Friday, April 30, 2010

No App For That


image via firdouss.com

I am lost. I cannot find my way. I don't know the weather. I can't talk. I can't write. RIP iPhone. Out of warranty and dead. Corrupted hard drive. Done. I don't get it. It was working so well. Excellent battery life, it could go for days. Oh the times we had. Sigh.

We'd talk and talk. I'd hold it almost as a talisman. It was so re-assuringly smooth. It's weight was just right. The weight of quality. And so quick. Rather than fire up a computer I could check e-mail, the weather, the scores, and maybe even find out what that song was in that ad I just saw, all on my phone.

Listen to me? I sound like one of those Apple ads. Except, one day I picked up my iPhone, it had died, it was out of warranty and Apple could not, would not help me, and I miss my phone. There's no app for that, unless of course, I buy a new iPhone. Ouch.

Monday, April 26, 2010

People City




"it's very nice, to live in People City, yes, it's very nice… in People City" I'm not sure I would see/hear this and think, "Damn! People City sounds pretty sweet. I think I'll move there." In fact, I'm pretty sure no station sign-on, sign-off song ever convinced anyone to move anywhere.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hey, It's That Guy…

John Cazale, image via BAM.org

Do you recognize this actor? Probably. He played Fredo in The Godfather and The Godfather II. He was also in The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter. Now you know him. Can you name him? Probably not. I'll give you hint. John Cazale. The incredible thing is, he appeared in only those five films before dying at the age of 42. That's a pretty incredible legacy. Oddly, the last time The Deer Hunter was on TV, we said the same thing. "Hey, it's that guy. How come he was in all those incredible movies then nothing?" Of course, his illness and subsequent death of cancer never occurred to us.

Which is why the short documentary I Knew It Was You is so fascinating. In it we hear people like Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Steve Buscemi, Sam Rockwell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Francis Coppola and Sidney Lumet relate their remembrances of Cazale. More moving is the interview with Meryl Streep as she talks about her relationship with John Cazale and the time they spent together at the end of his life. You can see an interview with the director here as he discusses Cazale and the people who contributed to the film. Then rent one of those five great films to see John Cazale in action.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Further to all that.




Further to the earlier discussion of song books and Rugby, this site:KEGGERS OF YORE revels in the absurdity of party photos from a more innocent time. No flashing for the video cameras, no grotesquely inappropriate displays of vanity, just modestly inappropriate displays of drunkenness. Simpler times.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Authentic

Now that "cool" has lost credibility we've tried replacing it with "authenticity" or the "real deal". What is real? If a package says "genuine" we know enough to realize it is probably fake. Being someone who feels like you can recognize the genuine article has become the new marker of hipsterdom. We've gone from conspicuous consumption to conspicuous authenticity. That was the starting point of Nora Young's interview with Andrew Potter, author of The Authenticity Hoax, at the Gladstone Hotel. Even The Gladstone itself feels more authentic than it's block partner The Drake Hotel. Why? The Gladstone hosts open local art shows and regular events like a karaoke night and the seasonal Harvest Wednesdays while the Drake plays host to Hollywood phonies and hipster dufus DJ run burlesque shows (not to mention being overrun with 905ers on the make from Thursday to Saturday).

So, do we fetishize the authentic (think of the obsession of artisanal cheese or buying antiques and carefully preserving their "patina" which in other words is just dirt and grime)? Obviously we do, but does that mean everything else is just bullshit? Is there a crisis of meaning? Is there such a lack of genuineness that we covet anything that we feel is more "real"? Probably. I prefer the singer/songwriter to the pop idol in music. I prefer indie films to the Hollywood blockbuster. I do prefer artisanal cheese to mass produced stuff. Is that an oxy-moron?

Once you start scratching at it, the search for authenticity seems like a quest for truth and identity (and other big issues). We say we want truthful politicians but in politics a gaffe is accidentally telling the truth. We want the Real McCoy but rarely get it because in politics like so many other things, authenticity is only how you judge it; what you make of it. In the end, that's all it is. a judgment
call and sometimes being honest with yourself is the toughest call to make.
Note: I'm probably the bigges offender of this but when I look for something authentic I hope it comes from real reasons and not just the appearance of authenticity.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You'll Wonder What the Glitter is...


image via Monkey's Paw

This is the reason I started playing rugby. It is also the reason I stopped playing rugby. The rest I will take to my grave.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Suspended in Air



The airline industry is losing $200 million USD a day. Stranded travelers are spending hundreds of dollars more on accommodations. Yet based on this data, Mother Earth is seeing a net benefit from the Icelandic volcanic eruption. Of course, if we have a crappy summer due to weather patterns created by said volcano (though it should be said, the name of the mountain cannot be said), then we might think twice or thrice about any volcanic benefits.

Friday, April 16, 2010

On My Mind


image via The Sundance Channel

This is why no one takes "Ice Dance" seriously. It is also proof that political correctness has still to be invented in Russia. In fact, it's probably one of the few examples to prove that maybe we give political correctness too hard a time, you know. Sometimes there are some pretty good reasons to be "correct", politically speaking.

I know this story is about three months too old and has been sitting in the back of the media fridge for so long it has passed mould/fungus states and gone straight to Penicillin but it's still on my mind. Nagging me. Saying, "How on Earth, could anyone ever think, hey this is good. This is working." Not just in like your own home, or for a private party, but you know, out in a public performance. It would not surprise in the least if this couple performed in Germany in a mash-up of "Diary of Anne Frank/Marriage of Eva Braun" to Edith Piaf's La Vie en Rose whilst wearing full SS/Nazi uniforms including the stylish leather boots and jodpurs, claiming historically accurate themes are their wheelhouse.

Yup. There's a time and a place to be politically correct and this is it.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010


new_releases.JPG, originally uploaded by Pages Books & Magazines.

Feeling oddly sentimental about the loss of Pages Books today. I guess because tonight I'm planning on going to one of their continuing "This is Not a Reading Series" events at the Gladstone Hotel tonight.

I guess even bookstores have an afterlife.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Everywhere and Nowhere


image via Empire Online

It's a little hard to believe that every time I've tried to rent Chaplin's The Great Dictator, it's rented. We're talking about a 70-year-old movie here. It's not like James Cameron just made a re-make of it and everyone is scrambling to see the original. It's not as though there's a European politician who looks like Charlie Chaplin in the news. It's not in any current references. It's just one of those big time classic movies I've had on my list to cross off and can't seem to do it.

This is a very good case for Video on Demand. Though in the current version you of VoD I'm not sure a 70-year-old film would be available anyway. I just checked iTunes - nothing. I just checked the Toronto Public Library. They have 12 copies, 10 are on hold, one is overdue and another one is missing. No copies available.

What is going on with this film? It's just not in the current zeitgeist, so why can't I find a copy to watch. If I were to illegally download this film, who could blame me? It probably hasn't been broadcast in years. It's been available to rent since home video has existed (the 1980s?). At 70 years, isn't it officially in the public domain? Shouldn't my DVD player or set top box come with a free copy? To be honest I'm surprised it's not available on Google Video like The Day the Earth Stood Still. There you have it. I'm forced into illegal action. I present this argument before the court and ask my peers of the jury to ask themselves how can you steal something that is everywhere and nowhere at the same time?

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Seen in March


image via the auteurs

02 - It Might Get Loud
It's worth seeing Jack White and the Edge grinning like idiots as Jimmy Page plays the opening of Whole Lotta Love. If that doesn't make you want to see this film then what will?

05 - Whip It
Drew Barrymore's debut comedy set in the wild and woolly world of amateur roller derby. Ellen Page demonstrates the charm and ease that makes her fun to watch. One gets the impression that Juillette Lewis provided her own wardrobe.

06 - Throw Down Your Heart
Béla Fleck takes his banjo back to its homeland - Africa. Fascinating to see the level of skill of many of the African musicians display on such primitive looking instruments. Eye opening to say the least.

Various Dates - Bored To Death season 01
Jonathon Ames' alter ego, Jason Schwartzman, is up to no good in Manhatten and environs with wing men Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakias (just assume I spelled that wrong).

13 - Alice in Wonderland (2010)
At this point only a few movies make a genuine use of 3-D and Tim Burton's latest is one of them. His mash-up of Through the Looking Glass and Jaberwocky will leave you thinking it was the original story. Someone said to me they thought the story wandered but when I asked how or when they were unable to say. I think you just have to give into the journey and enjoy the dreamlike non sequitors and fantasy world you're in. 3D still gives me eye strain and a headache and as someone who has to wear two pairs of glasses to see 3-D I can't wait for a glassless 3D experience.

14 - King Kong
Mark it as seen but not necessarily enjoyed. Sure it's a classic and the action scenes are great but the film really drags due to clunky dialog and some stinko acting. In general, I think people remember this film more fondly than it might deserve. I'm not sure why but people are so forgiving of these kind of proto-films (Frankenstein's Monster is better but still pretty campy). In literature it's not as though we read bad old books an luv 'em 'cause they are old? Shakespeare and works like the Odyssey aren't loved because they are quaint but because they are great.

20 - Temple Grandin
The first hour is great. The second hour is a mystery because our copy only played for 1 hr and 7 mins.
Update: Somehow figured out how to watch the entire film (insert tech-geek babble here) and I have to say it's great. I'm in the "Claire Danes deserves a Golden Globe thingy Camp". Well, to be honest, I'd be happy to be in any camp with Claire Danes. She's purdy, but she plays plain here. It's like award cat-nip.

Various Dates
Damages season 01
Lock up your pets. Glenn Close is taking names.

30 - Good Hair
Chris Rock's entertaining journey into the world of the black woman's hair. Rock is at his best when improvising and thinking on his feet.

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