Revolutionary Road - Movie Review


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Revolutionary Road

With Leonardo Di-Caprio and Kate Winslet back together, maybe I expected to watch Titanic 2. Instead I got Revolutionary Road, and to be honest, it seems that Rose was better off with Jack sinking to the bottom of the ocean than moving to suburbia. What we have here is your classic suburban couple imprisoned by their quaint lifestyle and public identification as "that sweet couple up the hill." In reality they live in a demented emotional nightmare. For the price of admission we get to see this nightmare crescendo, and rather than dissipate, accentuate the troubles of self identity and family life.

Now, I've seen a lot of depressing movies; Requiem for a Dream, Leaving Las Vegas, 21 Grams, The Mist, but I don't think I've been quite as disturbed as I have after watching Revolutionary Road. Perhaps that's a testament to the film's realism. Everything about this production is impeccably executed. The set design is exacted with an almost surreal eye for what is considered "quaint" or traditionally "perfect," and this is appropriate considering that the idea of perfection is the films primary focus.

The story is centered upon Frank and April, a couple from a quaint neighborhood who despite friendly appearances are both vipers within their relationship. Although they serve as the tangible example of the nuclear family with two children of their own, the reality of the matter is quite different. The children, for the most part, are completely absent from the picture. This alone might be my greatest complaint. Yes, this is an adult picture, but the dissolving of the family unit involves more than just parents at odd-ends, and without the kids the resulting collapse lacks a certain dynamic which could have been useful.

Right now I need to say that Michael Shannon gives one of the best performances I've seen. As a matter of fact, he steals this movie. I'd be willing just to watch him rant, rave, and condemn every character for another solid two hours. He turns a supporting character into a role every other character supports. Quite simply, he owns this picture.

As far as resonance goes, Revolutionary Road has far more than you could ever hope. It manages to settle in-between those anxieties concerning marriage, work, family, and relationships in general, and fester for days. It certainly asks valuable questions, but the method of framing leaves little to be desired for the answers. The film seeks to propagate not only anxiety, but hopelessness. It stands defiant against not only all romanticized ideas, but against hope in general. It's hard not to look at this film merely as a lesson from example and not a refutation of all that is good.

The film has realism to be sure, but to sit through this is the equivalent of sitting through an emotional "Hostel" or "Saw" sequel. The realism only makes it that much more emotionally troublesome. This film is, quite frankly, downright scary. But maybe that reveals more about my own reservations concerning domestic disturbance than what the film says. I think at one point I was shaking.

All personal misgivings aside, Revolutionary Road has no ethical obligation to it's characters. In fact, I am fully and completely willing to say that this film is more torturous to its characters than last years "Funny Games," a film which unabashedly tested the ethics of character treatment within fiction, and which I, interestingly enough, thought was brilliant.

Here, all evidence of hope is gone. The only mention of faith is provided by the natural crosses evident on every wooden bathroom door. And when those doors are shut, the cinematography can do nothing but frame it. Somehow I doubt the purposeful intention behind this image, in fact, I might be one of the few people who noticed it. It's the great hole in the middle of what the central characters are yearning for, but its utter absence from the story leaves them floundering in that same gap. This complete absence of faith manages to somehow focus on it far more strongly, yet it provides no source of comfort.

I just can't recommend watching this film. As a young twenty-something maybe I just don't understand some of its facets. Truth be told, I don't really want to. I already understand enough of it personally to know I don't ever want to experience it. I feel this tragedy causes more trouble than it actually resolves, which I suppose is what revolutionaries often do. It's a brilliant work, beautiful, excellently crafted, but its content is as deeply troubling as it is troubled. I appreciate any film this effective, yet I doubt it couldn't have been delivered more even-handedly, perhaps with some semblance of goodness. As it is, the film is unabashedly cheap in it's ruthless punches to the audiences gut. See it if you have to, but I'm staying away.


Ever Read A Script From LOST? *many bad words alert*

There's this show on TV about a bunch of people who crash landed on an island and get LOST in the jungle, and while they're LOST they find another LOST group of survivors who have been LOST on the same island for years and then later some of them get LOST in time. I think the show is called "The Crazy Time-Traveling Island With A Smoke Monster Show."

You should probably check it out sometime. I highly recommend it.

Since this LOST show is on network television there really isn't much in the way of swearing. Even though the common reaction from most people when faced with a giant killing smoke monster would be "HOLY F%$#ING S*&% ASS," in the world of television the reaction is "HOLY HECK SUCK CRAP," which is in some ways more satisfying.

Even still, the writers of LOST seem determined to curse their way to success. In doing so they have managed to fit as many F-Bombs into their scripts as possible, if not in the dialogue, then in the scene descriptions.

While I normally try to keep my writings to at least a PG-13 level, I consider it my duty as a screenwriter to post these here since they have apparently not been mentioned anywhere else. Still, those with virgin ears might want to go somewhere else.

Here are some excerpts from the actual scripts from LOST.

Oh that EFFing smug Henry and his EFFing maps on doors and such. EFF.

Now take a look at this next excerpt where we find out the revealing LOST secret of Dr. Shephards first name!

Yep. Dr. EFFING Christian Shephard

Seriously. The whole EFFING script is like this.

And there's more of it. Lots more.

Here's a script highlight from one of the major turning points in Season 2.

Now, I should mention that such word use and phrasing exhibited in the scene description of, well, lets use "Oh sweet F*&%ing Christ" as an example, is generally not acceptable in proper screenwriting due to the fact that it does nothing to reveal action. Although it may highlight the intensity of a scene, overall it's considered a cheap and maybe even lazy writing tactic to comment on the intensity rather than to show it is as a viewable action for the audience. It is not only possible, but is better for the writer, film crew, and audience, to increase the pace of the scene by first editing the scene on paper as if it was being viewed at that moment in it's finished form.

Here's an example of the many liberties LOST takes.

That's pretty lazy right there.

Then again, we're talking about EFFING LOST here, which at this point can do whatever the EFF it wants. HECK. The Island is EFFING traveling through time. HOLY EFF HECK.

Botes and Aminals

Japanese Lego Boat.

- 'Nuff said.

Uncomfortable Japanese Dancing Animal Commercial.

- Not nearly enough said.


Life and Death At The Happiest Place On Earth - Chimes Article

Just when I thought the Chimes was going to post my story about dancing at Biola, they went ahead and posted one completely different. I should've known they would've given me the old reach-around, or as my friend Tim liked to say "sneak a banana in my ear," but I guess there's always next week. Here's the new article.

Life and Death At The Happiest Place On Earth
By Zach Newcott

All those college educated fat cats may tell you the importance of proper “theology” in this world, but those of us living on the mean streets of Huntington Beach know that death is all around you. Just like Shake and Bake, it’s on everything, and if it’s not, it should be. No, I didn’t learn this from one of your fancy pants three-unit courses, I learned this from watching “Final Destination” one through three back-to-back. Now I know. I could be walking down the street one day and then BAM! A large piece of safety glass will fall from a construction site right on top of me and cause my body to literally explode. It’s a sick world we’re living in.

Naturally, when I offered to take my girlfriend to Disneyland, the so-called “Happiest Place on Earth,” I made sure to remind her that nine people have all died from their visits to that death trap, not to mention the countless others I’m sure Walt Disney has silenced from beyond the grave. Still, she was adamant about the whole idea.

I reminded her of my days serving as a Skipper on the Jungle Cruise attraction in the park.


“I saw a lot of good men lost in that Jungle,” I told her. “You have no idea how many hippos I had to scare off. My buddy Joe once tumbled into the water late one night when he was tethering a ship to the dock.”

I paused to rest my fist against a window sill. “He had to get a tetanus shot for that. Do you want to get a tetanus shot? I don’t think you do. Those needles are huge …”

She ignored my warnings.

The next day we entered the park after navigating the back alleys of Downtown Disney. After fending off an onslaught of giant cartoon character mascots, we made our way toward the Matterhorn.

“This looks like fun!” she told me.

“It probably looked like fun to Dolly Young too,” I reminded her, “Before she was thrown from the bobsled on to the track. They say she was still alive when she hit the ground, until the car behind her crushed her body upon impact.”

She looked at me with an expression of confusion and disgust.

“Some cast members say they can still hear her scream at night,” I continued.

My story was met with little acknowledgment.

We went on It’s A Small World next. After traveling in a hardly sea-worthy vessel, past miniature versions of cultures across the globe (ones which probably condone cannibalism, no doubt), we spent a minute admiring the view at the Rivers of America surrounding Tom Sawyer’s Island. While we watched, the sailing ship “Columbia” made its rounds along the smooth water.

“What a beautiful day,” she told me.

I gave a grim nod. “I’m sure it was a beautiful day too when the metal cleat of the “Colombia” snapped and …”

She stopped me mid-sentence to interject, “Didn’t your mother tell you to stop Googling ‘Disneyland Deaths’?”

She did, but how could curiosity not get the best of me? The Internet was practically invented for the sake of spreading paranoia and grisly details concerning gruesome acts at seemingly innocent places. Even so, it was impossible to look around me and not notice the look of happiness on every child connected to his or her parent’s leash.

“You can’t worry so much,” my girlfriend told me.

She was right. Death might be scary, or undeniably entertaining when it involves explosions, but that doesn’t mean it has to govern our lives. With that realization, we decided to get some ice cream. Which, I should point out, might have salmonella if it’s homemade. Then again, maybe some things are worth the risk.


Wild Thing

Cool trailer. If this is half as good as The Cat In the Hat starring Mike Myers I think we're all going to projectile vomit. Luckily I think it'll be at the very least twice that good, which will make it about the same, which means we'll still be projectile vomiting. So maybe twice that. Yeah that sounds a bit right. What I'm trying to say here is that it looks very good and The Cat In the Hat movie sucked.

I put in the youtube and the original trailer from traileraddict here because I'm not sure how long either of them last before getting pulled down for one reason or another.

I just read Where the Wild Things Are for the first time a few days ago. It's a good one, but you might just want to wait for the movie. It's a bit wordy at times.

Apocalypse Meow

Apparently this Japanese Anime, appropriately titled "Cat S#%$ One" and even more appropriately titled "Apocalypse Meow" here in America, says something about violence and the horrors of war. I says it has a hardcore bunny doing what it was meant to do.

No doubt this has made it's ways across the internets by now, but here on the Awkward Unicorn, a place for strange souvenirs from Japan, animals with cones, and recycled jokes pertaining to people getting hit in the groin with a football, this simply needed to be posted.

Here's the Nanerpuss. Watch as our culture quickly approaches what the Japanese have been doing since the first World War.

It's wonderful, I think.

Chimes Day By Day - Sick Week

Day By Day - Sick Week

This past week I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I thought we'd take a look at all the fun to be had while recuperating from a cold.

Monday - Take Care Of Your Special Someone Day

Chances are you want nothing more than to pucker up and kiss that special someone right on the lips. But when that special someone is sick and said lips are a veritable germ garden in the midst of cultivating a host of viruses, it might be best to just bring them a cup of soup. Or ignore common sense and kiss them anyway. Your call.

Tuesday - Regret Nothing Day

No. It's not a cough, you're just clearing your throat. And no, your throat isn't sore either. On this day ignore the symptoms and insist that not only do you not have a cold, but even in the unlikely hypothetical situation that you did get a cold as a result from kissing your special someone, hypothetically, it was definitely worth it and you regret nothing. And you never will. Ever.

Wednesday - Let's Be Honest Day

On this day come to terms with the fact that you're definitely sick either before or after you projectile vomit. With this revelation you can finally accept your place in the universe as an invalid. Curl up into a little ball and question all reality. Watch 2001: A Space Odyssey and believe that you understand the ending. Realize that you can actually "feel" your hands. Use an entire roll of toilet paper just for blowing your nose. Stash said used toilet paper under your roommates bed when the trash can is too far away.

"ohhh, I get it..."

Thursday - Medicine Day

It's time to seek a remedy for what ails you. Orange Juice is helpful, yet it may feel like fire going down your throat and begin to taste like burnt batteries after the third jug. Desperate times call for desperate measures. You may have to temporarily break Biola contract by purchasing the cough syrup with the highest alcohol content. Take a couple shots and prepare yourself for the ride of your life.

"Ohhhh, now I REALLY get it..."

Friday - Sleep Day

On this day realize that the cough syrup you bought had "extra drowsy" side effects and pass out for the next several hours. Make sure to have a variety of crazy dreams in which you may or may not have traveled on a floating Chinchilla to a Tony Bennett concert where you assembled the Golden Gate Bridge out of mismatched socks. Wake up a few times, believe you're still in the dream, and embarrass yourself in the living-room.

Weekend - Renewed Appreciation For Life Day

Wake up feeling refreshed and renewed knowing that the sickness has passed. Maybe take an extra swig of that cough syrup just to be safe. Then prance in the open fields as you relish the life you have, or play video games inside. Swear you have no idea how your roommate got sick before dashing out the door to visit your special someone. It's a whole new week. Eat an apple to keep that doctor away.


Gooses, Geeses

What terrible animals.

Beth and I tried feeding the ducks yesterday at the local park while taking a lunch break. Within seconds we were quickly approached by two geese who waddled towards us with their long white necks outstretched and their toothy beaks open wide. It's a bit surprising how much they're like Velociraptors in many ways (minus the ability to open doors). We tossed them some bread too, but became distracted when we were also approached by a one-legged duck who hopped towards us. Enraptured by this seemingly Dr. Suess-esque animal, I had forgotten about our current situation.

Beth glanced towards my direction when she heard the fluttering of feathers. Suddenly she exclaimed "THERE'S A GOOSE NEXT TO YOU!"

I quickly looked down and saw the deadly eyes of a goose staring right back at me, it's beak only inches away from devouring my hand.

It was then that I screamed like a little girl and ran away.



Dance Dance Biola Revolution

Of all the things Biola University has made me give up for the sake of their student contract (cat juggling) dancing was certainly one I thought I would miss. It's taken me this long to accept their online censorship program "Websense" as a common daily occurance, I just assumed that in time my need to dance would ebb away. It was hard for me to find out that my kind of dancing, which includes lots of shaking and repeatedly pointing towards a specific body part, simply isn't appropriate for this atmosphere. Oh, I'm sorry Biola, I thought this was America.

This past week however was time for Mission Conferences, and after joyously celebrating my few days off from classes, without rhythmic movement I should add, I made my way to the auditornasium. Already, the worship team was in full swing and the crowd was alive.

As I made my way toward my seat something nearly hit my head. In a daze I stumbled backwards in fear. I suddenly realized I was being attacked by a mentally deranged woman in the midst of the throng. As she swung her arms towards me I dodged back and forth, again not in any sort of rhythm or dance-like motion (although those who witnessed it may say it was rather cat-like). Her fists swung wildly through the air as she twirled around blindly. If I was going to combat this I'd have to pull out my Matrix moves, bend the spoon etc. I quickly crouched low, waiting for a chance to sneak in a desperate punch for the ovaries, but as I waited I noticed she was continuing to twirl. It was then that I realized I was dealing not with a woman who was insane, but was dancing with a passion, and was also probably insane.

Yes, it seems that the worship team has inspired some to dance. I can't criticise that. Afterall, weren't we all inspired to give praise when we first listened to the contemporary alternative Christian rock group Black Eyed Peas and their masterpiece "My Humps?" Were we not all in some way affected by the lyrics of Mystikal in his opus "Shake Ya *BLOCKED BY WEBSENSE*," because I know I was.

"Watch yo self!"

It just seems strange to me that dancing to music is outlawed in the presence of good company at home, but is somehow allowed in the presence of many despite the possibility of causing concussions and massive head wounds to all those within the near vicinity. Believe me, there isn't safety in numbers. That girl nearly gave me a black eyed pea in the face.

The fact of the matter is that Biola and it's contract is pretty all-or-nothing as far as lee-way is concerned. Even drinking wine at a wedding is considered a big no no. So it's a bit surprising to find a few violent dancers literally prancing in front of the entire school.

Then again, I don't see any big changes on the horizon for Biola's contract anytime soon. I might just have to bite the bullet on this one and take one for the team. What I'm about to say might be the only way to get the higher-ups at Biola to give this matter any further attention and see to it that no more freak dance attacks happen.

Fine. The dancing during the Biola chapels is very tempting. It temps me. I am tempted. When people dance like that, during chapel, I take joy in it. It looks fun, and it makes me what to dance all the time. I think I want to dance more than I want to read the Bible. I might spend more time dancing, and maybe read Harry Potter and start using words like "Heck" and "Darn."

There. I've done all I could.


Australia - Movie Review


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I've never seen all of the first City Slickers, but I did happen to watch all of City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold and I'm pretty sure I got the gist. Even so, if you haven't managed to catch either of those two, you could always take a look at Baz Luhrmann's Australia. It's a very familiar experience, except without that charming gag where Daniel Stern thinks he was bitten by a rattle snake but actually just sat on a cactus. Excuse me while I giggle to myself uncontrollably for a few minutes.

Okay, I'm done.

Australia is the latest "epic" to feature action in the down-under. As I understand it, the term "epic" in moviemaking has come to equate itself with "really long and covering numerous set-pieces." I've never been drawn to films like this. The only reason I saw Gone With the Wind was because I was sick in middle school and didn't want to have to watch Stargate SG-1 reruns on a Sunday morning. I had all sorts of sick dreams that night. This film is a bit more upbeat at least. The story is centered around Lady Sarah Ashley who is far too posh for life on the ranch. Needless to say, she ends up living life on the ranch and teaming up with a man by the name of Drover, who, well, droves cattle, and together with a little Aborigine they face off against the evil ranch handlers competing for Australia's meat market. Luckily for them, Drover went to Bovine University and knows his stuff. But if only someone could tame that wild stallion... *sigh*

If you can't tell from his Red Curtain Trilogy (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge) The director Baz Luhrmann has always had a flair for the theatrics. His films have been over-the-top, over-produced, and almost entirely thrive upon being simply "Spectacular! Spectacular!" In his endeavors his works have (at least for me) been wildly successful and exemplified endless ingenuity. But they worked because he was making plays into film, now the man wants to make a film into a play.

For the record, it nearly worked.

In fact, I decided I liked Australia just before it ended.

Then it continued for another hour.

Australia is structured as though it has act breaks and even an intermission, even if it doesn't have one. On stage (although I'm not sure how they'd manage some of it) I can definitely see it working. As an audience member I was very confused. I ended up watching Australia and it's sequel, Australia: The Legend of Curly's Gold back-to-back. It's a fish out of water story, and then it's a fish in water story with battle ships.


It can't be said that Australia is something that it shouldn't, or wasn't intended to be. It is what it is. Although it insists on being historically grounded, it can also heavily weigh in on the supernatural. Although it romanticizes a nation, it also heavily criticizes it. Moulin Rouge worked because it knew what it wanted to be and bought into it with such passion that it really didn't matter what the Bohemian culture was like in actuality, they could have just been hipsters who listened to the French equivalent of Animal Collective and drank absinthe, it only mattered what it was like within it's own world the film created. Australia can't take such liberties, and because of that it is inherently flawed.

So here's what it comes down to. It all comes down to comparing Australia to every other film depicting Australia, and I think just about every other one is more watchable. Rescuers Down Under, Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, and even the under-appreciated and also probably over-appreciated Kangaroo Jack, are frankly more entertaining. When it comes down to it, I don't think I'm willing to visit this particular version of Australia again. Rather, I think it's time I checked out City Slickers.


Maths (I has them)

This past week I've realized that I have taken more math courses in college than anyone else I know. This is rather pitiful considering that I'm not a math major, and that the only reason I'm taking my fourth math class right now is because none of my other ones will transfer. So now I'm scraping by in my "Nature of Mathematics" course, which is the least math relevant class I could find that still fulfilled the requirement. I'm ready though. I have my calculator, my pencil with the multiplication tables written on it, and my secret decoder ring.

With all that said, here's a helpful math video from Great Britain.


City of Ember - Movie Review


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City of Ember

I actually ended up watching City of Ember on an airplane ride back from DC. The viewing conditions were less than desirable. I sat next to a Jewish woman and her crying child, and after being repeatedly assumed to be part of their family (likely due to my rather large nose) I simply accepted a kosher dinner as my own. City of Ember was my second viewing choice after watching ten minutes of "The Rocker." Clearly I didn't expect much. But in this world filled with rushed children's fantasy movies I was surprised to find that the experience was not only enjoyable, but after two months of not writing a review, actually quite memorable.

Nobody's quite certain exactly what happened, but it's safe to say that it was bad and made living on the surface of the earth a somewhat undesirable situation. In a last ditch effort for sustainable life, a large community decided to literally go underground with their city, never to emerge for another 200 years. The second downside to all this is that the clock stopped ticking a hundred years or so ago, so nobody knows if it's safe outside, or even if there's an outside at all. The only world they know is the dim one they reside in, with glowing lanterns suspended hundreds of feet above them. The fact is, they've been there for too long, and now the city is beginning to die out.

We could say that The City of Ember is essentially Plato's cave, and in this story it's up to two children to step outside of it. All in all, it's a film about philosophers and the opposition they must face. But that might be looking at it a tad too deep. The film has mutated monsters, cute mutated pets, wild inventions and flume rides. It's a film geared towards kids who don't really need to delve into the concepts right now but might start thinking about them later, which, in my opinion, is the kind of film that is most needed today in the world of Dora the Explorer and television shows that assume kids are mentally handicapped.

To top it off, the young actors in this film are actually quite good, and despite how I usually feel when watching films like this, I was actually rooting for them instead of shaking my head in embarrassment. Memories of Star Wars: Episode I, come to mind. In this film they hold their own alongside Murray and Tim Robbins, which is saying something.

The film works because we get to look at it from the perspective of someone who gets to live on the upside looking down. Despite a few formulaic plot devices, including a greedy mayor played by Bill Murray, the film remains compelling because we genuinely want to know what's waiting on the surface. The downside to this film is that it doesn't ask enough questions, doesn't draw enough parallels, and doesn't entirely explore that darkness just outside our grasp, but again, this really is a kid's movie. It's the Twilight Zone without the revelation of being dead all along, or being as good as dead. Because of it, we kind of know how well things are going to turn out, but we don't know in what way it will unfold. In addition, the action sequences have the odd tendency to slow things down just before we find our answers. Still, they're imaginative nonetheless, if not a tad unfortunate when they sacrifice a few of the film's timeless qualities with the addition of CGI.

The City of Ember is flawed, but it's far more than I bargained for. What we find near the end is something unnerving and quite eerie. We get to explore the apocalypse in reverse and fill in those holes left by decision-makers we've never met but have to accept. For video-gamers, this might be Bioshock for tots.

The bottom line is that you could do much worse that go for a children's film featuring a set straight out of Dark City mixed with Brazil, and you don't have to wait to see it on an airplane. I say you see it.

Lizards And Such

I just saw a lizard on the sidewalk in front of my work. It was long, green, and looked like a prime example of what a lizard should be. I was worried someone would come along and crush him, but I also wasn't about to pick up a lizard I had never met before. So for a couple minutes I stood in front of him and stared down as people passed. I secretly hoped someone would stop or say "Whoa, a lizard," but apparently this isn't as uncommon of an occurrence as I thought and I saw at least two people walk by while they chatted on their blue-tooth cell phones completely unfazed by the fact that there was a person in the walkway entranced by a creature on the ground. Such is life.

After a little while I decided it might be best if I left nature to take it's own course, but I couldn't help but gaze upon my lizard friend (I secretly named him Gomez) from afar. I began to wince as an over-weight girl approached, but Gomez hardly flinched as she stepped over him completely unaware. I was impressed with how he was able to keep his cool.

I'll have to check in with him soon.

Face Off

Oh my. It's a second Japanese themed post in two days. A lot has been going on in the land of the rising sun. And in the midst of super-model robots, here comes experimental video artist Daito Manabe with his "Face Visualizer," a device which converts music into electrical impulses connected to the muscles in the face. It's kind of like watching a lava-lamp, except with Japanese people and with strange electronic music. So basically it's awesome.

from pk

And remember that super-model robot I was talking about earlier? I wasn't joking.

I never expected an uprising of robot swimsuit models, but I always kind of hoped.


Japanese Commercial Super Fun Great Time

It's time to play another round of everyone's favorite game. That's right, it's time to guess what product is being advertised in these crazy Japanese advertisements!

The product is:
a. race cars
b. spike tv
c. max coffee
d. illicit drugs
e. transforming human-car robots

Answer: All of the above.

The following "Ski Toilet" is actually part of an advertising campaign in Japan, but what is it selling?

Really your guess is as good as mine. Still, I'm not sure I could sit there and not feel under pressure.

Here's one that I do know.
What is the following product?

a. raisins
b. prunes
c. feces
d. otter boogers
e. beetles

Correct Answer:
D. "Otter Boogers"
According to the website Pink Tentacle, "The protein-packed booger snacks are actually made of amanattō, or candied black beans, and they are quite tasty if you can get over the name." Check out their Gorilla Boogers as well. Or don't. The choice is yours.


Kabluey - Movie Review


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Kabluey doesn't necessarily have hands. For that matter, he doesn't have eyes, ears, or virtually any distinctive traits except for the fact that he's big, blue, and appears to be very soft. His functionality as a mascot is hindered by his lack of opposable thumbs, a key quality for the sake of handing out fliers. Not that any of it really matters though, because Kabluey stands in the middle of a highway next to fields of growing crops. Salman, the man inside of Kabluey, is just as confused in his standing there as anyone else. It's for this reason that people can't help but gravitate towards him.

Kabluey, as a film, is visually distinctive and at times downright surreal. Scattered through its world of suburban neighborhoods and rural highways are fantastic set pieces, such as the seemingly abandoned office building for the company responsible for soliciting Salman to don the blue suit.

As far as humans are concerned, Kabluey is centered around the family of Leslie. She's been rearing her two boys on her own for over a year, after her husband's tour in Iraq was extended. Salman is brought in out of sheer desperation, and his presence doesn't alleviate the stress as much as he magnifies it.

The film is, at times, undeniably hilarious. One bit in particular involving a beer can and a struggling Kabluey was one of the best comedic scenes I have witnessed in a while. At the same time, these set pieces are the life blood of the project, everything in-between are just the organs to keep it pumping. There isn't much of a core struggle or journey, the central character is simply there to function within his boundaries, which even he isn't quite certain of. "I didn't know I could go to the store," he says at one point. Many film's can't pull this off, but Kabluey manages because it has a well meaning heart behind it all.

Unfortunately, Kabluey has several scratches on it's surface which can occasionally mar the experience. While the acting from the central performers is strong overall, there is the occasional player or two who manage to break down the illusion of the world we're observing. There were several shots of the child actors I could easily imagine took several takes before the director shrugged his shoulders and said, "let's just go with that one." I don't blame him, some of the adults are just as stilted. It's a reminder of the relation between script and delivery. The film is well written, but the words have to be the character's own.

Nevertheless, all of these quips are due to the quirks of independent filmmaking, and considering the sheer originality of this work I'm willing to give it more than a few breaks. Kabluey deserves them. It's funny, sweet, and at times very endearing. Had I seen this at a film festival I would have given it top honors. As a rental it's simply fun. See it.


A Follow Up On That Cera Fellow - Chimes Opinion 3/11/09

I had been wondering what was on my girlfriend’s mind all week. Something was bothering her. Knowing everything running through my own mind I could only guess what it was. Was it the unsolved mystery of the numbers from “LOST”? Was she frustrated by online matches in “Call of Duty 4?” Perhaps it was the mysterious and slightly disturbing mold growing inside my refrigerator. Thankfully, she informed me of the object of her grief.

Yes. It seems that the actor Michael Cera has a girlfriend.

the happy couple

For some, males specifically, this bit of information would come as no surprise. However, in the case of my girlfriend, this knowledge is the source of much torment. I understood. After all, imagine what it would be like if the most important person in your life cared for someone else.


Michael Cera’s girlfriend is Charlyne Yi, a talented performer, writer and actress who is, my girlfriend would like to add, also completely unfit for him and totally lame. Her upcoming film, “Paper Heart,” features her and Cera side by aside – as lovers should be – instead of driven apart by sub-par actors who star in mediocre “indie” films like “Juno” that people pretend to enjoy.


The frustrating thing about all of this is that Charlyne Yi and I have so much in common. Other than the fact that she’s both Asian and a woman, we share similar qualities in that we both work in comedy; a Google image search shows that we both have a tendency to wear “wacky” bow-ties; and we’re both probably terrible drivers. To top it off, we’re also both haunted by Michael Cera.

I tried to cheer up my girlfriend the best I could by donning the same tiny yellow running shorts and headband Michael Cera wore in the film “Juno,” but she replied with a depressed, “What’s the point? He’s with her now anyway,” and then downed a box of tropical flavored Tic-Tacs while staring pensively out a window.

I wanted nothing more than for her to be happy. So I started to think, ”What would Charlyne Yi do if Michael Cera had a crush on another actress, let’s say Natalie Portman?” It was then that I started to think, maybe killing Michael Cera wasn’t the answer after all. Maybe the answer … is love.

I decided I needed to push my grievances aside and take this problem to the one man every woman alive loves: Mr. Darcy. Certainly there must be some connection between him and the man from episode 16 season two of “Veronica Mars.” After picking up a copy of “Pride and Prejudice” and realizing how thick it is, and then seeing how many DVDs the television series spanned, I looked at the Wikipedia page.

After changing Mr. Darcy’s name to Poopton Smellsworth on the Wikipedia page, I was informed that the man is virtually nothing like Michael Cera whatsoever. In fact, I just hated Mr. Darcy more than ever. Or perhaps I hated to love him? No. No, it was definitely hate.

suck it Poopton Smellsworth

Then it hit me. In many ways my girlfriend is just like Michael Cera. For example they both wear similar shoes and are women. She’s practically his female equivalent. This bit of knowledge settled in, and suddenly I realized: I am in love in Michael Cera. I like Michael Cera so much I would kiss him on the mouth. With this profound revelation, I returned to her. "I know I'll never be the star of ‘Superbad’ or a child actor in the film ‘Frequency,’” I said, “but you'll always be part of my infinite playlist." With this she gave me a knowing nod and took my hand into her own.


Day By Day - Parent Appreciation Week

Parent Appreciation Week

This week my parents are in town, and what better way is there to appreciate them than showing a little love Day by Day style?

Day One - Dinner with the Parents Night

Nothing says "I appreciate you" quite like being taken out to dinner by your parents. On this night, graciously save a dinner on your meal plan by having your parents take you out to a restaurant. Tell them how much you value their sacrifices as parents over appetizers, a side salad, soup, main course, and dessert. Love is a dish best served cold, with numerous sides. When they then ask for a good night to come over and see where you live, make sure to cough violently into a napkin.

Day Two - Frantically Clean up Your Life Day

You're a college student. That means everything is a mess. Be it society, the economy or just your room. Especially your room. On this day, try to make your life as presentable as possible. Discover exactly how much room there is underneath your bed after cramming every single loose object underneath it. Remove light bulbs to mask the disorder and chaos with comforting low lighting. Place tape over the cap of a Febreze bottle and then toss it like a home-made scent grenade into your bathroom. Remember, if it smells clean, it's clean enough.

the smell of success

Day Three - Make Dinner for Your Parents Night

Show your parents how you feast like a king by making them dinner. Although it may take several hours slaving over the stove, it'll be worth it when your parents get the first taste of your finely prepared "beef flavored" Cup Noodles. Time may have refined their tastes, but nothing can prepare them for the joy to be found in a bag of Bugles and two gallons of Arizona green tea. All common reasoning and good sense may say no, but their stomachs will be screaming for more.

Day Four - Introduce Your Roommates Day

You can't hide the people you live with from your parents forever. So on this day introduce your parents to the host of characters who populate your life. Begin by trying to explain your roommate's online poker-playing strategy and voracious appetite for Nutri-Grain cereal bars, and then give up halfway through. This also serves as a great opportunity to place blame on those you live with if your parents happen to question why the bathroom is reeking of an overpowering scent of Febreze.

Day Five - Defend Your Plans for the Future Day

For some reason beyond me, everyone wants to know what will happen with their investment. On this day, try to defend your plans for the future when your parents ask you what you're thinking about doing after graduation. Anything along the lines of "getting paid" is generally favorable. Anything along the lines of "hitchhiking to Alaska and starving off of poisonous mushrooms" is generally not. Avoid explaining your online-poker scheme and instead refer to your personal goals as "investments." Although you might be investing a lot into Call of Duty 4 lately, it's only a matter of time before it pays off big time.

Day Six - Sad Farewell Day

Although having your parents around may be a scary, tense or stressful experience, it's always sad to see them go. Give them a hug (or a fist bump to show respect) and tell them you love them. Don't feel like you have to go overboard, however, because they'll certainly be calling you within the next five minutes to remind you to wash your underwear instead of just spraying them with Febreeze, as you have been doing for the past week and a half.


Disneyland Day

The most magical thing about Disneyland? I'd say it's the vicious evil Yeti's churning the caramel popcorn at various carts near the Matterhorn.


Poisonous caramel popcorn, no doubt.
Delicious poisonous caramel popcorn...

We may be enjoying our scrumptious treats now, but someday these Yeti's will revolt. And when they do there will be hell to pay my friends. Hell to pay...


She is

the best.

Solid Snake Goes To Ikea

There's a man in here.

Here too.

he's from Urban Camouflage.

"Urban Camouflage deals with the question how to camouflage
oneself and one’s identity in the urban space. Our costumes are
inspired by the «ghillie suits», the military camouflage suit. It was
an adventure to wear the suit in the stores because of the conflicts
with the employees, the reaction of the customers and also to see
the pretty well camouflage effect in a real situation."


Day By Day - Video Games Week (Chimes 3/4/09)

Chimes Day by Day
by Zach Newcott

Video Games Week

For many, Video Games Week lasts the whole year. Meanwhile, this week the rest of the world gets to relish in the joys of digital violence. Cherish it, world. This one’s for you.

Monday - Grand Theft Auto Day

Take a break from your busy chapel schedule to steal a cab, use said cab to blow up a gas station, and then drive said burning cab into a Hospital waiting room where it too will explode. It’s the little things in life that matter most, and Grand Theft Auto lets you do all of them, which may or may not be a healthy experience. So far, Biola has yet to outlaw breaking the contract in a digital world, so I say go nuts. Enjoy yourself.

Tuesday - Call of Duty 4 Day

On this day defend our country the only way you know how, by breaking every rule set into place by the Geneva Conventions with Call of Duty 4. Spend countless hours throwing grenades and fighting threats of terrorism before throwing down your controller and asking yourself what all this fighting is for. Be sure to stare at yourself in a mirror, give yourself a pensive stare, before breaking said mirror as a symbolism for the mindless acts of violence in the world. Then go back to playing.

Wednesday - Halo Day

Remind yourself how much better you than an average 11 year old by playing an online multiplayer death match. If they scream, or giggle, into your headset as they pummel you, just remind yourself that with age comes wisdom. Rather than share this wisdom, just park your character into a corner and snipe bullets for a few minutes. Sometimes you just have to play dirty.

Thursday - Barbie Princess Hello Kitty Pony Day

of course it would be for the wii...

Men, get in touch with your feminine side by playing a video game that was clearly never meant to be played. Anything with “ponies” “barbie” or “hello kitty” will do. Just look for a box with pink designs on it. As you play, remember that your comfortable with yourself and your own identity. Although the experience may be disturbing, or painful, just remind yourself that you can go back to running over pedestrians in Grand Theft Auto at any time, but this one’s for the ladies.

Friday - Super Smash Brothers Day

Get together with the “Bros.” to play the “Nintendo Bros” in Super Smash. Try not to get bothered by the fact that Nintendo only has five or six actual characters to choose from and countless other useless ones. Just pick Kirby and do your thing. Bond with your friends until realizing that one of them has spent several hundred hours more than you playing. Then turn on him.

Weekend - Left Behind: The Video Game Day


On the weekend remind yourself that you’re back at Biola by playing one of the arguably worst games in the history of video gaming. That’s right, play Left Behind: The Video Game. The game based upon the novels based upon the Bible. If anything it will inspire you to go back to studying, which might just make it the best source of motivation possible.



Ori Gersht

He might just be one of my favorite video artists.

It's a beautiful thing.

A video of his work "Big Bang" is viewable here, but doesn't quite provde the same viewing experience. The first time I viewed it at the Hirshhorn gallery in DC it took me a while to realize that the porait was not only moving, but wasn't a portrait at all.

A Free Lunch - Chimes Article 03/01

A Free Lunch

I can’t count the number of times I have been told that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but this week I want to ask you a question in response. And that question is, “really?”

Come on. Really? Honestly? Let’s get real here. Come on. Seriously.

When I was checking my junk mail a few days ago I came across a scrumptious coupon for a free Quizno’s sandwich. I myself, being both hungry and very cheap, viewed this as an ideal opportunity to satiate my need and want for food.

Being a reasonable man, I did what anyone would do and sent additional free coupons to two or three of my other e-mail addresses before printing them. This is, after all, America. I then took one of said coupons to my local Quizno’s sandwich shop.

It was then that disaster struck.

Apparently that little phrase at the bottom of the coupon that says “offer only valid at PARTICIPATING stores” means that no stores actually participate. When I held up my black-and-white printed coupon (color cartridges cost a mint these days) my joyful expression was met by an employee repeatedly tapping a sign that read “No Free Sandwich Coupons.”

In retrospect, I might have over-reacted when, in response. I punched the stand of Sun Chips and then swiped my arms across the counter while screaming “You KILLED the dream! You monsters! You butchers!” The whole situation reached a tumultuous climax when I slammed my hand down on the rotating sandwich oven and kept eye contact with one Quizno’s employee for an expressionless 30 seconds. I was burned. Burned bad. Both emotionally and physically. I was also still hungry.

Not one to actually spend five bucks on a meal, I continued on my way. My Tom-Tom GPS said there was another Quizno’s only four miles down the road.

Unfortunately, it seems that Quizno’s corporate offices have been making major cutbacks on their expansion, probably as a result of their decision to give away free sandwiches rather than accepting money for them, because when I arrived at the next “Quizno’s” I found an abandoned building. Looking inside, I saw a hobo warming his hands from the decrepit sandwich oven.

“Excuse me, kind old sir, do you know where the Quizno’s is?” I asked him.

“It’s right here,” he said, pointing to his head, “In your mind.”

“No, I mean the sandwich store,” I clarified.

“Oh yeah, they shut it down,” he nodded.

Blast! Fooled again! But I had come too far to give up. I was past the point of no return. There was no way I was going back to work without a free lunch.

Legends had told me of a mythical Quizno’s that lay in the realm of an office building lobby. It was a solid twenty minutes away, but I knew I could make the trek. I put on my snow galoshes just in case; the weather here in Southern California is as unpredictable as a minx.

Long was the drive, but I pulled up to the Quizno’s and blew the dust off the door handle before entering. Clearly this place had withstood the test of time.

“Don’t be alarmed,” I told them. “But I have come for a turkey bacon guacamole sandwich. A free turkey bacon guacamole sandwich.”

They nodded knowingly and, as if reading my next thought, they replied, “Would you like onions on that?”

“No,” I said, “I want EVERYTHING.”

Later that day, as I filled my empty gas tank from the long journey, I rubbed my stomach with the satisfied knowledge that, yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch.