Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Someone's Up on His High Horse, And It's Probably Me

Sorry kids, time for some bitching.
I more or less enjoy a very comfortable position in my direct community- The position of “guy nobody dislikes”. This isn’t to say everyone is my friend, enjoys my company, or even likes talking to me, but there seems to be a clean division- Most people like me, and those who don’t like me have no opinion. I mostly believe that this is the case because I try to be cool to everyone. I try to maintain a mentality in which I assume you’re a good person until you prove me otherwise, and even then I try to just ignore you. But every once in a while I run across some real assholes, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t become confrontational.
You see, I’m part of our Dramat Association’s Winter Musical, and it’s not exactly running like a finely tuned machine. It’s a tough show, and most of our actors are much too lazy to actually exert the energy necessary to make the show work. A few in key roles (and some not) have openly admitted to me that they don’t care at all about the fate of the show. Which is quite annoying for those of us who do care. This is largely the product of three factors: 1. We have a new director this year. While very good as a director and knowledgeable in theater, he has an interesting personality that sometimes comes off as a bit weird. 2. The show, quite honestly, isn’t all that great. Now, I’m not the best judge of musical theater quality, as I more or less hate the entire genre of musical theater. My main issue is that it lacks real plot and substance, and it consists of cartoon-esque stereotyped characters in a campy environment with sickeningly happy resolution. Generally I’m the one spouting this blasphemy as the rest of the cast and crew praise how great the show is, but this year the show is so cartoonish that everyone gets what I’m saying. Suprisingly, however, I’m one of the only advocates for respecting it and making it good. Go figure. 3. The set is bland. We have lots of new cast members who have never done a theater production, and I think they were hoping for a jazzier setup than what we have.
But the fact of the matter is that this show could be good, really good. The issue is that most of the guys can’t play a scene without making jokes and improvising, breaking character. Now I gotta tell you, people who goof off at inappropriate times (Yes, this is hypocritical), really bother me. But the people who really piss me off are those who blatantly do it for laughs from their peers. You know, hams, the people whose actions scream that they’re constantly begging for attention, and you seem to be the only one who sees them for what they truly are, as everyone else feeds them the attention they want. This need for attention is generally paired with them being a huge asshole/douchebag.
This type of person has plagued me for a long time. You see, the problem is that I don’t know what to do about them. In this case, they’re marring what could potentially be a great show because they think they’re above the whole production, and no one else will address the problem because they think the people are fucking hilarious. Well what’s not hilarious is our musical sucking because of a bunch of douchebags (Douchebags who I saw as respectable actors in the past) who are willing to bring everyone else down just because they don’t care.
I’m very mucha victim of primal instincts. While it usually comes off as horribly pathetic, we all know that I can succumb to anger when pushed (“stupid bitching dog”). I feel a calling to stand up for all decent people held back by douchebags; I feel like I should call these people out on who they are and what they’re doing in front of everyone, but that’s where instinct clashes with ethics. I guess all I can do is pray for this to go well. Unfortunately Jesus appears to be busy answering random ass questions online, though he’s quite good at it. But I mean really, that’s kind of a lame miracle.

Crap I gotta finish that Huck paper.


You’d think if I had the equations I would’ve been able to do something.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Alas, no Bio on the SATs.
Yes, I recently had the experience of taking the dreaded SATs for the first time. I’m not a total idiot, but I’m not ridiculously bright either, so to be honest I was a bit worried about the whole thing. What with this year and next year supposedly being the hardest years to get into college since the beginning of time, I like to imagine that somehow doing well on the SATs will deliver me into the college of my dreams (not that I have the slightest clue as to what that college is). The unfortunate (fortunate?) truth is that more and more colleges don’t even give a rat’s ass about the SATs, and they’ll likely be a small matter in the admissions process at a lot of schools.
The funny thing about the test was that it wasn’t actually that hard, compared to what I was expecting. I didn’t leave any problems blank save for a few at the end of the third math section (ridiculous), and one sentence completion with words I’m sure they invented. But I had no time to heave a sigh of relief at the test’s apparent ease (We’ll see how it really went soon), as I had to take a practice test the very next day.
You see, I’m enrolled in an SAT prep class because neither my parents nor I have real faith that I can kick serious butt on the test. The class itself is actually quite amusing; our instructor is definitely one of the weirdest guys I’ve met, though he’s only creepy sometimes. Constantly making references to drugs to account for student’s virus-caused sniffling, and even going as far as suggesting that one of our students probably wants to grow up to be a porn star (We think he was kidding, but we’re not sure), we students are left to wonder how he ever landed a job with teenagers. Just the other week, the class was going a little crazy, and he made an aside comment to a few of us, stating that the experience reminded him of an acid flashback. Yeah, might not want to spread that around.
Our newest scheme is to ask him to tell us is life story. I imagine it’s either thrilling interesting or terribly weird. Either way, intriguing. However, we won’t be able to do this for a while, as we don’t have class over long weekend (Thank God. No standardized testing is taking my mini dwarf of a vacation from me), and we had a practice test last time.
Oh right, the practice test. As I said, the day after we took the actual SAT we were forced to take a practice one. Two days in a row? Hell, believe me. I tried to get out of it, but the rents weren’t cool with me skipping, so I ended up spending another four hours in a grey(blue?)-scale bubble-graphed misery. Turns out I was only one of six people, as opposed to the 20 we usually have. Apparently two days in a row isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
The practice test started out terribly. Essay first, but I guess that’s not so bad when you consider that you’re getting it out of the way. The topic was about whether it’s better to take action or gather knowledge, and I swear to God, I almost referenced Batman Begins. You know, the whole “actions define you” thing. I mean, after all, what does knowledge and opinion do for you and the world at large if you never do anything with it? Change comes from action, no passive thought. But what am I justifying my thesis to my reader(s?) for? You really don’t care. In any case, apparently a friend of mine actually made up a book and author to reference in his actual SAT essay. Ballsy, I’m intrigued to see how it plays out.
But what was really bad about the practice SAT was that I started out feeling sick. And I’m not talking about mildly uncomfortable sick, I’m talking about a lesser version of that night lying on Koops/J_V’s couch, burping my heart out. I never really got that burp thing, but it still happens, and I still hate it.
Eventually I got better, but I had absolutely no work ethic for the practice SAT right after the real one, especially since the practice turned out to be way harder. I guaranteee that I did 100s worse on the practice than I did on the real thing. Guess I can trust the prep company then; they sure do a thorough job of testing. Moral of the story: Never take the SATs two days in a row. Ever.

On an unrelated note, I’ve had another play idea. This one’s going on the backburner for now, as I’ve got a few projects to tackle before then, but I’m still intrigued by it. It takes place in a running shoe store, based off of the one us blogger runners frequent. There are four characters, all male. The first is the elderly (70s) store owner who is an experienced runner and who cannot run any longer because of his age. The next character is a sophomore in high school who starts out enthusiastic about running, and ends realizing that his running career is coming to an end, as he will not be good enough to run in college. The third is a college runner who is nearing the end of his career, as he is too occupied with family ties to continue after college. The fourth is a professional runner is his late 30s, who is coming to terms with the fact that his body is breaking down. The first scene features the teenager and the college student shopping for shoes, the second scene the college student and the professional, the third the teenager and the professional, and the fourth all three of them. The owner is present in all scenes. Each scene takes place one year after the last, and we slowly see as an audience the trio coming to terms with the end of their competitive running. Each older man represents to the younger ones what they could have been if they had been born stronger, had tried harder, and had been luckier. The one issue is that there’s not enough conflict. But maybe there doesn’t need to be.


Benjamin Disraeli lies.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jumping The Shark (Journal Entry #3 of Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros)

Day five. The rations are completely spent; I’ve been out of food for a day and a half. I , Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, was careful with the water and have only been without water for a day. I should be able to go another 2 days or so before my dehydration kills me.
I, Pilot Power Master HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, have no way of telling how far I’ve come. Based on the time I’ve been moving (Constantly, save for 3 hours of sleep each night) I’d estimate I’m approaching 200 miles. The sun beats down on me now with a grueling ferocity…Wait a second, what sun? There’s no sun here. It sure as hell feels like it. It seems like the further I go, the hotter it gets. Sweat drenches my ridiculouslystrongtight muscles, and my need for water becomes even more tremendous. My pounding headache will not subside, and I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, fear that I may faint before I find help.
If there even is help. I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, have no reason to believe there is anyone else on this entire fucked up green world. And this certainly isn’t a quick way to move. Damn, I wish I had that helicopter.
I’ve heard tell of mirages on the deserts of foreign lands, so I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros was suspicious when I saw a light in the distance. It was on the ground, maybe 6 miles away, barely peeking over the horizon. I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros walked for a mile or two more before I realized that it was, in fact something. A massive light of some kind. The first sign of anything but green and black I had seen since I came here.
I couldn’t stop myself. The possibility of finding something (or someone?) is so magical, that I start running, ad I can’t stop for anything. My legs scream at me in agony, but I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, ignore them. My breath is raspy, desperate. My heart beats like a rabbit’s, and I realize that if this is not the answer, if this is not some sort of relief, I will likely collapse from exhaustion and possibly die in this hell.
Finally, as I feel like I cannot exert any longer, I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, reach it. It is a magnificent bonfire, easily 50 feet high, with meat strung up all around it. As I stop running, I realize with joy that my legs are still holding me upwards, and that I am still conscious, and that I have found some salvation.
A bullet rips into my side, and I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, taste blood as I collapse into darkness.

I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, awake to find myself completely bound and gagged. A hot pistol barrel is pushed hard against my temple, I lay in a prone position. I can’t see who’s holding it. Suddenly my gag is removed, and a coarse female voice spits acidic words at me.
“Who are you? What’s your story?”
I don’t particularly want to explain my life story and situation to this person, the person I assume shot and bound me. But then again, I don’t really have a choice. “Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros.”
“The hell kinda name is that? Where you from?”
“I’m an England Wrestler Transformer.”
“England, huh? No way. Barely ever see a Brit around here.”
I have no idea what she is talking about, but I ignore it. “And you? Who are you?”
She spit into the fire, which was causing me to sweat like a dog. That was probably the result of this fiery climate. “Name’s Earhart. Amelia Earheart.” The name means nothing to me.
“What’s your story?” I ask, trying to keep her talking for fear that if I don’t, she’ll become bored with me and pull the trigger.
“Come from a place called Earth.” Earth. I was from Earth. “Made a fly at circumnavigating the whole damn planet, got a little lost somewhere around Bermuda, and flew myself right into this hellhole. After ending up on some planet where I met a Starfleet captain, I was summoned back here. Kept flying through here, and I was pretty good at it, too. Then after a while I run out of fuel, start droppin’ out of the...”She gestered upwards”…Sky, or whatever the hell it is. So I eject, and have a nice landingand the plane…” She gestures across the fire, where I assume the wrecked plane was. “…actually doesn’t turn out half bad. A few months of repair and I had it back on its feet. But I’ll tell you, these walls, this green shit, it really messes up some aircraft. I’ve seen some disgusting crash sites.”
“How long have you been here?”
“2 years or so. Met plenty of people over those two years.”
“There are more people here?”
“Every once in a while some lucky bastard like you or I walks away from a crash, but most of the time they’re might beat up.”
The idea that there are people here is astounding. But I still have one itching question. “What is this place?” It’s surreal, the way I’m having an almost casual conversation with a crazy nut who has a gun to my head, but I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, had no choice.
“No one quite knows.” She pulls the gun away from my temple and stands up, walking over to the fire and grabbing a large chunk of meat off of a skewer. I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush heliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, don’t know what kind of meat it is, but my mouth waters at the sight of it.
I have a better view of her now. She is dressed in decrepit clothes, her face tired and dirty. She is middle-aged. She walks with a walking stick, because her right leg is in some giant makeshift cast.
She turns to face me, and takes a large bite of the meat. “Met a scientist gentleman once. He had some pretty neat theories about this place. Said it was in a different dimension, a conversion point of worlds where things got dumped every now and again.”
That sorta explained why she came from a different world than I. Sorta. I think. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what she just said.
“I need a way out. In my world- There’s a war on. And they need me, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus Razorclaw Cerebros. The RazorClaw Cerebros family ahs been prominent in every England Transformer rebel military success.”
“You need a way out?” She laughs. “Honey, we all need a way out. There aint no way out I know of, but this fellow, this scientist, he told me he thought maybe there was one.” She pauses for dramatic effect. I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, don’t appreciate it.
“How?” I finally ask.
“ You’ve noticed, you must’ve, that it gets hotter as you go further?” Yeah, I noticed, the heat is murderous. “Well, he said this green stuff, he thought it had a large metal composition. So eventually, it gets hot enough, the green gets hot, and could eventually melt. So maybe that’s the end.”
I’m filled with excitement. “I must get there. I must return to my people.”
“It’s not so easy, buddy. This scientist, he said before it gets hot enough to melt, the green turns red, somewhere around 10,000. And…the blocks move.”
“I don’t really understand how he hypothesized this. But that’s what he saud.”
“What happened to him?” I had to talk to this man.
“Accident” she says shortly.
A beat. She finishes off the meat. Its blood frames her lips.
“Well, as much as I enjoy being bound, if you could let me go, I’d really appreciate it.”
She laughs a bit, then more, then uproariously. “Sorry, pal. You aint going nowhere.”
I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, was afraid of this. “What do you need me for?”
She smiles, and her bloody lips shine in the firelight. She points to the ample meat surrounding the flames.
“It’s hard to survive out here buddy. How do you think I’ve made it for two years?”
Suddenly the fate of her scientist friend becomes abundantly clear to me.
“I’d like to get to know you, though” she says, “There’s not much company out here in the Green.”
I know she took my gun, I can no longer feel it at my side. But perhaps she missed my knife? Yep, there it is, in my pocket. I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, can barely reach it with my bound hand, but I manage to. I slowly free my right hand as she rambles madly.
She takes another piece of meat and begins eating it. She holds the gun at her side, but pays no attention to it anymore. When I have both hands free, I leap up and hop wuickly over to her. She raises the gun, but I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush heliCyrus razorClaw Cerebros, slap it away and knock her down. I leap for the gun and get to it, turning it on her. “God damn it” she says in true despair.
“Well, I really must be off,” I tell her as I free my feet. “I’m taking half of your meat, and half of any water you have in that plane. And I’m taking the plane, too.”
I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, load the plane up with what I need in preparation to fly back to the helicopter. The copter has much better gas mileage and is heat resistant, so I must use it if I wish to continue. Earhart has ample fuel on the plane to get me a long way.
As I fly away, I bite into a piece of the meat, savoring the taste of food once again. The idea is disgusting, but the men are dead already, and if I do not eat them, I, Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros, will be dead soon.
There is a way out.

-Pilot Power Master Steel Crush HeliCyrus RazorClaw Cerebros

It’s all around me, like a beautiful pink sky!

…But…It’s pink…

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Album Review: ZOX: Line in the Sand

I’ve decided to start writing reviews. As much as I am a supporter of judging things for yourself, I have a bit of an addiction to reading reviews of things I’m interested in. If I loved a movie, book, or album, I like to read what other people liked about it, and more interestingly, what they didn’t. If a new release has just come out and I have yet to see/buy it, I like to see if it’s worth the cash, even though I’ll probably buy it either way. Maybe it’s just because a professional critic is one of my many dream jobs (Getting paid to read books, watch movies, or play video games? Does life get better than that?), but I like to pretend like my opinion matters. So from now on I’ll have an occasional review of a new release I’ve been anticipating or happened to come across. Today’s subject matter is ZOX’s new album, “Line in the Sand.”
ZOX is a four-man group who emerged out of Providence, Rhode Island in 2002. I think my favorite description of their music is “violin-laced reggae rock”. Their sound is unique, to say the least. Although reggae rock seems to be on the rise in the past decade, few groups have been able to find as perfect a blend of one with the other as ZOX. They know when to head-bang, they know when to lilt like Marley, and their lyrics are catchy as hell. On top of it all, they’ve managed to incorporate the stylings of violinist Spencer Swain so integrally into their work that their form would likely fall apart without him. It’s this fusion of diverse genres: Rock with reggae with classical with the outpourings of a hapless romantic vocalist Eli Miller, which capture a diverse audience for the group.
Now, you all know how I generally feel about romantic music. It’s just a regurgitation of the same old crap that’s been sung for years and years, and because of that, ironically, there’s no heart in it (think Daughtry). But since I discovered ZOX they have been my sole provider of romantic tunes, for two reasons. The first is that there is a sincerity in their music which I believe is unrivaled in modern pop. If you’re not actually head over heels, you as a vocalist have to be a good actor to convey the feeling of your music, and “Line in the Sand” is a prime example of Miller’s acting ability. The second reason is that ZOX’s music, for the most part, is not a lyrical celebration. Without depressing, it is a fitting balance between lovesick and sick of love. The narrator is alone and with a partner at the same time, and he doesn’t quite know how to feel about it.
Now for the album. The opener, and also the album’s name sake, “Line in the Sand”, is a great way to kick off this performance. Generally I dislike when groups use song names as album names, as I believe there is barely ever a case where one song epitomizes the feel of an entire album. That said, the album opener seems to almost be written from the point of view of the band. Kicking it with a funky guitar part and a violin riff that sounds more like a synth than an orchestra instrument, it is a departure from past ZOX. I believe this is more rock and less reggae than we have ever heard on a ZOX album before, and I love it. The chorus chants “This is how I feel/This is where I stand/This is what I can do/ And this is who I am/Now I see my face/Like it was the first time/I don’t know what’s changed/But now it feels like mine”, pointing out how the group’s identity has changed, and you better get used to it. Great song, definite album highlight.
The funk/rock continues into “When the Rain Comes Down Again”. The lyrics are fairly run-of-the-mill ZOX, and very catchy. There’s a bit more of a showcasing of the violin in this one than in the opener, which reminds us of the ZOX we’ve always known and loved. Eventually the song degenerates into a big guitar-violin jam, and we start to hope the rock continues.
Which it doesn’t for a bit. Next up is the album’s first single, “Goodnight”. This, along with “Line in the Sand” and “7th Avenue Prophet” was a song I heard on the band’s myspace prior to getting the album. At that time, I really expected “Goodnight” to be the album closer. It seems to be in the same vein as “Eventually”; sweet and lilting, but still catchy. It probably would’ve made a better closer than “Lucky Sometimes”, but it seems to really flow here as well. Besides, I don’t know where else “Lucky” could go otherwise.
“7th Avenue Prophet” starts off, as Bhuddalicious pointed out to me, with a bit of a Postal Service feel to it. This song is where I began to suspect that the album had a political agenda. By “political agenda” I of course mean the only political agenda in music these days (Save for some SR themes), which is anti-Iraq War propoganda. The song starts “A pair of dog tags you call sympathy/Hung like a cross around your neck/On tired streets you sermon tirelessly”. Okay, so their idea of anti-Iraq War propoganda is talking about anti-Iraq War propoganda? Not too creative, but effective nonetheless. The verses here are a bit flat, but the chorus is everything we come to expect from ZOX. Despite the repetition of the horridly sappy line “You can’t keep on running forever/Love is the only forever”, I can still accept this into the band’s catalogue.
The first time I heard “Toward Los Angeles”, I was a bit confused. The chorus sounds more commercial pop than we’ve ever heard ZOX before. But if there’s one thing this album has taught me, it’s that pop is not a bad genre by necessity. It’s just one that’s been corrupted by the popular music of the day.
With a title like “I Miss You”, I really expected the next song on the album to be an overly sappy piece of crap. You can imagine my delight, then, when it kicked in with an upbeat, rockish verse. The song through and through is just fun, but the chorus is really the highlight of the piece. Continuing “Towards Los Angeles”’s commercial pop sound, the chorus is a heartfelt anthem I’ve had stuck in my head for four days now.
I almost feel like this review is unjustified, I mean, all I’m doing is praising this album. Well, I guess I do have something bad to say about the next song, “Another Attack”. Musically, it’s very good, although a bit off the beaten path for ZOX. Frankly, it’s a bit trippy, incorporating flittering guitar riffs and high-pitch background singing. It’s no big shock that this is the work of another artists, bassist Dan Edinburg, as it sounds so different from Miller’s conventional work. The first time I heard the song, my first thought was Michael Jackson. Fortunately this energetic intro eventually finds a place in ZOX’s heartfelt hapless romanticism, but this is also the song’s major flaw. Continuing the trend of “7th Avenue Prophet”, this song seems to be a direct address of the current world situation. But instead of delving into specifics like the political groups I so idolize, “Another Attack” is lyrically an awkward middle ground between hapless romanticism and an attempt to be politically relevant. A verse goes “Another attack/There was that bombing yesterday/Happened somewhere far away/ Am I fit to complain?/Lovers come and go/But I can’t explain/Why there’s so much pain/All around the world/She’s just another girl/And I survive/Should I be satisfied?” Well-intentioned as they may be, it almost feels like Zox don’t actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to politics.
Next up, “The Wait (Part II)”. It’s pretty weird to make a song which is the sequel to an album, but it’s something I could see myself doing, so I’m not put off by it. The song itself is a solo effort by Miller, who sings a lilting acoustic ballad without the backing of his band. His only accompaniement is a fleeting female background singer who adds a fitting tone of remorse to the song. As far as the subject matter goes, I believe it is about someone waiting for a lover to return from war. I would not believe this if so much of the album weren’t political, but given that it is and that the song is a tale of waiting for someone to return, I can only assume. A nice break from the rampant rock on the album.
I’ve always had a problem with parenthetical titles, so there’s my main issue with “The Same (Doesn’t Feel the Same)”. This may seem hypocritical of me to say after I’ve criticized their political content, but this and “Don’t Believe in Love” seem to not have the sincerity and heart in them that most ZOX songs have. “The Same” is a good rock with uncreative lyrics, and it eventually breaks down into an intriguing guitar-violin duel which is almost analogous to a break dance battle. “Don’t Believe in Love” is a bit more moving, but it lacks the violin kick we come to expect from ZOX.
The closer, “Lucky Sometimes”, is easily my least favorite of the three ZOX album closers. It too lacks a strong violin line, their claim to fame. Really, it’s got good instrumentals, but they start out a bit too sunny for me, reminding me of the disappointment which was “Exile On Mainstream”. This song takes a direct approach to Iraq, even mention the “War Machine”, a term I thought I would never hear in music outside of State Radio. Though I believe “Goodnight” would have been a better closer, this song does fade out very well, and leaves the listener quite satisfied.
This is a very good album. I recommend you look into it even if you’ve never heard ZOX before, as their combinations of genres makes it so that everyone has something to enjoy. While it is disappointingly short, this only means that every song on the album is a wholehearted effort from the band, and it shows. I look forward to buying ZOX albums for many years to come.


Nutella rocks my socks, and well…you know.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What's In A Ham Sandwich?

So I copied this from a word document, into my email, and then into blogger, so I have all those funky A's where apostrophes should be. Deal, I don't feel like cleaning it up.

Writing has always been a huge enthusiasm of mine, if not a talent. The conceptual process of developing ideas is a lot of fun to me, but I have a ton of trouble actually conveying those ideas on paper. I’m pretty sure one of my main flaws in executing plots is that I come up with several events which should happen over the course of the book/play/movie/story, but don’t necessarily know how to flow from one event to another. Put simply, I’m not a linear thinker, as I am in so many other situations.

The basic transformation which must occur in all of my plots is a character transformation, usually some sort of epiphany or drastic action. The trick is revealing this transformation to the audience as it unfolds, instead of springing it upon them at the end, in which context it actually makes little sense. But alas, I keep trying.

I was recently asked by a friend to write a short story for the school paper. I agreed hastily, not really conscious of what responsibility I had just taken on. It’s true, our school paper doesn’t exactly have high expectations, nor does its audience. But many people in the school community know that I write, and I felt a pressure not to disappoint. My other issue was that the story had to be about 2 pages long, and none of the plots I have ever hatched have been nearly simple enough to condense that much. So I had to start with a fresh, simple idea.

What I came up with was this: A man is getting ready to go to his friend‚Äôs wedding as a best man. The best man (the main character) is very well off  in life, and very happy with his life. As he s getting ready to leave for this wedding, someone knocks on his door. This man, whom he initially thinks is a solicitor, is just a man searching for company. The ‚Äúsolicitor‚Äù will not leave the man alone and will not let him leave for the wedding, asking him to have lunch with him so they may get to know one another. The main character resists and resists until finally he gives in and has lunch with him, to find that he is actually a very interesting and enjoyable person.

I know that the plot sounds like it sucks. But it’s not a simple story of a man being annoyed by another man. As much as I hate messages, it is about someone finding it a rewarding experience to put all of their wants and needs aside and enjoy another person’s company.

This entire thing has made me think a bit about my writing style. This two page story is a simple tale of getting from point A to point B, not wanting to have lunch to having lunch. And it was pretty damn hard for me to get between the points, because I have trouble leading up to the eventual payoff. But I’ve come to think- Maybe I shouldn’t compare my writing style to the norm (Fuck it, right?), because I’m not the norm. I don’t have the skill of dropping subtlety, but hopefully my enthusiasm can still carry me. Not subtle, but zany. Because my characters are weird, and they don’t come to realizations about things by mulling things over, they come to realizations by being forced into humorously surreal situations. Desmond and Lucy don’t have a heartfelt talk where they pour out their life stories and insecurities, they literally attack each other because they’re aggressive. And the truth comes out during their umbrella/cane sword fight, which isn’t a zany tip-of-the-hat to the comedy world, it’s a surreal drift into a place where characters don’t even know themselves, and fight like hell to protect their phony backstories.

I think that I write what I know. And I’m an Isolationist, so my characters inevitably find themselves away from the real world. People in the real world reason and rationalize to bring about change within themselves, but my characters are thrown into surreal environments in which nothing is concrete.
So are my characters real? No. Are they allogrical for my isolationist confusion?



One year from today, providing I am alive and physically able to do so, I will make a post which has this very same fortune cookie. I swear to you.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Terminator: Bad Judgement Day

This "Bad Judgement" being the continuation of the Terminator universe after Terminator 2. You see, the key to a good sequel is to continue the story of the previous movie, not rehash it. T2 did this. It had the new addition of the John Connor character as a regular, and the interesting twist of Schwarzennager protecting what he used to want to destroy. As if this weren't enough, the movie then went on to explain how the events of Terminator 1 had created the machine uprising which the series was based off. Kudos to the writers for using time travel uber-cooly, as it was meant to be used.
T3 however, was a piece of crap. I mean, who thought that redoing the exact same plot of T2 was a good idea? Despite what Hollywood may think, the incorporation of a hot female Terminator is not enough to make us think that that turd of a movie was actually good, though she was appreciated. And of course the worst part of T3 was that they ended up negating the entire message and achievement of T2. It wasn't bad enough to make a terrible sequel to a great movie, no, they also had to go back and ruin part of what made that great movie great.
And they still haven't given up. Now we have two new Terminator projects- the tv series (which appears to take place between T2 and [cringe]T3) and a fourth movie in the works. I'm watching the series right now, and thus far I'm pretty disappointed. First off, Sarah Connor is completely not her badass T2 self. She appears to ahve reverted to her sissy T1 days. Unrealistic and dissapointing. Then we'ev got Summer Glau (River from Firefly/Serenity) as the new protecting Terminator. River was always my least favorite Firefly character, but I blamed Whedon more for that than I did Glau. Whedon obviously had a great ability to flesh out the other characters in the show, but copped out by hoping that making River 'that crazy girl' would be character enough. And the sad thing is, most people thought it was, taking her ambiguous character for a deep and complex one, when in many ways she was a flat (and often annoying) character. But despite this, I had hope that Glau may actually be a good actress, and while I haven't been proven wrong, I sure haven't been proven right yet either. Among the other roles I've seen her in since Serenity were a similar crazy girl in a SciFi Original movie (career low point?), and now a Terminator? Can she play a human and show human emotions? The world may never know if she keeps being typecast as mysterious, crazy, and inhuman. And by the way, it's really weird to see her with so much makeup on. I prefer her without it. And one more complaint- How can all this crap happen between T2 and T3 and not get mentioned in T3 at all?
As far as this fourth movie goes, I'm not really sure what to think. What with it being T4, I assume it takes place after T3, and that sounds even more terrible. I mean, T3 was already excessive, and all a sequel could do would be to spell out what was already explained in the previous movies. It's be like BSG Razor; stuff we were told in stories doesn't need to be spelled out for us again, though Razor did have a good ending. The world (by which i mean Terminator fans) seem to be psyched about Christian Bale possibly starring in the movie, but that doesn't say anything about the plot. It'll likely just turn into one big action sequence with shreds of a plot here and there, and unlike in Mario (damnit!), that's not what I like to see in movies.
For the record, I'm not actually that big of a Terminator fan, but to me this milking of a franchise is a representation of how Hollywood kills decent stories (See "The X-Files" and arguably "SG-1", though I don't think so). Really I just don't want to do my homework and figured I'd blog about what I was watching on tv. If my music slut tendencies are any indicator, I'll be drooling over this show in a week.


Waitwaitwait...The last supper? And Six is Jesus? And Baltar is Mary Magdalene?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Becoming the DeK

Generally I don’t like to talk about myself on this blog. Sure, I talk about my video games (Damnit!) and my music, and other assorted interests, but I don’t really like to let you readers get inside my head. This is honestly because I don’t know what the hell is going on up there. For the most part I think excuses like that are just things people say because they don’t want to open up, but I honestly don’t know sometimes. I think I’m coming closer and closer to becoming the DeK and not expressing or addressing my emotions at all.
But tonight got me to thinking. I was placed in the rare (and exciting) situation of having to interact with a mass of people I had never met. This allowed me to partake in one of my favorite activities- Striking up conversation with random people in search of enjoyable company. And I’m not even talking about goofing around just because no one will ever see me again. Although that’s always fun. I was toying with the idea of going by a different name for a while.
Unbeknownst to most people who see me as just goofy (and zany), I actually enjoy being polite and normal with people I meet, without compromising my somewhat insulting, edgy sense of humor. My attempts to find companionship were very successful. Initially, I found myself in a group of four, the other three of whom knew each other, but like me knew no one else at the event. Our alienation was a good reason to stick together, and they were really cool people.
After drifting from that group, I found myself chatting with a guy I had run cross country with, and we talked courses, placements, and best times for a good 20 minutes. I really think XC is a universal language; there seem to be runners wherever you go. We were soon joined by his friend, who proceeded to tell me every hilarious story of kids getting kicked out of their school that he possibly could. The stories in and of themselves were great, but the kid's Italian style of storytelling (hands wildly depicting everything that happens) made them even more funny. Apparently back in the 50s some guys changed the environmental controls in their dorm to create an environment perfect for marijuana production, and an entire floor of their dorm was dedicated to it. Only after receiving heinous heating and electrical bills did the faculty realize what was going on. Another story involved two boarding students creating an elaborate plan to sneak off campus (walking over 40 miles), board a plane, and fly to Vegas to be married. They were stopped mere miles from campus when a faculty member spotted them on the side of the road as he drove to work.
The remainder of the night involved failing on the dance floor with these two bozos, their girlfriend, and another female friend of theirs who kept me from fifth-wheeling. Luckily for me, all the guys were bad at dancing so I wasn’t failing miserably alone, as is so often the case. All of these were cool people, and I was bummed that I didn’t have more time to talk to them before I had to go.
I guess the realization I’ve come to tonight is that it sucks that we don’t really have enough time in life to get to know and hang out with people we usually wouldn’t. So much of our lives are confined to one school, one sport, one job, one friend group, that there must be legions (Yes, legions) of awesome people we would really have great connections to who we’ll never meet or we’ll meet and never see again. Life is so short and confined that you would need to be leading multiple lives at once to enjoy the company of all of the people you’d be great friends with.
One of my main points in “Perception” (My original Isolation post) was that when people like me meet new people, they are often intoxicated by them and don’t see their flaws. And I get that. I’m sure the people I met tonight have plenty of flaws, and maybe I wouldn’t actually want to be their friend if I knew what they were truly like. But it’s really not about them specifically. It’s about all of the awesome friendships you could have that you just don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends, but you’ve got to wonder what things would be like if you were in a different situation. If nothing else, it’s intriguing.
On another note, I’m going to stop getting on my one case about not being proactive with girls. I often think I’m too picky or too cautious, but I met a lot of cool girls tonight who made me think that maybe my immediate pool of choices just isn’t my cup of tea. Most of these girls were taken, though, so don’t get on my case about not being proactive.
So ends this rare glance into the Klingon’s personal thoughts. I’m sure I’ll regret talking about myself on here soon, but if I never talked about myself, what would I ever have to laugh at as I reread these posts in a couple years?

Wow, I actually stayed on one topic for an entire post. Wow.


Cinema, simulated life, ill drama
Fourth Reich culture, Americana
Chained to the dream they got ya searching for
The thin line between entertainment and war

Just stare
Just stare
Just stare
Just stare
And live the nightmare

Friday, January 11, 2008

Of Legions and Legends

The silence of the blogosphere (at least our corner of it) saddens me. Of course, it’s as much my fault as anyone else’s. I’ve suddenly found that I’m actually quite busy all week. It’s surreal. In any case, maybe I can jumpstart the blog cycle again. Or maybe you guys don’t care at all. Whatever, we’ve already established that I like the sound of my own typing.
This is really BFTSOB, but I’m so sick of doing sequel-posts (you may have noticed it was an obsession of mine for a time) that I refuse to classify it as the inevitable BFTSOB III.
For those of you wondering about the fate of Galaxy (That being you, Juicy, as all other bloggers who read this were involved. Of course, there’s also my legions [yes, legions] of readers who are obsessed with “Breakfast With Friends” but don’t let their presence be known. I know it’s true, I know it…), there sadly was not enough time to finish it. In fact, we made it through just over half of it. Now, the quest continues with Koops and I (by permission of J_V) in our scarce and cherished free time. Needless to say, the gaming has become too few and far between to constitute any more Galaxy live blogging. Unless of course we’re still going at it come summer, but I hope that’s not the case. It’s time for BWF to kiss Galaxy live-blogging goodbye. Perhaps one day when we all beat it you’ll all finally get “All 360 of Which Are American Dreams.” Don’t hold your breath.
So apparently I’ve been recruited by the school newspaper to write a short story. I’ve received many a fond comment (having not even begun it yet) from editors saying they’re sure I’ll surprise and not dissapoint. Since when am I hyped? The question in my mind right now is how can I possibly unleash one of my signature overly bizarre, burdensomely complex, and yes, zany plots in a short story format (only 2 pages?). This is sure to be chaotic.
On the topic of my artistic outlets (I don’t even want to talk about Rash right now. Updates on that to come), I’ve decided to pursue a goal which combines two of my passions, music and “The Legend of Zelda”.
Damnit, I told myself I would stop blogging about video games! Oh well, this is relevant.
Recruiting my fellow blogger, musician, and gamer Koops, I have decided to attempt to compose a song with him based completely on the songs from “The Legend of Zelda” video games. Uber-cool, I know. I came to this ambition after watching many youtube videos of gamers playing Zelda songs, mostly on guitars. The songs we plan to incorporate are as follows-

Overworld Theme-
Song of Storms-
Gerudo Valley-

Yes, I am aware that all of those videos are the same guy. He’s the best I’ve seen. Despite what the videos suggest, the song will not be completely guitar. In fact, I’m hoping barely any of the songs will appear in the composition exactly as they appear in the games. It’ll be more Legend of Zelda Remixed. As far as lyrical content goes, I don’I plan on singing about Zelda. That sort of thing trivializes your music and makes you a stupid parody band for the likes of Youtube. And youtube is a bit too high of an ambition in reality. In the spirit of Linkin Park’s “What I’ve Done” (Emo LP lyrics over a ripped keyboard riff from the Halloween movies), I plan on taking Zelda instrumentals and putting totally unrelated lyrics over it. So what to sing about? Well, I dwelled on the idea of a political message for a while. After all, political music is pretty much my favorite kind. But I soon came to realize that I don’t have nearly enough of a radical political conviction to say anything meaningful. Somehow I don’t think an “I Have No Idea Who the Fuck to Vote For If I Could Vote” song would be very good at all. Throwing away that idea, we come back to my recurring theme of isolation. My inspiration in this case is Audioslave. Despite my frequent rants about love songs, I do have some “regurgitated love shit” indulgences. While the likes of Train (and Matchbox, to a degree) have lost their appeal to me, ZOX and Audioslave are mostly love songs, and I love them. In the case of ZOX this is likely due to my nostalgic memories of listening to ZOX, alongside with Spencer Swain’s sick use of the violin on the rock scene. My commitment to Audioslave, however, is a bit different. While their albums are worth buying simply for Tom Morello’s guitar work, I also enjoy what Chis Cornell (vocalst) has to bring. This is because his lyrics often revolve around the idea of isolation. In “Out of Exile” he seems to sing from the point of view of Odyssius, venturing on an island far away and slowly losing his mind. In “Gasoline”, Cornell is a man under house arrest who can’t stand the isolation and ends up killing himself by dumping gas all over and burning the mother down. Isolation driving people to their limits? Sounds like my cup of tea.
So I’ve decided to take a page out of Audioslave’s book and chronicle a journey of isolation. This journey is that of Rowland the gunslinger, main character of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower”. In the first book of the series, Rowland is chasing a man he has never met across a vast desert, all alone, and he continues on this journey throughout the book. I’ve always wondered how he coped with the isolation like he did, and I’ve decided I should figure it out in lyrics. You may be able to tell by my elaboration that I’m stoked for this project, this project I don’t have enough time to even start for an age.
Speaking of Youtube, it’s users have caused me to have a bit of an identity crisis. When I was looking for a Rage video, I discovered videos posted by more than one user with “Nintendo” in their handle. When searching for those Zelda videos a few minutes ago, I came across a Zelda video posted by a user whose avatar was a shot from monkey island. Once when I was on a Stargate board I discovered that several other users in this small community were runners.
I always thought that the interests of myself and a few friends was strange and rare- That my interests were so vastly disconnected that it was weird that even I liked them all. But after occurrences such as those just mentioned (they are only a few examples), I’ve come to wonder. Are there armies of teenage Star Trek-watching, State Radio-listening, Monkey Island-Playing, running, acting writers out there? Are all of those interests somehow in the same vein? And what is that abstract (or possibly obvious) connection that I fail to see?
I can only suspect that these existing clones of me are one and the same as the legions of shy, hidden readers I have (Chetro?). So to all you hiding, you rock, because you have good taste. Tell me your blog URLs so I can have more to read. And if you don’t have blogs, get blogs. You rock. But you also suck, because I don’t feel unique anymore. You suck. Except for Chetro, you’re the man.

Great, now I’ve got imaginary friends.


“Who the fuck am I?”

-Cenron Henderson

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Spheres of Gravitational Influence

I'm endlessly amused by how Shigero and co. pay so much attention to keeping the rules of gravity correct on certain planets, and then they create completely bogus gravity-defying mechanics to feed their own fancy. I mean, I still don't quite get how hitting an arrow in a different direction can cause the gravity to shift in that respect. Or how Bowser has the power to throw himself and Mario from his throne area onto the giant orb of doom. Or how Mario can never fall off of the space station, and also can't wak on the bottom of it. And I have a few gravitational queries about Rosalina, but we'll not go there.
Ah, the speed run. This time it's Sandblast; could be challenging. There's one part where there's a snake-like planet comprised almost completely of non-deadly quicksand circulating in a rapid current. As you travel down this 3D river (I guess all rivers are 3D, but this one makes more use of the 3rd dimension. Think of it sort of like how Mario Sunshine is a 4D game). This river itself is perplexing; Bowser must have worked his ridiculously jumping-the-shark superpowers on it. I mean, why is there a constant circular flow of sand? If the planet itself is the gravitational body around which the sand orbits, then shouldn't all of the sand be moving (or at least oriented) towards a point central to the snake? Is this mass of earth so incredibly not dense that the sand just flies around it erratically? But there is an order. Besides, how would Mario be able to maintain aposition on the planet? Screw it, let's balme it n Bowser Voodoo.
Speaking of Bowser, isn't Nintendo giving him a little too much credit with this game? Back in the days of Paper Mario 2 (Not so long ago) he was just a pathetic side-criminal who had to resort to fighting Mario in a bxing ring to maintain his pride because someone else had kidnapped Peach. Then in Sunshine, he resorted to pathetic tactics of pollution. This was most likely the result of Global Warming Activist Propoganda (Also known as them funding Nintendo), but it still didn't make him look that great. I mean, we fought him in a fucking bath tub. But somehow, he's managed to pull out space travel (Paper Mario 1 ripoff), weapons of mass mushroom destruction, and gravity-defying powers. Seriously man (dino?), who died and made you God? Honestly though, if I were Peach, I'd probably marry Bowser already. Apparently there's no such thing as a restraining order. She's already seen that no matter what she does, she's going to end up a captive of Bowser again and again. And personally, I'd take KIng of everything evil (and therefore most good things too) over a portly plumber.

Of course, I'm just saying this for want of Rosalina. Seriously Peach, beat it.


What the eff is this kid doing? I just said "What the eff is this kid doing?"

Wall Kicks Will Work...Sometimes

This one goes out to Chad. I'm sorry I haven't beat Galaxy as fast as you, but you are kind of a beast, and I'm trying. And by the way, don't be afraid to friend me.

So the desert level is really awesome. I don't get how desert and flying saucers quite go together, but if Shigero Miyamummumummuna says they do, they sure as hell do. Unfortunately this "Shifting Sand Land 2" has deadly quicksand pretty muvh everywhere, so progress is slow sometimes. But then again, this game would be no fun if it weren't hard. It's not yet impossible, but from what I hear from TTBM, it's going to get there, though he apparently ahs faith in me.
We've recently discovered the upgrade which is the transformation into Fire Mario. When Fire Mario, you can throw fireballs by shaking your WiiMote, thus destrying some enemies that you previously could not. This is really cool simply because it is a throwback to the original NES Mario games, in which if you obtained two upgrades you would become Fire Mario, and be able to throw fireballs at enemies. Instead of being just a clever, gimmicky throwback, it is also extremely cool in Galaxy, where you can, for the first time, use the fireball in a 3D scenario. This allows for puzzles involving lighting torches, and presumably burning things eventually. One criticism of Galaxy I saw in a review was that the lighting of the torches was a bit too Zelda. It went on to suggest that Galaxy's drastic departure from the structure of its predecessors had possibly taken Mario too far from his roots. But honestly, these games needed a big change. I'm not sure you could do a Galaxy-structure game again, but it's a refreshing change this once.
Luigi continues to dissapoint, with yet another obvious hiding place. I've really always liked Luigi, and I've been continuously dissapointed as Nintendo has repeatedly portrayed him as a total loser. From making him a psycho in original Super Smash Bros., to then not bringing him back as a regular character in Melee, to making Luigi's Mansion so embarassingly bad, to Galaxy, he's repeatedly been a bummer. Apparently there are also rumors that there will be a Luigi's Mansion 2 for Wii. Not even just another Luigi adventure, but another Luigis' Mansion. If this is true, then that means Luigi (in his girly terror) and his weak vacuum cleaner will be back to once again suck. Great. Pretty soon Luigi will become the most hated Mario character, maybe even passing the likes of Wario and Waluigi.
This gravity thing is awesome. I mean, we actually ave the ability to kick a coconut from one planet to another so that we can use it as ammo against an enemy. OH, and then there's the building in the center of the desert. Basically, you begin at the top of it, and running (upside-down relative to the gamer) you have to move out of the building (through various floors) as the building floods with sand, threatening suffocation. Awesome.
So I'm a little frustrated at my own dormant talent. You see, the Boldergeist terror which we encountered last night was a scarring expereince that, between J_V and I, probably took up two hours, It seemed impossible. However, this morning I awoke and decided to retry it, having somehow enjoyed it despite what should ahve been a traumatizing exerience. In 6 attempts, I defeated him (on daredevil, of course) 3 times. Why couldn't I pull that shit last night? Then I went back to the galaxy with teh star ball and dominated it in one try. Seriously, uncool. I still suck at Manta Racing though.



Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Disproportionally Large Hands

I really don’t understand how Bowser makes friends with so many bosses. I mean, a giant evil mole? Did Bowser really


Sorry about that. Anyways, did Bowser kidnap this mole’s cake-offering girlfriend and tell him to guard the star with his life? Or perhaps he uses his gravity-changing powers to brainwash them. Yeah, that makes sense.
The question has been raised as to if Peach and Bowser really ever did it. If so, it would give whole new meaning to the Goomba Guy saying “Giant dinosaur dick” as an exclamation of rage (probably at a Goomba). Also, how did Bowser get to command his Koopa army? He’s so stupid and such a dick that I doubt anyone would actually support his rise to power. Unless of course he is the heir to the throne (the king’s dog inherits the crown?) Or perhaps he won the hearts of the people through military victories. I mean, he does have the smarts to work out a plan which nearly destroys Mushroom Kingdom and kidnaps the princess by pulling her castle into space. But for being that smart, he can’t seem to figure out not to pound on the lava orb platform even after he’s been hurt twice.
The idea has also been brought up to try to use a different villain than Bowser in a Mario game. Our suspicions are yet to be confirmed or denied that Wizpig is the true Galaxy villain, but thus far Bowser has gotten to do all the fun stuff. Being a strong advocate that Nintendo should make two Mario adventures for the Wii (the first time since the SNES), and I think it could be cool to include a different villain in Galaxy’s sequel, as is the pattern with Zelda (based solely on the example of Majora’s).
The question then, is who the villain would be. The Big Boo was done in Luigi’s Mansion (I want another Luigi game too, by the way, just way better than Mansion). King Bob-omb, maybe? Boldergeist? No. Get back to you on that.
By the way, Boldergeist daredevil is apparently a bitch. Hopefully it’s my turn soon. I have faith.


Guns don’t kill Koopas, Mario kills Koopas.

Third World War, Third Round

Luigi's reaction to hearing he's being included in a Mario adventure.
I thought the return (again) of the Gooper Blooper would be the biggest Mario shock I would ever have, and quite honestly, it was. But this comes close too. You see, the past two Mario games (64 and Sunshine) revolved around getting Stars and Shine Sprites. Stars are back in this game, but apparently with a twist. As we entered a single-star (supposedly) Galaxy last night, we encountered a green star. Yeah, I know. First of all, it’s enough of a shock that there’s a secret star in a one-star Galaxy. Next, it’s a shock that there’s such a thing as an all-natural star. Apparently there are two more of these in the game which you can collect. To what end, I’m not quite sure.
On the topic of green things, we’ve just saved Luigi. I’m curious as to what function he serves in the game; rumors that he becomes a playable character have been rampant for a long while. It appears he will hint at hidden stars that you missed in previous worlds, pretty cool. I like that you actually get some kind of tip as to where (or at least on what episode) you can find hidden stars, as opposed to just spraying those stupid golden birds. Way to go Nintendo, give into the pressure of the fans and put Luigi in a Mario game.


Meat in the sky


Right now I am in such a marathoning groove. I want this marathon to go on for hours more. Unfortunately, I have driving lesson on Wednesday, and being the responsible (haha) guy I am, I’m making sure I get my sleep. Axtually, we’re getting more playing hours this way, but they’re more spaced out. Bummer.


Really solid blogging night…haha.