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Dinner Attire.

Had Sunday off.  Put onesie on.  Wife cooked brilliant meal.  Didn’t change for the table.

I’m so lucky, you guys.

Dress code.

Dress code.

* Farmed sea bass withhomemade  puttanesca sauce, chipped potatoes, salad and a nice chenin blanc.  Soon, back to playing Far Cry 4.  I love Sundays.

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Poster Tweak

Better?

Better?

Update!

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Solo Show: Women in Comedy 2014

Attempting a new solo show for the Women in Comedy festival in Manchester again. 2014’s show will hopefully be primarily new material.  Better get cracking, I suppose.  Here’s an attempt at a poster.  I’m going for a Rosetta Stone box sort of look.  What do you reckon?

The show will utilize some brief accent work but MOSTLY just to segue from one topic to another and to introduce new subjects/bits.  It’s not a proper accent workshop.  Mostly because I suck at accents.

Hot? Or Not?

Hot? Or Not?

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Best-O-Ween 2011!

It’s not too late to throw out a wee post about some of Halloween’s best offerings this year, is it?

Nah…let’s go for it.

170. Best-O-Ween 2011

Here’s a compilation blog featuring some of the best Halloween-related stuff that I have seen this year.

If you read this blog regularly you know that I love me some Halloween.  I had complained a year or two ago that the UK simply didn’t do it up large like the Americans do.  But, I think that’s changing.  Maybe businesses finally see how easy it is to cash in on Halloween-related crap, theme nights at bars, fancy dress parties, etc…

I have to say, one of the best thing about Kraft Foods (an American company) taking over Cadbury’s has to be that we now have THESE fine foodstuffs:

Americans! Bringing you chocolate covered gore! Hooray!

Really, England, I don’t know what you were kicking up such a fuss about.  When the takeover happened everyone was all worried that the quality of the chocolate would suffer…traditions would crumble…we’d shit it all up with our tackiness.  Obviously you were wrong.  We just added some awesome.  You’re welcome, Britain.

Ok, so what else is worthy of our attention this year?  The doggy dress up competition in NYC is always worth a chuckle.  Here’s the link to some of the best:

Dogs in NYC

Nothing tops that bulldog, for me.

Well…maybe THIS Staffy does.  I lifted this from Pedestrian TV. (All credit due)

You won't like me when I'm growly.

 

In the human costume category, I have to give it up to my cousin, Emily Heinrich.  When I was a kid, I was spoilt by a mother who made costumes herself–amazing constructions.  With the help of patterns from JoAnn Fabrics, I was often the best-dressed kid on my street.  My Mom must’ve lost her nut the year I chose the ‘elephant’ pattern.  It was pretty complicated.  She did a great job with those ears and tusks and trunk though.  Love you, Mom.  Emily is carrying on that tradition…perhaps even a bit further…as her creations don’t look like you could even buy a pattern for them.  Check out how she dressed her boys this year:

Emily Heinrich is crafty

World War II Ace! Sopwith Camel!

 

The Loony Toons monster AND Snoopy’s Red Baron-chasing Sopwith Camel?  That’s just ace, Em.  Well done.

Speaking of crafty people, here’s a little gem that someone forwarded me…allow me to give it a proper introduction:

“Hey lady…looking to throw a kicking Halloween bash this year but CAN’T afford fancy store-bought decorations?  Well, look no further than your bathroom cupboard.  As long as you’re still menstruating, you’ll never be without the potential to terrorize folks!  Check out our new tampon ghost project!

 

Hee Hee--ewwwwww

Don’t like wearing tampons?  I’m pretty sure you could do something similar with this.  It has wings which could resemble ghostly arms!

Boo!

 

If you can’t get enough of making things out of tampons, you’re in luck.  Here’s a web-site devoted to the art.  Thanks internet!  tamponcrafts

Let’s close out this Halloween love fest with a modern classic, shall we?  Werewolf Barmitzvah, anyone?

See you in November!!!!

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Hot Air Balloons Would Have Been Too Predictable

By my estimation, about 98% of music videos manufactured today are forgettable, tasteless, copycat crap.  Every time someone innovates, we wind up seeing approximately 500 knock offs over a few years of said innovation.  Using a fish-eye lens?  Trying out a flash mob type feel?  Putting your artist up solo against a wall of lights?  Sorry, it’s already been done to death.  Yeah, and so has open top car journey and the comedy sketch in the middle of the vid. The trick, I think, is to create something that is so unique to the song that it just can’t be replicated by some cheat who’s been assigned to direct the next Usher video.  It either needs to be keenly specific to the song or so odd that the rip-offery would be far too blatant to even attempt…so weird that it could never possibly become a trope.   Today’s great thing is a perfect example of that.  It is the hypnotically engaging and absolutely un-trope-able:

159.  The Video for Daft Punk’s Around the World.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Daft Punk would get a wholly original director to helm one of their videos.  They are, undoubtedly, one of the most unusual commercial acts around.  The two Frenchmen, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, rarely appear publicly out of their cool-ass robot helmets and have always emphasized visuals and story-telling in their music.  Though I could give a fudge-bar (yeah, that’s right…I think Fudge bars are Cadbury’s worst candy bar!) about seeing the new Tron movie, I am eager to hear the score that they’ve created for it.  Too bad the film looks like such kak–even if my friend Paul says it wasn’t that bad.  I’m convinced he’s only saying that so he doesn’t get all mad at himself for spending money to see it in the theater.

French robots use their electronica powers for good.

159.  The Video for Daft Punk’s Around the World.

It’s worth noting that Michael Gondry was the director in question.  Gondry has a pretty excellent track record when it comes to creating memorable videos for creative musical artists.  Just two notables include Bjork’s “Human Behavior” and The Chemical Brothers’ “Let Forever Be”.   He, of course, went on to helm such great pictures as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and maybe the slightly less good The Science of Sleep.   Fun fact, he utilized the bullet-time technique in film-making BEFORE it appeared in The Matrix.

“Around the World” was choreographed by Blanca Li (NOT the Blanka that we all know and love from “Street Fighter”.)

No...not Blanka, B-L-A-N-C-A

Blanca Li is a Spanish choreographer, silly.  Before I show the video, let’s chat about why it looks the way it looks?  (How do pin-headed athletes, “disco girls” in swimsuits, and mummies all wind up on the same stage?)  What Gondry focussed on when making this video was it’s simple but super hooky structure.  It utilizes only five instruments and each of those five instruments have different patterns…hence the five groups of characters.  If you watch closely, you can see how they all respond directly to their own instrumentation.  Here is a key:

Athletes–bass guitar

Skeletons–guitars

Mummies–drum machines

Disco Girls–keyboards

Androids–robo-singing voice

The platform itself is supposed to represent a vinyl record.  Neat-O!  Let’s watch:

It’s all so harmonious.  For once, the video matches how cool it sounds with how cool it looks (and vice versa).  Also, is it just me or does the choreography feels a bit like patting your head and rubbing your belly.  I think it’s marvellous how they all keep time without distracting each other–especially considering the costumes they’re all wearing.  The mummies, especially, I think would draw my attention away from my rhythmic footing.

Not bad...AND the one on the left can juggle...or something.

 

I wanted to close out this blog post with a couple of tributes to “Around the World”.  Though with this next video, you might say that my earlier argument of this video being “un-trope-able” has just fallen down.  But to that, I say “Nay!” Take a look and I think you’ll understand why it still stands…perhaps even stronger than before.  I definitely  think we can label this as an homage as opposed to a copycat.  You can watch this Freemason’s video and still know that Daft Punk and Michael Gondry did it first.  You dont’ forget the original…whereas you might not remember who first did filmed their performer against a wall of lights thanks to the sheer numbers of parrots who have done so since.  Plus, unlike in the “Around the World” video, the dancers in this video don’t seem to correspond with any instrumental counterpart…they’re just dancing in time.  So, it doesn’t have that eerie cadence to the choreography that the original does.  It both celebrates and fails to match the original.

A more creative and fitting tribute comes in this cover by Señor Coconut and his Orchestra.  Based on the mellow awesomeness of this bossa nova (or samba?) version of the floor-filler, I think I’m going to check out Señor Coconut’s whole album.

Now, if I can just find four friends who are willing to invest in the materials, I think I may go as a tribute to this video next Halloween…or at least the next costume party I get invited to.  But I totally call the android costume.  I’m not going as the disco girl.

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Intermission

Hello faithful readers and/or people who are only here because they are google-image searching one of the great things I’ve covered.

 

Insert Lady Gaga pic here:

 

 

First of all, Happy Halloween! Secondly, I’m currently in NYC (going to watch the Halloween parade tonight! I’ll post some pics later on.) Having just gotten hitched to my lovely wifer (that’s a combo word of wife and partner that I’ve invented for gay people and straight allies to use), we are off to honeymoon in Ecuador! Why Ecuador? Well, in a very self-righteous fashion, we want to spend our honeymoon dollars in a country that has gay marriage and, if you can believe it, they do! So, we’re off to the jungle and the capitol city of Quito, and do some horseback riding.  We’ll try get out of there before the police try to stage another coup.
Anyway, the reason I’m saying this is because I’ll be post-less for a couple of weeks.  I’ll miss you guys but I’ll be back with new and exciting South American things to talk about.
See you guys in mid November!!!

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Babeball? Batgirls? No Wordplay Too Foul For This Blog Headline!

Karey and I have been revisiting some of our favorite films over the last few weekends.  There are some that are, unfortunately, not as good as we remembered.  (Minus a few choice gags and performances, much of Young Frankenstein, in my opinion, now plays a bit stale…probably because it’s been nicked from so much).  But, there are also the happy surprises of movies that are every bit as good as they were since the last time you watched them.  Sometimes, they seem even better!  The Man with Two Brains was even funnier than I recalled.  I’m dying to use the quotes “Get that cat outta here!” and “Into the mud, scum queen!” but haven’t been given many opportunities to indulge myself yet.  Another pick that made me well up with happiness is today’s great thing:

134. A League of Their Own

Penny Marshall.  Where are you?  How come you’ve not directed anything  besides a smattering of television shows recently? You know what I miss?  Rosie O’Donnell doing Penny Marshall impressions.  Those were special times.  Remember their Kmart commercials?  Remember Kmart?

Anyway, when the motion picture came out in 1992 , I was 16…perfect timing as it coincided nicely with my budding girl-fancying.  Beyond crushing on Geena Davis though, this pic appealed to me because it’s a pitch-perfect (yes, pun intended) example of a quality family comedy.  Its ‘real-story’ roots and gentle feminist comedy stylings represented all that could be good and true about Hollywood to me in my teenage years.  Maybe there’s a bit of a formula forced on it.  (Turns out that the league, in real life, wasn’t unpopular initially…it was pretty much a hit from the get-go…but the script needed some extra obstacles in the way and it’s better for it).  But, even on this–my seventh viewing–it never came across as nauseatingly hammy–only endearing in a familiar sort of way.  Plus, baseball movies are ALLOWED to be a bit more sentimental.

SO excited when this issue arrived at home that year...

Though Tom Hank’s mini-meltdown in front of the Peaches dugout is certainly one of the finest moments in the film, I have to admit, my new favorite quote may be a completely random moment made wonderfully ridiculous by Anne Ramsay’s over-the-top reading of it.

Anne Ramsay’s character Helen Hayley steps out into the hallway of the dormitory where all the other girls are trying to eavesdrop on a fight that Kit and Dottie are having.  Helen is ready for a night on the town:  Has anyone seen my new red hat?

Dottie (storming out of the fight with Kit):  Piss on your red hat!

Both clips for your enjoyment here:

I like Anne Ramsay.

I like your big clunky watch! Seriously!

The idea for A League of Their Own, a gem of the ‘how come nobody had made this yet’ variety came on the heels of a documentary of the same name which was produced  in 1986 by Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson.  Candaele is the offspring of AAGPBL player Helen Callaghan.  His aunt, Marge Callaghan, was also a player.   Speaking of which, RIP Dorothy Kamanshek (the character Dottie Hinson was based on) who died on May 17th this year.

Two things I want to crow about in regards to this film before I wrap up this blog:

1.  The ensemble.  What a fantastic roster of actors they got for this shindig.  Tom Hanks in his prime,  Geena Davis rarely better, Rosie and Mo perfect as nasal New Yawkers, the aforementioned Anne Ramsay just for that line reading alone, Megan Cavanagh as sweet bruiser Marla Hooch, David Straithairn– empathetic, and Jon Lovitz as the funniest man in the film.

I can’t imagine what the picture would have looked like had casting gone differently.  Like Ghostbusters this is one of those movies that actually has a rather fascinating list of ‘coulda-beens’.  For instance, both Molly Ringwald and Moira Kelly were considered for the role of Kit.  Debra Winger, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, and Kelly McGillis were all up for the role of Dottie at one time or another.  KD Lang was supposed to be in the picture in SOME capacity.  I would bet that she was up for the Rosie role…but backed out because she would have had to wear a skirt.

My only gripe is when it comes to Lori Petty.  Now before you think I’m hating too hard, I’d like to say that I actually like Lori Petty.  She was Tank Girl! She’s scrappy!  She wears her hair short!  But, I think she went a degree too far into the ‘annoying kid sister’ approach to this role.  Yes, Kit needed to be threatened by the perfection of Dottie and resentful of the shadow she is subsequently cast in, but she was a mite bit too big of a whiney baby.  The grating edge on her performance wound up being detrimental to her character as I wound up  getting pissed off at Kit instead of feeling bad for her.  On a positive note, Petty was apparently able to run faster than Davis in real life.  That’s some good scrambling, little lady!

2.  In my geekish info-gathering exercise for this blog post, I reviewed the original trailer for the movie.  Boy, what a lousy misrepresentation that is!  It totally sells this film as a “the trouble with girls” type of outing instead of the sweet herstory lesson that it actually is.  Watch and seethe:

I call shenanigans!  The Rockford Peaches weren’t ‘impossible to manage’.  They had real talent and moxy.  They had to drag the character of Jimmy Dugan up from the gutter he’d gotten himself into.  The Dugan character is redeemed by the team.  Not the other way around!

Grrrr….I hate it when they sell to the lowest common denominator.

Anyway, let’s close on a positive note.  Here’s a nifty little presentation about the real girls of the AAGPBL:  teachertube

Lastly, please enjoy this ACTUAL newsreel about it from back in the day.  It’s even more ridiculous than the fake one they wrote for the movie:

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