The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.

from here.

The other day I came across this interesting post on io9 concerning David Foster Wallace

from here.

Last year the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin received DFW’s archive, which apparently consists of 30 boxes and eight oversized folders. In September they opened the archive to researchers, but with that they put a few very interesting scans online, including a handwritten page from the first draft of Infinite Jest (I still have a hardy laugh at the thought that Wallace’s working title for the mammoth novel was “A Failed Entertainment”), but that’s not it.

Wallace taught a class at Pomona college, “English 102 — Literary Analysis I: Prose Fiction,” and amongst the scans that the Harry Ransom Center put up are pages from his personal copies of some of the books he taught in said class. Much loved, well worn books that include scribbles throughout. Here you’ll find…

…pages from Stephen King’s Carrie

and below is a page from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe:

With these pages and DFW’s forthcoming posthumous novel The Pale King, I fear that we may see the last of previously unseen material fueled into his legacy. I think he’ll stand just fine on his own, but sometimes I wish he had left just a ton of material behind to be released periodically. Like J.D. Salinger, maybe. Or Tupac.

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

“Four legs good, two legs bad.”

-George Orwell in Animal Farm.

Mad linkage:

Good Christian Bitches.

The 10 unanswerable questions answered.

The 10 songs most likely to make a man cry.

Compare The Onion AV Club’s 50 best movies of the 00s to those selected by your friendly neighborhood Counterforce.

The pictures in this post (except one) are all by Dave Eggers., from a portfolio of his entitled “It Is Right To Draw Their Fur.”

Inconceivable vs. unthinkable.

Geeks vs. hipsters.

Criminals steal Interpol chief’s Facebook identity.

The beginning of the backlash against Joanathan Franzen?

Tao Lin parodies that Franzen profile in Time.

The FBI is still all up in John Lennon’s junk, whose birthday would’ve been tomorrow. “Nobody told me there would be days like these!” See:

via Google.

This is no longer relevant, but still humor to me: Jared Leto hitting on Lady Gaga.

Tony Gilroy is directing the next Jason Bourne movie, which may or may not include Matt Damon.

Talking comics with Jason.

The first ten pages of The Social Network.

Also, Fincher close to getting a deal similar to that which gave us “The Night Chronicles.”

“I change shapes just to hide in this place but I’m still an animal.”

Mark Z. Danielewski putting out a 27 volume masterpiece about lost cats?

David E. Kelley working on a new Wonder Woman TV show.

Maria Diaz quoted in LA Times.

Mark David Chapman had to go into protective custody to have conjugal visit sex with his wife.

“There are two things for which animals are to be envied: they know nothing of future evils, or of what people say about them.”

-Voltaire.

Defense mechanisms of the criminally insane.

I want to muse a bit about Shutter Island here.

Bear with me though. Let’s break it down to… oh, shall we say, “No Spoilers” and “Spoilers,” something like that?

No Spoilers.

The movie starts like Hamlet’s father’s ghost, wandering out of the fog and into our lives. Or, rather, it starts with a boat, coming towards us out of the fog, and heading towards the island of the movie’s title. On that boat is Dicaprio, hunched over, vomiting his brains out.

The plot is simple: It’s 1954, and Dicaprio is a US Marshal, working for the first time with a new partner, played by Mark Ruffalo. They’re on their way to Shutter Island, home of a hospital for the nation’s most criminally insane. One of the inmate/prisoners has escaped, seemingly vanished into thin air (no, not vanished, more like “evaporated,” just like water would), and the marshals are there to find her. And, of course things are not what they seem…

The first scene there on the boat, as Dicaprio walks onto the deck and meets his new partner tells us so much about the movie we’re about to get. It literally plunges us into the motifs we’ll see over and over again and informs us that we’re in the playground of both paranoid noir and the best kind of playing homage, the one that sparks originality.

Dicaprio is a man haunted by a past that we see in flashbacks, both to his life with his wife, played simply and straightforwardly by Michelle Williams, and before that, to his time in World War II, and his part in liberating Dachau and witnessing both man’s cruelty to man after the fact and during the cold, violent act itself.

That opening scene, which I need to return to again for just one more paragraph, still amazes me. It’s so simplistic, feeling at first almost like an SNL quality of production for a Casablanca scene, or something in which somebody like Humphrey Bogart could actually appear in. Everything, this scene tells us, is going to be about water, something you can drown or be drowned in, immersed in, or it’s going to be about fire, ash, the dark nuclear future on the horizon, and the smoke which, like the fog, is going to surround you, and you’re not only going to get lost in, you’re going to lose yourself.

That’s heavy, I know.

The downside of this movie is that it’s way too long. The way a nightmare feels too long, but the pacing is expert. And it’s simple, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Scorsese is trying new things, the paranoid thriller, working effectively in a field where, like we’ve said, someone like Polanski really excels in. And Scorsese, ever the master, ever the craftsman and lover of film, knows what he’s doing. You’re going to sit there and you’re going to be drugged and unnerved because that’s what he wants from you.

But with the mechanics of your typical hysterical thriller hokum, the creepy staircases, the rain and lightning, the darkened hallways, Scorsese takes you places. He takes you to the Holocaust, gliding effortlessly into memories that intersect with the present, and into the place where your memories walk away like nightmares and lie to you. Somewhat like the “twists” and “turns” of the movie, which at times come out of nowhere,  and other times lead you down phony paths that may actually be the real one.

Unshockingly, when Dicaprio’s character gets to the island and gets the lay of the land in the first ten to fifteen minutes, and then gets a headache, one that requires the head doctor, played both creepily and both perfect genuine smarm by Ben Kingsley, to give him an asprin, you automatically assume that Dicaprio’s character is being drugged. Your cinephile instincts just tell you that immediately…

And they’re right, but not totally in the way you’re assuming. From that moment on, the movie is a drug.

You’re absolutely living in the character’s frustrations and fears and paranoia.

To me, The Others was a perfect creepy movie for a crowd. I first watched it with a group of people, none of us having ever seen it before and we were freaked out, but we were enthralled. That same sense of rapture is present here, but this is not a crowd movie, not to me. You need to see it in the theater because there it’s big and loud and gorgeous, but it feels so solitary. Once this film starts and that boat punches through the white vaporous fog, you’re alone. And even if you weren’t, you can’t be sure that person sitting next to you is real anyway.

And the acting is serviceable throughout. Sadly, more than what the actors give in performance, they give in appearance. The period-ness of this picture is perfect through and through. Dicaprio, whom my fingers keep wanting to mistype as “Dicrapio” gives everything he has: the angry guy, the tough guy, the sad, hurt child. Nothing with charisma or nuance, though. In the beginning of this movie, he almost feels like he’s regressed (ha ha, spoilers) back to where he was in the beginning of Revolutionary Road, still feeling like, as Natasha Vargas-Cooper put it so brilliantly: it feels like you’re watching “a high school actor, a very fine one, play Hamlet.”

I’m still curious what Scorsese gets out of their partnership, but somewhat akin to The Departed, the thing that Dicaprio best conveys to this story: The need, the crazy reaches for survival. In his hands, you think you’re wanting to grab yourself some understanding, seeking out truth and trying to get to the bottom of a mystery, but really, you’re just trying to survive to the conclusion.

SPOILERS.

Seriously, if you didn’t see that “twist” coming in some form or another, then… well, I don’t want to be mean here, but I’m assuming you were born yesterday and this was the first film you’ve ever seen, right?

I mean, of course Dicaprio was going to be an inmate himself and the film was going to be his emotional quest to discover something for himself, an emotional plateau and on it, possibly a chance at redemption or acceptance?

And Mark Ruffalo, doesn’t he always play not just a cop, but kind of a son of a bitch? I was talking to someone about that after the movie and she was confused. “Does he always play a cop?” she asked. I just smiled and said, “You should go watch In The Cut. Really. You should.” But in all seriousness, a minor note I’d make about Ruffalo’s performance: Something about his facial expressions throughout the first half… They just felt so perfect with the period to me.

Will the lighthouse become that new piece of terrifying imagery?

I’m curious what people will think of this movie after the fog of it’s release settles. This isn’t necessarily an award winning movie, but it’s solid, completely. It’s made by a master and the cast is more than capable and game.

And the ending? It’s sinister. It’s devastating. It takes a moment to realize what’s going on there, and it’s dark and it’s human and it’s all Dicaprio. It’s a man making a decision, whether to live a certain way or die another way, and I think it’s a division that resonates when you walk out of the theater. Some people will hate this movie and I want to say something about them not being lovers of American cinema, or just the art of making movies at all, and some people will walk out of this film, still thinking about it, carrying a bit of it with them for a while, jumping at and questioning the shadows that appear as you just try to grab hold of something real out there in the fog.

At the gates of the animal kingdom.

Hipster puppies?

Sea Dogs” and the paragon of animals.

Iran launches rocket carrying animals into orbit.

Fuck life, now there’s thirdhand smoke!

from here.

Half-naked women protest Ukranian election.

Diffusing a bomb with an axe while 20,000 feet above Germany.

Energy, tax, budget cuts, and “lift American spirits.”

Sade soldiers on.

Borges was a neuroscientist?

J. D. Salinger: “Recluse” with an ugly history with women.

Bruce Sterling and atemporality.

Is Quentin Tarantino a great director?

Slogging and blogging.

Underdog theory debunked.

New Samuel R. Delany novel.

Zoomorphism” in science fiction.

from here.

Experiencing the void” at the Guggenheim.

Oral sex, a knight fight, and then sperm impregnated a girl.

Bugs migrate like birds.

New Spiderman device could let humans walk on walls.

from here.

(1000)(-493) Days of blogging.

500  posts. Plus 2. Then 5 more.  That’s exciting. Shocking, too. Exciting and shocking. Reminds me of my last few marriages.

More random notes:

One: Christmas Eve, all by myself. Plenty of drink and food and a lot of DVDs piling up. And sleeping dogs. I was planning on watching an old movie I enjoyed entitled A Midwinter’s Tale, but I ended up watching it last week instead out of impatience…

from here.

It’s an old comedy from 1995, directed by Kenneth Branagh, going back to his bread and butter, of course: the bard.

It’s the story of a group of poor has been and would be and never was actors putting on a Christmas play in a drafty old church in a small English village. The play they pick, of course, is Hamlet, partially because it’s all the silly things one thinks of Shakespeare – men in tights yelling silly things at each other and then sword fighting – but also because it is the ultimate play, the ultimate endeavor of theatrical drama. And somewhere along the way they find themselves, some light within themselves that’s still burning bright. Of course.

It’s a minor film, but a likable one in my book. It’s 90s comedy and independent film making at it’s finest, also. Branagh is a capable director with a good eye for finding new angles within Shakespeare to reveal to an audience and the cast is tight and enjoyable. Especially Absolutely Fabulous‘ Julia Sawalha as the female lead.

Two: So, right, but I’ve already watched that. I’ve got some work to do but I want to squeeze a movie or two out of this night. I doubt It’s A Wonderful Life is on, though it should be, of course, and I’m actually a bit sick to death of X-mas already. In fact, you know what I’m in the mood for? A ghost story, or something like that. Something creepy. I wish there more adaptations (that were good) of Shirley Jackson’s novels. Sigh.

My choices are, and this is interesting, a South Korean horror film called A Tale Of Two Sisters or it’s American remake, The Uninvited? Granted, the traditional logic here is to watch the original first, especially when the remake is an American take on an Asian original, and I’ve heard good things about the South Korean film, but obviously I’ve never been excited enough to watch it before now.

Though, slight exception to the rule: I really did like Gore Verbinksi’s remake of The Ring. Not the most logical film, of course, but Verbinkski did a remarkable job at effectively capturing dread in the cinema, something that is a lot harder to do than one would think. Actually, previous only Roman Polanski and David Lynch have been truly good at it in my book.

Actually, you know what I really want to watch? The Others. That movie was brilliant.

Three: Speaking of the cinema and adaptations, a few posts ago I was talking about how I was worried that a remake of Home Alone would end with gun violence, and that actually got me thinking a bit…

I’m surprised it hasn’t made the leap to the movies yet, but could one effectively stage a version of Clifford The Big Red Dog series of kid’s books? Especially in this period of economic turmoil, could a family realistically afford to feed this furry monster? And, much like E.T., wouldn’t the government want to step in and take a look at this canine behemoth?

Maybe that’s the angle right there. In the first act, the family gets the puppy, and the little girl’s love causes it to grow to gargantuan sizes. Act two, the government shows up and steals the thing concurrently with the parents, already struggling to pay their bills and buy truckloads of dog food at a time, gets laid off.

Act three: I don’t know. Something to do with the family getting a reality TV show, a take on the Gosselins meets the Balloon boy and his family, and the giant dog escapes the government holding facility in Dreamland/Area 51 where they’re keeping him after peeing on a captured alien spaceship there, which looks like a fire hydrant to him. Jesus, that’s ridiculous, isn’t it? But it’d work. They’ll probably cast somebody like Breckin Meyer as the patriarch and Elizabeth Banks (who’s in the remake of A Tale Of Two Sisters, by the way) as the matriarch, and get somebody like Cuba Gooding, Jr. as the evil Army General who… well, you get the gist, right?

Four: Tomorrow, in the UK, they’re airing the penultimate episode of Doctor Who featuring David Tenant as the Doctor, “The End Of Time, part 1.”

How sad is it that this excites me more than most other Christmas-y things, right? I imagine that somewhere in the vicinity of 3 PM to 5 PM my time, I’ll be online, scouring to find where somebody will have no doubt uploaded it. Then, on New Year’s day, there’s “The End Of Time, part 2,” and after that, well, after that is when that weird looking fucker Matt Smith takes over. Well, Matt Smith and the lovely Karen Gillan too:

Five: I’d much rather watch a movie based on Clifford The Big Red Dog rather than Walter the Farting Dog. That poor creature. The covers of those books just make me sad.

Tell me that dog doesn’t look like he’s in incredible pain. Just try.

Six: This picture is just for you, Peanut St. Cosmo:

Seven: Hmm. Shit. How much chocolate is too much chocolate for a dog to eat? Fuck.

Eight: This picture is just for you, August Bravo, since I know that you’re in love with Morrissey:

from here.

Something to do with him working with Stella McCartney on a line of shoes with no leather in them. Speaking of living my life just fine without slaughtering animals…

Nine: In the last few weeks, two travesties of decency have been committed upon me: The first being that Burger King canceled their “Angry” line of burgers, which was really just pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, and some kind of spicy sauce on their regular burgers. But their angry tendercrisp chicken sandwich was like hot flavorful sex in my mouth and now… now it’s gone…

The following week I went into a McDonald’s and was informed that they cancelled the McSkillet burrito. What the shit? I calmly asked the employee working there. She has no clue and just shrugged. Also, she did not speak English. So the following day, I went to another McDonald’s and discovered the same thing. The McSkillet was gone. Sigh. It felt like a part of myself was gone with it.

It may be remarkably easy to give up fast food for the New Year, should I be foolish enough to even verbalize a resolution this year.

Ten: Also… well, also there’s nothing else. Nothing that can’t wait. Well, except for this:

And this:

Have a lovely Christmas Eve, regardless of your religion, your race, your sex, your situation, or how ugly you probably are. I hope you’re someplace safe and warm doing naughty things with someone you love, or care about, or at least know the first name of. And to all a good night!

Perchance to dream.

Does this include naps? Because, I gotta tell ya, I am a fan of the naps.from here.

“There are two types of people in the world, good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seem to enjoy the waking hours much more.”

-Woody Allen.

Anyone can see...