Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blockbuster Pains

Went to Blockbuster last night to continue my sister Jerrica's movie education. Picked out THE USUAL SUSPECTS, a must see.

The Blockbuster girl was the helpful Morgana. She walked around suggesting titles. (I did the same, including AMELIE. I told her she couldn't watch it alone. Morgana said, "Who do I watch it with?" I was going to volunteer but then I realized that wouldn't go over well. "I would watch it with you," I said, "but I have a feeling my girlfriend wouldn't like that. Too romantic." Later Jerrica told me "Girls don't like their boyfriends watching any movies with other girls." That sounds plausible.)

Anyhoo, as my sister was picking out her gawd-awful array of movies to watch, it came out that Morgana watched (and liked) FAILURE TO LAUNCH. I immediately told her to quit talking to me. "You know," I said, "sometimes I look at you and wonder what might have been had we met under different circumstances. Then I listen to your movie preferences, and I thank god it didn't happen."

I'm being too hard on Morgana. She is a nice girl and all, and does like some good movies, but what is it with Chicks and the loss of brain power that makes them want to watch a piece of trash like FAILURE TO LAUNCH? (Actually, I know what's on her mind, and it's Matthew. You know I'm right.)

As we got up to pay Jerrica had THE FAMILY STONE, THE PRINCESS DIARIES, THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2, and ICE PRINCESS (which is the best, and I use that term loosely, of the bunch.)

I didn't want to let her check those movies out on my card, but Jerrica placated me with Sun Chips.

Basically I sold my soul for Harvest Cheddar. (That's a pretty good motto, huh?)

To top it all off, we get home and suddenly Jerrica tells me that THE FAMILY STONE is only a two-night rental, so I didn't even get to watch USUAL SUSPECTS.

Oh well.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Denny's rocks

I got to go to Denny's! I got to go to Denny's! I got to go to Denny's!

You can't imagine how big a deal this is. Since my license expired at the end of December, you can count the number of times I have left town on one hand. And it's not a big town. Other than going to Ottawa in April, I don't think I'd been more than one mile from this house since February. Literally february.

So going to Denny's was a HUGGGGGGGGGGGGE deal for me. I got so much written that to give you the full scope would make you so jealous that you would be forced to eat a frisbee.

I'm sure I'm going to pay for it in back pain, and I'm wondering if that headache isn't going to come back. But you know what? It matters not. I got so much done that I have new material for a week; week and a half if I stretch it.

Oh, happy day!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

That wacky Brenda

Today on 90210 there's a "Very Special Episdode" where Brenda might have breast cancer. As part of the fun, Brenda's Mom (Sheila?) gives Brenda a breast exam. This is after Kelly, Donna and Brenda gave themselves breast exams.

And I can enjoy none of it.

You know a headache sucks when teenage hanky panky and mothers fondling daughters is no fun.

I'm going back to bed. However, I quow (quasi-vow) that tomorrow there will be new material on the main page.

The wolves are at the door.

more migraine fun

The Migraine keeps coming and going. What's up, pain?

I think I finally figured out what cause it: the dreaded dust. I think breathing in that dust Friday afternoon and Saturday morning caused me to get the migraine Saturday night.

And now I'm officially never dusting again.

(Unless of course it was Tiff)

Freecell Follies:
1925 - 702 (73.2775%) I will make 74 % this week (at least showing). Oh yes; it will be mine.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I have not been that sick in awhile. I don't know what happened. My head started hurting about 3 this morning, and I took some Tylenol, and it went away. Then it came back, but I wasn't really worried. My head hurts quite a bit, and I'm used to it. I certainly didn't let it slow me down.

Then it just started getting worse and worse. I noticed I was having problems with the lamp being on, and then I was slurring my words. Perhaps the biggest indicator was that I was moaning rhythmically. It was kind of freaky.

When my head hurts that badly I throw up. Don't know why, but I just do. Sadly, unlike when I'm sick to my stomach, throwing up does not make me feel better. Still, I know I was in trouble. I hung out in the bathroom, but could only dry heave. I was going to lay down, but by then I was so queasy that I feared to travel more than 10 feet away.

Finally I threw up, and it was so violent. My sinuses all jammed and added to the pain. I couldn't breathe. And the vomit was all red. This was a problem, as I'd eaten nothing red. It could have been a tums I took several hours earlier, but I'm afraid it was blood.

Eventually I made it to my bed, shutting off all the lights and putting on me, I managed to sleep, waking up every couple of hours without much improvement.

Finally about 9:30 at night I awoke feeling a little bit better. The pain was largely gone, but when there is that much pain the aftereffects still cause problems, like the body is in pain just trying to adjust back to (relative) normality. My stomach still feels tender although I was finally able to eat some food, and every half hour or so my head starts hurting again, just for a few minutes, to remind me that it's still there, lurking, in case I get the bright idea to resume normal life.

My only conclusion is that the week finally caught up with me. The Carnival and several other major projects all had to be done this week, and then there was the garage sale, which I didn't have to stay up for, but I helped move furniture which caused my lower back to be sore. I think I just paid for everything at once.

At least I hope so.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


We had a garage sale earlier today. My mother wanted to sell my clothes dresser. (And technically it's hers, so who am I to argue?

However, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with my clothes. I asked her, and she said, "What do I care?"

I stared at her and Mom said, "Don't hate. That's how I roll."

True story.

But it's not the real reason I'm writing this post. As my dad and I were moving the dresser upstairs, he commented on how dusty the top was.

"Yeah," I said, "I don't dust."

"Well, you need to."

"See, the thing is, I'm allergic to dust."

Later, my mom castigated me, saying that if I'm allergic to dust, it's all the more reason to dust, so it won't be there. See, I totally disagree. When you dust, you kick the dust up into the air. This is what's known in the medical community as "not healthy."

In fact, the only real reason to dust is vanity, wanting the furniture to look good (and not wanting the neighbors to think you're lazy). As a more self-actualized person than most, I feel I'm above such petty insecurities.

It's partly because I'm allergic to dust that I don't dust. By not dusting, I don't kick the dust up into the air where it can hurt me. Instead, I try to keep it in a few designated spots (like the dresser the desk, the bookcase), where I can keep my eye on it.

Why is it I'm not lauded for my breakthrough in heal maintenance?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Distracted part 3 - Girl state theory

I realize I didn't explain my theory from before.

When a girl has the same name as a state, avoid her. Alabama, Montana, Dakota, Carolina, Georgia.

I think that's pretty much all it works for.

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas - shudder

California, Colorado, Connecticut - Who would name their child Connecticut? However, I will say that you should avoid girls FROM Connecticut

Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho - If the girl is called Idaho, you can't claim you weren't warned

Illinois, Indiana - Stay away from guys named Indiana. Actually, this just goes for my girlfriend, who is in love with Indiana Jones

Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Lousiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississipp, Missouri, Nebraska - I think "Nebraska is tied with Arkansas for worst name for a girl I can think of so far. I can't believe I'm going through the states when I have so much work to do

Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania - if the girl is called "Oklahoma," you know you'll be trying to hit that "sooner" than you should

Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah - I'd pay to see a girl named Utah. I wonder if there are any black Mormons?

Vermont, Virginia - how could I forget Virgiania? Totally add that to the list of women to avoid

Washington, West Virginia (just to be safe), Wisconsin, Wyoming - There has to be some sort of square butt joke we can make here, isn't there?

From the last post, I want to add to the theory:

"Never deal with a girl who's first name is a day of the week." I would also add month of the year, except one of my good friends is named April, and she might murder me. But if the girl's name is October? Flee!

Are there any other rules this should apply to? I know you never play poker with a guy who's first name is a city, but what about girls? Stripper names are scary, but they are pretty common too, so I don't think you can apply that.

I'm open to suggestions.

And now, back to the Carnival, until the next Brownie Break.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Distracted part 2 - David Silver rules

When I was a senior in high school I had to take some classes at the state university, and I would get home tired, not wanting to do much. This was back when Law & Order was actually an event, but that didn't come on for a couple of hours. I ended up watching 90210, because it was the only thing on. By then they were in college, and I knew nothing of high school. It was dumb, but like any reasonably acted soap you can get into it if there's nothing else to do.

(The real reason I watched was that Danna Bagwell talked about it the next day in school, and this gave me an in with her.)

Anyway, a little bit ago I came up stairs (Brownie Break!) and saw that my sister was watching 90210. They were back in high school. Desperate to do anything other than my Carnival work, I sat down for a few minutes.

David Silver looked so young! Correct me if I'm wrong (and sadly, probably half of you know this), but wasn't he younger than the others? In college you couldn't tell, but in high school you so could. (Even sadder: Steve Sanders still looked 35 as a Jr. in high school.)

Anyway, the whole gang is going ot Palm Springs for Spring Break. (Kelly is pissed that David is going, and again, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't they brother and sister? I guess at this point they don't know that. Or maybe they do, and that's why she's pissed.)

David is trying to act all cool (he keeps saying "all Johnny Depp," although Johnny Depp wasn't a movie star back then, so I'm guessing he means 21 Jump St. Depp), and Steve keeps telling him to act casual. David is trying to get some food out of a vending machine and this obvious hooker walks up to him.

"I'm Tuesday."** She says.

"That's my favorite day of the week!" David replies.

The real reason I am posting this, though, is when Donna, Brenda and Kelly are talking about outfits before they go. Donna says (quite seriously), that they might meet high school guys, college guys, grad school guys, and drop out guys, and you cannot dress the same for any of those situations.

This in a nutshell explains everything you need to know about rich kids, white kids, Americans, Californians, and mos importantly, girls. It's so profound I would write six columns on it, but I think if I wrote six columns on Tori Spelling Ajax's head would explode, so I will suffice with the mention.

Distracted part 1 (Brownie Break!)

I have had so much trouble concentrating lately. I can't seem to buckle down and get my work done that I should. Even now, when I'm supposed to be getting the Carnival all ready to go I find myself looking for any old excuse.

Officially I'm blaming a girl named "Tiff." She sent in an entry for the Carnival of the Mundane, and I emailed back (if any future/past Carnival hosts read this, email the people back so they know you got it? How hard is that, geniuses?), and we got to talking about life, the universe, and whether she comes from the 1930s.

I was trying to distract myself from the fact that this is one of the saddest days of the year.

Anyway, here's my first thoughts on Distraction:

Have you seen that Simpsons where Marge writes a book? It's so funny! (Seriously; 2003-2004 was such a renaissance for them; people need to talk about this more.)

Anyway, I could talk about this episode for an hour, but two things I wanted to mention:

1) Homer is supposed to read Marge's novel, even though he doesn't want to. He tells himself "No more distractions." and then immediately gets distracted by the word "distracted."
"Distracted. That's a strange word. I wonder if anyone ever gets 'tracted'? I think I'll go call the Suicide Hotline and ask them."

2) Marge sits down to write her novel on the computer:
"Splash splash splash said the whale, paddling with his....paddlers." [Marge finishes typing the sentence and immediately says] "Brownie Break!"

That just kills me. It totally describes my approach to writing sometimes. I can't get motivated, so I reward myself. One more page and I'll have a popsicle. 350 more words and I can play a game (or 6) of Freecell.

But from now on, whenever I'm obviously wasting time, I'm going to yell out "Brownie Break!"

Do it with me.

Monday, June 19, 2006

weekend notes

What a weekend. I watched the premiere of Treasure Hunters last night. It's good enough that I will watch again tonight. I have much more to say, but I may have just thought of something profound, so I'll let it go until I have my thoughts collected.


I was talking to my oldest sister about my April selection in the Family Movie Project, GRIZZLY MAN. She totally liked it, but told me the reason she had delayed watching it for so long was confusing expectations.

"I thought it was this guy living with bears for 13 years. I pictured them sitting around the campfire singing 'Kum-Bear-Yah' or something. It had such a Far Side feel."

Kum-Bear-Yah may become my favorite bear song of all time, and if you know me (and my penchant for making people sing "The Other Day I Met a Bear" with me, you'll know how big that is.)


Freecell Follies: 1817 - 672. 69-7 over the weekend, for a grand total of 73.001% !!!

I probably should quit now, but I can just feel 75% in my future.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Getting the Mail Part 2

I go back out to get the mail at 12:23. This time it has to be there, right?

No mail.

I feel like an idiot. Hagrid's info was faulty. (Although, to be honest, I think he said "after 12," but still.....)

I go sit in the park again, wary for kids I might frighten with my dangerous air. I try to judge if any of the cars passing by will be the substitute mail carrier. I realize I've never actually seen the mail being delivered. For all I know the pole coming out of the ground is a tube, and there is no mail carrier. (Actually, that'd be kind of cool.)

As car after car go by, I finally realize it's fool's play. I head back home. As I'm going I "sense" a car slowing down behind me. I want to look, but I just know if I do the car will go on by. The only way I can possibly ensure this is the mail carrier is to keep on home.

And it works. I don't want to go all the way back home, so I stand there like an idiot for twenty minutes as the woman puts all the mail in the slot. Sure seems like she's taking her sweet-ass time. Of course she's a sub, but still; it's not like she has to deliver them door to door. (Boy in my day, the mail carrier did go door to doo, up hill, fighting off dogs and drug dealers, with his brother and sister mail carriers on his back.)

Finally she's done and I head back. This very very large woman comes "running" by, and stops in exhaustion at the mailbox. I say "running" because I've seen men go to a colonoscopy faster. She's wearing running clothes that are soaked through like it's raining, and she's breathing like she just finished an ironman triathalon.

(I'm a large person myself, so I don't write these things to make fun, but, well, you'll see.)

The woman pulls out a giant Big Chunk bar and begins chowing down. I want to laugh but don't; how she rewards herself for her run is her business. She sees me and my keys and smiles triumphantly.

"I got here first. I'm the first one to get the mail."

I smile, gritting my teeth. "I was waiting on the other side of the street. This is the second time I've come here today."

"I saw you," she says desmissively. "But I was here first."

"I guess you were." I say, determined not to take the bait.

The woman looks at my shirt, and says, "Didn't I see you wear that shirt yesterday?" She tisks. "You really ought to change clothes more often. It's not a very flattering shirt, anyway. Not your color and..." she leans in and stage whispers, "A bit small on you, if you know what I mean."

What could she possibly mean? At this point I'm starting to get annoyed. First I'm dangerous, now I'm a slob who can't change his clothes, and wears bad stuff at that? I so want to say something. I literally bite my tongue at the retort, but finally manage:

"Do I even know you?"

"I've seen you around."

"I see."

The woman is standing in front of my mailbox. (Actually, it's not that close to her, but this is the kind of woman who, when she sits around the house she really sits around the house, so my mail box is effectively blocked.)

"Can I get my mail?" I ask, as polite as I can manage.

"Hold your horses." She says, shooing me away. "One minute won't kill you."

The woman than starts to sort through her mail, making little noises of appreciation at each little thing. She pulls out a second Big Crunch (the first was demolished) and starts eating that too!

This is too much. I thought of an incredible thing to say, about how this must be the only box she ever gets stuffed, but I held off. (That my friends, is my gift to the world for this day; not saying that.)

"All that running you've been doing is really paying off." I say.

"Really? She preens.

"Yeah. Didn't you used to be three large people?"

She doesn't get it, looking at me in confusion.

"No....I've always just been one person."

"Oh, then it didn't take."

I shoulder past her and get my mail. NO F*************G MOVIES!

I'm going back to bed, for at least a week.

Maybe I'll build a fort.


I just realized I spelled "alligator" wrong in the address.

If that doesn't explain my week, nothing does.

Getting the Mail Part 1

The day was just going from bad to worse, so I decided to get the mail. I usually try to take a few hours off on Friday afternoon, and my movies were set to arrive. That'd be fun.

I went out at 10:36 because the mail has been arriving earlier and earlier. My dad questioned whether the mail would be here, but I was confident. I walked the one block to the mail boxes (much harder than it sounds, at least for me).

No mail.

There's a park next to the mail boxes, and I went to go sit down for a few minutes and enjoy the day; confident the mail would arrive shortly. There was a mother with two kids (one not her own). I asked if I could sit down on the next park bench to her, and she said, "knock yourself out." I detected something there, but let it go.

The kids ran around for a bit, and it gave me the idea for a story. I pulled out my notebook to jot down some lines, and one of the kids comes over to me.

"Whaddya doing?" the kid asked.

"Tad!" the mom broke in sharply. "Get away from him. He's dangerous."

Dangerous, am I? Why I oughta....

Who names their kid Tad anyway? I felt like telling the other kid to call Tad "Taddy-wacker." In a few years that would be funny. Instead I just sat there, stung, while the mom gathered up the kids and let them hang off a weak branch of a tree. Nothing like some arborcide to take your minds off the dangerous guy on the park bench.

My neighbor Hagrid (I used to call him "Cherry-Popper," but he looks so much like Hagrid in the face that I had to make the switch) came by with their insufferable dog Tequila. Hagrid told me the regular mailwoman is on holiday, and the new one usually doesn't arrive until noon.


Now I have to slink back home and explain to my father, who probably won't even make fun of me, which is even worse.

Why did I not follow my edict and go back to bed?

I'm a cheese eating surrender monkey

I feel like a total Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey, but even I have to admit when I'm (temporarily) beat. I noticed my mood going down hill further and further all week, the little thigns getting to me, to the point that I changed my navigation. I can't beat up my own audience. (Unless they are dumb enough to show up at my house; then it's on, beeyotches!)

At the same time, I worked too hard on the book review, movie reviews and top ten list to just post them with no joy. I think yesterday was just too momentus. It was two years in the making, and has been basically ready to go for a month, but something almost got in the way. Finally I posted it and nobody went there, well, practically nobody. I talked to one of my best friends, and he didn't even read it because it was too long.

In retrospect I probably should have put that part on the Empire site and just kept it simple. Then again, anyone who honestly can't read 500 words is probably not going to want to be a part of it, so all things considered perhaps it was a good first filter.

I don't know why I get so wrapped up in wanting people to be a part of these things.

I think I'll confine my comments all weekend to here.

It's just you and me, 4 dedicated readers!

Freecell Follies: 1748-655. Only three games played yesterday. I was trying to support Tiger, and it wasn't going well, and I just didn't feel like playing. I think I'll take the weekend off from that too. In fact, I have just decided that I'm not going to speak a word to any human this entire weekend except in the Alligator Pit (and possibly the Barn).

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Coffee Drinkers are insane (and possibly high)

I went to Starbucks for my mother yesterday. I've never been in a Starbucks before. I've gone through the drive through since they came to town, but this was a new experience.

I was there for 10 minutes and got sick. It was that awful.

Honest to God; I do not understand how a human being can drink coffee. It's one of the worst tasting beverages ever. But I think the smell might be worse. At least in Starbucks.

I kid you not: in the ten minutes I was there I got a splitting headache from the stench. It assaulted me. I wanted to call the cops, like this was some crazy meth lab or something.

In fact, it was worse than being in a smoky restaurant or bar.

The thought occurs to me that maybe I'm allergic to coffee. After all, if I'm around smoke my eyes get all red and swell up. I'm definitely allergic. Maybe I'm allergic to coffee too.

I always told myself that unless there were EXTRAORDINARY circumstances I would never date a girl who smokes. I'm wondering if I shouldn't include coffee on that list too.

(By the way, in case you're interested, my mother had a coupon for any drink she wanted after they made her wait for six years last time. She wanted "the most expensive drink they make." After asking around and getting a couple different answers, I went with a Venti Java Chip. The very fact that I know that is disgusting.)

Freecell Follies: 1745-655; 72.70833%.
If you're scoring at home, I went 15-0 yesterday. I also hit 2400 recorded games (probably closer to a thousand actual games more). I think if I record my progress each day it will stop seeming so stupid and take on a mythical quality. At least that's my hope.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Alligator Pit

I have finally figured out a name for this blog: The alligator Pit.

Let me explain: several have asked what exactly the address bar means. Me - Left alligator - You translates to Me > You, or Me is Better than You.

I know; lame, but at the time I thought it was cute.

Anyway, since I already have alligator in the address, I might as well go with the theme. (And if anyone knows of an alligator template, let me know, as I loathe the current one.)

Freecell Update: 1730-655: 72.5366876%.
I only lost three games since yesterday, but one of them I had to replay 6 times to get it right. I'm still "showing" 73%, but I'm so close to the Mendoza Line that I'm worried. My new goal is to be at "actual" 73% by Sunday night. I'd have to win 43 games in a row for that to happen, but I believe in myself!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Hollow Men

The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot has been my favorite poem for years. My delivery destroys his meaning, but what can I say? I have a voice meant for deaf mutes (although, in my defense, the hesitations at the end are all legitimate attempts to get the poem's meaning down. If you want to follow along, I've set up Eliot's poem to open up in another window.

The Hollow Men:
this is an audio post - click to play

Dirty Little Mind

Hyperion reads poetry, with disastrous results

this is an audio post - click to play

Freecell Follies

In today's edition of "Hyperion is a complete idiot....."

I got my Freecell percentage but up to 73. (Well, 72.5, but they round up , so it shows as 73.)

I can't tell you how big a deal this is for me. I had been at 73 for so long, and then a month ago or so a string of bad days knocked me down to 72%. I find that I do the worst when I'm on the phone and not paying attention. (Of course that's the only time I usually play, since otherwise I feel guilty being on the computer and not working.)

The 72% was no big deal, I thought; I'd simply concentrate the next few games and bring it back up.

Uh, it doesn't work that way.

Oh, have I mentioned that I have over 2360 games in the record? (It's actually much worse than that; more on that in a moment.)

When you get that high, it's very very hard to change your percentage. For example, right now I'm 1719-652. If I won the next 100 games in a row, (very unlikely, as the most I've ever won in a row is 48, and even that is legend among my kind), I'd be 1819-652, which would only make my score 1% higher.

Several hundred ago I told myself that once I got to 75% I'd quit forever, only to realize that it's a Herculean task to move up, (while moving down is still relatively easy). For every game I lose, I have to win three just to break even with my 75% goal, and it doesn't advance the cause. It's distressing to think of how many games I'd have to win to get to 75%, but in some ways it's a macabre challenge.

Oh, and the much worse part? Every game I lose I replay until I win. Once I found out that Freecell only counts the loss once, I play and replay until I get it; determined that not a single game defeat me. Usually I get it the second or third time, but sometimes it takes me 20-30 times to get it right, and one time it took me almost 100. So, that total is actually much much higher.

Now that you know my shame I have no choice but to ritualistically commit sepuku (involving swallowing a Frisbee).

But only after I get to 75%.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Live and Don't Learn

I'm still trying to come up with a name for this site. No one has given me a good suggestion yet. In deference to the address I'm calling it Me > You for now, but I expect suggestions, and good ones soon.

In other news, I changed the Institute Motto after a conversation with Chicky. The old motto was "This way to the Egress!" Which seemed not to resonate.

I picked that motto when I reran my Judas story, as poetic (I thought). In the old days of P.T. Barnum, there would be a sign in the Circus that read just that; This way to the Egress!"

I'll let Kay Randall tell it, from her article Under the Big Top." published on the University of Texas Website:

In 1841, entrepreneur extraordinaire P.T. Barnum opened a museum of oddities and immediately ran into a logistical problem. Customers came in and liked what they saw so much that they didn’t want to leave. Barnum couldn’t fit new customers into the museum.

To solve the problem, Barnum posted a sign that read “This Way to the Egress.” Most visitors, unaware that egress meant exit, eagerly walked through a door, expecting to see an animal straight out of their nightmares, and found themselves outside. To re-enter the museum, they had to relinquish another quarter.

In that little anecdote lies a lot of Americana and a nugget of what the circus means to some—ballyhoo, deception, sleight of hand, exotica, spectacle, illusion and good old American salesmanship.

You can see why I thought it a great joke and commentary on what Judas thought he was getting.

Sadly, it worked out like most of my jokes; too esoteric to be accessible, and now I've gone the way of Calvin and Hobbes. This is a punchline to one of Calvin's many misadventures where he purposely fails to learn the lesson. Hobbes's reply is wistful and shaking his head: "Live and don't learn; that's us." (The Indespensable Calvin and Hobbes, p. 190)

Maybe that should be my new title.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

'80s Music Part 1

I've been listening to a lot of '80s music lately. You know that song Jump, Jive and Wail by the Bryan Setzer Orchestra?

Listen to it. The chorus sounds exactly like "You gotta, Drunk Drivin', and then you wave..."

I think there is some subversion going on.

Meanwhile, my quest to listen to Bananarama's "Do Not Disturb" continues. I can't find it for free anywhere. I found it for ten cents, but of course where am I going to get ten cents.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Baby Chickens and Barbeque

I was so tired yesterday, having not slept in many many moons. But then I heard my mom saying my dad was looking up the barbeque restaurant's phone number, and I knew I needed to persevere. You know how much I've wanted to eat at that place.

We went, and it was good. All you can eat just classes up any restaurant, but especially barbeque.

When it was over, my dad says, "I have an idea I want to run by you," and I screamed "Nooooooo!" This comes from childhood, when we kids got it in our mind that all meals with just us were going to lead to tortuous conversations.

When I wrote about this before, I meant to leave my parents in a good light, but maybe I didn't. The conversation that night turned out to be pretty good. And you know, looking back on it, I probably have been approaching this wrong. These conversations have to happen, so rather than being freaked, I should be glad my parents at least try to soften the blow by offering a nice meal. From now on I'm going to have a more positive outlook on things.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon my dad and I had one of the best conversations ever, and so after that and dinner I had no objections to anything he wanted to run by me. (And it turned out to be a pretty decent idea, one I will mull over.)

So all is well.

I got some good ideas at the meal, including a list of deaths I would wake people up for, but I didn't post that today because it seemed like a full slate as it was. Monday maybe.

But I did want to relate one story. The restaurant had these fabulous chicken wings, and it reminded me of when I worked at a deli. I knew almost nothing about meat. When we made wings, some looked like this:

And some looked like this:

Those second ones are called "Drumettes," and idiot me thought they were drumsticks from a baby chicken.

Every time people would order wings I'd give them the flat ones and they'd get mad and want the drumettes (more meat), and I would wonder why they didn't just order them!

I'm pretty much a total moron.

Johari Window

I got the idea from Tracy.

A Johari Window lets you peak into the world of how others see you.

In the first one, I picked five words that best described me, at least at that moment. You pick five words from the same 55 choices, and then I will see how what I think of myself links up with how others see me.

The second one is a little darker, as it does negative traits.

I'm not telling you to judge me, but if you want to play all I ask is that you don't cheat and you do both.

I can take it.

I think.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


About an hour ago I was working and happened to check Google News. There it was; the Zarqawi had been killed.

My immediate thougth was whether to wake up the family, friends; everyone. Back in December 0f '03, Bear was up here visiting me. We were watching late night TV, just about to go to bed when the news came on that Saddam Hussein had been captured. After a brief consultation we immediately woke up my parents so they could watch. Flush with that, I started waking up the universe.

So often in life one only gets woken for bad news. How sweet is was to wake people up for something positive. (I know it's hard to remember that now, amidst setbacks in Iraq and systematic propaganda to make it seem like a total disaster, but at the time capturing Saddam was simply huge.)

In many ways capturing Zarqawi is even bigger. Saddam came after the major hostilities were long over, and was seen more as a nail in the coffin kind of thing. Zarqawi is by all accounts still actively involved in the insurgency, planning and setting ito motion the suicide attacks and other bombings.

I was tempted--I still am--to wake everyone up, but I will forego that. Maybe it's because he's dead, and it feels a little ghoulish. Or maybe it's because there is a misunderstanding with how big this story really is.

One other note: As is my pratice, as soon as I saw the story I checked several news websites to see what they had. Never take just one source for something. It always cracks me up how CNN and FOXNEWS can have totally different covereage of an event. I know most of you are trained to think FOXNEWS is biased, and they sure are, but how does CNN escape the same condemnation? Their news is always equally bad. (Although I will say, their website is much better.)

Anyway, after Google News I checked CNN, FOXNEWS, MSNBC, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The LA Times, the Atlanta Journal, the Chicago Tribune and two or three others at random. This early virtually all of them just had the AP story, mostly bare-bones since this just happened. The only real difference was the pictures. Half of them an the same exact AP picture; so I must have just caught the beginning of the story. FOXNEWS actually had the best picture, a huge blow up of Zarqawi with a great headline: "DEAD."

Out of curiosity I began checking Canadian sites. Nothing. Zilch, nada. My local paper had nothing. The national papers had nothing. Toronto and Ottawa had nothing. had nothing. I guess they're still all full of their own terrorist story, and of course the Stanley Cup.

I checked the London Times, which didn't have much, and Dawn, the English-Language Pakistani newspaper. They just had a blurb, no story, which is surprising, because 80% of the time Dawn has better coverage, and sooner than anything over here. (It was posted an hour sooner, if that means anything.)

I just thought of something: who are the top ten people whose deaths would cause me to wake up the world? I'll think about that and get back to you.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

When I'm down so low, if I cheered up, I'd still be depressed

I've been real down the last couple of days. First I was disappointed that I couldn't get more people to read the columns last Friday on sexual violence. I know people have their reasons, but it frustrates me that I can't seem to get over the ennui and make people care.

I guess I'm just Captain Bringdown.

Then there was my review of IRREVERSIBLE. This has caused a firestorm of controversy, both from quarters I would have expected and from places I wouldn't have. What I can't fathom is that more people read that review, which I don't think would have been very fun to read at all, than both columns from Friday.

This is especially significant because my movie reviews are the least-read thing I do. Every day the numbers are anemic, to the point where I've questioned whether to get rid of them completely.

Maybe I should put them all on HyperionX, and talk about them graphically.

Then there's the thing with Egan and his blog. I may or may not write a column about it. He wrote about seeing a potential jumper on an overpass and calling the police, and what the best way to handle it was. I didn't read the other comments, but brought up the question of whether it was right to call or not.

This has led to me reexamining the issue, and old feelings of friends, etc.


I'll get out of this funk. You know what I need? Some good ''80s music, and some wraps. I noticed my dad bought tortillas, which we haven't had in weeks, and they're cheese tortillas. I've never had them; very excited. Hmm...... I just realized I haven't eaten in many hours. I definitely need to go eat before I make any more writing decisions. Now what to put in the wraps?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Default name.

I still haven't decided what to call this blog, so for now I'm going with the address. When I first came upon the idea it seemed as funny and clever as could be.

As the days go on, definitely more so.

Kind of like me.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Weekend Thoughts

Random Thoughts over the weekend:

1) I was watching a few minutes of one of my favorite movies of the '90s LEGENDS OF THE FALL. It made me think that I need to do a Top ten list of either Brad Pitt performances or Brad Pitt movies. (It would not be the same list.) But here's my real thought: At some point shouldn't someone have gone to Susannah (played by Julia Ormond) and said,

"You know, this is already a family in crisis. They moved to Montana for unknown reasons, and Momma Ludlow didn't come with. That should tell you something. And now you go from being with one brother (Samuel), jumping to the other one (Tristan) as soon as Samuel dies, and then marrying the third (Alfred), even though everybody knows you still love Tristan! Susannah, sweetie, this can only end bad for all concerned."

Of course, if someone had gone to her and said that, we would have a movie.

2) On a similar subject, I'm sadly closer to concluding that Julia Ormond belongs in the ever-growing group of actors who really only have one great performance in them. I've written about this before, with respect to Stephen Baldwin and Freddie Prinze Jr., and I call it my Broken Clock Theory; basically that every actor out there can get it right at least once.

the more I think about it, the more I think that Julia Ormond had one great flash in the pan with LEGENDS, and since then she's been overmatched by the roles. Her performances in FIRST KNIGHT and SABRINA don't hold up at all, and since then she hasn't really been cast in anything of note. Hollywood is a strange place, but you wonder if Movie Executives came to this same conclusion. It's too bad, since she's so wonderful as Susannah.

3) On this same subject, I'm just about ready to move Sarah Michelle Gellar into the same list. The girl is phenomenal as Buffy; totally the role of a lifetime. However, facts are facts. When she was overpowered in CRUEL INTENTIONS I passed it off as the wrong part for her. SCREAM 2 and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER were the requisite "paying your dues in a horror movie," and overlook those parts as they could make anyone look bad. But now we have to add SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE, SCOOBY DOO and THE GRUDGE. At some point we have no other recourse than to presume it's her. This doesn't make me happy, people. I'm on record as averring that Buffy at it's best is the most epic storytelling possibly in TV history. It pains me that the appealing star may not have anything else to offer.

Sigh. At least we got her for that.

4) I leave you on a conundrum: Which of the following is more frustrating: watching a DVD that has to be returned soon, and there are no other copies, and it starts acting up. You back up and try the spot again, but to no avail. You take the disc out and clean it up; give it another go: zilch. You end up spending half an hour trying to save the five minutes (always crucial to the plot) that you're missing, before moving on.

But it doesn't end there. Twenty minutes later the same thing happens, and you're ready to kill an entire industry.


You're trying to do something on the computer and can't get it to work. Maybe you're designing a web site, or maybe you're just trying to get something to print. Use your browser, pull up Word: it can be anything. The computer slows down. It locks up. You try to be patient. You tell yourself there is nothing you can do.

But you're dying inside.

I can't decide which is worse, but I bet a mouse could starve on the difference.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I need like an advisory panel with me at all times

When I first told a couple of friends about today, I said something like, "...and we end the week with Sexual Violence Friday!"

I didn't get quite the response I wanted, but nobody explained to me my faux pas. I guess they thought I was trying to be funny. (While I get quite up in arms about the subject of sexual violence, I am on record as saying there is no subject on earth that can't be joked about in certain circumstances. Obviously I wouldn't go to a convention of abuse survivors and kid about when Dakota Fanning comes of age, but that doesn't make it unfunny. I seriously believe that funny is funny, though one must exhibit sensitivity. Of course, I also believe that one "earns" the right to tell certain jokes. For example, if I knew some guy who really go did for young girls, I probably wouldn't think his joking was funny at all. Maybe I'm being self-righteous here because of my strong stance. I'm totally an enigma.)

Anyway, back on subject, it took me like three days to realize that "Sexual Violence Friday" sounds like a sick promotion, and definitely doesn't get the point across. I'm going to unprecedented lengths (for me) to get this out today, and the last thing I want to do is strike the wrong tone.

Sexual Violence Awareness is a better fit, but there are still risks. I'm kind of nervous about response, but at the same time, you only live once. My readers, my place on the web; none of that matters compared to the mission of educating people on what's going on right in front of their noses.

To get back on my soap box for a moment, I think in a way my refusal to make sexual violence a sacred cow (meaning you can never joke ever) is my way of combating the sanctity of the subject. Obviously we're talking about something that devastates a life, often forever, and can have far-reaching impact for generations. It's a serious serious thing, the most important moral issue in our society.

At the same time, because of this, there is a huge push not to talk about it at all, and that is something up with which I will not put. I don't mind the occasional bad taste if it gets the subject raised and gets people talking about it. And I for damn sure don't care how uncomfortable I make people.

Well, that's not completely true. My heart breaks for victims of sexual violence, and I don't want to cause more pain for them. Even so, I will risk bringing up a painful subject if some sort of traction can be made. And as for the rest of the world, I will slap you silly if I think it can help. If you believe in the mission, go out and slap some people yourself.


That's the bravado. Now let's see how it plays out.

I'm on a Finola Day

I totally got into the National (make that North American) Spelling Bee yesterday. I picked a few favorites, including a kid named Allion Salvador (who finished third). Every time he’d come up to the microphone I’d yell out “ALLLLLLIONNNNNNNNNNNN!” I was also rooting for Bonny Jain, both because he won the National Geography Bee last week, and was going for an unprecedented Double-Dub, but because he was cool enough to have two traditionally female names. (Which I talked about over on Hyperion Rants a while ago.)

But my heart was always with Finola Hackett. First of all, she’s unbrearably cute. (Here’s proof.)

Secondly, she’s Canadian, and even though I’m no “home town” guy, I’ve tried to support Canadians when I can since I got up here. (Believe me: they don’t make it easy.) Even more cool: Finola has won the Canadian title both years they’ve done this. She’s the only Canadian champion in history!

And she’s so cute!

Plus, her name is Finola Hackett, which totally sounds like a Bond Girl or something. (Actually, her full name is Finola Mei Hwa Hackett, which his even better.)

Plus she’s an interesting girl for an eigth-grader. Take a look at her blurb:

Finola returns after tying for 11th place last year. She plays piano, fiddle, and accordion and has studied Irish dance for 10 years. Soccer, badminton, and swimming are her athletic endeavors; and she makes and sells beaded jewelry as a hobby. Finola likes Italian and Asian cuisine, especially anything with noodles. She reads fantasy and Agatha Christie novels.

I know she’s 14, but she can’t be forever, right?

Anyway, here’s my actual thoughtful analysis: I would never denigrate these kids. They work tirelessly to learn how to spell these words, most of which nobody has even heard of.

And yet, part of me feels like the competition would have more meaning if it was a Vocabulary Bee along with the spelling. As it stands now, their ability to spell doesn’t translate to all that much real-world use. (Not saying the skills they are picking up here won’t help them, but just in this case.) To be able to spell surely makes you intelligent, but many geniuses don’t spell well; they simmply cant be botherd.

In speech spelling never comes up, and with writing there is Spell-Check and dictionaries. I guess what I’m getting at is that it would be more impressive and show actual applied knowledge if the kids not only had to spell these words, but know what they meant.

With the Spelling Bee reaching unprecedented heights now (ABC ran the finals in prime time, for heaven’s sake), I doubt anyone will listen to me, but maybe we start our own Bee!

Technical Difficulties

I have to apologize for the template. It went down sometime yesterday. I assumed it was my own fault like usual, but Dragon told me it was at the template-hosting site. I threw something else on quickly, but my browsers aren't working so I'm not sure if it works or not. Just bear with me on that. Ignore the scenery and just chew on the words.

If it does turn out to be my fault, I will rename this site. I need a permanent name anyway. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.