“Zebraman” Review

I’ve got a new review up on Basement Jockeys of Takashi Miike’s Zebraman, which he did right before 13 Assassins (my review of which you can also find on Basement Jockeys).  Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City is currently in post-production, but I’ll be sure to do a follow-up review of that . . . whenever it’s released in the US, that is.

Anyway, check it out: Zebraman Teaches its Audience the Power of Believing, but without all that Hokey Bullshit.

As always, I hope you enjoy it.

Be sure to check back on Sunday for a new exercise!

UPDATE: The site Basement Jockey’s is no longer in existence.  Below is a reproduction of the original Zebraman review.

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Writing Off the Page– Haiku by Yayu (“Sneezing”)

This is another writing off the page exercise from Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg.  The idea is to pick a line of poetry, and use that as a first line for a story.  This is the beginning of a story I got from a complete haiku poem by Yokoi Yayu.  I may or may not finish it later.  As always, enjoy!

Sneezing, I lost sight of the skylark.  I realized then that I’d been sitting on the park bench for the better part of twenty minutes.

I had been on my way to a meeting that my father insisted I go to.  I’m an only child; after I was born (and it was confirmed I was a boy) Dad said he didn’t need any other kids.  I sometimes wonder if this is how royal children felt during the days of monarchy—born and raised to a specific purpose, with no choice in the matter.  Instead of running a country, I’m supposed to run my father’s company.

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You Pick the Exercise

I’ve done two exercises on this site so far that have just been suggested to me by others: one from a work friend and one from my boyfriend.  And, as silly as the subject matter was on those exercises, they proved to be the most challenging to me as a writer.  Furthermore, they’ve been the most enjoyable to write.

I’m announcing in this post that you–the reader–should feel free to post suggestions.  Anything you’d like to see written, or see an example of, post below and I’ll write it for you (and, of course, credit your idea).  Suggest by commenting on this post, or any other posts.  I look forward to what you have in store!

“Jilted for a Videogame Character”– An Exercise in Obsession

This is an exercise inspired by Natalie Goldberg, who suggested in Writing Down the Bones that obsessions make a good source of inspiration.  I tried to write about my own obsessions, and couldn’t make anything come out.  Joe was practicing “Ultimate Street Fighter Four” in the other room; lately it’s been his obsession to master the game.  I remembered something one of my friends had complained about years ago, when her boyfriend was obsessing over another game: “I swear, any day now he’s going to leave me for ‘Final Fantasy XII!'”  So, I wrote about that, using the obsession and anxiety we all feel for and about our significant others.  Funny thing is, after I wrote this, I realized my own obsession with literature played out more than anything else.

As always, enjoy!

My boyfriend Albert left me for a video game character whose breasts defy physics.

I shouldn’t have taken that crack at her breasts.  She’s not a bad person, considering that she’s from a fighting game.  Yuki—Albert’s new girlfriend—uses ninja techniques to take down agents from an evil corporation bent on enslaving humanity.  Not really that bad a person—even with her home-wrecker status, she’s a lot more selfless than I am.  I just work in a bookstore and whine about narcissistic assholes who happen to be our customers.  I can see why Albert left me for Yuki.

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Writing Off the Page– All Souls’ Night by William Butler Yeats

This is another exercise coming to you from Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg.  In it, she suggests grabbing a line of poetry, and starting a story with it.  (Her friend called it “writing off the page.”)  I took this line from “All Souls’ Night,” by William Butler Yeats.  This is the beginning of a story I may continue later, thought probably without the first line.  Enjoy!

Midnight has come, and the great Christ Church Bell and many a lesser bell sound through the room.  The lights from the street shine into the room, and make my curtains glow with iridescent light.  The curtains themselves shift slightly from the air outside; they look like some spirit that’s not sure if it wants to stay or go.

Living in a Catholic country for a few months has made me superstitious.  I was raised by atheists, so Catholicism is just as exotic to me as any pagan magical ritual: praying around a rosary is like mumbling an incantation, burning incense at the altar is casting a spell, and the saints are all like the lesser deities—a pantheon of piety.

I realize it’s Halloween, and no one cares.  A town like Mendoza, Argentina has no need for that holiday.  October 31st means spring is coming; and spring is about resurrection, not death.

I suddenly have the urge to visit a graveyard, or some other place of death.  The Catholics of Mexico leave offerings for their loved ones, and they light candles so the souls don’t get lost wandering in the darkness.  I should go somewhere people have died, and light a candle for their souls; no one else will.  Besides which, my power wasn’t going to come back any time soon, and I was sick of reading by flashlight.

I tossed some scented candles from my bathroom into my bag, grabbed the matches off my gas stove, and went out into the street.  The only working electricity on the block was from the emergency street lights.  In their harsh light, you couldn’t distinguish the buds of leaves and blossoms growing on the trees; the trees just silhouetted crooked and knurly.

Not knowing of any cemeteries within town, I head to Parque de General San Martín, just a few blocks away from my apartment.  The metal steps echo as I leave my entrance to hit the street.  Parque San Martin is located just before the foothills of the Andes Mountains.  There’s a memorial (thought it’s really more of a monument) up one of these foothills, just behind the park, called Cerro de Gloria.  It’s dedicated to the people of the region who helped the famous General San Martin cross the Andes with his soldiers.  It’s also a memorial dedicated to the people who died for independence from Spain.  I figure if there are still souls wandering lost after dying in battle over a century ago, they need the guidance the most.


First Line Exercise–Sheila and the Dolphins

Seems I’m posting all sorts of late this week! 

This is an exercise I got from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.  She got it from another writer, Russell Edson, and in one of my writing classes at Webster we expanded on it.  The idea is to write out a few sentences that could be could first lines for a story.  Then, after some time, go back, pick a line, and start a story.  Here are my sentences, and the beginning of a story I came up with from one of them.  I may come back with some expansions of the other lines.

Anyway, enjoy the post, and I’ll have something new this Sunday!

-I’m just saying, if you have a stomach strong enough to eat raw fish, does it really matter if the sushi cooler is two degrees warmer than it should be?

-Beating the health inspector to a pulp seemed like a good idea.

-I first questioned my sanity when the empty soda cans on my desk performed a musical number.

-Sheila didn’t trust rapists or dolphins.

-It seemed to Mark that all a lease really meant was that he was legally agreeing to be metaphorically screwed up the butthole—although he didn’t use those exact words when he confronted his landlord.

-Sensuality was too dangerous a topic for Americans—fortunately, Marie was French.


Shelia didn’t trust rapists or dolphins.  She didn’t trust rapists because they sexually violated others, and she didn’t trust dolphins for the same reason.  But, if she was in a situation where she was forced to pick on or the other, she’d pick dolphins.  Dolphins didn’t rape outside their species, and even if they did . . . well.  See those bastards try to get her on dry land.

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Exercise–The Action of a Sentence

I switched this up a bit, and instead of The Fiction Writer’s Workshop, this is an exercise from Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg.  This exercise first has you list ten to fifteen nouns, and–without looking at the nouns–pick a profession and make a list of verbs associated with that profession.  The idea is to help writers find original verb use, and to break through some constraints on language.  Here are the lists of my nouns and verbs, with the sentences I came up with.

As always, enjoy!

Nouns: Picture, Computer, Pen, Speaker, Boy, Drum-Set, Chair, Counter, Hawk, Pool, Rail, Wind Chime

Associated Verbs of the Profession of Sushi Chef: Roll, Cut, Pool, Mix, Cool, Wrap, Sprinkle, Sanitize, Stick, Slice

1)      When someone tapped the mouse, the darkness of the computer screen sprinkled over by the desktop.

2)      The boy had to peel himself out of the pool, so resistant was he to leave it on such a hot day.

3)      Frustrated with her drawing, the girl sliced her pen over the picture.

4)      The mixing of the wind chimes in the breeze seemed to sanitize the poison of tension for those who were stuck to its harmony.

5)      The drum set wrapped its rhythm over the music rolling out of the speaker.

6)      The silhouette of the rail cut into the background of the sky.

7)      The hawk cooled its wings riding the torrents of the air.