Saturday, June 30, 2007

I saw Transformers (non-plot-related spoilers)

First of all, I was somewhat surprised to see an (alien robot) airplane fly into a building. Too soon?
Second of all there's this great timely speech from Optimus Prime, which I will paraphrase thusly
Why should we help the humans? They are a weak and violent race, but they are a young race full of hope, and I see something of ourselves in them. Everybody deserves the abiity to determine their own future and we must insure that they may do so . . .

At this point I'm going "Ooh, shoehorned Iraq War message, deep."
. . . by finding the Cube and preventing Megatron from getting the Allspark.

A proper review and analysis to come, but let me be the (fifty) first to tell you to go to the theater early in the morning and buy one matinee ticket and one evening ticket, because you will want to see it again.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I love Mika Brzezinski

Although this seems like it could be really staged.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I blew off TV

Today I got a call from Arirang TV, Korea's internationally broadcast English-language TV channel, and they wanted me to appear on some segment on Korea Today being interviewed about what I thought about Korea. I told them I was busy and, rather than making time for them, told them to call me in August. "But you're an extremely minor internet celebrity now!" they said. "Yeah, but I'll still say the same things in a month." I replied.
I didn't give it much thought at the time but isn't it funny that I didn't consider the TV channel even worth a canceled class, I wouldn't pass up $50 or so for the chance to be on TV, but I've been working on my next attempted viral Korean video for the past several days. Surely this is a small sign of the times.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dr. Rockso, the rock and roll clown

I really love Metalocalypse, Brendan Small's Cartoon Network show. Of all the great things I've seen on that fine program, by far the best is the episode Dethclown, in which Toki of the heavy metal band Dethklok befriends 'the rock and roll clown' Dr. Rockso.

The rest of the band, which hates clowns and Dr. Rockso, even though clowns are statistically the most hated of all creatures and therefore 'metal', subjects Rockso to a brutal beating. Dr. Rockso becomes an agent for whoever those guys who hate Dethklok are and attempts to infiltrate the Dethklok compound while showing Dethklok his video 'I'm just a rock and roll clown'. This is one of the greatest ever distillations of why fun is bad.

By which I mean that fun, the distillation of that which makes human beings happy, is, in inappropriate doses, not good for us. And by which I also mean that we modern human beings can only access fun in doses which border on inappropriately large.
Why does Rockso constantly talk about cocaine and yet when asked (it would seem) why his nose is bleeding he says "I fell down." It's all about sheer childish self-indulgence, the Rockso raison d'etre.
The brilliant thing about the introduction of this character is that it allows us to see something that both Dethklok and the shadowy conspiracy that is out to destroy them hate equally: frivolous, childish self indulgence. Dethklok may be a ridiculous heavy metal band, but at least they have visions and values. All Rockso has is his cocaine and the eyes of others judging him.

Some thoughts

I have been highly occupied with a)desperately looking for teachers to replace me and the other teacher at my school and b)actually getting a job. I don't think there is much of an apparatus for hiring foreigners who become minor internet celebrities in Korea's tradition-bound banks. So I have been unable to really get anything done at all except a lot of thinking, none of it fruitful. In short:

  • 'Interweb', 'intertubes', and any kind of willfully ignorant misnomenclature for the internet are not funny. Please stop.
  • I was hasty to dub America's painfully unfunny anticomedy as 'Adult Swim Comedy'. Both the Venture Brothers and Metalocalypse are great and not anticomedy.
  • 'How to Win Friends' and Influence People' is a great, hilarious and interesting book. Written in the 1930s and brimming with stories about Prussian noblemen, dowagers, Rudolph Valentino and farmboys-turned-magnates, it basically seems to be the first non-religious book to ever come up with a reasonable reason to be nice to people.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Make that 20,000 people

That's the number of people who saw my Korean video resume in the last three days. It has essentially petered out to a trickle since it was taken off the main page of Daum TVpod, but I'd say that's enough for now. The comments, about 120 so far, were almost all positive, with a few people pointing out the fact that my speaking was a little but stilted (it's not easy to memorize things in a foreign tongue) and one guy calling shenanigans on my age (why, how old do I look for crying out loud?). My appearance was compared to this guy:
and this guy:

and that's why I thoroughly endorse Sony handicams, the only handicam that really can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.
I got a few job offers relatively quickly, but I'm still looking. I also got a few emails from middle and high school kids who were stressing out about studying English by themselves. I emailed them all recommending that they just focus on one piece of the language at a time, experiment with making new sentences whenever they can, and keep a notebook of things they can't say. Sound advice, I would say.
anyway, I'm already planning my second video attempt, a how-to video for people in Korea studying English. Sounds like a real crowd pleaser, no?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

UCC video categories

I joined, Korea's popular internet portal, and got a Hanmail email address, and I was uploading my resume when I noticed some interesting differences between the categories in Daum's user video service and Youtube's.

Youtube has the following genres/categories:
  • Autos & Vehicles
  • Comedy
  • Entertainment
  • Film & Animation
  • Gadgets & Games
  • Howto & DIY
  • Music
  • News & Politics
  • People & Blogs
  • Pets & Animals
  • Sports
  • Travel & Places
Daum TVpod categories:
  • Stars
  • Weird/Humor
  • Sports
  • Movies
  • Commercial
  • Dance
  • Film
  • Game
  • Animation
  • Military
  • Parody
  • Cars
  • Emotional
  • News
  • Bragging
  • Animals
  • Cooking/Food
  • Travel
  • Children/Family
  • Public Performance
  • Presidential Election

Friday, June 08, 2007

Mr Show average sketch comedy?

A comment by Paint Roller stalwart and Boonville Blog impresario Jeff has left me with some serious soul searching to do. Is Mr Show "average sketch comedy"? Were the sketches saved by the ability to drop the F-bomb (or the Cockring-bomb, as the case may be)? The only way to answer this pressing question is to take a look at some of the more and less memorable sketches and see just how the comedy in them holds up.

Sketches that make the case against Mr Show
  • The guy who repeatedly knocks over the thimbles while telling the story of ascending Mt. Everest: a punishing endurance test, this is rake comedy at its absolute worst.
  • Used Cockring Warehouse: basically an excuse to have a man in a chicken suit say "Any cock'll do."
  • The 'I'm getting married' beatdown: this one immediately precedes the cockring sketch and matches it for suckiness. Man repeatedly tells his friends he's getting married, each time being beaten for it.
  • The guys who haven't seen each other for a long time, meet, say goodbye and then repeatedly meet in increasing awkwardness: an interesting concept executed as well as it could be, it's also pretty boring to watch and very repetitive.
  • Jeepers Creepers: If it's the worst musical ever made, why did they make a movie out of it? Yeah, good question
Sketches that stand as the best of Mr. Show
  • The Ronnie Dobbs story: Terry Twilsteen, Ronnie Dobbs, the 'I'm with stupid' maternity shirt, off-duty cops waiting nervously for on-duty cops, and some vintage mid-nineties fourth-wall breakage makes this a classic.
  • The law school sketch: just good old-fashioned Bob Odenkirk saying insane things. The bloody foot of law, duel-mind blades, and all that good stuff, plus apple butter.
  • The club for kids that don't like to participate in things: the teacher's old-fashioned positiveness clashes so effectively with their youthful nineties-era ennui.
  • The Bob Lamotta Story and surrounding award ceremony: for brave choices among actors. Odenkirk's performance here is incredible, as are everybody's. I particularly like Jill's pronunciation of the word 'actore'.
  • The Teardrop Award: what could be a repetitive sketch about sad songs is saved by Odenkirk's amazing song about mouth sores and David Cross's amazingly smarmy and merciless Clapton surrogate.
  • Travelling Salesman: The Musical: this to me is what Mr Show is all about: singing good funny songs, dancing, Jack Black as a farmer and Satan, Senator Tankerbell the Dixiecrat, and the best song ever about being a milking machine.

Tell me that was average.

I would say those great sketches more than make up for the seemingly hundreds of sketches based on cursing and sex, which, on reflection, are repetitive and juvenile and in many cases boring. Nonetheless, I would say that Mr Show is a great show, regardless of its negative long-term effects on American comedy, which are slowly becoming extremely apparent as they come more into the mainstream.

More Asperger's!

It is now clear to me that despite my efforts to stem the tide, Asperger's Syndrome is now the most pretend-diagnosed disease in America. Michelle Collins wrote in the Best Week Ever blog
Two days ago, we brought you footage of the Spelling Bee winner Evan O'Dorney's extreeeemely awkward interview on CNN, where many of you criticized us for posting a clip of a boy who clearly has Asperberger's Syndrome.
Yeah, the kid is awkward, but do we now live in a world where people can 'clearly have Asperger's syndrome'? Is this such a self-evident thing now that people no longer have the luxury of chalking up awkwardness to mere stage fright or being a weird teenage homeschooled kid? If only I had grown up in a world where people would have told my parents I clearly have Asperger's syndrome instead of politely saying nothing about all my weird behaviors.

Twice in one week

It isn;'t often that I'm reminded of the same Mr. Show sketch in one week (not true), but take a look at this Bud Light commercial

and then take a look at my previous post.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tiananmen Square Massacre forgotten in China?

Think about the power that information holds, the power that comes from controlling the flow of information, and the power humans have to willfully forget completely.
A young clerk in China approved a classified ad dedicated to the mothers of those who died in the Tiananmen Square Massacre, against government policy, because he had never heard of the massacre. The person placing the ad said 'June 4th' was the date of a mining disaster and the clerk had no reason to believe otherwise.
18 years is not a long time.

The Pit-pat Voice

I was driven to see Shrek 3 last night, more by inertia, lack of options and abundance of seating than by a desire to see the actual movie, and yes, just as everyone expected, it was a serviceable, workmanlike piece of dazzling spectacle that scaled back the ambition of the second one by half.

The one thing that had me laughing out loud was the Gingerbread Man, as voiced by Conrad Vernon. He pushed that voice of his to it's absolute limits on every single line, and the peak of the movie for me was the scene where his life flashed before his eyes. I had to catch my breath afterwards. east your lucky eyes before this clip disappears fromYoutube.

I watched the movie with a Korean audience and they didn't really seem to 'get' what's so funny about a gingerbread man running on a gingerbread treadmill, but for me that's the only thing that made up for all the fart jokes, which they did laugh at. Go figure.
Anyway, the voice of the Gingerbread Man seems to me obviously based on Pitpat, the potential mascot for GloboChem from Mr. Show.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Paint Roller High Altitude Photo Blog

Now that I finished my foray into epic film-making I can share with you an awesome experience I had last Wednesday.
In the course of photographing Bucheon, the all-new Doosan We've the State apartment complex has come up repeatedly. What I have not mentioned is that I was given an opportunity to teach the engineers who built the thing, and I jumped at it, on the chance that I would be able to go up to the penthouse. Little did I suspect that I would also be allowed to go up to the helipad. That's right, Bucheon now has 9 more helipads than it did before.

Here's one of my tour guides, trying to get out of the way of the shot. What did he think I was photographing, shoes?

This is the view of the The State buildings that most rubes are more familiar with.

This is Yungyeong, the only female engineer on the site.

It's pretty neat how the buildings are all connected by overpasses. It's very Japanny

This is the view to the North.

And this is the view through the bars of the helipad. Walking on this grating is an exercise in irrational fear. Don't look down.

View to the West-Northwest

The people who live in these buildings have put up with over three years of noisy construction and soon they'll have to deal with an influx of new neighbors. I pity them.

Seoul lies between those cloud-shrouded mountains. On a clear day you can see Namsan tower from here, they say.

A view to the East-Southeast, including Bucheon station.

The view to the South-Southwest

My three tour guides.

You ask them not to do the V, but do they listen?

GS Square (formerly LG department store) on the right and Meokgeori street in the middle.

A closer shot.

This is what a $700,000 apartment's veranda looks like.

And this is the view from it.

And finally, the stately Wonmi Mountain.

Monday, June 04, 2007

My for realsies video resume

Here it is, the reason I have been a bad blogger all week. Less a video resume than an add for my regular resume, it's a jokey look at why any company would be lucky to have a guy like me around. Also, it's mostly in English, for all you non-Koreanarians. Enjoy!