Listen, Watch, Read.

Listen.

I wanted to wait until we had the kinks worked out before I told you about my new podcast.  Since that will likely never come to pass, I figure what the hell.  Besides, it’s all in the reflexes.  Long story short, my buddy Joe Schultz has been hankering to do a podcast for a while now.  So he went and bought a bunch of podcasting stuff.  I mean, who knew there were such things?  Not I.  He asked if I’d help.  I agreed.  Now we have one.  It’s called “The Velociraptor Incident” which is an inside joke of sorts related to my termination from my previous radio job.  Don’t worry about it.  Just listen.

Here’s the page link: http://directory.libsyn.com/shows/view/id/thevelociraptorincident wherein you can check out all the episodes.  (And by “all” I mean “both.”  Work in progress, people.)

Or just click on this direct link to the latest episode: http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/3065768

But wait!  There’s more!  Say you’re a fancy-schmancy iTunes person.  We’ve got you covered, as the podcast is available for free on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-velociraptor-incident/id918855698?mt=2

 

So there you go.  I’ll warn you, the language (especially in our rambling, juvenile, self-indulgent first episode) is NSFW at times.  Again, work in progress.  But give ’em a listen when you get a chance.  Thanks.

 

Watch.

I’m always behind on things.  Like, I never watch television when it’s on.  I rarely watch “live” shows.  I always catch them on Hulu or Netflix or, in the past, on DVR.  I have two rambunctious boys who demand a lot of time, there are always sports and school things to take care of, and of course, getting down with the old lady and drinking too much.  It all takes up so much of my precious time.  Plus, I don’t have cable.  So there’s that.

Anyway, the wife and I have been binge watching and catching up on some shows.  We started “Orange is the New Black” and found it to be really good.  Sure, it’s a chick show, but I dig it.  Well done, all around.  If you haven’t seen it, I would describe it as “Private Benjamin Goes to OZ.”  (That’s the Oswald Correctional Facility, not the place with the yellow brick road.)  And of course, we follow The Blacklist on Hulu the night after it airs on NBC.  Basically, it’s like watching DVR’d shows, and that’s nice.

But in the spaces between, we’ve been catching up on shows we missed the first time around. Shows like Fringe.  Yes, everyone tells me that the seasons go downhill sharply after the first couple, much like Dexter, but so far we’re still in honeymoon mode well into season two.  Still freaks me out to see Charlie Conway in X-Files mode instead of triple-deking, but he’s good.  Plus, the J.J. Abrams/Roberto Orci chemistry is strong.  Good stuff.  Speaking of sci-fi geekdom, I also finally started (and have since become obsessed with) Battlestar Galactica.  Holy shit, why didn’t I listen to everyone when this show was first on Sci-Fi?!  And an even better question:  why the hell did Sci-Fi (now SyFy) stop making quality programs and instead opt to shovel shit like Sharknado out of the ol’ television poop-chute?  I’m not even halfway through BSG, yet I have laughed and almost wept so many times…it’s like I don’t want it to end.  I know it will, but I want it to keep going.  I want it to be one of those series that wraps up after eleven years on the air when people are saying “yeah, they ran out of story after season eight.”  Then again, kudos for teling the story and getting out.  I like that, too.  Better than that Hobbit movie bullshit, dragging it out, adding fluff, and basically ruining one of my favorite stories, but hey.  That’s another conversation.  Maybe we’ll cover that on the podcast.

 

Read.

Speaking of The Hobbit, here’s my final observation/recommendation.  You must read the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie.  My gods, but this is another time when I was late to the party, but now that I’m here I don’t want to leave.  In a nutshell, I’ll say this:  if you enjoy the writing style of George R. R. Martin, you’ll dig Abercrombie.  He uses profanity, in a realistic way.  There are skulls split open and some sickening, bone-crunching moments of gore.  However, in many ways, Abercrombie is a better storyteller than Martin.  The world he creates is less treacherous and back-stabbing than that of Westeros, but the danger and scope are still there.  Like Song of Ice and Fire (or simply Game of Thrones, if you just watch the wonderful HBO series) there’s magic here, and wizardry…but like Westeros, it’s a faded, dull sort of thing.  It’s a sun-bleached poster, or thin, lukewarm coffee.   As one character puts it, magic has “leaked out of the world.”  The rest is swords, spears, armor, and brutality.  The author is obviously part of the new style championed by GRRM, less poetry than Tolkien or Salvatore, but beautiful nonetheless.  (Think “Deadwood” if it were set in the middle ages.)  Abercrombie’s characters use profanity, in a very realistic and often amusing  “shit, shit, SHIT!” sort of way. ” But what really sets this fast-paced, taut little trilogy head and shoulders above the rest are the wonderfully developed characters.  They are so very real, and so very flawed.  And often hilarious.  I literally laughed out loud many times, especially at the dry wit of Sand dan Glokta and the Mal Reynold-ian take on things delivered by Logen Ninefingers.  It’s so wonderful to see these characters grow and change and become something larger, stronger, better.  Most all of them are trying to improve themselves, trying to overcome their mistakes and weaknesses.  Most of them don’t even realize they’re doing so, consciously.  That makes the change even more wonderful.  Several of these living, breathing people think themselves condemned, victims of their own mistakes or selfishness…and some of them are.  But they all keep trying anyway.  That’s heroism.  There are many tragic moments when you say “oh, no…no, please, don’t do it…” as you realize someone is about to backslide. But you read on, hoping they make it.  You keep reading because Joe Abercrombie makes you give a shit about these people and what happens to them in the next paragraph. Chapter.  The next book.  And then it’s all over and you sit back and applaud and wish there were more.  If you love great fantasy/adventure stories, this one is a must-read.

 

The Blog of Castamere

Hooooooo-boy!  You like that Game of Thrones, huh?  HAHAHAHAA!!!

I think this would be a good, responsible time to warn you:  this blog will contain MAJOR spoilers and MAJOR amounts of profanity, especially in the embedded media.  I’ll try and keep any spoilers out of here that haven’t already aired on the HBO series, but…you’ve been told.  If you’re DVR-ing this series or waiting for the DVDs, well…maybe you’d better read one of my other numerous (and totally incredible) blog entries.  Last chance.  Stop reading now, unless you know what’s up or just don’t care.

Okay, okay.  Full disclosure time (I tend to disclose a lot on this blog, don’t I?  Huh.  The secret to a clean conscience, I suppose.)  I don’t have HBO.  In fact, I don’t even have cable anymore.  But I have read all of the existing volumes in George R. R. Martin’s masterpiece, A Song of Ice and Fire.  Why HBO decided to use the title of the first book, A Game of Thrones, as the title of the series is a bit of a mystery.  I figure they weren’t sure there would be a second season, so they figured GoT was a little less unwieldy than ASoIaF.  Good call, now that I think about it.

Luckily, I did get to borrow the first season DVD set from my friend and former morning show co-host, Barry Thickk (spoiler:  that’s not how he spells his last name in real life, but hey, rock radio!!) That gave me a nice perspective, and I like how HBO found a look and tone all their own.  And that musical score?  Brilliant.  Perfect.  In fact, let’s hear one of my favorite interpretations thereof:

Now, the thing is, those of us that have read all the books? Yeah, we’re pretty much a bunch of dirty hipsters.  No, we are.  We were saying “hodor!” before it was cool.  We know what’s going to happen next.  We do.  And we love, LOVE, LOVE LOVE gloating about it.  How many times have you had a friend say (in either real life or in a blog or Facebook comment) “Oh, you like [GENERIC CHARACTER]?  Just wait until next season!” Or even more smarmily “Yeah, that story line doesn’t play out like you’d expect.”  Oh, we love it so.  Being “in the know” is so wonderfully powerful.  That’s why when Ned Stark lost his head towards the end of Season One, I laughed and laughed at videos like this now-famous offering…

When I first read A Game of Thrones, the Ned Stark scene gutted me.  Absolutely destroyed me.  My lovely wife, Heidi, watched me slowly lower the book and stare at nothing, jaw agape.

“Holy fucking shit…” I muttered.

“What?  What’s wrong?” she asked, genuinely concerned.

“They just…this guy, the main…holy shit!  They fucking killed the main guy!”

For readers and viewers alike, that should’ve been all we needed to know.  GRRM had stolen our childhood innocence.  He’d given us the much-needed slap in the face, reminding us that this world wasn’t Middle Earth or Narnia.  This world was infinitely more real, and so very dangerous.  It was a book about war, and in war, well…good people die.  It reminded me of the scene in The Princess Bride where the grandpa tells Fred Savage the bad news: the Prince lives.  Wesley dies.  The kid’s reaction, “Jesus, Grandpa!  What did you read me this thing for?!” is the same question we asked ourselves.  But, like that bedridden child, we knew we had to go on.  For good or ill, we had to know what happened next.  The difference is that Martin’s book series isn’t a fairy tale, and “true love” doesn’t make a goddam bit of difference.

Still, we hoped.  We had the faintest dream that somehow it would all work out.  That evil would be punished.  That the good guys would win.

We should’ve fucking known better.

Just like a child that must be conditioned to think or act a certain way, another hard lesson was required.

The Red Wedding.

Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ.  I’ll tell you this, people who have only watched the series and not read the books:  the book was much, much worse.

“Wait a second,” you bellow.  “You admitted that you haven’t watched all the latest episodes?  How can you make that kind of call?”

In response, I’ll offer that I’ve seen footage and scanned enough websites to get a feel for the televised version, and yes, it does seem well-shot and gut-wrenchingly performed.  But there are limitations to a teleplay, time (or lack thereof) being the most critical of those factors. In the novel, the buildup to the Red Wedding is a slowly building feeling of dread, of impending horror.  Most of it is told through Cat’s point of view, and the moment she knows what’s up, the instant she perceives what’s happening…you’re broken.  Everything after that is just devastating icing on the horror-cake.  (Actually, Horror-Cake is the name of my new black metal band.)  But you can’t look away, can’t stop reading.  Just as viewers cowered behind sheets, blankets, and couch cushions whilst watching HBO, only to peek out again and again, out of curiosity or just to assure themselves that the horror was over.  Luckily, someone put together a six-minute compilation of reactions…

And boy, the aftermath.  The sheer, internet-crippling frustration, sorrow, and hate.  Some of the best are being cataloged by Red Wedding Tears on Twitter…check ’em out and feel better about your plight:

https://twitter.com/RedWeddingTears

Here’s a wee sample:

red wedding tweets

So.  George R. R. Martin is kind of an asshole, huh?  He’s just NOT FAIR!!  Yeah.  Tough titty, kid.

But now you’re seriously wondering why you should continue watching or reading this painful series.  Let me give you something akin to hope.  I told you, no spoilers…but I can tell you this:  GRRM does have a sense of justice (COUGH! Theon Greyjoy COUGH! Jaime Lannister COUGH!) and that sense certainly manifests itself in shocking and, yes, satisfactory ways in the books and television episodes to come.  No, I will not give you specifics on certain characters.  Just know that there is a great deal of comeuppance headed your way.

But it won’t be without further cost.  Yes, there will be more heartache.  But there will also be triumph, and that is always so much sweeter after you’ve been stabbed, kicked, and thrown into the mud to die. After all, in the game of thrones, you either win…

Or you die.

Celebri-daze!!

Holy crap…it’s almost been an entire month since my last post, and that one was a throw-away quickie.  Been busy, folks.  My radio station has been slowly transitioning to a new location, kids are busy, I’ve had shows like Best Ink Season Two to watch (TEAM TERESA!!!!) and Far Cry 3 to complete (with the GOOD ending, thank you.)  So I figured I’d jump back in with another Hollywood Nooz style entry.  If these things keep doing well, I’m going to have to create an entirely new blog for this stuff.  That way NOTHING will get updated.

Without further ado…

CROWE JOINS THE SHOWE!!

Powder blue is the new tangerine!

Powder blue is the new tangerine!

Buoyed by his recent critically acclaimed turn in the big-screen adaptation of Les Miz, gruff-but-loveable Kiwi Russell Crowe has stunned the music world by agreeing to appear as part of this summer’s hottest ticket:  the eagerly-awaited tour of pop diva Britney Spears.  Brit decided to forgo any more reality-TV judging gigs in order to wow live audiences with mediocre lip-synching, and decided to bring out the big guns!  “I always loved Russell as ‘Wolverine’ but had no idea he could sing!”  As for what drew the burly, bearded, boy-band wannabee to the tour, Russell admitted that he initially “thought ‘Les Miz’ was just a flick about French lesbians and professional wrestlers.  Imagine my shock when it turned out to be this gay Occupy movie!  Loved it. And the outfits?  FABULOUS.”

KIEDIS IS KIP!

Modern-day D'Artagnan Kiedis answers questions at the "N4pole0n" press conference

Modern-day D’Artagnan Kiedis answers questions at the “N4pole0n” press conference

Staying in the world of music, we were excited to hear the bombshell that Miramax dropped last week when they announced another gritty reboot, this time of fan-fave cult film ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ slated to begin pre-production in the next few weeks.  The newly re-branded ‘N4pole0n’ already boasts Jon Hamm and Jennifer Lawrence as part of the cast, and at the press meet-up it was announced that the coveted role of Kip Dynamite would be going to none other than Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis! “I’ve acted before, so it’s not like I’m completely out-of-sorts” said the star of Point Break and that one Charlie Sheen film.  “Plus, with my history of drug addiction, I feel like I can convey the proper gravitas and self-torture that the role of Kip demands.  I’m, like, totally stoked, dude.”  The Jim Jarmusch-helmed drama should hit theaters in time for the Holiday 2014 season.

GAME OF CLONES!!!

We may finally have an explanation for what’s taking author George R. R. Martin so long to finish his sword-and-sorcery epic ‘A Song of Ice and Fire!’  It may have very little to do with the ongoing HBO adaptation; even as the smash-hit ‘Game of Thrones’ sails into its third season, another GRRM project seems to be taking up most of the author’s time.

Perhaps now it'll be 'Between Two Dramatic Turns!'

Perhaps now it’ll be ‘Between Two Dramatic Turns!’

It seems that over the last dozen years or so, Martin has kept an intricate journal of his life.  Now Paramount is keen to reap some of that ‘GoT’ cash, and has optioned the diary for a big-screen biopic starring Hollywood funnyman Zach Galifianakis as a young George R.R. Martin.  Pre-production is already underway, with Galifianakis doing location shoots in Harlem and San Salvador.  The ‘Hangover’ star told us about what drew him to the project: “Well, George is a shabbily-dressed fat guy.  And since John Goodman is way too old, that pretty much leaves me.  Now, please…just leave me alone.”

Quick and Dirty.

In reference to the title of this entry: THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!  So, there’s that.

Anyway, I noticed a couple of things the other day.  One:  I start wayyyy too many paragraphs with “Anyway…” so I’ll try to get more creative with my transitions.  Two, thanks to you reading this blog (and all the other entries herein) I’m approaching 10,000 views since the beginning of August.  Dayum…I never figured people would actually want to read this!  So in all sincerity, thanks.  And keep spreading the word!  Would it be out of the realm of possibility to see 20,000 by the end of the year?  Or to put it bluntly: can a nigga get a table dance?

Anyway…

So they had me in a “Brainstorming” meeting today to help a client find ways to market a series of sex-type classes for couples.  I shit you not.  They actually WANTED me in there.  Most of my ideas were rejected.  I suggested that the client have a series of classes called “Your Wife’s Asshole Is Like a 9-Volt Battery: You Know You Shouldn’t Put Your Tongue On It, But You Will Anyway!”  I also mentioned that many of us would sign up for a class called “Bitch, It Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself” and also “What The FUCK Was That Noise, And Where Did It Come From?”  I was asked to leave the meeting early.  Their loss!  But while I was bored, some thoughts crept into my had.  Here are some of them…

1. You know what would be terrifying?  Not zombies.  Fuck zombies, man.  They’re slow. (REAL zombies are slow.  28 Days Later was Rage Virus, you imbecile.)  Ah, but what if some mad genius outfitted an army of zombies with Segway scooters?  A horde of undead douchebags with Bluetooth headsets coming after me? I’m OUTTA here, Jack! Get me to some stairs, stat!

While writing this piece, I had NO IDEA that this was already a thing! Seriously, Google "zombie on a seqway." I'll wait.

2. People know I don’t like the show Big Bang Theory (ahem…) but did you know that the guy that plays Sheldon on that show was recently a guest star on iCarly?  True story.  He played a patient in a mental ward, and he was actually very entertaining.  See, sometimes you have to hate the game, not the player.

3. I’m starting a rumor, right here and now, that a big-budget remake of “Smokey and the Bandit” is underway with Michael Bay writing/directing.  Ryan Reynolds has been cast as Bandit, and Emmy Award-winner Peter Dinklage is signed to play Smokey.  In fact, in this remake the name of the character Buford T. Justice has been changed to simply “Smokey” because they want this thing to be as stupid as humanly possible.  I love the Dink, and though I hate to see him belittle himself (see what I did there?) with this kind of role, but dude…strike while the iron’s hot!  (Seriously, though…his Tyrion Lannister is spot-fucking-on.)

TOTALLY not 'shopped.

4. Speaking of “Game of Thrones,” does anyone else think that George R. R. Martin only added the extra “R” initial so that people would call him “The American J.R.R. Tolkien?”  If so, that shit worked, because that’s EXACTLY what everybody calls him.  Maybe he’s just a big railroad fan.  Maybe somebody took his first choice, George H. W. Martin.  I ain’t care, long as he gets to writin’ some more books, y’all!

5. Finally, I learned recently that it was after the Battle of Bannockburn during the Scottish war of independence (the big one) that the esteemed GaGa’s received their peerage, land, and title.  Brave Lord GaGa so confounded the troops on both sides of the battle that Robert the Bruce was able to cement his claim to the Scottish throne by getting wasted and puking all over the Stone of Scone, which became customary at the coronation of every British monarch since.  In fact, the name of the sacred stone comes from the simple fact that scones were all the Bruce had eaten that day.  The English, upon seeing this horrifying display, wrote their digits on a bar napkin and left the field.  The Bruce never even called them back.  Actually, he totally ran into the English army a few weeks later and claimed he’d meant to call but couldn’t find their number.  Oh, and he dropped his phone in the toilet, so yeah.  But he suggested that maybe they could totally hang out one day.

"...the FUCK is he doing?!?"

The End.