Month: September 2016

2016, Daily Log, Personal

The Log for Friday September 30, 2016

What Did I Eat? Breakfast: Way more than one serving of Harvest Crunch (8g of fat and 31g of carbs in one serving) in a large pool of 1% milk; a glass of tea Morning: two glasses of tea and a macintosh Lunch: Triple decker white bread sandwich featuring the usual salami, old cheddar, mayo …

2007, Books, Non-Fiction

Younger Next Year (2007) by Chris Crowley, Henry S. Lodge

This is a book about exercise, nutrition and mental health, geared towards retired American men. I did not actually finish the book; I read it until it was due back at the library. I made it most of the way through, though, and I don’t fee like I missed much.

2016, Daily Log, Personal

The Log for Thursday September 29, 2016

What I ate: Breakfast: Way more than one serving of Harvest Crunch (8g of fat and 31g of carbs in one serving) in a large pool of 1% milk; a glass of tea Morning: two glasses of tea and a macintosh Lunch: two sandwiches consisting of white bread (bad!), salami, mayo (bad!), old cheddar and …

1984, 2006, Music

Elgar: Violin Concerto; Introduction and Allegro (1984, 2006)

This disc is a reissue of a famous performance of the Elgar violin concerto with his Introduction and Allegro, presumably recorded at the same time. (I say presumably because it was not on the initial LP and I am listening to it from the library’s stream, and so I don’t have the liner notes to confirm …

1963, 1993, 2009

Kagel: String Quartet No. 4; Keuris: String Quartet No. 1 (2009) by Lagos Ensemble

This disc collects Kagel’s final quartet and the first quartet by Tristan Keuris, a Dutch composer I have never hear of before. The works were composed 30 years apart. Kagel’s fourth and final quartet is similar to his third in that it contains more radical elements, but these elements are incorporated into more traditional and …

2012, Movies

Blancanieves (2012, Pablo Berger)

This Spanish, silent (i.e. no dialogue) version of “Snow White” ingeniously moves the story to 20s Spain and the bullfighters of the era. It’s both a pretty great tribute to silent cinema (and I would assume Spanish silent cinema, though I have seen none of it) and a great reworking of an over-told story. It’s …

1965, 1967, 1985, 1986, 2004, Music

Kagel: Pan; String Quartets I-III (2004) by Arditti String Quartet

This disc collects the first three of Kagel’s quartets and pairs them with a piece he wrote for string quartet and piccolo (Dietmar Wiesner guests on that piece).

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011) by Steven Pinker

If you watch the news today, you will be told the world is awful. Even if, like me, you do not have cable, you can still get enough news of the awfulness of the world from your antenna or the internet. The news is an endless barrage of controversy and tragedy; controversy over the supposedly …

2013, Movies

Ender’s Game (2013, Gavin Hood)

Note: I have not read the book. This is a rather middling science fiction film about a messiah-like boy who is trained to save the world by starting a war. That story is problematic when you think about it, so I guess don’t think about it too much. SPOILER ALERT

2015, Movies

Ant-Man (2015, Peyton Reed)

This is a reasonably enjoyable “goofy” Marvel movie, of the kind that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And it has to be, since the whole idea of Ant-Man seems kind of ridiculous. There are some rather massive plot issues that would drive me insane if it wasn’t amusing. It’s not so amusing that I really …

1969, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1984, 2003, Music

Mauricio Kagel (2003) by Alexandre Tharaud

This collection is a little confusing in part because of the confusing nature of Rrrrrrr…, which can apparently be performed independently. The disc appears to be a compilation of his piano-based music. Calling “piano music” would be a misnomer, as there are lots of other instruments on a number of the pieces. The pieces from …

1979, 1981, 1982, Music

Vox Humana? / Finale / Fürst Igor Strawinsky (1991) by Mauricio Kagel, performed by Ensemble 2e2m, Lyon National Opera Chorus conducted by Paul Méfano

This record collects three of Kagel’s longish “choral” pieces. Kagel was a weirdo is the best ways. Listening to Kagel’s work, rather than watching it, is a bit of a problem, because Kagel’s work is often “theatrical” not just in the sense of being influenced by the theatre, but of having the musicians act out …

1960, Movies

Black Sunday aka The Mask of Satan (1960, Mario Bava)

I’m sad to say I saw the American version of this, which was cut of its most extreme horror, apparently. Even so, it’s still got some pretty gruesome effects for 1960 (to my knowledge) and that’s the attraction here. The story itself is pretty rote – doctors stumble upon a creepy, cursed castle – and …

1975, Movies

Black Moon (1975, Louis Malle)

This is a bizarre, barely plotted, surrealistic fantasy/sci-fi French film that tests one’s patience with its attempts to say things as obtusely as possible and with its attempts to be shocking. It’s part of a grand tradition of obscure French science fiction/fantasy films about post-apocalyptic worlds (where the world-building the English-language world loves so much …

2016, Movies

Mascots (2016, Christopher Guest)

The decision to see Christopher Guest’s latest at TIFF was one made in ignorance that this is a Netflix film, which will soon be available for streaming. Alas. It’s an amusing film that, as Jenn put it, has no dead air. It’s certainly not Guest’s best – it’s quite slight and the targets of the …

2016, Movies

The Limehouse Golem (2016, Juan Carlos Medina)

This is an atmospheric and entertaining period mystery/horror film that struggles with both telling and tone but which is mostly entertaining. My biggest issues were with the time-hoping – there are flashbacks throughout the film and flashbacks within flashbacks, a particular pet peeve of mine – as well as with the tone of the very …

2016, Movies

City of Tiny Lights (2016, Pete Travis)

City of Tiny Lights takes a really traditional noir story (some might say tired) and ingeniously transplants it to contemporary London, in particular a multi-ethnic, predominantly Muslim neighbourhood. All the classic noir tropes are here but in a completely new form. SPOILERS

2016, Movies

Apprentice (2016, Jungfen Boo)

This film is mostly nuanced portrait of moral corruption and the issue of capital punishment in Singapore. There are a few scenes that borderline on histrionic and the plot is a little contrived but, despite those things, I quite liked it, particularly the rather stunning ending of the film. SPOILERS

2016, Movies

Okafor’s Law (2016, Omoni Oboli)

For the first two thirds of this film, it is a reasonably amusing Romantic Comedy – not my thing but effective and, for someone like me not familiar with Nollywood, a decent spin on the formula, despite a few sound issues. But the wheels come off in the third act, with not only a few …

1851, Books, Fiction

Moby Dick (1851) by Herman Mellville

I discovered there was a free audio version of Moby Dick online, as a podcast, so I started listening to it. However, 3/4s through it, the site went down. So I resumed with an audio book from the library. I think listening to it was a mistake. I distracted myself too many times and missed …

2016, Movies

ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail (2016, Steve James)

This film is about the only bank – the only bank! – to be indicted for mortgage fraud in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. It tells the story of a bank in New York City’s Chinatown which detected loan fraud, fired the employee responsible, reported the fraud to their regulator, fired additional employees …

1991, Music

13 Point Program to Destroy American (1991) by Nation of Ulysses

Nation of Ulysses takes post hardcore and imbues it with art, humour, other genres of music and even more passion than other post hardcore bands of their era (and some terrible brass!). This is one of those records that is everything I wanted it to be. And I’d rather listen to this – where there …

1991, Music

Steady Diet of Nothing (1991) by Fugazi

It has been literally ages (a decade or more) since I heard Repeater but, from my poor memory, I think this is musically much more interesting. (Who knows if that’s true.) I can’t help but liking later records more, though; to my ears they hadn’t quite found that thing, whatever it is, that made them …

1991, Music

Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (1991) by Mudhoney

This is a strong, particularly grungy grunge record, with a bit more of a roots feel than some of the other grunge records from the period. I really like the aesthetic – especially because it is a little more musically diverse than I was expecting – but I find the songs not quite up to …

1981, Music

Signals, Calls, and Marches (1981) by Mission of Burma

The missing link between post punk and alternative rock. I don’t say that lightly. When I first heard their debut album, I was underwhelmed – too much hype. But this EP (along with their debut single, included here) is pretty much the blueprint for a lot of American alternative rock in the ’80s (minus the …