Friday, November 27, 2009

The Fall (and music)

So as noted, Jean and I watched The Fall. I was intrigued by the trailers and the opening credits which are online, and folk like Roger Ebert recommended it highly, so I decided to inflict it on Jean.

Short summary: a stunt man breaks his back during a stunt and ends up in a hospital, where he meets a little girl. She asks him to tell her a story, which he does. It is a fantastical story of a quest for vengeance, and we are treated to the child's imagined images of the story.

It's pretty simplistic on the surface, and a bit juvenile, but I nevertheless found it very entertaining, and beautiful. No details, just that you should see it.

The opening credits are online. Here's one version. If that alone doesn't intrigue you, then maybe I should give up. But the music in that trailer is the next item I want to address. It is Symphony No. 7 in A Major: II. Allegretto, by Beethoven, and I for one think it makes for a beautiful flow with the images. I grabbed this version off of eMusic.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Free Chip Tunes

Picked up a number of free chip tunes from the artists known as 8bitweapon. It's fun.

More Free Jazz

Amazon is having an electronic 'Black Friday' sale on mp3s, with $3 off on any purchase, so I decided to try another of the recommendations from A Blog Supreme. I'm not ready to review it yet, just wanted to record it:

Black Stars - Jason Moran


Okay, several listens later, I'll say that many of the compositions on this album are pretty fun. The best one is Kinda Dukish, which is a cover/interpretation of this Duke Ellington piece. According to the linked article, my impression that it is two separate pieces joined together is correct. The second piece is 'the funeral march from Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy"'.

Also, just a quick note. I realized that my use of the phrase 'free jazz' might be interepreted as music available for free. But no, I'm referring to the genre/approach to jazz known by that label.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Free Jazz

By a series of links starting at Metafilter and ending at A Blog Supreme (nice Coltrane reference there, Whitebread), I found myself considering Jazz beyond Bebop and Hard Bop. Now granted, I've already dipped my toes into the cold, cold water, listening to the British composer/musician Graham Collier (and liking it), and Dutch artist Hank Bennink, not to mention Warne Marsh. But the vast majority of my collection is centered around various kinds of Bop.

So I read on Metafilter about an article to be found on A Blog Supreme called Jazz Now, recommending 'modern' jazz starter albums. I started grazing, listening to the sample compositions included in the articles, and ended up finding something I found interesting, which had the salutory trait of being available on eMusic.

So I picked up Nu Bop, by Matthew Shipp. I've been listening to it on and off for several days and am ready to give an overly broad opinion: I like it. The opening tune, Space Shipp somehow reminds me of Herbie Hancock, during his experimental breakout period, though it is unique to Shipp. The second tune, Nu-Bop, makes me think that Shipp was listening to a lot of Amon Tobin when he composed it. This is a good thing.

So in short, I like it, but am still learning the contours of the album. I'm not sure I will like everything on it, but it was a worthwhile experiment. I'll be digging into the other entries on A Blog Supreme in hopes of finding other stretching exercises which are available on eMusic (and hence not so painful an expense for pure experimentation -- though even eMusic has become more risky with the recent price hikes).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Mighty Boosh

Okay, after just finishing Nanageddon, I must observe that the best episodes of The Mighty Boosh are the supernatural ones*. I was cracking up continuously for this one. I was very amused to see the cameo by Richard Ayoade, who also plays Moss on The IT Crowd.

*: The other one that got me that way was Electro, from season one. Gimme more!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Men Who Stare At Goats

I just realized that I forgot to mention that Jean, Renee and I went to see this movie together yesterday. It was a hoot. As Jean pointed out, it too was about redemption, though not nearly as grim as The Machinist.

Oh, and big experiment coming up in the Netflix queue: The Fall. I'm interested primarily for the rich imagery, but hoping the story is good too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Machinist

Jean and I just finished watching The Machinist, starring Christian Bale. This movie was recommended to Jean by one of her co-workers after Jean mentioned that we liked Memento a lot.

I don't think The Machinist is quite as involved or intriguing as Memento, but it was a good movie, if a bit heavy handed in retrospect. Jean and I both had it tagged as heavily inspired by a certain Russian novel before we were halfway through. Still, it was fun. I'll be reflecting on it for awhile.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Verizon DSL Outage

Second morning in a row. 6:20 am, no Internet. Recording this from work.

I at least hope it is back up in the evening when I get home, as it was last night, but this is pretty curious...

Update, 6pm

And we're back in service...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Verizon DSL Outage

This seems to happen frequently. I use the Internet at home happily right up until bedtime. Then I retire, get a good night's sleep, get up and get ready for work, tralala. Sometime during the morning I start up the computer, and lo, no Internet! Several power cycles and modem reboots later, still no Internet.

So to recap, Internet service good into the evening, next morning no Internet.

Given that I'm getting ready to go into work, I don't really have the time to spend navigating the Verizon voicemail maze and walking an all-too-familiar diagnostic tree with some underpaid tech, so I usually have to let it go. It's fifty-fifty whether the Internet service is up again by the time I get home in the evening.

So rather than go with my hazy memory and complain about service outages again, I'm going to start registering them on the weblog. Over time this will give me a better measure of actual reliability. So...

This morning, 11/09/09, the Internet connection was down when I checked it at 6:20am, and continued to be down until I left at 7:20am. Multiple power cycles of both the computer and router, multiple reboots of the router. I'm posting this from work, for the record.


After work, and we're mysteriously online again!