Friday, December 4, 2009

Man Who Knew Too Much 12/4/09

First 20 minutes are missing cuz I forget to hit "rec" - It starts midway through 'Hombre Religioso.'


John Carpenter - Theme from Big Trouble In Little China

Stillwater - Fever Dog (From Almost Famous)

Jive Bombers - Bad Boy (From Cry Baby)

Los Lobos - Morena De Mi Corazon (From Desparado)

Mr. Loco - Hombre Religioso (From Nacho Libre)

Ben Charest - Belleville Rendezvous (From The Triplets of Belleville)

Yann Tiersen - J'y Suis Jamais Alle (From Amelie)

Mikis Theodorakis - Theme From Zorba the Greek

Franco Battiato - Ruby Tuesday (From Children of Men)

Introduccion - From 12 Monkeys

Tom Waits - Earth Died Screaming (From 12 Monkeys)

Suicide Scherzo (Beethoven's 9th) - From Clockwork Orange

Django Reinhardt - Brazil (from Brazil)

Keith Jarrett - Koln Concert Part 1 (From Bad Timing)

Rip Slyme - Super Shooter (Opening theme from Gantz)

Ice Cube - Friday (from Friday, duh!)

Djay - It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp (From Hustle & Flow)

Bob Crewe - Barbarella

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Country Roads....

I covered a shift today & threw together a mix of some of my favorite country, folk and americana. Give 'er a listen, it's in two parts, about an hour each...

Part 1:

Part 2:

Here's the set list:

Waylon Jennings - Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?

Steve Young - Lonesome Ornery and Mean

Rolling Stones - Far Away Eyes

The Kinks - Mountain Woman

Harry McClintock - Big Rock Candy Mountain

Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues

Patsy Cline - I Fall to Pieces

Marty Robbins - Big Iron

Hank Williams III - Satan Is Real

Scott Biram - Blood, Sweat & Murder

Pine Box Boys - I Kept Her Heart

Old Crow Medicine Show - Silver Dagger

Carter Family - Give Me Roses While I Live

Dwight Yoakam - Fair to Midland

The Knitters - Poor Little Critter on the Road

Loretta Lynn - Portland, Oregon

Steve Earle - Guitar Town

Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty - Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man

John Prine & Iris Dement - In Spite of Ourselves

The Devil Makes Three - All Hail

Gillian Welch - Red Clay Halo

Neko Case - Margaret vs. Pauline

Michael Hurley - Open Up

Greg Brown - Dream Cafe

Sunbear - It Doesn't Matter

Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins - Handle With Care

Johnny Cash - Delia's Gone

Veloura Caywood - Maximum Level Heartaches

Helio Sequence - Hallelujah

M. Ward - Helicopter

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Man Who Knew Too Much 11-13-09

Today's Show:

Mario Theme

Zelda Wind Waker - Theme

Zelda Wind Waker - Zelda's theme

Loom Soundtrack - Adapted from Tchaikoswki's Swan Lake

Kings Quest - Theme

Final Fantasy 7 - Prelude

Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori - Willow Creek (From Myth II: Soulblighter)

Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori - Great Library (From Myth II: Soulblighter)

Mark Morgan - Khans of New California (From Fallout 2)

Jeremy Soule - Harvest Dawn (from Elder Scrolls: Oblivion)

Jeremy Soule - Reign of the Septims (from Elder Scrolls: Oblivion)

Gary Schyman - Bioshock Theme

Rosemary Clooney - It's Bad For Me

Professor Layton Theme

Yoko Shimamura - Dearly Beloved (from Kingdom Hearts 2)

Shawn Lee - Theme From Bully

No One Lives Forever Theme

Baby Park Theme - From MarioKart Double Dash

The Go Team- Get it Together (from Little Big Planet)

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas Theme

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

This sequel picks up shortly after Professor Layton the Curious Village, expands the scope of the game and stands as one of the best handheld games I have ever played. I should start by saying I'm not much of a handheld gamer. Fast paced games on the small screen and tenuous controls generally don't appeal to me. Professor Layton, though, is perfect for me. It's a pick up/put down short session game that remains engrossing and fun.

Playing as Professor Layton and his sidekick Luke, you are thrust in to a surreal murder mystery involving a series of quirky characters and settings. Layton oozes charm - its animation and art design are beautiful, looking gothic yet colorful - reminiscent of Tintin and The Triplets of Belleville. The characters are mysterious and plenty, and each mystery solved unravels a bevvy of new ones that would make Agatha Christie proud. And the music is a divine sort of French pastoral pastiche.

Tying all of these elements together is the core of the gameplay, a series of puzzles and brainteasers. This collection of puzzles would make a good DS title on its own, but its glossy wrapping and mysterious storyline make for a sublime experience.

The Diabolical Box is a longer game than The Curious Village, and while offering a deeper storyline, I did feel like some scenes carried out too long between puzzles or plot advancement. Obstensibly set free to walk about the landscape, the game's design is really rather linear - you have to unlock new areas only when the plot has advanced far enough. While this is nothing new to adventure games, at times it felt slightly tedious going back and forth from each end of the village. A few rewards are given for completism, though, and all in all the slower pace is acceptable.

The Diabolical Box (and Curious Village) is a must have for the DS, and is one of the few handheld games that can stand next to console or PC games in my list of favorites.

Mildly popular in the States, Layton has a big following in Japan and a film and third sequel are in the works.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

MWKTM 11/6/09

A few technical hiccups (gasp) marred this otherwise cynical and tense hour...

Here's a list of tracks for y'all.

Sondre Lerche - Let My Love Open the Door (from the Dan in Real Life soundtrack"

(From the Mighty Boosh) - Electro Boy

Day Man - (From It's Always Sunny in PA)

Naked Gun Theme

Kinks - Everybody's Gonna be happy (From High Fidelity)

(From Step Brothers) - Sweet Child of mine

John Mandel - Suicide is Painless Mash Theme

Closing Credits song from the Royal Tramp... sorry artist unknown

Sheilla Nichols - Fallen for You (From High Fidelity)

Cat Stevens - Trouble (From Harold & Maude)

Master Shake - Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary

Henry Mancini - Pink Panther Theme

When in Rome - The Promise (From Napolean Dynamite)

John C Reilly - Walk Hard (from Walk Hard)

Ras Trent -

Springtime for Hitler & Germany - from the Producers

Rock Me Sexy Jesus - From Hamlet 2

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Very Clever

A few of my favorite things...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2009

C'mon Steve, turn around! (He wouldn't)

Every time we've gone to this, the weather is amazing. Beautiful day.

Robert Plant, talking to Gillian Welch (off camera). They were hanging out for a while but it was getting dark and I couldn't get a better picture.

The Old 97's were my pick for act of the year... really great.

Everyone breaks out their best concert tees for events like this. This was the best one of the year - Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation Tour 1990. Gold embossed!

Rachael nearly died when Old Crow Medicine Show joined Gillian welch and David Rawlings on stage to sing "The Weight."

Runner-up to best concert tee.

Yep, Exene (X) came out and sang "4 Leaf Clover" with the Old 97's.

And rocked her own set as the Knitters... 2nd best show of the weekend.
(UPDATE: Rachael took this amazing picture -stars in her eyes!)

Crowds were insane... This was the busiest year yet.


Watching Gillian at the Banjo Stage.

"Angel Man" is kind of a jerk, but his costume's pretty cool.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Ooooooh, boy. This is the best one yet!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Man Who Knew Too Much 9/25

I Love the Chosen One

Merl = One heck of a guy

So after I posted my previous blog about the Arcata shout-out I wrote an email to Merl Reagle saying "Thanks" and all that. This morning, he replied:

dear grant,
yes, this is the right place to write! and since i'm a californian at heart i'm always happy to put california place names into puzzles to offset all those new york references by east coast puzzlemakers. i live in tampa, fla., now (don't ask) but i left my heart in ... well, you know how it goes!
all the best,

Thanks Merl.

Oh and check out this movie! (thanks Christina)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


A little hometown rep from the king of wordplay, Merl Reagle.

If you're still working on this, spoilers in picture # 2.

(I'm a little behind on my x-words, this is from the Sep. 6 SF Chronicle Datebook)



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

9....? Nein!

Shane Acker's first feature, '9', set expectations high. The trailer teased a dark and adult animated world. The cast was laudable and intriguing. And Tim Burton's name was plastered all over it... As you may have realized by now, I'm not a fan of producer credits being displayed so prominently in movie marketing. Not that it's a new practice. But Tim Burton must be the most egregiously over-credited filmmaker in Hollywood. And I'm sick of it. That's a whole other column though.

So does '9' live up to its premise? Unfortunately, no. For one, the voice talent is wasted. The film is light on dialogue, and it comes across as expository rather than illuminating. The actors don't have a chance to establish personalities for their characters and don't stand out, aside from Christopher Plummer as 1. (That was Martin Landau? Whaaa?!)

We're thrust into the story, awakening with the title character, 9, and the film sets out to unravel the mystery behind his creation and the destruction of the world as we know it. As a fan of post apocalyptic sci-fi, I was intrigued by the idea of a new perspective on The Wasteland. Quite literally, as our rag-doll protagonists stand no more than a foot high.

The creativity this promised was another aspect of '9' which fell flat. In this LA Times piece, you get a taste of Acker's vision:

The director... points out that the tiny burlap beings at the center of the action see their ravaged home as a place of infinite possibility. "For them, it's just a world of raw materials and they have a very positive experience," said Acker..."They're very creative and they're making contraptions and things to make a better life for themselves."

But it's a meretricious promise. This creativity was only fun for the production designers. The audience doesn't get to partake in the giant junkyard of a world that '9' is set in, nor do we get to witness any gratifying inventing from the heroes. Not even a 'suiting up' montage!

The animation was mostly great, but I couldn't help notice how flat the textures of the 'burlap' were in close-ups of the protagonists.

Design was largely uninspired- the villains felt patched together from various video games and the heroes fell along the typical group stereotypes: grumpy leader, enthusiastic newby, dopey-grunt-who-turns-out-to-be-okay, nerd, creepy twins, and the raggedy version of Alice from Resident Evil.

Ultimately, '9' felt like a video game. Action scene after action scene, boss fight after boss fight. Let me qualify that statement: I love video games. It's not meant to be an insult as it's often used. It's just that with its minimal storyline and emphasis on action, I wanted to be playing it, not watching it.

'9' avoids the recent trend to expand beyond its comfort zone, and runs a refreshing 80 minutes. It's worth note as a first effort. Keep an eye on Shane Acker. If '9' is a tease of his talent, there are improvements to come.

Also, you can watch the original short. It's 11 minutes and it actually captures more character and ingenuity than the feature. Unfortunately, it's in crappy, crappy, crappy youtube-definition video. When the hell are they gonna get better online video... ok that's another column too.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

i dont want no part of your tight ass country club you freak bitch

(i dont want no part of your tight ass country club you freak bitch) is what I typed into the youtube search bar and it pulled up exactly what I wanted: This clip.

I love the Internet. Have you noticed that we capitalize the Internet? As though it were a deity. There's a reason for this. Please help the Internet any way you can.


Friday, September 11, 2009

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Here's the broadcast of my first show- unedited for your flub-listening pleasure. All in all it was pretty smooth and fun... until I realized that the clock in the booth is 10 minutes fast and I had Ten minutes still to go... so yeah. I ad-libbed a little at the end. Enjoy!

Ugh... also the first 5 minutes of music are pretty overmodulated so sorry bout that. It gets better, I promise.

And tune in next Friday (and every Friday) on!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Inglourious Basterds is not a glorious return to form, but it showcases some of Tarantino's talents, and has at least two spectacular scenes.

My biggest complaint about Tarantino is that he's a great dialogue writer. His early films showcase this so well, that he now has freedom to make his entire films long discussions, devoid of character development, story progression, or real meaning.

He avoids the smug referentiality that made Death Proof nearly unwatchable, but Inglourious Basterds still falls prey to some of Tarantino's writing hubris - namely- it's a good hour too long. He's proficient - Keith Phipps of the AV Club put it best: "Tarantino remains a master of creating tension from characters engaging in what only looks like polite conversation..." - but not self censoring enough these days.

I saw Tarantino speak after an advance screening of Kill Bill V.1 many years ago and he talked about the incredible relationship he had with his editor, Sally Menke. But it seems they have traded concise storytelling for long-winded homage.

There are some outright successes to Inglourious Basterds. The final sequence is amazing and succeeds as an alternate history wet dream. Christoph Waltz, an actor I'd never heard of, who has 89 credits on IMDB, is easily the best actor in the film. Brad Pitt's alright. Even Eli Roth was surprisingly palatable.

I'll recommend this film with a few caveats. Make sure you have the time. And bring plenty of wine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ha Ha

"I picked the Black Knight... but no one wanted to roll with Martin Lawrence"

Watch a funny video with No Age here...

In Defense

Most often one-hit-wonders are plagued by awful, awful lyrics and an all-too common chord progression, re-worked for the time.

Then, along comes a hook that's irresistible and the best message in pop music in the last decade. Eat it up.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How's this for metaphysical?

I think I've stumbled onto something... Is our world just a facade? A tightly woven tapestry with a handful of loose threads scattered across the universe? That's what my trusty visioneer has become, a stray gossamer which I yield like reins.

Or maybe I should buy a new camera.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

West End Road

I stole this idea from KPL. Hers usually turn out well, though.

Pictures taken while riding my bike out West End Road, my usual afternoon spin.

End of Arcata

This is the hottest part of the ride - right before the end

Down Please

Old barn

I really like this guy. I think he's a burro, but I'm not exactly sure. He's very friendly.

For some reason when I get out here I think about The Road.

Going fast


Self Portrait

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Adventures of Grant

Well dang, it's been a while. I guess I'll put on some pump-up music and get down to the play-by-play of the last few months.

After a five-plus year break from the quadri-family reunion that is Old Blues, I made a triumphant return. Well, pretty tame, actually. Despite the number of people there, it felt relaxing and low-key. Which is good.

I took a couple of weekends to go see Rachael (if you havent been following her blog, do. She's a much better writer than I) and others in the Bay Area.

I BEAT THE SWINE FLU is the t-shirt I'm going to have made, as I truly crossed the alligators' backs in Martinez, whilst visiting my dear friends Brett and Charmaine. They, along with their room mate came down with the notorious H1N1 convienently, oh, the day I showed up. But that's okay because obsessive hand-washing, beer, and staying at least 9 feet away at all times seemed to work out in my favor. Boo Yah!

My travel periods followed the heat waves so I spent a few blocks of time traveling in 100+ degree heat, which is a hallucinatory and euphoric experience, as long as you can swim whenever you want. The sun is my favorite drug and it induces a feeling like no other (though a capsaicin high comes close.)

I saw San Jose twice, though my visits there are through the rose colored lenses of my Gran's beautiful backyard and 80 degree swimming pool. Yep.

There's a bit of an eerie feeling around that house now, though. Perhaps my adult eyes see things in disrepair that they never saw before. Perhaps that's the way things have always been.

But there's nothing like driving 8 hours, drinking a cold beer and diving in a diaphanous oasis.

Speaking of which, the Smith River is only two hours away yet I've only managed to make it there once this year. But lo, what a beauty to behold. The Smith is absolutely, unequivocally the most beautiful river in California and looks to hold that status for a long time.

Plus, camping is the shit when you've got a cousin who'll fix a nalgene-size margarita (with real lime) and dinner and breakfast.

And then back to the Bay Area for the Giants, who, between a terrific away streak, and an eight-inning shut out, played the worst game I've ever seen (live). Oh well, $80 worth of beer made up for that. pffffft.

And while I glibly throw out four score's worth of Washington's on Sierra Nevada (Holy SHIT! 175 calories a pop?), my financial security - HA! - falls out from under me. Yes, venerable Arcata establishment Video Experience has closed. :(

But, like a phoenix from the ashes of our global recessio-pocalypse, La Dolce Video rises. Ok, their website's nothing right now, but VX lives in spirit. Merrick's got a shit-ton of good ideas and enthusiasm (and VX's entire catalog) so I have high hopes for the spot. He's talking video games, comics, magazines, candy, popcorn and movies, so as long as I bring beer I won't need to go anywhere else. Ever.

Please support his awesome business!

Have I mentioned beer yet in this post? Rachael and I are taking a homebrew class this semester (yes, college is a rigorous exercise) so G Dazzle's Afternoon Delight might be a reality.

My visits with Rachael yielded some cool cultural delights. The SF Zoo is a nice facility. Though my hopes to see the baby gorilla did not come to fruition.

Filoli has a garden that just made me jealous. I'm sick of potted plants.

And the Academy of Sciences was about what I expected: dioramas, crowds, and lite versions of the SF Zoo and MB Aquarium. But worth it for the albino alligator.

So, I got to see my beautiful GF (that's her in the foreground),

Get tan (my God, that's embarrasing),

Ride my bike, and soak in a ton of media.

Some favorite new music: Jay Reatard, Grizzly Bear, Phoenix, The Heartless Bastards, No Age, Future of the Left, Def Leppard, Steve Earle's 'Guitar Town'. And as usual I've been listening to a lot of the Who and the Jam.

I've seen: Harry Potter 6, Eastbound and Down, Perfect Getaway, Up!, Spaced, Bad Timing Saxondale, The Hangover, and Moon.

I've read: Amnesia Moon, 100 Bullets, Lapham's Quarterly, and Blood Meridian.

I've played: Infamous, Shatter, Oblivion (surprise), Call of Duty 4, Civilization, Little Big Planet, Resistance 2, Tiger Woods '09, and just started Kingdom Hearts 2, which I am highly excited about.

So... if anyone wants my opinion on any of this stuff, all you have to do is ask. I may have more to come.

Oh, and I threw 2 birdies at the Mad River disc golf course last week.

And if you read all this, you get a prize:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Communication Breakdown

I guess Arcata's coffer are flush from the new sales tax income. Last week a crew painted new bike lane signs and sharrows on H St. at 14th (Yay!).

Today, they're tearing up the freshly decorated pavement! Awesome!

Just a Thought

Facebook must be putting all of those tree type sites out of business.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oh Snap!


Of all the sniveling, holier-than-thou tween starlets, Hayden Panettiere has got to be the worst.

Ugh, she is so dreadful.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Surreal Life

Click for full size









Cocinero gigante