Sunday, March 15, 2009

A South Park Classic

Did anyone see the hilarious new South Park episode skewering Disney? Easily one of the best I've seen in a long time...just full of hilarious quotes:

"Oh Gosh, fellas, let me explain this to you one more time. You have to wear the purity rings because that's how we can sell sex to little girls, haha. See, if we make the posters with little girls reaching for your junk, then you have to wear purity rings or else Disney Company looks baaad, haha."

"Where would you be without me, Jonas Brothers? Haha. Your music sucks and you know it! Haha. It's because you make little girls' 'ginies tickle! And when little girls' 'ginies tickle, I make money! haha"

That would be the beloved Mickey Mouse, of course. Naturally, when his whole Jonas Brothers purity-ring concert is foiled he gets pissed and floats over the city breathing fire like a dragon. Classic.

Helix Update

So I've submitted 2 stories to the Helix and one of them, Nostrum, was accepted. I was a bit surprised because 1) I submitted 10 days late and 2) my cousin and fellow writer Chris, with whom I often confide on writing matters, had called the other story "brilliant" and Nostrum "terrible."

I had preferred Nostrum myself but I'm also aware of a bias I have of favoring my most recent piece, which is a problem I suspect a lot of writers have. Because of that I listen closely to outside opinion, especially from my cousin. I'm trying to stop a bad habit of rank-ordering my work because I've really started to realize that it's more about personal preference than anything else assuming the quality of the stories is similar.

Anyone else have these kinds of issues? I find grading my own writing is exceedingly difficult...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Helix, Round Two

After getting rejected at a number of more prestigious magazines, I think I might submit a short story or two to CCSU's own Helix literary magazine this year, and I have to admit I'm a little disappointed. Nothing personal against the Helix, but I was hoping for a larger market.

Actually, wait...I do have some beef with the Helix. When I submitted a story last year I made sure to edit it as well as I could beforehand, so it would be less likely to be significantly changed by others.

Well, I did a pretty good job editing but I did make at least one small mistake...which the Helix then turned into a bigger mistake. Apparently in one passage I'd forgotten to italicize the narrator's thoughts (I had italicized in similar passages throughout), and somehow didn't catch it on my edits. The people at the Helix caught it, and made a little note next to the passage: "[Shouldn't this be in italics?]" or something to that effect. How do I know? Because they published the story with those editing comments still in it. Ugh.

Oh well, I don't mean to sound like a whiner. I was happy to be published in the magazine, and I did get a lot of positive feedback from readers, which was immensely gratifying. Also, I should be glad they spelled my name correctly--my cousin Chris wasn't so fortunate.

Classic Movies, One at a Time

Apparently my roommate has lived under a rock most of his life, because every time I try to throw out a line from a famous movie he hasn't seen it and the whole thing is ruined. To remedy this situation, I've embarked on a project to introduce him to all the wonderful films he's missed over the past two decades. The project started last year and has recently resumed with a screening of There Will Be Blood. It's taking us days to get through it due to time constraints and his acute ADD.

In one semester we were able to knock off a lot of my favorites, including some 90's classics (and a few even older): Forrest Gump, Fight Club, Gladiator, Office Space, Anchorman, Braveheart, Lord of War, Meet the Parents, Pan's Labyrinth, Fargo, Dr. Strangelove and Crash, among many others.

Much to my chagrin he refuses to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy because they're "too long" and he doesn't like "all that fantasy (stuff)." Also, he apparently has something against trilogies, although he hasn't been able to explain that to me. He won't watch any of the Star Wars movies either because they're too "nerdy." What he doesn't realize is that even the manliest of men have a special place in their heart for Star Wars, and it takes a real man to admit it.

I'll continue to work on that, though. Up next: Sling Blade.

No Homework on the Horizon

I've slowly been listening to U2's new album No Line on the Horizon (bland album cover on left) over the past couple days while procrastinating on my homework. I admit to being a U2 fan, as much as they are the poster boys for commercialized music, and as much as Bono and his oversized ego annoy me. But they didn't get this big by making bad music.

The album has gotten rave reviews with critics, and I'm inclined to agree that it's pretty good so far, with a few exceptions. One of the first tracks, Get on Your Boots, reminds me of that iPod commercial staple Vertigo that I hated so much--with all its "yeah yeah yeah" jazz that South Park so perfectly made fun of a few years back. I didn't like Get on Your Boots much better.

The other song I'm not crazy about is I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight. A stupid name for a song, and it's as pop-culture as it sounds. I know how much Bono likes his money, so of course I expected a few cheesy probable singles like this.

It gets better from there, however. As a fan of their eighties-and-early-nineties work (think The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby) the song Magnificent sounded like vintage U2 to me, and might be my favorite on the album (so far). I also liked Moment of Surrender, which featured a long, slowly building intro like their old classic Where the Streets Have No Name and is about as long as Streets at 7 minutes 24 seconds.

Anyway, I might get around to listening to the rest of it tonight, and maybe some homework as well.

Demetri Martin Is Back!

The first time I saw Demetri Martin on Comedy Central, he instantly became one of my favorite comics. His shtick is easily one of the most unique out there, as he frequently makes use of props, drawings, and instruments in his show--something most other comics don't do. I was especially fond of his segments with the "Large Pad," where he would make quirky but ultimately hilarious observations and figures, like his a flow chart about types of clowns or my roommate's personal favorite, a graph of his ability to draw mountains over time.

After a few quiet years he's recently resurfaced on Comedy Central with specials every Wednesday, whichI've been watching for the past few weeks. The trademark drawings are back, and this time he's dabbled in skits as well, which I've decided are mostly hit and miss. His standup is better in my opinion, but the skits are a nice change-of-pace addition and I was happy to see several of them featuring The Daily Show's John Oliver, another favorite of mine.

Can't wait for the next one this Wednesday.