Friday, February 29, 2008

Cake That I Ate in Two-Thousand-Eight

Cake '08

Thar she be, boys... the turtle cake of 2008. A birthday tart for the ages. Fresh from the Queen of Tarts on Roncesvalles.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dude, Did You Just Clock Block McLovin?

Yeah tha's right, an actual "Clock-block". Okay, unfortunately I can't set the order of this slideshow, but I think you'll get the idea. I'd seen this clock at Swipe Books and I thought, "cute idea... you could make one yourself if you knew where to get a really bright LED clock". Then I saw this article at Readymade Magazine and realized you could, in fact, get a really bright LED clock anywhere. So, rather than pay $250, I went to the mall, bought a clock radio for $19.99, got a piece of 1"x3" finished pine, cut it, made a frame and faced it with some left over birch veneer (left over from this project). There you go; $20 and a Saturday afternoon and you've got yourself a block of wood with a clock inside.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Quiet, Unassuming Super Star

Hey... this just became one of those "live blogs" (which sounds like something from the sewers) — that's right, I'm writing this live from my couch as I'm watching Tilda Swinton accept her BAFTA for best supporting actress for her role in Michael Clayton. I saw this film last night at the Revue and I can see why it would go unnoticed. It's just got no flash, no pazazz yet it is thought provoking, and quietly builds to a moment of righteous justice. Swinton plays the role of the lawyer/executive of a fictitious Agri-chemical concern called U-North (can you say, "Monsanto"?) who is a bundle of nerves trying desperately to appear in control of the uncontrollable. What's interesting about her character is how we see just how scared this outwardly assured woman is and in a slightly pathetic way, how hard she is trying to please "The Board" (yup, a group of suited old white guys). George Clooney plays the title character who is "the fixer" at a large and successful law firm. What a "Fixer" really does is a little beyond me, but it is explained simply as the janitor who cleans up whatever mess needs cleaning up. It might be getting a juicey piece of information from someone, or keeping information from someone else. Clooney tiredly does his job, knowing that he's not earning any wings while doing it. I guess that's really what the film is about. The complete lack of ethics in American business today and the toll it takes on its executors. Even writing that now, seems to make sense — Executives | Executors | Execution; Businessmen | Lawyers | Killers. But there is redemption, you just have to give up most of your career to achieve it. Shame really, because your career gave you such nice suits.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This Ain't Martha's Vineyard

Tonight we saw Fassbinder's Martha at Camera Рunbelievably a film made for German television. Man, they don't just do "Shogun" on German TV, huh? I guess it's sort of "taking the piss" out of "The Bourgeoisie" in the form of a weird German take on the Melodrama. Once you embrace it as a schwarze Kom̦die/black comedy, it's actually a whole lot of whacky, strange fun. I only wish I knew enough German to yell at the top of my lungs, "SLIME! THIS isn't music! It's SLIME!" So far, we've gotten by yelling, "Schhhlime! Dis muzika ich SCHLIME!" I can't say I recommend it for everyone, but it opened my eyes to a type of movie that might normally have put me to sleep.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

No Country for Old Moviegoers

Some, okay, many, have referred to "No Country for Old Men" as the best Coen Brothers' film since Fargo, which isn't really fair as in that time they've made some duds (Lady Killers, Intolerable Cruelty) but at the same time, they also made some of my favourite films (The Big Lebowski, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, and The Man Who Wasn't There). I suppose if the only Coen Bros' movies you liked were Blood Simple, Miller's Crossing, and Fargo then No Country for Old Men would probably top your list. For me though, I just felt like, to quote Homer (Simpson that is) it was just a bunch of stuff that happened and didn't really mean anything. I felt the menace of Javier Bardem who was scary as hell on a Sunday, and Josh Brolin was a revelation (I think that's the word you use when an actor surprises you by being better than you expected) but I don't know, something was missing for me. It certainly wasn't Bardem's best or most demanding role (think of The Sea Inside or Before Night Falls) but it's nice that American audiences are seeing more of him. Less interesting was Tommy Lee Jones. How many times have we seen him as the time-worn, experience eroded wise sheriff? A lot. Though on the other hand, that whole career seems to have been just a precursor to this role. Those roles were like a set-up for this one, if you know what I mean. The epilogue that "this is a hard country on a man. Takes its toll" as the title suggests seems to be the only conclusion we could come to but do I need a movie to tell me that there are some places in this world which are violent shit-holes? I only have to watch the news to know that. Then again, on the news I don't get to see Tommy Lee Jones (TLJ as I like to call him) crack wise about federal agents and that's a shame.