Monday, September 10, 2007

having no cell is like having no life

 i have learned an important lesson.
 you cannot win an argument with the man sleeping standing up in a phone booth.
 also: cannot make calls to long distance numbers (i.e. cell phones) for some reason. am going to explore this more today.

 at least no one knows how to find me, except by email now.
 which thanks to dying PowerBookG4, i need to leave plugged in.
 best. day. ever.

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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 :
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)

a month before, in response to shitty poetry he wrote this:

show not tell, doc.
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.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Most Useless Transformers, continued!

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:)

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.

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?

(the hand.)

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.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

How To Get Dugg and Screwed (2,200+ times)

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."

Salad then is awesome.

But, the idea:
"Man, Soundwave is lame."

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.

And 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.

Then onto CRACKED for The 7 Most Useless Transformers Ever!


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 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.
Time to get margaritas and cry in my bath-tub of shame.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

The Rest of the (Worst) Best!

Just because it's a four-day weekend complete with gin drinking, beer sweating, BBQ eatin', sushi swilling...wait, can you "swill" a sushi? No? Dang.

The complete rundown of other stuff I wrote this year with hilarious commentary:

-I travel to the future and see Dakota Fanning accept an oscar for coffee bukkake.

-I argue against Afro Samurai and claim it is the worst thing to happen to anime for a long, long time. Not to mention how incredibly stereotypical and racist it is.

-Reno 911! The Movie feature with hilarious podcast somewhere on the WSN site... (hint: right hand side, click the iPod)

-Review of 300 that orignially referenced Frank Miller's ex-wife Lynn Varley. That was taken out without my knowledge, so the copy staff applied it to the Queen of Sparta being the King of Sparta's ex-wife. Yep, college reporting is awesome.

-Air Guitar Nation feature with best hede ever: Air Force One!

-I interviewed Bob Saget again. But the copy staff thought his name was "Sagat" and that he could do a TIGER, TIGER UPPERCUT on the hede and photo credit. It's right in the article. Further proving the idea that college kids are high.

-Interview with "Sacco and Vanzetti" director Peter Miller and the film process.

-I explain why I didn't like Grind House.

-Feature on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force flick. (And watching porn with Dana "Master Shake" Snyder, as well as being awkward around the Venture Brothers creators.)

-Q/A with the creative forces behind Tribeca premiering Palo Alto.

as for other stuff, namely at The Reeler:

- I looked at the 2007 Tisch First Run Film Festival.

-Did a think piece on midnight movies at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival with quotes from J. Hoberman and "Black Sheep's" Jonathan King.

-A brief sit-down with director Bong Joon-Ho on The Host.

-Attended the 2007 New York Comic Con with briefs from Eli Roth, "The Spirit" movie and a crying Robin cosplayer.

-Went to the "Aqua Teen" after party".

-Interviewed Micha X. Peled about his amazing China Blue documentary.

-And followed up with "An Inconvenient Truth" director Davis Guggenheim about attacks on his film.

-Not to mention tried my hand looking at the 60s with a Peter Whitehead retrospective.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What you do, boy?

Where have I been for the last four years? What in the name of God was that whole "degree" thing about? Why do I suddenly want to chainsmoke cloves and brunch...oh, right. Right. College.

But specifically, working.

Rather than keep up with the whole "clean-cut, omigodplsemployme!!1eleventy" thing I'm doing otherwise, here's a few fun things I've been up to since the last time I decided to write in this here online journal of joy.

-I made a Blog for the NYU student paper. It is slowly moving forward. It will be awesome soon.

-I wrote about the 2007 New York Comic Con and didn't use any of my brief interviews with R.Stevens, the Digital Pimp crew or find Mitch Clem. I did see a Robin cry, though.

-Listened to Kazuo Hara discuss film, as opposed to my own haphazard writing on his flicks.

-I made a podcast and video interview. I will link to neither. They're on the WSN website.

-Interviewed Satoshi Kon about his latest film, "Paprika," and tried to do the ol' analysis thing. Lord knows if it worked or not.

And that's about it. There's a bunch of other stuff that involves air guitar, socialist documentaries and chinese sweatshop labor.

Oh, and I interviewed Derrick. They really like hip-hop.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Honeysuckle McColl fights the dastardly Mr. Whitehorse

Honeysuckle McColl was born in a lightning storm, sucking thunder from the sky with his first breath and locked it tight beneath his heart. He immediately grew six feet, gained three hundred pounds of muscle and horrible taste in clothing.
Pappy McColl realized that his son had a special gift and taught him the difference between right, wrong and just plain bad. This was accomplished through the heroes that count in a child’s upbringing: the superhero. Pappy knew it was pointless to give his boy such mediocre aspirations like being a fireman or a politician. Honeysuckle learned his goes-inta’s when he was six days old and then fought a grizzly for fun. He named the bear Boss Kitty and Pappy trained Honeysuckle’s new friend to be an expert Scrabble player.
Boss Kitty’s favorite word was “honeypants.” You may not find it in a dictionary or any book that records the written/spoken word, but Boss Kitty enjoyed it.

And you don’t ever argue with a bear named Boss Kitty during a game of Scrabble.
It’s just common sense.

Honeysuckle cared for all creatures, big and small, furry and fuzzy. Pappy’s only regret was his son found a collection of leisure suits left over from Pappy’s days at the roller disco in Dayton, Ohio, the nation’s fourteenth best roller disco city in the world and not much else.

However, Honeysuckle was far too large for a single suit, so Pappy and Boss Kitty started cutting and sewing for nearly three weeks straight. Of course, a grizzly bear and an old man aren’t the best tailors. In fact, it’s an impressive feat that Honeysuckle can even wear the mismatched, hodge podge of tacky 80s cool. But Honeysuckle wasn’t ready to save the world yet.

Now he needed his guitar.

Before we get any further, it’s easy to be confused by this point. In four paragraphs, you’ve been reading about a baby who swallowed thunder, became a giant, had leisure suits sown for him, teaches bears to play Scrabble and needs a guitar.
Well, if you were reading closely, you’d see it was Pappy that taught a bear to play Scrabble, not Honeysuckle. Also, that bear has a name. You inconsiderate jerk.

You really should be reading closer. There’s symbolism here.

And I’m sure you want to hear more about how the dastardly Mr. Whitehorse is planning to take over the world, enslave humanity and kick puppy dogs.
Unfortunately, Mr. Whitehorse is a senile old man. He runs the general store a few miles down from where Honeysuckle and Pappy live. This statement brings up a rather sore subject for the McColl clan, and explains why Pappy also taught Boss Kitty how to cook, clean, wear an apron and love.

Honeysuckle’s Mama was kidnapped 14 years ago when Pappy couldn’t afford to pay for a Charleston Chew at the dastardly Mr. Whitehorse’s general store. This brings up a number of questions, most of which revolve around continuity and timing.

We’re not going to address those since we don’t need to. You’ll find out.
Pappy and Honeysuckle spent the next ten years doing their best to live out in the woods, biding their time with cutting lumber and playing Boss Kitty in Scrabble. But one day, decked out in a fetching purple polyester number with orange trim, Honeysuckle slammed a fist into a tree. The tree was uprooted and flew thousands of miles away. It is still nursing the ass-kicking it received in Brooklyn (this is a failed attempt at making a literary joke.)

“Pappy,” Honeysuckle said with his booming voice, “how come Mama ain’t ever home?”
Now Pappy had spent nearly every waking day of his life coming up with a new lie for his son. The first time Mama was a traveling snake oil salesman, but Honeysuckle soon realized only men did that. Then Pappy told Honeysuckle that Mama was a hobo, but Honeysuckle couldn’t believe that his sweet old Mama was the root of all evil on the rails. Finally, Pappy sighed as Boss Kitty pulled up his easy chair outside.

“Honeysuckle, I’m getting to be an old man,” Pappy said. Actually, Pappy was in his mid-thirties. But you try living with a kid who became taller and stronger than you six seconds after being born.

“But it’s time you knew the truth. Honeysuckle, your Mama is being held hostage.”

Honeysuckle punched another tree. This time sending the unlucky piece of wood so high it cleared the atmosphere. But not even Honeysuckle could tell that the tree would hit a flaming space rock filled with bug-eyed aliens, thus sending it into the sun and saving the world.

“Pappy, you tell me who has Mama and I’ll go get’er back!”
And now came the hard part.

“Well, see, son, uh, Mr. Whitehorse.”
Honeysuckle spared the rest of the trees from his wrath and asked, “But where? I’ve been going by there ever since I was a kid.”

“Well, yeah,” Pappy said and trailed off. Boss Kitty went inside to fetch some tea.

“Son,” Pappy said, “this is going to be kind of difficult to take. And I don’t want you to be angry with me or anything.”

“Pappy,” Honeysuckle replied, “ I would never be angry with you. You’re my Pappy!”
Pappy sighed.
“Great, because your mother’s the Fender Showmaster with a Quilt Maple Top that Mr. Whitehorse keeps on the wall behind him.”

If you need a moment to think about the logistics that involve a man having sex with a guitar, now’s the time to do it. That’s pretty fucked up, right? Well, if that didn’t do it for you, think about this: the guitar was pregnant.

Honeysuckle took a moment to think about both of those things. Luckily, having the mind of a ten-year old means you’re not as freaked out when realizing your mother is in fact a Fender Showmaster. It’d be much worse if he was 16 or 17 and this would be a very angsty story filled with dark poetry and quoting Morrissey.

“See, son, Mr. Whitehorse once had a stack of Charleston Chews so high that it touched the moon and proved he could fly. I was a wandering guitar man, broke and hungry and desperate for a good Charleston Chew. He made me a deal. If I gave him my one true love, he’d give me all the Charleston Chews I’d ever want!”
Honeysuckle nodded. After all, who wouldn’t want all the Charleston Chews you could eat?

“But then he caught me, that charming man, in a paradox! Uh, that’s like when you continually do the same bad thing over again—you’ll learn that once you hit puberty, son. Because a man only needs one Charleston Chew to be happy, I was tricked! And your mother was taken from me!”

Now, honestly, how does a man have sex with a guitar? But that didn’t matter to Honeysuckle, who leapt to his feet and flew through the air toward old, dastardly Mr. Whitehorse’s general store to find his mother.
Pappy took a long sip of tea and put his arm around Boss Kitty.
“That’s my boy.”

Boss Kitty growled.

“Mm, quiet you or papa spank.”

Now, you ain’t lived till you seen a giant in a leisure suit flying through the air. And if you watched said giant crash through the roof of your general store, land in front of you and say “Give me back Mama” so loud that the loose, saggy skin around your face peels back and stays there—well, you’d say:


Much like the dastardly Mr. Whitehorse said, clutching his heart and falling to the ground. Honeysuckle awkwardly stood there with a dead old man in a dusty general store. Oh, and there was the guitar hanging on the wall with a tiny little sign that read, “Collateral until P. McColl pays back $.10 for Charleston Chew.”
Honeysuckle took hold of his mother and held her in the air, much like that old “Star Wars” poster where Luke is totally looking badass but is creepy because Leia is all touchy-feely with his leg. So, yeah, sort of like this moment.
“Guitar,” Honeysuckle yelled and shot forth into the air. Since then, Honeysuckle never went back home. He instead travels the land, guitar/mother in hand, playing psycho-fusion acid rock and righting wrongs. He’s also technically 12-years old now.
And he continues to fight the evil, as his bear-and-guitar fucking father taught him how.

But you can hear about that another time.

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