Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Regulators by Richard Bachman

I'm setting up my own rating system for books:

Obscenity/graphics: *****
Story: ****
Catchy-ness: ***

An autistic boy's imagination runs wild and the whole street is in trouble. It all starts with a strange red truck turning onto Poplar Street. Just a few hours later, the street becomes a nightmare in a cartoon world only a child can dream up. The story shifts from character to character, covering everyone on the street at the time, confusing as it is. It gets easier to tell the characters apart from each other later on after the beginning, when more and more residents start to die. Then there's the Wyler household, where Audrey Wyler and eight-year old Seth Garin are fighting their own demon. The story is filled with images of blood and gore, including a woman's arm hanging off her shoulder by one squidgey noise-making ribbon of flesh. The ending is gorgeous, and making all the confusing names and gross-out worthwhile. I'm not giving it away. Read it yourself.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Oversocialization

Bush isn't the best president. Everyone knows that.

The day he was inaugurated in 2000, protesters stood in Washington, shouting "Hail to the thief, our commander in chief!" Cindy Sheehan stood in front of his ranch along with hundreds of other protesters. People everywhere watch him closely, waiting for him to make a mistake.

Things are now different from the way it was forty years ago. Before the Vietnam War, presidents and government officials were treated with respect. As the draft continued sending the country's children overseas and the number of casualties mounted, college students, along with thousands of others, realized the possibility the government could be wrong and started protesting.


Today, everybody does it. In fact, it's now "cool" to hate the president, wether you really have reasons to back yourself up, or are doing it because everyone else is (and because Green Day told you to). Everywhere you look, there's photoshopped images of his face on monkeys' bodies, doing cocaine, next to obscene words and graphics, and even worse, in Nazi uniforms.


The thing is, have they gone too far?

The president is a person, too, and he is honestly doing what he thinks is right. No, he's not the devil. No, he's not the senseless sold murderer you make him out to be. And no, he hasn't experienced the dangerous life of a soldier, or losing a child overseas. But the difference between now and then is that soldiers today willingly give their own lives to fight in the war. One could call it a dumb decision, and one could call our soldiers dumb, but protesters already made the decision not to fight, and there's no reason they should decide for others, especially if their own opinions are in opposition to others.'

I'm done protesting the war. It's extremely one-sided. The soldiers can either get themselves killed or save Iraq - it's their life. If they chose to, they could leave the spots empty, leaving the country with no army. But they don't, and that's fine with me.

These people aren't the real enemy here. The real enemy is being classified as one country. A foreign leader who hates the idea of our soldiers invading Iraq can decide to bomb an important military center - and kill hundreds of anti-war protesters as well as immigrants from their own country. As long as unwilling people are put in a group they don't share hearts and minds with, there is no peace.

World peace is possible. The government has muddied the chances.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I always though it was Godzilla who climbed the Empire State

*spoiler alert

Pete Jackson makes the best CGI creatures. I bet he loved making Shelob and Heavenly Creatures. I just saw King Kong today. It was wicked, especially with all the dinosaur fight scenes, like where all the "longnecks" (sorry about my speaking in Land Before Time, I don't know what they're called) were practically rolling down that crevice like drunks, away from the egg-stealers. And the showdown between King Kong and all the sharpteeth. And I liked how Andy Serkis' head was swallowed up by the giant leech. That was cooler than ... (dare I say it?) Revenge of the Sith.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Old Spiderman Show


Who remembers watching that show in the 1990's? I used to watch it all the time when I was around 7 and 8. I never took it seriously, like the people who talk about it being the best comicbook remake cartoon, but it had me hooked. Every day, Spiderman would battle the Green Goblin, Hobgoblin, Venom, that water dude, and hundreds of others, all while keeping his identity hidden from the rest of the world. It never got boring, like Power Rangers eventually became. He didn't fight similar monsters every day just to win at the end of every episode. Usually, like in comics, there'd be multi-part episodes, like when he became Venom, or that time he shot four extra arms and started slowly morphing into an overgrown spider, or when his girlfriend Mary-Jane found out she had once died and was brought back to life, with water-blasting powers, just so she could live with the water dude.

These episodes were memorable, and should've kept on going. And I don't see why not. According to here, it was a pretty successful show, until FOX uneccesarily cancelled it. Up to now, not even the live-action Spiderman and Spiderman II could live up to John Semper's version.

Screw FOX.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Violent Macabre of the Toys

The toys came to life.

Janey knew it wasn't a good thing, things were horribly, horribly wrong - she desperately prayed it was just a dream, but she couldn't escape them.

"Hello, Janey," Cheery the Bear said, "We're gonna eat you up!"

"You can't escape us," Floppity the Easter Bunny smiled. Left of her was her boyfriend, Hippity. They smiled at her viciously, others joining in. All around her, action figures, beanie-babies, and stuffed animals stared at her. Janey had been browsing the encyclopedia the other day and came across the horrible subject of the Donner Party. It frightened her to think people would eat members of their own family to stay alive. In her mind she could see their expressions; blank; cold; and murderous. These animals and dolls all wore the same expression, all except for one.

Pounce the Kitty-Cat was snuggled in the crook of her elbow, like always. Pounce the Kitty-Cat was dead.

"Please, please don't." She tried to tell them, but all that came out was a barely audible whimper.

"This is for the time you ripped my arm on the swing," Bobby the Bear sneered. He held up his yellow-sunshine paws and pulled at Janey's hair.

It didn't hurt, but Janey started crying nonetheless. "Quit it," she told him, her face muffled in Pounce's fur.

Pounce wouldn't've hurt her, she thought, if Pounce were alive. She was the sweetest kitty there could ever be. It was true; Janey imagined it that way. Her face pressed deeper into the limp and lifeless brown toy, its eyes forever blank and murky. Janey's best friend Lilla had gotten her the beanie-baby the day Janey turned four. Two weeks later, Lilla died in a car crash. After that, Janey took Pouncey everywhere, and saw Lilla every time she looked in Pounce's eyes.

But Pounce was now dead.

Don't listen to them, Pounce would've been saying, Things'll get better." But dead things can't talk.

"This is for leaving me out in the rain!" Natalie-doll screamed and bit her arm. It felt like a rug-burn, but Janey didn't dare to move.

"And dropping me on the floor all one hundred eighty three times!" Blue Ranger kicked the top of her head. Raindrops falling on my head. Others began to join him. Janey hugged the lifeless Kitty-Cat tighter.

She was alone, in her room, with a whole army of toys attacking her. It was dark, but the purplish glow from the night sky made it possible to tell which bunny was Hippity and which was Floppity (pink and green, the colours of Spring, she once made up herself). Mommy and Daddy were down the hall, she didn't want to risk yelling for them, not if there was a chance they wouldn't even wake up. She couldn't even count on herself to raise her voice higher than a whisper. She was trapped under her own covers, hiding her face in what might as well be a piece of shaggy carpet.

The carpet stared back at her with blank, unforgiving eyes.

It hadn't been long. In fact, it seemed like just yesterday when Janey had been running through the park, with the Kitty sitting in her pocket. When she stowed Pounce in her backpack the first day of kindergarten. The day she searched everywhere for her lost toy, staying up past midnight looking for it, only to find her "sweetest kitty in the world" in the drying machine, most of the fur worn off, eyes grey and murky, seeming to say "you did this to me." Janey didn't want to look at it, it terrified her to see her bestest friend cold, and wet, filled with accusation for her. But she couldn't throw it away, either. Lilla was in there. Inside the natty fur, the cold hateful eyes, her angel.

"You muddied my fur with your tea!" Heart, the once-cotton-white bunny shouted.

"And my wedding-gown!" Barbie added. A few other animals and dolls she often played Tea-Party with agreed. They kicked her, pulled her hair, and pinched her. She tried not to move.

More and more joined in. Janey could feel the beans inside the dead beanie-baby pressed harder and harder against her face. If she could see herself in the mirror, she'd be facing a girl whose face was so full of little pits anyone else would have thought she was hideously deformed. They kept hurting her, like a mass of rioters catching their enemy at its weak point.

Harder.

Oh Lilla where are you where are you, come out,

Harder.

come out, please, I need you . . .

One of them, an action figure, stood at her forehead. It held something sharp. A needle; it glinted in the dark. It held it up over its head, threatening to bring it down.

Higher.

(harder)

The figure froze, at its potential height. Janey waited for the blow. Something in her mind told her she wasn't going to last this night. Somehow, the needle would find the right place.

Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a small plastic arm coming down.

Before she knew it she thrust the useless rug in front of her. No angel was coming out. Quit fooling yourself.

The needle was thrust into the fabric, and kept ripping deeper. In an instant the worthless brown shab-rat that was once given to her as a birthday present tore apart. Hundreds of small, white beads poured out like sand in an hourglass. All over her bed, her pajamas, filling up the darkness with their shining radiance.This is what they're filled with, she thought, they're like little pearls. And suddenly realized something else.

The toys went back to sleep.

The evil little creatures that had just been pulling her hair, just scratching her arms, biting her fingers, burning her skin, were lying still, all of them, like the innocent dolls and bears they always were during playtime at any given afternoon. Just toys.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Infinity

"The greatest mystery the universe offers is not life but Size. Size encompasses life, and the Tower encompasses Size. The child, who is most at home with wonder, says: Daddy, what is above the sky? And the father says: The darkness of space. The child: What is beyond space? The father: The galaxy. The child: Beyond the galaxy? The father: Another galaxy. The child: Beyond the other galaxies? The father: No one knows.

You see? Size defeats us. For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of experience and into a new universe where air drowns him and the light is blue madness? Where huge bipeds with no gills stuff it into a suffocating box and cover it with wet weeds to die?

Or one might take the point of a pencil and magnify it. One reaches the point where a stunning realization strikes home: The pencil point is not solid; it is composed of atoms which whirl and revolve like a trillion demon planets. What seems solid to us is actually only a loose net held together by gravitation. Shrunk to the correct size, the distances between these atoms might become leagues, gulfs, aeons. The atoms themselves are composed of nuclei and revolving protons and electrons. One may step down further to subatomic particles. And then to what? Tachyons? Nothing? Of course not. Everything in the universe denies nothing; to suggest conclusions to things is one impossibility.

If you fell outward to the limit of the universe, would you find a board fence and signs reading DEAD END? No. You might find something hard and rounded, as the chick must see the egg from the inside. And if you should peck through that shell, what great and torrential light might shine through your hole at the end of space? Might you look through and discover our entire universe is but part of one atom on a blade of grass? Might you be forced to think that by burning a twig you incinerate an eternity of eternities? That existence rises not to one infinite but to an infinity of them?

Perhaps you saw what place our universe plays in the scheme of things - as an atom in a blade of grass. Could it be that everything we can percieve, from the infinitesimal virus to the distant Horsehead Nebula, is contained in one blade of grass . . . a blade that may have existed for only a day or two in an alien time-flow? What if that blade should be cut off by a scythe? When it began to die, would the rot seep into our own universe and our own lives, turning everything yellow and brown and desiccated? Perhaps it's already begun to happen. We say the world has moved on; maybe we really mean that it has begun to dry up.

Think of how small such a concept of things makes us, gunslinger! If a God watches over it all, does He actually mete out justice for a race of gnats among an infinitude of races of gnats? Does his eye see the sparrow fall when the sparrow is less than a speck of hydrogen floating disconnected in the depth of space? And if He does see . . . what must the nature of such a God be? Where does He live? How is it possible to live beyond infinity?

Imagine the sand of the Mohaine Desert, which you crossed to find me, and imagine a trillion universes - not worlds but universes - encapsulated in each grain of that desert; and within each universe an infinity of others. We tower over these universes from our pitiful grass vantage point; with one swing of your boot you may knock a billion billion worlds flying off into darkness, in a chain never to be completed.

Size, gunslinger . . . Size. . . .

Yet suppose further. Suppose that all worlds, all universes, met in a single nexus, a single pylon, a Tower. A stairway, perhaps, to the God-head itself. Would you dare, gunslinger? Could it be that somewhere above all of endless reality, there exists a Room . . . ?"

-Stephen King, in The Gunslinger

Monday, December 12, 2005

Quick!

Name all the people in the picture! Cheating is allowed.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Gossameres


It's strange
how
cobwebs can mean
dust
emptiness
and
gross-out
when in truth
they're
art

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Those ads with games in them


These ads keep getting wierder and wierder. They used to be things like "Squash the cockroach and win a free iPod." Now there's everything from "Shoot down the army guys" to "Plant a kiss on Brad Pitt" to "Knock down Osama Bin Laden" and "Shoot the annoying cell-phone guy." It's like you want to play the game, but you also don't want the annoying "WINNER" window to pop up. What'll be easier for everyone is if they had a page full of free games like these that flash subliminal messages like "GET AN IPOD" randomly throughout the game. Customers guaranteed, with no obligation.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Regulators



I just thought I'd share that picture. It's on the back cover of The Regulators by Richard Bachman. I haven't started it but I'd just like to share how cool the cover looks. That is all.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Shoetrack

It was November 14th, the rainiest day of the year. From everywhere, even hidden with your face under the bedcovers, you could hear the raindrops patter hardly on the cement walk. Everywhere that wasn't cement was quickly turned into mud.

The sand in the playground turned into muck, and the children learned quickly not to play there. Instead they sat at home, crouched up, arms wrapped around their knees and staring out the window, singing "rain, rain, go away, come again another day..." to themselves. No one wanted to be naughty and get their clothes dirty and be scolded by mommy about how much your jeans cost and how long it takes to wash the grime out.

Outside, a boy sat swinging alone in the playground.

It had been a cold cloudy day, when, unexpectedly, the sky burst out raining like the first bout of the black plague. Mikey, six years old, didn't give a "rat's ol' ass." He kept swinging on the playground swings - his playground swings higher and higher. It didn't matter to him that other kids, even the big 'ol fifth graders, called him the Swing Hog, it only made it all the more his.

School was already out, and the rest of the kids had left, eager to get out
of the rain. Mikey was the only one in the playground. He didn't really care, he just didn't want to go home. Daddy had been yelling a lot lately, which made both him and mommy cry. "Feeling like shit," she'd say. He understood that Mommy had it worse. She was going to have a baby, which made her moody all the time. "All the fucking time," his dad would mutter under his breath every now and then.

He sat on the seat, swinging higher and higher every time. He wondered what to do once he got home again. Maybe he'd take Dad's wallet and run far, far away. Higher the swing went. He'd take Mommy and the baby with him, of course. Where to? The market of course. People offered samples all the time. They would never go hungry. Higher. Tears ran down his eyes, mixing in with the rain. "You stink like fucking shit" he whispered, as if those words were sacred, all he needed to get by in life.

Whack

Before he knew it, Mikey fell off the swing and landed face first in the mud. His back throbbed with pain. At first he thought God was angry at him for the bad words and decided to spank him. Mommy and Daddy said those words, and they were always sad. Then he thought it must be Daddy, returning home from a days work and "pissed like hell." He turned around.

The man standing there was glaring at him like the sun beating down on snow. He was old, but not too old. Around fifty, he thought. Under the bright yellow umbrella, the head underneath had no hair on top. His nose was crooked, like a bird's. The man stood tall, like a police officer, and even had a shiny badge pinned on his black suit. In his hands was a baseball bat.

Mikey was scared, but also angry. That man had no right to hit him off the swings like that. the officer just raised his arm and pointed to the left. Mikey's left. Towards home. His angry eyes seemed to wildly suggest "Go home, Mikey. Go home." There was something unsettling in the air, the rain around them seemed to have gotten ten degrees colder.

Mikey glared back at him, thinking "I hate my home." It was something adults couldn't understand if he said it out loud. Just a ridiculous sentence kids say to let their angries out. No real meaning. He found himself desperately hoping the man could read his thoughts, understanding him, knowing it was true. The strange man stood there, frozen, still pointing towards the little pit of doom Mikey learned to call "home."

Suddenly, with a flash of lightning, a vivid image appeared in Mikey's head. He closed his eyes, the flash hurt horribly. He looked back at the officer, who looked exactly the same as he had a second ago. Mikey, now terrified, nodded and got up out of the mud.

"I won't." He whispered as he ran turned and ran away. The policeman was there, he knew, but he didn't turn back.

Ten feet away, Mikey heard the soft voice whispering, almost crooning, as clear as day. "Murrrderer. . . ." Mikey's shoe got stuck in the mud. Trying to keep his foot in, he violently tugged it out. It was now covered entirely with black mud. He kept running.

Home wasn't very far. Once there, he shrugged off his jacket and took off his shoes. They would have to be washed later. Mommy was knitting on the couch. Daddy was in the garage, tinkering with his power tools. He didn't care. Daddy could drill up his own brain, for all he cared. In fact, he preferred it that way. He hugged Mommy as tight as he possibly could. He could feel what felt like the baby, kicking its tiny feet into Mommy. He hugged her harder.

He wasn't going to kill her, he assured himself. He loved her. If anyone, just Daddy was going to lie on that floor, covered, and choking in his own blood. Daddy, and Daddy alone deserved it. And when that happened, Mikey would hack his heart out. Daddy alone deserved it.

Back outside, the school play-yard was empty. Rain kept pouring, over everything, splashing the play equipment with mud. It covered everything. Everything except for a deep shoe track haunted with the word "murderer."
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