Thursday, July 29, 2010

What exactly is going on here?

How does a graphic artist/cereal executive determine the amount of savage cannibalistic glee with which the "Krunch Head" characters tear into bowls of what one must presume is smaller versions of themselves? Is there a standard archetype of how cartoons on the boxes of cheapo brands of cereal are drawn? Possibly Count Chocula-based? Also there is a natural tendency to draw a comparison with crackheads, considering both the name of the cereal and the dead-eyed mania that Mr. and Mrs. Krunch Head are splashing the milk out of the bowls. I find it highly unlikely that anyone would purchase this cereal intentionally.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why I enjoyed Inception

One reason was going to see it on the hottest day of the hottest summer so far. Because theaters are air-conditioned. But the weather is a banal reason for doing just about anything in human history, including this. The real reason is more about film, and the film, than what its doing outside. The spoiler alert is implied.

If there would be one word, it would be structure. Not so much narrative, because in my mind that implies the words that are spoken by the characters, which left something to be desired. No, the structure of the film is what makes it, in what I'll call my informed opinion, good. Comprehension is a wonderful thing.

I don't want to get into the specifics of Inception. Or maybe I do? Dreams within dreams. Actually four levels of dreams, if you count the shores of the subconscious they fall to when dying in dreams they can't wake up from. Also reality makes five. And each time the characters go into another dream, from their previous dream that they were dreaming, somehow their minds operate exponentially faster. This allows for a comprehensive assault on a snow fortress in the time it takes a van to drive off a bridge into a river.

In many filmmakers hands this would be convoluted. And it is, probably. But Christopher Nolan is nothing if not a precise and technical director. I can imagine him assigning a whole team of nerds to figure out how long each scene should be on each level of dreaming, when there is cutting back and forth between the aforementioned falling van and snow fort scenes, and also Joseph Gordon Levitt getting in gun battles/problem solving in a weightless environment. It feels accurate!

But I've already said to much, or possibly too little. Its a good movie, even if the gist of the final scene is apparent withing the first five minutes. This is coming from someone who'd take confusing over mindless any day when it comes to 2-hour 200-million dollar blockbusters. Not to hate on Transformers* of course. Many people lack comprehension skills, thus summer media besides Mad Men tends to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Anyway, Inception is a good movie, the best to come out in this blighted film season. It inspired me to make some post using the structure that fits it so well. It might of worked, but we'll never know because in the end I just had a glass of whiskey to loosen my typing fingers and did this instead.

*hate on Transformers 2 is welcome**

**fucking jive-talking robots

Friday, July 23, 2010

How was I not aware of this until today? I specifically said that I was to be informed of all hysterical reactions to natural phenomena.

edit: So I decided I needed to record the dialog from that video for those of you who can't access Youtube (these people exist?) ... it's a better use of my time* than my usual workday, which as you might of guessed spent mostly playing ACTION TURNIP!!!

Whoa that's a full rainbow all the way
Double rainbow oh my god
It's a double rainbow all the way
Whoa it's so intense
Whoa man wow whoa whoa
Whohoho oh my god oh my god oh its a oh my god
Whoa ho ho wow Wooooo oh my god wooooo
oh my god (repeated)
It's starting to look like a triple rainbow
Oh my god its a full on double rainbow all the way across the sky
What does this mean
It's so bright oh my god it's so bright and vivid
Ohhhhhh ohhhhhh ohhhhhhh
It's so bright and beautiful
crying and/or laughing
now he's just openly weeping
oh my god (repeated)
It's a double complete rainbow right in my front yard
Too much unintelligible what it means
sigh it's so intense
oh my god

*or is it!?!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hilarious or cruel

It's easy to find humor in the misfortune of others. People falling down, getting hit in the groin, getting slapped in the face, all comic gold as long as its not happening to you. But where some balk at comic violence is when it happens to animals. Which brings me to this video that has made the rounds on the web this week.

Maybe its because I'm a cynic, but I find it hilarious. The way that donkey goes spiraling off into the sky, so good. But not everyone feels this way, so much so that "charges may be filed" against whoever did this, which may or not have been part of a promotion for para-sailing. It's not exactly clear what was going on, and in the rush to judgement it seems that the perpetrator/donkey-owner may have slipped away.

For some reason thinking about where to draw the line between animal cruelty and some good old-fashioned donkey fun brings my mind to a conversation near the end of Pulp Fiction. In it Jules talks about not eating pork because it comes from a filthy animal, and Vincent asks if he considers a dog to be filthy, what with the occasional shit-eating. Eventually they determine that it's a dog's personality that makes it not filthy, just dirty, and that a pig would have to be "ten times more charming than that Arnold on Green Acres" to cease in its filthiness.

Which is a good way to say that certain animals are more sympathetic than others. I might better understand the outrage at this alleged donkey torture if instead of a donkey, it was a dog flying through the air, possibly never to be seen again. But come on, it's a fucking donkey. A pack animal, used to carry things and plow fields and other back-breaking labor. Who knows, perhaps its braying, which many have interpreted as stemming from fear, is actually indicative of excitement/joy. If I was a Russian donkey, I'd enjoy an occasional para-sail to break up the drudgery of my daily existence, which I assume would involve turnips.

But yeah, people have different sensibilities, which means "horse people" can feel more empathy with this stupid donkey than with another human being. This argument boils down to the idea that animals are "innocent" because of their lack of free will. The line of thinking goes that animals have no control over their fate, and thus must be protected at all costs. Also there is the perceived "connection" that the animal lover has developed with a creature that doesn't know shit except maybe a few behaviors it associates with getting delicious food. So yeah, put that donkey on a para-sail for my amusement.

Addendum: It's unclear how much being bitten by a horse at age 8 is affecting my opinion on this matter.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

But the hope that we could carefully control how others view us in different contexts has proved to be another myth. As social-networking sites expanded, it was no longer quite so easy to have segmented identities: now that so many people use a single platform to post constant status updates and photos about their private and public activities, the idea of a home self, a work self, a family self and a high-school-friends self has become increasingly untenable. In fact, the attempt to maintain different selves often arouses suspicion. Moreover, far from giving us a new sense of control over the face we present to the world, the Internet is shackling us to everything that we have ever said, or that anyone has said about us, making the possibility of digital self-reinvention seem like an ideal from a distant era.
-this is why I don't tell anyone about this blog

Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome back to me?

There is probably no better way to dive straight back into the inanity of the internet (internanity?)than with this "Gathering of the Juggalos" infomercial. Gallagher and Ron Jeremy?!? So much to process just in the dialogue/voiceover: "Coming to regulate ninjas it's Warren G" "The girl I went to high school with, no lie, Tila Tequila!" "Ain't no two juggalos alike, truthfully" "The gathering has fresh and exciting shit to do all around the fuckin' clizock. Helicopter rides. Carnival rides. Midway games. Seminars." "And if you like midgets, we've got midgets for ya" etc etc etc. Not to mention the production valuues and sets.

I know making fun of juggalos is easy. Saturday Night Live even did it with some success. But shit man, I gotta start it off slow coming off a glorious internet-free week.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Some people go Boo, they go quack quack, they go keek
Some people have nothing and want nothing and are free
Some people want to burn the world with their greed
We just want to have a good time

-brazilian girls, "Good Time"

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

It's too hot to blog

Something about the heat just takes it out of you, you know? I'm not sure if there is literally nothing going on anywhere (edit: besides maybe duck boats), or that it just seems that way because of the oppressive temperatures. So dissatisfied! But I guess I should post something, given that I'm heading out of town next week to the family vacation compound in Maine, as required by my WASP heritage.

But what (who? why?) could I possibly type words about? Some Daily Show-ladyblog kerfuffle? No, I don't think that is a real thing, not even going to link it. A Will an egg fry on the sidewalk video. Something about the books I'm taking on vacation: Don Quixote and How Soccer Explains the World. That didn't take long. An account of fourth of july partying:

Last weekend I celebrated the most American of holidays in the most American of ways, by getting progressively drunk while engaging in outdoor sporting contests with people I had just met. This inevitably ended with me crashing my bike into a car's side mirror, but not before bashing the hell out of the top of my foot ... playing volleyball? Jesus, who cares/remembers. Not me that's for sure.

HHHHNNNNNNNNNNGGGGHHHHHHH. I will now be entertaining myself by recreating this scene (in my head) for the rest of the day. Talk amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sometimes I help L___ with his laptop, and in return he sublimates his disgust and horror at my lack of careerism into a sort of benevolent mercy; the kind one might direct toward a friend’s mentally challenged younger brother who needs help tying his shoes. He wants the best for me. He knows I have it in me, somewhere. He saw the zeal and determination with which I used to lie on my couch and watch MTV Jams in college—if only he could bring Mystikal out of retirement (prison?) to help him coach me.
-you say 'lack of careerism' like it's a bad thing

Thursday, July 01, 2010

There won't be any ties

The World Cup quarterfinals start on Friday, at 10 a.m. with Brazil against Netherlands in one of two epic-on-paper matchups (also, Germany-Argentina). It's not exactly clear how much the goats know about soccer, so I'll try and keep it in a layman's voice. But know this: Drunken fans and the Roger the Irish bartender at the pub were quite impressed with my analysis during the US-Ghana game on Saturday. Through some miracle of geography and '80s youth soccer programs it was like living in a real "football" country. I even held my head in my hands with my elbows resting on the bar for the entirety of extra time.

It was certainly nice to have that game fall on the weekend, despite the loss. Which is to say it's taken determination and grit to keep to my average viewing of two hours of day. This is the top sporting event in the world, is how I justify cutting out on work and family to watch it. This is not an excuse that could be used for say, the College World Series. Oh sorry boss, had to watch one of the top thousand sporting events in the world, it's slightly less popular than the Canadian Curling Championships. The point is World Cup games happening during the 9 to 5 has diminished the potential viewing audience. But on the other hand, unemployed stoners love soccer, so it evens out.

There has been much griping about the referees, particularly by naive fans in the states about the lack of replay. There were some questionable offsides calls that cost us two goals, so yeah sure, bitch about it. But video replay is a terrible idea. I guess I'm a purist, ball-chip goal line technology is possibly acceptable but that is it. Getting calls wrong is part of the game. People were saying that the England non-goal against Germany was the referee revenge for something that happened in 1966! As an added bonus that particular egregious boner gave us an opportunity to see the Frank Lampard face. Dude does it at least once a game. Not surprising in how easy it was find on an image search. I kind of want to be this expression for Halloween.

Another thing I've enjoyed is the British announcers. Someone said something about the guy at the end of Layer Cake being Martin Tyler (awesome movie by the way). And then there is the continued brilliance of Ian "Go Go USA" Darke. It's like the game is being called by Dr. Who. "I'm 900 years old and I've come from the planet Gallifrey to call this football match." Too nerdy? They do have a particular cadence that US-based booth dudes lack. Also fun is the use of so many strange descriptions of players that end in man e.g. dangerman, talisman, starman, targetman. So sophisticated!

But what kind of rambling, ultimately pointless post would this be without some specific game breakdowns. It's not going to be as insightful as other things out there, Zonal Marking for example (worth it for the diagrams alone). Here we go:

Brazil-Netherlands (10 am ET)
Brazil have been mowing teams down much like the gangster children in the countries' favelas do to each other as depicted in "City of God." But Netherlands has the skill to play with them. Plus they just got Arjen "Mr. Glass" Robben (pictured top) back. Brazilian striker Luciano Fabiano's face looks like a skeleton and it bothers me. Prediction: Samba!

Uruguay-Ghana (2:30 pm ET)
I've always thought Ghana's nickname "Black Stars" was bit racist. Is this like where black people can say the n-word, but white people can't? Or is pointing out that I had this thought racist in itself. Uruguay? I got near nothing outside of Simpson's references. Uh, they are well-organized? Prediction: You are gay!

Germany-Argentina (Sat. 10 am ET)
Have I mentioned how fun it is to make jokes based on the history of the countries? It's a shame that Germany's blitzkreig wiped out England last round, because an Argentina-England game would open up the possibility of all sorts of Falkland's War references, which are comic gold. This game could be wildly entertaining with two attacking sides and the best player in the world in Lionel Messi. If you only watch one quarterfinal, make it this one just for the unintentional comedy that is manager Diego Maradona's life. Prediction: Terrifying neck scars!

Paraguay-Spain (Sat. 2:30 pm ET)
Spain leads the world in tiny midfielders who can possess the shit out of the ball. Paraguay leads the world in fans with huge boobs who have naked pictures all over the internet. It's a close call, really. Prediction: Breast implants!

After Andy Spade, the brander, entrepreneur and husband of Kate Spade, put one in Partners & Spade, his quasi-gallery, in May 2009, design bloggers and the design news media trumpeted the “authenticity” of this manly tool — and then promoted it largely as an art object. This was both irritating and pleasing to Mr. Buchanan-Smith, who says that he constantly worries that he’ll be perceived as “just some design hipster kicking it old-school selling some chic tools to a handful of other hipsters.”
-what exactly should one think about someone who spends $200 on an "urban axe"

Your mom goes to college

And that goes double for you.