Told by Marlow's drunk uncle:
"So like I says...like I says, the guy, he goes into a Subway. He walks into a damn Subway in goddam South Korea, you hear? He walks up to the counter, ready to order.
'I'll have a 6-inch tuna sub,' he says, but the lil' girl behind the counter, she don't get what he's sayin', even though he's speaking the vernacular, see? She don't know nothin'.
'Excuse me,' she says, and she looks down, like her neck is broke.
And, wouldja believe it, this guy just walks out, like there's no more tuna in South Korea.
Y'know what I woulda said?
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I sit in the third row of the fifth column of Mr. Zediker's algebra class, in a twisted-steel molded-plastic lacquered-wood one-piece desk that touches the wall opposite the entrance to the room, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I can't do algebra worth shit, but it's a required course for ninth-grade students, even if the bulk of us will barely manage to claw our way out this nightmare, and so I manage the best I can, which mostly consists of filling in the blanks of my math textbook with semi-plausible answers to avert the brunt of Zed's admonishment. If it looks like I'm trying, then he just assumes, rightfully so, that I'm not cut out for mathematics, let alone life en masse, although the joke's on him since neither of us is capable of using French phrases correctly. Stupidity opens doors, I suppose.
A girl sits in the desk ahead of me, and I'm pretty sure she's a young woman but it's difficult to ascertain because I rarely catch a glimpse of her beyond a mane of black hair that flows down past her shoulders. I can say with certainty that it has a lot of volume, but for all I know it could belong a girly guy with excessive tresses, and the fact that I have my head down most of the time inhibits the task of determining gender further although my instincts assure me that it's most definitely a female which sits in front of me. Probably.
The prescription of my glasses is out of date, which is yet another factor that impedes my perception of the girl sitting ahead of me, but it's a mixed blessing, all things considered, because it allows me to squint at the board when called upon by Zed, who just assumes that, in tandem with the tie-dyed shirts I wear repeatedly, I must be a poor, drug-addled kid whose parents choose to spend money on booze rather than provide up-to-date eyewear for their child, and he doesn't care because, as he's informed his students several times, he's two years away from retirement, so he just shakes his head when I misread the numbers on the board and moves on to the next unfortunate soul. Don't blame me for taking advantage of the system, even if it's to my detriment, and I still don't know if the girl in front of me is truly female.
For some reason, through no effort of my own, the wooden portion of my desk is pressing against the plastic seat ahead of me. It was like that when I got here, believe me. I guess I didn't notice at first because I'm a child of the sensory-deprivation age, and I'm still not really aware of it, but I am mindful that the young woman in front of me is actually a young woman because she's twisting around to peer at me. She's quite pretty, I must admit, even though she's throwing a disdainful look toward me which suggests that I just ran over her pet dachshund and picked its shattered remains apart with my teeth, which is weird because I'm not old enough to drive a car without parental supervision. I adjust my glasses, uncertain as to what the future entails.
"Umm, could you, like, move your desk back a bit," she mutters with a puzzling tone of voice, as it's neither presented as a question, nor is it befitting of the horrific expression displayed upon her face. At best, or worst, it's nearly apathetic which is odd because she's telling me to do something, but I'm not one to argue since I'm not that cool.
I shrug, say 'Yeah, sure' and wiggle my desk backward; no one sits behind me, so there's no danger in the move, but still she wears that look of disgust like a Halloween mask come into fashion. Eventually, she turns around, and she probably won't say another word to me for the remainder of the semester, but at least now I know she's a girl, and a strangely alluring one at that, for obvious reasons.
My mind wanders, besieged by fanciful longing, and I can't help but pretend that in five years' time, this girl will be on friendly terms with me (like a friend, but not quite), and ten years beyond that, she'll casually mention that she's had a crush on me for a while now, but I wander even further; what would I say in such a position? The odds are ten to one that my lungs won't welcome oxygen the way they once did, my eyes will no longer be an enticing shade of blue, and my tongue will be as tied as it always has been, so I suppose that I'd be unable to say all that much, and fifteen years from today, I'd probably be comfortable with that. We'll see, which is a mantra I chant whenever wistful thinking defeats me.
(I don't shine like gold, but you'll remember me.)
Posted by Kmork at 8:41 AM
Sunday, March 29, 2009
1) It's Batman, not the Batman. Saying or writing "the Batman" is a form of fanboy ersatz elitism. Most of all, it's grammatically wrong.
2) One can never complain about people having their iPods too loud. Seriously, the sound of a cough or a sneeze is louder. Just be thankful that people -- word to Radio Raheem and Rockin' Rodney -- no longer carry around Big Fucking Ghetto Blasters. Or lament. Depending on your mood.
3) The current anchorwomen for SBS, KBS, and MBC will be replaced by Lee Hyori, Ha Jiwon, and Choi Yeojin. BoA's doing the weather for all three. Can I get a soul clap?
4) More work for the actors of The Wire. Seriously, why isn't Dominic West a leading man? Why is Lance Reddick (aka The Black Patrick Stewart) relegated to getting skeletonned on Lost? Is there a The Wire curse? I cried a little when, during my 11-hour hell-flight from Tokyo to Detroit, I saw the kid who played Michael in The Secret Life of Bees.
5) Public school water fountains dispense chocolate milk!
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 4:39 AM
Friday, March 27, 2009
Let it be known again: I am not a beer snob. Or a food snob. Or a nitpicker when it comes to head-exploding bullets. I don't claim to be an expert on matters gastrointestinal or military; all I want is to be sated, whether it's relaxing on my sofa with a belly full of Budweiser and pig's feet or watching some poor fellow's gray matter erupt out of the back of his head like a geyser. I don't ask for much.
Yet here I sit, making love to the Internet like Jarobi on the phone, and for what reason? Truth. Always, always truth.
Yesterday Legs bought a six-pack of "Taiwan Beer," sold at Home Plus and, I imagine, Hades.
Hey, I drink Korean beer, which is pretty much the brewing equivalent of a third-grade vinegar-and-baking-soda science fair volcano. I'm pretty easy, like Sunday morning and shoplifting. Make it cold and make it foamy -- that's all I ask.
Enter: "Taiwan Beer." Now, I don't want to disparage the good people of Taiwan...but if that's what they're drinking, at least one good thing could arise from a Chinese invasion. I'm just saying.
Apparently, Monde Selection, some sort of international food-and-beverage quality institute, gave TAIWAN BEER their Grand Gold Medal, although the can doesn't specify which year. Shows you how discerning Monde Selection is. The runner-up that year was probably some pilsner brewed in a bathroom stall at Samgakji Station.
Sorry...I have to cut this short...I drank three of those fuckers, you see, and now I have to barf.
Like I said, I'm not a beer snob.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 9:16 AM
Thursday, March 26, 2009
If I had a photograph of you, or something to remind me...I wouldn't spend my life just
It's more the way your eyes are laughing as they glance.
It must be something more.
If I had a photograph of you.
My 18th letter.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 11:33 AM
Oh. Oh, no. That's sooo terrible. So nasty. I can't. I really can't. You want me to do that? I can't. Do it yourself. Do it by yourself.
That sort of defeats the purpose.
I don't care. I can't. I won't. You're on your own.
When am I not? Seriously, let's do it. Live a little.
I'd rather...You know what you're asking me? How can you be so mean?
It'll all work itself out in the end, trust me. I can do it. I'm ready to do it. Let's take the plunge. The water's rising fast. It's already thigh high. So why not? Why fucking not?
It still might work out if we wait. Don't be so reactionary. I'd rather wait and hope for a miracle than spend the rest of my life under an avalanche of grief.
Typical. By the time we get to Phoenix, we'll be dead. Here's you yawning for eternity, here's me staring forever. I'm sorry, but I have to take the bull by the horns. You're with me, for better or worse. This is our only option, don't you realize? One, two, three, let's blow up the bridge.
Just let go of the handlebars, now...You're mad.
Yeah...I've always expected the next thing to happen, and it's never going to again, I guess. This is the last chapter. Do you think we'll meet again?
I hope so.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 10:11 AM
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This is Kuma. He's not much to look at, but he has a soft side that most folks never get to see. I wouldn't label that side as sentimental, but it smells a lot like romanticism, that's for sure; and his favorite tune is A Flock of Seagulls' Space Age Love Song, which should alleviate any doubt as to that schmaltzy aspect of his character. He is also quite a large cat, dare I say a big softy, hence his delightfully apposite moniker, but that's beside the point, really. What you need to know is that Kuma is lovable, huggable, and sensitive to the cravings of our post-postmodern identities. He's an avid student of Eastern prosody, as well.
I once saw a him devour a coked-out, anorexic midget whilst composing a pornographic haiku with bloodstained paws:
Sister softly kips
Bukkake will be her dream
Sperm I spray to thee
(To those who would jeer at a cat's ability to compose an epigrammatic Japanese verse form of three short lines, please cut the beast some slack; he began choking on a goddamn midget bone halfway through his provocative endeavor.)
He then proceeded to take a dump on my Pyromania record. I was pissed at the time, but in hindsight, I'd like to think that it was his way of encouraging me to expand my horizons, and for that, I thank him. (You should, too.)
You, Mr. Bear, are my hero.
Posted by Kmork at 9:56 AM
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I'm going to tell you a short tale, Constant Retard, and this time I'll try to skip the esoteric in favor of pure realism; but for all intents and purposes, this story is fiction. See, I'm a cautious man -- to the point of paranoia, some might say -- and I've already been threatened once today. Once, I've found, is my threshold. By proxy.
This tale concerns a youthful-looking 30-year-old named Edgar. Aside from a few white lies and a lot of white-stained bedsheets, Edgar grew up an honest man. Hell, he even feels guilty jay walking across a deserted boulevard at four in the morning. What Edgar is not, however, is a patsy. He has a strong belief in justice, and he sticks up for what is right, at least as far as it pertains to himself. Like there's any other way.
Now, our boy Edgar, who I must mention in passing has alluring blue bombardier's eyes
and an eight-inch cock, was once married to a lunatic hellcat; and while in the end he prevailed over that dirty she-bitch, some wounds never heal. For example, Edgar remains bitter to this day that his ex-wife made off with his 42-inch plasma screen and DVD collection, not to mention (although I just did) his vast library of literature and music CDs. To Edgar, that isn't only unfair, it's criminally unfair. But the South Korean courts didn't see it that way. Edgar supposes they didn't particularly care -- and, to him, that is perhaps the biggest injustice of them all.
But I digress, for this is not another story/psychoanalysis session about Edgar's former marriage. I'm just trying to lay a little groundwork here, let you know how worked up our dear friend Edgar can get over such matters. See, Edgar, who I must also mention is one hell of a three-point shooter, worked for a company last year. Not your run-of-the-mill Korean cram school, mind you, although the shit they tried to pull isn't a new song for more than a few who've had to deal with some of their shadier institutions. (Perhaps ironically, Edgar worked that circuit for a few years and had nothing but positive experiences.)
It all started out nice and rosy for Eddie, and save a few bumps along the way, it was a pretty smooth ride. The work was easy and interesting, and while the pay was far from great, he was content, and that's a very rare thing.
In the end, though, it turned out to be a smooth ride over a waterfall. On Edgar's last day at work, he was informed he wouldn't receive his severance pay. This, as you might expect, pissed Edgar off to no end. Word to Lo Pan.
But Mama Ford didn't raise no pushovers. Edgar was determined to fight back, and fight back he did. He took the matter to the labor board, despite his former boss' ludicrous claim that he was simply a "freelancer"; despite his former boss' claim that he wasn't entitled to severance pay because his first three months on the job was a "probationary period"; despite Edgar asking again and again for medical insurance (lawfully his right) and not receiving it until eight months into his contract, and then being told that that was when he became a full-time worker and no longer a "freelancer."
Edgar, of course, saw through the bullshit. These excuses weren't paper thin, they were rice paper thin, he mused. Edgar knew the law, and the law stated that if someone works more than fifteen hours a week for the same employer for at least 365 days, that person is entitled to roughly ten percent of his annual salary.
Edgar worked forty-five hours a week (although, to be fair, not all of that time was spent working), and he'd be damned before he'd lie down and take a won less of what he rightfully deserved. Not when he initially protested and was offered half that sum, not ever*.
This was a matter of principle, you see. And money.
(Mostly, it was money.)
So, one fateful day, a particularly cold one for early spring -- a day much like today, in fact -- Edgar marched down to the labor office, contract and bank statements in hand, to claim his right.
And now it occurs to me that, as appealing (and handsome, and well-dressed) as the character of Edgar Ford is, every good tale needs a good villain. A good, despicable villain. And while Edgar's boss, in what was ostensibly a face-saving measure, didn't show up on that fateful day and doesn't appear in this story (word to Sauron), his minion, whom we'll call The Cocksucker for descriptive clarity's sake, did. And he did not disappoint.
Have you ever seen a lopsided victory; I mean one in which there's absolutely no way the other side can win? This was one of those. It was like that 100-0 girls' basketball game that got all the media attention a few months ago, the one where a team from Texas drubbed the snot out of a team of borderline retarded kids. Only THIS was the exact opposite of THAT.
Sweet, sweet justice. More than a feeling. Please, Mommy Fortuna, let my dreams come true. Show me what I want to see. (I want to see the manticore!) Shine a little light. Will you?
But, Edgar knew, Koreans rarely went down without a fight. It was dually their most admirable and most annoying character trait. The Cocksucker, telling lies upon lies, soiled Edgar's name and tried to paint him as your run-of-the-mill...and now I find I have the will to type no more, for, if Edgar is anything like me, he cannot stand slander; he won't have his honor smeared. It's better to shut up and err on the side of
the law than to throw one's arms up in protest, especially when One is just, the Other a fucking crying baby. He didn't attend company get-togethers or dinners? Oh, really? I wish I could rewrite history the same way, and in my version assholes, liars, men who cheat on their wives and ask me to do the same, are purged in favor of honest men. You snakes. You petty, writhing serpents.
And here is where our paths, that of writer (Sparkles) and of character (Edgar Ford), diverge. And here is where I find my exit.
April 3, sucka. Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.
Fuck you, pay me.
당. 연. 하. 지.
Denouement: "He's the first guy who ever asked for severance...he only worked to get severance...he has no ethics..."
No ethics. Me.
* death by italics
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 7:37 AM
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Everything looks great up here. Serene. Azure blue, and white wisps of clouds that look like stretched cotton, some like fat clumps of mashed potatoes.
Now I know I've reached my ceiling -- top of the world, Ma. Nowhere else to go but down, and damn is it refreshing to know that no one is watching me from above, no one looking down on me. That used to happen. That used to happen a lot, figuratively and literally. But none of that matters anymore. Up here, there is nothing but the swirl of winds and the calm blue, and I am one with all.
I used to look down a lot. At first it made me dizzy, like a man suddenly teleported onto a tight rope wire, but you get used to it, and eventually -- although I can only speak for myself -- you find yourself looking down less and less, until you can't recall the last time you did, and such a recollection no longer spurs a fondness for doing so. Minutes, days, centuries, millennia...it's all the same up here. There is no such thing as tedium. How could there be? If I want to look down upon my old world or the infinite others that exist within our
being, I have the time, believe me. Maybe one day I will, but for now I'm content to sit up here, where the sky never darkens, where all fronts are quiet.
Maybe tomorrow I'll go shoot some hoops down at the high school, or catch a matinée of The Third Man at that cinema on Front Street. That might be nice.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 10:33 AM
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I am going to have a heart attack. Tomorrow, or the next day. Anyway, it's coming, building locomotion, a death train to my heart.
I'm ready. I'm waiting. I suppose I've been waiting for thirty-one years, and here it comes, the fastball!
(swing and a miss, strike one)
Not in my sleep, please. Give it to me while I'm wide awake, watching a Sergio Leone picture or something.
Goodbye, Mother and Father. You didn't raise me well, but you raised me right...and that counts a whole lot. I'll hate you if you miss me and cry a lot on holidays.
To little Xavier: face the sun like a sunflower. You'll figure it out for yourself, so there's no need me telling you to be good. You will or you won't be, and nothing I can say will change that. I hope you don't wind up in prison, but from my perspective it's better than being dead, so maybe I don't know much. Stop scratching your ankles.
I am going to go to sleep now.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 12:45 PM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
There are roughly six thousand apartments in this place, this hive, two hundred floors, and the elevators run vertically and horizontally. Progress.
I make honey. So do we (honey doesn't make me, certainly, but neither does it make itself). So do we all. Up and down, floor to floor, junction to junction, the left brain controls the right brain, and vice-versa. Yesterday, there was a disturbance in the cell next mine; it seemed some little girl wanted to have an ice cream cone or a steak or a sports car, because she was wailing, and that means one thing: want, followed by punishment. I don't condone it, no siree; but mete it where it's most desperately in need of meting is one philosophy I adhere to. I didn't used to, but now I do. Stop it at the source. Stop it, not now but right now.
You want ice cream? I bet you don't want ice cream now.
Every day the maids come in to clean up my place. I'm embarrassed what they might find, but of course that's all kept secret, or so I hope. The contract says so, but in the history of Man and Beast has a single contract ever been honored? My Magic 8-Ball says hell no. I know what goes on beneath the surface, where the truth and the aborted fetuses lie. Apartment A1115 has cigarettes hidden under his bed, and while I was cleaning the kitchen I found a certain note. They're probably planning to stab me as I sleep and steal my measly fortune. Sometimes I wish they would. For I deserve it.
You will never find a more depraved man as me, I'm convinced. I once cut a woman's vulva with electric shears, and if that doesn't do the trick, I don't wash my hands after I pee, unless I pee on my hands. Still, I derive(d) pleasure from neither acts; in both cases it was basic human nature -- base, perhaps, but isn't that the very definition of basic? -- and what jury would convict me for that? A mad one, I suppose.
Here I sit, encased in four walls, each with a name I've given them. To my right, Jessica. To my left, Jenny (Jennifer Oh, like that De La Soul song). Behind me stands Claudius, in front of him Leopold.
This is not a trick or an illusion. Watch me as I go stark raving mad. Up, down, diagonal -- any which way but loose.
But there is another dimension. Gravity. And He always wins.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 12:04 PM
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The above photo sums up Joe D'Amato's 1980 film Antropophagus quite nicely (and for the curious, that's a man chewing upon his own intestines). I hadn't seen the film in about eighteen years, back when late-night cable television made one's weekend all the better. Considering the period in which it was produced, the film isn't too bad, although the violence poured down viewers' throats in the final thirty minutes hardly makes up for the preceding mediocrity. Another factor that inhibits enjoyment is the lighting; being that a large portion of the film takes place indoors, at night (or just plain old at night), you'd think that D'Amato would elect to make things a bit more visible. I mean, sure, pervasive darkness is realistic, but a realistic scenario the film is not, quite frequently, you just can't see shit. Still, there are much worse films to waste ninety minutes upon, and watching a man consume several pieces of the human body has undeniable intrinsic value.
Speaking of food:
Firstly, I think we can all agree that Taco Bell is the apex of culinary excellence. That said, take heed of 0:13 in the preceding video, and tell me, in all honesty, that people are meant to eat a taco like that freakish prepubescent girl does quite readily. I take that request back, partially: convince me that anyone, besides the mentally unstable and/or horrendously intoxicated, would choose to do anything so outrageously idiotic when in the presence of a signature Taco Bell item. Even if you hated Taco Bell -which is impossible, given that you're of sound mind- you sure as hell wouldn't condone that shit.
In other Wednesday news, I've been informed by an unnamed source that wrapping one's naked body in several layers of Saran wrap would result in considerable dehydration, followed by a (probable) loss of consciousness. This is the kind of stuff I want to know about.
Posted by Kmork at 10:03 AM
almost as old as her, seeded, she said, by a passing bird's providential droppings to give her gods and her daughters and daughter's daughters basketfuls on annual flower
As a bonus, here's the prequel:
IGN went gaga over this:
In Bruges: 3/4 Stars
very entertaining film
the scene where the kid gets shot was a bit weak
and the film tried a bit too hard to be witty at points, kinda like a blogger I know.
It appears that we now have four female followers, versus one male follower
We have a male follower?
Ah, Willie G.
Just finished downloading Antropophagus!
I'm making my way to ****** soon to celebrate the day after St. Paddy's.
and you probably haven't A)
Watched Return of the Living Dead
B) Written anything
C) Taken Jikko for a walk
What can I say? Until I build my clientele, my days are short and my nights are long.
That has nothing to do with the three things mentioned above
Well...we took Jikko for a walk yesterday, I wrote a resume today, and I can't find where in Hell I stashed ROTLD.
You're like Lon Cheney
but 1,000 excuses!
Having seen it, maybe YOU could write about the phenomenon that is Taken.
I try to block it from my memory, thank you
That thing's grossed like 150 mil in the States!
It'll end up earning more than Watchmen!
You need some tough love
Anyway, I'm salty at life because I have a Big Fucking Pimple on my neck, right below my Adam's apple. This of course translates to me drinking heavily and not writing on PK (although earlier tonight I was contemplating posting a pic of the TV and Heekyung sleeping on my sofa...which would have been both awesome and potential grounds for divorce).
Don't do it for PK
do it for you
I want to, but what the pictures would imply would be quite unfunny to [Legs] if she read the blog. (Which she probably does. Everybody does.)
that's not what i meant
don't write for pk
write for you
But PK and I are synonymous. And you're beginning to sound like an instructor at a writing camp for aspiring novelists.
don't try that crap on me
Find your voice, Eoin!
"I don't have a response, so I'll just deflect!"
You're my favorite super hero
A response for what?
I've already grown bored with the conversation
"Write what you know!"
I'm eager to see what you know.
I'm sure I could write an absolute page turner about a 30-year-old egomaniac who masturbates too much.
They did that
It was called 'Murder, She Wrote'
and it became a series
Or 'A Confederacy of Dunces,' minus the page-turner part.
How to Smoke and Wear T-Shirts
Mon Ami? Not My Friend (An In-Depth Look at Korea's Shady Ball-Point Pen Racket)
And Then a Bunch of Other Things Happened: The Eoin Forbes Guide to Writing Even Shittier Conclusions to Already Shitty Blog Posts
Descriptions of Pictures of My Cat (Also available in Braille)
From Conan to Spies Like Us: A Leukemia Patient's Life at the Movies
Righteous Sin (I bet a million dollars there's already a book with that title)
Okay, I owe you a million dollars. But there is a band with that name, and they have their own Wikipedia page!
I might end up posting about how my daughter taught me the word "subasize," and how fucked up it is that a kindergartener knows what a rectangular prism is.
Faux-Discordianism is ever so interesting.
Damn you for making me use dictionary.com and still not understanding what "discordianism" means.
but I've a date with the Grim Reaper
And I have a date with Jack Daniels.
Wish me luck!
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 2:10 AM
Sunday, March 15, 2009
After watching Martin McDonagh's instant classic, In Bruges, I'm tempted to revise my list of the best films of 2008, again. I'm not sure whether or not I did it once already on this hallowed blog, because I think I named Slumdog Millionaire my favorite film of last year -- with the remarkable Let the Right One In coming in an extremely close second -- during Kmart and yours truly's prematurely, lamentably aborted PKast from January, but I have the memory of a centenarian when I'm drinking beer and soju on a Sunday afternoon, so who's to know for sure? (I suppose I could, you know, check the archives, Bruce, but what fun would that be?) Regardless, I'm quite tempted to take a mulligan and say that In Bruges, criminally overlooked during Oscar season, is last year's best picture. I would do so in a heartbeat if it weren't for Slumdog and LTROI being equally refreshing, so let's just say that lists are dumb and I have a fanboy's obsessive love for all three. Then let's huff paint thinner until we go blind.
Call this more an endorsement than an actual review if you want*, but I think the reason the film had such an impact on me is because, much like the flauntingly depraved The Midnight Meat Train, which I watched last night and love on a very different level (but love is still love, and a man's love for his daughter or his wife or his mint-condition copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #300 can, paradoxically, be both equal and completely different), I knew close to nothing about the plot going in. I'll save you the common gripe of bemoaning film trailers and the Internet as they relate to spoiling movies, but if you consider some of your own experiences of being surprised by movie watching's version of a party favor**, you might see where I'm coming from. To use another analogy, it's never a bad thing to know what you've ordered at a restaurant and get just that; but go to a three-star Michelin restaurant and ask the head chef to impress you, and you may just find yourself having one of the best meals of your life, even if it does consist of snails and pigeons.
Such was my initial aversion to In Bruges. Because it stars Colin Farrel, an actor whom I liked when I first saw him onscreen in Minority Report but whom I gradually grew to dislike, mostly because his pretty boy lifestyle distracted from and hurt his other image: that of a very gifted actor. Make no mistake, despite what you may think about Farrel's perceived cockiness, he is one of the most talented young(ish) actors in Hollywood today, his work in In Bruges a testament to that. Farrel gives a performance for the ages as Ray, a hitman plagued by a guilty conscience, and, as one notable film critic whose name escapes me at the moment has mentioned, Farrel's amazing work in the film might be credited to his character being allowed to speak like COLIN FARREL instead of him having to put on a faux-American accent. Whether or not that's true, Farrel sticks the landing as the film's most sympathetic and likable character, and it doesn't hurt that Ray is the one with the funniest dialogue. (Mark my words, this movie will be quoted for decades. I'm hard pressed to name a current film with such precise dialogue and comic timing. Well, maybe Dear Zachary.)
And whereas I had to learn to stop worrying and love the Colin Farrel, Brendan Gleason, that rotund mound of pink meat and blond eyebrows, fits like a glove (or, if you want to make things messy, a faithful cum-sock) as Ken, Ray's partner in crime and the perfect balance to Ray's neurotic behavior. To quote the movie, Ray is a big fat fucking retarded fucking black girl on a see-saw, and Ken is his elephant, God bless him. The dichotomy between Ken as a professional murderer and Ken as a The Nicest Man Who Ever Lived is one of the many beautiful contradictions that make In Bruges classic black comedy, and Gleason captures it so seemingly effortlessly that, word to Bill Murray, it's going to take some time before people start looking past the obvious and see that Gleason as Ken is one of the finest, most nuanced acting performances we've seen in a while. A few years back -- two, I think -- I name dropped Tom Wilkinson and Brian Cox as two actors (Richard Jenkins is another) who keep an understated weight on film, and damn me for forgetting Brendan Gleason. The man has invisible presence, if I can be so bold to create such a term. (I think I can. I'm sure I have it in me.)
Rounding out the cast is...well, to tell you that would be to spoil one of the surprises I had while watching the film, although if you glance for even a second at the DVD cover you'll see his name in big, bold letters. I didn't, which is another reason why In Bruges was such a treat for me, another being that Legs and I picked up a copy of it on the street in Korea and watched it with my sister -- Chloe, you might remember her -- after landing in Canada. Then we watched it again with my brother -- Fedor, whom, I'm sure you remember, has a scar on his left ankle that looks like a fish hook and who once drank seven bottles of soju while in a hospital waiting room -- and a cult classic, at least as how it relates to Clan Forbes, was born.
You might not have the same impact upon seeing In Bruges that I had; in fact, you may be quick to criticize it for its style, which is overt but also shy, if that makes any sense...But that might be because you don't have a soul, and in which case I feel for you, because, well, you know.
* What else is new?
** Is it only in Canada that they're called loot bags? Wikipedia, that bastion of truth, offers no insight.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 2:59 AM
Saturday, March 14, 2009
You'll be missed, Big Tasty. Why McDonald's would choose to remove you from its otherwise lackluster menu is beyond comprehension, and the punks in charge should be ashamed of their hasty, unwarranted decision.
Just the other day, Sparkles phoned to inform me of the change, although that wasn't, technically, the case; he was at the local franchise, shouting at management, and I just managed to pick up the gist of said calamity from the cacophony of distorted voices which emanated from the receiver.
I may disagree with his methods, but I feel the man's pain.
Posted by Kmork at 2:41 AM
Friday, March 13, 2009
In 2005, before moving into a pretty mediocre apartment with a pretty fucking outrageous key deposit (and a pretty, crazy girl/wife), I had my eye on a flat screen, 42-inch plasma TV, the crux of my achievement, or so I believed. See, I was earning a lot of money, most of it in savings and tax free, the glut of it going toward nothing tangible, and me with a penchant for only one thing: a big television. I wanted that TV like nothing else, and neither God nor my ex-wife would stop me from getting it, although I'm sure both tried. In the end*, I paid close to five thousand dollars for what would turn out to be the Atari 2600 of televisions. Early Adapter? Easily fooled, more like it.
In more ways than one. My ex-wife, God damn her living soul, would never let me forget about that television, the sole luxury of four years spent under her tyranny. In the end (and, Jesus, that's an abridgment if ever there was one), we got divorced, I kept my sanity, my daughter, my soul...but so long television. Fare thee well.
Enter: redemption. I've spent a lot of time over the span of nearly three years pondering outwardly and inwardly, but mostly -- word to The Cranberries -- in my head, meditating on all of my past transgressions, all the wrongs I should have righted, every little mistake I may have made...and I cannot come up with a single foul deed. Save, maybe, for having a mania for a cool television like Mr. Toad had a mania for a motor car.
If that's wrong, I don't want to be right. A man, after all, needs his hobbies. And I don't think mine are too grandiose or hurtful. Certainly, no one in Somalia has died -- yet -- over a plasma television. Can I live?
I think I can. Rebirth and all that, it's not me, it's you.
It was always you.
* That's premature, as are all things in life and Mario Kart.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 1:14 PM
Thursday, March 12, 2009
(Big up to TMH for alerting me to the digital release* of the YYY's third album. I swear, I'm behind the times like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Since Legs is away and I have cold beer in the fridge, your wish is my command, sir.)
As far as new music goes, the list of musicians whose work I follow isn't very long**. Chalk that up to old age and, possibly, living abroad. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, however, are definitely on that list, despite taking an inordinate amount of time between albums. It's been nearly three years since the band's sophomore album, Show Your Bones, was released, and a lot has changed in my life. (I got a brand new, kickass television, for one***.) And maybe it's the anticipation and knowledge that in a few minutes I'll be hearing Karen O's miraculous vocals speaking, but I'd wait twice as long for a great YYY album (then bitch and moan a year later, complaining about the band's lack of new material). So let's see how this badboy stacks up, yes? I hope it was worth the wait. Seriously, with the semi-letdown that was Zack Snyder's Watchmen, I really need some greatness in my life. Besides an awesome television, I mean.
Propulsive buzzes and Karen O's sweet crooning open the album. Oddly, this almost reminds me of The Killers, which is either a spot-on comparison or further proof how limited my taste in music runs. Perhaps both. I don't think it is, but it's fun to pretend this song is about Gilbert Arenas. Remember him?
Heads Will Roll
Again, a slight new wave feel to this one. Synths and chiming guitars. Then Nick Zinner -- who, along with Dwyane Wade and Dev Patel, I have a huge man-crush on -- brings the pain with his bold, driving ax work. What begins as a pretty meh song builds to something terrific. We're two for two.
Make that three for three. Along with "Y Control," this is one of the YYY's most lovely songs. It warms my heart instantly. I mean it would, if I had one. (Word to Morrissey, that joke isn't funny anymore, if it ever was. I'm putting it away for a year.) And there it is: Karen O, cooing like an angel with dirty wings. Fuck it, I know I shouldn't smoke in my new apartment, but this song has straight away achieved "smoking song" status****.
(By the way, did I tell you that I ran out of cigarettes with one week left to go during our trip to Canada? I think I did, but what I didn't mention is that, in the midst of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, I tried smoking a potpourri of herbs and spices, wrapped in a page from the Bible. Exodus, I recall. You wish I were joking, so let's save me further embarrassment and pretend I am.)
This is...different. A spoken word track by drummer Brian Chase. Didn't see that coming. Ha, I'm just fucking with you. Seriously, though, is it possible this album can get any better? What a pretty, pretty song. I can't be sure, but Karen O might just be singing "skeleton me," which, if true, is both the weirdest and loveliest example of a noun being appropriated into a verb. It's like the street slang use of "body," used to refer to murder, but for white people!
(By the way, the last time I played Kmart at Mario Kart, I totally skeletoned him.)
[Edit: it's probably worth noting how blatantly this song cribs from the The Terminator theme.]
If I have one complaint so far, it's that the album, save its opening track, is, like Show Your Bones, light on the clashing rockers that made Fever to Tell such a revelation*****. This makes up for it, and, fingers crossed, the next track will cement my growing suspicion that this may be the year's best album so far. Hell, at this rate, it might be better than any album released last year, too. (That's why you visit PK, I hope; come for the kneejerk analyses, stay for the gushing hyperbole.)
Shame and Fortune
Not joking this time: I wasn't expecting an industrial metal track (or one as industrial metal as the YYY can muster). Color me pleasantly surprised, however, despite my earlier wish; for in music as in life, it's never a bad thing to want one thing and then get another. I, for example, wanted a nice, quiet life, away from chaos and conflict. But when I found myself on the receiving end of that which I detested, I somehow realized that, sooner or later, Jesus Christ and a fucking cool TV would be my saviors. Life is funny that way.
I. Am. In. Love. Of course the album's longest track, at five minutes and thirteen seconds (positively epic for the YYY), would prove to be its most emotional. Is it corny -- and needy -- to say that Karen O has, on this album, echoed every single feeling of lust and love I've ever had? Well, I said it anyway. This album is one great big love letter to love. It's sexy.
I'm kinda running out of accolades by now. TMH, you will not be disappointed. Damn skippy, this is good. The YYY have never sounded so funky.
I'm gonna call this my least favorite song on the album, which, knowing me, means it'll be my favorite in, like, a day or two.
Organs. I hate to say it, but for a few seconds I thought I was listening to Aimee Mann. Never a bad thing, I suppose, but you know.
Conclusion: A homerun. Time will tell whether It's Blitz! is the YYY's best album (exercise caution, Eoin*******!), but right now...damn, that's one spicy meatball.
* Why are you laughing?
** I'm probably forgetting a few, but here it is: LCD Soundsystem, The White Stripes, The Mars Volta, The Strokes, The Killers, El-P, Radiohead, Modest Mouse, TV on the Radio, and Yasunori Mitsuda.
*** I'm debating whether or not to feature it here, Psychedelic Kimochi-style.
**** A very ubiquitous phenomenon that was first brought to my attention by an affable, enormously tall German, wherein a smoker is inclined to celebrate -- usually while intoxicated -- a favorite song by smoking a cigarette. It makes no sense and perfect sense at the same time, and that's why some day I'll compile a list of all-time great songs to smoke to. I know you're waiting with bated breath.
***** Death by commas******!
****** and asterisks
******* But if I did that, I wouldn't have the most adorable daughter in the world, nor a large collection of dragon print silk shirts.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 5:53 AM
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
A motorcycle is cresting inside the curve of your steering column. Loopty-loo. All on a Wednesday night (Here we go!). It usually sits idle, but tonight it's going round and round, like a hamster in its titular wheel. This room, also, is spinning. Blame it on the Tetons.
It's been two New Year's Eves in a row I've kissed you at midnight. Let's not make it a third, how's about? You're cute and everything (everything including your raven hair and big tits and sloe eyes and...), but I need my space. I neeeed my sanity. You can give me a lot of things -- blowjobs, health insurance, spaghetti and meatballs -- but, sorry, you can't give me the solitude I seek. No one can, perhaps.
See how I qualified that last sentence? I'm sure you did, you wily cobra, you! For while I'll admit that I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride, I'm
(sure, hopeful, positive, wishing)
never one to discount the next saddle. I'm flexible. All it takes is some time and some training. On my part and hers (mostly hers).
I had a pair of bluejeans once that fit like no other, but a few years later I tried them on and they no longer fit. And it was then I realized: it wasn't me, it was the jeans. That may sound like bullshit coming from a child of the Blame Generation, but I truly believe it. Bluejeans change shape in the wash; they fade and wear down over time. Me? I'm still here, baby, exactly where I was the last time. Ain't a damn thing changed but the weather and tectonic plates.
It's 2 p.m. on a humid August afternoon. Last night, someone stole my bicycle. I can hear the wood of our mahogony kitchen table creaking in protest, and that's another cry of freedom.
I'll never see you again, God willing. Maybe I'm evil, and maybe you're pure, but I don't think so. It's not a matter of black-and-white. To me you're an old T-shirt, one that mistakenly got dyed from white to pink when you threw your red socks in with the laundry.
Mistakes happen. But that doesn't mean I can forgive. Or fix. Sometimes -- usually, perhaps -- love is more than that, and nothing can convert loathing to cherishing, or vice-versa.
Please never call me again, you cunt.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 10:58 AM
Monday, March 09, 2009
Over the past month, going to Canada and then returning to RagnaROK, I've had some pretty rough jet lag. We got back a week ago today, yet still I find myself waking up in the middle of the night. This isn't a huge problem, because I'm still unemployed (and handsome), and I get a kick out of having seolleontang at 5 a.m. Also, I have a newfound love for coffee; I've been drinking at least two cups of that shit every "morning," black and bitter like my charred heart.
My point? You should know by now that I rarely attempt to make one. This is especially true this morning, as I'm jittery like Bobcat Goldthwait on a coke binge, my muse screaming, "Write something, asshole!" and me, with nothing better to do before the sun rises, obediently acquiescing. I'm just the conduit, folks.
I can drink a prodigious amount of booze and still remain relatively normal, but fill me with two cups of joe and my needle starts skipping frantically. (Also, I dream fast.) I'm filled with an impotent euphoria in that I'm bursting with a creative sense of something -- I just don't know where to direct it. Yes, caffeine turns me into a hyperactive problem child.
Maybe I need to grab a bite and sit down with a good book (or, failing that, grab a bite and tuck into Stephen King's so-far underwhelming Just After Sunset). Maybe I'll take my dog for a walk. Or maybe I'll remain in coffee-induced stasis until 10 a.m., when my new television arrives. It's been a long, harrowing journey for me to get to this new television, and, given the circumstances, I hope my enthusiasm for it can be forgiven and not viewed as materialistic vapidity. Just know that, in a few hours, I'm going to watch the shit out of that fucker.
Life is a wheel.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 3:56 PM
Sunday, March 08, 2009
I've contemplated for almost a full twenty-four hours how to start this review, and still I'm at a loss for words, so let's get right to the point, shall we? Zack Snyder's Watchmen is a terrific film; it's beautiful to look at, and every single actor brings his or her A game. Still, it's a profound disappointment for several reasons.
I suppose it could be said that it's a blessing the film was even made in the first place, and that my gripes with certain aspects of the movie are nothing more than fanboy nitpicking, but the most vexing thing is that, with only some minor adjustments and better decision making, it could have been a classic. Sadly, it's not. The biggest indicator for me that it isn't is that I don't feel the urge to see it again anytime soon. I most certainly will see it again, but that will inevitably be when it's released on DVD.
Remarkably, Snyder seems to have effortlessly condensed Alan Moore's 12-issue comic book series into two hours and forty minutes of tight storytelling, with only a few -- albeit major -- aspects of the story feeling rushed. Apparently, the director's cut will add up to forty minutes (or more) of footage, and maybe such things as the too-brief detective work done by Rorschach and Nite Owl II will be better fleshed out, but I can only review what I've seen, and a few times the film seems too concerned with atmosphere and staying true to its comic book roots rather than focusing on the plot.
But for the most part Watchmen is a miracle for the fact that it gets so many things right, especially when it comes to acting. There's not one subpar performance in the film, and Jackie Earle Haley in particular portrays Rorschach pitch perfectly. His scene with the prison psychiatrist is among one of the most chilling, intense moments I've seen on the big screen in a long time. Naturally, a lot of aspects of the comic series had to be altered to translate to film, but Earle Haley as Rorschach seems to be lifted directly from the pages of Moore and Gibbons's masterwork. Ditto for Jeffrey Dean Morgan* as The Comedian -- a role criminally too short -- and, minus some flab and a potbelly, Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II. Rounding out the cast of characters, Matthew Goode is great as Ozymandias, even though he's much more effective at the beginning of the film when his poorly conceived costume -- a costume that openly mocks Batman and Robin -- isn't a distraction, and the sexy Malin Ackerman holds her own as Silk Spectre II.
Oh, yeah, then there's Billy Crudup** as Dr. Manhattan -- and that's where the movie makes its biggest misstep. Dr. Manhattan is the linchpin that holds the entire story in place, and as such the role has to be absolutely nailed in order for Watchmen to ascend from "great movie" to "all-time classic" status. Unfortunately, due to shoddy CGI work, Manhattan is at times uncomfortable to watch, and his unrealistic mouth movements should have been done better. Occasionally, Manhattan seems to occupy a space all his own, apart from the world he's supposed to be in, and that detachment would be pretty nifty as symbolism for his character if it weren't so damn poorly executed. Crudup as Manhattan definitely won't be getting any comparisons to Andy Serkis as Gollum, and that's a shame.
Dr. Manhattan is the film's biggest disappointment, but he's far from its only one. The make-up work on Richard nixon is god awful, and Molock's ears, pointy in the comic and gratuitously taken over the edge in the movie, are baffling in the sense that somebody, anybody, should have easily noticed in pre-production that they simply don't work. The same goes for a few scenes of graphic violence employed, ostensibly, to elicit shock but which only serve to cheapen moments that are so memorable from the comics. My partner in crime, Kmart, scoffed audibly at a scene in which, after Rorschach settles his business with Big Figure, a torrent of blood gushes from beneath a bathroom door. He was not wrong in his kneejerk reaction that the scene is incredibly dumb. There's no better way to explain it.
So Snyder's Watchmen has its problems; there's no question about that. Still, I'm more than a little in love with the final product, despite its flaws. The movie has its share of tonal contradictions, but what it gets wrong it more than makes up for with what it gets right. I'll have a lot more to say about the film when Kmart and I do our much-delayed PKast sometime soon, so wait for that. In the meantime, go eat some chocolate-covered macaroons or something.
3 1/2 out of 4 *_*
* Apparently the movie's producers were struck by Three Name Fever when casting began.
** Psychedelic Kimchi's unsung hero Billy Crudup.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 3:21 AM