So I neglected to do a song of the week again last week.  Sorry.  I almost didn’t do one this week but then I popped in Little Big Planet for the Playstation Portable and was instantly reminded of how amazing the music is in that game.  Take this little diddy for instance.  It is unabashedly happy.


Spiderbait – Glockenpop

While sitting at the laundromat by myself waiting for my clothes to dry a little boy (probably about 10 years old) walks in.

Boy: “Where are you from?”

Me: “Around here.”

Boy: “Where do you live?”

Me: “A few blocks from here.”

Boy: “You have any kids?”

Me: “No.”

Boy: “You married?”

Me: “Nope.”

Boy: “Do you know what a gang is?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Boy: “I’m in a gang. South-side Crypts.”

Me: “That’s nice.”

The boy leaves

Me: “Odd child.”

Perhaps it has been because my mind has been in several different places lately but Sundays have been sneaking up on me as of late (that might also be why I keep oversleeping and missing church).

I’ve been in a bit of a rainy day mood today.  It’s not raining though it has been rather gloomy.  On days like that I have my own choices for music.  Tracks that are somewhat melancholy but not necessarily sad and always lovely.  This is one of those choices as well as one of my favorite artists of any genre.


Sufjan Stevens – For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti

It has been a while since I put together a recommendation piece and even longer since I’ve done a straight film edition.  So just in case you wanted to hear my take again I thought it might be time for another.  As with the first film edition I’ve borrowed the film descriptions from Netflix (in italics) with my own take below.  I hope you enjoy and, as always, let me know your own recommendations.

Paper Heart (2009)

Eccentric performer and romantic skeptic Charlyne Yi embarks on a quest to learn the true nature of love — and gathers some surprising findings when she begins a relationship with actor Michael Cera. Real-life sweethearts Yi and Cera star as themselves in this quirky hybrid of documentary and scripted comedy. The charming romance was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

This is a faux-documentary that, if I hadn’t known differently, I would have thought was real.  Perhaps it is because Cera and Yi are a couple in reality or because many scenes in the film were improvised.  Either way, Paper Heart presents a funny and charming story full of indie style quirkiness and one of the more true-to-life young adult relationship stories on film today.

Hamlet (2009)

David Tennant stars as the melancholy Dane and Patrick Stewart portrays his uncle Claudius in this exhilarating version of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s smash hit 2009 production of “Hamlet,” which was filmed on location rather than on the stage. When Hamlet’s father’s ghost reveals he was murdered by Claudius, who then married his widow, Hamlet seeks revenge. Stewart won a prestigious Olivier Award for his riveting performance.

I will admit that I wanted to watch this mostly because it starred David Tennant (whom I first became familiar with through Doctor Who).  There is good reason for that since Tennant is a brilliant actor (and quite scary when he plays crazy).  Add onto that the also brilliant Patrick Stewart as Claudius and all the Royal Shakespeare Company and you have a fantastic Shakespearian production set in modern times.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

When dreamy delivery girl Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) starts popping up in his life, slacker musician Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) takes notice. But to win the love of this rollerblading goddess, Scott must vanquish all seven of her evil exes in martial arts battles. Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels, director Edgar Wright’s action-packed romcom also stars Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh and Chris Evans.

Yes, I know that I’ve banged on about this film before but I still think this is one of the most criminally overlooked films of last year.  A modern day love story with all of the difficulties and baggage that involves wrapped up in a story that is conceptually absurd and emotionally truthful.  It is the kind of pure fun that will stick with you for a while.  Besides, it is directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) so you know it has to be good.

Summer Wars (2009)

Though math whiz Kenji Koiso is a social zero, his avatar flourishes in the online space of Oz — until he accepts an e-mail request to solve a thorny equation, creating a conduit between the real and virtual worlds that may destroy both. Set in the not-too-distant future, this sci-fi anime thriller finds the shy Kenji coming out of his shell as he defends innocent citizens, and his honor, against a viral cyberspace menace.

This film has been described as many things: a romantic comedy, a cautionary tale about technology.  For me, though, this is really a story about the importance of family in good times and bad.  There is something here that will appeal to all ages in one of the best films of 2009/2010.

Your turn.  What do you think?

Sunday Song of the Week

You know, I was really planning on doing another recommended films post this week but, as is my want, I let it slide onto the back burner.  Don’t let me forget to do that this week.

On a similar unprepared note, I also neglected to pick out a song of the week before now so, in desperation, I started browsing my recommended page on youtube when this popped up.  Two things about it caught my eye.  First, it happened to be the same guy who did a video @evanjstark sent me earlier this week.  Second, it featured another youtuber I follow who goes by Strawberry17.  So I clicked and it turned out to be pretty good.  I always have to admire these youtube musicians who pull off some pretty cool stuff without the big budgets of major label musicians.


Jimmy Wong – From On High

And for an added bit of fun, here is the same guy doing the Super Mario Bros. theme A Capella.

Sorry there wasn’t a song of the week last Sunday.  It completely slipped my mind.  It very nearly slipped my mind this week but not quite.

Lately Japan has been on my mind quite a bit since the huge disaster that struck there this week.  It is a tragic situation that landed heavily on my heart even though I have very little direct connection to it.

In light of what is going on there now I wanted to dedicate this week’s song to everyone over there and feature a hopeful song from one of my favorite Japanese bands.  It’s a band I’ve featured here before but that’s alright.

Sambomaster – Utagoe Yoo Kore


If you’d like to donate to the Red Cross’s Japan relief fund you can go to this link.

Also, Crunchyroll.com (a site that streams Asian TV shows) is offering to match any donations made up to $5,000.  You can visit this link for that.