Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ashley Madison and the Business of Adultery is a dating website for people in a relationship who are looking to have an affair. If you didn't already know that.

An excerpt from this NPR article:
"This is just a business to me. This is a market need, just like any other business that's successful. There's huge demand for it," says Chief Operating Officer Noel Biderman, who is married with children. Biderman says he is faithful to his wife, but he doesn't object to the fact that cheaters have helped his online business make more than $20 million since it started in 2002.

"This is just a fact of life. Monogamy is not in our DNA," he says.

And he may have a point.

You can read a positive appraisal of the site HERE.

A decidedly more judgmental appraisal HERE.

I'm the last person who should be talking about what it takes to keep a long-term relationship alive. I understand the temptations and, from a male perspective, the deeper primal instincts.

At a certain point, everyone's got to decide for themselves what they can live with. I think it's natural and easy to develop a crush on someone new when you're in a long-term relationship. It's natural to long for something different as the years go by and you start considering the relative brevity of life. It's so easy to find deficiencies in what you're getting from your partner after a long-enough period of time, and to see them possibly fulfilled by someone new.

But, as with everything, you've got to weigh the cost and value.

What you stand to gain and what you stand to lose for something that may be fleeting. (And the excitement of someone new is ALWAYS fleeting.)

[Of course, I'm divorced so I don't have a horse in this race...]

Margaret Brennan Appreciation Society

Every morning at the gym, the mounted LCD screen fixed on Bloomberg TV, a vision of beauty framed by a chaos of crawls.

Margaret Brennan.

Formerly of CNBC, now a fixture on Bloomberg.

How I adore Margaret Brennan.

Of course, the audio is usually muted when I'm watching at the gym so I never heard her voice till YouTube:

Simply... mesmerizing...

What is up with all the laughably bewitching news anchors, teevee?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Night After Night with Allan Havey

I was watching THE INFORMANT! the other night and was pleasantly surprised to see Allan Havey. I've seen him in a range of things over the years but every time I see him, I always think about "Night After Night with Allan Havey" which ran from 1989 to 1992.

I'd hazard to say that few people will remember this show.

A late-night staple of the "The Comedy Channel"—which was the precursor to COMEDY CENTRAL—Havey's show ran for THREE HOURS each night.

"What the what?"

Some clarification. The original format of The Comedy Channel was similar to the old MTV model, which itself was modeled after the radio. Radio had DJs who'd play music and spout some personality in between blocks; MTV had VJs who'd intro blocks of music videos and project personality for a chunk of time; The Comedy Channel featured comedy clips, from movies and stand-up.

Thusly, you had shows like "Short Attention Span Theater" with Jon Stewart... and "Night After Night".

The budgets were near nil. One of Havey's signature bits was his "Audience of One": a generally-random stranger invited to be the sole audience for a night's program. It was emblematic of the shoestring costs of the programs and the quieter tone of the entire network. The all-comedy network took a while to find its voice and those early days resembled high-end Public Access television.

These were the days that spawned Mystery Science Theater 3000. This interview with MST3K's Joel Hodgson offers a sense of those more innocent times. Shot in April of 1990, before MST3K was officially picked up by The Comedy Channel for an extended run.

Nostalgia informs my affection for these old clips. This was a channel searching for its identity, trying new things. I was a lonely misfit kid, writing my little short stories throughout high school. Television was my best friend! It was a genuine source of solace and escapism. Of course, now I'm virtually married to television, but the world is always simpler when you're younger.

There were all sorts of interesting programs that ran through the early days of COMEDY CENTRAL. (There was a show called "Inside the Comedy Mind" which was like "Inside the Actors Studio" for stand-up comics, without being quite so pretentious.) "Night After Night with Allan Havey" served to define the early days of the channel as "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" defines it now.

Kids need to be schooled on all the forgotten pop-culture that existed pre-internet. ("Higgins Boys and Gruber", anyone? Anyone?) I should teach a class...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Content-Aware Filler

This is one for the geeks but HOLY SHIT—I want this.

Yes, it'll eventually get abused and very poorly implemented by a great lot of people. And kids will grow up completely taking it for granted that these tools exist and are so easy to use.

And yet I cannot wait. The possibilities are endless...

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Important Things with Demetri Martin

I kinda like this show. It's clever and it's trying different things...

Important Things with Demetri MartinThursday, 12:30am / 11:30c
2 (Part 2) - The Number 2
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Important Things with Demetri MartinThursday, 12:30am / 11:30c
Lines - Adding Lines
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Saturday, March 27, 2010

24 Has a Posse

November 6, 2001 - May 24, 2010

At long last, our national nightmare is over.

24 has a posse.

I used to love it. But it had to be killed.


What about that last episode of... SURVIVOR!

SPOILERS!!! But honestly, most of you probably don't even pay attention to this show...

Here are the popular breakdowns, for those who care enough for the very best:

Jeff Probst blog
Dalton Ross blog
Stephen Fishbach blog.

Boston Rob played a perfect game and Russell Hantz still managed to outplay him! Sure, he got lucky, it was a way-too-risky move. He could've easily ended up outplaying himself. But that crazy fucking gamble worked goddammit and the look on B'Rob's mug was incomparable:

You see him doing the math and trying to figure out WHAT THE FUCK just happened. How did Russell manage to remain in the game, keep his minority alliance intact and terminate one of the B'Rob's army?

And he did it in plain sight of Boston Rob's people. Didn't try to hide the fact that he was pulling Tyson aside. There was NO REASON for Tyson to change his vote whatsoever... and the haters may like to say that ol Russ just lucked out, but I'd like to believe he targeted Tyson because he thought he could play him. And he somehow managed to play Tyson in the subtlest manner I ever saw Russ play someone in the game.

Where does he go from here? I don't know. But Russ was making big show-stopper moves like this last season. And each week, I'd think, "Well, he bought himself another day but there's no way for him to survive the next round..."

I hope he gets to the end. I had my doubts and still have some doubts, but I'm feeling a little better about his chances. Boston Rob is damn near unstoppable and it's nice to see someone offer him a genuine run for his money.

Tyson Apostol explains his fatal move


Friday, March 26, 2010

All the Right Friends in All the Right Places

Male figures are appearing in precarious places around NYC.

Not suicide cases but artist Antony Gormley's latest public installation, "Event Horizon". Up through August 15th.

Of course, once we become inured to these visuals, will we start ignoring actual jumpers? (More than we usually do?)

* * * * *

Dealt with my taxes this week. Rather, I assembled my paperwork as coherently as possible and submitted everything to my accountant. He is a smart man who's done very well for me for a number of years now, but I'm not sure how he can save me this year. But we do the best that we can and then we deal with what comes of it.

I'm writing more. I am trying to write more. Trying to write my way out of these lean times. Turn things around.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Conan Twitter Tracker

"This is down the street from where we're rehearsing. I guess nothing sells liquor like a maniacal circus clown."

Single Serving Suicide Prevention

Ooh, videos! Someone's phoning it in today!!

Stouffers To Include Suicide Prevention Tips On Single Serve Microwavable Meals

And BREAKING BAD's Aaron Paul IS "Weird Al" Yankovic...!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

There Will Never Be Cake!

People who aren't gamers and/or who haven't played PORTAL may figuratively scratch their heads when they see the ubiquitous phrase:

The cake is a lie.

Without spoiling the PORTAL narrative, I can tell you that this phrase is merely pointing out the fact that we are living in what is a profoundly cakeless society. During the most challenging trials of your life, if someone promises you cake, don't you fucking believe them.

Because you know what, kids? The cake is a lie. If you can get through these hard times, don't be expecting any fucking cake, okay? And unless you can somehow find a cake recipe and bake it for yourself, there will NEVER be any cake in this exceptionally cake-forsaken world!!!

Got that?

Well, knowing that will make this video a bit more poetic...

Sure, the official explanation may be that these are just custom station IDs for KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kansas...

... but perhaps this is the ultimate confirmation that everyone in LOST is a big, bad bucket of lies.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cadavers and Taxes

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
—Benjamin Franklin

Within the past 6 months or so, I've had to deal with: renewing my passport, renewing my driver's license and being summoned for jury duty. It's like some bureaucratic Double Dare obstacle course.

Fortunately, I've made it through these inconvenient ordeals without any nightmare stories. I totally lucked out with my jury duty stint last week. On the first day, they called about 35 people in. On the second day, they called about 55 people. Reminded me of being in some dreaded high school class, not wanting to hear your name called... and they didn't call my name either day! Once again, Malice manages to slip through the cracks of society. Plus, both days we got dismissed a little after noon. And now I don't have to worry about jury duty for another 6 years...

This week, I'm dealing with "the Cadavers project" and taxes. While taxes have got to be done, we'll see how certain the Cadavers project becomes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Snowboarding Epic Fail

Since I had such a sweet experience my first time snowboarding, I went with some good friends back up to Hunter Mountain this past Saturday for another go before the season ends. And that's where the honeymoon ended.

I got sexually molested by the mountain on Saturday. That mountain picked me up in a van, drove me out to an empty parking lot and turned me into a woman. I learned new ways to hurt.

Guess I was feeling good after my better-than-expected showing during my first visit, I had to get knocked around a bit more in order to truly respect the authority of the mountain. And gravity.

Humor me whilst I try to document how it went wrong...


Borrowed a friend's snowboarding gear for the first trip and there were things I found I didn't need so much—and so I packed lighter this time. One of the things I decided I didn't need to bring: snow goggles. The first time I went, it had been overcast the entire day and the goggles seemed to hinder visibility.

This time: sun and blue skies for miles. And the reflective quality of the white snow was, after a few hours, absolutely blinding.


The rental board they gave me this time was larger and more unwieldy. Had an even harder time strapping my boots in. It all felt more ill-fitting.

(The view from being knocked on my arse)

The whole concept of the ski lift has always seemed slightly horrifying to me. (The ominous drop to the ground, the dangling body parts...) There were three aspects of the ski lift that were unsettling to me:
1. Getting on the ski lift
2. Riding the length of the ski lift
3. Dismounting the ski lift

Elegantly dismounting a ski lift is something I didn't master the first go-round. Took some really clumsy spills as I dismounted during the first part of Saturday. Hadn't even started going down the mountain and I was getting my ass kicked!

And then there was the quality of the snow...

First time I went, there was fresh snow on the ground. A soft bed to fall on.

This time, it felt like it was in the 60s and the snow was slicker, icier. Which translated to me moving a lot faster and falling a lot harder. Bruised up my left knee something good during the early part of the day. (Good thing I didn't bring any knee pads!)

My wipeouts were grander. I was getting tossed like a ragdoll. End over end. I was getting wrecked. Could have thrown in the towel a few times during the day but I wanted to get my money's worth... in pain and humiliation.

There were also a lot more people there on Saturday. My first time was on a Wednesday and it was relatively quiet. This time: Hunter Mountain's SPRING FLING. One last blast farewell to the season replete with helicopters, parachuters, BBQ and Heineken Girls. The place was a live five-ring circus...

... but toward the end of the day, I started to get into it again. With a little help from my friends. I managed a few smooth dismounts from the ski lift. Took a few sweet trips down as the the chaos settled and the crowd thinned.

As ever, I am a glutton for punishment. So my hope is to take this up again next year, earlier in the season. Because I will not be content until I master this damn thing.

(My hurt locker, 1492)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tweenage Fanclub

Heard this on the radio and now I can't get Justin Bieber's mellifluously girlish voice out of my head...

I like how they shoot Ludacris separate from the other tweeny-boppers in the video, to not frighten Justin Bieber's legion of tweenage fans. Strangely, though, they kept in footage of Ludacris brutally mugging Bieber, which apparently occurred while the video cameras were still rolling:

And now you know what all the little girls are weeping over these days. And as they say, knowing is half the battle.

I'm Awesome

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kathryn Bigelow as Clint Eastwood

In 1988, Hurt Locker Best Director Oscar Winner Kathryn Bigelow conjured up her best Clint Eastwood impression as she starred in a music video directed by her then-ex-husband-to-be James Cameron.

The video was for the song "Reach" by the band Martini Ranch, which featured Bill Paxton on vocals. Paxton is featured prominently in the video, along with a slew of cameos from Cameron-friendly actors.

Why this track never caught on remains one of pop culture's greatest mysteries.

That's one handsome lady, though. Good luck with that, Mark Boal.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sandra Lee Drinks Her Medicine

Saw this on Attack of the Show.

Sandra Lee always fixes herself a cocktail on her Semi-Homemade program on the FOOD NETWORK.

The recipe for this one: Vodka + Lemonade + Heavy Cream.

Someone slowed down video of Sandra Lee drinking this elixir and her grimace is palpable.

(The above animated gif will save you the trouble of clicking that link.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Red Letter Day

Wednesday, March 17th. St. Patrick's Day. I've got to show up for jury duty today. Jury duty and taxes, what fun things to deal with this week... Intrigued by an entry concerning Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire?

No, not tempted?

(I was alerted to this by this AICN review of the new documentary "THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS", which attempts to break down people's negative reaction to the Star Wars prequels.)

Who is Red Letter Media's "Mr. Plinkett"?

I'm sure a clearer answer is out there but the short answer is that he's a fictional comedic internet personality. An older man—probable serial killer—who does video reviews of movies. You will hear his voice on the videos and may occasionally see a POV shot but he remains securely off-camera.

His 7-Part Review of THE PHANTOM MENACE meticulously breaks down what's wrong with the movie. It's fucking hilarious and interspersed with gags but it's also a very good dismantling of the problems with the movie. I really believe you can often learn more from a failure than a success and this video review furthers this by comparing what worked so well in the original Star Wars (A New Hope) to what is lacking in the first prequel (Phantom). It isn't just a cacophony of fanboy whining but a clear analysis of the basics of structure and character development that are outrageously lacking in PHANTOM MENACE.

Worth seeing if you're a Star Wars geek, though I know that a 70-minute review of an old filmic train-wreck is a tough sell. But I'm in jury duty today so what do you want from me? Something heartfelt?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

[Hidden Entry]

The winter's begun its surrender around these parts. Today, it was in the 50s. After the morning gym, I walked up to Central Park with my notebook to do a little writing outside The Tomb.

The city's been clear of snow for a while now but there were a few isolated patches of the white powder protected by the park. Two kids assembled a small snowman with what they could scavenge.

It really is a breathtaking park. Some New Yorkers turn their noses up at it and its unwieldy expanse, but I got better acquainted with Central Park when I lived on the Upper West Side. Used to walk through it on the way to work. Took ownership of it. Some people think it's just some patch of preserved wilderness but it's entirely man-made: designed and constructed just like the rest of this city. And what a work of design.

Took a seat at a quiet bench to catch up on my people-watching. A drug-dealer walked by and offered to sell me something ("Smoke? Smoke?"), reminded me of my days walking through Washington Square Park in college. I passed on the generous offer but watched as some dorky looking kid walked straight up to the guy and made a buy.

"You always around here?, because I live right near here... Awesome, you're awesome, dude, what's your name? Kenny...? I'm Nick, good to meet you, Kenny. Hey, keep it sleazy!"

I kept walking down the winding paths. The air was crisp, the skies so uncluttered and blue, the sunlight full of gentle warmth. As chaotic and uncertain as my life may be right now, I just kept thinking, "I love this city, I love this city..."

For some reason, I felt compelled to walk toward the Upper East Side. Along the Museum Mile for a spell. And then down through the heart of the undiscovered UES country...

I take unique comfort in the places that don't remind me of anything.

Tomorrow mourning: jury duty. And the troubles keep coming...

Dana Carvey + Jay Leno = Heartbreakingly Unfunny

EW offered this endorsement of Dana Carvey's recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I was intrigued by the promise of a really good Barack Obama impression—and Carvey's is a lot better than Fred Armisen's, which isn't saying much—but everything else in Carvey's appearance is downright dreadful. Anybody want to see Carvey's Jimmy Stewart impression? His atrocious George Lopez?

More evidence of why Jay Leno's TONIGHT SHOW is vile:
CARVEY: "I think Barack Obama might be too smart to be president..."

[Jay Leno's audience begins wildly hooting and applauding.]

CARVEY: "He should be a professor or something..."
It's a non-joke. It's a preface to a joke. And all these Jay Leno loving nincompoops that they truck in as the studio audience go bonkers at the mere implication that Barack Obama shouldn't be president.

"Too smart to be president"?? How does that make ANY sense? How is it preferable to have an imbecile running the country? Has Fox News so brainwashed these people, so demonized the idea of the "intellectual", that a large swath of Jay-Leno-adoring troglodytes genuinely believe that the Leader of the Free World ought to be DUMBER? Someone who wouldn't make them feel quite so inferior?

Make it stop.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Kubrick Homages in HEAVY RAIN

As Legal Arcade has astutely pointed out the video game (rather, "interactive drama") HEAVY RAIN contains some very strong Stanley Kubrick nods, evidenced above. [Relax: keeping this entry SPOILER-FREE.]

To add to the connections, the actor who plays the character of Scott Shelby in HEAVY RAIN, Sam Douglas, played the part of the cab driver in Kubrick's last film "Eyes Wide Shut":

Tonally, the game shares a surreal quality with Kubrick's work, as well.

Upon further inspection, I'm torn with HEAVY RAIN. I reread THIS ARTICLE by Anthony Burch, breaking down why HR proves Roger Ebert's argument against video games being considered "high art". There are some very good points in this article and it's worth reading after finishing the game.

It's no spoiler to point out that HEAVY RAIN involves you making critical decisions for an ensemble of characters. These characters have their own archetypes and histories.

In this really interesting interview with HEAVY RAIN writer/director David Cage, he discusses an earlier game he created to explain his rational for limiting a player's abilities:
Working on Fahrenheit, my guideline was that I allowed the player to do anything that made sense in the context. Some people came to me and said, "I'm in the diner in the opening scene. I would like to kill the cop at the bar, and I can't." Well, you know, Lucas Kane is not a killer. He's not someone who's vicious. He's just a normal guy. So why would a normal guy kill a cop? It doesn't make sense. Some people say, "I want to jump on the tables in the diner. I can't." Why would Lucas Kane do that? It doesn't make sense.
This is where the experience of watching a movie and the experience of playing a game wildly deviates.

When I'm watching a movie or TV series, I want characters to maintain some modicum of consistency. If "Dwight" has been set up to be an uptight, by-the-books company man in "THE OFFICE", it wouldn't make sense for him to ditch work frivolously or play video games on his office computer during work hours. [Oh, that's right, THE OFFICE totally sucks.] Characters can evolve, obviously, but you need to see that evolution in order to appreciate why the character is doing something s/he wouldn't have done as s/he's been established earlier.

When I'm playing a video game, on the other hand, I will do anything to sabotage the consistency of a character, just for the cheap thrill of imposing my will upon him/her. Sometimes it's less about an action making narrative sense and more about, "Let's see what happens if I do THIS...!"

And what if you try your best to remain consistent with the character as it's been established? Back to Burch's article:
"Great—you've maintained the integrity of the story and its characters, but you've also reduced the game to nothing more than a finicky DVD which must be unpaused every few minutes. If Ethan's character is already pretty well set in stone and you're just going through the motions you would expect him to go through, then why are you involved at all? If your personal interaction consists of nothing more than giving up your identity and making a character do something he would normally do anyway, then what differentiates your experience from that of watching a film? Your input no longer matters."
Spot on, IMHO.

I agree with all the criticisms of HEAVY RAIN and I still enjoyed the experience. I respect any game developer who's trying new things. I could go on and on about this, but I know that I'm not speaking to a very large audience. If you've the means and the hardware, try this game.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Handsome Men's Club

In case you missed this, from Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscar show. Kimmel may produce the best comedic clips on late night tee vee.

The progression of reveals is key here. Well-played.

Corey Haim: Me, Myself & I

You will NOT make it through all of this. But I dare you to start it.

In 1989, Corey Haim leaped out of a stint in rehab and released a self-promotional video "documentary" entitled "Me, Myself and I". Overflowing with cheesy 80s video effects, this baffling anti-narrative documents Haim doing all the sporty things he loves to do. It plays like some piece of shit some kid would make in a high school video class.

The generic synth soundtrack is stultifying. Haim occasionally interrupts the monotony by talking about himself, detailing things he likes and stuff he'd like to do eventually.

"I've started to get around to writing my feelings down..." Haim proffers before immediately correcting himself, "not my feelings, my thoughts. So, eventually I'd like to move toward the whole writing/directing thing..."

He shares this as if the world were waiting with bated breath to see what kinds of unimaginable narratives a wonder-child like him would craft.

He tosses out these random little bon mots. HAIMisms for the hoople-heads...

"You are what you wear. I wear something different every day!"

"There are so many beautiful sights to see in L.A. I have a lot of special places that I go where I can look down at the city. It has an incredible view. It’s a great inspiration."

Above, at about 7:07, this poignant monologue...
What does kissing REALLY mean to me...?

[pregnant pause to consider the weight of the Charlie Rose query]

To me, if you feel when you kiss a girl that certain feeling of, like, all those dolphins, like, swimming through your bloodstream, then you get those...

[senses he's not being manly enough, tries to course-correct]

... good tingles inside your stomach... I don’t think there’s anything better than kissing because it basically comes to, um... I guess the word “love”.

Again: 1989. Corey Haim at the heighth of his popularity, despite his rehab routine. The video is long and rambling and damn near inexplicable. Like an adaptation of a TIGER BEAT interview. Like many things Corey Haim would go on to do, it seems like a parody—rather, it seems like it OUGHT TO BE a parody. But it's not. The title tries to warn you up front: this video is about indulgence.

I know that he's got a posse, but let's be real for a minute here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hutts and Recreation

Turn up the volume and... YOU'RE WELCOME.

Hijacking Hollywood

I try to resist trashing movies on this here blog because I know that one day I'll have my own movies trashed on other blogs. (If I'm lucky.) And I would definitely resist trashing some indie movie made by struggling, starry-eyed unknowns trying to make a name for themselves because I understand the struggle first-hand. And yet I'm breaking my code for this little indie P.O.S. from 1997 called "Hijacking Hollywood". (Hardly anyone reads this blog, especially on weekends, so that is the consolation.)

Why did I watch this?

It was on cable. The description—"a lowly production-assistant/wannabe-filmmaker tries to break through in Hollywood"—sounded a little disconcerting but it had a "3 star" average rating. And it starred "Elliott" from E.T.!

I wasn't a big fan of 1994's "Swimming with Sharks", which this movie seems inspired by. Both play as masturbatory revenge daydreams.

Here's the take-home:
a) being an assistant sucks.
b) everyone's a backstabbing asshole in the entertainment industry.
c) you need to become a backstabbing asshole to climb the ladder in the entertainment industry.

While I wasn't a fan of "Sharks", "Hijacking" is its far uglier, far dumber, far unfunnier offspring.

Thing is, I can't seem to find very many bad reviews of "Hijacking Hollywood". I know that 1997 was a long time ago but this seems to be one of the worst reviews I could find and it suggests that the movie is "sometimes funny".

This movie is NEVER funny.

It is written and directed by Neil Mandt, who also happens to co-star in the movie. He manages to do all three extremely poorly. A triple-non-threat. (Kid in the Hall Scott Thompson may feature prominently in the poster, but his role isn't that major. I guess the marketing folks were just trying to exploit Scott Thompson's massive box office appeal.) The whole thing plays like a shitty student film with greater ambitions. It thinks it's being an endlessly clever black comedy when all of its comedy is DOA.

Maybe 1997 was a far more innocent time. A pre-9/11 world where some audiences actually gave a fuck about the struggles of aspiring filmmakers. Now it just seems like complete and utter wankery.

A movie like this is NOT funnier "if you're inside the business". Nor should it be a requirement to be in the industry in order to enjoy a movie like this. It's not a home movie.

I can be as cynical as the next guy but I do not subscribe to the popular bitter-man's thesis that you've got to be a ruthless, douche-bag scoundrel in order to get anywhere in the film industry.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tron 2.0 with Jeff Bridges 1.0

If you haven't seen the new Tron Legacy trailer, what are you waiting for...? It's awesome:

I guess the news has been online for a while but the filmmakers are using the wonders of technology to tell a story that has Jeff Bridges at his current age and a much younger Jeff Bridges. Since this is a sequel to a 1982 movie that deals with computerized avatars, this is completely organic to the narrative.

It seems they've digitized Mr. Bridges and have gotten a body-double so that he'll have the moves of a younger man. This is the real magic of movies.

I want to go to there...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

That Peekaru Meme

So, apparently there's this thing called the "Peekaru" that is the next generation of creepy parent-child fusion-wear.

Somehow I've stumbled on this about a year late and the Meme Industrial Complex has already thoroughly exhausted this Photoshop-worthy subject. In fact, I suspect that this product was only ever produced as meme-fodder.

Well, in the Better-Late-Than-Never file, here are my contributions...



Yes, they're both late and obvious... but they're ANIMATED!

She Knows What the Score is Down Here on the Farm

I'm a fairly adventuresome foodie but I may have to draw the line at Chef Daniel Angerer's Wife's Breast Milk Cheese @ KLEE BRASSERIE.

Chef Angerer says that the flavor depends on what the cheese is served with and "what the mother eats"...!!!

I would hope that even Andrew Zimmern would blanch at this bizarre food.

All right, repulsion is fine and dandy but I'm intrigued by the root of my own repulsion.

The idea of consuming a food product that's been farmed from a strange human being's body makes my skin crawl a wee bit. (Why stop at breast milk?) It makes me think of cannibalism, which tends to kill my appetite. It's made worse by considering that this woman is only producing milk because she and the chef have made a baby together.

Yes, babies consume mother's milk—but it's their OWN MOTHER's milk. And they're BABIES!!!

I hate to play the prude here. I really am open to trying a lot of new things. But why in God's name would someone want to eat cheese produced from a stranger's breast milk that "TASTES LIKE PICKES"???


("Is this the superintendent...? Yes, sir, I would like you to know that you have a whore living in 2R...")

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Too Many Damn Skekses

Corey Haim Has a Posse

Corey Ian Haim
December 23, 1971 – March 10, 2010

Corey Haim has a posse.

Dream a little dream. Enjoy the endless coke party in heaven.

(Say hi to Boner for us.)

HEAVY RAIN: Interactive Drama

I've just beaten the interactive drama HEAVY RAIN.

I was writing about it yesterday but having now played it through (to just one of several endings), I'm more impressed with it. Flaws and all.

The key is that it's an interactive drama. More so than what you'd consider a traditional "video game". And as far as drama goes, it's pretty fucking engrossing. The story is kinda riveting and it keeps you on your toes. And while I do believe they cheated a bit with the big final-act twist (which I won't spoil), they did such a great job with building the narrative I'm willing to forgive. Creating compelling characters, escalating the drama and tension, building toward the climax. Much respect given to David Cage, who gets sole credit for writing and directing this film noir.

It's a story that lingers with you. I've just finished it but I already want to head right back in and play through making different choices. Like an interactive version of GROUNDHOG DAY.

HEAVY RAIN incorporates shades of SE7EN, SAW, MINORITY REPORT. Some aspects made me think of William Gibson fiction like Virtual Light, the way technology is woven into the narrative.

It's a story I'll be thinking about for a while. One of the downsides of a "video game" like this is that it is, by nature, a solitary experience. I'd love to talk about it with someone right now but nobody I know has played it yet. (Including the friend I borrowed it from: HI DAVE!) And even if all my PS3-owning friends had a copy, playing through something like this isn't as simple as watching a movie. It requires a greater investment of time. Similar to watching the full season of a television drama. When you think about it in terms of hours of entertainment, the cost is comparable to buying a boxset of tv show.

The hype is real. This was a great show.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Conan Twitter Tracker

"I no longer have health care. Could someone show this to a dermatologist and get back to me?"

Heavy Rain with Jon Dore

Disclaimer: this blog entry may only be of interest to people who

1) have played the PS3 video game Heavy Rain
2) are familiar with TV's Jon Dore.

In other words, virtually nobody! But if no one's going to write about these things on the internet, then I have to. [NO SPOILERS in this, BTW.]

If you're still stubbornly with me, Jon Dore is a Canadian comedic performer who had a show called "The Jon Dore Television Show" which aired in Canada and has been re-aired on The Independent Film Channel. I've watched it on IFC. I enjoy it. That's, naturally, neither here nor there.

Borrowed my friend's copy of HEAVY RAIN and started playing it... and noticed that one of the characters in the game—"Ethan Mars"—bears an uncanny resemblance to Jon Dore.

I realize that—despite getting some stellar reviews—a relatively small percentage of the population will ever actually play HEAVY RAIN on the PS3. And of that small percentage, an even smaller percentage will probably be familiar with Jon Dore. (Illustrated in the Venn Diagram above.) So I guess the fact that no one's talking about the uncanny Jon Dore avatar in HEAVY RAIN is to be expected. But the internet is designed to cater to the niche markets.

For even more of a head trip, check out how closely the voice actors resemble their avatars in HEAVY RAIN.

While I'm here, what do I think of the actual (critically-acclaimed) game so far?

Well, aside from proving Roger Ebert's theory that video games can't be high art, I'm kind of digging it.

Here's the thing: as a game, it is essentially a much-evolved version of the arcade classic Dragon's Lair. More sophisticated in a lot of ways, but in terms of play mechanics they share the same mother: "Timed Events". Press this button at the right time and you move forward. That's extremely reductive and there are more complicated variations on this basic gameplay... but it's ultimately the same concept.

The game is fascinating, though. It's essentially an interactive movie but it seems there are many different branches through the narrative, depending on your choices along the way. I love how it's trying to do something totally unique with the medium.

You play multiple characters along the way. In the game, I've changed a baby's diaper, interrogated suspects and attempted to bond with my young son in a playground. In a video game! This is a long way from Pac Man.

Still, the game mechanics can be awkward. Even the parts of the narrative that could've been handled with more traditional video game mechanics (driving cars, fight sequences) employ the same "timed events" gameplay. Simply walking around a room can be EXTREMELY awkward, the way they've set it up...

Despite all that, it's got me hooked. I've gotta see it through.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Conan Twitter Tracker

"If I had a show, I'd tweet about which Oscar winner is coming on tonight. Instead, here's my favorite frozen vegetable: Peas!"

Why do stars fall down from the sky...?

Saturday night, trying to get some writing done in The Tomb. Both roommates away.

Roommate #1's cat—"Gotham"—comes skulking about, looking for a little human contact. She can get very clingy, especially whenever I'm the last human alternative for her to cling to in her world. She creeps forth into my room with caution, probing this undiscovered country. Mewling in the most pathetic cat-voice she can conjure. Demanding attention.

I place a towel on a corner of my bed to let her perch there and watch me as I write at my computer.

A minute or two later—just as I've stopped paying attention to her—I feel a shock of claws sinking into my back...!

You see, when she needs attention it's never enough for her to be in my general vicinity. She insists on being right up on me. Nesting on my lap, claws dug in, ass raised, tail cavalierly swatting my face. Her decision to leap onto my back was an ill-conceived attempt to get a little closer to me...

The pain brightly blossoms as I attempt to remove her and her razor talons from the flesh of my back. Of course, she buries her claws deeper into me as I endeavor to extract her. Why? Because cats are from Hell, boys and girls.

I eject her from my bedroom and shut the door.

Minutes later... the sound of scratching at my bedroom door... accompanied by her pitiful cries for entry...

"Oh, she just wants to be near you!" coo the cat-apologists.

I know better. She's looking to finish the job. And the door remains closed.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Conan Twitter Tracker

"Hey gang! Look for me at the Oscars tonight. I'll be in the parking lot, wearing my prom tux and listening on the radio."

Only a Dream Away

Two of my favourite George Harrison songs come from the movies...

There is "Cheer Down" from Lethal Weapon 2...

Much as I like Lethal Weapon 2, this is a far lovelier song than it probably deserved. And in its own way, it elevates the movie. Much as great songs will do.

Then there is this sweet curiosity which plays over the Time Bandits closing credits, "Dream Away"...

Oh ry in eye ay, oh ry in eye ay
Oh ry in eye key ooh lay
Ka lay ooh lau ee, oh ry in eye
Salu tay lee ay vee show

I have no bleeding idea what the chorus means. You would think the internet would have a reasonable answer, but no. Nary.

Somebody here has offered...

Aren't I Lucky
Aren't I Lucky
Lucky I Am Hurray Oh
See me on the TV Show

... though I cannot figure out how this was translated. Let me know if you can crack the code.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Conan Twitter Tracker

"Sarah likes Twizzlers and craves cantaloupe. I like Raisinets, but melon feels creepy in my mouth. Twitter pals 4 eva! :)"

Jeremy Renner & the IT Factor

The Oscars are Sunday night and there's one narrative that seems to be missing from the discussion. I *think* this may be the first time a former reality-TV star has been nominated for an Oscar...

I was watching some puff-piece 20/20 special on ABC earlier in the week. The theme was "Before They Were Stars...!" Basically a way to piece together an hour of programming out of old tv and movie clips, with the occasional bit of "rare home video footage".

They got up to Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner and I was expecting them to show some footage from "The IT Factor"—a reality show that ran on Bravo a number of years ago, following aspiring actors' different paths on the bumpy road toward making it. (Or more likely, NOT making it.) First time I saw Jeremy Renner was on that show. And every time I'd see him in anything else, I'd think, "Hey, it's that guy from that struggling actor show...!"

But no. Not a mention of "the IT Factor" on the 20/20 program.

In fact, couldn't find any clips of the show on YOU TUBE.

Nor could I find any recent interviews with Renner where he's asked about his participation in the show. Only thing I could find was this interview from April 2009 where he's plugging his new tv show "The Unusuals"—long before there was Oscar buzz for Hurt Locker.

The excerpt:
“I learned a lot about myself [through The IT Factor]. I was pretty private and exposing myself to whoever watched it was kind of hard for me, so it was a good lesson to learn...

“I initially did it because I had this little movie, Dahmer, that I thought maybe [was] going to finish getting made. It was shot for [a few hundred thousand dollars] on credit cards, so I didn’t think this thing was ever going to see the light of day. So, I said, 'Hey, let’s just do this cool show—this documentary series—and maybe I can help promote it on there. It ended up going like wildfire and I didn’t have to do anything. It was a wonderful Cinderella story of a guy living on pennies a month, no power, and all of a sudden, by the end of the show, six months later, doing [the film] S.W.A.T....

"... It didn’t make me get a job more easily. They weren’t calling me saying, ‘Hey, we have to have you in this because you were on The IT Factor.’”
I'm sure it's not his fondest credit but I find it curious that it's not being talked about more. There's this mention on Crushable and another mention here, but otherwise it doesn't seem like a lot of people are writing about it.

Check out this article from 2003 documenting Renner's earlier days as a struggling actor.

For the record, Renner was on season 2 of The IT Factor in 2003.

The only other breakout star from that show was season 1's Godfrey, who you may remember from 7up commercials and VH1 "I Love [Nostalgia]!" specials.

Friday, March 05, 2010


In the last episode of... SURVIVOR... Boston Rob compared Russell Hantz to Gollum in his vainglorious quest for the hidden immunity idol.

I don't get why Russell didn't start searching for that idol as soon as he hit the beach. Was it that he was still stunned from his Survivor: Samoa run, a mere 10 days previous?

I want Russell to win. Or at least get very far and prove his mettle amidst All-Stars, instead of the hoople-heads he was playing against in Samoa. But I fear he's put too big of a target on his back by so brazenly going after the hidden immunity idol while all the other people on the Villains tribe agreed to avoid the temptation.

I hope if/when he finds that idol, he's got a sound strategy for how to best exploit it. I hope people are underestimating him. I hope that *I'm* underestimating him... because the season's going to be much more interesting as long as he remains in play.


While Jeff Probst is keeping up his weekly post-show blog entries on EW's PopWatch site, Survivor: Tocantins-contestant Stephen Fishbach has been keeping a blog on People's site... where he revealed that he's dating Heroes V. Villains contestant Courtney Yates...!
"... I should make my biases clear. I’m dating villainess Courtney Yates. JT is my best friend. And I have a strategy crush on Russell."
Further evidence can be found in this sweet interview with Russell Hantz @ the Survivor 10 Year Anniversary Party...

You need to keep your eye on the background:

I'm going to die alone, aren't I...?