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29May2014 1815: Future Pluperfect

Let's all take a quick moment to contemplate the future, which is approaching at 25 miles an hour. If I could take a nap while being driven to the Cities at exactly the speed limit, I would. You would too, a blanket statement I can make based on how many commuters I see on their damn phones during my morning commute. A mode of locomotion that navigates itself with minimal human input at acceptable speeds! It's only taken 120 years, but we've finally re-invented a horse.

Whoa man, did I really not talk about Godzilla last week? It's another re-invention, this time of the original Gozilla from 1954. Rather than targeting Japan as a metaphor for the atomic bomb, this Godzilla ignores everything about mankind as a metaphor for...uh. Global warming, I guess? Godzilla just does not give two damns about humans. He shows up, whups a couple other monsters, takes a nap, and then is all "Peace out, California". The more I think about the ending, the more I like it.

I won't even try to defend the non-Godzilla characters in the film. They are paper-thin caricatures of human interaction that vomit clichés and take up valuable screen time that could be spent on Optimus Prime Godzilla. There's some A- and B-level talent in this film, but director Gareth Edwards wastes all of it. He only has two features to his name and both of them rely on underwritten human drama and half-baked dialogue from vacant pretty people framed against a green-screen backdrop of giant monsters. Then near the end two of the monsters have sex. He hasn't proven he can direct humans, he hasn't proven to have a strong grasp of plot. He's just good at putting CG characters in realistic situations and physical characters in unrealistic ones. What I'm saying is that he has a real shot at being the next George Lucas.

Also, Days of Future Past is a large portion of an excellent four-hour movie. In the editing room they cut out all the backstory for our villain(s) and kept all the action beats. The only remnant of this mythical four-hour tearjerker is Peter Dinklage's inexplicable soliloquy about human-mutant relations that is never backed up by his actions or elaborated upon in any other scene. The action that remains is fantastic, mutants using their powers to the limit in creative combinations, but the talking feels disjoint and overlong. Everybody is swept aside in favor of Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy playing off their natural chemistry.

Aw yeah, let's do a little trip-hopping with [Caught a Ghost - Time Go]. The Primitive Radio Gods decided to turn Braid into a rap album and I found myself head-bobbing.

[Nostalghia - You + I] is pretty much a pitch-shifted CocoRosie with some unidentified accent and no I'm not looking it up.

[Big Scary - Twin Rivers] brings yet more tiny pianos and is destined to be on my playlist forever. Yet another girl-guy duo like The Weepies and The Submarines and Mates of State and Moldy Peaches and I should probably have an mp3 tag for all of these. But this time there's a breakbeat! So it's totally different.

21May2014 1900: Cosplay

I'm still creeping my way across the blasted surface of Dark Souls 2, but something must have clicked in my head because I went a whole two hours this weekend without dying. I managed to clear an entire pirate cove of zombies and spider grotesques without succumbing to traps or tricks. All to reach the end of the path -- a bell, complete with a rope for ringing -- and run away in fear. "Hell no", said I, "this inanimate object is definitely a deathtrap."

Conspicuously...oh man, that word just does not look right. Suspiciously missing from my experience is the invasion. Not a single Internet asshole has come into my game to end my life. My plan of staying behind the curve is paying off in this case, as I imagine all the players who want to murder me are beyond the end of the game by now. I'm safe from incursion as long as I continue to underperform! My only regret is that I'll never get to play hilarious PvP mind games.

Google has been data-mining my blog to construct the ultimate, unstoppable, Monty-destroying song. The end result of this dark science is [Rayven Justice - Slide Thru (Remix) (feat. Migos)]. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. I shall enumerate:

In comparison, a rock song that begins with a pterodactyl getting its tail caught in a door is a breath of fresh of air. [Deleted Scenes - Stutter] reminds me of why I don't like Frank Zappa, the completely lawless meter and tune supported by random sound bites. At least this one doesn't feel like it's been hunting me. It wasn't constructed solely of malice and shit into the Intertubes to crush my ears and hopes. I expect to hear Rayven Justice scratching at my windowpane in the middle of the night.

You know what this week needs? A nice cliché R&B song to bring down my blood pressure. [Ava Luna - PRPL] is that song. They're not trying to move your booty or break down barriers, they just want to croon a groove atcha. Thanks Ava, I needed that. Now leave my playlist forever.

14May2014 1900: Prehistory

Today in Monty's Behind the Curve, I finally added Dinosaur Comics to my rotation. I knew of the comic before; it's essentially prehistoric itself, a webcomic that started way back in 2003 and has run just about every weekday since. It's probably the most writerly comic that it is possible to have. While it does technically contain images, as far as I know the images have never changed. It is all about the text, Ryan North somehow fitting several gags into the same panels for eleven years. If I had known this was allowed I would never have started arting my comics.

In news that is decidedly on the curve, Marvel Agents of SHIELD finished its more-bad-than-good first season last night. The first two-thirds of the show was nigh unwatchable, but ever since the Captain America movie came out they kicked it into overdrive. It finally started to fulfill the promise of a low budget alternative to Marvel movies. Last night felt like it did more teasing for next year than wrapping up of this year, and Sam Jackson was wasted on some of the worst Sam Jackson quips in history. I guess if you're going to be more bad than good you might as well leave all the good for the end. The true mark of a Whedon show!

[Christon Gray feat. Swoope - Vanish] is a smoove jam with some "feat" going on. U wanna run away, gurl?

[Chrome Sparks - Goddess] build a soundscape of annoying buzzing and glitch sounds for almost two minutes, and then just when you think it's about to kick into high gear it merely slips into a louder gear. This is what the early 80s thought spacetravel sounded like.

What comes to mind when I say the word "tweens"? [Tweens - Be Mean] is yet more of the underproduced garage punk Google is convinced we want. Call me when punk cycles back around to mid-90s levels of legibility. You know what? Just leave me out of it until ska comes back.

[Heartsrevolution - Ride or Die] is not affiliated with Skate or Die or Read or Die. I don't know that early early punk had a pop-punk analogue -- The Runaways? -- but this is halfway between Tweens' grubby aesthetic and The Ting Tings' repetition and asinine rhymes.

07May2014 2000: The Nut of Suffering

Following on from my earlier gluten-free appreciation: I do so love me a cashew. I know full well the human toll of harvesting and handling the toxic nut when raw, but it's rare to eat raw food in the first place. Even apples and spinach come separated and in plastic bags. North Dakota is not exactly a hotbed of fresh produce. Anyway, Sriracha Cashews are everything I dreamed they would be. Flavooooor! Delivered right to my door because the Internet cares for us and wants us to be happy.

I've been creeping through Dark Souls 2 as quickly as my nerves will allow. Until Monday, that was quite slowly indeed. I had heard DS2 was easier than DS1, but in my experience I was getting absolutely wrecked by even the lowliest zombie. Every time I got hit I was stunlocked and vulnerable to several more attacks, dazed in a manner that didn't exist in DS1. Then I noticed that when I got hit, my controller seemed to flash a bit. Then I noticed that each hit was accompanied with a faint "BAdum" sound...followed in a few seconds by a "baDUM". Dark Souls 2 was hitting my character so hard my controller would disconnect. Dark Souls 2 found a way to not only damage my character but to reach out into my computer's hardware and punch my life. This is a known issue, and by "known issue" I mean undocumented feature of the series.

Ballet-violin-dubstep entrepreneur [Lindsey Stirling - Beyond the Veil] is yet more violin-dubstep. I thank Cthulhu every day that the Internet exists, affording me opportunities to hyphenate things like "ballet-violin-dubstep," but I've gone on record as not liking instrumentals and dubstep in isolation. Combining them, and then experiencing them in mp3 format divorced from Lindsey's usual wild gyrations, is not how I want to spend my ear time.

I still remember the Christmas I got two Rat King TMNT figures as a great Christmas, so [RATKING feat. King Krule - So Sick Stories] has big shoes to fill. He attempts to fill them with a "feat" and rap. I pity any rap that shows up in the next months, as they will inevitably be compared (poorly) to my summer jam. There's a decent smooth jam under here; if he was rapping about Shredder and Krang I would be into this. "Zoning in the 'drome 'n' Oroku's got that kush/Brain's in my guts 'cause my body's getting loose." Just spitballing here.

[Todd Terje - Delorean Dynamite] is yet another instrumental. This is an uptempo synth dance tune like you'd find under the opening credits of a direct-to-VHS 80s action flick. I can't recall any opening credits that were six minutes and forty-five goddamn seconds long. The song actually ends a minute ahead of time; Todd spends the remainder noodling around on the keyboard and thinking about what he'll have for dinner.

The closest thing to a keeper this week is [Protomartyr - Come & See]. It must be difficult to be unaffectedly discordant in a monotone, but this guy pulls it off.