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Dayum! It took a year or two, but I have Under The Pink live!
If you head to UnderThePink.ca you’ll see:
- All my music in one place!
- Every podcast I’ve produced or guested on in one place!
- New blogs posted regularly with music, thoughts, kangaroos, b-movies…everything!
- Pictures of me in compromising positions!
One of those things WON’T be there…but there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there…
Go Under The Pink!
I wrote a song for the amazingly awesome no- and low-budget movie podcast No-Budget Nightmares to celebrate their 30th Episode, and now that the episode is released I can release the song to you too! Check the show, with it’s two charismatic and chattastic co-hosts Doug Tilley and Moe Porne (hence the title of the song!).
Be warned…I say some pretty…weird shit in this song, all relating to movies they have reviewed in the past 29 episodes. What was supposed to be a silly song ended up a pretty homage, and I’d love to hear what you think!
And while you’re at it, check Doug and Moe on Twitter, they’re worth the follow:
I haven’t posted in a LONG time! I apologize and offer no excuse other than distracted brain between sleeps…meaning I sleep, am confused and wander through the day, then sleep again. Which is no excuse at all.
To let you in on things, here’s an update:
– I am looking to start recording again…so, first I must set up my recording studio!
– I am switching directions on the ‘Something Weird This Way Comes’ podcast and it will focus solely on the music of low- and no-budget films…everything from the movie scores to the eclectic bands who record songs for movies that didn’t have the budget to pay them. Because I love that stuff…
That’s the music side! So that’s what’s coming up.
I will hopefully get some reviews up…such as the very very late Donna Fullman review, reviews of albums that have crossed my desk at work such as Jeffery Michael Straker, The Trip and many many more.
And of course, the usual rambles about the industry, bad movies, and being a furry in this wild, wild world.
Hope you haven’t abandoned me! I ‘should’ be back!
On Saturday, June 23rd I attended one of the coolest events in the world ever! A B-movie, Grindhouse, Exploitation…whatever you prefer…film festival, which ran from 11:30 pm to 10 am the following day, showcasing five films (and one mystery film) in a row. It was called Shock and Awe (link to the Facebook page) The experience was…amazing. Why?
Every single one of these films were off-beat (for many reasons). For instance:
- The Groove Tube was the first spoof on television, complete with gross gags on advertising, a TV show about drug dealers that turns into a cautionary tale produced by the Catholic church, and spontaneous gratuitous nudity among many other great and strangely timeless takes on television in the 70s
- What Waits Below, a movie that wasn’t sure what it wanted to be, moving unsmoothly from adventure film to explorer film to underground creature film to ‘Can’t We All Just Get Along’ film. It has one of the best ‘Fade to picture within picture’ scenes I’ve ever seen
- Horror Hospital, with some of the most blatantly bad but genius lines (I’m not going to rape you!, , and a plot involving automoton creation and a rock star trying to escape the relaxing weekend he had hoped to experience
- ‘The Mystery Film’ …was amazing…one of the best of the night…and sorry, you had to be there, so I can’t tell you what it was.
- Rappin’…a hip hop musical…so bad that the rap about the fat kid who loves food was probably the best of the bunch
- Sleepaway Camp, often considered a Friday the 13th rip off, but a genius flick with guys in short shorts and halter tops, amazing synth pop soundtrack, and a twist that actually shocked me the first time I saw it
I didn’t yawn once. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity. Mainly thanks to:
Dion Conflict curated the night, and you could feel his love for the crowd and the movies in each introduction. An avid film collector, a collector of the rarities and off-beat gems that might otherwise be lost (apparently his copy of Horror Hospital was on the way to the trash heap when he rescued it!). This man does exactly what I wish I could, so there’s loads of respect for him and what he does.
The Revue Cinema in Toronto was an amazing setting. It reminded me of the Bookshelf in Guelph (and to a strange extent, the old 3 Star Cinemas in Guelph as well). A small theatre, one screen, no long hallways or massive lobbies. It felt like there was history there, a love of film, and a respect for the film goers.
When I watch these kinds of movies among friends I’m usually the one laughing loudest, commenting the most, and noticing the subtle quirks that everyone else ignores.
So being among like-minded movie goers was life-affirming. Highlights included:
- The laughing! We all seemed to laugh at the same times, and they were times normal people wouldn’t laugh! During What Waits Below, some RIDICULOUS moments transpire, and we all caught them
- The clapping! We applauded exceptionally bad lines that were delivered well. We applauded exceptionally bad scenes that were crafted with (misplaced) care!
- The interation! During Rappin’ we regularly clapped with the rap…during the Mystery Film we had been assigned a series of reactions to specific triggers on film, and not only did we join in, we altered them to make them even more amusing…
- The mutual love! At the end of each movie…we applauded…because we appreciated the movie
How can you not be happy to be surrounded by people who are there for the same reason as you are, watching the movies you love to watch at home, but on the big screen!
I will never miss another Shock and Awe. It was invigorating. And I highly suggest that if you’re in Toronto, and love the beauty of low-budgetand off-mainstream film, you shouldn’t either.
You can follow me on Twitter here: @Potoroo
And a big thanks to @Doug_Tilley for first turning me on to this fest!
Do you have any favourite low-budget, b- or exploitation flicks? What are they??
Yes…I read Young Adult novels. They’re my favourite, in fact. From Francesca Lia Block’s ‘Weetzie Bat’ novels to popular series like Harry Potter, I’ve always been more drawn to YA than anything else. I fancied myself a Young Adult writer about a decade ago…had 36,000 words of my novel written. At which point I discovered that I’m a horrible…horrible writer.
That said, I finished The Hunger Games today, and Suzanne Collins is NOT a horrible writer…she’s not even a bad writer…damnit, she’s a GOOD writer. How about that reversal thing I just did there, eh?
…yes, that’s why I don’t write Young Adult novels…because of that.
The story was fantastic, a bizarre blend of post-apocalyptic and technology-based sci-fi. I’m used to Road Warrior styles, or The Road…I wasn’t expecting technology to play such a huge role in Earth’s future when so many people are starving and struggling to survive…oh…wait…
…is The Hunger Games really any different than modern day? …now I’m depressed.
We follow Katniss in this futurescape where North America is divided into 12 Districts (what happened to the rest of the world??)…actually, 13, but the 13th was decimated after a war which led to the Capital becoming a dictatorship over the 12 lesser regions. Each region has a strength, and District 12 is coal.
There are boys…but she’s not a boy-obsessed prissy flower, quite the opposite. The way they play the love story that is required for any story of this sort is…not normal…and is quite awesome I must say. But let’s not talk about boys (…right now, anyways…)
I don’t want to get into too much detail here…or accidentally go into spoiler world…but lets just say Katniss ends up ‘somehow’ (twisty?) becoming chosen (a Tribute) for the Hunger Games: a televised competition where teens from each district are pitted against each other in a free-for-all battle to the death, the victor awarded with food and luxury.
I could talk about the characters (each one is very layered and fascinating, unlike a glittery supernatural storybook that has been popular of late), or about the setting (the arena is well-detailed and reminds me of the wilderness of Canada), or the specifics of the plot…but you can read it, or watch the movie when it comes out. What I want to talk about…is Public Relations.
…AH! You were wondering ‘Why the f*** is Roo writing a book review?‘ and getting ready to fire an arrow through my throat, weren’t you! But now you can’t…because I pulled it back.
…it is still a book review…and I still suggest you read the book if you like SciFi, Fantasy, or just good stories.
But yes, PR…because, as I was reading, I realized…this book is all about PR.
It goes against the nature of the main character – raised in a world where she has to hunt for food, avoid pissing off authority, under the thumb of the capital – but through the book she comes to realize that to survive she needs to look good (she has a stylist before the games begin), interest people (she has an interview before the games), and gain and hold favour of those watching (during the games she regularly makes decisions specifically to maintain an image).
All of this is happening while she’s under constant threat of death, starvation, hypothermia. She’s battling a bunch of kids who are trying to stay alive as well…but she needs to maintain her image…because it could give her the edge she needs to survive.
The sequences with the stylists (the head stylist is one of my favourite characters, and will hopefully be played well by Lenny Kravitz in the film), discussions with her handler (being played by Woody Harrelson in the movie, which is cool!), and knowledge she’s gained from previous games are fascinating. The push and tug of reality against the ‘augmented reality’ of…for lack of a better word…publicity, or her image, is an extra layer I’m not used to seeing in novels of this type.
Think of it…imagine if Harry Potter had to be wary of his actions, just in case the newspapers printed something bad. If, when he was scheming to break the rules of his school, he stopped to think “But how will this play on television” and then work a strategy into his plan.
It’s brilliant. It’s a great way to twist the genre. Most of all…it’s a very clever way to take something unimaginable – a teenager forced to kill other teenagers for sport – and make it not just ‘human’ but, in a strange way, relatable. Modern.
In reality, in the music industry, at work, with the family…we all have to keep these things in mind. It’s like office politics, or dealing with complex problems in close relationships. Public Relations is really about keeping yourself in check and ensuring that you are showing what you want the world to see. I, for one, don’t really pay attention to my own image…what you see here is what you get for the most part.
But, in the back of my head, there is a bit of Katniss there. That nagging thought of ‘How will this action be interpreted, and how can I get the same result but end up with a positive interpretation?’
It’s a layer I wasn’t expecting. And the reason why I highly recommend the book to anyone who’s got some time to kill…
…heh…time to kill…
Anywhoo, if you agree with me or think I’m way off, I’d love to hear from you! Comment here or find me on Twitter @Potoroo
Hey guys! I don’t normally write blogs which are really just an encouragement to go read another blog but I’ll make an exception. Take Me To The Pilot, a pop-punk band out of Winnipeg, is a group of awesome guys who I’ve had the privilege of hangin with a few times this year. I’ve seen them live more often than I’ve seen any other act in my life…which is kinda crazy, since I’ve seen a lot of artists more than once. Their music is really catchy, they’re charming, they’re fun…if I could choose someone to hang out with for three months and make an artist-documentary, it would be them.
Mike (vocals, guitar) recently wrote a blog explaining why they’ve been so vocal recently – tweeting, facebooking, encouraging fans to be active. It’s really just a reminder – they HAVE an active dedicated fanbase (which would probably be 20 times bigger if they had the radio play and publicity they deserve) – but it’s a good one. Here’s a snip:
The only way we can succeed in this industry is by proving to music execs that we are ‘the real deal’, meaning ‘something they can sell’. The only way to do that is by being profitable and successful without them, which is a hell of a task.
They are smart guys, as you’ll see if you read their blog (posted December 8th…if I could link directly I would!!!). Even if pop music isn’t your thing, please take a few seconds and read what Mike has to say. He’s figured out the modern music industry and is working hard to succeed against all odds.
You can also find them online here:
Formspring (which I think is a work of genius how they’ve used it!): formspring.me/TMTTP
Before I start…I’m well aware that this entire thing is the textbook definition of a ‘first world problem.’ There are FAR worse things going on in the world, but ‘my’ world consists of the day to day business that I interact with, and I have been interacting with this business for weeks now…and it’s getting very annoying. Also, this is about me bitching about a phone…if you came for a music blog, please come back tomorrow!
Flashback, just around three weeks ago: I find out that there is a grace period on my phone contract, meaning I can finally move on from my old iPhone 3G (which a Fido representative perfectly described as ‘tired.’) to a new iPhone 4S! New…that means it probably won’t crash when I try to look up a map, or take five minutes loading up the text message a notification told me had just arrived.
I went straight to a Fido store (Fido is my phone carrier) and talked to the sales dude, who told me that I should go home and order the phone online myself. I didn’t think anything of that…just assumed that’s the procedure these days.
So, I go home, order online, and discover that I’m 2400th in line! That’s fine, the phone will be released very soon, so I should move up that line lickety split! A week goes by, and my patience is sound…a week seems fair to wait for the list to shrink. AND IT DOES! Woot! A message comes to tell me that my new phone is being shipped! I have to pick it up at the Fido store. Only I can pick it up.
…except as I watch the tracking it goes from Ontario…to Manitoba…to British Columbia.
And then…it’s delivered to it’s final destination.
Confused, I call Fido…they have no clue what’s going on. Literally, they say they’re blind to the situation. So I call UPS…they say they shipped to the destination that Fido supplied. So I call Fido again…they say to wait for two days and call back.
I call back in two days…and I’m told there’s nothing they can do…but I should wait for two days and call back.
…I do…I get in touch with a third person…they say there’s nothing they can do. The phone is gone. I have two options:
1) Get back in the line and wait again.
2) Wait until late November, and then ‘maybe’ they can ship me a phone directly…if they get one.
That was the customer service I received. “OH…we don’t know what happened, but we can’t do anything, get in line.”
I eventually found out I could order a phone directly in the Apple site. I started this process four days ago. But, you see…I’m battling EVERYONE who wants a phone…and their website seems to go down a lot. Twice now I’ve had the phone selected, I’ve logged in, and I’ve confirmed a time only to be told the phone isn’t available anymore. One I selected, logged in, and was told the store had no times available to order.
I repeat…this is a first world problem …but it started when a company screwed up, continued when that company told me there was nothing I could do, and is continuing with me trying to virtually wrestle a phone from the hands of another person.
My thoughts: the automated systems suck. Sure, human error is craptastic, but I had human error anyways. A LABEL was printed up with my name and a phone was shipped across the country despite being automated. At least with a person, you can explain your situation.
Second, the reservation system sucks. I could’ve ordered a phone a week ago, and had it shipped in that time, but instead it’s a nightly race to the Apple Store online at 9:00 pm, and a window of about 15 seconds to succeed…assuming the site doesn’t crash.
Thirdly…customer service is becoming too segmented. I get that there’s a flood of calls each day, but I’m shocked that each time I call I go through the same story, the same actions, and am given the same advice (call back, we can’t do anything.) When I ask to talk to a Supervisor, I’m literally told ‘No’ sometimes, or told “Well, they can’t do anything differently than I can.”
Maybe I’m the outlier…maybe everyone else is having a smooth experience. But so many strings of bad luck (misshipped phone, inability to help, web sites crashing) lead me to believe that I’m not alone. And as companies get bigger, their customer service…hell, their ‘service’…suffers.
I’ll keep this place updated if anything changes, but for now, I’m not holding my breath.
How many people can say they changed the world. Despite your allegiances, it’s impossible to say that Steve Jobs had no lasting effect on society. He changed the definition of ‘mouse.’ He put a jukebox in our pocket…and then changed the jukebox into a super computer.
He started a company that was big, then small, then big again. Like…real big.
If you’re reading this then you’re online, and if you’re online you know that Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc, former CEO of Pixar, and creative mind passed away yesterday at the age of 56. Since this blog owes a lot to Macs, I figure a quick write-up on what Steve Jobs meant to me is alright!
I became a Mac enthusiast (I wouldn’t say fan boy…that assumes I can actually afford most products!) when I realized that the previous ten years of my computer-driven life. I spent more time on my first Mac in fourteen days than I had on my PC the previous two years. And we aren’t talking a new Mac…it was an old timer my man got for me.
Now, I have an iPhone, iPod and iMac. I got the iPhone for $27 (thanks Fidobucks!), the iPod for $130 (it’s a classic), and my man got me the iMac when I realized I needed something more powerful to work with. I plan on sticking with it until the company goes stupid, at which case I’ll consider other options.
But this isn’t a commercial for Mac. It’s about Steve. Probably the only businessey-type-dude that I truly appreciate, despite claims of ego mania or the usual mudslinging. He did something that no one else has…
…he made me comfortable with technology. I’m no Luddite (I work in digital marketing, for chissakes!) but I get very frustrated with technology. Remember those PCs I was talking about? A decade of pain? I could NEVER understand why my computer didn’t do what I thought it should.
Why was it so painful to get a program onto the magic box and then have it do what I thought it should…do what I was told it could do? My stress levels were ALWAYS high. Even just using a word processor sometimes stressed me out.
Maybe it’s the design, maybe it’s the simplicity…maybe it’s the opium they spray in my face every fifteen minutes from the keyboard…but Macs calm me down. I ‘enjoy’ doing the work on them. When I’m working on something that is stressful and annoying it doesn’t matter…I enjoy the process.
Some of my friends enjoy the process of working with Linux, being able to work in the ‘basement’ and have complete control. Many of them say the difference between Mac and Linux is that you control a Linux system, whereas a Mac controls you.
I prefer to think of it as symbiosis: a Mac reads my mind and knows what I want, and then does that. …sym-cybernet-osis?
My career, my hobbies, my entertainment, my social life, my communication…I owe the vast majority of it to the decisions made by one man in Cupertino, California.
P.S. Mashable has a great little page featuring President Obama’s statement on Steve Jobs’ death. Some folks may not like Obama for his policies, but I like the way the man talks fo’ sho’!