A tribute album worth listening to

Tribute albums have a tendency to be one of the most overdone and under-worthy genres in the music business. Take a bunch of songs by a worthy artist, farm them out to a bunch of bands that aren’t nearly as well known, and issue a ‘tribute’ album that usually tends to be an excercise in mediocrity — there will usually be one, maybe two tracks that shine through, while the rest range from ‘listenable’ to ‘why bother?’

However, while going through my CD collection, I’ve found something of a rare gem: We Will Follow: A Tribute to U2 (this tends to happen when you’ve got 1000+ CD’s, by the way…it’s way too easy to lose track of music for a while). While this album does have a couple duds on it, the overall collection is definitely quite a few steps above the average tribute album — I’ve had it going on random for the past couple days without going absolutely buggy, which can be quite the rare thing. The majority of the tracks range from listenable to good, with probably between 3 and 5 real gems on here. If you’re at all into U2 and/or synth-pop/electronica, I can acually recommend picking this one up.

Here’s a quick track listing: Heaven 17 With or Without You / Information Society One / Front Line Assembly with Tiffany New Year’s Day / Razed in Black Pride / Dead or Alive Even Better Than the Real Thing / Spahn Ranch We Will Follow / Mission UK All I Want Is You / Electric Hellfire Club Sunday Bloody Sunday / Rosetta Stone October / Die Krupps Numb / Silverbeam with Ann Louise Where the Streets Have No Name / Bang Tango Even Better Than the Real Thing (Julian Beeston Mix) / The Polecats Desire / Intra-Venus Discotheque (Suspira Mix)

The collection grows again…

…like that’s really a surprise to anyone who either knows me or is actually bored enough to read this babble on a regular basis. :) Today’s acquisitions:

The Insider: The latest movie for me to pick up sight unseen. However, I’m becoming more and more of a fan of Michael Mann‘s directing (Manhunter, Heat, The Last of the Mohicans), and when you add in a cast including Russel Crowe and Al Pacino, I don’t figure I can do too badly…the 7 Oscar nominations don’t hurt, either. Was hoping to watch this tonight, but I think it’s a bit late for that…sometime soon, though.

Star Trek: TOS Vol. 19 (with The Changeling and The Apple) and Star Trek: TOS Vol. 20 (with Mirror, Mirror and The Deadly Years): Hey, I can’t help it…I was brought up on Star Trek! My only disappointment here is that Paramount is releasing these so slowly…2 discs, with 2 episodes each, every couple of months. Ugh. Disheartening to see it done this way when Fox does such an excellent job releasing The X-Files in season sets. Hopefully we’ll be able to talk Paramount into adopting this approach when they start putting TNG DS9 and VOY on DVD.

Other than that, a fairly uneventful day (in other words, pretty normal). I did get a call from the temp agency that confirmed I’m on their list, and from the sounds of it there might be something coming up soon. I can hope….

Hannibal

First off, a question: what kind of moron makes a call to someone from his cell phone in a movie theater just as the movie is beginning?!?!?! Ugh…times I wish it was legal to backhand someone just because.

Okay. I’m calm.

Just got back from Hannibal. I kind of need to let this one percolate in my brain for a bit before making a final decision, but did want to get some of my immediate thoughts down. Basically…well, in all honesty, kind of dissapointing. Nowhere near as strong of a film as either Manhunter or The Silence of the Lambs, which was kind of a shame. I don’t want to lay the fault of this on any of the cast or even on Ridley Scott — I think the problems lay in the story itself. It just felt very uninspired for the most part. I wasn’t quite bored at any point, but wasn’t at all drawn into the film, either.

The first part of the film fell kind of flat for me — it seemed a little heavy on the exposition and setup, trying to draw us in to what was going on, but not ever quite succeeding. The rest of it…well, for the following couple paragraphs I want to point out some parts that are definitely spoiler material.

I just couldn’t buy Clarice’s ‘downfall’. This was one of the first big things that bugged me — wouldn’t the FBI be recording all transmissions between the various people during an operation like that? If that were the case, then there would be a record of both Clarice and her friend telling the rest of the agents to stand down, and the cop going off on his own and provoking the situation that resulted in Clarice having to shoot the suspect. With that kind of record, I find it extremely hard to believe that Clarice would have gone through the villification that she was.

Next big problem — the revenge plan involving the boars. I’m sorry, but that was just all sorts of silly, and seemed much more like it belonged in a B-movie than the successor to one of the most famous psychological suspense films ever made.

Lastly, the final climax involving Ray Liotta‘s character getting lobotomized onscreen…oh, come on…that just felt like the author of the book desperately trying to find some way to go so over the top for no other reason than to go over the top and see how much he could shock everyone. Admittedly, it did shock me — but in very much the same way that most South Park events shock me — an initial “Oh my god I can’t believe they’re actually doing this,” but that’s it — no staying power. The psychological games that Lecter played in SotL were much more effective for me on a long-term basis than the gruesomeness of the final act of Hannibal is going to be, and it comes off in the end as feeling cheap.

I will say that I think Julianne Moore was a fine choice to replace Jodi Foster — she imparted a lot more credibility to the character being the same person than I’ve seen in other situations where the actor changed from one movie to the next (a good example being Hannibal Lecter himself, who I find much more creepy in Manhunter than I do in SotL — not that Anthony Hopkins‘ performance is bad, I just prefer Brian Cox‘s portrayal).

I also think that Ridley Scott did a good job with what he was given. There were quite a few shots in the film that were visually pure Ridley Scott — even one passing underneath a bridge in D.C. that could almost have been lifted directly from the opening scenes of Bladerunner. I just don’t think the script gave much to work with, and I can say that I definitely agree with both Jonathan Demme and Jodi Foster’s decisions to pass up on returning to this film.

We’ll see how things end up after more people see the film, though…there’s a discussion on the Home Theater Forum discussing the film that I’ve stayed away from for now, but I think it’s time to dive in.

That’s it for tonight, though…going to skim through the Hannibal discussion on the HTF for a few minutes, then get to bed — that whole wonderful job thing kicks back in tomorrow morning.

Quicker archiving, twins, frustration

Seeing as how I’m actually starting to update this thing on a more regular basis — and given my tendency for loquaciousness — I figured I’d drop the archiving settings down to weekly, instead of every two weeks, so that this page didn’t just keep scrolling on and on and on and on and on…. I also removed the link to the old hand-generated archive pages (from before I started using this software to automate the updating process), since it’s all really old stuff, and it’s easier for me to just stay with the automatically generated archive pages.

Even though I picked it up a couple of weeks ago, I just got around to watching Dead Ringers last night. Wow…what an incredibly fascinating film. David Cronenberg almost never fails to dissapoint me — he’s got an incredibly twisted mind and excels at putting his ideas on screen — and the one time he has (Crash, which I never even made it all the way through) I’m now starting to consider renting and giving another try. Anyway, the combination of Cronenberg and Jeremy Irons‘ absolutely mindbending performance as a pair of identical twins in Dead Ringers was absolutely mesmerizing. The fact that Irons could play two such identical people and put just enough subtle differences into the performances that it was always clear which was which was absolutely incredible to watch…he just proves yet again why he’s on my list of favorite actors.

In other news…well, not much. E-mailed my resume over to the temp agency, so all I can do now is ‘hurry up and wait.’ Spent most of last night here at home being frustrated with life in general…I’m so burnt out on just about everything here in town, especially with all this drama with TimeFrame, that I’m looking forward more and more to the day that I can just pack up and leave. Ah, well…some days I do better than others.

Now, I’ve got to go jump in the shower and head off to work at Suncoast, selling movies for a few hours. Fun fun fun….

First steps…

…into a field I haven’t investigated in years: job searching.

Went ahead and took Friday off to do a bit of job hunting. Ended up going by Chugach North Technical Services and turning in an application and getting an interview there…hopefully that might bring something my way soon. Things seemed to go pretty decently, I took one test on Microsoft Word and got a 94% (only missed two questions), and my typing test clocked me at 81 WPM with 95% accuracy…not bad in the least. Just have to get my resume e-mailed over to them and harcopy dropped off on Monday, and then wait and hope. If they’re able to find me something, then in goes my 2 week notice at TimeFrame. Hard to believe I actually got to this point, but if it’s time, it’s time.

Doing Trekkies (-ers?) proud

Having been a fan of Star Trek practically since birth, I’m not sure it would be possible for me not to be excited about this little tidbit of information. It’s been known for a while now that Paramount was going back and doing some work on ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ for its upcoming DVD release — we just weren’t entirely sure just what that meant.

Well, this article from the New Times Los Angeles Online website gives a lot of really good information on just what we can look forward to. Check it out, if you’re at all interested.

Ups and downs, and some possible changes

Yesterday was not exactly the best day I’ve ever had — not the worst overall, but certain moments may have some fairly large impact on days to come.

I’ll start with the good stuff, though. First off, my bowling continues to improve, which is cool. After last week’s run I brought my average up to 113, then surprised myself by managing to pull off my best series yet — 142/168/140! Not just my best series so far, but that 168 is my best score so far…I’m hoping to be able to get at least one game where I break 200 before I stop bowling.

Secondly, I got a chance to swing by Suncoast and picked up Love’s Labours Lost, and watched that after I got home from bowling last night. It turned out to be a really fun film, though it takes a little getting used to at first. Since Branagh combined Shakespeare with a 40’s style musical for this production, it opens with a ‘newsreel’ to give you some background information, then moves into some expository Shakespearian dialogue…then breaks into “I’d Rather Charleston”. Really caught me off guard at first, but after one or two numbers you just get caught up in the spirit of the experiment, and it just becomes a whole lot of fun. The only real downside I found was Alicia Silverstone trying not just to act, but to sing — luckily, she only gets a few verses completely on her own. I found her character to be this film’s eqivalent to Keanu Reeves in Much Ado About Nothing — an essential character who is unfortunately really badly miscast. Aside from lil’ miss Clueless, though, it’s a wonderful little romp, once you get past the initial shock.

Unfortunately, those were the highlights of the day. Not that they were bad highlights…just that the rest of the day kind of overshadows them.

Did my taxes — I owe $146. Bleah.

The big thing, however — if I’d had any more money in the bank than I do, I would have walked out of my job at TimeFrame yesterday. This is a really major thing for me — one way or another, I’ve always had an almost overdevolped sense of responsibility to whatever job I’m working, and will stick out some really uncomfortable situations when I deem it worth it, and I’d been doing my best to deal with all the little things at TimeFrame that bug me for a while now, as I didn’t want to either lose the paycheck or throw away the four and a half years I’ve got there just a few months before I leave state. However….

It just isn’t worth the headache anymore. While it’s not the job itself that bugs me, and I still enjoy the actual work I do, the work environment is so screwball that I’ve finally reached my breaking point. So, today I’ve called in to take a personal leave day, and I plan on running around to some of the temp agencies in town to take their placement/skills tests and see if I can find anything upwards of $10/hr for the next few months. I figure if I can find some data entry position — the kind of thing that often pays $12-$15 an hour because nobody wants to deal with it (usually a night position, shoved in a hole somewhere typing numbers in for hours on end), then as soon as I’m confirmed there, I can turn in my notice at TimeFrame and lose a fair amount of the stress in my life at the moment.

It’s really kind of bizarre for me to have gotten to this point — I’m still kind of amazed at myself for being willing to do something like take a day off to go job hunting. But, things have been going steadily downhill for me in regards to my job there, and there’s really only so much that I can take. So, today begins something of a grand adventure, in seeing if I can find something else to do for the next few months until I can afford to bail state. Should be interesting.

Of course, what’s going to be really interesting is if someone from TimeFrame actually ever stops by and checks my site and reads this….

Of blogs, site content, and something funny

So it appears I’ve (without really knowing or planning it) become one of the growing number of ‘bloggers’ on the web. Blogger? Well read on…the following text is from Blogger, a service for helping people create and maintain their blogs. While I don’t use them, the definition was useful:

What is a weblog/blog?

A blog is a web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically — like a what’s new page or a journal. The content and purposes of blogs varies greatly — from links and commentary about other web sites, to news about a company/person/idea, to diaries, photos, poetry, mini-essays, project updates, even fiction.

Blogs posts are like instant messages to the web.

Having realized while websurfing today that I’ve joined the blogger community, I went ahead and retitled this column on my page to reflect that, and added a couple of blog-related links to the lefthand sidebar on the page.

As far as site content goes, I’ve taken down the link in the Contents bar to the Ak Events side of my site, as I’m planning on going ahead and discontinuing it in the near future. It just isn’t getting the traffic I was hoping for…a good idea, but others are doing similar things, and I’d rather let someone else a little more into the idea play with it.

And finally, an amusing link I found while bouncing around the ‘net today: Pornolize! Warning: don’t follow the link if you’re underage or easily offended (or both) but if you’re neither of the above and have a good sense of humor, it can be all sorts of amusing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you….