Monday, December 28, 2015
The respected and trustworthy news network Al-Jazeera has released documents and testimony accusing Peyton Manning and others of using performance-enhancing drugs like human growth hormone. That athletes who get paid millions of dollars to perform would consider using PEDs is still a shock to some people, apparently, despite the fact that most of the football players we idolize are doubtlessly running diabol cycles and gobbling up horse testicular extract like it's nectar of the gods. Since people have some interesting ideas on what PEDs actually do, I thought I'd list a few of the wonderful things human growth hormone allows Peyton Manning to do on a daily basis. Remember, kids: You can break the all-time passing yards record too if you smother yourself with anabolic cream! Or actually, you probably can't.
After Peyton eats HGH, he is often hungry for hours. The only thing that can satiate his mad hunger is a large pepperoni pizza from Papa Johns, delivered by the Papa himself.
While on some delicious HGH, Peyton Manning has a habit of grabbing random people and pulling his shorts down so that he can sit on their faces and rub his genitals and anus rhythmically over their mouths. This tradition started at the University of Tennessee.
HGH made Peyton Manning donate tons of money to Republican candidates, like former Law and Order star Fred Thompson.
HGH makes Peyton Manning's farts smell like death.
After rubbing himself all over with HGH, Peyton Manning sings the State Farm jingle over and over until he falls asleep.
HGH numbs Peyton Manning's tolerance to pain, allowing him to inject himself with more HGH.
After taking HGH, Peyton Manning has to visit a witch doctor to cure him of his HGH gut.
HGH is responsible for Peyton's commitment to Christ, allowing him to open his heart and let Jesus in there so that he gets into heaven with all the other rich folk.
Without HGH, Peyton Manning would forget how to tie his shoes. He would run around with his shoe laces flopping around. It would be terribly embarrassing.
HGH gave Peyton Manning a laser rocket arm, making him more machine than man.
HGH preserves Peyton Manning's libido, allowing him to procreate and produce more Peyton Mannings.
If Peyton Manning didn't have HGH, his head would fall off of his body and roll around on the ground like a bouncy rubber ball.
Peyton Manning has to take HGH to remove all traces of his upper-class, east-coast accent. HGH is why Peyton Manning sounds like a hillbilly.
Without HGH, Peyton Manning would die.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
What do you want out of life? That's what new year's resolutions are really about, right? With the first day of 2016 rapidly approaching, I take a good, hard look at what I'd like to change about myself, as well as what's important. Actually, fuck that. Here's a stupid list of things that I'd like to do during the thirty-first year of my life.
1. Spend more time drinking better beer. I was raised on the High Life, and I still drink it religiously, and just like religion, I drink it more because I've always drank it rather than because I truly believe in it. I don't want to turn into one of those beer snobs, I just don't want the majority of the beer I drink to be High Life, Miller Lite, or Pabst. This resolution sounds doable.
2. Stop wasting time on the Internet. Jesus, this one is going to be difficult. Every time I click a link to Cracked, Fangraphs, or Rock Paper Shotgun, I get a little dopamine fix. I can spend hours shifting between a handful of websites, not really reading anything, just scanning the pages, my ADD doing its thing. What the hell happened to our brains? Somebody ought to go back in time and assassinate Al Gore, terminator-style.
3. Get back in touch with my creative side. It's been ages since I wrote a song, or completed a story. Apophenia sits on the back burner, waiting for 2016 to arrive so that I can try to push it to literary agents. Since I finished it, I haven't started on a real project. My horror story Wolf wrote itself into a hole. There have been a few short stories and poems, but nothing really substantial. Is it important that I write? I know it is. It has nothing to do with publishing a book or developing an audience. It's about trying to capture how life really is, for this one person, during this particular time. Without art, we are all just automatons going through the motions.
4. Break the two-twenty barrier. And do it without becoming a huge lard ass, or getting a dad-bod.
5. Get my dog Napoleon a new hair cut. Little guy needs his tail fur recrimped.
6. Destroy the deer infestation that threatens my livelihood and my future, no matter the costs.
7. Reestablish that the price truly is right.
8. Never watch another Adam Sandler movie again, unless someone is pointing a gun at my head.
9. Start a religious cult with the dual purpose of taking over the world and making as much money as possible.
10. Discover the meaning of life. Wait, I already did that. You're supposed to procreate, therefore spreading your genetic material, and then you are free to check out. Done!
11. Make the Pointless Podcast the most popular thing on Youtube. I guess I'm going to have to start inserting laughing cats and/or more boobies into my audio-only podcast.
12. Complete The Brothers Karamazov.
13. Finish my upstairs bathroom.
14. Get a new cat, one that doesn't shit in the house.
15. Think of a manly-man's name, one that goes well with Sauerhage.
16. Give the Goon a life that's worth living, the poor bastard.
I give up. That's all I got.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Pointless Venture puts out so much great content, you can't be expected to consume it all. That's why I'm composing a 2015 best-of list, so that you can have a little bit of mirth to brighten your day. These are my favorite posts of the year. I hope you enjoyed them.
Back in January, the Goon wonder if his life was a composite of Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes.
In February, he wondered if the Duggers would inherit the earth.
March brought a 400 lbs squat, as well as the sugar plum dance of the gainz fairy.
April was full of rainy showers, and brought us three great posts. John Kruc shared his tips on becoming an eating champion, you were welcomed to fart city, and we wondered whether Batman's superpower is male white privilege.
May rated the WWE's roster by their stench, and wondered whether Game of Thrones is terrible.
June gave us a dead-on summary of True Detective's disappointing second season.
July let us know how Dean Ambrose does things Natty style, and gave us selected farmers' only profiles.
August brought us the first episode of the Pointless Podcast, the internet's most pointless podcast, as well as some inspirational quotes from Mitch R. Singer.
The Goon thought about butts a lot in September.
Curt Schilling wanted everybody to know that he's an asshole in October, and you were treated to the Pointless Podcast Episode Three Parts One and Two.
November had Bulksgiving, my favorite holiday.
December showed everyone how to get real heel heat.
Thanks to all of my loyal readers, all twenty of you. May you have a merry Christmas.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
2015 is winding down, and so it is time to award the best games of the year. I spent most of my gaming time playing just two titles, so this isn't going to be a lengthy list.
My third-best game of the year: Ark: Survival Evolved. A Steam early-access title that isn't even at the alpha stage yet, Ark is already very popular, due to its surprisingly underused premise. People love dinosaurs: that a bad movie like Jurassic World could set box office records proves as much. Ark lets you tame Tyrannosaurs and giant sharks, while crafting settlements and weapons in a huge open world. The survival mechanics need a little tweaking, however; everything is way too grindy for the casual player. Also, there's no way to protect your settlements when you log off a server. I played mostly in singleplayer, which is fun, but it lacks the tribe aspect of the game, and certain perks are locked. Performance is terrible, which is to be expected in a pre-alpha game. Still, it lets you ride dinosaurs, and surely the devs will spend some of their considerable funds to improve the game. Recommended for dinosaurs lovers and people with a lot of free time.
My second-best game of the year: Fallout 4. Fallout 4 is much more enjoyable when you realize that it isn't an RPG, but an open world first-person shooter with RPG trappings. This isn't a title interested in letting you create a character; in Fallout 4, YOU are the primary character. Like Skyrim, Bethesda have simplified old features and removed several systems entirely in order to create a more streamlined experience. Still, this is game with a lot of faults. The conversation system is the worst I've ever experienced. The graphics engine is very dated, essentially looking not much better than five-year old Skyrim while performing much worse. Bugs and crashes are plentiful. Did you like Fallout 3? This is a better Fallout 3. Don't go in expecting Fallout 1/2 or an actual RPG.
Best game of the year: The Witcher 3. The Witcher 3 proves Bethesda wrong; it is possible to make a huge, detailed world and fill it with meaningful quests and characters. Unlike Fallout 4, the Witcher 3 is about playing as Geralt, not as yourself. Though it is perhaps a little too long, and the plot a little too meandering, the Witcher 3 is full of interesting things to do. The Bloody Baron quest is perhaps the best quest in all of gaming history. Graphically, this is a beautiful game. A true classic.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Here are all the additional things you notice on a second viewing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
You notice that Harrison Ford films all of his scenes from the waist up, because he refused to wear pants during filming.
You notice that Chewbacca has a heart tattoo around his biceps that says "Priscilla."
You see J.J. Abrams in the bar scene sniffing a huge pair of alien panties.
Daniel Craig makes a cameo as James Bond in the middle of a blaster battle. Don't know how I missed this the first time.
Luke Skywalker is actually present the entire movie, he just walks around in the background with a box over his head, holding a sign that says "Don't look at me, I'm hideous!"
Darth Vader appears as a tiny force ghost that sits on Kylo Ren's shoulder in some scenes, just for a second. You can't hear what he's saying, but I bet it is bad stuff.
You notice that Snoke is a hologram and probably not thirty feet tall.
You notice that the children in front of you behaved worse on a second viewing, and now you're going to have to do something about it.
I saw Satanic messages flash in between frames every so often. Didn't notice that happening as much during my first viewing.
Han Solo whispers something to Princess Leia about still having the metal bikini. Maybe I made this one up, not sure.
Lando Calrissian is actually in the movie, he's just played by another black guy called Finn.
I'm pretty sure I saw George Lucas in the theater. He was crying and repeating "It's supposed to rhyme, like poetry!" over and over again. Might have been a hallucination.
Didn't notice that Luke mouths "My baby girl!" in that last scene with Rey.
Noticed that I smell really bad and need to take a shower. Still haven't gotten on that.
Jar Jar Binks looks a lot different in this film. Missed him the first time.
I saw money spilling out of the movie screen, like billions of dollars, billions of dollars. I know that didn't happen the first time. Or maybe it did.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Perhaps you've heard of a little indie flick called "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." The Critic is not sure; he knows his audience is composed of intellectuals and aficionados of art-house cinema. Regardless, the demands of my position require me on occasion to examine popular culture, despite my distaste for anything as populist as Star Wars.
The Force Awakens is Disney's attempt to jumpstart the franchise after purchasing it from George Lucas for five billion dollars (I'm not joking, they really paid that much). Although the prequel trilogy made bank, Star Wars suffered in both the popular and critical mind. You can't undo something like Jar Jar Binks, nor can you reverse the pussification (yes, I just coined that word) of an iconic villain like Darth Vader. Thankfully, Episode 7 is a good movie. Unlike any of the prequels, it is competently written, acted, and filmed, though it is not without its problems.
Foremost, this film is basically a remake of Star Wars: A New Hope. We have an everyman protagonist (Daisy Ridley's Rey, our Luke analogue) marooned on a desert planet, who meets up with a scoundrel with a heart of gold (John Boyega's Finn, sort of a Han Solo-type) who's on the run from the First Order, the successors of the Empire. Together, they steal the Millennium Falcon, which leads to an encounter with Han Solo (playing the mentor role similar to the original's Obi-Wan), who takes the duo under his wing. The final act sees our heroes uniting with the Resistance (the Rebel Alliance) to destroy a new superweapon while battling the villainous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who is something of a cross between Darth Vader and the prequels' sulking Anakin Skywalker. The Force Awakens also moves very fast, with very little time for reflection or character dialogue. If you've seen Mad Max: Fury Road, you'll recognize a similarity in pacing. Essentially, Episode 7 is A New Hope for the ADD generation. However, all the newcomers, especially Boyega and Driver, do very well and inspire more emotion from the audience than any character from the prequels (other than Jar Jar, of course). Rey, though likable, is somewhat of a Mary Sue type. Unlike Luke, who doesn't fully develop until Return of the Jedi, Rey goes from a naive scavenger to a bad ass pilot to a force-user capable of defeating Kylo Ren, who is built up as something of a dark-side savant. Spoiler: he's the grandson of Darth Vader.
Despite its faults, The Force Awakens is the Star Wars movie Star Wars fans expected and desired. It does play it safe, but that doesn't mean it isn't a vastly-entertaining flick.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Heres Uncle Thom and his cats, his best beloveds.
Woowhee, it's almost Christmas time, folks! Teh most wunderful time of teh yeare! I gots the stockings hung from da mantle in teh Goon household, and we've tried our damndest not to burn down teh Christmas bush liek last time. Slack an Willy have stayed outta jail, an everthing looks to be just bout perfect. What ya'll think yull get fere Christmas? Maybe yull get an orange or a bag of nuts liek I did last yeare, or maybe yull get some used bullet casing to turn in fere a little extra cash! I tell ya, the best Christmas present I ever gots was a postcard from a hooker in Minneanapolis, though it was really fere Willy, but I kept it anyways. It smelled like honey and cigarette butts, an from now till teh end of time, I will always get an erection from smellin' those two smells.
Teh hardest person to buy fere in my family is my Uncle Thom. He's a man who has everything, ya know? He's got twenty cats and a rape hole an a whole trailer full of weird porn. ONe year we bought 'em a stuffed leprechaun but he got scared when he saw 'em and threw it in the woods an now it stalks teh forests when teh moon is full. I usually always get 'em a new cat, since he goes through cats liek I go threw underware. His heart isn't doing so well right now, though, since his faverote cat, Stupid, just died of pleurisy. Old Thom tried to drown stupid ten times an teh old bugger kept coming back, so that's why he named 'em stupid. I think one of 'em wood elves stuck a rocket to his backside cuz we found him wit a hole in his ass as big as barn. Gotta watch out fere teh wood elves.
Monday, December 14, 2015
You know what I don't like to read? Modern poetry. It's the literary equivalent to masturbation. That doesn't stop me from writing it every now and then, however. Here are a couple poems I composed.
How I See It
Drawing circles in the ground,
A stick jutting from our hand,
A bone lodged in between our teeth,
Suddenly we see it;
A pagan God,
Made of twigs as fragile as bird bones.
We admire it, taken by its skinless beauty,
Marveling briefly at the essence of things.
He speaks; she speaks; then we all babble
Arguing over the meaning of a stack of twigs.
Eventually they desecrate it,
Snapping its limbs over our knees,
Leaving the dead to lie in broken sleep.
All that's left
Is a scattered collection of dust.
At the Market
Apples by the bushel
What a hustle.
Four foot and hand under wing
Came they of the water
Came they from a fire
Came they from the air
Came they from the dust
Their wheels kept turning
And the bones kept forming
Flesh on dry, splintered bones
Skin on red, raw flesh
Man, lion, ox, and eagle
And the wheels stopped turning
The dry bones were bones no longer
What could I say to this host?
Born of my blasphemy
My false prayer
And my burning?
I turned from them
And fled the valley
Without gnarled stick
Without a pure heart
Dry bones they are to me
And dry bones they will be
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Arnold: Well, boys and girls, it's been a long time since we've answered the questions of the ravenous internet horde. While you all were playing Call of Duty and shitting your pants, we've been in the weight room, pumping iron, getting bigger, stronger, and faster. Dave here finally pulled six-hundred pounds. Congrats, Dave. You're officially a man.
Dave: Thanks, brother. I think my cajones have increased in diameter since.
Arnold: Better have that checked out. That sounds like cancer.
TrutherSutherland asks "Who are you guys going to vote for in the Presidential election?"
Arnold: Jesus, that's not until next year. I don't know if I'll even be alive next year.
Dave: Donald Trump. Because he's an asshole, and that's exactly what this country full of assholes needs. An asshole should rule over all the other assholes. That's my logic, at least.
Arnold: Donald Trump is a demagogue who will bring about the end of days. Can you imagine a country run by Trump? It would be like something out of one of Neal Stephenson's books. Who really wants to live in a sci-fi dystopia? It won't be fun. Not for most of you.
Dave: But Trump capitalizes on my fears and prejudices. He's tired of pussy politicians. He says what he thinks.
Arnold: The more outrageous his comments, the more the media echos him. He's got them fooled. They're creating a monster.
Dave: He's really no worse than Ted Cruz.
Arnold: Ted Cruz has the world's most punchable face. You could get little kids to curb-stomp Ted Cruz. Mother Teresa would put her boot in his ugly mug.
Dave: No Hillary for President?
Arnold: I can't believe you'd suggest it. I know that you believe she's part of the Reptilian New Order from Alpha Draconis. She's a goddamn lizard woman, Dave.
Dave: Oh yeah. Well, I guess it's Trump then.
LucasIsGod asks "Are you guys going to see the new Star Wars movie?"
Arnold: Fuck yeah.
Dave: I dunno. The last three kind of ruined Star Wars for me.
Arnold: But George doesn't have anything to do with this one.
Dave: Doesn't he? Is the prequel trilogy still canon?
Dave: So Darth Vader is still an idiot pussy boy who waxes poetic about sand?
Arnold: What's your point.
Dave: I'm saying the damage that the prequels did to the mythos of Star Wars is irreversible. They were poorly-written, badly-filmed, and absolutely boring to watch. They undid the magic of the original trilogy. "Wars do not make one great," says Yoda in Empire. Well, shit, Yoda, then why were you bouncing around like a muppet on speed, throwing force lightning at the Emperor like a level 20 space wizard in Revenge of the Sith? Midichlorians, Arnold? Fucking midichlorians?!
Arnold: I sense a disturbing amount of nerd rage in you.
Dave: Lucas raped my childhood!
Arnold: No, that guy's name was Frank. And that's a shit argument. It's a goddamn movie, one that you and too many people are far too nostalgic about. I think you should just go to the theater and chill out.
Dave: If Jar Jar is in it, somebody dies.
Trying2BeRipped asks "Is winter time the best time to add some mass, bros? Should I stop counting calories and just try to pack on the pounds?"
Arnold: This guy sounds like he's going to fat-fuck himself.
Dave: He's going to eat cheese cake and flex his fat in the mirror and then post it on Instagram.
Arnold: Christmas dinner is coming up. That's a good time to cheat.
Dave: If you want to add muscular mass, then you're going to have to eat. Some fat is going to be added along the way. No man should pass above twenty percent body fat, however. Just eat a little more than you usually do and lift heavy.
Arnold: I add a little weight during the winter, whether I want to or not.
Dave: I know you do, fat boy. Until next time, internet.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
This is an incomplete story about the Goon, everyone's favorite hillbilly stereotype. Still working on it, and it's a little rough, but I haven't posted any writings in a while, so here you go. The piece was inspired by a trip to my local IGA, though, contrary to popular belief, I am not the Goon.
The Goon steers his ancient pickup truck into the parking lot of Al's Grocery and puts it in park, his right eye twitching, the great mole that rests in the center of his forehead peering out into the sodium light like a cyclopean sentry. A cigarette smolders in between his fat lips; on the stereo Hank Williams plays, his voice cracking and surrounded by universes of static distortion. There's a gun in his glove compartment, a thirty-eight caliber snub-nosed revolver that he stole from an acquaintance at a party. He has fired it only a handful of times, testing it out at his buddy Troy's house, shooting the small weapon at a series of cans lined up before a hillside, five yards back, and missing all but once. “You can't hit shit with one of those,” said Troy, blaming the design and the caliber. Oh well thought the Goon at the time. He wasn't counting on being accurate at five yards. Outside, the air is cool, frosting on the windshields of stagnant vehicles, the moon shining bright through the darkness of the winter evening. He turns down the heat and leans back in his seat, watching, waiting, a cool detachment coming over him like a marijuana fog. Wednesday night. Nothing to do. He wonders what she's thinking of behind the register, wearing a smirk on her face as the patrons shuffle through, purchasing lottery tickets and cigarettes. God damn woman he thinks, a bit of anger swelling up like heartburn, acidic and burning. He'd been cheated on before; he'd cheated on a couple of girlfriends himself. But this was different. How, he didn't know, but he felt it, felt that he'd been terribly wronged. A part of him whispered that seventeen year-old girls don't know any better. Whatever. He opens the glove compartment and takes the pistol, hiding it in his sleeve, and gets out of the truck.
“Hey buddy,” says a voice behind him. He jumps, turning around with his fists raised. It's a girl, pale, clad in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, her eyes possessing the glazed stare of a methadone addict. Jesus. There are people behind her, other young people, younger than the Goon, all of them methheads by the look of it.
“You got a cigarette?” asks the girl.
“I don't smoke,” says the Goon, taking the cigarette out of his mouth and tossing it onto the ground.
“Looks like you do,” says the girl.
“Nu-uh. I just quit.”
They walk past him, marching like a horde toward the grocery store, perhaps planning on shoplifting. She'll know what to do with 'em thinks the Goon. Their kind inhabits the town like an invasive species. He doesn't like their being in the grocery; they are an unpredictable element, although the Goon isn't exactly convinced that he is going to do what he has planned on doing. He's told himself repeatedly that he is going to do it, that he is going to take the pistol and press it up against Trevor Billingsley and blow a hole in his guts, but who knows what will happen. During his twenty-four years on Earth he's learned that you can tell yourself that you are going to do something and you can still fail to do it. Were he more philosophically-inclined, such an observation might prompt the Goon to consider the nature of will. Though his hands have started to shake somewhat, he does feel like an automaton, a mere passenger along for the ride.
He steps forward, moving through the parking lot, his eyes fixated on the entrance. At the sliding doors a kid smokes while leaning against a pile of street salt, a little dark-skinned kid about fourteen or fifteen, maybe Hispanic, though the Goon can't tell. The kid eyes him with an unwavering stare, a plain challenge, his boldness a product of the same hormonal changes that have sprouted a pencil mustache above his upper lip. The Goon wonders how quickly that stare would change if he pointed the revolver at the kid, but he doesn't do it; instead, he stares right back, his spastic eye trembling. The sliding doors open; still he looks at the kid, who has yet to cease staring at him. He's seen this kid around town before, sometimes walking with other delinquents, but mostly moving by himself, shuffling down the sidewalks, always on the move, always looking for something to do, something to distract him from his meaningless existence. The kid lives up in those cheap apartments on the hillside next to the park. There used to be a gazebo in the park, but they tore it down because the teenagers used it as a haven for pot smoking and screwing. The insolent look the kid's wearing makes the Goon want to shove his face into the concrete. What's wrong with these kids, he thinks. He wants to say something, wants to do something, but his mission prevents it, and once again, he's powerless, fighting against impulse, an impotent lug with a mole on his forehead and an inaccurate hand cannon hiding up his sleeve. Maybe he should turn back; maybe this was a terrible idea. Finally the kid blinks and looks to his right, out at the street, and the Goon takes the opportunity and vanishes into the grocery store, banishing his thoughts.
Lucille is at the register, her hair skunk-like, black and streaked with white. She shows no look of recognition as he walks past. The methheads gather in front of the deli to order chicken gizzards and day-old macaroni; one of them has a poorly-hid package of hamburger emerging from his back pocket. As he passes, he gets a good whiff of them, their stench a mix of onions and rotting garbage. The milk of human kindness, he thinks suddenly, confused, rambling toward the dairy aisle, his gaze fixed ahead, searching, looking for him or her. She smokes out back; that's probably where they are, sharing their break together amongst the insipid pools of trash water and stacked bins, their noses pinched, their hands entwined, their lips speaking cliches and making no attempts at poetry. Not that the Goon has any use for poetry; he never did very well in English class back in high school, and his last encounter with verse dates back to Junior year. He never understood the purpose of poetry; it seemed such a silly thing, the jumbling of words. Nothing more than a waste of time. His boss, old Sam, divides activities into two categories: things worth doing, and things that ain't worth doing. Poetry fits into the former.
As he rounds the corner of the dairy aisle, the Goon almost collides with a motorized scooter. Its occupant is a morbidly obese woman with great baggy jowls and thick, club-like feet, her eyes hidden behind a protruding, corpulent brow. The flesh of her arms sags like plastic bags full of water; her sleeveless t-shirt is covered in stains. A reek hangs in the air, a putrid, gangrenous odor that twists into the Goon's nostrils and doesn't leave. What is this he thinks, staring wide-eyed at the creature before him. He looks at her, trying to see through the layers of filth and fat, vainly attempting to find a trace of humanity hidden within this bloated body. The spindly cartography of a varicose vein on her left leg catches his eye, purplish, standing out from the pale meat of her atrophied limb. He can't take his eyes off of it; he swears that it twitches and pulsates, throbbing with its own backwards heartbeat. She says something to him, a slurred invective, her lips parting to reveal brown chipped teeth. Watchu want he thinks she says. The Goon doesn't know; he's rendered dumb and catatonic, unable to tear himself away from this monstrous woman. What does he want from her? An explanation? How are you the way that you are he wants to ask. The gun in his sleeve slides out into his hand, the cold barrel touching the insides of his fingers. Someone asks if he is alright; it is a man with a ragged beard, clothed in a tattered Metallica t-shirt. The Goon nods his head, finally taking his eyes off of the woman. Everything has slowed down, time having turned into molasses. I'm okay he tells himself, staggering away from the dairy aisle, his elbow knocking over cereal boxes. The woman yells gibberish, vestigial arms waving like mutant flippers, while the methheads stare at him, yellowish rings around their red eyes. Toward the back he goes, finally stopping at the butcher's station where raw steaks, hamburger, and chicken cutlets sit in saran-wrapped death. There's nobody behind the counter, of course, just a black void resting where a person would normally be, and the Goon stare into that void, trying to recoup his energies and recover his focus. You have been wronged says a voice. He turns around to make sure the fat woman isn't behind him.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
In conclusion to my third year of dedicated weightlifting, I thought I'd perform a bit of self-reflection and examine what occurred this year and what I accomplished. The goal is to always be getting stronger; as long as progress is made, no matter how incremental (and progress is always incremental after you've passed the novice stage), you know that you are on the right track. I got stronger this year, although I haven't accomplished a couple benchmarks I thought I would. Let's see what I did.
In the beginning of the year, I experimented with squatting every day, which you can read about here, here, and here. It was difficult and boring, but ultimately necessary; I had some big issues with my squat, namely hip shifting, that daily squatting solved and allowed me to make bigger gains. The volume and practice equalled a whole extra year of training. I put forty pounds on my high bar squat, thirty on my front squat, and thirty on my low bar squat. At three years in, that's nothing to sneeze at.
What's really changed my training lately is an approach called PR everyday, which I stole from John Phung. I use this method for my pressing and squatting, but not my deadlift, which is a different beast. You make a table of different lift variations (front squat, high bar squat, belted high bar squat, low bar squat, etc,) and different rep ranges (1 rep max, 2 rep max, 5 rep max...) and then you try to set a PR nearly every workout. It's not as difficult as you might imagine. I've gotten to the point where I PR very frequently. You need to be conservative in your approach, that's all. This approach drives long-term progress and staves off boredom. I highly recommend it. Check out John's blog for more information.
The biggest thing I learned this year is that different lifts require different training techniques in order to progress. Let's look at the powerlifts:
The Squat: The squat can handle high volume, high frequency training, but it helps to find your sweet spot. For me, squatting twice a week with moderate volume and high intensity seems to be the best approach. Switching squat styles also helps; I spent most of the year squatting high bar, and have now switched to low bar for a period.
The Deadlift: Despite being built for this lift, I only gained about 15 lbs on it this year, mostly due to programming difficulties. Frequent pulling might increase your daily max, but you get burned out pretty quickly. I've since switched to simple linear periodization, which cycles intensities, and it seems to be going well. Plenty of old guys pulled high volume every week, so it's best to find what works for you. My deadlift programming is still a work in progress.
The Bench Press: I have disproportionately long arms, which makes bench press progress hard to achieve. Upper body lifts seem to like high volume, high intensity training, but you have to be careful on the bench; I was on my way to pressing over 300 lbs, but suffered pec tendon inflammation that forced me to stop benching for a month. It's better now, yet I still haven't hit the magic 300 number. I press three times a week, cycling between the overhead and the bench.
In conclusion, this year I've taken my squat from 380 lbs to 410 lbs (I plan on squatting 420 by the end of the month), my bench press from 280 lbs to five singles with 290, and my deadlift from 455 lbs to 470 lbs. I'm not exactly proud of that progress, but it's not terrible. Here's to achieving some big benchmarks for 2016: a 450 squat, a 505 deadlift, and a 315 bench press. Time to gain my winter weight.
The offseason was the fat season for Lee Priest.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Sheamus is the current WWE Heavyweight Champion, and although he's a decent promo and worker, he's not that great of a heel. The biggest crowd reaction he's gotten recently are chants of "you look stupid," because of his mohawk and beard braids, which give him an uncanny resemblance to one of those troll doll toys people played with when I was a lad. Sheamus doesn't get any real heel heat, and judging from last Monday's RAW ratings, which dipped under three million for the first time in thirteen years, people are tuning out rather than watching to hate on Sheamus. How do you get real heel heat? Funny you asked. I have some suggestions. Here are some hypothetical situations.
Sheamus comes out and asks everyone to look under their seats. They pull out gift-wrapped packages. Sheamus says he robbed Oprah and that everyone is getting a brand new food processor. The audience unwraps their packages. Inside is fresh dog poo. Sheamus says that the audience has to eat it or he won't leave the arena.
Sheamus tells everyone that Jesus was a ginger, and that only gingers will go to heaven. The crowd riots, and blood is spilt.
Sheamus has the League of Nations pass out anabolic steroids to all of the children in the front row.
Sheamus tells everyone that he hates dogs and that he will eat the next dog he sees.
Sheamus challenges Dolph Ziggler to a "kiss me arse" match. Sheamus wins, and Dolph later dies from a severe pink eye infection.
Sheamus comes out with Hornswoggle on his shoulders. He says that he is pro-leprechaun now, and all leprechaun haters can eat a bag of dicks. He then gives Hornswoggle a big kiss on the lips.
Sheamus gives a promo on how we are destroying the environment with our relentless pollution. He asks everyone to stop driving and start riding bikes to work. "Meat is murder," he says, while munching on a bag of organic salad.
Sheamus talks about how if he were American, he would support Donald Trump's proposal for a data base to track all Muslim citizens. He unexpectedly gets cheers, and Vince McMahon decides to push him as a baby face.
Sheamus tells all the smarks to go home and check CM Punk's status on the internet.
Sheamus poops his pants during a match with Roman Reigns. He gets poop all over the ring, causing the CDC to cordon off the arena as a biohazard.
Sheamus insults the local sports team. He then claims that he doesn't watch sports and spends his free time reading, because he is an intellectual, and not a meathead like the audience.
Sheamus reads a poem he wrote about true love. He dedicates it to Hornswaggle and gay marriage.
Sheamus throws a bag of candy at the audience and tells them to eat it, fatties.
Sheamus eats a live dick on stage.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
The 2016 Presidential election looms in America's horizon like a bird of doom. Major new outlets like CNN and Fox News crouch on the walls like predatory beasts, searching for a weak candidate to disembowel. The candidates themselves march relentlessly ahead, huddled together for protection, yet all the while ready to push the feeblest out of the circle and into the wolves. Yet what do the people of our great nation think? Pointless Venture scoured the internet and interviewed dozens to find out. Do you want to hear their opinions? It doesn't matter! This is a democracy. Everyone has a say. Let's meet our fellow Americans.
Interviewee number one: Wilfred Brimless.
Hobbies: Causal racism, occasional confusion, Westerns.
Candidate asked about: Donald Trump.
"Trump? That's the one with the skunk on his head, right? Smart man. Keep 'em illegals back with a big-ass wall. I've been saying that fer years. I've also been shooting at kids fer gettin' in me back yard and pooping in me garden. Maybe when Trump's done rounded up all them Mexicans he can send some secret service over here to put those goddamn kids in a concentration camp."
Interviewee number two: Willy "Pnut" Defrancis.
Employer: Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Hobbies: Cultural appropriation, burning trash, sniffing random objects.
Candidate asked about: Hillary Clinton
"Gonorrhea, pleased to meet ya, Chlamydia, gettin' rid of ya. That's the start of my rap, homie. Wat u think? I think dat teh government needs to support us, and give us all money, so I don't have to work at KFC and get teh super cancer. So if Hillary is for making us money, then I'm all Clinton, baby! You got any money? I need a bus ticket."
Interviewee number three: Leslie "Jesus Boobs" McClure.
Age: Would not disclose.
Employer: Doesn't work.
Hobbies: Spending money, Bible-thumping, living in a bubble, indiscreet racism.
Candidate asked about: Ted Cruz.
"Oh Ted? You know, Ted didn't come to our Christmas party. I don't know what that says about him. I do know he's a man of God, and that he wants to deport all of the homosexuals. That would be a real tragedy. My personal stylist is gay, and I don't know what I would do without him. Still, we need a Republican in the White House, not a Muslim. I know Ted has a copy of his birth certificate! But if he wants my vote, he better come to New Year's.
Interviewee number four: Rupert "Pigtails" Gonzales.
Employer: Mom (does chores around the house on occasion).
Hobbies: Masturbating to cartoon ponies, Live-Action Role-Playing, Men's Rights Activism.
Candidate asked about: Bernie Sanders.
Perfect socialist candidate. Would suppress the free market, which I cannot abide. We've got too many people suckling from the teat of big government. People should be free to do whatever they want. People's moms shouldn't insist on therapy just because they don't understand what a brony is. There's nothing wrong with a grown-ass man spending most of his time on Deviant Art drawing big black stallions pile-driving pink little ponies. The human imagination is a wonderful thing, mom. It shouldn't be suppressed.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
So what do you want from life, bro? You want to get big? Get huge? Get ripped? Well, before you accomplish all of that, you gotta bulk. Thankfully for your skinny ass, today is an American holiday. Welcome to Bulksgiving, brah. I hope you can handle it.
You gotta prepare before you even sit down at that table, my hypertrophically-challenged friend. Stand back from a distance and scope out all that's available. Stuffing--plenty of carbs, but don't eat too much or you'll puff up like a balloon and Bulksgiving ends early, brah. Turkey--yeah, this is where the money's at. Put down as much as you can. Gravy it up, too. We ain't counting calories. Pumpkin pie, yum. Green beens--skip 'em, bro. Bulksgiving isn't about vegetables. Bulksgiving is about cramming as many calories in your pie hole as possible. You formed a game plan yet? What you gonna eat first? What you gonna eat last? You best figure it out if you wanna max out your gains.
You need to get a sweat on before you eat. Feed me more, muthafucker. Put some sweatbands on your wrists. Have your elastic pants on. You wear a bib for Bulksgiving. Shit's gonna go down, and you're going to make a mess. There may be blood involved, and massive bloating. But we're not thinking about how all this shit is going to digest. No pain, no gain. No, we're gonna get our eat on. So get pumped. Get angry. That food has personally wronged you. You're gonna get your heart rate up. THIS IS BULKSGIVING, BRAH. This ain't no pussy holiday. This is the day that your life changes. This is the day that you get HUGE.
How do you think the pilgrims messed up the Indians? They ate them out of house and home, and then they lifted heavy-ass weights. How do you think George Washington took out the British? He sat his ass down and ate as much as he could, and then he repped out 315 on the bench till his pecs got swole and massive. America was founded on gluttony and limitless opportunity. If there's food on your plate, you better eat it, and then go get some more. You want to step on that scale and see it climb to 240, or better yet, 250. The bigger the better, brotha. Just don't fat-fuck yourself. Remember, Bulksgiving is a holiday. Not every day is Bulksgiving. This is the cheat meal to end all cheat meals. Get your bib on.
Happy Bulksgiving, brah. I hope you manage to survive.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
I'm wearing black leather, spiked hockey pads, and a gas mask. Clearly, I'm ready to party.
I enjoyed Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas when they came out. Fallout 4 is much of the same with a few major differences, namely the crafting system, conversation system, and graphical upgrades. After spending only nine hours in the Boston Wasteland, here's what I think.
1. Bethesda needs to retire the Gamebryo engine. Sure, they upgraded it for Skyrim and called it the "Creation Engine," but it's still the same shitty platform they've been working with since Morrowind. You still can't open doors without loading a new level. Though the textures and effects have been spiced up since the last Fallout game, Fallout 4 looks very familiar, to the point of feeling like a heavily-modified Fallout 3. I feel like we've reached the point of diminishing returns with graphics, but this game could've looked and performed a lot better.
2. The art direction saves it. I think Bethesda must've played a lot of Stalker, because the environments of Fallout 4 owe a lot to that series. While wandering around, you get the sense of traveling in an alien world full of rotting forests, crumbling ruins, and mutated monstrosities. The fog and lighting effects are used well; occasional radiation storms pop up to turn the sky black and send you rushing for cover.
3. There's too much loot in this game. Since the crafting system makes everything you find in Fallout 4 useful, you'll start to hoard junk like, well, a hoarder. Your inventory will be full of duct tape, screw drivers, pencils, and glass bottles. You'd think 200 years after the apocalypse, there wouldn't be so much junk lying around.
4. The Pip-Boy sucks. To be fair, it sucked in previous Fallout games. It takes up too much of the screen while having you click through various filters to find any useful information. And with all the junk in your inventory, it's difficult to cycle through it.
5. The conversation system is limiting. You have four options now, but they almost always lead to the same conclusion. This really affects the RPG element of the game, as does the decision to have your protagonist be voiced.
6. I'll still probably play it for 100 hours. Bethesda makes these huge, detailed worlds, and despite the faults their games always have, you always get your money's worth. It would just be nice to receive more of a sequel and less of an incremental upgrade next time.
Is this Fallout or Stalker?
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Emerging from the Vault into the cataclysmic wasteland
It has been eons since the world that I knew died. The landscape that greets me is cracked and barren, a desert stripped of green. Birds still fly in the sky, yet they clutch bones in their beaks. I look down at my wrist and see that they have left me with my Pip Boy, a useless dispenser of information. It tells me that I am nowhere and that I will go nowhere. As the sun sets, I crawl toward a ruined home, seeking shelter. All throughout the night cockroaches as large as cats scurry about the walls, their antennae twitching, their compound eyes sizing me up, estimating my potential worth as a meal. It takes half an hour to kill one of them. I'm so hungry that I don't even taste it.
Onward toward the horizon
In the ruins I manage to find a crowbar and a coffee cup. I take both with me as I aimlessly wander. After awhile I see a trader with a two-headed cow moving over the hillside. They stop when they see me, judging my approach, trying to sense the amount of menace I possess. When I catch up to them the barrel of a shotgun is pointed in my direction. He is squat and covered in sores, his clothing patched together out of rough material. I tell him that I am a Vault dweller, and that I need supplies. He shrugs and asks what I have to trade. In exchange for the coffee cup, I am given a thermos full of water. He tells me of a city lying ahead, so we set off together. I am taken aback by his smell, which is almost unbearable. The landscape around us reminds me of scattered bones.
We are awakened in the night by a monster. It is eight feet tall, horned, and full of teeth and claws. I stifle a scream as it feasts on the two-headed cow. The trader, madness in his eyes, fires the shotgun to no effect. I run as it turns on him. Even in the distance I can hear his skull cracking. I run for miles, tripping over my own scattering feet, the stupid Pip Boy heavy on my arm. Eventually I collapse in a ditch. There is nothing but the night now, just the dull roar of the giant insects. What sort of world have I found? The cracked screen of my Pip Boy gives me no answers.
Captured by raiders
A party of raiders find me in the morning and incorporate me into their harem. I was into some weird stuff before the Great War so this isn't too bad. They do smell just as awfully as the trader, however. It doesn't help that they wear nothing but leather. We pass the corpse of something called a "Super-Mutant." It is gigantic, with muscles over muscles, and green-skinned. The other concubines are afraid of it. Their names are Danny and Maurice. Nice people, I guess, for toothless irradiated sex-slaves.
Right after pillaging a small village, a lunatic in Power Armor appears, wielding a minigun. He commences to wipe out our raiding party. The small rounds of the raiders bounce harmlessly off his metallic torso. Dave and Maurice perish in the fighting. I only survive by hiding beneath the body of an immense raider named Kongo. The Power Armor guy loots all of the bodies, taking the most worthless knickknacks. When he leaves, I don't crawl out of my hiding place. I don't know if I can make it in this world. It seems to be nothing but an endless cycle of death and destruction. And bugs. Jesus, there are a lot of bugs.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and in the spirit of turkey and football, I wish to list some of the things I am thankful for. These are the things I could remember. They are ranked as follows:
1. My spouse--anyone that puts up with bed farts is a keeper.
2. The prince (or princess) that was promised.
3. Beer. What would I do without beer? It is silly to think about a world without beer. I don't think I can do it.
4. Coffee. I love coffee almost as much as I love beer, which is to say, quite a lot.
5. A new Star Wars movie not directed by George Lucas.
6. The internet (sometimes).
7. The warming rays of the sun.
8. Donald Trump, the great revealor, who has shone us what the ancient Greeks were worried about when they said Democracy was stupid.
9. Running water and indoor toilets. Imagine taking a poo outside in the cold!
10. Dogs. Dogs are funny and they love unconditionally. They are like emotionally-stunted, mentally-handicapped children. I love dogs!
11. Barbells. How else would I exert my dominance over gravity and build those sweet, sweet show muscles?
12. Music from any time period but the last ten years.
15. Houses (with character). I couldn't live in a cave. Not comfortably, at least. And what is life but the search for comfort?
16. The work of H.P. Lovecraft (minus the racism).
17. Apples (honestly, this should be higher).
18. The flesh of the beast (meat).
19. Friends and family (the ones that still talk to me, hah).
21. Professional wrestling.
22. Pop tarts.
24. The human imagination, for which all things are possible.
26. Dr. Dre.
29. Boobies (This should be a lot higher).
30. Sentience (sometimes).
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
I'm sorry, folks. I've had it. With everything, with the whole stinking routine. I get up, I go outside, I ignore the bland processed corn they expect me to eat. I sit on my podium with an expression of pure gloom on my hound dog face. They yell at me, calling me ungrateful, saying things like "what's wrong, doggie?" What's wrong? Look around, people. The whole world's messed up. Like you need me, a goddamn dog, to tell you what's wrong with life. I can think of a million things. My number one complaint is that I'm a dog.
Okay, I'm not saying being a dog doesn't have its privileges. We have a more developed sense of taste, for example. You people will never know how good paper tastes, or experience the delightful flavors of fresh deer excrement. We chew on stinky socks or used underwear for a reason, you know. We're not stupid. Also consider that you feed us the same dog food every stinking day. No wonder I go looking for things to chew on. You would as well.
We also get to sleep a lot, which I know you people like to do, when you have the time. And don't think we don't appreciate the ability to lick our own orifices. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't clean my asshole daily with my tongue. Probably off myself.
Frankly, though, it's the steady ennui of existence that has me down the most. I am stuck a senseless animal, a mere passenger enslaved to beings of higher intelligence and ingenuity. Imagine if a race of super-intelligent aliens came down and put collars around your necks and made you beg for treats. That would suck, right? Now perhaps you can fathom my predicament.
So I spend my days staring down into the abyss, searching for meaning in a meaningless universe. That's why I don't want to play fetch. That's why my tail has ceased to wag. That's why sometimes I knock the garbage can over and scatter its contents about the house. It's a mess we live in, you see. A chaotic, nonsensical mess. I am simply returning things to their proper order. The next time I poop in the house, remember this.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
You want to pick some apples? There are plenty of apples left to be picked. Don't fret, friend. You can still pick some apples. There's still time left.
When you pick apples, only choose the prettiest and largest fruit. Let mother nature have the rest. Pick them big apples and put them in your basket. Show your basket to all of your friends. What pretty apples you have picked! But wait. There are still more out there.
The work is never finished. Once you pick a load, dump it into a crate and come back and pick some more. The apple tree gives up its bounty to you and you must take all of it. We waste nothing in the orchard. I was just kidding about picking only the biggest and prettiest apples. You need to pick everything.
Soon you'll see nothing but apples. You'll close your eyes and apples will appear before your eyelids. When you take a bite of bread, you'll taste apple. When you walk by on the street, people will ask where that apple smell is coming from. Little by little, you'll start transforming into the Angry Orchard guy.
How does the Angry Orchard guy close out his day? Well, after picking about a billion apples he collapses in exhaustion and begins to get hammered on hard cider. He gets so drunk that the next day he's still wasted. That's the only way he can get up and go back out into the orchard. You don't need to be sober while picking apples. Sometimes a drunken malaise is the best mental condition to pick apples.
Every once in a while the Angry Orchard guy will think about his younger years when he desired to be a space pirate. He was going to get an old junk freighter and fix it up and begin a life of piracy but things just didn't turn out the way they were supposed to. His application to flight school was turned down. The pirate girl he was going to marry ended up settling down with a nerf herder. So he bought an old orchard and started picking apples for a living. He's okay with it now but sometimes he wonders what could have been.
You don't need to think when you pick apples. Just grab the apples and place them in your basket. Repeat. Show those apples to everyone. Don't get too proud. Just keep putting them in your basket.
Saturday, November 7, 2015
It has been a while since the Critic has written for Pointless Venture. His life is full of black tie events and wine tastings, so let my audience be assured that he has been very busy. Movies, of course, are his true passion, though art comes in many forms. Let us discuss the newest entry in MGM's eternal franchise, James Bond.
Spectre is presumably the last Daniel Craig Bond flick, and it's interesting that they chose to reintroduce all the checklist elements of a Bond film for Craig's last romp in the tuxedo. Casino Royale was notable for modernizing Bond; there was no Q or Moneypenny or special gadgets, just a hard-edged secret service man with a license to kill. Quantum of Solace was simply a strange film, with its battle over water rights, while Skyfall deconstructed the Bond legacy and gave us an entertaining movie that was removed from what we expected. Spectre, however, gives us exactly what we expect from Ian Fleming's suave agent of destruction. There is location jumping from exotic locale to exotic locale; there are gorgeous women for Bond to bed; there is a mad super-villain with a recognizable name and scar. Almost every scene in this movie is a reference to what came before, the best sequence being Bond and Dave Batista's brutal battle on a train, which brings to mind Connery and Robert Shaw's epic brawl in From Russia with Love.
Though Spectre is entertaining, my question is "What more can they do with this franchise?" Self-referencing is essentially a death sentence; you stop making films for new fans and start recycling the past. The entire concept of James Bond is a relic left over from the sixties; this is basically the plot of Spectre. There were complaints when Craig was initially cast that he wasn't sexy enough for the role, but he updated the character, giving him a hard-lined brutality that double-o-seven hadn't had since the Connery days. What can a new James Bond do that hasn't been done before? I suppose we will always need our secret agent films, since they represent a certain male fantasy that will always be in vogue. I am just uncertain if Bond is still the man for the job.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
The bench press is the measure of a man's strength in the western world, thanks namely to Arnold and the bodybuilding revolution of the seventies. Before that, the overhead press was considered to be the standard test of upper body power. Overhead pressing doesn't give you big man boobies, however, and despite the drawbacks of the bench press (it has a well-earned reputation as a shoulder destroyer), it's here to stay. For anyone thinking about competing in powerlifting, you're going to have to train your bench, even if you hate it. Hate is probably too strong a word to describe how I feel about the bench press. I don't possess great leverages for it (I'm 5' 9" with a 6' 3" wingspan), and my bench has increased a whopping forty pounds in the last two and a half years, while my squat and deadlift have both went up a lot more. That's to be expected--less muscle mass is involved in the bench compared to those lifts, yet being a 198 lbs man with a sub 300 lbs bench press is nothing to be proud of. I hit 290 touch and go back in March, and since then I haven't been able to press more. So despite what I wrote about programs back in September, I decided to give an old Anthony Ditillo routine a shot. It's a three times a week program, focusing on heavy, light, and medium volume days, and if you're interested, you can find it here. The claims of increasing your bench by 30 lbs in six weeks are hyperbolic, to be sure, yet I'm currently in week five and I'm about to press my old max (290) for five singles. Increased frequency seems to work really well for the upper body, though I have done something strange to my right shoulder. Try pressing more if your presses aren't going up. Once and week and twice a week won't cut it.
I've had the opposite mentality regarding the squat recently. Ever since squatting one-hundred days, I've taken a lower frequency approach to my squat. Right now, I squat on Thursday and Saturday. Last Thursday's workout was this, which is pretty typical:
315 add weightlifting belt
365 paused squat (paused at the bottom for one or two seconds), personal record
Basically, I pyramid up to a heavy single, something that is usually a personal record. Sometimes I'll do a paused squat if I don't want to attempt a new one-rep max. Then I do back off sets until I feel like I've done enough. I've actually hit a PR five straight weeks utilizing this approach.
On Saturday I do a lighter workout, usually composed of sets of five. This was last Saturday:
330*5 personal record
The first three sets of five are warm up sets, then I go for a five rep personal record, then I finish with a heavy back off set. I've been using the high bar squat exclusively lately, because I think it's the best way to squat due to its greater range of motion and increased leg involvement (I always feel like the low bar squat is mostly hips and ass, whereas the high bar is ass and legs). My best high bar squat is 385 lbs, achieved just two weeks ago, while my best low bar is 410, done about a month ago. The high bar will increase the low bar. There's no doubt about that.
I really believe that squatting everyday helped improve my form and set me up for improvement using lesser training volumes. A period of high frequency, high intensity training followed by a period of lower volume, but still high intensity training works very well. Try it and see if your lifts don't go up.
Monday, November 2, 2015
I'm not sure if you've heard, but there's a new Star Wars movie coming out in December. George Lucas was not involved in its construction. The original cast, including Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill, are going to be in it. There's a trailer out that's a pretty nostalgia trip. Director J.J. Abrams is good at this kind of pop-corn flick. All the signs look good.
Unfortunately, the prequel movies ruined Star Wars. They are poorly-filmed, poorly-acted, terribly-written, and boring. No one likes them except children and idiots in denial. So even if Episode 7 is a bad movie, there's no way it can be worse than any of the prequels. Disney surely has people in place to put a bullet in Abrams head if he gets the urge to name a character something like Count Dooku or General Grevous.
I think the real danger of Episode 7 is that they won't try anything new. That was one of the numerous sins of the prequels. George recycled scenes and dialogue perhaps in a nefarious attempt to confuse you and make you think that the prequels were light-hearted space adventure movies and not total pieces of shit. The trailer for Episode 7 shows stormtroopers, tie fighters, the Millennium Falcon, a bad guy with a red light saber in a mask, etc. Maybe it's not a real Star Wars movie without those things. Those are elements of its universe. But I think there's a real danger of the entire thing just being a huge nostalgia trip.
So I tried to quantify your probably level of disappointment on a 1 to 10 scale, with 1 being a minor let down from 10 being tantamount to suicide. Because why not? Numbers are fun! Let's find out how depressed you will be! Behold! I give you the Star Wars 7 It-Will-Disappoint Scale.
Level 1--Minor disappointment. How you feel: Hey, this was a pretty good movie. It delivered what it advertised while riffing on the common themes of Star Wars. Still, it wasn't as memorable as the original trilogy, probably because it wouldn't exist without those films. I will probably see Episode 8 if somebody lets me out of the house.
Level 2--A little more discouraged. How you feel: There were some cool parts, but I really didn't feel like this was a Star Wars movie. I am going to get on reddit and tell everyone how it could have been done better. Maybe mom will make me some comfort food to help get over these feelings I am feeling.
Level 3--Somewhat pissed off. How you feel: Jesus, they fucking killed Han Solo! How dare they! The only reason I saw this goddamn movie was because Harrison Ford was in it. I want my money back, J.J. I'm going to get on reddit and tell everyone not to see this movie. What a waste of time. I'm never going out of my basement again.
Level 4-- Visibly pissed off. How you feel: They took my childhood. Again. My entire childhood was nothing but Star Wars. I went to school dressed as a jedi. I had a Darth Vader lunchbox. I played the video games. I read the books. People told me it was just fiction, but I didn't listen. They were proven wrong when I constructed my own lightsaber. They told me it was wood but it wasn't. After years in a mental institution, they let me out to see Episode 7. Now what the fuck am I going to do with my life?
Level 5--Ready to hurt somebody. How you feel: This is bringing back flashback of Jar Jar Binks. I have nothing in my life but comic books and Star Wars, and now J.J. has taken one of the things I have in my life away from me. What am I supposed to do now? I'm going to write racist things on the internet. That'll show everybody.
Level 6--Completely disillusioned with everything. How you feel: Well, that's it. I'm done. There's nothing to look forward to anymore. Luke Skywalker killed Han Solo. Who the fuck wrote that? Who thought that was a good idea? Fuck Star Wars. I'm going back to Star Trek. That's where all the ladies are at.
Level 7--You pooped your pants during the film. How you feel: Goddamnit, not this again. I just had my colon examined. Everyone complained about the smell. They made me leave the theater, the sons of bitches. This was Abrams' fault. I'm going to mail him some of my feces.
Level 8--You hit a small child. How you feel: So this is how being curb-stomped feels. I didn't mean to hit that kid, I really didn't. He just looked so much like Jake Loyd that I couldn't help myself. Star Wars isn't for the children, goddamnit. It was made for me.
Level 9--Seething, incoherent rage. How you feel: They told me it was good. Now what is there left to believe in? I am going to have to reevaluate my entire existence. I didn't want to do this. Somebody's going to pay.
Level 10--It's over. How you feel: WTF JAR JAR BINKS WAS THE BAD GUY? THEY BROUGHT BACK HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN TO PLAY DARTH VADER'S GHOST? FUCK IT. I'M DONE. WITH LIFE.