Monday, March 28, 2011

Film Review: The Room

I finally saw this much talked about film. Every one should see it who enjoys a good bad film. It may surpass Max Magician and the Legend of the Rings as the most stupid movie I've ever seen. What Tommy Wiseau has managed to accomplish here cannot be intentional. There is not a genius alive who could manage to pull off The Room. Wiseau's writing shows clearly how he doesn't have any insight into women, who are all reduced to stereotypes, and neither does he have a general psychological insight into any of his characters. All character reactions are seemingly linked to whatever core archetype Wiseau has assigned them and do not take into account the actual situations they find themselves in. Further, Wiseau seems to lack any knowledge of drug violence (which he still manages to write into the script, despite it being inconsequential to the plot!) or physical confrontation. When Mark nearly throws Peter off the roof of a building, the amends are made in form of a virtual "I'm sorry, brah! Buds again?" Can it get any better than that? Oh, yes it can... and does. Two characters who find their friend lying dead of a gunshot wound to the head, blood everywhere, ask him to "wake up." Has Wiseau ever met any real human beings, experienced any real dramatic situations? Does he understand life? Does he?

Wiseau also directs, and it looks like your typical made-for-cable attempt at a real heart gripping drama, completely with green screened shots of the city skyline. But when it comes to his acting, you seriously can't believe how badly delivered Wiseau's lines are. It sounds like he doesn't know the English language, but has simply memorized his lines based on trying to sound them out (see: Sukiyaki Western Django for more on this). All of the actors are below par, no question. But Wiseau really takes the cake when it comes to just recognizing this simple fact: The guy I see playing a lead role in this movie is NOT AN ACTOR. It's truly amazing.

Don't even get me started with the sex scenes -- I think there are four of them within the first half hour of the film, same girl all four times, same footage two of the times. I wish I could say that a genius concocted such a ludicrous scheme. I wish I was that genius.

50 Bizzare Antique Photos

These pictures will seriously make your day, if you like weird old stuff.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan (Remember Them?)

Earth quakes, tsunamis and nuclear meltdowns are liable to turn Japan from a prosperous, populous nation into a place more fit for Mad Maxes than for respectable, respectful businessmen and school girls. Will Japan take a nose dive, losing many of its great minds, not only to the disaster but to expatriation after the ensuing fiasco? Hmmm...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Vision of the Future

Tuesday I got a vision of the future. You can’t control what it is you see when something like that happens. Keep that in mind. The images came to me quickly, so I’ll try to relate them in some kind of sensible order.

i. General Overview of the Future

In the future things will be cleaner, movies will be better and small children won’t need to be afraid of anything at all. Restroom technology will be simply astounding. A really amazing remake of Robin Hood will come out. Kids will have a horny armor-like shell.

I. The Restrooms

In the future you won’t have to worry about catching a disease in a public toilet. For one thing, commodes will be eliminated and everyone will use those eastern-style porcelain holes in the floor. In the future everyone will have been bred to be mostly Asian and the lack of a seat won’t be a problem for anyone. This will fix the problem of germ transmission via contact. Butts will have fewer pimples. But that will not be all.

In the future everyone will take special pills. These pills will be colloquially known as ‘your daily chalk.’ This will cause a person’s feces to come out in small roundish units roughly the size of golf balls, with a smooth, white shell. This will prevent the feces from dirtying the posterior of the defector and also will limit the possible transmission of feces-born pathogens. It will not be hard to squeeze out these ‘eggs.’

In the future there will be specially bred toilet attendants. They will be no larger than seven inches in height. They will have begun as pygmy stock and be progressively shrunken over the course of centuries. They will dwell in the crannies of public restrooms and only emerge when a defecator requires their assistance in ‘laying eggs.’ The attendants are small enough to be able to grab the ‘eggs’ and also strong enough to pull them free of most sphincters. If need be they will have the ability to worm their way up into the rectum to unstop potentially impacted ‘nests.’ Their skin will be extremely slippery with a natural tallow-like sebum produced as a lubricant for their dark journeys. The attendants will not mind their work. In fact they will have been specially bred to survive on the feces produced by defecators. They will collect the ‘eggs’ and take them home for supper.

In the future these tiny attendants will have a very strange religion with a unique (and false) cosmology regarding their origins and the nature of the defecators. I wish I had been able to see more regarding this.

II. Robin Hood

The best part of the future Robin Hood movie will be this: There is an intense swashbuckling scene where it appears that Robin has the advantage, but then Capt. Hook turns the tide and cuts off Robin’s right hand. The hand and the sword Excalibur both fall into the Cracks of Doom, presumed destroyed forever. “Robin,” Hook says, “I am your father.” It’s very intense. Robin’s faithful companion Arthur emerges from behind a boulder and rubs the lamp he pulled from the stone, summoning the genie Merlin. But it is too late: Hook has transformed into a bat and flown back to his secret castle. It looks then like they might never find the Holy Mandylion.

Arthur bandages Robin’s stump and begins to cry. When the tears touch Robin’s wound, a lobster claw grows in place of the lost hand. The two men and the genie are all quite hungry, so they agree to cook the claw and divide the meat inside between them. The genie is not accustomed to seafood and consequently vomits up bat guano which turns into dung beetles as it touches the cursed ground upon which they sit dining. There is a quick bathing scene where we see Arthur’s supple, pubescent breasts with 666 tattooed above the left nipple. Then it flashes back to a much longer scene of Merlin vomiting up large chunks of flesh that become weasels and raccoons. The two men are still hungry so they cook the creatures. After eating the weasels, Robin’s hand regenerates miraculously, and after eating the raccoons, Hook is no longer his father.

III. The Skin of Children

In the future there will be a great famine, at which time many children will be eaten. The ones who will not have been eaten will have to become tougher to stave off ingestion by their elders. The horned flesh will be a natural byproduct of rampant pedophagia. It will also keep them safe from other things, like large bees and small monsters. Being hit by cars will also no longer be a concern, because the horned child is the car’s natural enemy. In the rare instances where a car will still decide to take on a child, it will almost always end badly for the car.

In the future children will ask their parents to take them to see Robin Hood even though it will be rated R. Their parents, of course, will tell them that they cannot see such a mature movie. They will then begin to nuzzle against their parents, which will cause a great friction against the smooth skin of their mother’s and father’s faces. The blood that will be produced from these abrasions cannot be swallowed by vampires, in case you were wondering. In the end, the parents will take the children to see Robin Hood and the kids’ favorite part will be this: Robin Hood returns to the Black Forest and is greeted by the Lost Boys. He asks why Sancho Panza isn’t welcoming his return. They sadly inform him that Sancho was killed defending the toy factory from a hobgoblin attack. (Sancho Panza is quite a compelling figure in this adaptation, and will be played by Morgan Freeman, who had himself cryogenically frozen so that he could perform this future role.) They file Robin’s teeth down and wipe him with hay. After he recuperates fully from the shock he tells them of the unfortunate escape of Hook, but they do not seem too concerned. They have improved their fire bombs and a squadron of their dirigibles is already en route to Castle Oz. We see a scene of the ruined castle in flames, but it is hardly clear that Hook was killed in the assault, though we do find out that his 15-month-old adopted daughter Hanna was killed, and two of his sons were injured. Hood’s foreign policy is then heavily criticized by the Saxon Intelligentsia, but soon enough the movie finds a way to end itself and the kids can be home in bed before 9:30.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reality and Fictonal Stereotypes

Okay, I've got a blue collar job. I've made other entries that say as much.

One thing you notice right away in the world of grocery retail - most people are uninteresting and pretty much unlikeable. I was taking my lunch in the break room the other day when I overheard a coworker's very loud cellphone conversation. This middle aged woman is very plain, with a figure that may have been pleasant when she was younger and a personality that generally makes me forget she exists. But this phone call that I was privy to allowed me to see another aspect: she, too, has real problems in her life. Unfortunately, these problems are so mundane and boring that she failed to garner any of my further pathos.

In stark contrast, the fictional version of this woman would have to have some quality that would cause us to pull for her, to hope she overcomes her obstacles and betters herself. In reality, though, we know that she's never going to change her situation, and we accept that, forget about her, and move on.

On the other hand, one of the assistant managers of the store is the exact cardboard cut-out of middle management that stereotypes in art, lit and film have brought us to expect. He's overweight, frumpy, put-upon by the higher ups, lacking in real ambition to achieve anything past the status quo, barely competent, thinks himself far cleverer than he really is, etc. If I actually wrote this guy as a character in a story, you'd think he was a stock character and ask me to make him rounder. But I swear, he's really as banal as you'd expect. I bet you could write his dialogue.

There's also a particularly ugly and peculiar fellow I have to deal with daily. While retaining his anonymity, he's got the same name as a famous king of England who suffered an infamous defeat. In appearance, he somewhere between Shrek and Quasimodo, with a mustache and glasses. To top it off, he's epileptic, which has caused him to damage his body further during his seizures, so he sort of scuttles along. And he's got a really bad attitude, despite being an obviously lonely character --who'd be much more sympathetic in fiction, mind you. But in real life he's immediately unlikeable. I keep praying that one day he will confide in me, "Gary, I was once a handsome young prince. But a witch fell in love with me, and since I would not return her love she locked me in the hideous form you see before you today. I remain afflicted until I can find true love... with a horse."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The New Absurdist

The two men cowered at the corner of the tavern, fearing almost everything in sight. The glasses were dirty, which meant germs, and the patrons mostly had dark skin, which meant danger. Neither germs nor danger were friends to the two men, nor did these men have any friends apart from each other. “I’m very glad you came with me,” said one to the other. “I’m very glad I came with you,” said the other to the one. They both wore scarves, though it was not very cold. They both wore helmets, though they were seated inside. These two men proceeded to observe what they knew was about to transpire in that ramshackle tavern.

The door was forced open and a gust of wind filled the room, though not very cold wind. A little old Irishman, whom the men knew was formerly a priest, entered with that gust, as if blown inside. He was a frail man, and though not truly frail enough to ride a breeze, one might get the impression he would try. In spectacles and cap, he shuffled inside, said a quick howdeedoo to the barkeep, and then trudged to a small table at the back where was already seated a heavy Black woman in Afro-centric kaftan. She gave the old Irishman what seemed to be the evil eye as he took off his cap and sat down.

Just then, the accordion player started up again, momentarily distracting the two men’s attentions. He played a lively, but repetitive shanty that both men had heard as boys down by the docks. Their eyes glazed wistfully as they thought of their lives in those days, as they thought of all games they didn’t play for fear of injury, and they thought of all the cats they’d killed so they wouldn’t be bitten or scratched unexpectedly.

“Oh, oh, oh, Jesus!” They turned their heads wildly in the direction of the heavy Black woman, who was nearly shouting. “We pray humbly to you, O Jesus….” She and the old Irishman with eyes closed, heads bowed, holding hands, prayed intently. “Tell us, Jesus, who is on that train, Jee-Zus!”

“Yes, Dear Lord,” the Irishman intoned, “tell us who it might be that’s on that train. We want to know so heartily that we are imploring you now, Lord, tell us who is on that train, sweet Jesus.”

A waitress, late thirties though not unattractive, strolled by and reminded the two men, “Marinara is on television at eight o’clock. You can’t watch TV if you go all the way in the back of a cave, can you?” She smiled, eyes bugging in a false show of enthusiasm. But the prayer was not yet over and so their attentions returned very quickly to the odd couple.

The Black woman smacked her hand on the table, spilling a bit of the ex-priest’s lager. “Jesus, Jesus, Jee-Zus! Who—I said, who is on that train?”

“Jesus Lord, Jesus Lord!” rumbled the Irishman.
“Lord Jesus—Lord Jee-Zus!” thundered the Black woman.

The two men fished in their pockets, nervously eying the other patrons. They each pulled out their tickets, stood slowly and deliberately, and began to march toward the unlikely pair of supplicants. One spoke firmly and at moderate volume: “We are on that train, brother and sister.” “Yes,” said the other, “it is we who are on that train.” The one handed his ticket to the Black woman, who squinted at it skeptically. The other handed his to the Irishman, who adjusted his spectacles skeptically.

Seeming convinced of the authenticity of the documents, the man and woman both nodded to each other and punched them, handing them back to the pair of friends.

“Just one question though, Father — Oh, I can still call you father can’t I?” asked the one.

“Sure, my child,” the old man nodded.

“Where does this train go?” asked the other. Then the two men drew their pistols, leveled them, took painstaking aim, and killed the Black woman and the Irishman without further ceremony.

“We are on our way,” said the one to the other. “On our way we are,” said the other to the one.

For more like this - The New Absurdist

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Houses Are Where People Live

So economic ruin is upon our nation (ie. the USA, but most other nations, too). And the problem is that our economy is basically illusory. I am hopeful that people will cease to view houses as investments are start viewing them again as a place in which to live. There was a time you'd burn a man's house when he died, to kind of honor him and symbolize that he's no longer among the world of the living. "He don't live here no more." Actually, I'm not sure this was regularly practiced at any time in history, but maybe it should have been.

On top of the home mortgage crisis, we should become aware that the economy (goods and services traded and rendered) and the shadow economy (pieces of paper that give people shares of imagined revenue from companies, sometimes called the Stock Market) aren't working very well together. To put the point on it: a company can be entirely viable, earning a profit by supplying goods/services, but not experiencing enough GROWTH to keep the shareholders happy. And so it gets sold, or dissolved, even though the economy was doing just fine as it was. In this way, I'm anti-capitalism, even though I'm 100% pro-free markets. The problem is that exponential GROWTH can't continue indefinitely. You don't have to be an economist to understand that. Sooner or later you just have to settle for making a living. And this is why we need to find a way to bring the focus away from corporations and back to companies. Companies making things, do stuff. Corporations inefficiently reap the benefits of the operation of companies, buy and sell companies, close them down after they've used them up.

Anyway, enough rambling for today. I'll post some more fiction in the next day or two.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Exciting Blue Collar Adventures

I work a blue collar job for numerous reasons, but most practically because I am prone to arrogance, and a job connected with any measurable status would turn me into a living dildo.

My current self-made prison is the produce department of a supermarket. My shift begins at 4 AM, which helps me avoid having any sort of normal social life. It gives me plenty of time to be a starving artist, plenty of opportunities to starve. Though I do enjoy cooking for myself. Problem is my counter space is so limited that it deters any elaborate meal preparations. It is rare that I have more than an entree. I try to create dishes that incorporate many things together so my meals will be more balanced.

At my job I mainly think all day about writing fiction (sometimes also about writing music), though sometimes I think about woman and loneliness. Then I look at my married coworkers and I am again glad to be unattached. Most of my time is spent engrossed in my own thoughts and I only appreciate the truly annoying or the truly absurd in the external world of the work place.

Chances are, if you are a reasonable shopper, I never notice you. If you are obnoxious, bullheaded, ignorant of the world, I probably remember you quite well.

On the more positive side, we receive produce from many different sources, so occasionally we get interesting boxes. The other morning we received a particularly notable brand of cabbage, and after putting out the cabbage, I cut from the side of the box these two phrases: God Loves You and Chucky Love You. (Note: Chucky Love You is also written in Spanish, Korean and Japanese.) I then placed the cardboard bearing these words of encouragement atop our white board. I don't know if anyone else was inspired by this brave act on my part.

We all must do our part.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bad Days (Extended)


Shards of the children's bones in his teeth, he attempted to claw his way from the sewer, but the walls were too slippery to find a hold. He kept coming back with fistfuls of slime. With nothing else to do, he scraped his palms as clean as he could on the rim of his bucket, allowing the filth to sluggishly drip inside it. He couldn’t remember why he had not brought a ladder, except that they are just too large to carry on one’s person, especially if you’ve got a girl under your left arm and a boy under your right. The candles guttered; he was nearly completely engulfed in darkness. The light of the sun was blinding as he attempted to stare up at the hole to the surface some two stories up. He tried again to climb the wall, to get his footing in the brickwork. His soles skidded back to the floor, his ankles absorbing the impact.

He looked around at the rats, the bones, the scum, the black water, or what little he could really see of them in the diminishing light. “This is the last time I take my lunch in a fucking sewer.”


Kids with air rifles had taken over the Capitol, so he smoked a cigarette angrily in the farthest minaret. If he could dampen his handkerchief, he thought it might be possible to send tiny smoke signals to the elderly who still held most of the office buildings on the adjacent block. By the time he'd hacked up enough phlegm and spittle, his cigarette had burned down to the filter. Reaching into his coat pocket, he realized his pack was empty. He wondered why he had bothered to put an empty pack back in his pocket. He flipped the lid and looked inside. There was a lick-and-stick tattoo of a circus seal inside.

They must be watching me right now, he thought, and then blacked out from concussion.


She waited in the filthy diner on 4th. There was no more berry cobbler. She cried so hard that the owner asked her to leave. When she got into the streets, she could see them coming toward her at a quickened pace. The look on their faces like starving hounds. They did not care if she was not berry flavored. They hit her with Tonkas and with Wiffle bats. After a matter of moments, she crumpled upon herself and they forced her into the open manhole, into the sewer below, where it was rumored that cannibals still hid who had not received notice of the changes made on the surface.

She barely recovered consciousness before her clothes were being ripped off her and fashioned into a rope of some kind...

For more like this - Pan-Weirdism Community

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Have I Got in My Pocketses?

I promise you, things are really turning around.

Egypt and Tunisia are on their way to becoming more democratic than the USA. Libya is on its way to being powder keg for WWIII. The US is on its way to becoming a third world hellhole (and aren't I glad I don't have a Government job now?). Fates are really turning around.

And I've got some really solid ideas for a short story collection that could put my cozily at the bottom of the sellers list. See, short stories are not very popular - at least, not when compared to novels. In this day and age it's sort of paradoxical. People are very busy and have less time, so short stories would seem an easy option. But people's lives are also pointless and meaningless, so novels offer a deeper escape, full immersion. ("Full Penetration" you might say, once you've read my [proposed] short story collection.) I remain a man committed, at least in the short term (the next year at least, the remainder of my life at most), to the short story. As I've commented on other men's blogs, I rarely have read a perfect or mind-blowing novel, but I have read dozens of perfect or mind-blowing short stories. I will produce many shorts even if it means I wallow in obscurity doing so. (A promising note: writing only short fiction works for Kelly Link.)

But the unpopularity of short stories is not the only commercial obstacle to my success. Yes, there's my race of course, but this isn't about the white man holding down the white man. My writing is failing to cement itself in a solid marketing category. This is both good and bad. Good because there seems to be a demand for this sort of weird, interstitial fiction and it leaves me more flexible in terms of branding. Bad because its harder to find a convenient conduit to channel my work to those who would really dig it. There's not a good word for the writing that am I am currently doing, but I am not alone in the style. You know those fellows who combine elements of mainstream and genre fiction with the brush of the surrealist/irrealist/absurdist. Bizarro has attempted to provide a label for the 'movement,' though I think Bizarro has failed to encompass all aspects of the weird. Plainly put, Bizarro attempts to be the literary equivalent of the Cult Movie Section of the video store, but makes no real distinction between the weirdness of Eraserhead and the weirdness of Surf Nazis Must Die. For me this is a problem because I don't think I have a Surf Nazi appeal in my writing, and that seems to be more and more the direction their movement leans. See Mellick's Zombies and Shit or Donihe's Night of the Assholes for more on this point. (If you are interested in a more general sort of weirdness check out the Dreamwidth community I've started with Mr. Nihil - Pan-Weirdism.)

I suppose I should also mention my lack of discipline. Were I to work harder at planning, revision and self-editing I would also stand a better chance of being published sooner, by bigger publishers willing to take greater risks on a newcomer. But that's like something way out of my control, man. Give me a break.

Now, if you'll excuse me, 5 hours of Horatio Hornblower isn't quite enough for one day. Adieu.