Thursday, August 05, 2010

I'm sorry, Black Cat, you're just too damn fat.

So this woman wrote a letter that was published back in January, which made the very reasonable note that Black Cat could not possibly weigh 120 lbs (or 110 lbs) and be close to six feet tall. Still no change on the official website, but I guess I would place her at 146.2 lbs, myself. But don't take my word for it. I'm no expert, I'm just an enthusiast.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Alpha Male Syndrome Syndrome

This is what happens when you go to the library thinking you have three hours until closing time, it turns out you only have ten minutes, and you grab and check out the first book that you see.

Alpha Male SyndromeAlpha Male Syndrome is a book about dealing with alpha males in the workplace, written by self-described alpha couple Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson. Which I thought was one of those things, like being cool, where if you're saying it about yourself, it doesn't count. But these two bring a lot of evidence to the table to prove that they both are, in face, seriously alpha, and have been since as far back as the first grade. Seriously, these two are alpha as fuck:

Even as a child, Kate exhibited the ambition and drive of an alpha female. She was also fascinated by the alpha males she encountered growing up in South Texas.
I like to imagine that she was already using that jargon while growing up, too.
In the first grade, she figured out how to beat the strongest boys at the game of red rover, using direct eye contact and a smile to break through their supercharged strength as approached the line.
That is solid alpha material.
Later, she found a way to entice alpha boys to attend a summer school she organized in her small town,
and in the fourth grade she bit the wrist of a bully to get him to quit bothering her friends.
Kate's husband, Eddie, is also very alpha, even though there is no evidence in the following biography that he ever bit anyone.
At age 29, Eddie was a surgical resident at the University of Michigan, holding down two outside jobs and trying to live a normal family life with his two young children. But that wasn't enough for an achievement-obsessed alpha.
Which he was.
He decided to become a marathon runner. After 50 marathons, the 26-mile run wasn't enough of a challenge, so he took on ultra marathons, becoming so obsessed with each 100-mile race that he ignored medical advice and ended up with stress fractures and a broken leg.
So alpha it hurts.
When he became chief of staff, he learned how to use his own alpha strengths to corral the energy and egos of other alphas,
I hear that corralling alphas is like herding cats, so that's pretty impressive, as well as pretty alpha.
who were waging turf wars at the hospital.
Not LITERALLY, of course.
He also learned valuable lessons from his patients: of the approximately 10,000 surgeries he performed, about 75 percent were on alpha males.
That statistic is from page 6, just five pages after Kate and Eddie admitted to not knowing a damn thing about statistics:
Although there are no hard numbers to support this approximation, we estimate that alphas comprise about 75 percent of top executives.

To paraphrase a friend of mine, I am somewhere between 14 percent and 97 percent sure that I will finish this book.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


At first I was at this bar where three guys were being overly comfortable in their sexuality while the band played Cake covers.

Then, Korean Gary Coleman granted me one wish.

The next thing I know, I'm at a bar where these girls are being awesomely comfortable with their sexuality while a DJ is spinning fucking ACE. OF. BASE.

I know, right?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An In-depth Review of Marvel's Siege

It was the goddamn crossover event of the millennium, you guysh.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Iron Hamm 2

Some musings on a movie where the deepest thoughts are still prompted by the Stan Lee cameo.

The best thing about living in the future is that sometimes Iron Man 2 comes here first. I attended the first IMAX showing, 9:30 Thursday morning. This despite my best efforts to just attend the regular screening at 9:00. The CGV simply would not sell me a non-IMAX ticket, so I made do. I honestly brought ear plugs in case that happened, so I was content. ish.

Overall, then, I'm sure a lot of my opinion of the technical aspects of the movie is biased by the presentation. It's a given that if a film isn't a documentary about either scaling a glacier or alien cat people, it's aesthetic isn't being done any favors by the over-large IMAX screen. Then again, maybe all the props look like plastic toys and everyone's complexion has distinctly marked them as reaching their sell-by date in a regular screening of IM2. I DON'T KNOW. But what I'm saying is this: on an IMAX screen, all the props in this movie look like plastic toys and everyone's complexion has distinctly marked them as reaching their sell-by date.

And I loved every minute of it. I loved half of the minutes of it. Okay, I loved this part:

But a lot of the movie was dull and plodding and not that interesting and it took forever to get there and fairly early on I realized, "You know, I probably would not have come to see this movie if it wasn't for Scarlett Johansson and Olivia Munn" (and a blonde at the beginning who I thought was Taylor Swift, but there's nothing online about it so I'm guessing not). And my preference would have been for Munn to be Black Widow and Johansson to be the reporter who was shot from an unflattering brightly-lit angle for ten seconds, never to be seen again, but I think we all know how that wish turned out. 

A big detriment to the film was the lack of awesome set-pieces, unfortunately brought into sharp relief by the fact that there were some awesome set-pieces. I mean, two awesome set-pieces: the racetrack at Monaco and the Japanese garden. Besides that, IM2 spends too much time at Stark's house and the Stark Expo stage, and going back to these places again and again. You know how Wayne Manor is different in every single Batman movie? I grew up with a borderline annoyance that there was no consistency to the presentation of that place, but after two Iron Manses with the exact same mansion, all I can think of is Stan Lee's best quote, "Never give the audience what they think they want."

Speaking of The Man, he shows up early on in IM2, this time playing a Larry King analog. Or is he? See, the same questions still apply. Is this Larry King? Or is it Stan Lee wearing suspenders, and Tony is once again mistaking identity? It is a mystery.

And I lied before, because while that is a very deep thought, it turns out my deepest thoughts on this movie were spent imagining what it would be like if we could have just substituted the cast of "Mad Men" for all the principles involved. Not that deep, though, because John Slattery already appears as Tony Stark's dad, and I didn't get any farther than thinking, "Heyyyyyyyy...Jon Hamm as Tony? That would be classic."

Which would be great because he would be awesome at the drunk scenes (important boozy Iron Man character stuff!), and he wouldn't need lifts, either. Seriously, look at the shoes Robert Downey Jr. is wearing in every scene. They aren't even hiding it! He gets up on a table at one point, and those shoes are just...there. But hey, that's IMAX for you.

I gave it ten more seconds of deep thinking, and I can say for a fact that I would have enjoyed this cast more than what I got:
  • Vincent Kartheiser as Justin Hammer
  • January Jones as Pepper Potts
  • Jared Harris as that stuffy senator
  • Rich Sommer or Bryan Batt as Happy Hogan, I don't even really care, hell, make 'em switch out every other scene
  • that guy who played the elevator operator as Nick Fury (ha ha racism)
  • a jazz musician as War Machine (I am just not seeing these guys on IMDB)
  • annnnnd Kiernan Shipka as Whiplash
I know what you're thinking. "Hey, that sounds great, but you forgot Black Widow! Christina Hendricks, right?" What are you, retarded? Alison Brie.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Maintaining the indefensible position that it's not creepy to take pictures of a bunch of 15 year-olds wearing angel costumes.

Seoul Comic World was held at the aT Center in Yangjae this past weekend, April 10th and 11th. It was the 93rd Seoul Comic World, which makes sense because the event began in 1999, exactly 93 years ago.

The main convention floor was set up with about two dozen rows of mangaka booths, and all of the artists were exhibiting their personal works for sale. The production value on all the buttons, keychains, alarm clocks, tote bags, posters, and actual comics was very impressive for the prices being charged by each artist: even a hardcover artbook was only 9,000 won. One artist was sketching as I walked by, so I tried to ask if she had any original art for sale, but no such luck. But for about the equivalent of 15 bucks all together, I got a ticket for the show (4,000 won), five posters, an artbook, ten postcards, a button, a totebag, and a bunch of stickers.

It would have been possible to attend the show without even buying a ticket for the exhibition hall, though. Most of the people who came in costume were milling around outside. There was a huge park directly behind the convention center, and everyone decked out in their anime finest were being continuously photographed by people with much nicer cameras than I.

Some costumes were better than others, though. I don't know, this must have been some character from Final Fantasy Mystic Quest Adventure Legends or something. I never played that one.

This is, of course, me posing with a blue duck. The duck was actually white before post-production, but I made the duck blue because I'd never seen a blue duck before and I wanted to see one. This picture also represents my only photo of someone in costume without questionable sexual undertones. 

And here I am achieving minor celebrity status as Token Foreigner on the stage in front of the convention center. I made pig noises, said three things in Korean, and practiced the Dim Mak in front of a crowd of several hundred. I am not even making that up. Ironically enough, a lot of 15 year-olds wearing angel costumes wanted to take my picture after that. Which is probably not too creepy, so there's that.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Saturday Sketch: "Family Flix"

What are you talking about, I post Saturday Sketches every Saturday. Houston, we have a dog, and possibly...the funniest comedy sketch...of all time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More Unsubstantiated Rumours About Korea

No One Knows I'm an American as long as I extraneously add the letter 'U' to words.

I have never actually looked at Cyworld, but from what I've been told, it's Korea's Facebook, but with a much higher cultural penetration. And apparently a lot of the girls' profile pics feature them flashing the Victory sign and puffing out their cheeks. I'm not even going to connect the rest of those dots, draw your own conclusions.

Each time I learn a new cultural tidbit like the preceding, I file it away in a mental vault for which the only keys are being within shouting distance of me because I am definitely going to repeat it ad nauseum to anyone I meet. And so, a horrifying prospect about my continued stay in South Korea is that the longer I am here, the more I become a fount of useless knowledge for any foreigner who has been here even one less day than me, even though at this point everything I know is ridiculous hearsay.

Next Time on Merv at the Movies: Fan Death, The Postpartum Seawood Soup Diet, and Why Closing Down the Subway From Midnight to 5 a.m. Will Curb A Nation's Binge-Drinking Even Though There Are Still Places Where You Can Get A Bottle of Soju for 10 Scrents

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Rooftop View

of a bunch of snow

After a 10-day vacation, my first day back at work has been canceled due to snow. There's no reliable internet weather forecast for Korea, but reports have Seoul receiving more than 30cm. The roads around Ilsan are pretty-well cleared and the buses are running, but judging by the snowfall on my roof, I'd say we got near to 40cm or more here.

The first time I thought to visit the roof was just last week, but of course it's a fairly nice view from 15 stories up. If it was a clear day, it might be easier for you to figure out from the last photo that "Man of La Mancha" is coming to the Opera House this month. I will take some more photos of the exact same view on a nicer day.

Friday, January 01, 2010

My Trip to Nami Island*

*A Report Told Through Interpretative Award-Giving

Well, we did it. We made it through an entire year, and here we stand on the precipice of a new decade, depending on who you ask. I don't even care if it's a new decade or not, which is funny considering how much I cared about whether it was the new millennium or not 10 years ago. I made that point last night, too (when I was celebrating the New Year IN YOUR FUTURE, American Constituency), to which I received the apt response, "Well, what year did you graduate high school?" Good point. P.S. Class of 2000 can eat shit, 2k1 was the first graduating class of the new millennium.

Anyway, end of the year or end of the decade, it's time for the annual awarding of the Evvie, the coveted prize that consists of me declaring with certainty the most eminently rewatchable film of the preceding 12 months. That's it. That's the whole prize. There is no statue. And I have some caveats, too! I have not seen Avatar, Moon, Sherlock Holmes, or Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. However, I did see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen three times. It didn't win.

I also saw G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and even though that was the movie based on a toy that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen should have been, it also didn't win. It came close, though, helped along by the outfits that Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols were poured into, as well as the delight I bring myself every time I see Snake Eyes on the screen and think to myself, "Why do they call you 'Snake Eyes'?" "Because I always losssssse." Ah, a joke that's almost perfect until you remember that Snake Eyes doesn't talk!

Closer still to securing this year's Evvie was Inglourious Basterds, a film that may not have won, but will still forevermore inform my Italian accent, as well as the way I hold up a finger count (KOREAN CULTURAL FUN FACT #1: In Korea, the thumb is generally number one, not the index finger). Unfortunately, Inglourious Basterds, while eminently watchable, is not eminently rewatchable, as it is long as fuck and features a lot of scenes that you are going to want to skip past during repeat viewings.

No, the clear winner of this year's Evvie and easily the most eminently rewatchable film of 2009 is J.J. Abrams' Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, a movie that succeeded in achieving the impossible: giving Karl Urban an even better line than "He's the holy Half-Dead who has seen the Underverse," with "Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence. Yeah, well, I got nowhere else to go. My ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I got left is my bones." I mean, hell, that's good enough to take the prize right there, but then they went ahead and painted Rachel Nichols green, fer chrissakes, proving that in the age-old sexiness debate between skintight latex battlesuit and green skin, well...

So that was the year in movies. And She-Hulk imagery, for that matter. Moving on to the category of music, what track was so good that if I had a hard-copy of it, said hard-copy would have melted from eminent replayability? A true conundrum, as ironically one of only two actual physical albums I bought in 2009 was the Lonely Island's Incredibad, a vinyl LP that came with a free download of the album anyway. Still, Julian Casablancas' guest vocals on "Boombox" was my joint for a good chunk of time, until Casablancas released the  even more eminently replayable track "11th Dimension" later in the year.

The other actual physical album I bought was done halfway as an excuse to get a bag that says Evan Records, but also halfway because it is awesome as hell. D.I.S.C.O is so eminently replayable that I am outright shocked that I get such bewildered reactions from Koreans who I tell I like it. Seriously, do you know the kind of shit they listen to here? Brain-crushingly awful 가유, and apparently 엄정화 is too, um, poppy (trite? sugary? something, anyway) for most people. I can't explain it! But it was technically released in 2008, so it gets the 2009 retroactive Evvie for 2008's most eminently replayable track.

Other tracks that helped me continue on my way to permanent hearing loss and the honorary and particular Evvies I bestow upon them:
  • Robbie Williams' "Bodies," taking the Evvie for best track with which to banish fat and boost metabolism
  • Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce, "Telephone," wins the Evvie for first club track that I have only ever heard in Korea and therefore have no American mental associations with
  • Drake and a bunch of other dudes with "Forever," with the Evvie for only listening to the chorus because honestly, Eminem and Kanye are so fuckin' awful
  • Late Night Alumni's "You Can Be The One (Sultan & Ned Shepard Remix)," Evvie for hitting the fog machine mist release at 3:51, dude i am rollin' balls right now
  • Whitney Houston - "Million Dollar Bill (Freemasons Club Mix)" - Evvie for track I'm not even sure how it got here, probably Nick downloaded it while I wasn't looking
  • Shiny Toy Guns - "Starts With One (Classixx Remix)" - "You Have No Idea How Much I Have to Resist Just Putting Up The Gabriel & Dresden Remix of 'You Are the One' I Know It's Like 3 Years Old I DON'T CARE" Evvie
  • Phoenix - "1901" - After the sixth TV show you hear it on, you just end up going with it Evvie
  • Annie - "Bad Times" - Epic Regret Evvie
  • "The Meadow" - Love Theme From The Twilight Saga: New Moon by Alexandre Desplat - "Let me get this straight: The werewolf imprints the vampire's baby so that she has no choice but to grow up to love and depend on him? That is hott" Evvie
  • Tiesto - "Here On Earth" (Feat. Cary Brothers) - Tiesto Impressions Are the Best Impressions Evvie
  • E-603 - "Wanna Get Low" - Tell it to my heart Evvie
All eminently replayable tracks, but the most eminently replayable track of the past twelve months and music's  2009 Evvie recipient is Lily Allen's "Not Fair (Annie Nightingale's Far Too Loud Electro Mix)". I love that shit. I lurve it.

Yeah, so. Happy New Year. I've been up to stuff, too.

As you can see.