Monthly Archives: October 2015

Decomposition of the 5-7-5s: A Breakdown of Haiku Mixtape

I briefly mentioned my Haiku Mixtape project in September. It came from an old pastime I’d do when something I’d listen would spring concepts in my head. Haikus by traditon are pastoral, although modern poets are expanding the subject matter. One interesting example of this is the Times Haiku Tumblr blog that posts haikus taken from the New York Times.

Why I decided to go into the details of my mixtape, I have no idea – pobably for future reference. The blog’s background comes from a Detroit Times article, if I recall correctly. The fonts I use are all free, most from 1001 Free Fonts. As for the haikus, I have them saved in two locations: an Evernote note and a Word document file. The Evernote is for when I’m listening to something outside of home and need to jot it down somewhere with no internet access. The Word doc is the primary file where I play around with fonts before I paste them in the Photoshop files. I have a master Evernote page for mixtape images that serve as backgrounds.

Here’s the latest haiku:

I loosely used the first line in the song lyrics – the word “napalm” – and then based it from that. Then I based this image of a very angry punk. I went through about three edits before I decided on this one. I almost considered switching to another Iggy Pop song after I heard it at a bar on a memorable night. I may still consider writing a haiku from it so I won’t divulge the song title.

I also post the haikus in my deviantArt account just as an excuse to update to old thing – I haven’t in such a long time and since I’m making some semblance of new content I figured it made sense to. You’ll see a new one sometime tonight or tomorrow. Happy listening.

Super Villain Cover Letter (A Flash Fiction Piece)

[Note: I wrote this quite a while back and posted it on my deviantArt account. On account of my friend Emma Larkins putting up her Flash Fiction Fridays, I decided to put this up here. Enjoy.]

To Whom/What It May Concern:

I am applying for the position of Lead Torturer in your Destruction League Headquarters. I have attached my resume and accompanying media  for your review.

I  am going to have to put some of the photos enclosed into perspective. First off, I want you to know that despite the amount of blood in the first four photos, I am very well organized and neat individual. I cleaned that room up in less than twenty minutes and held another subject in there within the hour. I have a turnover rate of 15 victims per day, which I believe meets your  postings requirement of 10 VPD. I am also a trained surgeon with 6+ years in hostile organ removal.

My equipment needs are very minimal, as I like to work with my own tools. I hold the patents to seven devices, many of them designed for victims with higher pain thresholds and are well within Good Torture Practices.

I have included a video with some of my freelance work. As you can see,  the subject was able to clearly speak while being bored  in twelve different locations by mini-drills (one of my creations). The meat hooks were specially designed by me to inflict the maximum amount of pain while reducing the tear on the skin.

I am highly motivated and willing to work in any environment, and I am also incredibly independent. I normally work out a a refrigerated eighteen-wheeler, but I can accommodate to working in a more permanent environment.  Supervision under one of the senior partners is preferred. If I am handed off to middle management I will not hesitate in flaying them.

My references will be more than enough to help you make your consideration. Due to the nature of my work, most of these people know me by different names. The Crimson Death Squad knew me as Evisceraptor, while the Morgue Group put “Flay Master” on all my checks.  Most places will know who you are talking about if you mention Percy, though.

I hope to hear from you soon.

The Purity of Narcos and Narco Novelas

I started watching Narcos, the Netflix drama on the DEA’s war against Pablo Escobar. I’m more than halfway through and so far the show is very engaging and well-shot with a good cast (the voice-over work can be a bit much at times, however). Wagner Moura’s performance as Escobar captures a brooding mood that is very different from other portrayals of the Colombian drug titan than I’m used to seeing. However, there was something amiss as I continued watching. Sure, the translation was more than serviceable and the on-location shooting was pristine. But the total product wasn’t pure.

Regular American viewers have memories of Breaking Bad and The Wire as the destination for drug-heavy TV drama. That’s not always the case for Spanish-speaking viewers. From there comes the path of narco cinema and narco corridos, movies and music glorifying the drug trade. Narco cinema has its roots firmly in the B-movie aesthetic, with its shoddy film-making and even more suspect acting. But something intriguing happened when those themes crossed the border into TV. What came is an interesting hybrid that takes the format of telenovelas and the spirit of low-rent Mexican/Colombian drug movies. Instead of 15-20 some-odd episodes, you have shows past 60. All romantic arcs of forbidden love are replaced with plots of violence, treachery and the drug lord’s lust for power. These narco-novelas are international productions with huge fanbases both in both the Americas.

Narcos also has all of those ingredients, but why didn’t it appeal to me more than the narco-novela have? It’s a simple matter of creative authenticity. The best example comes from El Cartel de los Sapos, a narco-novela from a while back that set the tone for many others. Yes, the acting could be lacking at times, but the dialogue was so true to the character of the drug lords, the sicarios, and others that one can’t help but feel more engrossed in their actions. What made it standout was the source material that came from author/screenwriter Andres Lopez. He wrote the show based on his novel, inspired on his experience as a drug trafficker, and made the right adaptation to TV – something very similar to what David Simon did with his journalism experience and The Wire.

But the very truth of narco novelas isn’t that they are critically acclaimed. The shows tread a very fine line between schlock and gritty realism, most of the time veering to the former. It’s popcorn entertainment at its core, but the inherent feeling of a deeper reality, even when it digs into its telenovela roots, makes it better. And the quality is increasing – Escobar, el Patron del Mal, was a 2012 sprawling drug series entailing the life of the kingpin. Like Narcos, it was made on location, but this time it was created by Colombian television, not only adding to the authenticity but the controversy in glorifying the man. Telemundo’s hit show El Señor de los Cielos has stepped up its game every season – the fact it even has seasons shows its strength, most novelas are standalone stories – and constantly evolves from its barely-autobiographical story of a high-flying drug lord to the show’s conversion of real-life drug icons into fictionalized villains, all the way to the use of the 2014 mass kidnapping  of Mexican students as a plot point.

So while it is exciting that Netflix made its route for audience-addicting drug television, know this – there’s been other, more established paths bringing in a product that is superior in some ways, even when they get over-the-top. Enjoy its trashiness, because within it lies a truth you may not find in the classy veneer of the other.