Saturday, June 02, 2007

SamuraiFrog Sapiens Sapiens

First I picked Johnny Yen as one of my five bloggers for the Thinking Blogger Award, and then he graciously returns the honor to me, which means I've been picked for a second time! I could play it off or not mention it, I suppose, but hey, I'm arrogant. And besides, this way I get to pick five more people for the award! It goes like this:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

There are so many people who have been chosen for this, so apologies to some of my favorite bloggers if I don't pick them because I know they've already done it (you know who you are, pongid, piratical, political, pin-up, practical and pop cultural personages). Hell, if you really make me think, I've already got a link to you in my ever-lengthening sidebar.

Here are five more bloggers who make me think.

1. I'm not sure he goes in for this sort of blog thing ever, but John at The Last Visible Blog has one of the most thoughtful blogs I've ever seen. Pop culture, politics, music, religion--it's like looking at what my own blog could be if I grew up and took this thing seriously. Which is probably why I rip him off so much. A little. Ish.

2. I'm new to Layercake, but I feel as if I should have been reading it all along. Heidi serves up some must-see videos along with pop news and information that works for me. She's fun as hell.

3. Confession time. When I first saw Tom the Dog's You Know What I Like?, I almost considered throwing in the towel on this place. Talk about your in-depth reviews of TV, movies, music, comics, and more. Actually, scratch that--he doesn't review, he criticizes, which is more thoughtful and takes more time. It's a great blog that I check every day.

4. What can I say about Byzantium's Shores? It's more than just a place I constantly rip memes from. Jaquandor is the smartest overalls-clad hippie I've ever even heard of, and whether he's ruminating on Star Wars (and check out his amazingly sound defense of the prequel trilogy, it made me re-examine the movies) or on journalism or science fiction or blogging itself, his posts are always thoughtful and worthwhile. You should go there. Now. Seriously, NOW.

5. Did you think I'd forget about you, Bon? HI-WATT-Cha Doing? is a sister-in-arms in the cause of great music. Every day or so she's got some kind of gem up on her front page, and I love every second of it.

Bonus: Whatever name it goes by, Joe's Movie Corner often makes me think: "When, Lord, when are the JMC Movie Awards going to be finished?" He's calling it 7 June, now, but that's only one reason to read my fellow film fanatic's fine, um... flog. Couldn't pull that one off, damn.

The Bible Summarized by a Smartass, Part Thirty-Three: Epistles

It almost seems bizarre to me that the bulk of the books of the New Testament are just a series of collected letters regarding Church function and how cool Jesus is (especially versus Judaism). But, here we are. These eight books are also epistles, just not written by Paul. They're all very short (some only lasting half a page), so I'm going to blow through them quickly.

Dear Jews,
God spoke to our ancestors, but then he sent us his son Jesus to purify our sins with his death and his love. So, if you want salvation, you have to believe in Jesus.

Dear Jews,
If you want salvation, you have to believe in Jesus.

1 Peter
Dear Christ Fans,
Live the gospels! Rock on! Keep reaching for the dream!

2 Peter
Dear Christ Fans,
Jesus is a-comin’, so be good.

1 John
Dear Christ Fans,
Watch out for the antichrist! He’s coming to get you! But when he does come, then Jesus will return to fight him! So, yay, antichrist!

2 John
Dear Unnamed Woman,
Be a good Christian. Don’t make me tell you again.

3 John
Dear Gaius,
I love you. Possibly in a romantic way, because I refer to you as “beloved” over and over again. See you soon! You know what I mean.

Dear Christ Fans,
I just plagiarized 2 Peter. Hope you enjoy it again!

And that's how it's done. Because, you know, what else is there? You love Jesus, I get it. There's not even anything about Church regulations or anything to argue about. If you think the Bible is necessary (an opinion I obviously don't share), what do you make of these epistles? They seem pretty superfluous to me. Anyway, on to next week: The Revelation to John! The Bible has been building up to its hellzapoppin', pyrotechnical, special effects filled masterpiece for the past 33 weeks! Will it deliver on its promise? Or will it be an overlong, self-important, Jerry Bruckheimer-produced snoozefest? As long as there are monkeys, who cares!

There are no monkeys in the Revelation?

Oh, man...

That Thing You Do!

In 1996, I went to see That Thing You Do! on a whim by myself on a Saturday afternoon. That was a difficult time in my life; I was sharing an apartment with a loser I worked with, I'd been demoted and given a paycut at my job, and everything just seemed pointless and upsetting. On a July afternoon, I took myself out to see this movie; my 20th birthday was approaching, and I like Tom Hanks, and I went to see That Thing You Do! And after I came out, everything seemed okay. I had a song in my heart (a catchy one at that), a smile on my face, and a massive crush on Liv Tyler that has yet to fade.

Now, it's just six weeks until my 31st birthday. Life is not in a great place once again; I'm broke and unemployed, I'm a college grad with no job prospects, and everything once again seems pointless and upsetting. And an extended cut of That Thing You Do! has just been released on DVD. And it's like seeing the movie for the first time once again. And once again, I've got a catchy song in my heart, a smile on my face, and a massive crush on Liv Tyler which, really, has been there for the last 11 years.

I like this movie. I just like this movie.

I like the fact that Tom Hanks wrote and directed it and didn't get all pretentious about it. I like that it's a labor of love; he's one of a very few actors today who feels like he makes a movie because he really loves something--like the space program, or World War II history, or pop music. I like that the characters don't feel forced, and that the film never feels like Hanks is trying to make some kind of grand point about American life. I like that Hanks put himself in a side role, as well as his beautiful wife and his kids--and even old friends and co-stars who make small appearances, including Peter Scolari, Mark McClure, Clint Howard, Philadelphia director Jonathan Demme, and Bryan Cranston (who, I noted as a geek, plays astronaut Gus Grissom in this film, and went on to play Buzz Aldrin in the Hanks-produced series From the Earth to the Moon). I like that the bass player played by Ethan Embry barely talks, and is identified in the final scroll as "T.B. Player" (although I'm sure bass players hate that). It's an extremely likeable movie.

This extended version is like rediscovering a friend you thought you knew. The added scenes (25 minutes of them) don't necessarily change the tone of the picture, but they do provide a fuller scope. For one thing, there is more of Charlize Theron and Liv Tyler, and that can only be a good thing. Every picture really needs more Liv Tyler, I think. It rounds out the characters so that they're more indentifiable as characters, yet still somehow universal. They're types, but they're types with personality.

The disc comes with both versions of the movie, which is a nice courtesy that many DVDs seem to forget to include these days. The second disc is mostly making-of features, which are nice to watch because, honestly, this movie looks like it was fun to make. There's commentary on the first disc by the members of the band, including darling Liv. The whole set is light, bouncy and, like the movie, doesn't take itself too seriously.

And there's that insanely catchy theme tune that just doesn't leave your head. And frankly, I hope it never does.

This movie makes me feel good, which is more than enough to ask of any movie. If you're interested in having a good time, pick yourself up a copy and just enjoy the hell out of it.

Muppets of the Caribbean

What's the best movie Disney ever made about pirates? Why, Muppet Treasure Island, of course.

Watching Pirates of the Caribbean, especially the third movie, is like watching someone make Scooby Doo with a script by William Faulkner--totally silly, taken with the utmost, incongruous seriousness. Throughout that entire movie, I kept wishing that something would happen to enliven the proceedings. Something like this:

Ah, if only. A fun movie about pirates, what a concept! I think Disney should be putting a figure of Kermit the Frog as Captain Smollett next to the Jack Sparrow they stuck in their Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Maybe I should take my own ship and storm the place. Crew sound off!

Who hired this crew?! Why, a cook and a man who lives in a bear's finger.

Know How I Know You Link?

I saw you make a link dip in a loaf of sourdough bread once.

In case anyone's ever looking for a master list of my weekly links posts, here it be. Additions as they come. Look for it in your friendly neighborhood index.

Hey! Links!
The Links of Bilbo Baggins
Standing on the Shoulders of Links
Touch My Links!
I’ve Heard the Links of the Vegetables
Fuck You Very Much for Linking Me
You Got the Links
Monkey vs. Robot!
I’m Linking Fantasticisms
Bulbous Links
Baby Got Links
Man of Links
I’m a Soft Link Expert
If You Only Linked
World’s Finest Links
Need Links?
Rocky Links
Batman’s Gonna Get Linked in the Face
Who Do You Link, You?
The Linklord
The Power of Link Suggestion
Father Link
Ahoy Links
Banana Links
Run It Up the Flagpole and See Who Links
Link Before Dishonor
They Call Me Doctor Links
The Secret World of Links
Roy Links
It Took 6 Whole Hours and 5 Whole Days for All Your Links to Come Undone
Honestly, You Link Just Like Him
Let the Links Hit the Floor
Wassup Links
What the Link Is a Sammo-Flange?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Throwdown 6/1

15 random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. PSA: Ladies, please don’t show off your thongs if you can’t wear them properly. Or, you know, don’t wear them at all…

2. According to experts, women are naturally bustier than they were even 15 years ago, and the E cup is the new C cup. Tell me again how evolution isn’t awesome?

3. Um…good to know.

4. David Hyde-Pierce apparently came out of the closet officially. Is there a coming out party for that sort of thing? Anyway, I thought everyone knew he was already gay. He used to not comment on it. I remember a magazine asking him once, and he said something I’ve never forgotten because I thought it was great: “My life is an open book, I just don’t intend to read it to anyone.” Good for you; it’s your sexuality, right?

5. Well, thank you once again, everyone who didn’t go see Grindhouse. Thanks to the failure of that film, it seems doubtful that Dimension is going to spend the money so Robert Rodriguez can make Sin City 2. So, thanks a bunch. Must the American audience ruin my entire moviegoing life? Every time something sounds interesting, truly interesting, either no one goes and it fails, or it goes straight to DVD, or it barely gets released. Oh, yes, you love it when everyone rips off Terry Gilliam’s movies, but God forbid you’d actually go see one. So, you know, enjoy your three more installments of Pirates of the Caribbean and you two more Shrek movies and your latest movie where Eddie Murphy plays a fat woman, since you so clearly deserve them.

6. Speaking of Shrek, Jeffrey Katzenberg has said there will be only (only?) two more movies in the series. He claims: “It’s a finite story, has been from the beginning and I think that’s part of its integrity, part of its strength, that we’re not thinking this up as we go.” Integrity? Strength? How about total bullshit? This is what I was talking about with Pirates the other day: they are completely making it up as they go along, and pretending that they aren’t. And it’s a lie. Dude, your story has no integrity or strength except to sell Happy Meals, so let’s just stop this farce right now.

7. Was Princess Diana an anorexic man who looked like a piece of dried shoe leather? No? Then why does someone in Hollywood want to cast Keira Knightley to play her in Diana and the Paparazzi. Diana died under terrible circumstances, why make her suffer this indignity? I think there’s definitely a movie to be made about Diana, but I’d like to see one that’s not just about the last, tumultuous chapter of her life. Whatever her personal life was, she was a person I’ll always respect because of what she did for children suffering from AIDS. When she hugged that baby on camera, it did so much to erase the myth that you could contract AIDS just by touching someone. And if they want to make a movie about her life, I’ll be there to watch it. But Keira Knightley? If this is about Diana’s death, why did they decide to cast someone 22 years old? Is it because Keira’s so thin that all of the moisture in her body is gone and it just makes her look old? Are they confused? No, she only looks 47.

8. No story, I just thought that was really, really funny.

9. As dumb as Parasite Hilton is, apparently her friends are even dumber. Says one of Parasite's coming jail stay: “It’s going to make her more famous than ever. In jail, she’s going to get enviably skinny, and without any make-up or products her hair and skin will finally be able to breathe, so they’ll look amazing, too. Plus she’s going to get all that street cred.” I hate the youth of America.

10. Electronic Cerebrectomy briefly breaks its self-imposed silence on Lindsay Lohan to stare at these pictures, ponder how kids grow up, and wonder if I still want to have any.

11. Ack! Why aren’t you dead yet?

12. US Weekly is pointing out the mistakes of other tabloids? Didn’t they just admit they put Janet Jackson on the cover for losing 60 pounds and then Photoshopped that cover? To make her look thinner? Am I the only one who saw that?

13. I never get tired of hearing about stupid movie studio decisions. So, as a promotion for Rise of the Silver Surfer, Fox marketing people put this image on 40,000 US quarters. The coins were distributed, 800 to each state, just before Memorial Day weekend. And the Franklin Mint actually put the image on the coins. However…the US Mint was not informed until after the fact. They didn’t know until the media contacted them. And the US Mint has to approve this kind of thing. It is, in fact, illegal to turn any form of legal tender into advertising. Fox not knowing I get, Fox doesn’t know anything. But the Franklin Mint not checking on it? Wow, what does that say about them? This is a lot of trouble to go to for a movie barely anyone’s going to see.

14. Interview is for sale! The entire magazine! Oh, man, if I could afford that, I’d buy it in a second. Who doesn’t want to read Interview presents Electronic Cerebrectomy Magazine? Well, everyone probably, but still… Scarlett Johansson, first cover. The whole magazine’s irrelevant now, anyway, why not do something awesome with it?

15. I’m going to teach my kid to say this to Peter Andre too. Nothing against the guy, it’s just hilarious. Love you, Katie, and I hope everything gets better soon. Peter’s just gotten out of the hospital (meningitis) and Harvey just walked into a mirror and cut himself (he’s been blind since birth). I don’t care, I love these people.

Run It Up the Flagpole and See Who Links

Now that I've made you feel nauseous and/or confused, how about the links of the week?

* The Secret History of Star Wars
* Filmwad on director's cuts (thanks to Semaj).
* Layercake on copyright info.
* Tom the Dog posts his preview of the new FOX shows, rounding out his Unfair Previews week.
* Fjetsam on the terrible new look of The Clone Wars.
* Helm's Deep with Muppets. Check it out, it's hilarious.
* Man vs. Clown! rocks around the clock.

Well, Miss Mexico didn't win. But Miss Japan is lovely, too. Marius recaps the pageant.
* Gorgeous new pictures of Aria Giovanni at the Skullcave.
* Bulletproof Bracelets changes my perception of Anna Paquin.
* Living Between Wednesdays rate super hunk number 8: Wally West, the Flash.
* I love Supergirl's new look.
* I still don't know if it can be turned into a good movie, but Splotchy has a great alternate plot for The Matrix Reloaded. He also goes to a movie with Marky Mark in it.
* J.D. Judge counts down the movies he's most looking forward to this year.
* Exquisitely Bored in Nacogdoches has the Mach Five for the Speed Racer movie.
* Yeeeah! and The Gilded Moose deconstruct Britney's latest missives.
* Kilgore’s Kitchen with a song that just makes me smile.
* Hilarious picture of genocide thanks to MC.

Simply because she's one of the three or four most goddamn beautiful things I've ever seen, retroCRUSH's Ann-Margret gallery.
* The Onion A.V. Club interviews Seth Rogen.
* The Top 10 Secret Celebrity Scientologists (at Cracked)
* Surprise, surprise, Dr. Laura's son is also an idiot. Semaj will tell you about it.
* The Last Visible Blog with a message for the press.
* My poetic Cap'n Dyke with a chantey for Memorial Day. It takes a strong pirate to cry.
* Here Comes Johnny Yen Again with some sound thoughts on torture.
* Dr. Zaius on John Aravosis, Keith Olbermann, and Michelle Malkin's increasingly tenuous hold of reality.
* Dr. Monkey on Emperor Cheney, some drastic new Homeland Security red flags, Hollywood's biggest whore, Fred Thompson, and a reply to one of my commentors.
* The Rude Pundit on the idiocy of Cal Thomas.
* More reasons not to elect Mitt Romney at The Huffington Post.
* Quick note: Dr. Monkey has a link up at his site to sign a petition to impeach Dick Cheney. I signed it yesterday, and it sent notification to my state's congresspersons and senators. I got a confirmation notice back from Dennis Hastert's office. His outgoing email still comes from "Speaker J. Dennis Hastert." Speaker? Get over it already.
* Blue Gal makes me a little ashamed to think of skipping out on this country while it folds in on itself. Am I a coward? You bet. But since it looks like I'll never be getting out of my apartment in DeKalb again, I'm gonna suck it up and keep fighting.

Layercake put up this video, and I was going to link to her, but I just decided to put it up. It's everywhere by now and everyone's already seen it, but I don't care, it makes me happy.

Friday Five, ca. 1994

Johnny Yen is now one of the few to tag me. This is a music meme, and I thought I'd use it for this week's Friday Five. Here's how it works:

1. Go to
2. Pick the year you turned 18
3. Get yourself nostalgic over the song’s of the year
4. Write something about how the song affected you
5. Pass it on to 5 more friends

Johnny modified his slightly, because he went to the list for his year and saw a bunch of disco. Well, for me, 1994 is no better. Seriously, here are the top five songs of 1994:

1. "The Sign," Ace Of Base
2. "I Swear," All-4-One
3. "I'll Make Love To You," Boyz II Men
4. "The Power Of Love," Celine Dion
5. "Hero," Mariah Carey

Who were you people listening to this garbage? I certainly wasn't one of you. From the whole period between 1990 and 1998, I just stopped listening to the radio and went back to my CDs and the CDs other people made for me. The radio was like a minefield then; you never know when a Mariah Carey or something is going to explode and take your face off.

So I went and looked up the top 100 songs for the year, and managed to find a few that I liked. You'll find them now in the Box to your right.

1. Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories: "Stay"
Remember Reality Bites, the Gen X movie Ben Stiller directed with Ethan Hawke as a slacker that felt it was oh so important? Thankfully, neither does history. But this song is still remembered, and I had this one lying around on a mix CD. It's a nice enough song, and listening to it again made me a little nostalgic. I always thought it should've been a little faster, with stronger drums and a rhythm guitar, like something the Rolling Stones would've recorded around 1965. Imagine a "Backstreet Girl" or "Memo from Turner" sort of vibe on this one. Still, the original tune is not unpleasant.

2. Seal: "Prayer for the Dying" [acoustic]
I love Seal, but I don't have any of his albums except for the acoustic version of The Best of Seal and a promo of Seal IV. So I've put up the acoustic version of this great song. There is indeed a man who knows how to put together a hit single. Kudos, too, to his producer, Trevor Horn, whom I will always remember as one of the Buggles.

3. Bruce Springsteen: "Streets of Philadelphia"
I still get sad every time I hear this. I know it's "just" a song for a movie, but I love it more than anything Springsteen did between 1982 and 2002.

4. Meat Loaf: "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through"
Thanks to my dad listening to it, Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell easily ties for the position of my favorite album of all time. I grew up on it, and I still love it and listen to it all the time. Big, bombastic, operatic, profoundly silly but genuinely emotional. I loved it. So when, out of nowhere, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell appeared in my senior year of high school, I was absolutely thrilled. It was almost the equal of its predecessor. If it's missing anything, it's the production genius of Todd Rundgren. But otherwise, Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf pulled out another classic album. Can you imagine if Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman had just stuck together the way God intended? Meat Loaf would've had "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and a bunch of other Steinman songs that were hits for other people. This one was originally a hit for Steinman on his solo album in, I believe, 1980. Steinman's version is better, but I do love the man the New York Times called Mr. Loaf.

5. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: "Mary Jane's Last Dance"
Because Petty rocks and this song is excellent. Everyone remembers the video with Petty dancing with Kim Basinger's corpse, very Tim Burton-esque. The literal interpretation always made me laugh.

Video Bonus: Aerosmith: "Crazy"
Because it has Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler in it, and watching this slice of nostalgia almost makes me feel 18 again.

Other songs considered but not used: Salt 'N' Pepa featuring En Vogue: "What a Man"; John Mellencamp & Me'shell Ndegeocello: "Wild Night"; Melissa Etheridge: "Come to My Window"; Gin Blossoms: "Found Out About You"; Haddaway: "What Is Love"; Meat Loaf: "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"

Okay, now I'm supposed to tag five others, so here you go: my erstwhile partner in pop culture crime Bonnie Tristesse, the astounding MC, the naughty Miss Becca, the always-awesome Heidi, and fellow music lover Mob. Go to!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Viral Marketing, Part 2

A deleted scene from Knocked Up. I cannot wait to see this movie. Though I'll have to, a week or more. Great clip, although I do need to see Anne Hathaway's tits.

(Via My New Plaid Pants)

How Much Longer Do I Have to Listen to White People Whine About Their Entitlement?

I just got this forwarded to my email. It goes like this:

I bought a bird feeder. I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed. Within a week we had hundreds of birds taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food. But then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table, and next to the barbecue.

Then came the poop. It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table..everywhere. Then some of the birds turned mean: They would dive bomb me and try to peck me even though I had fed them out of my own pocket. And others birds were boisterous and loud: They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at all hours of the day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even sit on my own back porch anymore. I took down the bird feeder and in three days the birds were gone. I cleaned up their mess and took down the many nests they had built all over the patio. Soon, the back yard was like it used to be...quite [sic], serene and no one demanding their rights to a free meal.

But wait, it gets better. Americans just love it when simplistic, homespun wisdom and farmland homilies can be used as a completely ridiculous metaphor. How can this housekeeping tip apply to the world situation?

Now let's see . . . our government gives out free food, subsidized housing, free medical care, free education and allows anyone born here to be a [sic] automatic citizen.

Then the illegals came by the tens of thousands. Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing 5 families: you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by an emergency room doctor: your child's 2nd grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English.

Okay, where do I start with how offensive I find this? The metaphor itself is not only asinine, but it doesn't even apply for a number of reasons. First off, comparing people that run on thought to animals that run on instinct is just insulting. The author is saying that he finds the comparison of an immigrant (or any non-American) to an animal to be apt.

Secondly, dude, you created the situation with the birds. You offered them free food, and then you get pissed off at them not only when they take it, but when they act like birds? How bigoted can you get. "I only like birds when they're purdy, not exhibiting other bird-like behavior." If you had a child and it cried to be fed, would you be upset that a child was demanding food? Would you call that infant ungrateful because it was acting like an infant? Would you say that the baby was making unreasonable demands on you? Asshole.

Thirdly, where is this free medical care and free food? Because I want those things. I have an education (and not a free one, I owe $46,000 on it!) and I was born in this country, and yet I don't have my free food or housing or healthcare. I don't know how to get these things and I've lived here my entire life.

Fourth, who are these "illegals," I wonder? See, you can use the term "illegals" all you want, we all know that you mean Latinos. That's what really gets me about this cry of "illegals" and "undocumented workers," because those are now just terms used to try and disguise what the people crying them out are really doing: being racists. They have this idiotic image of "tens of thousands" of people crawling over the border in a constant stream, when the fact is that most people who are in this country illegally came here legally. They just let their visas run out and never leave. And since our immigration system is overworked, overtaxed, underpaid and undermanned, those people just aren't found very often. And not all of them are criminals, okay? Racist asshole.

Fifthly, who are these people running up our taxes for free services? You know who's running up our taxes? Rich white assholes who whine about flat taxes and use euphemisms like "death tax" to make us feel bad for them so we won't tax them on their wealth. People who voted for George W. Bush are to blame, too. They voted for Bush, Bush gives tax cuts to his rich friends and cronies and the people who own him and businesses...well, that money has to be made up from somewhere, so he makes your taxes higher. Remember when you used to be middle class? Welcome to the lower class, my friend! Welcome to America, where the rich are allowed to keep getting richer, because the poor will keep making up the difference because they apparently don't know any better. Taxes should be higher, anyway, to keep social services like healthcare more affordable, but wages should be higher, too. It should even out much better than it has. There should be a more even distribution of wealth; that's the only way this country can work. You can say capitalism is great all you want, but it really isn't. It puts the money in the hands of a very few, and then points the finger at people who weren't born here and says it's all their fault, when it actually isn't. It's the fault of those same few, who hoard their money so that their worthless grandkids like Parasite Hilton and President Duh can never have to work again. And they whine when it's suggested that they should have to pay taxes and follow the rules like everyone else because they honestly believe their money makes them better human beings.

So, in short, if you think that our taxes are higher because other people aren't paying into the system, you're right. But if you think it's people from Mexico, you're wrong. It's the richest 1% of the population which controls the overwhelming majority of America's money.

A sixth point (really just a question): How does a small apartment housing 5 families affect you personally? I mean, it can be annoying if you're living in the same building with those people, because it might get a little loud, but how does that really affect the economy or your taxes? Don't try to act concerned now, when you so nakedly want the birds to fly home.

Seventh, it does suck that you have to wait "6 hours" in the emergency room. But that's not because of immigrants. That's because of the healthcare industry. It is now prohibitively expensive to see a doctor at a private practice or a private hospital. With the middle class dissolved and the lower class's wages deteriorating, people are now in the position of having to choose whether or not a child's illness is "serious enough" to get treatment for. And God forbid you have to see a specialist! With the shitty job market and the insurance companies charging more and paying out for less, many people are in the same position I'm in: 30 years old, unemployed, and uninsured. Where am I going to go if I hurt myself? Obviously, I'm going to go to the emergency room of a county hospital. Because I can't pay for anything. Why is the cost of healthcare so high? Well, part of it has to do with taxes not going to the right places. If taxes were higher and wages were actually raised above the cost of living, healthcare could be much more affordable. But that would involve taxing our rich masters and corporations, and apparently most Americans look at that as treason, because we keep doing whatever they want us to (such as, you know, turning on each other). And since American corporations have enabled this immigration thing by using "illegals" as slave labor and paying them next to nothing, they can't afford to go anywhere else for healthcare, either. You have to wait at an emergency room, not because there are so many immigrants in America, but because there are so many poor people in America.

Eighth...this one really makes me laugh: your child's 2nd grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English. Yeah, but they're Americans and the schools they're behind are all in Canada and Europe. Here are four words you might recognize: No Child Left Behind. Like 9/11 and tax cuts for the rich, No Child Left Behind was one of President Duh's early failures. What this monstrous, unconscionable act has done is dumbed down classes to a pedestrian level, made tests easier to pass so that kids don't have their precious self-esteems bruised, made requirements for passing lax enough that even the dumbest of kids can just move through instead of achieving, made it a regular act for schools to expel students rather than let their failure bring the numbers down, and, thanks to a little clause that gives the government access to who the really stupid kids are, turned our high schools into a mill to churn out future soldiers. What kind of an asshole blames our entire shitty education system on immigrants? Talk to any kid off of the street and ask them to spell a common word. Try "lose," everyone seems to think it's spelled with two o's now. Fucker, blaming American stupidity on the proximity of Mexican kids. Fuck you.

This little invective quickly degenerates into whiny complaints and a little tag to tie the idiot metaphor back in.

Corn Flakes now come in a bilingual box; I have to press "one" to hear my bank talk to me in English, and people waving flags other than "Old Glory" are squawking and screaming in the streets, demanding more rights and free liberties. Maybe it's time for the government to take down the bird feeder.

Ooh, no! You might have to see Spanish words on a cereal box! You have to press an extra button to get an English recording! Oh, God, the inconvenience! The extra second of life, gone forever because of the insistence of some people not to be born in this country!

Seriously, this is your problem? That not everyone in America speaks English? Well, you know what? I suggest you get used to it because we are allowed to speak languages other than English in this country. I know it must be a serious blow to the national identity to not have an English-only Corn Flakes box, but suck it up and be an adult.

What this all comes down to is the typical white American entitlement. "I don't want to share this great country with anyone else, because I was born here so I should get all the advantages. Me first! I was here first! Whine, whine, whine, whiney whine whine."

There is way too much of this crap going around. People are against immigration, but only because it gives them an outlet for their racism. I'm prepared to listen to reasoned arguments about our immigration policy and to make sure it's enforced. But I'm not going to listen to something like this, which is just some white guy getting upset at the government because he sees too many brown people in the course of a day and can't understand their language. This is not a whites-only, English-speakers-only country.

SamuraiFrog Is a Man of Many Hats

I love wearing hats. I've had a number over the years, and for no reason other than I'm easily amused by myself, I decided to take some pictures of the hats I still own.

I'm never going to give up the dream. No matter how much they lose (and they do), they're still my home team.

If this screams "fake hipster" when I wear it, how come Justin Timberlake gets away with it? I just like this one, even though I've really got nowhere to wear it. Maybe golf one day.

Bought this one at Wal-Mart one Halloween just for the hell of it. I love hats like this. Hats are just neat.

This is one of the few that I'll wear when I'm out, especially if its a little chilly. I bought this one at the Brookfield Zoo.

How could I not buy this? I find it at a Halloween store for twenty bucks. Everyone needs a good pirate hat. I actually wear this one when I'm playing Guitar Hero. If I really were a guitarist, I'd totally wear this hat. Ah, the days when music was fun.

This is old, from the last Halloween costume I ever wore: El Zorro. It was about a decade ago, and it's not a good hat, really, but I don't ever throw that shit away.

This was the Zorro mask. I look like I should become a Mexican wrestler. I'm ready to take on El Santo!

I like these tramp hats, but I know a couple of people who refer to it as my "old man's hat." I used to wear it a lot during the fall. Since it's an old man's hat, I put on my glasses and goofed around. When I worked at Barnes & Noble, I still wore my first pair of glasses, which would slide down my nose while I was working. Sometime, I would look up at somebody like this, and my co-worker Gigi lovingly called it my "Grandpa Look." I don't wear my glasses like this normally.

I don't know why I have this beret anymore. I think my cousin John bought it at an army surplus store in Des Moines. I found an American flag pin and put it in the front. I threw on my sunglasses just as a goof.

Thug life, yo. Actually, this knit cap is what I wear during the cold Illinois winters, instead of all year long like a goddamn idiot. "Skull beanie," my ass, you people are wearing winter caps. And they smell, because you keep sweating into them. Just a heads up.

I'm an Incredible Screen Couple

Your Score: Cary Grant
You scored 23% Tough, 19% Roguish, 19% Friendly, and 38% Charming!

You are the epitome of charm and style, the smooth operator who steals the show with your sophisticated wit and quiet confidence. You are able to catch any woman you want just by flashing that disarming smile. When you walk into a room, the women are instantly intrigued and even the men are impressed. When you find yourself in trouble, you are easily able to charm your way out of it, or convince others to help you. You're seen as dashing, suave and romantic. Your co-stars include Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, and Joan Fontaine, stylish women who know a class act when they see it.

The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test.

Your Score: Katharine Hepburn
You scored 14% grit, 47% wit, 42% flair, and 9% class!

You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.

The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test.

Me in an Image

Just posting this picture as a little trip down memory lane. This picture describes my mindset so exactly, there's no need for further comment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nice Job, America

Cindy Sheehan has given up. She no longer wants any part of the anti-war movement. And while I don't agree with her that the Democrats are afraid to take on the administration--they can only do what they have the votes to do, people, and they only have a one-vote majority in the Senate--I do agree with her that, you know, maybe people really don't care. After all, what have they done?

Here are some of the words she left the movement with:

"I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost."

"The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing [. . .] Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most."

"I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither."

"Goodbye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country unless you want it."

I guess we don't. Not badly enough. Cindy Sheehan was dedicated to protesting this war, and if even she can be disillusioned... well, I'm looking up the cost of living in Canada right now.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week. I only saw one, but it seemed like five.

Where do I start? Strap in or leave now, because this is going to be a lot of negative bitching and spoiling the, um…I’ll be charitable and call it a plot. But you know what? That’s what I do. So let’s start with one of my patented blanket statements: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is the dumbest movie I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of dumb movies. Those Matrix movies are dumb in an almost unsettling way. This is dumber. This is the kind of movie that exists only because the need for product demands it. They’ve taken something fun and turned it into a total waste of everyone’s time. The first movie was 85 minutes of B children’s movie fun wrapped up in pretentious subplot and awful characterization, but I enjoyed the hell out of Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush and I almost always love swordfighting, so I was pretty happy with it. The second movie was nothing more than a trailer for a third movie, though it had occasional bright spots in it, the brightest of which was Bill Nighy having obvious fun as Davy Jones. This movie…well, it exists to make money, and nothing else. Since my thoughts of total hatred for this movie are all over the place, I’m going to break down nearly every aspect of it and talk about why I hated it so goddamn much.

The Story: There isn’t one. There just isn’t. There’s a bunch of loosely related scenes that come one after the other, and then it stops. The script doesn’t bother with such things as plot development, characterization, and story resolution. It just kills time until something like four days have gone by and then it releases you, having safely (and profitably) wasted your time. The first two movies are structured this way: characters come and go, there’s a lot of backstabbing, a lot of circles are made (seriously, all the action in these movies does is go back and forth and back and forth over and over), there’s set-up for the next movie, and then it all ends with a cool, funny scene and fast music that, for a second, fools you into thinking you’ve just seen something incredible. Then you wake up and go: “Man, that fucking sucked.” This is pretty much the same thing, only somehow even less focused. The filmmakers were so busy setting up everyone’s stories in the second movie that they forgot to include the payoff for this one. It’s like they got to the end of the second movie, having established everything, and then said: “Shit, what do we do now?” This is how I feel about the series as a whole, really. I hate these movies (again, The Matrix is an excellent example) where one is successful and they’re suddenly all like “Hey, if you liked just one, how do you feel now knowing that we meant it to be a trilogy all along?! Yay!” Yeah, sure you did. You didn’t just pull two more movies out of your ass and then pretend you meant it to be unfocused the whole time. You had it done for years, you didn't just write it over the course of a three-day weekend and hope the studio would let it slide because, really, the story's not the biggest concern in one of these faux-epics.

Also, as other critics have pointed out, the movie plunges right in with nothing to remind you of what’s going on. It took me a few minutes to even remember what every character wanted. That’s another thing about franchises that’s extremely irritating; they introduce new characters in each movie and then try to carry every single one along and, even with 27 endings (as in the second movie), they still can’t give each character adequate screen time. Not only are a number of players completely wasted in this film, some of them don’t even need to be in it at all. And, as I said, the movie has no ending, it just stops and then, after three cruel hours of total suck, has the audacity to set itself up for a fourth movie. You know, just in case.

The whole thing is really ripped off from Sinbad. The entire Pirates trilogy. Why not just watch a good movie like The Crimson Pirate or Captain Blood and chase it with, say, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad?

And one more thing about the…I don’t know, outline? I don’t want to call it a script, that would be more kindness than this deserves. The massive failure of the second movie was the way they tried to make the characters three-dimensional and complex, as if we’re supposed to suddenly care about them as if they were people. It was clumsy to take characters like Davy Jones and Jack Sparrow, essentially plot devices, Shakespearean fools, and turn them into something moral. This movie doesn’t remedy that; it abandons the concept of three dimensions, thankfully, but still tries to moralize. In it’s way, it’s worse than what was done with the second movie, because this movie makes the grand mistake of trying to be culturally relevant by commenting on the current administration (Cutler Beckett is George W. Bush, geddit? Good business, geddit?), including a cringe-worthy opening scene that made me want to walk out and punch Gore Verbinski in the nuts.

This is a not a movie you enjoy. This is a movie you hope to survive.

Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow: I think it’s now safe to say that I hate Johnny Depp for doing these movies. I loved him in the first one; he was a great comic device and played it perfectly. He never winked at the audience in a way that said “Look at me, I’m having fun bein’ all crazy!” He completely inhabited the role and, knowing that Sparrow isn’t a character so much as a force for moving the plot along, just went with it. I loved him for most of the second movie, too, until they tried to instill guilt in him and make his motivations more complex. It was like watching Pepe le Pew attempt to reevaluate his life, wondering if it’s really his fault that female cat he thinks is a skunk doesn’t like him and where his life went wrong. It was embarrassing. In this movie, he just meanders around in a way that says “Just give me my fucking paycheck already.” There's so much talent in that man and he's just pissing it away on this drivel, and I kind of resent him for it a little bit now. I suddenly understand why Sir Alec Guinness hated himself so much for doing the Star Wars movies. The filmmakers have to make him insane and give him conversations with multiple versions of himself in order to give him something interesting to do this time around. He nails it once or twice, but overall Jack Sparrow is completely irrelevant to this movie except that Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow sells tickets.

Geoffrey Rush/Captain Barbossa: Geoffrey Rush steals the whole goddamn show, but I wouldn’t want to tell him that. “Hey, you were the best part of total shite!” What a compliment. He does pretty much what he did the first time: chews the sets right down to the goddamn bolts and just enjoys himself. His reaction shots alone are like pantomime overload, but at least he’s trying to enjoy himself. I don’t know why, suddenly, he’s the most trustworthy character in the whole damn thing, but he was pretty much the only actor worth paying attention to. You can see it in his eyes: he knows it’s bullshit, too, and he feels sorry you’re watching it, but he’s doing what he can to enliven things. Good on you, Geoffrey. You’re a gem.

Orlando Bloom/Will Turner & Keira Knightley/Elizabeth Swann: I am as tired of that anorexic little boy who plays Elizabeth as I am of that fey little girl who plays Will. Both, um, actors I guess have always been giant holes in the screen to me. Neither one of them has ever played a role that couldn’t have been played as well (or better) by anyone else, including members of the craft service team. That battle scene with the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman on either side of a maelstrom…well, one of those ships is Bloom, the other is Knightley, and their total lack of chemistry is the storm, sucking the entire movie into oblivion. Their love story—the romance novel aspect of this series has always been its worst feature—is mostly dropped in this one, and then we’re expected to care a lot about it by the end. I couldn’t really figure out why either one of them wanted to rescue Jack, either, except that, well, Disney wanted them to. It’s not just Orlando’s feyness and total lack of masculinity that bother me, anymore than it’s Keira’s total lack of femininity and the fact that she looks like dried shoe leather that bother me. They’re just both absolutely terrible. And they’re so painfully earnest, acting this thing like it’s bloody Shakespeare, intoning their shitty dialogue as though they’re saying the Most Important Things Ever. Orlando looks all wounded and pleased with himself for having the moral high ground (all he ever does), while Keira bugs out her eyes and juts her lower jaw forward in a ridiculous mockery of emoting (all she ever does). And we’re always supposed to believe that everyone in the world finds Keira sexy, right from an opening scene where she’s made to strip down to prove she doesn’t have any weapons on her (I guess her penis doesn’t count as one). When Orlando Bloom gets stabbed in the heart (oh, um, spoiler), I said, very loudly: “Finally! Now let’s blow this ship up and go home!” Please, Hollywood, quit casting these two in anything.

Jack Davenport/Norrington & Jonathan Pryce/Swann: I just point these out to say: what the fuck are they even doing in this movie? They both die pretty quickly and for no real reason except the writers couldn’t think of anything else to do with them. Who cares? And don’t tell me it’s because American audiences are so painfully literal that they need to see every aspect of everything to know a story is really over. I already know that and it depresses me. (Note: I've just re-read my review of the second film, and my comments about Norrington and Governor Swann are almost exactly the same. What are they even doing in this story anymore? The movie shuffles them in and shoves them aside.)

Tom Hollander/Cutler Beckett: Gosford Park. Stage Beauty. Paparazzi. Possession. These are but a few of the movies I’ve seen that feature Tom Hollander, and yet, like the Pirates movies, I can't remember him in them. Boring actor playing a boring character with absolutely no menace whatsoever.

Bill Nighy/Davy Jones: I loved Davy Jones in the second movie as a sort of movie monster/plot device. He was a fun rip-off of Captain Nemo with some incredibly good special effects and no real soul, which sums up these movies perfectly. Nighy played him interestingly, of course, because Billy Nighy is incapable of less. He was undoubtedly the best part of Dead Man’s Chest (an adequate description of Keira Knightley if there is one), and here he’s unceremoniously relegated to the background. He has one good scene that he plays very well, but his story isn’t resolved satisfyingly and he’s just underused. It’s like bringing in Darth Vader and then having him just arrange tables while everyone is fighting, and then dying offscreen.

Tia Dalma/Naomie Harris: She feels tacked on, and her character’s big (yet obvious) revelation is tacked on, too. They throw in more shit than anyone could care about here, because there’s nothing else going on and they need to pad out the running time. She’s neat in the role, but that role is so extraneous that it’s easy to forget she’s even there.

Stellan Skarsgard/Bootstrap Bill Turner: I just want to point out once again that I think Stellan Skarsgard is the most boring actor alive. At least, I think he’s alive, the way he does everything in every movie so placidly, I can’t tell. He’s a big part of what made the second movie so damn boring, and his presence merely adds to the gloom in this one.

Chow Yun-fat/Sao Cheng: Utterly wasted in what is essentially a pointless cameo.

Nearly Everyone Else: Look, I appreciate that you’re trying to be funny, but there are just far too many characters in this thing for you to do much of interest. Kevin McNally, you especially are someone I enjoy in these movies. But seriously, do there have to be this many characters when so much nothing is going on?

Keith Richards/Captain Teague: Awesome. Somehow, Keith Richards is the most understated part of this movie, and it makes him look even better by comparison because he’s not mincing around screaming for attention at the top of his lungs. Plus, you know, he’s Keef. How do you not love Keef?

The Monkey: After seeing this movie, I said to my mom: “Obviously, the most talented actor in the movie was the monkey. He played the exact tone, wasn’t too serious, didn’t hog his scenes, and never once got irritating. That’s a real professional.”

Mom: “I liked the parrot, too.”

Me: “Yeah, but the parrot just played off the monkey. He gave that parrot a lot to work with.”

The Big Battle: A waste. They line up ship after ship with the promise of this enormous battle between armadas, and then the battle is just between the two ships. And it’s all in the dark with rain falling so you can’t see how shitty the special effects are. At some point, I just kind of realized that I didn’t care who won or who was fighting or why they were fighting. All I knew was that my ass hurt and I wanted to get something to eat. The movie, despite all its flailing and flop sweat, couldn’t even stir up enough interest in me to finish the thing. Oh, I did, but I wasn’t happy about it. Like too many American movies now, this one just goes on forever. The battle scene…except for Sparrow and Davy Jones dueling, I could not have cared any less.

The Score: Hans Zimmer continues to prove that he cannot write music. He writes loud, thumping tones, lets underlings write everything else, and then recycles and steals. His last great score was for Backdraft in 1991; ever since then, he’s just been moving notes slightly and selling it as something new, when it’s really the same thing. Everything else is from Holst or Wagner or Richard Strauss or other Romantic and Modern era composers. I especially found his naked attempt at ripping off Ennio Morricone distasteful in this one.

Cinematography/Production Design: I’ll tell you why this movie didn’t look original to me, but you’re probably tired of hearing it. This is yet another movie (and I’ve been seeing them a lot recently) that completely rips off the films of Terry Gilliam. Children of Men did it. Pan’s Labyrinth did it. Every Harry Potter does it. Stop it. Find your own creepy imaginitiveness. And stop ripping off Tim Burton, too, his weirdness is conventional and boring.

Special Effects: Just as awful as the second film. With the exception of Davy Jones, and obviously a lot of work went into him (I wonder if the sheer volume of hours it takes to do the Jones effects are what shoved him aside for so much of this movie), the crew of the Flying Dutchman are just as unpleasant to look at as they were the first time around. And not by design. They look all blurry and monochrome, as though they’re unfocused and unfinished. When I look at them, my eyes can’t focus and I get a headache. This movie ached my head and ached my ass. It’s like an endurance test and not a film at all. There’s not story, it can’t be a film!

The Running Time: It's not an epic just because it's an hour longer than it has to be. There's at least forty minutes you could cut right out of this thing. Seriously, someone needs to take all three movies and whittle them into either one movie that runs 160 minutes, or two movies that run 95. Three movies is just excessive.

So, to recap, I hate this movie. It’s the dumbest thing ever, and despite how this review makes it look, I can barely remember any of it because it’s so instantly forgettable. It’s disposable. It’s crap. * star, for Geoffrey Rush and the monkey, and a little bit of Billy Nighy, all adrift in a sea of stupidity.

Thoughts for Today

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Health Report: Week 24

Oh, this week. The weekend's been a doozy; a long, soda-filled odyssey. Well, not so much an odyssey as me sitting around, drinking Coke and watching Footballers' Wives on BBC America. I haven't done much, especially not in the way of exercise or having a sensible diet or any of that type of thing. In fact, I'm back to barely eating again. I just can't afford that type of thing.

On the plus side, my apartment complex opened up the pool this weekend, so I can go float around when it gets too hot and pretend that I'm exercising. So that's nice.

Right now, I'm just sort of waiting around, hoping to hear about a part time job doing customer service at home. Someone is trying to put me in touch with someone who actually does that job and can hopefully get me in. I think it pays nine dollars an hour, and I can do it part time from home while I try to figure out if I want to go back to school or not. I'm leaning towards not these days, mostly because my mom keeps screwing with me. 30 years in, and she still hasn't figured out that if she makes a big deal about something, I'm going to do the opposite. I say "Maybe I can go back to school and get my teaching certificate or a journalism degree or something," and she pounces on it and just pushes and pushes and pushes until the whole thing seems like a really bad fucking idea. Bad enough I owe an incredible amount of money for the first degree, which has proven nearly worthless, and my income is exactly zero dollars a year. Not only am I not going to be able to pay the fifty bucks a month to Sallie Mae, but I've gotten a payment book on another loan, which starts pulling in $280.00 a month in two and a half weeks. Do I want to add more debt to that just so I can push off finding a job another couple of years? Is it worth it?

What am I really going to do anyway? I think my dream of being a writer may just have to get pushed aside. It's not going well, and who wants to pay someone to write when everyone, me included, is online doing it for free? Maybe I should just find the dead end job I've always been destined to die doing. The world needs people to push buttons and dig graves, right? Of course, I'm too lazy to do either of those things. How lazy? This lazy.

I got this meme in my inbox. It's a long list of general stuff, and you're supposed to put an X by the things you've done in your life. I kind of look at it and just shake my head at how boring I really am. I'll just summarize this here. I've never crashed a friend's car or stolen one. I've never been dumped, believe it or not. I've never really been in a fist fight. I've never gone on a blind date. Never been to Europe or Mexico. Never seen someone die, and I hope never to. I've never purposely set a part of myself on fire, been skiing, or had a tea party. I've met people on the internet, but never met them in real life. I've never used a fake ID or gotten kicked out of a bar. I've never even been in a club. I never got suspended. I've never danced in the moonlight. I've never witnessed a crime or been obsessed with Post-It Notes. I never paid for a meal with only coins. And nothing ever came out of my nose when I laughed. I've never been kissed under the mistletoe. Never made a bonfire on the beach or crashed a party. Never jumped off a bridge, either. And I don't know that I've ever had a wish come true.

But, on the other hand, I have been in love. I've shoplifted, rather a lot when I was a kid. I've been arrested (guess what for). I've smoked cigarettes (and cigars, and marijuana, and once even a pipe--and once even a hash pipe, for what that's worth). I've snuck out of my parents' house, but to spend time alone. Of course I've had feelings for someone who didn't have them back. I've lied to friends and skipped school. I've been on a plane and eaten sushi. I've been to one concert in my life. I've taken painkillers, most notably when I sprained my ankle in high school, and especially when I had my wisdom teeth out (all four at once). I've laid on my back and watched cloud shapes go by. I've made a snow angel and flown a kite. I've built a sandcastle and gone puddle jumping and played dress up and jumped into a pile of leaves and gone sledding. I've cheated while playing games because I hate to lose. I've been lonely. I've fallen asleep at school, and at work. I've watched the sunset. I've felt an earthquake. I've slept beneath the stars. I've been tickled, robbed, and misunderstood. I've petted a goat, but never milked one. I've won the occasional contest, and I've run both a red light and a stop sign. I've been in a car crash and had braces, and felt like an outcast or the third wheel. I've eaten a whole pint of ice cream and had deja vu. I've even liked the way I looked on rare occasions. It doesn't last. I've questioned my heard. I've questioned my heart. Squished mud through my bare feet. Been lost. Been on the opposite side of the country. Swam in the ocean. Played cops and robbers. Felt like dying and cried myself to sleep. Sang karaoke. Done something I told myself I wouldn't. Made prank phone calls. Caught a snowflake on my tongue and played in the rain, though not on the same day. Written a letter to Santa Claus. Blown bubbles and gone roller skating, oddly on the same day. Watched the sun rise with someone I cared about.

And I do love and miss someone right now. Right this second.

Life's rich pageant, I guess.

Oh, this week. Did you know that Kelly Clarkson pushes a vitamin water now? Yeah, I tried some of it on Sunday. It was strawberry and kiwi flavored. I don't know where anyone gets off claiming this is vitamin water, when it's basically Kool-Aid. It's fruit juice, only watered-down and loaded with sugar. Seriously, it was 13 grams of suger per the 2.5 servings contained in a single bottle. That's just as much as there is in Coca-Cola. It tastes good, don't get me wrong, but it's not really good for you, even though they're selling it that way. I couldn't drink it all the time, because it's just as bad for me as soda is. Thanks, Kelly Clarkson.

My mom tells me to check out the Atkins Diet for real and not the way it's been played in the media. That it pushes lots of protein and rejects the food pyramid. I like protein, and I've been looking at some stuff today about the Atkins Diet. I agree with him on a couple of things. First, his assertion that the main cause of obesity is eating refined carbohydrates such as sugar, flour, and the high-fructose corn syrup they put in soda. Second, that saturated fats aren't the enemy, trans fats are. And third, that the rise in metabolic diseases have been caused, in part, by the food pyramid, which pushes a lot of insulin-producing food. Maybe I'll put a hold on the carbs over the next few days and flush myself out a bit, because I do want to burn more calories. When I first started dieting, 24 weeks ago, I had so much more energy and felt so much healthier. Now, as we speak, I've got heartburn and feel sick.

I guess what I'll do is really just start over. It takes a maximum of 72 hours for stimulants to leave the body, and after that, you don't want it anymore. That's how I've gotten off of sweets and sodas in the past, as well as stopped smoking. Just stop and don't let it back in. I'm going to do that starting today. No sugar, no caffeine. Another withdrawal. Oh, boy, this is always fun. But it has to be done. And then, afterwards, it's going to be protein, greens, veg, meat, eggs, a little cheese. That all sounds pretty damn good to me. I think I'll do it, especially because I really do want to burn fat instead of carbs. I have more than enough fat to keep me going for months.

There are things I'd like to in my life and I'd like to be here to enjoy them. I just have to stop waiting for things to happen and dreams to come true that never will.

I got one other meme, this one at Tosy and Cosh, which is just a meme where you name ten things you'd like to learn to do. To motivate myself a little, here they are.

1. Play the piano. I love the sound of a piano, and I can find my way around blindly, but I really want to learn to just play. And to play well. The only thing I do well when it comes to music is listen to it.

2. Play guitar. I actually have a guitar, but I don't know how to play it. I have a hard time with my fingering, but maybe there's a chance I'll figure it out.

3. Dance. Not that sub-rhythmic timed spasm thing that people do now and pretend it's dancing, where they flail their arms wildly and don't move their legs. I mean for real dance. Gene Kelly dance. I've always wanted to move my body that way, with such power and such artistry. You have to be powerful to be that delicate.

4. Cook. Really cook. I can barely make eggs and pancakes anymore.

5. Be a mime. I always wanted to be able to be an actor, but not just any kind of actor. One of those puppeteers/mimes/special effects creations where you have to know how to move your body in strange and unusual ways to create a character. Like the Muppeteers did. I've always had a slight knack for that, even as I got fat, and I'd like to really learn to do it.

6. Stunt drive. I think that would break me of my fear of losing control and going too fast. Plus I could be all cool like Kurt Russell in Death Proof, hopefully without the homicidal leanings, but hopefully with the ability to lure Rose McGowan into my car.

7. Surf. Hey, I'm a Beach Boys fan, what do you expect? Mahalo lu le, mahalo lu la, keeni waka pula.

8. Surrender. I won't let anyone drive me anywhere, I won't get into machines that I can't control. I'm not even sure why this is anymore, outside of my pathological fear of pain.

9. Use Photoshop. I still don't know what I'm doing with that thing.

10. Make something like this happen in my own home:I've really lost sight of my original goal from when I started losing weight: my desire to fuck teenage girls. Hey, I need something to motivate me, right?

So, enough feeling sorry for myself. I'm going to get this job, I'm going to stop obsessing over things that will never happen and things that already have, and I'm going to lose this goddamn weight. And then I'm going to be as big of a dick as Peter Parker was when he started wearing the black suit, because everyone has to pay, pay for what they did to me, I tell you!! Don't worry, by then I'll have learned to play the guitar, so women will think that kind of behavior is charming, not abusive.

Hey, c'mon!

Viral Marketing

Judd Apatow, Michael Cera, and Katherine Heigl made a hilarious video to market Knocked Up. This is a parody of those videos of David O. Russell blowing up at Lily Tomlin like a little baby. Language, if you're at work.

Gallifreyan Nature

I wonder how many people enjoyed Human Nature, this past weekend's episode of Doctor Who. If you haven't seen it, I'm going to spoil it for you, so if you still want to see it or really couldn't give a toss about Doctor Who theories or anything like that, just skip this post.

The rest of you, bear with me.

So, the big news about this third series of Who is that we're probably going to end up seeing the Master return to the show. Which I think is wonderful. This series hasn't been the best so far, but I thought Human Nature was a leap forward in quality. To recap for future brevity: the Doctor and Martha are being chased through time by something called the Family, a group of aliens who can read the Doctor's DNA signature. So they know he's a Time Lord and can track him anywhere in time. To hide from them, the Doctor does something which changes his DNA to that of a human, and hides his Time Lord self inside a pocket watch. He takes on the identity of John Smith, a master at a boys' school in 1913 England. While there, he begins to fall in love with a nurse, Joan Redfern, played by Jessica Stevenson (now Jessica Hynes, which doesn't sound right to me).

Meanwhile, one of the boys, Tim Latimer, bullied by the other students, is attracted to John Smith's watch for reasons he can't explain. He keeps opening it and hearing things about Gallifrey and Daleks and the Family and Time Lords and TARDISes...TARDII? So now the Family has found the Doctor, but he doesn't know he's the Doctor. He thinks he's John Smith, schoolmaster. And even though the episode ends with a cliffhanger, the previews for the next episode show images of the Doctor and Joan Redfern marrying and having a family.

So here's my theory, one that probably everyone else has: Tim Latimer is the Master. Some of the elements are there: the Doctor knew him at school, he was bullied by the other kids. The watch is going to change his DNA so that he becomes a Time Lord, and he's going to grow up to be Derek Jacobi, who is supposed to appear soon in the series as a character called the Professor. In a bit of a snake swallowing its own tail, this is going to turn out to be the Master's first incarnation, not his most recent. Because when you deal in time travel, you get loads of ways out.

Now, if Russell T. Davies really wanted to muck with the audience, he's something he could do. I would totally do this, because the fans who are genuinely interested in this tenth Doctor being something new would get it, and the continuity whores (aka Star Trek fans) would get upset, and that's enough of a reason to do it. Here's how I would end the series.

So, the Doctor marries Joan and stays John Smith. The watch has come into the possession of the Master, and doesn't return to Smith. John and Joan have children, while Tim Latimer becomes headmaster of the school and tries to sort out this Gallifrey business. When we get to the early sixties, John Smith is an old man. He has at least two granddaughters: one is Jackie Tyler, and the other is Susan Foreman. Jackie is sullen and rebellious and doesn't see him much, Susan is bright and questioning and loves her grandfather's strange, made-up stories about time travel and sonic screwdrivers and monsters.

On a visit to John Smith's old school, he runs into his old colleague and former student, the Master. The Master, unable to make much sense out of the watch anymore, gives it to John Smith, who takes it home and opens it. The memories flood back and, long widowed, the only person he shares his real identity with is Susan. She knows he's the Doctor and thinks it's wonderful. Meanwhile, the Master has a fall and dies...and then regenerates. Suddenly, he's figured everything out: the Time War. The Daleks. Gallifrey. The Doctor. And the TARDIS.

So, the Doctor remembers his TARDIS and goes off on a series of adventures, and we've long realized that David Tennant is not the tenth Doctor, but the younger incarnation of the first Doctor. Christopher Eccleston was actually the first Doctor. Meanwhile, the Master takes a new identity--Harold Saxon--and enters politics, funding that whole Lazarus Project to increase his regenerative power and build his own TARDIS. These experiments in time somehow bring about the re-creation of Gallifrey, as though it never ceased to exist. But it also brings back the Daleks. Essentially, it's like the Time War never happened. Both sides are at war again.

Now we get to the end of the series, and just to further shock the audience, the Doctor is once again Paul McGann, the eighth incarnation of the Doctor (actually tenth, in this messed up version I'm pulling out of my head). He fights Harold Saxon, accidentally killing him in the process. But of course the Master regenerates into Richard Delgado and heads back to Gallifrey to establish himself. And it turns out that all of those flashes of memory John Smith got in 1913 jumbled time in his head, and he was dreaming of the future. Rose Tyler was, obviously, his great-granddaughter. The snake eats its own tail. Paul McGann is back for a little while.

Now there's a way to either muck it all up or create something totally unexpected. The mere fact of that great second series episode with Sarah Jane negates it, of course, but it's a fun idea. That's the great thing about Doctor Who; there's no real continuity to keep track of, so it remains fun and doesn't take a Crisis on Infinite Earths every 15 years to sort it out. Although that may be what I've done here...