Friday, August 28, 2009

Famous Last Words, Part 2

"Please don't leave me. Please don't leave me."
-Chris Farley, to a prostitute as she left his hotel room following a weekend-long drug and sex binge. When she turned around, Farley had collapsed.

"Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow's paper? 'French Fries'!"
-James French, convicted murderer in the electric chair. He shouted these words to members of the press who were to witness his execution.

"Nobody shot me."
-Frank "Tight Lips" Gusenberg, American mobster murdered as part of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

"Ich bin Heinrich Himmler."
-Heinrich Himmler

"Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! Tell Major Hawks--" [trails off, then smiles] "Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."
-Stonewall Jackson, in a fever-induced delusion that he was still leading an army

"Does nobody understand?"
-James Joyce

"I wish I could go with you."
-Walt Kelly, to his wife as she went to go get coffee

"No, you certainly can't."
-JFK, in response to "You certainly can't say that the people of Dallas haven't given you a nice welcome, Mr. President."


I want to share Achewood with you guys. You've probably seen it at one point or another, I've been following it since sometime late in 2002 I think. The basic info on it is: Achewood is an online comic strip by a guy named Chris Onstad. It has been running since October 1st, 2001. The comic has evolved entirely post 9-11, it practically is post 9-11.

There is no over-arching, main story arc. Instead, Onstad uses short-term story arcs which develop the recurring characters. This isn't exactly revolutionary (Larry David), in fact it seems to be the MO of most webcomics I've seen or followed, but still, no one does it like Chris Onstad. I would normally have linked to Achewood's main page by now but the whole reason this is on my mind at the moment is that the current story arc has gotten so crazy that I noticed how important one (or each?) character's arc has grown despite the lack of a main story arc. I also noticed how much would be lost on a new reader, and I feel like this quality. . . feels like Quality.
So, with respect to the greater work that is Achewood I present the following link from 03/12/2002:
I would recommend reading from there until at least 04/22/02.

This storyline marks the first time I feel Chris Onstad moves into the real form that Achewood employs as the comic progresses. So many new characters are introduced and interact with each other that the scope of the comic itself is widened substantially from what it was before. And from this point on none of these many and diverse recurring characters is written as a stereotype, from here on out the scope of the narrative is constantly widened.

Of course, this is what happens with ANY serialized, episodic narrative- this is why any show that lasts for a good handfull of seasons eventually feels its own weight and becomes self aware. Postmodernism brings this moment to the front much sooner, and I think moving past it gracefully is really the first test anything/anyone faces in our times. In a way, The Party storyline here works as a structural metaphor as much as it functions narratively. Here Chris Onstad creates a massive party where all the existing and conceptualized characters in this world he is creating come together as friends and exert their personalities so we all have a good time with them and at the end of it, everyone is ready to see what else life brings and they're all friends at the core, they know that and we know that. And isn't that the point of a party. . . at its core?

I'd also like to point out that the messageboard/blog posts for each strip are included in the archives. They have an interesting feature where blog memebers can cheer or boo over comments to the point where the comments can actually be removed for acting like too much of a "lamer." The followers of the site can pretty much write their own history. I never paid much attention to the messageboard before today but, there's something interesting happening there too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Re: You Made Me Do This...

For some reason Blogger won't let me comment...

Chris, you have given me the most precious gift of all: a gaze into the end of existence.

You Made Me Do This...

OK, so I promised myself a long time ago that I would...

a. Never view this video again.
b. Never allow anyone I know to find out it's existence, or of course view it.
c. Never think or speak of this video again.
d. Look into legal or illegal ways to erase it's image from my memory.
e. Set up a pricey rehabilitation center somewhere out west so that I may be able to capitalize/exploit the effects this video's viewing will have on the mass youtube populous.

So, with that being said here it is. You made me do it Evan, I didn't want to, but you brought me to this. It's too late there's no turning back. Here is the most terrifying "youtube cover of a song you love" that you'll ever hear. I'm sorry and Happy Birthday.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Famous Last Words, Part 1

"You be good. See you tomorrow. I love you."
-Alex, African Grey Parrot used in comparative psychology research at Brandeis University, spoken to his handler, Dr. Irene Pepperberg, when she put him in his cage for the night; he was found dead the next morning.

"Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel."
-George Appel, executed by electric chair in 1928.

"I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis."
-Humphrey Bogart

"Tell mother, tell mother, I died for my country... (looks at his hands) useless... useless..."
-John Wilkes Booth

"In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts and in living color, you are going to see another first: attempted suicide."
-30-year-old anchorwoman Christine Chubbuck, who, on July 15, 1974, during technical difficulties during a broadcast, said these words on-air before producing a revolver and shooting herself in the head (While she drew the gun on camera, the technicians quickly cut the video feed, but the gunshot could be clearly heard). She was pronounced dead in hospital fourteen hours later.

"Lady, you shot me!"
-Same Cooke

All sources Wikipedia. To be continued.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I was surprised and excited to find out that we got our first outside reader comment a few hours ago from someone named Susan. This excitement has evolved into a completely imystifying experience. . . so Susan, whoever you are (or whatever?), I hope you don't mind if I invade your "privacy" for a sec as I catalogue this moment for the sake of "Knowledge."

So, in response to Nate's last post Susan writes:

A little while later my girlfriend calls and I mention the comment to her. While I do this I also check out Susan's profile which looks like this:

"Microsoft Word Software" is an odd name for a personal blog, but I dug it so I check it out. The blog is styled by what I think is a "minima" template and is ad-free. The words I read there basically blow my mind )despite the cliche( . This is the first paragraph from the latest blog entry dated April 28, 2009 and titled "Microsoft Word Within The Home Environment":
"His software calendar features designed to any different simple and customers to make employees that can respond trouble-free. Some of the office Outlook which has management simple and are calendar features that used by outside sources. The email storage, and Microsoft Exchange Server include can respond to utilize this enhanced security allows compromised is protected at all times and to utilize the employee is Microsoft Exchange Server include can allows employees and are notice."

Its like a Microsoft pamphlet went through a chipper shredder! after reading a few more posts I get completely confused and excited.

The structure of the words remains a confusing constant but the Tone of them now starts to shift from post to post. I sense "moods" enough that I begin to question at what point the human hand meets software in this blog and what purpose it serves to its user. It has the effect of listening to the data-stream poetry of the cylon hybrids in BSG. I go back and look at that crazy list of followed blogs on the user profile and check a few. May I present: "An Expert's Guide on Laptop Processor," Blanket," "Easy Power Paint" and "Transcend Memory - Read Reviews, Compare Prices, Check the Latest"

I don't know exaclty what's going on here, but its pretty sweet.
I go back to the original comment left by susan and click the link by her signature. It takes me here:

I noticed the tab for "privacy policy" next to "home" and checked it out:

So I guess it directes to a site that scans my info for. . . purposes. The Recent Posts Tab revealed a series of kinda nonsense paragraphs about the titles but without any substantive links. For example, the tab for Super Mario Online Games led to a self titled page that begins:
"Super Mario Online Games for free are addictive in nature and is not affected by any external factors like recession, job cuts and so on."

I feel like I've stumbled on the spam mail parking complex... and maybe there's people living in it? Why is everything but susan's blog formatted in a way that I don't associate with actual humans? What am I feeling? I haven't been like this since I saw The Room. On the outside looking in.

Susan, if you're reading this, I want to tell you that you've got a rockin blog!

. . . continues soon

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Ol' Unfaithful"

I've been meaning to watch more Conan since he started on the "Tonight Show" spot. Today I watched this episode and I'm really happy, as a fan of "Late Night," with everything about the new show.
First of all, as was always the case, Conan's bad jokes during the monologue not only fail to hamper its humorous nature, but arguably increase it. At one point in this episode's monologue, even Andy turns on Conan, so awful and trite are the jokes. The opening showcases the hilarious nature of Conan's face, body, expressions, and self-loathing character so much that I wonder if the writers don't intentionally write bad or overly broad jokes just because Conan bombing is always funnier.
The bigger budget of the "Tonight Show" has only helped to amplify the effect of "Late Night." Said effect creates the illusion of living in Conan's mind and seeing the world through the eyes of someone completely pop-culture-obsessed and socially awkward-- someone who sees everyone, even celebrities, and especially himself, as grotesque or otherwise ripe for mockery. Therefore, the writers and producers of both Conan shows have made a sort of more mass-culture-oriented version of "Pee-Wee's Playhouse:" a hyper-campy, meta-referential sideshow that is both beautiful and disturbing.

Lost Scene from 2001

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Strllllaaaaaannnnnded in CaNtoN!

Video Black-The Mortality of the Image

Somewhere there is a video camera that has not been shut off for the last 20 years. It's rigid, unblinking eye has been tirelessly scanning a parking lot somewhere, silent witness to all the comings and goings of the past two decades. It has seen the same man get out of his car each morning, his body gradually sagging, less resistant to gravity, as his gait imperceptibly slows over the intervening time. It has seen the unbroken procession of days and nights, the cyclic changes in the sun and moon, the growth of trees and the perpetual variations of weather with the accumulation of it's harsh marks. It has seen the parade of fashion in car design and clothing, and witnessed the evidence of human intentions and impulses in the sudden material alterations of the physical landscape.

However this perpetual observer has no stories to tell, no store of wisdom, no knowledge of the grand patterns. Locked within a great immutable Now, it has no sense of past or future. Without a memory to give it a life, events flicker across its image surface with only a split second to linger as afterimages, disappearing forever without a trace. Today it will be shut off, the world abruptly ending in an arbitrary cut-off point, as all endings are, and a new model camera installed. In another society, this camera, with its accumulated existence, would be graduated to an object of power to be venerated and reciprocated. At least, the tubes of old cameras such as this should be installed in a shrine with the hope that someday some future technology could coax from their surface the subtle residue of a lifetime's experience. Today's event will pass with barely a notice.

Bill Viola, Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jesus, please

For better or worse I'm following up Evan's post with this:

glorious and nauseating all at once, for the same reasons. And now, paired with the potential of this "quantum apocalypse" vid; The breadth of it all! Christ.

I don't know if watching all 14min in one sitting is the best approach. Maybe it is, maybe I'll break it into thirds later. It gets to be too much, but at the same time it doesn't, you know?