Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I don't have the motivation or drive to do anything.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Gaming of My Childhood (NES)

Slapped this together pretty quickly for my Cat Hat Reviews series (seen on my website). Just thought I'd share. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Beep, Boop, Bop.

I probably shouldn't be writing ten minutes out of getting out of bed, because I know I'll look back on this post and realize that the majority of sentences are strung together in a nonsensical blur of "kadhsdflhklfas akdjhfdlf aadhfla", but I really don't care.

Okay. So, a new video game store has opened up in my town, which is pretty amazing, considering that where I live is a dormitory hick town that is growing way too fast for its own good and is smack in the middle between two other towns that have much superior shopping centres.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the place: It has a super friendly atmosphere, really great prices, a seriously amazing selection of vintage games (Wow, I feel old), and an actual gaming room in the back set up for tourneys and game-testing (which I'm seriously happy about. I know only of one other game store let you test games before buying them -- and they closed down about ten years ago)

My only worry is the store's location. It's tucked away behind a new developing plaza, but it's waaay behind everything, and its store sign is pretty small -- but from what I saw the couple times I've been in there, there's a hopeful glimmer for not just this new gaming store -- but for the starving youth of my town.

If you live around Newmarket/Bradford/Barrie and you're looking for a new place to dive into, check out Video Game Universe.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stupid Anatomy. :(

Drawing officially stresses me out. ...Which really is a shame, because I kind of enjoy doing it -- and I have been doing it off-and-on since I was a kid. You'd think, since I've been doing it long enough, I'd be a pro or something -- at least be as good as people who've "mastered" drawing ... but I'm not -- the reason being is that I have mild cerebral palsy, so much having to do with hands-on skills can often be a struggle -- which is pretty ironic, if you think about it, since I work in a kids clothing store, folding shirts and pants all day (and yes, that can even be a major pain in the ass for me).

In fact, only a good few of my pieces come out relatively half-decent.
Yes, okay, I'm admitting right now that this blog post is mainly here to stroke my bruised ego and to let off a little steam. But you gotta admit, it's really a potful of piss when something you've been doing for years doesn't in fact work out for you -- despite the fact that you're friggin' determined to keep at it.

Actually, I'm starting to see this pattern with my writing. I love to write, but I'll get these random -- and frequent -- days where I just sit back and think, "Wow. My fiction skills are complete shit." Sure, I kick ass when it come to writing dialogue, but when description rears its ugly head, my brain turns into pancakes. This pisses me off to no end, because when I write, everything plays out in my head like a movie, and I want to write what I internally see, and in my opinion, most of the time I can't convey that. ...I mean, I've been working on the first book of a trilogy for EIGHT-GOD-FORSAKEN-YEARS and it STILL needs work past its FIFTEENTH DRAFT.

Beads of cool water dripped from Eri’s hair and rolled down her face, trailing down towards the light fabric of her hood’s neck, where they collectively absorbed into the fabric.

Mackenzie stole a peek around the corner of the giant maple tree where the two of them hid. Though far away from the action, she could see the Monster standing just beyond the arching entrance of the clearing. Someone was yelling – she couldn’t make out who, but from the left side of the clearing came several glowing orbs of orange energy that barraged into the Monster’s side, nearly sending it forcibly to the ground.

Mashing her lips between her teeth, Mackenzie forced herself to look away, dabbing the damp sweater against the Eri’s face and forehead some more.

-Heiress: The Master of Monsters

Anyway, drawing.

One thing I've always dreamed of doing is putting together my own comic book -- or at least a serialized web comic. I love comic books as an artistic story-telling medium, and to be able to adapt one of my books into such a medium would be a pretty amazing thing, I think.

I have tried it before, but the problem keeps going back to the cerebral palsy: because of it, I have a great strain drawing what I see in my head. In drawing an entire issue of Heiress's first chapter, most of the time, the drawings vary in quality and style.

The black-haired girl's face can't decide
if it's round or oval. :(

I've found that the notions of Angles and Perspective don't like me very much. I don't like them very much either -- which really does put a damper on the whole "I want to draw comic books" thing.

I find I'm a lot better when it comes to actual portraits -- Portraits, as tame and boring as they can be, are pretty fun, and have helped me in the past when I want to draw out characters from my books to show people what they're supposed to look like (I'm such a controlling author, I know), but even then, the difficulty of fighting with my hand and trying to draw what I see in my head tends to rear its ugly head.

This is actually one of my favourites. To me, it has that sort of "vintage animation" feel.

So while most times, I'll be able to draw things like the contours of a face, or even the eyes and nose, things like hair completely baffle me -- even with points of references. Hair is evil. I hate it.

I'm bitching. Let's move on.

I'm sure if I just kept at it and at it day in and day out, I'd get somewhat of a grasp on things. Probably. Most likely. Trust me, I'm not using the cerebral palsy thing as a crutch -- but that doesn't deter the fact that it's there and that it does, indeed, affect things that I do -- drawing included.

A few years ago, I actually tried to use the CP to my advantage. I had the idea that if my hands wouldn't let me draw what exactly I saw in front of me, I try to would work WITH them, instead of AGAINST them.

This went two ways: an art style I tried to develop, simply known as Grunge Art, and drawing in Photoshop using just the computer mouse.

An example of Grunge Art. Very blocky, and rough-looking.

...And actually, for a time, this worked out for the most part. I don't do the Grunge Art anymore outside of doodling -- simply because the CP was pissing me off and I'd more often than not throw the sketchbook across the room -- but the mouse-art has really caught on for me. I haven't done it in a long while, but I can easily say with confidence that most of my best work was done with Photoshop.

There's a section on my site that I still need to dump stuff into: It's called The Chamber of Darkness, and is meant for all of my Photoshop-related art. ...But until I figure out how to create a sort of "gallery view" on Wordpress, that section's gonna be pretty bare, unfortunately.

Anyway, I'm going on much too long about this. I just needed to vent. If you've read up until this point, you're a dear and I thank you.

Here's something to end off positively with! I'm working on a new Cat Hat Reviews video. If my timing is good -- and my computer decides it wants to co-operate -- the video should be out before the end of the month; I'm really hoping by Friday of next week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hard Candy: A Digital Monologue

I love movies that provide a means to empower and inspire certain sects of audiences. They come to us, shining in the darkness, when the endless tidal wave of cinematic schlock rains upon us, trying to convince the mass society that "thinking" and "being challenged" are bad things; that we should only concern ourselves with disengaging mental-melts like Meet The Spartans, The Final Destination (Really? Really? the FINAL destination? What were the first three? Pit stops?), as well as any Eddie Murphy entry over the last five-to-seven years.

I like to think that everybody, I don't care who you are, can stumble upon something in the entertainment industry and become latched to the thing -- can bond with it oh so well -- almost as if the creator produced that whatever-it-is (be it a movie, a book, a video game, a song, etc) with that one person specifically in mind.

For me, it was a movie called Hard Candy.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees that red hoodie as an
allusion to the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

I've been exposed to a great number of films over the past few days, but out of all of them, I felt the need to talk about this one, first. Hard Candy was released in 2005, starring a pre-Juno Ellen Page and a pre-Watchmen Patrick Wilson (with post-Double Happiness and during-Grey's Anatomy Sandra Oh).

I can summarize the plot of Hard Candy in about a single sentence: Hayley, a 14-year-old honour student gets lured over the Internet and into the arms of Jeff, a 32-year-old "photographer" -- but when the two head back to Jeff's place, the oh-so-familiar and traumatizing story of the owl hunting the mouse pulls a complete and unexpected 180:

The mouse hunts the owl.

I'm not sure if the screenwriter of this movie was himself affected by online predators, or if he knew someone pretty close who was -- but as a victim of long-term chat room pedophilia myself (among other things ... but let's not get into that) -- at the very age that Ellen Page portrays in Hard Candy ... well, I'm not sure about you guys, but I don't think it was an accident that during a weekly Double-Feature night, one of my close friends just so happened to bring the DVD on a whim, when internally I recently started coming to terms with things that happened in my past. Somebody "upstairs" was watching out, in my opinion.

Happy birthday, Mister f*cking President.

Anyway, I'd like to talk about the movie itself. It's almost two hours, and a good 95% pure dialogue -- another 75% taking place inside Jeff's studio condo. And yeah, okay, you can say "95% dialogue" about most movies, but Hard Candy comes off differently. Before we started watching it, my other close friend said that the movie could have easily been pulled off as a stage play; and while at the time I didn't understand what he meant, I sure do now.

There are only six characters in the entire film: Haley, Jeff, Sandra Oh's character who appears briefly in two scenes (which is hilarious in my opinion, because she gets third billing on the DVD case), a girl from Jeff's past (who you barely see at all), a cashier, and an uncredited extra who comes out of a diner bathroom.

Okay, technically, three characters, but the fact remains that it's a very manageable cast of characters conveying an intense, brain-wringing plot through a scant two locations (three, if you include the roof and yard of Jeff's condo). Hard Candy wasn't written for the stage, but its just as basic and enveloping. Honestly, the first time I watched it, I was expecting the screen to go black and the words "INTERMISSION" to appear in big blocky white letters around the mid-point of the film.

Nite Owl: Mild-mannered child molester by day,
crime-fighting manic depressant by night.

The acting in Hard Candy is absolutely phenomenal. It's no surprise that Page and Wilson have secured themselves in their acting careers now. It's actually pretty scary how well Ellen Page comes across as a dependent, dopey fourteen-year-old in the first act of the movie, only to turn on one heel and show us how effing vengeful and bat-shit insane her character really is. It also doesn't help that she actually looks like a kid -- especially in this movie -- but again in Juno. Patrick Wilson is set up to be this smooth-talking, persuasive sort of person, and my God, does he play it well. Even past the point when it's very evident what he is and what his intentions are, it's somewhat difficult at times to not be sympathetic towards his character.

I'm surprised Hard Candy isn't a mainstream title, and I have a feeling that has to do with it being an indy film, sadly. I'd heard the name of the movie mentioned a few years ago, but had no idea what it was until last Sunday evening when I saw it for the first time -- and the same for my dad when I showed it to him a few days later. And what strikes me odd about this movie is that it's filed under the Horror genre. If you ask me, it's anything but a horror movie -- in fact, it should be listed high up there with those other inspirational films like Forrest Gump and Pursuit of Happyness!

I mean, technically, I guess -- Hard Candy could be a horror movie -- if you're a pedophile, that is.

As terribly awkward and painful that position must be,
Ellen Page sure looks like she's sleeping well enough.

For me, Hard Candy is basically To Catch a Predator tripped up a notch by a healthy dose of steroids and acid. I honestly can't recommend this movie enough. Go watch it. The message of this film is a brilliant one not only to child predators, but to any idiot who thinks they have the right to step over illegal/unmoral boundaries: Don't chew the hard candy, because you just might break off a tooth.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Regan McNeil VS Emily Rose

A while ago I read one of the most horrifying, controversial works of literature known to mankind. No, it isn't Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand (but you were close if you guessed it!), but The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty.

The novel, though written in short, sharp sentences that string together to create some of the weirdest structured paragraphs I've ever seen in my life, is hands down one of the most immersing reads I've had in a while (first up being The Omen, by David Seltzer, and last being Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer).

One thing about the book that sort of confused me is that ... well, I found myself laughing more times than I was probably supposed to; the dialogue is just so cleverly penned. But what startled me the most after finishing the read was that never once during the novel was I frightened. Not even remotely disturbed (and if you want disturbing, get the book from your public library and read page 215).

So, upon constantly hearing that The Exorcist's film adaptation is a heavy-handed blow to the horror genre, making the media claim it to be "the scariest movie of all time", my curiosity immeditaly piqued.

Truth be told, a good three or four years ago I tried to watch The Exorcist when it was playing on TV one Halloween night. I flicked the TV on just as Chris McNeil was passing through the kitchen, and the face of Pazuzu, the demon, showed up against the stove's range hood. I jumped. Pretty high. And went to flick the light on just as the Pazuzu's statue face appeared on screen for a quick flash, sending me flying for the TV remote.

"hi asl??"

I don't do well with things that pop up without warning. I think "jump" scares in horror movies are cheap low blows to make up for dodgy writing and directing, and I think the internet "Screamers" you see on Ebaum's World are about the same.

I had a copy of The Exorcist's 2000 rerelease entitiled "The Version You've Never Seen", that I picked up at the Hock Shop a while back, and was really too afraid to watch it, solely based on the experience I had previously. But after reading the book all the way through and absolutely loving it, I decided to suck up my fear and go through with the inevitable.

The opening credits roll...



And then two hours later, the end credits roll.
I blink, turn off the DVD player, recline against the couch and think to myself,
"What the hell was I so worried about?"

The movie left the exact impression the book did. I was thoroughly entertained, but not at all frightened.

An interesting little notion popped into my head at that very moment. Either I am extraordinarily desensitized, or people scare much too easily. And it isn't just this movie I've had this feeling with, either.

Now, I realize that horror movies don't age very well unless you were around when they were first released, but something like The Exorcist, which to this day, leaves a mark on people, even young people who weren't alive around its initial release, should have at least left me just a little disturbed, right? I mean, I'm a devout, God-loving Christian. Shouldn't I be scared out of my mind because according to my faith, I believe in stuff like this?

"Your mother waits tables at IHOP, Karras!!"

Not to get all nostalgic again, but compared to the malevolent piles of goat bile known as horror movies of today, I'm glad I have stuff like The Exorcist to keep me in tune with what at least used to scare the wits out of people without the needlessly heavy reliance on CGI that the new millennium seems to stick to, and unoriginal jump scares that really don't do much for the intelligent viewer, because there was nothing in the atmosphere to amplify the need, or even warrant for such a thing.

I think the reason The Exorcist was so frightening, and still is for a lot of people, is because of the film makers' use of toying with the audiences' minds, and the fact that exorcisms and possession are actual documented events.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose, for example, is like the contemporary world's answer to the pathetic slew of "horror" movies we've received over the past twelve, thirteen years. In fact, while talking to my friend about The Exorcist, she honestly thought Emily Rose was a remake.

"What do you mean my lines don't deliver??"

Then again, thinking about it, horror movies have more of an impact in the theatre. The theatre, where it's dark, you're closed in by strangers, and you can't do anything but stare ahead at the panoramic screen with loud surround sound thundering in your ears.

I saw the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in theatre, and it scared the hell out of me. And then when I bought it on home video and watched it on a smaller screen with pathetic mono sound, the effect was lost on me; it wasn't the same.

But... There have been movies that have absolutely kept me up on night when I've seen them on the small screen. People can debate from sun up to sun rise about the credibility of the paranormal and extra terrestrials, but the fact remains: the mere idea, regardless, scares the bejesus out of people - especially when they're on film.

And that's why I think Japanese horror movies, especially modern ones like Ju-On and Ringu, work so well. Not only do they pit the viewers against this world of paranormal activity, but amplifies it to the max, due to the lack of CGI effects.

Again, not to make accusations of "Man, the modern age sucks compared to when I was a kid", but when it comes to films, I think the point is actually valid this time around. Yes, we can do so many great things with CGI technology, but it's to the point where film makers don't even need sets anymore; they just plop the actors in front of a green screen.

Nothing is better than the real deal. Tom Savini once said, "Special effects is literally magic." And you know what else is magic? Maple syrup. The genuine stuff, too. Not that processed factory crap. Mmm... I could go for some right now, actually.

"Maple syrup is the sh*t, Karras!
Just ask Det. Kinderman!"

Though, I guess I really didn't figure why I wasn't a victim of "The scariest movie ever made". Maybe I really am desensitized, but I know when I've seen a good movie. And The Exorcist was a great movie. It's just a shame that precision film making in general has been shot in the dark by Mister Money-Bags.

I know I've mentioned this site before, but once again, if you're into horror, both old and new, check out The House of Horrors. It's a fantastic horror movie site, with interviews, behind the scenes, and even coroner reports for our favourite slasher villains!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Well, I suppose it's time I apologize to this blog for going off and doing my own thing, by bribing its forgiveness with a bouquet of roses, hoping it will forget my abandonment. Yet so, little miss ItDoMD sits there with arms crossed, glowering at me with "the look", while demanding, "What happened to us? I thought I was something special to you, Lavender," followed by, "Is there ... Is there another? Have you been going to Xanga? Don't lie! I KNOW HOW LIVE JOURNAL LOOKS AT YOU IN THE SUPER MARKET!"

Truth be told, I've simply lost track of time. Remember that blog entry I made a while ago about passing time and people having lack of patience and all that jazz? Well yeah, that kind of happened to me -- the passing time thing.

I'm not sure where the last few months went -- let alone the entirety of the whole last year. And already, as 2010 is upon us, I feel it's not even getting better. Already it's the middle of January, and I feel like I went to my Aunt's for New Years dinner just last week -- and to think, I have a college entry exam I need to prepare for at the end of the month!

It seems like Doc Brown is almost outta time.
...I can totally relate. Damn damn. :(

Anyway, I guess I should give you guys a bit of an update on what's been going on in the ol' Life and Times of Lavender ... um ... Wow. I don't have a last name on the Internet.

Joke, prepped, launched, failed, aborted.



Anyway. So yeah, in November I took part in a world-wide literary event-thinger called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), that takes place ... well ... during the whole of November, with a unified wordcount goal of fifty-thousand words. Gory details cut short, I made my fifty-thousand word goal (actually passed it by about two thousand words). The story has a beginning and and end, but no middle -- so that's something I'm going to have to work on.

What's it about? Uhh ... Basically about this girl in 1897 who dies and goes to Purgatory, and needs to find her way to Heaven, or something to that extent. That's the plot in a sentence.

My alleged "war on the video game industry" has come to a slight halt, as my dad expressed in interest in purchasing a Nintendo Wii, for the sole purpose of getting into shape -- so now my own interest has been tickled, since while at my Aunt's house for New Years, I got a chance to extensively try out the Wii, and near instantly got hooked on Wii Sports Resort (The sword fighting and table-top tennis are amazing, inmynotsohumbleopinion).

Walk in. See this. What do?

Other than that, I picked up a second job listing text books on Amazon, which is pretty great and fun. The lady I work with is a pretty awesome person, and I just pray I am pretty competant with all that I have to do for her.

I also started reading again -- quite heavily. For Christmas I was bestowed a mountain of books (Okay, not quite a mountain, but slightly larger than a mole hill), including The Divine Comedy trilogy, by Dante (which I specifically asked for in regards to the NaNo novel I was working on), as well as the two sequel novels to novelized version of The Ring, written by Japanese Stephen King, Koji Suzuki. I've also been picking off books that I've had in my library (snortgiggle, "library") for a while and never had a chance to get around to, so that feels pretty good.

So yeah, that's basically been about it. I just want to apologize to those of you who come venturing from my youtube channel (all three and a half of you). I'm sorry for the dramatic lack of site content, and I know I keep promising that Cat Hat Review of Vandal Hearts 2, but it's like I said: Time has just escaped me. I am working on it though! Once I get my new video camera (which should be by the end of the month) things should get rolling, and site content should be more consistent.