Friday, May 3, 2013

None of you will probably be as interested in this but I've started putting some posts (mostly reviews of movies) at  It will be much more organized.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I am back in DC.  I should relocate (and focus) this blog but I'm not yet sure where it should go.  California was quite nice.  It was great to hang out with old friends, see more of family, and to drive around some.  I may go back after a year here. I will not miss the temperature dropping 20-30 degrees at night and living with people whom Dave Reynolds took about two minutes to conclude that "they sound like white trash."  Now I wouldn't use that term, but he wasn't far off the mark.  Yelling gets on my nerves, and these people liked to yell at their pets, at each other, and at each other about the pets.

(Is it just me or are German Shepards the least cute dog breed?  My dad had one when I was a kid, and I guess he was smart and friendly, but he wasn't cuddly-cute.  My former landlord/housemate in California has a super skinny German Shepard who was neither friendly, smart, nor cute.  He liked to bark a lot. He'd sit on her disgusting furniture and bark at people outside the door.  Possibly the most annoying thing you could put in your house.  He was like a Chihuahua except more hairy. Or like a tantruming toddler but with no cute phase and who never grows up.  Anyway, I told her the dog had no redeeming qualities and should just be taken to the pound but she thought I was joking. My good advice is often unappreciated.)

I had cursed my former landlord/housemate to a future of housing struggles and frustration, but I hereby withdraw my ill will.  Let her find some stability for her daughter's sake.  I wonder if my hex can be withdrawn.  In the past I've only ever cursed restaurants and haven't ever changed my mind about them. (GWU's chick-fil-a and it's nasty chicken got removed in 2011, btw.  I am two for two! That one took a while.)

Lauren's place is a bit chilly and both she and Doug are getting sick, but they're kindly letting me stay on their couch while I search for a more permanent place.  Hopefully I will find something I like soon.

(talking to Dan about his wedding)

Dan: I think there's going to be one single girl there.
me: Is she cute?
Dan: She has a great personality.

Monday, August 6, 2012

All stories end.  And all children, except one, grow up.

I'll be in California for the next few months.  I probably won't be writing here but might start up at a new location.  It's nice to have a fresh start sometimes.  Still, instead of adding a lot more blog-noise to the Internet, I plan on using my time in California to do some art, a little creative programming, and socializing with my neglected high school friends and family.  I just hope the weather warms back up.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I was going to write a post here lamenting that I'm now middle aged, but according to wikipedia I'm not quite there yet. I still feel like this is an unpleasant milestone. 30 is such a round number. It's one of those points where you think, "I remember 5 years ago, and this is about where I was then as well." The same job, though now I work from home and my pay grade in the office has probably about plateaued. My wardrobe is a bit different. My computer is a little smarter. My tv is larger. Lots of great accomplishments, as you can see. I suppose my current apartment is much nicer, but that's about to change.

Today I went to the zoo for a bit. Maybe I should have been going more often because it's free and all.  I saw some joggers who look like they run through it regularly.  I was there hoping for a summer rainstorm but the weather wasn't accomodating. Instead it was just cloudy, hot and sticky, and the only large animals you could see were donkeys. Every animal that could go indoors had done so. We give these zoo animals too many options.

I also spent some time trying to make a good mojito. It's much harder to do than you'd expect. People on the internet like their mojitos either tart or bitter, and I prefer mine sweet. But all these ingredients (there are only about five possibilities) somehow don't add up to a sweet beverage. Even adding lots of sweetened syrup doesn't really work. There must be a secret ingredient somewhere.  Now I'm discouraged and my kitchen is all sticky. Lots of failed mojitos poured right down the drain too. I guess I'm lacking that alcoholic gene.
Well I've been screwing around for 30 years, it's time to start making something of my life.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Got lectured by a tourist on the metro train because I was sitting in a handicapped seat while a completely able-bodied lady was standing near the doors with a stroller. Since when is pushing a kid around the same as being handicapped? I get up for pregnant women, people with disabilities, and old people. Or even people who look like they might be unusually uncomfortable standing, on a case by case basis.

The lady in the doorway looked totally capable of standing on the train, and in the shuffle of people getting off and on at stops she didn't look at all interested in grabbing one of the vacated seats. So I didn't get up, and the tourist in the handicapped seat next to me, who was also young and ablebodied and had clogged up the aisleway with her own stroller, bitched in my ear and to her lucky husband for two stops about what despicable person I am.

I didn't call her any names but maybe I should have.  Instead now I just hate people. Happy birthday, America.

(from "W." George Bush to Condoliza Rice after a frustrating telephone call with the president of France)
Next chance that comes up, remind me to veto something French. 'Cause I'd be damn glad to!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm watching Made in Britain. I should rename this blog "Movies you've never heard about- And probably don't want to." It's an older British film, Tim Roth's first. It might be made for TV, I'm not sure. Tim Roth plays a British juvenile delinquint going through the British government's JD reform system. It's not a very entertaining movie. For some reason the social worker is convinced that Tim Roth's character is smart and reformable, but he continually frustrates everyone by refusing to adopt the straight and narrow. The entire film is watching a punk commit random crimes and consequentially get in yelling matches with well-meaning social workers until everyone in government washes their hands of him.

There's a scene in the Breakfast Club where the one punker teenager aggravates the principal and is given a bunch of extra detentions. Hmm. According to the internet, that scene goes something like:

Richard Vernon: You're not fooling anyone, Bender. The next screw that falls out will be you.
John Bender: Eat my shorts.
Richard Vernon: What was that?
John Bender: Eat... My... Shorts.
Richard Vernon: You just bought yourself another Saturday.
John Bender: Ooh, I'm crushed.
Richard Vernon: You just bought one more.
John Bender: Well I'm free the Saturday after that. Beyond that, I'm going to have to check my calendar.
Richard Vernon: Good, cause it's going to be filled. We'll keep going. You want another one? Just say the word say it. Instead of going to prison you'll come here. Are you through?
John Bender: No.

The parody in Not Another Teen Movie of this scene was particularly funny.  Anyway, now you remember the scene. Take that scene, stretch it out to an entire movie, add a few racist rants and some benevolent authority figures, and you've got yourself Made in Britain. Talking to this guy is like trying to convince a Goth kid to save himself some grief and change his makeup. He'd rave about "conformists" and "sell outs" and there'd be nothing more you could do.

Tim Roth does an fantastic job. By the end of the movie even I wanted to punch him. You get the sense that the kid knows that he is spiraling downward, but that by this point his highest realistic ambition, to be a taxi driver, would require swallowing an unmanageable amount of pride and admitting mistakes. Tim Roth can't do it and instead steals cars and breaks windows. Some people have to choose between being true to themselves and being happy.

(from Moby Dick)
"Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!"

Friday, June 8, 2012

I saw The Avengers yesterday. I should retitle this blog "The Movie Snob." I'd been resisting The Avengers, mostly because I've been continuously disappointed with Marvel comics' movies. I'm also reluctant to contribute to Hollywood's "more is more" mentality, where more explosions is equated to more money and all the finer subtleties of filming are ignored. So I'd skipped Iron Man 2, and Fantastic 4, and had only seen Thor and whatever else on DVD where I could read or play solitare on my laptop at the same time. But Kate Reid wanted to see The Avengers, and she was kindly helping me pick out glasses frames downtown, so I compromised my values and went to see another Marvel comics movie. I'm a rather inexpensive whore, as whores go.

The movie actually wasn't half-bad! Maybe because my expectations were in the gutter. Robert Downy Jr's endless quips were only a little annoying, same with Captain America's pouty earnestness and Thor's archaic way of speaking. Iron Man's archery still look silly, but you can see why everyone might choose to politely indulge his idiosycrasy.

I found myself appreciating how they stayed true to my childhood memories of the comic books. They show Captain America's shield magically absorbing the vibrations of Thor's attack, how Mjolnir can only be lifted by the righteous, and I was quite entertained when Bruce Banner walked into a scene wearing ill-fitting, unnaturally large pants (by coincidence in the story, but we all know it was in preparation for his pants-stretching transformation).

It turns out that if you throw enough 2.5D characters into a scene, you stop noticing their individual lack of dimension. Also if you squish enough layers into a premise, you stop noticing that there isn't really a narrative plot. Marvel pulled a lot of tricks with this one. The only thing they can't disguise is that this is a franchise movie and no permanent changes can be made to any of the characters. Captain America might get randomly bruised and cut, but none of those bullets are going to blow off a finger or hit an eye. The characters are invulnerable, and they know it. They are cartoonishly carefree when in supposed danger. The one somber part of the movie is when a minor soldier guy dies. And you know its the sad part, not because any actors pretend to be saddened, but really because the characters take a few minutes off from their usual quips. (Looking back now, I suppose I complained about this same thing a few entries ago regarding Burn Notice. I guess it's something that bothers me more than most viewers.)

Even the hook after the credits was entertaining. Possibly only because of my particular circumstances. I had to explain to Kate Reid whose face it was that we saw, and then she asked me if his line therefore had a double-meaning, and it was only then that I saw that it did have a double-meaning. Usually I hate waiting for post-credits hook scenes but I appreciated how that bit of cleverness snuck up on me after the fact.