We're a geek couple living in PA with our two boys -- Milo and Otis -- who are short, orange, and furry. Oh, and they're the cats we're bookended by! We love movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback (on a Saturday) for June 17, 2017

[Guitar] -- In 1988, Frank Zappa released Guitar, a double CD featuring his guitar solos recorded during his live performances between 1979 and 1984. It was a follow-up to his 1981 album, Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar. The 1988 collection earned Zappa his sixth Grammy nomination, this time for "Best Rock Instrumental Performance." He lost to Carlos Santana's Blues For Salvador. The CD release of Guitar had 32 tracks and only one of them, "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," was released as a single. So, instead of picking my usual three tunes to share with you, I'm embedding the entire playlist for your enjoyment!

For performer credits on each track, refer to this Discogs listing

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for June 9, 2017

[You're a Strange Animal] -- I seem to recall "A Criminal Mind" being a big radio hit in the US. Though my research today tells me otherwise. The song was certainly instrumental in scoring Lawrence Gowan, recording and performing under his surname, a slew of award nominations and top ten hits in his native Canada. But it doesn't seem to have even charted in the US. Anyway, "A Criminal Mind" was the second single off Gowan's second studio album, Strange Animal (1985). That record was also Gowan's first album release in the US. As I type this post, I don't remember how I ended up first hearing "A Criminal Mind," and digging, in the Spring of 1985. It's possible I caught the song's music video on some late night music program, but that's not my recollection. I do have a distinct memory of being awestruck over the confessional lyrics and stark instrumentation of "A Criminal Mind" as it wafted over my transistor radio. And it wasn't until the fall of 1986, at Penn State, that I heard the rest of the album. One of my dormmates was loudly playing his cassette copy of Strange Animal, and I followed my ear until I found the source. He was psyched to know of another Gowan fan, which I immediately became after hearing more of the man's songs. So, this weekend, we'll explore several of my favorite tracks from this record. If you'd like to know them, read and hear more after the break.  

Flashback #1"[B]eing brought to justice | That was my only crime."

Here it is, the song that first introduced me to the chilling yet appealing voice of Lawrence Gowan: "A Criminal Mind" is our first flashback! 

Flashback #3"Six long months in a foreign wasteland | Scenes of terror so fresh and ripe | Found a place to come face to face | Like the gutter-snipes."

The fourth and last single off Strange Animal, "Guerilla Soldier" is Gowan's musings on US military intervention in the Caribbean. At least, I think it is. It could be more broadly a meditation on conflicts between professional soldiers and homegrown fighters. The light vocals and grinding pop rock belie the serious subject matter of the song. And I can't help but sing along as Gowan croons about the "Big Red Machine ... patrolling the jungle." After 30+ years, this tune might ring hollow or corny to younger ears, but I still love it.   

Flashback #3"Watching your moves | They look so radical | Hearing your words | They sound fanatical."

"(You're a) Strange Animal" is sort of the title track to Strange Animal. It was the record's second single, and it remains probably my favorite song by Gowan. The music video, though perhaps quaint by today's standards, was nominated for a Best Video award (specifically for the animation). I'll admit that much of the music video makes me squirm uncomfortably (or just snicker) upon a rewatch today, and I wonder how Gowan kept a straight face through it. But I will never be embarrassed over my love for this song. Sure, the lyrics that pretty much equate the object of the singer's desire to a hunted animal or nearly alien creature, but dig that straight ahead 80s rock, man. O Ominous Spiritus, indeed!

Bonus Flashback"There's something to be said | For the sweating palm | There's nothing like the high | From a ticking bomb."
"Keep the Tension On" wasn't released as a single. But it still ranks among my top five songs from Strange Animal. And upon a fresh listen today, I find the song's imagery seems remains oddly appropriate and maybe even prescient. 

Well, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Rebel Girls

A few days before International Women's Day in March, a friend posted a link to an amazing book called Rebel Girls - Good Night Stories. As soon as I saw it, I thought of all the young girls in my life I wanted to gift with a copy of this book. Luckily on March 8th, International Women's Day, Rebel Girls offered a special package deal, and I ordered seven books for seven special girls.

As I awaited the books' arrival, I started to think about what my message would be to each young girl who would be receiving their own book. Within a week my shipment of books arrived. They are beautiful. Rebel Girls has one of those velvety soft covers that I love. I wish I had ordered one for myself.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Wonder Woman Weekend

Wonder Woman Loot

Dangrdafne and I had a ... wonderful ... weekend. We started by attending the opening of our local farmer's market. After that, we headed to New Wave Comics & Collectibles to participate in their Wonder Woman Day celebration. I wore a pin from the Legion of Collector's Wonder Woman box, and Dangrdafne wore her Wonder Woman wrist band.

Wonder Wrist Band!
 While at New Wave Comics, we got two free WW comics and a free set of bracers and tiara (Dangrdafne looked wondrous in them!). As Wonder Woman merchandise was 20% off, I purchased a copy of SUPERMAN VS WONDER WOMAN DC TREASURY Collectors' Edition Comic Book C-54, a book I've wanted to own for many years now, and another Pop Funko for our collection (all pictured in the first photo of this post).

On Sunday, we headed out for an early showing of Wonder Woman in IMAX 3D, and we each received a bonus logo pin!

Wonder Woman Movie Logo Pin

Speaking of the movie, I think it's safe to say that we both give it all the paws and more. If you're not familiar with our paw print rating system, then just imagine we are giving the movie all the thumbs up, all the stars, all the whatever you like to use.

We loved the movie! We had a great weekend! (Almost like our own comic-con.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

April FanMail Box

The April 2017 FanMail box theme was "The Gang's All Here"

One of the items in the box was:

Exclusive Guardians of the Galaxy "Spirit in the Sky" Bath Bomb with charm inside by Nerdie Nifties 

I had forgotten about the hidden charm until FanMail did a post about the bath bomb.
I immediately got the bath bomb out but since we don't have a bathtub to actually use the bath bomb, a bucket we have would have to do. I filled it up, headed outside and dropped in the bath bomb.

My favorite thing about bath bombs?? ... they dissolve really really fast!!

I didn't have to wait long to see the hidden charm!!

I was very happy! If it couldn't be Rocket, this was the next best for me...

Gamora for the win!

I love that the FanMail box always has something fun in it. It isn't just filled with stuff, there are useful items and very different items. It is a bi-monthly subscription and I love that is it run by women and the boxes are directed at women too. After months of asking LootCrate to make a female box, FanMail showed up and I haven't looked back. Although please note we still do get LootCrate ... have to have something nerdy for the hubby ;)

-- Dangrdafne

Friday 80s Flashback for June 2, 2017

[Saved by Zero] -- In 1983, one thing led to another and I was treated to the new wavers known as The Fixx when their second studio album, Reach the Beach, came into my possession. OK, technically, it was the first single off that album that introduced me to the band, and I heard it on the radio before I owned it, but I did quickly pickup the LP so I could hear more. I'm not certain how I had missed their debut album -- probably something to do with the deficiency of radio in a small, isolated town. Anyway, this record has ringing guitar hooks and "cool, robotic slices of synth pop"[AllMusic.com review]. It's quite a time capsule of early to mid-80s melding of pop music and technology. To this day, it remains one of my favorite records. To find out why, and to see if you agree with me, read and hear more after the jump. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for May 19, 2017

[A-weema-weh] -- This evening, Montgomery Theater Too's production of DISNEY'S THE LION KING, JR. opens for a two-weekend run. Although Disney's animated film, The Lion King, was originally released in 1994, I think I can find a few 80s songs to share in honor of the local stage production. And I won't even have to tap the work of 70s and 80s icon, Elton John, who co-wrote songs for The Lion King's soundtrack. Still, each song in this week's playlist will have at best a rather tenuous connection to the subject matter. That should be fun, right?