Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Is that like an Eastern thing?

Fuck cars. I hate them. I don't understand them. Maybe I hate them because I don't understand them. Whatever, I don't care. Fuck 'em.

I know, I'm a guy. This means I should like cars. Not just like them, but love them, love spending countless hours talking about them, watching them on televisions, taking them apart and putting them back together.

Well, not this guy. With me, I think of my car like the life support system on the starship Enterprise: you don't even notice it until it stops working.

I had a flat tire on the way home from work. BLAM, I'm stuck. This is the second flat I've had in my life, and this one was no more unpleasant that the previous one. If anything, this one sucked less than the last one. Last time, I was stuck on the side of the freeway. This time, I managed to pull into a parking lot. So there's that at least.

But it was unique. In my previous five (almost six) years of driving experience, any time I had any kind of car trouble, the first thing I did was call my mother. Not to necessarily get her to come help me (though that was the case sometimes), but just to let her know what happened, where I was. It became comforting, the conversation we would have. And it was almost always the same.

"Hey, mom."
"Well, my car is messed up. Again."
"::frustrated sigh:: God, what now?"

Then I'd tell her the problem. We'd both attempt a diagnosis, despite both of us completely lacking in any sort of car knowledge. I'd wait either for her to come and get me or the tow truck to arrive, and when we got home, she'd always say the same thing: "Well, J....some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you." Only she'd pronounce "bear" like "bar," just like Sam Elliot in The Big Lebowski (which I'm almost certain she never saw, strangely enough). Then she'd remind me, "Shit happens, J. You can either laugh about or cry about it." I'd usually try to choose the former.

But I can't do that anymore. I had to fix the tire myself. I couldn't call my mom for help. I couldn't call her to tell her where I was, that I'd be late coming home. And when I got home, there was just my empty, dirty apartment. It's harder to laugh about the shit that happens when you're alone.

Fucking cars. Fuck them all.

I took your love for granted / And all the things you said to me

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

St. Anger

First off, check out the new template. Much easier to read than the old one (I think so, anyway), and goes better with the new black-and-white color scheme of my site.

Well, the new Metallica single, "St. Anger" (from their upcoming album titled -- oddly enough -- St. Anger) hit the radio today. It sounds a hell of a lot like their early stuff -- as though they found a time machine and jumped back to 1987, erasing Load, Reload, and the self-titled "black album" from memory. I liked those albums, but it's nice to hear them going back to their roots.

It's interesting listening to the song, because this is the first album on which singer/guitarist/songwriter/burn victim James Hetfield is sober. In the old days, Metallica's drinking prowess was so widely renowned that they earned the nickname "Alchohollica." There were even some bootleg t-shirts printed spoofing the cover of their Kill 'Em All album, renaming it Drank 'Em All. But after spending some time in rehab last year, James is clean. So it'll be interesting to hear the lyrics on the album, to see where they're coming from.

And oh yeah, the song: I actually didn't like it the first time I heard it. But when they played again two hours later, and I heard the whole thing, I came around. I can't wait for the new album. It comes out June 10th, by the way...the same day as Hail to the Thief, the new Radiohead album. June 10th is also my father's birthday, if memory serves. But then, I don't care about that. So...yeah.

And, hey, Spike Lee: your director commentary for 25th Hour was BORING. Just so you know.

Just call my name and I'll hear you scream: "Master! Master!"

Monday, May 26, 2003

Work on putting my site back together continues. It's slow going, but it's getting there.

I'll tell you something: finding emulated NES and SNES games in as enormous pain in the ass. Searches lead you to pages which only lead you to other pages, and then you're bombarded with a whole lot of pop-ups and no ROMs at all. (ROMs are what the emulated games are called, in case you didn't know.)

But it's worth it sometimes. Like a few days ago. I found a ROM for Final Fantasy IV, one of my very favorite games ever. Now, in the US, it was called Final Fantasy II (since the second and third FF games weren't released here). In addition to that, the game was seriously edited -- items and special attacks were removed, character details were either glossed over or deleted entirely, and the language was severely softened for the US audience. I know it may seem odd, in this day of Grand Theft Auto, to hear about bad words being removed from video games, but back in the early 1990s, that's the way it was.

So joy was mine when I found a ROM for not Final Fantasy II, but Final Fantasy IV -- translated from Japanese, and everything taken out put back in. I had found this ROM several years ago, but it went the way of the dodo when my laptop keeled over. And now I've found it again. Yeah.

Now, I just need to find Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, and my life will be complete. Well, as far as ROMs go, anyway.

And oh yeah: 25th Hour is a friggin' awesome movie. It's out on DVD, so if you haven't seen it, go get it now. No, seriously, right now.

Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends.
I've been putting this off for a while now, but I finally started work on my next script, Exposure, today. Since my friends and I are shooting it in July, I should have started a long time ago, but better late than never. I was so happy with myself, I decided to slap the first scene up here for everyone read.

(NOTE: Because this is just for my friends, and I'm going to direct it, I'm not adhering exactly to the rigid standards of screenplay format. If this bothers anyone...I don't care.)

Exposure, Scene 1


A bedroom, night. The lights are on, but dim.

JACK sits on the bed, stone-faced. A plastic bag by his side. He's staring at a photograph in his hand, though we can't see what it's a picture of.

After a moment, Jack puts down the photo and walks across the room to his stereo. He presses a few buttons to start the music, then walks back to the bed.

Cue music: "Lucky," Radiohead.

As he sits, he once again picks up the photo. We now see the picture: it's a celebration of some kind. Jack is standing with four of his friends: BRUCE, KYLE, BRANDON, and SARAH. In the photo, they are all happy and smiling. Jack is standing next to Sarah.

A wave of pain and sadness moves across his face as he looks at the photograph.

Music: "I'm on a roll / I'm on a roll this time / I feel my luck could change."

We zoom in on Sarah on Jack. The happy look on Jack's face is a sharp contrast to the gloom he has now. He mumbles along with the next line of the song:

Music/Jack: "Kill me, Sarah / Kill me again with love / It's gonna be a glorious day."

He puts down the photo and reaches into his bag. He pulls out a razor.

Wincing in pain, his cuts his wrists.

Music: "Pull me out of the air crash / Pull me out of the lake"

He leans back on his bed and closes his eyes.

Music: "Cause I'm your superhero / And we are standing on the edge...."


Dig the gloom, baby. And it only gets more depressing from there. I'm not exactly what you'd call an upbeat writer.

Comments on this (or anything else, for that matter) are welcome as always.

The breaking of the spirit thwarts the whole being. Your weapon is guilt.

Friday, May 23, 2003

The Shady Twilight of Man's Past

Hey, I'm updating for the first time in nearly three months. Holy shit. Don't blame me; blame my Dell laptop, which -- right about three months ago to the day -- decided, "You know what? Go fuck yourself." It just stopped working for no reason I can discern. I've since been using an archaic old desktop my mom had sitting in her closest. But since all my templates and the programs I use for the rest of my site are on the laptop, I haven't updated that, either. So I'm making myself a solemn vow to at least update the weblog at least once a day. It's not like I'm doing anything else with my time.

But would I be able to keep this promise? I wasn't sure, so I decided to learn my future. That's right I fired up...


Well, actually, I turned on the Nintendo.

Well, okay, I actually just opened my NES emulator on my computer. But, whatever.

For those of you who don't remember, about fifteen years ago, a game was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System by the name of Taboo. In the commercials, on the box, and everywhere in the instruction manual, they stressed that this was not for children: "TABOO is not for children under the age of 14!" screams the manual.

So, what is it? Porno? A bit of ultra-violence? No, it's a tarot card deck.

That's right: they released a Nintendo game that read your fucking Tarot.

Now, you may be wondering: "How is that a game?" Well, they're way ahead of you, because the manual stresses that "TABOO is not a game!!" Instead, it's a look back into "the shady twilight of man's past" (?) that is "your own personal link with the future, your glimpse into the unknown, into the future." In short: "THE TIME MACHINE ON NINTENDO!"

I can't make this stuff up.

So I decided to learn my future from this emulated game -- err, "Time Machine."

You start off by entering your name, birthdate and sex while some pretty cool music plays. Then, you must write your question. A gooffy-looking hand holding a quill writes all this stuff down on a badly-drawn scroll.

My question: "Will I be able keep this site running?"

Then, the shuffle the cards. Yes, they show the cards being shuffled. Then the cards are dealt.

My first card is the "Significator." I get the King of Coins. "This card is reversed," it says. "The situation at present is capable of using any means to achieve selfish or evil ends." Uh, sure.

Next, "The Crossing Card," which is the Nine of Swords. "Your immediate influence is suffering or loss."

My Crowning Card (don't ask me what any of this shit means, by the way) is the Two of Staffs, which means "Your near term goal or destiny is or is influenced by influence over others." 'kay.

The Base of the Matter is revealed to be the Moon: "The distant past foundation is selfishness, craftiness, or disgrace." Umm....

Past Inluences is the Four of Staffs: "Previous influences exerting pressure are the attainment of harmony, romance, or tranquility."

The Knight of Coins is my Forthcoming Influence: "Your forth-coming influence is able to conclude a laborious task." that a yes to my question? Oh, wait, more cards to go...

The Where One Finds Oneself card is the Page of Cups: "Your present situation/attitude is studious and true."

Views of Others gives me the Two of Swords. "Your tendencies as viewed by others are return of balance or stalemate."

Hopes and Fears reveals the Empress. "Your inner emotions sense or will soon sense a wish will come into development or fruition."

And, finally, we get the Final Outcome, which is the Eight of Staffs: "The outcome of previous mentioned" --yeah, that's what it said, previous mentioned-- "problems will be quick decisions."

And that's it. Next, I can pick some lucky numbers, but fuck that.

If anyone can tell what the hell any of that meant (is Miss Cleo out there?), I'd be glad to hear it.