Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mel Gibson

You know it's weird when I think about my cinematic or even my musical heroes. Most of 'em are very talented but they have eccentricities that make them rather unpopular with a lot of the public. I try very hard not to judge people. Despite my frequent frustrations with religion and my love for Satanic metal (or music that at least uses the imagery), I find myself asking what Jesus would do and then try very hard see every side and understand the heart of a person. That is very difficult to do when you've never met someone and sometimes it's even harder when you know the person. 

Thing is, I think it'd be really cool to sit down and to pick the brain of Mel Gibson or even the likes of George W. Bush. I'm not comparing the two and I'm not saying they are alike, but neither of them will ever win any popularity contests. It can't be easy being hated. It's got to hurt. And a lot of it is their fault. I get that. I ain't standing up for nobody. But I try very hard to accept everybody. Very hard. People fuck up and do stupid things. But I find myself trying to follow the teachings of some guy I'm not even sure I really believe in and try to accept folks and I largely do this because of Mel Gibson... or at least the man's work. Man Without a Face, The Passion of the Christ, and Braveheart all had a huge impact on me. The latter two, especially. Just plain blew my mind. These damn things spoke to me in ways that a lot of other things hadn't.  I think of all the archetypes out there, I think the "martyr" could very well be my favorite. All of those films I mentioned very much show the martyr just about as well as any film has. 

Of course, I'm not saying that Mel Gibson is a martyr. But I'll be damned if the sumbitch can't go straight for my heartstrings and rip 'em out just about each time I see one of his more serious flicks. It's what he's good at. And the guy's work... I mean, can you imagine the same guy who was once in Bird on a Wire directing The Passion of the Christ? One thing I really like is diversity and I think Gibson does that well. He can do his manic comedy bit and then he can be the badass action hero and then he's a brooding and tormented soul. I wish more actors could be that talented. Although without the baggage... even though that baggage is really just something that make Mel Mel and not some other actor. Maybe I just wish the guy could be less screwed up and just be happy. 

I don't know. I ain't in Mel Gibson's corner or nothin' but I don't know the guy and probably never will. And I figure it's a waste of time in making a Mel Gibson doll just so I can stick pins in it at night. 

But I'll always watch the guy's work, no matter what. I mean, I still watch The Naked Gun movies even though OJ Simpson freakin' murdered some people. I'm by no means saying that Mel Gibson is gonna murder some folks, but since I still watch OJ Simpson's films wouldn't it make me a hypocrite to not watch Mel Gibson's just because some folks don't like him? 

But I will say that I think that we know way too much about people's personal lives. If I was famous I'd probably end up in jail or on the end of a lawsuit on more than one occasion for beating the snot out of some would-be paparazzi douchebag. Folks actually get paid for being the first ones to take pictures of the babies of celebs. What the ever loving fuck is wrong with this world? And people wonder why so many "child actors" are fucked up and do drugs and shit. 

After a while, I'd probably go batshit insane and who knows what could happen? Maybe I'd be the one spewing venomous filth at my girlfriend and that would get recorded and then everyone would hear about it. It's certainly a possibility I couldn't rule out. I couldn't live like celebrities do. Some may make peace with that shit, but I couldn't. Hell, I know I spew venomous filth from time to time. I'm real bad at that when I'm stuck in traffic and some asswipe tries to pull into my lane just as the light turns green and he doesn't even have his blinker on. 

I couldn't imagine being under the eye of the Hollywood faithful all the time. 

All of this does sort of go hand-in-hand with the Mel Gibson thing because his breakdown was just so well-publicized. I just hope that Mel can pull a Robert Downey Jr. and come out of this shit looking like box office gold. I want to see him succeed again. Okay, so maybe I am in his corner. I don't know. It's complicated. I mean, I think Michael Vick gets more forgiveness and acceptance then Mel does and something about that is just sort of backwards. Or maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm backwards. 

Sometimes I honestly think that the amount of monetary success you achieve after you fuck up dictates the amount of forgiveness you deserve. At least as far as the media is concerned. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jackson SJ32 Rhoads with Floyd Rose Tremolo Bar

My playthings (from left to right): The Don,
The Clap, The Slayer, The Crimson King, Purple Lightning
I don't buy guitar gear that often. It's expensive. Maybe if I made more money and didn't spend so much on anime then I'd have me more than just six guitars, one amp, one pedal, and one guitar-computer interface by now. But I don't. Five of the guitars are ones I've had for a while I'll be honest in saying that I didn't buy any those five. My Ibanez G10 GAX70 was given to me by my cousin. So was my Peavey Rage 158 amp. My Squier was my second ever guitar and that was bought for me by my dad. My Squire doesn't even say "Stratocaster" on it even the it has the same body style. It just says "Squier by Fender" on the headstock. The ole Squier's whammy bar is long since broken and the tip of the old whammy bar is still screwed in. Short of replacing the entire bridge, I'll never be able to use a whammy on it again. Oh, well. I like the guitar well enough, but it just doesn't have the sound or the feel I want.

B.C. Rich Avenge Son of Beast does, but even that one is sort of off. Oh, I love it and it looks so evil, but it only has one knob and that is for volume and one set of pickups so no need for a toggle switch. I can't really play around with the sound on that one. But it's great for straightforward metal. I mean, when a guitar looks like Satan's walking staff you don't exactly play bluegrass on it, do you?

My ESP LTD EX-50 Explorer was sort of a gift. A customer of my dad's sold it to him for seventy bucks. It's got two knobs, two sets of pickups, and a toggle switch. It's bit heavier in terms of weight, but it also has a chunkier sound. I suppose the downside is that the neck is thicker than my B.C. Rich's.

Now I'd like to present to you my Jackson J32 Rhoads with Floyd Rose Tremolo Bar. Unlike all of the other guitars, I can perform insane whammy dives on this guitar courtesy of the whammy bar and the locking system. The guitar locks the strings at the nut (up top near the headstock) so they won't go out of tune. Once the locks on the nut are in place the only way the guitar can be tuned is by using the fine tuners at the bottom.

Perhaps the only bad thing about a guitar that has a locking system that prevents the guitar from going out of tune... is that you can't go out of tune. The Floyd Rose has a floating bridge so that means you can't just downtune the guitar like you would a normal guitar. On a normal guitar you'd rotate the tuning pegs and pick the notes you want the guitar to be in. Just tuning the low E string down a whole step to make drop D on a guitar with a floating bridge is a freakin' process. Remember that this guitar is designed to not go out of tune. If you want to change the tuning you have to change the design. You have to loosen the coil springs underneath the guitar to achieve the necessary balance that will keep the guitar's bridge floating as you tune the strings down. Tension is what makes this guitar work so just tuning the strings down (or loosening the tension) won't work. You will have to adjust the springs as well.

As for breaking a string... if you do so you are royally screwed because any changing in the tension of the strings will cause the other strings to go out of tune.

But there are devices designed like the Tremol-No to kind of counterbalance a lot of the... balance issues created by owning a Floyd Rose.

And then there's always the hard way of downtuning a Floyd Rose...

Do You Treasure Autographs?

This is a bit of a touchy subject for me because I don't want to ever sound like some weirdo stalker or something. I only have a few autographed items. One is a Stever CD, another is a Ken Stabler autograph, and yet another is a signed Bryan Smith book called Grimm Awakening. I believe I'll getting another signed book too, but that one's sort of different than the others.

To me, a purchased signed item just doesn't mean much unless I sort of know the person. At least a little. Does that sound weird? Think of it this way. I've got Ken Stabler's autograph, but I don't put much value in it because I don't really have a connection to anything he did and I never even met him: My dad did. It wasn't a purchased autograph, either. It was just a coincidence where my dad ran into Ken Stabler at a Target or something. I appreciate the autograph, but I don't connect with it and half the time I can't remember where the damn thing is. Sentimental value just means more to me than a signed item. Maybe if I had actually been the one to meet up with Stabler than my opinion would change. 

Talk about that signed book that I think I'm getting. I don't feel like I particularly did anything to earn it. I just noticed a mistake that someone else already had. I didn't ask for my copy to be replaced. I certainly didn't ask for a signed copy. I was perfectly content to buy a different copy once a correct version became available.

Of course, I didn't try to talk the author of said book out of a signed copy once he said he'd send one. To me, that's just damn nice and I know better than to refuse someone who decides to do something like that.

But it is not the autograph I'll treasure per se. Don't get me wrong, it'll be pretty cool to have an autograph from an author whose books I enjoy reading. It'll be most awesome and badass. But the book itself is something I'll treasure a bit more. It represents a kind of kindness that can't be found just anywhere and in a way it is more unique than any autograph. At least that's just what I think. And I'm rarely on the receiving end of such gestures. I guess I just know way too many assholes or something. 

But I think my opinion on autographs can best be summed up by saying this:

I like them, but I don't collect them. I'm not going to shell out a bunch of money I don't even have even if it's for one of those super rare books that will never see print again. It would be nice in a perfect world, but this ain't a perfect world and I make minimum wage. I do however collect unique objects that I can appreciate and some of them do happen to be signed. They may not be the most expensive items out there, but they mean something to me and that makes them priceless. Maybe if I had more dough I could do some traveling and go to cons and shit and get more autographs. But I'd feel weird asking for an autograph. Makes me think of serial killers keeping trophies of their victims in their basements for some reason. Most fans are a bit too clingy, I think. And I don't want to be that fan. I'd much rather be the guy who buys writers beer and doesn't ask for shit in return fan.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Entombed by Brian Keene

Pete is a divorcee and a tour guide at a popular hotel that happens to have a military bunker underneath it. When the plague known as Hamelin's Revenge hit and zombies began to attack, Pete and at least twenty other people took shelter in the underground bunker. There's just one little problem: the bunker is no longer in operation and food stores are almost non-existent. With hunger soon turning into starvation, Pete and his fellow survivors learn that there may indeed be things worse than the zombies waiting patiently on the outside. 

Taking place in the same world as Keene's novel Dead Sea, Entombed is a novel that is a sequel novel that really isn't a sequel at all. So you don't have to enjoy Dead Sea (as I'm sure you will if you are a fan of the zombie genre) in order to enjoy Entombed, but I'm that weird kind of person that has to read sequels after I read the originals first even if the sequels aren't direct sequels. Naturally, I would insist other people do the same, too. 

Both Dead Sea and Entombed feature zombies that are different from the zombies in Mr. Keene's The Rising and City of the Dead. The zombies in the former are your traditional Romero type zombies while the zombies in the latter are intelligent and sentient beings. 

Clocking in at only 134 pages on the Deadite Press edition, Entombed is a very short read. I wouldn't really call it a novel. But I like the story. It's simple and really doesn't feature zombies all that much, but it mostly works. Just don't go into this book expecting it to be Dead Sea Part II

I also think that calling this book a zombie book is a bit of a misnomer. It's more like psychological horror with a few zombies roaming around. Still enjoyable no matter what you call it, though. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kill Whitey by Brian Keene

Larry Gibson is on the run from Russian mobster Zakhar "Whitey" Putin because he has run away with Sondra Belov, one of the mobster's strippers. Sondra is incredibly desperate to get away from Whitey and she begs Larry to kill Whitey. But there's just one problem: Whitey isn't easy to kill. In fact, Larry is about to find out just how much pain Whitey can take and still survive. The real question is whether or not Larry can survive the pain Whitey will dish back...

Brian Keene's Kill Whitey is a bit of a one-trick pony, but it's still a decent read. The first half of the book sets up how Larry meets Sondra and the second half details the lengths Whitey will go to in order to track the two of them down. 

It's a fun and short read. Not of one of Keene's best, but worth reading. 

Apparently, even the president has read it:

Okay, that's an insensitive and douchebag joke. Plus it's about five years old. I'm so unoriginal. Don't get pissy. 

Should Black Sabbath Still Be Black Sabbath?

I'm what you would call a die hard Sabbath fan. I'm not that extravagant when it comes to the Sabbath merch I own, but they are my favorite band and I love picking up my guitar and jamming to one of their songs. Paranoid, War Pigs, Black Sabbath, and The Wizard were the first songs I ever learned how to play, but I can play just about any Sab riff. Yeah, even Tony Martin stuff like Anno Mundi and The Sabbath Stones. I love debating about who the best singer for Sabbath was and whether or not Iommi should have ditched the name in the 80's.

I've said all I can say when it comes to their previously released studio albums. I ranked them and stand by my ranking. But I haven't really discussed my feelings on the Bill Ward situation here or whether or not the talented trio and hired drummer should carry on under the Sabbath name.

These things need addressing. First I'd like to re-state that I am a fan of all things Sabbath and that includes all non-Ozzy albums. Even Forbidden to an extent. So I view Sabbath as the brainchild of Iommi and Iommi's solo albums are more or less default Sabbath albums. Of course, Geezer's punchy bass is missed when he's not in the line-up and Bill Ward's ability to play off Iommi and Geezer really made the original line-up gel. They could play everything from "metal" to jazz when they were in their prime. 

But here's the crux of the issue. The thing about Bill Ward. At first I wanted to blame Sharon Osbourne for meddling and I did. It's just so easy to throw that one out. We all know about the lawsuit Ozzy filed over the Sabbath name and the reason that Iommi and Dio used the "Heaven & Hell" moniker on their last trip together. So why should this line-up of Sabbath be called "Black Sabbath" when it is in fact not the original line-up?

Well, I guess I'm here to begrudgingly defend the remaining members of the band Sabbath. Bill Ward wants a signable contract. I can understand that and I respect it. The man contributed more to the band than Ozzy did and he stuck around for two more albums than Ozzy did. But Ward seems to always come up short on the Sabbath totem pole. Apparently, Ward's attempts at drumming for the original songs on Reunion were so bad that they weren't even used and a drum machine was used instead. That's right folks. The first two new songs with Ozzy at the helm in over two decades had a drum machine. Of course, all of these guys aren't the picture of health and they are all luckier than hell to still be living. But of all of them Bill Ward is the only one to largely be out of the public eye. Why? I mean, you'd have to be a real nerd to even know he's had a few solo albums. Even Geezer's solo band has a higher profile. 

Aside from touring, he hasn't played drums on an original song since Sabbath's would-be original song Scary Dreams performed in 2001. That's a long fucking time. Maybe Bill Ward just isn't up to snuff anymore. And maybe that's why Iommi and co. don't want to pay him what he wants. It's like in sports. Remember when Emmitt Smith, one of the greatest running backs to play the game, took a huge payday at the end of his career to play for the Cardinals? Remember him taking them to playoffs? No, you don't because he was a bust... even though he was the all time leading rusher. Not saying that adding Bill Ward would cripple Sabbath, but I understand the business aspect of it. 

Again, I appreciate Bill Ward's contributions to all things Sabbath, but I sort of understand why the remaining group at Sab Co. maybe don't want to shell out the dough. I mean, if he couldn't get it done on Reunion then how could he do it now? Maybe he can. Maybe he can still drum like a motherfucker, but if he can then it seems to be his big secret. But... there's an element of doubt there. Ward has a history of dropping out of tours and line-ups. And maybe that's it, too. Maybe Bill Ward just isn't committed to making this Sabbath album really happen. Or maybe his ideas for Sabbath no longer gel with his cohorts as he apparently had the same problem when he was initially approached for the "Heaven & Hell" reunion. 

But then again maybe Ozzy, Geezer, and a sickly Tony Iommi just want to fuck Bill Ward in the ass. 

All of this is difficult to assume because I'm so far away from the situation. As we all are. 

But I think the answer is a bit deeper than the whole "let's blame Sharon for everything" concept. 

Either way, I'm buying this album, damn it. This could very well be the last thing any of them do before they meet Dio in the afterlife. 

So if Bill Ward doesn't want in on it or if the Sab ones don't want to pay him... 

Then so be it. Let's just get this shit released already. After all the false starts and all the public squabbling let's get that bad boy out and in the open. I'm ready for 13 and I'm just about to the point where I don't care if Pickles the cartoon drummer from Metalocalypse plays drums. 

Let there be Sabbath. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Planet Terror

I always like watching Quentin Tarantino getting killed and in this film he gets killed brutally. I know that's a spoiler, but I'll be damned if it isn't my favorite part of the whole movie. Not that I don't like Tarantino's directorial efforts, but there is just something about a guy who can't act having the nerve to be in so many movies made by his buddies. So when he gets offed I sort of give the same reaction I would to Tom Brady throwing an interception. Yes, the part where Tarantino's schlong melts off is almost just as good as a Brady Pick Six and they are essentially interchangeable, in my ever so humble opinion. 

Another death I enjoyed was Stacey Ann Ferguson's. I have no idea what she was even doing in this movie, but I found her appearance to be almost as annoying as her nickname (Fergie) and her performance in the 2011 Super Bowl halftime show.

But then she died and I found myself elevating this film to an almost mythic status. This is indeed the film I've been searching for. Now if someone can make a film where Britney Spears dies horribly. Of course, Hollywood did that for Paris Hilton so I guess the "pop star" dying doesn't always equate to "watchability." 

I applaud Robert Rodriguez for his ballsiness in that casting just as I applaud him for casting Lindsay Lohan in Machete. I don't care for them at all as musicians or even "actors," but for the man to cast them? That takes stones. 

One thing that sort of bugged me about the film was the intentionally scratchy look of the film, but it grew on me as I watched it. Of course, I have the "scratch free" copy on my blu-ray and I intend to watch eventually and see if it is really that different of a viewing experience.

I dare say that this is the only film I can think of that can "miss a reel" and essentially overlook any and all plot development during that time and still not miss a beat. We're watching and enjoying this movie because it's kick ass and not for the emotional depth of the plot. Like just about any other Rodriguez movie, we're watching for the bang and that's what this movie provides. 

P.S. - Rose McGowan looks freaking hot standing on a gun. 


"Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror. This terror is not due altogether to the sinister manner of his recent disappearance, but was engendered by the whole nature of his life-work, and first gained its acute form more than seventeen years ago, when we were in the third year of our course at the Miskatonic University Medical School in Arkham. While he was with me, the wonder and diabolism of his experiments fascinated me utterly, and I was his closest companion. Now that he is gone and the spell is broken, the actual fear is greater. Memories and possibilities are ever more hideous than realities."

- H.P. Lovecraft, Herbert West: Reanimator

I notice I've been slacking a bit. Last month I posted about 15 times, but so far I've only posted 5 times. But it's all about quality, right? So here is another brilliant and thoroughly awesome review. 

I'm a bit of a gore freak. I admit it. I like hardcore horror. I like a lot of in-your-face visuals and viscera. Because I've read and watched just about everything that can severely repulse me, I do find myself a bit jaded and harder to repulse. I think that response is natural, though. And I'm that way with just about everything, too. Whether it's music or movies or books, I'm always trying to see what pushes the boundaries. 

Of course, these days everything is pretty hard to top. Seems like folks are making gory slasher remakes just because they can. Nothing wrong with making money, but seeing yet another replica of Leatherface chop up some dumbass kids is boring. Watching Saw 86 or Michael Myers Versus The Thing doesn't seem that exciting either. 

The shock movies these days just don't quite have the same impact of movies like Dead Alive or Re-Animator. These films really pushed the boundaries of blood, but they did so in a way that was fun and original. I bet few people could guess that the demented genius behind Dead Alive is the same guy behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. 

But I'm digressing a bit from point and my review. While I'd love to continue to champion the 80's b-horror films, I'd prefer to pimp out the film adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft and Re-Animator in particular. I figure that last bit should be obvious since this is a review for said film. 

The film adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe are rather well-known. Generally one thinks of Roger Corman and Vincent Price if not the actual man who actually wrote the stories when it comes to Poe. I don't think that H.P. Lovecraft has an obvious voice in the realm of horror cinema. In horror literature, sure. He's everywhere in horror literature. But not so much on the big screen. John Carpenter has probably made the most well known "Lovecraftian" film In the Mouth of Madness

But Re-Animator, directed by Stuart Gordon and starring Jeffery Combs as the frantic Herbert West, is pretty close to the top of the list of Lovecraft films. 

It's a loose adaptation, too. Gordon will even tell you such in the documentary Re-Animator Resurrectus. But it's a damn fun movie and one that really sells that "morgue vibe" needed to make the film work. And the Gordon didn't cut any corners when it came to the amount of nudity or blood. He wanted to make it as realistically as possible, given the subject matter. It's like what would really happen if some guy found a way to resurrect the dead. I mean, don't you just love seeing the asses of zombies? Yep, it's that kind of movie. 

And this movie contains one of the most disturbing scenes I think I've ever seen. It's the one where the decapitated zombie guy holding his head in his hands starts giving a woman tied to a table... head. Yeah... nothing gross there. 

The strength of this movie is in its ability to combine black humor with extreme gore. I think movies from the 80's did this particularly well because the 80's culture was just so damn cheesy it really wasn't that much of a stretch.

Jeffery Combs steals the film, but look out for the tall and Karloff-esque David Gale to have a few head spinning scenes of his own.

Stuart Gordon has directed two more Lovecraft adaptations (From Beyond and Dagon) and Herbert West would return in a couple of sequels (Bride of Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator... with Jeffery Combs returning in both films to portray the madman), but Gordon was at his best with Re-Animator. That and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but that's something entirely different. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Depraved by Bryan Smith

I think I described The Killing Kind as being a cross between Quentin Tarantino and Richard Laymon and I'd say Depraved fits that description as well. This book is downright brutal and... depraved. 

Want to know what it is about? Sure you do.

Jessica, Hoke, Pete, and Megan have all wound up in the town of Hopkins Bend, Tennessee, by either chance or fate. But they may never leave. Hopkins Bend is a town of backwoods rednecks and even mutant rednecks. Worse than that is the fact that the residents of Hopkins Bend don't like outsiders and delight in torturing them and even eating them. 

But perhaps what is more disturbing (or depraved) than the residents themselves are the acts that the desperate victims are willing to go through to survive. 

If you love tales about rednecks, revenge, and even the supernatural then you could do worse than to pick this bad boy up. But you better brace yourself for the blood. I mean it. There's enough blood in this book that, providing you had the ability of spontaneous materialization, you could probably re-paint your house and possibly your neighbors with it. Just sayin'. 

But you don't want to re-paint your house, do you? You want to read this book. 

Pick it up here

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Keenedom 2.0

I was a member of Brian Keene's old message board for a little while before it went bottom up. The board was called The Keenedom in case you didn't guess that and when it went away I sort of found myself with less shit to do on the internet. That's usually been the case with me, too. I've rarely been able to stick to message boards because they become deserted sooner or later. The Richard Laymon Kills Board was and still is a ghost town. Shocklines... well, that place was never all that great and I haven't been back to it in forever, but it probably still sucks. Various music message boards (too many to name, really) have all sort of just come around my away and then disappeared from my daily routine.

When the Deadite Press Board popped up I was sort of intrigued but I quickly became disappointed with Deadite products and thought it would be kind of silly to join their board. But I did so just to sort show my support for Bryan Smith's web page. Just to get the place hopping, I guess.

The only boards that really stick with me is the Stephen King Message Board and KAOS. Hell, those places tolerate me so they can't be all that bad. I'm not even going to say that Facebook or Twitter has stuck with me because they'll probably fade away eventually, too. So the SKMB, my blog (which is more populated than Richard Laymon Kill, for sure... and I'm surprised I haven't been banned yet by the moderator), and KAOS (I was invited here... shows what taste they have) are really the only places I chill and shoot the stuff.

When I read on Brian Keene's web page that he had resurrected his old board as The Keenedom 2.0, I guess I was excited. Or at the very least I found more shit to do on the internet. Hopefully, it'll stick around for a while.

Monday, March 4, 2013


I went into this movie not entirely sure what to expect. I didn't know if it was going to be raunchy or the more slapstick type of humor (that also seems to be raunchy, these days). Of course, when I saw Seth Rogen's name and the fact that it was from the same team that did Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin I basically assumed it was going to be raunchy. And it was. I think I heard the words "dick" and "fuck" enough times that I came up with a fun drinking game out of it. Just take a shot every time you hear 'em drop the "f" bomb or the "d" bomb and you'll wake up naked in a field somewhere, wondering where the fuck you are and where your clothes went. 

But I'll be damned if this movie didn't entertain me and I enjoyed it just as much as I had The 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up. And like those two movies, this film is also about dealing with issues and that sort of get overlooked in the scheme of things. Sure, this film sort of resembles American Pie, but it doesn't rely so heavily on sex. Beer, yes. Partying, yes. But not sex. Well, okay, there was some "period blood" dancing. And a hot make out scene in which Martha MacIsaac almost took it all off. And did I also mention that the words "dick" and "fuck" were used a lot? Okay, so maybe sex is a large equation in this movie. Hell, we're dealing with kids who are supposed to be teenagers so that shouldn't be any surprise. 

Michael Cera, Emma Stone, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse all gave career making performances. Especially Christopher Mintz-Plasse who was 17 at the time this movie was made and making his film debut as Fogell aka McLovin. By law, Christopher's mom had to be on the set during McLovin's sex scene because he was only 17. Awkward. 

Jonah Hill, born in 1983 and 26 at the time this movie was made, plays a convincing teenager as well and his dick-drawing phase as a child is just about the funniest thing I've seen. 

But let's get to what this real movie is about: Seth Rogen and Bill Hader. I probably should have my head examined, but I think Seth Rogen is a hilarious guy. I have no idea who Bill Hader is, but he seemed to be a great foil for Rogen's character. Both of them play unrealistically inept cops and their run-ins with the main characters are infinitely amusing. Kinda stupid, but stupid-awesome. 

Of course, there's a message somewhere in this movie. It's about learning to move on and accepting change in life. 

But if you want to laugh your ass off at dick jokes then there's that, too. 

Shane McKenzie's Tips for Writing Extreme Horror

I don't necessarily subscribe to any tips or tricks for writing. I probably should, though. I typically write from my gut and hope I like the end result. I believe that writing from what I know and understand yields a more potent and personal result. Recycling the opinion of others just doesn't quite do it for me. I don't want to come off sounding insincere even if I'm writing about a guy being sodomized by a flying gorilla... which I'm not, by the way. But if I was I'd write it in a way that best suited the story and not the demands of bloodthirsty fan boys. Story comes first. Of course, I'm just a beginner and I'm still trying to find out what makes me tick and what doesn't. So what do I know. 

However, I read the article from Shane McKenzie, an author I've never read anything from at all, on the Bizarro web page and thought I'd share it. I don't agree that the gross-outs should be the most memorable part of the book or story, but I'd agree that a good gross-out is an attention-grabber. 

I love a good hardcore story, but I do not think characterization is uninteresting and it should not be treated as such. Indeed, if you can make the characters real enough and important enough to where the reader doesn't want a bloodbath to happen than I believe the book or story will be all the more gut-wrenching when the bloodbath does happen. Sometimes starting slow and steady yields far more satisfying and disturbing results. 

But that's just my take as a reader. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why, Yes, I Like Nickelback... Sort Of

When I was in the seventh grade, my history teacher told me that he had gotten the new Nickelback album The Long Road. He was undoubtedly expecting me to say, "oh, yeah, that's cool," but I didn't. I just sort of nodded and pretended I cared. Honestly, I'd never heard of Nickelback. This was 2004 and I was maybe fourteen or fifteen. The Long Road literally came out two days before my fourteenth birthday in 2003, but I wasn't introduced to this particular album until 2004. In general I had not cared about modern music and still don't although I have widened my umbrella. I was huge into Guns N Roses at the time and that is sort of what bonded me to my seventh grade history teacher. We liked the same tunes. Well, except for Nickelback. Again, I had never heard of them and I just assumed that they were a shitty band like Korn or Limp Bizkit. I really hated Nu-metal and I still do for the most part. Of course, I suppose I tolerate Korn more now and I even have most of their CD's (their "early" stuff). But Korn is a different story and that was largely just a phase because I rarely revisit their music anymore.

This is about Nickelback. And, well, my musical tastes in general as a young sprout. My first CD's were Bad Company's Anthology, Ozzy's Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, and GN'R's Appetite for Destruction. Sabbath didn't come until later, I'm sad to say. My dad had a music catalog for BMG that he got in the mail and I "enlisted" us in a monthly subscription and "purchased" a few CD's. I was only a kid so I obviously didn't have money. I even chose Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar when I was in the sixth grade and I can't imagine the parents of too many kids not being slightly upset by seeing that in their kid's music collection. But it was in mine, by God. And my dad paid for it without saying anything. I was huge into Manson by then, but even Manson's prime had already passed by then. I was just a little too late. In order for me to have really appreciated when he was around I would have to have been born earlier. 

But my seventh grade history teacher played most of the songs on The Long Road a million times. You may think I'm joking, but I'm really not. I knew all of the lyrics to pretty much every song without ever having to look up the lyrics because he just kept playing it. He just played the album so much. A few times I got him to play some of Deep Purple's Made in Japan or a few of the clean songs from GN'R's Appetite to just change things up, but mostly he played Nickelback's The Long Road

Yeah, he was pretty cool about playing tunes in class. Unfortunately, a few of my CD's vanished while I was at school: Metallica's The Black Album, Tesla's Standing Room Only, my copies of Purple's Machine Head and Made in Japan. I don't know if they vanished while I was in his class, but they certainly vanished and I still say to this day that they were stolen. And I think that was what made my teacher tighten his policy up about music because I remember trying to listen to Sabbath's Past Lives while we were watching some movie and being told to put my headphones away. 

Sometime later, I'm not quite sure when, I got a copy of Nickelback's The Long Road for myself. You see, I had listened to the songs so many times by then at school that it almost didn't feel right for me to not have a copy of it. After that I naturally collected a few of their other CD's because I am a bit of a hoarder that way. Yeah, I admit it: I like Nickelback, but it's mostly a timeline thing that is sort of difficult to explain. 

Thing is... most of the tunes I like were around before I was born. Although I love Sabbath to death and could talk to you about any lineup of Sabbath until you'd turn blue in the face, I didn't experience Sabbath. I wasn't around when they made all the records I love and they weren't around when I really grew to love Sabbath. But Nickelback was around and new and I listened to one of their "older" albums when it was "new." This probably sounds silly, but that kind of means something to me. Basically, I'm older than Nickelback, not the band members but the actual band, and I find rather comforting that I can sort of age with a band rather than to look forward to an all too near future where all my heroes croak from old age. It's not just Nickelback, but bands like Slipknot, System of a Down, Stone Sour, and Trivium, too. These aren't necessarily before my time but of my time. And all of the bands I just mentioned sort of ring with my days in school because no one else I knew was listening to Black Sabbath when I was in the seventh grade. No one else was listening to AC/DC when I was in the fourth grade. So those few common bonds I had between my fellow students kind of kept me tethered to the "now" and not the "past." A past I never even experienced in the way my teachers or my dad had. 

So I make it a point to listen to some Nickelback every now and then. Not the new stuff, but The Long Road. It's nothing to brag about, really. I should probably be ashamed. I mean, they're the Canadian version of a bad American band. My brain tells me that, but my ears sort of tell me different. Yeah, it's probably bad for me, but it's the memory that matters to me. I still know all of the tunes by heart. I remember hearing the singles on the radio and all that. 

This album does speak to me about the past, but it's my past from my time and I think that is an important distinction to make. 

Will I still be listening to it in twenty years? I don't know. But I've been listening to it for about ten years now and I still appreciate it. 

Slayer's Christ Illusion, Slipknot's Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, and a few other albums also resonate with my high school experience. Other kids were into them at the time. Not many, but enough. We'd get into debates over whether or not Slipknot had sold out or whatever. I guess I was just glad to fit in a bit. That was unusual for me so that's another case of me being tethered to the "now." Because I don't think I could have found anyone my age to debate whether or not Sabbath's Tony Martin lineup was better than Deep Purple's David Coverdale lineup. 

Anyway, when I think about middle school I really do think about Nickelback. Of course, middle school really sucked for me so I guess it's only fitting that discovering Nickelback's music was the highlight of the time.

So yeah, I like Nickelback. Deal with it.