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Messages - Bill Binkelman

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101
Everything and Nothing / Re: What do you love?
« on: July 07, 2011, 09:36:22 AM »
Pinball.

My childrens' laughter.

Good food, preferably with decent wine.

And ambient.

Nice to see some of us are still kickin' it old school!

102
Everything and Nothing / Re: What do you love?
« on: July 01, 2011, 01:51:36 PM »
What do I love?

Just about every kind of seafood imaginable....fish (fried, grilled, baked, broiled), shellfish, you name it. Freshwater, ocean, no difference. On our trip to Grand Marais, MN last weekend, we had whitefish (grilled and fried), crab cakes, scallops, lake trout, and grouper.

Cheese...hard, soft, aged, goat, cow, makes no difference.

Fall...I LOVE the gray skies and crisp days of autumn as well its cool nights.

I love the sound of rain or waves or wind in the trees, as well as the sound of crickets, frogs, and other nocturnal creatures.

I love George Webb Hamburger Parlor (based in Southern Wisconsin) hashbrowns...simply the finest I have ever sampled anywhere...and that covers a lot of territory.

Driving rural backroads through small towns, especially in Wisconsin in the fall.

That's not all I love, but it's a start.

103
In all seriousness, I think if solar activity was THAT bad so that even relatively small consumer electronics were affected, we (humanity) would be in such deep shit on a bigger scale that the state of your synthesizers would be the least of your concerns. Not saying it will or could even happen (and yeah, I remember Y2K too), but any solar event that would be able to fry small pieces of gear, think what it would do air traffic control systems, main frames, etc etc etc. I've seen too many post-apocalyptic movies (e.g. The Road, The Book of Eli, to name two recent ones) and I do NOT want to live in a society anything remotely like that anyway, either with or without synthesizers! LOL

104
Hi Julian,

I recognize your name from somewhere else...maybe a ning group? Anyway, welcome to a great forum, full of nice folks who actually want to discuss music....a wonder in this day and age, IMO.  ;)

105
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: For fantasy fans...
« on: May 18, 2011, 11:25:44 AM »
So Bill, what is your take on this series now that it's around half way done. Anyone else care to comment?


I am generally quite pleased with it thus far, especially given the monumental task of trying to bring such a complex story with at least 20 (maybe more like 30-40) IMPORTANT characters to the mini-series format.

Casting is amazing...not a single actor/actress was miscast and ALL the performances are spot on with how the characters are portrayed in the book. Especially good are the actors/actresses who play Jon Snow, Ned Stark, Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Geoffrey Lannister, Caitlyn Stark, Viserys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, and Lyssa Aryn. In particular, all the "villains" are superb!

Sets are equally good, although you can tell the budget is small because you don't get the sensation of how big things are supposed to be (except "The Wall"). Costuming, weapons, etc. are all on a par with LOTR, from my perspective.

Music is "fine" meaning it is not bad but nothing has stood out yet, either.

The main problem, if you want to call it that, is that even at a 12-part mini-series, if one has read the book(s), one realizes how truncated the mini-series is (and has to be). Much backstory is left out and characters are introduced with little exposition, despite these characters being vitally important to the story. Given the constraints that a TV series must have, I am MUCH MORE than satisfied and am glad they are leaving the "tone" of the story as dismal, pessimistic, and cruel as the book(s) are.

Kathryn (my partner), who is a medieval studies scholar, praises the series for depicting how things really were at that stage of human history what with families turning against each other, alliances shifting daily, betrayal and violence being commonplace and anyone not of noble birth was pretty much fucked no matter what. She usually finds depictions of medieval kingdoms to be “whitewashed” but this is accurate from her perspective. One day a person is favored by the king and the next day, he or she could be be-headed.

Still, I don’t see how anyone who has not read at least the first book can be following this, unless they watched each episode 2 or 3 times. I think the producers should introduce each episode with the cast (the ones who appear in that particular episode) by showing the picture (in costume) and who they are playing, e.g. “Sean Bean as Ned Stark, Hand of the King” “Lean Headley as Queen Cersei Lannister” etc. That would help newbies keep all the players straight.

To give you an idea who many characters you HAVE to keep straight due to their importance to the story, go here
http://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/index.html#/game-of-thrones/cast-and-crew/index.html
cause nearly everyone on this page is relevant to the storyline, at least in the upper part of the web page (the upper part lists 19 characters alone).

So, all in all, I am very pleased and am VERY HAPPY that HBO has already committed to a second season. Once all the necessary exposition and introduction of characters is done, the action picks up, to say the least, and the real murder and mayhem begins. Woot!


106
I just want to extend my congratulations to you, Darren, on seeing this through to the end. I have thought often of writing a book and have never even attempted it. Kudos to you on persevering and taking it all the way. You are to be commended!

107
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: For fantasy fans...
« on: April 17, 2011, 07:18:52 PM »
I am impressed with the first installment in this mini-series. Understandably, the first 2 or 3 episodes will be more or less exposition. But the attention to detail and deliberate pace are just what I was hoping for...this is a DENSELY plotted book and even at 10 hours, some of it is obviously going to be truncated. I don't expect for it to become truly "involving" until episode 3 or so, although Kathryn is already hooked, per her own words. All I can say is that by the half way point of the 10 parts, if you stick with it, it's gonna blow some folks away. NO character is safe. Imagine in LOTR if Aragorn, Sam and Legolas were all killed in the first picture. That's what this book series is about.

108
I truly don't understand the hatred and vitriol for Facebook. I certainly find some people's overuse of it a bit puzzling, but what harm does it do to you if you don't participate? Why mock it if you can instead choose simply to ignore it? What is the point of posting sarcastic and demeaning comments about a system that allows people to connect with others who, for whatever reason, they enjoy doing so? If it's mundane and vapid and banal, what difference does it it make to you if you aren't forced to read or participate? Just like this forum...god knows there is enough mental masturbation taking place here as well, to be honest.

Honestly...there are plenty of folks on Facebook that make me scratch my head and ask "Do they have a life?" but who the hell am I to judge them? Don't like Facebook..fine, leave it alone. I would say that 9/10 of the time I could dispense with it altogether, but just recently, Facebook enabled me to find out that a good friend and former co-worker of mine had to put his beloved dog to sleep so that when I saw him next in person I could give him a big hug and tell him how sorry I was. IMO, that's enough justification of a system that, by and large, may be nothing but a lot of "look at me" shit.

Sorry for the rant, but honestly...shit, there are more more important things to get worked up about, IMO...gas in the US is about to hit 4 bucks a gallon...fuck that, IMO.

No offense meant, by the way...but...oh what the hell...

??

The only person who expressed hatred and vitriol was the author who's message Mike posted. The rest of of us just made comments along the lines that there is too much empty blather on facebook. That's hardly "hatred and vitriol".

Maybe hatred and vitriol were over the top on my part, but read all the comments here in this thread and there is plenty of slagging off going on...which is fine. As I posted, I don't get it. It's (FB) innocuous because one doesn't have to participate. It's not pervasive. Sorry if my post was off-putting, but while I could cut and paste the specific comments in this thread I was addressing, I will just say that some comments to me smack of the same condescending attitude which creeps into conversations about ambient music here and elsewhere sometimes...the attitude that ambient music is special and above other forms of music...

I'm touchy about this, I admit it. I'm no huge proponent of FB but I use it as do some others on this forum...but whether it's just the author who was quoted or some of the other subtly snide comments afterwards...it just rubs me wrong. If FB makes some people happy and doesn't harm anyone, it's all cool with me.

Again, my apologies for offending you, Joe, as I seem to have done or anyone else. This is one of the one of the reasons that I drift in and out of here and elsewhere on the 'net, I guess. I still haven't learned to keep my (virtual) mouth shut.

Peace, out.

109
I truly don't understand the hatred and vitriol for Facebook. I certainly find some people's overuse of it a bit puzzling, but what harm does it do to you if you don't participate? Why mock it if you can instead choose simply to ignore it? What is the point of posting sarcastic and demeaning comments about a system that allows people to connect with others who, for whatever reason, they enjoy doing so? If it's mundane and vapid and banal, what difference does it it make to you if you aren't forced to read or participate? Just like this forum...god knows there is enough mental masturbation taking place here as well, to be honest.

Honestly...there are plenty of folks on Facebook that make me scratch my head and ask "Do they have a life?" but who the hell am I to judge them? Don't like Facebook..fine, leave it alone. I would say that 9/10 of the time I could dispense with it altogether, but just recently, Facebook enabled me to find out that a good friend and former co-worker of mine had to put his beloved dog to sleep so that when I saw him next in person I could give him a big hug and tell him how sorry I was. IMO, that's enough justification of a system that, by and large, may be nothing but a lot of "look at me" shit.

Sorry for the rant, but honestly...shit, there are more more important things to get worked up about, IMO...gas in the US is about to hit 4 bucks a gallon...fuck that, IMO.

No offense meant, by the way...but...oh what the hell...

110
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / For fantasy fans...
« on: April 06, 2011, 06:30:35 PM »
In case you don't know, HBO has produced a 10-part miniseries of the first book of George R.R. Martin's fantastic "A Song of Fire and Ice" series. The first book (and first miniseries) is "A Game of Thrones." and it looks fucking fantastic and is garnering rave advanced reviews. It starts in about 10 days or so. I got HBO just to see it. This is VERY ADULT fantasy and makes LOTR look like a Disney movie. Tons of violence and brutality - not much "fantasy" per se (i.e. no real magic) but lots of political machinations, betrayals, plots, etc. I am super-psyched as I have read all the books in the series (so far). Check it out at http://www.hbo.com/#/game-of-thrones


111
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: April 05, 2011, 08:38:56 AM »
Been listening to some older discs lately...TALES - The Seskian Wars



Tales is the pseudonym for a French EM artist, Jean-Luc Herve Berthelot. This is a SF-themed concept album with influences from ambient/spacemusic to Berlin school...atmospheric, dark, and sometimes dramatic, but not drone-based...definitely EM.

Greg Klamt - Fluxus Quo



I don't think Greg Klamt is making music as a solo act any longer (IIRC from what Jon Jenkins told me). This was his second solo album, but I think he has done some relatively recent guest stints on other Spotted Peccary CDs...OTOH, he may have walked away from music entirely. This album showcases the distinctive Spotted Peccary sound in electronic music, which has a strong cinematic soundtrack component as well as unique applications of drums and a unique sweeping melody component at times.


112
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 19, 2011, 06:28:03 PM »
Saw the film today and while it wasn't perfect, obviously, it was very well done for what it is, i.e. a ground force invasion movie which only happens to be about aliens. Eckhart makes the movie - he is very VERY good in the role of the staff sergeant who does his best to keep the relatively new Marines (and their raw lieutenant) from feeling overwhelmed at their first taste of combat. The rest of the actors and characters are all cookie-cutter, as many reviews have stated...but honestly, except for Josh Hartnett, and to a lesser degree, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, and Sam Shepard, how many actors do you remember as characters from Blackhawk Down, which this film (Battle LA) is obviously mimicking.

The action scenes are very well done, capturing the intensity of firefights in an urban setting, where cover can be a car, a bus, or a partially blown-to-shit wall. The film wastes very little time on exposition so we know almost next to nothing about the aliens...except they obviously want to exterminate us and take over the planet.

Look...this is an action spectacle movie, nothing else (except, maybe, a nice recruitment film for the Marines, although enough of 'em die in the film that maybe not...). As such, it is LIGHT YEARS better than something like ID4 or many other big budget films. Because it is small in scope (only a handful of actors and only one locale), it feels more intimate. It doesn't matter if you "know" these Marines as individuals...after all, how many of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan do you know personally, but their courage in fighting this enemy is admirable. And I know that sounds sappy, but the firefights are very intensely portrayed. Sure, there are some hokey speeches, but nothing as cringeworthy as, IMO, that horrendous "Tell me I'm a good man" ending to Saving Private Ryan.

It does suffer from a rather abrupt end and it certainly borrows plenty from ID4 in a way at the end (not as stupid as a computer virus, but almost as deux ex machina a device, in a way). It's nowhere near as flag-waving as ID4 though. And, IMO, it's a far superior film to Spielberg's War of the Worlds remake, which I enjoyed for the first 30-45 minutes or so and then it submarined into melodrama (I was hoping Cruise's character's whiny son would be killed).

Anyway, for me, I enjoyed it a lot. Saw in a very good theatre and as a digital presentation. Many critics point out how LOUD this film is and it really is all that! Is it SF? As much as W of the W or ID4 is...yes. In some ways, from a tactical standpoint, the aliens come off as plausible...their invasion strategy is spot-on.  I don't think you can simply say that this could be the same film if it was human vs. human because the technology doesn't exist for a human army to invade on that scale that rapidly and that effectively. Is that enough of a SF element to justify calling it SF? Not for Roger Ebert, but for me, yeah. One things is for sure...like other "close quarters" combat movies, such as Blackhawk Down and the underrated Tears of the Sun, this will be best appreciated, cinematically, either in a good theatre or with a good home set-up, and no way will you get the sonic impact of the movie without a VERY GOOD subwoofer!

113
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 16, 2011, 01:35:16 PM »
I cannot stop listening to Daft Punk's soundtrack to Tron: Legacy. It's a great amalgam of cinematic orchestral music with electronics. The main theme has me going nuts as I want to hear it over and over. Perfect driving music...dramatic (for the most part) with thunderous drums, cool synth work, and soaring strings. Makes me want to see the movie again and I've decided I will buy it when it comes out...sometimes, the music makes the movie that much better, I guess.


114
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 13, 2011, 04:51:35 PM »
Didn't get to it this weekend as planned...came down with a wicked head cold. Hope to see it one night this week. will give my review when I finally get to see it.

115
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 11, 2011, 06:50:03 PM »
Night Shift used to be a big one for me too. My friends and my brother and I used to quote all kinds of lines from that movie, even some of the unfunny ones like, "Chuck, I'm wearing white."

The obvious quotable lines are "Hey kid, you like music?" and Billy Blaze's various notes to self, like "put the mayonnaise in the can with the tuna."

Shelley Long in her underpants. Just think about that for a second.

"I'm an idea man, Chuck."

"Is this a great country or what?"

"How come we don't have TV, Chuck?"

"Love brokers! You and me, Chuck!"

"Call Star Kist."

Yeah, you could say Night Shift is one of my faves, too..and yes, I own that one too. Michael Keaton's second funniest film...after Beetlejuice, of course. "I've come for your daughter, Chuck."

I may have watch Night Shift tonight now...damn you, MG!

116
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 11, 2011, 04:07:09 PM »
Yeah, that's a great term to use  to describe those kind of movies... "comfort food." I gotta remember that one.

117
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 11, 2011, 03:39:07 PM »
Well, Mike, I don't know if I can say I'd "rather" see one over the other, as much as it's influenced by my mood at the time I am wanting to see a movie. FTR, I love Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, and Fargo...also Saving Private Ryan. I couldn't really get into Pan's Labyrinth but understood the praise for it...it just didn't reach me emotionally. I don't know that I find it particularly interesting when "intelligent" folks don't like a certain kind of film, or even a particular singular film itself. Fargo seems to divide a lot of people. For me, I may be the only person who LOVED...I mean LOVED Se7en. (Sorry, Darren). I think it is a brilliant metaphor for the various reactions we as people have to the decaying conditions in urban America and I also think the visual horror of the story was also relatively restrained. But most people I know, if not all, are in agreement with Darren, i.e. they HATED it...I mean REALLY HATED IT. I also loved Ken Russell's universally panned Altered States.

I guess Kathryn's taste in movies has always surprised me. She can watch the Die Hard movies over and over and yet her taste in esoteric foreign films, especially some of the more depressing films to come from northern Europe (e.g. Sweden and Norway) certainly eclipses my love of those genres (and I am not a "sub-title hater").  Although, I had to chuckle when I recommended Dancer in the Dark to her and even SHE admitted it was a damn depressing film...I described Breaking the Waves to her and she passed on it...maybe she just isn't a Von Trier fan! ;)

Mike or Darren (or anyone), did you see Welcome to the Dollhouse, Your Friends and Neighbors, or Happiness? If so, what did you think of them? I admired each one, but damn, I could never watch any of the three a second time.

118
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 11, 2011, 01:44:28 PM »
I believe that movies, maybe more than any other medium, are affected by what people bring to the table in the way of both expectations and "needs." Many folks on opinion boards, newsgroups, etc. harp on the notion that movies are only for "entertainment" and as long as one is entertained, that is enough...Of course, entertainment itself is subjective, too, but I think their theory is that a movie can suck (art-wise) and yet entertain. Sadly, some of these folks also think that any artistic film sucks simply because it is artistic. I'll admit that I enjoy popcorn flicks as much as art flicks, e.g. I own copies of both The Fountain (LOVE the soundtrack and bought it the same day I saw the film) and crap like Underworld and the updated version of The Italian Job. Sometimes I just like to park my brain and watch bad guys get the crap kicked out of them and shit get blown up real good. Other times, I want to be pushed and have my intellect really pummelled by a WTF movie like The Fountain. Not everyone has this duality when it comes to their taste in films, which is not meant to infer I'm better than those folks, just stating a difference.

I also agree that some people simply cannot enjoy a film because of subject matter. Kathryn, who really loves movies, HATES almost all science fiction...but she loved LOTR and Narnia. Go figure.

For me, the only genre/type of film I hate enough to rarely ever watch despite how EVERYONE, even critics seem to love, are these recent silly comedies by folks like the Farrellys and crap like Superbad, etc. I tried watching Superbad and lasted 10 minutes. I was shocked at how, IMO, offensive it is and I hardly EVER get offended at anything in a movie. I would rather rewatch a cult film like the original Vanishing Point than something like Anchorman or just about any comedy along those lines. And I love comedies...when they are funny (haha...subjective taste joke  ::) ).

For every person who considers 2001 to be a nonsensical acid-fueled pretentious bunch of crap, there is a person who thinks The Rock is the nadir of cinema (I happen to like both of them, although obviously for different reasons). I can understand why seem people think 2001 is pretentious and I also can understand how a Michael Bay fillm is usually considered to be as brain-dead as Governor Walker of Wisconsin. For me, I don't watch The Rock for anything but to see Sean Connery kick ass and Ed Harris do his usual madman schtick. Sometimes I want a greasy cheeseburger and sometimes I want haute cuisine.

Bringing it back to Battle: Los Angeles, I am seeing it (hopefully this weekend) because (a) I like Aaron Eckhart (hell, he even made The Core watchable) and (b) to me, it looks enough like Blackhawk Down, which I loved, to make it worthwhile investing 2 hours and 6 bucks (matinee prices) and (c) hey. it's gotta be better than the current version of "V" and if I'm stupid enough to watch that every week - and I am - I may as well give this a shot.

PS Thanks to everyone who ha scontributed on this topic as I am REALLY enjoying this discussion...

119
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 10, 2011, 01:11:11 PM »
Interesting that you liked Monsters, Mike. I had no problem with it being very little concerned with the alien "invasion," or that the storyline was more of an allegory (e.g. are WE the real monsters?). But the movie was soooooo deliberately placed (some sequences seemed to drga on forever), the acting was pretty amateurish by the twomain actors, and the actions of the lead characters were so asinine - almost over the top for emphasis. Seriously (plot spoiler ahead...if you are thinking of seeing this movie, stop reading now), the man and woman are 12 hours away from boarding the FINAL ferry away from a "war zone," they have spent $10K to get tickets, and then the guy sleeps with a prostitute and they lose their tickets and their money? Any sensible person would have slept about 10 feet from the dock or even stayed up all night so as to not miss the damn ferry. At that point, I just lost all interest in or sympathy for the two leads. In fact, I would've liked the monsters to get 'em!  ;D

I know on IMDB and Netflix a lot of folks liked the less-action-oriented emphasis of the film and thought it was an "intelligent" version of Cloverfield, but I thought it was so ill-conceived plot-wise, and the performances so bad that I just couldn't stay interested or concerned.

Just my two cents. Taste is so subjective. As I wrote, I thought Tron Legacy was pretty good. So, does your answer mean you and Lena will probably pass on Battle: LA then?

120
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 10, 2011, 11:50:28 AM »
Reviews for this are all over the map...some are totally panning it and others are calling it "Blackhawk Down-like" in its intensity. I never did see Skyline, because the reviews were so bad (and Darren Rogers helped to talk me out of it - thanks, Darren). BUT I thought the trailers for that movie (Skyline) were awesome, and I feel the same way about Battle: Los Angeles, which gives me pause. More and more often a movie's trailer gives a false indication of what the actual movie will be like (See trailers for Legion and Monsters, to name two films I saw recently on DVD and the movies were NOTHINg like what the trailers inferred).

So, is anyone here excited about this film? Is this just this year's Skyline or will it be an intense ground-level up-close "you are there" combat movie, just about aliens, not humans?

OTOH, many reviews for Tron Legacy, which I just saw 2 nights ago, were negative and I liked it a lot (saw the 2-d version). So, what the frack do reviewers know?  ::)

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