Sunday, March 06, 2005

stick in the head

I went skiing for the first time in four or five years. Thankfully, it's like riding a bicycle. I don't mean the sitting on your ass part, though there is also that similarity. No, unlike languages and software, both of which one does forget when not used frequently, skiing you don't forget. You will be in pain, you will be rusty, but the essentials are still with you. I think muscles have a better memory than the conscious brain.

Before hitting the slopes, my left ski boot came apart - and I mean cracked and split. Exploded.

So, that sent me to the rental area, a place I haven't been in about twenty years. I went with the hope of only renting boots. They took one look at my skis though and offered to cut them up and put them on the ceiling. Wow... more memories. I remember when I bought these things. How new and shiny they were, etc. Time does fly, doesn't it? It was sort of disconcerting to think that my skis were older than some of the people on the slope. Where has the time gone? It was my first time on parabolic skis, so that was a new experience. Forced me to be a lot more cautious, which is good - seeing as it was a newer, steeper mountain, first time in four years, etc.
My ski pants also re-alerted me to the fact that I gotta lose some weight.

I watched Gallipoli yesterday. First time in many years. That memory held up well. Great movie, really very under appreciated. BUT... there are several music cues that are real cringers. Most notable and embarrassing are two synth cues which come out of nowhere. Here's a movie that sets up 1915 in a perfect way. It uses almost no cue music, no really lengthy dialouge scenes... and then - the synths circa 1980. Were they cool then? The way these cues abruptly start and end also makes me wonder about the reasoning. I'm sure someone went over Peter Weir's head on that. He's too good a director to have those lapses in sanity.

So, off to imdb to see that the offender was... Brian May??? Wait, the guitarist for Queen did that? I thought he had good taste, and would know how to stay in a proper historic musical style.
Oh, no. It's a different Brian May, as this one - the Gallipoli one died a few years ago, and I believe the only dead, um, Queen, is Freddy Mercury.

Oh, andthis Gallipoli Brian wasn't the offending party.
It's not Bizet, not Albinoni. Those are easy to eliminate. That leaves... ah yes, it all comes back to me now... that leaves Jean-Michel Jarre with his "Oxygene" theme. I also know this to be the one because, long ago, 1982 in fact, I had a music demo that would show off how amazing my commodore 64 was for making music. This "Oxygene" rubbish was one of the tunes it played, along with "Tubular Bells" and O.M.D. Ah, the memories.

In order to fully realize the embarassment, I tracked down the actual midi file of this cue.

Join me now as I set up the scene:

Imagine young Mel Gibson runnig for his life and the lives of his 'mates' in the desert of Egypt - the pyramids, the dust, the camels. The machine guns of the Turks roaring, mercilessly mowing down young men as the come out of the trenches. It's 1915. The Australians are going to war, and you have the sense that Mel and his friends are doomed - an All Quiet on the Western Front feel. Did I mention it's 1915? If you're still having trouble visualizing all this, think Lawrence of Arabia or even Raiders of the Lost Ark to a certain extent. This should give you a fairly proper mental picture of the dust, the grime, the clothing, the era.
Got it? Okay - now play this midi file starting at 53 seconds and keep in mind - what you're going to hear through your computer is EXACTLY what it sounded like in the movie. The cheaper your soundcard, the closer to accurate the actual sound.

How did that work for you? :)

Kinda wished they hadn't used the Albinoni cue repeatedly either.

Okay, the rest of the movie is great.

Another movie that I finally, after ten years, had a chance to see was Grosse Point Blank. Well, for the twenty people who may not have seen that yet, see it. It's a great movie. Fantastic. Everybody in the movie is spot on, and at their best. It appears that they all must have known they were doing something great and having a great time doing it.
More memories for me too... the premise involves going to a class of '86 high school reunion. Since I was class of '86, the music and the way Jeremy Piven dances absolutely struck home.
Ah, the good old days.

Unlike Gallipoli, Grosse Point Blank had a great score that fit perfectly.
Also, the movie is about violent people, but it's not a violent movie. That having been said, there's a hand to hand fight and a shoot-out that are quite spectacular, worthy of any good action flick.

So, bouncing through, using memory as the vague commonality, I finish.

Oh, I almost forgot. I promised I'd tell. I got released from Jury Duty on Tuesday. That's what enabled me to keep my ski day. The trial was a murder trial. I believe they had no evidence, but plenty of witnesses. Everyone involved was going to need to speak through an interpretor and the prosecutor, defender and judge were spending the majority of time creating a jury that wouldn't care about that or other things.
The fact that they all guarranteed that the trial would be done by Monday seemed to me to indicate that it was a cut and dried case. I'm guessing in a very particular way.
I guess it's good that they eventually booted me, eh?

Well, it's a beautiful day out, and I've got some cleaning up to do. Enjoy your day, and hope to hear from you.