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The Promised Neverland Review & Analysis (Spoilers): 131045

Be careful

Note: moving forward, these reviews will feature full spoilers for all episodes through the current episode. If you do not want to be spoiled for Episode 1 or 2, please do not read further.

Emma looks for Conny. She pulls a red curtain away revealing a banquet. In her hand, Conny’s huge stuffed bunny. She walks up to the table, curious, blood-red wine in evidence. A body on a fruit-platter lies in shadowy silhouette. Cut to Conny’s lifeless eyes; cut to Emma’s terrified eyes as the gaping maw with of a demon closes in behind her for the kill.

A terrified scream. Darkness. Emma breathes heavily, eyes filled with terror. The varied snoring of 37 children surround her. She looks up at the clock; the clock looks back at her, swinging and ticking, swinging and ticking, swinging and ticking. Emma huddles, her time is coming.

What a fucking start to an episode.

The Promised Neverland continues creating momentum with its stellar second episode 131045. The animation is beautiful, the storytelling fresh, the characterization subtle, and the sense of danger, palpable. But best of all, 131045 ratchets up the tension, and terror to a fever pitch, without doing anything at all.

Chores after the Apocalypse

“Smile, Emma”

One of this show’s greatest strengths so far has been its employment and weaponization of negative space. The spaces in-between, the unseen, the nooks and hidden crannies. This episode takes those small, good things, and makes them horror. Last week’s episode had all the quiet, uninteresting moments used as sub-textual set-up for the wrongness that covered the show’s atmosphere like a gelatinous patina of uh-oh. There were hints that something was up, but nothing overt until the very end of the episode when everything came together in a climax that had me climbing up my sofa: the children of Grace Field House are veal for rich Demons, harvested and farmed at the house.

The violence of Conny’s death and that peripetetic moment has transformed the unsettling quiet of the show. It is no longer just a sub-textual wrongness: it is fully blown honest to god text of terror. Everything boring and straightforward has taken on a sinister cast that hitchcock praised: The dull diegetic sounds of nature feel finite and terrible. The children’s snores are too peaceful. The sound of wind and the peace is distinctly unpeaceful.

Selling the razor-wire tension of this situation is Emma. Her terror is pitch-perfect as she reacts in a way that is both heartbreaking, and tactically dangerous.

Psychology is messy; people are not straight-lines and they do not take hard news in just one way. A person may laugh in the face of doom, or they may weep; they may do both at the same time; they may flip shit or recoil; or they may dispassionately observe. It’s never just one thing, but as Robert Frost said, multitudes. Emma is overtly terrified of her situation, and her terror has translated to a dim, distant numbness. She does her chores with a thousand-yard stare. The veneer of her home has been stripped, and everything has been taken from her. She sees her situation before her. She hears that ticking clock in the background. Tick, tock.

But still, she has to smile.

And despite her terror, she and Norman are capable of calmly discussing why Demons would want to eat them, and how they are harvested. There is a desperate need to escape; but chores need to be done. Why not discuss dispassionately what’s been going on.

The moments in this episode where they push the bounds, go to the places where they shouldn’t go and the interactions with Mom are terrifying. But it is the bored clinical way in which Norman discusses their plight with Emma that is somehow more terrifying. As they walk the halls, there is a sense of claustrophobia – a tangible sense that the walls are closing in – even though nothing, strictly, has happened yet.

The sense that eyes are everywhere is damn near perfect. Where is it safe to be yourself? It’s unclear. But every time Norman and Emma do anything, I’m scared that they are going to be found out because…

Mama Isabella is a fucking terror

Isabella is only in this episode for a few minutes, but those few minutes sell the feeling of claustrophobic horror as much as the reveal of the main characters fate. She is the looming, matronly face of authority. Like Big Brother, her loving show of affection masks that Banal Himmler evil that is both dispassionate, and uninterested in its moral mendacity. She found the stuffed bunny that Emma had left behind in her dismay, and is on the look-out for things that are out of the ordinary. She is in a punishing mood.

The weaponized negative space manifests throughout the episode. Including the battle of wills. Mom cannot let-on explicitly that she knows someone watched Conny’s death. So she has to be subtle; she can only indicate in sidereal ways that she knows the truth; she has to keep on the look-out invisibly.

The tight-rope is tense.

Norman reflecting my general state watching this episode

In most Shonen stories, conflict resolution is textually straightforward. One guy does something bad, another guy beats that guy up. The battle is all on the ground. Tangible. In the moment. The fights have subtext – at least the good ones – and thematic importance; but the fights are still recognizably a fight. The punching is the point.

But so far, this show has taken the opposite track: fighting is hidden. It isn’t explicitly a fight. It is a few words exchanged, or a tactical maneuver. Instead of punching the villain in the face, a knowing remark, a glimpse of power are the weapons.

When Isabella shows that she knows where all the kids are, she is attacking. When Norman tells Emma to keep a happy face, a riposte. It is an exhausting long-form duel, which keeps all those empty spaces perpetually filled with the promise of pain and suffering.

This storytelling tactic pays big dividends towards the midpoint of the episode. Emma has gone to do something and runs into Isabella. Isabella has noticed Emma acting strangely, and asks what’s up. For a moment her eyes modulate into something less than motherly. For a split-second Emma almost betrays her knowledge of her plight, but then masks it with a big smile, and a hug. She then casually mentions Conny in a way that feels aggressive and confrontational; and then she adds an extra dollop of honey about how much she loves living here, and walks away.

At the end of the sequence, she drops to her knees from the stress. Girl, I feel ya.

The entire scene works because of how effectively the conflict has been set-up. The chess being played is easy enough for me to pick-up, but still subtle enough to be off to the side, occluded. That is good writing.

It’s horrible for my blood pressure, though.

But what amplifies that disquiet is something much worse.

The Stakes are Ridiculous and the Main Characters are only making it worse

131045 has established with astonishing economy the scope of the odds against these kids. They are not even teenagers, who have to somehow plan an escape from this house. But not only that, there is a world beyond them that they don’t even know about, that is even more dangerous, potentially many times more difficult, and these kids have been sheltered from it their entire life. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

It creates an air of mystery and makes the move forward even less predictable than most. The anxiety that the story engenders is genuine. The stakes feel larger than usual, because there are so many individual components that are to the character’s detriment.

Which brings me to the conclusion, which I feel…mixed, on.

I’m aware that this is a Shonen series, but the conclusion to this episode, where Ray (Sasuk-ray?) is informed of the situation and is recruited to help the kids escape, felt a bit off. Not bad, but off.

For most of the episode, everything being off to the side worked so much in its favor. But this little end piece, where Ray, Norman, and Emma state Emma’s goal to save all the children felt a little…obvious, for lack of a better word.

If heart palpitations were a human

It certainly was no episode killer, and the introduction of swelling dramatic music, and straightforward comedic moments were welcome in what was a very dour proceeding. But, I dunno, the rest of the episode was so perfectly precise in how much it revealed that it felt a little gauche to have such an obvious approach to the ending.

But it still smudges the end of the episode a bit because it betrays everything else stylistically. It is explicit and on-the-nose, and filling the space, and it is a straightforward character moment. Emma’s reversion to her genre’s cheerful gritty tropes is good – for my blood pressure – but dampens the ending a mite.

But as I said, human psychology isn’t a straight-line and neither is storytelling, so I don’t necessarily mind having a contradictory note to the proceedings, even if it undercuts some of the tension. Because what she wants to do in the face of the precipice which she has been presented is somehow even more difficult than what they wanted to do initially. She wants to save everybody, and that is not going to be easy.

But if these first two episodes are any indication, it will be one hell of a thing to watch.

Until I smile,

877 out of 100 and a definite recommend.

Album Review: Weezer (The Teal Album)

I talk about Weezer’s latest PR stunt and fun album

Teal is fine. It’s the representative color of Bed, Bath & Beyond; Essential Oil Cults; and Inspirational Instagram Self-Help Gurus who like to spout platitudes about being your best self. It’s digestible and calm. It’s comfortable and inoffensive. At best, it’s good for an enjoyable moment, to take your mind off your troubles, and little else. It’s pleasant and inconsequential. It’s fine.

Really, it’s fine.

Just like this record.

If I didn’t know that The Black Album is just around the corner, this album would be a lot more frustrating. Rivers Cuomo has been indulging in distraction for the last three years, since the release of the excellent White Album, which saw the band continue their upward ascent following the release of Everything Will Be Alright in the End, which is one of my favorite records by the band, and a legitimate comeback. Instead of amping up the tension, and putting all his energy in the Black Album, Cuomo has been indulging himself by releasing the fun, but empty, Pacific Daydream, and indulging the transient whims of the twitterverse, by way of Dan Ozzi resulting in a profoundly straightforward cover of Africa, by Toto, even though Hold the Line is clearly the more meme-worthy cut, and the better song overall.

Yes, Rivers Cuomo and his merry crew have been putting out records despite their own recognition that the Black Album is the work they’ve wanted to release for years. But that has not stopped them from releasing another album’s worth of materials without any notice. This time, a cover album, shaded Teal.

“It’s fine” – Lindsey Ellis

I get it, we live in a cultural diaspora that requires surprise releases; a culture that requires click-baity titles about how a band is catering to their fanbase in adorable, inoffensive ways, to deflect from the crueler, more offensive ways people currently act and the uglier facts of modern reality. We need some breather moments between all the miasmatic terrible with a cutesy meme and twitter campaigns to get shit off the ground. You want to be relevant, even as you get older. I get it.

It’s fine.

But really, I want the Black Album, and this feels like a deflection.

I should note that I do actually enjoy this record. It’s fun to listen to and single along to and walk to and put on repeat. It is not a thought heavy album, and it’s all good earworms. Despite my distaste for releasing a million unintentional records on what amounts to a whim, I won’t deny Cuomo’s talent for a slick, well produced pop. He has the magic ear, and the money to make records. So he does. Good for him. Fine.

From the very first note of the now infamous cover of Africa, however, you know exactly what you are going to get. Covers that go over a wide array of pop-culture from the last 6 decades, with enough prima facia compelling song choices and structural decisions that belie the fact that this album sounds like someone’s carefully curated playlist meant to show that they have an eclectic taste, but are still approachable and cool. Y’know what I mean.

This album is aggressively intentional. Every moment is clinical. Sterile, but not transcendant. The 10 cuts on this record are all excellent songs in their own right, and Weezer acquit themselves well in covering them. I personally find the sandwich of the happy-go-lucky summer of love classic “Happy Together” by the Turtles, infamous metal meltdown “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, and then the even more ebullient “Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO a particularly inspired combination of covers in sequence. One can look at how the album goes from 80’s, then 70’s, then 90’s/00’s and see a conscious effort at putting forward some compelling structural conceit.

And it’s even better because these covers are slavishly devoted to sounding exactly like the original. I honestly have to wonder how many times Cuomo listened to Paranoid to be able to sufficiently mimic Ozzy Osbourne’s psychotic rambling iambic dictums about going insane. I feel like Jeff Lynne is lowkey pissed that Cuomo did almost nothing to Mr. Blue Sky, excepting a few moments of skank in the chorus. Cuomo even pulls out some genuinely odd choices with “No Scrubs” and “Billie Jean” before ending on a pretty conventional, if uplifting cover of “Stand By me”

But that sense of simulacrum at all levels is almost Greta Van Fleet levels of fucking obnoxious. Each second feels algorithmic, intentional, and machine learned. The covers are all so perfect that they lack any real character. It feels like a boardroom put this record together, with the exact percentage of demographic appeal considered; the diversity of song choice measured; put into a blender to make some brand name Kale Smoothie that’s all the rage, and just tasty enough to overlook the nihilistic void of it all.

It’s an album to enjoy, and nothing more. Fine.

Weezer has never been a band that knows the meaning of restraint, when it comes to releasing records. The similarly empty Pacific Daydream were a series of songs that didn’t even make the cut on the Black Album. They were songs that had been written, but were deemed too…meh, to be put on the record that is designed to court controversy. The results feel like that. A bunch of unnecessary bonus tracks gussied up as an album and sold because why the fuck not.

And the same goes for this record. This record is a lot more enjoyable than Pacific Daydream because I get the sense that Cuomo cares about these covers. There is a lot of effort devoted to each track. You can’t make such surgically precise cuts without effort.

But this is also probably the reason why the Black Album got delayed in the first place. I see it as inevitable that Cuomo got so sucked up in the proceedings of making a meme for a fan that he got enthused about making a cover albums, and not caring whether anyone wanted that.

And on that front, I can’t blame the impulse. All creators are subject to Shiny New Idea Syndrome; most don’t go out and do it, however. And whether I can fully blame Cuomo remains to be seen. The twitterverse can be aggressive and frustrating on the best of days, so this may just be an effort to keep sane. And on some level, I respect the sheer output level Cuomo has to be able to release records one after the other like that.

But there is something to be said for the concept of restraint.

If there is anything genuinely troubling about this record, however, it is the similarity of this record to Ninja Sex Party’s Under the Covers II. While that record is straight 80’s, there are a number of distressing similarities that make me weary, including track listing and a cover of “Africa”. These are covers, so you can’t really call it plagiarism; but there is just enough cross-over between these two albums that it feels really, really weird to hear the same covers over again.

So, at the end of the day. Teal is a pleasant color. You can enjoy it while taking a walk. You can chill with it and you can just be there with it. But it doesn’t amount to much; it doesn’t mean much; and it’s pretty disposable.

Just like this album.

Until I’m waiting there for you,

599,972 out 1,000,000

The Promised Neverland Review (Spoiler Free): 121045

The Promised Neverland’s premiere shows a lot of….promise.

That could have been more eloquent.

The Promised Neverland (2019), an adaptation of the Manga of the same name currently running in Weekly Shonen Jump, has premiered and I want to talk about it because man, I liked it. I liked it a lot.

I have not read the Manga – though I may do so as the season moves forward – so this premiere episode was my first foray into the series. With this combination of subtlety, economy, animation, characterization and pacing, I am excited to explore this series further.

But first:

What is The Promised Neverland?

A partial synopsis of the Manga is as follows (from MyAnimeList.com):

At Grace Field House, life couldn’t be better for the orphans! Though they have no parents, together with the other kids and a kind “Mama” who cares for them, they form one big, happy family. No child is ever overlooked, especially since they are all adopted by the age of 12. Their daily lives involve rigorous tests, but afterwards, they are allowed to play outside. 

There is only one rule they must obey: do not leave the orphanage.

Creep Factor 5, Captain

The most striking element of this premiere is the immediate sense of dread that infects every element of the story, basically from bar one of the OP.

One immediately gets the sense that something is ten kinds of up within the first five minutes of the program. Despite having an on-the-nose cold open, with an announcement of theme that feels more than a bit shoe-horned, the series has a palpable tension and subtlety emanating from its prima facia setting in an idyllic orphanage in the middle of the country.

The aesthetic is something between the Handmaid’s Tale, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Naruto; all the children (everyone around the age of 12) are dressed in glaring white hospital-esque outfits, symbolizing their general childish innocence. The setting, Grace Field House, in design and structure evokes some rural British countryside out of Downton Abbey. From the high vaulted ceilings, and large bedroom which gave me mad Madeline vibes, to the tungsten lighting, everything gives off a quiet, patient, peaceful ambience.

Or at least it’s supposed to.

Emma looking into the unknown

This peaceful old-school atmosphere is undercut by small details: the presence of advanced technology. Bar codes and scannners; large ID numbers in a weirdly decorative font tattooed loudly on the children’s necks. Oh no.

The tension between these aesthetics immediately gets your creep-radar on the alert. And as the episode progresses, and the children just go about their day, that tension only tightens further and further. You may not even notice that you’re being wound up as the kids do things like, play tag; eat food and just be children.

The tension is made all the worse by the energetic lead Emma, who has the bubbly, popular personality typical of Shonen protagonists. She genuinely loves the house; she loves “Mom” – a matronly figure in a maid’s uniform; she loves all her compatriots. She is likeable and charming.

Twist, twist, twist.

The music only enhances the creepiness; used relatively sparingly, and primarily a mix of ambient electronic and piano music. Everything is so quiet that, even though you can feel the tension rise in your gut, you are still lulled into a sense of security. The weirdness is weird, and there are some off details.

Animation & Economy

One of my favorite things about visual storytelling – filmmaking, TV series, Comic Books – and especially time-locked stories (movie and TV) is how, when it’s done well, the storytelling is pure economy: you can explain a character in as little as 30 seconds with a twist of the body, a laugh, and maybe three lines of dialogue.

All the named characters are drawn well from the word go: from the somewhat dim Dom; to the adorable Conny; to the mastermind Norman, the angsty-Sasuke-looking rival trope Ray, and our main character Emma, everything needed to explain who these characters are is done instantly within the first three scenes.

Emma’s ebullient announcement that it’s time to wake-up, followed by all the children playing rambunctiously in the bedroom immediately convey Emma’s assertiveness, confidence, and her leadership of the group of 38 children. The way she speaks with everybody, giving high-fives to certain children, laughing. The way she talks to all the main characters establish who the character is within seconds. During the game of tag, Norman’s mysterious smiles, and far-off gaze establish him as intellectual and tactician; the way Ray abstains from playing games, or interacting with the others pins down his rebellious nature. All the named characters are developed instantly, making the narrative easy to follow, and establishing their innocence.

Ray, he looks like Sasuke, he’s angsty

Uh oh.

I also want to commend the work that CloverWorks has done with the animation. Everything is crisp, and clean; the color palate is just soft enough to be soporific; and they’ve translated Shirai’s character designs so that they teem with life, while remaining distinctive. Emma’s character design in particular is to be lauded.

Economy is a tough balance. Sometimes one can be too economical, and elide all the “Good Stuff” for later episodes. A number of great, subtle storytellers will purposely leave out compelling action for the reader to figure out. Fortunately…

The show is not stingy with its action

Towards the end of the episode, I was growing weary of the pacing a bit. Not too much, that creepiness was over-the-top and the tension was drawn tight. The normality was established and I was expecting that the disturbance – the “call to action” as Joseph Campbell called it, would wait until a later episode.

I was wrong.

Without going into any spoilers, the ending sets up the story and the thematic underpinning of the show – the end of innocence – expertly, and with a degree of emotional pitch I had not expected. A few sequences toward the end of the episode immediately paid off the tension and when it was finally released, I found myself jumping with terror, and grasping myself, as one does, when horror is done well.

It was real satisfying.

But the best part of the end of the episode is not just well…the everything of it, it is how it establishes one of the most important elements of the series going forward: Strategy vs. Brute Strength.

In the episode, during the aforementioned sequence where the kid’s play tag, Norman highlights that strategy and tactics – not brute strength – are what often determine the winner of a battle. Emma’s main failing is that she is “Compassionate” and, more to the point, straightforward.

This series has a long-game in mind, and the traits that have been highlighted are not athleticism or strength – which are Emma’s forte’s – but wit and strategy. Given that “Punching things harder” has been the tacit philosophy of Shonen stories since time immemorial (see: all the shonen protagonists), emphasizing the use of one’s mind, over the use of one’s fist can prove to be a legitimately compelling stylistic choice if effectively implemented. Especially knowing the stakes involved.

There is also a grand sense of mystery, set up in the first episode that, if handled well, could add compelling spice to an already compelling debut.

What doesn’t quite work

There is very little I genuinely disliked about this show. The only major critiques have more to do with the fact that this is a pilot episode. There isn’t going to be a lot of time to delve into who the characters are; and that’s fine.

Norman completes our trio

If I have any complaints, it is that the character’s failings have not yet been emphasized. That is more of a nit-pick, than a major issue. These characters have been established well, but they are still very much in a state of potential, only a promise of something to come. Emma is a compelling lead, featuring all the shonen tropes that make a character likeable, but it is not clear whether the failing established by the show her “caring too much for others” is going to be a sufficient character flaw in the long run to warrant further explanation. Ray is a more one-note character than i’d like; but again, this is the pilot.

If I have any complaints, it is only that my attention flagged a little during the middle of the episode; but again, as an introductory episode, that is to be expected.

Conclusion

The Promised Neverland is off to a great start, and promises to be an excellent show. While the pacing was somewhat slow, I have faith in where the show is going, and I am invested enough in the characters to be excited for the next episode.

Let’s see how that promise lives up, as the season goes on.

Until I score perfectly on my exam

.0000889 out of .0001000

See you next episode!

The Anti-Blog 4

Today, I found a website about found grocery lists. There truly is something for everybody on the internet. It’s right here, by the way.

I was fascinated by its fascination with the small, mundane accruals of the small, mundane people; I found it an apologia for the things that are regularly overlooked because they are microscopic in size. Those things which we hold in mundane contempt; that which we would call “taking things for granted” and I discovered it for the most mundane or reasons.

I suck at grocery shopping.

Of all the prosaic reasons to find a prosaic piece of collage art as a website and time capsule, I chose the most prosaic of all. The act of improving my grocery shopping game. it’s weak as fuck.

I walk in there, grab a basket; sometimes, I walk in and see the rows of color; the masterfully arrayed stands with conical colorful shapes; I see the ovaries of trees and vines and all the things borne above and below the earth in their gaiac majesty. I look at the long aisles, filled in an organization that speaks its own secret language; a dewey decimal system for the soap-opera masses; with the images and needs painted explicitly and somehow not at all far reaching enough to be meaningful.

Condiments, such an all-encompassing statement, and yet most of the condiments cannot be found in this section. There are condiments like dressings, or cheeses; there are condiments from other countries; there are ketchups and mustards of course; your rap-beloved Grey Poupon’s aligned on shelves, sometimes haphazardly, sometimes in martial beauty; geometrically arrayed to portray a sense of order. These next to peanuts and various things that the grocery store actually wants you to buy; snack packs of various nuts; spatulae and frying pans; the off-brand grocery store snack foods and off-brand colas that are as much a mainstay of the US as those more generic panegyric subjects like Mom’s Apple Pie, Baseball, and rampant Xenophobia.

I walk into this place, arrayed with a market psychologist’s precision, and I am lost in this city of food. I am lost among the avenues of fruits. I stumbled, recently, picking out a fresh food bag; I stood there, smiling the way you smile when you know you are in an embarrassing situation, but showing your embarrassment would be tantamount to acknowledging your embarrassment; and the jacketed indifferent people, wandering in their own non-synchronous rhythms watch in mild amusement at the putz fumbling with dispenser so he can grab a cucumber he will fail to cook, and will eventually go to the compost pile for reasons unknown.

I find myself lost in fluorescent lighting; the re-usable bags; the circular logic of prepared foods. The day old sushi which is eaten only in the most utilitarian of circumstances. With the mayo spicy and yellowed dripped onto the just shy of vibrant tuna nigiri; and the way overpriced cool tasting sticky rice that is no subsistute for the good shit. No dreams of Jiro would ever concoct such mundanity.

And then onto the cheese section, where a glorious array of various shades of yellow, red, white, and speckle make themselves known. One can get lost in a cheese display, if one is not lactose intolerant (which I am not). One can finger lovingly the displays of brie and gorgonzola so crisp and the vermont cheddar that needs be extra sharp to be consumed by my mallet-smashing-watermelon subtlety of palate.

Onto to those red glaring meats, and tupperware collections; anterior and posterior to the frozen-fish, sitting freshly cut; breakfast wares and pork-cut gone wrong hot-dogs all arrayed to entice.

And then I wander, allegro, across the remaining aisles. Anxious and grateful at the ability to shop for groceries, even though I don’t know what I’m looking for. Making sure to stick to a budget that, somehow, I exceed, by only the slightest of margins that will still manage to shame me with my limited ability to budget.

The embarrassment as I search for frozen fruit and the carbs, pretending my macros are a consideration, when I really feel broke. And, after rushing like someone who made act 2 way too long through the climax, I get some yogurt and granola and go.

So, to make a more balanced solution, I looked of grocery lists. I’ve never felt my age more; I’ve never felt so mundane and simple as to search for something like a grocery list.

But then I found this site. And I saw that mundanity, in a row, is quite beautiful. To see the pathologies of man writ small, in various colors and lined papers and stick notes and hotel stationary; objects as diverse as lotion, get-well cards, margarine, bananas, condoms; doctors stationaries; index card; kisses in red-lipstick for loved ones; parmesan cheese; glimpses into character; little peeks behind the curtain of mundane life.

And, for a moment, it feels like an aesthetic, greater than itself, but no more than itself. For a moment, humanity is a single plural strain of existence write large across the planet.

But then I remember, it’s just a bunch of groceries.

The Anti-Blog 3

Man, spam can suck my ass.

Well, actually, nah. I’ve written about it before, but there is something weirdly magical about good spam; GOOD spam. Like Zoltan Papp who I swear is just 3 sentences away from writing some masterful goddamn science fiction stories a la conspiracy theories. Or the infamous Nigerian Prince con mucho dinero qui just needs you to wire some cash so you can inherit it from him, regardless of the internal contradiction that presents.

But now this anti-blog thing is getting spam, and it is mildly frustrating, to put it…mildly. Blegh.

I’m all for that sexy poetry spam where it’s a series of words that don’t really make sense, arrayed in a beautiful colorful word salad and all that makes sense is that the words are multi-syllabic masterpieces of sound and that’s about it. Carburetor switch valve sorry for the ectoplasmic refraction beam; light at the end of the tunnel but only killswitches on the anterior side of nowhere’s seti alpha v crazy. It’s an orthogonal retrograde of amnesiac surrealism pressed against the grey stone tilt of some jojo reference I don’t have time for.

Sorry, where were we?

Eh, I don’t know. I was too busy making word salad.

Ah. No. I lost my train of thought.

Should I end this here?

NO.

Well, if you insist, me.

What was I talking about?

Oh, right, getting spam.

Getting spam is great…if you get other attention too; but I don’t.

Spam is the only attention I get. Comment after comment of spam. And that means someone is reading it, and maybe I should show compassion to those people.
Those People are salesman, after all. They are trying to convince me to buy a product because they see a need – poor viewership – and feel in their automaton hearts that they have the solution.

They don’t. It’s spam. But it’s the the thought that counts.

But is spam something that can really think? Well, no, but it’s not meant to. It’s meant to push a product that may or may not work, and get money into the hands of the unscrupulous and scrupulous alike. Spam isn’t always illegitimate like Jon Snow; sometimes Spam is just some trashy e-mail meant to sell you a thing, sent to a million people who are likely to purchase it.

Sometimes, Spam is thought about heavily. It has meaning. Someone thought about, probably for hours – maybe even longer – the arrangement of the font, how colorful it should be and every little detail, just to make sure it would ping on your email and grab your attention.

There is something admirable about that.

Because, when it’s not a scam, out and out, that means someone cared enough to make sure you would like to read that. Someone put enough care to grab your attention to make sure you wanted their project; and, because this theoretical spam is by a marketing team, it is because they recognize in you a potential client. They know something about you that you may not even be aware of.

But perhaps in sending it it was too generic; perhaps they did not put enough thought into make the email seem real. One man’s spam is another man’s treasure…probably. And at least with spam attached to something legitimate, you know someone is thinking about it.

I can’t decide if that’s sad, or beautiful.

Probably both.

Oh, whatever, spambots, enjoy the algorithmic content you glean from this website, and have all that fun.

Peace

The Anti-Blog 2

I’ve been hit. Help.

You ever get a wave of involuntary memory, like a Proust orgasm and you suddenly feel very distant from your memories, like they are all something explicitly in the past; and yet they are also right in front of your lived-in body, moment to moment on the cusp of revelation; and all the feeling is suddenly overwhelming you and falling on top of you; and you have no choice but to feel the memory as if it were this infinite moment where the past collides into the present – where all time is laid bare like sushi on a japanese woman – and the unfeeling lurid tongues of men in suits runs across your body and you don’t know what the feeling is supposed to evoke; whether it’s some meaningless trite sensation of thereness; or if its an uncomfortable violation of yourself; that moment forever lost now replaying violently on the theater of your schull. Endlessly repeating some tangential sensation of oneness and care and hope.

Yeah, me neither.

The Anti-Blog 1

This blog is about nothing, and that’s the way I want to keep it. Insert Seinfeld bass intro.

Honestly, this blog isn’t about things, it’s intentionally not about things, because things are points in time, vectors that cut off those beautiful unknowns in the distance; they make myopic the masses and make circumstantial the consequential….unless they don’t.

Uhm….that means something. Probably.

What is the point of a blog anyway? I mean, nowadays blogs are about things. You blog about how awesome you are trimming your cat’s ball hair (of if you’re a vet, their balls); you blog about how to maximize your SEO to make those sweet sweet ad-dollahs baby. Cha-fuckin’-ching.

I mean, you know, you blog these days because blogging is now a viable opportunity to make moolahs. Which, in this day and age, is actually a reasonable goal.

And I think to myself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3yCcXgbKrE

And, for a while, I’ve been in this mindset of “I want to blog because blogging can be profitable if you are good at it” but then it occurred to me: i’m…not, good at it.

I mean, if I really put a good faith effort – if I dotted my Srunk & White T’s and crossed my SEO eyes – if I…I don’t know, listened to Income School and made my content good and saleable, then that premise would be just fine and dandy.

But I can’t, at least not yet, for a few reasons.

Reason 1: I get in my head about it

I find socialism to be dumb as bricks in its most extreme incarnations (fucking honestly), but I also can’t bring myself to write content that I don’t feel strongly about.

I’m probably a fucking hypocrite for saying it, but when I write in a purely commercial context, it is hard to feel like I have soul in the game. If I rationalize it to myself, it’s possible, don’t get me wrong. I been on that grind honey, and it’s 100% possible lemme tell you.

But it also feels…manufactured.

Don’t get me wrong, if you find joy in copy-writing, or technical writing; if finding the quickest route from Consumer A’s wallet to Company B’s bank account gets you going; if the prospect of finding the Mot Juste of advertising is your Joie De Vivre with that vestigial R, and you like that shit, really, honestly, that’s amazing.

I will never fault someone for hustlin’ and likin’ it. And it would be dishonest of me to say “Who, me make money by writing convincing copy? Never. I have SOUL IN THE GAME. MAN”. That’s kinda fucking bullshit. If I could enjoy copy, I would go balls deep into that process. The prospect of putting words to paper and also then converting those words actionably into monies for which I can then purchase goods and services from other Copywriters gets me all tingly inside as a prospect.

But….

I’m not there yet.

I get so in my head about the reality of it; am I excited about writing this thing because the words flowing from my word processor are words that I care about; are these flowing fluid alliterations meant to sell you a product my soul; or am I just a fucking shill pushing a product to convince you you need something more?

I never genuinely know the answer. And I ain’t gonna lie, it’s troubling.

So, I started this free-writing thing so I can…be more comfortable with the prospect of putting words on paper in public.

I think this is like… the first, second, THIRD time, third, really Eric? Honestly. This is the third time I’ve tried this, and that’s upsetting.

But I need to do this because.

Reason 2: Being naked is awesome

Ahh, I’m gonna need to rephrase that somehow.

How shall I put this? Any written endeavor, or musical endeavor, or artistic endeavor requires that you strip down in front of a lot of people. For better or worse consciously, and with the expectation of being judged for it. People are….less than forgiving of others on the internet.

And over the last year, it is has become increasingly evident that people are looking to pick a fight. I’ve watched as the situation has deteriorated rapidly. People are angry, and they want to hurt.

If there is a group of people I want to drop trough in front of less, it would be y’all. And that’s not just because I’m a fan of being publicly decent.

Y’all – the vast internet wasteland – filled with time cubes and hate mongers and neo-nazis and Anime Fans and Social Justice and stupid critical essays on why the Last Jedi is a dumpster fire and people being systematically abused by poweful systems and capitalists and communists and stupid people who think they are smart and smart people who think they are stupid and people who casually overlook the impact of stalin and mao and people who are cool with the situation in flint and people who like to argue because they like the feeling of being angry and people who are justifiably depressed.

It’s a lot. And it’s scary. And it always feels like i’m going to be stepping on a lot of toes. I don’t want to step on toes. But I’m going to, whether I like it or not. That’s just how existence works.

But man, I don’t like the thought of it.

And that’s kinda messed up because:

I want to be more than invisible

So we come to the squeeze. I’m not afraid to admit I’m egotistical. I think it’s egotistical to think you’re not egotistical, and then do things that support that idea, even though, deep down, you one hundred percent are egotistical (didn’t I just say 100% ffs?) so I’ll be straight: I want to be liked, I want to be loved. And that shouldn’t be a radical fucking statement, but it is. It is because it is Gauche AF to admit that you want things like “being significant” and “being cared for”.

Or maybe I’m just fucked in the head. We may never know.

But in all cases, I see myself as having pussyfooted pretty hard. And this meandering answerless blog with shit content is my answer to it.

Because if I can’t meander meaninglessly across vast tracts of the internet wasteland, anime, art, literature, music, and all the things I love.

Then what is the goddamn point?

I don’t know. But maybe if I write it out, I’ll find out.

And then I can do something meaningful.

It’s snowing on Mt. Fuji