Thursday, June 30, 2005

What's So Grotesque About Salt, Lemon and Tuberculosis?

In hopes of making future moves-out and moves-in less of a pain in the ass, I brought a few things home to my house in Hollister: books I don't want to look at but can't bear to give away, clothes about which I have lukewarm feelings, an empty fishbowl and my skateboard.

That last one troubled me a bit.

I went to college not having a clue how to stand on a skateboard without cracking my head open, but I decided sophomore year that I'd look cooler riding one of those than I would walking around. You know, like a sucker. So I dragged Nate down to a skate shop, picked out the individual parts of a skateboard and had one made for me. And I learned. I was never phenomenal on the thing — no tricks and, as a rule, as little distance as possible between the ground and the wheels — but I could ride it. That skateboard faithfully took me from the 6700 block of Pasado and to class every weekday afternoon. (More often than not, however, it took me as far as Storke Tower, where I'd rest it under my desk and then return back home on it in the wee hours of the morning. Class, sadly, would go unattended.) That skateboard was my transportation. And aside from a few fender-benders — most notably one in which the back of my tire became wedged under the front tire of a bike ridden by this guy Marcy had a crush on freshman year — I rolled around at dangerous levels of cool.

I skated over those treacherous bumps that tell the blind and stupid that they're about to tread across the bike path. I weaved through crowds of my fellow students, many of them transforming themselves into obstacles of imminent death by either their sheer inability to not walk into the path of an oncoming skateboarder or their reliance upon cell phones, walkmans, and iPods. I even cruised that stretch of perfectly flat, smooth concrete heaven that is the golden spiral design outside the campus art museum. (Flat concrete, I learned to love you.)

But now I've brought the skateboard home. Since I got back from Washington, it formed a nice scalene triangle with the wall of my bedroom. Living downtown meant driving everyday, which somehow made me not want to ride it around campus anymore. Now I live so far from anything worth skating by. And I'd imagine that wherever I end up, a skateboard will not be the most efficient means of delivering me there — especially in any kind of professional manner. It's now resting in the old toy box, alongside a partially deflated soccer ball, several water guns and a Fisher-Price xylophone that, notably, also has wheels.

I'm slightly consoled by the fact that the dog hates the skateboard. He saw me riding it and freaked. I'd like to think he hates the skateboard because he thinks it's somehow glued me to its surface and is trying to steal me, but I'm fairly certain his doggie brain just doesn't understand it. I even tried nudging the thing across the driveway sans-rider and he still barked at it and tried to bite it when it slowed to a stop. I flipped the skateboard on its back — you know, so its wheels were in the air like how I picture a dead animal — and he mustered the courage to approach the thing. But when he licked the right front wheel, it started spinning and he took off behind the house.

Border collie antics aside, I feel the end of my skateboard years, however few they may have been, is one of those awful, awful signs of encroaching adulthood. I can either accept it — or I can go watch cartoons.

Considering that the aforementioned Fisher-Price xylophone is roughly the same size as my skateboard and has wheels, I think I would have been much cooler had I just ridden that around campus. It couldn't do tricks, but neither could my skateboard — at least not while I was riding it. And the xylophone has remarkable benefit of also being musical.

Hindsight, the wise and tall say, is twenty-twenty.

The Assassin Wore Bells

kidicarus222: oh, right now i am listening to an anti-wrinkle cream commercial playing in the other room. it uses her space holiday
alkiehorn0307: noooooooooooo
alkiehorn0307: cool, can't like them anymore
kidicarus222: oh no -- you misunderstand. it's the anti-wrinkle cream that uses her space holiday
kidicarus222: they killed them and had them blended to a fine paste
kidicarus222: that makes your wrinkles go away
alkiehorn0307: my god
alkiehorn0307: ...that's brilliant
kidicarus222: and it's cooler than ever to like her space holiday
alkiehorn0307: and unexpected, considering it's a middle-aged guy with an inferiority complex and a synthesizer
kidicarus222: no, that's what makes wrinkles go away
kidicarus222: duh
alkiehorn0307: it all makes sense now, don't know why it wouldn't have before

Or the President’s Daughter

I am delighted to report that my friend Hillary has a photo of Jenny Lewis posted in the "heroes" field in her MySpace profile. I am further delighted to report that the right-bottom-back segment of my body is also captured within the same picture.
[ link: Hilly's MySpace profile ]
In Crazyland, that means we're married.

Where Tourists Snore and Decay

I ran again today and afterwards laid down on the lawn. I saw a sow bug — the black-shelled Buzzy Beetle type known in my childhood as a "rolly polly" — struggling to move between two blades of grass. We mow the lawn on Saturdays, usually. I wonder if such a slow-moving thing could ever find its way out of the grass in time for that.

I was listing to Beck's "Tropicalia." That song has a distinctly cacophonic ending.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Run! It's the Gorton's Guy!

One more note about the extended universe of Lois Duncan before I drop the subject.

Remembering "I Know What You Did Last Summer" prompted me to look it up on IMDb to find out who played Sarah Michelle Gellar's sister. It turns out it's Bridgette Wilson. It also turns out that "I Know What You Did Last Summer" is notable because though it centers around four main characters, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar's characters never speak to each other. They're in a ton of scenes together, but never a word directed between the two. It's a cinematic oddity.

Sum Non Fui

I can't remember how I found this: "Who Killed Kait Arquette?"

Apparently, this young woman Kait Arquette was shot to death in her car in 1989. Her murder was never solved, but her according to the website, her parents think she was killed because she had threatened to expose an insurance fraud scam. When I first stumbled onto it, I read it for a bit before I realized that I already knew of her mother. The kicker, you see, is that the name signed at the bottom of the page, "Lois Arquette," is the real name of author Lois Duncan, a woman who has spent her life writing suspense novels like I Know What You Did This Summer and Killing Mr. Griffin and probably other stuff I only know about because they made movies out of them. You know the books. They have their own section in any bookstore. They've got dark covers with raised print.

Duncan started her career catering to the young adult set well before her daughter was killed, but I just think it's very sad that she would lose her daughter in such a way. The unsolved murder of some promising would-be coed: It seems like something that she would write about in one of her books. I wonder if it's possible that losing her daughter this way pushed her down this path even further — forced her to write more of those adolescent turmoil books in order to exorcise her own feelings about her kid.

It's strange, but this prompts me to give more value to those young adult thriller books. I didn't read them, mostly because I never had any respect for them. Knowing this, I respect them a bit more.

A Sunflower Smoking a Cigarette

About a year ago, I read an article on Ain't It Cool News about a biopic about Domino Harvey, easily one of the coolest people I had ever heard about. Harvey, the daughter of Laurence Harvey of the original "Manchurian Candidate," grew up in England and got a contract with the Ford Modeling Agency when she was sixteen. The she shucked it all and became a bounty hunter.

I'm told she attained some level of fame as this outrageous model-turned-vigilante, but I had never heard of her until I read the news about the the movie "Domino." I only even read the article because the script for the film was written by Richard Kelly, the godsend who gave the world "Donnie Darko." (Kelly is not directing the film, however. He is directing "Southland Tales," a musical-comedy-scifi piece starring Amy Poehler and Sarah Michelle Gellar which I encourage everybody to read about and eagerly anticipate.)

I had always intended to mention Domino Harvey — and god, what a fucking cool name is that? — but never got around to it. The film, which stars Keira Knightley in the title role, comes out this summer. But just this Monday evening, Domino Harvey was found dead in her bathtub. As the MTV article on the incident stated, "If it weren't so tragic, it would seem like a perfectly timed slice of movie promotion." A month or so ago, she had been arrested in Mississippi on charges of drug trafficking. Now she's dead. How very strange.

It's also strange that I can't find many picture of her. I didn't look very hard, I'll admit, but I mostly found headshots of Keira Knightley-as-Domino. This Australian newspaper has one, under which someone felt necessary to include "lesbian" as the most apt description of Harvey. I think she looks like Jodie Foster. Only nicer. Apparently, the real Harvey was disappointed that the film portrayed her as a heterosexual.

Now when the movie comes out, you'll now.

Also regarding the MTV News line "slice of promotion"? The fuck? Promotion comes in slices, MTV?

The Leading Critic on Sympathy

Principal players: Emily, Adam Thirlwell, Oscar Wilde, Milan Kundera, Simon Wiesenthal, Hermine Brausteiner, assorted other Nazis, Queen Elizabeth, the cast of "Stella," Morgan

So Emily gave me this book Politics, by Adam Thirlwell. Much better than its title would indicate, Politics is this dirty little meandering story based on, I'm guessing, on Oscar Wilde's assertion that politics permeates every part of life — from rimming to Bollywood. But it's not needlessly political. And it's partially written in this weird, Kundera-like second person. I like it.

Anyway, the book has a Jewish character who makes a disparaging remark about Simon Wiesenthal, whom I had never heard of before. I looked him up and found out that he was once a Nazi hunter — that is, a hunter of Nazis and not a hunter who is also a Nazi. "Nazi hunter" has to be one of the coolest jobs ever. Shit, what a resume builder. Wiesenthal is also a concentration camp survivor, which is a less cool job to have, but still entirely respectable. I guess.

This Wiesenthal spends his whole life tracking down the people responsible for the Holocaust. And he catches them. He finds them and gets them to trial and sees them put away. The best of them, by my call, is Hermine Braunsteiner, who oversaw the execution of children and was living as a hausfrau in Queens when Wiesenthal caught up with her.

So he gets famous and stuff gets named after him and Queen Elizabeth knights him and all that. And then, in 2003, he stops. He's old, of course, but he decides that he's caught everyone he wanted to catch. All the Nazis. In jail. That's what Simon Wiesenthal says, that's what goes, I guess.

The weird part of my whole Nazi hunter research is that I did it with the background of the first episode of "Stella," the new show with Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and some fat guy with glasses. I'm not sure what to make of the show. Somehow, the combined influence of "Stella," an IM conversation with Morgan and the life story of a Nazi hunter evened out to zero. In the show, however, the main three characters get kicked out of their apartment by their German landlord, who has a heart attack and dies when the guys botch open an heart surgery. They feel bad, until this Jewish guy shows up and tells them that the landlord was actually a Nazi war criminal.

Choo Choo! Shelley Long!

Some of you may remember the fraudulent Freindster profile I made for my old roommate Jill. Not only did it amuse me and everybody else who knew Jill, but it also punished Jill for deriding the rest of us for participating in Friendster. The utter deaditude of Hollister nightlife has now reduced me to re-creating the profile on MySpace. Only with more.
[ link: the new Jilly Jill ]
In any case, please check out Jill's spiffy new profile and become her friend. The more people become her friend, the more chance she'll get lots of creepy lurpensteins hitting on her.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

When White Ain't White

The default "white" skin for both "Simpsons" characters and Lego people is the exact same color.

Geniuses of Fisticuffs

Two thoughts, two of them related to my trip to the local Staples today.
[ one ]
If I seriously can't find a job when I get back to Santa Barbara, I think I'll just put on a red polo shirt and hang out a various Staples outlets all day, giving misleading information to any customers who mistake me for an actual employee.
[ two ]
Provided that everybody was wearing the right king of protective face gear, I think an office supply fight would be fun.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Food for Other Fish

Three bits of news: one very sad, one funny and one rather surprising.
[ something very sad ]
Paul Winchell, voice of such cartoon characters as Tigger, Gargamel and Dick Distardly, has passed away.
[ something funny ]
The Drudge Report is posting the entire test of Tom Cruise's disastrous interview with Matt Lauer.
[ something rather surprising ]
And finally, the very surprising. In high school, the best radio station was Live105 one KOME went caput. It broadcast out of San Francisco, so those of us in Hollister heard it a little fuzzy. Nonetheless, it was the only alternative rock station available. Guess how Live105 is doing now. A hint: "We're here. We're queer. We're in your ear."

Saturday, June 25, 2005

You Can’t Give the Reactor Too Much Water

Once again, here are some of the more interesting ways people have been getting to this site:

No Pine Weasels, Though

I'm a huge David Lynch fan. This is not debatable. But I just today found out about "One Saliva Bubble." This aborted project was the first collaboration between Lynch and Mark Frost before the two ended up created "Twin Peaks." And it's a wonderful, as far as failed projects go.

The plot of "One Saliva Bubble" begins with a raspberry — the oral kind, not the fruit. This rude noise creates the singular water glob mentioned in the shows title and said glob flies into the machinery operating a government satellite, activating a countdown which activates a beam of energy that causes people to switch identities. Also involved in the plot are a mad scientist with special socks, Texans, Chinese acrobats, an ice rink dangerously nearing the center of the earth, the innate confusion between pie and pi and a blues musician named Sammy the Stomp.

The project never got any funding.

But god I love David Lynch.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Dynamite With a Laser Beam

The challenge: make a workout CD for Monique consisting of the hits from the 80s while carefully shunning any tracks one might deem obvious. So like "Take on Me" is out the window. And definitely no "Let's Get Physical." Here's what I came up with:
SPANDEX WORKOUT
  1. Cars - "Hello Again"
  2. Yaz - "Situation"
  3. Billy Idol - "Rebel Yell"
  4. Culture Club - "I'll Tumble for You"
  5. Depeche Mode - "Flexible"
  6. E.G. Daily - "Mind Over Matter"
  7. Information Society - "What's on Your Mind"
  8. Oingo Boingo - "Not My Slave"
  9. Erasure - "Stop"
  10. Duran Duran - "Rio"
  11. Teena Marie - "Lover Girl"
  12. Pet Shop Boys - "West End Girls"
  13. Haircut 100 - "Boy Meets Girl"
  14. Reflex - "Politics of Dancing"
  15. David Bowie - "Fashion"
  16. Go-Gos - "Our Lips Are Sealed"
  17. Real Life - "Send Me an Angel"
  18. Yaz - "Don't Go"
So clearly it's not too easy to make an 80s CD that doesn't use a few obvious tracks. Fuck me. Whatever. And yes, it turns out "workout CD" means the same thing as "dance mix." Fuck me twice. I'm mailing it to Moe anyhow.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Doki Doki

I'll buy a drink to the first person who can tell me what the following old posts have in common:
Crawllister bores me. That's why.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Mouth-Watering Taste of the Baja Desert

Damn.

I stopped at a mini mart on the drive up from Santa Barbara today and bought water, iced tea and a package of Starburst. I always thought the blue package was tropical fruit. This has apparently changed. The blue Starburst package now signifies Baja flavor.

Yes, Baja flavor.

The four flavors of Starburst in the Baja package are strawberry-watermelon, limon, Baja dragonfruit and Aztec punch. (I don't know what the fuck Aztec punch tastes like. For all I know, sand.) The colors are pink, red, green and light blue. (I'm fairly certain green is limon, but the rest are a toss-up.) The flavor name and color are ultimately irrelevant, however. Each one tastes like Kool-Aid. With extra sugar.

Why did the good people of Starburst do this? Who thought this was a good idea?

Damn.

Pink Doreens

Apparently, I've been confusing Senta Moses with Marissa Jaret Winokur.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Ghost of Grandma Dog Pee

I'm completely moved in, unpacked and settled into my new place. Though I like the set-up here, I'm a little troubled by the weird grandma vibe this apartment has. There's not been any grandmothers living in this condo that I know of, but there's definitely the spiritual presence of such a woman here.

Yikes.

Also, the place kind of smells like dog pee. Thus, I have named this maternal presence Grandma Dog Pee.

Exhibit A: the dried floral arrangement.



Oh, what a lovely bouquet we have here. And oh! what a lovely hand-knit doily-like decoration for it to rest upon. I love what you've done with the place... Grandma Dog Pee. I think I'm going to turn to the left now.

Exhibit B: the piano.



Oh, Grandma Dog Pee. I see you've draped a lovely sash over your piano. You know what would complete this nook? Some framed photos of your grandchildren on top. And black-and-white pictures of dead people. Oh, you'd like to tell me about your dead ancestors? Okay. I'll just lapse into a coma. No, please. Keep talking.

(Seriously, though, I like the piano. Just today I confirmed that i can play "Funky Town" on it.)

Exhibit C: the chair.



Oh, Grandma Dog Pee! Is this where you knit? And take you tea? Wait. You're not Grandma Dog Pee at all. You're a ghost! Grandma Dog Pee? Is this where you... died?

So yes. This is where I live now. The house has a few other interesting things. Like Quincy Jones, the dog who doesn't acknowledge my authority.



His facial expression, as near as I can understand, translates to "Fuck you for waking me up with a goddamn camera flash? Don't you know who I am?"

I also inherited another fish when I moved in here. Twyla took in the Nexus fish a year ago. She's doing UCDC. Apparently, I was the alternative to letting the fish die. The fish's name is Garcon — though technically "Garcon" should have a little tail on the 'c,' there's no way I want to find out how to make that happen. Now, this is weird because the other fish I inherited is named Jean Pascal. And I got him from Brie. And both Brie and Twyla were on the floor freshman year. So that's an unexpected repetition: getting French-named fish from departed former floormates.

But that's still not as weird as how motherfucking big Garcon got in the meantime. I have no idea what kind of growth serum Twyla's been feeding this goldfish, but it's a monster — easily bigger than a dollar bill.



I put a Sharpie next to the tank to give some idea as to the size of this monster fish, which never stops moving and I feel uncomfortable undressing in front of. (I may think this because his eyes are the size of a three-year-old's.)

But the most interesting thing in this new house easily has to be this:



[ The Door That Must Not Be Opened ]

The other subleaser very politely forbid the rest of the house to go into her room. I can understand this. "Privacy is important to me," Drew typed on his public online journal. But by asking us not to go into her room and by keeping the door closed, the subleaser has made me want to go in her room so very badly. More than anything else. It's this whole Blueblood thing. Now all I think about it what that door could conceal.

But if my curiosity gets the better of me and I find shelves full of shriveled, severed heads and the subleaser kills me, please understand if I stop updating the blog.

Classic Book Font

From the mouth of Geo — or, more accurately, from her typing fingers — comes the most exciting art project since Marcy Farsi's hair. Check it out.
[ link: Skin, a Mortal Work of Art ]
Anyone up for becoming a word?

Monday, June 20, 2005

My Revolutionary Cure for Cottonmouth

While my wet clothes were spinning around in the mouth of some strange laundromat dryer, I decided to have a coffee and read in the sun. I can't remember the last time I did this. And although it was perfectly enjoyable, the real attraction was the conversation between the two girls sitting at the table next to me.

In the short time we occupied breathing space, I overheard one of them realize (1) that she had to break up with her boyfriend because (2) he was apparently secretly illiterate. She apparently had not ever put this together in her head before this afternoon, but I was there for the epiphany.

A quote, more or less: "Oh my god. He can't read. I swear, now that I think about it, I've never seen him read anything. Oh my god, he's illiterate. My boyfriend is illiterate."

She seemed quite sure of her realization. The decision to dump him followed immediately after, though her friend suggested she devise a test to determine his reading level before made a rash decision. I'm really in no place to judge. I'm just glad I could share that moment with them.

Field Horsehair Plants

After my hell day of moving, I'm finally situated in my new place. I live in the Cathedral Oaks area now, though I haven't noticed any local cathedrals or enough oak trees that would warrant a namesake.

Brian and I spent all of Saturday cleaning out the apartment on Bath Street. Three years of other people's crap, plus our stuff. Terrible, terrible. In retrospect, moving out was the first thing Brian and I ever did together.

Things we found in the apartment:
  • an electric guitar
  • an amp
  • a nutcracker
  • a single Rocket Dog
  • enough spoiled food to fill one large plastic trashcan
  • porn
  • a photo collage of some ugly girl who apparently used to live there
  • two Monopoly sets
In addition to the couches and chairs, we also had to take a dozen boxes full of dishes, silverware and kitchen appliances out to the curb. My horrible taco-shaped futon mattress as well. All of it was gone within a few hours. The weirdest part of this for me is that some family somewhere within walking distance on our old place has our living room set reformulated in their house. An odd thought.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Usherette

In lieu of packing, I've created a Flickr account. Now, a small fraction of my odd, odd photos are online.

Dreaming of Wendy Testaburger

So the latest Netflix delivery was a total accident: "Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero." I didn't plan for this to be the weekend of Batman film wonderment, but this is the last of the of straight-to-DVD movies based on the animated Batman series that I heart as much as a man can heart.

So rather than pack up my life and move away, I watched it this afternoon. And like I do after I finish any movie, I hopped over to IMDb to see what interesting information I could load into my head in place of useful stuff, like where I parked my car. Like the movie itself, the trivia for "Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero" isn't all that interesting. However, I did notice that it features a different actress playing Batgirl/Barbara Gordon.

The regular series initially featured Melissa Gilbert in the role. (This seems to be temporarily missing from IMDb. I don't know why. It will probably re-appear one day.) But in this movie, Batgirl is voiced by an actress named Mary Kay Bergman. I knew this name seemed familiar. I checked her filmography and found that she'd done a ton of voice work: a few Disney films, "The Iron Giant" and a few episodes of "Family Guy." She's also the voice for the entire female population of "South Park." Then I remembered.

A year ago I heard this story about this prolific voice actress who did the voice of Wendy Testaberger on "South Park." And how she had been secretly depressed her whole life and shot herself halfway through the run of "South Park," which is why Wendy Testaberger doesn't talk as much anymore and when she does she sounds a little different. It's the same Mary Kay Bergman. It's sad, but I think that sadness is compacted by her being a voice actress and therefore being prolific yet totally invisible. (Not to prove this true or anything, but the role of Batgirl eventually when to Tara Strong, who has a habit of voicing redheaded cartoon characters. Later, in "Batman Beyond," Barbara Gordon was voiced by Stockard Channing and Angie Harmon.)

It's weird, I know, but I like little footnotes like this. This will roll around in my head for the rest of the day. I won't ever know why.

Ever Buy Snakes From an Egyptian?

Upon on a second viewing for the second night in a row, I'm convinced that "Batman Begins" is the best Batman film. My personal favorite has always been "Batman Returns." It's noir all the way to eleven, not no mention nasty and nihilistic and a whole lot of other fun n-words. But Christopher Nolan's done a great job setting up a fresh franchise. I feel he could take the sequels in a variety of directions based on the framework this first film has laid. This Gotham City owes a lot to "Blade Runner" — always a good place to start — and comes off as more realistic than Burton's chaotic nightmare and more likeable than Schumacher's neon disco playground.

And likewise, the film's characters seem more human and less like 3-D versions of models drawn from Saturday morning cartoons. Christian Bale lacks Val Kilmer's cut jaw line and scowl-under-the-cowl, but his acting skills make of for that. He's neither too dark as Batman nor annoyingly smirky as Bruce Wayne. Nolan wisely stocked the rest of the film with top-notch actors: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman in roles played by no-names in the other Batman films. And I don't care what anybody says about Katie Holmes. She did a good job. She's not too young for the role. And I can see her on screen without thinking about "Dawson's Creek."

The scope of the film's plot is wider than I could have imagined. There's a huge chunk at the beginning that doesn't even really feel like a Batman film, as it concerns Bruce Wayne's ordeals in some snowy Bhutanese mountain range, but it still works. The film's title, it turns out, is quite literal. "Batman Begins" actually shows Bruce Wayne piecing together his Batman persona, bit by bit. I wouldn't have thought watching him and Alfred work out the technical specifications of Batman's gadgets could have been entertaining, but it is. Credit the writing, I guess.

Everything about the writing works — the dialogue, the plot devices, the character development. I especially like the recurrent theme of fear, which ties in nicely to Batman's origins and the subplot involving the Scarecrow. (Also, Cillian Murphy is too pretty to play the Scarecrow, but since it's such a small part, it's not too much of a problem.) The motif also works interestingly by making "Batman Begins" a post-9/11 film: Americans being governed by fear, people destroying a society in the effort to save it, the difference between how east and west approach solving societal ills. Stuff like that.

My only real gripes with the film, I guess, lie in its main villain. As Other Drew pointed out last night, Ra's Al Ghul isn't a name-brand villain. Only fanboys really know who he is, and the incarnation of him presented in the film is quite different from the one in the comic books. But like I said before, this is "Batman Begins" — a ramp-up for the main show. So in that respect, Ra's Al Ghul works pretty well. But taking "Batman Begins" one its own, the casual viewer could deem the big showdown a little anti-climactic.

The other problem I have with the villain is that he is so realistic. He could have been a bad guy in just about any action film, really. The evil terrorist. He's "Die Hard" or "True Lies," just with a better actor playing him. The film also tones down the Scarecrow quite a bit. He's not a supervillain — at least not yet.

It's a whole new take on the Batman universe, and I think it does a good job of making everybody seem less goofy. I just wonder how such a setting could accommodate the zanier members of Batman's gallery of rogues: Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn or my personal favorite, Poison Ivy. None of these types seem like they'd gel with Nolan's gritty, noirish Gotham. Maybe they never will. Or maybe Gotham will evolve as the series progresses.

And oh yeah: a lot of people seem to think that Liam Neeson's character, Ducard, is an invention of the movie. He's not, really. In the comcis, young Bruce Wayne apprentices under a lot of great men to learn his Batman skills, like Yoru-Sensei for the jujitsu or Zatara for the escape routines and sleight-of-hand. To become a great detective, he trains under a Frenchman named Henri Ducard. So what's presented in the movie is a re-interpretation of the character from the comics, but not a wholly original creation.

Bonus points: cameos from Barbara Gordon and Zsaz. And for putting Holmes' character in the DA's office, which leaves room for Harvey Dent to join the sequel.

This is Summer Gleason, signing off.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Pentimento

Lately, I've been thinking about a book I read when I was a kid and about how my first ever sex ed teachers may have been Frankenstein and the Wolfman. For some reason, a copy of a book called Monsters Who's Who sat on the shelf in my grade school library. How or why a Catholic school like Sacred Heart Elementary would ever have acquired such a book is beyond me, much less why they would ever put it on a shelf that children could reach. They didn't even let us play baseball with metal bats. But a key to the door to Hell? Sure, kids. Go nuts. I guess they wanted us to know our hippogryphs and gorgons as well as our archangels and martyrs.

Now last quarter — also known as "the last last quarter" — Prof. Waid lectured on a short story by Katherine Anne Porter called "The Grave." Waid said that the story represented a sort of literary pentimento. I had never heard the term before, but she explained it as the tendency for the top layers of older paintings to grow more transparent over time, often revealing images that the artist had painted over.

I find the word itself beautiful, but the concept is an almost magical one to me. In a painting where once only a tree stood, the ghostly figure of a man could slowly fade into view. A dog could appear under a chair where none had before been visible. Stuff like that. Mysterious, wonderful happenings contained wholly within the world of a painting.

Prof. Waid related the term to "The Grave" be explaining that the narrator realizes that she had been remembering a childhood incident for the wrong reason. What she had always pigeonholed as a memory of she and her brother playing in an open grave actually stuck out in her mind because it led to her first awareness of sex. During their games at the gravesite, the narrator and her brother examine and dissected the body of a dead, pregnant rabbit. Death is a presence though the entire story, for sure, but the really memorable part about the dead rabbit's womb being cut open and the contents of her womb spilling out. This, in retrospect, was the narrator's first awareness sexual reproduction. Upon seeing the dead rabbit, she even wishes she was wearing a dress instead of overalls, which the reader could interpret as a sudden hyper-awareness of her own gender. One might also say that the narrator had just never analyzed the incident thoroughly enough until she narrates the story in the book.

Waid's comparison of this to pentimento is a bit of a stretch, but I like it. Over time, something that had always been there — just masked — rushes to the forefront of perception and makes itself known.

I realized today that this concept relates to me and this strange book called Monsters Who's Who. This book was popular with all the guys in my class. We must have stumbled upon it in third grade or so, but one look at the card inside the book would indicate the levels of fame the book had achieved at Sacred Heart. It always had a new card. That meant it got checked out often enough that the card filled up and had to be replaced. (A book life Profiles in Courage, for example, could easily sit on the shelf and have the same check-out card from 1962. Kids.)

It's not hard to understand why a bunch of boys would like such a book. Because it worked like an encyclopedia for imaginary creatures of various world mythologies as well comic books and B-level sci-fi and horror movies from the 1960s, it had a natural appeal. Boys love that stuff. And in Catholic school, it gave us the freaky, grotesque creatures that the Bible couldn't. (They usually don't teach Revelations and its seven-headed beasts until high school.)

The image from the book I can remember most vividly was one of the Devil. If I remember right, they depicted him as a dark, almost silhouetted beastly figure on an orange background. The Devil was holding in his heads a screaming human head, but the head had pipes coming out of it at odd angles. One of the pipes went into the Devil's mouth, and I think the Devil was playing the poor man's head like a bagpipe. Again, I can't quite believe they allowed this book into a Catholic school library, but I can remember this image clear as day.

But beyond the book's base, puerile interest — "Dude! Look at that! Is that blood?" — I think Monsters Who's Who was my first exposure to anything sexual. I can clearly remember reading the entries for "succubus" and "incubus" and looking up words like "rape" in the dictionary afterwards. I might not have completely understood what it all meant, but I got something from it before I got it anywhere else.

I also remember the art that accompanied the entry for "unicorn." Because unicorns are often associated with virginity in western European folklore, the art depicted a naked woman standing next to the animal. Someone — I'm going to guess an old Catholic school teacher with an unsatisfying sex life — had scribbled out the woman's vagina and nipples with a blue ball point pen, but even that was still more than I had ever seen before. And for all I know, I may have actually thought that women had tight, blue swirls down there. Lilith, of course, was nakes. Medusa had shed her toga. The lamia and the sphinx and the mermaids and harpies had exposed breasts. The satyrs hopped around with giant erections, as they are wont to do.

So the more I think about it, the more I think Monsters Who's Who and its ghastly subjects taught me about sex. I've never forgotten the book, but I always processed it on the level of being the kind of book that got me interested with mythology and folklore and the freakier creatures people can piece together when they tell the same story over and over again.

It's odd that something natural and normal would have been paired with the imaginary and profane, but it would explain a lot about how I think about sex. (Plus all the years in Catholic school.) I just wonder whatever became of that book. I made quick search online and couldn't find any sites selling old copies, but I'm sure they're there, somewhere. I just wonder if some uppity school official hasn't already tossed my copy out of the Sacred Heart Library.

I hope not. I'd hate to think future generations of Catholic youth would have to hear about sex for the first time the normal way. You know: from a priest.

EDIT: I looked again and found some copies for sale. Apparently the author's name is Dulan Barber. Please note that the description for the first one notes it being a "coffee table book." Yes, in the house of the McNerdergoth family.

[ grimalkin got your tongue? ]

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Tsunami That Wasn't

Oh, and for an hour I thought Santa Barbara was going to be washed into the sea along with the rest of the western coast. Then they say, "Oh yeah. No." And then the Drudge Report's tsunami alert mysteriously vanished. It never happened. Never.

Where Is Aunt Ruth?

The Cereal Box now has a slightly modified color scheme. That's why it looks exactly eight percent different than the last time you saw it.



We're leaning a little more towards red these days.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I Know You're a Supra Genius

A round-up of various online point of interest.

[ The Cremaster Cycle ]
  • Who gave me this treasure: Spence
  • Why it's great: This project has somehow escaped my notice these past two years. I'm fascinated. This is easily the greatest thing I've come across in a long time. If you have any affinity for things artsy and weird, I strongly urge you to check out the trailer. Also, I like that this whole site is done with Flash and I could totally have done it myself.
[ BBC News article about the capture of "The Chameleon" ]
  • Who have me this treasure: Matt Drudge and his underlings
  • Why it's great: This creepy man just might be my new hero. (The Chameleon, I mean. Not Matt Drudge.)
[ Sounds of the World's Animals ]
  • Who gave it to me: The mysterious stranger
  • Why it's great: Because I remembered that dogs don't always say "arf," depending on what country they're barking in. Also, the picture they chose for "fox."
[ The Chemical Emergency Fun Page for Kids! ]
  • Who gave me this treasure: Boing Boing
  • Why it's great: Edutainment that fails both to entertain and to educate. "Wally Wise." That they used Paintbrush to make the art. That it failed to impress upon me how dangerous a chemical spill actually is.
[ Jesus Dress Up ]
  • Who gave me this treasure: Glenn
  • Why it's great: The devil suit. The cut-offs. The pacifier.
[ HowTheyLookNow does the cast of "Twin Peaks" ]
  • Who gave me this treasure: My own online perusing
  • Why it's great: Sheryl Lee still being hot. Joan Chen getting hotter. Dr. Jacoby being the father of "Joan of Arcadia."
[ A Washington Post article titled "In Tokyo, A Ghetto of Geeks" ]
  • Who gave me this treasure: Jill, via email
  • Why it's great: "Minnie Mouse shoes and lacy, racy mini-dresses." Otaku. "Eyeglass adjustment kiosks." Totally worth the read.
[ The Speech Accent Archive ]
  • Who gave me this treasure: Sanam
  • Why it's great: "Pu-eez coh Ste-ra..."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Looking Forward to Looking Back

  • The Inseparable Insufferable
  • Secondary Imagination
  • Sunny Dome, Icy Dome
  • Binary Disposition
  • Hand in Glove
  • I Know You’re a Supra Genius
  • An Ode to a Cassowary
  • Field Horsehair Plants
  • Goblin Market
  • Chuckola Cola
  • He Looks Like an Undertaker
  • An Extract From the Life of a Scholar
  • No Female Christ
  • "Oh God! That I Were Dead!"
  • You Can’t Give the Reactor Too Much Water
  • The World Below a Landscape Vase
  • The POW Box
  • Twelve Mortal Men
  • Pentimento
  • Your Penile Eyes
  • Celebration on the Planet Mars
  • A Dresden Shepherdess
  • Festering With Sex
  • Where Is Aunt Ruth?
  • Ugly Cousin Eva and Her Incomplete Face
  • The Old Factory
  • Grammatical Incest
  • The Assassin Wore Bells
  • Doki Doki
  • Goozette, Goofus, Goother and Goolian
  • Five Bathing-Capped Ladies Sketching a Sea Serpent
  • Dynamite With a Laser Beam
  • Double Cherry Pie
  • The Baths of the Western Stars
  • Nirdlinger’s Swing
  • Lotophagi
  • Swamp Lily
  • What Is So Grotesque About Salt, Lemon and Tuberculosis?
  • Vanilla Maybes
  • The Leading Critic on Sympathy
  • Dipsomaniac
  • Usherette
  • Fujiyama Mama
  • Tom Burwell
  • "One Toot on This Whistle..."
  • A Bifurcated Kentucky Colonel
  • Did Talent Alone Help Camilla?
  • My Revolutionary Cure for Cottonmouth
  • Temple One and Temple Two
  • Squared-Off Man Hands
  • Ink of Sympathy
  • The Pittsburgh Plus
  • Geniuses of Fisticuff
  • Fui Non Sum
  • A Sunflower Smoking a Cigarette
  • Food for Other Fish
  • The Crimson Garden
  • Weak Palabra
  • Janie Kills
  • Or the President’s Daughter
  • Deep Water, Ontario
  • Turnips and Japanese Onions
  • The Pigeon House
  • Pentimento

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hat and Stole — I Fell in Love With You

Today, I walk. I know I do that every day, but today I'm doing it in black muumuu and a ridiculously un-aerodynamic hat. Everyone, I'm told, is proud.

Happy graduation, me!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

As Wiggy as the Wigs in the Sunsphere

It's always nice to hear news about loved ones. For instance, this Drudge Report article concerning Diane Dimond and a certain Michael Jackson fan from Knoxville, Tennessee. Though the article does not name the fan, I totally know who it is. You might too, if you flip back to this article I wrote a few weeks back.

Here's a hint: Matt Drudge got the age wrong.

Again, nice to hear what loved ones are up to.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Promises Like Pie Crust

So as I turned in my official UCSB blue book for the last time, it occurred to me: I've been going here for five years. That's three standard finals periods per quarter. I've taken a minimum three classes per quarter since I started this undergraduate thing. Barring my UCDC quarter and the classes that don't have real finals but figuring in my summer school courses, I have taken roughly 45 finals. That's a lot. Put end to end, that's like a whole month of suck altogether.

What's left: two papers and one Flash animation project.

Catherine Birdo can't wait.

The Conceits

Finally. Every time I've ever heard "Mr. Brightside" my mind always stumbles when processing the line "opens up my eager eye." I've known I know it from somewhere, and for the longest time I always thought it was a poem — like Poe or something Romantic.

So now, as I'm studying for a final on the Romantics and the Victorians, iTunes finally supplies the answer: Nena's "99 Red Balloons." Plain as day, she says "opens up one eager eye" toward the end of the second verse. She's no Romantic, nor is she one of the Romantics . But thank you, Nena, nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Zong Scandal

  1. How the Drudge Report linked the article: "Pitt Disgusted With Lack of Media Focus on Africa"
  2. How the AIM info page I got upon signing on linked it: "Pitt Speaks, Declares Media Misguided"
  3. How the actual article was headlined: "Brad Pitt Addresses Jolie, Aniston Rumors: 'Sexiest Man Alive' Juxtaposes Plight of Africa, Celebrity Coverage"
  4. How much of the actual article focused on the Pitt-Jolie-Aniston triangle: three-fourths, at least
  5. Where the Africa stuff was buried: at the bottom
  6. Number of times actual article mentioned the media being misguided: zero
  7. Level of irony: almost suffocating.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I'm a Harahan Special

In what will probably be the last post to mention the Nexus in a long time, I shall mention that yesterday's end-of-the-year award banquet netted me the following awards:
  • Outstanding senior Nexite (Take that, people I worked with all four years)
  • Biggest wise ass (for the third year in a row)
  • Most likely to be infamous
I did not win the award for biggest ego this year. Dansy won by a landslide. Well played, Haier. Also, I've invented a term for a Nexite on his way out: "Nexit."

Study, study, study. I'm in for the long haul, for the last time ever.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Horoscopically Identical

The magic of IMDb tells me that I share my birthday with the following people:
Not bad, even if you consider that it's roughly 1/365th of all famous people.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The "We" of Me

I'm twenty-three today, which means I'm rapidly approaching the age at which I'm supposed to have made something of myself. Strange. This is also the first birthday I've had where I was in a full-on relationship. It's good, it turns out. Yet this whole birthday didn't have much build-up for me. It just sort of washed over me like another hurricane through Florida: No one noticed.

Watched "Mulholland Drive" with Spence last night. Never realized that Irene's baggage is two rectangular blue suitcases. Like the blue box? Maybe not, but the suitcases do vanishes temporarily.

I'm drinking tonight. If you're reading this and it's still my birthday, come downtown. I really have no choice in the matter. The power company is shutting down power on our block from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. tomorrow. Funny thing — I'll be blacked out, too.

Oh, and for reference, here's what was goign through my mind on my twenty-second birthday and as close as I posted to my twenty-first. Though posted later, this one shows a picture of what I looked like the night of June 4, 2003.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Because "The Scarlet Pimpernel" Was Taken?

So yeah.

We know who Deep Throat is now. But has anybody read anywhere why he got that name? Did he pick it? Or did Woodward and Bernstein? And couldn't they have picked something less porny?

Also: the fuck? The "honorific title" of "mister"? If that's all it takes to re-open nuclear arms negotiations, then we live in a silly, silly world.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

My New Nickname For Dina Vainer

It's "Canklesaurus." It's on a less serious note, I know, but I thought I should share it nonetheless.

Princess Poo-Poo-Li Has Plenty of Papaya

I am guilty of academic dishonesty.

Some of you may know that I've been two-timing my favorite professors this quarter. Professor Waid's Literature of the American South class tragically conflicted with the follow-up to the Flash animation class with Dr. Sorapure. Boo. But I did the only logical thing and enrolled in both classes, schedule conflicts be damned. I got a B on Waid's midterm, but other than that, my double life has been pain-free.

Today, I decided to skip out on the last of Waid's lectures today to see what the rest of the Flash animation class did, seeing as how I hadn't shown up to that class in the past month. When I got back to the southern lit class during the last few minutes to talk with my TA about my weird-weird-very, very weird Jean Toomer-David Lynch paper, however, I was kind of stunned. Copy maven Pealy Pealson told me that some student accused the professor of racially biasing the class against black people. That accusation, which to this particular professor would be the worst thing you could ever say to her. She sobbed through the last lecture, which ironically centered on the fact that the mysterious first-person narrator of Ballad of the Sad Cafe is an almost unseen in-house black servant.

My Catholic mind somehow blames me for this. I know it's horseshit, but I am nagged by the thought that if I had been there, the situation could have been resolved more tidily. In the meantime, I can only hope that my favorite professor isn't broken.

Room With a View

Just to prove I've done something for my colossal Flash project that's due in one week, I'm posting one of the only pieces I've can: the room. It's the navigation menu for the project, eventually, but I'm just putting up the jpeg of it. It may seem hard to believe, but I pieced this picture together from about thirteen different ones using Photoshop.



Upon close inspection, the Photoshopping is a little woogy. Turns out that making it look professional is tougher than I'm willing to work for. The funny part of this whole project is that a lot of the pointers in Photoshop look like fingers and I felt dirty tracing around Kristen's unconscious-looking body while I cut her out. The carpet looks bad, I know, but it's really not easy to make realistically textured and lighted carpet when I've changed the shape of my actual room so much.

Eventually, the various objects in the room will be buttons, each of which can be clicked. Doing so leads to short films, which I'm in the process of making. Each film, in a sense, will relate back to the object, and I'm trying to get across the sense that everything dreams — the lamp, the fish, the television set, Kristen, everything.

The angles in the picture are all wrong, I know. The scene kind of makes sense if you look at it quickly, but if you examine the corners, you can see that they don't line up in any sensical fashion. I did this on purpose. I even jacked with the corners that did make sense a little so they'd look messed up, too. I did this to make the room look abstract and strange, but also to make the image look more like a navigable space. When the final project is done, the window will only show a bit of the room at a time, and the person looking at the project will have to move the cursor around the room to see anything. By doing this, the corners that look wonky when you look at the image as a whole won't look that weird. Any small bit of the image looks normal when viewed by itself. I'm hoping it will come a little close to approximating how something might look if a person were standing in the middle of the room and turning their head in a range of about 180 degrees or so.

We'll see if any of this pans out shortly, but just know that the final version will be considerably more impression that what I put here. I just thought I'd put something, if for no other reason that my model could see how non-porny she looked in the final version.

And yes, that is a picture of Kristen on Kristen's nightstand. This alternate reality version of Kristen — whose name I've already picked — is apparently very narcissistic. And no, her name won't be Patsy Picket.

Also, I think not blogging would only hasten insanity. I need an outlet, so I gues the blog is officially open again. Villagers, rejoice.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Goo Beth

I broke my promise, sure. But this is too good. Dan Savage, sex columnist for The Onion and a pervy know-it-all who blasts Beth, Kate and Dave out of the semen-stained water, has decided to link Rick Santorum's name with a sexual by-product in order to besmirch the senator's reputation. Or just piss him off. Read about here, third item from the top.

The sexual by-product in question is the frothy mixture of lube and feces produced from anal sex — or, if you will, "santorum."