Monday, February 27, 2006

Spring Cleaning -- 2046

2046 is Wong Kar Wai's sequel of sorts to his 2000 film, In The Mood For Love, which I haven't seen. After watching 2046, I'll make it a priority to do so. Wong is tremendously gifted in his ability to make his characters and dialogue seem natural, when in fact they really aren't. People rarely speak in metaphors, as they often do in his films, and nobody I've met in real life seems remotely as interesting as the characters in his films. Yet the stories seem almost commonplace, and unattentive viewers might label his films, especially this one, as boring. This is certainly not the case. Every Wong film I've seen has had a cathartic effect on me. 2046 was no different.

The story's protagonist is Chow Mo Wan (played by the great Tony Leung Chiu Wai), a newspaper writer who moves to Hong Kong from Singapore. There he meets an old girlfriend, and after she is murdered in her hotel room by a jealous boyfriend, Chow rents out the room next door and begins writing the titular novel, about a train that takes passengers to a mysterious place (country? city? building?) where they can relive lost memories. There are some scenes in the film that tell the story of Chow's novel, but not many, and the novel's plot's purpose is more allegorical than anything. Truthfully, the movie would have worked just as well without those scenes, but they don't really harm the film, either. I was quite surprised with the film, actually, as going in I was expecting the story to be about the fictional 2046, not that of its creator.

Throughout the film we are introduced to the various women of Chow's world, some whom he loves, some whom he doesn't; others who love him, others who don't. The bulk of the film, and its most interesting moments, center around Chow's relationship with Bai Ling (played be the uber-gorgeous Ziyi Zhang), a call girl whose plans to move to Singapore have been put on hold after her boyfriend dumps her. One thing I don't get: there's a famous actress named Bai Ling. Is this name common, or was it purposefully chosen to pay homage to the actress?

At first Chow pursue's Bai Ling, and she rejects his advances. From Chow's perspective, we see him as a likeable gentleman, and Bai Ling a harsh vixen. It is after they form a relationship, however, that we begin to see, from Bai Ling's perspective, that Chow is playing a courtier's role, and that he really has very little affection for her.

Why this is and how it came to be may be easily understood by those who have seen In The Mood For Love. As I've mentioned, I haven't, but by the end of the film some insight into Chow's motivations are evident. Chow appears to be a man who wants desperately to love someone, only to finally realize that he can't, and probably shouldn't. The ending is a disappointment for anyone hoping for Wong to recreate the happy ending from Chung King Express, but that's OK by me. I've always felt that Chung King's ending was a little bit of a cop-out. This ending seems a hell of a lot more real and believable.

2046 is a masterpiece, a deep meditation on love, companionship, and human longing.

4/4 *_*

Current "To Watch" List

Seven Samurai
Training Day
Once Upon a Time in America
Gangs of New York
Full Metal Jacket

Sandra Bullock used to be a man

My senior year of high school, I inherited my folks' 1984 Buick LeSabre from my brother, Marquis. Man, that thing was a boat. It had the loudest horn I've ever heard. Because I was a poor student, and my parents were too stingy to give me any gas money, the fuel guage was perpetually on empty. One wintry day in late March, I was in my last class of the day (communications) and knew that with the snow coming down as hard as it was, there was no way I'd manage to drive "The Boat" home, because the drive was 2km uphill, and my car's tires were very, very bald. So I asked my teacher, Mr. Van Dyke, if I could cut out early before the snowfall really started to accumulate, seeing as how my video assignment was finished and all. "No way," he told me. "If you get in an accident and something happens, I'm liable." Not sure how that works, I told him. I was 18 at the time. As a slight digression, I always found it amusing that, being 18, I had to write my own notes whenever I returned from an illness. I couldn't just say "Mr. Yorke, I missed class yesterday because I had a high fever and was throwing up, due, I think, to some undercooked tandoori chicken." No, I had to write a note. Fucking Canadian high schools are first-class bureaucracies.

Anyway, I managed to sneak out 10 minutes before the bell. The snow was piling pretty high, and on top of that the car's defrost mechanism (sorry to get all technical here) was on the fritz. I could barely see where I was going, and I had so little traction that, at the front of the intersection at one stop light, the signal went from red to green and I was the only car in my lane to make it through before it turned back to red. The jerks behind me were not happy, let me tell you.

The point of all this? There is none. I just figured it was as good an introduction as any to begin these random thoughts and musings.

1) Here's the 2nd excerpt from my untitled novel. This is the first few paragraphs of chapter 10, titled I See a Red Door and I Want it to Turn Penelope Cruz:

Last Night I dreamt I went to Taco Bell again. It seemed to to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive-thru, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the manager, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the restaurant was uninhabited.

No guacamole or re-fried beans odor came from the place, and the little sliding window gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The restaurant's kitchen's bowels wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware that a change had come upon it; it was clean and sparkling, not the narrow and unkept dive that we had known. The urinal pucks in the bathrooms were as white as linen; the floor was so clean I could eat off of it with my feet.

But alas, not a soul stirred within. Who in Christ's name was going to make me a 1/2 pound Bean N' Cheese burrito?

2) I caught the Celtics/Lakers game today. Fairly uneventful save for the final minutes. Besides that, the only incidences of note were watching Smush Parker's awesome dunk and hearing the Korean commentators refer to Dyan Cannon as Jim Carrey's wife (Carrey and Cannon were sitting next to each other). Shit, she's almost 70 years old! I know she's had quite a bit of work done, but come on. I think Jim could do a little better than that.

3) I'm going to try to post a Spring Cleaning review of Wong Kar Wai(is the sky blue, Wai is water wet?)'s 2046 tomorrow. I know nobody really cares, but writing that I'm going to write something is motivation for me to actually do it, especially when it concerns my (slowly shrinking, like wool in tepid water) list of unwatched DVDs. Sometime in 2007 I think we'll be nearing the home stretch.

4) The "1,2 Punch" list of the top 3 hip-hop singles and subsequent remixes is as follows:

1) Blahzay Blahzay's When The East Is In The House
2) Black Moon's I Got Cha Opin
3) Biggie's One More Chance

I'm probably forgetting some great ones that would no doubt prompt me to amend that list. I don't think I have to remind you that that is why lists are stupid.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

My untitled novel (excerpt 1)

For the past 2 years I have been working on an as-yet untitled* novel. Today I finished the book's final paragraph, and I have to admit that I'm quite fond and proud of what I've written.

As a service to you, Dear Reader, I've decided to periodically post here some passages of the novel that will soon set the literary world afire. Here's the opening paragraph. I think it's strikingly original:

In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticising anyone’, he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t been born with the gargantuan penis that you have.'

* Corduroy Grandmother, and Who Stole My Last Piece of Freedom? are some potential titles which I've been kicking around in my head for a while.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Spring Cleaning -- Casino

Sometimes it's OK to go back to the well, to recapture (or try to) the glory of past victories. 9 times out of 10 it doesn't work, and you wind up with something like MJ in a Wizards uniform, or M Night Shyamalan's The Village; but occasionally the magic can be rekindled. One example is The White Stripes' The Denial Twist, a great song which is pretty much the same as There's No Home For You Here, both of which are slight variations of Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground . Doesn't mean any of them aren't great songs.

Goodfellas is Martin Scorsese's big gangster picture. Casino is basically Goodfellas: The Remix, and while there's certainly no new ground broken story-wise, it's nevertheless a complete marvel to watch from a cinematography and editing perspective, not to mention the great performances. Sure, Pesci is playing Tommy DeVito Version 2.0, and if one watches carefully one can see hints of what DeNiro would unforgivably morph into in a few years -- but it doesn't matter; Casino is a great picture regardless.

Which is not to say the film is flawless. Far from it. Besides paling in comparison to Goodfellas, Casino lacks the narrative cohesiveness that made the former such a classic. The nifty camera tricks and propulsive plot is there -- as is another great rock soundtrack -- but where Casino falls flat is in its failure to rise above its superior predecessor in almost every way. The sole aspect in which Casino has Goodfellas beat is the fact that Sam "Ace" Rothstein is marginally more likeable than Henry Hill. But that certainly doesn't mean he's more interesting.

Maybe Casino is to Goodfellas as Follow The Leader is to Paid In Full* -- but that's OK; I like Follow The Leader just fine.

Some quick thoughts before I go to bed:

1) How can we, the audience, be expected to believe that DeNiro is 43 years old at the start of the film? Totally implausible. It's not as bad as Tommy and Henry supposedly being the same age in Goodfellas, or Ray Liotta playing Johnny Depp's dad in Blow, but it's close.

2) Was Pesci wearing make-up/prosthetics to alter his appearance? Seriously, he looks as though he had a face-lift. Nobody I've asked supports this theory.

3) Lists are stupid, but watching Casino tonight made me re-evaluate my list of the best Scorsese films. Here's how things now stand:

I) Goodfellas
II) Raging Bull**
III) Taxi Driver
IV) Mean Streets
V) The Aviator

Current "To Watch" List

Seven Samurai
Training Day
Once Upon a Time in America
Gangs of New York
Full Metal Jacket

* Not the best analogy, but it's 2 in the morning, so what do you expect? Send me an e-mail if you think you can make a better one.

** Seriously, when is this going to be released in Korea, and why hasn't it been already? A Clockwork Orange I could sort of understand, because there's a penis shot in it, and penises make people kill presidents; but Raging Bull? What's so offensive about it?

What did Raging Bull ever do to you, Korea?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Un Chien Andalou Chaud

I usually let the wife do the cooking and take what I get. Because she's often busy, and because I'm lazy and wouldn't cook for myself if you paid me*, dining alone usually means instant noodles, instant curry, instant spaghetti, and so on -- which generally results in instant stomach discomfort and instant diarrhea. Still, I refuse to change my eating habits. That'd be like asking a dog to be a cat. However, very rarely I get the urge to march to the beat of a different drummer, so to speak; to step outside my hermit culinary kingdom. Thursday was one such day. To tell you the truth, I was as surprised about it as you are.

(pretend you're surprised)

Yes, on the way home from work I capriciously decided to venture into E-Mart and pick up some vittles.

Sometimes, I realize now, the best decisions are the ones we don't make. I think it was Comte, or possibly Eddie Murphy, who said that.

Here's what I bought:

- a bag of pork cutlets (with a free roll of paper towels!)
- a 3-pack of some crappy Korean candy bars
- a pizza sandwich (apparently ham, cheese, and sweet pickles between bread = pizza sandwich)
- a bag containing 2 servings of instant spaghetti
- some sauce for the pork culets (if I finish it before it expires, I vow to eat the bottle it came in)
- a small pack of processed cheese slices
- a bottle of French's mustard

and the topper...

- 2 packs of hot dogs, packaged with buns

Me being a complete blockhead, I read the expiration date on the hot dogs (end of March) and thought to myself yeah, I can eat 10 franks in a month. What I failed to realize was that the buns' expiration date is today.

Now, you might argue that if I keep the buns in the refrigerator they'll be good until the end of next week, possibly longer, but your assertion will fall on deaf ears, I'm afraid. See, I have this weird thing about bread and expiration dates. In my fucked-up mind, if it says it expires tomorrow, then by god it bloody WILL expire tomorrow! Nothing anyone says can change my mind. This weird foible likely stems from the fact that my father would (and probably still does) pick mold off of bread and cheese and eat it complacently, chastising me and my brother for refusing to do the same.

Whatever, Dad. You're no longer the boss of me.

I realized my mistake once I got home. So you know what I did? I ate 2 hotdogs for dinner, 2 more for breakfast this morning, and I just now polished off another 2.

After the first 2: "Boy, those hit the spot. I forgot how good a hot dog loaded with mustard can taste."

After the second 2: "Not bad. Probably not the best thing to eat for breakfast, but I'm still young."

After these last 2: "Ugh. Hot dogs, I'm beginning to grow weary of you."

Those adroit at math will no doubt see my present dilemma, namely that there are 4 more hot dogs to be eaten. So what do I do? throw them out? Keep them and eat them sans buns?

Fuck it. I'm going to eat the rest now. If some pipsqueak Japanese dude can eat 50 in 12 minutes, I can handle 4 more in an evening, right?

Because I'm a scientist at heart, I will disclose the results of this bold venture tomorrow. Not since Marie Curie has a man** risked so much and asked for so little.

Pray for me.

*I think the most challenging meal I've whipped up for myself in the past year was a grilled-cheese sandwich. Boy, was that ever a hassle. First of all, like any civilized household we keep our margarine in the refrigerator. One of the things I love about being married -- besides regular sex -- compared to when I lived with my folks is that there are no toast crumbs in the margarine. God, that's disgusting. But refrigerated margarine isn't easy to spread on a piece of bread (that's what I said, my rhymes are heavy like lead). And when I put it in the microwave to soften it, I invariably either liquify the margarine or end up melting the container inside which it resides (my favorite Drexler is Clyde, I wash my whites with Tide). So, as you can see, even a seemingly simple thing to make such as a grilled cheese sandwich is a bothersome task. I'm encouraged by my unwavering hope that, when I'm rich like Oprah, I won't have to worry about shit like that any more, because I'll have a gay Swiss dude preparing all of my meals for me.

** I know, I know.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bus Driver-on-Bus Driver Crime

True story: In Burlington, Ontario, Canada -- where I lived from the time I was 6 years old until I graduated and moved to Korea -- Jim Carrey's sister drives a bus, and apparently she sings jubilantly as she does so. My guess is that Jim has looked out for her and has provided for his sibling prodigiously, because my prejudices towards bus drivers causes me to believe that nobody who drives a bus can be that happy.

Perhaps that's because I've lived in Korea for too long. Korean bus drivers are mostly a wretched lot, and while I've come across some fairly passable ones during my time here, I'd say that the ratio of abjectly horrible bus drivers to tolerable ones is 3:1. The "good guys" are the ones who might say "hello" when I get on, or...unfortunately, that is as far as my compliments extend. A "good" Korean bus driver to me is one who doesn't smoke while driving, who doesn't swear out loud while women and children are within hearing distance; one who doesn't skip stops because an armada of other buses are in front of him; one who doesn't reek of soju and nod off at the wheel.

Realistically, the "good" drivers aren't so good as much as they aren't exceedingly bad. Philanthropic sod that I am, I try to grade on a curve.

The bad drivers, though, boy, look out. Do Korean bus drivers have to endure a boot camp-style training period before they receive their licenses? Do some of the weaker ones pull a Private Pyle because they can't take the pressure, the torture, the humilliation? What turns most of them into such contemptible assholes? Seriously, I want an investigative TV documentary to shed some light on this.

Like many, I have my long list of grievances (their compulsive horn fetish, opting to zoom by stops instead of picking up passengers, smoking, dangerous driving, and so on, and so forth), but, while I don't condone these actions, most of them can be explained. The conjested traffic and "balli-balli" mindset necessitates that Korean bus drivers must take a "survival of the fittest" approach to driving. They are the alpha dogs of the road, let there be no mistake. Maybe their long hours and quota to make x number of circuits around their route is extremely stressful. OK, so they don't have it easy.

But they don't have to act like fucking barbarians.

Violence between bus drivers and drivers of other vehicles is not uncommon. In the past 5 years I've seen over a dozen incidents where a bus driver has a) vandalized the car of someone who he felt wronged him on the road, or b) actually assaulted the vehicle's driver.

In one such shocking instance the bus was chartered and full of elementary school children. Jesus, how much of a fucking brute does one have to be to attack another driver while scores of innocent schoolchildren look on?

Just last week I was on my way to Samsung Plaza when a sedan cut in front of the bus. The bus driver retalliated first by blaring his horn for a good 30 seconds, but he wasn't satisfied by this and proceeded to take an unscheduled detour and follow the offending vehicle until it finally stopped at a red light. The bus driver got out, walked up to the driver's side, and smashed his fists repeatedly on the window, shouting all manner of obscenities. Lucky for him the driver was a middle-aged woman who had no intention of further raising his ire. After the bus driver's childish venting tantrum, he got back on the bus, resumed his route, and for the next 5 minutes continued to mutter bitterly to himself. Do these sound like the actions of a rational, sane individual? Again, far from an isolated incident.

Yesterday's episode, however, takes the cake. On my way home from work, the inter-city bus on which I was riding was cut off by another similar bus while on the highway. Feeling slighted, my driver, for the next 10 minutes, proceeded to drive as dangerously and as recklessly as possible, weaving in and out of traffic and cutting off his rival a half dozen times. This continued until we exited the highway, finally coming to a head as soon as we reached Samsung Plaza. The two drivers bolted from their buses, met each other in the middle of the road, and without a moment's pause began brawling violently. There were punches thrown, shirts torn, blood shed -- it was insane. All traffic began to slow down to watch these two jerks pummel each other.

And why were they grappling like two men on PCP? Because one bus driver cut the other bus driver off. Jesus, talk about road rage.

As all this was happening, the thought did occur to me to try to break it up. Then I realized that they're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls.

In conclusion, I don't like bus drivers. I'm bigoted toward them. Perhaps this is a character flaw of mine. So be it, that's something I'll have to live with.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Korean Drama Drinking Game

In my younger days, I used to regularly partake in various drinking games -- all of which must have been successful (or unsuccessful, depending upon how you look at it), because I can't for the life of me remember any of them. Save one. The Century Club. For the uninitiated, this is a male rite of passage where one must drink one shot of beer, every minute, for 100 minutes. Believe me, it sounds easier than it is. Out of the half dozen or so of us who took up the noble challenge, only 2 of us made it to the 100th shot. I'm proud to say that I was part of that elite pair. No mean feat for me, considering that I'm six-feet tall and weigh a meagre 66 kilograms (about 146 pounds, or 65 999 999 999.999 99 micrograms for the eggheads out there). Sadly, those days are passed, but if you're young, bored, live in Korea, and like to make up flimsy excuses for drinking copious amounts of beer and/or spirits, I have the game for you. The only caveat being that you have to watch a Korean drama -- but that in itself isn't too bad, really: you get to see some of the funniest, unintentionally bad acting this fine planet has to offer, and Korean dramas are always fun to watch for the cute young actresses. If you have HD, you can check out their cosmetic surgery scars!

So, here's the game. Any time the following occurs, everyone must take either a shot of hard liquor, or down a beer (unless noted otherwise). This list is far from extensive, admittedly, so readers are encouraged to submit their own additions to the list.

Drink a shot/beer every time each of the following occurs:

- A scene takes place inside a cafe. 2 shots/beers if the cafe is playing a Beatles song, instrumental, or cover.

- A "mosaic" tries to blur out an obvious corporate logo. 2 shots/beers if the logo is manually covered, instead of digitally.

- You recognize the area/location in which a scene was filmed.

- A lone male or female character stands outside in the driving rain. 3 shots/beers if this is the episode's final scene.

- A scene inside a nightclub. 2 shots/beers if you know the lyrics to the song being played.

- A female character slaps a man. 3 shots/beers (followed by a disapproving grimace) if a male character slaps a woman.

- A scene takes place on a bench outside a hospital.

- A female character blinks, causing fake tears to fall.

- Any time an older female character speaks and sounds like Mommy Fortuna from The Last Unicorn. Drink 2 shots/beers right now if you understand exactly what I mean.

- A cell phone rings. 2 shots/beers if it's on vibrate. 3 shots/beers if you mistakenly think your own cell phone is ringing.

- A character is diagnosed with cancer.

- This guy makes an appearance:

- A breakfast/lunch/dinner table scene. 2 shots/beers if a female character leaves the table abruptly in a fuss.

- A character is drunk/drinking.

(as a side note, when a male character in a drama gets shitfaced, it's because he's "conflicted" or "emotionally torn," and such an act is given positive connotation. When a guy does so in real life? It's likely because he's a drunken loser. Probably an unemployed drunken loser who smokes a pack of This a day and who is addicted to Starcraft. Oh, and his chances of pulling someone like Song Hye-Gyo are about as realistic as my chances of winning the Nobel Prize for Things That Smell Like Cum [sic])

- A male superior unfairly dresses down a female subordinate in an office situation.

- Ample cleavage is shown (5 shots/beers).

- A recently-employed female character's first day on the job reminds you of the lyrics "you're going to make it after all!" 2 shots/beers if the scene involves a fashion show.

- A passionate kiss (3 shots/beers). 10 if a tongue and/or groping is involved.

That's the list so far. Again, feel free to submit your own additions. And remember to drink responsibly.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Psychedelic Kimochi

3 posts in one day! I think the Chinese food delivery guy might have slipped some meth into my danmuji.

I give you 2 Grace Parks for the price of one:

2006 NBA All-Star Game

Today I was lucky enough to catch the NBA All-Star Game. Here's a running log of how things transpired, as I saw them:

Live from Houston! The city, not the porn star, nor the R&B singer who shot out his eye while high on PCP...MBC/ESPN shows a graphic which has Kevin Garnett listed as a starter for the East All-Stars. Good grief. Also, apparently it's Rebron James. I ask, is it really that difficult to get it right?...One thing the MBC broadcast has going for it: I don't have to listen to the exceedingly annoying voice of Doug Collins. Remember when The NBA On NBC had Collins paired with Bob Costas? It was a dark time for the L then, let me tell you...Upon further review, 'Sheed has no business representing the East. Michael Redd must be spinning in his grave...Man, Jermaine O'Neal is sharply dressed. Uh, not that I actually notice stuff like that...So, because Jermaine O'Neal is hurt, Wince Carter gets to start. I hope you choke on that basketball, Vince (I don't know what that means, either)...To introduce the East starters, the Houston Symphony plays Lose Yourself. The West gets Beethoven's 5th, followed by an interpolation of some rap song unfamiliar to me. I wonder, do the symphony guys consider this "slumming it"?...Introducing, the West Foreigners! Kobe looks surprised that the fans are cheering him...I don't know which is more aggravating, the fact that the Canadian national anthem is mandatorily sung, or that MBC cut it off midway through the opening verse. If the the Korean nat'l anthem was cut off on live television, I imagine there'd be riots in the streets of Seoul...Yao Ming addresses the crowd. Wow, I never knew he spoke English so well. I mean, it sounded extremely natural, not forced or anything (I'm not being sarcastic). Naturally, ABC feels the need to caption his speech. Yao cold got dissed by ABC!...Man, those unis are ugly with a capital "really fucking ugly." All the players look like old ladies vacationing on Cape Cod. The color scheme doesn't exactly help accenuate Shaq's rotund figure. Worst unis since the year they were pastel and had cacti and shit on them (I think that was Phoenix, or maybe San Antonio)...And we're off. To a sloppy start. I know it's the All-Star Game, but still...Shaq's playing point guard. If that give-and-go, between-the-defender's-legs pass to Dwyane Wade and alley oop attempt was successful, that would have possibly topped Tracy McGrady's self-pass, off the glass dunk from a few years ago. Alas...Iverson's missing wide-open layups like they're going into style (see what I did there?)...Shaq intentionally misses his 2nd free throw attempt, grabs his own rebound, and dunks it home. Of course, it isn't counted. Apparently Diesel doesn't know what a lane violation is...Is Paul Pierce wearing aerobic warm-up socks? Yes, I do believe he is...And Dwyane Wade is wearing leotards. Dwyane, never, ever take fashion tips from Vince Carter...2nd quarter, and Dirk is running things...Now Pierce is doing his best AI impersonation. He couldn't buy a layup if they were half-off at the layup outlet (again, I have no clue what that means)...Nellie looks like The Phantom of the Paradise...Deion Sanders has an extremely hot wife, but that still doesn't excuse the fact that he's Deion Sanders...Gilbert Arenas sets up Chris Bosh for an awesome dunk. Bosh loses control of the ball, recovers, and slams it home. And one...Uh oh, looks like the West is pulling away...VC misses a dunk that ricochets to the other end of the court. Pretend that one was intentional, Vince...McGrady's looking like the early MVP...Tony Parker does his "that's really funny, Kobe" face. God, I want to punch him; and it's not even because he's French. If TP is considered a handsome dude, I'm as sexy as Vince Vaughn and Matthew McConaughey naked, holding hands covered in honey. Hold on, that didn't sound right. It should read I'm as sexy as Vince Vaughn and Matthew McConaughey naked, holding hands and covered in honey. Better...Then again, I can't convert insane layups (AND the foul) like that...OK, halftime. West 70, East 53 (ugh). I don't think I have to tell you where my allegiance lies...So I come back from the bathroom (I may have missed the Next 10 ceremony; not sure), and some blond-haired girl is singing a pop-country tune while hundreds of young people who look like they just wrapped up a GAP fashion catalogue shoot dance gleefully. Did MBC preempt the game with The Mickey Mouse Club or something? Ladies and gentlemen, this is who David Stern is targeting. Definitely not the NBA's core demographic....Next up is John Legend. That's a little more like it. I can't front, I bought Get Lifted. He's a talented pianist and singer. And the fact that there's a 97% chance that he's gay doesn't bother me a bit...3rd quarter, and LBJ is heating up...James to Wade for a spectacular alley-oop...Wow, T-Mac has 26 points. How can he play so well with that blindfold on?...Allen Iverson finally converted a layup...Dwyane Wade (I love that the MBC announcers are referring to him as "Flash") is heating up...The West has made like a dozen straight turnovers. Make that a baker's dozen (I told you that I'm crazy for those turnovers, cousin)...West 85, East 78. It's getting closer...Lebron is giving T-Mac some serious MVP comp...And there he goes biting his nails again. Does the guy dip his hands in blue cheese dressing before every game or something?...Will somebody please give Richard Hamilton a donut. Does Joe Dumars keep him and Tayshaun Prince locked up in solitary when they're not playing?...The East is now within 4...Jeepers! Elton Brand just stripped Chauncey Billups like an 8-year-old boy with a Barbie doll...Chris Bosh is heating up...OK, I'm back with 8 1/2 minutes left in the 4th. I have some business to attend to, and wanted to get in a shower before the game is over. Hopefully I'll catch the whole thing (please don't go into overtime, please don't go into overtime). I set a personal record for quickest shower: 6 minutes. On the minus-side, I dropped my toothbrush in the toilet and knicked myself 8 times while shaving...Wow, the East is ahead...You probably wouldn't know it by watching the game, but Ray Allen and Gilbert Arenas were in fact selected as All-Stars...One of the MBC announcers points out Donald Faison sitting in the crowd, proving he knows at least one thing I don't, namely who Donald Faison is...Eva Longoria is wearing jeans with Tony Parker's number bedazzled on them. How cute! Yeah, those are going to be selling on eBay before summer's over...How do you say "keep an eye on the fucking ball" in Chinese?...If I have to watch that fucking Korean female boxer in the MBC/ESPN promo one more time, I'm going to fucking kill someone. Not her, though; she'd totally kick my ass...I just realized that Shaq hasn't taken a 3-point attempt yet. What gives? Shaq's annual ASG 3-point attempt is as familiar to me as a Marcus Camby injury, or Steve Francis trade demand...There's nothing at stake in the All-Star game. A proposal: the team representing the winning conference gets an extra team foul for the first 3 quarters of every game during the NBA Finals...Vince is sitting next to Chris Bosh on the East bench. Here's what I imagine he said: "dude, get the fuck out of there as soon as the opportunity presents itself. That GST used to fucking kill me! I'd buy a bag of Humpty Dumpty potato chips, right? And even though it says 99 cents on the bag, the fucking thing would always come to $1.14. That shit's crazy. Hey, what are you doing after the game? Wanna come to my hotel room and watch The Bachelor?"'s now the East 117, West 107...The West is making it a close game in the final minutes...Ben Wallace air balls a free throw. That is a definite contender for Play of the Game...Kobe is clutch! We're tied with under a minute left...Dwyane Wade! Dwyane Wade! Dwyane Wade!...With seconds left, T-Mac badly misses a shot to tie, followed by a missed Vince Carter dunk at the buzzer. So the East wins on a Dwyane Wade put-back, and Vince is robbed of a highlight. There is a God, and he is truly just.

Final Score: East 122, West 120

MVP: Rebron James

Spring Cleaning -- Kagemusha, The Shadow Warrior

Fucked if I know why I put off watching this film for so long (I ordered it last year from Amazon). I think it's probably because I feared that this was one of Kurosawa's lesser films. I should have reminded myself that a man such as Kurosawa didn't have lesser films, rather films that some like better than others. I should have known that the master would not disappoint.

Another more likely reason for putting off watching Kagemusha is its running time, 2 hours and 40 minutes. I don't mind long films (prefer them, actually), but with the little girl it's often hard to find that kind of time.

As part of my resolution to finally watch all the unwatched DVDs in my collection, yesterday I found "that kind of time." It wasn't easy, either. You try shooting a kid with a tranquilizer dart and not have it weigh on your conscience.

In brief, Kagemusha is the story of a petty thief who is saved from crucifiction in order to become the body double of Shingen, who is the head of the Takeda clan. Shingen is mortally wounded, and his dying wish is that no one knows of his demise until 3 years have passed. Thusly, the kagemusha, or double, is asked to pretend he is Shingen -- even to Shingen's son and mistresses. And I thought feigning heterosexuality was hard!

Ahem. So the kagemusha adapts to his role as shadow warrior, and the ultimately tragic story unfolds from there. If you're a fan of Kurosawa, I don't have to tell you that the film looks gorgeous. The opening scene, and the following one in which a muddied soldier runs past scores and scores of stationary soldiers, are both cool. Another particulary memorable scene is a cheap-looking, yet unmistakably bold and effective, dream sequence. Of course, saying Kurosawa films look beautiful is kind of like saying David Lynch movies are confusing. If you are a fan of the master, the camera work definitely won't disappoint.

What I found most refreshing about Kagemusha, however, is that it avoids all the cliches that go hand-in-hand with movies of this kind. I was expecting the shadow warrior to become a Tony Montaesque figure: a poor guy who is given an opportunity to become big time, and whose fatal flaw is jealousy and greed. Instead, the kagemusha is a timid man, who at first declines Shingen's retainers' invitation to become the Takeda clan leader's double. And even after he accepts the role, he is haunted. There is a poignant and provocative monologue by Shingen's brother, Nobukado, which gives some insight into how a man playing the role of another feels. The film seems to suggest that it is the ideal or symbol of greatness that is important, and that the will and power of a man can live much longer on earth than the time in which he inhabits it. It also shows how we tend to accept individuals based on titles, rather than who or what those people truly are. When the kagemusha is finally revealed as an imposter, he is pelted with rocks by the same subjects who not long before followed his every whim.

The film is long, but it could have been 14 hours and still would have held my attention. That's Kurosawa for you. I remember the first time I watched Seven Samurai, not knowing how long it is. It certainly didn't seem to be 3 1/2 hours long. That's how engaging Kurosawa's films are.

Some final thoughts:

1) Those retainers sure were good at keeping a secret. Someone should get them to watch over the next radiohead album, to make sure doesn't get leaked to the 'Net before its release date.

2) Japanese soldiers must have spent a shitload of time making banners.

3) I thought during the film that the score was lackluster, but it finally grabbed me at the end. Great ending, by the way. Great film.


Current "To Watch" List

Seven Samurai
Once Upon a Time in America
Gangs of New York
Full Metal Jacket

Sunday, February 19, 2006

All-Star Saturday

Because I'm "sick," I was able to skip church this morning. Church starts at 10:30. Know what else started at 10:30? All-Star Saturday. What a coincidence! I'm reminded of an episode of The Simpsons...the one where Homer becomes an astronaut. Anyway, here are my thoughts:

How does the Clippers' Walter McCarty wind up singing the American national anthem? I couldn't hear him, because the Korean announcers talked over EVERYTHING, but if McCarty is that good a singer, he should seriously consider quitting his day job.

Shooting Stars

What a novel idea: team a current NBA star with a legend and a WNBA (I haven't heard of it, either)'s always fun to see an overweight Magic Johnson...Steve Kerr looks like he could still play. A competitor should sign him, if only as insurance for the playoffs when their team needs a 3 with seconds remaining...Kobe was doing his "look at what a nice and jovial guy I am" routine. Boy, that gets old fast...TP, Kerr, and the girl wrapped things up early...Not mindblowing by any stretch of the imagination, but it was short and sweet. By the way, who decides which teams are in this thing?

Skills Challenge

All right, 3 superstars and up-and-comer Chris Paul (who gave him the lame nickname "CP3," by the way? HUGE missed opportunity there. He is and will always be "Prince Paul" to me, but I suppose that's too esoteric for your average fan). Man, Steve Nash can rack up in-game assists, but his passing here was about as accurate as Dick Cheney weilding a shotgun (or Jayson Williams, to be topical)...Dwyane, let's hope those missed Js aren't a sign of things to come, come May. Also, you know the difference between a layup and a dunk, don't you?...Lebron runs through all the challenges perfectly, then Wade, aka The Cold Vein, does the same in less time to win the contest. THAT was awesome. Afterward, Wade indirectly disses Paul and Nash by saying that the passes were easy. Cold. It is kinda ironic that two shooting guards ran over two point guards like that.

3-Point Contest

This was the most painful event to watch. I mean, all the competitor's were absolutely horrible. The highest score was 19, I think. Larry Bird must be turning over in his grave. Again, who decides who's in this thing? Doesn't Rip Hamilton have the highest 3-point field goal percentage in the L? Why wasn't he invited? Dirk Nowitzki ended up winning, but it was really like coming first in a spelling bee by spelling "horse" correctly. No excitement whatsoever. Plus, Dirk should have been cut in the first round after the money ball he sank at the end to give him 14 points clearly was released after the buzzer. I know it's just the 3-point contest and not the NBA finals, but there was $35,000 dollars at stake. I never thought I'd say this, but, of the 4 events, this was the worst.

Slam Dunk Contest

My and everyone else's money was on Andre Iguodala, but I expected Josh Smith to at least give him some competition. Dude sucked harder than drinking peanut butter through a straw, finishing last in the 1st round. What gives, Josh?...I'm of the opinion that the dunk contest should only be held every 5 years or so. There are only so many dunks, and even though it's a yearly thing, they get old pretty fast. Plus, there may be a curse on the contest. Look at some past winners: Vince Carter (morphed into a woman), Kobe Bryant (was arraigned for rape and consequently lost roughly 300 trillion dollars in endorsements), J.R. Rider (too many things to list), not to mention all the winners who faded into obscurity (do you remember that Cedric Ceballos was an all-star? Me neither)....Here's what really irks me about the dunk contest: player's get an infinite number of attempts, and no matter how many they miss, it doesn't affect their score. On the other hand, it was nice to see Nate Robinson pay homage to the sadly-missed Chris Andersen...At least, in Andersen's case, he was probably high at the time...Iguodala's 2nd and 3rd dunks were awesome (pantheon-level), but even their impact was slightly lessened because he missed his initial attempts at both. Plus, he really should have saved the best for last. That last "been there, done that" dunk was why he ultimately lost. Nate Rob's dunks were good, especially the jump over Spud Webb, but, similarly, his last dunk was nothing to write home over. And it took him approximately 75,000 tries to finally pull it off. I'm with the 2 AI's in my opinion that Iguodala was robbed. Nate Robbed.

Here's hoping tomorrow's All-Star game is memorable. I'll try to post some, uh, post-game thoughts tomorrow night.

Prediction: East 147, West 129 (Allen Iverson MVP)

Update: I know it's a fairly obvious play on words, but I just wanted to mention that my use of the term "Nate Robbed" was posted a full 2 hours before ESPN's Matt Wong used it here:

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cold Medina

Know what's worse than having the flu? Not having it, that's what. Turns out this bug I have is just one of your garden-variety common colds. I wish I were sicker, and here's why: with the flu, I get to call in sick, veg out all day, and sleep like Pauline Kael writing a Star Wars review. Because I have only a cold, though, I have to do all the things I normally do, but with a dull ache in my bones, watery eyes, and more congestion than 5 o' clock traffic.

You know that movie Pi, where the guy drills a hole in his skull because he has a really bad headache (not sure if that's accurate, because I've never actually seen the film, but it sounds cool)? This infernal runny nose is making that idea look enticing. Instead, for my sake and yours, I've compiled a far-from-extensive list of movies to watch when you're sick:

The Andromeda Strain

I first saw this film in my 12th grade physics class.

(I first saw The Dead Zone in my 12th grade psychics class. It was decent, but wholly predictable.

C'mon, that was good, admit it.)


Anyway, our teacher, Mr. Cohen, must have been hungover or something and just happened to have a video cassette of the film lying around, because I still don't understand how The Andromeda Strain relates to physics. I don't think I have to tell you that I attended school in Canada.

Still, pretty good flick.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

Words to live by.


I can't for the life of me remember the plot of this, but I think it was pretty good. That may be because I saw it as the second film at a drive-in double feature, and the first film was Batman Forever. Or it could be because I was higher than Tokyo real estate.


Goodfellas is always a good (perfuse apologies for the redundancy) film to watch, but I've seen it with a temperature of 104°F (40 degree Celsius, or 563.67 degree Rankine for all you eggheads), and it still holds up. The scene where Ray Liotta, dressed like a giant syringe, chases Paul Sorvino around Yankee Stadium in slo-mo while they both hum the theme song from The Odd Couple is particularly memorable. But the part where a 12-inch, fang-toothed Robert DeNiro leaps out of the television and starts hunting under my ex-girlfriend's sofa for his stolen gold is kinda scary.


Reefer Madness for fine young cannibals. When my Vlad The Impaler screenplay is eventually optioned (titled A Lot At Stake, in case any hotshot Hollywood producers are reading), I'm demanding that Robert Carlysle play Vlad Tepes.

An excerpt from the screenplay:

Vlad: Did you bring the cards?
Page: What?
Vlad: The cards, the last thing I told you was to mind the cards!
Page: Well, I've not brought them.
Vlad: It's fucking boring after a while without the cards.
Page: I'm sorry.
Vlad: Bit fucking late, like.
Page: Why didn't you bring them?
Page: ...Christ.

[Vlad bites page's neck; lots of blood while RUN DMC's It's Tricky plays]

Zombie Flicks

Too many to list individually, so here are the creme de la creme:

- Dawn of the Dead (original)
- Night of the Living Dead
- Sean of the Dead
- Braindead
- Dead People Eating Living People Until The Living People Are Dead
- Mona Lisa Smile*

*Sorry; like my Simile Generator 3000, my Irony Inventor 4.0 is similarly disabled.

War of the Worlds

No matter how bad my day was, and regardless of how crummy I feel, it's comforting to know that an entire race of aliens from outer space was wiped out by a virus that, at its most formidable, forced me to stay in on a Friday night (stupid virus, I would have done that anyway) watching Project Runway because I'm too weak to wrest the remote control from my wife's talon-like grip.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Denver Nugget

No idea why, but I've always sort of liked the Denver Nuggets. Maybe it was watching, in my formative years, Alex "basketball as a second language" English score 54 points against the Rockets (I was there), or, almost 10 years later, seeing the Dikembe Mutombo-led Nuggets shock the world by defeating the 1st-place Sonics in game 5 of their 1994 first-round series (I was there). Like your younger sister, Denver has always been a team that I've secretly noticed, yet never had the nerve to admit it to you (go ahead, sock me), nor to make a move towards.

The allure is still there. Watching 'Melo take that next step that many believed would happen last season has been fun (having him on my fantasy roster doesn't hurt, either), and I've always been a big fan of Furious George. The Nuggets can be an exciting team to watch, and I'm happy that I've had the chance to watch them 3 or 4 times this season.

They played an awesome game in Seattle against the Sonics (never forget) on Monday, and I was surprised and delighted to find out that their next game, against the Suns, was being broadcast today. It almost made up for the Christmas presents my mom promised but has yet to send (I have no mother).

In short, I was hype like Williams. But then I watched the game. In a word: really fucking ugly. Lord, what did I do to deserve that?

It wasn't even that the Nuggets lost the game. Like I mentioned, I'm not a huge Nuggets fan (but have you started to notice? You know what I mean; her chest, man. She's starting to get titties, dude. Promise you won't tell Tyrone I said that, right? Let's go raid your dad's liquor cabinet), and like a rational adult I'm able to get over painful sports losses (and stolen cell phones); but what I hate, loathe, despise -- in short, what drives me absolutely batshit crazy, is a lack of effort.

The Nuggets didn't give one iota of effort today (last night, if you live on the continent), and the Suns, realizing it, played with a similar lethargy. Only their shots -- many of them 3-pointers -- all seemed to drop. What the Nuggets had was Earl "Shorty Shitstain" Boykins (you're my dog, Earl, but today's game was not your finest hour, hence the disparaging nickname) running around like an out-of-control chihuahua and tossing up bricks like Ben Grimm with food poisoning.

Both teams' lackadaisical play can easily be attributed to the fact that this was the last game before the All-Star break, but still. I'm the Nuggets. I'm 3 games above .500. I'm winning that game.

The paying fans in attendence deserved an effort at least, non?

Thinking about it right now, I can't for the life of me recall one highlight the entire game. I thought that was mathematically impossible. I've seen some stinkers this season (I'm looking at you, Lakers/Rockets), but at least those games had a few great plays to help wake me up when I started nodding off to sleep. Today's Nuggets/Suns game had NONE. My time would have been better spent counting the number of holes in my pasta strainer, or trying to make out new faces on the tiles of my bathroom walls (I can't be the only one who does this; this deserves its own post, eventually).

'Melo (All-Star snub, never forget) and Shawn Marion were the only players who showed any heart. To be fair, LL Steve Nash had a good game, but that's to be expected in a game where your opponents basically, before the 2nd quarter starts, stop trying and tuck their manhood between their legs like Jame Gumb in The Silence of the Lambs. Oh, and Linas Kleiza had a nice outing, proving that he deserves a spot on this year's Garbage Time All-NBA team.


Stat: The Nuggets were 0-14 in 3-point attempts. The Suns were 14-25. Ouch.

Prediction: Kenyon "head or knee" Martin is being traded before the deadline, mark my word. He played 2 minutes and left the game without any sign of an injury, and sat on the bench with a shit-eating smile (you smile when you eat shit?) on his face. Kenyon, Franchise-Killer, and Fallen Starbury together? Hopefully. Hopefully GM Isiah Thomas read my Team Cancer proposal last week and is trying to run with it. I mentioned Toronto as being a fitting team to assemble Teh Cancer, but forgot that Rob Babcock was fired. Do your thing, Zeke. By the way, Le Cancer forms like Voltron, and Zeke just happens to be the head.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

License to Ill

[Before we begin, an update: I've received exactly 2 e-mails from readers interested in becoming Psychedelic Kimchi regulars Ulrichs. Needless to say, I'm a bit disappointed. Barring a turnaround, Kimchi Psychedelia's new writer will be none other than Professor Isaac. I don't have to tell you that that scenario won't be pretty.]

Let's get down to it, Boppers...

It was a good run while it lasted. Before approximately 2:10 this afternoon, I hadn't been sick since last March (which is quite a feat, considering that I routinely lick my hands after using public toilets). But when it rains, it pours. I have a feeling this one will be a doozy. So please be forewarned, in case there's no new content here for a couple of days: I might be dead.

Who will eulogize me? Is there heaven for a gangster?

A high school friend's father had the right idea: whenever he came down with the flu, he'd retire to his room, wrap himself in a wool blanket, and consume a Polish sausage and a 350ml bottle of whisky before bed. I tried it once, and it works. I wasn't sick at the time, but that's splitting hairs. Unfortunately for me, I polished off the last of the 3 bottles of Crown Royal my mother gave me when she visited last August. My guess is that soju's homeopathic qualities are considerably less virile. It's worth a shot, though, I suppose.

Some random thoughts on the eve of my passing:

1) What are the blank pages commonly found at the end of most paperback books for? This question has plagued me my entire life.

2) In case you haven't heard, Darko Milicic may by this time tomorrow be a member of the Orlando Magic (again, don't you just hate it that Orlando chose to name their team an uncountable noun? It would have saved me a lot of time had I written "In case you haven't heard, Darko Milicic may by this time tomorrow no longer be a Piston," but I refuse to out of protest). Also, Isiah Thomas is trying to land Steve Francis. Oh, Isiah, you're predictability is surpassed only by your stupidity.

Here's how I understand things: the Knick's payroll is roughly the same as the GDP of my home country, Canadia. In an effort to relieve some of this, the Knicks traded Antonio Davis to the Raptors for Jalen Rose, who, not surprisingly, has a huge fucking contract. Makes sense so far. Now -- because Isiah's all about planning for the future rather than winning a couple more games in a meaningless Knicks season -- he's trying to pick up Stevie Franchise-Killer in exchange for up to three of the Knick's top young prospects. Savvy.

I mean, it's not as though their future draft picks belong to other teams, right?

Of course, Stephon Marbury and Francis will meld together and create the most fearsome backcourt tandem the league has ever seen. In other news, North Korea will drop its nuclear weapons' program for half a pack of Mentos, and MC Hammer will this year drop the most influential hip-hop album since Paid In Full (

3) Here's the Pringles guy's (Mr. Pringles?) Mexican doppelganger:

I'm going to state that these cost less than half the price of a can of Pringles, and let you figure out the joke on your own, you redneck sonuvabitch.

(The chips are from Malaysia, by the way. I did a little research and discovered that the Mustachioed Mexican narrowly beat out the Big-Lipped Botswanan in a nationwide poll.)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Spring Cleaning -- Elephant

The events and characters depicted in this motion picture are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Yeah, right, Gus; next you're going to try to convince us you're not JT Leroy.

How does this film get made with such an untrue disclaimer, and without a based on a true story exordium? Were there protests from the families of the murdered Columbine students? What about from Eric Harris's and Dylan Klebold's parents? The similarities between the two killers in this film and Eric and Dylan are almost exact, especially their clothing worn on the day of the shootings, and their murderous trajectories through the high school.

Is making Alex deft at playing Beethoven's Für Elise, instead of being a fan of Rammstein, all it takes?

I'm amazed that this film was made the way it was.

Which is not to say I didn't like it. I think it's a good film; it tries one's patience (I haven't seen Gerry, which I hear is excrutiatingly trying), but I've always been a patient guy. Maybe that's why I'm so good at chess.

It may be boring, but it's also disturbing; because, even though we know what's coming, it feels a little too real when it eventually arrives. It's a shock, regardless of how well one knows the story. And that's how it should be. I'm actually glad Van Sant was able to direct, because I think that, in another director's hands, the story would have been overdramatized, cliched. I hope Paul Greengrass took notes while prepping for Flight 93. Neither movie deserves to profit from such tragedies (I'm glad both are free to be made, but firmly believe that both studios should use all proceeds to compensate the bereaved families, and as donations to charitable causes, rather than help make rich people richer off of innocent blood). You might agree or disagree. If, god forbid, a situation arose where I had to make a choice between consenting or refusing to have my murdered loved one(s) story told on film, I'd probably refuse. I'd definitely refuse so soon after the tragedy, which is what amazes me so much about films such as Elephant, which go into production so soon after a catastrophic tragedy (if you can call 3-5 years "soon"; I would, because of the emotional circumstances).

The film has a documentary feel; and, like a typical day at school -- at least how I remember high school to be -- it's pretty dull. We see characters who appear likeable enough, but, like the real victims and killers, we don't get any insight or indication of how they really feel. There are no answers. In that sense, it's a poor dramatic film -- but that's how it should be. The film's few missteps occur when it tries to be "a movie," rather than a re-creation of events. Alex and Eric's homosexual shower tryst and the three girls bathroom purge come to mind.

The worst misstep, however, is the film's final scene. It's obvious what immediately happens next, but what happens after that is left for the viewer to imagine. Which is frustrating (probably intentionally so), because we(I) don't want the film to end without the final death: a suicide.

NB, I believe that every death in the film, except Eric's, isn't shown with the character's face pointed toward camera. Maybe that's incorrect; but if true, it's analogous with the film's reluctance to show or provide insight to each student's motives and character. And it makes sense.

3 1/2*_*

Current Laundry List

Seven Samurai
Once Upon a Time in America
Gangs of New York
Full Metal Jacket
Kagemusha The Shadow Warrior

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Spring Cleaning -- Taxi Driver

Compelling. If I had to sum up Scorsese's masterpiece in one word, that would be it. Given more words, I'd say it's a harsh look at the true nature of the dark human soul...a sobering reflection of our cumulative inner evils, our duplicity. I'm content to call the film compelling and leave it at that.


Because the film doesn't need to be overanalyzed. It doesn't want to be overanalyzed. It wants to be watched. That's all.

It's a window.


When I was in the twelfth grade, my girlfriend at the time gave me a twenty-dollar HMV gift certificate for Christmas. It was a step up from the cheap basketball-shaped alarm clock she gave me the year prior ("I knew you'd like it. You're such a hardcore sports fan. When it goes off, just chuck it against a wall or something and it stops. Isn't that brilliant?"). A few weeks later I went to His/Her Majesty's Voice with my brother. Since at the time there were no CDs I coveted, I ended up getting Taxi Driver . Taxi Driver, along with One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and To Kill A Mockingbird were 3 films I remember being unable to find in any of my hometown's multiple video stores. If that's not a crime, I don't know what is. Mockingbird and Cuckoo's Nest I was able to borrow from the library, but Taxi Driver was elusive. For a time I was convinced that the film was banned in Canada. Maybe it was. Anyway, as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it.

Compelling. The film certainly isn't fun. It isn't a thrill-ride. It's honest -- "seeing your father naked" honest. And that's not pretty for most. Dumbass that I am, after watching the film I invited my then girlfriend to watch it with me, proclaiming that it was, without a doubt, the best movie I had ever seen. Stupid: that's how young people are, let me remind you.

She wasn't very impressed. In fact, she sort of resembled how Cybill Shepherd's character Betsy reacts after Travis coaxes her into accompanying him to the porno flick. Prude.

My point is, Taxi Driver isn't pretty, at least not in a traditional sense. It's raw, like cocaine straight from Bolivia.

Scorsese directed the film soundly, mutedly (there's a weird, oxymoronic phrase for you), perhaps realizing that the flair and inventiveness he possessed -- and which would later become one of his signature trademarks -- was unnecessary and would only negatively affect Taxi Driver's stark realism.

At the center of this reality is Travis Bickle (played by Charles Grodin), the archetypical embodiment of disaffection, and of dissolution. Bickle is rivalled only by Holden Caufield in those respects, and it's easy to see both character's dangerous allure. Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley easily come to mind.

What's frightening is that there are probably tens of thousands of people just like them. Travis Bickle isn't an everyman, but he is, to coin a term, an occasionalman. I'm reminded of more than a few people (you probably are, too), and one person specifically, who fit the mold.

Is Travis Bickle a hero? An anti-hero? He's neither, I believe. Travis is me, you, us, we. He's the boogie man. He's the thin line between sanity and insanity. He's a live wire.

He's an interesting character study.

He's compelling.


Current Laundry List

Seven Samurai
Once Upon a Time in America
Gangs of New York
Full Metal Jacket
Kagemusha The Shadow Warrior

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Spring Cleaning Pt. I (Howl's Moving Castle)

A few weeks ago I decided to stop procrastinating and finally motivate myself into viewing all of the unwatched DVDs cluttering my shelves. Some I've seen before, others I haven't; some I've owned for several weeks, others for close to three years (I'm looking at you, Once Upon a Time in America). Instead of giving a full review, my plan is to write a brief reaction to each film; and befitting the title of this post, they'll be hasty and I'll miss a bunch of things that in retrospect I'll regret later. So be it.

Roll Call:

Seven Samurai
Once Upon a Time in America
Gangs of New York
Full Metal Jacket
Kagemusha The Shadow Warrior
Taxi Driver

Howl's Moving Castle

I suppose I'm a Miyazaki Hayao moderate. I love Spirited Away like it's my left ventricle. Princess Mononoke is great, too, but the wheels sort of fall off at the end: save Haku (or whatever his name is) and his fucked-up deer, the film is full of dislikeable characters. The guy's a visionary, sure; but he's far from perfect.

Case in point: Howl's Moving Fucking Castle, a film that, at the one hour and thirteen minute mark, I was ready to declare one of the best films (animated, live-action or porno) I had ever seen. Then I hit the head, went out for a smoke, and sat down for the 2nd act. Ouch. The imagination (Miyazaki's) and wonderment (mine) of the film almost make up for its shortcomings, which is saying quite a lot, actually, but

That moving castle? That's a metaphor for the movie!

I'm willing to forgive most of the unanswered questions, such as where Howl picked up his kid apprentice, and all of the war stuff that is never fully explained. Ditto on the fact that a young girl, suddenly turned into an old woman, seeks exile instead of telling her friends and family "hey, remember me? I'm Sophie! You'll never believe this, but this fucking witch transformed me into an old woman! Help me!" Those who have seen the film will see a hole in this logic, but since Sophie transforms between old and young with little (sometimes it's a dream) or no explanation (she's young at the film's conclusion, magically), that little device is moot to me. She can write a note at least, can't she?

The plot is the real villian of this film. And [Don Corleone voice] that I can't forgive.

I won't reveal the ending (mostly because I still can't comprehend just how fucking lazy the producers were/are to allow it to go through), but if you've ever seen an episode of The Simpsons (there are quite a few such episodes) where they satirically make sure everything comes together at the last moment, you'll experience deja vu. Only Howl's ending isn't intended as comedy.

3/4 *_*

Friday, February 10, 2006


Since I'm bored on a Friday night, and with a lull at Chez Sparkles because the little girl has finally drifted off to sleep (a little piece of advice for parents out there/my wife: don't give toddlers hot chocolate an hour before their usual bedtime), I'm going to write about -- my English professors would strangle me if they read that poor introductory device -- who I think are the most overrated and underrated hip-hop MCs and groups. I'm going to omit those whom I have little or no interest in, such as 50 Cent, Nellie, etc. Then I'm going to watch Treasure of the Sierra Madre and eat a pizza sub. Keep in mind that I genuinely dig all of the artists mentioned below, and that the subjective nature of this listing is open for more argument, debate, and gunfire than a banana republic parliamentary caucus.


Organized Konfusion

Every album Prince Po and Pharaoh Monch released together is a classic in my books. They needed each other. Monch's solo was great, but it in no way matched the excellence of OKs 3 albums. Stress: The Extinction Agenda is my fave, with The Equinox a close second. Damn near impossible to find any OK album, which is a shame. It's also pretty ironic that Monch's solo, which I think went gold, is likewise impossible to find, since, I believe, Toho sued Rawkus for the Godzilla sample used on "Simon Says" and got all existing copies for sale pulled from shelves.

The Artifacts

Another duo who have nothing but hate for each other these days. Yes, their 2nd and final album was just a tad above mediocre, but they were, behind OK, possibly the best MC duo of the 90s (Heltah Skeltah is probably 3rd). And like OK, the separate parts haven't come close to matching their sum. Tame One and El Da Sensei need each other like blue needs cheese. I just found out that their debut, Between A Rock & A Hard Place, was reissued. In the immortal words of Dirk Diggler, "I'm going to fucking buy [this]."


Forgive the pun, but 1994's A Constipated Monkey was my shit. Whatever happened to Kurious? If I were filthy rich, I'd pay a private investigator to find out. Then I'd hire him to play my daughter's birthday. Kurious, not the private investigator.

3rd Bass

The Cactus Album/Tape/CD/8-Track/Whatever is a classic. Of that there can be no debate. But you know what? Their follow-up, Derelicts of Dialect, is better.

Brand Nubian

Brand Nubian's One For All is my favorite hip-hop album. Period. After Grand Puba left, Sadat X and Lord Jammar released the noteworthy (but far from classic) In God We Trust. Their 3rd album, however, is grossly underrated and was thought by many to be a flop. It isn't. It's fucking great (please forgive my million dollar words). Honestly, I could and probably will at some point write a 2000-word post on the greatness of Brand Nu. Terribly underrated and sadly forgotten whenever Top 10 albums arguments arise.

AG (Andre The Giant)

The smoothest cadence I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. When I heard last year's Handsome Boy Modeling School's White People, I actually got goosebumps hearing that flow again.




Before I catch flak for this, let it be known that the GZA is one of my top 5 favorite lyricists. Dude paints pictures with his rhymes, and that's not hyperbole. Liquid Swords is among the top 20 hip-hop albums ever released.


But Liquid Swords is his only great album. Words From A Genius shows the promise of a budding MC, but is ultimately just so-so and hasn't stood the test of time at all; Beneath The Surface suffers from a lack of cohesion both in song concepts and producer-wise (it's a good album, but it feels too cut-and-paste); and Legend of the Liquid Sword, besides being a truly awful album title which attempts to kindle longtime fans' affinity for GZA'a magnum opus, is basically Beneath The Surface II.

Also, he had a chance to amaze and astound us with Wu-Tang Forever, and what did we get? GZA has like 3 verses on the entire fucking (double)album! I thought the GZA was supposed to be the head!

The Grandmasters album he released recently with DJ Muggs is dope, but I'm still going to call him overrated, because I think he rested on his laurels instead of trying to evolve.


2Pac is overrated in the same way James Dean is overrated: both were charismatic and had talent, but their greatness is always measured more by their image and less by their collective works. 2Pac edges Dean simply for the sheer output of his music, but he wasn't a great lyricist -- certainly not at the same level of his rival, the similarly-deceased Biggie Smalls -- much in the same way that James Dean wasn't that great an actor (could Dean touch Brando? No. Could 'Pac touch Big? No). Does that mean I consider Kurious to be a better artist than 2Pac? Of course not. But whenever I see his name listed amongst the great MCs of all time, it bugs me, because 2Pac the icon always takes precedence over 2Pac the recording artist. 'Pac was great, but he also did more harm than good for hip-hop.

Black Sheep

How can you drop a classic album -- as a member of the collective Native Tongues, no less -- and then just die? Non-Fiction was alright (barely), which makes it a slow death, but still. A Tribe Called Quest. The Jungle Brothers. De La Soul. Didn't Black Sheep have a responsibility to bear the torch? It's impossible for me to listen to A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing now without getting pissed off, wondering what could have been.

Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg

Lazy Sunday was dope and all, but let's wait a bit before we put them in the same echelon as Bobby Jimmy and the Critters.

Remember Rappin' Duke? Da-har, da-har.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Machine Gun Funk

- One of these people is a superhero. Can you guess who?

(hint: it's the one who looks warmer)

- I realize it's pointless to get pissed off about a show for kids, but this morning's Sesame Street bugged me. It didn't really hit me until later. The episode began with Ernie walking around with a backwards baseball cap, soliciting the Sesame Street regulars (remember when the humans on the show had actual jobs? I do. Bob was a teacher, Mr. Hooper ran the store. Gordon sold crack from a bodega...OK, that last one is probably my revisionist imagination at work). E-Dog was asking everyone he encountered to listen to his "instant poetry." Now, Sesame Street has always represented hip-hop culture well (I think Oscar the Grouch was, in the early 80s, a graffiti tagger, though I was only 3 then, so my memory perhaps shouldn't be taken as gospel), but they kinda dropped the ball today.

What Ernie was doing was clearly freestyling.

For discarding the accepted nomenclature and coming off like he's a modern day griot without giving respect where respect's due, I have to pull Ernie's ho card. Again, I realize it's pretty dumb to get riled up at how a kids' show portrays hip-hop, especially since they had a musical vignette which was obviously ghost produced my DJ Premier (this is what it has come to: I have to watch Sesame Street to hear dope Primo beats), but they should have come correct on that one.

If I were running the ship (and it's only a matter of time), I would have had MC Shan come out and dis Ernie, then KRS ONE would have stepped on the scene, coached Ernie, and convinced him to take one last go at Shan. In the end, Ernie wins the freestyle battle (Bert plays his hype man, with a Flava Flav clock dangling from around his neck), Shan, humiliated, joins Oscar in the trashcan, and Still #1 plays as we fade to black.

Instant Poetry. Come on!

- Two quick basketball thoughts:

1) I watched the Lakers beat the Rockets today. Still waiting for Super Action to end their streak of crappy games. Let's see a Miami game again, how's 'bout; it's been a while. The best part of the fucktasmically boring game? Seeing Yao Ming sitting on the bench in the 4th, with the game decided, and mouthing Fuck, man! and then some shit that my keen eyes couldn't lip read because it was likely in Chinese. I probably should mention that Dikembe Mutombo was sitting next to him, nodding in agreement. I need this video. If anyone had the game taped, get thee to and hook a brotha up.

2) The Nuggets have of late fallen harder than a fat man falling on something hard (my Simile Generator 3000 is on the fritz, please forgive me). I know 'Melo isn't one for snitching, but could he this one time do Nuggets fans a favor and implicate Marcus Camby and K-Mart (and possibly Andre Miller) as part of a clandestine gambling outfit? Naw, that's too unbelievable. Plan B could be that he works behind the scenes to have Camby and Martin traded to Toronto. Then the Magic could send Little Stevie up north, sort of as an experiment. The Raptors could change their team name to the Northern Cancer. You think people wouldn't be hype to watch their favorite team try to beat the Cancer? Let's get Stephon Marbury and Ron Artest shipped there in the offseason and make this a reality.

- When I got home tonight, the wife was watching Sam Raimi's (of Spider-Man and For The Love of the Game fame) The Gift. I didn't remember that Keanu (like Cher and Ashanti, he needs no last name) was in it.

What I got to say is this: yes, Keanu is a poor actor, and all reports are that his band Dogstar sucks, too; but for some reason I feel comforted whenever he's on screen. Does that mean I have poor taste -- or possibly that I want to give him oral? I don't know. But Keanu is alright in my books.

- I'm still looking for one or more guest writers to Psychedelic Krispy Kreme. Hurry up and try to stake a claim before I have to get on the phone and inlist Stephen King or my brother Kevin, whoever answers first.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fresh Fish! Fresh Fish!

Has it really been 10 months since I dove into the highly-lucrative and immeasurably estimable field of blogging? I think I deserve a pat on the back (and an after dinner mint) for keeping things running at a pretty steady pace during that time, given that I do have a family AND a full-time job (perhaps I've mentioned this, yes?) which consume much of my time. But not too much, I suppose, because I still manage to average around 20 entries per month, each of varying length and merit (perhaps you've read Things that smell like cum [sic]?). Yes, I've done all right for myself, and for no other reason than because it's fun and I love writing. If Psychedelic Kit-Kat has ever made you laugh, cry, or even motivated you to burn me in effigy, I think I've done my job.

Which is not to say that I have any plans of stopping or slowing down. No sir, the Porkchop Express is going to keep on truckin', same as it ever was. But, like all great leaders (cult or otherwise), I need devoted acolytes. Today while riding the bus, trying to ignore the old bugger sitting next to me who kept coughing on my leg, I came up with an idea. See, it bugs me probably more than anyone when a day goes by and this blog doesn't have a new entry. Sure, I can go the cheap route and post a girly pic or a brief link to some news item, just to give myself some peace of mind and to convince myself that I'm still plugging away and not neglecting my loyal following (I love you, Mom; please send me a box of Double Stuff Oreos and my old Glow Worms nitelight when you get a chance), but I think discerning readers can see through that. What I'd like, and what I hope you, Dear Reader, would also appreciate, is a daily dose of Psychedelic Kebab. Unfortunately, with my schedule, that's not always possible. I of course have the illustrious and praiseworthy denz (just remember no caps when you spell the man's name) at shooting guard, but he is likewise not always able to post on a consistent basis, because, like me, he's married, has a job, and is wanted by the law. We'll keep bringing the noise, for sure; but, as befits my job description, I'm looking to recruit some new blood.

A wise man once wrote that he'd like to see Psychedelic Kale assume a guest blogger format similar to The Marmite's Hole (as a side note, once upon a time, before the dawn of man, I sent Herr Marmot 3 e-mails requesting that he add me to his blog roll. He wrote back that a bush league blog such as mine had no place, and would only sodden, his list. That's a lie, but the truth is equivalently crushing: he ignored me. Conversely, much heterosexual man-love to James at for adding me to his blog list. If I had the technical know-how, I'd reciprocate. Since I don't, let me say this: James at Lost Seouls has a huge schlong. Or so I hear). I have no intention to spoil the soup with too many chefs, so to speak, but I believe that 1 or 2 more (t)wits could only help fortify this blog and help it achieve "a Herculean level of dopeness". Chaucer said that, by the way.

That's where you come in, Dear Reader. If you have ever wanted the fame and money* which is part and parcel with the Psychedelic Kimchi brand name, now is the time to make your dreams a reality. Anyone who would like to contribute to these hallowed (web)pages is encouraged to send an e-mail to Tell me, in fewer than 50 words, how and why you would make a positive addition to the Psychedelic Kimchi crew. Or tell me I have a small penis and like to bum guinea pigs. Seriously, I'll take either. I receive so few e-mails, you see.

The winner will be announced here in 2 weeks. I hope a fair number of lads and lasses write in. Otherwise, I'll be forced to create fake e-mails. And that would be just fucking sad.

Here's what I'm looking for:

1) No politics. It's OK to call Bush a cum bubble, or Islam extremists will-nots on the ass of Fuckland, but if people want politics in large doses there are a ton more informative and/or belligerent sites than this one. Besides, it kills my buzz. Now pass me that bowl of shrimp chips, dude.

2) No foul language. This is a site I want adults and children to be able to frequent, without risk or fear of their innocence being stripped. Ha, I'm just fucking with you.

3) Book reviews would be nice. I have music and film bases covered, but, as a gentleman of letters, I'd love to write book reviews. Trouble is, I REALLY don't have the time. I just finished The Old Man and the Sea, for god's sake. I bought it during its initial print run.

(OK, since you've twisted my rubber arm, I'll give a truncated review just this once: it sucks.)

4) You must -- and I cand't emphasize this enough -- be a good spaeller. Writing grammer good would aslo be a plus.

5) Someone who can write about sports would be an asset. I'll sporadically write about basketball (I'm currently slacking off in that respect; chalk it up to pre-All Star break ennui), but I'd covet a writer who could bang out in-depth analysis of all major team sports. Even rugby.

6) Anyone who brings something new to the table (feminine perspective, short fiction, discounts at department stores and eateries), is graciously welcome.

That's about it. I'll continue to serve you, but 1 or 2 worthy assistants who can bring the bruschetta when I'm out back smoking a square would be nice.

I leave you with this:

I promise to keep rocking and rolling and to keep making better blog entries. It seems we make these posts ... and sometimes ... they're considered filthy or something by some people ... but I don't think that's true. These blog entries we make can be better ... they can help ... they really can, I mean it. We can always do better -- and I'll keep trying if you keep trying, so let's keep ROCKING AND ROLLING!

Yeah, that's right.

*Fame and money not guaranteed, unless you're female, young, and gorgeous. In that case, I'll make you a star, darling.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Things that smell like cum [sic]

As you can probably tell from this post's title, the following subject matter is pretty gross. So why am I writing about it? Because here at Psychedelic Ketchup, we go where everyone else is too scared to tread. Like my uncle Beatrice always used to say, if you can't stomach the truth, stay out of the cum-smelling kitchen. And now, mes amis, class is in session:

- Bean sprouts boiling in water smell like cum. I really wish they didn't, because I sorta like bean sprouts. But I definitely DO NOT like the smell of cum. Yuck!

- Ginko trees in summer smell like cum. My neighborhood, which abuts a sizeable forest, is full of ginko trees. So naturally, come (no pun intended) summer, the place is totally cum-smell city. I should probably plan my vacation around this time of year. Or perhaps I should move to a cum-aroma-free neighborhood. Thing is, the rent here is really great.

- Bleach smells like some kind of super, caustic cum. If I had cum like that, I'd wind up spending a fortune on bed sheets and socks.

- Some people claim that mushrooms smell like cum. I disagree. I had a girlfriend in high school who claimed that mushrooms didn't smell like cum, but that they did taste like them (that slut). I of course wouldn't know about that.

That's the list. It's pretty short, admittedly, but that's because I don't exactly obsess over what does and what doesn't smell like cum. It's not as though I'm purposefully searching high and low for new additions to the list above. The fewer things in this world that smell like cum, the better, right?

We now return you to our considerably less vulgar regular broadcast...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

7-Song EP

1) I watched Forrest Gump again last night. I must have watched it a dozen times, and it still manages to get me choked up. Because it's still real to me, DAMMIT!

2) Anyone else read Cracked magazine as a kid? Turns out the magazine, which was originally a rip-off -- but still funny, at least to my 10-year-old, sugar-addled mind -- of Mad, has relaunched, only this time it's a rip-off of National Lampoon and Maxim. Hopefully the humor of the former outweighs repetitiveness and vapidity of the latter. Having yet to read an issue of the new version, I probably shouldn't heap too much praise on the mag; however, visiting, I found this Benny hillarious piece about the hard truth behind James Frey's A Million Little Pieces:

Oprah Winfrey tore into author James Frey last week, after allegations surfaced that his Oprah's Book Club memoir A Million Little Pieces had been falsified. Frey, whose memoir recounts his problems with drug addiction, was scolded by Winfrey that he had "betrayed millions of readers" by fictionalizing his story.

CRACKED has excerpted some of the more contested passages below

Excerpt from Chapter 3: A Date With Destiny

...didn't believe that I'd had sex with the Queen. I invited DiCaprio to smell my fingers, holding them out to his face, but he couldn't hear me over the sound of the helicopter blades. 'No time for that now, boys, Captain Mactaggart yelled at us. "This assassination mission of Osama bin
Laden won't execute itself."

As I turned down a parachute, electing to drop the 15,000 feet unassisted, I knew in my heart he was right.

Corrected Version: Having polished off a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon the day before, I awakened around 3 am, slightly hungover, on my couch. I saw my pants around my ankles while my golden retriever, King, licked my groin feverishly. Meanwhile, sounds blared from the sole speaker on my 12” black and white television. I soon realized that I was halfway through an especially action-packed episode of The A-Team. The week would not be a complete waste after all.

Excerpt from Chapter 6: A Deadly Romance

"We've never seen an eight-inch penis before!" agreed the Dallas Cowgirls hungrily.

"What, you mean this ten-inch penis of mine?" I laughed dismissively.

"That is the biggest twelve-inch penis we've ever seen!" they chorused.

After that I boned them with my massive fifteen-and-a-half-inch penis until they collapsed in exhaustion, thanks to my secret Black Ops training as a championship Sex Magician.

Corrected Version: It was an especially fierce orgasm that rocked my whole body, causing me to hit my head against the cellar pipe. As my mom came down the basement steps to do some laundry, she had no idea of the horror that would haunt her for years to come: seeing her 37-year old son passed out, penis exposed, having just masturbated onto one of her knitting magazines.

Excerpt from Chapter 9: The Secrets of the Galaxy

...the Moon wasn't as cold as I expected, so I took my space suit off despite a chorus of objections from Ground Control. Clint Eastwood and Kofi Annan went to collect moon rocks from the lunar surface while I did some 500-pound benchpresses.

I'd only gotten to rep 487 when the Martians contacted me through telepathy. "Are you the one called James Frey, written of in the Galactic Records as the Chosen One?" they asked. 'That's my name, don't wear it out,' I said, and the Martians laughed at my joke.

Corrected Version: I sped off in my Pinto, set to finally return Spaceballs to the Blockbuster near my house. When I got there the pimple-faced teen behind the counter said to his co-worker, “Dude! It’s that guy Frey from the picture we have up on the wall!” I pushed the tape into the Quick Drop box and wittily replied, “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!” No one laughed at my joke.

Excerpt from Chapter 10: Two-fisted Tales of Valor

...distracted from my upcoming heavyweight boxing championship fight while I waited for news back from the doctor.

Would the cancer be recessive? The suspense was killing me. Finally, after what seemed like years, my doctor called with the news. 'Mr. Frey, I don't want to alarm you,' he said. 'But our tests show no evidence of cancer in your bowels.'

'What's the problem, then, doc?" I said, relieved.

"Our x-rays did find gold," my doctor said slowly. "Mr. Frey, against all documented medical science, it appears you can shit golden apples."

Before I even had time to digest the news fully, I heard the first rumblings of an earthquake. "No time to talk now, doctor!" I yelled, putting down the phone and getting into costume. As I flew out the window towards the collapsing bridge, I reflected briefly on how difficult kicking drugs had been. It had been really really hard.

"What a great memoir," I thought, as my heat vision tore into the rupturing ground.

Corrected version: After a long wait in the emergency room, the doctor finally took me to have the x-ray taken. How would I explain getting one of those long pepper grinders up my ass? The reality of the coming embarrassment weighed heavily on me.

By Jay Pinkerton

3) The Superbowel is tomorrow! That's not a typo. It has been 2 days since I last delivered the mail. I'm anticipating tomorrow to be a doozy. Rest assured, I'm planning to detail the experience right here. So if you have plans for tomorrow night, cancel them. Trust me, you'll thank me later.

4) I finally got around to watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I've wanted to see it ever since it was released 2 years ago, but the DVD came out only last week. Strange, since, I believe, the film had a theatrical release in Korea, and it has aired on cable (not 100% sure on that one, but CGV -- aka The Lord of the Rings Network -- was running promos for it, and why would they do that if they weren't showing it? Actually, don't answer that; I just remembered again what country I'm living in. For a second there I thought I was back in French Somaliland. You might know it as Djibouti, but it'll always be French Somaliland in my heart and mind). The reason for the long delay to DVD is probably some utterly boring legal bullshit, so let's all pretend that the DVD did in fact arrive in Korea 2 years ago, but all the copies were stolen by a giant cyclops, and it was only recently that the Korean government, due to mounting pressure on the part of a civic group named "Earth Citizens Against Cyclopean Tyranny," finally did something and sent an army to slay the cyclops and bring back the missing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind DVDs. Thinking like that makes watching the film that much more rewarding.

Not that it needs it. It's a nice film (see what I did there?), and I'm glad the wait is finally over. I'm not going to write a full review (I don't want it to overshadow a review I have planned about the pizza mandu I ate for breakfast this morning), but here are some thoughts:

- Jon Brion could score every film made for the next 20 years, and I don't think I'd complain about it.

- Similarly, Tom Wilkinson could star in every film released for the next 20 years, and I'm positive I wouldn't complain. Can you imagine T-Dub as Peter Parker? John Maclaine? I don't think I'm alone here.

(In all seriousness, T-Dub MUST in the near future be the star of an hour-long police drama. It is his destiny. I have forseen it.)

- And the award for Most Convincing American Accent By a Non-American goes to...Kate Winslet! It's absolutely jaw-dropping how convincingly she nails it. Contrast this with Naomi Watt's American accent in 21 Grams, and it's like watching Kobe Bryant play against a team of 5-year-olds. Or the Toronto Raptors.

5) Speaking of the Toronto Raptors, welcome back, Antonio Davis! I know your children's education might suffer, but look at the bright side: maybe the frigid Canadian winter will freeze your crazy wife into some sort of stasis. She can legally cross the border, can't she?

6) Item: Jody Sweetin, who played Stephanie Tanner on the much-beloved and timeless sitcom Full House, is a meth addict. Now I know there is a god. It's only a matter of time before she applies to become an English teacher in Korea. And I'll be waiting.

Jody, sweetheart, give me a call.

7) If you're not already a convert, do yourself a big favor and check out, home of the Perry Bible Fellowship archive. I'm not one for hyperbole, but Nicholas Gurewitch's comic strip is, without a doubt, the best comic strip ever subjected to mortal man.

A sample:

Bonus Track:

Friday, February 03, 2006

Rebirth of Slick

Sometimes we're wonderstruck at how intelligent (I myself learned just last week how to tie my own shoes), beautiful, charismatic and endearing the first one turned out that we're tempted to get to work on a follow-up effort. But part of me fears the sophomore jinx.

What do you folks think? Harper Lee, or one more for old time's sake?