Blogsizer The online journal and website of Tim Hulsizer

8Apr/140

Music Mix: Songs With Women’s Names

I'll have a mix full of men's/boys'/guys'/dudes' names soon but for now, please enjoy this collection of songs with women's/girls'/ladies'/gentlewomen's names.

01 Jamiroquai - Angeline

02 The Fratellis - Henrietta

03 The Zutons - Valerie

04 The Pipettes - Judy

05 Pink Martini - Lilly

06 Weezer - Susanne

07 Modernettes - Barbra

08 The Dickies - Rosemary

09 Blur - Tracy Jacks

10 Bill Cosby - Ursalena

11 Stephen Malkmus - Jenny & The Ess-Dog

12 Material Issue - Valerie Loves Me

13 Frank Black - I Heard Ramona Sing

14 Elvis Costello - Veronica

15 Man Or Astro-Man - Sadie Hawkins Atom Bomb

16 Spookey Ruben - Rachel

17 Of Montreal - Chrissy Kiss the Corpse

18 Lloyd Cole - Jennifer She Said

19 Jane's Addiction - Jane Says

20 John Lennon - Oh Yoko!

21 Bjork - Isobel (Deodato Remix)

22 Beck - Debra

23 Shel Silverstein - Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout

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4Apr/140

Law & Order: SVU, one of many guilty pleasures

"In the criminal justice system, gastronomically-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these delicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victuals Unit. These are their stories."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0203259/

 

 

Filed under: Art, Humor, Pics, TV No Comments
19Mar/140

A few thoughts about True Detective’s attitudes about women now that’s it’s over.

[Yarrr, here there be spoilers, matey]

That’s it, we’re finished!  I watched the last episode of True Detective season 1 last night.  Fun stuff.

If you hang out on the internet much, you might have noticed that after a few of the 8 episodes aired, people started discussing the lack of any compelling female characters.  There was Marty’s wife Maggie (Michelle Monaghan), Marty’s mistress Lisa (Alexandra Daddario), and…ummmm, not many others.  You had small roles for Marty’s two daughters and a backwoods trailer park brothel full of prostitutes.

Some viewers never noticed or cared about this, as evidenced by the high rating on imdb(9.5/10 as of this writing). For those who did have opinions, the two opposing points of view appear to be my camp (“Why does the show necessarily have to be a Boys’ Club?”) and the other side (“Why not?  It’s a story about two dudes solving murders, fully realized female characters wouldn’t fit.”).  If I misrepresent the opposition, I’m sorry.  That’s just the main viewpoint I gleaned from reading online discussions.

I’m not here to change anyone’s mind.  If you think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion by feminists or something, that’s your right.  I’m just frustrated that a show so well-written with regard to dialogue and the day-to-day work of crime investigation would give women such short shrift. Rust (Matthew McConaughey) is a pretty fascinating piece of work. For heaven’s sake, the show’s killer has a complicated mythology centered around a real book from 1895.  Clearly the writer isn’t a disinterested hack.  So why are the women in True Detective sex objects or laundry harpies?

One of the things that bugged me was the show’s treatment of Lisa.  She’s in an affair with Marty, a married man.  Okay, well Marty’s right there in that situation too.  When she spills the beans to Marty’s wife Maggie (Oh no!  She broke the Bro Code!), Marty goes ballistic on her and the best Rust can say is something along the lines of, “I saw the crazy in her eyes at the bar that time. Watch out for crazy pussy.”  UH, excuse me??  Marty’s the asshole who started an affair and he’s stringing his wife AND Lisa along while he does what he wants.  I don’t fault Lisa for taking home another guy at the bar to thumb her nose at Marty’s bullshit.  Marty is then the crazy asshole who busts into Lisa’s apartment and beats the other guy to a pulp.  Yeah, that Lisa, how dare she hurt poor little Marty.

To be fair, Marty doesn’t live happily ever after.  In the years after the 1990s part of the show’s storyline he ended up divorced and alone.  Rust calls him a lying shitheel in the final episode.  Okay, that’s cool.  But I can’t give the show a pass just because it allowed Marty to flame out like we logically knew he would.

In the week preceding the final episode, I was reading various articles about the show’s stance on women.  A lot of them had an interesting take on it, this sort of wait-and-see attitude.  They thought maybe the show had been giving us the lousy treatment of women as a comment on that macho culture, and that perhaps the final episode would have some grand revelation that tied murder and misogyny into a broader commentary about the world.

What we got was one more female character: the bad guy’s half-sister / sex toy played by Ann Dowd.  I can’t even seem to find her character’s name so far.  We also got a pretty standard ending for a serial killer plot: the cop(s) go to the weirdo killer’s place, he decorates his place with weird folk art & other symbols of his belief system, they end up having to shoot him to stop him.  In a lot of ways, Silence Of the Lambs drew the blueprint in 1991 and everyone’s been building the same house ever since.  But I digress.

The show’s tagline was “Man Is the Cruelest Animal.” It refers to humanity but I guess some of us were hoping that the word “man” was a double meaning thing, and maybe it was slyly referring to the killer’s and Marty’s various types of cruelty to women.  It wasn’t.  We got a standard cop show.  And that’s absolutely fine I guess, just a minor bummer.  I think some of us saw the thought put into the criminal’s inner world, and we saw McConaughey’s excellent performance in a different type of damaged cop, and we hoped we were getting something a little deeper.  We’d lost Breaking Bad and hoped the Next Big Well-Written Crime Show was here to obsess about.

I’m just sorry I need to temper my expectations for season two with the knowledge that True Detective is basically just another TV cop show.  Looking for another HBO detective show where women get to play in the sandbox too?  Check out 2008’s underrated No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.

27Feb/140

Day Of the Crows (2012)

Just watched this French animated film <Le jour des corneilles> and enjoyed it quite a bit.  Gorgeous visuals.

Filed under: Art, Film, Pics No Comments
6Feb/140

How To Tweet Funny (But Not Original)

I wrote this last year for my friend's newspaper but he ultimately couldn't use it.  So here it is on my blog, because I can.

===================================

        When the website Twitter opened its doors in 2006, few could have guessed how popular it would become.  In case you’re somehow unaware, tweets are now widely quoted in news stories around the globe, and various news agencies and websites annually post lists like “The Funniest People On Twitter” and “25 Twitter Accounts Worth Following.”  Twitter accounts have been licensed for books, television shows, and films.  Twitter celebrity now has actual cache in our society, for better or worse.  On Twitter, Popularity is the currency that buys Celebrity, and Funny is one of the fastest ways to popularity.  Life sucks and people want to forget it for five seconds by laughing at a tweet.  It isn’t right, it isn’t wrong, it simply IS.

            So you’ve got a Twitter account and you want to be funny.  But how do you do it?  You look at all those popular accounts and you think, “There’s a secret code I can’t break.  How do I step into the velvet shoes worn by the likes of Patton Oswalt and @dogboner?"  I’ll tell you how.

But why those pesky three words at the end of the article title, “But Not Original”?  We’ll get to the subject of originality eventually, but it simply comes down to this:  funny isn’t just an algorithm.  You can’t fake the funk or the funny, and people will know when you try and fail.  However, if you use some of these ideas, at least you'll have a starting point.  Put tab A into slot B and see what happens.  Why not?  Come on, it’s only fucking Twitter.

Hashtag Riffs / “That Awkward moment When...” / Anti-Pickup Lines / RT If…

@THEKarlaPacheco: Shit grits on Tuesday, buy a baby coffin on Thursday. #newfolksayings

@ShittingtonUK: Imagine a small hammer. Something a pigeon could use. Now ask yourself: Why does your character fear change? #confusingwritingadvice

@IamEnidColeslaw: That awkward moment when I tried starting a slow clap in the hospital after my uncle died.

@mattytalks: Girl did it hurt when you fell from heaven? No, cool. Then let's talk about who's going to pay for my fucking roof

@MarloMeekins: RT if you admire the restraint people have around you because of your insurmountable sexiness

These are the bread and butter of funny tweeting, the most basic level.  If you’ve been nervous about making your humor move, try these on for size and see how it feels.  They are the comfort food of funny tweets, like mom’s macaroni & cheese.  They won’t challenge you or your readers too much, everyone’s familiar with them.  They’ll take you back to those halcyon days of 2009, when funny tweets still seemed original and the world felt full of promise to you instead of walking around looking up all the time for that casket lid that’s slowly covering you in darkness.

Twitter-Specific:

@MarloMeekins: someone un-retweeted me. I'm going to take a walk, skip some stones on a lake, stare at the lake and reflect on this grim experience

@tartpop: No more applications or resumes, just tell your prospective employer your twitter account & go back to bed.

@RexHuppke: Guys, stop "friending" me: Twitter is for people I like but don't know. Facebook is for people I know but don't like.

@LarryBlanken: My parents didn't retweet me enough.

@HoneyUnhinged: Hey, elite Tweeters: Please be sure to rotate your body's lying position on the couch every few hours to avoid bed sores.

Once you’ve been on Twitter for awhile, you’ll really start to see the patterns, the generic tropes, and the things that make Twitter what it is.  That’s what led me to write this stuff in the first place.  You may want to address some of these things in tweet form, like the people above.  The difficulty ramps up every year, however, as more and more people become jaded to the system and they’ve probably seen dozens of Twitter-specific gags over the years.  I’m not saying this comedy well is dry, but the water level is dangerously low.  If you’re going to tweet this kind of thing, really polish that joke until it shines.

Toying With Corporations:

@NeilHamburger: Intermittent Explosive Disorder. RX: mood stabilizers "@Aeropostale: Hitting something that's broken and expecting it to work again."

@fart: some people have prosthetics you ass “@BurtsBees: Our lip balm is 100% natural, just like the people who use it! How are you 100% natural?”

Some of you reading this may be corporate drones hoping to “spice up” your Twitter account to get more followers who will spread the word about your product, blah blah synergy blah.  This article isn’t really for you because of a very important truth:  Corporate accounts are neutered.  They can’t swear, they can’t tweet controversial opinions, and they can’t attack other accounts without raising the ire of the hive-mind.  You can hurl abuse at McDonald’s on Twitter and they’re not going to bite back because it means bad publicity.

As you can see from the tweets above, corporate accounts want to interact with consumers but they’re so afraid of offending people that they frequently just post some inane question in an attempt to foster a “dialogue” (by which I mean, someone will answer the question and naturally have to re-tweet it with their answer, which means getting the brand into other people’s consciousness).  As you can see above, @NeilHamburger and @fart have technically helped the corporations by reminding their own followers that the companies exist.  But so what?  It’s fun to rattle the cage and run.  Anytime you can make corporate Twitter accounts look stupid, there’s no reason not to.  There really isn’t a downside and if your retort is even vaguely humorous, you’ll give your followers a chuckle.

Fake Facts / Fake News:

@nedroid: Geography Fun Fact: Canada was founded by John Candy

@FREE_FACTS: Fish never sleep because they are so full of rage

@barfcaptain: science finds birds to be dickheads. "fuck them" a scientist exclaimed

@ChaseMit: Scientists say men who drink beer daily reduce their risk of heart attack. As for livers, scientists said "fuck livers" and then high-fived.

As you can see from these false facts and from Karla Pacheco’s hashtag riff above, you’re going to need to let your hair down a little bit and get silly.  Well, not completely silly, exactly.  People are going to hate you if you just tweet in Baby Talk.  “Wisten evewyone, I just wuv to hug wadishes and womaine wettuce!”  When I say silly, I mean non sequiturs.  I know we’re jumping into the advanced stuff pretty quickly here, but you’ll have to master it eventually if you really want to turn heads in the crowded nightmare hellscape called Twitter.

Pro Tip: Try tweeting drunk.  Did it come out funny or just super sad?  If you wake up the next morning and discover that you got a bunch of retweets and likes because you tweeted funny observations about the people around you at the bar, or you hurled foul-mouthed insults at your houseplants, cool.  Alcohol seems to be your friend on Twitter.  But if you wake up and see that you just sent tweets to your various exes, pleading for another chance and included pics of your sobbing face?  Then you may want to avoid the drunk tweeting.

17Jan/140

Dragon K.West

Japan was really prescient to make this Kanye remix of the first Dragon Quest game in ‘86.

[credit to Flip the Bird for pixel Kanye]

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24Dec/130

Santarchy 2013

Oh my gosh, it's really here!  A new volume of my beloved holiday music franchise, Santarchy!

*** DOWNLOAD NOW! ***

Tracklist:

01 WVXU Radio - Intro (1985)

02 Winston Hewitt - Disco Santa

03 Up-town Yuletide Carol & Swing Band - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1985)

04  Ames Brothers - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas (1951)

05 The Active Set - Making Out (Is the Best Part of Christmas) (2011)

06 The Donnas - Up On The Housetop (2009)

07 Bugle episode 99 excerpt 01 (2009)

08 Go-Go's - I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek (1964)

09 Lobos - My Name Is Rudolph (2002)

10 Angel - Winter Song (1977)

11 Enchanters, The - Mambo Santa Mambo (1957)

12 Elliot Lawrence & His Orchestra - Santa's Mambo (1962)

13 Jim Lowe - Santa Claus Rides a Strawberry Roan (1953)

14 Michael Landon & the Cast of Bonanza - Santa Got Lost In Texas (1963)

15 Buck Owens - Christmas Shopping (1968)

16 Phil Moore Four - Chinchy Old Scrooge (1953)

17 Bugle episode 99 excerpt 02 (2009)

18 Jonathan Coulton - Chiron Beta Prime (2006)

19 Cornershop & Trwbador - Every Year So Different (2012)

20 Soundtree London - La Chanson d'Eve (2012)

21 Summer Cats - Plastic Christmas Trees (2008)

22 Aztec Camera - Hot Club Of Christ (1988)

23 Tom Sandman & Billy West - Christmas In Kenmore Square (1990)

24 Severe - Little Drummer Boy (2008)

25 The Simpsons - Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer (1989)

26 Michèle Richard - C'est Noël Rock (1965)

27 That Band From Holland - Riot in Wintertime (2009)

28 Outro - Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipe outro (2006)

=======================

PREVIOUS YEARS' MIXES HERE

Filed under: Christmas, Music No Comments
16Dec/130

My friends are nuts & I love them

My friend Joe's birthday is in January and a bunch of us will be descending upon an unsuspecting rental cabin in NH's lakes region.  As luck would have it, the legendary retro arcade Funspot is nearby and they've got a classic game called Space Zap.  It caught our attention a couple of years ago and I think we were attracted to its utter simplicity.  No joystick, no deep gameplay, just a painful endurance test of how fast and accurately you can mash buttons.  Now, with the January trip right around the corner, Joe Kill Screen put forth a challenge to our friend Stefan in professional wrestling fashion:

 

The world waited with baited breath to see what Stefan's response would be.  Would he bow out quietly?  Or would he take up the gauntlet and accept the challenge?  The answer arrived in the form of another video.  Challenge Accepted:

 

So now we wait for further responses as the heat of this rivalry banishes the icy cold of another New England winter.  UPDATE: On Sunday, January 19, 2014, these two titans of gaming met on the field of battle and settled things once and for all...

I'm just so proud to have witnessed arcade history.

Filed under: Video, Video Games No Comments
13Dec/130

Star Wars pun fun

My coworker Amy accidentally started to say this pun, and I couldn't resist a little Photoshop.

9Dec/130

Tim Talks TV: Les Revenants (The Returned)

Always on the lookout for quality foreign TV programming, I recently cast an eye beyond my usual UK fare to mainland Europe.  What I ended up finding is the intriguing 2012 French drama Les Revenants (a/k/a The Returned).

In European folklore, a revenant is a corpse that has returned from the grave to terrorize the living, and there have been various books and films about the phenomenon.  In this 8-episode show, the focus isn't on terror but instead on mystery.  Here's a synopsis from Wikipedia:

In a small mountain town, many dead people reappear, apparently alive and normal: road accident victim teenager Camille; suicidal bridegroom Simon; "Victor", a small boy who was murdered by burglars; and Serge, a serial killer. They try to resume their lives as strange phenomena occur: amongst recurring power outages, the water level of the reservoir mysteriously lowers, revealing the presence of dead animals and a church steeple, and strange marks appear on the bodies of the living and the dead.

Rather than settling for yet another zombie story, Les Revenants is concerned with human relationships: how will the townfolk deal with family members and friends returning after years of going through the grieving process?  How will the Returned come to grips with their apparent good fortune at cheating death in some way?  Why haven't they aged in the years they were gone?  Why is the reservoir water level lowering with no discernible leak in the dam, and what really happened in that old village at the bottom of the water?  Who are the mysterious people living in a large group out in the woods?

I'm pleased to see that a second series is in the offing.  The first season answers many questions but leaves plenty of mystery yet to be solved.   It also ends with an emotional cliffhanger I won't reveal here.  I'd like to see the female characters take a little more control of their various situations but thankfully this show isn't anywhere near as misogynist as the frustrating French police drama Engrenages (a/k/a Spiral).  That show seems to enjoy showing women murdered, slapped around by their pimps, and ignored by their bosses.  Compared with that show's never-ending torment of its female characters, the occasional woman being stabbed in Les Revenants by the town's resident serial killer at least seems justified in service of the story.  Still, it's never pleasant seeing someone bleed out on a walking path, so consider this your trigger warning.

[Having said all that, there's a psychic in the show who can communicate with the dead, but only while she's having sex.  I'll leave it to you to decide why they tossed in that little subplot.]

The plotting and cinematography are top notch, and special mention must be made of the incredible music score by the band Mogwai.  The opening of the series is one of the best I've ever seen, striking a perfect balance of beauty and trepidation:

I think Les Revenants is worthy of your attention and I'm looking forward to seeing more when it returns (no pun intended) next year.   Overall, top notch entertainment.  Grade: A.

Filed under: Reviews, TV No Comments