Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Two Lexicons for Eating Chicken

Only a little poorer and a little sunburnt, I'm back from Vegas. It happened exactly like you'd think it would, the whole Viva Nex Vegas: thirty-five drunk college students stumbling around flashing, colorful things. Next time, though, we should bring a shepherd's crook to help with crowd management.

I realize that Vegas excels in providing generic but pleasant experiences. I had fun, but not a single thing happened to our group all weekend that wouldn't have happened to anybody else who did the Vegas thing. Same slots, same blackjack tables, same buffets. In fact, even the hotels are, if it's possible, exquisitely generic. The Paris hotel, for example, is exactly what you'd expect: all the kitschiest, broadest elements of Paris condensed into casino decor. Likewise with the Venetian or New York, New York or any of the rest.

Alas, I need to do all the work I didn't do this weekend, so in addition to being my Viva Nex Vegas update this post must also function as "closed until further notice" sign for the Cereal Box. Thus:

CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!

Don't worry. I'm up to nothing interesting this week anyway.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

One-Armed Bandits

My last Nexus-related adventure will probably be this weekend's trip to Las Vegas, which I have taken to calling Viva Nex Vegas. Surprisingly, about 35 Nexites are going. That's a lot more people than we can usually get to do anything, much less cross state lines. I'm impressed.

I keep thinking of this cross-over night ABC had a while back, though. In it, the casts of all its Tuesday night sitcoms at the time — "Ellen," "Coach," "Grace Under Fire" and "The Drew Carey Show" — all went to Las Vegas. Though various characters crossed paths, they only appeared in the same scene, which I believe occurred at a craps table, for a few seconds. Other than that, they all more or less dealt with their own plotlines. Then they went home. But the whole night was billed as a giant two-hour unit of TV.

It's the last occurrence of such programming I can think of. Better-planned ones include a night when NBC's Saturday night, Florida-located sitcoms — "Empty Nest," "The Golden Girls" and "Nurses" — all involved a nasty hurricane or a night NBC's New York City-located Must See TV Thursday lineup — "Mad About You," "Friends" and a short-lived Dabney Coleman vehicle called "Madman of the People" — suffered from a city-wide power outtage. ("Seinfeld," however, remained immune to such blackout silliness.)

Anyway, the Las Vegas crossover special is basically how I envision this weekend: six or seven independently units arriving and running crazy, doing their own thing and maybe converging for a few brief seconds at the same bar for a drink. Maybe. And then everyone catching each other up when we get back on Monday.

Looking forward to it.

By the way, there's an awesome website that I've plugged before that catalogues such crossovers — the TV kind, not my friends' roadtrips. It's worth a look.
[ link: Poobala's Cross-Over and Spin-off Database ]
Hopefully, we won't find out this weekend was the fleeting mental creation of an autistic gay child actor.

Turning in the Decoder Ring

Completely done. My last column — my last verbal contribution ever to the Nexus — ran today. I like it. I think it's a good enough way to cap off a three-year stint as a semiregular opinion columnist. Good night, Artful Dodger.
Turning in the Decoder Ring
Now It's Time to Figure Out a Way to Dodge the Real World.

During my five years at UCSB, the phrase “last quarter” always referred to the previous quarter — as in, “Jeez, my grades went down the toilet last quarter.” Recently, however, I realized that these two words have gained a whole new meaning. “Last quarter” now means just that - my final quarter at this school, as an undergraduate anywhere, or as a writer for the Daily Nexus.

Before I can even begin to imagine what life without this newspaper might be like, I’m set with the task of writing my final column. Historically, Nexus farewells include a thank you to every person the soon-to-be-unemployed columnist ever spoke to within the dingy office walls.

Thank you, now-graduated editor who initially did not remember my name. Thank you, now-dropped-out reporter I fired for sucking. Thank you, lady who gives me my paycheck. You get the idea. I, however, will not name names.

Having tapped away at a keyboard here for the past four years, my list of thank yous would stretch beyond the length restrictions for the acceptable Nexus column. I’ve worked with a fine group of reporters, columnists, editors, artists and photographers here. Their cumulative influence will return me to the world with a better understanding of how to put a sentence together.

The one person I will specifically thank is Tiffany Leung. She lived a few dorm rooms down from me during freshman year. Way back then, life on the eighth floor of San Nic was marked by video games and booze-soaked dorm carpets. Yet, despite these distractions, Tiffany somehow had the insight to attend Nexus writer’s training. She said she might like to one day see her name in the paper, and I agreed to sit through the two-night session with her.

Though I’m fairly sure Tiffany completed the training course, she graduated last June without ever having written an article. Whether it was her predisposition to the more scientific side of academia or a reluctance to sacrifice all her free time, the Nexus didn’t work out for her. And I am about to complete what I would consider a fairly successful four-year stint. So thank you, Tiffany Leung, for nudging me into writing in a way that might actually prove useful later in my life. You never got your name in the paper, so I thought I’d put it in my last-ever Nexus contribution as my way of saying thanks.

Before I turn in my Nexus decoder ring, I would also like to put to rest those questions we Nexites find ourselves being asked by our peers when we wander into Isla Vista during rare spurts of free time. Though we may spend our day running around, asking questions and jotting the answers down in our reporter’s notebooks, we invariably spend our nights at parties, answering questions about work as soon as anybody finds out where we work. The questions are always the same.

Yes, Beth Van Dyke was hot.

Yes, that was her real name.

No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Dave Franzese.

And no, I don’t care that you think your girlfriend could write the Wednesday Hump any better.

Yes, Sean Swaby does drink a lot of beer.

No, I don’t know who the Weatherhuman is. For all I know, it could be you.

Yes, we get paid.

No, it’s not very much.

Yes, we do get decoder rings.

No, they don’t double as walkie-talkies.

No, we’re not all on drugs.

But yes, we are all doing it with each other.

And yes, sometimes in Storke Tower.

That being said, it’s been a blast, this sexless marriage to a time-eating monster called the Daily Nexus. If the best hours of my post-Nexus career are as good as the ones this beast consumed, then I’m walking away from this office with no regrets.

As you read this, Daily Nexus training editor Drew is trying to remember what having a real job was like.
Weirdly, when I look at the Nexus archives, it says I only have written 45 opinion columns. I could have sworn it would have been more. Oh well. I guess I'm not as opinionated as I thought I was.

Topics covered besides that of today's column:
  • eavesdropping
  • grammar
  • subleasers
  • raccoons
  • the Super Bowl
  • mosquitoes
  • the ugliness of Storke Plaza
  • capital punishment
  • the B-52's "Rock Lobster" and censorship
  • "Mr. Personality"
  • English majors and the shame of using Cliffs Notes
  • the surreal summer of 2003
  • GOLD
  • "You know this is wrong"
  • the Hollister Co.
  • auditioning for "The Real World"
  • professors' politics
  • Bam
  • make-up
  • the utter brutality of the cut flower market
  • stupidity
  • the ugliness of the 2004 presidential candidates
  • Jay Leno's bloated salary
  • sex clones
  • why the plus in "A+" should affect your GPA
  • the proliferation of the word "ass"
  • being a super senior
  • Week of Welcome
  • hurricanes
  • Conan O'Brien's vindication over Jay Leno's bloated salary
  • Gmail
  • driving etiquette
  • why I didn't attend a "walk-out" protesting the war in Iraq
  • The Facebook
  • The Santa Barbara International Film Festival
  • Valentine's Day and consumerism
  • GOLD (again)
  • my concussion
  • the Queer G.E.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Baby Swan

Given the word's meaning, I honestly believe that "cygnet" sounds far too technical.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Green Clouds

When I woke up this morning, I looked at the window first. The corners of sky I could see behind the big tree looked overcast, and for some reason I immediately thought of London — that summer two years ago, when it felt hot and sticky even when the clouds were out. I wish I could have been anywhere but here, but I most wanted to be in London again, awake and purposefully walking on those old streets.



This is the view from my window. For many of you, this would be the first time you've seen what the this view looks like, since I suddenly realize that I've had very few people over since I got back to Santa Barbara. You can barely see any sky in the picture, but take my word that it's cloudy today. The tree you see is an avocado tree. Presently, it's growing tiny fruit. About every twenty minutes, an aborted avocado fetus drops from the tree and bounces across the roof with a cheerful knocking noise. And every time I think it's somebody at the door. It's not. I don't get many visitors all the way downtown. But that damn avocado tree fools me every time.

I wish I was in London today, rather than being in Santa Barbara. I wish I wasn't in front of a computer again, writing for academics and hostile newspaper readers and online weirdos looking for some window into my personal life.

There, another one just fell.

They Call Me... Custard Yellow?

This decision being based on the judgment made by a certain artsy pair and their ballsy theories of clashing colors. This is now the only blog in the world with this template. But more importantly, what do you think?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dina Says I Don't Take Good Notes in Class

So do you agree with Dina?









In my defense, my grades are as good if not better than hers.

Thirteen and Fourteen

I finally got around to burning what I've been listening to onto Numbers 13 and 14 in the "What Drew's Been Listening To" series. Give me the word and a copy is in the mail. Or you could just, you know, download them yourself.
NUMBER THIRTEEN
  1. Erasure - "Who Needs Love Like That?"
  2. Beck - "Hell Yes"
  3. Felix da Housecat - "Ready to Wear"
  4. Weezer - "This Is Such a Pity"
  5. Kaiser Chiefs - "I Predict a Riot"
  6. Out Hud - "How Long"
  7. Kings of Leon - "King of the Radio"
  8. Gorillaz - "Feel Good, Inc."
  9. Pinback - "Fortress"
  10. Magnetic Fields - "When My Boy Walks Down the Street"
  11. m83 - "Don't Save Us From the Flames"
  12. Moby - "Raining Again"
  13. Of Montreal - "Old People in the Cemetary"
  14. Ladytron - "The Way I Found You"
  15. Raveonettes - "Love in a Trashcan"
  16. Louis XIV - "God Killed the Queen"
  17. Dogs Die in Hot Cars - "I Love You 'Cause I Have To"
  18. Moving Units - "I Am"
  19. Blonde Redhead - "In Particular"
  20. Beck - "Bad Cartridge (E-Pro Game Boy remix)"
  21. Yaz - State Farm
NUMBER FOURTEEN
  1. White Strips - "Blue Orchid"
  2. Spoon - "I Turn My Camera On"
  3. Caesars - "It's Not the Fall That Hurts"
  4. Out Hud - "One Life to Leave"
  5. Garbage - "Why Do You Love Me?"
  6. Kaiser Chiefs - "Oh My God"
  7. Hot Hot Heat - "Ladies and Gentlemen"
  8. Doves - "Black and White Town"
  9. Scissor Sisters - "Get It Get It"
  10. Kills - "The Good Ones"
  11. Kings of Leon - "The Bucket"
  12. Halo Benders - "Big Rock Candy Mountain"
  13. Of Montreal - "Forecast Fascist Future"
  14. RJD2 - "Smoke and Mirrors"
  15. Queens of the Stone Age - "Little Sister"
  16. Louis XIV - "Me Me Me Me"
  17. Spoon - "They Never Got You"
  18. Rilo Kiley - "Portions for Foxes"
  19. Ditty Bops - "Ooh La La (What Brought the House Down)"
  20. Zwan - "Number of the Beast"
More than a few of them are drawn from Coachella, but I'd recommend Spoon's stuff most highly. Or, you know, all of it. Commence downloading.

How I Got My Free Time Back

It's Sunday evening and I'm home.

I haven't left the house all day, really. It's just been me, my computer and the last miniature mountain of work I need to overcome before I'm graduated.

The funny part is that I have spent exactly none of this beautiful Sunday at the Nexus. For the last four years, I've checked into the Nexus office every Sunday, save finals week, vacation and those rare weekends when I actually tread beyond the corners of this "Having a great time in Santa Barbara!" postcard. But last Thursday, I shouted "Good night, Nexus!" for the last time and relegated myself to that weird status of "former Nexite." I'm gone. I'm done. I'm a vaguely familiar name written on the wall in chalk. Save for my farewell column I'm writing for this next week, my name is not going to be in the paper anymore.

I'm not all that sad, though, unless you count the problem of having to locate a new group of people who are financially obligated to watch and tolerate my antics. I wish I could have pulled myself out of this writing funk and actually written more for the paper this quarter, but overall I think I'm proud of my record: collectively, about 200 news stories, Artsweek articles and opinion columns, most of which don't suck.

I guess the only real problem now is trying to figure out what to do with myself. I'm jobless, but even more troubling than that is my sudden loss of idenity. As much as I would hate to admit it, that fucking paper made me the way I am. It organized my schedule and dictated who I knew and what I talked about and even how I write this journal. And now I don't have that. I'm not Drew of the Daily Nexus anymore. I'm not Drew, the roommate who doesn't clean up his stuff because he's too busy at the paper. I don't even have those crappy business cards that the past two managing editors pissed away company money on.

I don't even know what free time is, really. Here I am typing an essay on my feelings about quitting my job — surely a ramp-up for the main event of my farewell column. What if takes me four years to re-learn how to be a real person?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Power Pills

Because reality is literally bending in on itself in an unprecedented effort to keep me from doing my homework, Jessica flew in from New York this weekend for a hi-there-hello in Santa Barbara. It was actually refreshing to see someone be so glad to wander around the usual State Street bars — kind of like seeing all the newly twenty-one Nexites toddle around to bars like big kids.

So Thursday night was a drunken blur involving Kristen, Kami and too many drinks, but Jessica met up with us at Elsie's Friday night and we had a real grown-up night out, without getting so drunk that we fall down or Bill's Bus or anything like that. We talked about New York and big city magazines and job applications and being small fish in big seas rather than contented, well-sunned fish swimming in Santa Barbara's oily waters. It was good for me, at least, to hear that and get some fire lit beneath my ass on getting my life in line.

The value of our convo, however, was slightly undercut for me because I was sitting next to the Pac-Man machine. No one was playing and the game was flashing those screens it does to keep itself occupied until someone puts a quarter in. (I'm told this is called "attract mode," in case you're ever on "Jeopardy" and the category is "terminology from obsolete video game systems.") Anyway, this Pac-Man machine's attract mode involved parading the different edible ghosts across the screen and listing their names, one-by-one.

I was surprised to learn that the ghost's names change depending on which version of Pac-Man you're playing. (This particular arcade cabinet had the entire Pac-Man series contained in one unit, you see.) The standard four-ghost setup for the original Pac-Man is Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. But those aren't the ghosts real names. Apparently, the game's designers decided to give them nicknames in addition to the real names, Shadow, Speedy, Bashful and Pokey. I have no idea why.

With Ms. Pac-Man, it's Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Sue, I'm guessing because they decided to better even out the gender ratio, what with the female lead and all. And in Pac-Man Jr., they switched Sue with Tim, though they still looked the same.

I find this fucking fascinating, and I'll never be able to explain way. So I totally probably missed something important Jessica said — a few words advising my career and putting me on the track to writing for magazine instead of writing for instruction manuals. All because I wanted to watch the ghosts.

ASSMAN

Oh, yeah, and while at Elsie's, we totally saw Carlos D, the bassist for Interpol, making good on his reputation of having a thing for the chubby ladies.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Idaho

Old roommate Meghan has been gone for about a week now. She's off on a two-month birdwatching expedition in the wilds of Idaho, near the Montana border. She called me from Missoula, during one of her weekly opportunities to use a phone and a computer, but I wasn't there to pick up. But I did get an email.
Dear Drew,

Idaho is not what I expected. The tent we're staying in is smaller than I expected, so I'll be sleeping outside, I'm told. It rains a lot here, so they gave me a tarp to keep dry. Unfortunately, the tarp is roughly the size of a washcloth, and I must decide between keeping my face dry or wrapping it around my waist in order mask my natural feminine smells, as my TA tells me that the timberwolves are "drawn to cooch."

Yes, timberwolves. They tell me that timberwolves got their name from their ability to chew through wood. There's been a lot of timberwolf attacks in the area lately, but my TA says that it's not because they're hungry. Instead, the apparently wily timberwolves are doing it "just to fuck around." I don't like that. Additionally, the presence of the wolves has driven the bears into a "frenzy" mode, so I'm told if I see any that I should act like a timberwolf and chew through the nearest tree trunk in a last-ditch effort to frighten the bear away.

Thanks so much for lending my your Game Boy and those books. They were really handy the first two nights, but then one of the other birdwatchers took them because she said I was "a baby" and that "babies don't get nice things." Then she pushed me. Her name is Joanie and I don't think she likes me. She pushes me a lot.

Honestly, though, those books and games wouldn't have been much good for me, because of my accident and all. I finally saw the bird we've been looking for, a Montana reticulated starling, and I was really excited, until it attacked me. The doctor said he'd never seen a bird's beak inserted so far into a person's head before. Joanie said I must have made it mad by getting too close to its nest. I'm okay, but I'm gonna have a soft spot where the bird poked me and when they pulled the bird out, they had to kill it, since it had tasted blood once and probably would want to again.

Worst of all, the accident punctured the part of my brain that allows me to read, so I can't do that anymore. I can write, but I'm not sure what I'm writing or if it even makes any sense. If it doesn't, please know why. Please pray for me. I hope I can send off this email before my brain's entire language center dissolves. Coco! Coco!

Meghan.

P.S. Coco!
Of course, the real email wasn't nearly as funny. But don't you like this one better?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Don't Think About the Dancing Midget

Woof. I'm not sure, but I think these two paragraphs are my thesis statement.
As if to underscore the dramatic shift in location from the rural American south to Washington D.C., the northern section of Jean Toomer’s Cane concludes with two segments that stand in stark contrast to the remainder of the novel. “Theater” and “Box Seat” — thematically twinned by musical performances, multiple stream-of-consciousness monologues and a focus on such “in-between” states as half-light and partial wakefulness — are made all-the-more conspicuous by their placement so close to each other. Both focus on a man and woman with failed romantic chemistry, both take place in a theater and both involve the characters’ seeming inability to engage themselves in the performances before them. Instead, John, Dorris, Dan and Muriel retreat into their minds, their scattershot ponderings forming the bulk of their sections.

Furthermore, the more bizarre aspects of “Theater” and “Box Seat” — notably Dorris’ sudden emotional breakdown following her dance and the blood-splattered midget’s serenade to Muriel — are reflected in the work of contemporary director David Lynch, whose films frequently feature characters who arrive at important conclusions after viewing musical performances. A comparison between Lynch’s work and the thematic ties binding “Theater” and “Box Seat” will reveal a wealth of common imagery and techniques, setting Lynch’s work after Toomer’s in the traditions of modernism and surrealism. These styles, while often weird and difficult, demand an active reader or viewer, suggesting that the performance most worthy of one’s attention is the analysis of the work — not the flashy stage show.
Editing to follow. At least I finally got to write my David Lynch paper.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

While Her Mouth Flaps Admirably to Him

Psychologists once used to gauge mental disability with a classification system that has since been abandoned. The system worked like this:
  • Those with an IQ range of 70-80 were considered "borderline deficient."
  • An IQ of 50-69 meant you were officially a "moron."
  • IQs between 20-49 qualified you as an "imbecile."
  • And the those below 20 were "idiots."
The only aspect of this outdated system that still survives today is the phrase "idiot savant."

And a "cretin," by the way, is a person suffering from "a congenital condition caused by a deficiency of thyroid hormone during prenatal development and characterized in childhood by dwarfed stature, mental retardation, dystrophy of the bones, and a low basal metabolism." It's also known as congenital mysedema.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tough Love

White Ant Biddies

I felt unproductive today, so I got a haircut. It doesn't matter how little I get done now — at least I can say I got my hair cut.

Driving out of Isla Vista, I stopped at the Pardall Road crossing to let an old lady in a walker cross. She was slow, but not ridiculously so. I'd say it took her about a minute to make it across, from sidewalk to sidewalk. Though she wasn't much of a sprinter, she didn't look that old, really. She made eye contact with me to make sure I'd let her cross, which is something I wouldn't have expected from a person so old to have lost touch with reality. She was dressed nicely, too. Old lady nice, but nice nonetheless. Her shirt matched her pants and she had done her hair.

As I watched her cross, I couldn't help admire her a little. Not like that lame old age veneration that we're all expected to practice. No, I admired this lady simply for having not died. I started to think about it: I'm surprised anybody could be old, what with how easy it would be to die. I could have died twenty different ways just on the drive home. I didn't, but I could have.

It's not remarkable that I survived today, but when you look at life as a series of near misses it seems entirely plausibly that after thirty or so years, the finger of God won't miss and will instead smoosh your head, right where you stand.

Smoosh.

Even now, I'm looking around my bedroom and thinking of how easily I could off myself, if I so chose. I could just tear into my flat screen monitor and begin chewing on whatever cords I could find until I find one with enough juice to cook myself from the inside out. I could choke on my stapler. I could inhale a vitamin. I could chip the paint from my painting and give myself whatever poisoning your get from ultramarine blue. And that's just the stuff that I could do. There's a whole mess of devilry waiting to do us all in that we don't even have control over. Roving ocelot packs. Helicopter crashes. Gas fumes. You name it.

Old lady, I take my hat off my newly shorn head. Though slow today, you apparently have been nimble enough to stave off death and his many forms. And not only that, but you're still brave enough to stroll out into Isla Vista, where the young people ride their skateboards and their segways and their hoverscooters, for all you know.

Maybe not being smooshed by the finger of God won't be so bad after all. She seemed to be coping well.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Kappa Kappa Wong

Animated TV shows or movies in which Lauren Tom, best known as Ross' Rachel-enraging girlfriend Julie on "Friends," has supplied the voice for a female Asian character:
  • "Superman: The Animated Series" as Angela Chen
  • "King of the Hill" as Minh Souphanousinphone and her daughter, Kahn Jr.
  • "Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero" as Mariko
  • "Futurama" as Amy Wong and her mom, Ynez Wong
  • "Max Steel" as Laura Chen
  • "Teacher's Pet" as Younghee
  • "Batman Beyond" as Dana Tan
  • "The Zeta Project" as Agent Lee
  • "Codename: Kids Next Door" as Numbuh Three
  • "Clifford's Puppy Days" as Shun
  • "Kim Possible" as Yoshiko
  • "The Infinite Darcy" as Darcy Chang
  • "Mulan II" as Su
  • "Teen Titans" as Gizmo
I guess it goes without saying that all the live-action roles she's performed are Asian women also, but I just think it's strange that she's done this so often. I mean, it's not that she sounds particularly Asian. Any voice could theoretically come out of an Asian person's mouth. But they always go to Lauren Tom whenever they need a voice for an Asian girl. I mean, shit — it's not like Ming-Na is so busy.

That Lauren Tom — she gets around.

Masturbation Narration: The Truth About Donovan's "Mellow Yellow"

Because I've been getting a lot of traffic from people whose search results are yielding my analysis of the implicit gay content of Elton John's "Rocket Man" but also because I've been listening to my Best of Donovan CD a lot, I've decided to write about what that song "Mellow Yellow" is really about.

Most people never process it because the song's lyrics aren't that easy to understand. People are mostly familiar with the opening verse and the chorus. These go as follows:
I'm just mad about Saffron
Saffron's mad about me
I'm just mad about Saffron
She's just mad about me

They call me Mellow Yellow ~ (Quite rightly)
They call me Mellow Yellow ~ (Quite rightly)
They call me Mellow Yellow
Clear as day, huh? I think it's especially hard because Saffron isn't a common name in America — it's a spice, and one people could easily be quite mad about, I suppose. But knowing that Donovan is from Scottish, I think it's safer to assume that Saffron is a girl and the "she" refers to her. Really, all we can get from this well-known set of lyrics is that Saffron and the narrator like each other a lot and that people refer to the speaker as "Mellow Yellow." The song doesn't really get risque until the next few verses.
I'm just mad about Fourteen
Fourteen's mad about me
I'm just mad about Fourteen
She's just mad about me
And then the chorus again.
Born high forever to fly
Wind velocity nil
Wanna high forever to fly
If you want your cup our fill
And the chorus.
Electrical banana
Is gonna be a sudden craze
Electrical banana
Is bound to be the very next phase
This is where it gets a bit sticky. I'm told an urban legend abounded in the sixties regarding smoking a dried, rolled-up banana peel as a means of getting high. A lot of people assumed that's what the remarks about "born high forever to fly" were about, but Donovan purportedly didn't know this story. He says the song is actually about a fourteen-year-old girl exploring her sexuality and getting to the point where she will soon start using a vibrator — a yellow model called "Mellow Yellow." So the high isn't a drug high, it's a sexual one. This makes the last verse make a lot more sense, what with that whole "electrical banana" business.

I love that this is what the song is about, if for no other reason than this interpretation makes the narrator the vibrator. A talking fucking vibrator. And one in a song that's been so commercial successful for the last forty-some years.

As for the other interpretation of the song, I think "Arrested Development" might have been referencing it in the episode where they mention the sixties folk hit, "Big Yellow Joint" — as in "Big yellow joint, big yellow joint / I'll meet you at the big yellow joint." So the whole smoking a dried, rolled-up banana peel might have more cultural presence that I would have expected. Just about everyone's heard "Mellow Yellow," but if you're interested in listening to Donovan, I'd recommend "Season of the Witch," "Sunshine Superman" or the last half of "Atlantis" over it.

Superman and Green Lantern ain't got nothing on me.

The Hip Drip

As our girl on the street Erin tells us, the wonderful Dr. Amberson is leaving our school's Italian and French department. Damn. What a loss. Loyal readers might remember me describing Amberson as some hip, Irish Sarah Silverman. She stood out during a quarter when I had young, good-looking professors exclusively. She's the one who let my use the phrase "technicolor bloodbath" in a paper. She's also the one I sold the shit-eating movie to. (Honestly, I'm glad to be rid of it.) But when I went to her office to make this financial transaction — that's when I asked her what she'd be teaching next year and that's when I found out she'd be doing the same types of classes, only in Florida.

And now I feel like with the exception of Professor Waid and the writing professors, so many of the great young lecturers head out shortly after I have them. I don't know why. I guess UCSB isn't the primo place for a lot of academic types. Even they, I'd imagine, don't want to be trapped in a picture postcard forever. It's the brain drain, only with the with-it instead of the "only smart."

And in the tradition of winding up posts with some non-sequitur punchline, I thought I'd mention that I bought a box of fancy tea today. The box was purple. When I got it home, I realized I had purchased "popped rice and Japanese sencha, lightly covered with Matcha." I have no clue what this means, though I'm pretty sure it is tea, since it comes it tea bags. I made some. It tastes like liquid cereal.

Our Man in Durban

Dave Chappelle: eloquent? thoughtful? a pious Muslim? Time magazine is running the first interview with Chappelle since he left for South Africa. And no, it turns out — he's neither in an insane asylum nor on crack. Dave Coulier, you owe me five dollars.
[ link: On the Beach With Dave Chappelle ]

Friday, May 13, 2005

You'll Have Your Good Things and I'll Have Mine

Damn.

Just when I forget to look forward to things, I find out that David Lynch is working on a new movie. Titled "Inland Empire," the film stars Laura Dern and Justin Theroux, among others, and involves "a woman in trouble." Lynch, who will also be involved in the paper I'm writing for Prof. Waid's class, has been very tight-lipped about the project, so much so that he's been working on it for the past two years without anybody realizing it.

I'm stoked on the idea of seeing another Lynch film in a movie theater. "Mulholland Drive" was amazing. Seriously, it took years to get me to shut up about it. And, at that, it sent me into this Lynch phase that threatened to make me go crazy and eat up all my free time. "Twin Peaks." "Lost Highway." "Blue Velvet." "Wild at Heart." "Fire Walk With Me." "Eraserhead." The fucking weird-ass short films. Goddamn "Rabbits." And finally "The Elephant Man" and "The Straight Story" last year.

"Inland Empire" is so hush-hush that it doesn't even have a page at IMDb. But you can still read about at Dark Horizons.

Ice Tart

"Nova Scotia" is Latin for "New Scotland." Literally, it's "nova" plus the word "Scot" with a suffix.

"I Am Bean," As Well

Someone who speaks Spanish and English could conceivably read the phrase "soy sauce" as "I am sauce."

The End of Judy

Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Judy Studious has officially left the building. And that makes me the last remaining member of Team Pasado House to still live in Santa Barbara County.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Seeds

In case you didn't see the comment attached to the pickle post, I thought I'd draw attention to it thisaway. I'm just a little astonished that this happened — that someone turned a post into art so quickly. Make of it what you will.


For the interested, there's even more zombie pickles.

Mario Loves Baseball

Oh Mario, what will they have you doing next?
[ link: Italian plumber weirdness ]

Zombie Cucumbers

Then, for no reason at all, I suddenly feel sorry for pickles. These vegetables — and I mean vegetables in the sense that a body pumped with chemicals for a funeral is a person — would envy cucumbers, I'd think. Pickles look like cucumbers: same shape and color and all that, but they're not cucumbers. They're more dead than cucumbers. They're like zombie cucumbers. So while cucumbers are crisp and healthy, pickles are salty and mushy. And though pickles have seeds, they're not viable. And even if those seeds were viable, they wouldn't produce baby pickles — they'd make baby cucumbers. So even then, the parent and the baby wouldn't even speak the same language: The parent would speak pickle, while the baby would naturally speak cucumber.

Oh, and please note the slightly updated blog design. Lime green is in. Dark, cucumber green is out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Don't Cock This One Up

In an effort to resist studying for my midterm tomorrow morning — and taking a cue from Vitamin Q — I composed a short list of human body parts that double as verbs.
  • head
  • face
  • eye
  • mouth
  • teeth (as in, "Babies cry when they are teething.")
  • lash
  • ear ("to form ears," in the corn sense)
  • chin
  • tongue
  • gum
  • nose
  • neck (synonym for "make out")
  • cheek (British for "speak rudely to," like how we use it with "being cheeky")
  • brain (a good one: "to kill by smashing the skull")
  • arm
  • shoulder
  • palm
  • finger (as in, "I fingered your girlfriend," but also in the sense of identifying a culprit)
  • thumb
  • hand
  • nail
  • knuckle (though, more usually as "knuckle down")
  • elbow
  • breast (according to Webster, a synonym for "contend")
  • rib
  • back
  • knee
  • leg ("to walk," according to Webster)
  • foot
  • toe
  • heel
  • butt
  • stomach
  • blister (does this count?)
  • throat (as in, "to sing in a throaty voice")
  • skin
  • hip (a synonym for "tell" or "inform")
  • heart (according to me, as in the recently fashionable expression "I heart New York" to mean "I love New York" or the film "I (Heart) Huckabees")
So what did I miss?

Monday, May 09, 2005

If You Can't Bite Your Tongue, I'll Bite It for You

Back in town, and in woeful need of cramming for my test tomorrow. Not reading doesn't paid off, so I guess I can check that hypothesis off as tested. I'll be a real person again starting tomorrow night, but until then, I'm a ghost — I'm library vapor. Oh, and while driving home I thought of a book title: Once I Knew Love... But Then Came the Death Squads. You know, because having the whole plot summed up in the title is funny.

Here's some more cassowaries for you. Welcome to the Aviary of Doom.







The cassowary, it seems, is the new anteater. (Which is weird, when I think about it, because I could have sworn that the anteater was the new Maya Rudolph.)

Big Zero

So staying up late nights in Hollister gives me access to late night Adult Swim shows I otherwise never watch. Take "Big O." I have never watched this show. As far as I know, it's the implausible, ridiculous type of anime show that gives a bad name to stuff like "Cowboy Bebop," which is good. I have, however, seen the opening credits to "Big O" several times.

The opening titles consist of the following:
  • Various colored backgrounds.
  • Spinning concentric orange circles.
  • A black limousine that drives across the screen several times.
  • A theme song that consists of the accented female singers barking the shows title — "Big O! Big O! Big O! Big O!" — followed by bass synth.
  • Robots, I think.
  • And a section where the four main characters are introduced. We see a picture of their face, plus their job. The jobs are as follows: Negotiator, Officer, Android, Butler.
This last bit is probably the part that I love most. I want to meet the guy who sees that and says, "Wow! This show apparently has everything I've ever wanted in a show. An android and a butler! And then two other guys!" All the while with the "Big O! Big O! Big O! Big O!" and then bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum. There may be other characters. Or it may be a four-person set-up, very Seinfeldian. I really have no idea. Just as I have no idea what the "o" in the title might stand for. I don't want to ever see this show. But if you're ever skipping through channels and you see that Cartoon Network is playing "Big O," I highly recommend that you watch the opening minute, just to appreciate its utter absurdity.

But don't watch any more than that. Because your brain would melt.

By the way, a better four-job set-up than Negotiator-Officer-Android-Butler, I think, would be Trombonist-Gourmand-Toddler-Crosswalk Guard. See? Brain melting.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

When Will We Share Precious Moments?

Drew's Netflix rentals, September 2004 to present. (Movies worth seeing provided with IMDB links.)

Mister and Missus Turkey

Spending the weekend at home for Mother's Day means living in the land of roving turkey gangs. While waiting for a particularly ornery male to cross the road — they do this more often than chickens, I've learned — I got to thinking: what the hell do you call a male turkey? Personally, I'd prefer to call them Mister Turkey. Scratch that — I'd prefer to call them Doctor Turkey or Admiral Gobbles or something like that. But not knowing the proper terminology, I decided to look online when I got home.

Most male birds are called "cocks," so I made the mistake of Googling the phrase "turkey cock." Although I was happy not to turn up a bunch of Turkish gay porn sites on the family computer, it took a little searching to find out that the actual terms for Mister Turkeys are "gobblers."

Gobblers?

I don't like it. This is one of those cases where the technical term sounds made-up. Like "gonads" or "quark" or that one diacritical mark that looks like a dot and is actually called "dot." Even more tragically, the other name for male turkeys is "tom turkeys." As in "tomcat." As in "Hey! Look at all those tom turkeys out there." So then do female turkeys have some ridiculous and fake-seeming name? No. They're just turkey hens. You know, like you'd assume they were if "turkey cock" were the name for Mister Turkey. I think I'll stick with cassowaries.

And, by the way, I decided not to spoil another holiday dinner by scaring the shit out of my parents.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

What Makes the Melon Ball Bounce?

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamatea (Turipukakapimaaungahoronuku). At 83 letters long, it's the second longest place name in the world. The name translates to "The brow of the hill where Tamatea (the man with the big knees who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains) who traveled all over the world played his noseflute for his lover." It's in New Zealand and I've been there. All this time I thought it was the longest place name in the world, but today I found that the full name for Bangkok is actually 167 letters long. ("It begins with "Krung Thep something something something" and ends with a "t.")

Fuck. My life is a lie.

(And if you can answer the question posed in this post's title, I'll buy you a drink.)

Never Smile at a Centipede

[ one ]
Using the word "hysterical" is sexist. The root for the word is hystera, meaning "womb." The Greeks thought that when women's bodies got the best of them, they became unreasonably emotional. Thus, "hysterical." The same root shows up in "hysterectomy." So when you tell someone they're being hysterical, you're basically saying their ovaries have gone nuts and hi-jacked their brains with womb juice.
[ two ]
Unbeknownst the writers at Disney, "Jiminy Cricket" is a Southern euphemism — a "minced oath" — for "Jesus Christ." The most blasphemous place on earth.
[ three ]
A lot of white female characters drown themselves in southern literature because this class was so limited in the American south. What with prostitutes, nannies and wet nurses, the ladies had no purpose. In my imagination, going to the beach in the nineteenth-century south would mean hopping over the scattered bodies of ladies wearing big flowy dresses. "Oh, look. It's Mrs. Jenkins. Someone should bury her in the sand already."Three things I've learned in Prof. Waid's southern lit class.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I Like Pudding and Pudding Likes Me

I started registered at LiveJournal. Apparently I don't spend enough time waist-deep in bloggery, so I decided to create an account with LiveJournal. Meet What's In My Eye?, the sham journal I had to create in order to make comments on people's LiveJournal blogs without being relegated to anonymous status. Don't expect much. Unless you're a LiveJournal user. Then expect comments. I also think I'll join lots of LiveJournal groups in hopes of tricking people into coming to this site. Ha.

(Oh, and lamely, the one entry that will ever be posted at What's In My Eye? already got a comment. Mock him, please.)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Because "Martina" Was Taken?

I let my mind wander and I ended up in Super Mario World, more or less. I was thinking about the more obscure characters to populate Mario games and I recalled one of the first few female characters to show up: Valentina. Most wouldn’t know her, and for good reason — this lady bad guy appeared in one game and never schemed again, most because a company other than Nintendo owns the rights to not just Valentina but all the characters created specifically for a 1996 Super Nintendo game called Super Mario RPG.

One-timer or not, Valentina is notable because she was one of the first few lady bad guys ever too rain in Mario’s parade and, for someone that had reason to interact with kid-friendly notables like the Super Mario Bros., she’s also a little racy.

Check her out.


Aside from the rather prominent chest and the odd, football-shaped Betty Boop head, Valentina is constantly clutching what would appear to be a cocktail — a martini, to be exact. In Japan, she is called “Margarita,” which seems like a misnomer but, in my book, further underscores her predilection for booze. In fact, I’d bet that the translators switched her name so the association wasn’t so obvious. Also, If I remember correctly, the eventual showdown that Mario had with her in the game was made all the more notable by the fact that whenever Mario struck her, her whole body shuddered and set her breasts to a noticeable quivering motion.

Very odd.

I’m surprised Nintendo let this fly in a Mario game, much less one that kids in America got to play. They’re normally a bit more prudish than that. Perhaps it was okay that Valentina was such a bad girl because she was, in fact, a bad girl — a villain. In any case, she’s also an anti-Princess Peach who perhaps never got her fair shake at long-time do-baddery.

As to why she’s wearing a dead parrot on her head, your guess is as a good as mine.

Elastic to Rabbits

Some strange things people have been searching to get to this site:
I can safely say that I cater to an intellectual elite here at The Cereal Box.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Meet Me at the Big Dragonfly

Hipster sweat, it turns out, does smell worse than normal sweat. Defying logic and my vow of "I'm never fucking doing that I again," I went to Coachella last weekend, hence the slight twinge of color in my face, hence my depleted bank account and hence the lack of real posts lately. (Three days to go to the concert and come back, plus one day to sleep off the concert hangover and another to catch up on all the work that didn't get done while I baked in the desert like a biscuit for a good forty-eight hours.) I had a good time, without any of the stress of last year's trip with Jessica and Shade.
[ link: my Coachella 2004 ]
Hillary wisely, kindly, bravely thought ahead and supplied the group with shelter from the swelter and made for a genuinely enjoyable weekend. I guess you learn a thing or to by screwing up so colossally.

Everyone who didn't go defamed this year's line-up. "There's no one even playing this year." In a sense, this was true. The festivals big-name acts this year — Coldplay, Weezer, Nine Inch Nails — just couldn't live up to the powerhouse line-up from 2004 — Radiohead, the Pixies and the Cure. For me, this negative was more than offset by the great line-up of smaller bands. People disperse more evenly when they're not all drawn to one venue at the same time. Frequently, our group had to decide between which set to see during the day. Night was a different story. Who wants to see Coldplay before the long drive home, anyway? People who like falling asleep at the wheel, that's who.

Coachella still provided many of the obstacles it did last year, like faulty cell phone reception and angry sun. It's a cruel joke, when you think about it: Put a bunch of indie kids who probably don't get much sun out in the desert for a weekend and then deprive them of their cell phones in order to make them interact in person, which most of them forgot how to do when they discovered blogs. And, honestly, someone turned the heat down a good twenty degrees from last year. I wish I could write more, really, but the overall pleasant experience of the whole weekend has left me with few good stories.

Who I saw:
[ The Raveonettes ]
Sweet. I've liked this Danish band since I heard "Attack of the Ghost Riders" two years ago. Then they took prozac and released "That Great Love Sound," which you may remember from a K-Mart commercial. Happily, they've returned to their roots and resume playing music that sounds like sixties garage rock being desanguinated by droll hipster vampires — in a good way. Vocalist Sharin Foo looks like a monochrome Debbie Harry doll. I want to marry her. She finished every song with the flat, most insincere "thanks," and for that I love her. Highlights: their new surf rock-twanged single, "Love in a Trashcan," as well as a cover of "My Boyfriend's Back."

No Sharin, thank you. And doesn't she look just a little bit like Uma Thurman in this picture?

[ Olympic gold medal-winner Johnny Mosely ]
He didn't so much play music as walk by us. He looks fat.
[ Eisley ]
The best argument I've heard yet to stop teaching music in public schools. The others wanted to see Eisley. I did not. I gave them five minutes. I left to avoid the lead singer's caterwauling from melting my brain and shattering my taint. Good to know that someone's keeping up the tradition of estrogen-fueled pussy rock, though. Highlights: when I walked away to take pictures.
[ The Kills ]
Fucking wicked set. I felt voyeuristic watching this husband-and-wife act jam on stage because it seemed like they were fucking each other with music. I'm just glad no one yelled out "Play Mr. Brightside!" Highlights: "The Good Ones." Plus everything else. I don't know their songs that well, but I soon will.
[ Wilco ]
Or, technically, the last few songs of Wilco's set. I don't get this band and probably never will. Sleepy time.
[ Weezer ]
Oh Rivers, you fucking weirdo. Not bad, but I maintain that all the stuff from their new album, save "This Is Such a Pity," is utter butt rot. This is easily the most people I've ever sung the words to "Say It Ain't So" with. I just don't think this band can do it for me anymore. Could I have gotten too old for Weezer? Too smart? Too cool? Highlight: me thinking I'm too cool.


As close as I got to Rivers. Coincidentally, also as close as I wanted to get. Click at your own risk.
[ Four Tet ]
I really like this band, but I didn't feel like swaying around to instrumental melodic whatchamacallit music. Highlight: realizing a band whose name more-or-less translates to "Four Heads" is one guy.
[ Bloc Party ]
These guys played a great set. I was pretty tired at this point so I don't exactly remember anything spectacular happening, except managed to squeeze our way towards the front for nearly until the very last song and managed to get pretty damn far. Highlights: "Banquet." I don't know what their other songs are called. Oh, please help me, iTunes!

And then we went home and slept. Tired little concert-goers were we. Had anybody cared enough to see Gwyneth Paltrow's husband trudge through a 65-minute set, I might have caught Fantomas or Spoon, but oh well.
[ Jem ]
Lauren was right — she's way better than the childhood cartoon associations I have with her name would have led me to believe. I knew Jem basically as "that chick with the song that was in the trailer to "Closer" but not the actual movie." She's good, cute, British and totally charming. Highly recommended. Highlights: being pleasantly surprised.
[ The Fiery Furnaces ]
Not at all how I expected them. I formerly explained the Fiery Furnaces as the White Stripes reconfigured such that the girl sings and the guy plays the piano. This explanation, it seems, is entirely inaccurate. They're a four-piece band and, well, just nothing like the White Stripes. They played a complete set too — they never really stopped, and one song just kind of melted into the other. Seamless. Good. Highlights: "I Lost My Dog." "State Street." "Blueberry Boat." Other alliterative wonders.
[ Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley ]
I didn't bother with her set on Saturday, but it was cool seeing her checking out the Furnaces, parasol in hand. I didn't get it until I saw her — she's just so fucking cool.
[ The Bravery ]
Unremarkably good, if that's possible. The band totally nailed all the songs I wanted them to, including "No Brakes" and "An Honest Mistake." Highlights: the lead singer announcing that this was their first ever festival concert appearance. Oh, and them trying to cope with the heat melting some of their sound equipment.
[ The Arcade Fire ]
The highest highlight. That new Facebook group said it best: fucking crazy. I wish I had brought my camera the second day so I could have gotten a shot of the bassist climbing the scaffolding and beating his drumsticks earnestly but futilely about thirty feet above the rest of the band. Much as the Pixies did last year, the Arcade Fire easily eclipsed every other band, headliner and underling alike, hands down.
[ Dresden Dolls ]
Goodish, from what I could hear from the food area. I heard "Coin-Operated Boy" as I sucked the juice out of a coconut. How many people can say that? Highlight: feeling a little uncomfortable realizing that the names of the Arcade Fire, Dresden Dolls and the Fiery Furnaces collectively make me think of the Holocaust.
[ The Faint ]
When you get upstaged by your own visuals, you've got problems. Toad was working his magic and I still thought this set blew. I wanted to leave but was trapped near the front of the stage by losers who seemed totally stoked on shitty 80s-quality video displays that literally interpreted the Faint's lyrics as often as possible. ("The lyrics say 'shower' here, so let's show a picture of a shower." "Hey! Good idea!") I guess I never realized that this band just isn't all that interesting. Total shit sandwich. Highlight: when it ended.
[ Bright Eyes ]
A really solid set. I'm not a huge Bright Eyes fan, but I like them a lot more now. Nicely understated visuals. Conor Oberst is charmingly unintelligible when he speaks. "Hey everyone... If you all still have anything in your pockets... at the end of this festival... you should... take it." What the fuck? Conor, what do you want us to do? Throw what's in our pockets to you? Eat it? Take it home? Maybe if you write a song about it, we can understand you better. Highlight: me thinking up a brand new game show: "Make Conor Oberst Laugh."

A band I didn't see: Tegan and Sara. Though I found "Walking With a Ghost" really catchy, I didn't know this bad consisted of two Canadian, lesbian twins. They're like the Indigo Girls, only indie. And sisters. I can't stop thinking this is funny.— Hi, I'm Tegan.
— And I'm Sara
— We're Tegan and Sara.
— And we're both gay!
— But not with each other!
— No. Because that's illegal.
— Even in Canada.
— But if it wasn't...
— Then we'd be all over each other.
— Thanks for listening!
— This has been Tegan and Sara, being vaguely incestuous.
I didn't take too may concert photos because I just couldn't get close enough to make it worth the effort, but here are some photos I took of other concert goings-on.




If you want to see something really creepy, zoom in on the face of the little girl riding on the back of the dragonfly. Samara?


And finally, this one. I really like how this turned out. I didn't Photoshop it at all. I just asked Mike and Lauren to fake like they were kissing in front of this metal sculpture that shot out fire.
Noticeably absent from the concert:
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Louis XIV
  • The Unicorns
  • Beck, with the stuff from his new album
  • The Killers (even though they apparently played last year and I apparently saw them, I still felt they could have been here.)
Best band names created during Coachella weekend 2005:
  • Team Water
  • Creamo and the Creampuffs
  • What's in My Eye?
  • Alphonso van Floof
  • Zap Mama (no wait — that one's real)
And finally, the strangest thought I had all weekend: With five seperate stages running acts all day, someone could have easily also attended both days of Coachella and not seen a single one of the same concerts I did, and, consequently, had a completely different experience there.