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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween, or Weird, Wild World(s?)

Well, let me put it this way: lately I've been increasingly interested in paranormal activities. Just your basic real life X-files type of stuff, like UFOS, Area 51, bigfoot, conspiracy theories, ghosts, and the like. My interest in this stuff comes from probably a few sources: A) My dad had several books (like "The Book of the Damned" about unexplained mysteries that I read a lot when I was a kid. I remember being fascinated by "The Devil's Footprints." B) My interest in sci-fi movies. Wouldn't it be cool/weird if real life was more like a sci-fi movie? C) My personal weird experiences (with various things) that can't be easily explained.

So, I've been bored at work and stumbled upon lots of weird websites, like Cryptomundo, Forgetomori, and Mysterious Universe. Mysterious Universe also produces a really terrific podcast, hosted by an Australian gent who seems to be pretty smart and grounded, and more skeptical than you might expect from this type of show.

One of my weird experiences: shortly my wife & I bought our house, we'd been living there for about a few weeks. There was an empty lot on the south side of our house. Mo & I were sitting in the living room, just hanging out, and we heard something banging loudly against the side of our house, like going from the west end to the east end, pounding hard against the house. My first thought was "great, bad neighborhood kids harassing the new people." But this noise was so loud and shook the house, it was more like a car drove into the side of the house. It was pretty terrifying. I looked out the window and didn't see anyone, so I ran outside to try to see what was around. As you might have guessed, there was no one around. I checked all around the house and found no one and nothing that could have made such a huge noise. In the following months, the same thing happened a few more times. Loud banging, like our house was being pounded by a bunch of angry fists, and always, I could find no-one around to blame.

My first assumption, of course, is that our house was being harassed by the ghost of Bigfoot, who was placed there by aliens, with the cooperation of the men in black. Wait, that's not true. But the experience was real, and unexplainable by Mo & I.

I know it's terribly boring to hear about someone else's dreams, so if you don't want to be bored, don't read the next paragraph.

Another weird thing: last week, after spending several days of looking at "evidence" of UFOs and aliens on earth, I had something of a lucid dream/sleep paralysis. I dreamt that men in black came to my bedroom, as I slept, to try to get me to quit uncovering the truth about them. One of them then placed his hand over my mouth, so I couldn't breath. Here's where it got lucid. I knew that I was in my bed, next to Mo, and either A)if this was real, then she should wake up to get this hand off my mouth or B) if this was a dream, then it was terrifying and i needed her to wake me up. So I started saying her name, but it was hard to, since this man in black had his hand over my mouth (or so I thought). Eventually, my calling her name woke her up, so then she woke me up by shaking me, and I was freaked out. I had to go check on the baby, to make sure the men in black hadn't gotten him, then I went back to bed, but couldn't sleep, since I had so much adrenaline from the night terror.

Have you had a weird encounter you'd like to share in the comments? Please do.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday's Child

Real quickly: we gutted some pumpkins and carved grotesque images into the disemboweled shells last night. Pics to come in the next week or 2. Teresa has some pre-carved pics. Also, I posted a couple new comics today on my comic blog, which I'm thinking of finally re-incorporating into this 'ere blog, just to keep it simple.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Well, sweetie, don't get mad at me. That's just one man's opinion.

I recently had an email exchange with a friend, regarding "The Royal Tenenbaums". Here is (basically) what I wrote:

I love The Royal Tenenbaums and watch it pretty regularly. I don't find the soundtrack to be "wall to wall hipster favorites" (as one reviewer claims). John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Nico aren't quite "hipster" musicians. Yes, the music is pretty omnipresent, but that's part of Anderson's style.

As far as the "lack of genuine emotion" in the movie, I guess that's a matter of perception. I cry pretty much every time I watch this movie, and not at the same point every time. Maybe that makes me a sentimental wuss, I don't know. I thought the movie packed a genuine emotional punch regarding themes of distant fathers, reconciliation, sibling relationships, and the confusing nature of romantic love.

The enjoyable quirkiness, memorable lines, fully developed characters, brilliant cinematography and scrupulous set design are intriguing, and I find new bits to enjoy with each viewing. As with all of Anderson's films, I find that I enjoy and appreciate them more after 2 or more viewings. Yes, the movie is slightly off-kilter and not quite reality, but that's kind of the point. It's a bit like a fairy tail, hence the narration and chapters into which the film is divided. It's Wes Anderson's version of life, wherein nearly everything is symmetrical, most conversations are filled with verbal idiosyncrasies, and people say hilarious stuff without laughing.

Anderson's latest film (The Darjeeling Limited) is also great, but is very much like all of his films: lots of little details, emotionally wounded characters, funny/awkward conversations, etc. It's gotten mostly good reviews, but the bad reviews of it that I've read have said basically either "has too much emotion and not enough plot" OR "has too much stuff but not enough emotion." So, I guess it depends on one's point of view.

I'm sure you know the site, but for a round-up of professional criticism, I peruse Rotten Tomatoes: This links to the review of The Royal Tenenbaums, which has an 80% rating on the site, which is a pretty solid recommendation from the 160+ reviewers.

I mean, I guess you don't have to like it, after all, Wildcat was written in a kind of obsolete vernacular.

editor's note: Updated with photo below!

Friday, October 12, 2007

To be or to has-been, that is the question.

The headline was intriguing enough: "Music stars: We must still fight nukes." But when I followed the link, I was still waiting to read about the stars which the headline referred to. Then I figured out I was already reading about them: Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Graham Nash and Harvey Wasserman. Her? Who? I think I know him? and Who? can be read about here.

Still I think Shakespeare said it best when he sort of said, "To be or to has-been, that is the question."

New Comic! Again!

Since I've got time, I made another one. Here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Typical Day

Here is a chart from the US Department of Labor depicting how most people spend their leisure time:

Here's a brief rundown of what my days have been like lately:
5:45 Alarm goes off. Snooze for 18 minutes.
6:03 Grab random clothes in the dark so I don't disturb the sleeping wife and baby.
6:05 Shower, Dress, etc.
6:25 Grab something edible to take in the truck.
6:27 Hit the road.
6:42-7:05 arrive at work. Time varies wildly due to traffic on the 2 freeways I take.
7:00-4:00 work at the office. It's not hard work, but Lord, it ain't fun.
4:20-4:45 arrive at home.
4:45-8:30 watch the baby, feed him dinner, change his diapers, crawl around with him. Try to grab some food for myself in this time as well.
8:30-9:30 try to get the baby to sleep.
9:30-10:15 have a drink and try to watch 1/2 an episode of the Sopranos before falling asleep on the couch.

Granted, not every day is like this, with virtually no free time. But there are some when the days are this packed, which makes me think about things. Will it always be like this? Why do I have all this stuff? Etc.

In other news, the new Radiohead album doesn't disappoint.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New Comic!

It's a Halloween miracle! I posted a new comic on The Art Teacher, my long-forsaken comic blog. Check it out here.

DJ Culture

Just a funny photo I stumbled upon. I wish I'd done it first. Better yet, I wish I'd made it a comic first.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fall is here, bees.

Well, since the race is officially on, between Moz and I, to see who can blog about our annual fish hatchery visit first and best, I'd like to take this moment to throw this blog post in the running. But first, take a moment to appreciate the striking beauty of Mo and her new hair:

Over the weekend: the band played in Salem & ate burritos on Luke's front steps, since his wife had his apartment keys and he was locked out. Sunday: the band played at the Towne Lounge, which at first smelled like an arena's bathroom (i.e. used by thousands and foul) but then got pretty decent.

My old friend Lonny was in town, so he came to Sunday's show and we went to the Kennedy on Monday for dinner and drinks. Tuesday we took our kids (with Mo of course) up to Multnomah Falls, then the fish 'atchery and then to Charburger, whose logo I thought was sure to offend Lonny, since he has some Native American ancestry. However, the logo wouldn't keep him away, so we went in and got our grub on. The food was totally edible and unremarkable, save the world's biggest maple bar, which we took home and cut in two.

Simon spent most of the time staring at Lonny's daughter, and she was mutually fascinated by him, I think. See photo below for evidence.

Anyway, Lonny is a good friend who I met when I was 5(!). He now has a daughter that age(!). Nothing makes you feel old like that sort of knowledge. We went to school together, then worked at summer camp together, and spent many a Sunday skipping church and either a) going to Winchell's or b) videotaping random people we thought were funny. Feaver partook in much of this hi-jinkery. Anyway, Lonny and I reclaimed our glorious, reckless youth by playing some Halo 3 before he and his 3 year old daughter had to head on out.

All told, it was a fun weekend being dads together and reminiscing a little bit about days of yore. And talking about the biggest mysteries in life, like brothers, mothers, and the church. All of which can be summarized with: WTF?

Editor's Note to Author's Mother: Just kidding, mom.
Editor's Note to everyone else: Not really.
P.S. Or am I?