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Sunday, February 23, 2020

50 things that make me laugh

50 things that make me laugh

1. Faulty Gas pumps

2. Hang gliding mishaps
3. Matadors getting their comeuppance 
4. Dom Deluise’s laugh
5. Movie bloopers 
6. Depressing talks that end awkwardly
7. People getting slapped
8. Drivers with road rage 
9. The word “swamp” 
10. Slave bracelets 
11. People talking to their exes on the phone
12. The word “eyeball” 
13. Repeating a word until it has no more meaning
14. Butts
15. People “ugly crying” 
16. Drunk people getting badly injured 
17. Bull riders getting badly injured 
18. Flat earthers 
19. Antivaxers
20. People who drive giant trucks 
21. Hair plugs
22. Hair extensions 
23. 40-year-old adolescents 
24. Shoplifters crying
25. Overhearing weird conversations in grocery stores
26. Late-night clothing styles 
27. The word “hamburger” 
28. Cowboy boots
29. Contemporary country music
30. Giant rims on surplus, ex-police cars
31. The car sticker “salt life”
32. “In memory of” car stickers 
33. Intestinal parasites that egress during a bowel movement
34. Chicken soup books
35. Dull scissors 
36. Toenail clippings on public bathroom floors 
37. A thin layer of bubbling, burnt, coffee tar left in the pot. 
38. Skidmarks on toilet seats 
39. Men’s room grunts 
40. Nicotine stained fingernails
41. Flipflops in January 
42. Black ice 
43. Stranded cars on the side of the road
44. Kids leaning back to fast and hitting their heads on church pews 
45. Kids crying so hard their parents are shaking them, telling them to “breath” 
46. Children falling off things
47. Incontinence 
48. Two-week-old chili bowls
49. People eating potato chips 
50. 90's cowboy fashion

My solsburry

I woke up with the song Solsburry hill in my head, this rather nice morning. It, being the weather, not the morning. I had the song still with me.
I really like the song, but I didn’t know that I liked it that much.
I heard that the song gives sort of a reason why Gabriel left the group, Genesis. And then after reading the lyrics to the song, It made me feel strange. The song is about change, and about fear of what others will think once they see what you have changed into. With lyrics like “To keep in silence I resigned.” And “I will show another me.” Or “ I walked right of the machinery.” It made me feel as if I was hitting upon something big inside me. Something that I had been ignoring for some time. I couldn’t exactly remember all the lyrics, so when I got to work this morning I looked them up.
What I came up with, was something like the pain of going forward. And the things you tend to leave behind. The people the places. The memories. Will they understand what it is that you are doing? Will they see the path ahead of you? Will they understand?
No. No they won’t understand.
They will think you are crazy. They will say that you have gone weird on them. Your friends that you thought were your closest, will turn on you. It’s moments like these that will define you. They will show you who your true friends are and who will understand your choices. Then you can keep going forward and never look back.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Animal Noir review

Animal Noir TP

If you have not read this book or even heard of it, or you might not think it would be your cup of proverbial tea, do not be deterred by the cartoonesque art style and the anthropomorphic animals!  This is a very gritty and brutal crime drama.
It is very easy to be seduced by a book that is touted as a cross between “Chinatown” and “Animal Farm”

It all starts with a film. Not just a normal film, but in Prey industry, they call "Hunt Porn"
Local Serengeti City Private Investigator, who's also giraffe and answers to the name Immanuel Diamond, but he’s “Manny” to his buddies. He gets a job from his uncle Theo, a powerful local Judge to find a certain film that contains some sensitive material, that being his wife in pretend scenario where she is acting like she’s being eaten by a predator. Theo paid to make the whole mess go away, but like most secrets, they always come up for air eventually.

This chain-smoking crass giraffe glides thru the slums and gutters of the depraved as well as the palaces of the rich hippo crime bosses trying to track down the film that his uncle is obsessed with finding but things prove to be a way simpler and at the same time complicated to his case.

Izar Lunacek pulls double duty on this book, as a co-writer (with Nejc Juren) and the artist too. His art is a bit of an acquired taste, but once you get used to it, it’s actually pretty interesting, the way he portrays scale of emotion: the seething intensity of hatred and anger, to joy and sadness. This book is morally loose, (like our world) but also shows you a lens into which you see the world around you, a world fraught with racism, classism, and hypocrisy, but since this world is populated by talking animals, the message is easier to sneak past your defenses and go straight for the throat at times you would least expect it. The Slovenian writer/artist who got his start in a local newspaper should be someone to keep an eye out for in the future.

Dense and unapologetic, Animal Noir is devious, very allegorical, scandalous and really creeps into the back of your mind for hours later. It seeps into it with ease, like water into a sponge and saturates your brain. Do yourself a favor and get this one.

What I have been up to.

I have been thinking about using this more as a review of things that I am into lately and a link dump by which I show you what I am listening to or ran across on the web.

I don't feel as though posting this stuff on Facebook will get looked at so posting it here will guarantee that it will never ever be seen. BWAHAHA.


Been getting into this band called Haircuts for men lately. I bought two of their albums already and will probably purchase more in the future as well.

Also, I have been revisiting my noise, jazz core, thrashcore, roots as of late. I discovered this band from Japan called Otoboke Beaver. And they are all that is awesome!

I have been writing, drawing or creating stuff since the beginning of this year and it feels pretty good if I do say so myself. My desk is covered in greebles, plastic dust, and notebooks. How are you?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Parker: The score review

Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score

In Darwyn Cooke’s third masterful adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker series, we find Parker being enticed into doing a job so crazy, that he can’t say no to. Knocking over the entire mining town of Copper Canyon, in one night. He’s told of the job and how many men would be involved which causes him to scoff at the very idea at first, but rolling it around in his mind causes him to actually say yes to this impossible feat that seemed like a plot to a movie that would never work in real life.

Twelve men crazy enough to help Parker take on this monumental job and keep their wits about them while hiding from the law, yeah, it’s crazy. And you’re glued to this book for the entire time.

Never once do you feel like you’re not in the same room as Parker and his crew. Cooke keeps it close and intimate.

The 13 Eisner Award winner’s art mirrors Parker’s own personality in some ways, he doesn’t say much and when he does, he lets the man’s actions speak for him.

The character of Parker is one that Hollywood just can’t seem to leave alone, Stark’s master thief has been played by many actors over the years, Lee Marvin, Michel Constantin, Jim Brown, Robert Duvall, Peter Coyote, Mel Gibson, and Jason Statham.
But who could blame him? He’s a very complex but simple character that you can’t help but cheer on and hope that he makes it.

All these actors played Parker in spirit but would never allow Parker's name to be used. (until Jason Statham in Parker). Apparently Donald Westlake, (the real name of Richard Stark) was so swayed by Cooke’s adaptation that he gave him his blessing to use the moniker “Parker”.  He went on to adapt the first four books in the series, The Hunter, The Outfit, The Score, and Slayground

 “Strip it all down to essentials and draw the hell out of what’s let.” Alex Toth once said.
And Darwin Cooke’s followed that with an almost monastic Focus. His characters are simple yet elegant, you almost tend to forget how brilliant his artwork is because of the simplicity of it, he knows where to put lines, and curves. Everything is exact and nothing ever seems out of place for one moment.

He knows how to channel his art in that Toth-esque minimalist style in a way that no one has ever tried before. He has a way of delving straight into that vein that Toth started long ago in the ’60s.

And that's what makes this artwork so beautiful and so timeless when you look at it, you don't see art, you see the past, you see exactly what he wants you to see.

Parker is the proto character that other popular writers modeled their protagonists after, he‘s close to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, in that he’s this big animalistic brute that doesn’t say much. Parker is an unrepentant, thuggish, bastard and yet you can’t help but love him. And just like Stark, you’ll end up liking him for what he won’t tell you about himself.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Cybertronic Spree in concert!

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." -Bob Marley

I left home with a friend of mine around noon on Friday and started on our trek to Spa-con, nearly 3 hrs away in Hotsprings.

Now, I have problems with anxiety and panic attacks and its hard to go about your day when you are fighting it. It was hard to get in my vehicle and start on the trip.

After a while, my anxiety started to dissolve and I began to relax, then we ran into dark clouds and very heavy rains. The air became almost solid and water as cars were pulling off the road with their hazards flashing, which caused my anxiety to creep back up. But I stuck with it and kept going, and the rain eventually died down to a drizzle.

Further on there was more rain and strong winds and then halfway thru the trip, I thought we missed our exit and had a detour that let us know that our phones stopped working. No phone calls, no texts, no google maps. Which for me was yet another trigger. Having a nonworking phone during bouts of anxiety is a very tough thing.

Luckily, I like to be prepared and I wrote down the directions just in case.

After getting to Hotsprings, I just wanted to know why our phones weren't working and being in a strange new city, you'd normally use your phone's map application or google to find your way around. I was wanting to find a Verizon store to ask them what was going on.

After asking a man at a gas station if he knew what had happened. He explained that the radio said the entire southwest area of the state was out of service with Verizon.

I was relieved to hear some news at least even though it was bad news. Eventually, service came back and I was able to connect with my wife who was in Texas.

I was exhausted and having all kinds of second thoughts about coming today, but again, I persevered and went on.

After we grabbed some fast food, we headed over to the convention center, went in and waited for the concert to start.

They say there's something magical about seeing your favorite band play live. You're not in the comfort of your home or car, but someplace better. You're not listening to a studio recording where everything can come out perfect, but you are in someplace better.
You're in a place where there are people with similar interests, people who've driven hours and hours to see their favorite musicians.

The moment the first song starts mind just cleared up. It was as if the sounds made my thoughts flutter away like a startled flock of birds and strife of the day dissipates.

I've been trying to see The Cybertronic Spree for years now. They have toured in Canada exclusively for a while and then they gradually started touring the upper east area of the USA, which started giving me hope that maybe one day I could finally get to see them.

I tried to save enough money to get up to Retro Con in Philadelphia but was never able to do it. I began to think they'd be a band that I would never be able to experience live.

That is until I heard they were coming down from the great white north, the land that they crashed landed in, and play in my home state. I was shocked and excited beyond belief! I haven't been this psyched about seeing a band in years!

The Spree started their aural onslaught with "The Transformers theme". My mind was still in denial of what was happening before me! The crowd around was feeling it too. I guess videos and pictures do not do this band justice until they are three feet from your face. They have this otherworldly power in grabbing your attention and keeping you connected with them and the rest of the audience. Yes, you were experiencing the concert subjectively, but also, because of them, the crowd also became a kind of hive mind. It was otherworldly.

Next up was the theme of One punch man, which totally caught the crowd off guard which is something this band has a special ability in doing! I could hear people behind me going, "what!!!???"

The familiar chords of the Stan Bush song, Dare was next. I've heard this version countless times and never ceases to give me chills. It seemed the crowd instinctually knew to echo Hot Rod's vocals of  "Keep Going"!

I wasn't prepared to hear them do their cover of Shuki Levy's immortal Thundercats theme. I grinned like a big old idiot thru the song.

I was so very happy about what they played after that. Hammer of the gods, for all you true Zep fans out there, or for the casual listener, The Immigrant Song. Hearing Arcee's howling vocals joined by Unicron's staccato riff is just pure magic! Also? Hearing her Valkerie like voice say, "We are your overlords", brought a boyish smile to my face. I wouldn't mind that at all!

There was a rather cute dance battle between two human girls, but sadly both were deemed, "Innocent" by Quintesson and they were promptly sent off to be torn to shreds by the Sharkticons and were never seen again.

Nothin's gonna stand in our way was just as amazing as hearing it the first time I listened to the soundtrack when I was 12. I just love how this band can pull all these emotions out of me and also rock my face off!

The Pokemon theme song got kids and teens, and adults singing along. And when you can get that from a crowd, you have something special!

The Doom Theme morphed into another Shuki Levy masterpiece which was The power rangers theme song, expertly played by the gang.

The Cybertronic Spree played their first original song Cybertronic Warrior, which I reviewed on this blog when it first came out. (I'm seeing a pattern here.) And it still rocks my socks off! It makes you want to become an Autobot wrecker and destroy some Decepticons!

Unicron's most disliked song, The Touch made famous by Stan Bush and also made famous by Hotrod, er...Rodimus Prime throwing Galvatron out of the planet eater's torso! He must not be that sore about playing it, because he slayed it on the eight-string guitar!

Weird Al Yankovich's Dare to be stupid is always a crowd-pleaser. There were guys beside that were belting out the lyrics almost as loud as Hotrod!

Right after that, they kept up the momentum with the Canadian Band, Spectre General's song, Hunger which Arcee's fantastic pipes were a highlight! She can belt it all the out to the cheap seats!

Encore where they powered down and but could only power back up by our applause. Trust and believe this dude yelled and hooped and hollered!

I must admit during the encore I screamed my throat raw for them to play The Racoons' theme song, Run with us. I even got some of the guys around me to say it too! And yes, I cried when I heard it startup. That songs still has a hold on my heart and was the main reason why I wrote a rather lengthy thank you letter to The Spree that I posted on this blog some years ago.

The last song of the night was Ray Parker Jr's world-famous Ghostbusters theme. Which the crowd ate up and got them all moving and grooving. There was a guy my age next to me, that started the show pretty reserved. Taking random pictures and videos of the band, but by the time the concert was halfway in. This guy was a dancing fool! He didn't care if he was getting eye rolls by Millenials. He was having the time of his life.

On the way home, after seeing them in concert, the experience really quietened down all my inner turmoil of the day. I erased my feelings of the day and left me with a smile on my face that just wouldn't leave!

Even as I write this, I can't stop thinking about how approachable the band was after the show. How at ease they were with their fans. They talked to us all like we were great friends that they haven't seen in awhile, and that's only happened one other time in my 20 plus years of going to concerts.

Thank you Cybertronic Spree. For coming out and giving it full throttle, and showing a small town, the time of their life!

Oh, and also for giving this shy, transformer loving dork, a perma-smile that just might stay on his face for the rest of the year!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Hellboy in Hell review

Hellboy in Hell, first released in December 2012 started right up where Hellboy: The Fury left off. Hellboy in Hell was a 10 issue series. It also marks the return of Mike Mignola as the ongoing artist for the character.

Hellboy in Hell chronicles the stories of Hellboy's journey through Hell after the events of The Fury. Hellboy, after battling and ultimately defeating Nimue, the blood queen in dragon form, he gets his heart ripped from his chest by her in her ethereal form and his soul descends into hell while his corpus breaks apart and crumbles like dried soil.

In Hell, he learns from Edward Grey that the higher echelon of perdition have gathered up their armies and fled. Causing fighting in the ranks and almost all the higher demons to be killed by their armies and slaves, a revolt in Hell chaos and fighting amongst everyone and it’s all caused by the fall of Hellboy.

Hellboy’s destiny is more of a burden here than any time on Earth. Even though he has to fight a lot of his old fallen enemies, like Eligos from the Wild Hunt and The gambling Vampire of Prague and his ex-wife, his brothers, his Uncle, and his half-sister all want the right hand of doom for themselves.

This book is exactly what the fans needed as a send away and for just seeing Mignola drawing demons, monsters and skeletons.

Weighing in at a daunting 358 pages, Hellboy in Hell is a masterful achievement in storytelling, mood, atmosphere and Mignola’s art is still amazing! He hasn’t lost a step or slacked off. He is able to show us that he can still make us lose all track of time and devour this book in one sitting.

While you read his stories, you’ll catch yourself writing down the names of various people that you meet and you can’t help but think if these people in this story were real. There are so much back story and pathos to them. They’re so believable and odd enough to have lived on this earth. But alas, they were figments of his imagination and what a wonderful one he has.