Mar 31, 2009

Burn, Zombie, Burn! Review [Not My Own!]

Now, I'm not intentionally looking for zombie content to bombard you with - well, okay, maybe a little I am - but it just seems to be popping up everywhere I look. Which, I guess, if video game sites are where I'm looking, then that's to be expected. Zombies have almost always been present in video games - Ghouls N Ghosts, Zombies At My Neighbors, Resident Evil - and on gaming sites, and so it should be natural to expect them now to pop up on the downloadable content areas of the newest consoles.

I saw the review for a simple little game called Burn, Zombie, Burn, which is about as sophisticated as last year's game, oh, what was it called? The one that's just like this one on the Playstation Network. Oh well, it's sort of like a dollar-store version of Dead Rising. There. That does it. Click here to read the Escapist Magazine Review.

Shameless Self-Promotion

Occasionally, I do some guest blogging on a couple of other sites. Today I posted a blog about the show Friday Night Lights on a sports blog called From the Sidelines. Go check it out.

Mar 30, 2009

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Zombies are one of the things Yahtzee over at Zero Punctuation says nerds should shut the fuck up about, and yet, here we, are in the Age of Aquarius of the Undead. Zombies are as least as popular now as whale tails were a couple of years ago.

Zombies are getting their moment in the ashen, nuclear-winter, apocalyptic sun, and not a moment too soon. Beyond popular video game series - which are still, sadly, considered the realm of the nerd - and movies, now there are books. Yes, books. It didn't quite start with Max Brooks's Zombie Survival Guide, but that book provided the final bridge to coolness and acceptability in the written realm.

Ditto on the not a moment too soon stuff, either. There was only so much Romero fanfic to go around.

Well, now, the latest in the series is the reworking of the late-Romantic period Jane Austen novel into a book replete with the undead. If there has ever been a more awkward mash-up - other than Bruce Willis and Puff Daddy at that awards event a couple of years back - then I haven't seen it. I can't wait for this homage, not-homage to come out on April 9, and you should be stoked too. According to Bam Kapow!, the book was even featured on NPR. Wow.

Mar 29, 2009

Zero Punctuation

I may be coming to this party a little late - indeed, some people are probably already standing at the door with their coats and hats - but for the distinct possibility that you haven't experienced "Zero Punctuation" I have to blog about it.

"Zero Punctuation" is basically a series of video-based video game reviews helmed by a snarky British/Australian gamer with a rapier's wit and a penchant for talking really, really fast, whose pseudonym is Yahtzee. Seriously.

In a meta-video-slash-announcement that he was jumping ship to do reviews over at The Escapist Magazine, Yahtzee described releasing videos on YouTube, and I'm paraphrasing, as living on a deserted island and throwing bottled messages into a sea composed entirely of bottled messages. Sort of the like the Police song.

I think the analogy is brilliant, and that should give you an idea of what you should expect if you wander over to YouTube or The Escapist to check out the reviews.

Or, if you prefer, you can watch the review of The Orange Box below.

Sad But True

Mar 27, 2009

Prioritize Your Life: Television

Prioritize Your Life: Television

I know that I'm going to be touching a third rail here, but I'm also doing it willingly, so it's all right. It's a pleasurable job to needle the common man. Just kidding! I've blogged about prioritizing your e-mail in the past, and I'm continuing the process of helping you "get a time refund" by pointing out habits that can be curbed or cut out altogether. Organization's straw man for today is television.

Television is great. I love television. But, at the same time, I'm not beholden to the television networks or their ploys to make me spend my time sitting down and being passively invested in their shows. Ouch. That comes off a little more aggro than I would like, but I swear I'm only making a point here. The more time you spend watching television, especially shows you've already seen (or seen multiple times), the less time you have to do other, more productive activities in life.

I get it. After a long day of work - or looking for work, in this economy - passive entertainment is hard to beat. We've all been there. Your brain is fried. Your body can't seem to get off the couch, even when commanded. All you want to do is sink into the couch.

But how about - and this is just a suggestion - you take a day off completely and focus on a goal you've made for yourself. Even if you only watch an hour of television a day, think of how much you can do for yourself once a week. You can repair that leaky faucet or take your dogs for a walk or (like me) work on that daunting novel.

Or, similarly, if you cut your time in half (or a quarter!), you can increase the happiness quotient on the old "things to do" list and get back some of that time that just seems to slip away. Instead of watching T.V. for an hour each day, you can cut out half of that time and devote it to reading a book or searching for a new job or paying bills, so that it won't be looming over your head, which always seems to distract me from fully enjoying a program anyway.

Especially in the age of the internet, you can make a certain time yours so that you don't feel like you're on the treadmill. If you have a must-watch show, is a great resource for you to "pick up" certain shows. If you have weekends free, that could be a time to actively catch up on television, and then, if you don't have a DVR, you can watch your shows mostly commercial-free.

Again, I'm no productivity expert, but these are tips I've learned that work for me. My hope is you find a system that works for you!

Mar 25, 2009

Too Big to Fail

In a statement that was so mind-blowingly simple I hadn't even considered it, Matt Taibbi said (at about 2:00 in the video below) on the Rachel Maddow show last nigh:

"If these companies are too big to fail, they're too big to exist. In a capitalist society, we can't have a situation where all you have to do to stay in business forever is get so big that, whenever you screw up, the government comes and bails you out."

Brilliant. He went on to say that it's the reason we had trade-busting way back in the day, so that these companies can a manageable size, and when they become incompetent, we can just let them fail.

Now, to deter any potential attacks, let me, too, say that, like Rachel, I'm obviously not an expert. But the logic in that statement seems pretty tight to me.

You can read Taibbi's newest article by clicking here.

Mar 24, 2009


Occasionally, I like to discuss what I have been listening to on my not-iPod, and since I've already done a pseudo-expose on Coheed & Cambria, I can't very well do them again.

So instead I've chosen MASTODON. Good thing, too, since Mastodon's new album, Crack the Skye was released yesterday.

Mastodon, as an entity, is extremely difficult to explain. They are (and you will find subject-verb agreement problems all over the place when I talk about bands, because "Mastodon are" just sounds funny) a postmodern-ish metal-ish band, with vast, textured albums that more often than not contain a single theme cast through various lenses throughout.

As depicted in the cover art above, Leviathan, which is ostensibly about the book Moby Dick, differs from Crack the Skye, which, to the best idea of anyone, is about either Tsarist Russia or Rasputin. The lyrics can be awfully abstract, as can - honestly - the music.

I can't speak to the lyrics, because I can scarcely give you more than one word from any given song, because I'm so enthralled by the structured chaos of the songs and the offbeat guitar harmonies produced therein. Right now, I'm giving Crack the Skye a good listen-through, and I'm mesmerized. It's not like most metal, which hits you over the head with message, or musicality, or structure, etc.

Not the same with Mastodon. Nuance abounds, and I'll guarantee that you won't like every song the first time through listening to any of their albums (although every thing on the new record is pretty solid), so you have to give it a few spins. It's sort of like a hard-to-digest movie. You might have to give it a few listens before making a judgment. I did the same thing with Blood Mountain and, specifically the song "Colony of Birchmen" for a month or so.

To begin with, listen to "Colony of Birchmen" from Blood Mountain and "I am Ahab" and "Megalodon" from Leviathan. And, to be honest, perhaps you should give the new album, Crack the Skye, a listen all the way through. It's...something else. And, not to be a total Georgia Jingoist, but you should probably support the GA Metal, because these guys are (somewhat) from Atlanta. Plus, it was pretty kick-ass for them to do a song for the ATHF Movie.

Mar 23, 2009

'Evil' Political Cartoon

I want anybody who patronizes this site to go and visit the web comic I saw today over at This Historic Times. It's totally worth it, and if you don't get the reference...[shrugs]

Mar 22, 2009

Wes Anderson's Films

Over at That Dang Blog, the blogger goes in-depth about why people call Wes Anderson's films - Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic, Rushmore - "quirky". I have to say, as I did in my comment on the blog, that he's dead-on. Quirky is an oft-used and frequently misunderstood or ambiguous word, and especially with Wes Anderson, an explanation is needed.

Pictures of Chernobyl

Someone posted a link on Reddit to some pictures an exploratory group took while in Pripyat, Ukraine, where the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded. The pictures, along with the captions, are pretty haunting and yet beautiful. It reminds me of a program I watched about what would happen once human beings stopped existing, and it featured pics all around Pripyat.

Mar 20, 2009

The Last Horror Movie

I've had a long, arduous, and adventure-less week, so tonight is going to be mellow. Since LP is out of town for the night, I've taken it upon myself to eat Doritos and drink Sam Adams while I watch movies on Netflix Instant Queue. If I'm going to be geared up for the remainder of the weekend - and with projects for G. School due next week, I will be - then I have to recharge the old batteries tonight.

Watching movies on Friday nights may sound lame, but it's an activity I've held somewhat sacred since childhood. My mother gave me free rove of the video store, and in the late 80s and early 90s, that meant something. Movies, especially horror flicks, were rented based on the covers as much as the quality (or lack thereof) of the movies themselves. It's the ONLY reason I ever rented Sleepaway Camp. If not for the cover of Sleepaway Camp II - which deceitfully showcased Freddy's glove and Jason's hockey mask on the box - no movie in that series would have ever been rented.

But back to he present. What I happen to be watching right now, The Last Horror Movie, though pretensiously titled, revolves less around the cool factor of the agent of demise than the horror experience itself. While subtly creepy and more 'real' than most, it's shot faux-documentary style, a meta-movie, much like 'The Poughkeepsie Tapes' (which, to my knowledge, hasn't seen the light of day), and features a psychopathic protagonist (reminiscent of Christian Bale from American Psycho) who hires a camera man to detail his self-indulgent murderous exploits.

It's short and British and tongue-in-cheek, the latter of which seems to be both poorly and overly done these days in horror. And, to a very distinct extent, the movie is about as postmodern as horror films have ever been or will ever be (at one point, the protagonist invites the camera man [i.e. the audience] in on the fun). There is one scene in which Kevin Howarth (Max) tells a dying victim that "We're trying to make an intelligent movie about murder. We're actually doing the murders," which, to me, is about one of the most chilling lines from a movie I've ever heard.

'Last Horror Movie' is not for the squeamish, because the violence is not stylized whatsoever. It is frank and realistic and disturbing and purposefully, almost satirically, brutal in a way that most films cannot be, so view it at your own risk. And, also, just a side note, that's not to say the movie is groundbreaking in the quality department, either. If you saw and enjoyed 'Behind the Mask' or 'Blair Witch' give it a shot. Next up: Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Mar 19, 2009

10 Self-Lies to Get You Into Debt

Today, is discussing one of my favorite topics: debt. I should like it; I have a lot. Enough to go around, in fact, if anybody wants to take up the slack here. But it's all student loan debt, so that's all right. [Smirks]

The article I mentioned lists the top ten excuses people make to put themselves into debt, no matter their intentions. Not on the list: These hookers take plastic!?

I'll encourage you to add your own excuse in the comment section. One of mine would be, "Well, you can never have too many books, so..." I'm a notorious bibliophile even among my friends, who are (almost) all literate themselves. Sorry, some of the people from Alpharetta. J/K.

Mar 14, 2009

More Watchmen Fanboy Stuff

The Watchmen 'Cartoon'

'IT' is Going to Be Remade

It's somewhat official that 'IT' is going to be remade, though some people are speculating that based on the success of 'Watchmen' (I guess because Watchmen was long and came out in 1986?). The guy who wrote (sigh) 'The Invasion' is going to pen the screenplay, and the time frame will probably be bumped up a couple of decades, all this according to Rotten Tomatoes.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we don't need an 'It' remake. As much as I would like to see Pennywise the clown again, I don't know that a condensed version of a television movie is what I really want to see on the big screen. It's more or less a bro-ama (if I can make up a new word), and cutting out 'the slow parts' would just make the story on the whole incomprehensible. It's supposed to be long and slow and, ah, hell, what am I fighting it for?

Every movie, eventually, is going to get a remake I'm sure. I should just join the bloody fray and start marching in the remake parade. After all, I'm going to see 'Last House on the Left' this weekend.

Mar 13, 2009

The Big Lebowski Trailer Recut

I saw 'The Big Lebowski' for the first time when it came out on video in '98 or '99, and beyond the sheer amount of gratuitous swearing involved, I wasn't terribly impressed. Like much of America, I suppose. Plus, I probably was too busy using the movie as a precept for making out like a bandit that I didn't care how good the movie was.

'The Big Lebowski', apparently, came out at about the same time as 'Titanic', and, though the audience for each film was totally different, it probably still had to have something to do with its failure. People, I guess, just didn't 'get' the movie. It was, and still is, a quirky, off-kilter mys-com (yep, I just made up a word) and probably isn't a good start for people who haven't heard of the Coen Brothers.

But then I came to college, where the movie became an obsession for me and a group of friends. There was a summer where I remember watching 'The Big Lebowski' every single night during the week. I turned so many friends onto the movie that thinking about it now gives me a warm, tingly sensation inside. To give you a synopsis of the movie, well, the synopsis of the movie doesn't really matter so much. To say it's a character-driven experience is a complete and utter understatement. It's the movie the Coen Brothers followed 'Fargo' with, and if you have no idea who I'm talking about, please leave the blog right now and rent every one of their movies.

But, back to 'The Big Lebowski'. Starting a couple of years ago, with the rise of YouTube came a popular practice of re-cutting movies into trailers that change the entire tone of the film. There's a horror version of 'Mary Poppins'; a family-movie trailer for 'The Shining'; a comedic version of 'The Wicker Man'; and, now, a bromance involving three characters from 'The Big Lebowski'. It's thoroughly entertaining, given that you've seen the movie. If you haven't, then you'll probably give a big WTF, mate?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

Also, to jump on the wagon a little late, here is the Mii Lebowski, which would probably have been a lot funnier than it already is way back when Miis were still considered cute.

Mar 5, 2009

'Watchmen' Midnight Showing

***UPDATE: The old post is at the very bottom.

I've found a veritable cornucopia of videos, commentary, etc. online regarding the Watchmen movie, especially on YouTube. Not all of it is good, but isn't that always the case on YouTube. Now, I find it interesting how much of the stuff out there takes the comic book and compares it to the movie, like the video below.

Zack Snyder has said, time and time again, that he used the comic as "an illuminated text" for the blueprint of the movie. I don't know how astounded we should be by the fact that it looks like the comic book. Okay, granted, Snyder could have completely dropped the ball and not made it look like the comic, but the reverence with which he's treated it almost precludes that such a thing would have happened. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and I did think it was very true to the comic, but I also thought that Zack Snyder added several of his own flourishes to the look and the feel of the film, so I can be confident in saying that he did both things well (both things being, keeping true to the book and yet making it an entertaining movie).

***Old Post: I was just looking to buy tickets for tomorrow night's 'Watchmen' showing over at, and I saw that there's a midnight show tonight at both Athens theaters. I can't decide if I want to go by myself tonight and tomorrow night, or just go tomorrow night. I've been so super pumped about the release of this movie that I may not be able to help myself. I may just have to go see it tonight and tomorrow night. Okay, now I'm rambling.

Mar 3, 2009

Bad Behavior Just a Bad Taste?

Scientific evidence from University of Toronto researchers has found a link between morality and simple emotion, says an article on

Basically, the same muscles in the face that are used to express knowledge of an unpleasant taste are also used when people see things and situations that disgust them, like injuries or Florida Gators fans. Huh. Read the article to get more technical mumbo-jumbo.