Friday, July 26, 2019
Watched : 03/03/2019
It was called @#$%ing Panchos and you losers let it go out of business the last time. Fun flags and all. Absolutely glorious. Don't @#$% it up again, Austin.
Main Title - Howard Shore, The Fly OST
Unknown Track - Howard Shore, The Fly - Opera
Help Me - Bryan Ferry, The Fly OST
"What is Love?" Playlist:
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Format: Hallmark Channel's Christmas in July
I was suffering a fever and whatnot over the weekend, and that's part of why this happened.
Around July 1, The Hallmark Channel began running Christmas movies 24/7, and I guess that's the gameplan through the end of the month. It's clearly a trial balloon to see if they should just go ahead and launch a fulltime Christmas movies channel, as in - all year it's Christmas. Which would make Jamie snap, and, thus, I support this idea.
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
So.... I don't know that I'd want to actually recommend The Tattooed Stranger (1950) to anyone. It's far more of a curiosity of production than it is a watchable or good movie, and in the right, riff-able hands, could be wildly entertaining. Pre-film, Muller explained that it had been a producer of RKO's Pathe office, who wanted to try their hand at cheap narrative films, exploiting their guerrilla film making know-how from decades of documentary films and using the wealth of actors in NYC.
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.
This one hit us all hard and never let up.
Monday, July 22, 2019
If you ever get a chance, read up on the amazing history of NASA. It's fascinating today to see some of the unknown stories of the agency's history come to the fore in recent years, bringing to the fore luminaries like Margaret Hamilton and Katherine Johnson. One name we did grow up with was Christopher Kraft.
Truly, no one was more "there at the beginning" than Kraft, who had been a NACA employee before the creation of NASA, and who helped build and shape NASA from the inside up.
Kraft served as Flight Director at NASA during Mercury and Gemini and as a manager of flight operations during Apollo. Kraft's attention to detail and leadership were key to keeping all the moving parts together before, during and after each mission, keeping people alive as they hurled through space in experimental machines strapped to ballistic missiles.
He would go on to run the Manned Spacecraft Center into the early 80's, when he retired from NASA. In the 1990's, he participated in a review of the shuttle program and published an autobiography in 2001.
Mr. Kraft passed this week at the age of 95, having pushed humanity higher, further and farther than anyone ever dreamed. He deserves to be remembered alongside the astronauts and heroes who, themselves, went into space and those new legends of engineering, math and science. The role he took on wasn't the one with the personal glory (although his name did become quite well known), but without the Christopher Krafts out there, you don't get the Apollo missions, either.
A statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Kraft's passing.
Last week I traveled for work and somewhere along the line I picked up a nasty cold. I have my suspects who may have passed along this infernal malady, but shall name no names here in the record of my life which will be preserved and shared for generations.
I got home from work very late last Wednesday (really Thursday morning) and was doing fine. I worked out on Thursday, ate dinner and was doing the dishes when I got the spins for a minute. "That's odd," I said to myself. "But it has been a while since I worked out, and that didn't go very well, either."
And then the symptoms started coming in, and I knew.
Look, it's not dramatic. It's a cold. As of this writing I am now past the point of ear canals screaming at me, a sore throat and a fever. I spent most of the weekend laying on the sofa watching TV, I think. I don't really know. I think I watched all of Clue last night, but I'm not sure. But I did go to an Urgent Care Sunday not because I think they can cure the common cold, but because I have no idea what OTC meds to take when you do have a cold. PLUS - I really did not want get a sinus infection on the other side of the cold. And, you never know. Day 3 of a fever is a good time to ask a pro if you're dying or not.
Anyway - I'm on the road to recovery. Doing much better than I was and have moved into the "coughing a lot and, oh, look, it's producing phlegm" part of the program. Some minor stuffiness. And I'm way more lucid, which I see as beneficial to everyone.
The poor dog, who hasn't seen a decent walk in days, just thinks I suck.
Thanks to Jamie who has been a hero through all of this and hasn't seemed to have acquired this cold, against all odds. But, yeah, she is used to me Man-Flu'ing my way through all illness, but it is in no way fun to watch a giant, sweaty man lay on your sofa and just keep saying "I don't care" about literally everything not related to his phlegm production. Of course she's wrestling with summer allergies, so as I recover, I hereby swear to be deeply sympathetic to her fight via Austin allergens.
Friday, July 19, 2019
In some ways I'm amazed I haven't totally turned on this show. It can be twee, it's a lot too precious in some scenes, and the "look, we're doing the 1980's!" while getting a lot of details wrong should have pushed me over the ledge.*
Sometimes I wish they'd just turn to David Harbour and Winona Ryder and ask "is this actually right? As someone who was a young person in 1985, is this accurate?" Because it works *better* for those of us who were around this age when the show is on. And it is on *a lot*. But when it's off, it takes you right out.
The horror was more or less abstracted to a general horror-movie sort of problem this season, giving the characters less specific rules-sorting to do, which I support. At times the visual and filmic references to other things was so heavy handed, though, the show almost folded in on itself.
Still, somehow, the show works. I still really enjoyed it, and I know why.
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Look, it's @#$%ing inevitable that I'll watch the movie version of Cats, so I might as well lean into it. I promise you can now look to The Signal Watch as Your News Site for the movie of Andrew Lloyd Webber's goofiest achievement (and he did Starlight Express), Cats. And I hereby swear I will watch this movie opening weekend.
Fact: I saw the musical of Cats touring once when I was sixteen and a theatre-kid in high school. I mostly remember dancers in very tight costumes bending and flexing a lot and the woman playing Grizabella knocking it out of the house.
Fact: I subsequently owned the two-tape soundtrack to Cats which I listened to twice before realizing "I do not think I actually like 85% of the music in Cats" but felt that as a theater-kid, I couldn't get rid of the tapes - but I did quietly migrate them to my mom's tape collection.
Fact: I saw Cats a second time in college when it came through Austin and a friend said "hey, I've never seen Cats", and I was like "well, you should see it sometime," and then me and Peabo got tickets. We looked at each other during the first number, realizing "oh god, we've made a horrible mistake" and that feeling never let up til the final curtain.
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Y'all, I @#$%ing love Mary Poppins.
I already talked a bit about this movie back in December when we went to go see it as a holiday-timed family outing.
Honestly, as much as I liked it the first time, on a second viewing, I liked it even more. Once you're past the "what am I looking at?" aspect of such a big production and get over everything they're throwing at you and can process it as a movie with a story and things happening and songs you're not hearing one after another for the first time and dance sequences you're just trying to process...
Honestly, it's really a very well put together bit of entertainment and a fine companion piece to the original. And I like it quite a bit.
Yes, you can still both absolutely map the movie scene for scene as a remake of the original, but it is, in fact, a sequel, so it also has a new plot and new problems and works in elements of the original as plot points, creating some terrific continuity. I *liked* the songs the first time, and on a second viewing, I really liked the tunes. They may not have the immediate impact of soft-rock favorites in the manner of Moana or Frozen, and they remain so much in the vein of the Sherman Bros., we aren't going to get a Broadway showstopper akin to Let It Go, but the song-craft is still tremendous and the songs almost as powerful as carrying the story forward as Moana.
And, of course, Emily Blunt's take on Mary Poppins is... well, she's pretty great.
Anyway - I won't belabor it. I rewatched the film, enjoyed it again, and will watch it again in the future. This movie could have been a trainwreck and dimished the original - instead, the level of attention of detail in recreating the world of a movie from 60 years prior and updating it to a different period is phenomenal. Not to mention the recreation of Disney's 2D circa 1960 animation house style brought into this new film. The spirit is so much the same from head to tail on this movie, it's an astounding feat.
And whether it's the Julie Andrews original film or this belated follow-up, I still @#$%ing love Mary Poppins.
Friday, July 12, 2019
2019 was the year I finally started watching Brooklyn 99, and like everyone else who watched the show, I became a big fan of Cheddar, the pet Corgi of Captain Raymond Holt and the lynchpin of more than one episode.
Sadly, a pup doesn't live forever, and Cheddar performer, Stewart, has merged with the Infinite.
Pouring one out for you, buddy.