CRS
Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

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POLARITY 287

Monday, June 02, 2008

this entry brought to you by radiohead, "down is the new up"


Eat Drink Man Woman I'm a big fan of Ang Lee's, and while I loved his action films, the poetic and artful kung-fu film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and loved his poetic-action piece Hulk much more than the audience at large, Lee is best at quiet, introspective films, and he handles the depth and complications of family especially well, as with The Ice Storm, one of my all-time favorite films, and this. It predates his English movies, and shows what made the Taiwanese director stand out, to be courted by Hollywood. It's about a master Chinese chef, who is slowly losing his sense of taste, and is trying to keep it from getting in the way of his job and his livelihood-- not so much out of the stubbornness of the elderly, but from out of a sense of having something to exist for. He cooks gigantic meals every Sunday for his three daughters, the oldest a teacher who lives with her father, so absorbed in taking care of him that she's forgotten to have a love life; a middle daughter so absorbed in her career that she's neglected to figure out who she is; and the youngest, a student who works at a fast food restaurant, trying to steal her friend's boyfriend. The old man himself is left with no one specifically to look after, his wife having died 16 years prior, and all his daughters grown up. Eat Drink Man Woman is quiet and character motivated, and the characters initially are set up as being stock, almost stereotypical-- the old Chinese man whose life is cooking Chinese food, his daughters caught up in their own lives they don't have time for anything-- but this is intentional, as the layers of the characters slowly get peeled away, and every person (all wonderfully acted, by the way) becomes fully three dimensional. It's exactly the kind of character-drenched drama that Lee is excellent at.

Nine Inch Nails, Broken EP It had always been a mainstay in my high school years, but basically ever since The Fragile came out in 1999, I stopped listening to it, probably giving the CD a spin three times over the last nine years. I decided to listen to it again a few days ago, and came away surprised how much I enjoyed it. Yes, it's Nine Inch Nails, and Nine Inch Nails is one of my favorite bands, and yes, it's only from 1992, and music from 1992 has aged well in a lot of cases. But NIN is electronic music, and electronic music doesn't age nearly as well as your traditional rock music. I was expecting to put on the EP and think that it's from a time removed, good for my high school days but merely a relic 15 years later. I was really surprised how much I liked it. If Broken was released right now, my only complaints would be 1) "Wow, this is pretty dark." Nine Inch Nails has got some kinda-sorta dark lyrics, mostly of the self loathing kind, but I don't really think his lyrics are the kind of thing you make sure your teenager isn't listening to. This album's lyrics are a lot more morbid-- still nothing like most goth junk from the time, but definitely darker than his lyrics have been post The Fragile. And 2) "Wow, these drums sound hollow". The drums on Broken are a mix of live drumming and programmed drums, but even the live drumming seems to be on electronic drum pads, and it lacks the viscera of post Fragile NIN. But overall I enjoyed the album a good deal, quickly found myself getting into it, and am not really sure why I don't listen to it more often.

Crispy Crunchy Reese's Bar Delicious. There have been other crispy bars, such as Nestle's Crispy Crunch bar, and Butterfinger's Crisp bar, and they have wafers in them, so the the flavor goes thin wafer, thin layer of chocolate, wafer, chocolate, and so on, and then covered around it in the traditional candy bar-- and they're delicious (even though I initially gave them the thumbs down-- I can be wrong, you know!). I was expecting Reeses Crispy Crunchy bar to be the same. Instead, the outside layer is chocolate with peanuts in it, so you bite in and get a crunchy start, then the inside is where the crispy is-- but instead of wafers, it's actually more like Butterfinger, with layers of peanut-butter strips piled on top of one another. It's super nummy.

Rachael Ray I have actually bad mouthed her before on this very page (although I misspelled her name), but it's because I had no idea who the hell she was, and she suddenly became ubiquitous without any sort of build up. Anyway, after much debating over it, I'll finally concede: Rachael Ray is a cutie.

Daft Punk's video for "Technologic" I'm not really a fan of Daft Punk, and when I first heard this song, I thought it was catchy as heck (as most of their music is), but I thought it was kind of derivative of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger", which was also an affected vocal listing out words with a dance beat behind it. But the video, with a horrible demon baby-machine staring into your soul, commanding you to do these things, is oddly transfixing/nightmarish, and quite awesome.


THE BAD

Streaming movies Netflix as well as several other companies offer these services where you stream movies off the Interwebs. There are even these services where you rent a terabyte of hard drive space on some server, and you buy movies you want, put them on that harddrive, and just stream your movies from there to your computer, negating the need for DVDs. What I don't like about this idea is that one, watching movies on a computer screen is still awkward for most families, myself included. While I do watch some movies on the PC and watch a lot of TV here, it's not as ideal as sitting on the couch in front of the TV, especially when you factor in the whole family-- shoving around this screen isn't as comfortable, and I've never been to somebody's house where they had their PC set up so that it was. But what really bothers me about this technology-- and I'll admit that I've never actually tried it-- is that I cannot imagine it being lag free. Frequently I'll be on Youtube trying to watch something, and before I know it, the lips don't match the words, I've got to grab the bar, and rewind a second so it catches up. Or there will be stuttering. Or I'll be watching and suddenly it'll just take a real long pause and have to buffer. Granted, this isn't always my experience when streaming stuff from the Internet-- I was just on Hulu earlier today watching full episodes of Family Guy, and one episode stuttered like an hiccuping asshole after every commercial break, forcing me to pause and read something else in another window for a few minutes before I came back to watch it, while the other episode ran absolutely fine-- but the fact that it happens at all is something that I can't get over. I cannot imagine watching a movie, seeing somebody aim a gun at another character in a stand off, have a freeze, and then when it syncs back up, suddenly somebody's dead and the other character is running off. Plus, do you want to know another reason this technology scares me? Everybody can have terabytes of their own personal information on some server farm out in Texas? Exactly how much energy is being used to keep these giant server farms on-line 24 hours a day? Wouldn't it be less wasteful to just print the DVDs and ship 'em to me?

The Onion Movie I'm not completely opposed to the idea of an Onion movie. If you click the link you'll be taken to a website with a trailer. It's basically old Onion articles written out like skits, in the context of a fake newscast. I have a couple problems with it, though. For one thing, the trailer seems to imply that the entirety of the movie is made up of old news headlines being dramatized-- those headlines are classic for a reason, but I already know the jokes. I'm disappointed that they didn't use any new headlines, and if they did, the trailer certainly doesn't show any. Secondly, they already have a cast of news anchors for The Onion News TV, which makes me wonder why in the world they used this guy, who just seems like an anonymous professional old guy, whereas somebody like Clifford Baines, from the News Network, has a very authoritative, news-worthy face. Why not use him?

Family Guy's joke setups I haven't been watching Family Guy with any regularity since it came back on, but I've caught it here and there, and I've enjoyed myself, but I've never bought into why anybody would say that Family Guy is the best show on television, nor why anyone would say it's better than The Simpsons. On the other hand, I also don't get the hipster thing, which is to hate Family Guy. I like Family Guy. I would defend Family Guy from its detractors. But back to it being better than the Simpsons, no. I was watching two episodes from 2007, a two parter, one where Stewie kills Lois, and the other where Lois kills Stewie. And I enjoyed them. But man, I am really sick of when any character says "Man, that was [better than/ worse than/ as good/bad as] that time [forced pop-culture reference]," which cuts to an unrelated joke. All the jump cutting itself doesn't necessarily bother me, because sometimes the jokes that they lead to are great, but the set ups are absolutely awful, and seemed forced-- you could play Mad Libs with them and get the exact same effect.

Vampire Weekend I'll probably get around to reviewing their album eventually, but I wanted to mention this now, 1) before they go out of style and nobody cares about them, and 2) because complaining about this won't be very fruitful for a review. For one thing, I don't like their music. Their song "A-Punk" makes me grit my teeth. I really, really don't like it. But also, they look like douche bags. I understand that they're purposefully going for a look that's different than the typical indie rock look of just dressing however, like you don't care, that conscious hipster look, but they've gone a step further, and all look like preps that go to Ivy League schools. They are one scarf away from looking like Fred from Scooby Doo. They all look like they're about to go play tennis at a social club, and need to grab a bottle of Perrier before they head out; afterwards, they'll all rest in a jacuzzi built for 20 talking about how something really should be done about all the Mexicans. In the picture linked above, one of them appears to be wearing a cardigan, and the other an Izod shirt. Shiver.

The current food crisis Parts of the planet are starving, and there are riots. Why? Gas prices are too high, transporting food from one place to another is enormously expensive, creating food so expensive poorer countries can't buy it as they have been able to previously. At this point, driving around in your Hummer or your SUV not only makes you an asshole, but a scourge of the planet.
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on this day last year anyone that likes one sport but says another sport is "dumb" is a fucking idiot.
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with love from CRS @ 10:06 AM 

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