Friday, December 30, 2005

Homeland Security Update: T.F. Green Edition

On my way back to Maryland a couple days ago, at T.F. Green Airport (Bruce Sundlun Terminal!) in Providence, I checked a bag.  There's an x-ray machine that each bag has to go through... every bag, that is, except mine.  A TSA employee grabbed my bag, picked it up, tagged it with the "OK" sticker, and sent it back.  It arrived OK, but no x-ray.  There's only a couple things that can explain this:

1) I got lucky
2) My bag looked e-friggin-normous so they said "screw it"
3) Random bag search
4) Targeted bag search, because my email accounts and blogs have been scanned for rhetorical anti-Bush sentiments

Personally, I think #4 is the most likely.  I think my arrival tipped off the person in charge of investigating guys on their "watch list," who popped out and assured me that I was taken care of.  It's a distraction thing.  See, the guy who grabbed my bag didn't come back to get anyone else's stuff.  It's not like he was taking every, oh, 20 bags and giving them a thorough once-over.  He took mine, and mine alone as far as I know.  It could be a coincidence, like his shift just ended, or he was covering for someone during their smoke break, but I can't think of one reason why TSA or the airports deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to my civil liberties.  It's too weird.  I say I'm on The List.  The one that Ted Kennedy's on that keeps him from boarding airplanes.  (No, not "10 Most Wanted DWI Fatties," I mean the homeland security list.)

Anyway, the purpose of this post is as follows: if I end up disappearing for some reason, without a trace, it's safe to assume that TSA kidnapped me. I'll be in Gitmo or Abu Ghraib, with a bag on my head and electrodes attached to my balls.  Oh, and someone will have defiled the Sports Guy's new book in an attempt to abuse my foreign value system.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Think On This

What if O.J. Simpson hosted the MTV Video Music Awards?  "Our next musical act is very special to me, because I've been hunting them for eleven years.  Here they are... the real Killers!"  Or not.  What do I know, I'm just a doctor.

Gloriously Sick Bastards

I started watching Nip/Tuck last night.  I was floored.  I like it, but it's so shocking... the OR gore is one thing, but they go so excessively far beyond the edge that it takes a superhuman effort to stay with them.  They regularly cross the proverbial line, then take a shit and masturbate on the line for good measure.  I kinda resent that there's no deference to the audience when certain things happen (say, spewing liposuction fat directly from a stomach all over an operating room).  But I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.  That's evidence of how good a job they've done with the rest of the show.  It's in awful taste, it's a little too unflinching for my taste, and I would characterize it as moderately irresponsible.  But it's so original because it's so irresponsible.

What I keep coming back to is whether the graphic surgery stuff is really necessary.  At first I thought Hell No, but later I realized that it establishes something with the audience... yes, we're going there, and we'll go even further in a few minutes, and we don't care whether you come along or not, but we're onto something.  Nip/Tuck will go to any length to disturb you, but it's got an objective, and it can't complete that objective if you're not implicit in the proceedings.  There's a layer of trust between the viewer and the filmmaker, established by your willingness to watch a liposuction tube slip loose and spew human fat all over an operating room.  They know that if you'll watch that, you'll watch the rest of what they have in store for you.  And they need to know you're strong enough to take it.  It takes a strong stomach to watch a main character get tortured with unsolicited shots of botox to his penis; that's definitely a moment where the audience could have jumped ship if they weren't primed with all that surgery gore.

But anyway.  I liked the later episodes more than the pilot (stunning as it is) but based on the psychological torture I just described, that seems like a natural result.  I love the sick sense of humor that starts to come through in later episodes, like the huge deal being made about the late gerbil Frisky, or much of Dr. Troy's behavior during the Twins episode, including the way in which he cures his impotence.  And despite the almost neverending barrage of twists and turns, there's a level of faithfulness that runs underneath it.  It's not trying to be true, it's trying to lend an air of truth.  It's the reverse of Rescue Me, which I believe wants to have it both ways... true-life drama and over-the-top melodrama.

So if you can take it, start watching Nip/Tuck, because it's rewarding.  And it'll put hair on your chest.  Even if you're a woman.  (Especially... no, j/k.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Intelligent Design Works!

Oh, no, I meant intelligent design of the judicial branch.  Jesus fought the law, and the law won!  Bonnnnnng!

I can't imagine it's over, since there will most certainly be appeals brought and technicalities invoked, but in the meantime I feel soft and fuzzy knowing that this law will knock some future voters off the mailing list of Sen. Prick Santorum (R-FU).  Good to see Pricky Rick can't control his own backyard!

(Note to the unaware: Pennsylvania's frothy junior senator is not, in fact, the namesake of this blog.  If you're not one of those faint-of-heart types, and you're not at work, open Santorum's Box, and allow Dan "Savage Love" Savage to show you what's inside.  Beware... once you know what that frothy mixture is, there's no going back.  I sure haven't.  NSFW)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sympathy For Carl / Senseless Violence On TV

Man... I'm not sure I like where the Aqua Teen people have gone with Carl.  When they accidentally sucked him through the jets of a high-powered toilet-of-the-future, I was OK with it.  When they had Master Shake shoot his foot off with a shotgun, I went with the flow.  When the tree lawyers tore the skin off his back to use as parchment, I didn't say anything.  But last night, when they made him shove a broom all the way up his ass so that it nearly pushed through his skull... ugh.  And as if that weren't enough, then they made him try to saw his own leg off with a butter knife.  Come on.  All the man wanted was a set of rims.  Is that a crime?  To paraphrase Moe Sislak, he doesn't deserve this kind of shabby treatment.  Let the man have his dignity.  And his rims.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Yeah, But Where Did The LIGHTER FLUID Come From?

I just got back from my office's Christmas party. Excellent time, great food, and best of all, an open bar. Had to drive home though; file that one under "dagnabbit" or something similar. Anyway, there's something I need to talk about. It's a little embarrassing, though I have to assert that I enjoyed myself thoroughly tonight, and my beef is no reflection on my employer in any way.

The entertainment tonight was a magician.

Now, this seems innocent enough. Magicians are fun, they're cheap, and they're good for some unintentional comedy. But to someone who has spent the last few months obsessed with Arrested Development, this was a near-catastrophe. GOB Bluth is the eldest Bluth son, and the #1 jackass on a show populated almost entirely by jackasses. GOB, as you may know, is a magician by trade. Every portrayal of GOB performing magic ends with either failure, embarrassment, explosions, living burials, or all of the above. And the show clearly has a lot of disdain for magicians in general, making them out to be glorified village idiots. So I can't really watch magicians anymore without wanting to laugh on the inside.

Now, when I showed up at the bar, this guy pulled me aside to show me some card tricks. I was reluctant, sensing immediately that I was about to let myself be entertained by GOB. Turns out he was good with cards, so I felt like less of a schmuck afterwards. And he pulled off a few good tricks in his show, and also pulled a pink thong from my pants (I'll spare you the gory details). But even though he salvaged his reputation in my mind, I still can't take magicians seriously. And I do feel like a semi-putz for having sat through an hour of magic tricks.

Oh wait, my mistake. It's not a trick...'s an ILLUSION!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Diarios de Motocicleta

Excellent movie.  Above all else, it's a true movie.  Not true like "wow, it's a true story," true like it's genuine.  Every moment that has any potential for melodrama is artfully dodged in favor of something more real.

As always, Gael Garcia Bernal kicks ass.  Mostly for his acting, which was excellent as always, but partly for his depiction of asthma attacks.  He scared the living shit out of my shit, long after that shit had been scared out of me.  I spent a solid month or two doing almost exactly what Ernesto does... unable to sleep or breathe, puke flying all over the place, certain I was within a few seconds of dying, over and over again for, ohhhh, six hours.  Once a night.  Scariest feeling I've ever had.  I'm seizing up just thinking about what it felt like when it happened to me.  So Gael, if you're reading, you got that part right.

Anyway, great movie, highly recommended.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Late Adopters: The Reject Files

I've decided, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Hot Fuss by The Killers is only so-so.  The sound is incredible, the songwriting is good, but ultimately, just not that good.  The second half of the album is straight-up filler, and it bores me.  The only way to get away with a filler-filled pop album is if every song on the album sounds the same; not true of Hot Fuss, which starts out with four or five songs that are clearly above and beyond any that follow them.  They aren't bad songs, they're just plain old boring pop, and as such aren't compelling enough.

Why think about this?  Because I just listened to The Back Room by Editors, which I do find compelling, all the way through the sixth bonus track.  They've clearly duplicated The Killers' sound (albeit not as effectively or impressively), and have no singles as strong as "Somebody Told Me" or "Mr. Brightside," but the Richard Butler/Morrissey-esque vocals on The Back Room give the filler a little more urgency.

This isn't to say The Killers suck.  They are good.  But I think the praise for Hot Fuss is misguided.  Praise the band, not the album.  Hot Fuss is nowhere near the blazing debut that Franz Ferdinand or The Back Room are; instead, it's a gauntlet, thrown at their feet in anticipation of their next few albums.  We will see better from them.

(P.S. I really should have listened to Interpol before commenting on this, but what can I say?  I'm bored.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Wow.  I had never read these lyrics before.  "Take a piece of your pie and say bye / Or be honest and rub your thighs"???  Hey-ooooo!  Not like that's shocking, but it's a lot more graphic than I remembered.  So much for the downward spiral of raunch and morality on television and radio... things seem to be holding steady, if this is any indication.  And if you can't rely on Gerardo, then who can you rely on?

Vultures of Doom

So I'm getting out of my car this morning at work when I look over at the UPS dispatch lot, and this big turkey vulture flies up from ground level, crosses over to my side of the road, and starts circling.  About ten feet from the ground.  Not every day that you see a vulture so low to the ground.  I usually see them way overhead on I-95.  The rare occasions when I've seen them up-close had all been when I was hiking up a mountain (a rare occasion in and of itself).  It was cool to see one of them bird-of-prey bastards close enough to see the sharp tip of his beak.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Some TV Thoughts

I thought tonight's episode was a little subpar.  It was good, and it involved all the show's trademark twists and turns, but I think the show was so Charlize-centric that the supporting cast ended up pushed to the side, thus cutting into the comic hijinks.  Gob, Buster and Tobias made the most of their opportunities (especially Gob and Buster... but especially Tobias) and yet the episode seemed very flat to me.  I'm OK with that, because it clears out the Wee Britain/Mr. F. storyline, which kinda fizzled in the end.  I liked the whole "British intrigue" angle more than the MRF angle, and I really liked seeing Dave Thomas doing a ridiculous Cockney accent.  But I feel like we never learned enough about who and what was behind all that spying... what the hell were they after the Bluths for?  Maybe I missed something in "Mr. F" or "Notapusy" but I don't think so.

And when are they gonna get Anyong out of that crawlspace?

In other social-gaffe-sitcom news, I just discovered that I have this in my On Demand area.  Score!!!!!  Wow, though.  The first episode makes The Office feel like a warm glass of milk by comparison.  I could barely watch it... I had to take two separate breaks just to keep from gouging my own eyes back through my ears, thus saving me from hearing or seeing Ricky Gervais weasel his way out of a Catholic prayer circle.  The agony!  Almost everything in the whole episode was gutwrenching.  On a larger scale, I'm having a hard time understanding who I'm supposed to sympathize with... part of what made The Office so lovable, despite all of the despicable behavior, is Tim and Dawn's groundedness.  No matter what David Brent did, there were sane people to compare him to.  Here, it's just him.  Those two people were us, the two normals in a nutty office.  Who in Extras am I supposed to latch onto?  But that's something I can't know right away necessarily.  I did think it was really outrageous.  And Kate Winslet was really funny lampooning herself.

In short, the first episode was absolutely excruciating, so mission accomplished, but I also see plenty of potential.  I'll keep you posted.

Hunting For The Holidays

I'm watching hockey on OLN right now.  OLN is primarily a hunting channel, and they apparently have a show involving Larry Csonka, the former Dolphin running back.  In their promos for the show, they use the phrase "Stalking Stuffers."

Now, I'm all for risque cleverness, but isn't it a little creepy to use that imagery?  Especially for a network that is trying to reach out beyond the hunter-gatherer demographic?  I'm not arguing the definition of the word, or its meaning within the context above.  I'm just saying that if you aren't a hunter, your first reaction to the word "stalker" is not going to be about cloaking oneself in camo and hiding behind a tree... with no women around.  Sure, you may counter that the "stalker" imagery that irritates me is, in fact, the application of a primal, animal act to a sophisticated art, thus the word in its sex offender context (creepy) is dependent on its meaning in the hunting context (literal).  But then I can come back and talk about connotation vs. denotation, where the connotation dominates the denotation and its literal meaning is irrelevant.  And if you argued with that, I'd get bored and walk away.

I have little else to say about any of that.  Good hockey game though... 1-1 between the Rangers and the Wild.

I'd Like To Buy A Vowell

This link, the current installment in my "I bet nobody ever thought of that before" series of post titles, is a sampling of readings from the audiobook of Sarah Vowell's The Partly Cloudy Patriot. The excerpts are of her celebrity guest readers, including Seth Green, Conan O'Brien, David Cross and Stephen Colbert, performing as politicians from the book.

Vowell is probably best known as a contributor to NPR's This American Life and as the voice of Violet in The Incredibles. She was also a memorable contributor to the excellent They Might Be Giants documentary, Gigantic. More than anything, she has a distinctive, weird, expressive, and ultimately compelling voice, which is ultimately what sells the often-boring material that interests her so much. Anyway, the idea of listening to her dictate her book is a lot more appealing to me than just reading it myself. (This from someone who becomes deeply irritated when people read to him instead of just letting him read the goddamn thing when the aforementioned hypothetical person, who really isn't anyone in particular, is finished.)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Link Fix

1. The Bad Plus Tackle Literature
First, a goodie from jazz trio The Bad Plus... they recently posted, on their blog, a list of musical acts and the authors they most closely correspond to.  Some are uncanny (Phish = Douglas Adams, Elliott Smith = Sylvia Plath), some are amusing (Dave Matthews = John Grisham, lol) and some have better intentions than credentials (The Beatles = Roald Dahl?  I like Dahl as much as the next guy, but COME ON!!!).  Either way it's food for thought.  Knowing that TBP spent a great deal of time discussing the issue internally makes me happy.  And any list that includes Haruki Murakami is fine by me.

(Quick aside: I can't claim to be a huge Murakami fan, having read only A Wild Sheep Chase, but I was really impressed.  His bizarro storytelling is very much in line with how I used to write.  When I come away from a book thinking "damn, I need to start writing again," I know it's a winner.)

2. The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder
Next, the misunderstood and multitalented artist addresses how he spoke with Fidel Castro, why Reginald Hudlin is credited as a Boondocks co-creator despite not having even spoken with McGruder for a year, and what he thinks about the New Yorker profile that flayed him like a butterfly pork chop.

3. Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic's Sarah Silverman
Interview of the year, despite doing the whole thing over email.  She wins three LOLs, two ROFLMAOs, and a OMFG.  She's one of the best around at using the element of surprise to say some outrageous shit.  For example, take the story of how she and Jimmy Kimmel started dating... let's just say the story of how Kate and I got together will be ending differently from now on.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It's The Final Cee-ount-dee-owwwwwn!

Well, it's more like The Initial Countdown, but I can't imagine GOB dancing around to The Initial Countdown. Anyway, allow me to condense what I've been listening to of late into digestible chunks... and then footnote the living shit out of it.

What's In My Virtual 5-Disc Changer
5. Dangerdoom - The Mouse And The Mask
4. Jimmy Eat World - Stay On My Side Tonight EP *
3. Sigur Rós - Takk
2. Kasabian - Kasabian **
1. The Darkness - One Way Ticket To Hell... And Back

That's My Joint, Yo
5. Kanye West - "Touch The Sky"
4. Kasabian - "Reason Is Treason"
3. The Darkness - "Hazel Eyes"
2. Sigur Ros - "Glósóli"
1. Dangerdoom - "Vats Of Urine" (see earlier post)

Late Adopter Top 5 Albums
5. Bruce Springsteen - The River
4. (tie) They Might Be Giants - Apollo 18 / John Henry / Factory Showroom
3. Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup
2. Pulp - Hits
1. (tie) The Beta Band - Hot Shots II / The Beta Band ***

* - This EP is notable for featuring a worthwhile, dare I say good, remix of "Drugs Or Me." The original tune, for those who didn't die from listening to it, was earnest, but so unsophisticated lyrically that no adult could possibly take the words seriously. When your heartfelt anti-drug ballad inspires straight-edge people like me to start wondering which friend of theirs could score them some heroin if they ever wanted it... well, I think something might not be working. Jim "No, It's A Different Jimmy" Adkins comes off sounding like a real wuss, which is saying something in today's rock world. Fortunately, the electronic remix distorts the unbearable emo-nstrual lyrics to the point where one can actually listen to the song without vomiting, committing seppuku, or shooting up with borrowed needles. But there's also a duality that comes along with that vocoder-fication... when Adkins sings "I can't tell you from the drugs," you can't tell him from the vocoder. Are we the drug-addled girl he's singing to, and is that how unclear the message would sound to a strung out person? I doubt that was the intention, but interesting to think about nonetheless.

** - Kasabian fucking rocks.

*** - This is a late adoption of those two albums, not the Betas themselves. I've been into the Betas for a while now, but only recently turned the corner from thinking The Three EPs was their peak. But no. They were the real deal. And now they're gone. Check out their best-of for a good (if imperfect) sampling of their best work.

Globlets of Fire

I almost loved the new Harry Potter movie.  I did like it a lot.  It's much more dramatic than any of its predecessors, and while ridiculous on one level, very real and identifiable on another.  Considering it was the first jumbo-sized book in the series, they did a great job of boiling it down to the bare essentials.

See, Goblet of Fire is the pivotal book of the series.  It raises the stakes from a cutesy make-believe school story to a legitimate fantasy story with major implications within its universe.  It doesn't exactly drop the cutesy-poo stuff, but there are serious implications to Harry's story from here on out.  The paradigm shift at the end of Goblet leaves Hogwarts, as well as the rest of the world, in a state of utter disarray.  Dumbledore is barking out orders like a field general, people are panicking, nobody knows what's happening... but things are definitely whirling out of control, and there's an associated adrenaline rush to all the madness.  Essentially, the book essentially ends with a big, fat "WTF?!?"  It's the Empire Strikes Back of the Potter series, though the parallels are only contextual.

Unfortunately, very little of that devastation is is conveyed in the film.  It does the job in terms of exposition, but not all that well.  I imagine the 9-year-olds in the audience would beg to differ, but I didn't sense that Hogwarts was different in any way; as far as the movie is concerned, it was just another wacky old year at Hogwarts.  Except for minor details like, you know, (spoiler alert) Voldemort coming back and fucking killing people.  Instead, there's this whole theme about international unity and friendship and stuff that overrides the difficult times that lie ahead.  Having an apparent return to normalcy instead of a seismic shift doesn't do right by the story.

Oh well.  Maybe they'll make Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince more devastating, now that parents know what their kids are in for.

Behold, Y'all: The Digital Vats Of Urine

Drink up, bitches! Taste our liquid gold...

Some day, you may even show your son how to
Use it to make potassium nitrate for gunpowder
Funded by friends of ours who's generous;
Join us next time, when we discuss disgusting enemas!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Oh. My. God. It's things like this that make the Internet such a happy place. Thank you, barbelith. All that bad crap I always say about English people and the inedible slop they cook... I take it all back for a few weeks.

Monday, November 14, 2005

More On TV (not "Moron TV")

Just watched the first three episodes, and I'm hooked.  Really excellent stuff.  Nothing much has happened, but they're doing an incredible job of setting the scene, establishing character relationships, picking sides.  Gotta love a show where every single authority figure is dead-set against the show's hero, on top of being in somebody's pocket.  I obviously don't know much about the projects, but it sure looks and feels genuine to me; maybe not as rough as real, and still within the bounds of TV drama, but real enough.

I gotta say, after watching four episodes, I don't think I can get involved in this show.  I like it a lot, but it's just too soapy.  There isn't much point to the proceedings, apart from saying (repeatedly) that 9/11 sucked for firefighters, and oh by the way here's their sex lives too.  I don't enjoy watching a likable character like Jimmy (Denis Leary) tear his life apart because he has no other choice presented to him.  The grit and rawness is admirable, and the acting from Leary and the supporting cast is really phenomenal, but the melodrama really undermines the realism.  Rescue Me does get serious "balls" points for not compromising on its character arcs, and for its uncanny ability to find the most vulnerable part of the groin and punch it repeatedly.  But that doesn't mean I want to watch it.

I can't help but think of British slum operas like EastEnders as Rescue Me's model.  EastEnders is basically a soap about blue-collar types in London, with the interesting parts of working-class life presented for public consumption.  It's admirable that an American show is taking a cue from British blue-collar drama, but why would I want to watch an American attempt at a British genre that I don't like?  Great show... but.

Solid.  Not incredible, nothing fancy or over-the-top, just a quality show that's both stupid and smart, reliable and irreverent, lovable and indulgent.  And it has the best premise to come down the line in a long, long time... small-town crook tries to correct all the wrongs he's done in his life, one per episode.  It makes no bones about being a sitcom.  It's not out to turn the genre inside-out, like Arrested Development, but instead shows a respect for symmetry, neatness, self-containment, and selling the moral of the story.  Its emphasis on heart and warmth is something that's been missing in sitcoms since Seinfeld.  It's moralistic, and entirely unashamed of it.  Love thy neighbor, stupid.  Chasing Amy's Jason Lee is largely the reason for that, selling Earl as a fundamentally weak person who exceeds himself by placing absolute faith in karma.

That being said, I don't know that I'd call it must-see show.  I have high standards when it comes to sitcoms, having been raised grown up as an addict on the crappiest of the crap (one word: Meepos), and I'm not sure I'll be adding this to my growing list of addictions.  It isn't as funny as laugh riots like Family Guy and Arrested Development, in part because it isn't trying to fly above everyone's head.  While Family Guy and Arrested are NY strip with a side of mushroom risotto, Earl is a big, juicy hamburger.  It's a well-made show that does the job.

Ha, just kidding.  Here's who I think should win.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Being Open-Minded Is Fun

Today's entry in the contuining saga of my musical life, also known as Lifelong Indie Rock Hater Joins The Bandwagon A Couple Years Too Late, concerns KEXP's highly-worthwhile live performance streams.  Recent performances include New Pornos, Death Cab, Sufjan and Kasabian, but there's tons of good stuff in the archives.  Kasabian really impressed me.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Quick Recommendations

1. Wallace and Gromit.  Excellent movie.  On the one hand, I think the shorts are far more inventive, and the love interest & villain weren't all that interesting.  On the other hand, I could have watched Gromit react to things for another couple hours, regardless of who else was involved.  And there were some really funny gags.  The comic timing was as good as the puns were awful.  I don't find myself punning as often as I did in my youth, so to be immersed in vomit-inducing puns for 90 minutes was fun (the vegetable security team failed to "turnip" on time, and so forth).

2. Takk by Sigur Rós.  This album floored me.  It's the musical equivalent of a hurricane.  It conveys as much drama as an opera, without a single lyric in English.  They are the antidote to one of my favorite rants about current rock: whereas so many songs nowadays build towards a Good Part that never comes, failing to deliver on their promise, Sigur Rós delivers it.

3. You Could Have Had It So Much Better With Franz Ferdinand.  Unlike its predecessor, this album has some eminently skippable songs.  (The only reason Eleanor should put her boots on is to get away from that shitty song.)  But the original also sagged towards its conclusion, which is understandable after 11 essentially identical songs, and ultimately revolved around the desert-island single "Take Me Out."  You Could Have Had It So Much Better, on the other hand, finishes as strong as it starts, and features several distinctive, energetic, lovable singles, none of which overshadow the others.  On top of that, their drummer proves he can play more than one beat; having him shake things up from song to song gives each song much more personality.  It may not have the same white crunk sound that Kanye loved so much, but it's comfort enough to know that FF is more than the once-in-a-lifetime sound on their debut.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Out-Of-Context Remark Hall Of Fame

I was flipping around the dial in Princeton just now, looking for football, when I tuned in just in time to hear these words:

"The size of my bowel movements were inadequate, to say the least."

I'm not the first person to notice, either. Huzzah to you, Bowel Movement Size Infomercial Guy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tonight's Message Of Love

I only have one thought for tonight...



Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I Like TV, It Is Good For Me

I've never been one to follow a television show from week to week, watching religiously, investing myself in the characters, and so on.  Occasionally you'd get something like The Simpsons, or like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and the rest of Adult Swim, where I would watch all the time... but those are exceptions to the rule.  Fortunately, so much of what's on TV is garbage that I've managed to resist its charms.  The other day, however, I realized that I'm now planning social plans around TV shows.  That's never been a problem before, primarily because anyone I would ever want to socialize with would also be watching The Simpsons.  But the advent of episodes on DVD has helped me appreciate several shows that had slipped through the cracks.  So now I'm suddenly beholden to a handful of deserving shows.

So here's a list of shows that I like right now.

This show makes for AWFUL commercials.  I was turned off from watching it primarily because the commercials take everything out of context.  The show has great one-liners, memorable jokes, and all the other hallmarks of a great comedy, but you reeeeeally need to be in on the joke.  Lucille and Buster are probably the most easily identifiable jesters in the court, but Gob and Tobias and George Sr. (to say nothing of Uncle Oscar) take an awful lot of preparation before they become as funny as they are.  Gob in particular is just on a totally different wavelength; you need to alter your frequency to get it.  Case in point: I remember seeing a commerical where Gob dumps water on a row of female softball players' chests, and thinking "that's not that funny."  Of course, I laughed my ass off watching the softball episode on DVD last week.

I got into this after episodes started showing on Bravo.  Kind of a shame, because the show has become entirely tepid and typical over the last season-plus.  All of the charm, wit, and joy of the first few seasons is totally gone.  They've turned Josh from a happy-go-lucky lovable buffoon into a scowling, humorless, entirely unlikable smartass.

Has anyone else caught onto this show yet?  Hehe.  Another one I fell in love with on DVD.  Not much needs to be said on this, but I should say that a little Stewie goes a long way... unless we're talking about his sexy parties!

This show defies all attempts at descriptions beyond the TV Guide-friendly "food items solve mysteries," so I won't bother.  I haven't watched much of the most recent season.  I've seen "Gee Whiz" (with the epic "Standards and Practices" informational video), the first Mooninites episode, and the tongue-slicing hijinks of "Unremarkable Voyage" (that's sticking in my mind like Oldboy), but have not seen the return (again) of MC Pee Pants.  DVD comes out in December, so I'll check them out then... it's easier than staying up until midnight on a school night.

I haven't started watching this religiously... yet.  I've seen two episodes and loved them both.  Amazing stuff.  The DVDs are coming.

I'm also looking forward to getting into Nip/Tuck and The Wire, once they start pouring into my mailbox.  People also keep saying My Name Is Earl is a really special show, and I do enjoy the comedy stylings of Chasing Amy's Jason Lee.  But I don't think I can reasonably handle any more TV shows that I can't watch whenever I want.  This whole issue will come to a head if I ever have to share a TV with someone again, at which point I believe a TiVO or a PVR will be necessary.  But I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Friday, October 14, 2005

SmarterMail: You Suck

In the last two weeks, I have had two gigantic, epic posts get eaten by my web mail application. Hours of my life... totally wasted. Therefore, I'm taking this opportunity to say that SmarterMail, by SmarterTools, absolutely sucks. Sucks, I say. Pages load in seconds, not milliseconds. And emails disappear for no reason besides their mandatory session timeout! It's not as if POP/SMTP is that attractive to me... I like having everything in one place without having to configure Thunderbird. That I was forced to do just that, and live with the consequences of separate locations for all of my email, sickens me.

I have to ask... Smarter than WHO? What kind of Special Olympic reject could your program possibly be smarter than? I'd like to meet this person, just to congratulate him/her for blowing my mind out the back of my skull. What a winner. Oh, wait, I know who it is: the CEO of SmarterTools! Who the hell could be proud of a program that eats people's work? Congratulations, retard, your product sucks.

By the way, I've done nothing but praise CrystalTech since I signed up for their hosting services. That shit's over. You want to get my word-of-mouth back? Stop endorsing this piece of shit with your business. It's embarrassing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

Hollywood Leak: Pre-Viz Footage For Next Batman Sequel

Turn ya headphones up!  I think someone should fund a network that shows this on repeat for 24 hours a day.  I think someone should start up a club in Manhattan that plays a dancehall remix of this song all night long, with the video shown on projector screens around the dance floor.  I think a plush toy that shakes and sings the song when you squeeze it would sell millions.  And I think General Mills should make the world's first "audio cereal" with little Batmans that bounce around in your milk to the tune of the song.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Movie Rundown

Not many posts lately. Not nearly as many posts as movies. Here's the rundown:


  • Good movie to see on the enormo-tron at the Uptown, especially with a belly full of pho. I've always felt that Antarctica is the ultimate exotic destination (seriously, what could be more remote?) so just seeing Antartica was interesting. When you add eminently-watchable penguins, you have a grand old time. My main problem is that
    The photography was really impressive... though I can't say the movie ever made me feel like I was seeing -80 degree weather. It did look perilously cold, but even that doesn't quite do it justice. But that's a minor beef.

    The rampant anthropomorphism, however, is a major one. I buy elements of the love story. I buy the biological urge to protect one's young. I buy the born chicks not wanting to leave their parents' sight. But I highly doubt that they feel the same kind of love that is evoked by Morgan Freeman's narration. He starts the film off by describing the film as, ultimately, "a story about love." That may be true. But the context of that love is completely different. A critic whose opinion I really respect sums it up best by saying, "this is a story about love the way that the story of a crack addict stealing to get more crack is about love of crack." But that's not how it's presented, so it's misleading.

    I still liked it though. Winged Migration is better, though, especially if you watch it with the French director's dubbed English narration. It reminds me of the Monty Python nature documentary sketch: "Here ve see a pantomime goose engaged in a life-or-death struggle vith Terrence Rattigan!"

  • The Hebrew Hammer

  • This was a fantastic idea, but didn't turn out that funny. There were a few really good parts (the "Africa" and "Star of David" binoculars were brilliant) but in the end it doesn't go any further with the Jewsploitation theme than, ohh, Mad TV would have gone. And the movie isn't very even... it plays out like a stitched-together list of scenes, a sum of parts instead of a whole. I respect that it was made for like zero money, but it shows.

    That said, Adam Goldberg (Dazed and Confused) is the perfect guy for the role, and the supporting cast (Judy Greer, Andy Dick, Nora Dunn and an unrecognizable Peter Coyote doing an incredible over-the-top Chebrew Chaccent) is excellent. I wish they had more to work with... it could've been a Jewish Undercover Brother. But it's not.

  • Oldboy

  • This movie floored me. But it requires a strong stomach, for so many reasons that I cannot share. To call this movie disturbing would be softening its blow. But it's a work of genius, a perfect meditation on the nature of revenge, from both sides of the vengeful act.

  • The Aristocrats

  • Boy, I wish I'd seen this one AFTER seeing Old Boy... I could really use some levity right now. In fact, once they start allowing us to legally edit our own cuts of movies on DVD, I'm going to splice the ending of Old Boy with Gilbert Gottfried's epic telling of The Aristrocrats at the Friars Club.

    This movie made me laugh harder than anything I've seen in a long, long time... that's saying something when this comes on the heels of four-star comedies like The Wedding Crashers, The 40-Year Old Virgin, and The Exorcism of Charlie Rose.

    The Aristocrats starts with a bang, maintains its breakneck pace for its entire running time, and comes to rest on Gottfried at the Friars Club. (Seeing the look on Rob Schneider's face was worth the ticket price.) I never stopped laughing, and was sorry when the movie ended. That said, I don't think we could have learned any valuable lessons about the joke itself from another 10 minutes of movie. We would have learned a great deal more about the participants, though. Either way, the DVD has the potential to be an all-time classic, as far as bonus materials go. They could probably fill up two discs with outtakes or extended conversations. You think I wouldn't drop a nut to see Robin Williams' version in its entirety?


    Miscellaneous hits from the past...

  • Layer Cake: Excellent gritty gangster movie. Not much of a laugh, exactly, but good movie. Daniel Craig kicks ass up and down the street.

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Good Miyazaki. It's no Castle in the Sky, but it's up there with Spirited Away for sure.

  • Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story: Ehh. It had some good laughs, but it's basically three subpar Family Guy episodes. And any "uncensored" DVD that can't drop an F-bomb is no good with me. Four thumbs down.

  • Kung Fu Hustle: It wasn't quite what I expected. Fun, but I think I need to watch it fresh, now that I know what the whole "butterfly" thing is about.
  • Thursday, September 15, 2005

    It's Late And I'm Stupid

    Hehe. Not the biggest Bastardi fan in the world. Personally, I've got a little Captain in me...

    Actually I can't even remember seeing rum and coke in the same glass in a few years, let alone remember the last time I had one. One might think a guy whose blog is a pun on said drink would feel a civic duty to drink it every once and again. But no, I had to be a (blank)-and-tonic man. If they made rum-and-Pepsi, I'd have one on occasion. Or a rum-and-tonic. I'm a tonicoholic.

    Speaking of tonic, club soda is for wimps. Yeah, I said that. Go drop your lemon wedge in a club soda. Tonic, bitches

    Monday, September 12, 2005

    Movie Of The Month

    I just watched The Transporter, which I enjoyed for the most part. It was a really well-done crappy movie. Jason Statham has carved out a nice little niche of cool-guy roles. And it was nice to see them take a pretty standard premise (ass-kicking antihero with a heart of gold saves the day) and inject some martial arts to keep things interesting. It was neat to see a typical Caucasian actor acquit himself so well in a traditional kung fu fight sequence. But at the end of the day, it wasn't really good enough to care either way about it. Having seen this, I'm only mildly interested in Transporter 2. I may see it, but it's not too high on the list.

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    Two Tidbits

    Yay, Stereogum!

    First, Jason Lee names his kid after a Grandaddy song.  What a waste.  If he wanted to name his kid after a song, I'd have voted for Sir Nose D'voidoffunk Lee.  Or he could've gone the play-on-words route and called him Act Natural Lee, or Killian Mesoft Lee.  You could stretch into Bohemian Rhapsod Lee, or  Suffragette Cit Lee for a girl.  Anyway, needless to say, Brodie messed up.

    Next, Franz Ferdinand's new video, which I can't watch until later b/c I'm at work.  Basically, I'm posting this link so that I know how to find it when I get home.

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    For Those Who Know What A "Blivot" Is...

    ...I present to you... the Cincinnati Surprise!  For any interested parties, this is not how a good Christian boy would approach the situation.  (Not to be confused with the Cincinnati Meteor Shower.)

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    THIS Is The Sound Of Settling

    Death Cab for Cutie's new album Plans is a little blah when compared to their previous albums.  I think there's a lot of great songwriting on display, and Ben Gibbard doesn't disappoint with his lyrics or his vocals, but Chris Walla's guitars don't seem to have made the trip from Barsuk to Atlantic.  It's disappointing that the irrepressible, declarative guitar riffs have been traded in for an inoffensive mixture of smooth bass lines, drum-machiney beats, and atmospheric electronics, an apparent missive towards the Garden State OST audience.  Interesting that the producer of the album would engage in such altruism by muting himself, especially when what's missing from the resulting sound, in my expert opinion, is his guitar.  Only "Crooked Teeth" has a riff that's even noticeable, never mind memorable (see "The New Year," "Why You'd Want To Live Here").  That doesn't mean torrents of blazing guitars or anything, but past albums have demonstrated that Walla can be both skillful and complementary without being invisible ("Title and Registration," "Blacking Out The Friction," "405").

    Anyway, it's still too early to dismiss Plans as an inferior record, or a misguided departure, or an unbridled attempt to poach the mainstream Coldplay audience.  It has plenty going for it, specifically the songwriting (except on the damnable single "Soul Meets Body").  The highlights are probably the lead track, "Marching Bands of Manhattan," and the heartbreaking "I Will Follow You Into The Dark," which is as stunningly gutwrenching as a song can be without being depressing, and which will ultimately be one of the songs Gibbard is best remembered for. (Atlantic would be wise to place that song on a WB soap opera as soon as possible, because teenage girls will sob their eyes out when they hear it.)  But despite some of its achievements, Plans is a maturation away from something that I enjoyed, and still enjoy, a lot more.

    I never thought I'd write this, but I'm a little curious as to what Pitchfork will say about it.  I smell a big-time (and undeserved) ass-kicking.  I set the over-under at 4.2.

    Speaking of Pitchfork, read this.  Very interesting.

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    Alcoholics Anonymous, Here I Come

    Last night I improved my time in the 750 mL Dash to approximately 2:15 hours, down from 3+ a couple of months ago.  This may not be particularly impressive, given the abilities of some of you winos out there, but for me this is a huge improvement in both speed and effortlessness.  Breaking the one-bottle barrier in the first place was a big step, but doing so without it being blog-worthy will be the real achievement.  Though before I proclaim any real greatness, perhaps I should upgrade to something more robust than a Beaujolais... maybe a Merlot or a Shiraz (though I don't have any particular affinity for them in general).  Additionally, I didn't even remember until now that I'd packed away a whole bottle.  This after a pretty productive day at work, so clearly I didn't feel any ill effects.  Maybe I can be an alkie after all...

    Oh, and one other thing, since I'm talking about wine.  There's an Albarino I'm obsessed with, made by Pazo de Senorans (Spain)... it goes down so easily it's like you're drinking water.  If you see it, get it.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    You Stay Uncensored, San Diego

    The commentary on the Anchorman DVD is really hilarious.  Will Ferrell and co-writer/director Adam McKay spend the first 20-30 minutes ignoring the movie entirely, and just saying the most vulgar things they can think of because it's "unrated."  They'd be like "OK, now suppose we were to involve the sanctity of the Christmas holiday.  We all have warm feelings about Christmas, but let's just put this out there, you know, let's see if this one's got some wings: twelve shaven sacks of balls, all in a row, on Christmas."  It's not a commentary on the movie per se, but it does demonstrate the creative process behind the nutty non sequiturs Ferrell always seems to come up with.

    I do have a serious problem with the DVD though, which is that most of the stuff they said got bleeped out.  Come on!  For example, "dick salad" made it through, but the word "cock" did not.  "Shitballs" is OK, but not "fuckstick" or "monkey cum."  On an unrated DVD.  How does that make sense?  The only rational explanation is that they censored it for comic reasons, because it would be funnier to have an artificial boundary to rub up against.  But that's stupid.  The funniest lines were butchered by the constant bleeping.  Considering the creativity of some of the ideas ("OK, now imagine a John Williams soundtrack playing in the background... very warm... and then just imagine, just try to picture twelve enormous cocks next to each other, coming one after another in slow motion") it's a real shame it wasn't left intact.  I'm now glad, as a matter of fact, that I bought a used Canadian version of the DVD through a private seller, instead of letting more Americans get rich off of this censored travesty.

    I wish I had an uncensored version of the uncensored version.  If anyone out there knows how to hear the unedited commentary, I'd love to hear about it.

    Sunday, August 14, 2005


    Cialis is for sissies.

    I have absolutely no idea what to think about this.  So many questions... why is his manager discussing his painful, persistent erection with the media?  Isn't it kind of embarrassing?  And if it won't go away, how can he act?  Does the director have to shoot him only from the waist up?

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Man On Film

    The Fantastic Four

    It was fine.  I heard it was a waste of time, but I wouldn't quite say that.  It just wasn't memorable in any particular way.  The effects were good enough, but not that good.  I enjoyed the hijinks of Johnny Blaze and Ben Grimm, but the melodramatic comic-book acting wasn't much good... Jessica Alba is about as interesting to watch as a doorknob.  (Well, two doorknobs.  Hey-oooo!)  Victor Von Doom was sufficiently evil, but Dr. Doom wasn't.  I think Dr. Dooom would have been scarier to kids.  There weren't any amazing moments to counteract the groanworthy moments, but I'm feeling conciliatory today.  Nothing was bad enough to piss me off, so it was enjoyable.

    I will say this, though: Fantastic Four will be ri-goddamn-diculous in 15 years, with all the "cool" extreme-sports shit that Johnny Blaze does.  This will not age well.

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    I've Got A Good Mind To Go Home

    If you had a good mind you wouldn't be here in the first place!

    I admit it's work time, and I haven't watched this, but I will post it nevertheless, because they were the best part of the Muppet Show.  And how bad could it be?  (I guess we'll find out.)

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Top 10 Things I've Been Doing Since My Old Lady Came Back

    A gentleman never asks; a lady never tells.

    Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

    Many out there have lamented the new Tim Burton version because they loved the Gene Wilder version so much.  I don't argue with the warmness those people feel towards Wilder's best work, since he was so lovable that you couldn't help but give in to him.  Unfortunately, despite Wilder's acting job, the movie was made all wrong from the beginning.  It has very little of the Roald Dahl book's tone or intent, turning what had been revolting caricatures into sugary confections of Sesame Street-level "don't do that, kids!" lesson-learning.  Additionally, the Augustus Gloop scene deeply disturbed me when I was a child.  I still have trouble breathing when I see movies with people getting stuck in tight places like that chocolate tube.  I'll never forgive Mel Stuart for that shit.

    The new version, though streamlined, is as Dahl as anything that has ever been brought to film.  We knew Burton and Dahl were made for each other, but to see the association come to fruition is truly marvelous.  The good are decrepit, the evil are grotesque, the elderly are crusty, the message is misanthropic, and the morality is absolute.  Willy Wonka is more the dark, mysterious weirdo imagined by Johnny Depp than Wilder's conveniently imperfect father figure.  The snowy, rowhouse-infested London of the new film is far preferable to the MGM musical-style London of the original.  Even before we get inside the factory, it's clear that we are certainly not in a wooooooorld of pure imaginaaaaaaaaa-tiooooooooon... we're in a weird, weird place, led by a weird, weird guy.  What a wonderful thing to make a summer tentpole film with such obvious contempt for, oh, 90% of its audience.  And I love the lengths to which Wonka goes in order to NOT comfort us about the naughty kids' safety.  It may not be Burton's best film, but it's certainly on the list of his most Burtonesque.

    This year has been a nice Tim Burton one-two punch though, huh?  First we get Charlie, and in a month or two we get Corpse Bride.  It's like it's 1991 all over again.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Homework Assignment

    Your task is to construct a three-person Boat Race team from any movie.  The restrictions are as follows:

    * The characters must be live-action humans (Godzilla's illegal) with no help from prosthetics or fat suits (Mr. Creosote from The Meaning Of Life)
    * They must be at their normal size during the boat race (no picking, for lack of a better example, the enormous baby from "Honey, I Blew Up The Kid")

    The obvious choices I came up with are:

    1. Super Troopers [Mack, Farva, O'Hagen]
    2. Old School [Frank The Tank, Blue, and the fat kid]
    3. Snatch [Mickey, Tyrone, and Bullet-Tooth Tony]
    4. Bad Santa [Santa, the midget, and Bernie Mac]
    5. Leaving Las Vegas [Nic Cage chugs all three]
    6. Strange Brew [The MacKenzies and their father]

    Actually, I don't think Team Strange Brew can be beaten.  Who could actually compete with them? Maybe this won't be as fruitful a discussion as I thought.

    Friday, July 22, 2005

    This Week In Movies

    1. I ♥ Huckabees

    When this came out, I figured it would be a pretentious piece of trash. Who sells their movie as an "existential comedy"?!? Douche bags, that's who.

    The movie itself, though, is pretty entertaining. I wasn't sure what to expect, and while it's artsy-fartsy, the ideas it presents are legitimate. It's not pseudo-intellectual meandering, it's actual intellectual meandering. And that's pretty much what we do with our main characters... we meander in and out as failure strikes them in separate ways. Nihilism and existentialism are mortal enemies throughout the film, but in the end it doesn't seem to matter. Everyone reacts differently to their problems, but the fact that they all seek the same answers in the wake of those problems is what binds them together. I don't know how much I cared about the characters in the end, but the resolution is fairly clear, just so long as you’re satisfied with something simple.

    Anyway, the acting was superb. and given how talky it was, it was extremely entertaining given how talky it was. It wasn't hilarious, but it was definitely witty, and even had some quality slapstick here and there. I'd like to watch it again to try and figure out the connections a little better before passing final judgment. But as it stands, I think it’s just as worthy as any of the other entries in the emerging “twenty characters, linked by fate, coincidence and circumstance, experience life-altering events together” genre of movies. Huckabees is closest in nature toMagnolia, but I wouldn’t say either is better than the other.

    2. The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

    I would have expected this movie to be dry and soulless... hardly. In fact, amidst the modern rash to remake perfectly iconic movies, this one stood out to me as the most unnecessary. The original Manchurian is the ultimate political thriller. It was dated, to be sure, but how could Jonathan Demme expect to improve upon it? He was asking for trouble.

    This movie goes to show why Demme's in the movies and I'm not. He may not have improved upon it, but he definitely matched it. The updated story, where the conspirators are corporate instead of Communist, turns what had been a dated tale of conspiracy into a modern day 1984-ish paranoia horror story. Though the science remains far-fetched, the principles involved are extremely palpable. And the heightened sense of paranoia makes this movie tailor-made for Demme's trademark p.o.v. close-ups (where the actor delivers his/her lines directly to the camera)... seeing a face peering back at you, occupying so much of the screen, is discomforting.

    The acting is phenomenal, just like you'd expect from the folks involved. Denzel is his usual perfect self. Meryl Streep might be the only actress who could challenge Angela Lansbury as the most manipulative, bitchy mother on the planet. And Liev Schreiber is the ideal choice for a modern Raymond Shaw... blank, sinister, presentable and sensitive at the same time, keeping us guessing about him until the very end. The support (particularly Jeffrey Wright) is uniformly excellent.

    Just to really nail how wrong I was about this remake, I now believe this is precisely the kind of story that ought to be remade every few decades or so. The themes from the original Richard Condon novel are still relevant today, as Demme proved. I wouldn't complain if they made a Manchurian this good every 30 years.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Harry Potter

    Bought the new one Sunday, finished it last night.  Its main development (without spoiling other major developments) is watching Harry act less as an obedient student, and more as an independent, skilled wizard in his own right.  It's refreshing to watch him take matters into his own hands for most of the book, instead of waiting for someone more powerful, or more experienced, to do the heavy lifting.  I suppose Order of the Phoenix addressed that a bit, with Dumbledore's Army making an unaccompanied foray into the Ministry of Magic, but I felt like we finally got some of the payoff from watching Harry develop over the first five books.  It's also nice for us to finally spend some time with Dumbledore that really shows off who he is, and how intelligent he can be.  And while the book has plenty of plot digressions, Rowling keeps it under control much more than she has in the past.

    It's far from perfect... there's a lot of "So, anyway, you were saying?" lines that serve little purpose besides breaking up long expository monologues.  And, much like Revenge Of The Sith, there is a bit of forced political timeliness in the climax of Dumbledore and Harry's private lessons... though Rowling handles hers far better than Lucas did his.  Yuck.

    I think it's one of the better ones of the series.  I've always been partial to The Prisoner Of Azkaban as a favorite, since it's the first book in the series that has an ambition to be more than just a children's story, but this may actually be Rowling's best work.  I'd rank them as follows at this point:
    1. Prisoner of Azkaban
    2. Half-Blood Prince
    3. Goblet of Fire
    4. Order of the Phoenix
    5. Chamber of Secrets
    6. Sorcerer/Philosopher's Stone

    I don't think there's any shame in Sorcerer's Stone being the worst of the series... by no means is it bad, or even merely mediocre.  (Certainly not as bad as its entirely unimaginative film adaptation; thank God for the adaptation of Azkaban.)  The recent entries have just been that much better.

    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    More On How Wedding Crashers Is Teh Funny

    I was poking around Yahoo movies, looking to see if anybody had an ill word to say about Wedding Crashers (verdict: not really) and found this stellar review...
    this movie suck
    by tuttyxbox (movies profile) (Jul 15, 2005)
    9 of 48 people found this review helpful

    it is about 2 llamas who spit alot, then when they grow up they become spiderman and save people, then they eat out of the toliet. the end  
    I wish I had as much fun tonight as these two 11-year-olds did!!!  (Actually I did have some fun.  I watched people take shots off an ice luge, then hid my drunk friend's hat and caused him to freak out.  When he complained that his hat disappeared beacuse he took a shot, I suggested that if he were to take another shot off the ice luge, it would reappear.  It did... it's an Alvistime miracle!!!)  Anyway, have I mentioned yet that those of us who HAVE seen Wedding Crashers thought it was insanely funny?  I laughed all the way through.  I've decided after some reflection that the movie itself isn't nearly as funny as Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Rachel McAdams made it.  There's plenty of lines ("Football and crabcakes, that's what we do in MARYLAND!") but the fun is in watching the actors clown around.  I know I already said all of this, but it bears repeating, because it's late and I'm tired.  Goodnight, Gracie.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    Wedding Crashers

    Just saw it. Dying to see it again. It lags a little towards the end, but for most of the movie I was laughing non-stop. For a movie that's basically just about two guys trying to get laid, it was unique and inspired. They didn't hold anything back. Plenty of scene-stealing performances, including a cameo that I forgot was coming by the time it happened (likely due to a lack of blood in the brain). Anyway, I wish I had more hands, so I could give that movie... four thumbs up! Enjoyable for anyone, especially for those of us who can imagine what the "bellysticks" game is on our own.

    Near-Death Experiences

    Nothing too serious.  The tales on my mind relate to the most dangerous software application on the planet... iTunes.

    Just now I was working in my office, listening to the title track of Ben Folds' Rockin' The Suburbs.  The song is basically a snarky bitchslap of guys like Fred Durst, pretending to be hard but actually being Preparation H-hunting suburban pussies who do little more than dropping F-bombs and serve as a lightning rod for white suburban teen angst.  Anyway, the bridge of the song ends with Ben saying "It makes me real pissed off, and it makes me wanna say... / It makes me real pissed off, and it makes me wanna say... / It makes me real pissed off, and it makes me wanna say... / FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!"  Not too subtle, right?

    Guess when my boss walked by.

    I don't think he was paying attention, he didn't give me a funny look or anything, and he more than likely doesn't care.  But still, having him walk by just in time to hear some guy scream FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK was enough to give me a little jolt.

    Then there's the time that my innocuous Jimmy Eat World album ended, and Coming 2 America by Ludacris started up.  "The royal penis is clean, your highness" is not what I expected to hear at that moment, and not twice as loud as Futures had been.  Yikes.

    Thursday, July 14, 2005


    I'm back, after having been away for almost two weeks.

    I spent 4th of July weekend in Seattle, playing in Potlatch, and having a generally good time with my old teammates. I had high expectations, and they were exceeded by leaps and bounds. I even played OK, which didn't happen last time at Potlatch.

    After Seattle, I met up with Kate at Glacier National Park in Montana for a week. I saw some pretty amazing stuff... mountain valleys, wildflowers, waterfalls, birds, and of course a glacier. The glaciers are scheduled to melt away by 2030, so get off your duff and go to Montana. As a vacation spot, I think it's about as good as I've seen in America so far... the idiot-tourist factor is extremely low, since Kate and I were doing things that idiots generally wouldn't bother doing, like hiking 1500 feet into the air. But I've got a few good stories to tell... well, stories anyway. I bet a few of these fall into "you had to be there" territory.

  • Montana happens to be Grizzly country, so throughout the trip I was worried that we'd see a bear at our campsite. Luckily for me, it didn't happen. However, my gain was Kate's loss... she would have gladly had a bear run-in. All trip long, whenever I saw something interesting on the side of the road, she would excitedly ask "Oooh, is it a bear???" only to be disappointed when it wasn't. (Personally, I think she just wanted to play with the $46 bear-grade pepper spray we bought on day 1. Though I suppose if she wanted to play with it, she could have just sprayed me.) Besides lack of bears, she also lamented the lack of bighorn sheep, especially after having passed so many "Please Don't Feed The Sheep" signs. There were no sheep to feed!

    So on our way out of Glacier, Kate reminded me that we hadn't seen a bear, and how disappointing it was. Shortly thereafter, I noticed the cars in front of us were slowing down to check out a park ranger who was guarding a black mass off in the distance. Kate, on cue, asked if it was a bear, and it turns out that it was. We couldn't really slow down and look, but I did see it move its head around in a bear-like manner. I don't think it was everything Kate had dreamed of, but at least we'd seen a bear. After a few miles, as we pulled up to the Logan Pass visitor center, Kate said, "I'm pretty happy now... we saw all the animals we could, but it'd be nice to see a bighorn sheep by the side of the road." After nodding my head obediently, I pulled around to look for parking. I turned into a parking spot that appeared empty, but upon further inspection was in fact occupied... by a bighorn sheep. It was a total sitcom moment... it had to have been written. Watching my girlfriend materialize a bighorn sheep with her mind was pretty impressive.

    (Epilogue: her reaction to discovering psychic powers was to say, "It'd be nice to see $300 by the side of the road." $300?!? That's it? Gee whiz, why don't you rein in those expectations??? But I guess this is to be expected from someone who has dreams about checking her email, and nightmares about asking me to fetch stuff from her file folders, except I keep bringing the wrong things because I don't know her filing system.)

  • I won an interspecies game of chicken with a mountain goat. I turned a blind corner on the Hidden Lake trail a little too quickly, and found myself charging a mountain goat who was likewise racing along the trail. Once we realized we were on a collision course, we both had the same reaction... GA-A-A-A-A-A-A-A... but the goat turned around and ran in the other direction. I... am ALL that is MAN. No, just kidding... in fact the biggest victory in our run-in was me not needing a change of underwear or a defibrillator. I screamed like a bitch. I'm just glad the old Bill Cosby line ("first you say it... then you do it!") didn't apply.

  • We saw a marmot fight! These two marmots were apparently fighting over this woman marmot, who was lounging on a nearby rock. Pretty neat. And yes, they were marmots, not ferrets.

  • In another intraspecies battle, Kate and I went to dinner on our last night in the park. The restaurant had these "IQ Tester" games at our table. It's a peg game where you have 15 holes in a triangle, but 14 pegs. You move a peg into an open spot by leaping over another peg, removing said peg in the process. The goal is to leave only one peg. According to the game, those who leave one peg are "very smart," while those who leave three pegs are merely "so-so." Kate only got down to three, but I managed to get one. You may draw your own conclusion, but it ought to have something to do with me being Very Smart. It's worth mentioning that Kate seems to have dedicated some brainspace to her psychic abilities, so that may have stunted her performance a little. That, and her Harvard diploma. Actually, given that she's from the Ivy League, I'm impressed that she completed the puzzle without drooling on the board or eating the pegs.

  • Couscous is ideal for camping, because it's instant by design: just add water. Kate and I made a good deal of couscous during our trip. I made the mistake of telling this to my Dad, who informed me that Kate and I were homosexuals. I won't make that mistake again. Maybe I'm not Very Smart after all.

  • Lots more happened, but not much of it translates into words. When Kate comes back from her adventure, we'll sort through the pictures and get them posted. In the meantime, you'll have to settle for vivid descriptions of the above irrelevant nonsense.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2005


    I'm not getting much sleep nowadays. I'm staying up way too late and getting up a little too late. It's not healthy, and I'm getting awfully cranky about pretty much everything. You know, cause I'm not normally cranky. Anyway, I feel really exhausted, so I'm going to bed in a few minutes (11:30 EDT? WTF???!?!?1!?)

    Before then, some ultimate talk. I had my first Pro League game last night... we did OK but lost in the end. I caught a score by effectively pulling my poacher's pants down (he poached, so I busted deep to score uncontested). Instead of handling, I was primarily playing middle and deep, which I enjoyed. I'm liking the team depth thing. I'd like to spend the rest of the summer being a cutter, and dropping my lazy-handler habits. And working on defense, of course. Luckily our team is deep enough with handling talent that I can do all of that. I hope. I don't expect to see much of the disc, but the point is to get a rhythm back.

    Monday, June 20, 2005

    Top 10 Things I've Been Doing Since My Old Lady Took The Car And Drove Out West

    Don't mistake this for glee in any way. I am simply reporting the facts I have observed lately.
    1. NHL 2004. Technically there was nothing stopping me from doing this before, but I'm just reporting my own observations here. I'm finally back to action! The 2010 playoffs have begun in earnest, and I need to be there for my team. Not so surprisingly, Joey Bananas is still leading the Bruins on the ice; surprisingly, he isn't choking in the playoffs! Another reason why video games are preferable to reality. Let's stop this conversation before it becomes more appropriate for that other blog.
    2. Staying out late. What time is it? Four-thir-tay... yeesh. This wasn't unheard of before, but it's a lot easier.
    3. Staying up late. I've gone to bed before 1:00 maybe twice since she left a week ago. This isn't as good as it sounds. Actually, this reminds me of something else...
    4. I'm not goddamn waking up on time. I'm getting to work at 9:15 on a regular basis. Kate's no morning person, but the fact that she needed to be up made me want to be up.
    5. Watching the Nationals. Even more than before. But I like watching them, and I like the baseball-only approach their TV announcers take. They're sympathetic towards the Nats without leaving the realm of reality. They're not great announcers, but I'll take them over some suck-up sycophantic Company Man.
    6. More meat. After Kate moved in, my freezer remained stocked and static. Now it's in a state of perpetual motion.
    7. Less DC time. The District is only 50 feet away right now, and yet it seems so far away. It was nice to have a reason to go into the city twice a week.
    8. Yelling at the Red Sox through the TV. Ehh, I guess I did this before. But now I do it louder.
    9. Calling up cheap L Street whores. Uh, I mean Meditating alone in a Zen-like fashion. It's been quite, uh, relaxing.
    10. Driving my newwwww caaaaaar!!!!! Come on down! You're the next contestant on Spend $20,000 All Told On A Pile Of Japanese Scrap Metal!!!
    So, that's what I've been doing. And nothing else.

    Friday, June 17, 2005

    Blog, Part Deux

    So I recently had my .Text blog hacked for the second time this year. So I decided to start over at a hosted location, since I'm clearly incapable of securing my web server and database server for whatever reason. Luckily I don't really need everything that the old blog handled, though it will be inconvenient to go without categories and articles. What's nice about Blogger is that I'll be able to email posts to the blog, instead of dealing with its merely-okay WYSIWYG tool.

    As for the sports blog, it's moved here. All three of you who read the old blogs should update your bookmarks.

    Anyway, haven't got a whole lot to say yet, so have a lovely day.