Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Chills Are Alive

♫ Futurepop, Ambient, Chillout, and Dream / These are a few of my favorite streams! ♫

  • Digitally-Imported: DI has a wide-ranging selection of electronic music streams, but the free versions get lower bitrate and jarring advertisement drops.
  • Blue Mars: These streams are the love project of a guy named Lone; they were off the air for a while during the bad old Internet-streaming copyright wars, but are back. His playlists feature a handful of select artists, but sometimes you’ll hear new stuff. Very good for being not in your head.
    • Blue Mars: “In Memory of Earth”. Space music to travel the stars.
    • Cryosleep: “Zero Beat, Guaranteed” This is the most ambient of ambient. Nothing is more mellow.
  • Digital Gunfire: “Long Range, Hard Hitting.” Futurepop, Darkwave, Industrial. Sometimes hard, sometimes aggro, sometimes hopeful. I fucking love this station. Listener-supported.
  • Soma FM: Unique in that they have a strong selection of electronic and non-electronic streams. Top-notch music directors. Entirely listener-supported. My favorite streams:
    • Drone Zone: “Serve best chilled. Safe with most medications.” My other go-to ambient stream.
    • Doomed: “Dark industrial/ambient music for tortured souls.” You’ll hear stuff on here not even Digital Gunfire will touch.
    • Tag’s Trance Trip: “Progressive house / trance. Tip top tunes.” High-energy stuff.

Double-Dose of Popcorn

Being a damn shut-in every evening, I’ve turned to watching a ton of movies in the past month or so to supplement or replace my usual social interactions. Chances are, if I get my hands on it, I’ll eventually end up watching it. As such, there’s no telling what I’ll see. Here’s what I’ve seen this month (the range is all over the damn place).

“Sucker Punch” was alright, but it would be a great movie if it knew what it wanted to be. It was as split-personality as the girls in the asylum. The optical and visual production values were so high, even the dirt was crisp and clean. But the story needed a lot of work. I guess the plot bend at the end kinda justified most of it, but it left me feeling like I just ate some clean dirt.

Picked up a copy of “Star Trek: First Contact”; hadn’t seen it since theatrical release. It was an important movie in the series, but understated. I’d forgotten about it in the shadow of “Star Trek: Generations” and the rest of the Next Generation movies. Had a good visit from our old enemies The Borg, but the dialog had a few rough spots where the writers assumed too much.

Found a copy of the original “Nosferatu” silent film on archive.org. A bit slow and tedious, even for silent films, but you can see where some of our horror movie tropes originate.

“The Day the Earth Stood Still”, the recent remake, was a decent reinterpretation of the original film. It occurs to me that Keanu Reeves prefers to take on “Christ roles”, where his character commits the ultimate sacrifice to save the world.

I also put on “The Matrix” some time later, speaking of. That movie, sad to say, is the closest thing to a perception-altering religious experience I’ve experienced in the 18 years since leaving religion. I’m not sure how to feel about that. But I replay it every now and then just to feel a glimpse of that wonder again.

If you want to see the origin of phrase “that’s two D’s, for a double-dose of my pimpin'” (as heard in “Idiocracy”), then watch “American Pimp”, a documentary about pimps, pimp ethos, pimp style, pimp history. Made in the 90’s, but most of the lessons learned stand the test of time. It may be the world’s second-oldest profession, but bitch betta get my money.

Speaking of hard pimpin’, “Black Dynamite” is smartly written as a farcical look at blacksploitation films of the 70s with all the pimpin’, ass-kickin’, whitey-punchin’ karate you can handle.

“Salt” features Angelina Jolie as a secret agent turned double-agent on the run for her life and her sleeper mission. Jolie proves she has the chops to look stellar in the heat of action. Not much range in her character’s emotions, but it’s a star vehicle nonetheless. There was a surprise twist at the end, but worth it. High popcorn value.

If you haven’t seen or heard of the German-directed film “Hanna”, and you’re into Europe-trotting action films like “Bourne Identity”, you’re missing out, my friend. Hanna is a 16-year old girl specially trained by her survivalist father to kill (and to do so with ruthless efficiency), and her target is her father’s former boss at a top-secret American-funded eugenics program. I haven’t seen a little girl putting the boot to this many people since “Kick Ass”. Do yourself a favor and hunt this movie down.

I felt uneasy after watching Darren Aranofsky’s “Black Swan”. It was a very good drama of the highest caliber, on par with all of Aranofsky’s other works. I palpably felt the solitude and loneliness of Natalie Portman’s character, the unhealthiness of her mother’s smothering and manipulation, the gradual descent into delusion and madness in the hopes of being absolutely perfect, flawless, and complete. The only air in the suffocating environment was Mila Kunis’ portrayal of the light, thrillseeking, flaw-embracing counterpoint to Portman’s perfectionistic insanity.

On a dark note, you haven’t seen a bleak film until you’ve seen “The Road”. Bleeeeeak. I finished it feeling hopeless for my future and for the future of mankind. I was a little stunned, and obscenely hungry for the following week. An unspecified environmental disaster befalls the earth, and a permanent winter sets in everywhere; all the animals die, no crops will grow, and it’s forever overcast. Mankind is doomed, and a father and his son fight to scavenge for food, clothing, and seek shelter from bands of survivalist cannibals. It’s a hard movie to watch, but when it all comes down at the end of our human history, this is what it would be like.

Earlier this week, I woke up feeling like Joe Banks. Lost in the shuffle, driven to show up, clock in, do my work in a overcast daze. Doctor told me I had a brain cloud. So that night, to console myself, I watched “Joe Versus the Volcano”. I never saw it when it came out, but picked it up in the past year and return to it every so often to help me remember that I can change my fate if I wanted.

And finally, tonight I watched “McGruber”, and I have to say, it was mildly amusing for its send-up of its namesake TV series on which it’s based. Nice Molsen Beer jabs, too, a reminder that the original show and its actor are both from Canada. And it was good to see Val Kilmer acting again. Campy, cheesy, way too much man-ass, but funny nonetheless if not braining is what you’re in for.

So, that brings you up to speed with my recent movie habits. Keeps me busy until I pass out in bed. Most people have cable to keep them from living their life to the max. I have this.

Head East

Perhaps tonight isn’t the best of nights to sit at home and listen to Stabbing Westward. But it’s already 2 hours to bedtime. Too late to make something of the evening.

Time and Distance

I am not in the habit of discussing matters of the heart publicly, but if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to the past few months….

I’m coming out of this Thing I had with someone. It was never really defined, so Thing is what we’ll call it. By the strictest definition, yeah, it was a relationship, but it is what it was: enigmatic on the best of days.

She and I had a hard time throughout most of it; the open questions, the crossfire of intents. The pattern, as it played out, was “start, stop, start, crash, kinda start, kinda fizzle.” Although we’d been friends for years before we made a go at it, it just did not work out for reasons I’ll not describe in public.

I’m a little numb from the experience, and dumb on where to go from here. Relationships, good or bad, are disruptive to the status quo. Habits change, plans get pushed out, internal desires get sidetracked at the first glimpse of no longer going it alone. Now on the other side of it, it’s just me, sorting the pieces and remembering where I left off.

I will say, emphatically, that she still has my adoration, respect and friendship. Always will. She is a strong and dignified human being. I can only hope the feeling is mutual. Maybe time apart will help us to sort out our feelings and let us restore our friendship to something resembling what it was.