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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sick Blogging

So we did that video shoot for the band all day on Saturday. It was good to help out Erik but I'm sure I could have done more. Anyway, it was fun to be with friends and I got home about midnightish and was exhausted and had a good beer. And I woke up on Sunday with a horrible sore throat. It got worse throughout the day and progressed into a full-blown congested-achy-can't-think-straight-hurts-to-talk-everybody-leave-me-alone cold. Sunday I could only sleep in 2 or 3 hour spurts, then wake up for a few more hours, then sleep again. Mo got mad at me when we were sleeping because of my horrible sick breath. I called in sick to work on Monday and emailed my homework to my theater teacher.

So I dosed up on Dayquil and Ricola and I'm back at work then school today. I don't really feel much better, but there's work to do (and I need the money) and I've got to hand in my summaries of The Stranger by Albert Camus. I had to write a 1 page summary, a 1 paragraph summary, and a 1 sentence summary of this book which is very hard to do. It's a really terrific book that I suggest you read. It's very specific in what it says and doesn't say; that is to say, it's all about subtext. Maybe not all about subtext, but you know what I'm saying.

My one sentence summary is: The Stranger is the existential story of a man who finds himself in the strange circumstance of having killed an Arab on the beach.

Got a better idea?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

English! Do you speak it?!

Good afternoon, internet. I'm sorry if my mild b.o. bothers you; I bought a new deodorant in the hopes that it won't stain my shirts like so many do. I'm learning a lot about words and understanding the world at school this term.

Like the word "host" can be a noun or a verb with at least 9 different meanings. And so if I were to say, "I'm going to be a host this weekend", you'd say "Oh, are you having a party and I'm not invited?" and I'd say, "No, I'm having a bunch of ticks, leeches, and tapeworms get inside me and I'll be their host. It's for complicated medical purposes". Or I could say, "There was a host of idiots filling the aisles in Costco today. Then out in the parking lot, a host of idiots in their cars, trying to figure out the directional arrows on the ground."

And this all goes back (some say) to the tower of Babel, when everybody had one common language, then God got angry that people were getting too smart, and soon "nothing would be impossible" for them. So, God basically put them in the Boggle cup, shook them up, and spilled them all over the globe, and simultaneously confused their languages.

Another funny thing: if God can create man with his spoken word, why did he have to flood the earth to destroy man? I mean, drowning has got to be a miserable way to go, especially if it's something you see coming for days and days. Slow, horrible genocide. That's what the flood was. Although "horrible genocide" is a bit redundant.

March 4th: Who builds a boat in the middle of the field? That idiot Noah does.
March 5th: Started raining today.
March 16th: Still raining. Must wear rubber boots if it keeps up.
March 27th: WTF? What's up with all this rain?
April 8th: Made more sacrifices to the sun god. He must be angry; its still raining.
April 19th: Water up to my knees.
April 30th: That goddammed Noah is so smug.
June 5th: I've been treading water for 9 hours.
June 5th (later): Adios, cruel watery world!
And so on.

Here we are in 2006, trapped in the prison of language. Every idea we have is abstract and its through our grasp of language that we try to express our vast array of emotions and convoluted thoughts. Like, I don't think in the English language. I think, and then when I'm conscious of something, my brain translates it into English so that I can speak it or write it down.

So, how do I put this... I'm hungry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Arrested Development: RIP, or: Why does FOX hate their viewers?

Why would a critically acclaimed show that gets watched by millions of people whenever it's on, why would FOX discontinue that show? Because that show is so good that it doesn't follow the rules of a typical sitcom. There's no laugh track, no studio audience, and no painfully bad jokes. There's not a feel-good moral at the end of every episode. The real problem is that it's too creative and probably too quirky to be appreciated by more people. I've often thought of it as a variation of the "Royal Tenenbaums" style of family comedy. Most of the characters are dysfunctional or at least intensely quirky in their own ways. The show is formatted kind of like a documentary, with strictly hand-held cameras that follow the actors around, and there's always jokes in the background, while the dialogue is going on. It plays with diagetic and non-diagetic music; there's a running gag of "Next week on Arrested Development..." and showing clips that aren't in the next week's show. It mixes low and high brow humor. The always hysterical David Cross couldn't be funnier, and the rest of the ensemble cast is pitch-perfect. It's no surprise that something this good wouldn't last long.

According to my trusted internet sources (see here):
"Arrested Development" will wrap its third -- and likely last -- season on Fox next month with a two-hour swan song slated to air opposite the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Fox has decided to package four episodes of "Arrested" and air them as a two-hour season finale from 8-10 p.m. on Friday, February 10th. Scheduling the broadcast opposite the first night of the Olympics sends another strong signal that the net has given up any hope of reviving the show.

Sigh. This is really too bad, because it's the best show on TV right now. I just bought the first two seasons on dvd and it gets funnier with repeated viewings. So, if it is cancelled, I'll just have to savor what we have: 3 seasons of gut-busting laffs!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Lazy Monday

Today, in an effort to update my blog while doing little or no creative thinking, I offer you my half of an email exchange I had about 2 weeks ago. Read on:

Me: Ty DuPuis, who four years ago bought the building where the Academy was and where DuPuis' Flying Pie Pizzeria has space, is part of a partnership that is gutting the old Academy theater space to transform it into the new Academy theater. The new venue will actually be three small theaters that will feature second-run movies and offer beer, pizza and other food. Here's the full story.
X: asinine response which refers to some movie
Me: ?? I have no idea. I'd give it at least 3 stars.. I'll check it out.
X: ridiculous comment about my taste in movies
Me: That's right, Much Ado has a lot of sentimental value to me. Apocalypse Now is brilliant on many levels and you should really look into it.
X: outraged response about Apocalypse Now Redux being the worst thing ever in the history of the world
Me: Dude, it's not that different and you need a bigger cause to get worked up about. Have you considered the AIDS crisis? Or the inequality between social classes at home and abroad? Or the ridiculousness of Christmas in America? Why haven't you done a Christmas blog by the way?
X: insensitive, totally un-PC comment about AIDS and Apocalypse Now Redux
Me: Ay! Dios Mio!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Puts it all in perspective...

I wept because I had no shoes, until a "friend" punched me in the face repeatedly. Now, my face is too swollen to weep.

The Return of the Education

Oh frabulous day! The winter term of school has finally begun, and is already one week closer to finished! You know, I never thought I'd say this, but I kind of missed school. A month break is almost too much.

The nice thing this time around, though, is that all 3 of my classes are arts & literature based, so not only do these classes teach me new ways to view the world around me, but they're also making me much, much smarter than almost everyone I know. So if I'm at a wine tasting someday, I can easily spout off things like, "You can deride Derrida all day long; even I think Plato plateaued after "The Republic". I'm not so crazy about Socrates, and I'm quoting myself here: corruption is one thing, but sometimes censorship is used for ironic purposes, not "purely" moralistic ones! No pun intended. Or is it?", or "The visible world! HA! Like we really need more idiot tv-watching sleep-walking sheep. We're talking about high art, people! Not drawings or mere fictions." Only hopefully I can say that more smarter, and about things that I actually know or make sense.

But seriously, I'm enjoying learning about these subjects, which is more than I could say after the first week of some of my art classes last term. I suppose it helps that my teachers aren't complete d*cks, and actually want to teach the students rather than publicly shame them because the students don't already know the subject.

Fun fact: Today is Friday the 13th! The next Friday the 13th isn't until the last week of October!

And, if I were to host a wine-tasting, these are songs that I would want the DJ to play:
Jeff Buckley - Lilac Wine
U2 - Xanax and Wine
The National - All the Wine
Neil Diamond - Red, Red Wine
Billie Holiday - You go to my head
Joni Mitchell - Carey
Maria Mckee - My lonely sad eyes
Van Morrison - My lonely sad eyes
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Summer Wine
Radiohead - Paranoid Android (just because I haven't heard this one in a while)

Also, the latest full length album I've really been digging lately (thanks to Willis) is "Some Cities" by Doves. It's good. Check it out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Rock and Roll Tonight! And every day!

Ok, I don't want any excuses about "Oh, I'm too poor to enjoy music!" or "My dog ate dollar, but when I shook him, 4 quarters fell out!" because tonights show is free. My band(with whom I play drums & un poco de la guiatarra)is playing a free show tonight at Berbati's Pan in beautiful, sunny, downtown Portland. The other acts on the bill are: Paint & Copter, and Simpl, whom I believe features the former drummer of Pinback. Should be awesome. And it's free. So drive down from Seattle, or Vancouver, or up from Wilsonville or McMinnville, or sideways from Chicago or Gresham and get over to this show. It's worth the trip!

Monday, January 09, 2006

"I've got really bad gas!" or "Screwed at the pump!"

On the way to assemble some packages for a drum machine eating task-master, I had to buy some gas, because the little orange light on next to the gauge told me to. There was a huge line at the place by my house (only $1.99/gallon!), so I drove on. The next gas station was deserted ($2.01/gallon) so I pulled up. I spied 2 guys who may have been employees, or maybe just 1 was the employee and the other was the friend visiting on the job, talking his ear off.

Now, I'm not interested in stereotypes, but let's just say that, for what it's worth, these 2 gentlemen wouldn't have looked completely out of place in a documentary about New York cab drivers, or in some stock footage about terrorist training camps. After about 2 minutes (no exaggeration), one of them finally wandered over to my car. I kindly asked the man for $20 dollars of regular, while I handed him my debit card:

Me: Hi, can I get $20 of regular?
Him: 20 regular?
Me: Yeah.
Him: Ok.

There was no room for miscommunication here.
While the gas was pumping, I glanced over at the pump to see if it was almost done or what. And then I noticed that the pump was charging me $2.13 per gallon. At first I thought that maybe he thought I had asked for plus, or super, but the prices on the gigantic sign clearly read:

Regular: 2.01
Plus: 2.18
Super: 2.31

And upon further inspection, I noticed that all the prices on the pump were significantly higher than those on the humongous, brightly lit sign that attracted me to this ridiculous place in the first place.

Well, I thought, I'll just wait for nice man to come back and I'll show him the error of his ways. But, as I waited, I continued waiting. Finally, I came to terms with the fact that this guy was not coming back for chit chat. Once the pump clicked off, he waited a good minute until wandering over again and pulled out the handle and printed out my receipt. He handed it to me and said, "Ok, here you go", and walked off.

My total charge: $21.83.

This is distinctly more than I had asked for, when I said "20 dollars of regular".
So, I was pretty outraged at being:
a) charged a higher rate than advertised
b) charged a higher total than I had agreed to

Needless to say, I let loose a stream of expletives that even I was immediately ashamed of, but the good news is, I've found a new gas station to hate. I won't name it specifically here, but let's just say that it's in the Mall 205 area of Portland, and it's the one that everyone else in Portland knew to avoid yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Zoo, the Mercury and the Bon

So, after watching King Kong twice (although once is enough) and beating the Xbox game of the movie, I realized that I haven't been to the zoo in ages. I used to love the zoo; when I was 10, my family had a year long pass, we went there at least once a month for that year. We'd go over to the elephant cages, and I was able to make a trumpety sound that would summon the great creatures to me and they would respond in kind. I felt a true bond with them, and liked their patented "Zoo Doo" so much, that I started marketing my own version of it. I wanted to google the zoo here in Portland to find out the hours and pricing, but I have no idea what it's name is. I know it's something like "Rose City Animal Cages" or "Multnomah County Sedated Wildlife" or something like that. I'd really like to go and be face to face with nature: just me, the beasts, and my slingshot.

Speaking of zoos:
Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino?
A: You get a safari-loving 3 ton grey beast that can strangle you to death with his trunk and then skewer you through the thorax with his massive death horn.

Speaking of awesome, did you see the Portland Mercury finally gave big ups to [former band name]? Read it here.

On a festive note, Happy Birthday to Bonika St. James! You are awesome and rock-tacular!