Tuesday, September 30, 2003
thomas had a writing assignment for homework tonight:
i don't want to grow up because...
well, number 1, i don't think i'll want to eat vegitables.
number 2, i won't know how to drive a car.
number 3, i won't know where to get things to put in your house, like a bed, and i think it'll be too expensive.
and number 4, i won't know how to get anywhere in a car and i think buying a car will be too expensive.
he's six years old and already a better writer than me.
Sunday, September 28, 2003
in praise of joe schmo.
If Matt is an everyday guy, Joe Schmo's Truman Show-esque manipulations implicate everyone in a more complicated game. The show's tagline is "The reality show that's not real," but of course, as the show's producers find out, their lab-experiment has unforeseen consequences. There are real feelings, real injuries. When Earl, the ex-Marine (and Matt's roommate), is voted off in the fourth episode, Matt breaks down on the stairs in tears, so overcome that he can't make it up to his bedroom. "No amount of money is worth this," he says. "I should have thought it through before I came here." It's heartbreaking to watch; the actors are visibly shaken. One producer whispers, "We've got to f***ing stop this."
Friday, September 26, 2003
20 questions the media won't ask about iraq. via instapundit.
robert palmer died today. so did george plimpton. mitch told me that a friend of his (mike m.) died as well. heart attack. he was in his bathtub and his daughter had to break down the door to find him dead. i didn't really know the guy, but had met him once. he was in his early 50s. i don't know why, but it just seems like a lot of people are dying. of course people die every day. you could get hit by a bus tomorrow as i'm fond of telling myself. i remember meeting mike m. once at mitch's house. he was a real smart guy. rice graduate i think. for some reason, he struck me as the saddest guy in the world, though. it had just settled in and all over him. the kind of thing you don't pick up on at first. maybe you don't realize it until later. all i could do today was think about him floating in that tub while his daughter broke down a wooden door to get to him. and here's the thing. i didn't even know this guy.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
interesting hacker riffs on java.
not sure what to think about it. perl? honestly?
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
i'm not gonna cap it off. i hate my tendencies towards this. bottle it up and sell it. there you have it.
good to see mike d. as always. he inspires violence and heavy swearing. life lived on a stage for everyone to see. fuck it.
the shins sucked. so did i love you but i've chosen darkness. it pains me to say this in both cases. we, being me, got into a minor altercation with the bouncer at antone's. this didn't help matters. i steadfastly refuse to be cattle. that's it. well, and i told him he couldn't speak english.
rob says i'm ready for new york. i don't know about that. i think of that dylan song, just like tom thumb's blues.
I started out on burgundy
But soon hit the harder stuff
Everybody said they'd stand behind me
When the game got rough
But the joke was on me
There was nobody even there to call my bluff
I'm going back to New York City
I do believe I've had enough
i like that. i like the way he sings it even better. go download it and listen. worth a thousand shins shows.
we bought gran turismo 2. i get in the mini cooper and let thomas whoop my ass all over the track, drifting side to side. always stay at least two years behind any and all video games. you'll be pleasantly surprised. it's like watching northern exposure.
we're also building a playhouse. i haven't built anything in my entire life. it's about time i hired someone to do it for me. maybe that felon tree guy'll come back if i promise to make lemonade. he can hide out there when he's on a drunk.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
great article on the angry democrats. the florida recount bit is esp. good.
excellent. two movies that i thought were going to suck, don't fail to disappoint.
guy at work: hey, i saw that once upon a time in mexico
guy at work: yeah, it was good.
guy at work: (excited) did you like desperado?
guy at work: spy kids?
me: is it like spy kids?
guy at work: not really, but it's the same director.
i just crawled out of my hole and saw that gen. wesley clark is now running for president. man, is he ever the wrong man for the job. i'd vote for dean before him. first off, he's going to criticize bush for the failures in iraq? i mean, this is the guy who singlehandedly convinced the clinton administration to invade kosovo for humanitarian reasons. then he dropped more bombs on the civilian population than in both gulf wars. not to mention his flub with the russians at the airport. his entire role in kosovo was one long unending series of errors. he's got no domestic policy. he's almost reaganesque (or bushesque) in his pride of not knowing anything. "i've got a lot to learn," he says to the press. no shit. collin powell makes him look like the hollow star-bucket he is. democrats would be wise to follow john edwards lead in pursuing domestic agendas. going left on national security is weak. esp. with a weak general.
Monday, September 15, 2003
yes, i'm fixing all the mistakes.
the other day, saturday, i had to change a tire. we were going over some railroad tracks over off airport and blammo, it sounded like a pop gun. there was a young punk on the side of the road and at first i suspected him. i'm still not sure. it was just me and the boys. we pulled off into an alleyway and i spent the next hour trying to overcome isuzu's ingenius tire changing instructions. the boys played with sticks and got all the dogs in the neighborhood barking by screaming at them. at one point, i had the four pieces of the jack (yes, the jack comes in four pieces, three elongated handles that piece together to form a wiggly handle) working in unison and managed to lift the trooper two inches off the ground. later i realized, the jack needed to go under the rear axle. it was well over 95 degrees outside and i wanted it to be a moment, you know? one where i could show my son how to change a tire, how not lose it and throw a tire iron through a nearby window and call roadside assistance. i finally managed to get the beast off and swapped the spare. as i was screwing on the last tire lock, thomas came up and put his hand on my shoulder.
"good job dad."
william came up and hugged me. the german shephard in the yard across turned his head. william growled and threw a rock at him. i scooped them both up and we went over to the smash n' grab and had slurpees.
Sunday, September 14, 2003
no more please
seems like this has been tried several times, but this is p2p. skype. from the makers of KaZaA.
Saturday, September 13, 2003
i've stopped considering, for the time, that my kids are anything short of spectacular. our natural tendency is not to baby them or spoil them into thinking they are unique little snowflakes who crap icicles. i've seen too many of those kids. they're parents treat every word, every phrase as a wrinkle in the universe. but most of the things kids say are stupid. or cutesy. or spaced out in tv world. no imagination. no interest in much outside themselves. all i'm really saying here is that i'm one of those parents and it can't be helped. it's just that my kids really aren't like that. see? everyone says that too. i baby william past anything that lonanne can bear. he's a chunk and as goofy and affable as lonanne in full bloom. i sit in bed and nearly cry with thomas to the sound of a sad bedtime song. he's sensitive and crazy like his old man. thomas' lego pieces belong in the moma. william's drawings echo richard diebenkorn.
the other day, lonanne told me that they had this poster up on the wall with the various kids in william's class ending the phrase "i'm as fast as a..." the kids had filled in the rest. cheetah. race car. horse. william's read "i'm as fast as a moth." he likes to wash the dishes and his hot wheels in the sink. we recently got the first fifteen episodes of speed racer on dvd. now he runs around the house crashing his red-race-stripe corvette into everything. he's speed, of course. i'm skull duggery.
thomas just lost his fourth or fifth tooth. he got into a little trouble at school here recently for throwing rocks at the teacher. apparently they were pebbles. i asked him why he did it. they were bothering me, he said. who? i asked. the rocks, he said. lonanne asked him why he couldn't tell the teachers to help him pick up the rocks off the carpet. they were talking, he said. the rocks? i asked. the teachers, you dope, said lonanne. later lonanne told me that it's no wonder the rocks were bothering him and gave me this knowing look. he's three lessons into his guitar lessons and is learning "hot cross buns." he gets frustrated with it and lonanne's worried he won't stick it out. don't telegraph i tell her. what? she says. like in boxing, i say. don't telegraph.
just when you think we'll all be clobbered by an errant asteroid in 2014, it turns out that it may be a supervolcano underneath yellowstone that sends us back to the dark ages in what geologists are calling a hydrothermal explosion event. apparently the last supervolcano that went off BLOCKED OUT THE SUN.
ok, show of hands. who knew that there was a supervolcano underneath yellowstone? why was this detail left out of pamphlets about our national park system?
yet another reason not to learn flash
Besides paying over half a billion dollars to the patent holder, Microsoft is supposed to cripple its market-leading browser so that IE/Windows will no longer seamlessly play Flash, Quicktime, RealVideo, or Adobe Acrobat files, Java applets, and other rich media formats. Once the company does this, any site that uses these technologies will no longer work in the browser most people use.
another great andrew sullivan piece on the squandering sympathy meme.
babies apparently smile in the womb
we went to pixies hoot night at the carousel lounge last night with kevin, leeanne, jenny and kyle. i've always seen mention of "hoot nights" at places like the continental club and the hole in the wall, but "swimming against the grain of current pop culture" is hard work and so i would always prefer to knock back a bushnel's at home and think about what sorts of crazy antics i was missing out on. judging from last night's performances, a "hoot night" is an opportunity for untalented hipsters (much like myself) to ritualistically murder any fondness you had in your heart for a particular band. last night it was the pixies. pick an obscure pixies song. ok, that would be just about all of them, but pick ones that you didn't know were pixies songs, didn't really even know were songs and then stand a guy up at the microphone and have him deep throat it for fifteen minutes. there's your "hoot night" i'm thinking of having my very own leonard cohen living room hoot night. that way nobody goes in thinking there's going to be any real singing. despite all this, the carousel lounge is my new favorite neighborhood bar for many reasons: the david lynch circus decor, the nice, but not too nice bartender/waitress, the one sports tv as opposed to two hundred, and best of all...setups. for the uninitiated setups are the mixers that go with hard alcohol. so, they supply the mixers for a buck fitty and you, yes, you my friend, can bring your very own bottle of the good stuff. i know what rob's going to ask. how is this different than what i already do in the kitchen of my apt? well, that is a good question and all i can honestly say is that sometimes life's to be lived elsewhere and having a lesbian bartender/waitress in combat boots pour you a cup of sprite in a tiny plastic glass while a swing band plays against the backdrop of a paper-mache pink elephant does wonders for the wanderlust.
Friday, September 12, 2003
i woke up this morning and saw that john ritter had died. this was the first thing in yahoo news. then later, on the way to work, i heard johnny cash is dead as well. the two johns they said, as if that was funny or meaningful in any way. we have to put shit together, but sometimes shit doesn't fit together. i told lonanne about john ritter before knowing about cash and then i left. later this morning, she sent me this email...
i can't believe you dutifully reported the death of john ritter and completely ignored that johnny cash died. when june carter died in may i remember thinking he'd probably die soon. haggard and willie are the only ones left...
he was one of the greats. and i'm sorry john ritter, but i never liked three's company and, although sad, does your final funny have to be that you obscured johnny fucking cash's death?
of all the posts and names and talking about names and carping about the names and talking about the speechifying, how there didn't need to be any speechifying, the speeches that were trotted out to prevent speeches and people saying shit like "what are the flags at half mast for?" and other people saying shit like "it's the media" and everyone ignoring it, sick to death of it or maybe just not sure, even now, what to make of it, i guess, this is the one take i'll go with.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
bush is evil by william f. buckley. now granted, buckley's setting up paper tigers as usual, but i do find it interesting that he vocalizes better than anyone save for perhaps dean the problems that most of the left-over, twice-baked and relatively fresh lefties have with bush. he's nothing if not concise. i also think that there's been this forced separation btwn. liberal/conservative that doesn't really account for much of the neocon movement. some of the most pointed commentary regarding bush's fiscal policies, as well as moral posturing and the patriot act have come from deep within the neocon movement. i think the old alliances and formations are shifting if ever so slightly. i mean andrew sullivan is talking about voting for dean fer chrissakes.
misc. thoughts while watching gangs of new york on icontrol (or why a movie based on a disney pirate ride was more enjoyable than a movie directed by martin scorsese)
- johnny depp reminds me of keith richards. yes, i know he's said that in interviews. what he hasn't said is that he does a serviceable impression of oliver reed as well.
- the big GANGS of NEW YORK title at the beginning looks like something i photoshopped in like five minutes. if it comes back at the end like the Lion King, i'm gonna become a shut-in.
- goddamn, pirates of the caribbean was an enjoyable summer blockbuster. now if gore verbanski could've just added 10,000 more tracking shots, he'd be as good as martin scorsese.
- daniel day lewis looks like a clown.
- ok, the movie's been on for 15 minutes and i've already seen more sliced ears than in a van gogh retrospective.
- this movie is starting to remind me of an excuse for a u2 video.
- the five points. the five points. ok already. i get it. this where bloody new york was founded. in the streets. with that clown day-lewis walking around on stilts talking about meat.
- ah, i see. *everyone's* corrupt. even cameron diaz.
- i'm learning so much about early new york. for instance, did you know that there was a gang called the "plug uglies?"
- i go back and check to see how long the movie is. 3 hours? holy shiot. i start fast forwarding through scenes. wait, there's cameron diaz about to...oh, no, leonardo starts method acting.
- i fast forward to the last battle. apparently leonardo has decided to rejoin the catholic church, make an honest woman out of cameron diaz, avenge his father's death, and dress up like that clown day-lewis does.
- the entire movie (stop reading now if you seriously care) is supposed to culminate in this bloody battle between bill the butcher and di caprio. that's what you've been waiting for. and what does scorsese do instead? no gang fight. everyone riots instead b/c they don't want to be drafted into the civil war. the city gets destroyed and di caprio dispatches bill with his method acting.
- credits rolling. did i mention that pirates of the caribbean was a pretty damn good flick for being a pirate movie and all?
pigs are gonna fly!. thanks to mike d. for making my day.
Sunday, September 07, 2003
we went to skate haven in temple yesterday for thomas' cousin's birthday. it's probably been nearly twenty years since i've rollerskated around a rink, but i put on the skates and got down, along with thomas and william, to the groovin' sounds of the village people and the gap band. the gap band! william wasn't all that interested in getting on the rink. he was happy to play the video games and run around on the sides shouting at me. thomas did pretty well, although lonanne was loathe to admit either of us were any good. "skate dorks," she said, as i lapped her and then stopped, spinning around. of course, it took awhile to get my skate legs. the first time around i fell on this poor kid who was wearing a helmet. he got up, not all that shaken that a grown man had just fallen on him, and asked "are you ok mister?" i must've looked pretty bad. i knew i'd arrived when this 13-year-old came up and asked me if i wanted to race two laps around the rink. i smoked him and then crashed into the wall, nearly killing a family of four.
the whole place was exactly as i remember the one i went to as a pre-teen. i mean right down to the paneled ceilings and torn-up blue carpet, the lockerroom smell of socks mixed with cotton candy, the forced games (hokey pokey, limbo) that are still fun, the group and couples skate, and how the people that work there always have to come out and show off every once in awhile, twirling around and doing the back step while the speakers blare out "hit me one more time." i guess it used to be "you dropped the bomb on me, baby."
what looks to be an independent newspaper published in iraq. gets raves from salem pax, so it can't be all that imperialist.
Friday, September 05, 2003
some days some days some too much days.
so who is the idiot here? i'll spoil it and tell you. me, that's who. last week i paid this tree guy that joey (yes, that's YOU JOEY) recommended to come out and clear away a huge elm branch that had fallen on our house. i also wanted him to cut down some dead limbs. he rolled out and gave me an estimate of $230. it was a hectic day and i rushing around like a headless chicken, so i came home, scoped it all out, paid him up front and hurried back to work. needless to say, he did about a quarter of the work and amscrayed. i've been trying to get in touch with him all week, having nearly given up. all i had was his name and a phone number. then, today, kevin recommended that i look the guy up on publicdata. so i plunked down 25 more dollars and found his driver's license number. i found an old address where he used to live and ended up having a nice conversation with his ex-girlfriend. i asked if she knew where he was.
her: i dunno...[long pause] hell...
me: so, there's no way to reach him there i guess?
for shits and giggles i plugged his DL into the TDC. that's Texas Dept. of Corrections for the layfolk. so what are your guesses at this point? is it...
a) no record of him in our criminal justice system
b) he's been convicted of burglary eight times, done three pennies for each count and is currently in violation of his parole with a warrant out for his arrest?
c) joey is a
fucking shitheel bit questionable for recommending a convicted felon come to my house, case it and then steal $230 from me.
there are two right answers in this case. i had another nice long chat with his parole officer who could've cared less, but prattled on about the law like it was the people's court. bottom line is i can press charges and suck it up. so, yeah, i'm an idiot for paying up front and leaving. but i'm a bigger idiot for listening to joey. maybe i can twist this into a faulknerian tragedy. i'll call it "the dead elm."
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
[the writer] must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.
- from william faulker's nobe prize speech.