Sunday, December 21, 2008


It's been snowing pretty much non-stop since Friday afternoon.
The Commonwealth Ave Mall is beautiful. The lights in the trees and the snow covering the statues and everything else.
Big snowstorm days are my favorite days in the city. All the non-residents are back snuggled up in their suburbs and all us city folk go about our business as if there were not a flake in the sky. Being steps away from everything you need is most adventageous in a snow storm. Now that I don't have to drive in the snow, I love the snow. I look forward to it.
We Bostonians put on our wellies, pull on our coats and hats and go out into the city.
The best part?
We don't have a driveway to shovel. We don't even have to shovel out our front steps. We go throw snowballs and get some shopping done on Newbury street, free from the hordes of tourists and day-trippers.
Everything is beautiful and white in Boston, and I haven't heard a horn honk all day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The black knight always triumphs!

Have at you!

I bought The Dark Knight on DVD. I almost never buy DVDs. There are so many movies out there that I haven't seen that I can rarely rationalize buying one I already have seen with the intention of watching it several more times in the future. My eyes were opened by Dr. Noletti at Framingham State who watches hundreds of movies each year. His voracious appetite for films made me realize that if I resigned myself to buying every movie I liked, I would eventually get to that point where anything new might not interest me.

I now try to watch movies whenever I can, and I don't select the movies based on whether or not I think I'll enjoy them. I'm working my way through the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest list in the hopes of at least getting all of those under my belt in the next year.

I watched Audition, a film that explores the vulnerability and trust that love induces. Much of the film is so surreal that I cannot definitively say what was real and what was imagined by the protaginist. I think something might have been lost in translation. Like A Tale of Two Sisters, I get the feeling that Western films have a habit of tying up every single little loose end in a way that foreign films don't. I'm not sure if this is a limitation or an advantage. It certainly limits the kind of narration a film has. In these two films, it seemed we were only seeing what the protagonist saw. There are dream sequences, and it's implied later that the dream sequences were omnipotent episodes in the narration. The protagonist suddenly gets a glimpse of something they were unaware of, or something that has or will happen. So it's not like a break in narration that occurs in Western film that contains an omnipotent aside that the audience is privey to, but not the protagonist.
The audience has all of the same information as the protagonist. This creates a unique sympathy for the protagonist. Yet, my Western-trained mind could help but wonder: What was true in the dream and what wasn't? How and why does this character have psychic dreams?
It's very A Christmas Carol, the ghosts of the past, present and future visit us in our dreams and enlighten us. Yet, it's not explained explicity so. I had to gather after much thought that these surreal, yet truthful, dream sequences are a deus ex machina to the plot that is readliy accepted by the intended (foreign) audience of this film. It relies entirely on the suspension of disbelief. This is difficult to understand coming from a Western-trained viewpoint, where dream sequences almost exclusively deal with the surreal and UNtrue. The protagonist wakes up and we sigh with relief, it was only a dream. It was not real.
In these films when the protagonist wakes up, we are supposed to feel the building fear. Their dream was surreal, but it was the truth. They must now take action based on their dream, and use their new-found knowledge to get a leg up on the antagonist or at least to fully understand the current events.

I would love to conduct a research study on the validity in the contents of dream sequences in movies in different cultures. Perhaps we Westerners don't give our dreams enough credit. Our dreams could be trying to tell us something.

Monday, December 1, 2008

She blinded me with... keyboards?

After seeing the newest Little Tykes commercial for yet another pop-star themed toy for toddlers, I had to beg the question: Why would you want your toddler pretending to be a pop star? This could begin a disturbing pattern of behavior that, in the end, you can only blame yourself for.
What about just buying them a toy calculator or science set? Those toys actually teach them skills, skills more impressive on a resume than "can adorably sing along to 'wild thing' with cheap plastic faux instruments."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Four legs good!

Iams is running a fabulous campaign to help get 1 million animals adopted into loving homes for the holidays. You can find out more about it here.

Normally, I don't endorse or patronize Iams because they test their products on dogs and cats extensively. They are also not the most nutritious food products you can choose for your pet. However, in this case they have their hearts in the right place and I hope they inspire people to adopt an animal in need. I would love to adopt another dog or cat, but cramming any more living beings into this one-bedroom apartment would be cruel to all parties involved.
Dan and I really wanted to adopt a dog when Dan decided he wanted one. Trouble is, if you're young, working long hours and have never been the sole care-provider to a dog before, chances are no shelter or rescue organization will let you adopt a dog. Especially when you want a small dog, which usually have more people vying to adopt them. I completely understand why such standards exist, and I wouldn't trade Max for the world, but I really wish we could have adopted a dog.
So, if you have the room, time and money, please consider adopting a dog or cat. Adult animals, pitbull mixes and black dogs have very low adoption rates, but there's no good reason for it. People usually just have their hearts set on a puppy or very young dog, but a 3 or 4 year old dog has years and years of love left to give. Every adopted dog I've met knows just how lucky they are to have a new home. It's amazing how a dog has such a bottomless capacity for love, even if it's been abused or neglected. All they needs is love, understanding and sometimes a whole lot of patience, but they'll give you more in return than you'd ever imagine.
In a couple of years when Dan and I get a bigger place we'll adopt a friend for Max. I can't wait for that!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Feature presentation

A few movie recommendations:

A Tale of Two Sisters is the highest-grossing Korean horror film of all time. It's based on an old Korean folk-tale about murder, ghosts and revenge. The plot is a slowly unravelling story of what lead to one of the sisters having to go to a hospital and why a vengeful spirit haunts her home. The cinematography is decadent and rich. One of the things I love about foreign horror films is that, unlike American horror films which show you the ghost/monster for a breif second in order to get you to jump, a foreign horror movie allows the camera to dwell on the terrifying figure. It imitates our nightmares, it moves towards us and we cannot stop it or get away- we cover our face with our hands and squirm while we peek through our fingers. The creature's approach is both terrifying and intoxicating... will it get us?

Aliens: SPecial Edition is available free On-Demand from Comcast. One of the best sci-fi horror movies ever made, and a glowing example of a great screenplay. The reason the plot is so superior is that the writer wasn't burdened with introducing the aliens to the audience. We know what's waiting for Ripley, we just need to know how she ends up having to face them again. The exposition is taken care of in a few tidy briefing scenes, and then the rest of the film can be devoted to developing the relationships between the characters and exposing their motivations. Scenes included in this version that were left out of the theatrical release- scenes showing the treatment station prior to infestation, Hicks and Ripley exchaning first names, Bill Paxton bragging about the artillery and much more!

Run, Fat Boy, Run funnier than you might think and with a great soundtrack. Simon Pegg + Siouxsie and the Banshees? Yes, please! Be prepared to hate Hank Azaria, it doesn't feel right to do it, but he plays a jerk well.

And a little rant:
I am so sick and tired of these silly teenage vampires. Why is the story never based around a mortal man that loves a vampiress? Let me tell you:
Vampires are a metaphor for date rapists. They charm their victims and then force themselves upon them. Their forced penetration results in either death, or infection by the poison they ejaculate from their fangs. This ejaculation results in the "birth" of another vampire- which is always "more beautiful" than a mortal.
Teenage girls often have rape fantasies, these fantasies are indulged by these vampire movies. Rape fantasies should not be indulged, they are unhealthy.
A big plot point in Twilight? A vampire can kill a human accidently during sex, this only makes the heroine want to have sex with one MORE. What kind of message is that to send to teenagers???
"That guy could turn violent during sex, GO FOR IT!"
How many abusive or toxic relationships will result from another generation being taken in by this rape-masquerading-as-romance fantasy?
So the reason these stories never center around a mortal man and a vampiress is because it would imply that a woman can over-power and rape a man. That upsets our traditional concept of the roles of men and women in society.
Tell a teen you know: "Say no to glamorized rape."
And for everyone else who's annoyed with how these new vampires like to violate the rules of what vampires can and cannot do, we are not alone.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Life lessons:

Never trust a drunk person to be able to lead you home. They might claim to know which way we need to walk, but they really have no idea.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Snakes on my plane

In honor of the late great Paul Newman I got The Verdict via Netflix. If you liked The Untouchables or A Few Good Men you'll love The Verdict. It's the story of a Boston attorney who's just hit rock bottom when the case of a lifetime falls in his lap. It is the ultimate underdog story. Superb script and they just don't make movies like this anymore.

I saw a preview for the new Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie. At first I thought it was a joke. Who puts a protagonist- or an antagonist for that matter- in an eye patch? A secret plot to kill Hitler? Lots of explosions? Come on! Then, I went online and found out that it's based on actual events. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg , a Nazi, loses an eye, his right hand and two fingers from his left hand in a battle in Africa. Once back in Germany, he and other high-ranking German officers convince Hitler that if he should die, their government would fall apart. So they should form a shadow government, just in case (Operation Valkyire). Claus becomes a sympathizer with the resistance and he and the other shadow government members decide to take out Hitler and surrender to the Allie Forces.
If you were selecting someone to assassinate the most powerful and frightening man in the world, would you send a one-handed, one-eyed, veteran? I need more convincing on this.
Apparently what drew Cruise to this project was the similarity between his profile and that of the real-life Claus. I'm thinking he looked at this script and said to himself:
"My career is making a slow comeback after my comedy turn in Tropic Thunder. What could be more likable than a Nazi who has a change of heart and tries to kill Hitler and *SPOILER* ends up sacrificing his own life? Green light!"
I might be judging this one a little harshly. It could just be a case of a terrible trailer. Let us hope.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A good day.

I noticed a theme among my posts on life an such; They're all negative. I guess I've always been a cynical person, but this disappointed me. I need to share the positive experiences too.
This past week I had one of those day where you feel nothing but love for others. The Dunkin Donuts employee was extremely friendly, chatting with me while I was waiting for my bagel. I find a good mood amongst fast food workers is hard to find, so when I encounter it, I savor and encourage it. I saw people offering their seats on the T- and not because of those new signs. On the way home, a guy who always sees me on the T tapped my shoulder and we had a nice conversation. When I got off at Hynes Convention Center, a man dropped something and a woman immediately picked it up and chased after him to give it back.
It was a perfect day. Like everyone just woke up and said to themselves "I want to put a positive charge into everything I do today."
I'm making an effort to say that to myself every morning.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I am prepared to do some pretty extreme things for the person who would get me this:

"Kindle your child’s curiosity for prehistoric creatures and make-believe adventures with his very own "real" baby dinosaur. You may have seen “talking” and “moving” toys before, but chances are your dino-loving toddler has never seen a prehistoric “pet” that comes to “life” with realistic electronic sounds and motion. It’s fossil-sized fun standing just over 2.5 feet tall. A hidden handle helps kids hold on once they climb onto the dinosaur’s back. Realistic stomping sounds add to the make-believe fun as kids bounce in place on the spring seat. Talk to KOTA the Triceratops and he roars back with expressive tail, head, eye, mouth and horn movements. Touch his nose with your hand and KOTA “sniffs” it! In fact, it’s easy to trigger all of his sensitive spots – try tickling his belly or chin to make KOTA “laugh”. And when you think this pretend dinosaur has worked up an appetite, be sure to “feed” KOTA his leafy snack – it really sounds like he’s munching on it! Four different adventure-themed tunes set the mood for your child’s wild imagination as he embarks on a dino-filled "rides." But don’t worry! A convenient volume control switch lets you adjust the level or turn it off. KOTA the Triceratops may look thick-skinned, but just one stroke on his scaly-like fabric “hide” will prove he’s really a soft and snuggable playmate who’s ready for all of your child’s dino-roarin’ escapades."

Do you have any idea what I would have done if such a plaything existed when I was a child? I loved my Teddy Ruxpin so much he sustained heavy wire damage from being dragged everywhere. Chances are, with Kota by my side, i would have withdrawn completely from society and created a world for just him and me, plus all the D batteries needed to last a lifetime.

Tag, but not the body spray.

My old friend Lola posted a writing exercise on her blog to write 5 habits/quirks that people might not know about me. I decided this was a mighty good exercise that I should engage in.

1. I can tap dance.
2. I was OBSESSED with animals as a child and read every non-fiction book associated with animals that I could get my hands on. This combined with my love of nature documentaries gives me a geek-like knowledge of zoological trivia. When I read/see something I do not know, I get WAY too excited about it.
3. I have always hated brushing my teeth for as long as I can remember. I hate everything about it. When I was a kid I would go in the bathroom, close the door and let the water run to fool my parents into thinking I brushed. Now, I do actually brush, but I hate every second of it.
4. I am completely unable to commit to watch any syndicated television show on a weekly basis.
5. I had a lazy eye as a child and had to wear an eye patch for years. When asked about the eye patch in kindergarten, I lied and said I was a pirate.

The "share something people might not know about you" was a popular way professors/teachers have the class introduce themselves. I always said the bit about tap dancing. I haven't tap danced seriously since I was 16. I should get some tap shoes to make sure I never forget how to tap dance, and also just in case a talent show with a large cash prize ever presents itself.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's that in your pocket?

I have to vent after looking at some fall fashion trends.
The biggest look in pants for fall?
Pleats, harem pants, pleather leggings and stirrup leggings.

What the hell? It's like the major fashion houses got together and said "Let's bring back all those styles that look absolutely terrible on absolutely everyone!"
The latter three I could dismiss as looking interesting sometimes on rail thin women who are also very tall, but pleats? PLEATS???

Look at how huge these pants make this model look! She weighs probably 100 pounds and those pants are giving her hips for days.

Plus the looks in the Urban Outfitters catalog catalog are stomach-turning. Grunge is back, only this time heroin-chic includes looking like you forgot to put on pants under the sweater you ganked from your grandpa.
At least dark tights are better than pleated pants.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Comfort food

I'm watching "Fat Pets" on Animal Planet.
Apparently half of cats and dogs in England are overweight. It has correlation to the lifestyle of the owner, but I can't believe my eyes and ears.
These owners can't help themselves, they just keep feeding them more and more junk!
It's shocking and sickening. Sure, I let Max gain an extra pound last winter, but once his vet said something I made sure he lost that pound.
But on this show, their vets tell them their dogs are going to die if they don't lose weight. They don't listen, they keep feeding them and feeding them. It's so sad.
Just look at poor Bodelle:

She weighs over 200 poundsand the owner refuses to put her on a diet.

Do you think the SPCA should be able to remove these pets from their owners?
I think they should.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hold your horses!

Did you know Alec Baldwin has a blog on The Huffington Post's website?
That's pretty darn respectable if you ask me.

The Shadow Knows!

Top of the morning

On the weekends or other times when I'm not dressed in all of my biz-caz glory, I like to wear hats. This saves me the trouble of blow-drying or otherwise styling my hair, plus I look cute in hats and that can't be said for everyone. Or at least I think I look cute in hats, so that's really all that matters. The hair styling thing isn't a very good excuse because my hair is very short, but I'm lazy and refuse to leave the house without makeup on, so, it's my only time-saver.
Unfortunately, my favorite hat has seen better days. It's a black cotton twill newsboy cap I bought when I was working at Hot Topic in the Natick Mall four or five years ago. (Yeah, Hot Topic. I told you I'm a geek.) It's a little faded, and the Velcro adjustable strap on the back is starting to not hold very well anymore.
I bought an olive drab cadet cap at Hootenanny, and it's good, but doesn't look good with absolutely everything like my black hat does. I also bought a black woven fedora, but it was too trendy when I bought it and now I'd just look like I missed the boat but I'm still waving my ticket in the air and running on the dock.
I know I'll just end up scouring the Internet to find an exact replica. At least winter will be here soon and I can take refuge in knit caps until then.

In the past two days I have seen two men urinating in public. One was just a few minutes ago when I was walking Max. The man was peeing in a bush outside an apartment building. I might not have noticed if that distinctive pee-hitting-dry-leaves sound wasn't so loud. Yesterday's peeing man chose the side of the church near Harvard Square, in broad daylight. I was in a car with three co-workers, we were coming home from our all-staff meeting in Devens. I saw him and I was so shocked I just said out loud "That guy is peeing!"
The ladies in the car just shrugged it off, I was astounded by his bravery. Sure, he was obviously homeless and had long ago stopped being concerned with the trappings of proper social behavior, but peeing on a church in broad daylight? That takes guts, my friend. Not just anyone could urinate in the hustle and bustle of Cambridge on a Friday afternoon, let alone on the side of God's house. Not being religious, I couldn't help but wonder: If God exists, would he be upset if you peed on the outside of a church? Or is God more of a "when you gotta go, you gotta go." sort of deity?
We need pissoirs like in Europe. They may be smelly and disgusting, but hey, so are some people and it's not like we're getting rid of them, is it?

What's that sleeping on top of my couch, you ask? No, it's not a cat. It's my dog.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sinus cavaties

Mine are stuffed up. I have a head cold. Today is better than yesterday though. Yesterday, I was slugging DayQuil out of the bottle on the commuter rail out to Lawrence. Today, Mucinex Sinus will do the trick.
The most miserable part of a cod or flu for me is that my throat feels like a hot gravel pit. It's always the first symptom I experience, and for me, it's the one I hate the most. Nothing makes it go away. Every other cold or flu symptom is manageable with over the counter medication. Decongestant relieves my sinuses, pain reliever quells the aches and reduces any fever, but the scratchy throat... nada. The pan reliever makes it feel slightly better, but it's still there, making every breath feel like a burst of hot ash. It makes sleeping impossible. In my daily activities I might be able to ignore it, but in the hush of my bedroom, I have nothing to preoccupy me. For the first time last night, I rubbed Vicks Vaporub on my neck. This was wonderful, combined with the Tylenol Severe Cold Multi-Symptom Night, which I like to call "The coughing sniffling, sneezing, knock your ass out for the next 12 hours" medicine, I was out for the count in a matter of minutes.
I know I used a lot of brand names, but I do it for a reason- These brands would never have to pay me to advertise their products. I get sick all the friggin' time and I would have killed myself if it weren't for the effectiveness of the the above-mentioned products.

I got Pumping Iron through NetFlix. It's an excellent 1975 documentary following the contestants in the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia body building competition. Two of the contestants are: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. The Terminator and The Hulk. This is the documentary that propelled them to fame. This documentary is text book. It's incredibly well made, and it really draws you in. You root for your favorite and by the end, you feel like you've learned something about body building. Dan insisted he didn't want to watch it, he said it wouldn't be entertaining. Five minutes in and he was hooked. That speaks volumes about the quality of this doc. It makes you a believer. Watch this documentary, it's fantastic. Even if you don't like jacked-up, muscle head guys (which I most certainly do not) you will still be greatly impressed with all they do to be champions.

Yesterday, in my wacked out, DayQuil-induced stupor, I was thinking about J. Wellington Wimpy from "Popeye." I looked him up on Wikipedia, which is how I know his full name. I also read about Popeye, and in the article about him, I found the best description of Popeye I have ever read:
"...with a gravelly voice and a casual attitude towards grammar..."
A casual attitude towards grammar. I love it.
Here comes the weird part. I leave work, walk to South Station and get on the Red Line heading towards Park Street. A group of young men are loudly conversing:
"Yeah, Wimpy's a guy from Popeye. I'll gladly give you a dollar today for a hamburger, you know?"
One of his friends them surmises that Popeye must have abused Olive Oyl because she was so skinny. Another then asks:
"What does how fat or skinny a girl is have to do with getting beaten up?"
"She's too skinny, she clearly has depression issues."
I was creeped out. What are the chances that a cartoon character I randomly look up on Wikipedia will surface a few hours later in the overheard conversation of a fellow public transportation passenger?
Something strange is afoot in the subway system.

A blue jay has decided that the fire escape outside my living room window is the perfect place to perch and bray at the world. It's very loud. My cat couldn't care at the least.

My fire escape is a funny thing. It has no ladder leading to the alley below. It's more like a metal balcony with no decent floor. If my building was on fire and I couldn't escape out my door, I'd have to climb out the window onto the fire escape, wait, and hope the fire department sends some help around to the back of the building. So, in reality, it's a fire stranded, not a fire escape.
I heard once the reason these back bay buildings have no ladder on their fire escapes is to reduce break-ins and people sleeping on the fire escapes. With all of our modern technology, is there really no solution to this problem. Like say, a ladder that can only be extended to the ground from the fire escape? Maybe I should buy a rope ladder just in case. I also need to buy renter's insurance.
I also need to go clean the apartment.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Animal medicine

I brought Max to the vet Thursday and left armed with antibiotics, medicated wipes and a special shampoo. The regimen is as follows:

  1. Antibiotics twice a day after meals

  2. Shampoo twice a week, fill a pan with water with quarter amount of shampoo, let feet soak for 10 minutes

  3. Wipes are used whenever I see him licking his paws

The major problem with such a regimen lays in the shampoo. Dogs don't like to stand still in water for 10 minutes. it's not natural to them. Luckily, we bathed Max once a week or more when he was a puppy to get him used to it. Max doesn't fight the bath, he doesn't enjoy it either. He stands in the tub, looking defeated and pathetic. So last night I was in my bathroom with Max in a roasting pan, ankle-deep in the shampoo and water. For a moment I couldn't help laughing. I imagined how strange this was, like I was training him to willingly stand in a roasting pan, marinating, only to be cooked later. Max would not be good eating. He has skinny little legs and not much meat on the torso either. Next time we're performing this cleansing ritual, I'll take pictures and post them. UPDATE!

Today is the second time this year I attempted to make apple crisp. Last year I made pan after pan of delicious cinnamon-y goodness. This year, I've lost my touch. The first one, i used oatmeal, and it didn't cook for some reason. I left it in the oven for 40 minutes hoping the oatmeal would brown. It didn't. I was left with applesauce with dry oatmeal on top.
The apple crisp I made today turned out better, I used crushed up Life cereal. It still wasn't as good as the graham cracker ones I made last year. I'm done experimenting with it. I know what works, and I'm sticking to it.

I've been thinking more and more lately how animals have learned how easy it is to survive my manipulating humans. I was out to lunch today with Dan and my father, sitting out on the patio of a delightful little Italian place on Newbury Street called Bottega Fiorentina. I looked to my side and saw some sparrows hopping around looking for food. One of them made eye contact with me, and then hopped towards me. She looked up at me, cocking her head, and twittering. She knew I would think she was adorable and that I would throw her some crumbs. She has seen humans do this before, and knew just what to do to get me to respond. Eye contact, twittering and moving towards me. It was just what Max does when he's begging for scraps. Eye contact, soft noises and moving towards me. The sparrow has no idea that I think she's cute and that's why I feed her. She just knows some humans respond in a certain way when certain behavior is displayed. She's been trained by experience and by learning from other birds.
Technically, most pets are social parasites. Most modern pets do not complete the tasks that historically made them valuable to humans. Most cats don't catch mice, most dogs don't have to herd, haul, or hunt. They give us affection, behavior natural to their pack driven instincts, and we give them food, shelter, water and affection. For them, it's a free ride, just like being a kid, except pets won't carry on our genes. I hear so many pet-critics complain "I hate when people refer to their pets as their children." Why? Our maternal and paternal instincts plus our natural desire for affection is why we choose to keep pets. It's fulfilling a need we have would normally have to fill with a child, but since children are markedly more expensive and difficult to care for than animals, some of us choose animals. Our instincts demand we treat them as our young, why shouldn't we refer to them as such? I just seems to make sense.

I learned today that although I was taught to think it's traditional to serve sake warm. Apparently, it's now theorized that sake only started to be served hot around WWII when the quality of sake went downhill due to scarcity of traditional ingredients. However, sake is still served hot, warm or cold because it is up to the drinker on how to consume it, although higher end sakes are recommended at room temperature or chilled.


Monday, September 29, 2008

New shoes

New shoes can always cheer me up. It takes some serious self-control not to delve into the depths of retail therapy. I mostly stress about money, so buying shoes would only complicate things.

My dog, Max, is not something I have talked about on my blog much so far. This is impressive since he is something I can rarely shut up about. I'm shielding you from how gay I am for my dog. I am SO gay for my dog.

If you're not up-to-the-minute on Max's life, then I'll have you know he had an ear infection last month. It was in both ears, and he scratched one ear so much that he gave himself cauliflower ear. I brought him to the vet and $200 later, I had a tube of cream and a bottle of ear wash to put in his ears. So, twice a day, I had to fight Max to put medicine in his ears. He was not a fan.
Now, I've been pretty lucky. Max has been (knock on wood) very healthy, with just a yearly check-up needed. But now, three of his paws look swollen, and he's been licking at them. Another infection is likely. How a dog manages to get three of his paws infected, but not all four, I'll never understand. So, I'll have to fork over another $200 to get more cream from the vet. $200 is a lot of money to me. I have pet insurance at least, so I get all but my $50 deductible back, but for three weeks I'm out $200. That sucks. Sometimes having a dog sucks. It's totally worth it, though. I just need to save up some money so that the $200 doesn't have to come out of the bills account.

Shirley Manson, one of my heroes, is on "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles". So, even though I don't like this show, I've got it on right now so I can see her. God, this show is really melodramatic. Then again, what shows aren't?
Why can't Shirley Manson guest star on "Iron Chef"?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Open mouth

I have learned a very important thing today:
Never admit you have a blog in a room full of co-workers whom you don't want reading your blog. They will only badger you for the url and what the blog is about.

Heavens to Betsey!

MySpace Codes

I love you!

Adventures underground...

I have bad T karma.
I don't know why, but at point I angered the public transportation gods and I shall never again enjoy a peaceful ride on the T. I will post my experiences here, so that you can see that it cannot be a matter of happenstance but bad T karma.

Thursday, I boarded the Green Line heading towards Park Street. At the same time, a woman in her thirties and a man in his thirties, who clearly knew each other and were dressed for a day at the office, boarded the T and stood next to me. Next to the group of us was a very large man, dressed in hip-hop style. He did not feel the need to hang onto any o the hand rails, and so as the car moved, he kept bumping into the woman and her male companion. Eventually, the male companion says to the large man:
"You should hold onto something."
To which the large man responds:
"What for?"
And I think to myself:
"Here we go..."
First off, if someone is doing nothing to keep himself from bumping into you, and there is nothing preventing him from taking such action- chances are he doesn't care that he's bumping into you. Not because he hates you, but because he doesn't give a flying fuck about anyone else.
So the woman says:
"Because you keep bumping into me."
Large man: "Well then you shouldn't have gotten onto a college line train."
Woman: "But you could just hold onto that pole right there."
Large man: "You could've waited for an emptier train."
They go on back and forth like this a few times, until the large man says:
"Quiet down you big witch."
Male companion: "What did you say?"
Large man: "I said she's a big witch."
At this point I turned down the volume of my iPod so I could make sure I heard him right. He did, in fact, call her a "big witch." Now, I can't remember the last time heard anyone use this phrase except when referring to a Halloween decoration of unusual size. Why use such a thinly-veiled replacement for bitch? If you're already displaying your blatant disregard for the comfort and well-being of your fellow passengers, why stop short of swearing?
Large man: "I called her a big witch, what are you going to do about it?"
Male companion doesn't know what to do but before he responds Woman says:
"Whatever, he's not worth it."
Large man (daring Male companion): "Oh, no. You're worth it."
He gets off at the next stop, Copley, so the situation is automatically diffused. I assume the rest of the ride will be uneventful, but then I notice something...
Woman is crying.
Not full-on crying, but shaking and sniffing and wiping away tears from her eyes. She proceeds like this the entire way to Park Street.
This was the most confusing thing of all: Why was she crying?
Was she so terrified that this man might do something violent on a crowded subway car?
Was she seriously hurt because he had called her a big witch?
If any of these reasons are true, why say anything to the man in the first place?
If you know yourself to be that sensitive or non-confrontational, why not just move to another spot on the T? It wasn't so crowded that they couldn't have done this.
I couldn't help judging her. I couldn't help thinking:
"God, what a drama queen. Why not blow things completely out of proportion when it could get you some attention?"
That might not have been the reason. I have no way of knowing what the real reason was, or any of the reasons why this confrontation took place the way it did. So, there I was. 8:25am in the morning, so thoroughly annoyed with the woman who was crying on the T.

Friday, at Park Street. It is common for a musician to sit by the main support column on the platform in between the Red Line tracks and play songs for spare change. Sometimes it's a Latino fellow with a guitar playing the Cuban song "Guantanamera" and other similar sounding songs. Friday, it was a man who dresses like Sammy Davis, Jr. and sings along to karaoke tapes of Rat Pack classics. He is not the best singer. He's not the worst either. His voice sounds as if, after years of faithfully belting out "That's Amore!", it has had enough. It's raspy and strained, but strangely not entirely unpleasant.
Friday, he was singing "The Candyman can." from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
It struck me funny, but I did my best and didn't laugh. I came in at the tail end of the song. I was trying to guess what would come next...
"My Way"?
"Puttin' on the Ritz"?
But then he started "Candyman" over again. He got one verse into it, and then stopped it. I don't know what he chose next because the Red Line came. I wondered if he was adjusting his selection to suit the audience. Maybe at first we seemed like a "Candyman" kind of crowd, but then when we failed to get into it (which I'll never know how he could gage this) he had to switch gears. Another mystery at the MBTA.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dear Sarah Palin,

You scare the living shit out of me.

Please stay away,

Dear Joe Biden,

Given the current alternative, please accept my apologies for my previous blog comments on you. Campaign your ass off.

Voting always,

Dear Bristol Palin,

Just because everyone around you is pressuring you to marry your baby's daddy, doesn't mean you have to. I'm not saying things won't work out. Look at Sting and Trudy! Make the best decision for yourself.

Avoid caffeine,

No shirt, no shoes

MySpace Codes

No unless you're Iggy Pop.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

in case you forgot

Batman is cooler than you.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

... September first rolls around and the college students descend on Boston. Well, it's not just the college students, it's the fact that I would estimate 75-85% of leases begin on September first, so everyone and their grandma is moving today.
Except for me! This marks the first time in three years that I haven't had to move or help Dan move. Last year we lucked out when we got this place and got to move in on the 15th of August. We can end our lease whenever we want, so we'll not have to move on September first for a long time.
How bad is it to move in Boston on the first day of the ninth month of the year?
So bad that two years ago when we tried to rent a UHaul, we had to drive to Natick to get one. And it was still one size bigger than we needed.
This day could also be called free furniture day. The sidewalk is littered with people's cast-offs. If you're looking for home furnishings and don't really care about the whole used thing, it's a pretty good deal. I've been keeping an eye out for a coffee table, but I know I won't find a good one. Coffee tables are like couches, you don't throw it out until it's seriously damaged.

Yesterday Dan and I watched The Savages and Smart People.
These two movies were similar in narration and tone, to the point where you could think they had the same director.

The Savages is a sweet little movie about dealing with mortality and the flaws of everyone. A brother and sister, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, are forced to care for their elderly father who is suffering from Dementia. Their father was abusive and abandoned them as children, and then their mother took off as well. Needless to say, hilarity does not ensue. The narrative drives home the isolation of the characters, even when they are with each other. A filter is used for most of the film, making daylight bright white and unforgiving. This was a very good movie, it falls in the distinctively independent category with the likes of The Squid and the Whale. You'll laugh, you'll feel the oppressive awkwardness and loneliness. It strives for realism. Life is complicated, death is not. Good acting, good story, good direction and cinematography. Completely worthwhile. Not life-changing, but a good movie.

Smart People is an odd comedy about two intelligent misanthropes, Dennis Quaid as a literary doctor at Carnegie Mellon who thinks no one else can possibly understand literature the way he does and his daughter, Ellen Paige, striving for a perfect SAT score and part of the young republicans who acts as a housewife since her mother died about ten years ago. Enter the doctor's adopted brother, played by Thomas Haden Church and the beautiful doctor and ex-student, Sarah Jessica Parker. The collective forces of these irresistibly likable people force the father and daughter to re-evaluate how they treat others. We see their coldness is a defense mechanism- by treating others as idiots they are able to remain emotionally distant. The acting is great, the story is good- except that you wonder why Janet (Parker) pursues the crumudgeonly narcissist in the first place. The son is left as an afterthought- he is as absent in the movie as he tries to be in his father's and sister's lives. Very funny movie, the dialogue reminds you of Juno, except more realistic. This film also reminded me of The Squid and the Whale

Watch The Squid and the Whale. It's fantastic.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Love thy neighbor

To the idiots on the roof across the street-

I know that laser pointers are great fun, most of us discovered this in high school and got it out of our systems. But not you.
You, in your infinite comic genius, decided to harass my dog and I as we were minding our own business and taking a walk on Tuesday night.
Now, maybe you thought my dog would see the little red light and chase it, but he didn't even see it.
When I saw it, and yelled at you "That's really annoying. I'm happy for you though." you said "Thanks."
I thought you knew what I meant was, I'm happy that you are having fun with your little toy, but it's annoying me and since we are complete strangers you surely do not want to annoy me.
I was wrong.
As I proceeded down the block and you continued to flash the laser pointer at me, I realized that, yes, you did just want to annoy me.
I then yelled at you "Seriously though, cut it out." and since there were many other people on the street and they all looked up at you, you stopped.
What the hell is wrong with you?
Do you really have nothing better to do than annoy perfect strangers?
I live on your block, I saw where you were and thus, I know where you live.
What did I do to you?
If I hadn't stood up for myself and said something, I doubt that you would have left me alone.
What was your desired outcome?
I really can't figure it out. Maybe that's because I would never use a laser pointer to perturb a neighbor I didn't know.
Get a life, or be one of those people who goes on YouTube and posts negative comments on videos so that they can argue with strangers. Because if you decide to ruin any other dog walk I go for, I will make your life a living hell. Namely, I will call the police and stand outside your door so that you can't leave and I will tell the officer that you were flashing that pointer in my eyes and screaming expletives after I asked you to stop. I will get a restraining order so that you will have to move. I will make it so that you no longer have access to that roof.
Do not fuck with me, I will cut you.

Viva la glitter

I watched Velvet Goldmine yesterday. Honestly, I hoped for more. It wasn't terrible, the acting was good. The music was good, the makeup and wardrobe was outstanding. Most of the film's dialogue is made up of Oscar Wilde quotes. The story is a thinly veiled "what mighta happened" between David Bowie and Iggy Pop. It's an interesting narrative, surreal except for when it's set in 1984. It just left me wondering what was this movie trying to say? What I think it was trying to say is that while the journalist and former glitter kid, Arthur (Christian Bale) was able to be comfortable with his homosexuality in the world of 70's glam, that freedom died with the trend and in the 80's everyone was back to trying to fit in.
Or maybe it was trying to say that only through reinventing ourselves can we truly be free.
Or maybe it was saying glam rock is fucking awesome and we love makeup so we made a movie about it.
It could have been better. How? Well, they could have not based some of the movie on the unauthorized Bowie biography so that, as originally planned, they could have used a ton of Bowie music instead of some made-up songs. They also could have had a clear point. You don't have to hit me over the head with it, but give me a clue.
Super cool trivia point- although Jonathan Rhys Meyers sung the brian Slade songs himself, some of it was dubbed over with vocals from Radiohead's Thom Yorke. Sweet!
Thom Yorke + glam rock= crazy cool

Really though, Ewan McGregor was amazing as Curt Wild (Iggy Pop). AND he does full nudity! A really great peformance. Jonathan Rhys Meyers was good too, but he was more on display for his looks and sex appeal than any real acting. Toni Colette was good, but the really impressive work was from Christian Bale. The repressed homosexuality is completely belivable, all of the awkward moments feel real. I just would have liked a more cohesive theme. In the end Curt Wild says "We tried to change the world, and just ended up changing ourselves."
Oh, come ON! Glam rock didn't change the world? Of course it did! It changed music as we know it.
Who needs T.V. when I've got T Rex?
MySpace Codes

So many 80's bands could not have been if not for glam rock. Culture Club, Duran Duran, Twisted Sister, Poison? They all hummed "Ziggy Stardust" while putting on their eyeliner.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Okay, okay, so I know I said I would never talk politics again after slamming intelligent design. But, I guess I lied.
Obama piked Joe Biden as his V.P. Other than clearly pandering to the white male voter and the more conservative democrats, I'm upset for another reason. Biden supports the Defense of Marriage Act. Biden doesn't think gay people have the right to get married.
Obama thinks civil unions should be good enough. Right, because I'm sure that if America had instituted civil unions only for black people he would have been all for that too. Separate but equal! Yes We Can! Ignorance is strength, comrade! War is peace! Change is staying the same!
And everyone knows that marriage is only for people who go to church! Wait- some homosexuals go to church? Some rabbis, priests and even bishops are gay? Well slap my ass and call me an agnostic who got married in an aquarium with a friend acting as justice of the peace!
Could someone worth voting for, please stand up?

You can't stop the music

Or the Olympics for that matter. My husband defiantly stated the week before the party started in Beijing "I'm not watching the Olympics."
Can anyone follow through on such a promise? The answer was no.
Just a few days ago he called me at work to say "The U.S. women's gymnastic team got robbed!"
That's right, you can't not watch the Olympics.
If you haven't been, let me tell you, I saw something today that changed my opinion about a sport altogether.
I'm talking about synchronized swimming. The punchline of so many jokes. Nothing could seem more silly or useless an endeavor as to struggle to swim coordinated with a group to music. "What's next," I thought, "Olympic karaoke?"
This afternoon I saw the Russian women's synchronized swimming team get a perfect score. 10's all around. To call it a routine is to short-change what it was. It was as if, all at once, that team came together and stuck it to every single person, such as myself, who ever doubted the difficulty and worthiness of synchronized swimming. I got served. They tore up that pool. Laugh, if you will, but go YouTube that shit. It was out of control. I'm a believer now, I will clap my hands and shout "I do believe in synchronized swimming, I do! I do!"
How many people in this world can say they've gotten a perfect score at the olympics?

I watched The Machinist staring Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh and the chick from A Walk in the Clouds.
It was good, like Fight Club meets Insomnia. I was very proud of myself for initially thinking "Wow, Trevor Reznik sounds a lot like Trent Reznor." Why? Because that's how the writer got the name in the first place. A big ol' nod to the man of NIN.
However, I could not get over how skinny Christian Bale allowed himself to get. It's nothing short of distrubing and not easy to watch. Especially because it's implied that the character eats, so anorexia or bulimia is not the problem. But for Christian? No, he just didn't eat.
Also shocking was how successfully the crew made Barcelona look like L.A. That could not have been easy. The story is good, the acting is excellent. The plot is like Thinner, minus the hocus-pocus. So, what's eating Trevor Reznik? I won't spoil it for you, even though you might think the twist is a little cheesy (it is, a little) it does have an interesting psychological argument. As a film noir? It's almost there. The women are too sweet, and you get the feeling that most people just want to help Trevor, despite his attempts to isolate himself. The interesting things to discuss surround the plot twist, so I have to stop there.

I also watched Death Proof which is similar to The Machinist in that when Zoe Bell ( the stuntwoman responsible for so much of the ass kicking that happened in the Kill Bill movies) actually is strapped to the hood of a Dodge while the car is being rammed by another car reminds you how far an actor will go for believability. I was on the edge of my seat because that was really her getting thrown around on a car's hood while the car was going really, really, really fast. So cool! Plus, she's a kiwi. So double cool! This movie was straight forward, guts and tits. Quentin wasn't trying to get cerebral with us. The best part? The women are not bimbo. They are sexy AND empowered. Someone tries to kick their ass, and they turn around and cut off his balls. That's what I like to see. Exploitation movies with all the exploitation sucked out. Truly a triumph of throw-backs, muscle cars, rock'n'roll and chicks being real.

Monday, July 28, 2008

little house of horrors.

Ever notice how on those TV shows where people have a professional come in to teach them how to discipline their kids, that their extended family members do not have any children? It disturbs me to see people who really have no idea how to discipline their kids. They give up, they give in, or they just don't do anything at all. It's a direct result of not being able to discipline their children the way they were disciplined when they were kids, and not having any other parents with kids around them. They do not see any example of how to teach their kids how to behave, and so they just do anything they can think of. I would think common sense would kick in, but I guess what I know about raising kids, I know from my parents, my aunts and uncles and their kids. You see that when a kids throws a tantrum, you never ever give in.

I think of all this because I'm watching "Take Home Nanny" on TLC. A woman actually said that the reason she gives into her little boys' horrible tantrums is because "...they must be really hurting to cry like that." Wow. She must have no recollection of the feelings you feel as a kid when you're throwing a tantrum. A tantrum isn't sadness, it's anger. I vividly remember that when I threw a tantrum, I did it because I was angry. Angry because I couldn't have something, angry because I didn't know why I couldn't have something, angry because my parents weren't listening, angry because I had to go to time out or just plain old cranky. I was never sad. My wails were not a deep, heartfelt sorrow over a loss. I've seen lots of kids throw tantrums, and you can tell they're pissed. If you can't see that, you are seriously mis-reading that child. I'm not a parenting expert, I don't know how to raise a kid, hell I don't even want kids, but I know one thing. You never, ever, ever give into a tantrum.

It's like how pandas don't know to have sex with each other because they never see other pandas. Now researchers show them panda porn. Monkey see, monkey do. Or more accurately, panda see, panda get it on. Humans learn by copying behavior, we all know this. If we see enough other people doing something, we just want to give it a try. This premise alone makes reality television terrifying.

I don't watch any shows in any kind of committed weekly format. I watch what's on when I'm watching. I would never say "I have to get home, my show is on!" or "I never miss an episode of xyz."
Am I alone in this? Please tell me I'm not the only one. I'm afraid to get a DVR. I don't want to give in to the television any more than I already have.

On the subject of movies, I just watched Schindler's List for the first time. I know what you're thinking: How did I manage to not see this movie? Well, I was away the weekend it came out, and everyone I knew had seen it, and no one wanted to go watch it again. I assumed it was because it was deeply depressing, like Dancer In The Dark. But now that I watched it, I don't think I've ever seen quite such an uplifting movie. I also found out that the only reason why it took so long to make this movie is because screen writers had a hard time making Schindler's change of heart believable. I found the story inspiring, one person can make a difference. Not only that, but that the Holocaust is something makes us see the extremes to which the human spirit can be pushed. Extreme evil, indifference, strength, endurance, but also goodness, kindness and compassion.

This is Speilberg at his best, he is using handheld cameras, no crane shots, no tracking shots. He said he did this to create a documentary film, but I feel the real strength is the intimacy it generates with the subjects. We're right there with them. We are standing next to them, the scene surrounds us. How can that not touch you? Especially when the story is exposing the roots of all humanity and what it capable of. Just like in the Indiana Jones original trilogy, Speilberg is making a movie the old fashioned way. Old camera tricks, no CGI, no industrial light and magic. It stretches your vision and creativity to its limits, and the product is priceless.

I do not think this is a movie schools should show. It breeds a shock value if you do not already know about all of the horrors of the Holocaust, which detracts from the real story of the movie- the amazing good done by Schindler in the midst of so much evil. Schools should show the documentaries. To show a dramatization of events does the reality of what happened no justice. I found the bonus materials with the Stories of The Shoah so much more powerful: People taking about the last time they saw their parents before the Gestapo dragged them away and what it took for them to survive. The tears they cry are real, they are not actors.

I'll be watching this movie again before sending it back to Netflix. The acting is out of this world. Subtlety, subtlety... you almost never see it anymore. It's what you must have when you take away the crane and the zoom.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The sleeping monster

So, if you don't know, David Sedaris is a genius. If you do know, then go get his new book When You Are Engulfed in Flames. I dare you to read it without laughing out loud. If you tell me you didn't, I shall slap your face with my dainty white glove and call you a liar, my good sir.
The only thing about the book that troubled me was to learn of Mr. Sedaris' love of spiders. I fear nothing more than spiders- well, except maybe death, with first place going to death by spiders. I've seen Mr. Sedaris lecture on two occasions. Both were glorious, in ways that could be described but it would take far too long. It is heartening to pick up a book, and in the author see a reflection of your exact sense of humor. It makes you feel less alone.

For Father's Day, my dad, my brother and I went to see "The Incredible Hulk". I had not wanted to see this movie, because I liked Ang Lee's "Hulk". Sure it had outrageous action sequences involving gamma radioactive dogs, but it also had the driving force of a brilliant director. It was a haunting character study about isolation. "The Incredible Hulk" seemed like a franken-movie. Two movies sewn together as shoddily as the pants the big green guy wears. One half of the movie is about Ed Norton as Bruce Banner, alone, a fugitive, wisecraking, genius scientist, separated from his true love. The other half of the movie is Peter Jackson's "King Kong" with some army guys and a green ape. Seriously. The Hulk even brings Betty, Steven Tyler's daughter, to a rocky cave and then steps out front to get his alpha-male on by roaring at the night. All that was missing was the chest pounding. The moody half that actually had a decent story, even the weird Frankenstein sub-story of William Hurt and Tim Roth. Oh, except for when the general actually says "What have I done?" I think they could have been a little more creative. All that said, I have made a decision. You cannot make a Hulk movie that will ever be great. The big green monster trashing tanks, explosions, it doesn't fit well with the mild-mannered scientist story. Why? Because the movie spends so much time making us like Bruce, that it seems impossible he has the Hulk inside him. The Hulk is meant to be in Bruce the whole time. Bruce probably picks bar fights and gets his ass whooped. He has little man syndrome, and he just gets angrier and angrier, stuffing that angry down. One day, some gamma sets the rage free. The Hulk is green for a reason. He IS envy. He envies the big and the strong, and so he hates them. So, Hulk smash. That's why I could accept Lee's Hulk. He had repressed memories and repressed anger. That Bruce was just waiting to snap.
I have consumed numerous movies since I last posted. So, I have lots more to share.

News bulletin: The Seventh Seal is on demand for free right now through Comcast. You watch, you learn, you ask yourself "If he got it so very right, so long ago, why are crappy movies still made?"

Friday, April 18, 2008

expelled for a reason

I promise that this will be the only time I talk politics on this blog.
I saw a commercial for Ben Stein's documentary- we'll use that term loosely as I'm sure it amounts to Moore-esque propaganda- "Expelled" so, I looked it up online.
Turns out this "edgy" film is fighting for teachers who want to teach intelligent design. And so I followed the links on the site to read about these professors and teachers. As I suspected, these people were fired not for showing fairly both sides of the story, intelligent design vs. evolution, but for basically trying to disprove evolution- citing experiments that failed and bringing up every gap in the theory. They are upset that their beliefs have gotten them fired.
The question this film supposedly asks is why science cannot include religion.
My answer is this: religion is the pursuit of faith- to believe that which we do not understand is not for us to understand.
science is the pursuit of knowledge- to understand that which we do not understand by any means necessary.
They are, by definition, almost opposites. I'm not saying scientists can't be religious, they can believe what they like- but they cannot include it in their studies or it will taint them. To assert that intelligent design is the truth is to assert there is a single "God" making things up as he goes. This then becomes a slippery slope of "Which God is it?". Is it the Jewish God? The Christian God? The Muslim God? Buddah? Surely it cannot be the many Gods of some religions, unless they're all lab partners. If they decide God exists simply because there are things we cannot explain, will we then abandon our pursuit of explanation? If they decide the Christian God exists, will they decide that because God exists, Jesus must have existed, too? Will we need to take the holy writings, referring to whatever God they decide intelligently designed the world, as the literal ultimate truth?
(Side note- while I type this Bear Gyles, on my TV, is peeing in a canteen and drinking it. He said he never has had to do it before, I doubt that.)
So I hope you see why this whole intelligent design promoting movie concerns me. I cannot believe that you can present arguments for both evolution and intelligent design in the classroom. They are contradictory, but we have no "concrete evidence" that either are true, so why not make up some more theories of how it all happened while we're at it? Have you heard of the Invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster? He's my favorite so far, much more personality than Darwin or God.
The thing that worries me the most is the absence of the intelligent design theme in the advertisements for the movie. Basically, they're afraid if we know what it's about, we won't go see it. The commercials are also obviously aimed at young people, the use of the bright colors, Ben in the school uniform acting as if this documentary is "edgy" and "rebellious". Lenny Bruce was edgy and rebellious, Darwin was edgy and rebellious, intelligent design is not edgy and rebellious. It is the belief that creationism- a theory thousands of years old- can re-packaged and bolstered by the simple fact that evolution isn't an air-tight theory. Sure, evolution might not be the answer- but the decision that if evolution is not responsible then it must have been God isn't exactly scientific. If you don't believe evolution is plausible, do some research and decide what is plausible while not needing to involve mysticism. Our cells, our very molecules, contain all of the intelligence needed to build the universe. They do not need to be divided into the fit and the unfit, they are all fit. The molecules have the intelligence, they built you, they built me! They are uniquely put together in every thing on Earth, including Earth! We are individuals because so are they, carbon knows it is carbon, and you cannot make it into something else, only add onto it. It is the miracle that is math- which is not a miracle, just an absolute.
A woman in one of the articles linked to by the site says that the reason she believes in intelligent design is that evolution doesn't explain souls. She also says humans have souls, which separates us from animals. She wants to be a veterinarian. I don't know about you, but I know my dog has a soul, and I don't want any vet who thinks that he doesn't to treat him.
Back to my molecule theory, since everything is made of of the same elements, this means they all must be recycled. Since we are all made up of a unique combination of our intelligent cells- made up of these elements and molecules that have been on Earth for all of time- then we must contain parts of different objects, plants, animals and humans. Thus re-incarnation is the ultimate truth. We will die, we will decompose, things will feed on what we are made of and the intelligence of all those cells- our 'soul' if you will- gets dispersed into nature. Some of my molecules will be part of a rock, some of them part of a plant, a plant is eaten, some of its molecules staying in the creature that eats it, they might become part of the baby it will have. Each of our molecules will go through this process an infinite number of times. We are as the beings in "Slaughterhouse 5" we have been, we are and we will be. Our molecules can not be unmade, so they will "live" on, and so shall we. If my dog is made up of the same things I'm made of, it makes no sense to think he has no soul. My soul must be a result of my organic make-up. God didn't need to create it, it was always there, just waiting for this particular, unique formation of cells to be as they are, working as they are, and so here I am. My molecules will exist forever, my soul will disperse among them and go on to part of a new soul at some point. I am a firm believer that if it has an active brain, it has a soul. This is necessity. How could you have thoughts and not have a soul? How could you have memories and not have a soul? This is the point brought forth in "Blade Runner" and "Artificial Intelligence"- if it can think and feel, it has a soul and it is only arrogance that makes humans believe that there is a God who made us special. We are not special, we are the current result of the never ending math equation. Religion can drive us apart, science can bring us together. You can argue about what God is or wants or thinks, you cannot argue the scientific fact that we are all made up from the same ultra tiny building blocks.
Scientists, whether they believe in intelligent design or not, need to pursue their own theory and try to prove it. They cannot simply try to argue each other until they're blue in the face, it impedes progress. Go do some work! Go do your job! You think God/Evolution exists? Then just go and prove it, don't just argue about it. You're not helping either cause by arguing. Ben Stein is not helping by churning out propaganda, propaganda provides just as much ammunition for the enemy as it does the ally. Just look at any of Moore's work.

Friday, April 11, 2008

getting a laugh

So, I'm still on comedies on my NetFlix, which means the movie I watched today was "Old School". I know, I know, I'm the only person my age who hasn't seen this movie several times while wasted and quoted every line out of Will Ferrell's mouth multiple times.
I had obviously heard a lot about it, and I wanted to see it. So, I did. It was... cute. That's really all I can say about it. I watched it by myself as the hubby was working a double, and I only laughed out loud once or twice. I'm not saying it sucked, in spite of the fact that it, like "Wedding Crashers" ( which I prefer), was a romantic comedy masquerading as a dude gross-out humor movie. When did it happen? When did every guy out there agree that they wanted a movie that would gross you out, make you pee yourself laughing and involve a guy finding his soul mate? Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that guys want a little quirky romance in their movies, it just caught me by surprise. I jut can't believe that every funny movie that most guys I know love- "Knocked Up" "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" "Wedding Crashers" "Dodgeball" "Austin Powers"- all have the guy getting girl, they kiss, the music swells and... ROLL CREDITS! Well, maybe not that cheese-eriffic,but close. "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" by far has the best ratio of romance and laugh-soda-out-your-nose material. The one thing "Old School" left me wanting? The type of wonderful Ferrell ad-libbng that make "Talladega Nights" and "Blades of Glory" feel like that funny moment was happening just now for the first time.
I wouldn't give any of these movies Oscars, but I feel that usually when evaluating the quality of a movie, you must count the entertainment factor. Was the experience of watching the movie the type of experience that makes you want to watch it again?
This why "JAWS" is my favorite movie of all time. I could watch it all day every day, because it's so much god damn fun to watch. It is also why so many films do terrible in theatres but become cult classics. "Repo Man" anyone? This free on demand right now in the free movies section if you have Comcast. Do it! Emilio Estevez(sp?) and the Circle Jerks, it feels so good!

I also caught "The Colbert Report", which is always a pleasure, but tonight it had a hidden treasure- Stephen Colbert singing a Korean pop song dressed in hipster clothes! I made a delightful discovery. Stephen Colbert is hot. Oh yeah, look it up on YouTube. He's in good shape, and in his usual suit and tie, he's sexy in a "Come on now, Mr. History teacher, is there any way I could improve my grade?" type of way. Yup. I just said that. You just got a glimpse into my grimy brain.
Only I jest- I would never try to improve a grade in an unscrupulous manner. I do well on tests and write excellent papers. Cheaters never geek.

Hopefully, for all of us, I will begin to receive better movies that I can give more in-depth discussion on. It's not really worth getting all "read between the lines" with comedies. Except for "The Big Lebowski"- I feel it's very significant that we never see The Dude actually bowl.
I'll re-watch this this week and get back to you with more.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Comedies with fancy cinematography

Any of Wes Anderson's movies... although not comedies in the classic sense.
The Graduate- still not classic comedy
The Big Lebowski
O Brother Where Art Thou?
But then it occured to me... I was forgetting the late great Charlie Chaplin. All of his movies qualify, because it wasn't fancy, it was groundbreaking.

On your mark!

Allright, so I've gone and started a blog to share with whoever cares to read it my thoughts on the things I love. This could be reviews or thoughts on movies, television shows, Boston, photography, art of all kinds and the random things I look up on Wikipedia.
Did you know all of the sweaters Mr. Rogers wore on his show were hand-knitted by his mother?
Did you know that pubic lice (crabs) can also live on your eyelashes?
Did you know the ancestors of chihuahuas might have lived in trees?
Did you know that the pomegranate has significance in several religions?

So, after a whole month of not having television, I spent yesterday watching lots of it. I am now caught up on my "Venture Brothers", and although the new episodes are funny, they lack a little bit of the snap of the first season. In the first season every line was gold, now it's a good joke every two or three lines. But I shall remain faithful, if only because the entire show is drawn by hand, old animation style. That's why we all have to wait so long between seasons, they're doing things the tried and true way. I wonder how long a show about failure can chug along before it loses too much steam... "Invader Zim" (another one of my faves) was about failure, but it was cancelled and never got the chance to get tired.

Speaking of tired... Dan, like always, watched "Law & Order" and I, like always, knew the guilty party within the first five minutes. I swear to God, there is no show on television as tired and done to death than "Law & Order". All of its incarnations all follow the same formula, and really the only thing they can do to keep it exciting is to either make the fictional crime mirror a high-profile real crime in the news, or (in the Special Victims Unit) make the fictional crimes ever more horrifying. A child gets raped? No, they've done that. A child raped and killed? Nope, done. A child raped, killed, mutilated and fed to a dog? Great! Write it! Their writers get paid to think of the most awful way to kill someone, or the most screwed up sexual abuse possible, or both. Makes me sick! Prime-time torture porn.

For a movie I watched Blades of Glory on HBO on demand. I saw it in the theaters, but it was funny enough to give it a second viewing. It's the kind of movie that intoxication goes well with, but Amy Poheler (representing Massachusetts) and her husband, Will Arnett, are just spectacular. All around great comedic performances, and the way the movie ends really drives home the fact that they were going for absurd. Any movie whose soundtrack includes "Stroke Me" is a winner in my book!
Comedy must be story-driven. You can't get too fancy with the cinematography or it's just distracting. There are probably exceptions, but I can't think of any right now. I will note to myself to post some if I think of any.

I then chanced on a t.v. show when I jumped out of the on-demand screen called "Busted On the Job" that shows security or personal camera footage of someone doing something they should not on the job. They also interview either witnesses or the guilty party. A man is seen on a surveillance camera, he is inspecting the pinatas at the pinata factory he works at. He 's feeling them all over, then he picks up a dalmation shaped pinata, cuts a hole in it and has sex with it.
I'm not kidding. His explanation?

"It's partly their (the pinata manufacturer) fault. I'm there from 12:00am to 6:00am, baseball season's over, so you can't listen to the game. I'm all by myself, I mean, what am I supposed to do?"

He's clearly a victim of circumstance. Any of us in a similar situation would have had sex with a pinata too. It's just human nature, like in Hollow Man when Kevin Bacon became invisible, and taught us all that if you become invisible, you're going to stalk and rape someone. I mean, come on, I know people are weak, we're all just animals and blah blah blah, but you can't say we'd all end up having sex with a pinata if left alone in a warehouse full of pinatas for six hours. Six hours isn't a long time, not even the length of the average work day. It took a lot longer for the Donner party to start eating the dead, for the kids in Lord of the flies to start killing each other, for Harry to finally fuck Sally, it only took a few six hour shifts before this guy decided sex with a pinata was the best way to pass the time. Someone give him a Sodoku book, please! Before any other paper-mache creatures get violated!
BTW- there were several person-shaped pinatas, he chose one shaped like a dog. What does that say about him? He also said:

"Who would put a security camera in a pinata warehouse? Those things are so ugly they should pay people to take them out of there!"

Well, you clearly didn't think they were too ugly to have SEX WITH! Geez, what else can I say?
To quote the old knight from The Last Crusade: He chose... Poorly.

I'm excited that Food Network will be showing some episodes of Julia Child's "The French Chef". For those of you who were not raised on a t.v. diet of PBS, Julia Child was on before "Sesame Street", which was followed by "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" and then "The Frugal Gourmet".
"The Joy of Painting" was on much earlier in the day.

If you have a chance, look up some of your old favorite Sesame Street bits on YouTube. I reccommend Captain Vegetable, Teeny Little Super Guy, and the "I'd like to visit the moon" is an excellent vintage.