The Wolverine

The-Wolverine
 
You are having a nightmare:
 
You’re on the show Masterchef and you’re baking a soufflé for the first time. Why are you on Masterchef? 
Cause and effect does not exist in this nightmare, so you have no idea how you ended up here.
 
You’ve never baked a soufflé before and when you try to quickly google the recipe, Gordon Ramsay slaps your iPhone out of your hand. You do the best you can, and when you’re done, you nervously bring your soufflé to the front. There are 200 other contestants watching because this is Season 5: 200 Contestants This Time!
 
Chef Ramsay cuts into it and looks inside. Instead of delicious chocolatey goodness, it’s filled with…sauerkraut! Nooo, why did you do that? You don’t know! Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time? You don’t remember.
 
Ramsay takes a bite and winces. He says, “If you had used chocolate instead of sauerkraut, this would taste a lot better. What a shame.” He turns his back to you and gives a nod to the next judge, Joe Bastianich.
 
Joe approaches the bench. He looks down at your sauerkraut soufflé, then looks you in the eye and says, “this is an ill-conceived dish. You insult me with this. You insult your fellow contestants with this. All of Italy is declaring war on you, right now. I’m wearing a nice tie but that is off topic. This is total garbage.”
 
Then Joe takes the ramekin that carries the badly-thought-out dessert, and throws the whole thing into the garbage. The ceramic bangs against the inside of the receptacle as it lands, and the rest of the group winces and writhes at the dramatic scene.
 
The last chef, Graham Elliot, who was secretly excited to try your fusion dessert, takes off his glasses and frustratedly massages his eyelids.
 
"I hate Joe so much."

“I hate Joe so much.”

 
You wake up in a puddle of cold sweat and urine. You are mostly relieved but you still peer around the room for any chefs that may still be lurking around. Thankfully this isn’t Wizard of Oz and you are not being woken up by those very people. It looks like the worst is over.
 
Well guess what. I, Pertobello, have lived this very nightmare! I was never on Masterchef, but I lived it symbolically. I was Joe and the sauerkraut soufflé was The Wolverine. (But in real life, you are a much better cook. Sorry about that.)
 
Q: That’s kind of harsh.
 
A: Harshness is needed! People need to know how bad this movie was!
 
Q: Why?
 
A: Remember what they said in Transformers 3? The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
 
Q: …
 
Anyway, here we go. The Wolverine.
 
First of all, no, I was not expecting much. I survived (and even enjoyed) the first Wolverine solo film, based almost entirely on low expectations. So I thought, let’s do the same again. Let’s put away our brain and watch an action-packed samurai ninja thriller and some veiny wolverine super saiyan slashy stabby moves. It was such a solid plan in my mind. I honestly don’t know what went wrong.
 
Oh yeah…
 
This movie was rated PG in Canada. This is not a PG movie. No, the movie doesn’t “show” any stabbing, but by gum, it sure as hell amplifies all other senses for the audience, so there is no question that some DEFINITELY REAL stabbing is going on just off the screen.
 
The camera just stays pointing at the face while all the gory stuff is happening to the stomach. This type of loop hole makes me really mad, because they get away on a technicality, (see? no gore! totally PG), but how in the heck is showing a prolonged look on someone’s face as they are being gutted, and dragging out the squishy sounds as the knife twists for long periods of time, “not gory”?
 
I’m not saying whether this is appropriate for children or not, I’m just saying, LABEL THE MOVIE CORRECTLY so people and parents can decide accordingly. When they showed Rogue getting knifed in the chest by Wolverine’s claws in the first X-Men, I was 13 and not upset. But when I saw this movie, at age 27, I was writhing in my seat, I was uncomfortable, and I was plugging my ears because of all the squishy gut sounds.
 
And did this happens once or twice? With unlimited ninjas and Wolverine’s healing powers, you can guess that they used this technique extensively! And you would be right! Good work.
 
And Wolverine makers: Way to be as obvious as possible that you did this just to get everyone to go see it. If you’re a kid or a grandma, don’t worry about it. It’s PG! If you’re a zombie-killing gamer, don’t worry about it. It’s a gore-fest! The Wolverine has your back…skewered on an adamantium post.
 
I was surprised the movie theatre didn’t drop fake guts on us, so they could abuse yet another one of our poor senses.
 
Ok, moving on….
 
I had another issue with this movie. This villain:
 
Smugness looks good. What else you got?

Smugness looks good. What else you got?

 
This villain lady (the Viper), who is now on my mental wall of shame for bad villains, spends most of the movie walking around looking evil. Her role in the film is unclear, which could be intriguing, but it is not.
 
As the viewer, you are aware that she is a henchman, but why? Does she have any evil agendas of her own? What are her personal reasons for being an evil henchmen? If someone is truly evil, are they happy just working for someone else or do they want to take something for themselves?
 
Q: What if she was one of those villains with good inside her, and she’s too afraid to make the necessary changes in her life right now?
 
A: They could have gone in that direction. But instead they just went in the direction of “vagueness” and “hoping you don’t careness.” And they were right. I didn’t care.
 
Another problem I had with the movie:
 
Mariko, a beautiful Japanese princess (aka rich heiress) is on the run from the Yakuza. Ok, good, we got a story brewing. Let’s see where this takes us. So Logan says to her, “where are you going?” and Mariko says, “I’m going to hide at my family’s summer house,” and Logan says, “no, you’re not. That’s the first place they’re going to look for you!” and he convinces her to hide elsewhere (i.e. a “love hotel” in a bad part of Tokyo, which was actually a pretty funny scene.)
 
3 actions scenes later…Logan and Mariko are at the summer house! What?? How did that happen? I don’t know. When did they decide to go there? Because they killed some ninjas? No, we all know that ninjas are unlimited. So it couldn’t be that. Why would they go to the summer house?
 
Then, guess what! The bad guys find them at the summer house! Whaaaaa? But…it was a foolproof plan!
 
Release the unlimited ninjas

Release the unlimited ninjas

 
One more problem (I know it looks like I’m not holding back here, but I really am. You can thank me later):
 
What always makes me sad in a movie is seeing what could have been. In this movie, they take away Wolverine’s healing powers, which could have made the action and the psychology super interesting. But really, the only difference between this and movies where he still has his powers, is that he limps a lot.
 
Seriously, he gets shot in the leg and has some ribs broken and is even stabbed in the throat probably…(I saw this movie in July so some of my facts may be iffy), and he just limps around like he has twisted his ankle.
 
[SPOILER STARTS HERE]
 
One final thing (sorry! I really can’t be trusted) is that when it’s time for Logan to say a long romantic goodbye to Mariko at the end, she kisses him and says, “will you call me?” and he says, “no way, baby. I’m a soldier.”
 
And he walks away and gets on a plane without even looking back and waving at her.
 
Of all the cliché’d, idiotic, pre-packaged endings. Oh I oughta…!!
 
Anyway, I guess it’s totally ok to sleep with a stressed-out mob-targeted girl (yes, they had sex at the summer house), and leave her forever like the womanizing douche you’re supposed to be showing all of us you aren’t, because you’re riding off alone into the sunset at the end of a movie.
 
Mariko

“But…it’s our wedding and I am with child.”
“That just ain’t me, baby.”

 
I understand that you have a wet bear cave back home that is in serious need of your…soldiering.
 
[SPOILER ENDS HERE]
 
 
Ok, that being ranted, here is my final thought.
 
This movie was very big.
 
  • It took place in Japan (which is big for us).
  • There was Japanese mafia.
  • There was romance.
  • There was a love-triangle.
  • There was corporation stuff (you know…corporation stuff).
  • There was betrayal.
  • There was a cool samurai chick with red hair! (How do you go wrong?)
  • There was the idea of Wolverine facing his own mortality for the first time.
  • There was a massive robot made out of adamantium!!
 
On paper, this movie had everything. It was a BIG movie. But then all this big stuff was not given any respect. It was washed out by vagueness and loose ends. We didn’t get to know any of the people involved. All plans, both evil and good, were poorly thought-out and then glazed over by distracting stabbings.
 
And I don’t mean the plans were poorly thought-out as in “the characters were dumb.” That would have been fine. You could tell that the movie was just trying to cover up the bad decisions with cool samurai stuff.
 
Nothing came together.
 
It was a sauerkraut soufflé.
 
my nice suit does not help this dish one bit

my nice suit does not help this dish one bit

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Awesome Movies That Are Making Sci-Fi Better

Well it’s October. You know what that means! Movie review season! Time to kick off blockbuster season with an exciting introductory article!

Q- Sorry, blockbuster season is over. You could try Sears.

A- I’m not sure if that makes sense, but that is pretty embarrassing. Good thing we have a nice array of critiquable movies from my favorite place in the world: The Past! I’ll review this summer’s blockbusters so…awesomely…that you won’t even know they came out 3 months ago.

I’m so ecstatic that I’m able to say what I’m about to say:

Officially gone are the days when I whined about movies -back in the day- being “good” and movies nowadays being “over-the-top”, “dumb”, “lazily titled” and “for idiots.” Not that I hated all movies after the first Matrix (just all Matrix movies after the first Matrix). I just feel that after Hollywood discovered graphics, this happened…

starwars3

and then this….

supermanreturns

and then…

greenhornet

oh and…

spider_man_3

and many more.

I’ve even cried about it. Not really. Well, I was having an emotional week. Sometimes things just add up? Anyway, things are starting to pick up again.

My main point is that we went through some growing pains with the whole graphics/action thing and now the other stuff that makes up a movie (plot, characters, twists, a small degree of sense), are finally starting to catch up.

So pop the champagne, we can look forward to movies again.

Please Note: Whenever I reviewed a movie before, I would summarize the whole thing. I’m not going to do that anymore. I used to do it because back when I read movie reviews instead of writing them (a dark time in my life), reviewers would usually explain the whole movie as they picked it apart. So I just mimicked the professionals.

But now that I’m looking back after a year on hiatus, I realize this: A lot of people these days are probably reading reviews because they saw the movie already and want their opinions validated. But some people are still checking the reviews because they are interested in watching the friggin’ movie. Those poor people. What are they doing, closing on eye, backing up their faces from the screen, and covering certain paragraphs with their hands as they search for the bottom line: WAS IT GOOD OR WASN’T IT?

I know that’s what I do when I went to briefly check a rating on rottentomatoes.com and there are a bunch of other ratings jumping out at me that I don’t want to see. I literally cover half the screen with my arm.

So I decided, for people who have seen the movie and want a top-to-bottom roast of every minute of the movie, there are a billion websites for that. Me? I am retiring from full movie roasts. Unless there is a Suckerpunch 2.

Ok, enough blanter.

__

Movies I LOVED this year:

Man of Steel

man of steel poster

All right, I’m so excited to talk about this movie. I have a galaxy of things to say, but in the interest of your Internet Explorer which is probably crashing right now, I’ll stick to just a few.

Why I loved this movie:

Superman.

Arguably the hardest superhero to wrap your brain around as someone who could exist in the real world.

Because he looks the same in costume and not in costume.

Because his girlfriend only likes him in weird tights with red underwear on the outside, and not working in an office and wearing a business suit.

fanboiii.deviantart.com

gross!

Because he spun the world around to rescue Lois but also undid the saving of hundreds of people. Check out #1. The Man Of Steel KILLS AN ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD

Because no one really questions where he’s from.

And finally, because he is 100% beloved and not feared at all. That’s why, as a kid, I was way more of a Spider-Man fan. No matter how much good he did, New York hated him. He lived with that truth every day, and it never got better, and it was way more relatable. (You know, if you’re a teenager).

This movie brought Superman into the real world. How so?

  • By making people question where he is from, and dealing with how that affects the world.
  • By Superman making tough decisions and not being perfect.
  • By eliminating the red-outside-underwear from his costume.
  • By allowing Lois to see that he is the same person with and without glasses.
  • By reinforcing that he may be able to bring hope to this world (instead of saving the same fictional city all the time).
  • By showing that if there were aliens visiting Earth, then they would absolutely have different environmental needs than humans.

Snyder and Nolan avoided all the gimmicks and cliches associated with Superman. These cliches are so tired, you wouldn’t have to see Superman at any point in your life and you would still know these references:

1 – Lex Luthor
2 – Kryptonite
3 – Lex Luthor luring Superman into a situation and saying, “haha! I have kryptonite!” (see 1 and 2)
4 – Lois Lane being a reporter who doesn’t know how to spell (ok that’s not really a huge gimmick but it was so annoying!)

And they added all kinds of neat stuff that emphasize what Superman really should be about (and has been about in comics and cartoons):

  • Cool alien stuff
  • Making great sacrifices
  • Not wearing red underwear on top of your outfit
  • Some much-needed background on Krypton
  • Not just saving the day by lifting something heavy
  • Characters that are developed in the movie from beginning to end. No one had a small part.
  • There were other heroes in the movie besides Superman. I feel like this is very important.
  • Loyalty, and to whom to be loyal? (Your old home or your new home?)
  • Moments when the army wondered if Superman was a good guy or a bad guy
  • Russel Crowe didn’t sing

Ok I’m going to stop there.

But these are the reasons why I say, if you haven’t seen it, go see it. Go rent it, or whatever people do now if it’s not on Netflix yet. I wouldn’t know.

Is it the perfect movie? No. Any superhero movie that brings everything closer to home is going to fail at certain parts because they will never perfectly align reality with the comic world. And Zack Snyder can go overboard on the drama a tiny bit. Tiny.

Plus dramatic and comedic timing will never be that perfect in real life. Sigh.

And to everyone who contributed negative reviews to the 53% rating on RT, I only have this to say:

If it was so bad, why is everyone so excited about Superman vs. Batman? It sounds to me like Man of Steel may have inspired some real excitement for the next installment, even though it’s coming out in 2 years! Eh? Eh?

Everyone’s disappointment over Ben Affleck’s being casted for the Batman only reinforces how much people were looking forward to this movie. And even though the 2013 Superman may not have reached people’s expectations, the fact that it has laid a solid groundwork for the next movie is pretty awesome. I haven’t seen a foundation movie this good since Terminator.

NEXT:

Star Trek: Into Darkness

into darkness poster

I did not have high hopes for this. I saw the trailer and noticed that it was about revenge, and I was like, come on?

As a life-time Trekkie (and by that I don’t mean I’m good at Star Trek: Scene It. So don’t ask), I was disappointed to see that they were “exploring” the theme of revenge again, after JJ Abrams made us eat a heaping bowl of Romulan revenge in 2009. Then there was Nemesis…well I don’t really remember it but it felt revengy (and Romulany). And of course there was Wrath of Khan, and don’t get me wrong, it is the untouchable Star Trek movie, but if I’m going to watch a revenge-based Star Trek movie, I have everything I need there. Insurrection is about stealing resources from another planet…for revenge.

And all these movies weren’t bad (except for Nemesis…which was summed up perfectly by my husband after he watched it recently: “The only person I was really rooting for was Tom Hardy”), but I wanted to see something besides revenge for once.

It turns out that the trailer was very revenge-heavy, but the movie wasn’t completely about that. JJ actually ended up going back to a lot of issues that Star Trek was made to deal with:

  • Simple Right vs. Wrong
  • Making the right decision under pressure
  • The prime directive is back, baby! (And being ignored as ever!)
  • Confusion over whether to start or prevent a war
  • The friendship between Kirk and Spock, on which they spent generous amounts of time, thank goodness!
  • John Cho trying to intimidate Benedict Cumberbatch, but only succeeding in freaking out me and Bones. See clip here:

  • The movie showed a lot more of how Earth has developed over 300 years. Beautiful high-rises, hover cars, clean cities.
  • Spock having difficulty with his human side.
  • The fun introduction of Carol Marcus, who has a delightful British accent despite having a Dad who sounds like he’s from Mississippi.
  • Lots of actions scenes that are unique and really well done and not gravity-defying at all :S

Again, I will say, was it the perfect movie? No. Was there a cheesy part that made me cringe? Yes, one…but with any Sci-Fi, there will be problems. Because we haven’t gotten there yet ourselves, and a lot of this stuff is still “made-up.” Yes, even Cumberbatch.

I'm made up.

I’m made up.

And that being said, after re-watching all of TNG over the winter…there’s a lot of stuff, like, A LOT of scientific problems they ignore and hope we don’t notice. Basically sci-fi wasn’t about realism, from the 60’s to the 80’s. It was more about adventures in space, where everyone speaks English and breathes the same type of air, and every society either lives in a jungle or in a quaint town on Tattooine.

It was only when Star Trek: Enterprise came along that they started dealing with all the troublesome stuff, like environmental issues, translation, food being cooked by people. Around that time, Sci-Fi started to seem more real, and JJ is following in those footsteps. He even added seat belts!

direct quote

direct quote

Well, I’m done, and I only broke one of my guidelines, which was to write smaller posts. My apologies. It’s only because I’m very late with these movie reviews so I thought I’d make it a double feature and call it an “Adventure Pack!”

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Thoughts of a Sci-Fi Writer (in-Training)

One of my goals in revamping my blog is to get everything out on the table. Mentally, physically, everything.

Physically: I want to re-do the website, now that I’ve brushed up (“brushed-up” here meaning: had no clue what I was doing and started from scratch), on my HTML and web design skills, I plan to fully customize the blog within the next 6 months. I might even change the font! We’ll see.

Mentally: I want to update the readers on what I’m doing with my brain. You may be surprised to hear that over the last year, I haven’t been watching as many Ben Stiller movies as I used to (but the number is still up there). I’ve been really thinking about what I want to do with my life and career. After much thought and reflection and movies, I have decided that whining a lot is probably not my ultimate career goal. Don’t worry, whining will still be a part of my life; but I really want to pursue other things right now. This is why I’m taking Web Design courses over the next year and a half.

Everything: Even though I’m focusing on learning about the “Internet”, I don’t want to abandon my writing [blogging or sci-fi] for a year and a half. The characters in my book keep reminding me that they have well-rounded personalities that are waiting to flourish in an ever-developing plot. I don’t know how they’re telling me this? I assume they are doing this Neverending Story style, but then that would mean that I would eventually go into the story and stab my favorite character. Which I don’t want to do because I was really mad at Bastian for a LONG time after that.

So for this blog entry, I just want to get out in the open a few feelings, negative and positive, about this novel.

I grew up watching sci-fi. I love sci-fi. I don’t understand why more stories do not take place in space. (Or another dimension and/or technologically advanced society with hints of the past and/or post-apocalyptic big brother situation). The thing is, you can still have love stories, drama, adventure, betrayal and comic relief in space! Even Angry Birds realized that they needed to be exactly the same game…but in space.

...or in San Francisco circa 1984

…or in San Fransisco circa 1984

So that’s all fine, but the problem is, as I wrote the first half of my novel during last year’s NaNoWriMo, I had to deal with some knowledge barriers that I had not previously been aware of. For instance, how does a space ship work? Is there going to be a space war in my space novel? (Yes, there is.) Then what kind of lasers should my space ships use? Are we just going to call them quantum torpedoes and hope no one remembers Star Trek: First Contact?

I realized I had to create my own semi-plausible scientifically sound-ish universe. I had to create my own weapons, ships, politics, and cultures.

To my sadness, I’m not writing a Zephram Cochrane fan-fiction. Yet.

I'm getting my own spin-off!

I’m getting my own spin-off!

It didn’t help that as a child, whenever Geordi La Forge spouted information about shunts and auxiliary power, I was thinking about Data’s cat. Come on, I like Sci-Fi, but I didn’t invent the thing!

So back to getting everything out on the table. My weakness in this area is something I need to admit before continuing. I need to also remember that if the book is 100% scientifically accurate, it may end up being more of a textbook for 20 nerds, than an adventure for everyone. There needs to be some give. It helps to remember that everything that happened in the last 20 minutes of Star Trek (2009) made no sense and that’s ok because it was cool.

That being said, I don’t want the story to be completely ridiculous either. I’m looking for a happy medium that will require some research and effort on my part, but not so much effort that I’ll give up, feeling guilty for being a science “phony.”

I will make sure to always draw comfort from my hero, Douglas Adams, who had no problem whatsover saying, “this is impossible” after explaining the science behind dining at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Actually, forget all that. I’m just going to say it’s a Fantasy novel and call it a day.

Stay tuned for more updates on my novel: “Fantasy…in Space!”

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Cindy’s Blog: TNG

Well, it has officially been a year…a month…and some days since my last post. I promised myself I wouldn’t draw attention to the lag between posts. Then I decided that a promise to oneself is merely a small suggestion drowning in a large vodka cranberry.

Other things that have been splashing around in the vodka: what to say in my next post? I’ve already done a few potpourri-style posts. This popular Cindy-style is usually a result of accumulation of ideas that are not getting written down over large swaths of time. I don’t want to do that this time.

Therefore, I’m going to make my first short post ever, and officially NOT talk about ANY of the following things:

  1. Amazing things I’ve learned over the last year- things about myself, psychology, the Universe, and Sideshow Bob.
  2. My strong opinions about Star Trek: Into Darkness, Man of Steel, and The Wolverine.
  3. Some vital, liberating personal discoveries about ADHD.
  4. Tourette Syndrome, and lots of it!

I really don’t want you to think that this list represents “what’s to come” because I’ve already done that before and then changed my mind a whole bunch about what to write later. But unofficially, that is what it is, and this is the kick-off blog.

Image

This post is no more than a table of contents. Especially a table. But especially of contents.

As you read in the “about me” section, this blog is about one ADHD-er’s fight against the immensely powerful urge to do nothing. Even though I have fallen back in my fight against the Borg [of Procrastination], I will continue to hunt the Whale [of Accomplishment.]

What to expect:

  • Less rants and more proactive thoughts.
  • Shorter and more frequent blogs.
  • An increase in Futurama references and pictures.

Thanks and I will write more to you real soon!

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Snow White and The Huntsman

Featuring: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth

Canadian Rating: PG

 

Here is my review of Snow White and Huntsman: the movie that was slightly more anticipated than Mirror Mirror.

I ended up watching this movie at the midnight showing, because Joel was very excited about this movie, and although I don’t do well without sleep, I had a little over half an Icee:

So what is the premise of the film? This is not an easy question to answer, since there wasn’t a whole lot of background. The beautiful but evil Ravenna (Charlize), usurps King Magnus (Snow White’s father) (Snow White is Kristen Stewart if you haven’t seen the commercials and have never heard of Twilight, which is commendable.) Snow White, who is only a child at this point, is immediately sent to prison and stays there until she is 18 when she escapes.

Ravenna’s powers are linked with her beauty, so she must always stay beautiful to stay in charge. Here they borrow a bit from Stardust, by having Ravenna “suck the youth” out of young women, turning them old and keeping her looking young.

I don’t mind saying that Hollywood has certainly not figured out how to make a young person look old without her looking scary as hell. If I see an old person, I don’t usually wonder if he or she is a zombie demon. But if you want to scare the Icee out of my hands, put gobs and gobs of unnatural fake wrinkles on Charlize Theron or Michelle Pfeiffer. Or…Winona Ryder from Edward Scissorhands. Night terrors!

But I digress. Ok, Youth = Power. So Ravenna sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to go find Snow White.

Adventures, betrayal, drama, war, heartbreak and cute animals fill the rest of the movie.

What did I think?

Well, the adventures were awesome. I love a good plot with eventful transactions. (Thesaurus you are no help today). The different situations the group encounters are truly…(flip flip flip)…riveting. 

I have no complaints about the performances of the three main stars, and extra shout outs to Ravenna’s creepy brother Finn (Sam Spruell).         

Another thing I enjoyed about the film was the dark overtones. They kept it going through the whole movie, which I appreciated. Some dark movies will lose the feel halfway through, like an actor failing to keep up a fake accent through an entire play. But in this case I definitely felt the medieval chills and the overall dark times they were living in. So mood gets 100%!

My main problem with the film:

ALMOST ZERO CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

If you don’t develop Kristen Stewart, we’re just going to think she’s Bella in an alternate universe.

If you don’t develop Chris Hemsworth, we’re not going to care if he ends up marrying Snow Bella.

And most importantly, if you don’t develop  Charlize Theron, I’m not going to get into the movie at all. She is the center and face of Snow White and the Huntsman. She is supposed to be the main focus.

Evan Daugherty: But we showed you how evil she was!

Pertobello: Not good enough! All villains are evil. What else has she got for me? A childhood so horrific that I have mixed feelings about her possible defeat, but in the end it teaches us a good lesson about not making others suffer for our pain? She needed something like that to give her more depth.

Evan Daugherty: Well, I think you’re evil.

Pertobello: That is a whole other blog.

__

Anyway, here is my brain concensus:

Do not be afraid to rent it for a weekend afternoon.

Breakdown:

Story: 2/2

Character Development: 0/2

Graphics: 2/2

Score: 1/2

Writing: 1/2

6 Pertobellos out of 10

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Why Listen to Radiohead

Meet the band:

Singer: Thom Yorke

Johnny “Bangs” Greenwood

….and the rest.

Radiohead and Me

The first Radiohead song I heard was Karma Police on the Much Music combo album Big Shiny Tunes 3. I must have been 12 years old at the time, and back then it made sense in my brain that I could do my homework on one end of the room, while the stereo on the other end of the room played a song I really liked, then when it ended, I would get up and cross the room and press “back” and I would return to my homework and listen to it again. I must have done this 20 times in one sitting.

Q: I know it was the 90’s and all, but I’m surprised your stereo didn’t have a “repeat” button.

A: It probably did. But I think my goal was to actually listen to the whole thing but I kept changing my mind and playing it again.

Q: You loved Karma Police that much?

A: No. It was Push It by Garbage that I loved. But I kept hearing the beginning of Karma Police and then I knew it was time to go back and replay Push It. Come on! Karma Police was no match for the intoxicating and risqué beats of Garbage!

Q: Agreed. So then what happened?

A: That was my entire experience with Radiohead until I was 14. Oh, besides seeing The Bends lying around my eldest brother’s house and thinking, “this cover is not interesting for 12 year olds.”

The Bends album art: not interesting for 12 year olds.

Q: So what happened when you were 14?

A: By this time my brother lived in Toronto, and I visited him one Christmas in 2000, and this happened to be a very exciting time for Radiohead fans. The album Kid A had just come out, causing waves of rejoicing. Everyone had been so eager to find out what they were going to do next after the amazing OK Computer album. Of course, I was in my own world and knew none of this, but I was able to perceive a few things despite my mental absentness:

  1. My brother invited a friend over who hadn’t heard the album yet.
  2. He was playing songs for him from Kid A.
  3. I was in the room at the same time.

I see what you did there…

The story has a really quick ending. It’s like, lots of build-up and then wham, it’s over. Here is the end of the story:

I heard “How to Disappear Completely” and “Idioteque”… and the rest is history. I became a fan for life.

And I even started to love “Karma Police.”

Q: That’s a nice story, but it wasn’t very brief. Are you sure you’re going to get this blog done before the concert tomorrow?

A: Can I do it? Let’s find out! Watch me go!

Why Listen to Radiohead

This is the part of the blog I was dreading the most.  There are too many things I want to talk about, but like a well-mannered Beaudelaire orphan, I will try to keep it simple and not just go and stab Count Olaf a hundred times in the dark.

There are several themes that are interwoven into the songs of Radiohead, which my conscious and subconscious minds pick up on when I listen to them:

Imagination and Possibilities

Even if you don’t understand everything Radiohead is singing about, everything they say has meaning. Whether it means something to just them and they don’t want you to know, or it means something to you personally…that’s really up to you.

Sometimes they give you clues as to their meaning, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you know what it means just from feeling the music, instead of listening. The bottom line is that because they hold back some pieces of the puzzle, we’ll always be wondering and thinking about the possibilities. And as we grow and change (I’m not a carefree 14 year old anymore, I’m sad to say), we find new ways to interpret the songs. Their music grows with us because of its endless possibilities.

You know that feeling when you’re going for a walk, and the music you’re listening to takes over your world and you either think you’re in a movie, or you’re creating a movie right there, featuring you, walking to the store, buying some M&Ms. Are you a spy? Are you in the witness protection program? Are you a psychopath? The movie is your oyster.

Sound Mixing

Anything from Kid A and up must be listened to with noise-cancelling ear buds. It’s amazing.

Just Doing What You Want To Do

This is not only the main reason I love Radiohead.

This is why I’m writing this article.

Among their many cherished and celebrated themes – Paranoia, Tragedy, Revenge, Hope, Imagination, Futility, Human Observation – the one that stands out to me the most is the attitude of just doing what you want to do, no matter what people say. And they practice what they sing.

For instance, once we’ve succeeded at something, and we’re expected to continue being awesome, usually we look at what people liked about our first creation and we try to emulate it, while still trying to tweak it so it’s not exactly the same thing again. Oh how we wish we could just release the exact same thing again…but we cannot.

Refusing to deal with this nonsense, Radiohead writes what they want to write and what they think sounds cool, and in doing this have created some pretty damn experimental and insane things. As humans, we always try to compare new creations with previous work but in this case it’s very hard to do. They are constantly moving forward and never letting their previous successes affect their work.

In 2008 Radiohead stopped releasing albums under record labels and became a fully independent band, which allowed them even more freedom. Freedom to do fun things like allowing the fans to pay whatever they wanted for their album In Rainbows!

In a world where…

Hang on that’s a little cliché sounding….

In Pertobello’s world, it’s so easy to just be a pushover. To be guided by everyone else’s needs. In a way it’s almost easier. It’s the path of least resistance. But then later you really suffer for it when you forget who you are.

When I listen to Radiohead, I’m reminded of how it’s my life and I get to make my own decisions. Advice is all well and good, but in the end it’s up to me.

And during that hour-long commute home, when I get to shut the world out and crank up King of Limbs, I get to be the boss of my own life.

Q: Do  you love every song by Radiohead?

A: No. If I did, then I would just feel like they were trying to make me happy and that would defeat their “Deal with it” attitude.

deal wit it

Q: I feel like your blog, while insightful, explains more why you listen to Radiohead than why other people should get into them. Do you have any advice for aspiring listeners?

Yeah sorry. A lot of that stuff got cut out. I really should change the title of the article. Here are some tips:

  1. Remember that Radiohead is backwards. A lot of their songs are hard to enjoy at first but the more times you hear it, the better it gets (as opposed to songs that get overplayed on the radio.) I know it seems like my fandom was instant, especially since I said “the rest was history.” What I meant was “every album was a struggle. Some even took years, like Amesiac, which is now my favorite of them all.”
  2. My friend told me I should have introduced him to Hail to the Thief instead of Ok Computer. So, listen to Hail to the Thief first, kids.
  3. As you listen to them, check out the lyrics and song info on greenplastic.com. It really helped me to understand their thought processes and how they came to write some of the songs they did.

Q: Any closing remarks?

A: Just this: Aha! I made it! It’s still June 15th. (Oops it’s now 1:30am on the 16th. This is what I get for going out and playing pool while under a tight deadline). Please tune into Twitter tomorrow evening as I live tweet the whole concert. Haha, I’m just kidding. I don’t even know what “live tweet” means.

Goodbye everyone! Please enjoy a list of my top ten song:

__

10. Sit Down Stand Up (Hail to the Theif)

9. Pyramid Song (Amnesiac)

8. Climbing Up the Walls (OK Computer)

7. Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box (Amnesiac)

6. Pulk Pull Revolving Doors (Amnesiac)

5. Idioteque (Kid A)

4. Jigsaw Falling Into Place (In Rainbows)

3. Everything In Its Right Place (Kid A)

2.  2+2=5 (Hail to the Thief)

1. Lucky (OK Computer)

__

UPDATE:

I’m sorry to announce that the much-anticipated concert was cancelled due to the stage collapsing about an hour before doors were supposed to open. My heart goes out to Scott Johnson’s family (the drum technician who was killed in the collapse) and the ones who were injured. Since the band dearly loved him as well, I feel absolutely terrible that this tragedy happened. I hope everyone recovers and remembers the excellent work Johnson has done for the band.

Posted in Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What It’s Like to Have ADHD

25 Things About ADHD

I will start off by explaining that the reason I’m writing this article is because I made the decision to order a triple espresso at 7pm tonight. It is now 12:47am. Perhaps the caffeine should be worn off, but perhaps not. Perhaps it is the caffeine, but perhaps it is the worry that it is the caffeine.

Now I choose to recite a list:

1. Always in a hurry, never on time. 

When I was a kid, I used to ask my mom, “why are you in such a hurry?” Her answer was, “I’m always in a hurry.” I replied, “Oh that’s…why.”

2. Constant frustration.

ADHDers are prone to perfectionism.

This gives us ample opportunity for obsessive reflection or if you’re like me, temper tantrums.

3. Impulsivity.

Losing weight is nice and all, but that could take weeks, maybe months! And I want a strawberries & cream frappucino with chocolate chips and whipped cream NOW.

Q: But isn’t that-

A: No no, you listen to me, voice of reason: Strawberries. It’s probably good for me.

*ONE HOUR LATER*

A: Ick, I don’t feel so good. I feel kinda bloaty. Maybe that frappucino wasn’t such a good idea.

*ONE DAY LATER*

Losing weight is nice and all, but that could take weeks, maybe months! And I want a strawberries & cream frappucino with chocolate chips and whipped cream NOW.

Q: …

4. Inability to stick to a routine.

Take probiotics twice a day for stomach problems = Take probiotics once every two days, or whatever works best for you.

5. Constant frustration, part 2.

My tummy hurts.

6. Feeling overwhelmed.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one, there are so many things. NEXT.

7. Getting other people to read things for me.

I’m actually illiterate. I have a totally cute helper-monkey who types up my blog posts for me. He loves the Simpsons. This finally explains the pictures.

When I’m at a restaurant I sometimes get Joel to read the menu to me. I actually blame the menu for being super dense and looking like War & Peace.

If they can accomodate the vegetarians, why can’t they accomodate me and have a Cole’s Notes version?

8. People not believing me or people minimizing my problem.

Cindy: Just an FYI, I have Tourettes so please don’t take offense if I swear.

People: HAHAHAHAHA, oh Cindy, you SLAY ME.

Cindy: Hehe, yep. I’m pretty funny! But yeah, I really do have Tourettes.

People: Seriously? Oh man, oh gosh I’m so sorry!

~OR~

Cindy: Just an FYI I have ADHD. Sometimes I get frustrated when I try to concentrate.

People: That’s nice, dear.

9. Blurting out stuff.

I generally have a good filter for inappropriateness, unless it’s hilarious, then I can’t stop myself and you can’t stop me. Never tell me hilarious secrets.

10. Sugar and caffeine addiction. 

Ages 8 to 16: Coca-Cola

Ages 16 to 19: Iced Cappucino

Ages 19 to present day: Espresso drizzled on oreo ice cream.

11. Obsessions.

Cindy: Hello Friend, are you free Saturday?

Friend: (in shower, not texting back)

Cindy: Omg, if I don’t find out in the next 3 seconds, I’m going to completely forget that I was trying to plan something and the Universe along with all its baby huskies will be destroyed!

12. Anxiety. 

The driving force behind my very being.

13. Unfinished Novels.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – Douglas Adams

Who is Bugs Potter? – Gordon Korman

14: Unfinished Non-Fiction.

The Guns of August – Barbara Tuchman

Cooking with Potatoes – Jenny Stacey

The Everything Health Guide to Adult ADD/ADHD – various authors

15. Finished Non-Fiction.

He’s Just Not That Into You

Assorted Foxtrot

16. Finished graphic novel serieses:

Scott Pilgrim. They are a thousand times better than the movie.

Gotta catch 'em all

17. The mind chattering away with a thousand thoughts at once. 

Please see the Simpsons episode entitled: “The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer”

18. Interest in things fleeting. 

Goodbye my lover. Goodbye my friend. You have been the project I started a week ago and forgot about.

19. Impatience.

"When I'm kicking you, that means hurry up!"

20. Last but not least, difficulty concentrating on tasks that require mental effort unless I am angry enough to finally do it. 

Dishes make me angry.

21. Fear of success. (Oops, I kept going)

Friend: Have you tried using timers to help you manage your time?

Cindy: That’s preposterous!

Friend: Are you sure? Because I find-

Cindy: Nope.

22. Pushing the wrong buttons.

Instructions are for wusses. Pushing random buttons until this copier/bank machine/computer program makes me a latte is my plan for the next half hour.

23. Identifying with Fry from Futurama.

I'm getting a headache with pictures.

24. Sitting in my cubicle at work, wishing I could go outside and frolic.

Weekend comes: Better Off Ted marathon.

25. Creative Minded.

I don’t mind this one so much.

Posted in ADHD, Best of Pertobello, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments