Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Year In Review in Word Clouds

Here was my blogging year in a nutshell, or rather a Word Cloud. Looks like I wasted a whole year writing it.













Thursday, December 18, 2008

What Bill Told Scarlett

Lost in Translation is one of my favorite indie movies of the 2000s. Not just because it has Bill Murray and a young heartthrob named Scarlett Johansson (now Mrs. Ryan *spit* Reynolds, and no it won't last more than 5 years absolute TOPS).

The movie is about two Americans who meet each other while temporarily stationed in Tokyo. They are both in unhappy relationships, and though they are very far apart in age, they strike a connection that blossoms into a very subtle romance. So subtle, in fact, that it isn't really considered an "official" romance until the last 30 seconds or so of screen time.

The film is a metaphor for finding a connection with another person in a world where you don't feel you are understood. There are lots of shots of these characters isolated, in their hotel rooms, or sitting by themselves. Lots of static camera angles and slow, deliberate -- some would even say boring -- scenes. In fact none of the Japanese dialogue in the film is subtitled, further adding to the sense of alienation and solitude.

It's only when these to serendipitously find each other that the film begins to "pic up," both in pace and in tone.

The climax -- and one of the more intriguing scenes in recent film history -- is the very last scene of the movie. Bill Murray has to catch a flight back to his home in Los Angeles (coincidentally also where the Johansson character lives), but before he leaves, he tracks her down. He hugs her, but before he goes, he whispers something in her ear. It is pretty much inaudible (and yes, I watched it with the subtitles on just to be sure my ears weren't going bad).

In the video below, someone digitally altered the sound and figured out what he said to her. And it's not some jokey, fake "gotcha" in case you were wondering. You can actually hear him say it. And what's great about it is that you could basically tell in the movie that this is roughly what he said, but it was so much better that they kept it a secret.

If you haven't seen the movie, you may want to skip this video... but go out and rent it. If you've always wondered, here it is.

Freestyle Rap Battle: Translated

This is goddamn brilliant!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Christmas Terrell

Santa brought me an early Christmas gift: a Terrell Owens interview where he gets to cry about how unfair life is.

Is anyone else getting sick of this asshole? He is perpetually instigating and causing trouble, and then he is constantly complaining about how he's unfairly criticized. He doesn't seem to realize that it's easy for anyone to just disappear into quiet life. And you can't be universally beloved when a) you are constantly drawing attention to yourself, because anyone well known will be disliked by a certain segment of the populations, and b) you are a complete and utter dick.

One thing I will give Owens credit for, however, is his command of the King's English. Behold.

"There were reports that myself, Roy and Patrick all got together, you know, and I'm the head honcho of all this."
- Owens on the meeting he had with his teammates. I think it's telling that Terrell doesn't really understand what the term "head honcho" means. He also uses the tried-and-true method of attempting to make himself look more intelligent by referring to himself in the first person as "myself." Well played.

"It seems like every time something happens or arises, I'm the blame. I'm the pitfall for everything."
- Owens on how everyone is so mean to him. To me, the phrase "I'm the pitfall" is one that should enter the English lexicon, and NOW. To say "I'm the fall guy" would assume that Owens has any cultural awareness or basic knowledge of colloquial idioms.

"We're trying to make a playoff push, and every game, thereafter, is critical for us!"
- Owens, talking about the Cowboys needs to right the ship. Again, Owens -- by using the word "thereafter" -- attempts to polysyllabically get himself out of looking like a dummy. (He does the same thing a few sentences later when he uses the word "amongst.")

"We know what kind of usplosive offense we have, and we know we have a lot of capable players ... of making plays."
- Owens, advancing the spoken word.

"Just say give this incident, for example."
- Owens, clearly meaning to say, "For instance...."
And yet the cold hard fact is that he makes more during a bye week than I will make over the next twenty years.

Of course, Stephen A. Smith likes to get into the act to saying that someone in the Cowboys organization "evidently said something to him along those lines, essentially to sully your name," not only doing a great impression of the Damon Wayons character on "In Living Color" who used to use big words he didn't understand, but also to imply that somehow the name "Terrell Fucking Owens" hadn't been sullied like seven years ago.

I love this new hero worship by our sports media. Makes me definitely not hate ESPN or sports in general at all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How's This For Depressing?

Well not for you, but for me.

I just looked at a calendar, and it turns out that the next time my birthday falls on a Saturday will be in 2018. That is over 9 years from now.

My 2012 Birthday (#36) will be on a Friday; due to leap years, my 2013 birthday (#37) will be on a Sunday.

It will be my 42nd birthday.

That will be the next time that my birthday falls on a Saturday. The next time I am able to both sleep in AND stay up late on my birthday will be #42. And by that time, I'm pretty sure I will naturally get up at 5:30 AM and fall asleep at 7:30 PM.

We're basically looking at a full decade before I get another Saturday birthday. Think of all the things that will have happened by then:
  • Obama will have completed both of his presidential terms, and we will be in the midst of the midterms of the Tim McGraw presidency.
  • The Bills will have missed the playoffs for the 19th consecutive year.
  • Zac Efron will have won that elusive third Oscar.
  • Guns-N-Roses' "Chinese Democracy II" will only be three years from release.
  • VH-1 will complete their "I Love the 2010s" series... apparently.
  • Cancer will be cured; male-pattern baldness will still haunt me. I will have the same amount of grey hair that I do now.
  • I will get around to organizing my magazines.
  • I will still be adorable.

So if you happen to see me on a Saturday, and it's my birthday. Buy me a beer.

I'll be dead shortly after.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tobacco Addict

I am down with this new band guy called Tobacco, and their his album "F**ked up Friends." He is part of the group Black Moth Super Rainbow, a group that has a similar sound, but is way more "normal" I suppose.

Tobacco sounds like a combination of Boards of Canada and a 1970s PBS kids show. And the videos are insane, mostly clips of exercise videos and possibly even 1980s porn. I think I love it. Rather than doing the post-modern irony thing favored by, say, The Beastie Boys or Beck, they just abandon the usual MTV quick-cuts and let each video play out for a few seconds in all its kitschy glory.

Check out of some of their videos, and by all means, enjoy... although don't do it at work, just to be safe. Might not be your thing (music or videos) but to me they are mesmerizing.









Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Awesome Show Alert: Summer Heights High

To call Summer Heights High (on HBO for 8 episodes) an Australian version of the British version of The Office wouldn't be doing it justice. On its face it sounds like kind of a gay idea: have one guy play three different characters that attend one school, and see what happens.

It sounds like a bad Mike Meyers project, I know. But trust me, this show is goddamned hilarious.

The three characters are: Mr. G, a super-effeminate music and theater teacher who is as oblivious as The Office UK's David Brent but maybe even more selfish; Ja'mie (pronounced ZHA-may), a transfer student from a ritzy high school who tries to ingratiate herself with the "cool kids" at the new school; and Jonah, a Tongan thug who hangs around with other Tongans and gets into all sorts of trouble.

If you didn't know better, you would think that Mr. G was gay, Ja'mie was a real girl, and Jonah was really 13 years old. But what makes the show isn't the parlor trick of having one person play all the parts, Peter Sellers-style. It's the writing.

For example, the third episode featured a junior student dying of a drug overdose. Mr. G responds by writing a musical about the girl's life called "One Girl, One Pill." Most of the songs talk about how the girl was a slut and a drug addict. I couldn't possibly do it justice. In the first episode, one particular line made me laugh for about 5 minutes: all I'll say is "Tsunamarama."

I use the Office UK comparison only to give an idea of the style of humor, since it's very subtle, with no laugh track and lots of quick jokes that hit you and then immediately switch to another scene, just like Ricky Gervais's masterpiece. Though it's Australian, it bears little-to-no resemblance to Flight of the Conchords, but is more like a Christopher Guest miniseries.

So even if you can't stand Australians, comedy, actors playing multiple parts, high school or Tongans, give this show a shot. You know you can trust me.