Monday, September 30, 2013

Songbook: Sycamore Tree



Angelo Badalamenti & Jimmy Scott - Sycamore Trees (1992) [Original Post (Day 91)]

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 09/29

#1 Randy Orton [--] (51-20-6)
The cliché of slightly pointless multi-man tag matches has reached a level even Teddy Long would have to blush at. I didn't imagine the 11-on-3 handicap match would be revisited, let alone followed through upon, but I suppose it's the penance The Shield must pay. While Bryan Danielson occupies himself with this long running, soft hitting feud -- Randy Orton remains at arms length. The Miz' occupation as Orton's B-feud chills me to the bone for being at such close proximity to the WWE Championship, but I'm comforted by the fact he's here to be destroyed, and will hopefully never again sully the record of the once prestigious belt.

#2 [--] Bryan Danielson (46-24-2)
#3 [--] Alberto Del Rio (45-15-5) [World Champion]
#4 [--] Sheamus (36-14-2)
#5 [--] Roman Reigns (28-11-3) [Tag Team Champion]
#6 [--] Seth Rollins (28-15-2) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [+1] Dean Ambrose (27-19-2) [United States Champion]
#8 [-1] Kane (27-21-0)
#9 [--] The Miz (26-12-2)
#10 [--] Ryback (25-16-1)

#1 [--] Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (27-10-2) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns (21-9-1)
#3 [--] Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (21-9-1)
#4 [--] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (20-13-1)
#5 [--] Kane & Bryan Danielson (14-9-0)
#6 [--] Sheamus & Randy Orton (11-3-0)
#7 [--] Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea Tensai (9-11-1)
#8 [+1] Naomi & Cameron (7-3-0)
#9 [-1] Titus O'Neil & Darren Young (7-17-0)
#10 [--] Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (6-0-0)

Superstar Spotlight:
#12 Dolph Ziggler (23-33-2)
These days it's a given that when there's a glimmer of hope in WWE, there's an equally dark shadow cast elsewhere on the card. None is more engulfed by obscuring darkness than former World Heavyweight Champion: Dolph Ziggler.

It's almost unfathomable to think Ziggler was a World Champion as recently as June. Alberto Del Rio may not be setting the world on fire with his time killing nostalgia feuds [Christian, Rob Van Dam] -- but I'll gladly recognize his weight as a legitimate contender. Ziggler -- now competing for the United States Championship -- seems to have lost any of that top tier lustre he briefly had on the back of a babyface concussion and face turn.

Ziggler seems at home competing for the US title. I don't for a second believe he's there to win the belt, but the second tier title feels awfully like the position he really belongs in. A pet favourite for a certain type of fan -- I don't think he's ever been completely convincing a "future of the industry" that will ever eventuate. His workrate is genuine, but his presence in-ring is fundamentally lacking something more than his unwillingness to engage in hardcore chain wrestling. Something is missing and I'm not sure it's something Ziggler can acquire -- even if that's more about the product around him than his own willingness to develop. I suppose time will tell.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records. Tallied results only include matches broadcast during WWE 2013 programming. At present, this includes RAW (Mondays), Main Event (Wednesdays), Smackdown (Friday), and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Songbook: Let it Beast



The Beastles - Let it Beast (2004) [Original Post (Day 90)]

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Songbook: Holy Grail



Hunters & Collectors - Holy Grail (1993) [Original Post (Day 89)]

Friday, September 27, 2013

Songbook: Stalking to a Stranger



The Avalanches - Stalking to a Stranger (Planets Collide Remix) (2013) [Original Post (Day 88)]

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Songbook: When the River Runs Dry



Hunters and Collectors - When the River Runs Dry (1989) [Original Post (Day 87)]

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Songbook: Walking on the Moon



The Police - Walking on the Moon (1979) [Original Post (Day 85)]

Monday, September 23, 2013

Songbook: Man Overboard



Do Re Mi - Man Overboard (1985) [Original Post (Day 84)]

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Songbook: The Mercy Seat



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Mercy Seat (1988) [Original Post (Day 83)]

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 09/22

#1 Randy Orton [--] (50-19-5)
The Miz interjects himself into Randy Orton's path as what's best for business becomes a question the shows aren't able to demonstrate. Anything resembling The Miz' return to WWE Championship stakes for sends a shiver up my spine, but if Orton's favoured status is all about relegating him, it'll be worth it. It's an unenviable task as Bryan Danielson resumes his on again/off again battles with The Shield: defeating Roman Reigns in solo action (RAW; 8/16) and the trio on Smackdown (8/20).

#2 [--] Bryan Danielson (45-24-2)
#3 [--] Alberto Del Rio (43-15-5) [World Champion]
#4 [--] Sheamus (36-14-2)
#5 [--] Roman Reigns (27-10-3) [Tag Team Champion]
#6 [--] Seth Rollins (27-14-2) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [--] Kane (27-21-0)
#8 [--] Dean Ambrose (26-18-1) [United States Champion]
#9 [--] The Miz (25-11-2)
#10 [--] Ryback (25-16-1)

#1 [--] Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (26-9-2) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns (20-8-1)
#3 [--] Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (20-8-1)
#4 [--] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (19-13-1)
#5 [--] Kane & Bryan Danielson (14-9-0)
#6 [--] Sheamus & Randy Orton (11-3-0)
#7 [--] Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea Tensai (9-11-1)
#8 [--] Titus O'Neil & Darren Young (7-15-0)
#9 [--] Naomi & Cameron (6-3-0)
#10 [new] Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (5-0-0)

Superstar Spotlight:
#17 Big Show (18-17-1)
Well, we've been here before... During odd months he's the "world's largest athlete" and wielder of the right hand of doom. On Monday nights in September 2013: The Big Show is the gentle giant with a heart of gold, a fist of steel, and eyes filled with tears.

Big Show has been a passive participant in the reign of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and their "best for business" model. He's decked friends and legends -- all in the name of keeping the job he so desperately needs. There are complimentary shades of his original arrival in WWF in 1999. Back then, the long haired Giant was acting as enforcer for Vince McMahon -- his ultimate recruit into the composite Corporate stable. At Wrestlemania XV, it all boiled over, ending with Big Show arrested for knocking the owner of the WWF out in the middle of his ring. A bold high that started Big Show's inconsistent run through the next decade-plus.

In keeping with the notion that Triple H is assembling a new version of The Corporation [8/25/2013]; I like the idea that Big Show would provide the muscle he [or Kane] supplied in 1999. The more a new Corporation can reference the original -- the better, in my eyes. I like the way The Shield echo the flak jacketed Big Bossman and I'd love to see more. I just wish we could get there without having to sit through rote segments of Big Show crying. Something that feels all too familiar to the past few years. More distant instances may be forgotten, but the crying Big Show who steamrolled AJ Lee while feuding with World Heavyweight Champion Bryan Danielson is still fresh in mind.

Most theories anticipate another turn for Big Show. A devastating right hand delivered to Triple H, The Shield, or Randy Orton. All of that makes sense and could be satisfying. What ever the conclusion, I just want to see the tears stop. Storylines and characters are something WWE has lacked in recent memory, but these constantly come at the cost of character credibility, competitive drive, and entertaining television. This cannot continue. Lets go.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records. Tallied results only include matches broadcast during WWE 2013 programming. At present, this includes RAW (Mondays), Main Event (Wednesdays), Smackdown (Friday), and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Songbook: Talking to a Stranger



Hunters and Collectors - Talking to a Stranger (1982) [Original Post (Day 82)]

Friday, September 20, 2013

Songbook: O Superman



Laurie Anderson - O Superman (1981) [Original Post (Day 81)]

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Songbook: Don't Stop



ATB - Don't Stop (1999) [Original Post (Day 80)]

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Songbook: Strangelove Addiction



Supreme Beings of Leisure - Strangelove Addiction (2000) [Original Post (Day 79)]

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Songbook: Escape From New York



John Carpenter - Escape From New York Main Title (1981) [Original Post (Day 78)]

Monday, September 16, 2013

Songbook: Frozen



Madonna - Frozen (1998) [Original Post (Day 77)]

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Songbook: Mysterious Times



Sash! feat. Tina Cousins - Mysterious Times (1998) [Original Post (Day 76)]

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 09/15

#1 Randy Orton [--] (50-19-4)
All signs pointed toward a hard earned chase for fan-favourite contender Bryan Danielson, but Night of Champions will go down in history as the night the underdog made good in less than one month: Or will it?...

Having missed much of the show, I'm forced to rely on testimony that says the celebratory finish will lend itself to a reversed decision come this Monday's RAW. It makes perfect sense that corporate champion Randy Orton would stay one step ahead of Danielson this early in their conflict, but I can't say I'm a fan of this particular brand of underhanded tactic. To my mind, it is too encompassing a circumvention of the rules that are the foundation of the contest. The best heels are those that work somewhat within the rules -- to subvert, bend, or deceive them. If a master villain is free to simply undo every hero's triumph, it threatens to diminish the credibility of any future contest.

Returning to the unique heel legacy of Triple H and how it colours his role as C.O.O. [08/25/2013]; the reversed decision does have interesting, special significance. In his guest appearance, Edge recalled some of the much publicized talent biases that earned Triple H the ire of fans in his former life. If he does steal the win from Danielson, it will inevitably conjure images of similar outcomes waged against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit in their ill fated campaigns against a domineering Champion Triple H [circa 2000]. I don't expect WWE has the wherewithal to make a meal of these kinds of details, but they add something to the tapestry, in any event.

A World Heavyweight Championship DQ keeps Alberto Del Rio from stealing Danielson's moment in the Countdown. With Sheamus still out of action, they're unlikely to have a lot of competition for the Top 3 ranks. It'll be interesting to see if Orton keeps his busy schedule. He's the first wrestler to hit fifty wins for the year -- maintaining a huge gap.

#2 [--] Bryan Danielson (43-24-1) [WWE Champion]
#3 [--] Alberto Del Rio (42-15-5) [World Champion]
#4 [--] Sheamus (36-14-2)
#5 [+1] Roman Reigns (27-8-2) [Tag Team Champion]
#6 [+1] Seth Rollins (27-13-1) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [-2] Kane (27-21-0)
#8 [--] Dean Ambrose (26-16-0) [United States Champion]
#9 [+1] The Miz (25-11-1)
#10 [-1] Ryback (24-16-1)

#1 [--] Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (26-8-1) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns (20-7-0)
#3 [--] Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (20-7-0)
#4 [--] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (17-13-1)
#5 [--] Kane & Bryan Danielson (14-9-0)
#6 [--] Sheamus & Randy Orton (11-3-0)
#7 [--] Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea Tensai (9-10-1)
#8 [--] Titus O'Neil & Darren Young (7-15-0)
#9 [--] Naomi & Cameron (5-3-0)
#10 [--] Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (5-11-1)

Superstar Spotlight:
#71 Goldust (0-2-0)
Of all the ways to keep Cody Rhodes relevant during his last minute hiatus [for a legit honeymoon] -- the return of elder brother Dustin (RAW; 9/9) was not one I expected to see!

Goldust was treated to a respectable encounter with WWE Champion Randy Orton in a surprisingly substantial upgrade from his customary Royal Rumble cameos. It wasn't quite a catch as catch can clinic, or a study in ring psychology, but it got the job done. What really stood out was the lithe mobility of Rhodes: who has become one of the many aging talents clearly benefitting from DDP Yoga. It was the kind of performance that inspired a glint of hope for one more triumphant return to competition at the top level.

Obscured by the gold paint of the character he was drafted to play: the wresting pedigree inherent in the Rhodes DNA has rarely been tapped to any convincing ends by WWE. In hyping his return: they showed they are capable of making more of the Rhodes dynasty on those rare occasions they really want to. The double-edge of Dustin's career will forever be that "Goldust" made him one of the most memorable and unique characters to come from the McMahon stable, but also too specific to easily obtain any lasting measure of main event success in front of a live crowd.

As much as I believe in Bryan Danielson as the top babyface of the moment, there's a part of me that wants to see an Orton/Rhodes feud continue. The more obvious conclusion would be a Cody Rhodes return, but I'll never shake the feeling that Dustin deserved a little bit more. It's tough to picture Goldust as WWE Champion, but I like to think there's something still in store for the long serving "bizarre one" -- whatever that is. As a distraction to allow Danielson time to earn a credible second bite (should he be stripped on Monday), Goldust could be a pleasant stand-in challenger for the upcoming Battleground PPV.

Truth be told, it's much easier to see Goldust with the World Heavyweight Championship.
It wouldn't be the first time the title was used to give a charitable reign to a deserving champion not quite regarded on the WWE title level. The thought occurs that Damien Sandow's Money in the Bank contract and the existing animosity between he and former partner Cody could somehow be parlayed into the much discussed Cody/Goldust Wrestlemania feud, as well.

Again; it probably makes more sense for Cody to be the one to interfere in Sandow's World title plans, but there's always a way to get to the desired result in the end. A well constructed Cody v Goldust feud could give the Wrestlemania XXX undercard a terrific feature match that puts one of their young stars over, in the end. I wouldn't expect it to involve the World title by that stage, but you never know. We've got a long way to go before 2014 and Goldust has only had one match. Lets not get too carried away, lest we end with shattered dreams.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records. Tallied results only include matches broadcast during WWE 2013 programming. At present, this includes RAW (Mondays), Main Event (Wednesdays), Smackdown (Friday), and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Songbook: Adagio for Strings



William Orbit - Barber's Adagio for Strings (1999) [Original Post (Day 75)]

Friday, September 13, 2013

Songbook: Nightmare



Brainbug - Nightmare (1996) [Original Post (Day 74)]

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Songbook: Insomnia



Faithless - Insomnia (1995) [Original Post (Day 73)]

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Songbook: Stay



Sash! - Stay (1997) [Original Post (Day 72)]

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Songbook: Paninaro



Pet Shop Boys - Paninaro (1986) [Original Post (Day 71)]

Monday, September 09, 2013

Songbook: House of Love



East 17 - House of Love (1992) [Original Post (Day 70)]

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Songbook: Everybody in the Place



The Prodigy - Everybody in the Place (1991) [Original Post (Day 69)]

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 09/08

#1 Randy Orton [--] (49-18-4)
[WWE Champion]
It is by no means a new observation, but it needs to be said that I'm more than a little sick of seeing the same things in WWE booking again and again and again. The only thing worse than endless repetition is the constant presence of non-title matches, frequently featuring losing champions. It demeans the entire objective around which the concept of professional wrestling is run and it's fundamentally stupid. Beating the champion to get a shot at the champion is awful. Beating the champion to achieve nothing is a waste of everybody's time.

Alberto Del Rio has been in steady competition in 2013, reigning as World Heavyweight Champion for most it. With very few title defences coming in that time, it goes without saying that he has been one of the most frequently featured wrestlers in galling non-title bouts. A fact that only goes to diminish his tenuously relevant matches with the likes of Christian and Rob Van Dam, who in theory represent seasoned pros as contenders, but really just look like filler on disappointing cards.

Thanks to the hands-off nature of their rivalry and the construct of the authority figure with infinite resources; Bryan Danielson and MITB WWE Champion Randy Orton have managed to stay relatively far apart. They certainly haven't wrestled ad nauseum, favouring instead other obstacles for Danielson to overcome, and other pointless adversaries (like Christian) for Orton to not defend his title against.

#2 [+1] Bryan Danielson (41-24-1)
#3 [-1] Alberto Del Rio (40-14-5) [World Champion]
#4 [--] Sheamus (36-14-2)
#5 [--] Kane (27-21-0)
#6 [--] Roman Reigns (25-8-2) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [--] Seth Rollins (25-13-1) [Tag Team Champion]
#8 [--] Dean Ambrose (24-14-0) [United States Champion]
#9 [RE] Ryback (24-15-1)
#10 [-1] The Miz (23-10-1)

#1 [--] Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (24-8-1) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns (19-7-0)
#3 [--] Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (19-7-0)
#4 [--] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (17-11-1)
#5 [--] Kane & Bryan Danielson (14-9-0)
#6 [--] Sheamus & Randy Orton (11-3-0)
#7 [--] Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea Tensai (9-10-1)
#8 [+2] Titus O'Neil & Darren Young (6-14-0)
#9 [-1] Naomi & Cameron (5-3-0)
#10 [-1] Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (5-11-1)

Superstar Spotlight:
#20 Cody Rhodes (16-38-1)
Well, that's certainly one way to deal with it.
It seems someone forgot Cody Rhodes had a honeymoon coming up. As a consequence, the young Rhodes has been fairly abruptly written off TV via firing after a couple of run-ins with the one-man C.O.O power trip: Triple H. It's a means to an end -- one that, in theory, affords Rhodes an immediate point of interest upon return, but a clumsy finish to what has been a disappointing year as a whole.

I still can't help but feel Team Rhodes Scholars were better off together [06/02/2013]. By all rights, they probably should've been the team to beat Kane & Bryan Danielson a mite sooner than they eventually were. It would've been good for their careers, good for the tag team division, and good for anyone enjoying their unique brand of disdain filled arrogance. I got a kick out of Damien Sandow's leaping into the ocean, but with nothing concrete going on for either man, both have been left lambs to the slaughter. I don't buy Rhodes as a legitimate top tier contender (not with those chicken legs), which begs the question: What exactly is Cody's future in WWE? I suppose we shall see when he returns from his break! (In time to upset Sandow's MITB contract, perhaps?)

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records. Tallied results only include matches broadcast during WWE 2013 programming. At present, this includes RAW (Mondays), Main Event (Wednesdays), Smackdown (Friday), and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Songbook: Overland (In My Mind)



Forces - Overland (In My Mind) (2013) [Original Post (Day 68)]

Friday, September 06, 2013

Songbook: Paranoimia



Art of Noise feat. Max Headroom - Paranoimia (1986) [Original Post (Day 67)]

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Songbook: Frontier Psychiatrist



The Avalanches - Frontier Psychiatrist (2000) [Original Post (Day 66)]

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Fear On Film - 1982 Round Table


Take One - Fear On Film: [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three]

I stumbled upon this while surfing trailers on YouTube and figured, if nothing else, it was worth noting for future reference. If the source description is to be trusted, it is, in essence, a piece of promotional material arranged by one Mick Garris: Host of the presentation, and Marketing & Publicity boffin for Universal Pictures (sci-fi & horror), circa 1982.

In 2013, this would undoubtedly be the kind of half-hearted, tiresome corporate material that inspires cynicism into the world. Instead, this "Take One" featurette gathers talented Directors working for Universal at the time - John Landis, John Carpenter & David Cronenberg - to speak candidly about subjects relevant to their industry. Just talking about their movies would be enough to engage fans, but they're also forming a dialogue with critical issues like censorship -- something few promo materials would even consider, today.

Yes, there is clearly an agenda relevant to promoting several motion pictures. References to The Thing, Videodrome, and An Ameircan Werewolf in London are clear and present -- but they aren't gratuitous. As a promotion, this is an admirable investment in the artists that create the pictures. It is an effort to promote the material on the strengths and merits of what has been created. A design that is all too absent in today's corporate-driven, crowd sourced industry.

Of the three directors, Carpenter is the only one I could honestly say I have a strong connection with. Cronenberg holds a definite fascination, but my exposure to his work has been almost non-existent. Landis is no stranger, but I haven't held his efforts in the same high regard I have for Carpenter. Even so, it seems like a rare treat to have the three in trio, discussing the intertwining subjects that tie some of their best known works together.

Songbook: Close (To The Edit)



Art of Noise - Close (To The Edit) (1984) [Original Post (Day 65)]

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Blog: Finding Horror (Again)

Time for an introspection interlude, I suppose. I've recently been taken by themes of horror. Most specifically, I got swept up in the folklore specific to New Jersey, which unravelled in a fairly complete and well arranged manner. I want to say the local myths were complete images, even if in minimalist forms, but really, it's my imagination that's filling in very obvious gaps and stitching it all together. I think that's probably a combination of a lifetime of serial comic books and a genetic cocktail of just the right balance between art and science. In any event, horror is on my mind.

Ordinarily the occupation of a genre -- horror, or otherwise -- wouldn't be worthy of special note, but it occurs to me that I've never been much of a horror guy. Through circumstance and choice, I held a certain fascination for popcorn slasher icons, but never spent any time with them. Jason still remains a character I find very appealing, but a character I've never taken the time to sit down and watch a great deal. There have been horror films and comics that have come through my life, but I guess that ol' predilection meant the stayers were Morbius The Living Vampire and Ghost Rider, and other costumed monsters-as-superhero.

Continuing the themes, I have to think back to the mid-2000s, when I was invited to participate in a horror comic anthology for a micro press collective (I don't remember the title). [An important side note: Once upon a time I had designs for a grandiose career as a comics writer. Truth be told, I still do, working on scripts almost daily for the past decade.]

The nature of the anthology was to produce a chain effect where the conclusion of one chapter would invite the beginning of the next - each chapter created by a different writer/penciller team. Someone had dropped out late into production and my invitation was predicated on the need to insert a chapter between two completed stories. Given my penchant for connecting pieces into a larger whole, this struck me as a potentially interesting fit. Truth be told, I imagine it was desperation that led to the invitation rather than any observation of skill or talent, but the failings of the situation go much farther than that, and I'm not in the mood to slag anybody off (right now, at least).

For me, the challenge was a little less about connecting to the bookending stories, and more about the necessity to write a worthwhile horror piece. As best I can remember, the surrounding three or so stories were all fairly conventional American horrors. As I recall, the two I had to connect with were [unrelated] variations of a slasher/serial killer nature. To my mind, this was liberating, as the overall make-up of the issue could be complimented by a different type of story, or, if I really wished, could be thematically unified by another likeminded tale.

I decided, in trying to do the best possible job, I needed to think of something scary.
I can't say I thought the surrounding tales were particularly brilliant, exacerbated by the simple fact that it can be very difficult to scare someone in a comic book. You don't have the visual dexterity and control over the image a film has, but you also don't have the fear of the readers total imagination that novels have. The eye wanders. Even cheap scares -- tried and true shockers -- are limited to the turn of a comic book page. Then you're at the mercy of the quality of the visual art, as well. Much like PG-13 movies, slashers have a tough time scaring, and can easily become the anti-heroic comic book figures that Jason ultimately is. If I was going to write a horror story, I realized I needed to root it in concept.

My conceptual realization, it should be said, wasn't quite as succinct as a single phrase. I was much younger at the time and much less structured in my approach. Again, I didn't feel I had a natural inclination toward horror, either. My strongest references at the time were probably the Scream films and occasional flirtations with Resident Evil games. I'm downplaying my references, somewhat. There were certainly plenty of other horror encounters along the way, but they weren't references I kept at my younger fingertips. I suppose fear was limiting my thought process, as well. Fear of not living up to the expectations of a reader who expected a horror story! I felt the best course was to just write about something that scared me. If nothing else, it would give me the confidence to justify the story. If I were challenged, I would have an answer.

Putting it in terms of a need to have an explanation is actually quite apropos.
I decided that one of the most frustrating and terrifying scenarios in life is an inability to understand something. I'm certainly not the first person to reach this conclusion. There's a great deal of horror rooted in the nature of mystery and contradiction. To paraphrase Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight, nobody's too fussed if there's a pre-established understanding. People begin to get upset when things behave in ways that aren't clearly apparent or established. When there is an agenda behind it -- one you don't understand -- I'm inclined to think that might be even scarier. A parent attacking you without cause is awful. A parent attacking you for a reason they believe - even more chilling.

Again, I was relatively young at the time. Not long out of high school. In high school, the entirety of your fate is predicated on a need to understand. If you do not understand, your world begins to twist and deform like tectonic plates beneath a surface crust. Curriculum rolls on, building on one piece of understanding after the next. If you miss something, eventually the surface will rip itself open and you'll be swallowed by the hole in your understanding. Imagery I'm sure I could use in any number of stories, but did not fit the goals I had set myself in this particular story.

The horror of not understanding would go on to inform the tone and atmosphere of the piece, which was shaped into my version of a Japanese horror story. The protagonist was a young Japanese woman who found herself surrounded by grim, inexplicable events after she witnessed the aftermath of a decapitation. The aforementioned killing was the part of the previous story I was building on. I believe it was set in New Orleans and at some point in the story had a couple of killers ferrying a decapitated body across a river or lake. I had supposed Japanese tourists were in the area and my protagonist had wandered away, witnessing the severed head from afar. Though never explicitly explained, the implication was that a social anxiety prevented the girl reporting what she had seen, and she was suffering the consequences of her guilt upon returning to Japan (almost immediately after witnessing the horror).

The story was never drawn. I believe I've published the script on the web before, but don't have it handy. Otherwise, it exists in no other published form. If I come across it, I may share it here for reference. It's a story I'm still fond of, at least from memory. I had later intended to appropriate it into the make-up of another comic I worked on before and after, The Kirby Martin Inquest. Though not a horror, it was a high concept vehicle that would have been well serviced by the 'monster' of the horror story, whose origins were much more developed than the story revealed. He was called Nanatsu and appeared frequently throughout the story, delivering coded messages via phone texts, computer messages, and toilet paper handed from one stall to the next.

If I'm examining my path to horror concepts, it should probably be mentioned that I absolutely did write a scene set in a public toilet. It was an intrusion into the main character's space. We were in the stall with her with just enough left to the imagination. She was out of toilet paper -- another attempt to find horror to relate to. As her character was rooted in social anxiety, I felt this was an experience that the reader could very much inflect their own horror into. When she musters up the courage to request toilet paper from the stall next to her -- only to realize it is her mystery tormentor (Nanatsu) -- it was all about vulnerability. The toilet ("bathroom") is a vulnerable place. Maybe you laugh now, but see how you react next time there's an all mighty bang against the closed door. You'll be in the right place, I'm sure.

In any event, I have returned to the world of horror and am again pondering what it takes to make a story scary. Having found very little in the way of what I've imagined of these New Jersey myths, I am considering it fertile ground for a new tale. I can see a few different tones. Some genuinely scary, others a bit less so. An impressive catalogue of failures has taught me not to talk about these things to any great length, but it's been nice to unpack those old ideas, which are a little less vulnerable to the pitfalls of sharing. I've been bouncing around between a lot of ideas lately, in a turbo-charged stupor of trickled enthusiasm, inspiration and hardcore allergies. Now that I know where I've been, maybe I'll know where I'm going. Probably not. Maybe sometime in the future I'll talk about the lost love of these stories and whatever form they take.

Songbook: I Love You, But...



Friendly - I Love You, But... (2000) [Original Post (Day 64)]

Monday, September 02, 2013

Songbook: Six Days



DJ Shadow - Six Days (2002) [Original Post (Day 63)]

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Songbook: 16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six



Tom Waits - 16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six (1988) [Original Post (Day 62)]

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 09/01

#1 Randy Orton [--] (47-18-4)
[WWE Champion]
It is by no means a new observation, but it needs to be said that I'm more than a little sick of seeing the same things in WWE booking again and again and again. The only thing worse than endless repetition is the constant presence of non-title matches, frequently featuring losing champions. It demeans the entire objective around which the concept of professional wrestling is run and it's fundamentally stupid. Beating the champion to get a shot at the champion is awful. Beating the champion to achieve nothing is a waste of everybody's time.

Alberto Del Rio has been in steady competition in 2013, reigning as World Heavyweight Champion for most it. With very few title defences coming in that time, it goes without saying that he has been one of the most frequently featured wrestlers in galling non-title bouts. A fact that only goes to diminish his tenuously relevant matches with the likes of Christian and Rob Van Dam, who in theory represent seasoned pros as contenders, but really just look like filler on disappointing cards.

Thanks to the hands-off nature of their rivalry and the construct of the authority figure with infinite resources; Bryan Danielson and MITB WWE Champion Randy Orton have managed to stay relatively far apart. They certainly haven't wrestled ad nauseum, favouring instead other obstacles for Danielson to overcome, and other pointless adversaries (like Christian) for Orton to not defend his title against.

#2 [--] Alberto Del Rio (40-14-5) [World Champion]
#3 [--] Bryan Danielson (39-24-1)
#4 [--] Sheamus (36-14-2)
#5 [--] Kane (27-21-0)
#6 [--] Roman Reigns (25-8-2) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [--] Seth Rollins (25-12-1) [Tag Team Champion]
#8 [--] Dean Ambrose (24-14-0) [United States Champion]
#9 [RE] The Miz (22-10-2)
#10 [-1] Mark Henry (22-10-0)

#1 [--] Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (24-8-1) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns (19-7-0)
#3 [--] Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (19-7-0)
#4 [--] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (17-10-1)
#5 [--] Kane & Bryan Danielson (14-9-0)
#6 [--] Sheamus & Randy Orton (11-3-0)
#7 [--] Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea Tensai (9-10-1)
#8 [--] Naomi & Cameron (5-3-0)
#9 [--] Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (5-11-1)
#10 [new] Titus O'Neil & Darren Young (5-13-0)

Superstar Spotlight:
#39 Brie Bella (6-6-0)
Of all the things I might've expected Total Divas to do for the WWE product -- elevating women's wrestling probably wasn't one of them!

It stands to reason that in order to cross-promote wrestling through a divas reality show, you would indeed need to reinstate some amount of divas wrestling to the card. WWE worked hard over a long stretch of time to set the bar for women's wrestling so low, it was finally (and fairly) excluded from competition all together. They've been given another chance to earn their place and I think I'm pleased to say they're doing it.

Given her pedigree, it might've been more obvious to praise the overdue use of Natalya Neidhart. She's done some brilliant work in the past, only to be overlooked in favour of the barbie doll brand of diva. Anecdotal accounts of the Total Divas narrative suggests that's been the crux of her story on the show, and I'm glad it could be reversed. I must say, however, during her recent feature at Summerslam [08/18/2013], it wasn't Natalya who stood out!

Brie Bella won't be confused for Kurt Angle any time soon, but I was surprised to find her more than proficient during the Summerslam singles bout. The more talented (and pretty) of the two Bellas dominated her match with Neidhart, succumbing in the end to Natalya's lone offensive manoeuvre: the sharpshooter. Otherwise - it was all Brie! Impressive in and of itself, that she could sustain a match on her own. That anything specific could be quoted is downright spectacular: and it was her leg drop that struck me as particularly crisp.

I like pretty girls as much as the next guy, and I do indeed find Brie Bella quite palatable. When it comes to women in pro wrestling, however, I like to see a modicum of grappling talent. Brie Bella seems to have taken up that challenge and I applaud it! The divas are back on the card and better still: they aren't stinking the joint up. Sure, it helps that the matches are kept short, but that can now be a genuine compliment to the booking. Short, but sweet. Onwards and upwards, Total Divas!

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records. Tallied results only include matches broadcast during WWE 2013 programming. At present, this includes RAW (Mondays), Main Event (Wednesdays), Smackdown (Friday), and monthly Pay-Per-View events.