Toronto got itself a subway, really!

My dear, and sexy friend Nicholas, posted this video to twitter. There’s a few things that strike me about this video… other than the terrible audio, because really, the sound’s horrible.

  1. Three tokens for a quarter?!?! WTF?!?! Now it’s one token for twelve quarters!
  2. Toronto in the ’50s seems quaint. I’m pretty sure it’s just the music, but Toronto in the ’50s does seem like some cheesy movie. Anyone have a time machine? I wanna see what it was really like? Go down to Queen Street and see what was hopping in the pubs and bars that lined Queen West. I’m sure Buddy Holly was shredding on the stage of the Horseshoe.
  3. “Toronto got itself a subway, really!” That quote. It’s kinda cute how he says it, but the content of what he says is the reality. Toronto was as full of municipal cynicism as it is today. It’s a tradition. I think it’s a tradition that needs to end. I think it’s about time we looked with optimism at what Toronto is and, more importantly, what it can become.

Linky Link

Best animated feature film of the year

Coraline (Focus Features)
This is, in my mind, the first time that The Oscars have had serious contention in this category since Pixar started making feature length films. Coraline is incredible. I haven’t read the story by Neil Gaiman, but from what I hear, it’s brilliant, and this story of a young girl who is disillusioned with the real world, finds a portal to a mirror world, where everything is what she could hope for… or so she thinks. Hidden intentions are basis of this story, whether it’s the evil hidden intentions in the mirror world, or the good intention that her real parents can’t seem to express, until too late. This film is definitely a treat.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (20th Century Fox)
I really enjoy Wes Anderson films, especially Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore (the others are good, but not as good). Fantastic Mr. Fox is a return to form, and perhaps his second best film, after Rushmore.

The Princess and the Frog (Walt Disney)
I have no interest in watching this, but I just noticed that it’s executive produced by John Lasseter, and I trust him, he made Pixar what it is. I’m off to download (you can assume that means on iTunes or another paid service).

Hmm, it’s is kinda boring. It’s very much a formulaic Disney animated feature.

The Secret of Kells (GKIDS)
Wow, this film was pretty damn horrible. It seemed like an 85 minute long cut scene from a crappy video game. The animation style’s not too terrible for flash-based animation, while it looks like flash, and feels like flash, some of the character design is really interesting, seemingly lifting from Yellow Submarine. This is definitely a children’s movie, but it makes me wonder why the Academy didn’t nominate Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Up (Walt Disney)
Hmm, I wonder which film is going to win? Is it the only one nominated for Best Picture? Probably, but also rightfully! This film is incredible, and deserves all the respect in the world. I’ll write more in the best picture post, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this film.

Who Adam wants to win: Up
Who Adam thinks will win: Up

Best Animated Short Nominees

French Roast

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (Brown Bag Films)
Granny O’Grimm tells a story to her young granddaughter about Sleeping Beauty, or at least that’s what you think at first, soon you realize the story’s about an old fairy. It’s a fun film, but nothing spectacular. Definitely worth watching though.

The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
In the still of her sleep, la Dama finds her soul leaving her body. She’s greeted by la Muerte, who assures here that she’ll rejoin her dead husband. A smile creeps up on her face, and suddenly she’s back to life, in a hospital. Thus begins an epic battle for her life between the reaper and the doctor. It’s hilarious, and fun, and good proof that cartoons aren’t for kids.

Logorama (Autour de Minuit)
In a world made up of logos, Ronald McDonald goes batshit-crazy and is on the run from the law michelin man. I absolutely loved this! Fuckin’ hilarious!

A Matter of Loaf and Death (Aardman Animations)
“I’ve got a bomb in my pants!” Definitely not the best of Wallace and Gromit, and I’ve never been a big fan of them. I don’t really see the appeal too much, so I’m gonna give this a thumbs horizontal. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it.

Adam wants to win: La Dama y La Muerte
Adam thinks will win: La Dama y La Muerte

Kirk/Spock/McCoy in Trek films

In an earlier post, I noted that the most essential aspect of Star Trek is the trinity of Kirk, Spock & McCoy. Those three are a simplistic reflection of one state of humanity; logic (Spock), emotion (McCoy) and the balance (Kirk). In Star Trek II, this is perfectly illustrated, and thus it makes for one of the best Star Trek films.

Let’s look at the other five films in the series, and you’ll see their failure or success relies on this one aspect.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture is not Star Trek, it’s Gene Roddenberry trying to serious science fiction and doing a mediocre job. The characters are just shadows of who they were in the television show, and Spock & McCoy were reduced to tertiary characters. Kirk being the primary, Decker and Ilia being the secondary characters, two characters who are boring-as-fuck, while also serving as the mould that would one day become Riker and Troi. The film seems much more interested in canonizing the Enterprise than it does with carrying the tradition of the television series onto the big screen, something it exceeds at wonderfully.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan has no purpose to be reexamined as I just did it… It’s in the archives. There’s a search, you’ll find it.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock can’t seriously be considered to follow the wonders that is this trinity, as Spock is barely in the film. McCoy is not McCoy, but a strange Bones-Spock hybrid, that while providing some comic relief doesn’t stay true to the character. Hence failing.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is one of the best Star Trek films ever made. In this film, Spock is all logic, very reluctant to embrace any of his Human heritage. He’s embodying his primary characteristic 100%. McCoy however is on a romp, he’s grown to trust Spock and lets his emotions run free on this adventure. Kirk has to play the situation quite balanced with his cards close to his chest in this very foreign arena… the 1980s… UGH! There’s no key role that Spock and McCoy have to do to guide Kirk, but their form is top notch in this romp, and the comedy is gold.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, is pure garbage. Not worth examining, then I might have to watch it.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is my favourite of all the Star Trek films. Spock and McCoy seem to serve two distinct role in this film (in relation to Kirk). Spock is his guidance and mcCoy is his guidance on Rura Penthe. On the Enterprise, Kirk needs Spocks logic to prevent his racism and hatred from controlling him when he needs to be diplomatic to the Klingon delegation.  On Rura Penthe, Kirk needs guts and wits about him so that he can survive this penal colony and get back to the Enterprise.

Linky Link

Linky Link

Parlez-vous français?

I wonder if it’s time for me to learn French. I know words here and there, and apparently I’m able to fool franco-Quebecers when I’m in La Belle Province and say “bonjour” they all start speaking to me a million miles an hours in their mother-tongue, and I’m stuck there with a dumb look on my face. Either they like that look on me, or they assume I’m a French speaker by my pronunciation of “bonjour.”

I’m putting this call out to anyone who might be able to suggest a means to learn French, whether it’s computer software, or they took lessons somewhere, or other. I’m going to ask a French teacher or two at the school I work at, because I’m surrounded by native French speakers.

Why French? Well, for those who don’t know, I live in Canada, which is an officially bilingual country. However, I live in Ontario, which is officially unilingual even with its large French population (the largest outside of Quebec, if I’m not mistaken). Sure Mandarin and Cantonese are probably spoken more in Toronto than French, and Yiddish would definitely help more with my grandparents, but if I’m going to become King of Canada (that’s my career goal, btw) then I need to ensure there’s no uprising in French communities due to a monarch who doesn’t speak their language.

What worries me is my learning disability. From what I’ve gathered from my mother (a former Special Education teacher) and my own observances of Adult-Adam (we’ll just call him “Adam”) is that my learning disability manifested itself through my reading. When faced with a word, I’m not able to effectively string together the series of sounds, rather I see the letters, the sounds they make, balance that with my rather large vocabulary and take an educated guess based on the context. Fortunately I do have a large vocabulary, and understand the ground rules of grammar. Sure I’m pretty lazy, and generally don’t edit my entries, and so there’s usually some grammar errors or typos, but if I were more fastidious then I could eliminate them. In addition, I tend to write in a rather personal manner, rather than formally; this part is probably a lack of post-Secondary education.

I can see these things manifesting as I watch myself reading and writing. There are words which are foreign to me, and I’ll spend years mispronouncing because I don’t know any better, or words which I know the proper spelling of and the proper pronunciation, but whenever I see it on paper (or screen), I spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to figure out what it is. The best example is misogynist. That just took someone who types 120 words per minute about 15 seconds to type… but I got it right! I look at that word and I have no idea what it is, I know the word, I know the spelling, I know the definition, but the pronunciation, which then would lead my brain to the other attributes of the word is difficult for me to come to. So to any journalists I know, please stop using that word.

So this leads me to French, my vocabulary is tiny, and my understanding of the grammar is smaller. I think this was my failing in grade school, and to have added Hebrew on top of that, was more difficult. How can I learn a language if my coping mechanisms are reliant on a working knowledge of the language?

Sacré bleu!

Linky Link

  • Above, NPR inverview Stephin Merritt & Claudia Gonson.
  • Carrie Brownstein, will you marry me? Okay, we’ve never met, and it would be slightly awkward that my best friend has the same first name as me, and his wife has the same first name as you, but does that really matter? Your love of The Magnetic Fields is enough for me. Oh, and while we’re on the topic, your amazingness as part of Sleater-Kinney doesn’t hurt.
  • With a Gold in hand for Canada, 3000km away in the country’s largest city (and my city), the CN Tower goes gold.
  • Mechanical Forest Sound posts a new Gentleman Reg song. Thanks Joe!
  • Apparently Canadians handle their sticks with their left hands. Though I’ve never played hockey, I do hold a golf club and baseball bat left handed. (Yoinked from TIMMMMAAAAY)
  • A video illustrating Microsoft’s creative process. Best comment, “I will never think about MS Paint the same way.”
  • Who has a few million to spare? (via the article’s author… HI KATE!)

Wavelength 500 (Show 5)

My plans of attending Wavelength over the past week seem to have been defeated; of five shows, over the past week, I only attended one. For those who didn’t read my previous post, Wavelength is a music series that has happened every Sunday for the past ten year. To celebrate Wavelength 500 and mourn the end of the weekly series, Toronto was lucky enough to see a five night festival happening in various venues throughout the city.

I missed the first four shows, and unfortunately wasn’t able to see The Bicycles, Laura Barrett, Evening Hymns, Diamond Rings, Picastro, Constantines or numerous other bands, I did however get to see a show I will never forget.

Opening the show were BoarsNeckMean Red Spiders. They were all good. I enjoyed them all but don’t remember enough about any of them to have anything much to say.

The Barcelona Pavilion were probably my highlight of the show. I had wondered for a long time why anyone cared for any music performed by Steve Kado. I had seem him perform a number of times, and just didn’t get it, it didn’t make sense to me. Sure, I had respect for him, and the □□□□□□ Recording Club he helped found and admired the spirit of DIY so very much embodied by □□□□□□ and Wavelength. I’ve also been to The Boat many times and seen bands who were part of the Bad Band Revolution, and always wondered why anyone liked this self-admitted “bad bands,” seriously, they were horrible. I’ve always related Kado to that. Kado used to play in a band called The Barcelona Pavilion, and they reformed in their original lineup for Wavelength 500.

I was blown away by their performance, sure musically, it fit in with the bad band revolution, but it had all those wonderful tenants of good punk! I also haven’t moshed in a long time, and that was a nice change from usual… oh and did I mention that Maggie MacDonald is hot?

The best I can say about Kids on TV is that they are theatrical; I could also say they’re gay, but for some odd reason the two seem to go hand in hand. Their set didn’t really do anything for me, and I didn’t quite understand why anyone else was enjoying it; I found it to be cliché and boring.

Did you know that “Tranzac” is an adjective? As in, “This band is rather Trazacy.” Well, before Thomas came on, I asked someone what they were like, and he said “Tranzacy.” Then after getting bored with them, and hovering elsewhere in the bar, I mentioned my boredom to someone else, and she said, “yeah, they’re very Tranzac.” In closing, they were boring, and not an exciting secret act, the following secret act was much better.

Did someone say Owen Pallett? Oh my! For those who don’t know Owen Pallett used to record and tour under the name Final Fantasy. He’s recently decided to start going by his actual name. Pallett’s set’s biggest drawback was the 30 minutes for him to set up his excessive amounts of gear to play four songs. However, those four songs were absolutely wonderful. Before he left the stage he announced that he would be back in a few with The Hidden Cameras.

Yes, The Hidden Cameras. I’ve never been a fan. I have a strange double 7″ EP, and have listened to it a couple times. but I never really got into them. Unlike Kids on TV, I completely understand why they have a following, and really dug seeing them live. I was able to get into the groove of the audience, and enjoy the show for what it was. I still won’t be buying any of their records any time soon, but I’ll have fun if they randomly decide to close a show I’m at.

Above photo of Doc Pickles taken by Garry Tsaconas, used with permission.