Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I recently finally got around to reading Battle Royale, the sci-fi thriller by Koushun Takami about a bunch of Japanese middle school kids forced by the government to kill each other on a remote island. Since I don't feel like summarizing it beyond what I just wrote, he's an easily-digestable clip from the novel's produce page on Amazon.com:

Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, is one of Japan's best-selling - and most controversial - novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world. The first novel by small-town journalist Koushun Takami, it went on to become an even more notorious film by 70-year-old gangster director Kinji Fukusaku.

The book's setting is rife with dystopia, given the uneven political landscape and fear of Japanese youth. I have to say that, despite the somewhat stilted and unbelievable dialog, I thoroughly enjoyed this book enough to get me interested in other modern Japanese authors. In my queue I have Koji Suzuki's The Ring, a book given to me for Christmas by Zoraida. I've also been getting into Osamu Tezuka manga, having recently read (and fallen in love with) Dororo and MW, the latter of which was also a Christmas gift from a good friend who does not have a blog. More on that later, however.

The issue at hand here is another movie versus book diatribe - I had not seen the Battle Royale film prior to reading the book, and I have to say that after watching it after my complete read-through, I am disappointed. Although this is absolutely an issue of length and content - a 600+ page novel is sure to have a more detailed story than an under-two-hour film - I couldn't help but be bothered by the film's pacing. I felt the novel to be less about the brutality of the killings and more of the sadness caused by them, and one of the major missing elements from the novel in the film was the development of the relationships between all of the classmates. Very little background is given on any character, to the point where development was so spare that I left completely unsatisfied.

Beat Takeshi is good, but his character in the film seemed a lot more personable than the ruthless game master in the book (they even have different names and backgrounds). The end events were also slightly different, and I was let down by how the entire final scene played out. That said, the film was at least watchable and I can understand why it's a cult classic. The film successfully tells its story even though it alienates so many elements and themes from the novel. Taken seperately, I don't think I'd like the film at all if I weren't able to fill in background information that isn't even there. I'd probably watch it once and shelf it.

Right now I'm reading through 1984 because I hadn't really before, a book also given to me for Christmas by a friend of mine who remains blogless. But in between readings I've been on a Tezuka kick. Right now I'm reading through Astro Boy, which I scored a complete manga set of off of eBay a week ago. One of the truly interesting things about Astro Boy, to me, is that as it is Japan's first animated series, the character himself is a long-standing children's icon in American culture as well. The original television show (which I purchased on DVD last year - over 100 episodes that I am still working my way through) is the first anime.

While all of your classic children's show elements are there: morals, friendship, the monster-of-the-week specials, Astro Boy is a strikingly bleak and depressing look into a future populated by corrupt humans and oppressed robots. And as Asimov would have us believe, robots who go haywire go haywire. They go haywire here too. But then there are the sentient robots who exist for good, only to be reprimanded and despised by humans (Detective Gumshoe, a snarky reoccuring character, has a serious vendetta against all robots) just because of one or two bad ones. This is Astro Boy's most famous dilemma: constant alienation and rejection. The unwavering wish to be a real boy.

In the end, though, Astro Boy learns that it's OK to be different as long as you can save the world a thousand times over. But still, so many episodes deal with death and isolation, that you have to feel at least a little sad.

The differences between the stories in the manga and those in the TV show are aplenty. This is obviously because us soft gaijins can't stand to see violence. Tezuka was the man, though, because in one of his (comic-strip) introductions, he complains about the hypocrisy of American executives who asked him to tone down the violence in the cartoon despite unjustly killing thousands over in Nam. For example, there's an episode in the manga which a national holiday exists where robots are created to look exactly like deceased loved ones. In the same episode of the TV show, those robots are created to duplicate those who are currently in space. I have a feeling the original Japanese episode kept the original story and the English one had it changed, because once you understand certain elements of the driving-character the entire episode revolved around, you kind of realize that it's unbelievable that his family would consider him in space and not dead.

So, it's little things like that that bother me, but it's all good.

In other news, I'm going to see Blonde Redhead again at Terminal 5 tomorrow night. Should be a good show. I've seen them before a year ago and it was a nice way to cap off the year. I end this post with a YouTube video I particularly enjoy, with no reference at all to a part 2 of my end-of-the-year list.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This year was an interesting one for the fruitless escapist, wasting his or her free time away carefully mapping out what they're going to read/watch/play next to keep his- or herself occupied. For me, it was a fairly successful year, although once again rather than spend all too much time anticipating things that have yet to be released, I looked back at an entire past's catalog of bullshit. This post is my attempt to categorize, review, and inform you all of everything you may have missed that I certainly did not. A compendium of pop culture non-sense that only those with sharpened acquired tastes would believe to be of any worth. For this post, I'll be constantly referring back to my many little journals I keep where I write down things that annoy me. I present to you, dear reader,


Jay McInerney's 1984 airport epic told entirely in the second person is a scathing criticism of yuppie culture, following the antics of yourself, a dude working on "the magazine" with an outrageous nightlife, intent on oblivion. It's probably bad, but it's too great to not recommend since it's a fairly simple read and somewhat iconic. Its self-depricating narrative progressively gets worse as a once-hopeful youth slowly comes to terms with his monotonous lifestyle and hopeless endeavors, and it left me a bit empty inside. It was like looking into a future mirror!

SUCKED. Sucked. Hard. Some lame story about an angsty teenager who can teleport. Nice job. I only wished I could have jumped out of that horrible movie.

Another retarded movie about a giant monster that destroys New York City. Probably great in concept, however much of the film follows a bunch of twnety-somethings intent on saving some chick one of the dudes boned.

"Don't try to be too intellectual when asking questions. Yes, this is college, but it's also a journalism class."

A finally great French animated film based on a graphic novel by the same name. Nothing particularly moving about the story, although it was interesting enough the whole way through because the art was strangely alluring.

Excellent. Just the bomb. Great action, lots of explosions and heightening. Sylvester Stallone is the worst actor ever.

"English words to me are goat turds... despite the stink, I sniff in them the freedom to be away from Croatia and Yugoslavia."

StarFox Command: The sucks.
Sega Bass Fishing: The not sucks ironically.
House of the Dead 2 + 3 Returns: The not sucks unironically.
Kirby Squeak Squad: The not sucks
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games DS: The sucks.
Super Smash Brothers Brawl: The sucks ironically.
Octomania: The greatest game.

An excellent action game by Suda 51, the only man who knows how to make them right anymore. In an artsy world inspired by Alejandro Jodorowski's El Topo, NMH follows Travis Touchdown, a kid who orders a light sword in the mail and decides to kill a bunch of dudes in order to be the top assassin. To quote Dave, Suda 51 games aren't great games, but they are awesome games.

Keanu Reeves's idiocy is suffuciently blithering.

The doomiest thing about this film is that I actually sat there and watched on as the greatest genre of all time, dystopian post-apocalypse, is shattered in a string of Audi commercials. Fuck you, whoever directed this.

Actually got one laugh out of me. Exactly one.

Watch for an hour as Tony Stark builds a super robot suit and then has it destroyed in an anti-climactic scene, and then spend another hour as he does the same exact thing. But it's the best movie ever, am I right?

Mario Kart Wii: The blargh.
Boom Blox: The multiplayer not blargh.
Zack & Wiki: The anime not blargh.
Soulcalibur Legends: The super blargh.
Dragon Blade Wrath of Fire: The tears-of-blood blargh.
Samba De Amigo: The not blargh ironically.
Wii Music: The not blargh unironically.
Sonic Unleashed: The greatest game.

Eye candy with a feel good ending and a cartoony presentation. At times pays nice homage to the original anime, other times it pinches a loaf on it, but it's all forgivable. Probably my favorite movie I saw in theaters this year. How sad.

I don't remember this film much, but I wrote "cute" next to the ticket so I'm assuming I liked it.

2008 MOVIE "Indiana Jones and th whatever the fuck this movie is called"
Aliens controlled everything and there's a shitty UFO sequence at the end of the film, it was like a punchline to a cruel joke.

It happened to suck.

A movie based on the unpopular Yakuza games, directed by Takashi Miike. And it really ruled. Really.

An unfortunate accident spelled the end of the reign of the Beautiful Truck, the only woman I've ever loved. The five-speed 1990 Ford Ranger will truly be missed. It has been replaced by SUV the Suburban Ussault Vehicle, which isn't nearly as cool, but at least it has a few features the Beautiful Truck didn't. For instance, I can roll the windows up and down, I have heat, I have a CD player, I can tell how much gas is left in the tank, the emergency brake works, the speaker system works, and it generally isn't a huge pile of metal crap on wheels.

It was good, I guess.

"Action cheese, but I liked it." That's what I wrote. Looking back, it probably sucked, I don't know. I don't even remember what it was about. Didn't they curve bullets or something? Did I really go to see this?

Paul W.S. Anderson's disasterous remake of the god-damn-incredible movie from the 70's, which starred Stallone when he was still unironically good.

1975 MOVIE "DEATH RACE 2000"
Please just watch this instead, I'm serious.

Sega Superstars Tennis Wii: Not wharf.
Sega Superstars Tennis DS: Not wharf.
Space Invaders Extreme: Not wharf.
Arkanoid DS: Not wharf.
Pokemon Pearl: ???
Bangai-O Spirits: Not wharf.
Kirby Super Star Ultra: Not wharf.
Sonic Chronicles: Not wharf.
Legend of Kage 2: Not wharf.
Exit DS: The greatest game.

A remake of the SNES classic RPG by Squaresoft, right before they started being terrible. It furthered that crazy half-real-time-but-not-really fighting system that stays consistently fun. And it predates the angsty animeness of their future games. It was honestly made right when they games started being good and right before their games started being terrible. The DS port is good enough.

In hindsight, this isn't even the tip of the iceberg. So, I'm relabeling this "part 1" and I promise a "part 2" forthcoming, although I anticipate this to go up to "part 20" at this rate. In the next installment I'll talk about the other movies I saw this year that didn't suck (most of which didn't come out this year), more of the books I've read, and further on the list of games and random pop culture things from my book. Maybe I'll even make a list! Who knew so many stupid things could happen in just one year!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Wii Music is a bad video game.

Wii Music is better than video games. When I had originally started this blog, I decided that I would not write to any great detail about a video game that I'd been playing without an ironic tone. Today, you might think, I'm going to break that rule. However, I won't. I can't. Video games aren't cool.

Wii Music is cool. It's the latest in a series of Nintendo Wii games catered towards people who just like to wave a stick around and instantly see fun and cute results on their television sets. Their standard definition television sets, like mine. It's kind of a rhythm game, and it's kinda not - it's mostly a toy, a piece of software for a video game system that isn't a video game itself, but something more reliable and understandable than your average Mario or Zelda. Oh no, Wii Music isn't a rhythm game like Guitar Hero, but rather an interactive visual with no goal or boundaries or competition. It is the definitive non-game. Not something you can be better at or worse at, not something that will discourage any new player from attempting, not something that can easily hook the Generation Y gamer plodding away on Xbox Live, garnering a higher gamerscore and a better kill/death ratio on Call of Duty 4. It's not something that will impress you, or bore you.

It's a thing where you wave your remote and press buttons to make music. It's a way to play air guitar or drum your fingers on a desk or pretend to sing into a microphone in front of a mirror, alone, except now you're seeing physical representations of these things happening on screen and in front of you, and you can do it with other people.

It's a thing that allows you play along to a Latin arrangement of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or a jazz arrangement of "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go". And then you can select which part of the song you want to play: the percussion, the harmony, the melody, etc. And you can swap instruments out for other ones. You can switch between basses, or you can use a piano or a trumpet as bass if you want. You can replace the drumkits with turntables and taiko drums.

And then, you can save your performances and play on top of them. Then you can save your performances to videos and mail them to your friends. And they can mail you their performances, and you can play alongside their take on the harmony or backing chords.

When I play alone, it's fun to relax and mess around in the improv section. And then sometimes I'll play a song or two and make a video, and turn it off. That's how video games should be. I played it with my sister, and it was nice to have a game that wasn't competitive, where there was no goal, and the individual arrangements and experiences came together to form a whole piece - even if it wasn't a masterpiece of music, it was still fun to fool around with the arrangements and improvise our own parts.

These days, video game developers talk about "experience" - the experience of playing Halo 3, the experience of killing a hooker. Wii Music is about the rawest form of entertainment, still proving that there's room for it on the shelf at GameStop. It's the anti-Guitar Hero. Better and worse than Guitar Hero.

Anyway, that's all the time I have for today! But Perdido Street Station is still rockin', this week I recommend Max Headroom, the new Squarepusher sounds like it might be good, Legend of Kage 2 is a good DS game, there's a nice place downtown that sells good veggie dogs, Hornado and Ragnarok killed at UCB last Tuesday, and I hate people with lots of pennies and fake social security cards. I leave you with Let's Tap!: not the past tapping game, not the present tapping game, but the future tapping game!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Jeet Christ he ripped it up last night.

Alright, fine. I do have a few complaints. I was a bit disappointed in his 80 minute set (although this is standard, it was just an expensive show). Some of the songs were sped up and a few were neutered. The crowd itself was mostly dead; they didn't seem to know much pre-Guero save for the mega-hits like "Where It's At" and "Loser", so when Beck tore out "Minus" in the beginning of his set many seemed confused. The venue (United Palace Theater, which doubles as a church, which has a sign out in front of it that says "Come on in or smile as you walk by") was assigned seating, which became assigned standing when Beck came on.

Now here are the good things about the show:
  • Beck is cool as hell.
  • Huge setlist.
  • Tight band with tons of energy even though the drummer was clearly taking cues from the keyboardist.
  • Awesome stage lights - the screen behind him lit up with patterns and at first you think they're just for simple shapes and whatever, but then full images start taking shape and moving behind the band.
  • Beck is fuckin' cool.
  • The sound was great save for some odd screw ups with "Hell Yes".
  • The new song they played during the encore was so damn hardcore.
  • They played "Walls", which is rare.
  • The cute black-haired guitarist was shredding it up like what.
  • Beck is one cool mother fucker.
He is a very mellow person in general, but was clearly tired, which is to be expected. This is a three-night show, but it was originally only one night (the night I went to). My friend managed to get the tickets the moment they went on sale so we were rockin' the orchestra seating (fantastic seats, too).

MGMT opened, and while they were much tighter than the last time I watched them live, the second half of their set was pretty boring. They used up all of their ammunition in the first half (playing "Electric Feel" and "Time to Pretend" back-to-back) and the second half kinda dragged on. The show would have felt complete even if they weren't there.

I'll post a few of my pictures, but my camera absolutely sucks for concerts.

Better pictures, full setlist, and a video of his performance on Letterman is here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


It wasn't as good as the book.

Fortunately, I don't really care. It was good enough on its own, I suppose. Not necessarily as bad as critics panned it out to be. But I tend to like movies that are unabashedly terrible. Which is why I only had lukewarm feelings towards most of the film. Blindness seemed to delude itself into thinking it was more artsy than it actually was, scenes and images were made out to be more powerful than they should have and mostly undershot their goals, I felt. But I told my mom I was going to see it anyway, and she said it'll probably be good because it got bad reviews. She knows the score.

The film took a number of liberties from the book, which is to be expected. They both had similar key moments, including the first and last scenes, albeit slightly altered.

I enjoyed it. I think my only issue was how the characters were made to be personable in the film, whereas they are disconnected and afraid in the book and, I believe, allowed the reader to be more empathetic with them rather than sympathetic.

This post isn't about Blindness, however. It is about The Uhn. What is The Uhn? I'll tell you.

It's a webseries written and produced by a few friends of mine, which means I can't say bad things about it. To their faces. The editor finished putting the first few episodes together and it debuted two Wednesdays ago. As far as I can tell, it's a show about a bunch of soap opera writers who make out with each other. I forgot to mention, I co-star in it.

I play the snarky head writer of a rival television show. When I was asked to play this role, I was duly informed that I was their absolute last choice. After reading the script, I figure out why. Not why I was the last choice, but why no one else would do it. Hoyooohhh.

But don't watch it, or anything. There are three episodes up and I have small roles in episodes one and three. They are uhn-fortunate. They make me cringe. I am a bad actor.

I seem to be the only person involved who isn't plugging it on their Facebook profiles, and that was probably expected by the creators as I acted pretty pissy and miserable throughout the entire shoot. I seem to remember being angry in the two or three days I was there, although I can't remember what for.

Please watch this instead because it's hilarious.

ANYWAY, here's the new full clip for Frankmusik's "3 Little Words". It's a nicer mix of the song, although there is a terrible bridge towards the end that wasn't in the rough cut, and that makes me sad. The video itself is kind of nice. I can't seem to find this album anywhere so I can illegally download it obtain the mp3s through kosher channels. There's a little Yom Kippur shout-out to my yeshivot brethren.

He has a weird face but seems to be incredibly versatile. The Michael Phelps of pop music. I mean, musik.

Friday, October 3, 2008


The movie is never better than the book.

The Blindness movie adaptation is seeing a widespread release beginning today. Or perhaps it isn't seeing anything! HaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAA. The film was directed by Fernando Meirelles, a Brazilian director who is perhaps more famous in his native country than he is here, because I've never heard of him before now. Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore star as the Doctor and the Doctor's wife, the latter of which turns out to be the only person in the story who can see after a blindness epidemic spreads throughout a city. The first to go blind are quarantined off in an abandoned mental hospital and forced to fend for themselves, resulting in panic, unease and disease thanks to those affected being unable to properly take care of themselves, not being accustomed to their new sightlessness.

The original novel was written by José Saramago, and is one of my favorite books ever. Its prose is beautiful and sometimes disorienting - no speech is quoted, and sometimes it's unclear as to who is speaking and to whom. Characters are nameless and introduced at regular intervals until there is an overwhelming amount of patients to keep track of, and it's filled with more twists than a Twizzler, and I wish I had a better analogy than that, but whatever. It's filled with more twists than a ... 50's Rock 'N Roll dance party??? I don't know. Leave your better analogies in the comments.

Holding the book to such high standards, I am weary of the film. I won't settle for anything less than slightly above mediocre. It's times like these when I begin to wonder if there were any movies that most generally agree are better than the book. Apparently Blade Runner is better than Philip K. Dick's Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep, the book on which the film is loosely based, although I've never read it. 2001 A Space Odyssey is apparently better than the book, although it was written after the movie.

The book I'm reading through now is called Perdido Street Station, written by China Miéville. It is considered to be one of the greatest science fiction books of the past 25 years, and I've been meaning to read it for some time now. While I find everything about it to be fascinating, I'm making my way through it at a fairly slow pace, just tonight breaching the 1/3 point after three weeks of reading (to be fair, it is over 600 pages long). It's about a man who is discovering all new types of fun scientific thingies and expanding rapidly on his life's work by helping out a trouble half-man half-bird thingy. It also follows the escapades of the man's secretive girlfriend, a highly artistic and muted insect with human-like features who is commissioned by a powerful druglord to create a life-sized sculpture of himself. The world they exist in is seedy, grimy and, dare I say, post-apocalyptic, which is the best kind of apocalyptic. The novel itself draws a lot from different sub-genres of science fiction such as cyberpunk, which is the best kind of -punk.

On an unrelated note, here's a pop song I discovered tonight called "3 Little Words" by FrankMusik. Apparently, a rearranged version of this song is going to appear on his major record label debut, which I can't seem to find much information on. He has a MySpace with a fun Radiohead remix on it, if there ever were a greater oxymoron than that.

Also in the vain of pop music I shouldn't be listening to is Girls Aloud's "Can't Speak French" single, which has been on repeat pretty much all day. YouTube embedding has been disabled by their soulless corporate parents, who probably control 90% of all pop acts coming out of the UK. Talk about cyberpunk. The video itself is absolutely horrible, and earlier today the Greatest Thing Since Cyberpunk correctly described them as a sluttier version of the Pussycat Dolls, which is an astonishing feat.

Also on my playlist is Sergio Mendes's first collaboration with Brazil 66, which includes the superior and non-shittified "Mas Que Nada", later totally destroyed by will.i.am and the rest of his crew of terminating producers. And, to further my bossa mood, I discovered sheet music for Chick Corea's "Spain" on my sister's piano, which made me happy. Here's an incredible performance of it with Hiromi Uehara to cap this post off with:

Friday, September 26, 2008


A lot of really nice things happened to me in the past week.

Naturally, perhaps even as natural as that picture, a lot of terrible things happened as well. However, I've been in a better mood more often than a worse mood lately, which means you, dear reader, will benefit from my sudden inspirational writing kick as I'll make a point to keep Midnight Reviews updated for the next week.

School is off from Monday through Wednesday, and while that doesn't necessarily mean as much of an extended break for me, it's enough. If you read the other blog that I participate in, you can check out my club promotional exploits at the Hunter College USG Fair which was held two Wednesdays ago. This past Wednesday was a different story. I had to sit in on an intimidating College Association board meeting to discuss the budget for the Media Board, which was something in the ballpark of $150,000.

Having big shots from student services sit in front of you while they prod and question lines from your budget should have been more daunting than it was. In actuality, the dean of student services seemed to already know what my answers were going to be and, being as prepared as I was, I hit a figurative home run into the gaping maws of any non-believers. The budget was approved on our first try, which may be a media board landmark. Unfortunately, it wasn't until after we were approved that I forgot to include some vital information into it; I now have no money budgeted for events other than two liquor licenses and security costs, and while unruly drunk underage kids and police brutality are both staples of the college experience, keep in mind that I didn't budget for the actual booze itself. Whoopsie.

Doesn't matter, though. Like when you accidentally stumble upon the German-American Steuben Parade of New York that marched up Fifth Avenue this past Saturday. I was walking along Central Park with some friends and this happened. Being uncultured swines, we didn't actually know what was going on other than it obvious having something to do with glorious Deutcheland.

Also included was a trip to the always colorful Ground Zero, named after its entertainment value written on a scorecard. Someone in the office recently called it "Ground One", and I can't remember who it was but it was surely in bad taste. Way too soon.

This happened on Monday. It was the Strawberry Poetry Party in the Olivetree Review (blog forthcoming). Two and a half of those pieces of strawberry origami are mine, and believe you me, it's much more difficult to fold those things than you'd imagine.

And then things like this happen. Over the summer I posted this picture of Phelps celebrating one of his many Olympic victories on our bulletin board. This is the end result. We have a lot of talented artists, huh?

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Those who know me particularly well know how I like my orange juice: cold, orange, and filled with vitamins and minerals. Those who know me even more well know my routine: I drink two glasses of orange juice with breakfast (one with a multivitamin) and two glasses before I go to bed. I'm willing to bet 400% daily value of Vitamin C a day is detrimental to my health, although I don't know why, since vitamins help me grow and stuff.

When I'm feeling particularly risky, I'll drink another carton of orange juice in school. My choice is always the Antioxidant Advantage™ Orange Juice© by Tropicana Manufacture, registered trademark. This choice is actually somewhat of a recent development. I realized my stomach hurts more than it doesn't, and it is most likely due to bad oxidants, possibly from drinking so much orange juice. Antioxidant Advantage corrects this by introducing little things called ascobic acids, not present in regular orange juice. As the name suggests, this means it helps fight the bad oxidants that can negatively affect our mortal stomachs.

As for the drink itself, it's okay. It's a little watery. Which is fine, as antioxidants are water soluble so we don't have to chew on them. I give it a two, for two thumbs way up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


During a large storm
one night over Rhode Island, a Colombian cartel plane is struck by lightning in mid-flight and crashes. Zooming in the wreckage, the cargo is revealed: psychoactive toads, which get into the hands of teenagers and begin drug fanaticism among the middle and high schools. Lois and Peter become concerned when the toad-licking problem arises in school.

This is the premise of a hilarious episode of Family Guy from season 3 that, get this, I watched in a class today. In school. And we analyzed the show unironically. Here's another word italicized.

The above image isn't from that episode; however, it perfectly sums up my feeling for it and the entire show in general. Every season is an endless stream of vomit. It's like a Slip 'n' Slide of throw up.

It's also a string of terrible pop culture references and non-sequiturs. There are a few lines in the show that are just straight-up stolen from movies or song titles, for example, Peter says, "I have to fight for my right to party," which is clearly a reference to Jethro Tull.

See? Non-sequiturs. I wrote this episode of Family Guy. I give it a zero.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008



This is me TOTALLY FREAKING OUT over the new Facebook redesign. Yes, I smile when I'm mad.

I hope corporate hamster Mark Zuckerberg is sleeping soundly in his bedding made of shredded thousand-dollar bills while the rest of us peons are suffering the insufferable with the latest aesthetic overhaul to a service offered to us free of charge. I really hate how they streamlined the news feed and friends lists to make them more manageable and relevant to my interests. The improved profile pages to take away the clusterfuck of useless applications so the pages load faster is... well... not an improvement at all! And don't even get me started on the updated Applications bar. Easily being able to click between my applications from any page really bunches up my panties.

I hate change. Having to take more than three minutes out of my day to learn something new is a fate worse than death. How can an America college student be expected to succeed in this country if our leisure time provides minor obstacles that can be championed and improved upon with little effort? By the way, go Obama.

I give it a two, because I don't want to waste precious arm energy by moving my mouse cursor three more inches to the left so I can select a zero.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Ever try to jump back into a dense novel that you hadn't picked up in months?

Really quick: I'm nearing the end of William Gibson's Count Zero, the second in his Sprawl trilogy written many a moon ago, but I haven't read it since the beginning of the year and I didn't even properly grasp it then. I am really desperate to finish this book so I can finally move on to Mona Lisa Overdrive and finish the series. This morning when I decided to dive back into it I had no idea what was going on, who the characters were, what the point was...

Maybe I just don't like it because Neuromancer was comparatively a light read. But I am really desperate for good cyberpunk.

Friday, September 12, 2008


FTH diehards might have noticed there was no Midnight Review this morning. I was too busy remembering 9/11 to crank one out. Also, the next review would have logically involved a brush of some sort, and I didn't want to review one of those things. I have a bad history with brushes and the last thing I want to do is come off as bitter.

I went to see Hamlet 2 this week, for some reason, and it managed to be more tragic than the original Shakespeare play. Although I do admit, at the halfway point I did at least expect its story to be interesting enough to go somewhere, which is more than I could say for Deathrace, last month's mess. And Steve Coogan did a nice job of being a bad actor, which was the point, I guess.

The catch is, bad things like this happen. Let's go back in time and get Jesus to prance around in a wifebeater. Edgy and hilarious? Yes and yes. Musical number about being raped in the face which you can download as a ringtone? Just tell me where to sign.

On the opposite spectrum is this week's Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, which has been posted up on adultswim.com. It's called "Jazz". Maria Bamford and Bill Hader have guest spots, and their sketches are hilarious and maybe slightly less weird than the Tim and Eric's, as this is overall one of the most surreal episodes I've ever seen. Tongue-in-cheek humor has been replaced with cut-out animations reminiscent of Terry Gilliam except less elaborate, coupled with cartoon vomit, high squeaky voices and split-second repeats of real-time video screams. It is fairly disorienting and probably not as funny as the usual T&E; however, it is twice as incredible.

Also this week is Yakuza 2, the sequel to the oft-misunderstood Playstation 2 game about an ex-mafiosa type trying to recover billions of yen gone missing from his family's bank account. I don't know much about this one as I haven't bought it yet, but IGN gave it a favorable review even though they gave the first one a less-than-favorable review for the same issues. Such is the arbitrary nature of games journalism. And number scores. And words, for that matter.

I saw the Takashi Miike film based on the game a few months back during the New York Asian Film Festival, and it is one of the finest video game-to-movie adaptations I have ever seen, and I've seen Doom!

Finally, what about the new New Kids on the Block album "The Block"?

Thursday, September 11, 2008




Garfield is a below-average comic strip. Fischerspooner is a below-average industrial band [e: Actually, it is Nine Inch Nails; Fischerspooner was in a different video where Garfield eats a purse. In this case, I take back my below-average remark. Nine Inch Nails is simply average.] But for some reason, when both of these things combine, something well above average is created.

Would have gotten a zero since zero times zero is usually zero. But I'm giving it a two, because the video description explains the joke.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Probably funny.

I'd embed the video into this blog, but I could only find it on MySpace. Funny how NBC Universal will put it up on MySpace, a website owned by News Corp, which owns one of NBC's biggest rival network stations, but they flip when their material is posted up on YouTube. This is the kind of world we live in.

"Laser Cats" is a sketch from Saturday Night Live that aired a year ago, possibly more. It features Bill Hader and Andy Freakin' Samberg. If you don't recognize those two names, don't worry, I haven't watched SNL in ten years either.

Andy Samberg is that guy who deliberately does things that are unfunny for the sake of comedy, because he is incapable of writing actual jokes. "Laser Cats" is a good example of this. It's about Hader And Samberg pitching a bad sketch about cats that shoot lasers out of their faces to Lorne Michaels, who apathetically shoots down their ideas even though Michaels would find it hilarious if this weren't a sketch and actually real life.

The biggest laughs came from a Hader pressing his sash-strap thing and making beeping noises and from an awkward pause followed by a "what?", although that might have been me and not in the actual script. The biggest problem with SNL is how they now completely rely on dorky white people for their comedy, when fifteen years ago it was just Norm Macdonald, and Samberg makes Macdonald look like a linebacker.

Despite my gripes I still give it a three, because unexpected and wacky things are funny and I was really building up to this hilarious punchline.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


You shoot lasers at ghosts.

You can play with three players in the arcade version. Each player has their own laser gun with which they can use to shoot lasers at the ghosts that pop up. There's nothing sweeter than that.

There really doesn't seem to be any story to it, you're just kinda some chick who gets lost and then ghosts attack you. You counter them by shooting lasers at them. Laser Ghost.

I'd give it a three but it's severely lacking in narrative.

Monday, September 8, 2008


In honor of the next-gen Ghostbusters video game being delayed indefinitely, I thought I'd take you all for a trip down memory lane and review a game I'm sure all of you have played: Ghostbusters for the Sega Master System.

I'll go ahead and spoil this one for you right now: this game really bites. Hard. You're given some money to buy weapons and car parts, and then you ride around town finding buildings infected with ghosts. You use a capture device, which looks like a shitty trampoline, and then you suck up some ghosts.

It switches from overhead view to side-scrolling view frequently, just like the movie. Also, sometimes you go to your headquarters to pick up more parts or an extra character. I believe all of the characters are white, of course, which means Ernie Hudson's character never existed since this game is perfectly canon.

There's a better ghost-zapping game on the Master System and it's called Laser Ghost. Seriously, all you do is shoot ghosts with lasers.

Friday, September 5, 2008


You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can still judge the cover. Which is what I'm going to do. Booyah.

Tonight we're judging this cover of Dracula, the Back Bay Books edition with a foreword by Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian, which is a different book. This cover is quite literally a close-up photograph of a "velvet pattern", probably one of the publishing staffers' great aunt's tablecloths.

Also featured is a girl, probably. Who is she? All I know about Dracula is that some angry dude wants to kill a vampire and I figured I'd save myself the bother of actually reading the book and just watching that one episode of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror where Homer drives a stake through Count Burns's heart. What does it matter? I already know how it ends anyway.

Normally, artistry of such low caliber would score nothing higher than a perfect zero; however, avid readers of my blog will remember how this is the very same book that was caressed by a cute girl who rang me up at Barnes & Noble. Considering the circumstances, I will award it a two, as I too one day hope to be held by a beautiful woman.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Yes. Yes. (trumpets)

So what should I name it? Also, this is me:


Snake Plisskin is a real man's man.

Dude doesn't care about the President, the American government, or the will of thousands of oppressed people. He's looking out for number one (himself).

So the free world sends all of its convicts to a quartered off New York City in the not-too-distant future. The president is held up in a terrorist attack on an airplane, but manages to escape. Of course, he falls right into the heart of Manhattan and is kidnapped by renegade hooligans. Snake Plisskin is a fresh convict and a war hero. He agrees to rescue the president so that he may be wiped of all charges and also spared death at the hands of a deadly inhibitor that is set to kill him within 24 hours. If he can't complete the mission before that, he and the president are as good as dead and nobody will care.

Not one to go out silently, Snake goes commando on a bunch of hungry lunatics and befriends a cast of colorful characters including Ernest Borgnine and Isaac Hayes in the process. Eventually, the president is saved, but Snake does a little switcharoo on an important plot point which I forgot to reveal and gets the last laugh indeed. By the way, the name of the movie is Escape from New York.

I would have given Snake a perfect score, but I have to knock him down two points for being a blatant rip-off of Solid Snake, a character created by Hideo Kojima for Metal Gear Solid. Comparison below:

Shameful. Look at that. They both have mustaches and eye patches.