Happy New Year from Psychedelic Kimchi. See you in 2009.
(Unless I see you first.)
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Kmart -- depending on how you know him, he's either Kennan Highly or "that weird dude who hangs around my junior high entrance gates in a trench coat" -- recommends me stuff from time to time, be it music, movies, murder weapons (icicles!), or video games. In that way, he's both my Svengali and my life coach. As reciprocation, I let him "pet" my dog and drink my tap water. Clearly, this give-and-take friendship is lopsided, Kmart my sugar daddy of entertainment, I a frigid, uncaring and often ambivalent vampire/cat.
Admittedly, I am a stubborn ass when it comes to recommendations outside of my comfort zone. I hear steak, coffee, and anal sex are hugely popular with millions of people, but none of them are my thing. Ditto for RPG games; and so when Kmart came to me in 2008 and asked if I could
(smuggle Rita Hayworth into the prison for him)
give Chrono Trigger a try, I said it would be no problem at all. Because I already knew what my opinion would be.
That opinion, like a lot of the opinions I harbor -- women shouldn't be allowed to vote, crocodiles are just retarded alligators -- turned out to be dead wrong. Chrono Trigger is possibly the most fun gaming experience I've had on the Nintendo DS, and I'm more than a little regretful I was too busy "watching" Baywatch and earning experience points as a delinquent to have played it when it was originally released 14 years ago.
But now I've finally been converted. God bless Kmart, for he is truly doing the Lord's work.
PS - I'm making a shirt: Crono&Lucca&Marle&Frog&Robo&Ayla
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 8:37 PM
Sunday, December 28, 2008
That Wanted currently has a 73% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.0 score on the IMDB infuriates me. Ditto for Roger Ebert and CHUD's Devin Faraci giving it positive reviews. They should be smarter than that. Everyone should be smarter than that, especially intelligent people. Much in the same way the film's protagonist, Wesley, is seduced by a skeleton disguised as Angelina Jolie, I can sort of understand: it's nice to look at pretty stuff; but Jolie looks positively ghoulish, and the film's "slick" style is a veneer of sugary icing on a cake of steaming dog turd. I've watched plenty of so-called "turn your brain off" movies that are quite entertaining -- fucking Star Wars -- but Wanted is the first "turn your brain off and get bitch-slapped for it" movie I've had the displeasure of viewing.
I've hated a lot of movies -- fucking The Brave One; which, I believe, Ebert gave 4 stars(!) -- but always because the execution betrays the premise. Hell, even when the execution ass rapes the premise, I might still be on board (see: Neon Maniacs). But when a film openly mocks me? This means war.
As corny as Wanted is -- and it's cornier than Iowa on growth hormones -- what makes me despise it as though it were a McDonald's employee who kicked me in the balls after I bought a Big Mac is that it actually goes out of its way to offend you. No, seriously.
Dialog from the film's third act:
"Six weeks ago, I was ordinary and pathetic, just like you."
I've never yelled at a movie before. In fact, if you yell at a movie, you maybe should be institutionalized. But how in fuck's name does Wanted have the nerve to tell me I'm pathetic? You know what's pathetic? Wanted!
What the fuck have you done lately?
That's the movie's final line. What the fuck have I done? Wasted an hour and a half watching the cinematic equivalent of being vomited on out of spite, that's what.
(Though I will say, there's no better way to offend a person. Wanted is an offense from which you can't retaliate. Still, I tried.)
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 9:00 PM
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
As much as I should grow up, I just can't; things that were difficult years ago are just as difficult today (if not more so) and I'd be lying if I said that I could get beyond whatever miniscule victories I once claimed as my own. (Bigger and better things, she muttered, with a diamond on her tongue.) That said, you're a real man if you can bust Darm up on the 'fast' speed setting.
Posted by Kmork at 1:05 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I'm still unsure whether this is the greatest thing Roger Ebert has ever written or whether it's the greatest thing anyone has.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 11:06 PM
1. I'm neither a Mormon, nor a Latter Day Saint, but I am Perplexed.
2. I can appreciate a good slice of mendacious pie. Lies make the world go round, after all.
3. There are 139,357 published comments. (See numbers one and two, above.)
4. Oh, so that's the origin of people born with darker skin? Golly.
5. Joseph Smith is, apparently, a key player in the Holy Trinity.
6. Where did they find those clowns from the live-action segment and, furthermore, would it be possible for the guys to actually believe what they're saying?
7. Strange. That's the best response I can possibly muster.
Posted by Kmork at 12:20 AM
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Nicole, it turned out after Jack asked if he could sit at her booth, had been raped multiple times by, she claimed, four men. She said this to Jack as matter-of-factly as a person remarking about the weather forecast or the price of a head of cabbage. (Forty percent chance of rain today; the cabbage at Wegmans is a dollar twenty a head.) Dumbfounded, Jack only stared at her. He fished a bent Camel from the breast pocket of his leather jacket and lit it with the sole match from a book sitting in an ashtray on the table, the restaurant's name and slogan printed on the front (THE SEA SHANTY! COME ASHORE!).
Presently, a waitress approached and asked to take Jack's order. But before she could, Claudia stood up and said, "He's not eating. He just came to pick me up. Go outside and bring the car around, Paul. This one's on me."
And that was fine by Jack. He had no money, anyway.
Apparently neither did Nicole, because fewer than ten seconds after Jack stepped down from the restaurant's unvarnished wooden steps and into the biting New England winter wind, she came bounding out of the restaurant, her purse flailing wildly. "Find the car!" she yelled.
Like a relay runner waiting to be passed a baton -- striding slowly at first, then into a fast jog -- Jack started in the direction Nicole was running toward, looking back again and again with every breath to see how fast she was catching up. Faster than the restaurant's staff, it appeared. Ironic given his poverty, Jack thanked God for the minimum wage. The chef and management were a good 40 yards behind them, the wait staff and line cooks double that. As Jack and his newfound accomplice pulled farther ahead, he laughed out loud, imagining the busboys ankle high in the Atlantic surf.
As instinctively as migratory birds, their pace slackened as the sound of their pursuers faded. But when Jack heard a car engine in the distance behind them, he grabbed Nicole's wrist and pulled her into the uprising wood. There they sat in the dark and cold for an interminable amount of time.
Then Nicole said, "I don't think a few mussels and a Budweiser are worth all this for them, do you? Let's go."
Jack stood up and wiped the muddy knees of his jeans. He wanted a cigarette.
"I know a place not too far from here, actually. No one's there, and we can hang out until at least tomorrow. I'll let you fuck me if you follow."
"But haven't you been fucked enough tonight?"
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 8:31 PM
Monday, December 15, 2008
When Jack Stillwater was eleven he lost a testicle due to torsion, and when he was twelve his father shot himself with a 12-gauge rifle. On Jack's birthday. When Jack was thirteen his mother ran away with some rube she met at the truck stop at which she waited tables. After spending a hellish year in the care of foster parents more in tune with nature than nurture, a too-kind euphemism to say that they raped their ward more times than they fed him, the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services placed him in the care of his ailing aunt Claudia, a heroin junkie with a crime record longer than a roll of unspooled industrial-sized toilet paper. Surprise, surprise; a heroin overdose killed her two weeks later. Her corpse wasn't discovered until she was twelve months dead, however; the police chancing upon the burnt shipping container she and Jack lived in, previously hidden amongst a forest of redwoods, only after a wildfire had erased the landscape.
Jack was fifteen by then and hard as a criminal twice his age. He stole to survive, and he treated the world with the contempt it had continually, unmercifully, given him. He slept by the roadside and scavenged like a vulture. He slept in wayside restrooms and saloon bathrooms, always hiding his eyes from light like a blinded mutant fish dragged from the deep. Always hating, yet always hoping. And why? Because it can always get better. That's what dreams are for, aren't they?
But dreams are only dreams until they come true. And then they do, and your dreams get bigger, more grandiose, and then sometimes Icarus's wax wings melt. But the dreams never cease. Not ever.
He met Nicole Westbrook on the day of his sixteenth birthday. The restaurant's yellowing calendar said so. She two years his junior, Jack liked Nicole instantly, because she looked like his opposite in female form. The girl was drenched like a sewer rat, huddled at a booth and shaking, her sneakered feet up on the vinyl seating.
She was shivering.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 8:53 PM
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
He only ever shows himself reflected on metal. Dwight Sanders reminds himself of this as he ignores the sweat trickling out from under his jade-colored cap and hesitantly reaches for the scalpel. His hands are shaking, and noticeably. Beside him, Ramirez -- that fuckprick of a doctor Wayne Ramirez, as Dwight thinks of him -- clears his throat and leans in, whispering, "I'm guessing you had a few too many glasses of scotch, a lot too many Winstons, and not nearly enough sleep last night, Dwight. You look like you've got DTs, and a surgeon with unsteady hands is like a male porn star without a cock. So cut it with the Parkinson's or I have to say something."
Dwight doesn't respond, but he agrees. He's even sure he's heard that crude axiom before, but he's not sure when or where. However much of an asshole Ramirez is (and in Dwight's opinion he's a big enough one to pilot the Nostromo into), he's right. Dwight knows he looks like a first year med school student and that all present in the OR are watching him, wondering how in Hell a cardiac surgeon of 11 years subtly but suddenly starts to lose his shit. Despite his utter terror, he picks up the scalpel from the tray, squeezing it tightly between his thumb and forefinger to lessen the trembling in his hand. This helps a little. Curling his toes inside his shoes does, too.
He looks at the blade and feels a cold tingle of relief in his abdomen. No face. No slicked-back black hair with a widow's peak and a pallid, sagging face beneath it. No black eyes with crimson pinprick pupil's in their centers. The scientific reality of reflection has again been restored to doctor Dwight Sanders's world.
"She's not going to give herself a double bypass, Quincy, so how's 'bout we start the show already?" Ramirez says, this time loud enough for those in the cheap seats to hear.
Again, Dwight doesn't respond; he gets down to business, both sides of his brain working in tandem. He cuts into the patient just above the navel. Like riding a bicycle. At the same time, he's trying to find an itch to scratch in the back of his brain. Something about what Ramirez said.
(A surgeon with unsteady hands)
She sucked his cock
(is like a male porn star)
She sucked his cock while your four-year-old son sat at the breakfast table
(without a cock)
She sucked his cock and swallowed his load in the living room while your son sat at the table and watched from the kitchen, tears from his cheeks dripping into his bowl of soggy Chex. Then she took the kid to daycare and came back home so she could taste in her pussy what was so decadent in her mouth. Twice.
This is truth to Dwight Sanders. This is reality explained from the corporeal. A demon reflected on a tin kettle or an aluminum baseball bat or a chrome bumper is madness, but this is Truth.
"Sew her up!" he screams, ripping off his mask, his cap, his scrubs, before storming out of the OR.
But not for long. His scalpel still in hand, he walks back in seconds before the rest of the operating unit have time to register what in damnation is going on and stabs Ramirez in that worthy's jugular. A sanguine geyser followed by a muted scream that maybe only dogs and Satan hears.
Now, my boy, I want you to steady those paws. We have further work to do.
But first I want you to plunge that scalpel in your hand into your brain. Trust me, it's easy work.
Just like riding a bicycle.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 8:15 PM
Monday, December 08, 2008
A cloud no larger than a seat cushion descends amongst the fog, smoke, and fire. It hovers over a young man, only twenty-two. His name is Benjamin, but everyone calls him Benji. Like the dog.
Benji had two legs five minutes ago. His small intestine and his dick, too. But Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and had a great fall; and all the king's horses and all the king's men can't put Benji's favorite legs or his grenade shrapnel-strewn breadbasket back together again.
Alone. Left to die in this sweltering foreign land amongst a fell symphony of screams: mothers, children, and men; sorrow, horror, and hatred.
Death. Take me, Benji prays to no god in particular. Five minutes ago he was a Catholic, but the rosary wrapped around his wrist holds no more significance to him right now than the charred and acrid shoelaces of his combat boots that, five minutes ago, defined his feet. His pain is of a kind that mocks the very concept of existence, his internal scream unrelenting and abject.
The amorphous dark cloud hovering over poor Benji pulsates and breaks apart to reveal its composition like strands of hair seen with the naked eye after viewed through the microscope lens. Thousands of mosquitoes alight on Benji's face and envelop it in a writhing fury of bloodlust.
Then, a voice.
Benjamin, you hear me. You are not alone. This pain can end now. All I ask is one favor.
In your present state, believe it or not, you will survive. The medics are running through the jungle right now. They're going to hoist you onto a stretcher. You will let them, because you haven't the will to protest. But let me look further into your future and tell you that if you make it to the base hospital via helicopter you're looking at a life of shit. No legs, no dick, pissing in a bag. You're twenty-two. That's a lot of fucking pain. And I know you want to survive, even if you think you don't. It's human nature. But in the long run the pain you're feeling now is crumbs on the table compared to what you're going to feel. Trust me, I know.
I just want to end everything.
Oh, you will. When the medics arrive, ask them to huddle close. Despite your...injuries, your arms and voice are in tip-top shape. Pretend neither are. Ready your bayonet. Then stab them in their throats.
Then can I die?
Only if they do first.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 11:14 PM
[Translated from the Japanese.]
I am disgraced, seppuku my lone bastion of honor. What have I if not that? I know what I must do, what I am supposed to do...but still.
I have heard voices. A single voice, rather. It's always of a different timbre, but it speaks the same demon language, one that promises forgiveness. One that promises another realm of existence where man-made concepts of right, wrong, justice, sin, virtue, damnation, ethics, and life itself are alien and as trivial as sand blown between leaves of grass on an abandoned shore. Where chaos reigns, and chaos is holy.
I have seen a face, too. In sleep. This, a bovine skull the likes of which my eyes have never laid upon nor wish to while awake, bleached white and sat crookedly within the hood of a brown, dusty robe; the robe threadbare yet belying no man or beast underneath. A further illusion of my madness.
Madness or enlightenment? I am soothed in my conundrum, for cowardice and bravado are one and the same, my apparition assures. And what else do I have? What else?
All he asks for is a sacrifice. The decapitated head of my general.
I am told I can keep my swords in this otherworld. My attire, too.
Tomorrow I will cut off my master's head.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 8:51 PM
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Friday night. Ain't a damn thing funny. Home. Waiting. Beer, soju, squares and DS. Lather, rinse, repeat. Hongdae. Shooters. Asahi. Squid and nachos. Jagermeister and self-loathing. Home. Convenience store sandwich, garlic potato chips. Drunk girlfriend, drunker boyfriend. Sleep. Daylight. Kimchi fried rice. Lakers-Wizards (or Zephyrs). Comeback. Not enough mustard. [Censored]...Hiroshima. Kmartini. Roadkill porn. Sundae and takoyaki and draft beer and cigarettes. Ho Bar XXVI. Tsingtao, Jack Daniels, The Killers, nacho gratuity and spirit candles and KRS ONE synchronicity. Fan Bar (oddly, no fans, electric or paper). Butch waitress, more Jack, more free nachos, San Miguel. Shooters again. Guinness and it's fuzzy what else. The Burger King lounge. Honey potato burger heartbreak, double bacon cheeseburger redemption. A chance meeting with co-workers (not mine). More whisky? More air to breathe??? Yet too cold. Home. Ceylon tea and menthol cigarettes and music. Sleep. Late morning, awake. Sleep again, early afternoon awake again. Neon Maniacs. NEON FUCKING MANIACS. M&M's and Coca-Cola* for lunch. Mario Kart: Sparkles-Kmart. Banana peel barrage. Comeback (mine). Enough mustard...
Beer in a plastic bottle, soju in a green glass one. Cigarettes. Soon, a convenience store sandwich. Life is a wheel. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
* It's because I wont ever get to drink another one, isnt it?
Ever's a long time.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 8:14 PM
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Let's enjoy a blast from the past, shall we?
Before going any further, I'd like to digress for a moment to comment upon the-supposedly- cheesy dialogue. It should be noted that Sparkles and I recently engaged in an eerily homologous discussion.
Kmart: The Mars Volta steals men's souls and makes them into slaves!
Sparkles: (sitting atop a throne of bootlegged VHS pornography, sipping spritzer from a crystal chalice) Perhaps the same could be said of all noodling...
Kmart: Their music is as empty as your soul. Mankind ill needs a band such as Mars Volta!
Sparkles: (throwing chalice down with delicate flick of wrist) What is a man? A miserable little pile of desire for melodious excellence. But enough talk... Have at you!
(That's not cheese. It's Velveeta.)
The preceding video may not have been terribly impressive (visually), especially if one uses modern standards of video game graphics to judge its merit, but it's important to note that Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was released a decade ago and, moreover, it signified a tremendous leap beyond the imagery depicted in the 8- and 16-bit generations of gaming. Sprites were big, colors were vibrant, and the attention to detail was far beyond what people had expected, and it was all in 2-D, which was something coming out of left field considering that the motif of the period was to take classic games and fuck them up in 3-D (Contra being the cruelest example possible).
That yearning to take advantage of the 'next-gen' systems' super-hyper-awesome-geometric-number-crunching CPU to construct polygonal paradise was inevitable, and perhaps even understandable, but more often than not, the initial 3-D entry of a popular series was gut-wrenching at best. (Seriously. Look up Contra: Legacy of War and tell me that doesn't look like your father's dick wrapped in a flour tortilla and topped with salsa verde.) In that sense, it was both refreshing and reassuring to see Konami hadn't abandoned that which had given it the adulation of the gaming community.*
But the gameplay was different! Waaaaah!
I stand corrected, somewhat. Konami had tinkered with the traditional formula for Symphony of the Night, and the game played unlike the majority of its predecessors. With the exception of the convoluted Simon's Quest (to which SotN owes, unquestionably, a debt of gratitude), the Castlevania series was, basically, a linear, level-by-level platformer with obligatory boss encounters, but you already knew that. How did the game actually play? A video is worth fourteen words of yours, and ten thousand of mine.
Those fourteen words of yours would, most likely, be something like "I can't believe I just watched that stupid, boring, asinine, pointless bullshit you posted" and, honestly, I can see how the video would give you such an unfortunate impression of the game, but you'll just have to trust me (unless you'd like to trudge through another thousand words) when I say that actually playing the game is quite engaging. You take on the role of Dracula's bastard son, Alucard, as he travels around the big, bad vampire lord's castle, searching for a way to destroy his own father. Along the way, you'll collect hundreds of items (weapons, armor, heroin, etc.) to assist in the mission, explore several decadent locales, and tackle numerous beastly entities.
The music, composed by Michiru Yamane,** enhanced the gaming experience considerably. Sure, you were treated to orthodox concepts (and I'd like to stress that I'm not adverse to sticking to what works), but there were also tunes that strayed far from what was expected of an entry to the series. To this day, I'll stand behind the SotN soundtrack, and it contains the best rendition the Dance of Illusions (aka battle with Dracula theme) available.
Is Symphony of the Night the best Castlevania game to date? I'm not saying that, but it tells you something when every subsequent 2-D game in the series has followed a similar path.
* We love the Power Glove.
** Or Yamane Michiru (山根 ミチル), if you want to be dumb about it.
Posted by Kmork at 3:59 AM
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Charles Barkley was half right when he said Lebron should "shut up." Because James really hasn't said much about his free agency in 2010 apart from dropping hints. Instead, he's allowed the media to speak for him, and when questioned about it has done very little (read: nothing) to assure the fans in Cleveland -- and we few sports fans who still value franchise fidelity -- that he has any intention of remaining a Cavalier.
Sure, he's mentioned that his No. 1 priority is to win rings, but is it? If so, why allow the media frenzy that took place last week? Why the "big apple" Nike sneaks he
wore to the Garden -- shoes which one Spike Lee was also sporting? Why the free hot dogs? For Team James, that game, that event, was the biggest basketball cock tease you'll probably ever witness. To say that it eclipsed the actual game would be an understatement. It was more like a hybrid campaign stop-fashion show; James's telling New Yorkers to mark his impending free agency on their calendars the ultimate act of disloyalty to his team and the city he plays for.
Let's not fool ourselves here, kids; This isn't KG in Minnesota. The Cavs currently have the third-best record in the NBA. Are they Championship contenders? Not this year, in my opinion, but they're well on their way. Let's say they make the Conference Finals this year, get bumped by the Celtics and make it to the Finals next season, championship or no championship. Isn't that enough reason to stay? After all, MJ had to get bounced out of the 'offs time after time until finally making it to -- and winning in -- the Finals in his seventh year in the league. James is in his sixth NBA season. He's already been to the Finals, and the Cavs are the East's heir apparent. Isn't that more reassurance of the possibility of winning a title than James signing with the Knicks (or the Nets, or the Pistons...) in 2010?
Mark my words, Lebron James will not be a Cleveland Cavalier two seasons from now. Like Jack Woltz told Johnny Fontane, no chance. Put it this way: if your girlfriend/employee/favorite comic book artist kept silent while everyone else entertained the notion that he/she would jump ship, and he/she actually entertained the idea herself/himself, how confident would you be? Not very.
And that's how Cavs fans feel right now. Denial of what's to come has already manifested itself in Ohio. Hell, it's pretty much been around since Lebron's rookie season; but after this dog-and-pony show in New York, the resent will start festering. More.
It's been evident for a long time. Why did Cavs fans boo James a few years ago when he had a bad shooting night? Why did they boo him last month when he ran out the shot clock instead of possibly helping his team score over 100 points, thus ensuring fans at the game free Taco Bell chalupas (the ultimate analogy of James's career as a Cav and his looming free agency)?
Lebron is the hot girlfriend, Cleveland her high school years. Never was this more blatantly clear than when, in 2007, LBJ showed up to an Indians-Yankees game wearing a fitted Yankees cap. Or (to a lesser extent) schmoozing with Dallas Cowboys players before a Browns game.
Lebron James is a bandwagon athlete. He wants to align himself with championship-rich, big market cities instead of building his own dynasty, something he's in the process of doing right now.
Too bad Mike Brown is his coach.
Still, like Butters shouldn't shoot people in the dick and Roger Ebert should admit that A Clockwork Orange is a great film, sometimes you have to own up to being a jerk; and, for James, a lesson in the fine eastern art of tact is requisite.
Stop being an asshole, Lebron. Yesterday.
(New York, you say? C'est impossible!)
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 8:02 PM