John Lichman's personal blog of blogging, savant-ing and destroying culture one post at a time.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Just Some Guy
To me, Dylan was Just Some Guy. We met on some stupid message board (that became The Bored) and wrote crappy short stories and posts and at some point I bet we even discussed music. Actually, I don't think we ever did. I think we tried to critique everyone's work and did it to each other as well.
Lora told me he died because I didn't know any better and since we never met. He's one of three Canadians I admit to knowing. Lora's the second. My friend The Canadian is the third but he's in Canada now so he can go fuck off. Not really, but he's a die-hard Sens fan.
On the full circle standpoint, Dylan's now immortalized in his very own official MGBlog and I think he'd get a kick out of that. Maybe not. I didn't know him at all in real life. Our relationship existed solely on the Internet, doing grammar checks on shitty message board poetry and me pretending to be Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
In my sophomore year of college, he told me he would send me a book that would change my life. By this point, we only occasionally traded messages and I thought it was a joke. I had a rough time so far at school and did a fairly dumb thing that almost got me booted out. So I get back to the shitty midtown dorm one day and find a copy of Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting: The Astonishing Power of Feelings.
I still haven't read past p. 20 and I figure I should soon. I owe it to him for the shipping, at least.
A bit after that came the last email I'd get from him.
From : Dylan Webber Sent : Saturday, March 26, 2005 10:28 AM To : email@example.com Subject : you're a real piece of shit
you know that?
I do get a kick out of your writing, though.
(I'm required to say something to this effect every six months, and I thought I'd go with the bare minimum this year)
show not tell, doc. and chopping up prose in little blocks fit for consumption is not poetry! it's word sushi. which may be the trade you're better suited for. Posted by: JSG at February 20, 2005 11:09 AM
i still say word sushi when talking about poetry. and i'm going to steal this line from takashi miike when i say thank you fuck you dylan. i hope it never hurts.
now i've got to read the rest of the book. you evil, scheming dead poet society, you. fuck.
Listening to John Brownlee's little cry of, "OMG, SOUNDWAVE IS NOT TEH SUX," I was reminded of a rather simple video.
Namely, Soundwave getting pwnt by his Autobot counterpart:
(I will admit that Japanese Soundwave does sound a more bad-ass than "Hello-can-you-hear-me-I-am-a-nerd-with-a-VOcorder-and-you-will-fear-me-because-I-use-a-VOcorder.")
But I got back to thinking and found I have a few more "Most Useless" Transformers that weren't used in the final, twice re-edited piece on CRACKED
In no apparent order (since no one can clearly beat Soundwave as teh lame:)
Frenzy Transforms into a cassette(cartoon) /CD Player (2007 film)
Why's He Useless? Aside from being wholly dependent on Soundwave to be let out, Frenzy is one of the first to experience “Michael Bay”-fication. That means that even if you were slightly bad-ass in the cartoon, you become a horrid self-parody in the live-action movie. Case-in-point: since Soundwave is not in the movie, Frenzy is partnered with Barricade (the cop car) and launched out of the cop car’s grill. Later on, he turns into a Sidekick. Oh, also, Shia LeBouf beats him up. That automatically means you’re the most useless creature ever invented by a sick, sadistic God.
Quickswitch Transforms into a robot, a hovercraft, a laser gun, a jet, a drill tank and a flying puma. Why's he useless? Tough call at first, right? Here's a six-changer who sounds like he can be awesome. He's even the son of Sixshot, whose various forms delighted me to no end as a child. Of course, they delighted my parents more when I couldn't make tank mode work and he really wasn't that fun once you lost the coveted transformation manual. But back to his bastard son--and we'll ignore just how sentenient robots give birth to other robots for now.
Back to the problem at hand: how does a six-changer come off as useless? By turning into a flying puma. Yeah, that hovercraft's handy. Sure, being a robot that fights other robots is cool. But you know what this situation really calls for? A flying puma. So he can fly around and stun our enemies into thinking they're in some weird mash-up of Hayao Miyazaki and just plain odd. God forbid he turn into something useful like...oh...maybe a flying wolf like his father. A flying wolf, mind you, that can fire missles.
Megatron (from Robots in Disguise) Transforms into a dragon, a gargolye, a car, a spaceship and a hand. Why's he useless? In one of the more recent (and awful) Japanese send-ups of Transformers, everyone becomes a wide-eyed Mecha capable of unleashing the pain. Optimus Prime is in fact a fire truck who can enter "God Fire Convoy" mode and combines with Ultra Mganus to become the Dragonzord or some inane thing. But Megatron is the worst here. Sure, he turns into a bevy of things, but a hand? An ominous, floating hand that slaps things?
Later on in the series, he can change into a gryphon, an elephant and a pterodactyl too. Why? Who knows! It’s Japanese! That’s the beauty of it. I’m sure there’s some symbolism here I’m missing, but it doesn’t matter. He’ll turn into an Elephant and start doing a kabuki dance or something, or rape some little girl with tentacles and then give a victory sign.
Megatron (from the 2007 movie) Transforms into a giant metal vagina with legs. Why he's useless? He's a giant robot with a metal vagina for a mouth and voiced by Agent Smith. He may as well have just had Anthony Anderson draw a big penis on his face in sharpie. See also, "Michael Bay-ification."
The Breast Force Transforms into a fighter jet (Leozack), a "missile buggy" (Jaguary), a double-barrelled tank (Killbison), a drill tank (Drillhorn), a hypnotizing jet fighter (Hellbat), another fighter jet (Gaigawk), no idea (Deathcobra) and some sort of dragon/bird hybrid creature (Deszaras).
Why They're Useless: Well...wait. They're named "The Breast Force' because their chest plates turn into weapons and/or other animals; they had a member named Deathcobra; they turn into a super-powerful combined robot whose name roughly translates into 'The Lion King' and they're led by a dragon.
I take it back. These guys are pretty sweet. They're the most AWESOME transformer ever since the walking T-Rex Decepticon City.
The idea came to me in a fury of mid-afternoon depression mojitos, a can of diety coke and eating a salad. Honestly, salad is great, especially when you replace the whole "vegtable" thing with "sausage and potatoes mixed with onions."
Sure, this is the Transformer that ejected robot jaguars, hawks, tiny men and copies of "The Touch" from his chest. But when you get down to it, the giant robot that turns into a tank/tractor trailer/hot rod/fighter jet will always beat the giant robot that can play my old Violent Femmes tapes.
And then I thought about it some more. Gee golly, there are a lot of lame Transformers. It sounds odd, since TF was one of the few American/Japanese co-productions that gave us a giant robot craze (leaving out Gundam, Macross/Robotech and Tetsujin-28/Gigantor.) But why in the good name of Optimus Prime did the science officer transform into a fucking microscope? No one even explained why he became a microscope and not a telescope, or an atom smasher or an electron scale.
So, I got a hold of my friend who survived the various shakedowns and breakdowns at CRACKED and brought the idea up to him. He said to pitch one of the two remaining editors, so I did. I threw in a few other ideas about Japan, robots and one poorly worded "Lessons learned from John McClane" that I wrote as "John McCain."
I read MSNBC First Read every day. It was a slip.
He liked the Transformers idea, skipped the other four pitches. I turned it around within a week or so, shooting off 8 or 9 final profiles and letting them decide what they wanted to keep. Then, I waited.
Two weeks later, with the "Transformers: The Movie" coming out, I was a little skepitcal why I hadn't heard back from the editor. Normally, there'd be some rewriting process involved. I know I'm a gifted savant, but I'm also fairly idiotic and normally go through at least three revisions before the final process. I asked my friend and he heard nothing, so again recomended I shoot an email off.
That got the reply of: "Yeah John we're working with it on our end though, so you're good on this one. Next step for you would be pitching us some new idea."
Great, they liked it. So, I checked the sites on Tuesday when I woke up. First came my piece on the Japan Society's JAPAN CUTS program going on this week and next at The Reeler.
Which is odd. Since I'm no longer working at CRACKED. In fact, they don't have an office anymore. In fact, I'm fairly certain only three editors exist now at CRACKED. In fact...my name isn't associated at all with the article that's been linked on Gizmodo and currently has 2,272 Diggs.
My friend claims--and I remember from working there--that when enough editing is required for a piece, it takes on the CRACKED STAFF byline. But that was usually for a day-turnaround when I'd hear the editors complaining that the writer wouldn't, couldn't or refused to make a change. I waited for two weeks to hear anything about my edits, even offering to grab pictures and do photoshop if need be. Still no word from the editor about why my name was changed. And looking over my original draft, yeah, a lot was changed. But that's what drafts are for.
Luckily, Soundwave still sucks.
edit: And my editor says,
Hey man, We had another outside writer come in and give it a punch up. It's usually our standard policy that we don't do attribution if two writers did substantial work on a piece as well as the editorial staff. Just gets too lengthy. I'll add names at the end of it so there's some credit given-- By John Lichman with Danny O'Brien (other writer's name).
it sucks to whine, but damn it, I'm worth it too. or something. whatever. Time to get margaritas and cry in my bath-tub of shame.