Nosferatu Available on Google Video

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Google Video now has the entire 1922 classic film Nosferatu for your viewing pleasure. I was just a kid when I first saw that movie, or rather the last twenty minutes of that movie and it scared the bejesus out of my pancreas.

Even then I could tell it was more than just a horror movie made to scare, but rather ART designed with a higher purpose. For years the image of the vampire standing in front of the bed as the sun rises crept into my dreams and haunted my nightmares.

When I actually did watch the entire film I have to admit it seemed to drag a bit and I can never get used to that score, but it remains one of the most haunting scary movies I’ve ever seen.

If you have never seen the film do yourself a favor and catch it now. And once you are done catch the other full length films available on Google like Plan 9 From Outerspace, Night of the Living Dead and Reefer Madness.

Movie Review: Flightplan

flightplan.jpgIn the previews for Flightplan they show Jodie Foster on an airplane claiming she has lost her daughter. They then show one of the flight crew explaining to Jodie Foster that her daughter was never on board the plane. And with that there are no surprises in the film.

Her daughter not being on the passenger list/flight manifest might have made for a good surprise ending a’la the Sixth Sense or something, but if they are using it in the commercials then you know it isn’t the surprise ending but a twist found somewhere between the opening and the end credits. But if it is not the surprise ending, then you automatically know the daughter is real.

Mental psychosis plays well for an ending, but in the middle it has to be a ploy to divert the audience attention so that they can again surprise us with the daughter having really been taken. And if someone took her then there must be some kind of terrorist plotting.

And really if I can figure this stuff out by the previews, anybody can. Because I’m totally not the sort who figures stuff out on my own.

Unfortunately, those surprises are all the film has going for it. :In a film where you know where it’s going to wind up, it’s the getting there that has to be good, and this film never quite makes the ride interesting. It’s more like a real transatlantic flight – long, tiring, and your legs feel all tired out by the time it ends.

Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard are fine actors and they do their best with the material, but there just isn’t enough there.

It is the kind of film where I found myself yelling at the television over all the extensive amount of plot holes, and stupidity of the characters until I fell asleep from exhaustion.

A Weekend at the Book Fair

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I always figured I’d be the sort of person who had books stuffed in every corner, piled up on the carpet and lined against the wall, I just never figured it would be by the time I turned thirty.

Though living in a modest-sized two bedroom apartment, every square inch of wall space that is not taken by furniture is stuffed with shelves full of CDs, DVDs, and books. By far the books outnumber everything else and are spilling out like an overfilled cup onto the floor of every room in the house. This has been doubly fulfilled over the weekend having gone to the local Red Cross book drive multiple times.

In an annual event the Red Cross holds a book drive at the county fairgrounds. They sell the books in an interesting manner which compels me and my wife to go back and back and back… On Friday they charge a $5.00 entrance fee, but most people pay it due to having first crack at the choice books. All books sell cheaply – hardback for two dollars, paperbacks for a buck – and the best ones go quickly. On Saturday they take away the entrance fee, but sell the books for the same price. The first half of Sunday sees the books going for half price, and by mid-afternoon all books are $5.00 a bag! If there is anything left on Monday, you can take home what you want for the price of the gasoline it takes to get you there.

My wife and I always forgo the Friday pay-to-get-in night and thus headed in early Saturday morning. Arriving five minutes after they opened there was still a long line outside the entrance, waiting to get in. It seems they created some sort of barricade-like thing to harangue folks in, cattle-like, in order to get an adequate headcount.

No mind, the line moved quickly and inside this warehouse of books I went. They divided the books into appropriate subject matter – biographies, literature, crafts, paperback romances and such like, but that’s as organized as it got. Nothing by name or title, so I had to literally sift through the chaff. It was a grand experience though moving sideways alongside the maddening throngs looking for the hidden gems.

I hit up the classics section hoping to fill in my missing pieces of literature. I found a slew of great stuff – War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Ulysses, some Edith Wharton and a whole slew of Charles Dickens. They’ve had a great set of old-looking hardbacks of what seemed to be the entire Dickens catalog. Even at the great price of two bucks a pop, my checkbook wouldn’t allow that package. I held out hope that I’d see it later that weekend when the prices go down.

Moving to the other sections I picked up another large handful of books from the not-so-classics, but fun-to-read category. Like the Pavlov’s dogs of old, I was in full-on salivation mode just looking at all those books.

Being that all the books have been donated to the Red Cross for this sale, they are all old, used worn books which makes it even better in my opinion. Walking into a Barnes and Nobles these days feels sterile to me, like walking into a hospital reception room. It’s antiseptic no matter how cozy they try to make it with their coffee pots and big leather chairs. Not so there. Books lined every corner, people tore into them releasing years-old dust and the smells of a thousand shelves where they have sat for who knows how long. It was a glorious, wonderful thing.

The wife and I piled into line with our arms loaded, $28 in total and more books than I’ll be able to read all year. A rough estimate of what these books would total at a regular store ranges into the hundreds.

There is nothing like a book fair.

Later that afternoon, we decided to go back. My wife had to work on Sunday and wasn’t able to make it for the five bucks a bag deal. Not being satisfied with the morning’s collection, we headed back for more.

We decided on a $10 limit, making it five books a piece. Normally at this thing I go in, grab what I can get and think about the budget later. Setting a limit made it difficult as I had to contemplate each book’s pros and cons before I put it in my bag.

That night, our kitchen table filled to the brim, we slept the sleep of kings.

Wife working, I headed back on Sunday with my friend Daniel. Big paper sacks were handed out at the entrance and the whole place was like one giant candy store with hordes of hungry kids running amuck. At five dollars a bag there wasn’t time to contemplate if I really wanted the book. I filled my bag and hoped for the best.

I once again hit the classics, stared at the hardback Dickens and decided it would fill my bag too soon, crossed my fingers that it would last until free day and carried on.

Suddenly Grisham, Koontz, and Sue Grafton’s alphabet series took on a glimmer of enticement. I’m not normally one for the current bestsellers list of easy fiction, but priced so cheap, I couldn’t help myself.

Two sacks later, at ten dollars total I walked out a happy little boy.

Monday, going solo, for the wife had to work yet again, I headed out for one last time. It was madness. All books were free, and the throngs were like a thousand chickens with a thousand missing heads. I pushed my way in and came out with a box filled with books I’ll probably never look at again. Alas, the Dickens collection was gone. Oh well, I’ve more than enough to line the shelves and keep my reading mind occupied for months to come.

All told we came home with some sixty books and spent less than $50. I have since landed most of them on shelves, though many still lie on the table, the tops of shelves, and on the floor…

I like it this way though. For a home without books just isn’t a home. If I wanted to live in a place that was neat and tidy with knick knacks on the shelves instead of books, I’d live in a hotel. No, I like it just fine – just be patient with me as I spend the next hour deciding on a book to read.

Jeffrey Wins Project Runway and the Links of the Day

  • My wife adores Project Runway, but was slightly appalled that Jeffrey Sebelia won. Sure, she says, his stuff was the best, but winning will only make him more obnoxious.

Lost: Season Three, Episode Three – “Further Instructions”

800px-further_instructions.jpgWell I am back in the Lost fold – looking forward to new episodes, mesmerized by the mysteries – and once again am not writing a play by play, but more of a gut response to the episode. For the detailed plot, go to Wikipedia’s episode guide, and don’t worry, if it isn’t updated now, it soon will be.

Locke is back – bloody and mute, but back none-the-less. It is amazing how central he is to the show. He is really the heart of everything that goes on, and the first two episodes without him felt empty because of it.

Luckily the third episode of the same number of seasons was very Locke-centric. Even the flashbacks were about him – and what flashbacks they were. It seems our faithful Locke was not always the nice guy and spent sometime (pre-box job in a wheel chair, but post-give internal organs to dad) with a group of marijuana growers.

I liked Locke finding solace in a commune type atmosphere, and even the pot didn’t bother me for he’s shown knowledge of psychedelics on the island, but the undercover cop stuff seemed a little trite. Especially the conclusion of the flashback with Locke pointing his rifle at the cop, but ultimately letting him go. I was really hoping that the guy would get hurt, not as a cop, but as the friend of Locke. It would have tied up better with the whole ‘everybody who follows me gets hurt’ deal with the rest of the episode.

Was it me or was the big guy growing the marijuana Mr. Friendly? I swear it was, but I’m lousy with faces.

The polar bear is back – that’s cool. I’ve been wondering about those bears since the first season. It is still a bit peculiar that no one has seen one since it seems to live not so far from the hatch – or where the hatch used to be.

left_of_the_hatch.jpgThere is a freaking hole where the hatch used to be! Was that cool!

Hurley is back and I’m thinking he’s now a polar bear. I mean the bear was chasing them, then Locke throws his knife at the rustling and suddenly there’s Hurley, but no bear is around. I mean, he kind of looks like a bear so maybe he is one.

I’m now hoping for a Locke/Eko showdown with the others.

boonedream.jpgThe whole Locke in the hut o’mystery dream sequence was a little too conspiracy theory to me. I’m not much for overt symbolism and the airport full of all the characters was just too much. I’m sure lots of fans will slow motion the scene and come up with wild theories as to why each character was where – Hurley is behind the counter, what does that mean? – and I’ll probably read them, but I’ve not much interest in the mess right now.

Mother freaking Desmond is now some psychic! I loved the mysterious mention of Locke’s speech followed by denial followed by it coming true.

Very Mondo cool.

Random Shuffle – 10/18/06

Sorry for the lateness, again, on this. I’ve been a bit ill this week, and haven’t felt well enough to write.

As always if ye belong to the music biz and wish for an mp3 to be taken down, contact me.

5mcd12.jpg“She Sends Me” – moe.
From No Doy

It was at a Furthur Festival that I had first heard of moe. There were all these neo-hippies with bumper stickers plastered over all sorts of thing with the band name. It was always like that too, all lower cases with the period in the back. It’s a goofy little thing, but definitely stands out and makes you wonder what they are all about.I don’t really remember their performance that day. I remember I liked it, but out of the half dozen bands I saw it’s hard to recall much about this one, when I didn’t know any of their songs

Eventually I bought an album, No Doy, and it has become an album I really enjoy, but rarely listen to. “She Sends Me” is pretty typical fare for the band, or at least the album. It has a little funky, warbly bass line that moves the song along, at least until the final rave up when the guitar takes over into a quickly paced free-for-all. The lyrics are completely goofy and fun.

There a good little band, one that I love for their ability to continue putting out fine music, and creating a profitable scene while remaining almost completely obscured from mainstream media. A band that plays for the music, man, and not MTV credibility.

ymsb3.jpg“Must’ve Had Your Reasons” – Yonder Mountain String Band
From Town by Town

A few summer’s back I saw the Yonder Mountain String Band in Indianapolis during a festival dubbed “Jamgrass” which was supposed to be this crazy fusion of jam bands and bluegrass players. It was a great, long day filled with the likes of Sam Bush, Tony Rice with Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Dark Star Orchestra and the aforementioned String Band. That’s a big collection of tried and true pickers to compete with but Yonder Mountain held their own.They did so by making bluegrass fun again. They have combined traditional bluegrass styles with popular music. It is similar to what Sam Bush did ten years ago when creating New Grass, except where Bush now carries a drummer, Yonder Mountain still keeps it with traditional instruments. They did a great version of “Suspicious Minds” for Elvis’ birthday, and if you haven’t hear Elvis done bluegrass style well, you just haven’t lived. At least not anywhere near Kentucky.

Unfortunately, most of the albums I’ve bought since that fateful performance have not lived up to the sheer joy of that evening. I don’t know what it is – the original songs, the lack of energy that only comes from a live performance or something else – but the studio recordings have never done much for me.

Town by Town seems to be a lot more of what I remember from that evening, and this song is just about perfect. It feels lighter, and more energetic than the others I’ve listened to. You know how often studio tracks are often performed with each musician playing their tracks separately, in a box, and you can hear that? Well this one feels like the band is back on the road, playing live and in the spirit. I’m glad to hear them pull it off on album, and keep checking my local listings to see them coming back to my town.

b000001egc03lzzzzzzz.jpg“Tiny Dancer” – Elton John
From Madman Across the Water

I can’t not hear this song and think of that scene in Almost Famous where the band finds common ground in it, while lip-synching along It’s a great movie moment, and a nearly perfect song.My relationship with Elton is a sordid one. My first memory of the man is not of his music but of a radio news announcer discussing that Elton was auctioning off much of his stage props and costumers. There was much ballyhoo over Elton’s elaborate stage get-ups and many a comparison to the late Liberace. An odd memory I know, but yet there it is.

Certainly I loved songs like “Candle in the Wind” when I was young and have great fond memories of hearing Elton sing during the 800 mile drive from college in Alabama to home in Oklahoma. My friend had a mix tape full of Elton John and I would borrow it for the long journey.

We had a bit of a falling out, me and Elton, during his Lion King years full of schmaltzy dreck, but I have recently rediscovered (for the first time) his output from the 1970s that brought him success in the first place. Albums like Madman, Honky Chateau and Tumbleweed Connection full of marvelous song craft. “Tiny Dancer” always takes me there, too, and I remember what a great thing a song can be.

cranberries.jpg“Linger” – the Cranberries
From Unplugged

The early 1990s are when I first truly discovered music. I was a teenager and had begun to feel things in the only way teenagers can – fully and as if it was the only thing that mattered. So I have a great deal of nostalgia for the music that came out during this era.It’s funny because there is so much nostalgia these days over all things 1980’s and while I’ve rode that boat and loved it, a great deal of that decade I don’t really remember. So say on songs like “Hungry Like the Wolf” I can’t really remember loving the song when it first came out, but I know the song, and realize it is from my childhood and so I create a sort of nostalgia for it and celebrate what a great freaking song it is, as if it was my own.

But the 90’s create a real nostalgia for me, from true memories, and not ones I pretend I remember for the sake of nostalgia. The Cranberries are right there in the thick of things, and this song always places me in a specific time. This particular version is from MTV’s Unplugged series, a series that likewise lives in my nostalgic memory case. It’s a lovely little thing with Dolores O’Riordan voice as haunting as ever.

drfeelgood.jpg“Dr. Feelgood” – Mötley Crüe
From Dr. Feelgood

Alright so after that admission I have to disclose my absolute secret love for all things hair metal. I know it is musically tepid and I know that half the bands had hits off of sentimental, sappy power ballads, but I love them just the same.You could probably argue that I can’t claim to not remember the 80’s and hold fond memories of hair bands, but time is kind of a sliding scale, isn’t it? I mean take this album, it feels like totally 80’s and technically it is, but with a release date of September 1989 it could really go either way. And I guess that’s what I really mean. I turned 14 in 1990 so my real musical awareness began in the late 80’s and blossomed in the early 90’s so that while I do have a dear fondness for many of the songs that came out say in 1987 the real heart of 80’s nostalgia goes a lot further back. But enough about that, we’ve got to talk about the CrüeI guess you could call it a small teenage rebellion that I listened to hair metal. I was from small town Oklahoma and there weren’t cool folks to turn me onto real metal bands or punk rock, so I took the generic stuff with enough loud guitars and satanic emblems to tick off my parents. It was safe enough not to get me into real trouble, and dangerous enough to kick my young hormones into action. And that was enough for the time.

Music Review: Tea Leaf Green – Rock ‘N Roll Band

From the ashes of the Grateful Dead rose a veritable scene of improvisational players of rock – or jam bands – all vying for the top spot now vacated by the defunct Dead. Yet no one band could be crowned king. Phish came closest, but for all the fans they gained there was a collective chorus of You’re not the Dead – instead an army of the jam coalesced and proceeded to noodle and space into improvisational bliss.

For archival purposes one could divide the remaining jam bands into two categories – those involved in serious musicology, and those ready to party. The split actually often occurred during the height of popularity for the Dead. Heads often speak of the scene changing after the Dead fanbase grew proportionally when they scored a top ten hit in the late 80s. Suddenly legions of folks were showing up to concerts not for inspiration at the muse of music, but to get high, get laid and get down.

With no more Dead, these fans ran to other concerts, and bands who were more than poised to be the soundtrack to the next party.

Tea Leaf Green fall flat into this category. There’s a party going on and these boys are the mix-tape.

By saying this, don’t for a minute think that I a implying they lack musicianship. For all four members seem accomplished at their chosen instruments. This is not a frat party band playing for kegs. These are serious musicians who create songs that aren’t meant to be taken seriously.

With Rock ’N’ Roll Band, Tea Leaf Green have created a memorable rock film in the vein of The Last Waltz and the Grateful Dead Movie.

Director Justin Kreutzmann (son of legendary Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann) has created more than just a recording of a live performance, but a snap shot of a band on the move.

Featuring most of the bands concert on May 19, 2006 in Boulder, Colorado the film intertwines band interviews and a few impromptu jam sessions. Making great use of split screen Kreutzmann creates an excellent portrait of the band and the music they create.

Honestly, Tea Leaf Green is a name I knew from bootleg trading circles, but I had never actually heard their music until I plugged in this DVD. At first listen, I gotta say I counted them as another flakey band riding the jam band wave, but after a few more spins there’s another level to their songs that pushes them forward. The bottom line still seems to be about having a good time, but there is craftsmanship to the music that makes it more than just party music.

Take the lead song, “These Two Chairs,” for example. It doesn’t have a chorus to speak of but there is a repeated line that just kills

“They just don’t understand
But they got a rock and roll…”
Then pause and wait for it
Crash boom…”ba-a-and.”

It is a great moment that gets the whole audience jazzed. It might not be studied by graduate students in years to come, but it sure is a lot of fun.

And what else do you want from a rock and roll band anyway?

The DVD doesn’t come with any extras to speak of, but it sounds good and looks fantastic. Justin Kreutzmann obviously knows his way around a rockumentary and creates a video that is more than just another rock concert caught on tape, but is cinema, and an important portrait of a band.

The soundtrack album to the movie comprises thirteen of the songs played, including “All of Your Cigarettes” from the sound check. It’s a nice disk, and a good companion to the movie.

Links of the Day

I’m toying with the idea of coming up with daily, or semi-daily links to some cool places I have found.  Even though I’ve been pretty good at writing new material for the blog every day, I know that once I go back to work the content will go down a bit.  If I can keep up a regular link action that will keep, you my fine readers, coming back for more regularly.

  • Lucinda Williams releasing a deluxe edition of her superb Car Wheel on a Gravel Road with bonus tracks and some live numbers.
  • Martin Scorcese interview with Sydney newspaper
  • An odd, but excellent (in a stoner kind of way) Big Lebowski Alphabet
  • Free classical mp3s.  A whole slew of them, but they are a little awkward to find as the site links to performers site where you must search for the music.  Still, very cool for classic fans.
  • Free unsigned mp3s.  One of the things I love about the broadband revolution is that tons of unsigned bands now have their songs online for free downloads.  This is one of the better sites full of free, legal music.
  • Grind House Trailer – trailer to the new Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez flick.  Looks f’ing amazing.
  • Who is the next to die in Lost?  Rumor has it we’ll have another body before Christmas, The Tail Section speculates on who it might be.

Lost: Season Three, Episode Two – “The Glass Ballerina”

In lieu of giving a scene by scene run down of this week’s episode, I am going to point you to Wikipedia’s episode guide, which gives the plot details in full. Instead I’ll give some brief feedback on what I thought about the episode.

What a difference a week makes. For last week’s season premier I was waiting with baited breath. All summer I couldn’t wait until the new season premiered. This week I hardly gave it a thought, and nearly forgot about it entirely.

I have to say that I am finally starting to tire of the entire program. This has nothing to do with this week’s episode, for it was a good one, but rather I am being worn down by the perpetual non-reveal. Every time they give us a hint at what it might all be about, they add in another half dozen mysteries. I can’t really blame the show for this, for if they gave us the hard facts the show would be over. It’s just beginning to feel like the perpetual state of blue ball that was life before love and I’m finding myself ready for a life of celibacy.

This may pass, as it has been a rough week personally and my general malcontent may have soured the show for me for the moment. I’ll continue to watch and we may find that next week I’m right back into the fold.

The two big reveals tonight were some back ground information on “Henry Gale” who is now known by his real name, Benjamin Linus. We tells Jack that he has lived on the island his entire life, posing a lot more questions about who the Others really are, and what their purpose on the island actually is. The other reveals also involved Ben as he informs Jack that if he cooperates he will be set free and sent home. To make Jack believe he shows him a television set and plays a piece of last year’s World Series with the Red Sox winning the pennant.

Big reveals for sure, but again it only reveals enough so that we ask even more questions about what’s going on. I have always felt that Lost can only conclude in ridiculousness. I cannot fathom how they will manage to end the series in a manner that will satisfy everyone and not be cheesy. I tend to hope they end it sooner than later as it will only become more impossible as the series continues.

I very much enjoyed the Sun backstory with her cheating on Jin with Jae Lee. Sun has been one of the few characters without a miserable back story and we begin to see her past is none too sunny.

It’s also interesting to see Sawyer be sweet to Kate without any of his obnoxiousness dirtying it up. It is as if seeing Kate in a situation she can’t get out of, polishes his feelings for her.

The one scene that bothered me was when Sawyer gets the gun off of the one guy, but puts it back down when Juliet threatens Kate. It is the second time Kate’s helplessness has turned the upper hand for the castaways, and in this case it felt almost false. If Sawyer had really had the rifle it seems more like him to have started shooting and sorting it out afterwards. But maybe that’s just me and my callousness.

Again it was a good episode and I enjoyed it immensely. I hope that my feelings are fleeting and that once the personal life is sorted out a little more, I’ll continue to love the show. I do wish they’d give us something solid that we could lean upon instead of this continual barrage of whispers in the dark.