Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why I am Sick of James Cameron

God am I sick of hearing about the Avatar "experience."

I don't care how special the effects are, or how groundbreaking Cameron's new explosions are, I don't care. And I'm certainly not spending 15+ bucks just to discover the CGI film of the century has a plot that adds up to an age-old hackneyed "walk in my shoes" plot that was old and tired after Dances with Wolves.

Tell me, why is it that movie-makers use the same plot point in ever fucking film featuring another culture? Dances with Wolves, as previously stated, is a good movie with a good message easily visible in every post-western Native American film this side of The Last of The Mohicans, not to mention shitty Tom Cruise samurai movies.

The bad guys are exploiting (or planning to exploit) an easily-offended, simple culture of (Native Americans, Indians, Aliens, Asians, Africans) wherever. Insert poster boy who is just another guy, doing his duty. He's sent into enemy territory and wait for it--turns sides! Just like every cameo, sidekick and rogue/good guy/bad guy from Rocky Sullivan in Angels with Dirty Faces to Motherfucking Han Solo in motherfucking Star Wars has ever done in great and shitty movie alike. Oh, wow, gee, Jimmy! Way to cash in on one of the oldest characters in the known universe. Not only that, but you spent the most money to do it, and the creatures you spent billions of dollars on (when you weren't CGIing more explosions than Michael Bay) still look like fucking cartoons.

What happened to the Cameron I grew up with, the one I knew and loved? The one who took Alien and made it into a crazy-slick action movie and pretty much reinvented the science fiction action genre? Or what about how he created The Terminator and then made a sequel that is still jaw-dropping to new faces everywhere? I've never been more afraid of checkered tile in my life than after watching that movie for two hours.

But we saw what happened to those, didn't we? Aliens turned into a love triangle between an android, a clone and a hideous alien/human thing beyond understanding.


Not to mention the way Cameron allowed the studio system to ravage the unconscious teenage body of The Terminator into a ridiculous venture into what I guess was supposed to be some sort of Philip K. Dick storyline that failed because--oh yeah--there was no effort at all in making a movie that was more than a Christian Bale vehicle that caused a meltdown of Chris Bown v Rihanna proportions.

And who can forget the ten-hour borefest of Titanic, the biggest movie on the planet for most of my teen years, where the highlights were Kate Winslet topless and the last fade to black that finally showed that this was one turd that could flush. Not to mention the Academy slurping on Jimmy's own fat, wet, sinking CGI cruise ship, and burying the needle on the "fuck integrity" meter and going for the ratings bump.

Oh, did I mention Avatar has been nominated for 4 Golden Globes? It's true. And it'll probably win, because the Golden Globes are voted on by foreign press people who rarely have anything to do with film itself, they just review them. So, in other words, if you want to someone who has no idea what you go through for a role to vote on whether or not your movie was any good, proudly encourage the Golden Globes. Who gives a fuck what a bunch of foreign press hollywood reviewers think? Do I get to give out an award because I have an opinion about movies? Where's my Golden Globe for "calling the Hollywood Foreign Press" out on their bullshit?

However, if you'd like to get a real award from people who are actually in the business you're in and have some kind of clue as to what the fuck you were doing, go for the Academy, who will snub you anyway, until they're worried you might die before they congratulate you on movies that were amazing over twenty years ago. So either way, if you make quality pictures, you're fucked.

But in walks Cameron, who if you don't remember, proved that Jesus Christ lived and died a little while ago, and will probably slay at the awards this year for another useless epic we'll all wonder how we liked five years from now. Take it, Jim, and eat shit.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

You know whats crazy? Wildebeests. Like, take all the wascawwy wabbits in the world and pile them together and you've got like a quarter of a motherfucking wildebeest. Those things are ill.

PS Happy Christmas to all those who read whatever I'm putting up here. I promise I'll put more stuff up here as soon as I am able.

PPS So I tried to find some pictures of wildebeests being badass, but all I could find was pictures of them getting owned by lions. So much for that.

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Friday, November 27, 2009


I wrote this using an on-line program called wordperhect that is basically stupid and unnecessary, but is pretty neat overall, like the coolest stuff on the internet. Check it out if you like, I recommend it.

But anyway I landed on the site and this little bit of prose-like mess sprung to mind. People forcing my to be arty makes me get a little arty.

Translation is as follows:
I'm not sure what it is but every time I see you it makes me crazy. I don't shake or anything, I just lose all the parts of me that make any sense and end up blathering like an idiot at the circus. I don't know what it is about you that makes me react this way or -------As if I can't tell you exactly what I want to say exactly the way I want to say it. My toungue does weird stuff and my mouth gets dry and I think of all these clever things to say that aren't clever at all and so it makes me want to not even try anymore. I don't think about it anymore: I just run away and hide so you can't see me.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cool photos

I know no one reads this blog, and that's fine. But if someone out there eventually does, check these out, they are neato.

They are color photographs from the 30's and 40's (mostly taken in the midwest United States). That may sound boring to you, but every time I've viewed photos from the 40's they were in black and white (and usually very good, too, Dorothea Lange, anyone?). But these are interesting just because they're just barely color photos: everything has just enough color saturation to make it noticeable; in other words, there's no high-def color blasting going on, they're just simply pictures taken simply for documentation, and mostly depict daily life in small farming towns and ranches.

Unfortunately, some (read: most) are riddled with Flickr tags because some people just can't see something on the internet and imagine that that something couldn't be better with them interacting with it. Honestly, where on the internet can a person just fucking look at a photo and not have some moron writing "LOL This silo looks lk a dildo!!!!!!111!!"?

ANYWAY, I thought these were pretty neat, as far as color photos of stuff we normally see in black and white go. While browsing them I couldn't help but think of Ted Turner and how he wanted to colorize all the old-school movies from the fifties, and this was back when the colorization process usually ended up making the actors turn red and purple on the screen. What Turner wanted to do was make the movies look like these photos, but he was a moron and decided to try to fuck with classics like Casablanca and The Petrified Forest. Wrong Teddy boy. Leave the colorization process to the movies who use film that can actually reflect colored light, as opposed to making all the movies fit your version of shitty colorization.

ANYWAY, check these photos out. They're cool.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

What To Do, what to do

I am different from everyone.

I know everybody is different from everybody else and that somehow we are all the same decomposing material and noxious waste. I know how we're all human and alike, but really unique in our own special way, and all we have to do is find our niche.

However, I am slowly coming to the idea that I have no niche, I have no specificity, I am not obsessed over anything, and this just may be my downfall. Especially if I want to be a writer.

Let me explain. I love music. Music is great. Music is something that can get inside your brain and twist it into bows or knots, fold it into an oragami swan or crumple it into a wet ball and toss it in the wastebasket. Music is the one thing that I'd have to say 90% of the world at least can handle on some kind of level. Some people love punk rock, blues, metal, emo, hip-hop, r&b (do they even call it that anymore?), soul, "classic" rock, 80's hair metal, pop, grunge, country, bluegrass, &cetera &cetera &cetera I could go on for fucking days. Some people like one kind of music and THAT'S IT. SOme people have a mixed bag. But me (and a lot of people I know) like ALL KINDS OF MUSIC. And that's where I sit. Somewhere on the gray line between all genres. I like almost everything. Our mixed bags are bigger than most (like those who just like blues, jazz, and swing and big band and...oh sorry), but that doesn't make us any better than those who like trance, house, techno and industrial. We're just different, and I get that.

But here's my problem: can I write about just music? Fuck no. I see what that does to people. Before you know it, I'll hate music. I'll hate the morons who don't listen to the music I've had on heavy rotation the last four months. I'll start looking down my nose at musicians who didn't affect me with their songs when I can't even play a fucking instrument (no hand-eye coordination, and I'm REALLY fucking lazy) .Look at Rollingstone's David Fricke. That guy fucking sucks. There are people out there (me included) who don't believe he EVEN LISTENS TO THE MUSIC HE REVIEWS. I mean, the guy rates an album like Nevermind three stars when it comes out and then retro marks it with five ten years later because he's afraid to look like he didn't know what he was talking about. Of course anyone worth his salt isn't going to Rollingstone's Music-Industry-Spoonfed-Music-"Reviews" anyway, but that 's beside the point. That can't be me. I can't be that egotistical (he said, writing an article about how different he was from everyone). I can't take a job that demands I focus and analyze music as if it was a frog on a rubber plate, it'll kill the whole reason I listen to music: to get away from analysis and get to where I feel good again.

Not only that but I don't know enough. I don't know when Nevermind was released unless I look it up. I don't know how many albums Tool has, I don't know how many bands Jack White is in (3?4?). I don't know my stuff. I can't convince you I know what I'm talking about unless I have that knowledge, and I'm certainly not going to fake it, because then I'm a fraud and have no value whatsoever.

Same thing with movies. I can't review movies, because I have little to no interest in telling people about a movie before they go see it. A preview is enough, but personally I think I'd be a much better person if I didn't even watch them before I walk into a movie. Previews ruin things, they ruin the magic before the movie--they build expectation (which can lead to disappointment) and kill the idea of honest intake. How many times have you watched a preview or read a review that a) gave away key plot points that would have been better left out or b) looked so stupid that you would never see it in a million years or c) got you chomping at the bits to go see that movie only to have you walk out of the theater twenty minutes into the film?

There's no way to solve this, really. Without promotion you can't have movies but that's why I can't review movies: I don't want to give away major plot points and I certainly don't want to take four thousand words and trash something I found no value in that you might really like. Everyone is different. Transformers 2 did really well at the box office, but the movie had no artistic or asthetic value. Yet it made billions (and I saw it in the theater, don't ask). But the key problme I have in reviewing movies is the same as music: I don't know my stuff. I like movies, but that doesn't give me the right to talk about them in anything but vague, compromised terms. I can talk about the thematic elements of The Dark Knight, but the only people who want to read that are decent film teachers and friends who don't mind listening to me ramble at length about morality plays when they really need to take a shit. I can't write a forty-thousand word review and submit that shit to the Times.

Many authors try to stick to one genre of writing: something that they're really good at or know a lot about; Stephen King is versatile, but he watched a ton of movies when he was a kid, mostly the badly made sci-fi/horror flicks made in the fifties and sixties. Dude obsessed over those, hitchhiking back and forth from a neigboring town to watch film versions of penny-dreadfuls. Crichton was a medical student obsessed with technology and the weird relationships of it's advancement and nature and how humans and technology really mean terrible things for each other. John Grisham worked in a law firm and knows his shit when it comes to law. He loves it, and he loves to show the morality between the decisions people make and the law that represents them. He's a beast. Clancy does military stories, Anne Rice does Vampires, Mark Twain did rural South in the 1800's, Fitzgerald did the rich youth of the twenties (well, the white ones anyway), and Steinbeck did the Depression-Era common man. These people all know their stuff and so their art drove them in that direction, they wrote what they knew and they knew what it was about their lives that was interesting.

My thing is, I don't know what I'm into. I know a lot of trivial information about books and movies and music. I don't have a career to use for material. Plus what I do know is boring: I know how to paint a garage and play video games and put off writing a paper. I know how to eat too much and play too hard and how to roll my ankle on a porch step and limp for a week. But is that enough to try and write and sell stories on? Is what I have that churns in me enough to live on so I don't have to worry about stupid shit anymore (something I know too much about)?

I guess I'll just have to do what I can with what I have and hope for the best. I suppose it's something I'll have to learn to do, just like everything else.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009


Home again Home again, jiggity jog
And I've noticed this morning that Halloween is little more than a reason to get annihilated on a college campus. I thought long and hard about ditching this particular event, just simply because it held so little for me: a bunch of random strangers drinking at my cousins across the street, swaying to bad music while I sat alone in a corner watching them, wishing that I had the stones to talk to that really cute girl in the fishnet stockings, the one with the really nice pair of legs that pounce upon the brain like kagaroos in a sick and twisted fervor, looking for blood.

But in the end it was a good scene, which, in college-townese means no cops, no fights, and maybe just enough cute tail to flirt with, but maybe not enough to take home, but that's fine with me. Can you imagine? The young, sweet smiles of Elise, Anna, and the girl dressed as Cleopatra whos name I forget, but she was so attractive I suddenly wished I was dressed as Marc Anthony, just to have more to discuss.

While the people downstairs danced to thick beats provided by whatever iPod was stuck into the amp, I hung upstairs and tried my best with a cute pirate from Wherever. It doesnt' matter. She took the last train out of my sight, gone to the wind and the dying leaves that flutter about her gold-embraced head and her swinging beads, but it was okay.

Maybe if I had talked just a little more, more about the fall of Rome or the encroaching barbarians, maybe a little smatter of speech about the Egyptian front, and I would have had her in the bag, her eyes fluttering up at me like sparkling stars, reflecting only the darkest space and the sharpest, brightest twinklings that we behold in the night sky. Maybe. But I digress. What do you want to hear about, dear sister, dear brother with your eager eyes and emblazoned shield stuck upon your chest like a knight who glued his best defense upon his chest?

PerhAps you want to hear about the couple (there's always one) that stayed on the ugly couch the fuck couch, the one that no one ever uses except to look at and wonder what the hell it's doing there, all night, only to neck and make out, only to suffer the indignity of my macking it to some poor girl dressed in gold and try my hardest not to fail.

Maybe the light is wrong, but methinks that maybe the real reason for tonight was to dress up and be someone else for a few hours, to pretend that the car, the house, the school work you left in your bag wasn't calling to you and begging to be done, maybe the night was to forget who you are for just those minutes, those fleeting seconds that tick off the clock and into the ether. Maybe the point of Halloween is to pretend that your problems are infinitesimal and ridiculous, stupid in the light of something new and golden and dressed like Cleopatra. Maybe Haloween is so popular because life is a set of token digits that mean nothing unless every now and again you can break free and visit someone else's life for awhile, just to get away. A four hour vacation from the worries of home and bills and school, from the evils of overdoing it and the bone-crushing loneliness you feel day per day. Maybe Halloween is for those who wish for something better and fantastic that you can never have.

All I know is that Cleopatra was cute, cuter than most/all, and I somehow missed my oppurtunity to let her know that. Maybe if I'd gotten a hold of her earlier or somehow better, I wouldn't be punching letters here alone and kind of drunk, trying to figure out why tonight was so great. Thank you cleopatra, Prisoner, Female Jason Vorhees and even that cutish girl in the living room who danced all night: you made my evening, despite not knowing enough about you to even recognize you in the light of day. Somehow you made it special. And that's exactly what I needed.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Interlude [i]

"I saw her today at the reception, a glass of wine in her hand. I knew she was gonna meet her connection, at her feet was a footloose man."--The Rolling Stones

She stood against the bar, running her finger on the brim of her glass, eyeing herself in the mirror behind the bottles. The dress was a black one, ending right above her knee so I could chase her calves down to the matching black shoes that almost disappeared against the black oak floorboards.

Her hair was loose, but in the sexy way only true brunettes can accomplish, framing her dark eyes and her pink lips and waiting until under her jaw line to start the inner march over the breasts. Her waist begged for me to wrap my hand around and pull her toward me, and I knew that I could do it, hell, had done it, long long ago. Memory flitted through my mind like dropped polaroids: her on the balcony looking back over her shoulder bathed in sunlight, her smoking a cigarette in the tub and the look of anguish when she dropped it, her crying as I pulled out of the driveway.

She was not there for me. Henry and Laura were finally taking the plunge, and they had invited the two of us before they knew that we weren't us anymore. She had gotten the letter, as she still lived at the house, and she had politely called me and told me that she didn't have to go. After all, they were my friends. Of course I insisted, because what else could I do? I could be the bastard and hurt her more than I already had, or I could be a man and fess up that everything I had done was wrong and that she was still important to me and that now that I had my own house and my own sheets and my own ashtrays I didn't sleep anymore and I smoked too much.

Instead I landed somewhere in between and told her she was invited too and that it would be foolish to refuse free food and drinks from friends.

I didn't realize she would bring a date. He seemed like a friendly guy, too much hair on top, like he was building a tower that smelled of Brylcreem. He smiled at me with lots of teeth when we met, crushing my hand when he shook it to mark his territory. "I'd like to punch you in the face just to show the little lady that I like her bunches," is what his beady eyes told me as he smiled and introduced himself. His name is Hank. I nearly laughed and sprayed white russian all over his fancy car-salesman tie. Hank. Like a cartoon character.

I had come alone.

I roamed the reception after the deed was done and while most folks were still choking down their dinners and before the dancing started. The bartender didn't seem to mind, I apparently tipped him well enough to actually give me a little alcohol now and again. Eventually I found the Bride and Groom yucking it up and I made a few of the appropriate jokes. She asked me how I was doing, and he told me he was sorry, he didn't know she would bring someone. Her eyes were sad for me, his the traditional "I'd feel for you if I hadn't just gotten married" look I'm sure everyone gets after time. I felt awkward, after all, it was their day, not my pity party, so I told them I was fine, that I didn't mind that someone great who's life I had crushed like an insect was here and the only thing stopping me from getting on my knees and begging for forgiveness was a giant lunkhead of fat Elvis proportions who thought bone-crushing handshakes were the epitome of success with the ladies. I told them I was fine and carried on.

The dancing started, and I roamed over to the bar, and I saw her. I saw her there, waiting for someone else, and I felt my heart ache the slow, hurting ache of the dead. Her man was tearing the carpet up with a nameless blonde from the Groom's side, and it did look like they were enjoying each others company.

As I watched, she bought another glass of wine and stared at it for a long time, still rubbing her finger on the brim, waiting for someone who wasn't me.

I held my breath, and went anyway.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Losing the Muse

Alright. I'm not gonna be happy unless I write something on this blasted thing, am I?

I haven't written anything here for a little while because, well, let's be honest. I don't know. Yesterday I started two separate articles and decided I couldn't back them--they were stupid and mean-spirited and after writing one for twenty minutes I decided I hated it and it was total bullshit anyway (it was about hipsters, and why I find them so fucking annoying [it's mainly the ones who are totally insincere that bother me, the ones who dress like hipsters but have no convictions about anything. We get it, man. You've taken the "I'm so cool, I don't care" thing and turned it into a style. The only thing you forgot was that your "not caring" just shows that you actually care the most, and just want to be accepted by anybody who doesn't have the balls to challenge you. Fail.]) and made me feel like I was treading water verbally, instead of just coming out and saying what I wanted.

That's my biggest problem with writing, and writing while in school. In my writing, I write to please me. Whatever works. If it's a sappy story about the nerd falling in love with the cheerleader and her shooting him down, but then realizing he's great, so be it. If it's a science fiction story about robots or a horror about rats in an attic or a fucking two pager about bed bugs, so fucking be it. I don't need anyone else to look at it to know I like it, because it's for me. Writing stories and poetry and all that jazz is selfish as hell. Yay for selfishness (sometimes), it gave us great works like East of Eden, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Great Gatsby. Stories like American Gods and Misery and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Those were written for the author and them alone. They weren't staying up late for deadlines and money, they were writing because they needed to get it on the page.

But with school, it's a whole different ball game. With school you write for another person. The whole fucking time. You can't just say "Book A is useless and boring and sucked six ways to Sunday," you have to say "Book A is considered to be one of the greatest books of all time. Joe Shmoe from Cocamo praised it winningly, stating, 'it is as lovely as the smell of my own farts on a windy summer's day (Shmoe 98)." Half the time what you really think of the book is lost in useless rhetoric that you have to use simply because if you are too direct, you might be plagerizing someone you don't even know about. In acedemia, there's no room for your opinion unless other people back it, so the only way to have any type of opinion is to have someone else's opinion. And then, even if your ideas are valid, your prof might fuck you just because they disagree. There's no way to tell.

So, I'm having a hard time writing. Could you tell?

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I bitch, therefore I am

There are things I don't do that I think everyone does, and there are things that I do that I don't think anyone does. I can't tell if that means I'm crazy or if it means that the world is going to shit. For example:

  • I don't understand why when there is a set of double doors and a crowd of people, why everyone squeezes through one door. What the hell? Open up the second door and then we can all leave at once and not cram single-file into/out of the building.

  • When standing at the deli counter with more than one person, and the clerk doesn't know who's next, no one speaks up. I've been on both sides of the counter for this, and I tell you it's never any less aggrevating (although when you're the clerk, you get to laugh about it later). Everyone stands there, too nervous to say "I'm next."

  • People don't say "thank you," but will apologize for everything arbitrarily, even when they aren't sorry at all. I think the worst is when people start sentences off with "I'm sorry, but..." because whatever is coming up you know it's going to be insulting. Nobody ever says "I'm sorry, but you've just won a million dollars" or "I'm sorry, but you just dropped this twenty on the ground" or "I'm sorry, but this super hot actress is going to have to give you a blowjob." Those are the kind of apologies I need. No more of this "I'm sorry, but after dating you I've decided to just go with girls now." I'm sorry, Sheila!

  • Why is it when people call you to ask you for something, they always start off with inane chit-chat with long pauses? "Hey how you doing, Brad? ...Yeah, it's been a long time....Yeah, remember that time at the mattress factory where we found Napoleans hairpiece? ....Oh that wasn't you? ...Oh. Well the reason I called was, well, can I borrow $6,000?"

  • Sometimes people call me and I can't talk. Maybe I'm urinating, maybe I'm in the middle of a purchase, maybe my hands are stuck together with glue. The part that pisses me off is I can call these people back twenty seconds later (true story), and they don't answer their phone. You just fucking called me! What could you possibly have done during the twenty seconds it took for me to finish peeing? It's not like you decided to call me twenty seconds before driving a flaming bus into a crowd of pedestrians and now you're too busy wiping blood and entrails off the windshield. In the time it took you to put the phone back into your pocket and cross the street, I've called you back. So unless you've gotten hit by a flaming bus, I expect you to answer.

  • How about when the same homeless guy hits you up for money two days in a row with two different stories? I felt like punching him in the face, but didn't because I'm weak and afraid, but Jesus Christ, man, I gave you ten fucking dollars yesterday! Now I just feel stupid and hate every homeless guy that begs for money. (actually, I did confront him on the third day, and the motherfucker denied he knew me. So I guess he's got his gig down pretty good.)

  • People who make lists of things they hate when they have a roof over their heads and a pretty good life, in general. Especially insipid college students who live on borrowed money and time, staving off the horrors of reality while looking down their nose at the people who have to work for a living. Those guys are fucking douchebags.

So yeah, that's it. I don't know why I chose today to be a dick to strangers remotely on a blog no one reads anyway (not even my family), but hey, what the hell.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Wreckless Musings [i]

I should be working on a paper, but instead I'm watching Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride, a movie about Hunter S. Thompson that apparently I watched before but don't recall watching at any point in time. My guess was the last time I watched this was after a night of drinking rum and cranberry juice, something I am prone to do when I have easy access to either. I tend to do things like drink enough to get drunk (not much) and then do something menial and mundane, and then forget whatever it was I was doing before. This is in contrast to others I know, who drink steadily all night and black out and wake up in a hotel room tied to a broken lamp surrounded by vomit and blood that isn't theirs. I guess the point is, if a camera crew followed some of my friends, you'd have something fun and perhaps entertaining, whereas the majority of the times I'm drunk and blacking out, I'm watching Fight Club and wishing I had Tyler Durden's balls. Not much fun in recording that.

New Brunswick is a strange place for me at this point in my life. I don't think I ever really expected to be here at twenty-seven, slogging through an English major I have little to no interest in at a school that is costing me $12,000 a year, trying to figure out what the fuck my "plan" is.

Plan. Ha. I don't think there is one rational person here who has a real plan, and if they do, they're probably damning themselves to a lifetime of aimlessness and horrifying boredom. I mean, how many people actually find a job out there that matches their major? Teaching? Sure, I guess that's a possibility. But you actually have to have passion for teaching, and half the "Future Teachers of America" out there are cold-blooded crazies with red eyes who actually hate children and just want a job doing something that's kind of lucrative and is always open. Teaching is like owning a funeral home: There's always business.

Then there are the scientists and mathematicians. These people have plans. But I'll never understand them because it's all fucking math. These are the people who think math is at the basis of all existence. Maybe they're right (actually, probably [actually, actually]), but fuck, man, who wants to live a life where you're surrounded by numbers? Why? What point is there to an existence where you are but a statistic, a number four hundred zeroes behind a decimal point? Maybe that's why people back creationism, as ludicrous as it is: Science is so fucking clinical and cold. Science is heartless and doesn't care if you die (if anything, it's interested in your death). Well, whatever, I don't want to get too far off point (which is what exactly?), but I just think math is stupid, because it's not something that keeps you on the feel-good side of life. And who wants to go to school and then surround themselves with that? Ugh.

So what's the plan for people like me? The lazy-minded crazies who don't want what the world wants for us, the ones who feel they can't be a statistic, the ones who fight tooth and nail the ignorances and weirdness of those who want us to have 9 to 5 jobs and wear suits and ties and punch a fucking clock?

I have no idea. I guess I'll just have to figure that one out later, cross that bridge when it rears it's ugly, mortared head. I guess I'll just have to buy the ticket, and take the ride, and see if I make it to the end.

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Magazines, Guerilla style

Maybe it's me, but I hate it when I buy bags of shit.

I hate it when I buy a magazine that purports to be a "writer's" magazine, or even more insulting, "The Writer's Magazine," and then they turn out to be full of shit. It's like buying an album because you heard the single and then you find out that the single was the only thing the band wrote while fully-functioning humans and the rest of the album is screaming and out-of-key blathering and noodling for nine minutes, usually ending with something like a cymbal crash or a twelve-minute cover of a great song you remember from high school that they systematically destroyed and ruined for everyone who even remotely liked the original.

I once bought a book by Michael Crichton called Prey. I remember that I had read Jurassic Park a million times and had read Lost World and then read The Sphere and had decided, "hey, this guy Crichton knows what he's doing. He spins a good yarn and though the plots are the usual cautions about misused technology, I think I can consider myself a fan." Then I read it, and it was probably the worst book I read by a popular writer except maybe Dreamcatcher by Stephen King (but that's another story). The plot is ridiculous, the "bad guys" are even more so, being obvious cookie-cutter bad guys with no redeeming qualities and the parts that I suppose were supposed to be thrilling were when rabbits were being killed. Yes, you read that correctly: Rabbits.

Anyway, buying magazines anymore (especially specific mags, like ones for Writing) has become more and more like biting into a rotten apple. Either the mag has no content (read: the same content every sixth issue) or it has no entries in the back (you know, where fledgling writers look to find ads for contests and submissions). Sometimes they're printed on high-gloss paper and have a writer you're remotely interested in, but then of course you realize they're asking stupid questions or they're printed on cheap-ass trade paper and endorse terrible writers you've never heard of.

So tonight I decided to go through all the magazines and make my own by taking copious notes from all the magazines and writing them in the margins of another, thereby gathering $30.00 of information for a measly $5.99. That's right. I mean, I arrived at the store late, so I had to rush through the mags a little faster than I wanted to, but I got all the web addresses to conferences, message boards, contests, mag submissions and retreats that I needed. I discovered Ellory Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Magazines, the mystery writers' mainstays of yesteryear have yet to land in the twenty-first century, having no e-mail submissions and even refusing e-mail queries. I've copied at least a dozen websites of writer's groups and even copied down a couple of writing prompts from other mags that looked promising. And then I went up to the counter and purchased one magazine for $5.99, leaving the rest of them back on the shelf.

So next time you see three magazines about music or writing or skateboarding or tranny erotica or whatever and they all only have 1/3 the info you want (or need), do what they taught you in school: take notes. Unless you want to just steal them. Either way.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stephen King's New Novel isn't very novel

What the fuck happened to Stephen King?
His latest “horror” novel will be called Under the Dome. Here’s the description:

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens—town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing—even murder—to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

Huh. Where did I see that done before?
Oh yeah. The fucking Simpsons Movie. Didn’t the entire town of Springfield get trapped under a dome after Homer dumped pig shit into the lake? Didn’t the town fall to lawlessness and violence? Wasn’t it because of a sick and twisted politician? Didn’t it eventually come down to Homer and Bart saving the day?

You’re probably not as hurt as I am by this weird sort of hollywood-esque lifting of an idea, but Stephen King was a huge part of my life and to watch him blatantly take another old, tired, hackneyed idea and somehow churn a bestseller out of it (and probably take home an award for it) is a sad day indeed.

You see, I’ve been a King fan for nearly as long as I could read. I can’t remember the first story I read by him, but I do remember my dad reading stories from Night Shift to me when I was young and impressionable. Sometime later I began reading everything I could that had the man’s name on it, gobbling up one after another, raiding the library for everything they had (not to mention building substantial fines when it took longer than two weeks to finish them). I remember being excited when my family moved because we began going to a different library and I had a different cache of Stephen King books to reap and enjoy.

Not long after that, at least while in grade school, I began writing stories of my own, nothing memorable, but stories nonetheless, ones mainly based on Stephen King’s style and voice. I remember one that hung off of the “moons and goochers” scene in King’s Novella The Body (later made into a great film called Stand By Me directed by Rob Reiner). I was still reading King all the time and had little or no patience for anyone else, especially when I learned one of my mother’s co-workers was a huge King fan. I asked for King books for Christmas and my birthday, and usually used my money to buy new ones or replacements of library books I’d read so I could re-read them. I read and wrote stories over and over again until I reached high school.

Nowadays kids read Harry Potter or the Twilight books but back in my day it was R.L. Stine with his Goosebumps series. I read his these, usually polishing them in a day or so but usually they ended in a disappointing M. Night Shyamalan twist and were formulaic as hell.

But Stephen King’s stories weren’t as simple to crack. Jack Torrance wasn’t just a cookie-cutter bad guy, he was fucking complicated. Annie Wilkes didn’t just lock Paul Sheldon up in her house because she was the bad guy, there was more important things going on. She was a character you could feel, someone who actually taught Sheldon a thing or two about how his readers read his work, and (definitely) how serious they can be about it. Carrie was sympathetic to be sure, but was also so pathetic you could actually see hating her just a little, maybe even just enough to laugh at her at the wrong moment. Louis Creed was always my favorite character from a writer’s seat, and if you’ve never read Pet Semetary, let me tell you, no story ever showed me how even love itself can be a persons largest downfall.

These stories had bad guys who were more than just cookie-cutter shadows on the wall stumbling along behind the protagonist, but instead felt that they were doing right, that they were the good guys. Not even the good guys were always good guys, sometimes they had to kill an entire town just to get where they needed to go.

But somewhere the needle started to stray. The first time I noticed it was Needful Things. It followed into Delores Clairborne, was slightly stayed by Nightmares and Dreamscapes, then reaffirmed with The Green Mile, his second book about prison in the 50’s.

Maybe you know what I’m thinking of. Somehow King’s stories lost something. He no longer has the urgency he had in his writing. When he wrote The Shining, he wrote it because he had to do something, he had to beat back the demons, had to show you where they hide. Now he writes because he’s got nothing better to do between visits from the kids.

The Green Mile
is good, has heart and is meaningful but I think it’s his last really great book mainly because it was a serial and this forced him to write quick and dirty. After that we have what begins what I consider the New School Stephen King, the one who wins awards, the one who writes a lot but doesn’t say as much, the one who is more conscientious of what he wants out of the story and thereby makes it less interesting.

An example, is perhaps in order for those who may hate me at this point. In On Writing, King’s awesome book about the technical (and not-so-technical) parts of the craft, he says that when he was writing The Shining, he believes his drug-addled mind was trying to convey the power of addiction over the family. However, in The Green Mile, he saw in his editing that his miracle inmate paralleled Jesus Christ, so he changed the character’s name to John Coffey, thereby making the it more obvious. By changing the name, King made the story more about the message (John Coffey is like Jesus Christ) than about the story itself (a man with magical powers is imprisoned and changes the lives of his captors). Early King would not have done this, because Early King was about the story, not the message.

Plus, what happened to the horror, man? The last time King honestly frightened me was when Annie Wilkes took care of the kid cop outside of Paul Sheldon’s window. Or maybe when Gard discovered what was in Bobbi’s shed.

The surprises are gone, too. Tell me you didn’t know what was going to happen to Ted in Hearts in Atlantis sixty pages before it happened. Dreamcatcher had a twist worthy of M. Night Shyamalan (but not Stephen King) and The Dark Tower lost it’s luster after King decided to reference Harry Potter (Specifically, Wolves of Calla and it’s Snitch grenades). The only surpirse I got was the one at the end of Bag of Bones, but only because I suddenly had a Goosebumps book in my hands complete with Deus Ex Machina and a rushed ending with no heart.

It’s sad to watch your hero die a weird death, sadly unaware that he has become a joke of himself. Stephen King was once my very favorite person, the person I strove to be, the one who made me want to write. Now I find I can’t even pick up his books for the sad fear of what kind of pandering I’ll be subjecting myself to.

Enjoy Under The Dome, Mister King. I can’t.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

You know, when I started this thing I thought I'd post regularly at a regular interval, like every night at nine o'clock I'd sit down and write for an hour, pretend I was writing a letter to someone who was eager to hear from me, someone who could look past all the weird shit I say and find the deep, inner me inside.

So much for that.

It's okay, really. I don't mind. I just wish that the blank page and that blinking cursor wasn't to fucking daunting. I wish that it's magical properties did not always seem so frightening and that I could once again feel confident knowing that what I was about to do with that blinking cursor was something that could be considered amazing or at the very least interesting enough for someone else to be eager to read more.

So, that is/was my real, ultimate purpose to this blog--to write a small amount every day to remember how to make the words come, how to make my story keep going.

I have two stories I'm working on--Ha that's a lie. I have one story I constantly batter myself for not finishing yet, one that is constantly giving me some sort of emotional problem. I used to think maybe it was a book, it seems pretty long so far, but I don't know if I'm even capapble of finishing it, much less actually writing a fucking book like a real-life book. A novel. Something you might find on a bookshelf or a bargain rack. Fuck, anywhere. I want to see my name on a book somewhere. I mean, I'd like to see people reading it, I would allow an Oprah Book Club sticker (even though I think her club is fucking stupid, I mean, how does Oprah tag Middlesex as a great book and suddenly people think it's amazing, but when it won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, nobody gave a shit? Good lord the nation is fucked up when Oprah means more than a Pulitzer).

However, the other story I'm working on is also good but dead for now. I know what I want to do with it but I don't know how. Or I know how but I fear fucking it up. Good Christ. I'm a mess. And somehow I seem to have lost the muse for the moment. Shit.

So now I've realized that this whole blog thing is totally overpopulated anyway and no one is going to care very much if I ever stop writing or reading or whatever. I'm not famouse or a star of the screen. I don't write novels and I don't pretend to have superpowers on a tv show. I've never been anywhere too intereseting and for all intents and puposes I'm just like any other sap that exists today. I've got nothing to bring to the table, nothing to show for my life so far and really nothing to hold on to other than my family and the few friends who can tolerate me for longer than three hours at a time.

Whew. That was a pity party and a half, wasn't it? Wah, oh woe is Wesker. Cry me a river. See this, this is the smallest violin in the world playing 'my heart pumps purple piss for you' over and over again until I stop complaining about my fully functioning body, my healthy family and my job and vehicle and intelligence.

So this blog just got so emo my heart stopped and I had to be revived.

Anyway, how all are well, whoever is reading this bugger, thank you, and those who think this is all I do, you're wrong, just give me a chance to prove it.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whatever happened to Alanis Morrisette?

Now I know she's put out like seventeen albums or something since Jagged Little Pill but I think my question is what happened to her? I mean, I'm listening to All I Really Want, the first track off the first album and it's really good. Not the music so much as the content and just the emotions that lie behind the screen of lyrics. She's angry. She's not taking shit from you, whoever you are. I like that.

You Oughta Know is even more pissed. In You Oughta Know she sounds like she's about five seconds from cutting off your dick with a rusted safty razor. And it just reeks of that feminimity that daunts all men: there is a moment of calm right in the middle, just like every argument you've ever had with a woman where suddenly she stops talking and just glares and then you realize that you're really in trouble.

The anger and bitterness in this album is a milemarker in time for me, even though I have a penis. I don't know why, but there are still songs on this album that make me think of myself when I was younger and could identify with the pain and meanness and anger that fills the words (if not the music, which is kind of weak at best).

So what happened? The last time I saw her in any type of music scene was her naked (unflatteringly so) in a dirty laundromat. I think. That might have been a MadTV sketch making fun of her. All I know is that something happened that destroyed that anger and heartfelt hurt and the rage that boiled under the surface. My guess is she fell in love, had a kid, and decided that it was her responsibility to save the world, just like every other over-blown solo artist.

Does this happen to every solo artist? It happened to Madonna, who is now just a joke, especially after Guy Ritchie started making good movies after they divorced (personally I lost my taste for Madonna when I saw the beginning of Resevior Dogs). It certainly happened to Elvis Costello ("Whatever happened to Peace, Love and Understanding?" Well, Elvis, you made it vapid and washed out and a battle cry for burnt-out hippies and trendwhores) and even made a Beatle lose his integrity (I'm pointing at you, Sir Paul, although Ringo also went in the same direction, he was never really popular except when he was a drummer in the 60s).

See, there are exceptions to the rules though. Bruce Springsteen, as generic as he is, he somehow stays popular. But I can explain this simply because of Chuck Klosterman. In Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs he say's Bruce was cool "because he was trying to save us." [mine or his emphasis, I'm not positive] My contention is that Bruce was trying to save us the entire time. Elvis and Alanis (and to a lesser extent, Madonna) started off hating the world and most of it's occupants, at least for three minutes at a time. But then, after they blew their anger-load they decided that they were wrong before and know we were all worth the effort to try to save us.

To be honest, they should have stayed wanting us to burn. When you're angry you're the most honest, so when Alanis is asking us if our new girlfriend will go down on us in a theatre, she's really telling us that the world isn't fair and life sucks and that the world isn't squeaky clean. Her mission isn't to save us, it's to destroy us, but instead she saved us. By trying to save us, she destroyed what we thought of her.

Fuck. Does that make any sense?

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It's 12:35 am and I'm searching for something to say.

Maybe this wasn't the greatest time to decide that I wanted to share myself with the world, maybe I should just quit this and retire to the bathroom and have myself a good shit. That sounds good.

Maybe I should write my goal here, like 'why did I decide to start a blog when I already have done the blog thing and it never works out?'

Well, mainly because I need to start writing again, and practice makes more better good.

I know most people here consider themselves writers (although I'm sure there are people on here who believe themselves to be writers and are anything but, and I could be one of these, since you don't even know me yet), but I like to think I'm okay at it. But since I haven't written anything (on a regular interval) in a long while I'm going to have to just start writing in here every day. Why not? It's not like there's anything else going on that's any more satisfying than watching my own words pop up on the screen one letter at a time like penguins marching towards the sea.

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