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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Kronk's 8 Inch Tree Hugger Dunny. One of my favorites.

Jesse Hernandez's 8 inch Jaguar Warrior. Sweet!

A sampling of the newest series... (loaded up on most of these!)
Hey all,

This post is actually about a week to late but earlier this month there was a brand new vinyl launch from Kid Robot, their Dunny series 2009. All in all I thought this was one of the strongest series in recent memory. They used a great array of established vinyl artists from earlier series like Frank Kozik, Mr. Shane Jessup. Kronk among others as well as a mixture of guys who haven't worked in this medium before, like Brandt Peters and Shawnimal.

This is defiantly the most challenging series to date, in terms of finding a complete set. There is usually one out of the the run of figures that it very limited, this time they did several limited edition runs. In the past the purchase of one case has typically gotten us what we needed, this time we came up significantly short. Still this gives us some stuff to work on and towards. We ended up with a lot of duplicates out of our case so we are going to try to turn some of those around and see if we can't turn those into some we actually need. The main two that we didn't get that I wanted was the Brandt Peters one and one of the hidden rare ones by Pon. It looks like a box of Chinese take-out. Very Cool.. I also really want the one designed by Andrew Bell. Still I can't complain we had a good pull and it just keeps me amped up for the next release, probably sometime in January of 2010.

Lately we have actually gotten some really good deals on vinyl online as well. Both Jason and I scored 8 inch Dunny's for less than the selling price (including shipping) in the last month as well. I scored artist Jesse Hernandez's 8 inch Jaguar Warrior themed figure, while Jason got artist Kronk's Tree Hugger Dunny. I posted some pics of each up top, along with some images of the latest Dunny series. Looking forward the vinyl market looks to be kind of slow, I haven't heard of any big releases in the next two month, though I am sure there will be plenty of holiday themed figures for Christmas. Enjoy the pics and I will see you here tomorrow for new Flash Fiction. Thanks!

End of Line.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Movie Time: Rewind: Jaws

Hey all,

For this month's edition of the Rewind we go back to the last year of eligibility for this column, 1975. A year that gave us perhaps the first true summer blockbuster and the film that launched maybe the most important director of the past three decades, Steven Spielberg. That movie, of course, is Jaws starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, and Lorraine Gary.

Jaws is a film a lot of people HAVE probably seen, so I won't spend a great deal of time on the plot of the film. Suffice it to say that it is set in the resort town of Amnity Island and concerns itself with the local police chief Martin Brody (Scheider) trying to protect it's citizens from a bloodthirsty great white shark. He tries to close the beach but is overruled by the city council in an effort to keep the profits rolling into the town from the tourist trade. After several attacks by the great white, Brody enlists the help of a marine biologist named Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss) and a shark hunter Quint (Shaw) in an effort to hunt down the beast and kill it. Lorraine Gary plays Brody's wife Ellen.

Jaws was an important picture in many ways and laid the groundwork for a very common practice for movie studios today, summer blockbusters. It is often described as one of the first "High Concept" pictures, something that could be made as a single film, but with potential for additional films. It is at least the first modern one if you don't count the serial reels from the 30's and 40's. Jaws also tested so well with advance audiences it was released on more screens than any film in history to that point, something that studios would build on in '76 with The Omen and especially in '77 with Star Wars. Based on this success, Jaws became the first film to be released nationwide on hundreds of screens coupled simultaneously with a huge marketing campaign, a then unheard of practice. It became a "tent pole" film for studios to release around and established the summer as the time to do it. Jaws was a gigantic blockbuster for the studio and the leader to modern day film practices.

This film was also Steven Spielberg's second film, having directed The Sugarland Express for producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown, who were also producing this film. Based on the novel by writer Peter Benchley, who cameos in the movie as a reporter, Benchley also wrote the first three drafts of the film before bowing out, establishing much of the films feel. Spielberg did cut several elements from the book, wanting to focus on the three mens struggle against the whale and the camaraderie that comes from that struggle.

Jaws, for all intents and purposes, was plagued with delays and shooting difficulties, even earning it the nickname "Flaws" during production. Plagued with script problems after Benchley left and technical difficulties, it was a highly stressful shoot. Three mechanical sharks (nicknamed Bruce) were created for the film and after construction, they were flown to the location shoot in Martha's Vineyard. Unfortunately they had never been tested in water and didn't float or work right. Shooting at sea also held several complications with unwanted sea vessels wandering into the shoot, weather problems, even problems with the sea worthiness of Quint's boat, The Orca, which began to sink once the actors boarded it.

Still the production difficulties provided Spielberg time to tighten up the script, making it much more Hitchcockian in spirit, turning it into a tense and deadly thriller. He really lays on the taunt suspense by not even showing the shark for the first hour of the movie, making "Bruce's" first showing that much more scream worthy. Even so most of the cast and crew were tired of the production and tension was high as the film drew to a close.

All of that was forgotten as Jaws was released to the pubic in July of 1975. It went on to shatter box office records and become the first film to gross 100 million dollars at the box office. World wide it made over $470 million and is one of the first films to truly have sequels in the modern era, though Benchley and Spielberg would not be a part of them. The film helped establish Dreyfuss as an up and comer in the industry (he would go on to team with Spielberg in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and helped make Scheider a leading man. Robert Shaw, an industry veteran, was a notorious drunk during film making and difficult to work with, though his turn as Quint may have been his most memorable performance thanks to his monologue about being in the water at the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, easily one of the highlight performances of the film.

For Spielberg, this film launched his career and he obviously went on to become one of the most important directors in history. Without Jaws, films like Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, are not possibilities. It was his vision and dedication to making the picture that works, without him Jaws wouldn't be the movie that it is today. it should also be mentioned here that Spielberg's long time composer, John Williams, worked with him on the film (both having been together for Sugarland Express) and his score also went a long way in establishing the mood and tension on the film. Williams famous score only highlighted the terror and suspense of the unseen shark, and created a sound universally recognized as something of dread and foreboding. It was Jaws that established him as the premier composer in Hollywood as well, allowing him to work on scores for such movies as the Superman franchise, the Star Wars films, Indiana Jones, even Harry Potter. His contributions are just as important.

The films impact over the years cannot be ignored, influencing filmmakers from Ridley Scott (who pitched his 1979 horror/thriller Alien as Jaws in space) to JJ Abrams (who shot 2008 Cloverfield much in the same vein as Jaws; not showing the monster until the end; only in flashes). Despite the release of several lackluster sequels, the original Jaws is still a much beloved classic. A movie who's impact and resonance still holds after nearly 35 years. This is in fact my room mates favorite film of all time, and with his birthday this month, this column was dedicated to him and his love of great classic films. If you haven't seen Jaws you are in for a treat, if you have, blow the dust off the copy and treat yourself to a truly classic film by one of the masters.

End of Line.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Hey all,

I finished my first poem of the month tonight, working from a format I have wanted to kind of go back to for a while now. I knew when I sat down to write my next poem, this was the pattern I was going to use. More or less have a reverberating chorus as the last line of each stanza, and use that as the theme to link each stanza together. Hope you like the poem, not really much needed to explain where it comes from, favored territory of mine to be sure.


The years are changing and ticking on by,

To quick and to far from where they once lie.

It makes me wonder how hard I did try.

Or if it's to late for the tears that I cry.

What was slow now has turned too fast,

And I am afraid that I'll be left last.

In the words that I've written in keys or in pen,

Are the stories I've told I still can't comprehend.

Yet these messages of love and of sorrow I send,

Are not enough to tide me unto the end.

The stone has been cut and the die has cast,

And I am afraid that I'll be left last.

The paths that I walk are lonely to roam,

Just me awash in the indifferent unknown.

My heart is a muscle that I've yet to hone,

For I'm left to plant the seeds I have sown.

Looking for happiness I have never surpassed,

And I am afraid that I'll be left last.

So now its like I just don't understand,

Why my life didn't turn out quite as I planned.

No order throughout the years I have spanned,

The luster has faded from dreams once so grand.

Life is to short, my glory has past,

And I am afraid that I'll be left last.

As the sun comes to set on my fading years,

Where once roaring crowds have silenced their cheers,

My reflection stares back from the empty mirrors,

But all that I see are the doubts and the fears.

The emptiness that consumes me seems so vast,

And now I know that I am the last.

End of Line.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Movie Review: 9

Hey all,

Headed out to the theatre to catch the new animated film 9, by producer Tim Burton and director/ writer Shane Acker. 9 features voice work by many great talents, including Elijah Wood as 9 himself, and the likes of Jennifer Connolly, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, Christopher Plummer, and Martin Landau. Designed as very much as an animated movie that could appeal to audience of all ages, it has a decidedly darker tone than most animated films, almost to the point that it it a film targeted for older audiences.

9 is a bout a series of sentient rag dolls, numbered hence the name, who are struggling to survive in a post apocalyptic world terrorized by the beast, a sentient steam punk sort of creature. The film starts off with the awakening of 9 (Wood) in a laboratory of sorts, unable to speak. After discovering the other members of the group, sentient rag dolls like himself, he and 5 (Reilly) set off to save 2 (Landau) who has been captured by the beast. Along the way they find other members of the group lost over the years, warrior 7 (Connolly) and 3 and 4, the silent catalogers. During the rescue attempt though 9 re-activates the great machine, the one responsible for starting the end of the world, and the battle between man and machine that destroyed so much. It's up to 9 and his friends to stop the machine, before it destroys them too. Along the way you also learn about how these dolls came to life, and what it means to be human, even if you aren't one yourself.

There are good and bad qualities to this film. Let's start off with the good. The animation is top notch, they really craft a very dark and dystopian world full of wonderful scenic elements and design. Especially character design. Each doll is a unique in its own way and really dynamic in their expressions. The robot and beast designs are even more incredible. They manage to capture a very steam punk meets horror feel without being to over the top. The beast and the Great Machine are wonderfully designed. From an animation stand point alone this film is remarkable. Easily the best non Pixar film in terms of quality animation.

The voice acting is also great. Wood plays the optimistic hero well, bringing his own sense of quiet confidence to the role, as the hero who does what needs to be done, something he has a track record with. Reilly brings a wonderful sense of light comedic timing and support as the sidekick role. Connolly is a great choice to play the tough as nails warrior woman, who underneath the shell is more vulnerable than you would think. Plummer as 1, the cowardly fearful leader, plays a role he knows well, the manipulator and schemer, a part he has played so often in the past. Even Landau brings a wonderful optimism to his role as 2, as the aging sage who sees the possibility in hope. Last, but not least, Crispin Glover is the guy to cast when you want a character to be slightly off his rocker and creepy as the artistic seer. He brings a dread, and levity to the role that only he could pull off.

The bad part of the film though is the story though. You can really tell that the film is based on the Oscar nominated short from a few years back. It seems to me that Acker was desperately trying to flesh out the story to make it long enough for a feature length run. The fight sequences, except for the one with the beast, seemed a bit shoe horned in as opposed to natural parts of the film. What killed me though was that the author had great material for the story in the plot itself. If he had spent more time on what had caused the schism between the dolls, where some stayed at the sanctuary and some left the group, or fleshed out the surrounding characters like they did with 9, you would have had a much tighter film and stronger story arc. While you do get flashes from the beginning of the war and the rest of the dolls finding each other, you never really get into how they awoke, or what motivates each in their role. While some of the dolls are a bit more tertiary, like 3 and 4 and even 6 and 8, the rest are strong characters who could have used the screen time.

Overall 9 hedges a bit on the disappointing side for me. I felt that with all the buildup and pomp, they fell a bit short in the plot category. That's okay though, I saw a lot of potential and I have hopes that further films from Acker can be stronger. The animation was spot on and that is definitely something to start on. All in all, skip 9 this week and wait for it on video. Thanks for reading!

End of Line.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 18

After the cab arrived I told him to head back to Annie's place. I threw an extra $20 and told him to make good time. He gave me a dirty look as I got in though, no doubt looking over my swollen eye and broken nose, along with a shirt covered in blood and wondered if he was making the right choice. After I threw up the money though he dropped the meter and took off. We only made one pit stop, at a pharmacy where I loaded up on smokes, a bottle, and some fresh medical supplies, before arriving at Annie's place.

I checked my watch and noted that it was not quite 11:30 yet, a few hours before Annie would be off. I breathed a small sign of relief in the fact that I could try to clean up better and maybe dissuade the inevitable shit storm that Annie would have at my appearance. I walked up the stairs to Annie's place and got out my key, sliding it in and popping open the door. I set my things on the counter and gingerly shrug out of my coat. I was reaching for a glass out of the sink when the bathroom door opened, and Annie came out wearing just a towel. Shit.

She took one look at my face and ran over, running her fingers gently over the wounds and telling me that I needed a hospital in between a litany of curse words so blue that it would make Scarface himself blush. She ushered me into the bathroom and helped me get my shirt off. I watched as tears formed in the corners of her eyes as she looked at the trail of black and purple welts that ran along my side. I told her that I was okay, but that just pissed her off more so I let her yell at me and minister my wounds. I winced as she dabbed alcohol on my eye and nose, cleaning them with a gentle touch. It always amazed me how someone who looked so hard and tough, was so soft inside when she let it show.

After 20 minutes of doting, she ran a hot bath and helped me off with my pants. I could have done it I'm sure, but this was another one of those times I instinctively knew to let her stay in charge. She told me to soak in the tub and after a few minutes, she came in with a glass of scotch and a handful of pain medication, the good stuff apparently. I looked at her as she set them on the bathroom sink, the towel had grown a little loose around her and a bit more of her breasts appeared out of the top than before. I could see her tattoo's glisten with a slight sheen and smell her shampoo whenever she got close. This was one of the moments that always made us come closer, saving the other person. I took the pills she gave me and downed the contents of the glass in one shot, feeling that splendid warm burn at the back of my throat. As Annie placed the glass on the sink, her back to me, I reached out and pulled her back into the tub. She landed with a yelp of surprise and a stifled curse as I gently kissed her lips, muttering softly about how lucky I was to love someone like her.

End of Line.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

Hey all,

A slow posting start this month but I am on today with my review of Quentin Tarentino's latest film. Inglourious Basterds, starring Brad Pitt. Tarentino's first film since the less than successful Grindhouse double feature Death Proof, Basterds is a mix up of a film. One part spaghetti western, one part war film, and a heavy helping of that Tarentino dialog we have come to know and love from the director make up the flick. It blends the classic elements of the westerns and war films of the late 60's and 70's and gives them a more modern flair. Sort of the Dirty Dozen meets the Sergio Leone Westerns of Italy.

Basterds is really two different films being told at the same time. The first part of the film is about Shoshanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent, a new comer) as a teenage French Jew living in occupied France in hiding. When SS Captain Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) arrives at the home she and her family are hiding in, he brutally murders them, with only Shoshanna escaping. Meanwhile Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) has formed a group of Jewish American soldiers to strike fear in the heart of the German troops and is operating a plan of attack to incite terror and fear into the troops. He does so by adopting a take no prisoners attitude and making each man owe him a debit of 100 Nazi scalps.

From there the film flash forwards 4 years into the war, Shoshanna has moved to Paris and runs a movie theatre under false documents. When Shosanna attracts the eye of a German war hero named Frederick Zoller (Daniel Bruhle), a decorated war hero and newly minted film star by German Minister of Propaganda Joesph Grubbles, he insists that his war film, Pride of a Nation, be screened at her theatre. When Shoshanna learns that the director of security is none other than the man who killed her family, Hans Landa, she conspires to kill all the luminaries in attendance, which would include the Fuhrer himself.

Meanwhile the Basterds are still at work having built up a fearful reputation behind enemy lines. When they receive orders to attack the theatre themselves with the help of a British SS officer named Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender), and a double agent, German film star Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) they realize they have the chance to end the war early. Unfortunately things go awry for the Basterds and they have to adopt a new plan. One that involves Lt Raine himself entering the theatre, and blowing up the Nazi's inside.

The movie culminates in a double climax of sorts, as The Basterds break into the theatre and as Shoshanna launches her own plan of revenge. In the end, it doesn't turn out exactly how you expect, but the ending will surprise you.

There is a lot to like about this movie and Brad Pitt is at the top of the list. His turn as Lt. Aldo Raine, Aldo the Apache is both funny and viral, lending a much needed comic element to very horrific circumstances. His Appalachian accent and demeanor is nearly infective as you watch the film. You find yourself wanting to take on his mannerisms and dialect, if only to recapture some of that screen time. The rest of the film is made up of mostly unknown acting quantities and that both works for and against the film. You don't quite develop the same attachments to the other characters of the film as most of the fleshing out is kept to the characters of Has Landa and Shoshanna. They are really the stars of the film and Pitt and his crew of Basterds are really supporting characters. That winds up being one of my few complaints about the film. not enough of Pitt and his crew. I'd have loved to see Tarentino flesh out the Basterds the same way he did Shoshanna and Landa. You have so many unanswered questions about the crew, that you really don't get answered in the film.

Tarentino's dialog is spot on as usual, a great blend of conversational palaver and nuance. He is really one of the few masters of dialog working in the business today and he creates some really great moments in each character. It is also shot wonderfully, making it feel a bit like the spaghetti westerns of the late 60's but adding just enough of the old Hollywood style to keep it modern and fresh. This does bring me to my second complaint though, the films running time. While his films tend to have a longer format, this is one I felt that got a bit away from him. There were plenty of scenes, that while full of great dialog and character moments, could have been made a bit more succinct. I think maybe you go in with some preconceived notions of what the film is, and expecting the plot of the Basterds to be the main story, and its not. While it doesn't detract from the overall quality of the film, and it is good, one of his better films, I still feel there were opportunities missed.

Overall Inglourius Basterds is a very good movie. Don't let these complaints overshadow what is a good film. It's worth the price of admission for Brad Pitt alone and his really riveting performance. Basterds is a true send up of those films you grew up watching with your dad, a little bit of the past modernized for the changing tastes of America. Check it out.

End of Line.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Hey all,

Yeah it's me. No I haven't quit the blog. There has been a lotta of thoughts running through my mind lately. This blog, work, love, friendship, even reflections on the meanings of Patriot's Day, today. I really noticed the date today, the 11th, I have only posted one time in 11 days and that is really sad. I don't really have one reason why I haven't been on. It's a lot of reasons. Work, motivation, apathy, writer's block, even the fact that I have just been so tired. So very tired when I come home.

Even looking over that sentence, I know writer's block isn't one of them. I have so many stories and topics to post on. A lot of things to talk about. Yet I find myself sitting at the computer to work, and staring off into the emptiness of the white screen. Who am I really sharing these thoughts with, why am I really writing them. I say it's because I love to write, which is true, but why do you keep writing something that no one reads. I will resolve to salavge this month and put these thoughts down, to capture these moments and put them to word. If only for myself, and if only for prosperity, if only because I am free to do so.

Today I sat at work with one of my managers. She was really upset, crying and shuddering with sadness and depression over the apparent breakup of her and her fiance. She had told him about an infidelity she had a year and a half ago when they were on a break from each other. I could see the regret and pain, and the longing in her eyes as she sobbed and told me her story. I could do nothing but hold her close and whisper what I hoped where good lies into her ears about the fact that everything would be okay. To say the right words to comfort my friend, and to spare her more pain. That look in her eyes nearly broke my heart.

I don't think I have ever felt such hurt or pain, felt such a need for another human being. I know my feelings, I know that a lot of what I am is beneath the surface, unshown and bottled away. To see something like that so open and raw, it just made me wonder if someone could feel that way about me, or if I could feel that way about them. If there was life enough inside me to still care.

Eight years ago today the nation faced one of it's worst tragedies in recent memory. The attacks on the twin towers at 9/11. Today is a time for reflection on all the things that make this country great. Like the fleeting days of patriotism that surrounded that nightmare in the weeks following the attack, and the freedom to hurt for someone you love. It reminded me that I am thankful to be here and be able to put these thoughts to words. To write a few lines and have the freedom to reflect on my life and my choice. Even to have the freedom to regret them.

Today is the day that I remember.

End of Line.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Assorted Nuts

Happy September All!

I cannot believe that it is already September. The year is nearly over and I am not sure what I have really accomplished. There are still plenty of goals for me to work on as I gear up or another month of posting. While I will certainly be continuing with my Flash Fiction posts of Noir Story, I am going to start slipping in some other stories as well. I think starting next Wednesday I will be attempting to run two Flash Fiction posts a week, back like I use to do it. I have some ideas for what I am going to do, but nothing concrete that I am willing to commit to. I do know that you can expect the usual posts this month, as well as some new Di-Vinyl and a preview of the Fall TV line up as soon as I gather all the needed info.

I am also excited to try my hand at some poetry. I really didn't write anything after my travels of last month (which seem so long ago) so I am anxious to see if I can muster the creative juices to get a few more poems this month. I am only 3 away from my 100th poem so that is a really cool benchmark to shoot for in the coming month to month and a half.

That being said, I really just need to re-energize myself to have another month like the one I had in July. Getting good quality posts, and writing about good quality things. I know I will have one or two films to revue as well as some new info on my first foray into fantasy football. See you soon and thanks for sticking it out with me.

End of Line.