Monday, January 23, 2006

Show Me the Monkey

otherwise entitled - "Is Nothing Sacred"
CD in play: Matthew Sweet, Altered Beast.

The slaughtering of my cherished childhood memories continues. I was out pounding the pavement today on East Hastings. While walking by the bus stop closest to Kootney Loop, I noticed a bright yellow avert on the side of a bus. It was for a movie and the tagline was "Show Me the Monkey!". There is a smiling digital monkey looking through a pair of binoculars. I was horrified and disheartened. Ladies and Gentlemen will you please observe a momment of silence, Curious George - the movie - has arrived.

Hollywood has done a good job at slaughtering books I loved as child and as a teenager. Cat in the Hat and The Grinch both did a diservice to the works of Dr. Seus. A Wizard of Earthsea was demolished in a version made for Sci-Fi in the US. I am embaressed to say that it was shot locally - yet another stool for the production toilet that is Vancouver. (there are exceptions like the new BSG and Da Vinci's Inquest/City Hall - but they are pearls to be carefully guarded from the hoardes of swine) While I enjoyed and was pleased to see faithful Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring was to the source, I was really put of by how Jackson bastardized The Two Towers. It was so bad it put me off seeing The Return of the King in the theatre.

The Two Towers experience really made me jaded. At one point I used think it would be great to see some of the books I loved as a kid set up on the big screen. No longer. I didn't even bother going to see The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and have no intentions of shelling out money to rent it. I have seen bits and pieces of the Disney cartoon version of The Black Cauldron from 1985. Perhaps I should have made the effort to see it as a 15 year old, maybe it would have turned me off the idea of adaptations altogether. Disney still holds the rights to Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, (which also includes The Book of Three, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer and The High King) but - mercifully - has no plans to turn any of them into films.

This brings me back to Curious George. (or Jorge El Curiouso as he is know in the Spanish versions) As a small child I loved that monkey, so did all my friends. The illustrations, the misadventures, it all has a special place inside me. At least they aren't giving C.G. the Garfield treatment, it is a wholly animated film and not some live action/CGI, cut and paste hack job. There was a real innocence to the books that Hollywood is incapable of conveying. Things are likely to be over-played for effect and little of the charm of the character is likely to be there. The horrific tagline "Show Me the Monkey" should say it all.

I would be interested in a film about the Reys, themselves. They were German Jews who fled to Brazil in order to escape Nazi Germany. They married and moved to Paris in 1935. They escaped France on two bicycles that Hans made, just prior to the Nazi taking control of Paris. They fled to Spain, Portugal, Brazil and finally settled down again in New York. Curious George was published in 1941.

The Reys were remarkable people and deserve some wider recognition. H.A Rey is an unsung hero of Astronomy, having simplified the way we see the constellations with his 1952 book The Stars: A New Way to See Them. (or the kids book Find the Constellations with the characters Castor and Pollux)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Taking in the Scenery

CD in Play: Fugazi, In on the Kill Taker.

So Rick Mercer uses Blogger as well? I decided to hit the random blog feature and these are the first ten blogs to come up. (excluding the commercial blogs) Check them out I say. They may be good, they may be bad, but someone spent their time to make it so it deserves some attention. Post comments - I do. I do not know any of these people, btw.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Ballad of the Lackadaisical Blogger

Photo by c7istian

Originally uploaded by c7ristian.

"It's never a good day when you wake up with an octopus on your face." A favourite line from Da Vinci's Inquest. Feeling better and less stressed out than in my last post. Just tired of the unemployment cycle. Lot of homeless people here in Vancouver and I do not wish to join their legions. Time to do the lazy blogger thing again.
* I have revised this since it was first posted. I have decide to try and set up weblinks, whenever possible, to the artists/bands/people/things that I mention in this blog.

Current attire: Track pants, hole-ridden socks and a brown t-shirt.

Current mood: Somewhat upbeat. Upbeat but not braindead. Click the link to see what could frighten a curmudgeon like me.

Current music: The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Looking forward to their new album, "At War With The Mystics".

Current love interest: never again. And I don't think I'll have to worry about a Sean Connery style about face on that assertion.

Current resurgent interest: photography. Now I just need a job so I can develop my film.

Current book: Still plucking away at Man in the High Castle chapter by chapter, but enjoying it this time around.

Current peeve: Neighbourhood scumbags. There are these kids close by my place - all of them known to the cops - who really making a nuisance of themselves these day. You'll be hearing about them on the 6 o'clock news one of these days, I guarantee that.

Current refreshment: green tea with roasted brown rice and popcorn in it.

Current worry: Same stuff - finances, schooling, employment, etc. I have also gained a spectacular amount of weight since returning from Montreal, so I have get serious and loose it. On the job side, I am trying to get a job at a bakery. I need experience so I can go work at one of these remote camps up north. Some of them pay enough on six month contract that I could pay down loans significantly and go back to school to work towards my teaching certificate. That would lead to work right across the country - as there is a shortage of Secondary teachers all throughout Canada. The USA and the UK are also having similar difficulties.

Current thought: *insert sound from a vacuum... here*

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Greetings Mr. Skull, You Get Right Under My Skin

Mr. Skull
Originally uploaded by magskall.

"It's not who you are - it's what you do that defines the kind of person you are." I have been hearing variations of this ever since the film Batman Begins (click link to read my friend's review of the film) was released. Actions do speak louder than words and those words have been getting under my skin. I'll be 36 this year and I am not happy where I am at in any respect.
Emotionally, professionally and spiritually I am so very far from where I thought I would be in life. But it isn't that I am so far away from my expectations, it is that I feel as though progress has been arrested and maybe even regressed. The span of time is nothing. When I was 25 turning 26, the five years that had passed seemed so very long. Time seems to go by at an incredible rate and yet Look back on 33 years of memories and it all seems so close to me. It's like having hands full of sand, trying to keep its slipping out to a trickle, but soon you have so little left. Tomorrow I am 40 and by the end of next week 65 going on 66 - so what do I have to show for myself? Nothing.
I do nothing worthwhile, ergo I am nothing/no one worthwhile. Time is flying by and I have a real sense of my mortality. The more I try to move somewhere the more resistance I meet. It is absurd.
Bah... don't mind me. I am frustrated about not being back at school working towards my teaching certificate. Frustrated that I have no money to pursue painting. I'll be fine someday, I promise.

BTW, the sketch is mine although the skull is not.

CD's in Play: Fugazi, The Argument. Can, Can Box Music (Live 1971-77)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


A Picture Share!
Originally uploaded by emoeby.

photo by emoeby

CD in Play: Fugazi, The Argument.

I have always thought people went a little overboard with the fish thing. The Darwin fish was cute, but the Evangelical response was silly and childish. (the Jesus fish eating the Darwin fish) Someone wanted to bait them and they took the bait hook line and sinker.
I have heard of Muslim shark that eats both. My friend Elijah has a gefilte fish (A Jewish delicacy) on the back of his truck. I like that one. I also like the one in this picture.
And for every fish under the sun that you could put on your car check out:
Many of them are just plain stupid, but some are clever.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Slothful Blogger

Current attire: Shorts, brand new black, military sweater that is a lot like my old one.

Current mood: Hell if I know. I am sort of just here. Not bad, not great - I just am.

Current music/musical obsession: A thirty second loop of Kevin Ayers' "Song from the Botton of a Well", from the 1971 release Whatshebringswesing. I heard Ayers' song "Clarence in Wonderland" and that made me curious about his music. While I have only heard 30 second snippets of his work, I am very impressed with his early catalogue. Really odd stuff. As one critic put it, "Like Syd Barrett (ex-Pink Floyd) without the madness." Ayers used to be with The Soft Machine, whose first two albums I need to pick up sometime as well.

Current favourite word: I love the sound of "alabaster".

Current book: Re-reading Man in the High Tower (Dick) and Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea.

Current culinary obsession: Still Korean. I received a book on how to make kimchi fro Christmas, so look out!

Currently speaking, films I am interested in seeing: Syriana, Goodnight and Good Luck and I am curious about Manderlay.
Saw Munich twice and liked it much better than my friend, film critic Peter Chattaway. I find the controversy over Munich's historicity amusing, given Hollywood's free-wheeling ways and penchant for tweaking historical facts. Frankly, only the zealots on either side could find this film offensive. I think the most important thing being overlooked is that Spielberg, imho, is using Jonas' book as a vehicle to open up the questions about what what it means to be a Jew and to what extent is Israel's course of action erroding to their identity as Jews. The films critical arguments come from Robert, Avner's mother and Avner himself during his encouter with Efriam at the end of the film. I won't give it away - see it for yourself and make up your own mind.

Current refreshment: H20

Current worry: Same stuff - finances, schooling, etc.

Current thought: Thinking is for the weak. Only the stupid shall survive.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Brief Interlude Before a Lengthy Pause

CD in Play: Tortoise, It's All Around You.

Hey, just a note to say I might not be posting againfor the next week. The computer I use is having some difficulties at the moment. I was house sitting for some friends and their computer crashed altogether. Anyhow, Happy New Year one and all.