Friday, January 30, 2015

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Marie recently rented the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy audiobook from the library. It's narrated by the brilliant comedian and thinker, Stephen Fry. She really enjoyed it so passed it along to her husband.

I rarely ever listen to audiobooks. I wasn't sure how I felt about it to be honest. You had to really concentrate as you listened to it in your car. It's definitely a different experience. I prefer good ol' paper.

I won't take anything away from Stephen Fry's narration, though. He's very funny and did a great job assuming each character.

The end of the book is very abrupt. No denouement, just...over. I thought I had put in the wrong CD and missed something. I understand there are more books to read but still...

I also heard the radio drama is the best version of the Guide. I dunno. I'm definitely going to re-watch the film with Marie, though. If even only for the yarn scene.

I'm glad I "read" it (do you "read" audiobooks?), but I wasn't blown away. Probably would have been way better if I was 12.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Black Angels

Black Angels; the latest installment in Motorcycle Movie Night.

This one dates back to 1970 and was the last of the "black" biker wasn't much of a black biker flick. The Black Angels for instance aren't a biker gang (that would be the Choppers), the Black Angels is the name for the local fuzz. Speaking of which, the movie is SO LOW-RENT they couldn't even afford fake police uniforms for said 5-0. They're just wearing black shirts and pants with one sleeve insignia sewn on. No cherries on the "cop car" either. It's just...a car...that two guys ride around in who make a passing resemblance to police officers. It's terrible.

This movie was bizarre. I've seen so many biker flicks, but this one was definitely one of the most out there. Horrendous music choices. Weird (read: shitty as hell) camerawork and editing that made no sense whatsoever. Jarringly poor shots. Random characters that appear and have zero impact on the plot. Crap script. A cougar and a raccoon (don't ask). It was just particularly disjointed to the extent that it seemed like a biker movie parody it was so bad.

But the bikers were phenomenal. Seriously fucking righteous choppers. Totally made up for how crap the movie was. At the end of the day it WAS a biker flick through and through. And honestly may have had the best bikes we've ever seen. But yeah, it covered just about every biker cliche you could want. But getting back to the weirdness of the movie; there was an odd scene where they try and bestow some moral values on the viewer. There's some overt anti-racist messages in the flick. That's cool, but very heavy-handed and out of place for a movie of this ilk. Just kinda came outta nowhere because biker flicks aren't known for their moral strength. They pretty much thrive on depravity.

Black Angels had some really weird fast motion scenes, too. You're not fooling anyone bro. It's like an old kung-fu flick where they sped up the action...but with motorcycles. It looks retarded. Plus you mix that with really quick editing and it's a recipe for "what the fuck is going on".

I'm hating on this movie but we laughed. It entertained us. And I'm actually really looking forward to reading about it in my biker movie reference books. Maybe they can shed some light on how and why it's so bizarre.

I'd watch it again.


It's weird. The first time I saw Bullitt I didn't get what all the hype was about, especially regarding the famous car chase. I thought the movie was kinda boring. I just watched it again and god damn I couldn't have been more wrong. I must have been off my head upon the first viewing.

I really enjoyed Bullitt. Killer cinematography. The framing, editing and lighting was so good. Very artistic. Very nuanced and mature. Top shelf.

Yeah, it's a slow movie, no doubt. But I love slow movies so that didn't phase me. It's plot driven more than anything else. Plot is number one and Style is number two. It's sharp as hell and makes me want to buy a whole new wardrobe.

Copious car porn to boot. There's more than just the Mustang vs. the Charger. There are E-Types and 911's to be spotted, as well as tons of classic American muscle and mid century beauties from the Big Three.

I recant anything negative I may have said about Bullitt in the past. The chase scene IS bad ass (but I still maintain Death Proof has the ultimate car chase ever filmed). But Bullitt is just a great film. Period.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


The majority of stuff I read is all non-fiction, and if it is fiction it's typically based on plausible terrestrial storylines. Historically I've not gotten into much sci-fi or sword and sorcery. But Robert E. Howard has sparked a keen interest in classic S&S novels.

I picked this paperback up at the local used book store because it was by Howard and it had a killer cover illustration. I banged through the 150 pages really quickly and quite enjoyed it. It's like a neat little escape into another world. I suspect Conan will always be my favorite, but I like checking out similar characters with their own twists, too. Why not?

Almuric is rather interesting in concept. There's a particularly powerful and well developed earthling named Mr. Crain. He's in trouble with the government and he ends up meeting a scientist with a crazy ass invention. Given the option of getting killed by the government or risking his life by hopping into a matter-transporter that'll send him hurtling across time and space...he goes for the latter. He's only just met this scientist, but fuck it, he'll give it a go anyway.

He ends up on a planet named Almuric. Naked. And here he thrives (after beating someone and stealing their loin cloth and sword). His immense power that was too much for his life on Earth is put to great use and great test on Almuric. He meets a variety of beasts, women, winged assailants, giant spiders, and shit like that. You know how it goes. Dark citadels guarded by warriors of great power. Evil goddesses. All that good stuff. Thousands of people die. Clans fight. War is fought. Peace is made. Blah blah blah. Blood. Fire. Death.

If you like Conan you will dig Almuric. Recommended. It's unique.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Compilation of Death – The Third Coming

I heard about Compilation of Death a while back and it really seemed like a top class old school death metal zine in the truest of traditions. But "The Third Coming" really defies any description of a "zine" that you've ever heard. For a start it's hundreds of pages thick. It's perfect bound. Nice paper stock. And it's about 1.5" thick! Check out the video. It's a hefty tome.

Gabriel (Editor) teamed up with Hell's Headbangers to release this issue of the zine. With HHR's money and distribution it guaranteed that this would get out there on an international level. There's simply no rival if this is the style of zine you're into (i.e. old school cut'n'paste).

I was fortunate enough to be interviewed for this issue, too. I sent a Temple of Void demo to Gabriel and he dug it enough to do an interview with us in the massive third issue. However, it was the inclusion of Fatal in the zine that was extra cool. I did a double-take when I saw that. Tony Hamera (who mastered our album) was interviewed for his 90's DM band, Fatal. And there was at least one or two more Michigan bands who had little features on them (if I recall correctly). Michigan represented well in this issue. You can't throw a stone without hitting a mention of Repulsion somewhere...

Some of the interviews are gargantuan. The Nile one was my favorite. Karl makes for an interesting and articulate interviewee. Autopsy was another good one. I didn't read every single page from front to back but I honestly probably read about 80% of the zine word for word.

It's not perfect by a long shot, but that's the nature of a cut'n'paste zine from Chile that's been translated into English. There are typos on every page. But you don't buy/read this for typographical excellence.

It's mostly interviews, with a brief amount of zine, vinyl, and CD reviews at the rear of the zine. The interviews are sometimes current and sometimes over a decade old. It's truly a "compilation of death."

If you like death metal; get this zine.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I love Dan Brown novels. They're like heroin.

The latest installment featuring protagonist Robert Langdon is called Inferno. Like any good Langdon yarn it takes place in Italy, and if he doesn't get to the bottom of a complex art history puzzle...well, global catastrophe is imminent. Life as we know it will cease!

Brown authors his books with 1 to 4 page chapters pretty much. So it's like a cliff-hanger every few pages. It's a simple literary device that keeps you hooked like a mofo. You can't read less than 100 pages at a time. Inferno is 450 pages but I read it in like 4 or 5 sittings. It's totally consuming.

No doubt you've read or heard of the Da Vinci Code. All the Langdon books are just like that. Art history, museums, hidden details, conspiracies, secrets, Italy, an evil madman, tweed jackets with leather elbow pads, a hot chick, and a desperate race against time. It's all dialed up to 11 and it's a winning recipe. The only one I haven't read is the Lost Symbol, but I'll get that from the library this year.

I think Angels and Demons is the best, followed by the Da Vinci Code, and then Inferno.

This ruled. Everyone should read a Dan Brown novel at least once. You'll love it then keep chasing the dragon looking for a high to beat your first time...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Angels Die Hard

First movie and subsequently the first Biker Movie of 2015. Angels Die Hard. 1970. Pretty righteous flick.

We watched it over at Sweets' house for Biker Movie Night. Clean Cut was excited because it has his favorite mustachioed muscleman, William Smith. I swear CC gets more excited about Bill's triceps than he does the naked mommas dancing around the fire. Whatever floats his boat.

Angels Die Hard was a classic. I mean that in the true sense. It's a biker movie through and through. It has all the requisites, except for at some point I believe the Magician yelled at the TV that the gang should have raped this one chick. So, that tells you what certain people in the crew have came to expect from our traditional bikesploitation flicks. You gotta live up to the stereotype 100%.

So, bikers roll into town on AMAZING FUCKING CHOPPERS, they get into trouble with the smalltown rednecks and the bumbling local officers, there's a love-in in the woods around a campfire, there's uppers and downers, plenty of beer, old ladies, mommas, some fake boobs (in 1970?), a bar fight, crazy trikes, no swazis but some kaiser helmets and SS badges,...yeah, they pretty much nail it.

This particular biker flick actually does have a coherent plot from beginning to end. Sure, the acting is shit and the plot isn't anything to write home about, but the fact that it's somewhat coherent and even exists at all is a rarity in the genre.

I would put this in the top 10 classic Biker Flick list. Definitely.

Soundtrack missed the mark a bit, though. They tired. Close but no cigar.

The choppers are outta sight.

Rogue Male

First book o' 2015. I can't recall how I came across Rogue Male. Maybe a recommended book via Amazon or maybe cuz Uberti wants to cover a song by Rogue Male. Either way, I bought it and read it. And it was pretty freakin good!

It was published in England in 1939, so right off the bat you know it's written in a certain way that clearly indicates its time and place. We don't often refer to bundles of sticks as "faggots" any more. But 1939 was different.

It has an interesting premise: A hunter goes for the ultimate "prize" see if he can shoot Hitler purely for the sport of it. I obviously don't believe there's anything "sporting" about hunting anything, but I certainly think a one-man assassination attempt on Hitler is a worthwhile endeavor. So the Englishman attempts the shot, things go awry, and after one thing leads to another our protagonist is on the run from government agents. The whole book is a cat and mouse chase. It's thrilling.

It was begging to be turned into a movie and a quick google search revealed that it had in fact made it to the silver screen. I'll have to check it out.

I dug the Household's diction, tone of voice, attention to detail, and pacing. It was an exciting book. The lead character somewhat resembled a stripped down James Bond or Jason Bourne...but without the help of his government. It was cool, man.

Recommended reading.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Vanilla Sky

Vanilla Sky is one of Marie's all time favorite flicks, so we watched it last night. It's been years since I've seen it.

It was really good. Still is. It's got a Ferrari 250GTO and a 67 Mustang in it. What's not to love? Plus, Crowe uses Vanilla Sky to make quite a few allusions to Jules et Jim and Breathless. It's all good, nerdy shit. Incredibly detail oriented. You can get lost down a rabbit hole if you really want to analyze it. Marie said the Director's Commentary is very illuminating. I choose to take the film at face value, though. When Tech Support does his exposition at the end...I'm just going with that. I don't care to read anything else into it.

Good soundtrack. Great editing. Great cinematography. Even though Tom Cruise is an Scientologist idiot, he's a great actor. Truth. Jason Lee is always funny. Penelope Cruze is...well, she's Penelope Cruze so that's a reason in and of itself to see the movie again.

There's a cameo by Steven Spielberg. I just found that amusing for some reason.

Vanilla Sky holds up and it's worth another viewing if you haven't seen it in a few years. Great movie to finish the year off with.

Now for a little car porn...