Archive for January, 2014

Trailer for Terry Gilliam’s Zero Theorem

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

So the trailer for Terry Gilliam’s forthcoming Zero Theorem is out:

It’s the science fiction dead end job loser virtual reality physics dating sim you’ve been waiting for!

Could be epic, or an epic train wreck…

Dream Diary: Intimations of Doom

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Not a lot of news on the personal blogging front, so I’ll put down last night’s dream. which was interesting not only for multiple dreamed disasters, but also because I remembered long stretches and multiple scenes of it.

First I dreamed my family and I were all living in a spacious glass-walled condo (we never lived in any type of condo), when three assault helicopters surrounded the building. Since they were flying at exactly our level, we came to the conclusion they were spying on us and closed all the drapes/blinds. We also worried they were eavesdropping on us, or had tapped our (landline) phones, so we went out for Chinese food.

At the Chinese restaurant, we hadn’t even been seated when I noticed a tornado off in the distance, shouted to alert the restaurant of this fact, then made my way to an inner corner to duck and cover. I remember that corner seemed unused and trash-strewn. (I dream semi-regularly about tornadoes, though thankfully I’ve never seen one in person.)

Later I was walking toward downtown Austin, when I looked up and saw debris floating in the air, and realized a large bomb had come off. Troops were coming in on one of those large street overpasses Austin doesn’t have, and I quickly turned and walked the other direction for fear of being blamed for the bomb. (I put this down to watching videos of the situation in Ukraine.)

Next I was in a building and realized that the political elites had all left earth for another planet, that the infrastructure on this one was starting to fail, and two women were there for vaguely menacing reasons, trying to get me to go somewhere. I tried to convince them that the situation was a great reason to have sex, but they weren’t buying it. I also remember speaking at a meeting/rally on the problem, where I was trying to work the word “sabotage” into the description of the problem, so I could then introduce the Beastie Boys and get them to play that.

Finally, I remember driving up to a beach house in my uncle’s car, driving into the garage, then through a second space, an finally into a third space that opened out into three separate parking spaces lobes, each on a sort of upward slope. I remember thinking it was a lot of space for a garage, and worrying since his car had no reverse. But once inside it was some sort of townhouse and wasn’t on the beach, where I was waiting with other people for friends to show up. Then I had the usual “I’m naked” moment, but I wasn’t sure whether it was time yet to go out to my car and get my clothes.

Then I woke up

Shoegazer Sunday: The Asteroid Shop’s “Dandelion”

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Here again is Austin’s own The Asteroid Shop with a live version of their song “Dandelion.” Imagine a cross between Mazzy Star and The National.

The guitar sound is fine, but they would be helped by having a female co-singer to harmonize with. They could really use a Hope Sandoval…

Steam Powered Giraffe

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Every now and then you run across something curious enough that you go “Hmm, people should know about this!’

The band Steam Powered Giraffe is just such an entity. I mean, how many other retro pantomime Steampunk harmony bands are there out there?

An example:

Here’s “Fire Fire,” a little outer-space disaster ditty:

I like the harmonies, but overall they’re a little softer than the mainstream of music I care for.

You wonder what the popularity plateau for a band like this is. There are a surprising number of Steampunk conventions popping up around the country, but the answer may be something like the Asylum Street Spankers, who had almost a two decade career where they both made a living and never had a song or album chart.

Shoegazer Sunday: Bleach’s “Surround”

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Here’s old-school UK Shoegaze band Bleach with “Surround.”

Saturday Dining Conspiracy Restaurant Review: Imperia

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Imperia
310 Colorado St. (Austin, 78701)
(512) 472-6770

We’d been hearing good things about Imperia for quite a while, so we thought they were a good choice for the first SDC of 2014.

It lived up to the hype.

Imperia serves up pan-Asian fusion cuisine that draws equally from Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisines (and probably a few others as well) in an attractive, understated space in the warehouse district (or what used to be called the warehouse district; they keep changing names and I don’t think there are any warehouses left). There’s a bar, but it doesn’t seem overemphasized the way it does in other downtown establishments.

We started off with the pork belly steamed buns, which were delicious but definitely smaller than the steamed buns you get at the average dim sum restaurant. The calamari was very good, with a nicely light batter, but not enough to eclipse perennial champion The Clay Pit. For sushi, we picked something that stretched the definition:”The Hot Mess,” which the menu described as “Snow crab and shrimp atop a honey and avocado roll. Topped with Dynomite [sic] sauce and Kochijyan butter,” to which I can only add “what they said.” The individual portions were very tasty and came out in an escargot dish. (I also had two pieces of unagi, which were fine but undersized.)

For my entree I had “Kinoko to Suteki,” which is a very savory steak and mushroom dish; the portions could have been a bit bigger, but it was in-line with downtown Asian fusion expectations. I also like the portion of Pad-Thai Dwight and I spilt.

I can’t find an online listing for the dessert I had, which involved creme brulee, ice cream, caramel sauce and decadence. Service was pretty attentive.

We ended up getting several entrees and appetizers, so the bill was substantial: more than $150 for three people including tax and tip. You’d be hard-pressed to get an appetizer, meal and drink for under $20, but you could probably do it for around $30. Just keep in mind that you’re not paying for Chinese food, you’re paying for a downtown Asian fusion restaurant, and adjust your expectations accordingly. (The biggest difference between Imperia and the late, unlamented Austin location of Roy’s is value. Though we ended up spending about as much at both places, we didn’t feel like we were being ripped off, and we didn’t leave still hungry.)

Besides price, the biggest problem with Imperia is their location in the warehouse district downtown. Unless you want to use the valet parking, there’s a good chance you’ll have to park several blocks away (I found a metered space on Republic Square). But Imperia is well worth the hassle, either for special occasions or if you already live downtown.

(This review will also appear on The Logbook of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy.)

Neal Barrett, Jr.: Some Photos

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

With Neal’s passing I thought I would pull out some of the photos I have of him and put them up here. The first couple are from Armadillocon, the rest from his Author Emeritus Award Party on May 30, 2010:

Neal Barrett, Jr., RIP

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Dang. Just heard that Neal Barrett, Jr. has died. One of the great Texas Gonzo writers with an impressive body of work.

He will be missed.

Condolences to his widow Ruth, his family and friends.

Shoegazer Sunday: The High Violets’ “Sparkle”

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Time for another dose of the High Violets:

Random Jack Vance Quote

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Chanced across it and it’s too good not to share:

“An ancient proverb stipulates that ‘he who sups with the devil should use a long spoon.’ You would seem to have attempted such a meal with a small dessert fork.”
— Jack Vance, The Face