Would The Land Before Clocks be more apt of a title?

I feel like there are some films I keep coming back to. Not all movies age gracefully (tried watching The Breakfast Club after age 25? It’s pretty rough), but some are so well constructed that they stand the test of time. Maybe it’s well-rounded characters, realistic stakes and proportional drama. A cohesive plot that doesn’t cheapen itself with meaningless throwaway lines in an attempt to get easy laughs. Whatever it is, The Land Before Time still works. Watching it at age 30, it almost makes sense that they produced 10+ sequels. Not 14 though. Hey, not all films can have the kind of deserved legacy that Air Bud does.

Land Before Time goes for the heart strings and yanks hard. It’s brutal. Littlefoot’s mum gets murdered maybe ten minutes in, there are catastrophic earthquakes and all these kids are left alone with little but their misery and misplaced pride. From then on out they slam the pedal to the floor on starvation and racism parallels. These kids need to learn about accepting help from others, belief in oneself, understanding that hard paths must sometimes be taken, faith and love, etc and whatnot. It’s great. It’s still funny, adorable and so goddamn mournful. The score by the London Symphony Orchestra is still so fucking stirring to this day. Heavy as it gets, it doesn’t bask in it for too long. There’s levity galore, and great character moments abound. Petrie may be comic relief, but he still has important lessons to learn. Of course as a child I thought Sarah was an asshole, but as an adult I can see that Sarah’s a great character. As an adult it’s easier to look at the influence of her parentage and understand why she’s too proud to work with others, divisive and headstrong. You can see her journey and its necessity. Of course racism isn’t natural, it’s taught. Kids watching aren’t gonna understand why Three Horns can’t play with Long Necks. It’s so stupid, they’re all dinosaurs. That’s a pretty great legacy for a film to have that’s still alarmingly relevant today.

I still can’t believe it took me until age 30 to realise that I’m not a Littlefoot, I’m a Ducky. Don’t worry folks, that’s great. Sure, Littlefoot is the protagonist and reluctant leader, but Ducky is where it’s at. She’s the heart and soul of the team. Duck’s the glue keeping everyone together. She raises morale, encourages everyone to push through and try their best. She’s caring and considerate, refusing to give up on those she loves. Without Ducky you wouldn’t have a troop, you’d have lonely disparate children going their own way only to perish. Yup yup yup, Ducky’s the MVP.

Why did they call him “Littlefoot”? Why “foot”? Compared to his parents, everything about him is smaller, not just his feet. Are they saying his feet are disproportionately tiny? Way to give the kid a complex. Why not go with Ducky’s superior suggestion of “Flathead”? Ducky all day long. What’s with Sarah’s dad sounding like an accountant? Is it because he spends all day counting horns in order to further his own racist agenda? Do kids movies these days show animals being eaten by other animals? Or is that considered too violent for children’s entertainment? Isn’t calling it “The Land Before Time” a bit narcissistic? Time existed before humans came along. We named it, we didn’t invent it. Therefore this film isn’t set before time began at all.

Failing anything, it lifts my heart to know that when I eventually have kids, this is a movie we’ll be able to watch together. It’ll be nice to share with them something I love so much. Frankly, I think that’s half the reason I want kids. I want a captive, easily influenced posse that’ll listen to all my pop culture based suggestions. Maybe I shouldn’t spawn after all.

Advertisements

It’s a good thing I’m still on holiday, cause this is in no way safe for work.

I’ve never written a fanfic before. One of my friends is hosting a competitive erotic fanfiction party tomorrow night. There was the option of finding something to read online, but I thought it’d be a fun chance to delve into something new.

 

Beth felt… listless, With Jerry gone the house was quiet. Empty. Sure, Morty had been grounded after taking in a stray Klaxion war criminal, and Rick’s attempt at making braces for Summer had left her with three rows of pearly Great White teeth. “You’ll never have to worry about her dental bills again.” He said. “If she loses any she’ll just grow more.” She’d been working late nights at the horse hospital to pick up the slack Jerry left behind. Somebody had to keep this family afloat. Still, it seemed like something was missing. She felt… thirsty. Maybe a glass of wine could scratch that itch.

She opened the cupboard to see an array of reds stretched out before her. And a bottle of something… pickled? Curious, she reached for it until she noticed two glowing green eyes staring back at her. She flinched and went for a pinot instead. If she needed to know what that thing was, she was sure Rick would’ve told her. She pulled the bottle down and grabbed a glass when suddenly the thrumming of coalescing energies erupted behind her. She turned and dropped the bottle. Her father emerged from a green portal. Beth sighed. “Jesus Dad, give me some warning next time. That’s the third bottle this…” “Tell it to your therapist…” Rick interrupted “Next week I’ll take you to a dimension where angels piss the stuff. There’s no time right now. Daddy needs your help.” Her eyes widened and hope filled her heart. Her father, the brilliant scientist, needed HER help? “Of course Dad. Whatever you need.” He grabbed her by the arm and pulled her into the portal. She heard the whipping of wind as the whirling energies enveloped her.

She emerged in a swanky living room. A large window overlooked the… Hollywoo… Hills? Where the fuck was she? “Welcome to Hollywoo.” Her father barked. “We can check out Disneyland later. The flaming coaster is the shiiiiiit.” He strode through the living room and pushed open a set of double doors. “This is why we’re here.” She followed and stopped in her tracks. In a plush king sized bed lay… Was it a horse? A man? Some kind of.. Horseman? Whatever it was, it looked like shit. Her nose caught up with her. Vomit, blood and, well, she had a teenage boy. That smell was unmistakeable. “Daddy’s drinking buddy ain’t doing so well. I’d take care of it, but the Ball Fondlers premiere starts in ten minutes and Noob Noob’s holding my seat. Anyway, you’re a Horse Vet…” Beth cut in angrily “For fuck’s sake Dad, I’m a Horse Surgeon!” “Even better.” He responded. “You’ll figure it out.” He fired his portal gun at the wall and was gone. The thing on the bed stirred, turned to the side and vomited. In its hand it was clutching a magnum of Jack Daniels. It looked at her and spoke. “Yeah, room service? Another bottle. This one’s almost done.” It promptly passed out. Well Beth, she thought as always you’re left to clean up another man’s mess. At least, I think it’s a man. She approached the side of the bed to get a better look. She leant down, resting her hand on the sheet. It landed on something… large. Her eyebrows lifted. That’s a man alright, she thought to herself, smirking. That strange thirst began stirring in her for some reason. She reached into her pocket for her scalpel and a pair of rubber gloves, then pulled the gloves on with a snap. Ugh, here goes, Beth. Always with the fucking Hayppocratic Oath.

Beth stirred groggily. Her head felt like fire. In fact she felt sore all over. Where was she? The last thing she remembered was pouring herself a drink or two after the successful operation on that horse… thing. She sat up and opened her eyes. She was in bed. She was naked. She wasn’t alone. Then the smell hit her and she nearly passed out. What happened? She looked to her right to see that same horse man snoring loudly. Her eyes widened with shock, then hazy memories drifted back to her.

She was on all fours, a large cock plunging deep into her repeatedly. In and out like a piston, filling her totally. She hadn’t felt like this in… had she ever felt like this? Hands grasped her waist tightly, holding her fast and pulling her into each thrust. She moaned as it filled spaces that’d never felt the touch of another. A hand reached up and sharply yanked her hair. She gasped, the sensations of pain and pleasure entwining in an indistinguishable strand. “SAY MY NAME” coaxed a voice from behind her. “I’M CLOSE, SAY MY NAME.” She stammered between thrusts “I have no… fucking clue… what your name is”. She shrieked and pushed her hips back involuntarily, only for the thrusting to stop cold. His hands dropped to his side.

“What?” Snorted the voice. “I’m BoJack Horseman. Don’t act like you don’t know.” Beth sighed and replied “nope. Never heard of you. He sunk back into her, but at a disjointed pace. Something was off. “Seriously?” He sputtered, unbelieving, “BoJack? Star of perennial family favourite and 90s classic comedy Horsing Around? Secretariat. Oscar nominee?” “LESS TALKING, MORE FUCKING.” She screamed. “I don’t want to think about it. This is crossing too many lines for me already.” “Fuck you” he mumbled. Beth grew furious “fuck me? Fuck YOU. FUCK ME ALREADY.” She aggressively shoved her hips right to the hilt. They both grunted in unison. “Give it to me BoJack. Give it to me like the love your parents obviously never gave you.” BoJack’s nostrils flared. He brought his hand down to her ass in a vicious arc. It stung, the sensation drove Beth wild. She pulled back to the tip then thrust into him sharply. “Again.” She howled. “Show me you hate me as much as you hate yourself.” He slapped her again. She seethed. That one would leave a mark. She drove back into her stationary hips, pulling in and out. He growled and grabbed a fistful of her hair. He pulled her face to meet hers. “Are you gonna leave me like everybody else?” he demanded, breathing ragged and shallow. She increased her pace and they both groaned. Her eyes narrowed as she stared straight back at his. “I’m already gone.” He shoved her face to the bed and buried himself all the way inside of her. The thrusting reached a fever pitch and Beth’s back arched. BoJack brayed with pleasure. Beth moaned and shuddered, feeling filthy, horny and filled to the brim with fury. She shook as the orgasm spread throughout her body, then her knees gave out and she slid to the bed feeling nothing at all. BoJack fell to her side, unconscious, but breathing.

Back in bed, Beth cradled her head in her hands. This would be one for Dr Wong. She quietly got up, got dressed and gathered her things, pain filling her body with each step. She gently opened the door and stepped out into the living room, closing it after her. She sat down in the corner next to a stack of framed photos of David Boreanaz. The familiar thrumming of an opening portal sounded to her right as Rick stepped into the room. “Sorry I’m late, Daddy had a little bender. Did you know there’s a dimension where the cheese is alcohol? I think I just became lactose intolerant. INTOLERANT OF BOOZE-FREE CHEESE THAT IS. HAHAA PSYCHE. REMEMBER THAT FROM THE 90s? PSYCHE?” She looked up at her dad and sighed. Beth no longer felt thirsty, but booze cheese sounded good right about now. “Show me, Dad. I think I could use a drink.”

Is there anything mo 90s than Space Jam Pogs?

I had Pogs as a kid, but I didn’t really know why. I think I primarily just wanted to order from Consumers Distributing. I may have been living halfway across the world, but how would a spread like this ever not be enticing? There was some kind of cheap multi pack of pogs complete with a slammer, special mat and some shiny ones.

I may have had Pogs, but I’m not gonna say that I got Pogs. Understood the ethos, anyway. Pogs didn’t make a dent in New Zealand. Ostensibly they had something to do with milk bottle tops? I had my set of ten, but nobody to battle with. I think I tried to figure out how to play solitaire. So mostly, they sat there, destiny unfulfilled. I probably threw them out, eventually. It’s weird, but even at the age of eight, I saw them as a thinly veiled marketing tool. This is saying something, I wasn’t a savvy kid. If it weren’t for my more pragmatic parents I probably would’ve been shaped into the perfect little consumer. I’d read Toyworld brochures for fun. I knew what I was getting into, but I jumped in with both feet anyway, because I wanted to know what it felt like to get a package in the mail. Shit, imagine if we’d had Amazon at that age. I would’ve never left the house.

I remember so badly wanting to get mail. My parents would get letters constantly while I stared with wide-eyed envy. “They’re all bills.” They’d say. “Trust me, when you’re my age you’re not gonna want this mail.” I didn’t care, in a way I think I just wanted to be surprised. When I mentioned how badly I wanted to get letters (it happened in movies and cartoons all the time), my mum turned it back on me. “You want to get letters, but how often do you send anyone letters?” I shook my head “no, I don’t want to send letters. I want to get them.” With the patience of an adult, she explained “but if you never send anyone letters, why would they send them back to you? If you send one of your friends a letter with a question, maybe they’ll send you a response.”

It was a light bulb moment. My bulb switched on. Dimly.

A friend was having a birthday and I saw my chance. I got a birthday card and wrote the following message:

Dear ______

Happy Birthday!

Is today Thursday?

Love Leon

Keep in mind these were pre-internet times, otherwise I’d obviously check out isitthursday.org. I gave him the card. He responded “no, today is Saturday.” I had my answer, but I was in no way satisfied. It wasn’t about the question. Over time, I’d get letters here and there. Our former Japanese au pair girls were lovely and sent the most beautiful letters. Invariably they were on cutesy cartoon themed stationary (Disney was a hot favourite), written with delicate penmanship. They became cherished possessions, tucked away in a special drawer for nice things I liked looking at (as well as many Christmas cards I never looked at again. I didn’t think I was allowed to throw away anything that had intended sentimental value. Once I learned that wasn’t true, I threw out almost everything of intended sentimental value).

I haven’t yet reached the age Mum was when she told me that bills sucked, but I’m old enough to have caught her drift. It’s rare to get anything great in the mail these days (whether E or IRL). A couple of times a year I’ll get a tax return slip that puts a smile on my face (last time I got a whole nine dollars!).

If only Consumers Distributing still existed.

Spidey must have such a rubbish time at Haunted House attractions.

It’s been years since I owned a TV. The last time I had frequent access to one was when I flatted with a bunch of friends back in New Zealand. “Frequent access” is a bit of a misnomer, because it was mostly in use already. I’m not hanging lopsided streamers for a pity party here, it was excellent. Not least of all because one flatmate had a PS3 and Wii. Aside from getting verbally abusive playing NBA Jam (2010) and mildly less abusive playing You Don’t Know Jack, access to the PS3 meant I could actually dig in and play quality games, without digging deep in my pockets to get the systems. After my flatmate virtually forced me to play Bioshock (thanks J), he also suggested I give Batman: Arkham City a try.

The game was a revelation. No mere fun romp around the high rises of Arkham, the game made you Batman. Which Batman? Whatever fucking Batman you wanted. Love gizmos? You could be guns-a-blazin’ Batman with all manner of widget stuffed batarangs and bombs in your arsenal. There were stealth components to the game and a plethora of handy nooks, crannies and outcrops for staying out of sight. Then all of a sudden you could swoop in for an unnoticed knockout. Or, if you were like me, you could stick with dickhead brawler Batman and beat the shit out of innocent thugs and louts. The combat system was fluid freeform. You could rack up lengthy combos, even incorporating your fancy whizzbangs and gadgets for more flare. The background characters had fun conversations you could spy on. There were numeros puzzles to solve throughout, unless you took the Riddler route in which case there were hundreds. The boss fights were varied and interesting. The voice acting was impeccable. Top to bottom, the game kicked ass.

Which is why I was so taken with this E3 trailer for the new PS4 Spider-Man game. It’s a near nine minute gameplay trailer that’s worth every second you spend on it. In every way that Arkham City made you Batman, this looks to do the same for Spidey. It’s packed to the brim with all his characteristic quips and webs. Of course this play-through is optimised for presentation, but it looks so goddamn smooth. It moves quickly, with a multitude of options in play style. It’s fun and clever with a bright colour palette. The action is fast and varied. There look to be beat ’em up moments, stealth kills and gadgets galore. This level at least takes into account the surrounding environment in order to aid combat and puzzle solving. There are quick time events like God of War and it flows effortlessly between cut scenes and gameplay. Spider-Man, like Batman, has a fun rogue’s gallery that’ve always been fun in past games (Ultimate Spider-Man was a splendid play through).

I don’t think this is gonna be the title, but one of these days a console game will come along that’s so compelling, I’ll have no choice but to get one. In any case, this definitely has my Spidey Sense tingling.

“Friendly” doesn’t have to imply “nice”.

I usually think I’ve got an okay grasp of people. Reading the situation and the like. Then I’ll have an interaction that’ll make me question how other people read me. Or whether the issue is with me, that I’m an odd duck myself. Mallard-justed, y’know?

I feel like people often mistake politeness for personal interest. It’s rare that I’ll be in a scenario and not feel like being genial. Just because we’re strangers, it doesn’t mean I can’t be friendly. On the other side of this, just because I’m being friendly, it doesn’t mean that I feel like we have any close connection. If my choice was to be friendly, grumpy, or neutral, why wouldn’t I prefer to enjoy a conversation more than less? Aside from times in which I’m feeling super low energy, of course. I’ll very often chat with people with no intention of taking anything further than that one time interaction. I try to delve beyond the more base level stuff because that’s not interesting to me. It happens at parties all the time. I’ll be making conversation with someone while we’re both waiting for the bathroom or they’re in the way when I want something that’s behind them (usually snacks or drinks). I’ll joke around with them purely because it’s less awkward than being rude or blunt. Why not, right? Then the next thing I know they’ve sent me a Facebook request and I have to feel bad because I don’t remember who they are when I walk past them on the TTC.

I dunno, maybe I’m still holding onto something that happened the other day. My girlfriend and I were at a friend’s comedy gig. As excited as I was to watch some comedy, I was also stoked that I’d get to eat the $10 fish and chips meal. Two guys came over and sat down. One was a dude who I’ve chatted with a bunch. Nice guy. The other was some dude who’s in a shared online community space. Friend of a friend kind of thing. I’d met the guy before, but he wasn’t the kind of person who interested me on a fundamental level. You know how you can sometimes sense it on others a few sentences into a conversation. Your brain sends you this reading of oh, this fellow isn’t on my wavelength whatsoever. It doesn’t make them a bad person by any means, just not compatible with you. Maybe it was his brand of confidence or something. The way he seemed to say things matter-of-factly rather than implying that they were his opinions. I found myself uninterested in not only what he was saying, but how he was saying almost everything he said (to note, I would never contradict anyone who held these same opinions of me. I just so happen to be in agreement with the way that I think). I wanted at that moment to be elsewhere, or rather for him to be elsewhere. But we were watching a comedy show and I didn’t want to leave that. So I stuck around.

The gig finished. My girlfriend and I were tired and ready to hit the sack. We stood up and said our goodbyes to friends, passed around hugs. As we were leaving the guy said it was nice to meet us. We did the typical “cheers, goodnight” kind of thing. He said he’d add us on Facebook. We nodded, said goodnight and headed for the door (also my girlfriend is her own autonomous being. We’re not The Borg or anything. She happened to be doing the same stuff). He called out “wait!” and we turned around. He had his phone outstretched, open on Facebook. He passed it to my girlfriend with the search bar highlighted. “Add yourselves” he said. I tried to think of what to do or say to extricate myself from this situation. I didn’t want to be rude, but neither did I want to have this dude in my social sphere. If I had self respect for boundaries in that moment I probably could’ve said “no thanks” and when pressed for an answer respond with “I don’t feel that kind of connection with you” or something of the like. Why did he think that I would? What about my conversation indicated that I had any interest in him as a person, rather than being trapped in a social space? Who would be that presumptuous? What remote commonalities did he see between us? I couldn’t understand what was happening in that moment and my brain shorted a little. So while I could’ve refused and given an entirely justifiable response, I didn’t. I took the phone he handed to me and added myself.

Then as soon as we left the bar, took out my phone and deleted his friend request.

More like nostaljerk.

Why is familiarity so comforting? I’ve been on a nostalgia kick lately (primarily because I’ve deep dived back into the Laser Time archive for my workplace listening enjoyment) and it’s been delightfully tickling my brain. I listened back to the early 90s “Mortal Kombat: The Album” (you’ll surprise yourself by remembering the absurd hit “Techno Syndrome“. The rest of the album is, if possible, even more cheesy. It features songs about the various characters (or in Sonya Blade’s case, a ballad she apparently sings about herself? And she’s been outfitted with a British accent?). The best part is how token most of the lyrics are. The Immortals were never given comprehensive background information about each character, so they had to write about what they know from playing the game. The result is a bunch of songs about assorted special moves each character uses, or in the case of Sub Zero…

“Whoah, Chinese ninja warrior
With your heart so cold sub zero
Whoah, your life is a mystery
Why you wear the mask? Sub zero”

Also a blatant rip off of Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations”, but instead with the dubious line “Freezing Vibrations” (which makes no fucking sense, but I’ll go with it). AllMusic gives it a grand two star rating. It’s a festering piece of shit. Stock 90s techno coupled with the aforementioned flaccid lyrics. It should be a pain to endure, but instead it’s so fucking bonkers that it comes 180° to being a blast to hear. It’s not even a guilty pleasure for me and the only downside is that “Mortal Kombat: The Album” isn’t on Spotify, making me realise what a colossal waste my $9.99 each month is. If I can’t groove out to dancefloor suicide, what am I paying for?

It’s not new to me how much I adore nostalgia, but what is a recent revelation is how much I want the sensation without doing the work. Anime is a great example. I think so fondly of my years spent watching anime. I’d lounge around with friends into the early hours of the weekend and try to marathon an entire show. So many goddamn series. Casting my mind back to those days warms my heart, but whenever I think about getting back into anime, I realise how little I actually want to watch it. I’m way more critical than I was and getting into a new 24 episode series is a hard sell. I don’t have the time I once did. Much like video games, theory wins out over practice 80% of the time. Even knowing that, I still yearn for the underlying emotions they brought. The excitement of experiencing a whole new fictional world. Or in games, of facing and overcoming challenges coming my way.

Both industries were way smaller back then and I honestly think that was a large part of the attraction. Back in high school, anime and video games were super niche interests. We were the nerds and belonging to rare fandoms made it feel like we were venturing into unknown territory. We’d talk about them constantly, but they seemed like conversation topics only for our little group. When we found anyone else with similar interests, sharing those interests was a revelation, like we were sharing a central part of ourselves. We felt special somehow, because we were different. It may have been an illusion, but we clung to it tenaciously. These days fandom is all too easy to find. Hyperconnectivity means that others like you are only a few clicks away. Neither video games nor anime are particularly esoteric these days, they’ve expanded into normalcy. As dumb as it is, inside me there’s the sense that the experience is now cheapened. There’s nothing unique about them and with that gone, this remote concept of being special has dissipated. What’s more, the plots and character progression don’t feel like they’d live up to other available content. There are way too many clever shows to watch now, so why would I spend time on anything flimsy?

Wait, so I think I’m too cool for school now? That gives me freezing vibrations all over.

But it’s not like they made a black Care Bear. The panda doesn’t count.

The weather’s getting warmer, finally. I’ve been taking advantage of it by going for lunchtime jogs when I can. I work on the waterfront and there’s a bike path I can use the whole way. It’s great to get out into the fresh air, no doubt. Finding the motivation to leave my seat at work isn’t always easy, but I feel better (and monstrously hungry) once I’m done. So if anything, it’s having the foresight to appreciate potential satisfaction in hindsight. My main gripe really is sort of silly, so I’ll explain.

You know that bus driver wave? Two bus drivers going in opposite directions will nine times out of ten give a little head nod or wave just to say I see you. It’s neat, it instils a sense of camaraderie. It’s like saying hey, we both know this isn’t the best, but every cloud, eh? As someone who rides in buses all the time, it’s by far my favourite thing about the experience (aside from when that bus driver told me to organise my life because I handed him a $20 note. I was 12. “We’re not a bank for you kids” he went on. Tosspot). If I was a bus driver it’d brighten my day tenfold. But I’m not, so I don’t get to do the wave.

I’ve tried to bring it in on my runs, because I think it’s important. When I’m jogging near my home I do the little customary nod or wave and most of the time the person nods back. Yep, I’m struggling too I hear them think. Because empathy is basically telepathy. I see how they’re pushing themselves and it emboldens me to keep pushing. One foot in front of the other. Life goes on, and it’s only gonna make me strong. Can’t fight the moonlight (my motivational inner monologue is LeAnn Rimes, obviously). It’s also delightful.

When I run on the waterfront though, it doesn’t happen. People avoid eye contact at all costs. It’s a bummer. Is it me? What have I been doing wrong that they won’t meet my eyes? Do I carry a wafting stench? Is my aroma so arresting that it’s easier to look away than consider a human could smell that sweaty? Is my musk offensive? Or is it the way I dress? All black worked for Johnny cash and New Zealand’s national rugby team, but I have neither the cultural capital nor charisma to pull it off in the same manner. I may not be decked out in head to toe Lululemon, but I can still go the distance. Okay, so I may be wearing golf pants, but they’re from the Canadian Olympic team. Doesn’t that make them authentic enough to count? Are they turned off by my knee brace? Damaged goods too much for them to conceive of as a legit contender? I fought hard to tear my PCL (though admittedly that wasn’t the goal). Now I’m nothing but rotting flesh in motion? The fucking audacity of these monstrous perfectionists.

Or I guess they could just be focusing on their own shit. That makes sense too. I just want to make friends wherever I go, like a care bear in human form. Is that too much to ask?