sharon stone is stupid

Sharon Stone, ladies and gentlemen, is really, really, really stupid and insensitive. But that probably comes as no surprise.

I don't disagree that the treatment of Tibet is shameful, but to blame working-class Chinese citizens for Tibet is like blaming me for the Shaw of Iran.


PS: That annoying new Coldplay song sounds EXACTLY EXACTLY EXACTLY like U2. Deny it! I dare you!


happy post-memorial day weekend

POST #100!!!

This is a whole lot longer than I thought I would last.



Dominic West (McNulty of The Wire) has made the list of the top ten British actors with unconvincing American accents. Now, while there was a moment or two of unconvincing Baltimore drawl, the accent wasn't that bad overall. I guess the Brits can tell. Stringer Bell on the other hand...he's gravy.


looks very good.

Here's a cool-looking trailer for the new J.J. Abrams show, coming in August.

The best part? Lt. Daniels/Matthew Abaddon (Lance Reddick) is in it!

It's nice to catch J.J.'s eye. Once there, you're always there. The Wire's cast is everywhere these days.


PS: I would be nervous about Joshua Jackson's involvement, except that J.J. made Matt Fox cool. I trust him.


beautiful site, eh?


duh nu nu nu nuNUH du nu nu nu nu nu NUH DuNUhNUHNUH...that's the original animated series' theme song, by the way

I haven't been excited about an animated series in years, but next year's Wolverine and the X-Men is going to rule. I'm excited that the writers appear to be exploring the recent developments in the X-Men, and actually making use of the comics' extensive ensemble. In the trailer, we can see Emma Frost, Polaris, Scarlet Witch, Domino, and several others that never played big roles in the original series.

Hell yeah. Can't wait.



Nates on a Plane

I'm watching Snakes on a Plane, and I have to applaud it for actually including a heroic gay character. It's only half-way through, so they could fuck this up. But he totally just microwaved a cobra. It was awesome.

In fact, the film also includes heroic women, asians, and old people. Hell, this is kinda cool.


EDIT: Yeah, they just made a pretty horrible gay joke. Guess it's never easy for social progress in action films.

EDIT #2: WAIT. The dude wasn't gay. It was a running joke. That's pretty stupid.

I'm gonna eat your fucking daughter, Ben.

So, the casting for the upcoming Wolverine film is actually rather interesting. For instance, I think Ryan Reynolds will make a fantastic Deadpool.

But, the really funny thing is that Kevin Durand (pictured) who plays Keamy on this season of LOST, will be playing...THE BLOB.

Isn't that awesome? Durand makes for fantastic evil as Keamy, so I'm looking forward to this.



Domick Monaghan, Charlie on LOST, will be playing Beak...the ugliest X-Man ever.

Evidently, the filmmakers have a boner for LOST.


Vern and FL

I'm now alone in Florida.

Pray for me.

I'm already on "Tricia Tanaka is Dead", and that means LOST Season 3 has approximately 24 hours until I devour the rest of it. I'll have the individual reviews up soon.


finally started experimenting with the self-timer



just watch it, please

MGMT - "Time to Pretend"

This is the second best single of the year, behind "Hitten".


"A Tale of Two Cities"

Lost: “A Tale of Two Cities” (Season 3, Episode 1)

Not a terrible episode, but ultimately rather unproductive. The main points seemed to be to introduce Juliet, establish the Hydra Sation’s complex workings, and display the real capabilities of the Others. Juliet’s final conversation with Jack is heartbreaking, and should’ve been a good indicator that she was going to prove to be a great character. Her opening scene is also rather cool.

By the way, Jack’s wife is really rather cruel, isn’t she? Jack may be an asshole, but she is really not very sympathetic at all. Her final words to Jack (“Look on the bright side, now you have something to fix.”) were rather caustic, weren’t they?

This episode does much to deepen Jack's thematic troubles, and I have to be thankful for that. Otherwise, Jack would just completely suck.

Best Line(s): Ben's "Then you don't get any coffee." and Tom's "It only took the bears two hours."

Best Moment: A tie between Juliet punching Jack in the face after they close the emergency door, and Jack tackling his Dad at his AA meeting.

Grade: B-


we're fated to pretend

I just picked up the DVDs of the 3rd Season of LOST. I'm very excited, despite the fact that Season 3 is my least favorite of the seasons so far.

I'm watching "A Tale of Two Cities" right now. Man, Elizabeth Mitchell & Michael Emerson were great additions, weren't they? Only Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) comes close as far as new characters go.

Maybe I'll do an episode-by-episode review.



I'm watching Gladiator right now, and it's much, much better than I remembered. I also rewatched X-Men: The Last Stand, and my feelings are less hateful, but no less disappointed.


Tonight, I watched two episodes of Two and a Half Men, and the season finale of How I Met Your Mother. I thought that Two and a Half Men was going to be quite terrible, but it was actually quite funny. Charlie Sheen, Blythe Danner, and whoever the other guy is (he played Ducky in Pretty in Pink) are all really, genuinely funny.

Plus, Jane Lynch was totally in one of the episodes. She's side-splitting as Charlie's psychiatrist. I love her so, so much. Funniest lady in Hollywood.


oh alright...

Glance at the Sky in Florida.
By the Pool in Florida.
Jeff's Robotic Creation.
Coca Cola Goes Green.

I like these guys too. My digital camera was the best gift I ever got.


real simple-like

I just like this picture. It took it, and it's of my friend Jeff.


PS: I'm in Palm Coast, Florida now.


It was always worth it...that's the part I tried to hide.

Later today, I am heading down to Florida for the Summer. (Long story, don't ask.)

I'll be alone down there for a bit, so there might be a noticeable uptick in my updates.

Re: LOST as of late.

Keamy is a really good villain in that I want him to die so fucking badly it hurts me physically. If he doesn't bite it in parts 2 & 3 of the season finale, I may scream. Does anybody know when the show is coming back after this?

Also, I see one of these three dying in the next episode (pray I'm wrong). I'm thinking we're gonna lose either Sawyer, Jin, or Bernard. Bernard is something of a long shot, but he got some unusually plentiful face time this season, and he's always showing up out of obscurity when the shit hits the fan.

I figure somebody has to die next episode. It just seems like with the whole "Oceanic 6" story going forward, I think we're gonna find out why they had to claim that two people made it to the island and then died. Who will they be? Not Jin; last episode made that clear. So, Sawyer and Desmond? Not Claire; her mum would've said something. Maybe Bernard or Rose?

Who knows.


If you see the cause of what you've done, feel free to do it all undone

Today I made a mix of some of my favorite songs of 2008 so far. Here's a tracklist for y'all curious little buggers.

Nate's (Practically) the End of the 1st Qtr of 2008 Mix

01. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - "Cold Son"
02. Holy Fuck - "Lovely Allen" (album version)
03. High Places - "Hello"
04. The Mountain Goats - "San Bernardino"
05. Dodos - "Ashley"
06. The Notwist - "The Devil, You + Me"
07. No Age - "Sleeper Hold"
08. Fleet Foxes - "Your Protector"
09. Boris - "となりのサターン"
10. Blank Dogs - "RCD Song"
11. Animal Collective - "Cobwebs"
12. Cornelius - "Gum " (Prefuse 73 Flavor Burst Gum Rock Remix)
13. Mount Eerie - "Domesticated Dog"
14. High Places - "Sandy Feat"
15. MGMT - "Time to Pretend"
16. Kelley Polar - "Entropy Reins (in the Celestial City)"
17. The Mai Shi - "I Get Almost Eveything"
18. The National Bank - "Taste of Me"
19. Hercules & Love Affair - "Hercules' Theme"

It's a pretty good mix, if I do say so myself. The end is rather catchy.



robins in spring


(all pictures are my original photography, please do not use without asking, thank you.)

This Spring, outside of my family's kitchen window, two robins made a nest in the holly.

One day, these two robins had four eggs, and eventually, four little chicks.

I took a few pictures of the robins and their babies. The babies were the ugliest things I had ever seen, but I fell in love. I was hoping to take pictures throughout the next two weeks as they grew.

Today, a snake scaled the holly outside our kitchen window, killed Mama robin, and ate all four chicks.

My dad saw the entire thing, and even tried to chase the snake away with a broken golf club. My mom and sister almost cried when I gave them the news.

My mom said it was all "just really sad."

I would have to agree with her.



a link you guys will like

Okay. This is the best gimmicky blog since Stuff White People Like.

It's Things Younger Than John McCain.



It is YOUR Government...I suppose that is a small consolation

I watched Stephen Frears' The Queen earlier today, and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to check it out. It is quite an interesting production, both artistically, and politically.

Obviously, Helen Mirren was fantastic, but I was equally taken with Martin Sheen's Tony Blair throughout the film. While Mirren was allowed a certain amount of artistic leeway - there are very little public preconceptions about the Queen's private demeanor compared to Blair's - Martin Sheen was given the role of a very public, over-scrutinized politician in his first week in office. Considering that the film was made and released toward the end of Tony Blair's political fall from grace - directly due to his support of Bush's War in Iraq - one can't help but see the depiction of Blair's early days as somewhat bittersweet.

In the film's last scene, Queen Elizabeth warns Blair that the British people will one day turn on him, without notice. Of course, we, as viewers, know that this has already happened. Over the course of the film, Blair is repeatedly accused of snuggling up to the establishment, despite his reputation as a reformer. This, along with that line of dialogue from Mirren's Queen Elizabeth, seem to create a second, sub-textual narrative to the film: The Tragic Fall of Tony Blair.

Looking for the script online, I discovered that the aforementioned line spoken by the Queen was NOT in the original script. Hmmm...this just leads me to believe that this sub-text was very purposefully established by Mr. Frears.



The films I've watched in the past 24 hours:

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer

I feel my brain rotting away. However, none of them were as bad as I expected.



A belated "Happy Cinco de Mayo!" to everybody

And now, a message from The Family Circus:

It kind of seems like he's questioning what she just told him:
"Mommy, do we hafta have a reason for a hug? I mean, are you sure? You know, I asked around, and nobody else's mommy have a four hug per year limit. Mommy? Mommy?"

(all appropriate credit due to The Comics Curmudgeon, whose bit I'm stealing here.)


A monthly feature? Say it ain't so: 5 Things I'm Digging This Month

5 Things I'm Digging in May of 2008

[For fan's of my early LJ work, this might remind some of the monthly "Cool List" I used to do...basically, you're on-the-nose with that one. But back then, Woody Allen, Lou Reed, and David Bowie had permanent joint-residence at the top of my lists. That is no longer true, because this list is only in reference to RECENT pop culture happenings. I'm sorry for any disappointment this may cause any old school fans of my internet ramblings {i.e. Marj}]

5. Wolf Parade - "Grey Estates"/"Kissing the Beehive"
Both of these are tracks from the upcoming Wolf Parade LP, At Mount Zoomer. Krug's stuff tends to catch me quicker than Boekner's contributions, but Boekner's "Grey Estates" was the first song to truly catch my ear on my first listen-through the whole album. Both songs are great, but the whole album strikes me as more of a grower than their debut, so we'll see what my favorites are by December/January come EOY-list-Season. "Grey Estates" is a more familiar-sounding song than "Kissing the Beehive," but both show the growth of the band's songwriters. Spencer Krug always gets the credit between the two, with Dan Boekner's songs usually sidelined. But, for me, Boekner's tendency toward urban epics [I'm thinking "Grey Estates," "This Heart's on Fire," and "Shine a Light", specifically] in conjunction with Krug's freak-pop sensibilities [I'm thinking "Fancy Claps," "I'll Believe in Anything," and his side-project Sunset Rubdown's Shut Up I am Dreaming, among other things] define Wolf Parade's sound and "feel".

4. Iron Man doing so damned well at the box office
Well, Iron Man did better this weekend than (almost certainly) anybody expected. What does this mean for me? Robert Downey Jr. is fucking back for good! Woo! No more "what if he snorts all my coke" from movie execs when his name comes up. Way to go Robby.
Ahem. And, you know...other things excite me about this too. I'm not a huge fan of the comic book, but Marvel's recent Civil War storyline has gotten me somewhat familiar with his paper and ink incarnation. The HUGE financial success of this movie just makes it more likely that The Incredible Hulk will do well, and, regardless of quality, both films' success would make large cinematice comic book cross-overs more likely. You know we've all been waiting for someone to pull this off right, and if Marvel makes the studios enough money, they'll eventually let them cross-over profitable franchises. As I understand it, there are cross-overs between Iron Man, Hulk, and the rumored/upcoming Nick Fury film; what with Tony Stark (IM's alter-ego) appearing in Hulk, Nick Fury (in the form of Samuel L. Jackson) appearing [and firmly introducing the concept of S.H.I.E.L.D. to movie-goers...finally] in Iron Man, and god-knows-what going down during the possible Nick Fury or Avengers flicks.
I think that this creation of a cohesive cinematic Marvel universe is a GREAT move, mostly because it [hopefully] will create a somewhat measurable standard of quality for Marvel's future films (good-bye throwaway shit like Daredevil and Ghost Rider?) and allow for more substantial cinematic adaptations of comic book sagas without having to tie them to specific actors or characters [especially useful in the case of contract/continuance disputes]. If Marvel can get over the hump (and Iron Man's success may indicate that it has) of having to sell specific characters in their films (i.e., running the risk of running out of recognizable/profitable faces), then they can really let the story-telling creativity flow in the future.
Imagine a world in which comic book movie franchises don't have to start with stangnant origin stories, and can instead develop characters already "created" onscreen. We've seen this done woefully with Elektra, but Daredevil isn't much to start with. Hopefully, these theoretical spin-offs would fit into larger, multi-film, intercinematic story arcs. Cross-overs that are not framed simply as X vs. Y, but have complex, involved storylines, could sustain the popularity and creative juices of comic book films as a genre well past this or the next decade.
Of course, Iron Man's success could be more of an indicator of Marvel's newly minted cinematic Brand Name. Maybe I can look forward to having the annual BIG MARVEL MOVIE(S) usher me into old age.

[PS: The only problem with all this is that X-Men: The Last Stand blew so goddamned hard it fucking hurts every-single-time-I-think-about-it...oh God, my eyes are bleeding from sheer X-Men fanboy fury. I know that Magneto and Wolverine spin-offs are lined up for 2009, but the whole franchise seems tainted. I can't trust future films within this franchise after Last Stand ignored almost every character's established traits and personality. And I'm not talking established in the comics, I mean character stuff set up within the first two films. Brett Ratner, the film's director, expects me to accept that Rogue was put through all the henious shit of the first two films only to voluntarily give up her powers cuz she doesn't want to blue ball Iceman? {no pun intended} Really? Thanks, I'm glad that was the character arc of one of comic history's greatest heroines. Don't even get me started on the unnecessary sidelining of Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops {permanently, in this case}, Jean Grey (well, sorta necessary here and in Magneto's case, kinda), and Mystique by film's end. I would have loved to see Rebbecca Romijn's Mystique lead an incarnation of the Brotherhood of Mutants in future spin-offs, or perhaps just generally achieve the same level of canonized awesomeness as her comic counterpart. Not to hate in RR's portrayal in any way; I am a big fan. {Oh, and for the haters, yes, RR was PERFORMING. People get nominated for/win Oscars for playing mutes, and they don't have to communicate through a second skin of make-up. I was more impressed with Rebecca Romijn's performances in the X-Men films and Femme Fatale than either of Charlize Theron or Halle Berry's Oscar-winning de-glams.} I'm hoping that there are more spin-offs of the X-Men franchise coming down the pipe, assuming the success of the not-yet-named Magneto project and the un-cinematically titled X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What's frustrating about those two films is that they are exploring the early years/non-X-Men time for each character, which means that the narrative of the central films will not continue until another, non-Origin spin-off. That is somewhat annoying, considering the heavy/nearly invsible teasing at the very end of Ratner's film {his occasionally successful use of tiny comic book references was his one saving grace as a director, he also, unfortunately, didn't know when to quit} that hints at Xavier surviving Jean's deadly telekinetic-exfoliation and Magneto regaining his powers {though I do wonder where Magnus got the metal chess pieces he was using in the park; I have yet to run into a set of those.})

[PPS: On the subject of Samuel L. Jackson's rumored casting as the titular character in the upcoming Nick Fury film: I am fully in favor of it. Like 100% awesome, in my book. You see, I am actually far more familiar with the "Ultimate" version of Nick Fury than I am with the traditional Fury, who is a crotchety old white man. Some fans are calling shenanigans on the casting, but I don't have any true affection for Caucasian Nick Fury, and Sam Jackson needs an action role that isn't literally written for him to flesh out. My phrasing there is a bit ironic, considering the main reason that I agree with the casting: the Ultimate Marvel version of Nick Fury is visually based on Jackson, and in an issue of The Ultimates {the "Ultimate" Avengers, basically}, Fury says he would want Jackson to play him in a film adaptation of The Ultimates' exploits. This may seem corny, but it is enough to settle the matter for me. Besides, I'm not sure we'll be seeing this Nick Fury film in its current rumored form. I think we're gonna end up with a film adaptation of either The Avengers or The Ultimates. I think Marvel may be wiser to use The Ultimates, and try to tie their new franchises close together, and to their current, fresh line of comics. This way, as Marvel's sales rise, the distinction between the original and Ultimate versions will become public common knowledge, and then the film's may be granted more experimental breathing room with characters. Besides, the cinematic Marvel universe more resembles Ultimate Marvel in its modern origins. Of course, with the retconning of Ang Lee's Hulk with Edward Norton's least-favorite-movie-to-promote-of-all-time, and the possible future retconning of the Spider-Man and X-Men films to explain the absence/change of characters/actors, the cinematic Marvel universe will have more "alternate versions" than the comic book world. Of course, that is not true. NOTHING will ever contain more alternate universes than the Marvel Comics multiverse...except, possibly, the theoretical real-life multiverse, String Theory and whatnot.]

3. Earth's The Bees Make Honey in the Lion's Skull, The Notwist's The Devil, You + Me, & El Guincho's Alegranza!; 3 great essay-writing albums.
Evidently, Earth's earlier albums were heavier and more, you know, lively. Or so says this markedly subpar review of the band's show in Chicago this past Friday. I haven't heard their back catalog (just got a couple of older albums, tho...I am muy, muy siced to listen) but I'm willing to bet that they haven't just decided to start sucking, just for the Hell of it. Either way, their 2008 release, The Bees Make Honey in the Lion's Skull has been played on my iTunes somewhere near 60 times in the past two months; so I'm a big fan of this album. It's melodic, long-winded, and really charming. Out of all the albums I play when people are studying in my room, this one has earned the most fans outside of academia. It's 7 tracks long, but every track is decently long, falling in the middle ground between 5 and 10 minutes, and every note seems to come at just the right moment. It's definitely my favorite Spacey Stoner music of the moment.
However, The Notwist and El Guincho's new albums have also wrapped themselves around my brain, especially due to their heavy rotation during the last month of school, and all the study sessions therein. The Notwist's album isn't particularly ground-breaking, and they don't really show any intentions of adapting their sound based on current fads in music. They still sound a little bit like a more optimistic, organic Radiohead [I am not implying that Radiohead is "inorganic", but their take on a similar mix of rock and electronic influences is a lot colder, less rooted in familiar territory than The Notwist's], but they have not diminished in creativity or listenablity as far as these ears can tell. This album is a lot more guitar/instrument based than Neon Golden, but it maintains the same mood as that earlier album.
El Guincho, according to AllMusic, is Pablo Díaz-Reixa, who ran away from home at age 14 to pursue a career in sports, but ended up an internet success story. Or that's how NBC4 would begin things. It seems that this kid ended up becoming a musician, and joined his cousin's band, Coconut. Díaz-Reixa was "inspired while on tour", code for "saw someone else do it first", to blend samples of psychedelic, calypso and tropilcalia from older South American records with his own percussion. This stuff is like Panda Bear's secret party time side-project, which makes sense, seeing as Person Pitch, the album this most sounds like, was made after Panda Bear moved to Portugal. Whatever cultural appropriation is going on here, it sounds fantastic.
Checking these albums out is a requirement for friends of mine from now on.

02. Studying Angels in America; or just the looming shadow of my future academic work in general
Having studied the play all-too-briefly in my US Lit Since 1960 course this semester, I was immediately taken with the academic dissection of Tony Kushner's play. I already have pages upon pages of notes on this play, and I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER take notes on anything. Long story short, I can see myself becoming a scholar of the play, or at least writing a dissertation on it for a Graduate degree. Maybe I should become a Doctor of American Theater.
Anyways, the play is just brilliant, and every glance I take at its pages just makes me want to write another thirty or forty pages about it. Unfortunately, I have never seen it performed, and have no intentions on doing so until a particular professional production tickles my fancy. Ah well. At least I have a pretty-darned-good (but juuuust shy of great) movie adaptation to fall back on. Besides, I'm not sure any interpretation of the diner scene between Belize and Louis would do justice to my love for Kushner's writing itself.
I hope that I end up writing things that people want to read. New things. New thoughts. Or at least, new angles on things. That would be nice. Kushner's got that down.

01. Academic Journal Articles, especially my access to them through the school
I'm tired, so I won't say much, but I will leave you with a few titles to ponder. Keep in mind, I used 3 out of four of these as sources on my final papers this semester:
Clover - "Her Body, Himself - Gender in the Slasher Film" - 1987
Bishop - "Raising the Dead - Unearthing the non-literary origins of zombie cinema" - 2006
Hesmondhalgh - "Post-Punk's Attempt to Democratise the Music Industry - The Success and Failure of Rough Trade" - 1997
David & Munoz - "Heads and Freaks - Patterns and Meanings of Drug Use Among Hippies" - 1968

My conclusion? I am a nerd. Thank you.



just a thought, really...

All recent hype aside, No Age is a damned good band. I have been really into droney, spacey, sludgy, fuzzy rock recently, and it appears that this sound is thriving across the globe. Take 2008 alone; there's been some great fuzz goin round.

Here's a sampling of some good fuzzed-out rock, drone metal stuff, and noise music from the year so far:
Earth – The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull
Times New Viking – Rip it Off
Boris – Smile
No Age – Nouns
Blank Dogs – On Two Sides
Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
Goslings – Occasion
Natural Snow Buildings – Laurie Bird
Ocrilim – Annwn

All of these are good records, if you're into what they're selling, which not everybody is. Looking over this post, I have to wonder when I stopped enjoying lyrics.



oh ps

Oh, and, just so I don't forget this, here is the most comprehensive list of the most acclaimed movies of 00s I've seen yet. The IMDB can suck this list's left nut.


No, look, it's exactly what you said the other day: "chocolate! chocolate! chocolate! aaack!"

I promise that I will soon be posting my actual thoughts and reviews of pop culture-ish items. In the meantime, enjoy various links and time-wasters. The internet is chock full of 'em.

This will drain hours from your existence, if it hasn't already. It's called Line Rider, and it is deadly.

Kalei pointed me toward this one: This is some CUTE. ASS. SHIT.

Yeah, fuck me for never checking out Google Scholar before. I'm an idiot. [Yeah, I left the 'f' out of the hyperlink...I'm challenging preconceived notions of internet communication. How bout that...I just messed up, actually. I'm very lazy, and would rather type all this than fix the link. Moving on.]

A brief post on how YouTube has resurrected all the "lost" racist Looney Tunes cartoons. Includes a debate on the implication of the availablity of such material.


Oh, and I'm two episodes away from finishing a complete viewing of the first season of Flight of the Conchords, and I'm really impressed by how much the show developed over one season. The same can definitely be said of 30 Rock.

I saw a thread on favorite current TV characters over at AwardsDaily. After careful consideration, my vote goes to Murray Hewitt of FotC. Too good. Benjamin Linus of Lost is a close second.

Lost has been kicking ass, no? The last two episodes have been phenomenal. I'll have more detailed thoughts soon. Promise.