30 November, 2010

I Want to Start Eating and Never Stop

I don't understand how people can't cook. How can you live with yourself if being able to cook gives you access to chocolate chip, bacon waffles? What kind of monster is that?

25 November, 2010

24 November, 2010

Stupid Facebook Meme, Chain Letter Bullshit

I saw a meme going around Facebook (or, rather, I saw a brief idea in one person's post on the ol' Facebook) and I thought it'd be an interesting exercise on this blog.

The exercise is "15 Authors." Basically, I get to list/have to list fifteen writers who have influenced my current style. I'm going to assume that this is limited to the written word, so that makes it a bit of a prickly pear, but I'll do my best.

Here goes:

1. Cormac McCarthy
2. Ray Bradbury
3. H.P. Lovecraft
4. Alan Moore
5. Neil Gaiman
6. Warren Ellis
7. Garth Ennis
9. George Orwell
8. Philip K. Dick
9. Dashiell Hammett
10. Rudyard Kipling
11. Joseph Conrad
12. William Gibson
13. Stephen King
14. Frank Herbert
15. Jason Aaron

Now, you may go ahead and judge my nerdy ass.

Never Clap, Cunts

During my senior year of high school Ray Bradbury vistited my high school to speak. Even back then, I was amazed that he was still alive. By all accounts of the naked eye, that man should have been dead within days of leaving the city of La Canada-Flintridge (an unusual coupling between incredibly rich white settlers and incredibly rich Spanish settlements which were bought out by incredibly rich white people). Yet, despite my diagonosis, that son of a bitch keeps on keeping on. If life hasn't taken out that man by now, nothing will. He's got whatever it is that Casto has in his blood that keeps him going. Your grandchildren are going to be wondering about Ray Bradbury's demise years and years from now. None of you will live long enough to get a satisfactory answer to the Ray Bradbury Mortality Question.

Anyways-- stop me if I've recited this on paper before (and I know I've recited this in my mind innumerable times)-- but Ray Bradbury mentioned several important things in his speech that I still carry with me to this day (I realize that you can't stop me and that I'm probably going to repeat myself, to my detriment, regardless of your moans at the computer screen [I have very few anecdotes, please allow me the ones that I have]).

He said that you should never do research for a story. In my innexeperience, I have to disagree, but I agree with the spirit of his advice.

As a writer, you shoulder never let the little things get in your way. If you want to write about Mars or the future or gothic families or tattooed men or whatever, just fucking write it. Just do it. Go to your typewriter and fucking do it. There's no logic or system of rules that are keeping you from a great story, only your own will power. I guess this probably carries over to most mediums, and in that fashion, he's right. Worry about being right later, in the mean time, if you want to write, WRITE, GODDAMMIT!

He also said that you shouldn't watch any TV, which, became pretty funny exactly one year later when David Hyde Pierce came to our high school (St. Francis High School) and told us that we should watch more TV (which, of course, he would say). Again, his advice isn't something I agree with by the letter, but it is something I agree with in spirit. He's right. We should avoid TV (and, I imagine, Facebook and AIM and You Porn and everything else) and just create. We shouldn't let our minds be poisoned by the outside, we should just go ahead with whatever it is that we want to do. Paying too much attention on TV (or movies or memes or the internet or comics or grindhouse pictures) is asking for a hard fall. As writers, or creators in whatever medium we end up working in, we should seek to be original more than anything else, which is something that I can entirely agree with.

There's the whole post-modernist school of thought which wants to tell us that there isn't any such thing as a "new" thing. To a point, I agree. One can't write or draw or act without being aware or inspired by those who came before. From a basic, functional point of view, you can't perform your medium without the people who invented stage lighting and graphite mixtures (which we can thank Napoleon's army for-- a different discussion for a different time) and WWII movies and Will Eisner and whatever else. All of this is in our blood, we can't just wipe the slate clean and be tabula rasa about art, if we did that, we'd probably be making pictures with our own feces on the wall (and Lord knows that not all of your readers are Irish political prisoners).

Post-Modernism is, of course, a bunch of latent, liberal, quitter bullshit. The people who spawned post-modernism were the same people that invented cultural relativism, elected Jimmy Carter, protested the retirement age being moved up to 62, saw the legacy of the 1960's crushed under the weight of the Hell's Angels and reality, and people who buy multiple Jean-Luc Godard films on the Criterion Collection. In other words-- pussies.

As I said, there's a great point to be made about nothing being new and I've copied plenty of artists in my own stories (which always seem to be set in the past, with an intense amount of research involved). There is nothing new under the sun, though I don't know that that means anything. Sure, there isn't anything new, but man, as a species, knows less than diddly-shit about anything. As a society, as a culture, as whatever, we don't know anything. That's the human experience: Not knowing more than you know, having an awkward adolosence, and dying. That's about it. But, with that said, you can't say that there isn't anything new to be said about life. If that were true, I think we could all retire our species at this point.

Post-modernism and the school of copying and homaging and co-depending isn't the future of art. There's plenty to be said about the human condition. And, yeah, there's plenty of room for jerks like myself (who probably hasn't written an original thought worth a damn since he was born) and QT (who is lauded for his unoriginality) and Andy Warhol and a million other artists who no one has ever heard of (who I would include myself in, if you were reading my blog at this current juncture), but there's also room for the next generation of artists to make NEW things. I guess that is what Ray Bradbury was always talking about, always writing about. Even as an ancient, decrepit, old man, he's still closer to the truth than a shit-ton of academics and so-called creative geniuses.

The world needs creativity. It needs blind, violent vision that doesn't give a shit about what has come before. That's what is going to move art upwards and onwards in this century, it isn't going to be an improvement on the old, it's going to be a blossoming of the new.

If I knew what that meant, it would probably be a lot more poetic. If I wasn't so drunk currently, I might even convince myself that the previous paragraph meant anything).

So there's that.

As far as Comic Con goes and as far as the title of this entry goes, I fucking hate clappers. It's turgic sychpanty. It's horrid. All it does is inerfere with the flow of information and the flow of thought. It's just this massive, ugly pat on the back and nothing more. "Hey, I like Ferhenheit 451, please clap with me to prove that I'm not alone on this dark, cold sphere shooting through the universe!"

It's pathetic.

And, yeah, I've been to plenty a Comic Con, so I'm looking down on these people as a nerd, not as some snooty, hip outsider. I've been annoyed by this tendency in people since high school and if I could figure something like this out in high school, then I don't know anyone else's excuse is. I was a near retard in high school is what I'm getting at.

Every single one of those mother fuckers needs to sit one their goddamn hands and show a semblance of decorum. It's so obnoxious. The clapping at Comic Con is this weird mix between wanting to be acknowledged in public for your opinions ("The Martian Chronicles are good!" "I enjoy Joss Whedon's run on Buffy!" "Hey, Watchmen was a pretty well written book six years before I was born!" "Movies are good when they're projected onto a flat surface via some sort of light-based medium!") and this need to suck up to the people you love.

I'm as human as anyone else when it comes to celebrity (which is a debatable term when it comes to Comic Con, I realize) and I'm fairly nervous when I encounter people I know and like from TV, radio, or the written word (or what the fuck ever). I'm not so cool as to be bored by the concept of Ray Bradbury being at my high school or encountering Doc Hammer on the Comic Con floor. When I interviewed Adam Carolla, I was mildly flustered. It was a pretty cool, pretty surreal moment for me. Where I differ from the clapping fuckers is that I don't feel the need to suck up to these people. They aren't there to save my life, they aren't there to bring me up to a higher plain-- they're artist for the most part and they'd be doing this shit for free if they could or, like Kafka or Lovecraft or Dickenson, they'd be doing it mostly for themselves, regardless of the money or critical acknowledgment. Applause is a nice thing when you walk (or wheel) onto stage, but when you're talking, it's incredibly rude. It's uncouth. It's completely unaware of human interaction. It's a move that supplants your opinion over the person that is talking (the expert) and is more or less indicative of the entire Comic Con experierence. I love Comic Con, but, more or less, it's an entire miniature city of people who don't know how to interact with their fellow man, much less gods like Ray Bradbury.

Sorry if I ran a bit long, though, I'm not that sorry, all told, because I'm pretty sure that no one reads this blog, not even myself (copy-editing is a fool's game). Prove me wrong, though! Post comments! Recommend this blog to your friends (your rich friends who are hiring!). Let me know that I'm not just wasting bandwidth.

23 November, 2010

Because My Main Thing is Now Posting Trailers

At least when I repurpose these things for my own, almost non-existant benefit, they're supposed to be spread around.

Obviously, because I'm posting this, I would go and see this, but the main reason I'm actually putting it up here is because I'm trying to figure out where the song in the second half of the trailer is from? I want to say it's either Moby or from the movie Sunshine. That's almost purely guessing on my part and I can't make an argument for my feeling that way other than the fact that I have a "feeling," which, if you know me I will tell you, doesn't count for a whole hell of a lot.

Edit: Alright, if I had waited another twelve seconds I would have been rewarded with the credit "Music by Moby." So, as it turns out, I was right. I just need to listen to my heart more often and it will show me the way.

Doube Edit: I really like the font and layout used for the film's title. I'm going to make a mental note to rip that off one of these days.

"Our Day Will Come"

notre jour viendra - feature film trailer from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

I don't know what the hell this is, but I'm down. It looks like it's the right kind of insane that I need in my life right now. Lot of that wrong kind of crazy been passing through lately, asking for a ride. Had enough of that shit.

22 November, 2010

This Needs to Be Seen

See, it isn't a recent phenomenon at all. This shit is as old as time (time beginning sometime around the early 80's).

18 November, 2010

Dai Nippon Ichi!

While most entires on my blog are about how Japan terrifies the rest of the world, this installment is about how Japan terrifies its own children. Join me, won't you?

(This, of course, is an ancient Japanese masturbation spirit that finds people napping and then, well, does his thing.)

Gojin Ishihar is an illustrator and, quite obviously, a talented one. He also seems to be a bit crazy in the way that all good artists should be.

(And this is the nightmare 400,000 Japanese children have every day and night constantly.)

Now, here's what you all came for, cavemen transported to the modern world, playing baseball. Oh yeah.

(You know you love it.)

(via Pink Tentacle.)

17 November, 2010

This is What I Get

Here's the results of me trying to figure out if someone has ever used a certain phrase before. Apparently they have. And it's in Kim Possible fan fic.

No, no, dear reader, your patronage is more than enough thanks.

16 November, 2010

Bad Time to Be Alive

I've got to say that Moscow in 1941 was not the best place on Earth to live-- which is only slightly different from Moscow at any other point in time.

(via English-Russia.)

Shit That Ain't There No More

Does Schlitz even still exist? I know I've seen the label before, but I can't tell if I saw it on some antique, tin sign at one of my dad's friends' houses or if I've seen a real, live Schlitz sign in nature. Hmmm. I'm going to have to drink on this one.

15 November, 2010

Not Givin' Any Fuck

That's what this guy's thesis statement in life is. It'll be the header on his tombstone.

(Photo by Scott Pommier.)

(via the Selvedge Yard.)

14 November, 2010

I'm Waiting for the Sun to Shine

I really aught to see this move again. It's been too damn long.

(Apparently Taschen has a Taxi Driver book out. Awesome.)

13 November, 2010

I Found The Cover of My Memoir


Phew. That was a scary couple of seconds.
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This Week in the 'Ghan


(A Soviet APC treks across the Afghan plains.)
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You're Trying Too Hard Again, James


I feel like if there's anybody who never had to do a handstand to impress a girl, it'd have been him.
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Words to Die By

I gotta admit, this exchange got a lot of traction in high school.


11 November, 2010

It Almost Looks like a Country!

On a recent trip to Afghanistan, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox drew fire for calling it "a broken 13th-century country." The most common objection was not that he was wrong, but that he was overly blunt. He's hardly the first Westerner to label Afghanistan as medieval. Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince recently described the country as inhabited by "barbarians" with "a 1200 A.D. mentality." Many assume that's all Afghanistan has ever been -- an ungovernable land where chaos is carved into the hills. Given the images people see on TV and the headlines written about Afghanistan over the past three decades of war, many conclude the country never made it out of the Middle Ages.

But that is not the Afghanistan I remember. I grew up in Kabul in the 1950s and '60s. When I was in middle school, I remember that on one visit to a city market, I bought a photobook about the country published by Afghanistan's planning ministry. Most of the images dated from the 1950s. I had largely forgotten about that book until recently; I left Afghanistan in 1968 on a U.S.-funded scholarship to study at the American University of Beirut, and subsequently worked in the Middle East and now the United States. But recently, I decided to seek out another copy. Stirred by the fact that news portrayals of the country's history didn't mesh with my own memories, I wanted to discover the truth. Through a colleague, I received a copy of the book and recognized it as a time capsule of the Afghanistan I had once known -- perhaps a little airbrushed by government officials, but a far more realistic picture of my homeland than one often sees today.

Words by Mohammad Qayoumi at Foreign Policy.

10 November, 2010

Good News/Bad News

Nazi Germany edition!

On the good news front, several modernist sculptures, which were believed to have been destroyed by the Nazi government was found this week! So, after nearly seventy years, works of art that the Nazis tried to snuff out from the earth can finally be viewed and appreciated the way they were meant to be. Take that!

On the bad news front, apparently a bunch of people were scamming a Holocaust non-profit for money. So not only were they scamming a what amounts to a charity, but they were taking money away from elderly Holocaust victims in need. Classy.

09 November, 2010

Today in the 'Nam

There's a follow up to this one. Not quite as badass.

08 November, 2010

Yeah, Good Call

Now I just need to write a show to go along with the theme here and I'm good to go.

(I predict cancellation before the end of the first season, smothered in its crib, like a Roman heir.)

(via L'anima Pellegrina.)

This is How Michael Caine Speaks

Hey Say You Brade Runnah

I've been spending way too much time lately thinking about props and memorabilia from Blade Runner. Clothing from the movies doesn't seem like all that difficult of a thing to secure. It's all just a matter of picking up the right patterns and material and getting someone I know who can sew to take care of it (which, I guess, is probably not an incredibly easy thing to do).

The other option is just buying props or whatever from a dealer or from an auction, but that seems like a process way out of my reach. Recently, the original "hero" prop gun-- the one Harrison Ford would have used in close ups-- went to auction and sold for $265,000. So, for the time being, I think that line of inquiry is going to have to wait.

(Art by Jim Steranko.)

Remember When Star Wars was Cool?

I know I remember, if just barely.

"Rancor" by Arantzazu Martinez.

(via Wired.)

06 November, 2010

Comics are Rad

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Another One Bites the Dust

Another Nazi scum bag died in prison today. Good for us.

Occasionally I find it sad to think that all World War II veterans are going to be dead some day and the entirety of the Greatest Generation will fade into the past, but now I realize that there's something of a silver lining to this. Even though our own soldiers won't be here for much longer, neither will the Nazis. Within my lifetime, every single Nazi bastard on Earth is going to be rotting in the ground and, if we're lucky, burning in Hell/being reincarnated into tape worms/being molested by Xenu. It isn't a very happy though, I admit, but you have to take these little victories when you can get them.

Yeah, Alright, My Day is Made

04 November, 2010

This is What Beat Communism

Evil hamsters (apparently wearing aprons).

The Faithful Hussar

(via If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger. . . )

The Long Good Friday

I just watched this today. It was pretty damn good. And both Helen Mirren and Bob Hoskins haven't aged a fucking day.

Well, maybe a couple of rough days.

03 November, 2010

As Though I Needed a Reason to Drink More Coffee

If I ever get a tattoo, it'll be a yin-yang with beer on one side and coffee on the other. Also, what ever happened to the yin-yang? I feel like I couldn't got five feet in the mid-90's without seeing one of those things. It's probably for the best.

Anyways, I think I'm gonna buy the fuck outta this mug.
One of the things I want out of this life is a cool coffee mug collection. My favorite mug ever is from the City of Pasadena and reads "Partners for Solutions." When dad dies, that's the first thing I'm making a beeline for. While all the siblings are fighting over cars and shit, I'll be gunning for the mugs.

(via Hark! A Vagrant.)

02 November, 2010

Go See Bronson

I meant to write about this movie quite some time ago, but for whatever reason (read: laziness), I never did. It isn't a great movie, but it's an interesting one and if you want to see a movie that isn't like anything else-- or if you're just really into the smart ass from Inception being buck-naked and punching dudes HARD in the head-- go and see it.

I think it's still on Instant Watch.

You're welcome.

Oh Japan!

The name of this PSA is "Please Do it at Home."

I just found out that it isn't real.

Because of course it isn't.

Because it's too damn perfect to be anything but fake.

01 November, 2010

Makes Me Wanna Twat Geezers in the Loaf

For some reason I've been on a British crime movie jag. There's just something about scary working class folk in suits hitting each other with ice picks and lead pipes that seems charming when they've got an accent. I guess part of it is that even when British crime is shown to be sexy, it's still British, which is to say, not very sexy for long. There's always a kind of underlying seediness and a leery quality that you only get in the best that American crime cinema has to offer.

Anyways, I'm not saying that the movies below are going to be great because of the trailers, I'm just saying I want to see Colin Ferrel act like a sociopath and have Jason Statham tear up England like the Lord Jesus Christ built him to do.


London Boulevard.


The Increasingly Poor Financial Decisions of James Kislingbury: Part 9 in a series of 37

For those of you who didn't get a text from me (because the only people who read this damn blog are people I have direct contact with and can bother to read my blog), Barnes and Noble is having a sale on Criterion Collection DVDs. For the next couple of weeks all DVDs released by Criterion will be 50% off. To say the least, I think I went a little bit loopy at the store today. Maybe it was the huge discount (augmented by my friend giving me access to his Barnes and Noble membership) or maybe it was just the high of cashing my second paycheck in a year or two, but I walked out of the store tonight fifty-five dollars poorer-- or one-hundred ten dollars in DVDs richer, as I'll tell anyone that accuses me of being capricious with my new found non-wealth.

With one exception, everything I bought I've seen before (and I only bought four DVDs, so I guess that isn't such a marked statistic) and of the movies I bought, I only own one of them.

Anyways, here's the list.

The Friends of Eddy Coyle is one of these movies that I find to be inexplicably ignored. It's brilliant. It's really fucking brilliant. Not in a showy, changing cinema kind of a way like a Kubrick or a Godard or Noe or whatever other darling you want to pick out of a hat, but in that it is a wonderfully written movie that is acted with the best possible people you could want. Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle look like the kind of criminals that might actually exist, and they talk like criminals that might actually exist. They're tired, they're kind of doughy, and they're capable of really shitty things if it will get them out of a jam. I could go on and on about this movie (and someday, maybe I will), though I'll spare you that punishment and leave you with this: The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a really well done crime film, the kind of which couldn't ever be made after 1978.

It's basically the kind of crime movie I don't want anyone to catch me alone with.

Moving on.

Buying The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp was a no brainer. It's one of the best movies I've ever seen and at eight dollars, I couldn't say "No." I've also stolen at least eight dollars worth of characters, story, dialogue, aesthetics, and plot to give the owners of the movie at least some of that back.

I thought about not buying it because it is on Instant Watch, but the quality on that is so shitty, it really is a noticeable step down. Also, I dont' want to ostensibly be renting a film that I'm such a big fan of. It'd be wrong-- WRONG-- of me not to buy it.

The Thin Red Line is another movie I've written about ad nauseum. I don't think there's much that I can say about it that I haven't already said (or has been said by other, wiser individuals), but I am glad that it has finally received a proper DVD release (complete with Criterion's new marketing gimmick, a sicker proclaiming the DVD to be the "Director Approved Edition). I already own The Thin Red Line, but its previously release left me somewhat wanting. While it did allow me to rediscover the film, it came with no features to speak of and was packaged in a two-DVD set with Platoon, which is a fine film, but being crammed in with another movie like that is not exactly befitting a movie such as this one.

Lastly, I bought W.C. Fields 6 Short Films (which actually ran me a few bucks more than Colonel Blimp), and is made entirely up of shorts I have no seen before. It was a gamble, but it was the kind of gamble that reminded me of less lean years, back when I would buy three disc versions of Orson Welles flops or lesser Kurosawa movies just to see what they were all about. In reality it can't be that much of a gamble, though, since it's W.C. Fields, one of the greatest drunks/film-makers of all time. We should be so lucky as to gamble on Mr. Fields.

Side Note: It needs to be stated that the Criterion Collection not only has some of the best movies of all time in its line-up, but it also has some real top-notch graphic designers putting out their products. The men and women at Criterion obviously give a fuck about presentation and succeed in delivering all of the boutiquey goodness that you expect from a company that sells all of Godard's good movies. The covers and the booklets included are all rather beautiful and distinct. What's interesting with the covers of most of the DVD is that they're original works of art or pieces of design. They're rarely just reprinted posters of movie stills with the title thrown over it.

On the occasions where the interior booklet supplies little more than just the obligatory chapter listing, it at least includes that little bit more that makes these DVDs stand out.

Even the back of the DVD slip has images printed on it. Now that is paying attention to details. That's pretty damn cool.

Or at least that's what I'm going to tell myself that when I look at my bank statement this week.

Sub-Sub Note: Apparently "The Essential Art House" imprint of Criterion DVDs also means "We Took Out all of the Good Criterion Collection Features, Sucker." Damn. And Colonel Blimp had a Martin Scorsese commentary.