Monday, July 31

Go Ahead And Speculate

On Saturday, I got a medium-pain sunburn on the shins of my legs and on my chest and stomach.  Then Sunday, my underwire bra caused me all manner of increased discomfort due to chafing on the burn.

Wednesday, July 26

50 Films To See Before You Die

The Sunday Mail offers a list of 50 movies to see before you die.  If I don't watch them all, then does that mean I'll never die?

Without debating what's missing, what shouldn't be listed, it's a pretty good list of films.  The ones I've seen are in bold.

1 Apocalypse Now

2 The Apartment

3 City of God

4 Chinatown

5 Sexy Beast

6 2001: A Space Odyssey

7 North by Northwest

8 A Bout de Souffle

9 Donnie Darko

10 Manhattan

11 Alien

12 Lost in Translation

13 The Shawshank Redemption

14 Lagaan: Once Upon A Time in India

15 Pulp Fiction

16 Touch of Evil

17 Walkabout

18 Black Narcissus

19 Boyzn the Hood

20 The Player

21 Come and See

22 Heavenly Creatures

23 A Night at the Opera

24 Erin Brockovich

25 Trainspotting

26 The Breakfast Club

27 Hero

28 Fanny and Alexander

29 Pink Flamingos

30 All About Eve

31 Scarface

32 Terminator 2

33 Three Colours: Blue

34 The Royal Tenen-baums

35 The Ladykillers (I assume they mean the original?  Either way, I'm covered.)

36 Fight Club

37 The Searchers

38 Mulholland

39 The Ipcress File

40 The King of Comedy

41 Manhunter

42 Dawn of the Dead

43 Princess Mononoke

44 Raising Arizona

45 Cabaret

46 This Sporting Life

47 Brazil

48 Aguirre: The Wrath of God

49 Secrets and Lies

50 Badlands.

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I'm Inner Dutch

Your Inner European is Dutch!

Open minded and tolerant.
You're up for just about anything.
Who's Your Inner European?

I'm content having my inner European Dutch.  What about you?  Graham, hope you turn out Norwegian.

Monday, July 17

Emotional Interpretation

I was watching The Nature of Things yesterday.  It was an episode on Buddhist medicine, and focused on a particular monk performing various doctor/priest roles in the community, and how ancient natural medical practices have survived despite being banned during communist years.  When they showed him interacting with people in his community, they, naturally, spoke their native language, which was translated into English.  I found the translations rather disconcerting though, because the translators, as they translated, tried to convey the emotion of the situation through their own voices.  I'm used to hearing translators translate in a rather dull monotone, with no emotional emphasis on the words they speak.  I didn't like this touchy-feely approach to translating.  I hope it's not the wave of the future.

Tuesday, July 11

iPod iDead. iDrop, iRessurect. iHappy

We have a new (to us) car.  It is a very nice car, and it betters our old car in every way.  One way in which it betters our old car in is its ability to refrain from causing our iPod/iTrip FM transmitter to squeak and squawk and tune out at every inconvenient moment.  In our old car, I'd have to (acting as an antennae) constantly hold the iPod with iTrip in a very precise way, in a very precise part of the front seat in order for the thing to play.  Even then, there'd be infuriating buzzes and squelches interrupting the music a lot of the time.  Still, we got used to it.
Now, though, the iTrip works significantly better.  I don't have to hold it at all.  It can sit independent of human contact, and gives out (in comparison) wonderful FM transmission.
So, yeah, we were pretty happy.  Until this morning.
This morning, driving into town, happily listening to a Dolly Parton song on the iPod, it allofasudden freezes.  Hmm?  Nothing I do fixes it.  I try to reset it, but to no avail.  It's no-go.  Plus, the hard-drive is making "I'm broken" noises, and an image of a sad iPod appears on the screen, with the address of Apple iPod support.  Since it sounds so unhealthy, I suspect that the thing is toast.  I take the news pretty well, I find.  I go off to work, without the iPod, and don't fret about it until I get home.  I'm hoping that when I connect it to the computer, I can reformat the hard-drive and all will be well.  Even as I hope that, though, I'm thinking that the problem is more significant than that.  Still, hope upon hope.
I get home, plug the iPod into the computer.  It doesn't register as being connected.  All it does is whine and crack, like the hard-drive is spinning and broken and all I get is the sad faced iPod on the iPod's screen.  Going online to seek solutions proves unfruitful, and the only solution seems to be sending it away for repair.  I begin to debate whether or not it's worth the time and money.  I think it's not.  I begin to imagine my world without portable music and I get sad.
Then I remember seeing a page online somewhere, sometime ago where a guy talks about how he fixed his non-responsive iPod by dropping it.  Hmm?  I had pretty much convinced myself that the thing was now useless, and that I probably wouldn't send it off for repair.  So, I decide to be brave and drop it.  I hold it about chest high and let it fall to the linoleum, where it lands flat on its back.  I pick it up and try to reset it.  Nothing but the whirring, cracking hard-drive misfiring.  I am just about to put the thing down forever, and run out the door to a meeting I had, when I decide to drop it again.  This time so that it lands on the bottom corner edge.  I find it difficult to let it drop again, as I suspect it is ready to splinter into pieces and then it'll be truly garbage.
But drop it I do.  On its corner edge.  I pick it up, try to reset it, and it makes some new horrible sounds, blinks a couple of times and then, low and behold:  it works!
It works!  As if it was never broken.  Dropping it seems to have fixed it.
I drove to my meeting happily listening to great songs coming clearly through my new (to us) car's sound system.

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Canada Rocks Garbage

Here's a link to a video of the stage performance of Sketch22's The Charlottetown Festival's Young Company's Performance of the Island Waste Management Corporation's Production of Canada Rocks Garbage.
Canada Rocks Garbage

This was how we opened our show last summer, 2005.

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Monday, July 10

On The Day When I Was Born...

What was number one on the UK Top 40 the day I was born?

The Number 1 single was:

The Rolling Stones - "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

The Number 1 album was:

Beatles - "Help"

Pretty good music that day.  How 'bout your birthday?

Saturday, July 8

Two Sketch22 Shows Under Our Belt

We finally opened!  What a relief!  After months and weeks and days and hours that ever-increased in work-load to get the show ready, we finally broke the cherry on another show of all-new sketches.
Thursday night's opening was fantastic.  I've never been involved in an opening that went better than this one did.  Everybody involved raised their energy and quality of performance to a huge degree compared to the level we were bringing to rehearsals.  I think that the last week and a half of rehearsals, we've been kind of holding back, feeling more or less ready to perform in front of audiences.  So, it was a huge and pleasant surprise to see absolutely everyone elevate themselves so much.  Thursday's crowd was large (not quite sold out), and very supportive, as opening night crowds usually are.  Lots of laughter, often huge and sustained.  Plus, they had the willingness we hoped audiences would have to follow us down some pretty strange roads this year and end up in worlds where perhaps laughter isn't the primary emotion they're going to experience.
We like to play with audience expectation, and this year (moreso than any other) I think it's fair to say that the audience has no idea what they're going to see from one sketch to the next.  We also like to offer sketches that we realise may not appeal to everyone.  Sometimes we'll even present a sketch that we expect nobody but us will enjoy.  Usually, though, the audience is more than willing to enjoy what we enjoy.  And if certain audience members don't particularly like specific sketches or moments, then chances are they're going to like what we have in store for them next sketch.  The last thing I want to do is present a night of comedy that is so safe and pedestrian that everyone kind of enjoys it more or less, I guess, yeah it was okay.  While we always have a few sketches that are more universal in their appeal (I hope), we really like to explore the edges, and present things that elicit extremes of opinion.  I love it when we have a sketch that the majority of people absolutely love (and are maybe a bit embarrassed at themselves for liking it), yet a few in the audience who absolutely despise it (usually due to their own hangups, in my opinion).  I love sketches that can create such opposing emotions in individuals sitting side by side watching the same thing, but seeing it in completely different ways.
Anyway, enough on my theory of what I like in comedy.  Back to the story:  Thursday night was a really wonderful experience for everyone (I assume) involved in Sketch22.  Lots of appreciation from the audience (standing ovation at the end!  although I always assume they're fueled more by the need to stand up and stretch than to offer appreciation through clapping and standing), really strong performances by everyone, and a show that technically went without any obvious hickups.  (I'll not admit as to whether that "forgetting of my lines" moment was honest, or whether it's part of the show).
So, with us all focusing so much energy on our opening night, and the weight-off-our-shoulders relief that came upon its successful completion, I was worried about our energy for Friday's show.  I expected it to be something of a dud (as second-night shows sometimes are).  The crowd was smaller in size, too, which added to my expectations of a low-energy show.  Plus, a couple of us had some hoarse throat issues that threatened to interfere with the show.  Plus, the Jazz & Blues Tent outside the Guild was on the verge of suffocating us.  Plus, there were, um, stomach issues for at least one of us...
Turns out, there was quite a difference in energy between the two nights.  I won't say it was a lower energy for Friday's show, but it was definitely a more relaxed energy, and I don't believe it negatively impacted the show.  It merely took the show in a different direction and gave it a different feel.  In fact, it was another really great show and I was pleasantly surprised by that.  There were, again, leaps and bounds made by the performers, in terms of pacing and hitting cues and that kind of junk.  The audience, though smaller, was really great, and their energy and laughter, right from the very first moment of the show, to the very end, really helped us find the energy and enthusiasm to give them the quality of show they deserved.

I'll be interested to hear reviews and comments about the show.  Really, I'm ready for reviews to run the gamut like they did last year, from The Guardian's "appalling" to the Buzz's "best comedy show anywhere, anytime" opinions, and everything in between.  As there was all kinds of laughter happening throughout each of our first two performance, I suspect that most people are enjoying what we offer.  Those sketches that elicit laugther speak for themselves.  I'll be curious to see how audiences react and reflect on the sketches we offer that ask a bit more from them. 
It's a fun show to perform and be part of.  Can't wait to do it again next week.

Wednesday, July 5

Ass and the Curious

Recently seen, briefly, on the tower marquee for Empire Theatres in Charlottetown.  Instead of The Fast and the Furious, someone had changed it to "Ass and the Curious".
Funny, I say. 
Enjoy the simple things in life.  Although, I might have been tempted to change it to "Ass and the Fist"

Sketch22's New Summer 2006 Show

Tomorrow night (Thursday), Sketch22 premieres its third
successive season’s production of all-new sketch comedy.  Like past shows, it will combine both video sketches and live on-stage sketches. And, like past shows, I’m excitedly nervous about presenting these new sketches to our audience.

With comedy, it’s always a nervous time when you are about to present new material.  After rehearsing it for so long, the “funniness” of the sketches has more or less evaporated for us, and we have to trust that audiences will find them as funny as we did when we were originally writing and rehearsing them.  Also, with new comedy, there’s really nowhere to hide when you present it.  Eitherpeople laugh or people don’t.  You know whether it works or not.  With dramatic pieces, you can sort of convince yourself that the audience’s stillness and lack of response is supposed to happen.  

But with comedy, you pretty much know when you perform it whether it’s working or not.  Another slight worry after rehearsing sketches that you think are funny:  when rehearsing, you don’t really pause for the laughter you expect to happen after certain lines.  So, during the first performance, your timing can kind of get screwed up because you’re not used to waiting for laughter.  And, of course, the opposite
problem is expecting laughter at certain lines and not getting it.  That, too, can throw you off.  My approach over the years, I think, has been to never assume a line will get a laugh, and always assume that a line you have no expectation of laughter will get huge laughs.

I think this year’s crop of new material is our strongestyet.  There are a couple of sketches in particular that I simply cannot wait for people to see.  One of them, I’m very worried about because I have yet to get through rehearsing it even once without laughing.  Usually, I am able to control my onstage corpsing, but this sketch, particularly at one moment (which actually is a verydramatic, tender moment) just kills me every time.  I wasn’t particularly pleased with some of the video segments we presented at our Christmas show (we were too rushed, and the scripts just weren’t ready for production), but I think we have a strong bunch of videos for this summer.  A couple are pretty “out there” as far as concept go, and I’m a little worried that people won’t want to come along for the ride on those, but I think they’re really funny.

What else?  We play every Thursday and Friday until September 8, at the Guild in Charlottetown.  Tickets are only $15 plus tax .  This year, you can reserve tickets beforehand by calling the Guild box office at 620-3333.

If you come to the show (and I really hope you do), I hope you enjoy it.

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Tuesday, July 4

Who Ran Off With The Fiddle?

People who read this blog:
Sketch22 is down to its last days before we open our summer show of 2006.  We are looking for a few last minute props and so I come to this venue to ask of you:

Sketch22 is searching for a fiddle (or violin, I suppose) and bow for our show this summer.  If someone has, or knows someone who has, an old fiddle lying around, and wouldn't mind parting with it for the summer, we'd be grateful if you'd help us out.
The only requirement is that the fiddle is playable.  However, it does not need to be in tune, or sound good when played.  Even if it only had one string, it would suit our needs.

We would compensate you with a couple of tickets to one of the shows, if you were able to loan a fiddle to us.
And you would be forever in our good books (yes we have more than one).
Thanks, peeps.

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet Review of Superman Returns

  •  Brandon Routh was great as Superman/Clark Kent.

  •  I didn’t care for the woman who played Lois Lane.  While I have no complaints about her quality
    of acting, I didn’t believe for a moment that her character was a journalist.  She needed to be someone a bit older looking,
    less coiffed and more world-weary looking, I think.  What’s-Her-Name from the Mummy movies would
    have been great, if she was younger.

  •  I wanted to hear some of her Pulitzer Prize winning
    article “Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman”, and was disappointed that they
    didn’t give me anything from it.

  •  I hated the scene in the airplane where Lois Lane was part of the gaggle of
    journalists, and the lone camera kept panning back from her (when she asked a
    question) to the person holding the press conference.  Wouldn’t the camera remain focused on latter,
    rather than pan between the two?  That
    really bugged me.

  •  Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor was a disappointment to me.  I wanted him to be either more campy, or less
    campy.  The amount of camp he gave the performance
    was too middling and ended up being un-noteworthy. 

  •  I also found his “evil scheme” to be beyond ludicrous and

  •  Parker Posey had a great amount of camp to her character, but
    since nobody really rose their bars to her level, it seemed kind of out of
    place with it.

  •  I appreciated the performance of Lois Lane’s husband.  Lots of subtle things happening there, I
    thought, and he ended up being a super kind of guy, too.

  •  I didn’t appreciate the performance of the kid who played
    the son.  And I didn’t like that “surprise”
    plot-twist that I never saw coming a million miles away (all the way from
    Krypton, perhaps?)

  •  I began to get really bugged when, after surviving
    catastrophe upon catastrophe, each time Lois Lane would end up back at the Daily
    Planet offices, looking refreshed and absolutely raring to go again,
    unconcerned with the psychological ramifications of the near-death experiences
    she had just gone through.  A little bit
    of realism in this respect (from all the characters) would have really helped me
    enjoy it more.

  •  The plot seemed to move as slow as the rough beast that
    slouches towards Bethlehem. 

  •  Far too frigging long.  And too slow-paced

 All that being said, I still enjoyed it okay.

Saturday, July 1

TAM Daily Trivia - June Results

Here are the results of The Annekenstein Monster's Daily Trivia for June:

25 players played during the month.

1. reverseflash (332 points, 4 wins)
2. Grover (295 points, 1 wins)
3. dsoju's sis (293 points, 6 wins)
4. Mrmovie (281 points, 1 wins)
5. Wessie (268 points, 4 wins)
6. RFTT1985 (245 points, 2 wins)
7. desperation (221 points, 0 wins)
8. dsoju (214 points, 2 wins)
9. annekenstein (191 points, 1 wins)
10. TracyJ (189 points, 1 wins)

Congratulations to reverseflash for walking away from the competition this month.

I find it interesting that in the past two months, I have performed poorly in my own game of trivia, yet in another person's game, which utilizes the exact same pool of questions, I perform well.  On par with the top scorers in this game.

A new month of daily games begins today.  Come and join if you want, at The Annekenstein Monster Daily Trivia.