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Musicalish #200

Chris Cornell, this one's to you.

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The Day Of Endings

My nephew's supposed over-the-day visit lasted four days, and today is the last one. I think I've actually managed my regular job better than usual during this time - despite late nights, playing games and hectic dinner/dish-washing/plant-watering/whatever-other-chores-implore rushes amidst. It's been fun, and fun = extra energy.

Of course it just so happened that this week he came to visit was my last week of work before summer, and before I head North. Normally I'd probably have been able to take a day off, but this time I've had to work more than usual instead. My sister had a couple vacant spaces in her otherwise-also-tighter-than-usual schedule though, and my cousin stepped in on the day she hadn't, so hopefully he never had a dull moment.

So my nephew took the train back North while I was on my last day at work today... and the correlation somehow makes both events bathe in some kind of melancholy. I'm still looking forward to vacation, but no matter how hectic it's been... it's been fun. The more the merrier. I finally woke up right on time today, no longer a few hours too early, and back to sleep again only to wake up bleary-eyed at the alarm. I felt tired before. I feel better now. Sleeping efficiently. It probably won't last, but I shall savor it while it does. Its been a stay with long days, many dues but no headaches, and when I ran to the bus yesterday I noticed... my runner's knee was fixed too! :D Freedom!

It's just a few more days before summer now, and I'm about to rummage through leftover posts and PMs and whatever needs catching up with. Some ends, and new beginnings. Away with melancholy and onto: a kind of work that I call hobby.

Give 'Em Hell Malone (2009)

Give Em Hell Malone (2009)

I found out about this movie because Chris Yen was in it. You know, that girl that was in Adventures of Johnny Tao. It's one of the few movies she's been in (and one of the best I've ever seen).

I really wasn't expecting anything special, but from the first second of the movie I was hooked. The action choreography was brutal. Granted, the entire movie had maybe as much additional action time as the intro sequence itself, but it was a sublime hybrid of noire and regular action a la Max Payne (but the real kind of Payne - not the game-turned-movie bullshit), with beautiful women, and blood, and a flare for theatrics and myth. It's fire. It sparked something. It inspired. It introduced the violence in an almost poetic way, with class, like Sin City or the games we play.

Granted, some of the villains may have been a bit too long-winded in their speeches, but I love everything else about it. All except the ending... though it's suitable, in a way. There's bits of comedy mixed in with the drama, and once you've mixed everything together: you've got a pretty good blend! Styleful violence, and a messy plot that goes from one crook to the next and sometimes seems to confuse just to confuse, just like the witty moments, or the villainous character impressions, or the intrigue, or Evelyn does just that. Thomas Jane, Elsa Pataky, French Stewart, Ving Rhames and Gregory Harrison make up the main cast, and they're all great. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Get Out (2017)

Get Out (2017)

It's time for a young African American to meet with his white girlfriend's parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience will give way to a nightmare.

Now this was... a pretty scary movie! The 'cursed' part doesn't really fit in, but 'creepy' would be perfect. Or psychotic. Or twisted. Or crazy. But maybe that's going a few steps too far ahead...

The really nice thing about this movie is how it builds up. It all starts so normal. You figure things out slowly, as the main character does, and the atmosphere keeps building till the end when: it spooks you out! Really. Crazy. But maybe I've just been watching a lot of crappy scary movies lately, so don't get too hyped up. But it was good.

Blumhouse Productions is a new favorite in my book of horror movie production companies, and I feel like I've seen that name before...

The black and white thing's a brave move too, even though the movie is all but black and white. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Kill’em All (2017)

Kill’em All (2017)

It's a new Van Damme movie! Though unfortunately: not his best.

For starters there's too much slow-motion blur. You know the kind of slow-motion with low frame rate, filmed as to make it seem like something happened too fast to capture? That and a distracting third-person-narrative starring Suzanne (Autumn Reeser) in questioning.

They drag out a short moment, a killing spree at a hospital, and make it seem like it took an entire day. The fights get better and better, but they keep jumping back to the interrogation room, and though I was positively surprised to see Peter Stormare as one of the interrogators (has he ever been in a JCVD movie before?) I wasn't as positive about his and Suzanne's exchange of witty remarks, and flashbacks into what should've been the big story.

There are flashbacks further back, too. Inconsistent and irrelevant glimpses of times of war, and training, and a tragic past that never seems all that tragic because you're never there long enough to live into it. The bumpy movement between past, and closer past, and present, are just too big a distraction. It'd be, like, reading, a sentence, like, this, you know? What I'm? Saying?

There's also plenty of cliche, and not the best actors. JCVD looks tired too, as if it's an excuse to be weaker. Good acting if he wasn't, but slow fighting. At least with the earlier fights. Maybe he's just tired of the movie.

There's one redeeming twist at the end, and unfortunately it's a twist that relies largely on earlier flashbacks. It's a shame, because this movie might have been a lot better in first-person. One redeeming twist and awesome outro music, courtesy of Martin Melota. Not a bad movie, but could've been better.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Chronicles Of Past Weekend Craze And Concerts

Here's a post I've been postponing so long now that I barely remember all I was planning to write about! It's a summary of a few weekends past - which I'd originally planned to chronicle one at a time, when time was short and events were crazy. Well, it was crazy from a normal, comfortable, I imagine pretty ordinary stride of life. Now that things have calmed down a bit... for a day at least, here's that summary of all the good that's been going on in my life the past month, ever since the green valley, and this little interlude - written in a rare moment of spare time and clarity.

So what have I been up to? The last weekend in May I went road tripping and couch surfing with buddy Bear, to his place out in Torsfjärden. Basically it's in the middle of nowhere, though comfortably close to a long road that runs through this vast nothingness. We drove up on Wednesday night, slept over in Sundsvall, arrived in Torsfjärden late Thursday, and got up early Sunday morning for a long drive back. I mean early/long like: up at 6 AM. Home at 6 PM.

We visited Kvarnvattnet, Hällingsåfallet (a beautiful waterfall and the deepest canyon in Sweden), Gäddede, Alanäset Skansen (an old military dig-out from WW2), Strömsund (we drove over the fabled Strömsund Bridge and visited Dunderklumpen - a mythical stone monument from a children's tale that directly translated means the super lump), and even took a short tour into Norway, for super-expensive ice cream and souvenirs in Sandviken.

We also checked out the Nordli, Gustaf Adolf, Alanäset and Nacksta churches along the way (my buddy's the religious one), ate lunch at Restaurang Grankotten on Norrberget in Sundsvall (beautiful place, great food; great museum nearby), and stopped for lunch on Max in both Gävle and Hudiksvall on the way there and back. Not to mention various shorter stops along the way, second-hand shopping (Sundsvall had a couple of great places), and the transitioning towns and landscapes we drove through, South to North and back again, from where summer was in full bloom to colder reaches where lakes were still covered in ice and the trees just starting to sprout their summer greenery. It was a 1,400 kilometer trip just back and forth, with plenty of additional drive time between the aforementioned place and surrounding sights. Overall a pretty intense four day trip, but a ton of fun!

On the way back we passed my parents in Sundsvall, heading up to our summer place a hundred kilometers further North. We arrived back home late Sunday, were back at work Monday morning, and I was backstage at a Royal Republic concert that same night, and INVSN the night after. Royal Republic were awesome! I'll post a recap on all concerts some other time though.

A few workdays flew by, and come Thursday night me and my sister headed up North again, to our summer place this time. Our dad met up at Luleå airport, and I drove us home in icy winds and an oncoming rainfall that soon turned to hail, slush, and snow. The temperature dropped down to 1°C, and we hoped the roads wouldn't freeze over, our winter tires long gone. It didn't, fortunately, and we made it to our place just after midnight and a couple moose sightings, in time for a late dinner as the storm raged outside and last year's gray grass was once again covered in a layer of frosty white.

The first night was cold. We slept with hats on, the fireplace well-fed, and a bundle of blankets, but come the next morning the sun was out and the snow was gone... except for large leftover mounds of the recent winter hiding in shady areas of the yard. The world slowly warmed up during our stay, though it wasn't yet warm enough to swim or take out our summer clothing.

We didn't do much sightseeing, except for one canoe trip out on the lake - high on an abundance of spring water, to a stream where toads swam on the surface and stopped as we slid by. We weeded the garden for this year's crops, fixed fences, took down the boats and canoes, took out the bikes and tables, and pots, and plants, and plotted, and prepared for the coming summer. Time passed fast. Monday night came and so we flew back South, and after a missed bus (the plane was late) and time-filling airport lunch at McDonald's (the only place still open) I was back home again, in time for another light midnight snack and one day to rest up. The fourth of June! Sweden's national holiday.

Then back to work again, and the next weekend I went for a helicopter tour over Stockholm. It was awesome. Hope to post some footage later on, but no promises considering what other abundance of material I have yet to post that I never seem to get around to. The helicopter shook a bit during take-off, but during flight it was steadier than expected. I also took two tours of Täby Paradise Adventure Golf (minigolf - they have two courses - I had two rebates) with a cousin, this week and the next, and on the next one (which was last week) I went to the Gröna Lund concerts of The 1975 and Monster Magnet. This week it was Rob Zombie and SUM 41. All of them awesome, and I think that about sums it up. 41...?

Next week my nephew's coming down for a day, and if there's time to spare there are two more concerts I hope to go to. Did I mention work is hectic as hell lately because we're launching a new webshop this summer, I'm the webshop admin (though we've contracted a freelance firm to build the platform), preparations for the shop launch have just started and the coming week's my final week of work before I leave on a one-month vacation?

Usually it'd be at least eight weeks straight, but I might have to come back for a week or two in August to help out with the launch, due on the last of July. I hope it'll be just one of the two, but considering how much work is on the table right now it'll probably be both weeks.

I'll get to extend my vacation with another week for each week I work, and they'll pay for the extra flights, but it just so happens the first of the two weeks coincides with a much anticipated visit of Big Bro & Co, and that one week will probably be the most important one for work. I doubt most people have as generous circumstances for vacation though, so although the uncertainty is weighing on my mind a bit I really shouldn't complain. I'll be up North all July at least, hopefully able to shed all superfluous webshop thoughts on this sacred stretch of days and really take in summer to the fullest.

Flogging Molly and First Aid Kit were a couple of artists I'd have liked to see as well btw, but didn't feel like I had time for. But hey, I've had time for plenty. I've spent a couple days on long walks and games with a buddy too (though overall way too little walking - I'd jog but my knee won't let me), and yesterday we celebrated Midsummer, with good food and Corona. This weekend it's time to try to both take it easy and get a shitton of stuff done before the final stretch.

And then I leave, to our humble abode in the hazy summer, amidst soft fields, shimmering waters and high pine in that place that seems to define time: The North. The Source of all things worth doing chores for. Paradise, if just for a few moments. I've been looking forward to it all winter, but when the time does come it's always too soon! That'll be the break of all this recent craze, but until then: I'm preppin' for at least a few more amazing days of both great and chase. As much as I'm able. Cheers and tables.

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