tuesday, june 27

My flight leaves in a few hours. No updates for two weeks. Pictures upon my return. Peace. 9:59 AM

monday, june 26

I'm leaving for my little European vacation tomorrow. This is "ironic" (quotation marks a value addition) because I'm more or less "on vacation" until I find a job. Sometimes I feel like a delinquent about such matters on account of my perpetual lackadaisy, but then I remember that I originally endeavored, during an earlier phase of my development, to engender such a predisposition within myself in order to avoid the usual pratfalls of paranoia and short-fused-ness that I see other people stumbling over with disheartening regularity. Part of growing up is getting over yourself.

So [pops bubble gum], I'll try to meet my newfound responsibilities as a pseudo adult upon my return. There will be hands to shake, phone calls to make, teeth to flash, good will to stash -- all sorts of vaguely unwholesome networking-type activities that I'm generally not good at because seeking other people's approval is six shades of sick, and I hate being sick. But I guess it'll be a means to an end, huh? Or can I coast along being flip, glib, and blasé about everything indefinitely? Definitely the question of the hour.
8:19 PM

My little brother likes eating unpopped popcorn kernels. He calls them peanuts. I'm pretty sure that's not good for you. Like, won't a popcorn tree or something start growing inside you? 1:07 PM

On today's episode of Rolie Polie Olie, Olie was sliding down his treehouse ladder when his pants snagged on something and got yanked off. Olie had to hide behind a tree while his little sister Zowie went and got him another pair. My little sibs got a big kick out of that. Huge. 11:00 AM

sunday, june 25

The usual thanks to the Webmistress for passing along this wonderful newswire item on Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton. Reading it, I was reminded of the truly gravity-defying couplings between Juliette Binoche and Jeremy Irons in Louis Malle's Damage. Ever seen that flick? If Edgar Allen Poe were alive today ... and he lived in France ... that's the sort of erotic thriller he would make. Neither particularly erotic nor thrilling, but so much sex!

And speaking of Ms. Jolie-Thornton, I'm also reminded of a recent conversation wherein a friend and I were discussing which actresses among the current babe crop we thought would ripen into beauteous old age, à la Audrey Hepburn or Shirley MacLaine. (For example: Michelle Pfeiffer, definitely. Great bone structure there, timeless good looks.) An offshoot of our exchange centered on the fact that some of the more pneumatic beauties, such as Jolie or Denise Richards, will probably collapse as the years drag on. Basically, this is because their allure is mostly a matter of youthful vitality (read: hormones) and strategic collagen deposits ... properties which tend to deflate and leak and generally whither with the passage of time. I fear the end result will look something like this.
4:21 PM

"What she tells you is enhanced by the increasing animation of her gestures and facial expressions and becomes a vivid image of this childhood Arcadia. You notice for the first time that she has freckles. You didn't know they still made them. You imagine her as a child carrying a bucket of sand down to the beach. You see yourself watching from the bluff, through a time warp, saying: Someday I will meet this girl. You want to watch over her through the interval, protect her from the cruelty of schoolchildren and the careless lust of young men. The irrevocable past tense of the narration suggests to you some intervening tragedy. You suspect a snake in the vegetable garden." (p.94) 12:11 AM

saturday, june 24

Hehe. 4:41 PM

"What ever happened to the values I grew up with?"

"Like brand loyalty?"
11:41 AM

"I was charmed by his conversation, and despite its illusion of being rather modern and digressive (to me, the hallmark of the modern mind is that it loves to wander from the subject) I now see that he was leading me by circumlocution to the same points again and again. For if the modern mind is whimsical and discursive, the classical mind is narrow, unhesitating, relentless. It is not a quality of intelligence that one encounters frequently these days. But though I can digress with the best of them, I am nothing in my soul if not obsessive." (p.28)

"Though he gave quite the opposite impression, of freshness and candor, it was not spontaneity but superior art which made it seem unstudied." (p.30)
1:06 AM

thursday, june 22

A little perspective, folks: my local weatherman has better name recognition than the average "web god." And as for intellectual credibility ... well, anyone who deigns (rhymes with feigns) to possess it is immediately suspect in my book. One of the nicest grenades my be-loathed (opposite of beloved) twelfth grade English teacher Ms. Gutenkauf ever lobbed my way was to label me "anti-intellectual." It removed an iron band from my heart, to paraphrase my beloved (opposite of Ms. Gutenkauf) Edith Wharton, to know that I would never have to feign (dum de dum dum deign) a lofty regard for Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Kant -- or, heaven help me, Susan Sontag.

The self-perpetuating ideology's gotten somewhat out of hand lately. There seems to be a lot of back-slapping, ass-kissing, and self-justification. And even more wound-licking. Let it go.

(Incidentally, when I refer to "my book," I obviously mean one with large print, simple words, and lots of pictures.)
10:22 PM

"They feed back exactly what is given them. Because they do not believe in words -- words are for 'typeheads,' Chester Anderson tells them, and a thought which needs words is just one more of those ego trips -- their only proficient vocabulary is in the society's platitudes. As it happens I am still committed to the idea that the ability to think for one's self depends upon one's mastery of the language, and I am not optimistic about children who will settle for saying, to indicate that their mother and father do not live together, that they come from a 'broken home.' They are sixteen, fifteen, fourteen years old, younger all the time, an army of children waiting to be given the words." (p.108)

Good faith on a bad Thursday. Meteorology has been voodoo this week. The sky is in shreds. Non sequitur, non sequitur.
3:28 PM

wednesday, june 21

"All the while I am looking at Gerry's poems. They are a very young girl's poems, each written out in neat hand and finished off with a curlicue. Dawns are roseate, skies silver-tinted. When Gerry writes 'crystal' in her books, she does not mean Meth." (p.97) 11:25 PM

My favorite conversations are the ones where I speak to a friend I haven't heard from in a while, and he asks me what I've been up to, and I reply, "Absolutely nothing." Then I ask what he's been up to. "Not a thing." And we both laugh. It's comfortable. 11:04 PM

Awol's a good man, with incisive grammar to boot. Colloquial license notwithstanding, I always experience a hot blush of embarrassment whenever I witness a reckless indulgence in high dudgeon over a misperceived grammatical faux-pas. Not that my diction's so good or nothing, but I had a fierce bitch indeed for a fifth grade English teacher. Mrs. Marsh, her name was. It feels good, even at twelve years' remove, to say this: Mrs. Marsh was a bitch. Phew. Golly. Wow. I need a smoke. Mrs. Marsh was a bitch. I'm giddy that so many people are reading this. Talk about full disclosure. I don't even remember her very well. All I can visualize now is a cast-iron stove wearing a woman's cardigan -- anthropomorphic in the Disney fashion, spewing hot coals of sentence-diagramming censure. Sort of a Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons ... even though a certain real-life Rosie already matches that morphology in my mind, but why split tanks? 8:15 PM

Fuck this shit, man. I'm gettin' the robot-drone creeps hearing all the big boys fawn over it. Spare me the obsequiousness. 1:53 PM

"One reason I particularly like the Warehouse is that a child named Michael is staying there now. Michael's mother, Sue Ann, is a sweet wan girl who is always in the kitchen cooking seaweed or baking macrobiotic bread while Michael amuses himself with joss sticks or an old tambourine or a rocking horse with the paint worn off. The first time I ever saw Michael was on that rocking horse, a very blond and pale and dirty child on a rocking horse with no paint. A blue theatrical spotlight was the only light in the Warehouse that afternoon, and there was Michael in it, crooning softly to the wooden horse. Michael is three years old. He is a bright child but does not yet talk." (p.84) 11:37 AM

Here's a candid behind-the-scenes moment from the set of the upcoming Charlie's Angels movie. I'd say something snarky, but there'd be no sport in it, so feel free to provide your own barb. (Some targets are too easy ... like a wheelchair with a bullseye painted on it. With an orphan in it. A blind orphan. With auditory dyslexia. And male pattern baldness. And an ornery pet cat.) 10:51 AM

tuesday, june 20

Observation: NBC's summer burn-off sitcom M.Y.O.B. ain't half bad; it's about one-fourth bad. The usual generic sitcom criticisms apply (fake, predictable, et cetera), but it's got a nicely self-knowing sensibility and the writing's pretty tight. Sort of a less fresh, more bitter Malcolm in the Middle. The cast is fairly competent as well.

Except except except: Colin from The Real World, Hawaii. Dude, who (or what) did you sleep with to get on the show? You have zero talent. You're not even wooden. You're a popsicle stick. My little brother is a better actor when he lies about something he's broken. It's pathetic to see the other actors soft-pedal whenever they have to share a scene with you. Fortunately (cold comfort), your part is somewhat microscopic, if dishearteningly regular.

At absolutely no charge, I will arrange for someone dressed as Little Bo Peep to haul ass on-set and yank your sorry kisser off the lot with one of those shepherd's crooks. Hopefully, your neck will be broken in the process and the collective misery will cease.
10:08 PM

Disturbing synthesis, hatched from a couple of recent conversations: imagine a movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Joel Schumacher. Shudder. I'd add some terrible screenwriters to the mix, but I wouldn't want your computer to burst into self-immolating flames.

(Okay. Maybe just one.)
9:25 PM

While I'm not a smoker, I think cigarettes make great anecdotal props: the visual of this slender white cylinder, an arabesque curlicue of smoke rising from its tip; the way the puffing of it punctuates the inhalations and exhalations of the smoker; the glowing orange-black cycling of the ember. Too bad they taste like shit (peanut butter and car exhaust). And nicotine makes me queasy. But I'm sure scientists are working on it. 2:14 PM

"Michael was on a rant, quite justified, I thought, about all of this media-hype generation nonsense going on at the moment. Apparently we're all 'slackers.' 'Daniel, who thinks up these things?'

"Michael pointed out that humans are the only animals to have generations. 'Bears, for example, certainly don't have generations. Mom and Dad bears don't expect their offspring to eat different kinds of berries and hibernate to a different beat. The belief that tomorrow is a different place from today is certainly a unique hallmark of our species.

"Michael's theory is that technology creates and molds generations. When technology accelerates to a critical point, as it has now, generations become irrelevant. Each of us as individuals becomes our own individual diskette with our own personal 'version.' Much more logical." (p.242)

Of course, Douglas Coupland, pigeonholed forever by Generation X, has his own axes to grind, but he does raise some interesting points. Is faddishness more pronounced, do you suppose, in our common era? With even the interstices of privacy and memory being retrofitted with fiber optics and microwaves, with every cultural and countercultural sneeze reverberating like the hum of a thousand IP routers, are we more sensitized to all the useless little trends that social Darwinism would ordinarily snuff out immediately?

Although history is ultimately the study of trends on a macroscopic level, the more subtle evolutions are difficult to trace backwards, as very little remains (relatively speaking) of ancient civilizations. Were there fads in ancient Thule or Thrace? Did girls snicker at one another for not wearing the latest ... um ... rawhide hair ornament?

The vagaries of more recent climax societies are fairly well documented and easier to assess. Think of imperial France just before the Revolution, ladies of the court wearing elaborate mock airships in their hair.

(Note: it would be woefully simple-minded of me to equate all fads and trends with developments in fashion. I simply use these examples as a lazy-convenient heuristic. Branching out into a discussion of social-intellectual-economic-political movements, however superficially, would immediately become exhaustive, and would tax my facile thought process.)

The empirical resolution of our perception is a lot finer than it used to be. Sensory density, in the electronic sense, is increasing exponentially. I guess that's a technological progression after all. But some sense of -- appreciation of -- individual silence is inevitably lost amidst the countless clicking of binary switches. This isn't necessarily good or bad. I just don't know what to make of it sometimes. Which is where moodiness creeps in, I figure. Sooner or later, we'll all be bionic, and every whisper will become a shout.
11:54 AM

monday, june 19

My very own Chipmunk Adventure: I'm going to be gallivanting irresponsibly in far-flung climes in about a week. I still haven't found a job, but I've got some friends working on it. And I've got some other irons in the fire besides. My friends are good people, even when I don't call or email or otherwise communicate as often as I should. They make me smile.

Meanwhile, back at the palace ... Mallory, dear girl, you really ought to give Edith Wharton a second chance. Her works improve with time. The Age of Innocence happens to be my favorite novel. Full stop. And Ethan Frome is a perfect snowflake. It's difficult to find fault with any narrative that begins thus: "I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story." There's firelight and a deep breath behind those words, a profound grasp of human events concealed behind prose so artful it appears guileless, and becomes peerless.

If you'd like me to delve further into the wherefores and whys of my unblemished regard for Ms. Wharton, take me up on it some time. But not tonight. It's been a sleepy, sun-filled, talked-out day, and there shall be no more dialectics this eve.
10:45 PM

There appears to be a lot of peremptoriness where personal site maintenance is concerned. (Usual proviso: nothing in particular has triggered this train of thought. Sometimes I perceive a sentiment at various times coming from various places, and the aggregate lights up the little forty-watt bulb in my brain.) Specifically, I'm referring to the "so-and-so doesn't update often enough for me to visit them anymore" complaint. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with feeling that way, I guess, and there's certainly nothing wrong with not updating very often either. A personal site is a reflection -- nay, extension -- of an individual's caprices, whatever and however numerous those may be. Which makes me wonder about the individuals airing the complaints: is this strictly an extension of the quick-click instant-gratification dynamic of web interactivity, or are some of these people concomitantly feedback-eager in their daily flesh-and-blood dealings as well? -- i.e., if they don't hear satisfactorily from their friends on some regular mathematical basis, like ascending and descending scales on a xylophone, do they become agitated? I bring this up because when I was younger and more insecure, I used to feel just that way myself -- sort of a vestige of the infantile "you're not there if I can't see you" complex. But as you grow older, you hopefully learn to invest enough in yourself, emotionally and intellectually, that silence isn't such a terrifying thing. And, by degrees, you also hopefully begin to invest a certain amount of good faith in other people. Just a thought. (Picture me rubbing two cents together.) 6:43 PM

Apparently my flight to Paris is via Air France. Go figure. It is so going to smell like ear wax and polyester on the plane. Always does. The air inside an airplane cabin is sick sick sick -- recycled, heavily ionized. Gross. 2:46 PM

"The figure at the end of the pier had not moved. For a long moment the young man stood half way down the bank, gazing at the bay furrowed with the coming and going of sailboats, yacht-launches, fishing-craft and the trailing black coal-barges hauled by noisy tugs. The lady in the summer-house seemed to be held by the same sight. Beyond the grey bastions of Fort Adams a long-drawn sunset was splintering up into a thousand fires, and the radiance caught the sail of a catboat as it beat out through the channel between the Lime Rock and the shore. Archer, as he watched, remembered the scene in the Shaughraun, and Montague lifting Ada Dyas's ribbon to his lips without her knowing that he was in the room.

"'She doesn't know -- she hasn't guessed. Shouldn't I know if she came up behind me, I wonder?' he mused; and suddenly he said to himself: 'If she doesn't turn before that sail crosses the Lime Rock light I'll go back.'

"The boat was gliding out on the receding tide. It slid before the Lime Rock, blotted out Ida Lewis's little house, and passed across the turret in which the light was hung. Archer waited till a wide space of water sparkled between the last reef of the island and the stern of the boat; but still the figure in the summer-house did not move.

"He turned and walked up the hill."

Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
11:52 AM

sunday, june 18

Kevin's li'l ... er ... photo collage reminds me of this novel I read a few years back, called Lives of the Monster Dogs. Sort of a pretentious postmodern gloss on Frankenstein, it left me cold. Gothic solipsism is about as much fun as cold porridge sprinkled with iron filings. Invariably when authors attempt to fuse antiquity with futurity, the result is stillborn. There are some notable and thrilling exceptions, of course -- the speculative Difference Engine and the simply incomparable Diamond Age among them. Monster Dogs, however, was simply a dog. 9:03 PM

It was raining when I woke up this morning, and it continued to rain all afternoon, water saturation washing away color saturation, everything turning gray through cloud-diffused light. The sun only just came out. 8:27 PM

With all the live-action feature film adaptations of various terrible old-school Saturday morning cartoons currently in development, I thought I'd propose one: Alvin & the Chipmunks. And instead of employing CGI, I'm thinking bona fide Hollywood actors under Rick Baker's makeup effects.

Alvin, Simon, Theodore: Tom Cruise, Jeff Goldblum and Jeff Daniels, respectively.

And I guess we can't forget the Chippettes: Brittney, Jeanette, Eleanor -- how about Sharon Stone, Geena Davis, and ... Drew Barrymore?

Replete with elaborate cameos: Bette Midler as Miss Miller (of course, snicker) ... and Nicolas Cage as Dave (okay, maybe just a little CGI for the receding hairline). Anyone wanna pay me to write it?
5:10 PM

Flipping channels last night, I came across some Meryl Streep movie. It may have been Postcards from the Edge, but I'm not sure; I'm not particularly familiar with her oeuvre. It was my good fortune, however, to hear her utter this line before I flipped the channel again: "I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to be art."

I'm reminded of the opening lines from Donna Tartt's Secret History: "Does such a thing as 'the fatal flaw,' that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn't. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs."

For what it's worth, The Secret History is a great novel. It has its detractors, and some of their criticisms are valid (the plot is almost speciously polished), but there's this beautiful thread of aestheticism that pervades the story -- reality and unreality, longing and loss, revolving like magnets to generate an alternating current of remembrance. An old friend -- of the "I told you so" variety -- recommended it in high school, but I'm slow to take people up on their recommendations. I didn't pick the book up until my sophomore year in college. And while I'm not one read a book more than once, my memory's pretty good, and I've often been transported back to it since. It's worth a perusal.

Aesthetics -- one of my favorite pursuits. Technology is another. That is, if they aren't the same thing.
1:37 PM

"It was such places as this, such moments that he loved above all else in life; she knew that, and she also knew that he loved them more if she could be there to experience them with him. And although he was aware that the very silences and emptinesses that touched his soul terrified her, he could not bear to be reminded of that. It was as if always he held the fresh hope that she, too, would be touched in the same way as he by solitude and the proximity to infinite things. He had often told her: 'It is your only hope,' and she was never sure what he meant. Sometimes she thought he meant that it was his only hope, that only if she were able to become as he was, could he find his way back to love, since love for Port meant loving her -- there was no question of anyone else. And now for so long there had been no love, no possibility of it. But in spite of her willingness to become whatever he wanted her to become, she could not change that much: the terror was always there inside her ready to take command. It was useless to pretend otherwise. And just as she was unable to shake off the dread that was always with her, he was unable to break out of the cage into which he had shut himself, the cage he had built long ago to save himself from love." (p.99) 1:03 AM

friday, june 16

Nice. The pixilated stuff going on in the upper left corner is great -- especially the colors. When I was a little kid, my two favorite colored pencils were Berol Prismacolor True Blue and True Green -- and dang if those very same hues aren't up there. Pupils dilating. Eyes happy. 3:35 PM

That Mother's Day beanstalk my little brother brought home last month wrapped itself around some dead Mother's Day roses and gradually expired, presumably for want of tropism. I'm reminded of that scene from The Brave Little Toaster where the titular appliance stumbles across a lone sunlit flower growing in an otherwise shady forest. The flower spies its reflection in the Toaster's polished chrome and delicately, immediately, falls in love. The Toaster is understandably distressed by this development and flees apologetically. The viewer is offered a final, fleeting glimpse of the heartbroken flower, drooping miserably, its petals falling off. In cartoons, flowers can have hearts and toasters can break them.

The beanstalk was unsentimentally disposed of a couple of weeks ago ... and no one really noticed or cared, obviously. Besides, my little brother also brought home this little spidering-plant-thing during the same display of school-officiated filial ardor. I don't much care for it, but its health is rudely good, by all notices.
12:30 PM

Last night I dreamt about a magazine ad for an organization called Links (Xerox-ish logo), billed as a consortium of Linux interests. The ad detailed, rather polemically, why the Mac OS will cease to exist within the next ten years and why Linux is a superior fringe OS. A business reply card was attached, promising further information about an upcoming Linux expo where the Phantom Menace DVD would be unveiled by false idol George Lucas himself.

I happen to like Macs and hate Star Wars, so go figure. I guess this is what happens when I read Macworld, Entertainment Weekly, and the Wall Street Journal sequentially before bed.
11:40 AM

thursday, june 15

Sock Monkey + Flat Eric = Bad Andy? 9:21 PM

Itty bitty impulse purchase. 7:10 PM

Nuclear physicist Freddie Prinze Jr. demonstrates his critical acumen in this Mr. Showbiz blurb:

"The 24-year-old heartthrob has befriended Marvel maven Stan Lee (whom he calls Stanley) and intends to play a comic book superhero some day but not just in any movie. He was pursued by 20th Century Fox to come aboard another Marvel adventure, X-Men, but passed. 'I didn't like the script,' he admits. 'I'm a big fan of the comic book, and I like the stories that have happened within Stanley's universe, and this was Fox's version. This was cool, but I had something visually different in my head. But it [probably] wouldn't have worked out anyway; I would have gone in and not been what they wanted.'"

Okay. I think the upcoming X-Men movie looks terrible. The trailer is Velveeta, and director Bryan Singer is simultaneously an untested and overrated commodity. But dude, Freddie -- you ignorant man-whore. Have you actually seen any of your movies? Or read the scripts, for that matter? They're completely disposable. They play like they were written by chimps fed on a steady diet of used toilet paper. You are not an authority. Please refrain from issuing forth on other people's work.

Aside from this, he's obviously lying, considering he's probably never turned down a role (except maybe in a snuff film -- maybe). I bet some weird shit went down during his audition and now he's trying to cover his ass (which is probably what he was trying to do during the audition, but in a different sense).
9:56 AM

wednesday, june 14

Pikachu. Malkovich. Polyglot bicycle seat. 5:24 PM

I'm reading Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem. It's a fairly well-known collection of essays and articles she wrote during the 1960s. She offers some very astute, very relevant commentary about her craft in the preface:

"I am not sure what more I could tell you about these pieces. I could tell you that I liked doing some of them more than others, but that all of them were hard for me to do, and took more time than perhaps they were worth; that there is always a point in the writing of a piece when I sit in a room literally papered with false starts and cannot put one word after another and imagine that I have suffered a small stroke, leaving me apparently undamaged but actually aphasic."

While I lead a fairly paperless existence, my Mac desktop is often littered with icons of Word and Fireworks files and whatnot -- assorted randomata attendant to the ebb and flow of creative inspiration. The better stuff ends up in my journal, and some of the more interesting fragments are in turn made more widely available.

(Tangent: I've always found aphasia to be an intriguing neuro-linguistic concept -- almost absurdly elegant in its specificity, and so peculiarly human.)
4:49 PM

Many thanks to Zannah for triggering this bad-sophomore-year-eating-habits MSG flashback. (Apologies for the unwieldy hyphenation.) 4:06 PM

Somehow, whenever I eat a candy bar, I invariably get chocolate on my hands, no matter the foil-wrap precautions. 12:09 PM

monday, june 12

There's no getting around the fact that a pissing match is still piss, no matter how illuminating the excretions. Got a penlight? An empty bottle?

Zen glissando ... Marlene Dietrich has a great line in Touch of Evil: "What does it matter what you say about people?" And I've got an even better one, also a quote, although the attribution eludes me presently: "You're a fool if you believe what everybody says about you." Take it like Dimetapp, in one sweet gulp.

An exception: I don't like it when anyone gives my boy Ryan short shrift. The pleasures of his site are subtle and sincere, and best not lumped into a bolus with the rest of the soft-chew that passes for content these days.

Say something like you mean it, and people will start to believe it. That's the information revolution. Boredom, conviction, opinion, fact, dismissiveness, criticism. It all boils down to social intrigue. "The playground never dies."

I miss George Orwell sometimes. He once said of writing as a process: "I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life."

Not necessarily applicable across the board, but worth considering piecemeal with respect to the rootin' tootin' world of online pontification. Everyone's got an axe to grind, it seems. Or points to score. Various metaphors come to mind, emphasis on meta.
6:47 PM

sunday, june 11

Scary. I guess they're aiming for the Dorf contingent. (Or maybe fans of that George Harrison video where all the wall hangings move around.)

It reminds me of this lame talking Christmas tree my roommates and I bought as a joke a couple of years ago. It reacted to light and sound, so various pranks were initiated wherein roommate X would secretly plant the tree in roommate Y's room -- and roommate Y would subsequently jump out of his skin upon entering his room and being serenaded loudly and in the wrong key. Roommate Z would be lurking, ready to laugh.

Ultimately, we all started getting freaked out by our tuneful tree. Sometimes it would activate itself in the deep watches of the night, and it always made this threatening whirring sound whenever it got its groove on: "Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell ROCK! (Whir ... whir.)" The final straw was when one of the ping pong ball shells covering its light-up eyes fell off, revealing the glowing red bulb underneath. It looked exactly like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator ... if the T-800 had been a cybernetic tree instead of a cybernetic Austrian bodybuilder. But you get the idea. It was unadulterated evil. We HAD to destroy it.

(Aside: I think the even scarier Topiary Teddy Bear is flat-out the most heinous novelty gift I've ever seen. "Watch me come to life and sing 'Jingle Bell Rock'! My nose lights up too!" Um, no thanks. Damn thing looks like it just rose up from the dead. A little slice of servo-motor stuffed-animal hell, surely.)
12:20 PM

saturday, june 10

I love stuff like this. 10:34 PM

In my younger and more vulnerable years, I used to tell myself that I would know that I'm an adult when cigarettes, coffee, liquor, and diet soft drinks stopped being so repulsive to me.

Well, I still think cigs, alchy and java are barf-worthy (I've never been able to get my head around the concept of ingesting things that taste bad ... guess I'm unsophisticated), but I've lately been guzzling Pepsi One like water.

Ordinarily, whenever I come home, it's imperative that I restock the pantry with sugary drinks (Mom's all about the NutraSweet ... shudder). This time, however, I simply haven't felt the craving. Weird, huh? I used to be a total sugar-addict as a little kid. It's a miracle I've never gotten any cavities. I remember my dentist exclaiming once, after a routine inspection, that my sugar intake must have been very restrictive, and my oral hygiene regimen very rigorous. And I was like, "No. And no." And then she told me that some people's mouths are naturally resistant to cavities. Luck o' the draw, I guess. (Incidentally, I've always hated how dentists hand out really cheapy-basic toothbrushes instead of lollypops. What's up with that? Haha.)

Tangent: I'm the only person I know who likes Pepsi better than Coke. I know Pepsi has a less "complex," more sugary flavor (once again, my lack of gustatory sophistication becomes apparent ... yawn), but as far as I'm concerned, less complex equals less cough-syrup-like.
10:12 PM

I'm instantly hooked. [via evhead] 9:35 PM

Did you like it better when the text was bigger? Feedback. 9:23 PM

Horrors. [thanks, will] 6:28 PM

Drew Carey's boosterism and certain I.M. Pei-designed edifices notwithstanding, Cleveland's multimedia initiatives don't really live up to that word's prefix. Case in point: this laughable article in the Plain Dealer about Rob Lowe's latest television atrocity, Proximity, which happens to be filming right here in the erstwhile "mistake on the lake." A decidedly underwhelming affair ... Atomic Train it's not:

"Seeing their home region on film will be fun for residents, but 'Proximity's' Northeast Ohio connections will have a more material effect than that on the area: national film audiences will know they're seeing Lowe scrambling through the streets of Cleveland, which 'means great tourist exposure for our metropolitan area,' said Chris Carmody, president of the Cleveland film commission. 'When people see a place on their TV or movie screen, their desire to visit that place goes up substantially.'

"The project will also serve to increase Cleveland's credibility among Los Angeles and New York filmmakers as a good place to shoot a film, he said."

The rest of the piece is worth a perfunctory scan. There are some choice references to trashy screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and 1993's extinction-level crappy Double Dragon (also shot in Cleveland, didn't ya know?). Worth keeping in mind in case you're a budding filmmaker and the whole New York-Los Angeles thing doesn't work out.
1:22 PM

friday, june 9

Corollary: the best nicknames are the ones you give other people behind their backs. Which, of course, reinforces my dislike of nicknaming as a self-inflicted practice. Dubious semiotics.

Rabi offers a more diacritical extension of what I'm getting at. I agree with her that avatars are valid and distinct from nicknames. I just don't like it when an epithet fails basic taxonomic criteria -- i.e., it's arbitrary (often synonymous with "generic" or "cute"). Then it falls into the morass of other semantically worthless practices -- like knee-jerk sarcasm. (Sarcasm is cheap, and should be employed sparingly. It's not irony. It's not deadpan, either. But don't get me started on sarcasm. All things in moderation.)
3:49 PM

Speaking of pathologies ... You know what's lame? When people give themselves quirky/cutesy nicknames. Almost as annoying as people laughing at their own jokes. It's like, "Hi. I'm the little extraterrestrial who landed in your garage. Won't you pretty please label me and marginalize me, I'm so accommodating. Ingratiating, even! I live for smiles! Hug me!"

What am I talking about? I'm not sure. I'm not referring to anyone in particular. I just suddenly remembered how much it annoys me when people try to "package" themselves in that particular way. I think fucking with your name in a trivial manner bespeaks a self-image problem. Of course, as a grain of salt, when I was little, I also used to hate it when people arbitrarily shortened their names. I've since outgrown that. But I still hate it when people try to be all fictitious and character-like, presenting this carefully cultivated sugar-crystal persona. It seems brittle and narcissistic. (Is that redundant?)
3:44 PM

Typical exchange in my house: I was teasing my little sister (with good humor, of course) about something or other, and my other sister (college-age) interposes: "Stop. You'll give her a pathology." Before we can set an example by disintegrating into the age-old duel of Am not!/Are too! my little sister exclaims: "He's my older brother. He's allowed to give me [ponders the word for a moment] ... pathologies." Damn straight. Hehe. 3:23 PM

Hmmm. I think rockstars dream about a permanent cure for herpes. And not having to pay child support. 9:50 AM

Made a long-overdue CSS modification. Windoze users should now be seeing egg-zactly what my kindred Mac users have all along, typographically speaking. Who loves you, baby? I do.

If there's any display/rendering weirdness (not that a minor tweak should have instigated it), please don't hesitate to let me know.

Complete change of topic: Several years ago, Entertainment Weekly ran this sidebar in their Video section where they discussed how every major Hollywood star has some sort of made-for-television counterpart. For example, they said at the time, Drew Barrymore's pixilated analog would be Alyssa Milano. (I think their logic was that both starred in cheesy Amy Fisher biopics ... and Milano took on Barrymore's kinderwhore mantle in Poison Ivy 2. Sounds good to me.)

So I was watching The Golden Girls last night. (I freely admit it: I've regressed into an eight-year-old again, laughing at all the incontinence humor.) Betty White is sort of a TV-ready Debbie Reynolds, huh? I only say this because there's been way too much Debbie Reynolds in my life lately. First, I sat through this not-horrible (but obviously very very bad) Disney Channel flick with my little sibs. Halloweentown, it was called. And then Reynolds and Tippi Hedren were on Larry King last night. Actually, Janet Leigh was on with them, but they both cut her off so much that she was stricken and marginalized, her mouth perpetually agape. (Insert inappropriate stroke joke here.) There was also this other old lady, who looked sorta like Dame Edna, only with a red wig instead of a purple one, but I didn't recognize her. She participated via satellite. She interrupted Janet Leigh like crazy too.

Larry kept telling Hedren and Leigh how hot their daughters (Melanie Griffith and Jamie Lee Curtis, respectively) are. He didn't say anything about Reynolds' daughter Carrie Fisher. So much for equanimity. Or is it magnanimity?

This is what happens when I post first thing in the morning. My apologies to old ladies and their hot and not-hot daughters everywhere.
9:26 AM

Priceless. Or maybe not quite. Hehe. [thanks, will] 8:56 AM

thursday, june 8

To mark the passing of their very first school-year, my little brother's kindergarten class (or "Ms. Wolf's Class," as it's known on the street) compiled a "memory book" -- wherein each student submitted a page documenting his or her favorite experience from the preceding term. As you can imagine, something nightmarish has emerged from this exercise -- frightful penmanship, garish illustrations, and the odd naughty-sounding pseudo-word. This is lost on my brother, who casually tossed the tome into the trash as soon as he came home. But I've rescued it, and would like to share my favorite entry with the online world.

The title of the piece is simply, stunningly, JeSSiCA reMeMbers, followed by a runic screed: "MT HASL BAD At crSMA TiMe."

Wow. (I haven't had time to digest the images yet.)

Watch out, Seamus Heaney and e.e. cummings. Zounds! (Although Ms. Wolf's regrettable attempt to "improve" her young charge's ravings -- "high school buddy christmas" -- will drive down the work's yield at the eventual Sotheby's auction.) Remember folks, you saw it here first.
8:28 PM

wednesday, june 7

Citizen Kane is on TCM. About as much fun as brussels sprouts. Shame about the shoestring production values. (I know, I'm a philistine. I don't like James Joyce either.)

Ya know what? They should remake Citizen Kane. I can see it now. Vince Vaughn and Jack Nicholson sharing the role, depicting Charles Foster from dashing youth to demented old age. The title should simply be KANE, as a nod to shortened attention spans. The marketing campaign can feature the initials CFK prominently, and Jay Leno can tell jokes about how he thought they were making a movie about Orson Welles' eating habits (KFC -- get it? har de har har). Three people in Boca Raton will laugh.

And I'm thinking ... a CGI Rosebud. Yeah. It'll be the bonfire to end all vanities. Any takers?

More channel flipping. The Golden Girls is on Lifetime. Ha -- when is it not on? You know how to make yourself laugh? Say this out loud: "Blanche is sexy." See? I bet something just flew outta your nose.

Blanche is sexy.
11:12 PM

tuesday, june 6

I've finally picked up a book and started my summer reading. And it's not one of the umpteen I've already purchased just for that purpose. It's The Beggar Maid, by Alice Munro. Decidedly different from the stuff I usually read (period setting and no smart-alecky hyphenated references, for starters). I found it lying around the house and became intrigued. I've only just delved in, but the prose is marvelous -- modulated, discursive, evocative. The first three paragraphs in particular are golden:

"Royal Beating. That was Flo's promise. You are going to get one Royal Beating.

"The word Royal lolled on Flo's tongue, took on trappings. Rose had a need to picture things, to pursue absurdities, that was stronger than the need to stay out of trouble, and instead of taking this threat to heart she pondered: how is a beating royal? She came up with a tree-lined avenue, a crowd of formal spectators, some white horses and black slaves. Someone knelt, and the blood came leaping out like banners. An occasion both savage and splendid. In real life they didn't approach such dignity, and it was only Flo who tried to supply the event with some high air of necessity and regret. Rose and her father soon got beyond anything presentable.

"Her father was king of the royal beatings. Those Flo gave never amounted to much; they were quick cuffs and slaps dashed off while her attention remained elsewhere. You get out of my road, she would say. You mind your own business. You take that look off your face."

That line about "blood ... leaping out like banners" -- I can see it. I love it. A little later, there's another great passage:

"Flo had saved up, and had a bathroom put in, but there was no place to put it except in a corner of the kitchen. The door did not fit, the walls were only beaverboard. The result was that even the tearing of a piece of toilet paper, the shifting of a haunch, was audible to those working or talking or eating in the kitchen. They were all familiar with each other's nether voices, not only in their more explosive moments but in their intimate sighs and growls and pleas and statements. And they were all most prudish people. So no one ever seemed to hear, or be listening, and no reference was made. The person creating the noises in the bathroom was not connected with the person who walked out."

Like I said, good stuff.
10:58 PM

"There's never going to be anybody else, and it's always going to be him.... I didn't know this kind of love existed. I have everything I ever wanted in life. I feel centered for the first time and more alive than ever. I've suddenly found home with this man. I found love." Say it with me, now: crackwhore. 5:31 PM

Did someone say "Hollyweird"? 5:23 PM

monday, june 5

Two great songs that go great together: "Spying Glass" by Massive Attack, and "I Spy" by Pulp. I could link to them, but then I'd have to kill you. Nevertheless, I invite you to fire up good ol' Napster/Macster and seek 'em out on your own. (Handcuff me now.)

Actually, the real reason I'm not presently featuring any delicious streaming audio is because the DSL line is still a couple of weeks off (silly local utility companies and their work-order-processing ways!) and I've no desire to tax my humble 56.6 hook-up with a whole lot of upload trauma.

Additionally, there's the continuing Britney Invasion, wherein prepubes too numerous to quantify have been assaulting my humble homepage-stead in search of a terrible bubblegum track I jokingly dished out briefly several many weeks ago and promptly 404'd when the wrong kind of open-mouthed love began visiting itself upon these family-friendly environs (previous post about onanism notwithstanding). Some of the errant referrers showing up in my log files would burn your eyes and make your unborn children whimper.
5:20 PM

The webmistress strikes again, indeed: "Am I the only person who feels like Clippy is undressing me with his creepy little paper clip eyes? ... For those who have the good fortune not to know who this little pervert is, Clippy is the lecherous little paper clip assigned to help you in Microsoft Office."

I couldn't have said it better myself. In the past, I have used just that word—lecherous—to describe him. And while I never knew his proper name, I can say without qualification that he is certainly a little creep.

In fact, one afternoon last October, as I sat in front of my PowerBook trying to hammer out a short piece for one of my writing courses, I became inspired— nay, seduced—by el Clippo and devised an ode of sorts to his suggestive power.

The assignment was to write about a fictive incident in three separate voices. The first account had to be a woman's, the second a man's, and the third could be whatever we chose. We were also supposed to fool around with the perspective—first-person, second-person, third-person (narrative omniscient or what-have-you) and so on.

Thus armed with my cheesy imperative, and with Clippy's orbs boring holes into me, I put together my little inspiration. Which I'll present to you now, because hot dog if I don't like repurposing shit I had to write in college! Content!

A few caveats: the girls in my class, while amused, summarily agreed that my attempt to capture a woman's voice was somewhat ... masculine and Hefner-mansion implausible. Which is fair enough—it was my intention to be absurd and puerile, as befitted the assignment. I should also stress that any offensive views contained within the exercise are my characters' and not necessarily my own. That's why it's called fiction, so please avail yourself of a salt-lick before you get ruffled, if that's your tendency.

So much buildup for something so inert. The title of the piece is "She, He and It." Enjoy.

FIRST DESCRIPTION. I was having one of those days—you know, where this fissure of anxiety erupts down the small of your back, and you just can't seem to shake the feeling. There was nothing out of the ordinary to explain it: no calls from Mom, no unreasonable amount of paperwork. All I had for lunch was a cup of that yogurt where you mix in the crunchy stuff, and later I found an unopened box of orange Tic Tacs at the bottom of my purse. Business as usual.

So I was plugging away at an Excel file when some operation triggered that little Office Assistant thing—the creepy paper clip with the bedroom eyes. Those heavy-lidded doped-up peepers made me think of an article I had read the other day, about endorphins ... or maybe it was serotonin.... Well, anyway, without particularly knowing why, I remembered that the production of endorphins or serotonin or whatever by the brain reduces stress ... and certain activities promote this production. Like ... well....

God only knows what was going through my mind ... I'll spare you the details. Let's just say I decided to indulge in a little personal time ... involving some very special ... friction ... in my nether regions. Jesus, I sound like a Cosmo writer. Anyway....

So I have this corner office—great view—and my door was pretty much closed.... I thought it was closed all the way. I guess it hadn't clicked shut, but no one could see in ... so I went about my business. Nothing intrinsically wrong with it, mind you—my professional furtiveness notwithstanding. I mean, men start doing it in the fifth grade and never stop. And more women do it than admit it, certainly. But whereas men just need to blunder at it for a few minutes—which describes pretty much anything they do—the female anatomy is a little more complicated. There's an art to it, and it requires practice. And I was out of practice.

I guess I got pretty involved in practicing my lost art. I don't know how long I was going at it. I was pretty discreet. It's not as if I had to disrobe or anything like that. Just some strategic manipulations under my skirt, the parting of certain garments ... I don't think I need to paint a picture.

Where was I? Yeah, so I was going at it and suddenly I felt these hands on my shoulders and heard a man's voice throw out a Hey! before suddenly reeling it back in and apparently choking on it. The hands were still clamped onto me—to say nothing of my own hands, paralyzed in parts unspeakable—as I jerked my head back just in time to watch the remnants of a smile on my coworker Bill's face petrify into mute horror.

If you want to hear the rest, I'm going to need a drink. And do you mind if I smoke?

SECOND DESCRIPTION. Shortly after lunch, you decide to go into Susan's office and talk her up a little. Maybe massage her shoulders. It's okay to give her a massage. You feel you know Susan well enough by now that she probably won't slap you with a sexual-harassment suit. Or she'll at least give you prior notice. Hell, you're practically dating. Well ... almost-could-be.

Susan just "does it" for you. It's not even that she stands apart from the other female executives. More likely, it's because she's the female executive, the archetype—a pleasing, breezy impression of dark hair and casual athleticism that doesn't verge on lesbianism or self-loathing—a little bit of Donna Karan and Calvin Klein, some proactive Nike slogans, and maybe maybe maybe that Mastercard commercial where the dad buys his daughter a wedding dress. You can't explain it. Your friend Dave says it's because you know, on some level, that there's perversion in her—but Dave likes to think that about everyone. He thinks a little tawdriness is a beautiful thing. You're not so sure, but you'd probably make an exception in Susan's case, whatever your stand on the issue may be.

So you approach her office—one of those big ones on the corner, she must be making some reasonable kong bucks—and slip through the door, which is slightly ajar ... an invitation, surely. You smile. There she is, beautiful from behind, seated at her workstation, some impossibly dull spreadsheet spreading in all directions across the large flat-panel display in front of her. But she isn't typing ... she isn't even really staring at the screen. Her hands seem to have fallen into her lap, and her head is sort of lolling ... poor thing must be nodding off. This is perfect. So you come up behind her and ever so gently clasp her shoulders. Hey ... you begin. The you look down and realize that her hands are disappearing into her lap, into her—oh god. Your fingers, on autopilot, grip her flesh, and for one hideous permanent moment, you watch her head jerk back over and over again—your mind already fucking with you, feeding you instant instant replays, recoiling like a loaded semi-automatic ... and your eyes meet Susan's, and everything is ... groan. Heat, blood rush, oh god. JEE-sus.

THIRD DESCRIPTION. Everyone knew about Bill and Susan. Not that there was much to know, according to current speculation, but there probably would be, sooner or later. They were so trite—like sixth graders—nauseating. And no one was more qualified to hold this opinion than Deborah, who had the mixed fortune of being situated at the cubicle directly adjacent to Susan's big-shot corner office.

In truth, although she affected a certain disaffection for the proceedings, Deborah was secretly grateful for them. Sure, the Triage Corporation was a pretty prime place to work—mad gadgets and stock ops up the ass, lousy with young blood and new money; but it was so ... corporate. Everyone knew everything there was to know about time management and personal boundaries and focus focus focus. Social intrigue, personal affairs, were relegated to time outside the workspace. Which bored the hell out of Deborah. Nine to five is a whole lot of numbers and idle chatter about last night's episode of "Jesse." Revolting. So fixating on this Susan and Bill dynamic was the least of many evils.

And something strange happened today. Bill strolled into Susan's office around three, like usual (trite trite trite!) ... but he was out of there a couple minutes later—stumbled out of there, more like it. And he had this look on his face, like he had seen ... his mother naked. Deborah would definitely have to investigate.
10:01 AM

sunday, june 4

How do articles like this get written? By turns obvious and painfully misinformed, it purports to provide a snapshot of the current state of feature animation, with an obligatory emphasis on Disney. But the author clearly doesn't have a very good grasp of the relevant facts. A few flubs:

The dude's filmography is sloppy. He says that Disney's operation became resurgent upon the release of The Little Mermaid. True. But he also notes that the preceding Great Mouse Detective and Oliver & Company were "stumbles." Um, no, actually they turned tidy profits, and are clearly evolutionary antecedents of the later films. In the particular case of Detective, the directors (John Musker and Ron Clements) actually went on to make Mermaid.

If there was any "stumble" during this period, it was The Rescuers Down Under, which came after Mermaid (there goes his thesis), and was developed primarily as a testbed for a number of new animation technologies (digital inking, coloring, and compositing chief among them). Rescuers went up against this little movie called Home Alone. It tanked. But it was a quantum leap forward in terms of craft.

It gets sloppier. The author fails to make any mention of another animated hit that preceded The Little Mermaid: Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Once again, simple fact-checking (or maybe a passing interest in the subject) could have resolved this. And he also fails to mention Aladdin. Rabbit grossed roughly $150 million in 1988. Aladdin rang in over $200 million in 1992. Pretty forgettable, huh?

And this quote is misleading: "Suddenly, top animators like Glen Keane ('Mermaid') and Andreas Deja ('Beauty') were stars." Um, Keane worked on Beauty too, dude. He was the supervising animator for the Beast.

The article is untidy in other ways, such as referring to Don Bluth's dissatisfaction with Team Disney without mentioning what a resentful carny-barker hack he is. Or failing to mention that Brad Bird, the fellow behind the excellent Iron Giant, now has a development deal at Pixar. Or further failing to acknowledge that a number of non-Disney animated movies (Antz and The Prince of Egypt, for example) have faired just fine at the box office. Sloppy sloppy sloppy.

If you're gonna write about the business, at least take the time to know the business. It's not as if I'm some expert. Someone bought me this book in the eighth grade. I read it. Facts have a way of sticking in your brain. It's called long-term memory.
4:11 PM

Watching Joshua Jackson on Saturday Night Live just now, I realized he may very well graduate into a Kevin Spacey-caliber thesp someday. Which isn't a compliment, exactly. A friend recently described Spacey as "talented, contrived, and purposefully intense" -- which is a pretty fair assessment. It doesn't deny his genuine facility for his craft, but it also recognizes a certain amount of trickery -- hucksterism, self-consciousness, "theatrics" -- that informs his work and yields somewhat synthetic pleasures.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Maybe I'll change it when overly mannered actors (Jodie Foster ... groan) stop stockpiling golden statuettes, and really brilliant natural talents (Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, to name a couple) get the wholesale recognition they deserve.

Of course, Mr. Jackson is still paying his dues by starring in crap like The Skulls, Gossip, and Dawson's Creek. So don't go placing any bets just yet. (My apologies to his minions.)
1:43 AM

saturday, june 3

Haha. My score was 29. Is that good or bad? [via biscuit] 6:38 PM

This image of Jules and Brad (from the upcoming Mexican) has the intentionally ramshackle self-awareness of a too-hip fashion ad. Who knows? The way things work, it probably already is being used to sell jeans -- or, god knows, mineral water -- in Japan, where the whore/celebrity dichotomy is not nearly such a media pressure point. Societies tend to pick and choose their hypocrisies, and each country's are as specifically tailored as a fine riding glove, snug and convenient. 6:14 PM

There's something about being at home that always sends me into a holding pattern -- a sort of bland indifference, induced by too much creature comfort and internalized intellectual refraction. I couldn't tell you where the days go, although I'm seldom bored. I still haven't picked up so much as a single book, even though I lugged several heavy tomes back with me from Philadelphia.

For a little while every night, the memory of greater obligations returns to me, like a mint on a pillow or a Tchaikovsky waltz, only to dissolve just as quickly, with nary a green-foil wrapper or swan's feather to be found. Not so much a vicious cycle as a delicious one. But I should know better. Actually, I think I do. I just don't care sometimes. Complacency's folly.
4:43 PM

Oh dear god. The apocalypse is nigh: There's a Bette Midler sitcom on CBS' fall schedule. Another reason why network television generally sucks. 12:32 PM

What's with all the cereals pretending to be other breakfast foods? I'm not a big cereal eater myself, but various segments of the family are, and a cursory glance around the pantry reveals boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, French Toast Crunch, and Waffle Crisp, among others. (Taste test verdict: processed-sugar-and-food-coloring flavor prevails.) And I know there are more, because I have childhood memories of "cookie crooks" and whatnot. (Admittedly, cookies are not a breakfast food, but why split hairs?) And this is to say nothing of all the cereals that look like horse food -- or heaven help us, whicker. Gag. 12:22 PM

I had another one of those non-sequitur sorta dreams last night. It took place in some vague future, and there was a great war going on. Somehow, I was back in high school -- only, our high school had been destroyed, so all the students had been relocated to a hospital. We sat on these Craftmatic-style beds, laptops set in front of us upon breakfast trays. The main tension in this dream was that there was an inadequate number of data jacks in the ward, and not everyone could get their computer online. The primary action involved following various harried administrative types around the hospital's utilitarian architecture, attempting to wring answers and bandwidth.

The world in the dream was a world without children. This was something I somehow knew, in the dream. Whither they had gone, I knew not. No robots in this one, either, for a change.
10:00 AM

friday, june 2

Jared writes: "I hate to get all meta and crap...." God bless you, so do I. Oops. But now that I've stepped in it, check out his site. There's a good mind behind those words. 11:27 PM

I sometimes get the feeling I've somehow managed to cram two or three months into the past thirty days. It's been a blurry, busy time, with no let-up in sight. Which is just as well, although it's definitely ponderable -- especially on a circuitous Friday night in the 'burbs.

Paris, Rome, Athens at the end of the month. Booked and ticketed. But more on that later.
11:15 PM

I empathize, bro. Let me contribute to the primal cacophony: does anybody need a slightly disheveled multi-culti Ivy League dilettante? Sigh. This job search is so bloody ... recursive. A friend and I were discussing it the other day -- specifically, how there's a fine line between knowing knowing knowing we're too good for some jobs, and not taking ourselves too seriously where others are concerned. There are twin terrors in my life presently, rather like those scary oracular sphinxes in The Neverending Story: on the one hand, I have no desire to be a cog; on the other, I have no desire to be a slob, either. Technically, I could just coast along on the family assets for the foreseeable future, but self-respect (or, dare I say ... ambition?) keeps getting in the way. Throw me a freakin' bone. Uh-oh. Oops. I just made an Austin Powers reference. I despise it when people do that. I'm tripping over myself today. Like I said ... recursive. Blah. 9:41 PM

I was watching the Disney Channel with my kid sister, and this bopper flick called Wish Upon a Star was on. Enjoyably trashy brainy-sister-popular-sister role-reversal stuff, and surprisingly sexy for the Mouse Network (Katherine Heigl ... hubba hubba). It has this 10 Things I Hate About You vibe -- only with too much Moonpools and Caterpillars on the soundtrack instead of too much Letters to Cleo. A tolerable compromise. (Gratuitous Julia Stiles reference.) 9:20 PM

This piece from The Onion cracks me up. I think we all remember the creepy "imaginative" shit that used to freak us out when we were little. I can certainly recall all sorts of misdirected Freudian subversion, rife with subtext and seething with menace. That's pretty much why I became an English major. (Okay, it's not; but then I'm left without a reason -- which is fine by me, but it deranges some people.)

Just about everyone I've ever brought it up with in college (which happens a lot in college ... mass media is the mother's milk of the body pop-cultural) agrees that one of the creepiest of such instances occurs in 1983's execrable Superman III -- when that villainous henchman chick (henchwoman?) gets thrown into the Doomsday computer thingamajig ... whereupon all these microchips are soldered onto her face and she becomes a cyborg. (And her pupils get all electron-gun cloudy-dilated.) That definitely visited terror upon my young soul. Ack.
5:50 PM

Joe's right: there's some way-good stuff goin' on here. 2:46 PM

The house is silent, filled with sleep. I'm the last to go. I turn out my light. A quote to dream by: "One never took the time to savor the details; one said: another day, but always with the hidden knowledge that each day was unique and final, that there would never be a return, another time."

And one of my own to follow: "He saw a light, doubled and distorted, through the blinds. He was unsure if it was -- perhaps it was the moon. Suddenly the idea of frosted light bulbs, of warm electricity and lampshades, of interior disarrays and evenings of solitude, comforted him. How to make the moment last? Where did people go when they went away? What did they remember?"

1:06 AM

thursday, june 1

Food for thought. 9:27 PM

This has probably been obvious to pretty much everyone who isn't me, but I was beginning to wonder what had become of the usual romper-stomper Olympic hoopla (summer games, millennium, poppy seeds, eating disorders, graft, Nike, world music, et cetera), when it struck me: the games have been pushed back to September because Australia is in the southern hemisphere -- i.e., its seasons are reversed. Another case solved by Encyclopedia Me. (Although I'd surely rest easier knowing the definitive, supertectonic explanation. Grin.) 9:12 PM

Someone from Fortune magazine just called me up randomly to get a sound bite on PDA web technology. Hmmm. And I'm thinking: Like, can I have a job? 3:18 PM

Hehe. 1:34 PM

My sentiments exactly, Rabi. Fish is flesh. If you eat fish, you eat meat. And I'm not saying this as some pea-splitting vegetarian, either. I'm a total omnivore. I just don't understand -- forgive my pedantry -- why phrases such as "meat and fish" aren't considered redundant by more people. Fish are not plants. Fish have eyes! Fish bleed. 'Nuff said. 1:24 PM

Anyone know of any cool job openings in New Zealand? I'd be up for it. 'Twould be nice to change one's proverbial latitude once in a while -- and where better to do it than in a different hemisphere? Just a thought. 12:54 PM

Sounds cheesy. 9:08 AM

Sonic and Tails are best pals. They live in a faraway land of shiny emeralds and giant pinball machines and cyborgs with little woodland fauna trapped inside. And then there's the weather. Such weather!

Even in the midst of this Technicolor polygonal idyll, however, things can get competitive sometimes. And then you have to take sides.

Sonic is nifty, to be sure, but he has this Mickey-Mouse-circa-1928-on-acid thing going on. It's a little creepy. Tails has his own creep factor. His eponymous anatomical artifact is in fact two tails, not one -- which reminds me of this mutant goldfish I once had when I was very young. His name was Abercrombie. He died when he accidentally slipped into the kitchen sink garbage disposal (a.k.a., the IN-SINK-ERATOR™) during an otherwise routine fishbowl cleaning. I was sad for about forty-five seconds. I'd won him at a school carnival.

Nevertheless: Tails can fly when he uses his tail like a helicopter, and I think that pretty much settles the Tails-Sonic debate.

My little brother prefers Knuckles. Knuckles is like a red Sonic, except he's not so fast and has a penchant for pugilism. Knuckles does nothing for me.
12:10 AM


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