Monday, January 31

morality is ridiculous

Good news! I'm not gay, since I don't really care for Spongebob Squarepants. Seriously, though, this is what one neo con offered by way of defending James Dobson's claim that SS promotes homosexuality:

Big Media's criticism of Dobson shows once again that they just don't get it - America's parents don't want SpongeBob, Big Bird and Elmo co-opted in an effort to persuade their kids that homosexuality is "normal and natural." Dobson sounded the alarm and now the liberal press is taking him to task. By distorting the facts they are attempting to marginalize him and undermine his influence. Clear-thinking Americans won't buy it - they've trusted Dobson's advice for 27 years and will see through the media's SpongeBob charade.

Okay, first off, homosexuality is normal and natural, since it normally, naturally occurs. Dude, anything humans do is natural, we're part of nature. Murder is normal and natural. Raping the planet is normal and natural. If we do it, it's nprmal and natural. Normal and natural are not value judgements, they're descriptors. N & N are not the same as good or bad.

It just seems like in 200 years we're going to be looking at stuff like this the way we look at victorian mores, like a quaint and ultimately amusing expression of our inability to deal with our own sex organs. I hope Max feels free to sleep with whomever he likes, as long as they're nice and he enjoys their company.

Thursday, January 27

This completely slipped my mind.

Almost 2 months ago marked my one year anniversary in the blog-o-verse. I did nothing to commemorate. I didn't even post that day, stupid since marking the anniversary would have given me something to post about. Yet, here it is two months later before I even realized how long I've been doing this. I must be enjoying it.

Max opted to play a videogame last night instead of continuing the Harry Potter saga. We are 2 chapters from finishing Philosopher's stone, and so far while I am not in love, I see the appeal of the stories. There's a certain wry sensibility to that whole thing that propels the reader through some sloppy language and lazy plotting. I see no problem with spending the next year or so with these three scrappy youths as they try to make sense of their place in the extraordinary world.

At a chapter per night, say five nights out of seven, I can be averaging a book every two-three months. This might mean that we can be caught up for Goblet of Fire when it comes out next winter. As a treat at the end of each book, we will watch the movie. This ought to help reinforce what happened, and get us prepared to read the next book.

I'm also working on scripting the opening scene of a movie, a thriller. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, January 24

There goes Johnny

Yeah, he died on the weekend, from emphysema, a shitty way to go. I was thinking about putting up the usual sort of tribute page, but I thought it might be more fitting just to give you one of my favorite Carson jokes:

I remember my first sexual experience. It was back in Nebraska when I was a teenager, in the back seat of my dad's Packard. It was so good, that after it was over, I decided to try it with a girl.

Sunday, January 23

four hundred more injections, and I shall be an invertebrate

Crispin Glover's got a new movie coming out. Here's the poster:

Check out the trailer while you're over there. All I can say is, good for him for turning the incredibly minor comeback he's enjoying into the most obscure arty piece of nonsense I've seen in a while. Go on, man, fuck some shit up. There's gotta be more out and out pure-assed weirdness, if only as a by product of the times in which we live.

Some lousy fish came and stole all my ice cubes

In the last 72 hours I have:
Made all final plans for Leah's birthday tea next week
Planned an impromptu birthday brunch for a friend
helped approve the birthday planning for Max's party next month

hmm... patterns. Or all things come in threes, or whatever you want to call it.

Supporting Players is already at a standstill, as I quickly realized that after Walter Brennan most of the other people I want to write about are going to require actual research. Damn, I wish everything just wrote itself. I'm also trying to come up with a one minute movie, now that the theme's been announced. Intersections. That about covers everything, doesn't it? Next year I'd like the theme to be chocolate pudding, or something else equally as constraining. Then I could write a movie.

We spent this very cold (as in people are using witch's tits for mittens*) and horribly snowy day inside for the most part. Partly because my new TV was delivered and I had to wait around for it to get here, and partly because once I've waited around until noon in my pajamas, there's no point getting dressed at all. Which was a mistake, where Max is concerned. A four year old should not spend an entire day in the bedroom, engaged in an impromptu Simpsons marathon of his own making.

I did go out to get groceries, a surprisingly stressful endeavor. I like to get groceries. I find it a weirdly zen exercise, going up and down the aisles, looking at every single thing, thinking about what I'd like to eat, buying the ingredients, lazily checking out of the self checkout machine. It's some quality me time. Done properly, I can burn through around three hours and really really enjoy it. But I never have that kind of time, to just do what is essentially nothing.

Today was a good example. Despite the dangerous driving and relentless snow, Loblaws was packed like it was free turkey day over there. A couple of the aisles were unnavigable there were so many carts in them. And it was getting late. And we were all together. And after a day inside staring at a tube, Max gets somewhat restless and cranky. I kept it together nicely, and in fact my mood was and has remained basically carefree through the shop and the hurriedly-prepared-but-really-quite-nice dinner (broiled salmon fillet, baby spinach salad with croutons from scratch, sticky rice infused with thai broth, fresh whole grain bread) and I came out the other side none the worse for wear, so in fact i had a quite terrific day. I'm not complaining at all. But I miss just zoning out and thinking about all the stuff I'm gonna put in a lasagna later that week.

*thanks to Messrs. Stewart and Wiltfong, of the show that is daily.

Thursday, January 20

quote from tv show I just watched, which when taken out of context is rather cool

General musing about current state of day, followed by semi witty line about future looking worse than past. Sentence which both ingratiates myself to reader and simultaneously announces direction current post will be going in. Further self deprecation!

Mention of current news item, found here. Summing up of significance of item, and its essential comment on society. Outrage or other suitable emotional response to what is clearly a sign of coming destruction of all held sacred. Suggestion of further action which on first glance seems extreme, and upon further examination proves to be both dangerous and impractical. Too clever ending line which only serves to annoy reader more.

Tuesday, January 18

Canadian News and Lost Mitten Update

The Simpsons should always spend their time in Canada. Where Regina and Winnipeg are both a day's drive from Springfield. Nice.

resolution number nine...number nine...number nine

Actually it was number two, but I couldn't resist. My first entry into the character actor blog is finally complete, and it's a doozy. Nothing like starting at the top and then working your way down, this is the longest post I've ever worked on. Read it, if you like, see the movies (I hope) and by all means let me know what you think!

Monday, January 17


Matt just posted in such a way as to make me think that Jonathan Frakes had just died. Hmmm....I don't think I was ready for Riker to be the first to go. My money was on Deanna, in some sort of car accident/beheading type deal. Not because I dislike her, just because of the exotic/Mamie Van Doren quality of it all.

My last work weekend was as uneventful as always, as I saw not more than one person all day on Saturday, and no one at all on Sunday. 11 hours worked, not one thing accomplished. Very satisfying indeed. I re-read subculture to pass the time. Then I went home and Max and I watched the Simpsons dvds. Max is still relating to it primarily as a show based on his favorite videogame. This lead to complaints about why the show doesn't have more scenes of Homer running people over in his car. Max's favorite part of every episode remains the opening credits when Homer is almost run down on his way from garage to living room. I expect he's getting as much out of this as I did from the Flintstones, which is depressing to even think about. How can something I and millions of others feel is televisions' towering cultural achievement be reduced to quaint semi-interest in the space of one generation?

My scones were a success. They are delicious, freeze well and give me all the excuse I need to consume more double thick cream and apple butter (good on scones, awesome on pancakes.) I have conceded on the party sandwich front, and will now be ordering the usual assortment from the pickle barrel as always. I am tired of the same old cat food, but cannot resist the overwhelming tide of public opinion as to its' innate superiority over the more exotic fare I would choose. I would like to serve curried chicken salad with walnuts, Asparagus with montrachet and prosciutto, Watercress and cucumber, and on and on, but it's pointless. There are seemingly only two possible outcomes of that course of action. I will blow it, making the sandwiches poorly, or more likely I will do an excellent job and no one will like what I've made and will secretly whisper that they wish there was plain old tuna and salmon like there always is. So I officially cave. I told my mother last night on the phone; she seemed relieved.

I also managed to make a small veggie stirfry side dish that did not suck. It tasted better to me than to anyone else, because it had the delicious aroma of me climbing back on the horse. I still want an honest to god hand hammered wok, but I currently don't know where I would store such an item and so perhaps I will wait until I have cleared a spot to put it away.

My conquest of DVD land continues apace. This weekend marked the crossing off of several big items; North by Northwest (the print is luminous), Godfather & Godfather II commentaries (now I just have to watch III and hear commentary in order to retire the set) and the Howard Hawks Scarface. Also I only have about a disc and a half left on Simpsons season 5, so pretty soon I'll be able to crack into the Seinfeld boxes and relive all the greatness there is. My shelf of unwatched goodness continues to shrink down to a manageable size. Soon I might even be able to start purchasing things again. I'm heading down the home stretch now.

Friday, January 14

scones, baby.

I'm preparing for an upcoming birthday party by attempting to make all the food myself. This after having to storm off to the bedroom last night when I couldn't get a chicken stir fry to work out the way I wanted. I actually managed to ruin both the stirfry itself and the rice to go with it. Which wouldn't be so bad, except that everything I did wrong was something I would've lectured someone else about had I observed them making the exact same mistakes. I crowded the pan, primarily. Not once, but 3 times. This turned my stir fry into a stir boil. You know, Leah ate it, so did Max, and they attested that it tasted fine. And I'm sure it did. Still didn't make up for the fact that I kacked it royal. I didn't eat dinner last night, mostly to help reinforce my self-disgust at failing to prepare something made routinely in bachelor apartments by people who find kraft dinner a challenge.

No matter how much I cook I'll never have any confidence because of incidents like this one. This sucks, mostly because I love to eat. Worse yet, on occasion I am able to get a few nice dishes together, often for company. Like at this party coming up, I'm sure I'll do a reasonably good job with scones, tea and little sandwiches. And invariably someone, by way of paying me a compliment, will proffer "This is really good. You should open a restaurant." Um... not to sound ungrateful, but fuck off in advance. Being able to feed 40 people a snack with about 10 hours to prepare does not make me ready to open a restaurant. It barely qualifies me to eat in one. Blowing your comment out of all proportion ain't praise, it's an annoyance.

Wow. Bilious.

Wednesday, January 12

they're dancing as fast as they can

With the Golden Globes approaching and People's Choice already behind us, Awards season is in full swing. My current issue of entertainment weekly proudly trumpets all of its choices for possible Oscar nominees, something that in and of itself helps to shape the actual choices since academy members tend to go with whoever is being touted by others.

The ironical part for me is that basically none of the categories had enough greatness in them this year to even warrant 5 nominees. The crappiest year at the movies in my memory ends with people desperately shilling their below average product just as stridently as they would have if the pictures were good. The emperor not only has no clothes, he didn't even stop masturbating and get out of bed.

Tuesday, January 11


Sitting around Matt's coffee table last night, jamming on subculture and de-problemizing the production made me feel like it might really happen. Oh god, I damn well hope so. I am ready, really ready, to put my name on something big and good and permanent, something I haven't done since 1996 and Festival Pass. This blog is the closest I've gotten.

Oh, and I guess Max counts on that score as well. I keep forgetting about him. The post op recovery period officially ends today, and he's back at school tomorrow. The number of get well cards and phone calls has taken me absolutely aback. People have been more than generous in their concern for his well being. The kids at waterfront put together (and hand delivered) the most beautiful giant banner. It really is a restore the faith in humanity kind of moment.

There haven't been any lasting effects, other than his voice becoming much higher and kind of squeaky, so he's now a muppet babies version of his former self. Also, he's addicted to videogames, specifically Simpsons Hit n Run. We're taking everything back on Wednesday night, so we'll see how it goes.

The Apple store is down right now. They're getting ready with all the new goodies from MacWorld, the keynote of which is being delivered momentarily. Here's where we find out if we really can save about 2 grand by picking up that little media mac they keep talking about. I hope so. I would love to surf the net on my 34" HDTV from my couch, and this could make that more than possible. I also might be able to vid cap right from the DVD, providing my little blog with lots moe cool content. Time will tell.

Sunday, January 9

checks and balances

I had a great weekend, with a really good time with the friday night gang, followed by a great little poker tourney at Katie's (sorry... Kate's) apartment (I'm not writing about the poker, for those of you scoring at home.) This was my chance to say goodbye for a while to Aura, as she winged westward to Tim's loving arms and her very fulfilling career. Hope to see you soon, hope I can come there next time since it sounds way better than here.... and I hope we keep talking and bloggin' it up for many years to come.

I used PAM this weekend for the first time in about 10 years. Buttering things, especially muffin trays is definitely more of a hassle, but after the results were in it may be worth it. PAM things just don't taste as good or have the same mouth feel, even. I'm trying one more batch before I pass final judgement. We'll see.

The reason I don't own a video game console became more evident this weekend, as I pushed aside several hours of late night DVDage in favor of Simpsons Hit n' Run. If I did own a system, I would just alternate between not liking whatever was supposed to be so great, and liking some of it too much, thereby guaranteeing myself no free time whatsoever.

I'm listening to Positively 5th Street in the car these days. Seems like when I'm not playing Poker I'm watching others play or hearing about it.

I'm still working on finding the time to get it together on my character actor thing. It may have to become a monthly commitment, we'll see. In any case, Walter Brennan should be done sometime this week, details as they become available. I'm looking forward to acquiring some sort of secondary computer in the house in the next few months, should make blogging and other pursuits slightly more accessible to me from now on. I'm stuck at work now, putting the finishing touches on a couple of reports, and then it's home, hopefully to watch at least a couple of discs unless homer and his crazy driving beckons and I simply cannot resist.

end transmission.

Friday, January 7

about every 20 years, my father in law runs over his subscription glasses

We were on a 14 day car camping trip to the east coast and back. 2 weeks spent in PEI and now we were coming home. It's 1984 or '85, traveling along the TCH (which was then just one lane each way), my brother and I in the back seat, my father driving, the car loaded full with suitcases, camping equipment, etc. There's so much stuff we've attached one of those temporary suction cup roof racks to the top of the car. We look like the Joads, headed for California. My mother pauses the conversation occasionally to worry about losing stuff off the rack, the weather, the roads, how fast we're going. Then we're going past a farm, and my mom points out that this is where the car caught on fire once.

In 1970, my parents had taken this same trip without us (actually I was there, but as the family joke goes I didn't have a window seat.) My father was smoking, had the windows rolled down, and threw a still smoldering butt out the drivers side. Aerodynamics being what they were on a '70's pinto wagon, the butt came around and flew back in the rear window. After a few more miles flames leapt out of the back seat, and nearly wrecked the car. They managed to pull over and avoid total pinto destruction by running to the nearest farmmhouse (the very one we were passing as the story was being related) and getting help from the farmer who lived there.

As we were hearing this story and marvelling at the close shave my parents escaped from, there was a quiet moment. Followed by:

an enormous bang
the car buckled on its shocks
bags and tents and gear flew ten feet in the air
and landed all over the road

We skidded to a stop on the shoulder and tried to figure out what the hell had just happened. As near as we could tell, the roof rack, which was two pieces of wood held on to the car with suction cups, had disengaged its' front section and flipped completely over, taking all the stuff with it on a wild ride.

We got out to see tents, knapsacks and sleeping bags just lying all over the highway in a rough line about 100 yards long. My father braved the highway to collect everything, and I set about fixing the rack so that this could not happen again. I remember pulling on those straps until I was lifted off the ground. We were getting close to finishing and I was working on the driver's (road) side of the car when I looked up and saw panic flash across my parents faces. This was followed by:

A deafening noise mere inches from the back of my head
an even more deafening horn blast
me screaming inaudibly over the sound as I realized I was about to get pulled into the slipstream
of a gigantic tractor trailer that was going past me with about an inch to spare.

I think the picture of it for my parents is one of those you can't ever unsee. Me, at 14, mouth full open, and you can't see anything else behind me except onrushing truck.

We got back in the car just as it started to rain a bit. There was a little discussion about the it-could-have-been-worse factor, since the rack could have come off in the rain. This was broken up by mom continuing to worry that we still hadn't done a good job with it and we should pull over to check it again. The rack was fine, it was just fine, okay? We managed to drive for an additional 7 feet before my father pulled over in an exasperated huff. It was really raining now, so of course I was asked to go outside and do a once over. Which I grudgingly did. I re-re-confirmed everything and was about to get back in the car and let them know we could go when the driver's side window went down and my father asked me to come around. "Is everything okay?", he asked. Yes, I told him, everything is fine, and I was just about to get in on my side and tell you that, can I please get out of the rain now?

I got back in, we started to get back on the highway, and my father put his window back up. Except it wouldn't go up. There was a vague grinding motory noise, but no window. The motor seized. In the rain, which was fast becoming torrential. We pulled over again, and tried to tape a green plastic garbage bag over the cavity. It kept the rain out, sort of, and made this noise: this is an audio post - click to play . For over 100 miles it made that noise. Until beaten, we pulled into a motel in New Hampshire for the night.

And after we had registered, we walked back to the car. Someone stopped us on the way to ask "Is that your car over there?"

"Yup, that's ours", we said. "You have a flat", he said.

Thursday, January 6

that scraping noise you hear...

Yesterday was the big day for Max. We got up early, went to the hospital, and got checked in. This is what he looked like while we waited:


Then they took him inside, drugged him up nice and good, and started doing this to him:

click here for waaaay more than you wanted to know about this!

and this:

and then this:

This is what he looked like after he woke up:


And this is him an hour later:


and 20 minutes after that:


and this is after his fifteenth popsicle:


and this is him, going home with a wheelchair ride:


We're mostly all better now, so we've borrowed a game cube and some disney games and it's fun fun fun until at least Monday.

Tuesday, January 4


Welcome, officially, to the ought five edition of my somewhat interesting life! If you are in fact still with me, gentle reader, than I have some announcements to make. Call them resolutions, if you will, and here they are:

1) I am gonna stop going negative. That's right, no more rants, complaints or other generally bad vibe inducing stuff in 2005. But come 2006, I'll be right back to bitching about everything.

2) I am starting a new regular feature: Character Actor of the week. This week's will follow later today. 52 of hollywood's overlooked best and brightest from all periods of filmmaking, including a weekly film festival suggestion of movies to rent.

3) More stuff about Max, starting with wall to wall coverage of his triple play surgery tomorrow. Tonsils, Adenoids and Ear Tube implantation will be discussed in detail.

4) No more stuff about poker. I'll stop writing about it, and just start losing like a man.

5) Matt's gonna make his movie. I'm helping. It will be done.

6) I will accept, and be happy with my TV, finally. The new Sony arrives on the 15th. I'll let you know.

7) I mentioned earlier that I'm slowing down on the whole DVD thing. I am. I'm also getting more focussed. First up, I will complete my quest for Film Noir completeness, completely. After that, Westerns. Then Musicals. What's next? You tell me. Maybe Sci-Fi.

8) I'm definitely cleaning the car. It's a sty.

9) Pictures will be hung, curtains installed, wires hidden, lights added, a bed skirted and furniture replaced some time this year. I vow it. Also I will replace that crappy alarm clock radio with something nicer.

10) I will look at this list in about six months and either laugh, or cry.
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