 2007


If it's not the week before Christmas, you probably won't find me in a mall. Last weekend was an exception, when Bonnie and I made an impromptu trip to Bellevue Square. We browsed overpriced iPod accessories at The Apple Store, quizzed the Verizon worker for discounts on Smartphones, and compared various sized boxes at The Container Store. We were going to call it a day when we walked by perhaps the greatest store in the world. Without a word, we both rushed into The Lego Store.

Lego was by far my favourite toy growing up. I would spend hours building intricate spaceships, robots and space stations (my parents bet on me going into either computers, or becoming a NASA engineer). We browsed the pirate ships, Star Wars tie-ins, and primary-coloured houses for a while, when a display in the back corner caught my eye: Mindstorms.

Mindstorms is a computer-programmable Lego robot set with a motor, four kinds of sensors, USB and Bluetooth interfaces. In my whole life, I don't think I've ever lusted for a toy aged 10+ as much as I did that day. It took all my self-restraint to not drop the $250 right there and take it home. Of course, Bonnie's "Oh, that's cool," and "You should totally get that," comments really didn't help.

And no, I didn't even realize I'm bring this up less than two weeks before my birthday. Must be a crazy coincidence.

20:26 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

December 4, 2006

The Tufty Club

No, it's not the name of some Furry convention. Tufty is a stop-motion animated squirrel from 1960s Britain who teaches children about safety. The safe way to do something is demonstrated by Tufty, while the unsafe way is demonstrated by Tufty's idiot friend Wally Weasel.

Check out this video of how not to get frozen treats from the ice cream van. Tufty's way is to bring "Mummy" with him. Wally's way is to run blindly into traffic. Be sure to listen for the thud as Wally disappears behind the van.

07:43 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

November 20, 2006

Early Arrival

Orphans has arrived.

Oh yes, I'm enjoying it right now.

23:11 | Entertainment | Comments (0)

October 19, 2006

Shock The Monkey To Life, Again!

Another reason why Peter Gabriel is my personal hero: he made available for free download the multitrack recodings of Shock The Monkey as unprotected MP3s, and encouraged people to remix, mash-up, sample, or do what they will with the sounds. I downloaded the sample pack, and I must say I have a new appreciation for the 25-year-old song's complexity and sound.

Check out the remixes people have submitted (including a country version!). Now I'm no musician, but I can see myself having a lot of fun with 30 second clips of PG's falsetto "monkeeeeeeeee".

08:23 | Entertainment | Comments (0)

October 5, 2006


This is the best news I've heard all week. New 3-disc album from Tom Waits available in November.

His label Anti has generously made available some free downloads. I'm downloading them now, and so should you.

08:09 | Entertainment | Comments (0)

September 22, 2006

MMW Concert Tonight

Tonight I'm going to enjoy the live musical stylings of perhaps the three funkiest white guys alive today: Medeski, Martin and Wood.

My love affair with MMW started four years ago, when I walked into a record store and impulse bought their then-latest album, and have been grooving to their unique brand of funky jazz ever since.

07:58 | Entertainment | Comments (0)

July 2, 2006

Worst Synopsis Ever

Last Wednesday, our division at work was treated to an advance screening of Superman Returns. Although not a great movie, my expectations were low, so I wasn't disappointed. The best part of the movie was Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor.

Surfing the web, I happened to stumble on this Australian News.com review of the movie. The review itself it fine, but the synopsis at the top of the page was clearly written by someone who had never seen the movie, and apparently pieced together the plot from a game of broken telephone (my comments in italics).

In this sequel to the first two films, Superman returns to Earth after having been missing for six long years.

Actually, it was five years, but who's counting?

What he finds astounds him - the world he knew has changed for the worse. In his absence, the forces of evil have regrouped like never before.

Here's where the synopsis goes way off the mark. Superman returns alright, but the forces of evil have not regrouped, and the world is just about as he left it.

Even Lex Luthor, once an outcast, has risen to the heights of power in Metropolis.

If by "outcast", they mean "inmate" and by "risen to the heights of power" they mean "swindled some old rich lady out of her fortune", then yes, that statement is correct.

And when an old enemy from Krypton reappears, Superman must fight his neverending battle like never before, amidst a world that has forgotten what it's like to have a hero.

Nope, no old enemy from Krypton. The only other character from Krypton is Jor-El, in the form of Marlon Brando's recycled footage from the first film.

About the only thing this synopsis got almost right, is that this movie picks up after the first, not the second, Superman film (unless Lois has a terrible memory about Superman's secret identity) second film (my mistake, I forgot Superman invoked the rarely-used Super kiss to make Lois forget), and thankfully ignores Superman's misadventures with Richard Pryor, and his epic battle against Nuclear Man.

12:02 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

May 30, 2006

Lazarus Risen

After a year-and-change hiatus, Qatsi returns.

Good to have you back in the (unfortunately named) blogosphere, Ian.

22:30 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

May 2, 2006

Make You Strong Just Like A Vitamin

Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to see Massive Attack live here in Seattle. They only did three shows in North America to promote their new double-disc best-of album Collected. I've been listening to Massive Attack since high school, and never once thought I would have a chance to see them live. And what a show it was.

The nice thing about seeing a band tour when they don't have a brand new album out, is that they don't have to sacrifice playing their best material in order to hawk their new songs. MA knew their audience and for an hour and a half made the crowd very happy with some old favourites.

They opened with a previously-unreleased track False Flags which is featured on Collected. The rest of the set was very Mezzanine-centric, with two songs from 100th Window, three from Blue Lines and one from Protection. I don't know the names of the two female guest vocalists they featured, but the one that sang on Unfinished Sympathy had an incredibly powerful voice. They even had Horace Andy there to serenade us with Angel and others. When 3D and Daddy G came out together and sang Karmakoma, I nearly wept (ok, not really, but it was incredible to hear that track live).

Throughout the show the band members (which consisted of the vocalists, a DJ, guitar player, bass player and drummer) were illuminated from behind by a series of coloured lights that pulsed and glowed with the music. During the performance of Safe From Harm, the lights displayed statistics of the war in Iraq, including US, UK and Iraqi death tolls and the total cost of the war in US dollars. Needless to say, MA disagrees with the war.

The show was at the fabulous Paramount Theatre, one of my favourite venues in Seattle. This was truly one of the best shows I've seen in a very long time, and certainly one of the best I've seen in Seattle. If any of you are planning to be in Europe this summer, I highly recommend you try to see them on tour. If not, maybe Collected will tide you over until their next album.

21:52 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

April 5, 2006


For those of you who dig comics, I strongly recommend you check out Johnzo's latest creation: Greeter:

On Earth, the retail wars ended long ago. Tera-Mart now reigns supreme over billions of customers.

But beyond Earth, the struggle continues. The emergence of a sufficiently advanced retailer on our planet has drawn the attention of competitors. Today, Tera-Mart is all that stands between us and the ravening galactic hyperconglomerates.

It may not have the stern sensiblility of Mary Worth, but I enjoyed it all the same.

22:55 | Entertainment | Comments (0)

March 24, 2006

Thy History is An Epic of the Most Brilliant Exploits

Congratulations to Rew, who correctly guessed the translated song was, in fact, O Canada. To get these lyrics, I used Google to translate the official French version of the anthem into English, which yielded a very different song than the official English version.

Google, however didn't get it perfect, and couldn't translate the words aïeux (forbearers) and épopée (epic). Sadly, I didn't know what these words meant either, so I had to hunt for a dictionary for the translation.

Comparing Google's version with the official English translation of the French version, you can see it did a pretty good job (the worst being "Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers" translated as "Your face east girds glorious florets"). Looks like translation services still have a ways to go.

07:37 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

March 23, 2006

Perdu Dans La Traduction

I'm sure all of you have played the online translation game, where you take some text in English (to maximize entertainment value, I recommend song lyrics), translate them into another language using an online translation service, then translate them back into English. It's good clean fun.

Bored, I did something a little different using Google Translate (with a little help). Can anyone guess what the song below is, and how I got it?

Ground of our forbearers,
Your face east girds glorious florets.

Because your arm can carry the sword,
It can carry the cross.
Your history is epic,
more brilliant exploits.

And your value,
from soaked faith,
Will protect our homes and our rights.
Will protect our homes and our rights.

08:19 | Entertainment | Comments (2)

March 6, 2006

For Your Safety

Everyone knows of at least some of those unspoken bathroom rules we have. Rules like always wash hands before leaving, no talking between urinals, turn the sound off if you're playing games on your laptop in a stall, etc. So if you're looking for all the common (and less common) rules all in one place, check out Johnzo's guide to restroom safety. Let me say, I've learned a lot.

00:04 | Entertainment | Comments (3)

February 27, 2006

Venezuelan Revolution Documentary

The other day my friend Aric had a few friends over to watch The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, a documentary about the 2002 coup in Venezuela. Originally the documentary was to be about Venezuelan President Chávez, but the coup happened to take place as it was being filmed. The result is some incredible footage of a military coup against an elected leader of a democratic country.

Now I admit to knowing next to nothing about South American politics, but with Chávez being in the news so much lately, I found this documentary to be informative (although limited), and gave me a lot of respect for Chávez. What politician today would emerge after being held captive for three days and proclaim on national television that those that supported the coup against them were entitled to their views and would be protected under the constitution? Agree or disagree with his leftist policies, but from the little I saw of him, he has the character of a leader.

Since the documentary doesn't seem to be available on DVD right now, I'm sure I can get Aric to lend it to anyone who's interested.

21:18 | Entertainment | Comments (0)

February 17, 2006

When You're Famous You Can Get Away With Anything

You know you're famous when you're asked to be the guest designer for a short-story magazine, and you send them a bunch of photos of oil stains from various parking lots, and they print it. Yes, that's exactly what Tom Waits did for the Winter 2005 issue of All-Story magazine. From his design notes:

...I began looking for ghost images in the stains beneath cars. None of them has been retouched. They are like I found them. I took them with B+W film. I like to say I work in oils. See whatever you wish to see in them; they are the astonishing shapes and mysteries of the natural world.

And in case you were wondering, yes, I bought a copy.

17:18 | Entertainment | Comments (0)

December 5, 2005

How Much More Can You Take?

Last night T and I went to see Morcheeba, a band I've been listening to off and on since high school. Little did I know they had recently replaced their lead singer before releasing their latest album. Damn, I thought. I have two tickets to a band that may not be the band I wanted to see.

The show was supposed to start at 9:00, but Morcheeba didn't start playing until after 10:00. To soothe the beast of an impatient crowd, they brought out the most bizarre opening act I've ever seen. It was a small blue-haired woman with pink bunny earmuffs and a ukulele. The crowd wasn't terribly impressed, so she decided to bring out the big guns: sitar, accordion and a Theremin. I give her an A for effort for busting out the obscure instruments.

Finally Morcheeba came out, new singer and all. As if the band knew we were all thinking, they opened with a song from their hit album Big Calm. The new singer was a dead ringer for the old one. It was uncanny. She also had a whole lot of energy, and demonstrated it by bouncing all over the stage, waving her arms and getting the crowd going. Songs from the new album sounded good too, more upbeat than their older stuff. About 40% of the show was new material, 40% from Big Calm, and 20% from their other 3 albums. T and I suspected it was a way to prove that they're the same old Morcheeba.

Even though the show ended by 11:30, I was very impressed. I think I'll add the new album (The Antidote) to my Christmas list.

22:14 | Entertainment | Comments (0)

March 12, 2005

Modest Mouse At The Showbox

Last night a bunch of us went to see Modest Mouse at The Showbox. It was my first time at The Showbox, and the first time I went to a 21+ show in the US. A couple observations:

12:05 | Entertainment | Comments (3)

February 20, 2005

RIP Raoul Duke

Hunter S. Thompson, author of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (one of my favourite books), has passed away.

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."

Update: Thompson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday night. I can only imagine what demons he has been wrestling with for the last 30 years.

22:18 | Entertainment

October 28, 2004

The Angora Comes Off

A long-lost Ed Wood movie has just been unearthed: Necromania! It's a porn film from 1971 about a young couple meeting a sex coven of sex witches.

What's interesting (besides the fact people were actively searching for this movie for over 15 years), is that the Reuters article claims the movie was discovered in 2001, yet there's an imdb review of the film from late 2000...

22:42 | Entertainment

October 19, 2004

What's He Building in There?

Last night I got to see Tom Waits on one of three stops in his North American tour (and third tour in 20 years!). The show was fantastic! Dressed in a dark suit and fedora, Waits performed with the energy of a man half his age. The beatboxing that is the hallmark of his new album was recorded live on stage, and looped as the drum tracks. Not forgetting his roots, he busted out his piano for the second encore.

I ended up selling the extra ticket to a friend and fellow Waits fan (at face value. What a nice guy I am! Actually, it was a lot less stressful than constantly checking eBay to see that no one had bid on it, instead finding messages from would-be bidders pointing out that my auction closed 14 hours after the concert was to start). We all had a great time, and I think that show made a Waits fan out of Teresa (she now muses aloud how she doesn't think the neighbour is building a playhouse for the children).

21:41 | Entertainment | Comments (4)

October 14, 2004

A Tale of Tickets and Stupidity

Thanks to the power of the Internet (specifically eBay), I got two (albeit pricy) tickets to Tom Waits on Monday. Actually, I got three tickets. In my rush to find affordable tickets, I accidentally bid on what I thought was a good price for two tickets, but actually turned out to be a terrible price for one. My glee turned to horror as I watched the timer count down the minutes, and I remained the top bidder by a mere five dollars.

Hopefully I can get that ticket as soon as courierly possible, so I can once again harness the power of eBay, but this time in reverse.

19:06 | Entertainment

October 12, 2004


Tom Waits in Seattle next Monday... Sold out

22:11 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

Real Gone

During the Great Blog Blackout of '04, I finally went out and got myself an iPod. Marvelous little thing. I ripped all my CDs, and barely filled a third of it. I signed up for Audible.com, a digital audiobook provider, and have been happily listening to novels and the recent presidential debates on my commute to work.

Over the weekend I bought my first completely digital album. Through iTunes Music Store, I bought Tom Waits' Real Gone. I haven't heard an album this innovative since Peter Gabriel's Up. If you like Tom Waits, and have always wanted to hear him beatboxing, then this is your album.

07:41 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

September 27, 2004


This site is very funny: Spamusement.

07:36 | Entertainment

September 24, 2004

Burns' Suit

A few weeks ago, a bunch of us went to a David Lynch festival at the Seattle art museum. They showed Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Despite the fact I had never seen the series, I enjoyed the movie.

Not being the kind of guy who actually jumps on a bandwagon when the subject is still cool (to my credit, I was 12 when the series aired), I attended the first of many Twin Peaks nights at Rick and Vanessa's, who rented the series.

We popped in the first DVD, only to find the pilot episode wasn't included. We called around and eventually found a video store that carried it (albeit on VHS). We rented it, then sat down for two hours of grainy dancing midgets.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, and possibly going on a road trip to the actual town of Twin Peaks, Washington. I wonder if the punks there really do dress like 50's greasers.

06:59 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

March 30, 2004


Need some music goodness to listen to while at work? DJ Gareth Lewis has the answer. I like this mix even more than his first, despite the lack of 80s pop beats.

22:12 | Entertainment

March 2, 2004

Supersize This

Ever wonder what would happen if you ate fast food every meal of every day for a month? Sundance Film Festival winner Morgan Spurlock finds out.

I'm interested in seeing this film, especially considering the number of people I see every day who probably do make McDonald's their regular place to eat.

In unrelated news, McDonald's phases out their super sized menu.

21:53 | Entertainment | Comments (4)

February 23, 2004


Busy weekend for me. Friday night Teresa and I saw The Triplets of Belleville. It was visually fantastic, but whimsical, and a bit light on plot. Although it's no Spirited Away, it was very enjoyable (unfortunately for me, I've had the wretched theme song in my head all weekend).

What I enjoyed even more than the film, was Destino the featurette that preceded it. It was a collaboration by Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí, and it's visually stunning. It was animated in exactly the way I would imagine Dalí's art would move; flowing, liquid. It was breathtaking.

On Saturday we saw a pre-opening showing of The Flying Karamazov Brothers (not to be confused with The Brothers Karamazov). On the one hand, we were highly entertained by the theatrics and incredible juggling acts. But I would say for the most part, the plot was weak and confusing, and more than a few times the jugglers "dropped the ball" (although, to their credit, they did acknowledge their flubs and joked about them).

Sunday Teresa and I eschewed the bright lights of the city and headed out to Snoqualmie Pass. A mere hour's drive outside of Seattle, but a world of difference. We went from moist warm Seattle, to over 2 metres of snow. We strapped on some snowshoes and stomped around the forest for a few hours. We snowshoed through dark evergreens, along steep valleys, and beside rivers with sheer banks of snow. I think I've become spoiled by the beauty of the United States of America's Pacific Northwest.

07:18 | Entertainment | Comments (5)

January 30, 2004

Artistic Intent

As a university student, I used to watch the hit NBC drama Law & Order regularly. Now I just can't seem to find the time (or the interest) to sit around in front of the boob tube for hours on end. But don't fear! Artist Brandon Bird can help me get that Lennie Briscoe fix: Artistic Intent.

Also, be sure to check out his Law & Order colouring book!

07:17 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

January 29, 2004

It Stinks!

Now you can enjoy Rosebud frozen peas in your own home: The Critic is on DVD. I wonder what kind of deal I can get if buy that, Family Guy Season 3, and The Simpsons Season 3...

Thanks to Dav for pointing that out to me.

On a completely unrelated note, my birthday is next week.

06:44 | Entertainment | Comments (2)

January 12, 2004

The Future Of Books

I would love to see every book for sale come with a CD containing a text (or even HTML) version of the book. Think of the advantages:

Of course, are downsides...

I still think it will be a long while before we see eBooks gain popularity, but as mobile personal computers become more and more ubiquitous, I think it's inevitable.

07:44 | Entertainment | Comments (2)

December 17, 2003

Return Of The King

Today I left work at noon to go see Peter Jackson's final installment of Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings trilogy. What can I say, other than thanks to Microsoft for the ticket and the afternoon off.

Like the other two movies, this one did not disappoint, and actually tempted me to dust off my old copy of The Silmarillion, until I remembered how dreadfully long and boring it was.

19:52 | Entertainment

November 15, 2003

Online Polls Popular, Say Online Voters

From the Globe and Mail: Do you vote in on-line polls?

Well, really, what kind of results did they expect?

12:42 | Entertainment | Comments (3)

November 10, 2003

Lost In Revolutions

I tend to go to the cinema in spurts. Before this weekend, it had been summer when I last saw a movie on the big screen (SWAT - don't bother). This weekend I saw two movies: Matrix Revolutions (thanks to Microsoft), and Lost in Translation.

Matrix Revolutions met, but did not exceed my low expectations. Lots of special effects, lots of explosions, lots of Smith, but very little of the fight scenes that peppered the first and second movies. Speaking as someone who didn't enjoy the second one much either, I think I would have been much happier had this not been a trilogy.

Lost in Translation was interesting. The funny parts were great, and the story of a confused white guy in urban Japan was nostalgic, but I got bored with the "love" story. Murray pulled off some of his patented ad-libbing that made Ghostbusters great, and the film showcased some of the more bizarre aspects of modern Japanese culture (but didn't exaggerate them very much). I think I would have enjoyed it a lot less had I not been bubbling with excitement every time Murray made the same faux pas I did three years ago.

07:30 | Entertainment | Comments (2)

November 6, 2003

That's 3 Human Years

Last night Teresa and I went to see the one-man play: 21 Dog Years, the story of an Amazon.com employee in the midst of the .com bubble.

The play was funny and Daisey put on a great performance. I was a few years too late to really get swept up in the .bombs. This play basically let me know what I was missing, without the underwater stock options.

You can read more of Mike Daisey on his blog.

07:16 | Entertainment

July 20, 2003

That's me, Herc!

Whoa. I just came across a startling discovery. Newton, the centaur sidekick of The Mighty Hercules is really Pippi Longstocking!

Newton the centaurPippi Longstocking

The resemblance is uncanny! I guess those pigtails are really just a clever way to hide those pointy ears.

00:00 | Entertainment

June 10, 2003

The Gloaming

I went and picked up Radiohead's new album Hail To The Thief today. I've listened to it a few times at work and so far so good. I'm a recent Radiohead convert, having been introduced to them through my brother's wacky roommates during my few months "in between jobs". I think it's earned a place in my daily listening selection.

00:00 | Entertainment

June 7, 2003

You Want I Should Do Movie Review?

Last night a few friends and I went for the midnight showing of The Hebrew Hammer as part of the Seattle International Film Festival. It was kind of like a Hasidic Shaft (complete with theme song). The Hammer is a private detective hired to save Hanukkah from the evil Andy Dick. I didn't realize how many Yiddish words I had picked up in my childhood from watching Mel Brooks movies.

The movie was funny and stupid. I recommend it to anyone who's Jewish, has Jewish friends, or thinks Jon Lovitz was the best part of SNL (alas, he wasn't in the movie).

Hopefully this won't be the last SIFF film I see, even if I have to schlep myself all the way across town to see another one.

00:00 | Entertainment

June 1, 2003

Art & Culture

Last night we went out to see the play Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet. From what I understand, you either love Mamet or hate him. Having only seen Heist, I was in the latter camp. But Glengarry Glen Ross certainly turned me around. I thought it was a good exploration of human nature and the struggle to get ahead. Also, the f-word was in every other line.

I'm now interested in seeing more of his films and plays, provided the dialog won't make me cringe.

Tonight Dave arrives in Seattle as the first American stop on his Fantabulous Canadian-American Tour. We're going to Tula's Jazz Club to soak in a little of the West Coast music scene.

Since I sit in front of a computer all day, everyday, I welcome these opportunities to experience a little art and culture.

00:00 | Entertainment

May 29, 2003

Math Is Sexy

To make my daily bus rides to and from work a little more bearable, I've been reading A Beautiful Mind (the biography, not the movie synopsis). My sister gave it to me for my birthday, and I'm now more than halfway done.

The book paints a completely different picture of Nash than the movie did. The movie made him out to be a brilliant mathematician who was stricken with a horrible disease. The book makes him out to be a brilliant mathematician and complete asshole who was stricken with a horrible disease. I won't turn this post into a John Nash bashing, but I do want to talk about his academic life and how it relates to my experiences.

Nash would have heated debates with some mathematicians about advanced theorems and proofs. I did not. With others, he forged homosexual relationships. I did not (not that there's anything wrong with that). This got me wondering what went on behind the closed doors of my professors' tiny offices.

Heated debates on the fundamentals of mathematics? I never heard anyone raise their voices.

Gay encounters? I never heard any rumours.

I guess either Nash's situation was unique, or we have a lot of pent-up professors at Waterloo.

00:00 | Entertainment

May 16, 2003


It seemed that almost every team at Microsoft was taken out to see The Matrix Reloaded. Our team went at 4:30 yesterday afternoon, and we filled the theatre. I can't say I was terribly impressed with the plot, but the special effects were astounding.

I'll avoid spoiling the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I will tell you what it's like seeing a movie with a theatre full of software employees. There were two parts of the movie when the theatre erupted in laughter. If you were there and are not in the software field, you would wonder what the hell everyone was laughing at, because they weren't jokes. At least they weren't supposed to be.

Besides that, the movie was a lot of fun to watch, and the price was certainly right.

00:00 | Entertainment

February 28, 2003


Last night I went to Ian's place and hung out. We decided to put a movie on in the background while we talked, and desperately tried to get some writing done. Ian put on Baraka, and we turned to our notebooks. For a movie with no spoken words, I was totally captivated. The movie opened with a monkey warming itself in a hot spring in familiar Nagano, Japan, and from there showed scenes from the most third-world of countries to New York City and Tokyo.

We became so engrossed in the movie, that we didn't get much writing done. I highly recommend this movie to anyone with an interest in world music, and a love for film as an art form.

00:00 | Entertainment

February 17, 2003

File Under Alternative

Last week I had the good fortune to be hanging around downtown Toronto for a few hours by myself. I took a walk down Yonge Street and stopped in at the big HMV. It's a three-storey music store that takes great care in properly categorizing music (even to the point of inventing genres).

After perusing the Electronic music section (and picking up a St Germain album), I took a trip upstairs to the Rock & Pop floor. I noticed a Rock section, a Heavy Metal section, an Industrial/Gothic section, and an Alternative section.

I really started getting into music in high school, around 1992-1993, when "Alternative" music was getting big. Bands like Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana helped make this new genre popular. I remember wondering at the time if the term "Alternative" would survive if these bands became part of popular culture or would they be eventually be considered pop music? Last week I found out. Pearl Jam et al is now under Pop/Rock, and truly alternative bands, like Mr Bungle and Sonic Youth now fill up the tiny Alternative section.

At least, that's the way it is in Toronto.

00:00 | Entertainment

January 18, 2003

Affanculo, eh?

Ang finally caved in and rented the first 2 tapes of season 3 of the Sopranos. Man, I really love that show. I let Ryan watch a few episodes of season 1 while I was at his place, and I think I got him hooked.

Watching season 3 I noticed something (besides the fact I am hopelessly obsessed): I think one of the writers is Canadian. In at least one instance in every season, Canada was somehow mentioned:

Season 1:
Tony thinks the ducks came from Canada.
Season 2:
Toronto is mentioned on the front page of the newspaper at the Soprano house.
Season 3:
Paulie talks about Maple Walnut ice cream. Also, Janice's son is a "street person" in Montréal.
Now I know what you're thinking: "Chris, you have way too much time on your hands. Shouldn't you be working or something?"

The answer is yes.

00:00 | Entertainment

January 4, 2003

Mirror For You

Saw Star Trek Nemesis the other night. I'm sorry, but all the android makeup in the world won't hide Brent Spiner's flabby neck. Who knew androids got fat with age? Besides that, I liked it. I love a good Star Trek movie. Sometimes I'm disgusted by my own nerdiness.

00:00 | Entertainment

January 2, 2003

Woke Up This Morning

For Christmas this year my brother got the entire first season of The Sopranos on tape. My whole family has been hooked on it since the second season. Before Christmas day, I've never seen a single episode. I watched the whole thing, 13 episodes, in 3 days. I realize I'm jumping on this bandwagon about 3 years too late, but I'm totally hooked. During my week-long stay at the Hotel Angela I plan to rent the other three seasons, and I intend to watch them all.

Now don't think I'm neglecting my patient. My brother was good enough to lend Ang the set while she recovers. That was yesterday. Ang is watching episode 9 as I type this.

And if anyone sends me email telling me what happens to Pussy or Uncle Junior before I get to watch it, I'll let my Italian roots show.

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December 23, 2002

Two Towers

Saw The Two Towers last night. What can I say? Good story, great special effects. I have the same opinion of the story as I did when I first read the book in grade 8: it's a necessary transition story between Fellowship and Return of the King. I really did enjoy it, but I think it will be the weakest of the three movies.

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November 10, 2002

Two Thumbs Up

We have a local alternative movie theatre here in Waterloo called Princess Cinema. I was first brought there in September 1997 with the rest of my frosh group. Since we were all computer science students, it stood to reason that we should see Monty Python and the Holy Grail, cause, you know, nerds like Monty Python.

Over the years I had the opportunity to see some really good (and some really bad) movies there, movies that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to see. Last night, Ang and I went there to see Spirited Away, the best-selling movie of all time in Japan. I'm not a big Anime fan (despite the fact I'm in Computer Science, and, you know, nerds like Anime), but I really enjoyed this movie. Although it has a fantasy theme, I wouldn't consider it a children's movie. At the end there was no "And it was all a dream... or was it?" crap, like most fantasies have. Ang liked it because about half the characters were giant talking frogs.

I'm looking forward to using my new Princess membership. Ang and I have plans to see Bowling for Columbine, the new Michael Moore film, and Rabbit-Proof Fence, an Australian film with an excellent soundtrack by Peter Gabriel.

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October 7, 2002

The Cannibal

I saw Red Dragon last night. Good movie. The quality lies somewhere between Silence and Hannibal, and Hopkins did not disappoint. Neither did Ralph Fiennes (pronounced "Ray Fines", for some reason), who played the craziest of crazies. I give it * * *.

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October 1, 2002

Love Up

Yes, I bought it, and yes, I love the new Peter Gabriel album. Those of you who want to listen before you buy, you can download a limited-time digital version of the album for free from the website. Check it out!

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September 26, 2002


On Monday, the new Peter Gabriel album, Up was finally released. It's been about ten years since his last album, Us, came out, and I've been waiting ever since. I fell in love with PG's music when I was 6 years old and saw the Sledgehammer and Big Time videos on TV. What kid doesn't love clay-mation and dancing dead chickens?

Angela phoned me while I was sitting in the dentist's chair to tell me the news: Peter Gabriel was coming to Toronto. Sweet! Angela had bought a video of a show on his Us tour (Secret World), and it was fantastic. Revolving stage, cool effects, props, lots of musicians, and most of all, it was clear he was having a great time. So would I pass up this opportunity to go see the man whose music I've loved since I was a child? Would I miss the chance to see the concert I've been waiting for a decade to see?

Of course I would. I'll miss it for a stupid exam for a stupid, stupid course.

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August 23, 2002

Impulse Buy

On my way back to my apartment from getting my haircut on the weekend, I walked by a CD store I had never noticed before. That was when I smelled the distinct aroma of money burning a hole in my pocket. I went in and looked around. It was your typical indie CD shop (with some generic name like "Music 2 U" or something like that). I perused the CDs, not looking for anything in particular. I've kind of lost touch with the music scene lately, with the exception of the Chili Peppers' new album and the new Dave Matthews album.

I noticed a new Peter Gabriel soundtrack, The Long Walk Home. I've always loved his music, ever since seeing the video for Sledgehammer when I was 6. I loved his other soundtracks, especially Passion, so I picked this up.

But the smoke kept streaming out of my pocket. I looked around the jazz section, remembering that I wanted to expand my jazz collection. Then I saw the new CD by a band called Medeski, Martin and Wood. The cover art looked interesting, so I bought it. A complete impulse buy.

When I got to work, I popped MMW into the computer. I immediately loved it. I don't know whether to describe it as Funky Jazz or Jazzy Funk. Lots of Stevie Wonderesque keyboards, upright bass and horns. I've been listening to it non-stop since Sunday.

And the Peter Gabriel album? Slow, moody, with a hint of Australian aboriginal sounds. Great background music. Whets the appetite for his long-awaited new album to be released in September (!)

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July 24, 2002

God I Miss That Show

After getting home at 2am, I turned on the TV to the Cartoon Network and watched GI Joe. It was the first time I have watched that show in years. After watching for no more then a minute, I recognized which episode it was. It was the one where Shipwreck falls in love with a genetically engineered fish-woman. I think he ends up marrying her in a later episode, in some farcical aquatic ceremony. I had never realized this before, but Shipwreck talks like a cross between Jack Nicholson and the Sea Captain from the Simpsons.

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July 9, 2002

By The Way

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' new album By The Way came out in North America today. I managed to get an advanced copy yesterday and have been listening to it for the past two days. I have mixed feelings about it. I have been a Chili fan since grade 9 (1992) and I have all the albums at home. But this album is definitely missing something... it has an 85% reduction in funk. In fact, it has to be the least funky Chili album I have ever heard, hence my disappointment. I was expecting some crazy slap bass, or some distorted guitar, but instead found acoustic guitar, Spanish riffs and some really laid-back songs. Not bad, just different...

Now to be fair, I felt the same way about Californication at first. But that album has staying power. The verdict is still out as to whether or not I like By The Way, but at this point, it beats One Hot Minute (worst album ever).

For those of you who couldn't care less if the Chili Peppers fell into some deep chasm and were impaled on punji stakes, here's DJ Dav's song of the week.

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June 10, 2002

I, Microserf

I recently started reading Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. It's the story of a house full o' nerds trying to find the meaning of life while working at the largest software company in the world.

What's cool about this book (besides the fact Coupland is a good writer), is that I can relate to it in every way. Well, just about. While I don't have discussions with my girlfriend whether or not the universe is digital or analog, I do shop at the same grocery store, eat at the same restaurants and *gasp* work for the same employer. It's pretty cool reading about the main characters driving down 148th St, or buying makizushi at Uwajimaya.

Unfortunately the main characters are even nerdier than I am, going so far as to worship billg. Some of the cutting-edge 1993 technology they discuss (like the Email System, and the Information Superhighway), are commonplace today, severely dating the story. But maybe that's part of its charm.

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May 20, 2002

Clones Clones Everywhere

This morning my team took the morning off and went to see Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The movie was both entertaining and visually stunning. But there was something that disturbed me as I sat in the dark theatre (something besides the guy sitting next to me who made snoring noises during the romantic scenes). What disturbed me happened even before the movie got started. It was one of the previews.

The preview was for a movie called Like Mike, starring Lil' Bow Wow, who plays an impoverished young boy who climbs up a telephone pole to rescue a ratty pair of sneakers hanging from the power lines. As a result of a several-thousand-volt shock, Lil' Bow Wow gains super basketball abilities and becomes an NBA All-Star. This movie disturbs me for two reasons:

  1. It teaches kids that as well as not killing you, touching high voltage wires gives you magical basketball powers that quickly lead to fame and fortune.
  2. It encourages kids to start rapping at a very early age.

I for one plan to boycott this movie in the hopes that others will follow my lead. If Elmer the Safety Elephant has taught me anything, it's that hydro wires are deadly, even to seemingly unstoppable pre-teen rappers.

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May 8, 2002

The Jazz Music

Last night was a "morale event" for our team. We were treated to food, drinks and music at Jazz Alley in downtown Seattle. We saw the Ray Brown Trio, a jazz band led by bass player Ray Brown. It was the first time I had seen live jazz and it was fantastic. They played some of their own stuff, some Dizzy Gillespie and even a jazz version of "You Are My Sunshine". Then they brought out guest violinist Regina Carter and I wept. I never thought of the violin as a jazz instrument, but this woman made it work. It was a good time had by all, and my morale has definitely been raised.

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