Approved time-wasting activities Thanks to dedicated morning research, I have decided to endorse (TM) the following acceptable electronic procrastination exercises for today. If you try them tomorrow, I do not approve.
A list of Actual Hong Kong subtitles. Courtesy of a guy who would know. So far my favorite is "San-Pao, take him to the toilet. Take off his trousers. Crack his nuts... so he understands how a depressed sex life feels like." Um. Yes.
Matrix: Revolutions One of my friends has the temerity to call Matrix: Reloaded dumb and pointless. Using all my powers, I convinced him that like a lot of other thought-provoking and complex movies, you have to see it at least twice. And then you'll find that the more you know, the more you don't know.
In a nutshell, here's my theory about what is really going on: everyone is inside a larger Matrix program, hence Neo's control of the machines at the end. Neo represents the One as Smith represents the Many -- perhaps a biblical reference to the demon Jesus confronts, who says "I am Legion". If this is the case, then Smith is an allegorical-type of Satan who is destroying "God's" world (i.e., the Matrix and the Matrix-within-the-Matrix) by multiplying and corrupting programs (which could be allegorical for corrupting souls). Neo is the Christ-figure who will likely end up championion "God's" system in order to save everyone. Of course, there are a lot of other players in the game, each with their own religious/philosophical references. I'm just saying.
Incidentally, my own work's plot (as if you care) isn't anything like this, but it's been a while since something this cool has come about. If I'm right. If I'm wrong, well then I'll just use my new ideas for my own book. [Update: Sequel to my book, that is.]
Mourning I haven't been blogging because I'm still weak from the Cubs series. But now I'm regaining strength, and what do I do when I become stronger? I focus my "chi" on deserving foes, exposing their weaknesses and dragging them out of their beds in the pajamas onto the street for their nightly beatings. Really.
James Patterson's envious doppleganger has provided an update on his latest work (of fiction, allegedly), in which he admits to (allegedly) killing off an (alleged) character whose sole (alleged) purpose was to (allegedly) die in the first (alleged) place. Allegedly. Well. This seems like the mother of all spoilers to me. I mean, the book ain't even done yet, and already we know that some ass-clown will be getting killed right around 62,000 words? Moreover, we know that at least one of the "main" characters is just a red shirt (Star Trek lingo for nameless crewmember who escorts the away team and gets killed every time), so why get invested in the characters at all? Okay, I'm just joking around on that one. I'm actually curious when I read the book (allegedly) if I can spot the character by page 2 (hint on reading Jaquandor's stuff: any character who has a discernable permutation of the name "Matthew Jones" is sure to suffer a fool's death).
It's about here that I would hear the gripe that I haven't written anything in a long time so should just let sleeping dogs lie (alert -- I have compared a childhood friend to a dog). However, this doesn't matter for I have created this world and in this world in which I am meglomaniacally insane (natch) Jaquandor has been created for the express purpose of dying at 75,000 words. Luckily for him I am pretty lazy these days. Now go off and enjoy life's wonderful gift of life. Life, that is. Allegedly.
Of all the jail cells in all the towns in all the world... he walked into mine. 'Delicious' is an adjective I rarely apply to the word 'irony', but in the case of the convicted child molester beaten up by former victim in Florida jail, I think it's appropriate today. The corrections officials are contemplating filing new charges against the men, but I find that would be laughable.
Now, release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me! With the Yankees pulling even and my Cubs tied 1-1 going into tonight, baseball continues to be having a barn-burner of a post-season. What could any fan want more? Well, the answer, or at least what Fox wants, is a Red Sox-Cubs World Series. It would be a ratings bonanza -- Fox would likely schedule Games 2 and 3 simultaneously in opposing ballparks for the event of the century, but I digress. Even without the sinister network overlords interfering, I suppose most fans would tune in to see that at least one "curse" be over. Being sympathetic to the Red Sox, and not a fan of the Yanks, I am somewhat rooting for them against the Yankees. I say somewhat because, though I would prefer the Sox to beat the pinstripes, I would rather the Cubs play the Yankees in the World Series.
The explanation for my view is two-fold. Firstly, when you are rooting for your hero, your team, you want them to face a worthy opponent. You want them to face, if not your nemesis, at least what comes close to the ultimate evil. The Cubs facing the Red Sox would be a benevolent, hey-it's-great-to-be-here series, with one time vanquishing the ghosts and another continuing it's sad saga. Well, I don't want it to be a feel-good series. I want some bad blood, some animosity, some good-'ol hatred. And the 'evil empire' fits the bill. To attain peaks, you must risk valleys, and that's why you have to play the most dreaded team out there.
In Star Wars speak (natch), I want to see Luke v. Vader from Empire rather than Luke v. Vader from Return -- in other words see good v. evil before you, or Luke for that matter, started feeling sympathy for his opponent, feeling the 'good' inside him. Well, I don't want to feel the 'good' in my opponent -- I want to feel my own tense, stomach-knotted vitriolic angst with it's abysmal lows and euphoric crests, just like during the Cubs-Braves series. Who would you choose to be -- the suckiest team in history, or the biggest chokers in history? 12 division titles and only one championship, which brings up my second point, against the Indians. Sure, Atlanta finally won a World Series, but they had to play the Indians, one of the worst franchises in history to do it. The rest they choked on. Now, if the Cubs and Red Sox play in the world Series, sure someone will win, but then that winning team will have the stigma of only being able to beat the other worst team ever. Oppositely, the losing team will gain the trophy of worst team ever, which would be something of a notorious distinction (kinda cool!).
Of course, if the Cubs lose before the ALCS is concluded, go Sox. Otherwise, give me the Empire. P.S. -- No one gives a rats-ass about the Marlins.
However, Ms. Stern (the author) could've saved a lot of time by reading The Battle for God, which documents how fundamentalism foments, and how it has been around for ages. In becoming fundamentalist, you view yourself as being under attack, pushed to the edge by society, and you have no recourse but to fight back (against the evil heathens), as it is "God's will". Most of the time, this is brought about by secularists pushing to move forward too quickly for religion to keep up, which (time and again) creates a fundamentalist backlash. Of course, this is in no way a justification of tying explosives to yourself and blowing up a restaurant , unless you happen to be a dumb-fuck religious bitch (won't be seeing any of her again, at least).
Additionally, but not light reading, anyone interested in reading about how man created his gods, go get A History of God.
Old School Two of my favorite classics arrived on DVD today, though I'll have to wait for tomorrow (no Cubs game, you see) to watch either. The Mark of Zorro and The Adventures of Robin Hood are two of the best swashbuckling films ever produced, the latter superior in every way to any remake, especially the disjointed Prince of Thieves. Just as exciting are the DVD extras, and it's not any lame "cast and crew" text with the double-disc. Whomever decided to put in the two classic cartoon takes from Bugs and Daffy is my hero.
Patient: Doctor! The other night I had a dream I was a wigwam, and last night I dreamt I was a teepee! What does it mean?
Doctor: You're two tents.
The curse is over, and all is finally right in the world, thanks to the Cubs spanking of the Braves last night in Atlanta. From start to finish, it was a nearly-perfect performance by the boys from the north side; the crowd (well, the Atlanta portion anyway) was subdued nearly from the first pitch (the fourth pitch Kenny Lofton lined a double down the right-field line). Even so, Cubs fans are restless and nervous until the very last out. It's been a long time since I've had the occasion to watch playoff ball with one of my teams (the other being the Phillies) involved, but I forgot how intense it is. Watching a baseball playoff game where you are invested in every single pitch is emotionally and physically draining - like watching a Superbowl every night out. And when the adrenaline wears out, you best be already under the covers (I was, not that it is any of your business).
And playoff baseball evokes a lot of other rules, ones that tend to slip past the casual, bandwagon observer. Having been exposed to a lot of crowds in the five-game series (at the local bar, natch), there are some things I was surprised to see.
It ain't over 'til it's over.
The great Yogi Berra said a lot of crazy stuff over the years, but this saying encapsulates baseball more than any other (and perhaps the Philly-Redskins game). Please, please, please, if you decide to root for the Cubs just for the hell of it (e.g., to support your friends), do not make such neophytical statements like "Oh, they're going to win" or "They are going to score." In case you haven't heard of the goat, the curse, or just a plain old jinx, these are phrases likely to get you into trouble. If you aren't superstitious, that's fine -- just don't let me hear it, and go root for your team with your blasphemy.
Good pitching beats good hitting.
Another rule of baseball that held up in the series. Kerry Wood and Prior mowed down the best hitting team in baseball, and having a strong staff is the best thing to have in the playoffs. Damn I'm excited.
Once an asshole, always an asshole
There's a difference between playing hard baseball and being flagrant. With stunts like Fick pulled, it's no wonder the Braves lost.
It still feels a bit surreal, but what doesn't is my exhaustion. I was going to go out and support the Red Sox tonight, but Game 1 of the Marlins-Cubs (home field advantage!!!) starts Tuesday. I'm just going to curl up in the comfy bed and dream of World Series tonight.
I... Help the Helpless? Well the waiting is over, or so I thought, having viewed the (taped) season premiere of Angel last night. It started off in witty Joss Whedon fashion, and soon I was back in Sunnydale enjoying the type of fantasy-drama fans of the show(s) have come to expect. Only, it's not Sunnydale, it's LA, and a lot of these characters haven't paid their dues (i.e., been developed) enough to warrant anything other than recurring status. I'm pointing to Gunn and Fred, both of whom could likely be replaced by potted plants and the show would have much more time to concentrate on its core characters (Angel, Wesley, Lorne) and spend some time on new ones. As it is, the first episode, while good, was a little shaky, but as Amy Amatangelo suggests, the second part will be what we want. Note: her observations are pretty much aligned with mine, but she commits the inversion of Poor-Listener Of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" Error (heretofore known as the PLOPFCNE) in one of her quotes. If you don't know what I mean, that's okay.
And what is it we want? As I've said, this isn't Sunnydale, so there's no Willow, Xander, Giles, Cordelia (lamely explained to be in a coma when actually she's just done with the show), or... Spike? Yes, he is the reason I was intent on watching season five of the show, but he didn't appear until the last two seconds of the episode, so instead I spent the entire show going, "Hmmm, pretty good, but they are running out of time for Spike..." I suppose one more week isn't that much. At least the trailers look good.
Hit 'em where it hurts With baseball fever officially in full swing (pun INTENDED), ESPN has posted it's timely 100 Greatest Home Runs of All Time list. I'm not old enough (truly, is anyone) to have seen all 100 -- invention of television notwithstanding -- but for my money Kirk Gibson's (#8) is still the one that gives me 'The Natural'-type chills.
Ecks vs. Sever my head off As I was browsing the selections for tonight's TV, I happened upon a movie that has always struck me as a really dumb name: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. Doesn't really roll off the tongue, does it? What were the producers thinking? Do we really care who "Ecks" and "Sever" are? And are we excited that they are going to go BALLISTIC?! Hmm... maybe... but not right now.
And so the natural progression of dwelling (and I dwell often, and not just for fun) led me to ponder other crappily named movies, such as those listed on Retrocrush's 20 Worst Movie Titles. THEY got Ecks on there, but displayed a shocking amount of poor taste in putting Attack of the Clones on there. Of course, several of the choices aren't really that bad, just silly, like "The Adventures of Rat Pfink and Boo Boo" and "THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES". Now, does their silliness make them bad, and if so, where the hell is "Plan 9 from Outer Space" on that list? In any event, what I really want to know is what makes a movie title bad.
In the context of this blog, it will be as follows: a title that unintentionally causes you to laugh. Alternatively, lower your voice and read it commandingly, like at the end of a trailer. So, in no particular order, and in defiance of the Braves (go Cubs!), I present to you THE LIST OF UNORDERED AND POSSIBLY INCOMPLETE REALLY DUMB MOVIE TITLES (If that were a movie title, I'd expect to be nominated):
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever - see above for complaint Timecop - This one reminds me of the first time I saw the trailer in the movie theater. My friend turned to me and said, "Why didn't they call it 'Clockpig'? Breakin' 2 - Electric Boogaloo - Can't ignore the classics. Gleaming the Cube - Not a bad movie -- well okay it's pretty ridiculous -- but that title is just offensive. I will, naturally, try to work the phrase into a casual conversation later this week.
The NeverEnding Story - It never started for me.
Destiny Turns on the Radio - And promptly gets beaten with a large bat 20 times for doing so B.A.P.S.Too close to "Bats", not far enough away from "Taps", just right amount of "vomit" The Life of David Gale - I'm a pretentious movie! Hey! Over here!
It's all about the Cheese I get nostalgia from the strangest places. I will be receiving an order shortly from Cuba Cheese, specifically my beloved Old York Sharp. Yes, I said beloved. However, an added bonus was provided when I check the UPS tracking:
Sep 30, 2003 7:08 P.M. ALLEGANY, NY, US DEPARTURE SCAN
Yes, it's true. Something actually shipped out of my home town! And it was good! Nevertheless, this will not delay my meglomaniacal plans for... well world domination, what else?
I have seen The Matrix: Reloaded twice, within the first week it had come out. Following that, I digested several excellent essays that attempted to dissect the film (though I do not necessarily agree with their conclusions), and saw the much-ballyhooed anime supplement, The Animatrix. Having time to ponder all this information, and wanting to understand it more, there was only one thing to do: Obtain an apparently illegal copy of Reloaded so I could sate myself until the actual DVD comes out October 14. Well, there were other things I could have done, but it’s difficult to resist a snappy phrase like “there was only one thing to do”. Very dramatic! Anywho…
Anyway, here’s a few insights into Reloaded you might have missed. (Judging by the general reaction of the ignorant masses, you did.) There are a few spoilers in the following paragraphs, so if you don’t want to know what happens, then just deprive yourself of knowledge. If you haven’t seen it already, then you probably have very little interest in which case read-away. Who knows; you might see things openly.
AGENT SMITH is the most intriguing returning character, and most likely the key, or kink, in Revolutions. Agent Smith, unlike any other agents seen in either movie, demonstrates human emotions and self-preservation instincts. In his interrogation scene with Morpheus, he removes his connection to the system (the earpiece, again) in order to tell Morpheus that he is desperate to get out of the Matrix. He even tells Morpheus that he believes the key is in this [human] mind, foreshadowing his apparent successful leap out in film two. For some reason, this particular agent (program) has developed further than any of his counterparts, probably because he has been around for at least one previous iteration of the matrix. We know this from the conversation between the two Agent Smiths in the beginning of Reloaded:
Agent Smith(i): It's happening exactly as before.
Agent Smith(ii): Well... not exactly...
The exactly is that in this iteration, the One destroyed an agent (Smith), severing his connection to the system. Metaphorically, Agent Smith did the same thing to Neo moments before, when he shot and killed Neo in the matrix. Neo resurrected himself as the incarnation of The One. Agent Smith resurrected himself to become something else, Neo's antithesis: Smith's new ability to clone himself makes him The Many (Note that in the Bible, the demon that Jesus purges from a person identifies itself as "I am Legion"). The One and The Many, Christ and Satan, Good and Evil. I believe that the end will come down to the two god-figures battling for the souls of the matrix.
Confession: I wrote the above a few months ago, and after seeing the Revolutions trailer, I think that I was on the right track. It is all about Smith and Neo, the many and the one. Only, in my interpretation, it looks as if Neo makes a deal with “God” (the mind behind the entire matrix) that he will get rid of the “satan” who is destroying “God’s” world. If this in fact turns out to be true, then I’m loving it.
In the context of all this, I just cannot get into the Lord of the Rings hype, despite the new trailer. That movie isn’t coming out for a few months. Revolutions is in 35 days. Let’s get some perspective, people. Sheesh.