Sunday, May 31, 2009

Queen - "I Want To Break Free"

Freddie Mercury had one of the greatest rock moustaches of all time. It's on proud display in this insane video:

Bonus! Freddie schools the 'stache-haters on stage:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jimmy Buffett - "Pencil Thin Mustache"


Coming out for cell phones, and more importantly, the DSi - Ghostwire is an augmented reality game in which you search for ghosts in the environment around you. This is perhaps the cleverest use of the DSi's camera I've seen yet.

And here's a trailer for the phone version:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chris Dane Owens - "Shine On Me"

This video is an example of what happens when moustaches go wrong. Well, it's an example of what happens when everything goes wrong.

A sword and a hideous pornstache do not a hero make.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wilford Brimley's Cure For Those Beetustime Blues

Not even the beetus can detract from the glory that is Brimley's moustache (or his ability to rock!):

More On Virgin Falls

Went on the Virgin Falls hike with my friends, Sarah and Brook. This was about a ten mile hike. You start up on the plateau and keep descending until you get to the falls.

There are several alternate routes to take, including the lookout path, which has some great views; and the path to Sheep Cave, which has a fairly impressive waterfall that flows out of it.

Big Laurel Falls is the first impressive falls along the trail. The cave behind Big Laurel Falls is fairly large, and is covered by a thick bed of branches covered with fine sand. It's incredibly spongy to walk on. The water below these falls mysteriously disappears into a hole in the ground at the back of the cave.

Virgin Falls was very beautiful. You could climb down to the base of it if you were motivated. The rocks are very slippery. I went about halfway. There is a narrow trail that runs around in front of the falls that gives a perfect view. The spot has the feeling of a paradise oasis in the middle of the woods.

You have to hike back the way you came in. Since it was mostly downhill to the falls, it's all uphill on the way back. Parts of it are pretty intense for amateur hikers like myself. And we were moving at a pretty rapid pace, because one of us had to be back at a certain time.

It was a difficult hike. I wouldn't do it again in a hurry, since I tend to enjoy more leisurely hikes. But ultimately the views were worth the experience. I had a great time.

Virgin Falls

I went for a great hike this morning with some friends. You can see some pictures from the hike here. I wasn't able to upload my panoramic shots in that album so I'll post them here:

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Unusual Times

I've found another blog celebrating the wonderful world of moustaches all this month: The Unusual Times. They run a fancier ship than mine, and also had the good fortune of sending one of their own to the World Beard And Moustache Championships that happened but days ago, in Anchorage.

This month they've been chronicling their journey to said championships with a series of pictures and YouTube videos. This is one of my favorites:

I've just discovered this site, but I'm already a big fan.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ned Flanders

Ned Flanders is quite possibly the most famous mustachioed cartoon character of all time. And also possibly the most famous evangelical in America. Despite all the jokes at his expense, The Simpsons has shown time and again that God is very much on Flanders' side:

This is either vindication of the faithful, or evidence that there is power in the 'stache.


A delightful animated moustache from the art director of Coraline:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

La Moustache

La Moustache ultimately fails to live up to its wonderful trailer. It has an absurdly wonderful premise that unfortunately doesn't pay off in the end. Maybe it was too much to hope for.

The first two thirds of the movie work very well. A man shaves his moustache, after which his wife and all his friends refuse to acknowledge that he ever had one. At first he's just pissed, thinking they're all having a laugh at his expense. But when he comes to believe his wife isn't lying to him, then the alternative he must accept is that he's going mad. Things go downhill for him from there as other details about his life begin to unravel.

Then he goes to China for some reason, and all the tension that has been building just dissolves. Eventually everything ends just as suddenly as it began. Was he momentarily crazy? Was it a prank? The movie doesn't try to explain, and doesn't even give clues for the audience to mull over afterward. What starts out as a very intriguing story ends up fizzling out into a kind of non-story. One day things got weird, and then one day they got un-weirded. There is no apparent point or explanation for anything.

I don't mind a little vagueness in my movies. Sometimes a movie can be completely confounding and still leave me with the impression that at least something happened (Swimming Pool comes to mind). Or the ending is ridiculous, but the journey was so entertaining it doesn't matter (The Game). But La Moustache comes up short on both ends. It's like Chaplin's 'stache when it should have been Dali's.

Groucho Marx - "Hello, I Must Be Going"

Friday, May 15, 2009

Angels & Demons

I haven't seen The Da Vinci Code movie, though I did read the book. And while it's the kind of book that you absolutely can't put down until you finish it, Dan Brown is paradoxically a pretty bad writer. He's just happened to find a gimmick that makes his books addictive. So bully for him.

I haven't read Angels & Demons, but from what I understand it uses all of the same tricks he later used for Da Vinci. Ending every chapter with a cliffhanger, creating plot twists by deliberately lying to the reader (the Shyamalan method), and throwing in a dash of real history.

And while the major plot twist here isn't nearly as outrageously cheated as it was in The Da Vinci Code, we have the rest of the story to compensate. Almost everything that occurs in Angels & Demons is completely preposterous, especially the climax and conclusion. The helicopter scene completely nuked the fridge, and the bad guy's ultimate plan was so complicated and relied on so much chance that it was barely a plan at all. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the movie.

One of the nice things about it is that it clips along at a rapid pace, so that you often don't have time to stop and think about how dumb it is. The whole movie is essentially one long chase scene, interspersed with a touch of art history and puzzle solving, and the occasional gruesome murder. And I mean gruesome!

One of the major problems is that I didn't particularly care for any of the characters. I found every one of them at least a little bit annoying. Even Tom Hanks comes across as a kind of douchey know-it-all who never lets a moment pass to display his cleverness. It's no wonder the Vatican is so reluctant to work with him. And is it just me, or did you not know who the bad guy was after watching the first trailer?

I also have to take slight umbrage with the ultimate message about science and religion. Angels & Demons comes down on the side of "hey, they're both equally good! Can't have one without the other." Which seems to validate the current argument that schools should be teaching creation right alongside evolution.
I know this is a popcorn movie and Ron Howard is not trying to be controversial, but come on!

Regardless, I found myself enjoying the movie. If for nothing else than to get to see some wonderful parts of Rome, and amazing art. Particularly the work of Bernini whom I've absolutely loved since watching the incredible series, Power of Art (check it out, you'll be in love). Despite all of its glaring flaws I found myself enjoying the ride. Just like The Da Vinci Code.


Not be confused with Tim Burton's 9:

I don't know what this is about, but Daniel Day-Lewis potentially singing and dancing? Can I buy two tickets for myself please? Even the present reminder that Nicole Kidman exists can't keep me from wanting to see this.

Beirut - "Elephant Gun"

Two good moustaches in this one.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Wonderful World Of Beard & Moustache Championships

Featuring categories like "wild west", "muskateer", and "Alaskan whaler", the World Beard And Moustache Championships is a time honored tradition that dates back either to the 1990's or 1970's (depending on who you ask). As it says on the official website: "Like many things having to do with the World Beard and Moustache Championships, the history of the event is shrouded in controversy."

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing controversial about looking this good:

The World Beard and Moustache Championships will be taking place later this month in Anchorage, Alaska.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Sparks - "This Town Ain't Big Enough" / "When Do I Get To Sing My Way?"

Sparks has been around since the seventies, but I only recently discovered them with their fantastic 2008 album, Exotic Creatures Of The Deep. The video above shows off one of their early songs, and also displays what has to be one of the best moustaches ever sported by a musician.

Keyboardist and song writer, Ron Mael, would later sport a less awesome, yet still respectable pencil 'stache:

Star Trek

Relief! Star Trek is awesome!

Like Batman Begins and X-Men, this is a great start to a new franchise. The casting is perfect, and each of the characters is given their own moments to be great. Even Chekov is shown some love, which is a nice change of pace.

Spock is fantastic, and his love story with Uhura really works. Uhura is really fleshed out as an important character, and does way more than just repeating what the computer says. Scotty is hilarious, although he shows up a bit late in the movie (more of him in the sequel, please). And he has a little alien sidekick that is really funny. Bones is suitably grumpy. His "Dammit, I'm a doctor..." lines are perfect. Sulu is fine, but his coolest moment is an action scene rather than a character moment. He does have the coolest samurai sword in a movie, ever. Chekov gets to save the day a couple of times, which makes him more than just a funny accent. And Kirk gets to be suitably cocky and woman-crazy, while displaying the intelligence and strength that makes him the legendary captain he will become.

The story itself is a basic revenge story (albeit one told at large scale, with the inclusion of time travel). The villainous Romulan isn't one of the greatest villains in Star Trek history, but his plan is suitably menacing. The most interesting thing introduced in the story is the fact that the villain's intrusion in the past has altered the course of history. So while we are essentially dealing with the same characters as the original series, we are now actually in a parallel time line. This is a pretty clever way for the producers to reboot the series and maintain the ability to take some liberties with Star Trek lore if they feel the need. The core elements are the same, but the options are unlimited.

Things to geek out over: Kirk taking the Kobayashi Maru test, Leonard Nimoy's wonderful supporting role (very integral to the plot), future spock's personal ship, classic lines like "Dammit, I'm I doctor, not a physicist!" and "I'm givin' her all she's got!", it's still bad to be a redshirt, Sulu's sword.

The movie is also filled with some great light-hearted comedy which helps give it the feel of the original series. Almost all of Scotty's scenes are injected with humor, and there is a hilarious scene involving Bones, Kirk, and some alien virus. Chekov is the young one on the crew, and his youthful enthusiasm is pretty funny especially when he's pronouncing those v's.

Every Star Trek fan should be really pleased with this movie. It gets so much right when it comes to the characters and their relationships with each other. I definitely can not wait for the inevitable sequel. Now that the introductions are out of the way, they can really ramp up the stories.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Moustache Is Touching My Brain!

Clips from one of the best episodes of The Tick ever, "That Moustache Feeling":

The Conan Cometh...

We're less than a month away from Conan O'Brien's triumphant return to late night television, and he has an important message for us:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Hall and Oates and Oates' Moustache

Sure, everything about this song is bland as hell. But once Oates and his magnificent 'stache enter the frame it no longer matters.

And nobody knows the power of Oates' moustache more than Oates' himself, since he is currently developing an animated series in which he and his 'stache fight crime!

Here's a description of the pilot:

"It will portray Oates opening a new wing of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that focuses on mustachioed musicians.

Suddenly, a dying David Crosby appears and with his last breath warns Oates of a mysterious secret group of mustache wearers bent on killing other mustache wearers. As actor Tom Selleck attempts to escape from the latest murder scene, Oates summons his own mustache with a fist pump that simultaneously changes his clothes from conservative attire to pink pants and white boots."

No updates on this since last summer, but let's hope this is released in the very near future.

Monday, May 04, 2009

La Moustache

I just put this at the top of my Netflix queue:

Leave it to the French to construct an intense cinematic thriller about a man who shaves his moustache. This is why movies exist.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Minor spoilers ahead:

Bryan Singer kicked off the X-Men movie franchise incredibly well before running off to do more damage to Superman than Doomsday ever did. While the first X-Men movie wasn't perfect, its strengths far outshine its flaws. The casting was near-flawless, especially when it came to Xavier, Magneto, and Wolverine. They were even stronger in X2, Singer's followup. X3 was a total train wreck, killing off major beloved characters with all the emotional impact of a hiccup. But at least Wolverine was still cool.

X-Men Origins somehow manages to take everything that worked about that character in the first two-and-a-half movies, and tosses it out the window. How they managed to take an already well-established character and make him more two dimensional while giving him more screen time - I'll never know. He's mostly humorless, and when he does crack a joke it's not very good. Maybe he doesn't gain a sense of humor until he loses his memory. That might also explain the recurrence of his flipping-the-bird-with-his-claws routine. You can repeat the same joke if you don't remember doing it the first time (or if you're a lazy screenwriter).

The movie's one redeeming factor is that it's full of unintentional humor. I'm not enough of an X-Men fan to be blinded with rage by such a wrong-headed adaptation, so I managed to enjoy every moronic twist that came along. When a girl shows up at the end of the movie who has "skin as hard as a diamond", nothing prepares you for the visual representation of this when it finally shows up. Imagine someone who's been bedazzled from head to toe and you get the picture. Lots of the movie is filled with things that the filmmakers thought were going to be awesome, but are in fact incredibly stupid. The worst is the conclusion of Wolverine's walking-into-the-sunset moment. You know what's about to happen, and it's still dumber than you imagined. If you go into the movie ready to roll with this, then there is entertainment to be gleaned from it.

One of the weakest parts of the movie is the special effects. This movie did not have a slashed budget, but it looks like it was made for television. Maybe this is because the director has mostly worked in television, I don't know. But after three movies that (at the very least) looked really good, Wolverine's claws look fake for the first time. They decided to forgo physical props for CGI and it is glaringly obvious. I swear, it's like the filmmakers weren't even aware that there were previous X-Men movies. But the absolute worst thing is the appearance of Professor Xavier at the end. What is supposed to be a "Holy Shit Awesome!" moment, is instead a "Holy Shit, Monster!" moment. Because what we see is a version of Patrick Stewart digitally altered to look like a young man, done in such a way as to give the impression that a wax sculpture has come to life and is hungry for souls. At least that's the impression that I got.

Other things that suck:

Every other character in the movie. After waiting years for Gambit to make an appearance, X-Men fans are getting a really shitty version of him. Think Angel in X3 - just no real point to him being around at all. No one is developed beyond their function in moving the story.

The dialog is laughably terrible throughout.

Wolverine's childhood is included at the begging, why? It has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie. I imagine they included it so the movie would at least have some small resemblance to his origin in the comics. It introduces a mystery involving his father that is never mentioned again, than jumps straight into the opening credits sequence which is as dull as anything else in the movie.

Ultimately I feel Wolverine is another step downward, even from X3. But I actually enjoyed watching it more, since I expected it to be lousy.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Peter Sarstedt - "Where Do You Go To My Lovely?"

Doctor Atomic

I recently picked up Doctor Atomic on DVD. It is an opera composed by John Adams about the testing of the first nuclear bomb. After one viewing my initial impressions are mixed. I felt that the first act was much stronger than the second, and ended on a more powerful climax. But that could change after repeated viewings. It might also be different if I were watching the performance live in a theater.

But the act one finale and its visual presentation are stunning:

Another highlight for me is this beautiful aria by Oppenheimer's wife earlier in the first act:

There are some great moments in the second act as well, but those two arias are my favorites. One of the cool things about this opera is that all of the text is taken either from actual things the characters said, or from some of Oppenheimer's favorite poets. This is a fantastic piece of work.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Jonathan Coulton - "First Of May"

New eMusic/other for April part 2:

1. Peelander-Z - P-Pop-High School
2. Dananananaykroyd - Hey Everyone
3. The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
4. The Weepies - Say I Am You
5. Susanna - Flower of Evil
6. Seal - Soul
7. Herbie Hancock - River: The Joni Letters
8. Prince - MPLSOUND
9. Prince - LOtUSFLOW3R
10. Janelle Monae - Metropolis: The Chase Suite
11. The Lonely Island - Incredibad
12. The Phenomenal Handclap Band - The Phenomenal Handclap Band
13. TV on the Radio - Dear Science,
14. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
15. A.C. Newman - Get Guilty
16. Mirah - (a)spera
17. Leonard Cohen - Live in London
New eMusic/other of April part 1:

1. The BPA - I Think We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat
2. Dan Deacon - Bromst
3. Future Islands - Wave Like Home
4. Tom Waits - Orphans
5. Man Man - Rabbit Habits
6. Marty Grosz - Hooray For Bix!
7. Rufus Wainwright - Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall
8. Lupe Fiasco - The Cool
9. Jobriath - Lonely Planet Boy
10. The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead
11. The Pillows - Please Mr. Lostman
12. The Pillows - Smile
13. The Weird Weeds - I Miss This
14. Passion Pit - Chunk of Change EP
15. The Bad Plus - For All I Care
16. various artists - The Only Blip Hop Record You Will Ever Need, Vol. 1
17. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)