Monday, January 2, 2012

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Read No Evil

I've decided to dial down the excerpt and writing updates to a Tues/Thurs/Sat schedule, so as not to inundate all 22.769 of you loyal readers out there with undue out-of-context clips and relatively meaningless figures. I will, however, leave this here.

What I'm Reading: The Panama Laugh by Thomas S. Roche. The inaugural book on my as-of-yet-unnamed Christmas present Kindle, it was recommended by my girlfriend who evidently knows my tastes much better than I do. I'm unfortunately a sucker for snarky, irreverent first person narration, from morally ambiguous blunt instrument characters especially, so Laugh feels almost tailor-made. A flavorful apocalypse-in-progress-by-genetically-engineered-zombies yarn, Laugh is gory, mean-spirited and populated with tons of juicy details. A definite thumbs up and exactly the sorta thing that gets my writerly motor a-runnin'.

What I'm Listening To: MC Frontalot. I've unfairly avoided nerdcore and its associated mileu (JoCo in particular) for various negative personal associations, so I'm clearly coming so late to this party that the original hosts have moved out and an irate Korean couple is now sub-letting the apartment in question. That being said, I'm skeptically enjoying him. Rap has always, in my opinion, been something of a wasted art form, where true, honest-to-moons wordplay could be achieved, but rather is spent belaboring female dogs and farming implements (get it?). Turns out, I simply wasn't aware focused, specific wordplay was happening right under my very nose, as exemplified from the small sampling of Frontalot I've thus far heard and, trust me, I intend to keep listening.

What I'm Watching: Samurai Champloo. Like every other swingin' dick, I'm a diehard Bebop fan and I'd previously sampled a little Champloo and found it diverting enough, but ultimately unsatisfying. As it returned to Netflix streaming, I thought I'd give it another a toss. I'm seven episodes in and, call me a blasphemer, but I think it might be better than Bebop.

I know.

To provide context, I don't even have much of palate for feudal Japan as a backdrop. I'm not necessarily biased against it on general principles but, in my experience, the territory is a little overtrod for true originality. Same with Westerns. (Though, in both cases, Champloo's turned me around on that somewhat.) Champloo,  to be blunt, is just cleaner. The characters (with the notable exception of Fuu) are broader, simpler, have more interesting interactions with the setting. The mood is stricter, more logical and the world is more immersive. In contrast, Bebop, with its space opera/western/noir/jazz influence can often become too many genre-ingredients, too overwhelming, weird one-off episodes of clownish assassins notwithstanding. Bebop holds a special place in my heart, obviously, and always will, but in a head-to-head showdown, I honestly think Champloo is objectively the better program. So far. Maybe that'll change.

That's my take, anyway.


  1. Now I'm trying to figure out whether I like Bebop or Cahmploo better and I think I'd just have to go episode by episode to make a meaningful decision.