Adventures Through Time and Space

“The Mighty Boosh” – Surreal adventures through time and space (UK 2004)

“Don’t be cynical

It’s a follicle miracle!”

Sometime in 2007, a co-worker e-mailed me a link to a Youtube video taken from a show I’d never heard of. The clip was maybe 9 minutes long, from a British comedy series called “the Mighty Boosh”. This was from an episode from season 2 entitled “the legend of Old Gregg”.

I waited another two years for the series DVDs to be released here. I was hooked.

The Mighty Boosh’s first season (8 episodes) introduces Vince Noir (Noel Fielding) and Howard Moon (Julian Barratt), two zookeepers working at the run-down Zooniverse managed by Bob Fossil (Rich Fulcher). Vince Noir is obsessed with hair products, electro music and is the apparent air-head of the two. Howard Moon is a Jazz fanatic and prone to embellishments.

Season two (6 episodes) finds Vince and Howard sharing an apartment with fortune teller Naboo (Michael Fielding, real-life brother of Noel) who really is a shaman, and Bollo the gorilla (Dave Brown in a gorilla suit). As to Season 3 (6 episodes), Vince and Howard now work for Naboo at his shop (the Nabootique).

No explanations are given for the changes in settings between seasons, much like in a dream, you find yourself in different places without transition. What matters are the adventures and characters, from the North Pole to planet Xooberon, even the afterlife, where the Ape of Death suffers from bad hair as well as a short temper and Death (actually Deaths, plural) ferry the departed in taxi cabs through space and speak with a Cockney accent.

Each episode has a different story arc, giving this series a leisurely pace, as opposed to say, “Big Train” which is composed of short sketches. Flashbacks are often done using colorful animations and there are several musical numbers per episode. Most of the songs are pretty catchy and contribute greatly to the feeling of whimsy. The look of the series is very colorful and never dull, as the entire series was shot in studio, with special effects described as cheap by some viewers, but in actuality charmingly quaint. For instance, a scene in which protagonists are being chased by the Yeti was shot with the actors running in place in front of a backlit screen rolling in a loop. It’s a pretty common technique used in older films and series, which helps give the Mighty Boosh some sort of “grounding” visually.
Each DVD set includes two discs and plenty extras, such as interviews, making of, Boosh music, bloopers, etc. for many hours of enjoyment. Rich Fulcher is the sole American of the cast and deserves a special nod. He is extremely funny in his various roles, the deviant Bob Fossil, the Ape of Death and kinky Eleanor among others. The bloke is mental.
The series followed a common development pattern in Great Britain, from stage to radio and finally television, with plenty of time to refine and hone a wonderful and unique program. The Boosh really has to be experienced.
A word of caution, however, due to the common usage of profanity (four letter words), I would not recommend it for family viewing if you have young children.

“The Mighty Boosh” gets 5 jellybeans

5 beans


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And now for something completely different…

This wonderful, melancholy clip accompanying “valse triste” by Jean Sibelius is an excerpt from the animated film “Allegro non troppo” by Italian animator Bruno Bozzetto. Bozzetto’s 1976 homage to Disney’s “Fantasia” is one of our all time favorites here at JBoD.

This “valse triste” segment has my preference, although the one highlighting Ravel’s “Bolero” has some personal significance in that “Bolero” was the first program I took my wife to at the San Francisco Symphony, an unforgettable evening. Even the kittehs approved and gave us space afterwards… ‘Nuff said.  Note:  due YouTube limitations the first 3+ minutes are missing from this recording.  The rest is great.


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Midnight Movie Madness

Dead Alive – Everything you always wanted to know about zombies but were afraid to ask (97 minutes New Zealand 1992)

They’re not dead exactly, they’re just… sort of rotting.”

In the pantheon of horror-comedies, “Dead Alive” easily ranks up there with “Evil Dead: army of Darkness” and “Shaun of the dead”. I’ll say right now that you probably shouldn’t eat custard or strawberry ice cream when watching this early effort from Peter Jackson (“Lord of the Rings”, “King Kong”, “the frighteners”), in the days when special effects included stop motion and gallons of movie blood. Lots of movie blood. So much blood, that “Dead Alive” is reputed to be the bloodiest movie of all time.
1957: the latest acquisition of the Wellington zoo is a rare and dangerous Sumatran rat-monkey, whose bite causes humans to turn into ravenous zombies. The creature looks suspiciously like Kitsune, by the way. Unfortunately for Lionel (Timothy Balme), his domineering mother Vera (Elizabeth Moody) is intent on sabotage as he tries to enjoy his first date there with Paquita (Diana Penalver). Standing too close to the cage, Vera gets bit and stomps the rat-monkey to squishy bits in her rage. Lionel takes her home and tries to hide her horrific condition from everyone, leading to problems growing as fast as the body count.
Virtually everything in this gem is outrageous and the carnage is way past the top, into the stratosphere. It also provides answers to vital questions about zombies:

–         What happens when two zombies fall in love

–         Why you shouldn’t take the resulting offspring to the park

–         How to feed a captive zombie when its head is halfway off

–         How to immobilize a zombie with a garden rake and a vise

–         Why animal stimulant shouldn’t be used to poison zombies

And much, much more… Jackson and writers Stephen Sinclair and Frances Walsh (Jackson’s spouse) packed a lot of chuckles and groans in what may be the definitive splatter-fest.

Jackson’s camera work and skillful direction  keep things lively and all the efforts spent recreating the look of the fifties, with cars, clothes and even hair styles of the era greatly enhance the movie’s charm. Performances are above the average for the genre, especially from the leads, but Father McGruder (Stuart Devenie) fighting off zombies in his graveyard is a classic (“I kick *** for the Lord!”), well worthy of Bruce Campbell’s best, as is Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) showing a lot of spine as the zombies overrun Lionel’s house. Also keep an eye out for Peter Jackson’s cameo as the undertaker’s assistant pumping Vera with embalming fluid…

The JBoD rating for this movie is 4 jellybeans (out of 5)

4 beans


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Beyond the Golden Gate: a short hike through Pinnacles National Monument, California

Most of our hikes have been within about a 70 miles radius from the San Francisco peninsula, so this day trip to Pinnacles Monument, 145 miles to the South of San Francisco and just East of the Salinas Valley, promised to offer something different. Well accustomed as we are to the greenery of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (G.G.N.R.A.), I was particularly keen on visiting what I expected to be a blend between the Bay’s woods and forests and the California desert.

Much of the landscape on the way there bears the marks of seismic activity spread over many centuries and Pinnacles itself is so named because of the spectacular jutting remnants of the long extinct Neenach volcano.

We arrived at the park after an early lunch in Hollister and promptly bought more bottled water at the visitors’ store as the sun was almost directly overhead by then. Even in March, and although it had rained in the previous couple of days, you can never have too much water outdoors.

In addition to some unique geological features, the park is also one of very few places where one can observe California Condors in the wild, thanks to outstanding efforts to re-establish the species. They remain one of the main attractions of the park and we spent a good while learning about them and conservancy efforts from the volunteers at the visitor center.

From the Bear Gulch visitor center, we set out onto the Moses Spring trail:

This took us to the Bear Gulch talus caves, which are the result of huge rocks tumbling down narrow gorges during massive earth tremors. Thankfully, it is possible to exit the caves in several places, since in some spots, water was ankle deep and the low ceiling would force us to our knees. Navigating, or rather, contorting through the narrow, claustrophobic passages, I kept thinking we might enact a 30 seconds or less version of “a bug’s life” with a tragic ending should the earth decide to move again, but at least it wouldn’t be thirst we’d die of:
And from there, we climbed up stairs to the Bear Gulch reservoir, a nice place to catch your breath and stretch, where the views are both serene and spectacular:

Hiking the Rim trail was an easy walk away from the reservoir, with plenty of interesting rock formations along the way back to the High Peaks trail, not to mention views very much reminiscent of old Disney nature documentaries. Although we took the High Peaks trail a couple hundred yards towards Hawkins’ peak, we managed to catch sight of only one Condor gliding high above, but were too unsteady to get a clear picture (sorry!).  For more information on this national treasure, check this National Park Service link:http://www.nps.gov/pinn/


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Welcome to JBoD

Who are we?
Let’s begin with Tito, a smoky-gray domestic short hair without a mean bone in his body. Both he and his brother from another mother, Kitsune, are about a year and a half old as of this writing.
Kitsune, or Kitsy for short, introduced Tito to Parkour, a series of gravity defying leaps and bounds over and against walls, furniture or the unfortunate biped. I should add “naked streaker food thief” to Kitsy’s bio (he’s a Sphynx, so hairless and somewhat lewd). Runs around a lot…
Rudha-an, the other human in the realm, worked as a bookseller for 20 years, has a green thumb, two left feet and a handy love of tools and home repairs (which is cool, because I don’t). She hasn’t met a dust bunny she didn’t like and her favorite writers include Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Richard Morris, Dan Simmons, Richard Feynman and Stephen Baxter.

As for me, I am a Jack-of-some-trades (guess we call ourselves ronin nowadays) lured westward from Europe over 20 years ago, who worked his way to a corner office, eventually getting laid off) with a marked preference for four-legged creatures, whiskey and wide open spaces, who hasn’t met a dust bunny he couldn’t live with. My list of favorite writers include Gore Vidal, Jean-Pierre Andrevon, William Styron and H.P. Lovecraft.

Now, why jellybeansofdoom?
Those cutesy, not particularly sanitary pads cats walk on?

beans left

beans right

Why, Wolverine’s got nothing on them. As a wee lad, I once witnessed a red tabby put a neighbor in the hospital as the neighbor tried to strangle said kitteh with a snare. Bad move. The cat appeared to have a keen understanding of the human circulatory system and the tools to, shall I say “excavate” his would be assassin’s forearms.
The man bled profusely and “Red” lived to mark his territory for, well who knows how long…
Because cats tend to live and die like outlaws. One day, Fluffy jumps the fence never to be seen again and his or her humans never know what happened. A car? A dog? Some nasty neighbor..?
Unless they dwell in cities and remain indoors for the rest of their life and seem to evolve in front of us. Like the Sphynx breed: no hair nor whiskers, all ears and eyes gauging you. But this is for another post. Jellybeansofdoom, [JBoD], aims to welcome all of us who bear witness to the lives of all these animals whom we share our life with, not solely of the feline persuasion.
These times we live in are rife with challenges and hardships, leading many to find out who and what their true friends are, and as it happens, truest friends wear fur because it actually grows on them. They are kin.

So. To you and them: welcome.


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