Archive for April, 2010

On Ordinarity

Posted: April 30, 2010 in Braak, poetics, Threat Quality
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Is that a word?  Ordinarity?  The quality of being ordinary?  Chrome’s spell-check prefers Ordinariness, but I don’t like that one as much.

Anyway, I watched some plays last weekend, some one-acts by David Ives.  I am, generally, not a huge fan of David Ives — I think his premises habitually go on about thirty percent longer than they should, and that his insights into life and the human condition are on the banal side.  (Quick digression:  American Heritage Dictionary lists three acceptable pronunciations of “banal”:  to rhyme with canal, to rhyme with anal, and to rhyme with panel.  Which one do you like?)

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A couple weeks back, we discussed some rules for writing, and why “rules for writing” is maybe a little restrictive.

On the other hand: Kevin Smith.

Offered without comment (other than my little bit of dickishness above), here are some actual lines of narration from his aborted-screenplay-turned-comic-series, Green Hornet:

“The dusty arsenal beneath his feet hums a siren’s lie of promise.”

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I must be getting old. Somehow, a movie called Ninja Assassin, which is about a Ninja Assassin (whose name is Raizo but I don’t care, he was Ninja Assassin to me) fights other Ninja Assassins, and they Ninja Fight literally every five minutes and there are GALLONS of blood spewed in many colorful patterns – kind of bored me.

And what is it with the kids today with their pants and their hair and the boom boxes and sexting and GET OFF MY LAAAAWWWNNN – wait, sorry, different getting-old rant.

Anyway, let’s see if I can break down the viewing experience of Ninja Assassin, in case my saying “Ninjas fight other ninjas” was too vague of a plot outline for you:

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I’m looking at you, Covert Affairs, and your pretty lead, who looks like a sort of pouty, wide-eyed Mary McCormick.  (Oh…that’s what Piper Perabo has been up to.)

Listen, we should talk about this.  I’m a white male in my mid (to late) 20s, so I know you really respect my opinion about…well, about everything.  So, I’ve got to say this.

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Slow News Day

Posted: April 26, 2010 in Braak

Super-slow, today, while I wait around the house for the termite guy to take care of all the fucking termites.  I guess I’ll just ask you all for some advice:  let’s say I want to learn something awesome, like Wing Chun.  But when I look around for places to learn it, all their classes are in the 6-9 PM range — the prime range for, say, every other possible hobby I might be interested in (guitar lessons, clown school).  Also, if you want to work in the theater, unless you’re with a really successful company — 6-9 is when you do all your work.

Not only that, but it’s expensive.  Always, everything I want to do represents the entirety of my disposable income for the month.

Is this the way life is, basically?  If you have a regular job, you can have one (1) other thing that you do?  Like your life gets a single course elective?  Of course, I don’t have a regular job, but Wing Chun schools (and guitar schools, and clown schools) don’t have classes that cater to the fifteen people like me.

What am I supposed to do here?

UPDATE:  I want to start a gym that’s like a superhero gym.  It would have crazy obstacles courses in it instead of squash courts, and the personal trainers would be able to teach you kung fu or boxing, and instead of ESPN2 on every god-damn fucking television, we would just show Batman and Bruce Lee movies.  It will be called Badass Academy.

Thoughts on Acting

Posted: April 23, 2010 in Braak, theater
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This has been on my mind a lot, lately; obviously:  because I’m in a play, and surrounded by actors, all of whom are engaged in their “processes.”  For the non-actors out here, “process” is extremely important to actors.  There are fights about what is a good “process”–though everyone generally agrees that process is unique–we kind of jealously guard the methods we use in our process, too.

I once read an interview with Alan Moore in which he talked about the creative process, and how so many writers don’t like to talk about it as though it’s a real thing, but a kind of magic thing; he attributed this to writers not really understanding how they do what they do, and fearing that close scrutiny would spoil the whole thing.

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Damn, Roger Ebert. I love the guy, I find his reviews to be across the board the most well-written and considerate in film criticism. And that he’s actually a more prolific writer than ever following the loss of his voice (and jaw) is really impressive.

And yet, every time he opens his mouth (so to speak) in any fashion regarding comic books or video games, I have to remember that he is an old, old man, and he will not consider things like “comics” or “video games” or “Things that were invented after the 1970s” as ever being art.

Now…I’ve sat through an awful lot of pointless, clunky, poorly told stories (and awkwardly animated cutscenes) when playing a video game. And I have read a metric fuck-ton of bad comics. So I understand there are some poor examples of the form in easy view.

But I have also watched VOLUMES of truly terrible movies. And yet?

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Busy day, busy busy busy, gotta write some stuff, gotta edit some things, gotta haggle with Marriott and get them to stop charging me for a day they mistakenly booked me for, gotta find a way to explain THAT is why I overdrew my account to the nice Wachovia people…and yet. Not in a bad mood.

For one thing, my girlfriend’s making some kind of prosciutto/asparagus thingie for lunch.

For another, a documentary/extended interview with Warren Ellis, titled ‘Captured Ghosts,’ is on the way.

Here’s a preview:

Past Future History

Posted: April 19, 2010 in Braak
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What am I even doing anymore?  Who knows?

It would be the Russians that did this first, or the Chinese, or some other country with a poor but discreet system of violating human rights.  In this case it was the Russians, some time in 2012, making the first Dog Soldiers.

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I was going to write at length about the nuances of the new Doctor Who until I realized that would be a bit cruel to those of you who have been patiently waiting for BBC America to start airing the new series (this Sunday, primetime, catch it!).

So instead of picking apart why the new series has been FRICKING AWESOME, based on the first two episodes, I’ll just use my impressions of them to give you a few good reasons to tune in.

First up:

This Doctor is a Bit of a Dick.

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