Thursday, August 29, 2002
some things i noticed today:
great ideas are a dime a dozen. don't kid yourself. it's hard work that counts.
the word 'genius' is used far too often. for instance, after i goofed up a piece of code today, my co-worker said "nice job genius."
pok-e-joe's has the worst freakin' bbq in austin. plus i feel stupid when i'm standing at the counter with a pile of some overcooked sausage, and the lady behind the counter says "welcome to pok-e-joe's." i think i confuse pok-e-joe's with rudy's until i get there and hear the lady say that. that's a bad feeling.
i don't own a weight scale. consequently, i don't have a clue how much i weigh. i'm going to go out on a limb and say that i'm under 260 lbs.
i have 2 sinking feelings during the day. the first is when i turn the corner and see one of my co-workers. he's always sitting at his desk looking right at me as i walk in. he salutes me and says "morning." he shakes his left knee really rapidly and slurps his coffee. he has a mug that has the chemical equation for caffeine on it. this depresses me more than anything in recent memory. i always hope to walk in and not see him. maybe he's called in sick. or quit. or got in an accident. not a bad accident, just one that would keep him out of work for a few days. the second sinking feeling i have is when i see that he's already drunk a whole pot of coffee by the time i get there. so on top of all this, i have to make my own coffee.
traffice on southbound mopac usually thins out around 45th street. so if you can take burnet up to 45th, you're usually doing pretty good.
i got the "why are you a christian" question again. i get defensive and grouchy when people ask me why i'm a christian. it's usually a smart-ass, flippant, smug question coming from a smart-assed, flippant and smug 25-35 yr. old. i can't believe you, a sane, rational human being in this 21st century would believe in such a bunch of total nonsense. those silly bible stories? they always bring up moses. moses and the burning bush? oh c'mon. the flood? they'll go through the whole list of stories they remember. as if i was lulled into somehow missing most of the bible myself. they bring up science and proof. where's God? there's simply no proof! or they talk about other christians and how silly and stupid they are. jimmy falwell is a favorite. or jim bakker. i'm sure it's not the christian response, but i want to tell them to fuck off. you don't like christianity? fine. you don't like most christians or you want to judge them along some sliding scale of hypocrisy that you've never bothered to think through? perfect. you believe in ufo's, polls, the power of television, the experts, the latest consumer product you have to have, the idea that the love of another person will make everything allright, eastern mishmash buddhism and the perfectly understandable need to mean something or matter, but the idea of a sovereign God is somehow too ridiculous to ponder. excellent. have a nice life. like i said, this isn't the best christian response. my mom says i have too much pride and that's the worst sin against God. sorry God. you'll only have to put up with me for another 42.5 years.
Sunday, August 11, 2002
i came home tonight after spending the day in salado. there was a firetruck and an ambulence parked outside our house. i immediately thought that i had forgotten to turn off the gas stove. i always think this and i can never remember if i turned it off. there were several people milling around in the street. it turned out the emergency crew was at my neighbor's house. mr. whitley. the folks one house down from his, the fishers, told me that it was probably his wife. she was bedridden with emphysema. i didn't even know he had a wife. they told me stories about mr. kilburn, the man who custom built our house in 1950, and about mrs. gambrel, our other next-door neighbor. mr. kilburn actually built this house out of cut limestone by himself. he also built mrs. gambrel's house. can you imagine that? they've all been living here since the early 50's. the same neighborhood. the same folks. the streets weren't even here. just dirt roads. finally, they wheeled out mrs. whitley. she was pale white, with an oxygen mask around her. her grandkids came over and explained that she may have had a stroke. they were very polite, but clearly shaken. mr. whitley came out and got into a car. he waved to us. finally, the ambulence and fire truck drove off and we were left standing in the street. another neighbor showed up and they told some more stories about those good old days when neighbors knew each other. when they mowed each other's yards and built fences together. when their kids played out in the street and walked to school by themselves. sweet jesus, i realized: we've lived here a year, and this was the first time that i had ever even spoken with any of these people.
went to go see m. night shyamalan's signs this w/end. i thought it was a great film, but then i liked unbreakable. or unbearable as rob called it. quite a few critics would probably agree with rob on this one too. but, i'm a sucker for the slow burn suspense shyamalan doles out like heroin.
some things i thought about after the film...
a) in a summer of retreads, sequals and prequals, you have to give the guy nods for coming up with an original script. of his own. think about it. most of the movies hollywood has stuck in our face, this summer especially, have been complete and total rip-offs; of themselves or of previously successful films.
b) the use of very little or a muted soundtrack during certain "big" scenes. i wish to hell most american directors would catch on to this. spielberg is the worst offender. john williams big honkin' score in the background tells you exactly how to feel every millisecond.
c) he likes low and high camera angles and uses them to great effect.
d) i didn't really like mel gibson all that much before this. in particular i think, the lethal weapon series really turned me off him.
e) i didn't think there was a false note in the film, both emotional or visceral; except for the director casting himself in a primary role. the only really big mistake in my opinion.
f) i thought the central spiritual question was valid. it seems from the reviews, that most critics found this distasteful or cheap. i couldn't disagree more. in point of fact, i think that the central spiritual question poised in the film (is life a random chain of events or do certain signs let on?) is THE big spiritual/existential question of our lives. i don't know what these critics would consider deep, but screaming at a God you don't believe in about life's tragedies is core to the witness of life.
e) i remember reading something that tarantino said about wanting to make a film about godzilla. only in this film, godzilla would be in the background. the film would be more about normal people's lives. there would be religious cults cropping up around godzilla. there would be scientists and perhaps the military trying to contain him. meanwhile, people would go to work, etc, and ask themselves if it was the end of the world. i think this movie was a lot like what tarantino was referring to.
f) this film obviously touched a worn-out wound in both me and my wife. so maybe it's all personal. at any rate, tread lightly with your smart-ass putdowns.
Saturday, August 03, 2002
am i the only one who hates bruce springsteen? sorry faithful masses, but that new single blows chunks. and the boomer critics are practically wetting themselves as usual. it's a meditation on our post-9/11 malaise, etc. the only rising i see is the rising tide of horse shit that comes from just about every other self-important person "weighing in" on 9/11. our country was attacked by a bunch of muslim extremists. we're trying our best to stop them without causing wwIII. i'm not downplaying the fog of being in a war that doesn't really have a label, but most of the "what's life really about?" crap just seems empty when it's coming from a guy who allows people to call him "the boss."
side note: does he mention mary in every song? he mentions mary almost as much as the counting crows mention maria. see b/c it's really deep. mary mother of jesus. mary the common woman's name. wow.