Monday, February 13, 2006

1 year, 2 days...

Matt Fraction e-mailed me a reminder Saturday that it had been a year since I updated this thing. Boy, when I called it "the least updated blog in the world" I wasn't kidding. What's more amusing is that so little has changed. Looking back at the February 10th, 2005 post, it feels like I'm still in the same funk I was a year ago and while I know that there have definitely been waves and crests since then, it's still a little troubling to think so much could be the same after a year.

Or maybe it's just the time of year. I suppose it's possible that the dull, grey wetness of Portland in the winter just starts to get to me by this time. I don't know.

posted by James Lucas Jones @ 9:02 AM 0 comments  

Friday, February 11, 2005

Picking Up the Gauntlet...

Jamie S. Rich has issued the challenge. I can't just ignore his e-mail. I have to actually surf one of these internet waves, if for no other reason than it's something to post and get Mr. Rich off my back about how I own one of the most pointless, least updated blogs on the web. So I will answer these questions, even though I could just e-mail the six people who will read my answers directly...

1. Total amount of music files on your computer:
556 MB, 146 songs

2. The last CD you bought was: The soundtrack to Zach Braff's Garden State. I liked the film a lot, but *loved* the music.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message? Luna covering Guns 'n' Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine."

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

1. R.E.M., "Nightswimming": I loved Automatic for the People when it first came out but hadn't listened to it in couple years. Lately Zadie and I have been listening to it once or twice a week before she goes to bed. It's a nice wind-down record, but for some reason she almost always stays awake for "Nightswimming" and then she's out like a light.

2. Weezer, "Good Life": Pinkerton has been one of my favorite records since about a week after it was released. As I grow older, "Good Life" just resonates with me more and more. I love Rivers Cuomo.

3. Bjork, "It's Oh So Quiet": I just find this song to be so completely wonderful as to be beyond words.

4. Black Star, "Children's Story": I love Mos Def. I love Talib Kweli. I love this cautionary tale of sellout MCs.

5. The Killers, "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine": I go through these record benders. I listen to the same record over and over and over and over again until all of my family and co-workers nearly hate the album and definitely hate me. I don't think "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" would be on this list a year or two from now, but for now, I can't stop listening to it.

6. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?

B. Clay Moore, because he happened to just instant message me.

J. Torres, because he needs a distraction and I'm sure he'll have some interesting picks.

Ian Shaugnessy, because I want to see how many times the word "Timbaland" appears on his entry.

posted by James Lucas Jones @ 3:13 PM 2 comments  

Thursday, February 10, 2005

"Yes" or "No" Isn't as Important as "Why"

For the last month I've had a really hard time approaching anything critically. Books, movies, comics, food, television, music--I haven't been able to form any specific thoughts about any of it. I feel like I've had to rely purely on my gut because any objective evaluation has been virtually impossible. I'm just intellectually numb save for vague feelings devoid of explicable reason and rendering me completely useless in my job. Maybe I just need a nap.

posted by James Lucas Jones @ 9:30 PM 0 comments  

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Ocean's 12: A Discussion

PK: So, what'd you think?
JLJ: I *loved* it.
PK: Really?
PK: I was rather let down.
PK: I mean, I enjoyed myself, but it was too messy.
PK: There was no through-line in the plot.
PK: The script needed another go around.
PK: And that Julia Roberts robbery scene? It was painful.
PK: I give it a C. Mostly for the Matt Damon stuff.
JLJ: You need to pull the stick out of your ass.
JLJ: The characters were so natural
PK: No, they weren't characters.
JLJ: and as much as 11 was "American" this one was "European"
PK: They were not.
JLJ: I call bullshit on that!
PK: I mean, that shit with Pitt and Jones and Finney was so forced.
JLJ: No way!
PK: It came out of nowhere.
JLJ: I so disagree.
PK: And it was so fucking obvious.
PK: Girl whose father is a thief wants to catch her father.
PK: But they didn't even follow through with that in any way that made sense.
JLJ: Bah!
PK: The only two actors in there that were really being characters were Bernie Mac and Damon.
PK: And the ending was so pulled out of their ass.
JLJ: dude, you are sooo wrong
JLJ: Dude
PK: I mean, at least in the first one, you went... Ah ha!
PK: But this one was like, oh well, we actually pulled it off a long time ago, so all this other stuff was just bullshit.
JLJ: 11 is this superslick glitz glam American heist. It's in the most "American" city--one where everything is facade and nothing is substance and dollar is king
JLJ: 12 is totally old world
PK: I get what you're saying.
PK: But it didn't make sense.
JLJ: It's "European" to a T
PK: It had plot holes all over the place and the editing was crap.
PK: Actually, the editing was okay, but the script was confused.
JLJ: It's the Italian Job and the Lavender Hill Mob and the Pink Panther all rolled into one.
PK: The actors were gliding on charisma.
PK: See, at least the Italian Job had a narrative drive.
JLJ: Dude. Seriously, how do you poop with that stick shoved so far up your butt?
PK: This one just jumped around.
PK: Oh get off it.
JLJ: :-)
PK: You don't have to love everything Soderbergh does.
JLJ: Actually, I do!
PK: Be that as it may, you don't have to.
PK: He was collecting a check on this one.
JLJ: But even if I didn't, I would still recognize this for the quality popcorn that it is
JLJ: No way.
PK: The script was crap.
JLJ: The chemistry is so good! The pit-pat-snap was spot on.
PK: He should have gotten Scott Frank again.
JLJ: I totally disagree.
JLJ: The script was *exactly* what it needed to be.
PK: Lazy?
JLJ: Dude.
PK: Disorganized?
JLJ: Have you been drinking?
JLJ: I'm totally posting this to my blog with the names removed.
PK: The dialogue was great. The plot was miserable.
PK: You can post my name.
PK: Hell, I am a film critic now.
JLJ: Ha!
JLJ: So that's where the stick came from!
JLJ: They install them as soon as you go pro!
PK: Nonsense. You just can't get get Soderbergh's dick out of your mouth long enough to see straight.
JLJ: Bah!
PK: Seriously, do you cup his balls when you do that?
PK: Or is he one of those "no hands" guys?
JLJ: I would if he asked me.
PK: Well, you've just lost your credibility there.
JLJ: I love that he isn't afraid to make unabashed popcorn flicks.
PK: I do too, but this one was a mess.
PK: Now The Limey, that was brilliantly plotted. Ocean's 11 was too.
JLJ: Only because you tried to cut it up and shove it into your notion of what it was supposed to be.
PK: This one had too many balls in the air.
PK: Not at all.
JLJ: If you just go with the flow it's a fantastic film
PK: My notion was that it should make sense.
PK: That they should payoff the setup.
JLJ: If it doesn't make sense to you, you weren't paying close enough attention
JLJ: The plot isn't rocket science.
JLJ: There's no faulty logic.
PK: Exactly.
JLJ: Now you're not making sense!
PK: I didn't say there was. I said that the motion of the plot jumped around too much.
JLJ: And I'm saying you'd be fine with the jumpin' if you weren't coming down on that stick everytime you landed!

posted by James Lucas Jones @ 9:40 PM 1 comments  

Friday, November 19, 2004

Currently the Best Live Band in Rock is...

Billy Joe & the boys on Jimmy Kimmel
photo by Wendy Marvel

I am old.

The first time I saw Green Day live was at least thirteen years ago at a tiny club in Phoenix, Arizona called the Mason Jar. I prolly listened to a cassette of 39 Smooth a thousand times before that show. I was somewhat less prepared for them this time around.

I'd heard the new record, American Idiot, quite a bit in the office and while I admired both the political and rock opera goals the band had set for themselves, I wasn't sure if they'd evolved as far as they'd set out to.

Then my friend and co-worker, Joe, invited me to go with him to their show at the Rose Garden. I'd seen Green Day quite a bit in small venues so I wasn't sure if I really needed to see them in a big arena venue.

I was less sure after we arrived and searched for seats. The show was all general admission, despite there being seats for everything but the floor. It was a weird setup and one that forced Joe and I up to the upper seating area.

The place was dirty with kids. The under-20 set was out in force and ready for a good time. I never know what to expect from a Portland audience. Sometimes they're super into it and sometime they're way too cool for their own good.

And while the general admission setup irritated me a bit at first, it was exactly what these kids needed. They were primed and ready for this and from the "American Idiot" opening through to the obvious, yet perfect ender of "Time of Your Life" Green Day obliged them, playing with more energy, enthusiasm, and contagious excitement than their decade-younger selves could have possibly imagined.

Every song, hell every chord felt like it had been plucked from rock heaven especially for this union between band and audience. New material, sprinkled with songs from every period of their career seemlessly flowing back and forth from four-piece pop to three-piece punk and keeping the crowd coasting on each wave and break. During their cover of Operation Ivy's "Knowledge," Billy Joe went to the audience and picked "a new band." A drummer, a bass player, and a would-be guitar god all picked from the people on the floor jammed through the last verse and a rollicking final chorus cementing an enduring connection between performer and concert-goer. It's a bit that you just know that they do every night, but it doesn't matter. It felt perfect--just for us and more intimate than the tiniest club I'd ever seen them in. Billy Joe was funny and personable and passionate--a viable heir to the dearly departed king of political punk, The Clash's Joe Strummer.

And the production was equally amazing. Light shows, pyrotechnics, flags, banners, and confetti-firing cannons. This was a 70s era rock show for a modern audience. A presentation that would make Kiss proud and Weezer jealous. Anything more I could say on that mark wouldn't possibly do the spectacle justice.

Sometimes when you're "growing old," you just feel the "old" and forget what fun the "growing" can be. Green Day is a band whose growth may not be obvious on the surface but who've still transformed into something greater. They've avoided the tired aches that often plague a punk trio after being together for this long and instead have stretched in unexpected directions, growing into a truly great rock 'n' roll band.

posted by James Lucas Jones @ 4:46 PM 0 comments  

All content TM & (c) 2004 James Lucas Jones except
The Royal Tenenbaums
& related characters TM & (c) 2001 Touchstone Pictures.

-1 year, 2 days...
-Picking Up the Gauntlet...
-"Yes" or "No" Isn't as Important as "Why"
-Ocean's 12: A Discussion
-Currently the Best Live Band in Rock is...

-Steve Birch
-Chris Butcher
-Charlie Chu
-Chynna Clugston
-Kelly Sue DeConnick
-Han Q. Duong
-Dan Evans
-Matt Fraction
-Mike Hawthorne
-Antony Johnston
-Patrick Keller
-Hope Larson
-Corey Lewis
-Laurenn McCubbin
-Greg McElhatton
-Christine Norrie
-Mike Norton
-Bryan Lee O'Malley
-The Men of Oni Press
-Jamie S. Rich
-Steve Rolston -Greg Rucka
-Ian Shaughnessy
-Jenny Sireci
-Christian Skoorsmith
-J. Torres
-Matt Wagner
-Keith Wood

November 2004 December 2004 February 2005 February 2006