30 March 2011


I got this new phone. It's superfancy. Right now, this post is coming FROM THE PHONE HOLY SHIT BRO. It's a heady feeling. Tonight I spent the better part of two movies downloading a bunch of apps for the phone. All hail the phone. I got one that takes pictures and makes them look like shitty old polaroids. Progress! Another that figures out restaurant tips for me. Bad at math! Another that turns the camera flash into a kickbutt flashlight. Actually kinda useful!

Soon, our phones will be able to produce food and wipe our asses, and render all human contact obsolete. I don't need to visit gramma, when there's a Virtual Granny app for that!*

All hail the phone.

*not an actual app...yet

30 July 2010

Hay guize!

I am proud to have made my first post over at WildClaw Theatre's Blood Radio. It's a happenin' hub for all things horror: not just film, but stage productions (something WildClaw simply excels at), books, art, events (mostly in the Chicago area, heads up on that, but also horror conventions and gatherings) and a host of other great schtuffs. So get yo' ass over there and check it out, and don't just do it because I'm the newest contributor to the site!*

*but you better, or I'll bust up your face.

28 July 2010

Confessions of a Job-Seeker, Two

There is a numerical threshold of tolerance that one person can handle for watching consecutive episodes of "The Golden Girls." That number is three. After that, you are ready to strange Blanche.

27 July 2010

Confessions of a Job-Seeker, One

I'm apparently a pretty big fan of children's programming when I don't have a job. But I will kill the first Wiggle I see in person.

04 June 2010

A Length of Rope

Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 thriller Rope is one of his most curious films: the murder happens right at the beginning, so there's no whodunit aspect. The killers are obviously hiding something; their actions scream suspicion, although it's difficult to judge them as being anything but suspicious, since we know they did it. The biggest draw of the film is that Hitchcock attempted to make it seem as though Rope was filmed in one continuous, real-time shot, a trick that might have worked save for a handful of cuts and awkward shots that go into a close-up of a character's back, and then reverse out.

Awkward is actually a good word for Rope. The film doesn't work very well as a real thriller, and it's hard to buy nice-guy everyman Jimmy Stewart as a believer in the art of murder. Even the gimmick of the continuous shot falls a bit flat, making the whole film seem too stagey. To be fair, it was Hitchcock's intent to make the film seem more like a stage production than a typical Hollywood production, but this works slightly against the film's favor rather than for it.

It's a stiff film. You can definitely sense the tight choreography the actors had to perform in filming ten minute takes around an enormous, constantly moving camera and set. Stewart, as Rupert Cadell, is quite out of his element here, and his performance shows how uncomfortable he seemed with the role of the killers' former headmaster, who inadvertently sells them on the idea of murder. He plays the part more detective than anything, and his turn at the end when he finds what his teachings have brought about seems far too abrupt to be believable.

John Dall as Brandon, the braggart of the two killers, overplays his hand quite a bit here. Everything about him screams "HE DID IT," which is kind of the point. He clearly wants to show off his perfect murder; although he tries very hard to keep calm, he's positively giddy with excitement. However, it's difficult to watch the other characters seem so oblivious. Not to mention, the character is pretty much an asshole. He isn't likable in any respect, not even possessing the charm so many of the other characters attribute to him.

The film's real highlight is Farley Granger as Phillip, who is much more fidgety and visibly upset than Brandon. However, he seems far more sympathetic, as we get the impression that he's so enamored of Brandon that he's been somewhat unwillingly caught up in this murderous game, even though he is the one who commits the actual deed. Indeed, the characters of Brandon and Phillip are based upon Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two University of Chicago students who murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in what they thought was the "perfect crime," and who were also lovers.

Rope tones down much of the homosexual subtext of the original stage play, mostly to keep the Motion Picture Production Code authorities at bay. although it's still clear that Phillip and Brandon have a relationship that goes beyond friendship. Also toned down, to the point of being non-existent, is the fact that Cadell is also gay. Indeed, upon hearing that his character is gay, Stewart was surprised, much to screenwriter Arthur Laurents' delight.

Something that was not to Laurents' delight, however, was the fact that Hitchcock made the decision to show the murder at the beginning of the film. The screenwriter had wanted much of the film's suspense to ride on the fact that the audience didn't know for sure if there was a body in the book-chest or not. It certainly would have given a far different tone to the film, and likely made the two killers far more intriguing characters, rather than them being just smug or pathetic.

Overall, Rope isn't the worst of Hitchcock's films, but it isn't one of his greatest either. It exists mostly as a curiosity, an exercise in form, with a few touches of his signature black humor throughout - the idea of celebrating a murder and serving a feast on the victim's coffin is darkly amusing - but overall, it's far too uneven to be considered a masterpiece.

13 April 2010

Doubling Down: A KFC Adventure

Well, folks. Someone out there has to take one for the team, and why not me? Today's adventure is the Double Down from KFC.

I first heard about KFC's latest abomination a couple weeks ago, when they revealed that yes indeed they were legitimately going to be selling the sandwich made of two boneless chicken breast fillets, pepper jack cheese, two strips of bacon and something called the "Colonel's Sauce." Ew.

In retrospect, I should have gotten just the sandwich, if one can call it that, and not the combo meal, which includes a drink and potato wedges. My problem with many combo meals is that I eat the fries first, because I hate cold fries. Mistake! Big mistake! This slip-up almost done me in.

When I got home, I opened the box containing the abomination. There sat the Double Down, in a thin layer of grease. It looks like a dare. It smells like a dare. It tastes like the USA. Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is why you're fat. USA! USA! USA!

The sandwich itself is tasty and meaty. It could actually use a little more cheese, because the pepper jack provides a spiciness to the overall package. Also, and this goes without saying, there could be a little more bacon. Two tiny strips get lost in all that chicken. Four strips would probably be perfect. The "Colonel's Sauce" is a complete mystery, and should probably remain that way. I can't tell if it adds anything or not.

The first couple bites were "handheld," but the sandwich is rather large and greasy, so sadly I had to resort to a knife and fork method. This doesn't take anything away from the experience, aside from having to use less napkins/paper towels. Knife and fork = better for the environment. Also, you get a better-looking cross section of the thing.

About 3/4ths of the way through, I noticed a rumbling in my gut area, and had to pause to take an urgent bathroom break and have a personal double-down. After a walk around the apartment and a few more sips of Pepsi, it was back to the abomination.

All in all, it took about an hour to complete the Double Down, which is about what I expected. There was no way for me to plow into a sandwich of this magnitude. I feel pretty good about completing it, but that may be calling the putt early. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, call the authorities. I love you all, and it's been a wild ride.


08 February 2010

Avatar, Precious, Glory Holes, Lucifer: totally random thoughts, yo!

1. There are two movies out now that have generated a lot of buzz from critics and audiences alike: Avatar and Precious. I have no interest in either film. Avatar appears to be all gimmick, all visual and no story. I don't feel like investing that much time in a movie that isn't going to bother telling me a good story. I am not so easily dazzled by your supposedly stunning visuals. Also, I'm irritated by all the awards it is receiving. Really, guys? Best Picture nomination to a movie that is basically Pocahontas with giant Smurfs?

Precious looks to me to be just another story about a beat-down fat girl, all wrapped up in a stereotypical view of life in the inner city. It seems to be the kind of movie white people go see to feel better about themselves, terribly manipulative and overly miserable. I'm glad that there's a movie out there with a protagonist that we've never seen before, but Precious looks to be too over the top for my taste. Isn't this the kind of thing I could see on Lifetime, if Lifetime bothered to make movies that had black people in them?

2. Duncan Donuts has a contest to create a new donut. I propose the Glory Hole Donut, white frosting with red and blue sprinkles, and a picture of Sarah Palin on each one. Haha, political humor is funny. :|

3. I've been thinking a lot about Lucifer lately. His name means light-bearer, and he was known as the Morning Star. He apparently loved God so much that he refused to bow down before God's creation, Man. For this he was cast into the pit. How arrogant is Man to look at Lucifer as evil, when he loved God above all else? Should Man not do the same as Lucifer? Weird, weird thoughts...