Friday, February 26, 2010

Everyone should see this

Because it is a metaphor?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's a trick, get an axe

"Axe to the chest! Axe to the chest! Axe to the chest! Axe to the chest! Yeahwooooooooo!"
-yours truly

I don't know if its ever come up before, but I am shamelessly pro axe in media. Axe Cop for example. So when feral Claire started sharpening one on "Lost" last night, it was so exciting I started yelling loud enough for my landlord/neighbor to hear. It's OK though cause I got him drugs one time. Also: A giant goat(?) skull in a baby carriage is a normal thing to have, if you are fucking crazy and your friend is a giant evil pillar of smoke. That was a dark scene, and one that intrigues me. Are there any other main guys still at the temple? Methinks some smoky/axe mayhem may be afoot.

Skullfur baby!

Later due to drunken fumbling of my remote while fast forwarding through the commercials, I thought that Jack and Hurley went into a magical lighthouse, where they found a piano recital. But that would be too Lynchian of a scene, even for this show. Lost isn't Muhlholland Dr. even if it does make about the same amount of sense. So there was some number mumbo-jumbo so Jack goes all "My childhood home? Greagh, stupid island! I smash mirrors now!" and then stares out to sea/reflects on what he has learned/meditates on his unborn teenaged child. Spoiler alert.

Lingering questions:
What's the body count going to be next week?
Screencaps from Hulu Y/N?
Perhaps a Dingo took Claire's baby?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"The Wire" characters in order

Stringer Bell
Cedric Daniels
Omar Little
Frank Sobotka
Ellis Carver
Preston "Bodie" Broadus
Clay Davis
Jimmy McNulty
Howard "Bunny" Colvin
D'Angelo Barksdale
Rhonda Perlman
Brother Mouzone
Norman Wilson
Dennis "Cutty" Wise
Jay Landsman
Wee-Bey Brice
Tommy Carcetti
Gus Haynes
Felicia "Snoop" Pearson
Clarence Royce
Slim Charles
Bill Rawls
Marlo Stanfield
Bunk Moreland
"Proposition" Joe Stewart
Thomas "Herc" Hauk
Michael Lee
Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski
Avon Barksdale
Namond Brice
Maurice Levy
Duquan "Dukie" Weems
Scott Templeton
Ziggy Sobotka
Kima Greggs
Randy Wagstaff
Ervin Burrell
Lester Freamon
Chris Partlow
James Whiting
Brianna Barksdale
Nick Sobotka
Nerese Campbell
Melvin "Cheese" Wagstaff
Marcia Donnelly
Mike Fletcher
Sergei "Serge" Malatov
Theresa D'Agostino
De'Londa Brice
Stanislaus Valchek
Johnny Weeks
Alma Gutierrez
David Parenti
Leander Sydnor
Roger Twigg
Odell Watkins
Coleman Parker
Albert Stokes
The Greek
Beadie Russell
Grace Sampson
Andy Krawczyk
"Monk" Metcalf
Anthony Gray
Daniel Phelan
Thomas Klebanow
Eddie Walker
Ilene Nathan
Jeff Price
The Deacon
Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos
Rupert Bond
Jen Carcetti
Gary DiPasquale
Terrence "Fitz" Fitzhugh
Michael Crutchfield
Damien Price
Zenobia Dawson
Anthony Collichio
Savino Bratton
Bill Zorzi
Malik "Poot" Carr
Edward Norris
Dennis Mello
Old Face Andre
Michael Steintorf
Vernon Holley
Wendell "Orlando" Blocker
Michael Santangelo
Bobby Brown
Thomas "Horseface" Pakusa
Shaun "Shamrock" McGinty
Darnell Tyson
Eunetta Perkins
Amanda Reese
Kenneth Dozerman

This took a long time/likely there are some minor omissions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Don't judge

OK, I may take some heat for this from those who hate on the hipsterishness of certain things posted on here. But honestly, whatever, I can take it (and later weep silently to myself).

This past weekend I was in Brooklyn, where I attended a live reading of an interpretation of a Lewis Carroll poem. This was not my reason for going there, but the opportunity presented itself. It was "The Hunting of the Snark" adapted by some girl and performed by a group of 7 people or so, including not one but two narrators. One of the narrators also played the Snark I think. Needless to say it was hard to follow. The Beaver was hilarious.

Another possibly relevant fact -- the "performance" was in some house in Brooklyn Heights, which is a particularly tony section of the borough, known for the prevalence of tiny dogs wearing coats. It's no Bushwick, suffice it to say.

At one point while everyone was milling around drinking wine out of paper cups I overhead some presumably tweed-wearing guy* say "This is such a New York thing to do!" I was disgusted/amused by this, a feeling which I struggled to conceal from the harsh-faced girl I was talking to. She expressed a similar, condescending thought to me when I informed her of the population of the town in which I live (est. 20,000).

The point is these are things people do for fun in New York City.

*He definitely had a beard.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

News van!

So this was the video I showed the publisher of our newspaper today when he asked me how we should promote our new video initiative. He was impressed. Related: if any of you ever say the words "hyperlocal" or "blogtown" to my face there will be consequences, which you may or may not like depending on your level of masochism. Vent over.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Winter Olympics: Now with extra treacle

So the Olympics are happening on television, and while I enjoy the sport aspect, I think all the extra stuff is giving me diabetes. You know what I'm talking about: Those gently-narrated Olympic moments™ brought to you by Tide detergent. Bob Costas or Jimmy Roberts are usually involved. While avoiding these monuments to the soft focus lens for the most part, I did see some Al Michaels interview with a short-track speed skater who cut his leg off with his skate in an accident 6 short months ago. I guess they sewed it back on and now he has an Olympic medal.

That said, things appeal to/cut through my sense of ironic detachment:

1. The opening ceremonies were hilarious. I mean, a snowboarder jumping through the Olympic rings? Extreme. Also good: The Olympic flag was carried out by Donald Sutherland, Anne Murray, Bobby Orr and an astronaut, among others. Canadian celebrities are so cute! Not too mention Wayne Gretzky and Steve Nash visibly squirming during the mechanical failure of the torch lighting. That kind of failure can only be soothed with a KD Lang rendition of Hallelujah.

2. The obscure "sports" that only surface every 4 years are the best. At one point the color announcer for something called Nordic Combined had some line like "All die-hard nordic-combined fans are absolutely riveted by this historic race" which was so patently ridiculous I can't even make fun of it. Well, maybe a little. Also, he went absolutely apeshit when the American won the silver medal. Like Gus Johnson on an eight-ball. I'm not sure which was more exciting: the photo-finish or gambling on whether or not that guy was going to stroke out. I look forward to more of that.

3. Bode Miller: Redeemed via shameful bronze. It was almost enough to get me to make a "Bode vs. Bodie" comparison here on this blog, between him and the character from The Wire. But that would have taken more effort/analysis than making an expository list. Effort is bad for "Team Apathy" of which both I and Bode Miller circa 2006 would probably be members, if anyone cared enough to create such a team. This is all a roundabout way of saying Bode Miller is my hero. Moving on.

4. When the girl mogulist (a word Y/N?) won Team America's first gold medal she said something about her goal coming to the games was "to be in an montage." The montage, which is perhaps most emblematic of the melodrama so common in Olympics TV coverage (and all sport for that matter). It makes me smile when this is acknowledged in a meta way (ie by a participant).

Finally, a few lingering questions:
Are the winter Olympics the coolest?
What is the weirdest/most obscure sport besides of course curling?
Who would win in a fight, Team Apathy or Team America?
What is the deal with that guy's hat?
When does the men's hockey start?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friendly faces, everywhere

One thing I've noticed in the past five or six days is that 40-some inches of snow have made this town more of a comradeship. A nicer place to live. The number of hellos and even eye contact acknowledgements of my existence have at least tripled since Saturday. It's not clear why this is exactly, but I have theories.

The first is that Vermontesque weather is a kind of shared experience/hardship. It doesn't seem right to be an uncaring asshole just trying to get ahead when its totally shitty out. Plus the reminder that for all our technologies and cultural ephemera, old Mother Nature can still bring the pain, for lack of a better term. It's along the same lines as why hazing exists. This morning I walked around town shooting video of people shoveling back to their lives. Neighbors threw out their backs getting to their cars.

Wait for it ... Cars are to blame! Everyone is friendly because no one can drive anywhere. This weather has forced all but the snow-plow owning elite out of their cars and onto their feet, if they want to go places. Forced out of the glass and steel bubble and into face-to-face interaction, its actually kind of amazing how fast civility is restored. Granted, I have a somewhat warped perspective on this. Two years of interacting with cars as a person will do that. Dehumanizing. But the car-person dynamic is a topic for another day/non-internet writing.

Third theory: It's all just projection. It's possible that I am only recieving more positive vibes because I am sending more out. Because yeah, I am extremely happy about the snow. Records are awesome. Now no old people can talk shit about snow-related back in the day because this is the most snow in 150 years and no one is that old yet. But I can! Also there is schadenfreude in seeing everyone look pained while digging out. You know who wins when no one can drive? A man who never drives and wears waterproof boots.

So yeah, those are the theories. Proofs coming/not.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Have you heard it snowed a lot?

This is the kind of gripping video that defines production value/trained professional.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Book club: Endnote 304

Maybe book club isn't the best term for this, a drifting post about David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, which I am reading. Because "book club" insinuates people, or at least more than one person, participating. So this is less book club, and more person reading a book, and then blogging about it. If we're calling a spade a spade, you know? Although maybe someone else has read this book and also this blog and can provide some comment. Yes/No/Maybe so?

I heartily recommend making the effort (and it is an effort), at this point of my being 150 pages into the 1097 or so total, including some 100 pages of endnotes. There are stumbling blocks, like the "Wardine/dopesick" sections, which switch over to a weird narrative voice that is like the dumbest of Youtube comments, without the L337. These sections vaguely remind me of the parts of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying that are narrated by Vardaman, the retard or whatever. I haven't read that shit since high school. But these narrators are not retarded, just drug addicts/residents of the projects.

Anyway: Endnote 304. It's about kids in Canada playing this game where they jump in front of approaching trains -- the winner is the last person to successfully cross the tracks in front the train safely. Actually, that's not exactly true -- the endnote (which is some 8 pages long) is about one character plagiarizing a scholarly work that describes the above game, as it pertains to the Quebec separatists. This takes place in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. The plagiarizing, not the train jumping. Although maybe the train jumping still takes place in the Y. of the D.A.U., its not exactly clear at this point.

I felt guilty about reading this endnote, which was referred to in other endnotes but had not yet come in the actual text. So reading it, skipping ahead, felt like it was cheating somehow. Which is kind of a weird emotion to have about reading a book I own. But I was assuaged by various posts at Infinite Summer (a valuable resource), that said its no big deal to read 304, and that the narrator was telling us to read it by referring to it in the other endnotes. And now I am glad I read it, because the wheelchair assassins make more sense, at least in their origin.

In conclusion, a description of Cage III: Free Show, which is contained in the filmography of one James O. Incandenza, aka Endnote 24.

* B.S. Latrodectus Mactans Productions/Infernatron Animation Concepts, Canada. Cosgrove Watt, P.A. Heaven, Everard Maynell, Pam Heath; partial animation; 35 mm.; 65 minutes; black and white; sound. The figure of Death (Heath) presides over the front entrance of a carnival sideshow whose spectators watch performers undergo unspeakable degradations so grotesquely compelling that the spectators’ eyes become larger and larger until the spectators themselves are transformed into gigantic eyeballs in chairs, while on the other side of the sideshow tent the figure of Life (Heaven) uses a megaphone to invite fairgoers to an exhibition in which, if the fairgoers consent to undergo unspeakable degradations, they can witness ordinary persons gradually turn into gigantic eyeballs. INTERLACE TELENT FEATURE CARTRIDGE #357-65-65

edit: Upon rereading this post, I have come to realize it makes little to no sense outside of my own brain/the brain of someone who has also read this book. I would try and fix this post, by which I mean make it coherent, but that's impossible barring a red wine and quaalude bender. So read this book and then you will be privy to jokes about Interdependence Day and The Year of the trial-size Dove Bar and excessive use of acronyms. Also here's a DFW interview if you are interested.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The show of a thousand questions

As per request, here is a "humorous" take on the season premiere of LOST. Although I am hesitant to devote much time to writing about television, because, ugh, TV blogging. Hey look everyone, we watched the same show, and now we can talk about it in some sort of virtual water-cooler/comment section. A hearty congratulations to all for watching the same program that is beamed into our homes through cables and satellites. We have truly achieved something to be proud of: A shared experience through the miracle of modern technology!

Cynicism aside, LOST is one of those shows where a deconstruction can add value, or at least understanding. This particular post will likely do neither. But I'd much rather write about this, as opposed to something disposably wretched like "Jersey Shore" or "Hoarders," which are barely worth thinking about during viewing, let alone after the fact. No, LOST actually has something to it. Themes and such. Also it's plenty confusing/convoluted. This interactive timeline is handy in that respect.

So, we come to the episode. A quick disclaimer: Don't look to me for clues and facts about what is going on, plotwise. My knowledge of this show's mythology is spotty at best, considering I didn't watch most of seasons 3 and 4. If you want that, by all means, go read some other shit somewhere else. Lord knows it's out there. That is not to say there won't be SPOILERS below for people who care about such things. Anyway: The premiere starts right after last season's cliffhanger ending, with the aftermath of the flash that happened when Juliet decided that banging on a nuclear warhead with a rock was a good idea/would work out. But wait, it did work out, because now all the castaways are back on the plane and it doesn't crash!

But wait again, how is that possible? Because if they never crashed in the first place, then none of the time-travelly events that led to that nuke-smashing would have taken place. I smell paradox! So obviously the answer that this non-crash world is an alternate reality, where Jack and Locke form the natural friendship of a paraplegic and a spinal surgeon, forged through the mutual experience of lost luggage containing knives and dead father. Meanwhile, in the narrative where the plane still did crash, the "blow up electromagnetic energy" plan didn't work, shockingly, but still transported everyone back to the present? Although Juliet says it did work, and then promptly dies, presumably to return to her child-molesting/murdering ways back on the mainland (oh, a Running Scared reference, clearly necessary).

Which puts us where? The smoke monster in human form, then not, then again? Kate beating the hell out of some U.S. Marshall-type figure, and then going on the run, like Harrison Ford or dare I say Wesley Snipes? The two realities having vague, non-descript parallels, until somehow merging into one mid-season? Desmond popping up in random places/times, because the rules don't apply to him? Sawyer sounding suspiciously like the voice of the dog from A Boy and His Dog? Space coyote?

Tune in next week, when none of these questions will be answered, and 10 more will be introduced.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Movies are very important/serious

Those Hollywood taste-makers were in full affect this morning, with the announcing of the Oscar nominations. The Oscars are probably the second most important awards in the history of ever, just behind MacArthur Grants. So obviously I watched the live feed in here my cubicle. Anne Hathaway has an enormous mouth!

But that's neither here nor there ... this year there are 10 films up for best picture, in what some call the "Dark Knight" rule. Which means shit like "The Blind Side" and "District 9" are nominated this year. Nothing against District 9 of course, it was quite good. "The Blind Side" on the other hand? Throwing a bone to people who love them some Dancing With the Stars. Bear Jew!

But really the most exciting moment of anticipation is wondering how the hell they are going to try and show any pertinent clips from the best adapted screenplay nom "In the Loop" during the Oscar broadcast. Because there is a lot of awesome cursing, presumably a big reason for its nomination. For example "Fuckety Bye" which is how I always end conference calls at work now. Also: "I know you don't like cursing, you F, STAR, STAR, CUNT!" (paraphrased)

Hmmm, what other instantaneous analysis can I make without consulting/plagiarizing other blogs/twitter trending topics? Hurt Locker was awesome, and totally deserves to win all the awards/plaudits it can, especially over "Avatar" which I haven't seen but my dad said it made him nauseous, so obviously it sucks. Also, "Up In The Air," which I also haven't seen, is fucking dumb. That's my impression at least. If George Clooney came to my job to lay people off that would be kind of cool though I guess. It's no Michael Clayton as far as I'm concerned.