Sunday, October 31, 2004

Poltergeists in My Handheld Vacuum

So I randomly check the website for the Hollister Free Lance, my hometown paper, the one I used to work for, and their feature is about how the parents of this guy who went to SBHS and UCSB with me and the ghosts that lived in their house.
[ link: ha ha — your mom is mentally unwell ]
I like it when other people's parents sound nuts. Example: "The Dustbuster would be turned on and off in the middle of the night," Sheridan said. "It was one of those battery-powered ones. It was kind of crazy."

Yes, it clearly was the dustbuster that was crazy.

Hally Happoween from the Blue Team!

Despite having had, among others, a drink called a Mind Eraser, I'm not hung over this morning. I didn't even feel all that drunk, honestly. Jill, Marcy, Adam and I went as "Double Dare" — "Hey baby, how's about you take my physical challenge?" — and the people who got it seemed to like it. Who didn't like it? The other "Double Dare" team we saw. So for it being the morning after already, I feel fine. Maybe the difference is not being in Isla Vista for the first time in four years.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Full-On Double Incisor Chomp

I like it when people bite stuff I've written about and then pass it off as something they found out about themselves. I like it even more when someone brings it to my attention. Thanks all.

How I'm going to do it. Ex-Nexite Valles found this. It made me laugh. Now you laugh too.
[ link: Valles' site and what he found ]

Pieces of Me, Too

I know no one cares about this as much as I do. I even decided against writing a Nexus column about it on that basis. However, I still think Ashlee Simpson's fuck-up is a big deal. CBS has some backstage footage some people might find interesting.
[ link: Lorne Michaels says Lip-Sync an 'SNL' No-No ]

Friday, October 29, 2004

"Bun Bun," in the Japanese Dialect

So the roommate has this “Kill Bill” poster above his computer. It’s on the opposite wall from where I sleep, so more often than not it’s the first thing I see when I wake up: Uma in the yellow and black tracksuit with semi-transparent images of Bill, Gogo, Elle and Pai Mei behind her. Looking at that track suit, I realized that the movie is rife with bee symbolism I hadn’t noticed before.

I think the most obvious example of this occurs in the last chapter of Volume Two. In the Salina hotel room, Bill is explaining to Beatrix that he ambushed her wedding in order to help her realize her true nature as a warrior. “You're a renegade killer bee, not a worker bee," he says. And he’s right. I hadn’t realized before, but during the last chapter of Volume One, the film very clearly portrays her as a killer bee. Like a bee’s stripes, Beatrix sports all yellow and black, ignoring the bloodstains. She literally is wearing a yellow jacket. And she wears this in the scene in which she kills the most people. Furthermore, on the flight into Tokyo, the soundtrack plays the Al Hirt trumpet version of “Flight of the Bumblebee,” which just happens to be the theme song to the old TV show, “The Green Hornet.”

So yeah, a lot of bees, which means throughout the movie, the character gets referred to as
  • a bee
  • a lioness — “The lioness has rejoined her cub and all is right in the jungle”
  • a snake — “Black Mamba”
  • and a rabbit — “Silly rabbit… Tricks are for kids.”
And that is the end of that.

Oh, and the tour guide lady at the Library of Congress was right; it actually is the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen in the United States.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Today's Chromatic Diet: Orange, Yellow and Green

If anybody can tell what the fuck is going on in this picture...



I'll owe them a Coke when I get back to California. Oh, and I resisted the urge not to vote.

Was Enrico Fermi Wrong?

For your approval, a shot in the dark by a someone who's one percent fluent. (Just superimpose one giant question mark over most of this.)
Je m’assieds, nu par terre
Dans l’eau et la suie (?)
Le temps est à la pluie
Elle a vu pétillant (?) (...) perler (?) de sa manche
La pluie était douce

Avril si belle
Avril si cruelle
Avril ma chère j’avais oublié l’hiver
Avril si belle
Avril si cruelle
Avril ma chère l’été n’a pas (...)

Pour demain, quand je sors
Ma couleur est (???) (....) ????
Le soleil était levant
J’avais un (...)
J’avais le soleil dans les yeux

Avril si belle
Avril si cruelle
Avril ma chère j’avais oublié l’hiver
Avril si belle
Avril si cruelle
Avril ma chère l’été n’a pas (..)
Some other Apples in Stereo fan posts that this song reminds him/her of spring. Odd, because it seemed to me fitting for this autumn afternoon. One day, I'll find the real lyrics to "Avril en Mai."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Maymanah / Not Maymanah

kidicarus222: hey mayms
kidicarus222: how are you?
SC Cheeto: who' s there?
kidicarus222: drew
kidicarus222: from hollister
kidicarus222: and also ucsb
SC Cheeto: coincidentally, i'm from the bay area, but I think someone else signed onto this computer
SC Cheeto: I'm in London
SC Cheeto: From San Jose, and also UCLA
kidicarus222: oh -- this isn't maymanah farhat?
SC Cheeto: nope, sorry
kidicarus222: oh well -- random coincidence though. go see the tate modern if you get a chance
SC Cheeto: check

A Year's Worth of Islands

"Diamondized." Adjective. A condition in which one's head is so congested with mucus that it retains the physical properties of a solidified mass, as in a diamond. [origin: 1996, “Earthbound.”]

I wonder if this journal, which can be so easily accessible via Google will ever hurt me professionally. I swear a bit, but I exclude too much of my personal life for it to be too much of a problem. I think. I guess I could just continue, but only post entries involving mature, well-thought our subject matter.

(and then i would never post anything again --- goatballs dicklicker purple monkey dishwasher)

We caught Nick Swardson at the Improv last night. You may know him as the roller-blading hustler on "Reno 911." Good stuff.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Other Other Other Plumber

A conversation today made me feel that an explanation on a certain matter was in order. It concerns this lanky mustache-twiddling villain:


No, that's not Dick Dastardly.

Today I heard the claim that this resident of the Super Mario Bros. universe sucks, and though I'm not willing to dispute that, I will call foul on one of the reasons most often cited for his suckitude. His name. Many feel that his name just sounds too awkward. "Waluigi" — Luigi plus the syllable "wa" in front of it, weirdly identifying this guy as the evil Luigi. My geekiness has actually allowed me to dispel this myth, somewhat. Though "Waluigi" is nonetheless hard to say, there's a good enough reason for why his name is what it is.

Basically, Nintendo set up a verbal system to identify Mario characters that exist as evil versions of other Mario characters with Wario, the evil Mario. Whereas Mario is chubby and honorable, Wario is obese and greedy. From a western standpoint, one might seem that Wario's name derives from a simple inversion of the "M" to a "W." After all, Wario is a sort of "flipped" Mario. However, that's actually just a happy coincidence. Wario's name is actually a portmanteau of "Mario" and warui, the Japanese word for "evil." It was natural, then, that an associate of Wario who happened to be a "flipped" version of Luigi would have a name that followed the same pattern.

The name, however, makes a lot more sense in Japanese. Remember that the stereotypical ambiguity between "R" and "L" when translating from Japanese to English is actually true and that, coming from a Japanese mouth, the names would be "Ruigi" and Waruigi." Thus, Luigi's name slides perfectly out of warui as they share a syllable. What's more, Waluigi's name, when spelled with the "R," happens to be a anagram for the Japanese word igiwaru, which can translate as "a bad person" in English.

In short, it's a halfway decent pun, once you consider Japanese into the equation.

The notion of Wario's name beginning with the flipped Mario "M" is also reflected in Waluigi, if somewhat nonsensically. The logo on his cap — and his response to the "M," "L," or "W" on Mario, Luigi or Wario's caps — is an upside-down "L."

The trail ends there, as far as Super Mario Bros. characters anybody would actually recognize. A evil, dark blue Yoshi that appeared in Super Mario RPG was named "Boshi" in America but "Washi" in Japan. And "Washi" could be considered a contraction of "Warui Yoshi," or "bad Yoshi."

On a side note, there's a widely distributed theory that Mario and Luigi's names come from the Japanese words marui and ruigi, meaning "round" and "similar," respectively. I don't know if that's true, though it would be neat if it were. Nearly just as often, there's the theory that Mario got his name from a Mr. Mario Segali, landlord for Nintendo of America's office. People who have done their homework have more often claimed this story is true, and I'm inclined to believe them. However, even if that's true, then the ruigi story isn't necessarily false, as Luigi's original in-game sprite and even concept art for him was just Mario's look in an alternate color scheme. As it if wasn't complicated enough, there's another widely cited story about Luigi having been named after Mario & Luigi's, a pizza parlor near Nintendo of America's Washington office. Again, who knows what's true, but it's a coincidence worth noting anyway.

Monday, October 25, 2004

"I Memorize Every Line..."

After weeks of delays — most of them children of my own laziness and my embarrassing dread of reading — I finally finished Franny and Zooey about two weeks into the Washington program. I liked it. It was good. But one of its major plot points — the siblings’ fixation on this certain prayer — really snagged me.

In the book, the two youngest children in the Glass family discuss the significance of this Jesus prayer — a sentence which ostensibly answers a European pilgrim’s question of how to “pray incessantly,” as a certain Bible passage instructs him — and us — to do. (I actually haven’t researched the passage or the prayer itself or even the possible fictionality of the book the Glass children read about it in. Maybe I will. More likely, someone will read this entry and tell me about it in some strange, nameless email.) The pilgrim finds out that all he must to do be in compliance with this biblical command is to simply recite one sentence — “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a miserable sinner” or something like that — over and over until it suddenly transforms him — or you or anyone who spends the time to recite — and alters his outlook on the entire world. It’s more characteristic of Eastern philosophies than Christianity, really, but it’s the repetition and recitation that changes you, melts your brain and forms it into something new and better.

I liked the book. It was good. I don’t quite understand the Jesus prayer. It changes Franny dramatically, I understand. And although I think about the prayer and the book a lot, I only seriously process thoughts about religion or God or prayer or anything in the brief span of time after my head hits the pillow but before my brain turns into an internal porno theater that blocks out the day’s noise until I fall asleep, whereupon my brain continues to be an internal porno theater.

This morning, I woke up sick. My alarm clock blasted away any memories of my dreams or anything that had happened while I was asleep, but a small ghost of those memories remained and haunted me all day. I don’t know why, but I felt like the ghost clung to my forehead, hanging on to the front of my face by my eyelids, pulling them down slightly so as to inadvertently create a drowsy feeling and to creating a certain oily slickness on them that I only noticed in the shower this evening — my third shower of the day. For some reason, I think I dreamed about God and the Jesus prayer.

Occasionally, I preface sleep with prayer. Occasionally, I actually mean it. Some vestige of my Catholic school education steeps up and rattle off an Our Father and a Glory Be in the staccato, syllables-running-together style that doesn’t allow me to actually process the words I’m saying — or not saying, I guess. I don’t know why I do it. But tonight I have the strange urge to say the Jesus prayer from Franny and Zooey. Even though I know my mind could never make room to endlessly loop that prayer through my internal monologue, I feel like I should at least start now. Maybe that’s a ridiculous thought.

Maybe if I say it enough, I have that dream again and remember what the morning took away.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Weekend That Amnesia Forgot

I really feel like Jack Daniels and I need some distance between us. Not that he and I have ever been all that close — anybody who knows my drinking habbits knows that whiskey isn't my friend. But when he and I hang out, I always end up feeling just slightly steamrolled the next morning. Hence, I've accomplished nothing on this Saturday and I'm liking to be so overwhelmed with the prospect of cramming the productivity into Sunday that I will, again, accomplish nothing.

I'm home right now, in the UCDC apartment building that I swore I would spend as little time in as possible. It's drafty and air-conditioned and fluorescent-lighted and way more modern than I'm used to. I like my haunts to be just a little more lived in, just a little less Biosphere-y. Everyone's out and I decided my body and my wallet need a reprieve from bars so I'm on Adam's computer, though twenty minutes ago I was in the computer lab, where I was happily working — and listening to headphones — until I realized the other guys were talking about me. So I left.

I tried to do research — and failed — and tried to write a column for the Nexus — and failed at that too — and ended up on Friendster reading random messages from strangers I've been accumulating and not reading. I looked over my profile, which I wrote more than a year ago, and realized how gross and artificial and and and phony that goddamn bio made me feel and it kind of made me mad.

I was thinking about that when I got back to the room and decided to log back on and adjust my "Interested in Meeting People for" status to "Dating Men and Women" in addition to "Friends."

I know that must seem simple and obvious and tries and and and meaningless to anyone who knows me, but somehow that made me feel a little more honest, even if I don't have any real notions of using Friendster to supplement my dating life.

Big changes come through mouse-clicks at half past eleven on a Saturday night, alone, in an apartment building just off Dupont Circle.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Homonyms Are Your Friends

A text message Marcy sent me from the bus ride she, Moe and Jill were taking to New York City:
Moe got locked in the bus bathroom 4 half an hour.
Some things never change.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

King Kong on Cocaine

Coasting through the mid-quarter blahs generally leaches out my creative energy. The end result: no blog entries, no Nexus opinion columns and no astounding feats of National Geographic journalism to sequel my initial effort. Creative output looks as bleak as the east coast perma-glower that has replaced my California sunshine. Even this, this little something-nothing, requires every iota of will power.

I watched “Mulholland Drive” again.

I hadn’t watched it in two years, at least, but I convinced Daniel and Adam that they should see it, especially since it made a nice thematic link to the previous night’s feature, “L.A. Confidential.” I guess I almost forgot what an important movie “Mulholland Drive” is to me. Before that movie, I took a much more passive role in viewing a movie — into reading great literature and viewing art too, when I really think about it. Before anything else, “Mulholland Drive” challenged me to analyze a presentation for any meaning or value and then develop an actual defense of it against those people who would call it a piece of shit. (They exist.) Its the only work of anything I can think of that simultaneously helped me realized the brilliance and conniving falsity of theater.

So after I related the three explanations of the film to Adam and Daniel — (1) Betty’s dream world; (2) electric blue and the world inside the television box; and (3) the hard truth behind “no hay banda” — I went online. Turns out a whole online community has developed since the last time I looked around online. Some very astute viewers have come up with some enticing explanations for all the controlled chaos of my favorite movie, including a neat line of thought involving Aunt Ruth as the story’s most important character.

I’m always going to fear Mulholland Drive. And no, the absence of quotations marks around that last reference wasn’t a typo. That movie’s version of the city of dreams is so fascinatingly, dangerously enticing that I’m even scared of the actual place. But I'm so thankful that David Lynch had the foresight to see this movie through, in spite of so much adversity. Hopefully, before too long, I won't mind being lost in the dark again, before too long.The weekend: work, research and drinking. I'm going to convince somebody to go see "The Grudge," even if it's the same group that I dragged to "Ju-On" last week. (Betty Elms, you're not the only one stuck in a time loop.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Hitomi in the Ladies' Room

sparklejetstream: i made myself a salami sandwich, not a loosemeat sandwich.
kidicarus222: oh. then i take it all back
sparklejetstream: exactly what is loosemeat?
kidicarus222: no clue
kidicarus222: i do know, however, that it is something
sparklejetstream: i dont know that.
sparklejetstream: not fur sure.
sparklejetstream: nut fur shure.
kidicarus222: which is more than i can say for floopsmeat sandwich
kidicarus222: which is nothing, surely
sparklejetstream: surely
kidicarus222: shirley

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Mud Duck

I just found out they made a "Cruel intentions 3." It's set in Santa Barbara. I'm so sad I could cry.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Groovy

Click here, then scroll down. Pretty, spinning colors for your face.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Pig That Tried to Press Its Way Through a Whitewashed Wall But Then Only Got Its Snout Through and Stopped

Realizing that the length of my hair had begun to impinge on my ability to look professional, I finally got a haircut. I had made an appointment with a place Adam had found in his search for an affordable haircut, though notably Adam had never been to this place. (Remember that — it's somewhat important in appreciating this story's punch line.) Nonetheless, this particularly hair cuttery was the closest one to my apartment. So I go in, meet my guy Gary — the embodiment of the type of sass that only gay black men can have, plus a pair of scissors — and sit down.

It's not until I sit up from having my hair washed and I look around the room that I realize that this particular salon's present clientele consisted entire of black, middle-aged women. Gary spins my chair around and I see a display of cosmetic products reflected in my mirror: "SSIM YNOBE," or in non-reverso land, the latest products in the Ebony Miss beauty line. "So what kind of people usually get their hair cut here?" I ask. Gary admits that today's clientele is pretty much representative of every day. "Mostly middle-aged, upper-class black ladies. Mostly," he admitted. "But we can cut white guys' hair too."

And he did.

On the Other Side

I left a bar — Madam's Organ in Adams Morgan — because I realized I just couldn't be happy tonight. I can't remember when I started hating social situations so much, but tonight was intolerable. It was crowded. Maybe I was having another anxiety attack. Maybe I'm just sick of other people picking where we spend the night. Maybe I need to go out with other people. Maybe the Xanax I took when I got home was a waste. Maybe I'm just not like everybody else.

Today, I suddenly realized that I missed California.

Hard Candy

In a decision I can only credit to a building-wide exhaust leak, we all decided that we should go to a midnight showing of a 3-D porno last night. "The Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy." You haven't lived until you and the other members of sold-out theater allow red- and blue-tinted cardboard glasses full you all into thinking John Holmes' penis is ejaculating right at your face.

Honestly, the movie sucked. The sexual content was vanilla at best -- no threesomes, no gay stuff and none of it graphically involving a character named Vera Tight -- and the rest of the "film" was interspersed with a lame sidestory about Trojan soldiers trying to find Troy and in the process dressing up like a chicken, a lobster and the Easter Bunny. It verged into bizarre Monty Python-eqsue absurdity that wasn't funny.

I regret ever supporting the idea to see this shitty film. Yes, we can all now tell people that we've seen a 3-D pornographic feature. But no one should ever have to see that train wreck we witnessed.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Wild Side of Mild

I realize I mentioned Marie in the previous post, probably while typing an some internet cafe in Paris in the entry for August 15, 2003.
mostly at charlie's urging, he and i went to paris, but not before i cursed both agnes for allowing some swarthy accordion man charm her into dancing away all her valuable documents and the six or so hours we hung out in barcelona, which passed like a kidney stone, although we did meet this cute viennese girl named mary/marie who knew more about swedish rock and david lynch than hot girls usually do and she reminded me of someone i can't quite place in my mind and she said i reminded her of thom yorke (which i kind of have trouble taking as a compliment) and also the lead singer of coldplay (which i guess i take as slightly more of a compliment) and we stayed with her until she went her own way and left us with the stereotype of the american nuclear family where the dad was in the navy and i suspect didn't like me and the mom was a dead ringer for peggy hill from king of the hill and they told us some stories about how they used to be wild before the wed and bred but i suspect their wild was on the wild side of mild

Star of the Sea

Earlier this week I thought about whether famous people die in clusters. They do, I guess, especially if their limos crash into each other. But maybe all human activity comes in spurts. Since about July, Friendster has been basically dead for me. No one used Friendster to contact me and no new people found me on Friendster and had me add them as their friend.

Then, randomly, in about one week, there’s this flurry of activity.
  • The one I call Canada Sue, a fellow intern at Traveler, looks me up and writes me
  • Some random girl named Suzzie writes and congratulates me for my fixation on the strange death of Maddy Ferguson.
  • This guy Preston, whom Jill knows and whom I’m guessing go to me through Friendster, IMs me randomly to say he likes my journal.
And then this:
servus drew! dont get confused......

we met in a train from barcelona to cebere or something like that. cant remember the name of the station. it was last summer, im not sure anymore but i think you were on the way to paris with a friend. there was this very very strange American family with the woman who asked me if its common to eat your boogers in europe. im sure you remember them...

what a big coincidence.

by the way i was the girl with the lynch book, you wrote your mail address inside, today i was reading it again and found your address. so i decided to look if i find you here. i hope your eye is better, i still remember that you looked a little bit like thom yorke.... sorry fot that...

marie
I haven't got a clue what "servus" means, but I was actually thinking about this girl not too long ago. I’m so glad she remembered me — and that David Lynch had something to do with us communicating again. That David Lynch — always opening doors. I’m feeling very interconnected lately.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Rex Kwan Do

AccidentalAngel1: hey drew
kidicarus222: hey val -- how are you? (and also, i'd like to talk but i'm finishing up at work so i'll be at my desk and away alot, so sorry in advance)
AccidentalAngel1: oh no worries... I just wanted to say "Hi"
AccidentalAngel1: see how you were doing
AccidentalAngel1: but I've been reading your journal (although that sounds kind of creepy), so I know most of the exciting stuff
AccidentalAngel1: it's entertaining
kidicarus222: thanks
kidicarus222: honestly, if anybody knows what's up with me it's because they heard about it from the journal
kidicarus222: i'm glad you like reading it -- i like writing it, but i like knowing that people read it even more
kidicarus222: what have you been up to?
AccidentalAngel1: working at the zoo full time, going out with people, trying to keep up with movies, reading
AccidentalAngel1: nothing too glamorous
kidicarus222: sb zoo?
AccidentalAngel1: yea
kidicarus222: cool -- doing what?
AccidentalAngel1: I graduated, but I'm still living here
kidicarus222: please tell me you're working with the anteater
AccidentalAngel1: well, she just had a baby
kidicarus222: no shit? i'd die to see a baby anteater!
kidicarus222: can you get a picture of it?
AccidentalAngel1: I have pictures of ours I could email you
AccidentalAngel1: yea we have a ton
AccidentalAngel1: it's a boy
AccidentalAngel1: although I already named it "little lafawnduh"
AccidentalAngel1: I saw your red panda picture on your journal
AccidentalAngel1: that was cool
kidicarus222: yeah, i never saw the ones in sb

Seriously, I think only Val and I can know how much it really took for me to get these pictures on here. I think this is the most adorable thing in the world, like if Alf and a skunk had a baby and it was the cutest thing since the purple snouted toad of India. And seriously, anybody who knows me knows that there's a very specific list of things I could talk about forever and that list includes anteaters.







So this is seriously one of the best things that has happened or ever will happen. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Filling a Gaping Cavity

A real-life email sent to Roommate Cory and Roommate Tristan regarding my housing situation come January:
hey guys. i'm wanting to post an ad on the ucsb housing website for the room for winter and spring. trouble is, i'm still not sure how much i'm paying for the room. you'd think i'd know that by now... but no. no indeed. if you guys could get back to me with whatever we decided the rent for four people was, i'd be eternally grateful. you know... in ways you can't even imagine. and also i hope there's no hard feelings about me moving out. i honestly hope we can find someone you guys are cool with. it's just that the thought of moving back into i.v. and back into that house kind of turns my stomach. anyway, i hope everything is going well with your respective lives -- and i hope the sword collection is as shiny as ever.

thanks in advance,
drew

one more thing: honestly, if you guys know anybody who might need a place to live that you're already friends with, give him my number. i'd rather you guys live with somebody you already know than a total stranger, especially given my personal track record with subleasers. i shudder.
And seriously — if anybody else knows of someone who's needing shelter for winter and spring of the coming school year, please contact me. I'm moving on up.

The Blinding of Larry Driscoll

Not that these pictures are at all representative of my experience here in Washington, as the camera's been waiting at home most of the trip, but nonetheless.











Artist's credit for the last one has to go to either Lulwa, who gave me the picture, or the bartender at the bar we went to after the reception for President Dynes. We look pretty good, I think, but we'd look a lot better if we hadn't been drenched in a storm.

I Like Huckleberries

I am feeling overshadowed.
Today Heather told me that when she started at the magazine, she was only twenty-two. On her second day there, she successfully pitched a story idea. Shortly thereafter, she became an editor. I am twenty-two now. On my second day at the office, I got lost trying to find the online production room. I wrote a short article for the website — not the magazine — at the end of my second week.
I am in need of a haircut.
But I'm scared to trust my scalp to some east coast maniac wielding sharp scissors.
I am looking for Lulwa.
Where the hell did that girl go, anyway?
I am digging the new Cake album.
Yes, Cake basically always sounds the same. Yes, the lead singer basically talks through all the band's songs. I don't care. I still like them.
I am reading Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins.
I've never read Tom Robbins before. So far, the first twenty pages detail a young Japanese farmgirl’s sexual relationship with a tanuki, a mythical Japanese badger-raccoon-spirit-trickster perhaps best known to Americans as one of Mario's transformations in Super Mario Bros. 3. Daniel recommended it. Let's hope he isn't a shithead. Later, Daniel tells me, the plot details the lives of MIAs from Vietnam who prefer to stay missing.
I am thinking about "I (Heart) Huckabees."
Well acted and unexpected. Thoroughly entertaining. And funny. But I never want to see it again because I'm worried that the philosophy it espouses will ultimately not hold up to careful examination and I will therefore lose respect for it.
I am protective about Naomi Watts.
I feel like I get to claim ownership of her since I wandered into "Mulholland Drive" so many years ago without a clue about the film or her and was blown away. I then watched her evolution from unknown to starlet, from fringe star to respected actress. And she made me laugh in "Huckabees" and I'm impressed that she can do comedy.
I am horny.
"Hi. I can't help notice that you expressed a passing attraction to the way I look. Since I see that we have interlocking parts, may I suggest that we go somewhere private and interlock?"
I am accessible.
I love how complete strangers can find a way to contact me with only a few mouse clicks. I love how it's happened five times this week. I love how none of them are shitheads — I think.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Battle of the Fluffy Tails

Observed at the DC zoo: A red panda meets a squirrel. They regard each other cautiously. Understandably, the squirrel flips upside-down.

red panda meets squirrel

More photos when I get a chance to post them.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Gene Hackman Wins

Do celebrities really die in clusters?

They did the summer before last, when Johnny Cash and Charles Bronson and Katharine Hepbern and Celia Cruz and John Ritter and Bob Hope and Barry White all died while I was abroad. And now, for this week, Janet Leigh, Rodney Dangerfield and Christopher Reeve all went totally Cici Cooper on us. (And, I'll wager, in doing so they provided the only occasion in which their three names would be mentioned in the same sentence, unless you're maybe the one guy living in Tusla whose three favorite actors were Janet Leigh, Rodney Dangerfield and Christopher Reeve and you used to tell people that but now you're just totally emotionally devastated from this week of agonizing hell.) I shouldn't even be writing about this drivel when so many more people died so much more tragically in the no-go parts of the world, but it still affects me. I feel like I knew these people, even if the times we spent together were mediated by some kind of screen.

Do celebrities really die in clusters? [ yes / no ]

Does bad luck come in threes? [ yes / no ]

Should I be pondering such things at three in the morning? [ yes / no ]

The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel

Ah, Freestats.com. You tell me such wonderful information, like who's visiting my site, how long they spend here and what they've Googled to lead them here. The last is easily the most interesting. Some notable examples:
So if nothing else, I take pleasure in the fact that I've wasted at least this many people's time. None of these searchers were trying to access my ramblings — for sure not the guy who wanted pictures of Vivica A. Fox doing anal — but they found the Cereal Box anyway just because some random combination of my words jived with their search keywords. Good to know I'm contributing to the polluted mess of words that is the internet.

What I find flattering is that not everybody just leaves. Freestats tells me how long people spend on the site, and a lot of them quickly realize that I'm just talking about "Kill Bill" and video games and why I hate my roommates and leave within ten seconds. Some stay. Some read and I think that's kind of cool. It actually prompts me to write on as diverse an array of topics as I possibly could in order to trick as many people as possible into reading me — though, I admit, I'll still talk about Beatrix and Birdo a lot.

Oh, and in the past month, about twenty-one people have found this site by finding my Blogger profile, presumably by Googling my name.

I know this is self-absorption at its peak, but I can't help be fascinated by how people are getting to me. Once again, that's Freestats.com.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Legend of Canada Sue

She found my blog in record time. That's the legend. Well, that and I think she isn't happy about being called Canada Sue.

Sticky Bitch

An email-rant to Jill — now Jill-at-the-State-Department — that was so satisfying to write that I've decided to post it here. (As a setup, Jill has just asked me how my day is going).
it's going okay. i've been pretty busy today, but i think i can take the time to write. your roommate sucks. like, donkey anus. seriously. moe has wanted to meet for lunch since last week, so it finally worked out so that we could meet today at that potbelly sandwich place. so i text message her this morning and ask what time she'd like to meet. she says 1:30. fine. so i reorganize what i had to do today so i can go to the staff meeting, get my shit done and still meet her for lunch. i get to the place at 1:30 and she's not there, so i wait like five minutes and decide to call her. she says she just got out of a meeting and she's coming in five minutes. ten minutes late, she calls and says that she actually got confused and she's going to a different place for lunch with her co-workers.

so now i'll transcribe not exactly what moe said but how i heard it:

"hi. i am retarded and even though you totally shifted your work day around meeting me for lunch on my terms how i set it up, i think i'm just going to go to a different, farther away restaurant instead, for no good reason, and even though i said i was with coworkers -- in the plural, as opposed to one coworker -- i think i'm not going to leave their group -- because, as i said, i'm a retard -- and instead make you, the guy who made an effort to meet up with me, eat by himself. and oh yeah, by the time you actually get in line and order, you won't have enough time to eat there, so you'll have to get back to the office and eat at your desk like a troll instead of eating out of the office. and by the way -- i'm a gross, sticky bitch. bye!"

so you might hear that i text messaged the slut something along the lines of "eat shit" and how i'm rude, but i actually thought that response was appropriate, especially considering that it was lunchtime and all.

drew

p.s. oh yeah, by the time i got to my office, i had realized i had picked up someone else's sandwich. this lunch item... i can only describe it as "swimming with vinegar and mayonnaise."
A great way to finish my lunch hour.

Splitting It With the Greeks

I made this!
Later on 'Late Night'...
NBC Will target Hip Youngsters When They're Older

We're becoming old. Tragically, inevitably, it's happening.

Late-night yackbox and "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno officially announced on Monday, Sept. 26 that he would end of his reign of blandness in early 2009, stepping aside and allowing Conan O'Brien to assume hosting duties. O'Brien, the man whom NBC has tucked away in the post-Leno "Late Night" timeslot since 1993, will replace Leno's stale jokes with a quirky, original and often downright bizarre humor. He'll just have to wait five years, a time period that equates Leno to roughly six good jokes.

In March, I wrote a column decrying NBC's decision to sign Leno through 2009 because I felt it ignored the legion of college-aged fans Conan has garnered in the 11 years since the network signed a next-to-unknown writer from "The Simpsons" and "Saturday Night Live." He is catnip to us, for the most part, and he knows how to mix pop culture references with his own comedy innovations - a phenomenon perhaps best represented, of course, by a chef's hat-wearing cactus that plays "We Didn't Start the Fire" on a flute. Leno, conversely, delivers jokes like he's tossing half-ton bricks made out of shit. But I digress... Rather than wait around for Leno to shove off, O'Brien might have fled to a kinder network - or left the late show business altogether.

So one would think I would be elated to have O'Brien in line to move into the earlier timeslot. I am. However, that looming date of 2009 has reminded me about the inevitable passing of time - and the underlying wisdom NBC exhibited in keeping Leno around.

By the time Conan O'Brien becomes the fifth host of NBC's "Tonight Show," most of the people reading this column now will be all grown up. Most of us, I hope, will be done with our undergraduate work. We'll have jobs, spouses and maybe even children. Some, conversely, will have no spouses, no children and a lot of cats - but they'll still be the appropriate age. We'll still like Conan, but we'll have to get up for work every morning. We'll be old, and we'll probably be home in time to see his show every weekday night.

The age set that keeps Leno popular will also be more finely aged - maybe to the point at which 11:30 p.m. is past their bedtime. And those fogies who can keep their eyes peeled through O'Brien's opening monologue would likely be put off by his antics, what with his hissing and mugging and playing of "Walker, Texas Ranger" clips.

In retrospect, the extension of Leno's contract through 2009 makes a lot of sense, because that's how long a shift in the adult demographic will take. That's doesn't mean the transition into post-college student, post-young people, post-cool age group is any less unnerving for me.

To put time in perspective, 2009 will mark the 10th anniversary of movies like "The Matrix" and shows like "The Sopranos" and "Family Guy." By this year, Bill Clinton's impeachment hearings will be a 10-year-old footnote in American history. This year is also the scheduled completion date for the Freedom Tower, the structure replacing the World Trade Center, which fell in terrorist attacks that will be eight years old. And the weirdness that once occupied the 1 a.m. timeslot, in the form of off-the-wall fringe comedy invented by a hyperactive Irish giant, will suddenly become the mainstream.

Hurray for Conan O'Brien and a "see you in Hell" for Jay Leno. It's good to know that mediocre comedy must one day bow out to something that might actually make you laugh. But maybe - just for a second - the idea of getting older is scarier than even another season of Jay Leno.

Daily Nexus columnist Drew both hisses and mugs when he plays clips of "The Tonight Show."

Warping

I had a dream, though I can’t remember it. When I woke up this morning, I only had the faintest memories of what my brain made up while I was sleeping. The bits and pieces: finding a key, avoiding falling into a hole and the crude-yet-visually distinctive graphic style of the 8-biut age of video games.

It’s not the first time I’ve dreamt about video games.

When I was a kid, video games were a big deal to me. Less so now, but they’re still there, whether they’re stacked up neatly in my closet or hiding in the recesses of my subconscious. But when I really think about it, the difference between having a dream and playing a video game are actually quite minimal, at least along the mental path I’m dragging the idea.

Both, usually, put a person in an active role — they make you the actor and agent, so to speak. Both thrust a person into performing some crazy task — whether plucking vegetables or flying with a raccoon tail or sorting through jumbo bin of tennis balls to find the one with an ear growing out of it — that he or she does without really questioning the underlying logic. And both, in a sense, allow a person to act in impossible ways in impossible situations.

When I really think about it, I feel like video games come closer to dreams than movies or books or waking life or anything like that — for me, at least. I wonder if the children born in the last twenty-five years are the first to have these machines that allow us to approximate dreaming. I wonder how that might affect our brains, our conscious and unconscious minds. Or I wonder if my personal style of dreaming has just changed to reflect the formidable influence of video games.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Watching the Watchers

My mom apparently taught herself how to email pictures and I seriously could be neither prouder of her nor happier to have this be the test picture:


One of These Things First

As of the time of this publishing, the zipper budged and all is right with the world.

New Slang

Around 11:30 tonight I returned from the movie theater and finally changed out of the black shirt-gray pants-black and gray-striped tie I’d been wearing since I left for the Young Professionals mixer at 6 p.m. I changed into brown pants, which have a hole in the near the back left pocket where I keep my wallet, a t-shirt that reads “Draft Beer, Not People” and a new blue hooded sweatshirt — an article of clothing that makes me as happy as an article of clothing can make a person.

Then the zipper jammed.

As I type this — and quite likely, as you read this — the jacket hangs open all the way down to the base, where three stubborn zipper teeth keep it from moving either up or down.

And even that, a possibly fatal flaw in an article clothing that makes me, as I said before, as happy as an article of clothing can make a person, cannot kill my good mood. I liked today, but not because anything especially great happened. I liked today for its wonderful, beautiful ordinariness.

For the first time since I got to Washington, D.C., I didn’t have a single first — no first day of work, no first lecture, no first time in a strange part of town on a color line of the Metro that I didn’t even existed before I accidentally got on it. After two and a half weeks here, I finally have a routine and the glorious familiarity shines down like the same California sun that I so dearly miss.

I woke up hungover this morning — so not a first — because I chose to celebrate the vice-presidential debate by drinking myself to the point where I adlib anecdotes as pass them off as truth. Then, I convinced Daniel and Adam that we had to watch the first chapter of the second volume of the fourth film by Quentin Tarantino: “Massacre at Two Pines.” That chapter, of course, led to the other chapters and the whole movie with a prolonged discussion of the societal importance of and directorial flourishes in that movie.

I limped to work without eating or drinking anything and got to work on the A-list, the format for which now seems as naturally as — I don’t know — waking up hungover. I ate lunch with two of the other interns, UCSB Melanie and the one I call Canada Sue, and despite an hour-and-a-half spate of migrainey badness actually pulled off the impression of an efficient worker. I got home and collected a group of people to go to an intern happy hour at a bar called Teaism that serves wonderful Asian-skewed cocktails like Saketinis and Ginger Margaritas, randomly found a decent place in Chinatown that serves good pineapple duck and finally saw “Garden State” at what turned out to be the same theater we saw “Hedwig” at drunk Friday night.

I wore a tie, delightedly, for six hours, in a town where it’s not weird for anybody to wear a tie, even me.

Yes, the zipper jammed. Yes, I spent too much money for the sixteenth consecutive day since I got here. Yes, the sun has left these east coast states and in his stead we’ve got a chill — sharp, crisp, sinister and invisible — that neither blackens clouds nor shakes the leaves in the trees.

But I have a routine and that’s never felt more important to me.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Big Fish Eat the Little Ones

A seventeen-year-old girl named Erin Feehan-Nelson is running as a write-in candidate for mayor of St. Mary's Point, Minnesota. Maybe life in the Small Soda has warped her little mind. Not only is she too young to run for office, she's also too young to vote. In any case, I like that her campaign slogan is "Uncorrupted by Years of Experience." The littlest mayor's first order of business: changing the town's name from St. Mary's Point to Dawson's Creek.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The 479th Post

Things I saw today:
  • the Washington Monument
  • the World War II memorial
  • a photo of my grandfather in the memorial database
  • a chipmunk
  • FBI Headquarters
  • the Mint
  • the IRS building
  • an anti-war protest
  • a pair of maras, Argentinian rodents that look like a large hamster-bunny hybrid with long, skinny deer legs
  • panda bears
  • a scary, hissing jungle cat called a caracal
  • a raccoon crawling out of a zoo garbage can that we initially thought was a zoo exhibit
  • a thunderstorm
  • cops narrowly missing a guy clearly on ecstacy at Krispy Kreme
  • my first article for National Geographic Traveler posted on the magazine's website today
  • many ducks
Things I did not see today:
  • an anteater
[ link: the first article to link me to National Geographic ]

Friday, October 01, 2004

Actually, You Forgot About Poland

He started the day with the moon and a shake — he was finally arranged.

After lecture, we ventured down towards the World Bank to see the mass protests, but sensing danger we veered off towards a French sandwich shop before eventually catching a live taping of CNN’s “Crossfire,” which until I entered the studio I had confused with Chris Matthew’s “Hardball.” Bow tie-wearing Tucker Carlson and living Howdy Doody Paul Begalla hosted and made for a fun show until DC Daniel, DC Katie, Lulwa and I edged out past the Watergate and to the Kennedy Center, where we caught the first of the daily free concerts on a brand new outdoor terrace. The band: Polyphonic Spree, who only I knew before but managed to wow my friends with their unique mishmash of the Brady Bunch, Pink Floyd and some undiscovered off-Broadway musical. Halfway through the first set, the presidential helicopter flew over us and a sunset-illuminated view of the Potomac. We went home after “Hold Me Now,” drank and then caught a midnight showing of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

God, I love that I live in a city where I can create that narrative and be telling the absolute truth. Eight remaining weeks just isn’t enough.

Everyone thinks that it goes away with age.