Thursday, September 20, 2007

Alright, I'm Back (or, "Suck It Up and Stop Whining")

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein knows he can get away with saying that to me, and that's probably one of the things I most needed to hear. And, as Dr. Zaius guessed, I was having a panic attack. I really was, actually; I was having an actual panic attack when I wrote yesterday's post, chest pains and all.

I really am going through some shit right now, and it's not just work and it's not just my terrible health. There are other issues I'm dealing with that are probably going to get more painful before they get better. Someone once told me (though I later learned they were quoting a movie, the line still applies) that everyone loses faith at some point in their life, and that it's those times when you have to look at the things you still have. This is my most faithless point. For a very long time now, more than a year, I've had no faith in myself, in the course of life, or in anyone else. That's going to take time to repair. But I'm not sure I'm ready to decide that it can't be done.

Yesterday and early this morning were a very, very low points in my life. But things are going to fucking change or I'm going to fucking make them change. I know from the past that no job has to be permanent, and believe me, I'm already applying for other jobs. I hate to have flaked out on my blog, but I'm done with that. There will be some changes. I will keep doing my Health Report, because it helps me take an honest look at myself which I need to take, and sometimes I get feedback that isn't just uplifting, but also gives me some information I need. Some of you have helped me a lot just by telling me to keep up the good work (or get back to it) and by giving me new suggestions for exercises and eating. If I've failed at keeping myself in good health this year, it's my own fault for getting discouraged too easily and quitting too often.

But I'm going to stop doing the Throwdown for a while, that's certain. Too much going on in my world and the larger world is keeping my mind preoccupied, and it's hard to care about 15 news stories every Friday, especially when I'm not online all day anymore. I'm probably going to skip a day here or there, or not have something very substantial. But I am going to keep moving ahead instead of falling down and staying there. After getting some perspective, taking some pain reliever, and watching the first three episodes of Cold Feet (great show, it turns out), I feel a lot better. Plus I ate a huge McDonald's breakfast and got sent home early from work because there was no work for me to do, so that all helps, too.

Thing is, I know that there are a few things that need to happen for me to get to where I want to be, and the fact that they haven't happened yet gets me a little too crazed sometimes. I'm on a beta blocker for my high blood pressure, and sometimes it makes me a little too emotional when it gets to be too long in between them. So, I know it shouldn't make me crazy, but sometimes it just bottles up and explodes. I'm trying to find a way to deal with it, I just have to be more patient about it than I have been.

Alright, so. Thanks for all of the encouragement, the compliments, and the words of wisdom. They really do help me put it in perspective, and they just help pick me up. I apologize for flaking out. I have now officially abused the privilege, and I won't do it again. I might be quiet for a little while, but I'll try to whine a hell of a lot less.

Let's get back to business, shall we?

(Thanks again.)

I'm Out

From now on, I think I'm only going to post occasionally, if that. Maybe only when something really pisses me off or amuses me or something. I'm really stressed out and I feel like I've really made a mess of my life, and I can't stand myself right now. I've finally started work, only to discover I hate my job, but I feel kind of trapped there right now, and that really sucks. I think I've become unbearable in my personal life, and I hate that. I think no one's really reading me right now, and I don't blame them, because I really have nothing to say. Doing this blog every day seems pointless right now. It's one of the things that has helped me even out this past year, but now not even that's helping anymore. I've feared for many years that I would just end up in a dead end situation and never get out and everything I had the ambition to do would just die. And it feels like it's time to just stop fighting that.

I'll probably keep posting here and there. Probably I'll keep doing the Sunday Hottie, if only because I've been doing it every week since I started this blog, and I'm so anal that I don't want to stop it now. Evaluating Disney, too, just because that's something very important to me. I'm not going to do the Health Report, though. It seems hypocritical to keep doing it when all I can ever say is that my eating habits have gone back to how horrible they used to be. I might as well just let them and just face the fact that I'm going to be a fat person for the rest of my short life. Maybe I'll die at the age of 42, like I always used to have dreams about. Maybe it won't take that long. Either way, I feel like there's no support system anymore, but instead there are only unsolvable problems that will never be fixed. Things that will never let me be happy but only burn away like a faint candle in the darkness of my mind.

Fact is, nothing I can attatin makes me happy right now, so it's time to just embrace the unhappiness or do something drastic. Either way, it's terrible blog reading, so I should just shut up and go away for awhile.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Something Awesome Becca Said

"I love that Sam Peckinpah movies are so complex. Also, there's, like, no pussies in them. I'm so sick of the movies that they make today that are just about some pussy whining about how he can't figure his shit out. Peckinpah had something more interesting to say than today's pussies."

Film Week

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

CUSTODY (2007)
Another week, another Lifetime movie. This one starred Kay Panabaker (love her) as a girl who learns that her father is actually her stepfather, and her absent father wants her back. There are some good moments in this one, and Kay is certainly good, but it just kind of stops suddenly instead of coming to an organic conclusion. And there are some touches (like the kooky girlfriend) that just seem stitched in for no good reason except to write some cliches. This needed, like, nine episodes on HBO or something. ** stars.

Good atmosphere, but it seems kind of quaint today. Some great scares, though. *** stars.

Now that Borat has been such a success, I wonder if Sacha Baron Cohen regrets wasting a character on such a crappy movie. This is another of those movies (like the Mr. Bean and Carrot Top movies) that follows what I call the King Ralph formula--exaggerated character becomes involved in a dignified situation (in this case, the British parliament), hilarity is supposed to ensue but doesn't. Really, really dumb. * star.

SERPICO (1973)
As I said the other day, I really get this movie now as an adult. I relate to it a lot better. And Al Pacino is excellent. It's a hard examination of the pressure of a broken system, and how it views someone doing the right thing as dangerous and aberrant. I also liked the way it looked at the women in his life and how it is to be with someone so consumed by work that can be very dangerous. Excellent, excellent movie. **** stars.

Excellent, lyrical film about an old gangster (Burt Lancaster) and a desperate casino worker (Susan Sarandon) who are brought together by a coke deal and some strange circumstances. Louis Malle's film isn't about the situation, it's about the characters. Lancaster just wants to prove that he's still vital and can protect someone he cares about; Sarandon wants to make something of herself and prove that she doesn't need anyone to do it. It's some of the best acting both have ever done, in a movie that is a pure joy to watch unfold. **** stars.

Interesting, but I never really felt Pinochet as a person. The political stuff is interesting, but I was surprised that Derek Jacobi couldn't really make me feel the man behind the monster. A real missed opportunity that is surprisingly muted. **1/2 stars.

Though it is interesting to see Spain before the civil war, it's really a pastoral anti-fascist propaganda piece that paints Spain in a too-idyllic light. Nice footage, well-made, but it's about as realistic as Triumph of the Will. Ernest Hemingway narrated. *** stars.

Nice little documentary about Sam Peckinpah's contribution to the Western genre. There's some interesting stuff in there; Peckinpah is one of the greats, and most of the Westerns he made are among the greatest films in existence. *** stars.

This is one of Disney's better silly movies. What can I say, I like Fred MacMurray. And Annette Funicello makes an appearance. I feel like everyone's seen this but me, based on some recent conversations. But still, I was surprised by how fun it was. It's just about a kid who finds a ring that turns him into a sheepdog, and eventually gets caught up in a spy scheme. It's not as over-the-top as later Disney movies (from the seventies, for example), and it doesn't wear out its welcome. *** stars.

THE SHAGGY D.A. (1976)
If it's a sequel, why didn't they just have Tommy Kirk play the role? What happened to that guy, anyway? Dean Jones stars as the grown-up version of Tommy Kirk, and except for him singing the title song, this whole thing is one giant mistake. Man, I hate Tim Conway. Terrible. * star.

This feels more like a TV movie than a real movie. Sam Peckinpah's first film stars Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara, and is not very good. I felt like Peckinpah revisited a lot of it to much, much better effect the next year in Ride the High Country. ** stars.

What could have been a style exercise becomes, in Sam Peckinpah's hands, a pretty damn good story about what happens to a married couple who get double-crossed in a bank robbery. Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw star, and it's a mark of a strong screenplay (by Walter Hill) and strong direction that Ali McGraw's presence doesn't just sink the entire movie. I mean, is it me or does she really suck as an actor? I guess you could look at the whole thing as an allegory for what a marriage has to survive. I think this and Straw Dogs are the movies where the charge Peckinpah is a misogynist come from, but I just don't see it. **** stars.

DOCTOR X (1932)
Dated. There's some great stuff at the end, and Lionel Atwill is pretty neat, but it's an enormous, crippling mistake to make the main character a wisecracking, whiny reporter with an awful personality. Why are there so many movies that try to show us the extraordinary through the eyes of a goon like that? And why did it survive? Tim Burton tried to do the same thing with Robert Wuhl's pointless character in Batman. The guy was so annoying it was impossible to care about the story. What I did care about was the wonderful, darling Fay Wray, who is as good as she always is, and whose nipples are clearly visible in at least two of the outfits she wears. The good old days, when even women's gowns looked like thin negligees. Anyway, there were some really good moments in the last 20 minutes, but getting there took a lot out of me. **1/2 stars.

THE KISS (1929)
Garbo, wonderful as always, in a story that doesn't quite come off. This silent film (with sound effects) stars Garbo as a woman who stands trial for the murder of her husband, who has caught her in a clinch with her lover. The death takes place behind a closed door, so all isn't revealed until the end. When it is, it doesn't seem like such a big deal. Still, nothing with Garbo in it is a waste of time. *** stars.

A star vehicle for Mae Murray that is of more historical interest now because it's an early American film of Rudolph Valentino, who was still being billed as Rudolfo de Valentin. Valentino's good, the rest is just silly and completely outdated. * star.

Digital compilation of a mostly lost silent film starring Valentino as an Ivy League American student who learns he's really an Indian prince. Apparently, Valentino hated this film, but it looks like it was probably a pretty good one. I think it had more to do with Valentino wanting to get out of his Paramount contract than anything else. Natacha Rambova co-stars. *** stars.

Dear KFC

Hey, how are you?

So, I've been catching your new commercial pretty damn constantly these days. The new one, the one where a chick in a cubicle says, in an extremely condescending manner, that's she's eating "real food," which requires a fork and a knife.

Aren't you the fast food joint that offers every item on the menu in a big pail with a shovel?

You are?

Then you don't get to claim you sell "real food."


Keepin' it real,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Health Report: Week 40

Well, here we are, already 40 weeks into this series, and I've not got as much to show for it as I'd hoped. There are so many things going on and not going on, and it's taken a mental and an emotional toll. My eating habits are nearly as bad as they ever were. I say nearly because I've still managed to give up soda, with the exception of an occasional soda made with actual sugar and not HFCS. I hate to say it, but I think I've got to just give up pizza for good. I really shouldn't have pizza more than once every four to six weeks, because that's the food that makes me sicker than anything else. The next morning, there's always the phlegm in the throat and the dizziness and the sick feeling in the pit of the stomach. It's not that bad when I eat burgers, even from McDonald's or Burger King.

I know I've got to stop eating junk, but it's been so hard lately. Partially this is because I've been broke and sometimes I can only eat what's been on hand for a long time (like pasta or something) or something incredibly cheap and fast. And I haven't been on my schedule at all (every three hours, like my PT worked out). Another reason has been, I admit, a bit of defeatism. I haven't been able to exercise for weeks now because I work and because I've been sick and consequently want to do nothing but sleep all the time. Hopefully, there's a time coming when I will have figured all of this crap out.

I hate to sound ungrateful, but boy, do I hate my job. I mean, really. I just hate it. I'm uncomfortable because I'm getting caught between two people in my office. The first is my boss, and the second just thinks she is, and that if she took a day off the entire university would just grind to a halt because she's the only one who knows what she's doing. Which is why I'm sick; she's been coughing constantly and deeply, and only covers her mouth about 40% of the time. And she touches everything, including my computer. She's so damn full of herself, and apparently this terrible personality of hers has driven away the last three people who had my job. I can understand it; on Thursday, I was very close to walking out and never going back. I hate dealing with it, and I think I'd sincerely love it if she got seriously sick from her coughing and keeled over and died. The university can absorb the loss.

So, needless to say, I'm already looking for another job. Sadly, it's going to be very hard to find a high-paying position as a blogger, but I'm resolved to find something that involves writing and/or editing, because I don't want the job I have. At least with some recent work on my resume, it might be easier to find a better job.

The irony--I couldn't work on my writing before because all I did was worry about money and finding a job. Now, I can't work on my writing because I'm so stressed out from the wasteful stupidity at work. Why the hell did I take a position in a bureaucracy?


I enjoyed that first movie more than I ever did those books, so I'm looking forward to more.

Happy Birthday

Keeley Hazell turns a very well put together 21 today. I know what I'm doing to celebrate...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mukasey, Iran--When Does the Other Shoe Drop?

Today, President Duh nominated Michael B. Mukasey to take over from Alberto Gonzales as the Attorney General. I honestly don't know much about this guy, but I've seen some reports this morning that there are some conservatives who consider Mukasey too soft a choice. Some Democrats are characterizing Mukasey as a "consensus choice," while others are calling him a compromise.

Is this really a continuation of what Bush said in last week's address about Republicans and Democrats, opponents and proponents of the war, working together? Is this really, as some have suggested today, a peace offering aimed at bringing the government together?

I looked up Mukasey on Wikipedia. And here's what I don't like about him politically: he's spent a lot of time with Giuliani. He's a New York lawyer who served four years in the federal prosecutor's office as an Assistant US Attorney, during which time he was a close colleague of the Ghoul's. He was the guy who swore in Giuliani both times. He and his son (who defends white collar criminals in New York) are justice advisors to the Giuliani presidential campaign, which seems like a giant conflict of interest to me.

Mukasey is also a Reagan appointee, if that means anything anymore. He was the judge on the Padilla trial, too. He defends the PATRIOT Act, which is something I hate to see in a human being, because it doesn't exactly denote a reasonable mind. Something else Mukasey does that seems against all reason is supporting Lieberman (including campaign contributions).

I mean, on the one hand it isn't Chertoff, but on the other hand...

This is typical of the administration these days. They act like they're ready to reconcile, and then they do something that goes against that. I know I'm not the only one who noticed in Bush's address that references to checking the power of Iran were slipped in nonchalantly, as though we've been talking for years about how Iran is a monster and must be stopped (which is how they swindled us into a war with Iraq, by nonchalantly holding up Saddam Hussein as somehow having something to dow ith 9/11). I suggest you read this Times of London article, which reveals Pentagon plans to hit 1200 targets in Iran. The plan is there, and it'll most likely be up to the next Commander-in-Chief to run with it.

And if you, like me, are certain that either Giuliani or Fred Thompson will be our next, you're a little scared today. I don't know about you, but I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Endless Bummer

When I look at this picture of gorgeous Jennifer Ellison and look at that inviting water all around her, and it's cold and dark like it is here today, I get a little sad that the summer's ending. I know it's not "officially" autumn yet, but it sure feels like it is already. Everything's poised for it. And though I love autumn and October is my favorite month of the year, all I can feel is winter coming. And the grey and the cold and, damn it to hell, the snow that I hate so much. I used to love the rain and the storms and the darkness, but now it just makes me depressed and anxious. A friend told me recently that I was like Superman and I got my powers from the sun. She must be right, because I'm already missing those long, long summer days. Another one gone.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Song of the Week: "With or Without You"

I don't always like U2, but some of their singles are just so perfect that it's beyond argument for me. Ever since I was a kid, this song always transfixed me with this sense of loss and dignity, of hope and longing, of finality and acceptance, of life being on hold at the same time stepping into the future. It's exciting and terrible, that feeling. But the song is lovely.

Well, At Least I'm a God to Someone says I'm a Kinda Dorky Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

More Answers to Questions You Never Asked

Here's another meme I took from Byzantium's Shores. For some reason (he didn't know why, either), it seems that questions 8, 15, 34, 39, 40, 41, and 49 are missing.

1. You have $5 and need to buy snacks at a gas station. What do you buy?
I have no idea. I once would've said a 20 oz. Pepsi and a packet of Hostess cupcakes, but now that I don't eat that kind of stuff, who knows? What else is in a gas station besides junk? Maybe I'd just buy a book of crossword puzzles instead. It's a, um, mental snack or something.

2. If you were reincarnated as a sea creature, what would you want to be?
I like the idea of being able to come up on land if I feel like it, so I'm going to say a walrus. Because like the walrus, I'm fat, hairy, awkward, and loud--but I'm fairly graceful in the water.Quick trivia--a walrus is a pinniped. I just love that word--pinneped. For some reason, it's one of my favorite animal-related words. Another word I love related to animals is pachyderm.

3. Who's your favorite redhead?
Scarlett Johansson, who is also my favorite blonde. Versatile girl, my future wife.

4. What do you order when you're at IHOP?
I haven't been to the International House of Pancakes in about five years or so. But I did do something radical and strange there: I ate pancakes.

5. Last book you read?
Van Loon's The History of Mankind. It'll be the first of my Newbery Project posts at some point in the next couple of days.

6. Describe your favorite pair of underwear.
Not a big underwear guy. I like to wear boxer briefs, slightly oversized, but I don't have a favorite pair. It's just a necessity.

7. Describe the last time you were injured.
I got some paper cuts at work on Friday, but I'd hardly consider those an injury. Do those charlie horses from six weeks ago count? Otherwise, I can't think of when it was.

9. Rock concert or symphony?
Depends who the rock concert is and what's on the symphonic program. I've been to the symphony exactly once, and to exactly one rock concert in my life. So ultimately it depends on who I want to see or what I want to hear.If it's a Bowie concert, or Iggy Pop, or Brian Wilson, or someone I really love, the rock concert in a sec.Most of the conductors I love are dead, but if someone's doing a Smetana program or someone really visceral like Stravinsky or Mussorgsky, that would be amazing to hear a symphony orchestra play.

10. What is the wallpaper of your mobile phone?
Why do so many memes have questions about cell phones? Is it really that much a part of your identity? I don't have a cell phone, and I hope I never have to. I'll tell you what I'm using as my desktop for my PC, although you won't be surprised.
Yep, there it is. That should be on the American flag. Give the Marines some inspiration to fight in Iraq. This is what you're protecting, guys.

11. Favorite drink?
Again, not a drinking man. The hardest I go now is a Jones cream soda, since Jones is one of those magical companies that doesn't pump high fructose corn syrup into its sodas.

12. What type of top/teeshirt are you wearing?
I'm wearing a blue shirt. I'm cold, so I'm wearing a black (I hate this word) hoodie. I got a nice, thin hooded sweatshirt last year, and now it's one of those comfort things I wear.

13. If you could only use one form of transportation for the rest of your life what would it be?
Come on, who wouldn't want the Aston Martin DB5? This thing is the best car ever.

14. Most recent movie you've watched at the movies?

16. What's your favorite kind of cake?
Yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Not sophisticated, but damn good. I always like it for a birthday cake.

17. What did you have for dinner last night?
Good old life-threatening pizza from Pizza Toppers or Toppers Pizza or whatever the hell it's called.

18. Look to your right what do you see?
My Muppets poster.Yes, it's in the living room.

19. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Not usually. I just kind of slip them off.

20. Favorite toy as a child?
I have to go with my Legos. I used to build Legos all the time, and I still have them. I should put them together again sometime, I have some neat castle stuff.

21. Do you buy your own food?
Becca does most (nearly all) of the shopping because I can't stand to be around people for very long. Enough old women get in my way at the store, and someone's getting screamed at.

22. Do you think people talk about you behind your back?
I'm sure they do. One of the women in my office doesn't seem to like me very much, and I'm sure she talks about me behind my back. Sometimes she does it when I'm in the room.

23. When's the last time you had a sour gummy worm?
I like gummy worms, but I don't like sour candy, so never.

24. What's your favorite fruit?
Bananas. Bananas are good. And I love strawberries, apples, and grapes.

25. Do you have a picture of yourself doing a cartwheel?
No. Should I?

26. Have you ever eaten snow?
Oh, yeah, of course. You can't grow up in the Midwest without doing that. I've also eaten icicles.

27. What color are your bedsheets?
Like a brown and blue patchy hodgepodgey thing.

28. What's your mom's favorite flower?
I'm a bad son; I've heard her tell me a thousand times, and yet I can't remember what her favorite flowers are. I know she like marigolds, so that's what I'm going to say.Not that you asked, but I think the hybiscus is my favorite.We planted them a couple of years ago on the balcony, and they were gorgeous. If there's one thing I'd really like to have, it's a big flower garden.

29. Do you listen to classical music?
Absolutely! I love classical music. (I like what Jaquandor said in his answer to people who don't "get" classical music: "It's just music. You listen to it just like any other music.") I adore it, particuarly the Romantic era and the early moderns.

30. Do you have a "wacky noodle"?
?! I don't know what that means, but it sounds terribly personal.

31. Do you watch Spongebob?
I hate it. My sisters used to watch it and laugh like mental patients on pot. I just don't get the humor, I guess. Plus, I'm not really lame.

32. Last food you ate?
I had a late breakfast; some pancakes and bacon.

33. Do people consider you intelligent?
They seem to, if that doesn't sound egotistical. But then, some people think I'm an idiot, so either way. I know I'm a super genius, so that's enough for me.
Doesn't it give you a little shudder to be in the same room as a genius like me?

35. Is your away message on?
When I have my IM on, I'm signed in as invisible. I basically use it to let me know when I have an email.

36. Have you ever tried gluing your fingers together?
Sure, when I was a kid. I don't know why, but I always liked the feeling of stretching them apart after the glue had hardened. In school, we would let a patch of Elmer's dry on our hand or something, and gross out the girls by telling them we were ripping our skin off.

37. What curse word do you use the most?
I can't think of one. I say "fuck" a lot more than any other so-called curse word, I guess. I don't fucking know.

38. What time is your alarm clock set for?
Well, I don't have to be at work until around nine, so I don't set the alarm. Becca does, and it's usually set for some time between 6 and 7. I've always been an early riser, but right now I'm going through one of those phases where I want to sleep a lot.

42. What CD is currently in your CD player?
Nothing. We have an iHome and my iPod is in it.

43. What movie do you know every line to?
I know a lot of Inherit the Wind and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, and lots of Shakespeare movies and Muppet movies, but I'm not one of those guys who goes around quoting lines constantly.Well, not those, but others. I'm a Simpsons quote whore.

44. What is your favorite salad dressing?
Well, I really only like Caesar dressing, so I eat a lot of dry salads. I like them, though.

45. Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos?
Yeah, why not? Tattoos are fucking sexy. Especially if they're on her.

Or her.
How could you not want to date either of those two women? Ink on a chick is hot.

46. Do you sleep in the same bed with your pets?
No! I'd crush my poor bunny.

47. Do you enjoy giving hugs?
Always. I love hugs.

48. What part of your name do people mispronounce?
My name's pretty simple. What I get is the misspellings of my first name. For some reason, it seems like Aaron is the last spelling anyone thinks of. It's always Erin or Arron. And then there are the people who default to Adam when they talk to me; they get thumped.

50. If you were to become famous, would you drop your last name?
No. I like the flow of my name. I didn't when I was a kid, but I do now.