Thursday, 29 January 2009

New Age Horror

Last Wednesday night I sat down with my roommates and watched the movie 'Mirrors.' starring Kiefer Sutherland as a recently retired cop who has taken on a job as a night security guard in an eerie burned out mall.
The movie was awful. I can honestly think of only two decent scenes worth watching in the entire movie, and one of them was the ending. I don't mean that in the way that 'The Usual Suspects' was a good ending, I mean it in such a way that it was a good scene, not that it really added much to the story.
Anyway, Kiefer was just ridiculous. Way too mood swingy. One thing I will give this movie kudos for though is that for a horror movie, it didn't have much screaming. I can't stand movies with lots of characters who scream non-stop.
Overall, forget about 'Mirrors.' Save yourself the money, or go rent something like Pineapple Express. They both require the brain power of a small child to watch, but one is legitimately funny, while the other unintentionally so.

Here's a good picture of everyone's favourite lovable drunk: Kiefer Sutherland.

When it comes to horror movies, I'm generally disappointed. Never have I gone out and said "Let's rent a horror movie." No single preview has ever enticed me into a theatre or blockbuster, nor do I waste my time downloading them when my internet can be spent stealing better things.

In fact, I can't say I've really watched that many horrors. Children of the Corn, The Omen, Evil Dead 1 and 2, Army of Darkness, and Signs (if that counts) are the only ones that come to mind. Half of those movies I've only watched because Bruce Campbell rocks. Come to think of it, I've seen pretty much everything Bruce Campbell has done. He should be in his own genre.

Heck, his jawline could be its own movie genre.

Here's a list of Time Magazine's top 25 horrors:
25: Shaun of the Dead (2005)
24: Red Dragon (2002)
23: Audition (1999)
22: Braindead/Dead Alive (1992)
21: Men Behind the Sun (1988)
20: The Fly (1986)
19: Alien (1979)
18: Halloween (1978)
17: Carrie (1976)
16: Jaws (1975)
15: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
14: The Exorcist (1973)
13: Night of the Living Dead (1968)
12: Blood Feast (1963)
11: Black Sunday (1960)
10: Psycho (1960)
9: Peeping Tom (1960)
8: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
7: Diabolique (1955)
6: Bambi (This one is a little out of place 1942)
5: Freaks (1932)
4: Frankenstein (1931)
3: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
2: Nosferatu (1922)
1: Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1896)

You'll notice by looking at this list that only two horror films that made the list have been released after 2000, and one of them, Shaun of the Dead, barely counts. I saw that movie. I own that movie. It was great! But I would not count that as a horror.
From that list actually, I've seen three of them. Jaws is a legitimate horror movie. But in today's day and age I don't think it has the same effect as it did on audiences in the 70s. So I think it's safe to say that horror movies in general have sucked since about the mid 90s. What can be done to save an ailing genre?

Here's the deal, more than any other genre (with the exception of 3D), horror movies are selling an experience. You watch a horror to feel scared, to be terrified. Your body goes through a chemical change when you're scared. But like any drug, the more you get it, the more desensitized you become immune to it. Movies these days are trying harder to be more outrageous, more ridiculous to scare their audiences. They're going to continue to do this for many years until finally the Snuff genre is legalized. (Not really though, I'm exaggerating)

When I watch a scary movie I don't get worked up. My heart doesn't beat faster, I rarely jump, and I never walk away saying "that movie was great!"

Here's why:

I've been spoiled rotten by shit that actually will scare me

I'm a computer gamer, and I've played a lot of games. One of my favourite genres: Horror. I know, this seems like a complete contradiction. How can Jake, a guy who doesn't care for horror movies, love horror games?

Well, as I mentioned before, the horror genre is an experience. You can sit on your couch and watch the movie happen. Watch as things go on. Or you could play a computer game and have that same stuff happen to 'you.'

A film/game hybrid that I played many many times was 'Nightmare.'
It had this creepy-as-fuck guy here called 'The Gatekeeper'.
Yeah, he looks normal now, but keep reading. Wait til' you see what the bastard looks like at the end of this post. *shudder*

I remember when my sister and I made our little brother play it with us. He got scared and cried. To this day he can't play scary games.
Anyway, back to the story. I can't completely explain the feeling of a scary game versus a movie, but if you've played one, then you know what I mean. The feeling is far more intense, that shit really DOES make me jump, gets my heart pumping, and puts me on edge. Far more than any movie ever has.

The computer game actually puts you inside the Horror Genre, which if you're after the most realistic experience, next to a haunted house. you're not going to get any closer.

In particular, two titles that I think really take the cake are Undying, a tale of an war-veteran-turned-paranormal-investigator. The overall story, while good, isn't anything that phenomenal. It's better than most horror flicks, but it's no Great Gatsby or anything.
The next one is F.E.A.R., it had innovative gameplay mixed with a spooky demon child story. Once again, the story was nothing new, it had a sweet twist, but it was nothing phenomenal. But the experience of these games and the story made for a winning combo.

There are dozens of horror flicks that would have just as easily made excellent games, but flopped because they were... well... shitty. I really do think that the gaming industry is the future of the horror flick industry.
It's really easy to make a 'Roller Coaster' title, which is essentially a game that plays itself out with minimal effort on the part of the gamer. It's heavy on the cinematics, some DVDs come with these games in their special features. Disney does a lot of these. It would be something similar in feel to a 'Choose Your Own Adventure.' With kids familiarity with technology these days there isn't a single reason why this idea wouldn't take off. Yeah you'd miss out on the technologically disinclined 35+ crowd, but if their kids or teens want to see this movie, chances are parents will take them and try to enjoy them with their demon-spawn children.
If they keep turning out some gimmick for a new game combined with (what would at best make a mediocre film) a decent story, they'll keep making money and keep a happy fanbase of people who are pissing their pants in terror.

In the end, isn't that what anyone really wants?

Oh, and here's what that scary asshole looks like at the end of Nightmare.
Yeah, like I said,
Creepy. As. Fuck.

Gnarls Barkley -
Who's Gonna Save My Soul?

I apologize for the subtitles. The music video is too good to pass up sharing because of some shmutz on the video

FEB 22, 2009, I apologize for the video of thee from this particular week not working. by far this is one of the best VOTWs I've posted, and Gnarls Barkley knows it, so they don't like their material to be on Youtube. Here's a link to Google Video
to see the video that you MUST see

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Plastic Villains

As I was checking out Hotmail's little list of interesting articles you see when you log in, I noticed this one in particular:

I knew before I even clicked on it that Manitoba was going to be the culprit in this case. Manitoba does not have a good track record of recycling, and that's a known fact. Manitoba doesn't have the incentives to recycle like other provinces, or the a police service that will fine you for not recycling. I've heard about that happening in Canada, but I can't confirm its truth.

Since I've moved to Alberta I've noticed there is one main difference in the attitude towards trash.

1) Things like plastic, glass bottles (not just green and brown beer ones), tin cans, and electronics all get refunds. But they're more expensive in the first place because of environmental levies. Albertans don't care about this tax though, they just want their deposit back.

Here's a chart showing just how much money you get for turning old electronics. This is also valid in BC, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

Recycling your electronics is good! They're filled with bad things like mercury and lead, so I don't mind getting rid of them; Especially since I myself, and many people I know have old computers, monitors, and printers lying about. I probably have enough of them personally to finance an overhaul of my PC.

Here's something else I found while browsing the Sears website where I got this info:

"For orders shipped to Alberta, the Alberta Environmental Levy will appear in the 'PST' field in your Shopping Basket. This charge is not a tax."

If it's not a tax, then what is it? Right on the receipt it will say "Environmental Levy." An example of this is per pop bottle it'll be about 2 cents. Depending on the product you're purchasing it goes up and down. Even products that are good for the environment will carry this levy.

So if it isn't a tax, why exactly do I have to pay it? The definition of a levy is this:


noun, plural lev⋅ies, verb, lev⋅ied, lev⋅y⋅ing. –noun
1. an imposing or collecting, as of a tax, by authority or force.
2. the amount owed or collected.

What I don't understand is why Sears says I don't have to pay this tax, as if it's optional. If that's the case I really think I'll always opt out of paying the levy. Next time I'm in a store I'm going ask if the environmental levy optional for groceries and electronics. Maybe I'll mail the local MP about it. Stay tuned for updates.

Why opt out of the levy you ask? Well, I'll opt out on plastic. Plastic is more expensive and worse for the environment to recycle than it is to just make plastic. I don't mind paying deposit on beer bottles and cans, because you'll get that back, and it really does save energy and resources to reuse and recycle glass, metal and some paper (remember though, reuse your paper, don't recycle it).

But not plastic. Any time spent recycling plastic is time and money wasted. To actually pay people to recycle plastic is ludicrous. The government wastes your tax money on moving the plastic around, your time spent sorting plastic, and the space in your house while you hold on to that plastic. After you add up the cost of recycling plastic it's pretty damn expensive, and because nobody wants to buy that plastic to recycle it, it ends up sitting in a warehouse and eventually a landfill anyway.

Why does that matter? The reason you get a refund on metal and glass is because the warehouses and depots that recycle it make a profit off the resale of your aluminum and glass. So you get your money back, and the warehouse pays some of its own bills meaning less taxpayer money is spent. But when it comes to plastic guess who pays for all this fruitless labour. You. Oh, and because platics can't pay for themselves like metal and glass, guess whose pocket that "refund" is actually coming out of too. Yours.

Here's a fantastic ten minute clip of Penn & Teller's Bullshit explaining in greater detail and with a far better vocabulary what I'm talking about. Don't watch it if don't you have the time, but I can guarantee you if you've got a few spare minutes, next to my blog, you're not going find a more interesting and informative way to spend one sixth of an hour.

Now here's a sad fact about plastic. It doesn't disappear. Never. Nothing on Earth breaks down plastic. One you make it, it's here forever, at least until through the magic of evolution some kind of bacteria evolves to make Barbie and her plastic playmates a tasty snack for themselves.
Until that time, coastal cities will continue to contribute to The Lost Continent of Plastlantis

So suppourt your local landfill, send them your plastic, make sure it gets buried away from the ocean. Do the environment a favour and Reduce and Resuse your plastics, don't recycle it. I think we should all thank Manitoba for believing so strongly in suppourting local landfills.

Band of Horses -
The Great Salt Lake

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Debbie Downer

Foreward: Friday, January 16. I apologize for this post. It's all Youtube and no Jake. Believe me when I say I'm cooking something good up.

My roommates really enjoy watching movies. It's pretty much all they do when they're home and not pissing themselves laughing to the antics of Reba on DVD.

So just a few days ago one of the girls had a friend over and she suggested watching a movie, but was unsure as to which one everyone would like to see, as she and the friend had already watched everything in the house. Luckily though I happened to bring a small portion of my movies to Grande Prairie and said "Hey guys, here's my collection. Why don't you watch one of these?"

They were ecstatic! While there were only like ten or twelve to choose from, all of them were new to these people. They hadn't even heard of most of them. I brought only what I considered to be the real gems of my collection (and even then I left many behind). They're all excellent movies, but I understand that my taste in film is not exactly the same as everyone else's.

So I said, "Hey guys, put in Apt Pupil, it's a movie where Ian McKellen is an evil old Nazi." They were on it like jewish women to a circumcision.

But partway though the movie my roommate started asking me questions like "Are you a big fan of politics?" "Is this a happy movie?" and "What's going on?"

Afterwards she confessed that she likes movies with happy endings and chick flicks. Which left me really really confused. Apt Pupil definitely has what I would call a happy ending, albeit a disturbing one. But in retrospect, I guess it's not what I would call a happy ending so much as a definite conclusion.

This got me looking at the rest of the movies I brought:

The TV Set - A bittersweet ending, one that anyone in media would be able to appreciate

Goodfellas - Another bittersweet ending, which could have been happy if it weren't based on a true story

Once Upon a Time in the West - Happy Ending...sort of. Not really though if you really think about it

Once Upon a Time in America - A conclusion, one that leaves you a little sad and confused.

Lost in Translation - Fantastic Ending! I loved it, although you can't quite tell if it was happy or sad.

Broken Flowers - Another fantastic ending. One that doesn't make a lot of sense unless you think about it

The Squid and the Whale - I thought it was a beautiful ending to an excellent movie. But I understand how people may spend more time thinking into the ending than they need to and miss the joy.

Deathproof - A violent ending, one that I would call very happy. But I know some chicks, especially the ones I live with, wouldn't like it.

So yeah, I think I really am a bit of a Debbie Downer, at least in Grande Prairie. I have no idea why I like these movies versus ones with sappy sweet endings. Maybe it's because most of those movies make me want to throw up in Anne Hathaway's face. But back in Manitoba my collection includes such kickass movies with happy endings such as:

Big Trouble in Little China

Return of the King (but the book was much better, it had a bittersweet ending)

Ghostbusters 2

Dirty Work

But in the end, I guess I should just sit down and watch the damn chick flicks that my roommates are always playing everyone will probably be happier for it. Maybe I'll even give Reba a chance too.

Or maybe not.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Tastes Like Suffering!

Time to touch on a sensitive issue, and by sensitive I mean super-fucking-delicious.

Veal - the most tender and succulent of all the beef cuts - gets a real bad rap. By real bad I mean a reputation so sore that even the server people who bring the food to you might sometimes cringe when you order it.

Let me make this point clear: I love veal. Chances are if I can order it at a classy restaurant I will for sure get that served up. I mean, it's so good! It's a tiny slice of beef heaven! My only regret after finishing it is that there isn't any more.

After eating a delicious meal I often like to discuss it with people, but with veal there is no such option. Who knows who you're going to piss off? And do you know why people get pissed off and all 'Up Ons' about veal? Because no-good wannabe hippie organizations like like PETA and IFAW like to perpetuate images like this:

You see these pictures? That baby seal is going to get killed. Three or four months from now when its an adult. See that cow? Poor cow, look how poorly that farmer treated it! Did you know it was a sick calf from the get-go? Probably not because PETA didn't tell you that. It's not really in their best interest to do so, otherwise the donations for their organization might dry up.
Legitimate animal cruelty that PETA protests just doesn't happen on the scale that they would like you to believe. When it does happen its generally at the hands of some guy who shouldn't be farming anyway because he or she is a sick freak.

By the way, People who don't take care of their animals can do time in prison. This woman's charges got dismissed, but she could have been in for up to three years in prison for letting a few starve.

When Sheep Starve

Sidenote: I once forgot to feed my budgie and he died. Does that mean I have to go to prison now too?

Yup, I'm pretty sick of animal activists who are suckering in the masses with the pictures and video of cute baby seals, sick calves, and dying puppies that they've been using for years, lots of which can be easily taken out of context. Chances are if the footage looks grainy and crappy, it's because it was shot with someone's VHS-Cam 20 years ago when that crap did actually happen.

This video is a little tough for the faint of heart to watch, but it's a good example of what I'm talking about.

Have animals been treated like crap in the past? Yes. Have farmers for the most part cleaned up their acts? Yes. Does the government continue to push new laws and stricter penalties on transgressors? Yes. Do these horrible animal acts still happen around the world? Unfortunately Yes. Asia isn't as stringent with their humane laws as Europe and North America. But, can you guess where that brand new horrific animal cruelty footage comes from? You guessed it, developing nations, Asia, and third world countries.

One thing the activists are a little correct about is when it comes to overcrowded birds. The treatment of chickens is abhorrent. But here's the thing. Those birds that are shipped off to KFC won't live past a year and a half. I've seen this happen, the chickens literally grow too fast for their hearts to support them. They just turn to jelly. Anyway, support free-range chickens. Not only are they raised in a better way, but they actually do taste better.

But when it comes to animal mistreatment, the issue is quite overblown. When you transport pigs it's in the farmer's best interest not to beat them, shock them, or otherwise over-stress them. It messes up the meat, and when the meat is of poor quality the producer can't get as good a price, when he doesn't get as good a price he can't afford to pay his bills, and we all know what happens when you can't pay your bills. So why would anyone these days in the pork market do anything to lower the value of their meat?

When activists bring this footage over to North America it vilifies the average farmer and can cause a kneejerk reaction by the government that ends up wasting time and money in parliament. It's a lot like how people who know nothing about sport hunting get to make all the rules about how, where, and when about hunting.

I'm sure you wouldn't hire an accountant to build your house or a guitarist to play the saxophone, why would you let an activist who's never been to a farm tell you to shut down an entire farm industry?

Lets make informed decisions people. Let's ask the activists hard questions like: "Where and when did you get this footage?" "Are you just taking pictures of sick animals to tug at heartstrings or is this actually the intentional fault a human owner?" "What kind of farm operation did this delicious veal come from?"

By the way, if the answer you get about the veal is unsatisfactory, don't eat it. You can instead pass it over to me, I'll chow down on it. I could care less, veal is delicious and I'm a heartless bastard.

Oh, and here's another person who can join my heartless asshole society.

Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we'd be against it.

Ingrid Newkirk, PETA President, [11

Hair (1968) - The Cowsills

Sunday, 4 January 2009

The Greatest Game Ever Played


What other game has caused more strife and conflict in modern society than Monopoly? Maybe Risk, but a full game of Risk takes weeks and generally speaking people get frustrated with crap like that fairly quick unless you're Hitler. He went for two rounds.

Alright, anyway, let's get to the point. I've been playing an awful lot of Monopoly lately. By an awful lot I meant I mean almost nightly. If you've never had the privilege of playing Monopoly with people who make up House Rules on the fly, then you've never playing Monopoly.

One of the newest rules I've played with has been 'Amnesty.' Amnesty is basically when you tell someone that you're not going to charge them rent when they land on your property. What a genius scam eh? You can get something for literally nothing. Especially when you pull it out at just the right moment. Still though, this isn't the point the story I'm attempting to tell.

The real tale, is how this one lady pulled off trading rent she owed on territory for physical contests. Allow me to show you an example:

Here is a photo of this particular lady trading rent for an 'Indian Leg Wrestle' as it was called. I'll provide running commentary as it goes.

Here is stage one, the agreement of how to lock legs with which to wrestle with:

Here is stage two of the actual wrestling:

Here is stage three of the winner relaxing with his winnings:

Here is stage four of the loser declaring herself the winner and not paying her rent:

We all let her get away with it anyway. But I definitely would believe that this was NOT her first time playing monopoly as she claimed. I might also mention that she beat me at an arm wrestling contest for her rent. It was a little embarrassing but she paid me back with a peck on the cheek so I guess everything ended up almost in my favour.

In the end though the match came down to me and my roommate. He won in an underhanded victory. Basically the game could have gone either way at one point, and I had the luck to land on his only decent property, four times, which was Boardwalk and Park Place.

God Dammit.

Anyway, this post is mainly just me filling in some blog time. Next week I'm moving away. If I don't update for a couple weeks, don't be surprised. Hopefully though, I'll have lots of new pictures for everyone of that far off land of Alberta.

Here's some dirty filthy Hutterite porn for all you to tide you over.

Enjoy! Talk to you later!

The Decemberists -
Sixteen Military Wives