Buy me pretentious clocks

I thought this clock which spelled out the time in text was the most amazing and pretentious clock ever:

But then I saw this:

The big mystery is why do I want these clocks so bad? Go out and buy them for me! I must own them now!


As Clay pointed out, THE KING OF KONG is on TV this weekend. Here is a look at the official sequel coming soon.

Sorry Clay.


The Venture Brothers

You think cause tonight is the finale of "Lost" that you have no more new TV to look forward to? Well Adult Swim to the fucking rescue. Sunday night brings us the premiere or season three of the insane adventures of The Venture Brothers. Here's a preview clip, I hope you like fighting midgets!

Summer hiatus for film critics

I'm not upset that Kenneth Turan calls Indiana Jones 4 the "film people have been waiting for" I'm just pissed that I have to see that line plastered all over every ad for that film. I mean, come on!

I propose we offer the summer off for movie critics. You can go on vacation, and after we are done with superheros and talking dogs you can come back. It really doesn't matter, SPIDER MAN 4 will make eleventy billion dollars no matter what anyone says.


Sweet Alien Graff near my work

Sorry for the bad quality of this pic, I snapped it from a moving car with my portable Singularity device.

Los Angeles Parking Bureau is (surprise) totally borked

The street I live on just became a permit only parking district, despite there being no parking shortage in Silverlake and three citizen hearings in which no one (except city bureaucrats) wanted to add parking restrictions. So I spent this morning at the idiotic Los Angeles Parking Bureau.

I tried my darndest to learn as much as possible before taking time off work to travel downtown and get a parking permit for my neighborhood. The fact that I had to do this in person instead of via phone, email, fax, mail or any other method was bad enough but when I arrived the comedy of errors was only just beginning.

Maybe my first clue should have been this page, giving directions to the parking bureau in which they misspell their own address. Or when I tried to follow these directions and realized they were incorrect. But what was so frustrating was the fact that this misleading info had me wasting my time, with no parking pass to show for it. The desk agents claimed that their printed rules stated things they clearly did not, either online or in the posted versions in the office. If you visit this circle of hell, be sure to bring cash (I had to use the liquor store's ATM down the street.) On and on it continued like this.

No wonder, these offices had ARMED security guards, they seem to be inviting conflict with this horrible, frustrating standard. Pretty much every other customer around me seemed to be yelling. The sad thing is I tried really hard, for days, to prepare for this. But their online info is so inaccurate it was impossible for me to do what I set out to accomplish. Gotta love the Netscape icon they chose for their address bar though. (For our readers not on on Social Security, Netscape was a popular web browser from the last century.)

Silverdocs announces full lineup

I'm excited to attend my first ever Silverdocs film festival next month. I'm from the East Coast originally but I've never had the opportunity to attend AFI's sister festival before. And there is lots to be excited about in the announcement of this year's lineup for sure. It's starting to look like a really solid year for documentary film. Here are a few highlights:

THE INFINITE BORDER -- Such an unusual/original thesis being proposed here, and one that can only really be well illustrated with the language of film. That thesis being that the border exists in an infinite emotional, physical and spiritual space. Stretching far past just the endless fences he photographs. The most moving and convincing argument is with his numerous interviews with amputees who will live forever bisected by their encounter with the border. This is by far the best Mexican doc I have seen in years. The film has a strong point of view, and it articulates is with the use of cinematic grammar.

THE TAILOR -- A laugh out loud uproarious portrait of an Indian tailor in Spain working out of a tiny shop front. As angry customers beleaguer him you see the kind of common arguments, which happens a million times a day in any job, which interacts with the public. Arguing over tiny fees and scraps of cloth, the comedy drawn from this is best viewed at a distance.

-- This film consists almost exclusively of courtroom footage from Milosevic’s trail at The Hague for crimes against humanity. Of course this is of historical/cultural relevance but it also made for a surprisingly entertaining film. Mostly this is a result of the fact that he serves as his own attorney for the proceedings and tries every back handed sneaky trick in the book to prolong and delay his sentencing. Also Milosevic’s cronies provide entertainment as they deny and double speak and even in one memorable scene insult the trial repeatedly when the use of translation is not available. A unique and compelling portrait of modern evil. The Silverdocs screening includes a panel discussion with General Wesley Clark, retired four-star general who commanded Operation Allied Force during the Kosovo War when he was Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO.

Silverdocs this year will be hosting Werner Herzog, Frederick Wiseman and Spike Lee among its filmmakers. It looks to be a historic year in Silver Spring and I'm honored to be a part of it.

Physics distorting garage

This sign is posted in the parking garage of the Thai place we go to for lunch.



Cell phone in a microwave

The Internet provides us with countless valuable services every day. Here's a perfect example: have you ever wondered what happens if a cell phone is placed in a microwave? Wonder no longer and watch the fascinating interaction of two everyday technologies.

Absolute Hot

This essay by Peter Tyson on Nova posits an interesting question: If there is is an absolute coldest possible temperature (0 Kelvin) is there an opposite, a hottest possible temperature? He asked a bunch of physicists and got a bunch of varying responses. One guy thought it might be around the temperature being probed by the Large CERN Collider I wrote about back here. Yikes!

When I was at school in Boulder, Colorado they were doing experiments venturing closer to Absolute Zero. I remember being fascinated by the fact that the coldest know point in the universe was no longer some distant corner of space but instead was now inside one of the buildings I walked past every day.


Weezer Video

The first video from the new Weezer album is a parody/showcase of internet detritus. Happy Friday.

(another meta-web video I recently enjoyed was Internet Party 2)


Jackass invites identity theft, gets identity stolen

If you are like me, you have seen this commercial about 50 times:

The guy painted his SSN on the back of a truck to prove how safe his identity was with his ID protection service. Well, guess what happened? His identity got stolen. A bunch. Because he is NOT smarter than everyone else, just smarter than the dupes who buy his "product."

The tragedy of my chicken biscuit breakfast

The mildly obese blogosphere is abuzz today with the scandal of McDonald's new Chicken Sandwich. Basically, the new chicken sammitch from Mickey D's is a blatant rip off of Fast Food Gods Chick-Fil-A.


The real tragedy is that the McDonald's sandwich is simply not as good, and there is no Chick-Fil-A near me. Also, I'm kinda grossed out by the pickles on the chicken sandwich, so I tried the breakfast chicken biscuit. It has a strange pickle essence as well! It's like they have infused the meat with essence of pickle at McDonald's. It's gross. And it wasn't just my imagination because I've been back 2-3 times to try the biscuit and it always has a disgusting hint of pickle.

Nintendo Nostalgia

Susan got a Wii and I started downloading some classic games from the Virtual Console. It's incredible how powerfully fun these old games are to me. In fact, I could see myself lazing a whole weekend away with buddies on these older games much easier than on a new game. I don't know if the game designers knew what they were doing but these are more powerful than a Proustian Madeline to me. Especially the music. I downloaded this game this morning and the song sent me into a fit:

Another game with killer music was BreakThru. As my brother pointed out, one of the best things about this game was that you could beat it fairly easily.

Sadly, that game is not available on the Wii Virtual Console yet. It's a genius idea, because they are essentially getting you to buy the same game twice in you life, and I am doing so GLADLY.

Another game not currently on the Wii VC is Blaster Master. I would snap this up in a second. Check out this killer opening sequence:

Of course this list would not be complete without a plea to release the game I played more than any other, Contra.

I might get amnesia and forget my name or get Alzheimer's and forget where I am but I will never forget that code...


Nico Bellic wants his money

This story over at the New York Times is kinda interesting. The voice actor who portrays the tough protagonist Nico Bellic in Grand Theft Auto IV is complaining that actors get a bum deal from the game industry. Basically his argument is that in the games medium there is no scale pay rate or additional compensation for his performances being used in advertising. I don't really know enough about the situation to weigh in but if the voice of Nico asked me for something, I'd get it! That dude is terrifying!

As I continue my progress in the game I'm becoming more and more impressed by the narrative. I'm about halfway through and no longer worry about better weapons or vehicles, I'm too engrossed in the expanding novelistic storyline unfolding around Nico and his struggle to survive in the city. Every time, I think the story is going to zig, it zags. It's so impressive that with all the technical skill they put into this game, they chose (wisely) not to skimp on the writing either.


Going spoiler free for Lost Season 4 finale

I'm normally a spoiler junkie, but I've decided to forsake them completely for the season final 2 hour episode of Lost. Last year, the season 3 finale of Lost was not spoiled. BY ANYONE. I had been reading a ton of sites which specialized in leaking details, they all had decided to withhold details about that particular episode because the revelations were too huge!

I should back this up with some links, but I can't! When I try googling stuff about Lost season finale spoilers, it gets dangerous!

52 Seconds from David Lynch

Boing Boing just posted about this short film David Lynch made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Lumiere Brothers. Lynch used the same sort of camera used by the Lumieres, a silent camera that could shoot a maximum of 52 seconds. The result is stunning.

Murakami at Cinevegas

Artist Takashi Murakami is presenting a site specific installation art piece as part of the Cinevegas film Festival next month. It will be an animation piece by the artist shown on the unique outdoor waterfall venue, at the Wynn.

I've only been in the Wynn once before, it is gorgeous but the drinks were kinda expensive. Expensive... but delicious, I should add.

A brawny line-up of planetary films

My google alert for "AFI FEST" was triggered today by this site. It's a spam-blog, a computer generated site designed to trigger searches and rack up ad revenues. It's also the most hilariously strange description of our festival I've ever read. As my co-workers pointed out to me there are a million t-shirt designs to be mined from this.


Wachowskis gay cinema

Annalee Newitz recently posted this interesting analysis for why SPEED RACER was not a mainstream success. Annalee was a big fan of the film and she posits the theory that the candy colored creation was simply "too gay" for the large summer audience to handle.

This reminded me of an essay my friend Larry Gross wrote here about the last Wachowski production V FOR VENDETTA. Larry basically makes the case for the film hinging on the politics of gay rights and being "the first gay superhero movie."

Coupled together these two separate articles paint an interesting portrait of the Wachowskis infusing pop culture with a queer aesthetic. Sadly I think I like the theory more than I actually enjoy the films themselves.

Congradulations Frangela!

My buddies Angela Shelton and Francis Callier are featured on the freaking cover of the LA WEEKLY! Sweet!

LA WEEKLY does a unique take on the "best of L.A." annual issue each year. The timing is great since summer is really starting it roll and people don't need more excuses to live in the city... but they kinda do (it's hot.) The weekly does a great job of not packaging these as simple best of lists (they leave that to Los Angeles magazine which does a best 25 list EVERY fucking month.) Last year the theme was the apocalypse, what to take with you if its the end of the world. This year it's the most interesting people in town.


Jessica Yu's first film

Before she went on to win Academy Awards and have films screened at Sundance, filmmaker Jessica Yu made this wonderful short film, SOUR DEATH BALLS. One of those "so simple it's clever" ways to begin a career.

Thanks again to Amy Rodrigue for the tip!

Ten things about Vegas videos

Over on the "Cinevegas You Tube channel" there is lots of great stuff. One of the newest additions is a series of videos by festival alumni celebrating the 10th anniversary this year. The abstract theme is "Ten things about Vegas." The resulting videos are unbelievably creative and beautiful. Here is one of my favorites by Kevin Jerome Everson:

Short filmmakers out there; try more submissions like these to film festivals rather than your 20 minute take on a small World War 2 special ops squad.



This is one of the Cinevegas' "Diamond Discoveries" for 2008. If the rest of the films are as good as this one looks, it will be a stellar year for the festival in the desert. Starring Zack Galifinackis and Judy Greer, it's one of those undefinable films that have to be seen rather than explained. I'm not going to even try, instead I'll just redirect you to the trailer here.


Super nerdy shoes

Well, I admit that I got my new shoes from this post on IO9.

They are comic-book converse high tops. I thought they were pretty much the nerdiest shoes out there. But then my buddy Mark showed me these concept Nikes based on the film FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF.

I feel like I'd need a complete fashion overhaul to ever be able to pull theses off. Maybe Mark could. So the next shoe to try and up the geek factor would have to be these "Freddy Kruger themed hightops!"

Gruesome! If you are with me this far, you might as well go head over to the "McFly 2015" website and sign a petition to make the futuristic Nikes from BACK TO THE FUTURE 2 a reality!


Brilliant Virginia plates

I love this licence plate from my home state. I especially dig the bloody red hand prints.

Comic con costume

I'm thinking about dressing up for the con this year. I know what I am probably going as but am not sure what costume Susan should put together. How about this?

Father-Son Film Club

My friend Amy Rodrigue turned me onto this story today about a man who lets his 16 year old son drop out of school on the condition that the kid watch 3 movies a week with his father. It's a really sweet story that illustrates an amazing ability of film to shape this young person's life and to bring a parent and child closer together. I know it sounds kinda schmaltzy and to be honest it is, but still as someone who works in film and sees layoffs and the encroaching dominance of other arts its an encouraging and powerful story.

Ice spheres for whisky on the rocks

Boing Boing posted about this ice cube shaper yesterday that makes ice into seamless spheres. Supposedly this is the ideal way to drink your whisky on the rocks because it melts at a slower pace. This is a great gift idea, although I don't know yet for whom. I'm going to throw it on my delicious page with a gifts tag for later.


CineVegas announces 2008 lineup

I cannot wait! As usual, the "festival on the edge" has lots of cool sounding stuff that I have never heard of before. The whole crew does an incredible job of putting on a show that blows my eyelids off my skull. I mean, I'm pretty into some edgy art but last year's live performance by TV Sheriff pretty much blew what little mind I had left at that point.

This year I'm excited to see YOUR NAME HERE, starring Bill Pullman, Taryn Manning and Traci Lords in a sci-fi dream from director Matthew Wilder. I'm also excited to see what prompted the new competitive documentary section at CineVegas this year. I've already seen one of the docs, THE END, a fantastic documentary about East End London Gangsters which I caught in Rotterdam.

There's so much in this announcement today that I'm getting excited to see. I think many people assume I look forward to CineVegas so much each year for the party scene but it honestly is where I see some of the most provocative and challenging film work of the year, every year.

Los Angeles Film Festial announces 2008 lineup

Here is the list of films coming to town for the film festival next month. Lots of really great stuff I'm excited to see here. They are showing LET THE RIGHT ONE in which I wrote about back here (loved it.) Also they are showing FEAR(S) OF THE DARK which I wrote a bit about here (also loved.) Other highlights look to include LARGO, about the famed comedy/music venue, MECHANICAL LOVE which explores human and robot relationship evolution, and I'm also personally excited to see CHOKE starring Sam Rockwell and based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk. As always the best things at the festival will be the things I know nothing about, that sneak up and surprise me completely. Get your tickets soon!

It's the stuff they make Brawndo out of!

This company is making Brawndo! For real! Just in case you don't know, Brawndo is the fictional drink that stars in one of my favorite films from 2005, IDIOCRACY. Just go watch it right now if you still haven't seen it. Then buy me some Brawndo.
"Water is for toilets; Brawndo is for drinking. And plants."

Spaced on Region 1 DVD!

Well, just after I bought my brother a region free DVD player, there is now one less reason to need one. The terrifically uncatorizeable BBC series Spaced is now available in Region 1 DVD. The series was created by the SHAUN OF THE DEAD / HOT FUZZ team of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, along with the very talented Daisey Steiner. The title makes you think it might be sci fi related and it isn't, except it kinda is because the stoner youths in the show are obsessed with STAR WARS, zombie films and video games. (Just like everyone I am able to converse with.) But the title really only refers to the sharing of an apartment, a space.

One of the most colossally stupid ideas ever is the news that McG (shudder) is adapting Spaced into a new series but he wants absolutely zero input from the original creators. This makes no sense to me. Why do this if you are...ugh. Why not just call your new show something else entirely? Is there a single Spaced fan out there who would not get this news before the show aired?

Anyway I'm super excited about the DVD release, to celebrate here's a clip!


Grand Theft...of all my free time

Well there have been about a billion game critics reviewing the game Grant Theft Auto IV already and the reviews range from very high praise to all-out worship. Most critics have been unable to compare the game to other games, choosing instead to reference the brilliance of CITIZEN KANE or the feeling of first seeing THE GODFATHER.

For my two cents I would offer this: the reason I have found GTA4 to be so wonderful is that it is a completely adult experience. It has to be. Playing in virtual worlds like this at least in these early years of virtual life, have to be escapist. Killing and stealing with impunity, or at least without really hurting anyone or yourself is the ultimate escapism experience. This shrugging off of responsibility even extends to the ability to dodge phone calls and blow off social responsibility, a brilliant inclusion in the game.

This game is not for kids, and it doesn't have to be. A creation like this game which took 1,000 people and 100 million dollars should not then have restrictions placed on it to make it safe for all ages. But the feeling of that much talent and resources going into an entertainment experience which I can access for 50 bucks is unreal. Literally.


The Simpsons go to Sundance!

Last night's episode of The Simpsons was about Lisa making a documentary that gets accepted into Sundance and the whole family makes the trek to Park City. Check out this clip below with an animated version of my old co-worker Geoff Gilmore and the Sundance selection committee. Crazy!

Not getting my hopes up for HANCOCK

At first glance the upcoming film HANCOCK seems like an obvious fit to me. Will Smith plays a drunken superhero, co starring Jason Bateman? It should be a home run for me, right? But then the more I hear about it the less excited I become. IO9 had some spoilers they posted a while back which really made the film seem unappealing to me. The final nail in the coffin is the fact that Peter Berg is the director of HANCOCK.

I recall listening to a spirited discussion of the film FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS at the Telluride film festival last year which I could not participate in since I had not seen the film. The reason I've not seen any more Berg films is that I saw his first two. After watching VERY BAD THINGS and THE RUNDOWN I never had any desire to see a film by this director again. You can only piss in my eye sockets so many times before I stop coming back for more. Maybe HANCOCK will be the film to lift my Berg ban, we'll see. (I strangely actually kinda like Berg as an actor, so go figure.)

New Dario Argento film next month

THE MOTHER OF TEARS is a new film by horror maestro Dario Argento. The film will have a very limited release next month, the schedule is here. In Los Angeles it looks to be playing only at the Nuart. The film is the final installment of Argento's The Three Mothers trilogy that started with SUSPERIA and INFERNO. SUSPERIA is generally accepted to be one of the best horror films of all time. THE MOTHER OF TEARS premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on Argento's 67th birthday... precisely at the stroke of midnight.


Tomorrow is free comic book day!

I know a lot of the readers of this site don't read comics but you should. Here is a quote from Cory Doctorow that expresses a reason why comics writing is so great:

Living in a space that no one watches too closely is one of the secret ways that people get to do excellent stuff. Science fiction's status for decades as a pariah genre meant that writers could do things with literary style, theme, and political content that their mainstream counterparts could never get away with (games, comics, early hip-hop, mashups, and many of the other back laneways of popular culture have also enjoyed this status).

Well all day tomorrow pretty much every comic shop in the world will be giving away tons of free, new comics. It's the "7th annual free comic book day" designed to encourage people to discover the medium. While there are plenty of amazing non-superhero and alternative comics being offered, I'd highly recommend you pick up a copy of All Star Superman #1 written by Island Zero All Star Grant Morrison. It's a gorgeous book that deftly explores the relationships of comics' biggest hero while exploring the strange reality distortion of a super being.

My trip to the Spiral Jetty

I had a transcendent experience at the Rotterdam Film Festival when I saw the film CASTING A GLANCE about the Spiral Jetty. That experience for me began a long journey which ended last weekend with my trip to visit the Jetty in the Great Salt Lake.

It was a 2 1/2 hour trip over rocky unpaved roads and through fields of cattle to reach the Spiral Jetty. When we arrived there were a couple of other people there but the entire place seems very desolate. It's deathly quiet, mostly because very little can live on the shores of a salt lake. Also the lake was very still. As we explored this strange terrain we often stopped to taste the salt foam or various shapes of salt crystals which formed everywhere. At the end of the day our clothes and hands were covered in salt residue. I was happy to finally make it to the jetty, the jetty seemed indifferent to see me. Here is the satellite view of the Spiral Jetty. And here are my photos:


Charlyne Yi battles the audience, saves them from bear attack

We went and saw Charlyne Yi at El Cid last night. She is a one of kind performer and possibly the actual heir to the throne of Andy Kaufman. Her work is not so much straight forward comedy as it is a hybrid of performance art, music and stand-up. She had a doppelganger in the show, led the audience in chanting rituals and challenged a drunk audience member to punch her in the face on stage. (He did, but it didn't hurt because of magic.) The grand finale of the show involved a bear attack and ended up with the entire audience on the stage together.

The show was being taped by a large film crew for some documentary starring Charlyne. If anyone out there is working on this film, drop me a line I would LOVE to consider it for my film festival.