Category Archives: The Little Things

Happy Earth Day, Planeteers!

Everyone is celebrating, or completely ignoring the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day today in their own way.  But this year, with a volcano disrupting life overseas, and earthquakes creeping up our coastline, I propose actually taking a second to think about our daily impact and how we can change that. Why not? Mother Nature looks pissed.

For their part, the Boomerang channel is airing an all-day Captain Planet marathon. For my part, I’m watching it.  What have you done for the Earth lately?

I rarely saw this show as a kid, so watching these now, Captain Planet is basically the weakest hero of all time. He gets his power from jewelery, works for Gaia-a super hot Earth God, but NEVER gets with her, has the worst haircut (even worse than He-Man’s mop top) and basically dies the first time he fights in every episode, and it’s up to the kids to figure out how to save him or summon him in such a way as to allow him the easiest possible win of all time. Often the monkey that belongs to Ma-ti does this.

There are some good parts, like the occasional skin cancer straight talk, or the the rap at the end, or the appearance of Hitler in a fu manchu, but overall I didn’t miss much.

And maybe the point is that Captain Planet and Earth Day have the same problem. Environmentalism isn’t particularly sexy or cool. When it’s spokespeople are the likes of Ed Begley Jr. and Ma-ti, you have a serious image issue. That’s why Captain Planet needs to come back into the mainstream conscious again, and he needs a makeover.

But, I doubt anyone is really interested in bringing back the Planeteers, it’s just not marketable, which, ironically, is exactly what a villain tells them about environmentalism in general in one episode.

But looting and polluting is not the way, hear what Captain Planet has to say.

The power is yours!

-Charlie

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Minimal Movie Art

Lately, all Hollywood seems interested in is re-imagining stuff. Taking long established franchises and beloved property, these geniuses are out to remake the world in their own image, in their own eyes. Now, while this is exactly the reason that I hate movies sometimes, it’s also the reason I love movie posters.

Specifically, with a re-imagining of popular movie posters as minimalist design concepts, the recent wave of new minimal looking art is my new favorite Google search obsession. Here is a smattering of my favorite minimalist movie and TV show posters. Heavy on the design, light on the clutter, these zen like images are both simple and superb. Let’s start.

Well, my fascination for this began some years ago with Oakland artist Jason Munn, the man behind the Small Stakes. He began some years ago drafting up hand made silk screened posters for concerts and bands. They’re simple, but memorable pieces.

The prints all encompass the three main reasons I love this style.

1. A pattern that is pleasing and simple

2. A measured precision and emotional resonance

3. A clever idea, design, or illustration

But, the reason I’m writing this is because of the influx of minimalist designs of movie posters, TV shows and the like. Here are my favorites.

These are from artist Ibraheem Youssef, who has given all of Tarantino’s films the minimalist treatment.

Artist Jamie Bolton takes the Back to the Future Trilogy and depicts it in graphic purity. Amazing.

Artist Olly Moss does a bunch of different design work, here’s a sampling from his “Eight Movies in Black and Red” series.

Now, for  some TV representations, we turn to master minimalist Albert Exergian. He may be the most pure of the minimal designer, with works that often incorporate only 2 to 4 colors and little to no lines. Here are some of my favorite shows depicted by Exergian.

Well, I think that’s enough pictures for now. I just love how in-elaborate and yet creative these all are. Are there others I missed? Let me know.

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Filed under Films I've Watched, The Little Things, TV Sucks

Glen W. Bell Jr. 1923-2010

Fast Food pioneers come and go, but no loss has hit so close to me as the passing of Taco Bell Founder Glen W. Bell Jr.

From Bell's 1999 biography.

Weirdly, I just referenced Taco Bell in my last post and I just had “the Bell” on Saturday, a perfect conclusion to a night out on the town. I will always be indebted to Mr. Bell for his contributions to fast food. Without his vision, we’d all be stuck inside the bun. He will be missed.

One of Bell’s greatest gifts, the Mexican Pizza.

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Fine Art for the Discernible Nerd

This is Robert Burden’s Battle Cat Statant, showing at L.A.’s Gallery 1988. It’s one of many pieces reflecting the He-Man characters in the new show Under the Influence: The Masters of the Universe. Now, I find few things more satisfying on this world than my cherished childhood heroes depicted as proper works of art. It never fails to mesmerize me as I drop all activities to stare relentlessly at these amazing artistic creations. Here are a couple more that I can’t get enough of…

Both of these are by Kiersten Essenpreis. Genius!

These two baddies come from actual, honest to God, real live “Garbage Pail Kids” artist Layron DeJarnette. How cool is that?

Oh man, even that little floating Jawa looking freak Ortho gets the artsy treatment courtesy of Project Detonate. Suddenly, I wish I was in L.A. for just an hour or so. And I never wish I was in L.A. Ever.

Check out Gallery 1998’s website to see more.

And to really boggle your feeble mind, here’s a time-lapse film of the Battle Cat painting in progress. Although, it’s exactly this kind of unbelievable talent that makes me all too aware of my own artistic shortcomings. I can’t even draw a straight line, so I will continue to be awed in the presence of such Masters.

What’s that you say? You want more? Well, on a separate, but equally nerdy topic, check out this blog featuring dozens of interpretations of beloved X-Man Shadowcat, aka Kitty Pryde. These pieces all showed right here in Portland! Yayy! And it was for a hemophilia benefit! Umm… Yayy!

-Charlie

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I went to Las Vegas for Halloween…

And all I got was the stupid flu. Seriously. It’s been years since I got the flu, but when I go to Vegas for my friend’s wedding and fucking Halloween, I go down.

Good news is that I had a solid day and a half of revelry before my illness took over. In fact, it was probably the hours of continued drinking that did me in, but here’s a quick look at my first (and likely last) trip to Sin City.Blaire House

We originally had a reservation at the fabulous Blair House Suites, seen above. See it? The little sign in the corner? Shadowed by the golden towers? That one. I liked the name, it made me think of Linda Blair, which makes me think The Exorcist, which then leads to the idea of something good. It is not. Not good at all. The place was a joke, and beyond that a dirty, smelly, lumpy pillows and no cable kind of joke. Bye bye Blair House. We got out of there and joined our friends at the Hilton, a real hotel.

The first night out we kept it old school, visiting the classic strip casinos like the Sahara and the Riviera. We passed by an ominous looking Circus Circus, complete with giant clown and crazy calliope music, but some in our group were against it. So it’ll have to wait .The Sahara

No ifs, ands, or...

Bright Lights

The next day was Halloween, and I was still feeling good at this point. We had a great wedding ceremony for Ben and Nicole, who was given away by Elvis. Then we hit the strip. We travelled down to Paris, MGM Grand, New York, New York. All that crap. It’s the fancy new Disneyland-esque part of Vegas, where every casino is another part of the world. They also have Cesar’s Palace, Excalibur, and any number of other theme parks, I mean casinos, to take your money. What a town. It’s seriously just a giant amusement park for degenerates. Weird.Paris

New York

Lots of costumes. Mostly among the order of Sexy Cop or Sexy Prisoner. Vegas ain’t really the most original town for that. I must have seen two dozen ghostbusters, three dozen batman and robins, and God knows how many of these two guys…Mario Brothers

It was at this point I stopped asking people for their picture. All I was getting was gangsta poses and other ridiculous shit, so I gave up. What I went after instead was the coolest Vegas Slot machines I could find. Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you the nerd centric slots of Vegas…

star wars slots

There were Star Wars slots in every casino I ventured through. Most of them had only to do with the prequels, which hurt me to no end. But these beauties looked about as classic as I was going to get. Meaning they were from the original trilogy re-release editions. You can’t see it here, but the artwork on the side was such. Good enough for me.

alien slots

Fuck yes, an Alien slot machine. This little baby is maybe my favorite. I especially like the Alien Hunt and Egg mini games you can pretend you’re playing as you press the “repeat bet” button over and over and over .

star trek slots

This one is hard to see, but it is a Star Trek slot machine, complete with artwork of the original crew that almost looks like the actual actors. Ryan likes it anyways. There was actually a whole Star Trek Experience installation at this casino, or so I heard, but they tore it out recently. Still there were remnants like doorways and wall panels that I was too stupid to photograph. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

enchanted unicorn slots

Ummmmmmmmmmmm… No comment.

The next day was the day I caught this bug. I laid in bed all day and watched TV as my friends and Annie went out and lived it up. The next morning it was an early flight home and a welcomed return to Portland, the town that doesn’t need a gimmick to get dirty. God bless ya.

That was my weekend. Now it’s back to whining about movies and such. See ya real soon!

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Week in Review

I just got back to Portland last night after more than a week working and visiting in the Bay Area. So here’s a quick wrap of my last few days.

The Treasure Island Music Festival

treasure island overview

In it’s third year, the treasure island festival finally sold out. Ticket wise that is. The festival, a past time for me and Annie since its inception in 2007, was packed for both days, meaning more crowds and more craziness. Saturday the 17th was an electronic filled day of dance and DJs galore. I only got to see a limited amount of that day, but it was an earful. MGMT headlined the day, which also featured acts ranging from Passion Pit to Girl Talk to Murs. It was eclectic and exciting to say the least.

Day two, the 18th, was really more my style, with indie rock as far as the eye could see. The day was much chillier, and the music reflected that was Beirut, Grizzly Bear, and The Flaming Lips all gave us some stellar sets. Yo La Tengo was my personal highlight, a group that I have loved and praised for over a decade now, but have never seen live. They did not disappoint, playing an all time favorite (“Stockholm Syndrome”) as well as some great stuff off their latest record Popular Songs. Here’s some more pictures I did not take but which can be found on the treasure island website

flaminglips

the flaming lips

edwardsharpe

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

grizzlybear

Grizzly Bear ... I'm actually in this picture. Can you spot me?

After this weekend of fun and excitement, it was time for work. To make money, I set up and help run live events like this past week’s Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. This is the second or third time I did this show, and usually it’s a mixture of hugely powerful CEOs and the bums who want to sell their next big idea. Sometimes there is a special celebrity cameo. Last year it was Former Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore.

al gore

This year?

Carson Daly

Fuck.

So it was that I exchanged a head nod and eyebrow raise with Carson Daly backstage at Web 2.0 this year. Just a couple of dudes, saying what up.

Fucking Carson Daly man. What a glamorous life I lead.

So I was doing that for the week solid. Long days, lots of fun. It’s my job. When I wasn’t working I was getting reacquainted with terrible TV shows. I can tell you for a fact that TV is killing our minds, and they’re not even trying to be subtle about it anymore. I literally watched a CBS sitcom with a punchline that went: “I’ll have to Facebook him!” (huge unexplainable laughter coming from studio audience)

Sigh.

After so much depressing TV and work, it was high time I drove back up to Portland. Lo and behold, the night I get back there’s a great show happening at the Aladdin Theater. Ironically, or coincidentally at least, the band in question is from San Francisco. Hey, I was just there!

It’s the Dodos, with New Zealand’s Ruby Suns opening.

dodos-590x590

The Dodos is a recently upgraded duo to trio outfit that can be best described as punk folk, or stompin’ acoustic, or tribal country. I’m not sure. I can tell you that the drums from Logan Kroeber are hard and pounding as singer Meric Long’s guitar is furiously picked and strummed while Keaton Snyder’s giant xylophone/vibraphone monstosity is ding donging along and the whole thing is just so good. It’s head nodding, foot tapping rocking out pure white heat, and made for an amazing return to PDX.

Today I had a health exam complete with paper suits and blood letting, but you don’t want to hear about that now do you? Next week I’m off to Vegas, celebrating Ben and Nicole’s wedding on Halloween. Sweet God, I am looking forward to that. Until then…

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What Happened To Benson?

I’m sorry. This post has nothing to do with movies, music, books or games. It has nothing to do with common sense or a personal regard for life either. This has to do with a fish.

A dead fish.

A really really big dead fish.

By now, if you listen to the prattling idiot box we call news, you know the name of Benson, the 64 pound carp that died in the U.K. last week. This fish was the pride of the anglers community in merry ol’ England, a main attraction that drew fishermen and women (I hope) from across Europe so they could catch it.

That’s right, Benson was the world’s most famous torture victim, a fine example of cruelty and horror that made those fucking wankers smile with delight every time they hooked her, she was a lady fish, and brought her out of the water, over 60 times in her life.

Now I don’t really want to rant about the mean people taking advantage of poor Benson, that’s not the point. It’s over. The thing is dead. But NOW people are outraged, claiming that Benson was Muuurdered or something. They want to investigate the poor fucker’s death like an episode of CSI. Geee… What could have possibly killed Benson?

Suspect Number One: Tony Bridgefoot. The man who groomed Benson for stardom by overfeeding the thing until it was 60 pounds. The normal, i.e. healthy, weight of the fish is approximately 6 to 10 pounds. So Benson was the equivalent of a 800-900 pound man. Think that sounds good for the fishy heart?

Suspect Two: Every single person that ever caught Benson. Imagine, if you will, you are an unhealthily over weight individual. Then someone beats the living shit out of you and proceeds to suffocate you for minutes at a time so they can take a fucking picture. Imagine that happens 60 times or more. How long are you going to last? How many times can you take that beating? How about if I put a hook in your mouth and drag you around your house for sport? Who killed Benson? You did, you fucking pigs. Water boarding? A major no no, unless it’s the world’s biggest fish that is.

Basically, what they did to Benson while it was alive was stupid and pointless. But people have managed to out do themselves again, with an even more stupid and pointless murder investigation. It never ceases to amaze me. And now, for your consideration, Please examine these mug shots and tell me if you recognize the man who killed Benson.

And now, the victim in happier times…

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