August 21, 2003

Blue Man Group

A week ago today I went to see the Blue Man Group, with Susan and two of her friends/co-workers.

We saw them at a place called "The Backyard," which wasn't a bad name because the stage was outside, the ground was uncovered grass, and there was even hay sprinkled around on the floor in front of the stage.

They were here on what they called "The Complex Rock Tour," accenting and promoting their new CD, "The Complex."

Tracy Bonham opened for them, with her electric violin. Good musician, her. We sat on the ground, on the hay, while enjoying her music. The crowd wasn't so thick and she was at the front of the stage, so life was good.

When Tracy was finished, people started moving up. And standing up. The crowd was thickening, so it was a bit annoying to have these people push up in front of us when we'd been there the whole time. Even worse was that everyone could see while there was sitting, but now so many people were being blocked. Still, it wasn't bad enough for us to stand up.

Venus Hum was up next, a musical trio with a web site that I've only seen for the first time just now and I like a lot. They were very good, and reminded me a bit of Björk or The Sugarcubes or some band like that. (Note to self: Buy their CD.)

The crowd was becoming too dense. When Venus Hum finished the stage was pretty much completely blocked from view. Grudgingly, we stood up.

The place was packed. Packed. There weren't even any proper paths through the crowd at this point--not in front of the stage, not to the bathroom, and certainly not to the exit. Packed.

The Blue Man Group then took the stage. They were great! There were three of them, plus a big rock band to accompany them. They went through their famous antics and expert performances, playing their drumbones and whatnot.

The Blue Man part, this last act of the show, was themed around "rock show lessons," and a big screen and voice helped the Blue Men go through all the points you need to hit in order to make a successful rock concert. They started with the head-bob, then went into hopping up and down, and continued on to his such points as pulling people from the stage, grabbing previous acts to join in, and other funnery. (At the end, they even fulfilled the obligatory "fake leave" so they could come back for the encore.)

Tracy was the person they pulled back on stage, and she joined in the singing both then and again later on. Venushum also came back, their lead singer clad in what I'll call an "electric dress."

The only part of the show I didn't like came at the very end. The encore was over, but the stage lights were still on. The roadies were giving people "gifts"--they were tossing the Blue man drumsticks into the first few rows of the crowd by the stage. "Uh oh," I thought to myself. The roadies moved in our direction, and I saw one about to toss a drumstick in our direction. "Oh, God," I said in a low voice, and gritted my teeth for "the inevitable." I stretched out my hand, as much to protect myself as to try to grab the drumstick-souvenir. The drumstick was flung, I saw it arch up and...into the lights. I lost it. Where was it? "Oh, God...!"


It hit in my stupid big irish head, and harder than I would have imagined. I grabbed my noggin, yelling "OW!" really loudly, and I think I might have also said, "I should get that!" I guess I thought people might have sympathy for me and work together to get me that drumstick for my troubles. But, nope. No drumstick for me. Just a bit of a bump. Which is gone now, so I'll stop talking about it.

But, yeah, if you ever get the chance to see the Blue man Group, you should go. It was totally worth it. It wasn't just a handful of people who just show up and play music, which in my opinion too many bands think is just fine--why shouldn't I just buy the CD and both save a lot of money and have the music available forever? No, these people, they put on a show, and a darned good one, too. I applaud them for the incredible entertainment value they gave to us that night one week ago. Totally worth it. Even with the bump.

Posted by Keith at 11:14 AM

August 04, 2003

28 Days Later

This weekend, Susan and I saw "28 Days Later." It's an "independent film" that isn't really a zombie or post-apocalypse movie, but it's got some scary stuff, lots of blood, and feels a bit like a zombie movie. It was a good flick, and I recommend it.

The movie centers around an infection that is let loose upon the world after a group of animal rights activists try to free some experimental chimpanzees, and the ensuing horror that this brings about. 28 days after the infection is let loose, Jim, a cycle courier, awakens to find himself seemingly completely along in London. Except he's not alone, and eventually he finds other people. Infected people — and a handful of not-yet-infected persons like himself.

I really like its "what would you do in this situation?" concept. More specificially, it seemed to wonder "What is the minimal amount of society you would allow or afford yourself when faced with survival?" It's not so cliche like a lot of horror movies. Not simply remaking an old villain stereotype and putting people into dumb situations that no sane person would put themselves in. They did a really nice job making England seem virtually empty. I totally recommend it.

Posted by Keith at 07:41 PM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2003

Top 10 Things I Hate About Star Trek

Susan e-mailed me the following list of things about Star Trek that iritate Dan at the Happy Fun Pundit. I've adapted the article, originally found here, for your conveniece.

(Note: This list does not necessarily reflect the likes or dislikes of your truly)

Top 10 Things I Hate About Star Trek

  1. Noisy doors.

    You can't walk three feet in a starship without some door whooshing or screeching at you. My office building has automatic sliding doors. They're dead silent. If those doors went "wheet!" every time a person walked through them, about once a month some guy in accounting would snap and go on a shooting rampage. Sorry Scotty, the IEEE has revoked your membership until you learn to master WD-40
  1. The Federation.

    This organization creeps me out. A planet-wide government that runs everything, and that has abolished money. A veritable planetary DMV. Oh sure, it looks like a cool place when you're rocketing around in a Federation Starship, but I wonder how the guy driving a Federation dump truck feels about it?

    And everyone has to wear those spandex uniforms. Here's an important fact: Most people, you don't want to see them in spandex. You'd pay good money to not have to see them. If money hadn't been abolished, that is. So you're screwed.
  1. Reversing the Polarity.

    For cripes sake Giordi, stop reversing the polarity of everything! It might work once in a while, but usually it just screws things up. I have it on good authority that the technicians at Starbase 12 HATE that. Every time the Enterprise comes in for its 10,000 hour checkup, they've gotta go through the whole damned ship fixing stuff. "What happened to the toilet in Stateroom 3?" "Well, the plumbing backed up, and Giordi thought he could fix it by reversing the polarity."

    Between Scotty's poor lubrication habits and Geordi's damned polarity reversing trick, it's a wonder the Enterprise doesn't just spontaneously explode whenever they put the juice to it.
  1. Seatbelts.

    Yeah, I know this one is overdone, but you'd think that the first time an explosion caused the guy at the nav station to fly over the captain's head with a good 8 feet of clearance, someone would say, "You know, we might think of inventing some furutistic restraining device to prevent that from happening." So of course, they did make something like that for the second Enterprise (the first one blew up due to poor lubrication), but what was it? A hard plastic thing that's locked over your thighs. Oh, I'll bet THAT feels good in the corners. "Hey look! The leg-bars worked as advertised! There goes Kirk's torso!"
  1. No fuses.

    Every time there's a power surge on the Enterprise the various stations and consoles explode in a shower of sparks and throw their seatbelt-less operators over Picard's head. If we could get Giordi to stop reversing the polarity for a minute, we could get him to go shopping at the nearest Starship parts store and pick up a few fuses. And while he's shopping, he could stop at an intergalactic IKEA and pick up a few chairs for the bridge personnel. If you're going to put me in front of a fuseless exploding console all day, the least you could do is let me sit down.
  1. Rule by committee.

    Here's the difference between Star Trek and the best SF show on TV last year:

    Star Trek:

    Picard: "Arm photon torpedoes!"
    Riker: "Captain! Are you sure that's wise?"
    Troi: "Captain! I'm picking up conflicting feelings about this! And, it appears that you're a 'fraidy cat."
    Wesley: "Captain, I'm just an annoying punk, but I thought I should say something."
    Worf: "Captain, can I push the button? This is giving me a big Klingon warrior chubby."
    Giordi: "Captain, I think we should reverse the polarity on them first."
    Picard: "I'm so confused. I'm going to go to my stateroom and look pensive."


    Captain: "Let's shoot them."
    Crewman: "Are you sure that's wise?"
    Captain: "Do you know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I'll BEAT YOU WITH until you realize who's in command."
    Crewman: "Aye Aye, sir!"
  1. A Star Trek quiz:

    Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and 'Ensign Gomez' beam down to a planet. Which one isn't coming back?
  1. Technobabble.

    The other night, I couldn't get my car to start. I solved the problem by reversing the polarity of the car battery, and routing the power through my satellite dish. The resulting subspace plasma caused a rift in the space-time continuum, which created a quantum tunnelling effect that charged the protons in the engine core, thus starting my car. Child's play, really. As a happy side-effect, I also now get the Spice Channel for free.
  1. The Holodeck.

    I mean, it's cool and all. But do you really believe that people would use it to re-create Sherlock Holmes mysteries and old-west saloons? Come on, we all know what the holodeck would be used for. And we also know what the worst job on the Enterprise would be: Having to squeegie the holodeck clean.
  1. The Prime Directive.

    How stupid is this? Remember when Marvin the Martian was going to blow up the Earth, because it obstructed his view of Venus? And how Bugs Bunny stopped him by stealing the Illudium Q36 Space Modulator? Well, in the Star Trek universe, Bugs would be doing time. Probably in a room filled with Roseanne lookalikes wearing spandex uniforms, walking through doors going WHEET! all day. It would be hell. At least until the Kaboom. The Earth-shattering Kaboom.

Posted by Keith at 07:04 PM | Comments (2)

December 09, 2002

The Back-up Channel

Although I'll often watch a television show through to its conclusion, I'll always have a second program prepped and ready to go on the "last channel" button--my "back-up channel."

I don't completely understand why I do it, but I do know a lot of people also maintain a channel in reserve while watching the tube. I do know how I use this channel, however. As a minimum, the alternate station remains primed for viewing during my main channel's commercial breaks. And so: I'll stick with one channel for the bulk of the night, but during commercial breaks I'll watch my back-up channel.

But the split isn't always so "90/10." There's nothing to say that my time between the two channels can't be split more evenly. I might, for example, watch the first station until the first break, then switch to the alternate channel until its first commercial break. It's a convenient system that allows me to happy get the gist of multiple TV shows.

In fact, there's nothing to say I can't watch multiple shows in this manner, although it may require a little memory-work on my part as I cycle through three or more channels. It's a multi-tasking TV-watching system that allows me to follow my bliss.

But my bliss is threatened, and I'm afraid.

I own TiVo nowadays. Now, don't get me wrong, TiVo's a wonderful device, and I'm extremely glad it's around to help me catch all the TV I didn't even know I've been missing. But TiVo is a two-edged sword: I can't change the channel while TiVo's recording. Sure, I can watch previously-recorded programs if I choose, but I have to restrain myself if I get a craving to switch to my back-up channel. I ask myself about the future of the back-up channel--but before I can answer myself I'm already thinking of something else.

Posted by Keith at 12:01 AM

December 07, 2002

10 of My Favorite Movies

Every so often I, like most people, begin wondering about the movies I've seen and liked. And, also like most people, I can sometimes be found making up my own "top 10 movies" list. Here's one such list.

My list is in alphabetical, not preferential, order. I'm not trying to assert which movies have been the best ever made, or have the best production quality, best acting, or best screenplay. No, I'm just listing my own personal top 10 favorite movies.

So why are these particular movies in my top list? I can't quote every line from them, nor can I name every actor or list off their producers & directors. There are films that, if I to choose only 10 movies that I could ever watch again, I'd stay happiest for the longest amount of time with this particular cinematic collection.

And even though I may note these 10 particular movies, I should note that I feel these sorts of lists are always "alive" and subject to change. Over time, I may bump off one or more titles either because I somehow forgot a movie that should have been on my list in the first place, or to favor some new release that fills me with such bliss or passion that it's an immediate "must have" for my list.

So, that's my 10 favorite movies. There are certainly many more movies that I'm a huge fan of, and if I had also included "honorable mentions" I'd be including Blood of Heroes, Casablanca, The Crow, Escape from New York, Highlander, It's a Wonderful Life, Jaws, The Little Mermaid, Men in Black, Road Warrior, and X-Men. But I won't add them, because every list has to stop somewhere. Of course, just because my list ended shouldn't stop you from making up your own top 10 movies list.

Posted by Keith at 12:01 AM