Menu Close

Month: March 2012 (page 2 of 3)

Like a colossal space bear squeezing Earth juice

Remember the Dollar Shave Club spot posted previously? Well, here we have an ad (of specious legitimacy) for a brand of Lithuanian mineral water called Vytautas. And boy is it ever a great ad. Even if it isn’t real (it isn’t), it’s great (it is).

Let’s make a list of all the things I like about it.

  • Yelling.
  • Polar bear riding a laser-spewing orca.
  • Birds and fish.
  • Digest bricks, leather jackets, richest cuisine, Icelandic cuisine, and this goat on a boat.
  • Pig & iPad sandwich.
  • 1 milk. 1 banana. 1 jet fighter you knocked from the sky with a crossbow.
  • Electric eel.
  • Freddie Mercury.
  • Time travel.
  • Screaming bunny.
  • Sexy like a tiger in a Bucati powered by liquified thoughts of the universe.
  • Panda gang rape.
  • Give a negative fuck.
  • The description of the taste.
  • Guy riding a buffalo riding an ATV.
  • Colossal space bear squeezing Earth juice.
  • Tractor sex.
  • Boobs or cheese? SMART CHOICE.

Did you get all that? Good. Now watch it again. Love.

The Shoes’ “Time to Dance”

This might be one of the best music videos I’ve seen in ages. I think Jake Gyllenhaal plays an incredible version of a hipster hipster-hating Patrick Bateman here. I also really love the intercutting between banal day to day shit (getting a haircut, eating dinner, staring at birds) and murdering a bunch of kids in silly outfits with deliberate haircuts. Is there anything you don’t like about this video? I can’t think of a single thing. Beautifully shot, beautifully acted, beautifully cut. It’s amazing. The song is great too and the incredibly violent imagery juxtaposed to a song calling for dancing is fantastic.

Wonderful!

Diplo’s “Express Yourself” (feat. Nicky Da B)

Uh, some nutso grimey sissy bounce from Diplo? Yes, please. Do yourself a favor and assess all the asses. You will be better off for it. Bonus points for the Black Metal Diplo shirt. My only real disappointment with this track/video is that there is no Big Freedia cameo. Maybe next time.

“Game On”

Uh, I think this might be my new favorite song of forever. Except for all the factual errors, right wing rhetoric, terrible taste, horror, and general fundamentalist nonsense. I like everything but those things. Oh, yeah, and the music is pretty fucking bad.

Man, I love santorum. The guy, though, not so much.

A Letter To My Gums Regarding Their Excessive Bloodiness

Dear gums,

What the fucking fuck, you guys? Do I not take care of you?! Have I not spent my entire life converting the things I eat and drink into fuel for your continued replenishment?! It’s not like I even brush you super hard! I have a soft bristled toothbrush for fuck’s sake. Do you know how emasculating that is? Do you?!

This is, as we both know, a fairly new issue. I think it started just before the trip to Breckenridge about three weeks ago. One day I’m brushing my teeth fine and dandy, like I have for years, brush brush brush, and the next day any time a toothbrush gets near my mouth I taste that familiar copper flavor of blood and spit rust stained toothpaste into the sink. Real cool, gums. Way to be hypersensitive dicks about it. I’m just trying to keep my fucking mouth clean. Why not help a player out a little?

What’s worse is that it’s not just the toothbrush that makes you bleed, it’s pretty much anything: eating apples, smiling, sucking cashew chunks from between my teeth, laughing, breathing, fidgeting with my tongue, anything. What’s that about? I try to be gentle with you and this is the thanks I get? Fuck you, gums.

And now what am I supposed to do about it? I don’t have dental insurance so a trip the dentist is right out. Ditto for healthy insurance. No doctors or inexpensive prescriptions for me. I suppose I’ll just brush my teeth with a damp microfibre cloth until it seems like you’ve had a chance to heal. Until then, we are not friends. I am sick of spitting blood into the shower. Remember last year, gums, when I had a nosebleed every day for like 3 months? Yeah, this isn’t nearly as bad, but it’s still pretty fucking annoying.

If I didn’t need you as an important barrier between my teeth and my raw, exposed skull, I’d fucking cut you, gums. Get well soon!

Sincerely,

The Black Laser.

Thoughts on Scalzi’s “You’re Not Fooling Anyone”

I’ve read a lot of books about writing. I’ve read books on character. I’ve read books on plot. I’ve read books on structure. I’ve read literary critique. I’ve read about genre, about symbolism, about publishing, about inspiration, about the creative process, about screenwriting, about fiction writing, about novel writing, about short story writing, about all sorts of things. And, in their own minor ways, each has been helpful to me. As it goes. I wouldn’t say that any of them have been truly inspiring, but when have you ever read a book about the mechanics of your craft that blew your mind? Yeah, I can’t think of one either.

A while back I stumbled across John Scalzi’s You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing. I have been a regular reader of Scalzi’s blog Whatever for years and was a fan of his novel Old Man’s War, so when I saw that he had released a book about writing I naturally spent the 5 bucks for the Kindle version. And there it languished for ages as other books came and went and life passed us all by in a torrent of images and sounds and happinesses and sadnesses.

Recently, I was between books and decided to read something from my shelf that was on dead trees which is fine and all, but sometimes I don’t feel like carrying the book with me when I am not taking my backpack to and from work. The advantage of the Kindle is that it syncs with the Kindle app on my phone so even if I leave the device at home, I can continue to read on my phone while riding the train or waiting in a bar or doing whatever the hell it is. That’s not possible with a book on, you know, real paper. While riding the train one morning I decided to start into You’re Not Fooling Anyone. I have a hard time reading more than one fiction book at once, but no problem at all keeping track of a novel and a non-fiction book. Weird, I guess, but it also makes a sort of sense.

You’re Not Fooling Anyone is a collection of articles Scalzi wrote for Whatever between 2001 and 2006 that deal with many aspects of writing, but not with craft. Instead they deal with the lifestyle of a working writer, how to sell fiction, what to expect in the marketplace, what pitfalls to avoid as a working writer, what you can expect when working with publishers and editors, and a whole mess of opinion on the state and future of the market. They cover a whole lot of things that nothing else I’ve ever read covered in a Scalzi’s utterly matter-of-fact, no bullshit, this-is-how-the-real-world-works voice. And I appreciate that.

To explain that, let me digress for a moment. I have never considered myself an artist. I am uncomfortable with that label. I firmly believe that art is for other people to decide and my job, as a creator of things, is to do the damn best job I can on whatever the hell it is I am working on. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about writing or photography or editing video, I always strive to do the best I can at my craft. And that’s the important thing: to me, it is craft. It is no different than a skilled cobbler or builder of homes or tailor. What I do as a creative person is to craft things the best way I know how, to learn from the process, and to try and do even better the next time. I have always, and will always, prefer the term “craftsman” to “artist” and “craft” to “art” when referring to myself. “Art” gets stuck up in the clouds; “craft” is firmly rooted in the real world.

What resonated with me in You’re Not Fooling Anyone is that Scalzi clearly has the same opinion of the writing process I do. Specifically, that it is a craft, not some high-falutin’ higher calling from the muses. It’s not. That’s crazy. It’s no more a higher calling than driving a bus is. That doesn’t mean it’s not damn fun work that can be incredibly satisfying, but it is still work. Work work work. When I read him reiterating my opinions relatively early in You’re Not Fooling Anyone, I suspected that I had found something special. As I progressed, that suspicion was confirmed over and over again. The book is, possibly, the only book I’ve read so far on writing that got my brain buzzing with ideas. Not because he says, “Write this way or that way,” but because he got me thinking about my own writing in a different way by discussing the way he thinks about his writing. That’s the important thing. It’s so easy to get stuck thinking about your work in just one way that you can get mired in it and lose steam. To have someone or something come along and say, “Hey, have you thought about it this way?” is often all you need to work through it. Because that’s what we do, right? We’re creative people and we create, even if, as imperfect meatbags, we sometimes get stuck.

Lord knows regular readers of The Black Laser have read many thousands of words of me rambling on and on about my creative process (or lack thereof), so reading the same musings from someone else is a real kick for me. And makes me want to inflict even more rambling on all you poor sons of bitches.

If you are a writer, you should read this book. If you are a person who makes things that might not be words, you should read this book. If you are not a creative person (WHO THE HELL ARE YOU PEOPLE?) but are curious what the brain of someone who makes a living being creative is like, you should read this book. It’s that good. And it’s incredibly accessible. There are no academic blatherings about post-modernism here, just opinion earned through years of hard work and experience. I sincerely hope we get a second volume of 2007-2012. It’s been five years and I would happily spend another 5 bucks on the Kindle version.

Familjen’s “Det snurrar i min skalle”

I think the moment I realized that the video for Familjen’s “Det snurrar i min skalle” was brilliant was when you first see the little blonde boy hitting the cymbal in time to the beat. Before that, I was a little unsure, but I did not leave disappointed. Everything I know about Familjen (Swedish for “The Family”) comes from the Spotify blurb which I could copy paste for you guys, but instead I’ll just link you to the artist page.

Charles sent me this video earlier after a long discussion about late 90s/early 00s drum & bass and few back-and-forths of videos of people dancing to music they’re not dancing to. I dig the synthpop styling of the track and the 60s Swedish church footage they used to make the video. It’s real good.

Pulp’s “Mis-Shapes”

Much has been written on The Black Laser about Pulp. I am a fan. A big fan. But, until recently, Pulp had not uploaded this video to the Youtubes. So, here it is: the video from the first track off 1995’s Different Class, “Mis-Shapes”. I don’t have a lot to say about it. It’s pretty great and the song too. Enjoy.

Also, I can’t possibly express how super mega fucking excited I am to go see Pulp perform at Radio City Music Hall in April. LIKE WHOA. I have an extra ticket too. Anyone want to go?