Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Out of the habit...

Of blogging. It's difficult to articulate something interesting most days. It's rough, you see. Imagine, if you will, that you were a dog, but you were invited to do something that a dog perhaps does not normally do, for example, play poker.

Now, unless you were masterfully painted in the early 20th century by C.M. Coolidge, you would likely find it quite difficult to hold and fan a hand of cards without opposable thumbs. Also, you would lack the cognitive skills to understand the intricacies of poker hand hierarchy.

Just saying.

At any rate, lately I've been finding it a bit tough to have much to write about aside from how cruddy my life is, and I feel that that is not an appropriate subject for this thing, lest it turn into the typical internet whine-a-thon about "I'm so lonely why can't I meet people" and/or the internet angry whine-a-thon of "Why can't they make a good movie about cowboys in space? I could do it."

No, this level of bush-league punditry is too low for even me to indulge in. And thus I fall silent, for it is better to leave your mouth closed and look a fool then open it and remove all doubt, as Mark Twain purportedly said. It is important to note that this quote has also been attributed to Lincoln, George Eliot, Groucho Marx, Einstein and Silvan Engel.

Interesting note on Silvan Engel. The quote when attributed to Lincoln is usually claimed to be Lincoln quoting this Engel fellow, though other than this quote, I can find no record of Engel's existence. He doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry.

If he did exist, he left the best legacy ever. He was a man important enough for one of our most famous presidents to quote, yet left no record of his likely flaws behind. Genius.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Whatever, the Onion A/V Club...

The Onion's A/V club recently published a big ass list of what they felt to be the worst band names of 2008, and included in said list was one band I actually like quite a bit. Five Finger Death Punch. Not only is it a fantastic name that I'm pretty sure is a Fist of the North Star reference, they are a great band that plays a metal/hardcore hybrid without the "DO IT YOURSELF YOU CAN SUCCEED" inspirational crap that other bands tend towards in the genre. Instead, they favor a "Disagree with me all you want, I'll beat the shit out of you" type of message, mixed in with a healthy dose of angsty issues about their upbringing, and other usual metal fodder. 

Here is the video for the title track of their debut album, "The Way Of The Fist"

Now, it may well be a cheap attempt at piggy backing on the current popularity of Ultimate Fighting (which is as many of you know, my favorite thing on television), but the song speaks relatively well for itself. I was also dismayed to learn that just before the guitar solo in the beginning, he is not yelling "Sultan, up in the sky"... I somehow assumed that he would be as the melodic minor stuff that follows is stereotypically Arabic sounding, but in fact he is saying "Zoltan"... Which led me to my next gruesome discovery that makes the band at once more ridiculous and more awesome: the guitar player goes by the stage name Zoltan Bathory. 

His first name may actually be Zoltan, as he is Hungarian by birth, but I feel like Bathory is more of an homage to Swedish Black Metal originators Bathory, and Hungary's own Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who supposedly bathed in the blood of virgins blah blah metal credibility blah. 

I don't really care. I'm a little sad he's not yelling "Sultan" because that would also be an awesome nickname for someone. Maybe I should take that one. 

That's all for now.

RJ "The Sultan" C

Also, for that Onion list, see: 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ronald Jenkees - Throwing Fire

I've probably sent this to most of you before... But fuck you. This is one of the greatest purely-on-the-internet musicians I've ever seen, so watch and learn, suckas.

Is your mind blown? I think it just might be.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fun quotes for late night amusement.

As I am too lazy to write anything original right now (or all of my energy has gone into the short story I'm currently slogging through), I thought it might be fun to smack up a little list of 10 quotes. In no particular order. Enjoy.

1. Americans detest all lies except lies spoken in public or printed lies. - E. W. Howe

2. They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin

3. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence. - William Blake

4. It's all down to functionality eventually. If you're functional it doesn't matter if you're mad.  - Alan Moore

5. There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism. - Walter Benjamin

6. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more so in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling - Phillippians 2:12

7. You cut up a thing that's alive and beautiful to find out how it's alive and why it's beautiful, and before you know it, it's neither of those things, and you're standing there with blood on your face and tears in your sight with only the terrible ache of guilt to show for it. - Clive Barker

8. Comedy is not pretty. - Steve Martin

9. Boredom is the root of all evil--the despairing refusal to be one's self. - Søren Kierkegaard

10. National character is only another name for the particular form which the littleness, perversity, and baseness of mankind take in every country. Every nation mocks at other nations, and all are right. - Arthur Schopenhauer

And there you go. I personally believe most of these to be, in a word, TRUE. That is, they accurately represent the way I see the world, and the things that I believe about all manner of subjects. Those subjects making up what is usually roughly described as life. If I had my druthers, I would have all of these tattooed on me. So far I only have part of one. 


Friday, December 12, 2008

Some pics of a flooded park...

Background: I'm home doing some homey crap at my parents' house, and a park a few blocks away flooded after 3 or so days of solid rain. Thought it was worth getting some pics... I think they turned out not bad-ish. Enjoy!

This is a little bridge that ordinarily goes over a small drainage ditch by the creek. It was, as you can see, awash. 

Here's the best depth-indicator I could find... a few park benches about 150 yards away from where I was standing. I wasn't about to go into that, it being 40 degrees or so. 

This is Yale's tennis center, normally bordered by a creek... You can see where the boundary should be, cutting across this photo diagonally. Didn't feel like getting wet, but was curious how much water ended up inside the stadium. 

Here you can see a mostly covered Baseball field with a soccer goal in the background.. 

Normally there would be a small pond here, ending about 20 feet before that tree with leaves still on it. The gap in the trees at the back is a small road that runs alongside a little canal going through the middle of the park. Not sure how deep it is out there, but spooky! 

Guess that'll do it... Interesting stuff though, and definitely worth getting the pics and the car-dodging that was required.  


Thursday, December 11, 2008

How NOT to make a movie.

As I suffered through Punisher: War Zone last night, it occurred to me that I felt a need to write down my observations on what exactly went wrong. I will list a few here and probably add more as they come to me. 

1) Brightly colored splash lighting: 

It's as though someone said "It should be brooding and gloomy, this atmosphere! I have an idea. That side of the stage, light it dark blue! The other side? Bright GREEN! HAHA! YES!" Now, I am, as many people know, a big fan of Dario Argento, who in his "Three Mothers" trilogy (Suspiria is the most famous of them) tended to use such lighting techniques to add a strange supernatural feeling to things. I feel like it worked when he did it in the late 70s/early 80s because that WAS the state of the art in stylization. But in a post Sin City world, this simply does not cut the cake. It looks cartoony and ridiculous. Moreover, having read much of Garth Ennis' Punisher runs, the backgrounds were NEVER that crudely colored. Awful and cartoony. F-

2) Crazy people. 

Everyone loves a good crazy guy, but it is important to realize that crazy people are much scarier when they are quiet, particularly when played by bad actors. This movie could almost have been saved if the two "WHOO HOO WE'RE CRAZY" guys had been less Looney Toons and more catatonic. Constant cackling, pretending to be a kitty cat, etc... That really just doesn't work. 
What kind of research did they do? "Well, when I was preparing to play this character, I just focused a lot on the parts of Daffy Duck cartoons where he kisses the guy and then jumps away going 'Hoohoo! Hoohoo!' I think I nailed it." 
At the very least they could take the source material seriously, which brings us to point the third. 

3) Flat out disrespecting the source material. 

There is nothing that'll turn the core fanbase of a movie off more than flat out saying, through your film, "I don't care about this." I would argue that just about every person involved in the making of this movie (except maybe the blood splatter guys) made that decision every single time they shot something. Each scene ended with kind of a "So what?" blah-ness as if the director had simply cried out "Close enough" instead of cut. 

It was fucking brutal. Read the book, take the basic heart of the story and find a goddamn way to make that work as a movie. I swear to GOD I could have done better. I really could have. And not because I'm a better director or actor or whatever... But because I have a better understanding and appreciation of the original material! That's really what an adaptation requires. At least an UNDERSTANDING. If you ask anyone vaguely aware of comics, "Hey who's cartoonier, the X-men or the Punisher?" They would without a doubt say "The X-men by a mile"... And yet, their movie turned out pretty goddamn good because it was taken seriously. 

Sometimes Hollywood makes me so mad... I just might hurt myself. 


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Brother Jimmy's Rules You.

When I got home last night and felt like sleepily railing against the Guido douchebag I saw on the train, I neglected to mention that I had eaten delicious food.

Brother Jimmy's is a BBQ restaurant that focuses largely on the pork and vinegar stylings of the Carolinas. There are a few locations but last night I ate at the branch on 31st and Lex. It was, in a word... delicious.

Pulled pork served with a light vinegar and red pepper sauce, sweet potato fries (admittedly something I had never seen till I moved up north), cole slaw, and sweet tea. All executed with an authenticity which, while not perfect, is more than acceptable given it's New York. I give it five GLGGGGs out of five possible GLGGGGS.

The conversation with the father was interesting as well... Mostly light, and the very fact that he chose the BBQ joint out of the 5 or so other possible ethnic restaurants I had looked up in the area gave me some greater degree of confidence that I am, in fact, his son. It's good to have some indicator other than hair color.

That oughta do it for now. All that's left to do on the day is GRE prep, watching 30 Rock and farting all bad.

Also, does my sleeping regular hours make my blogging less interesting? I'll admit it likely reads less like the delusional ramblings of a diseased mind, but I can't help but wonder. If so, I will be quite disappointed, because this likely puts to bed either my being paid to be a writer of interesting things, or my leading a satisfied, happy life.

Sucks to that ass-mar.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Fictional Missed Connection.

OK, went out to dinner with the Dad and had a good time overall, but on the way home, I saw a rare display of comical attempted mating ritual that was too good to resist putting a creative spin on. And thus, in the spirit of the Craigslist "Missed Connection" that this dullard would never write, here I present you with:

To The Woman I Gyrated At On The F Train

You: The classily dressed latin woman sitting in front of the map, pretending to have something interesting on your hand.

Me: The guy dressed like Rocky 1-Era Stallone.

When my tiny fedora (replete with feather), pre-ripped jeans, and slack-jawed looks failed to impress you, I did the only thing concievable. I turned up my iPod to the point at which you could surely hear it and began the best peacock-style display of my sensuality I could in such a confined space. Working only with my pelvis and left knee, I did my best Elvis impression, all the while ensuring that the tiny fedora covered what I hoped no one would notice was my "wonky eye."

For Christ's sake, how did you not notice how great I was? With my likely moderate genitals mere inches from your face moving forward, backward, and forward again... It seems simply unrealistic that it didn't occur to you to at the very least tear your shirt open. I mean, come on.

I cannot believe that you didn't even flinch when I turned, pretending to check out an advertisement, and showed you that I couldn't be bothered with a belt. Was my toned albeit flannel-covered butt not impressive enough for you?

I don't understand.

If you need to reach me, I will likely be at the gym, talking to other guys who look exactly like me, or eating italian food while mispronouncing all of the following: Mozzarella, canoli, capicola, provelone, and somehow, even pizza.

Maybe the sharp faced girl with big hair who works at the local bakery will go for me. You don't know what you're missing, girl.

The end.

The point of all of this was, of course, that this man felt no compunction to make himself not look like a retard. I find this offensive and thus am forced to come home and trash him on the internet. Not even personally. More as a type.

Maybe I'm a bad person, but at least I'm not fucking annoying.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Relevant? Hardly.

As I contemplate the Blog format, I can't help but note that the amount of free space on the internet has really diminished the relevance of the written word. Thus I am forced to pursue publishers in order to get my really good stuff out, and this space is to be filled with my mental detritus. 

Interesting fact about the world "detritus": While most people equate it squarely with the word "debris," its actual meaning is that of the PROCESS of erosion, not the matter it leaves behind. I just learned that. From Google. Aren't you impressed by my Google-induced perspicacity? No fun story about the word. It pretty much means "mental sharpness" or "propensity for discernment"... And it's a horribly underused and over-syllabled one at that. 

Well, that's a good amount of rambling, I suppose. 

I mean the point of all of this is that people who know me will read it, I guess. But the problem is that ultimately the things I tend to talk to people I know about (a cocktail of stupidity including but not limited to the following: Guitars, Comics, Music, Writers, Toilets, Sleep, Sickness, Dying a Damp Death, etc) kinda bore me when I'm sitting by myself and writing things down. Thus I end up being overly wordy about the same shit I would be talking about normally, and ultimately probably boring the living pants off of people. 

Also, listening to the Team America soundtrack, "The End of an Act"... Writing a love song about how bad Pearl Harbor was is fucking genius. Seriously. I'm hurting. 


Right, I guess that does it for now. For more information on any of the above topics, leave comments, and I will expound upon the virtues or ... uh... anti-virtues of said topic. 


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

11 Months later, and what do I have to show for it?

Not a whole lot, it turns out. All you plebians out there working your coffee shop jobs and squirting liquids into testtubes might have a leg up on me monetarily, but I have found my calling!

And no, it's not being a pundit. I wanted that for a while but found that it doesn't quite work to just stand outside the NewsCORP building in NYC yelling opinions. In fact they sent quite a nice young man named Daniel outside to escort me out of sight into a small black room, where I was given a Wendy's double cheeseburger and a shot of gin (homemade in the bathtub, I believe!) in exchange for my silence.

Fat lot of good that did 'em. Tasty though.

No, my calling is to help people, and I will start by resurrecting this edifice of shame that one calls a blog, remolding it in my Easter-Island-Head-esque image, and foisting it upon your unprepared psyches. But someone's gotta bust you out of your every day dime-an-hour existence, don't they? Your sad, lonely, pathetic, flaccid, magenta existence?

Too much.

I promise I won't always be that cruel, America. I'm just still in a bad mood from parking.