Is Netflix Controlling Your Destiny? (Cross Talk Ep.1)

OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG!

It’s here, it’s finally here! I’ve been promising something new and different for weeks now, but it’s finally here! You asked for more theories, straight from Tim himself, and I am giving you exactly what you have asked for.

This new format is going to be something special for sure.

You know how you go to your computer and you turn it on, and then you realize that not only are there files in there, but there is also a network of people and information which is at your fingertips?*

*Provided you have a home which you own, are paying off, or which you rent from a land lord. Plus a valid internet connection which you need to acquire from an internet service provider. Oh and also electricity which comes from a utilities provider.

Well, just for you dear readers, I’ve decided to put together a new monthly video series called Cross Talk with my very good friend Chris Murphy.

It’s clever you see, because we sit across from each other and talk about interesting topics related to the arts.

But who the heck is this Chris guy, and how come he is special enough to get a monthly series with you Tim?

Well, I’ve known Chris for almost 8 years and in that time I have learned a few things about him. First, he is just as invested in film, literature, and community as I am, but he is also doing it with a little more gusto. And second, he has a little bit of wisdom on me, which is always needed for the timotheories brand.

So I recruited him into the timotheories fold.

Chris is charming, challenging, and captivating to witness in action, so you are assured of a treat when you carry on a conversation with him. YouTube will probably only emulate his gusto at 60% power, so be prepared for a whirlwind of discussion, all from the comfort of home – well A home. It’s not your home we filmed this episode in, but to you local fans out there, there is always the future.

But what the heck are you going to talk about on your channel with Chris a minimum of 1x a month timotheories?

Good question, you sharp young readers! It’s all about the balance of barroom philosophy and pop culture discussion on a couch. We’ll frame our discussions around the topic of film and do this while attempting to actively avoid the typical things that experts do when they talk about film. We aren’t here to review, and we don’t really want to list off our top 10’s, but we’ll be incredibly excited to go over the under appreciated films and shower thoughts you may have had, but didn’t mull over too much.

First up is the topic of – How movie reviews and popular opinion influence your viewing habits.

I’ve included a direct link to the video for you here, but in case you don’t want to navigate away from us, here it is below too!

But that’s all the theories I’ve got for today. Whew.

I’m excited to see what you have to say about the first entry, and I hope your Sunday evening is the best one yet! See you tomorrow evening my friends with another Melodic Monday post, this time from an up-and-comer who reached out to me directly. You won’t want to miss it!

Tim!

My Friend Gwen (timotheories presents: Real Time Games)

Running, running
As fast as we can
Do you think we’ll make it?
(Do you think we’ll make it?)
We’re running
Keep holding my hand
It’s so we don’t get separated

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while now, you may have noticed I have a bit of a thing for Gwen Stefani and obviously No Doubt too.

I don’t necessarily mean a sexual thing, I mean yes, technically she is attractive. That’s empirically evident. Ask any woman, and she’ll tell you Stefani is a good looking woman. And she takes care of herself.

And no, I don’t mean that she has to be physically fit in order to look good, I just mean that it is clear to me that she is being who she needs to be in order to be a useful adult, and take care of her children.

But what does that have to do with this weeks post? Well not a lot, to be perfectly honest. Just kidding, most of what I post has some relation to the theme. For instance, I associate certain words with pop culture, especially when I am on auto-pilot.

Also, I’m feeling rushed today.

Remember last week on timotheories (this past Stimulating Sunday), when I mentioned that I would be hosting a weekly game night in my humble abode?

Of course you do, dear readers, you have memories like elephants, and you always keep me in line.

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Well I’m hosting my first publicly notified game night, tonight. And so I am rushing around. Hence, the word running being trapped in my noggin, and the associated No Doubt lyrics along with it.

Okay I’ll admit this post might feel a little rushed when you are reading it, but it is Timely Thursday after all, so that feeling is not out of place, especially when you stop and think about it.

But I’m not here to write more about the value of board games, no I want to talk about Real Time Games (RTG). The board game group that I am starting with my youngest brother Ryan.

RTG is a simple idea started by a couple of board game enthusiasts where we play games with people we know once a week. Now we’re not just going to be playing Monopoly and Pictionary mind you.

RTG is about people and sharing the joy of board games with them.

And so we will play different games every week, with the intent of also sharing reviews on a fair number of the games that wee play. So stay tuned as that idea unfolds. Because I think you are going to really enjoy what we have to say.

Let me give you an overview of how RTG is going to get it’s message out there.

  1. We’ll share what kind of game it is
  2. We’ll talk about the art and design components
  3. We’ll describe the quality of the game (enjoyment)
  4. We’ll go over the pros and cons
  5. We’ll explain what makes the game unique
  6. We’ll consider if there is anything that could be fixed

But that’s just a slice of the pizza pie.

We will also put together a second review video that details the following

  1. Game set up
  2. Watching the game in progress
  3. Special rules and strategies
  4. Highlights of play from a game night

That sounds super cool Tim! But wait, did you say video back there?

Very observant my friends, yes, yes I did. Well the truth is, I will be making reviews with Ryan, and potentially a special guest at some point. But these reviews aren’t primarily going to feature on timotheories. They might get special mention from time to time, or be used as a vehicle for an idea, but RTG is going to stay on YouTube in my timotheories group for the time.

Now I happen to think that is pretty cool, and it’s timely, because it’s something happening in Edmonton. If you live here, and are interested in attending a session, please send me a comment or look for timotheories presents: RTG on Facebook.

I just might even share my trials and triumphs in the recording process with you as I experience the fun of video.

Before I close out this post though, let’s make reference to that Gwen Stefani association one more time. See, by hosting something that gets me out of my comfort zone, but which revolves around something I am passionate about, I’m emulating after one of my role models.

And that is one of timotheories focal points, to foster positive experiences with the arts. Because it makes us better people. But that’s just my theory. What do you think? Leave me a comment or two!

Tim!

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello (Aloha review)

Okay readers, I have a confession to make. I don’t want to like The Beatles.

Like at all.

“The Beatles? How can you not like The Beatles?!?!” That’s probably what you’re thinking.

I don’t know, I generally just do not care for their music. It probably stems from some traumatic experience I had as a child with a beetle. Yes, there a lot of fans out there which kind of weigh heavily against my one little opinion, and their lyrics are pertinent in so many instances, almost perfectly pairing with topics and it seems like everything else and everyone else is constantly referencing them too.

But we can theorize about The Beatles cultural significance some other time.

So I guess timotheories has to find a way to like this band, or at the very least, be inclusive of them. So I can make a point.  Not unlike some certain imaginary characters that I just met for the first time recently.

Come on Tim, what are you getting at now?

Well folks, I’m going to take it to the next level, yet again. Yesterday I talked about introducing reviews into my regimen, and this is another piece of the puzzle. That’s right, timotheories is going to begin its regular review of movies that I am watching as they are released – whether its in the cinema or for the home, and fingers crossed, on a weekly basis.

Conveniently for you, that Beatles reference and the blog post name will now make sense – I’m going to start with the movie Aloha.

I’m still playing around with how to format these reviews but it goes a little something like this.

Aloha (2015)
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin
Director: Cameron Crowe
released on blu-ray August 25, 2015
**** 4/10

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Synopsis: A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and reconnects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watch-dog assigned to him.

IMDB: 5.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%, Audience Score 31%
The Guardian: **/*****

Cameron Crowe is known for a few really solid movies over the period of a decade. Unfortunately that decade has come and gone – it was between 1989-2000. T

hat doesn’t mean his pass at Hawaii is irrelevant.

With a star filled cast, its hard not to at least enjoy the characters in Aloha. But my biggest challenges with the movie were the connections that were never properly made between characters. It’s equivalent to that old adage of ships passing in the night. Every character has the potential to pull us in, but the interactions are sterile.

The move takes place in Hawaii. After a bit of backstory is built for Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), in which he describes how he underwent some work challenges after the recession of 2008 and moved from the military into contract work, we are immediately introduced to John ‘Woody’ Woodside (John Krasinski), who is flying Brian in for a gate ceremony on the island of Hawaii. When the plane lands, we learn that Brian’s ex-girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams) is there and central to island funerals. It also turns out that she is Woody’s wife.

Great, the stage seems to be set for a love triangle and some heated words between Brian and Woody!

Then we are introduced to Allison Ng (Emma Stone), a resident of the island who happens to work for the Air Force, is subordinate to Colonel ‘Fingers’ Lacy (Danny McBride) and General Dixon (Alec Baldwin), and tasked with watching Brian.

Even better – conflict from his old job, with hilarious authority figures, and an opposites attract scenario.

Lastly, we learn that the man whom Brian works for is Carson Welch (Bill Murray) and he is giving Brian this opportunity to save himself from previous disaster.

Bill Murray, people. How can you not be excited for this?

Sadly, as I mentioned, none of these relationships really stretch and grow in the ways that I was hoping they would. Granted, there are some funny jokes here and there, but nothing especially lasting or quotable.

My favourite parts are probably the interactions between Cooper and Krasinski. Without giving too much away, I will tell you that Krasinski’s character doesn’t speak much, and with some clever use of subtitles, we get a laugh out of it.

And there are a couple of other great details that shouldn’t be ignored either. For instance, we don’t see a dissolve of the established marriage in the film, as per typical Hollywood demands, which is a very nice change of pace, and a bit of a spoiler (my apologies). Also the reason why Brian has been contracted by Carson Welch isn’t very clear up until the end of the movie, but it raises an interesting point about the future of warfare, sadly without ever REALLY saying anything about it.

I really didn’t care for the lack of direction regarding the Hawaiian lore elements either. It just seemed thrown in there, and it would have been nice had the lore been made more mystical and relevant from the get go. Instead we are treated to factoids and opinion instead of something “happening” to convince us of the supernatural. Also, the Hawaiian indigenous people are a nice touch, but why don’t they play a more prominent role?

Running at 105 minutes, the movie feels too long for what we get, but if it were even 15 minutes longer, with more story, it might be a significantly better experience. I won’t recommend this for the average movie goer, but if you are a cine-file, you might benefit from some of the concepts and themes the film explores, knowing that it will come up short.

And there you have it! My first movie review. I hope you enjoyed my post. I look forward to hearing your feedback. Leave some comments and questions. Next week should be an age old tale… Curious?

Out of theories for now, check back soon!

Tim!

Sometimes Its About Whiskey and Cake (July Talk, July Talk review)

Apparently music writing is something that cannot be taught. Well at least that’s what I read in a review of a book titled  “How to Write About Music” which was edited by the same person that wrote the review.

We all understand that the digital landscape has changed things significantly, to the point that anyone with 7 bucks a month and an internet connection can speak their mind, and literally anyone can stumble onto their work. That’s both a terrifying and fascinating prospect.

But the lady who wrote the article makes some good points, and I enjoyed it, so I want to write about my take on what she shared.

So what did I learn from this article? Some good things in fact.

  1. Listen to music normally before you approach it critically. That makes sense, you can’t really discuss an album until you’ve experienced it.
  2. Put it on repeat, but don’t get trapped in your seat. If you over-think it, you’ll probably give a false impression of how you really feel. However, if you listen one time you might not appreciate hidden details.
  3. R&D is everything, just ask Batman. By researching you learn what the music is about, what the perception in the media is, and how you feel about it all.
  4. People like stories and storytelling is easier. Well potentially. But if you do come up with a framework, you can progress along quicker.
  5. Embrace the darkness. Err, I mean editing. Embrace the editing. What, another Batman reference? You are going to spend a lot of your time reading and rereading what you’ve written, moreso than writing. But more than that, you will be rewriting your work.
  6. Do not succumb to timeline pressures. Writers aren’t going to have much of an advantage over anyone at this time, because of downloads and the like. Write a thoughtful evaluation because its useful, not because you need to be first.xzibit-meme-generator-first-line-so-i-made-a-lame-comment-on-your-post-p-fbfb45

Now that I have those tips and tricks under my belt, I think its time to tackle my first album review. Because I can, dear readers, and because I think its time to start expanding my reach and my breadth.

July Talk – July Talk
released October 15, 2012
******** 8/10

julytalk-album-extended

I like Peter Dreimanis’ voice. Its distinct and also reminiscent of Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Americana, and whiskey. All things that I love in equal proportions.

Incidentally, and while doing a little research, I learned that he didn’t used to sing when he played. In fact, he only began to embrace that musical ability after he decided to form July Talk with Leah Fay (co-frontman, frontwoman?), Ian Docherty, Josh Warburton, and Danny Miles back in 2012.

What makes July Talk even more distinct is the pairing of Peter’s vocals with Leah’s vocals right beside him. She carries an angelic weight so slight that if you were to reach out for it, it would disappear.

I’m not one to fawn over an album too often, but when I like a musical act, I find generally that the tracks will work together. July Talk doesn’t easily give me that comfortable satisfaction though.

It seems with every track I have to work and listen through it very carefully because while their “vision” is familiar throughout, the content shifts ever so subtly. With lyrics like “if you want money in your coffee, if you want secrets in your tea” it is hard not to smile at the whimsy they offer up so quickly in Paper Girl. Then they’ll switch gears and jump into a track like My Neck – A track that has amazing chords woven into it’s chorus and feels like it’s ripped out of a bad TV show from the 70s, hints of sexuality and tired violence. But its oh so captivating.

And have you watched any of the music videos for their singles? Go do it now! They refuse to put colour into any of the videos, and it makes them more special for it. It reminds me of painting as a teenager, so much angst and emotion, but you don’t need colour to appreciate it.

You know what, I’ll just link to them all here. 1 2 3 4 5 6

You’re welcome.

You’ve probably heard Headsick at this point in history though right? That’s another one of my favourite tracks. I think it combines a nice mix of their indie, garage, punk, and pop sensibilities all in one place. And have I mentioned their voices… So good!

You should also consider visiting Leah on twitter she is pretty fun to follow @whiskeyandcake

If you ever have an opportunity to check them out live. I highly recommend that experience as well. I personally saw them this past July and rank it among my favourite live acts. Convenient and poetic right? Also it was one of the first dates I took my current belle on, and I think that’s pretty neat.

So what did you think? I hope you enjoyed my post. I look forward to hearing your feedback. My goal here is to share music that is currently in my queue or whatever is hot off the presses and on the top of my mind. For instance, I may just be giving some feedback on EODM next week, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

And that’s all the theories I’ve got this week.

Tim!

Culture Shock, Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Myself (timotheories presents: Video Interviews)

If I were to tell you that a particular musical act was eponymous with androgyny in the mid 1980’s you just might get into an argument with me based on my answer.

But you would probably be wrong if you did.

So what musical act do I have in mind, you ask? Well I would argue that Boy George of Culture Club is probably the best example of this fluid behaviour. Mostly because that group won awards right out of the international gate and their image was a major part of their identity.

Sure you could say that Michael Jackson was influential at the time, but his significance to pop culture started from a young age and spanned a much wider cultural net – and the dude got some major accolades. *cough* King of Pop *cough*. And David Bowie is another great choice for sure, but he was a major influencer in the 70’s already, so that takes him out of the equation too. And yeah Annie Lennox is a great example for sure – I mean, I love the Eurythmics, but they didn’t win a Grammy award for Best New Artist.

Culture Club did though. For 1983.

Know what song they released that year? Karma Chameleon.

Now that I have put together enough preamble to get you thinking about a really fun song from a great English band, I’m going to ask you to think about something related to that particular song; because that’s what I usually do for you fine folks, I weave things together that a lot of people might not necessarily bother with.

Interesting anecdote about the meaning of the song – Boy George said to Fred Bronson (The Billboard Book of #1 Hits ) that “The song is about the terrible fear of alienation that people have, the fear of standing up for one thing. It’s about trying to suck up to everybody. Basically, if you aren’t true, if you don’t act like you feel, then you get Karma-justice, that’s nature’s way of paying you back.”

I have written about these ideas of maintaining your cool and holding onto your identity before in at least one other post, but I have not really talked, err I mean written, about the implications of it yet. Especially for people whose professions depend on being emotionally available to borrowing other identities regularly. *cough* foreshadowing *cough*

But guys and gals I am not going to lead you on, I will cut to the chase.

I have been working hard in the lab, cooking up something even more exciting than audio based interviews. Yep, that’s right, I’m moving onwards and upwards.

I bought some camera equipment, started to mess around on iMovie and some other video editing software. Truth be told, I already have 3 VIDEO INTERVIEWS in various stages of completeness – which I hope to start pushing off the assembly line in a rather regular fashion very soon.

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And guess what, dear readers? I’m interviewing other kinds of artists now, not solely illustrators and graphic designers.

For starters, I will be posting an interview with a triple threat actor, singer, and dancer. Following that, I will be posting a neat discussion I had with a visual artist who mainly works in the painting medium, and after THAT, I will be sharing this wicked-awesome interview I did with a musician beloved by many folk music listening types. Heck, you might just know some of these fine folks already.

I kind of hate to tease you, especially after I got to the reveal so quickly, but I really think you should watch Karma Chameleon before I post this first video interview. It will all make more sense in the moment, but I have never led you astray before, have I?

I’m really excited about this first video interview too.

The lady who so graciously donated her time to speak with me, is incredibly talented and is very fun to talk with.

I should stop here though, because if I write too much more, I’m going to start giving things away, and I would really hate to do that. So stay posted folks, enjoy your week and I will be sharing more with you soon. As I am prone to say – I’m out of theories for now.

But tell me, what are some of your favourite music videos of the 1980s? Do you really think that Video Killed The Radio Star? Do you have any tips for me on YouTube interview channels I should be following?

Tim!