stranger things 2 sucks, and snipers are glorified murderers

jenn and i just finished watching stranger things 2. i think it mostly sucked. of course there were elements i liked, like the many nods to classic fantasy/sci fi/horror tropes and how they continue to nail so many small details about the 80s, but overall i think this season was really muddled and half-baked. there were so many subplots and relationships between characters that were introduced and then never explored or resolved. there were also a bunch of new characters and none of them were given any development. it was just like, “time for a new bully. steve is out, billy is in. that is all.”

i’ve got so many specific complaints, mostly about undeveloped or unresolved things, that i’m gonna list ’em.

  • eleven’s jealousy of/dislike for max — came up several times, nothing happened with it.
  • mike’s dislike for max — came up several times, nothing happened with it.
  • sexual tension between billy and mrs. wheeler in the last episode — came up once, a lot of time was spent on it, it was fun but it didn’t go anywhere.
  • billy’s abusive father — came up once, sort of explained billy’s bad attitude, seemed like it was going somewhere, but didn’t.
  • nancy and steve — are they broken up or not? never explained.
  • nancy and jonathan — are they together or not? never explained.
  • how did steve turn from the school’s biggest, toughest badass to a wimp overnight, getting picked on by the new tough guy and getting his sensitive heart broken by his girlfriend? that’s ridiculous.
  • kali and the chicago punks — what the hell was the point of that? a whole episode just to show how eleven learned to focus her anger to intensify her power? then we never see kali or her lame gang again — utterly pointless.
  • while i’m on episode 7: eleven showing compassion for her enemies when she almost kills that retired lab guy, then doesn’t — that seemingly important element never comes up again.
  • another episode 7 complaint: the retired lab guy says dr brenner is still alive but nothing ever becomes of this incredible news. i’m assuming this seed is being planted for a major plot line in a subsequent season of the show but i think if that is the case, there should really be some other hints or evidence of it peppered throughout this season the show.
  • billy’s vaguely racist feelings on lucas — seemed like it was going somewhere but didn’t.
  • when the “demodogs” are loose in the lab facility, why do they kill everywhere but dr owen? he’s only got a few minor flesh wounds. how absurdly convenient.

now, i like art to have a healthy amount of ambiguity. i don’t like things spelled out, i want to use my brain, be left with some questions, fill in the blanks. but there is a clear line between being artfully ambiguous and being inept and lazy, and this season of the stranger things was definitely the latter.

really, the thing i liked the most about stranger things 2 was the fact that our new kittens liked to cuddle with me on the couch when jenn and i watched it, and the show provided a vehicle for that. i definitely didn’t hate the new season but i don’t think i’d recommend it to anyone at this point.

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very disappointed with the show but jeez, this is a great pic. what a bunch of good looking kids, on top of the world and enjoying it. you have to be happy for them. will looks so much better without that fucking bowl cut.

new topic: it occurred to me today that military personnel are trained and given the implements to kill people — despite the fact that murder is illegal in most countries, and the death penalty is becoming increasingly rare. that strikes me as really odd. especially trained military snipers, they specialize in being ruthlessly efficient killers, but if they did the same thing outside of their military jurisdiction they would be persecuted, jailed, and possibly even killed themselves. it’s an incredible double standard. who gets to say when it’s ok to kill someone, and when it’s not, when killing is absolutely illegal for 99.9% of us?

i’d like to see the names and faces of military officials who authorize the use of deadly force, and the names of faces of people who carry that stuff out. i want to look in their eyes and see if i can discern any hint of a god complex or some similar psychopathic disconnect from the world that most of us live in. i wonder if sanctioning murder or being a sanctioned murderer weighs on the psyches of those folks the same way it might on the mind of a common criminal, despite having some sort of social license. do they wrestle with it? do they feel guilt? do they feel justified? do they view their ‘targets’ (what a cold term for a fellow person) as nothing more than that? do they have to turn off any sense of empathy in order to do their job?

i need to meet a sniper and have a chat with them. i have a lot of questions.

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i bet he has some problems at home.

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negative investments

so patrick fox was just sentenced to almost 4 years in prison for harassing his ex-wife, desiree capuano, and also for a firearms offense. for those that don’t know, fox is the BC man who made it his life mission to “destroy” capuano for taking his son away from him, and created and maintained a website devoted just that. he used the site to expose unsavory details of her personal life, like drug use and criminal boyfriends.

i think this is one of those cases where both parties are guilty — i find when opposing sides both claim they are totally innocent and their nemesis is the cause of all the problems, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. in other words, both fox and his ex-wife are probably pieces of shit. there are too many questionable or dubious details on both sides for either to be the angels they claim to be.

but be that as it may, fox proved himself to be the bigger piece of shit by devoting himself to the purely negative endeavour of destroying capuano’s life. dedicating your life to the destruction of your child’s mother, becoming a social pariah, and ultimately being sentenced to prison for the whole debacle, has nothing but a profound negative influence on his child. as much as fox believes his ex’s behaviour is harmful to their child’s well-being, he’d have to be completely out to lunch to not acknowledge his own behaviour being just as damaging, if not more so.

then again, to have come this far — to have married and had a child with someone he claims is so worthless and destructive, to have invested so much energy in a purely negative pursuit, to publicly defend his actions and truly believe he was doing nothing wrong, to end up in jail for it — it’s clear that patrick fox is in fact 100% out to lunch. there is obviously no reasoning with him so i guess all bets are off anyway.

i usually consider myself a fairly negative bastard, but then i learn about people like this and i realize i’m actually pretty normal, at least when i compare myself to a sociopath. i can’t imagine creating a website devoted solely to complaining about something!

wait a minute… (jk, jk. i’m not that bad. or am i???? to be continued!!!!…… 😀 😀 😀 )

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what a weird, spiteful idiot.

99.9% of the scents people put on their bodies are fucking gross

i hate how most cologne, perfume, body spray, deodorant, etc smells. i don’t care if it’s for grandmas or jersey shore-type douchebags or pretty girls, it virtually all sucks. there is only one time i remember smelling someone who put on a scent that actually made me go, “wow, that smells nice.” i was 19 at the time, it was my girlfriend, and she was wearing something that smelled like apples. it was a pleasant, recognizable scent, and it seems like a fitting one for a pretty girl. it just makes sense.

what doesn’t make sense is every other smell people put on. it all smells like a weird mix of chemicals, like a combination of pine needles and windex. that’s what most “nice stuff” smells like to me. it’s shit.

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“you smell good tonight, honey. what’s that scent you’re wearing?”

the exception, of course, is patchouli, which i despise only slightly less than all the chemical stuff i’m talking about. that stuff smells musty, like fucking mothballs, and it always reminds me of people who want to be considered hippies. that stuff sucks too.

i have always wondered why there aren’t perfumes and deodorants for smells and tastes i enjoy — like chocolate, or vanilla, or black licorice. or like i just mentioned, apples! why in 37 years have i only noticed one person smelling like apples? or any other fucking fruit, gee whiz. watermelon, strawberries, oranges, those would all be fantastic. i’d love to get close to a girl and smell any one of those things.

but for all this bitching, i have to admit i’ve recently come across a few deodorants that i actually like the smell of. one was an old spice deodorant called ‘amber’ that smells like black currants so i was using that but only until my lovely friend golda sent me some natural deodorants THAT DON’T MAKE ME STINK WORSE THAN USUAL (most natural stuff tends to have that effect, i’ve found), and they actually smell good too. my fave of the lot smells like blackberries. the brand is called routine (what a horrible name for any product but i can forgive it because i like the stuff so much) and i highly recommend them for people who don’t want to smear heavy metals in their armpits each day, and also want to smell like something real, recognizable, and pleasing — instead of smelling like a fancy household cleaning agent.

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kids show actors are freaks

every now and then, i catch a minute or two of live action kids shows, and i am usually quite horrified. watch this, least for a minute or so.

 

i know the doodlebops are yesterday’s news and the kids today probably think they suck now but i don’t know the names of any other relatively current live action kids shows that illustrate what i’m talking about.

and what i’m talking about is the absurdly insulting tone and cartoon-ish overacting that some people think kids need, or at least want. i’ve worked with kids lots, kids of all ages, and i learned a long time ago that you don’t need to act like a fucking clown to connect with them. kids aren’t as fucking stupid as adults like to think. and the only reason kids like this type of asinine shit at all is because this is what they’ve been exposed to by the twisted adults around them — when all they hear is adults doing baby talk at them, that becomes normal to them. my point is that baby-talking adults and stupid kids shows like the doodlebops are stunting children, desensitizing them to condescension, and that’s wack.

but there’s a bright side to this: there’s something i like to do whenever i catch a glimpse of live action kids shows. i like to think about those adult actors who are pretending to be so good, so nice, so silly, so fun, so wholesome, and i imagine what their lives are like once the cameras stop rolling. they have cheated on their partners. they are addicted to cocaine and booze. they have had abortions. they are divorced. they have spent a few nights in jail. they have experimented with various sexualities and are deeply ashamed of it. they haven’t spoken to their parents in 10 years. their underwear has some revolting stains but they keep wearing them anyway. they secretly want to kill someone.

i could go on and on but you probably get the gist of it: all the colourful outfits and giant fake smiles don’t change the fact that the actors are scum, just like every other person on this planet.

so the next time you catch a glimpse of the doodlebops or whatever popular show the kids are watching these days, picture those actors strung out on blow and having an orgy in a filthy apartment on a bare mattress on a living room floor. picture them driving to the dump and dropping off a bunch of shit that will never, ever break down and will probably still be there when the sun swallows the earth. picture them committing suicide, alone and depressed and loathsome. then see them with their adorable toothy grins and silly dance moves on tv, and laugh to yourself because you know they are actually super fucked up inside, just like anyone else.

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in that sense, all clowns are sad clowns.

 

my god, i love halloween.

last night, jenn and i volunteered at a haunted house in the small rural community of glenora. i absolutely loved it. having a legitimate reason to spend two hours in that halloween world of cheesy sound effects and decorations, and people jumping out to scare you, was a dream come true for me. i’ve loved halloween for as far back as i can remember, and that love hasn’t diminished at all. no word of a lie, i had cramps in my left side for the whole time we were volunteering because i was just that fucking excited. when we were waiting for kids, i was fidgety and amped up, like a kid on a sugar high or a douchebag who had just done a line of blow. that’s how affected i still am by the magic of halloween.

i also felt really proud to be taking an active part in something that means so much to me. i mean, when i go to a haunted house and am scared or surprised by whatever they have going on, i love it. it makes my night. i remember it, i treasure it. so to think that i may be on the giving end of that experience for someone else is heartwarming to me.

we’re going back there tonight, and i’m even more pumped because today is halloween — this is the big night, the real deal. there will be more people coming tonight, and it will somehow count for more. and then afterward, long after kids have retired home to count their loot and adults have blown out the candles in their jack-o-lantern and turned off the porch light, i will roam the streets of shawnigan and breathe deeply of the smells of scorched pumpkin meat and the sulfur of spent fireworks, and i will smash a few pumpkins.

because some things never change. just like haunted houses, smashing pumpkins is awesome no matter how old i get.

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and guess what. i don’t feel guilty in the slightest. this is just the natural order of things.

sound advice from idiots

man, i’ve been looking up tips on how to set up a PA in a small room because i’ve got a misfits cover band that has been rehearsing in my guest bedroom and we’ve been struggling with the vocals being too quiet and the microphones feeding back. i’ve finally found some good tips, like

  • if you can’t get loud enough vocals, turn the guitar(s) down a bit.
  • keep the mics away from hard walls that sound might be bouncing off of.
  • put blankets on hard walls to absorb sound.
  • position PA speakers and mics so the mics are picking up as little of their own coming out of the PA as possible.

with any luck, those simple adjustments might help us find a good sound balance in that tiny bedroom.

but it took a lot of digging to find even those few tips because the main advice i came across was simply “TURN IT DOWN.” i’ve met a lot of lame old musicians and sound guys over the years that have said that same thing to me and i think it’s the dumbest advice. why? because drums in rock and metal are fucking loud even if they are not being mic’d, so every other instrument needs to work around that volume. and you can’t just say, “don’t hit the drums so hard then,” because then your rock, punk, and/or metal band is going to sound fucking stupid. imagine the drummer in a death metal band playing with brushes instead of sticks. it’s like telling mazzy star or a classical pianist to crank their shit up 10 and melt some faces. it goes against the entire aesthetic that artist is trying to create. what a god damn stupid suggestion.

i remember standing by a sound guy once as a fantastic drummer was getting set up. he was testing his kit, just hammering on it in his usual fashion. it was a joy to watch that guy play because he hit so inhumanly hard. and i overheard the loser sound guy say to his assistant, “the worst drummers always hit the hardest, and this guy hits like a bastard.” that witless old sour grape simply didn’t understand the very nature of rock music, and was probably just bitter that his days of being on stage were long over and now he was just a fat, gross, old, washed up dude standing behind a sound board.

i’ve also had sound guys tell me to turn the our amps way down on stage so they can have more control of the volumes coming out of the PA. but whenever my bands did that, the sound guys totally fucked it up so we couldn’t hear each other on stage and the levels were all weird out front. i have consistently found that the best way to sound good live to is play at the same ridiculous volumes both at practice and at shows, and just have the sound guy deal with the bass drum and vocals at shows — ultimately, i think it’s important to practice loud.

that’s why i’m happy to have finally found some realistic and useful tips for making the sound work in our shoebox of a rehearsal space. in my opinion, if you’re playing inherently loud music, let it rip or don’t bother at all.

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ah, perfect.

words suck (usually)

i’ve been on a real led zeppelin kick for a while now. i basically downloaded their entire discography and have been listening to it in my car to get familiar with everything they’ve ever done. i think that they’re one of, if not the single best rock band of all time. they’re incredible.

but they’re not flawless. every now and then, i feel like robert plant’s yarns about lords and maidens are a weak subtext for some pretty banal shit, like he’s barely covering up the fact that he’s simply bitching about the politics of being in a big successful rock band.

to be clear, this isn’t usually the case. for the most part, i fucking love plant’s lyrics. i think he usually does a good job of doing what old blues lyrics used to do: talk about real simple shit in such a way that it sounds epic and timeless. i’ve never really analyzed what good blues lyrics specifically do to attain those qualities but off the top of my head, i think it’s the simplicity and deliberate nature of the words that imbues them with the sort of wisdom you’d expect from a weathered old soul in the south, sitting on their back porch, reflecting on a lifetime of experiences. good blues lyrics have that mystical quality to them, i think.

and most of zeppelin’s lyrics have that mystical quality, and not just the old blues covers they performed but their original shit too. generally, they’re fucking awesome. but sometimes it feels like plant is stretching — overstretching — like he is trying too hard to be too clever, too obscure. the other day when i noticed this, i realized that it is an incredibly fine line separating great lyrics from lousy lyrics. it’s so easy to go too far one way or the other — to be so simple you sound like a fucking imbecile, to be so open and honest that you sound like a 16-yr old going through a breakup and writing bad poetry about it, or in plant’s case, to be so obscure that you sound like a pretentious cunt. it’s a monumental balancing act to have just the right amount of those important elements and not too much, and i think that most people consistently fail at it. i’m no different, i’m absolutely abysmal at writing song lyrics. the only ones i have liked have been intentionally silly, or a collage of words and phrases from disparate places that i just threw together haphazardly until it sounded good to me. which leads me to another point: there’s something about not trying so hard when creating art that tends to make the piece better. it’s a strange phenomenon but i find it’s pretty consistent.

more artists should just fucking relax a little bit and have more fun when they’re writing shit, is what i’m getting at. because when people try too hard, it gets shitty.