Monday, January 30, 2006

Steven Spielberg. American Hero.
Steven Spielberg says US filmmakers are 'inspired' by George W Bush

"No-one is really representing us, so we're now representing our own feelings and trying to strike back."

Yup. Kick ass.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pod-On, O My Brothers

Since Adam has finally posted something else, I thought I would followup....

If you are interested in Podcasting, please feel free to contact me and I can help you get started, or, go on over to and you will find a varitable melange of information concerning podcasting. The hardest part I have found yet is getting a readable xml file. A valid RSS feed is a real humdinger to create, though there are some templates out there to help you along the way.

Thanks if you have listened, you suck if you have not, and shoot me a mail if you are interested in starting one of your own!

Happy Podding


Podcast Planet
You ever get tired of the same old crap on TV every day? Reruns of Friends and crappy game shows aren't my idea of quality programming, and I'm guessing they're not yours, either.
The fact of the matter is, the mass media today is controlled by a handful of immense corporations that couldn't give a damn about what's truly quality. Look at the FOX network, for example. This is the monolithic beast that cancelled the The Ben Stiller Show. which won an Emmy for Best Comedy Series after it had been off the air for months . They cancelled Family Guy and then resurrected it after cable proved it was far more popular than their myopic Neilsens indicated. And they cancelled critical darling Arrested Development -- another Emmy laureate that just couldn't get a break. Personally, I despise FOX for cancelling Firefly (one of the best sci-fi shows in recent memory) and Wonderfalls (simply put, the most insanely creative and witty show in recent memory). Their track record for destroying only the best of their programming is astounding. How The Simpsons ever lasted is beyond me.
But, it's not just FOX that I hate. I can't stand ABC, NBC, CBS, UPN or the WB. I'm tired of the blandness of it all. I've had it with television, with very few exceptions. As a person who now watches 2 hours of network television a week, I can't even excuse the expense of a cable bill.
Don't get me started on radio, either. The Clear Channel empire has signalled the death knell of the radio industry. Pre-packaged pap that's even less interesting than MTV (Do they even PLAY music any more?)? No thanks.
I refer you to a t-shirt from the 1970s:
"Corporate Rock Sucks".
It does. It's true.
And yet, people keep buying it, because it's all they're exposed to. The only reason that anyone knows, or gives a shit about, who Jon Bon Jovi is is because he was marketed and sold to them by a large corporation. Untalented trash like Britney Spears and Assley Simpson can be marketed, so they succeed.
Fuck, the whole American Idol thing is just a marketing scheme. Think about it -- you watch your favorite idol all season, and you're NOT gonna buy the inevitable CD they send down the pike? Or go to the American Idol Tour? Or buy the home game/karaoke machine? Right... The entire thing is a preparation by the network and Simon Cowell's record label to feed you a pre-packaged star. If the competition was really about talent, would PAULA FUCKING ABDUL be a qualified judge? I think not.
What happened to listening to artists with TALENT? What happened to good music at all? Well, big business happened, of course. It's a vicious cycle, really. The moment an independent artist or record label comes along that finds any kind of mainstream success outside of the corporate business model comes along, they do one of two things. 1) They buy out the artist/label or 2) They offer the artist/label a "distribution contract" that means that while the media itself is produced independently, the corporation owns the dissemination of it on a country-wide and sometimes world-wide basis.
It's good business sense for the massive corporation, because they get their greasy little paws into a market they haven't opened up yet. And it's good business sense for the artists and labels, because they can now reach an audience several thousand times larger than they could have before, often comes at the price of creative freedom. And even occasionally, at the expense of the artists' own intellectual property rights.
Sadly, it's the only way that independent artists of any kind have been able to work in the mainstream media. How many film directors out there can succeed without a major studio backing them? It's the same thing with music. Or any other media, up until recently. How many musicians can reach a global audience without selling out to Big Business? How many authors can get their book in libraries without a publishing company?

From the inception of the internet, people have crowed on about how it was going to change the way information was received by the common man. So far, all it's done is made it easier to find porn and bitch about movies you haven't seen. But, thanks to recent developments in web syndication, that's all about to change. Maybe.
Podcasting could well revolutionize modern media transmission. In fact, some podcasters aim to dismantle the current power structure of conventional media itself. Is it a realistic goal? Probably not. But, with luck, they can crack the hard stone surface of these conglomerate corporations and perhaps spark some change in the way that the mainstream responds to their audience -- and maybe even find some mainstream success on their own.

Wait. Did you just ask me, "What's a podcast?" ???
C'mon, now. Podcasts are essentially radio and video shows compressed to formats that are easily posted online, and syndicated by an RSS feed so that the audience can subscribe to them and automatically download new content.
Podcasting itself is a recent development, but it's exploded thanks to portable media players like the iPod.
I'm not going to detail the history of podcasting. First off, because it's just damn boring, unless you find coding REALLY fascinating. Second, because there's so damn much bickering about who exactly did what (check out the current controversy over the history of podcasting over at Wikipedia if you're into soap operas about computer geeks). Yes, that big-haired fag from MTV, Adam Curry, was one of the first ones. And I really do enjoy his Daily Source Code. But, he's still a big-haired fag.
It's an incredibly simple idea. Anyone can be a podcaster, so long as they have the means to record and upload their show. Isn't that cool? You could listen to the guy next door's podcast, or someone from Timbuktu's. Or both. Since these podcasters often have email, message boards and other means of feedback available, the public has an unprecedented amount of feedback with them. On some shows (The Dawn and Drew Show, that pesky DSC, etc) they even provide some of the show production -- theme songs, segment jingles and the like.
There's a podcast for pretty much every topic you can think of. There are music podcasts -- though flack from the RIAA and ASCAP/BMI has prevented podcasters from using licensed music, creating the term "podsafe" music (Music that the artist gives license for podcasters to use in their shows without fee.) and the necessity for a Podsafe Music Network. There are podcasts on tech news and support. Gardening. Parenting. Learning guitar. Mixology (the TikiBar TV podcast rules, by the way). You name it, it's out there.
There are even audio books available as podcasts -- termed "podio books" by one intrepid author. The LibriVox project is actually creating free podcasts of public-domain works. And there are several podcasts that do productions of Shakespeare plays.
We even have a podcaster in our wee NeuroTrash family (if you haven't noticed his constant mewling) -- Kevin is the cohost of ConstantColumbus, a damn fine show about the local music scene in sunny Central Ohio. Check his show out. If you don't, I'll pout. A lot. Really.

Anyone with a podcast aggregator (the program that reads those RSS feeds) can automatically download the new episodes of their favorite programs. And now that iTunes and WinAmp both support podcast feeds, it's easier than ever. If you're searching for a particular podcast, Yahoo's even stepped up to the plate with a podcast directory. I have better luck searching with Podcast Alley, but that's just me.
If you haven't listened to a podcast yet, you really should. The richness of the content out there, by the sheer number of alternatives available, is just astounding. I'm by no means an expert, but I can make a suggestion or two about how you should go about getting your podcasts.
For ease of use, the choice for many people is iTunes. It's simply the most intuitive, best-built audio player out there, and it's integration to the iTunes Music Store enables access to millions of songs at your fingertips. Even though they put the podcast capability in through the storefront, iTunes is probably the easiest way to subscribe to podcasts out there. One-button subscription is the way to go if you're not a tech geek. And, they DO have a lot of exclusive content, since they are the kings of portable media. Besides, I'm a Mac-using whore, so Steve Jobs is my pimp.
If you've got spotty internet service or you're still on dialup, you might wanna reconsider that. There are a number of freeware applications out there that work great for downloading podcasts. I'd personally recommend either Juice or iPodder Lemon (which are now pretty much identical). They're both cross-platform open-source programs that do the job and support download resumption, which can be an important factor when you're attempting to get indie podcasts and the poor sods can't afford the bandwidth for constant retries through iTunes. I've become an iPodder Lemon man recently and it's treating me pretty well.

Convinced you need 'em yet? Well, get out there and get yer pod on. Or, better yet, make your own. We have a unique opportunity here. People can control the media instead of the media controlling them. If that doesn't scare the shit out of the corporate world, nothing will.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Since Adam Sucks and is LAZY.....

Well, here it is the morning of the 23rd of January and Adam hasn't updated his blog for what.....? TWO WEEKS! AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

So I thought I would jump in and post something to take up some space. I wouldn't want this blog to fall into the Nothing, now would I?

Well, Constant Columbus is gearing up for show number five. Does not sound like a lot, and it isn't. It is only five. But just last week we were doing show number four. Now, number five! Hoorah!

So this post is more a plea than just some random nattering at you fellows. I have never met any of you, that I am aware of, except the Gov'nor, Adam B. but I need some help here. We have about 70 some listeners every day but none are giving us feedback on what they think of the show! Now how are we supposed to improve the show if no one gives us their opinion!

So here is my plea: PLEASE LISTEN TO THE SHOW, AT LEAST TWO, MAYBE THREE IF YOU ARE SO INCLINED, AND GIVE US SOME FEEDBACK!!!! Let us know how it sounds, what you think of the bands, what you think there should be more or less of. ANYTHING! If you do, I will get you something nice, like a ducky.

If you do send comments, send them to and place NeuroTrash Comment in the subject line or something to that effect that lets me know it comes from this venerable site.

Thanks, keep the faith, stay black,


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Adam stays the night in Hostel
I liked Cabin Fever. I liked it just fine.
Eli Roth's first outing as a director, after YEARS of hanging out with filmmakers (everyone from David Lynch to Lloyd Kaufman), showed that he had a wicked sense of humor and could at least be original in his storytelling.
I was not in any way prepared for Hostel.
Now, I'd been reading about this movie for months. I'd heard that Japanese director Takashi Miike had hung around on the set and even had a cameo. I'd heard that Roth wanted to put his mark on Miike's brand of horror, which I'm passingly familiar with. So, I thought I knew what I was in for going into the theater.
Man, I was so fucking wrong. First off, Hostel is NOT a horror movie. Not really. It has some horror elements to it. And it has some good splatters from time to time -- so the Miike fetishists will still dig it.
But there's so much more to this movie. It's equal parts gritty Eurotrash crime drama, revenge film, and irresponsible college sex romp. We all know Eli Roth loves him some nookie. He loves the jumblies on the ladies, too. Yes. It's true. Eli Roth loves boobies. And while he couldn't get Jordan Ladd to whip out her sweater stuffers in Cabin Fever, he managed to get most of his female cast to go at least topless in Hostel.
After all, Hostel takes place in Europe. And the continental folk are so much more open about boucing ta-tas all over the place.
That's how Hostel starts off -- an immature, irresponsible European sex romp. Paxton (Jay Hernandez, last seen in the electrifying Friday Night Lights) and Josh (Derek Richardson, who the truly unfortunate might remember from 2003's Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd) are backpacking around Europe with their brand new Icelandic pal Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson, who really IS from, that's casting!!!) trying to get laid. Well, actually, Oli and Paxton are getting laid and Josh is mooning over his college sweetheart whom he broke up with.
Poor Josh. Poor widdle Josh. Boo fucking hoo, Josh.
The boys are about to head down to Barcelona to stay with one of Oli's friends, when their pussy hunt is redirected by a chance encounter with a fellow degenerate, a Russian named Alex (Lubomir Silhavecky), who tells them about a wild time he had in Slovakia -- complete with pictures, of course. What better use for all those fancy schmancy digital cameras floating around today than home porn (Note to self: Start taking home porn pictures. Addendum to note to self: No one wants to see my pasty ass in anything less than full riot gear. No home porn pics, please.).
Well, you know which head college guys think with. So, off the guys go to Slovakia. The hostel they've been recommeded turns out to be an old manor house -- gorgeous place, but there's a catch. The rooms are only semi-private, so they've been assigned roommates.
The roommates turn out to be a pair of gorgeous Russian chicks, Natalya (Barbara Nedeljakova, who is officially on my Christmas list for next year -- someone get me one of her...PLEASE!!!) and Svetlana (Jana Kaderabkova). The hotties are heading out for a day of relaxation at the local spa, and the boys tag along. Sure enough, they hit it off, and end up dancing the night away with them and then shagging like Austin Powers only wishes he could.
Oli goes off with the chick who was running the front desk when the boys showed up, and the next day, he's nowhere to be found. Also, one of a pair of Japanese tourists has also ditched her travelling companion, Kana (Jennifer Lim).
Kana shows Pax and Josh a picture that her friend sent of her taking off with Oli, but none of them can get ahold of their friends. Paxton and Josh search around town and find nothing but a "Tortury" museum and a dude wearing a jacket that looks a lot like Oli's. Kana curls up in the lobby of the hostel and looks terrified.
That fun European vacation everybody was planning...well, that's fucking over.
Pax and Josh hit the disco with the Russian hardbodies again -- with bait like that, consider me a victim. I'd be so fucking dead. Really. -- and Josh goes home (alone) sick. Paxton gets all fubar, and when he goes looking for the bathroom, he accidentally gets locked in the bar's storeroom all fucking night long. Good job, Paxton. Party fouling SOB...
Guess who's missing in the morning? Yep, ol' Posh Josh is gone, by gosh. And so's wee Kana. At this point, Paxton is fully aware that the whole thing is a trap. Some bad shit's going down. He just doesn't know what, yet.
He returns to the hostel and finds he's been checked out (since Josh has "left"). He gets assigned a new room and goes upstairs to find his new roomates are ANOTHER PAIR OF RUSSIAN HOTTIES (I would be so fucking dead by this point. I'm serious. If you keep sending me Russian hotties [or English hotties, or Brazillian hotties, or Dutch hotties, etc, etc, etc], I'll be forced to fall into whatever fiendish death trap you've got waiting for me) who try and hook him with EXACTLY THE SAME LINE AS THE FIRST TWO DID. Oops. Fiendish they might be, but apparently Paxton has seen this trick before. Cunning bastard. It probably would have worked on me, if I wasn't fucking dead in the first reel, but not that Paxton...
So, Pax cowboys up and goes hunting for his friends. And finds two things. Jack (not played by anyone) and shit (which is possibly the one substance that comes out of a human body that we don't see at one time or another in this movie -- really). Hernandez really carries the movie and anchors everything in a believable way. He's as excellent in Hostel as he was in Friday Night Lights. OK, Hollywood. Give this fucking guy more work. (Now! -- or, since this movie's all European...SCHNELL!!!)
Things don't turn out quite the way Paxton plans (or even we, the audience, expect). Who makes it out, and how many pieces they're in, is up to you to find out. Because if you don't see this movie, you're totally dead to me. Really. Dead, I says.
Have I mentioned the roaming gangs of little kids that will kick your fucking head in if you don't give them candy or bubble gum when they demand it? Bratislava's a tough fucking town. Wee lil' Patrick Zigo tears up as one of the little hoodlums. He totally steals the movie. The lil' bastard needs to have a series where he roams the land and kicks ass like Caine in Kung Fu unless you give him bubble gum. Yessir.
If you've seen the trailer, you know what's going on. Rich fucks can pay big money to torture and kill innocent people. (Whee! Fun! Where do I sign up for that??? How much to torture and kill Assley Simpson??? And do they take Visa???) And poor Oli, Josh and Paxton are on the menu this week.
Oh. Rick Hoffman, who I remember from a ton of shit, and can never really pinpoint where (I think maybe he was in Cellular), is awesome in a bit part as a client of the service. Plus, if you look REALLY HARD, you might even see that Miike guy's cameo role. Just don't spend ALL YOUR MONEY to spot him.
The movie works on a number of levels. There's a few great splatters for the gore hounds. There's a genuine mystery. There's a bit of the action/revenge genre tossed in for the testosterone addicts out there. There's taut suspense. There's a handful of honest-to-goodness belly laughs. And there's a whole lot of naked European flesh jiggling for the teenage male (and every other horndog out there). Still, Hostel may be a bit much for the delicate set -- and all those mindless folk seeking their bland, vanilla entertainment (Read as: John Tesh fans. Fuck that guy. He sucks.).
Surprisingly, the narrative of Hostel is strong and confident. Most films in the genres that Hostel hop-scotches around tend to get weaker in these areas, and Cabin Fever had its issues with being all over the fucking map in tone and subject matter (which, oddly, lent it a certain charm). Hostel is tight, focussed and crisply written.
Eli Roth has also grown as a director (in the span of one short movie). Believe it or not, the movie looks and feels like the work of someone who truly knows their way around the art of cinema. Considering the many years he's toiled as a personal assistant, a production gopher, a film journalist/historian, etc...perhaps he's ready for prime time. I'd tend to believe that's the case, and I'd say that Hostel tosses down a big, salad-encrusted gauntlet at the doofs who're rehashing old 70s horror or remaking last year's J-horror flicks.
After seeing Hostel, I'm wondering if tourism to Europe will drop off any. Or, if people think they can hook up with a couple of fine-ass Eastern Bloc hotties before they get their wedding tackle blow-torched...they might think it's worth the risk. If the Russian mob dangled Barbara Nedeljakova in front of my barely-functioning eyes, I might have to book a Europass myself...

Monday, January 02, 2006

5 Movies That Mattered in 2005
I'm not one for making lists. Never have been. I don't think it's possible to quantify appreciation. I think it's an exercise in stupidity to attempt to rank greatness in art. Something's either great or it's not. You either love it or you don't. There's not "I love this movie as a 5" or Citizen Kane is slightly better than The Magnificent Ambersons, so it ranks higher on my list.
I personally think the AFI can kiss my ass. Well, so can the Academy, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and every other group that gives awards for movies, music and whatever else they're giving awards for.
I do, however, see a veritable truckload of movies. So, I do know a bit about what I like. For me, five movies defined the year cinematically. I could throw in some other movies, like Good Night, and Good Luck or Syriana or maybe even last year's In Good Company (which I didn't see until January, a week or so after it opened). Hell, I could bring up War of the Worlds (but another Spielberg movie made the list...). But, five is a nice, easy number.
Here they are, in no particular order:

Munich: Probably the best movie I saw all year, but not one of the more fun things to watch (much like the other intensely political films, Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck). In fact, it's a pretty intense downer. Then again, two of the best movies of last year were brutally depressing (Taegukgi and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). They weren't my FAVORITE movies (that would have been the delightful Garden State), but they were amazingly well made and intensely moving.
Munich is all that, and then some. I've long said that I wasn't a fan of Steven Spielberg, but one day he was gonna knock me on my ass.
Steven Spielberg FINALLY has a set of cojones and faith in his audience. He's not only the most talented guy making films on the planet, but now he's showing that he's actually ready to become our Greatest Living Filmmaker.
The movie is tense and gripping and full of amazing performances. And, dammit, it's well made without seeming artificial at all. It doesn't preach its message. It doesn't beat you over the head with contrivances. It's just fantastic.

King Kong: Peter Jackson is just a damn fantastic director. So many of my favorite directors (Jackson, Sam Raimi, David Cronenberg, etc) came out of horror. I enjoy a horror movie as much as any other genre, but it's nice to see people break out of low-budget slasher stuff and make good.
At times, Kong is a bit much. But, it needs to be. It has to fit a sprawling, epic tale into a mere three hours (he had almost 12 hours with the extended versions of Lord of the Rings). The action is large, intense and breathtaking. After the first 40 minutes of story and character development, you don't get a chance to blink. The movie moves with a relentless abandon.
While you're on this wild ride, you're also taken by the simple and heartfelt love stories, between Jack Driscoll and Ann Darrow -- and also between Ann and Kong. It helps that Jackson had fantastic actors like Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts and Andy Serkis in those 3 key roles.
Speaking of Serkis, without actually appearing on screen in the title role, steals the movie. His Kong is exactly what he's supposed to be...the lonesome king of his fantastic island. He's powerful and mighty, yes. But he's also very much alone in the world, and the physicality of Serkis' mo-capped performance conveys it even more than the amazing computer animation.

Serenity: Yeah, Star Wars was fucking great. But the best sci-fi movie of the year was a little movie based on a show that couldn't get a break on Fox. (Fuck Fox. Fuck them up their stupid asses).
The movie contains the best Wolverine moment that'll never see the light of day in an X-Men film. And the irreverent dialogue is some of the best Joss Whedon's ever written.
It was exciting, it was funny and (in spite of two MAJOR surprises for fans of the Firefly show) it was just one of the best damn times I had in the theater all year.

Walk the Line: The music bio-pic seems to be having a resurgence lately, with the average-but-anchored-by-a-remarkable-Jamie-Foxx-performance Ray and this little gem that eschews the full life of Johnny Cash in favor of the part that mattered most to Cash himself: his courtship of his wife, June Carter.
Had I not learned just before the movie came out that Joachim Phoenix and Reece Witherspoon did all their own singing, I'd never have noticed. They might not ape the voices of Cash and Carter perfectly, but they had the mannerisms so damn close you couldn't notice you weren't listening to recordings.
You'd think with all the attention to the music that the script might suffer, but it certainly didn't. They don't sugar coat any of the pertinent events of Cash's life (unlike certain other movies about music artists released this year coughfittycentcough). I enjoyed the movie even more with multiple viewings.

Hustle and Flow: My favorite movie of the year. Really. Also, the best movie I've ever seen about hip hop as a culture and an art form.
The performance of Terrance Howard was just simply the most electric thing I've seen on screen in ages. I've seen him in dozens of things before and never been all that impressed. But let me tell ya, I'm a fan now. Add his performance in Crash to his resume this year (and the possible award buzz for both films), and his future in the business seems pretty damn assured.
His wasn't the only performance that stood out. Both Tarajii Henson and Taryn Manning's performances were hopefully a career-makers; and Anthony Anderson and DJ Qualls have never been better.
There was a palpable energy to the movie -- you could FEEL the music happening right before your eyes. Perhaps the best movie about the creation of music since Performance...and a damn sight better than the OTHER hip-hop movie out this year...