Mar 26, 2018

What Do New Coke, KENNA and My Old Band Fingertight Have In Common?

I was bopping around on Youtube last night and my feed suggested video of a guy doing a drum cover of my favorite Kenna song.  You probably dont know who Kenna is and this post is sort of the whole explanation of why that is.  In the related videos was a lecture by Malcolm Gladwell titled "The KENNA problem" and since I'm a fan of Malcolm's podcast Revisionist History and it was about Kenna, of course I clicked it.  It's  kind of a long video of a guy with a weird afro giving a lecture in 2003 but if you take a few minutes to watch it explains why my band Fingertight and I'm sure countless other cool bands and artists never went any further than they did.   Furthermore, if you didn't know me or my blog you would probably have never heard of my old band either... and for the same reasons you've never heard of Kenna.   This video talks about what happened.  What Gladwell describes happening to Kenna happened to my band. 



I remember seeing the Kenna video he mentions on MTV2 while we were recording the demo that got us our record deal. We all fell in love with it and kept trying to find out more about this mysterious artist known only as Kenna. We didnt know if it was a guy or a band. The video was a very cool animated short film that seemed to fit the song perfectly.  Even with some of the industry connections we had at the time, we couldn't  find anything because he never got a deal or never made a record.  After we were signed to Sony music/Columbia Records we did a showcase with the other artists on Sony at the time they were getting ready to release. as it turns out Fingertight and Kenna just so happened to be on the same label at the same time and to our surprise one of the other artists performing that night was Kenna.  It was insane to us that this guy with such an awesome song and a video on MTV2 was essentially at the same level as us a whole year and a half later.  As history would show, both our record and the amazing Kenna record never made it commercially.  We never got the mainstream push we'd expected after all the praise from within the industry. One story I've told before was how we literally had the DJ's and staff of several radio stations loving us. They wore our t-shirts. They would all go to our shows in their respective cities only to find out that we they cant play us on their stations because we did not pass the stupid blind taste test, the market testing Malcolm talks about in this Youtube video. That is why we never got the official push to national radio playlists. It was very frustrating. I never really understood fully why our song seemed to fizzle out after such admiration from people who's job it is to judge what music is good or not but this pretty much explains it.  Just like Coka cola, people were only give a sip of Kenna and my old band.  What Kenna and Fingertight had is common was that we were both hard to classify in a nice little box.   We wanted to be diverse and unique. We saw that as a strength but in a plastic instant gratification world, it ended up being our's and Kenna's downfall.  With just a quick sip no one was ever allowed to appreciate the full complexities of our music.  

Mar 7, 2018

Valerian and the Movie of a Thousand Minutes.

...You'll never get back.

Back with you again with another movie review for a movie that's been out for a while.  I remember seeing the trailer and thinking "wow this looks crazy I gotta go see it" and then never went to see it.  Finally the other night I got around to watching Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I gotta say, it was pretty entertaining but I don't have to tell you this movie, according to the critics, kind of sucks.  All the reviews are in and they're mostly worse than the makers of this thing hoped.  Some people were into it I guess. I mean, like I eluded to before, it wasn't totally garbage but I did have some problems with it...because of course I do.
She's right there front and center on the poster. 

First of all it was just waaay too long. 2:17 is insane. Felt like 3 hours and I was just on my couch, not trapped in a movie theater with morons. Another problem was the computer generated Pearl people. Right after the space station montage were taken to the planet Mul (Mule) and are introduced to this alien race all happy and gallivanting in their C.G.I. paradise. 10 seconds in I was like "Aaaannnnd now were watching a cartoon" Over it hollywood. The next issue I had was the completely out of place and pointless Rihanna video jammed into the film. It was totally stupid and took away from the movie as a whole. We get it she's a shape-shifter but cutting this whole sequence could have brought the movie under 2 hours. One last thing that specifically bugged me was the aliens that were "fishing" for what.. people? In a place where none of them were supposed to be in a forbidden red-zone and a whole cave city with a cartoonish sign reading "NO HUMANS" or whatever. Oh which by the way is 10 feet from the entrance to a whole city center where hella people are. Again, stupid and not believable. This whole diversion from the main plot could have been removed too. Now that I'm remembering this movie more I also had issue with the 20th century school busses 600 years into the future on some far away alien world was a little ridiculous. –Unless they were built specifically to make Earth tourists feel nostalgic –or the school bus design just hasn't changed in 1000 years. (because they've kind of looked the same since the 50's if you really think about it) Other than those things and the ending being somewhat predictable I enjoyed it as a not-too-serious sci-fi adventure. It was a fun look at the future and it was neat to see all the different aliens and stuff. Although I think it could have gone even more towards a 5th Element vibe and gotten away with it. I think it would have worked better. I didn't even hate the 3 little shyster Doghan Daguis guys.



Feb 27, 2018

McDrivethru Misadventures

I pull into the drive thru and order a number 7 and a sausage mcmuffin (don't judge). I see my order on the screen is way wrong, and while he's asking me if it looks correct he exits out of the screen and starts telling me to pull forward. I was like no, that's not correct. I saw that my order was like $18 and I saw that he charged me for 2 number seven meals. I corrected him and pulled forward. I get there and he's got another employee helping him change the order.  'ok sorry, that will be $16...'  then I was like no it was just one meal and a mcmuffin. He says sorry and calls his coworker over again. They push some buttons. The window opens up and he says "OK sorry, that will be $14...."  I'm like "for a number 7 and a mcmuffin?" he repeats the order 'that was 2 number 7 meals and a....' I cut him off "no! Just ONE meal and a mcmuffin" he gets help yet again and finally he gets it right.

What the hell was he changing each time? Just take off one of the meals.  This is not the first time I've had drive thru workers think that I wanted two of something I'm ordering. Am I mumbling? I try to speak clearly at these things. I don't get it. I try to avoid drive thrus as much as possible.


Feb 6, 2018

The Cloverfield Paradox, Paradox.

There will be SPOILERS.. but I dont know if you can spoil this turd. 

I think the only reason I was excited about the original Cloverfield movie is because I was still in full-on LOST obsession mode at that time.  Obsessing over the Slusho website and looking for easter eggs and JJ Abrams clues to the LOST universe.  Being honest after the Lost hangover Cloverfield was a shitty found-footage movie with no actual story. It's just people running around scared and shit blowing up with an allusion to some kind of monster that's from somewhere.  Nothing is explained. Go figure.  

Then years and years later this movie 10 Cloverfield Lane comes out.  Mild residual Lost tingles drew me to this one.  It was actually a pretty good psychological thriller. John Goodman does a great job.  But it didnt have to be part of Cloverfield to be good.  If anything it brings it down to the level of the first movie.  It doesnt help explaining the questions from the first movie in any way either... or if it does it didnt matter and no one cared. 



Now with the help of the Superbowl this new movie Cloverfield Paradox comes out of nowhere straight to Netflix.  Of course I watched it hoping for some kind of conclusion to the mysteries from the previous movies and at the very least a decent space movie.  I kinda got neither.  This movie is like Event Horizon with no scary parts and no clear narrative on why the crazy shit is happening.   For example in Event Horizon you know that there is a sentient evil that's taking the crew's fears and manifesting them to torture them.  You understand that the ship opened a gateway to hell and that's the reason for these experiences that happen.  In Paradox it's clear that they merged with another universe and the stupid impossible science doesnt even matter.   Jensen being there is about the only thing that makes sense.  The worms inside dude (the worms period really), the whole arm thing, the water suddenly filling the airlock, the magnetic wall... the friggin monster that is the namesake of this entire supposed series' existence has no logical reason for being on Earth.  If they had said firing the energy cannon could cause random fluctuations into different universes then maybe.  But there were incidents that clearly seemed like they happened to specifically prevent the crew from their plan to start the cannon again to course-correct so to speak.  Was the ship alive and aware of their plans and was actively trying to stop them?  Because that is how it felt. And didnt make any fucking sense.  That Chris O'Dowd guy is in it too. Who's a comedy actor and his parts are comedy but this isn't a comedy which adds to the shittiness and overall lack of believability.


What the fuck was the point of the weird plot line with the husband and the little girl?  This felt like a side story crammed into the main story just as a way to show an underground bunker like in part 2 of this trilogy.  If it felt like they tacked the Cloverfield name on a movie that was already written, it's because it was.  I read an article that says exactly that.  And with Paradox it was so haphazard and shitty that they pulled a Superbowl Surprise so there would be no bad reviews before it was released. 
I really wanted this to be good.  It had the potential to be. It's an interesting idea but they fucked it up.

Dont watch this. 



Jan 26, 2018

I Hereby Welcome Our Robot Overlords


There's been a lot of talk recently about robots and machines taking away jobs from humans.  And as Artificial Intelligence gets better and better, it's threatening even more occupations people depend on.   I feel like it's headed in one or two directions. And where else do you look if you want to get a sense of what's coming?  Science fiction of course.  


Much of science fiction is set in the future and a good portion of future-set sci-fi is essentially a future where  humans are advanced and exploring space. A new chapter void of currency. It's a time where computers and robots do all of the menial labor.  With the concept that "the machines do the work so you have more time to enjoy life" seems like utopia. But this only makes sense if the people who used to do the work are taken care of. This is a very socialist idea that directly conflicts with capitalist business models of today.  Yet, this seems to end up being the answer for many very intelligent sci-fi writers for the past century.




 The latter imagined fate for humanity is usually the dystopian future where ego and/or greed has ruined everything.  

There is a third consequence that pops up in future-based sci-fi that could end up happening even if we go the route of letting droids flip burgers that needs to be discussed here. When the burger flipping robots realize they're better off making other robots to flip the burgers. This is of course The Matrix scenario for our fate. Where we just become flesh batteries for the new race of self-aware A.I. machines.  The other future where everyone is happy and taken care of sounds nice to me.... as long as the robots don’t wise-up which is why we need to be very careful about A.I.  

Ultimately getting to this point will definitely be a struggle but I feel like if we don't start thinking this way, we're going to end up in the Thunder Dome sooner than we'd like.  I'd rather be in the Holodeck having adventures. The real option to avoid all of this is to stop being greedy ego-maniac assholes. This will really solve a lot of our problems and ensure a better future.