Thursday, December 31, 2009

Microcastles, Hospitals and Sing-A-Longs: 2009 Revisited

2009 began with me and my girlfriend sitting on a couch drinking beer. As it comes to an end I no longer have that girlfriend, or the couch, but I still love that beer. I've said, rather often, that 2009 was the worst year of my life. I'm not backing off that statement whatsoever, but I am trying to put a positive spin on the year now that it's coming to a close. This year did have the worst Super Bowl ever, but that's a minor grievance. George Carlin and Bea Arthur both died which had a pretty big impact. I consider Geroge Carlin the best comedian of all time, and growing up I watched 'The Golden Girls' every single day with my grandma. Bea Arthur had a certain strength and comedic tone that is really, really once in a lifetime and I hope she's remembered for it. I turned 28 in 2009, which is nothing more than another year closer to 30. In addition to this a bunch of my friends got married or engaged, which isn't a bad thing, it just adds to the overall feeling of getting old. This was the year I went from always being hot to always being cold, a classic sign of decrepitude. I also realized I forgot how to be single. I though it would be nothing but crazy parties and making out with strangers and the kind of freedom that only bachelorhood can afford you. Of course, this wasn't my life before having my first serious girlfriend, so why would it be after? It was actually a life of going to bed early, reading sad books, listening to sad music, and eating cheeseburgers. That last one brings us to the truly worst part of 2009: My cholecystectomy and pancreatitis. During Labor Day weekend I had a terrible pain in my right side and was taken to the emergency room. Long story short, my gallbladder had to be removed, but due to the inflammation the stones had aggravated my pancreas giving me a memorable case of pancreatitis. I was in the hospital for a week and I couldn't eat for 5 days. Due to the drugs I was given I had vivid, horrific dreams and could only sleep about an hour at a time. Once I was back home I still couldn't sleep and I missed seeing Little Joy in Hoboken since I was in such bad shape.
But, okay, so I've got my gallbladder out, I'll never go through that pain again! Hooray! Oops! Kidney stone! Yup, November rolls around and I have a pain in my left side that is 100 times as bad as the gallbladder and it's back the the ER. I had never had a kidney stone, apparently it was formed from the 2 weeks of immobility that I just spoke of...as well as my love of almonds, so says my Urologist.
This hellish time has effected my health in the following ways: I no longer eat anything given through a drive-up window, I no longer drink Coca-cola, no more peanuts, caffeine (at least not as much), extra salt on stuff, and I try to exercise more...so that is a huge 2K9 bummer, as these were my former fave things. Oh yeah, and since I left the hospital I don't like eggs anymore, don't know where that came from.

But, yeah, trying to be positive. I got into some of the best music ever this year (but that's for a different post), I reconnected with old friends, and I shouldn't really be bummed about being healthier.

So 2009 (to borrow a line from a movie I watched quite a bit this year) make like a tree, and get outta here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

BUICK SKYLARK

Yes, hello, it's been a while. Here's the news.

After breaking up with my girlfriend of 4 1/2 years, and leaving the apartment we shared for the last year, I've moved back to my hometown. Back to the internetless house where I grew up and now spend my time listening to music, watching movies and thinking of get-rich-quick schemes. You know like the dude from Creed? Scott Stapp? Oh, you didn't hear? Yeah, right before Creed was supposed to like record their debut record or something he spent all their money on like, a pyramid scheme. I have to assume it was internet based, I don't see him thinking he can get rich selling figurines to octogenarians door-to-door...but that's neither here nor there.

So that's me right now, living back at home, no internet access, no girlfriend.
However, I am an optimist, so here are some things that make life rad:

Sonic Youth: For some reason once I got back home I dug 'Evol' out of my closet, I probably haven't listened to this record since I got it, like, 3 years ago? This set off a wave of Sonic Youth obsession...it's like some of the most pure and inspiring music ever. I don't know why I didn't like that record at first...I was lame.

Step Brothers on dvd: I saw this movie in the theatre and loved it, but at home I can't watch it without the audio commentary on, which is actually a musical commentary. In the age of bs a.d.d. and people with no attention spans, this kind of commentary rewards people with patience...or with an s-load of time on their hands.

Summer: I've always hated summer, I get sweaty, probably faster than anyone ever, but this year I'm kind of into it. At work it sucks, but everything at work sucks, so I can't hold that against it. I'm not real big on the days being crazy long either, but not being completely miserable is a big step.

My Book: I'm writing a book and I love it and I at least had to mention it so screw you! Does 40 pages count as a novel?

Assorted Other Stuff: Louis C.K. 'Chewed Up', Crystal Antlers, The Mighty Boosh, the new Deerhunter ep, So Many Dynamos, chicken sandwiches, 'Major Tom' by Peter Schilling, Walk Hard, Gore Vidal on Bill Maher, Brian Eno, backroads, Ceremony, Jay Reatard...

So yeah, that's it, I should go because I used to work at this library I'm sitting in and I hate it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PSA 1: I GOT SOME REAL DRESS DOWN

As a public service I'm posting a list of quality band names that I've thought up throughout the years, use wisely...

Big Power To Life
The Man Pack
Garbage Bicycle
Fantasy Scoops
Star Wars Battle Scene Necktie
He-Tunes
Career Beauticians
Grandma's Infamous Christmas
I Never Met The Baby
Hunky Info
Tropical Friendship
Don't Drink The Pool
Fastronauts
Gentle Americans
More to come...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Behind My Smile: A Black Lips Review

Back in February Black Lips 'dropped' their new record and being the superfan I am I had it...well, maybe within a week or the release date. It took a chance encounter while driving home a co-worker for me to have the time and opportunity to get my dirty hands on it. Black Lips are interesting, for about a thousand different reasons, but primarily because it seems like they're stars and nobodies all at once. I'll see them on MTV2 kickin' back and introducing some random late night videos, they're mentioned in plenty of magazines and blogs, they play on tv and did shows with The Raconteurs (and probably a bunch of other decently popular bands)...so why does my local independent record store not have their record just a few days after it's release? By 'not have' I mean to say they didn't get any in, not that they are sold out. Even when I saw BL about a year ago I remember thinking that the venue, which is relatively small, wasn't as packed as it should have been. Good Bad Not Evil was a pretty polished record, in comparison to their others, and just in general. It was good but it was also my least favorite, I didn't know what 200 Million Thousand was going to be. About a month before the record came out I heard the single 'Short Fuse' on the radio and I wasn't stoked after hearing that either. A straightforward, fuzzy Brian Jonestown Massacre-esque stomp...it wasn't bad, but it didn't excite me.
So, I've dropped off my co-worker, I've made my purchases, and the two other cd's stay in the bag as I turn up 200MT and unfold the poster. As always, leaving this record store requires a traffic jam. I'm only three or four miles away by the time I hear my beloved Black Lips slo-mo rapping. It's a slow work day so I've got more than enough time to read the manifesto provided by Baby Gusty (whoever that is) about youth and life and things eternally important and presently absent. After the first listen and a good long look at the layout (one thing I love that Black Lips do is provide little explanations of the songs next to the lyrics, and whether it's abstract or obvious I appreciate the information, it's refreshing to have a band that has an interest in YOU having an interest) I was optimistic for what this record could be.
You can't trust a first listen to a record, or a song, or anything really, but music is number one in that respect. I can only think of one record that I count among my all time favorites that I absolutely loved upon first listen. This isn't news of course, I just disclaiming that my judgement of this record wasn't based on a listen and a half on the way back to work. For starters, 200MT is a weird record, it really is. All their stuff is weird and their subject matter is odd and purposely varied and unique, but the stuff on this record (in that respect) is far superior to what was on Good Bad. On that record you have 'Navajo' and 'How Do You Tell A Child That Someone Has Died' which really missed the mark with me, whereas on this recording you get stuff like 'Trapped in a Basement' and 'Elijah' (which is one of the best 5 songs they've ever done ever). The weirdness of this record doesn't stop at the subject matter, the recording is just as strange as what's recorded. It sounds archaic, it sounds muddy and honest in a way that they haven't sounded since they were on BOMP!. I remember that little clip I saw of them on MTV at...I guess it was around 1 or 2am, where they more or less only spoke about how they recorded this album. Back to basics, amps and mics, and it's not bullshit. You can hear everything on this record and it's better for it. Remember before In Utero came out and Kurt Cobain said he wanted to make that record more abrasive on purpose to weed out the...well, since it was the '90s I guess they were poseurs. I get a hint of that idea on this record, only a bit laterally. It feels like maybe some part of themselves felt like they may have crossed a line into an area where they didn't want to be. I can only see this happening one way, a little bit of spotlight has to make you question. For one thing, all I ever seemed to read about them was how 'crazy' their live shows were. They got popular and most of this press was focusing on things they hadn't done in years. Maybe I'm missing the mark entirely here, which I wouldn't be surprised about one bit. It's just a stab in the dark analysis on why this record sounds so different from the previous.
One thing they didn't do on this record, which I thank god for, is try to write another 'Bad Kids'. That was the high water mark for me and I'm sure plenty of other people on Good Bad. I have to say I was nervous they'd become the 'Bad Kids' band, but there's nothing like 'Bad Kids' on this record. 'I'll Be With You' does call on 'Dirty Hands' from Let It Bloom just a bit, but the similarities end there. 200MT, ultimately, is a statement record from one of the best bands of this decade. It's a strong record, when was the last time you heard that? For when it came out, what preceded it, and how it sounds, it's a statement of how dedicated and real Black Lips are.
I don't hate Good Bad Not Evil, actually I kind of hate that I even had to put it down in any way. I love everything Black Lips have done and maybe that taints my vision of what an important record 200MT is, but the truth is that you don't get a band like Black Lips coming along every day. A band that simultaneously exists on the verge and under the radar, recording primitive and sounding futuristic. That description brings to mind other bands (the first I though of was The Ramones) and yes, it has been done before. Bands talk about this kind of existence, and they try attain it and give it life. There's a new important band every minute and part of 200MT's genius is that it isn't trying to be genius, it just is.

Friday, May 22, 2009

YEAH IT WAS AWESOME, COMPARED TO BULLSHIT

Hello, it's been some time, hasn't it? I don't think I've written here in 2 months. I've been dealing with a lot of actual grown-up shit and it's been rough. However, I can't give up on my blog, that wouldn't be very 2K9 of me. The following things have been going on:

*The Room: Over the past 2 months I've watched this movie, all in all and in bits and pieces, probably 3 times and it's really amazing. People make fun of it because it's kind of low rent and there is endless ADR and the story, for the most part makes no sense...and although I can't refute those claims, it's a really astonishing movie. For really. It's like, I can't even describe it, I've never heard the phrase "I don't wanna talk about it" more times in my life, someone says it in almost every scene. It's officially one of my favorite movies of all time.

*Music: I've been devouring music lately, coming across a lot of great stuff and here's a brief list of what's been on my broken headphones: Thee Oh Sees, Crocodiles, Davila 666, Deerhunter (I can't envision a time when 'Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.' isn't in the middle of my musical repertoire), the first Drive Like Jehu record, The Advantage, The Hunches, older R.E.M., Ceremony, Obits, Wavves, Motion City Soundtrack (yes THAT Motion City Soundtrack), Motorhead, The Shangri-La's, Gomez, The Coathangers, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Jens Lekman, Black Moth Super Rainbow, the new MF Doom (though the cd just says Doom), Animal Collective, Band of Horses (the cheesiest yet most completely earnest indie band I've heard in a long time), the new Dan Deacon (although I'm not that into it), Sigur Ros, Discharge, Slayer (yes THAT Slayer), Universal Order of Armageddon, Depeche Mode, Queen (of course), Friendly Fires, Mineral, comedy albums (Eddie Izzard and Nick Swardson mostly), and last but not least the song 'Master Exploder', which brings me to my next stop...

*Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny: A movie I purchased like a week ago and have already watched 4 or 5 times. The song 'Master Exploder' plays in my head all day long at work (and at home when I stayed home because I was, and still am, sick). I always thought the movie was just a retelling of the HBO shows, OH NO! Tis untrue. They do reference the show, but it's it's own thing, and I love it. Commentary on.

*Wayne Pal Basketball: I don't know what it is but I recently bought a shirt at a thrift store with that written on it with a rad smashed up backboard, Shaq style. Take it to the hole jack, damn you gonna eat crack. Shaq baby, got baaaack. It's a very comfortable shirt.

*Driving: It's the perfect time of year to drive around with the windows down, late spring/early summer. It smells amazing and it's not quite super hot so you still get a nice cool breeze now and then. I'm a sucker for it.

*Water: Nothing beats the healing power of water, not only does it quench yr thirst, but apparently it can cure Restless Leg Syndrome. I drink it a lot.

*DayQuil: Nothing beats the healing power of DayQuil. I've gotten used to the taste and NyQuil sucks because it helps me sleep for like a half hour and then I'm up again. NyQuil? Is it NightQuil? It should be, but that doesn't sound right. Anyway, it's all about DayQuil.

That's enough. Return to form, keep it up.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

SAPLING

I have not written in quite some time, weeks...2 or 3. This is due to the fact that I am trying to grow up and take myself seriously and work on something meaningful, thusly, I'm attempting to write a book. Yes you read it right, a damn book. I'm actually enjoying it more than I thought I would. The only real problemo I've run into is that I usually try to tell stories as fast as possible, it's just part of my personality. This usually results in moments of silence while I try to regroup my thoughts and present a well constructed retelling. So some of my moments in the writings feel a bit short and I don't know how to lengthen them. However, I got a lot of ideas and they're all gonna be in there. It's not too far along yet, but here is a morsel.

My awakening lasts from the time I begin the walk to the gymnasium to the time I enter the gymnasium and see almost everyone in my graduating class country line dancing. Some have changed into their bolo ties and cowboys hats, giving us a taste of their weekend lives. Some, sitting off to the side, are wearing traditional Indian turquoise jewelry. I can’t help but wonder if these cowboys have once again forced their Native brethren to concede their land. This reunion has become part reservation…all square dance, no rain dance. Our peaceful gathering, now merely a microcosm of Manifest Destiny, westward to hell.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

SPECIAL INTEREST

I have a bit of an obsession with the phrase "going out of business". If a store is closing up shop I have to get in on it, all the better if they sell cd's or videos or dvd's. Circuit City is a bit of a ghost town sprinkled with weirdo stragglers looking for plasmas and super cheap copies of Beer for My Horses (actually there were some left, next to the first season of Ghost Whisperer and Return to House on Haunted Hill). I have this anticipation of people running around, knocking each other over to get a bunch of crap. It's a let down though, people act more like pseudo tech savvy zombies. I did get Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story for 60% off, which is a decent find, but I think that's my last CC run. The strangest thing is that they still have like 5 copies of Kanye West's Graduation album. Isn't that weird? At 60% off Kanye's not moving? I was shocked, that's all I'm saying. So yeah, no big screen tv riots, bummer city.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

TATTERDEMALION AND A JUNKETER

I haven't been feeling well lately, on and off. My hope is that my diet of Stella Artois and Count Chocula is helping to fight off the winter's-end germies.

In the last 3 days I've made it through about 270 pages of Lemmy's autobiography White Line Fever, and I've got to say it's a pretty satisfying read. You get the sense that he's a pretty down to earth guy, which I like, same with Ron Jeremy in his book. I will say that it has made me want to own every Motorhead record there is...and apparently there's like 20. I've never (consciously) looked for Motorhead used records, they always seemed like a CD-with-bonus-tracks band to me. And I'm ashamed to say I've never even heard Hawkwind, I knew he was in the band but I never came across them. Used Motorhead, I'm into it.

Other things I'm into right now: VH1's Black to the Future, "I'm Sticking with You" by The Velvet Underground, Richard Simmons on TMZ singing Beyonce, Little Joy (what a great record that is), crosswords, water (anytime I feel really shitty I just drink a bottle of water and assume that will cure me), The Office, the new season of Tim and Eric, Shoplifting (the band), the new season of Xavier: Renegade Angel (although the last one was a little weird), and Queen II. The title of this entry is a lyric from the record, I have no idea what it means.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

F DAY THE ONE THREE

All this talk about friday the 13th...may as well see the new film of the same name. I gotta say, I was not impressed. Not that anyone reads this bloggy anyway, but if you do and you have not seen this film and you want to see this film STOP READING NOW because I may or may not write some kind of spoiler.
All I know is that old school Jason was not meant for these times. These days EVERY crazy killer has some kind of intricate underground system of tunnels complete with booby-traps and all this other shit that can only make you think, 'how did this person ever get all this together?' Well guess what Jason has...an elaborate system of tunnels under the old Camp Crystal Lake. Jason doesn't need some subterranean lair, he just exists in the forest, he doesn't need to have like, an apartment. The movie itself wasn't terrible, it had all the basics and all the right kids and all of that but it wasn't really ever shocking. Every opportunity to have Jason appear behind someone from out of the darkness right before the kill was used. How many times can you see the same shot of a pathetic teen with a towering Jason over him/her before you need a change? The deaths (which is a top 3 reason to watch these movies) were not up to par either, there was a lot of impaling one way or another and overall it was pretty mediocre. You can also judge a Jason movie by who survives and that was easily the worst part of the movie. Here comes that spoiler I told you about. A goddamn brother and sister survive. Are you kidding? That's the worst male/female pair of survivors you can have. Not only is it lame that a bro and sis survive, but it's how they do it. The sister is seemingly killed along with her friends in the very beginning of the film, her brother comes along 6 weeks later and eventually enlists the help of a cocky dude's nice and rather virtuous girlfriend to help him look around CCL for her. Turns out that Jason, for one reason or another, did not kill the sister but is keeping her chained up in his underground pad. So blah blah death death and the brother and the nice girlfriend find the sister in the tunnels and as they are escaping Jason kills the nice girlfriend. What? If anything the brother should get killed saving his sister, but that's not going to happen because he used to date Rory Gilmore. So okay, the nice gf is dead and the siblings take Jason down using a combination of chain, machete, and wood chipper (Fargo? No, he doesn't actually go into it). Then they release his gigantic body back into the lake and as soon as they drop his Mother's locket into the lake he reemerges newly reborn with rage! He comes up through the dock and grabs the sister, who pretended to be his mom twice. Once the sequel come out she will most likely be fine and everyone will deny that ever happened. It wasn't a TERRIBLE movie, but I was bummed. I like to root for Jason and I had a legitimate hope he would actually kill all the kids, but you don't get that kind of ending in movies...just video games.

Friday, February 13, 2009

SIZZLIN' STEAKS AND CREAMY CAKES

I have not written in a few days...here are some thoughts I had whilst away from my blog spot.

*I saw 'He's Just Not That Into You' and I feel I have to publicly announce my alliance to the romantic comedy genre. I know people like to make fun of them and act like they're too good for them, but most of the great movies are some form of romantic comedy. The movie itself (HJNTIY) was pretty good, not great, but better than most of the movies I've seen in the last year. Is this due to the fact that I seem to go to shit movies more often than good ones? That's not the point! Though it should be looked in to. This is just me sticking up for the romantic comedy, the film equivalent of power pop.

*A guy I work with told me that Limp Bizkit is getting back together. I was visibly bummed out, and then he says, "...and another band too, oh who was it?" To which I say, "Whoever it is, it can't be worse than Limp Bizkit." He thinks for a few minutes, and it comes to him, "...oh! Creed." Wow, it totally can be worse. This is a very good time for the Creeds to come back since Religi-rock has never been bigger. It's not just for pre-fab ultra modern chapel-adiums anymore, crazy punks love jesus now. Kids with tight aqua colored jeans, long long red hair, and the most elaborate studded belt you've ever seen all love the big jc. Creed can do a duet with Paramore and be right back on the charts.

*I have seen every Friday the 13th movie except "Jason goes to Hell". How did that one slip through the cracks? How did it come to be that I've seen the one with the halfway house with the impostor Jason like 10 times, but I never came across Jason in hell. Is he in hell? Apparently he just explodes and parts of him take over other people (the creepy crawly parts that seem to look very similar to the villain in The Hidden). Oh well.

*David Letterman is the best.

*Marie Calendar's frozen lasagna may seem like it's not done, but it is.

*Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job! Season 2 DVD is a LET DOWN! That's right, you heard it straight from me. Tom Goes to the Mayor and T&EASGJ Season 1 had commentaries on every episode and this one has NONE on ANY. What a damn bummer. It's 10 episodes that are each 11 minutes long, they can't set aside 110(ish) minutes to talk about the shit? Then you get like 3 minutes of bloopers, and some pretty uninteresting deleted and extended scenes. Plus the 4 hours of Awesomecon and their live show which...I'm sorry...I'm not interested in either. I don't want to see any other T&E fans, I just wanna see the show. Why would I be interested in seeing some random dude singing along, badly, to 'Come Over'? It's probably me, I've always had a weird thing about fans of shit. People that are super into stuff, probably because I get super into shit. Like, if I went to a live T&E show and had to hear crowds of people doing lines from the show and angling themselves close enough to try and pat T or E on the back, it would ruin the whole experience. Alright, I just had to get that off my chest. I mean, the dvd box didn't say anything about commentaries and I still bought it so I knew what was coming. I was just bummed. Season 4, one episode in, is awesome. The funniest shit around, but sometimes you gotta vent. QUAD.

*Stella Artois is the best beer.

(Just as I'm finishing this entry "Rats Off to Ya" comes on Adult Swim. Wow. I love when the little girl is on Santa/the Mayor's lap and she asks for "a balloon man" and "an action car" and "a new door". Not to mention Bob Odenkirk voicing the concept of "Sour Lemon Vibrations". ROTY.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

SUPER TOILET BOWL

So, yeah, I think only one of my SB predictions came true (nachos), but if not for that last drive maybe at least one more would have. I didn't even watch much of the game until the last quarter anyway...I was just psyched for The Office.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SUPER BOWL SUNDAE

The end of the season in which I watch my team come back from the brink of ridiculousness and make a decent playoff run. It was also the season in which my two least favorite/most hated (positive v. negative) teams each made their conference championship and, to my delight, lost.

Football, I will miss you in the coming months. Time shall only make the heart grow fonder.

Super Bowl predictions:

Final score: Steelers: 17, Cardinals: 28
MVP: Kurt Warner feat. Jesus, or Larry Fitzgerald
Game Excitement Level 1-10: 6.5
Most delicious snack I will eat: Nachos
Amount of times Commentators will use the word 'palpable': 2
Amount of times Commentators will mention Jessica Simpson's weight: 11

Friday, January 30, 2009

DREAMERS AT BIRTH AND KILLERS BY NATURE

I spent a good portion of the night watching rather gory double feature and in my head I began making a list of all my favorite violent movie scenes. Not that I love all film violence, I am very susceptible to squirming and/or being completely bummed out by certain things. There is still a scene in Gnaw: Food of the Gods II that I totally can not watch, and it's not the twenty foot adolescent boy telling his doctor to "get the fuck out of here...get out of my room!", seriously awesome movie if you've not seen it. So here's a random list of the best violence I've ever "scene"! Can't help it, I love puns.

1. Fargo (1996): One of my favorite scenes ever, Steve Buscemi (no, not in the wood chipper) meets the kidnapped woman's father at the top of a parking deck in a snowstorm. Mr. B is baffled, not expecting to see this (pretty well acted) crazy guy asking for his daughter until (I believe) the dad pulls a gun and shoots Mr. B, who returns fire (I think that's how it went, my memory is fuzzy here) and KILLS THE DAD then escapes and KILLS THE SECURITY GUARD. It's a perfect scene, not overly violent, perfect to begin a list with, and eerily tense.

2. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989): Not too long ago bad horror movies were good horror movies (not like the absolute shit that passes for "bad horror" these days, Quarantine anyone?) and although Friday the 13th Part II is my favorite in the series, part VIII has the best scene of them all. It completely escapes me how, but Jason (always a character that had the uncanny ability to creep me out even at his most ridiculous) and some dude end up on top of a building in the Big Apple. The dude, who has already showed his boxing prowess earlier in the film, challenges Jason to a boxing match! Jason is absorbing the dude's hits, and the guy is really nailing him, you can tell he means biz. So he finally gets tired and leans back and says something along the lines of "take your best shot asshole" or something, maybe without the swearing, but actually probably with much more swearing. So he gives Jason a free shot and Jason PUNCHES HIS HEAD OFF AND IT FALLS INTO A DUMPSTER! Oh man, I was only like 9 when I saw that, but I loved it then and I love it now.

3. Planet Terror (2007): One of the best movies I've seen in the last 5 or so years, and the better half of the double feature I watched earlier tonight. This movie is loaded with amazing gore and cringe inducing moments but one of my faves is (I'm assuming) also one of it's most controversial. The director's son, cast as Marley Shelton and Josh Brolin's kid is left alone in a car so that his mom can get help from her father since the town is crawling with infected zombie-esque bubbling maniacs hellbent on eating everyone in sight! So this mom of his tells him to take the gun out of the glove box and if anyone tries to get in to shoot them in the head...and to be careful. The genius of this scene is in the timing. Seconds after she walks away from the car you hear the shot and see the flash of light and you know the kid shot himself. He's a pretty classic kid character and it's perfect. He's got his scorpion and turtle in the same tank on his lap and of course he's gonna SHOOT HIMSELF IN THE FACE if you give him the chance. All is right with the world however once the credits are done rolling and the kid (Rebel Rodriguez) is seen happily playing on the beach.

4. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974): An amazing movie referenced a couple times in the second half of tonight's double feature that I saw for the first time a few weeks ago. Peter Fonda and Susan George (also brilliant in Straw Dogs) along with Larry's mechanic partner flee the police for almost the entire movie. The whole way through it's exciting and interesting and fun but I have to assume the reason it's a classic is for the final scene. The trio finally cross state lines and are out of harms way, the begin talking about what they're gonna do with their shares of the money they stole and the mood is genuinely joyous. Their lime green Charger is speeding along when, ooh what's that...a train? You only see the look on their faces for a moment before they SMASH DIRECTLY INTO A TRAIN AND EXPLODE ON IMPACT! What! Where the hell did that come from. The car is smoldering, the train continues on the track and the credits roll. Perfect.

5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986): This was an interesting year for movies that actually creep me out: Manhunter, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Troll (it scared me when I was little), Big Trouble in Little China (parts of this movie are creepy for sure), and of course Deadly Friend (I watched and rewatched this movie when I was young transfixed by the scary old lady from The Goonies getting her head smashed apart by a basketball). That being said, there is no scene I can think of as weird and as inspired (yes, inspired) as the opening scene in TCM2. Two collegiate pricks out for a drive on a lonely stretch of road, interrupted by an ominous truck which chases them (in reverse!) along (seemingly) the longest bridge in Texas. As they are being chased side by side a shriveled dead body pops up out of the back of the truck and is dangled over their car like a marionette. It's ridiculous and kind of hypnotic. The shrouded figure controlling the body then picks up his chainsaw and begins to buzz through their roof. Of course, one of the pricks (the one wearing the cool shades with the weird hologram eyes) has a gun and shoots at the body. The bullet knocks the dead body's head aside and you see who's really after them, everyone's favorite skin-mask aficionado, Leatherface. Now he's been discovered and it's time to end this charade so he SAWS THROUGH THE DRIVER'S HEAD and takes a good chunk right off. Next time you see them it appears their car drove right off the bridge...oh, and since they're rich they have a car phone and their whole attack was broadcast on the local radio station.

6. Suspiria (1977): Suspiria is the real deal, and for some reason the first time I saw it I didn't like it. Well, that's not true, I didn't like the end, but that's no longer the case. This movie has all the Argento hallmarks, but it's somehow even more paranoid and disorienting than all the rest. It's really a toss up picking the most gorgeously violent scene here, but I went for it. The blind and recently fired pianist from the dance academy is walking through a deserted piazza with his dog when the dog starts to bark. Obviously the man doesn't know what is disturbing the dog, but neither do we. There are shots from all angles and there is nothing but darkness, the man and the dog, but you feel that feeling of dread. Something is going to happen and you are just as vulnerable as the man, agoraphobia is creeping in as the attack is imminent and then...THE DOG JUMPS UP AND BITES THE MAN IN THE THROAT AND KILLS HIM! His own dog! The one who warned him, the one he said would not hurt anyone. It's kind of a metaphor for the entire film, the ones you should fear are the ones right in front of you.

7. Deep Blue Sea (1999): Deep Blue Sea, or as I call it "Smart Sharks", may rival Home Alone as my #1 most viewed (from beginning to end) film of all time. I literally used to watch it once a week on TBS or whatever. I love sharks, I love genetically enhanced predators (Ice Spiders, Jurassic Park), I love when scientists are morally opposed to the experiment they're undertaking but go for it anyway, I love that ladies love cool James...this movie is the whole package, and I bet you know what I'm going to describe next. Samuel L. Jackson notices that his co-escapists are losing hope that they can navigate their way out of the flooding undersea research station. No one gives a speech like Samuel L. and this one does not disappoint. He stands near the open water hatch that the escape shuttle was supposed to be in (if I'm remembering things correctly) and crafts their way out. Just as he declares he's not gonna get eaten by some smart shark (not his exact words) a smart shark JUMPS OUT OF THE HATCH AND EATS HIM IN ONE BITE! He (or she) then slides right back in the water to digest and probably read a book. It's a great jump-out-of-your-seat moment and should be fondly remembered for as long as sharks are scary. Samuel L. is also eaten in JP...he is however absent from Ice Spiders.

8. The Brood (1979): I doubt you'll find anyone who will say The Brood is one of the scariest movies ever, it really isn't. What it is is a generally boring movie with one or two very creepy moments. The persons doing the harm in this movie are apparently children (which I am never into, I don't think kids are scary ever, Damian or the girl in The Ring or any other evil kid, it never works for me) that is until you realize they are physical manifestations of rage from a woman involved in a study. The real creepy moment comes when the woman learns of her husband's interest in their daughter's teacher. She sends two of her "hate babies" to the school and they walk right in and KILL THE TEACHER RIGHT IN FRONT OF ALL THE KIDS! That's pretty extreme, even for 2009. Kids are kind of an off limits zone in most horror movies unless they're the villains, having them as the witnesses is intense. So not only do these weird demented children kill this lady in front of her whole class, but then they kidnap the daughter and (in an astoundingly unsettling scene) walk her down a rural road back to where the mom is being studied. Cronenberg does happen to deal in unforgettable images.

9. The Hills Have Eyes (1977): Am I the only one who could not rent this movie when they were young just because of the cover? I was terrified of it, but I always looked at it. I didn't get around to watching it until at least a year ago and I realized it's easily Craven's best movie. I'm vicious in a way a lot of other films don't want to be and it's almost nothing but despair for the entire film. The scene that sets it apart is when the cannibals finally come and attack the trailer. They make it inside and decide to steal the baby, but in the process they KILL THE MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER! In the history of modern horror you can count the films where something like that happens on one hand.

10. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992): Officially the scariest movie I've ever seen. My favorite dramatic director puts the exclamation point on the greatest TV series of all time with this epically strange and beautiful prequel. Aside from the death of Laura Palmer, this movie is hard to watch at times: Bob retrieving Laura's secret diary, Bob entering through Laura's window, anything at The Black Lodge...of course, those scenes aren't even violent, they're just as disturbing as it gets. The moment of violence that catches your eye is the drug deal gone bad in the woods. Bobby and Laura are hanging out in a clearing, the scene is inter cut with the beam of a flashlight shining on the woods around them which creates an eerie sense of danger. Laura is acting strange, kind of pathetically happy and Bobby is anxious. Once their contact arrives it's only a moment before he draws a gun, but so does Bobby who SHOOTS THE GUY then as he attempts to get up BLOWS OFF THE BACK OF THE GUY'S HEAD! It's gross but more than that it's the personification of altered reality in Twin Peaks. It seems like a dream and it's confusing but it's real and they are confronted with it head on. It's what David Lynch does best, he uses reality, not even as the setting, but as a backdrop to the events that occur. Anything that happens in a Lynch movie (any one of the good ones) usually happens in time first and reality second.

Alright, now that it is very late or very early I am done with this countdown for now. So tired I can't even think of a clever ending. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ME AND MY HUSBAND IVY

Snow on the ground and the cars, ice on everything else, and rain falling from the eerily gray sky. 10am should not be like this, spring can't come fast enough. Now nearing 10pm, and a new episode of The Real World...Brooklyn! I couldn't be more excited? Yeah, I could, but the possibility of another listen to that dude's song about being his lady's tampon...that's all I need. Seriously, that guy got like one shot to try to impress some bigwig (but how big of a bigwig can you be if yr named Machine?) and he breaks out the TAMPON SONG??? Good move asking the mormon for his expert opinion by the way.

Enough Real World talk, I wanna mention Maury Povich quickly. Dude had a show on today about May-December romances and how wrong-o they are. At one point they ran a clip about a lady who was...oh, in her 40's I think, and she was MARRIED to a 14 year old boy named Ivy. My jaw was on the floor for the entire minute or two the clip was on, though I did get a chuckle when she said she likes to buy him Pok-e-mon (spelling?) cards. Unfortunately they have since divorced, can't anyone make it work? I was going to say that I probably would have married some old lady when I was 14 if she bought me Marvel cards and made me food and shit, but that's not true. First of all I would have had to admit to my family that I liked girls, and believe me, no one has ever wanted to talk to their family about the opposite sex less than I. Secondly, my aforementioned family would never let me marry some lady when I was 14! That's what you missed Maury! Where is the story with the parents, isn't anyone interested in seeing Ivy's parents but me? Maury dropped the ball on that one. Since it was daytime tv there were commercials for like, lawyers and accident claims and stuff and there was one with rapping! It was great, this lady hurts her neck and then this like RAP VAN comes and gives her a check for her pain and suffering. If I was making an ad for whiplash I'd try to secure the rights to 'Protect Ya Neck'. That seems almost too perfect.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

INFORMATION WILL BREAK YOUR HEART IN THE END

About an hour ago I found out one of my favorite authors of all time, John Updike, died today. I just wanted to write something about him.

Somewhere around seven years ago I was introduced to Updike's writing in a short story class. It was usually much more interesting than everything else, Kafka probably being the only exception. We had to read a lot of Updike's stuff actually, more than any other author, and his story 'A&P' has been my favorite short story (and looking back, a solid touchstone for my interest in writing in the first place). It's a simple enough story, a kid working at an A&P forms an instant crush on a girl who comes into the store, she is mistreated by (i think) the owner of the store, the boy (trying to impress her) quits on the spot, and this act goes unnoticed by the girl. My argument as to the moral of the story, which was something to the effect of, 'girls are awful and nothing you do matters to them and they will just ruin your life', was unanimously discredited by kids and professors alike. To be young and (somewhat needlessly) resentful towards girls was my calling back then. The story goes much deeper, which is what i ultimately learned through taking this class and reading Updike's work. Updike taught me about the subtext of writing, more or less though trial and error since almost every initial conclusion I drew from his work was wrong. It's important to let yourself be way off once and a while because you always learn more getting back on track. That is really the main lesson I've taken from John Updike. Anyone who feels the impulse to write has that moment and that piece that helps it all come together, 'A&P' was mine. It's a tremendous loss and I'm going to miss him.

Monday, January 26, 2009

POETRY CORNER

As an intoduction to me, my mind, my style, I've decided to blog-up a few of my poems. I've long been a lover (as well as an active participant) of the art of poeming, so I'd like to present just a taste of what I'm about. Grab a spoon (provided).

Enjoy...


"I Made it Worse with Wet Handshake"

Things are optional for a reason
And we all can’t be teen sweat machines
His heart is a feminine glove
He breaks pencils with his anger.


"Gender: Infinate Ponderances"

I got man feelings, I got man pants,
I got man style, I do a man dance,
I'm a man for real, I got man appeal,
I call it 'man zeal', then I eat a man meal.
Pizza.


"Footballs"

Playing football now, yeah, you got that right
I'm a Tight End Wide Receiver Saftey Quarterback and I might
Go out for the team, I'd make the fans all scream
Score a ta-ta-ta-touchdown and remind them why they cream.

Wow, that was great, feels good to share. Scriptophobia be damned.