Archive for September, 2009

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Life and Times- Hose Face Killer

September 29, 2009
photo by rob

photo by rob

The summer of 2002 was bonkers. I was working everyday on the Blackcomb Glacier filming snowboard camp kids for the camp video. The workdays started around 7:30 am and you usually finished loading footage into the computer around nine at night. But half of that you were outside on a glacier in either scorching sun or freezing snow/rain and clouds. There was no structure save that we had to hand in a 5-segment video with every kid doing a trick at teh end of the summer. It was a job designed for cocktails.

The day before we started filming Rob came home and his girlfriend had everything she owned piled into boxes on the porch and fifteen minutes later she was gone. He was ready to drink that summer and i figured he may as well have a partner. Two of our favourite chicks were also freshly single so Rob’s place became an unofficial hangout for heartbreak and sorrow. And margaritas and breakdancing contests involving handspins performed in mixing bowls of butter. The apartment became known as Chez Serious. I was always single in those days (and fairly serious) so i fit right in.Our buddy Czech had just had a cyst drained and was lamenting his lost “au jus” so he somehow fit in too.

But no one was more serious than HoseFace Killer. A girl Robbie hooked up with to help take his mind off things and put his dick into them. I guess she had a job but mostly she’d just kill a bottle of wine each morning waiting for us to get off the ski hill and hit the patio, where she’d meet us for tequila/OJs. Hoseface got her nickname because she pounded booze like she had a hose attached to her face, with a funnel on the other end. She was pretty awesome for a couple months.

When Rob and her broke it off, (I think she left town to dry out) it was decided that the old HoseFace Killer persona, with the run she’d had, deserved a proper funeral. And of course, nothing is more haunting and sombre than a marionette funeral. Czech had brought these things back from his homeland and well, it all worked out pretty nicely.

A lot of things died that summer of 2002, if you count brain cells and innocence, but from the ashes rose laughter and friendships and some of the strangest memories i have. And for us, Hoseface has become a sort of figurehead– like the Queen (if the Queen has ever put frozen hot dog buns in a margarita blender because she’s out of ice.)

RIP Hoseface. I can’t even remember your real name but I think it was Michelle.

-feetbanks  29/09/09

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Notes from the Back Row- Trailer Park Boys, Surrogates

September 24, 2009
Canadian Icons – Julien, Bubbles, Ricky

Canadian Icons – Julien, Bubbles, Ricky

Notes from the Back Row- Sept 22

By my account Bruce Willis has saved the world 8 times already (Armageddon, Fifth Element, 12 Monkeys, etc) and this week he’s back at it in Surrogates, a new PG-13 sci-fi about the near future when nobody leaves their homes, preferring rather to sit around in ‘stem-chairs’ controlling perfected robot versions of themselves that go out into the real world and lead the lives they’ve always wanted. Bruce plays a cop investigating the first homicide in 15 years– someone’s surrogate died and the real person died as well, which kind of defeats the purpose. In order to save the world this time Big Bruce needs to unplug and get low-tech like only he can. Yippee-Kie-A suckas.

Surrogates director Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3, Breakdown) has skills but has never really had that breakthrough extra little push. Chances are he won’t this time either–really good sci-fi usually requires a bit more grit than you’ll get out of a PG-13 Disney-distributed picture. As a flashy action pic though, it doesn’t look too bad. Although no advance screenings for critics is usually a bad sign.

Unless it’s the new Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day which opens Canada-wide (but not in the US) this Friday. No pre-screenings but we all know fans of the show be on board for this. Filmed in a more Mockumentary style than the last movie(the cameramen get into things, reminiscent of the early seasons) and what’s not to like about a high-speed vehicular pissing battle?

The film drags a bit but plot is standard trailer park excellence. Leahy (still the best drunk to ever grace the silver screen) needs to run a sewer line under Julian’s trailer in order to get his fancy new trailer park up and running. Meanwhile the boys plan a bank job and manage to survive various shitstorms, shiticanes and the odd shit typhoon.

These characters and this show have been around so long now that some fatique is inevitable but the truth remains that TPB was groundbreaking. Remember when Ellen Page (Juno) did five episodes in 2001-2002 as Treena Lahey, Barb and Jim’s daughter?

Ellen Page is fantastic, Canada’s darling.  She has a new flick out next week, a rollerderby movie called Whip It that’s directed by Drew Barrymore. Drew’s been acting and producing and underage drinking her way around Hollywood since she was knee-high to Danny Devito (she was in ET, the first movie I ever saw in a theatre) but this is her first time steering the ship, her directorial debut. Early word is that Ellen Page is the best part of the flick and otherwise there’re a lot of musical montages and a not-even-close-too-being-pulled-off food fight scene. But we’ll see how it goes.

It can’t be as piss poor as the last flick opening at the Village 8 this week– a remake of an 80’s musical–Fame­. Dancing is huge right now, singing too, and fame-whoring has always been in vogue but you’d have to put the business end of a Glock 9mm fully automatic pistol in my mouth, or in the mouth of a close family member, to get me to see this movie. This is simply not my cup of tea.  I’ll watch Honey, Save the Last Dance, even White Nights but not this (okay, you got me, not White Nights either.)

And to make things even less appealing, Fame also stars Kelsey Grammer. Shoot me now.

No seriously, try to shoot me, it’s okay. Bruce Willis will save the day. He always does.

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Whistler, our shit don’t stink

September 23, 2009
mmmmmm......shit.

mmmmmm......shit.

With the 2010 Winter Olympics just a few months away Vancouver and Whistler are working overtime to either sweep all their social problems under the rug (ie. vancouver’s zombieland drug fiend/mental illness/homeless problem) or solve them. The new Whistler sewage plant is supposed to be finished soon so for the first time in 20 years or so it might not smell like shit the next time you drive into town. In memory of that peculiar odour here’s an old piece originally printed in The Vice Guide To Whistler, April 2007. Photos by Mark Gribbon And give it up for the hot blondes who rolled into various rooms full of open sewage and started shoveling ice cream into their faces while the dudes that work there strongly advised against it, “We don’t even chew gum in here.”

Whistler- our shit don’t stink. (wait, yes it does.)

by feet banks

photos by Mark Gribbon www.markgribbon.com

Driving up, the smell hits just as the ‘Welcome to Whistler’ sign comes into view. That pungent, gag-inducing reek of shit and rot hangs thick, as if the entire south end of town itself has just laid down a monstrous fart. It’s the Whistler Sewage Treatment Plant, and it’s working overtime.

“There are times when the smell gets pretty distasteful,” says Operations Manager Ron Sander. “When you don’t want to be chewing gum while you work.” Sander explains the foul stench is a result of the technology they use but also depends on how much crap they’re actually dealing with- the ‘flow.’ And that’s what makes Whistler’s shit unique and interesting- sometimes we have a ridiculously heavy flow.

With a permanent population of about 12,000 (including the people living in closets and attics that don’t make it into any official census) Whistler is a small town, but on high season weekends there can be as many as 40,000 tourists here- everyone eating rich foods, pounding stiff drinks, and laying down massive holiday dumps. Our small-town sewage plant (built in the ‘60s, upgraded once) routinely deals with 4 or 5 times it’s regular amount of shit. Don’t worry, we can handle it, but what really happens to all that poo?

First it enters the headwoods area, Sander explains as we tour the 5-acre facility, basically a moving grate that separates any ‘foreign solids’ like condoms, tampons, credit cards, rolled up money, sex toys, golf balls and action figures. Anything even half-cool is fished out and saved on a ‘Wall of Fame.’

Next the flow is slowed down, allowed to settle, and the grease, hair, corn and peanuts get separated and pasteurized at 550 degrees and introduced to oxygen and organic organisms. Once the water is removed the dry sludge gets tested (in Europe they can test an entire community’s cocaine usage through its shit) and chemistry takes over on the liquids as ferous-chloride and chlorine gas do the final cleaning before Whistler’s shit enters the Cheakamus river and heads off (fittingly) to Squamish. It all takes about a day.

While the system works fine right now, it does get challenging. Removing dental floss or say, a tattered gortex ski jacket strand by strand from the pumps is dirty, meticulous work and plant supervisor Andrew Tucker and his staff of 8-9 brave souls have to stay on their toes to maintain and test the system daily. The good news, Sander tells me, is that construction is set to begin this summer on a brand new, cutting edge, $30-40 million system that should be completed in 2009.

“Whistler has lofty environmental goals and this new Biological Nutrient Removal process will use natural bacteria and organisms rather than chemicals,” Sander adds. The new plant will be a top-of-the-line, enviro-friendly facility integrated into the surrounding neighbourhood. And, perhaps most importantly, it will eliminate that tell-tale shit smell just in time for about a zillion people to arrive for the Olympics and flush, flush, flush to their heart’s content. Of course, we still have to deal with the fact that there’s only one public washroom in the entire village, but that’s another day’s problem.

-30-

Shit tells an interesting story. In Europe they can determine and entire town's weekend cocaine consumption just by testing the sewage on monday morning. Shit really is a log of life.

Shit tells an interesting story. In Europe they can determine and entire town's weekend cocaine consumption just by testing the sewage on monday morning. Shit really is a log of life.

The Wall of Fame. Did a kid throw these things in the toilet? Or did they fall out of someone's ass?

The Wall of Fame. Did a kid throw these things in the toilet? Or did they fall out of someone's ass?

Shit-eating grins

Shit-eating grins. That's raw sewage in the lower right corner.

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Life and Times- Fight Fire with Rubber

September 23, 2009
Life is about knowing when to say, 'Why the Hell not?'

Life is about knowing when to say, 'Why the Hell not?'

(Note- Start-up magazines and websites in Whistler keep asking me to write them articles and then the mag never actually happens. This piece of wisdom has been kicked around for almost a year now and never seen publication.~Feet)

Fight Fire with Rubber– Free condoms prevent that telltale burn.

By Feet Banks

The days of free love are over. You can find a lot of cheap love in Whistler, or even hand-me-down love but the free variety is a thing of the past. Luckily, we still have free condoms.

I remember the first time I bought a condom. I was seventeen and didn’t spend much time in public restrooms (or I would have certainly used a handy vending machine) so the only place to buy ‘domes’ was at the Pharmasave.

Of course there was a super cute girl working the till, the only till open (it was slow season and I was looking to catch the spring rut.) I strolled the aisles– shopping, avoiding suspicion, and making sure to read a few pages of a magazine until the coast was clear. Then, with the precision of a master criminal, I dipped out of my comfort aisle and entered the realm of prophylactics.

Condom companies probably spend millions of dollars to ensure that when some nervous kid reaches for that first pack it’s their brand he goes for. I did just that– instinctively grabbed some Trojans. But then I noticed a no-name three-pack of coloured ones- red, yellow, blue, Cool. Rubber Ducky Condoms, with a suave looking cartoon duck on the box.

Adrenaline and the sense of discovery flooded through me– not only would I (hopefully) be having sex that weekend, I’d be doing it with a yellow cock!

But the hot chick at the till was still a problem. To bypass the teenage embarrassment of buying rubbers off someone you wouldn’t mind using them on I decided to double it up and grabbed a tube of Preparation-H as well. I’m pretty sure I had no idea what Hemorrhoids were back then (still don’t really) but I knew they were embarrassing enough that maybe she wouldn’t notice that I was spending my snow-shoveling money on a pack of rainbow dong-bags.

It didn’t work. She just looked confused, as if the two purchases were somehow linked. And, I hate to admit, I didn’t ooze casual confidence either. Needless to say, I didn’t get laid that weekend anyhow so the whole effort was little more than a twisted learning experience.

The moral of the story– Stay safe and healthy and save your cash by simply picking up free condoms at the bottom of the stairs at the Health Care Centre. There’s a nice big box on the wall and never anyone around. It’s a quick in-and-out operation (not unlike teenage sex.)

Unfortunately the Public Health people don’t offer coloured condoms in their arsenal but beggars can’t be choosers, and if you get their on the right day they sometimes have those tiny satchels of Lube. I’m not going to tell you what day they re-stock the box either. For that info, you’ll have to man-up and head upstairs to ask someone. See if they have any plans for a free Prep-H box while you’re at it.

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Notes from the Back Row – Megan Fox Acts.

September 17, 2009
I love books

I love books

Notes from the back row- sept 16

Megan Fox naked. There is probably no better marketing tool on earth right now and Jennifer’s Body opens this Friday hoping to cash in on that. In truth, she isn’t totally naked (and the whole movie could have used more nudity) but the other big draw to this flick is to see if Fox, who’s been shittalking her last two movies, can actually act.

The answer is yes, Fox brings a sultry, erotic sass to the role of Jennifer, a gorgeous-but-alone-in-the-world bombshell who is childhood friends with Needy (Amanda Seyfried,) a mousy girl who despite her understanding boyfriend has a lesbian crush on Jennifer (can you blame her?)

Shit gets weird when a rock band willing to do anything for success attempts to sacrifice Jennifer to Satan in exchange for Rock and Roll stardom. Too bad they missed the part about ‘the virgin,’ which Jennifer is not. She comes back as a demon and starts eating the kids at her highschool. Cue the horrorific awesomeness and prom dresses.

While movies that end in prom are always awesome, screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) gets caught trying a bit too hard to be cool in some places and director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) should have studied the genre more. Still much better than Sorority Row or The Final Destination, Jennifer’s Body feels unbalanced. It’s an erotic-teen-angst-horror-comedy but the mix is not quite right and some horror fans will walk out a bit disappointed. Jennifer’s Body has Megan Fox’s body though, and her face, so it should be essentially critic proof.

Matt Damon’s body, 30 pounds heavier than normal and sporting a sweet mustache, has a new flick opening Friday as well. The Informant, based on a true story and directed by Steven Soderbergh, tackles heavy issues like corporate greed, embezzlement and big business crime but does so in comedy format. Damon’s character is a corporate big-wig privy to under-the-table information about what kind of chemicals are going into our food and what kind of behind-closed-doors price fixing we never hear about. Envisioning himself as a new kind of hero, the whistleblower, he turns FBI informant but forgets to tell them he’s also ripping off the company and involved in some weird, bizarre and illegal stuff himself. What follows is a dark comedic farce in which Damon, an actor comfortable in any role, truly shines.

The sun shines in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a wild and wacky film about an inventor who somehow manages to make it rain food. The flick is fun and funny and even without the emotional resonance of Up! or the other Pixar masterpieces still entertains with spaghetti twisters and giant hotdog downpours combined with voice work from Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Neil Patrick Harris and Mr T. Toss in a message about how it’s okay to be a bit of a geek sometimes and you have a decent kids movie. Available in kick-ass 3D if you see it in the city.

And finally, Love Happens is also opening this week. It’s a cheesedick rom-com starring boring-ass Jennifer Aniston and slipping-lately Aaron Eckhart (remember No Reservations, that puke-bag food/chef movie he did with Catherine Zeta-Jones? That blew.) Eckhart is a fantastic character actor and I guess he needed a new car or something because Love Happens is garbage all around.

Megan Fox is all around too, in my dreams, on the big screen, and hosting the season premier of Saturday Night Live on Sept 26. She probably won’t be naked, although one can always hope.

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Notes from Back Row- Extract, Gamer, and crap

September 3, 2009
Pictures like this are why the internet rules. Mila Kunis

Pictures like this are why the internet rules. Mila Kunis

Notes from the back row. Whistler BC

by feet banks

Mila Kunis has a new flick out this week. Remember her? The dark haired girl from That 70’s Show? Or maybe you’ll recognize her as the voice of Meg from the Family Guy. Regardless, Kunis slipped under the radar for a few years there (American Pyscho 2) but anyone who saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall noticed her utter hotness instantly. She is gorgeous, and she can act.

And she stars alongside Jason Bateman in a new Mike Judge (Office Space) comedy that opens this week. Extract finds Judge back in the realm of the everyman dealing with the struggles of the American working class. It looks funny. Early reports are that it’s too low key or detached and doesn’t commit to itself but I suspect real movie fans will find lots to like.  The cast alone, including JK Simmons and Kirsten Wiig are worth checking out. You’ll have to drive to the city though, it isn’t playing up here in Whistler yet.

Rather, the good old Village 8 is opening Gamer, an explosion riddled sci-fi flick aimed at kids who need a good antidote for those back-to-school blues. No preview copies of this film were made available but we do know it stars Gerard Butler as Kabal, a death-row inmate who competes in a combat game (with real consequences) for other’s entertainment. Gamer looks a lot like Death Race or The Running Man but this time the inmates are like characters controlled by others– a 17-year-old kid controls Kabal.

Don’t go fishing for epiphanies but if you like fireballs, tracers, speedball editing, cool video game interfaces and some human slavery undercurrents then check Gamer out– It’s made by the guys who brought us Crank and Crank-High Voltage so expect an equally high energy level. (Kyra Sedgewick seems out of place here, and a bit old for this kind of flick, but whatever, just ignore her.)

Also opening here in town is All About Steve. I haven’t seen the movie but the trailer is as inviting as a basement full of dog farts. Sandra Bullock, back in another romantic comedy, apparently “from the makers of Miss Congeniality” (although the director didn’t work on that shitheap so maybe that’s a good sign.) Bullock plays a looney chick in big boots who stalks cable TV cameraman Bradley Cooper across the country and interacts with enough weird characters along the way that we’re apparently supposed to find sweetness mixed in with her all batshit crazy.

No thanks. I’ve been calling for Sandra Bullock’s retirement since 2005 but if you can’t give us that Sandy, at least hire someone with a grade nine education to read your scripts for you. And maybe loan the little imp out to Brad Cooper as well. He should know better.

Enough theatre. The DVD of the week is the Last House on the Left remake because it’s gruesome. The torture/rape scene is utterly uncomfortable (don’t watch it with your mother in law) but that is kind of the point of a rape scene isn’t it? The original Wes Craven Last House… was no joke either. Rent ‘em both and figure out whether you like the raw, voyeurism of the first one or the glossy, torture-porn of the remake. Just make sure to lock the door before you hit play.

I’d like to hit play, on Mila Kunis. She really does it for me. I did some research and she was in the greatest movie ever – Gia. Kunis plays the young Gia. Which is like playing a young Angelina. It all makes sense.

Mila Kunis as a young Gia.

Mila Kunis as a young Gia.