Monday, February 3, 2014

Goodnight Punpun

Instead of sleeping I finished reading Oyasumi Punpun, possibly one of the most heartfelt and jarring pieces of fiction I have read in a long time. Punpun is about the life of a particularly impressionable young Japanese boy named Punpun Onondera and the trials and tribulations of being a growing human being torn apart by the storm of circumstances that influence one's life.
A picture of Onondera Punpun
Did I forget to mention Punpun is depicted throughout the entire manga as a silly doodle bird? Well he is, and not just that either. As the story progresses and Punpun changes his avatar changes with him and many changes take place. Nobody else sees this change and he appears to everyone else in his universe as a normal human but we the audience have the privilege of seeing Punpun the way he sees himself. A silly storytelling device at first glance eventually became one of the most dramatic and anxiety producing parts of the story.

I just finished it, so I'd like to give this comic a full review once I've thought on it a bit more but I sit here typing this I am still absolutely blown away.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

McConaughey doesn't suck? - True Detective review

Today I'm going to shake things up a bit and try my hand at a review. Before I get into that however I'd just like to stop and preface it by saying that I am in no way qualified to truly pass judgement on any kind of art and any criticisms I do make are merely observations and critiques from a guy who has, thus far never completed a single piece of literary work and should be ingested with a fair bit of salt. Literary and cinematic analysis is just a hobby for me, like most media nerds I've just absorbed so much of what I love that at this point that I know what works for me and what doesn't so without further ado let's get into it.

Last night I marathon'd all 3 existing episodes of True Detective, HBO's grimy new crime drama. True detective stars the delightful Woody Harrelson and the previously heinous Matthew McConaughey as two detectives who were involved in some terribly traumatic case. It starts out 10 or so years after the incident itself and the story is told entirely through the memories of the two detectives in some sort of police review of the case. 

Staring past the camera introspectively.

In a world of CSI: EVERYTHINGS and more spins on the crime genre than you can shake a baton at what sets Pizzolotto's work apart is the talent to put it simply.The dialogue is raw, and genuine in such a populated genre that really means something. While the actual mystery of the series is also really compelling the tension is focused more on the characters themselves and how affected they are, not only by the case but the pressures of how you balance being a man, a father, and a detective all at once.

Harrelson and McConaughy embody their characters outstandingly, especially in the post case interview scenes. I don't think I've ever seen Matthew McConaughey act as hard. as he does in this show. Seriously.

So far we have two damaged detectives and a couple of poor prostitutes killed and displayed Hannibal style, antlers and all. I recommend this show to everyone and give it an outstanding out of 10 and will probably continue reviewing individual episodes.

Fans of Hannibal, The Following, The Killing and generally compelling television.

Monday, January 27, 2014

La Pine, Oregon

Back when I wrote one of my first posts on here I was living with my parents in Salem. Before that I was living in Portland and going to community college. It was then, around the fall of 2011 that my mom sent me word of my dad's diagnosis. I wish I could say my decision to leave school was entirely because of my concern for my father but that wouldn't be the truth. It wouldn't be a lie either, do not mistake me, but I was at an impasse in my life, my courses were garbage and I was struggling with some major depression. Not to mention my money-spending habits and the way we used to party back than.
When I left for home, part of me was hopeful that I'd come home to my family with open arms and hearts. I had this vision of my dad and I sitting down at some bar, just drinking and drinking and swapping stories. A last hurrah before he really lost it. Needless to say the actuality of the situation was nothing like my daydreams. My mom's work life had recently become volatile and money was tight already with my dad not working so whenever she came home the atmosphere always seemed very tense. My dad had also failed to live up to my expectations. In the early stages he became very grumpy and frustrated easily. My brother and Have always been the type of people who sponge off the moods of those around us so cooped up in our tiny house we became nest of fear, aggression and sadness.
Now, I won't go into it too much more but my things have always been rough between my parents and I even before the diagnosis so it's always been hard to reconcile but the reason I'm telling you this is because I've been here at their house for a day and a half now and I actually feel like I'm fitting in a bit better.
See, when I went back to 'take care' of my dad the first time, I was running away from my school and my job. This time I'm not here for good, and my dad is actually in need of me. I know that's a fucked up concept but I really like that for once I feel like I'm worth something to them. It feels really empowering.

They got a new puppy. That takes the puppy count to a whopping four. It's a bit chaotic here but I feel like having the dogs around to fuss over gives dad something to keep him lucid.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Competitive Pokemans and Team Multiple Scoregasm

I've not really detailed it on here yet but I'm very into video games and media. My problem is that when I really, really like something I become very fixated on that thing and I don't let go till I've mastered it. A skill I've yet to harness for my own good. The last few topics I've gotten obsessive over are Dark Souls, Doctor Who, and more recently Pokemon X.  I don't know what draws me to all of them aside from the obvious but I think the common theme, possibly barring Dark Souls is a simple enough outer layer with near infinite levels of depth beneath it. Which, when put that was explains Dark Souls perfectly, come to think on it. There are so many thing about each that I love and I could go into so much detail about all of them but for now let's focus on Pokemon X.
It seems  so silly when I'm writing about Pokemon, but I don't think I'm alone in saying that it's been 23 years and I'm still so invested in the franchise. I don't care what new designs come out or how the games are, I love Pokemon and I think I probably always will. Still there has never been a game that has caught my interest quite like X. My previous favorite game in the series and runner up currently was Pokemon Platinum. Platinum was the first game I tried out breeding in and I loved the mechanic but didn't understand any of the underlying stat mechanics. Fast- forward to now and Gamefreak has made breeding, easier than ever, giving everyone a chance to raise a tournament level monster with the balanced amount of effort.
That's the key for most games, and this probably applies to Dark Souls for me as well. The effort you put into the game is equal to the satisfaction you get out of it.
Here are my two latest time investments:

It's a standard physical sweeper set. I named it after the gruesome looking angel that follows Heather around in Silent Hill 3. Given Absol's Pokedex entries it seemed pretty appropriate.

As Prankster is my absolute favorite ability, making this Whimsicott has been something I've been looking forward to for awhile.  All the more exciting when I hatched a shiny one! The IV's are only superior level but hey, I'm not gonna pass up a chance to show this guy off. I named him Mandragora after the mythical poisonous plant.
Currently I'm also working on a pretty mean Dusclops set I thought up after seeing one on a Shofu video so I'll post that one when it's done too.

On the topic of games my friends and I just drafted the first set of athletes for our Fantasy Olympic teams. I've never done any kind of fantasy sports team and with the small exception of the Portland Timbers soccer team I don't really keep up with sports but I know my friends are the same way so we did a little research and picked our team names and our best guesses on who would take home the most medals.

I went with the Team name "Multiple Scoregasms" and here's my roster:

Sweden Men's Hockey Team
Sweden Women's Curling
Lizzy Yarnold
Katie Uhlaender
Yuzuru Hanyu
Daisuke Takahashi
Erin Hamlin
Natalie Geisenberger
James Woods
2 Man Jamacan Bobsled Team

I'm super happy about landing Geisenburger the German Luge contender. Apparently she's a favorite for the Gold! The last two, James Woods and Cool Runnings were chosen simply because they sounded hilarious. Although I hope they both win.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Arson and Uneployment

In the four years I've lived in Portland nothing has ever happened to me personally that would lead me to describe Portland as 'dangerous' until last night. Our third floor apartment overlooks the alley housing all of the building's trash cans and last night some giggly little punks decided it would be funny to start a fire.
I heard them laughing and talking to each other, which isn't odd in itself because bums get in there and dig through trash all the time but then I heard the telltale 'whooshing' fire noise and someone yell for help. I went to the window and saw the light and even as I was looking down at the opposite wall I could tell it was intensifying by the second. Next thing I know my adrenaline kicks in and I started to panic. I ran back into the living room and told Keegan and we grabbed our coats and ran outside. I went out and yelled frantically in the hall until everyone knew I was serious.
Here's the video I took from my phone once we got out.

That's Keegan and I on the video, and that pop you hear is another fire starting across the street.

It was bizarre and I feel like a fool for getting so worked up now but I had no idea what was gonna happen and in those types of situations when your heart is beating so fast you just react. In the end we found out that they lit it right next to the gas line and it could have been a lot worse so with that in mind we all went to sleep without news of the arsonist's fates. A preliminary portland news search this morning didn't turn up much so I suppose it must not be that big of a deal all things considered, but it shook me up quite a bit.

In other news I am still unemployed but with the North Dakota plan in mind I am feeling a renewed sense of dedication. I applied for 3 places today which isn't really much to brag about but I think I'll look for three more later if I remember and 6 jobs applied for is 6 more than I had yesterday. Yesterday was the worst. I had that depressed feeling, lethargic, hollow. I couldn't sit and do nothing and nothing seemed worth doing. The fire hit me like a lightening bolt and I was back to normal after that. This morning I vowed to manage my video game time which is something I haven't done in awhile. It's not bad so far but we'll see if I can keep it up.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bad Dreams

Last night I was awoken at 3am by one of the most horrifying dreams I've had in a long time. After getting up and emptying my bladder I went straight to the computer and typed it into an open skype window.

[3:36:27 AM] Zach: This one feels like an old one
[3:36:48 AM] Zach: It's from the perspective of heather the vcharacter from silent hill 4
[3:37:03 AM] Zach: but mostly from mine
[3:37:14 AM] Zach: I can't remember the first bit
[3:37:43 AM] Zach: but it looks liek this massive, super mario galaxy style world
[3:38:00 AM] Zach: all hanging about in this pink sunset nothingness
[3:38:14 AM] Zach: and it looks like alice in wonderland
[3:38:54 AM] Zach: as you traverse this place the whole rig seems to move and you arrive at your first destination
[3:39:01 AM] Zach: a mall around christmas time
[3:39:52 AM] Zach: as you walk out of an empty parking garage you expect the worst but realize everyhing is just about what it seems and you make your way to the first floor of the mall
[3:40:06 AM] Zach: employees seem to be packing up
[3:40:52 AM] Zach: a few of the female employees are hanging around a large affluent looking guy who seems very appreciative of thier attention
[3:41:34 AM] Zach: you look around you at all the beautiful christmas decorations in awe and begin feeling comfortable.
[3:42:09 AM] Zach: it's at this point wherea shopgirl, unnoticed by you gets your attention and tells you to follow her.
[3:42:37 AM] Zach: Your gaze drifts to the man nervously.
[3:42:54 AM] Zach: She smiles and reassures you that he's just the manager
[3:43:20 AM] Zach: so you follow her around the store, weaving in and out of the brightly lit displays
[3:43:41 AM] Zach: "here" she says finally. "For you"
[3:44:01 AM] Zach: and hands you a dark blue package wrapped with ribbon
[3:45:04 AM] Zach: you're excited to be recieving a present but something about looking at the package unnerves you and as you unwrap it you can feel everything else around you begin to unwrap
[3:45:12 AM] Zach: and the girl just smiles and smiles
[3:46:00 AM] Zach: You open the box and inside is a severed human head. Yours.
[3:46:30 AM] Zach: You flip the box over and rush away from the girl, who stands there looking heartbroken.
[3:47:22 AM] Zach: in your haste you pass back by the main counter and as you approach you no longer hear the sound of flirty jubilant women but a sick popping and crunching
[3:47:45 AM] Zach: when you're in eyeshot you see the state of things
[3:49:04 AM] Zach: the affluent man is sickly large and sweating heavily, covored in blood there are two naked corpses on the counter in front of him and he seems to be grabbing and tearing bits of them off and shoveling them feverishly into his mouth.
[3:49:44 AM] Zach: the looks of the faces of the corpeses is of blank, manic happiness, almost as if they where enjoying this.
[3:50:26 AM] Zach: As you speed past you hear him say behind you "Is that the one you're so into jamie?"
[3:51:31 AM] Zach: He lets out a faint snort and you barely make out "Don't let go of the ones you love"
[3:51:45 AM] Zach: You think he was talking to the girl
[3:51:54 AM] Zach: which must mean she's following you
[3:52:15 AM] Zach: so you speed down the stairs and into the parking garage.
[3:52:19 AM] Zach: it's pitch black.
[3:52:29 AM] Zach: but you must locate your car.
[3:52:37 AM] Zach: and then I woke up
[3:52:48 AM] Zach: What the actual fuck is wrong with me

I'd like to start keeping these until I have enough to string together into a singular nightmare themed horror story. I mean I hope I don't have anymore dreams like this but if I do, at least they'll be useful.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A year and ten days from my first post

It's been approximately that long since I wrote the first of the two existing posts on this neglected blog but here I am.
I read the other two over and it still surprises me how much can change in a year. It's not as though a stranger wrote those words but I certainly don't recognize the author as the person I am now, but I suppose that's life. Perpetual change and growth and refinement.
 More updates to come I think. Stay tuned.