Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Brothers Bloom -- Review



I enjoy movies with twist endings and gimmick films when they're done effectively. Se7en, for example, floored me. The tricky thing -- literally -- is adeptly fooling an audience with cinematic legerdemain; for if the viewer spots the twist too early, the game is up and the remainder of the film suffers. It makes or breaks a film. I'm not much of a fan of The Sixth Sense because I knew going in that there was a twist, and I spotted it within the first twenty minutes. On the other hand, I love Christopher Nolan's The Prestige to death, because it got me even though I was aware of one. The rivalry plot is so engrossing that I forgot to look for clues, whereas The Sixth Sense is, upon second viewing, plodding and dull. Guess which film I often revisit.

Rian Johnson's The Brothers Bloom is not a film I'll revisit, and I'm honestly a little depressed by that realization. Maybe I'll watch the first hour now and again, then I'll lament how such a whimsical tale turns so downright awful.

Bloom has so much going for it that I hope you, Constance Retard, can sympathize in my sorrow. It stars Adrian Brody, Mark "The Spark" Ruffalo, and Raechel Weisz. Recipe for fine acting: check. It's beautifully shot and edited, and both the film's score and its soundtrack are memorable, leaving lasting impressions like cuts to flesh. It's a gorgeous film full of subdued-yet-hilarious humor, and it drives me nuts that, overall, I didn't like it. I really wanted to. I still do. But I can't.

Because the plot is so damn predictable and frustrating.

(It will, assuredly, become a cult classic.)

Look, in contrast with what you might have heard, I'm not an idiot; so if you make a movie about con men, my first thought is that I'm going to be the one who is conned. In this instance, I would, as I always am, be correct. And I would be fine with that as long as your movie is able to hook me -- con me, so to speak -- into being interested in its characters. The Brothers Bloom fails in that regard.

The performances are fine; it's the script that fails them. I could watch Adrian Brody watch paint dry (and have), but as Bloom* he never becomes anything other than a hollow shell, a crudely sketched character; and if you're making Bloom your main character, you'd be well served to make him something other than one-dimensional. Mark Ruffalo's Stephen is similarly cookie-cutter, but at least he brings a performer's showmanship to the feature**. Robbie Coltrane, too, spices up the proceedings with a horrible Belgian accent but a well-written supporting role, as does Rinko Kikuchi as Bang Bang, who, ironically, out-acts the entire cast solely through facial expressions. Honestly, Bang Bang is the most intriguing character in the film, which doesn't speak well of Johnson's dialogue writing but does of his visual acumen***. Again, it's a pretty film full of lustrous design.

It's just too bad that the plot sucks. I'm all for pioneering and innovation (especially when it comes to male sex toys), but where Johnson wows on the surface visually and imaginatively, he craps the bed narratively. Simply put, The Brothers Bloom, beneath its admittedly sexy makeup, isn't an amusing story. It's frustrating. It's predictable.

I'm conflicted because I think Rian Johnson is a talented writer/director who deserves a shot in Hollywood based on everything that works in Bloom, but I can't recommend the film as an enjoyable experience. It betrays intelligent film watchers with a bogus fourth, fifth, and sixth act, and in doing so reveals a storytelling weakness that can't be masked, no matter how great the pledge or the turn is.

Sizzle and no steak, no prestige.

But, my, what a gorgeous failure.

2.5/4 *_*


* Brody's character is never given a first name. There are references to classic literature peppered throughout the film (Melville, Dostoevsky, Stephanie Meyer), but the most obvious yet unaddressed is the Joyce-influenced character names. "Stephen," "Penelope"...I am to assume Brody plays Leopold. Thankfully, he doesn't masturbate on a beach. Fuck I hate Ulysses.

** For a film that is so translucently meta, it's obvious that Stephen is an extension of Rian Johnson.

*** I'm aware that Johnson wrote and directed Brick, a film dense in noir dialogue. I've never seen it. Maybe Bang Bang is his response to critics who felt Brick was too heavy on language. I bet I'm right. Regardless, Bang Bang is undoubtedly the film's most interesting character.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Volatile Age Indeed (Seventeen)



Times are tough when a lad reaches the ripe age of seventeen. Determined. Cocky. Self-Aggrandizing. Hasty. Ejaculatory. Wide-eyed. Lustful. Confused. Misdirected. Lazy. Virile. Romantic. Impractical. Egocentric. Hyperactive. Frustrated. Judgmental. Foolish. Incredulous. Obstinate. Invincible?

Like I said, seventeen is a rough, albeit necessary, stage of development for Psychedelic Kimchi  Sparkles anyone, really, although there are ways to soften the blow(s), the best of which being more Constant Retards!*

With that, I welcome the latest addition to the roster, Bekhzod M as Super-X as Bekhzod M, the little SDF engine that could! Equipped with cadmium missiles**, laser cannons, and thermal shielding, he stands ready to defend Tokyo/ Seoul / Mom's Basement / Hooters on a moment's notice.

Do-badders beware.




* When it finally comes time to force Sparkles into rehab, I'll be looking in your direction for support, folks.

 ** Yeah, because cadmium counteracts Godzilla's radioactive properties, of course! Too bad they never actually explained that process throughout the course of Godzilla 1985, and there's no way the average, adult North American viewer is going to possess the requisite background in chemistry to instantly understand the situation (let alone a fucking kid), so that was a rather perplexing aspect of Godzilla's initial defeat.

Me: Hey mom, how come those missiles knocked Godzilla out when all the other missiles failed?

Mom: Because...Because...You touch yourself in the tub.

After Lovecraft




Spakros...the crawling chaos...I am the last...I will tell the audient void...

I do not recall distinctly when it began, but it was months ago. The general tension was horrible. To a season of political and social upheaval was added a strange and brooding apprehension of hideous physical danger; a danger widespread and all-embracing, such a danger as may be imagined only in the most terrible phantasms of the night. I recall that the people went about with pale and worried faces, and whispered warnings and prophecies which no one dared consciously repeat or acknowledge to himself that he had heard. A sense of monstrous guilt was upon the land, and out of the abysses between the stars swept chill currents that made men shiver in dark and lonely places. There was a demoniac alteration in the sequence of the seasons -- the autumn heat lingered fearsomely, and everyone felt that the world and perhaps the universe had passed from the control of known gods or forces to that of gods or forces which were unknown.

And it was then that Spakros came out of Bundang. Who he was, none could tell, but he was of the old native blood and looked like Harrison Ford. The fellahin knelt when they saw him, yet could not say why. He said he had risen up out of the blackness of 20th Century Fox, and that he had heard messages from places not on this planet. Into the lands of civilisation came Spakros, swarthy, slender, and sinister, always buying strange instruments of glass and metal and combining them into instruments yet stranger. He spoke much of the sciences -- of electricity and psychology and something called Internet -- and gave exhibitions of power which sent his spectators away speechless, yet which swelled his fame to exceeding magnitude. Men advised one another to see Spakros, and shuddered. And where Spakros went, rest vanished, for the small hours were rent with the screams of nightmare. Never before had the screams of nightmare been such a public problem; now the wise men almost wished they could forbid sleep in the small hours, that the shrieks of cities might less horribly disturb the pale, pitying moon as it glimmered on green waters gliding under bridges, and old steeples crumbling against a sickly sky.

I remember when Spakros came to my city -- the great, the old, the terrible city of unnumbered crimes. My friend, Kmart, had told me of him, and of the impelling fascination and allurement of his revelations, and I burned with eagerness to explore his uttermost mysteries. My friend said they were horrible and impressive beyond my most fevered imaginings; and what was thrown on a screen in the darkened room prophesied things none but Spakros dared prophesy, and in the sputter of his sparks there was taken from men that which had never been taken before yet which shewed only in the eyes. And I heard it hinted abroad that those who knew Spakros looked on sights which others saw not*.

It was in the hot autumn that I went through the night with the restless crowds to see Spakros; through the stifling night and up the endless stairs into the choking room. And shadowed on a screen, I saw hooded forms amidst ruins, and yellow evil faces peering from behind fallen monuments. And I saw the world battling against blackness; against the waves of destruction from ultimate space; whirling, churning, struggling around the dimming, cooling (Capri) sun. Then the sparks played amazingly around the heads of the spectators, and hair stood up on end whilst shadows more grotesque than I can tell came out and squatted on the heads. And when I, who was colder and more scientific than the rest, mumbled a trembling protest about “imposture” and “static electricity,” Spakros drove us all out, down the dizzy stairs into the damp, hot, deserted midnight streets. I screamed aloud that I was not afraid; that I never could be afraid; and others screamed with me for solace. We swore to one another that the city was exactly the same, and still alive; and when the electric lights began to fade we cursed the company over and over again, and laughed at the queer faces we made.

I believe we felt something coming down from the greenish moon, for when we began to depend on its light we drifted into curious involuntary marching formations and seemed to know our destinations though we dared not think of them. Once we looked at the pavement and found the blocks loose and displaced by grass, with scarce a line of rusted metal to shew** where the tramways had run. And again we saw a tram-car, lone, windowless, dilapidated, and almost on its side. When we gazed around the horizon, we could not find the third tower by the river, and noticed that the silhouette of the second tower was ragged at the top. Then we split up into narrow columns, each of which seemed drawn in a different direction. One disappeared in a narrow alley to the left, leaving only the echo of a shocking moan. Another filed down a weed-choked subway entrance, howling with a laughter that was mad. My own column was sucked toward the open country, and presently I felt a chill which was not of the hot autumn; for as we stalked out on the dark moor, we beheld around us the hellish moon-glitter of evil snows. Trackless, inexplicable snows, swept asunder in one direction only, where lay a gulf all the blacker for its glittering walls. The column seemed very thin indeed as it plodded dreamily into the gulf. I lingered behind, for the black rift in the green-litten snow was frightful, and I thought I had heard the reverberations of a disquieting wail as my companions vanished (also, I really needed to urinate, and I get gun-shy among close company); but my power to linger was slight. As if beckoned by those who had gone before, I half-floated between the titanic snowdrifts, quivering and afraid, into the sightless vortex of the unimaginable.

Screamingly sentient, dumbly delirious, only the gods that were can tell. A sickened, sensitive shadow writhing in hands that are not hands, and whirled blindly past ghastly midnights of rotting creation, corpses of dead worlds with sores that were cities, charnel winds that brush the pallid stars and make them flicker low. Beyond the worlds vague ghosts of monstrous things; half-seen columns of unsanctifled temples that rest on nameless rocks beneath space and reach up to dizzy vacua above the spheres of light and darkness. And through this revolting graveyard of the universe the muffled, maddening beating of drums, and thin, monotonous whine of blasphemous flutes from inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond Time Magazine; the detestable pounding and piping whereunto dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic, tenebrous ultimate gods -- the blind, voiceless, mindless gargoyles whose soul is Spakros.


* His eight-inch tentacle, his rare collection of Radiohead LPs. His mummified Shih Tzu.

** For such a verbiose writer, Lovecraft -- nee Star, War -- shewr used the word "shew" a damn lot.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Perfect Pass




This video is inspirational on so many levels, but I needn't inform you of that, retards. What need be said is that, just earlier tonight, Psychedelic Kimchi's very own Sparkles boasted that he could do the very same thing, only instead of a football field it would be Bundang's AK Plaza, and with a pitcher of Hite in lieu of a traditional football. He has yet to perform this spectacular feat of inebriation, of course, but I promise you that I'll be the first to report upon the eagerly-awaited results.


Keep your fingers crossed.

Big Fan -- Review




I don't have what it takes to be a fanboy. I was reminded of this while watching Robert Siegel's Big Fan. For while I have my fair share of subjects about which I'm passionate*, I know where to draw the line**. Patton Oswalt's Paul Aufiero? Not so much.

Oswalt stars as Paul, a parking garage attendant in his late-thirties who still lives at home with his mother and has no aspirations or interests other than the New York Giants. He spends his hours at work writing diatribes for the local sports radio call-in show, most of which are aimed at Philidelphia Phil, an Eagles fan who regularly calls the show to antagonize Giants supporters***. Paul's sole friend is Sal, played by Kevin "If They Knew Shit They Wouldn't be Puerto Ricans" Corrigan. The two of them attend every Giants home game -- in the parking lot, watching the game on a small television hooked up to Paul's car.

One night while at a pizzeria, the pair catches glimpse of Giants star linebacker Quantrell Bishop outside. With hardly a word exchanged between the two, they decide to follow Bishop's party around Staten Island and into a Manhattan strip club. There, after Paul and Sal awkwardly work up the courage to approach Quantrell's table, things take a turn for the worse and Paul winds up in the hospital. Paul's brother, a lawyer, tries to convince Paul to sue for millions of dollars, and a police detective needs to get Paul's account of the night in question in order to press charges against Quantrell Bishop. Paul, the big Giants fan he is, though, feigns amnesia. Because if the Giants lose Bishop, their shot at the playoffs is comprimised.

The film's title doesn't lie; Paul must really love the New York Giants.

But how realistic is that? Never mind the criminal, sports-fan loyalty aspect, which is believable if not profoundly disturbed. No, my question is What man would give up guaranteed millions in a lawsuit or settlement just so his favorite player -- who almost killed him -- could maybe help his team make the playoffs? Paul's character is certainly written in such a way that you can buy it in the film, but, wow, would that ever happen in a million years? In ten million?

One other narrative error the film makes is failing to address Sal being at the scene of the crime. Sal was there. He saw what happened. So why don't the police talk to him? Maybe they do, but the film never answers that gaping hole of a plot point. Maybe Paul convinced him to keep his mouth shut, but, again, the viewer is left only to assume (and you know what that entails). Am I supposed to believe two people -- and an entire club full of patrons! -- could so deftly evade questioning by NYC's finest? I'd sooner believe Sandy Duncan is a boy who can fly.

Needless to say, after Paul gets out of the hospital things start to go bad. The Giants have suspended Bishop pending further investigation, and Paul's family -- rightly so -- is concerned that his injuries might include slight brain damage. When the Giants go on a losing streak and the Eagles catch up to them in the standings (always with Philadelphia Phil egging Paul on), Paul decides to take matters into his own hands, albeit as only he, a simple fan, can: on the sidelines.

Paul turns into a modern-day Travis Bickle for the film's final twenty or so minutes, and the tension is very, very heightened, leading to a climax that will shock and surprise in equal measure and an ending that is perfect for the character, but, ultimately, Paul Aufiero is an unlikeable protagonist from start to finish, more a caricature of petty obsession than a truly rich one (see: Plainview, Daniel). There are some great lines of dialogue and sight gags (a 50 Cent birthday cake, a bathroom argument with one participant mid-defecation), but overall it's a snarky film more in love with its statement than its story. The Internet message board parallels are pretty much highlighted, what with Patton Oswalt as the lead, and some reviewers will laud the film for just that, like it's hard to use real life to satirize the Internet, or vice-versa. It's not a bold statement when everybody and their dogs can do the same, folks. And it's not a classic anti-hero film when you wind up loathing its protagonist.

Siegel, who wrote 2008's superior The Wrestler, again uses sports**** as a way to convey a bigger theme of lonely obsession, but while Mickey Rourke's Randy "The Ram" Robinson was a schmuck, at least you hoped he'd pull out of his rut and recapture some of the magic of his glory days.

Paul Aufiero? Not so much.

3/4 *_*


* literature, film, sports, High Kick through the Roof

** Jack Daniel's is another matter. You should have seen me on Tuesday night. Boy, was that a crude display of character. I'd like to take this asterisk to apologize to those whom I offended/impregnated.

*** A douchebag Philidelphia sports fan, you say? Quelle Surprise!

**** Let's pretend wrestling is a sport. And while you're here, so is Cirque du Soliel.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What Do You Want? (What Do You Want?)




Just say you need it and if you need it, say yeah! Say yeah!


(Now who wants a hug?)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Heart to Stay





The Heart to Say




Pendulum



To: Tiberious aka Sparkles, pka Eoin Forbes, Old Guy.


From: John Q. Not-So-Newbie


I'm not in the mood to mince words, so I'll cut right to the chase:

What's your problem? First of all, I'm on my second contract, so I've had plenty of time to immerse myself in Korean culture, as well as to acquire the means by which to improve life for Koreans. That may sound pompous, but the fact remains that as a foreign resident, I am in the unique position to highlight the failings of a Confucian-style culture to people eager to engage in conversation with me. That they don't always understand what I'm talking about is irrelevant, as mere exposure to members of Western society undoubtedly improves the situation at hand. To be blunt, if Koreans had no desire to embrace Western culture, then they wouldn't be studying English. Fact. Sure, not everything about our respective cultures is grand; far from it, as the venomous influence of Hollywood and Bush-era politics is reflective of all that is wrong with how the United States has exerted its will over the past six decades. Koreans across the board realize this, and if they haven't, I've informed them.

I'm not just talking about the adults, either, since children of all ages readily interact with me, which demonstrates the veracity of what I proclaim. A high five is a language all its own, and it's one I speak fluently, I might add. That may sound sappy, but I'll make no apologies, neither for my enthusiasm toward my students' burgeoning English skills, nor my daily interactions with everyday Koreans. This brings me to my second beef with you.

As a foreigner living in Korea, and one with such a deep connection to the peninsula (or so you claim), you should champion the underdogs; namely, ESL teachers who constantly find themselves on the short end of a stick held firmly within the clenched fist of their unscrupulous employers. I ask you, sir, to clarify your own experiences as a foreign laborer in Korea, because the way I see it, you've probably never encountered any sort of adversity whatsoever. Prove me wrong. Then again, even if you had endured some manner of hardship, would you even blog about it? Doubtful, which is a shame since you have the potential to effect real change in the foreign community as interpreted by Korean citizens.

Your continued, almost brazen complacence toward the suffering of your fellow expatriates is one of the many reasons why ESL teachers face hardships in Korea. There are, of course, big issues to be concerned with (institutionalized racism, sexism, etc.) and while I understand that such problems won't change overnight, there are also smaller, everyday difficulties to be tackled.  Just last week, for example, I had to pay 15,000 won for a box of oatmeal at the local Homeplus. 15,000 won for a staple food? Ridiculous, even more so due to the fact that Koreans don't realize that oatmeal is a staple food, and part of the reason for this ignorance is the direct result of people like you electing to discuss things like basketball in lieu of pertinent issues.

In short, your blog doesn't suck, but just because you know how to construct a coherent sentence doesn't mean you have to write about everything besides Korea including -but not limited to- the kitchen sink. Ultimately, I fail to see the merit in choosing to blog about something other than life in Korea. There are so many fascinating aspects to life as an expatriate, not to mention a sheer volume of interesting tales to be told. Shame on you.

Yours,

Dissatisfied John


P.S. Anyone with a basic grasp of history knows that the Korean war took place far more than fifteen years ago. Epic fail!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mind-Blowin' Monday (Again)



Woke up this morning (and by morning, I mean early afternoon) thinking that today would be just like every other Monday (raging hangover, stinky apartment, Miami Heat jersey wrapped around my head like a bandana; you know, the usual) and then blam! Just like that, our newest Constant Retard, David Faust aka Gorosaurus aka David Faust, used his signature kangaroo kick to knock most of the hair right off my head! Unbelievable, perhaps, but one-hundred percent true.

While we're on the topic of unbelievable events:




Someone actually voted for Steven Seagal? You guys are weird.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Night Feeble




For the second Saturday in a row, I am at home at night. Must be some kind of record. Here's how I've spent my weekend so far:

- Friday, 10:10 PM: I finish my last class of the day, four ajummas who -- here's a rare disclosure of my "work"/work frustration -- bore the everloving shit out of me with their inanity. It's Friday night, ladies; please get the hell out of my home so I can do what I do best: make love to my rice cooker. (I can say that without recourse because, come February, I'm entering the immigration and importing* business, baby!)

- Saturday, 7:30 AM: I usually set my alarm for seven o'clock; let's just say I had a little too much candy floss last night and forgot. Legs wakes me up, hunched over my lying figure like an NYC gargoyle.

- 8:10 AM: My first class of two today begins, a twenty-eight-year-old graduate student who's emigrating to the States soon for his PhD in Industrial Engineering. Naturally, we talk about movies and the current state of copyright laws for the full hour. I get paid to do this. Please remind me why I'm walking away from it. (Oh, yeah, it includes the words "work" and "Saturday.")

- 9:20 AM: Rice and curry, curry and rice: two tastes so great I named them twice!

- 9:30 AM: The Knicks are playing the Lakers at MSG. Remember when that used to mean something? Let me take you back, via the Forbes Capacitor, to my salad days:

It's shortly after seven on a Sunday night. I have just gotten home after finishing a three-and-a-half-hour shift at the arches golden. My old man, Gord bless him, came through and taped the early-afternoon Knicks-Lakers game, as per my instructions (hit pause during commercial breaks, and DON'T fucking fall asleep). For three and a half quarters I am frustrated, wondering why the hell I am** wasting my time with this shitfest when I should be studying for my Physics exam. But then the Knicks pull off a miraculous comeback, and I am validated in my fandom..

Elden Campbell was involved. The 90's were crazy.

- 10: 18 AM: Basketball, it appears, is not in the cards. [Censored], Jehovah's Witnesses, and a pissed-off rattlesnake!

- 10:36 AM: Legs leaves to do some shopping and get a facial...her second this morning.

(I am a bad, bad man. Please stop me. I know not what I do, but I kinda like it.)

1:30 PM: I started a new Saturday class last week, and my wife was considerably shocked when I returned from said class and described my new fifth-grade student as "a motherfucker." So was I, to tell the truth. Well, time to add "cocksucker" to that list of descriptions. I'm sure he's a nice boy deep down, but...no he's not. This kid is evil. Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Fifth-Grade Student. That's the list! It's going to be nice transitioning into my new job as a drug mule. I am chuffed.

2:49 PM: Speaking of transitions: the very definition of class. Word to Bill Simmons, there are so many chill scenes in O'Brien's last taping -- Freebird! -- that it made my ex-wife frigid. No mean feat, I gotta say. (Class?) For the record, I loved the pluperfect hell out of Conan's mini-message on cynicism. I'm an optimist, unless you hit me in the face full force with a stove pot, in which case you can burn in NBC. (I love the rest of you, though.)

5:40 PM: Legs and I -- with a certain Shih Tzu in tow -- show up at Papa Yoo's house. It will take Herr Yoo and the rest of the Yoo-Tang Clan two hours to arrive. I am not phased a bit. I am placated by back-to-back episodes of High Kick through the Roof***.

8:42 PM: After a memorial service (for Conan), we sit down to eat****. I love my wife and her family to death, but at this point it's time for me to consider stomach stapling. I simply can't keep up with their gastrointestinal fortitude. It's inhuman. On the other hand, they're minor league when it comes to libations. I have a juice glass full of cognac with dinner***** and remain sober (and ashamed of myself, for cognac is NOT a complimentary liquor for any meal); meanwhile, rice wine has felled the oaks that are Legs's aunt and her husband. Only I, Legs, and Papa Yoo remain standing(sitting). Jikko? She's passed out in the bathroom after injecting heroin into her neck.

10:30 PM: Legs, I, and Captain Sniffles arrive back in Bundangbourg. Trumpets sound, the Death Star explodes in 3D. I contemplate a night on the town, then relent. I'm too damn tired. The three of us watch High Kick -- which should have its own channel by now -- and later discuss the logistics of a canine-manned nuclear rocket.

Sunday, 2:14 PM: I guess I wasn't that tired after all. Bon apetit, Constant Retard. For even more enjoyment, read this post again backwards, like a fucked-up escalator.


* Not a euphemism for human trafficking. Not yet, at least.

** not using contractions

*** Post to come on that monument of broadcasting. It'll be longer than a DC-20 aircraft. Just wait.

**** Unless we were prostrating ourselves, we were sitting the entire time, but please allow an old man his culturally negated phrasal verbs and gerunds.

***** That's Korea for you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dignity




I have a book that I keep dear called Henry Graysmith: A Life and Times, and it's not in your local library. You can't find it anywhere, I'll bet. It's about a miner in Kootenai, Idaho who discovers a valuable gem, and the powers that be want to take that gem for themselves, but old Henry -- he was young Henry then -- won't let them. The gem is too powerful, see.

So Henry -- whom we'll call Hank from now on, because we're all well met and aquainted -- sets off in pursuit of the gem's rightful owner, a one-hunert-foot-tall dinosaur also named Hank, but he spells it with a silent P (Phank).

So he meets Phank, and also Strudeldorf, a feral cat-human exiled from Tibet, then to Nepal, and Phank needs a number to unlock the secret door, but neither Hank nor Strudeldorf have it (they lost it while in a nightclub), but Phank lets them pass anyway; he's bored with these bullshit, cookie-cutter creations, and he wants to sleep the sleep of the dinosaurjust.

So Hank and Strudeldorf -- whom we'll call SD from now on, for brevity's sake -- get picked up at sea by a ship of Japanese-Somolian pirates, and boy what a time they have!

Then a dolphin named Maggie rescues them. And she marries Strudeldorf, who can shapeshift. I think I already mentioned that.

The gem? It's safe for now, until I need another paycheck.

High Seas Gremlins: the Search for Strudeldorf, available in paperback in 2005.

Tethered Broncos



Leave a light on for me, 1989, and don't you fret; I'll regress soon enough, as we both know full well that you'll never evolve.


(And I'm okay with that. Almost.)

That's How It Starts




Pool. Pick-up basketball. Monopoly. Tic-tac-toe. Jacks.

Nintendo.

S&M.

V.

North & South. National elections. Pro-life, pro-choice. Gay marriage. Prom.

Poker.

Beauty contests. Drag racing. Fucking Scrabble. Fireball Island. Laser Tag!

Patriot Games. War Games. Casino Royale. Anytime Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington are on a submarine together. The Most Dangerous Game.

Jumanji!

Century Club. Three Man. I'll Show You Mine if You Show Yours. Spit or swallow. (Blush)

Kirk Douglas's money. The Game, starring his son, Michael Douglas (perhaps a sequel). Tupac against the world. Anna Nicole Smith's life and death.

Trivial Pursuit.

Star Trek TOS vs. TNG. Alien vs. Predator. Kramer vs. Kramer. VHS or Beta? Laserdisc!

Rock'em Sock'em Robots. Yahtzee! Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson.

The Gaza Strip.

Jay and Dave and Jay and Conan.

Rocky and Apollo and Apollo and Lang and Drago and Adrian.

Pac-Man. Street Fighter. Mortal Combat. Tekken. Parenting.

American Idol. Hell's Kitchen. Abortion.

Faith.

Choices to make.


[Editor's note: Thanks to Chicken Wire for the Kmartributions.]

After Last Season -- Review



I'm a little late to the party on this one, so please forgive me. After Last Season, directed by cinematic auteur Mark Region, was released theatrically -- in both senses, and some other ones, too -- last year, but I didn't have time to view the film until today. Here are my thoughts on this incredible monument of moviemaking:

In the car, in the bathroom, on the steps, in my bed, in my clothes, on the tip of my tongue. Sitting here, in my four-cornered room, staring at candles, I can't help but feel animosity for the virus that currently plagues me. But then you have One of Those Days; the perfect storm of irritability: a day that causes even the most mild-mannered man to nearly lose his shit. Wait till you see the dildo chair I built for you. Thankfully, the campaign was far from a success; but the fact that a large, multi-national company would even consider co-opting Obama -- or any politician -- as a spokesperson irks me to no end. Destiny. Not this year anyway. I'm a father now, and a professional. That said, and do be lenient about interpreting the forthcoming analogy, the United States is like an exceedingly popular (and wealthy) high-school kid that rammed his dad's Volvo into an oak tree while driving drunk. Although Slumdog is much, much more than a touching love story, the ostensible theme is one of hope. I can wait.

You stay sexy, Lee Hyori. And then I don't know nuthin.

4/4 _*_

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Okinawa Fifteen



That's right, bitches! Thanks to the protracted chant* of a nonexistent princess from an equally hallucinatory Japanese royal family, King Caesar -known to the rubes as Jeff- himself has arisen from his slumber to bolster the ranks of the PK Pantheon (as well as defend the honor of Pringles** around the globe), and I for one appreciate all of you, Retards amongst retards.***

* All kidding aside, that song just keeps going.

** Have you seen the newly stocked Pringles at joints like Lotte Mart and E-Mart? Those fucking turds aren't Pringles, and I don't wish to digress too much, but I can't (in good conscience) allow such deception to go unnoticed.

Note the difference in size between the cans, the one on the right being the traditional can of snacks. (Before anyone starts bitching about my purchase of Light Pringles, keep in mind that it was the only kind available to use for comparison.)

As you can clearly see, the chips themselves are pale imitations of the real deal. I'm not going to waste much time discussing the issue, as the pictures speak for themselves, but I will openly criticize Procter & Gamble for this unabashedly shameless clusterforbes. Cultural relativity my ass; don't fuck with shit that was perfected years ago, yeah? It's bad enough that Cheetos have been irreparably tarnished, Asia, but now you gotta give Pringles the dirty sanchez, too?


*** The Special Olympics ain't got nothin'!






Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Warmth




"Oh, boogersnot!" Cheryl Adams shouted, mindful to restrain from cursing with her six-year-old daughter, Candace, present.

"Boogersnot!" Candy repeated then laughed gleefully.

This was no laughing matter to Cheryl, however. It was minus eighteen, a hard wind blowing. Driving snow. At Candy's behest, Cheryl had stopped on their way home from the vet for hot chocolate at Morty's Donuts -- that faithful New Hampshire standby -- and locked her keys inside the Mercury Cougar. Now here they were, faces numb and teeth chattering, waiting for Triple A to arrive.

Cheryl had decided against waiting in the warmth of Morty's because a customer had given her the creeps. The tall, lanky fellow in the weathered brown sport coat and faded jeans amused Candy when he sat at the table next to her and her mother and, smiling, pretended to remove the thumb of his left hand in an act of legerdemain, but Cheryl knew better. The guy was a grade-A weirdo, and he was still in there. Was, in fact, staring out of Morty's foggy window at the pair.

He waved at Candy. Cheryl grabbed her daughter's arm before the child could reciprocate the gesture.

"I don't like that man, Candy," Cheryl said. "Ignore him."

"He looks kinda funny, but overall I think he's got a good head on his shoulders," Candy replied, tracing the letters of her name into the increasingly thick layer of snow blanketing the parking lot with her boot. As if in response, the man inside Morty's doffed his greasy Florida Marlins cap and feigned a rococo bow. Then he shrugged. Parents. What can you do?

Cheryl blew into her fists and looked anxiously at the barren stretch of highway. At home, Jake was probably in the midst of preparing his acclaimed jambalaya, the stereo pumping out Prince's greatest hits, maybe Bill Withers's, the music's volume too loud for him to hear her calls, her husband too delighted by the high he got when cooking up a storm for his two angels to check his half dozen text messages, each one reading the same: call me you fucker.

"Count of Monte Cristo!" she non-blasphemed, "will that cork socker get here before we freeze to death?"

"Mommy, let's go back inside. I have to pee."

"Do it out here, behind the car."

"But I can't wipe."

"Hold it, then."

"Is Munchin going to die?"

Munchkin was their fourteen-year-old schnauzer.

"No, honey. He's just sick. He'll get better."

"But he's pretty old."

"So's Grampy Wallace, and he's still ticking."

"Do you think Munchkin can live as long as Grampy Wallace?"

"Maybe. Stranger things have happened. Stop picking your nose and put your mittens back on."

"Pull my finger."

Cheryl looked up from her daughter to see the Morty's patron hunching slowly toward Candy like a predatory shadow. His left hand was extended at the child, a bony index finger pointed at her head like an icicle.

"Go on, pull it," he urged, flashing a mouthful of yellowed teeth.

"Stand behind Mommy," Cheryl told Candy. The little girl heeded her mother's command.

"Mister, I don't know what your game is, but you just leave us alone. Triple A is on its way, and there are enough customers inside Morty's to come out and kick your ass if I scream. Beat it and stop scaring my kid," she said.

The man stood pacific, like an Indian statue in a cigar shop. Then he said, "Lady, I don't think I scared your girl. I can see I frightened you, and I'm sorry for that, but I don't think I spooked your kid."

Nerves aflame, Cheryl responded, "Maybe not, but you obviously have no sense of social norms. I find you unsavory, and as a parent I'm asking you to please go away and leave us the hell -- heck -- alone. Can't you do that?"

"Can and will," the man said with a defeated smile. "Again, sorry I scared you. I'll be on my way."

He started walking westward, in the direction of the Super 8 motel two and a half miles down the highway. Before he stepped foot out of the parking lot he turned around and blew a kiss at Candy. Cheryl flinched.

"Your dog isn't long for this world, kiddo," he said, "but you'll get a new one after him. You'll name him Happy, and you'll love him as much as you do poor old Munchkin, maybe more. One day, Happy will die, too, and you'll be similarly heartbroken, but a new dog, Cranston, will fill that lonely gap. And after Cranston, Kool-Aid, and after Kool-Aid, Mr. Muggle. Don't feel too bad about old dogs. They come and go and fill our lives with happiness. All the best, Candycane!"

And with that he sauntered into the blizzard and disappeared.

"I can't wait to see Happy, Mommy," Candy said, her hands ardently clutching her coat's breast. "I bet he's to die for!"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Union the State of



Feel the fist when it rips through/ your sinew/ muscle flesh and, bodily tissue.

The Music of Chrono Trigger -- Top 10



I don't know if Chrono Trigger is my favorite video game ever, but it's in the conversation. It's definitely Top 5 material. As the story goes, I hate RPG almost as much as I hate noisy kids in restaurants and stomach flu, but when Kmart solicited me in 2008 to give the game a chance, I did so at first only to placate him, fully expecting to soon grow bored with another dull RPG, and instead I wound up loving Chrono Trigger to pluperfect death. It didn't take long for the game to reel me in, and now, a year and some change later, I'm as fond of Chrono Trigger as I am of my penis size. Full stop.

A large part of my love for Chrono Trigger concerns its music. The game's score is as beautiful a masterpiece as any great work of art created in ages past or modern. Quite simply, the Chrono Trigger music is genius. I'd never in my life listened to a video game's score as I would a rock album until I played Chrono Trigger. The score is that damn good. Pet Sounds, Dark Side of the Moon, and the Chrono Trigger OST. That's the list!

Yesterday I wrote about nostalgia, and while the game was released for the Super Nintendo in 1995, I wasn't introduced to it until 2008, on the Nintendo DS; so my affection is free of the fog of youth. The Chrono Trigger soundtrack is heavenly, and here are its ten steps to, in reverse order, like some fucked-up escalator:

10) The Day the World Revived

9) Main Theme

8) Boss Battle 1

7) The Brink of Time

6) Guardia Castle

5) Schala's Theme

4) Tyran Castle

3) Robo's Theme

2) Zeal Palace

1) Frog's Theme (Of course it's "Frog's Theme." How could it not be?)

---




Audiography:

Ice Cube, "When will They Shoot?"

Jefferson Airplane, "Somebody to Love"

Company Flow, "Worker Ant Uprise"

Pete Rock & CL Smooth, "Mecca and the Soul Brother (Remix)" (I pull women like a wisdom tooth/without any conversation from Dr. Ruth)

Ol Dirty Bastard, "Pop Shit" (Burn your fast food!)

Queen, "I Want It All"

Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Dani California" (b/w Tom Petty, "Mary Jane's Last Dance") (It only hurts when I laugh)

Ennio Morricone, "Gabriel's Oboe"

John Frusciante, "Carvel"

Katrina and the Waves, "Walking on Sunshine" (just deserts!)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Heart Sleeve

Friday, January 15, 2010

Gremlins -- A Retrospective




Human beings -- I'm pretty sure I am one, although my metallic endoskeleton, which a doctor discovered last week when I went for X-rays, indicates otherwise -- tend to get illogically nostalgic about our youths, but us children of the 80's are a particularly rare breed when it comes to pop culture. It was a great time to be a kid, the 80's was. Hell, we even have a non-ironic attachment to a lot of the shitty music produced that decade. As a whole, the 80's sorta (read: did) sucked; in terms of video games and Hollywood films, however? No goddamn way. The years between 1979 and 1990 left an effect of entitlement on its youth felt to this day, for better or worse (usually for worse); but, really, can you blame that metal-haired, neon-sneakered era for ushering in an age of man-babies? Not really, in this writer's opinion. Because it was filled with so much cool. It was, in fact (and this has been scientifically proven), the last bastion of pop culture creativity, the dying breath of a society coming to terms with its progress-inclined overzealousness. And, man, what a way to go out.

To be honest, I'm more than a little annoyed by the resaturation the 80's has had on today's culture. I've written about it before elsewhere, but to sum up my view, I hate having my memories filtered through a sieve of irony. We laugh and cringe at what we once held as cool, and that's fine (the fashion and the hair styles were stupid, the entire decade shrouded in a veil of confused sociopolitical/socioeconomic acquiescence and rebellion); but you leave my fond memories pure, you skinny-jeans-clad reappropriaters of a time in you've heard/read/researched about but never lived in. (To be fair, the same shit went on when I was growing up. The 70's was seen by kids my age as a miraculous decade. You'll have survey people born in the late 60's to find out if that was, in fact, true, but I have my doubts.) If my daughter grows up having nostalgic sentiments for Hannah Montana or, God forbid, Lady Gaga, so be it; it's when grown men and women try to pretend they're Andy Warhol and project their culturally numb view of artistry onto such dreck that I take umbrage. Pitchfork gave the new Lady Gaga album a 7.8*, by the way.

But there's a point where nostalgia clouds criticism. The comic books/movies/Playboys you loved as a kid aren't as resounding in fascination anymore (for me, and shame on, I loved Rob Liefeld's pencils when I was in elementary school. I similarly loved Kiana's Flex Appeal. Fuck, was I dumb). When I was a child I played with He-Man action figures like a child; but when I became a man I turned into an asshole who became manipulated by mass media to buy tickets to see my childhood revisited again and again on the silver screen (1 Corinthians 13:11).

That's from the Fanboy Bible, and if revisiting the 80's is a religion, consider me an agnostic. I loved the holy hell out of last summer's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra so much that my ticket is as good as purchased should a sequel be made. Then again, adaptations of video games and 80's properties so rarely work, are often so incredibly bad, that I hold deep-seated scorn toward the idiot masses encouraging more of the same through ticket sales.

The fact, sad but true, is that the properties these films are based on were never that great to begin with. Transformers works better -- cartoonwise and live-actionwise -- in concept than in execution (I'll give the comic book a pass; it wasn't the greatest, but the medium was perfect for it). The same goes for the rest of the toys you played with, the cartoons you watched, and the games you played**.

The same goes for plenty of 80's films. The Goonies has been accused by many as being, in retrospect, a terrible film, a sentiment I don't share. I think The Goonies still holds up, mostly because, even as an adult, I don't find the kids horribly annoying. It is without a doubt a kids' film, but one which adults can enjoy, much like Pixar films and The Wizard of Oz. While I'm not an obsessive, I am a film fan; and occasionally I'll revisit the films of my youth*** to see if they still hold that magic. Most of the time they do (after all, Rob Liefeld adoration aside, even then I was a boy of discerning taste), sometimes they don't. Labyrinth, for example, is pretty mediocre if you subtract David Bowie's campy songs and Jennifer Connelly's caterpillar eyebrows. If you had asked me a year ago whether I thought Labyrinth was a good film, I would've given you a boisterous Hell yes it is! but upon rewatching it I found it dull. That was a sad day. (I numbed the pain with a bottle of Cool Water cologne and High Liner Fish Sticks.)

Memories. I remember loving the Transformers cartoon, and then I watched a few episodes as a twenty-something and realized how shitty it was. In no way is this post meant to show -- insecurely -- how big and grown I am, for I cannot grow a beard and resemble a prepubescent Michael Cera. No. Simply put, it's me writing about the Holy Grail of my cinemagical experience as a young lad, the time I was six and my mom took my brother Grady and I to see Gremlins.

Flashback to the summer of 1984. Our family is on the cusp of relocating from Ottawa to Burlington, Ontario. As a diversion, my mother takes the Forbes boys to see Joe Dante's latest, maybe because it has Steven Spielberg's name on it. I dunno, and (word to 2NE1) I don't care, because I am rivited. The Holy Trinity of Gizmo, Phoebe Cates, and Dick Miller will do that to a six-year-old.

Exiting the theater, my mother is worried about one thing, and it's not the film's violence, which will, in stasis with Temple of Doom, lead to a new PG-13 rating for films. No; it's Phoebe Cates's, um, Kate confiding to Zach Galligan's Billy the reason she hates Christmas. "And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus," Kate says. I'm pretty sharp at six, but I missed that, and my mother breathes a sigh of relief. It must have been Cates's doe eyes that distracted me.

[As an aside****, I've always wondered how my life would have turned out had my mother taken us to see Ghostbusters -- which opened the same weekend -- instead. Ghostbusters won the weekend by a few million, so in a way you might speculate my mother was setting me up to be second best (aka first place for losers) from an early age. As a child of the 80's, I'm running with that theory!]

My first year in Korea (2000), I watched Gremlins again, but we're discounting that experience because

a) I was pretty drunk, and while I love my libations, films can't be watched intoxicated the same way books can't be read on rollercoasters.

b) I was sharing an apartment with two other teachers, and we frequently had guests, sometimes invited, often not.

c) I was dating my ex-wife at the time. You will forgive me if I try to further erase such memories from my brainbank, won't you?

The second time -- not counting cable television and mind scrubbing-- I watched Gremlins was yesterday. Does it hold up? Oui! Tonally, the film balances light comedy and horror just as I remembered it. It does make a few missteps plotwise, however, such as

1) overemphasizing Billy's father's inventions. The Bathroom Buddy is cute and all, but for a film that puportedly hates technology, the old standbys Blender and Microwave do a good job vis a vis dispensing gremlins. While mildly amusing, Rand Peltzer's inventions are disproportionate to their relevance in the film's plot.

2) skipping around the fates of the Futtermans. Is Dick Miller's Murray -- that xenophobic bastard -- alive or isn't he? And while you're here, do gremlins perpetuate African American stereotypes? I say no, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, yes. Final answer. The gremlins are a metaphor for blacks because they wear sunglasses at night, enjoy drinking, and like the blues (and Peter Gabriel, and Flashdance)? Then so is Corey Hart and Eoin A. Forbes! This was a dawning of a sensitive era. Everyone was offended by Gremlins, it seems. And it didn't help that that Jew bastard Spielberg produced the picture. Birth of a Nation, Song of the South, and Gremlins. That's the list!

3) The entire town is going to shit, but Phoebe Cates's Kate***** -- who works two jobs and has no life of her own -- pours drinks for the titular creatures, escaping only when the she realizes bright light drives them away and the script realizes Billy Peltzer needs a love interest other than Gizmo to complete his goal of

i) killing gremlins

ii) getting in Phoebe Cates's pants

Those nitpicks aside, Gremlins was a popular movie and it still is, and for a reason. The special effects hold up better than you'd expect, the story is timeless in its imagination, and Phoebe Cates Phoebe Cateses.

(I originate, they duplicate; I praise the lord and keep the faith.)

2010, twenty-six years later, peace to Joe Dante. Take me out with the fader.

Next:





* It almost got a 7.9, but the French judge didn't like her footwork leading into the triple lutz.

** but, oddly, not the theme park rides you rode. Say what you will about its sequels (I loved Dead Man's Chest, didn't see At World's End), but Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl worked wonderfully. Quelle suprise!

*** have never seen Willow

**** you know how I loathe asides, CR

***** I love you, Phoebe, but for the remainder of my time on Earth (July 14, 2010; at least that's what the doctors say), I never want to type "Phoebe Cates's Kate" ever again. Similarly, I'm reticent to include the phrase "Judge Reinhold's career metaphor" in this post because, word to Huey Lewis, it's too darn loud to type.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gary Coleman Hits Scottie Pippen with a Phone



For your Academy Awards consideration. (Somehow I don't think Pippen's "What the fuck?" was in the script.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Along Went a Spider





FADE IN:

CHEZ SPARKLEGS APT. DAWN

Spakros: Wake up, dude. Seriously, wake the fuck up.

Eoin: Hnghh?

Spakros: The Internet is aflame with the news that Sam Raimi and Toby Maguire are off Spider-Man 4, that Sony plans to reboot the franchise and put Peter Parker back in high school.

Eoin: What do you want me to do about it? Lemme sleep!

Sparkles: Don't you realize what this portends? If you thought Raimi's Petey was emo, wait until the new Spider-Man film takes a leaf from Twilight's book.

Eoin: Where the hell did you come from, and can I have my pillow back?

Devil Dinosaur: I shit bigger'n Twilight.

Eoin: Alright, I'm up, you fuckers. This better be worthwhile, although at this hour I can't muster the indignation y'all seem to share. I need to take a shit and smoke a Dunhill. Then I gotta go to work. Can't this wait?

Devil Dinosaur: I shit bigger'n Eoin.

Sparkles: Listen greymeat, if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything. The Spider-Man films grossed more dollars than all the tea in China, all the corn kernels in Iowa, all the child sweatshop labor in Southeast Asia...combined! Sony could buy Canada if it wanted to, yet they dropped their visionary director and the franchise's star in favor of rebooting a series of films not ten years removed from its theatrical debut! This is insane!

Eoin: I'm not sure how "visionary" Sam Raimi is. After all, he wanted the Vulture to be the villain of Spidey 4, and that shit screams of suck. He also directed Drag Me to Hell, aka Bore Me to Shit. Really, it ain't hard to tell (word to Nasty Nas) that a basic plot consisting of Kraven the Hunter, um, hunting Spidey and the Lizard as game would've worked like macaroni and cheese, a storyline right up Raimi's alley. Kraven hunts Spidey, the Lizard is born, Kraven hunts the Lizard, and Spidey must stop Kraven. It writes itself for god's sake. Am I missing something? Didn't Raimi set up the Lizard for three features? And the jagoff wants to have the Vulture (the fucking Vulture!) as his villain? This must be some elaborate prank.

Spakros: You have a good point. Maybe Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Kraven?

Eoin: The Vulture? That's a New Coke-level bad idea. Like I want to see Spider-Man chase an octogenarian around the New York cityscape, or vice versa. I'm not Criswell, but it doesn't take a clairvoyant to realize that the guy wanted nothing to do with the series anymore. I mean, the Vulture? That reeks of bridge-burning subterfuge. Raimi: and in the fifth film we can introduce Black Fox, a geriatric burglar. I'm convinced that Sam Raimi had his Looks like University of Illinois! moment with Sony. And then Sony had its You made Drag Me to Hell, and now here we are.

Spakros: I'm listening. You've certainly got my ear.

Sparkles: Enough! My point is, if Sony won't work with a director who made them richer than a billion cheesecakes, who will they work with? A yes-man, that's who.

Devil Dinosaur: I shit bigger'n Sam Raimi.

Eoin: This movie will come out when, in four or five years? By then, everbody's going to be too hyped about Avengers 2 to care. I'm all for fan input, but you freaks have raised your self-entitled voice so loud and for so long that it's not surprising a day would come when the door was closed on your fanboy fantasies.

Sparkles: Sir, where is your outrage?

Eoin: My sole outrage stems from the news that Sony might do another Spider-Man origin film; because, like talking to a corpse, origin films are boring. That and the realization that by the time Spidey 2.2 rolls around I'll be forty-four or so. This never would have happened were Marvel in charge. They would never sell out or sacrifice canon to appeal to a younger generation. Never.

Spakros: Zhang Ziyi as Mari Xien Waozien! I don't have many sublime ideas in my creative well, but that casting is as inspired as the time I created the universe, after that the Internet. If 2012 (the movie, not the year all Mexicans die) taught us anything, it's that the Chinese moviegoing market is massive. 1.3 billion-level massive. Cha-ching-chong-wing-wong!

(PS: Jackie Chan -- or maybe Chow Yun-Fat -- as Jae Xiona Xamizen.)

Devil Dinosaur: I shit bigger'n China.

Sparkles: This is doomed from the get-go.

Eoin: It can't be worse than the Clone Saga.

Spakros: Jake Gyllenhaal as Ben Reilly!

Sparkles: What happened to your imagination, your passion? This is the death of your youth, dude! Nothing will ever be the same afterward, not even pizza.

Eoin: I'll talk to you in 2012, or whatever year this Birth of a Nationesque controversial film is released. Maybe then I'll finally be able to grow a moustach.

Sparkles: Look at you, so smug. You sacrificed your principals for plastic lawn chairs! I'll see you around on the Internet, and you'll rue the day you played devil's dinosaur advocate on this one, mark my words. Ты умрешь в горящей машине.

Devil Dinosaur: I shit bigger'n the Internet.

And All the Kids Say 'Inspire'

Let's face it: Tuesdays are tough for you, me, and El-P, but even as the darkness falls upon us faster than a Forbesian bowel movement -known in select circles as the dreaded Apoocalypse, mostly for the catastrophic effect Sparkles' fecal matter has upon the local ecosystem- can ruin one's favorite porcelain idol, there is a glimmer of hope, and a snazzy one at that; like an entire can of air freshener (or a divine toilet brush, if you prefer) to alleviate all the pungent Forbestacles thrown one's way.*

Let this be a mantra for the ages.








* "You up for some drinks tonight, Kennan?"



Monday, January 11, 2010

Pareidolia (January)




I've done this before, but I'll forgive you, Constant Retard, if you don't remember when. It was a few months ago, back when Tiger Woods was still a golfer, Brittany Murphy still an air-breather. Me in my my 삼십대, I don't get much of a kick out of irony anymore (so what if the woman serving me at a 횟집 in Sokcho has a shirt that reads "I'LL FUCK FOR FREE"? So what if I have a friend whose name sounds -- diminutively -- exactly like the English word iguana?), but occasionally I do regress into fits of laughter over the dumbest of shit*, the best example being when I use Google's translate tool to, um, translate my writing into Korean and then reconvert it back into English. Yes, it's lazy; but also is it intriguing, at least to me, keeping in mind that I find the hair on my big toes and the rash on my lower back similarly fascinating.

We'll see how this onanistic experiment goes. I plan to do one per month until the apocalypse (this July, by my calendar), and here's the

(second)

first, a regurgitated post about a drug-addled dog**:

Mai Thy hallowed blog, or not often interfere with my apparent mental state of the title - it was self-deprecatingly in writing, you now * - you a bad impression, CR, do not give nod; I'm away from a legitimate non-psychoactive a fan of most of the drugs, as well as legal ones, not in the JD, JB, I'll acronymed or blow (18 U.S.) illegally. I can count many times I've smoked marijuana (Never in Korea), and on the other hand, I'm happy it has no activity. Likewise, the evolution of my wife and Laudable Legs, ** probably driving without a seatbelt, and small-to illegal child abuse ***. Our 6-year-old grandson has drawbacks Shih, Jikko, however? Found yesterday, and she likes to open the damn high.

Such. If you think you know, canine.

Well, the best an addict, so when I do so I'm completely my schön hund, I learned my beautiful dog was dumbfounded after Christmas has substance abuse to hide their addiction. "It's only 13," you might say, but the reckoning is in fourth year.

And I never thought of. I think that sense, I'm to blame part. About cue dramatic music.

Most of all between the 20 days has begun to remove four hours. Massive head cold, but the recovery of the woods yet, I'm at work (work, "task") 30 day took off. I was feeling much better mid afternoon, so I freeze my butt and my bonechair ready for my regular session Wednesday chejeu Sparklegs teachers started to clean up: the three friends of mine as a different, and their expert ala Tony Robbins handsome on this issue, spiritual beings, and sports / sex. Potential tithers, Yeah!

Until then, Jikko (love Jikko) everloving her baby was normal: a pleasant way, a kind of genius, that dog, and tables, distressed kitchen scrap. I'm just a little strange that she's a vacuum cleaner is turned on start to act. That's when I really Jikko General'm not surprised by anything, so that headers have revealed. She's the baby of a button and more consumers (hell) and the 80s with kids catalog distribution as more desirable cute Nintendo, Hasbro - Now, it's hard, but she can not, in a logic of human brain and not do things the dog Whisperer , occurs as a guess. I think I feel quite cross about is her part.

So I started the vacuum cleaner - she is generally the most feared home appliance, "microwave oven" - the name, but she's got stuff in clubs, I thought she must have had a shit (* *) laughs. I turned off the vacuum a little more than usual, she's been acting weird and her hair and the ends down, right, like she looked toward the ceiling to communicate with ghosts left, I shrugged off as a kind of preview - doo-consciousness. (We are both. I tend to smoke; other people. Jikko ceramic bathroom wall has a habit of scratching the coffee is preferred. Any time to provide e-mail is my motto.) 1 when the hour, but I started to continue a little worried.

I was tutoring sessions. Jikko, most dogs of all visits to all of our homes (and if you do something to snack packaging, the better), excited the whole time, ignoring all the invisible ghost stories *** *. Attractiveness of the former to the vet immediately, she was taken when she was known to cause disease. You know what's with the IFS.

Likewise, coming at the end of the class Jikko peed on the floor a large (very large) for a warning sign. Yeah, but that adults Jikko bus or a member of the church choir for their pollution, and vomiting were similar *****, do not anthropomorphize animals. Yeah, maybe it happened; but we all take pride, and Liberty Belo Jikko as: crack, maybe, but it does not hurt the baby difficult. Regan MacNeil and Word, you are wrong Jikko good company at the bottom of the damage that I know something.

It's here, it's deliberately vague (R), and a hurry, maybe I; maybe I'm protecting Legs; is possibly responsible for these distortions and the amenities are sorted out their resentment, remorseful and shameful , and all 42. Maybe.

Although this is now going through Jikko hope / pray. Cold therapy and drug overdose, she recovered after a dog that will be decrypted. She's not yet completely well, and she may not be absolute.

Later on, like, "If you care to give the dog a cold, she went a little tega remember a time when we could laugh at?"

Or we can not.


* I'm karate, but I do not know karazy, B, and she, with her name to order ㅁwa ㅇ.

** Well, I know!

*** Wait, no, that was my last wife. I'm just like a movie star Guy Pearce will have to start writing notes on my body. I believe I called LA confidential.

**** I've been to a party.

***** However, I think it should be. Their dog the way, the crew of the mornin 'like a curse, like a marathon runner like a whore flirts with strawberry drink of water, expel the Russian vodka.


Yeah, I knew you were on board Sparkles's Ship of Sublimnity. I was jes testin'.

* www.fitsoflaughteroverthedumbestofshit.blogspot.com

** If you were keeping tabs, our long penninsular nightmare is over. The dog is OK. I repeat, the dog is 오케이.

Psychedelic Kimochi

Chocolate and peanut butter. Soju and draft beer. Pippen and Jordan. The first two Godfather films. Joel and Ethan Coen. John and Paul, Jagger and Richards. Conan and Andy. Calvin and Hobbes. Marvel Team-Up. Woodward and Bernstein. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Mario and Luigi. Sparkles and Legs, Sparkles and Kmart, Sparkles and the 18th Letter, Sparkles and soju and draft beer and Jack Daniels and Tsingtao. Marv Albert and Mike Fratello. Run and DMC, Erick and Parrish, Andre 3000 and Big Boi, Eric B and Rakim, Guru and Primo, Dre and Snoop, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Tame and El, Das EFX, Kurtis Mantronik and MC Tee. Death and taxes. Rice and 반찬. Scorsese and De Niro. Scorsese and DiCaprio. Ron and Nancy.

Pen and paper. French fries and ketchup (or mayo, if that's your thing). Red and Andy. Gordie and Chris. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Chewing gum and cashews. Smith and Wesson. Jeckyll and Hyde. T and A. S and M. Baskin and Robbins. Barnum and Bailey. Alyosha and Dmitri. Orville and Wilbur. Sly and Frank. Marie and Pierre Curie. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Shits and giggles. Pancakes and maple syrup. Batman and Robin. Love and Rockets. Stephen King and Peter Straub. Tom and Jerry. Ben and Jerry. Sid and Marty Krofft. Ax and Smash, Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik, Bret and Owen Hart. Franks and beans, meat and two veg, rod and tackle. Police and thieves. Protons and electrons. Holmes and Watson. Mashed potatoes and gravy. George and Lenny. Porgy and Bess.


Hwang Jeong Eum and Shin Se Kyung.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Correspondence



To: John Q Newbie

From: The desk of Tiberious aka Sparkles, pka Eoin Forbes, ESQ.


I have a habit, or so I'm told, of being overly polite to strangers, the kindhearted and the douchebaghearted alike. Maybe it's because I'm Canadian/softheaded like Lenny in Of Mice and Men.

Regardless, I do have my moments of assoholism. These tend to come out when I'm ordering Bic Macs in Burger King (or Whoppers in McDonald's), and the counterperson looks at me incredulously. That's when the slapping starts. And once it starts, it's hard to stop.

What I'm trying to say is, on rare occasions, I may come across as a jerk. Said occasions are:

1) When I'm drunk. I mean really drunk. Get-the-stomach-pump-primed drunk.

2) When I'm on the Spakrosnet, this great adult jungle gym. Whee, you penisfiend!

3) When I'm refereeing wheelchair basketball games and ejecting players for traveling.

I sincerely hope you don't take this letter for that. My aim is not to offend but to

(enlighten)

explain.

See, I've been on this ROK for a decade. I'm not saying I'm an authority on all things Korean -- ten years in, I continue to learn new things every day* -- but I've been around the dongnae a few times, learned a few tricks.

Does that make me some master of wisdom? Of course not. My best advice if you're soliciting it is Live your life and stop bothering me with questions I've heard a thousand times or more. Because if you're a newborn babe in the Land of the Morning Chaos, you're picking the brain of a ten-year-old. Stop asking me where the best place to score women is; I haven't even grown pubic hair yet.

Does that sound snarky? I hope not. Really, I wish you the best of happiness during your period of soj(u)ourn. It's just that I feel like a tenured counselor at a camp for handicapped kids. Live here long enough and it starts to feel like there's a revolving door of expat retards.

This country isn't made for

(pussies)

everyone, but with enough smarts and experience you just might one day call it home. I did, and look at me. I'm not only the president, I'm also a...

Yours,

Crapbag


* Apparently there was some kinda war fifteen years ago that divided the country between North and South, the Han River acting as the demilitarized zone.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Less Than Jikko (Best Medicine)



Don't let the title of this hallowed blog or my seemingly oft disturbed mental state -- that was written self-deprecatingly; you shouldn't be nodding right now* -- give you the wrong impression, CR; I'm far from a fan of non-legal psychoactive drugs, most of the legal ones as well, unless they're acronymed JD, JB, or BJ (illegal in eighteen states). I can count the number of times I've smoked pot (NEVER IN KOREA) on one hand, the number of times I've enjoyed it on none. Similarly, my wife, the illustrious and praiseworthy Legs, has no illegal vices** save perhaps driving without a seat belt and abusing small children***. Our six-year-old Shih Tzu, Jikko, however? As I discovered yesterday, she likes to get high as a fucking kite.

Jeez. You think you know a canine.

The best addicts hide their addictions well, which is why I was so utterly dumbfounded when I learned that mein schön hund, 내 이쁜강아지, had been abusing drugs since Christmas. "That's only thirteen days," you might say, but it's a year and a quarter in dog reckoning.

And I never saw it coming. I suppose, in that sense, I'm partly to blame. Cue the dramatic intro music.

It all started yesterday, as most days removed twenty-four hours do. Recovering from a massive head cold but not yet out of the woods, I took a half-day off from work (work, "work"). By mid-afternoon I was feeling much better, so I wrested my frozen ass from my bonechair and started tidying up Chez Sparklegs in preparation for my regular Wednesday tutor session: three friends of mine, each as handsome as the other, I their guru ala Tony Robbins on matters spiritual, existential, and sports/sex. Potential tithers, yeah!

Up until then, Jikko (dear Jikko) had been her normal, everloving self: frisky, genial in that dog sort of way, hounding for scraps Kitchen and Table. It was only when I turned on the vacuum cleaner that she started acting a little bit unusual. I should preface this by stating that I'm not really surprised when Jikko does something out of the ordinary. She's as cute as a button's baby and more likable than the Consumers Distributing catalog(ue) to an 80's kid with a Nintendo/Hasbro hard-on, but she does stuff that I can't, with my big, logical human brain and no experience as a dog whisperer, fathom. I suppose the feeling is very mutual on her part.

So when I started up the vacuum -- normally her most feared home appliance not named "microwave" -- and she started running in circles around it, I thought it must have been because she had to poop (*laughs*). When I turned the vacuum off and she continued acting a little more oddly than usual, bobbing her head up and down, left to right, staring toward the ceiling like she was communicating with phantoms, I shrugged it off as some sort of pre-poop ritual. (We all have them. I tend to smoke; other people prefer coffee. Jikko has a habit of scratching the bathroom's porcelain walls. Whatever delivers the mail on time is my motto.) When it continued for an hour, though, I started to get concerned.

My tutoring session came. Jikko, always the most amiable of dogs to everyone who visits our home (and if you're packing some snack action, all the better), was agitated the entire time, ignoring everyone and talking to invisible ghosts****. Had I known then the cause of her ailment, I would have taken her to the vet immediately. You know, the Whats and the Ifs.

As the class neared its end, Jikko peed on the floor, a big (HUGE) warning sign. I hate to anthropomorphize animals*****, but for Jikko that was akin to a grown man soiling himself on a bus or a choir member vomiting it church. Yeah, maybe it happens; but we all have our pride, and Jikko's is as hard as the Liberty Bell: a fissure, maybe, but that baby won't break. Word to Reagan MacNeil, you know something's wrong when Jikko pees on the floor among good company.

It's here where things get intentionally vague(r), and rushed, maybe because I'm deflecting blame; maybe I'm protecting Legs; maybe because these things will sort themselves out in manners Resentful, Remorseful, Reproachful, and everything in between. Maybe.

For now, though, let's hope/pray that Jikko pulls through. She overdosed on cold medication and is recovering after a night in doggy detox. She's still not completely well, and she might not ever be.

We can laugh about it later, like, "Remember the time you gave cold medication to your dog and she went a little loopy?"

Or we can't.


* I don't know karate, but I know karazy, and she spells her name with a ㅈ, a ㅁ, and a ㅇ.

** That I know of!

*** Wait, no, that was my last wife. I'm going to have to start writing memos on my body like that dude in the movie starring Guy Pearce. L.A. Confidential I believe it was called.

**** I've been to that party.

***** Yet I feel I must. In her own doggy way, 꼬 curses like a sailor, flirts like a strawberry whore, and drinks water like a marathon runner, vodka like an exiled Russian.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

High Hopes and Slow Escalators





Always late to the party, but never the fallout.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Like Cashews and Bubblegum...



...Chairs and werewolves just don't mix.

Of Absence



I don't know why I had sweet and sour pork delivered. It's not like I could taste it, not with this cold. Were I blindfolded, the dumplings I ate for breakfast could have been paper for all I knew (insert joke about my wife's cooking here). Starve a cold, or so the saying goes, but for me it's the opposite. My appetite is pretty much muted when I'm ill, but for whatever reason I inevitably gorge myself. If you're a doctor or a psychiatrist (yes, that's redundant in the latter's case; you know what I mean, Einstein), maybe you can tell me why that is.

Thankfully, no fever. But, god, do I have one heck of a head cold (and I'm constipated, and my raging libido seems to be under the weather as well). My nostrils are raw from tissue erosion. (And if we're being completely honest here, also from index finger, forearm, and T-shirt erosion. I am, admittedly, a savage.) I have a pressure headache from -- when I'm not wiping my nose or blowing its watery contents into sinks Bathroom and Kitchen -- sniffling all the time. My eyes are swollen and bloodshot, making me look like a Chinese drug addict. Every fifteen minutes or so, a great sneeze will wrack my skull.

This is Beverly clearly not my best day; and, actually, I sort of wish I did have a fever running, because when my temperature is high I have the most vivid dreams. (You'll have to take my word for it; I can explain how a quantum computer works in terms Layman and Technical, but, unless you live on Elm Street, it's impossible for me to make you understand just how profoundly gripping it is to hide from a ten-story-tall killer robot.) All I have now is this shitty head cold and sore teeth. I can't even watch TV because my vision is blurred from an exodus of salty water. I'm expecting my unaffected orifices to start leaking at any moment. (Snot from my ears would be pretty neat, actually, but not from my anus, nor from my urethra.)

It's almost four o'clock and I'm bored to shit. Taking the day off work is only fun if you're faking it. No word of a lie, I'd trade being at home sick with my busiest day at work in a heartbeat. Compared to this bitchwhore of a cold, my department manager -- a.k.a. the slimiest fuckstick to ever set a Hermes-clad foot inside Olsen Food & Beverage -- is as benevolent as my grandmother Ruth, may she rest in peace. I'd rather ride the metro at full capacity than jockey this sofa alone, because at least then I'd feel like a human being rather than some overgrown fetus.

My wife called a couple of minutes ago. She asked me how I was doing and I said sportingly, like a corgi on grass, and then I told her the truth. I'm playing volleyball against a team of devil worshippers is what I said. She works in publishing, so she appreciated the metaphor. Then she asked me what my plans for the rest of the evening were, and I said I might shoot myself like the protagonist of "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," in bed and with a gun. She didn't appreciate that reference because I tried to commit suicide on New Year's Eve of 2006, only then I used almost a full bottle of prescription pills instead of a gun.

I wish I had a gun.

That's morbid, I know. I don't have ALS; I'll get better. Hopefully when I wake up tomorrow it'll be the dawn of a newer, stronger Jimmy Marshall. Chalk up another win for Team Immune System, hoohaw! But fuck if I'm not in the greatest of moods as of this writing. I can't do anything save type an angry rant against an invisible enemy, and even then I have to keep stopping because my arms get paresthesia from holding my Blackberry over my horizontally lying sofa half-corpse.

Music. Music! Of course. That'll brighten my spirits, put some pep in my step. Elevation is a scientifically proven emotion (also a song written by Bono), and nothing makes me feel better than some arena rock. Sure! I feel better already. Foreigner will revive me like Benny Hinn makes cripples walk again.

I'm a few seconds into the opening piano chords of "Cold as Ice" when my cell phone murmurs its signal that I have a text message. It's my wife. "Baby, hows ur cold?" it reads. It'll be a lot better after this Sam Adam's and "Smokin," I'm tempted to reply, but I restrain the urge because Helen doesn't really go for honesty. I could compile a large volume of books based solely on the times I've told her how I feel and the subsequent looks of boredom she gives me in response, my words wasted like spermatozoa ejaculated onto a fertile woman's stomach. No, Helen likes me when I'm at my most basic of exposition. Descriptions such as good, very good, or bad and very bad are, to her, calling cards of my acquiescence vis a vis her limited imagination. It's a good thing she has great tits.

I am again low, my burgeoning enthusiasm crushed by the weight of innocent words, my sinuses, hitherto in stasis with my mood, reacting in harmony with its sudden swing. I am again a leaky faucet, and I want to hibernate beneath pillows and covers and like warmth-providing encasing, a plump cub sleeping in a den of radiant clouds of orange.

But first, a sandwich.