Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yet another odd dream

There are my typical nightmares and then there are the weird ones that seem to come from out of nowhere.

It was dark in mood and aesthetic.  I was looking at these boots, slender and old, but not really old.  They were like... Victorian, but present.  I didn't feel a need to look up and the wearer - there was only one person it could be: my mum, but not as I know her today.  In retrospect, I would say that I was like, back in an older time, but it all felt contemporary at the time. 

The boots, on their feet, worked by their legs, were operating a sewing machine - one of those foot-powered ones.  The boots were black.  They had a very skinny heal.  They were skinny themselves and they were done up in the back with these tiny little buttons.  The buttons were fascinating me.  I followed them up until they disappeared beneath layers of crinoline. 
I wanted to count the buttons, but I did not know how to count above about 4 or 5.  I mean, I could look at them and see that there were more than the 4 or 5 that I could count to.  So, I was, like, "there are many."

I asked Mum what she was making.  Somewhere during her answer, I looked up her.  I think I was sitting on the floor... maybe on a cushion or something.  I did not come up anywhere near as high as the table.  I don't think that, in the dream I had any notion of age.  Things just "were."  So, having looked up at my mum in the dream, I got a look at her dark brown, curly hair all pinned up.  This is not *my* mum... but it was my dream-self's mum.  Thinking about the mum in my dream, she could not have been more than twenty years old.  She was a happy person, but was sad at them moment, despite the smile she wore.  In the dream I could tell she felt tired, drained.  The oil lamp on the sewing table cast a warm glow that did not seem to extend beyond the two of us, but I had a vague sense of the book case against the wall, the unlit lamps on either side, the open doorway that was behind her, the snow outside the window behind me, the seat to my left that other people - people who were not me - people like Mum and Dad and people that came to visit them - sat in.  Its colour was warm and it was soft to the touch.  I liked running my hand over the soft, fuzzy fabric after someone got up out of it because then it felt warm like it looked.

These were things that I just *knew* there in the dream.  Fixtures that always were, and always would be.  I knew no sense of change.

She said, "I am making the dress we will bury you in."

That's when I woke up.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 15/15

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 15/15 (in no particular order that I will admit to):
15) "More Human Than Human"
I am cheating on this one.

See, Blade Runner - in the film the Tyrell corp produces the Nexus replicants (androids).  Their motto is "More human than human."  Their product has an expiration date.  In the film, the current product generation is "Nexus 6"

And White Zombie - the song has the line, "I am the Nexus One, I want more life [censored] I ain't done."  And so on.  So, the two are inseparable in my mind.

Okay, now, for the rest, well, I can imagine a replicant thinking of himself like the zombie described in the song.

The replicants were made to do the things that humans did not want to do, or were too dangerous to do.  Mostly described in the film, they were pleasure androids and wariers.  They were also used as assassins and other things like that and they had become so human-like, that they were made illegal to have on earth.
So, Tyrell corp experimented with giving them a "past" - a collection of fictitious human histories by which they can develop an empathy for the human perspective.  This, as the replicants began to approach their own expiration date, caused much introspection as they also developed a stronger, living-organism-like, sense of self preservation.  This is also described in the lyrics:
"Yeah, I am the jigsaw man
I turn the world around with a skeleton hand - say
I am electric head,
A cannibal core,
A television said - yeah
Into a psychic war,
I tear my soul apart and I eat it some more"

"jigsaw man" - their parts are synthetic, vat grown, and then assembled.
"I turn the world around with a skeleton hand" - describes that thier super-human qualities put them outside the natural world, able to control it; but (skeleton hand) still not human, not "living", and not in control of their own, ultimate destiny.
"electric head" - android
"cannibal core" - self expiring - time limit.
"television said" - not quite sure, but I have my thought on this... maybe referring to their "invented past"
"Into a psychic war" - refers to the point at which they suffer an internal struggle driven by psychological motivators.
"I tear my soul apart and I eat it some more" - the introspection they go through during the "psychic war"

So, the film was awesome.  It is iconic of the "dystopian future."  It helped define a genre.  There is a lot missing from the book, but the film stands well enough on its own.  I have seen it with and without the narration, but I saw it with, first, so memory kept filling it in, so I do not know that I can form a proper opinion of the director's cut.

Take Care-

(p.s. Spell check does not know dystopian, but it know utopian?  How wrong is that?)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 14/15

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 14/15 (in no particular order that I will admit to):
14) "Some Enchanted Evening"
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Film: American Graffiti (1973)

["Some Enchanted Evening"?]
[Of all the great songs in the film... Really?]
{Yeah.  Hush. I'll explain.}

I remember it well; the first I saw the film.  I was about 10 or 11.  I was in the hospital and feeling really down and drugged.  Mum was like, "Hey, LQ," except she never calls me 'LQ', "Do you want to watch such and such," and, "Blah blah is coming on later."  And I was like, "Whatever, Mum, I don't really care... mumble mumble zzzzz."

Then I had like stired, like, "Han Solo never said that, mumble mumble... zzzzzz."

Then I heard Harrison Ford singing "Some Enchanted Evening" and I started laughing.  I just started laughing so hard I started crying.  I was still laughing when the nurse Mom called came in.  Nurse was like, "Okay, she's laughing?  So?"  Mom said, "I haven't heard her laugh in 4 years."  That was sobering.  (She called Dad later when she thought I was asleep... just to tell him that I laughed.) But anyway, I think Falfa was great.  I idolized Milner.  It was such a fun and heart-felt story.

I really like the song "Green Onions", "You're Sixteen", "Do You Wanna Dance"... the list goes on...
I really like the way the story was told - through the night, bouncing back and forth through the plot lines - then the little wrap up at the end.
... the thing about deciding where your heart belongs, even when it is not the easy thing to do.
... the thing about following your dreams, but knowing your limits.

"Some Enchanted Evening" was so out of place; completely random and nonsequiter.  This big ol' cowboy breaking out into opera to break the silence.

So, there you have it.  #14 of my top fifteen songs-from-films list.  This one was more late from the "getting-round-to-it" than from any indecision.  This has always been a special film for me, and mostly because if this song.

Take Care-

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 13/15

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 13/15 (in no particular order that I will admit to):
13)"People Are Strange"
Written by The Doors
Performed by Echo & The Bunnymen (as Echo and The Bunnymen)
Produced by Ray Manzarek
Courtesy of WEA Records
Film: The Lost Boys (1987)

This was the first... "shared"... music I had ever received.  The girl that gave me the CD also introduced me to Echo & The Bunnymen.  This was some time ago... like a few years.  We had been talking about bands we liked and she said that she had this soundtrack with these really cool bands and she gave me a copy.  She was like the first "goth" I knew.  She copied her older sister with like, everything.  Thought it was cool to wear her hand-be-downs because it was like being all "indi" and shopping the second-hand stores, but it was free, and she knew who had it last. 
I was listening to it and Dad had thought I was watching the file, until he came into the room-proper.  I was like, no, someone gave me a copy of the soundtrack.  Later, we watched the film.  It was cool.  I don't think too much of some of the tracks out of the context of the film, but I was like... wait, this one band sounds familiar.  Dad was like, Yeah, that's E&tB.  He went out with a girl that was really into them.  She gave him a tape of the soundtrack because it had E&tB on it.  Then he named some other E&tB songs, showed me his 12" of "Paint it Black".  So, Monday at school, I went back to my friend and was like "Wow, I really like E&tB" and said I saw the film and she was like "Yeah, ain't it great?" and I was like comparing them to Love and Rockets and her "boyfriend" was like "Yeah, they are great" and started trying to talk to me about L&R a lot... a lot... and creeping me out and my friend thought I was trying to steal her boyfriend, or didn't want him to be around me because she felt threatened or something.  Then it was Summer Break and she had new friends in the fall.
Boyfriend was in quotes because we were pretty young.  It was like, this is the boy, that is her friend, and the one that she let hold her hand and buy her desert at lunch.  (Due to research I had conducted trying to figure things out about me, I paid a lot of attention to any of my friends relationships with "boyfriends"... I was already terrified of boys.)

So, back to the film.  After Dad and I watched it, he asked me what I thought because I looked pensive, he said.  So I curled up in his lap and explained: If I was a vampire, it would cure me and I wouldn't die.
He said that the trade-off would be that I had to kill people.
I said that in some of the stories, they don't have to kill.
We went on then talking about a number of books and films about living forever, and miracle cures.  That was when he gave me Virtual Light.  See, in Andromeda Strain, they explain that for a virus to be successful, it could not kill its host.  So it mutates to a non fatal strain by the time it is unleashed on the world.  In Virtual Light, this happens to HIV - a non-fatal, dominant strain is identified and vaccine is made.  I love the book, but I was also pissed because I didn't want to die.  I wanted it to be real.  I was kinda torn because I both loved and hated the book.  So he gave me Neuromancer to read and I got over the hate and read the rest of the Sprawl trilogy, then re-read Virtual Light and moved on to Iduro and All Tomorrow's Parties, then backed up to the Burning Chrome collection of short stories, and I read The Difference Engine.... and I have really wandered away from The Lost Boys, haven't I.

In short, I was introduced to my favourite author because of a conversation about vampires and "cure-alls" and whatnot.

The title of the film is a reference to the companions of Peter Pan, who remained forever young.

This film invented the phrase "vamp out", which has passed into common usage on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

In the cave of the Lost Boys you can see a poster of Jim Morrison who recorded the original version of "People are Strange" with The Doors. And when Star and Laddie are being carried into Sam’s room, you can see a poster of Echo & the Bunnymen who recorded the version used in the film.

Notable contenders:
"Cry Little Sister (Theme From The Lost Boys)"
Written by Mike Mainieri (as Michael Mainieri) and Gerard McMahon (as Gerard McMann)
Performed by Gerard McMahon (as Gerard McMann)
Produced by Mike Mainieri (as Michael Mainieri)
Co-Produced by Gerard McMahon (as Gerard McMann) and Bruce Martin

"To The Shock Of Miss Louise"
Music by Thomas Newman

Sorry about getting a little off topics there, but I had recently read Welcome Chaos, by Kate Wilhelm where there is an enzyme that kills about 50% of the people that come in contact with it (transmitted sexually, but it also goes out as a "vaccine"), but the survivors live for ever, immune to all disease, even old age.  It had brought that old conversation back to mind.  It was a Regan Era "Cold War" story.

Take Care-

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 12/15

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 12/15 (in no particular order that I will admit to):
12)"Navarre And Isabeau's Dual Transformation"
Well, this is almost another "The whole flippin soundtrack" one... and another "just put it on for the music" films.  Oh, yeah.  I am talking about the Ladyhawke soundtrack, which is effectively by The Alan Parson's Project... almost.  Here is the Wikipedia entry on that:
[quote]The film's score was composed by Andrew Powell. Richard Donner stated that he was listening to The Alan Parsons Project (on which Powell collaborated) while scouting for locations, and became unable to separate his visual ideas from the music.[/quote]
So, being familiar with Alan Pardons Project, then seeing this film, I was like, "Dad, this sounds like Alan Parsons" and he was like, "I think they did do the soundtrack."  So we looked.  The Wiki entry was not there and so tracing it back, we were initially lead to believe that The Alan Parsons Project was to be credited.  Then we found that it was more Powell than Parsons, but neverthemind.
The music is awesome.  The film is funny, cute, fanciful... just _really_ good.
Well, Broderick seemed a bit out of place, but I got used to the character and he does pull it off.  Everyone else is spot on.
The film was filmed in Italy, primarily in a (and around) a real little medieval town call L'Aquila. The tune that Isabeau and Phillipe dance to in the stable is a genuine Italian 14th Century dance named "Trotto".  The breed of horse that Navarre rides is a Friesian, popular among medieval knights.  There was so much put into the production to give it such an authentic feel.

So, why go with such anachronistic soundtrack?  I feel that it serves to bring us, the contemporary audience, back to another world of magic and fantasy - a bridge to transport us there.

I like to listen to Alan Parson while doing school work, and sometimes while cooking.  Sometimes, I will put some on and curl up with Dad on the sofa while he reads.

So, this one part of the film, we see the two, Navarre and Isabeau, transform together, almost touching, and all the pain, and all the love, and the sum of their cursed existence.   The song is instrumental, so there is not much to say about it, but watching, and listening, it just all comes together to take its place at number twelve.

Take Care-

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 11/15

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 11/15 (in no particular order that I will admit to):
11)"Wouldn't It Be Good"
Written and Performed by Nik Kershaw
Performed by Danny Hutton Hitters
Film Pretty in Pink (1986)  - Yeah, like a lot of these, well before I was born.

It was surprisingly difficult to come up with ONE song for the representative for the list.

[quote]I got it bad, you don't know how bad I got it
You got it easy, you don't know when you've got it good
It's getting harder just keeping life and soul together
I'm sick of fighting even though I know I should

The cold is biting through each and every nerve and fibre
My broken spirit is frozen to the core
I don't wanna be here no more

Yeah, I think about this one a lot.  Sometime more than others, and at times it has different meanings for me.

As for the film, it is (possibly) my fave of its ilk.  I take that back... I love the book.  The film was good.  If the film had the same ending as the book, then it would be my fave of its ilk.  So, I pretend.

Here were the runner ups for which song from this film:
"If You Leave"
Written by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (as OMD)
Performed by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd.
By Arrangement with A&M Records, Inc.
Because... well, it's OMD
Funny thing about that, actually.  I read in an interview that their record company was like "You have not had a hit in a long time and you need a hit."  And they were like "We don't care about having hits, we care about writing our music."  and the company was like "hello?  Paycheck?" and they were like, "Fine." and they did and it was and then they were like "Now we can go back to writing our stuff."

"Bring On The Dancing Horses"
by Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson, Pete DeFreitas
Performed by Echo & The Bunnymen
Courtesy of WEA Records / Sire Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Just because.

by New Order & John Robie
Performed by New Order
Courtesy of Factory Records / Qwest Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
My fave New Order song.  _WAY_ better than Blue Monday.  :ack:

So, if these 15 were in some kind of normal, ranked order, this one would have more... prime... position.  But these are in no particular order/ranking that I will admit to, so here it is at number (what number are we at? [what kind of grammar is that?]{oh, hush}) eleven.

So, anywho, yeah, coming to a thing on this entry was really holding things up.  I thought about moving on to the next one, but for reasons I won't [Can't]{Won't}[Whatever] explain, I just had to hold off until I got here.

Take care-

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I found a nice Linux Mint 8 LXDE CD RC1 Review

A really nice review.

I wish I had written it.  I feel like their opinions are spot on with much of my experience of the distribution.

Where I am now: I may be getting ready to go back to my Fluxbox (Or rather, install the KDE edition, then install Fluxbox on top) and wait for LXDE to be released!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The latest in the OS saga

(Pardon the bit of redundancy.)
1) I have my /home on a separate drive, so whenever I install a new os, 90% of my settings persist, depending on if my WM changes and whatnot.
2) All my music and movies and stuff are on a separate file server, so I just copy in my fstab and proxy settings after a new install and all that stuff is back and ready to go.
2) Over time, different WM's using some of the same components, and thus, configuration files, all kinda start stepping on each other so...
3) I kinda had to step through the dot configs and clean things up a bit.

I did, while at it, try again to see how things were going with Slackware.  I have SLAX on a USB drive for forensics and for when visiting other systems (i.e. the library) and it does well for me, but the "purest" in me is ever-striving for that no-nonsense, back-to-basics, squeaky-clean system.  The problem is, I am not truly that kind of users.
I romanticize about having a pure, businesslike workstation where I work on things without distraction.  Where everything is well, laid-out and easy to read, even if it is not so pretty.  But, again, I am not that kind of user.  All my stuff is personal.  I can't/don't do that kinda cool stuff I daydream about.
Yes, I installed Slackware 13.  I like it.  It is nice.  I have no complaints about it (other than that it comes with /everything/ installed).  But still, there is just something about LinuxMint that is so... friendly.  I like saying I am a Mint user.  It feels like being a part of something, in this very, non-committal way.
I would love to provide reviews of all this stuff - share my findings and opinions and experiences with each distribution, but I just do not know what to write about.

(But I kinda did like how simple it was to just pick a "SlideShow" wallpaper in the desktop settings for Slackware (KDE4) and fully intend to make this happen under LXDE)

So, I am , once again, back to Linux Mint Helena (8) LXDE Community Edition RC1 with today's fresh update.

I recently upgraded someone's computer from Win-doze Vista to Win-doze 7.  I have played around with various versions of Micro$oft OS's, but they just feel so... clumsy.  They just feel so... "Here, let me do that for you."  True, most of the popular LINUX distros now-a-days are rather automated, but it does not feel the same.  It feels like if I stay on this thought-thread, I will just get into a lot of whining and moaning about this or that, so I will move on.

FluxBox is really cool.  It has been my fave WM. LXDE may be replacing it though.  Sure, where would these be without XFCE, right? XFCE is plenty good enough on it's own, and I am still working on the thing about them that makes me like one over another.  I feel almost bad that I cannot qualify (no, quantify) what it is about them, but not too bad.  I like what I like.

I do REALLY like KDE, but it does get in the way a little sometimes.  I think I had mentioned before that installing the KDE distro, then installing FluxBox for the WM was like getting the best of both worlds.  Hmmm... maybe I should install the KDE distro and then add LXDE on top.  Perhaps I will do that with Mint #9

I think that about wraps it up then.  I've got things to do other than play with my desktop settings.  Surely I do.

Take Care,

"Machine dreams hold a special vertigo..." -- William Gibson, Count Zero

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 10/15

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 10/15 (in no particular order that I will admit to): 
10) Amadeus - the whole thin - What can I say, it's Mozart.
I mean, the film leaves some to be desired, but as a piece of cinema fiction with good tunes - there you have it.

On another note...
When I originally posted this on another blog last summer, in this spot, I talked about Linux Mint being... heavier than my computer was really happy with, and that I was thinking about giving something really thin like Zenwalk or Slackware a try.

I did, but still went back to Mint.  I have, with more RAM, found more happiness with Mint, yet, due mostly to restlessness, gave Slackware another go.

See next post for more how all that went (is going.)

Take Care-

Friday, March 5, 2010

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 9/15

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 9/15 (in no particular order that I will admit to):
09) "Ça plane pour moi" by Plastic Bertrand
"Ça plane pour moi"
Single by Plastic Bertrand
A-side"Ça plane pour moi"
B-side"Pogo Pogo"
ReleasedDecember 1977
Writer(s)Yvan Lacomblez
ProducerFrancis 'Lou' Deprijck

Film - National Lampoon's European Vacation - but this is not the one I am blogging about.

Film -... Yeah, this one gets used a bit, actually, and I don't know what all in.

It has been covered a number of times by a number of artists - including The Presidents of the United States of America.  (For those of you playing along at home, The Presidents of the United States of America is one of the bands I listen to sometimes.  My favourite song of theirs being "Kitty" - but nevermind that right now.  And I just think that "nevermind" _should_ be one word.  I mean really.  With all the words and phrases that got slammed together (coupled?) to make one word out of them, how did "nevermind" get missed?  I guess it would have been something like "nevertheemind" or "whatforsoothdoththoumeantsbythinkingsuchthings" but I digress.

There was a lot of good music in Ferris Buler's Day Off, but this one takes the cake.  Sputnik's Love Missile F-111 is great, Oh Yeah by Yellow, and many others, but this one, in its silliness, takes the cake.  It is a silly song.  It is one of those songs where it is not supposed to make sense - just lots of silliness strung together.  And the scene is the delinquent trio in silly shots strung together.

Um... Short one today.  I mean, yeah, I could talk more about the film, but "Ça plane pour moi" really is a bunch of random phrases and whatnot put together for fun and whatnot.  The song is not really _about_ anything, eh?

Take Care-

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 8/15

Top Fifteen Movie Songs 8/15 (in no particular order that I will admit to):
Composed by Sean Kelly, Andrew Duffield, James Freud and Barton Price
Performed by Models
Film: Young Einstein

Again, one of my all-time fave films; one of my all-time fave songs.  Duh, right?  Hello - on the list.
Yahoo Serious is an amazing human.  This film was fun and silly and all his.  His friends and family helped him make it.
This song has a great beat, and you can dance to it.  This may not be completely - blatantly - obvious, but I like music.

Now let it out
    Shout to the night
And so it goes
    I hear motion
Just count it out
    Shout in your sleep
You'll say the word
    I hear motion

When it is Christmas for every one else
    I feel I'm missing the point. 
Sing Happy Birthday
    Sing Happy New Year
Whisper the words we all want to hear

So.... yeah.

Again, I do not have a whole lot to say about this without just going into the film plot and whatnot.  I mean, either you saw the film and were like "that was weird" or you saw it and were like, "Okay, that was funny" or you never heard of it and I don't want to just ruin it for you.

This script was like - SO - anachronistic.  In this scene, Albert Einstein invents rock and roll music, inspired by the rhythm of children playing hopscotch, and converts a violin to an electric guitar.  It went something like "...A scientific musical theory based on the human heartbeat.  4 bars, 4 beats to the bar... with a back beat.  In that state, the gravity will 'roll' to the down beat. Therefore, the body motion must 'rock' to the up beat.  A new musical theory; 'Roll & Rock'" or some such monologue.

So... yeah.  Yahoo Serious.  One of my favourite people in the world.  This was his (first) film, and my favourite (of many very good) songs from it.

Take Care-

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pirate Latitudes: A Novel by Michael Crichton

  • Rated 4 of 5 stars
Of course I am going to say that the book is really good. I mean, it is. But here is the thing: It has great twists that I have failed to see so well laid out in other stories. The threads are there, but I find myself thinking, "I am only a quarter through the novel, and other books would have stopped here."

What I mean is, certain elements (that I will not specify to avoid spoilage) are wrapped up in good, logical fashion rather than being drawn out for the grand finally at the end. Yet, the twists are not random, out-of-the-blue, slap-you-in-the-face introductions of new conflict. The seeds of each turn are very well placed.

And excellent read, and I do not like pirates, boats, water, etc., so that is really saying something.

... as posted on Shelfari