Robert Wm. Gomez's

Daisychain Reaction by Poster Children (9/10)

Format: 
CD

This is the first Poster Children CD that I bought at the time of its release. This was back when they were quickly becoming the kings of the Champaign-Urbana music scene (or maybe arch-dukes bested only by The Didjits). Now, in hindsight, I know that this would not be their best recording, but it certainly felt like the bar by which any following release from the band (or any other Cham/bana band for that matter) would be judged. The sound of the record more or less encapsulates the droning wall-of-guitars sound of the scene from which they emerged.

Flower Plower by Poster Children (6/10)

Format: 
CD

Just about every Poster Children album has one weird, out-of-place song that either very poppy ("If You See Kay") or takes a different musical approach (the rapping on "What's Inside the Box"). In any event, Flower Plower is like an entire record of these one-off tracks. Admittedly, some of the songs just plain suck. But, along with the bad there are some near-classics too like "Eye" and "Dangerous Life."

Slow Note from a Sinking Ship by Portastatic (6/10)

Format: 
CD

Mac McCaughan's solo project sounds more or less like Superchunk with lower fidelity and lower fun. When I listen to it I think that it is a good record, but once it's over, it's completely forgotten. Definitely, lacking in the hooks department.

Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts by Hunter Lewis (7/10)

That title is quite a mouthful, ain't it? I am continuing my recent excursion into econ-type books that are probably a bit over my head. This book is literally a line-by-line refutation of Keynes' General Theory. It does a good job in laying out the main points of Keynesian economics before refuting them—relying very heavily on actual quotes and citations. Lewis then spends the rest of the book recapping and then refuting.

Old Man's War by John Scalzi (7/10)

This is a science fiction tale based on the premise that, sometime in the distant future, our planetary defense army would be comprised of elderly men and women who trade the last years of their lives on Earth for the propect of getting genetically younger/modified bodies. The only catch is—as wars against technologically superior alien races tend to go—the vast majority of recruits die in their first year or so of service. An interesting concept but I feel like the fact that all these characters are supposedly wizened old folks doesn't really effect how they behave.

Barbarella (6/10)

After having read the comic a few months back I thought it would be a good time to finally watch this old TBS staple (along with The Beastmaster). Visually, this film is stunning in its art direction and fashion. That alone is reason enough to watch it. But, aside from the look of the film, there isn't much else going for it. The plot is stupid and exists only to get us from one sexy spacey situation to the next. I guess the film is trying to be comedic but the only genuinely funny part was David Hemmings and his bumbling revolutionary character.

F.E.A.R. on PC (7/10)

F.E.A.R. - Kill the fatty!

So, I've spent the last couple of weeks working my way through F.E.A.R. and its two expansion packs: Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate. I think this was Monolith's immediate follow-up to their near-perfect No One Lives Forever games. Just about everything that was so great about NOLF is missing here. There's no humor, no variety in game play and the storyline is blah.

Pulse (3/10)

Woah! Joey Lawrence fights a sentient electricity monster. This is a lame made-for-TV quality film that takes forever to get rolling and isn't quite bad enough to be laughable, but not good enough to keep you awake. Is there an example of a movie in which household technology attacks humans that is actually frightening? Maximum Overdrive? The only thing frightening about that movie was Stephen King's crossed eyes on the "I'm gonna scare the hell out of you!" trailer.

Tron Legacy (6/10)

A lot of nerds were really excited by the prospect of a Tron sequel. What they all seemed to fail to take in to account was that the original Tron was a horrible bore. The sequel is, of course, a much more "exciting" film (one could argue that the T.V. Guide channel is more exciting than the original Tron). It also has all the CGI improvements you would expect from a modern film . Every frame of the digital world is a beautifully composed neon painting. However, the story is flatter than something that's really flat and the characters are equally dimensionless.

The Coug

This is a drawing from my sketchbook that I did when I probably should have been working. John "Cougar" Mellencamp as a vigalante hero. We went hunting for The Coug when we visited Bloomington, Indiana several years ago and spotted him zooming by in a convertable Porsche. A rare Coug sighting indeed.