Saturday, January 31, 2004

The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret

"but don't go spreading that around"

Friday, January 30, 2004

Maudite

To borrow from the French, I am so fucking la maudite. I see danger — stranger beware.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Cat That Ended the Great Depression

The box said so, I swear.

The Rain, the Park and Other Things

Goodbye animal-vegetable-mineral. Say hello to (1) solid, (2) vapor, (3) liquid, (4) plasma, (5) Bose-Einstein condensate, and (6) fermionic condensate of potassium atoms.

Twenty Questions has never been this fun.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Coincidental Conversations, Concurrent Chronologically

Dead of night 03: who are you?
kidicarus222: your best friend
kidicarus222: drew
kidicarus222: of the daily nexus
kidicarus222: at uc santa barbara
Dead of night 03: oic
kidicarus222: oink back at you
Dead of night 03: no, oic
Dead of night 03: orange ink carrots
kidicarus222: oh, i see
Dead of night 03: you done with the opinions page?
kidicarus222: cory's working tonight
Dead of night 03: very nice
Dead of night 03: so is trishelle
Dead of night 03: did he ever find his wallet?
kidicarus222: he owns a wallet?
Dead of night 03: he did up until three weeks ago
Dead of night 03: he lost it around broida
kidicarus222: no no
kidicarus222: he keeps all his money in his left boot
Dead of night 03: oh, his fake leg
Dead of night 03: i get it

And then this one.

kidicarus222: hi
miglorious: hi
kidicarus222: okay
kidicarus222: wer're done now
miglorious: my this is awkward
miglorious: i suppose you're right
miglorious: i'm typing with one hand anyway whie the other is immersed in haagen dazs so this really won't go too far anyway
miglorious: anyway
miglorious: i'm going to go read about chinese-americans now
kidicarus222: (nottalkingtoyou, nottalkingtoyou, nottalkingtoyou, nottalkingtoyou, nottalkingtoyou, nottalkingtoyou, nottalkingtoyou, nottalkingtoyou, nottalkingtoyou, nottalkingtoyou, ...)
miglorious: GOODBYE!!
kidicarus222: (love)
miglorious: mwa mwa
miglorious: NOOOOO I LEFT MY BOOK IN BROIDA 1610
miglorious: BUT REMEMBERED TO BRING ALONG MY NEXUS CROSSWORD PUZZLE
kidicarus222: foolish miglorious
miglorious: woe
kidicarus222: whoa
miglorious: hardly
miglorious: i'm not surprised

Bolded, italicized lines spoken — typed — at precisely the same moment. Apparently, all things vanish in the Broida Black Hole.

Bananas

Ball. Of. Sunshine.

For your notes, this conversation is in reference to the previous post, "Bunny," the flaw in which I have since corrected.

supersanam: I just read your blog thinger
supersanam: and just to clarify
supersanam: in valmont, cecile is played by fairuza balk, and in dangerous liaisons, she's played by uma thurman
supersanam: michelle pfeiffer plays madame des volanges
supersanam: the innocent god fearing woman who hoes it with valmont
kidicarus222: now my credibility is ruined!
supersanam: not to be picky, but I'd hate to think your journalistic integrity is being compromised by misinformation
kidicarus222: umm... was everything else right, now that i think about it?
supersanam: nothing else stood out as being wrong
kidicarus222: by the way, i'm changing correcting the wrong parts
kidicarus222: and done
supersanam: nice to see john mahoney getting props
kidicarus222: you should be a copy editor
supersanam: I should be a lot of things
supersanam: but correcting stuff is fun, if you ever need a second opinion on something
kidicarus222: okay
kidicarus222: read my whole journal and correct the wrong parts
supersanam: oh god no
kidicarus222: but correcting is fun!
supersanam: well, relatively
kidicarus222: but anyway
kidicarus222: never refrain from your criticism
kidicarus222: and always be the little ball of sunshine you are
kidicarus222: you ever watch roseanne?
kidicarus222: you remind me of darlene
kidicarus222: in a good way
supersanam: that's fucked up!
kidicarus222: take a poll
kidicarus222: everyone will agree
supersanam: if I'm darlene then you're dj
kidicarus222: no, i'm david
supersanam: whoa that's a low blow
kidicarus222: if anyone on the show, i'm him
supersanam: david is one of the worst characters in the history of television
kidicarus222: no
kidicarus222: you are wrong
kidicarus222: actually, if i'm anyone on that show, i'm jackie
supersanam: haha agreed
supersanam: cory is heather matarazzo
kidicarus222: cory is nancy
supersanam: I think that's a pretty accurate assumption in general
kidicarus222: you made the blog
supersanam: honored
supersanam: its good to see my name in print but then I suppose I'm preaching to the choir on that one
kidicarus222: i hate my name in print
kidicarus222: i'm starting a pseudonym
supersanam: uh oh
supersanam: what?
kidicarus222: milton x. thunderstamp
supersanam: what's the x for?
kidicarus222: xanadu
supersanam: then it just looks like milton times thunderstamp
kidicarus222: milton x. thunderstamp
supersanam: kublai khan or olivia newton-john?
kidicarus222: citizen kane
supersanam: ahh

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Bunny

(deep breath)

so we watch “hudsucker proxy,” the latest movie the good people at netflix sent me, and it’s great and maybe the only movie with as much circular imagery as “the ring,” which had a lot of circular imagery and i do mean a lot, and i go online to imdb.com afterwards to see if cory’s assertion that paul newman is only five-foot-two is true, only i get sidetracked and end up looking up john mahoney, who’s also in the movie but everybody knows him as frasier’s dad, and i find out that he was in this tv movie called “house of blue leaves,” which is way weird because that’s the title of the final chapter of “kill bill vol. one” when the bride takes on all of o-ren’s goons in this posh sushi bar and imdb.com summarizes “house of blue leaves” like this:

(deep breath)
Zoo attendant Artie Shaughnessy (John Mahoney) dreams of being a successful songwriter. What his mistress, Bunny Flingus (Christine Baranski), who lives downstairs from his Queens apartment won't tell him — and what his insane wife, Bananas (Swoosie Kurtz), tries to get through to him — is that Artie's songs stink. On Oct. 4, 1965, the day Pope Paul visits New York City, Bunny convinces Artie to call his old school buddy Billy Einhorn (Richard Portnow), a famous film director from Los Angeles, to finagle a job writing music for Billy's movies. (After all, Bunny feels that with the Pope here, there must be "miracles in the air.") But before Artie can reach out to Billy, Artie's son, Ronnie (Ben Stiller), goes AWOL from Fort Dix, secretly preparing to blow up His Holiness at Yankee Stadium. Instead, when the bomb explodes prematurely, the victims include a deaf film starlet and two Sisters of Charity... but no Pope.
(deep breath)

if that’s not weird enough, the movie is based on a play by the same guy who wrote “six degrees of separation” which is all-too-appropriate seeing how all this fitted together, plus there was someone named “bananas,” which i can’t stop thinking about, and i'm pretty sure swoosie kurtz and christine baranski were both in “cruel intentions,” which was a remake of “dangerous liaisons” that also starred swoosie kurtz that came out around the same time as “valmont," which is based on the same old french novel as “dangerous liaisons” and has colin firth and annette benning in place of john malkovich and glenn close in the roles that ryan phillippe and sarah michelle gellar played in “cruel intentions”

(deep breath)

but the thing that really gets me is that in “dangerous liaisons,” the role of the innocent and stupid virgin cecile that selma blair played in “cruel intentions” and fairuza balk played in “valmont” was played by uma thurman, who, of course, plays the bride in “kill bill” and i guess that brings things around pretty nicely to a full circle or at least a semihemidemicircle but a round shape nonetheless, just like in “hudsucker proxy” and not so much like in “the ring,” where naomi watts still hadn’t killed that girl by the end.

paul newman, it turns out, is five-foot-eight. wasn't i supposed to read as i lay dying today?

Ringuistics

[[[only the cold bite of 3 a.m. could thin the clouds and render my thinking so clear]]]
Dear Aunt Josephine,

Today was a big day for me. I decided at about three o’clock this afternoon that I would declare a second minor. After deciding against doubling majoring in English and art studio, I think the matching the English major with writing and linguistics minors is the thing for me!

Of course, this means that I will be in school for a full fifth year. I guess this means I’ll be a Super Senior!!

In some goofy chain reaction, this made me think about staying at the opinion page — or at least returning from it when I get back from Washington in the fall. Gee whiz, with a whole extra year of training, I could be the best opinion editor the Daily Narxus ever had. Won’t that be the day!!!

Well, I guess I’d better wind up this letter. Give my regards to Uncle Boofus and the triplets and I hope your stoma is working out for you. Love ya lots!!!!

All my love,
Drew

P.S. !!!!!
[[[bananas and police officers pair in startling ways]]]

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Welcome to Jack-O-Land

Artful Dodger takes a break, but hey look! It's the Media Gadfly!
Welcome to Jack-O-Land
(Thoughts on what shall become of Neverland Ranch)

Eccentric popstar Michael Jackson?

Eccentric popstar and accused child molester Michael Jackson?

How about Michael Jackson, fallen superstar, purported kiddiediddler and the 21st century's incarnation of the boogeyman? I think that about nails it.

Yes, no matter what comes of the approaching Jackson trial, it seems allusions to his bizarre behavior will forever be affixed to his name. Innocent or not, his future's in more trouble than a fifth grader in soccer shorts caught wandering the Santa Ynez ranch country after sundown.

But the question the residents of Santa Barbara County should be asking is, "How can we benefit from all this?" Aside from cruising up to the Santa Maria courthouse and spending an afternoon mocking the diehard Jackson devotees gathered to support their hero, the trial could open an avenue of entertainment for us — namely, one that goes through gates of the Neverland Valley Ranch itself.

Jackson's attorney Mark Geragos publicly denied the longstanding rumors that legal fees, sagging album sales and superstar spending sprees have eaten a considerable hole in Jackson's finances. Whether the trial puts Jackson into the red remains to be seen, but the King of Pop suggested that he might give up the Neverland Valley Ranch anyway on a Dec. 28 interview with "60 Minutes" anchorman Ed Bradley.

"I won't ever live there again," Jackson said. "It's a house now. It's not a home anymore."

Thus, there's some evidence to support the possibility that in the near future, those of us older then the Nickelodeon demographic could be admitted to Jackson's estate.

Geragos, being a lawyer, could be putting a happy face on a bad situation. Jackson's public representative certainly wouldn't admit that his client had squandered his multimillion-dollar fortune, especially before a costly trial. Regardless of the verdict, a 2,700-acre, $50 million mansion-cum-fun park might prove too costly for Jackson, and he could either open it to the public to recoup his money or concede it to the government as a means of escaping its surely massive property taxes.

Alternatively, Jackson could be both wealthy and innocent, but the bad memories of this ordeal might prod him to abandon the park completely. And as I'd imagine few people would have the resources to purchase and operate the Neverland Valley Ranch, the state of California could transform the locale into a state park.

Such a transaction isn't entirely unheard of. Six years after the death of newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst in 1951, his heirs decided that his behemoth estate Hearst Castle weighed too heavily on the family bank account and convinced the state of California to buy it. Today, Hearst Castle draws about 800,000 tourists annually and the revenues to match.

People should be excited by this prospect. A bright star long since burnt into a black hole of weirdness, Michael Jackson would leave one hell of legacy if he gave folks an opportunity to marvel and gawk at his digs. If perusing paintings of him flanked by Disney characters or statue gardens of frolicking children doesn't suit the public's tastes, Neverland has amusement park rides, trains, a zoo, and — according to a Jan. 18 article in the
Santa Barbara News-Press, a "water fort with giant water guns."

So cross your fingers, folks. There's a chance we could one day all check out the weirdest spot in Santa Barbara County. And as extra insurance that Jacko runs out of cash, how about the four of you who bought his last album vow to abstain from the next release?

I think I should stop writing about Michael Jackson for a while.

A Letter to Elizabeth Upon My Having Missed Her Wedding

dear liz.

now that i assume you're all settled in your new life as mrs. new last name, i thought i'd send you an email.

i hope the wedding was everything you hoped it would be. or at least i hope everyone escaped unharmed. once again, i'm really sorry for missing it. honestly, while i already have forgotten what i did that weekend instead of going to your wedding, i know i would have remembered the event for a long time has i gone. damn school. i hope idaho or iowa or whatever other i state you're living in know is not the inhospitable wasteland i imagine it to be.

when you can take a break from married life to let me know how the whole thing went down, i'd love to hear it.

your friend (even in absence)
drew

p.s. so now that you're a missus, does this mean you'll have to change the name you use in your email address?

Friday, January 23, 2004

The Return of Mr. Pants

Oh, so Xanadone. Another original creation stalks the earth:

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Hawk in the Backyard



I shall call you Majestico.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The Sound and the Fury

It had to come from somewhere.
Out, out, brief candle. Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
— Macbeth, act five, scene five

Live for Today

Mystery fame.

EyesTowardWindow: hey i'm living with this girl natalie newman, she says she knows you
EyesTowardWindow: you know anything about her?
kidicarus222: umm
kidicarus222: no
kidicarus222: she's from ucsb?
EyesTowardWindow: yeah
kidicarus222: how does she know me?
EyesTowardWindow: i don't know i was just talking one day about school and stuff and i mentioned your name and she was like ohh i know him
kidicarus222: i don't know any natalies
kidicarus222: she might just recognize my name from the paper
kidicarus222: i get that a lot
kidicarus222: or
kidicarus222: she might know drew atkins
kidicarus222: who also works at the paper
EyesTowardWindow: maybe that's it
EyesTowardWindow: i was like ok
EyesTowardWindow: i didn't want to get into it
kidicarus222: yeah, i'm sure i don't know a natalie newman
EyesTowardWindow: by the way your piece on girls wearing to much makeup was supurb
kidicarus222: thank you
EyesTowardWindow: well i enjoyed it I like reading the nexus at work when i'm bored or don't want to work
kidicarus222: it's good for boredom
kidicarus222: and for cleaning up spills

Monday, January 19, 2004

Valerie's Riding in a Car Around My Neighborhood

Newly burned: hot on the heels of my previous three 80s compilations comes the fourth installment, "Somebody Please Stop the 80s."
  1. The Cars - "Moving in Stereo"
  2. Michael Jackson - "Rock With You"
  3. Joy Division - "Disorder"
  4. Baltimora - "Tarzan Boy"
  5. Oingo Boingo - "Dead Man's Party"
  6. Til Tuesday - "Voices Carry"
  7. The B-52s - "My Own Private Idaho"
  8. The Clash - "This Is Radio Clash"
  9. Culture Club - "I'll Tumble for You"
  10. The Cure - "Charlotte Sometimes"
  11. The English Beat - "Save It for Later"
  12. Foreigner - "Jukebox Hero"
  13. Peter Gabriel - "Shock the Monkey"
  14. Haircuit One Hundred - "Boy Meets Girl"
  15. M - "Pop Muzik"
  16. Material Issue - "Valerie Loves Me"
  17. Oingo Boingo - "Not My Slave"
  18. Billy Idol - "Rebel Yell"
  19. Naked Eyes - "Always Something There to Remind Me"

The Sound of Silence

I want someone to scream my name like Elaine screams Ben's.
Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
'Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.

"Fools" said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls."
And whisper'd in the sounds of silence

Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Mystery of Charlotte Sometimes

An interesting chain of events.
All the faces
All the voices blur
Change to one face
Change to one voice
Prepare yourself for bed
The light seems bright
And glares on white walls
All the sounds of Charlotte sometimes
Into the night
With Charlotte sometimes
So what's the deal with this song? More head-scratching coincidence, that’s what.

This is a Cure song, and not even one of their best. But it was the main theme to a movie by the same name that screened in the Santa Barbara Film Festival last year. I liked it, this unconventional indie flick about four Asian-American twentysomethings living in Los Angeles and struggling with love and identity in the way young people often do. An actress named Jacqueline Kim played the lead — whose name is "Charlotte," but only sometimes — beautifully and I think she might have even snagged an Independent Spirit award for he convincing performance as a woman whose true identity is shrouded by time and lies.

I probably would never have seen the movie, though, if I hadn’t bumped into the director earlier that day. This director — a young half-Caucasian, half-Chinese guy named Eric Byler who seems so much friendlier than most filmmaker types I’ve met — sold me on catching the screening that afternoon. I later got a few words with him on campus and used them is my review.
Director Eric Byler discusses being young, Asian and American in a novel way: by never directly addressing the subject in his film festival entry, "Charlotte Sometimes."

Like the heroine of the Cure song from which the film derives its name, love eludes the characters in "Charlotte Sometimes." Their positions in a shifting love quadrangle drive the film forward, as stoic Michael (Michael Idemoto), a mechanic too smart to slip into the grease monkey stereotype, pines for Lori (Eugenia Yuan), his tenant. Lori's noisy lovemaking with Justin (Matt Westmore) drives Michael to a bar, where he meets the enigmatic Darcy (Jacqueline Kim), who threatens to destroy the vaguely romantic foundation upon which Michael and Lori's relationship is built.

The acting is genuine, but Jacqueline Kim's Darcy emerges as the film's breakout performance. Kim — whose credits include "Brokedown Palace," "Volcano" and a two-episode stint as mentor Lao Ma on "Xena: Warrior Princess" — radiates steamy passion and icy aloofness for a mesmerizing effect.

Byler's most daring feat — aside from translating the open-endedly satisfying feel of a short story into an 85-minute feature — is his creation of characters who refreshingly defy the boundaries that usually restrict Asian characters in American cinema. Byler, who wrote the film's script in addition to directing, producing and editing the film, allows Michael, Lori, Justin and Darcy to exist as neither stereotyped nor whitewashed; their respective nationalities figure into the plot in the viewing of a midnight anime movie or the use of chopsticks to eat dinner.

This "anti-romance," as Byler calls it, delves into the duality of its characters' lives. The four leads must assemble an identity somewhere between Asian and American, lover and friend.

"At the surface, it's just a love story," Byler told Artsweek in an interview. "['Charlotte Sometimes'] allowed me to reveal not just the light but the shadow as well, and present characters with flaws."

Byler said his dual heritage allowed him to approach the subject matter from a rare directorial perspective.

"Because I am half Asian, I have an intimate knowledge of the Asian-American experience; but because I am half Caucasian, I also have the point of view of an outsider," he said.

As far as his involvement in the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, however, Byler said he imagined "Charlotte Sometimes" would challenge local audiences.

"For some people, it's hard to look at the screen, see an Asian face and relate," he said. "It's a very challenging time for the film, but you could also say it's the right time."

"Charlotte Sometimes" is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards: Jacqueline Kim for best supporting actress and Byler and Marc Ambrose for best feature made for under $500,000.
.
I sent him the link. He liked the review.
Drew, I'm 100 percent not shitting you when I say this is one of the most insightful pieces ever written about the film. You're right up there with Ebert, and can't think of which other one to include in your category. I'm sure you'll go far as a journalist. I'm very impressed. I would love to add this URL to our website. Will it be staying up for long?

Thank you very much,
Eric Byler
So for all these reasons, I have a special fondness for this movie. And I was happy to get an email a few days ago from one of its publicists. The Cure song has been playing ever since.

But —

The personal connection runs a bit deeper, thanks to that mischievous bitch-goddess cousin of Fate called Coincidence. I got a second email that day from this guy who was my best friend in grammar school — Antonio, who’s half Japanese and whom I haven’t spoken to since before high school. Eight years is a long time.
Hi Drew! Wow, I can't believe how long it's been! How are you doing? How's the family, job, school, life, etc.? I'm living in Santa Rosa right now, attending the junior college here as a political science major. Where are you now? I've been deeply involved in politics/activism the last few years, though I'm no liberal nor conservative, just working hard to nip the nascent fascism that seems to slowly be spreading around the world in the bud. My last job was with the Democratic Presidential campaign of Dennis Kucinich, the candidate free of any corporate money, the only one who voted against the patriot act and vows to repeal it, the only one with plans for a cabinet-level Department of Peace, the only one who has agreed to have a Native American serve as Attorney General, the only one who will cut our bloated "defense" budget by %15 in order to fund Universal Health Care and tuition-free pre-k thru college for all Americans, and the only one who promises to repeal NAFTA and withdraw from the WTO and return to bilateral trade based on workers' and human rights to stop the exporting of American jobs to slave camps. While I (obviously) still whole-heartedly support his campaign, I had to go back to school, but I'm still doing plenty of volunteer work for them.

I'm sorry if this is a bit overwhelming, I've just never been so excited about ANY politician, least of all one from the two domineering parties. As far as the polls go, of course the corporate mass media who runs them will try to pin the "unelectable" tag on Dennis, seeing as how he's vowed to break up their monopolies when elected President. I hope you feel that rush, that inspiration, that excitement for a new direction that I experienced as well. Please do keep in touch, and I will try to do the same. Hope to hear back from you soon!

Peace,
Antonio
Craziness, really.

This guy, I think, is responsible for my infatuation with all things Japanese. The first time I went to his house, I remember being a little scared this piece of fabric that hung over the doorway to the kitchen in his house. If I remember correctly, it had this mean-looking son of a bitch in samurai armor on it — nothing like the hangings of the Swiss alps or native New Zealand wildflowers I had on the walls of my house. As far as I can remember, Antonio is the first Asian person I remember meeting. To me, a kid from a town where everyone’s either white or Hispanic, the fact that he had a Japanese middle name and had actually been to this exotic place where — as far as I knew — everybody knew karate and owned a robot and spent all day running from Godzilla. It was the coolest thing ever. But now I have an answer when people from the Sacred Heart days ask my what the hell ever happened to Antonio. “Oh, he went crazy,” I can say. “He joined some cult that worships Dennis Kucinich as the newborn messiah.”

I’m glad to know Antonio still walks the earth, but fuck — I haven’t talked to this guy in nearly half my life and I get this political essay, this manifesto, about this potential democratic prez nominee realistically who might not even have a chance in hell of ever becoming president. Four fucking sentences of hey-how’re-you-doing? And then a press release of propaganda. He’s not the guy I remember, for sure, but I think it would have been foolish of me to expect someone’s personality wouldn’t grow in eight years. He got a new identity.

Maybe this only works in my mind, but I feel like the song, the movie, Antonio’s letter brought all these similar ideas to my mind of identity and cultural otherness and a sweet-and-sour sense of nostalgia that won’t let my mind stop cranking. Just when I think I’ve hit something — some nexus of all these sprawling lines of though and narrative — the connection dissolves and I’m left aimlessly pondering.

Not that aimless pondering is such a bad route to follow.

Sayonara.

Refrigerator Mold-a-Riffic

The second assignment for Dr. Sorapure's Writing 105 NM class: incorporating the text itself, illustrate a four-letter word on Photoshop so as to reflect the word's meaning.

Deciding against "wave," "haze," "daze," "fray," "shag," "cunt," "stab," and "fuse," I chose...



Refrigerator mold-a-riffic.

The Scoop

Though it might seem the last three months were rather quiet, relating one quarter's worth of Nexus gossip to Jen makes it seem downright action-packed. Homelessness, motion sickness-stricken frogs, covert dating, four-way makeout orgies, hirings and firings, lying and stealing. Shit.

The Mystery of Charlotte Sometimes postponed to a saner hour.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

What We Fed the Fire

  • yard clippings
  • newspapers
  • Alice Munroe's The Lives of Girls and Women
  • a pizza box
  • the phone book
  • gross soy twirls from Trader Joe's
  • love

Fate Has No Mercy

my mind races sometimes i need to find a way to tie all my loose ends together mentally because i want to believe that some higher organization some author some screenwriter who can already see the denouement dictates my life's plotline — fate has no mercy for he who stands up against her — but i can't think of a single reason why george washington carver the fish had to die so soon on a day so punctuated by a surreal sense of cause and effect

floating dead in a glass bowl inhabited only one week ago by his predecessor, little g-w-c already sports a beard of white mold and i can't help but wonder what thoughts what instinctual pulses raced through his tiny piscine brain the moment before he turned belly up or what travails might yet lie ahead of his scaly soul.

tragically, pathetically, predictably, now both the fish george washington carver is as dead as the peanut man himself.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Pam, Beth and Sherry

And the Hot Line:
Stolen and Dumped Hot Line

It's a good thing that fuckwad didn't gank the Friday
Daily Nexus. Otherwise, both of our faithful Hot Line readers would miss out on their weekly strip o' mirth. Wanna help the Nexus find the culprit? This Hot Line writer suggests you question all the hairy-palmed chronic masturbators you know. Since science has long ago proved the link between frequent masturbation and newspaper theft, our guess is that the thief spanks it like it's going out of style.

The Usual Suspects

Who stole 2,000-plus copies of Wednesday's
Daily Nexus? Hop in the Mystery Machine and help us get to the bottom of this one, gang!
  • Someone confused and angered by the three uses of the word "roxx0rs," perhaps?
  • A zebra hater?
  • Some religious zealot eager to shield you from the vile smut of Kate Rice's sex column?
  • Infamous thief Carmen Sandiego?
  • Greedy paper publishers wanting to silence Daniel Haier's anti-paper waste column, thereby forcing the Nexus to re-print it and waste more paper?
  • The Hamburglar's cousin, the sneaky Newspaper-glar?
  • Somebody who just didn't want to know the answers to Tuesday's crossword puzzle?
  • Old Man Withers, the guy who runs the haunted amusement park?
  • The subjects mocked in Kristina Ackermann's police blotter?
  • Winona Ryder?
  • Some misguided fool trying to free the newspapers?
  • The papers themselves?
Pop culture checklist addendum: Carmen Sandiego, the Hamburglar and Winona Ryder.

Rescuing Mimi Bobek from Pop Culture Obscurity

Someone may have stolen 2,393 copies of Wednesday's Nexus, but that's not my problem. Work's done for the week and I'm home before midnight. This week's published verbage.

My half of a He Said, She Said.
Making a Big Fuss About Making Oneself Up
He Said: Leave the Heavy Make-up for Bozo the Clown, Okay?

Painted ladies of Isla Vista, douse your Jackson Pollock faces in turpentine. I'm here to liberate you out from beneath your layers of makeup.

Throw away your jars of creamy tan stuff. Toss your little plastic boxes of colored, powdery stuff. Even get rid of that black stick thing with the bristles that I've always thought looks like something that cleans bodily orifices but apparently puts gunk on your eyelashes. You don't have to do it!

Ask most guys to answer honestly, and they'll agree that a woman's face is not a blank canvas upon which she should compose a goopy, daily masterpiece. Some of the most beautiful women don't look like they're wearing any makeup at all. Seriously, greet the world with the face God gave you. The beauty of a woman who's comfortable with the way she looks will shine through, instead of being intermediated by six coats of Mimi Bobek brand beauty ooze.

Now, I can anticipate the responses this tirade will get.

"Go screw yourself, ass. When I put makeup on, I do it for myself. I don't give a damn what you think about how I look!" And that's great. Really. But when a woman walks into a room, the lights reflecting off the soupy mess dripping from her face, she projects the air of an insecure person.

"Well, makeup only accentuates the beauty that's already there and covers up the stuff people wouldn't want to see." Maybe that's true, but at least the cosmetics-free ladies are honest. Speaking again for most guys, talking to a heavily made-up woman raises the question, "What the hell is she hiding under there, anyway?"

"But when I wear this, I really feel like me!" Hmm. Do you really feel like a blob of flesh-toned goo? I'm sure there's a real woman in there somewhere. Let her out.

Mind you, this is not a license to go all earthchild; a little bit of basic upkeep is always nice. Throw a scarf over that goiter and run a razor through the problem areas that might otherwise grow a chinchilla or two.

I'm not saying all makeup is necessarily bad. A little touchup here and there is fine. But if you can't leave the house without face painting, just take it easy. After all, Ziggy Stardust hasn't been popular in decades.

Daily Nexus opinion editor Drew hasn't been popular in decades, either.
And the response, kindly donated by copy girl Meghan:
Making a Big Fuss About Making Oneself Up
She Said: A Touch of Cosmetics Helps Start the Day Right

Every morning, I wake up and face the day by greeting three of my most beloved friends: M.A.C., Clinique and L'Oréal. Call me superficial, but I find an enthusiastic tryst with my makeup arsenal therapeutic. If life deals you a shitty hand, why not at least look good coping with it? Yes, there are obviously more pressing issues in the world than whether or not your mascara is running or if a particular shade of lip gloss flatters your skin tone. But we all deserve a little break from the stress that permeates our daily lives to give ourselves, and our appearances, some well-earned attention.

Perhaps I am somewhat of an extremist. I will easily admit I am one of those girls who seldom ventures beyond my bathroom door without a full face of makeup - foundation, eyeliner and all. Yet, in spite of what could be judged as a self-conscious person literally hiding behind a mask of her own creation, my desire to look my absolute best stems from nothing other than honest, healthy love of self.

What people need to look beyond is the misperception that our interest in beauty and fashion necessarily coincides with a need to please other people. Consider the guy, complaining that girls wear too much makeup and advocating a clean, natural look. "She would look so much better without all that crap on her face," he says. But who's to say that we are glamming up for anyone but ourselves?

The presumptuous notion that we devote excess amounts of attention to our looks solely in an attempt to be attractive to the opposite sex can, in many cases, ring quite false. If you're anything like me, personal attention - doing makeup included - not only provides a breath of relaxation and indulgence within a chaotic mess of work, school and relationships, but also serves as a chance to physically express yourself in the way you see best.

So ladies, don't be afraid to embrace your womanhood. Feel free to dabble in the fun and exciting world of beauty and cosmetics at your leisure. And maybe, if you feel like throwing the guys a bone, pick up some kiss-proof lipstick, waterproof mascara and long-wearing foundation before that hot date. I personally don't mind a little mess, but certain guys would beg to differ.

Daily Nexus copy reader Meghan Palma and her best friend L'Oréal once got in a fight over a guy named Paul Mitchell.
Pop culture reference checklist: Bozo the Clown? Done. Mimi Bobek? Done. Ziggy Stardust? Done. Jackson Pollock? Done. Paul Mitchell? Done. Tony Orlando? Ouch! Maybe next week?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Firm Handle

Wow. I knew I gave off the wrong impression. A selection from somebody else's journal:
in my severe boredom, i contacted this kid drew, who i went to high school with... we decide to go hit up the local bar and grill to talk shop. he's a good guy, and seems to have a firm handle on what he wants to do with himself, which, from what i can tell, is more than most can say at this age.
Good guy? Firm handle? Christ, I've been lulling strangers into the false perception that I have a clue. What a dickhead I am. How Josh should have written it:
in my severe boredom, i contacted this kid drew, who i went to high school with... we decide to go hit up the local bar and grille to talk shop. can you say "train wreck"? this kid is a nuclear meltdown waiting to happen. i snuck out the bathroom window as soon as i had a chance.
Now that would have been expected.

Cherry Cola Champagne

Things I learned over the past weekend:
  • Katie won't let a swollen-shut eye stop her.
  • The same Katie lurches around bars like a mummy from a horror movie when she's had too much.
  • Aiding someone through their twenty-first birthday is like becoming a parent — a drunken parent.
  • No Face can spin yarn well.
  • In some language, the words for "gum" and "glob of Carmex" are apparently the same.
  • At least two strangers hated my clothes so much that they had to tell me to my face.
  • One lady, however, complimented did like the shirt.
  • Fried green tomatoes are good.
  • As long as "Home Movies" is on, all is not lost.
  • I am so glad I was not one of the ones who had sex in Buhler's bathroom.
  • Frogs, apparently, can suffer from motion sickness.
  • Taryn was right about Sex on the Beach. It does taste like candy: poison fire candy.
  • Don't spy on fox spirits when they have wedding processions in the rain.
  • Even on your twenty-first birthday, 11:30 is not "close enough."
  • Telling someone at about eleven-fortydrunk how you were contacted by their long-lost brother is maybe not the best idea.

Hot Pink Lily Germs

Oh, the magic of Writing 105NM. The first assignment to start out with:



And what I did with it:

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Unprocessed Fishsticks

Welcome, Rufus' replacement, George Washington Carver the Betta.

If You Want to Reach Your Destiny, Here's What You've Got to Do

What Netflix sent me: "Spirited Away," "The Graduate," and "Akira Kurosawa's Dreams."

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Flop

I write stuff. Sadly, Missi Pyle did not make the cut.
Movie Review: Big Fish | Burton's Film Baits But Doesn't Bite

The dark branches of the trees on the poster for "Big Fish" contrast against their light background. This sort of coupling has become a chromatic trademark for director Tim Burton. Beetlejuice's suit, Edward Scissorhands' face, the classic film look of "Ed Wood" - all black and white.

Unfortunately, these trees are the most Tim Burton thing about "Big Fish." Burton buffs may leave the theater wondering why the kook behind such wonderfully weird movies like "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" exchanged his love of the darkly bizarre for the blandly normal. Had anybody else directed "Big Fish," it might have garnered kinder reviews. Burton, however, can do better.

Burton's take on the American picaresque stars Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney as young and old versions of Edward Bloom, a happy-go-lucky Tom Sawyer-type for whom good fortune is never in short supply. Both actors exude the charm natural to a character who can coolly strut through even the most dangerous situations - confronting a carnivorous giant, spying behind enemy lines in the Korean War or robbing a bank - yet their performances hint at something deeper beneath Bloom's smirk.

Great Tim Burton movies, however, aren't about smirks, but glowers. Batman, Ichabod Crane and Lydia Deitz, for example, each succeed in their respective movies because Burton loves the challenge of making a maladjusted misfit sympathetic to his audience. Since everybody already loves Edward Bloom, Burton and screenwriter John August cannot successfully hinge the entire plot upon him.

"Big Fish" further departs from the traditional Burton formula by intercutting the fantastic elements with very real human drama concerning the ailing Bloom and his estranged son, Will Bloom (Billy Crudup). August's script sets up a nice dynamic between fact and fiction by contrasting Will, a journalist, with Ed, whose tall tales test both Will's and the audience's credulity. While these scenes are well-acted, they seem alien in a Tim Burton film until the film's final 20 minutes, when Finney and Crudup spend enough time onscreen together to make their relationship genuine and moving.

It's no surprise that Steven Spielberg was originally attached to helm "Big Fish," as its breed of imagination recalls more of "Hook" than "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Yet, without Burton's direction, "Big Fish" would have lacked a few fun, spooky moments.

While the Bloom men seem somewhat out of place, the supporting cast works wonderfully. Burton's main squeeze, Helena Bonham Carter, plays a dual role with a sexy-creepy slink that only she and Wednesday Addams could pull off. Freaks like a giant (Matthew McGrory), conjoined twins (Ada and Arlene Tai) and Danny DeVito round out the cast nicely.

But if you need one reason to like "Big Fish" despite its faults, it's the scenes in secluded Spectre, Ala., a chunk of tidy but spooky Burtonesque Americana where life is impossibly, eerily perfect. While Edward's stay in this ideal Burton setting is all too brief, Spectre's presence in the film proves that Burton still has his flair for the freaky.

Restrained? Sure. Saccharine? A bit. But inky blobs of that Tim Burton darkness still seep through. "Big Fish" doesn't flop.

Speaking of fish, R.I.P. Rufus.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Marblehead Johnson

Tonight I'm wound tighter than a watch spring.

The good: school.
The bad: work.
The ugly: the house.

Spending the next three months with William Faulkner and his earthbound emissary, Prof. Waid, should be make this quarter a mental titty twister. Prof. Tourney's class has me reading about the four C's — clarity, consistency, coherency, and correctness — which each facilitate the Big C, communication. Coherency? I think Rufus is on his last fins. Jamie, Cory, and Nate have each reported his death, yet he lives, if only in a awkwardly vertical fashion that I would expect precedes floating belly-up by a quarter turn. He's like a watch slowly winding down, this desktop observer of my life over the past two years. Meanwhile, I may have taken Kami on the most traditional date ever to see "Big Fish." Review pending.

Summary much?

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Cultural Aftershocks

The Artful Dodger steps into a new year, though I'm entirely unsatisfied with his premiere. The highlight must be the subhead.
The Cultural Aftershocks
Two Earthquakes, Two Nations, One Sobering Realization

I spent Winter Break in a television trance. But whenever I broke away from VH1's marathon sessions of C-grade celebrities telling me what to remember from the '70s and '80s, I checked out the newspaper to see if anything was happening in the current decade.

Life, it turns out, continues despite VH1. Dueling natural disasters an ocean apart shook the earth, thrusting before Americans the reality of our collective good fortunes.

Three days before Christmas, an earthquake shook the greater part of California's midsection, sending vibrations from her brain center in Sacramento to her grody genitals in Los Angeles. Seismologists placed the quake's epicenter near Paso Robles, a rest stop of a town situated along the 101, and estimate its magnitude at about 6.5 on the Richter scale. The shaking toppled the town's iconic clock tower, killing two women.

On Dec. 26, the earth trembled again. A quake of similar magnitude shook the Iranian town of Bam. This disaster, however, leveled most of the city, including its ancient citadel, a former archeological marvel and a major tourist attraction. Most grievously, the Iranian government has yet to accurately estimate the death toll its country has suffered. Rescue workers have recovered nearly 30,000 bodies from the ruins of Bam, but another 20,000 could still be lost among the ruins.

My whole childhood, I've heard the lecture from various authority figures about how the lives of people in other countries were a lot harder than those of Americans. I can even remember my parents reiterating that tired, guilt-spurning chastisement of "You know, there are starving children in Africa" when I refused their choices for dinner.

I never saw the disparity of life here and life in that faraway land of poverty and disadvantage called "over there" more clearly, however, than when I looked at the aftermath of these twin quakes.

California is a densely populated sliver of North America. Millions of its residents had to stop last-minute Christmas preparations to ride out the shock waves of the Paso Robles temblor. Yet, because California belongs to a nation that can afford (a) the scientific research to study earthquakes and (b) the cost of constructing buildings that survive life in earthquake country, our damage was minimal.

Fortune did not smile so fondly on the people of Bam. Sure, Bam's population of 100,000 dwarves Paso Robles' 25,000 residents, but nearly half of Bam residents may be dead. The California quake claimed, thankfully, only two lives.

No matter where a person's political affiliations lie, he or she must agree that the American life is a pampered one. As Americans, most of us enjoy a higher degree of luxury - from the quality of food we eat to the sturdiness of the buildings we live inside - than nearly every other person on the planet.

There's no specific moral I'm reaching for here. I'm not begging forgiveness of my brothers and sisters across the sea and I'm not liquidating all my assets so I can send these strangers all of my money. However, every American owes themselves the time to ponder this privilege, how it shapes their lives and how it affects other nations' perceptions of us.

Just entertain the thought. Bouncing the idea around your head might just help you understand where you're coming from and where the rest of the world stands. Oh, and please be happy your house didn't fall on you.

Daily Nexus opinion editor and earthquake veteran Drew is hugging the reinforced walls as you read this.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

1.03.Y2K+4

I honestly though I knew everybody in Hollister worth talking to. But hey, up until a week ago, I also thought Captain Marvel was part of Marvel Comics. Shit for brains.

I swore once that I rather have my gums scraped than return to that bread-recycling, menses-serving Communist machine of a restaurant that fired me five years ago, but the prospect of meeting somebody who thought I has something to say — a rare trait among Hollister natives — made me a liar on Friday night. Surprisingly, pleasantly, it’s worth associating with a host of yearbook pictures, some now bloated with fatty emulsion of life among the reals.

Conversely, Christmas break also ended with the reappearance of a villain from seasons two through four — the Ghost of Christmas Fat, as it were. Apparently, that birthday wish of her coughing up a lard globule and choking to death didn’t come true. (Note to self: invest in more expensive birthday candles.) And twice, no less. Saturday afternoon, she and two fellow land monsters sped into the Dassel’s pump area like it was time for a feeding frenzy. They nearly hit a customer — a non-land monster customer, notably — and grazed one of the poles that keep retards like them from smashing into the gas pumps and involuntarily practicing the act self-immolation they should have performed years ago.

I glared, but not too long, lest I be hypnotized by her goobly, lava lamp body shape. In one of those that’s-what-I-shoulda-done moments, I realized the perfect response would have been, "Hey. Watch how you drive your fucking car or I’ll have my dad revoke your gas account. Can you handle that?" That’s what I shoulda done.

So yeah. Fresh new face on one hand, hideous gorgon blast from the past on the other. Fuck my cock, I’m Even Steven. And now that I think about it, her name verbal proximity to “arena” is entirely indicative of her size. Does my name snag any name recognition among Hollister circles, I wonder? Or have years at Monkey House High School full of snide remarks — many quite funny — left no lasting, fond memory of the mutants I went to high school with? And did I eat the last of the turkey? Is Ben Horne really Donna Heywood’s father? And, more seriously, how should I feel about what I learned exactly one week ago tonight?

Lingering questions on the cusp of a brave new year.
Spy on me baby use satellite
Infrared to see me move through the night
Aim — gonna fire — shoot me right
I'm gonna like the way you fight
(And I love the way you fight)

Now you found the secret code I use
To wash away my lonely blues
Well, so I can't deny or lie cause you're the
Only one to make me fly

Sexbomb, sexbomb
You're a sexbomb
You can give it to me when I need to come along
Sexbomb sexbomb
You're my sexbomb
And baby you can turn me on
At the end of every episode of "Strangers with Candy," the entire cast of the episode — even incidental characters — gets down dance party-style. That’s the way every day would end, if I was in charge.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Viewtiful

Mission-a-gogo.