Thursday, December 31, 2015

the Walking Dead: Volume 24 Life and Death


Aw man, yet another insane climax to this volume. Vicious.

Very interesting character and plot development in this book. Had a lot of depth to it. A moment of humanity and a couple moments of serious tragedy unfold. The last few pages are really well done. Super graphic and powerful. Damn.

Still a great series.

Best of 2015




25 books and 50 movies consumed this year. Here're my top picks.
Other than the music, all of these movies, books etc could have came out any year. But I ingested them all in the last twelve months. Mostly for the first time, but not always (PJ2020, Grand Prix, Bullit...)

Top 5 documentaries:

Pearl Jam Twenty
Lambert & Stamp
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon
No No: A Dockumentary
Generation Iron


Top 5 motorcycle movies:

Angels Die Hard
Naked Angels
The Savage 7
Sinner's Blood
Rebel Rousers


Top 5 books:

Gun Machine
Total Recall
Dead Wake
Rogue Male
Frenzy


Top 5 movies:

Grand Prix
Bullit
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
her
The Imitation Game


Top 5 albums (that came out in 2015):

Coliseum: Anxiety's Kiss
Crypt Sermon: Into the Garden
Vastum: Hole Below
Cruciamentum: Charnel Passages
Kamasi Washington: The Epic



The Prince of Pennsylvania


You can watch the whole 50 minute documentary above. It's the true story of John Du Pont, wrestling, and murder. Evidently there was a movie made on this story recently. I didn't know anything about it but Hayes recommended this doc.

It was made by ESPN so the quality is up there. Good score, actually. But anyway, it's a story about a mega-rich dude who kills an innocent man who trusted him. It's really pretty heartbreaking all around. It's well made. If you're interested in this bizarre tale of mo' money mo' problems....check it out. I feel really bad for all of those involved.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rubble Kings


There's a definite romanticism attached to NY in the 70's. You think of Taxi Driver, the Warriors, and the seediness of Times Square before it turned into what we all know it as today. You think of the Ramones, Agnostic Front, Judge, Cro-Mags, all running wild pre-gentrification. NY used to be a scary ass place and the people who lived it loved it. 

But one imagines this view is probably a half-truth. Rose-colored glasses illuminating all the things people loved about NY before it became super bougie and filled with mustaches and cronuts.

This doc dives into the real Bronx in the 70's, where gang life was the only life for youths in the projects. They had no options. Well, it was dead or alive, if you call that an option. It's a sad story of young kids running amok, spilling blood, and ruining lives. But it's also a story of hope and peace transcending violence. It's a story of black/white, right/wrong, fear/bravery, and P.M.A! For out of gang culture came hip hop culture. People started to battle rap and breakdance instead of stab and shoot. Beefs were squashed on the wheels of steel, and not in dark alleyways. From block warfare to block parties.

You get the picture. It's a tragic and inspiring tale of disenfranchised youth. Blacks and Puerto Ricans uniting. Kool Herc, the Zulu Nation, and all that.

Stream it on Netflix. It'll make you think differently about the Warriors next time you watch it.

Can you dig it?

You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment



I purchased this book for Marie a year ago, I think. It's by Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the most preeminent Zen monks on Earth. I had never read anything by him so I cracked this little book open and dug in.

The book was released by Shambhala Publications and I really like the production value. Feels like a quality piece. Very readable layout, nice stock, design, etc.

Content-wise, there were definitely some nuggets of inspiration and value. It definitely focused on practice quite a lot, and since I don't mediate regularly I'm less interested in the physical/mental practice and more interested in the dharma itself. I like to digest the concepts more than anything. Just ruminate on them however I see fit.

It's a short book. Only 130 pages or so. Easy to consume. Recommended.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films


This doc is well made. It details the insane company behind many of the shittiest movies of the 80's. It's a hilarious one hour and forty-five minutes, if you ask me.

This was a nostalgic ride. Remember Cyborg, Bloodsport, American Ninja, Masters of the Universe, Delta Force, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Superman IV, Missing in Action, Over the Top, Death Wish 2...? They were all spawn of Cannon Films. Those were the 'good' ones. Cannon used to shit out 40 or 50 movies a year back in the 80's. I hadn't heard of the majority of them. The worst of the worst. But as an 8 year old you eat that stuff up.

These guys were unique. You can't argue that after watching this doc. Horrible filmmakers, but indelibly part of my childhood and anyone growing up in the 80's. They definitely left a mark. An unsightly mark, but a mark nonetheless.

A Genius Leaves the Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z


Watched a 50 minute doc on Jay Z. You gotta be wary of "unauthorized" doc's cuz often times that's a codeword for "shit." This is kinda one of those flicks. They obviously didn't get the rights to use any of Jay's music. So yeah, it's a doc about a musician w/out one single song of theirs.

The doc is about Jay as a businessman and talks very little about his creativity or musical output. It's just Damon Dash this, Jay Z that, business, projects, hood, drugs, hustle. Lots of talking heads. Meh.

I really like Jay Z as an artist. Reasonable Doubt is one of the greatest rap records of all time. But this is not one of the greatest doc's of all time. It does not do the man justice.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

PJ20


I reviewed this after the first time I watched it in 2012. Time flies.

Not sure what sparked it but I really wanted to watch it again. It's no longer streaming on Netflix but you can stream it on Amazon Prime and Chromecast it to your TV. So that's what I did late last night.

Man, it's such a good doc. Still one of the best music doc's I've ever seen. It gets you so freakin stoked on Pearl Jam. It's nostalgic and inspirational. Cameron Crowe should do more musical doc's like this. He has a new movie in the work called "Roadies," so maybe that'll be a good time.
I never saw Singles back in the day. I should check that out.

Back to PJ20; it's a must-see. That's all there is to it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Savage Seven


I've wanted to see Savage Seven for a few years now. Finally found a bootleg DVD. It was worth the wait. This was a bonafide classic.

Laszlo Kovacs was the DP, so that immediately set this apart from the typical crap we see in this genre. This was an AIP film from 1968 so you know it was gonna be right on target.

I gotta say this was the closest thing to a legitimate movie we might have ever seen at Biker Movie Night. Barring the likes of Easy Rider and the Wild One, this is next in line. But it wasn't "too" good. There was plenty of ridiculous racism, sexism, and dodgy acting to keep it grounded. The interesting thing was that this was racist towards Native Americans. An often overlooked minority in the Biker Film genre.

Dick Clark was the Producer and maybe that's why we never saw more than just a little underboob. Best nipple shot we got was from a guy. So...

Lack of nudity aside, this ruled. Typical plot. Biker gang invades small town. Gets in fights with locals. Rape, murder, and looting ensue. Only this time it's a Native American shack town and the bikers really aren't all that bad. Quite a handsome looking lot. We've seen this story a thousand times before but the Savage Seven does an exceptional iteration and puts its own spin on it.

Highly recommended if you can find a copy. Only thing....no idea why it's called the Savage Seven. There seemed to be a lot more than seven bikers...



Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World


I popped on Netflix to see what new stuff was streaming and ended up adding a whole bunch of shit. I was stoked to see this brand new Giger doc so I watched it.

It's dark. As it should be. Not super accessible. As it should be. Pretty minimal. But overall not super compelling to be honest. Sometimes these "moment in time" type of documentaries just don't do it for me. It's not a retrospective really. It is, but it isn't. Kind of a superficial retrospective. I was hoping for more.

Tom G. Warrior is in it for quite a few scenes. Of course that's kinda cool. It definitely gives you an insight into his home and the themes that permeate his work. He had great parents, at least three wives, he loves cats, and his house is a sprawling Xanadu of books, art, and general untidiness. Everything is painted black and he has the most amazing bar I've ever seen in my life. There, I ruined everything for you.

You should probably watch it, but don't get your hopes up too high is all I'm saying.

The most amazing bar. Ever.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

J.C.


We kicked off this season of Motorcycle Movie Night with a bizarre one called "J.C." They don't really mince words on the poster; "J.C. and his disciples were a gang of broads, bikes and blacks." I'm not quite sure how his gang can be bikes, but still, you get the point.

J.C. was interesting because it had one hell of a plot. We don't run across many plots (period) in the biker flick genre, but J.C. held its own. Someone actually had to THINK about the story arc for more than ten to twelve minutes upon its inception. That's very rare in this genre.

The protagonist was the son of a preacher. An allegedly crazy preacher who saw visions. J.C. left town after his father's death and years later returns with his motorcycle disciples. The bible belt townsfolk don't take to kindly to long-hairs and african-americans. They have less PC terms they like to throw around when describing J.C. and his little gang of misfits.

Most classic biker flicks would just end right there as far as plot goes. Show up to small town, get in trouble, roll credits. But this was different. There were quite a few sub-plots and concepts running through the movie. Now, this didn't make it any GOOD per se, but it did make it more sophisticated than what we're used to.

The budget was clearly next to nothing. We were all shocked when we saw a crane scene. That must have been their whole budget right there. It sure as hell didn't go towards hiring a good cameraman or boom operator because we saw the boom poking down in half of the shots. Literally.

Anyway, I've written way too much about this film already. I definitely can't recommend it to anyone outside of biker nerds because it was terrible. But I think overall we enjoyed it for its eccentricity and unique spin on the genre.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Morrissey: Autobiography


I picked this up in Chicago at Myopic Books. Great store.

I was interested in this because it was an autobiography. I wanted to hear Moz's story from Moz's mouth. Until I started reading it and then I wasn't so sure. You see, Morrissey has an unusual writing style. It's almost like reading 500 pages of song lyrics. There are no chapters in this book and no real transitions. He just writes in a somewhat linear fashion from childhood through mid-life, recalling people and events along the way. But it's the way in which he writes that made me second-guess whether I was going to continue. It's fucking dense. It's off-puttingly metaphorical and indirect at times. Quite a lot of run-on sentences and lyrical descriptions that are best suited for...lyrics, not stories.

When I started the book and I thought, "how am I going to get through this whole thing without giving myself a headache?" But I got stuck in and the more I read the more I got acclimated to his literary style.

The first third of the book really focuses on his childhood, and the way he recounted the school system in Manchester really struck a chord within me. He paints an awfully dreary account of the teachers and the city of Manchester at the time. It reminded me a lot of growing up in Glasgow and being 'different'. Where Morrissey may have been referencing the New York Dolls or the Ramones, I was referencing the Misfits and Bad Religion. But the same ominous cloud hung over our heads, interspersed with rays of light from time to time. It was really like reading a trip down memory lane for me.

Then he gets into the Smiths era, a bloody boring section on the court case brought upon him by Andy Rourke, and then the Morrissey solo era. Reading about the Smiths and Morrissey was great. Moz paints a terrible picture of the labels that've backed him since the beginning. And Morrissey knows a lot of people who die, which sucks. That's kinda the book: school, the Smiths, court, Morrissey, death, vegetarianism, screaming fans, getting fucked over, and being a tortured artist.

It's all good. Even though it was a bit rough getting on board, the book ended up being really good. If you like Morrissey, read this.




Twinsters


Marie's boss recommended this doc so we fired it up last night after replacing an HDMI cord Alfred had chewed through. Thanks Alfie.

Man, this was a pretty crazy and uplifting story. Korean twins are separated at birth and sent to two different adoption agencies. They have no idea they have a twin. Twenty-five years later one of them makes a youtube video that happens to get seen by a friend of the other twin. Her buddy says, "hey, this person looks just like you..." and after some internet searching...the twins are reunited.

This is their story. It's a pretty deep and emotional experience to happen to someone. And it's a very unique thing to have the whole thing documented for the world to watch from their living rooms'.

Check out the trailer. Marie and I both thought it was a captivating doc.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Knight of the Swords: Corum Book 1


Moorcock is famous for his Elric series and the Eternal Champion books, amongst others. I hadn't read either but I was in a bookstore up north and saw The Knight of the Swords, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

Based on this book I gotta say I don't think Moorcock is a very good writer. He's certainly not challenging whatsoever. He uses blatant foreshadowing to the point where he's practically handing you the story on a plate. And his metaphors are painfully obvious. There's no real subtext. It's all way too close to the surface. His diction and sentence structure is also somewhat juvenile. This felt like a book that a twelve year old might really get into. Like a gateway drug into something harder. Something better.

I was reading this and comparing it to the likes of Lovecraft, Burroughs, and Howard, and that's why I felt it was rather elementary. I'd give the Elric series a shot because they're very popular and well respected. But if the first book isn't good then I'm outtie.

The story is decent. I definitely felt for a couple characters and were dismayed when they died. So it had the power to effect me on an emotional level. But still...

It wasn't a waste of time. It was a quick, easy read and relatively enjoyable. But I can't say I'd recommend you read it. It was just so-so.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Daft Punk: Unchained


An hour long documentary on the rise of Daft Punk.

This starts at their inception and brings you along for all the major milestones in the band's career. I have their second album and that's it. I think it's fucking great, but I don't know a lot about the band. This was pretty cool. Got mad respect for these frogs.

The Imitation Game


I don't know if I knew about this film. Maybe vaguely. But the topic definitely piqued my interest. It was a true story about the British effort to crack the German code that all their radio messages were encrypted in. And Benedict Cumberbatch starred, with Keira Knightly supporting. Sign me up.

This was a good flick from head to toe. It was a fascinating tale. A very sad one, too. The movie is very inspirational, but it's tinged with a good deal of melancholy, injustice and death. So it's definitely not all roses for our leading lad.

I wouldn't give the Director an Oscar for this. But I'd definitely say it's worth two hours of your life to learn about a truly amazing individual and a mind-blowing aspect of the war.

A Year in Champagne


The in-flight entertainment included the likes of all three Hobbit movies and a bunch of Marvel movies...but of course I spent my time watching documentaries about champagne, fashion, and music. You didn't really think I'd watch Thor and Ant-Man did you?

This doc was okay. Middle of the road in production. And just not much of an emotional journey. I watched it to learn a little about how they make champagne, and it fulfilled itself in that regard. It's definitely eye-opening and makes you appreciate the manual effort that goes into a top class bottle of bubbly. But I wouldn't go running to see this flick.

Dior and I


The next four flicks were on the return flight from Pudong to Detroit. I kicked it off with Dior and I. Why not? It's a focused documentary that follows Raf Simons as he takes the Creative Director's role at Christian Dior and assembles his first couture showing. Raf was known for ready-to-wear, but here he is doing couture for Dior in eight weeks. Pretty crazy first couple months at the job!

This is a very interesting doc that shows you who makes the clothes as well as a glimpse into how they're made. I enjoyed this a lot except for the few seconds that Anna Wintour was on screen.

The Wrecking Crew


This was a unique story. Watched a doc that goes into the studio musicians of the fifties/sixties who played on a zillion singles and albums but never got any 'real' recognition. This particular loose knit band of players was dubbed the Wrecking Crew. They were talented as hell and you know all their tunes. They even sat in for established musicians like the Beach Boys. Watch the trailer and you'll see and hear how deep an impact these guys had on the scene. It's pretty crazy.

Good doc. Eye-opening.

Argo


I watched Argo again. Still really good.

Scatter my Ashes at Bergdorf's


The third flick I watched on the way over to China. Never heard of this doc but it seemed like light viewing material. When else do you get to delve into the inner workings of one of the most famous luxury stores in the world? Might as well check it out.

The doc itself was alright. Nothing groundbreaking. But still quite interesting. You'll be blown away when you find out how much the top salespeople at Bergdorf's can bring in annually in salary and commission. Holy shit.

Some interesting stories. Only recommended for anyone who would actually enjoy going to Bergdorf's. Otherwise, don't bother with it.

A Lego Brickumentary


Lego ruled. I feel sorry for anyone and everyone who's life wasn't enriched by Lego as a child. It's truly the greatest, most imaginative and creative toy available. And it has been since its inception.

This is an official behind-the-scenes look at Lego's history and its cultural impact.

Recommended for anyone who remembers playing with Lego as a kid. Narrated by Jason Bateman.

Lambert & Stamp


You're a prisoner to the headrest screen when you're on a fourteen hour flight. I watched five films on the way to Shanghai and four on the return flight.

Lambert & Stamp was the first and it ruled! I was really stoked I got to see this. Never heard of it before. It's a well made documentary chronicling the two fledgling managers who took the Who from their humble beginnings as the High Numbers, to their stratospheric heights a few years later. They're funny ol' characters and it's a pretty crazy story.

Inspirational and exciting. Sometimes I think the Who were the greatest band ever. This is a good doc and definitely worth watching.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Tao of Leadership


I love seeking out management books that employ Eastern principles. Here we've got Lao Tzu's famous Tao Te Ching adapted and interpreted for a leader's perspective. The principles are viewed through the lens of a manager/leader.
Perfect.

I really enjoyed this book. It's short, but it takes a while to read because you inevitably have to sit and ponder each one-page entry. Let it ruminate and think about how it relates to your situation. I found myself taking numerous photos of the pages and sending them to people or just saving them to my phone for later.

It will definitely need a second reading. One where I sit down and pull out specific pages or quotes and create a "best of," so to speak. I'll probably snag a PDF and pass it around.

For me, the most important passages were typically about silence, standing back, empowering through being rather than doing, humility, nature and polarity.

"...The rigid group leader may be able to lead repetitious and structured exercises but can't cope with lively process. Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow. Whatever is rigid and blocked will atrophy and die."

"...Good leadership consists of motivating people to their highest levels by offering them opportunities, not obligations. That is how things happen naturally. Life is an opportunity and not an obligation."

One of my favorite lines was, "...All growth spreads outward from a fertile and potent nucleus. You are a nucleus." 

Recommended.

The Black Kung-Fu Experience


Hour long PBS special on the black kung-fu experience. Sounds like a pretty cool, esoteric topic to watch. But the PBS doc' is pretty low rent. The topic could have been delved into on such a deeper level. It could have been really freaking awesome. Instead, it's just a so-so hour long surface look at the black community and its relationship with kung-fu. Nothing terribly wrong with it, but I don't really recommend you spend an hour of your life watching it either. Pass.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Gonchi


Oh look, I watched another documentary. It's about racing. Shocking.

Gonchi came up on my Netflix queue due to my interest in racing doc's. I'd never heard of Gonchi but I'm not one to turn down a subject due to lack of familiarity so I learned a little about his life and untimely death over the following ninety minutes. Sad and inspirational.

Gonchi was a racing driver on the eve of making it to Formula One when his life was tragically cut short in an accident on track. He had the potential to make a name for himself on the greatest stage in motor racing if he had lived. He was from Uruguay. A trailblazer for his country. A good dude. And obviously very talented.

This is no Senna. Obviously. But it's still a good doc for anyone remotely interested in motor racing. Or even if you're not but you like stories about perseverance, dedication, and making a difference...watch Gonchi.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Gun Machine


Probably heard about this from GQ a while ago. I just read it and really enjoyed it.

Warren Ellis is better known as a comic book writer. He created the cult classic Transmetropolitan in the late 90's / early 00's. I have the first TPB but I never got any further into it. But wether you like him from Transmet' or not, this is an enjoyable read regardless.

Gun Machine is a cop thriller. It's about a mass murderer and some NYC cops who have to track him down. I'm not a fan of giving away plots so I won't say anything further. But it's definitely a unique cast of characters. The concept isn't new (bag guy chased by good guys), but Warren puts his own stamp on it. It's gritty. There's some fucked up violence. It's pretty gnarly at times. But it's used effectively. You get sucked into the drama and the chase, then every now and then you get peppered with brains and blood. It's part of being a cop.

Hints of noir, too. But not a ton.

If you're squeamish, stay away. If you like a good cop / mass murderer chase thriller then dive right in.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding


There's only one Encyclopedia. There's only one Bible. And they're both called "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" by Arnold Schwarzenegger. You do the math.

I've been reading a few books concurrently, this is one of them. I finally just finished reading it cover to cover. About 800 pages covering everything you need to know about bodybuilding. From exercises to diets, to overcoming injuries, to picking out posing trunks, to how to train for Mr. O. It's all in there. It's aimed at anyone who lifts, from n00bs to professionals.

Surprisingly it's not a dry read. I often found myself wanting to get stuck into it. Of course reading it and retaining the knowledge are two different things. It's not like I'm a walking encyclopedia now. Far from it. But it was nice to see what's covered so when I'm looking for a particular answer to a problem I can remember, "oh, that shit was in the encyclopedia, lemme look it up." And there were a few fundamental principles that I pulled out and started applying to my lifts.

I recommend that muscleheads of all sizes and walks of life read this book from cover to cover at least once.

#GAINZ



Man, just look at his traps and chest definition...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Birth of the Living Dead


Here's another one that just popped up on my Netflix queue. It's a 75 minute documentary about the making of Night of the Living Dead.

'The Living Dead is easily one of my all time favorite horror movies so I grilled up a double veggie burger and sat down to check it out.

This is a good doc that quickly goes through the humble inception of the flick, its release, and cultural impact. Most of it done simply through talking heads. Romero dominates the story-telling. He's an affable character who's really reminiscent of Stan Lee. Seriously. I'd love to see them hang out together. Like long lost brothers.

I didn't know that Romero had Spanish heritage; I always thought he was Italian. He's from the Bronx and he's called Romero...but I'm hardly an über fan, just ignorant, I guess. Anyway, that was just a tidbit I picked up.

But I digress. This is a good, quick doc on the making of the a classic. I imagine you love Night of the Living Dead, so nerd out for just over an hour on this shit. It's pretty good.

The Monster Squad


I saw that this was recently added to Netflix so I had to watch it. C'mon, it's the freakin Monster Squad, man. Classic shit. 1987.

For those of you with deprived childhoods, The Monster Squad was essentially a Goonies rip-off with classic monsters instead of the Fratellis. Now, it wasn't as good as the Goonies, but it was still legit. I loved it as a kid.

Marie had never seen it and she was up for watching it last night. Marie's taste in film has changed quite a bit over the years. She can't really stomach some of the violence and realism that we used to watch together. So this was right up her ally. We've found her niche. B-rated 80's kid movies. She was cracking up throughout the flick. Loved it.

I dug it, too. It holds up. So clearly whether you want a trip down Nostalgia Lane or you just want to watch a lighthearted entertaining 80's flick, you can't go wrong w/ The Monster Squad.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos: Volume 2


I tried reading Lovecraft years ago and I just wasn't in the right mindset for it. It felt hokey. I was just never really into reading horror, occult, fantasy, sword & sorcery, anything remotely like that for a long time. But after falling in love with Conan that lead to reading the original Robert E. Howard stories. I loved them. And from there I started reading more Howard, and before you know it it's a slippery slope to Lovecraft, Bloch, Moorecock, etc.

The Conqueror Worms by Brian Keene was a killer novel that had overt nods to the Cthulhu mythos without actually being an "official" tale of Lovecraftian lore. I liked that book a lot and I'm definitely open to these occult/horror/fantasy stories now that I've eased my way in.

I had to own this book as the cover is a painting called "Twilight" by Bruce Pennington. Forty-five years after this book came out, Temple of Void licensed the artwork for our debut album. So I had to own it. And since I bought it I might as well read the damn thing.

It's good. Real good.

I have a few Hitchcock books that are collections of short stories, much like this, and I dug reading them. I'm on board with the whole short story thing. The book becomes an "album", which each story being a "song." I can dig it.

There were no duds amongst the stories. Just all typical tales of the mythos involving forbidden books, scholarly protagonists, occult/esoteric wisdom...and monsters and death. There's always a lot of mystery and intrigue. And in most cases curiosity kills the proverbial cat.

Recommended.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore


I didn't mean to read this again. I just sort of did it. I was looking for something music related and I figured it'd been a while since I had read this so I cracked it open and it was consumed rather quickly thereafter.

I didn't realize that it was ten years old. Death Metal stops at 2003. Pretty odd to read in 2015 and not hear about what's been going on for the last dozen years. I really should have purchased the newly re-released version which has a bunch of updates. Oh well. I guess I'll just wait another decade and buy the next iteration. ;)

I hope you like Napalm Death, boyeee. Cuz this book is centers Death and Grind firmly around the boys from Birmingham. Somehow they're the center of the metal universe. Ah well.

The book is good, though. It's definitely got a narrow focus. Albert chooses to hone in on about ten very important, seminal death metal bands and follow their evolution over a decade or so. Repulsion, Death, Obituary, Morbid Angel, Entombed, Carcass, Napalm Death, Nile...they're the main players in this story for sure. Plus some others of course. Plenty of cameos from NY, Florida, Cali, and Sweden. There are a million bands you could say "why didn't they talk about so-and-so more", but for me the biggest omission was Bolt Thrower. They have a few mentions in there but to me they could have been another 'big' band to follow their trajectory. Whatever. I didn't write the damn book so I can't complain.

It's gotta be hard to try and write a book of this scope. Ultimately narrowing the focus and crafting a story from characters, rather than a laundry list of releases and dates, was the way to go. It reads well. It bounces back and forth across the pond easily. I remember reading a book on the history of Swedish Death Metal and it felt more like a text book of "this band did this, then this band released that, then this demo came out, then this guy picked his nose on this date." It didn't flow. It was too comprehensive. Of course, I'll read it again, but still, it didn't have the flow that Choosing Death does.

This is a solid read and my only regret is that I should have ponied up the cash to buy the updated and expanded edition and read about the last ten years of DM and Grind. Maybe one of my boys will buy it and then I can borrow it and read those new chapters. ;)


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ultraterranium


Erdody found this on Amazon for cheap. I popped on and snagged a copy for myself. This collection of Pennington paintings includes a print of the one Temple of Void used for our album. It's entitled "Twilight" and was originally used for a H.P. Lovecraft collection. I copped one of those from Amazon, too.

This is a GREAT freaking book. It's cool because it talks a little about Bruce's technique and biography. So you get some good additional info on top of just looking at the incredible paintings. But by and large it's just a book of his images. Each section is prefaced by a few pages of commentary.

If you like fantasy art...pick this up.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton


Truth: I'd never heard of Stones Throw Records. I knew of Peanut Butter Wolf (the owner), though. I first heard him on the original Return of the DJ comp many many moons ago. He's a dope, world renowned DJ. Evidently he has a label that's been going strong for twenty years. He put out the J Dilla "Donuts" record that really shook things up. But anyway...

This is a doc about his label and it features interviews with some famous cats like Kweli, Kanye, Common, and Madlib. And lots of appearances by dudes that are totally off my radar. (Not that Kanye and Common are no my radar; fuck Kanye.) 

It's pretty cool to see how this label and a lot of these releases came together. Detroit represents on more than one hefty occasion.

This doc is well done and anyone who's into underground hip hop will definitely dig it. But if that's not your thing at all...I wouldn't really watch this. I don't think it's quite as transcendent as say the last doc I watched, No No.

Mad respect to PBW. He runs the label the right way...

(Breakestra are a Stones Throw Records alum. This album isn't on Stones Throw, but it's dope.)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

This is Spinal Tap


We've all seen Spinal Tap. But it's been a few years for me so I gave it another viewing today.

It still holds up. It's still classic. Stonehenge still makes you laugh. It's Spinal Tap. What else is there to say? Stream it on Netflix.

Friday, August 7, 2015

No No: A Dockumentary


God damn, I hate baseball. But I love a good doc. And the true definition for me of a good documentary is when the Director can make a viewer fascinated with a subject had zero interest or even total contempt for. This is one of those docs that transcends your biases or personal interests.

If you love baseball, you'll love this. No question. If you think baseball is a boring ass pastime for fat, lazy "athletes" like I do...you'll still love it.

I was intrigued because the synopsis sucks you in by stating that Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter while high as a kite on LSD. Say what? But what you get is far more than a crazy ass drug story about one infamous day in California. This is a Dock Ellis documentary about his career, his ups, downs, (including uppers and downers) and his inspirational legacy. The dude was the Mohammad Ali of baseball. No doubt about it. The guy was bad as fuck. And after watching this doc I highly respect the guy. I certainly don't agree with his use of cocaine and whatnot (and ultimately his drug use became a personal regret that he turned around to help inspire others NOT to follow in his amphetamine-fueled lifestyle). But I have mad respect for him as an individual, as a team-player, and as a humble, bad-ass selfless, motherfucker. Dude was a game-changer.

The soundtrack to this movie is off the hook. Hawkwind, Death (Detroit), and tons of rad instrumental funk composed by Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys. I hopped online to snag a copy of the soundtrack but it's not for sale. It just didn't get released. That's a real shame cuz it's dope as fuck.

You can stream this on Netflix. You should. It's awesome.

Managing in China: The Truth about Cultural Differences in the Chinese Workplace



I'm interested in learning about cultural differences between Chinese and US companies to help better our relationship with our Chinese partners. This should be patently obvious as the title is pretty self-explanatory. So I did a little research and I purchased an e-copy of this today and read it real quick. It's the kind of thing you can get through on your lunch hour. 

It's brief, so there's only so much you can get out of it. However, it was well-worth the $4.99 and hour of my time. I think it might actually pay back significant dividends. I've been noodling on some ideas to help improve employee retention overseas and this book has definitely sparked some ideas for me.  I'm increasingly aware of what to expect from China, but this book helped me understand WHY I should expect what I see. Just understanding the root cause is more than half the battle.

So while this won't turn you into a Chinese/US relationship expert overnight, it definitely helped me get one rung closer to being more empathetic, understanding, and ultimately effective in dealing with Chinese nationals in a business environment.

You can get it on Amazon.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal


Sometimes I just want to veg-out to some heavy metal books, magazines, and movies. It happens a lot. But I've read and watched so god damn many of them I don't have many quality ones left. In my thirst for something of this nature I revisited Get Thrashed. It's a dvd I own but haven't watched since it came about about five years ago.

Rat Skates (drummer from Overkill) is the man behind the movie. He takes you on an international journey touching on many of the titans of the genre. From the Bay Area and LA scenes on the west coast all the way to Germany and Japan and right back again. He covers all the expected culprits through archival footage, never-before-seen photos, and lots of interviews conducted just for this doc. The production value is pretty damn good. It's not amazing, but it's definitely better than a kick in the nuts. It's definitely a job well done.

If you're interested in thrash (of course you are) then this is a very entertaining watch. It's purely historical. It's just talking heads pontificating and telling anecdotes about partying with Paul Baloff or  having Slayer play in your back yard. Cool shit like that.

Steven Blush is a freakin weirdo. Ian Christie is pretty cool. Katon W. DePena has a ton of energy. And Bobby Blitz is just one OG motherfucker.

You can find the whole thing up on YouTube I think. Dig it.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Antics Roadshow


I'm sure you're all wondering why the hell I haven't posted a new book or movie in a while. It's cuz I'm currently reading three books at once. Two of them are over 900 pages long. All three can be read concurrently because they are short stories or non-fiction. I'm pecking my way through them and when they're done, they're done. As for movies, I was watching Sherlock (which is 90 minutes an episode), and I started to get into Daredevil. So that was taking up time, too.

Anyway...
The Antics Roadshow is a 47 minute documentary by Banksy. It's about artists and demonstrators subverting authority, standing up for (mostly) righteous causes, and generally causing disruption and bringing public awareness to fucked up governmental or corporate situations. They use comedy, they use subversion, sometimes they use cream pies. It's a quick watch and wholly entertaining. It's great to watch such self-empowered people standing up for what they believe in, even against ridiculous odds. Hats off to them all.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

CHAMPS


One of my vast legion of loyal readers suggested I check out CHAMPS. It's a new documentary focusing on 90's boxing and starring Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Bernard Hopkins. I took Matt up on the suggestion and watched it two nights ago. Uncharacteristically of me, I put it on at 12:30am and watched the whole thing and didn't get to bed til close to 2:30. Starbucks iced coffee, man.

I was never a big boxing fan. I couldn't even call myself a boxing fan, period. I've just always been aware of it as a part of existence. Passing interest from time to time. As a youth I grew up with the personalities of the heyday like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, and good ol' Frank Bruno.

It's an alluring sport, though. And this documentary does a great job pulling back the curtain to show you a glimpse of the life pre stardom, and the pain/troubles of the life post stardom. It's pretty fucked up. Hardly any better than the backyard situation we saw with the doc' Dawg Fight. In many respects I'd say this is worse because you have a whole system of people out there pretending to support you, but really fucking you over and manipulating you for your money. You're from the ghetto, you've never had enough money to support yourself, and now you're a millionaire. You're gonna get robbed blind by pieces of shit who call themselves your friends or your team. And you can't rely on anyone to advise you otherwise. But anyway...

This is a cool doc'. Good quality. Entertaining. Watch it.




Monday, June 29, 2015

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For


I hate the vast majority of comic book movies. The good ones are very rare. But holy fuck, if Sin City isn't a prime exampled of how to adapt a comic to the big screen then I don't know what is. The first one blew me away. Absolutely floored me. I was/am a huge Sin City fan and the attention to detail was all there. Every frame dripped with Frank Miller's presence. He was a co-director. Wouldn't let anyone adapt his books otherwise. And quite rightly. His partnership with Rodriquez is a match made in the sweaty, sleazy, back alleys of Basin City. It's gritty. It's authentic. It's perfect.

Neither of them drop the ball on the second installation, A Dame to Kill For. It's more classic Miller tales very artfully and painstakingly recreated in live action. If you like comics you must like Sin City. If you like Sin City you must see the movies. Simple logic. Can't be argued against.

Fucking awesome.

What Happened, Miss Simone?


Netflix produced a Nina Simone trailer. Sold.

This just recently came out. Very solid documentary about the high priestess of soul. Found out quite a bit about Nina's personality and her interesting life. I had no idea. If, like me, you just dug Nina's amazing voice but never knew the story behind the artist...check this out.

And Stanley Crouch is always entertaining to watch and listen to. He offers some commentary...

Dig it.




Tuesday, June 23, 2015

the Summit


This is a good doc on a botched K2 expedition. Eleven people died in the most deadly K2 climb in the mountain's history. This is the story of what went down. Well, as much as people can piece together. The truth is known to the mountain alone.

If you like documentaries like Touching the Void or any sort of survival tale...you'll dig this.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Walking Dead: Volume 23 Whispers into Screams


This was an exciting issue. One of the best in recent memory. A lot of shit is going on. The cliffhanger from last TPB is resolved, and it's turned into a whooooole new thing. I'm not saying anything else. Stoked on this one.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dawg Fight


I saw this pop up on Netflix so I added it to ye olde queue. Just watched it. Pretty decent. I really liked the main guy it profiles; DaDa 5000.

You've probably heard of Kimbo Slice. The dude is a UFC fighter and he went pro after being discovered in the backyard fighting scene of Florida. Evidently there are at least five fighters from a small backyard fight club in Miami who have made it to the pro level after being discovered on YouTube and whatnot.

This is the story of DaDa 5000, the guy who organizes the fights. He's one hell of a fighter himself, weighing in at a 260lbs. These dudes see fighting in the backyard as a way out of the ghetto. And sometimes...it works. But more importantly it bring the community together and it gives people something to strive for. And in many cases it settles beefs with fists instead of knives or guns.

It's a somewhat low budget doc, but it's not exactly a glamorous environment so it's alright. It doesn't need to be fancy. There are a lot of likable characters, some sadness, some loss, some triumph, and a whole lot of resilience...it's all there.

If you like MMA I'd suggest you watch this. No doubt.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Project A Part 2


I hadn't seen Project A Part 2 since I was probably 10 years old. I had recently watched Project A so I wanted to see the sequel. It's on Netflix and I had time to kill so I did just that. It ruled so hard, man. Great Jackie Chan flick. Golden era Golden Harvest production.

Jackie is an up and coming cop in Shanghai in what appears to be...the 20's? Earlier? In Project A he defeats some pirates. Kills their leader. In Part 2 they come back to seek revenge. On top of that there's a whole lot of police corruption going on, double-crossing, and a hefty dose of political radicals causing trouble. It makes for a relatively complicated plot. It's a bit tricky keeping track of all the subplots. But it's not rocket science either. Anyway, the movie is about action and comedy. That's what you're here for. And Project A Part 2 delivers both in spades.

If you like Jackie Chan, this is a must-see. Some classic stunts. But if you're not into 80's kung-fu then I guess you can live without it. Although I wouldn't recommend it.

Long live Jackie Chan.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Total Recall


I bought this for Pickle*, but the dude had already read it. So I figured fuck it, I'll read it myself. I was on an Ahhnold kick so what the hell.

I'm really glad I purchased it. It's an excellent read. Top class bio. Arnie charts his life growing up, through his body building career, then movie career and finally his political career. It's all there. Every rep.

The awesome part about his story is his mental fortitude. The dude is so god damn disciplined. It's a very inspiring read. You understand that Arnie wasn't a body builder who got into this or that...whether he was a body builder or not is irrelevant. The guy just had immense drive. He was going to succeed at multiple things in his life no matter what, and body building just happened to be one of the first major accomplishments. He's a scholar, an athlete, an actor and much, much more.

Arnold talks about his follies, too. It's not all glamour. He makes mistakes and he pulls back the curtain on a couple of them.

This book is highly enjoyable. But I found the final quarter less interesting because it focused on his political career...and that's obviously not as interesting to me. I prefer stories about lifting on Venice Beach or shooting Conan with John Milius. But if I'm gonna read about politics it might as well be about Arnold. So it's really a win/win. This is great.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story of grit, determination, and personal drive. Or anyone who just wants to know about Schwarzenegger. I mean, who wouldn't want to know about the Austrian Oak?





Sunday, May 31, 2015

Winnebago Man


I'd seen the 'winnebago man' / 'angriest man on the planet' video outtakes years ago. My friend Andrea introduced me to the clips. I thought it was incredibly funny. One of the all time great viral videos.

I wasn't alone.

Winnebago Man is a documentary all about tracking down Jack (the guy from the outtakes), to catch up with him now and see what he was all about. Where was he? What's he been doing? What'd he think about the popularity of the video he unwittingly starred in? All these questions and more.

The doc takes a surprising turn (I won't mention the details) upon meeting Jack. It's pretty interesting stuff. Light viewing. I wouldn't suggest anyone rushes out to watch this on Netflix. But if you're eating dinner and want to plop something on...you could go a lot worse.

If you haven't seen the original video for some reason...here it is. Fucking amazing stuff.


Bigger Stronger Faster


This started off really well but didn't quite hold the momentum. It's a pretty low budget, but well-done documentary about steroids, America, and family.

What pushes one brother to use steroids for years, while his other brother shuns the idea? What do their parents think of it all? WHY do steroids? Are they fair? Are they safe? Should they be allowed in pro sports? This doc touches on all of these questions and comes away with some surprising insights into steroid use.

If you're interested in sports or body-building, I definitely recommend you watch this doc. It'll give insight on a topic often discussed in half-truths, rumors, lies, and misconceptions.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Milius


Seeing as I just watched Conan and I've been reading Arnie's bio, John Milius has been on my radar. He was the director of said movie and an all round bad ass dude.

Milius was part of the USC directors in the 70's who really changed cinema forever. A book like "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" will go into great detail on that era of cinema if you're interested. But guys like Coppola, Spielberg, Milius, and Lucas were really making waves in the 70's and turning the studio system upside down.

This documentary tracks Milius's career as a script writer, director and producer. Part Hunter S. Thompson, part Teddy Roosevelt, Milius was a visionary artist and bone fide raconteur. He's written more famous screenplays than you realize. Dirty Harry? Apocalypse Now? Yeah.

If you're interested in film history, watch this documentary on Netflix. It's a compelling portrait of a great artist with a singular vision and unwavering drive.

What is good in life? To crush your enemies, seen them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Conan the Barbarian


I put this on at midnight last night. I've been reading Arnold's 2012 bio, "Total Recall," and I'm fascinated. It's a fucking phenomenal read. I'm about halfway through when he's talking about shooting Conan and I just had to watch it. The background info was just too much. I had to see it again.

Last time I watched Conan was probably 25 years ago. I tried watching it a few months ago and turned it off after 10 minutes. I just wasn't in the mood. But for whatever reason, last night I was ready to roll.

Here's the thing, I fucking love all things Conan, and I grew up a Schwarzenegger fan (how can you not when you came of age in the 80's). But at 35...I just wasn't into the campiness of Ahnold's shitty 'acting' in this flick. When you hold a character close to your heart it's almost impossible for the film version to hold up. However, we know it can be done b/c Sin City is quite literally a PERFECT cinematic version of the comic. So that's the bar. It's way high. Like, WAY UP THERE.

So I let my guard down and watched Conan. It was okay. I was surprised by how few speaking parts Arnie actually had. He rarely puts more than two sentences together at any given time. But I liked all his references to Crom.

It was cool to figure out which stories they had cobbled the plot from. It's neat to understand some of the back story re: Milius's directing. It's cool to see William Smith and Franco Columbu. There's a lot of history involved in the flick. But it's not a movie I'm going to keep coming back to. The tension isn't really there. It's a pale shadow of the comics or the original stories. Meh.

It was better than I thought it was gonna be. But it wasn't as good as it could have been by a long shot.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Barlowe's Inferno


Eric let me borrow Barlow's Inferno. It's awesome.

Wayne Barlowe paints a series of images depicting a voyeuristic trip through Hell. It's truly epic in scale. Very immersive. He paints with great sense of scale and imagination. He narrates the canvases through the book, discussing inspiration and content behind the depictions of anguish and torture. Bricks made out of human souls. Stuff like that...

It's the kind of book and voyage you can keep coming back to relive. Cool shit...


Slum Village

Daaaamnnnn

Friday, May 8, 2015

Frenzy


I saw this at the local classic used book store for a few bucks. As an avid Hitchcock nerd I was pretty stoked to pick this up.

I read the book in a few days and dug it. The novel is inevitably different from the film, but it's been a few years since my last viewing so I can't comment on the differences in too much detail. However, it did seem to be markedly different if my recollection is accurate. Some of the key scenes and characters are present in the movie, but Hitchcock definitely wove his own distinct yarn from the source material.

Anyway, the book was good. Slow pacing. Relatable characters. Typically English. Publisher's Weekly says it has "a shocker of an ending" and that's the truth, brotha! I found the denouement rather quickly pieced together, but still...it was good.

This is a short novel and worth the read. It's obvious why Hitchcock gravitated to it. "The Wrong Man" is a quintessential Hitchcockian theme that he visited time and time again. It's classic. Dig it.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock & Roll


Marie told me there was a documentary playing at the DFT that covered Cambodian rock'n'roll. Nuff said. I was there.

We hadn't been to the DFT in far too long. Sucks. Just "been busy" with other shit. And Netflix definitely has something to do with it. We ate some good vegan nosh at Seva in Detroit, hit up the Crystal Gallery in the DIA then checked out the flick.

It was really well done. Good production value. Well edited and paced. It covered the key players in the birth of Cambodian rock'n'roll and tracked them up until the Khmer Rouge took power in the early 70's. Shit hit the fan and Dead Kennedy's wrote a song about said shit hitting said fan.

Not surprisingly, the doc' gets pretty emotional. The good times are obliterated by the Khmer Rouge and the bloodshed that followed. It's a bummer. But if you take anything positive away from it, I think it's the resilience of the people.

This is a good flick and definitely worth viewing.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon


Shep Gordon was the greatest Hollywood manager to ever live. I don't think that's really disputable. This is a documentary about his life. And it's fucking funny as hell.

It pretty much starts out with Shep, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and a whole bunch of weed. Alice Cooper enters the scene. He manages Cooper and his life takes on a whole new, crazy trajectory. The movie focuses on Cooper the most since they have the longest and tightest relationship. Their relationship is the thread that weaves the whole story together. And quite a lot of the anecdotes and whatnot have been covered a million times before, most recently in the Cooper documentary by Sam Dunn; Super Duper Alice Cooper. But that's okay cuz you can never get enough Coop'.

Outside of Alice and music management you see Shep dabble in film production and even create a whole freakin genre of celebrities; the celebrity chef. That was this man's invention for god's sake. It's pretty remarkable unto itself.

Anyway, Shep is widely regarded as the nicest guy ever, he's rich beyond anyone's wildest dreams, and his life has been pretty god damn amazing. This documentary is very entertaining and definitely a must-see.


cool.
even cooler.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter


The original On Any Sunday is a motorcycle classic. It has Steve McQueen in it. It brought motorcycling to the public's eye and really tried to show it as a clean hobby / sport, and not something to be identified with outlaw M/C/s. It rules.

Well, a zillion years later the Director's son films a second chapter. It's the same formula as the first, but just with Mickey Rourke and Valentino Rossi instead of Steve McQueen. It's got super slo-mo and it was shot in 4k. All that jazz. Very slick and pro looking.

It's a good watch and covers many aspects of the 'sport' of motorcycling but rarely touches on motorcycling culture...the way the vast majority of bikers experience bikes...i.e. on the street.

Anyway, if you ride a bike this movie is for you. It's got dare-devil shit to MotoGP shit covered. Jumping football fields with your bike or high-siding at 200 mph and walking away from both unscathed. It's all there.

Dig it.

It's So Easy + and other lies +


Got this for x-mas. I'm obviously big on musician bios and so I was stoked to dive into Duff's take on GNFNR and beyond. I felt like the book was off to a rocky start but very quickly righted itself and became an engrossing read. Immediate comparisons will be drawn to Slash's bio and to be honest, Slash's is definitely better. I found it richer. But Duff's is Duff's and it's still a damn fine read. Not everything can be "the best."

Duff gave a lot of insight into the other band members, especially Izzy. And so it was an educational dive into some of the inner workings of Guns n Roses. You felt like you understood their respective personalities that little bit more after getting through the book. The walls are broken down and the characters are humanized. Although most of their antics and choices seem to defy what one would consider "human." Regularly drinking TEN BOTTLES OF WINE A DAY? Fuckin a'.

Duff's story is typically filled with ups, downs, lots of tragedies, epiphanies, success, failure, rebirth, and resilience. It's cool to see what he went through, how he learned from it, and how that took him down some unusual paths post-GnR.

If you like music you must like GnR. If you like GnR then you should read this book. That's my logic. Do yourself a favor and pick this up. You'll fly through it in no time. I think Pickle was telling me he was a born-again Christian but there's zero mention of religion in this book (and it's very recent). So if he is, he certainly doesn't mention it even once.

It's a wild ride.

incognito.

with his wife.

looking cool as fuck.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dead Wake


Erik Larson is probably my favorite living author. He writes non-fiction novels. To use a hackneyed phrase, he really brings the past to life. The dude goes bananas traveling the world and researching a specific topic for any given book. Marie just bought me his latest book and I devoured it in about 4 sittings in 3 days. This one is about the final voyage of the Lusitania.

I'm sure the story of the Lusitania is more familiar to yanks cuz it was pretty much the root cause for engaging the US in the First World War. But I didn't really know anything about it. It didn't take me 2 seconds to figure it out once I realized the protagonist was a captain of a cruise liner and the antagonist was the captain of a U-boat.

Dead Wake seemed to be one of his most thoroughly detailed historical accounts. But even given the minutia, it just flowed so well. You look at things on a microscopic level the way Erik does and it's just awesome. The book builds and builds until an unholy crescendo of horror, pain, death and loss.

Everyone should read this book so I don't want to give anything away regarding the other parts of the story you might not know about. But it's not the sinking of the Lusitania that's the most troubling aspect of this whole story: It's the government.

This book was fascinating. Read it.

44,000 tons, 9 passenger decks, 787 ft long, almost 3000 people capacity inc crew.




Young Cycle Girls



This was a good flick to end this season of Motorcycle Movie Night. It was from 77 and therefore we got a little bit more than we typically got with a late 60's flick. The girls actually got naked in this one (very briefly) and they threw around obscenities that wouldn't have passed in the 60's. Society was loosening up, and so were the Young Cycle Girls...

The flick was about three girls from Colorado who get on their Honda 350's and spend Easter break heading for the west coast. They want to see the ocean in LA. Sounds fun. What could go wrong? Except for they make some dumb decisions along the way, get mistaken for Hell's Angels, get molested by the fuzz, raped by a drug dealer, have their bike stolen, and practically rape a virginal pinball wizard. It ends up being a less than ideal trip. But they make it. And all the while they have the theme song for the movie playing in their heads. It's cornball. But it was a really entertaining 80 minutes.

So here's the thing; the DVD case (yeah, I own this) says this movie has the most shocking ending since Easy Rider. That's quite a statement. But I tell ya what, none of us were expecting the film to end how it did. Holy shit, it was shocking alright. Right up there with the end of the Pink Angels.

I didn't have high expectations for Young Cycle Girls but it was a sleeper. PJ thought it was the best motorcycle flick we'd ever seen.

Dig it.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

her



At first I thought her looked good, then I thought...meh, I'm over it. But Marie loved it and ended up buying the blu-ray, so the cards were dealt and we watched it last night.

It was legit. Joaquin Phoenix did one hell of a job in this flick. It's practically a one-man play. He did a great job portraying the protagonist and he rocked a hell of a fine mustache.

The film is about a guy who falls in love with his computer's operating system. It's set in the not-too-distant future where wearable tech is ubiquitous and autonomous vehicles, immersive video games and artificial intelligence is mainstream. It's all rooted in reality and it appears to be a very accurate foreshadowing of what's to come in our lifetime. Given that, I don't think falling in love with his OS is as silly as it may first sound. Consider for a moment that his OS is voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Wouldn't you have phone sex with your OS if it sounded like ScarJo? Yeah. Exactly.

The costume is excellent and so is the cinematography. The score is done by Arcade Fire. It's a very well-rounded flick. I really don't have any bones to pick with it at all. The costuming also goes to show that although high-waisted pants look awful on women, clearly men of the future can pull them off just fine.

You should watch this movie. It's pretty light-hearted, well-acted, and original.

Here's a gratuitous shot of Scarlett Johansson channeling her inner Debbie Harry.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Karmic Management


Sorry for the shitty graphic. I'm too lazy to take a pic of the book myself. It's not like it's a terribly thrilling book cover...

This is another one of those "read it on a plane ride" type of books. Only 140 pages or so.

I'm always interested in reading any books that merge Eastern Thought or Buddhist teachings in particular, with business or management. I found this little book and gave it a spin.

It wasn't mind-blowing, but it's worth passing along due to its brevity. It's not a big time investment so you can blaze through it and pull out a couple nuggets of truth. Or find a couple things to dwell upon.

Karmic Management essentially teaches you that in order for you to succeed in business, you first have to help other people succeed in the same types of things you want to achieve. The more you give and the more you help, the more it will created echoes that give back and help you out in the future. Make your team look like superstars because they in turn will reflect back upon you and make you look like a superstar. Stuff like that...

The cool thing about the book is that some, if not many of the concepts are things we already do at my job. So that's reassuring. But there's definitely some concepts to pull out and really think about how we could implement them at work.

I plan on re-reading some of these chapters to get some of the main ideas down on paper and then taking that to my Managers at work and seeing how we can use them to spark conversations and positive change.

Word.