May 2006 Archives

There were rumors that this would be the last X-Men movie, but since it is doing so well in the box office (and they left it open for another sequel), minds might be changed about that. But I am sad to report that I was disappointed in the newest X-Men. I really, really liked X2, and I think that it might be the best movie based on a comic book that has ever been made. It was a good movie, on all levels, which is rare for a movie of the "fanboy" genre. It was also a rare example of a sequel better than the original. But even the first X-Men was better than X3.

X3 was not a good movie, and this was due to the direction and the script. It became an action movie, with the one-liner quips, and the one-dimensional characterization and plot. It doesn't explain characters that are missing - where is Nightcrawler, who played a fairly large role in the last one. And it doesn't take the time to introduce new characters. We get no explanation or characterization for Beast, and suddenly Kitty Pryde is at the forefront of the X-Men with no explanation. The real reason was probably that the writers needed her in the Alcatraz scene.

This time the movie wasn't so bad that I wanted to walk out, although the horrible actress from Hard Candy was Kitty. But the dialogue was awful just the same. From Rogue and Bobby's first scene ("Maybe I'm just upset because I can't touch my boyfriend." "I've never complained to you." "You don't have to, you're a boy. That's all you think about." Way to tell and not show, screenwriters) to Mystique's annoying-little-girl "Told you so," the writers consistently went for the easiest dialogue and the lowest-common-denominator one-liners. And the decision to forefront the lamest character and worst actress (Halle Berry as Storm) didn't help matters much.

I didn't want to X-Men franchise to end, but now that this movie is making so much money, there really won't be any incentive for the studio to match the quality of the second X-Men, or even bring it up to the level of the first. As sad as it would be to have the series end here, maybe it would be better than dragging it down for even more crappy sequels.

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kiss pandas.jpg

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it's a symbol of my individuality, and my belief... in personal freedom

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Lessons learned from Wild at Heart: Sex = Fire = Death

Hmm, maybe that applies to all of David Lynch's movies....

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Here are some more live covers for Pop5. By the way, everyone, I got the new Raconteurs, so um... be sure to let me know if you are interested and [purchase your own perfectly legal copy as soon as possible].
Content removed to protect the innocent

My Morning Jacket :: Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley Cover)

Franz Ferdinand :: What You Waiting For (Gwen Stefani Cover)
This one turns into a Billy Idol White Wedding Cover at the end.

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I'm usually the last to hear about these sorts of things, so hopefully you all have protested this already. Since there is no smaller website than Pop5, this is definitely a personal issue.


Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the Internet's First Amendment -- a principle called Network Neutrality that prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you -- based on what site pays them the most. If the public doesn't speak up now, our elected officials will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign.

How does this threat to Internet freedom affect you?

  • Google users—Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
  • Ipod listeners—A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
  • Political groups—Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay "protection money" for their websites and online features to work correctly.
  • Nonprofits—A charity's website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can't pay dominant Internet providers for access to "the fast lane" of Internet service.
  • Parents and retirees—Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
  • Bloggers—Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

From the NY Times' Editorial Desk May 2,2006:

"One of the Internet's great strengths is that a single blogger or a small political group can inexpensively create a Web page that is just as accessible to the world as Microsoft's home page. But this democratic Internet would be in danger if the companies that deliver Internet service changed the rules so that Web sites that pay them money would be easily accessible, while little-guy sites would be harder to access, and slower to navigate".

Save the Net Now

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Hello all...been awhile since I've posted...but here's a goodie...last week I got a chance to see Daniel Johnston at Spaceland in Silverlake...a shitty-ass hipster enclave near Hollywood full of metrosexuals and trust-fund conceptual artists...real trendy and So Cal superficial cocaine mayhem boho Daniel Johnston comes onstage and the crowd goes fucking blitzkrieg because he's got a movie out about him...fine-assed looking bitches and dudes dressed like young male prostitutes all screaming and yelling like he's the resurrection of THE LORD and the poor man looks nervous-as-hell...shaky and smoking a cigarrette with long, hard draws...and all around you can hear bits of scattered conversation and commentary..."wonder if he'll go crazy"..."isn't he amazing!!!"... and the man--older...paunchy...tired and rundown sits down at the piano and plays a bunch of songs nobody knows...all block chords and shaky guile, no cleverness, no irony...just songs of love in plain language and simple melodies...the crowd laughs at the sincerity...these indie-yuppies can't understand what they are seeing...a guy who is not cool and who doesn't (or can't) give a fuck and shrug it off...DJ then plays some guitar and as he announces the "last song of the night"...some of the crowd actually boos...don't they know that this man is emotionally disturbed and heavily medicated?...But DJ just looks down and says "Sorry, but I try."...And the hip scenesters were exposed for the nothing assholes that they are the world over....

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I don't watch television news. In fact, if I read any news at all, I get it from the internet, usually respectable sources like the New York Times or the Washington Post. When I want to be filled with righteous indignation, I turn to alternet or, but I don't think these are feeding me wrong information, just very liberal-biased information. In contrast, the local news seems to consist of seven components:

  1. Lead off with the scariest and or most most angering, vaguely political story. Gas prices rising! Avian flu on its way! Traffic usually horrendous! Offer no discussion about the political forces behind the event, or the possible strategies to combat it. Unless it's Fox, in which case, it is somehow the liberals or Bill Clinton's fault.
  2. Turn to local news, which consists of the most affecting news from the police scanner. Rape, murder, abuse, bonus points if there are children involved.
  3. The mandatory parent freak-out. What are your children doing when you're not supervising their every minute? SEX! DRUGS! EATING SUGAR AND BECOMING OBESE!
  4. Throw in the biggest "news story" concerning a celebrity.
  5. Helpfully summarize or offer commentary on a non-news program on the same channel, like American Idol, Lost, or Desperate Housewives.
  6. Sports
  7. Weather

The only thing on that list that I am usually interested in is the weather, and it's much easier and less revolting to turn to Thankfully, I also miss many of the commercials that way.

So Mike and I watched David Lynch's Eraserhead last night, and I am not sure what to say about it. I don't know if I actually enjoyed the experience of watching it; most of the time I was thinking, "This dude is seriously f---ed up." But in the end, I am glad I saw it. While watching the movie, I just knew that Lynch had become a father right before he did it, and I later found out on the internet that was true. And I still maintain that the scene with the vaporizer is one of the funniest moments in movie history. This movie is definitely for: hardcore Lynch fans (I-loved-Lost-Highway style); anyone who likes surrealist film; and anyone interested in the use of sound and lighting in film. This movie is NOT for: people who like realistic settings, rational plot, and dialogue; new parents and pregnant women; and anyone freaked out by worm-alien babies that Lynch will famously not reveal how he created.

Also, Deflated Soda Cup Guy!!!

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So, um, YAY! My whole master's thesis thing worked out, and this morning I dropped off my final bound version, meaning I am set to graduate. This also means that I have a whole two weeks of vacation before I start classes again. Everyone I have told about this has been like, why didn't you take the summer off? And originally I had planned to, but then I got nervous about how long it might take to finish my doctorate, and I wanted to start on it right away. Besides, it's not like I would get a vacation or anything - I still have to work.

On Sunday, Mike and I went driving to take photos again, but then when I got home, my memoy card burnt out on me, and I lost all of the photos. I have had to replace the memory card, and the memory card reader, which now isn't working as well. This is the third one I have gotten since February. They aren't that expensive, but still it's annoying. We found a really cool place to eat, which I will write more about once I steal Mike's photos. I am bummed about losing mine, though. There was one really cool one of a cow - gone forever! Stupid digital - so convenient and yet so annoying sometimes...

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So on Saturday night, after Mike and I had been out shooting photos all day, we wind up as usual at a diner and a movie with the rest of our Pop5 crew (only its Pop4 with Rama in LA). Standing in the foyer of the Ritz, we tried to find a movie to see, but the problem was that there is nothing much out that any of us wanted to see. We are in that post-Oscar nominee, pre-summer blockbuster extravaganza lull. We are wavering between "The Devil and Daniel Johnston," and "Hard Candy," since both Buddy and Rob have already seen "Inside Man." After a sidetrack to consider "Betty Page," we end up somehow with "Hard Candy," and I'm warning you right now to never, never make this decision if you end up in the same situation.

Now, I was not really expecting this be a good movie. But it managed to be horribly beyond my low expectations. The very first scene put my teeth on edge, and there wasn't even any acting - it was a conversation via IM transcription. But the dialogue...ugh! And worse, I think, is that it was clearly trying to be an "art film." Mike leaned over and asked me what was wrong, and I said, "I'm just not liking this too much so far." Although the subject matter was kind of icky, it wasn't even that that got to me. Just the horrible dialogue, and the terrible story line. The script sounded like it had been written by a 16 year old boy. A demented, retarded 16 year old boy.

So after 20 minutes more of ludicrous, stomach-turning dialogue, I turned to Mike and said, "Can we leave? I'm gonna go wait in the car." Because the idea of waiting by myself in my car was the more pleasant alternative to sitting in that theater another minute. I got up and left, and was kind of surprised that the guys all followed me. We had a quick reconnaissance outside of the theater. Mike was only disappointed that he was breaking his streak of never having walked out of a movie (although later he remembered doing it on a date years ago). Rob said the movie made him feel dirty and he needed a shower. Buddy wanted to know how it ended, and I said that's what was for. There was universal diappointment that we had paid $9 for it, and I was determined to get that money back.

I knocked on the manager's door, and this young kid came out. I told him that a wanted a refund, and I think I said it was because the movie was "a fucking piece of shit," but now I feel a little guilty about swearing at him. At the time, I was hugely irritated and angry, but still. The manager kid offered us free passes to replace our tickets, which we accepted, since we go to the Ritz all the time. We went back to Buddy's, where he looked up the ending on, and I was even more disgusted with the lame and ridiculous plot. The moral of the story: do not under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES see this movie!

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!