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Thursday, December 04, 2003
Add to your spellcheck, vocabulary and bumper sticker collection
Behold! I made up a word!
It's cockshmoe. Please add it to your everyday vocabulary.
Movies this week (late afternoon edition)
Even though it's been crazy-busy (insane-busy, schizophrenic-busy!) today, I knew there was something I was forgetting, and at about 4 p.m. it hit me: Movies! This week! Gah!
Carnage: Austin has completely been invaded by French films lately, whether they be artsy-fartsy modern features or artsy fartsy French New Wave films. This one is about a bull that gets gored (as opposed to when Florida failed to get "Gored" and we ended up with Bush as president) and his body parts end up all over Spain and France. Then the movie follows all of the humans who are somehow touched by bull horns or bull nostrils or whatever. This movie is complete bullshit, because I had the exact same idea for a film except it was a cow in Mexico and her tripas were sent all over the lower Rio Grande Valley. Mine was going to be a comedy. It would have been way better, I assure you. Does this froofy French film have an extended fart contest scene? I don't think so.
Demonlover: It sounds like a Cinemax After Dark film starring, perhaps, Eric Roberts or Samantha Changed Her Last Name From Her Porn Star Surname, or maybe Marilyn Chambers, or maybe it was Tanya Roberts, or that Shannon Tweed. Not that I watch Cinemax After Dark. You're thinking of someone else. Anyway, this movie has a surprising amount of talent, including Gina Gershonmynuts, ChloŽ Svengali and Connie Nielsen, who didn't do much of anything in Gladiator that I can recall. It's about two companies competing for a technology that enhances online porn. Shockingly, this technology comes from Japan. The movie has been said to have a "video-game-like" structure. So the heroine in the movie has to fight a boss and get power-ups at the end, I guess. If you like Connie Nielsen in stretch latex, this movie is the naughty stepcousin of you.
Honey: Too easy. This is one of those movies where movie critics start writing their review before they even make it to the theater, trying to find ways to use the phrase "Glitter 2" cleverly or by talking about how much better Flashdance was back when it was released and they were only 45-year-old movie critics. And everybody has to take a pot-shot at Jessica Alba's clothes and about the dance finale. Really, the studios should just issue a Mad Libs version of a movie review and let the newspapers fill it out themselves. Movie critics should be sending gift baskets to the studios this year for making their jobs so easy with this one, Cat in the Hat and Gigli.
The Last Samurai: Our critic is giving the movie one star (seriously: one star) and told me that it's mostly because he was judging the movie based on its own bloated hubris, not against other movies. So it's not as bad as say, The Haunted Mansion, but based against its own massive hype and ego, it does suck of its own accord. Other critics seem to be liking it, but no one I know seems to be excited about this movie. In fact, most people I've talked to about it seem to think it looks patronizing as Hell, especially the part about the fawning Asian woman whom he (of course) falls in love with. Because he's Tom Cruise. There's a trade agreement law that covers foreign women falling at his feet. (And for once the woman might not be taller than him.) Sure, this movie sounded good on paper, but ever since I saw the first preview for it, my interest just pummetted. Samurai are cool. Tom Cruise, on occasion, is cool. Tom Cruise as a samurai? It just seems wrong, like the one kid at Halloween who always gets the exact costume he wants no matter how much it costs because his parents are rich and coddle him. And every year, you're like, "Oh my God, he's got a full-on, exact replica Boba Fett costume! With a working missile!" And you're envious that he gets to walk around and be Boba Fett while you've got the little hairline triangle on the middle of your forehead (drawn by your mom's eyeliner pencil) because you're Dracula again for like the fifth year in a row and your plastic cape has holes in it. You're envious, sure, but a part of you just really, really hates that kid for getting to be something cool for Halloween every year. Why the fuck should he be Boba Fett? He doesn't even like Star Wars as much as you do. You liked Boba Fett back before Boba Fett was even considered cool. So, yeah. Fuck that Boba Fett kid and Fuck Tom Cruise for getting paid $20 million to be a Samurai.
DVDs: Saw lots of movies for Thanksgiving including the awesome Raising Victor Vargas, the not-anywhere-near-awesome Bruce Almighty (yeah, there's a reason "Bee-hee-hee-eutiful!" never caught on) and T3, which I loved wholly out of proportion to the film laid before me. I just loved that it was a perfect watch-at-home movie. Probably too dumb to pay to see in a theater, but just right for a DVD night. This week I'm hoping to watch Whale Rider (I won't cry. I won't cry.) and maybe some Westerns I bought at Best Buy. Did you know Best Buy had a sale where you could get all of Clint Eastwood's Sergio Leone movies for $5 each on DVD? It ruled. (I also bought My Cousin Vinnie. What? Stop looking at me like that.) I bought all those Clint Eastwood movies and vow to see them so that I can't just say "I hate Westerns" without giving them a fair shake whenever a new one comes out. I'll let you know if I still hate the genre after I watch the movies widely considered the best ones ever made.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
I always forget that on the big mental calendar I keep (it's big. Really big. The letters in the word "December" are the size of planets), I always block off December and January as "Do nothing, write nothing" months because that's when the cedar spores begin exploding in the trees like dust grenades, sending me into sickly lethargy.
I wake up in the morning with a mild headache that goes away only a little bit after the first few gulps of coffee. My sinuses remain stuffy, my eyes itch badly, especially before bed, and any kind of congent thought process is cut down like an escaping East Berliner, pre-Cold War detente.
I forget this every year, because I always plan writing projects and catch-up work in these months, thinking, "Oh, things will slow down, there'll be lots of free time. My show will be on hiatus, people will be on vacation, I'll have a few days off to just sit and think about writing." The worst thing about being a writer is when you feel you have to sit and think about your writing instead of just writing. That means you're worried you have nothing to say and that you want to prod your brain toward the dark closet.
Instead, December and January always become months of maintaining, periods where I just try to get through the basic functions of work and of the day, which always seemed so easy when my cavities weren't full of phlegm and phrustration. Simple pleasures like soup and mint chocolate are the life rafts that get me to February's shore, not soul-shattering films or dense novels. I barely remember anything that happens in December and January. It's a haze of spores, a cold low-grade-hallucination fever.
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
The Science Times story that made me blush
Some evidence suggests that when female birds engage in extra-pair copulations, their choice of male is based on the bird's sexual attractiveness, Dr. Barash said. Female bluethroats, a Eurasian species, for example, will have sex with males whose throats are an especially iridescent shade of blue. And female barn swallows are drawn to males whose tail feathers are deeply forked.
Man. Birds are so... slutty!
Another wonderful thing in this story is this next paragraph. The last line is awesome:
"Bodice rippers, for centuries, have made a profit off this sort of distinction," said Dr. Marlene Zuk, a biology professor at the University of California at Riverside. "Nice guys have been complaining that women don't want to have sex with them for a long time. We've heard this."
And finally, there's Dr. E. Mavis Hetherington, sweet emeritus professor Dr. E. Mavis Hetherington. You can hear her longing, her deep wish to be whisked away, in the following:
"Are you surprised that women are attracted to cads?" she asked. "You wouldn't go out of your way to marry a cad, but if you had a little fling with him, it might be fun and exciting. He's probably a sensation-seeker, so you'd be going off to Mexico or going on ski trips or going to watch the bulls run at Pamplona."
Perhaps someone should give Dr. E. Mavis Hetherington a call for an offer of fun on a Carnival Cruise.
Disembodied caricature head: Home for the holidays
A new XL Blog entry is up. I go on and on about my brother.
Monday, December 01, 2003
For about the last two months, my desktop computer at home hasn't really been working. Sometimes it does. A lot of the time, it works fine. But whenever I shut it down, I can never be sure that it will start back up. Consequently, when the computer does work, I just leave it on for days at a time in case I need to use it. When it doesn't work, it takes about four or five reboots, some futzing with the video drivers in safe mode (safe mode with command prompt), more rebooting. The process can take the better part of half a day just to get it working the way it was before: In a state where games will play on it and where I can video capture stuff that I might need for recapping. It's a video card problem. The ideal solution would be to take the card out, Fed-Ex it to the company and get it replaced or fixed.
For the last two or three months, one of the cats has been peeing on the futon. The other cat, Oscar, has stopped, but Cosa hasn't gotten the no-pee memo yet, or has refused to read it. There's now a cheap plastic shower curtain that goes on the futon when I need to leave the house or before bed. Some days Cosa doesn't pee. Other days she does. The ideal solution would be to take Cosa to the vet and see if she doesn't have a urinary tract infection like the one Oscar had (and which was cured with antibiotics).
The closet door right inside the front entrance has a doorknob-shaped hole in it from when the front door slammed into it. That door needs to be replaced.
The backyard has been overrun with weeds, especially in the spots where big white rocks were circled around trees to prevent that problem. It's going to require weed pulling, replacement of rocks, some industrial-strength weed killer and some good weather to get the lawn back the way it was when I moved into this house.
The electric can opener works only on occasion.
Blinds and curtains just went up in the living room, but the door between them still has funky pink blinds on it that need replacing.
The inside of my car is a mess. It needs shampooing and vacuuming, and the trunk is full of newspapers, flyers and forgotten toys.
My face is drying out with the colder weather and the heat being on all the time.
I'm amazed at how many things we allow to remain broken in our lives. They are things that need fixing, and eventually most of them will be, just by sheer inertia ó someday I'll be living in a different house; the computer will be fixed or, worst-case, replaced; the cat will go to the vet. These are temporary problems, states of disrepair and failure, nags that remain unanswered, itches never scratched.
It's not always a time problem either. I have enough free time to clean out the car or take the cat to the vet. They're just annoyances, low-grade fevers, that are triaged down the chain to near-irrelevance.
To me, they're a daisy chain of corruption, a Rorschach of tolerance for imperfection. These states only exist because I allow them to exist. I choose to be powerless and to just let these accidents and calamities, minor as they are, continue.
The rationalization is that they're minor things to be dealt with when major life issues are handled. But there aren't any large-scale dragons I'm slaying. I worry that maybe I just like things broken.
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