Wednesday, February 26, 2003
last night i was watching apocolypse now redux and thinking that it wasn't such a bad thing that studios reigned in directors. i mean basically, the studio system of today is probably a direct result of the 1970s style of filmmaking. they let these young turk masters have their way and several studios were almost ruined by these expensive film disasters. heaven's gate by cimino nearly bankrupted a studio. scorsese had new york, new york. ever watch that stinker on late-night t.v.? the most recent example is probably waterworld. every once in awhile, there's some egomaniac that just goes over the edge. so the studios say no way. the directors won't have control. we'll play it safe. for every gangs of new york, there's three ishtars. still, you really want the director to be that lone artist in the wilderness. as the viewer, you really root for those guys. at any rate, i thought coppola's director's cut of apocolypse was about an hour too long. probably the hour he added. i think the studio was right to cut it down. you need somebody to shoot george lucas when the time comes. in lucas' case, that would have been about 10 years ago.
if you saw a ufo would you tell anyone?
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
post-grammy roundup. i didn't actually watch the grammy awards, but have seen snippets and heard enough sound bites to make my own biased judgements.
- nothing and i do mean nothing can make up for the fact that john mayer won an award. granted, if 16 year-old girls ran the grammy committee, he'd sweep all categories including ROK, but, i'm still aghast that anyone over the age of 18 voted for this guy. he sounds like he's choking on marbles and the lyrics! my god, the lyrics, people. your body is a wonderland. i want to use my hands? def leppard wrote better dreck. and they rokked.
- mystikal was robbed. straight up. this was a white-bread singer/songwriter evening and the cards were stacked against anyone who didn't sound like the 1960s recycled.
- bruce springstreet (as dustin hoffman called him) is to rock as feta is to cheese. old and smelly. again, he gets props for lasting, but so what? everyone freaking grows old.
- i like norah jones. i think she's got a great voice and the songs are lovely. but there is no way she deserved 5 grammys. that's just taking the safe road. and couldn't they play another song when she won her 4th grammy?
- bono lost 15 cool points for having bill clinton give him the "person of the year" award. he's still cool, but 15 cool points could buy a lot of cover when you're 60 and still trying to sing "zoo station."
- it took 5 writers to come up with avril lavigne's "complicated?" file under signs of the apocolypse.
ok, it's not snow. it's ice. schools are closed. the paper is recommending no driving whatsoever. there are accidents all over town. cars. people falling down on sidewalks. i'm sure the entire northeastern united states is laughing it's collective ass off. still, i don't really feel like driving to work.
Monday, February 24, 2003
i just looked outside and there's a thin blanket of snow covering our backyard. snow! it's reflecting the moonlight and it seems like dusk. or dawn. wonders never cease.
although you wouldn't get it from the major news outlets or the grammy award announcers, debate is alive and well in this country.
i was thinking how 20 minutes is the ideal sort of time. i generally take about 20 minutes to eat any meal. a sitcom lasts about 20 min. when you fast forward through commercials. sex. sex is about 20 minutes. i don't want to hear from the tantric yoga contingent on this one. 20 minutes for exercise. 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. 20 minutes to get to work. plenty of recipes take about 20 minutes. learn html in 20 minutes. most pregnancy tests take 20 minutes. i don't think my attention span actually goes past 20 minutes. you could, in fact, probably break up my entire day into 20 minute time slots with perhaps a 1-2 minute room for error. my whole day. my whole life. 20 minutes.
Friday, February 21, 2003
a poem of mine was published in a friend's literary mag: dirtpress
such a small poem to choose. i guess it's a little like haiku. reserving the fewest words for the most emotion. i told my friend it was a letdown. i instantly think the worst thoughts. do they not like my other poems? am i capable of judging what other people might like or not like? do i have any business doing this? he told me i was just like him. a worry wart. suck it up, he told me. yeah.
i feel like such a fraud sometimes. i had a good thought about 30 seconds ago and now i can't remember it. i just scribble down words and then go back and look at them. that's it.
i have to tell myself that rothko felt this way. so did st. peter. the rooster crowed three times and he flaked. people looked at rothko's paintings and tried to design their wallpaper around them. everyone is somebody else for most of the day. the unlucky ones sit down and wonder who they really are. the really unlucky ones never get the chance.
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
i'm headed down to beaumont on sat. to visit with my moms. maybe. hi mom.
now reading all borrowed books:
microserfs by douglas coupland
i smell like esther williams and other stories by mark leyner
kitchen by banana yoshimoto
may we borrow your husband and other comedies of the sexual life by graham greene
i took a comedy defensive driving course the night before last. it wasn't funny. there was a sour mood in the air. it ran from 6pm to midnight. just horrible. the comedian got scared towards the end. he put in a continuous stream of videos and ran back to his office. the poor woman next to me kept bitching that they let her husband out early when he came. "eleven o'clock," she kept saying. "they let him out at eleven o'clock." i thought i was going to have to slap her. during the breaks i asked a guy with a dos equis shirt if he had the foresight to bring a flask. "como?" he said. "whiskey!" i almost shouted. towards the end i was hallucinating. i could've sworn that we were watching babe. that movie about a pig who thinks he's a sheepdog. i don't know how, but i passed the test and stumbled out at half past midnight. sweet mother of mary. they knew what they were doing when they put this whole defensive driving thing together. it's jail time for 6 hours no matter how you slice it. i'd rather pick up trash on the side of the road.
Saturday, February 15, 2003
ideas for short stories.
- a corporate meeting. 1 guy is late to meeting. everyone starts bad mouthing the guy and giving in to the usual office politics and gossip. each is also secretly jealous of his apparent lack of concern for his own job. he's not moving up the ladder. he'll prob. get fired soon. end abruptly with news that the guy died in a car crash that morning. pull out with uncomfortable silence, the kind that last for seconds and then forever.
- 2 co-workers. #1 is socially awkward leech (can't get women) constantly pestering #2 to hang out, etc. #2 finally gives in and goes over to watch game. they get extremely drunk. #1 says he hired a prostitute for the evening. brings her in and practically forces a half-passed out #2 to have sex with her. #2 barely remembers what happened. after a few days, #1 reveals that the girl was actually kidnapped and not a prostitute. he's been holding her against her will in his apt. drugging her with rohypnol (sp?). he's apparently so far gone that he thinks #2 will go along with his scheme to sell her into the black market sex trade. #2 threatens to contact police, but #1 reminds him he had sex with her. he's got his semen, etc. and can pin it all on him if he wanted. what does #2 do? mystery or suspense thriller.
- old lady who serves the salad at a luby's. she seems so kind and yet also a little odd. she whispers bible verses to the patrons. she's been warned by the manager and is close to losing her job. a young dishwasher boy notices her and loathes her little sermons. one day after work he follows her and beats her up, takes her money. the police catch the boy. end with detective questioning boy? why did you do it? boy says he doesn't know. he just had that hate inside him. and she had something other than hate.
- guy has to put his dog to sleep b/c it's attacked and mauled a niece. instead of having it done by a vet and against the protestations of his family and friends, he decides to kill the dog himself. story opens in evening after he's done it and pulls backward over his decision.
more ugly facts to counter the "bush is hitler" arguments making the rounds on the 18-35 set.
This line of reasoning is not only an argument for permanent inspections (and a permanently deferred enforcement of U.N. resolutions), but also a thorough misinterpretation of Resolution 1441. Nowhere does that resolution say war is an option only after inspections have been utterly exhausted. Rather, it states a) that Iraq is already in "material breach" of several U.N. resolutions going back to the 1991 cease-fire; b) that the Security Council is giving Iraq one more chance to comply with its obligations; and c) that if it commits another breach—by failing to disarm completely, by making false statements or omissions in its stockpile declarations, or by failing to provide inspectors with "immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted" access to everything and everybody they want to see—then there will be "serious consequences."
again, nobody wants to pony up to the notion that the u.s. is trying to prop up a feeble u.n. we could've already invaded iraq. the only problem is keeping the peace afterwards. and i agree, we need a stronger coalition to do that. but that's qualitatively different than screaming war is bad or bush is an idiot. he does look like an idiot and talk like an idiot and walk like an idiot. ok, he's an idiot. but i think he's doing the right thing here. i only hope that we can somehow convince the security council to come on board. at least then, the terrorists will bomb moscow as well as d.c.
daredevil was my favorite comic book growing up. the frank miller version. the man without fear. aside from the hyper-anime graphics (before anyone here knew what anime was), i think i just liked the notion of a superhero (with less toys than batman) who didn't have any superpowers. hell, with no toys save a stick. he was blind as a bat and only had his other heightened senses and a sort of keen radar sense to guide him through his battles with the forces of darkness. he also carried around his own darkness. at any rate, as much as people make fun of comic book nerds, some of the writing is just plain better than any of the literary hotshots putting out their meta-fiction or long, sprawling ego-fests. pynchon? updike? mailer? please. i defy anyone to pick up a book those guys have written in the last 10 years and actually finish it. even absolom, absolom. jeez. i think faulker's short stories are about the best damn thing i've ever read. biblical in force and nature. but some of his novels needed an editor with a steady hand and the confidence to tell the nobel prize winner to lay off the sauce.
all this to say, i remember daredevil with a certain nostalgia, but have recently picked up a few of the miller copies and re-read them. i still think they're great. so, it was with a profound sickness in my heart that i saw they were casting ben assfuck in the lead role. that smirking, hunking, pile of shit. i held out a little hope for the elektra character as played by garner, but now the reviews are rolling in and it's as dismal as my gut told me it would be. another comic book ruined by hollywood. another teenage boys art form taken to the rim by a bunch of marketing shitbags. i hope you're out there frank miller, cranking out a new vision. taking it all in. preparing for the time to return with another saga of life and death and love and hope. one that they can't steal away. b/c this shit, it ain't you.
Thursday, February 13, 2003
thomas forgot his library book for school today. or we forgot it. every thurs. is library day, when the kindergarteners bring their library books back and trade them in for new ones. we forgot our library book. thomas was pretty upset about it. i opened up the backpack and it was empty. "shit," i thought. the kid takes these things pretty hard. just like his old man. uptight as a bent pipe spewing steam. "go home and get it," he said. i told him it'd be alright. he was almost in tears, i swear. i told him i'd call lonanne and she'd bring it up. smooth. he gave me a big hug and told me not to forget. my two favorite moments in the entire set of stinking run-on days is when my sons hug me. thomas hugs me when i leave him at school. and they both hug me when i come home. william actually opens the door and then yells to thomas: "dad's home!" thomas has to go into the kitchen from wherever he is and then come running at me like the tightend talent that his dad's short, stumpy leg genes gave him. he nails me in the crotch every time. i try to brace for it, but i've got twenty fucking things in my hand, so he gets me like clockwork. i fall on the floor with them both. so anyway, he hugs me and tells me not to forget to call mom and tell her to bring his library book. i call her before i'm out of the parking lot and i get her voice mail. on the way to work i must've called her five times. no answer. it turns out her phone was out of service. at our goddamn house! goddamn fucking phone service! where does the kid get it, right? needless to say, she didn't take the library book up to thomas. too late, etc. "it'll be alright," she tells me. sweet jesus, i think. so on the way to class tonight, i call thomas and tell him that i'll pick him up a movie for tomorrow. and a valentine's present.
him: "a valentine's present?"
him: "ok, but make it a toy."
me: "what about chocolate?"
him: "ok, that too."
the little man's got my number. hook, line, and butterfly sinker.
Saturday, February 08, 2003
comments are back up. obviously, all previous comments are hosed since they were remote. i'm now using xml-based tool on my server, so i'll have all the comments saved.
finally finished new design. i wanted to get everything databased and dynamic, etc. just easier to maintain. so voila! here it is.
i pared down the poetry a bit, added a stories section, and generally reformatted the layout. hope you like.
oh, the comments got busted. blogback basically fell apart. so i'm looking for another remote commenting service. any suggestions are welcome. my apologies to all of you who broke heart and soul feeding me with your "you stupid fuk" comments. dirt. bucho. sven. i am working round the clock to get those comments back up there.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
i remember i was 6 years old when my mom saved me from drowning. we were on vacation in san antonio and staying at the holiday inn on the riverwalk. 6 years old i'm pretty sure. it was summer time and her and i were out by the pool. i was supposed to be in the kiddie pool, but, ignoring the signs and my mom's own chiding, i was running around the edge of the main pool. she was sitting in a deck chair, fully clothed, reading one of her mystery books. agatha christie, i'm guessing. finally, on my third trip around, i slipped and fell in the deep end. i should've known how to swim, but i didn't. i remember sinking straight to the bottom like a stone. the sun shown down through the water like a cracked mosaic. i could feel the water going down my throat for what seemed like an eternity. it was probably not more than 2 seconds later that my mom jumped in the pool, clothes and all. she came through that sun and water like a dolphin and scooped me up. she put me on the side of the pool and hit my back. i was practically throwing up water. who knows what kind of fear was going through her whole body when she saw her son lying at the bottom of the pool. i remember all this like it was yesterday. more like it was a dream that i had yesterday. that night we stayed in the room and ordered room service. everything seemed new and fresh. there was a sense that we both had this renewed lease on life. i sat on the bed, eating french fries and drinking a milk shake. we stayed up late and watched logan's run; that movie about people who couldn't see much of a point to life past 34.
now i'm almost 34 and my mom is in the hospital for another round of chemo treatments. the doctor has now told her that it is realistic to assume that she has roughly 2-6 months to live. we spoke tonight. i guess there's not much more to say about it. she's not one for the sentimental pap. she wouldn't like me making a big show or blubbering on about all the sorrow and sadness or the "it's all going to be alright" nonsense. she gets enough of that from her church friends. she knows it's not all going to be alright. i know it too. and that's alright. sometimes, it's all you can do to jump in a pool and save your dipshit 6-year old son. or call your mom and tell her you love her.
Monday, February 03, 2003
happy birthday szot.
you're already richer
than most people are wise
keep the oil burning
and the lights on tight
it takes a lot to stay living
without a guaranteed prize
Sunday, February 02, 2003
the space shuttle must be stopped. good essay that takes into account yesterday's tragic events. hell, i think nasa should be stopped.
Saturday, February 01, 2003
currently reading or trying to read or sitting on my nightstand mocking me:
writing down the bones - natalie goldberg
the name of the world - denis johnson
the information - martin amis
a cure for gravity - joe jackson
the progress of love - alice munro
the short stories of ernest hemingway
if he hollers let him go - chester himes
the art of fiction - john gardner
where i'm calling from - raymond carver
lonanne still sort of sick. william coughing. she took him to dr. yesterday. more cough medicine. they always say that it's allergies. but he's been coughing like this for 3 months. i really wanted to be there when the dr. said "allergies." cooler heads prevailed, and lonanne convinced her to prescribe some stronger cough medicine and some anti-biotics. it's most likely a lingering sinus infection. but what the fuck? we have to go to the dr. 3x to get the right fucking answer??? i know the doctors are overworked and the hmos are sons of bitches about paying out on anything, but it wasn't always this way. or was it?