Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Image from page 150 of "The Canadian field-naturalist" (1924)

I hate my backpack. I hate all backpacks. I even hate the name. Back. Pack. I hate this entire category of luggage. There was a moment when I thought what a great idea a “No-strap Backback” was, until I realized it was a terrible idea that was also an April Fools prank. Even the most ergonomically designed pack is putting stress on your shoulders and spine (even “strapless” ones). I hate the sweatiness of a pack covering a large portion of my back. What’s the point of wearing breathable fabric outerwear if most of it is covered with a heavy nylon unbreathable pack stuffed with junk?

Of course, it’s not really about the bag itself. Living in a city where you leave your house for hours at a time and don’t have a car to secure personal affects means you have to carry everything you might need with you. I’m fascinated by the “Persona” project where an artist asks to photograph a person and the belongings they deem essential enough to carry with them everyday (a surprising number of people carry two phones and knives - big knives?!) If I emptied out my backpack you’d find an asthma inhaler, a handful of ibuprofen, maybe a protein bar, a couple of notebooks, multiple pens, a phone cable and a backup battery to recharge my phone on the go. Probably the oddest things I carry are part of a repair kit for my bike, namely a wrench and a pump (a compact pump but a pump nonetheless).
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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Seen in… April

Hey there, Brigsby Bear. Image via The Movie Database

This morning I was reading some reviews from users on the site Letterboxd of the latest Marvel movie and some people were simply dumping all over it, while others were gushing with the kind of hyperbole one expects from a fan. In recent years we’ve realized that’s what the Internet has become. A place of divisive thought where everyone poses as an expert. The problem with film criticism (or any form really; art, literary etc) is that you know what you like and what you don’t and you think “like” and “don’t like” equals “good” and “bad”. Yet this is not so and that’s why “critics” exist and a lot of the approach is based in literary criticism and theory - so it’s kind of highfalutin and full of $10 words and such. Still, there’s nothing wrong with sharing your opinions about why you like or didn’t like a movie, but being critical isn't capital “C” criticism, which is fine. I realize I can sound like a jerk when I write this stuff. I’m trying to be funny not jerky, but I get how being both unfunny and jerky equals “jerk”. Henceforth, if something sounds jerky remember not to take it too seriously.

I guess I feel guilty about saying how bad Temple of Doom was…

Ash vs Evil Dead Season 1 & 2

This is a surprisingly great adaptation of the movies to a continuing series of 30 minute episodes. If you know and love Sam Raimi’s films, The Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, then this is a slam dunk as the same level of gore, fright, camp and humour are maintained and balanced throughout. Bruce Campbell is back as the eponymous Ash, and we find that he’s pretty much the same immature, irresponsible slayer of evil he was 30 years ago. Somehow Ash has kept the evil book of the dead, the Necronomicon, that opens a portal of evilness upon the world without consequence for all the time that has passed between the original movies and today but of course, that couldn’t last if you want to make a series about the forces of evil fighting a one-handed guy who uses a chainsaw as a prosthetic. You’d think seeing our hero and his new young friends getting into and out of more evil circumstances would grow old but after 20 episodes it’s just as fun as the first time.

Between a rock and a hard place and a disappointing sequel. Image via The Movie Database

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Eew and ugh. Despite Spielberg’s deftness with the camera this is a terrible movie, only partly due to the deafness of the script. It would be pointless to go back to an old movie and be critical of its political correctness but luckily there is no reason to revisit this movie anyway. The movie begins with our hero, Indiana Jones narrowly escaping what looks like a more interesting adventure only to board a plane set to crash over India. Since the previous film, Jones has for no reason, picked up a 10 or 11-year-old sidekick (who annoying yells every line), swapped his previous love interest of Karen Allen for a tag along night club performer, Kate Capshaw but maintained his trademark swagger. This unlikely trio wind up in a tiny Indian village that has lost a sacred stone which Indy, without much provocation, decides to help retrieve it. What follows is pretty bad. I tend to think of this film like the 3 Star Wars where a series goes off the rails, but fortunately the film that followed (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) was one of the best.

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