Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aokigahara aka The Suicide Forest

The Aokigahara Forest ( The Sea of Trees) is the most popular site for suicides in Japan. The novel Kuroi Jukai was released in 1960 and tells the story of a woman who has a love affair with a young public prosecutor. He is blackmailed by the woman's husband, and the only escape for the lovers is a double suicide inside the dark and mysterious Aokigahara forest.  After the novel was published, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year. The authorities sweep for bodies only on an annual basis, as the forest sits at the base of Mt. Fuji and is too dense to patrol more frequently.

This area is famous for two things, the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji and the suicides. Many people say that this place is also haunted and it is the ghosts the help the people commit suicide.There is also an absence of wildlife, in the area, which makes it even more eerie.

During the semi-regular body search, they leave plastic tape to mark where a body is found, and this tape is never removed. So within the first mile or so from the forests' entrance the area is littered with plastic tape. It is believed that leaving the corpse is left alone is very bad luck, for the yurei (ghost) of the suicide will scream through the night, and the body will move itself on its own. Since the books release, in 1960, there have been over 500 suicides in the forest, with a peak of 100 in 2003. I think the most of the suicides are based on the economic climate of Japan, and not romanticism of the book. But I am sure that the area is very serene, beautiful and yet very sad.

Call me disturbed but I would love to go there and do an investigation, and see for myself, what the forest really holds in it grasp. I am very surprised no one has yet to do this and why there isn't yet an in depth documentary on the subject.... Ding... Ding... Ding ....a bell just went of in my head. I will discuss the possibility with a few people, who know what could happen.

The sub-titled video below is very haunting and kind of sad, and the gentleman is actually a geologist. Also this is graphic and not for children.

 Part 1
 Part 2

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Well this is something don’t see everyday, but it is something that occurs quite often in my neighborhood. Today while coming from Starbucks, ½ block away, I see a car flipped over, at Riverside Drive and Clybourn Ave by Patty’s Diner. I pulled over and made sure everyone was ok, then the Fire, Police, and Ambulance arrived.

So I go to Trader Joes another block away, and I am talking to one of ladies from the thrift shop on the corner. We start talking about the accident and all the other car accidents that happen on Riverside Drive, between Cahuenga Blvd and Pass Ave. She says how so many times she helping people after accidents on the street, with blankets, water and such. She tells me that it got to a point the Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge, actually had a priest come out and exorcise the road., which she said was a “hoot” to watch. I said the maybe Toluca Lake is cursed, to which she laughingly replied “I wouldn’t doubt it”.

So the question is : Is Toluca Lake Cursed??

I have looked online and did some research, and I can’t find a damn thing about any kind of curse.

The only thing I could find was a story of “The Curse of Toluca Lake” but they referring to the videogame Silent Hill. I did get a kick out of the when I first was playing the game and you have to go to Toluca Lake, maybe one of the writers lives here.

Murders?? The that comes to mind was last year a businessman was murdered in his driveway, which is still unsolved, but it seems it was a hit.

A neighbor in my building once told me that there was a murder in my apartment in the 70's, but I can't verify that. But when I first moved in there was slight eerie thing that would happen, the towel would always slide off the shower curtain rod in my roommates bathroom. If you were sitting in the living room you could see it fall, no matter how it was hanging. One night I just talked out loud and said "I don't know who you are, but you can stay if you want, just don't jump out and scare the shit out of me". Yes I actually did do that, and you know what the towel never fell off the shower rod ever again, scouts honor. But my bed does shake every once and awhile but I chalk that up to an earthquake, whether I believe it is or not.

And there is a haunted house behind the Bob’s Big Boy, it seems a rental sign was on the fence of the house and a woman I spoke with said she called about the rental, and spoke with a pleasant woman who then requested she call back, when she did, another woman answered the phone, and said that her mother is still always playing jokes on her, but the mother had died a few years previously.

Toluca Lake is very close to all the studios Universal, Warner Bros, & Disney has been the home to many celebrities, past and present, such as Lon Chaney, Bob Hope, Sinatra, W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby, Andy Griffith, Doris Day, Ozzie & Harriet and two out of three Stooges. Now it’s names like Jack Black, Quentin Tarantino, Steve Carell, Gary Marshall, Henry Winkler, Denzel Washington, one of those Jonas Brothers, and a lot more.  Every once and awhile you’ll see them at the 7-11,Timmy Nolans Tavern, Bob’s Big Boy etc. But it’s the lesser-known entertainment industry folks that make this village what it is.

So If anyone know anything about a curse or haunting in the awesome little village, let me know, I am very curious to see if there is.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eddie on "PORTAL 2"

The original game Portal came out a few years ago, and I just didn’t get it. Now I know it had a fan base, and people raved about it. Well I decided to bypass the original completely and try the sequel called, you guessed it, “Portal 2”.

Available for the PS3, XBOX 360, PC and OS X.

VALVE has taken me by surprise with this inventive, yet simple game, just as they did with the Left 4 Dead series. Basically this is a First Person Shooter puzzle game where you use a portal gun to teleport throughout the level to solve each unique puzzle.

You awake after a few hundred years in stasis at the Aperture Science Facility and meet Wheatley played by Stephen Merchant (The Rick Gervais Show, Extras, An idiot Abroad) a nervous little paranoid self-conscious robot.  It seems the facility is in major neglect and disrepair, and Wheatley wants to help you escape. Right at the beginning you awake GLaDOS, sort of like a mean mother system robot of the facility, who is not happy you are there, and makes you solve these puzzles all the while verbally tormenting of you.

Quick side note about the voice-over work, Stephen Merchant is brilliant as Wheatley. I don’t if his dialogue was scripted or just improvisation, but it is hilarious. He seems to be so enthusiastic and having so much fun working on this game, that it fits perfectly to the character. All the dialogue throughout the game flows nicely and doesn’t seem forced, as some games do. Also great V.O. work of J.K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson from Spider-man) as Aperture Science CEO and Ellen McLain returning as the cruel GLaDOS.

Stephen Merchant aka Wheatle
The graphics are excellent, deep and more richly detailed than they need to be for this game. The puzzles are inventive and addictive, they are also somewhat complex, but simple, and not at all frustrating when you look around in the game. At no point did I want to pick the game console up and throw it through a window, like I do with many others. You'll have to drop through holes on one end to catapult you to other areas, launch pads to other areas, so it's kind of a inter-dimentional game. I know my words are not doing it justice. But once you are able to wrap your brain around this game you will know what I mean.

Also another thing that is great about this game is that, kids and adults can totally enjoy this game. Your not running around blowing peoples heads off and spraying blood everywhere like most games out there today, I’m talking to you Call of Duty. It also as split screen & online Co-op missions, so this will also keep you 2 kids occupied for awhile. The excellent music and especially the ending credits song "Want You Gone" by Jonathan Coulton, fit the games sarcastic tone perfectly. See the video below.

Well I have finished it yet I just had to say something and spread the word one on of the most enjoyable games out there for everyone.

Overall I give this game a 5 out of 5, it’s a blast.



Want you Gone by Jonathan Coulton

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eddie on "MARWENCOL"

I’ll put it out there,. “ I Love Documentaries”. Now I must say I am a bit of a snob when it comes to them though, Some are real low budget, but that is not a bad thing. The ones that “Irk” me are the one that are not complete or they don’t grow in the long run. Some docs are big budget, look at me, types of films, that in the end are a waste of time. If I don’t feel an emotional grip to the subject in the first 10 minutes, BAM, I turn it off.

So now I must review an amazing Doc called “MARWENCOL”. I rented this film from Netflix, but it will be available soon as a streaming video. Here’s a little website that lets you know what’s coming soon, www.streamingsoon.net. You can check out all the films being available by a date. Enough said about that.

MARWENCOL is the story of Mark Hogencamp from Kingston, N.Y. Mark was severely beaten in a bar parking lot and left in a coma. When he awoke, all his past memories were erased forever, and he had to learn everything all over again. And after many months of therapy, the Medicare stopped , so he had to create his own therapy.

Mark wanted to know one thing “Who am I?”. The only way he could do this was to create his own world and stories, through dolls. The setting of these stories is a fictitious town called Marwencol, during World War II. This town and it’s characters that he created, are so richly detailed you can actually see the emotion in the photographs he takes, I shit you not. These creation live and breath through Mark, and he cherishes every one of them.

Director: Jeff Malmberg was able to capture the honesty of Mark and the fears that he feels about not knowing why the attack happened in the first place. As the film progresses you begin to learn more about Mark past, and the person he was before the brutal attack. Big kudos for Mr. Malmberg !!!

Everything begins to change for Mark when a Art Gallery in N.Y.C. finds out about his secret little world.

This is an amazing doc that left me in awe of Mark’s realization of who he was and who he now wants to be. The twists hit me hard, not in a bad way, but in the “This guy has balls” way. The photos alone are chilling, but his heart felt honesty is what drives it home.

I put the trailer up once before, but here it is once again, behold the world of "MARWENCOL".

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Eddie on "FOUR LIONS"

Four Lions is the story of a group of British jihadists, and their attempt to be martyrs, by causing a terrorist attack in Britain. These group of men dream of being terrorists, but unfortunately they are also bumbling idiots.

Now I know that everyone will think that this may be a taboo subject, and even think that this may be “Too Soon”. Most films about this subject are usually serious documentaries about the Muslim ideology, and the extremists who carry out these attacks.

Christopher Morris, who wrote and directed this film, took this touchy subject and made a compelling, quick witted, well made, and  hysterical movie. If this exact story were incorporated into any other subject it would have been a so-so movie we’ve all seen before. This film does not make fun of their beliefs, just the extreme lengths that they take. A film like this could never be made in the U.S. and thank god it wasn’t. This is through and through a British black comedy, and it’s the twisted dark sense of humor that makes it work.

All I can say is I laughed my ass off. These guys are trying their hardest to do what they believe in the right thing to do, and despite the horrific attack they are planning you start to sympathize with them. Yes as ludicrous as this may sound it is true. There is one scene where Omar (Riz Ahmed, who is great) is telling his son a bedtime story about 'Simba's Jihad', it is so absurd it is actually touching. You begin to see that the people in this “Terrorist Cell” as just regular guys who are likable, and yet only human.

I recommend this movie, but be forewarned this last 10 minutes gets really dark. This is not your typical adult comedy. This movie is rated “R” for a reason. It is on streaming Netflix, so give it a shot, but remember to be open minded.

Side note: “No animals were harmed in the making of this movie”.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I am going to try and review a movie that I just watched, which I found to be amazing.

The name of this movie is “Winnebago Man”.

With the advent of the Internet, all those crazy VHS tape clips have now been pulled out of the closet and put out there for all the world to see. And none are as more amazing as the ranting of the man labeled as “The Angriest Man on Earth”.

A documentary filmmaker named Ben Steinbauer, decided to see if he could find, and document this legendary man, the internet Winnebago Man, by the name of Jack Rebney.

Now, to be honest, I had heard nothing but great reviews for this film and of course I wanted to see it, like everyone else. Not to say I am picky, but I know crap film making when I see it. And if I like something I will recommend it to all my friends with a deep passion, and they are never disappointed

So I must say, I have never seen a more hysterically funny, intellectual, honest, and poignant documentary in a very long time. I watched every every second this film, I did not fast forward or step away at all. Will I did pause once to use the, shall I say,  the Latin word, "Latrine"., but lets be honest I am only human,

The great part about this documentary is watching the director trying to figure out what he is actually searching for, what is his documentary about, and what will be the outcome at the end. The other part is the legendary angry man is Jack Rebney himself, this man does not mince words.

I am not one of those reviewers to tell anything about the story, or the “trials and tribulations” of the road that are traveled. I will not tell what the outcome is, nor give away any spoilers.

All that I can say is, this is a film  YOU MUST SEE and is HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

If you get a chance to rent the actual DVD be sure to watch the extras this adds a great deal to the film and should not be missed.

Below I have added the trailer for all to see the glorious world of the WINNEBAGO MAN. (NSFW)

Monday, April 4, 2011

My open letter to BLIMPIE Sub & Sandwiches

Dear Blimpie,

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how much I enjoy your hoagies.

I live in the Los Angeles area, but originally from Northern New Jersey. So I was very happy to see that there were Blimpie shops out here. When I went to you store on Sunday I bought 7 large Blimpie Bests with all the trimmings for my friends to eat during the April 1st Mets game. They are also from New Jersey, and were surprised because they didn’t even think there was a shop out here.

The owners of the downtown store by the way, are awesome, very friendly and treated me like a VIP for traveling from the valley.

I would go more often, but the problem is the locations of the stores. I live in the North Hollywood/Burbank area of  L.A., and the closest shop to me is approx. 8 miles away. Now technically this would not be a bad thing, but that location is in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles, During the week it takes around 2 hours to get there and back, due to the horrendous L.A. traffic. Also the store is closed on the weekend and also closes at 3:30 pm during the week, because the area becomes empty after that, also next closest shop is in a Calabasas gas station 20 miles the other way.

My question to you guys is, “Why isn’t there a Blimpie in my area??”. There’s a Subway, on every block but they are horrible, and everyone out here knows it.

I live literally blocks from all the major studio, Universal, Warner Bros, and Disney, and this would be a perfect area for one of your stores. If you look up this area on your store map you’ll see it is just an empty space. Google my address and you will see what I mean.

Trust me, including myself, you would immediately have a following. People from this area that are from the Northern East Coast are always nostalgic for the food they left behind. Sorry to babble on so much but I think you should really consider opening up a shop that is convenient and near the film studios.

Example: There is a cheesesteak shop out here called “Philly’s Best” they are constantly packed with people from back east. They carry only Frank's Soda, Wise Products, and even the bread is from back East. They are the best cheesesteaks out here, and anyone that says they are not, usually means they are from the West Coast or they're idiots.


Ed Stalter
originally from Coytesville NJ