Sunday, January 18, 2009
I am a moderate-to-big fan of Kevin Smith. I think his comics are generally pretty good, although the wait for Daredevil/Bullseye: Target and Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil Men Do was unforgivable, and upon reading the comics not really worth it. However, his run on Green Arrow was pretty damn good and about as good as that title ever got (at least since Mike Grell was on it, allegedly). I'm more of a fan of his movies. Clerks was the movie that made me realize I want to pursue creative endeavors for a living (still waiting on that). Dogma was great when I first watched it, but grows more irritating every subsequent viewing, mainly due to Linda Fiorentino's horrible performance and the frequent preachiness of the dialogue. I'm not really making a good account for him, but suffice to say I thought Clerks II was really well done. It got a lot of flak online, although that's no big surprise. Smith has always been a huge lightening rod for people. He's basically the everyman, slob, "my movie is your life" industry figure. You can make honest arguments about his subject matter choices, his style (or lack thereof) in directing, and his frequent habit of putting his wife in his movies, which is new and very unfortunate. She seems like a great, smart gal but an actress she is not. But people seem to hate him now, which seems weird to me. He doesn't take over beloved franchises like Transformers or X-Men, or even fondly remembered franchises like the Spirit or Green Hornet. He does his own stuff. No one forces you to watch any of it. It's there if you like it, and if you don't then it's cool, too. I think a lot of the shit that gets thrown his way is a result of envy. Normally I'm very skeptical of this. I believe you can disagree with people like Barack Obama or Jesse Jackson without being racist. I think you can disagree with Hillary Rodham Clinton or PETA without hating women or animals, so the accusation of being a "hater" doesn't really fly with me. However, I think the glove fits in this situation. I think a lot of people, even if they don't want to make the exact type of movies he does, i.e. "I had the idea of doing a blue collar comedy on retail, dammit!" or "I was going to do a romantic comedy in the new zeitgeist of amateur porn, fuck!" People (me admittedly being one of them) would kill to make very good money in order to tell whatever stories they have inside of them, to be able to work when they want, buy what they want, lie in bed playing online poker and eating take-out without showering for days if they want. Instead, most of us are forced to attend expensive schools in order to learn things we don't care about so we can work jobs we don't want to with people we don't like so we can pay debt that we will never be free of. So the idea of Joe Nobody from New Jersey going from college dropout and register jockey to LA director living in Ben Affleck's old crib probably turns people green with sick, sad jealousy.
Which is a shame because Kevin seems to be free of pretention and self-absorption. He cheerfully admits that he's not that great of a director, and that he's not even as famous as Marty Allen, a comedian I had literally never heard of until the latest SModcast. It's SModcast that I think he really shines. He's a naturally gifted conversationalist and storyteller, and here he plays entirely of his strengths (witty words) with none of his weaknesses (anything dynamic or visual). There was a guy that commented on here a couple of times that hoped for some SModcast-like stories, but now I can't find his comments. I will say that if you enjoy this, or you think you and I might have similar pop-culture tastes, I highly encourage you to download SModcast. It's free, there's 70+ hours of material for you to listen to while cleaning the house or typing at work, and you can listen to debates on whether people would drink semen if it meant losing weight, how a giant Scott Mosier with black bat wings and the knowledge of old-timey boxers would take on a giant warrior kung-fu Jesus with heat vision on the orders of the UN, and hanging around baseball fields at night hoping to have high school seniors stick pickles up your ass.
One of the things talked about on SModcast is the fact that Smith owns two comic book stores called Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash, named after two of his most famous characters. The one on the east coast in Jersey is run by his longtime friend Walt Flanagan, and the one on the west coast was run by another friend, Bryan Johnson, until Johnson had enough of it and quit. You get some interesting insight in how even comic shops relying on celebrity get the same exact frustrations as ones run by the everyman. Even Walt Flanagan, who has drawn comics and appeared onscreen at the cineplex has to deal with bullshit customers. I'm going to link to a couple with known comic shop talk for you to listen and enjoy-
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Alright, there's been some big changes to this blog, in addition to more and more followers. I figured I'd give the personal recollections a rest and do another catch-up to anyone new.
Hello. I am Seethe Rogers. Actually, I am someone else, but my internet nom-de-plume is Seethe Rogers. I'm an angry ex-employee of a (probable) ex-comic shop. See how clever my name is now?
So, as for the changes?
I have become a whore. I decided to set up a link to donate via Paypal, and a link to my Amazon wish list because frankly, it's free to do so. I wouldn't want to enter into an agreement that would place pop-up ads or anything that would ruin the site, but I can put two little links up knowing that people can ignore them if they want to. I know the economy is about one coke-fueled Wall Street sneeze away from utter collapse, and that now that school has started back up my posting frequency will be once a month (not really, but maybe), but I figure if someone, some anonymous person out there is doing really well or is secretly an industry person, then if they want to give me even a buck in which to buy a fruit-and-yogurt parfait at Mickey D's, then who am I to stop them? If you, like me, are a broke college student, or a broke family man, or just broke and at the library using free internet... then by all means don't click. But at least the Amazon link will give you some idea of what I'd be reading if I was still reading.
I decided to put one foot firmly in anything over the past three years and spiced this blog up. I had been thinking of videos that would connect with my posts somehow. Some of the humor is subtle, as only Heroclix players would get the significance of Rick Ross talking about "pushing it". Not all are music videos, as when I somehow found a video on not getting raped by tentacles, and put it on the post about the girl who probably wanted to get raped by tentacles. I think the ones that I found (and I'm still looking) are pretty awesome, so play away!
As time goes by, I remember more about things from the past, and if I've already blogged about them I will go back and add to them. Just my way of expanding this baby out and getting it to a place you might visit again and again. And as I have no method yet of making money or even calibrating visits... know that my intentions are altruistic.
This post looked somewhat awkward for a while as for some stupid reason I could not get the font to work. Also, as previously stated my full semester has started up so start settling in for some long-ass waits. But then again you folks stopped commenting, so how do I even know someone is reading this? Well, BFM will. Hey, BFM! You're one of my BFFs!
Finally, to Derek Coward and Dave Slusher- self-masturbatory totally works. Now, you might not be the two most sexually experienced fellows on the block, but I'll clue you in. If some partner (to be PC) massages you in the bathing suit area, that can be considered masturbating you. Now, if you masturbate yourself, or self-masturbate, you're doing something of no interest to anyone else. Indeed, it is something to get sick over. Unless you're a hot lady. So when comic creators do self-masturbatory stories, they are writing for them, and no one else. I look forward to people barely sitting through my posts. Or fucking themselves. Whichever they might like better.
Actually, that sounded harsh. I'm just giving you shit. Feel free to tear me down on your blogs and twitters and friendfeeds and podcasts all you want. We're all just asshole nobodies on the interwebs anyway. Take it sleazy!
Just for the hell of it. This was funny. Not everything has to connect.
Friday, January 16, 2009
There once was a boy with no knees. It was pretty messed up. The end.
Chunk Jr was an interesting sort. Evidently he started coming into the shop around the age of ten or eleven. He was short, even for his young age. I know next to nothing about children or their development, so just trust me on this. He was also as wide as he was tall. You know on those talk shows where they interview people in real bad spots? He could've been one of those people. He had to have equaled my weight. He didn't walk, he waddled. He walked like he had no knees. He never wore shorts (thank God) so none of us knew if he literally had no knees, or if he was just so big that his shins buckled under the weight. Point was, wasn't pretty. The owner remembers overhearing Chunk Jr telling his sidekicks that he couldn't feel anything in his legs, and subsequently watched as they all took turns walloping him something Sasha Fierce. He could tell that it hurt him, but damned if he wasn't too proud to admit he lied.
He would come in with his grandmother. By all accounts, she was a saintly lady who doted on him, which was probably to the detriment of Chunk Jr. When you indulge the young'uns, they don't know enough to get off their fat ass, turn off the Playstation and trade in the double cheeseburger for a carrot. I have no idea about his relationship with his parents, but the grandmother would intimate that they didn't really care for him. His parents were big people, but not morbidly obese. He had a somewhat normal sized sister. One of the guys who worked at the shop took a shining to him, Sarcastro actually. This was surprising as up until he got married Sarcastro was as black-hearted and cynical as they come, unafraid of cutting to the quick friend or foe. But yet he would watch out for this little tub. I'm sure he had his reasons, whatever they may be...
Chunk Jr was a weird little kid. A bit "off". He would request comics like Lady Death and Evil Ernie, and when the workers would balk at selling them to him, the grandmother would just come in and pay for them. He liked metal, and would probably be seen as a modern day "hesher" of a sort. I really need to do an urban dictionary update for this. He played D&D, listened to metal, didn't get outside a whole bunch, ate crappy foods, probably got lackluster grades, and basically did everything you stay up all night worrying about your own kids/kids today doing. He seemed to have a decent intelligence, and had a little wit to him sometimes. He even had a group of guys around him to do his bidding. Hell, he had more lackeys than I ever will. He did have a somewhat annoying habit of repeating catchphrases, particularly "feed us, don't eat us", which at the time I swear sounded like "fetus, don't eat us". Neither really makes sense, though the latter gets points for surreality.
I remember one time my two filmmaker friends were at a party for Sarcastro and wondered out loud on his condition, and being surprised that he was even still with us. "Wow. Good for him," seemed to be the reaction. His grandmother eventually passed on, owing us about a hundred bucks for a case of Mech Warrior she bought and took home while only covering part of the cost. Sigh...
He never particularly bothered me, and labeling him as an "asshole" might be a little strong, but that's the category I made for the customers I had. If anything, I kind of worried about him. But not too much. Frankly, I figure he's either alive somewhere leading a much improved but forever hampered life thanks to earlier health problems that might have been preventable, or he's in a very big coffin worrying about other creatures eating him.
Wow that was dark.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
This is the blisteringly exciting tale of one of the few times I worked there that somebody started some shit. They didn't know that I wasn't no ho, though.
There was this dad that would come in with his kid, and he forever wanted a bargain. Nothing could be for what it was marked. I've always been fascinated by this. I've always wanted to go into the Golden Arches and say "you know you've got some Big Macs that have been sitting out for a few minutes... how 'bout letting one go for 75 cents, huh?" Or to Best Buy and say "this DVD of Cool Runnings has a dinged corner. You might as well dollar bin it, and you might as well let me pick it out of said bin and buy it for said dollar." Anywho, I remember this guy wanting a deal for the then-white hot Pokemon tins, and the owner let him have one for a few bucks off, but I still charged him tax and got a thrill when I could tell through the miracle of peripheral vision that he furrowed his brow at the amount. He looked normal, a guy in his mid-40s, glasses, with a kid probably around nine or ten.
He came in one day with his kid and looked around, oblivious to the way I crumpled up a piece of paper on seeing him. He took a look at some sort of Pokemon merchandise that for the life of me I can't remember what it was or how much it cost, so we'll just say it was a box of cards and cost $20 each. He said to me as casual as an elevator companion commenting on the weather, "how about doing 2 for $30 on a Friday afternoon?" Okay, there are so many things wrong with this I don't know where to start. One, you are asking me to knock down an item in price. A significant amount. Our profit margins skewed small to begin with. Two, you are asking me to knock down a popular item in price. This wasn't a back issue of Youngblood: Bloodstrike Deathforce edition. This was something that was going to sell out anyways. That's like going into Wal-Mart and saying, "I see you've got some Kevin Costner movies in the discount bin... how 'bout coming down a third on that Nintendo Wii?" You will get your ass kicked by the reanimated corpse of Sam Walton himself. Lastly, what the flying fuck does it being a Friday afternoon have anything to do with it? I'm obviously still at work, you obviously are not. So... why am I in a good and generous mood? Dumbass. Needless to say, I told him essentially "nice try" and he sheepishly admitted he had to try in case it worked.
They looked around and the guy brought up a Pokemon box and I rung him up. He then pulled out a couple of twenties that looked a little odd. Now, I might have had all the attention and care of a heroin addict in a poppy field, but I could spot this from a mile away. Normal money looks (or looked) dark and light shades of green. This looked jaundiced yellow and black. I pulled out this counterfeit pen that we had. If you marked something and it came up clear, it was good to go. Black, and we had a problem. I was supposed to check high bills, mainly hundreds and up. In all my years, nothing had come up black... until now.
I said something on the line of "uhhh, I don't think these are any good." He furrowed his brow and mentioned something about coming directly from the bank. I told him what the counterfeit marker did, and that if he had come directly from the bank then he had better go directly back because they gave him fake money. He pulled out some other money he had (surprise, surprise!) paid, mumbled something and got the Hell out of Dodge. I can't really remember seeing him again, at least with any frequency.
Looking back, it would have been fun to pretend to have to make a call real quick, and dial the cops. Some of you might think that he was a counterfeiter. Maybe not a professional one who makes flawless copies of Benjamins, but someone who tries to make some twenties to pass around local businesses in order to avoid spending his own income, but I honestly don't think that's the case. I think he was just a weaselly guy who got handed some bad money as change somewhere, and then upon finding out tried to pass it off on a gullible comic shop employee. My man just ended up with the play money still on him, less real money and a near heart attack after narrowly avoiding the Secret Service putting a bullet in his ass.
Friday, January 9, 2009
This will be kind of a short little post about another group of nerds, the Mech Warrior crowd.
The Mech Warrior crowd alternated in size. At one point, it was somewhat popular, filling just about two long tables. It eventually died off, as they always do. They were a motley bunch, and although a look at any one of them could make a penis flaccid or dry a vagina, there was a soap-opera tale amongst them...
There was Chunk Jr: The Boy With No Knees, whom I will get to in a few. I don't want to blow my wad here.
There was Awkward Andy. He was this supernerd that played Star Wars: CCG until that imploded. His wardrobe consisted almost entirely of dress shirts tucked into dress pants. Seriously. On his own time he dressed like he was going to church or a job interview. He disappeared for a while (possibly to write scripts with Ponytail) only to return to play Mech Warrior. He also discovered the healing powers of metal. Specifically, Type O Negative. I'd bash him for this, but... I, too, like Type O Negative. Shut it, they're a good band! However, I will bash him for half-heartedly dying his hair black. It came out his normal red, with black streaks in it. He also grew a weird, red neckbeard. And wore Type O Negative shirts... tucked into black jeans. And leather jackets year round. Moving on...
There was this creepy teacher who brought his students one time. I just remember no one buying anything and the guy taking all the chairs for his group. Then one time the Heroclix people (who played on the same night) arranged it somehow so they got the chairs first, and he bitched until someone pointed out he spent no money. I don't remember seeing him much after that. Possible reason? Jail.
Most of the group have been blocked from my memory, except for three poor souls. No wait, I'm the poor soul who remembers this.
There was a young married couple who came in. They had a pretty cute little girl that came with them, although at certain ages any little girl is cute. I'm sure she'll blow up and white trash out just like mom when she gets old enough. Sucks, but that's life. The dad had wire-rimmed glasses and a slow drawl that belied not an inquisitive mind, I gather. His wife was a larger woman, or a BBW in internet vernacular. She always wore midriff shirts that said things like "Hot Stuff" or "Lil Cutie" or other things that were ironic. Bryan Ferry's Mom said he was going to sue the t-shirt manufacturer for false advertising. Haw! They disappeared for a couple of weeks, then returned, no lie, with a baby in one of those things you carry kids in. You know, the one with the handle without wheels, like a shopping basket. They would just kind of let the baby sleep under the t-shirt rack. Kind of sad, really. Not as sad as what's coming up...
The last guy I remember was a real goober. He was loud to his friends, yet I cannot recall a single time he talked to an employee. It's like we didn't even exist, this wasn't even a store. He was just chillaxin' in the basement of his buddies. He would say these really over the top nerdy things like "Boo-yah we're playin' now!" or some other weird shit I can't remember. Just obnoxious. I could tell that this was the only time he felt comfortable enough to really let go, and the other hours of his existence consisted of trying to avoid eye contact and furious masturbation.
Apparently, the obnoxious dork and the BBW hit it off, and something convoluted happened. The BBW was hanging out with the sister of this kid that used to hang out and later worked there. They returned to the store, or met up with the loud asshat. The BBW and the obnoxious dork ran off together and left the bespectacled redneck there with the kids. The owner remembered coming back to count the money or something and seeing a pitiful note on the door from the poor sap wondering where she was. At first people might have been a little worried. It's a dangerous world out there filled with drunk drivers and sexual deviants. Then the truth got out. I think the owner talked to the sadsack and he said that he still loved her and that they had kids at home. The guy also called up once when I was working. I forgot the initial reason of the call, whether to commiserate on his heartbreak or some other reason, but once the awkwardness started coming out, I found a reason to get off the phone quick. Might not win me the Humanitarian of the Year award, but it won me peace of mind. What occurs between rednecks and BBWs and obnoxious dorks are none of my concern.
Fun Fact: The BBW once asked either the owner or Bryan Ferry's Mom to take her to get her belly button pierced on a Saturday. She hardly knew these people. It would have been awkward even if she had been attractive. She was so big, her navel piercing was a hula hoop. Oh snap!
I never found out what happened to any of these people. I think that even though there wasn't two brain cells among them to rub together, they all knew better than to return to the site of the affair. If the redneck had any sense he would have filed for divorce and custody, as obviously the BBW wasn't exactly the mothering type. She was probably the smothering type... in bed. Burn! The obnoxious dork didn't really seem dumb, either. I'm sure he went to college and had some sort of job involving computers, or anything that wasn't manual labor. But desperation and plastic toys is a dangerous mix...
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I know that everyone in the nerd world has memorized this 10x over, but fuck it. I need something to break up any monotony in posts about all the idiots I knew before. Besides, it still cracks me up that people online thought Scott Kurtz was a woman. Haw! Take that, you crappy web comic douche! You know the thing with web comics? They're not good enough to be actual comics. Enjoy!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I completely forgot about these guys until a week ago, for some reason. I can't use their real name, so I'll call them the Mudds.
The Mudds were a family of two brothers and a dad (I'm assuming there was a mom in there somewhere, or the effort of cloning was wasted). They started running tournaments there to help fund their habit (where have we heard that before?). You know, I guess it isn't such a bad idea. You spend a lot of your spare time some place, why not get some compensation for it?
The dad was a fellow in his late 40s, early 50s. He had a handlebar mustache and out-dated glasses and hair. He wasn't such a bad guy, actually, and was probably the most tolerable out of all of them. He did have a weird opinion on his sons smoking, including one that was under 18 at the time, which was that he was fine with it. Yikes.
The oldest one was a year older than me but in the grade behind me. Then he dropped out. Weird how people assume all nerds/geeks are smart. There's probably a large percentage of unambitious, intellectually lazy fanboys out there. No, not probably. Definitely. He was kinda nerdy in high school, then moved on to being kinda scary. I think Bryan Ferry's Mom described him as looking like if Jesus was a pedophile. I feel like I'm going to Hell for typing that. He had long hair, a scraggly goatee and big glasses as well. And I think he wore a vampire cape once. I hope it was on Halloween.
The youngest was terribly awkward. He was tall and super skinny. I remember he came in once when he was in high school and he talked about Pokemon cards. He was in high school. He also had a bad habit of wearing t-shirts way bigger than he should have, with the collars all stretched out... it just looked trashy. Fashion tip: wearing a tee with a stretched out neck says that you stopped caring and you don't mind if you never show your genitals to anyone ever again.
I had some great moments with them. I used to always be late on Sundays (before pretty much being always late every day) and I would lock up shop at 5 on the dot. I used to just shut off the power and I remember Mudd the elder yelling "Oh, come on!" Now that I think about it, maybe he was secretly hip and knew about Arrested Development and GOB before anyone else.
Mudd the elder turned out to be a bit of a suspected thief as well. The owner found some discarded Magic: The Gathering wrappers and saw him quickly toss an empty box of cards in the trash when he came in once. Nice. They stopped coming in pretty much when they discovered Worlds of Warcraft and figured that playing with paper cards was for pussies, and playing with pixels was for big-dicked studs. Or something. Speaking of big-dicked studs, I guess Mudd the elder might like them as I overheard a couple of teenagers talk about how he had moved and was bisexual, and sure enough thanks to MySpace it has been confirmed. Man, if you ever didn't want a dude on you, or under you... it's this guy. I don't know what would be grosser.
I don't know where they are now, but I like to imagine them all still under one roof, no one going to school, no one bettering themselves, just a group of guys drinking Red Bull, listening to metal, smoking up a storm and playing RPGs. Fuckin' A.