Robert Wm. Gomez's

March 2010

Gamer (5/10)

I can't believe this is not a SciFi Channel movie. It's okay, I guess, but the film tries too hard to be a Paul Verhoeven satire and mostly falls flat. Too much stupid 00's shaky cam crap in lieu of actual action.

Booth Concept - Immersion - Digital Image

This is an illustration that I created a while ago for a company that was developing medical technology. The illustration is one of a series of maybe 3 or 4 that I made as concepts for a possible trade show booth. This one was going to use a virtual reality "cave" to allow a user to view microbes in 3-D. In the process of creating this proposal we got to try out the VR Cave at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Unfortunately, the client never ended up using any of our concepts.

The original illustration actually featured two users:

Booth Concept - Terminator - Digital Image

This is an illustration that I created a while ago for a company that was developing medical technology. The illustration is one of a series of maybe 3 or 4 that I made as concepts for a possible trade show booth. This one was going to use a virtual reality "cave" to simulate battling microbes. In the process of creating this proposal we got to try out the VR Cave at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Unfortunately, the client never ended up using any of our concepts.

Teabagger / Teabaggee

I have never been in much for political protesting, rallies and the like. About the closest I have ever come to partaking in a political march was two-mile "fun run" in Wildlife Prairie Park back when I was 13 or so. These days, however, I find myself sympathizing quite a bit with the Tea Party movement. Although it is mostly a conservative and libertarian movement, the basic theme of limited goverment and fiscal responsibility is a constant, and they seem to be committed to calling out big government politicians on both sides of the aisle.

It pains me when I hear my more liberal friends and family members go off on the movement. This ranges from the lefty catch-all of calling anyone who disagrees with them a fascist, to pointing out the one less-than-moron in the crowd of thousands who decided to draw a Hitler mustache on a xerox of the president, to spewing the ever-so-clever insult, "Teabaggers!"

Macchie Solari by Ennio Morricone (9/10)

Format: 
CD

This is another  solid release in Digitmovies series of giallo soundtracks. The record is comprised, for the most part, of Morricone's experimental soundscapes—many of which are laid over a bass groove or drumbeat. Very cool. I especially like Edda D'Orso's moaning and whimpering vocals. This disc will have you on edge. The noise is bookended by the starkly contrasting and wonderfully mellow title track.

Browsing Beauty by Noiseborder Ensemble, The (8/10)

Format: 
LP

A pair of arty, ambient soundscapes featuring a nice blend of electronics and natural instrumentation.

Moon (9/10)

Finally a sci-fi movie that isn't all about special effects (although there are plenty subtle effects to be seen here). The premise of the movie reveals itself as a plot twist early on in the movie. Without spoiling anything, it is the sort of "what if" sci-fi premise that geeks love. On top of this, add some great characters and very good acting and you have a wonderfully compelling film.

The Monty Python Instant Record Collection by Monty Python (8/10)

Format: 
CD

This is a compilation CD of some of Monty Python's most memorable skits. Many of the tracks are live performances, there are clips from The Holy Grail and several studio recordings. Good for a laugh even when you know every skit by heart.

The Monkees Greatest Hits by Monkees, The (8/10)

Format: 
CD

They may have been a fake band and all, but they had Neil Diamond writing songs for them and that's enough to make The Monkees awesome. "Randy Scouse Git" is your new favorite Monkees song you've never heard.

Marassa Duo by Marassa Duo (10/10)

Format: 
CD

Ever since the release of the movie Drum Line, percussion ensemble music has been all the rage. 50% of Marassa Duo is Papador. Need I say more? YEEAAAAAH!

Made From Technetium by Man or Astroman? (10/10)

Format: 
CD

The band's second Touch 'n' Go release is one of their best. For the most part, they have abandoned their surf rock roots for a decidedly more indy-rock meets new wave feel. The emphasis here is not so much on twang as it is on getting their guitars to make otherworldly sounds.

L'Ultimo Treno Della Notte by Ennio Morricone (8/10)

Format: 
CD

Yet another cool Italian movie soundtrack from Cinevox! The title track features Demis Roussos of Aphrodite's Child(!) on vocals. His warbley stylings don't quite fit here. Fortunately the rest of the album picks up after the cheesy opener. The instrumentation features the actual sounds of trains, a train-like drum machine beat and harmonicas mimicing the sound of train whistles. What's not to like about that?

Intravenous Television Continuum by Man or Astroman? (8/10)

Format: 
CD

Another hit-or-miss hodgepodge of redos and covers. Production quality is better than most of the band's previous releases.

What Remains Inside a Black Hole by Man or Astroman? (7/10)

Format: 
CD

I think this record has been remastered since I got this CD. In any event, a business-as-usual release for MorA? I think around this time they dropped the ellipsis from their name too. My favorite track is The Prisoner inspired "Rovers."

Live Transmissions From Uranus by Man... or Astroman? (7/10)

Format: 
CD

MorA? had a tendency to re-release songs over-and-over during their early years. This live album is yet another collection of songs I already own, except that they are live. Man... or Astroman? shows were always great (I think I saw them like six times), but the appeal was usually in the theatrics and, to a lesser extent, the goofy banter. You don't get the visual theatrics here, but there a little sampling of Coco's banter.

La Donna Domenica by Ennio Morricone (9/10)

Format: 
CD

Another great soundtrack re-release from Cinevox. The pieces start mellow and gradually build in tension without quite reaching the beautiful noise-experimentalism of Morricone's giallo recordings. This score is very similar to Indagine Su Un Cittadino Al Di Soppra Di Ogni Sopsetto in both style and in the use of multiple variations on a very limited assortment of musical themes. La Donna Domenica, thankfully, is not quite as repetitive as Indagnine.

Project Infinity by Man... or Astroman? (9/10)

Format: 
CD

Another good release with slightly better production quality than their previous Estrus recordings.

The Maltese Falcon (9/10)

Although the plot seems to bounce around from time to time, this is about as hardboiled as hardboiled detective films get. It's filled with tough guy attitude that you can't really pull off in films these days without some crappy slow-motion explosion/CGI camera spin/sunglasses removal/camera sneer shot.

Down Istanbul

This is my new favorite song of the moment! Download it here. Get the whole album here at Twilightzone's Blog, where, at the moment, there is a great series of rare 45's being posted under the moniker Trashcan Records. Fantastic stuff!

Update: Drop.io is dead, as is my link to the song. Sorry.

Your Weight on the Moon by Man... or Astroman? (8/10)

Format: 
CD

Another early MorA? release with a new version of "Destination Venus" and several other good songs.

Is It... Man or Astro-Man? by Man... or Astroman? (10/10)

Format: 
CD

Man or Astroman? at their surf-iest. This is pretty much the blueprint for all of their pre Touch and Go records—when they didn't mind being a surf revival band so much.

Destroy All Astromen!! by Man... or Astroman? (10/10)

Format: 
CD

The first of many singles compilations from MorA? These early singles were some of the best racks the band ever created including, my personal favorite, the Mission Into Chaos EP.

District 9 (8/10)

A good well-paced sci-fi action movie. Didn't quite live up to the the hype and is mostly noteworthy because of the South African setting and gritty documentary style. In hindsight, it's just a rehash of movies like Enemy Mine  or even Dances With Wolves.

Troll 2 (5/10)

Yes, it's as bad as you've heard. Definately falls under the "so bad it's good" category. I would recommend watching this, but only with a group of like-minded, cheese-loving  people and, preferably, with a constant flow of alcohol.

Dummy Image Bookmarklet

This afternoon I came up with a handy little bookmarklet (or favlet) that uses the site dummyimage.com to create a place holder graphic. Simply drag the following link to the button bar of your browser:

Dummy Image

When you click the bookmark it will prompt you to input image dimensions. Use the format, WIDTHxHEIGHT (for example 640x480) and a new window should open up with a downloadable GIF with those exact dimensions.

Copyright and YouTube

I just noticed today that a video I had posted in YouTube was just blocked in the U.S. because of some music I used in the background. Specifically, they blocked my PC Transporter video that I used to demo some hardware I was selling on eBay. The video is pretty mundane, but I used a Señor Coconut track in the background along with various beeps and noises from the Apple ][gs. Come on, who is going to download the song with all sorts of disk drive noises on top of it?