Friday, June 30, 2006

Dear Brother

I want my DVDs back. I loaned them to you a while ago and I still don't think that you've watched them. If you had, I'd have hoped for some communication. You know an e-mail or a MySpace message saying, "Holy monkey nuts those really sucked. Why'd you lend them to me? What made you think I'd enjoy them? You suck for even liking these. How can we even be related? What's wrong with you?" Or maybe something saying the opposite.

I'm pretty sure you'd like them if you just sat down and gave them a chance, but you haven't in the past months and I don't expect you to anytime soon. It's too bad you haven't, though, they're really good. Just ask the other brother. Oh, wait, during the drive to Easter he did tell you how good they were and suggested you watch them. Huh, who else could convince you? The parents? They enjoyed them, too. So did the last roommate I had and a good friend who now lives down south and all the other people who own them and have watched them more than once.

I want them back. I may not watch them right away, I may not watch them ever again, but they're mine. I just want them back.

When's the next time I'll see you? The end of July? Maybe? I doubt it though. When after that? Thanksgiving? Not if there's a repeat of last year, so I not going to hold my breath for that. Maybe at your birthday? That's five months away. I don't want to wait that long.

Since I know that you're not going to come up here, mail them to me. Once I get them, if you so desire, I'll mail you a check for the postage.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Moment...

This weekend, I watched the movie French Kiss. My parents bought it in the cheap movie bin at Wal*Mart and after watching it decided that I'd really like it. Why? Because I'm a fool for a good romantic comedy. One for my favorite movies is Sleepless in Seattle. It makes me melt each time I watch it.

Anyway, I watched French Kiss and thought it was alright. (I didn't like the guy the girl was supposed to fall in love with; he was way too arrogant.) But there was this moment that just made me think, "Yeah. That's what I want."

The part is when the girl is dancing with the guy she want's back (who is an ass). They've just finished talking and have been dancing at a distance. The camera cuts to a medium shot so you can see them from mid-calf all the way up, and they move closer together. It's not him pulling her in, but a mutual thing. Then she puts her head on his chest and he lowers his chin to touch her. And the camera lingers for a while, just letting them be the moment. The only thing that matters is the being together. (If the director had been willing to let go of the realism for a moment, everything around the couple would have faded to black leaving the two of them there dancing before the whole scene faded to black.)

I want a moment like that. A simple moment with someone that feels right. A moment where the only thing that matters is that you are there together. A moment where the world doesn't matter.

(That makes me sound like a girl, doesn't it?)

It's a moment that, right now, I don't ever see myself having.

There's no need to reassure me that I will, or anything like that. I'm not so insecure that when I say "negative" things about myself that I want everyone to tell me the opposite of what I say to make me feel better. When I write these "negative" things, I'm only trying to be honest with myself.

For now, I know I won't have this moment because I'm not trying to find a girl to have this moment with. If I was trying, perhaps I'd see a moment like this in my future. But I'm not, so I don't. And that's just fine with me, for now, at least.

But still... Seeing that one bit in the movie, that lasted maybe thirty seconds, just made my whole being ache.


Your Seduction Style: Au Natural

You rank up there with your seduction skills, though you might not know it.
That's because you're a natural at seduction. You don't realize your power!
The root of your natural seduction power: your innocence and optimism.

You're the type of person who happily plays around and creates a unique little world.
Little do you know that your personal paradise is so appealing that it sucks people in.
You find joy in everything - so is it any surprise that people find joy in you?

You bring back the inner child in everyone you meet with your sincere and spontaneous ways.
Your childlike (but not childish) behavior also inspires others to care for you.
As a result, those who you befriend and date tend to be incredibly loyal to you.

Sounds like something I'd like to be, but I don't think I am. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns

Superman Returns

Before I start in with the feature presentation, I wish to write about the Spider-Man 3 trailer.

Okay, actually the trailer is pretty awesome. My problem, and it may just be a nit I'm picking at here, is the black costume. In the comic, (I swear I just heard the world groan.) the black costume was created to give Spider-Man a new look. He went from, mainly, red and blue to just black and white. It was solid black with two white Spider-Man eyes, white patches on the back of each hand where the costume spun his webbing, and the giant white spiders on his front and back. It is, simply, one of the most stunning, elegant, and beautifully designed costumes in comics. (To see it for yourself click on these links to some covers: Spectacular Spider-Man 101, Web of Spider-Man 1, and Amazing Spider-Man 252.) Also, the black costume was able to shift between normal clothes and the costume, so there was no need to worry about wearing it under another set of clothes.

Now, I understand that the costume from the comics may not have been able to translate to the movie screen very well, but just coloring the regular costume black doesn't work for me. It should be more different from the original. Fans of the comic, or the cartoon that was on in the 90s, know what the black costume is and how it effects Peter, which I think should be shown on screen by changing the look of his costume more than by just changing the color. Also, the trailer shows that he has to wear it under his clothes. That's no fun. And finally, what's Venom going to look like? In the comic, he wears the black costume with some minor alterations, which really makes him an anti-Spider-Man. What's he going to do, have Spider-Man's costume, but in black? That'd be really lame, and confusing. Film is a very visual medium; his look should be completely distinct when fighting Spider-Man, which is why in the comics Spider-Man has never worn a black costume again.

Okay, I'm done with bitching about Spider-Man 3

(One more trailer related thing before I move on, what's with the drastic change in the marketing for Lady in the Water? The teaser called it a bed time story, but the new trailer turned it into a horror. So, which film will it be? One? Both? Neither? I was more interested in the story from the teaser.)

Now for Superman:

I want you to imagine that you have found the one true love of your life. The more time you spend with this person, the more you love him or her. And then one day, your person gets some news and leaves you with out saying good-bye. You're strong, though. You go on living your life. You even meet someone. Sure, this new person isn't perfect, but she or he is someone you can love, not with the same deep and intense passion as the other, but it's love none the less. Then your true love comes back to town. He or she doesn't push into your life, but you know that she or he is near and just waiting for you. How would you react? What would you do?

Now I want you to imagine that you have found the one true love of your life. The more time you spend with this person, the more you love him or her. And then one day, you get some news and you have to leave, now. You don't want to say good-bye because it'd hurt too much and you may not be able to leave at all, but it's very important that you do. So, you go and there's no way to contact the one you love. You're gone for a long time, but each day you think about the person you left. You think about how she or he made you feel. You use that memory to get through each day. Eventually, you make it back and before you have a chance to see the one you love, you learn that he or she has moved on. This person has even fallen in love. How would you react? What would you do?

These, to me, are what Superman Returns is about, at it's heart.

When the movie opens, Superman has been gone for five years (he left sometime after the end of Superman II); he went to explore what he thought were the remains of Krypton. During that time, Lois has had a son, got engaged, and was nominated for a Pulitzer for an editorial called "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." And Lex Luthor got out of prison because Superman couldn't show up to a trial. The world has moved on with out Superman and has survived.

But he's back. He flies around the world saving as many people as he can. Lois wants to ignore him. And Lex has come up with a way to create his own continent, but will probably kill a couple billion people in the process.

In the end, Superman saves the world. Lex is stuck on an island. And Lois is trying to write an editorial called "Why the World Needs Superman."

For the first half, or two thirds of the movie, I had a grin on my face. From the moment the Superman fanfare started and I saw the original Superman font on the screen, I was giddy. When the words soared toward me, I got chills. This was Superman, the original brought back. This was what my inner fanboy wanted, and I was totally immersed in the action. Then something happened that knocked me right out the movie. It was so jarring that I couldn't get it out of my head for the rest of the film and it made it hard for me to watch the rest. I couldn't settle back into the film because what happened was always on my mind. (I'll describe what it was that shook me out of the movie next week because it's a pretty big spoiler and I don't want to ruin the movie for everyone until a week has gone by. I figure that in that time most of those who were going to see the film in the theater will have seen it. I've actually already written about it so I'd be better able to write this and it's sitting, dated for July 5th.)

Brandon Routh plays a pretty good Superman, but I simply adored his bumbling Clark Kent. From his first walk through the Daily Planet running into people with his suit cases, to his stolen glances at Lois, to his goofy grin and wave, his Clark was wonderful. It's just too bad Clark wasn't in the film that much.

Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane was okay. Sure, she's cute, but I've never thought of her as a great actress. She did the protective mother bit well, although she doesn't look old enough to be the mother of a 5-year old and to have been nominated for a Pulitzer, but that's movie casting for you. Also, I'd have liked to see Lois try and kick some ass. In every incarnation of Lois that I've seen, she at least tries to fight back for a while, but this one didn't. Maybe she thought getting her head smashed in would save her son's life, as opposed to kicking the guy in the knee or balls, I don't know.

Kevin Spacey, as expected, was excellent. His Lex Luthor is darker and less funny than Gene Hackman’s, but they both have that obsession about getting land and aren't worried about who may have to die to get it. Spacey's Lex also seems more intelligent because he goes out of his way (the Arctic is pretty much out of everyone’s way) to learn the secrets of Superman. And I thought what he did to protect himself from Superman on his new bit of land was really clever.

The rest of the cast was really good, too. Although I thought that too often the guy playing Jimmy Olson would speak a bit too loud, but other than that he's the best Jimmy I've seen.

Some of the things that I really liked follow, in no particular order:
  • The homage to John Bryne's Man of Steel mini series in the form of the first rescue Superman performs after returning to Earth.
  • The reveal of Lex's hobby in the basement.
  • Parker Posey's performance as Kitty.
  • Seeing the guy who played Cyclops actually get to be a hero in a superhero movie this summer.
  • The Fortress of Solitude
  • Young Clark enjoying his powers
  • The recycled lines from the first movie. (I started laughing at one of them by the third word. The rest of the theater waited until the end. I wondered if they were just being polite or did they not recognize it.)
The one thing that I didn't enjoy that didn't ruin the movie for me was how Kitty was basically Miss Teschmacher, again. Yeah, Parker Posey was excellent as the ditz who's attracted to the bad boy but ends up wanting to do some good, but I'd have liked to see Lex's new girl be smarter and maybe a little evil. What does it say about Lex that he only wants stupid women? Still, she's better than Otis or his nephew Lenny.

It's a good movie. It really is. If it weren't for the one thing that really bugged me, but didn't seem to bother anyone else, I'd be headed into the city this weekend to see it on IMAX in 3D. But there was that one thing. However, I'm looking forward to its release on DVD so I can see it again and I think that most people who enjoyed the original movies will like this one, too.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Today has been, besides the little work I had in my box, about catching up on some e-mail. I'm still answering one right now, but thought I should put something here just because. Tomorrow should, although I'm not promising, bring my thoughts about Superman Returns.

Until then, I suggest you read about file sharing.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Yeah, so, I had this post planned out in my head after reading Blog Dog's Red Finger. I had these stories about people being confused about my (non existent) religious preference because I'm such a nice fellow, but I'm not all together sure about whether or not God (or gods) may or may not exist. From there I was going to write about how those people treated me differently after they found out a decent person can also be (practically) a godless heathen. I was also going to write about being cornered by a PE teacher (He probably coached something, but I don't care about sports, so I didn't care what he actually did.) at an Earth Day festival and how he tried to convince me to find my way to God through Jesus, even though that didn't promise me a place in Heaven.

Then I looked at the time and realized that I only have another tenish minutes left until work is over. I've actually been busy today. (That's what happens when you're handed work that other people couldn't, or didn't, do.) That also means that I only answered a couple of e-mails. One with only two sentences. The other didn't have many more sentences than that. No more e-mailing for me today.

I'm torn. I like having enough time to write a long post, but the more work I have, the faster the day goes by.

Oh well, at least I have my ticket to see Superman on Tuesday. That'll be cool. I hope.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Today, The Supervisor is not at work. I think it's her regular day off. She does the whole work nine hours a day four days a week to get every other Friday off, thing. (I'm not allowed to do it, though, just in case someone is needed at the front counter.) Which is why I was okay with fooling around with the look of my blog for so long while I was supposed to be working. It's like taking a day off of work, but being at work. Although, I finished all my work before I started fiddling around with the thing, so I guess it's not.

Anyway, SHTK has been out all this week, but came in today. She has walking pneumonia. So, she was sick all of last week, too, but kept coming into work because all it feels like is a cold or mild flu. (I had walking pneumonia when I was in ninth grade. I know what it's like.) The first thing she did, since she's not much of a web crawler, was peruse her e-mail. When she was almost finished, I heard her say, "Oh, my god." and sigh a huge sigh.

I knew what got her. Yesterday, right before five, The Supervisor sent out an e-mail detailing new duties, which the secretaries came up with, that we clerks have to do. One of them involves SHTK doing all of a certain type of calendaring. While she may have the password to get to do this, she's not supposed to. When this office was short staffed she did all the calendaring, now that we have more people than we need, she's not supposed to do any unless The Supervisor isn't here. Now, since the secretaries don't want to do it anymore, she's supposed to set certain thing, of which we usually get two or three a day. The oddest thing about making SHTK set this is that The Supervisor and JSIC have interviews about 15 people to take the calendaring position and to become The New Supervisor. (When that happens, The Supervisor will either become Uber Supervisor or some acronym, I haven't decided yet.)

SHTK leaned my way and we talked about her new job. And then we talked about the other new things that we clerks are going to do. Basically, we're going to be doing all the things that the secretaries don't like to do. Mostly, this means that there will be a lot more to potentially blame on us peons.

Eventually, the talk turned into venting. We were the only two in the area, so we could speak pretty freely about the stupid things that the higher-ups are doing. It was a pretty long conversation and I think we exhausted most of the subjects in stupidity. Unfortunately, I didn't feel better when it was over. I felt worse. I realized that there's nothing I can do.

I swear, if I pass one of the tests to get a promotion, I will only do it in another office. If I don't get that promotion, but find a transfer opportunity close by, I'm going there. If there isn't a transfer opportunity close by, once I save enough money for a first and last month's rent plus deposit, I'm leaving this town and I'm not planning on looking back.

Scheme Finally Changed

I think the last time I changed the way this blog looked was early 2004. It was time. I'm happy with the way it looks now, but I'm sure I'll be doing some tweaking in the next week or so.

What a way to spend ninety minutes here at work, eh?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Little Night Music

I've been moving old post from an old blog that isn't used anymore over to this blog. (For those who need to know the Idiot is dead.) During the course of the moving the ones worth saving, I've also been reading the posts. I discuss my addiction to Sondheim's Into The Woods in one of them.

Reading that got me thinking about my most recent musical addiction, Sondheim's (with a book by Hugh Wheeler) A Little Night Music. (For a while it was Avenue Q, but not anymore.) My biggest problem when trying to talk about most of these plays is that I haven't seen them performed. I've only listened to the soundtrack. There are very few soundtracks which print out the entire book of the play (The Phantom of the Opera soundtrack spoiled me.), so I'm stuck just listening to the lyrics of the song and reading the few notes included to set the scene in which the song takes place.

That written, I'm gonna do my best to write about my new favorite musical.

A Little Night Music is based on an Ingmar Bergman movie (Smiles of a Summer Night according to the Wikipedia entry on the play.) and is about a bunch of rich Europeans trying not to be bored, for the most part.

There's Frederik and his new wife Anne, who's younger than Fredrick's son, who have yet to consummate their marriage, which is exquisitely laid out in the songs "Now" and "Soon" (which are grouped onto the same track with "Later" in between). Frederik wants to have sex. Anne doesn't, but she wants to keep the "good" life she has with him. The odd thing is when she finds out that Fredrick was visiting (and probably screwing) his old girlfriend, Desiree, she get's jealous, but she still doesn't sleep with him. While Frederik is visiting with Desiree, he sings of his wife and how wonderful she is, she even "gives [him] funny names-- / Like? / 'Old Dry-as-Dust.'"

There's Fredrick's grown son, Henrik, who's as sad as he can be because his father has married someone younger than he is and because he feel like he's foreshadowed by his father's accomplishment. In "Later," Henrik sings, as if he were someone else, "'Henrik? Who is Henrik? / Oh, the lawyer's son, the one who mumbles. / Short and boring, / Yes, he's hardly worth ignoring...'" Oh, he's also in love with his stepmother.

There's also Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm who is cheating on his wife, Charlotte, with Desiree. He finds Frederik with Desiree, who's an actress, in her dressing room when he comes for a "visit" and starts to worry about Desiree's fidelity toward him. He sings about how everyone should be honest and should have "fidelity like [his] to Desiree, / and Charlotte [his] devoted wife." He says the last part in a sort of aside, as if his wife's an after thought.

Charlotte and Anne are friends and talk about nearly everything. Charlotte knows her husband is cheating on her and laments it in the song "Everyday a Little Death."

The first act ends with Frederik and Anne being invited to Desiree's mother's, Madame Armfeldt, villa in the country. Anne doesn't want to go, but Charlotte insists she should go to show how much more beautiful she is than Desiree, and Charlotte figures it's a way to get her husband to herself for a weekend. When the Count learns of the weekend, he insists that he and his wife go because his wife "hasn't been getting out nearly enough." Charlotte's not happy.

The second act has some wonderful songs and some wonderful ideas, but I don't have time to discuss them right now. There are also more wonderful songs in the first act, but since I haven't seen the play, I'm not quite sure how they fit into the play overall. It's almost time for me to be away from work, and I've decided that's more important than finishing this.

I doubt I ever will.

I hope that one day, soon, I'll actually be able to see this play being performed. Until then, I'll be singing along with the soundtrack.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Of Watching

I got rid of my cable TV after the series finale of Everwood earlier this month. I feel ashamed to admit this, but I miss it.

When I got rid of it, I never tried to lie to myself and tell myself that now I'll start writing stories or practicing drawing or (HA) exercising. I knew that when I got rid of the cable that, instead of watching the stuff I'd record with the DVR feature, I'd be watching one of my DVDs. It's just the way I am. If I could filter feed, I'd plant myself down and never move again.

Anyway, I still have my good, old DVD player (It's six years old now.), but I lost the remote when I moved from Cowcity to Cowtown, so it's really only good for watching movies or TV shows that have a "play all" feature. It's not so good for watching the special features, on anything, or TV shows that make you select the episode name and then select "play episode." (All the Star Trek discs are like that. Sure, the menus look really great, but... DAMNIT, I want to watch more episodes on the discs!) This problem was solved not by me buying a "universal" control and hoping it'd work with my old machine, but by my mother giving me a DVD recorder that my grandpa had given to my parents.

This was right after I had gotten cable. I thought it was cool; I'd be able to record shows while I was at work (I hadn't upgraded to the DVR capability yet and didn't have a VCR. (I still don't have a VCR. That means no Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead for me.)) and drown myself in reruns of Buffy. The first day I tried it, though, there was a marathon of the first half of the second season of Battlestar Galactica. The disc told me that I could capture 8 hours worth of TV. Almost the whole first half of the marathon, awesome. So, I set the recorder up and I set the cable box to flick over to the correct channel the night before. The next morning, all seemed well, so I left for work. When I got back, the thing was still trying to record. The numbers on the recorder said four hours and some minutes and seconds. Counting my slow walking speed two and from work, I had been out of my apartment for over nine hours. And the recording was supposed to have happened about 90 minutes before I woke up.

I thought that maybe the thing was stuck, but it had probably recorded the first four hours, that'd be cool. I tried to stop it. It wouldn't stop. I hit the power button. It wouldn't power down. I tried to eject the disc. No luck. I knelt down at power strip to pull the plug and briefly wondered what I'd do if the thing stayed powered up. If it didn't power down, I figured as long as it hadn't grown sharp teeth or claws, it was going to be tossed out the door onto the driveway, hopefully shattering it into a million pieces. I pulled the plug and the numbers faded away. I let it cool off for a bit before plugging it back in and letting it read the disc. It said there was no data on the disc.

The next day, I tried again, same problem. So, it was either the wrong type of writable disc being put in, or the machine was broken. According to the book, it should have been able to use the disc. It was broken.

However, it read and played my regular DVDs just fine. And it had a control, so I could select the special features and watch all the episodes on those discs without a "play all." I unplugged my old DVD player from the back of the TV and plugged in the recorder.

I've been using it as my primary DVD player ever since. Before this month, though, I haven't used it too much. When you have cable, there's always something worth watching on TV. (It may be crap, but if you're willing to leave it on, it must be worth watching.) Especially with all movie channels. I think over 50% of my view time was due to movie channels. I know that over half of my movie viewing was done on TCM. Who needs to watch the movies they've collected when there are so many great, and not-so-great, movies out there to watch on cable. So, the DVD recorder was used maybe once a week for a couple of hours.

Now that the only TV I can watch is what's carefully shelved, the little DVD recorder is on much more than it used to be. Probably a couple of hours a day, more on the weekend. Yesterday, as I was watching Popular, the screen started twitching. At first I though maybe it was me. Maybe I could get the DTs even though I don't drink. I stood and walked around and sat down again. The screen twitched again. I took off my glasses, rubbed my eyes, put my glasses back on, and looked again.

Twitch, went the picture.

Twitch, went my eyelid.

Off, went the TV.

This morning, same problem.

I guess I'll be plugging in my old reliable player. Maybe I should try a "universal" remote. Anyone have one, that you got for a reasonable price, that you like?

Monday, June 19, 2006

No Strike

That's the way it looks, at least. The union members still have to ratify the new contract and then the state has to pass the budget. Fortunately, since it is an election year, the budget should be passed by the end of the month, which is close enough to on time for most politicians (especially since their constituents don't have a clue when the budget is actually supposed to be passed). It's only fifteen days late, who cares? Right?

Basically, the new contract give all the workers a pay increase (The increase isn't retroactive; instead they're paying the workers off with a one time lump sum. If I get the lump, I'll be getting more money than I would have gotten in the past nine months. For most workers it's probably a few hundred dollars less. Of course, for the most part, they don't realize that, they're just happy to suddenly have extra money in time for summer.), health care costs will stay the same (My employer pays a percentage of any health care premium, they wanted to make it a flat rate, which would have screwed us as health costs went up.), retirement contributions stay the same (They would have been cut in half if the contract presented to us had gone through.), the unpaid "furlough" days are gone, and a raise in pay, based on the consumer price, index but not lower than 2%, next year at the same time. The contract expires on June 30, 2008, which is three years from the date the last contract expired.

I'm relieved that there's not going to be a strike. I would have been out there holding up a stupid sign, but not chanting the stupid slogans, to support getting a real contract, but I'm glad I don't have to.

In other news, my allergies decided to go psycho yesterday. (They probably would have on Saturday as well, but I was else where.) I asked around the office this morning if maybe there was something sprayed on the fields this weekend, but was told no.

Here's what I was told and my internal response to each:

I was told that it was due to the heat.
Two weeks ago it was just as hot, maybe even hotter, and my allergies didn't go nuts. And on Thursday it was about 95 out there and my nose was fine.

I was told it was the wind.
It's been crazy windy for the past month (with the exception of the hot day), why was it only on Sunday when I couldn't stop sneezing?

I was told that we didn't have a spring, so everything is coming in now.
No. Spring started a while ago. The massive amount of rain stopped at least six weeks ago, probably more, and plenty of things were blooming before and during the rain and in the last six weeks.

I was told that it's just because this is the worst place in the world for allergies.
I can believe that, but it's not a reasonable answer for why Sunday was total an utter misery when before that I was doing okay.

Today, I am leaky, but not as leaky as I was yesterday.

Friday, June 16, 2006


On either Monday morning or Monday night the strike votes were counted. 85% of the people, who voted, voted in favor of the strike. The rest of this week has, according to the union's website, been full of "around the clock negotiations continue under news black out." Apparently negotiations have also been "intense."

What does this mean to me? I have no fucking clue.

What will I be doing this weekend? Worrying about how the negotiating team is doing whether or not a rolling strike will begin next week.

If I knew one way or another this weekend, I think I'd feel a lot better.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I'm sure if I just start doing a stream of consciousness thing here I'll find something interesting to write about. Well, maybe not "interesting," but I'll at least write about something.

Was it just yesterday when I complained about baby gifts? It seems like I did that so much longer ago. It's only been a day. Is it just me, or has this week just crawled slower than a baby that's taken a Valium? At least sleeping lets me know another day has passed because if I didn't have that to break-up the week I wouldn't be able to tell the difference from one to the next. Actually, I could check to see if the pants and shirt I'm wearing are different from the ones I wore yesterday, but since I can't ever remember what I actually wore yesterday I'd never be sure. Unless my socks got hard. Do socks get hard on your feet in your shoes if you wear them for 72 hours? I'm sure someone out there has tried it before.

Yesterday was the farmer's market thing here. (They call it something different, though. I think they do it so people like me, who sometimes take things too literally.) It's mostly built up of boothey things that have people selling jewelry or where local, sometimes chain, restaurants are selling food at prices higher than they sell the food for at the restaurants' physical locations. Anyway, I actually remembered that it was farmer's market day and brought some money with me. For the past two (three?) weeks I've been walking through it with no money and therefore don't buy anything, but yesterday was going to be different. I was going to buy some smoked salmon. Each time I walked through, it's in the middle of a street I can walk down to get to my apartment, I've seen this guy sitting at a card table with a cooler and a sign that said "Home Smoked Salmon" and I wanted some. He wasn't there yesterday, though. Maybe he ran out. Maybe he'll be back next week. I can only hope he will be and that I'll remember to bring my money.

Tonight, I'm going to watch my Arrested Development season 1 DVD, eat some chocolate Teddy Grams, read a book that I've read before, and sleep. How about you?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Baby Blues

About three weeks ago, right before Memorial Day, I think, The Supervisor's daughter gave birth. The supervisor became a grandma. I did my thing; I congratulated her, and pretended to be interested in her family. I smiled at the picture she showed me. And when she said, "Isn't he cute." I just smiled and nodded rather than saying he looks like a crustacean without its shell--all pink and squishy with bulbous eyes. Yuck.

That Thursday, I was handed a card by SHTK and told to sign it. I asked what it was for. She said it was to congratulate The Supervisor on her grandchild. SHTK told me, again, to sign it and then pass it on to the next clerk for more signing. I sighed and rolled my eyes. It's not like The Supervisor had to do any work in getting this grandson. Her daughter is the one who, hopefully, had fun making it and had to do the bulk of the work during the incubation period. (The son-in-law did the rest of the work.) Sure, The Supervisor visited her daughter after the due date came and went, but before that, she complained a lot about her daughter not bringing the baby belly to North Bay, like her daughter and her daughter's husband didn't just move into a new place so there would be room for the baby and they didn't want everything set up and ready by the time the incubation was over. I sighed again and signed the card. I didn't write anything clever, because, honestly, I didn't care.

On Friday, SHTK came to work carrying a bag. It was the kind of bag presents are placed in. When I looked closer, I saw little plumes of tissue paper coming out the top. I didn't ask what it was. I didn't want to know. It was none of my business. TMSV, on the other hand, decided that it was her business. "What's in the bag?" she demanded. SHTK slid her hand in and pulled out started to pull out something fuzzy. It was a stuffed stegosaurus, exactly they kind of stuffed animal who would have terrorized all the stuffed animals, but was really a coward and a nice guy, if I had it when I was a kid. "Who's it for?" demanded TMSV. SHTK said it was for The Supervisor, to go with the card. TMSV got excited. I wanted to pound my head into my desk.

Ten minutes later, SHTK poked her head around the partition that blocks my view of the front and said, "Everyone else is giving some money for the gift. You don't have to if you don't want to." And she turned away.

I don't bring cash with me to work unless I'm planning on going out to lunch or cruise the comic shop. If I have it on me, I'll spend it. So, I couldn't give her anything, but I saw the production that was made when the others gave her a few dollars. I went on my break.

As I walked back to my desk after my break ended, SHTK came around a corner so fast she almost hit me. "Hurry up," she said.


"We're giving her the dinosaur and the card now," she said in a hushed voice and turned around, walking quickly away from me.

I rolled my eyes again and followed her.

The gift and the card were received with much thanks. And I slinked back to my desk as soon as I could.

Last week, Monday or Tuesday, NPWH's oldest daughter produced a spawn of her own. This time, I wasn't subjected to pictures and inane questions. NPWH has her own office-esque area and stays pretty private. (I didn't even know her daughter was carrying until Monday morning because her daughter had been in the hospital over the weekend with labor pains.) She doesn't foist stories of her life on the people of the office to prove that she has one, like The Supervisor does. (Remember, people, you choose to come here and have my "life" forced on you. It's not like being stuck in the break room trying to read and hearing about the same damn car trip down Highway 49 her and her husband took five years ago.) So, after the announcement, I congratulated her and said that I bet she's extra eager to get to her vacation now to see the little one. She agreed that she can't wait to go. And that was that.

Until yesterday, when SHTK came at me with a card, "Sign it and pass it along," she said. "It's for NPWH."

This time, I signed it and passed it along without the sighing and eye rolling.

Today, a Piglet toy, that rattles when you shake it, showed up in a party bag. That's when I rolled my eyes.

I got up to hunt down files and SHTK chased me around the same corner we nearly collided at two weeks ago. "Where are you going?" She was flustered.

"I'm doing my work." I waved the papers I had in my hand at her.

"But we're giving [NPWH] the card and toy now. Come on." She hurried away.

I sighed and followed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I Have a Bad Headache

So, today you get a recommended website, pointed out to me by the Televisionary himself.

Visit My favorite, so far, is this one.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Talkin' Cars

When talking to people, like actually speaking with them, using my voice and hearing their voices and sometimes seeing their spittle fly out of their mouth, many of them said they didn't want to see this movie because the trailer makes it look bad. I, personally, can't remember when a Pixar trailer ever looked good. Can you? So, when deciding whether or not to see a movie made by the Pixar people I think about two things: The first is their record of making a stream of wonderful and fun movies. When I can only compare one Pixar movie to another Pixar movie to try and find fault with it, which means they're always better than the average film out there. When I think about their movies and A Bug's Life is the worst one they made, but I still think it's charming and fun and better than most things that came out that year, it means they've made a bunch of good movies. The second thing I think about is the fact that they take classic plots, plots that we've seen on TV and in the movies more times than we want to count, and do them better than anyone else has in recent memory.

Cars is about Lighting McQueen (Owen Wilson), a big shot racing star, who gets stuck in a nearly dead hick town on Route 66. He destroys property and is sentenced to stay in town and fix what he destroyed. While there, he learns that not life in the fast lane (HAHAHAHAHAH!) isn't everything and that sometimes it's better to slow down and find something to care for other than winning.

Sound familiar? The basic plot reminds me of Doc Hollywood. (I'm sure that there are older movies with the same plot, but Doc Hollywood was the first movie I remember seeing with this plot and it has a naked girl rising from the lake, which left quite an impact on my young mind when I saw it.)

The thing is, the movie is so much more than its plot. It's all the wonderful side character. There's Doc Hudson (voiced wonderfully by Paul Newman) who's the little town's sharp doctor and judge and he has a past that no one in town knows about. There's Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) who's as dumb as the tractors he tips but the most loyal and trusting tow truck you could ever meet. There's Ramone (Cheech Marin) the low-rider who runs the body shop and changes his paint on a daily basis and Flo (Jennifer Lewis), his wife, who runs the diner. There's Sally (Bonnie Hunt) who used to live in LA but fell in love with the small town and want to bring it back to what it was. And on and on. Each character in the town has enough personality that I was able to build elaborate back stories for them that told me why they live there and why they didn't leave when the town dried up.

Then there's the way the film looks. The animation is stunning. I found myself captivated by the shadows cast by the cars in the racing scene at the beginning of the film. The backgrounds (I'm talking landscape here) are full of visual car jokes that it took me way too long to see and when I did, I couldn't help chuckling at them. Mater looks like he's made of rust and if someone sneezed on him he'd just blow away. The reflection on Lightning when he's in bright light is amazing. And the paint job he got near the end, the fact that Pixar could do it with a moving object, blew me away.

For the most part, the voice acting was superb. Paul Newman blew me away as Doc. And Jennifer Lewis cracked me up when I heard her speak. Owen Wilson was the only disappointment. It seemed to me that he was just phoning in his performance by playing character's he's already been. (Hansel from Zoolander and Roy O'Bannon from Shanghai Noon seemed to be the big influences.) His performance wasn't bad, just not as good as the others. There were also a bunch of cameos by famous car people, but I didn't recognize most of them, since I'm not a race fan, but I did recognize Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, who host Car Talk on NPR. (I am such an NPR geek.)

One question that I kept coming to throughout the movie was, why are there sidewalk? (See this comic for a similar thought.)

The only problem I had was with the ending. (I usually have a problem with endings, don't I?) Yes, I knew it would end happy and I was pretty sure how it would end and I was thrilled at how the final race was concluded, but the final ending was just too pat, too sickly, gooey sweet. A little realism there would have gone a long way with me, but it probably would have left the rest of the audience a really bad taste in their mouths.

So, I say go and see and enjoy Cars. It's not their best, but it's certainly better than most of the other things you'll see this summer.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Yesterday was one set of grandparents' 62nd anniversary. If I double my age, I've been alive less than half the time they've been married. (And I'm their oldest grandchild.) My other set of grandparents have a ways to go before they catch up, and I hope they never do because that would mean that one out of the four has gone missing, and I'd rather not have to deal with that until I'm so old I'll forget all about it the next day. Too bad that won't happen, but it's a nice wish.
I saw a file with the name Jeffrey Johnson Junior. I couldn't help thinking that his middle name is Jackson so when his mom would get angry with him she'd yell, "Jeffrey Jackson Johnson Junior get over here!"

You scored as Suicide. Your death will be suicide. What more can I say? Fact: Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If you want to know how you will commit suicide, take a look at your second highest percentage on the bar graphs.

How Will You Die??
created with

My second highest percentage was "disappear." So, you've all been warned.

When I saw A Prairie Home Companion the other day, I was sitting next to this older woman who was busy chatting away with her husband, before the movie, about how much she liked their seats because it was right under the light and she could read. She reached into her bag and pulled out her book and noticed that I was already reading. "You brought a book, too," she said.

"Yup," I said.

"See what I brought." She turned the cover toward me. It was one of those new Little Lulu trades. I smiled.

"It was my birthday present."

"It's a good gift,” I said.

"Can you imagine a 67-year-old woman wanting this as a birthday present?" she asked. "But I did."

"It's a good gift," I said again. "Anyone who doesn't like Little Lulu deserves..." I paused. I wasn't sure if saying "deserves to die" is the kind of thing one should say to a stranger. "Well, I'm not sure what they deserve, but it should be something painful."

She laughed and said, "You are absolutely right." She opened her book and started reading.

I went back to my reading.

Every minute or so I heard her chuckle.
At lunch this week, I've been heading out of the office, going to the south stairwell, climbing to the landing between the fourth floor and the roof access, and sitting there to read. So far, it's the best place I've found for privacy in this town that isn't my apartment or has a toilet to sit on.
Here's a cartoon that I wish were animated and played in every movie theater worldwide.
And now I'm done. Have a decent weekend folks.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion

"We come from people who brought us up to believe that life is a struggle, and if you should feel really happy, be patient: this, too, will pass." --Garrison Keillor

That's not the whole quote, just the last part. The first part is just as funny, which makes the last part even funnier. Unfortunately, I can't remember the whole quote because so much was going on in the movie.

That's right. Last night, I saw the movie I was most looking forward to in a "special sneak preview." All the other people out there who are looking forward to seeing it (not enough people, if you ask me) have to wait until Friday. (Or, if you come from a place like my hometown, you'll probably have to wait until it's available through Netflix. *sigh*)

So, what is A Prairie Home Companion? It's a movie about what goes on backstage, and onstage, at a radio show broadcasting its final show. The final show part is always there, but I got the feeling that a the backstage would have been just as chaotic it if the film was just about putting on a radio show this size.

The cast is star studded and they all do an excellent job. Altman's direction is sure and he keeps the camera moving to show the frantic pace. And Garrison Keillor's script is hilarious.

Fans of the radio show will not be disappointed. Guy Noir is there with his classic opening about "a city that knows how to keep its secrets." Also, there's Dusty and Lefty fighting and singing right there on stage.

Oh, and the show is brought to you by Powdermilk Biscuits, Bebop-a-reebop Rhubarb Pie, and The Catchup Advisory Board, which bottles a little bit of sunshine just for you.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Good-Bye Everwood

I watched the series finale of Everwood again last night. I'm really going to miss the show. Not that (m)any of you would understand. You didn't watch it. You don't know how well acted and scripted and directed it was. You missed out. From now on, I'll be missing out, too.

While I was thrilled that Everwood was able to have a final episode, I was disappointed with the end. I know that the writers and produces and the whatnots wanted happy endings that tied up the major romances, but, to me, that was far too simplistic for this show. Since it's beginning, Everwood has been about people making mistakes and learning from them, only to realize that in the process of learning nothing is completely fixed, nothing comes out perfectly. The life of these characters was messy, most of their endings weren't. If I could change the finale, I'd make the Amy/Ephram ending closer to the Bright/Hannah ending. That's just me, though.

To read a pretty good review of the last episode, check out what Matt Roush wrote.

On another note, I don't know what's wrong with me. I still don't feel too well. My stomach is achy on the top part and my head feels like it's being pressed in on five sides.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I'm not feeling very well, haven't been since last Friday.

Today, you get a link to a funny animation.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Too True

This comic shows part of the truth of what X-Men: The Last Stand is.

What was their problem with Cyclops?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Ruined for Everybody: X-Men: The Last Stand

For a more spoiler free review of the movie read the one that Stephen Notley wrote. Mine is all about the spoiling.

When, within the first half hour of a movie sequel, one of my favorite characters is vaporized in a way that doesn't allow for any emotional connections, I tend to disconnect from the rest of the movie and throw all expectations out. Which isn't to say that I had many expectations because I'd read the headlines of the early reviews over at Ain't it Cool News, all of which were negative. In the end, I'd give the movie a rating of "blah." If you liked the first two and can disconnect from the problems, like I did, you'll survive unharmed. If you're one of the people nearly cream your pants every time you read a rumor about the Wolverine solo move, you'll probably love it.

So, here’s how the movie goes:
It opens with Xavier and Magneto twenty years ago meeting a young Jean Grey who is powerful enough to lift all the cars on her block (as well as steal Chris Claremont's lawnmower and make the water from Stan Lee's hose slow down and start falling up). Can you all say "retcon"? I knew you could.
Then we meet a kid using a rasp on his back to shave his budding wings.
There's a useless Danger Room sequence that "reinforces" the fact that Wolverine is not a team player, even though he keeps coming back to the mansion to spend time with everyone and he even helps out in a class when he's asked to. Yeah, he's a real loner, isn't he? We get to hear a Sentinel, and see its head. I'd rather there wasn't a Sentinel at all because if I can't actually see the team fighting a giant robot, it should be kept out of the film all together.
Scott Summers is still depressed over Jean Grey getting crushed by tons of water. Wolverine chews him out for not being in class. Scott runs away to the lake (A lake, really? Do these people understand how reservoirs work? They block the water from a river filling up a natural valley. When the damn breaks, it all turns back into a river, there's no lake. If only this was the worst part of the upcoming scene.) where Jean died. He cries a little. He yells at the voice of Jean in his head a little. And he takes off his glasses and zaps the water. A hole forms, Jean rises, they kiss, strange lines appear on Scott's face, and it looks like the life is being sucked out of him.
Professor Xavier sends Storm and Wolverine to find Scott. Instead, they find Jean and a pair of red Ray-Bans.
Oh, somewhere in there, Mystique was captured and a "cure" for mutants was announced. That's important because it allows Magneto, along with Pyro, to gather an army of mutants. Magneto sets out to rescue her. This scene has him standing in the middle of the road, crushing cars and flinging them away. Pretty awesome. It also has Mystique getting shot with the "cure" and abandoned by Magneto, but he does rescue Juggernaut (a crappy character, no matter what) and Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man.
By then it's revealed that Xavier had blocked off portions of Jeans mind, which severely limited her power and created a second personality which calls itself Phoenix. (This, I thought was cool because Xavier has fucked with everyone's minds in the comics, closing off portions for some, opening portions for other, or planting false memories for everyone. It's just too bad an earlier film hadn't mentioned this, even in passing, it would have been more effective then that the blocks he made were breaking down.)
Jean eventually wakes up and decides to make out with Wolverine, who is into it at first, but changes his mind for some reason. Jean asks him to kill her before she kills again. He says no and shows her Scott's glasses. Jean goes nuts, disintegrates the glasses, throws Wolverine across the room, and runs to her childhood home.
The X-Men and Magneto's people all go there to convince her to be on their side. Xavier upsets Jean, who throws Magneto across the room and uses her brain to lift Xavier out of his chair. Wolverine and Storm get their asses kicked. Jean disintegrates Professor X. And another of my favorite X-characters is killed.
Jean goes with Magneto and his crew to the woods.
Somewhere in there, Rogue sees her boyfriend, Bobby "Iceman" Drake, ice skating with Kitty Pride on the fountain in the yard and decides to go get the cure so she can finally touch her man, proving that Rogue believe that the only way to keep a man faithful is by putting out. Also, Angel escapes from the cure and flies from San Francisco to New York. (Later, he flies from NY to SF, almost as fast as the X-Men's jet can fly.)
There's a cool scene where Jamie Madrox becomes a whole camp of mutants to screw with the government.
Wolverine goes by himself, to once again reinforce that he's loner, to save Jean. He fights a guy who throws pointy bones. He kills the guy who throws pointy bones. Magneto throws Wolvie against a tree. Magneto throws Wolvie across the forest. Wolvie limps his way back to the mansion to ask for help to save Jean.
Magneto, literally, takes the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz. It was very nice of him to lay one end of the bridge on the peninsula so the US army could get across later in the movie.
Magneto sends his "pawns" in and they all get shot with the cure.
Some mutant, I couldn't tell if it was a guy or a girl, claps his or her hands and destroys the guns. The army guys get scared. The X-Men (although I hate calling them that without Cyclops there) arrive and fight. Storm gets to beat up the chick who beat her up earlier. Wolverine uses his claws on lots of people, but never seems to get them bloody. Beast bounces, throws bad guys, and partially quotes Churchill. Kitty runs away from Juggernaut. Iceman makes a wall of ice. And Colossus does stuff, but I don't remember him being shown much. (I guess he was too expensive to show all the time.)
After a long, wall crushing chase, Kitty saves the mutant who is the cure by having Juggernaut run into a wall. Yeah, it's stupid.
Iceman fights Pyro and finally ices up to... head butt the guy.
Colossus hurls Wolverine, in a "fastball special," at Magneto, who stops Wolvie in mid air and pontificates a bit. Beast jumps up from behind and pokes Magneto with the cure.
Jean goes even crazier and starts disintegrating all the people who didn't have speaking parts.
Kitty appears with the cure kid and no one thinks that if they can get him close to Jean, she'll stop turning people to dust.
Everyone runs across the bridge to the peninsula, except for Wolverine and Jean and all the dead people.
Wolverine gets close to her, trying to talk to her so she'll stop being crazy. She doesn't stop and she can't disintegrate him as fast as his body regenerates. He gets close to her, stabs her in the stomach, she dies, and he cries.
There are three headstones in the lawn at the mansion, which doesn't creep any of the kids out, right? Storm hugs the cure kid. Rogue is back, touches Bobby's hand and kisses him.
Magneto is sitting in a park at a chess board. He puts he had near a piece and it wiggles toward his hand. He smiles. The movie ends.

First, in my opinion, a story about the Dark Phoenix doesn't work if the audience hasn't seen the Phoenix be good. If the Jean had come back with all the power of the Phoenix and help the X-Men and slowly go insane until she becomes the Dark Phoenix it would have much more impact on the audience. There's a reason Claremont and Byrne set the original story of the Phoenix up that way: They knew what they were doing.

Second, did anyone really believe that Wolverine loved Jean as much as or more than Scott? Scott was the one who loved her, openly, in the last two movies. Scott was the one broken-up over her death. Scott was the one who found her at the lake. He should have been the one to hear Xavier's mental block story. He should have been the one who tried to rescue her in the forest. He should have been the one to kill her in the end to provide the most emotional impact. Instead, he was killed off screen. Just thrown away.

The best thing about this movie was Kelsy Grammer as Beast, it's just too bad he's not that important to the movie. (Sure, Ian McKellen was fun, again, as Magneto, but there were points where he seemed bored with what he was doing.) I knew when I'd first read about him being cast that he'd be wonderful. He has a voice that sounds kind and intelligent, just like the voice of Beast I hear in my head. With Grammer as Beast I could see the joy Hank McCoy got out of reading a book, visiting with old friends, or ripping enemies apart. He was the only character who brought a smile to my face. Hearing him say, "Oh my stars and garters!" made me grin from ear to ear. I did have two problems with him, though. (Neither had to do with the actor.) The first was the lack of a furry face. Without the furry face he looks too human, not beastly enough. It shouldn't have to have long hair, like they put on his body, but hair that looks like a freshly buzzed head, where it's less than a half inch long. That, I think, would have made his make-up perfect. The second problem was not showing him being acrobatic in any way. Yeah, the first shot of the guy is him hanging upside-down reading in his office, but it would have been cooler if he had been told his meeting was delayed a few minutes and he said, "Fine, that gives me some time to catch up on my [pretentious Russian author]." Then he grabs the book, bounces off the wall, flips, and grabs on to the ceiling with his bare feet. And the fight at the end would have been a lot more fun to watch if he had been more talkative and less beastly.

The movie has lots of missed opportunities like those:
We didn't get to see the whole Sentinel.
Iceman only sprays a mist to freeze things; he doesn't make anything with his ice. Why couldn't he have thrown an icicle? And he ices himself up only to head butt Pyro? What was that about? Why not have him ice up as he steps out to duel with Pyro? Pyro mocks Bobby, Bobby ices up, Pyro take a moment and realizes that he has some respect for his enemy. It would have been ten seconds of screen time that lets the fanboys drool and give Pyro some characterization. The characterization actually fits because at one point Magneto explained to Pyro that he had a deep respect for Xavier, even though they worked differently.
Speaking of Pyro, he only throws fireballs. Where is his artistic flair? In the first movie he made something out of his flame for Rogue; I think it was a flower. I'd have liked to see him using his control over flame to amuse himself and others when he wasn't fighting. But that would be considered more characterization, which was forbidden in this movie.
Where was the Phoenix raptor? I thought it would appear at the end just before Jean was killed by Wolverine. I was waiting for her to be surrounded by the giant flaming bird.
And then there’s the end, which I think would have been better if Magneto was sitting at his chess board and human Mystic walks over, and sits down. Magneto looks up at her. Her eyes change back to the Mystic yellow and the skin surrounding the eyes turns blue then change back to normal. She smiles. He smiles. The movie ends.

So, there you go. I hope I've ruined it for everyone.

If you're no longer interested in seeing the movie, I say you should do one of two things:
1) Do as my brother is doing, save the money and put it toward a ticket to see Superman Returns in 3D at IMAX.
Or 2) Go see Art School Confidential instead. It may not be as good as Ghost World but it's a damn good movie.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Superman Returns

I've been listening to clips of music from the new Superman movie.

It sounds wonderful.

Which worries me.

Why? (Someone out there must be asking that question.)

It worries me because I don't want to get too excited and expect too much out of this movie. Like I did for Star Wars.

When the original Star Wars trilogy was put back into theaters as the special edition, it was amazing, for me at least. I had spent most of my life watching and re-watching those three movies with my brother on a video tape that was wearing out, but still played. Sitting in the dark theater, seeing the words "A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away", and then hearing the fanfare gave me chills. I never thought I'd see these movies on the big screen. It was everything I'd hoped for. (Except for the Jabba scene, which I did my best to ignore.) Later, I found out that the prequels were being made and I thought that there would be a new Star Wars for my generation. There wasn't though. In general, the prequels sucked and that moment of euphoria I felt seeing the original was gone.

When I saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last November, the euphoria returned. I heard Jor-El offering his son advice. I heard a play on John Williams's original score. I saw the greatest superhero of them all hanging over the Earth, watching and then streaking off to save someone. I had the chills again.

I've never gotten to see Superman on the big screen. I wish Warner Bros. had sent it to the theater when they released the DVD. I would have been there just to see him catch the helicopter and to hear Lois say, "You've got me. Who's got you?"

I hope the new one is worth it. I hope it's everything I want it to be and more.