Why are people so down on Spam? I mean, take this gem that I received in my inbox this morning:
Would you like to have a killer meat stick? If you do, Penis Enlarge Patch should be for you.
Now this is funnier than a lot of the ‘funny’ e-mails that friends and fans forward to me. I’m thinking Jagged Spiral should change its name to “Killer Meat Stick”. It has some punch to it – memorable, with a certain air of urgency and a keen marketing sensibility.
Surprisingly, the website is really real – a company called “Advanced Laboratories Inc” (Wow, that sounds pro) has a patch for sale that makes your meat stick a Killer. The website is a strange mashup of a Claritin commercial, soft porn, and a medical horror novel. Kind of reminded me of this, possibly the best movie trailer of all time:
The great thing about the Harry Potter series of films is that because they keep making almost the exact same movie over and over, I can keep writing the same review over and over. Now you can too! I’ve designed this handy template you can use to make your own Harry Potter Movie Review!
[Editors Note: Start cut here]
I saw the new Harry Potter film this week, Harry Potter and the [Fill in the Blank]. It was great. Rich sets, deep plot, amazing SFX. Not really for kids.
The movie starts with Harry getting the short end from Muggles in the real world.
Then he goes to magic school.
Then the shit hits the fan.
[Someone] dies. This is important, and controversial, and a spoiler to fans, so if you know who dies, don’t just go barking it out in public, you might get beat up.
There is a Quiddich match…[Editors Note: Scratch the Quiddich Match, there was no Quiddich Match in this one.]
[Zero’s Note To Editor: Well, they flew through London on Broomsticks, dodging boats and bridges, didn’t they?]
[Editor: Right, but it wasn’t a Quiddich Match…]
[Zero: They were on flying broomsticks, dodging boats and bridges that THEY COULD HAVE EASILY FLOWN OVER. A waste of time which would have been better served advancing the plot instead of fueling ideas for video games; no better than a Quiddich Match…]
[Editor: Good point.]
There’s an action scene on flying broomsticks.
Lots of colorful characters are introduced throughout the story. They change from “Good” to “Bad” quite often, so it’s handy to have some paper and a pencil available during the movie to keep notes.
Harry Potter very nearly dies. This is Not important. We know there are more books in the series, so we aren’t too concerned.
By the end, Harry foils the bad-guy’s plan and figures out why the title of the movie is [title of movie] and he takes the train home to his crappy life with his crappy guardians.
Harry Potter does not get laid.
I hear-tell the book is quite good, but just too complicated to convert into a 3-hour movie. They managed to do it anyway by paring down on annoying character development and by teleporting from one subplot to another with little or no grace. If there is anything left out, the director just assumes you read the book, or hopes you will go back and watch the movie a few more times to make sense of it.
Black Sheep is one of those films that if you don’t “get” the premise, or think that a horror/comedy about genetically altered sheep in New Zealand that go on a bloody, man-eating rampage is funny, then you probably won’t like it.
The Special Effects crew are the wizards at WETA, whom you might remember from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, yes the effects are top-notch, (there’s even a tip-of-the-cap to older movie effects like “American Werewolf in London” and “The Howling” but the movie would have been just as good as a “B” horror flick with cheesy, lo-tech effects.
The idea pretty much sells itself – genetically mutated sheep become evil and attack humans. Humans bitten by the sheep become…weresheep. Before you laugh, know this: weresheep are actually kinda scary. And tough. Tall, too. So don’t dis them before you see Black Sheep
The movie was great fun, much like “Shawn of the Dead.” It was horrific like a horror/comedy should be, and funny like a horror/comedy should be. Just showing the sheep milling about with spooky music had the audience in stitches.
If you decide to go to the Lagoon Theatre in Minneapolis to see Black Sheep, make sure to stop by Bar Abilene and ask for Jill. Not only will three Tequila-Whiskey-Cokes help you enjoy the movie, but Jill is hands down the Greatest Server In The World. And try the house Guacamole made fresh right there at your table.
8-hour flight. Xtina and I got to share 3 seats between us, which was nice. Not great, just nice. I don’t know how the other passengers can stand being packed in like sardines. Miserable, noisy, claustrophobic, and I cannot sleep on a plane. I just kind of lay there with my eyes shut. In flight movies were “The Kid” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”. I didn’t watch The Kid, but I did watch The Count to kill some time.
Arrived in Berlin Found the hostel with no problems. A nice place on Rosa-Luxembourg strasse. Walked along “Unter Den Linden” from Alexanderplatz to Brandenburg Tor. Checked out the egyptian and roman exhibits at the historical museum. South of Brandenburg Tor, we discovered a REALLY cool memorial for the murdered jews of WWII. Got as far as Potzdammer Platz and found a piece of the Berlin Wall. Dead Tired. Took the train back to the hostel and crashed.
My initial perception of Berlin is pretty good. I’m not going through any culture shock, because Berlin is a lot like Minneapolis. I guess aside from the language, here are the few exceptions I’ve found so far:
In Berlin, Everyone smokes. Everyone.
In Berlin, Everyone wears black. Everyone. I’m pretty sure anyone wearing all white would be shot on sight.
In Berlin, people follow the rules, especially when driving or walking, and there is little tolerance for rulebreakers.
The beer in Berlin makes the beer in Minneapolis taste like piss
Berlin has a bunch of Internet Cafe’s with fucked up kezbÃ¶Ã¤rds
Lots and Lots and LOTS of art in Berlin. Statues, memorials, museums, you name it.
Lots and Lots and LOTS of graffiti in Berlin.
Minneapolis has never been bombed.
But most importantly, Minneapolis has more live music than Berlin. Or perhaps I should say, the live music is easier to find in Minneapolis.
I’m in KÃ¶ln now, and moving south, but it’s back to Berlin by the 24th for the Marilyn Manson concert in Citadelle Spandeau…
I really couldn’t sleep last night, Koln is the noisiest city in the world. We tried to sleep in. Alarm went off at 10:30. We had another Continental breakfast.
Xtina did some planning and I slept in some more. Till about 5PM.
We made a call to Bacherach in the Rhine valley and reserved a room for tomorrow. Walked through the neighborhoods. The weather was very nice. Not a single laundromat to be found, but we did find the most beautiful graveyard. Flowers were watered, weeded, tombstones polished and candles lit.
Quick lunch of homemade sandwich and chips in our room, and Nutella on grapes, cookies, cashews, pretty much anything we had. Note to self: Nutella + Anything = Dessert
We watched Die Hard 1 on TV in German. It was just as good as the English version.
We woke late and took the canal boat ride. Checked out more of the Red Light District.
Rented some bikes from Fredric and went to the flea market. I bought a NIN bootleg CD “Where darkness doubles…” and a black steel ring. Lots of cool stuff but I wasn’t in the mood for shopping. Too touristy and the prices were kind of high. Xtina bought a shirt.
We realized it was getting late and we still had not seen the Anne Frank house. We raced down and waited through a line half a city block long to get in. We made it in the door just as it started to rain.
Biked back in the rain, dropped off the bikes, picked up our gear, checked out of fredric’s and ran for the train station. ICE from Amsterdam to Koln was 2 hours.
We checked out of the big room, and moved downstairs into the “Picasso Room” where according to Fredric, there were one or two “real” Picassos.
We took the canal tour, getting off at the Van Gough museum, which is hidden behind the Rembrandt museum. For some reason, the Rembrandt museum is larger, more beautiful and more famous than the Van Gough museum, even though we know Rembrandt was a hack, and Van Gough was a tortured genius.
Wandered the “Red Light District” looking for absinth, space cakes, and live music but found nothing. But we did find plenty of nearly nude women in the windows who wanted to talk with me. Lots of walking and trying to find a place called “The Watering Hole” formerly known as “The Last Watering Hole” which apparently had live hard rock and metal music. Back and forth across town and we never did find it.
We did find a drunk guy named Nicalous cleaning up his store. Nicalous really only wanted us to come get drunk with him, instead of giving Christina a bandage. We did finally land at a nice English pub where a Batman and at least 8 Robins were swilling beer. One Robin talked my ear off, then Christina spilled her beer on me. We stumbled home and crashed in the Picasso room.
Woke early and packed. Checked out and headed for the train station. What was supposed to be a 6-hour ride on the ICE from Berlin to Amsterdam, turned into a game of “Find the right train/platform” which pissed me off plenty. Not fun. Not relaxing. Adventure in a “bad” way. Jetlag combined with the language barrier, incorrect directions and Xtina’s insistance on breaking the rules made for a day that was Exactly like a bad day at work, except I didn’t get paid for it.
The ICE (High Speed Rail Train) we rode on travels at about 180KPH or 112MPH. This means that if it crashed, you would be dead for a long time before your body actually stopped moving. The train speed is displayed on an LCD display in the train cars. The thing runs so smoothly that you would never guess you are going that fast.
Eventually we tricked the world into allowing us to depart at Amsterdam Central and a short walk in the rain to our new home, Fredrics. www.fredrics.nl or something like that. Fredric is a nice guy. A cat sleeps on a pile of papers on his desk, (the same pile he is working on) and his dog snores like a truck downshifting, and the whole house smellls of cat urine.
Our accommodations are fabulous, with a huge bathroom with both tub and shower, french doors leading onto a private patio. We made camp and took a nap.
Woke up at 12:30AM and decided to walk to a section of the city with live music that Fredric had suggested. He pointed out a club that had music nightly till 4:AM. So we wandered there, stopping in a small metal contraption that looked like a phone booth, but smelled like urine because it was a public latrine.
Caught a quick beer in a small pub on the way that was playing some bad 80s music. We continued on and finally found the bar, but it was just closing. We were just in time to see the drunken band members arguing on the street. So we walked back to our room. As far as music scene goes, Minneapolis has Amsterdam beat all to hell.
We stopped in Alexanderplatz for a beer and a snack, which turned out to be a potato covered with so much cream gravy it looked like soup. The service took so fucking long that by the time we paid and left, we had to hurry to make it to our dinner reservation.
The Dunkel Restaurant was a disturbing and enlightening experience. You order in the entryway, and the menu is vague on details. The waitstaff are all blind. They lead you into the darkness where the restaurant is, it is Completely Dark. You cannot see ANYTHING. Here’s a picture:
The inside of "Dunkelrestaurant" in Berlin
Food is brought out in courses. We opted against the soup, so we had salad, main course, and dessert. The ingredients were odd flavor and texture combinations. I had chicken with almond sauce, Gnocci the size of human eyeballs, and for dessert; plum ice cream with raspberry sauce on a pancake. (Took a while for me to discover the pancake.) When you finish your meal, you are escorted out and you can view the list of what you just ate.
We stopped at the Babylon Theatre which was across the street from our hostel and saw a horrible movie. Made in 1968, it was called “Vampire des Lust” and billed as psychedelic and edgy. Boring is what it was. It’s about an exotic dancer who trips on LSD as she is getting laid and kills her lover. She gets off on it and does it two more times. The police show up and shoot her. Sorry I ruined the end of it for you, but I really am doing you a favor.
The buzz in town is that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie just bought a place in this part of Berlin.