Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Bible Summarized by a Smartass, Part Twenty-Seven: The Gospel of Luke

This week, the third of four tellings of the life of Christ. They don't really vary overly much, which made Luke a very long slog yesterday, let me tell you. So, you'll find that this, the most long-winded version of the Christ story, will be rendered into briefness by my smartassery. Really, you should be enjoying your Saturday, it's finally nice out. Here's some more Jesus.

Chapters One through Two
Dear friend Theophilus,
Many have written about the life of Jesus, but I know you wanted more. So I have undertaken painstaking research and conducted hours of interviews to lay out this definitive, truthful, wordy, pedantic, bloodless, authoritative, boring version of my own. For the sake of teaching you the truth of Jesus.

Seriously, this is a pretty much the tone of the whole of Luke. Here’s a single verse, Luke 1.5: “In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendent of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.” Whoo, strap in for the exciting, passionate life of Christ!

Anyway, this is the same story we’ve had for the last two Gospels, only with more back story. This introduces us to a barren Elizabeth, who is impregnated by the angel (specifically Gabriel). So is her relative Mary, a virgin. Elizabeth’s child is John the Baptist. Mary is betrothed to Joseph, who is living in Galilee but who needs to return to Bethlehem, his birthplace, to be counted in the census ordered by Emperor Augustus. Satisfied with Gabriel’s explanation that Mary is pregnant with God’s son, he braves the journey, Jesus is born in Bethlehem, and they go to Jerusalem. As a boy, they find Jesus teaching in the Temple.

Chapter Three
John grows up to be the baptizin’, doom-preachin’, Messiah-predictin’, feather-rufflin’ sumbitch we’ve all come to know and love. He’s arrested and put in prison. Meanwhile, Jesus, “about thirty,” begins his work. We get his ancestry all the way back to Adam (called “the son of God”), even though, of course, Joseph is merely Jesus’s stepdad and Jeezy is only related to those people by marriage.

Chapters Four through Twenty-Three
Jesus in the wilderness,
Tempted by the devil,
Exorcises, heals the sick,
And preaches all the day.
Parable and storytelling,
People start to revel,
Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally
Golly, what a day

Pharisees get mighty pissed at Jeezy in the meantime,
And he was deputizin’ the Twelve.
Did miracles and parables, so many stories,
Cleansed the Temple and helped everyone around.

Last supper came along,
And then Judas betrayed him,
Prayed and got arrested
And they put his ass away.
Crucified upon the Mount,
Ordered so by Pilate,
Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally
Golly, what a day.

Basically everything from before, just longer and more parable-y. Oh, and Jesus tells the story about the prodigal son in this one. Could y’all do me a favor and learn to use the word prodigal correctly? It doesn’t refer to someone who has left and is gone and then comes back, it means wasteful and extravagant. The prodigal son liked to live large.

Chapter Twenty-Four
Jesus rises again and appears before women, then talks scripture with the Apostles, and goes up to heaven.

There you have it, the story so nice, they told it thrice. Plus one more. But nothing comes after "thrice." I would've liked to have been clever, but there you go. Anyway, next week we have the final Gospel, the Gospel of John. Be here for the last narrative of Jesus's adventures.

Guns, Guns, Guns

I'd like to personally say thank you to William Phillips for taking a fellow contract worker hostage and killing him at the Johnson Space Center. Thank you for continuing the job that Lisa Nowak started in February of completely discrediting NASA and making the people who work there look like assholes. Thanks, you two. That's exactly what the Space Program needs right now.

Cue Homer Simpson: "Oh, and in case you couldn't tell, I was being sarCASTic!"

Just a few days after Virginia Tech, and we've got another shooting. The question people are asking, once again, is: "How can this sort of violence be prevented?" And they look at the gun laws and wonder what can be done. But I have a question that not many people seem to be asking: Why is everyone so fucking pissed these days?

This isn't the first time we've had to hear about someone going postal at work. Hell, "going postal" is kind of a punchline these days, because it's been going on so long (since at least the 1980s) that we've become numb to it. We almost expect it--someone at work is tense enough to explode.

But these are the late-20th and early 21st century equivalent of the slave revolts of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The post office shootings (or revolts, if you like) started up because, a study showed, the coporate culture of the post office (forced on them by Richard Nixon's scheme to privatize the USPS) was particularly brutal, authoritarian, and stressful. It's not surprising that this jumped into the private sector; the private sector has turned us into such a servile position that the term "wage slave" is now a bitter joke. And there are more people who are just finally pushed too far. Handgun-Free America did a study in 2004 showing that there had been 164 shootings between 1994 and 2003; 290 people had died in them. It's not guns, it's not violent movies and video games, it's not sociopaths who have a psychotic break. We've always had guns and psychos; we've always had violence in culture. The people who do these are seemingly random; both the FBI and the Secret Service have been unable to come up with a profile for who is apt to snap (remember that right now while pro-gun conservative apologists are deflecting the gun issue and talking about recognizing "symptoms").

Here's your problem in the workplace: the CEOs and their corporate policies. In 1978, CEOs earned 35 times what their average employees did. By 1997, it was 115 times. By 2001, it was 531. You want to know who's destroyed the middle class? Adjusting for inflation, the average white-collar worker earned just six cents more per hour than he/she did in 1973. Since Reaganomics, America has the single worst gap (by far) of any advanced economy between the wealthy and everyone else. 531 times what the average employee makes. For every dollar the bottom 10% of the work force makes today, the top 0.01% make an extra $18,000. Since the 1980s, people are taking shorter lunch breaks and less vacation time. They work harder to make basically the same amount of money they were making in the 1950s, while the cost of living goes up, more services are privatized (so their costs go up), and the amount of free time they have disappears. And, unlike every other advanced economy in the world, we're not even guaranteed health care. So we have to work even more for much, much less.

Think about all of that the next time some company tells you they're raising their prices in order to "stay competitive." Or the next time they tell you they're shipping your job--but not you--to India or Mexico to "stay competitive." Competitive to what? That extra $18,000 not doing it anymore?

Companies now seem to operate on a policy of terror and stress. It's in their best interests to keep the hive humming, but not to keep them thriving. Corporations are grabbing all of the wealth they can and leaving us nothing but stress, anger, and sickness.

And no one cares.

I remember Lewis Black talking about the Enron or Worldcom CEOs, and remarking that he was surprised "the employees didn't rise up as one and slay them."

I also remember, in the movie 1776, about the writing of the Declaration of Independence, a character pointing out that "most people would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor."

Good luck. But keep this in mind: 52% of workplace shooters have experienced a negative change in employment status. Only 13% have a history of mental illness.

Say what you will about the French, but at least they take to the streets in protest. Why are we so afraid?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Throwdown 4/20

15 random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. Britney keeps trying, but not hard enough. So, she’s fired her manager, Larry Rudolph, because she blames him for several big mistakes (not least of which was his introducing her to Paris Hilton). Okay, but is he the one who made you take your pants off in the club, honey? Maybe firing Rudolph was a good idea, but then she rehired the evil Leslie Sloane-Zelnick, so she’s surrounding herself with enablers again, anyway. In related news, London bookmakers are putting 20 to 1 odds on her becoming Prince William’s new girlfriend. After all of this time and all the wastrel lives they lead on British taxpayer money, the fact that the British still support the monarchy means they probably deserve Queen Britney. Hey, Brit Brat’s even writing letters to him now! Britney also blames Larry Rudolph for sending her to rehab when, her friends say, she didn’t even need to go, because she was never on drugs. The hair? She felt bad about her aunt dying of cancer. The partying? Uh, postpartum depression, that’s the ticket. Boy, you’re just going to blame everyone for your problems, aren’t you? You’ll make a beautiful corpse on the pavement one day. Britney.

2. Meanwhile, useless and frankly boring pop singer Lily Allen, the one who has been all over the place knocking Britney for being an alcoholic and a train wreck, cancelled her pointless American tour because she’s tired from “getting really drunk.” And I’m sure the fact that America yawns at her music has nothing to do with it.

3. One more pop princess: Avril Lavigne. After years of just rolling my eyes at her moronic attempts to pretend she’s a punk by confusing punk with skater culture and goth makeup, Avril’s got a new video out where…well, it’s just funny to me that a few years ago she was arguing that people like Hilary Duff were constructs, and then she does what Duffster did a year and a half ago and jumps on the J-pop bandwagon. Just like her sister in completely unnoticeable music, Pink, Avril is totally willing to compromise any of the principles she fakes in order to get noticed. And doing a pop video where you dress up like daddy’s sexual fantasy of his friend’s Catholic school daughter will get you noticed. It’s just funny to me to see people sell out. But hey, at least she looks sexy, and that’s certainly the point, isn’t it?

4. Speaking of music videos, here’s the video for Gwen Stefani’s new single, “4 in the Morning.” I like Gwen and I like her music, but it always just makes me giggle a little bit to see music videos where the gal is supposed to be looking less than glamorous, but they still have on their glossy lipstick and all that goes with it. Plus the breast implants. But Gwen’s implants are awesome. She didn’t go overboard.

5. Here’s another video that I will never ever get tired of. Please never stop airing this commercial.

6. Marky Mark is tired of gay guys watching him in the shower, checking to see if his unit is the same as it was in Boogie Nights: “Yeah it's always a little bit embarrassing. You go into the locker room and guys are trying to check you out - that's always a little weird.” He should just be thrilled that there’s at least one segment of the population willing to still acknowledge his entitled ass.

7. There are rumors going around that Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson may be lesbian lovers. People don’t seem to remember, but it wasn’t that long ago that there was a rumor going around that Lindsay had been passionately in love with Paris Hilton, and was angry over getting dumped because Paris was just playing around. I have a couple of thoughts about Lindsay’s lesbian status and about Samantha Ronson. First, I think Lindsay would fuck a goat if she was high enough or if it told her it would help her failing career. And second…Samantha Ronson really isn’t related to legendary guitarist Mick Ronson? Because she looks a hell of a lot like him. Weird.Oh, and Lindsay’s MySpace got hacked, and her Blackberry and her Gmail. It’s not really that exciting, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from your little sister or some other drunk who thinks it’s still high school. But it does make it sound like she’s dating Samantha Ronson. Anyway, call me when the inevitable topless pictures are in.

8. It’s kind of cool that Universal Studios is installing a “Harry Potter World” attraction. I know which ride I want to get on…Hmmm…looks like Rupert Grint wants to take that same ride… Get in line, son.

9. Well, I guess it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Dita Von Teese left Marilyn Manson because he didn’t want to grow up. He said: “I was married to someone who wanted me to change. Become more adult, more responsible. I began not to like myself, not like what I do. I lost my identity. Everything began collapsing around me.” Dude, it’s no surprise that Dita is the kind of woman you have to do the work for. And now he’s left her for a 19 year-old girl, which can be fun for a little while, but is certainly going to wear you down. But it’s not really surprising to me that Marilyn Manson has a huge problem with maturity and responsibility.

10. Kimberly Stewart is the new face of Specsavers. Are these ads supposed to make me want glasses? Because that’s not exactly the feeling I get when I see these things…

11. Here are some pictures of Scarlett Johansson in The Nanny Diaries. Does she look natural with children? I only ask because, you know, if we ever do get serious, I’m definitely going to want to have kids with her. I mean, we’re having fun now, but in the future…

12. Why don’t film companies ever learn from media saturation? Don’t you feel like, after months of trailer after trailer, you’ve seen Spider-Man 3 at least twice? I’m frankly getting sick of the damn thing. Why do they start advertising these things so damn early? They’re so full of the experience of it, so full of our previous love of the franchise, that they’re making a mistake in thinking they can’t do anything wrong. Whereas everyone was putting their foot down and saying no more Spider-Man movies, now Sam Raimi and even Kirsten Dunst are talking about making more and more of them. But I think that might be a mistake. If everyone involved is so insufferable about it this time around, what’s going to happen in another few years when Spider-Man 4 comes out? If it even gets that far.On the upside, how cute does Bryce Dallas Howard look in this movie?

13. Kirsten Dunst, when asked about the possibility of Spider-Man 4 with a new cast and director, said: “Audiences aren’t stupid. It’d be a big flop without me, Tobey or Sam.” Man, Kiki, it’s hard to defend you when you keep saying really, really stupid shit. Especially considering that you’re kind of the most expendable cast member. I’d rather see Mary Jane recast than, say, J. Jonah Jameson or Aunt May.

14. This one really bugs the shit out of me. Of course people want to make an issue out of this. After getting criticized for his shitty, nasal singing, Chris Richardson on American Idol gives a shout-out to Virginia Tech… and Simon rolls his eyes. And, of course, people are all pissed at Simon’s “hurtful” reaction. Are you animals really so unsophisticated? Simon wasn’t being rude to the victims, he was rolling his eyes because of Chris’s cynical and opportunistic attempt to ingratiate himself with the audience and deflect the criticism of his shitty voice. Fuck you, Chris Richardson, for using the shooting to get votes.

15. And finally, speaking of politics…well, this is just too horrible. Because this is the appropriate time to joke, you sick fuck. If John McCain is elected, I really am going to just abandon this country to itself and go live somewhere civilized.

The Linklord

Suddenly, at the Hall of Justice (The Absorbascon)
Peter Lynn with a disgusting but funny story (go figure).
Kamikaze Camel reviews Sunshine, a movie I have deep reservations about.
Quit Your Day Job notices something about Spidey.
Nathaniel has the trailer for The Golden Age (so very excited).
Maxim makes me giggle.
WNBC picks the most annoying songs of all time. Sadly, you will hear at least ten of them at any wedding.
The 30 Strangest Movie Posters of All Time (at Cracked)
Egotastic dramatizes a Lohan situation.
Postmodern Barney creeps me out.
Living Between Wednesdays rates a second super hunk: Booster Gold.
The 15 Most Outrageous Claims in Pop Music History (Cracked)
Action Hero Showdown (also at Cracked, written by Jay Pinkerton)
The Rude Pundit on the Imus firing.
George R. R. Martin has a new excerpt from A Dance with Dragons (and it's a Daenerys chapter!).
In one paragraph, Cracked sums up exactly why I fucking hate My Chemical Romance.
Henry Rollins answers your questions about politics at The Onion A.V. Club.

As ever (and thank you), ModFab's weekly American Idolatry and Au Revoir.

The Rude Pundit has this and this to say about the Virginia Tech Massacre. Byzantium's Shores also has some nourishing food for thought.

An Open Letter to Everyone Who Didn't See Grindhouse

More at Funny or Die.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Welcome to New Hampshire

Governor John Lynch said he will sign legislation to establish civil unions for gay couples. Which makes New Hampshire the fourth state to legalize civil unions for same sex couples, even though the federal government does not recognize those unions.

Did you ever know that gay couple, perhaps involving a member of your own family? Perhaps they had a kid together, someone they'd adopted maybe. They definitely had stuff together, even though it had to be in just one of their names. And then one of them passes away, and the families move in to take everything and the poor, widowed man or woman is left with nothing of the person they loved for years and years. Then you know why these are important. Because a gay relationship is not protected under the law in 46 other states. And that poor soul, who has just seen his or her world shattered by the death of the person they loved most in the world, now has had that person's family come and take everything away from them.

It happens a lot. Too often. See If These Walls Could Talk 2, it'll break your heart. Or it should.

Governor Lynch said: "I believe it is a matter of conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination." How long has it been since you heard a politician say something so reasonable, so goddamn right?

Says Fergus Cullen, the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party: "The Democrats are going too far, too fast, and Governor Lynch is going along with them. These are not the actions of a moderate governor."

State Rep. Bette Lasky retorts, and rightly so: "It's never going too far when you give people their rights, and I honestly believe that the majority of people in this state want to do just that and do not want to discriminate."

Amen, sister. Hopefully, the rest of the country will stop sitting on what the President thinks is the right thing to do and just continue to vote the matter out of his hands. Because this country still isn't free when members of our population still aren't getting the rights we claim to so fervently believe in.

Virginia Tech

For days now, I've been trying to think of a way to put the tragedy at Virginia Tech into perspective. To try and say something about it and how it relates to our society. About the easy access to guns that make the worst school shooting in American far. Or about the way people in America tend to treat one another and how disconnected we really are. Or about tensions in a time of violence and so many other things that so many others have already said. Because, as someone who once really wanted to carry out one of these massacres, I find myself sympathetic to everyone involved in something like this. Everyone, even the perpetrator, is a victim here. And the constant news feed from Blacksburg, Virginia bear that out. And, of course, the massacre isn't really over. There are families who are burying their loved ones far sooner than they'd ever anticipated. There are people whose fears are being prayed on by opportunists--the "church" of scientology, stepping in as always where they don't belong to promote their pseudoscience as a cure-all; Jack Thompson, pointing the blame as ever at video games and pop culture. And there are the usual cries of "God works in mysterious ways," ever the lament of those who cannot understand the way the world works and don't want to bother trying because fear holds them back. There are the constant excuses--he was dark, he was a loner, he was unusual in some way; that always seems to hold those without the sensitivity to understand people, but who need the labels to make them easier to dismiss. There are always the curiously inured and insensitive classmates spouting profundities they've heard elsewhere or read in books, things that they think sound like something important you're supposed to say when something you can't piece together resulted in the death of someone you saw in class every morning but didn't really know. And there's the constant revolving display case, giving us every detail of those who died in the usual sanitized, bloodless way that's meant to make us feel down, but not too terribly tragic. After all, consumerism must go on.

But these were people who died. And this was a person who committed the violence. And there's no getting around it, no matter how many turn these people into impersonal news fodder. We are inured to violence, anyway. It's the policy of our country, and no one seems to notice.

And now the suddenly concerned parents and politicians, and the activist groups who have been telling us all along that guns are too easy to buy, and the groups that shout louder than them and say guns don't kill people in and of themselves (and other such jerk-off philosophical masturbation) wring their hands and say things that sound momentous but really aren't and will change absolutely nothing in even the short term. And they all ask how, how can this sort of thing be prevented?

And the sad answer is: it can't. Because this was not the norm. This was an anomaly. An increasingly common one, yes. But an anomaly nonetheless. An explosion with little warning.

An explosion that will happen again. And a day before the eighth anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, nothing has changed. No one listens to anyone, and guns can still be purchased through the mail.

Thank You, Nathaniel

This is just to say thank you to Nathaniel at The Film Experience for the honor of being one of his guest bloggers for the past several days. I know he likes these pictures, so here's another one.
If you're interested in what I wrote (and I'm going to assume that's the reason you're here right now), check out Everybody Be Cool, The Jeppy (I'm going to keep going until that enters filmgoing slang), In Praise of Shia, and Wonder Women.

Sallah and Indy

The people who dig into these sorts of things have discovered that John Rhys-Davies will not be reprising his role as Sallah in Indiana Jones and the Nursing Home of the Gods. What I'm surprised by is the almost mournful reaction that people are having to this news. I really can't believe that it's that big a deal.

Here's the thing about Indiana Jones for me. You have two really great movies, and a lame third one. My disgust for Steven Spielberg has been well-documented on this blog. I feel, as a number of people seem to feel now, that Steven Spielberg was a once-brilliant maker of blockbusters who, except for a few bright spots, has embraced his own pretentious sense of importance and completely forgotten how to construct a narrative. A lot of the people I know think that this happened post-Schindler, around the time of The Lost World. But I consider Schindler and most of the first Jurassic Park to be rare bright spots in a career output that was already long in decline. It started with Spielberg's candy-colored, glossy, Gone with the Wind-meets-Roots version of The Color Purple, completely glossing over the women's roles to make an apologetic argument about why we should all forgive Mister for being so abusive in the first place (those Spielbergian daddy issues).

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade fits perfectly into this decline. It's the weakest of the three adventures; instead of adventure and excitement and improbable stunts, Spielberg and George Lucas decided to default into formula. And the Spielberg and Lucas formulae both include a lot of inappropriate, irritating humor. So, while Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has funny moments, certainly, it's not much of a narrative other than the typical Spielbergian "I didn't get my daddy's love and now I'm fucked up--oh, wait, I understand why my father was remote, now I love him." But what the (should be) final film does do is give the Indiana Jones persona closure. If you look at the three films through the unchanging Spielbergian subtext, you can see that Indy is a persona based on emotional childishness and a decidedly stubborn refusal to grow up. Taking the films in their chronological order, we've seen Indy as a childish playboy (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in which his best friend is a child), as someone who runs away from adult responsibilities (Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which he has to own up to fleeing from Marion because of those icky adult feelings), and finally someone who finds faith in his distant father by fulfilling his dream and coming to a reconciliation (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). The character has grown up; there's no more need to be Indiana Jones. He can live a happy life as Professor Henry Jones Jr. without those daddy problems forcing him to be a child.

Which is why the only thing that makes sense for Indiana Jones and the Assisted Living is for Indy to be a father and be forced to live up to the responsibility, which is obviously the route they seem to be taking. By this point, they should make him a grandfather--maybe that's what casting Shia LeBeouf means. It seems tired and predictable, but so will the movie itself. This is Steven Spielberg, after all. Not the tight, professional guy who made the first two Indiana Jones movies and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but the meandering, unfocused, self-import, fastidious Kubrick wannabe who can't tell a story in under four hours. And this is George Lucas, who hated the script written by the guy who wrote The Shawshank Redemption so much that he decided he had to rewrite it himself. So, yeah, the movie's going to suck pretty hard. Sallah being in the movie seems to be the least of the problems this thing is going to have.

But, that seems to be the American filmgoer these days; a total continuity whore who is perfectly willing to believe in living dinosaurs and flying men, but who questions any leap of logic like someone not falling off of a car or someone not skinning their knee when they trip. They want ever character from every Indiana Jones movie ever to make an appearance. I don't understand why, unless they just want that little extra tingle from knowing who everyone is. Storywise, there seems to be no reason. In fact, I never want to see the character Sallah again.

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Sallah is a neat side character. He's a rough, swarthy, capable ex-Navy man, but he's also loyal, trustworthy, and a family man. I like him, singing his Navy songs and helping Indy along. Who can forget the "bad dates" scene? He's every inch the sort of fun side character you'd see in the serials, B pictures, jungle adventures, and Humphrey Bogart movies that Spielberg and Lucas were ripping off in the first place. And John Rhys-Davies has fun playing all of that up.

Fast forward eight years to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.Suddenly, Sallah has become this fez-wearing, bumbling oaf with one of the lamest, broadest Volga boatman-meets-Persian market hawker accent I've ever heard outside of a Flash Gordon movie. In fact, at this point, Brian Blessed should be playing the role. Sallah is nothing but an unfunny bit of side comic relief in Last Crusade. Gone is the capable, cool operative. Here some old guy fussing over his brother's camels. Ho ho. Do we really need this useless stereotype in another movie?

So...really, Sallah not being in Indiana Jones and the Early Bird Buffet is about the last problem this movie's going to have.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

That Orange Is Planning Something Sinister...

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

I see why this film won the Best Picture Oscar. Don't get me wrong, it's a damn good film, but it's obvious to anyone that they wanted to give Martin Scorsese a win and this is probably Scorsese's tightest movie in nearly a decade. I liked Gangs of New York and The Aviator just fine, but this was his first movie since the very underrated Bringing Out the Dead that didn't lose focus somewhere in the middle act. Great cast (Scorsese's still the only one who can get DiCaprio to act), great script, and thoroughly engrossing all the way through. And it's always nice, once every few years to see Jack Nicholson get to actually act. Great stuff. **** stars.

It was written and directed by a guy called Ash and nothing else. And, like Tarsem and McG before him, that's the only thing even close to interesting about him as a director. Which...well, you get the idea. Ash tries to tell an interesting story about a porn star who's taking care of her sickl dad, but it's pretty much all over the place. Rosario Dawson's in it, and the star of the movie, Juliette Marquis, is stunningly beautiful. But this is pretty much what you would expect the male sex fantasy of a guy who isn't that into sex to look like. It's pretty obvious and not very good. *1/2 stars.

Again, I'm disappointed by a William Wyler movie. What the hell? Bette Davis was wonderful, of course (she always is), but otherwise... **1/2 stars.

This documentary about the infamous Rolling Stones concert at Altamont takes itself seriously, but only on a superficial level. A lot of people consider Altamont to be where the sixties died, and the filmmakers could have done something very interesting by creating a real feeling of Woodstock-like togetherness and then tearing it apart. Instead, they try to get Mick Jagger to watch the film of the Hell's Angels murdering a guy and catch his reaction, but Mick is either too stunned, too stoned, or just doesn't give a shit. He seems kind of irritated. It's a filmmaking gamble that just doesn't work. Still, great footage of the Stones. It's just too self-important to be effective. *** stars.

GIRL 6 (1996)
Save two hours and listen to me: Spike Lee hates women. That's all you really need to know. No stars.

Classic grindhouse that just sort of bored me. Nice try. I understand a lot of people love it. ** stars.

I hadn't realized that Guillermo del Toro had already made a boy's version of Pan's Labyrinth. This is very similar: children, death, ghosts, Spanish Civil War, abusive adult. Not to take away from either film, but he's done this movie twice now, he needs to do something different. That said, this film, like Pan, is a masterpiece. This being about boys, it's less obviously emotional and more about the confusing process of growing up (replete with phallic symbols, of course). Riveting and atmospheric. **** stars.

It's ironic that D.W. Griffith's film is about overcoming the inevitability of racism, and the Chinese main character is refered to as The Yellow Man. A Chinese immigrant and a boxer's abused daughter meet on the streets and form a relationship based on protection, until the inevitable happens. Dated, but well-made. *** stars.

Do You Like American Music?

Johnny Yen did this meme, and it looked like fun to me.

What was the first recorded music you bought?
The first album I bought with my own money (on casette) was Then & Now: The Best of the Monkees. After that, "Weird Al" Yankovic's Dare to Be Stupid and the soundtrack to Transformers: The Movie. Hey, I was ten.

What was the last?
Jeez, I can't even remember the last album I was actually able to pay for.

What was the first "professional" music show you ever went to?
I've only been to one--Siouxsie & the Banshees in 1995 at the Riviera.

What was the last?
Again, only the one show.

What's your "desert island" album?
Pet Sounds. I know it's a cliched choice, but it's genuinely my favorite album. And my second choice would be Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, so there you go.

What's your favorite album/song title? (the *title* which is your fav, not the actual album or song)
Favorite album title: The Byrds: Younger Than Yesterday
Favorite song title: Frank Zappa: "Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin"

What's your favorite album art (include an image of it if you can)?
White Zombie's Supersexy Swingin' Sounds.Ideal choice for a karaoke song?
I don't have a preference for karaoke; I've barely done it because, apparently, everyone I know is a coward and is afraid to sing in public. Trust me, if that's the worst thing you ever have to do, your life is pathetically easy. Seriously, do you really care that much if someone you don't know thinks you're a moron? Anyway, anything from the eighties is fun, really.

Song you don't like that WILL NOT LEAVE YOUR HEAD if you hear it.
"My Humps," which has officially replaced "We Are Family" as the worst song in the history of recorded music.

Which is cooler? -- Vinyl? CD? Cassette? 8-track?
CD. The sound quality's impossible to beat.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Health Report: Week 18

First thing's first: the weekend sucked ass. I had last week's cold over with quickly, but I spent the entire weekend with a painful eye infection. I thought I'd burst another blood vessel on Friday afternoon--it's been a long time, but it wouldn't be the first time it had happened since I've had high blood pressure. But by Saturday morning my entire eye was red and swollen. I had problems even closing it, and when I looked in the mirror, I could blink and see all of this slimy film getting pushed around on the surface of my eye. Yeah, that sucked to see. I still have this bottle of tobramycin from when I had pink eye in 2004 (you can't keep it out of the university because, as I've gone on at length about, universities are disgusting germ playlands). Anyway, it expired in December, but I decided to just use it as directed, and it took care of the eye infection in a few days. But boy, did that hurt. I had to take a long, long nap on Saturday just to clear some of the pain in my head.

Yesterday, though... yesterday was nice. We were headed out to do our laundry, so I was going through my dirty clothes, and I actually found a pair of jeans I'd never worn before. They still had the tags on them. I don't know how long ago I bought them, but I thought I'd wear them to the laundromat and be able to wash my other pairs, so I tried it on. Now, here's another point where being so confessional can be embarrassing, but in for a penny, in for a pound: I tend to wear Wranglers in a size 30x50. Yeah, 50. I can remember when they were still 42... Anyway, part of the reason I was so gung ho about losing weight was that it was getting harder and harder to find that size at Wal-Mart. That's as high as Wal-Mart goes in jeans size, and they tend to go quickly and become hard to find, so I knew I was another couple of pounds away from having to go to a special store. And I wasn't going to let that happen.

Here's another confession: for the past five or six or seven years, I've had to lay back on the bed and suck in the gut to put on a new pair of pants. There have been times where I've tried to button the pants and failed. It kind of hurts to admit, but I promised to be painfully honest during the Health Report. Well, here's the great part: I put the jeans on...and they buttoned. And they zipped. And I did not have to lie down to put them on. I did it standing. And that, my friends, is a little triumph for me. And even though I was elated from being able to wear my pants like a normal human being again, I still noticed...I'm up to the fourth notch in my belt. As of yesterday, I've lost enough weight to go from the straining first notch to a natural fourth.

I've also noticed I can just slide into booths at restaurants now.

And yet I'm still immense. I'm not Mr. Creosote, but I'm not exactly giving Orson Welles anything to worry about in the Mr. Universe contest. I'm still huge, and I hate it. But it's going to go away. I'm going to lose the weight, and I'm going to do more than that: I'm going to keep the fucking weight off. It's going away and that's that.

Today I went to pick up my new pair of glasses, and I'm already loving them. Even though it's been nine years since I got my eyes checked, they haven't gotten as bad as I thought they had. When I put on the new glasses, the disorientation was mild and easier to get used to than any previous new pair. For only the third time since I started wearing glasses (in the summer of 1993), I got new frames. So, goodbye to the Charmant frames I've been wearing for the last nine years.Those aren't even the exact same model. My model is so old they don't even make it anymore. Now I'm wearing these Elite Smart Clip glasses.I like the way they look. They're smaller, for one thing, and I was sick of those huge aviator frames. These are sleeker, and I think they blend better. Plus, they have sunglasses that clip to it magnetically, so I can actually wear shades when I drive. That's been a problem for me for years, and it adds to the headaches I sometimes get when driving.

Since I've been seeing the same eye doctor since I was a little kid, I had to drive out to my old hometown, about 45 minutes on the tollway. My mom and I had lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings and had a nice time. I know I may get irritated and make it sound like my family's a huge drag, and I think my mom wonders sometimes, but I love my mom. And more than that, I like my mom. I like spending time with her. I know she thinks it irritates me to have to spend time with her, but I like to.

All of that snow we had here is gone, and today was a nice, sunny 60 degrees. I drove back with the windows rolled down and my new glasses and shades on, and took my time. I've retired Flynn, my 1996 Ford Escort, to a garage and am caretaking my sister's car, a 2002 Honda Civic with power everything that I'm getting used to and, most importantly, a CD player. I've renamed it Fantasma. Only my third car, such as she is. I managed to put in a mix that was just perfect, full of gentle, pretty songs--"The Ballad of Easy Rider," "Sukiyaki," "King Without a Crown," a bunch of Morrissey. Although I've been known to hit 120 mph without thinking in Fantasma, I kept it between 65 and 70 the whole way back and took my time through the farmland. I like it here, out among the crops and the horse farms. It was a nice, gentle day. For today, my unemployment doesn't matter. Today, life is good.

Today was a good day.

"Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto. I hope you all enjoyed your day, too.

TV Report: MyNetworkTV

Remember last year when UPN and the WB announced that they were merging into one easy-to-ignore network, the CW? Well, stations that were owned by News Corp. (aka FOX Broadcasting) took that announcement personally and immediately stopped advertising for UPN. They chose to focus on creating new programming, and thus MyNetworkTV was born. Since they started broadcasting in September, they've basically shown nothing but American telenovelas. It was almost a bold strategy, and me liking trashiness the way I do, it seemed like a really neat thing for a little while. I started watching it before any of the network shows came on the air because I liked the idea of it: 16 weeks, no repeats, five nights a week, and then it's over. Seems like an alright idea, so I gave it a shot.

And it pretty much sucked hard.

The reason it sucked is, well, after all, this is FOX. And even if FOX loves a good amount of sleaze to bring in the viewers, their programs are never really willing to commit to the sleaziness of the entire endeavor. They're never willing to revel in the trash that they air, always trying to hold itself at arm's length. If the telenovelas they had aired had really embraced their concepts and been nothing more than sleazy quasi-porn that was out for blood, that would've been something. I mean, the acting was all sub-porno film quality, anyway.

That's why I jumped onto watching Fashion House for the first week and a half it was on. The commercials were all Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild slapping each other around. How was I not going to check that out? I love it when they take women I used to jerk off to and put them on sleazy soaps! But this was all just... boring.

Still, I will always be grateful to Fashion House for introducing me to Donna Feldman...So at least something good came out of it.

Since then, MyNetworkTV has repeated this same formula over and over. And whomever comes up with these shows has the same past of being fascinated with hot older chicks as I do, because the casting always centers around some of the older women I loved:

* Fashion House had Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild.

* Wicked Wicked Games had Tatum O'Neal and the goddess of so many of my teenage fantasies, Joan Severance.

* Watch Over Me had Catherine Oxenburg.

* Currently, American Heiress has Theresa Russell on it, and Saints & Sinners has Robin Givens and my darling Maria Conchita Alonso.

Man, it's like watching my My Sexual Icons series come to life on barely-watched television. I kept waiting for one with Tanya Roberts to start airing for me...

Anyway, I didn't watch any of this past the first two weeks of Fashion House. But I thought it was funny that FOX decided to throw in the towel and stop airing scripted content. Instead, they're going to show more reality TV, specials, movies, and International Fighting League. They've aired the World Music Awards and a birthday special dedicated to Elton John turning 60. And now they have plans to air Anna Nicole Smith: Centerfold Revisited and Britney Spears: A Pop Idol Exposed on 16 May (both produced by Access Hollywood). On 24 April we'll get Hawaiian Tropical Intl. Beauty Pageant and Ujena Bikini Jam. On 2 May, America's Trashiest Weddings and Body Doubles: International Twins Search.

Wow. FOX finally managed to find an outlet with which they can drop all pretense of actual programming and just show the kind of sleaze that pundits on FOX "News" will be pointing to as the decline of civilization.

And here I was accusing them of not reveling in the trash that they air and commiting to sleaze. I should've known to just wait for it.

Arsin' Around with iTunes

A second iPod meme is going around now, and since I liked the first one, I thought I'd do the second one. The first person I saw with this one was Mob.

Here's what you do. Take your iPod or your iTunes or whatever program, set it to shuffle, and write down the first song that plays for each question. No cheating.

1. How does the world see me? Johnny Cash: “Solitary Man”
Appropriate enough; as the frog I take my name from, I live in a hole in the ground and try to venture forth as little as possible.

2. Will I live a happy life? Modest Mouse: “The World at Large”
"If the world's at large, why should I remain?
Walked away to another plan,
Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand."
That's a toss-up, innit? I mean, it sounds like I'm going to drift around an awful lot, which would poke holes in my sedentary lifestyle and any chance at long-term happiness, but the tone of the song makes it sound like that's the way to be. Still, you know, why worry? Suits me fine.

3. What do my friends really think of me? New Order: “Waiting for the Siren’s Call”
Apparently that I'm a drifting, directionless slut. Wow. That may not be too far off. What a theme we've got developin' here.

4. Do people secretly lust after me? Jennifer Hudson: “Love You I Do”
I'd say that's a big ten-four. Grinning over here, ladies.

5. How can I make myself happy? The Smiths: “A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours”
By taking what I want, apparently. And giving over to love, but the implication is there...

6. What should I do with my life? Paul Simon: “You Can Call Me Al”
More wandering through life. Man, not only does this thing have a theme going, but it's a theme that nearly sounds right. Said the unemployed man...

7. Will I ever have children? Rod Stewart: “Blind Prayer”
I guess just one really, really bitter son.

8. What is some good advice for me? The Four Tops: “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)”
So don't look any further. Even though I'm a wandering, directionless slut and women lust after me? Man, that's going to be a hard piece of advice to keep.

9. How will I be remembered? Billy Joel: “Big Shot”
As obnoxious, apparently. I think that's how a lot of people think of me now, so...

10. What is my signature dancing song? The Killers: “Somebody Told Me”
Interesting that this song carries the implications of transgendered lovin'. Well, whomever he/she turns out to be, I hope he/she's Latin. For some reason, they make the best post-op ladies.

11. What do I think my current theme song is? James Taylor: “Fire and Rain”
Wow, that makes me feel like I'm just pretentious. Which, you know, maybe I am.

12. What does everyone else think my current theme song is? AC/DC: “Problem Child”
Gee, thanks, guys. Well, at least it's a hard rockin' song.

13. What song will play at my funeral? Stevie Wonder: “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”
This just keeps feeding my ego.

14. What type of women/men do I like? David Bowie: “Young Americans”
Well, they're half-right; the women and men I like do tend to be young.

15. What is my day going to be like? Louis Armstrong: “What a Wonderful World”
I sure hope that's true.

16. Will I ever have love again? Daryl Hall & John Oates: “Out of Touch”

17. What type of sex life do I have? Donovan: “Jennifer Juniper”
I'll take this to mean a sweet and loving sex life, which is kind of nice. I want my sex life to be sweet and loving, and full of Young Americans.

18. What song would be the title of my own porno movie? Pet Shop Boys: “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”
Probably what my partner would be thinking.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Death Proof and Structure

I recommend that you take a look at StinkyLulu's reaction to Grindhouse. He's got some excellent thoughts on the structure of Death Proof and why it's not only the best part of Grindhouse, it's probably Tarantino's most mature and successful work. I have to say I completely agree.

TV Report: Cable Shows

With most of the big shows on hiatus for the last several weeks, I've been watching DVDs, reading more (I know I'm the last person in comic book fandom to ask this, but damn, how good is Preacher?), or checking out some of the shows on cable. So, here's what I've been watching while the networks show reruns, special series, or cheats. Seriously, ABC, showing a recap of the last few episodes does not constitute a new episode of Ugly Betty--maybe you wouldn't have to keep doing recaps if you didn't keep showing so goddamn many reruns!

The Riches (FX)
Honestly, I just don't get the shows on FX. I hear a lot of people talk about how it's second only to HBO in the comin'-up-with-great-series department, but I've never once found that to be the case. I tried to watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and it turned out to be one of the most painful experiences of my life. I thought the commercials were bad! Instead, I should be grateful that the least unfunny parts of the show are distilled away from the half-hour of total shite surrounding it! I just know that if it's on FX, I'm going to hate it. And now we have The Riches. I wanted to give this show a serious chance because I like Minnie Driver and I love Eddie Izzard. And I got over the fact that they advertised this show like it was a comedy when it's actually quite serious. What I haven't gotten used to is the fact that a) nothing happens and b) it's the same formula every damn time. They give Eddie Izzard that one improvised speech that goes nowhere because, as much as I hate to say it because I love the guy, he's just not that quick on his feet. It's not clever. Seriously, what is the point of this show? At first, I thought it was like Big Love--I didn't like that show at first, but I was just fascinated to see where it was going. But with The Riches, I stopped caring a couple of episodes back. And it's weird, because I keep seeing so many glowing reviews for it, but it just bores the pants off of me. I've been watching it since it started, but I think I'm just going to give up on it. It's getting more and more of a chore to pay attention to.

South Park (Comedy Central)
For me, it was back in 2001 or 2002, with the Furious D/Land of the Jockeys episode, that The Simpsons lost my attention. The flaws were obvious: they'd gone from telling real stories in a humorous way to a completely incoherent half-hour filled with forced non-sequitors, half-baked musical numbers, and rubbing an ass in the face of the audience for actually liking the show in the first place. Whatever happened then has happened to South Park now. So far, this new season has been a complete disappointment. I don't know when it happened, exactly, but it was recently--last season was so much better than this. At some point, Trey Parker and Matt Stone seemed to have embraced their media-dictated role as commentors on society and pop culture and flown up their own asses with it. Every episode now has to be a parody of an epic, a parody of a specific movie (last week's uninspired 300 style jokes), or offensive for no reason other than being offensive. There used to be a point to this show; now it's pathetic on the level of Family Guy or Aqua Teen Hunger Force. It's so tired, it's become frustrating. Seriously, I get that you two hate every movie that's popular and you think people are stupid--can't you still be funny?

Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (Showtime)
Now here are two guys who have managed to be consistently funny, even when their skepticism becomes snarky and smug. Hey, they know they're right and everyone else is wrong, so why do they have to respect someone's point of view when it's total bullshit, anyway? Skepticism is fun. They only do 13 or so episodes a year, but when a show is this good, it's worth the wait.

Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
Another thing that's fun is debate. I wish this show was on every week; that would make it easier to forgive things like last week's serious lapse in taste: letting Dana Carvey appear as a guest. Ugh. And people say Robin Williams is irritating? Christ, where did they dig up Dana Carvey from? Who moved the rock? He should've said: "Remember me, I used to do the first George Bush on SNL 150 years ago!" Man, talk about a waste of space. I think I still had my baby teeth the last time I laughed at this ass. Anyway, Bill Maher. I know he's one of those polarizing figures because America (especially conservative America) hates it when people rock the boat, but I love him for hosting a forum where people can actually sit and talk out issues that make people so damn angry. And Maher really is tough on anyone who even comes across a little off; he's not just bashing conservatives. They're just mostly conservatives, but, you know, that's the nature of idiots.

The Tudors (Showtime)
I can't believe just how many negative reviews I've been seeing for this show. They mostly run into this range: "It's not historically accurate, it's a soap opera!" No fucking shit, buddy? You mean, something that happened on TV wasn't real? This is why I've resisted being a history teacher--most otherwise well-meaning people who become teachers (in 95% of my experience, though certainly not all of them are like this--Johnny Yen, for example, is a teacher and he's also still alive) suddenly become pedantic dullards who don't understand the whole point of dramatic license. Guys, it's a TV show, it doesn't have to be accurate, it just has to be entertaining. And this is damn entertaining. I like Jonathan Rhys-Myers in general, and I love him here. Sam Neill is a great Cardinal Wolsey (I find the sympathetic portrayal of Wolsey the most fascinating aspect of the show), Jeremy Northam is a perfect Thomas More, and it's just nice to actually see Henry Czerny in something again. Maria Doyle Kennedy is a very sympathetic and delicate Katharine of Aragon. I already know the history of what's going on, and I like that it's played for maximum intensity and in very human terms. I like the cast, I'm always fascinated by representations of the time period, and it's fully involving and intriguing. What else is there? Oh, lots of nudity. Never a bad thing. Plus, I'm already in love with Natalie Dormer, the woman who plays Ann Boleyn.Mmmm... And when there's no naked chick on screen, well... I do appreciate Jonathan Rhys-Myers anyway.

Entourage (HBO)
It's only been two weeks (and I still haven't watched the one from last night), but I'm just glad that the show's finally back. I know Ari is going to try and win Vincent and the boys back, but I really hope he doesn't. Not because I'm sick of Jeremy Piven (this is the only thing he's ever done that I've liked), but because I don't want to lose Carla Gugino and her luminousity being on the show every week.

The Henry Rollins Show (IFC)
Oh, damn, man. What happened? The first week back was a massive letdown from the previous seasons of this show. It's like Henry somehow decided that he needed to embrace his message more and stopped being entertaining. Allowing Marilyn Manson to talk (and take all the credit for Bowling for Columbine) and Peaches to sing (yeah, I liked Wendy O. Williams, too, but yelling "clit" onstage and being a woman does not equal saying anything) was bad enough, but nothing is going to kill a show for me faster than letting Janeane Garofalo talk about how she just doesn't "get" the internet. I'm sorry, is this 1997 and Janeane Garofalo is still funny? Because even in 1997, jokes about the internet were fucking lame. Henry, dude, come on. Ben Stiller's on next week? Remember when you used to have Werner Herzog and Crispin Glover on? Can we do that again?

Planet Earth (Discovery)
Hands down, this is the best documentary series I've ever seen. And considering this comes from David Attenborough, producer of the stunning Blue Planet, Life of Mammals, Life of Birds, and many, many, many other great nature series, that's really saying a lot. This is only going to be eleven episodes, but it's so amazing to watch. With the use of high definition cameras, this BBC series is able to show you sights with clarity heretofore impossible. Just watching a buffalo herd from a helicopter, or seeing a pride of lions attack an elephant in the middle of the night, or watching elephants swim from underwater, or a gruesome chimpanzee's too much. What a fantastic series this is, with new wonders around every corner. Which is already the way I liked to think about Planet Earth.

Weeds (Showtime)
I finally caught the entirety of this show thanks to the wonders of illegal posting on the internet. This is a great damn show, it just sucks that I have to wait until August for the third season to start. Then I can just watch it on TV. Great, great, hilarious show.

And that's my cable viewing right now. Bah-dum.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Talk About Capturing the Zeitgeist

I just read that Diane English (the creator of Murphy Brown) is going to write and direct the long-awaited movie adaptation of Erica Jong's seminal novel Fear of Flying. And it's going to star Maggie Gyllenhaal and her weirdly asymmetrical, waxy head.

Finally, Fear of Flying on the big screen. And just when I was worried that today's young women might not be equipped to handle the important feminist questions of 1973...

Song of the Week: "Faster"

I just haven't heard this George Harrison song in a long time, and I always found it rather pleasant. And it's that kind of Sunday afternoon.

The Video Game Meme

From MC comes this meme.

1. Name a game that you've played for over 100 hours or beaten 5 times of more.
Civilization III for my PC. I can play that game for days and not even notice the time going by. I've nearly gone blind playing it.

2. Name a game that you've been Captain Ahab-obsessed with beating, but it eludes you like that White Whale.

I am so stuck on Spider-Man for PS2, it isn't even funny.

3. Name a company or franchise that would make you more likely to play a game.

Rockstar or EA Games.

4. Name an company/franchise that has burned some bridges for you.

I don't play video games enough to have built up or burned down any real brand loyalty.

5. Name a game that you can and do quote from.

I'm one of those dorks who still think it's funny to quote Mortal Kombat. And I do say the occasional "All your base are belong to us" or make the Q*bert sound. Yeah, I know. To quote PVP, there's nothing sadder than old-school nerds.

6. Name a game soundtrack that you know all of the lyrics to, or one that you bought after hearing it in the game.

I still hum the theme to Space Ace all the time.

7. Name a game that everybody should just shut up about already.

You know what I hate? When people call you a dork and a loser for being into video games or comic books and science fiction, and then they suddenly decide to appropriate it and make it a big Entertainment Weekly pop culture deal. So if I never heard anything about World of Warcraft, the video game for people who think gamers are losers, ever in my life, I wouldn't mind that at all.

8. Name a game that you would recommend everyone play.

Well, Civilization does force you to think strategically about maintaining an infrastructure. I like games like that. Hey, remember Oregon Trail?

9. Name a game that you dominate.

When I was six, I ruled the Pac-Man arcade console. And that was the last time I was ever great at a video game.

10. Name a game that you initially hated, but grew to love upon giving it a second chance.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I just can't stop playing it, even though I thought it was lame at first.

11. Favorite arcade games?

I used to love to go to arcades and play Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Galaga. The last arcade games I loved were any kind of first-person shooter, Star Wars (the trilogy one), X-Men, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For a while, I was saving to buy the TMNT arcade console.

12. Ever used something you learned in a game in a real life situation?

Not really. I guess my aim's gotten better...

13. Name a game that you keep meaning to try but just haven’t yet gotten around to it.

I can't think of one, but I'm sure they're out there. My copy of Firaxis's Pirates kept crashing my PC, but I'd love to be able to really play it one day.

14. Ever taken a game back because it sucked?

I don't really get many games to begin with. Usually I rent them. I could've played Destroy All Humans for days and days, man.

15. Name a game that made you cry because of the story/characters(and not out of frustration).

Nothing for me.

16. Do you own games that you've never played(this includes games that you've bought, put in the machine and played once or twice)?

No. Again, I don't buy many games.

17. What older games would you like to see a new version/sequel of?

I find I always like every single version of Legend of Zelda. More of those are welcome.

18. Did you ever own a weird peripheral (Dance pads/faux guitars included)?

I have Guitar Hero, so there is a guitar.

19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of game?

I like adventure games. I hate calling them RPGs, because RPGs to me are like playing Dungeons & Dragons, back when there used to be some imagination involved.

20. What’s the first game you remember playing on a console?

Pac-Man on the Atari 2600.

21. What are some of the worst games you've ever played?

Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for Atari 2600.

22. What is the weirdest game you enjoyed?

I don't know one that's weird off the top of my head.

23. What is the scariest gaming moment you've experienced?

Again, nothing off the top of my head. It used to drive my mom crazy when I'd purposely drown Mario in Super Mario 64. She'd get all panicky.

24. Have the games you wanted as a kid been made yet?

If there was a way I could virtually enter Golden Axe or Gauntlet or something, that would be pretty sweet.