Heavy metal scatting

I put myself through Queen of the Damned a few days ago. I thought it was going to be a non stop laugh riot, the first scene is laugh inducing, but it felt like it lasted 3 hours. It’s not well done, which makes sense since it’s based on a mash up on 2 books by Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned. I’ve always been a fan of the outre, so of course I read Interview with a Vampire when I was like 14, which I remember liking, but I didn’t really get into the other books in that universe. There was one that took place in Florida, which I thought was preposterous, vampires in Fl? Get out of here. The Queen of the Damned flick is so bad it sapped me of my will to put something else on. Everything about it is so cheesy, the accents, the costumes, the music, oh the terrible music. That was the kind of rock music that was popular when I was in H.S. but I hated most of those bands, my allegiance already on the side of death and thrash metal. Heavy metal scatting was something to be mocked at the very least. That was a thing, a thing far too many people supported. In QoftD, all the vampires get annoyed at Lestat for being out, but out of nowhere here comes the vampire queen and fucks them up for some reason. Lestat having woken her up a few centuries ago with some mad violin skills. And then there’s Jesse, who is in a secret group that keeps track of vampires, she’s wedged in the movie for some reason. So Jesse becomes obsessed with Lestat and at one point he consumes/kills someone in front of her, and Jesse is all like WTF, because despite being in a society that studies vampires she didn’t know that vampires kill people. There’s a whole lot of loose threads in the movie, and things just happen to happen. At one point the queen, Akasha, kidnaps/rescues Lestat from his concert that’s being held in Death Valley, takes him to a secret vampire island and lets him know that she wants to take over the world. That concert scene is fucking hilarious, so it’s worth watching. Don’t forget the requisite vampire club, which is nowhere near as cool as the Blade vamp club. The main question that the movie raises and fails to answer is “Why is any of this happening?” Queen of the Damned does it vampire style, it sucks and while robbing you of the precious gift of life.

I’m pretty hyped about the new Alien flick. Let’s watch a classic alien scene:

sss
Moments of genius: The guy going, “Not again!” The smirk on the alien. The cane. That song. At the end with Lone Star and Barf going, “Check please!” Classic! That scene always kills me!

I’m digging the new Mystery Science Theater 3000. I’ve only seen a few episodes, mainly because I expose myself to terrible movies on my own, but they’ve been good. The movie, however, have been very bad. I already said Let Us Never Speak Of Reptilicus Again, because it’s utterly terrible, it makes QoftD almost look like a real movie, but you have to watch it! And Starcrash! Oh Starcrash! I remember stumbling into MST3K when I was but a lad and being entranced by it, so I’m always glad to watch an episode.

 

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damp and sad

In my Chicago, the Chicago of alleys and side streets,  it’s a balmy 39 with WCF out. The sky is as gray as an old washcloth, and  the cold puddles of water gleam with rainbows of oil leaked out of cars. In the alleys the mattresses bloated with bedbugs sag against the chainlink fence that encloses the corridor of El train tracks that run street level. The tamalera is wearing her light parka. Dandelions push through cracks in the sidewalk, weeds to some they are flowers to me. It’s springtime.

People love to complain about the weather to me. They come up to me and say, “when will it be warm? When will the sun come out? When will it stop raining?” I just tell them that it’s always raining in my heart, and then they ask for towels, which I hand to them because they are damp and sad. To be fair that’s what all tourists look like to me at all times.

I finally got around to watching some footage of the Friday the 13th video game and it looks so cool! It’s a multiplayer based game where the players either play as camp counselors or, better yet, Jason fucking Voorhes. Playing as the counselors it’s up to the players to escape Camp Crystal Lake, call in for help, or stop Jason somehow. Playing as Jason lets the player hunt down everyone else like the scum they are. If it was up to me all I would do is play as Jason, he’s got some really cool abilities and who hasn’t fantazied of slaughtering camp counselors? Of course there was a previous Friday the 13th game for the venerable NES, but you only got to play as the victims, which led to me never playing it. The only game that ever let me live up my slasher villain/hero fantasy is Manhunt, but with that game I was like “wow, this is some fucked up shit.” So you know it’s fucked up. GOOD TIMES.

The most recent additions of Cast Into the Box of Books to (potentially) Sell for Beer/Lunch money are:

Paycheck, and other classic stories by Philip K. Dick, with a preface by PKD, foreword by Steven Owen Godersky, and introduction by Roger Zelazny. This is a big book with a lot of stories in it. If the other story collections in this ilk are anything like this then there’ll be PKD stories being made into movies for years and years.

Dreams of Terror and Death by H.P. Lovecraft, with an introduction by Neil Gaiman. This one has a sick cover painting by John Palencar. I’ve had this one for a long time, I might have gotten it for xmas from… someone? Me? Maybe I got a Borders gift card and that’s how I got it. Who knows.

The Road To Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, with an indroduction by Barbara Hambly. Another cool painting and some nice illustartions by J.P. Well H.P., you old rascist weirdo, off you go. I found a magnetic CTA transit card in this one, the card expired Jul 15 2003. Try and beat this opening line, “We were sitting on a dilapidated seventeenth-century tomb in the late afternoon of an autumn day at the old burying ground in Arkham, and speculating about the unnamable.”

Arguably by Christopher Hitchens. This is one of those books I found somewhere and had it sitting around for a while until recently. I gave it a shot, but I can’t deal with the smugness.

Family Values, a Sin City Yarn, by Frank Miller. Great striking artwork in this, but it’s kinda cheesy. I haven’t looked at this in years.

Bossypants by Tina Fey. I liked this, but this is one of those books I pulled out from a stack of free books from somewhere. The rule for those books is that I must get rid of them as soon as possible. There’s such melancholy in a stack of free books left somewhere, specially if they aren’t totally random, someone’s collection.

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slipping on a banana peel to earth

I’ve been digging this painting, The Martyrdom of St. George by Paolo Veronese.

martyrdomofstgeorge

I’m not sure where I saw it, but I’ve had it in a browser tab for a few days. At first I was like, St. George St. George? Because most depictions have him slaying the dragon, those are from medieval times, this one is from the renaissance. And yeah, it’s St. George, you can see that the crowd has taken his armor and sword. There’s cherubim who isn’t so much descending from the heavens, but slipping on a banana peel to earth, bringing a laurel wreath and what I think is a palm frond. The only figure looking towards to the skies is St. George himself. I’m not sure who the figures next to Mary and the infant Jesus are, or even if the figures who are about to martyr St. George are explicitly meaningful. Despite the fact that I don’t consider myself christian, I do enjoy seeing art like this as there’s a lot of symbolism and meaning behind such works. The best part is that someone made that, and that is the true testament right there, human ingenuity, technique, and story.

A neat article about dragons up on medievalists.net.

While we’re talking about neat websites check out Ancient History Encyclopedia. It’s packed with lots of cool stuff.

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Certified Ramones

Joey Ramone
Johnny Ramone
Dee Dee Ramone
Tommy Ramone
Marky Ramone
Richie Ramone
C.J. Ramone
Elvis Ramone
Linda Ramone
Rodney Ramone
Wolfy Ramone
Chuck Ramone
Tony Ramone
Prescott Ramone
Baby Ramone
Pinkie Ramone
Kabir Ramone
Charlie Ramone
Immanuel Ramone
Phoebe Ramone
Sylvester Ramone
Frank Ramone
H.P. Ramone
Cosmo Ramone
Herman Ramone
Zeppo Ramone
Xerxes Ramone
Ernest Ramone
Meifeng Ramone
Constantine Ramone
Ramon Ramone
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designated daddies

AW SHIT! It’s the vernal equinox, you know what that means? Wait, you actually don’t? Were you raised by wolves? Today is the day one traditionally picks a fight with a vicar! Come on now, it’s the great spring time tradition. One would go up to the village Vicar and just let toss them a haymaker, which seems like it would be no problem, but these weren’t the kind of vicars we’re used to, back then the church was packed with stout churls who would gladly get into fist fights. Of course they also knew about the tradition, having for the most part, grown up with it themselves. It hearkened back to that story of Jacob wrestling an angel, Genesis 32:22-32. If you managed to defeat the local vicar he was obliged to give you and your estate a blessing, and if you lost you had to go to the local tavern and buy them drinks until they would pass out. After a while it grew to such popularity that people had to settle fighting the parish priest and occasional overgrown altar boy. Eventually church staff became unrecognizable from the hardened, hearty breed of yore, so the church quietly introduced “designated fathers,” and instead of fist fighting them one would have to pin them or get pinned by them to the ground. The “designated daddies,” as they came to be called, would wear traditional skin tight leather shorts and, depending on the region, would be greased or oiled up by handlers, and everyone would gather in the village square to watch the spectacle. There was even a version of it in the Abruzo region of Italy, but it was the only nuns of the Lady of Holy Significance Convent who would partake in the feat of strength.  They would traditionally wrestle in the first vat of spring time pasta, over the years it became the spaghetti wrestling we all now enjoy.

 

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Drink away our wherewithal

Last week was Chicago’s St. Patrick’s day party weekend. But I’m feeling a little festive anyway, so here’s the traditional St. Pat’s eve poem for your enjoyment

Twas the night before St Pats, when all through the bar
Not a barfly was stirring, even nursing a sidecar.
The clovers were hung on the windows with care
Waiting for the gaggles to take selfies there.
The beers were nestled all snug in the fridge
Destined to become victims of spillage.
And the tender modeling her low cut shirt,
Paired up with a borrowed tartan mini skirt.
When out on Clark street arose such a clatter,
Louder even that the El train’s chatter.
Away to the windows the bouncers flew,
Jacked up on sugar free red bulls and mountain dew.
When what to their wonder suddenly appear
But a crew of miniature Chirish all wanting beer
With a shine in their bleary eyes and voices so true
They all cried, in brotherly unison, “Time for a brew!”
As rapid as they could they named some booze
You’d think that they were Trump supporters shouting “Fake news!”
“Now, pabst! Now miller! Now blatz and bud lite!
On, jameson! On, bushmills! On, Jack Daniels alright!
To the sweet land of drunkenness! Where we’ll scale a wall!
We’ll drink away! Drink away! Drink away our wherewithal!”
They all dressed in green from their heads to their feets,
From afar, if you squinted, you’d think a group of parakeets!
They streamed into the saloons their thirst ready to slake,
Ordering shots and backers, all eager to merry make
The bar-backs flew gathering supplies like magical reindeer
Whenever a keg was dragged out it was met with a cheer,
By way of the increasingly drunken congregation
A few already bounced to the street due to inebriation.
Soon the revelers packed the sidewalks and pizza places
Some laughing, some signings, some with mascara running down their faces.
Cops packed one into the back of their car, saying, “Steve,
Don’t you know there’s no such thing as St. Patrick’s day eve?”

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not my problem anymore

I first heard of Anthony Bourdain because of No Reservations way back when. I thought the whole thing was pretty cool, traveling to cool places, eating food, drinking liquids, and generally having a good time. I like cool places, I like eating food, I like drinking liquids (you know what I say about liquids: you gotta drink them.), this is the kind of television I could get into! One of the Chicago episodes of his shows slightly freaked me out because it was like he was following me around. It was all like “Go to El Asadero,” and “Check out the Mutiny, and “Hanging out at the Old Town Ale house and chatting with Bruce!” But I only recently have I read his breakout book, Kitchen Confidential. I’ve been missing out. The book tracks A.B.’s career in the culinary world and is peppered with some essays that shine a light on the behind the scenes of restaurants. There’s one chapter, A Day In The Life, which a joy to read because it really conveys how much frantic Bourdain’s work as a chef could be, it’s goddamn exhausting just reading it! The book is packed with lots of interesting characters, locales, and fucking crazy situations. There’s also a few good arguments against brunch, which is great because I’ve been saying fuck brunch for years now. It just sucks. Just look at the mimosa, a way to ruin perfectly good orange juice and champagne in one fell swoop. You want to drink before noon? Fuck it! Do it, you can do whatever you fucking want. I feel like a lot of brunching takes places outside too, out on sidewalk seating, and by big opened up windows. And if there’s one thing I dislike more than brunch it’s watching people have fun. But people arguing over brunch, now that’s something that’s going to make me slow my walk down to a nice saunter. The theater of watching someone have an emotional breakdown over gluten free muesli can be exquisite. I actually like to cook, so luckily I’ve picked up a few of the terms that might be bewildering to someone who doesn’t know the difference between a saute pan and a skillet, but in the long run one won’t be hopelessly mired by cooking terms. I read Kitchen Confidential as an ebook which had a grammatical typos, and if I noticed that someone with better grammar might be actually annoyed. Might it be an ebook thing? I don’t know! There’s also food, so much food. So it might not be the best book to reading while waiting for the people who have goaded you into going to get brunch finally get their shit together while you sit there hungry. The main takeaway that I got from Kitchen Confidential is that no matter how much of a freak you are, there is a place for you somewhere and you might just find it.

The breakfast guy was late today so he called me up so I could set up the waffle bar. Of course I didn’t know where the light in the back room of the kitchen was, so I had to break out one of the lanterns from the front office so I could try and get that shit together. There I was, stumbling around the pantry of a hostel with a lantern trying to set up a make your own waffle bar.  I’m gone by the time people actually start up showing up for breakfast, but when I previously worked there I would often be conjured to the dining room to pry open a waffle maker where the batter had become carbonized. Luckily that’s not my problem anymore.

Power Trip’s latest album, Nightmare Logic, is a vicious rocking thing. It would go perfect with a couple of espressos. It’s the kind of music that you demands, at the very least, vigorous headbanging. Here’s the first track, Soul Sacrifice

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some truly fantastic Mcgyvers

I just read Candy Girl by Diablo Cody, it’s the memoir of her time spent stripping and who doesn’t love stripper stories? Who knew that there were so many strip clubs in Minnesota! What else is up there? Indie rock? The land of Prince? Well now I know there’s a healthy amount of strip clubs up there, which kinda makes sense considering those long cold winters. There’s this genre of memoir where a highly intelligent/literate person goes and hangs out with people on the fringe of society, Hell’s Angels by H.S. Thompson and Amongst the Thugs by B. Buford, and has a high time of it until they end up getting their ass kicked by those people. Luckily D.C. doesn’t end up getting the boots put to her by  bunch of strippers, but you can add it to that canon. Initially I thought it was going to be super scandalous and seamy, but it’s almost wholesome. Sure there’s seam, it’s about strippers and peep shows, but Candy Girl doesn’t veer in lurid territory. It’s also funny as hell. It’s good stuff. Maybe good for some monster who looks down on strippers.

If you want rampant drugs, blood, and mayhem you gotta check out Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. The best part so far is that Bourdain also share my anti-brunch sentiments, but from a more technical standpoint. I will still use his arguments for my moral crusade.

I’ve been working the night shift at a front desk of a local hostel for the last week. It’s been a lot of stuff to take in, and tonight being the first night that I’m doing solo, I’m just hoping I don’t burn the place to the ground. I used to work there a while back ago as a building engineer, but then I worked at ace hardware for a while, which wasn’t the best as I felt stultified there. When I was previously working at the hostel it helped keep me pretty responsible as I a. actually had to do stuff, a good portion of which kept me on my toes, every once in a while coming up with some truly fantastic Mcgyvers b. since I had to be there at 7 am every single day I couldn’t go out carousing and generally getting into Waitsian nights as often as I would. Now, since I don’t have nights to get try and pickle my brain with various alcohols I’m expecting the same. But this time I won’t have to paint as many wall and snake as many toilets. Plus who among us hasn’t wanted to be a night shift weirdo? And I get to take naps as late as 7 pm, like some kind of sultan.

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venison jerky and cheap brandy

I was reading this article/preview this article/preview for a book about this kind of hermit and his eventual capture. The point is that there’s a WEBSITE for the COMMUNITY of hermits and they even got a FORUM. That’s weird! But I dig that they shine a spotlight on various world wide hermits. Back in the day rich people with sumptous gardens would hire out people to be live in hermits. Right now I can tell you’re thinking, “You’re full of shit man!” I wish I could even begin to make up stuff like that! Here’s an article about it from the the always interesting Atlas Obscura. And for the record I am full of venison jerky and cheap brandy, which I decided sounds like something a hermit would have for dinner, so I did in honor of these weirdos. The whole ornamental hermit thing sounds like a pretty sweet gig, something I would be good at. I wouldn’t be a great actual hermit because I like things like cheeseburgers and almost ice cold Mexican pops way too much.

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a bucket of their tears

I just watched Young Frankenstein for like the 112th time. I was introduced to YF by my friend Gabe when I was 14, it was preceded by him saying, “I can’t believe you’ve never seen Young Frankenstein!” Luckily by then I already had already been exposed to Mel Brooks’ movies, I wasn’t raised by wolves you know. Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Dracula: Dead and Loving It! were perennial favorites at my house, between my sister, brother and me we wore those tapes down! God knows we’ve forgotten the Lord’s Prayer, and we all went to catholic school, but we can still do whole scenes from D:DaL in particular. If I wasn’t already inoculated  to Brooks’ brand of comedy I probably would’ve been repulsed by YF, there’s some real weight and madness to that flick, but I laughed my head off. YF was made even better when I got around to watching the original Frankentein and Bride of Frankenstein a little while afterward. Of course you know how that goes, you end up watching Dracula and then next thing you know you’re sitting in a darkened theater on Saturday afternoon watching Freaks (Which sounds kind of like a bummer, like I could’ve been out enjoying life, but I went with a friend and it was their idea!), earlier in the week you were shocked at how many of your COLLEGE class mates had never seen the Cabinet of Dr Caligari, there you were thinking these people were somewhat learned!  What was the last time you saw a great horror movie? It’s been a while for me, although I hear good things about Get Out. The Conjuring 2 was alright, but one of my friends came up with an even better ending that the one in the movie, it’s been months and I still chuckle when I think of it.

After work today I stopped by the mcdonalds by Fullerton and Lincoln. It’s not a great idea to go to mcdonalds in the first place, but this one is the true low point of the day. The place seems like it’s lit by 25 watt bulbs, the floor is this terrible tile that always looks dirty, and the smeary mop job doesn’t help, like an employee was mopping with a bucket of their tears. There’s always a receipt on the floor, at least one crumpled fry packaging, and a broken toy that looks like it’s been floating around in the ocean for a while before finding its way back to it’s breeding grounds to spawn. It’s wedged shaped so the furniture always looks out of best, I’d  say it’s like a  drawing by MC Escher if he was hungover but that would be an improvement. The counter where you order is almost enclosed like a confessional booth designed for/by the dmv. There’s always someone there with some that seems like an alien or a being not from this dimension in a human suit, sometimes they’re the one giving you your food, either way I can imagine them either sucking up the syrup they use for the fountain drinks or expelling it. It’s a dismal fucking place, always the low point of your day if you end up there, but hey they got ALL DAY BREAKFAST. That place has to be mentioned in at least one translation of Dante’s Inferno.

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