Friday, September 30, 2005

Choose Your Favorite Stereotype!

Whenever I go home, I always end up rooting through what I find in my room — books, old video games, stacks of VHS tapes and other artifacts from my life before college. Not wanting to rock the boat, I did just that today. Eventually, I came across a video game that I can remember playing back in the days when I could sink hours into just sitting there, twiddling my fingers and manipulating little characters on the screen. And I stopped and thought about the game and what I remember from it — and then it hit me.

Macha. Jesus.

Macha, whose Japanese name is "Mamacha," is one of the forty or so playable characters in a game called "Chrono Cross." That's a lot of playable people for a video game, so the makers apparently got a little creative and threw in some types who weren't knights or samurai or robots or whatever. Macha is a housewife. She's also quite possibly one of the more racist stereotype-looking characters I can remember seeing in a video game.

It never occurred to me when I actually played the game, but this character — a sassy, fat maternal type who fights with a frying pan and can fold enemies like laundry — is the "mammy." Her Japanese name even sounds like "mammy." This stock character once showed up quite a bit in American movies and TV shows and whatnot, but the advent of civil rights and political correctness pushed her away. For good or for bad, the mammy is gone because any American creative type would know that suggesting her as a legitimate representation of black people or black women or mothers or housewives would draw disdain and possibly a strongly worded letter campaign.

But despite all this, here Macha is, in all her stereotypical glory. And she looks fairly happy, too. So I thought about it a little and I realized that Macha found her way into a game because its makers were Japanese. And though Americans would know that the mammy is an offensive image to a lot of people, I'd imagine Japanese people wouldn't. They might not have been privy to the effects of the Civil Rights movement and political correctness. For that matter, they might not even be privy to black people, for all I know. As a result, the people who made this game threw Macha into the mix because they wouldn’t have ever recognized her as representing anything bad. She’s just another stock character — like a knight or a samurai or a robot — that they could send out to save the world.

And I guess I'm leaving it up to you whether that is good thing or a bad thing.

Damn Damn Drum

Some of you have asked how I was able to switch around my "top eight" on my MySpace profile. I'll explain again.
  1. Log into your MySpace account.
  2. Go to your home page — the one that gives you options to view or edit your profile or look at your mail. Stuff like that.
  3. Then go to the space where your "top eight" are.
  4. At the bottom of this box, there should be an option in the bottom right corner to "view all of your friends."
  5. Directly across from this, in the bottom left corner, should be the option to "change my 'top eight.'"
  6. Go nuts with that shit.
That's how it's working. The option is apparently new and I never saw it until I logged in from my parents' computer. So far, Hillary, Spencer and Sanam have all attempted to find this option, but failed. Your guess is as good as mine.

I'd actually be interested to see who else is allowed to perform this wonderful feat. Anyone?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Meg in Question

So when I mentioned a favorite Meg a few days ago, I caused a small uproar — specifically with two Megs, whom I will refer to in private as Needy Meg No. One and Needy Meg No. Two. Anyway, I hadn't realized exactly how many Megs were Cereal Box regulars.
So, what — did your parents think "Debbie" was taken? And where will you all duke it out for the title of Meg the Supreme?

The Pittsburgh Plus

They finally did it.

The nice people at MySpace.com finally realized that maybe their clients don't like having the eight "example buddies" on their profile being chosen for them. You know — that glimpse into a person's group of MySpace friends? The one that so often includes past hook-ups, semi-friends and other members of their personal gallery of rogues?

No more, folks. You can change it now. And that makes me happy.

Drew's top eight: feel flattered.

[three remaining]

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Beelzebub's Booster Shot

One week late, I thought I'd post that Emily and I went to see "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." It wasn't bad, especially in the wake of PG-13 horror that followed "The Ring." (I'd also like to point out, however, that Laura Linney ripped off Naomi Watt's "Ring" wardrobe and general sense of style.) Most happily, I can report that one dreaded line — "There's no injection against the devil!" — which appeared in some of the movie's ads was itself exorcised from the final cut. I can only imagine that producers noticed test audiences laughing and decided the film was better off without it.

Yay for test audiences.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Janie Kills

Busy night of sonic productivity. I burned two CDs — long-promised mixes for Nate and Kristen, respectively.

Nate's CD: "L8RS, N8RS"
  1. Franz Ferdinand - "Do You Want To?"
  2. Dirtbombs - "Can't Stop Thinking About You"
  3. Fiery Furnaces - "I Lost My Dog"
  4. Volt - "I Don't Feel So Good"
  5. Aqueduct - "Growing Up With GNR"
  6. Cheater Slicks - "Walking Up the Street"
  7. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll?"
  8. Deadly Snakes - "Can't Sleep at Night"
  9. Hard Place - "Sharkey's Got My Back"
  10. Orange Juice - "Blokes on 45"
  11. Ponys - "Chemical Imbalance"
  12. Willowz - "Cons and Tricks"
  13. Country Teasers - "Success"
  14. Nada Surf - "Indochine"
  15. Mystery Girls - "Silver Turns to Gold"
  16. Screws - "I See You, Baby"
  17. Knoxville Girls - "That's Alright With Me"
  18. Detroit Cobras - "Keep On Holdin' On"
  19. Clone Defects - "Shapes of Venus"
  20. Heartless Bastards - "New Resolution"
  21. Intelligence - "Tropical Struggle"
  22. Ditty Bops - "Ooh La La (What Brought the House Down?)"
  23. Necessary Evils - Draw Pow Wow Drag
  24. Stellastarr* - Sweet Troubled Soul
And Kristen's mix: "This Little Miggy"
  1. Badly Drawn Boy - "Four-Leaf Clover"
  2. Bishop Allen - "Empire City"
  3. ? and the Mysterians - "Ninety-Six Tears"
  4. Cat Stevens - "Here Comes My Baby"
  5. Caesars - "We Got to Leave"
  6. Tracey Ullman* - "They Don't Know"
  7. Blondie - "Hangin' on the Telephone"
  8. Father Bingo - "Ginger Prince Is Not Shirley Temple"
  9. Louis XIV - "God Killed the Queen"
  10. Her Space Holiday - "Japanese Gum"
  11. New Pornographers - "Jackie, Dressed in Cobras"
  12. Del Shannon - "Needles and Pins"
  13. Olivia Tremor Control - "Sunshine Fix"
  14. Felix da Housecat - "Ready 2 Wear"
  15. Soviet - "Candy Girl"
  16. Scissor Sisters - "Lemonade"
  17. Cupcakes - Vidiots
  18. Fool's Garden - Lemon Tree
  19. Kinks - Waterloo Sunset
  20. Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra - "One Velvet Morning"
  21. Merril Bainbridge - "Mouth"
  22. Arcade Fire - "Haiti"
  23. Spiritualized - "Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space"
Notes:
  • Yes, that Tracey Ullman.
  • Nate: Yours is in the mail as soon as I buy an envelope.
  • Kristen: Yours is random as fuck, but my only criteria was stuff I thought you would like.
  • Kristen: Also, we need to set up a play date during which I can deliver your CD.
  • Erin: I'll burn your data disc as soon as I get around to it. Tomorrow, maybe?
  • Sanam: Hi, Sanam.
  • Spencer: Yes, I know I ransacked your CDs for these. Think of it as thoughtful re-packaging.
  • Hasan: Fuck you. You don't read this blog anyway. You have a big butt and your butt smells and you like to kiss your own butt.
  • Hilly: Let us burn and exchange CDs, please. I know you got the goods.
  • Megan: I like you better than the other Megans that read this blog.
  • Marcy: You still owe me a CD.
  • Daniel: Stop reading my blog and call Jill.
  • Jill: Act like you're really busy when Daniel calls.
  • Dina's sister: Hi.
[just four more to go]

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Boomer Kuwanger

I am vindicated. The Wikipedia has chosen to accept my Daily Nexus article after all.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Only One Question

Okay. A logic puzzle before I head out. I heard this years ago on an episode of "Samurai Jack" and I didn't think of it until now.

You meet two men — twins, in fact. You've heard these twins are special in that one always tells the truth and one always lies. What one question can you ask the twins that will allow you to determine which one is the liar and which one the truth-teller?

Answer to follow.

Ingrid! The Swan's Name Is Ingrid!

Roommates I have had:
  • Perry
  • Greg
  • Nate
  • Meghan
  • Brie
  • Monique
  • Taryn
  • Kaspar
  • Drunko
  • Jill
  • Cory
  • Owen (if only briefly)
  • Ben
  • The Lurker
  • Tristan
  • Glenn
  • Ed
  • Phil
  • Adam
  • Daniel
  • Dennis
  • Brian
  • Sabrina
  • Sarah
  • Shantel
  • Jefferson
  • Twyla
Total: 27

Deep Water, Ontario

A little more than a week ago, I was browsing through the Wikipedia and eventually stumbled onto an entry for the Stanford Daily, the campus newspaper at Stanford. So I decided that the Wikipedia could benefit from an entry on UCSB's student paper, the Daily Nexus. I'm biased, of course, but I think the Daily Nexus is an especially good paper, with a readership that includes many people who are not students. We also have been around for about thirty years and have made national news more than once.

Thus, I hammered out a brief history for the Daily Nexus. And I thought it was pretty good — informational, interesting but as unbiased as I could write it.

The next day, some guy suggested that my article should be deleted. With the Wikipedia, these subjects are debated beforehand. And my article is still being debated. This ability to question the validity or necessity of articles is part of what makes the Wikipedia such a generally good source of information, but I can't help feel a little offended when this entry — a particularly good one, I would say — is being questioned while others — like the piddly entry for the Standford Daily, for example — is allowed to stay, unquestioned. I mean, fuck — we're allowing an entry for fucking Toadette, for God's sake. Toadette!

Anyway, you can see how the debate over my article's validity has gone so far by clicking here. The fight seems to be swinging in my direction, but it's not a wholly democratic process, unfortunately.

This just isn't American, goddamnit.

[only five left]

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Day "Baby Beluga" Mattered

Before I applied to Borders, I mentioned that I was thinking about doing so to a few people. Often, I got a negative reaction: a furrowed brow, a scrunched-up nose or some other facial tick that read total distaste for the retail market. As a result, I was apprehensive about the job when I accepted it.

Turns out I like retail.

I don’t think I could work in a clothes store or a lot of other places. No, I think working at a bookstore is a really good match for me because I get satisfaction out of making other people happy. Don’t think this is some altruistic bent I’ve suddenly developed. No, my joy at their joy is purely a selfish one. I like to feel good about myself, and nothing quite beats the look on someone’s face when you help them find something they’ve been looking for and seemingly can’t get on their own.

A woman came into the store a few days ago and asked if we had Rafi’s “Baby Beluga” on CD. Apparently, her son learned it in school and whenever she tried to sing it with him at home, he would tell her that she was singing it wrong. At a loss for the right way to sing “Baby Beluga,” she came to the bookstore. The computer said we had it in stock — in a colorful but chaotic stretch of territory I like to call the children’s department. Don’t go there if you can avoid it. But I helped her thumb through the kids’ music racks and, almost the end, I finally pulled out the right Rafi record. (I know, I know — can any Rafi record ever be truly right?) Then she asked me if we had a book where the lyrics might be printed. I had no idea where the store might hide such books, but, on a whim, looked in the opposite corner and instantly pulled out the right book.

The lady was really appreciative for my help. And I can’t honestly remember when I ever really helped a stranger that much.

Sure, for every lady like that there’s the developmentally disabled kid who insists that there’s a biography out for Inuyasha and that we should have it in the store, but I feel like I need this kind of job right now. A completely straightforward job where I don’t have to be especially creative or clever or anything. It’s something I haven’t done before and it turns out I can do it okay.

The Loco-Motion: The Greatest Swindel in Pop Music History

Kinda.

As is often the case, my mind has drifted away from what I ought to be doing and onto something more pressing.” The Loco-Motion." Yes, that's how the word is correctly written when you're referring to the 1962 dance hit by Little Eva and, later, Grand by Funk Railroad and Kylie Minogue. It's a catchy song, if a bit simple. If you listen to it, it rings through your heads for days. But my principal objection to "The Loco-Motion is that, like many songs of the 50s dancehall genre, it's essentially a tease.

I'm willing to overlook the name of the song — a cute little pun on the word “locomotion” that basically amounts to “crazy motion.” While "The Loco-Motion" amps you on doing the actual dance for which the song is named, it completely neglects to tell you how to do it. Other similarly dippy songs, like "The Hokey-Pokey" or "The Bunny Hop" actually explain very thoroughly. You'd have to be an idiot not to be able to do them. More like "The Hustle" did twenty years later, "The Loco-Motion" demands that you do something without tell you how.

My evidence: the lyrics. Again, simple as all hell, but here they are.
(Come on baby, do the Loco-Motion)
I know you'll get to like it if you give it a chance now
(Come on baby, do the Loco-Motion)
My little baby sister can do it with ease
It's easier than learning your ABC's
So apparently small, possibly ugly children can do this. Also, I should get to liking it pretty quickly. Okay, maybe I will do the Loco-Motion.
So come on, come on — do the Loco-Motion with me
You gotta swing your hips now
Come on baby — jump up, jump back
Oh well I think you got the knack.
Oh well I think you got the knack.
I don't. Does "the knack" involve a thrusting motion? — and jumping a bit? Whee.
Now that you can do it, let's make a chain now
(Come on baby, do the Loco-Motion)
Chug-a-chug-a motion like a railway train now
(Come on baby, do the Loco-Motion)
Coupled with the dance steps I gleaned from the previous lines, I’m apparently swinging my hips and jumping forwards and backwards. Yet my arms are apparently free enough that I can join hands with those of my friends and then move in a manner than mimics a train. Neat. Are we still hip-swinging and jumping in place? Yes? And managing not to fall down? Oh, cool.
Do it nice and easy now — don't lose control
This is a slow dance?
A little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul
So come on, come on — do the Loco-Motion with me
Dancing like a train involves soul?
Move around the floor in a Loco-Motion
So we’re hip-swinging, jumping, forming a chain, making like a choo-choo and now we’re also moving around the room? Surely scores will be trampled.
(Come on baby, do the Loco-Motion)
Do it holding hands if you get the notion
I thought we were already. What else were we supposed to use in making the train, our genitals? ... Oh.
(Come on baby, do the Loco-Motion)
There's never been a dance that's so easy to do
It even makes you happy when you're feeling blue
Now you’re just rubbing it in my face, lady. It’s apparently easier than shitting in a bucket and I can’t do it. Not only that, but the dance apparently has some magical depression-clearing properties. But I'll never know, I guess.
So come on, come on — do the Loco-Motion with me
For the life of me, I don’t know what this dance must look like, other than a mess of tangled limbs pathetically trying to be a train. Maybe the name is more appropriate than I thought.

So who's to blame here? Little Eva? Surely not Kylie? No, I looked into it, and the song was apparently written by Carole King, back in the early days of her songwriting career. I was surprised, honestly, because I would expect that something this shallow wouldn't have Carole King's name attached to it. But that's the truth, sadly.

So, fuck you, Carole King.

EDIT: It has since been pointed out to me that King wrote this song with Gerry Goffin. Also, this post initially, erroneously had the song being released in 1952, but the text has been corrected to state that date as 1962.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Do You Wish That Your Legs Grew Long?

A few days ago I asked Spencer a question about spiders. “If you’re in the shower and you see a spider in there, do you deliberately wash it down or do you do you own thing and let the little guy fend for himself?”

And after that, we drifted to the subject of the daddy longlegs. Not any specific one, but just the idea of them. Now that I think about it, they’re probably the first spider I consciously remember seeing. They’re so omnipresent, despite being so slight. Just thinking about what they look like, I feel like they’re the product of some sci-fi writer’s imagination: a tiny, dot of a creature, suspended in the air by nearly invisible legs. Some stray period or the dot from a lower-case “i” that grew legs and walked off the page.

When I thought about it more, I realized that I didn’t even know how the term “daddy longlegs” should look in print, as I can’t remember ever seeing it. “Daddy Long Legs”? “Daddy-long-legs”? The name itself sounds weirdly old-fashioned and Mother Goose-like, when you actually think about what you’re saying. And then I haven’t got a clue how to pluralize it. Surely I’ve seen more than one of these weird arachnids in some corner of an room before, but I can’t think of a logical way to say that there’s more than one. “Look, I see two daddies longlegs?” Or “Shoo away those daddy longlegses.” Not a clue.

I looked it up in the dictionary and then on the Wikipedia. It turns out that the term itself doesn’t really mean anything, as it refers to a different bug or spider or whatever depending on where you are. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, it’s “Any of various arachnids of the order Phalangida, with a small rounded body and long slender legs.” It’s also apparently called the harvestman, which lends the critter even more of a human character than I feel comfortable with. A daddy longlegs can even apparently be a fly — the crane fly.

For the first time in a while, researching something has led to it becoming even more ambiguous than before. A week ago I figured I would have been able to explain what a daddy longlegs was to someone who didn’t know. Now I’m not so sure.

Lotophagi

ehernan360: so the night before last i dreamt that you me and nathan (except the part of nathan was being played by a random person I work with) went to go have dinner with your twenty-something year old mother who was 7 months pregnant. We were eating at a restaurant and you were having a sandwich. When you got half way through the sandwich you realized that your plate and sandwich were covered by ants. I got pissed off and went to complain to the manager and he just started laughing at me and wouldn't take me seriously... i don't know what it means but i had to share.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Please Turn on Your Magic Beam

So if the world weren't horrifying enough for you, consider this: British scientists have discovered a symbiotic bug that eats tongues then attaches itself to the root of the former tongue and acts like a new tongue. The bug, Cymothoa exigua, feeds exclusively on fish tongues — thank God — and drains the tongue of its blood. Most surprisingly, the host fish doesn't necessarily suffer. The bug is so adept at mimicking tongue actions that the fish can continue to live with its squiggly new licker. So it's not a parasite. Just a new little friend.

It's like a helper monkey for fish, if the helper monkey rendered the person handicapped beforehand.

And I can't remember every having typed the word tongue so many times.

[ Source: BBC News, via Boing Boing ]

If I Were You, I'd Take a Permanent Vacation

At Spencer's advise, I ate a rabbit sandwich today. I just thought I'd share that.

When the "Oo" Was Important

Before I head in, a note of clarification about Yaz, a great band. Yaz is a two-man outfit: singer Alison Moyet, who came up with the name "Yazoo" after reading it on the cover of some old blues record, and keyboardist Vince Clarke, who had previously been a member of Depeche Mode. The latter actually wrote "Just Can't Get Enough," but quit the group shortly thereafter. Apparently, the band is known as "Yazoo" in Britain. This causes some confusion, especially for me, since my Last.fm account renames my file with the British moniker and then tells me that no one else ever listens to that song. I don't know why.

Hand in Glove

I'm impressed with how quickly my iTunes top-ten-most-played list changed. In a July 25 entry, these songs included the following.
  1. "Hot Pursuit" - The Bravery
  2. "Shake Some Action" - The Flaming Groovies
  3. "The Two Sides on Monsieur Valentine" - Spoon
  4. "Rage!" - Chromeo
  5. "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend" - The Magnetic Fields
  6. "Be My Baby" - The Ronettes
  7. "Get It Get It" - Scissor Sisters
  8. "Voodoo Lady" - Ween
  9. "Hello Again" - The Cars
  10. "I Came as a Rat" - Modest Mouse
And as of today, the top ten have almost entirely changed, with only two holdovers.
  1. "Laura" - Scissor Sisters
  2. "Kindling for the Master - Stephen Malkmus
  3. "Situation" - Yaz
  4. "Some Velvet Morning" - Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra
  5. "Candy Girl" - Soviet
  6. "Bad Cartridge (E-Pro)" - Beck
  7. "Hot Pursuit" - The Bravery
  8. "Dirty Harry" - The Gorillaz
  9. "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend" - The Magnetic Fields
  10. "Waterloo Sunset" - The Kinks
And to better depict the world I live in, here are ten random tracks.
  • "Dear Prudence" - The Beatles
  • "So Flute" - Saint Germain
  • "I Lunghi Giorni Della Vendetta" - Armando Trovaioli
  • "The Rain Song" - Led Zeppelin
  • "The Jessica Numbers" - The New Pornographers
  • "Waitress in the Sky" - The Replacements
  • "My Friend Jack" - Death by Chocolate
  • "Robert Onion" - Frank Black
  • "Hurdy-Gurdy Man" - Donovan
  • "I Won't Dance" - Frank Sinatra

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Better Than Actually Watching Movies

Two awesome movie titles, and their even-more-wonderful Netflix synopses.

(1) "What's the Matter With Helen?" and (2) "Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?"

(1) Chased by threatening telephone calls, the mothers of two teenage murderers move to Hollywood and open a kids' dance school. But their idyllic new life is despoiled when strange phone calls begin again, and then there's a murder.

(2) An odd widow throwing a Christmas party for orphans is mistaken for a child-eating witch from a fairy tale — with dire consequences.

Seriously?
[ link: see then now on Netflix ]

Theater of Unexpected Inactivity

I’m just pissed about Francis Fregoli.

You’d think I’d be upset because I didn’t realize that The Theater of the New Ear consisted of what essentially were radio plays: “Anomalisa” and “Hope Leaves the Theater.” I purposely didn’t research the plays before hand, but I immediately felt suspicious when I walked into the theater and saw that the stage had no backdrop. When the cast of “Anomalisa” walked out on stage and seated themselves at miked desks, I knew something was up. A talkie, in the literal sense.

Not that it wasn’t entertaining. I actually liked it a lot. I’ve always had a thing for radio plays and voiceover work and stuff like that. I just wish I knew ahead of time. What I can’t get over is Francis fucking Fregoli.

The program states that “Francis Fregoli is the pen name of an established writer who wishes to remain anonymous.” He wrote “Anomalisa,” and though it’s my less favorite of the two plays I saw, I’m really annoyed that a simple internet search won’t turn up who Francis Fregoli is. No, instead I get plot summaries. “‘Anomalisa’ concerns a motivational speaker and his one-night stand with a pitiful deformed woman.” And that about sums it up. I think I like the end best, because at that point Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the singing voice of an antique Japanese sex doll that oozes semen. And she does a good job. Oh, actually I think my favorite part is that Jennifer Jason Leigh is a midget — seriously. Oh, and actually I feel bad saying that because the second play had Peter Dinklage, who actually is a midget. But I knew that about him already. Not her.

I attended the play primarily for the second half, “Hope Leaves the Theater,” which was written by Charlie Kaufman, who is kind of a hero of mine. I like how ambitious his stuff is. But I’m not yet entirely convinced I really liked “Hope.” It’s po-mo to an extreme. It breaks the frame of narrative seemingly just for the joy of breaking the frame of narrative,

The setup: in the program for the play, Kaufman has listed the three actors — Hope Davis, Dinklage and Meryl Streep — and all the roles they play. Streep, for example purportedly plays Sally, Kelly, Jane, the Empress of Japan, Mrs. Finnigan, Boy #2, Joan of Arc, Daisy, Teresa D’Useau, Radio Man, Sailor #1, The Killer and Broken Katie. Furthermore, Kaufman also lists a breakdown of the play’s scenes:

I quote:
Scene one: Elevator
Scene two: Elevator. Ten minutes later.
Scene three: Joe’s living room. Dawn.
Scene four: The “kitchen.” Later that day.
Scene five: Offices of Rolling Stone magazine, 1969.
Scene six: Engine room of an Argentinean freighter, 1943.
Scene seven: The void. Thursday, 6:53 a.m. EST.
Scene eight: Elevator. Exactly thirty years later.
Scene nine: Joe’s living room. Midnight of the same day.
Scene ten: The void. Early morning.
Scene eleven: The eye of a hurricane. Easter Island. Now.
Scene twelve: Elevator. One thousand years later.
Scene thirteen: A field of marigolds.
Which is great and enticing and all that. But the play never actually shows any of this, really. It technically starts before the lights go down, with Hope Davis sitting on stage but voicing the thoughts of Louise, an angry, miserable woman sitting in the audience. She hats Charlie Kaufman, likes Meryl Streep, thinks she could have been the third Coen brother and is annoyed by the British couple sitting next to her. The play starts, but Davis stays in her head — until her cell phone rings. Streep breaks character and angrily rebukes Davis’s character, who leaves the theater.

Only Hope Davis herself never goes anywhere. We just follow her narrative as she walks away from UCLA, on the bus, into her house, with Streep and Dinklage supplying the voices of the people she passes by on the way. And it’s convincing, too. I didn’t even care that I didn’t get to see the scene in the offices of Rolling Stone. I was impressed enough to see how the actors would break character and address each other and all that.

The downside was that the play concludes with Dinklage playing a smarmy critic giving “Hope Leaves the Theater” a bad review. And he addresses the play’s problems — like it being “too precious” — and basically eliminates the need for you or me or anybody else to bring them up. And I feel like that’s cheating — writing a post-modern play but then using its post-modernism to evade actually criticism. “He’s so good he knows what he did wrong — and he told us!”

I still like Charlie Kaufman and “Adaptation” and “Eternal Sunshine.” I just haven’t made up my mind on this one yet. I only know that I'm pissed I can't find out who Francis Fregoli is.

Did I mention that Jennifer Jason Leigh is a fucking Hummel?

Tom Burwell

I'm on fire, verbally. My first significant contribution to the Independent: the fall rock music preview. Check it out, in the new issue, and please kindly disregard the cheesy adspeak I wrote it in. It is, after all, essentially an advertisement.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I Get Up

I’m congested. I’m naked. And I’m late getting dressed to go see some Charlie Kaufman play at UCLA. More importantly, I just realized that I don’t give a shit about going to the Nexus retreat. A year ago — or even a month ago — I wouldn’t have though I would have forgone a free weekend of beer with my former co-workers. But I have two new jobs now and I just don’t have time to pretend I’m still in college. I like that paper, but at some point I’m going to become that guy who used to be quarterback hanging out in the parking lot after school gets out. And everyone’s happy to see him but wondering if he has something better to do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Pigeon House

The numbers.
  • Days I will work at Borders in a row: 6 (Friday through Wednesday)
  • Computer programs I have to learn to work at Borders: 5
  • People asking me if Borders carries Amish historical fiction: 1
  • Free cups of coffee I can get per day: infinite (supposing that Borders has an infinite supply of coffee)
  • Night editing shifts I am picking up at the Nexus: 2
  • People currently at the Nexus right now: 6
  • Night editing shifts I've done before: 0
  • Money I'm making by being here: more than I would have otherwise
  • Other people they had to night edit besides me: 0
  • Beer bottles on the desk I'm working at: 4
  • Keys on this keyboard that have gross brown stains on them: 26
  • Times I will see Spencer before Thursday: 0
  • People currently living at my apartment: 2
  • Perfect of them that are Twyla: 50
  • People Quincy Jones has bitten since he returned to the apartment: 0
  • Unwatched Netflix rentals currently at my house: 3 ("Spider Baby," "Gilda" and "Betty Blue")
  • Unread books I've been meaning to get to: I'd estimate 12
  • Girls my brother became quasi-engaged to this weekend: 1
  • Hours until I go home: indeterminate

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Lomo Saltado

kidicarus222: lela just decided not to eat with me
splendorofmorgan: she's all pooped out from her stupid paper.
kidicarus222: no, she's pooped from procrastinating
splendorofmorgan: well, yeah.
kidicarus222: not that i'm blaming her -- procrastination is an entirely worthwhile activity. i get so much done when i procrastinate
splendorofmorgan: such as: catching up on tv! the dishes! handwashing pantyhose!
kidicarus222: blogging! balancing my checkbook! cleaning the fishbowl!
splendorofmorgan: wee! there's so much to do that does not involve the most pressing issue!
kidicarus222: yes. if i was ever shot or something, i think i'd go do laundry first, then call my grandma and then buy batteries and milk
kidicarus222: then, eventually, the hospital
splendorofmorgan: well, first you'd have to clean up all the spilled blood.
splendorofmorgan: then you'd notice that the floors are disgusting. you'd have to mop and steamclean.
kidicarus222: might as well shampoo all the carpet, while you're at it
splendorofmorgan: if not now, when?
kidicarus222: exactly
splendorofmorgan: once that was done, no use turning up at the hospital with unclipped toenails.
kidicarus222: so -- are you not down with dinner? or at least dinner conversation?
splendorofmorgan: iono. would it require that i take a shower and get out of my pjs?
kidicarus222: get out of your PJs, yes. shower, no
kidicarus222: there's a lot of hippies at natural cafe -- or the nat, if you will -- and you'd fit in, smellwise
splendorofmorgan: halt!
splendorofmorgan: aaron is making lomo saltado later.
splendorofmorgan: like, in a half an hour or something.
kidicarus222: lomo saltado?
splendorofmorgan: otherwise known as, THE FOOD OF THE GODS.
kidicarus222: what is it?
splendorofmorgan: it's peruvian
splendorofmorgan: chicken, red onions, tomatoes, rice, french fries.
splendorofmorgan: all mixed into one of the most delicious things you will Ever taste.
kidicarus222: sounds... red
splendorofmorgan: the last time aaron made it i licked my plate.
splendorofmorgan: literally.
splendorofmorgan: it's good.
splendorofmorgan: you should eat that instead.
kidicarus222: if i'm invited, sure
kidicarus222: though red things conflict with my chromatic diet. saturday is green food only
splendorofmorgan: no, you're not invited, actually. i just went through that whole thing to rub in your face how unwanted you are.
splendorofmorgan: diets were made to be broken.
splendorofmorgan: besides, green on saturdays? saturdays are all about the beige
kidicarus222: but it's a chromatic diet, not some fun-of-the-mill fatty fat-fat diet
splendorofmorgan: or are you following dr. phil's chromatic diet? i'm on the south beach chromatic diet.
kidicarus222: i'm following dr. laura's chromatic diet, actually. all the food sours in your stomach and you feel awful afterwards
splendorofmorgan: and guilty.
splendorofmorgan: because you are a Horrible parent.
splendorofmorgan: even if you have no kids.
kidicarus222: then you've tried it
splendorofmorgan: my mom used to adore dr laura until i started cutting myself because of her.
splendorofmorgan: then she was like, but dr laura said!
splendorofmorgan: and i was like, DR LAURA THIS MOTHERFUCKER.
splendorofmorgan: HER FIRST NAME COULD BE DOCTOR.
splendorofmorgan: SHE IS A DOCTOR OF POOP.
splendorofmorgan: anyway, she doesn't listen to her anymore and we're all happier because of it.
kidicarus222: her first name is evil, but it's latvian, so you don't pronounce the E, V, I or L

Goozette, Goofus, Goother and Goolian

Short entry. Two jobs have made me dread words, so I can't verbify so well today.

Driving into my parking space, I saw from a distance an overweight couple in workout grubbies doing what looking like pre-exercise stretches. As I got closer, I realized that they were actually just hunched over a hibachi, barbecuing some sausage. The clothes, I gather, were around-the-house attire and not workout clothes.

And I thought that was funny.

[only ten to go]

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Remembering Sanam

It’s always hard to say goodbye. Sometimes we must say goodbye forever.

Today, I had to deal with the loss of my good friend, Sanam. As many of you know, Sanam moved to Boston against my wishes. I tried to explain to her the dangers of living in a big city — especially Boston — but God bless her, Sanam went for it anyway. If nothing else, we can remember Sanam’s headstongedness.

Or, also, we can also remember the way she died: devoured messily by one of Boston’s many roving gangs of mummies. Again, I warned her of these undead ghouls. Yet, Sanam’s life was hers to lead. And now it’s over. Because those mummies gobbled her up like a Persian McNugget. It goes without saying that the ancient Egyptian stomach acids digested her body efficiently, though not exactly quickly. I’d wager it took several hours for her to die completely. But more importantly, the mummies took her bones, now stripped of Sanam-flesh, and made jewelry out of them. And, oh yes — they ate her feet-first.

I don’t hate Sanam for throwing her life away. I’m glad she died doing what she loved most — feeding others. I blame myself. My diagrams of mummies were perhaps too subtle. I blame Morgan, for virtually pushing Sanam out the door to Boston. I blame Greg, because he’s Greg. But mostly, I blame the American government, for allowing the continued immigration of Egyptian mummies into America’s cities and onto our streets.


If you’d like to make a donation to the American Red Cross in Sanam’s name, click here.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Most Love Songs Are Actually Quite Sad

I went to the Nexus office for the first time in weeks to print something. Somewhere between the car and the front door, I realized that three wonderful girls I liked in high school are now engaged. As I got close, I really hoped someone would be in the office. There's always someone in the office, but tonight there just wasn't.

When I got back to my apartment, I smoked a cigarette in the courtyard and took another look at those freaky, deformed lemons. I could hear three different movies playing in three different apartments.

Bad Weather

I have know this guy, Josh, who lived in New Orleans for a while. He, in fact, was the first person to use the abbreviation "Nola" around me. He's the only person I know who ever lived there, now that I think about it. Anyway, I read his blog today and he pointed out how infuriating it is for him to hear people say something along the lines of "It's too bad, because I always wanted to go to New Orleans" or "I guess I'll never get to see Mardi Gras" or something like that." Because, really, it's the most selfish thing you could say.

A lot of people died and a lot more may yet die. So if you have to, think about how disappointed you are about having your travel plans ruined. But don't say it out loud — at least around me. Because I will judge you harshly if you do.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Nessalou

kidicarus222: ahem
supersanam: yes?
kidicarus222: the following has also been posted in response to your comment
kidicarus222: which was, by the way, a very sanam comment to make
kidicarus222: but
kidicarus222: it's sunday, retard
kidicarus222: and
kidicarus222: i take it boston holds nothing more interesting for you than to sit at home and read my online rants
supersanam: true.
supersanam: no, not true
supersanam: boston does hold more
kidicarus222: yet
supersanam: but you have a secure grip on my heart, drew
kidicarus222: neck, sanam
supersanam: I can't bear to part from my computer, the magical box that holds all your secrets
kidicarus222: i have a secure grip on you neck
supersanam: well, it would be my heart if I had one
supersanam: *still had one
kidicarus222: you left it in santa barbara, right?
supersanam: I traded it to my mechanic for new spark plugs
supersanam: dunno where it is
kidicarus222: should you be outside, walking the city streets with your neck craned up and a silly, wide grin on you face?
supersanam: I did that already. got hit by a bus.
kidicarus222: that's supposed to happen
kidicarus222: then a well-dressed gentlemen picks you up
kidicarus222: and teaches you about life
kidicarus222: and love
supersanam: a homeless guy took a shit on me
kidicarus222: did he teach you about life or love?
supersanam: he taught me to love not getting shit on
supersanam: so, yes

Double Cherry Pie

One more cool thing. So cool, in fact, that it warrants its own post. I just discovered The Internet Archive, an interesting nonprofit compilation of the entire internet — that is, all existent public webpages — as shown through "snapshots" of each page's various incarnations over time. Just hop in the archive's Wayback Machine and recall a time, for example, when the Back of the Cereal Box looked like this. Or this. Or this.

Memories. Oh, and yeah — it works for other webpages besides this one.

A Dresden Shepherdess

The best recent info, via Boing Boing and Robot Wisdom.

Grammatical Incest

(a journey of the soap and self-discovery)

During Coachella last year, somehow out entire little group — Kristen, Hilly, Lauren, Naj, Mike and I — all went without thinking to bring enough soap or shampoo. Fortunately, Kristen had brought her bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap. And we used it. And we smelled vaguely of peppermint. So when I saw a bottle of the same stuff — that is, again, Dr. Bronner's Magic 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap — I bought it, if for no other reason than to take the bottle home and determine what the magic soap's eighteen uses were.

In case you've never seen this mythical bottle, here's what one looks like:



As you can see, the bottle is covered in text. I took a bath with the intention of reading this Stephen King novel-of-a-bottle in hopes that somewhere in this mess I could find just what I can use Dr. Bronner's soap for.

I did not.

Here's an example of the kind of thing written on the bottle:
Whatever unites making is better than whatever divides us! Yet, if absolute-unselfish I am not for me, I'm not but classless, graceless, starving masses, never free nor brave! Only if constructive-selfish I work hard perfecting first me, like Mark Spitz — arctic owls — pilot — cat — swallow — beaver, bee, can I tech the MORAL ABC's ALL - ONE - GOD - FAITH, that lightning like unites the Human race! For we're ALL-ONE OR NONE! ALL ONE! "listen children eternal father eternally one!" EXCEPTIONS ETERNALLY? ABSOLUTE NONE!
And no, there's no typos there. That's how it's written, in the Faulknerian head-on collision sentence style that Professor Waid would no doubt refer to as "grammatical incest." It's disconcerting to be taking a bath with a bottle when you feel like that bottle is shouting at you. I'd guess it's written in the style of the speech that you'd hear at a medicine show — the loud, slant-rhyming, Bible-thumping, attention grabbing jabber that gets you to buy some tonic or cure-all or life-giving elixir that was brewed in Grandpa Slaghopple's bath tub. But all of this adds up to motivate me not to rub this soap on by body, organically saponified or not.

Worse, this tells me nothing of what the eighteen uses for this product are. It just chatters on like that. Believe me, I read the whole goddamn bottle. (It was a lengthy bath, you see.) In fact, all I gleaned from close reading this hygiene product was that it's made in Escondido.

So what can we use it for? Kristen will recommend against using the magic soap as a shampooing agent. And we quickly found out that it's also not safe for use as mouthwash. That leaves the following:
  • body wash
  • hand wash
  • foot wash
  • face wash
  • shaving foam
  • douche
  • bubble bath agent
  • dishwashing fluid
  • laundry detergent
  • aromatic massage oil
  • shitty wedding gift for disliked newlyweds
  • in-bath reading material
  • body lice remover
And that's being generous by counting hand, body, foot and face wash as separate products — though not unrealistic, given how many little bottles people cram into their showers nowadays. And given how decidedly un-spectacular my bath was, I'd have to strike bubble bath agent from the list as well.

I should also mention that ball wash is not on the list. Do you own testicles? Have you ever gotten Icy Hot or Tiger Balm on your ball sac? Then you have some idea what it's like to get peppermint oil there. Not cold, not hot, but a slow, painful burn nonetheless that neither bathwater not squeezing not frantic swearing can stop. Thanks a lot, Dr. Bronner.

At a loss, I logged on to the Dr. Bronner website — thereby violating my rule of never visiting the online sites advertised on my hygiene products, even though they all have them. It's more new age-y than I would have expected from a product that seems like a throwback to the Depression era. I was happy to see that they post an FAQ list that includes "What are the eighteen uses for this goddamn product you tricked me into buying, you assholes?" (My wording. Also, not that the image in the sidebar has the face of the now-dead Dr. Bronner floating in the clouds in a very creepy manner. Hi there, dead mister!)

Here, The website describes the following as proper uses for the soap:
  • body wash
  • other uses (not defined, but apparently I should dilute it for this)
  • shampoo (and I'm supposed to rinse with vinegar, apparently)
  • laundry
  • toothpaste
And then this bullshit:
In reality, there are far more than eighteen uses, as people constantly write in to tell us about yet another utility of the soap. We won’t detail them all, but below are some of the major uses and dilutions.
Bastards! You stole my money, bored me with your quasi-Christian rhetoric, offended me with bad grammar, burned my balls and made Coachella smell like peppermint! And then you lie about the eighteen uses for your magic soap, which sucks. I hope those Bronners get what's coming to them — which, I suppose, could be a lifetime pondering what to do with a warehouse full of their stupid soap.

Ha.

Goodbye and Good Night

After Seven Falls, neither Kristen nor I felt much like going out. Honestly, the five-hour hike drained us enough that if we had gone out, we'd be trampled corpses on the beer-soaked floor of some bar right now. So instead we had a drink with Betsy at Tee Off — a golf-themed cocktail lounge we hadn't been to before — then headed in early.

I saw the last few sketches of an "SNL" that I've caught the end of twice before. Luke Wilson and U2. I don't care for U2, but the closing credits are the best thing I've ever seen on the show. Wilson does the usual "I had a great time! Thanks to the cast and everybody else!" — but then the camera sweeps over to the music stage and U2 performs an unprecedented third song from their new album. And I don't like Bono, but he's such a great performer. He walks off-stage and into the audience and sings to this woman in the front row. And she starts crying.

But then — this is the best part, really — he walks over to the stage where all the castmembers are and puts his arm around Amy Poehler. And Amy Poehler starts crying too.

It's this awesome moment for "SNL" and TV in general. It's always interesting when the actors break character, but here you see them all completely out of character. They're not performing or acting or entertaining. They're not even the cast of a show. They're just a bunch of people watching a concert, just like we are. They're completely out of character — so much so that they're letting us see them be genuinely moved by a band they've probably loved for years.

And that's something that I feel lucky to have seen.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Eat Up Martha

Excuse me — I arted.

Here is the product of months of doodling. I don't call it anything, but I think it looks like what we're made of, if we were all cyan. If you look at it right, I think it looks like a female form embracing a male form. But you have to look at it right.





And let's hear it for the Sharpies that made all this possible.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tiny, Tiny People Swinging Tiny, Tiny Lanterns

Ninety-five people arrived at my blog today by Googling some combination of the terms "urban legend," "sharpie" and "ruin CD." Watch your Sharpies, people.

A Large, Green Hippo With Blinking Eyes

Okay. So I tried this before, but I didn't realize the link I provided went to a private page that nobody but me could view. So I'll handle it thusly.

The Flickr photo service has a feature that tabulates your most "interesting" pictures. But I have no idea how it works. Surprisingly, it's not too far off base. The following photos, according to some wonderful Flickr robot, are the most interesting.


If anyone can tell me how Flickr rates interestingness, I'd like to know.

On a different subject, this picture of Jill is drawing the most views, I'd presume because I listed "boob" and "breast" as one of the key descriptors.

Nine Lesser Muses

Nine lesser muses for nine lesser arts.
  • Hellephondra, muse of crispy bangs and large hairstyles
  • Nessalou, muse of perfectly barbed comebacks
  • Phantuna, muse of casseroles
  • Schlendermosa, muse of handjobs, blowjobs and other sex alternatives
  • Nirodonisha, muse of breakdancing
  • Ellakablamma, muse of competitive rifle shooting
  • Beth, muse of macaroni sculptures
  • Derangita, muse of creative text messaging
  • Kamekubaba, muse of parallel parking
I can perfectly picture what they look like, these nine.

Ginger Prince Is Not Shirley Temple

There's no way around it. She's just not.

Spencer and I have this wonderful exchange of mix CDs. It's the best thing two people could do, I think. You give someone a CD and they get new music and a better look into who you are. Or something like that. Anyway, one of the songs on the "Enjoy or Destroy" mix was a by the unfortunately named band Father Bingo. I know little about Father Bingo other than that it's apparently the solo project of a Philadelphia-based artist named Mark Lebovitz. And that one of Father Bingo's better known songs is called "Ginger Prince Is Not Shirley Temple."

So from that title alone, we get what Ginger Prince isn't. Surprisingly, the internet has very little to offer on who or what Ginger Prince actually was. And I'd really like to know.

These are the opening lines of "Ginger Prince Is Not Shirley Temple."
Somehow they got it in their heads that she would be a star
I don't think they realized that cuteness only goes so far
Try as they might, Ginger Prince is not Shirley Temple
There's actually no site on the internet that lists the song's complete lyrics, which may be because the words are frequently hard to pick out from the song's instrumentation. Regardless of what is being specifically said, the song is about Ginger Prince's failed stardom.

Some of you might actually recognize this girl from her IMDb page, which I accidentally linked to a few days ago. (I research these things days in advance, don't you know.) A Google search yields little on Prince's career. I found these three promotional posters, in which you can clearly see her non-Shirley Templesque face. From what I can tell, she made some movies and appeared on stage a bit.


That first poster seems to be for a picture called "The Prince of Peace." According to the IMDb trivia for this movie, which is apparently also called "The Lawton Story," all of the actors in it were native Oklahomans. Those with the thicker accents even had to have the dialogue redubbed. All I can tell is that it's a Christian-themed musical. That, and that there's a cast member named Maude Eburne playing "Henrietta," who I bet is the unattractive maid looking character in the poster. (Doesn't she just look like a Maude or a Henrietta?) So based off what I know about "The Prince of Peace," I have to wonder of perhaps Ginger Prince was some kind of Southern twist on the Shirley Temple model? (Like, maybe instead of dancing with Mr. Bojangles, she beat him.)

There's a database of exploitation films that surprisingly has an entry for "The Prince of Peace." It also provides a little more plot description, noting that the movie concerns one small town's production of a passion play and that the film served as a debut for Prince, whose moppet qualities were employed to net a wider audience — or, if you will, trick more people into seeing it. There's also a fairly large gallery of screen grabs from the film, in which you can see Ginger Prince mugging in all her spunky, puggish cuteness.

Someone calling herself Ginger Prince also has an entry at the IBDb, the Internet Broadway Database. This actress appeared in "Ain't Broadway Grand" and Gypsy," but she couldn't possibly be the same moppet from the forties, as the dates for these plays are in the late eighties and early nineties. (On a side note, I'd like to point at that the title for "Ain't Broadway Grand" omits the question mark. This is a wise choice, I think, in that it would discourage Broadway critics from reviewing such a shitty-sounding play simply by answering "no.")

Searching for information on Ginger Prince is further hampered by the fact that red-headed Paul Scholes, a midfielder for Manchester United, is known to his fans by the nickname "The Ginger Prince." (Macho, no?)

So while I have some idea who Ginger Prince is, I'm still left wondering whatever really became of her. Maybe nothing did. And maybe the lack of many mentions of her name online says all there needs to be said about what happened to her career. Or maybe there's a part of the story I'm missing. I wonder how Mike Lebovitz ever stumbled across her and why he decided she warranted a song about her. These are the things that bother me.

This is kids' stuff
.

EDIT: I may have answered one of my own questions. Apparently "The Prince of Peace" was produced by Kroger Babb, an early director of exploitation films who also cast Ginger Prince as the daughter of an alcoholic in "One Too Many." Babb's films were notoriously tawdry and was hounded by Christian groups. In response, Babb alleged he was making a film called "Father Bingo" that would serve as an expose on the secret underground of church basement gambling. The film never was realsed and Babb had no interest in making it, so it would seem it resulted only in becoming the name of a band sixty years later. And it would make sense that Lebovitz, while researching Kroger Babb would come across Ginger Prince.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Bifurcated Kentucky Colonel

It's amazingly easy to donate money to Hurricane Katrina relief via the Red Cross. I rarely push charity on people, but please keep in mind that it would much better karma-wise to just give ten bucks or so to people who really need it rather than spending it on alcohol that you would drink by yourself to escape your problems. Wretch.
[ link: donate now! ]