Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A couple of days ago I was looking at careers in art crime, and I was checking out this website to look at their brief art crime masters program (in Italy!), and I saw this statue:
It's totally freaky. And sculpted in the 15th century. I'm intrigued.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cut You Down

I know I've rather neglected the blog lately when it comes to "real" posts, but I promise I have a couple up my sleeve and coming soon.

This song has been haunting me since I first heard it in the Jeep commercial, and I every time I heard it it made me want to buy a Jeep, which is not a terrible prospect. But after hearing it used in the preview for True Grit, it just makes me want to ride horses in the winter desert of northeast Arizona.

Anyway, it being Johnny Cash just makes it a hundred times better:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Good Books for Halloween

I thought it was only fair that I also list my favorite scary books or stories for the Halloween season, so here they are (only five, I promise):

The Curse of the Blue Figurine by John Bellairs. Probably my favorite of the Johnny Dixon books by John Bellairs, though I really love pretty much all of them. Admittedly I haven't read them since I was younger, but they're still awesome. I want to be Johnny Dixon.

The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt by John Bellairs. I remember reading this late at night and being afraid to stick out my arm to turn off the light when I was done because I was so freaked out. So good.

The Doubtful Guest by Edward Gorey. Not only did Edward Gorey illustrate (like he did the John Bellairs books), but he also wrote some stuff. When I read this in fifth grade, it frightened me to tears. It's not really that scary, but it's eerie, and makes you think.

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie. One of the creepier mystery novels I've ever read, with lines that give me chills just thinking about them, like "Cover her face, mine eyes dazzle, she is dead," and something about monkey hands. My mom says she read it as a teenager when she was babysitting alone and was totally freaked out. I agree, it's pretty suspenseful at times. And of course, there's an old house involved.

Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart. I love Mary Stewart, she's an amazing mystery writer. This is probably one of her creepier ones. It's set on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, where a murderer is loose and secrets abound.

I'm also inclined to mention The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, but I think the movie is a little scarier. I've also heard that Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of the scariest books ever written, but I've never read it, so I can't recommend it. Also, The Yellow Wallpaper is a creepy short story, but mostly it's weird, so that's sort of a half-recommendation. In addition to those, I feel like I should mention Sherlock Holmes, but those stories aren't particularly scary, just mysterious and captivating. But if I were to pick a couple that were close to scary, I'd say "The Speckled Band," "The Hound of the Baskervilles," and maybe "The Five Orange Pips." And I forgot about Edgar Allen Poe. I'd say of his, probably "The Tell-tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado" are good ones.

What are your favorite scary/suspenseful books or stories good for getting freaked out?

Good Movies for Halloween

So obviously Halloween is approaching, and I've decided to give you my pick for the top 5 Halloween-y movies that I think you should watch this Halloween. (PS these are all PG-13 or under, so you know they don't have dumb gore)
In chronological order:

Hocus Pocus, 1993. You've all seen it. It's the perfect Halloween movie, and you know it. It's also the only one on my list that actually takes place on Halloween. That is all.

Practical Magic, 1998. Starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, who are sisters who also happen to be witches, and who run into a bit of trouble when one of the sisters returns home after being gone for a while. It's partly funny and partly scary, and definitely worth watching.

The Sixth Sense, 1999. Pretty sure you've seen this one too, since it's probably in the top ten most famous scary movies ever. Also it's by M Knight Shyamalan-- who's pretty amazing--before he decided he didn't want to make good movies anymore. I love the story line for this film.

What Lies Beneath, 2000. Starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeifer, who play a married couple living in a house they discover is a little bit haunted. This is probably the scariest movie I've ever seen, and one of the few that continues to scare me no matter how many times I've seen it. I read somewhere that "this movie will do for bathtubs what Psycho did for showers"-- totally true. The music is also really cool.

The Others, 2001. Nicole Kidman lives in a huge house on a foggy island with her two kids. They live shrouded in darkness due to the children's extreme sensitivity to light (a real disease, by the way), and things start to get weird after they take on a set of new servants. Watch it and be sufficiently creeped out, I promise.

Five Honorable Mentions:
White Noise, 2005: Pretty good, but had an ending that left me confused.

The Village, 2004: Really very good, but maybe not "scary" enough to make the list. Or maybe it is. Consider this one #6 on the list.

Signs, 2002: Freaked me out when I saw it in theatres, and it still gives me chills. Awesome story, score, acting-- I just love it. Maybe this should be #7...

The Ring, 2002: A little too scary. Also, seven days after I first saw this movie a little tv I had at the time turned on by itself while I was folding laundry and it seriously freaked me out.

The Skeleton Key, 2005: Also pretty good, although the ending was kind of dumb. And they compared it to Sixth Sense. Bah.

So there's my list. I just realized that three of them (Practical Magic, What Lies Beneath, The Others) have houses that I sort of love, and that all of them (in a way) are from the 90s. I guess that was a good decade. Also, I'm sorry this list of 5 turned into a list of 10. What are your recommendations?

UPDATE: I totally forgot about all the movies pre-1990, so here's a short list of those too! (Wow, this is getting really long, sorry)

Poltergeist, 1982. Such a good scary movie, and definitely a classic. It gets a little weird/tacky at parts, but hey it was the 80s.

The Haunting, 1963. Make sure you actually do get the 1963 version, and not the weird, more modern one. It's a really creepy movie about (you guessed it), a haunted house. There are many lines and scenes from this movie that have stuck with me through my childhood. Eerie.

Midnight Lace, 1960. A classic and really creepy suspense movie, and one of my favorites.

The Uninvited, 1944. One of my favorite ghost movies ever. We used to watch it every Halloween when I was a kid.
The Innocents, 1961. Based on Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw." This movie really creeps me out. About ghosts...or is it?

Now the end.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mt Desolation

First of all, I realize this is going to be the third post with a video in a row. I'm sorry. Secondly, I feel like the "mood" of this post and the last one will make me seem a little emo, or maybe a hipster. I'm not. Onward!

So you all remember Keane, I hope. Don't worry, this post is not about them (again). But it is sort of, because the keyboardist/pianist/lyricist Tim Rice-Oxley has teamed up with Jesse Quinn, the bassist for the Perfect Symmetry tour, and a few other people (from mostly bands I've never heard of, except the Killers and Noah and the Whale) to create a music project called Mt Desolation. I'm kind of excited, because Tim is trusting himself to sing more, and his voice really isn't bad. And I'm glad to see and hear more of Jesse, because he was sort of closeted when he was helping Keane-- you know, he was just that guy on stage who played bass and nobody knew where he came from.
Tim playing guitar on the porch in the Scottish Highlands during a Mt Desolation tour
Anyway, you can read a little about the band and about their style-- which is supposed to be like alternative folk or something random like that-- on their website. Their album doesn't come out until October 18th, but I've heard a few of their songs, and they're pretty good.

Here's my favorite (someone commented on Youtube that Jesse looks like he's making out with the microphone, and I have to agree):

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fleetwood Mac

Tomorrow is Lindsey Buckingham's 61st birthday. He's the guitarist and occasional vocalist for the band Fleetwood Mac, if you didn't know. It was the discovery my senior year of high school (and watching and re-watching) of an old VHS of my mom's with recorded music videos from the 80s that led me to develop a love and appreciation for "old" music. A number of the videos were of Fleetwood Mac songs, and I became intrigued by Stevie Nicks' interesting voice, and Lindsey Buckingham's amazing guitar playing. In fact, it was the guitar solo at the end of "Gypsy" that first captured me. It also may have helped that I thought Lindsey Buckingham was pretty cute (although not during the time he had all that hair).

Anyway, I'm not going to say anything else, so just enjoy these songs and videos instead.

This is Lindsey Buckingham talking about one of the songs on his new(ish?) album, I think from last year maybe. He mentions John McVie and Mick Fleetwood (where the name of the band came from...Mick Fleetwood and John McVie) too, who I guess collaborated on the project with him.

>>SOOOO LAME they won't let me embed this video. But watch it anyway! Clickenzy-here haw.

This is some awesome behind-the-scenes footage of the music video for "Tusk" that they did with the USC marching band (which is a fun video-- and song-- but I couldn't find a good version of it, so this footage will have to do, and anyway it's pretty fun too. It makes me feel nerdy.) Notice the cardboard cutout replacing John McVie, who was in Tahiti while they were filming. And the short man-shorts! I love it.

A cool song I actually never heard before today that showcases pretty well the guitar-playing of Lindsey Buckingham. But if you've never heard "Never Going Back Again" or "Big Love" you need to hunt them down. Seriously. (This from Stevie & Lindsey's first album, right before they joined Fleetwood Mac.)

And last but not least, one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, just in case someone reading this isn't that familiar with the band (but now you are!).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Now What?

I'm conflicted. I just heard that the Star Wars movies will be released in 3D, one per year, starting in 2012. I've always wanted to see the original 3 films in theatres, and now I have the chance!
...Except that I just threw a fit about how much I hate 3D. But this is one of my favorite film series like...ever (eps 4-6 anyway).
What do I do???