I Want To Snuggie With You

Just take it all in.

Man, life is tough. It's cold, it's busy, and if I want to use a blanket I have to go through the trouble of reaching my arms outside of the blanket.
It's a sick world we live in.
But suddenly a hole in my life was filled when I saw the infomercial for Snuggies, "the blanket with arms!"

Some might question why we need this invention, or how exactly it's different from a shawl/mumu combination. The answer? This one can help you take part in such incredible activities as:

"Use the Remote"
"Read a book"
"Enjoy a snack"
or apparently play backgammon with your girlfriend.

Amazing. I used to be helpless in my blanket, incapable of finding my arms in the midst of the sea of fabric. But now that I've discovered a blanket with holes, it's as though I'm seeing music for the very first time.

They also take the liberty to inform us near the end that it's "great for college." I'd say. If there are two things my roommates hate, it's not being able to hold the remote while encased in a blanket and looking ridiculous. Thankfully, the Snuggie takes care of both of these problems by dressing us like Buddhist monks.

Now if I could only combine it with the Hoveround...


Let The Right One In - movie review


View Trailer

Let The Right One In

If we're going to talk ages, 12 isn't a great number to be. 12 is an age of emotional purgatory, where an individual is no longer a child, yet not quite an adult. It's a period in the midst of transition. I think we can all agree it's no age for an individual to spend a lifetime. In the case of Eli however, it's potentially the rest of her eternity. For Oskar, it's just torture. Let The Right One In is perhaps the most effective portrait I have seen depicting young adolescence and the unexpected discovery of new love, only this time it's between a very young man and a vampire.

The life of Oskar, a twelve year old boy living in the Swedish town of Blackeberg, is a life that resides in the virtual crevasse between two divorced parents. His only primary social interaction is that instigated by a team of bullies. He is essentially alone in his middle-school world, that is until one day when he meets the mysterious girl who moved in next door.
Eli exhibits a sort of ethereal quality in the fact that she merely exists. Her pale complexion almost glows, and the cold air condenses as it escapes her every word.
She tells Oskar that he can't be her friend. Naturally, a relationship begins to bloom. Let's just hope Eli's unquenchable thirst for blood doesn't get in the way.

Subtlety is the fabric that holds this film together. There is hardly a method to fully explain the intricate storyline, especially the relationships between the characters, without going through the entire story from beginning to end. This film is one that doesn't fear it's viewer asking questions, in fact, it practically dares them to. It's one to talk about. What exactly is the relationship between Eli and her elderly caretaker? Is that fatherly concern in his voice when he tells her not to meet that boy, or is it something else? What kind of a man is Oskar going to turn into? For that matter, exactly what kind of creature is Eli?

There is a lot of depth here, along with meaty substance. Adapted from the Swedish novel of the same name, the film version of Let the Right One In will only reveal what is necessary for the viewer to know. John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of both the original novel and the screenplay, understands that the "how" in this case is not as important as the "who." Who these characters are and the way in which they might mature (or stay the same) is where the emphasis is placed.

It also helps that this is one of the most visually striking films I've ever seen. Eli inhabits a jungle gym with a ghostly charm. Oskar touches the window with his warm fingers. Moments are captured on film, and within these moments entire conversations are expressed without a single word. Two hands, one hot and one cold, delicately touch each other in the snow. Meanwhile, the camera follows it's prey with a surreal, calm, hovering motion. The final shots, entire scenes, will no doubt be part of film history.

Let the Right One In is a haunting experience, an unforgettable experience. It flutters beyond the description of horror or drama. At the same time it maintains an overall sweetness. It delves into the anatomy of all relationships, young and old. It ends not just with a bite, but the word "kiss." It really is one of my new favorite movies.


Take Me Literal

For some reason beyond me, I never posted the additional "literal music videos" that popped up a few weeks ago.

In case you didn't see them, well, now you finally can.

Do they match the greatness of Pipe-wrench Fight? Probably not. But then again, what can?
Still, they're pretty great.

People need to make more.

Day one

When my father said that my mother had been stabbing him with a pen, my initial thought was, “Well, what kind of pen?” Was it a bic? Was it one of those pointy fountain pens? What if it was felt-tipped, would that really be worth complaining about? Not once did the situation seem out of place for me, and it was this realization which confused me most.

My mother denied the entire pen-stabbing incident took place, and although I believe she doesn’t remember the act, I do somewhat doubt why on earth my father would make up the story of being stabbed with a pen, of all things. After all, just add one word, and a “pen-knife” stabbing incident would make so much more sense.

I wasn’t there to witness the act, however, I was awoken from my brief nap to my mother running down the stairs and screaming that my father was “trying to kill” her. This was because the method of keeping track of all of her chemotherapy pills, by writing them down on napkins, was thwarted when none of said napkins were thrown out. My mother, whose memory has been affected by the mixture of medication and over-activity, simply cannot keep track. My father, according to my mother, cannot be trusted. Any pill mix-up is potentially a disaster. So to my mother, a swift pen stab is probably within her realm of reasoning. It’s also within my fathers realm of reasoning to leave whenever he might get stabbed by a pen.

So, after arriving from a red-eye flight and going without food for a significant period of time, I had the task of figuring out which pills my mother had already taken, and which ones she still had left to take. This process is harder than it sounds.

In the midst of this I decided to pet my cat Furball. In some ways, I’d say I missed her more than anything else in the city. As I reflected on this she quickly swiped a paw at my face. Recoiling backwards, I felt the hot sensation of liquid running over my lips. I grabbed a napkin and realized it was blood.

I had to go to the store to buy supplies: a bar of soap and digestive pills. I stepped outside and breathed in the freezing air. I tried to zip up my jacket, but in the darkness it became caught on something.

I went to Giant, a store we’d call Albertsons in the West, and grabbed what I needed. On the way to the checkout a girl recognized me, and it took me a moment to realize it was someone I once had a crush on in high school. I wondered what she would think of me now, in the midst of my West Coast accomplishments. I could even mention my girlfriend, maybe rub it in a little.

Then I caught a reflection of myself in a cardboard shaving stand.

I hadn’t shaved in three weeks. My hair was brushed straight up. My jacket zipper, which I thought was caught, was only partially holding on to the other side, forming a sort of bizarre cape. In one hand I was holding a box of “Smooth Moves” laxatives, and the wound on my lips had re-opened. It looked like I got in a knife fight at a retirement facility.

I didn’t make a great impression.

Later that night I called Beth on the phone. She sounded happy and relaxed, and I felt better. I felt as though D.C. wasn’t as hard of a place to be in anymore. I felt as though I had something I never had before. She told me about her day, and I told her about mine.


Of Scientologists and Hoverounds

I'm not sure exactly how the name "Hoveround" is supposed to be pronounced, or if it's actually two words cleverly mashed together with a shared "r", but after seeing their latest commercial featuring the latest line of automated wheelchairs, I was blown away.

The commercial begins simply enough, with elderly folks seemingly abandoned at the statue of liberty, and yes, the middle of the God-forsaken desert. Then something magical happens...

That's right, the brilliant mastermind Tom Kruse appears on screen.

Now, I must say, I have been a long term admirer of the work of Tom Kruse. After all, Collateral is one of my favorite movies. With that said, the guy has a lot to make up for. Such as Vanilla Sky.
Finally, after all these years, Tom Kruse appears not as an actor, but as an inventor. Had I known he developed the Hoveround, or that the Hoveround even existed, I would have promoted the product endlessly. Now I can.
At the same time, I must say that I'm actually a little worried about Tom Kruse. Clearly, from his appearance in the commercial, the man has put on a few pounds, dyed his hair brown, and looks virtually nothing like the way he did in Mission Impossible, Top Gun, Minority Report, or Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. But then again, it must be hard to maintain that figure while making movies AND inventing hover-wheelchairs all day.
Maybe the guy needs to cut down on his use of E-meters.
Then again, I don't know. I'm not a doctor.


Right Now

I'm in Oakland California. If you're wondering why, it's because I'm in the middle of a connecting flight to D.C. for thanksgiving break.
There are a lot of really important things I learned today, and one of them is that Oakland California is a place that actually exists. I've heard of it before, but now I know for certain. Oakland is in fact, a real life location. It's also further North, and is cold.
I wish I could tell you more about this place, but all I know is what I have managed to gather since walking into the terminal. There are pictures on the wall of snowboarders, so I assume there must be winter sports held in the area, although I could be mistaken. What I do know, however, is that the Starbucks next to my gate is closed. Although I don't drink coffee, I take this to mean that Oakland is a town of simple folk who carefully limit their caffeine intake. Good for them.
Here is their state flag:

Is it a green tree? or a massive nuclear explosion?
The mystery continues, yet I say it's the latter.

Perhaps a random quote from Wikipedia can shine a light on this dilemma...

120 murders recorded in 2007 made Oakland's murder rate third highest in California, behind Richmond and Compton; however, Oakland suffered rape and robbery rates per capita that were almost twice those of Richmond and Compton, making Oakland's violent crime rate the highest overall. In the Morgan Quitno's "Most Dangerous Cities of 2007," Oakland was ranked 4th most dangerous in the nation behind Detroit, St. Louis, and Flint, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd most dangerous cities in the nation, respectively.

Hmmm. Yeah. Nuclear explosion. Most definitely.


Burn After Reading - movie review

Burn After Reading

I didn't really know what to think. My thought process after watching Burn After Reading, the latest film from the Coen Brothers, paralleled that of the infamous clown from the Simpson's, who, after narrowly escaping an approaching tank, tragically had his massive inflatable butt popped. "I'm alive" Sir Wide Bottom said, "but why?"

I just don't know.

There's a lot to like in Burn after reading. Bradd Pitt steals the show as a charming, if not over-zealous, bike riding enthusiast. George Clooney plays his part as a lethal womanizer with a strange mixture of ignorance and innocence in equal parts. Even John Malkovich, in his self-indulgent obnoxiousness, somehow manages to be likable in a crazy jack-nicholson-in-the-shining kind of way. Virtually every character is worthy of screen time. The problem is what that screen time amounts to.

The film is a little over an hour and a half, and beginning with a slow roll the picture begins to pick up speed. Connections are made, situations complicate, and predictably, people start to get killed.

Joel and Ethan Coen have in their previous endeavors exquisitely displayed their penchant for gruesome executions of their characters. It doesn't matter whether they're making a comedy, a tragedy, or something in-between, somebody eventually gets thrown into the proverbial wood chopper. They're destined for it. But there is something undeniably unnerving about the swift touches with death in Burn After Reading. When the blood suddenly splatters, and the fellow gets carved, there is a sense of heartlessness exhibited. It is directed towards not only the characters, but the audience as well. There are no heroes in this picture, but at the same time no one specifically deserves to die.

Funny Games, a film I have trouble recommending yet consider one of the finest I've seen, questioned what it is we look for in our story-telling. Ultimately, it's what we want out of life; for good to overcome evil. Burn After Reading features neither of those qualities. There is only a pervading sense of evil, and not much untainted good. There is a sense of what is wrong, but no tether to what should be right. It is an unflinching look at a society imprisoned by it's own fear and paranoia. You'll find yourself laughing, but you won't feel very good about it.


Good Day to Post Online Videos

Ladies and gentlemen, behold.
Cat riding a Roomba.

Stick a cone onto that baby and we'll be working with gold.
Liquid gold, I say.

You think that's all for today. No. No, my friends. We still have these charming young folks who combine bike riding with guitar hero. Although I can't watch it with sound (I'm actually in the middle of "computer science class" right now) I'm rather certain this is uber-epic.

Well that's it.

That's all the best videos on the internet.
I suppose you should just turn off your computer now, pull the plug, pick it up, and drop it into a trash can.
I just can't imagine anything topping that.

Yep, we must be done heeerrrrrrrreOH MY GOSH THAT MONKEY'S RIDING A SEGWAY!!!

Japan you've done it again.

Posting More Frequently

I need to make more posts.

The LACMA apparently had a dead unicorn on exhibit a few days ago.
Sad. But beautiful, no?

Meanwhile, in Japan, more train-stations are hiring animals to be station masters.
such as this pup below:

and this scary looking stray cat:

In related news, the new cat at my apartment is quite adorable.
Anthony and Jon named him "Stiggy" after the Top Gear character "The Stig."

The sad news is that I'm horribly allergic to the Stig. I'm not entirely sure why, because my previous weekend spent with two dogs and three cats left me right as rain. In the meantime it's probably best if I keep myself from petting our new furry roommate, and I don't mean Micah. It's a tough situation for me considering how much I love furry animals. So I might need to buy handcuffs and chain myself to the bathroom sink, you know, for my own protection.
I made the mistake last night of giving Stiggy some petting and pretty much felt as though I was dying. A woman at Stater-Bros looked at my tearing-red eyes and seemed genuinely concerned for my health.
I'll manage.


Adventures in Los Angeles

This past weekend I got to go on a field trip for my LA Literature class to downtown LA. Why? Because. That's why.
It was fun. But with that said, Let's never go there again.

I got to stay up pretty late last night and edit together a little montage of the evening we spent cruising around the ghetto. I'm not sure exactly how much fun it will be for you to watch, but heck, it's something to post on ye ole blog, right?



We own a new cat.
Anthony got him this weekend while I was away.
Naturally, when I got home last night, I immediately went searching for it. Eventually I discovered that it was hiding inside of it's comfy cat carrier, a cat carrier with two holes inconveniently smaller than both my arms. I tried grabbing it, but my eager hands were only met with loud purring noises. I soon realized that pulling out the cat quickly was an impossible task, but never fear. For you see, I have a clever mind (clever as a cat some might say), so I flipped the cat carrier on it's side and started shaking it until something furry fell out.
That was when I met my new kitty companion.

He's a charming black cat with a hip attitude. I call him Basil, but I'm pretty sure I'm alone in that assertion.
I will post pics soon.

In the meantime, enjoy this cat related article I wrote for the Chimes last week.
It wasn't posted on their website for some reason, but who am I to judge?
I pasted it after the following video of a cat with a neck cone.

Kitties at Biola
Zach Newcott

You might not know this, but there are wild animals at Biola. They’re small, fluffy, have whiskers, and to be specific, they’re cats. But there’s something troubling about these animals, mainly in the fact that they won’t let people, and by people, I mean me, pet them. What’s the deal? I’m not big. I’m not threatening. I can’t even convincingly give a high five without holding my hand afterwards in agonizing pain. So why won’t these cats let me even touch them? Come on.
Now, some people might look to me and say, “Zack. Let’s be honest here. You don’t want to pet a wild animal. They’re dirty, probably rife with diseases, and you’re allergic to animals anyways.” To those people I say, “Don’t spit in a bucket and call it a sundae!” I like animals. Sure they make my eyes water, my throat close up, and cause me to sneeze until I pass-out, but they’re furry. If I fancy taking a puppy and rubbing it against my face, then I will do as I so desire. This is America. If I want to scare a kitten by briefly placing its head in my mouth while saying “OM NOM NOM,” I can, have, and will do so. That is precisely why Obama is our president.
It’s our duty as human beings to be caretakers of the animal kingdom. After all, does not the Bible ask of us, “Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon? Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned? Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains? Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?” Just let those words marinate for a bit. As caretakers of the world it is our duty, nay, obligation, to pet the furriest of God’s creatures.
Now, I can’t assume that these cats are capable of reading, but had they glanced at my resume they would have seen my extensive cat petting experience. True, had to learn a lot from my first cat Stimpy after frequently cornering it with dinosaur toys, throwing it at my brother, and occasionally putting a sock over its head, but what’s life without a little playful teasing? What can I say? I’m curious. Curious like a cat even. Besides, it ran away and never returned, so no harm no foul. Quid Pro Quo. I got to pet a cat, and the cat got to be petted until it ran away from me because I pet it too much. The system works.
The cats at Biola are different. They hate being petted, even without prior knowledge of how much fun it is for humans to stick tape to their sides and watch them awkwardly stumble. Just the other day my girlfriend Beth witnessed a cat in front of Eagles Nest being petted by a girl with a stick. A stick. Is that really the closest we can come to experiencing kitty fluffiness first-hand, at stick-length? It’s a sick world we’re living in.
This weekend I met the animals living at Beth’s home, and I must say that they gave me hope for the future. With these cats and doggies I feel at peace, my hands clasping chunks of shed hair as evidence of petting. Although I am typing this with swollen, tearing eyes, it’s worth it. So don’t fear, all you dreamers seeking a furry friend out there. Pet worthy pets do exist. And someday, when Biola finally comes to their senses, you can own one too. In the meantime you’ll just have to keep that contraband Chinchilla in your closet.


The World's Largest (uber) Christmas Gift Exchange Ever!

It's that time of the year again.
The time of the year when we get together and make the World's Largest (uber) Christmas Gift Exchange Ever.

What you need to do right now is sign up on the Elfster page HERE.
Then get your friends to join.
Then you need to send out that gift you have so desperately wanted to give.

I know you don't like rules, but here's how it's supposed to work:

Join the Elfster Exchange.

(If Elfster confounds you, just post your e-mail as a message or send it to me, I'll set you up pronto.)

Just make sure you sign up before December 15th!

You will be assigned a secret partner for whom you have to make or get a crazy gift.

*Now, the limit is 5 bucks, but seriously though, the gift can be anything, from a card, some random junk you found underneath your fridge, to whatever pet you have close to you.

THEN: Send it to your partner by Christmas.
- (so try not to make it too heavy or too big!)

THEN: You open the box.

And Finally: You Have A Merry Christmas!!

Don't send anything you wouldn't want to receive.
Anthrax, for example, is a bad idea. So are bombs. Perishables as well. If you think of a bad idea, just don't do it.
Basically, you are responsible for the gift you give and the gift you receive (or don't receive), not me. And no take backs. I trust that there are many good Santa's out there and hope none of this will be a problem.

(do what I did and write it your forehead in reverse)

And if you really want to be the best secret Santa ever, send them the link to the Elfster page too!



You might not know this, but I just spent the weekend in Visalia CA, or the "Gateway to the Sequoias" as some like to call it (no one calls it that). I must say, it's a wonderful place, complete with a roller rink, a sweet hot-dog stand, and a huge Winco grocery store/warehouse where you can buy candy by the barrel. I hear there's a lot more to Visalia than those three places, but I like to leave a little some-some to look forward to for my next visit.
In case you were wondering why I made the trip North, Visalia is actually Beth's hometown. That means I had an ample opportunity to meet her folks. If you know me, that also means I had ample opportunities to make a huge ass out of myself. But never fear, for you see I made preparations in the form of a list.


-Upon entrance DO NOT barge in the front door with both thumbs outstretched while yelling "EYYYYYY!"
-DO NOT refer to Beth's dad as Old Man, Tiger, Chief, or Niggah.
-DO NOT wear that tight, hot-pink shirt you own that says "Service Me" on the front, yet...
-DO NOT punch anyone in the face.
-DO NOT knee anyone in the crotch.
-DO NOT set anything on fire.
-DO NOT immediately go to the refrigerator and begin filling your pockets.
-DO NOT punt any animals.
-DO NOT flip over any tables in the midst of a heated discussion.
-DO NOT get into a heated discussion.
-DO NOT talk extensively about LOST theories, the history of Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG's), and/or Cloverfield.
-DO NOT get into a heated discussion about LOST theories, the history of Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG's), and/or Cloverfield.
-JUST DON'T talk about Cloverfield, too much.
-DO NOT get up in the middle of the night to re-arrange all the furniture and move everything in the kitchen to different cabinets.
-DO NOT ask too many questions about the home security system and suspiciously eye the valuables.

Luckily, I only did two, or maybe three of those things. So I think I made an alright impression. Although in retrospect I probably only exchanged roughly three words with anyone.
All-in-all, best weekend ever.


Violence, Videogames, and the Chimes

I love videogames. And I love violence. And when those two get together and make babies, well, somebody needs to hand me a bottle and call me daddy 'cause I am THERE.

So this week I decided to write another little piece about sweet sweet videogaming.
You can click to read it here:


I really think it's socially relevant considering what's coming up this week, (aka Gears of War 2):

I just soiled myself in anticipation

Yet, sadly, I have no money to spare on such wonderfully glorious displays of senseless and sensual violence. So I'll just have to close my eyes and imagine all the chainsaw-gun-killing I will one day take part in.

That's the stuff.

The curious case of Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined

Here is the man who has earned my respect.

Although his grandmother has disowned him, and his professional life will no doubt be jeopardized, this man still has the strength, and yes, dignity, to permanently change his name from George Garratt to Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined.


Apparently his name will join the ranks of individuals such as Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii and Rhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth Williams, but with the notable exception of his name being friggin awesome. I mean, who could be faster than the Hulk? This guy, that's who. It's a real shame he's not a child because I bet there are a lot of elementary school teachers who need a little pick-me-up during roll call each morning. Oh well. At least he still gets to look forward to one day meeting a Mrs. Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined...


Pests and Politicians

Yesterday was election day, and although I couldn't vote due to my procrastination in filling out an absentee ballot, I did briefly try to convince my roommate Micah to vote that morning before I left for work. And considering that my opinion concerning the matter made little difference to him, I realized I had effectively recreated the entire elective process through voicing my opinion on the matter and it having no effect whatsoever.
And now we have Barack Obama as President.
Way to go Micah, you son of a b*%#$.

I laughed at this sticker for a solid two hours straight, and then stared disapprovingly at myself in the bathroom mirror for double that amount of time.

Still, some good came out of Election Day, mainly in the way of free stuff. Starbucks was practically tossing to the crowds buckets of free coffee.
Myself, being the kind of person naturally drawn towards anything free, grabbed Beth the second I learned of it and was on my way. However, once we actually arrived at Starbucks, both of us realized that neither one of us actually liked to drink coffee, so instead we went to CVS to grab a couple cans of sweet sweet Arizona iced tea.
After selecting a bottle of a funky new pomegranate flavor, Beth grabbed my arm and stopped me in my tracks. "OH HOLY CRAP." She suddenly said, nearly causing me to drop my bottle in fear.
I looked around briefly saying "What's going o-HOLY CRAP!"
There, in front of us, in the middle of the CVS refrigerated drink section, was the biggest cockroach I have not only ever seen in my life, but every film I have ever watched with the exception of Men In Black.

It scurried back and forth, stopping briefly at a crumb to furiously wiggle it's antenna back and forth.
Meanwhile, Beth and I locked arms and stood completely still.
It can't see you if you stand still, I told myself.
We couldn't look away. It was huge. And no one else was seeing what we were.
Ten minutes later, Beth and I heard the sound of a large cart barreling down the isle. It's projected course was no doubt heading directly towards our roach buddy, who had by this point become completely distracted by a dark smudge on the floor.

At this point we expected one of three things, either the employee pushing the cart would notice the massive beast and scream like a Japanese school girl, the employee would unknowingly crush the roach with the cart, or, as I partly expected, the roach would fly directly at my face and somehow make it's way into my mouth.

Beth and I tensed in fear and anticipation. This was it. This could be the end for our little bug friend.
Then, at that moment, the old woman pushing the cart turned towards us as she continued her way down the isle, looked at the panic stricken expressions pasted across the face of Beth and I, and politely said, "It's okay, don't be afraid."
And she continued on her way.

Our eyes went back to the cockroach, who not only had not been crushed, but didn't move in the slightest. It just continued nibbling at the black smudge with it's antenna whacking the ground.
This creature feared no one and nothing.

But we had to wonder, what exactly did that woman think we were afraid of? Does she commonly come across customers who cower in fear at her presence? If so, I feel sorry, but her kind words of encouragement gave us the strength to turn our heads and leave.



I felt kind of bad about this one.
But the fact remains, I really cannot make myself enjoy a game of college football.
I just can't.
I might actually be able to enjoy watching an episode of The Hills from time to time, but college football just doesn't do it for me.
It also doesn't do it for most of the people I spend time with.
So when my roommate started to spend hours at a time watching it in our apartment, I had no choice but to take it to the press.
So here it is, another online Chimes article...