Saturday, August 25, 2007

Seems About a Hundred Years Ago

My Aunt Amy is the youngest of my mother's two siblings. She's one of those new breed of extremely anxious, extremely overprotective mothers. I remember my mom telling me about one time they were on the phone together, and Amy was upset because her young son was coming up the driveway on his scooter but not wearing his helmet. My mom said something like "Yeah, because that helmet will keep him from breaking his neck." I don't think they spoke for days.

When did parents become so fearful? Was it like that when I was a kid, and I just didn't realize it? And if I ever have children, will I be the same way? Or will I believe all of the crap the media tells me about the dangers of suburbia and be one of those fearful parents?

I was born in 1976. My generation had the good fortune to grow up before kids became too terribly addicted to personal technology, and I think we may have been the very last ones. I grew up in a fairly affluent suburb, actually--nothing but yuppies. Maybe that gives you an illusion of safety. But things didn't seem so regulated then.

I remember when I was a kid that there was an aspirin scare that led to the Tylenol recall. (Was it Tylenol?) Today I can't take aspirin because I have high blood pressure. But back in the early eighties, that kind of thing was unusual. Now there are recalls every day because no one takes pride in their work anymore, least of all corporations; they just want the money, and they don't care how many of your friends and family they accidentally murder to get it. The other big scare I remember from childhood was the Halloween scare--razorblades in the candy. Now, this seems like something inspired by horror movies to me. Did this ever actually happen? I never found a razorblade in Halloween candy. Never once. I never knew anyone who did. I've never even heard of anyone who did. Did it ever happen to you or a member of your immediate family? Not your best friend's sister's hairdresser's cousin's illicit lover--to you? Parents will believe literally anything. I once worked with a woman who was convinced that runaway children are caught by Satanists and sacrificed to the Dark One. Being scheduled to work with her was not a good day.

Childproof lids were a new thing, weren't they? I remember being told not to have more than one of my Flintstones vitamins because I'd have to go and get my stomach pumped otherwise. There was a genuine concern that fruit-flavored vitamins would be mistaken for candy. But I couldn't open the childproof lid, anyway. Nowadays kids have gummy vitamins that come in plastic jars. Vitamin lids were one of the few childproof things we had. You ever go to someone's house and everything is padded or fenced off? I start wondering if I'm going to have to dig my way out or climb over the wall. (By the way, the appropriate response upon entering such a home is one I stole from a comic strip: "Well, you tried to childproof the place, but damned if one didn't get in, anyway." Parents have no sense of humor about kids, it's hilarious and sad.) When I was so young I can't even remember it, I slipped on a catalog or magazine or something, I broke my head open on an end table. I had stitches. But I lived through it. That's the thing about pain; you tend to survive. Not to diminish anyone's paranoid feelings of utter safety but, you know, kids are going to get hurt. Babies fall off the couch. But they usually live. Just because your kid fell doesn't make you a bad parent.

I never knew anyone who wore a bike helmet. And we used to ride our bikes everywhere. If our parents told us the boundaries, we'd ride past them, anyway. We just wouldn't tell our parents. We took all kinds of incredibly stupid risks. We used to jump from rock to rock over ponds. We used to go fishing alone, and no one who hooked themselves ever got blood poisoning. We used to catch fish and then throw them at each other. The big kids used to catch fish and throw them on the ground and stomp on them. The only way the guts would get cleaned off the asphalt is if it rained; they used to bake into the road. Jason Aries tried to shoot me with an arrow once, and he nearly hit me in the calf. Jason Aries was a dick. I used to see kids hitchhiking. I wonder if anyone picked them up or not. We used to play in forests and climb through sewer tunnels. We'd find the big kids' treehouses and there were always skin magazines in them. I learned about sex from a photographic comic book in some unnamed porno magazine featuring Batman and Robin having sex with Catwoman and her henchwomen. I don't know that either of my parents ever explained sex to me.

We didn't wear seatbelts if we were sitting in the backseat. One of the things my sister and I liked to do was go limp and let the car throw us around in the back. I liked to lie down in the bed of the station wagon or ride in the back of pickup trucks. I remember when kids used to fall out of trees and hurt themselves, one time really badly. It was an accident. No one got blamed, no one sued anyone else's parents; they were accidents! They didn't turn into feuds! And if a kid did push another kid out of a tree, the rest of us would settle up with him later.

We used to drink from a garden hose, which most parents seem disgusted by today. We ate cupcakes and bread and drank soda and Kool-Aid. Our moms would put Twinkies or Little Debbies in our lunch boxes. Sometimes we shared pop cans, and no one died! We didn't get fat because we were outside playing all day long. I didn't get fat until later, and even when I did I still tried to play outside. And we played from morning until the street lights went on. And we were totally unreachable! No cell phones then, no PDAs, no text messaging. If we wanted to talk to our friends, we would walk or ride bikes to their houses. We barely used the phone, and if we did, the conversation was short: "Can you play?" "Yeah." "Cool." We weren't pounding text messages into our personal telegraph machines or chatting online. There was no online! The only thing online was clothes hanging out to dry.

We used to build go-carts out of junk and roll them down the hill; usually, we forgot brakes, so we crashed into the bushes. We would do anything to make our sleds go faster, and no one was telling us to wear a helmet or we'd die. Hell, my dad once stood on his sled and wiped out at the bottom and sprained his neck; and then, he drove himself to the hospital. Today, he says he invented snowboarding.

Cable was new and expensive. If we were going to play with our G.I. Joe or He-Man or Transformers action figures, we'd leave the television on MTV all day just for the background music, because they used to play nothing but videos all day. Andy Warhol had a show, but we didn't know who Andy Warhol was. The invention of the Disney Channel was astounding, because they used to play actual old Disney cartoons and shows aimed at the whole family and not just 12 year-old girls. Atari 2600 was a godsend; we had to deal with a low resolution and amazingly shitty graphics, and no one could ever figure out how to play Raiders of the Lost Ark. Pac-Man, Pitfall, Q*bert, Donkey Kong, Combat, Frogger, Asteroids, and Galaga got so repetitive and annoying that you could only play them for so long before you'd get bored and go play somewhere else. They weren't designed to be endless.

We used to play dodgeball, and people would really whip that ball at you. One kid got his tooth knocked out, but it built character. I was really good at dodging that ball, but sooner or later I'd be the last one left, and then you're screwed. I'm fat, but I'm nimble. There was no lawsuit for unfairness. The education system was only just starting to be ruined by replacing facts and the learning process with self-esteem and sensitivity training and pretending your best is good enough. I'm sorry, but it's only the kids who can't compete who think their best is good enough, and where does it get them? The attitude should be: if you want to achieve, do your best; and if your best isn't good enough, do better. You can always do better. I used to suck at sports, but I rocked at baseball and at football.

I played football for a year, Panther Football, and was right defensive guard. My team was undefeated for the 1986 season. Unfortunately, no one from my school was on my team; kids at school used to ask me where I bought the jacket. I still have that jacket by the way. As well as my trophy for our championship season. I played for the Colts. Undefeated, baby. I love saying that word: undefeated. If you got in trouble at practice, you had to do extra pushups or run laps. I wonder if today they just make kids think about what they've done and apologize. If you weren't good enough to get on a team, you had to learn to live with disappointment.

We also learned to get over it if we ever had any fights. We would throw baseballs at each other if we got mad. We duelled with sticks and no one ever got an eye put out (although a friend of mine did once have to get stitches on his lip).

I knew two kids in my fourth grade class who got held back a year. They didn't adjust tests; there were consequences for failure. I was in a group of kids that had to stay after class once a week for special help because I kept failing math. I never got held back, but I wasn't doing well. My teachers apparently worried that I had a learning disorder, but my dad wouldn't accept that. Instead, he actually helped me with my homework. And what I learned was: if I buckled down and did my work, I'd actually do well. Go figure.

A lot of the kids I knew who got in trouble with the law weren't bailed out; parents used to actually side with the law. Can you imagine? I got arrested for shoplifting once, and my parents were as pissed as pissed could be. If they could have kept me in jail overnight, my dad probably would've let them. And you know what? I'd do the same thing with my kid. I once stabbed a kid in the arm with a pencil box shard (it was broken), and I didn't know why I did it. And I got in trouble for it! I was in second grade! There was no coddling attempt to understand my rage; I got punished. When you got punished in school, detention was brutal. You didn't just stay late; we had to sit at the desk with our heads down and our arms at our side. It hurt! But we knew we were being punished!

I remember the neighborhood bad kid, Jesse. All the parents in the neighborhood were afraid of him except for my dad; he thought the idea of being afraid of a kid was ridiculous. Jesse tried to steal our lawn furniture once and my dad caught him. My dad told him that if he saw him doing anything like this again, he'd kick his ass. Jesse said he was going to tell his dad, whom everyone was afraid of except, of course, my dad. Jesse's dad was one of those unemployed guys who works on his motorcycle and drinks too much and looks like he's in an Angels chapter; he came around to see my dad and thanked him for trying to help set his boy straight. He said if Jesse was stealing he deserved to have his ass kicked. Today, a parent would sue somebody who threatened to kick their kid's ass.

We used to watch stupid cartoons. I watched them for a long time, even though everyone made fun of me for being ten and still watching Transformers. Consequently, I am not now one of the adults who misses it so much that I let Hollywood rape my memories for a movie or (like a married fireman I read about a few years ago) legally changed my name to Optimus Prime. My parents let me grow out of childhood naturally. Even if my mom did sell my Star Wars figures at a garage sale--the real lament of my generation. I was curious about sex, but my crushes were so innocent: Daphne on Scooby Doo or Cheetara on ThunderCats or Marcia Brady or Wilma Deering or Daisy Duke. I wanted to drive and drive in a General Lee, straightening the curves and flattening the hills, and it didn't matter if Daisy was your cousin or not. As long as you got to kiss her and shoot flaming arrows at gas barrels.

We used to have sleepovers, and no one thought anything weird and gay was going on. We'd throw marshmallows and Velveeta slices and Gummi bears at each other, or play guns, or play with action figures, or listen to someone's cousin's RATT tape. No one ever beat Rubik's Cube except by removing the stickers and rearranging them. I used to take the actual cubes off the base and rearrange them. My dad used to build models of cars and Star Wars vehicles, the kind you had to glue and paint, and when he told us to stay away from them, we did. Funny, we knew better than to eat paint as kids.

Saturday was the best day of the week, because cartoons were on in the morning. And they were all bad, probably, but who cared? They were fun. My dad would take me and my sister fishing or to the movies or sledding or something. My mom would take us shopping, which always meant spending a looong time in the bedding department before we got to look at the toys. One time we were mad at my mom, and my sister said she wanted a new mommy. "Let's get a black mommy!" she said. With the logic of a six year-old, I said "You can't have a black mommy! You're white!" "No I'm not!" she protested. "I'm pink!"

In those days, McDonald's was a treat. We'd get it on a Saturday or something special; it wasn't just what you ate because you didn't want to cook or had given up on life having flavor. My dad used to get up on Saturday mornings and make pancakes, and my sister and I would put on his Beach Boys eight track and dance around. We would wrestle and my dad would pretend to get hit; he'd put on a plastic bag and pretend he was ripping his shirt off the way Hulk Hogan used to rip his. We'd watch kung fu movies and the Three Stooges. My sister used to do this hilarious impression of Bill Bixby turning into the incredible Hulk.

My parents used to actually go and see movies and try to decide if they were appropriate for me and my sister to see. They were in their mid-twenties, so they were into The Empire Strikes Back and The Great Muppet Caper the way we were. They listened to New Wave music on the radio on car drives. There are certain songs from the eighties that I can't hear without remembering when we had to drive out to the mall or the movie theater because there wasn't a cineplex and a shopping center on every damn corner. There were still dirt roads there. And we used to see actual animals--deer and pheasant and foxes and gophers and muskrats and skunks and possum. Now there are houses everywhere you look.

Music was everywhere. We used to go to Pizza Hut and listen to Michael Jackson or Madonna or Prince or Duran Duran on the jukebox; or we'd go to Showbiz Pizza and watch Billy Bob and Fats sing and play. When I was ten, I was in love with Tiffany and thought Debbie Gibson was for losers; today, that's still kind of true. Today, I can sing along perfectly with songs I know I'll never forget, but that I never really consciously remember. We still say "Back off man, I'm a scientist" and "That's what I said, booby traps!" and "Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?" We used to watch After School Specials about drugs and cigarettes and suicide and stepfamilies, and our principal told us we should all watch the TV movie The Drug Knot to learn about how bad drugs were.

Sex was everywhere, but I only notice it in retrospect. More along the lines of "Boy, Buck Rogers sure had some tight costumes." I was more interested in whether or not Charlie Brown was ever going to kick that football. I never thought about Madonna being unwholesome; I just thought her outfits were cool. I thought that's how cool chicks, like my babysitters Mindy and Marnie, were supposed to dress. My babysitter Laurie said Duran Duran were the new Beatles. My sister wanted to dress like Cyndi Lauper. We didn't know there was anything sexual about music; we thought it was for show. If we saw a boob in something, our parents didn't act like the world was ending. Hell, there was a boob in Clash of the Titans, and that was rated G! Remember when a kid could see a breast and it wasn't supposed to traumatize them for the rest of their lives? Kids are supposed to want to see boobs.

Doors weren't locked all day as long as someone was home. Sometimes my friends and I would walk out of the house and leave the door unlocked. My mom would make red Kool-Aid for me and any friends that were over; if a friend was over and it was dinner time, it was okay for him to stay for dinner. It was kind of expected. Only idiots ever drank New Coke. One of the highlights of the year was carving your Halloween pumpkin, and we all did it as a family. No one ever stabbed themselves by accident. People would start trick or treating at three in the afternoon, and everyone had candy to give out, even the people with no kids. Trick or treating would last until ten or even eleven at night. You'd do your neighborhood, and if your parents were cool about it, they'd drive you to another neighborhood. It was a big deal; not so muted like now.

Were there dangers? Sure. The president got shot. There was something called Iran-Contra going on. Star Wars wasn't just a movie. The Challenger explosion affected everyone. Tiananmen Square happened on CNN. Planes were hijacked. Libyans wanted to kill us. But they didn't seem so immediate. The media wasn't trying to convince us that there was a terrorist in every apartment building on every block in every city in America. Or maybe they were and my parents just shielded me from it so I could grow up. We could play flashlight tag or catch fireflies on warm summer nights. I was more afraid of aliens and UFOs and Bigfoot than I was of Arabs or black people or nuclear war. When Head of the Class went to the Soviet Union, I couldn't understand what the big deal was. I had no concept of Communism or Cold Wars or Iron Curtains. Gorbachev was the guy who let McDonald's come to Moscow. We had cap guns and Lazer Tag and we weren't afraid of getting shot because we didn't assume everyone was packing. If you were smart, you didn't play with them at night because you didn't want to confuse the cops.

Trading cards used to come with gum. Cheap, chalky gum, but we chewed it, anyway. We collected cards not because they might be valuable, but because you wanted to be the first one in the neighborhood with a complete set. The White Sox had mascots--Ribbie and Roobarb--and I went to McDonald's once to see them in person.

I don't know. I'm sure childhood always seems much more innocent while you're going through it, and everyone else's always seems more hollow. Were parents always so fearful, or did they have more faith in people and in the world? And is today's lack of faith justified or paranoid? I just hope that, should the time come that I have my own kids, I don't forget what it was like to be one.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Throwdown 8/24

The following contains moose content.
15 random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. Well, Kristen Bell isn’t going to be on Lost after all, but she is going to be on Heroes. Hey, I watch that show, too! Kewl! Now if I could only see Veronica Mars, except that the DVDs I keep getting from Netflix are so scratched that my DVD player spits them out! Maybe someone will syndicate it or something one day.

2. Things are going bad for my ex all over! The poor girl busted her nose while filming her Major Movie Star, accidentally hitting herself in the face with a gun. I’d kiss it better, but Scarlett would kill me.

3. Speaking of my baby, Scarlett Johansson has been cast as Silken Floss in Frank Miller’s movie adaptation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit. That news is more exciting to me than anything involving Watchmen ever could be.

4. Rose McGowan might end up starring in Robert Rodriguez’s Barbarella remake (the latest excuse for the Sin City 2 delay). I wish she still looked like Rose McGowan and not a thin, masculine Rose McGowan impersonator. She’d have been awesome a few years ago!

5. Paris Hilton debuted her new children’s clothing line. Because she’s apparently under the impression that parents want their little girls to look not just slutty, but like they’re ready to eat cock at any given moment.

6. Does this make you think of milk? No, me neither.

7. A plea to my fellow bloggers: please stop talking about Jenna Jameson. For weeks now, everything’s been “Oh, man, Jenna looks ugly!” “Oh, man, Jenna had her implants removed!” “Oh, God, I miss Jenna when she was hot!” Yeah, I’ve done it too (although, frankly, she was never hot). This is what this bitch does. She’s so desperate for any attention that she’ll do anything to get it, no matter how much she mutilates herself. Stop giving it to her. She’s completely worthless. You know what? I felt bad when Asia Carrera retired from porn. She was my favorite porn star. But you get over it. There’s a high turnover rate in porn, and you’ll find someone else you like. I did. Move on.

8. So, Bear Grylls stays in hotels while filming Man vs. Wild? He doesn't sleep in, you know, the wild? Wow, nicely done. Is everybody a gigantic pussy these days?

9. There’s an al-Qaeda terrorist video on YouTube threatening David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, and P. Diddy with death. Wait, I thought al-Qaeda were evil.

10. Not content to just be pissed off over his own failure to win a Grammy, Kanye “Whiny Li’l Douche” West is now pretending to be pissed off over the failure of others: “How does Dixie Chicks win over Gnarls Barkley for Songs Of The Year and not even mention them when they accept? They need to give awards to people who really deserve it.” Yes, Kanye, you didn’t win a Grammy and you feel bad, I get it. I thought I told you to shut the fuck up, already. Why isn’t al-Qaeda targeting him, too?

11. Speaking of talentless, entitled douchebags, Michael “Transformers was a success because of word-of-mouth, not omnipresent marketing” Bay loves Blu-Ray so much that he’s threatened not to make any more movies for Paramount if they drop the format. Paramount, do not test him on this. Just let him go. One studio down, six more to go.

12. Those pictures of Dannii Minogue getting a lapdance from a woman at a club have reemerged, and she’s responded by siccing her lawyers on anyone who dares to post them (you can see them here). The photos show her fondling, kissing, and rubbing up against the lapdancer, and generally behaving in a way that would get any man kicked out of a club (just saying). She’s pretty pissed off, saying “It woke me up to the fact that there are some creepy, nasty people willing to do anything to take advantage of someone famous. I now keep my guard up because I’ve realized not everyone has my best interests at heart.” Don’t you love it when celebrities just suddenly figure out the downside of being famous? They always sound like they’re just discovering the internet, and it’s hilarious. It’s cute and sad at the same time, like watching someone push vigorously on a door you have to pull to open. Ha ha ha! Aww… Anyway, I just love how famous people think they should get to act however they want and never be embarrassed by anything like a normal person. Honey, you got the lapdance and acted like an idiot, live with it. We all do stupid shit. It’s just that most of us don’t get to use the law to try and legally erase the memory of our stupidity. We have to live with it. You want a good rule of thumb? Someone once told me that you shouldn’t do anything in public that you wouldn’t mind your grandmother seeing. Take some responsibility for your behavior instead of making it our fault, alright?

13. So that’s what happened to Lisa Marie: she’s suing Tim Burton now. Apparently she’s suing him for fraud, saying that he stole assets from her during the relationship they had that was destroyed by Helena Bonham Carter (not the first relationship she’s killed, is it? What is it with her? Does she have beer in her pussy or something?). Well, it’s obvious where my sympathies lie, but it’s just so easy to be against Tim Burton these days. Either way, I’m really just happy to know that Lisa Marie is still alive. I miss seeing her.

14. A new useless study says that moose are adding to global warming because they belch methane. This report, which is Norwegian, adds that a moose emits in a single year more than twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted on a transatlantic round-trip from Oslo to Santiago. Yes, by all means, let’s blame the moose. Oh, and the cows, because they fart methane, too. But here’s the thing about this report: Alces alces has been extant for a really long time. Thousands of years. Funny how now, all of a sudden, they’re bad for the environment… Do moose own coal factories?

15. According to some, the new reality show Kid Nation—which sees a bunch of children, aged 8 to 15, creating their own town without adult supervision—was a hotbed of danger. One parent said that several children accidentally drank bleach, and that an 11 year-old girl burned her face with grease while cooking. The children worked too many long hours and a lot of other stuff that parents whine about when their little preciouses have to act like people. I don’t know, a lot of kids are apparently coming out of this saying they learned a lot about the value of hard work and realistic expectations, and that seems like a good thing to me. Parents coddle their children way too much in America. This show should be a camp for kids to go and work for a damn living. Of course, these parents had no problem signing their kids up to participate in the program despite the lack of supervision… Read the waiver they signed and how it says they won't sue even in the event of death at The Smoking Gun.

Link It or Not

Dita Von Teese, now single again, has been wondering why she can't meet a guy with manners who'll treat her right. Believe me, I have no idea. Maybe she's hanging out at the wrong places. She should go on vacation and clear her head. Maybe to a rural Illinois college town where she could meet someone polite, sensitive, and devoted. While I pine away, you can read more about her in this Q&A on RADAR Online.

* Cap'n Dyke has ten Han Solo quotes that can be used in a porno.
* Ken Levine previews the fall movies (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)
* Splotchy has posted the second Green Monkey Music Project Mix: Snotty Ass Rock 'n' Roll.
* Chance has a Peanuts strip that made me laugh.
* Peter Lynn has a shirt that I want.
* Cinematical thinks it has a list of 7 teen sex comedies that don't suck. Actually, these movies all suck.
* Pajiba reviews Ethan Hawke's movie The Hottest State. Read it; it confirms what I thought, but it's hilarious. Take that, Slacker Generation.
* Speaking of bad movies, Queersighted has a hilarious review of High School Musical 2 and its truly heroic gay content.
* FranIAm has a picture of a horrifying Jesus statue.
* Tom the Dog laments the waste of talent in Hollywood.
* MC found a Family Guy parody that begs the question: What if Seth McFarlane had to be creative for once?

You know, the reason I stopped reading so many comic book blogs is that I got really tired of hearing about how every woman ever portrayed in any comic book ever was a victim of gender stereotyping and sexism. I'm sorry, there are genre conventions and there is actual sexism. Anyway, I'm in agreement with Sleestak on this week's Most Sexist Cover of All Time, this one featuring Batgirl.
* Dr. Zaius also talks Batgirl, asking you to decide between her and Batwoman. He's also got a neat post up about Edie Sedgewick.
* Cover Browser has some funny covers revealing Superman's identity. Jess found that link, I stole it from him. He also got punk'd.
* I think in this case Jaquandor is probably right.
* Ken Levine has the best advice I've ever heard from a homeless man.
* Bubs deciphers a strangely nationalistic pizza.
* Want more Dita? Who doesn't! Becca has some very pretty pictures of her, as well as my favorite pictures of Dayna Delux yet and more sexy Aria Giovanni.

Michael Skube is the newest corporate-controlled idiot who doesn't understand the blogging revolution. Dr. Zaius takes him to task, while Rick Salutin defends blogging (thanks to Cap'n Dyke for the link).
* Freida Bee notices that the media manipulation of politics. She's right, too.
* The Rude Pundit asks an important question about Rudy Giuliani.
* Jess Wundrun examines the newest way the Republicans are trying to steal your vote.
* Gareth Porter looks at Bush's Killing Fields analogy.
* DCup has something about the war that shouldn't be ignored.
* Is Cracked parodying the 35 Percenters?
* I have no opinon on this Angry Ballerina post.
* Sherry reports the discovery of a new chemical element.
* Jess Wundrun and Dr. Monkey have some words on scumbag Michael Vick.
* You know we're going to war with Iran, right? Just ask Robert Baer, Rep. Bernie Sanders, and DCup.
* Bill Maher is coming back tonight. Here's what he did on his summer vacation.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Simon Says: Quiz Day

Inspired by Becca, who took the same quizzes.

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

You have a very hard time focusing, and you find it difficult to stay on task without your mind wandering. You probably zone in and out of conversations and tend to miss out on directions because you cannot focus

Manic Depressive
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
What mental disorder do you have?

You know the Bible 86%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

How will I die?
Your Result: You will die while having sex.

Your last moments in this life will be enjoyable indeed...hopefully. Do not fear sex. Try not to become celibate as a way of escaping death. You cannot run from destiny.

You will die in your sleep.
You will die from a terminal illness.
You will die while saving someone's life.
You will die of boredom.
You will die in a car accident.
You will be murdered.
You will die in a nuclear holocaust.
How will I die?
Create a Quiz

What stereotype do you belong to?
Your Result: Loner

has no or very few friends, doesn't go to social events, fears rejection, fears people, makes good friends with people online that live in different states

No stereotype
What stereotype do you belong to?

Congratualtions! You are 28% ghetto

You have a teeny tiny twinge of ghetto behavior, but no one really notices and no one would classify you as ghetto.

How Ghetto Are You
Create Your Own Quiz

ANIMOLOGY: What Animal Are You?
Your Result: Ocre and Gray Dolphin

Sea! You're a very hearty person being a good friend. You attract many friends because of your lovely personality, but you're sometimes pretty weird. Your soul mate is the Bronze Goat. You hate the Peach Pig.

Gold Falcon
Blue Fox
Red Jaguar
Teal Cat
Yellow Trout
Tan Giraffe
Silver and Red Wolf
ANIMOLOGY: What Animal Are You?

Fall Movies 2007

I make lists of everything. By my count, there are 28 movies that have been released so far in 2007 that I want to see, but haven't. Ah, unemployment. Anyway, everyone seems to be making a list of their most anticipated movies of the fall, so I thought I'd take a look at what's coming out, as I tend to do most years. What's coming out in the last four months of 2007 that actually looks watchable to me? Judging by the previews I've seen, not a whole lot.

This is the kind of thing that makes people frustrated with me, but the movie I'm most looking forward to in September is Sydney White. I don't care, it is. It's an Amanda Bynes vehicle, and I love my Mandy Pants, so that's all there is to it. Otherwise, I'm especially interested in the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, which lets the surviving Apollo astronauts tell their story. I can't have enough stuff about the Space Program, especially in terms of documentary. I'm interested in David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises; Cronenberg is a filmmaker I don't always like, but I loved A History of Violence, so I'd like to catch the follow-up. Ang Lee also has a new movie, Lust, Caution, and I usually love his movies (even Hulk). And I'm also kind of interested in seeing 3:10 to Yuma, a remake of a movie I've never seen. Mostly it's because Christian Bale is in it; James Mangold's movies are always well-acted, but usually flawed in terms of story (though I like Walk the Line more and more the more times I see it on cable). I'd like to see The Hunting Party, which sounds so-so but is directed by the guy who made The Matador, which I loved.

There are movies that look excessively stupid, too. Feel the Noise, for example, which should be titled Scarface Babies. Guys, Scarface wasn't that good, let it go already. The whole thing is like a porn video for posers. I like Jeff Garlin, but I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With seems like a cheap Apatow-alike cash-in. Is he really that kind of comic? He seems smarter than that. The Good Night sounds incredibly boring; I couldn't even finish reading the description, I got so bored.

Across the Universe looks like a big bowl of stupid; I'm not digging this trend of making stage shows out of what are essentially mix tapes. There's an ABBA musical, a Billy Joel musical; this is the Beatles. And it looks really, really stupid. How can people hate Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with the Bee Gees and still take this movie seriously? It's like someone's collage art, and I'm really not interested. I know this is the kind of thing I can't say without someone whining about the glorious, triumphant return of the movie musical, but the musicals still have to be good, not just musical. Of the musicals I've been seeing in the 21st century, I think I only liked Dreamgirls, and that was just okay and not a great movie of any kind. Mostly I just liked Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy.

The Brave One is a movie a lot of people are excited about, but it just looks like another of Jodie Foster's big screen Lifetime movies, only more Oscar bait-y than usual. Not interested. December Boys looks baaaaaad, but I want to see Daniel Radcliffe do something that isn't Harry Potter. Maybe I'll see it on DVD or something. I don't know what the heck Fierce People is, but it has Diane Lane, so maybe. Griffin Dunne directed it, and I've hated him as a director except for one witty short documentary called Your Product Here. And then there's The Darjeeling Limited, which looks.... well, like a Wes Anderson movie. I hate Wes Anderson movies (except for The Life Aquatic, which is of course the one everyone hated). Anderson has a nice record collection, so I think I'll just go right to the soundtrack. I'm sick of the same shitty actors over and over again, the same forced quirkiness, the same emotional detachment. I'm out.

I think what's holding me away from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is the pretentious title. The Long Riders was good enough for me.

Shoot 'Em Up -- the trailers are trying so hard to be cool that they just make me laugh derisively. These movies are never good.
The Brothers Solomon -- I loved Mr. Show, but Bob Odenkirk can't direct worth a damn.
Mr. Woodcock -- on cable. It looks funny-ish. And it has Susie Sarandon.
Hatchet -- are these things made with a cookie-cutter. Not interested. I usually go by word-of-mouth on slasher movies, since they're all marketed the same way.
The Bubble -- could be interesting.
In the Valley of Elah -- I will never see a Paul Haggis movie again.
Ira and Abby -- this is made by the woman who made Kissing Jessica Stein; was that as bad as I heard it was?
Silk -- Keira Knightley. No.
Dragon Wars -- great poster; I'll bet it's dumb as hell.
Moving McAllister -- didn't Ashton Kutcher make this movie already? It feels like he did.
Resident Evil: Extinction -- I could watch Milla Jovovich read Memories of Things Past. To herself. Not even out loud. For hours. So I'll probably see this on cable.
The Jane Austen Book Club -- not to be too cliched here, but I like my balls where they are and don't want to see this movie and have them shrivel up and die.
Good Luck Chuck -- Jessica Alba and Dane Cook? Was this movie made for Abu Ghraib?
Into the Wild -- already saw Grizzly Man and loved it, thanks.
Trade -- remember when Kevin Kline starring in a movie made you want to see it more instead of less?
The Game Plan -- it's bad enough that it's Disney so I know I'll see it eventually.
The Kingdom -- looks stupid. But easily dismissed.
Feast of Love -- I already saw The Big Chill and loved it, thanks.
Postal -- I saw an Uwe Boll movie once, and frankly my ass is still sore.

It's all about Elizabeth: The Golden Age for me. I loved the first Elizabeth, and I'm really in the mood for more. Really, anything about Tudor history sounds good, but this one is really exciting. I also want to see Michael Clayton, which is really intruiging, and Dan in Real Life, which has an interesting cast and is made by the guy who made Pieces of April, which I really enjoyed. Fuck, Steve Carell's in it, and I love him, especially when he's not in Evan Almighty. And there's Run, Fat Boy, Run, which is directed by David Schwimmer (whom I despise) and written by Michael Ian Black (whom I despise), but which stars Simon Pegg and Dylan Moran (whom I love). Which will win out?

I'm still not remotely excited over The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising. The preview is pretty bad, I think. Again, I've got no experience with Susan Cooper's book, and I know I'll end up seeing this sooner or later, but right now I'm thinking later. I'm also torn on Sleuth. On the one hand, that movie does not need a remake; it's damn good. On the other, I love Michael Caine and it's directed by Kenneth Branagh. So I don't know yet. SamuraiFrog trivia--you know the only remake of a Michael Caine movie I enjoyed? Get Carter. With Stallone. I know, it's weird.

The Heartbreak Kid -- after seeing this preview a second time (this time in the theater), I have to say it looks much worse than it did the first time.
Grace Is Gone -- must John Cusack be in everything?
My Kid Could Paint That -- maybe.
Finishing the Game -- a mockumentary about finishing Game of Death after Bruce Lee's death. Yeah, that sounds really uncool, guys.
We Own the Night -- Joaquin Phoenix is great. Marky Mark sucks. And the movie sounds idiotic. How many of these must they make?
Hitman -- because movies based on video games are always good.
Why Did I Get Married? -- why do people like Tyler Perry?
Lars and the Real Girl -- nope, still hate Ryan Gosling.
30 Days of Night -- really, I'm amazed they keep putting Josh Hartnett in movies. Vampire movies bore me, and this just looks like a rip-off of John Carpenter's The Thing.
Reservation Road -- eh, maybe. I do like Joaquin Phoenix, and Mark Ruffalo has atoned for some of his shitty choices, I think.
Gone Baby Gone -- Ben Affleck looks to be another director doing Scorsese. Maybe. Am I the only person who is just sick of Morgan Freeman?
Rendition -- I don't know, do I really need to invite Reese Witherspoon into my life again? I do officially like Jake Gyllenhaal, so maybe I'll see it on DVD.
Wristcutters: A Love Story -- Quirk: A Try-Too-Hard.
Saw IV -- but I didn't saw the first three.
Martian Child -- have you seen the preview? "Oscar bait" written all over it. Must John Cusack be in everything.
The Comebacks -- not into sports comedies.
Things We Lost in the Fire -- meh.
Funny Games -- didn't this movie already come out this year with Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale in it?
Rails & Ties -- Alison Eastwood is directing. Could be interesting. Could suck. The description sounds.... pretty common, actually.

This month looks slim, indeed. I really only want to see Disney's Enchanted and the new Todd Haynes movie, I'm Not There.

American Gangster looks especially bad. Can't Denzel Washington act anything without whining? He's always either whining or acting like an Alpha Male, when really he's just boring and one-note. And everything, no matter what it is, always has to be angry and about racism. It's getting old, dude. It's fitting that Russell Crowe is in this movie, since he's become the white Denzel Washington. And Ridley Scott, the King of Suck, directs! This is one for me to never, ever see. I already saw The Departed, which this movie seems all-too-willing to rip off.

I'd rather chew my fingers off one by one than see Fred Claus. If you go to see this movie, you're not allowed to read my blog anymore. Also looking extremely dumb? Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and I Could Never Be Your Woman (like it's even going to get released in theaters at this point). And, of course, Beowulf just pisses me off. No, it isn't animation.

The Kite Runner -- I still haven't decided if I like director Marc Forster or not.
Bee Movie -- I'll see it eventually because it's animated, but otherwise it looks pretty crap. Make that very crap. Fuck Jerry Seinfeld.
Mama, I Want to Sing! -- was there demand for a Ciara vehicle? Sometimes I can barely remember who she is.
Lions for Lambs -- I liked Ordinary People, I really did. But does Robert Redford need to keep directing? And Tom Cruise? In a serious role?
No Country for Old Men -- meh.
Southland Tales -- I loved Donnie Darko, but I can't work up a lot of interest in this.
Love in the Time of Cholera -- pass.
Margot at the Wedding -- maybe. I don't know why, but maybe.
The Mist -- it's no surprise that after the excerable The Majestic Frank Darabont would run back to Stephen King. I don't know that I'm remotely interested in another King movie, though.
This Christmas -- Christmas movies are never good.
August Rush -- I need to see a trailer, maybe.
Pathology -- Alyssa Milano and the incredibly sucky Milo Ventimiglia? Mommy, can we go see Fred Claus instead?
The Christmas Cottage -- okay, we don't need a movie about Thomas Kinkade; that's like making a movie about Barry Manilow. Extra points, though, for the hilarious casting of Jared Padalecki as Kinkade.

Wow, this month looks bad, too. I really do want to see The Golden Compass; I haven't read the book, but I like the look and feel of the trailer. It really looks like something different. I also want to see Cassandra's Dream, because I never tire of Woody Allen. I really don't. I definitely want to see Juno, mostly because Michael Cera is in it, but also because Jason Reitman directs, and I actually really, really liked Thank You for Smoking.

I'm undecided on Leatherheads. I like George Clooney as a director, and this is the first time he's playing his own lead. And it's supposed to be screwball, which Clooney does well, I think (Intolerable Cruelty, some of Ocean's Eleven), as does his co-star, Renee Zelwegger (Down with Love, Bridget Jones's Diary). Still, it sounds stupid on paper. Maybe the trailer will change my mind.

I'm still not sure what to do with Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. It looks like it could be either stupid and unfunny or surprisingly brilliant. Jake Kasdan directed Zero Effect (good!) and Orange County (bad!). I can't really say for sure.

I saw the preview for National Treasure: Book of Secrets this weekend. It made me laugh. Hard. Homer Simpson looking for Lincoln's gold was funnier, though. And more exciting. And didn't have Nicolas fucking Cage in it.

Atonement -- Keira Knightley. No.
I Am Legend -- I liked The Omega Man, and frankly I'm still sick of Will Smith.
Perfect Christmas -- a black Miracle on 34th Street, sounds like. I do adore Gabrielle Union...I'll probably see it on cable.
Alvin and the Chipmunks -- why? Just... why?
Youth Without Youth -- meh. Coppola. Meh.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street -- meh. All I can think of is how much I didn't like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. How will Burton force daddy issues into this one? That seems to be his thing now.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly -- I got bored halfway through the title.
P.S., I Love You -- is the apostrophe grammatically correct? That's the only interest I have here.
Flakes -- sounds cute, but Michael Lehmann?
The Bucket List -- I love Jack, but it'll be a cold day in hell before I see another Rob Reiner movie.
There Will Be Blood -- Paul Thomas Anderson finally made the Dallas movie! At least, it sounds that way. Anderson bores the crap out of me.
Aliens vs. Predator -- not after that shitty first movie.
The Savages -- sounds like it could be awful. But Tamara Jenkins is finally following up Slums of Beverly Hills, which I liked.
The Orphanage -- meh.
Charlie Wilson's War -- Mike Nichols? Meh.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep -- it's Walden Media, so I'll have to see a trailer before I dismiss it.
Persepolis -- maybe. But I'm heading towards meh. Will it be interesting or merely pretentious?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Political Award

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein has given me this award for political blogging. He says that I don't blog about politics much, but he likes it when I do. Right now I'm laying low a bit, but actually politics are about to make a big return to these pages. What can I say? Except thank you to Dr. Monkey, of course.

And now, I've to tag five others who I think more than deserve it. But I'm going to tag six because, well, it's my blog and I can do whatever I want. So, other than Dr. Monkey (and FranIAm, who awarded Dr. MVM, and Johnny Yen and Angry Ballerina, whom Dr. MVM also awarded), here are my six favorite political bloggers.

1. Dr. Zaius at Zaius Nation.
2. Freida Bee.
3. Infidel753.
4. DCup at Politits.
5. Fairlane at Jones Town.
6. Tengrain at Mock, Paper, Scissors.

Thanks for running such great blogs, all of you!

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

This is another movie I've always heard was impenetrably terrible, but I loved it. I like the naturalistic, alien feel to it. I got the same creepy, otherworldly feel from this movie that I always get from museum exhibits. The detail that goes into creating this other world is fascinating, and the apelike movements of the actors playing Neanderthals seem so true to life. It's fully engrossing; I don't think I looked away once. Beautifully done. **** stars.

SPINOUT (1966)
Turner Classic Movies had an Elvis marathon on Thursday, and I watched these. They're all the same movie, and they're not a good one. They were made during the prime exploitation period, so they're designed to be the same movie over and over and over again to make other people money. Unimaginitive and dull, but Elvis himself is always likeable. Some decent music. One of them has Nancy Sinatra, who's hot. Harum Scarum edges ahead just because it gets Elvis involved in a fun plot. All: **1/2 stars.

This movie sure thinks it's a hell of a lot funnier than it isn't. Suck time, baby. * star.

Oh, where to start? I really hated the original High School Musical--it was basically a coming-out-of-the-closet story, like many Disney Channel movies these days. Troy (mm hmm) wants to sing, no one wants him to because his new personality is scary and different, and then everyone comes around. The only good part was Ashley Tisdale who, along with Lucas Grabeel, seemed to be the only actor who knew what she was doing (acting in an over-the-top comedy) when everyone else was so overly serious it was laughable. High School Musical 2 is more of the same, only somehow Vanessa Hudgens is far more irritating and Corbin Bleu is far less (go figure). Some of the other actors get it this time; the musical scenes are bigger and shot better. The songs are better, too... some of them. Actually, here's the thing that annoys me about the songs. In both movies, one of the girls writes some painfully over-earnest love song, then gets mad at Tisdale's character for changing the meter and making it something approaching decent pop music. There's much more of Tisdale in this one (thank God!, because the movie needs it), and I still don't understand how she's supposed to be the villain. I mean, she knows what she wants, and she goes out and gets it. She doesn't waste time like these other kids whining over her identity and who she wants to be. Yes, she goes after Troy knowing he has a girlfriend--so the fuck what? Frankly, she's a better person and has a lot more to offer, and Troy's biggest mistake is not dropping his girl and marrying Tisdale by the end of summer, still in high school or no. What a loser! Also, in this one the gay undertones are much stronger--Grabeel and Bleu have this homoerotic tete-a-tete (you know, the way guys play sports at each other instead of with each other), leading to them hanging out together but wearing each other's clothes... Hmm, what are the implications of that? Zac Efron especially sucks harder than anyone, he really does. Overly tanned, overly made-up. You know how you can tell he doesn't sing? Just watch him try to contort his face into expressions he thinks people make when they're singing. Disney can claim it's his voice this time all they want, but he can't sell it and I ain't buying. This little fucker annoys the living shit out of me. Overall, it's a cute movie, much better than the first one (although I could point out this movie really has nothing to do with a high school musical), but what I really hate here is the message, which is: don't be different. Or, if you have to be, do it in a way that somehow makes the pack feel better. This is a message the Disney Channel wants to push on kids? It's the same shitty message as the first movie (and The Cheetah Girls 2 and Read It and Weep): don't grow as a person, because if you lose your friends and change too much, the pack will reject you. Nice one, Disney. Zenon is a much better role model. **1/2 stars.

Awesome. Pure awesome. Hilarious. And I've really got nothing critical to say about it, except that it's incredibly funny and I highly recommend it. I couldn't control my laughter. I know this is all uncritical, but what the hell, I didn't have any problems with it. **** stars.

A beautiful character piece about a transsexual rock singer whose ex-lover is becoming a success with songs they both wrote. Beautiful is a word I kept coming back to a lot. John Cameron Mitchell is beautiful. The movie is beautiful. The character, Hedwig Robinson, is beautiful. The music is hella beautiful. I'm sorry I didn't see this for so long. Seeing this movie was like listening to Ziggy Stardust for the first time; music can be personal and transcendant at once. This film touches on sexuality, identity, reality, failure, success, music, and responsibility all at once. It's amazing and, for me at least, very powerful. **** stars.

Cannot Wait, Need Movie Now

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Health Report: Week 36

First things first: I had a job interview yesterday, and I think it went really well. And that's all I'm going to say about it, because I don't want to court fate.

Moving on.

Here's a great blow to the weight issue: I now belong to a gym. Kind of. There's a small gym here that is part of the park district, and I joined up yesterday. Cost me five bucks. They have bikes, they have treadmills, they have weight machines, they have weights, all kinds of stuff. Even those big balls for pilates. So now I have somewhere I can go and work out.

It's actually been a pretty good week. I've been getting rest, I've been continuing to work out. I knocked all of the music off of my iPod and replaced it with new music, mostly 80s pop music, which has a good drive to it. I need stuff that keeps me moving and exercising, since I really only listen to it when I walk and work out now. I've also been eating better. Still no HFCS soda for the last several weeks, with only the occasional sugar-sweetened soda (Jones, mostly--I like the cream soda). I've even steered clear of red meat, eating mostly chicken and deli sandwiches this week. I've been eating too many hamburgers--in point of fact, I've been eating too many bacon cheeseburgers--to the point where they taste kind of disgusting to me right now. So I've stopped eating them, and in another few weeks I'll go and get some meat from the butcher shop and have a nice clean hamburger. That, too, needs to become a once-in-a-while thing instead of an all the time thing.

Damn you and your heart attack stories, Dr. Monkey and Allen. And, you know, thank you.

I've been knocking back the veg; not as much as I should, but quite a bit. More lettuce, like I was eating before when I was losing weight faster. And fruit! There's fruit in the house again, and it tastes so damn good. I've been snacking and eating too much dead, unwholesome, cumbersome food. What I've wanted was something cool, refreshing, alive, and crisp. Fruit and vegetables. I'm getting that, too.

Already, I can feel the better effects. I don't wake up feeling sick, which was always the worst thing. My energy is springing back. And, thanks to Becca fixing the crappy futon couch we have (she put boxes under it), I'm relaxing better. And more. I'm less tense and less stressed out than I've been in a very, very long time.

I'm surprised, but I've been feeling really, really good. There were some small ego boosts this week, too. Everyone was so supportive and nice last week when I was feeling extremely low. My blog finally went over 100 on Technorati, putting me on the B list. The "value" of my blog shot up by over $30,000. (I ask again, where do I cash out?) Things have been going decently.

Actually, there's one thing that sucked. I got the second disc of Freaks and Geeks from Netflix, and it was cracked. Almost in half. We went out and looked for somewhere in town to rent or buy it, but no one had it. You know why? Because it's DreamWorks and DreamWorks sucks. Their DVDs are so absurdly overpriced that I'm amazed anyone buys them. I'm sure it's a great show, but do you believe that set retails for seventy bucks? Compare that to what Becca bought at Wal-Mart. Even though it is, as I've said in the past, the Dumbest Fucking Thing Ever, Becca has long wanted to buy the complete series DVD set of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. That thing retails for seventy bucks, too, but--like a lot of TV series sets--the thing fell in price when it became obvious that it's not worth that much money. They dropped the thing down to $19.98, and Becca snatched it right up. And I'm glad she did; she really wanted to get it, and she's happy she did, so I'm happy, too. Take a lesson, Star Trek--no one wants to pay that much money for DVDs no matter how much they want to own them. Learn it, retailers, and adjust accordingly. Maybe that's why DVD sales are down.

Other ego booster? This chick at the library really digs me, and it's a real boost. Why did it take 30 years for women to be interested in me? A while back I talked about the beautiful librarian I call Princess Nazi, but I never see her any more. This is the other one, the one with the really big boobs who I've taken to calling Miss Busty. (Mmm, they bounce constantly.) She has this gorgeous, warm-looking, soft body, with shoulder-length brown hair and soft makeup. I like her a lot. I went in last week, and she dropped everything she was doing to check my books out, even though she was in the middle of something and there were two other librarians at the desk. When she took my card, she traced my finger with hers, very subtly. She did it when giving me back the card, too. Wow. When I went in yesterday, she rushed down the stairs after I walked in. She didn't check me out (my shitty timing), but she did ask if I was being taken care of okay. She loves to get my attention. You brighten my day, Miss Busty.

If it weren't cloudy and raining all the time, I'd go to the pool and see what kind of game I've got going there...

So, the ego's doing fine.

And that's the report for this week. Eating better, feeling better. I'm having terrible nightmares, which is kind of disheartening, but I don't let it get me down. It's the same kind of nightmares I've been having for a few months now, and I'm used to them. All I need is to get this job, especially because it might lead to a steady paycheck and even a full-time gig with benefits. I really, really hope it does. Things are evening out in my brain, and I'm excited to think that I'm on the cusp of some better days.

What else do I need?

50 Crappy Answers to Stupid Questions

1. Where were you 3 hours ago? Asleep on the couch, starting my day with a bang.

2. Who are you in love with? Well, if I told you that, I'd be breaking hearts all over the blogosphere. Well, not really.

3. Have you ever eaten a crayon? Why would I do that? Even as a kid... wait, maybe I did. I can't remember, but I seem to recall a waxy taste. Weird.

4. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you? No. That is one color I don't see. I feel slightly empty, as though my personal crayon carousel is missing a component.

5. When is the last time you went to the mall? I can't even remember. There's no mall in DeKalb.

6. Are you wearing socks right now? Yes. Exciting, ain't it?

7. Do you have a car worth over $2,000? We'll find out. I'm going to have to take my dear Flynn to Carmax soon, so we'll see what I get. Probably not much.

8. When was the last time you drove out of town? When I went to WizardWorld last week.

9. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days? Yes. I went to see Superbad over the weekend. And can I just ask: why is that the movie everyone took their kids to this weekend? Lots of embarrassed laughter, especially in the first ten minutes or so. Does anyone look at the rating anymore, or do they just see kids are in it and take their own? I hope they enjoyed Children of the Corn... And what's with the frigging commercials? I think they owe me money for sitting through seven solid minutes of ads. Sorry, my ticket is subsidizing this showing, you dicks, I don't get paid to be sold to.

10. Are you hot? Not especially. I'm maybe average-looking. Maybe.

11. What was the last thing you had to drink? Water.

12. What are you wearing right now? Don't get too excited--sleep pants, a tee shirt, and socks. Whoa, mama!

13. Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it? I tend to let the rain do it. Since I've appropriated my sister's car, I should wash it every so often. And I actually do like to do it myself. I remember doing it with my dad, and I liked it then. I never washed Flynn by hand, just at the drive-thru car wash.

14. Last food that you ate? Fruit. I just had a little mixed fruit bowl.

15. Where were you last week at this time? Probably in the same place I am now.

16. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week? No, but I really need to buy some socks.

17. When is the last time you ran? Ran? Isn't that a Japanese word?

18. What's the last sporting event you watched? Must've been the Superbowl. I don't go in for sports much.

19. What is your favorite animal? The mighty elephant.

20. Your dream vacation? To spend the next forty years traveling the world and not paying for it.

21. Last person's house you were in? You think people invite this into their homes?

22. Worst injury you've ever had? Probably when I nearly broke my ankle playing basketball in high school. The charlie horses last week hurt worse; at least the ankle sparked an adrenalin rush.

23? There is no 23.

24. Do you miss anyone right now? Yes. Terribly.

25. Last play you saw? The last time I saw a play was at the college a couple of years ago. It was a production of The Grapes of Wrath that I had to see for English class.

26. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? Huh? When do I do that?

27. What are your plans for tonight? I don't know. Probably I'll watch something on TiVo. I have no real life.

28. Who is the last person you sent a MySpace message or comment? I don't use MySpace. I'm intelligent. Sorry, MySpacers, but it's not like you're reading this, because you can't read. That's why you use MySpace.

29. Next trip you are going to take? I don't foresee taking a real trip ever again, really.

30. Ever go to camp? Boy Scout camp, way back.

31. Were you an honor roll student in school? No. I was in an honors class in college. I got an A, too.

32. What do you want to know about the future? I don't really care anymore. I have things I'd like to do, but I have no expectations of them, so I don't think about it anymore. Right now, I'm just trying to level out to normal and get a frigging job.

33. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne? Not yet. I'm not a cologne man, but I am an aftershave man.

34. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit? Probably. I am a cardiology patient, after all. And an uninsured one who owes money to his clinic at that.

35. Where is your best friend? Dunno.

36. How is your best friend? Dunno.

37. Do you have a tan? My arms are pretty tanned.

38. What are you listening to right now? The TV and the hum of my computer.

39. Do you collect anything? I used to, but being broke for a year curbs all of that. I used to collect art books, action figures, DVDs, and music. I still collect music.

40. Who is the biggest gossiper you know? I don't really know one.

41. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over? Oh, sure. Numerous times. The last time was three or four years ago, but she just told me my tail light was out.

42. Have you ever drunk your soda from a straw? Yeah. Are there people who haven't?

43. What does your last text message say? "Bye."

44. Do you like hot sauce? Not especially. I'm not a sauce man.

45. Last time you took a shower? Yesterday. Today is off to a slow start.

46. Do you need to do laundry? Yes.

48. Are you someone's best friend? I hope so.

49. Are you rich? Only in health problems.

50. What were you doing at 12AM last night? Sleeping soundly and having a nightmare, like every night this week.

Lucy Pinder on the Stairs

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Romantic Scene

Judging from the previews I saw at the movies yesterday, every movie coming out is a terrible-looking romantic comedy. I want to get in on the fun, too, so here's a sample scene I've written for a romantic comedy to be given a generic name stolen from a 1960s hit pop song.

Open on a man, generically named ADAM, aged 40ish but played by a 46 year-old actor pretending he's still 30 (you know the type, Ben Stiller/Adam Sandler, the kind of guy no girl in her twenties is into, but that knowledge would destroy Hollywood executives who think they're always 21). He's having lunch in the park and talking with a friend who is cruder, crasser, balder, fatter, and all-around less attractive and sensible than Adam, thus making Adam a catch by default. He's of course a frat buddy of Adam's from the past, so his name should be Puggy or Boozer or Chuggy or Chim-Chim or something. Let's call him FARTY.

FARTY: I'm telling you, you'll never be as inexplicably popular with the ladies as I am. Mostly because I settle for cheap strippers and using date-rape drugs with junior high school girls. Let's fact it, I'm the kind of guy who normally repulses everyone, but because I'm being played by a lovable second-tier comic who was on Saturday Night Live for half a season, all of my hideous flaws are lovable!

ADAM: Aw, come on, Farty. Who wants to settle down, anyway? A woman would just make me take a shower every day and stop reading Mad Magazine. I don't want to stop playing video games and drinking every night and living like life is sixth grade with money. I mean, it hasn't affected my Generic Business Job. And my boss, played by some actor from a sitcom, is riding my ass too hard to relax!

FARTY: Generic set-up/punchline reference to fucking chicks!

ADAM: I'm too grown-up and need the audience's sympathy too badly to laugh at your crude joke, Farty! I'll roll my eyes instead.

FARTY: I wonder why we're even friends if you don't understand my humor!

ADAM: I know!

Chuckle, chuckle.

Suddenly, in the distance, Adam and Farty see a GIRL playing with kids. The woman is perfect--at least in the terms of a bad movie. In order to match up with her graying, mature, approaching retirement age co-star, she should be 21. Or 17, if possible. She should be drop dead gorgeous, but in a bland way that lacks any real character, since personality is undesirable. Someone like Jessica Biel or Katie Holmes or someone from a TV show who has yet to be in a movie. Above all, she should look guileless and uneducated, completely without a clue.

FARTY: Holy giant titties overflowing with divine milkitude! And something else quotable by frat retards!

ADAM: She's... she's beautiful!

The girl is suddenly tripped by a child and flips over in the air seventeen times before landing on a cactus and then being punched in the face by a homeless man and pissed on by a dog. And then pissed on by a homeless man. And then run over by six dudes on skateboards. And then, for no reason, is pulled into the air, swung around, shaken back and forth, and dropped on a walrus.

FARTY: She is beautiful!

Adam rushes over to her with some napkins and helps her to her feet.

ADAM: You're so uncoordinated and accident-prone! Instead of being incredibly annoying, that makes you adorable and approachable! Imagine if you were smart! That would scare the shit out of me! What's your name?

EVE: I'm Eve. Thanks for helping me up! I was helping my sister out with day care.

ADAM: Oh, that's so Earth Mothery of you. I'm really digging you.

EVE: Normally I design polymer tests for space shuttle components, but I just can't figure out how to walk without severely injuring myself!

ADAM: Wow, you're really something! You didn't even have to go to college to work for NASA!

EVE: Well, when I'm not playing video games and getting stoned!

ADAM: Oh, my aching, painfully erect dick! You're getting more and more perfect! And it's so believable to see us hanging out as a couple! I don't look like your creepy uncle at all!

EVE: No, of course not! What would I want with an attractive, successful, athletic, energetic guy my own age when I could get with a shlub who's still unmarried in his forties?

ADAM: Er, thirties.

EVE: Of course...

ADAM: Hey, would you like to go out on a date tonight? I mean, since you don't need traction from the unlikely and supposedly "comic" injury you just went through?

EVE: Sure! It's biologically impossible for a woman to be fulfilled by a career or friends or family. I need a man to complete me, and at 21 years old, time's flying! Let's go and see a hilariously inappropriate movie or have a dinner where you're allergic to something but don't know it!

ADAM: Only if you promise to do something embarrassing in the bathroom and still actually have sex with me later!

EVE: Of course!

Something completely unlikely, like a man pushing a cart selling frying pans, walks past. Nineteen pans hit Eve in the face randomly, causing her to flip over backwards and fall flat on her back. Then she's hit in the head by a kid on his bike; the bike actually stops and the rider flips over, flying seventeen feet. Eve stands up, blood gushing from her head, and laughs it off.

ADAM: You're so wonderful! Let's get married!

Music--whatever shitty song the record company we're affiliated with wants us to promote--begins to play. It's love!