Thursday, December 31, 2009

Have a good one







(NSFW--what are you doing at work? National holiday, hello? and also: congratulations on having a job.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to make paper snowflakes

It's quite snowy outside (not here--we've got monsoon rainstorms to contend with). But up north in our old digs: lotsa' snow this week. I'm sure you're eager to start your paper snowflake projects. Be sure to hang them in the window and remember: if you make them out of large coffee filters, let the kids color them with a spritz of water and drops of food coloring (my crafty tip of the day).

Ignore the Christmas decor. Christmas is so over. I scoured YouTube (for fifteen f-'n minutes) to find the perfect "how to" snowflake-making video, and this was the most concise.


Snowflake templates here.

Bonus! Make a mod paper snowflake garland--I dare ya!

Garland template available here.

Lots more crafty goings-on at Curbly Videos.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Psychedelic Tuesday

Kids are always asking each other, "What's your favorite color?" It seems to be an important question for them. Perhaps this is an early precursor to personality tests. For a short while in the early 70s I answered this question with the would-be color, "psychedelic." It contained all the colors with an added element of trendy subversion. Happy psychedelic Tuesday.













Monday, December 28, 2009

Louisa May Alcott - American Masters TONIGHT

Short notice, but if you happen to tune into PBS tonight around 9 p.m. the American Masters program is all about Louisa May Alcott -- an American original. Do watch!

World's Greatest Dad trailer

Written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. Tanked in the theater, apparently, but John Waters put it on his top-ten for 2009. Looks daaaaaark.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Upular



From Pogo's YouTube Channel:
Pogo is an emerging electronic music artist in Perth, Western Australia. He is known for his work recording small sounds from a single film or scene and sequencing them to form a new piece of music.

His most notable track, Alice, a composition of sounds from the Disney film Alice In Wonderland, was received with much success gaining over 4 million views on YouTube as of December 2009. Pogo has since produced tracks from films like Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, The Sword In The Stone, Hook, and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

***
If you haven't seen "Up" yet, why not? You'll laugh; you'll cry; you'll ponder life on Earth and our pending mortality. And there's talking dogs!

As featured on ONTD.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have yourself a merry little Disco Noël


I was going to post about anything BUT Christmas at this point, but duty calls. Christmas duty. "Disco Noël" is the only Christmas album I own (a relic from my childhood and a mom who's a not-so-secret dancing queen), and we've been kind of forced to give it a few plays this week. It's pretty god-awful, but I stationed the mini-trampoline in the living room near the tree, and Jackson and I made up some good dances, and isn't THAT what Christmas is all about?

Lehrer29 was kind (or sadistic) enough to post some cuts from the album on YouTube. My mom did actually give us some disco balls for the tree this year, so it's all coming together as a "theme."







Tuesday, December 22, 2009

King Missile - Jesus Was Way Cool

Since a large portion of the U.S. will be celebrating the birth of baby Jesus in the next few days, I thought it would be nice to reflect on how cool Jesus was. Of all cinematic representations of JC, I think this is my favorite.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pavement - Zurich is Stained

Today's video comes from Pavement's debut, "Slanted & Enchanted" back in 1992. From seemingly out of nowhere (Stockton) they came. Simple yet complex melodies with Stephen Malkmus' vaguely direct poetry-as-lyrics. You might think it's easy to sing/talk like Stephen Malkmus but let me tell you, you're apt to come off like a dumbass on the "sha-la la la bah bah" parts. Not so for him. He always sounds spot on and that's his special talent as a singer. Who knew?



MySpace

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Santa Claus and His Old Lady



Cheech and Chong were very influential to my generation. Pot addled clowns, or social-commentary geniuses? YOU make the call.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Off to work we go

I have to commute elsewhere for work, so in the meantime, enjoy Jack Black having a very special commuter trip of his own.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My first animated gif

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This is exactly what it's like to blog every day. You can see the entire dramatic scene at FourFour. Thanks for the inspiration, Rich.

Oh look, it's Chuck Prophet

Apologies for any typos. I had some kind of reaction to the ephedrine in the Novocaine at the dentist's today. I didn't know they put ephedrine in Novocaine--did you? That stuff makes me feel really crazy. I'm apparently very sensitive to its speedy, heart-palpitating, sinus-clearing side-effects.

The left side of my face swelled up, which I do not need, and I sat in a stupor for most of the afternoon, just thinking slow thoughts. Meanwhile my kid was desperate for batteries for several of his toys at once, which he would abandon immediately upon my putting new batteries in them. That's the weirdest concept; wishing someone would continue playing with something just because you put batteries in it. I did fix a toy tractor named Terrence, using a toothpick and some tweezers. But I couldn't rescue a severed Lego-like arm from the inside of a giant marble-tower elevator contraption. It was a strange, strange day and the arm--it got away from me once again.

Which reminds me: Here's Chuck Prophet. In an upcoming documentary about his travels to Mexico City to make a record. Chuck Prophet is a very talented guitarist who's been playing and composing in the Bay Area for...ever. He's been doing this forever. I met him more than 25 years ago when I was entrusted to train him as a college-radio DJ at cable station KSFS. I did so and he was fine on the air. He's got a good radio voice--deep. I remember I had to tell him not to move his swivel chair when he talked in the mic because the chair was really squeaky. It was part of the State University college system and no one had oiled it...ever. It had never been oiled, even though it was the DJ chair. And it was really noisy. So I had to tell Chuck Prophet to sit still when he talked and he took it really well. It was an awkward moment in training because fidgeting is a natural outlet for nerves, but that's how it was at SFSU. You had to work around the technical difficulties. And I should know because I went back there for grad school.

So anyway, Chuck Prophet, he's been kicking around for a long time and he deserves a documentary about his rock & roll muse, which he's been following forever. He's been following that particular muse for ever. Cheers, Chuck.



As seen on Live for Films.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Religious Candy Makes for Sweet Spirituality

We're on a candy cane jag around here. The sweet, pepperminty crooks of Christmas goodness are the perfect after-dinner mint as far as I'm concerned. Recently while strolling the aisles of Rite-Aid, I came across this display:


I was disappointed. SOMEONE had to go and ruin all my Christmas fun with their Jesus stuff. I have nothing against Jesus, but please, I want to enjoy my candy goodness without thinking about how he was tortured and hung on the cross to die, JUST THIS ONCE on Christmas. OK--so Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. No room at the inn, the kings and their gifts, some shepherds and farm animals and the big star in the sky--lovely story. But you can't really celebrate Jesus without the looming specter of his imminent demise haunting everything.

I never really bought the whole "he is arisen" thing, so that never cheered me in the least. I just couldn't help wondering what kind of dad would let his son perish so miserably just to prove a point. And how many people have truly risen from the dead anyway? None on my watch. I'm not making light of the story. It just tends to add a layer of heaviness to daily life. And candy.

According to this site, the candy cane legend is explained thusly:

Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me

White is for my Savior
Who's sinless and pure!
"J" is for Jesus My Lord, that's for sure!

Turn it around
And a staff you will see
Jesus my shepherd
Was born for Me!

Not so! says rumor alleviater Snopes.com. There's no connection between candy canes and Jesus. Just as I thought. And do you really think of Jesus when inundated with peppermint flavoring and artificial red food dye? I tend to think of chocolate, as in peppermint-flavored hot chocolate. It's like canes are the gateway holiday candy drug for me.

Speaking of chocolate, here's some religious candy molds so you can make praying hands and crucifix confections for your own spiritual sugar-rush fervor. What could be more uplifting that chocolaty praying hands?

Christian Dollar Store has even more Christian scripture candy, and plenty of pop-up ads if you're craving that sort of Internet fulfillment.

Milk chocolate crucifix--sure to be tasty. Don't bother counting calories, it's all good.



Mommy! These lollipops hurt my mouth! For those who would suffer for their candy fix.


Gnawing on one of these bracelets will get you through church service in seemingly no time at all.


Testamints sugar free gum, recommended by four out of five dentists who pray you have adequate insurance.


Fish-shaped mints. Sort of unappealing somehow.


But I would definitely go for the sours. They got me with that one. Lord, save me with sours!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The 50s - Decade of Demented Dreams

There are no words to describe the stupefying, almost psychotic, incompetence that is "Robot Monster" (1953). Enjoy.


"Devil Girl From Mars" (1954). Never heard of this. Obviously I haven't truly lived life to the fullest.


Where have I been all my life?


"She Demons" (1958). This ain't right in the head.


"The Giant Claw" (1957). Reach for the sky, 50s-era prop department!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Imagination Movers are super cool

We took Jackson to the fabulous Fox Theatre in Oakland yesterday for a lunch-time show of the touring Imagination Movers. These are four guys, neighbors in New Orleans, who were constantly running into each other at their kids' birthday parties. They formed a band to play kids' music and then tragically three of them lost their homes and everything in them in Hurricane Katrina.

Somehow they kept going with their local cable kids' show, which then got picked up by the Disney Channel and now they're famous; with kids. And their parents. Their show is marketed to preschoolers but their humor is really more in the 6- to 9-year-old range, at least live on stage. They do a lot of riffing and improv between songs and they're very sharp with sports references and pop-music culture. They had several jokes that only older adults would get. That's always appreciated. At one point they did a very accurate impression of MC Hammer and the dance from "Can't Touch This." Then they told the audience not to tell anyone that they were actually seen doing that.

The tickets were expensive but the theatre is SUCH an amazing experience. Even the ceiling made Jackson say, "Wow." That's the sign of an excellent venue. If you're escorting a small child about, you might want to check them out. The highlight for us was surprise dancing guest, DC, local guy and former Warriors mascot, now on Choo Choo Soul. Anyone with a toddler and cable will know what I just typed there. DC dances well on his feet, on his back and even on his hands. He, like the Imagination Movers, is 100% committed to fun-filled concepts.

Interview


You will often find the Imagination Movers in the middle of a brainstorming session.


Shakable You

Friday, December 04, 2009

Songs About Tennis

I'm scheduled to play tennis tomorrow morning with a group of experimental and documentary filmmakers (some of us have been known to make a narrative or two as well). I haven't played tennis in more 20 years and last time I tried, I couldn't serve. I don't mean I was serving badly. I mean I literally couldn't serve. I couldn't hit the ball with the racket. It was...humbling. So in preparation to be further humbled, I'm going to pump myself with these songs about tennis.

There really aren't that many songs about tennis, but I do know that Philadelphia Freedom was written for Billie Jean King and her tennis team, the Philadelphia Freedoms. Elton, you made a rockin' song about tennis. Your genius is untouchable.




Cream - Anyone For Tennis. Label this under WTF?




Pavement - Stop Breathing. Keith correctly (and incredibly) pointed out that the first verse of this song was about tennis. I NEVER would have known this, even though I've heard this song roughly a thousand times since 1994. See if you can spot the tennis references: Got struck by the first volley / Of the war in the courts / Never held my serve / Send'em a wire, give'em my best / This ammunition never rests / No one serves coffee, no one wakes up




The Brat - Chalk Dust - The Umpire Strikes Back. Ha ha! No comment, other than this was a big hit in England, satirizing actual John McEnroe tantrums, in the magical year of 1982.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Barbara Manning - Every Pretty Girl

Today's video is from Barbara's 1991 CD "One Perfect Green Blanket." which is a two-fer because you also get her first solo album, "Lately I Keep Scissors" in the deal. They're both great albums of the very late 80s/early 90s.

Barbara's songs are story poems and they reflect a lot of universal feelings, especially concerning relationships. That's my best-effort explanation of her genre. I like her clear and distinct singing and how she surrounds herself with great musicians for all sorts of collaborative fun. As a composer and lead singer, she's tops and I continue to dig her scene. Plus she loves baseball and put out a great Baseball Trilogythat is well worth your effort to obtain, baseball fans.

We worked on a couple music videos many years back, but this one I made on my own, in my family room, with her OK. The footage is from "That Junior Miss Spirit," a 1970 beauty pageant documentary from Prelinger Archives, which brings up the question, do you think floppy hats with mini skirts will make a comeback?



Official site
MySpace

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Call for Super Chicken

The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away. Sort of. I've had good experiences on the Internet for several years now. Lots of old friends showing up on Facebook; one from Katmandu who I hadn't seen in years, who I really wanted to connect with again. Some new friends I made this year, all from Facebook and blog postings. One I've visited with in person, just to make it official. It's been enriching.

People complain about all this computer networking and how it doesn't seem "real." How it can dredge up old wounds and feelings of loneliness, but I can't complain. It's been good for me. Last night I looked up an old friend who I hadn't heard from for several years. He was a busy guy with a really interesting career, so I never felt slighted. He had found me by email somehow and it was wonderful to "talk" again--one of my favorite people from high school who moved out of state before we graduated, and I've missed him ever since.

So I went looking for him last night, hoping to reconnect. Sadly, I got bad news right away. And now I know I've lost him for good. At least I know this about him: He had a loving partner, an incredibly successful career in the arts, doing what he loved, and he appreciated our friendship so long ago. I know, because he told me in his last email. And then I got a chance to tell him how much I enjoyed being in his company. So if you have a friend like that, go ahead and tell him or her too. I'll try and do the same.

This song always cheers me up, at least a little.