Saturday, October 27, 2007

Scary Movies

I’ve always felt a tingly excitement around the latter half of October, the days leading up to Halloween. It is only in this time of year that society acknowledges all of which is frightening, be it the jack-o-lantern or the ultra-gory horror film.
I’m a relatively massive horror movie fan, always searching the web for upcoming films, most of which I decide whether I’ll go see just after reading the synopsis or, more fairly, seeing the trailer. Sadly, I’ve somewhat fallen out of my practice as I watch myself morph into a respectable member of the public. Time spent scavenging for a good visual scare in cinemas and bargain bin video stores such as Village Vidiot (which boasts a fantastic collection of obscure horror movies) is now spent working, studying, or interacting with other people. My seventeen-year-old friends have grown up; they’d rather watch a meaningful film filled with clever references and social commentary over a movie produced solely for the violent effects and disfigured monsters. Bring these elements together, and terrifyingly enough, you can feel your own passion begin to wane, and I can only frown as it slowly dribbles out.
While I’m not starving, am not plagued with any terminal diseases, and nearly everyone I have ever loved is still alive and well, it is the little events in life such as this that really make me wonder if I was only put on the earth to suffer.
So, before I am dropped into the congealed soup that is the real world, allow me to take you by the hand to see a small slice of my time with scary movies.

Right around 2nd or 3rd grade, I started to realize that there was some pretty cool things about scary movies. Of course, I limited myself to childhood frights, like scary-themed cartoons, anthologies (which were pretty cool), and of course, scary-theme books, like R.L. Stine’s classic Goosebumps collection. I did my best to keep my distance from the horror that was rated PG-13, or massively worse, R. But there were just some things you couldn’t avoid.
For me, it was this little monster. God, I can nearly pinpoint the first time I saw it on a video box while we were carousing through a video store, and almost instantly I found tears welling up in my eyes.
If you think that’s bad, just think about what it’d feel like innocently flipping through the TV channels and coming across it as it moved around.

I’ll always remember watching John Carpenter’s The Thing and flying up in the air in total horror during the part where they’re testing all of the blood. See, this creature sort of got up inside people and you’d never really know who or what converted, it was pretty fucking scary, even if it was hard sometimes not to understand how the creature got inside these people. And of course, the blood test, cripes, it’s probably the most frigthenting “jump” moment I’ve ever had to deal with. Of course, this scene was pretty good too: “You got to be fuckin’ kiddin me.” It was only a shame that such obsessions kept the women away for so many years.

College is an academic community; no room for senselessly violent movies such as the ones above. Sure, they were scary, but were they artful? Apparently university librarians. I never could find any good scary movies scanning through the collection of movies they had for rent at the library, but there were quite a few “instant-classic” foreign films that were available, one of which was Audition. Yes, this movie is pure horror, even if it’s packaged as a thriller. It’s not a thriller; it’s a horror movie, right down to the torture porn scenes. Seriously, movies like Hostel or Saw got nothing on this suspenseful sickening movie. It’s scary and disturbing, and it manages to get inside you regardless of how detached you are to horrible things.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blastin on all over your airwaves

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working my way towards achieving a DJ position with CSU’s very own radio station, 90.5 KCSU. I’ve been born and raised in Fort Collins, and I remember listening to 90.5 probably early on in middle school, after my Dad introduced me to it’s non-mainstream ways. I have to respect the old man for giving me the direction of music that has truly given my life more color. I shudder to think where I would’ve been otherwise.
It was on KCSU, as I clearly recall, where I first heard of the first airplane crashing into Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. I remember having some big argument with Mom ending just as she pulled up on the curb to drop us of, and as I opened the door, some guy got on the air, saying “I’m sure you’ve all heard about the airplane crash on the World Trade Center now,” or something very similar, and my mom opening her mouth and saying “Oh my god”, and that was it. This was before the second tower was hit, mind you.
But enough recollections, KCSU has held a special infatuation in my heart for a little while now, and this entire training process has been pretty damn exciting. As of now, I’ve collected the signatures of four of the seven managers at the stations (there is quite a lot of behind-the-scenes work that takes place at the studio, quite a few employees don’t even have their own show), and now I’ve shadowed for two shows, and I’m feeling more confident going into my next two tests.
The hardest part, in my opinion, will be this first test. I basically have to take a pass/fail test: miss one question and you lose. I’ve got to study the names of the managers (I guess they ask you to recall three specific names and match them with their station), know the difference between payola and plugola (feeling pretty confident about this one, I wrote an article about payola scandals at Clear Channel…actually, I remember speaking to the KCSU station manager for that one!), and some of the rules, regulations, stuff like that. I just pray we don’t go into specific technical details, because I seriously don’t remember any of that stuff, and what’s worse, I’ve lost my training manual.
Part two is show auditions. This is the spot that separates the staff member from the DJ. Pass this, and you get your very own show! Of course, being a newcomer, I’ll be placed into a spot that goes no earlier than 11:00 p.m., and should to go on at 11:00 a.m., it’ll be on Wednesday night, the night before my beloved 8:00 a.m. Online Writing course. Any other day, and I’ll be going from possibly 1:00-3:00 a.m., or 3:00-5:00 a.m., or maybe 5:00-7:00 a.m., so many options! I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself because that is all far into the future really, if I do have a show I won’t get a start on it till mid November and that’ll be if I’m lucky.
Here’s to making the grade.
Also, Erik’s video of the week: there’s something about 1:40 that made me laugh loudly.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


So, earlier this week, while carousing through Best Buy, I happened upon the small white pyramid of Xbox 360s, and I couldn’t make myself walk away, I couldn’t ignore them any longer. It had been some time since they had seen a nice solid price slash from the unbelievable 600 to the barely more reasonable 450 dollar mark. The fact that those Microsoft bastards had thrown in two free games alongside the console was too much to resist, I was forced to scrape out funds for it.
And right now, it sits in my room, not plugged in, and I feel agitation of the worst possible kin; it’s that heavy realization of knowing that perhaps you made a bad decision. I haven’t had any time to play the goddamn thing, nor have I had time to play it at my apartment. My roommate has made it clear that he gets in five or so hours of TV every fucking day, and I only allow it because in turn, he does my dishes. As I type, I wait for him to finish with his movie or perhaps his episode of “Sex and the City”, and as much as I’d like to say my bitching is justified, it really isn’t. Usually he turns in around 10:00 p.m., but for some horrible reason, I feel like he purchased a move “on demand”, and will spend maybe two or three more hours watching it. I staggered into the home around 11:30 p.m. last night and lo and behold, he was watching Transformers. Goddamn him and goddamn those stupid fucking instant order movies and goddamn his cable subscription, fuck all of you out there in TV land.
It’s been a long frustrating week, and I feel like I could really benefit from some visual violence that horror movies just can’t provide anymore. His antics, that terrible roommate of mine, are the only reason I’m behind the keyboard as of now. I don’t want to bully him, I’m not so sure I could, this truly is suffering in silence. I feel myself slipping into a ramble, imagining myself playing the games, oh god it’s getting bad.
Nothing else really holds up in terms of what matters, god it hurts to admit it’s true but it is and I just want to make this pain end. I’ve got work to do, there’s always work to do: journals to be updated, contacts to be call, progress to be made on the massive side projects that seem to barely have much of my time. Here I am, able to do such secondary important things, but I cant bring myself to do them. I can only sit here, before the keybard, and let all of my misery flow out onto the keyboard. Oh, how I’d love nothing more than to just have a TV of my own, so I could finally toss aside that useless notion of patience and simply fucking live. Nothing else matters anymore; not Iraq or Iran or the onset of World War III and the very possible notion that everything will soon be gone, same oes for the environment and the monks in Myanmar and the starving children in Columbia and the great pieces of literature strewn around the room, unread and unloved, likely to be burned before opened. I cant stop rambling, but I continue on, it’s letting the tiniest little bit of pressure squeeze out of my skull so as to prevent a terribly painful end. I try to be a good guy but then the big man upstairs, whoever the hell he is nowadays, he punishes me and I don’t understand why, oh how hard it is to be me, unable to play my overpriced video game console that I will certainly pump more dollars into to improve my gameplay experience, buy/rent more useless games, and whatever else that one could do to waste their time/money when involved with video games, of which I’m sure there are many. It is time for this blog to end before I lose anymore faith in my ability to write.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reflections on the Golden Land

I’ve always known that when it comes to shitty third world countries with oppressive leadership, Myanmar was the country to beat: forced labor for citizens and children, rampant human trafficking, secret police and state-run media to name just a few. Fun fact: Myanmar is technically known as Burma, a title which it is less referred to for some reason.
Seriously; before all of this national coverage of monk protests kicked in, I already knew things were pretty fucked up over there, and no one really gave a shit until now. Myanmar was MY insane military regime of choice before anyone else’s, especially that fucking bitch Laura Bush, who likely knew nothing of the country’s existence until White House officals showed her a videotape about what was going on and wrote up a nice little speech for her to use to condemn the actions.
Seriously, Laura Bush has spoken out about jack-shit since her husband, our own supreme military dictator, began his quest for oil-blood of brown skinned children to satisfy his vampire cravings (Bush is a Nazi as well.) Okay, actually, I remember her talking about the importance of books but that died out pretty quickly thanks to the First Lady’s secret dyslexia.
But anyway, it’s especially enjoyable to see how the Myanmar government is handling all of it on their fabulous website hosted by Geocities, where you can read about the dastardly insurgents most recent attacks and the proud and swift on-the-spot executions that take place proceeding.
Also, check out the tourism website that uses sweet lulling synthesizing music to lure unsuspecting Americans and their fat wallets into their rotten districts.
Truly, Myanmar is the new Sudan, which was the new Yugoslavia, which was the new Iraq, which was the new Cambodia, which was the new Chile, which was the new Uganda, which was the new Russia, which was the new Germany and so on, even farther than I care to go.
Who knows what country will be next? At this point, it really could be anybody, quite exciting, I know. Let’s just hope the human face doesn’t get too dirty when it's being stamped on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Collegian controversy continues...

So, before things blow up (which they may or may not), let me allow my opinion on the issue. There’ve been people upset with the editorial cartoon in the Monday’s issue of the Collegian. I can’t find any online images of the cartoon (I don’t have a scanner either,) but the issue date was October 8th.
But anyway, if you’re too lazy to read The Collegian article, people have been claiming that the cartoonist’s depiction of CSU football player Gartrell Johnson was racist, as his image is somewhat similar to the “pickaninny” images of years long past, with bulging white eyes, literal black getup, and long feet.
Frankly, I believe those who find it offensive have got a point. If you look at the cartoon, and compare to any racist caricature of the black population, I don’t think it’s possible to deny any sort of resemblance between the two.I’m not black, so I don’t know what it’d feel like to see something like that. But I entirely doubt that the cartoonist had any intention of making a racist statement whatsoever.
In fact, I’d argue that artist might have been acknowledge Johnson’s efforts instead of just recognizable white players like Kyle Bell or Caleb Hanie, who could’ve easily stood in Johnson’s place in the cartoon, but I’m not the cartoonist either, so I can’t really speak for him either. The good is a good artist, but I haven't met him. It’s a shitty deal, really, but things will sort themselves out in the end. I just hope we don’t have to deal with any of those assholes from FOX 31 or CBS 4 again.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Reading on Writing

This blog is about several different essays on writing, written by a three particular authors:
-From Anne Lamont’s book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life: “Getting Started”, “Short Assignments”, “Shitty First Drafts” and “Perfectionism”
-Kurt Vonnegut: “How to Write with Style”
-Amy Tan: A section of The Opposite of Fate: Memories of Writing Life
-From Julia Cameron’s book The Right to Write: “Begin” and “Bad Writing”

It’s always enjoyable to read about the various tactics and approaches famous writers take on in their own writing, but it was somewhat disappointing to see that there wasn’t much there that I hadn’t read before. Frankly, the only bit of advice that really stuck out to me as different was Vonnegut’s praise of a person’s “first language”, and how that can really stick out when it’s smoothly adapted into another language. I never really realized that, but it makes complete sense. I’ve read a lot of books of writers who have taken on English as a second or third language, or whose writing has been translated over, and it can be amazing how boldly they challenge the norms of English writing.
For example, I recently read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s classic One Hundred Years of Solitude. The story plays around with subjects that are taboo in any cultures, but it also incorporates that “magic realism”; something you don’t see in much Nobel Prize-winning literature, something that gives the whole novel an extra layer of originality. And even when you look at that conversion of language, there’s that underlying dusty tone throughout the book. His writing reminds me of Steinbeck (articulate and strong structure telling a surprisingly depressing story), but then again, it’s easy to pick out differences between the two writers.
As far as Anne Lamont and Julia Cameron’s advice: I’ve always been a firm supporter of the “I just don’t give a fuck” attitude when it comes to starting out. As a guy whose solitary goal is to write a book, I find it important that writer’s write at different levels in the world of writing. While I’ve been writing for fun since third grade, I realize that I still need to improve on so many levels it’s almost disgusting. Not to say that I lack ego when it comes to my work, because I certainly do, but only because I am constantly practice different fields of writing.
It’s important that writers, when they can, practice those different fields of writing: journalism, creative non-fiction, creative fiction, poetry, and most definitely journaling.
Journaling is the essential “I just don’t give a fuck” style because you are free to write whatever you want without worry that someone will come across it and judge you (as long as you don’t leave your work lying about, or if you commit some illegal activities and then they pull up your journal to prove that it was all premeditated). Even if a writer chooses to stick to their particular field, then they should at least journal every now and then, I tend to think it can help a ton with one’s own personal development as a person and as a writer. And it’s always an emotional experience looking back at all of your adventures and hopes from days long gone by.
Also, having read several different books on writing, I think it's important that every wannabe writer read Stephen King's On Writing because that book can truly change one's perspective on the craft.

Friday, October 5, 2007

New Kids on the Block

I look forward to the day when The Ram Republic joins the CSU’s paper pile, which according to the Chronicle article, should be about any day now. I really am curious as to how it’ll be matted out; will it be entirely columns or opinion pieces? Or will it feature “news” articles too, except with a Conservative spin? And I have to wonder what Collegian staff will migrate to the Republic; frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole of the advertising staff shifted allegiance. I wouldn’t blame them either; they’ve worked pretty damn hard to get to the spot they were at prior to the “FUCK BUSH” editorial and, despite being pissed, have kept on working. Now that McSwane is here to stay I cant help but wonder how much longer they’ll be around.
The newsletter won’t be a part of CSU’s student media, and because of a blatant right wing status, they probably won’t be. So its pretty impressive to see the College Republicans start up their own publication because they think The Collegian is trash. They saw something that they thought wasn’t right with their college community, and so they’ve gone out of their way to attempt and make things better. One cannot deny that; this goes to show that college students are no where near the inactive juvenile assholes so many “businessmen” claim them to be in their online posts.
Bringing up those “businessmen”; these are they guys who have left comments on the website claiming that they are doing everything in their power to make sure that Colorado State students do not get jobs at their corporations or any of the corporations they have connections with. This is quite the bluff; unless they’re associated with an ultra-conservative and vastly small company that really didn’t have room for future employees as it were, then there’s no way they’d have the balls to reject a student because they came from CSU. My guess is these people are posing; no true professional would write such a comment. Maybe they’d feel that way, but there’s no way they’d actually go through with it unless it was a situation as I mentioned above.
So, it’ll be good to have the Republic among the paper crowd, it’ll give the Collegian some competition, and will force everyone on staff to work harder for those advertising dollars.
In my opinion, The Collegian is a pretty legit operation when it comes to its news section, being the one section I’m familiar with. I know that I do my best to report accurately and objectively, and I think the same can be said for my fellow senior reporters.
I look forward to reading The Republic, and hope that they are able to maintain some credibility in whatever purpose they might choose to serve.
That being said, I can’t help but wonder which of our old advertisers are eager to support a right-wing agenda.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Nothing turned into something

As of now I feel drained but force myself to write up a blog anyway.
Probably not a great idea, I know. No one wants to read writing that the writer hasn’t put any care into; anyone knows this. I’ve written more than a few worthless research papers that were C- material, I know how it goes.
And to think, I call myself a writer. This isn’t even really structured writing, there are no limits really as to what I can write about for my Writing Online class. Some days, I’d be more than happy to blog about happenings, but I really just don’t care to talk about all of the exciting things going on right now.
Like the Rockies making their first playoff run in, like, 12 years, and all off a fucking awesome tie-breaker match with an ending that’ll be remember as the most exciting moment in Rockies history (for now…I’m not going to jinx the Rox but who knows what the future holds.) I watched the game and got all excited about it and just thought that it’d be awesome to write up a blog reflecting on my memories of the Rockies and how Dad and Grandad and I and maybe even cousin and uncle every now and then go to a Rockies baseball game at least once every summer. Most of the time when I’ve been in attendance, they’ve lost; be it to the Marlins, the Padres, the Braves, the Mets, and even, yes, the fucking Devil Rays. And I will claim that I’ve been following the Rockies since 94’, but I’ll admit, every single season after their first wild card run, my heart and attention sank with each losing season, until now. Holliday has become the new Larry Walker, and Suzuki stands become the next Galarraga. And yes, I think its safe to say that Helton has become the new Helton.
Wow, I’m a little amazed at how easy it was to splurge out all of that. That’d probably constitute as a whole blog right? I mean, I could go on and on about how great it is to watch the Rockies while they kick ass year after year, but then again I could be setting myself up for disappointment. This is how we do it.
I’d like to end this blog with a song that really sums up those elementary school years when the Rockies were fresh and fun and if you didn’t like them you were pretty much an asshole. This one’s for you Blake Street.