progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from the Hercules library:

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A.k.a.: The Tale of the $160 Sleeping Bag...

Went to a get-together at a food-court hoard in San Francisco this Saturday. When I got back to my car, I found the rear passenger-side window smashed. The good news, really the only good news, was that the only thing that was taken was a $5 sleeping bag I was using while I was out at China Camp. Insurance won’t pay for something as trivial as a broken window, so I’m forced to fend for myself. I get it replaced Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, I’ve taped a trash bag and cardboard boxes over the gaping hole in my door, and still incurred water damage from the rain. So much for that new-car smell!

Watched Savage Intruder from 1970. I guess you could say this was another one of those “hag-sploitation” cash-in films, starring Miriam Hopkins as a faded Hollywood star desperately clinging to the last tendrils of her fame. Enter David Garfield as a drug-addicted psycho who turns her household inside out. This is the kind of guy who thinks it’s a good idea to romance caretaker Virginia Wing with a bunch of racist jokes, so we immediately know something’s up even before he’s knocked her up. I anticipated campy entertainment when I started this and got...something that was more thoughtful and well-made than I anticipated. There’s some effectively creepy shots here, in particular the opening credits showing close-ups of the dilapidated Hollywood sign to the desolate sound of wind blowing. And there’s lots of eerie shots of Hopkins’ wardrobe mannequins. The acting is also very good, in particular Hopkins, who really nails the pathos in her character. Also fine is another old pro, Gale Sondergaard as Hopkins’ waspish, suspicious secretary. It’s from 1970, so expect some psychedelic freak-out scenes (mostly Garfield’s flashbacks to his sluttish, alcoholic mother, but also a scene where he nabs Wing, drags her to a bar and turns her on to drugs). More worth watching than I had anticipated.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from my favourite weekend haunt, Berkeley Espresso:

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The death of David Bowie shook me more than I expected it to. Precisely because it was so unexpected. I knew about his current project Black Star from others discussing it, but I had no idea it would wind up being his epitaph. Here’s the post I made on Other Social Media™:

Well, this news strikes me as a little surreal. Not to make it sound dumb and fawning, but David Bowie sort of felt like a kind of unearthly being who greeted we mere mortals with his hyper-real presence. Having him be dead just doesn’t seem like something that could have been possible.

Regrettably, the only album I’ve ever owned by him is the
Space Oddity (Man of Words, Man of Music) album, the Ryko release on deluxe clear virgin vinyl, with a second one-sided disc of bonus tracks. I definitely appreciated him throughout his career, and had a fondness for his music through most of his phases. I especially appreciated his integrity; he always followed his own muse rather than hanging his coat on the latest trends, and still managed to be commercially successful from beginning to end somehow.

Here’s a song I’ve always enjoyed by him. Hopefully, you will, too:

Went to see the new Star Wars film with [ profile] albadger over the weekend. Mild spoilers behind the cut )
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)
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Love in the early Pennsylvania oil boom of the 1850s. Carnival singer/entertainer Irene Dunne falls for Raymond Scott as a farm-boy with a mysterious knack for engineering (and not of the railroad variety).

This movie has several issues. First off, the title make no sense. Moreover, the title song makes no sense. “High, Wide and Handsome”? What could Irene be referring to? It can’t be Raymond Scott, they hadn’t met yet when she first sings it, and what’s more, he can hardly be described as “wide.” Winfield Hancock, perhaps? I’m at a loss.

Second, this is one of the most unbalanced movies I’ve ever seen. There’s virtually NO conflict in the first half of this film. Irene Dunne falls for Raymond Scott, he falls back hard and nothing stands in their way. Well, we get his grandmother clucking her tongue at her and demanding she earn her keep, but once she warbles at her while doing a few cursory chores, Granny immediately becomes her best friend. And there is this jerkass guy with a thing for Irene, but he could hardly be considered a serious romantic rival, as she does not reciprocate his feelings one bit, and he goes down with one punch from Our Hero.

I guess the producers realized that we needed some conflict...unfortunately they seriously overcompensated. The second half piles plot development on top of plot development until you wind up utterly perplexed by what’s happening and what motivates the characters to do what they do. So we get a mess of complications involving an oil pipeline, a cabal of evil industrialists, another cabal of religious fanatics, Dorothy Lamour as a singing bar floozy who wants to go straight, carnival folk, Irene and Raymond separating, a cameo by P. T. Barnum (seriously!), etc. etc. Part of me thinks that they made the film Hong Kong style, based on whatever costumes, props and sets they had lying around, and just wrote the script on the fly.

It’s not an entire loss. First off, the production values are fantastic! A lot of money was lavished onto the production, and it all shows up there on the screen, particularly in the climactic (if ludicrous) finale. Secondly, the musical numbers are pleasing. It’s not a “breaking into song” sort of musical, the musical numbers are all somewhat plot-specific (i.e.: they don’t comment on the action, rather they come across at points where characters are expected to be singing). Dunne sings the bulk of the material, and does a fine job. Lamour also gets a couple of musical numbers, though she’s obviously dubbed by a professional singer. William Frawley also gets a musical number, so if you’ve ever yearned to hear Fred Mertz singing...go buy his album instead, you’ll get more bang for your buck.

But the absolute highlight of the film is Alan Hale as Jay Gould Cartoonishly Villainous Railroad Tycoon Who Is a 100% Original Creation, and Totally Not Based on Anybody From Real Life, We Swear. Every time he’d appear on screen, I’d tweak the ends of my moustache, to make up for his failure to do so. He gets no less than two scenes of evil cackling which are so protracted, the audience winds up laughing harder than he does. Mind you, each time cross-fades into the next scene, but still, did they need to hold on him for so long?
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
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A rich industrialist (Gary Cooper) falls for a sassy French mademoiselle (Claudette Colbert). After some complications he finally wins her over...only for her to discover on their wedding day that he has seven ex-wives.

Cute, charming and witty screwball comedy with fine performances all round. Cooper and Colbert have immediate chemistry, so you just know that they’ll end up together in the end. A young David Niven is suitably, dryly entertaining as Cooper’s secretary who holds a candle for Colbert. Edward Everett Horton steals the show as Colbert’s gold-digging father.

Based on a play, this story had been filmed once before, in 1923, with Huntley Gordon and Gloria Swanson in the principal roles.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Brian Blessed)
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The first sound version of this much-told tale for the big screen (the first version was a silent in 1916, the second a 1937 TV movie). Unlike the better-remembered 1988 version (but like the 1961 version, also made for TV), this one retains its Victorian setting (the book was written in the late 1800s), so it’s facial hair galore.

The story is a familiar one: a man (Roger Livesey) comes to own a mysterious Indian artifact (stamped “Made in Sheffield” on the bottom!) thanks to his good-for-nothing brother-in-law. But it turns out it’s a wishing stone, and he inadvertently wishes to return to his carefree schoolboy days. And it turns out someone may only wish once. His son (an impossibly young Anthony Newley, pre-voice change), instead of wishing his father back, wishes himself to be grown up and take his father’s place. So, Father must go back to the boarding school where he learns that his son’s schoolboy days are not so carefree, while Son must deal with a conniving woman (Kay Walsh) and the aforementioned brother-in-law.

Unlike a lot of versions of this tale, which emphasize each character learning a lesson about how hard the other’s life is, this one puts an emphasis on the comic potential of the scenario. The dialogue, written by Peter Ustinov (who also directed, but does not seem to appear in the film except perhaps as a background extra), is extremely witty and consistently entertaining. The acting is strong all-round, Livesey convincingly childish as a boy trapped in a man’s body, Newley surprisingly good at imitating Livesey’s mannerisms and voice patterns. James Robertson Justice comes very close to stealing the show as the school’s dictatorial headmaster. Also featuring a teenaged Petula Clark as Newley’s schoolboy sweetheart.

Viewers of British TV will no doubt be amused by the presence of not one, but two veterans of Are You Being Served? not only in the same film, but in the same scene: James Hayter (Mr. Tebbs) as a wisecracking bandmaster and an almost unrecognizable Alfie Bass (Mr. Goldberg) as a street urchin.

Screen grabs to follow. I know, I promised you screen grabs of The Rough Riders last week, but trust me, they’re coming!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from the Mel’s Diner on Geary in S.F.:

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Incidentally, the cap is not mine. It belongs to [ profile] scottasf, who lent it to me for dinner. We were dining (along with [ profile] albadger) after a production of the original play of Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Momma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad. It’s a really messed-up, yet captivating, play. I’d previously only seen the film with Rosalind Russell, Robert Morse, Hugh Jeffries and Barbara Harris, and it (rather predictably) completely misses the point of the original text. Really, it strikes me as an unfilmable play, especially considering fully one-fourth of it consists of an extended monologue.

I also tried on Scott’s straw boater, but it didn’t go with the clothes I was wearing, so it stayed in the car.

Other events this week: [ profile] 2ndbanana’s birthday party. A new dining experience: fondue! I copied Fol-de-Rol (weird Sid & Marty Krofft variety special from 1972 with a sort of Renaissance Faire theme) and the aforementioned Goin’ Coconuts for him. Lots of fun was had. It’s a shame that, with my current schedule, I tend to only see him once a year these days.

[ profile] albadger and I got together additionally to watch a couple of films. One is my new favourite thing ever, and will be discussed in an adjoining post. The other was Dünyayı kurtaran adam, popularly-known as Turkish Star Wars (on account of stealing tons of footage, and some of its music, from the original Star Wars). In it, a couple of astronauts crash-land on a desert planet run by a tyrant who resembles Rasputin with an empty box of Quaker Oats on his head. They battle his army of carpet monsters using cardboard swords, trampolines and clumsy amateur martial arts. That’s pretty much it. Additional music on loan from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flash Gordon and The Black Hole.

The bad news: the Toshiba laptop I bought back in September completely bricked. The good news: it’s still under the manufacturer’s warranty, so it’s currently at the Toshiba service center. Hopefully I won’t need to wait too long; someone else told me that his has been “waiting for parts” for three weeks. In the meantime, I have the old Lappytron 2000 (MSI), which I’ve renamed the Craptop, on account of the unwieldy bulk, the broken shift key, the piddly-sized hard drive, the noisy fan, the fact that it gives off lots of heat, the power-cord connection is wonky and sensitive and the battery is circling the drain and won’t retain a charge. It was also filthy from months of neglect. Like I said, I can’t wait for the Toshiba to be back in my possession. I only hope there was no data loss.

I guess things are looking up, though. I found two four-leaf clovers while out hiking today. That has to count for something, right?
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)
Three-hour miniseries produced for TNT, based on the Spanish-American War, in particular the activities of the Arizona Volunteers, from the same man who brought you Red Dawn. Rather entertaining if you don’t care about historical accuracy. Myself, I couldn’t help but get over how the production design team played Mr. Potato Head with the Major Generals: Generals Wheeler and Shafter had their facial hair swapped out*.

I also noticed that General Wheeler was portrayed as a borderline psychopath. I don’t know if that was a directorial decision or just a foregone conclusion on account of him being played by Gary Busey Who was, incidentally, too chunkified by 1997 to convincingly portray Wheeler, who even at that advanced age was built like a stick-insect. Meanwhile, Shafter spends two-thirds of the film with an inappropriate Southern drawl. My hypothesis: it might have been the case of actor Rodger Boyce not even bothering to conceal his own Southern accent, rather than my joke about Shafter being from “the south of Michigan” (or being inordinately suggestible after spending one day in Tampa). I’d say they should have gone with my suggestion: have Sam Elliott play him in a fat suit. But I can’t imagine Elliott being content for playing a role that would call for him to sit under a tent and peer through binoculars while barking orders.

Elliott is, of course, in this; you can’t have a latter-day film with anything resembling Old West theming without him. Unsurprisingly, he’s a highlight of the film: he’s one of those charismatic performers who’s just a pleasure to watch/listen to no matter what he’s doing. He plays “Bucky” O’Neill, who I’m half-regretful to say has been reduced to a punchline to a joke thanks to the Cartoon Network show Clarence (Half-regretful, I say, because it’s a funny joke; do a Google search on “Rough Riders Chicken” if you don’t believe me).

The real reason to watch this is Tom Berenger as Teddy Roosevelt. He owns the role, and does everything you’d want to in the part...namely chew every bit of scenery in sight. I get the feeling he jumped at the chance to take the part, and begged the producers for the casting. I’m even envisioning a sort of Sean Young/Catwoman scenario with him bursting into the producers’ office on horseback, dressed in full Rough Riders uniform complete with pince-nez spectacles, waving a saber around and shouting “Bully!” I imagine the reaction was something like, “Well, he’s totally nuts and we’re scared of him, but damn if he’s not convincing. Hands up, who thought it was the ghost of the real Teddy Roosevelt when he first barged in?”

Any scene with him is guaranteed to be watchable. It’s made even better by the presence of Ileana Douglas as Mrs. Roosevelt. After seeing so many on-screen couples displaying all the on-screen interaction of dead fish in the water, it really warms my heart to see two people with dynamite chemistry. It made me long for another, related film of just the two of them as the Roosevelts and their day-to-day lives. It made me long for a series of latter-day screwball comedies with them as the new Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. I’d pay good money to see that. Make it happen, Hollywood!

*On second viewing, it’s like they played Mr. Potato Head with all their hair. In real life, Gen. Wheeler had a full beard, but was balding, and Gen. Shafter had a full head of hair and a moustache. In the film, it’s the other way around. Oh, you’l see when I post the screenshots. Surely, I’m the only person on Earth that would notice or care about this!

Screen-captures forthcoming.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Beanery, my other, other favourite Oakberkeleyland café:

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Finally got a much-needed cash injection this past week, which was a great relief, as February is turning out to be a very expensive little month. I only have myself to blame. I have to think of my taxes pretty soon; hopefully I’ll see some kind of return.

Got some hiking done before the deluge of rain we got over the weekend. February is looking a bit more like January usually is. I hope we get more rain like this until at least the end of April, though the break in the rain today was welcome. I went out to Point Isabel as I had a yearning for shoreline views. Lots of shorebirds to see, notably avocets which are probably my favourite shorebirds.

[ profile] albadger and I watched the aforementioned Claudelle Inglish, the Southern-fried potboiler that was supposed to catapult TV starlet Diane McBain to the Hollywood A-list (it didn’t). It turned out to not have been worth the wait, but it did have its moments (and, I must say, its plot was anything but predictable).

Fans of my Random Video Finds feature rejoice: I took a bunch of screen-captures from one of my old videotapes, so I have a pretty big update coming up. Watch this space!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from the Hercules Library, possibly my favourite Contra Costa County public library:

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Right when life starts getting expensive, wouldn’t you know, my check from the EDD is delayed. And it’s all my fault for making a stupid mistake on my form. Won’t do that again!

[ profile] albadger and I had a much-missed Bad Movie Night this week. It was Death Promise, an extremely silly, and immensely entertaining, low-budget martial arts action movie made in 1970s New York. It’s viewable in its entirety on Youtube, which I suggest you do right now, stopping whatever else you’re doing. I was not expecting it to be that much fun!

In other cinematic news, I finally got me a copy of Claudelle Inglish, the trashy potboiler 1961 film starring Diane McBain and based on the novel by Erskine Caldwell. I have been looking for this film for years, ever since reading about it in Bad Movies We Love, but finding a copy has been difficult, as it never received a home video release in any format. More updates after I wind up watching it...
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Chamberlain Creek Falls in Jackson State Forest.

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What a switch last week has been from the norm! I spent the weekend with [ profile] snousle and Ray (not on LJ) at their country home in the mountains of Mendocino County. Mostly it was a relaxing weekend, starting with a social evening at the town bar in Ukiah but it was mainly very mellow, with home-prepared meals every night (well, take-out pizza on Thursday, but other than that...).

Chester went through his paces on Saturday as I went out on a long car trip out to the coast. I stopped off half-way to take a detour on the forest roads to see Chamberlain Creek Falls. This is really one of my most-liked California waterfalls of the ones I have visited. It has one of those features I really love in that you can actually walk right up to the falls. The daring could strip down and drench themselves in the spray. There were too many other people visiting to be daring.

Stopped off in Fort Bragg for lunch, but elected not to visit the beach there, as while the town was nice, the beach looked pretty scuzzy. So I drove up to the town of Cleone and went to the beach at MacKerricher State Park instead. There were some very dramatic rock formations, perfect for watching waves crash.

I also visited some thrift stores in Ukiah and Fort Bragg but came back empty-handed. The selection was disappointing; contrary to my expectations, I tend to find more interesting junk in Hayward and at the El Sobrante Thrift Town in my own backyard. The fact that one of them was called Paul Bunyan Thrift Store just made it all the more disappointing.

Saturday night was Movie Night! So we watched my favourite episode of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl as a short subject and a prelude to the main feature. Which was Twinsanity, the video title of the 1970 film Goodbye Gemini. Two mentally disturbed fraternal twins (Judy Geeson and Martin Potter) find debauchery and tragedy in swinging London. It’s very 1970, has strong acting performances all-round and, best of all, has a plot that subverts almost every expectation you have. Just when you think you know where this movie is going, it yanks the rug out from under you. Gripping from beginning to end. I had a hunch about this film when I picked up the VHS tape mere weeks ago at Half Price Books, despite never having even heard of it before. What a find!

I definitely have to thank Tony for being such a gracious host. What a cool guy! What a cool home!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Hayward, after my visit to the barber shop:

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It’s funny, once you find a barber who cuts your hair the way you want, you wind up having a hard time going anywhere else. This guy does a great job on my hair, is really inexpensive ($10 for the basic cut) and happens to be on my way from home to Big Basin, so I can make a Tuesday of it. Funnily enough, he offered to trim my eyebrows today. I’ve never had that experience before.

[ profile] albadger and I dined on Vietnamese noodle soup in Concord. I had not visited there in a long time. It was betwixt visits to Rasputin’s, Frys and Half Price Books. From Rasputin’s, I got another laserdisc for my still-paltry collection: Sudden Fear starring Joan Crawford, Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame. It’s a mega-campy noir thriller featuring great location footage of San Francisco. Grahame nearly steals the show as Palance’s bitchy mistress, who plots to murder Crawford with him.

From Half Price, I got a copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke. Courtesy of this website, which is doing a damn fine job of nailing my taste. Of the things from the list there that I’ve read, there’s only one that I out-and-out hated*. And I’m currently about two-thirds of the way through The Name of the Wind, so they definitely pegged me there!

*Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson, which I read up to about page 99 before literally throwing the book across the room in disgust. It’s like he had utter contempt for anyone who actually enjoyed that kind of fantasy, and that hatred coalesced into this nasty lump of a book. There was also Robert Jordan. I read The Eye of the World from cover to cover, and it was all right, but I wasn’t wowed enough to read through the rest of the series. Funnily enough, I’ve heard that the posthumous books ghost-written by Brandon Sanderson are actually an improvement!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Myra Breckinridge (1970)

Finally through with Gay Shame Month 2013. I think I’ll skip it next year!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
This week’s self-portrait from Alamere Falls, right on the Pacific Ocean, located in Point Reyes National Seashore:

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I had been wanting to take this trip for a long time. All this talk about Alamere Falls and how spectacular it was and I’d never seen it. Now I’m glad I took the trip, and I’m glad I got to experience it firsthand...and I’m glad I never need to take the trip again! Because the trail down to the beach is terrifying! I knew it was not a park-maintained trail and that it would be a bit overgrown. I was prepared for dodging poison-oak. What I was not prepared for was the bit just before the beach when suddenly the trail drops down at a 90° angle! It was at that point I was thinking, “This might have been a mistake. I was not informed that this hike involved rock climbing!” Fortunately, it was a well-attended hike, and there were people to help out with the bit that involved climbing.

That said, I’m very glad I went. I’m even gladder that I did not go alone, as I definitely would have chickened out before getting to the beach otherwise.

Not much else to report. Still don’t have a replacement job. I didn’t do as much work on the upcoming Movie Explorer review as I wanted to. I did finally receive my first Blip payout, which meant I could delete some old, embarrassing videos. No more me stumbling over my lines in that awful Flesh Feast review! No more lame V-logs of me imitating Lucille Benson shot on that horrible Colorpix camera!


Nov. 6th, 2013 01:03 am
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait taken from the top of Mt. Livermore, on my next-to-last day of work:

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My last three days comprised a sort of banner week for my time at Angel Island. At least my last two did. It largely consisted of trail work. As you can see, Wednesday took me to the top of Mt. Livermore to clear brush and dead branches. Thursday we did the same along the Sunset Trail, looping back via the fire road and the North Ridge Trail. These hikes were made way harder by me carrying heavy bottles of bar oil and gasoline. And clearly they were strengthening me. Monday I hiked in Boring Old Wildcat, the six mile loop up San Pablo Ridge and back via the Mezue Trail. Ordinarily, I’d be feeling it in my feet and joints, but even six miles up a steep hill and back down and I barely felt it the next day.

So...yeah, really bittersweet about leaving the island. I already miss my co-workers (two of whom will not be back next season), the gorgeous sights, the dozens of semi-tame deer, even the Zaptruck, which I mainly complained about. Of course, I’ll also miss getting paid. I dutifully filed for unemployment (online, because you can apparently do that now), but who knows if my claim is valid. According to the page I did earn enough...I think, the rules are so byzantine who can tell really. If I don’t hear back from them in ten five days I’m supposed to call. In the meantime, I better add the A.I. job to the résumé.

My new free time has not totally gone to you can see, I’ve used it for more adventuresome hikes, and I also got the Staircase review finally finished. Hopefully the next review won’t take two months to complete. And [ profile] bigjohnsf invited me out to see Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s four-hour science fiction epic World on a Wire. I need to write out some more detailed thoughts on that later, but I liked it!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from boring old Wildcat. I wasn’t trying for a “look-alike” series photo, but I’m getting sort of an Avery Schreiber vibe from this photo. Who wants Doritos™?

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The big event since my last post was this morning: a trip up to Petaluma to fill out the paperwork I need to start working out on the island. Now I know how to get state park maps for free: sign up to work for the parks department! Looks like Ranger Steve has a couple of days off, so it seems his assistant Mary Jo will be guiding me through the process. I also made a trip to the shoe store to buy new shoes, black work boots that will go with my new uniform. Also, I needed new shoes badly anyway, considering the lugs were falling off of my old hiking boots.

I finished writing and taping the new Movie Explorer review last week, but I made barely any progress with the editing, mainly because of stupid errors on my part. On Saturday, I made it to the café and was all ready to begin editing...only to realize I had neglected to transfer the video files from my camera to my laptop. And then, on Sunday, I arrived at my destination only to realize I forgot to pack my laptop altogether! D’oh! On the plus side, I found a treasure trove at Amoeba over the weekend; someone had dumped a whole ton of trashy potboiler movies on VHS, most of them out-of-print. Extra Movie Explorer fodder for months to come!

Speaking of Movie Explorer fodder, [ profile] albadger and I had our first Bad Movie Night in quite some time; enjoying a Mexican dinner in Dublin before decamping at his place to watch an episode of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (I have now seen the entire series!) followed by our main feature; 1970’s Toomorrow. In it, a British bubblegum pop band featuring a “tonalizer” (home-made synthesizer) among their instrumentation attracts the attention of space aliens who hear something the audience clearly doesn’t in their vapid marshmallow pop. Maybe it’s the presence of Olivia Newton-John in her first big break. It’s also 1970, so expect clunky attempts at social consciousness via student protests and whatnot. It’s fluffy and inconsequential but harmless and mildly entertaining; this was Don Kirshner’s attempt to follow up The Monkees, UK big screen style. All the songs sound like the sort of thing you’d expect to see performed by animated teens who solved mysteries on the side with their talking pet.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from atop False Gun Vista Point in Miller-Knox Regional Park, which seems to be the Park of Cumbersome Names:

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It smelled like treated sewage at the top of the hill, and like creosote at the bottom. And there were goats.

Still waiting on the word that I can begin work. Were it not for the glare, you would have spotted Angel Island beyond the tree in the above photo. I can’t help but worry that I’ll get a word that they decided not to go with me after all. I’m deliberately putting off buying the uniform for that very reason.

The big event this weekend was seeing [ profile] albadger in Marius. I thought it was very entertaining and everyone played their parts well (and Al was not the only cute one on stage). It was at Fort Mason, where I had not been since...whenever they used to have the Dickens Fair there. I’m guessing 30+ years ago. I wound up parking on the other side of the park from the theater, which meant lots of walking, including down a long flight of stairs.

Got less work on the balance of the Movie Explorer Gay Shame Month reviews than I hoped for, but I at least did get some work done, namely the intro for the next episode. Also, got a proper DVD for Review #3, which beats my “taped off cable TV at EP speed” version all to hell. It’s actually an awful, awful film and not in the way I find appealing, but one must suffer for one’s art. And the fact that it was sale priced softens the blow a bit. On the minus side, there appears to be an extended cut of the film on the flip side of the disc. Zeus preserve us all. Also softening the blow is the knowledge that I never have to watch Windows ever again. Incidentally, Infamous Sphere actually posted a review of Windows a couple of weeks before mine, for a second opinion (which is not too terribly different from mine, does anyone actually like this film?), check out her review.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
This week’s self-portrait from Beanery, Inc., “Look-alikes” series #3, in the style of George Westinghouse:

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Sorry, I forgot to inform you guys of Pizza Night, which did indeed happen last week. I’ll try to be a bit more on the ball next month.

On the plus side, I finally got the latest Movie Explorer review up. I am already working on the next and definitely hope to have it up much sooner. There will be less juggling with other folks’ schedules in this (my sister was supposed to be the hand model for Liza in this episode, but she’s working midnights right now, and we couldn’t get it together. Also, Cal got sick and the Doctor voice-over was delayed.).

Speaking of which: beware of what is said in jest, someone just might take it seriously. Ben Minotte, host of The Oddity Archive, has requested I actually do review You Light Up My Life. If I get enough requests, I might consider it, but I have a huge backlog of more interesting films I’d rather review.

Friday night, [ profile] albadger invited me to the opera. He was right about two things: a) as long as it is, there’s not a note of music out of place that can be taken out and yet b) there’s no reason a silly romantic comedy about two guys pranking their fiancées needs to be three hours long. The lady playing Despina was a comic delight. Everyone else was...adequate. They needed to have greater demarcation between the sisters; the only way you could tell them apart was their colour-coded dresses and the fact that one was slightly taller than the other. Both were brunettes with similar hairstyles and similar voices and I kept mixing up who was who; they should have made one a blonde or redhead.

Recently found in the yard: a gopher snake. Good. We have a bit of a gopher problem and the more anti-rodent predators, the better.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
In the spirit of Where’s Waldo, let’s play Where’s Jackie Chan?:

Fantasy Mission Force
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
This week’s self-portrait taken at Maxfield’s Café in The City. “Look-alike” series #2, after Grand Duke Friedrich of Austria:

Grand Duke Friedrich

 photo CAM000721_zpsaf55f537.jpg

I don’t think I captured my subject this week as well as I did last week. We’ll see if I improve next week.

Another cooking adventure; I made kale chips this week! They turned out fairly well; some were undercooked but that’s better than being overcooked. Really crunchy, they’re much thinner and lighter than potato chips but very tasty! I seasoned half a batch with taco seasoning, another half with dehydrated garlic and onion and the rest with Lawry’s™ seasoned salt. They go well with a sandwich for a pre-hike picnic.

[ profile] albadger very graciously treated [ profile] bigjohnsf and I to a viewing of the restored, silent version of Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail and the Castro on Friday. I hadn’t seen any of his silent films yet, so it was quite an experience. The genius was there already, there’s a scene right at the beginning where the camera zooms in on a reflective surface and we see a reflection of the two police officers entering a room. Even now, that would be a tough shot to pull off! There was live orchestration, I believe this was the third silent film I’ve seen with live music, and the second with an ensemble (the third was accompanied by a solo piano).

The next Movie Explorer video is still in mid-edit, but I did manage to post a new commentary for the Che! review. Sometimes, I even remember to talk about the review!
progbear: King Gorice XII of Witchland (Gorice XII)
Going with the embedded image link, that seemed to work well last time:

a.k.a. B.J. Lang Presents

Abandon hope all ye who enter here. It’s psychedelic hash, probably based on an avant-garde theater piece, starring Mickey Rooney. Saints preserve us!

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