Emergency Protocol

Taxicab Confessions was one of those “awakening” moments for me as a young teen. Through those covertly mounted lipstick cameras I saw and learned things that I was not necessarily seeking out, and I was forever changed. The series filmed from the time I was in high school up until the early 2000’s. I’ve watched a few of the latter episodes since I’ve had the free HBO (acquired in anticipation of Game Of Thrones), and only now do I realize the answer to 14 year old me’s question, “Why are these people acting like this?!” was always, “Oh, they’re on drugs.” The over sharing, the lack of inhibitions, the… having sex in a dirty ass cab. Yeah. Drugs. I guess when I was 14 I thought only hardened criminals did drugs. There was this one episode where this couple get in the cab (I believe this was a Las Vegas episode) and the man played with his new magic light up thumbs (a trick illusion he had just purchased at a magic shop) while his lady friend took her boobs out and mashed them all over the place. He was transfixed on his thumbs and she was… well, mashing her boobs all over the place. If you don’t want young kids to experiment with drugs, don’t try to scare them straight. Just show them the video of the coked out wanna-be magician and his free spirited companion. That shit freaked me out.

COMMENTERS: TWO QUESTIONS!  1) Was there anything (a joke in a movie, a tv show premise) that just didn’t register with your younger self? I didn’t know the premise of Three’s Company, despite having seen every single episode when it originally aired, until I was in my twenties. 2) Did you have any movies/shows/albums/website (for you young-uns) that taught you about something in the world that you just weren’t ready to know?

A House Is Not A Home Box Office

Nearly everything Joel says in this comic is true, in so much as I got HBO for free (so I could watch Game Of Thrones) a few days ago and I’ve since gone on a “watching things that are bad for me” spree.

Here are some incredibly short reviews of the movies I have subjected myself to via HBO this week:

Battleship: 45 minutes into Battleship, the movie has just barely started. Everything before that is unnecessary exposition. Everything after that is unnecessary explosion. Liam “John Taken” Neeson is in it for maybe 90 seconds. This comic was 100% accurate.

The Matrix Sequels: There are levels on which I can enjoy some parts of The Matrix: Reloaded. The end.

Alien Resurrection: The first 30 minutes of this movie are like the lost original pilot to Firefly. The reasons for this are numerous and obvious. Despite that, the very first time Dan Hedaya (General Perez) opens his mouth you know that something is terribly wrong. He plays like the evil real estate tycoon in a made-for-TV Goonies sequel that never happened who’s trying to shut down the kids’ rec center because it was built on top of a vault full of pirate treasure. In this fictional film the asian kid has been replaced by a robot. The robot was built by the asian kid and only speaks in catch phrases. Oh yeah. Alien Resurrection. After whatever I just said happens, then everything else that happens is terrible.

I really shouldn’t be left alone with HBO.

Regarding Girls, it’s actually one of my favorite new(ish) shows. I stand by my generalization in panel 3 above, but it’s fantastically written and acted by an extremely talented group of New York hipsters. Essentially every single character is a deplorable piece of garbage, but… in a good way. Or at least in an interesting way. I feel like in real life people have maybe one person in their lives who’s as self centered and myopic as every single character on Girls. Any more an life would be entirely unbearable. In a Girlsiverse scenario, where everyone you know is as horrible as you are, everyone would immediately enter into a murder/suicide pact and the show would only last about 4 minutes. Does that sound like a resoundingly positive recommendation? Well, it is. Watch it. Good stuff.

COMMENTERS: Has a new service (TV, Internet, magazine, mail order or otherwise) ever taken you down a long, deep, dark rabbit hole of time wasting? 

The Ruse

I just find it highly suspicious that two years running AT&T has offered free HBO exactly when Game Of Thrones starts for exactly as long as Game Of Thrones runs. It’s like they want me to… watch their channel and… enjoy it. Enjoy it so much that I decide to keep paying $16 a month to watch it AFTER the free preview is over. Those magnificent bastards. They nearly had the perfect plan. Of course they weren’t expecting to go up against my vastly superior intellect and unparalleled tightwadedness. Oh man, is my wad ever tight. I sure hope Veep season two runs during those three months. Pirating shows is just too hard these days.

COMMETNERS: What’s the best deal/worst deal you’ve ever gotten out of a “free preview/ no interest/ quadruple coupon” situation? Ever been given the world in order to keep you from canceling a service? Ever gotten the “Don’t let the ETF hit you in the ass on the way out!” routine?

John Carter Of Veronica Mars

I’ve been meaning to watch Veronica Mars for several years, but I’ve never actually gotten around to it. I guess I should get on that.

I’m always happy when someone finds a way to circumvent the established systems that are in place for keeping people from getting their creativity out to the people that would appreciate it. Garageband, iTunes, YouTube, Kickstarter and a host of other softwares and services (including the Internet in general) that mostly didn’t exist a decade ago exist, in part, to shake up the status quo of the creative industrial complex and break down the barriers between content creators and their fans. They also exist to make large amounts of money for their owners and shareholders.

See, that’s the thing. The systems by which creative people are given license and funds to create a thing and distribute it to their audience aren’t changing all that much. It’s just that we’re slowly removing redundancies, levels of arbitrary approvals, and decreasing the number of obsolete middlemen in order to take a 50 step process down to a 5 step one. I want to make this. Do you want it? Ok, give me money and I’ll do it and then you can have it. Here, I made it like I said I would. Thanks. That’s pretty much how it’s always been, accept now those are the ONLY steps (in most cases), instead of just the major milestones between dozens of other, smaller ones. That isn’t to say creating a thing like a show or a book or an album doesn’t require hundreds of steps, and hours and often times people. It’s just that there are fewer INDIVIDUALS that can tell you, “No. Stop this,” and you’d actually have to stop.

 The Veronica Mars Kickstarter (which funded on its first day and is currently hovering over $3 million) is a different beast than your typical crowd funded project. Instead of a person or team with an idea to make a thing, and all they need is money and time, this is a studio owned property that’s jammed up sideways with the typical Hollywood bullshit red tape. Rob Thomas doesn’t own his show, which means some WB exec said, “We’re not going to give you $2 million to make a movie for a cancelled show that no one cares about. Come at me with a pitch for an adapted fairy tale but with hot teens and we’ll talk business. Now it’s TIME FOR COCAINE!” And Rob Thomas said, “A) I do not front Matchbox 20. That is a DIFFERENT dude. And B) How about I get the Internet to give you $2 milly? Then can we do our movie?” And that exec probably replied, “SURE WHATEVER IS IT HOT IN HERE TO YOU IT’S PRETTY HOT TO ME I DON’T THINK IT WAS THIS HOT BEFORE I DID ALL THIS COOOOCAAAAAAAAAIIIIINNNNNNNNNE!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! AAAAAAAAAAGHGHGHGLGLGLGLG!!!!!”

I honestly forgot what I was writing about during that last part, so I’ll wrap up by saying that this is the first step in a BIG BIG change in how very expensive projects get made or whether they get made at all. There will certainly be some (probably A LOT) of people that take this idea and try to replicate its success in extremely dumb ways, but there will probably also be quite a few worthy projects that get off the ground because of it. I don’t think we’ll get a Serenity 2: Zombie Wash In Space from Kickstarter any time soon, but I bet we get a few more proper finales to some unduly truncated TV shows. It’s a BIG baby step in the right direction.

COMMENTERS: First off, are you psyched for this Veronica Mars movie? Did you love the show or overlook it as “Buffy without monsters” like I did? Second thing: What property do you think would best benefit from a Kickstarter resurrection? A cancelled show, a long rumored and eventually shelved movie project? A video game sequel that never happened?

Dead Leaves On The Dirty Wind

[STORE UPDATE 02/04/13] Thanks to the diligence of the Blind Ferret team, the HijiNKS Ensue Store is un-hacked, re-upped and back-backed! I’ve lost over a 1/4 of my merch revenue for the month (and Jan/Feb are already slow months) so let’s all go celebrate by BUYING SOMETHING!!!

My temporary PRINT SHOP with my BRAND NEW “TESLA UNCOILED” print and many of my most popular large prints is still up and running and probably will be until I return from JoCo Cruise Crazy 3. Get on that mess while you can!

COMMENTERS: Should the Firefly/Serenity ‘Verse continue, do you want them to find a way to resurrect Wash? If so, how? Long lost twin? Rapidly aged clone? Android haunted by the ghost Agent Coulson? I really hope it isn’t done with a Prequel since we wouldn’t see everything that changed in the ‘Verse post-Serenity.


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