Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Times They Are A-Changin'

The Format for A Complicated Viking Tale for the New Year:

Music Mondays

Top Five Tuesdays

No Post Wednesdays

Prolific Thursdays

Friday Night/Saturday Morning Rambles

Bleeding Heart Sundays

I guess we'll see how this endeavor works.

Joel Samson Berntsen(Open Sea Theme- Sven Libaek)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Transforming Bad Habits

I’m a lazy basterd. Forgive me.
I’m still wheezing, but let’s forgot about that whole posting massacre.

I’m here to simply to check in and make promises. Promises saying there will be considerable more writing in the coming year. But that’s not till we hit January 1st.

Closing notes: there’s only one redeeming quality of Transformers and that’s the fact that Shia is wearing a The Strokes t-shirt. However, I believe the shirt is only there to soften the attitudes of those cultured in cinema, acting, and music.

Joel Samson Berntsen (The Strokes- Meet Me In The Bathroom)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

25 Days to Control Uncontrollable Wheezing (Days 4-6)

(Day 4)

I did no direct physical activity on this day. I did, however, do an extensive, bizarre photo shoot, which takes more out of you than you'd think. I might post pictures.

(Day 5)

I had an eight hour shift at work. Nuff said.

(Day 6)

I played soccer with a couple guys from the soccer team for a couple hours. And I'm about to lift some weights. Woo physical activity!

Joel Samson Berntsen (The Verve- Bittersweet Symphony)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

25 Days to Control Uncontrollable Wheezing (Day 3)


I went to school and work today. It was arctic cold outside, which I feel should be a legitimate excuse, but it’s not. Spontaneous dancing did occur. I’ve decided that really doesn’t count though.

Better luck tomorrow.

Joel Samson Berntsen (The silence of a still house)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

25 Days to Control Uncontrollable Wheezing (Day 2)

The weather outside was terrible, rainy, and cold. There’s been predictions of snow, so I opted to stay indoors.

Instead I: Did an onslaught of pull-ups at various times throughout my small workout of crunches and holding weights in air. I also lifted some. Exciting stuff.

I started to jump rope when Robyn’s Cobra style came on. I did a spontaneous dance number that involved lots of running around and jumping. When it was over, I got a glass of water. Then, Out of the Blue by Julian Casablancas came on, so I did another spontaneous number. It was nice.

Progress is being made.

Joel Samson Berntsen(David Bowie- Cat People(Putting Out Fire))

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

25 Days to Control Uncontrollable Wheezing (Preface and Day 1)

As a child I was one of those intense, soccer hooligans that woke every Saturday morning, not to watch cartoons (those were reserved for weekdays), but to play the great sport of soccer(note: that was sarcasm). Years were spent chasing a ball around a field. And then I stopped. For no resolute reason, I moved on. It was probably the skateboarding.

ANYWAY, recently someone asked if I wanted to play for a recreational indoor league and I said, “OH GOD YES.” It’s a ramshackle team mainly composed of band geeks. We have heart and a bit of talent, but that’s not the point. The point is that after only two minutes of our first game, I was wheezing to death. I consider myself active, maybe even in shape. But there I was, on a turf field, taking breathes so deep I thought I was going to throw up the majority of my intestines.

So, I’m starting one of my new year’s resolutions a month early. Over the next 25 days, everyday, I will participate in some form of physical activity in hopes of combating this awful wheeze and getting in better shape.

(Day 1)

Today I: did pull ups; lifted some weights; more pull ups; crunches; some more pull ups; held some weights in the air; pull ups; bicycle crunches; a final batch of pull ups.

I also went on an intense late night run guided by the Christmas lights that suburbia has so proudly displayed. It was very, very awesome. Tegan and Sara’s Sainthood played through my earbuds. I felt enlightened. This can only be a good sign. Also, I now feel fantastic, in the physically sense. Yay!

Joel Samson Berntsen (Tegan and Sara- The Ocean)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Educational Disco on a Friday Night

I don’t really know what exactly prompts a spontaneous road trip to see an educational band on a Friday night, but that’s what happened.

This is how my brain remembers it:
Me: What time are we going to that Russian disco?
Brandon: Probably around dinner time…
Me: Damn. I really wanted to see They Might Be Giants tonight…
Brandon: What?! They’re here tonight?
Me: Yeah... At The Pageant.
Brandon: Let’s go!
Me: But what about Russian disco?
Brandon: We can just go earlier.
Me: (GLEE) I’ll go tell Dan!

After arriving at the Russian Disco (Surprise! I was actually serious about the Russian Disco part), we sat down for dinner because, the Russian disco is actually a Russian Shiskabob Restaurant that conveniently turns into a disco after seven. It’s named Astoria and they cook food. Real food. Food for men. It’s as if before God flooded the world, he stopped time and let the Russians of this restaurant perfect their cooking techniques on all the animals that were about to be wasted. My strong desire to appear Scottish lead to my ordering of the lamb kabob. Hm… Mutton.

Cleaning our teeth, we made our way to the Loop, bought our tickets, and made our way into a crowd primarily composed of people over the age of 30. They Might Be Giants gained fame for creating extremely catchy tunes that dealt with themes of science and education. So, the audience resembled some kind of cult science convention; glasses were everywhere (the kind that rest on your ears), lots of buttoned shirts, and a distinct absence of moshing.

The main claim of the concert was that They Might Be Giants would perform the entirety of their platinum album, Flood. Flood came out in 1990. It’s a weird experience going to a concert where everyone celebrates an album that was released before your birth.

The actual show was more or less disappointing. You could barely hear the vocals for most of the songs. They did do a brief sock puppet segment where they sang some of their children songs. That was pretty good. And they did make fun of James Cameron for a couple minutes, which was thoroughly entertaining.

The best part of the evening was after the show though. The band was handing out hundreds of bumper stickers for free. I was about to grab one, when a man with cut in front of me and started yelling at one of the guitarist. He said something to the extent of: “Thank you so much for playing fingertips because I lost a mine in an accident this week.” His hand shot up as we all stared in horror; bandages covered his hand and his pinky, ring, and middle finger were all bloody stubs. He then gave us a big, goofy grin and a giant thumbs up before slinking into the night.

Joel Samson Berntsen (What I like About You- The Romantics)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The facts: Kegs, Teachers, and Sarcasm

I work at a comic book store. There are a million things I could say about this, but the fact that I work at a comic book store is only the preface for the previous night. My boss, Steve, turned fifty-one and his wife, Carla, turned fifty, which leads to one logical conclusion: a keg party.

A keg party composed of 4/5 teachers (Carla is a teacher) and 1/5 sarcastic, middle-aged men who are occasional prone to working at a comic store. The evening, while relatively uneventful, taught me quite a number of facts.

Fact one: Teachers like to drink. I mean, sure, almost everyone likes to drink, but for some reason I never really pictured my teachers getting smashed on the weekends (except for those occasional teachers that come in hung over on Mondays).

Fact two: Some ladies are pretentious ass-holes. My boss was showing the sarcastic middle-aged men some original art-work in a room upstairs (I’m lumped into this group because while I may not be middle-aged, I am sarcastic and do work at a comic store). It was awesome, but then two ladies searching for a bathroom stumbled in and said, “What is this, a nerd convention?” They snickered and walked away. Luckily, the wittiest of our bunch called out, “Screw you…Bitch.” He dragged out the pronunciation of bitch. Unfortunately, she didn’t hear it. We still snickered.

Fact three: My boss is kind of awesome. He had bandit statue on a piano (the dog from Johnny Quest) and a set of every single ‘monster’ from Where the Wild Things Are. There are other factors that contribute to his awesomeness, like the fact that he was in David Bowie cover band, but I’ll save those for some other time…

Fact four: Don’t ever talk to the vegan guy that brings a cooler of bud select to a party where bud select is on tap.

Fact five: When you’re the only the only minor at a keg party, everyone suspects that you are constantly trying to steal alcohol. Seriously, I went to the porch to get a coke and the ten people immediately stopped talking and stared at me like I had committed a murder.

And I’ll leave it at that.

Joel Samson Berntsen (Nick Lowe-The Club)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Red on Red

In June, on my way to Washington State, they played Confessions of a Shopaholic starring Isla Fisher. Isla Fisher reminds me of Amy Adams though, so much so that I thought Isla was Amy. So, I decided to watch the movie, but instead of plugging my headphones into the headphone jack in the armrest, I chose to plug them into my Ipod.

Unfortunately, the movie was uncomprehendible without audio. One scene made perfect sense though, Isla Fisher started to fight a woman over a pair of boots. And as I was sitting there, I realized I really, really want to see a movie where Amy Adams fights someone. Now, I realize it was Fisher fighting, but I want to see Amy fight someone. And not like the tug-of-war battle in Confessions, but a full-on fist fight. I started picturing Adams getting her hair cut short, dyeing it black, and putting on a leather jacket. She would then walk into a random, dark bar looking for someone -oh, let's just say Ali Larter- tap Ali in the shoulder, and then strait sucker-punch her in the face. Brawling would ensue.

Yeah, that'd be pretty sweet. So, uh, get started on it Adams and crew.

Joel Samson Berntsen (Aspidistra-The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir)

Monday, August 24, 2009

In Case of Hate: Break Glass

"Now I don't mean to sound cold or cruel or vicious, but I am. So, that's the way it comes out." - Bill Hicks

I am a vicious person. If I don't like you, I really don't like you. I will make this as clear as possible. My tongue is sharp and I will cut you. The majority of the time, I will feel no remorse whatsoever. I've always prided myself of this, which I realize is not only a problem but completely immoral.

I do; however, feel extremely ashamed when someone I care about chastises an off-hand comment or remark that was, in all probability, completely unnecessary because it makes me appear as a cold-hearted bastard. I don't want to be bastard. I want to be personable, charming, and cunning. But there’s a fine line one walks in attempts to be cunning. It can come off as intelligent and insightful. Beware though; if that line is crossed, you’ll retain the prior words, but the characteristics of cold and cruel will start to characterize you.

This scares me. One; because I firmly believe it’s exceedingly grows harder to change who one is as they grow older and I’m almost eighteen. Two; If I think I’m cold, others must think I’m appalling.

Thinking about this has led me to one conclusion: I need to dial down my hate. I’ll almost certainly remain who I am, but I need to at least attempt to put myself in check.

Joel Samson Berntsen (With A Little Help from My Friends- The Beatles)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Checking In

Emma Watson: Gorgeous? Oh, Yes.

Rachel Getting Married: More of an experience than a film

Robyn (The Swedish pop star): Thorough Enjoyment (She sorta seems like a female Bowie)

Past Month: Pure delight mixed with discharges of exhaustion

My mother: Concerned about what people post on my facebook wall (What the hell?)

Joel Samson Berntsen (Cobrastyle-Robyn)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pleas for Sex in Hotel Bar

I'm currently vacationing in Chicago. And as I leach from the hotel wi-fi(which oddly is only available for free by the bar) there's is a couple sitting next to me. I don't see the face of either person, but the man has a thick accent. The girl is clearly American and has a whinny voice. And as I sit in this bar, my face lit up by my father's laptop, they're arguing over the merits of first date sex.

First, I hear, "I have work in the morning. I can't. I can't  believe you're asking me this."

The man mumbles in a form of jaded english, I can't really understand him. She tells him, she wants to see him again and repeats she has work in the morning. He seems unable to understand this concept. I'm only hearing their voices. She tells him to order her another shot. There's an eerie silence. He returns and the converstation quickly goes back down hill.

"How dare you! Why are you making me feel little? You're making me feel two years old."

She's getting pretty pissed off. She demands he call her a cab. There's more mumbling. I can hear the man say something about the cab. They both get up. As soon as they walk past me, shoot a glance in their direction. I only see they're backs. The lady was short and had long, blond hair. The man was about her size and Asian.

I can only imagine what this lady is going to say tomorrow when her co-worker Jane asks how her date went, "Oh, let me tell you, I think he was the biggest douchebag I've ever met in my life." They'll go on to make racist jokes.

Joel Samson Berntsen (Listening to some club mix with heavy bass)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Senior Pictures Result in Brief Spout of Depression

When I get a hair cut the following happens:
  • My ears are combed about fifty times
  • I stare and read the labels of the five hair products on the counter ninety-eight times
  • I tip(even though most of the barbers I encounter are dull-witted nincompoops who have just the a tiny morsel of skill)
  • I distress over my hair
  • I resist the urge to buy a hat that will cover both my wretched hair cut and my ridiculously large ears
  • I finally decide that it doesn't look that bad
  • I get sorta happy
Joel Samson Berntsen(Heroes-David Bowie)

Friday, July 10, 2009

I ♥ Huckabees

“When a mystery needs to be solved and it’s not a whodunit but a maze involving emotions, it requires the expertise of intellectual- and perhaps slightly kooky- detectives Vivian (Lily Tomlin) and Bernard (Dustin Hoffman). The husband and wife existential team helps untangle questions of purpose. Their client? Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman), an (environmentalist) who’s plagued by twists of fate. Co-stars Jude Law and Naomi Watts.” – Synopsis from Netflix
I ♥ Huckabees combines a particularly strange plot with fantastic acting and writing to create the most compelling movie I’ve seen in a while.
The characters are so appealing, engaging, and human that when they interact it forces the viewer to pay attention. A connection is almost immediately established with every single character. There’s a sense that you’ve encountered or met every single one of them. They’re all flawed characters but that’s the primary reason why they’re compelling; it forces the viewer to laugh and sympathize with every mistake and callow action.
Damn near every one gives a flawless performance, but a couple of actors should be pointed out. Mark Wahlberg presentation as a fire-fighter who has extreme difficulty accepting petroleum’s place in our corporate based society delivers one of the most touching, loyal characters in last ten years. Who knew that Mark Wahlberg could actually act? Jason Schwartzman and Jude law deliver with an uncanny perfection as warring enemies.
The final reason why I heart I ♥ Huckabees is how every running reference, character action, and the arguments of existentialism comes full circle in a very funny, very series manner that leaves the viewer with a lasting sense of satisfaction.
Joel Samson Berntsen (House Clouds-Liars)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I've been having an affair with another blog

I would like to modestly suggest that any readers of my blog check out the following:

I will be a regular contributor. It should be noted that my only two posts have been buried, so if you’re looking for some of my writing you’re gonna have to scroll. It should also be noted that I’m not actually gay. It’s just a hilarious title.

Joel Samson Berntsen (I’m currently hosting a double ear infection, so the music has been put on hold)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Today is a Great Day To Leer(A+ Tutoring Week Two)

I’ve been away for a while so I’d first like to conclude my A+ adventures. I don’t remember too much from week two. There were absences and a lack of actual schooling. For my last day, I bought a bunch of assorted fruit snacks for the kids. They loved me for it. The last recess was also incrediblely fun considering about fifty kids chased me around for half an hour. My favorite child of the bunch also gave me hug. It sort of broke my heart. And that’s it! No more summer school tutoring. On with life and such.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'll take those axes...

I’m currently vacationing in Washington State. And nothing says vacation like forced manual labor in the morning. This happening on a number of occasions while I stayed at my grandparent’s Washington home.

The first time being fairly early in the morning and on the day after my family arrived. I was completely jet-lagged. And by that I mean that my body was acting totally weird. I awoke at 7:30 AM completely awake (that’s 5:30 Saint Louis time). This after going to bed at one clock in the morning the previous night.

I figured I could make a dent in my recently purchased book, When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris. This did not happen though, instead, I was enlisted into Operation Tare Down. My grandfather, in order to appease the neighbors, decided it was time to remove the dead leaves and ivy from a tree located down the street. The tree was on our premises though. So away we went: he, with a large number of axes, and me, stuck with an aluminum ladder.

After spending about two minutes pulling off dead branches and watching passing neighbors stare at my pajamas, my grandfather (whom I will refer to as Dave for the remainder of this passage) asked, “Do you think that tree is dead?” I observed the tree. “Yeah,” I said, “I’m pretty sure it’s dead.”

We then concluded that it would be best to pull the tree completely down and out with the aid of the trusty Highlander SUV. When I returned with his keys, Dave had a chainsaw in his hands. “In case, it doesn’t come down,” he assured me.

After attaching rope around the neck of the tree, I stepped away as Dave climbed into the vehicle and started slowly inching forward. It was around this time that my Father stepped outside to visit us. Once the tree smashed into the ground, he beckoned me inside telling me I had to get ready.

The other time I might write about later but I’ll get have to get back to you…

Joel Samson Berntsen (I’ve pretty much been listening to The Black Parade over and over again)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Today is a Great Day to Leer (A+ tutoring: week one)

Ok, well, the sign actually said, Today is a Great Day to Learn, but the n was practically chopped off and leering is always funny.

The first day was absolute chaos. Kids were everywhere with their confused guardians wondering the halls of a foreign elementary school. After waiting in the office for about an hour, they gathered all the A+ tutors in the computer lab. The vice principal basically called a class or grade and asked for volunteers. It was getting to slim pickings when I was assigned third graders. I was guided to the classroom of Mrs.Donze, the third-grade summer-school teacher. I expected that I would either have a serious problem with this teacher, or we’d get along smashingly. Neither really happened.

After the first couple of days I came to the conclusion that elementary summer school is kind of a joke. Of course, there were one or two kids who actually needed help, but other than that, none of the kids needed to be here. This was very pleasing to me in that I actually didn’t have to work too hard. Its summer and I’m a bum.

By the end of the week, I pretty much knew all the kids names and had a sense of how everything works. We stuck to a certain schedule in class and everything went by rather quickly. I had an idea to which students were my favorites and the ending of the week came hastily and left the crowded parking lot as fast as I could.

Joel Samson Berntsen (The Sharpest Lives-My Chemical Romance)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You fell into a toxic sewer while intoxicated: Game Over

It should be noted, due to confusion, that this about a board game named Life.

The Game of Life needs an update. The game’s initial appeal of experiencing the perfect life has worn off. It’s not only boring, but offers no diversified options or endings. As the game progresses very little changes; pay day, pay off the mechanic, have twins, pay day, pay a superstar, etc. This is droll and in the end people have the most fun watching what happens to their pawn. Problem is, hardly anything happens to the pawn. They chose a career, get married, have kids, make money, lose money: The core events in ‘life’. However, so much more happens in today’s everyday ‘life’.

Take, for instance, the divorce rate. About fifty percent of marriages end in failure nowadays. Why not have that in the wondrous game of Life? Oh, I’m sorry Jennifer, your husband of ten years just left you for a prostitute named Virginia: Lose one turn. If that happened, not only I, but everyone I know would be on the floor laughing at poor, old Jennifer.

After introducing divorce, the game could then rob the players of their children. Sorry Christina, Ray got the kids in the divorce settlement. Disease would then be introduced. George has been diagnosed with a brain cancer: three turns left. This would make it the game infinitely more enjoyable. No longer would the game of life focus on who has amassed the most money, but who’s survived the over-whelming obstacle known as life.

Joel Samson Berntsen (I’m Not Okay- My Chemical Romance)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's Kinda Hot...

Hey oh, it's summer! Yes, it's finally here. The wonderful season of swimming, short skirts, and skin cancer. And it's never felt so good.

Actually, that last line was a lie. Due to the fact that it doesn't feel like Summer. When school got out, I didn't feel Joy or Sublime Happiness. I experienced a passing feeling of relief, but that quickly faded. My first afternoon of summer was spent mowing the Christopher's lawns, who were in Costa Rica (I know!). It's now my belief that their lawn is possessed by some strange demon that turns hard work into useless hours of toil. Needless to say, I spent over six hours on that lawn it still wasn't perfect. On the plus side, I did get to spend a large amount of time at a pool with a number of my beautiful lady friends.

But now the Christopher’s have returned and that responsibility has passed to heir Matthew Christopher (God rest his soul). I’ve started to A+ tutor at Blades Elementary. For those of you who don’t know, the A+ program is where you volunteer to tutor for fifty hours and in turn you’ll receive your first two years of comminute college for no charge. Pretty good deal if you ask me. More details to come on that.

Joel Samson Berntsen(Scary Kids Scaring Kids-Snake Devil)

Monday, May 25, 2009

A farewell to Patricia

Welcome, one and all, to another episode of… Oh Mrs. Weiblen! It’s been a sobering experience typing this out due to the fact that I only have one more class with her. Tears? Yeah, I’m kinda thinking so…

“(It) makes me sound very smart and know what I’m doing.”- On why we should all call and ask for our AP score the day they’re available

“Elbow. Elbow. Elbow”

“You know how little kids want to be stuff when they’re older… like a garbage man.” She said this unironically

“It has something to do with something but I don’t know what…” On Smoke Signals

“Yes, I really am the bomb.”- Justifying why we should really thank her for giving us a worksheet on Smoke Signals

“I snarl like a kid?!”

“Finally… It’s no longer a trick.”- Referring to the fact that the projector screen actually had something projected onto it.

“So, Tony… when you were twelve years old did you go to the mall dressed up as a girl?”

Later that day: “You can be a social butterfly when you put on the dress…”

“It’s been Pattye’s observation and, hm, it seems true.” On why she’s right

“He reads a hair ball or something he coughed up.” I think she was talking about Jim…

“I’m not really up on my dead body info” She was talking about Huck Finn. Also, this was written on my study guide. When she graded it, she saw the quote and said “EXUSE ME!?” I don’t think she realized I was quoting her.

“You may NOT use this one!” - She caught on later in the packet about me using the guide as a place to temporarily store her quotes. She scratched it out. This is endlessly amusing.

"Since I’m into name calling today, I might as well go into abuse…”- After joking Kody and yelling at some people

“You are the most pathetic laughers I’ve ever heard.”- Her review of our laughing skill while performing Death of a Salesman.

Joel Samson Berntsen (Campus-Vampire Weekend)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On the Note of Enlarging your Bladder...

About a year ago, I concluded that I’ve become a social drinker. Not regarding alcohol per say, but in regards to consumption of liquids in the company of others. I’m pretty sure this habit developed partly due to the collective awkwardness of my early years. I’d grab a beverage and join a conversation; only I hardly talked in these conversations. I’d listen and observe, sipping away at my cup. Within a matter of minutes, the liquid would disappear and I’d feel the need to be doing something while listening to these conversations, so back to the drinking hole I’d go.

Now, it should be noted that these conversations were not particularly interesting or stimulating. I was mostly surrounded by young adolescent teenagers. Still, I felt the urge to interact with my classmates somewhere else besides the school. Unfortunately, I was bored out of my mind and eventually settled on becoming a recluse for the better part of my freshman year.

The root of the social drinker had been rooted in me though. And while the consumption went down during the recluse stage of my life, I still nursed the habit, whether it was at a holiday party or some family gathering.

I also believe that this habit was heavily influenced by my parents. Up to this day, they severely monitor the various liquids I consume, constantly rationing. So, naturally, if they weren’t with me, I was entitled to as many drinks the host would give me. This might seem a bit disrespectful or even distasteful. I completely agree, but it’s just what has become of my parents considerations.

Much to my own relief, I finally blossomed in the social aspect of my life. I actually started going out on Friday nights and, much to my astonishment, fulfilling conversations were had. People really liked me. Interesting and remarkable friends were gained. I had epiphanies of all sorts. But the cup stayed in my hand and it’s staying there until I die.
The main concern I have is what will happen I turn twenty-one. I’ll be free to have whatever beverage I like at whatever time I like. But, I’ll burn that bridge when it gets here.

Joel Samson Berntsen (Steve Earle-Billy and Bonnie)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Inconsiderate Youth Drained of Life

I’ve been having trouble finishing thoughts lately. I’ll start a post or a poem or a story and it just never ends up anywhere. This, I’ve concluded, is directly correlated to school. Not that school is giving me writer’s block; rather the establishment has me in a perpetual state of exhaustion. I suppose it’s also partly my fault though. While trying to squeeze tennis, work, AP study sessions, and various afterschool activities into my life, I’ve been stretched thin. I’m weary. And while summer offers a form of relief, I can’t help but feel that I’ll be spending most of my time cramming in one activity after the other (plus college prep stuff).

I’ve also grown weary of living at home. Even though I should count this as a blessing, I can barely stand being in my home. It’s not that it’s an intolerable hellhole. It’s just don’t want to go home after spending eight hours in school, followed by chasing after a small, green ball for several hours, then proceeding to go to work. Well, I do. But I don’t want to go “home” to a place where as soon as the side door is opened, I have to deal with twenty questions from each individual(four) before I can even put my book back down. I want to arrive to a place of silence or place where my friends are. Not people I’ve lived with my whole life. This may sound cruel and it probably is. I’m also probably just being bitter and selfish. However, it’s gotten to the point where I don’t really care. I can’t wait till college.

Joel Samson Berntsen (The White Stripes-Ball and Biscuit)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

There hasn' been an RS cover this good since the Hunter S. Thompson memoir Issue

The Kings of Leon are on today’s issue of Rolling Stone. They’ve been my favorite band for the past three years. And now they’re on the cover of Rolling Stone. ROLLING STONE. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so big, for so long.
Joel Samson Berntsen (Listening to the playlist, Kings of Leon, which features every single KOL song, ever)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Very Viking Funeral

My funeral will be a very startlingly experience.

Here’s why: First off, I’m going to arrange for my body to be smothered with preservatives. I will then be shipped to Norway. Once there, I will be driven to the coast of the Norwegian Sea. My decaying corpse will be placed in a wooden canoe where I’ll have my friends and family pour hard liquor over my body before pushing me out to sea. I’ll then have my Father (or son) shoot a flare gun at my rotted remains. I will catch flame. My Body is a Cage by Arcade Fire will be playing. It will be beautiful and poetic.

Joel Samson Berntsen(Louis XIV-Paper Doll)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Where Has the Time Gone…

My, oh, my! Dearly loved viewers of the self-absorbed, prissy blog I write, I sincerely apologize. I haven’t posted in what seems to be years: Perpetually postponing and getting obese on the extra sludge of employment and education. The atrocity of my lethargic ways must be stopped! I’ve had the Movie Miller’s Crossing for seven weeks and I still haven’t watched it. There must be something truly and utterly wrong with my well-being. I will have to try to recover by means of medication. I resolve to bid ado to you with one last concise comment; I will be back.

Joel Samson Berntsen (A wave of silence passes over my bloodied eyes.)

Monday, April 6, 2009


Adventureland is the kind of movie that constructs a very realistic, very humorous world that coerces the viewers into sanctioning sex, drugs, and alcohol. Whether it’s the protagonist (Jesse Eisenberg) drinking himself into a wreck or Kristen Stewart’s use of sex to escape the bitterness of her mother’s death, Adventureland pulls the audience through a joyride of pleasurable and bitter realism.

Set during the summer of 1987, Adventureland features James Brennan (Eisenberg) a college graduate who’s planning on going to NYU for grad school. However, as his father is demoted, Brennan is forced to get a job to pay for rent; unfortunately Brennan has never had a job resulting in Brennan getting stuck at the only place that will hire him: Adventureland

With characters that pertain to everyday life, writer and director Greg Mottola crafts a wonderful tale, pacing the movie at just the right speed successfully moving the movie from plot point to plot point while adding in subtle bits of pungent adulthood. Eisenberg was fantastic as was Stewart and while the pair spearhead the narrative of love, it’s the supporting actors that make Adventureland. Matt Bush, Bill Hater, Kristen Wiig, Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks), and Ryan Reynolds all give outstanding performances. Hater and Wiig as the eccentric owners of Adventureland, Bush as a crazy child hood acquaintance, Starr as a fellow coworker, and Reynolds as the maintenance man/local hero, each one weaving in between the lives of Brennan and Em(Stewart) adding their own fragments of realism to the mix.

Eisenberg can be put under the generic category of hopeless romantic, as apparent with the very first scene of the movie. Eisenberg quickly evolves his character though, changing from the generic when he’s forced to choose between Em and Lisa P. Em representing the real world that’s full of hurt and pain and Lisa representing the blissful ignorance of the impractical who live in their own sheltered world, a point fully illustrated by their job choice; Em works at Adventureland in an effort to piss off her tyrant, socialite step-mother who has replaced her cancer-riddled mom, while Lisa P. goes to work to avoid her real Dad who’s now stuck at home due to a working accident.

Stewart’s performance was quite sobering with her attempts to deal with the death of her mother and coping with her social-driven, bitch of a stepmother. Em swiftly tells and demonstrates that she’s been handling her troubles with the helpful aid of booze, drugs, and most-importantly sex.

Sex plays a rather large role in Adventureland with Eisenberg still remaining a virgin post-college and Em as someone well-versed in the world of intercourse. They slowly fall into a relationship, however, surprisingly, Em states that she wants to take it slow. Finally realizing, with the help of Brennan, that ‘love’ can be something distinguished and special and not just a way of coping with life, Em slowly starts to change from the skeptic she starts off as.

Taken as a whole, Adventureland is a brilliantly simple film about the merits of love and the obstacles faced in life. It’s something that states that even through all the pain and suffering, love can happen and that’s all people need to hear sometimes.

Joel Samson Berntsen (Everyday I love You Less and Less- Kaiser Chiefs)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Adventures in Communism

Upon telling my boss that I wouldn’t be able to work on Monday, he said something to the extent of “Nothing quite like hanging with the communist pinkos of Saint Louis, eh?” Cue hilarious laughing. Well, apparently I’m a communist pinko because I loved it there.

I visited the River Front Times offices to meet with staff writer Keegan Hamilton. After a semi-long drive to the loop, I wondered into the building finding the directory going to the main offices located on the second floor. Seeing as no one was at the reception desk, I wondered to the staff floor where the door was locked with a fancy number lock. Following a phone call to Mr. Hamilton’s business line, I was let in.
Mr. Hamilton showed me around the office. I met Ian Froeb, the food critic. I was told of how things generally go and what a usual week is like. We talked of my future as a possible journalist and how much improvement our school paper needs. Having a copy of The Prowl handy, I let him look through it. I explained my complaints and he candidly agreed that we need better pictures.

At ten thirty, the weekly staff meeting began with every significant writer present. Many handshakes occurred on the way to the meeting. Tom Finker, editor and chief, brought the news that the actual size of the paper would be shrinking. The staff’s response was surprisingly lax. It appears they know of the slow death of traditional print as talk of online and blogging started to pop up. A grand stack of paper containing the statistics of which story’s got the highest amount of hits and which one’s got the lowest.

As the meeting closed, Mr. Hamilton walked back to his office. I snagged a couple quick pics, just for the blog. I wanted to include Ian. He mumbled something about how I can’t take his picture while I wasn’t really paying attention. I laughed because I thought he was joking, but when I looked up I found him missing. Mr. Hamilton explained that since he’s a food critique he didn’t want restaurants to know his face. It made sense. We wrapped things up. Hamilton walked me out and we shook hands.

I proceeded to spend an hour in vintage vinyl. It was heaven.

Joel Samson Berntsen (That’s What You Get-Paramore)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

This happened at work…

I just saw the Where the Wild Things Are trailer. With Spike Jonze directing what seems to be a very faithful adaptation of the classic book. I’m thinking of crying. It was my favorite book as a child. I’ve probably read it over a hundred times. From the looks of it, Jonze has added several surreal elements to the book while modernizing it. Arcade Fire was also featured as the background music. A tear just rolled my cheek…
Joel Samson Berntsen (These tears will dry on their own- Amy Winehouse)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Return of the King (or just some poor blogger)

Again, I return! I’m feeling a bit scatterbrained, yet I’m yearning to write something. So, if the following post seems sporadic, you now know the reason.

Yesterday, I gave a book talk to my AP English III class about the book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. Hoping for a reaction from Weiblen, who is a Baptist (something she states often), I went up with no note cards or paper, just the thoughts in my abnormal head and a brief passage on fake love. It went rather well. Kody Kolb said it was the only book he was genuinely interested in actually reading out of the other twenty four books presented. I was happy. I will most definitely be writing a review for the book. It is quite amazing.

While on the subject of English class, I received a 291/300 on my post modern poet research paper. Mrs. Weiblen simply wrote, “You write well,” on the grading sheet. I might frame it.

I’ve had a sudden realization that Paramore is also the feminine equivalent to Panic! At the Disco.

Closing the shop, my boss stopped by to watch some March Madness. We somehow got onto the topic of Alan Moore. We talked about his genius for about twenty five minutes. If you’ve read Watchmen, look at the fearful symmetry chapter. From the splash page in the middle, every single panel is symmetric and all the panels have to do with the same characters. This is just one small, obscure example of his intellect and brilliance.

Gran Torino a remarkable film. I’m going to write a critical analysis essay on it after I see it for a second time.

Next post will either be about the River Front Times or Pixar,

Joel Samson Berntsen (19-2000-Gorrilaz)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oh Patricia…

The following is a small collection of humorous quotes from our wondrous AP English III teacher Mrs. Weiblen.

“Well… you see… on Wednesday… You have a quiz...” After I asked her if we had on Wednesday.
“Hamlet, Prince of Darkness!”
“Do you still call them slacks” In reference to the varying names of pants.
“I can’t imagine drinking one beer, much less 30. I can’t even drink 30 diet cokes!” – I’m pretty sure she was talking about Fitzgerald or Hemmingway.
“I’ll stand here like a queen and you can lay down your essays at my feet as an offering.”
“Get on YouTube and feed in the unknown citizen... I mean search for.”
She was pointing her finger at certain individuals as she said “You’re talking! You can’t hear me! And you’re eating your lunch…” I was eating my lunch. It was quite tasty.
“I will personally cut off your fingers if you do that!” She was talking about something she didn’t want us to do in our research essay.
“I blame it on the fact that I’m old…” following her inability to remember who Saddam Hussein was.

“So, I’m really creepy,” Followed by “I don’t know I’ve never been creepy.”

“Then you’d prove I’m scum.” She proceeded to give me a dirty look.

"Your nails kinda look like they have a disease” – To Ally Gramlich after looking at her just-before-prom nails.


“Whatever I just said write it down.” This was after she discovered I was writing down all of her amusing comments.

Joel Samson Berntsen (White Room- Cream)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Brainwashing Siblings

In an effort to culture my littlest sister’s interests, I recently burned her the CD Riot! by Paramore. Hoping that I can steer her away from the garbage that is the Disney music group and cater her to something slightly more credible. She really likes girl singers, so I thought Paramore would be a good start. So far she’s only thanked me for the CD, but she had a smile on her face thus giving me good vibrations.

Once again we’ll see how this pans out,

Joel Samson Berntsen (Unbroken-Stranglers)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Dynamic Duo

Quick Musing: While catching up on this season of 30 rock on Hulu, I discovered the fantastic duo of Jack McBrayer and Maria Thayer were re-united in the St.Valentine’s Day episode. Remember the awkward newlyweds in Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Yep, they’re back in action, except now Thayer plays a blind woman that Kenneth the Page (McBrayer) falls in love with. It's funny, maybe not as funny as their sex scene in FSM, but still really good.

Check it out:

Joel Samson Berntsen (Surprisingly listening to the radio. It's not even NPR.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Breaking Bank

I don’t have to tell anyone that our economy is slowly coming to a collapse. However, do individuals, like myself, even understand what lead to our current economic depression? I mean, just watch the news, they aren’t trying to explain the problem. They’re arguing over on the various plans and packages that could save us.

Fortunately, there are people that are trying to help that our trying to help others like myself understand what exactly lead to our country’s economy turning into this particular nightmare. Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson have been recently been added to my personal collection of heroes. They’ve been featured on This American Life and the Planet Money podcasts explaining the multiple problems of our current economy. They recently tackled the current problems most of today’s banks are facing. If you have the time, I highly recommend you check out the podcasts. The following is just an echoing of what they’ve been saying about banking, just in my own words.

The basic rule of every bank is you need two kinds of customers: Someone to invest in your bank and someone to borrow from your bank. For example, the bank will charge the borrower a 6% yearly interest on their loan and give the investor 3% yearly interest for investing in their bank. Banks make their money, or capital, from the 3% difference between the investors and the borrowers and, in theory; everything balances out on the grand balance sheet.

The bank’s got greedy though and started giving loans to whacked out individuals that didn’t or couldn’t pay their mortgages. The balance sheet still has to be even, resulting in evictions of homes and reposing of property and with the recent housing slump the banks are stuck with a house that is of less value than before the transaction. This is called a toxic asset because there was a loss of money on the borrower’s side. The banks have developed a twisted ideology through believing that if they keep the toxic assets until the ailing market recover, they can then turn around and sell it, resulting in a profit and capital.

The wrinkle in this idea is that the two biggest banks in America, Bank of America and Citi, are insolvent meaning that they owe more money than they have. The problem is if they declare bankruptcy it would almost certainly lead to the complete and utter destruction of our economy, which is where the government steps in.

The government is siding with the banks. Mainly due to the fact that if the two biggest banks collapse, so will the economies of the world. Which is why our government buys these toxic assets from banks like Citi, they hope that as the market recovers they’ll be able to.

Too be continued… hopefully

Joel Samson Berntsen (This American Life-Bad Bank)

Cramer vs. Cramer

Just some brief thoughts on the John Stewart vs. Jim Cramer episode.

5 degrees of Kevin Bacon and Ellie Wiesel was hilarious.

Cramer: Seemed very pathetic at first. How did he even become famous? Shrunk into a little boy and started to do anything to appease Stewart. He screwed over the public people and his constant stream of apologies and regrets appear some-what insincere.

“We’re not in bed with them.” - The quote has me very concerned.

Best/Worst Quote: “No! Not 2-12!” (Look of panic on face)

Stewart: He was very smart, backed his points, and did his best to expose short selling. Stewart’s on a mission to expose the bullshit of CNBC and cable news. Clips actually showed the true person Cramer is.

“This song ain’t about you.”

“It’s not a fucking game.” – Queue cheering and applause.

Bottom Line: You can’t trust a man who trusts corporations.

Joel Samson Berntsen (Elvis on Velvet-Stray Cats)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Watchman Part 1

It’s hard to write about a movie when you’ve read the book, especially when it’s greatest graphic novel of all time. Furthermore, when there are two categories of people who are going to see Watchman: people who’ve read the book and those who haven’t.

Those who haven’t read the book will, in short, be blown away. At least, that’s what I think. The downside of having the audience’s mind getting blown to smithereens is they might have trouble following the story and understanding what the movie is actually about, particularly with the subtleties that occur throughout the movie. We’ll see how audiences react by next week…
Those who have the read the book will most likely be either content or ecstatic. I just read the book last week so every single difference in the movie was blatantly apparent to me, which, upon reflection, was a bad idea. The graphic novel is a highly detailed story board for the entire movie with almost every shot, angle, or lighting replicated.
There is no way a movie could cover every detail of book and it’s the small details that grab and pull readers into a literary work such as watchman. With many of its parallel and narrative elements and metaphors dispensed to make room for other more important things like characterization and explanation of plot, Watchman is lacking, to an extent.
The cinematography was fantastic, done by the wonderful Larry Fong (He did the first few episodes of lost). Jackie Earle Haley's Rorschach was incredible as he embodied the very essence of Rorschach. Billy Crudup was fantasic and Jeffrey Dean Morgan was a damn fine Comedian.
Hopefully, I’ll write more later. This is just my initial impressions of the movie.
Joel Samson Berntsen (Kodo-Yoshida Brothers)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

‘So… like… that’s pretty cool…'

Several variations of the saying above were spoken in twentieth century as people described various items about their family tree. The lack of public speaking skills in a honors class at the high school level is surprisingly high. Multiple individuals’ hands shook violently as they read from their note cards. A good number of the speakers did not engage their audience resulting with myself along with a quantity of my classmates falling asleep.

Public speaking is the number one fear in America. I’d like to ask; why? What is it about talking in front of a group of people that makes it different from talking with your friends or family?

An experience like that combined with doing a load of research on speech and debate for a news article, I’ve come to the conclusion that speech and debate needs to become a required credit to graduate. Speech and debate not only helps people become familiar with talking in public, but also helps you become more aquatinted with yourself as a speaker.

Thanks for reading,

Joel Samson Berntsen (Kings of Leon-Revelry)

Monday, February 23, 2009

VW: And I don't want a Jetta

After a single of Vampire Weekend was recommended to me (Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa), I couldn’t resist purchasing the whole album. Vampire Weekend formed at Columbia University, they all graduated, got full-time jobs, and produced their debut album in their spare time. They’re considered alternative/afro-pop/new wave. The following is just me outlining the each track, nothing too special just my opinion.
1. Mansard Roof- Lyrically, the song shakes my brain, even if they’re a tad repetitive, the violin adds to the song along with familiarizing the sound of VW into your head. The keyboards are also fantastic, as they are in every song.
2. Oxford Comma- “All your diction dripping with Disdain” is my new favorite lyric. Ezra Koenig vocals narrate a wonderful
3. A-Punk- The pinnacle song of Vampire Weekend. Buy now.
So… I got tired of doing track analysis with less than two and ½ songs in. I apologize.
Vampire Weekend isn’t the newest or freshest band out there, but they display sharp, witty lyrics that actually forces intellectual thinking from the audience. As for the keyboards, bass, guitar, singing, and all the additional sounds throughout the album; Fan-Fucking-Tastic. A melodious tour of college life inter-mixed with stories of escapading women and mystic seaports.
Also, search for their music video’s if you have time. They’re rather astounding, especially oxford comma. T he whole video is one amazingly long tracking shot. It makes my heart of film flutter.
One last reflection, Walcott’s lyrics beside the wonderful violin almost certainly make it the crest song of the self-titled debut album.
Joel Samson Berntsen (Surprise! More Vampire Weekend)

Friday, February 20, 2009


I cannot wait for two movies. Mark that two. Granted there are plenty of films I’d really love to see right now such as Watchman and Star Trek. However, Edger Wright’s adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim series, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, has me wetting my pants in anticipation. Not only is Scott Pilgrim played by Michael Cera, but the film has the best casting I’ve ever seen. Ever. Check it out yourself. .Scott Pilgrim might be my favorite illustrated series of writing I’ve read. I really need to write about it. Moving on to the next film…

Last year, while on the holocaust unit in my continuing education, I wondered why no one has ever told a story of Jews fighting and Killing Nazis. I apparently sent a telepathic link to several people in Hollywood because with Defiance recently released it seems that it’s the new thing. With Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards being filmed, I am filled with extreme giddiness. One of my favorite Directors, plus Brad Pitt, add violence, and mix in key figures of the Nazi party and you’ve got my attention. I disparately wish it was August.
Joel Samson Berntsen(E18-Deterktivbryan)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shampoo Fatigue

The majority of my family uses the big bathroom in my house, which leads to my mother buying large, bulk containers of shampoo and conditioner. After using the same shampoo for a couple of months, I’ve come down with a strange case of something I now call shampoo fatigue. It’s where you actually dread using the shampoo because you know exactly how your head is going to feel once you’ve rubbed it into your skull.

This is a tad weird, I know. Nevertheless, I felt a strange sense of relief when I bought myself a container of Garnier Fructis. It seems to have done the trick, but how long will I have before I become tired of Fructis?

Stay tuned folks...

Joel Samson Berntsen (Against Me! - Ocean)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Taken seems like a formulated kidnap movie: Semi-innocent Girl gets kidnapped by ominous group and father like figure sets off to catch the perpetrators. And even though Taken starts off generic in nature, you quickly become emotionally enthralled in movie.

Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, an over-protective father who is desperately trying to make up for lost time with his daughter. Mills is retired military and when he begrudgingly lets his daughter go to Paris. Things quickly start to hit the fan; fortunately, Mills is prepared for everything and immediately sets off to find his daughter.
Neeson gives an extraordinary performance as Mills and its heart-breaking seeing him caring for someone he barely knows. The audience quickly falls in love with him, cheering and clapping for his actions, something rarely done at any movie I’ve been to lately. Taken is strongly routed in reality, more than any other action film I’ve seen in years. The protagonist is still nearly invincible, however, the smartness and brutality of Neeson makes you feel like he should have survived every dangerous meeting in the film.
It’s a somewhat bitter-sweet experience though because everyone wants Neeson to succeed, but his daughter is a lifeless ingrate beforehand that I didn’t really want to be saved. But I did, which is one of the reasons that Taken is such a great movie. It takes the audience into an unknown world and tells a simple tale that you can’t help but care about. What happens in Taken could and does happen, which explains why people care so much about Neeson succeeding in rescuing his daughter.
In short, Taken is an incredibly solid film that should be seen as soon as possible.
Joel Samson Berntsen (Ride-The Vines)

Friday, February 6, 2009

All Sales are Vinyl

Earlier, I was faced with the task of planning my Friday night, while in the tub. My phone has a rather loud vibrator that, when placed on certain surfaces, is like a jackhammer. So, while I’m in my tub reading of Obama’s exploits, I hear the earthquake. It was a text asking me if I wanted to see a movie in a half-hour. Being as I was naked and unable to be in the theatre in that amount of time I was somewhat baffled and responded with just saying ‘maybe’ and telling that person I was currently in the tub. I was already sick of getting in and out of the tub to check my phone and so when the person texted my back I just started disregarding my phone. I thought it might be more suitable to move my phone nearer to me. However, would it be worth the potential risk of being electrocuted and/or ruining my phone? I decided to just leave my cell alone and continue reading. Luckily, everything worked out. I saw Taken. Hopefully, I’ll post my review soon. It really blew me away, which was surprising. I’ll save that for the review though.

Always a pleasure,

Joel Samson Berntsen, listening to Twist and Shout-The Beatles.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Down with the Sickness

I went on a four day stint of being completely and utterly sick. But, good news, I’ve made a semi-full recovery, just in time for the super-bowl too. Somehow, I contracted some sort of viral infection Sunday night, which weakened my body allowing for a sinus infection to become prominent. It’s been a rough week.

In accordance with my absence, I thought a mention some musings I’ve had lately. For one, Jack Bauer and Christian Bale’s Batman have very similar crisis voices. Try doing an impersonation of one of them and ask someone who you’re trying to impersonate. It’ll be weird. I also picked up Kingdom hearts II. That game is off its rocker. The first three hours had almost nothing to do, at least from what I could tell, with the rest of the game. Who would have thought that mixing Final Fantasy and Disney characters into a video game would make a franchise? I’ve also grown quite obsessed with Hunter S. Thompson. After watching the extraordinary documentary Gonzo: The life and times of Dr.Hunter S. Thompson, I dug up a copy and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at my local library. The only thing I can say right now is that if I didn’t have a history on Thompson, I’d have no clue what Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was about.

Next time: Day and Age

Joel Samson Berntsen, currently listening to Eddie’s Ragga - Spoon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why I'm not doing drugs till I'm seventy...

I’ve recently decided that I’m not going to do or try drugs until I’m seventy. I’ve never been real interested in ‘doing’ drugs being as I’ve had very close friends ruin their lives by partaking and dealing with illegal substances.

I came to the decision that drugs weren’t for me, at least for now, because I already have trouble stopping far simpler things. I take very long showers. I have trouble getting up in morning; I often hit the sleep button three times before successfully dragging myself out of bed.

So if I have trouble with such tasks as easy as sleeping and showers, I can confidently say that I would become a drug fiend if I ever did a hit, line, or whatever they’re calling it nowadays. It would most likely over-take my life and in doing so ruin any chance I’d have to become a successful writer. And I do NOT want that.

Now, you might be asking, so why, good sir, are you waiting till you’re seventy? Well, I feel that‘s the proper time where I could decide to do drugs or not. Hopefully, I’ll have quite a bit of money since I never plan on retiring from writing and I feel that with all of today’s medicine and surgeries we are leaving for longer than nature or God intended. If I have grand kids and a wife then I’d probably never touch anything to major. But if I’m living alone and most of my family is gone, that’s a different story…

Thanks for Reading,

Joel Samson Berntsen (listening to Super Bad-James Brown)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Moving on to Bitterness

I recently moved on from a girl that I’ve spent nearly a semester of my life chasing after; well, not chasing after, more like timidly following. Anyway, she’s screwed a ton of guys over and I’m glad that I’ve finally realized that there’s nothing that special about her and that I’m starting some-what over.

To put things in perspective though, I found out that UGO entertainment recently bought the 1up network from Ziff Davis. Most people won’t know what this means, but 1up provided podcasts, online content, and egm magazine. I’ve listened to the majority of 1up’s podcast over the past year and slowly grew very fond of almost everyone in their offices and with the recent purchase of the network, quite a number of those people were laid off. From what I’ve read, it seems that all the podcasts are going to be shut down. And with this bitch economy, I would assume it’s going to be pretty difficult to find a new job. Here’s to hoping everything works out for all the ex-employees of the 1up network. If you have any questions on anything feel free to post and for a full list of casualties check: .
It’s odd how an event like this can show you how insignificant my problems actually are. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected be UGO screwing over so many great, funny people.

Also check out Jeff Green's blog response to this, it's the most honest response i've read so far...

Joel Samson Berntsen (listening to Ocean of Noise-Arcade Fire)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Film Wrap Party

I’ve seen a multitude of movies over the last couple of weeks and wanted to summarize some of my thoughts on movies.

Yes Man was actually decent. It’s just a fun film to see. Jim Carrey is hilarious as a drunken crazy man. I give it a B-.

Rocket Science is a charming Indie film directed by Jeffery Blitz of Spellbound fame. If you are in speech and debate; SEE THIS MOVIE. If not you’ll still like the movie but it seems that it was made solely for the sake of having a film about speech and debate. The film also introduced me to Nicholas D'Agosto, who I want to star in every film I ever write or make. Rocket Science gets a B.

High Fidelity: a classic John Cusack movie. I highly recommend this movie. It’s not the greatest or most original movie out there but it keeps you invested in the plot and gives you a some-what new perspective. If you’re really into music and are over the age of twenty you will love this movie. I felt like most of the humor was lost on me because I didn’t get the references. In the end, it gets a very high B+.

Righteous Kill, featuring Robert Dinero and Al Pacino, was a horrible movie. The script seemed some-what manageable but the acting, directing, and cinematography was hideous. If you have decent taste in anything dealing with film avoid this film.

And I’m currently listening to Golden Age by TV on the Radio,

Joel Samson Berntsen

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Judging from the trailer, I didn’t expect much from The Spirit. It looked like a glorified cartoon twisted in the hands of Frank Miller. And I’ve got to say, after actual watching the movie, I was pretty much right.

The movie succeeds when there’s banter and decent actors, but when two guys are just beating the crap out of each other it’s almost always hilarious, but as Frank Miller tries to evoke emotions of ache and loss the film only appears comical(and not in the good way). Stylistically, though, the film is beautiful. However, it is inconsistent. Whereas a film like Sin City maintains a specific style throughout all its tales, The Spirit ricochets from various styles with no clear transitions from one scene to another. The film and I use the term film quite loosely, while being gorgeous in spots and very funny in others is nothing more than a cartoon.
As always one or two actors/actresses in a film will catch my eye and this time it’s Scarlett Johansson. She is spectacular as a Silken Floss, the sarcastic, female-fatale sidekick to the Octopus (Played by Samuel L Jackson). Her deadpan remarks and acting alone redeem some of the lacking moments of the movie. It’s hard to describe how funny she actually is in the movie; I just know I now have a major craving to see Ghost World. Also, Samuel L. Jackson! He really is funny as the Octopus. If I ever make or write an action film, I want those two in it.
The Spirit doesn’t get a grade. Mainly because it’s a cartoon and I have no idea what I would give it if I was grading it.
Happy New Year!
Joel Berntsen; currently listening to Devil’s Haircut by Beck