The Love Lives of Cats and Dogs

Cat and Dog HuggingI, like many other singles of my generation, am a member of several dating websites. I’ve tried out both paid and free services with varying success, and can’t remember the last time I asked someone out in person. Honestly I think it might have happened a grand total of one time in the eight years since I graduated from college.

When browsing a dating site I start with a few general criteria: Does she live close to me? Is she within a certain age range? Does the site’s mystical relationship algorithm think we’re compatible? And, of course, do I find her attractive enough to check out her profile? I try to take the last criteria with a grain of salt, of course; online profiles can be deceptive, whether intentionally or otherwise, and sometimes pictures just don’t capture how someone actually looks in person.

The thing that surprises me, however, is that I’ve come to feel that the most important factor in a girl’s profile is how she feels about cats. She can be well-read, smart, funny and generally great on paper, but if she hates cats, it just won’t work out.

On one hand it’s a practical consideration. I live with four cats, two of which are mine. If the girl I’m dating doesn’t want to hang out at my place because I have cats, she probably won’t be cool with moving in together someday if I want to bring my cats along for the ride. On the other hand it says something about her temperament if she doesn’t like cats and isn’t willing to put up with them.

I grew up with both cats and dogs, and I wouldn’t mind getting a dog someday. However, I know that dogs are a lot of work and that I’m not ready to devote myself to training, exercising and housing a dog right now. I don’t have the patience or the yard necessary to make it work. I have cats because they fit with my lifestyle and I happen to like the furry little bastards (except when they wake me up at 7am on a Saturday).

What I find when I go on dates is that my perspective is a rare one, at least when it comes to the sort of girls I find interesting. I mostly seem to meet passionate dog owners who rave about dog ownership; in theory some may write on their profile that they like cats or don’t have an opinion, but in practice when the subject comes up in conversation, the truth is that they just don’t like cats and can list a few reasons why.

I guess what I’m saying is that what I’m really searching for is a woman who will take me, cats and all. I wouldn’t mind having a dog in my life, so I don’t think it’s too much to ask that she be willing to put up with my cats. I might be willing to compromise in other areas of my life, but I can’t imagine not having at least one cat to my name.

The only thing worse than a girl who hates cats? A girl who hates to read. Shudder.

On Track

animal-scaleThanks to a suggestion from Eddy, I started tracking my calorie intake a few weeks ago using an iPhone app called Lose It. He told me that just being mindful of what he ate helped him lose weight, and the app made it even easier. I’ve been feeling a bit self-conscious about my doubling chin and growing gut, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. Amazingly enough, even though I’ve exceeded my goals more than once since I started logging everything I eat, I’ve already lost a few pounds. Now I just have to convince myself to start exercising…

Excuse the Dust

Screwing Things Up

Hi folks. As you may have noticed, I’ve been tinkering with the design of my site. I got tired of the fact that my blog had become dominated by links from my Delicious account and embedded videos, so I decided to revamp the structure of things around here. I also felt like freshening things up with a new theme choice. I hope you like it.

Some of the changes were more drastic than others. First off, I deleted all of the posts that were nothing but digests listing my Delicious activity. Although it was nice to have some of those links front-and-center, you can get the same effect by viewing my page on the Delicious website. I decided it was a bit redundant to continually post those links to the front page here. However, they are included in the sidebar in the Lifestream section, along with events from a number of other social websites.

As for the video posts, they’re still here, but I’ve decided to treat them more like a sideblog instead of the major source of content they had become. The most recent video I’ve come across will always be at the top of my sidebar, and any older posts are available on the Watching page.

Part of what this new version of my site means is that the front page may not be updated as often, but when it does get an update, I’m hoping that the posts will be more full of content instead of the shorter posts that have become the norm around here.

An Excellent Sub Sandwich

Ingredients:

a submarine roll (I prefer white over wheat just because it usually has a better crust)
Genoa salami, deli sliced
deli sliced ham (fresh from the deli or at least without preservatives)
provolone cheese
spicy mustard
mayonnaise
pickles (I prefer Vlasic sandwich stackers)
sliced hot peppers
tomato
onion
lettuce
salt and pepper

1. Slice submarine roll lengthwise, making sure to leave a hinge on one side so that the two halves are still attached. Lay it out open-faces and spread spicy mustard on one side and mayonnaise on the other.

2. Layer on Genoa salami, then ham, and then a few slices of provolone cheese.

3. Place sandwich, open-faced, in a toaster oven. Toast for about 5-10 minutes, or until bread is lightly crispy and cheese has melted. This is a good time to slice the onion and tomato.

4. Once sandwich is toasted, layer on sliced tomato, pickle(s), onion, hot peppers, and lettuce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Fold over sandwich and enjoy! I usually end up dripping tomato juice all over myself and the plate.

Note: If I’m packing this for my lunch the next day, I leave off the lettuce and tomato and wrap the whole contraption tightly in saran wrap. I find that letting the sandwich sit in the fridge overnight helps the flavors intermingle within the sandwich. I especially appreciate the way the juice from the hot peppers works with everything else.

Goodbye, Weekend / Have Some Music Videos

I spent most of this weekend a) trying to keep theleetworld.com from melting after the site made it to the front page of digg (and a bunch of other huge sites) and b) looking at places to live.

For right now, the site seems to have stopped melting, and as for places to live, Tim and I came up with a good top 5 list. Roommate #3, Trey, hasn’t had a chance to look at the places yet, but if he doesn’t manage to do it tomorrow, he’s just going to have to trust us, because we need to get our applications in pronto.

Other than that, I’d like to share the following two music videos I just came across:

Goldfrapp – A&E

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Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!

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Guess I’ll Be Moving, Then…

U-Haul TruckRecently I’ve been dimly aware of the fact that it was getting close to time for me to go through the lease renewal process. I couldn’t remember for sure, though, whether the folks in the office would be contacting me 2 or 3 months in advance to get the process rolling. The last two times I’ve renewed they’ve definitely given me several weeks to decide. They’ve also raised the cost of my rent every time I’ve renewed. Supposedly my original rent payment was “highly discounted”. Whatever.

Anyways, on Wednesday night I came home to a note on my door letting me know it was time to renew my lease. Their offer? $685 a month, which is $85 more than I’m currently paying. The kicker? They only gave me until DECEMBER 1ST to decide if I want to renew at that rate. Otherwise I’d probably have to pay whatever the “market rate” of the apartment is… god knows how much that would be. The note also says that if I am going to move out, I have to give notice by the 1st. So, basically… they decided to give me the shaft.

Needless to say, I was pretty ticked off, and began frantically calling around to see if anyone was in the market for a roommate. The problem with living by yourself is that you can’t really save that much money by moving to another one-bedroom apartment of a similar size and quality. Saving money can’t really be your goal unless you’re willing to go from a large apartment (like mine) to an efficiency, which doesn’t sound attractive to me.

If I could find a roommate, though, I’d be set… I knew I could definitely save money with a roommate to help me split the bills. The problem was that when I asked around a few months back, it seemed like everyone I talked to already had a lease or plans to move in with someone. I wasn’t holding out much hope, really… January/February is kind of an odd time of year to move. The other problem with finding a roommate is that I’m not willing to move in with a complete stranger. It had to be someone I knew at least a little bit.

Well, long story short, through what I guess is a good amount of luck and random timing, I found myself a roommate who needs a place right around the same time: Tim Given (another Sig, for those of you who don’t know him). He actually already has a place in mind – a 2/1 duplex that works out to $450 a person, which more than justifies me getting the hell out of Martha’s Vineyard. He just so happens to know all of the great deals in town because he works for the place renting the property.

Although the actual process of moving is kind of hideous, I’m pretty excited about the idea of this particular move. I think it’ll be nice to live somewhere new. There’s also something really great about having a roommate around to promote human interaction.

If I work it right, this could be a good opportunity for me to get rid of some of my many possessions, including my (broken) leather couch, the armchair that has stuffing falling out, the millions of pots and pans and pieces of Tupperware I’ve got sitting in my shelves, and maybe a few of my 50 million books… if I can part with them.

Long Time No Blog, Guess I Better Post a Movie Trailer

Hello there, gentle readers. I know I have been uninteresting lately. I’ve even gotten phonecalls from friends who need updates, new information and stories on what’s been going on in my life… My life is boring, really. I read books, watch DVDs and TV, and work work work like a good worker bee. I haven’t had the kind of low-level creative spark that produces blog entries recently.

I have, however, just watched a trailer for a new movie from the director of Thank You For Smoking. The movie is called Juno. Watch for yourself:

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This film has been much-buzzed-about on the various filmic blogs I follow. It was, I believe, a must-see must-acquire film at the Toronto Film Festival, which is always a good thing. The trailer projects memories of such films as Little Miss Sunshine, Junebug, and Thumbsucker, so to a certain degree it’ll surely be cinematic comfort food, simply because I like movies in that vein. Hopefully it’ll also have some of the unique bite of “Smoking” along with all of the quirkiness.

Now, I can’t promise I’ll blog more any time soon. That’s practically the digital equivalent of crying wolf. Just be assured that I’m here, and I’m reading constantly, always working towards my goal of reading 52 books in a year. Along those lines, I’ve discovered several new favorite authors recently… John Scalzi, for example, as well as fully confirming William Gibson’s place on the list.

Cooking Disaster

I’ve been taking my lunch to work for a while now. Eating at work not only saves me gas (I don’t have to drive home or drive somewhere to eat out), it also gives me more time to relax during my break. It’s been a big part in helping me fulfill my goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks.

I’ve got a small collection of meals that I bring with me. I used to bring a lot more frozen food, stuff like pot pies or pizza pockets, but I’m also trying to save money lately, so any time I can cook for myself instead of spending a lot more money on something that only feeds me for one meal is always good.

Usually, though, when it comes to cooking for myself, I tend to fall back on pasta or an Asian noodle dish I improvised when I was trying to recreate food from Pho Hoang. I’ve also been cooking larger frozen dishes and bringing the leftovers for the next few days. That at least seems to work out pretty well, although I still felt like I could recreate a frozen dish on my own for cheaper. Ah, hubris…

To make a long story short, a few nights ago I decided to make tamale pie from a recipe I found online. My first mistake was to only read the reviews they included down at the bottom of the page… if you pull up the full list of reviews, you get reactions much more like my own…

The first kind of odd thing is that this recipe calls for 2 lbs of ground beef. This seemed like an awful lot, so I started off with 1 lb in my pan and as soon as I started crumbling the meat, I could tell that it would fill up the 2 qt casserole dish without any problem. The next odd thing is that the recipe calls for whole kernel corn, but tells you not to drain it. I would learn to regret this later. The final odd thing is that it calls for waaaaaaay too much salt. Far too much. I didn’t realize this, of course, until I had already put in the salt.

The resulting mixture ended up burning on top (cheese should not be included as a crust on top of this dish) and being undercooked everywhere else. The corn mush didn’t magically turn into crust, probably because the meat/corn/etc mixture was full of liquid.

The resulting concoction is edible enough… it mostly resembles chili with corn meal in it, although it’s way too salty. Adding salsa helps the flavor a lot, but I’ll be surprised if I can convince myself to eat the huge amount of leftovers I have in my fridge. It’s a shame, too, because the ground beef looked and smelled delicious before I put it into the casserole dish.

I sincerely doubt I’ll try this particular recipe again, although I may try to create my own tamale pie from a combination of a good cornbread recipe and basic chili. One of the biggest problems is that this kind of recipe makes an unholy mess. I really do not look forward to cleaning out the dish once I’ve gone through the leftovers…

I did have some cooking successes this week, however. I put back into rotation a recipe for pan bagnat sandwiches that is fairly easy to prepare. It’s from Alton Brown’s Good Eats, one of my most favorite shows on air right now. (It occurs to me that it’s a bit odd to constantly watch a cooking show when I don’t actually cook much myself…) Alton is pretty happy with his sandwich… check it out:

Alton’s Pan Bagnat

I do tweak his recipe a little bit. I use single-serving sub sandwich rolls instead of a giant roll, simply because I couldn’t find a place that sells sandwich appropriate bread of that size. HEB sells a four pack of sandwich rolls that are absolutely perfect. I also don’t let the sandwich sit out at room temperature – my mother reacted in horror to the thought of eggs sitting out like that – I just wrap it and put it in the fridge overnight.

I usually make this sandwich using tuna – one can of tuna fits nicely if packed into the bottom half of the bread roll – but I’ve also tried it with chicken and turkey lunchmeat, and it works equally well. I think I’m going to try using salmon next. Beau swears by Central Market’s 365 salmon, and it sounds like a delicious idea.

The other really nice thing about this recipe is that if you wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap, it becomes very portable. If you’ve pulled out some of the breading before making the sandwich, the bread roll will fit together nicely and keep everything from falling out.

I haven’t given up on trying new recipes, however. I’ve got a cheap pasta/Italian cookbook that I bought at Barnes & Noble a few years ago, and I think I’m going to start pulling out some of those recipes. I think I may also try to find a good, cheap, Asian cookbook, just because I’m always craving Chinese or Vietnamese food.

Awesome. Just… Awesome.

Today was an exciting day. I’ll let ThinkSecret do the talking:

At a town-hall meeting with employees Thursday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that all full-time Apple employees will receive a free 8GB iPhone, while part-time employees who have been with the company for more than a year will also receive a free iPhone.

So, thanks to the kindness of Steve’s heart, this time next month (we have to wait until the huge customer demand is satisfied) I’ll have my sweaty palms on one of these:

iPhone

Then I’ll just have to pick a plan and start being one of the cool kids. It’ll be great.

P.S. Go see Live Free or Die Hard. It is 100% mayhem, and entirely stupid/awesome.

Huzzah for the Apple Store!

I got my computer back today! The folks at the Apple Store replaced the hard drive, and everything appears to be working just fine.

It also looks like I managed to rescue pretty much everything important from the drive, and I’ve just finished copying the contents of my iPod back onto my system.

Once everything is back in place, I’ve resolved to be a good computer user and start backing everything up regularly. Apparently .Mac comes with a backup program… who knew? Good thing us Apple employees get .Mac for free…

In celebration, please enjoy this LCD Soundsystem music video:

My Computer is Completely Fried…

It all started Saturday… itunes started acting up, and then none of the disk utilities I’ve got could repair the mysterious hard drive problems that seemed to be causing the issue.

I backed up as much as i could, erased the drive, re-installed OS X, and it’s still misbehaving… I actually just erased it again and it still didn’t fix it!

All I know is that I’m reallllllllly glad I bought Applecare. Tomorrow night I’ll get to put it to good use when I make a pilgrimage to the Apple Store…

Update: It’s official. My hard drive is hosed, and I need a replacement. The repair is going to take a week… Sighhhhhh…. Lots of Wii browsing for me, I suppose…

(This post brought to you thanks to the only working computer in my possession: my Wii. I’m getting better at Wii typing, that’s for sure!)

Two Years of Consistency in an Inconsistent World

Apple Logo

As of today, March 7th, 2007, I have been working at Apple for two whole years! Kind of boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

By my personal standards, two years feels like a long time to hold the same job, especially because I’m still doing the same thing that I’ve been doing since day one. I do, however, understand the ins and outs of my position a whole lot better now. I look back on some of my “rookie mistakes” with fondness…

Little things have changed here and there, however; I make slightly more money, I no longer have to answer queue calls, and I have a different manager and set of co-workers.

Don’t worry, though… I’m still keeping it “real”. I go to work most days wearing sandals and shorts (weather permitting), and I walk around all day, every day listening to tunes on my iPod.

Regarding Cat Surgery

Appollonia Friday was kind of an interesting day. When I came home from lunch, I noticed that Appollonia hadn’t eaten any of her breakfast, and she normally has a very healthy appetite. She was also hiding somewhere, which was doubly strange because my cats have a habit of meeting me at the door whenever I come home during the work day.

I went to look for her under the bed, and she surprised me by jumping out from under my quilt, where she had curled up (to keep warm?) I went to pick her up and when I held her hindquarters, she meowed like she was in pain and jumped out of my arms before hiding under the bed.

Needless to say, this was pretty worrisome, and I immediately called the vet. At first I wanted to take her right in, and damn the prospect of being late back to work, but she had other ideas, and could not be coaxed out from under the bed. I ended up just making an appointment for 5 o’clock so I could make sure to get her into the vet’s office as soon as possible, and I figured I’d just leave work early to get there.

It was a good thing I went ahead and made the appointment, too, because when I came home at 4 o’clock my bedroom carpet was covered with blood spots. I don’t know if she was bleeding at lunch and I didn’t notice it, or what, but, as you might imagine, I was pretty freaked out. I ended up doing everything I could think of to get her out from under the bed… rattling a plastic bag on the other side of the bed did the trick. Corralling her into a cat carrier after that was not an easy task, but I made it to the vet’s office in good time.

The diagnosis? Ruptured anal glands – cats and dogs (and other animals too, I presume) have these glands that are normally “expressed” when they do a No. 2, and Appollonia’s had become impacted for some reason. The resulting blood (and hideous smell) on my carpet was the aftermath. This is apparently common in dogs but very rare in cats… and the warning sign in this case was that Appollonia had been scooting her butt on my carpet for a few weeks. I had just chalked it up to gross cat stuff… needless to say, I know better now.

(And that was more than you wanted to know about my cat’s butt!)

She ended up staying the night at the vet’s and had surgery on Saturday, which put me out about $400. It was worth it, though… it was good to know that this was something that could be corrected very easily.

The vet techs told me that I needed to keep her cooped up for 3-5 days so she could heal properly (and so Jackson wouldn’t beat up on her), but I caved today. She was just so pathetic, and I felt like such a bad kitty-daddy for keeping her all cooped up in the bathroom. I’ve switched the little buggers to a high-fiber cat food, so that’ll hopefully help prevent this sort of thing in the future.

It feels like some kind of rite of passage as a cat owner, though… the first major cat surgery that doesn’t involve removing reproductive organs! Ah, well… cats can be expensive creatures, but they make up for it by being all cute and furry. Works every time!

I Am Awake Right Now, And Boy Am I Annoyed About It

I’ve done it once again… I fell asleep when I got home from work (with the lights on, no less), and then woke up around midnight feeling like complete crap (what with the lights being on and all).

It was also something like 79 degrees in here because it turns out Texas winter was just teasing us all once more…

…Then when I got up to have a glass of water so that I could wash the desert out of my mouth, I remembered that they turned the water off in my complex tonight because they’re doing work on the pipes.

Fun!

Needless to say, I hate trying to wash my hands with that hand disinfectant stuff… good thing I had some water in my Brita pitcher so I could improvise a hand-washing.

I had some What-a-Burger for a belated dinner, and then I sat around digesting while watching an episode of Battlestar Galactica from a few weeks ago. I’m behind on all of my shows lately, it seems…

Anyways, I think I’m going to try for bed again now.

Found Kitten

Found Kitten

In other news, a kitten came to my door last night while I was watching TV. She is wearing a collar, so she definitely belongs to someone out there. I’m sincerely hoping I can track down the owner sometime soon, because I sure can’t keep the cute little bugger. Two cats is enough for me (and is the limit allowed by my complex). Not to mention the fact that she hisses and growls at Jackson and Appollonia at pretty much first sight.

EDIT: Mini-cat, as I took to calling her, didn’t stay with me for too long. The girl I spoke to in the office of my apartment complex left me a voicemail the next Monday night saying that the owner had come in, so I packed Mini-cat up and dropped her off at the office the next day. She sure was cute, but she was a little terror… once she got used to being at my place, she spent all of her time out of the bathroom chasing Jackson and Appollonia around the apartment. My poor kitties were getting all intimidated! It was just as well… two cats and a person is crowded enough for this place.

A Blogging Software Revolution!

WordPress Button

My “constant readers” have probably noticed that I keep changing the look-and-feel of this blog about once every two weeks. It’s mostly because I get tired of looking at the same theme all the time, and there are plenty of free themes out there to choose from. A bigger change has happened this time, however, but it is (hopefully) fairly seamless and shouldn’t affect how people use this blog – basically I’ve changed blogging software again. I’ve used several different tools over the years – Blogger, Livejournal, Movable Type, and now WordPress. I had considered switching to WordPress before. Where Movable Type is closed-source and based on a payment model (if you want full support), WordPress is free and open source. I mostly didn’t switch for a long time because of inertia. Despite any issues I might have occasionally had with Movable Type, it was pretty stable, and got the job done. Changing things around would have been too much effort, especially since I had configured Movable Type the way I liked it – I wasn’t sure if I could recreate the same features in WordPress.

Then, about a month or so ago, the newest version of Movable Type starting behaving pretty strangely, throwing up weird errors and generally taking forever to build new entries. I also noticed from looking at Beau’s site that my copy of Movable Type was actually missing some of the features I was supposed to have, despite the fact that I had installed the same version on both of our sites. The biggest problem was that the “save post” button had stopped working, and it was driving me crazy.

I finally decided at that point to just do a complete clean install of Movable Type to see if that would fix my problems. I had to export all of my old entries and import them back into a new installation of MT. I also had to track down all of the helpful plugins I was using and re-install them. The whole effort took a good night’s work sitting in front of a computer, but when I was done, MT was running better than ever, and it looked like all of the kinks had been ironed out… except that it still took forever to “rebuild” posts, and every once in a while I’d get a weird server error and have to rebuild again and again. I dealt with it, though, because I had invested too much time into MT and didn’t want to make the change… until this week.

I recently set up a blog for my friend Tony. I installed WordPress on the site because I thought it’d be easier to set up and use for someone non-technical. Movable Type is great, but it’s got quite the learning curve. Part of setting the site up meant that I had to go into the WordPress dashboard and play around with the options, and as I spent more time in there trying to figure out how to configure the blog to Tony’s liking, I found more and more features that seemed really great/useful. The biggest draw is the WYSIWYG editor built into WordPress – on Movable Type, I had been working with a plugin based on Textile for a long time to make it so that I didn’t have to write complicated HTML just to post an image, but WordPress makes thing much easier right out of the box.

So, earlier this week I sat down one night and started looking into what it’d take to make the switch. I tracked down all of the plugins I’d need, I exported all of my entries, and I got cracking. You see the results before you now. There were a few hiccups along the way, and I am still finding the occasional entry that didn’t format correctly, but for the most part, things look pretty good. I’d recommend WordPress to others. It’s a much more elegant blogging system, and It’s much easier to change things around.

The plugins are great, but the best part is that when I needed to reconfigure a few things, I could just jump in and edit the PHP code, no problem – this is one of the biggest differences between WordPress and Movable Type. MT is written in a language that I have no familiarity with, and it’s much more difficult to dive in and start tinkering with the MT code. MT also uses proprietary tags to make the template files, where WordPress just uses PHP code and function calls.

As you can tell, I’m pretty happy with the switch so far, although I’m still working on changing around a few things.

iPod Nanos for Everyone!

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Yesterday afternoon we had a Very Special Meeting at work. Everyone in my division (SSO, or “Sales Support Operations”) was taken to the auditorium, and we were told that because financial year ’06 has been so great for Apple… everyone in SSO was going to get their own iPod Nano. This is on top of Steve Jobs’ announcement last month that everyone at Apple (full employees, at least) is going to get one of the new iPod Shuffles before the end of the month.

Personally, I now have more iPod than I know what to do with. I already have a perfectly good 60 gig iPod, but I am starting to see the draw of having a Nano – the thing is so thin and tiny it takes up barely any space in my pocket. I haven’t decided for sure what I’m going to do with it – I may keep it, or I may try to find some worthy soul who needs an iPod. I’m definitely going to keep the Shuffle whenever that comes. It just seems like such a nifty little doohickey.

Oh, and, I’ve also got a whole week off (paid) for Thanksgiving. I guess that makes up for the ridiculous amount of extra time I’ve spent at work this last month.

Worthless Beast, Part Two

Yesterday I took Apollonia for her annual check-up visit to the vet.

She weighs 17.7. pounds. She has gained an entire pound since the last time she went to the vet. Needless to say, she gets to go on a diet. At least she didn’t pee or shit in her box, thank you very much.

Worthless Beast

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I took Jackson to the vet today – he was waaaaaaaay overdue. Part of the reason I put it off for so long is because the vet is damnably expensive, and if your pet seems pretty healthy… it’s kind hard to pony up the cash for the whole thing. I had a recent conversation with someone who had a cat that got pretty sick very suddenly, however… and I instantly felt guilty, so I set up both cats with appointments.

The whole thing was extra-special fun, of course, because _Jackson Does Not Like Riding in The Car_.

He demonstrated his anger/fear by peeing in his box before I even made it on the freeway, and proceeded to take a shit about 2 minutes later. I was barely in the car five minutes before he had made a complete mess of himself and stunk up the whole place. When we finally made it to the vet’s office, he sat in his box howling like he was being murdered, and the other customers in the office just looked at me like I was a terrible kitty-daddy.

All the other kitties were sitting quietly in their carriers looking thoroughly calm and well-behaved, while Jackson was moaning up a storm and trying to push his head through a 1-inch hole he found in the side of the box.

When we finally made it to a room and I pulled him out, he had soaked himself and had shed about half his weight in fur. He was completely well-behaved once he was out of the box, though… maybe I just have a claustrophobic cat, I dunno.

Appollonia has her appointment two weeks from now… luckily she’s a complete angel in the car.

California Roadtrip 2006, Part 1

*Day 1.*

I left early from work, called Tony, and he drove me to the airport. At first I was worried that I wouldn’t make my plane, but we got there in plenty of time. You hear airport security horror stories nowadays… _”Get there three hours early, or you’ll never see the inside of that there flying machine, m’boy”_, but it was fairly straightforward… empty your pockets, take off your shoes, and go through the scanner.

I then had some time to kill, so I decided to eat dinner. This was a big mistake, mostly because I decided that Chinese food from a restaurant in the airport would be edible. I went to a little buffet, filled up my container with what purported to be General Tso’s Chicken (spicy) and ordered a coke to drink.

There was _so much sugar_ in the “General Tso’s Chicken” that I stopped being able to taste my coke, and I just threw the whole mess away. It distracted my stomach for a little while, though, at least long enough to make it to Colorado and eat something better.

The flight wasn’t bad at all – about two hours long, and I finished reading “Feet of Clay”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061057649/ on the plane. I am still resolutely stuck on reading everything Terry Pratchett has ever written, which may take me some time… there are about 20 more books in the series that I haven’t read yet.

Continue reading “California Roadtrip 2006, Part 1”

longest. drive. ever.

i have returned from my road trip, and i never want to ride in a car ever again. ever. stupid cars. once i’ve regained my strength and slept for 24 or so hours, i’ll write up a nice detailed post about my whole week, and i’ll post some more pictures.

!/images/roadtrip.jpg!

Camellia Sinensis

So… I seem to have a new habit lately. Or maybe two new habits.

Habit #1: I think about writing something in this blog, lay it out in my head, then I don’t. I seem to have worked up some kind of aversion to writing in this thing (not that I’m writing much otherwise). This is probably a symptom of some sort of overall problem, no?

Habit #2: I have been drinking a *lot* of tea lately. Two or three cups a day. I’ve got a pretty good selection of different varieties, including (but not limited to):

!/images/tea.jpg!

…I’ve also got several more at work, including some loose-leaf varieties of “mate tea”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mate_tea, some rasberry tea, and an excellent green tea from “Tazo”:http://www.tazo.com.

Part of the reason that I started drinking so much tea was because coffee just doesn’t seem to sit as well on my stomach any more. I can have it every once in a while, but if I have too much or drink it too often, things do not bode well for me. Tea, on the other hand, seems to go down pretty smoothly if I haven’t been abusing my esophagus.

Not So Bad, But Not So Good

fal·low (făl’ō)

adj.

1. Plowed but left unseeded during a growing season: fallow farmland.
*2. Characterized by inactivity: a fallow gold market.*

n.

1. Land left unseeded during a growing season.
2. The act of plowing land and leaving it unseeded.
3. The condition or period of being unseeded.

tr.v., -lowed, -low·ing, -lows.

1. To plow (land) without seeding it afterward.
2. To plow and till (land), especially to eradicate or reduce weeds.


I should also mention “the electric sheep screen-saver”:http://electricsheep.org/.

!/images/sheep.jpg!

Who wouldn’t want a screen-saver that looked like that?

you look like a perfect fit

This past Saturday night we had the first public “cathedral for a while” event. Basically we had a party at “beau’s”:http://probabilityfields.com house, but it wasn’t just any party. The whole inside of the house was decorated, all of the furniture was re-arranged, and there was a stage set up in their living room. Over the course of the night, there was music, theatre, film, and even archery.

When we first started talking about this whole thing, I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to participate. the earliest meetings coincided with a general funk that lasted about a solid month, so I had a hard time seeing much further than my own feet for a while.

Of course, everyone insisted that i *had* to come up with something, but I held my cards close to my chest for as long as possible. I didn’t want to commit to anything, and I especially didn’t want to commit to anything that other people would rely on me to do.

But, as it turns out, we kept having meetings, and we kept talking about being creative, and even though I wasn’t having any ideas, it was nice to be in that general soup of creative thought.

The idea had been floated that we should try and assemble a documentary from some footage Aaron had taken of Tony competing in an Air Guitar Championship. His character was named Rockbot. “Why not”, they said, “make a Rockbotumentary?” This was tasked to me, since I have the computer with video editing software. I don’t remember whether or not I actually agreed to do this. I probably did.

After a certain point, however, my general noncomittal stance evaporated and I decided to take it seriously after all. The thing that probably got me going was the first night of actual editing. Beau and I sat down and managed to put together an opening sequence that was, in our humble opinion(s), sheer awesomeness. We cracked up every time we watched it. But the rest of the footage still needed something more – we had performance footage, but we didn’t have the story of the event.

The following night I called Tony and asked if he had time to do an interview so that we’d have something to intercut with the performance footage. Luckily, I caught him at a good time and he was able to come over and sit down for a little while. I did my best to interview him like I thought the professionals would, and I ended up with about 20 minutes of interview footage.

Beau came over about 20 minutes after Tony left, and we started editing again, now with interview footage to work with. This was the Thursday night before the party, and we wanted to get it done as soon as possible. There was some worry that we just wouldn’t be able to finish it in time, but we soldiered on through and managed to wrap it up that same night.

I think I can feel confident in saying that the “Rockbotumentary” is one of the best things I’ve ever put together in iMovie. It’s definitely the first movie we’ve made as a group in a long time that we took seriously. That doesn’t meant that it’s not funny, of course, we just wanted to make something that wasn’t a joke for once.

Anyways, enough of my chatter. Why don’t you check it out for yourself?

!http://cathedralforawhile.com/img/rockbot.jpg!:http://cathedralforawhile.com/mov/rockbotumentary.mov

(Note: Requires Quicktime 7. Update your systems!)

all sleep and no awake makes jeff a dull boy

um, well, any pretensions i’ve had of a social life have gone out the window this week because my sleep schedule got all out of whack and i fell soundly asleep right after coming home from work for most of the week. i’m talking 6pm out like a light style.

now, of course, not once did i actually sleep all the way through the night from 6pm. that’d be too easy. no, instead, I’d fall asleep until about 11pm or midnight, and wake up realizing that i’d missed doing fun things (like going to see V for Vendetta Thursday night. dammit.)

if i was lucky, i’d putter around for an hour or two and then fall back asleep. i was not always lucky. one night i just ended up giving up on sleep, and I got out of bed and decided to be productive instead, which was just as well – that website needed working on, anyways.

hopefully this weekend will help me get back on track…

in other news, there was a shooting in my apartment complex last friday night. when I say shooting, I mean that someone wearing a paintball mask knocked on somebody’s door a little bit after midnight, they opened it, saw that he had a gun, shut it as quickly as possible, and the guy then shot through the door three times. the resident of the apartment was shot once through the hand and had to go to the hospital. why, you might ask, did they open the door after midnight without checking to see who it was? they were actually expecting someone.

at first, i was pretty freaked out by the whole thing, and really, when i’m outside after dark here now, i definitely feel a bit paranoid, but i’m going to stick it out in this place. i’d have to break my lease to move (i’m signed up until Jan. 2007), and, really, there’s no guarantee that moving to a different apartment complex would be any safer. it’s entirely possible i could spend all sorts of money to move somewhere else and the same exact thing would happen. i think the best thing is for me to pay better attention to my surroundings, keep my door good and locked at all times, and always check the peephole before i open the door. (good thing Beau is too lazy to knock on the door… he just waits in the parking lot and calls me on his cell phone to get me to come downstairs…)

I think, however, that once my lease is up here, i’d really like to move back into a house/duplex situation with roommate(s). probably. we’ll see how i feel next year, but it’s the way I’m leaning.

cathedral for a while

so tonight we had another of our bi-weekly meetings about the show we’re trying to put together. personally, i’ve been impressed that we’ve been actually meeting every two weeks. to me that’s a pretty decent level of commitment – having a core group of people that managed to show up regularly to talk about the same thing. i definitely feel like we’ve had some formless meetings (the one where we basically watched the oscars instead was kind of… less focused), but tonight was good.

for most of the meeting we went over stuff that we’ve been trying to pin down for a while. we’ve now got a tentative date and a tentative venue, but i think we’re all still kind of fuzzy on the actual parameters of this event we’re going to have. we sidestepped that issue by planning a party for three weeks from now. the idea behind the party is that it’ll be sort of a test run for the event itself – we’ll gather people around in a party atmosphere, and then at a certain point in the night we’ll pull everyone into the living room and folks will start performing (poetry, music, theatre, whatever).

the benefit of this particular way of looking at things is that pulling off a party at the yager house is a piece of cake, so taking it to that next level won’t be as hard as it would be doing the same thing in an actual venue.

the other, more palpable achievement of the night was that we picked a name for the whole… thing. the name-picking method was my suggestion. we grabbed a book (“skinny legs and all” by tom robbins) and people took turns opening it to a random page, pointing, and reading off the four words next to their finger. it’s a pretty cool way to get some interesting titles… after we had a list of about 20 good ones, we narrowed it down to “cathedral for a while”, which has a nice ring to it and fits with some of the ideas that we’ve talked about – i like the idea of making art that is both temporary and sacred, and our dada method of picking a title was appealing to all of us.

in closing, here are a few examples that i just pulled from “the demolished man” by alfred bester:

with the galaxy inside
clump of rubbery red
but it won’t help
as a war memorial
a make-believe detective
milk-white eyes disappeared
alleys were patched into
does murder turn the

and from “mort” by terry pratchett:

had a nasty forboding
away from the stranger
i just feel angry
rooftop height would have
he stuttered, trying to
the exact position that
effortlessly pronouncing a row
therefore it is prudent

what a miserable way to start a weekend

yesterday i suffered through some of the worst allergies i’ve had in a while. the onset of it all came sometime late thursday night, right around the time i went to bed, which meant that i tossed and turned and generally had a bad night of it. the following workday was completely miserable, and when i finally made it home, i crashed in bed and slept for a very long time. when i woke up around 12:45 am, i felt a hell of a lot better, although i’m definitely still stuffed up. the good news, however, is that now i can breathe… most of the time.

today i went to pick up my car from the shop – i had to wait until yesterday to drop it off because i needed to work around beau’s schedule to get it dropped off in the first place, and i didn’t want to have to worry about getting to work the next day. of course, i also knew that the problem was most likely a very simple fix – before i dropped it off on friday, i also took it in to the same place on monday after work, and the very helpful Hai checked it out for me really quickly. he told me at the time that it was most likely just the speed sensor, and he was of course right. the repairs came out to $240 all told, which i guess is still a decent chunk of change, but considering that i was expecting to pay at least twice as much, i was happy.

now my goal is to go read for a few hours. i’m still ever-so-slowly working on reading “lamb”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0380813815/, and my goal is to try and finish it today if possible.

!/myspace/cigarette.gif!:http://www.fantagraphics.com/artist/burns/burns.html

you’d think with a fancy college education like mine, these sort of things would occur to me sooner

So… you may remember the story of my camcorder. I bought it in the summer of 2003. I paid it off in November of 2004. Three months later, I pulled it out of its case and discovered that the screen had decided that from then on out it would display and record nothing but blackness. Audio came through just fine, tapes played without a hitch, but recording anything new was impossible.

This discovery was, at the time, incredibly frustrating. I had barely used the camcorder, hardly justified the $1000 purchase.

The camera has mostly been a frustrating experience – when I did use it to record anything, it became apparent (I thought) that my old iMac was no longer up to the task of editing. Of course, the resolution to _that_ bit of the story was that it was actually my firewire drive gumming up the works. This meant that although I could edit video, there couldn’t be much of it because of the limited space on my main drive.

When it finally broke, however, that was the last straw. At the time, I contacted Canon customer service to see if they could do any kind of repair. I got the impression, however, that fixing the problem would could about half as much as the camera was worth, and that hardly seemed worth it considering how little I had used it in the first place. I decided to wait until I had some spare cash to worry about fixing it. It didn’t really seem like a priority.

Flash forward to a year later. The camera has been sitting in a drawer, unused and forgotten about. One big change, though, is that I bought myself a brand new computer, one with more than enough to horsepower to edit video. Enough horsepower to edit video without even batting an eye. The first big step had been taken. Now I just had to look into getting it repaired.

This is where one begins to wonder _why I did not think of the following solution a year ago…_

We’ve had some discussions among my group of friends recently about putting together a kind of variety show, with theatre, poetry, music, film, and whatever else anyone can come up with. Thanks to a recent discussion, it finally occurred to me that I should look into getting the camera repaired somewhere else besides Canon.

“Hell,” I thought, “why not check and see if Best Buy could repair it? It’d probably be cheaper that Canon repairing it.”

It occurred to me after some thought that I should probably dig up my receipt to find out whether or not the camera might still be under warranty. This was no small task, considering that my “filing system” consists of five years of random papers stacked on my dining room table, oftentimes topped off by a surly black cat.

At first it was pretty hopeless, but as I was on hold with Best Buy, I started flailing around in the pile to see if I could just find an old Best Buy credit card statement, when what should I find but _the original receipt_!

It gets better from there, however… it turns out that way back in the day I was thoughtful enough to buy the Best Buy service plan, which (much to my surprise) covers my camera for four years. This means that I can get repairs done on the camera… *for free* until 6/6/2007.

Needless to say, I felt pretty silly and pretty happy at the same time. Earlier tonight I dropped the camera off for repairs. I should have it back sometime in a week or so.

And then all I have to do is start making movies again.

they can make machines save us labor. someday they’ll do our hearts the very same favor.

so, this “blog” has become deader than dead. a doornail.

you might ask… why? well, mostly it’s because i hardly ever seem to want to sit down and write it in anymore. things do happen to me, but, on the whole, they are not interesting things. most weeks seem to be about the same, including some or all of the following:

– 40 hours of work.
– a variable amount of sleep.
– _at least_ 1-2 movies on dvd.
– several dozen episodes of various tv shows (not just Scrubs, either!)
– drinking in a bar on Friday and/or Saturday night. sometimes Tuesday if we’re bored enough. the occasional party breaks the “bar” monotony.
– cats demanding food at all hours of the day.
– eating out more than i should instead of buying groceries (Thundercloud Subs, mostly. That’s kinda healthy, right?)
– searching out new music constantly.
– shooting the proverbial _shit_ with my long-suffering buddy “Beau”:http://probabilityfields.com.
– doing my best to figure out the “fairer” sex. they exist only to baffle me.
– not writing. not writing a bit.
– thinking about what i’d be writing if it wasn’t for that whole “not writing” thing.

all of that said, i do think that i’d like to ramp this sucker back up a bit. it’s good to keep a record of where i am and where i’ve been. i think it’ll always be really valuable to be able to look back on my past exploits to help analyze the present.

Razza-frazza @#$% Macworld Keynote

Stupid “new iMacs”:http://www.apple.com with stupid Intel processors and stupid “all sales final” employee purchase plan…

…actually, I kid… I am kind of disappointed that they did in fact update the iMacs after all. I was banking on them updating the Mac Mini and probably one of the laptop lines, but I really thought that since the iMac was updated in November that it wouldn’t be updated so soon. Oh well.

My computer is still absolutely awesome and incredibly powerful, and will continue to have the same life that it would always have had. I knew they were going to start introducing Macs with Intel processors sometime this year, and I knew that and went ahead and bought a new computer anyways because I wanted a _new computer_.

I’ve heard it said that buying the first revision of anything is oftentimes a bad idea anyways…

Ah well. Let’s be realistic here. For what I’m going to do with my computer (surf the web, write, listen to music, watch movies, design web pages, maybe edit some video, play with Garageband, etc) I’ve got more than enough iMac to go around. Hell, my old iMac only recently stopped being able to do some of those things.

Oh, to hell with it! I’m gonna have a party!

Oh, 2005… you’re on your last legs, with only three more hours to go. You were kind of an odd mis-shapen year, weren’t you?

You and I spent our first few months together entering into spiraling credit-card debt thanks to my impulsive (but never regretted) unemployment. Then I found employment, and honestly, it seems like the rest of the year has been a blur.

2005 was the year that I effectively sold my soul to the chemical comforts of TV shows on DVD and the insidious call of the DVR.

I managed to watch four seasons of Farscape, seven of Buffy, and five of Angel over the course of the year, along with any number of other shows and movies that I can’t even begin to count.

According to the program I used to track my reading habits, I read 41 books in 2005.

Six of those were audio books listened to on my iPod.

Twelve were graphic novels, although two of the ones I count (Black Hole and McSweeney’s issue 13) were longer works.

Two of the books I read (Jennifer Government and Faust Among Equals) were _awful_.

One book (The Stars My Destination) was perhaps the best book I’ve read in years, with the final Dark Tower book coming equally close for sheer emotional power.

Song of the year? “Blankest Year” by Nada Surf.

…And now it’s time for me to get my stuff together so I can head out to a party at my friends’ house. Hopefully it’ll be a good time. I need to start filling myself with resolve for the coming of 2006.

You Set the Fire in Me

After much waffling, I finally buckled under and bought myself a new computer. I’ve needed one for a while now – my poor old G3 iMac has been pushed far past its natural limit, and needs to be put out to pasture somewhere where noone will try to make it play full-screen video.

I was having a hard time deciding between a laptop and a new iMac, but my dad made the point that if all I wanted a laptop for, I should just get something cheap, and that if I was looking to actually upgrade my computer, the iMac was a more sensible choice. This is why it’s good to keep your parents around. Sometimes they help you make decisions.

Anyways, as soon as I got back to work on Monday I ordered the computer (20″ screen, 2.1 Ghz G5 processor… drool…) Right now the Apple website says that it should ship on Friday, so I should be able to get my grubby hands on it sometime early next week. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Other than that, things are pretty standard. Although I do have to work this week, I’m getting paid holiday pay plus overtime for every hour I work, and we’ve gone home early both days so far – we probably won’t stay any later than 3pm all week, which is definitely nice. This is also the last week I’ll have to be on the phone all day, so that’s nice.

Tonight I sat and watched Groundhog Day on DVD. Such a good movie, and more profound than you might expect, considering it’s the sort of movie that used to get played incessantly on various cable channels.

Alright, I’m tired. I’d like to try and read a little bit before I sleep, but it probably won’t happen. Oh well… I do hope, however, that I can finish at least one of the books I’m currently reading before the end of 2005. That’d be nice… (especially since one of them, The Wizard, is due back at the library on the 3rd.)

i’m really close tonight

!/images/hp4.jpg!

I went and saw the new Harry Potter movie at a midnight showing this week. i was originally planning on going to see My Morning Jacket that evening, but I hadn’t actually realized that the tickets were $25, and honestly, Harry Potter sounded like more fun once I weighed the options. (I also began to imagine that the MMJ show might be like when I went and saw Built to Spill live. They’ve made some damn good albums, but the reality of them live wasn’t that exciting to me.)

HP4 was good, but not, in my opinion, the Best Harry Potter Movie Yet, as some critics have dubbed it. It was well-made and nicely dark. They cut out all of the fat in the storyline (how else could they fit a 700 page book in two and a half hours?), and it was definitely better than the first two movies, but it didn’t really break any new ground, in my honest opinion. I know that it wasn’t as good as Prison of Azkabana because when I left the theatre after _that_ one, I was ecstatic, completely jazzed about the movie I had just seen. After this one, I was just… well… I thought it was good, but it didn’t leap from the screen like the third movie did.

Other than that, I’ve got a week off from work! This little vacation has come just in time, too… So far I’ve just done my normal weekend things, i.e. watched some TV, caught up on sleep, and spent an afternoon reading. My plans for the rest of the week are pretty wide open, other than a trip to San Antonio for Thanksgiving.

This was pretty exotic stuff for a telepathic barmaid from northern Louisiana.

!/images/dead.jpg!

Lately I’ve been able to get myself to devote more time to reading. Usually only on the weekends, though. That seems to be the time that I’m most able to free myself up and branch out. Weekdays mostly consist of either vegging out or falling instantly asleep when I come home from work.

Of course, there is the odd weeknight where I go to the local laundromat and do a few very necessary loads – I got a good chunk of reading done at one this past week, although I’d be much happier if I could convince my cat(s) to never pee on my bed again, thank you very much.

Hopefully the new (bigger) litter box that now lives in the other room will help with things. I’ve also been cleaning the thing out pretty religiously, since a dirty litter box was probably the most likely cause of my recent problem.

But, back to the real subject, the reading… it’s been nice. It’s probably easier to devote more time to reading because I’m not currently caught up in any long runs of TV shows. Sure, I’ve got two sets of Smallville to watch, but I’ve been more leisurely about that; it’s a good show, but I’m not super hooked yet. (And, really, I’d like to back off on my TV show obsession at least for a short while. It is so very time consuming.)

All digressions aside, I’m currently reading a book called “Dead Until Dark”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0441008534/ by Charlaine Harris. It’s actually part of a series of books about a southern girl and her vampire boyfriend – I’d heard about it before, but my interest was piqued because Alan Ball, creator of Six Feet Under, is apparently developing a new show for HBO based on the books. Now that I’ve read a good chunk of the first book, I can see how it might be right up his alley. The title of this entry, by the way, is a quote from the book that particularly struck my fancy.

In fact, thanks to a cool Movable Type plugin called “Media Manager”:http://www.majordojo.com/projects/MediaManager/, I’ve got a list of books on the right-hand side of this site. The previous version of this page had a “currently reading” list thanks to an older version of the plugin. The new version, though, is pretty nice, and adds a lot of cool features. It did take a little bit of fiddling to get the plugin set up, right though… It assumed some things about my MT setup that caused problems until I did some digging and pinned them down.

In other news, I haven’t made any headway on the grad school applications. I’m not sure if I’m just procrastinating, or actively trying to talk myself out of the whole thing. And… if I am trying to talk myself out it, why exactly would I do that? Especially considering that tonight I sat down and started a new short story. I didn’t start writing it because I felt pressured to, or because I thought I should write something to use for the application… I just… had an idea and sat down to write. I didn’t write very much before I stopped, but there seems to be something key here that I’m not really grasping.

It’s not that I don’t want to be a writer… almost on an instinctual level, I _have_ to write, I need it. I can distinctly remember how good it felt to let the whole world fall away and just write and write when I sat down and wrote my plays. It was one of the most satisfying (or maybe it was the most satisfying) feelings i’ve ever had. For some reason, though, I’ve put a number of obstacles between myself and writing. Somehow it’s much easier to live my boring work-a-day life and watch tv shows instead of writing.

Then again, though, that was always the point, wasn’t it? Working on computers comes easily, almost too easily, and always has. I’ve got a knack for programming, and math and logic. That, however, seems to be one of the main reasons that I wouldn’t want to devote my life to working on computers. It’d be like sleepwalking all the time. Writing, though, is a challenge, and isn’t even really easy to get myself to do, but when I do sit down and get going with something that I’m writing, I feel awake and fully present…

To end, a mini review:

!/images/weather_man.jpg!

I watched a movie recently called “The Weather Man”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0384680/. I enjoyed it, although it was what the critics like to call a “downer”. I’d recommend it, though. One of the main points that the movie makes is that part of really growing up and being an adult is doing the things that are hard to do.

The whole movie is about Nicholas Cage’s journey of self discovery, and the interesting thing is that he doesn’t change that much in the course of the movie, but that is at the same time part of the revelation. He is who he is, and he can only change so much of his life. Realizing that helps him move forward and come to terms with certain things that have been troubling him. The movie does not have what you could say is a happy ending, but his character seems to have just that little bit more peace and self-understanding when it comes to a close.

Oh, The Shame

so, what with the start of “National Novel Writing Month”:http://nanowrimo.org i managed to goad myself into doing something writing-related.

i wrote the initial stage directions to a new short play… then i scrapped that and sat down to read the first act of my most recent play (May 2004, ouch) in preparation for a much-needed rewrite. it’s amazing how time and distance can change your perspective on something:

  • the dialogue is generally creaky and reads like it needs to be heard out loud so that i can make it sound like actual human speech
  • the whole act zooms by at an amazing clip. everything needs to slow down, add more details, develop things more.
  • the tone is all over the map. the characters don’t seem consistent at all, and the menacing tone that i’d like to go for isn’t really concretely there
  • mr. antonelli: needs to be creepier, more of a jerk. mrs. antonelli: need to play with this portrayal.
  • note for second act: no body-snatching. why not a finely crafted invention for a head?

to re-iterate: the whole thing reeks of “first draft”. i mean, it’s a whole lot more _there_ than knifepoint was after the first crack, but damn this needs some work. i’m so screwed…

I Don’t Sleep, I Dream

I seem to be stuck in a repeating cycle of being exhausted during the day at work, so I take a nap when I get home, and then I can’t get to sleep when I need to, and then accordingly I’m just as tired the next day when I get to work. As good as my intentions may be, I still end up thinking “I’ll just lie down and rest for a little while” every night when I get home from work. Inevitably I wake up three or so hours later feeling better but a little ashamed at the same time. This really has got to stop, mostly because I feel awful all day at work lately what with the whole no sleep thing.

In other news, I’ve been working my way through the second season of The OC in preparation for the third season, which starts up next week. The second season is definitely good, although I definitely feel that there’s a slight dip in quality… The show’s producers were brave enough to change the main premise the second season, which is good, because the whole “new kid in town” thing only works for so long.

It’s mildly disappointing, though, because without that particular story arc, the second season so far has focused largely on the “are they on, or are they off” nature of the various relationships in the show. I don’t mind that so much as long as there are other story arcs going on as well… but so far there hasn’t been too much else. It looks like that sort of thing is going to start picking up in the second half of the season, which is good (everything I’ve heard is that folks generally thought the first half of the season was a little slow, but that it picked up a good amount in the latter half.)

I also read a kind of “amusingly hateful review of The OC”:http://www.thedigitalbits.com/reviews3/spinsheet083105.html. I say amusing because even though the writer heaps incredible amounts of bile and ridicule on the show, he still gives it a B-, which is a comparatively good rating considering he claims that he had to drink bottles of cough syrup to stand watching the show.

New is Good

I’ve found some excellent new music lately… in particular, i’ve been getting into My Morning Jacket.

Other recent additions include Death Cab For Cutie, Eagles of Death Metal, Kanye West, Kinski, Laura Veirs, Roxy Music, Sufjan Stevens (maaaan… _so_ good!), The Velvet Underground, and The Zombies.

I also just updated “Movable Type”:http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/ to 3.2. It’s got some sexy new features, including this new default template that I’ve temporarily installed. My site needs a redesign (the “Iota Chapter”:http://www.iotachapter.org site needs it more…) and this is a stopgap for now.

After I got into the swing of “my new mouse”:http://www.apple.com/mightymouse/, I’ve started using “Dashboard”:http://www.apple.com/macosx/dashboard/ after all. It’s still a little persnickity, but seems to at least work better than it did before, and it’s cool to squeeze my mouse and have the Dashboard pop up.

Another nifty tool I’ve installed is “Growl”:http://growl.info, which is a system-wide notifications plugin. I mainly like it because it announces what song i’m listening to along with track art and other fun stuff.

Finally, in a bit of random coolness, as far as I can tell, Mr. Reed himself of “Reed’s Ginger Brew”:http://www.reedsgingerbrew.com found that “entry I made a few months back”:/dance/archives/2005/06/reeds_extra_gin.html when I tried their soda… and he left a comment thanking me for my mention. I feel so special!

just when you need “takebacks”…

man, right before i left work i sent out an email that i’m kind of worried is going to bite me in the ass. not because i said or did anything wrong, but because the customer in question was already pretty unhappy and isn’t going to like my response.

i’m especially annoyed because five minutes later i thought of a better response, but the email had already been sent out into the ether. damn. guess i’ll get to deal with the fallout tomorrow. hopefully something can be worked out.

I’m singin bout the wreck of the Old 97

so i think it’s official that i watch every TV show generally considered “only watched by teenage girls”, including the aformentioned Buffy and a good bit of The OC this week (only three more eps of season one to go!) hell, even someone i know who loves Buffy to death was just like “The OC? You’re watching _The OC_? I thought only teenage girls watched that!”

don’t worry, Doug, et al… i defended your honor. i am, after all, the last one of pretty much everyone i know from back home to get into the show. even though i originally rated it 4 out of 5 on netflix, as the season went on i was forced to give it the full 5 stars. it’s _just that good_.

the second season comes out on dvd next week… i kind of want to buy it, but if i’m going to do that, i’ll have to wait until i’m all paid up on bills and have room to breathe again. on top of that, nip/tuck season two comes out a week later. quandary!

in other news, one of my friends at work used her employee discount to buy me a “mighty mouse”:http://www.apple.com/mightymouse/ and a new keyboard (after Jackson spilled glasses cleaner on my old one *twice*, it didn’t quite work so well anymore…) the mouse takes a little bit of getting used to, but i like it so far, and the keyboard is a definite improvement, now that i can use the right arrow and all.

i probably should have/could have waited on this purchase, however, because it turns out that the utilities deposit that i was expecting to pay sometime next month is actually due this month. moving into my new place has been so ridiculously expensive – i’ll have spent at least $1000 above and beyond rent just to pay off deposits and get myself moved and set up here. after this next month, though, things should settle down and i’ll have cashflow again.

it also helps that i’ve got some freelance web design work i’ll be doing. one job for a friend at work, one for an actual company trying to start a website. the one for my friend at work should be quick and simple. the one for the business will take much more work because they’re asking for something kind of complicated. either way, though, the money i’ll get will help.

i’m _planning_ to cancel netflix after this month, since i spent so much on cable and all… we’ll see how that goes. if i could either convince myself to only rent from netflix or cancel it and rent from vulcan video on wednesday nights (rent one get free every week), i’d have a solution. occasionally doing both, however, is ridiculous.

in other news… i’m not sure who actually reads this site anymore (i know my parents do, and i’m reasonably sure doug still does), but i apparently also get the occasional visitor who stumbles upon the site. i’ve actually removed some of my recent entries because i was starting to get contacted by people who knew the person in question (i’m making a point to not write her name, but i’m referring to the friend of mine that died last month.)

not that i was getting negative responses, mind you, but i didn’t really like having those particular personal reflections coming up so readily in google. i’m generally good about not writing anything particularly personal in here, but every once in a while i need to vent or talk about what is going on, and last month was definitely one of those times.

i’m sort of toying with starting over fresh with a new journal, but we’ll see how that goes. for the moment, though, i’m going to putter around for a while and then go to bed.

could he treat you better?

so, as usual, i’ve been neglecting this website lately. i justify that because i only spent $9 for a year of hosting. who cares what i do with it, really? that’s practically free, if you get down to it. of course, that doesn’t necessarily convince me, either…

see, this webspace has all of this _potential_ that i’m not tapping into… fun stuff like ruby on rails and another two gigs of untapped storage. luckily daniel has movies stored on his site, or hardly any space would be taken up.

but, let’s be honest here – we all know what i’m _really_ talking about (take that, transitions!) i’m good at neglecting potential lately, according to my conscience and everyone i talk to when i complain about being bored with my life/job/whatever. beau gets an annoyed look whenever i complain about these things. we’ve been over this, he’s said his piece, and everyone else i talk to says the same thing.

so, really, what is it? i have some vague ideas knocking around in my head, but no compelling desire to write them down at the moment, even with the whining.

last night tony was talking about the creative writing program at UT, which is _very_ competitive and small, but sounded really nice. tony has a chance to get into a program like that – he’s about to take the GRE, and he has an ever-growing portfolio of work.

his enthusiasm for the idea was infectious, which was nice. it was good to remember what that kind of enthusiasm feels like… but then i turned over in my head what it would take to get me into such a program. all i can think about is the fact that my portfolio is anemic at best, and definitely dying on the vine (what with no new work since the mid 2004’s).

i am apparently the kind of writer douglas adams was. he was apparently legendary for his ability to make an endless number of sandwiches and take an equally infinite number of baths to avoid writing anything. one anecdote i seem to remember reading about him is that his agent once locked him in a hotel room with nothing but a typewriter just to get him to finish a book.

So, with no impetus, nothing happens.

The other problem that comes along with this is talking to people at parties about what I’m doing with my life: “Er, yeah, no… i work at Apple Computer. No, no… I haven’t written anything since I graduated. How about you? …Oh, working in a theatre, huh? That’s great, good for you…”

Or:

Q: So… you work at Apple now, but… what do you want to end up doing, then?

A: Uh, well… something creative. Writing, I guess, or maybe film, or photography. And… I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.

——

Also:

Yeah, so… when I got cable in my new place, I bit the bullet and decided to go without digital cable or a dvr in an effort to save money. I thought to myself “I’ll buy some more blank tapes and program the VCR. I’ll be fine with standard cable.”

This all came to a screeching halt when I realized that… no matter what I do, my VCR blithely ignores whatever program I enter into it. The screens say things like “10pm Saturday Channel 68” and “Program Saved” and then I wake up in the morning and my tape is still blank even though the program was very clear.

I try setting programs for a minute from now… nothing. I try leaving it on when the program should start, then I try another program with it turned off… nothing.

I’m starting to twitch here. I don’t think I’m going to be able to hold out on that DVR after all…

authority, right, and approval

so, part of my job is asking people’s managers whether or not they should be allowed to purchase with school funds.

_most_ managers just say “yes” or “no”.

today, one of the managers i contacted began asking things like “does this mean that he will have the authority to purchase or the right to purchase?”

so i told him, (to paraphrase) that “he’ll be able to buy things. yes or no?”

he responded “but how can you know if he is authorized if he doesn’t have the authority?”

…and my brain exploded.

White Noise

yesterday was as weird as i might have imagined, although not nearly as traumatic. i went and said hi to a handful of people, but mostly kept to myself off in a corner. it was kind of impossible to make small talk with anyone – nobody felt like nattering on about stupid little things. a lot of the people there were, as predicted, very upset. i ducked out before the reception, even though there were several people i had not said hi to… it just seemed like it would be another hour or so of uncomfortable attempts at conversation.

in other news, i finished reading “the mustache”, which is a book a bought a year or so before going to London. i started reading it on the plane, got about fifty pages in, put it down, and never looked back. it’s sort of felt like an albatross around my neck ever since – up to that point, i had never stopped reading a perfectly interesting book, and the only book i had put down because i *didn’t* like it was a tom clancy book. (now i’ve added to _that_ list with the illuminati trilogy…)

it was, fortunately, a book worth reading. i’m glad, though, that i can take it off my “unread books” shelf. next in line is White Noise, which i read two-thirds of and put down, also on the plane to London. after that is Great Expectations, which i had been listening to on audiobook for a while. i made it through the first “book” of that one, then put it down. This was about a year ago, i think.

make sure that you are sure of everything i do

!/images/burma.jpg!

last night i went to the first concert i’ve been to in a long while. i can’t remember for sure when i last went out to a show – it was probably badly drawn boy, though, and that was last october. i went and saw “mission of burma”:http://www.missionofburma.com, and i have to say that i’m damn glad that i happened to be listening to “KEXP”:http://kexp.org when, randomly enough, the DJ mentioned that they would be playing here in Austin. (This is random because KEXP is based out of Seattle.)

the show was quite a barn-burner… ear-blistering, paint peeling, wall-to-wall rock and roll… it was incredible how ferocious they were, and they played two full sets. this is a practice that more band should take up… the best shows i’ve been to have been two-setters. it was particularly cool that they were so rocking because, honestly, the guitarist looks like he should be planning a fishing trip somewhere, and they’re all in their mid-to-late forties, if not early fifties.

i also broke down and used the ATM outside the club to get some cash so that i could buy a poster. the damn ATM charged a $3.75 fee. highway robbery! …the poster, however, was worth it… not only was it made specially for the show, it’s signed and numbered – and it was only $10. it seemed like a better idea to spring for a poster than a shirt, because the shirts were the same ones i could get from their website, but the posters looked very one-time-only.

after the show, as i was walking down sixth street on the way back to my car, i was amazed yet again at how crazy downtown austin gets. i don’t usually hang out on sixth street when i go out, and it was easy to remember why.

especially surprising were the two girls i saw walking around topless. when i saw the first i thought she was just some drunk girl without inhibitions, but when i saw the second one, i knew it was some kind of trend. a bar must have been having a contest or something, who knows.

still, though, i only imagine such things happening in new orleans, or california, or wherever those crazy party towns are. whenever i go to the ginger man or places like mugshots and texas showdown, things always seem so sedate. ‘course, none of those bars are on sixth street, so that may be part of the reason why.

when i woke up this morning my ears were definitely still ringing, and i felt generally awful. i puttered around for a few hours, watched the “battlestar galactica”:http://scifi.com/battlestar/ season premiere (it was awesome), as well as the Stargate SG-1 premiere, which, honestly, i was only watching because Ben Browder is the new lead and i really miss Farscape, but which was also pretty entertaining, even though i definitely felt a good bit lost. (Claudia Black is a guest star, as well. It’s a pretty blatant grab at the attentions of Farscape fans… and it clearly worked on me. sigh.)

after a several-hour nap and some further puttering, i decided to finally sit down and start reading the new harry potter book, which i’m sure everyone else has finished by now. i’m a little over halfway in at this point, and only took a break to get some food and write a bit.

…and, well, actually, i might be tired now, so it looks like i may go to bed here in a bit.

great-o party

so… for some reason or other, i finally seem to be coming out of my hermit shell. i actually drove all the way to georgetown tonight to go to a party at my friend katie’s house, even though it was likely that i wouldn’t know many people there. and, to top it off, i had a good time. it wasn’t weird or awkward at all.

equaly weird was the fact that i talk to several cute girls for a while, but didn’t let myself get all caught up in worrying about it. i was just there to have some conversations…

it was the sort of thing that was shooting for last weekend but didn’t quite manage.

my new goal, is to find ways to make my life less boring. this will most likely involve leaving the house more often, for starters.

it also helps that i’ve kind of overloaded myself with tv-on-dvd. the habit isn’t going away, but i’m definitely starting to understand that it can no longer be my *only* hobby.

now, to bed.

the ant days of summer

as if i didn’t already hate my place enough because of the worthless window-unit air conditioners…

tonight i sat down to vegetate in front of the tv, when i realized that an ant was biting my foot. and… where there is one ant, there are many, as i soon found out, because there was a huge column of ants marching its way from my front door to the dark nether-regions of the space between my counter and my washing-machine.

un-fucking-believable.

the maintanence man had some raid ant spray, which he sprayed all down the line, and then he put some more stuff outside at the doorway.

just further cementing the fact that i _can not wait_ until July 30th, so that i can be in my new place (air-conditioned, no less!)

losing my edge

Well, it’s official. I find _myself_ boring now. I have two subjects on which I can speak, at length, and they are:

1. my job, and how it is boring me to death

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other tv-show-on-dvd-related pursuits

(but, really, i mostly talk about Buffy.)

I seem to remember that I used to be able to carry on interesting conversations with people. Or something. I don’t know what it was, really… maybe it was all of the different classes i was taking, and the play(s) i was writing, and basically all the very different things that happened in my day-to-day life.

…yeah, that sounds like the thing.

sometime yesterday afternoon I knew that I was too… frustrated and aware of it… to come away from the party last night without being a little sadder and hung up on some girl younger than my younger brother. this, despite my fondest hope that i would just drink and hang out with my friends, nothing more.

and, of course, it happened… that girl i got a little crush on last time i went to a party was there, of course, and i re-crushed on her instantly. damn. since the whole thing has entered into that “crush” territory, it’s already broken, and I need to figure out how get over it, and quick. the last time i did this with regards to her, it made me twitch every wednesday night because i seriously considered driving down to georgetown to hang out in case i might see her or something.

i was finally able to kill it when someone told me that she was interested in another sig, and that they would most likely start dating. in such a situation, crushing is inadvisable. however, that situation has now passed.

to make matters even stupider, i’ve got her phone number. i have this because she lost her cell phone and i called it for her so that it would ring and she would find it. this is far too tempting, even though the sensible part of me knows that i could never use a phone number gained in such a way because of the sheer creepy-weird factor. (“oh, right.. you got my number _that_ way…”)

urgh. must get my mind off this crap.

checklist

1. seasons one through seven of buffy the vampire slayer, watched and enjoyed. i laughed, i cried, i miss it already. *check.*

1a. three more seasons of angel to watch… (hoo boy!)

2. possible new place to live (turning in application tomorrow). *check.*

2a. central air. *check.*

3. one job, boring me to tears. *check.*

3a. any idea of how to pay my bills with anything other than this job… (no check).

4. strong desire to get roaring drunk this weekend and have a really good time at the sig house on saturday night. *check.*

5. ability to finish the book i’m reading… (no check)

6. ability to sit down and be creative… (out to lunch)

7. time for bed. *check.*

reed’s extra ginger brew

On Saturday night, I met up with my mother and her friend Val (who has been a family friend for years). Val cooked a huge meal for the three of us, including chicken tenders almost breaded with onion, rice pilaf, some ratatouille (eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, and a whole lot of delicious) and a salad. It was probably the best meal I’ve had in months, other than the burritos at “Guero’s”:http://www.guerostacobar.com/.

Val had some “Reed’s Ginger Brew”:http://www.reedsgingerbrew.com/home.asp, and seeing as how I had never tried ginger beer before, I had one, and liked it a lot. Accordingly, I went to Central Market yesterday and bought a four-pack, the last of which I am now finishing. (I got the “extra” ginger brew, which seems to mean that drinking this makes my mouth burn a little bit in a very odd fashion. Still good, though.)

I finally began seriously looking for apartments this weekend. I only looked at one place on Saturday, but because I contacted an apartment locator, she did some searching for me and there are two or three places that she is going to show me tomorrow after work. I liked the place I looked at a whole lot – gas stove, dishwasher, garbage disposal, *central air* (which I appreciate much more now). The places she’s going to show me are all closer to work, but if none of them cut it, I feel pretty good about the possibility of going with the place I saw saturday. Already I feel like I’ve done a better job searching for an apartment this time around, just because of the apartment locator. She seems to know her stuff.

(I have noticed that I can’t seem to type as well lately… it’s like every keypress happens in slow motion and the keys aren’t where they’re supposed to be. I think it’s because I write so many emails at work. I probably need wrist supports or something.)

I’ve watched all sorts of good stuff lately, too. Tonight I watched “The Machinist”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0361862/, which is that movie Christian Bale lost 60 pounds for. Every once in a while he’d walk around shirtless and turn sideways and I’d shudder a little. The movie itself was a sort of Lynch/Hithcock psychological thriller. I was seriously creeped out/on edge for the bulk of the movie, which is, i suppose, a vote of confidence.

Other than that, I finally watched the second part of “Angels in America”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0318997/, which I have had rented from Netflix since late May. I just kept thinking that I wasn’t in the mood to watch it, but of course once I finally sat down and gave it a chance it was wonderful and engrossing. (Random: Apparently having sex with an angel makes your genitals burst into flame…)

I also finished the second season of Angel last week (so far I like the show a lot) and am now halfway through the seventh of Buffy (I have been putting off watching it because I don’t want it to end, honestly.)

Finally, all of you must go out now and get a copy of “Teenage Fanclub’s”:http://www.teenagefanclub.com/ new album “Man-Made”. It’s absolutely fucking incredible. I’ve listened to it two or three times a day since I got it last week.

Alright, bedtime.

some weird sin

i am wide awake at 3:00 in the morning. this is not a good sign for my impending day of work tomorrow. i occasionally toy with the thought of calling in just because i don’t want to go, but i’d rather save my days out for when i’m actually sick and really need them (rather than just tired from lack of sleep), and besides, i’d like to keep this job, as much as that scares me at the same time.

on tuesday there was a going away party/baby shower for a woman who is so pregnant she looks like she might just about pop. besides her, there are something like three other pregnant women in the department, and one guy who has a pregnant wife. everyone in the room at this little party was well into their thirties, and the only subject of conversation was babies, and what babies do, and all of the little things you need to know when you’re about to have a baby.

it had never occurred to me before that such a thing could give me the willies, but all of a sudden it did. appropriately enough, later that night i watched an episode of sex and the city about a former wild-woman that the girls knew from years back who was now settled down and about to have a baby herself. somewhere along the line, this woman had transformed from a sex-maniac that liked to take her clothes off at parties to a housewife in connecticut.

(and then there’s the third season of six feet under, which finds nate settled down and married to a woman he may not really love because she’s had his child.)

i don’t know why the thought of women having babies should disturb me. i’ve never been in a relationship serious enough to imagine that in some distant future i might think about possibly marrying the girl, so why should babies be all that weird?

in fact, it kinda weirds me out that it surprised one of my co-workers that i had never been in a relationship “serious” enough to consider marriage. she also didn’t understand how i could call my last relationship serious without having considered marriage at any point. my mind splutters impotently at the thought.

the reason i’m still awake at this hour is that we went and saw batman begins at the latest showing possible, which is what i get for wanting to see the movie with all my friends who stay up until 8 in the morning instead of starting work then.

it was, not surprisingly, as good as i hoped. i really liked it a lot, actually, and i hope it does as well as i’m sure it will, so that the batman series can be seriously rebooted and done well.

as we were walking out of the theatre, i was talking to my friend mcphail about when we could possibly hang out, since he comes up to austin tuesdays and thursdays for his internship. i found myself saying “well, not this week or next, because i’ve got *mandatory overtime* because of *quarter-end*.”

at this point i had a bit of an out-of-body experience. was i that guy? did i just say “quarter-end”? the fact that i uttered these words in the middle of a crowd of college students only made it that much worse.

luckily, i’m going out drinking friday afternoon. it’s with the people from work, though. i’m not sure how i feel about having a dwindling group of friends close to my own age…

one final note: nothing like watching a good movie to get your storytelling muscles itching to work again. at the moment, i don’t feel guilty or inadequate because i haven’t written anything in so long. i just feel it there, and i know that before long i’ll be writing again. i don’t know what i’ll write, or how my inspiration will ultimately come, but… for right now… i feel secure again in the knowledge that it isn’t broken, or gone, it’s just resting. resting and getting strong for another trip out into the world.

i mean, look at this… this is the longest entry i’ve written in two months. that, surely, is a good sign. wanting to write something, anything at all, sitting down here and tapping out my thoughts… it’s making me feel just a little bit more alive right now.

luckily, it’s also made me tired enough to lie down and go to sleep.

boring.com

so i’ve sort of lost of the desire to post in this lately. i guess it’s mostly because i don’t really have anything interesting to report. i wake up, i go to work, i come home, i watch far too many episodes of far too many television shows, i go to sleep. lather, rinse, repeat.

lame.

xbox 360?

Man, they sure have done a hell of a lot better job of designing the new xbox 360. I always thought those big black square thingies were the ugliest (not to mention hugest) systems on the market…

!/images/xbox360.jpg!

Read the article: “Leaked Xbox 360 specs and Xbox Live details? – Engadget”:http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000267042765/

closed chapters

this weekend i finished a book, finished farscape, and watched my friend eddy ride off into the proverbial sunset with his new bride.

(well, they didn’t ride… they mostly just walked up the hotel stairs to their marriage bed.)

the first was mildy disappointing (i guess even jonathan carroll can write a lame book), and the other two were bittersweet.

more than anything else, i wonder how long it will be before i see eddy again, and how much he may have changed.

i also wonder how long it will take for me to get all of my ducks in a line… will i ever make good on my dreams?

oh, sweet!

this is what my parents got me for my birthday:

two (really awesome) books:

“On Directing Film”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0140127224/ by David Mamet
“Three Uses of the Knife”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/037570423X/ by David Mamet

the following DVDs:

“Some Like It Hot”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00003CXCR/
“Groundhog Day”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005U8EM/
“School of Rock”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00018U9G6/
“Sideways”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0007TKOAA/

23, what a boring number

well, as of today, i am twenty-three years old. although i haven’t really done much for my birthdays in years, this was the first year i didn’t even much bother to mention to… really… anybody that i did in fact have a birthday coming up. at twenty-one, of course, every damn person in your circle of friends knows that it’s your birthday. that’s just how it is. after that, i suppose, unless you’re dating someone or living with your parents, you have to make a point of letting everyone know that It’s Your Birthday and You Intend to Celebrate.

i am, of course, not the sort of person who would buy a keg and have people over on my birthday, but i know people who are that sort. i was sort of shooting for maybe going out last night, but as it happens many nights, i got tired much earlier than i wanted to and when my mind came around to the thought of getting in the car and going _out_ somewhere, well… sleep sounded more attractive.

i think the only thing i really want to do today is go to the movies. i used to do that so often, and i miss being in a theatre.

aaargh

i think i fell asleep at 8 o’clock last night. i woke up twice, once at 11:30 when i thought “Hmm, i should get up” right before i rolled over and fell back asleep, and then a second time, at 1am, when i realized that the cat was still outside and that i had been sleeping with the light on. i rescued the cat, turned off the light, and conked out for the night.

and yet i still feel like i could sleep some more. or maybe i’m just groggy. anyways, it’s ridiculous. i mean… maybe i was behind on some sleep, but still!

…in a side note, early this morning i was having a weird dream and i’m reasonably certain that i could hear myself snoring from within the dream. as in, i was snoring distinctly enough that my unconscious mind could hear it. damn, that’s some loud snoring.

oy, work

work has kind of been kicking my ass today. for a while there, enrollment had slowed down to a crawl, and i was able to finish everything i needed to do around 10:30 in the morning. after that, i’d get a trickle of new items over the course of the day, but nothing huge. hell, monday of this week was like that.

but then yesterday things picked up a good bit, and today i’ve received an avalanche of emails. there doesn’t seem to be any real explanation that i can think of for why my job will be absurdly slow for a whole week and then immediately pick up one day for no reason.

i was originally planning to work some more on my freelance job that i’m doing for dppf during lunch, but honestly i needed a real break instead of more brain-melting work.

…not that the dppf job is that hard, mind you, but i’ve gotten to the point in the work that it’s more technical stuff, and i just don’t have the brainpower right now.

anyways, lunch is over. back to the grind.

EDIT: man i got slammed at work today. it was ridiculous. this is the first day where i’ve left with that much stuff still waiting around for me first thing tomorrow… why couldn’t all of these people spread their requests out over the time when i didn’t have _enough_ to keep me busy, as opposed to _too much_?

a bunch of entries that weren’t in my backup

you know… thank god I upgraded to MT 3.15 recently and made a backup of my entries before i did so, because otherwise, i’d have to re-enter five months of entries manually. as it was, i still had to plug all of april’s entries back in, as well as a few from march. fucking ridiculous. i suppose at some point i’ll redo these so they’re back to individual entries, but it’s late right now.

——————————-

April 09, 2005

woody allen interview… where?

neil gaiman has helpfully pointed out the pretty nice little woody allen interview on suicide girls. of all the things… woody allen on a site full of underclothed goth girls.

April 07, 2005

one more time

well, i had an entry, but firefox slowed to a crawl because of too many tabs full of sites with useless flash animation, so i had to force-quit.

this was the important bit – listen to the french kicks – sorry, fixed the link.

Found another song on Epitonic: so many cakes

EDIT: Just so you guys know, because of the upgrade to MT 3.15, your comments will not immediately appear on the site. I get an email notifying me of the comment, and I approve or deny it accordingly. This helps prevents comment spam. Looks like it was a misconfiguration; I was getting the comments, but I’ve made it so that I don’t have to moderate every damn one now, and they will appear immediately.

Oh, and… personally, I like “Trial of the Century” better than “One Time Bells”. “Bells” just sounds a bit too much like Spoon, although it is still a good album; “Trial” shows the band actually moving forward and forging their own sound. And besides, i like the new wave-y style better, m’self.

April 05, 2005

hmm….

now that all of the archived entries have names instead of numbers, this entry about napoleon dynamite leapt swiftly to the top of my webstats. and i don’t even have anything particularly interesting to say in the entry! such is life.

eye in the sky

Google knows where my house is!

screenshot of google maps

(click on “satellite view” in the upper right-hand corner and zoom in to get the full effect.)

i’d have to get a lot of spam to fill that up

well, apparently google has decided to gift everybody with more space for their gmail accounts. even though i’m only using 41 megs of space, i now have a full 2 gigs to fill.

maybe i should start storing full-length movies on there or something.

April 04, 2005

the proverbial eureka moment

so i was taking a shower tonight, letting images and thoughts percolate through my head, as they are wont to do in moments of quiet contemplation, and suddenly, very much out of nowhere, an image that had been floating in my head for some time now turned itself into an idea. i was so happy i laughed out loud, loud enough for vincent to hear me through the wall and think i had gone a little bit crazy.

anyways, i had this image in my head of a man wearing dark glasses and a trench coat, and suddenly that turned into the following, i.e. the comedic play idea that i have been searching for:

“four blind men meet in a park to plan their takeover of the world. however, every man has a secret, and there is a spy in their midst.”

April 03, 2005

am i an old man yet?

going back to campus for alumni weekend last night and the night before was definitely interesting. i guess i’m more used to being an alumni than i was before. i can still remember the first party that i came back for. it was like going back to my parents’ house after it had crossed over from being my home into something else altogether.

i also realized that part of the reason i haven’t been too bothered about girls is because i haven’t talked to or seen any in a long time. there’s only a handful of girls at work close to my age, and they’re not that interesting. other than work i don’t get out much, so i suppose it’s not surprising that it’s easy to be alright about not having any female contact.

but then last night i was actually able to talk to several girls, all but one of whom were freshman – they’re supposed to be too young for me, right? …and it reminded some part of me that it’s been a while now. this voice will increase in volume until i go fucking bonkers.

i, of course, tried to go into each situation knowing that i was just talking to somebody cool, not actually hitting on a girl. the only one that really seemed a shame was a girl who i am pretty sure is paul’s girlfriend. she was a nice anomaly… a talented but humble theatre major. they don’t make those often at southwestern.

some silly little part of me was like “you should hang out more at the sig house so you can meet girls…” but, no, no, i shouldn’t. i have no business lusting after girls younger than my younger brother. it’s one thing if they’ve gone through college; being four or five years older than someone at that point isn’t a big deal. for a while i always said that once you reach college, the separation of a few years isn’t as big a deal, but after having seen what freshman girls tend to behave like at southwestern, it is a big deal unless the girl you’re talking about is one in a million.

————-

well, it’s been ages since i wrote an “emo” post or one about girls, and now i’ve done both in the same week. i am an eternal broken record.

March 31, 2005

alright, this is just too terrible not to mention

from yahoo news:

If you expressed your support to Terri Schiavo and her parents’ fight to keep her alive, you may begin to receive a steady stream of solicitations, according to a Local 6 News report.

Terri Schiavo’s parents have agreed to sell their list of supporters to a direct-mailing firm, Local 6 News reported.

The company, “Response Unlimited” pays about $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 6,000 e-mail addresses.

A spokesperson for the Schindlers confirmed that they had agreed to sell the information, but won’t say for how much.

do you ever get the feeling that there’s something hanging just out of view, whispering in your ear?

firstly, it’d be hard to explain why i got so choked up when i finished the last few episodes of farscape season three. it just sounds kind of silly. sure, it’s acceptable fact that if you watch, say “six feet under” or, well… “schindler’s list,” you’re going to get a little teary-eyed. it comes with the territory. but a show full of weird people in funny leather costumes spouting futuristic gibberish?

i can’t explain it (to my satisfaction), but let me say that it was an important feeling. important, you say? how so? well… maybe this realization that i’ve had was already there, just on the outside of my peripheral vision, but it didn’t become completely clear until i watched a special feature on the last disk giving a recap of the whole season.

what became clear is something that i talked about in my earlier entry: the quality of the writing. remember how i talked about the use of cliches and the way they broke them in astounding fashions? well, as i sat and watched the feature about the season, i heard them describing the exact bits that i had pulled out; the very plot devices that packed an emotional punch.

and then the season finale… where the end of season two was action-packed and absurd, this one was… all too human, and painful, and emotionally wrenching, and somewhere along the line those writers, those crazy writers, had made me care deeply about the fate of a bunch of puppets, cgi creatures, and people prancing around in leather. a lot. a heart-breaking amount. i’m still finding it hard to keep from tearing up, and it’s been a long time since i’ve felt that way.

but this is when i heard the little voice in my ear. the thing that has been patient, oh so patient, while i have been wittering my life away doing nothing, not living, not serving my purpose.

i was watching the special, and the producer/writer was talking about the last episode, an episode that he felt was so important that he did not want it to fail, but he just didn’t know how to get it right.

it was nagging at him, constantly, until one night, he woke up in bed, suddenly enough that he frightened his wife and dogs, and he knew how to write it. he knew what was important, and it was so important the he got up right then and started writing.

at four in the morning.

until i feel that feeling again… (and i have felt it. i have been in that moment where nothing else mattered but telling the story, just getting it out…)

until then, i’m not really living.

so, you might ask… why not write, right now.

write something!

i’m paralyzed.

i’m scared.

i have no ideas that i want to write.

i come home from work every night and i’m so tired, and i just want to disappear somwhere else for a few hours and get a good night’s sleep. i want to be gone.

and i have so many friends, so many good friends out there, who nag me, and tell me that i should write something new, and then i have so many friends who wish i would write something new, but who have given up on me long ago.

it’d be great if i could finish something, after all.

(but i have finished things! i’ve finished plays, good ones…)

but that was so long ago. i can’t feel it anymore. i can’t remember what that tastes like. those plays aren’t even mine anymore. now that they’ve escaped onto the page, they’re strangers ready for someone else’s touch.

the whisperer, i can hear her…

she says that i know what i have to do.

now i just have to remember how to do it.

…they say it’s like a bike.

another reason i want to be a writer full-time

it seems to fit my lifestyle:

…anyway, I was on a roll last night. So I just kept working. And somewhere around seven this morning I realised I’d actually finished it, so I sent it to Dave McKean and went to bed. Up around eleven this morning, with a message from Dave waiting letting me know that I’d given one section short shrift, and I looked it over, and he was right, I had, and it needed to be longer, so I simply made a cup of tea and turned it into a full chapter, and did a final tidy.

It went off to Dave, to HarperChildrens, and to Bloomsbury, about half an hour ago. And now I’m going to do all those things I’ve normally already done by five in the afternoon, like shower and make breakfast.

(from Neil Gaiman’s Journal)

farscape, i wub you

i just watched six episodes of farscape on a work night, and the only thing keeping me from watching the remaining three right now is the fact that i need to go to sleep so i can make it to work at all.

i’m sure it’s a bit silly at this point for me to continue raving about this particular show, but it keeps getting better and better… and the writing is pretty incredible this season. they’ve taken some cliches of science fiction and tv in general and managed to turn them on their heads and make them new again.

it is, for example, one of the first times in a long time that an unrequited love story has not only worked for me but been both satisfying and heartbreaking instead of annoying. unrequited love is one of the most over-used tropes in television; i’d personally argue that one of the reasons that seinfeld was so great was because it’s the only sitcom you can point to that was on network tv without ever having some of the main characters fall in love but have a hard time making it work. i challenge anyone to name one other sitcom that has done that.

alias was another good example of unrequited love working well, until the unfortunate latter end of the third season, at which point i just got tired of hearing about it. the fourth season has managed to salvage this to a pretty good degree by making that particular plotline no longer relevant, which is probably the only choice they had. it is, unfortunate, however, that it stumbled at all.

another thing that Farscape has pulled off very well involves a major plot point this season; without going into detail, let’s just say that one of the clichés of earlier episodes of Farscape and sci-fi shows in general is that they will have something terrible and ridiculous happen to the characters that gets resolved by the end of the episode, or in the one after that.

about a third of the way into this season, there was one such episode, where some weird shit happened to a main character, and we assumed that the situation – extreme as it was – would get resolved soon without harm to anyone involved. except they took what could have been a one-shot and made it into a major story arc, and a heartbreaking one, too…

thing is, i just know… i can feel it… if the finale at the end of season two was fucked up, this one is only going to be worse, and i am most certainly going to have a much harder time getting my hands on season four…

anyways, a parting thought: who needs a life, when you’ve got sci-fi on dvd?

March 29, 2005

Updated and Upgraded

Today I decided on a whim that I wanted to upgrade my version of Movable Type to the newest, brand-spankin’-est one available, so I downloaded the goods and did all the standard upgrading.

However, I also decided that I no longer wanted to use the numeric archive links, which are lame and, shall we say, unfriendly to google. This, of course, was another case where i needed to use htaccess and mod_rewrite, but I was not sure exactly how to decipher the highly technical documentation, so I dug around until I found a site that explained in clearer terms.

It was easy to set up the monthly archives to redirect; what was difficult was making it so that anyone trying to access an old numbered entry would get the correct named entry.

I ended up having to do some fun things with htaccess and a cgi script that I found on scriptygoddess’ site. Once I fixed the dumb mistakes I was making, it started working like a charm…

So instead of Google thinking my whole journal has disappeared, it will instead discover everything has merely been updated. Huzzah!

tomorrow: working stiff

this is the most i’ve ever prepared for a job. it is, of course, only my second “real” job, if we’re counting the _rollercoaster ride of fun_ that was Nacq (and i am), and for that job i didn’t get nearly this worked up.

i mean, i went clothes shopping today and bought a new dress shirt so that i’ll look nice on my first day. of course, i did need a new dress shirt because the two i had don’t fit around the neck anymore, but it’s not like i have to wear a dress shirt every day at work – i only have to wear business casual tomorrow.

and yet, i went out and bought a shirt and tie combo at ross ($20), as well as some new black socks ($7) and then i had to go to walmart and buy an ironing board ($17) so i could iron my damn shirt after i washed it. (of course, i think i’m going to return the ironing board, because i don’t foresee needing it very much unless i have to start wearing nice shirts five days a week.)

tonight on my way back from walmart, i drove to work so i wouldn’t get lost in the morning. i’m going to be working in a genuine business complex. this is, in fact, a *real job*. hell, i’ll probably even have to deal with morning traffic. (fun…)

however, it occurs to me that now it is even more imperative than before that i get my creative juices a-flowing (especially since i can edit video with impunity now). it would be too easy to let myself sink into a regular daily routine at my job, and if i end up liking the work, it’ll be even easier. i need to think of this job as a way to pay my bills and debt and hopefully save up some money so that when the chance comes for me to pursue something creative, or perhaps go off to graduate school, i can do so.

speaking of graduate school, i have a feeling that around (or before) the time i’m 25, that’ll be someplace i want to go. if i’m going to continue my schooling, i think i want to finish it up before i’m 30…

money…

well, my new job starts this upcoming monday, and i think that my first paycheck will follow on friday (that’s what’s nice about working through a temp agency… _weekly paychecks!_)

i’m trying to not let the idea of having money again go to my head, but i have to admit that i’m already plotting some possible purchases.

first of all, i lost an important part of my “shitty tripod”:http://www.ambicoproducts.com, and the company that made it has apparently been bought off and folded into some huge electronics company. not surprising. unfortunately, this means that my chances of getting a “replacement foot” for my tripod (as in, the piece that screws onto a camera and then snaps into the top of the tripod) are infinitesimal.

not having a working tripod makes it basically impossible for me to make another “stop-motion movie”:http://portfolio.unsquare.com/film/donkey/, which i’ve been itching to do lately. and then i realized that if i was going to buy a tripod, why not do whatever i can to make it easier to film new stop motion video?

the most annoying limitation i had when making the donkey movie was that i could only take 24 frames of anything and then i had to unplug my camcorder and import the stills using iphoto. this meant i had very little room for error. the main reason i was so limited, however, was because of the 8mb flash memory card used to store still photos – trying to use DV tapes to store “stills” is an absurdity.

turns out, however, that you can now buy 128mb flash memory cards for $20. and a usb card reader for $10. so that’s three things that would make stop-motion a bit easier. of course, then i’d actually have to follow through and make something or it’d just be more money down a hole.

i seem to have this problem, see, where instead of making do with what i’ve got and creating something, i always tell myself that i need something newer and better to get the job done. so, first i bought a camcorder. then i bought a 120 gig firewire hard drive to store raw footage. -now i need a new computer because mine can no longer play back raw video clips without lagging desperately (except it did just fine when i edited “dancing with myself” or the lost “hepatitis pie” movie that crashed my computer.) it’s frustrating because in the meantime, instead of writing something now that i could shoot later, i spend my time on other things.- right. read the newer entry…

i have a strange relationship with writing. right now i can’t get myself to read anything i wrote in the past, even when i know it’s perfectly good. i don’t want to re-read living in concussion, or look at the fragments i’ve written for daniel, or anything else. something inside me just finds so much of that embarassing, and yet, another part of me knows that there’s nothing wrong with what i’ve written. nothing at all.

i’ve been trying to talk myself into starting something new. the attempts at convincing myself are becoming more numerous, and something has to break through soon. i swear it. i’ve _thought_ about trying to write more lately than i have in a long time, which, considering how things have been going, is quite a change. there was a long stretch there where i blithely went along not worrying about it at all.

tiger, tiger!

…and so the other shoe drops. today was (finally) my last day at work, a position which was supposed to last two weeks; they had claimed that they weren’t going to let any more people go (did i believe them? besides the point), and i had actually gotten into a rhythm of reading and answering phones – today i actually answered ten or maybe a dozen, and i also finished a book that i started reading last night.

but, was i upset when they told me i was let go? no, hardly. i grinned. like a jackass. some woman – who i had never seen before – was standing and talking to the newly unemployed; this woman was sad-faced and almost trembling, as though it was a great loss, a terrible tragedy… or perhaps she thought we might riot and tear her to shreds, gnashing our teeth and howling.

i interrupted her. i said, loudly, and with a grin in my voice, that it was okay… “i hated this job.” she looked so sad, after all, i figured she ought to know. she just looked at me reproachfully and asked if she could continue. i continued smiling.

i never burn bridges, see. and it’s not like this was a bridge burnt, really, but it was probably the rudest thing i’ve ever said to someone who had been my employer. we have not, after all, been released from eligibility from further positions through adecco. we can continue getting jobs through them _if we want to_. if i hadn’t had an interview on wednesday, i’d just tell myself that i could probably find another temp agency to scare me up a job (and if this possible position falls through, i’ll begin canvassing the town yet again). not that i’ve really burnt a bridge here; rather, i’ve seen the sort of thing adecco can scare up for me, and i’m not impressed. i suppose all of you out there in reader-land think i hated this job for selfish or lazy reasons. maybe i did. mostly i just didn’t like being condescended to on a daily basis; i didn’t like the way it was implied that i couldn’t possibly know what the fuck i was doing, simply because a good number of people in the room did not, in fact, know what the fuck they were doing – be they supervisors or lowly grunts like me.

maybe i’m annoyed by the thought that i’m in debt, ready to be employed, and the only folks who will hire me would probably have hired me if i had a middle-school education. meaning that it sometimes feels like i’ve spent most of my life doing nothing worthwhile.

!

oh god

i went to sleep last night at midnight, and woke up sometime around 6am. when i opened my eyes, i tried to look at my alarm clock so i could see what time it was, but for some reason i couldn’t focus my eyes and the clock danced around in front of my field of vision. this was not a pleasant sensation. eventually that settled down and i could see the time, but now my stomach feels awful and i’m trying to convince myself that i do not need to throw up. probably.

anybody have any good explanations for random morning-time dizziness and nausea?

i see today in a newsprint gray

alright, i’ve modified my opinion of my job. it’s not the worst job i’ve ever had, not by far. it’s just the stupidest. any job where you’re there for eight hours and only have work to do for somewhere around five minutes just seems counter-intuitive to me. (why am i complaining about not having work to do? if i’m going to spend eight hours doing something, i’d like to feel as though i was doing it for a reason other than just money. for some reason i like things to have utility. call me crazy.)

i didn’t get any more sleep last night, but i did at least bring my book in from the start of the day. i didn’t want to do that on my first day of work unless i was absolutely sure that it wouldn’t be an issue, but today they were handing out crossword puzzles for us to do because it was clear that everyone in the goddamn room spends most of their time twiddling thumbs.

they also handed out about four sheets of paper to each of us that reiterated most of the stuff we learned in training. apparently i continue to overestimate the abilities of my coworkers, and in turn, we all get treated like we have the functional intelligence of an amoeba with a head-cold.

i bet that if these calls don’t pick up they’ll start letting us go before the minimum two weeks is up. i won’t complain. i’ll just go into more inevitable debt… unless the temp agency can get me another job quick, or i can find something else more tangible.

strangely enough, today after i left work i was in a pretty good mood. maybe it was just because i was leaving work, but i was actually decently awake, and happy, and enjoyed the music on the way home. and then i lived for about ten minutes before dying in my bed.

in other news, rest in peace hunter s. thompson. i never read any of his stuff, but he seemed like the sort of guy i would respect. sorry to hear that he felt the need to leave this world so violently.

formattin’ the drive

today, on a whim, i decided to reinstall OS X, but with a complete reformat of my hard drive, in the hopes that it would possibly speed things up because it wouldn’t have any of the random shit i’ve installed on it.

i’ve been working on re-installing important programs as they occur to me, but the only difference i can tell for sure is that the main hard drive has 10 gigs free now instead of 4.5, so that’s an improvement, at least. imovie hd still plays video like molasses, unfortunately.

god. i have to work tomorrow. dammit.

quick one while he’s here… in front of the computer.

so my little temp orientation was today. it was actually only about 45 minutes long, and mostly consisted of (1) the lady telling us what would get us fired, and (2) informing us that whatever we are taking orders for next week is confidential and we can’t (under any circumstance) reveal whatever the hell it is we’re going to be doing, followed by everyone signing a legal document saying much the same.

for all i know, i’m taking orders for the XBOX 2 or something.

good news is, though, that if we aren’t busy with the phones, we won’t get “flexed” (sent home). there is the possibility that i might sit there not doing anything all day.

let’s be realistic here

my orientation for work is tomorrow at noon. i got the impression from the “interview” that this orientation would be more general to the temping profession, not necessarily specific to my work in the “Microsoft call center” that seems to be all the (dubious) information i have about my upcoming position. why a temp needs orientation on top of job-specific things, and what for, i’m not exactly sure, but it should be… _interesting_, to say the least.

problem is… i need to go to sleep now but *i’m not tired*. i need to go to sleep so i can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the -torture- orientation tomorrow, but i don’t want to go to sleep. perversely, i want to drive to what-a-burger and get one of those barbeque chicken strip thingies that has been advertised lately. this sandwich has been haunting me – something deep inside my soul is convinced that the contraption must surely be _delicious_. probably all marketing, however.

anyways, i’m hungry, and even though i have a selection of food here, my body wants me to jump in the car and go for a drive. go figure.

you know… i had a choice when i signed up for my job between day shifts (8am to 4pm) and night shifts (4pm to midnight). now, since i am a nocturnal creature at heart (always have been, probably always will be), part of me was tempted by the thought of getting to sleep until 3ish before heading to work for the day. but then i realized that that’s exactly what would happen. i’d sleep until work, be there for eight hours, come home, maybe watch a little tv and conk out around 4 or 5. and i’d never interact with another living soul except for at work.

whereas with the morning shift, i’ll wake up, fill myself full of coffee, soldier on through until 4pm and then come home and take the inevitable nap. except, in this scheme, my nap is over by 7 or 8 and i actually have some time left to interact with other human beings, maybe even go out for a movie or something. and if i can resist the nap, i get actual daylight for a few hours. oh, i’ll inevitably still stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning, but i just can’t resist that. it’s in my blood.

my hackles actually rise a little bit when people talk shit about my sleep schedule. melanie used to do that, and it seemed so silly. why should she care when or how much i slept?

vince actually made a crack the other day when the cats woke me up at 9:30 and i couldn’t get back to sleep. he said that if i avoided a nap maybe i could get onto a normal sleep schedule… so i took a four-hour nap out of spite.

you know, honestly, i’ll be able to get myself up tomorrow morning. if i have someplace to be with some urgency, i can always force myself to roll over and have at it. it would be nice if i could have some time tomorrow morning to make coffee, get something to eat, and have a decent window of time to get to the orientation in case i (inevitably) get lost.

alright, i’m going to go buy the damn sandwich. maybe that’ll make me sleepy.

*EDIT*: mm well, that was definitely tasty, but did i have to eat the whole thing? now i’m going to have a nightmare about being a sled-dog or something.

i have just experienced a weird moment of convergence

yesterday i read an article in the onion av club, “an intervew with Mitchell Hurwitz”:http://www.theonionavclub.com/feature/index.php?issue=4106&f=1&page=2, creator of Arrested development. here’s the important bit:

In The Beatles, you can kind of see it the clearest. You know, Paul is the matriarch, John is the patriarch, the craftsman is George and the clown is Ringo. So I wanted to get that in there, and I thought, “Maybe that will be the four kids. I’ll do a show about four kids.” As it turns out, Michael and Lindsay would be the matriarch and patriarch. The craftsman, to me, is Buster, because he’s a scholar and he’s serious, and the clown is Gob, because he’s a magician, and clowns literally are magicians.

just now, on page 261 of “The Fortress of Solitude”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385500696/qid=1108030684/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/002-2059164-5768831 by Jonathan Lethem, which i have been sorely neglecting for a good two weeks now, i read the following:

‘…The Beatle thing is an archetype, it’s like the basic human formation. Everything naturally forms into a Beatles, people can’t help it.’
‘Say the types again.’
‘Responsible-parent genius-parent genius-child clown-child’
‘Okay, do Star Wars.’
‘Luke _Paul_, Han Solo _John_, Chewbacca _George_, the robots _Ringo_.’

something told me the first time i read the first quote that i needed to write it down. and here it is again. is it too superstitious for me to think that my moment of inspiration is creeping closer and closer?

oh thank god

i got a job.

it’s a temp job – three weeks in a microsoft call center. i’m sure it’ll suck, but at least i can remind myself (if and when it sucks) that it’s only a three week job. i’ll get paid $9, and work full-time for those three weeks. i’ll actually be able to pay my bills at the end of the month. who’da thunk it?

what i thought was going to be an interview this morning actually turned out to be me sitting and taking “personality” tests and filling out forms for close to two hours. the personality tests claimed to be so that the agency would know what sort of jobs were good to place me in, but that claim was belied by the fact that most of the questions were something like this:

1. I like to steal.
a. strongly disagree
b. slighty disagree
c. not sure
d. slightly agree
e. strongly agree

2. I hate authority figures.
a. strongly disagree
b. slighty disagree
c. not sure
d. slightly agree
e. strongly agree

3. I will rape you.
a. strongly disagree
b. slighty disagree
c. not sure
d. slightly agree
e. strongly agree

the real test was actually designed to see if you were intelligent enough to figure out what answers they wanted to hear: “is it okay to be late?” …well, what would Super Employee say? “Zounds, no! Perish the thought!”

mostly it all just hurt my brain.

turns out, though, that i do actually type at 70wpm. so i can put that on my resume for reals now.

bad news, good news

so… today, first thing after i get up and have breakfast, the maintenance man comes over and knocks on my door and tells me that my landlord is trying to get a hold of me because i never paid my pet deposit…

whoops!

see, i forgot to pay it for a few months, and then i realized that i had forgotten about it and she had never called me on it, so i decided to see how long i could get away with not paying it. and then, i forgot that i even had that hanging over my head anymore.

so, naturally, just when it so happens that i have less than no money and a growing credit card debt, she realizes that i never paid it…

she was at least nice enough to let me pay half now and half on the 15th, so i was _only_ out another $125 today.

the good news?

i finally sat down to begin calling “every temp agency in the austin area”, as I have threatened for at least a week. when I called the very first one on my list, she asked me to come in for an interview tomorrow. the job involves working in a Microsoft Call Center for 3-4 weeks, would pay $9/hr, and starts sometime after the 15th. i like temp agencies. they’re very good about being straight-to-the-point. now i just have to do well at the interview tomorrow, and i might be able to take home a paycheck sometime this month.

the other good news is that “my portfolio site”:http://portfolio.unsquare.com is coming along nicely. in fact, it’s almost done (but for the web part, as of 2pm). i’ve tricked it out using fun things like PHP and “mod_rewrite”:http://www.alistapart.com/articles/succeed/ so that the navigation is as seamless as possible. the site is so far the sexiest i’ve ever made…

the unbearable

i went and saw a play tonight, because my friends were in it. it was written by a guy who went to southwestern. i was never _friends_ with this guy, really. i mean, we traded music recommendations, but it was more a high level of friendly acquaintance than anything else.

anyways, he wrote this play. this is the third play of his i’ve seen. the first was called, if i remember correctly, “Distance”. that play was about a husband and wife who have dinner with one of the wife’s old boyfriends. it was sort of a cliche premise to begin with, but these things can go all sorts of ways if done correctly. unfortunately, the characters were all terribly unlikable – not in an intriguing way – and the woman was thinly drawn; you couldn’t really see why the men were fighting over her. the production was well-done, though, and the show was pretty polished. i definitely wouldn’t have said it was a bad show, it just didn’t quite hit the mark.

i say polished because the other two shows of his i’ve seen have come off as the sort of things that perhaps could have used some polish. a few more drafts. more rehearsal time.

play number two was called “word and thought”. from what i remember, it was a “farce” detailing the behind-the-scenes hijinks involved in producing a new play. imagine noises off, but without the comic timing. this was one of those situations where i was sitting, watching the play, occasionally laughing, but really spending more time feeling guilty because i wasn’t laughing, because my friends were up there doing their best, and i just couldn’t muster up the laughs. this is a sort of uncomfortable feeling in your stomach – the absence of desired laughs. ultimately, the play was forgettable. i’m trying to write about it now, but there was nothing remarkable about it that stands out in my mind other than it clearly meant well but, again, missed the point – a little further off the mark this time, however.

tonight’s play was called “the unbearable marketing of being”. to give you some background, the playwright is a fan of the book “the unbearable lightness of being”, playwright bertolt brecht, and the late elliott smith. (he’s also kind of a pretentious motherfucker, and tended to project the impression that he was quite above all of the rest of us mere mortals.)

the…main story of this play was, i suppose, that two guys living in austin decide that they don’t want to work shitty jobs anymore, so, accordingly, they create a fake marketing company which sells “synergies” and “free thought”. they figure that all they have to do is talk some good bullshit and someone will buy. that someone turns out to be sabine, owner of a new belgian restaurant. they’re hired to market the opening. they create a shitty commercial that involves (1) oedipus walking around zilker park (2) george w. bush doing the same, then drinking from a bottle labeled “saudi oil”. sabine rejects this commercial, saying “no politics”. the guys don’t come up with anything else, and the opening is a failure until – surprise – milan kundera, author of “the unbearable lightness of being” shows up. behind him are a bunch of people who are interested in the restaurant because it is “new”. the day is saved. and then one of the guys gets a call on his cell phone: “elliott smith is dead. he stabbed himself.” (the other characters basically ignore this. it’s not presented in any context. there’s no reason for it.)

but wait, there’s more… the play also had two other stories intertwined with this main story. the first concerned grok, inventor of the wheel, and his problems marketing his invention, because “there’s no use for it”! the second concerned a marketplace in medieval england where a man is selling a “great new invention” – the wheelbarrow – until he gets in a duel to the death with his competitor. neither of these stories had any clear relation to the main story, except that there was some sort of marketing in them.

bigger than the story problems, however, was the fact that the whole production came off more like a rehearsal about a week before the show should open, rather than the final night of a five-night run. the actors had no energy at all. sure, i laughed at some parts, but that same uncomfortable feeling in my stomach came around while watching this show.

so i’ve seen three of this guy’s shows, each one worse than the last, each one more tossed off and jumbled than the last.

i left the theatre and i thought “i can totally do better than that. why haven’t i done anything better than that in so long? i can do better.”

not bad, so far…

this morning i drove down to georgetown and talked with a guy in the career services office. he was actually pretty helpful – i’ve got a list of all the temp agencies in the area now, as well as a number of other places to look and possible leads to research. he also gave me some excellent pointers on my resume, which i’ve updated *yet again*… sometimes it feels like i need a different resume for every job that i find.

not surprisingly, getting out of bed at 9am for once felt kinda nice, as did having something to do. and i also got to see some of my friends at the sig house, so it was a pleasant little trip all around.

when i got back and plopped down in front of the computer to dig through craigslist, i found not one but two freelance writing jobs listed there that actually sounded interesting – one writing scripts for short educational cartoons, the other being a “ghost writer” for a website. i’m also going to start checking out the listings on the “writer’s weekly”:http://www.writersweekly.com site more often…

New Post!

Man, Firefox is starting to annoy the fuck out of me lately. I don’t know what I’ve installed, but it likes to hang every once in a while for no good reason. Probably need to clean out all of those extensions I like so much…

Anyways. This is my life lately.

On Saturday I:

(1) woke up, felt like shit… but not as shitty as i could have been

(2) had a phone conversation with my mother about my lack of a job. this is as fun as you might imagine.

(3) i get off the phone with her after deciding that i wanted to go for a walk. i knew that going for a walk would clear out my system some, this general malaise having floated through the week with me on and off.

(4) round up the ipod, put on a sweater, decide not to take my toasty hat. it’s only 4pm, and it’s brisk outside, not cold. my destination is Half Price Books on Guadalupe

(5) alright, 5pm, i finally make it to Half Price. it was a long longer walk than I thought it would be, but i made it, and i feel good, and i listened to bob dylan the whole way there, which was nice.

(6) they’ve got a Christopher Moore book! finally! i buy it. can’t resist.

(7) 15 minutes later, start on my way back. this won’t be so bad.

(8) oh jesus. the wind is starting to pick up, and i’m not even to 45th street yet. how much longer can i take this?

(9) the wind has been blowing in my face steadily for 20 minutes now. i’m convinced i’m going to get pneumonia. i’ll step into the comic book store to warm up. oh… they’re closed. okay, i’ll step into the next place i get to.

(10) good fucking lord that took forever to get to mcdonalds… i sit down at a booth and shake, and pant, and feel like a human popsicle. i guess i better order something so they won’t kick me out.

(11) alright, that was the first time i’ve had mcdonalds in years, and i scarfed it in 10 seconds… and i’m still hungry. my metabolism is apparently angry with me.

(12) alright, i’ve finally got the nerve to start on the final leg of my journey… it can’t be that far, can it? I’m on the street that goes into my neighborhood…

(13) it’s a lot further when you don’t have a toasty hat and your feet hurt like a motherfucker, but i finally make it home, and take a hot shower, and curl up on the coach under a blanket feeling traumatized. have decided to be dead to the world, watch dvds.

(14) doug calls. “wizard people, dear reader”? no. staying in tonight.

(15) i finish the last episode of dead like me on the disc, and sit up and realize that i actually don’t feel bad anymore. in fact, i feel pretty good. alright, even. i get up and call doug back, round up some beers and head over to watch this thing that i’ve heard so much about.

(16) two minutes in, i can’t stand the dude’s voice. this is supposed to be funny? i don’t get it. i tend to interrupt at points to alleviate my dislike of this whole thing, but i’m trying to humor it.

(17) eventually it gets to the point where none of us are even paying attention anymore. Justin is with me on hating this whole thing. it’s the guy’s voice, and his constant monotone inflection. it’s just not that funny.

(18) we stop the cd, justin heads home. doug and i sit and talk about music for a good 20 minutes, then i go home.

(19) can’t sleep for some reason. lie in bed for half an hour or so until my body finally gives in.

On Sunday I:

(1) wake up and my legs haven’t seized up or anything, this is a good sign.

(2) watch: Farscape Episodes 2, 4 and 3

(3) took another walk. shorter this time, and with a toasty hat (just in case). my foot hurts. my leg hurts. but i do it. okay.

(4) watch: Farscape episode 6 and the final three episodes of Firefly. A single tear.

(5) can’t sleep. wake up repeatedly throughout the night. Don’t really get a good sleep started until after 7am, probably.

On Monday I:

Didn’t get a job yet.

i am totally that guy

i just realized that i’m turning into a hermit. with multiple cats. before you know it, i’ll have a whole herd of them constantly mewling and pissing on everything and i’ll have stoppped leaving my house except to pick up the newest tv guide and yell at those darn neighbor kids always throwing shit on my roof.

…the only time i left my house today was around 11:30 at night for an ill-fated trip to the local video rental store. i say ill-fated because the main purpose was to rent something funny, hopefully either anchorman or napoleon dynamite, but – of course – both were rented, because they’re very popular, these funny movies, and everyone else had already had the same idea as me.

it didn’t help that i owe the i luv video on airport… mmm… let’s say five dollars – quite an expense since i’m trying to save money and all – and the one on guadalupe… which seemed so promising at first… had a broken credit card machine. and i never have cash. well, i never have money, especially not now, but i super-especially never have cash. i almost half-heartedly rented some anime at the airport i luv video, but then i realized that i didn’t really want to watch it, and i didn’t really want to pay my late fees either.

and besides, last night i bought garden state with a target gift card i got in a sort of late christmas extravaganza. all ten dollars worth. i was hoping garden state would be even cheaper, but when i had to ask the guy to find me the only copy in the store, i had basically decided to bite the bullet and buy the damn thing no matter how much it cost. ($20 plus tax, if you must know, which came out to $11.64 after the gift card was applied. still as cheap or cheaper than i could have gotten it online.)

so i came back home, made a pot of coffee (at 12:45 in the morning, no less!), and sat down to watch the movie that so many of you have written off because it’s too popular with the hip kids, or sounds too cliche, or whatever other reasons you might imagine. course, i’ve already told you that this brand of stance on movies annoys me, most likely because there’s nothing i can do to make all those hipster douchebags stop raving about nice movies that you would like if they weren’t so overhyped.

BEGIN IMPROMPTU *GARDEN STATE* REVIEW

the movie still stands up on a second viewing, and the parts that made me laugh the first time are still just as funny. the ending doesn’t seem like such a cop-out after all. and the real strength of the movie is revealed: while the main thrust of the movie is about andrew largeman’s personal journey of growth, it’s probably one of the least pretentious versions of such a story i can remember. this is mostly because of instead of making the movie some sort of drawing-room talking heads bullshit piece, the movie is peopled with strikingly odd characters that were surely drawn directly from life, and the occasional moments of surrealism that somehow – when put all together – make new jersey into a place both bleak and magical at the same time.

i think every writer has an urge when first starting out to write something nakedly autobiographical and confessional, and this generally turns into something maudlin and annoying. the thing is, while that element was obviously the genesis of this movie, we are not hit over the head with endless dramatic scenes where braff’s character goes through emotional torment and Learns Something Important. instead, the movie is muted and subtle compared to other such filmic confessionals, and filled with genuinely funny and strange moments that truly set it apart.

garden state is definitely a first film, and perhaps it only exists because of zach braff’s role on scrubs, but the nice thing about it is that – although it does have its flaws – the moments that stand out are of the sort that i personally love seeing in movies, and i can only imagine that, given time, some maturity as a writer, and another crack behind the camera, braff will come up with something wholly original.

SO THERE’S *THAT*

why do i have the urge to drink another pot of coffee? it’s 4:49 in the morning!

all i know is that if there was some way i could never have to sleep again – without any side effects – i would go for it. my worst and most dangerous vice is my love of sleep. it’s much easier, when given the choice between sitting down and writing something, or reading a book, or finding a job, or really doing anything that might help me put my goddamn life on track, to just nod off for four or five hours, or sleep until three in the afternoon, or generally wander through my life with eyes closed and brain stuffed with cotton.

i can feel my brain atrophying in my skull. i’ve begun forgetting names i should know, telling the same stories over and over again, and re-reading sentences in novels over and over again because i wasn’t paying attention the first time around.

when i talk on the phone with my mother, she says things like “well, i hope that you can find a job that would actually make those four years of college mean something.”

meaning would be nice, but i honestly don’t think that there’s any connection between the time i spent in college – learning about life through both university sponsored and illicit channels – and the job(s) i’m inevitably going to have to take because i have about $30 in my checking account and $1100 charged on my credit card. sure, it’d be nice to be able to find a job that i could only get because i have a college degree, but honestly… i had one of those, and it made me want to gouge my own eyes out.

there are three sorts of jobs out there that seem to stem logically from my time in college. they are as follows:

(1) jobs that require warm bodies with motor and language skills (but little or no experience) to perform menial tasks considered too complicated for those without a degree

(2) jobs in more interesting specializations that, as a result, require either more experience than i have or a good bit of nepotism in hiring practices.

(3) creative jobs that wouldn’t actually have required either a college degree or even high school equivalency, just the preserverence and talent necessary to catch the eye of someone important. oh and it helps to have a portfolio/experience to prove your talent when necessary.

NACQ was a #1 sort of job. we can rule those out if they involve computers. i want my computer to be a thing of joy and relaxation, not some punishing box full of cathodes that drains my lifeforce away minute by minute.

i suppose i could do something dull and mindless if i at least got to walk around a bit and occasionally talk to some people. ironically, a lot of dull and mindless jobs tend to require experience i don’t have… unless they’re in the fast food industry, which my mother tells me just doesn’t fit into the whole life-plan thing she seems to have mapped out in her mind.

alright. i think i might be tired now.

ah-hah! success!

no, i didn’t get a job, thank you very much, but i did get a new screenname: ipsographic. it means “self-recording”, and i found it on a “lost words” website, in the hopes that it wouldn’t have occurred to every other human being on the planet to make it their screenname. success!

i’ll eventually stop signing on as musslerock, but for now it’s online to catch folks who wouldn’t read this.

stupid aim

i’ve been trying to come up with a new AIM screenname, but it appears that every dictionary word (and all combinations thereof) has already been registered, so these are the only screen names i’ve managed to actually get:

1. I H8 Yr Face
2. Crimeny Crackers

clever, i know…

anyways, i don’t _really_ like either one of these, so i’m still brainstorming and attempting to get a better name… except the service that lets you register names is down right now (or they’re on to me). or something. oh well.

alright

…stayed home tonight cause i got so drunk last night and didn’t think my body could take it. but here i am now, and i’ve got some resolutions – even though i don’t usually do those.

1. i’m going to write something for “you”:http://sherman.unsquare.com, and “you”:http://mark.unsquare.com, and me.

2. get a job, hopefully one i like.

er…

so, somehow i lost track of time and thought that tonight was new year’s eve, so i got really drunk and went out to a bar with my friends, and when i realized it was after midnight, i said “hey, it’s 2005 now!” and everyone looked at me like i was an idiot, and then i remembered that December has 31 days, and then i drank more – a lot more – and then i came home and passed out. the end.

Interesting Week

This is how I search for jobs...

My job search isn’t going too much better, unfortunately. Last Friday I went to the substitute orientation, which was appropriately mind-numbing. At the end, our instructor told us any number of reasons why being a substitute was a horrible job and why (if she had a choice) she would have chosen being a principal again over being a substitute. Several people in the class gasped at this, because (of course) your employer is supposed to talk up your new job, not give you dire warnings about horrible things that could happen to you.

There were, however, a good number of idiots in the room, so perhaps it wasn’t so surprising. There’s a certain class of batty middle-aged woman who decides that being a substitute teacher is a good idea. These are generally the sort of subs that i remember getting, and are why i remember thinking so little of the profession in general. We all know the only reason I set myself up for all that was desperation.

Course, that didn’t even help much… didn’t get me any work this week.

I did email this one listing on “Craig’s List”:http://craiglist.org and get a response. Apparently a real estate firm needs some transcription work done, and they pay alright. It’ll be shitty work, but I can do it on my own time, and when the money eventually comes in, it’ll probably help in a pinch. And, much like subbing, If I don’t like it, I can turn down future jobs.

In writing news, I submitted a story to the Austin Chronicle short story contest. You can read it here if you like: “_A Sister_ by Jeff James”:/portfolio/writing/a_sister.htm.

Other than that, there have been some interesting happenings this week. For example, on Monday night, I went to “a strip club”:http://www.austincityguide.com/content/palazio-austin.asp with my friends Beau and Jeff… Yeah, that’s right. A strip club. It was decided on a whim Sunday night after Beau realized that he had pretty much failed (Ds and Fs) all of his classes this semester, so the logic went… what better way to cheer him up than boobs?

We were there for a good four hours, and all of us spent more money than we probably should have. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not only were the girls who worked there pretty cute (only one had fake boobs), but that there were several girls who came over to our table just to sit down and have a nice conversation. One girl in particular was really cool and interesting to talk to. She sat in my friend Jeff’s lap all night, only getting up to dance onstage later in the night. Needless to say, it was really surreal to have a really good conversation with a girl and then see her naked and gyrating onstage. At the end of the night, Jeff got her phone number, although I don’t think he’s called her yet, or even if he plans to call her at all. Can you date a stripper? I’ve heard tales of such things, but I’m not sure how well it would work.

On Thursday, Allyson drove into town to hang out. We went and saw “Closer”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0376541/, which was really well-written (the scene between Clive Owen and Natalie Portman in the strip club was pretty ridiculously amazing writing), and followed that with drinking and “Collateral”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0369339/ (also very good). It was a good visit, and well timed, because she’s leaving to go to China for eight months on January 13th.

Last night, Beau, Demian and I went to a party somewhere in Austin, thrown by people I’ve met in passing. There were a good number of people I knew there, and for once I had a good time at someone else’s party and got drunk enough to feel crappy in the morning. There was a girl there that we all wanted to hit on, funnily enough, though, she told us that she was a junior at SU when our friend Jonathan – now 26 and married – was a freshman. Which makes her, what… 28? 29? Weird. She was still really cute, although her boyfriend was dullness in a suit.

It seems a little bit like the world is opening up again for me, which is perhaps connected to the fact that I stopped taking Zoloft last week. The medicine seemed to help when I was really down, but it definitely had its side effects, so I’m glad to be out of my supply. There is, of course, a possibility that I may get pretty depressed again in a while, but I’m willing to risk it.

If I Could Neuter Him Again, I Would

Boy, nothing like being awakened at 6:30 in the morning by 10 pounds of cat making a kamikaze leap directly onto your crotch and bladder (full, I might add). He knows what he’s doing, too. He’s an evil monster. Whenever he sees me about to destroy him in my rage, he skitters off somewhere out of reach. Bastard.

Luckily, I needed to be awake this morning so I could go to my substitute orientation at 8:15, and honestly, I was already half-awake by the time he attacked.

Wha?


I took this picture tonight, and within ten minutes of uploading it to okcupid, three girls messaged me, one of whom was pretty damn cool and who i had an excellent conversation with for a good half-hour. who’da thunk it?

EDIT: Doug, i don’t know why you had to post your comment twice. i didn’t delete it, although i do have to despam the comments regularly, so i might have gotten it accidentally or something. as for my receding hairline, i always make a point of including another picture that clearly shows how much hair i actually have. jerk. see you at juan’s on sunday.

Progress…

Well, I got accepted as a substitute for the Austin School District. There probably shouldn’t have been any question that I would get accepted. Vincent predicted it… Next Friday, I’ll go to a mind-numbing all-day orientation, and then (if I’m lucky), I’ll get to work – at most – 5 days this month before school lets out for Christmas. So I might be able to make a small dent in my money problem, but I still need to find another job. I obviously need to call the library tomorrow to find out if there’s been any progress with that whole process, and I guess I can continue applying to other library jobs online. You’d think I’d be good enough for at least one of these jobs, wouldn’t you?

Unemployment Sucks: Electric Boogaloo

just finished browsing the job listings. e-mailed one listing on craigslist.org for some guy who needs “3 hours of video edited down to 1/2 hour”. whatever.

there was a listing in the statesman that sounded kind of interesting – a casting company looking for extras, promising “up to $18 an hour”, so i called their 1-800 number, was put on hold for five minutes, and then some slimy jackass came on the line and explained to me that I could make “up to $400 a day, and we’ve got jobs right now”, but for “non-union members, there’s a one-time fee of $139, refundable in 30 days if you don’t like the jobs…” at which point i got tired of his bullshit and said “uh… yeah. i’m gonna have to call back later.” right.

stupid unemployment.

Unemployment Sucks

Well, today was my first day of official joblessness. I considered the weekend part of the Thanksgiving holiday, so today was the first day I felt like I should actually be doing something. Accordingly, I woke up at 9am (unintentionally), watched six episodes of Arrested Development, brainstormed some stuff to write, and then visited the Hollywood Video on 41st and Red River.

This Hollywood Video is special – or so claimed the coupon mailer I got – because they’ve got more than 50,000 movies in that one store, the largest film library in Texas (i think that was the claim). I wasn’t sure what to expect, really. I mean, I Luv Video has a hell of a lot of movies, and if you want something weird, foreign, or pornographic, they’re definitely the place to go, but this newly enlarged Hollywood Video managed to trump them by having the most complete collection of Criterion Collection DVDs I have ever seen – maybe close to 200.

You know how most video rental places have the movies turned facing out of the shelf? The bulk of the DVDs in this store were turned so that the spine was sticking out, and there was barely a centimeter of free space on any shelf. And these were shelves taller than my head, mind you. I think each row of shelves probably had as many movies on it as a normal Hollywood Video would have in a whole store. I had to leave before I hyperventilated.

I did, however, rent 8 1/2 and The Lower Depths before i left.

T-Day

Well, I’m in Sugarland, from now until sometime Saturday afternoon. It’s a short trip, I know, but I don’t want my cats to eat my roommate’s face because I’ve been gone too long. Right now I’m typing this on the iBook, with its broken trackpad and OS X 10.1.5… and you thought my computer was ancient. This may be a slightly faster computer, but 10.1.5 is giving me the heebie-jeebies… also, pretty much every program i’ve downloaded has refused to run in anything earlier that 10.2, but my mom is the only one that regularly uses this computer, and she doesn’t want anything to break, so at 10.1.5 it stays… oh well. Guess it’s time for bed. See you guys soon.

who knows? not me.

recently when rebuilding this site, i’ve noticed that it took for fucking ever for movable type to do its job, most likely because i added the left and right sidebars to every page, thus increasing the page size a good bit (also helps that i have over 500 entries in this journal).

i tried to fix this using php, but “MT 2”:http://www.movabletype.org is not well suiting to publishing php, mostly because it sets the permissions wrong and pisses off my server. i set up “MT 3.1”:http://www.movabletype.org so I could play with it some, but that’s even more complicated…

so, last night, i sat for a few hours and updated all of the pages to use server-side includes, which ended up being not too hard to pull off. i also tweaked the design some more, simply because that’s what i do now, apparently. the best improvement – in my opinion – is that comments are much easier to distinguish from the entries.

you know what else i noticed? i used to write all of my entries in lowercase for the longest time. thing is, when i was looking back at those entries i liked the way they looked a lot better. so… here i am. back in lowercase.

today is my last friday at work. i think tuesday will be my last day, simply because levi is leaving for thanksgiving on wednesday, and if i were to come in to work on wednesday i wouldn’t do anything. at all. and i’m bad enough about that as it is without having to be here all by my damn self but for larry and anne.

tommorow morning is another weekly trip to juan in a million – so far i’ve gone the last two weekends, and i’m trying to make it a tradition. this weekend it’s going to be me, doug, and justin heading over there at 11am tomorrow. i think anyone that reads this that lives in austin is already going, so that’s set.

last week beau and i went and saw “sideways”:http://www2.foxsearchlight.com/sideways/, which was really very good, fucking hilarious and well written. i strongly recommend it to anyone who has a chance to see it. i’ve been going to the dobie pretty much every week too, unless they don’t have anything interesting playing. i guess i’m trying to make up for all those years i had to drive half an hour to go the movies.

i haven’t made any progress with writing anything lately. i know you guys worry about me never finishing anything, but trust me, this is something that i’m working on, and pressuring me probably isn’t going to do anything but make me feel guilty. i’m going to try and keep myself from promising to write anything for anyone until i feel like i can actually follow through.

part of my joblessness is going to focus on this issue… for example, i bought a really great book called the “dramatists sourcebook”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1559362472/qid=1100880423/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/002-1927809-5432063, which is full of theatre companies looking for new plays and contests with nice cash prizes. i was also recently shown the “austin chronicle short story contest”:http://www.austinchronicle.com/shortstory/, which i still have enough time to write something for if i choose to. the opportunities are there, i just have to decide that i want to take them.

For Fuck’s Sake

From BoingBoing:

White phosphorous among weapons used by Marines in Fallujah

By Xeni Jardin

Xeni Jardin: In the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Usually we keep the gloves on,” said Army Capt. Erik Krivda, of Gaithersburg, Md., the senior officer in charge of the 1st Infantry Division’s Task Force 2-2 tactical operations command center. “For this operation, we took the gloves off.”

Some artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns. Kamal Hadeethi, a physician at a regional hospital, said, “The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted.”

White Noise

Beau and I had a discussion about how people these days tend to feel completely alienated from their jobs. You do work on one end but never see any concrete reason why you should have done that work. Most people consider their jobs something they “have to do”, something separate from their lives. The thought of such a thing frightens me… why devote 75% of my life to something that means nothing to me just so I can make enough money to have a roof over my head and food to eat?

…Speaking of alienation, there was recently an episode of Malcolm in the Middle on TV that was kind of similar to the last part I read of White Noise… three years ago, was it now? And on top of that, Vince and I watched Office Space on Friday, and it was a better movie to me now because I finally can relate to some of the stuff that happens… These things are random, but it seems like that’s the state of my life right now. Alienated.

Sigh.

I am a sexy man

i needed a new photo for my “okcupid”:http://www.okcupid.com profile, seeing as how i’ve gotten back into it again (not with any success, mind you. anyone i write seems to write me back once and then disappear.) so i fucked around with my camera and took a few self-portraits, including this one, where i look like i’m trying to be very Serious and Intense, when all i was doing was trying to relax my face.

Coffee…

Man, i’m addicted to the stuff. I started off with the pre-ground Folgers cheap-ass shit, which was alright for a while, but then I started getting curious about the world of GRINDING YOUR OWN, so I made my way to the local Wal-Mart and dropped $15 on the cheapest one I could find so I could feed my ever-expanding habit in my own home. Living a few blocks away from Central Market is also a nice bonus, cos about a week or so ago I popped over there and moseyed my way into the “bulk foods” section for which they are famous. After a few minutes of consideration, I chose the “Rasberry Chocolate” flavored coffee – “flavored” coffees not having been within my realm of experience up to that point, this one seemed like a good place to start.

…And oh, if you could smell the grounds after a few pulses of the grinder. It’s amazing. The cup of coffee I made yesterday was probably the most delicious I’ve ever had.

Downside is, of course, that if I don’t drink the stuff I get cranky, and eventually have headaches. If I make it too strong or drink too much of it, my heart races and I get all twittery. And right now I kinda have a funky metallic taste in my mouth (I made it verrry strong this morning). But damn if the coffee doesn’t taste good and settle my stomach and help me be a little bit more alert.

Schtuff

So, what have I been up to lately?

Melanie and I finally decided that it would be better if we were just friends. It was difficult/complicated, but I think it’ll work out for the best. In fact, we talked on the phone last night – our first conversation as friends – and it was really nice.

I haven’t written anything more on the script that I started for Daniel, unfortunately. This weekend was too stressful with all of the job/relationship issues. But hopefully since things are settling down, now I’ll have more time.

Finally, I found this news post here:

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JOHN WOO HAS THE POWERRRRR!!

Fox 2000 has tapped John Woo to direct and produce “He-Man,” a live-action pic based on the characters in Mattel’s “Masters of the Universe” line of action figures. Adam Rifkin will adapt the screenplay.

The property was originally exploited as an animated syndicated series in 1983. In 1987, Dolph Lundgren starred as He-Man in Cannon Films’ “Masters of the Universe,” with Frank Langella as Skeletor.

According to “Masters of the Universe” lore, He-Man began life as Prince Adam, the hybrid of an Earthling and an Eternian. At the age of 18, he was taken to Castle Grayskull, where Adam received super powers.

He-Man has a sidekick in the form of a tiger, Battle Cat, and a deadly enemy, Skeletor. Mattel produced the action figures from 1982-87.

Woo and Terence Chang will produce the film through their Lion Rock Prods. Fox 2000 prexy Elizabeth Gabler and director of production Rodney Farrell oversee development.

Repped by Endeavor, Woo is also attached to direct a vidgame adaptation, “Spy Hunter,” for Universal Pictures. He most recently directed “Paycheck” for Paramount.

With Jordan Roberts, Rifkin is also adapting the comicbook “Zoom’s Academy” for Revolution Studios. (As reported by VARIETY)

Kurt Vonnegut, Creative Writing 101

From Bagombo Snuff Box, by Kurt Vonnegut:

Creative Writing 101

Now lend me your ears. Here is Creative Writing 101:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things… reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them… in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.

No Updates

Well, work has been keeping me busy lately, and so I haven’t been able to make a new design for unsquare.com like I would like to. This will have to do for now. Eventually I’ll get the time. Things have been going well, but I haven’t really had too much to talk about. My job is occasionally frustrating, but not too bad. I’ve been enjoying spending time with my girlfriend as much as possible… and, finally, I haven’t been watching my NetFlix movies like I should. So I’m going to do that now.

Oh and by the way, Mark – I started reading Neuromancer today. I’ll let you know how it goes.

i am in america!

i am in america!

okay so i didn’t kill my roommate after all. we all made nice. and then we stayed up all night and climbed on a plane. for the first hour or so i felt like i had been run over by a steam roller, but then i fell asleep (sort of) and it worked out okay. the flight was actually not so bad, because i ended up sleeping for about six out of the ten hours. and i’m rested enough now. but I’M IN AMERICA!

i ate sonic tonight, and it was be-yootiful. oh yeah.

blogs suck, especially mine

blogs suck, especially mine. but that’s okay. no more empty promises about more updates or better designs. i promise. ha. anyways, life’s been swell here. I went to see part two of Tom Stoppard’s trilogy (The Coast of Utopia) I got there half an hour beforehand and got a great seat for ?8. I was rather proud of myself. I have all three of the plays, and will be reading them again later on. I hope. I swear more than two people used to read my webpage, but then it used to be slightly interesting. or something. i mean, i used to post things. and, like… have a webpage. hmmm. this whole personal web-presence thing is kind of funny.

i’m starting to look forward to returning to the states. sort of. basically i just miss my friends and family. i know i’m going to miss being here. i’m not going to miss the thirty people that i spend all of my time with. i want to kill them all – or at least spend a good amount of time away from them.

tony came for a visit this weekend, which was cool. it was kind of different from when brendan came. brendan was very quiet, didn’t bother anyone, but still partied. i hung out with brendan and aaron and we went to the tower of london. it was pretty cool. on the other hand, when tony came, him matt and aaron all partied until after 5 in the morning and repeatedly woke me up. last night, i was awakened when bree turned on the tv to watch the world series (played at 2 or 3 in the morning here). i was also awakened by people tripping things, turning on lights and talking to each other. at four-something a.m. tony’s alarm went off and he didn’t wake up. it went off so loudly and for so long i almost thought i was hallucinating. it was pretty annoying. finally it turned off, but then tony had to pack his shit up. in the dark. that took forever.

i guess it says something about the difference in brendan and tony’s personalities.

it seems like no matter what i do, aaron builds up a grudge against me. it explodes every once in a while, and then things are fine for a day or two after we’ve worked things out. but then he starts giving me funny looks and saying things to me, no matter what i do. i went into the other room and saw a bag of cookies and asked “whose are those?” and he screamed out “I KNEW IT! I KNEW YOU’D SAY THAT!” then the next day he had some M&M’s and others had asked for some, so i asked if i could have one, and he yelled out “I KNEW IT!” again and slapped his knee. i said “if you don’t want to give them to me, don’t” but he glared at me and handed me the three m&ms he had poured out. if i don’t ask to use his food, he gets pissed off at me, but when i asked if i could have some of his chocolate spread, he gave me a funny look like i was a moron. we had to go get photos so we could pick up our plane tickets to italy, but i’ve hurt my knee. i didn’t want to walk on it anymore – it was just painful enough. so, i told him i was going to rest instead of getting the photos. he got frustrated with me, as though i was trying to sabotage his travel plans – except that he didn’t need me to go along at all. and the list goes on and on. basically i can’t wait until i’m not living with aaron. i think we’ll be much better friends when we’re not roommates. i want to like him but he keeps doing things like the above. and sure enough we’ll have another fight soon, probably within a week or two. hopefully not while we’re in italy.

ack i’m so braindead

ack i’m so braindead. i slept until two something in the afternoon, and my head feels stuffed with cotton. ack ack ack. i’ve spent so much money – i bought a plane ticket to italy and now my bank account is starting to get frighteningly low (compared to when I started). i have to learn how to budget for this last month, or else i’ll come home with around three dollars left in my account. i keep meaning to do things (like make a new website) and then i don’t. i’m assuming someone stills reads this, occasionally, so i post occasionally. but now i must go buy caffiene and dinner, and prepare myself for some more strenuous computing later tonight. blech.

for some reason i thought

for some reason i thought my last entry was much less coherent than it actually was. i read it today and it kind of makes sense (more than i expected). after i got back from the ‘dam, i’ve just spent the rest of the weekend basically sitting around. i went to the tate modern art museum saturday night, which was awesome. i also read “arcadia” by tom stoppard, which was awesome. i finished White Teeth on friday and it was pretty damn good, definitely worth a read. i just started on Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon, which has already proved to include a whole lot of details either different from or not included in the movie. so it’s as much of a revelation as i was hoping it to be. last night i watched the Dead Zone on tv (the movie with Christopher Walken) and it was pretty good, but i read the book over the summer and they left out a lot. it was sort of like the reader’s digest version of the book, which i thought was kind of lame. they didn’t develop walken’s former girlfriend at all, or really any of the other characters as much as they should have. but every time walken had a vision, it was great. his flinches were intense, especially since the director (david cronenberg) was firing a pistol offscreen every time.

i’ve got around $1100 left, which is pretty good if i don’t tell you that i started the semester with $2200. oops. of course, i actually only have about a month and a half left here. i think i’ll probably travel to another country at least once or twice more, but i’ll try and be as frugal as possible (if possible). i can go to germany and stay with a friend, so i think I might do that. cause I mean, come on… it’s Germany! yeah.

it really does sort of feel like home here. i’m probably going to have reverse culture shock when i go back to the states, which will be not so much fun. i’m probably going to try to go to grocery stores to find the things i’m used to now, and i’ll fail miserably. oh well.

i feel like as a “writer” i should be writing more or something. but i’m lazy. endlessly lazy. i mean, i don’t have that crazy drive to write at all hours of the day. does that mean i shouldn’t be a writer? i don’t think so… i mean, i’m always coming up with these images and stories. or whatever. i just need to find a niche. or something.

you know what’s kind of annoying about being here? the fact that i want to see movies like: punch drunk love, rules of attracting, the ring, etc. etc. etc. that won’t come out here while i’m here. also, michael chabon (author of wonder boys and other great books) is coming to my campus… while i’m here. DAMMIT! oh well. i’m in europe. you make some trade-offs. ha.

well i lived through amsterdam.

well i lived through amsterdam. it was a regular den of iniquity, if you’d really like to know. porn stores, prostitutes and the smell of weed popped up regularly throughout the streets, especially since our hotel was next to the red light district.

the previous post was an interesting part of an article i was reading that day. (and it kind of applied to my vacation) i actually don’t agree with everything the guy says (i think he’s pretty biased, and sort of rants) but he does make some interesting points. for example, prostitutes exist whether or not they are legal, but in the states we often hear of serial killers who kill huge numbers of prostitutes. now, one might say “they’re prostitutes, so what?” but what kind of attitude is that? just because a women gets money for sex does not mean she is no longer a woman.

i think the reason that most people wouldn’t want prostitutes legalized is because they wouldn’t want to have to look them in the face on a regular basis. if things are illegal, they are kept underground and “go away” in the eyes of most people.

of course, if you watched traffic, you know that this can also be applied to the drug trade. just because drugs are illegal does not mean they go away. rather, the people who want drugs have to go to dangerous lengths to get them, and people get killed. drug dealers kill each other left and right, etc.

of course, just because they are legal does not mean there are no addicts. basically these things are very thorny issues. no one in the world has actually figured out how to get rid of things like drugs and prostitutes, simply because they are things that people want to do, whether or not they think they are right. so what is the answer? have them legalized in full view of the whole world (like amsterdam) but still have some problems or make them illegal and pretend no problem exists (like most american middle class families would prefer)?

as far as the bit about infidelity… well i’m not sure how savage plans for that to work, and i definitely don’t really agree with him. i don’t think that adultery is a natural part of a relationship. it is possible to be faithful.

anyways, gotta go back to work. meh.

the trip began on thursday

the trip began on thursday at noon. after a pretty long busride we ended up in liverpool. we didn’t get there in time to go to the beatles museum that day, so we sat around for a little while then went out for dinner at an italian restaurant. i discovered how some italian words are actually pronounced, but i couldn’t replicate the sounds myself. the waiter was trying to be quite instructive, though. after dinner we went to a pub next door called The Blob. yes, really. we went there because they were advertising pints for just over €1, which is nice compared to the €3-4 average in london. turns out, though, that this was a pub for 60-year old alcoholics on their last legs. we were the youngest people there by far, and it was pretty uncomfortable (for me at least). at one point we saw two gray-haired ladies get in a shouting match before one was kicked out. later, a police officer came in and starting berating an odd-looking man wearing thick glasses. after growling at him quietly for a few seconds, the cop picked the guy up and dragged him outside without much fanfare. the guy was handcuffed and tossed in the paddywagon. we took this as our cue to move onto greener pastures. we had noticed that all of the young attractive people were heading in one direction, so we followed them. the first club we went to was called the walkabout. this was absolutely filled with women wearing dresses whose main feature was the lack of fabric. i swear to god that half of the supermodel population of the world was in this bar. the ratio of girls to guys was way off, so most of these women were just standing around looking super-hott or were dancing with each other. naturally, i didn’t talk to any of them, especially since i hadn’t shaved and was wearing a crappy sweater (i was expecting to go to a club). we stood around ogling the beautiful babies for a while and then left when they started playing really annoying songs. the next bar we went to promised €1 for everything (this was a lie. some things were more.) this would have been exciting for me, except the cover was €2 and i only had €3. so that was sort of that. i sat around feeling stupid and eventually left once enough people decided they wanted to walk back.

on friday, we went to the beatles museum. it was sort of interesting, but i could probably have gotten more out of a book. once the history got more full of events, there would just be big plaques on the wall full of dates. it was way more reading that it should have been. so that was that. we also had to go to the “transatlantic slavery museum”, which is my idea of fun, let me tell you. we then had an incredibly boring tour of the city that showed us which parts of the city had to do with slavery. my head was freezing the whole time. around 5, we left liverpool and went to holyhead, where we would meet our ferry. there were children on the streets who looked at us like aliens and who had possibly never seen a bus before. it was fun. the ferry was really cool – restaurants and bars and shops and a movie etc. etc. etc. very nice. when we got to dublin it was pretty late so i just went to sleep.

on saturday we probably toured something in the morning (i can’t remember. it probably sucked). for lunch, we ate at the Bad Ass Cafe, where Sinead O’Connor worked when she was young. it was pretty good. in the afternoon, we went and had a tour of the guiness factory, which was the best eight euros i spent all weekend. when you got to the top you got a complimentary pint of guinness and an incredible view of dublin (eight stories up). i also bought a shirt and a poster. that night we went on a musical pub crawl, which was really cool although there weren’t discounts on pints. our tourguides were hilarious and very talented.

sunday was the worst day of our trip. we woke up early in the morning, drove two hours and had the pleasure of touring “the famine museum”. this really pissed me off, simply because it was obvious that our professors chose this destination probably because they were interested and because we “should be”. it was also annoying because it seemed tailored to a class that I’m not even in. so i was dragged along when i really did not want to go. the afternoon was slightly better, but not much. we drove a whole bunch more and ended up at an old monastery, which was very pretty but not necessarily worth all the time on the fucking bus, especially since these two things basically blew our whole day.

we left for london on monday, and spent something like nine hours traveling. it was nice to be back, although i have to go to dublin again sometime.

and that was that.

on tuesday night we went to see a production of Ivanov by Anton Chekov. it was really well done. the stage was interesting because the audience was on both sides of it – i.e. i could stare straight at the audience members across the way. it was really funny and well-acted.

unfortunately, the tube-workers are on strike again, so we had to ride the bus home. the tube is down all day today, which kind of sucks, but i do need to do some homework. gah.

anyway, i think that’s it for now. i think i’m going to redesign the website very soon now as well as post some video and pictures. look forward to that, but until then, sign random things in my guestbook.

well, when I say comments

well, when I say comments are temporarily gone, what i really mean is that they are not coming back. probably. as sexy as php is, they were sort of a silly feature. oh well. the freakin’ order for the pen drive still hasn’t been confirmed, so i’m thinking about cancelling it and ordering from amazon.co.uk, which will be more expensive. maybe i just need to be patient. or maybe i just need to email their sales department. wot-ever.

i was wandering around on thursday and i found this music store called “fopp,” i kid you not. they claim to be the biggest independent music store in the uk, so i checked them out. they had racks and racks of really good cds for only ?5… and not as a buy 3 for ?15 deal or something. so i got another gomez cd – their b-sides collection. as far as i can tell, it’s terrible, but i haven’t listened all the way through. i also bought “intergalactic sonic 7’s” by ash (not for ?5 though), which is the singles collection for a scottish band who are really big here. they had a song on the angus soundtrack way back in the day. i’d recommend getting it, but it doesn’t seem to be in print in the us yet. i reeeeaaaaaaallly like ash.

on friday we went to “shakespeare’s globe theatre” and saw a midsummer night’s dream. this theatre was actually finished in 1997, but it’s built very close to the site of the original globe and is built to the specifications of the original theatre, with a few compromises to safety and fire codes. it’s the only building in london with a thatched roof, although it has been thoroughly fireproofed.

this performance of AMND was absolutely the best performance of a shakespeare play i have ever seen. I loved it. it was the way shakespeare should be done. it was a contemporary production, but was very restrained. they didn’t try to set it in any weird place or time; instead, all of the characters wore pyjamas the whole show and all of the props were made out of toiletries. yes, toiletries. you just had to see it. compared to this, antony and cleopatra was bollocks. (and to those of you who remember the dulles high school production of AMND… welll… i don’t have to say anything about that).

well comments are temporarily gone, but worry not

well comments are temporarily gone, but worry not. i actually do have a guestbook that i haven’t been using. if you want to sign it, the link is at the bottom of each post.

soon enough (hopefully) I will receive in the mail a usb pen drive, which is a little 64 meg hard drive that plugs into your usb port. it doesn’t need a power supply and fits on a keychain. with that in hand, i will (probably) be able to redesign/finish this site and start posting videos and pictures, which will be nice. and i will be able to continue using the doohickey in the states, as opposed to my printer which has an english plug.

last night we went and saw a show called closing time. it was about a pub in northern ireland full of alcoholics on the last legs of their ruined lives. it was the best thing i’ve seen so far, although the story was a little cliche. the best (and most disturbing moment) is when one character is kicked out of the bar. he’s just revealed that his wife and kids have left him, and he is absolutely plastered – so much so that he is shaking. to top that off, he has been messing around with the bartender’s wife. as he is leaving, he goes to finish his pint and starts crying into the glass. while he is bawling he forces himself to drink it. it was a really striking moment.

on sunday i went and saw a movie called “christie malry’s own double entry,” which is not in fact a porn. the main character, christie, is played by one of the guys from lock stock. double entry refers to a type of accounting system where debits are put on one side and credits on the other. christie decides to apply this principle to his life. when something bad happens to him something good has to happen in response. it’s actually pretty disturbing, because the stakes keep getting higher and higher and he starts doing some pretty horrible things in the name of revenge.

other than that, i haven’t done much except get a small crush on this girl from american university. oh well.

sorry for the long break

sorry for the long break between posts. i’ve finally gone and gotten myself a membership at an internet cafe which will allow me to get connected to the net much more frequently, which should be nice. right now i’m looking into getting a little usb pen drive so i can download things and transfer them to my computer (since I don’t have a disk drive). tonight we’re going to see a show set in an irish pub, which should be interesting. other than that i don’t really have much to write about except that i will be writing more often (and i write a lot already).

oh,and I shaved all my hair off, which is interesting. maybe i’ll try and post a picture. anyways, later.

last night we went to see a show called hyperlynx

last night we went to see a show called hyperlynx. it was a 90-minute one-woman monologue that focused on globalization and the (late) author’s opinion thereof. everyone in the class HATED it, some more vehemently than others. i think i’ve decided that i thought it was an interesting failure. i think that i shared this opinion with one other person (out of about 50 or so). I thought it was interesting because of some of the topics that were… well… lectured about. (that was the main complaint of the other theatre majors – that it was less a theatrical play and more like a lecture thinly disguised.) the thing is, i agreed with pretty much everything everyone else said about the play – it was badly written (as a play), haphazardly acted, and very much a lecture. it was pretty cliche… and the main character wasn’t exactly sympathetic. however, the author brought up topics and issues i am interested in. these things held my interest for the first half. of course, the play was incredibly anti-american and very one-sided in it’s presentation.

according to the playwright, america is a country founded on “genocide and hypocrisy” because American settlers killed native americans and stole their land. okay. so… the first point is that these settlers were not at first “american.” they were europeans who became americans. my second point is that civilisation was founded on genocide. i mean, come on… everyone killed everyone “else”. in huge numbers. americans were not the first, nor have they been the last.

the second half of the play was written in reaction to september 11th. unfortunately, the author was suffering from leukemia while the play was written and died a few months later. i got the feeling that if he had been well and had continued living… he would have rewritten this play. a lot. what we got to see was probably a first or maybe even second draft, probably written off the top of his head and in a moment of passion. as such, it was very muddled and pretty heavy-handed. some people were pretty offended. i personally was not offended, per se… but i thought it was notbale how incredibly tactless some of the writing was. especially considering this guy was a hero of the british theatre.

while i was watching the play, i really was fascinated. i was also half asleep… before the play. i mean, i woke up some when i watched it, but i wasn’t exactly processing all of the information. i suppose i was in a susceptible state, but i was interested. by intermission, everyone else had pretty well decided they hated it. one of our professors was apparently furious.

of course, i think that’s one of the wonderful things about theatre… its ability to piss people off. in this case it was sort of unfocused and shabbily written, but it still caused some pretty extreme reactions in my classmates.

aaron and i had another run-in last night. during the intermission, we were talking about the play. he was telling me that he thought it was too much like a lecture and that he didn’t like it, when he suddenly cut off what he was saying and said “but you’re making that face again where you know you’re right and you think you’re better than me…” or something like that. i can’t remember exactly what he said, but it that was the gist. apparently i was smirking or smiling or making a face something like that. this made him think i thought he was a moron or something.

thing is, i was just making a face. i disagreed with him, but i didn’t think he was a moron… or that i was better than him. i just disagreed with him. he freaked out, though, and in reaction i snapped back at him… “i’m glad you know what i’m thinking aaron. thank you for telling me.”

the whole thing was just a mess because he does this all the time. i do something to me that seems insignificant, or that i’m not even thinking about doing, and it pisses him off. and he remembers things, things that didn’t even cross my mind. and he brings them up. after i saw him in grease, i wrote him on aim and said “his hair looked funny”. he brought this up a week and a half later because he said it was an underhanded compliment… that because i hadn’t said anything about his performance it was actually a put down. this, of course, mystified me to no end, because it was a joke. taken completely out of context because we didn’t actually have a conversation.

it’s actually pretty frustrating dealing with him sometimes. we’ve actually gotten to know each other a lot better so far this semester, but we grate on each other’s nerves in ways i haven’t experienced in a long time.

i would write more, but the lab is getting crowded and i must go. leave comments. they make me happy.

ways to get on the internet really suck here

ways to get on the internet really suck here. about 100 more people showed up from another school yesterday, so that means this computer lab (with 12 computers, several of which are acting up) will be shared between around 200 people. from the hours of 9am to 8 pm. ack ack ack ack. also equally frustrating, CAPA will not let us put a phone line in the room, despite the fact that THEY TOLD US WE COULD IN OUR ORIENTATION PACKETS!! GAH!!!

so…. i need to find other ways to get on the net. i’m going to have to pay, but i’d like to find some reasonable set-up. like a net cafe with a membership or something. other than that, not much is going on. anyone who hasn’t read the previous entry should, because it’s filled with nudity (well, descriptions of nudity)

i haven’t been updating this

i haven’t been updating this thing as much as i would like to simply because i’m using the net on borrowed time. this computer lab is packed, and cold, and closes in half an hour. hopefully soon i might be able to get a dial-up connection in my room, but who knows how the ins and outs of british telecom will play out. it may be nigh on impossible to get a phone line and net connection set up in my room, so it may be a moot point. right now i hope to at least update a minimum of four days a week.

the most notable thing that happened to me this weekend was seeing the people across the way dance naked in front of their window. yes, that’s right. me and two of my friends watched a young (drunk… hopefully) british couple dance themselves silly in their fully lit, completely visible apartment. it seemed innocent enough at first – the guy was walking around without his shirt off. the girl looked like she was topless at first, but it turned out that she was just wearing a flesh-colored top. this became clear when she removed it. they proceeded to dance topless in front of their open window for a good ten, fifteen minutes and then they disappeared. we thought this was the end of the show, but they were just taking off their pants, apparently. after a few minutes they both returned, the man wearing boxers and the woman panties. the man insisted on dancing endlessly in front of the window. we (of course) were shamelessly watching the whole thing, which of course leads to an obvious conclusion. they saw us. yes, that’s right. they saw us staring at them through the window. they pointed, laughed… and kept dancing. now they were apparently doing it for our benefit. or something. maybe their judgement wasn’t quite right. probably it wasn’t. pretty soon they seemed to have become oblivious to the fact that they were being watched (or they enjoyed it) and they started playing a game of “steal each other’s underwear.” actually it was mostly the guy stealing the girl’s underwear and putting it on his head or waving it around in the air. they also kept spanking each other repeatedly. for a short while they disappeared out of sight, probably to their bed, but they stood up again soon enough. the woman began to walk around completely naked, which was readily obvious from our viewpoint. they guy continued wearing his boxers for some strange reason – we were all convinced that he was being a dork, since the girl was completely naked and he was still partially clothed. he began pulling his boxers up very high, much like Urkel from family ties. i’m not sure if he thought his partner would find this sexy… or what. anyways, this seemed to prove our theory. finally she must have convinced him to take them off. unfortunately, he decided this was a good time to dance suggestively in front of the window. he pointed at us to make sure we knew that he was dancing for our benefit. every once in a while the girl would leap up on him and wrap her legs around his waist. after a few minutes she would get off of him and they would talk about… something. or stand there looking at his penis, which may have been suffering from (as matt put it) “whiskey dick.” who knows. after a little more of this back-and-forth they finally retired to the bed and disappeared for a good long while. we assumed this was the end of the show and closed our windows accordingly, although i did see the final sight of two very tired looking people standing up to retrieve their clothes. all in all it was pretty strange. at least they were attractive and young. i don’t know if i could have handled an Ugly Naked Couple. i wonder if i’ll ever even see them on their balcony again. who knows what could happen the next time they get drunk.

well i’m already busy enough

well i’m already busy enough with things i have to do that it’s cutting into the things i want to do. but it’s not like i’m achieving anything. at my internship i’m just organizing their archive right now. i just sit there for a few hours and shuffle paper around. all my classes are nice, but very little brain activity is being promoted so far. i had forgotten how much i really do enjoy a challenge. this is true even when i’m so stressed out as a result that i start to convince myself i should be having a nervous breakdown or at least be going crazy bit by bit. right now, though, i just have time commitments. it’s better than the summer, when the most challenging thing was dealing with the two or three customers who were unhappy with their pizza deliveries. the rest of the time it was all simple point a to point b.

oh well. why am i complaining? it’s only the start of the semester. i do really need to start going out and doing things no matter what. i think once i am able to write on my own time on my laptop things will be improved.

the fire alarm went off

the fire alarm went off last night right after i fell asleep. we all stumbled down the stairs and out to the car park in front of Sainsbury’s grocery store, which is our designated meeting place. i sat there for a few minutes and swiftly realized that i felt worse than i had felt in a very long time. my own personal barometer is that it was the worst i have ever felt without having just thrown up or been about to throw up. which is, of course, a gross exaggeration, but i was in a bad mood. once we got the “all clear” i went upstairs as quickly as i could and tried to fall back asleep as quickly as possible. but i couldn’t, of course. everyone else in the group was all hyper and awake and they all decided to stay up a little while more and hang out, which i don’t begrudge them, but i couldn’t get to sleep until they were all quiet. so that sucked.

using the internet here is a pain in the ass because i’m so spoiled about being able to use it whenever i want to. the other annoying thing is the fact that stuff closes so early and i have crap to do all day when most things are open. it’s annoying that i’m here and i want to see things but i have all this bullshit that takes up my available daytime. and, of course, when i have freetime i find some way to screw it up, by – for -example – the not picking up the pass thing. ack. i would like to be able to use my notebook. my parents are going to possibly ship me some stuff… if it’s not too expensive. we’ll see how that goes. oh well. i’m going to try and go to some book stores before they close, which will be hard because they may close verrrrrrrrrrrry soon. anyways.

i had a dream last

i had a dream last night. in my dream, i and several of the people here for the semester decided we were going to go back to america for a little visit. the first thing we found out when we got back on campus was that the theatre department was doing the cherry orchard – which we did last year – only the cast was filled with new theatre majors i didn’t know. when we were trying to get into the theatre, the guy who was taking tickets stopped us and wouldn’t let us in. i just remember thinking that he should know who we were, but he didn’t.

another part of the dream was greg shotwell complaining because he hadn’t “seen any titties yet.”

i also had one more dream before this one in which i thought i had become a part of the movie castaway, except the plot was completely different, and had something to do with a family of five. i think the connection was that the father was played benevolently by tom hanks. most of that dream has disappeared except for one image where something is wrong with one of the children and tom is putting his hand on her head for comfort.

actually, these stories about my dream are slightly falsified, because i’ve made up logical stories to explain the illogical images that stuck in my memory. i’m not sure what my dreams were exactly, but they were something like the above.

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today we went to westminster abbey, which was basicallly this huge, gorgeous church that also happened to be a tomb for a very large number of people, including darwin and isaac newton as well as a huge number of kings and queens. all of the tombs were decorated with extremely flattering sculptures, some of which were very bad. a few of the sculptures had subjects placed in extremely uncomfortable looking positions, or (even better) ones that equated the dead with either ceaser or god, according to which way you looked at them.

i wandered around in there for around an hour and a half while talking to this girl, erin (6’2″, red hair). somewhere along the line we decided to leave there around 10:30, and we ended up wandering around a little before eating some lunch, and then we went and saw a movie.

the movie was called “heaven” and it’s actually the new movie from the guy that made “run lola run”. it was kind of interesting because it starred an american and an australian and was mostly in italian (and english). and was directed by a german.

ribisi spoke italian pretty convincingly, which leads me to believe he maybe grew up speaking it in his family, or just had a very good tutor.

i can’t really describe the plot of the movie, except that its verrry different from run lola run. very slow, methodical and symbolic. (not that lola wasn’t symbolic).

it doesn’t come out in america until october something, and probably won’t leave new york. so… watch it on video.

i’m happy because “frailty” is coming out here soon. i wanted to see it but never got the chance to while it was out in the states. i’m secretly hoping that “salton sea” will come out while i’m here, but that might be unlikely.

the movie i’m especially looking forward to seeing is “lost in la mancha,” the documentary about the terry gilliam movie that was never made.

well, it’s getting close to five and i think i might get kicked out of here soon, so i’m signing off. keep signing the comments, please. it fills my heart full of gravy.

…right…

P.S. it’s 4:45 while i’m writing this, which means it’s 10:45 where you are.

I’M NOT MAD I’M JUST DISAPPOINTED!!!

I’M NOT MAD I’M JUST DISAPPOINTED!!! (OHMYACHINGHEAD)

everybody seems to be a little down in the mouth and off-kilter. and all you folks back home are thinking “what the fuck is wrong with these rich assholes that get to go to another country for school? wot a bunch of wankers!” well maybe not the last part, but anyways, you’re asking me why we’re all depressed. uhhh… welll…. we don’t know, exactly. i mean, why is anyone depressed? can the person ever really tell you? i think that “i have a crush on a girl” is the only concrete answer to such a question. (don’t worry i don’t have a crush on a girl. yet.) of course, that’s only a surface problem. i think that in my case the surface problem is the taste of dr. pepper, or the fact that i keep waking up way too early, or that i can’t sit on my computer from midnight until four in the morning.

my plan is to buy myself some coke (a-cola) and see if that matches my taste memory. i think it might, cause i already had a can of it, and it seemed to pass muster. i also think i’m going to go shopping at some used book stores and maybe go to the record store.

i’m kind of worried about my internship fitting into my schedule, and i’m actually kind of wishing i hadn’t signed up for it. i mean, if i had taken the demography class or something i’d have a lot of alternative hard work to do, but at least i’d be traveling to places. or something. i’m not sure. ack ack ack.

and when they gather around like a covenofwitches….

tell the SONSOFBITCHES tell the SONSOFBITCHES tell the SONSOFBITCHES…

that this is the life.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: (Jeff James) Is Terrified by the Dismemberment Plan.

watched a bit of news

watched a bit of news tonight about the possibility of the us taking on iraq one-to-one in a war. i get the impression sometimes that the us government just has this desire to “fuck shit up” in retaliation for 9/11 and all, and we’re searching for a target, like a bully daring everyone to knock the chip off his shoulder. sigh.

as i write this, i’m sitting in an internet cafe paying by the hour. i really should be doing my homework but instead i’m checking email. oh well. costs more for me, i suppose.

today was my first day at my internship. i think i’m going to be busy. really busy. working in a london office was interesting. you could just sense the moments when everyone had almost simlutaneously decided they wanted to take a break, and then they would have a chat for a few minutes. today’s chat was about dentistry, because one gentleman had some unfortunate drilling and diagnosing done this morning. when break was over, it was almost as spontaneous. they just turned around, almost as if to say “we should really get back to work now, chaps. really…”

i went in actually thinking i was just going for an interview and ended up staying from 11a to 5p because the boss wanted me to read up on things about the organization.

actually listening to whiskeytown at the moment, despite what the thing may say below.

well, i’m in london

um well i’m in london.

apologies to all the folks out there who must have been waiting to read about my exploits or something. it’s actually much more complicated to get on the internet here. i either have to go down to the computer lab during office hours or go to an internet cafe, where i would have to pay. oh, an the notebook i brought with me? basically worthless. the battery dies in 20 minutes, the cd rom drive got damaged in transit so it won’t stay closed, and i didn’t bring any disk drives with me. there is no way to get anything out of my computer unless i go to a place and pay £5 an hour to hook it up to their network, which is something like seven or 8 dollars.

so, that sucks. i’ll have to figure out something eventually. god knows what.

as far as everything else goes, all of us here have gone a little crazy. basically we got off the plane and began the debauchery. on friday, i drank enough liquor and beer before 3:00 PM to get me tipsy. then i went to sleep until 10 PM. (by the way, the time difference is 6 hours, so it’s six hours later here. as i’m typing this at 10:30 in the morning, it’s actually 4:30 in the morning in the US.) everyone else went out that night and came back drunk. i felt kind of crappy for having missed out, but i had been awake for 24 hours running on an hour and a half of sleep (no sleep in the plane).

on saturday, i woke up at 6:00 in the morning (i did manage to get to sleep that night at around 2 AM) and then proceeded to lock myself out of the building. that was fun.

the eating has been pretty cool here so far. on our first day we went to a pizza place the lunch special was a pizza and a beer for £4.95, and the pizza was as big as a huge dinner plate. on saturday, we went to a fish and chips place and discovered how bland and greasy british food really is. that night, we went to chinatown and picked a restaurant (i wouldn’t be able to tell you whether one of those restaurants looked any better than the other. they all looked the same to me.) anyways, i had duck with pineapple, which was really good but the meal was pretty fucking expensive – duck, friend rice, and a beer (asian tiger, which someone said they thought tasted like rice krispies) all came to around £10.

later that night, we went out to a “disco” pub called O’Neils which was packed full of drunk dancing people. i’m not sure if i liked it, really. i spent most of my time watching people, which was entertaining, but i felt kind of isolated in a crowd. this place was pretty expensive, too – £6 for cover, then every pint was £3 and above, and i bought four pints in the hour and forty-five minutes i was there. all in all that day i spent around ?40.

to put that into perspective, when i went to a money changer, i gave them $100 and received £62.

i mean, it was fun, but it was also kind of frightening to see how much money you can spend in so little time here.

sunday we had a scavenger hunt. we were split up into groups and given things to find around the city. basically the other two people in my group figured everything out and i just ran behind them. it was pretty hard to keep up, too, because they were keeping a pretty cruel pace. when it really came down to it, i didn’t really care about the prizes that much. i would rather have walked at a normal pace and actually seen the things we went to instead of running to and from them. after the scavenger hunt was over i got to talking to this girl, Erin, who i had noticed before at school. this girl is 6’2″ – taller than me – and has bright red hair. she’s also a really interesting person, although i wouldn’t really know because for some reason i spent the entire time i hung out with her talking about myself instead of really having a conversation with her. i mean, i sort of did, but i know that i just let myself go loose and i kept talking and talking and talking. ugh. i’m sure i will get the chance to talk to her again and hopefully i’ll be able to control myself this time.

on monday, a bunch of us went to a Salvador Dali exhibit, which has like 500 pieces of art, mostly lithographs as well as a few sculptures. it was AMAZING. i wanted to look at every single piece of art in the place, and probably could have spent the whole day there. it was total sensory overload. i may have to go back just to spend more time looking things over. later that afternoon, we went to this huge carnival that they have every year here called the Notting Hill Carnival. there were soooooo many people there, and the atmosphere was absolutely insane. again, i spent more time watching people than doing anything else – i didn’t really want to drink because i wanted to have my bearings – pickpockets were rife. it was kind of fun and kind of not at the same time. oh well.

shopping here is kind of interesting. things are more expensive sometimes, and they don’t have some things i’m used to. for example, cream cheese in the form i think of it isn’t the same as the spreadable cheese i bought. Dr. Pepper does not taste at all like it is supposed to. also, the way the grocery store works, they don’t seem to restock things but once a day. the baked goods are only baked very early in the morning, and if you miss out, you’re shit out of luck. that goes for a lot of things actually, which is strange because the grocery store is open 24 hours a day except sundays.

also, a lot of stores are closed on the weekends, or they close very early, especially on sundays.

i’m sure there’s more stuff i’ve forgotten, but there will be much more to write about soon enough. anyways, there you go, daniel. that’s an update.