12.30.2016

favorite films of 2016


Favorite Films of 2016
1. Only Yesterday
2. Manchester by the Sea
3. Swiss Army Man
4. Shin Godzilla
5. Kill Me Please
6. Embrace of the Serpent
7. Zootopia
8. Moonlight
9. Moana
10. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

Also: Trolls, Ant-Man in Captain America: Civil War, and "Drive It Like You Stole It" from Sing Street

The year felt oddly unsatisfying, but least we got music video-directing duo Daniels finally making a featureShin Godzilla being the most terrifying entry in its series since the original, and Disney tackling racial profiling. Only Yesterday is also a bit of a cheat, since it was technically released in 1991, but this year was its U.S. debut and seeing it on the big screen radically altered my opinion. So there it is.

Favorite Television of 2016
1. WWE Cruiserweight Classic
2. The Great British Baking Show
3. Stranger Things
4. Atlanta
5. Mythbusters - "Tanker Crush"

Also: a surprisingly great year for Saturday Night Live

Favorite Vines of 2016 (R.I.P. Vine)
A Vicious Rotti & Kicked Too Much

Favorite Comics of 2016
1. Secret Wars #9
2. Spider-Woman
3. Superman
4. All-New Wolverine
5. Detective Comics' "Victim Syndicate" arc

Favorite Other Things of 2016
The production design of Final Fantasy XV, giant pandas being taken off the endangered species list, & sake flavored Kit Kats

12.20.2016

favorite music videos of 2016

Frank Ocean - "Nikes" (NSFW)


Leon Bridges - "River"


Miike Snow - "Genghis Khan"


Obongjayar - "Creeping"


Radiohead - "Daydreaming"


Rihanna - "Needed Me" (NSFW)


Siimba Liives Long - "W.I.A."


Up Up Girls - "Party People Alien"


The Weeknd - "Starboy"


World Order - "Have a Nice Day" (Shibuya version)

12.18.2016

favorite pro wrestling of 2016


Favorite Wrestling Matches of 2016
1. Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax Day 18)
2. Aztec Warfare II (Lucha Underground 03/23/16)
3. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax Day 13)
4. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn (NXT Takeover: Dallas)
5. Sexy Star vs. Mariposa (Lucha Underground 05/04/16)
6. Yuji Nagata vs. Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax Day 2)
7. Kota Ibushi vs. Brian Kendrick (WWE Cruiserweight Classic)
8. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (WWE Battleground)
9. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax Day 8)
10. Mike Quackenbush vs. Johnny Kidd (CHIKARA: Chamber of Secrets)

Honorable mentions: LiliCo vs. Super Sasadango Machine (DDT Pro: Audience),  Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe (NXT Takeover: Dallas),  The Miz vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (WWE Extreme Rules), Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax Day 1), and a bunch of Cruiserweight Classic matches.

While pro wrestling's greatest villain Tetsuya Naito appears most on this list, Kenny Omega is my MVP pick for 2016. Starting the year by ascending to New Japan Pro Wrestling's heavyweight division, he became the first foreigner to ever win the G1 Climax tournament and is soon to headline the Wrestle Kingdom mega-event. His showdown with Naito also happens to be a masterpiece.

In other federations: WWE's Cruiserweight Classic was one of the greatest events in the company's history. And while their main roster booking remains ever-peculiar, there were plenty of highlights such as AJ Styles, The Miz, Heath Slater, (basically most of Smackdown! Live), the Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho friendship, and that time Cesaro returned from injury and ripped off his suit. NXT showcased the best tag team wrestling in the world, Lucha Underground brought in Olympian Jeff Cobb as the Monster Matanza Cueto, the legendary Mike Quackenbush came out of retirement in CHIKARA, DDT Pro featured a Titanic match, and even TNA was worth paying attention to thanks to Broken Matt Hardy.

Favorite Wrestling Moments of 2016
1. The debut of the monster Matanza Cueto (Lucha Underground 3.23.16)
2. Sexy Star yells 'fuck you' into the microphone (Lucha Underground 05/04/16)
3. Shinsuke Nakamura's NXT debut entrance (NXT Takeover: Dallas)
4. Tomohiro Ishii chops Kazuchika Okada during the rainmaker pose (G1 Climax Day 13)
5. AJ Styles debuts in WWE (WWE Royal Rumble 2016)
6. Kenny Omega turns on AJ Styles, ascends to the heavyweights (NJPW New Year Dash)
7. The Miz's promo on Daniel Bryan (WWE Talking Smack)
8. Cesaro returns from injury, tears his suit off (WWE Monday Night RAW)
9. Brian Kendrick's tearful farewell (WWE Cruiserweight Classic)
10. Tetsuya Naito wins the IWGP belt, promptly tosses it away (NJPW Invasion Attack)

Also: Sami Zayn holds Kevin Owens up before the helluva kick (WWE Battleground), Heath Slater confronts Brock Lesnar (WWE Monday Night RAW), Sasha Banks wins the Women's Title (WWE Monday Night RAW), AJ Styles kicks out of a super-Attitude Adjustment (WWE Summerslam), AJ Styles' 450 splash onto a table (WWE TLC), HHH takes Cedric Alexander to the back (WWE Cruiserweight Classic), Yuji Nagata mocks Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax Day 2), Katsuyori Shibata earns the respect of the New Japan dads (NJPW Dominion), Mike Quackenbush comes out of retirement (CHIKARA), LiliCo's Titanic dive (DDT Pro: Audience)

11.08.2016

myspace


I used to write a lot on MySpace. It's all just about gone now.

The MySpace blog was likely the best documentation of all that was wrong with me in my twenties. My time before then had been spent being accidentally oblivious to the world, but this decade was instead wrought with anxiety and alcohol when faced with this realization.

I am better now.

I wrote this ten years ago.

-----

There is a certain moment in time when the night is winding down and you don't want to head back from whence you came just yet because it just feels like there should be something more. Nothing concrete, really, but at that point, it seems like the entire night has built up to one elusive moment and it hasn't happened yet and you don't have an inkling about what it might concern. It's a gaping wide vagueness, and if you leave, you'll pass it up, and you'd never be able to live it down, knowing that you missed that certain experience.

So you stay. You stall. You wander around and make idle conversation, attempting to luck into that fateful bridge towards whatever it is that is destined to happen. You see certain opportunities to what might be the right path, but they all lead to dead ends. The wandering goes on.

In all your awkward absence of glory, you look to the sky and grow more tired, but never want to close your eyes for good. Blink and you'll miss it, and you can't have that.

But it never comes.

And eventually, as the sun begins to rise, you give up. Again stalling with half-mumbled goodbyes then stumbling back to where you should have been hours ago, you lie in bed, light pouring through the window, and wonder what you've been doing all this time. And if there ever was a moment to wait for, and if there ever will be. And you can't even begin to fathom what kind of a moment it would be, if it would one day suddenly exist, or what you'd do if it appeared.

You fall asleep, waking up a scant few hours later, with a melancholy feeling of loss for something unexplainable that you never had in the first place.

11.07.2016

black sea

One clear night while the others slept, I climbed the stairs to the roof of the house and under a sky strewn with stars I gazed at the sea, at the spread of it, the rolling crests of it raked by the wind, becoming like bits of lace tossed in the air. I stood in the long whispering night, waiting for something, a sign, the approach of a distant light, and I imagined you coming closer, the dark waves of your hair mingling with the sea, and the dark became desire, and desire the arriving light. The nearness, the momentary warmth of you as I stood on that lonely height watching the slow swells of the sea break on the shore and turn briefly into glass and disappear…

Why did I believe you would come out of nowhere?

Why with all that the world offers would you come only because I was here?


-Mark Strand

10.10.2016

rygar


Originally a Tecmo arcade game, Rygar was revamped with an exploratory open world and released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. Perhaps most famous for its diskarmor weapon, the game features a dead warrior risen from the grave to do battle with an evil being 4.5 billion years after Earth's creation. Like many NES titles, this is not particularly evident in the actual game.

Rygar was a puzzling enigma to me as a child. I rented it constantly but never got very far, and I can only assume that not even the sacred Game Genie provided very helpful cheats. I would forget the title in the years that followed, though it became etched in my brain as the 'forgotten' game of my youth. I decided to hunt it down once bootlegged Nintendo systems appeared in the early 2000s and was quite relieved at the reunion. From that point on, while I never before made a concrete 'favorite video games' list, I always assumed it would be in the mix.

And finally, upon thinking on it, I don't know why. It's not a particularly good game, I was never good at it, and outside of forgetting its title, I don't have treasured memories like other NES games - my family actually owned RBI Baseball and Mega Man 3; Ultima: Quest of the Avatar and Metroid felt like true adventures; Maniac Mansion was wacky and dark; Super Mario Bros. 2 had wonderful platform design; Deja Vu birthed my love of noir. Rygar is more like Faria - a game I faintly remember enjoying but in retrospect is maddeningly hard and un-fun.

Nostalgia can be strange.

Regardless, amidst this crisis of mis-remembrance, a list of my favorite video games:

1. Final Fantasy VI (SNES)
2. Super Mario World (SNES)
3. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
4. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3)
5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)
6. Suikoden II (PSX)
7. Mario Kart 64 (N64)
8. Silent Hill (PSX)
9. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
10. Ultima: Quest of the Avatar (NES)

Honorable mentions: Deja Vu, Maniac Mansion, Mega Man 3, Metroid, RBI Baseball, Super Mario Bros. 2, Ultima: Quest of the Avatar, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy XV, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

9.15.2016

gravel


I wonder if children still play with gravel.

The road I grew up on started off in the dirt variety, put off to the side and surrounded by fields in Rib Mountain, Wisconsin. It was paved early on in my life - I know this from photos, not memory - but gravel on each side of the road remained. Research tells me that there are at least ten types of gravel, and I believe this kind is referred to as 'crushed' or 'shoulder' stone. From Wikipedia:
"Crushed stone: rock crushed and graded by screens and then mixed to a blend of stones and fines. It is widely used as a surfacing for roads and driveways, sometimes with tar applied over it. Crushed stone may be made from granite, limestone, dolomite, and other stones."
I used to sit at the side of the road and draw lines and shapes in it for what seemed like hours. This is how I met a neighbor girl from across the street - Amanda. She had stopped at the edge of her property to see what I was doing, and I looked up, and her face was blocked out by the setting sun, and we said, 'hi.' My brother and I were frequent visitors at her house, for a time, because her family had cable and we all watched Kids, Inc. It featured the likes of Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Eric Balfour, and Fergie, and is not at all what I remember.

I don't recall the family's last name.

--

I was also enamored, I remember, with water slowly trickling through dirt and grass. Likely from a hose. I'd view the water's slow progression as if I were watching a vast landscape from an extreme bird's-eye view - the grass was an entire forest, and the water was a flood.

I was reminded of this years later while watching Werner Herzog's Lessons of Darkness where shots of mountains were actually close-ups of tire tracks.

I don't look at nature like this anymore.

8.29.2016

middle grade


I don't recall 'young adult' being a literary term when I was growing up, though it has existed since the 1960s. These were 'single-problem' stories then, though growing disinterest eventually morphed the genre to a horror focus in the 1980s with the help of Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine. Harry Potter later caused a shift towards fantasy around the same time of a 'real-life' story resurgence (perhaps thanks to Perks of Being a Wallflower  - I've found no pinpointed influence, but all others seem to appear after Perks' 1999 release). The 'young adult' term then became commonplace.

Upon recently researching the word counts of children's classics, I discovered more terms - 'chapter books' and 'middle grade.' I hadn't previously realized there was such separation.

Chapter Books: for ages 7-10
15,000-30,000 words

I read an article classifying The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe as a chapter book, which I find ridiculous. It certainly can be read in this age group, but it does not particularly resemble properly classified works like The Haunting of Grade Three, My Teacher is an Alien, and Howliday Inn.

Middle Grade: for ages 8-12
30,000-50,000 words

Fantasy works now generally allow for more words, though 60,000 seems to be the recommended maximum. Works are generally third person, focused on externalization, and have protagonists generally up to the age of 13. This is slightly surprising, as this would put them around 7th grade, but a more high school-focus might be too foreign.

Young Adult: for ages 13-18
50,000-75,000 words

Typically told in first person and focused in internalized thoughts. I admittedly feel a bit disinterested/out-of-touch with these.

Word counts of works notable to my research:

Tuck Everlasting: 27,848
How To Train Your Dragon: 30,744
The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe: 36,363
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 39,295
The Book of Three: 46,000
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: 46,333
Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH: 53,752
The Wizard of Earthsea: 56,533
Treasure Island: 66,950
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone: 77,325

So I suppose I've been planning on writing a middle grade book.

8.17.2016

horror films: 50 favorites


Favorite Horror Movies

1. Halloween (1978)
2. The Fog (1982)
3. The Shining
4. John Carpenter's The Thing
5. In the Mouth of Madness
6. Jaws
7. Pulse (2001)
8. The 'Burbs
9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
10. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

11. Suicide Club
12. The Gate
13. Tremors
14. Messiah of Evil
15. Phenomena
16. The Hitcher (1986)
17. Night of the Demon (1957)
18. I Walked with a Zombie
19. Halloween II (1981)
20. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

21. Final Destination
22. Deep Red
23. Psycho (1960)
24. Phantasm
25. The Blair Witch Project
26. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
27. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
28. Ringu
29. Omega Man
30. Vampire Circus

31. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch
32. Ginger Snaps
33. Christine
34. Poltergeist (1982)
35. Lost Highway
36. Shivers
37. Duel
38. Cure
39. Alien
42. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

41. Ghost Watch
42. Tales From the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight
43. Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
44. Jacob's Ladder
45. Iron Rose
46. The Ninth Gate
47. Unfriended
48. Stir of Echoes
49. Mill of the Stone Women
50. The Legend of Hell House

Films That Almost Made It: The Appointment, The Blob (1988), Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, Jeepers Creepers 2, Last Exorcism, Last Exorcism pt. 2, Maximum Overdrive, Night of the Living Dead (1968), Noroi: The Curse, Tombs of the Blind Dead

John Carpenter has four titles in the top five.

The Halloween series is clearly a favorite, thanks largely to Donald Pleasence's Dr. Loomis. His bonkers portrayal in the fifth entry - holding cops at gunpoint, telling a girl that her tears won't save her, beating Michael Myers down with a 2x4 - is a particular highlight.

Some horror lists consider psychological thrillers, but this one opted not to - hence why there is no Night of the Hunter. Also, I do not consider Gojira a piece of the genre. However, I understand how David Lynch's nightmare works can fit so that was considered. I have no idea in what genre Omega Man belongs.

7.19.2016

World's Fair Museum


"Unbelievable but true! Largest collection of human oddities on earth!"
301-305 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN on 01.22.40

6.23.2016

Wausau Theatre


My hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin has been without a local movie theater for the last seven years. The last, Crossroads Cinema, closed in 2009 because - as the president of Marcus Theatres stated to the Business Journal of Milwaukee - "it no longer provides the kind of experience that moviegoers expect from a modern theater facility...with only four screens and a very small lobby, Crossroads can’t offer the wide selection of amenities, movies and showtimes needed to remain viable." Its space is now being rebuilt as a Holiday gas station.

Downtown Wausau's Rogers Theatre closed previously in 2002, and it was the one closest to my early moviegoing heart. My first clear memory of seeing a movie in theaters was there in 1994 - a double-feature of The Lion King and Angels in the Outfield sold out, so I had to settle for Little Big League. A failed blind date in 1997 resulted in me viewing The Saint by myself, and later that year, I tricked my friends into attending Austin Powers only to choose a ticket to Batman & Robin instead. The last movie I clearly remember attending was Requiem For a Dream during a three-month period where the theater attempted to draw independent film fans (there were not many). I had mono at the time, but dragged myself to the cinema as I was worried it would leave before I got better (it didn't).

It was a dump, but it was glorious.

During a recent return visit, a stop at the Marathon County Historical Society revealed that this theater had existed since 1945. Further information could only be found on a variety of ghost sighting websites, as the theater had a reputation for being quite haunted.

First built in the early 1920s, the space first held the Ammenthorp Tire Shop with apartments above. It was here that there are unconfirmed reports of a murder taking place. Regardless, Charles Helke purchased the property in 1926 and later opened Helke's Funeral Home & Helke's Furniture (dates for these occurrences are a bit contradictory). The building reportedly became vacant around 1939 and was used as a brothel.

In 1945, the space was opened as the Hollywood Theatre, later changing its name to the New Wausau Theatre in 1960 (photos can be found in the Marathon County Historical Society's permanent exhibit). This single-screen cinema was later expanded to fit five screens, likely during the 1979 change to the Rogers Theatre. It remained this until its closing in 2002.

Many ghost reports can be found online at sites such as What-When-How and the Examiner. Most reports come from the small, creepy basement auditorium that featured rocking seats and a spirit referred to by former employees as 'Bob.' Other activities included projectors shutting off simultaneously, lights turning on and off, and rapping noises radiating from nowhere. The space brefily re-opened as the Fillmor concert hall and bar between 2008 and 2009, and the owners kept one of the original theater chairs in the old upstairs projection room. It was sworn that a female ghost was spotted sitting here, and an old hidden knife was also discovered during renovations.

For more information on this history, check out Haunted Wausau: The Ghostly History of Big Bull Falls by the Wausau Paranormal Research Society.

4.28.2016

folk societies

"[Dr. Robert Redfield] acknowledged that primitive societies were bewilderingly various. He begged us to admit, though, that all of them had certain characteristics in common. For instance: they were all so small that everybody knew everybody well, and associations lasted for life. The members communicated intimately with one another, and very little with anybody else...

And I say to you that we are full of chemicals which require us to belong to folk societies, or failing that, to feel lousy all the time. We are chemically engineered to live in folk societies, just as fish are chemically engineered to live in clean water - and there aren't any folk societies for us anymore."

- Kurt Vonnegut, Address to the National Institute of Arts and Letters, 1971

4.26.2016

the greatest (2016 edition)


Every so often, I re-evaluate what I consider the greatest films ever made. On this particular blog, there's evidence of what I thought back in 2012. But things change. And so:

1. Gojira
2. Fata Morgana
3. Late Spring
4. Citizen Kane
5. Bambi
6. The Wizard of Oz
7. Night and Fog
8. Psycho
9. The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
10. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Night & Fog, Psycho, & Nausicaa have replaced Lessons of Darkness, Wild Blue Yonder, & Gates of Heaven. Four films are American, three are Japanese, and one each is German, French, & Italian. The earliest film on the list is 1939's Wizard of Oz, while the latest is 1984's Nausicaa. Three of the films are from the 1940s and two from both the 50s and 60s. Two are animated, two are documentaries. All are pretty great.

3.25.2016

art/architecture


Perhaps my most comforting memory is around a time just out of high school, sitting on the living room floor in the house I grew up in, front door open and an early summer breeze coming in, watching Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure. Some friends were heavy into the anime scene, and while expressing interest, I was handed this as a way into the medium. It worked. I was hooked.

Edward Hopper's "Rooms by the Sea" reminds me of that afternoon. I like that.

I forget how comforting art can be. I'm not particularly interested in its history or theory, but this I enjoy. Times of stress bring on a penchant for viewing. But it's hard to remember what has struck that cord, through the years. The first art I witnessed in its proper setting was likely the Birds in Art exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. It was the big event at the local museum, so a number of school trips exposed me to the wonders. There was probably something in there, at some point, that really stayed with me. No more, though, but that's not to devalue its importance.

So it's tough to recall favorites of art. We're exposed to it everywhere, at all times, and I don't remember all that has affected me, my thoughts, my views. But I do remember some:

Celes Chere (Yoshitaka Amano)
Day of the Perpetual Night (Yang Yongliang)
Gas (Edward Hopper)
The Girl Chewing Gum (John Smith)
Photography of Jeff Brouws
Pepsi can (2009-2014)
Perseus w/ the Head of Medusa (Benvenuto Cellini)
Serial Experiments Lain illustrations (Yoshitoshi aBe)
The Suicide of Saul (Pieter Bruegel the Elder)
Whose Utopia (Cao Fei)

It's tough to choose a single image from Jeff Brouws and Yoshitoshi aBe, so I will not. I am also a fan of Edward Burtynsky & Alec Soth when it comes to photography, but Brouws is something else. All of Amano's art for Final Fantasy VI is incredible across the board, but in this case, I can narrow it to one. Bruegel is the most recent addition, with attention turning that way due to The Mill & the Cross. And Edward Hopper is Edward Hopper.

Many works of Cao Fei could fit here - iMirror & COSplayers - but Whose Utopia was the first witnessed, at the Walker Art Center, and the first video art I enjoyed. John Smith came later. I was fortunate enough to witness two others on a trip to italy - Cellini & Yongliang. And last, there is the Pepsi can. The most perfect work of art.

There is also the lair of favorite architecture, kept separate but essentially the same boat:

Harold Washington Library Center (Chicago, IL)
Palace of Fine Arts (San Francisco, CA)
Umeda Sky Building (Osaka, Japan)
Uptown Theatre (Minneapolis, MN)
Valley of the Mills (Sorrento, Italy)

Sorrento makes the list because I can't decide between Italy's numerous duomos.

Regardless, they are all beautiful.

3.05.2016

mythbusters


The Living Planet. Cosmos. Sesame Street. Reading Rainbow. The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.

And Mythbusters.

These types of shows are what I really believe television was made for, and also what it's best at. While sitcoms and hour-long dramatic fiction have accumulated more popularity throughout the decades, TV sets are at their most essential and important when showcasing images from around the world, providing education, and delving into the mysteries of our world and beyond.

Mythbusters is my favorite of the bunch, and probably my favorite show of all. It has broken my heart, being a kid from the 80s, how much science fell out of favor throughout the following decades. But now, thanks to the hard work of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman (alongside the likes of Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson), science is 'cool' again. Perhaps it will stay that way.

Mythbusters' start was somewhat rocky, with folklorist Heather Joseph-Witnam adding nothing to the proceedings, but soon after, a second build team was introduced (Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Scottie Chapman, later replaced with Grant Imahara). The show then found its groove, with its best times delving deep into creation thought processes, Adam and Jamie arguing over what to do, and continually shattering expectations on what results might be. While later seasons occasionally dipped too far into audience placation (e.g. zombie myths), they still managed to pull out some fascinating tests (e.g. the final season's train tanker car implosion).

The first episode I ever watched was 2006's "Crimes & Myth-demeanors 1" where Adam and Jamie tested Hollywood heist scenes, leading to the precious moment of Tory, Grant, and Kari cracking up as Jamie loudly proceeded up an air shaft with supermagnets. I was hooked instantly, spent much of my bored late-20s hunting down every single episode, and changed the way I viewed the world. It's been an inspiration.

"We'll be better off because of you." -Barack Obama

Anyway. A tremendously hard-to-narrow-down list of favorite myths:

"Boom-Lift Catapult:" Is it possible to make a catapult with a boom-lift cherry picker?  (11.10.04)
"Crimes & Myth-demeanors 1" (07.12.06)
"Holiday Special:" Can a falling frozen turkey break a person's foot or kill a pet? (12.06.06)
"Pirate Special:" Does an eyepatch help someone see in the dark? (01.17.07)
"Red Rag to a Bull:" Do bulls in a china shop really cause complete destruction? (08.22.07)
"NASA Moon Landing" (08.27.08)
"Viral Hour:" Creamer cannon test (09.03.08)
"Phone Book Friction:" Are two interlaced phone books impossible to pull apart? (09.10.08)
"Myth Evolution:" Can a rocket-powered snow plow split a car in two? (11.18.09)
"Storm Chasing Myths:" Is it possible to build a personal tornado protection device? (10.13.10)

Plus that time Adam burned off his eyebrow & anytime the cast got drunk.

R.I.P.

2.07.2016

fight the future


The X-Files mini-series revival is currently in full-swing, twenty years after select episodes from the first season were released on VHS. Around that time in central Wisconsin, FOX was not considered part of the basic TV package alongside ABC, NBC, and CBS. Thus, I was unable to follow the show as it moved along. I relied on these videotapes to both fuel my fandom and convince my mother that getting cable was worth it.

I was able to locate five of the six original tapes, if I recall correctly - "Pilot/Deep Throat," "Fallen Angel/Eve," "Conduit/Ice," "Squeeze/Tooms," and "Darkness Falls/The Erlenmeyer Flask." While it was paired with the season finale, I have a sneaking suspicion that "Darkness Falls" might have been the first episode I ever viewed, given my particular fondness for it to this day.

My family finally got cable in the summer of 1998 due solely to the X-Files, just in time for the release of its movie. FX started broadcasting the series from its beginning son after, so we taped every episode onto VHS for rewatchability. When I moved to Minneapolis in 2004, I brought with me a giant purple tub of these tapes with the assumption that I would continue to watch them. For a long time I did not, and when I finally returned, the tapes were a faded-out mess.

The favorite episode both for myself and my mother was "Jose Chung's From Outer Space," and while I'm not sure it remains there for me, it certainly has my favorite moment in any hour-long fiction broadcast. During the wonderful final montage, the writing of Jose Chung turns its focus to David Duchovny's Fox Mulder, stating, "his quest into the unknown has so warped his psyche, one shudders to think how he receives any pleasure in life."

And then the camera cuts to what's on TV.

Anyway, my favorite episodes:

Season 1, Episode 3 - "Squeeze"
Season 1, Episode 20 - "Darkness Falls"
Season 2, Episode 1 - "Little Green Men"
Season 3, Episode 2 - "Paper Clip"
Season 3, Episode 4 - "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
Season 3, Episode 12 - "War of the Coprophages"
Season 3, Episode 20 - "Jose Chung's From Outer Space"
Season 5, Episode 4 - "Detour"
Season 5, Episode 12 - "Bad Blood"
Season 7, Episode 22 - "Requiem"

2.03.2016

Punisher MAX

"He's going to kill you. Not over me. You're going up against him, so he'll kill you. Because you're a joke, in spite of it all, and he's the most dangerous man that ever walked this earth."

-Garth Ennis, Punisher MAX #50