Archive for June, 2013

Da Art Of (Bad) Storytelling

June 28th, 2013

Thursday night, I watched TNA’s Impact Wrestling on Spike TV. You know how some people watch shows about pregnant teens or redneck towing company shenanigans for a cheap laugh. Impact is a cheap laugh for me.

 

I’ll give you a brief recap of one of the many storylines on Thursday’s show. You’ll think I’m shooting fish in a barrel, but I’m not.

 

  • Chris Sabin is walking down a hallway before his match. Sabin is the X-Division (or Light-Heavyweight) Champion. He is accosted and harassed by Bully Ray and two goons, who get Sabin in a choke hold and tell him not to take a match against Bully Ray for Bully Ray’s World Title in a few weeks.
  • While listing his reasons as to why Sabin should not accept the match, Bully Ray literally says “I am a bad person and I do bad things.”
  • “I am a bad person and I do bad things” is the kind of thing a child would come up with when trying to scare off the monsters in their closet.
  • The goons let Chris Sabin go, who is now a little worse for wear.

 

Okay, fine. Maybe I am shooting fish in a barrel. Fuck you.

 

  • The first match of the show is a triple-threat match, or a 1-on-1-on-1 match. Chris Sabin is defending his X-Division title against two men, Kenny King and the masked Suicide.
  • After about ten minutes, Suicide throws Sabin out of the ring and pins King with a rollup while grabbing a rope for leverage.
  • In spite of cheating by grabbing the rope and not pinning the actual champion, Suicide is declared the new X-Division Champion.
  • Just then, Hulk Hogan (the general manager of the show) comes out with a man who is doubled over in pain. He introduces that man as TJ Perkins, and says that TJ is the guy who is the real Suicide.
  • Apparently, someone beat up TJ before the show, took his costume and mask (he wears a full-body costume) and went out to wrestle as Suicide.
  • Hogan demands that the imposter Suicide unmask immediately but instead he runs off through the crowd with the belt.
  • Backstage, Hogan screams that if the imposter doesn’t unmask, he’ll strip him of the X-Division title.

 

If they wanted to do an imposter masked man angle, why not keep the mask on the real Suicide instead of outing the guy who actually plays him. Am I to understand that the real Suicide would only have one mask and one bodysuit to bring to wrestling shows? That’s like bringing one guitar with no extra cables or strings to a band gig.

 

  • To close the show, Hogan returned to the ring to call out the fake Suicide, who showed up with the X-Division title around his waist.
  • When I say “his waist”, I assume the fake Suicide is a man. Actually, if the fake Suicide were a woman it still wouldn’t be as dumb as “This is TJ, he’s the real Suicide” from earlier in the show.
  • Hogan demands the imposter unmask or be stripped of the X-Division title. The imposter refuses, and is non-verbal (despite having a mic in his hand).
  • Just when Hogan is about to strip him of the belt, Bully Ray shows up to confront the imposter. This gets fake Suicide to start talking; he has a distorted voice.
  • You know who else had a distorted voice? The Shockmaster.
  • As he talks, he rips off his mask to reveal he is none other than Austin Aries, and he declares that he will challenge Bully Ray for Ray’s World Title before stomping off.

 

Here’s a list of people who look stupid because of the angle on Impact, in descending order of stupidity.

 

  1. Chris Sabin. Got punked out by three guys to start the show. Lost his belt, didn’t even get pinned in the match. Won’t get a chance to fight Bully Ray for the World Title after Bully Ray punked him out backstage.
  2. TJ Perkins. Got beat up by Aries. Didn’t get to challenge for the X-Division Title. Hulk Hogan told everybody he was the real Suicide. Wasn’t there at the end of the show to challenge Aries for beating him up and stealing his gear and spot in the match.
  3. Austin Aries. Has been a bad guy up until this week’s show. Beat up Perkins, stole the Suicide costume and used it to win the X-Division Title. Cheated to win. Talked like the Shockmaster. Wouldn’t unmask for Hogan but would unmask for Bully Ray? Is Austin now a good guy automatically?
  4. Bully Ray. Threatened Sabin, did no good whatsoever because Sabin lost the title. Said the sentence, “I am a bad person and I do bad things”. Said it later on when threatening Suicide/Aries. Interrupted Hogan when he was about to strip Suicide/Aries of the X-Division Title/shot at World Title.
  5. Hulk Hogan. Because.
  6. Me. I have spent nearly 900 words on this.

 

I wish I could say that the other storylines on the show were better. They were not. And the worst thing that wrestling fans can do is pretend this stuff is good or works when it isn’t or doesn’t. It is bad storytelling. Despite having legends from WWE, WCW and ECW, Impact regularly does .9 ratings, which is what your BAC level would need to be to think any of the storylines work.

 

 

Why Can’t We Be More Like Kiss?

June 27th, 2013

You know what I liked about Kiss when I was kid?
Their music? Not really.

 

Clockwise from bottom: Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley

 

I liked that when they wore the makeup, they each had distinct personas. The loverboy with a star in his eyes, the fire-breathing demon, the wobbly-kneed spaceman, and the stupid cat. Even their replacements had their personas, Eric Carr was the fox and Vinnie Vincent was the wobbly-kneed Egyptian warrior who looked like the spaceman if you squinted just right.

 

I have a band called Technology Vs. Horse, and if you’ve seen us perform you can see that we are five men in street clothes (in my case, often pajamas). Recently, the Horse had a gig in Madisonville, Kentucky and I took to giving each of the band members nicknames, live on the mic in between songs. They didn’t know I was going to do it. They didn’t ask for it. But I gave it to them.

 

I nicknamed our drummer the Estonian Thunderfrog. Our guitarist became the Lithuanian Snow Troll, and our keyboardist became the Latvian Proud Oak. I gave myself the moniker of the Proletariat Boar of Moldova while I nicknamed our bassist Mr. Azerbaijian. This is among the stupidest and most confusing things I’ve ever said onstage, and that covers a lot of ground.

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t even come up with any of those names. All of the names I mentioned, without exception, are the names of pro wrestlers performing in and around Pennsylvania and New England. I wish I had come up with them. So irresistibly surreal names that I wanted to use them. But I can’t. They don’t belong to me anymore than Carlos Mencia’s jokes belong to him.

 

But why not be more like Kiss? I’m not saying we have to put on makeup and spandex costumes and vomit blood (although vomiting blood would be fun). But having personas. . . like Kiss.

 

You know what? I’m officially out of good ideas, folks. I have jumped the shark. I’m sorry for everything. I watch pro wrestling a lot. Too much for some people. What can I say? Wrestling is Fun!

We Disagree. So What?

June 26th, 2013

Here’s a few things I happen to believe.

1. On nearly any issue, people will fall on either side of that issue.

2. The creators of social media from the dark days of Prodigy to Pinterest wanted to bring people together.

3. Politics/politicians want to keep people divided because it’s good for their business.

 

The introduction of politics in social media has been a sad situation. I want to clarify that I mean the actual politicians themselves as well as the many activist groups that have gone into Facebook, Twitter, etc. and made the Internet one giant goddamn quagmire of yelling.

 

We are all together in this. We really are one world. Do you think you gay marriage will lead to human-animal marriage? Guess what, you’re in this too, along with Mr. and Mrs. MoveOndotI-UNSUBSCRIBED-EIGHT-TIMES-ALREADY-STOP-E-MAILING-ME.

 

I believe most people want things to be better, but they all have different ideas of how to make it so. Politicians have got people screaming at each other all the time in Youtube comments and calling each other names on Twitter.

 

If we’re focused on each other, we can’t focus on the politicians who play divide-and-conquer. I hate politics for ruining the utopian ideal of social media. We are not screaming at each other and participating in democracy, we are being distracted the same way we would be if we watch pregnant teens on MTV, out-of-control hoarders on A&E, or fat creeps running a pawn shop on the History Channel.

 

The pressure should be on them, not us.

History Of The Eagles

June 25th, 2013

These men are pricks.

 

Last night I finally got to watch the full two-part documentary History Of The Eagles. It is a must-see. Definitely recommended. The Eagles are total pricks.

 

I won’t argue the merits of the band’s music. If you catch me in a rare mood, I might even like a song or two of there. I can’t argue with their musical chops. But watch this documentary and you will learn more than a few things about the people who were/are in the Eagles.

 

  • Glenn Frey likes to start conflict with people (with producer Glyn Johns, bassist Randy Meisner, guitarists Bernie Leadon and Don Felder. . . who one-by-one left or were fired from the Eagles). Some of these threaten to spill into physical fights, especially with Meisner and Felder.
  • The funniest part of the documentary is when Frey tells a story about having a backstage fight with Meisner and the cops swooping in to break them up before Henley shouts at them to stop and let his bandmates punch each other. “This is personal. Family fuckin’ business.”
  • Apparently, Don Henley’s self-image contrasts with how everyone else sees him. Don Henley as a self-styled malcontent because he was on the right side of two lawsuits against David Geffen?
  • Joe Walsh is basically the Derek Smalls of the Eagles.

pictured: Derek Smalls, the lukewarm water that keeps Spinal Tap flowing

 

  • Seriously, Joe Walsh is so thankful to Frey and Henley for writing all those songs that made the Eagles. They really are such geniuses, aren’t they? It’s not like they didn’t get any help from J.D. Souther or Jackson Browne or Jack Tempchin or Bernie Leadon who was replaced by Joe in the Eagles.
  • Don Felder is a whiny man. Glenn Frey at one point calls him “the only asshole in the band” (hah!). In the documentary, he comes off as a guy who’s had his balls cut off and doesn’t know how to cope with it. He walks out of the interview in tears.
  • Timothy B. Schmit is just along for the ride, the poor bastard. He used to be the Eagle I hated the most. Now he’s not even in the top four.
  • Linda Ronstadt was cute back in the early 70’s. When Henley and Frey decide they want to break off from her backing group to start the band, both her and her management were “gracious” about it and gave their permission. “Gracious” is not a word used to described anyone in the Eagles.
  • Sometimes, when the Eagles weren’t hoovering miles of coke, fighting each other, or running a train on Stevie Nicks, they played softball.

Fuuuuuuuuuccccccckk Yoooooouuuuu.

 

  • It turns out that Frey and Henley are actually kinda like the way they are portrayed in the web-series Yacht Rock, when they bully Steely Dan.

 

Pre-Millennium Tension

June 20th, 2013

The Miami Heat just won their second straight NBA title in a row, so I’m gonna take this time to talk about Tricky.

 

Once upon a time in the mid-90s, Tricky was an entity that showed up and made music. His first album was successful and garnered him many new collaborators like Bjork and PJ Harvey. His response to critical and commercial success was to make albums that were increasingly obtuse and maddening in nature. Some of it was pretty good. Some of it. . . I don’t know, really. I checked out around 1999 or so, when the buzz around him evaporated despite releasing an alright album called Juxtapose.

 

Apparently, Tricky is still a music-making entity. Good for him and good for me because I’ll get to see him perform when he shows up to the Mountain Oasis Festival in Asheville, North Carolina this coming October. I sincerely doubt he’ll play much of the material I remember from him, that being the albums Maxinquaye, Juxtapose and Pre-Millennium Tension.

 

Pre-Millennium Tension came out in 1996. I bought the cassette of it and played the life out of it. It was a tough listen in spots. The opening track “Vent” had me reaching for the fast-forward button as did the rambling “Ghetto Youth”, which is six minutes of one of Tricky’s Jamaican friends rambling over a lazy beat.

 

It was such a tough listen that I tried to find ways to make it more tolerable. One of those ways involved my use of a cassette recorder. I bought it for recording college lectures but never cared to listen back to what I recorded in class. The recorder had three speeds: normal, slow and fast. So I began playing with the recorder and Pre-Millennium Tension was the best choice to experiment with.

 

“Vent” worked best sped up a step. “Bad Dream”  and “Makes Me Wanna Die” needed to be slowed down, in my amateur version of chopping and scratching. “My Evil Is Strong” and “Piano” both worked sped up. “Ghetto Youth” is still nonsense at any speed. Maybe this exercise helped me understand what exactly was happening in Tricky’s dense world a little better. I did this with a few more albums and then the cassette recorder went away and then I lost that tape and the 90s ended.

 

 

Who I Am, In The Other 51 DC Earths.

June 18th, 2013

  • On Earth, the Earth we currently inhabit, I am Mike Farmer. I am a singer, songwriter, writer of web articles, frontman of rock group Technology Vs. Horse and large person. I am single and childless.
  • On Earth-2, I am still Mike Farmer, but I am married. My marriage is a unhappy sham because I met my wife at a homosexuality-reeducation camp. We cry often, sometimes nightly. I am a successful promoter of MMA fights.
  • On Earth-3, I am Mychal Taylor. I’m African-American, six-foot-eight inches tall, and play pro basketballl for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. I score very few points and rebounds per game because I’m not very good. However, I am overpaid so it evens out. Warriors fans and management hate me because my contract is burdensome to their franchise.
  • On Earth-4, I am Carol Brockman. I manage a TJ Maxx in Johnson City, Arkansas.
  • On Earth-5, I am a frog. I have no superpowers.
  • On Earth-6, I am a mutant superfrog with multiple powers, including flight, invisibility and the ability to stop payment on checks via brain command. I have no superhero name.
  • On Earth-7, I am Sparky, a black lab who awaits execution for manslaughter after accidentally shooting U.S. Vice President Lenny Kravitz.
  • On Earth-8, I am Mike Farmer again, except I’m not a human being. I’m a piece of A.I. made to resemble a human currently being trapped in a room with no doors on the latest edition of Sim City by some bored asshole. Help! I’m suffocating and I’m hungry!
  • On Earth-9, I am Carol Brockman again, and I’m the bored asshole killing Mike Farmer in the video game on Earth-8. In this universe, I work at Gadzooks instead of TJ Maxx in Johnson City.
  • On Earth-10, I am a sentient robot nicknamed Kilstein 5ooo. I am not Jewish but my owner has decided that I should be Jewish because it’s “quirky”. I have to wear a knitted yarmulke where my overhead heat vent is and I shut down from high temperature daily.
  • On Earth-11, I am Mike Farmer. I married the girl I had a crush on in high school and have many children. I am bored out of my mind. Help me.
  • On Earth-12, I am Jim Linde. I play in a tribute band. Our band pays tribute to Mike Farmer, the King of Pop on Earth-12 and Sexiest Man Alive three years in a row.
  • On Earth-13, I am a fry cook at a Waffle House in Tampa. My name is Justin Timberlake. People ask me if I know the other Justin Timberlake. I do not know him. It is annoying to hear after a while.
  • On Earth-14, I am a meth lab in a garage in Camarillo, Ca. I have no superpowers.
  • On Earths-15 through 51, I am a bunch of different people and things.

Revolution, As Understood By A 9-Year-Old

June 16th, 2013

 

Here is an ad for Nike Air from 1987, featuring “Revolution” by the Beatles. What I am about to tell is from memory. Michael Jackson bought the Beatles’ publishing and would attempt to exploit this by licensing songs to advertising agencies for commercials such as the Nike Air commercial above. There was a major backlash from Beatles fans, music fans and the three surviving Beatles who sued to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

 

I saw this commercial when it originally aired in 1987, when I was nine. I did not know about the music business, licensing or Michael Jackson owning the Beatles’ songs. What I did know or perceived “revolution” to be was a violent, bloody rebellion where people could die. Revolution was a thing people did when they were unhappy with their government. I imagined civilians throwing bricks at police and SWAT teams marching in on them. Streets covered in blood, effigies aflame. That’s what I thought of when I heard the word “revolution”.

 

Nike is a company that makes and sells sneakers.

What The NSA Probably Now Know About Me

June 13th, 2013

On June 12th this year, I received a phone call from Polly on or about 3:44 in the afternoon. I forgot to return this call when I woke up.

 

On June 11th, I went onto a streaming video porn site to look at the chick from Game Of Thrones who did hardcore before she became a serious actress. This venture is a resounding success.

 

On June 10th, Josh sent me a text informing me that someone who mutually dislikes us has had some bad news. We text each other back and forth jovially.

 

On June 8th, I tweet that I am getting Dish Network installed in my house.

 

On June 6th, I posted the following status on Facebook: “Princess Peach is a tramp.” Three people liked it.

 

On June 5th, I joined Fetlife.

 

 

 

 

That Would Have Been A Fight

June 12th, 2013

Just now I was standing at my kitchen sink when my grandpa walked behind me to fetch a cup of coffee. I bumped into him and nearly knocked him over. Thankfully, I turned around quickly and steadied him. I apologized and he excused me, because it was an obvious accident.

 

If my mom had been living with us and seen me do that, that would have started a horrible fight. I just have the feeling about it. Sometimes we get triggered by the strangest things. She’d yell at me to watch what I was doing. I would probably yell back because I don’t like being yelled at. Honestly, who does? And then it would escalate until we were no longer arguing about me bumping into my frail grandfather. Sadly, it wouldn’t take long to escalate.

 

I don’t miss the past. I don’t miss a lot of the circumstances of the past. Hair-trigger arguments in a tense atmosphere with a family member I “loved”? Who “loved” me? And yell at each other like we were strangers in traffic until one or both of us were in tears?

 

I was raised like an idiot. I learned how to live like a feral animal. An unloving, feral animal. I hated my mom for many years and I blamed her for so many things beyond her control. Would we be like that now? Who can tell? I’d be afraid to find out.

What Can You Do To Me Now?

June 11th, 2013

 

What can you do to me now
That you haven’t done to me already
You broke my pride and made me cry out loud
What can you do to me now

I’m seeing things that I never thought I’d see
You’ve opened up the eyes inside of me
How long have you been doing this to me
I’m seeing sides of me that I can’t believe

Someway somehow I’ll make a man of me
I will build me back the way I used to be
Much stronger now the second time around cause
What can you do to me now
What can you do to me now