WHO MOURNS FOR THE DEAD?

I was up the hill takin’ a stroll through the cemetery this afternoon. The oldest section looks like it was established around 1850. The oldest resident I happened to notice was born in 1810. Man imagine that – a teenager in the 1820s.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/9366486147/” title=”Cemetery by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2867/9366486147_87cddf9097.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Cemetery”></a>

Some of those really old headstones and monuments are broken or falling over. It’s all so fleeting and pointless.

Shock Corridor (1963)

Third up in the list of Film Noir is _Shock Corridor_. Total spoilage: it’s not a happy ending with this one but otherwise is just as strong a story as _Blast Of Silence_. And what do you know, Larry Tucker aka Big Ralphy is in this one too. He must’ve done the rounds of early 60s noir and then hung up his acting hat.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/9366811087/” title=”larrytucker by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3831/9366811087_1f278263fa_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”196″ alt=”larrytucker”></a>

So anyway this film was showing us the whacky and grizzly insides of an insane asylum a good deal before Jack crazied it up on _One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest_. You could probably do a great Intro to Film Studies essay about this movie because there’s three characters that represent different parts of the shadow that the US cast over itself and other parts of the world, including the very fresh over-hang of racial segregation.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/9366810847/” title=”shockcorridor by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2822/9366810847_deaceb9bd1_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”172″ alt=”shockcorridor”></a><br/><em>Trent cracked up after being hounded out of the university he was </em>in theory<em> entitled to attend.</em>

The main character gets shock treatments but they don’t scramble his brains immediately and there’s one scene where for a moment he loses the ability to talk. It uses voice over to tell us what he’s thinking and he’s wanting to open his mouth and wondering why it won’t work. That was a great little bit of visual story-telling.

*  *  *  *  *

I also watched a couple of ’70s science fiction movies: _Logan’s Run_ (1976) : kind of weird but had some great ’70s breasts in it (they just seemed kind of different back then) and _Silent Running_ (1972) which I remeber seeing when I was real little, as in back in the BTV6 cargo cult days. Maybe I was 7 or something. This was the first time I’ve watched a movie and felt ‘this seemed much bigger when I was little’ in the way that a town where you grew up might. My memory of the ship Bruce Dern was floating around on was that it was much bigger and I can remember being quite tramatised when one of the little walking-boxes (robots) got his foot stuck in the railing and got blown away in a space storm. I guess that sense of ‘hey this could be much bigger’ is a good thing because maybe this is one film-story that could be re-done successfully but I guess it’d have to be done outside hollywood, _a la_ <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_%28film%29″>Moon</a>.

** * * *

One photography app I’ve been mucking around with recently is <a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vsco-cam/id588013838?mt=8″>VSCO cam</a>, which free but that’s just to lure you in to get you to spend some money. I didn’t mind so much since these little, invisible things are all I’m spending money on now (other than food). One thing I do really like is the <a href=”http://vsco.co/grid”>VSCO Grid</a> idea. This is exactly what Hispstamatic should’ve done instead of piss-farting around with Oggl; an instagram clone. A nice minimal, arty-lookin’, centralised webfront for people to show off their hipstamatic shots. Again, free at first and then charge for enhanced services/features later. Like leading lemmings off a cliff. <a href=”http://sunnybreaks.vsco.co/”>Here’s my grid.</a>

Hey you there, with the glasses

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/9348842410/” title=”withtheglasses by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7373/9348842410_60103b12ba_o.png” width=”435″ height=”347″ alt=”withtheglasses”></a>

Just read ‘All the young dudes: Why Glam Rock matters’ by Mark Dery. Kind of interesting but very short and defintely not worth the three bucks (whaaa? get out of here) I paid for it on amazon. I’ve read longer Wired website articles and they’re free. I got it for my studies.

just gimme the skrip

I’m finally getting around to something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time. That is, hooking into the collective conscious via fairy tales and giving something back, albeit with a little taint added.

By far the most hit page in these ten years of weblogue is the short script snow white play I haphazardly pasted into here as an afterthought once I’d written and used it for several ESL kiddy performances in korea. I just wacked it off in half an hour from memory. The from memory part is important; what were the important parts as I remember them?

Learning English through plays is a growing market. An emerging market. In china. And they’ll be damned if they’re going to pay for a book with those plays in, and why the hell should they? Fairy tales are part of THE BIG PICTURE. They belong to no one (but if you do happen to make a couple of bucks off of reprint and re-interpretation well then good for you) and european fairytales rock the hardest so let’s share that ideology with out friends in the east so keen to learn English and even shout it if they want to.

So anyway there is the <a href=”http://www.sunnybreaks.org/plays/”>plays</a> page and I just added red riding hood. Again, it was from memory. And now that it’s done I go and see what the first few search results for it are and I see that a key component of other versions is red talking to wolf in the forest. That part wasn’t in my memory. I mean let’s face it, it should be a given these days that kids know not to talk to strangers. The lesson of the others I just read was that if you’re disobedient then you’ll get eaten. Mine version didn’t have that angle at all. I don’t think I have a lesson at all apart from trade is good.

solar power

I was around at a friend’s place the other day. She’s a good way through a remodelling of an old (circa 1850s) cottage. The front bit that looks old can’t be messed with much – and fair enough, but the back which had been redone a few times _through the centuries_ is fair game and that end happens to be north-facing so it’s good for making use of the sun as it travels through its lower angles in the winter. That’s all well and good and I don’t understand why more new house designs aren’t doing more to make use of passive solar (don’t get me started on present-day housing architecture).

And she recently had a bank of solar panels installed. We stood watching the little silver wheel in the electricity metre spin backwards! That appeals to my nerdy tinkering nature. I didn’t ask how much the panels actually cost but I’m dumbfounded as to why they’re not utilised more widely. The power grid, like public transport, like the health system is something that logically should be publicly run – not privatised. If the govt still owned the power utilities it would make sense and be a lot easier for them to continue solar panel subsidies.

Dick Smith 38.5″ (98cm) Full HD LED LCD TV: review

This may seem boring but I just wanted to do a quick review of this thing. I already did one on the dick website but I probably should’ve waited until I had a much fuller understanding of it before posting there since once you do one review of a thing you can’t update it or do another.

I was kind of shocked and annoyed to come from one of the electronic gadget nexuses, south korea, to here and find that TVs are cheaper here. We actually brought our old (only 1 year old) TV with us but I was lazy and assumed it wouldn’t work here. So I went and got this *Dick TV* for 350 bucks, which seemed pretty damn cheap. And it’s ok I guess. The only immediately noticeable downside was that the remote control is pretty rubbish. It has to be pointed right at the TV to work and the lag between when you press a button and when it actually does anything is …. large. It has a PVR (personal Video Recorder) built in but let me tell you — it’s absolute rubbish. I think I had a less that 505 success rate with it properly recording what I wanted. And the thing is, you don’t bother recording something unless you actually want to watch it, so when you go to check it and see that it didn’t work — then that’s pretty damn disappointing.

I eventually got around to plugging in the korean (brand named, “Square”) TV and found that the analog channels setting worked. We took a punt on it and got a cheap ($55) digital set top box – and presto – the old TV works. And now that I see them closer together, I can see that the Dick TV’s picture is not all that great.

The set top box, from a company named Bush (It’s Sydney or the Bush, Charlie Brown) is pretty good. On occassion the signal gets really glitchy, and that didn’t happen with the Dick TV, so maybe it’s the longer connection cables – I don’t know, but the channels change faster and the PVR built into it _works_.

I don’t watch that much TV. The kind of programming I find to contain the least amount of idiocy is sport, including football. I never thought I’d be watching footy regularly but it helps when your team is winning regularly, and is on at a convenient time, like Saturday night. Because they only have commercials after goals it works out that there’s less ad breaks than other TV and the ads between quarters can be avoided entirely. A week and a half ago I watched a footy game on Saturday night then the German F1 Grand Prix the next night, and as much as I like motor racing, I have to say that the footy game was much more exciting.

Anyway, in conclusion to myself, while I don’t watch that much TV, that that I do watch I like to enjoy properly so spending a bit extra on getting a decent telly is one of those decisions that pays off in the end.

2 film noirs

I’ve been watching selections of film noir as recommended by the wikipedia page on such things. First up was _Blast Of Silence_ (1961) which had a kind of ameteurish feel to it but liked it. And it’s also notable that about half of the story is told by a narrator in 2nd person.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/9211710071/” title=”blastofsilence by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2831/9211710071_a842488b30_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”179″ alt=”blastofsilence”></a><br/>_A visit to Big Ralph’s to order a gun in_ Blast Of Silence.

The second film was _The Manchurian Candidate_ (1962) which was based on a book — aren’t all the best films adapted from books? Frank Sinatra, and evil Angela Lansbury, a killer plot and some really clever scenes (see below) – what’s not to like?

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/9211710085/” title=”manchuriancandidate by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3737/9211710085_4df28101e0_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”186″ alt=”manchuriancandidate”></a><br/>_Genteel horticulture enthusiast or dastardly Stalinist brainwasher?_

pavlov

This place we are living in has a ridiculously over-sensitive smoke alarm wherewith even the smallest puff of smoke coming from the toaster  caused by the toast getting a little too toasty will set it off. Pretty much any dinner using the stove-top also requires that the back and front door also be open, the range-hood exhaust fan be on, (of course) the ceiling fan be on — and then when the smoke alarm does go off the quickest way we have found to get it to shut up is to get the stand-fan lifted right up to it and on maximum speed.

I now automatically feel a lingering sense of dread when I make toast. I have been told I am a wuss from getting so agitated by the noise — but the noise itself is like a physical blow to my head, not to mention it setting of a chain reaction of annoyance — like why did the landlord put such a crappy smoke alarm in here, and how the place is so small, does it really need one anyway? and what the heck is this “modern society” we have that has smoke alarms?

I’m learning more and more that I can ask the internet _anything_ and it’ll have advice. Internet says put a shower cap over it. I don’t have a shower cap so I’m thinking a small plastic bag and rubber band should do. The beauty of this solution is that when the insurance forensics people come around after the place is burnt down (which it almost certainly will after I disable the smoke alarm) it will look like the alarm was functioning as per normal with battery in it because the delicate plastic of the bag will surely leave no evidence. All I’ll have to do then is remember to delete this blog entry.