Wednesday, October 27, 2010

antiques

I saw the first episode of Sherlock, the three part series of the modern day Sherlock Holmes last Sunday night, and enjoyed it. We were in the middle of a tornado alert and hail storm, with wind, rain, and lightning all around, so it was nice to get my mind off the weather if only for a little bit. The wind doesn't blow down here much in East Texas as opposed to the way it constantly blew in West Texas, so when it does get up, you know something is amiss. Monday night I watched a bit of the Cowboy game. What can I say about them that isn't apparent? Tony Romo getting hurt isn't going to help their game. I'm not a huge sport fan, but I'll watch the Cowboys from time to time along with some college games. I've been keeping up with the Texas Rangers, which has turned out to be somewhat exciting, though I can't sit still enough to watch a whole game of baseball.

Sports aside, Monday nights is one of my favorite TV viewing nights. It starts off with PBS Antique Roadshow. I've been a faithful follower of that for years. I guess it's the collector mentality in me and the fact that my parents were collectors of antiques, and had an antique store in Big Spring, which keeps my attention. Another draw to it is the fact that it reminds me of conventions, and it's like going to one each week--people watching, looking at the stuff on the display tables, and so forth. But whatever the case, it's like a mainstay for me. One of these days, I'd like to go an actual broadcast and take something along to have appraised. I know they've been in the Dallas area at times, so it's not too far out of reach. How cool would it be to actually be selected to be on an episode that airs?

antiques

I have a few other programs on Mondays that follows along in that line of programming too. Over on the History Channel there's American Pickers, which follows these two guys up in Iowa as they search out used stuff they can buy and resale. You never know what they'll run across. Sometimes they'll just meet unusual people, sometimes they run across old motorcycles, movie posters, vintage signs--you just never know where they'll be going or what they may find. Also on the History Channel there's Pawn Stars, which follows a similar path, except rather than these guys getting out and scouring the country for things to buy, the sellers come right to their shop in Las Vegas. What's interesting is they'll try to find out if the object is real or fake, sometimes they'll have to call in an expert to help solve problems or debunk fakes, and give a little insight or history on certain objects. Then they have to figure out a price for the objects. The pawn shop is family owned and they like kidding around with each other, which keeps the show funny too.

ugly

Kids, just say, "No", or you might turn out to look like this guy.

Just kidding. Well, sort of.

I ran across a used vinyl record store down here in Tyler called Sunshine Records. I stopped by there a week or so back. I'd seen it a few times while visiting Tyler, but never had the time to stop. It seemed nice enough, actually I had a pretty fun time there. I guess there's just something about vinyl and collecting vinyl that probably hooks me and my generation. Somewhere though there is a cutoff, which stops and the next generation is more about either CDs or iTunes, and they don't care that much for vinyl. I watched a neat little movie shortly after that called I Need That Record!, which was also about vinyl records and how many independent record shops have had to go out of business, and how the record store used to be a communal place for like minded music lovers to meet and the connections made in such places. The documentary captures visits to indie record stores across the country, and includes interviews with Dischord Records founder Ian Mackaye, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, philosopher Noam Chomsky and many others. The documentary state that only about 50% of vinyl has made its way onto CD, which is sort of interesting. It makes you wonder about all of the music that didn't make it to CD.

ugly

Well, maybe there might have been a reason for a few of those...

It's certainly worth a watch if you enjoy music, particularly vinyl collecting. It reminded me of two other films about music, High Fidelity, and Almost Famous, also worth watching.

Friday, October 22, 2010

tv

A couple of things I'm looking forward to this month are the new Sherlock Holmes TV series, which will air this Sunday on PBS showcase Masterpiece Mystery. From what I've seen from the commercials and from listening to a review about the three episodes, it's a re-imagining where Holmes and Watson will be set in modern England along with cell phones, blogging, and all the other lifestyles of modern England. I'm usually against such twist in adapting literary characters in such a way, but hey, it's already gotten a bit of good press, and I am a Sherlock Holmes fan, so I'm all set to watch it and see what I think. I wasn't such a fan of the re-imagined Robert Downey Jr. movie, to me it was like a 007 Sherlock. A little whiz, but little bang. It had a lot of action, gadgets, but for whatever reason, it just didn't hit the mark for me.

“Sherlock,” created by “Doctor Who” producer Steven Moffat and actor/writer Mark Gatiss, exists in a world much like our own where a killer can taunt Holmes (here played by Benedict Cumberbatch) by asking if he wants to phone a friend. The first episode is called A Study in Pink. Adapting the first Holmes mystery, A Study in Scarlet and it’s told from the point of view of Watson. At any rate, if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan to you'll want to tune in.

tv

The Walking Dead, which is taken from the Image comic book is about zombies and the first part of the series airs on Halloween night (Sunday) on AMC. Robert Kirkman, the writer of the comic, created a pretty harrowing series, which is still ongoing and somewhere around issue #78. I haven't been able to keep up with the monthly issues, and was collecting them in book form. But I can say that his zombies and the overall scenario is faithful to the George Romero zombie films, which I can appreciate--slow lumbering zombies, yay. You'd have thought that this genre has been totally been mined of any life (pun intended), but not so the way Kirkman wrote the comics. It was a huge hit with fans. One of the things that was so fascinating about the comic is that no character was safe, anyone could die, and the zombies weren't the only threat either. Sometimes the people that you might encounter in this post apocalypse world were just as bad. The comics were real page turners, and I suspect the TV series will be the same.

Monday, October 11, 2010

album covers

It's raining here today, which is okay, we need a pretty good rain, as we've been in a burn ban around this area. I watched the Dallas Cowboys play the Tennessee Titans the other day, and the Cowboys lost, but a pretty good football game. My brother and sister are coming down to visit this weekend, so I need to get up and do a few chores like house cleaning here in a bit--something I'm a bit reluctant to do at times. The Beatles'65 album above is one of the first albums I got as a teen. I'd been listening to music before that, and remember when the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. The Beatles and the British Invasion was a bit deal for me back then. Although I got hooked on music even before that. My parents had a RCA player, I started to say Victrola, but I don't know if that the proper term. It was a player which had an AM tuner in it, and a 45 rpm record player in it for that format. I'm not even sure it had FM, or even if FM was around at the time, it probably was, but who knows how many stations that used FM was around in the 50's?

At any rate, I'd sometimes go in the living room and just turn the tuner around to see what I could find. It was a like a time machine or some odd sci-fi device where you'd never know what you could pull in on the tuner. It could be some black doo-wop band, some fire and brimstone sermon, some pop from that time period like Frankie Avalon, Peggy Lee or something like that. I would just turn it on and see what I could find and you'd hear songs too that would capture your attention. They had hit pops songs like: Flying Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley, Johnny Horton's The Battle of New Orleans, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, David Seville & the Chipmunks' Alvin and His Harmonica (Seville also had a novelty song called The Witch Doctor), Big John by Jimmie Dean, Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford, and a lot of that sort of told a story or had a hook to it that captured my attention in some ways. I'm sure a lot of those songs were also made for the merging baby boomer, teenage market at the time too.

blog

At any rate, music captured me at a young age. So in 1965 my parents bought me my first Sear's Silvertone stereo. It played amazingly well, and sounded so good. Along with the Beatles' album they bought me a Roger Miller album, which I believe, was his second release. It had the song on it called Dang Me, and he had made quite a few radio hits like King of the Road, England Swings, and Do-Wacka-Do. He had sort of a folkie, country sound to his music that had wide appeal. I know some might scratch their heads wondering how music like the novelty songs were so big, but all I can say is that it captured the teenage audience at the time, created a story sort of, had a catchy melody and you could pick up the lyrics pretty easily and sing along with it. The formula worked pretty well. There weren't cassette recorders back then, and most people didn't have a reel to reel tape machine either so the artist had a quick two to three minutes to capture one's attention so you'd want to buy their 45 record. If a record got hot, well that mean a lot more air time, getting their hit in the jukeboxes, and so forth, sort of instant success. The subject matter might have changed with the Beatles, but not by much. Their pop songs still were very catchy, along with a lot of pop songs at the time.

album covers

Well, here's a neat little LP cover site I ran across: http://lpcoverlover.com/

It's pretty cool and you can listen to a few of the songs thru a small media player the person has on the site. Some of that's pretty neat, and the comments are interesting. Time to go, the storms outside are getting more intense :)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

new dr who

Dr. Who, no more? Not quite. Especially since it seems that the BBC has been on a roll lately with their new reboot (and garnering new fans of the show) starting with the Eccleston era. Supposedly Dr. Who only has 12 lives, due to regeneration, so he's at #11 now with the new doctor, Matt Smith. I was wondering how the BBC was going to resolve this ordeal. I thought of a couple of ways around this myself, but wondered how they'd come up with this paint-yourself-in-a-corner dilemma. Not surprisingly, The Powers That Be will soon be addressing this consideration in an episode of the DOCTOR WHO spin-off series THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES. The episode will be called "Death of the Doctor" and will guest star current "Doctor" Matt Smith. We've known that much since this summer, but have only recently learned details about what awaits us in this compellingly titled episode.

DigitalSpy has got a preview of the two parter here: http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/s47/sarah-jane-adventures/tubetalk/a280005/ten-teasers-about-death-of-the-doctor.html

The Russell T Davies-written installment says "Doctors 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 and 11" make an appearance (William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, David Tennant, and Smith respectively), and that "The Doctor doesn't have to be Caucasian (It could be interesting if a doctor could be alien-like, say like in the comic book Green Lantern Corps!) I think an interesting episode could be if the doctor lands on an alien planet gets involved in some mystery, bumps into another "alien" doctor and they solve the mystery together, then part ways). And he can regenerate more than 12 times - a lot more!"

The next formal DOCTOR WHO episode will broadcast on Christmas Day, guest starring Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the HARRY POTTER movies).

So that leaves the official cannon with:

William Hartnell
Patrick Troughton
Jon Pertwee
Tom Baker
Peter Davison
(Peter Cushing - the movie doctor)
Colin Baker
Sylvester McCoy
Paul McGann
Christopher Eccleston
David Tennent
Matt Smith

And Doctor No. 12?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

blog

I listened to some comic podcast today, which was actually pretty fun. One was on Eclipse comics, which was an independent comic back in the 80's. I enjoyed a lot of the books that they published, Scout being one of them. I like how Tim Truman drew and the tough guy pulp fiction that was in the pages. Listening to the podcast brought back a lot of old comic book collecting memories. I also enjoy the run of Miracle Man by Alan Moore and various artist at the time. Miracle Man, some say was sort of a Superman clone, but I think it also bared a resemblance to Shazam or Captain Marvel. As both characters had to utter a word to be transformed to become the superhero. However, Shazam was a lot more lightweight, whereas Miracle Man was dark and a delicious wild ride. I was lucky enough though to find all the issues of that 24 issue run. Moore dropped off the book before completion and Neil Gaiman wrote the last few issues. The book so far hasn't seen recollected due to legal issues, I think they said on the podcast Todd McFarlane has the copyright or something to that effect, and so it's still in some sort of limbo.

At any rate they had lot of other podcast on that site, if interested you can head over to: http://indiespinnerrack.blogspot.com/ If you care to download some of their podcast and listen to some of their shows.

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I also found another comic podcast show, but I've yet to listen to it. I saw where they have a three-part episode on John Byrne's Next Men, so that might be interesting to hear. I love hearing about some of those creators from the 80s because that's when I started to get back into comics again, and sort of brings back memories, and at the same time I wonder whatever happened to their creators. I used to be a big fan of the fanzines as well and would read Comic Buyer's Guide, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Journal for interviews and so forth. CBG is still pretty interesting, but they've changed their format to a magazine size, similar to Wizard, and like Wizard have a price guide in the back (which is a waste of paper). I think we've gotten past the stage of, I'm going to sell my copy of Superman vs. Doomsday and put my teen through college--we know that ain't happening. And The Comics Journal is still a pretty cool magazine, but once they went to putting out a phone book type publication for $10. ever so often I had to pass on that too. It's a shame too, but they got too lofty, for my fanboy taste. I might read about half of a Comics Journal, and the rest was of little interest to me. Still I'll give it its due. At any rate, if interested in another podcast on Byrne, and other topics go here: http://www.comicgeekspeak.com/episodes.php?podcast=ESSENTIALS

Man the weather here is nice and cool tonight, I love it.