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Friday, July 18, 2003
For the last two weeks, I've been pretty excited about something new I'm writing because the novel I'd been working on for roughly a year and a half has just been depressing and defeating me. It's a dark piece of a work and working on it was affecting my mood and I just couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. I would only write about a paragraph to a page at a time, not really enjoying being in the head of a woman who is about to go through some very bad times. At last count, it was at about 92 pages. I know what happens next and it's not going to be all that fun to write.
Someone close to me suggested I write something else to take my mind off it, maybe even work on it concurrently with the novel. So I did. And in a week and a half, I've written 25 pages. It's a completely different feeling and although I can't speak for its quality at this point, I know that it's making me very happy to write it. I'm temporarily posting a short exerpt. It will only be up for a few days, so if you plan to read it, try to fit it in over the weekend. Thanks for indulging me.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Pamie in the Chronicle:
The Austin Chronicle did a story about libraries and book funding with a lot about Pamie's involvement in the book drivin'. It's written by a friend of mine I met a while back, Melanie Haupt. Go check it out.
They also mentioned her Tuesday book signing at Book People (7 p.m., people) in a blurb written by someone who sounds like he read about the first four pages of her book.
Movies this week...
The movies list I compile and link to every week didn't make the great leap from print to online (a journey reminiscent of the great immigrant travels of yore and yon), but my motto this week is "Adversity: Overcome it or Die Trying."
Bad Boys II: I'm proud to say that I've never seen the first one and if this movie comes anywhere near me, I'm going to hit it on the head with whatever I'm holding in my hand and then I'm going to run like the fuck'ins. Because Michael Bay gives me a headache and I have a nearly perfect record of not seeing his films. I accidentally caught part of The Rock, but I completely missed Pearl Harbor and my life is none the poorer for it. Nice try putting hotter-than-damning sin-Gabrielle Union in your movie, but still. I avoid.
Johnny English: This one's tough because it's getting awful reviews, but damned if I still don't want to see it. I love Rowan Atkinson with an intensity that borders on vulgarity. I even liked Bean, which admittedly wasn't that great a movie as evidenced by Jessica hating me for months for dragging her to it and bringing it up every time I tried to curry favor. Mmmm... "Curry favor." Given that I still haven't seen Pirates of the Better then Expected Theme Park Tie-In, I may have to wait for the video release.
Swimming Pool: I'm frankly a little disgusted by all the attention being given the Caucasia-licious young star of this film. I'm sorry, but I'm just not into skinny white girls who look 14. Call it a personal preference. But the premise -- sexual tension between an older lady writer and a young, nubile thang, titillates not with sex, but with the grief that sex (or lack of it) causes. And it's all Frenchified. And any movie about a writer getting to go write in the South of France. Well, that fantasy alone might get me watching.
Fellini: I'm a Born Liar: Who? Never heard of him. (Fine. I have, but this is about the last documentary I'd want to watch right now, what with Capturing the Friedmans and Spellbound still in theaters.)
How to Deal: I know nothing about Mandy Moore except that she's 19 and that on Letterman this week, she was hanging all out of a tiny purple dress that accentuated her (albeit cute) baby fat. Letterman looked like he could have been her great grandfather.
The Gatekeeper: I've got a tape of this and may try to watch it even though it's gotten mostly "Hey, good try, but..." reviews. I should be more up to speed on border politics (even fictionalized takes on it). The writer/director/actor is going to be in town to introduce it Friday night at the Westgate 11.
I'm going to try to check out the excellent Melvin Goes to Dinner again tonight, being that I missed it last week and I'm still woefully behind on the DVDs. Won't somebody warp time for me so I can catch up?
Movies this week...
Will be a little while late today. Apparently, the film listing that I usually work from isn't online yet. Stay tuned...
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Quick blog re-pimp
You should get to know Michael Barnes. Sometimes at a bigger newspaper, you get to work with people who you see making a huge impact on their community and just doing work that you can't imagine anybody taking their place and coming close to achieving.
I'm very lucky to know him as he's one of the smartest people I've ever met.
The reunion, again
I've been putting off writing about my 10-year reunion for a few days, mostly because it felt so inconclusive. I expected to come out of the other side of the experience with pronouncements and declarations, discoveries and insights. I thought something of myself would be revealed in that new building, constructed in the wake of devasatating tornados I wasn't there to witness. I thought what I'd find would be revelatory.
Instead, I'm no closer to understanding my Younger Self, the long-haired (mullet, yes.) goofy guy who used to dip girls and break curfew than I am to completely understanding the late-20's homeowner with two cats and a six-year work gig. I'm not completely clear on the transition, either, on how that young man became this not-quite-so-young man.
But it was worth going, I think. If only for the few faces I saw who I may have lost in my mind. It was worth the trip seeing Italia's tattoo and hearing her gush about Florida. It was worth it watching Troy hold court and impress people with his gig as a sports broadcaster in San Francisco. It was worth traveling there to see Angel's smile, to hear her laugh, to know we have the connection of her sister and my brother, great friends who will probably always stay in touch, thereby always keeping Angel and I in touch. It was worth showing up with two of my best friends in the world and having people look at us and marvel that we've stayed friends. It was worth seeing the girl with the new boobs (why would you tell someone that at your reunion?) and hearing the stories of how people went to the gym, tanned, starved themselves to look good there. It was worth driving there for a handshake from Carlton, who seems at good hearted in the role of Mr. Popularity as he was in high school. He didn't let it get to his head then or now. Eric Keeler dancing, Amy Breeden posing with Matt for a photo, Courtney Clevenger humbly accepting all the thanks for organizing the beast of a gathering, Tawnya and Jamie, married so young and still together, Mike, Meredith (how did I forget all the time we spent together at the dorms freshman year with the missing Amy Spears?), Alexis' transformation into a stunning beauty (not that she wasn't pretty in high school, but there has to be at least one person who goes from Cute to Dear God!) Aaron... So many names, faces, things I'd lost.
There was the table with memorabilia, just a few photos in an album, the list of senior year declarations cribbed from the yearbook, things we thought were lame and unimportant then but which provide vital links to memories now. There were three photos on the back table of classmates who've died. Two we knew about, the other was a surprise. A copy of the video yearbook played near the buffet table and people stood, transfixed, watching their younger selves under poofy hairdos, bouncing basketballs, swinging at baseballs, yawning at assemblies.
Jim should have been there. Marcus should have been, too. And so many others who I wanted to see. They were like phantoms, talked about, whistling at the edge of the room, never far from conversation and shared memory.
It ended before I knew it. I was there for more than three hours, but it didn't feel like it. I looked around and people had drifted out, taken bored spouses home, gone back to their real lives to make current memories and continue pushing off from the pool tile of high school.
Next time, more of them will have disappeared, more images and words will have faded or been lost.
Queerest of the Queer
How great was Queer Eye for the Straight Guy last night? If you get Bravo and missed it, you need to catch the rerun. SO much fun. It was about 10 pound of entertainment on a... five pound channel?
I am all about the shaving oil now. And I may need to rearrange my closet.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Best e-mail subject header of the day:
"Men like boobs"
It's almost poetic.
Monday, July 14, 2003
I'm going to L.A.
Well, I knew I was going to L.A., but five minutes ago it became todo official and shit. YAY! A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now, a slightly smaller performance-based weight will be put upon them.
The info: The Improv Olympic on Santa Monica in Los Angeles, next Wednesday (July 23) at 8 p.m. We'll be there with other troupes. Come check us out if you can. It's a sort of showcase for Mad TV.
Smaller than Jesus
Perhaps the best thing that has ever happened, including the birth of Christ:
Homestar Runner figurines.
Damn. Life rules sometimes.
Mainstream media bloggin'
My newspaper has gotten into the blogging game with "XLent Blog," which will be updated daily and features writing from people on our entertainment staff. Including me. (I'm the one with the caricature who has strange magenta eyes.) It debuted literally two hours ago.
My day to write will be on Saturdays. I'll remind you. Please go read it, tell my bosses what a great job I'm doing (words like "revolutionary" and "stunning and divine" would be nice) and let me know if you have suggestions on what I should be writing for them. It's not like I don't already do this, but it sounds like it's going to be for a different audience than you nice folks and I'm guessing they'll be a lot less forgiving of my rambling.
Sunday, July 13, 2003
And a picture...
Some lovely people at the 10-year reunion. More stories to come later...
What Matt said
I drove six hours one way, then the next day, I turned right around and drove six hours back. So you'll forgive me if I'm a little Quasimodo tonight. My back feels like a night stick and my feet are cramping and tired from the times I took the Cruise Control off.
The reunion. There's a lot to say, and not nearly enough energy to say it tonight. But it was, on the surface scratch of the block I'm working out of it, both anti-climactic and satisfying. I renewed affections for people who were floating way back on the outer edges of my brain and who might have stayed there and finally drifted out completely given a few more years of their absence.
At the same time, I had major memory blanks when some people came to me, pumping my hand or hugging me, obscuring the letters on their nametag and I tried as possible not to look like an idiot, but I'm sure I failed.
I need to let the evening sit in my head for a bit, but my friends and I, the ones I went with, seemed to have the same shoulder shrug as me afterward. We didn't know what to make of our 10-year reunion. There were an unsettlingly few number of surprises. People we really wanted to see didn't make it. People we would have never expected to see ever again were there and completely solid and in 3-D, not ghosts that may or may not have been.
Matt said it best, I think, of the strange, creeping feeling around our hearts from a night that certainly was worth a $55 cover, but for reasons I can't even begin to articulate yet: He said, "I was kind of expecting Grosse Point Blank, and it wasn't."
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