Monday, December 31, 2007

1 ticket, please

What is your perception of somebody who goes to the movies alone? I actually admire these people. It’s true that they often suffer from loneliness, but isn’t it commendable that they brave crowded theatres, sitting among strangers for a film? Most of us wouldn’t be caught dead at a movie alone, afraid of the social ramifications, or even the temporary judgment from others.
There have been a few times where I nearly went to the theatre by myself. It usually occurs when I know a film is on the way out, and I struggle finding anyone who hasn’t seen it or still wants to see it. And only when the film is original; typically, I’m patient enough for the DVD. Never have I followed through on the urge, though. Twice I have had to pay for a friend’s ticket just to convince him or her to join me.
The one time I found myself at a movie alone was freshman year. A bunch of us wanted to see a movie, but most people opted for Saw II. My response: You’re all idiots. I wanted to see The Weather Man, which had also just opened. It had one of those trailers that stuck to me (thanks to Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” playing over it), and finally made its way to Lawrence. One friend agreed to go with me, and we calculated that it would start and get out at the same time as Saw II.
We got to the theatre, and the girl said she felt bad about abandoning all of our friends for another movie. I refused to see Saw II, and still bought my ticket to The Weather Man. Apparently, she didn’t feel bad abandoning me for all of them, but I stood my ground. Thus, I braved the theatre alone...
It was dark by the time I got in. And, obviously, it’s pretty easy to find one seat even when the theatre is crowded. Nobody saw my face, nobody asked me if I was lonely, nobody was afraid of my sitting next to them, nothing. And I wouldn’t have minded if people drew those conclusions, because I saw a great film.
Both films ended, I loved mine, and they hated theirs. Like I said... idiots (with all due respect).
And as for people who go to movies alone, don’t pass judgment. Maybe their friends are cinematically tasteless, too, unless he or she is sitting alone at Saw V next October. Then you may pass your judgment, for it shall be justified.

Traffic as Life - The Blinker

When waiting for cross traffic at a stop sign, do you trust a flashing blinker? The car comes speeding toward you from the left, its right turn signal flickering. Do you enter the intersection, fully confident that the car will turn right?
I don’t. The car usually slows, but only when it is fully around the corner do I feel safe to make my move. Too often other people act senselessly behind the wheel, and in other matters. If I was to pull into the intersection and that car accidentally had its blinker on, I’d be the one paying repair bills, if not already dead. That's why I have trouble trusting complete strangers with significant ordeals.
It’s bold trusting somebody you don't know with that much responsibility. As obvious as that blinker’s intentions seem, you know nothing about that driver’s history or even how much attention he or she gives the road at that second. If you want to get a task done successfully, or expect to get from one point to another safely (both in literal and figurative terms), who is the best person to trust? Yourself. Second only to somebody with whom you share history. You would never raffle away your safety and stability to a complete stranger in the professional world, so why do it now? Wait 4 seconds to see if that car actually turns out of your way. I bet once in every 15 times, it doesn’t.
That’s a bold risk right there. This post just saved your life.
I really should start a Paypal tip jar; I’d be rich with all this advice I throw out to you like bread crumbs to pigeons. Eat, children, eat.

Adam's Apples

Words chosen by Linda
Nouns: the Internet, watching football, Fourth of July
Adjective: Pure

A Pure American

Sonny Upton, a 28 year old wheat farmer in Kansas, is as American as the year is long. He bleeds red, white and blue. His favorite pastime is watching football and his favorite holiday is the Fourth of July. Nothing can compromise Sonny’s pure American pride, or so he thought. His passion is shook one day, when Sonny reads on the Internet that the draft has been reinstated to help fight the war on terror. Sure enough, Sonny’s name is drawn, and he is summoned for service. As a single father, Sonny refuses to leave his 5 year old daughter and the farm, which he inherited as a legacy. He is not alone in his refusal to fight, but his particular case garners national attention. As the ultimate American, Sonny must rally the entire country and show that this war has the wrong intentions. America isn’t about policing other countries based on assumptions and greed, but rather protecting democratic values and keeping its citizens safe—on American soil, like that which he plows each morning.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Man Crush



I love you.

2007 Top 10 in Film

As difficult as it is to doctor a year-end “best” list in film, it is equally obligatory. I love films for hundreds of reasons, and saying that 10 were better than any other is not entirely accurate. Below are 10 favorites, only settled upon after much internal debate. To make things entirely fair, I’ll list the films that barely missed the cut with a few words of praise, and those that I haven’t yet seen which could have made my tops.

Haven’t seen (yet): Charlie Wilson’s War, Atonement, There Will be Blood, Gone Baby Gone, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, La Vie en Rose, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, The Great Debaters

On the cusp:
The Bourne Ultimatum (ultimate action film re-bourne), Juno (smell that freshness), I’m Not There (Cate Blanchett is a goddess), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (the singing detracted), The Band’s Visit (wish more people had seen its quirkiness), Transformers (second only to Terminator in blockbuster caliber, and Megan Fox is totally hot), Superbad (superfunny... I am supercliché, sorry), The Savages (for some reason, the last scene blew me away, with Laura and the dog), Knocked Up (hoping to see all four leads more often), American Gangster (in yo’ face, if not excessively so).

And my personal top 10, ladies and germs:

10. Away From HerThe story stole the show, not to say Julie Christie wasn’t incredible. This is one of those plots that seems entirely plausible, and the realness rips a hole in your heart. Director Sarah Polley is so young, too. She’s a definite filmmaker to watch. Haven’t seen Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose yet, but I’d say it’s between her and Christie, no doubt.



9. Margot at the WeddingThis one caused eight of us to stay awake until 4 in the morning talking about the intricate details, the plot loops, the hidden treasures that Noah Baumbach has for his audience. Like The Squid and the Whale, you love to hate the characters, but it is their reproachable behavior that makes the story sincere. Can’t wait to watch this one again.

8. Lars and the Real Girl – Tell you what, Ryan Gosling is a force to be reckoned with. Yet, it wasn’t just him that carried this quaint tale. His entire supporting cast made it a treat, especially his (literally) plastic girlfriend. What hooked me was how they handled his odd behavior. He should have been sent to a mental hospital, but they shook the craziness out of him by playing along. And as unfeasible as it seems, I believed it all. And it broke me in two.

7. No Country for Old Men – Can somebody explain the ending? Is it cryptic? I didn’t mind the way it closed (I love abrupt, open-endedness. See #9), instead I struggled to draw the relevance to the rest of the story (which was engaging, smart, and appropriately funny). Javier Bardem will likely haunt my dreams, and it’s a shame if anyone other than Casey Affleck steals the Best Supporting Actor Oscar from him. I’m also on team Kelly Macdonald. Her final scene, with Javier... oof! I be lovin’ it.

6. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
I love the perspective of Robert Ford, and how it dwells on the aftermath of his actions. Clearly Casey Affleck was the lead role, but he’s being touted as supporting for awards season, and in my book, is the only one who can is justified in defeating Javier Bardem. The coyness and ignorance in the beginning turned to cockiness and a hard shell; his character’s growth was perfectly handled. Brad Pitt was at his best, too.

5. Michael Clayton – OK, honestly? I fell asleep for a few minutes toward the middle. But only because the subject matter flew over my head. I grasped what was happening and knew all the players. Very much like Sweeney Todd or Margot at the Wedding, I’d like to see this one again, so I can retrace everything. The ending of this film is so perfect, so manipulative of the bad guys, and so George Clooney. It’s quite possible I jumped from my seat and yelled “Oh snap!” after the final reveal. This one deserves all the accolades it can possibly get… a sleeper hit, anyone?

4. Persepolis – Hand drawn, black and white, spoken French, English subtitles. Best animated film I’ve seen in a long time. Who knew freshness could be packaged in such an old-fashioned way? Meeting Marjane Sartropi in person helped round out the flair behind this story, but her real-life presence and humor also verifies everything in the movie. It’s a gorgeous narrative that keeps you terrified and laughing. Best part: her character dancing and singing along with "Eye of the Tiger".

3. Once – This proves that all you need to make movies is pure talent, not high-def cameras or money. The music was so passionate, and this was possibly the greatest love story of the entire year; it’s a marvel how the two leads behaved despite their obvious attraction. This is a soundtrack you buy and replay, just tasting and absorbing the emotion behind Glen Hansard’s words. Everything about this film was sincere, vividly real, and humble. The characters didn't even have names, yet still carried the film.

2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days – Those long, still shots… some not even on the action. You stare at a wall, and hear the terror in the characters’ voices as they struggle to find a solution to one girl’s problems. This isn’t a film that takes a stance on abortion, instead it tells the story of a brave woman who will go to any length to help her friend, and the result is haunting. The camera isn’t important, but the severity is. Stakes are high, and for the entire film, we actually feel like we’re in equal danger. Anamaria Marinca should be receiving more attention for her lead role. And her film-ending stare? Show-stopping, literally.

1. Into the Wild– This is a film I didn’t even want to see. I figured it pretentious, bloated, political, manipulative of its audience. Instead, it was also one of the year’s best love stories, between man and nature. Sean Penn proves that authenticity in location is worth the effort. I recall them filming outside Sioux Falls three summers ago, and how long it took to get this final product. But it was worth the wait. Emile Hirsch plays the cocky, passionate Christopher convincingly, yet to me it was the supporting ensemble that stole the show. Catherine Keener, Hal Holbrook and Kristen Stewart were personal favorites, all infecting Christopher with the right amount of spirit and regret.
I think college students will have a better reaction to this film, because it so accurately plays to our uncertainties. Society wants to feast on us, and wouldn’t it be a dream to spend two years schlepping around the wilderness, leaving every ounce of shallowness behind—even if it resulted in death? Cars, money, clothes… it’s all a show. It’s a game we’re forced to play, but one that Christopher McCandless refused. Don’t bother me with details of his real life or the book’s account. This film is a masterpiece both visually and intellectually. I was ecstatic in finding that I had the wrong initial impression.

--

Well, there it is. The "yet to be seen" list is still too long for comfort. Hopefully I'll knock 3 or more out before I depart. 2007 was a terrific year at the cineplex, and regardless of how awards season turns out, I think we've all been graciously awarded with these works of art. See these films when you get the chance.

Agree? Or no? Share feedback, pretty please.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Trimming the Fat

My perspective on Facebook has changed lately. I used to be so liberal about it. If I met you once, or we went to high school together or had a class, then I asked you to be my facebook friend.
Everyone has a different outlook regarding the networking site. Some people share that liberal "friend all" view, while others reserve the right for literal friends.
I'm starting to sway toward the latter. As facebook evolves, the threat of personal information leaking becomes more relevant. Why would I want somebody accessing my profile if I don't even know their phone number? Why do I rely on facebook to tell me who is married, or pregnant, or who broke up with his girlfriend? The authenticty of some friendships has declined, and part of me wants to drop the site altogether.
But as most college students can attest, that is a feat in itself. Facebook is a necessity nowadays. It's crucial for staying in touch with long lost actual friends, or for keeping up appearances for campus events, friends' birthdays, weekend parties, summer plans...
I just spent the last hour removing friends from my list. If I never cared for them to begin with, or if I lost touch since high school, or if I honestly have never met them... snip snip. Some "facebook friendships" are brand new, so I'll spare those people until time tells me who's real, and who isn't. If I pass someone on campus and we're facebook friends with little history, and he or she ignores me altogether, then I wonder why they requested my friendship in the first place... they're gone.
Others I keep because of a common tie. I wasn't close to everyone in Telluride, but I would never remove them because we shared that thrilling experience. I am "friends" with all my study abroad cohorts, and even though we don't know one another yet, it's certain we'll be close in 4 months.
As I trim the fat, I'm happy to know that certain slutty girls' super-slutty photo albums will stop appearing in my news feed, or that complete strangers can no longer file through photos of me, basing their impressions on cyberspace alone.
I'm a recycled facebook slut. At least for now. Obviously I'll still take advantage of the convenient communication, but I won't throw around the term "friend" so loosely anymore.
There are worse things to throw around loosely. Fortunately, I no longer have to see evidence of this in certain girls' photo albums.

High School Flashback – Senior Reflection


At Lincoln High. all Statesman staffers write a reflection at the end of senior year. We publish them in the senior issue, and most are clichéd B.S. about “so many memories with greeeeeat friends, OMG, homecoming games are the best!”
For some reason, I was a bit more pessimistic than the others. And, as editor, I could essentially publish anything I wanted. Still, I toned it down a bit. I remember that my attitude surprised a lot of people, because on a day to day basis, I was generally positive.
I found two reflections on my computer. The first one never got published. I chose to write a second one, centered more on the big picture rather than myself.
Looking back, I kinda prefer the first one.
Both appear below. Remember, I wrote these three years ago, so the style and skill may not be perfect, even though I was the stingiest mother-freaking editor ever.

First (and unpublished) Reflection:

High school has given me both the most wasted minutes and the most valued moments of my life. Forget math, literature, government, sciences and the likes. None of those matter. It’s all hogwash they give us to preoccupy our wandering minds. A diploma’s literal meaning is crap. It means you sat through at least 22 credits worth of classes, 44 semester tests and countless hours of busywork (otherwise known as homework). What a diploma doesn’t say is that you yelled the loudest at basketball games, skipped a class, won a state championship or even starred in a school play. We all flaunt our robes at graduation to celebrate the “school” but completely disregard the “high”. The classes are the lows, but those moments in which we define ourselves—the highs— are shunned aside.
For me, high school was a journey of self-discovery. I used to be the shy kid who longed for phone calls on the weekend, wishing someone would care enough to include me. I often hated myself and was just waiting for the bottom to drop out. Soon, though, things changed; I changed. I made friends and finally felt like I belonged. Interestingly enough, that’s when I started to value myself even more. I grew into the man who could reject a night on the town with friends to stay inside and just be alone. I used to be so desperate for a sense of belonging that I was blind to the fact that maybe, just maybe, all I needed was my own company. That was my high of high school. My diploma will never say that I discovered who I was in those four short years.
If and when the bottom drops out somewhere down the road, at least I’ll have my diploma. I might be bankrupt or divorcing my third wife, but man, I sure can write the meanest DCQ essay or calculate the biggest, baddest derivative in the entire land. In all seriousness, those 22 credits of schooling are nothing, abso-freaking-lutely nothing, compared to the biggest step I took in high school. I now know who I am and where I’m going. Some people went to Tuthill to get high. I just went to school.
Getting through the past four years means I can clear any hurdle or dodge any bullet as long as I have myself. There are four more years of school ahead to waste countless hours for yet another diploma. There are four more years ahead to spend countless hours with the only person I will always have, and for that, thank you Lincoln High School.


Second (and published) Reflection


Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Like the legendary Martin Luther King Jr., the Class of 2005 can also cry out for liberty. We are no longer slaves to the silliness of high school. The shackles have been lifted and the floodgates are open to the adult world. These 13 years and 22+ credits are finally behind us, as is the drama that pours into the halls each day at 8:20 a.m. Gone are the hikes across Cliff Avenue to the Arcadia lot, the pesky sweeps and the pointless plastic cards that branded us like property.
It seems like high school lost this mystical aura it once possessed. It became a sort of imprisonment camp that only a diploma could free us from. As an eighth grader looking up, I expected so much more than I actually got. The disappointment faded because we all learned to handle the ridiculous redundancy that each day provided, but still nobody could overlook the increasing shambles that restricted our independence.
What stunk the most was the way we were treated. We weren’t individuals. There were endless punishments for crimes we didn’t commit. To the school system (I don’t even know who to blame), we’re all obese, illiterate, class-skipping terrorists who fornicate at school dances and molest any athletic competition.
One thing after the other was stripped away. We shouldn’t take the easy way out and pin it all on the administration; they too have to answer to a higher power. As for us, however, being so low on the food chain made high school a bummer.
So if there’s any major lesson that got out of these past four years, this would be it: the situation can and often will get worse, so cherish everything before you lose it, and always recognize its worth.
We all missed the lanyard-free days of pre-2003. The school store is going to be gone as we know it next year, yet we still take its presence for granted. What happened to arriving at school at 8:18 and getting to class on time? The Arcadia Lot and increased permit sales killed those memories.
But breathe easy, Class of 2005, for we get the last laugh. Lincoln High School had us in its clasp for four lengthy years. It held onto us for as long as it could and took advantage of us in countless ways. Now, however, it is going to lose us. Those diplomas we’re about to receive are one-way tickets to paradise and freedom. The adult world is at our feet and beckoning us in.
So, as our namesake Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves after four years of civil war and trouble, Lincoln High School is releasing us into a world of independence. At last, for the 430 of us, the skies above are blue, and we are free.

Friday, December 28, 2007

"Stab the baby, please!"


"Stab it!"
That is what ran through my head at the end of Rosemary's Baby. I finally saw the film which many hail as the greatest horror film of all time.
And guess what? I agree.
The Exorcist didn't scare me in the least, and the only movie I remember caused nightmares was Jurassic Park (two nights in a row, I had the same dream, where my mom and I watched in dread as velociraptors ate my sister and dad).
I didn't know much about Rosemary's Baby before viewing, which helped. As characters came and went, I began to notice little subtelties about each scene. Nothing was extraneous in the action. Every appearance, every line, every beat had its purpose. It was so well written and so perfectly executed. I was terrified to find out what Rosemary didn't know. If you rent it, DO NOT READ THE SYNOPSIS. It ruins the first two hours.
And, as it all culminated in the final scene, I actually wanted Rosemary to drive her knife into her baby's chest. That's something I never imagined wishing upon an infant. I wanted her to whip out a flame thrower or a hand grenade or something, and kill everyone-- taking herself with them, only to save the rest of us. Have I been playing too much Grand Theft Auto lately?
To a plot-man like myself, this film reigns. I'd put it in my top 5 favorite films ever, and certainly the top of the horror genre. It didn't need people popping out behind corners, gruesome death scenes or serial killers. It needed good acting, a great story (courtesy of the book), and an active audience. It had all 3, in this case.
And before she gets emaciated in pregnancy, doesn't Mia Farrow look absolutely gorgeous? It's no wonder Frank Sinatra was taken with her back then.

Traffic as Life

Three ways to a destination

Driving brings out many life-related metaphors. I’m always most contemplative behind the wheel, especially if helped by an appropriate soundtrack.

Today I left lunch with two close friends; we had all driven separately. We then planned to see Sweeney Todd, so we hopped in our respective cars to hurry across town for the show.

We all took different ways. Tim chose the low-traffic 33rd street and broke away first. Linda selected 41st street. A bold move, especially in holiday traffic; it’s the busiest street in town… forty-worst street anybody?

I opted for the interstate, my favorite mode of travel. It’s fast, it’s roundabout, but… it’s fast! I went the furthest out of the way, but I still arrived at the theatre first.

Now, that’s not to say that Linda’s arriving last makes her pokey or my taking the interstate makes me efficient. Rather, it’s curious how we each chose a different route, and although I waited longest to commit to mine, it got me there fastest. Granted, the weather was clear, else I would have reconsidered my options. Linda took the straightest shot and took the longest because she had to wait for traffic lights and other drivers before she could reach her destination. I prefer not to rely on so many factors to arrive at my destinations. Tim, however, chose a single-lane path, very clear, very smart, and he got there just barely behind me. His plan was safest, but also incorporated the most logic.

This is where I’m at in my life right now. How do I get from Point A (poor, impatient college student) to Point B (writing for films, being self-supportive, and genuinely happy)? Do I take the cleanest way, which to me seems to be working on the film festival circuit with my PR degree, either planning for events or promoting films? Seems like that’s in best conjunction with my degree. I could make connections, albeit slowly, and hope for a break. Regardless, it would be fun.

Or how about the most direct, but most cluttered route? I could move to LA and start schlepping around. I’d be one of many thousand hopeful screenwriters. It’d be easy to get lost in that pile. Who knows how I would come out, or if I’d even get burnt out.

And then there seems to be the fastest route, but also most expensive. Grad school. I’d love to attend grad school, but what kind of debt would that put me in, and how would I come out of that pit? I feel that I would graduate with a solid network, and could begin work immediately. But can I even get accepted to grad school? Most operate on 10% acceptance rates. Sheesh. If the interstate is closed for bad weather, I will have to reconsider my options.

There is a year to figure it out, but at least options exist.

Just something I thought about while driving.

--Thanks to my technologically lame neighbors for the free wireless signal. You have made this post possible.--

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Beauty Sleep

There's a generalization that if you stay up late and sleep in late, you waste away the day. Who said I want to spend my day from 9 in the morning to midnight? I'll wake up at 1 in the afternoon, and go to bed at 4 a.m. My day is just as long as yours, and I get to spend 8 more hours of it away from the "normal" population.
I'm a beautiful genius.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Adam's Apples

OK, new recurring thread for my blog: it's uber-cheesy but I'm for it. You should try it for yourself...

Adam's Apples rules:
-Using cards from Apples to Apples, I will choose 3 nouns and 1 adjective.
-With the four words, I then create a film synopsis in 10 sentences or less.
-Every word must be used, in any context.
-One of the words must appear in the title.
-Every story will highlight the plot’s premise, but no resolution will be given (imagine that you’re reading a TV guide, and that this synopsis appears to help you choose a program).
-Each synopsis will have a theme, or a driving point for the film.
-Essentially, the final product should be a writeable script.
-People cards (i.e. Meryl Streep or Britney Spears) can serve as subjects or stars of the project

If you want to help in my doing this, you can choose 3 numbers in the range 1-746 for nouns and 1 number in the range 750-997. I have a list of the nouns and adjectives in an excel file.

Here's two examples. Sam randomly picked the first words, and Mom selected the second set.

ONE:
Nouns: Robin Williams, Warts, My neighborhood
Adjective: Arrogant

Is this my neighborhood?


Frank (Greg Kinnear) is a hesitant man who fears the worst when the city organizes a rehabilitation home for recovering drug addicts next door to him. He rallies his neighborhood to prevent the project, but to no avail. At first, his new neighbors seem fine, but one individual stands out. Leon (Robin Williams), an arrogant ex-dealer, isn’t set on reformation. The two have a run-in when Frank finds Leon snooping through his garbage. Frank’s growing confidence in the program is compromised when someone breaks into his house and steals valuables. He immediately suspects Leon, but targets the entire shelter as being responsible. He takes his argument to the city, and the community again rallies behind Frank. Leon is evicted, but guilty or not, must work to make amends with the upset community or else the other individuals may be evicted by Frank’s campaign to “remove the neighborhood warts”.

TWO:
Nouns: United Nations, Winning the Lottery, Family Vacations
Adjective: Ethereal

The United Nations of Peterson


A humanitarian couple has four children: one is their own child, and three are adopted from countries around the globe. Quincy, the eldest and biological child, is convinced that all Peterson family vacations end in another adoption. She doesn’t understand her parents’ motivation for helping. She despises sharing space with these young strangers, and struggles to accept their integration into the family. The next trip is to Sudan, where the Petersons have arranged to adopt a 2-year old girl whose own parents are battling poverty, fatal illness, and war. On the trip, Quincy falls in love with the child and sees that her parents are saving the girl from an ominous fate. However, the adoption hits a snag and they are forced to return home without the child. Quincy learns that being born into a safe, happy home is very much like winning the lottery, and must cope with nightmares and ethereal memories of the child. She envisions different ways that the child may die, and finally sees what drives her parents to help the less fortunate. Quincy is determined to save the girl, and devises her own way to achieve this impossible feat.

Film Frustration

How am I supposed to complete my Oscar Film Checklist when the theatre is showing silliness like The Water Horse, Alien vs. Predator Requiem, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and P.S. I Love You?
No offense to the filmmakers or fans of these efforts, but c'mon... Sioux Falls needs an arthouse or something. Throw me a bone, here.
Maybe if the Sioux Falls Film Society's website had been updated since 2003, progress could start.
I miss Liberty Hall. Baddd.

Forget-me-not, cure-me-not

Dad and I discussed how no known cure exists for vitiligo, but he asked if I would even want one if it did exist.
I don't think I would. I mean, mine isn't a bad case (the spots are much more obvious with my shaved head), and certainly can't be dangerous. The only spot I wish would disappear is the one on my cheek, so my facial hair wouldn't turn white.
Middle school is in the distant past, so having white spots in my hair isn't exactly a stigma anymore. It's more definitive than anything. And I like thinking that it sparks up people's curiosity. They're more bound to remember me if they can whisper behind my back:
"Did he spill paint in his hair?"
"No, those must be real."
"Oh? You figure?"
"It's a statement, I think."
"Interesting. We should ask."
"That would be rude."
"I'm sure a hundred people have asked him before."
"Let's ask someone else about it."
"What was his name again?"
"I dunno. He's just the kid with the white spots."

See? It's kind of like how they say you have to study something seven times before you can memorize it. Well, I'm the kid with white spots in his hair. You remember that easier when you have to process it in your head, thinking about it if just for a moment. Forget my name, fine. Forget my backstory, ok. Forget my white spots? Doubtful.
It's similar to the final X-Men movie, too, when they want to cure the mutants of their "problems".
Don't cure me of something that makes me unique!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas wishlist - My dream cast

Someone asked who I would cast in the main roles of my screenplay. I hate being unrealistic with this thing, so just know that this is simply for fun.

Update on progress, too. New draft is coming along great. I rewrote the first act to expand on the backstory. This is good because it shows more story, more acting, without having to resort to flashbacks later on, and now I don't have to employ dialogue to catch the audience up on what has happened with these characters.

Let me know if you want me to send you the most recent draft once I am completed. I'd be happy to solicit your feedback. It takes about an hour and some to read. I promise a good story.

Anyhoo, without further adieu-

Graham- Daniel Craig - The unfaithful husband, whose mistakes in life catch up to him


Claire- Kate Winslet - The current wife, a straight up bitch, if you will.


Nora- Laura Linney - The ex-wife. Hurt, beautiful, Graham's past, and his mistake.


Doreen- Emily Mortimer - Claire's best friend. Not too congenial herself.


Paul- James McAvoy - Graham's protege.


Justification:
Craig is charming and is believeable as a ladies' man but also a family man, and he can play anguished.
Winslet, I would love to see her play an absolute horrid woman. The part is slefish, and clearly she can tackle anything.
Linney I love because she's precious and collected, you just want to hug her. Nora needs a hug, yeah?
Mortimer could honestly play any of the three main women, but because Doreen's role is important without us realizing it, I'd say she's good for this part because she could clinch the last act very vividly.
McAvoy is going to be a power house, but his career is still humble enough for this part. He's a younger Graham, basically.

Linney is the only American. Craig could do an English accent. Could Linney? Maybe I should pimp this when I'm overseas. Surely I'd sweep BAFTA.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Vanishing Trends

I bet somebody could write a great essay on the correlation between the Academy Awards and American society. Somebody, but not me.
I just watched Ghost and found it curious that the film won Best Supporting Actress for Whoopi, and Best Original Screenplay. I don't deny that they were good. In fact, they were both impressive, but it seems that in today's world, neither would hold a candle to present nominations, based on trends. Ghost was nominated for Best Picture, too, and it seemed a little too cheesy for that distinction. Maybe it's just me, or the 17 years that separate now and then.
A lot of good films fall into this realm. The Fugitive's Best Pic nomination in 1994 with Tommy Lee Jones winning for Best Supporting Actor comes to mind. Amazing film, very taut, and props to TLJ. It almost makes me wonder if Oscar has gotten more superficial lately.
But I like the transient trends. It's interesting that one year, three WWII films can go against two films that showcase Queen Elizabeth... and seven years later, four independently produced films can sit above the rest.
Although I sometimes question the legitimacy of "People's Choice" films taking over Oscar (see: Crash and Little Miss Sunshine), it's nice to know that change within the Academy is one thing that can remain constant.
---
Also, Patrick Swayze looks like he could join Team America.

Screw Silverman. Save me.

Love my mom, but she is playing this on repeat.






















She might be crazy, and I am getting there.

What I Love - The Effect of a Movie

Just saw I Am Legend. And here's why I love movies (and I would definitely classify this one a movie, not a film):
-Because when I sat in that theatre, my knees locked up
-Because my ankles went limp and I had sweat through my socks
-Because I rooted for a dog as much as I did a human character
-Because when I left I talked with Kevin about how I would survive that scenario
-Because when I pulled into my dark garage, I wanted to leave my headlights on, and sprint for the door, just in case infected humans lurked in the shadows, waiting to eat me

I Am Legend is not a wonderful movie. It's a slightly above-average blockbuster. But it crawled under my skin for the 2 hours that I was its audience, and poured into the next portion of my evening.

Ladies and Germs, the power of the medium.

*Coming Soon* My Year-End "Favorites" film list. Gotta see another film or two before I can comfortably doctor it up.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Support Your PTA


My latest filmmaker fascination is Paul Thomas Anderson. You would know him as the writer-director of Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, and most recently There Will Be Blood.
Honestly, this guy is what the industry is about. He's only 37 and has been a playmaker for well over 10 years now, and his creative vision is unparalleled. In this scene in Magnolia, frogs actually rain from the sky...

PTA may come off as a bit pretentious in his storytelling, but to me he is the perfect example of how a filmmaker can take his original vision from a screenplay, translate it to a film, and have near-complete creative freedom in the process. His films would be very compromised if edited (and ruined) by studios.
There Will Be Blood is one of the few remaining films on my "Must See" list this year, and expectations are sky high for it. The trailer is so unconventional itself, and I do not know what to expect from the actual film.

The setting seems so desolate and the plot more fast-paced than his others; I'm intigued as to how PTA will use his typical filmmaking elements to retain his regular fans and finally scoop the usual nay-sayers. Honestly, I believe once he transcends into a ground where he can retain his vision without confusing and isolating some audiences, he will at last sit atop the film arena.
Keep an eye out for this guy, both now and down the road.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Buzzed

Bored at home. What to do? Shave your head.

Even more bored. What else to do? Document, photoshop, and blog the matter.

O Poetic Death, findeth mine life

I hope to die poetically. You know, wake up from an apothecary-induced slumber next to my star-crossed lover who has just poisoned herself under the false presumption that I was already dead. Then, I thrust a happy dagger into my sheath, crying “RUST IN MY BONES!” as I collapse romantically atop all that hot, young rigormortus.
Tragically, the cards are unlikely to fall in such a fashion.
I’m quite taken with death. It has always baffled me how one second, you’re breathing, contributing to society and holding conscious thoughts, but the next moment— wham— lights out. Sometimes you see it coming 20 years ahead, and other times you never even realize it has happened.
Regardless, if I fail to die poetically, I’m going to be real miffed. Why do we work so hard, day in and day out, only to be dead all of a sudden? Why is money so important, and power such a struggle? As that semi truck hits my car, crushing it like a tin can, I’ll probably think “Damn, all that studying in college never quite paid off.” Or, as the anthrax enters my lungs, I’ll wonder “Why did I spend so much time exercising if I was going to die like this?” Maybe, just maybe, as the pit bulls surround me, slowly chewing away at my fingers and face, I’ll remember that I hadn’t yet paid the electrical bill. Hopefully my wife remembers, because she forgets things like that when people around her (particularly her husband) die suddenly.
Apologies for making light of a serious subject. People close to me have died both suddenly and expectedly, and it is never a funny occasion. But doesn’t it make life seem so trivial in perspective?
Jumping... to... a... conclusion...
That is a main reason I believe in some sort of afterlife. If none of this life matters, I’d have robbed 40 banks, knocked over a few 7-Elevens by now, dated countless women without calling them back, and would likely carry around a baseball bat laced with sharp nails for whenever somebody pissed me off. But rather, I think the afterlife exists to reward us for our behavior and successes in this life. It’s the ultimate freedom if we did a good job— treated others well, raised good children, rooted for the Packers. But I struggle to believe in an ultimate imprisonment. I can’t fathom why somebody would be eternally damned for being attracted to a person of the same gender (there is nothing malicious in that) or even because he robbed banks for a living. Eternity is a long time to punish somebody, and if the higher power is all about forgiveness, then I think there’s a clause for each of us.
At least I hope so. Surely I’m not perfect by a lot of standards. But I think I’ve got a good heart. And great hair.
My mind, however, may not be so level. It tends to wander. Why was I writing this entry? Oh, poetic death. Yes, I believe the Forgiver even has a clause for romantic suicide. It is rather ominous for the rest of us if Romeo and Juliet are slaves in Hell.

Getting LIT with dad

Yesterday I got LIT with my dad. That’s right, I convinced him to watch Lost in Translation with me, and guess what? He loved it! I was nervous for his reaction, but thrilled with the outcome.
My pre-screening warning likely helped:

“There’s not much dialogue. It isn’t what is said that’s important, but what is unsaid. Anyone who claims that the movie is about nothing loses all credibility as a film critic.”
The pressure was on dad, but he definitely felt the vibe. He laughed at Kelly and her ditzy ramblings, he enjoyed the Japanese reversals of Rs and Ls, and at the end, he wanted to know what Bob whispered into Charlotte’s ear:



I just re-read the screenplay, playing everything back in my head. That script is only 75 pages. Industry standards are approximately 110ish. I guess Sofia Coppola can get away with that when her dad is Francis Ford and has the Godfather trilogy in his name.
I’d like to meet Sofia, shake her hand and thank her for Lost in Translation. It is perfect especially for college students who don’t know where they are headed, afraid of the big and intimidating world that inevitably consumes us all.
I think my dad would like to shake her hand, too. Because getting LIT isn’t just for confused college students, contrary to what we learn at university.
What do you think Bob whispers in Charlotte’s ear? I’m curious what you suppose, if you have seen the film. But that’s one thing I would never ask Sofia. Perhaps she doesn’t even know, and it would hurt to find out. If the answer was revealed, like a Wheel of Fortune guess-and-tell, then the intimacy and secrecy of the entire film would be compromised. The dialogue is what we need it to be. It isn’t just for Charlotte. It is for Bob, too. It is for me, it is for my dad, it is for Sofia, it is for her dad. It isn’t about what is said. Look at Charlotte’s face. It is about what is unsaid.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Relating to a Character - April Burns

I like many films for many reasons, but most often that enjoyment comes when I can relate to some element of a character. It's no doubt that character is what brings us to the movies and highlights these stories. We want to empathize, to be in the story.
One whom I empathize with better than most is April Burns in Pieces of April.

She has this desire to please her family, to silence the critics who think her life is headed in the wrong direction (the mode of story is her hosting Thanksgiving at her New York apartment, and them driving from Pennsylvania to attend). Sure, they root for her well-being, but she has distanced herself from them and they often frown on that independence. Things aren't so dramatic with me, but I can't help but feel like my parents and grandma wished me to stay local for school, become a doctor, and set up camp with my practice right here in South Dakota. I never had to work for my grades in high school, and there's this idea that good grades translate into the sciences, not the humanities. I think my journalism major exists to assuage that worry (mainly with grandma), but none of them anticipated the restlessness that college has brought about.
You could never pay me enough money to be a doctor, or work at an ad agency, or have a 9-5 job where my only goal is to become boss to my colleagues, and start the cycle over until I become boss to those colleagues.
That's what April feels, too. She's "that one in the family". Again, mine isn't so dramatic; my family is pretty supportive all across the board, and I've reminded them through various ways that I don't want what comes easily, and I'll work in nontraditional ways to achieve what it is I do want.
And ultimately, what I want is for them to be proud. Hopefully the feast I am preparing for them is something that they can be grateful for as well.

Dental Captivity

Today was my first dental appointment in a year. That isn't something I prioritize highly at school. It's always interesting being prisoner in that chair, and my patience usually lasts five minutes before I'm counting down the seconds til my escape.
It always starts with the hygienist. Really, it feels like senior year of high school again ("So, what are you doing for college?"). She's always got feigned excitement, showing off those sparkling teeth like she's advertising the service, but it remains on the sincere side. Today's hygienist was a sweetheart, but as soon as I asked her about her own family, her hands were in my mouth and I was captive to her life story for the next 20 minutes. And of course, every time I want to interject, I cannot because her hands are halfway down my throat.
I brush twice, occasionally three times a day, yet I always get negative feedback. They remind me to be flossing, of which I do every night. My style of flossing isn't like their style, either. Shit, my gums could file domestic assault if I treated them so harsh each night. And then they tell me how poorly I've been brushing, despite my never having a cavity. And she actually used the phrase "now you have a Christmas smile!" when she finished cleaning. Am I 12? Bless her, but oh boy.
And why does the dentist only show up for 20 seconds? He sits down, says "Yep, looks good. Quite the football team KU has got this year. See you in 2008." How is he the rich one when the hygienist just did all the work?
At least I got that off the checklist. I went to the library yesterday, too. Want to know how long it's been since I checked anything out there?
When I checked out (with 3 DVDs of course, and 2 books):
"Say, Adam, are you over 18 yet? I need you to sign this adult waiver."

What time is recess?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Films vs. Movies

What do you consider a film? And what do you consider a movie?
When you talk casually, you ask "What's your favorite movie?"
To sound more sophistcated, perhaps you upgrade to "What's your favorite film?"
I wouldn't classify a movie as a negative thing. Both can be positive.
Here's how I would classify some "cinematic endeavors".
Films:




Movies:




Grey Area:




Debatable, sure. But you catch my drift.

15 seconds of fame

Pilar Alessandra and her cohorts over at On the Page answered my question on her podcast, regarding attending grad schools for screenwriting. Check it out on the iTunes podcast directory, episode 16, about 19 minutes and 41 seconds in. They even made fun of me for a typo in my question. Whatever, I like the attention.
Yes, I'm lame. I submitted a question to a podcast. But these people are intelligent, and hilarious. And I contributed to the laughs.

Lindsay in 2D


There's Lindsay. Looking at my empty room. Everything is packed away in the car --except her, because someone might steal her-- and for the second time in 5 months, I am moving my entire life to another location. You've heard this sob story too many times, and this post isn't about that. But now you see that Lindsay has to move again, too, and surely you have a more vested interest in my scenario.
Lindsay moves with me, and she usually scares the willies out of any new roommates. They always see her as they pass my room, jumping at a possible perpetrator. Instead, there she is, looking so fine and voluptuous, even two-dimensionally.
I had a dream last night actually, that the real Lindsay Lohan came home with Nicole and I offered my bed to her (I slept on the couch obviously, being an old-fashioned gentleman). She then discovered my cutout of her and went berserk on me, asking me if I was obsessed with her. Apparently that's a turnoff.
And no, I'm not obsessed with you, Linds. You've plummeted. I'm obsessed with the old you. What happened?!?
Having this cutout reminds me of Lars and the Real Girl, where Ryan Gosling's character falls in love with a sex doll (but not for sex; he actually believes she is real). I wasn't expecting much from that film, but it was humble and sweet, and I loved the characters and the reaction to Lars' behavior. Highly recommended, people.
Stop your conclusions. I did not have sexual relations with that cutout.

Summer preview


Since the Inciting Incident's inception I have promised more information about next summer's opportunity in San Francisco, and I know you're all on the edge of your seat, finally able to sit back and relax as you realize that this is that post!
Anyhoo... the San Francisco Film Society obviously exists to provide programming for the Bay area and serves as an outlet for international storytellers. It's a very diverse program, which excites me the most. I'm not very cultured in film, and really need to stretch my boundaries because I think a lot of careers lie hidden in those cracks. If you want the official mission statement from the SFFS website, here she be:

The San Francisco Film Society embraces the art, technology and innovation of the world’s most imaginative storytellers who use the moving image to celebrate humanity while educating, entertaining and enriching the audiences of the world.

So I'll be a programming intern, which means a lot of mailing videotapes or maintaining databases, as is expected with internships, but I also get to do research on filmmakers and their work, maybe connect with them over a phone call. My position actually exists to help in the groundwork for the annual San Francisco International Film Festival, which is the oldest Film Festival around. Surf the site and you'll recognize some big names -- Spike Lee, Tilda Swinton, Robin Williams, Clint Eastwood, Werner Herzog -- there are some great filmmakers and stars attached to the festival.
Ironically, I get to San Fran one week after the 51st festival closes, so I'll be laying bricks for the following year's festival. The internship falls into my Public Relations degree, which was a huge selling point for me. It's unpaid so I get credit (which is required to graduate) and I only do it 10 hours a week.
10 hours a week, you ask? Well, in April I shall navigate myself to Craigslist and pony up another internship for my remaining free time... and one that pays. I'd like to just help out with some local TV, film or commercial filming if anything is happening in the area (another reason I'm waiting until April to look). My aunt and uncle have been so generous to let me stay with them, so this summer will be that much better with their hospitality (I'm most excited to hang out with them and their three energetic kids).
Can't say which I look forward to most-- Europe or San Francisco. Either way, 2008 is spoiling me.
Apologies for a self-centered post. I suppose most entries are about me, but I hate to be so direct about myself. You'll be back, though. I trust you will.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Greatest Films I Have Never Seen - Blade Runner


Blade Runner is one film I'm truly ashamed to have not seen. It seems to have all the concepts I would look for in an action flick -- albeit I have no clue what it's about, but that's the point of this entry.

Based on this image alone, I predict Blade Runner is about a time when all races have merged into one. In the past, only all Asians looked alike, but now, all people look the same. The woman in this picture, for instance. She is Chinese, but outwardly you would not know. She wishes to celebrate her culture, but it has been outlawed by the Utopian Government. Harrison Ford stands for everything that this government does not, and he will go to whatever lengths he can to see that one day, that very woman (whom he obviously beds) can practice her culture freely. He will battle droids in outer space, he will climb galactic sky scrapers, he will shoot his old-fashioned pistol with his old-fashioned bullets (dodging lasers and mind waves), and ultimately, to achieve victory, he will do the unthinkable. He will run on blades.

I may actually rent this one over break. It's scary how accurate this description must be.

My Euro facade

In an effort to fit in overseas, a recent trip to the Gap landed me a rather taut pair of jeans.

Now, they aren't emo jeans or women's jeans obviously, but I'm much more adjusted to a loose, comfortable fit. I wore them today and got pretty used to them, but things felt different.
Every step felt like a lunge. I had the feeling that a sock was stuffed in my pants as well, or that I was sporting a jock strap. But as Nicole and Ashley put it... I did look like I possessed an iota of style sense. Hmm. These are the same girls who told me to grow my chest hair out, "because it's so much more attractive to women", and yet I've spent every night alone since that hot summery day.
But in all seriousness, I do want to try my best to appear as European as possible. America may be the greatest effin' country in the world, but I don't want to rub that in my hospitality's face.

I may be broke but I ain't stingy


You can turn off the movie by right clicking it and choosing from your options.

People amaze me at how they spend their money. I've had roommates who wouldn't turn on the air conditioning in June or July to save $20 a month. Twenty bucks a month to sleep comfortably, only go through one t-shirt each day and not have a fan running in each room? Money well spent.
When I went to Seattle, people bickered about spending money in the wrong places. It didn't matter how much they dropped on souvenirs or coffee, but when it came to going atop the Space Needle, oh no, $17 was too much.
Some friends enjoy going out to the bars way more than I do. To get drunk, they spend maybe $40 a night. Why not spend $7 to drink a 6 pack in your own home, among friends, and not worry about finding a designated driver? Or get drunk and then go to the bars...
Comfort, experience, and logic. Three things that must be considered when spending money. They can be rearranged depending on the situation. For example, in Europe next semester, logic will be highly disregarded. However, because wine is so cheap, I will learn to love it, thus achieving logic by saving money, and shall still enjoy every second of the experience.

You just got that lesson for free. You, my championed reader, are already on the fast track.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

High School Flashback - Personal Statement


Random writing samples from high school (the first in a series)
This one was a personal statement for creative writing. Funny how it's relevant even now. Eighteen-year-old me and twenty one-year-old me could teach each other a few lessons.

...

A newspaper deadline looms ahead. There’s so much to be done; stories aren’t being handed in, photographers are short with one another, and computers keep breaking down. As editor, everything falls onto my shoulders. On top of all those troubles, I have my own work to do; there is no feasible way that I’ll finish in time.
But I do.
It’s like time slows down and waits for me. Just as I begin to doubt my efforts and throw in my towel, things go my way. It’s a tortoise/hare race; time speeds ahead to a guaranteed victory but takes a break just large enough for me to slowly inch by. The little things like newspaper deadlines give me hope and assurance for the future.
Speaking of my future – it’s pretty hazy. Every kid my age wonders what he or she will be doing ten years down the road. I’m no exception. I worry about how financially-stable I’ll be, when and to whom I will get married, and – most importantly – if I’ll be happy.
My career path isn’t too navigable. There are road blocks like financial security, a cloudy job outlook, and the infamous “starving artist” probability. The film industry is dog eat dog; from that standpoint, I’m a tasty-looking miniature schnauzer. I’ve made it this far, however, and no German shepherd is feasting on these hind legs.
For the time being, it makes no difference what happens. What really counts is confidence. It’s having the belief that no matter how hard I fall or how far behind I become, everything will work out in the end. Whether it’s waking up at 6:30 each morning to meet a newspaper deadline and not getting home until midnight, the confidence that I am putting forth my very best for that finished project is the element that drives me. It gets me from point A to B, from today to tomorrow.
As for ten years from now, there’s a very good chance that I’ll be struggling to pay off the electric bill. Or perhaps not. Half the fun, though, is not knowing.
But, if and when my electricity does shut off, it’ll be comforting to know that someday, maybe ten more years down the road, things will work themselves out. Burdens, similar to monthly newspapers, have deadlines.
The tortoise wasn’t supposed to beat the hare, but he did. With his “I think I can” confidence, he surprised both the critics and the competition. I am the tortoise. I know I can.

It's not goodbye, it's see you later

This past week was interesting bidding everyone farewell. I wouldn't say it was difficult, though. I'm so used to saying goodbye now that I'm more cynical than anything about the process.
The friendships that matter will endure. Too many are transitory, but you can never determine exactly which ones until time passes. I've done this with high school, and the months between each reunion increase with time. Slowly we're desensitizing ourselves to these friendships. The handful of high school friends I'm consistently in touch with is unique, and I wouldn't have guessed it to be those individuals at the end of senior year. But I consider them my best friends now, after miles have come between.
I think that is how true relationships are formed. I've always been such a people pleaser, but as I fall into this routine of attaching and detaching myself so frequently, it's hard to grab hold. I'm only leaving for a semester; this is going to be a different story in a year. It's sad that I've spent my last semester with the graduating seniors, but I'm still not heartbroken over that (see previous paragraph).
Something that is depressing: packing your life in boxes. Sandwiching all your belongings into a cardboard cube and moving them elsewhere. Didn't I just do this 4 months ago?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Adult-ery

In encountering teachers, advisors, coworkers, and grownups in general... I don't feel like a kid anymore.
That inferior feeling is gone. I no longer look up to somebody solely because of age. Rather, I automatically make myself equal unless they have proven themselves superior in respective regards. For example, in one class, the professor was dreadful. She had no command over the subject and thus lost credibility as the class's superior figure.
Don't think I'm making myself out to be a better human being than others. I'm just saying that the feeling of automatic inferiority is gone. I done growed up.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ludicrous. Utterly ridiculous.


Into the Wild got hosed by the Golden Globes today. All it got nominated for was best original song and best score.
No best drama, even though 7 films got up for that.
No best actor for Emile Hirsch.
No best director for Sean Penn.
No best screenplay for Sean Penn.
No best supporting actress for Catherine Keener.
No best supporting actor for Hal Holbrook (the biggest rip off, to be honest).
None of that.
The Oscars had better get it right. Into the Wild was the best film this year. For me, it's without question.

Bumper buddies

We all know that cars are money pits. Ticking time bombs. A college student's worst nightmare. One accident can swallow your entire savings.
Last summer while parking at a friend's apartment, my first fender bender occurred. It was 5 years in the making, and I nudged my bumper against a nearly-new Kia, trading paint on each. I reparked my car a block away instinctively; the further, the better. Since it was late, I went inside without inspecting any damage, unsure if I should tell my friend about it. Whose car was it, even? Was the accident bad? Would they find out? If so, could they even trace it to me?
My Catholic guilt got the best of me (thanks, private school) and I fessed to my friend after she noticed my nervousness. Turns out the car belonged to a girl I knew, and she paid for it with her own money. And she was a sweet girl. So I had to tell her. I left her a note, she called me the next day saying it was no big deal, and the emotional burden was lifted.
However, she called again a few days later. Her father had assessed the damage, and wanted me to replace her bumper. Dammit.
I didn't work last summer. Taking seven summer credits is a lot of work itself, and I was aiming to finish my screenplay, which I felt was worth not making money. I had just taken out a loan for the fall, and had to dip into that to cover the $750 damages. Ouch.
What irked me was that if her car was new, then she was probably going to drive it for a few years, right? And the damage wasn't that bad. So, I was likely paying for a bumper that would be scraped up again in a few months, or surely a couple years. And in that time, her dad wouldn't be as aggressive with the situation. Because something is new, people prioritize its importance of looking as such.
Well, after ponying up that money, I was extremely sensitive to parking and driving. Fortunately we didn't send it to insurance or report it to authorities. I had recently picked up my first speeding ticket, too ($106, blech), so my carefulness was peaking.

Yesterday, I went to my car and found a note under my windshield. It confirmed my fears of having small parking spaces in my own apartment: someone had scraped my car while parking. Many props to the guy for leaving a note. I wanted to shake his hand (he must be Catholic, too). I found the hand smears on my back right bumper where he hit; he had clearly assessed the damage himself. It wasn't all that bad, and it was near where I scraped my own car this past summer.
I phoned the guy and told him it was fine. I had been in his shoes before and it sucked. He was a great guy for fessing up, and that was all that mattered to me. It actually made my day that someone can be so courteous. It blocked out the fact that he had even hit my parked car.
Perhaps I cared less since his scrapes were near the red paint from this summer's ordeal. I'm numb to those kinds of damages now, because they don't affect my car's performance, and I'm not trying to please anyone with my 2003 Ford Taurus.
But seriously, wasn't that guy nice? He had a 620 area code, which makes him from western Kansas. It's nice to know that at least one good thing comes from over there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

LOLCats are properly named

I am losing sleep this week why? Captioned cats. Duh.
funny pictures
LOL.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A two-dimensional tour of my kitchen and creative eating

T-minus one week before leaving Lawrence. Since we clearly don’t want to stock up on groceries, our meals have been very creative lately. Yesterday I took my four remaining potatoes, doused them in butter, cheese and spices,and baked them in all that flavorful glory. I even threw in some mushrooms, which was also a treat. Baked mushrooms. Sounds like some uber-hallucinogen. They could very well have been, for as sinful as they tasted.



Here’s what the cupboards look like. The first one is mine. I have a choice between canned soup, coffee, Cheerios, elbow macaroni, and pizza sauce.
The next one is our free-for-all cupboard. Minute rice, soy ginger, orzo pasta, unfrozen freeze pops, canned tomatoes, jello.


And the freezer. Ice cream, broccoli, gin.

I did take the leftover mushrooms and threw them in with a medley of spices and dressing. Boiled mushrooms. And spices. There is a God.
Here’s the spice rack. These make any dull food pop. Cooking without spices is like reading without adjectives.

Embrace the bitter cold


Most will complain on days like this.
It’s soggy, it’s slippery, it’s cold.
But walking outside has never been so rewarding.
Take your iPod, find a complementary song. Pick your soundtrack.
Embrace the bite, inhale the wind.
You’ll thank Mother Nature.
You might thank Apple, too.
Thousands of songs on that iPod.
One for every mood, one for every day.
Even days like this.