Cowboys & Aliens (graphic novel)

Wow.

I … I really don’t know how to say this, guys. I’m really… I’m really sorry.

I know we all really liked the movie version of Cowboys & Aliens, Daniel Craig did a really fantastic job running around in chaps and hurting people a lot. Really, everyone did a rousing performance in that movie. We enjoyed the way they made the aliens look. We like that the shitty kid got hurt a lot. In general, we just really liked the film.

And in really liking something, we tend to want more of it. So we go around looking for things that can prolong our experiences. Things to make us happy. Things that will bring back that joy we felt while watching shit blow up on the big screen.

Which might lead some of us to the graphic novel. And those of us who find it might become very excited. We might order it on Amazon and wait anxiously for it to be delivered. Once we get it, we might sit for a while, just looking at the cover (a new cover, by the way, not the old one, this one is mighty pretty). We might, then, crack it open to the front page, ready to nestle into our favorite reading spot and relive our glee.

Then we might find ourselves very, very disappointed.

It’s kind of like when you see somebody do something really stupid, but they don’t end up hurting themselves. Or watching a car blow through a red light right in front of a cop, but the cop doesn’t do anything about it. It’s that kind of let down. Enormous. Soul crushing (Okay, that might be going a little too far, maybe).

Pretty much the entire thing is different from the flick, and I can really see why they’d choose to change everything right down to the character’s names, because really, other than the concept, the whole thing sucks. From the start, right to that very last page, you’re going to find yourself wondering what the fuck you just read. Then you’re going to wonder why the fuck you just read it. Believe me, you won’t find a good answer for that. All the reasons previously stated, all that wonderment brought about by the movie, and that need for more of it, it’s going to be gone. Right down the tubes.

Luckily, the movie is so completely different from this bound colorful wad of paper that you won’t even be able to bridge your disappointment of the one to the other. It’s like you’ve seen a Muppet movie and decided to read a how-to guide about frogs to further your fun. There really are only very vague similarities, and those you can ignore or wipe from your mind completely. Don’t fret too much over it. It can be forgotten. I’ve nearly already done so, and it’s only been a couple of days.

I suppose I’ll keep the thing around, because the cover is really very pretty, and I spent money on the thing, so I feel bad doing anything else aside from letting it have some shelf space. But I feel like I really need to spare you from the same fate.

Do not buy it. Do not even read it. If a friend has it and offers to loan it to you, they’re likely trying to pawn it off on you, don’t fall for it. Say ‘Thank you, my good friend, for your thoughts of me on this subject matter, but I must respectfully decline on the basis that you are a liar’. And then maybe quickly leave before your friend tries to sneak it into your car or backpack.

It does make me sad that I have to write words like this about something that should have been good. But I cannot bring myself to lie when things are bad. It’s unfair to the rest of the world. I suffer so that you do not have to. Don’t let my suffering be in vain.

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The Vanguard

I know this was a requested movie. Somebody said that they wanted me to review it, but I can’t think of who it was now.

Whoever you are? I’m sorry. But I couldn’t get any further than about 10 minutes in. It was so very bad. The acting was horrible. The story stopped appealing to me entirely right away, and even the way it looked turned me off.

I’m not a big budget snob, I’ve had plenty of low budget films I’ve enjoyed that look low budget, but there was something about this one I couldn’t tolerate. Maybe because of the other factors. I don’t know.

I tried. I’m so sorry. But I did try.

But obviously I can’t give this a full review.

The guy on the bike also pissed me off for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint.

S, Darko

This movie is just as bad as I thought it was going to be when I first found out about it.

At least I got to watch Ed Westwick prance around dressed as a greaser. Sadly, this is the only redeeming part.

To clear up misunderstandings I had previously: Frank is not the same Frank. Yet for some reason, the image of Donnie’s Frank in his Halloween costume, the freaky rabbit, is Sam’s “Dream face”. This brings me right back to the idea that Frank was Donnie’s catalyst and shouldn’t make an appearance in this film at all. I still stand by that.

The guy actually named Frank in this movie is a mechanic and has nothing to do with anything.

Not that any part of this movie made any actual sense. It sort of felt like the writer and/or director of S. Darko didn’t actually understand Donnie Darko, and just took imagery that seemed cool and shoved it into this movie. The entire concept is off.

I hated it. I hated it the whole time. Don’t watch this movie. Run from it. Run screaming. If somebody says you should watch it, punch them in the face and then run. Or set their copy on fire. Either one is fine with me.

Cell – King (and kind of Lisey’s Story)

I just don’t know what to say. I don’t. I’m not quite as angry about this book as I was when I read Lisey’s Story. But I’m still pissed off. This was… it was so bad. It was like King just wanted to, or had to, write something to put out and didn’t have any real solid ideas.

I mean, granted, this book has a lot more going for it than Lisey’s Story did, but really that’s not saying much. Since that book was a COMPLETE WASTE OF MY TIME.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. I won’t lie. I did like them. I did like the general idea of the book, as well. The end of the world brought about by cell phones. It’s a pretty solid idea. The problem is, the idea behind the idea wasn’t fleshed out. At all. It almost seemed as if King was avoiding anything to do with the background because he didn’t know himself what was going on. There was so much missing. And so much other stuff thrown in randomly that wasn’t followed up on.

But again, Lisey’s Story was lacking even that much. Lisey’s Story is apparently what happens when King has to take a giant shit and uses a notebook to do it on. It’s not the first book I’ve ever been angry at, but it was the first of his, and I had hoped it would be the last. It wasn’t.

Though, maybe I can use the fact that Cell and Lisey’s Story were written back to back as some sort of an excuse for King. Because I really dislike hating anything he’s written, especially now when I’ve made my way through so many other books and I adore them. It’s not easy to hate something a writer you love has written. It’s quite difficult, actually. You want to love everything. You want everything to be good. It’s just heartbreaking when everything’s not good and you end up loathing a piece. Or two, in my case.

Despite loving the characters in Cell, the main character, Clay, leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. The things he does at the very end don’t fit his personality at all. They don’t fit what he’s evolved into during the course of the book. He just goes off on this wild tangent. Several things are wrong with the ending, several, but mostly it’s what Clay does and what he doesn’t do. And who he decides to leave behind. I’m sorry, but Clay is not that big of a fucking idiot, and I don’t honestly believe in my heart that he would have done what he did. I don’t give a shit if it’s written that way, it’s not him.

The book is pretty bad from the get go, however. Which is something I noticed because despite how hard I tried to keep myself involved, parts of the book itself were pushing me back into reality. Not in any thoughtful way, either. In a very abrupt and unfriendly way. It was really hard to keep reading this book, but I have to always finish. I’ve never started a book that I didn’t finish. I just can’t do it. I have to know the end, even if I hate the rest of what’s gone on, the characters, the story – whatever.

Which is PRECISELY why I sat through reading all of goddamned Lisey’s Story when I hated her, and her stupid thought process and her stupid weak and pathetic unwillingness to live her motherfucking life. Despite the fact that I detested where the story went and how long it took to get there, I read the whole thing. Even though I felt that it was some of the worst writing I’d encountered from such a lauded author, I finished the stupid book.

After I was done reading it, I sold Lisey’s Story to a used book store for significantly under a quarter. I believe that Cell will follow the same path. I, the queen of keeping books for future re-reading, want this book the hell out of my house. I never want to see it’s idiot cover again.

An American Haunting

Oh, how I tried to like you, movie. I tried so very hard. You had so many elements that I find enjoying. So very many of them. It started, but didn’t end, with Donald Sutherland. I know, not everything he’s been in is the best thing on the planet, but he’s done better at choosing his roles as he gets older. Knowing more what will have public appeal and what will just fail. So I had hopes for him, I did. You were also a movie about haunting, from everything that was written or said about you – EVER. I do like hauntings, movie. I like them quite a bit. It’s really not difficult to please me in this realm, movie. Even if I don’t think I’ll watch a movie again, I can usually derive something from some part of it and come away feeling as if I’ve not wasted two hours of my life.

But you, movie. You did not pass muster. You did not even attempt to meet up with Muster on the battlefield of cinema. I’m pretty sure, actually, that you couldn’t even see Muster from where you were standing – back there in the woods, over an embankment, hiding behind that tree.

What you turned out to be, movie, was a colossal waste of my time. I came away feeling cheated and sad. Used and put away wet. I feel like you didn’t even try to be a real movie after the first twenty minutes. If we’ve learned anything from Pinocchio, it’s that we must try when we want to be real, we must put effort into life, or it’s meaningless.

You, movie, are meaningless.

I was so disappointed as I watched you and you just kept getting worse. I didn’t think it was possible, but it kept happening. I should have known when my gut said “My, those slaps are awfully silly.” But I didn’t. I tried to reason that away with the excuse they tried to give in the script. I should have listened to my gut, really, I should have.

But that hope, it lingered. It lingered until the very end when I just had to finally give in and recommend that they take you out and shoot you, to put you out of your misery. Because you are a lame horse, movie, and you’ll do nobody any good. You’ll probably just suck on the fence and hurt yourself by trying to run when all of your legs are broken.

I do have a tip for you, movie. Hopefully if you ever get reincarnated, you can hold onto this – if you are putting entire scenes that are use IN THE MOVIE with your “alternate scenes” just to have more padding and content, you are failing. If most of your “alternate scenes” are just the same exact scene from a different camera angle, you are failing. And, should I watch your “alternate scenes” and not actually be able to tell the difference between what I just watched and what is supposed to be new, you have failed completely.

I have to give you an F, movie. In all subjects. Believe me, it makes me sad. But remember, I tried – oh so hard – to like you. I was rooting for you from the start. I was behind you, cheering you on, and you let me down.

I hope I never see you again, movie. Because I feel that if I do, I may have to find some matches.

But, it’s a dead technology…

In 1992 there was this neato little thing that came out called the Minidisc. Special little players. Special little recordable disks. Everything a technophile might want in a new toy to play with.

Well, I never got one. I can’t say for sure why. Either it was too expensive back then, or something else caught my attention and I needed to have that more. Note that this is during a time when I have to rely on my parents to get me the gadgets I want because I’ve got no income except from babysitting (not even an allowance!) and five bucks an hour doesn’t really add up very quickly.

Let’s cut here to recently. It’s been well over ten years since this magical device was on the shelves of our electronics stores. I am an adult now. I have my own money source. And I no longer need the permission of anybody else to buy the things that I want. Even if they are completely rediculous. An acquaintance of mine informs a group of people on a forum that he’s going to sell or just plain give away a bunch of his old stuff. I note on the list that there’s a minidisc player in there, along with blank discs and a charger.

So I wait like two weeks, stalking the thread, mildly curious as to why nobody’s snatched up that player. It’s only 20 bucks for all of it, I feel I should make that quite clear. It’s not expensive. Oh, yes. It’s a dead technology. Now we’ve got CDs and MP3 players that will hold thousands of hours of music on them, plus videos and whatever the hell else we want to put on them.

The minidisc is – quite bluntly – the retarded cousin of the cd player.

Every once in a while, two things come out. In this case, minidisc and cd. They battle over the populace, each denouncing the other for it’s various faults, and touting it’s own prowess in the music world. But there can only be one. We saw BetaMax go down, we saw LaserDisc flounder and die. It’s not only the truth of history, but also Darwin’s theory of evolution. The fittest one wins. For minidisc? It was the CD. A simple, easy thing that people flocked to, leaving the poor little minidisc in the wakes of it’s glory.

So I finally decide that I’m going to buy this thing. Why the hell not, right? 20 bucks, and it’s something that I used to want really badly. Maybe it’s hearkening back to my younger years. Wanting to remember easier times. Maybe it’s nostalgia. I’m also admittedly lying to myself and saying that I could use it in more “dangerous” or “risky” situations that I don’t want to bring my Zune into. The truth of that that’s held down in the dank depths of my mind is that I likely won’t take it any further than my front door. But shhh. That’s not what’s important.

Cue to two days later. A package comes in the mail. Ho! It is my recent purchase!
A lovely box of deleted disks with a few fresh ones mixed in. The player itself. A Gameboy Color charger that amusingly works for this contraption.

Of course the first thing I do is to search the disks for something on them. One of them does contain some music. It sounds pretty freaking good considering how old this thing is. I figure out how to delete not only individual songs, but also the whole disk. (This was on purpose) I’m pretty amused by the whole thing, and then it comes time to explore the machine more completely.

Ridiculous Point Number One: This thing actually runs on a single regular battery. Oh, I know. This is how it all used to work. You don’t have to tell me. I’m old enough to remember a time before Duracel figured out how to create rechargeable AAs. Back in the stone age where when our tape decks started to run out of juice, everything would start to sound as if it were coming to you from under water. It’s just surprising, that’s all. I don’t think I’ve seen any electronic device with a normal battery case in like five years.

Yes, console controllers do come with them, but there’s that option for the rechargeables, isn’t there? There is. And what do we all do? We go buy the rechargeable pack, because we know in our hearts that using regular batteries is borderline retarded.

Luckily, the thing works if you plug in the A/C adapter. I seriously thought I was plugging it in to recharge a dead cell, not because the thing wasn’t actually holding a BATTERY at all.

Ridiculous Point Number Two: A few minutes of prodding and exploring shows me that there’s no real way to connect this thing to my computer. Everything is on USB these days. And even if it’s not, it’s got some kind of link cable to connect it to your PC and do whatever it is you have to do. But this?

I think I’m missing a cable, maybe. So I send a PM to the seller asking just how on earth I’m supposed to get music onto these blank disks that I’ve got.

Do you know what he tells me? Do you? You have to record the audio onto the discs like you used to do with tapes. Are you all too young to remember that process? You had to play the tape you wanted to record, and hit the record button on the device that you’re recording to. Manually controlling the two items, and making sure that you’ve got it all synced up perfectly, lest there be dead air on your tape. All while, I might add, having to actually listen to the length of the song, because it had to be playing for the second device to record.

whut

So I’m laughing. I’m laughing my ass off. This is so fucking absurd that I can’t help it. I have lived through so many changes in this world, seen so much progress, that I can’t even fathom not just clicking on something and dragging it over to the destination device and have it just instantly be copied there.

Ridiculous Point Number Three: So this is where our determined heroine goes searching over the vast plains of the Interwebnetlands to obtain for herself the magical cord which will connect her computer to her new and slightly creationally deformed device.

Imagine her amazement to discover that she got her minidisc at an astounding price. That these things are still going on Amazon for 50 dollars or more used. USED. That is, out of the box, played with, taken around the world. USED.

Imagine her amazement at the fact that these silly little things are in incredibly high demand, even now! People are still buying and trading these devices like they’re brand new!

Imagine how her mouth hangs agape and her eyes widen to impossible dinner plates as she explores further and further, finding out that somehow, somehow, this product has survived the depths of obscurity and thrives!

No, they’re not making new ones. Nothing is new. Everything is old. And everything is very expensive.

I’m completely dumbfounded here. Before tonight I never would have imagined that this thing still had followers in the world. Actual followers. True believers, if you will. Loyalists. I thought that I wouldn’t find a cord that would work because it’s so dead and gone that it just wouldn’t exist. Now I realize my problem is not that, but finding a frigging cord that I can afford.

As it stands currently, without said cord, my player is rendered a mighty shiny brick, and I suppose I could use the blank disks as pointy Frisbees. But that’s all it’s doing. Not that I mind. The more I discover in this lake of absurdity, the funnier it gets. I have honestly been laughing for hours. Sitting all by myself, looking at this whatnot, laughing. The neighbors might think I’ve gone insane.

Will I ever find a way to make this thing viable for myself? I don’t know. Right now, I’m not worried about it.

I have dived into the pool of the minidisc, and find myself floundering, not because it’s a dead technology, but because it’s a dead technology that’s somehow still alive!

It’s a fucking ZOMBIE TECHNOLOGY.