Monday, June 22, 2009

Last Post


And so this is my last post. (ominous)

The last few days have been some of my best here, saying goodbye and seeing people I've accumulated over the year. Korea's okay. I wouldn't want to live here long term. It's a good place to visit, just not work.

Now I've got to finish packing.

I'll pick up the blogging thing again real soon.

Think of me and wish me safe passage in crossing the vast ocean.

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Know what I've watched a lot of this year? Humphrey Bogart films. Here's how I rate what I've watched or rewatched this year:

Up the River - D+

The Petrified Forest - C+

Black Legion - C
Dead End - C+

Angels With Dirty Faces - C
The Oklahoma Kid - C

The Roaring Twenties - B

They Drive By Night - B

High Sierra - B-
The Maltese Falcon - B+

Across the Pacific - B+
Casablanca - A

Sahara - B

To Have and Have Not - A-

Conflict - C+

The Big Sleep - B+

Dead Reckoning - B+
Dark Passage - A-

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - A+
Key Largo - A

In a Lonely Place - B

The Enforcer - C+
Sirocco - B+
The African Queen - B

The Caine Mutiny - B-
Sabrina - C

I'd like to see the rest of his films and read a good bio.

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I Can Almost See America From Here

Went up to the roof of my building for a final view of drab-colored apartment blocks and the New York Wedding Hall. It's my last full day in Korea!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ray Bradbury: "Fuck the Internets"

The Internet? Don't get him started. 'The Internet is a big distraction,' Mr. Bradbury barked... 'Yahoo called me eight weeks ago,' he said, voice rising. 'They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what I told them? "To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet." It's distracting. It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere.'"

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Friday, June 19, 2009

The Long Goodbye

Is it over, really? Am I really done? Can I go home now?

I'm kind of drunk from dinner with the co-workers. But it won't seem to hit home that I don't have to go to work again. I'm sure it will kick in in a few days.

Last night I watched The Long Goodbye, a weird Raymond Chandler story that Robert Altman moved into the 1970s and changed the ending for. Every shot has the camera moving, supposedly.

Ha ha.
The Long Goodbye. Funny, that.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's the Final Countdown

Well, tomorrow I start my last week of work. When it's over we begin a new chapter in the Ninja-tek Chronicles.

Did I say a new chapter? I mean a whole new volume! If this were a software update it wouldn't be like 4.0034 - it would be an entire new number with a zero behind it.

Ninja-tek 1.0 was from my birth to about the 7th grade. This was a period of vague innocence.

Ninja-tek 2.0 was from 7th grade to moving out of my parent's house in 2001. This was a period of useless schooling and war against the world.

Ninja-tek 3.0 was from 2001 to the present. This was a period of lots of struggle and stupid jobs.

But on Friday...

Ninja-tek 4.0!!!!!!!#@$!!#$@#$@!#

Can't you feel the excitement?

I could try to define Ninja-tek 4.0 but I think I'd rather let it speak for itself and continue the tradition of overblown Ninja-tek rhetoric.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Your Daily WTF

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Seven more days of work!!!!!!

There, I blogged.

Man, I can do anything right now. But I can't do everything. Figuring where to live is complicated.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I've been looking at a few old issues of The Beano, a weekly British comic book that's been running since 1938 (which most Americans have never heard of).

Anyway, the bizarre thing about the comic is one of the regular features, Dennis the Menace. It's NOT the Dennis the Menace we Americans know. So you think, maybe someone ripped somebody's idea off. But get this: the two characters debuted independently (i.e. unrelated creators) in their respective countries just 3 days apart. Hella weird.

Anyway, Britsh comics and advertisements are different.

And this is a great quote I haven't thought of in years but which came back to me yesterday:

"If you want to be successful in life, everything you do must be an act of patricide. You must always kill the father. Every song you sing, every sentence you write, every leaf you rake must kill the father. Every act from the most august to the most banal must be patricidal if you hope to live freely and unencumbered. Even when shaving— each whisker you shave off is your father's head. And if you're using a twin blade—the first blade cuts off the father's head and as the father's neck snaps back it's cleanly lopped off by the second blade."

--from “My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist”, by Mark Leyner

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I've read the latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book, Volume 3: Century, #1: 1910. I don't read comics in Korea because I don't like reading on the computer, but for this I made an exception.

This latest story is pretty good - better than The Black Dossier, but not as good as the first two volumes. I'm looking forward to the 1969 and 2009 books, even if the story's gotten a bit muddied by including just about every fantasy narrative ever, as well as fictions that aren't specifically fantasy-oriented. Virginia Woolf's Orlando has gotten a larger role with each book, and that's one of the primary texts I haven't gotten around to yet. Trying to keep up with all the intersecting media is a bit of a challenge, but that gives us something to do as we wait years for Moore and O'Neill to complete each issue, and to get the essential sources isn't that difficult. Aside from characters from previous volumes - mainly from Dracula, H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quatermain books, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, the Sherlock Holmes mythos, and the aforementioned Orlando - this book's primary inspiration comes from Brecht and Weill's
The Threepenny Opera and Somerset Maugham's The Magician, which I'm only passingly familiar with. Knowing the sources helps, but part of the enjoyment comes in rereading and realizing who all these people are, and every time I read it I recognize something new.

Throwing in references to Cat's Cradle or The Story of O for the sake of references is of course a bit pretentious, but Moore usually goes beyond this to make the characters his own and breathe new life into them. The throwaway stuff for the annotations is more like ornamentation, and when Moore focuses on telling a good story he always comes through. A lot of this volume felt like setup for the 1969 and 2009 volumes (this one is set in 1910). This issue is really about Captain Nemo's daughter and it's quite touching and disturbing, if a tad predictable.

And Kevin O'Neill's art is always incredible. He's got a huge collection of his Marshal Law stories coming out that looks awesome.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Someone Twisting a Knife in Your Back

I'm giving Wilco (The Album) my third listen and loving it. My favorite band this decade.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Predictably Irrational

Maybe minimal blogging while in ghost ship mode as I wrap up my teaching (five more weeks).

Here's a great book I listened to, similar to

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Limits of Control

Ebert totally dissed the new Jim Jarmusch movie, The Limits of Control. I still want to see it, but I'm sorry it's getting such bad reviews. I really liked that last Jarmusch movie with Bill Murray, Broken Flowers.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Jolly Banker

There's a new Wilco song up for free download (written by Woody Guthrie). It's not on their forthcoming album and sounds more Guthrie-esque than Wilco-esque.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

The Awakening

4-day weekend spent on bullet trains, buses, and ships traveling all the way to a small island off the south coast of Korea with a co-worker and her family. Also went to two temples and a green tea farm. Off the clock, it reminds me of how life once was, how it will be again, but upleveled a thousandfold once I'm done here. I'm gonna move back to Livejournal when I finish in Korea to hermetically seal it. It's good to travel and get out of routine.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Together Through Life

New Bob Dylan with the fruity-cake-make title Together Through Life. It sounds like his last two albums with more accordion and Southwest feel. It's okay music. Kind of background music. But let's face it. With titles like "It's All Good," Dylan will never again capture the lyrical and musical intensity he once had.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Going to California

Well, my school got my plane ticket for the day after I finish work. It looks like I'll be back in California on June 23rd.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Final 40

In two months I'm done working - June 22. Forty more days of teaching. It seems to go slower and slower, and even this late in the game I think about leaving. I won't, but I still want to escape the schedule, the office, the noise of kids. When I get back to USA I want to do increasing periods of time without eating animal products and using computers.

June 22. 22. 2222222222222222

I swear I've been hovering in space at this moment in time forever like Groundhog Day.

June 22. C'mon, c'mon.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

J.G. Ballard

I haven't read enough of him to offer a comprehensive opinion, but what I have read by J.G. Ballard (mainly short stories from the 60s and 70s), I liked. I've had a few of his audiobooks lingering on my computer for months, and I still haven't gotten around to seeing Crash (the 1996 Cronenberg one based on Ballard's novel, not the recent and more famous film that's completely unrelated), but now I feel I suddenly have incentive.

His voice and energy influenced the entire ethos of punk literature, informing and infecting the possibilities of speculative fiction. His dissection of narrative, his bizarre mind, will be missed. What has come down to us from writers like Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison, William Burroughs, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore and others would surely be different without Ballard.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009


Here's some reading material. First:

Glomer's Exclusive Interview with Jonathan Ke Quan (Short Round from Indiana Jones and the only Asian in Goonies)

Glomer* proves once again that he's on top of all the news. (*Glomer = J.U.)


Montgomery Flagg's Nervy Nat comics
Weird early comics from the creator of the "I Want You" Uncle Sam Poster. Click them to supersize... they're peculiar.

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Friday, April 17, 2009


I don't know why but I love this rescoring of the opening of Different Strokes. It just makes me laugh.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beatles Remastered

Kind of amazing the Beatles catalog hasn't been properly remastered and the same discs have essentially been out there for 22 years. But on September 9, 2009 they get properly done - all their albums remastered. About time.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Death Proof

I watched Tarantino's Death Proof again. It's a really weird movie. It's both poorly done and incredibly calculated. All the sloppiness is actually intentional and the editing is incredibly weird. The characters and dialogue feel like a 70s Marvel comic, and Tarantino almost self-parodies the characters by creating two groups of woman who are initially indistinguishable cliches. Ultraviolent with laughable plot twists, and Kurt Russell alternates between creepy psychopath and pathetic geezer. Overall, I like it - even with all of Tarantino's fetishes. Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction may be the only thing I like better by him. And it's infinitely better than the other Grindhouse movie, Planet Terror. I initially saw them together in theaters, which makes for a too long movie experience. Death Proof on its own is just right.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

6 Things

Here's six things I liked in the past week. The Big Sleep has an overcomplicated confusing plot but brilliant sets and actors. Kind of like a David Lynch movie if he'd been working in the 40s. Dark Passage is my favorite Bogart movie so far. It may just be the shooting locations because every two minutes I was thinking, "I know exactly where that is in San Francisco!" and unlike many cities, SF still looks very similar to how it looked 60 years ago. I think the story and actors are also pretty amazing. Key Largo is also awesome, more Bogart and Bacall, but also with Edward G. Robinson, whose ominousness as a villain completely overshadows the antagonists in the other films. I've been binging on Bogart (and now Bacall) and finally see his greatness.

Then the new Pet Shop Boys, a Jam compilation, and a breathing program by Andrew Weil, one of my favorite health authors. All goodish.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Life Inc.

Douglas Rushkoff has a lot of interesting ideas about local currencies and the current state of the economy. But I don't expect his ideas to take. Who knows. Here's his article Hacking the Economy.

And here's his new book ~

Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back

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Friday, April 03, 2009

New Del fo' Free

I salute Del for releasing his latest album for free here, and even available in FLAC format.

I also thought about downloading the Wolverine movie leak (a month before it's in theaters!) but decided to wait since it sounds like the cut that got out is pretty unfinished (but that's what they always say with leaks). I liked X-Men 2 and thought 3 was a letdown, so I'm hoping this movie restores some credibility to the franchise. But from what I've heard, it's overproduced.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Funny pseudo-Christians

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Inherent Vice

I dreamed last night I watched a film of Gravity's Rainbow. There is no such film. Anyway, I've never gotten into Pynchon, but he's crapped out another book come August called Inherent Vice. I find myself strangely curious.

[Edit: Prüfstand VII is a German film apparently inspired by Gravity's Rainbow, but it sounds kind of impossiblish to find and I assume Pynchon didn't authorize it or anything.]

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Monday, March 30, 2009

In the Future

This is a great picture of life in the future.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009


I set up an Amazon Associates account because I realized the only lure to keep me blogging is the vague possibility of money. I don't expect anyone will actually buy anything through the links, but it gives me an excuse to keep better track of what I like. So here's a few more things I've liked lately. I encourage you all to buy crap through the links. I think I get a miniscule percentage even if you buy other crap through the links. Go!

First, I've been getting into John Huston's films. I'd never seen The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and loved it. Humphrey Bogart is dark and kind of dumb, brilliant, the best I've seen with him.

And that made me watch The Maltese Falcon again for the first time this decade. I don't think I ever appreciated it when I was younger. The dialogue was too fast and I couldn't see what the big deal was over some dumb bird. Now I see so much more. Amazing film, the godfather of all noir. Anyone seen the 1931 or 1936 versions?

The One Two Three of God

Pretty good audio from Ken Wilber, one of my favorite thinkers... not for beginners to his ideas though. A Theory of Everything remains the easiest place to start.

Tropic of Cancer

I finally read some Henry Miller. I didn't expect anything so non-traditional. Miller really is the proto-Beat.

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Sort of a travel book as a guy goes around the world looking for happiness.

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