Monday, September 29, 2008

what a fucking joke.

I've been really into Elliott Smith lately. And by really into Elliott Smith I mean obsessed with the song "I Didn't Understand." What a fucking great song. If you haven't heard it, I highly recommend you try to find it somewhere on the interweb. I dare someone to say they don't like this song. God. It's so good.

The geek in me has been resurfacing lately. I played Star Wars: Force Unleashed at Jake's the other day and it got me really hyped on Star Wars and so I broke out the Thrawn trilogy again and read that. I'm almost done with the first book of the series (Heir to the Empire) and, goddamn, it is so good. I forgot how great it was.

I've also found myself obsessed with anime all of a sudden. Anyone who knows me really well knows this happens every couple of years. You see, I used to completely obsessed with anime and it was pretty much all I was interested in in middle school (along with music). Once I got into high school, though, I started to realize most anime sucked. After awhile each series sort of seemed like the last one I watched and I was bored out of my mind. Most anime fans have no concept of quality control: they like everything and anything. It soon became a chore to find really awesome series... so I just stopped looking. I kept on getting interested in it again every year or so, and lo and behold, it's hit me again. I'm trying to find new series to start this time rather than just watch the ones I've watched over and over again. Kino's Journey is first on that list.

For anyone who thinks anime is fucking lame, I hear you. It usually is. But, if you're interested in watching something that is worth real artistic merit and you can like if you enjoy anime or not, I recommend checking these three series out:

Boogiepop Phantom
If you ask me what the best anime, ever, in the world is, I'll say Boogiepop Phantom. I know, the name is dumb as hell and you're looking at that picture thinking, "God, this looks fucking stupid," but really, trust me on this: this series is amazing. And I say amazing not in that way where I can't think of anything else to say, but where I actually mean it. It's nothing short of amazing.

There's no use explaining the story because the story is one of the most complex things I've ever watched unfold. Unlike EVERY mystery movie/TV show/book ever, this show assumes you're a smart human being and doesn't out right give you the answers to it's questions. It plants obvious and subtle clues to help you along the way, and it is entirely up to you to decipher it's extremely non-linear plot. Nothing is being directly handed to you in this series. It's fantastic.

If you like anything that's dark, fucked up, violent, psychological, or, hey, how about this novelty, intelligent, you should really check out this series. It comes highly, highly recommended.

His and Her Circumstances
I am hopeless romantic. If you give me a tastefully done, thoughtful, and melancholy story of love, I will probably like it. Movies like the Notebook only serve to piss me off: it's sappy, trite, and full of everything I hate about romance in media. His and Her Circumstances, thankfully, is of the former variety.

It's a simple story: it's about a high school romance. Erase everything else and it's just about two kids falling in love. That's it. And it is done so well. It's intelligent, it's charming, it's thoughtful, and is simply fun to watch. The series is done so well and has such a realistic feel to it while still having slapstick moments and such.

I have lots of really nice memories tied to this series. The best one is staying home from school the day the last volume of the series came out and watching it in my quiet house. For whatever reason, that day felt very special. It's hard to explain my emotional attachment to this series. Again, highly recommended.

Haibane Renmei
The reason I first got interested in this series was because of the involvement of Yoshitoshi ABe, who created another really great series called Serial Experiments Lain. I picked up the first volume of this and was pleasantly surprised: It was a quiet, melancholy anime with really nice art and an interesting enough story. I wasn't enthralled, but I enjoyed it. The first four episodes are very episodic in nature and only give hints to whats to come, but not much could be gathered from them. Nonetheless, the series interested me enough to pick up the second volume once it was released.

With the second volume, the story kicked in. And from there on out, I was nothing but completely engaged in this series. While it is a tranquil, slow-paced series (which I enjoy in anime), it is filled with dark musings and philosophical ideas that proved to make this much more than just simply "entertainment."

The story is about a girl who finds herself in a strange land after having a dream about falling from the sky. In this land, young females who call themselves Haibane inhabit a castle in a quiet countryside. Also, they have wings. I know, right? The girl who had the dream, Rakka, finds herself perplexed by this new world and doesn't know what to make of it, but the viewer is given hints as to the mysterious nature of this place.

This is a seriously great anime. It's smart and thoughtful, and paced to perfection. 13 episodes never went down so easy.

If you have never fashioned yourself as an anime person, I seriously beg of you to check out one of these three series. Borrow them from me, watch them online, whatever it takes for you to see these. I consider these just as artful as anything else I enjoy and I think you'd be doing yourself a big favor by checking these out. I know, the stigma of anime being lame, and to an extent I can agree it is... But it's also fucking awesome.

Seriously. I mean it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

some things.

- Tonight/last night was Okkervil River. It was, to put it simply, amazing. That word really does no justice to the show, though. The best part was this, though: the show was 18+, which meant they forced all the 18-20 crowd into the corner of the venue, not even able to stand at the front and making viewing the band itself difficult and impersonal. Here's where it gets awesome, though: for whatever reason, even after seeing my ID, the person at the front gave me a stamp for the 21+ section, which allowed me to stand front and center. I have no idea how this happened. It just did. The only bummer part was after their first encore, Congress decided to play their house music, barring Okkervil from playing their last encore and arguably one of my favorite songs. Oh well. I saw them play "Black" and "Westfall" and that's all I need in the long run. Overall, a complete success of a night.

- Michael and I were hanging out in my room today watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia today when some kid just walked in. He just walked in. He then mumbled something and I said, "Uh, can I help you?" He said he thought it was the study room since our names weren't on our door (John took them down) and he quickly bolted out. It was... odd.

- I did my first day of interning for the campus radio station today, and it was a lot of fun. It was fun to hang out with Chelsea and Lindsay and they allowed me to play a ton of my own music which was really cool.

Life moves ahead. It waits for no one.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

it's always sunny.

just another weekend.

Just as I was getting into the swing of college life, as I started to feel comfortable with the campus and the people surrounding me, my family decided to go out of town this weekend and leave me to watch over the house. At first, I was sort of perturbed by this. I didn't mind so much once I got here, though. College will be there when I get back. Nothing changes that much in two days.

Anyhow, today was a slow day. It was actually really nice. I did laundry, I watched a little TV, read a little bit. Anna even came over to say hi for a little while.

Then, at one point, I was lying down on my bed, just listening to some music and all of a sudden I started to cry. And it soon dawned on me why: this weekend I've spent at my house reminds me of too many weekend I had had last year. Nothing to do. No one to see. The sun shines through windows in that strange, unsettling way, and I just felt alone. That was my life, and maybe still is my life. I have no one to talk to. No one is there to listen. My friends aren't the friends you talk to. I wish they were, but they don't want to hear it. At least, that's the impression I get. There are two people who will and want to listen, but one is hundreds of miles away and the other, well, it'd be fruitless to tell most of my problems to her. All my other friends... they don't want to hear it and I wouldn't know how to tell them.

Today I felt alone. For those moments where the sun shone through the window in that weird way, I just felt so alone. Transparent. Replaceable. Lighter than air, and if I wasn't too careful, I'd float away.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

a tip.

Next time you meet someone, think about the fact that they have parents.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

movie review.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Directed and written by Woody Allen.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Woody Allen. If you ask me who has inspired me most in my life I'll give you a short list of names: My father, Charles Bukowski, Hayao Miyazaki, Ian Mackaye, and Woody Allen. I clearly remember the first time I saw Annie Hall. When Alvy says he can't go into a movie after the opening credits have started and he asks Annie if she wants to get coffee for two hours, I knew I had found the world's best filmmaker, ever.

After I saw Annie Hall, I wanted to find as many more Woody Allen movies as possible. Some were simply laugh out loud funny, and others were mostly thoughtful and remarkably bleak. Whether he wanted to make one laugh or cry, I became attached to Allen. Sadly, after the 70s, his movies started to become really, really hit or miss. Either they were brilliant (Deconsructing Harry) or horribly lackluster (Everyone Says I Love You). Recently, as far as I'm concerned, his past two movies have been of the "eh" variety (Scoop and Cassandra's Dream). Luckily, his latest film is fantastic.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a movie anyone who has ever felt love, passion, or pain could find something to relate to. The movie follows two best frien
ds who spend two months in Spain, at first hoping for a simple vacation but finding themselves starting to question their perceptions and beliefs on love. At the beginning of the movie, Vicky characterizes herself as a rational lover. She's engaged to a successful man who she says values the same thing she values most: commitment. Cristina is passionate and irrational, finding relationships with men to be boring unless there's a sense of excitment and surprise to it. They both meet a Spanish artist named Juan Antonio who, in a no-beating-around-the-bush manner, asks them both to come with him to the small town of Oviedo and sleep with him. Vicky is hesitant, Cristina is excited. Without giving too much away, Cristina begins a relationship with Juan, much to the displeasure of Vicky, for reasons that must be found out through watching the movie. Vicky's husband also comes to visit her in Barcelona, lending herself to questioning her love for him.

The movie delves into the quintessential question of, "What is love?" Is it one definable thing or is it amorphous and changing? Maria Elena, Juan's ex wife, is quoted as saying that "only unfulfilled love is romantic." Vicky says shes happy
with a sensible and modern man as her husband, but finds herself bored when all he can seem to talk about whilst in Spain is high definition television and golfing. On the other hand, Cristina finds it hard to keep up with Juan and Maria, who moved back in with Juan when she tried to kill herself. Her love for spontaneous and surprising relationships becomes dull when she realizes some things are just too much for her to handle. These two women's idea's of love are the basis for the film: why do we love who we love, why do we love the way we love, is there a right way to love?, a wrong way? The questions never quite get answered, but that's the point. Love is complex: it's not the same for any one person.

This movie really is classic Woody Allen as far as the completely dead on portrayal of human's goes. Allen is a master of dissecting the human
mind and putting it into simple sentences, or even simple expressions on actor's faces. This was the first movie of his I have really enjoyed in a while. He's back to form, back to what he does best: portraying humans acting like humans.

The character Juan Antonio and his father rem
inded me a lot of my own father, so much that I called my Dad right as I got out of the movie to tell him how great it was and how he needs to see it.

This was a seriously fantastic movie. See it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

an ever-growing list.

Ways to better my romantic life:

- Become more attractive. Scratch the "more." Become attractive.

- Stop being so shy. I realized I have never actually gone up to a girl I didn't know and struck up conversation. I've always had to wait for some girl to come up to me. I am not charming enough, which also lends to my shyness. I mean, look at me. I'm sort of goofy looking. People don't usually take me that seriously.

- Try being a dick. I hear this works. Being a gentleman is passe, anyhow. No one does that anymore. Everything is all about belittling others. So, yeah, I should give that a shot.

- Don't assume everyone thinks I'm as lame as I think I am.

- Don't assume everyone thinks I'm as great as I think I am.

So, there you go, ladies. I'm single. Let's mingle.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

looking in a mirror for the first time.

Feeling unfunny is one of the worst feelings I have ever had.

I want to offer the world something, but all I have is shit. That's all I have.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

out of step with the world.

When I was 13, I heard the song "Out of Step" by Minor Threat. The song was simple: "Don't smoke, don't drink, don't fuck. At least I can fucking think." It resonated with me. It affected me. I adopted it into my life. Up to that point, I had never drank a sip of alcohol, never smoked or done a single drug, and never had some sort of random hookup with any girl. And to this day, I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't have promiscuous relationships.

Being straight edge is a personal decision I have made. I have never and will never shove my opinions down other people's throats. My body is my body, your body is your body. Do with it what you like and I will do the same. I am allowed to have my opinions on the matter, and as the pattern has gone, you're allowed to as well.

All I can ask of people is to think about what they are doing, non-straight edge and straight edge alike. Don't waste your life on meaningless things. Don't get upset because someone is different from you. Lets not hurt ourselves. Lets not do things we'll ultimately regret. Think things through, formulate arguments, keep your head leveled.

Lastly, don't mix me up with people who claim edge for a fashion statement. I will never break. This is a life fucking choice, one I am proud of. If you find this laughable, fuck you. Phrases like "True Til Death" or "Nailed to the X" might sound silly, but I take pride in them. Don't wear them as a catchy phrase. Don't ruin something that means so much to me. This is about more than just hardcore, punk rock, a scene, or anything. This is about living a poison free life with a clean mind. This is about staying above the influence. This is about my own personal health and happiness.

I can't keep up. I'm out of step with the world.

this is my burning fight.

This is a mix I made for my friend Scott. Since I now live in a dorm room and don't have enough room for a tape deck, I've had to resort to making mixes on my computer. I'm hoping I can figure out the whole tape situation soon enough because I miss making mixtapes.

Anyhow, this mix is just a bunch of hardcore bands, mostly from the 90s. The picture on the cover is of Negative Approach, who I didn't even put on this mix. The picture is cool though, so whatever.


1. "Numb Blind to Faith" - Ringworm
2. "Postmark My Compass" - American Nightmare
3. "Hate Comes Easy" - Downcast
4. "A Prayer for the Dead" - Groundwork
5. "Blanket" - Unbroken
6. "Stonethrowers" - Pulling Teeth
7. "Systems Overload" - Integrity
8. "Content With Dying" - Chokehold
9. "Error" - Threadbare
10. "At the Cost of an Animal" - Dropdead
11. "Mary and Child" - Born Against
12. "Fed Up!" - Judge
13. "The Solution" - Canon
14. "Slow Down" - Youth of Today
15. "No Other Way" - Seven Generations
16. "Burning Fight" - Inside Out

Download it.


sleep deprivation.

Some things I thought about today:

- There is a frat or sorority or something that had a booth out in the middle of the U of A mall today. They claimed to be a pro-life organization. What pieces of shit. I wanted to mouth off to them but what good would that have done? I won't change their mind and they won't change mine.

- Even though I do not drink, I like the concept of drinking games. Somebody should play one with the original Star Wars trilogy where you drink every time Luke whines. Or the word Jedi is said. That would be good.

- Speaking of drinking, everyone is becoming something they once hated. Not me. Never me.

- I have an 8 AM class tomorrow (today), but I cannot fall asleep.

- Scott and I are expecting the Boogiepop Phantom live action movie tomorrow from Netflix. I would be lying if I said I wasn't very excited. There is nothing like live action adaptions of anime.

Some day everything won't be so shitty. But then that day will pass and everything will be back to normal.