deja vu

Watched the Craft Spells video for "Your Tomb"

and had a total deja vu from a reel to reel my dad gave me over 20 years ago:


I saw God and/or Tangerine Dream*

In 1986, we went to the Warner Theater in DC to see T-Dream, then again a week ago, this time at the Howard Theater -- both times with my buddy Guy.

Lots of oldsters like me at the the show -- we got great seats, right at the front. The only band member from 1986 is T-Dream's owner, Edgar Froese, looking every bit his 68 years. He gave a little speech at the end, which I had trouble understanding -- some joke (I think) about Angela Merkel saving the world.

The show was a bit too long, but I guess they want to give us our $40 worth -- it was 3 hours, more or less. I didn't recognize that much of it, as I haven't bought a Tangerine Dream album since 1990 or so, but they played certain things, a part of Logos, "Love on a Real Train" from Risky Business, and part of Ricochet, which is probably my fave album by them. They played some of the lite stuff that I really don't dig, but enough of the more moody stuff I do.


A few days before that show, I was in San Antonio -- Dave and I went to a bar called the Bharmacy (a converted pharmacy) and saw this band of old guys, playing for a crowd at least half of whom were my age or older. They started off whistling the Andy Griffith show jingle, a tribute to our recently deceased, then their first song was "Last Night," a Mar-Keys tune that always grabs me. After that, it was just bluesy stuff I'm not into, but all this kind of made me feel better about getting older.

Last Night

*apologies Lester

hot hot hot

DC last Saturday! Hotter than a witch's tit in brass bra. And no power all over town. Had a good time nonetheless. Stopped at a parade off George Mason -- ILEGALES 2012! T-shirts, floats, everything, including port-a-potties, which I needed. Then to a liquor store on Columbia pike -- no power, but they had plenty of bottled water, still reasonably cool, and at regular price, even -- I was half-expecting them to jack the price for the occasion. Toodled around
Theodore Roosevelt Island
(not to be confused with Roosevelt Island) and Fort Marcy.

Spend the evening at my folks' -- their power had been cut off since the previous evening and the house was a bit of a sweatlodge. But they seemed to be getting along -- they had gas and water, so they could heat up some water on the stove and cook some dinner.

I mentioned that I'd been reading Warriors Don't Cry, about the 1957 integration of the Little Rock, Arkansas high school. My girlfriend's daughter had read the book in college and passed it to her mother, who passed it to me. My mom told me how she'd been in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the time, and had been tasked as a health worker to work with the black patients. There were 10 health workers assigned for whites, one for blacks, and my mother had been it. Tulsa had had a big riot back in '29, and though it was almost 30 years later, everyone was tense, afraid this integration thing would start another riot. She had some good stories, one about the woman who'd just gotten out of jail and was now pregnant -- "You want to know why I was there?" she asked. "If you'd like to tell me." "My brother used to beat my mama!" She pulled out a butterfly knife from under her pillow. "But not anymore!" Then there was the family who's young child had died of salmonella -- my mother went to the house to inspect it, see if they could find the contamination, clean up things. The man answered the door, holding a shotgun and told them to get off his porch -- "you killed my baby."

The house was far too hot for me to sleep comfortably -- I ended up sleeping in the basement, which was at least 10 degrees cooler.
  • Current Music
    stereolab - pause


Last night at this local anime convention, played a Lego version of D&D called "Herocia."

It's a board game, with a changeable Lego board and lego figures moving about at the roll of a die, so it's not really D&D -- it's missing that element of character and out-of-the-box interaction that makes D&D a role-playing game, but it was a fun enough. There were six players plus the dungeon master (who controlled the monsters). The guy to my left was dressed like Mario whom we occasionally had to nudge when it was it his turn because he was playing his gameboy*. On my right, a woman who was checking her facebook page*. One of the other players was checking his device intermittently as well, but I couldn't see what he was up to. My favorite player was this excited 12* year old, there with his very unexicted mom and pop -- this kid consistently ignored treasures for attacking the monsters, and laughed about "stupid mario brothers!"** but in such an ingenuous way I don't think the Mario guy was offended, though I can't be sure.

I only figured out halfway through the game what the actual objective was -- it was to be the first player to get to the finish line, supposedly to rescue the king -- and whoever gets to the finish line effectively rescues the king! Some of the characters had gotten delayed by monsters or whatever, so there were three of us at the end. The number of spaces you can move is governed by the dice roll, so here were the three of us, charging down the dungeon corridor, elbowing each other out of the way in order to be the first one to be able to sweep the king up in our arms and be declared the winner. I should have tried to kill the other two characters -- it wouldn't have worked, but it would have made for a good image, three people who have worked together to get there all brawling over who gets to kiss the king's boots first and get the glory.

So that's another difference with D&D -- despite the occasional backstabbing in a D&D game, it's basically a team effort, whereas this game doesn't quite work that way.

In other events, I played some Halo which I'd never played before. The arena game was pretty fun, but the the solo play wasn't that exciting. Also went to a panel by these guys giving some Japanese history and tying it into various anime series, and after that, I randomly walked into a video room playing episodes of Hetalia, which turned out to be pop history with PG-13 yaoi trappings.*

*or something like that
** a pun on "super mario brothers"
  • Current Music
    John Martyn - Wildflower

Ford Galaxie

Finally, probably 30 years after I first heard about it, I watched Alphaville.

I was always up for science fiction, and the movies were very important. I dug up stuff to watch, went to conventions to catch obscure classics, poured over my science fiction film encyclopedia. But something always kind of kept me away from Alphaville.

The other day, I googled "best science fiction movies" or something like that and came up someone's opinion on the top 100. And there was Alphaville at number 58. And with Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, how could I go wrong?


I guess "more interesting than good" is the way I would put it. The choice to call New York and Florence other "galaxies" -- meanwhile filming everything in contemporary Paris with no attempt to futurize it was an interesting choice. But more interesting than good. The theme was a bit beyond me -- violence and love beat logic(?). So I gotta admit I fast-forwarded through parts, with subtitles conveniently keeping me party abreast of the goings-on.

There maybe 5 or 6 other movies on the list I haven't seen -- mostly classics. A Trip to the Moon (it's on YouTube, so I should check it out), Things to Come, Quartermass 2, This Island Earth, Explorers. A couple I might have seen or maybe just parts of -- Barbarella, Independence Day, The Abyss, Star Trek VI (?). And one I'd never heard of -- The Fountain. And the commenters had some more I should check out -- The Forbin Project, When worlds Collide, Slipstream, The Man in the White Suit, 13th floor. They had a couple more of the artsy stuff that falls flat for me -- Alphaville (as mentioned), The Man Who Fell to Earth, Tetsuo. Finally, there were a few downright curious entries -- Cocoon? Andromeda Strain? A Boy and His Dog? Event Horizon? Trancers... meh. I guess somebody liked those...
  • Current Music
    Colette - Samba de Sunny Side Up


talked to an ex-sailor yesterday -- he said he'd been an electrician on the sub tender USS Canopus for a while. So then that evening I continued reading this book I got from my parents', The Age of Constantine the Great by Jacob Burckhardt, and he started talking about the "odious Canopus." I'd had some vague idea of Canopus being some ancient navigator, but Burckhardt is referring to the city of Egypt, which apparently had a bad reputation.

This Burckhardt book was written in 1852 -- that, combined with the fact that I know next to nothing about the time period (3rd/4th centuries) is one of the reasons that Wikipedia is so handy:

In Roman times, the town was notorious for its dissoluteness. Juvenal's Satire VI referred to the "debauchery" that prevailed there.

So this is a weekend at home -- went to the library with Vern and Jeannine last night for the monthly Fantasmo -- this month, Killer Critters double feature with Joe Don Baker in the 1977 The Pack (with Paul Wilson aka "Bob" in Office Space guesting). Then the 1985 Australian flick Razorback, directed by future Highlander director Russel Mulcahy Arkie Whiteley.

Jeannine had her nephew's graduation to go to, so she arrived late, catching the last half hour or so of The Pack -- not exactly what she really wanted to see. The movie is actually pretty sad -- it's set on some imaginary (New England?) island where tourists come and dump their dogs sometimes. So the pack of dogs goes after humans and there's a big dramatic ending that Jeannine did not want to see.

The Pack was a pretty solid drama, actually and I was engaged. Razorback was a lot less competent and a lot more fun. "Hey, she's in The Road Warrior!" sez me, when Arkie Whiteley shows up on screen. The movie had bad Australian acting, this bizarre and out of place walkabout sequence, bizarre and out of place refugees from Mad Max, confusing events, eccentric film cuts, 80's music, everything you could love about a bad Aussie movie from the 80's.
  • Current Music
    Blake Hazard - Love Won

Rhapsody in Nostalgia

If I got it on CD, I've burned it to my hard drive, but vinyl been something of a bother. I got through about 2/3 of my split singles, and I usually rip (that's right, you "burn" CD's and "rip" vinyl) new stuff, but there are plenty of old records I haven't bothered with yet.

So I've been listening to some old stuff I have only on vinyl or cassette via this Rhapsody music service. $10 a month is alright for what they have. Nothing too obscure (nevermind the J-pop or Sarah) but it's pretty solid.

It occurred to me that I hadn't listened to Mike Oldfield's Ommadawn album in quite a few years, so I checked it out.

Boy, is it awful... With one amazing exception. Oldfield was still following up the long-instrumental format of the (still-stellar) Tubular Bells, so side one of Ommadawn is one long, dreadful track called "Ommadawn Part 1", and the second side, mostly consists of a second long and mostly dreadful track, this one called "Ommadawn Part 2." But at the end of the second side, there's this 3-1/2 minute diddy called (according to the back of the album) "the horse song" or, according the 7" single, "On Horseback." The song seems pasted on, like a cassette with a few extra minutes left on it so you stick on a song by some other band.

the horse song

So cute, it should make me sick, but I love it.

Rhapsody has some bonus tracks for the 2010 re-release of Ommadawn that are pretty good, too, all of which are better than the title song(s), really, "In Dulce Jubilo," "Argiers," a few others.

Oldfield began to move away from the long-song format after Ommadawn -- I dunno that he was ever really all that outstanding, but he had some tunes. But the horse song is what I remember the most.

and in the spirit of sticking things on that have little to do with the main body -- something else I've been listening to on Rhapsody:

Danny Brown - Exotic
  • Current Music
    danny brown - exotic

King of Hearts

The Saint Etienne connection invades again, Cassie's "King of Hearts" remixed by Richard X, recently on production duties for one of Saint Etienne's recent singles.

Check out the slinky video for Cassie:


(the T-Mobile commercial Youtube fed me right before the Saint Etienne video used music from a song I've had quoted on my answering machine for the last 20 years... being the hipster I am, I guess I'll have to change it now...)
  • Current Music
    saint etienne - tonight