Lemon Slushie

I’m doing a short course in the melbourne cbd just down the street from Allens music store. It’s going to be hard resisting the temptation to snap up one of these lovely looking lemon-top “slash” epiphones. Cheap guitars are the best guitars but I really don’t need another one. Good to see there’s still at least one shop that has prices competitive with what’s available via the internet.

Slashy  lemon

, — yak sox @ 8:08 am, June 30, 2015

Why Runaway Train (1985) is probably my favourite movie ever

Until last night it must have been over ten years since I’d watched Runaway Train and I wasn’t even remembering it right because I thought it was Charles Bronson in it but it’s Jon Voight. And I didn’t remember all the prison scenes at the start either. But what did stay in my mind all that time was the shots of the train blasting through the snow.

Here’s what really works in this film:

1. shots of the train blasting through the snow

run-awaytrain-2


The four locos teamed together, muddy-black in colour. The long shots show the desolate Alaskan winter and the driving snow emphasises the speed of the train. This is what cinematography is all about to me; showing something in pictures that can’t be described in dialogue or words of any kind.

2. The basic elements of the plot

Apparently this was a story and screenplay originally written by Akira Kurasawa. It was later adapted by the people who put together this film but there’s something about the way the main elements of the story hang together that have Kurasawa’s name all over them. I actually don’t know that much about him—I’ve only seen a couple of his B&W 50s(?) samurai films but there’s a simple way of story-telling though visuals he got down that others have been influenced by for decades.

The reason I can tell it’s not pure Kurasawa is the way it jumps from the scenes in the train what Voight kills, and the scenes in the train line control room. It’s like going from a quality drama to Flying High! Who ever was casting or directing, in these bits at least, really dropped the ball.

control-room


3. Jon Voight.

jon-voight-as-manny


He probably did the only good acting in the film. Even then I wonder if the way he did the character might have been influenced by the way Stallone played the character Rocky Balboa. There was a couple of short monologish scenes that he nailed to the point where if this was a more popular movie then people would be parroting them the way they do De Niro in Taxi Driver.

clean-that-spot


Honourable mentions for cool things are – The actor and character that played the head prison warden. Every crazy, deathwish-seeking escaped convict needs an equally crazy sheriff hell-bent on bringing him down.

In both of these characters I can see an archetypal simplicity that Kurasawa would’ve outlined that made them so easy or successful to play.

And the on-train stunts and cinematography of the stunts. Hyper-real in how they look and the angles at which they were captured at. No CGI. The way heavy-falling snow combined with the speed of the train creates a darkening of the shot. Plus everyone knows how slippery ice is and everyone can guess how slippery it would be when trying to climb onto the nose of an EMD F7 at 70 miles an hour.

EMD-F7


Because of the ‘80s schlock of the control room I’d almost say that this was a film ripe for re-doing but I know they’d never get the good parts right. No one in the two thousand teens wants to see a train barrelling through the snow, right? We’ve got too much ADD for that. No one wants to see relationships and motivations unfolding inside a boring, boxy black locomotive’s interior. So I can live with the bits that are a bit quaint because I know that Hollywood today would red rubber-stamp the whole thing ‘QUAINT’ including the live action stunts and the symbolism of an out of control train carrying a rebel on his last flight.

 

, , , — yak sox @ 4:10 am, June 25, 2015

forty one and still having fun

Yes it was my birthday a week ago. Here is what I got!

On his 41st birthday


For over two years I’ve been wanting to watch Korg 70 000 BC and for over two years I haven’t seen it anywhere as a torrent, so here we are. I got the DVD. This is another show that I dimly remember seeing as a child on BTV6. I can remember being at a friend’s house on a Saturday arvo and seeing it. This would’ve been in 1981 or ‘82 I suppose. I won’t say too much about the actual show now because there’s not much info on the net so I might do an episode by episode synopsis. I will say that it kicked off in my birth year, 1974. And I thought the episodes would be 45mins each but are more like 25mins.


Also, Crocs. Really I was just looking for footwear that were comfortable enough to take over duties from another pair of comfortable plastic shoes made by Rivers that I now realise were crocs knock-offs. Apparently most people don’t like them and consider them hideous which is a shame because I think they’re really quite good. People say they make your feet look like hooves but my feet really are that shape. And hopefully wearing them with socks is the only thing I have in common with george w bush.


As long as the strap is back over the ankle so they don’t fly off if you are running I really think these are our footwear of the future and we all will be wearing them in the far off future along with shiny silver jumpsuits that have a big triangle on the front.

, , — yak sox @ 11:28 am, June 17, 2015

sunny day in June

Well it’s half a week now past me submitting my last essay for the semester and I feel like writing something again. I repainted my telecaster body yesterday. This is something that’s been brewing for a while and requires at least two long backstories. Nice to see flickr have stopped adding that rubbish javascript to embedded fotos.

HipstaPrint

yak sox @ 1:14 am, June 6, 2015

tiger loaf

Yesterday was the inaugural Charu-day. May 10 last year we started feeding her and not long after decided to adopt her. We’ve all had a lot of fun together but recently I can’t help but think she’s a bit like a tribble. There’s a little voice back there saying it’s time to get important things done like study but when the cat is sitting on my lap and purring… it’s hard… to concentrate.

17507495811_9e9c68671b_m

, , — yak sox @ 1:00 am, May 11, 2015

beneath the moonlight


I ended up buying a compilation of Hot Chocolate a few years back because they have so many great, wacky songs. …Cadillac is probably my fav though because it’s so deceptively heavy and has genius use of violins. The above version is especially cool because it is actually live. They must have had the horns and strings off-stage.

, , — yak sox @ 11:35 pm, May 6, 2015

all or nothin’

For slackers like me the Premier Guitar online magazine stuff is great. It’s much easier to peruse and read magazine articles about guitar than actually knuckle down and practice playing guitar.

One day a while back I was reading an article on the history of pedal steel. In short, it’s gone in and out of favour with the commercial country scene since it was invented.

The article mentioned a couple of recent artist who’ve had some sweet pedal steel twanging in their music so I had a quick listen via youtube. Most of it didn’t take my fancy but I came across Nikki Lane and her album All Or Nothin’. It’s got slide guitar on there. Al couple of the stand out tracks are KILLA and were enough to prompt me to buy the album. I still feel woe about this whole buying music digitally situation because it’s so nothing but this album at least came with a digital booklet that has the stuff that used to be liner notes—the stuff that I miss—like reading who wrote the songs, where they were recorded and such.


I guess it’s classified as ‘alternative country’ whatever that is. For me in one way it feels a lot like pop because it grabs you quick with the catchy but then there’s not that many relistens in it because there’s not a lot of depth. Dan Aubergene from the Black Keys produced the album and I can definitely hear his hand in there.



^


Speaking of interesting, guitar-playing women, I would also mention Courtney Barnett but she’s already getting enough press. Let’s wait to see if her second album’s any good.

— yak sox @ 1:03 am, April 28, 2015

SMERSH

I don’t want to let April slip away without me posting at least once here, so. How much of a surreal, sci-fi living legend (ledge) is Elon Musk? I was sitting wasting time waiting for class to start at uni the other day when I looked at this tweet of the first stage rocket booster narrowly failing a perfect landing and I was struck by how far out of the mundane this stuff is.


It’s the little things, ya know? Like how Musk named the landing barge, “Just Read the Instructions” in the spirit of Iain M Banks’ spaceship names for the Culture series. Or the fact that the electricity used for recharging Tesla cars is all offset by the power generated by SolarCity ie. the project is genuinely green, not just electric cars using fossil fuel-made electricity.

, — yak sox @ 11:38 pm, April 17, 2015

Domer

There was a bit of info about this Chinese documentary, ‘Under The Dome’ in the news lately because it had been censored (ie. taken off the Chinese internet) by their government. It’s still on youtube and has had English sub-titles added, although I should mention that if you’re going to watch it then prepare your brain because the subtitles are not the usual family-friendly SBS style—they come fast and you’re bound to miss bits and pieces of what’s being said.


Very interesting. For me, the biggest thing that stood out was how frank and un-hostile most of the interviewees were, especially the guy who was head of Sinopec. As an aside, some of the dialogue gives the sense that Mandarin (hard as it is with all those tones) is full of colourful metaphors the way English is. The description he gave of Sinopec being ‘a big person, but it’s all fat and no muscle’ seemed very apt and parallels the state apparatus there now too.


The other thing that was interesting was that the key points that Chai Jing, the host, pushes are not earth-shattering. Cleaning coal before use, upgrading the petrol being used and enforcing exhaust filtering on vehicles are all very mundane things by western standards. It shows how very much China has fallen to the temptations of evil capitalism.

, — yak sox @ 11:05 pm, March 13, 2015

radar love

One of my small pleasures for the last while has been looking at the radar maps of the weather. It’s a weather report but you can make up your own mind about what will happen.

And this summer has been way more stormy than last so there’s been plenty more exciting colours like this.

 

&&&  &&&

 

I meant to mention a week or so back we went to an Ethiopian restaurant in Flemington. The food itself was kind of interesting. We had a sampler of several dishes – some lentil based things as well as a bit of goat, chicken, fish and lamb (which I steered clear of on the account of my suspected allergy to it). The real surprise was that there was no cutlery involved. I’ve never eaten that kind of stuff with my fingers before—or at least not since I was 2 or 3yo. It was served on a spongy kind of bread which you can kind of grab and wrap the stuff in but it’s only useful to a point, then you have to just dig in a get dirty. The tactile experience was kind of interesting but I can’t help but think that using fork, knife, spoon is more logical than fingers.

16398853120_350239a6b3_n

Speaking of logic. RIP Leonard Nimoy. As an emotionally turbulent teenager I idolised Spock’s cool, detached way of dealing with the mysteries and troubles of the universe. Sure, it doesn’t work in reality and even in the TV show he did occasionally flip out and try to kill his captain but everyone needs something to aim for, especially as a youngster.

 

16000758213_7be98ed3a0After cruising through some of the farmish parts of rural victoria and then down through parts of the otways I have to say I lament the fact that the Great Ocean Road and Otway hinterland have become weekend playground for melbourne yuppies and international tourists who accept being fleeced. Everything is priced ridiculously (I paid $7 for a pie!) and there’s too much useless new-agey stuff. The Otway Black Snail, pictured right, is neither overpriced or useless. In fact I wish I could bring home a team of them to live in my back yard and eat the regular, plant-eating snails. If this was america there would already have been a movie made about giant flesh-eating snails.

 

, , , — yak sox @ 9:27 am, February 28, 2015
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