Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review: Monster Mash

I don't think we'd have even heard of the movie if it weren't on a two-sided DVD that included Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman on it. Heck, I'm surprised it managed to get a stand-alone release last year at all.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Questionable Advertising: Big Lots

General Mills:

"Hey baby, I'm filled with healthy whole grains!"


"Cars bring people together!"

And also: "Our car is lighter than air and may carry you off into space!"

I'm really disturbed by this trend of ads featuring non-existent social outrage. Remember that "Free Wilbur" (or whatever) campaign for the Charlotte's Web movie? I can't imagine how many darned kids got worked up by that and started protesting some ill-defined injustice towards a fictional pig.

Just think of how many idiots who like eating their meals standing up will start ranting to their friends and family about the so-called prejudice towards "free eaters" in the coming months. A lot of people might get turned off of Hot Pockets...

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I've come to prefer milk over dark, although dark still has its good points. I just prefer my chocolate to be creamy, while the darkest of chocolates tend to be more like a "I dare you" food, like Moxie.

Out of all dark chocolates, I like Hershey's Special Dark the best. It has a nice balance.

I like peanuts and chocolate better than almonds and chocolate. Mr. Goodbar is one of my favorites. Normally I don't like chocolates with a lot of nuts, especially not walnuts. I also like chocolate with fruit quite a bit.

Most often, I like chewing my chocolate rather than letting it melt on my tongue. I get the full impact of its flavor that way. I have noticed, though, that because of dark chocolate's richer, earthier flavor, I do tend to eat it a bit more slowly.

That said, while Hershey's had significantly improved in recent years because of its gourmet competitors, I do prefer European chocolates over most commercial American chocolates. See's is the best American brand, I think- the coating of nostalgia adds to it as well.

Then again, what do I know? I'm of the male gender.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Haunted Front Porch

One skill I've been honing is the art of genuinely scaring people. I don't mean what people nowadays call "scary"- huge, loud, in-your-face screaming bloody murder with gore everywhere, eliciting a knee-jerk response- I mean real, honest-to-goodness FEAR.
You see, most modern horror movies I've seen- as well as most elaborate Halloween decorations and haunted house attractions- seem to think that the more screams you get, the scarier it is. Well, I suppose in the broadest sense, that sort of thing IS scary... but some butt-ugly brownish-red heavy metal album rubber mask jumping out at you and making loud noises is about as subtle as saying "Boo!". Also, it seems like your easiest target is teenage girls, who scream at the slightest thing, and your core audience is people who have become numb to the scares and bloodthirsty for a morbid thrill.
What the horror genre today lacks most is subtlety and atmosphere. Fear is a primitive emotion- one that takes control of the simplest of creatures. It's a rather strange formula that I've conjured up, but once you wrap your brain around it, it makes sense: Since fear is primitive, the things that scare you most are primitive. In order to be subtle, you must be minimalist, rather than over-the-top. Think about what scared you as a child: strange, uncertain noises, dark shadows, blood, sharp objects, aggression, isolation... all of these are the forbidden, the primal, the unexplainable, the seemingly impossible, the unknown. What happens nowadays is that people focus on the payoff- the scream- so everyone believes that they must make it louder, crazier, more precarious, more extreme in order to have louder screams in larger quantities.

Therein lies the problem- the scream is the RELEASE. Screaming relieves the tensions built up after waiting for something to happen. This is actually something I figured out after watching The Tingler. Fear is actually an anticipatory feeling, and the scream isn't the fear itself. That, my ghoulish friends, is what I focus on when I work in the horror genre- creating an atmosphere that suggests that something is terribly wrong and is about to jump out and get you. I kind of let my "victims" decide what to scream at.
Since the horror genre tends to be in a visual medium, I've had some difficulty doing it in prose, although I seem to do well in poetry. But I really shine- even if I do say so myself- when I decorate for Halloween and dress up.

Halloween, to me, is a time to indulge your naughty side a little bit. I don't mean sinning, like dressing suggestively or glorifying violence- I mean your inner mischief maker. Making a little bit of harmless trouble- that is, scaring people and delighting in macabre humor- is what Halloween is all about for me. It's all about fun!
As you may have guessed, I'm a traditionalist for the most part when it comes to the horror genre. I like my vampires Bela Lugosi-flavored, and my werewolves beastly. My family takes this approach when we decorate for Halloween- our house is becomes a good old-fashioned haunted house. We've tweaked, developed, and finely-tuned the way we do it over the years, and you know what? It works really darn well. A little too well, in fact.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

NBC uses stealth advertising?

I just put on my headphones and found that a looping ad for NBC's prime time show lineup was playing. I couldn't find any source of the audio in any of the tabs I had open in Safari, even though it sounded like the soundtrack to a video. I finally had to restart Safari to make it stop. All the tabs open now are exactly the same as when the sound was playing, but the ad has not reappeared.

A bug? Or something else? I find it highly suspicious.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mmm... silky smooth!

Whenever the phrase "silky smooth" is used to describe food- especially chocolate- I can't help but think of the times I've had actual silk in my mouth. (At least I think it was silk...) It's grainy.

I just find it weird that the smoothness silk has when you touch it with your fingers is supposed to translate to when you touch it with tongue...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

When The Bee Gees Greatest Hits is greater than that pretentious Sgt. Pepper garbage

Wanna see the saddest people in the world? Go to Amazon, click your way to a masterpiece, and check out the 1-star reviews. Then look at what they give raving reviews to.

I seem to recall one of the most disturbing ones I found was this ugly obese man whose entire wishlist consisted of sex toys. D:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You can call me "Flower" if you want to, hon!

You know, I swear to God that I thought Flower from Disney's Bambi was a girl. The high-pitched, giggly, effeminate voice, the bashful behavior, the name... I mean, nothing quite says "masculinity" than naming yourself after a dainty, brightly-colored plant. He had pronounced eyelashes, for God's sake! In the '40s, this screamed of the more delicate "weaker sex".

So imagine my surprise after not seeing Bambi for many years and seeing Flower fall for a girl who was even more effeminate, which was somehow possible. I honestly thought Flower was a girl, and I didn't remember that scene. The way he shrugs and laughs nervously at the other two makes me think that he's trying to say "Whaddya know! I have testosterone!"

Of course, it also brings up the possibility that he's saying "Whaddya know! I'm straight!"