Monday, August 29, 2011

American Yakuza directed by Frank Cappello

"Viggo Mortensen in a film called American Yakuza!?" I said, "Sign me up."  So I did sign up on Amazon Prime's new video service.  It was pretty creepy that I watched this film about a month ago, didn't finish it, loaded it up today and it started right where I closed the window.

Really creepy actually.

I'm actually still watching it as I write this.  My reaction to the most recent scene, "DUDE!  DUDE!  DUDE!"  So yes it is actually better than the title would imply.  It also features amazing camera angles and frequent improvisational piano (holy fuck I got improvisational right on the first try.)  I do mean amazing camera angles.  It also features much more symbolism than you would possibly expect in such a film. 

It even gets a little homoerotic.  And the black cop is dressed like eddy murphy for the final scene, stupendous.

That was a good time! 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Koda Kumi - “Poppin’ love cocktail feat. TEEDA”

Song and video here

There are truths to this universe.  An absolute truth is this song is the song that will bring Budweiser to Japan.  It is the song you drink Budweiser to.  I have never consumed a beer, and I am barely holding myself back from jumping into the car to grab an ice cold bud from the convenience store.  It is a reality.  It is time to drink a Budweiser while listening to this song and looking at a neon Budweiser sign.

I find this video on this blog post, of this wonderful blog I was linked today.  I link the post specifically so I don't just state what they said, but add my own commentary.  TEEDA is no MC.  He should not be on a stage anywhere. He shouldn't be on a platform.  He should be holding a bottled water waiting for the MC to leave the stage because the show is over and the MC will be thirsty.  Also he's dancing like George Micheal in Wham's Wake me up before you go go.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Farcry 2 (PS3)

I threw Farcry 2 back in the mailbox like I threw F.E.A.R. 2 back in the mailbox: angry at a game ending glitch.  At least this time I wasn't on spawned on the wrong side of the wall.  Instead I pressed triangle to talk to someone then the camera just slowly slowly slowly started approaching the NPC.  It was kind of funny and kind of intensely boring.

FC2 has a heck of a lot of problems.  In every cutscene/non-player controlled segment you have a body.  You have a body when you press L2 to pull a bullet out of your body, or stab a needle into your arm to regain health, or to pop a pill because the plot says your malaria is affecting you RIGHT NOW.  However in your day to actions you have no body.  back up against the corner of a room, aim down, get depressed. 

It also implies from the opening that there's some real world negotiation/bribing/arguing in your trecks across Africa.  The reality is to quote a man, "To shoot or not to shoot, and not shooting gets you shot so that's not even a real option."  Every checkpoint will open fire as you approach it.  A big corridor filled world where you reach out and touch someone with your gun.  No dialog choices, no manipulation.  If you see someone they are going to shoot you, otherwise you can't shoot them.  You sure as hell can spin your camera body in circles as they tell you what to do.

Also an early early objective has you use a computer in the middle of nowhere to buy a gun, then go next door where magically you can pick up the gun, which magically spawns in the bar next door people in the bar, where there previously weren't.

The environments are unusually constrictive considering the place you are.  There's no "climbing" element, and about my favorite thing I wish for in games is to be some place high, see my goal then walk to my goal.  There are plenty of GIANT ROCKS around, but they are walls. 

At least in the Legend of Zelda I can cut the grass.  Also the game gave me a little cheevo prompt everytime I "got a safehouse "found a suitcase with diamonds" "checked out a checkpoint".

I could probably have wrung more dumb fun out of the game if the out of body experience didn't really really bother me, and the enemy AI from 1999.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spraynard - "Funtitled"

The page where you can download Spraynard - "Funtitled" for free famously declares it's the punk album of the decade.  After furiously listening to this record since a few weeks after it's release non-stop, I agree.  Then again I agreed around the 5th time I listened to it.

I kept planning on writing something about this album.  I also planned on going to their show, which was the day after the return from my short notice trip back to Tokyo.  If I hadn't been dead I'd have gone.  I still regret not going to the show so I could shove fifty dollars into the hands of the band go THAT was worth it.

The album channels the dead ghosts of my favorite era of Punk music, mid to late nineties Fat Wreck.  It also comes with growing up since then.  Every song doesn't have to be intro-verse1-chorus-verse2-chorus-breakdown-chorus.  These men are master craftsmen of a punk rock song.  Songs often have the chorus only once.  They know exactly when to stop playing. 

It's also the first album to make me nostalgic for high school, as opposed to missing the people I knew in high school.  It dredged up good memories in the ways that I'm usually hung up and more strongly remember the bad.

It also has the lyric, "I'm a White Suburban Male, and I still blame everything else when I fail." 

I hope I'm one day again surrounded by friends that are as good as the ones in Spraynard's songs.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Japanese Television June 2011

I haven't voluntarily watched TV in over a year.  I got a cable box which I needed to unhook at one point, and then never hooked it back up.  I'd watch what was on my Dad's TV which was usually pawn stars, pickers, or Anthony Bourdain.  Which are really, all told, fine shows.  Getting angry about those kind of shows makes me wonder how deep the black pit inside you is, and what actually hearing about something bad in the world does to you.

Still while I was in Japan, I happened to catch a human interest story.  A solid rock of a man with 5 kids and a wife and something resembling a house were lamenting money problems.  Two of the kids were in high school, one was just starting middle school and the other two were elementary.  That's a huge family for a Japanese household.  The father was trying to get more jobs at his only job at a crossdressing bar.

His only job was at a crossdressing bar.

Though he didn't like, his wife also worked part a bar.

Then they cut to footage of their middle daughter, who was overweight and because they didn't have the money was forced to wear her older sister's middle school uniform.  Which didn't fit even after mom altered it.  So it was safety pinned.

Then footage of cross-dressed daddy with a fur coat and looking fabulous drinking in the bar that sat no less than 3 people at maximum occupancy.

Thinking about this news story infuriates me to this day, over two months later.

Fukubukuro 2010 Epilogue

I've come home from an experience in which people are changed and will hopefully wake up the next day.  It's August 2011, 8 months into a year that is not and can't be 2010.  The drive home gave me energy on putting a nailgun firmly against a 2010 project and pulling the trigger.  It was started because it did not exist, and I felt like it should. 

Fukubukuros are written when the conditions are right, and the conditions were never right to truly grab bag a grab bag.  It was almost entirely into 2011 with 2011 feelings that weren't 2010 feelings.  With 2011 events echoing 2010 events and 2009 events the noise and sadness and beauty and silence was never enough for a fukubukuro to truly flourish. 

In August 2010, I was playing Nier which could never become


It left me gasping at how to discuss and what to think of it.  I told a man who had been told a lot of similar things to play it.  I watched him intensely play it in 2011 while writing what I could of the fukubukuro, wondering if I could figure out how to talk about it. 

Nier almost meant something to me.  It almost gained my love, and then it didn't.  It killed the company that created it with love that never quite bled on me. 

That's the sort of writing you get when you have no idea what you're thinking about a game.  And then,

If I can feel the emotion called love, that truly must be what I feel for Tokyo.  It took root long ago, on a website that has come back in a form I feel nothing for.  I find myself now the age I was when the writers of that site entranced me.  5 years ago, I found myself living the life I had read about, finding it exactly to my expectations.

One day I'll write about that life, maybe when I have whatever new from that life has.  Everyone has left Tokyo now, and the Tokyo of insert credit has long since died.  Until then these words are up until I feel terrible enough to take them down.

Thank You