Tuesday, January 31, 2006

King Kong

I finally managed to see King Kong this afternoon. I'll admit that the three-hour running time made me apprehensive, but I used that excuse not to see Mr Jackson's Lord of The Rings movies at the cinema, I'm ashamed to say, so I was determined to see this one on the big screen. I needn't have worried about it because those three hours zoomed by.
All I can remember about the original 1933 King Kong was Fay Wray screaming, screaming, screaming. Although Naomi Watts screamed a little bit in this one, mostly she was cool because she knew this gigantic ape wasn't interested in eating her, in fact time and again it protected her and saved her from being eaten by other monstrous creatures on the island. Yes, there are other oversized creatures on Skull Island, in fact this new version is like a cross between King Kong and Jurassic Park. Were there dinosaurs in the original? I don't remember that.
I was surprised by how many people were in the theatre for this session. Naively, I suppose, I expected it to be almost empty because it's already been playing for weeks now, but the theatre was almost full, and the weird part was, people kept coming in even thirty minutes into the movie. If I had my way, they would lock the doors once a movie starts, and only let people out who have to go to the toilet. If somebody with a ticket tries to come in late, the usher hits them with a cattle prod. But maybe I'm a Cinema Nazi. I sure feel like it sometimes. But something else I thought was strange, people kept going out and coming back in again, and that was within the first hour. Did they have to go to the toilet already? Did they forget the popcorn? It seemed like an amateur movie audience. It seemed like these people never went to the movies, because they kept getting up and going out and coming back, like they were in their own lounge room, going out to the kitchen for another snack, or going to the toilet, or going out to the backyard to tell the dog to stop barking at whatever. It was very strange, and I haven't seen that before.
But the movie was great, and I'll swear there was not a dry eye in the house by the end of it. Even some teenagers sitting near me, I noticed the guy closest to me sniffling and wiping his eyes.
There was some other noteworthy audience action: A guy behind me with a female companion. Early on in the movie he laughed a couple of times at scenes in the movie that I could find nothing funny about, whatsoever. But I liked that he laughed at these mysterious things. Maybe because I have done it myself at the movies - laugh when nobody else laughs - or maybe it was his very peculiar laugh, as though he had seen the movie a dozen times and it was a favourite part. Then at the end of the movie, as the credits began to roll, he started telling his female companion about the history of the King Kong movies. I was interested to hear him say that there have been four King Kong movies, and in one of them, Kong did not die but was returned and restored, very much alive, to Skull Island.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Russian Giant

Mr Blowhard says "Holy Crap!" and I second that - you will too if you take a peep at this gigantic Russian boxer! [29 January post]

The Aristocrats

After work today I went and saw The Aristocrats. This documentary is about *the World's Dirtiest Joke*, and that joke is known as The Aristocrats. This was an insider joke among comics, never told to audiences, but told backstage or in the club once the audience had left, from one comic to another. What's special about it is that it has a set beginning and ending, or punchline, but the guts of it are up for grabs. Whoever tells it can go nuts on the grossout factor, let the darkest most depraved side of their imagination run wild, and that's what we get to witness in this documentary.
There are one hundred comics here (apparently - after 90 minutes it sure seemed like at least that many), including George Carlin, Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried, Drew Carey, and many others who when I saw their face, I surely recognised, but I'd be damned if I knew their names.
The Aristocrats was funny, but it went on way too long. The depraved humour on display here was sufficiently shocking and repulsive that I counted at least half a dozen people who walked out. This actually made me laugh too, because I imagined that those people didn't even know anything about it, they just rolled up at the cinema and said, "I say! That one called The Aristocrats sounds like it could be a smashing show!"
Anyway, it was OK, not great, and went on for too long. I wouldn't care to see it again, unlike Grizzly Man. And when the hell, by the way, is that DVD gonna come out, eh?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Here Is Wisdom

"Nobility is not in winning but in trying, though losing is certain."
-Charles Schulz

Remote Control Bass Drum

Was at some (mysterious) friend's place and he was remotely operating a bass drum, but it was very flat and hammered down. It was very fast and he changed the rhythm with a hand dial. The sound was hurting my chest, but I was very impressed.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My Blog Sucks

My blog really seems to suck lately. What the hell am I doing? This isn't *writing*. What a fantasy world I live in, thinking I *write*! I read books, those people can write. What I do isn't that. I don't even have a theme for my stupid blog, it's all over the place. What a scatterbrained idiot! You know what? I really hate these moments of clarity, when I pop my block head out of this fantasy world, and see that what I am doing here amounts to nothing. Why does that happen? It seems very cruel. Why does the fantasy have to evaporate like that? Puff! And it's gone! And I suck.

Incoming Signals

Hey, this blog is pretty cool: Incoming Signals. I could spend a million years clicking on the links here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

This Is Not A Movie Review

Why haven't I been writing any movie reviews lately? There is a good reason, and it's called the school holidays. I really tried to go to the movies in the last month - twice I tried to go! Both times the queues were so long they were almost going out the door to the street, and my local Movie Palace is a monster (actually three joined together: Village, Greater Union and Hoyts - they were right alongside each other, but one day the walls were knocked down to create one gigantic convenient monument to movie magic), and it's the main city one, and there are usually three or four queues, so when each one of those queues stretches back one hundred metres to the street, forget it, man, because that's when I do a military-style about face and walk back out real fast. I can't do it. I can't wait in a line that long, with all those people. No way.
Oh well. The school holidays end this week, and while naturally I feel some sympathy for those little brats (haw!), I'll be very glad to return to the Movie Palace and sit in the middle of a cavernous virtually empty room and watch a movie, then come back to The Darkroom and write about it here.

New York Hack

Hey, this is pretty cool - New York Hack - a blog by a 30-year-old woman taxi driver in New York City. (I read about it here) The funny thing was, when I first went there and saw that photo (of the US ABC reporter) I thought, 'She doesn't look very much like a taxi driver!' Ha ha.
Hey, where are the Aussie taxi driver blogs, eh? Anybody ever seen one? Or how about even a taxi driver blog from anywhere other than NYC? Is anybody surprised that the first taxi driver blog you hear about is from NYC? I'm not. Of course that first one would be from NYC. But I'd like to see taxi driver blogs from other places, too.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Tonight I watched the final episode of Speaking in Tongues with John Safran and Father Bob Maguire. It's a shame it's finished, it was a very good theological series. If you don't know it, there's John Safran and Father Bob sitting at a table discussing theological matters. It's far from dry and boring however, because Safran with his cheeky manner constantly prods and provokes cranky Father Bob, a Catholic priest. They have guests as well, and last week they had Jim Goad, but I'll be damned if I didn't miss most of that interview, which was on right at the beginning, and I tuned in late. Blazes!
Anyway, tonight they had a *Satanist* on there. He was only on for a little while so it was impossible to understand what he was about. What is that Satanist stuff all about, anyway? From what he said, that his mother was a Catholic, it seemed that maybe he was only reacting against Catholicism, rebelling against being forcibly taken to stupid Sunday school when he was a little fella. What does he do besides wear black clothes, put more pink dye in his hair, get another tattoo or piercing, and continue trying to perfect a sullen facial expression? That's what I want to know.
What do those Satanists do, anyway?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Elfen Lied - Vector One

I went to the video store this afternoon and hired Elfen Lied. This anime is pretty wild, in the same vein as Gantz.
A mutant girl (a *Diclonius*) escapes from a military facility where she has been restrained. Somehow she breaks loose from her shackles (she's like a very cute version of Hannibal Lecter) and starts ripping the soldiers to pieces with nothing more than her thoughts, so it seems. Naturally she is naked while she is doing all this. (Hurrah for fan service!) She manages to get outside and dives into the sea.
She pops up on the beach where Kohta and his cousin Yuka are having a chat. She is still naked and their eyes pop out a bit. She is not a violent psychopath anymore, in fact she is baby-like and can only say "Nyu!" so that's what they call her (her name is actually Lucy). What is the nature of her powers and why does she seem to have a split personality? That is what we want to know, and must find out. We must watch this series through to the very end to find this out, no matter how much over-the-top violence and gratuitous nudity we may be subjected to in the process.
Kohta and Yuka take 'Nyu' back to their place, a big ten-room building that used to be a restaurant.
Meanwhile, the head of the military facility sends a strike force out to recapture Nyu/Lucy. One of those guys is a sadistic freak who threatens his team members with his gun in their face whenever they say something he doesn't like. He really seems to like his job too much, as he says, 'What the hell are we trained for! We are trained to kill!' He really seems to like that part.
Yuka has long had a crush on Kohta, and there are comic scenes where she catches him and Nyu in compromising situations, none of which are at Kohta's instigation; in fact he is a very nice boy, quite the opposite of Kurono from Gantz.

In such animes, our Japanese friends manage to combine strong sexual and violent themes with those of a powerful emotional nature, so that one minute you may feel shocked and appalled, while the next, tears may be streaming from your eyes at a particularly moving scene of great emotional impact. I've found this in no other artform, and for that reason (among many others, for sure) I think these anime are so popular. Popular, are they? Well, my video store has a separate, and quite large, section devoted to them.
This series is off to a very promising start (actually, this is a 4-disc series and 3 are already out here). It's already sunk a big hook in me. Not only is the premise compelling, but the characters are likeable (except for that mean and sadistic strike force dude), the animation and background art is of a very high standard, the soundtrack is excellent (and that opening theme, a Gregorian chant, is absolutely breathtaking). It's really great, but if you have an aversion to strong animated violence and the occasional bare boob here and there, it's probably not for you.

Love Her!

Then, Estella being gone and we two left alone, she turned to me and said in a whisper:
'Is she beautiful, graceful, well-grown? Do you admire her?'
'Everybody must who sees her, Miss Havisham.'
She drew an arm round my neck, and drew my head close down to hers as she sat in the chair. 'Love her, love her, love her! How does she use you?'
Before I could answer (if I could have answered so difficult a question at all), she repeated, 'Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces - and as it gets older and stronger it will tear deeply - love her, love her!'

-from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Friday, January 20, 2006

Gackt - *Moon*

When I emptied the mailbag at work today, there was a package addressed to me. What! I wasn't expecting anything. It was from somebody called Import King. What! Who? The customs sticker declared that there was a CD in there but I couldn't remember ordering a CD recently. A mystery! That's what it was. I left it on my desk and Boss arrived and we did the mail. (Boss is nice again, normal and friendly, not psycho like the other day.) Then I went zooming off with the mail trolley and delivered and collected mail around the place and came back and saw that package on my desk. What was in there? Only one way to find out, so I opened it. Ho! It was a Gackt CD, the 'Moon' album, with that song Another World on it. Now I remembered - I ordered it late one night when I was drunk, that's why I forgot about it.
Tonight I've been listening to it, and even though I was drunk, buzzed up on suds when I ordered it, unlike some other things one does while drunk, and later regrets, I don't find myself regretting this at all. Another World isn't the only good song on the album, in fact most of the songs are really good; some almost, or even as brilliant and excellent as Another World. This is Japanese Pop (J-Pop), and Gackt himself claims that he is a vampire and was born on 4 July, 1540. His target audience, and main fanbase, seems to be teenage Japanese girls. Is that really true? Does he have any male fans at all? Well, I wouldn't put his posters up on my walls (no, I want a poster of Chairman Kaga!) Gackt has an effeminate look, which is also common in Japanese videogames like Final Fantasy. Example: with the magazine ad for Final Fantasy X, it was not uncommon for one to mistake Tidus, coming out of the sea with his big sword, for a girl.
Anyway, who cares about all that - those teenage Japanese girls can put up their posters of Gackt and lie on their beds kicking their legs, making dreamy eyes at him - I think his songs are awesome. This stuff is so great! So GREAT!

Gackt Moon album highlights:
Track 3: Wa-su-re-na-i-ka-ra
Track 7: Death Wish
Track 9: Missing
Track 11: Another World
Track 12: Memories

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Elfen Lied

I don't know how long I have to wait to see Gantz 5 but I know it's going to be too long, so in the meantime I have found another anime to watch. I haven't got it yet, I only just found out about it. It's called Elfen Lied. Shocking violence followed by surprising cuteness? Yes, that's for me. Random pointless nudity? Yes, please. An absorbing story amid oceans of nudity and gore? Taxi!
With any luck, I'll get the first volume this weekend and make a full report then.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Today I started reading another book, following on from the last book which was The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass, a very odd book since the first fifth was very good, the middle three-fifths was terrible, and the final fifth was good again. Funny to read a book that won a Nobel Prize but which was so flawed. Yes. Says me!
(OK, it may have been flawed, had lame humour, was way too long and was a real bore at times, but I will NEVER forget the horse's head fishing scene with the eels.)
Anyway, as I was saying, I started another book and this one is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I've never read any of his books, but I knew I had to sooner or later. Perhaps it was after the thousandth time hearing the word "Dickensian" used to describe something, I figured it was time to read one of his books. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but 92 pages in and this is NOTHING like I expected. What a strange book! Of course, it's too early to write much about it, if I did the same thing with the Gunter Grass book at the same stage I would have had to hastily come back and flip my opinion 180 degrees, but hopefully that won't happen here. I will get very depressed if it does! Ha, ha! No, I don't think it will. (Better not!) That is very rare and doesn't happen with many books, that you really like them at first then they take a dive down the toilet. The only other one I can think of right now that did that was Invisble Man by Ralph Ellison. That started out great, too! Boo!
Anyway, this Dickens book has really surprised me, it is strange and wonderful (so far) and I can't wait to find out what the hell is going on with the monstrous female characters. Please God let the remaining four-fifths be as excellent as the first fifth!

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Do you feel anxious a lot of the time? You may have an anxiety disorder, but watch out who you tell it to because they might say, "Aw that's OK, just have a beer and chill out!' so you have to say "Well, I been having at least six beers every night for the past year so maybe beer is not the answer, what do you think?'
Anxiety disorder is no fun, that's for sure, and neither is depression. Maybe you feel like the sun went out, even when the sun was out, it's summer yet you're frozen solid at the bottom of a lake, you get sick in crowds and freak out as soon as you step outside your door. Everything sucks, even things that normally don't suck. How does that happen? Good question! But don't worry, somebody has some advice for you: 'Aw, cheer up! It can't be that bad! Smile! Attaboy!' How about that advice? Ha! Just try taking it!
You could even be the kind of person who likes to write stuff, and it seems to work out best when you hit the suds. Well, what if you were that person and you felt some cRaZy urge to write every night? What would happen then, eh? Yes, you would have to hit the suds every night! Then, what if you got anxiety disorder and then on top of that, depression? If you thought about it, you might suspect that all these things could somehow be connected, and if they were, because they probably were, you would have a problem, wouldn't you say?
Ho! It sure would suck to be that person!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Major Boss Tantrum

Boss put on a real performance this morning. This morning, Boss threw a MAJOR tantrum.
I should have known she was getting ready to put on a show when I arrived at work and she was already there. She never is, but she was today. And when I said good morning her face looked strange, like there was something jumping around under the skin.
Shortly after we sat down to open the mail [Colleague, who usually helps me, is still on holiday], Boss shook the contents of an envelope and said, 'Who is this for!' It was some competition, so I told her that they usually went to the Members department, because it was Members who had been having these competitions lately. Boss said, "Well you don't send everything to the Members department! You look at it first!' She was very angry. There didn't seem to be any reason for such anger, but there it was, and she was just waiting for me to say one more thing before she could really get going.
Foolishly, I became seized with a sense that some injustice was being committed here. What the hell had I done anyway? I tried to tell her that I didn't mean that we automatically sent competitions to Members at all, only that it was they who sent them out most of the time, these days. But that subject was instantly forgotten, because Boss then accused me of being rude to her. 'What?' I said, 'You can't mean now, it was you who snapped at me!'
Then she did something I've never seen her do before. She swept her arm across the bench, knocking the date stamp and stapler flying, threw some envelopes on the floor, and got up and kicked her chair. She said, 'I'm not doing the mail! That's it! It doesn't get done!' and pushed her chair violently and haphazardly back into her office. I got up and walked over.
'When have I been rude to you? I'm not rude to you!'
'You are!' she shouted. 'You're just like all the rest!'
What the hell did THAT mean? And did I say she shouted? Well next thing she redefined the word 'shouting' by REALLY shouting, when I, with a very white face (I was feeling pretty sick by this stage, I'll admit) pointed out, 'You are so ANGRY.'
'Of course I'm angry! Who can blame me for being angry! After YEARS of university and they got me working as a mail lackey!'
'But that's not my fault!' I said, with some emotion. Was it really my fault? How the hell could that be my fault?
It was really full on, man. It was insane and it made me feel sick. My nerves don't stand up very well to this sort of stuff. I'm just not cut out for it. Not cut out for it, eh? Well, Boss has the answer for that! At one stage of this madness, I had made some protest and she said, 'Well if you don't like it you know what you can do!' That means that if I don't like the *high-spirited* manner in which she behaves sometimes, I can quit working there and find another job. So what happens then? Some other poor bastard comes in and before very long is subjected to her arbitrary fits and tantrums.
No, I don't think I'll quit.

Some other things I forgot because it all happened so fast:
I say something about Boss's behaviour having a stressful impact, Boss shouts, 'I don't care! I don't care if you're stressed!'
Boss says she is stressed because she can't go away (on recreation leave) for more than two weeks because even after only two weeks she will come back to find things fucked up. (She didn't say "fucked up", but that's what she meant.)
Boss accuses me of wanting to make a career out of doing the mail. Because doing the mail is part of my job and I try to do it properly and not some half-assed monkey shit, I'm trying to make a career out of it, because Boss hates that mail shit and wants it out of her hair.

OK. I'll stop now. I've probably bored you to death (anybody still reading, that is), but I had to get this crazy shit out of my system. It really made me feel sick!
It was the shittiest day I've had in a LONG time.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Drinking every night for a year (and let's say that not every night ended helplessly cross-eyed) could have some negative effects, along with the positive ones. Yes, that could happen alright. When you put it like that, it doesn't seem so crazy after all. You may even come to the conclusion that it might be a good idea to try NOT drinking every single night. That way, an experiment could be conducted to find out if it is actually possible to write anything good while sober.
Ha! Seems unlikely!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Animal Crossing

About two years ago I got seriously addicted to a Gamecube game called Animal Crossing. I wrote about it, but not here, because at that time I was completely obsessed with gaming, and it was before this regular blogging activity, and back then I only wrote stuff on internet gaming forums.
About a month ago I got a Nintendo DS. A new Animal Crossing game was released for this machine, Animal Crossing: Wild World. Did I get a copy of that game? You bet I did! And I've been playing it every night since I got it, and sometimes even during the day, but only on weekends, but lately I've been thinking I might take it to work. Some event (in the game) might come up where you have to be there, in the village, at a certain hour, but what if I'm at work at that hour? Well, if that happens, I'll have to take the game to work and at the appointed hour zoom off to the men's room and do it in there, because I'm sure Boss wouldn't tolerate me whipping it out in the office.
Anyway, this Animal Crossing game is so great. It's so GREAT!
I'll have to write more about it, for sure.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Broken Flowers

At the movie palace after work today I saw a movie called Broken Flowers.
The very likeable Bill Murray was in this one and he plays a guy called Don Johnston. Don made a lot of money in some computer business and now he sits around his nice house watching old black & white movies and cartoons on his big TV. He's doing exactly this when his current girlfriend comes down the stairs with her bags packed. Yes, you guessed it, she is leaving him. Why? Because he fools around with other women all the time. She calls him Don Juan, and she won't be the last one to call him that in the movie, either, but Don doesn't like being called Don Juan. Considering that he is a guy who fools around with a lot of women, maybe you might take a wild guess and say oh he must be pretty happy, with all those different women! Well sir, no he's not happy, in fact he looks miserable.
The mailman delivers some mail and one is a pink envelope. The letter in the envelope is from an ex-girlfriend from twenty years ago and she tells him that after they split, she had a baby and it's his, and that kid is now 19-years-old and is now travelling around the country trying to find his father. The mystery is the letter is unsigned and has no return address, so Don doesn't know which of his ex-girlfriends it is. Maybe it's even a practical joke, but even though he suggests this, it's obvious he doesn't believe it for a second.
Anyway, he takes it next door and shows it to his friend Winston (Jeffrey Wright). Winston is happily married and has a big family, lots of cute kids running around the place. Winston is also into mystery novels, in fact when Don arrives he is trying to connect to a website that reveals secrets to writing mystery novels, and when Don clicks the mouse a few times and gets the page to load, Winston is overjoyed. Very funny scene. Winston is a very funny, likeable character.
Of course this mystery is perfect for Winston - a real mystery to solve! - and he gets Don to write a list of his girlfriends from that time twenty years ago, then he finds out where they are all living now and makes arrangements for flights and hire cars so Don can go and visit them all.
Don doesn't want to do it, he would be happy to stay on his lounge watching old black & white movies and cartoons, but Winston has done all this legwork so really he has no choice, so off he goes.
One of his old girlfriends is Laura (Sharon Stone), but when he rolls up she isn't there and the door is answered by her daughter Lolita (Alexis Dziena). If you are a *Nabokov fan* you will enjoy these scenes for sure, and the expressions on Bill Murray's face are priceless.
Another girlfriend he visits is an *Animal Communicator*, people come to visit her with their pets and she tells them what the animals are saying. Another very funny scene.
Although there's a lot of humour in the movie, there are also some grim scenes like the one where he visits Dora, who is now married, and she and her husband Ron are in the real estate business. Don is asked to stay for dinner, and that scene was particularly grim and grotesque. People in the theatre were laughing, but I didn't find it funny, I thought it was terribly depressing.
This movie Broken Flowers was very good. The acting was of a high calibre, the dialogue was fine, the movie had a nice balance of humour and misery, and the music used on the soundtrack was very good. I'll gladly watch this one again, for sure.

The people in the theatre didn't make too much noise, only they seemed to laugh in a mean way at those grim scenes, like they felt above all that, as though nothing like that could ever happen to them. Oh well. Let's hope not, eh?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Iron Chef

There's a really great TV show on SBS, and it's a Japanese cooking game show called Iron Chef.
Eccentric, wealthy, food-loving Takeshi Kaga (in the show he is called Chairman Kaga) loves cooking so much and has such an obsessive fascination for the mechanics and artistry of it that he has built Kitchen Stadium and recruited some of the best Japanese chefs (each specialising in a different country's cuisine) which he calls Iron Chefs. Then he finds other great chefs to challenge his Iron Chefs in cooking battles.
Chairman Kaga wears very baroque, flamboyant clothes and at the beginning of every show makes a big dramatic eloquent speech introducing the Iron Chefs and the Challenger. Then, with a flourish, he reveals the food item that will serve as the theme ingredient for the battle. Every dish must include this ingredient. In tonight's episode it was the pumpkin, so an icon appeared at the bottom right of the screen saying 'Pumpkin Battle'. Another episode had the mushroom as the secret theme ingredient, so that was the 'Mushroom Battle'.
The actual *Battle* has a one-hour time limit (edited to fit the 45-minute length of the show) and there are three commentators - two men and a woman. (You can hear the Japanese voices but all translations are by Americans who sound like sports commentators.) There is also a guy who runs around between the chefs asking questions and reporting back to the three commentators, for example he might say, "Kuzon! [I don't know what that means - maybe "Excuse me!" in Japanese?] I asked Challenger Suzuki what he thinks of the pumpkin theme and he said 'I hate pumpkins and so does my wife! Why did I have to be here when they chose the pumpkin?'"
The cooking action is frantic and very exciting, and the commentary is always amusing. They are always trying to guess what some ingredient is and making jokes, like when one of the chefs gets a horrified expression when the announcement booms out that there is only ten minutes to go.
The final stage is the judging. There are three judges, different ones for each episode. There may be a young TV actress, a politician and a novelist. This part is actually the most boring because you will hear stuff like, "Yes, it was very nice!" or "Those flavours were harmonious!" or "I liked how you did that!"
But what is not boring is finding out who won - the Iron Chef or the Challenger!
Iron Chef is super excellent wonderful fantastic and great!

P.S. - Does anybody know where I can get a big poster of Chairman Kaga?

P.S. - For more Iron Chef information, trivia and statistics, this Wikipedia page has a lot of cool stuff.

P.S. - Thanks to Brent McKee for clearing up the "Kuzon!" mystery:
"I believe that when the floor, Sinichiro Ohta, interrupts he's actually saying Fukui-san, that is he's addressing his comments to announcer Kenji Fukui."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Man Berates Mailbox

What is this blank page doing here in front of me? Why does it stay blank like that? What's happening here, eh? Is it really so hard to get an idea and start writing about it? Yep, sometimes it is, like now for instance. Hard to believe, isn't it? It's hard to believe because things are happening all the time. Walk into the street and something will be happening, there might even be somebody to write about. Example: You might be walking down the street and see a man talking to a mailbox, or a little further on you might see a woman reading a book, and not only reading a book, but walking along at the same time! ... Sadly, I saw neither of those things today, so I can't write about them. ... But who says I can't write about them, anyway? Who says, eh? I can write about them if I want! ... Oh yeah? ... Right! ... Hem! Hem!... Observe!...

What do you know, but this morning I was walking in the street, on my way to work was I, and would you believe it? I happened upon a man talking to a mailbox! Yes, he was doing that, talking to a red mailbox. Wearing a big bowtie and a funny hat, he was definitely and animatedly talking to that mailbox. What was he saying? I had to find out! You see, I am curious by nature. I moved closer, making as little noise as I could, on tippy-toe, my eyes popping out from the strain of behaving in such a non-twitchy, covert manner; I was never in the Navy Seals so it wasn't easy, plus I am naturally fidgety and anxious and twitchy, but somehow it worked and I got close enough to hear what that man was saying...

"...have to keep telling you not to stand around in the street at all hours? And why do you always come back to this exact spot? What could there be, in this exact spot, that is so compelling and interesting, eh? Look at me when I'm talking to you! Don't you use those fruity words with me, young man! Ooh! Now I've really heard it all! What! Ooh! I say, that's the limit! The limit, I say! This younger generation! Well, you just stay there and have a good hard think about your behaviour! It's a disgrace, you know! Don't you know it? Shameless, you are! Positively shameless, you devil! What! What! Wash your mouth out!..."

He wasn't about to quit, and I had to get going to work, so I zoomed away, amazed at this man berating that mailbox in such a vehement fashion.
There you are. A man berating a defenceless mailbox. Maybe it did really happen, and I saw it. Yes, now that you mention it, I think I did see that this morning, that man, loudly and indignantly lecturing that mailbox!
What wonders will tomorrow hold?
*kicks back from machine, starts spinning in chair, gazes up at ceiling with far away look in eyes*

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gantz 4: Fatal Attractions

Gantz 3 Gantz 2 Gantz 1
Kei Kurono (our hero!)
Masaru Kato (our other hero!)
Kei Kishimoto (our heroine!)
Suzuki Seijin (the male model who has the Ring-looking girl following him around)
Ayumu (Kato's little brother)
Sei Sakuraoka (dominatrix-looking woman)

Ep. 13. Please Die
The robots have surrounded the grandmother and her grandson in the garage and do their sonic scream, killing them both. Kato and Kishimoto come in too late and blast them with their guns, which have no effect. Meanwhile, Kurono meets up with the giant bird with sharp teeth. He accidentally steps on the head of one of the little birds, and when he takes his foot off, the bird has an angry look and runs around squawking. A funny scene.

The giant bird stands over Kurono who is very scared, but he overcomes it and starts blasting at the bird and the screaming robots. The roof collapses and Kurono barely makes it out. He triumphantly starts shouting:
"Look at you now ya piece of shit! I showed you, ya creepy fuck!"
Kato and Kishimoto and new guy Seijin arrive on the scene. Kato calls out to Kurono and he spins around in the middle of his harangue.
"Oh, hey Kato!" he says in a friendly way.
That was a very funny scene too.
Kurono starts telling them all how he really gave it to that big nasty bird, and he finished it - it's over. Naturally, just then the bird flies up out of the rubble and grabs one of the expendable dudes, flying up into the sky then rips his head off. Head and body fall separately and bloodily to earth.
The bird comes down again and grabs Kurono and flies off with him. He is twisting around and screaming "Those claws really hurt!" He has a fit of rage and manages to yank the bird's breathing device and it snaps, steam or cold air comes rushing out. The bird drops Kurono who falls to earth in slow motion firing up at the bird. The bird's head explodes but that was probably due to the breathing device thing. Nevertheless Kurono is the hero of the day. Hurrah!
Back in the Gantz room he learns he has 38 points, Kishimoto has 10 points and Kato only has 5 points (apparently if somebody gets to 100 points they are free to return to normal life).

Ep. 14. Goodbye
Kurono and Kashimoto at Kurono's place talking about the events of last night. Kurono gets angry because it's all over the TV news and he is upset because they found one of his porno mags. Kishimoto says Kato would never have one of those because he lives with his little brother and is too thoughtful.
Kato arrives home to find his mean aunt bashing his little brother. Slap! Slap!
She's really horrible. Kato demands she stop but she says how dare you tell me what to do. Kato grabs her and shoves her into the crockery cupboard, smashing the glass. She deserved it! She kicks them out of the house.
Kurono is in class daydreaming again and looks around to see Kishimoto sitting there naked.
She starts telling him what a nice boy Kato is then comes over and starts waggling her bum. Kurono snaps out of it and another girl tells the teacher that Kurono has a hard-on again. Teacher says, "Kurono, can't you take care of that at home?"
Kato and his little brother Ayumu move into a place of their own. Kato tells him he can even watch anime all the time if he wants. Yay! His mean old aunt never let him do that, plus she beat him up all the time, the horrible old hag. Grr!
The biker dude (whatever his name is) has yet another fight with his wife. They have a baby but she can't lactate and he can't provide milk because he lost his job at the construction site. He pulls out his magic Gantz gun and threatens her but doesn't shoot her, rather runs out into the night. He meets the gang guys that killed him originally (these people all died remember) and he is about to shoot them when his wife calls and says she is finally lactating! He has bought some milk, but blood has started pouring out of his eyes and mouth and ears and nose, and just before his head explodes he says, "Well you don't need me then."
Not only that big emotional scene but another one with Kurono and Kishimoto - Kurono in his bed and Kishimoto in bed on the floor. Kurono loses his cool and starts saying what the hell are you doing here, you stay here and I pay for food but I can't even touch you. He realises he stepped over the line, and to make matters worse, Kishimoto says you know what Kurono, even though you are different to Kato I still like you a lot, I think you are a really great guy. Aw, man, doesn't Kurono feel like a heel now?

That's how the episode ends, with Kishimoto walking away down the street in the middle of the night, and Kurono alone in his room. Big emotional ending. Gotta love it.

Ep. 15. I Wanna Be There Now
Next morning Kurono still regrets his behaviour with Kishimoto but then somebody is at the door. What! It is Kishimoto! She falls into his arms and the next minute they are having wild sex in his bed, but it is night time. What? Then he really wakes up and says, "Oh sure, is if that will ever happen!" It was only a dream, of course. Boo!
Kishimoto goes to a fast food restaurant but has no money. When the waiter is about to clear a table next to her, clear away some uneaten food, she tells him that those people who just left were her friends so she will take care of it. Indeed, a very moving scene. Not a dry eye in the house.
At Kurono's place there is a knock on the door but no it's not Kishimoto but the old lady who is always asking how to get to a certain subway platform. Ho hum. What does it all mean, and all that jazz. But hey! When she leaves, Kurono feels Gantz calling again, puts on his Gantz powersuit and gets lasered away. Everybody else gets lasered away too and arrives in the room, and naturally when Kishimoto arrives the dog molests her. Ugh.

There are some new people in the Gantz room, the loudest being a Buddhist televangelist. Kurono tells him he may think he knows what's what, but really he knows shit. Still, he managed to get almost everybody praying because he is convinced they are in Purgatory. But one of the new guys quits praying and says he doesn't think they are in Purgatory after all since he can feel his heart beating, he's breathing, and they can see the Tokyo skyline out the window.
Then there is a funny scene with a new girl Sei Sakuraoka (tall, dominatrix-looking) who asks Kurono about his suit, if he is an Otaku, anime fan, or cosplayer or whatever. She says she heard about a time when Otaku were cool and it wasn't nerdy to know all that trivial information about Japanese anime, and Otaku guys had lots of female attention because they were impressed with their knowledge. Haw! Funny scene :]
Then she admits that she saw him crying before and his tears touched her. If there is anything she can do to help him, she will do it. "Get laid" he says. "I wanna get laid!" She freaks out at first but then says OK, do you wanna do it now, here? So they have sex right there, little Kurono and this big dominatrix-looking woman. Then get this, at the end she says, "Oh I've heard of dying and going to heaven, but this..." Please. That was even too much for me. Let's draw a line here somewhere! What do you know, at that moment Kishimoto comes around the corner and sees them. "Oh!" she cries and runs away. Oh well, she had her chance, right?
End of episode 15!

Ep. 16. I Will Do It!
Kurono and Sakuraoka have some more sex in different positions but by the time Kishimoto comes back with Kato they are dressed in the power suits.
There are the usual arguments, confusion and disbelief from the new people in the Gantz rooom, then they are all transported outside. Some of the new guys including the Buddhist televangelist decide to go and catch a train but one of the guys' heads explode because he went outside the playing area, so Kato convinces the others to come back to the temple they appeared next to.
Meanwhile a man and woman carrying baseballs bats are walking around talking and laughing. What are they up to? No good, that's what. They approach some homeless men living in cardboard boxes and start beating them up and destroying their shelters, even tip a pot of hot noodles one of their heads.

While Kurono and gang are discussing the two gigantic temple guardian statues (one green, one red) and whether or not they are alive, Kato uses his *X Gun* (he named it that because it shows an x-ray of whatever it's pointed at). These things have a skeleton! They are alive! Then they do come alive and start walking around.
Meanwhile the arsehole couple with the baseball bats have chased down one of the homeless men and are beating him savagely. They hear a noise but carry on, then the camera zooms back to the Gantz room and the big Gantz ball, and... what! That is the end of the episode?! Oh great, now I have to wait another two months or so to find out what happens! *Blub!*

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year

I went to Andre and Cheryl's place for New Year's Eve. Cheryl's daughter Wyan and her boyfriend Adrian were there too.
When I arrived, only Andre was there, the others were on a booze and munchies mission. We went out to the backyard. It's not really a backyard, because there is no grass - it's all concrete, so really I should say it's a courtyard. There was a blue tarpaulin set up overhead, supported in the middle by a big umbrella with the ends tied to the fence with white string.
Andre and I drank some glasses of water with icecubes. It was really hot. Andre rang up Cheryl to say where the hell are you, we're drinking water here. It was NYE and we were drinking water. But they got there pretty soon, and we went out to the car and helped bring in the booty: three cartons of beer, three bottles of vodka and bags of chips and dips, cabanossi, chipolatas, olives, all kinds of stuff. Then Wyan started blowing up some balloons and passing them to Adrian to tie to the edge of the blue tarpaulin. The second one exploded and we all jumped. The balloons were only small ones and she had blown too much air into it. Our nerves were on edge for a while, but that was the only one to pop.

We were all sitting around having a fun time, talking and laughing and listening to Van Halen. But then the mood was made heavy when I jokingly brought up the cRaZy rumour that I had had an affair with Cheryl's transvestite/transsexual(?) friend Rusty. I had only met Rusty a couple of times, but one of those times we were sitting around and I happened to do my Sean Connery voice, and Rusty really liked it. Because I found it amusing, I kept doing it, and Rusty was going, "Oh! Oh!" in some kind of ecstasy. That's the only reason I can figure that a rumour started, and Rusty probably started it when she was drunk and fantasising about the guy who could talk like Sean Connery. Anyway, the whole thing blew up and caused a lot of trouble before I even knew about it, because Andre was defending me about it, and disgusted that they seemed to be adding fuel to the rumour. So I had only made a joke saying I wish Rusty and Dave (Rusty's gay friend who also gleefully spread the rumour) were here so I could face my accusers. But then Andre took off with it and everything went down quite a bit - Wyan and Adrian looking at the ground feeling uncomfortable, Andre and Cheryl shouting, and me wishing I hadn't said anything in the first place. But still I wish I'd had a chance to confront my accusers!
We had quite a few beers, then the vodka was produced. Vodka mixed with some kind of lemon fizzy drink, which was rather fine. Andre and I took turns going into the house to play the drums. He had recently bought some brushes, like the jazz guys use, so that was a lot of fun, using them instead of the regular drumsticks.
Later some R'n'B music was put on the stereo. That stuff usually drives me bananas but this one was Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison which I quite like and think is funny.
At midnight we heard the firecrackers but couldn't see them.
It didn't seem to be much later when I leaned back in my chair and looked up into the sky. It was much lighter, and in fact it was 5:30. I wanted to get home before sunrise, and Wyan and Adrian had already disappeared somewhere, so I said goodbye to Andre and Cheryl and somehow made my way home on my bicycle without any mishap.
New Year's day was the hottest on record. It was 44C (111F). Even though I was only lying down reading all day, I didn't stop sweating for a minute. At last I became so hungry that something had to be done. There was nothing here - the cupboard was bare, as it were. I prepared myself to take a trip up the street for a kebab, or a Hungry Jack, or anything, but sticking my head out the door again the heat seemed to roar at me like a lion, and I gave up the idea of going anywhere. Not very optimistically, I rang my favourite home delivered pizza joint Old Castile and to my great surprise and joy the phone was answered.
Maybe it will be a Happy New Year after all!