Friday, February 26, 2010

Some more

Jurassic Park: Cake edition

Be George Bailey!

My wonderful friend John asked me to provide some tips for single men for his Glamour column. Click here to see!

Also, alert: I am posting semi-occasionally to a tumblr now. Some posts will be the same as here, others will be tumblr originals. Pretty exciting. Tumblr here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tasha Robinson

Let's get one thing straight right away: I am a very loyal AV Club reader/listener.

However, I feel I have to voice my respectful discord with pretty much everything Tasha Robinson has expressed in writing or podcast form. I hope she does not have a Google alert for her own name (I do for mine, so don't talk shit about me! Or that Christian pre-school teacher also named Becky Ferreira!). Even though everything to come is mild, I'd still feel guilty. Please, you know I would not post bitterness against any AV Club writer without much consternation first. I have seriously consterned over this.

Some qualifiers: I no longer know whether I actually disagree at heart; I just know that I am on whatever side she's not. There's a reason for this. Over the course of my AV Club fandom, I have read a lot of her articles. I am a devoted AV Talk subscriber. She has made many points that I find boring or most often, just blandly irrelevant. She'll shy away just when the discussions get interesting. Even so, she's usually mere increments off of what I actually believe, but she's far enough often enough to consistently annoy me, especially in contrast to the rest of the AV Club writers. I've developed a sort of Pavlovian conditioning to her work; I am so used to being irritated that it doesn't matter whether I agree with her or not anymore. Just as the dog salivates when exposed to certain stimuli, so too will I take the contrary opinion of whatever she says. She's that person I sometimes run into at parties who seems completely nice and smart and cool and yet for some reason, I want to argue her into the ground about everything.

By the way, I am convinced Keith Phipps feels the same way. The more AV Talk I listen to, the more frustrated he seems with her. I fully accept that this is probably wanton projection, but in the Tooth Fairy and Shutter Island podcasts, he does seem genuinely irritated when she misconstrues what he's just said (which, in my obviously biased opinion, she does at least twice in each podcast).

I've felt this way about Tasha Robinson for months, but it took something special to actually goad me enough to post about it. Like I said, she's smart and clearly awesome: I respect her. She's just becoming my nemesis is all, and a week or so back, she really took the plunge into arch enemy territory. In anticipation of Valentine's day, the AV Club posted a Q&A called "Falling Out of Love Hard" about things the staff writers loved at a certain stage in their lives but that didn't hold up later. Great choices abounded, such as Lost in Translation (proud to say I always hated it!), American Beauty and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Tasha Robinson's choice? THE CURE. The motherfucking CURE! Now, you may already know this, but I love me some Cure. I don't think I qualify as a mega-fan of any band (have you seen the shit real mega-fans do?) but if I were, that band would be the Cure. The Cure is the only band that has remained a staple since I first started getting into music all the way through to today, with the exception of Queen. However, Robert Smith comes slightly closer to touching my soul than Freddie Mercury, which is crazy, because if you read this blog, you'll know that about a month ago Freddie Mercury actually hitchhiked in the backseat of my soul for a while. Well, Robert Smith has been hanging out in that backseat since 1994.

Anyway, I'll let Tasha speak for herself:

The first thing that leaps to mind for me is The Cure. I discovered them in college, which was maybe already a little too far past my mopey, lovesick, self-absorbed-pain phase of life for them to really hit the emotional sweet spot of a band that says what you’re thinking. At the same time, they were something new for me: I’d never been into punk, I’d never heard of goth, and I’d never heard music that touched on so many genres at once. It was like finding a Rosetta Stone that let me translate between the pop I was used to and all the music I’d never been exposed to and was just then discovering. I listened to The Cure a lot for a couple of years. And then… I moved on. Fairly recently, I saw some cheap Cure CDs and picked them up and re-exposed myself, and lo and behold, what once seemed innovative and deep and emotional now just sounded like a bunch of samey whining. The music hasn’t changed, but I have; that’s just how it goes.

The thing that frustrates me so much is that once again, she is only a few degrees off of articulating something great (ie. my opinion), and then just veers off into awful-land. Of course, one of the reasons the Cure is so great is that they evoke so many genres in their songs, and she really summarizes that perfectly. Similar to Tarantino, Robert Smith really wants you to geek out about recognizing homages to his music idols in his work. He wants you to seek out his influences, and he wants the musicians he inspires to have a broad tapestry to draw from. She gets it! She momentarily gets the Cure! Then she fumbles, hard!

One of the things that has always astonished me about people's perception of the Cure is that they are, in her words, a band of "samey whining." They are viewed as just this moody goth band for teens. I'm aware that a lot of their songs live up to that reputation (though I would argue those songs are way better than most moody goth songs for teens). But for fuck's sake, people! This is the band that gave us great slow punk songs like "Accuracy" and great sexy synth songs like "Let's Go to Bed" and so many great ecstatically happy pop songs like "Just Like Heaven," "Hot Hot Hot," Close to Me" and "Friday I'm in Love." My favourite Cure songs represent just how un-samey Robert Smith is, and obvzzz, I'm prepared to provide examples. First of all "The Lovecats." I'm sorry, but try to find a song like that anywhere. Come back to me with a song that sounds like "The Lovecats." Deliver that to my doorstep, world. It's one of the weirdest, coolest songs ever written! IT ENDS IN A MEOW CRESCENDO!!! And there's another favourite, "Wrong Number," which is basically proof that Robert Smith went into space at some point and wrote a pop song there. Of course, there's also "Why Can't I Be You?" which spends a decent amount of time being my favourite pop song, frequently usurping "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen or "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5 for the spot. Seriously, if you've never listened to "Why Can't I Be You?" do yourself a favour and buy it right now, and feel like you are on a billion hits of ecstasy for three minutes and fifteen seconds.

And the song that got me into the Cure, the song that has remained my favourite song if I had to name a favourite song, not just from the Cure but FROM ANY BAND EVER: "Lullaby." Heard it when I was around 10 or 11 and loved music thereafter. It has insinuated itself so far into the fabric of my neurons that I still have recurring dreams about giant spiders with candy cane legs invading snowy Who-like towns in the night. Bear in mind that at around the same time I got into the Cure, I was also obsessed with Tim Burton movies, especially Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. So I really had no choice but to have recurring dreams about giant spiders with candy cane legs invading snowy Who-like towns.

Listen, I get growing out of bands. The band I listened to the most in junior high was Our Lady Peace and the band I listened to the most in high school was Nine Inch Nails (hands fucking down!). I grew out of both, with the exception of Pretty Hate Machine. Seriously guys, that's still an amazing album! My BFF Chris Dingwall knows it, and I know it, and that's really all that should matter.

But this claim that the Cure didn't change, while Tasha Robinson did: it irks me. The Cure is one of those special bands like the Beatles, Queen, Springsteen or Led Zep that doesn't need to change. Digression: "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" was one of my favourite songs when I was a kid, because kids love fantastical imagery and the otherworldly soundscapes. Also, my sister's name is Lucy, and I took it very literally to be a song about her going diamond-hunting in space. The song didn't change, but it meant something different to me as a pseudo-rebellious teenager, when I knew LSD had actually catalyzed the fantastical element. It means something different to me again today: an awesome ballad about the joy of exploration. The song will continue to accrue meanings for as long as I return to it, and it will also never lose the past meanings. It's still a song about my sister finding diamonds in the stars as much as it is a discovery song. The song doesn't change, but it doesn't have to. Who does Tasha Robinson think she is, demanding that the Cure change with her?

The first time I listened to "Lullaby," I liked it because it reminded me of Danny Elfman. Today, I have put layers upon layers of new meanings on that song, and tomorrow I'll dump even more on it. You have a relationship with a band not dissimilar to the kind you have with a person. That's why when bands make music we love, we feel understood, and when they stop making music we love, we feel cheated.

And that's the thing that bugs me about Tasha Robinson's falling-out-of-love with the Cure: it doesn't seem like she was ever genuinely in love with the Cure. She is judging them by the stereotype pinned to them by outsiders, who have noticed Robert Smith loves to wear make-up and black clothes and extrapolate (very incorrectly!) from there. And I think it's what bothers me about her generally. I follow the AV Club because I love being an uber-fan of uber-fans. I love nerding out over nerds nerding out. Tasha Robinson has never persuaded me that she's an uber-fan of anything. She never has that excitement in her voice on the podcast, and her reviews are flat out clinical. I'm having serious doubts about whether she's actually a nerd at all. In fact, I'm pretty positive she's not. I think she's just a smart, calm person pretending to be a nerd, a wolf in geek's clothing.

As Robert Smith would say, "HEY! HEY! HEY! Yes, I like it when that lightning comes/ HEY! HEY! HEY! Yes, I like it a lot/ HEY! HEY! HEY! Yes, I'm jumping like a jumping jack/ Dancing, screaming, itching, squealing, fevered feeling HOT HOT HOT!"

Those lyrics mean something to me because I'm a fan, bitch.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Important Scientific Advances

The lovely and talented Dru Johnston has allowed me the opportunity to guest blog on his awesome website Year of the Blog. Please do check it out - Dru has been creating a new blog every day since last April which means he has been unfailingly hilarious DAILY for almost a full 365 days. The only other person that's that funny that often is Jerry from accounting with all his googly eyes and whoopee cushions! What a cut-up!

I blogged about an emerging new field called paleocosmology: the study of dinosaur activity in outer space. If this fascinating new discipline piques your interest, you can read more about it here. I will be posting new discoveries as they come.

Also, I want to note that today I stepped into an elevator with a man and his dog. You know what I bet dogs think when they ride elevators? That the elevator is a box to hide in while the entire world outside rapidly changes. The door doesn't slide open to a different floor. That's a whole new world they step out into.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What do we want? FRY'S DOG! When do we want it? FRY'S DOG!

Every so often, my favourite Futurama episode's last scene pops back into my head and I'm suddenly filled with bittersweetness.


PS. I apologize for the alarming increase in posts about bittersweetness recently. I think I am in a feedback loop for bittersweetness. I can't say whether or not it's a positive or negative feedback loop because with bittersweetness, it's both and neither.

PPS. Bittersweetness is probably not an actual noun.

PPPS. Bender: (after retrieving Seymour) And that's why they call me Bender the magnificent! (eyes melt) Hey! Where'd everybody go?


I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


"I like...I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get."

-Del Griffith to Neal Page, 1987

If you don't tear up a little when John Candy delivers this line, then I am sorry to be the one to inform you that you are a robot parading around as a human. And you're not a Wall-E/Iron Giant/Nufonia Robot. No way. They'd all get it. They'd tear up together in a heartfelt robot lovefest.

Shit, you're not even a Terminator; at least it had a CPU programmed to adapt and learn about its environment, which includes learning about how moving Del Griffith asserting his dignity can be. You also can't pass as a Roomba, ever since Tom Haverford introduced the adorable and charismatic DJ Roomba to the world in what is my second favourite Parks and Recreation moment (it does not beat the sugar rush dance party).

You're basically just some boring appliance, like a can opener, hair dryer or a toaster oven. Like I said, sorry to have to be the one to inform you. Now open this soup can, robot!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Brautigan

Mating Saliva
by Richard Brautigan

A girl in a green mini-
skirt, not very pretty, walks
down the street.

A businessman stops, turns
to stare at her ass
that looks like a moldy

There are now 200,000,000 people
in America.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Been thinking about this character a little lately. He is one of only three people who gets eaten by a raptor in the movie. He is also the only white person to be eaten by a raptor. I don't know if that's circumstance or raptor preference. Well, I can make inferences. The raptors looked like they were really into eating Tim and Lex, and the one that ate Arnold (Samuel L. Jackson) would totes have eaten Sattler too, if she hadn't somehow outrun it despite her broken foot and Laura Dern-specific hysteria. So probably circumstance. Still, there are only two black characters and both are raptor'd. Slightly suspicious.

Anyway, the point is, Muldoon is underrated, because you have the strong personalities of Ian Malcolm, John Hammond, Alan Grant and Dennis Nedry to deal with, so it's hard to see this secondary character for the gem that he is. He has three wonderful moments in the movie. Priceless, beautiful lines. The first is in the opening scene, with his frenzied shriek of "SHOOOT HER!!!" as the first black victim of a raptor is being dragged into the raptor box. It is as intense as Muldoon ever gets, including his own death.

The second line is my favourite from him. Muldoon is not onboard with the whole park idea, and probably never has been. He's doing his job, and you get the sense he does it with reluctance. After all, nobody knows the raptors like he does. Grant may be the scientific expert, but none of the fossils he's unearthed have ever pulled a living man out of his hands and into a raptor box for violent consumption. You know? That changes a dude! So when Muldoon is describing how the raptors never test the same part of the fence twice, warning ominously that "they remember," (that's it; my favourite line from him) the scene gets really weighty. Muldoon's been watching the raptors and learning about them, but he also recognizes that the raptors are watching him and learning how to systematically test for vulnerabilities in their captivity. Muldoon and the raptors have been facing off for a long time. Like, literally facing off: actually just staring at each other and becoming insane with rage and respect on both ends. That's definitely my interpretation of it, but this is my blog, so don't even try to revoke my poetic license.

The last line is his most famous. Having been tricked into following a decoy raptor while the alpha raptor stalks him to his left, Muldoon realizes that he has been outsmarted and the battle of wits is finally over. He congratulates the raptor like the gentleman he is, saying "clever girl" and then he gets his head chomped on really hard, and the rest is obscured by a palm frond.

That's a really good story arc for a secondary character. I'd like to see more Muldoons in other movies, regardless of genre. It would be a genuine motivator. If the Valentine's Day poster had a Muldoon in one of its little star boxes, I'd think about going, instead of thinking about puking just a little bit on each individual A-lister.

Make Way for Make Way for Tomorrow

The last time I was in LA, my friend Simon took me to the Billy Wilder Theater to see something called "Curated by Guy Maddin." You know what it was? Two old movies Guy Maddin wanted us to see. Simon knows exactly what is aces. He is also the discoverer of the Institute of Jurassic Technology; I'm convinced it didn't exist until he saw it.

The first movie was called Secrets, and was awesome and schmaltzy and ridiculous and very, very full of Mary Pickford. It's not the one I care so much about.

The second was Make Way for Tomorrow, and is is the one I care very much about. It seriously made my soul explode. It is the most wonderfully sad film ever made. You may say, "that's a huge assertion, Becky. You haven't seen every sad movie there is." And I'd say "F*ck you! That's the kind of bullshit someone who hasn't seen this movie would say!" I'd apologize to you for overreacting, but I'd still secretly know if you were in my position, you'd have been just as passionate about it, and would have used as many if not more expletives in your response.

After I glued my exploded soul back together, I was to be further disappointed to find that this movie wasn't available on DVD. Now, Criterion has solved this problem for me, and given me a Seth-illustrated cover to boot. Please do yourself a favour and buy this movie. I don't want to ruin anything so I'll only say this: you will feel feelings.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mum, Don't Read This Post!

Last summer, my awesome friend Aaron Strate introduced me to Aidonia and I have listened to this song about once a week since then. It's been in my head so often that I've sort of started just singing it under my breath on the streets and the subway. I don't even try to emulate his accent, so it ends up that I just really clearly state that "she had the tight pussy walk." I'd be embarrassed except I kinda think I'm pulling the badassery off.

Fuck It

The "it" to be fucked is my resolution to post less dinosaurs, made less than five hours ago. Guess what else I've made since then? THIS!

Reinforce my Identity!

If you are someone who likes me and has hundreds of dollars to burn, please consider giving me one of the below gifts.

Incidentally, I am going to try to restrict how much I post about dinosaurs, because even I can see it's becoming unhealthy. However I can guarantee you that even with my awareness of the problem, I will ultimately always fail to curb dinosaur posts.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Some days, you wake up from a dream where you had rockets in your butt cheeks, and you just have to accept that the day will probably be lived under that rather crippling shadow.