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Sunday, 6 July 2014

A view from the other side...

This is something I wrote while I was still in hospital. Give it a quick scan, it's well-written. I still feel the same way now.
Something I realized last night while writing on it is that not many people have been through what I've been through. Basically, my whole life has been ripped from me. First the guy I was gonna spend the rest of my life with. That was bad enough. Then this accident happened. The only way to get out there and face people again is to get back up. Yeah I've been through at least three major incidents. Pity doesn't help. I know the rest of my life depends on me and I've got to work hard but that's usually hard enough for people who haven't been through what I have. I don't know what the future holds but I'd love to pass some of this message on somehow. If it helps even one person, that will mean the world to me.

So until next time, stop procrastinating and be glad to be alive! Keep well guys.

This has inspired me to do something different for a new list (there's always one more! SIGH! :-D). I will do a list now and again as long as they're still fun to both myself and anyone who possibly reads this.

It's an article I wrote as an exercise in hospital. It's about the Top 10 Places In SA To Visit. I might revise a little, might add comments and keep the actual article verbatim, might TOTALLY do a new list of it, who knows??! :-)

A tiny bit of feedback here? What should I do with it? Do it as I would render the list right now? Let me know. Or is there something else you're dying to hear? 

Or does my writing just annoy you (btw, just ALT-F4)? 
:-)

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

#1: The Office (U.K. - 2001)

This was simply the dog's bollocks.



Have I foreshadowed this enough with numerous mentions of Ricky Gervais as well as my second entry of this blog, ever? Here's what I said:
Guitar brought meaning to one of the most fantastic art-forms, music, and I make top 10 lists of guitarists and the various aspects of guitar up as I go along, driving or whatever, just to keep my brain entertained and occupied. What's the best T.V. series I've ever seen? I can tell you off-hand, because I've thought about it many times before. The Office (U.K.), by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

ASIDE: Just noticed, it's been a year already! Pretty cool. :-)

Rest assured, it wasn't intentional. Just a nice coincidence! :-P

The Office was a comedic series that absolutely challenged some of the perceptions of people you spend most of your life with - your coworkers.

A handful of things, before I get started with explaining why this is my personal Best Series Of All Time™.

  • The U.S. series is vaguely *alright*. It doesn't really hold a candle to the British The Office. I reckon this is largely due to many of my cultural influences coming from the U.K.. I simply enjoy British comedy more. They were the original masters of the language, and I feel like it really shows in stuff like this. Of course, maybe Ricky just KILLED IT as an actor and a co-writer of the U.K. one.
  • It seems to be par for the course for me, and Wynand always joked about it, I need to hate something before I can love it. He used to jokingly get seriously concerned whenever I mentioned something wasn't cool, because I inevitably ended up loving it. I didn't get the humour at first. It's not your usual brand of comedy.
  • I believe The Wire to be better, for the average person (I definitely at least try not to be "average" :-D). That doesn't change the fact that life's entire experience is incredibly subjective. I don't expect anyone to necessarily agree with me about The Office, but hopefully my opinion is well thought-out.

The Wire is almost a character and societal study. This is just a fictional story about a paper merchant's in Slough, the arm-pit of England. But it's damn funny! :-)

Maybe The Wire should be above this, but maybe this is my way of saying, "This was particularly perfect."

So the background to enjoy it? Be a lover of British culture, mannerisms etc. Be able to picture working in an office, the clearer the better. Be a fan of language, diction and how it's expressiveness can hit you RIGHT THERE. /thumps chest/

Lastly, be able to appreciate and relate to the characters.

I want to spotlight 4 characters.
  1. Dawn Tinsley - played by Lucy Davis
  2. Gareth Keenan - played by Mackenzie Crook
  3. Tim Canterbury - played by Martin Freeman
  4. David Brent - played by Ricky Gervais



Dawn Tinsley

Secretary to the boss, object of his interests at times, trying to see about a relationship with Tim (Martin), she played her role terribly well. For her part, she did what she could to convince the audience wholly and carry her character as well as the series throughout.

Tim Canterbury

Every work of visual entertainment needs something for the audience to latch on to and connect with. Usually that's a "protagonist." :-P

Tim was that protagonist. I felt that way kinda. He was the working man's hero, he was a normal bloke in a circus of mad chimpanzees. :-D

Gareth Keenan

Creepy, but kinda creepy-COOL. I've seen Mackenzie Crook in Pirates of the Caribbean. He was smooth in his minor role. In The Office, he's like that socially-awkward geek we all know at least one of. I've met many in my time, try my very best NOT to be one, and he's interesting enough in The Office  as Gareth, to spark my attention every time he's on the screen. Superb.

David Brent

What can you say about the David Brent character?

Check just one example of his awkwardness in this hilarious clip: 



Now that I've hopefully sparked your interest, look at the next short vid. Some might know the story leading up to this, and might have had the hilarious bouts of laughter I experienced. :-D



A little background: A while before, David angrily claims that he can't do Neil's report because "It's Red Nose Day...do it yourself, I've got to save some Africans!!" How delusional. :-D

This series is what first turned me on to Ricky as a comedian, actor and indirectly, a D.J and XFM/Stephen Merchant/Karl Pilkington. It was the launching pad for so many careers, Mackenzie, Martin, Lucy, Ricky, Stephen, the list goes on and on. Ricky and his cohorts have entertained me for countless hours since. It's not everyone's brand of humour, I suppose, but I'm thrilled that I have the requisite background to enjoy his mind, along with Stephen's.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this was the first time a pseudo-documentary style was used for a comedy series...? It was a very cool way to execute the shots. You see cameramen ducking behind office equipment, walls and windows, etc. You see awkward zooms 'n' stuff, it's just very faithfully recreated. Excellent camerawork. 

At the end of the day, The Wire does a brilliant depiction of real life, but at times, we turn to entertainment to rid ourselves of such mundane concerns. :-P

As a comedy that made me laugh throughout, it transported me to a land of fantasy. I figure I really started to enjoy it after I realized despite the intense awkwardness, it was still fundamentally a comedy. IT'S NOT SERIOUS.

Cringe-worthy but bloody funny!

The awkwardness and realism combine to make it the most hilarious T.V. series ever!

:-)


Honourable Mention: Game of Thrones (2011). Never before have I felt a work of literary fiction to have been so expertly adapted to the screen. In years to come, it just might be on this list.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

#2: The Wire (2002) - COMPLETE!

Not only #2, but I also want to celebrate my 50th blog entry today (of this blog, semi-recently I wrote on http://konrad-recovery.blogspot.com)!

I'm pretty pleased that my writing seems to be coming along. At the very least, I FEEL that I'm absorbing a MAGNITUDE of knowledge in socialising with people and talking to them.

Recently I met the Erban Cheff. It's pronounced like a real Jamaican "er'bin", but is obviously a double meaning for "urban." Lemme just say, this guy is fuckin' cool and raps like a BAWSS!!! His freestylin' in my study was like Biggie coming to my house for a private show. It was INSANE! He also shares my attitude about AFRICA, and chills/jams/parties with just about anyone.

I experiment A LOT. Holding that in mind, I wanna try write a little bit more, maybe throughout the day. Hey, I write whenever I feel the need to shed the stuff on my mind. Fortunately, thoughts are really flowing at the current time. I think positivity very directly leads to creativity and logical analysis. 

I have a *sufficient* amount of ideas filling my skull. Just kidding, you can never know enough. :-)

So, I'm sure you're aware, but let's summarize:
#2. The Wire (2002)
#3. Firefly (2002)
#4. Black Books (2000)
#5. Arrested Development (2003)


#2. The Wire (2002)

The reason why this was incredible is three-fold, most significantly.
  1. It hit me hard at a time in my life where I was forming my identity RE: social issues.
  2. It contained MONUMENTAL acting performances by pretty-much ALL involved. This made it feel REAL.
  3. It captures the divide between people better than perhaps any series could.



If you haven't watched the show yet, well why not??



I'll just list some of the CRAZY COOL CHARACTERS:
Jimmy McNulty 
D'Angelo Barksdale 
Cedric Daniels 
Stringer Bell 
Avon Barksdale 
Kima Greggs
Bunk Moreland 
Bubbles 
"Proposition" Joe
Lester Freamon 
Frank Sobotka
Spiros
Omar Little 
Tommy Carcetti 
Marlo Stanfield
Clay Davis
Jay Landsman 
THE GREEK 

That's but a tiny sampling of them. That's not even including any gun-toting kids! You should realize by now that I adore gun-toting kids in visual entertainment. Remember Lil' Dice? http://mymindthehauntedhouse.blogspot.com/2013/11/lil-dice-roll-em-or-not.html

:-D

I've decided to do something a bit different for this entry. The reason for doing so involves my near complete inability to communicate to another human exactly how cool the series was. In short, I'm throwing my hands in the air here.

I'm deferring to you.

Please share your fondest The Wire memory/character with me?

Tell me who YOUR richest and most beloved character is. Can you?? Try. Here, knock yourselves out:


Omar gets the award for standing out in the whole world of fictional bad-asses as one of the single coolest characters. Everyone I've spoken to about this, loves Omar. He's not my personal favourite tho, that goes to a person I can relate to a little more.

So.

  1. Jimmy McNulty
  2. Bunk Moreland
  3. Lester Freamon
  4. Stringer Bell
  5. Avon Barksdale
  6. D'Angelo Barksdale
  7. Tommy Carcetti
  8.  
  9. THE GREEK.



If I had to choose one (tough as nails): 2. Bunk Moreland, the detective who's Jimmy McNulty's long-time partner. 'Not in THAT way! He's not gay...' :-) /Ricky Gervais reference/

He simply made me laugh more than any other character. His jovial attitude was a helluva thing.
I never felt that he needed to be recognized as a good, plain-decent guy.

I imagine an American newscaster blaring on the radio...
/~* 
Newscaster: 
"...Today, Detective William 'The Bunk' Moreland was cast in the limelight during the rescue of 5 hostages, when he..."
---> BUNK (HIMSELF!) BURSTS into the local Grafters'-style bar ---
"LIMELIGHT, huh? I don't need no steenkin' limelight, yo!", Bunk delivers in his bass-y "gooood shit"-voice.

"Now let's get down to bizness," he utters, placing his cap and keys on the bar counter as he does so.
What can I say?! The niggah's all business!
:-D
~*/

The so-called War On Drugs was captivating. I think the scene (pictured on my blog) where McNulty and Kima, in their beat-up police-best jalopy, are driving past Stringer and his crew in their BITCH-ASS pimpin' GM 4x4, is utterly poignant. 

The manner in which Stringer Bell handles da "paper", wow. Bunk ain't as business as him. He's nearly inspirational. Here's a quick little image I made just 'cause he's a cold, calculating and cool niggah. This is from when he's driving the boss, Avon, around and sees "die pote".


It captures the divide between people better than perhaps any series could.


:-)

Monday, 16 June 2014

You won't believe what happened Friday night!!!

Dear Wynand

On Friday night, I was with R, L, C and C (:-P) @ Grafters'. Also D, but that's another story entirely (TRIVIA NIGHT!). Before the game, L told me she thought 4 - 1 to Spain. I think she was half-joking, but SHE DID think the Netherlands would probably lose. I was a tiny bit more optimistic (I've been nearly manic this last while, though NOT AS BAD as you, at all. :-D) but I was still tending towards España winning. Maybe 2-1. *Maybe* draw 2-2. 

 I largely base this on Spanish teams dominating the UEFA Champions League Final. True, they could have (and usually do have) players from mostly all over the world. Still. It influences national morale. 

They are the reigning World Champions after all. For a while, POSSESSION-FOOTBALL was KING. Not anymore. Been watching a lot, and it's a different style now dominating.

FUCK, IS DUTCH MORALE THROUGH THE ROOF!

#5pa1n !!! S.C. shared this, and it's so clever! That's why L and I were ^5ing each other, hugging, DANCING with joy. After the opening penalty for Spain (that was incredibly unjust, replays show he didn't even touch him!), the mood took a dive, just like Diego Costa TOOK A DIVE. Was this fair? 
It was palpable. I could FEEL IT. We were despondent. 

But the K.N.V.B. (Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond) never gave up! Most saliently, Robin Van Persie (what a LEGEND!) never gave up.


More pleasure: They're gonna win!!! (Dutch and MUFC)

Last linky for now (if it's just so I can relive it)! 

Robin Van Persie Flying Head Goal - Most Amazing Goal Ever


So you know by now, 5-1. 5. 5!!! I don't have to say too much about this. Except that this is such a powerful reminder and at such a delicate and important part of my young existence, but here's what Sir Winston Churchill (hero of mine) said that ties in with this:
“Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”



Here's a little graphic I did about who I'm supporting (yeah, I know Ghana and Japan lost, so what?):


Lastly, if you made it this far, let me publicly thank Wynand Geyser for the AMAZING role he played in my life, AGAINST ALL THE ODDS. Even in death, he taught me a phenomenal lesson;

"NEVER GIVE UP. Down that road, death lies. Some people care about you!"

Nuke, Chami!
M.
^5 (/high five/) - 1! http://mymindthehauntedhouse.blogspot.com/2013/11/5.html :-) As Ricky Gervais would have said on their XFM show, "WHAT A LINK THAT WAS." :-D 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

#2: THE REAL SLIM SHADY.mp3! (Sorry, I couldn't resist :-D)

So #2, out of all the T.V. series ever crafted, lovingly, like an old man bent hunchback over his tools, but headlamp ON, is...



THE WIRE. ALL THE SEASONS.

/ƾƾ (Don't those LOOK like musical notes? A tiny bit, yeah? Song lyrics...)

SHAKE THA' WHOLE THANG! /shakes that booty like a 'ho/

ƾƾ/

Getting back to The Wire, I could go on for days talking about how MAGNIFICENT this was. R, Agree with me? Wondering about #1, yeah? :-)

There's a certain something to be said for the realism with which this was portrayed. I FELT for the poor people. The gangstahs were awesome!

/waving his gun out, SURPRISE! Shooting! BANG BANG!/ :-D


Those happen to be the exact words I quoted to memories of Wynand in my head (memorial address).

Listen, I need to step away for a second. I want to dedicate the next entry to Wynand, the cute blond-haired boy who'd have been very proud of me now. I imagine him as Mr. Miyagi tending his bonsai with grace but utmost affection. "You've done well my son.
-----
TREVOR NOAH'S BLACK ACCENT POPPED INTO MY HEAD HERE AND MADE ME CHOKE ON MY COFFEE WITH LAUGHTER!
"'You've done very well, Caster. You've done us VERY PROUD." /Ju-ju's smiling grin/

Trevor's SO FUNNY! :-D
-----

Proud of me - For supporting the Netherlands now of course. I was BAFANA all the way in 2010. Well, that was 5 days? 6? A LONG TIME, okay! :-D

Before I get TOO emotional, I'll explain more about THE WIRE soon. But very next one is for all Wynand did for me, yeah? :-) It'll be interesting, I PROMISE. No one can understand what our amazballs relationship was like. Not to the degree I can.


#2: "No wait, 2 mins...THEN number 2 of my series,...er...series(?). :-D"



First of all, big ups to the Netherlands tonight, @21h00 on SS3 (Hopefully SS3HD, yeah, R? :-D). It's been billed as "15- Scratch, that sorry ladies and gents. Correction! 19 rounds of HEAVY-WEIGHT ACTION between the defending champ, the sly and treacherous (sometimes! :-D) Espaňa ---/gasps from the crowd/

And in the orange corner, the ever-young and striving ever-so-hard, never quite succeeding Holland."

 Never been the champs, EVER! 


/Winston Churchill in his chair, puffing on a fine cigar- 


"We'll make it. ----...SOME DAY, son. *lazy puff*"/ :-) #WW2 :-D




Listen, the video is off-the-hook cool! Song's not bad either. You know who I am by now. HOLLAND. Cool connection though, don'tyathink? :-)

"Konrad?...But, like, by how much??" say you.

/I look at you. Are you involving $$$ ?/

Blech. I'm like that Toydarian from Star Wars, Episode 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE. 
"Despite what you've heard, we Toydarians are a noble species."―Watto /little wings flapping/ :-D
Episode 7? Not interested. Try something unique/new/FRESH. 

ANYWAY-- 2-1. 
"TO WHOM??" /incredulous Zuma voice/
Spain. I like money as much as the next person. I WILL NOT DO SIMPLY ANYTHING for money, but I like it. It's naais. K, Spain 2, THE NETHERLANDS 1...

Why? Some things are better for in-person. TALK to me. :-)

ASIDE: That penalty was LUCKY. Though Neymar was impressive, certainly. The equalizer, WOW. Think Brazil were lucky overall? Maybe. Pletikosa seemed poor. The penalty was a near-perfect height to save, and he didn't look too steady over some of those shots taken at his most intimate place. :-D

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Characterization and Writing

I would like to say that this is the extra factor I focus on, when judging series especially: characterization. Do I use the dictionary definition? I've checked it before, and I think it is. But what I mean by the word, is described simplest as the manner in which the characters feel rich and real, perhaps like real-life friends and people you've met.

Shakespeare certainly had a VERY elegant command of his created personas. He's considered pretty good, but at school at times, until varsity, I felt he was overrated.

Like a great many things, I realized I was wrong. I think the reason why he should be considered superb, doesn't come across well in our culture or education. He made PLAYS. They were meant to be seen, and are best appreciated today as plays (never been to one) or films. Actually, just writing this, I realized you obviously need BOTH. Literature, plus visuals. There's no point to only teaching the written work. Even a real script would be much better than what most had.

I was lucky enough to have so many options at my disposal. Thanks, Mom and Dad! Films, books, Cliff- and Sparknotes, comic book depictions, the Internet, miaow. I HAD MANY.

Listen to this! It's the great Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant riffing about writing and it's funny as hell: :-D 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 XFM - Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais freestyle riffing about writing



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So the show and many other things have inspired me. Yesterday morning, I had a blast writing this back-story for my coming D&D campaign. It all flowed pretty easily, and multiple re-readings have convinced me that it is...legit(?). Do you have any opinion?

PLEASE DON'T read on if you're gonna be playing in my campaign. It's not the END OF THE WORLD if you read this, it will give you a lot of info, but too much perhaps. It contains MANY SPOILERS. You've been warned. :-)


























SPOILERS












Abstract

Whole campaign set in the pulpy world of Eberron. It builds to the final BATTLE WITH A DEVIL COMMANDER, AFTER AN encounter with a PROTO-DRAGON. Both are products of Khyber, directly and indirectly respectively. Heroes have to contend with much more than just Khyber's agents. Treacherous Zeniphersians (Couatl) feature heavily in this. Much like World War II, will the heroes ultimately end up saving THE WHOLE WORLD?

"The Dragons of Eberron are different from mainstream D&D ones.
Dragons in Eberron were one of the first races, if not the first. They fought the creatures of Khyber in the Demon Wars that were the first epic conflict of the world. The war ended when the good guys, the   Dragons, bound all of the horrors of the conflict underneath the planet's surface."
http://eberron.wikia.com/wiki/Dragon

Villains


Khyber

Dragons are like humans in that you get good ones, evil ones, and BRUTALLY EVIL ones. Khyber was/is a dragon of the latter kind. Think Hitler.
During the Age of Dragons, the great dragon Eberron trapped the evil dragon Khyber within it's unholy self, after Khyber slew their brother Siberys. Khyber's last act of defiance was to give birth to a host of fiends, ALONG WITH A SMATTERING OF DEVILS...
It was the UR-DRAGON Khyber's last hope that these minions would destroy the descendants of Siberys and Eberron.

Gastrronasza 

G(h)ASTR^RONasza (say it in an near Eastern European accent, breathy almost-whispered beginning, harsh and guttural “R”) is a colossal dragon and was sired by the spawn of the epically evil archdragon, Khyber. The entire world below the surface, the subterranean realm, still uses the name Khyber.

It is said greedy G(h)ASTR^RONasza gained his immense size through the constant consumption of prey. Unfortunately, his insatiable appetite for anything foreshadowed his current state. The pseudo cannibalization of a fiend allied with him, a Rakshasa, corrupted G(h)ASTR^RONasza's very essence, distorting his body and increasing his already vast size plus his twisted nature.

His lair's impressive size was made possible by the temporary low population of the world down below along with his GREED. Not only that, the HOARD he nests on is said to be that of a type of oligarch. It's magnitude is literally unknown, but rumoured to be of incredibly vast proportions. Anything that can be put to good use? After aeons of being bathed in pure insidious thoughts, do you think mundane items can remain immune and untouched? 

Delibaashixx

DEVIL COMMANDER, prefers to be addressed, in a worshipful tone, AS “ME DEVIL LORD,” not a derisive "Prince". NO SURPRISE that Dragons call him “PRINCE”. He is Delibaashixx, a Balor and a.k.a. The PRINCE/DEVIL of Lies.

Delibaashixx stands about 12 metres tall. His skin is usually an intense dark red. He weighs roughly 666 gigapounds. He is shrouded in ancient arcane pentagram ritualism. He has miraculously and unfortunately survived reckoning since being unleashed on civilization by Khyber.


TIMELINE ------------>

Age of Devils

10,000,000 years ago, in an exceptionally traumatic period of Eberron's history, the fiends succeeded, and composed of primarily the Rakshasa along with a renegade faction of ever-treacherous couatl, the Zeniphersians, the fiends overran the world of Eberron. That's not to even mention the OVERWHELMING DEVIL COMMANDERS. The only knowledge known of them by what exists on Eberron now, is related to their penetration of the world's resistance, BY THE LEGIONS.This rendered battlefields forever more as ancient-looking sites of palpable evil. Thus began the AGE OF DEVILS.
The fiends, in control of Eberron, turned the world into a fiery hell. High in power amongst the fiends were the Rakshasa, Zeniphersian Couatl (and priests who managed to summon them) and the DEVIL COMMANDERS, of course.

The revolt of the dragons

Not completely obliterated, though inhabiting a wasteland, the dragons hid from their demon rulers, living in a primitive state. However, 1,500,000 years ago, the dragons discovered what would be called the Draconic Prophecy. They began to build upon this knowledge, and began to fight against the demonic presence. They found other allies that had also survived; most importantly: the LOYAL couatl. Once they became powerful enough, the dragons and LOYAL COUATL joined forces and attacked the POWERS OF EVIL that inhabited Eberron.
100,000 years ago, the couatl finally came good and sacrificed most of their race to send the more powerful of the fiends back down to Khyber, to be trapped for eternity. This was after they betrayed truth and justice for their own reward during the prior Age of Devils.

The Loyal Couatl

The Loyal Couatl are so-called since only they resisted the temptation brought by the unclean minions and remained true to their progenitor, Siberys's cause. They were not like the dirty Zeniphersians. The prevailing opinion amongst scholars of such things, is that the Couatl species doesn't lend themselves to beneficent actions. They have to harden and repel their impure thoughts, like monks atop an icy inaccessible monastery would do. In exchange for this sacrifice, they appear to be able to tap into legendary pockets of deep magic. They were an instrumental ally to the dragons during the counter-offensive triggered by the Age of Devils, once they finally embraced a magnanimous attitude.

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I would really like to hear ANY criticism, feedback, inconsistencies, discrepancies, anything that makes you go, "Huh??" I know this won't make much coherent sense, but it's an experiment. :-)