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The Four Of Us Are Dying

I haven’t been watching much old TV but one thing I have been going through from its very start is the original Twilight Zone TV series. It’s pretty damn impressive. The first season was waaaay back in 1959 and a lot of the story lines still stack up well. It’s far back enough that almost none of the actors in it cross over into other tv shows from the mid to late ‘60s that I’ve seen. The only exception so far was the episode title People Are Alike All Over that has an actress who later went on to also appear in the pilot for the original series or Star Trek. Funnily enough the pilot leaned heavily on the storyline of the Twilight Zone ep.

There’s been several episodes dealing with the Cold War that I would’ve thought would be too touchy to talk about then plus a bunch of plum science-fiction speculative ideas that were really impressive. The fifties really were a highpoint for SF in book form so it must’ve rolled on into other media too.

whatyouneed

Maybe it’s partly the silver-screen effect but the women seemed really beautiful then too. Interesting hairstyles or whatever. I dunno. The above image was schlepped from the TZ wikia site and is from the episode titled ‘What You Need’. I could’ve hunted it down myself but that would mean turning on the other computer.

The title of this here blog post is actually the name of one of the episodes which was also used by the band Nine Inch Nails as a song title 48 years later. To me that’s a great example of how edgy the Twilight Zone was for a TV show. And as such it was stuffed away in the Friday night 10 to 10:30pm timeslot. Wouldn’t want anyone actually seeing it now would we?

That particular episode contained lashings of noir/Hitchcock style lop-sided frame shots and as it happens is available to view on yootoob.

In some ways a good comparison is the X-Files except the Twilight Zone probably had a lot less budget and crammed all its goodness into half an hour. In fact it seems like Rod Serling did a lot of the sourcing, adapting and writing for the first season himself. So the next time I hear The Simpsons or something parodying his quirky narration style I’ll have a better appreciation for how ahead of its time the Twilight Zone was.

&&&

In hindsight The Black Keys don’t need me promoting their new album. Mainstream media seems to be doing a fine job of that thankyou. After a few listens I’m kind of underwhelmed by it too. I should qualify that by saying that I didn’t really like their album before that either. I mean, it was okay but not as good as their early stuff. I know there’s only so many places you can go when you just got a guitar and drums, and that was always the thing about the earlier albums; as good as they were, I could only listen to an album and a half before the structures were all too samey. I was listening to the Turn Blue album while washing the dishes and in that dumb way that iTunes does, it started playing the next thing straight after. The next thing was the El Camino album and I tell ya I didn’t know it. ie there’s no difference in the sound of the two albums.

With Turn Blue, some of the production aspects (that this chap danger mouse contributed) sound tacked on. Also as a wannabee bass player the bass sound they used on several tracks sounds really unenthusiastic. And lyrically it’s heavily influenced by Dan’s relationship break-up with some famous woman. Jilted/love songs will always be popular but a little hard for me to relate to in this part of my life.

But I’ll be constructive. So what could have they done? Five or whatever albums of good, raw guitar & drums -> it’s obvious that they had to broaden their sound somehow. I think I would’ve tried some sort of non crowd-pleasing, long concept album. They’ve earned enough money/fame to do something really nutty so why not go for it? For posterity’s sake I’ll include this pic of Dan _Uber_gene unintentionally (0((()(??????)())))) getting his Hitler on. This could’ve been the look that tipped them in a whole new musical direction.

Dan UBERbach

area man frequently reminds friends he doesn’t own a TV

You know I don’t watch that much TV but when I do I find myself lamenting the state of television commercial advertising. Problem one is that I guess networks offer companies deals like ‘if you only advertise with us we’ll give you a discount’ so, if you only happen to watch one or two channels then you see the same lame ads over and over. And I mean that literally sometimes. I saw the same 15second ad being played twice in a row the other day, multiple times. Man that’s sad. That reminds me of country TV when I was a kid.

The second problem is that there’s little creativity evident.There’s nothing memorable. Even if you don’t remember the product and just remember the ad then that’s a win in my book. The only locally made ads that are worth mentioning are “compare the meerkat.com” and this one below, which I just found out is pretty old (2011) and I only saw during late-night programming. I like to think of it as, “Ohh, Fail!”

Alcohol companies are the only ones that seem to have money for advertising and the key concept of all of them is nostalgia. An ‘Ohh Fail!’ of a different kind is the Carlton Draught “beer chase” commercials (featuring Dr.Julian Bashir from Deep Space 9) because unless they’re going for a global market why would they film Australian ads in LA?

On the other hand I do really like the two Southern Comfort ads. Great choice of music.

, , — YS @ 11:06 am, October 9, 2013

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.

, , , , , , , — YS @ 9:38 am, July 16, 2013

alien autopsy-turvey

Lately I’ve been tempted to put an ‘amazon wishlist’ widget on here but there’s no way I can justify asking people to buy stuff for me when all I am doing is being a lazy bugger and not offering up anything of use to anyone at all. However, if I was not a lazy bugger and was in-fact contributing something to universal human endovour then right now I’d be asking the universe to furnish me with a DVD copy of Korg: 70,000 B.C..

I remember seeing an episode or two of this on BTV6 Ballarat back in the dark ages when I was a little kid. I was reminded of it recently when watching part of a new release movie, 10000 BC, which is shite. It’s pretty much irrefutable in my book, old rubbish is better than new rubbish. It’s a shame that given what the internet is capable of that buying a 25buck dvd is the only way I can watch Korg.

, , — YS @ 10:36 am, June 26, 2013

The Matter Transporter Affair

Things are moving along nicely. After the previously mentioned workplace change comes the necessary change of digs. Most jobs in this line of work provide a place as part of the package, but some don’t and this is one that don’t. It’s a good thing because greater choice is always a good thing. And for me, this time it’s not just me looking. J-e is looking with me because we’re planning to live together. So we’ve been looking at the area halfway between her work and mine. We saw a bunch of places yesterday and the one that came out on top looks like a goer. It’s still ridiculously small, as many places are here, but it has a mezzaniney loft thing for sleeping. A bit like living in a giant bunk-bed where the lower bed has a kitchen and bathroom built in.

God knows I’ve moved about 20 times too many in my life and while I wouldn’t really call myself a hoarder, I do acquire things with good intentions but then the things turn out to be not quite how I hoped they would and rather than passing them on I let them sit, occupying space. Space-shifting living creatures from one place to another is, apparently, quite hard but I don’t understand why they haven’t achieved it with inanimate things yet.

˜˜˜

ricardo-montalban

Here’s a couple of things I’m liking at the moment.

Brazilian music. Specifically, the album ‘Lado A Lado B’ by a rap-rock style group called O Rappa. It’s from 1998 and rap-rock as a pigeonhole doesn’t really do it justice. It’s got nice chord changes and the guy’s singing style really sticks out as catchy and melodic.

This one song, attached below, was part of the soundtrack of a Rio de Janeiro film named Elite Squad – The Enemy Within which I would also recommend if you like brutal action movies with voice-over exposition.

I’m still very slowly watching through the second season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I was just reading the wikipedia entry on it and it says that each season was headed-up by a different person, and that partly explains the difference between the first season, which was mostly serious, and this 2nd, which is a bit more hammed up. It also says that due to the popularity of the 60s version (obviously) of the Batman TV series, the 3rd season of Uncle continued the campy style. I’m looking forward to that. At least I think I am—hopefully it doesn’t overbalance.

I’m liking the musical scoring in it, and how a lot of the guest actors were both on this and in The Original Series of Star Trek. Eg. Ricardo Montalban, with his exquisite, exotic villain accent. And in ‘The Foreign Legion Affair’ had Howard Da Silva and a scene where you had an English actor doing a Russian accent, an American actor doing a French accent and another American doing an English accent.

, , , — YS @ 12:37 pm, January 5, 2012

Sunny Breaks salutes: Angela Lansbury

angela lansbury

The Deadly Toys Affair, a second season episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E had Angela Lansbury as one of its guest stars, and she pretty much stole the show. At this stage of the Uncle series its starting to go more over the top and she was really hamming it up. That was 1965. I love the pillarless sedans of 1965. UNCLE is full of them. So was The Invaders. I was thinking Lansbury must have had a pretty good run if that was the 60s and Murder She Wrote was 80s. But after looking up her filmog on wikipedia I see that that was only part of it. Born in 1925! Even still being alive is an achievement, but actually doing stuff on top of that?: Ms. Lansbury we salute you.

I don’t know what it would’ve been like growing up during the war. But that aside, 1925 would have been a pretty choice time to be born—being 25 at 1950, especially in boomtime, US. Mostly I’m thinking the west coast, Leo Fender, the Telecaster, the colour called Mary Kay. I don’t know why they call it that.

, — YS @ 4:39 pm, September 9, 2011

stockholm syndrome

Yes I know the most recent episode of top gear purposefully, erroneously referred to this. Message to them: the ‘it’s technologically impressive so it lacks soul’ routine is boring. Say something new.

The only good bits in that whole six eps were 1) Rowan Atkinson: he’s such a great speaker – voice, intonation and vocab. He could’ve easily gone into politics. Why not Atkinson for President of UK? He could sort their mess out. And 2) the 2011 nissan GT-R: technological excellence.

 

Perhaps as another indicator that I want to go back is I’ve been browsing through used cars on an australian website. Funny considering I don’t have a driver’s license. The don’t seem that expensive.

mx-5-5450

What about this 1989 mazda mx-5? Only five and a half thousand and can probably go lower. Sporty. Easy on petrol… but even a friendless weirdo like me would eventually end up in a situation where I had more than one other person to transport, so two seats seems rather limiting.

1998-wrx

What about this 1998 subaru impreza? From subaru’s rally years. Sporty. 4 doors. A bit more expensive at $9000 but only 190K kms on the clock – not bad for these.

volvo-244

Lo! But what’s this? A beige (biscuit, officially) 1981 volvo 244 for only $1200? The bourgy middle-classness is perverse yet enticing, like slipping into a bath of luke-warm baked beans. The only real cars my family had during my childhood were two volvo 245 stationwagons, one after the other during the early/mid 80s. I can remember when I first sat in the first one and being amazed by how many buttons were on the central console—it was like K.I.T from Nightrider! As I got to teenagerdom being in and being seen in a volvo was less fun but it’s one of those smaller things that made me who I am. Maybe owning one of these things would be a way of reowning and setting straight that part of my life.

interior-244

, , , , — YS @ 11:22 am, August 8, 2011

the good, the bad and the goodies

For a while now I’ve been interested in exploring back and finding the things I used to watch as a kid to find out how they might’ve influenced what I like now. A few of these things that I’ve rewatched have been awesome – much better than I remember, like Miami Vice. Then others have been shudder-worthy, like Night Rider. I should say I never purposefully rewatched any Night Rider, but happened to see a bit on Korean TV one night while stuck in a hotel room. Then there’s The Goodies.

what-beep

The Goodies was on at 6pm on the ABC for ages and I can remember watching it when I was 7 or 8. Some of the ideas for episodes were very memorable. Like the Pirate Radio station, and the one where they were cemented into their house and stuck there for the whole episode. And there was the one where Tim and Bill went to the moon to find the rabbits they’d blasted up there, only to find the rabbits had become supra-intelligent. While in the rocket and talking to ground control they said “Beep!” after each sentence. I can remember a lot of kids at school the next day were saying beep! after everything they said.

goodies-1

I like seeing some of the fashions from back then too. The above shot is from the season 2 (1971) episode, Gender Education. Some of the early episodes had an environmental theme. Apparently they’d complain about being pigeon-holed as a kids’ show, but every episode would include these long no-dialog slapstick scenes layered with bad music from Bill Oddie. While rewatching that was where it was falling dead for me.

And despite the green angle, and doing an episode about women’s equality there’d be these occasional bits of weird, antiquated racism. Then I watched the South Africa episode from season 5 last night, and it was fucking horrible. Constant talk of ‘nig-nogs’ and black minstrel impressions. I’m sure most of that would’ve been cut from the episode when shown in Australia in the 1980s but nevertheless, it’s strange to think that was on TV in Britain in 1975. It’s not that long ago. I’m deleting the rest of that torrent file and will have to find something else to watch while eating dinner.

, , , — YS @ 12:32 pm, July 5, 2011

12 o’clock high

school-bombing

“Do you know what was right in the middle of the area your entire group unloaded on? A school.”

I’m watching ‘12 O’Clock High’ (1964) a TV series produced by Quinn Martin. I’ve liked other stuff he’s headed up because the quality of storylines are generally pretty good. An American bomber wing based in England during WW2. Kind of strange subject matter. I know the best war propaganda always comes out a good 15-20 years after the event but aerial bombing really is a horrible business. In episode 3, series 1, they’re pulling no punches when they accidentally bomb a Dutch school full of little Dutch kids.

Here’s a podcast on just how pointless and inaccurate aerial bombing was in WW2.

, , , — YS @ 6:12 pm, April 14, 2011

Another URGENT PLEA FROM EDWARD JAMES ALMOS

My friend Pirooz is making another film called ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel’ and is asking for money for it. Sunny Breaks in no way condones shoplifting but even if we did, doing it from clothing stores is pretty difficult because most places have those dye-markers. Despite the punk ethos of shoplifting living on, it’s never really OK’d wearing clothing with intact dye-markers attached. Here’s the short:

I actually like this better than the last one. I always thought that if you wanted to make a (first) movie and you wanted it to be successful, then you’d know you’re on the right track if you could explain what it’s about in one snappy sentence. Like, “It’s Fantastic Voyage meets Apocalypse Now ”. (PS. that’s my movie idea.)

Anyway, this trailer doesn’t say much of what the movie is about but I can definitely relate to how I am not one of the productive people in society, and masturbation. Also, multimedia-layered film is very hot these days. If you want to know more go here and if you wanna give the money go here.

I too bemoan the state of televison and cinema these days, and how there are these people who say, ‘no, the audience will not like/sit still for blah-de-blah normal thing. In fact I was just appreciating some awesome on-screen acting pauses the other night in The Original Series Star Trek episode: Amok Time, from season 1. Kirk and Spock are broaching the awkward matter of Vulcan ‘biology’. Great acting, but better than that was that they were allowed the few seconds here and there to let it really come alive. Stuff like that just doesn’t get made any more.

 

I’ve been watching ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It’s really funny without intending to be. The only thing that lets it down is the main actor, Robert Vaughn, who has a sneery look about him. The episode, ‘The Strigas Affair’ from 1964 guest-starred both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Pretty cool.

strigas

 

Addendum: the very next episode, the finny foot affair, guest starred the young Kurt Russell. I didn’t know he was a child-actor.

young-kurt-russell

1991 was 20 years ago

I mentioned before I was really enjoying Top Gear. I’d say they jumped the shark around 2007-08. I haven’t watched the most recent season, but I just finished the one before that and unfortunately it was low on content and leaned heavily on over-mortgaged personalities. And so it was amusing to take a look at how things were back in 1989. Was TV really that … um, bad? It doesn’t feel that long ago.

Here’s Clarkeson dressed like Tears for Fears.

jeremyclarkeson-1989

“What on Earth is this? It’s a Marina.”

, , — YS @ 12:28 pm, December 29, 2010
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