Sunday, December 16, 2012

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program...

I was working on a post about when I was kid, and about how the kid version of me perceived things much differently than the grown-up me, but it makes me sad and I don't want to post it right now.

I have a seven year old daughter and several other seven and six year-old kids were murdered a few days ago, and it's really made me sick, and angry and sad.  I don't understand the motives behind school shootings, especially when it involves adults going into schools that they are not affiliated with.

I was senior in a high school in Colorado in 1999, and I remember when those kids at Columbine killed all those other kids.  I remember how panicked my Australian and Illinoisan relatives were when they kept trying to call to see if I was a student at Columbine and couldn't get through for hours because that's what everyone else's relatives were doing and it overloaded the phone system.  I didn't go there, my school was a few miles away and in a different district.

My sixth-hour period was open and my friend Sean and I decided to skip our seventh (and last) hour and just go home.  We had heard some kind of rumor that a kid shot another kid at a school nearby, but no one knew the extent of it.  Soon after we left, they locked down our school.

Sean and I went to my house, sat on the couch with my mom and watched the coverage for hours.  No one knew if the murderers were still in there killing people, or had barricaded themselves in and were waiting for the cops to come in so they could mow them down too.  Was anyone still alive?  How many people had died?  Were there bombs?  It was chaotic and terrible.

Everyone was shaken and crushed.  We were all scared and confused and didn't know how things were supposed to be now.  The future was now filled with scary uncertainty instead of 'this is the way the world works' security.  We stumbled blindly, trying to find out where this dark new path would go, fearful that it couldn't possibly be anywhere safe and kind.

But you know what the worst part was?  The worst part was that it happened again.  And again.  And again.   And our hearts and minds were broken over and over, and our dark path kept splintering and veering off onto bumpier and more twisted trails.

Some people are calling for less guns, or no guns.  Some say there should be more guns.  More mental health awareness and funding.  More this, less of that.  All I know is that I didn't think the nation's collective heart could break this heavily quite like this again, and nothing will be the same from now on, no matter what we do.

Sorry, guys, but I'm pretty sad right now.  I'll post something with some degree of my usual normalcy when I can think of an acceptable topic.

Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Latey Lateness

Since I'm a terrible procrastinator, I've put off writing a big paper that's due tonight for a class I'm taking.  Also, this is the last week of the regular semester (finals are next week) so there are projects and worksheets and various other things I have to do before I begin studying (or putting off studying) for finals.

Said procrastination is also the reason why I haven't started writing December's blog, and now it's December and I'm too busy with stupid papers and stuff to write one at the last minute.

So this is just a little note explaining why my post is going to be, most likely, substantially late.  I'll try to squeeze one in as soon as I can, but I'm not sure when that's going to be.

I'm also going to try to start writing blogs ahead of time, like starting February's post this month, and then having the month of January to edit it and stuff.  It sounds a little ambitious for a lazy, lazy person such as myself, but I feel like I should to something to be more reliable.  It makes me feel all guilty, and I'm going to do something completely unlike me and try to stop doing the thing that causes the feeling I don't like.  What?!  That's crazy!  I know, right?

Maybe one day it won't be such a struggle to get all the stuff done that I want to do.  Maybe I'll see a quadracorn too.   

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"When I was a boy, just about every summer we'd take a vacation.

...And you know, in 18 years, we never had fun."

A 'fun' thing I did this summer was to go camping with my family.  I have a 4-year old son and 7-year old daughter in case I've never mentioned it (I don't want to go do something crazy like actually check (!)).  So we went to the local state park and camped about 10 miles from our house.  Since we live in south Denver, it's not too far from mountains and open spaces and stuff, but this park is  pretty much 3500+ acres of wilderness surrounded by suburbs.  It's still nature, dammit!

I like camping, in theory. As long as there's a bathroom and not a bucket to pee in, and we can have and are able to make a fire, it's fun for a few nights. I love the brighter stars and chirps and rustles and the mechanical quietness. I love relaxing outside when the morning is bright and the wind is still cool and we all smell smoky from last nights fire. There's no TV or Internet attempting to lure me into submission and no messy house to not clean up.

We went in June so it wouldn't be quite so hot and we packed crap into the borrowed pickup truck for what seemed like days: tent, sleeping bag, cast iron pans, pokey things to cook marshmallows with, canvas fold up chairs with mesh danglers attached to holes in the arm rests to put your frosty and refreshing beverage in, water, food, utensils, snacks, sun screen, rain jackets, hoodies, shorts, jeans, swimsuits, extra socks, insect repellent, bug bite cream, bandages, neosporin (or its generic equivalent), sinus medicine, headache medicine, sunglasses, toenail clippers, that pink tummy stuff that is all chalky, thick, looks and tastes like My Little Pony vomit, firewood, cooler with ice, and some other stuff.  Did I mention we only went for 3 days?

'Fun' #1: There was a crazy heat-wave this summer and the 3 days we were out camping in the sun were the three hottest days in June.  EVER.  104 degrees.  But at least for the rest of the summer I was like, "It's only 98 degrees today?  That's not so bad.  Remember when it was 104 AND WE WERE CAMPING?"

'Fun' #2: My daughter is a typical 7 year old and is, for some reason I don't understand, in love with horses.  So the two of us went on a guided horse ride for an hour.  And as if slowly meandering down an un-shaded dirt trail in 100+ degree heat on a gigantic, furry animal in jeans and a helmet wasn't enough fun, we did it in a group.  There was another mother-daughter combo in our midst, and they were annoying for several reasons:
1. They were late and we had to wait for them.
2. The horses kept trying to snack on the grass and it's not good for them (for some reason that I can't remember), so if they start a-grazin' you're supposed to yank up the reins to remind them they're not supposed to.  Now, if a 1000 lb quadruped really wanted to eat that fucking grass, my Caesar Milan-style jerk-and-pull wouldn't even phase it.  But horses are like, trained and stuff, and they know the rules, so you give 'em a tug and they're all, "Aw, man, this sweaty thing sitting on me knows the rules.  Can't get away with it.  I'll just keep biding my time until the horspocalypse and then I'll eat so much goddamn grass they'll be picking up my green, marshmallow-shaped turds until the end of time!  Bwah ha ha h- I mean neigh-h-h-h!"

These ladies, especially the squealy teen-aged one, didn't have the girl-balls to 'be mean to a horse' so they only half-heartedly tried to get their horses to stop eating the grass, which made the horses think they could control the situation, and soon they were veering off course into the brush to partake in the bouquet of the new summer's grasses. And by 'new summer's grasses' I mean, 'crispy, dried up weeds that probably cut those damn horse gums all up to hell and are also most definitely a fire hazard' So we'd have to stop while the increasingly irritated cow-girl-guide went and got them back on track.
4. It was hot and I was cranky and they were strangers.

'Fun' #3: We also went to the 'beach.'  The park has a huge reservoir in it and they rent out boats and jet skis and stuff, and have a marina where people bring their own boats.  That they bought.  In a land-locked state almost exactly in the middle of the country.  That they haul to a man-made lake so they can float around for a weekend and play that game where you see how many beers you can drink before you run into another boat piloted by other stupid people in boats that they hauled to the park so they can float around for no good reason and play that game where they see how many beers they can drink before running into another boat.

Just to clarify, I'm not talking about sweet little paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, or even small sailboats or those little fishing boats with the motor somehow attached to the back with that little handle on it so you can steer; those are hobby boats. Those boats can be strapped to the side of the house or tossed in a shed or even deflated if you have a really shit one.  What I'm saying is they don't take up a lot of time, energy or space.   No, I'm talking about gratuitous speedboats and mini-yachts (or regular-sized yachts, I'm not sure exactly how big a yacht is supposed to be).  The boats that I think are ridiculous are the ones that need their own trailer and giant-wheeled truck to tow it around.  The boats that need insurance and winter storage places and are named less-than-classy ladynames (ever heard of a boat named The Maya Angelou?  No, no you haven't).  Those boats have no earthly business in Colorado and are just another notch in the 'Americans-are-so-stupid-they'll-buy-anything' category.  The reservoir is FULL of those fucking things.

It's shaped like a check mark, this reservoir, and the boats and drunk folk being pulled 30-miles-per-hour on an inner tube are up at one end (its ok though because they wear life jackets! Just kidding, that would make them look dumb) and there's this little beach on the other end with a roped off area of water that you can wade into and freeze your ass off and scrape you feet all up on the rocks because it's a fucking lake and not a swimming pool.  We went there and brought our foldy chairs (see list of camping gear above) and towels and sunscreen and water bottles and the kids forced us into the water with their manipulative statements like, 'we can't swim!' and 'I want to play with you because I'm still too young to know better!' and 'I love you, Mommy'. Pffff.

We would go in for the three seconds the kids could stand it then we got out and dried off.  Then we did it again.  And again.  And again until they started fighting and we went back to the tent. Have I mentioned yet that it was the hottest day ever?  Oh, and also, I got a sunburn even though I wore SPF 70.

'Fun' #4: The best part was that since it was so hot and dry, after the first night they increased the fire ban so we couldn't have a fire. No campfire while camping. Dinner and the next mornings breakfast needed fire, or at least some kind of high temperatured, concentrated heat source to be edible. We considered running the engine of the car until it was hot enough to fry up some eggs, but we had already wasted so much gas from sitting in the cab and blasting the air conditioning for short bursts that we decided not to. At least we were surrounded by city and could skip out to Red Robin.  Which we did and it was the best Whiskey River Chicken Burger I've ever had.  We went to bed early in the pitch blackness, woke up with the bright sun, packed up our numerous possessions and grumpily sweated all the way home.

That was the major event of my summer.  We cooked marshmallows and hot dogs over an open flame (the first night), and watched the bats come out.  We looked at constellations and played on the playground.  We laughed, we cried and no one lost any limbs or was otherwise seriously maimed.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Update 12/9/12- Fun #3

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Two Things

1. I'm going to commit to one post a month.  If I want any sort of following, I'm going to need to be more consistent.  And awesome.  Awesomely consistent or consistently awesome you ask?  Why, BOTH, of course!  Also, why do you always interrupt me when I'm writing?  Lame. So I'll post at the beginning of every month, hopefully the 1st.

2. Look what I did for Halloween!

Now, I know what you're thinking, and the answer is no. I did not spend hours and hours and hours obsessively carving this pumpkin and trying to smooth out all the jagged bits with a flat toothpick until 3am last night.  I totally didn't do that.

To recap:
-Real post coming in a day or two, then once a month after that, most likely until the end of time
-I am an amazing pumpkin carving-type artist!  Skills like these will come in handy, like, once a year.  Bonus.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Technical Difficulities..

The previous blog does NOT contain redacted information enforced from the government.  It's simply a boring technical error that I'll fix as soon as I figure out what's going on.

Hold on to your butts, no one!

UPDATE:  I still don't know what's going on, but I fiddled with the background and text colors and at least it's showing up now.  But it's not right yet, and I'll keep looking for an answer.  Side note:  this has been a post from hell and it needs more editing.  It'll keep changing for a little while, but for now, I gotta go.

UPDATE #2: It's fixed!  Thanks, computer-genius guru Andy

"Grandpa, why don't you tell us a story? You've lived an interesting life."

 "That's a lie and you know it!  But I have seen a lot of movies..."

I would first like to say that I'm sorry it took me so long to post part 2 of this scintillating post.  I'm sure that you have been clinging to your imaginary seats, anxiously checking and rechecking my blog everyday, your unreal nails being chewed down to the pretend quick with anticipation.  In my defense, I took classes over the summer but my kids, however, did not.  That particular combination of "summer fun expectations" and "accelerated-schedule classes," took up most of my time and all of my sanity.  So, I'm sorry, no one.  I'm sorry real bad.  And now, without further adieu....

...a short recap.

As you may or may not know from previous reading... or from scrolling down to my last post, I am currently in the midst of a very in-depth and exorbitant inquiry into the inner workings of one of the world's most pointless and uninteresting pieces of literature:  a personal top ten list.

I had made the following conclusions in regards to the required criteria:  my list shall comprise of one master list of favorite movies, and it shall be regarded only as a snapshot in time of my current tastes and interests.

Part two begins!

Complication the third: What the fuck qualifies as a 'favorite' movie?!  Do I even need to have qualifiers?  Is, "I like it", going to be good enough to make the list?  I like hundreds of movies! I love hundreds of movies!  There are so many 5 star ratings in my Netflix account that it doesn't even know what kind of recommendations to give (An unimportant side note: my kids have rated a lot of their kid shows too, so that probably confuses that recommend-a-tron over at Netflix all the more.  Take that, smart computer database thing!  You won't take over MY country! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!).

Back to the qualifiers.  I think there should be some kind of system to standardize my decisions.  Personal and/or cultural impact, innovation for its time, heart warming, gooey-squishiness to cheesy, lame and annoying-squishiness ratio, originality, silliness quotient (that's an important one),  did it make me cry, did it make me laugh, was I surprised/scared/intrigued/angry by the end?  There are so many factors that make movies wonderful that I really don't know where to start.

A lot of movies I've seen can fit into most of the above categories; wonderful, amazing, groundbreaking movies: Citizen Kane, The General, Saving Private Ryan, A Clockwork Orange; the list goes on and on.  The first Saw movie created an entire new film genre, for chrissake!  That's gotta mean something, somehow.  But are they my favorites? No.  My list of the top 10 best movies ever made would be different from my top 10 favorites.  I  freely admit that some of my most beloved movies are not what the cinema-philes would call 'classics', or even 'worthy of not being set on fire'.  But I don't care about that.  I likes what I likes.

So it appears that the answer to question 3 is: because I say so.  No qualifiers needed.  Sure, I could come up with some important reasons over the course of many hours of painstakingly dull research and soul searching and traveling the global to meet with the best, uh, movie watching... dudes, but I'm not gonna do that.  I like movies that entertain me/keep my attention, be it through laughter, fear, suspense, action, whatever.

FINALLY,  in no particular order (seriously, if I had to rank them, I would have torn this place up), is my list:

1. The Sound of Music

    I love musicals so goddamn much, but this one is my favorite.  What makes this movie awesome, you  ask?  What doesn't make this movie awesome?!

    Julie Andrews, beautiful songs, suspense, laughter, love, impish youths, escaping from Nazi's, nuns, the list goes on and on.  From the opening scene of the glorious mountains shot from a helicopter and slowly closing in on our impetuous hero, Maria the nun, to the closing scene of the Von Traps hiking to freedom over those same peaks, it is perfect in every way.  I'm totally serious.

2. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

    Idiots and/or man-childs (men-children?) are, in real life, exasperating and usually giant wastes of everyone's time, but in the movies, they are hilariously adorable.  Or maybe adorably hilarious.  No one quite eptomizes this archetype like Will Ferrell.  Many of his movies belong on my list, and it was hard to pick just one (Taladega Nights, Elf, Step-Brothers, Old School, Zoolander spring to mind).  Anchorman created a hilarity trifecta that is often duplicated, but rarely as successful: a hilarious setting (the 70's), a hilarious supporting cast (Carrell, Rudd, Cordery, Parnell, Willard, plus a ton of cameos), and a plot that is pretty solid, but doesn't get in the way of the main objective, silliness.  Christina Applegate (one of the most underrated comedic actors around today) is so earnest and serious and that makes it all the more laugh-tacular.  

3. The Orignal Star Wars Trilogy (IV- A New Hope, V- The Empire Strikes Back, and VI- Return of the Jedi)

    I know, it's technically three movies, but I didn't want to take up three spaces.   I do like I, II, and III; they provided a lot of interesting back story to the Star Wars universe, and they were amazing eye candy, both with it's sexy actors (Natalie Portman, Ewan MacGreggor, JarJar Binks...) and visual effects (not sure if they'll hold up against the test of time though.  I haven't seen them in a while).  But they're just not the same as the scrappy, earnest underdogs fighting against the terrifying Emperor and his white-armoured henchman.  It's the fight against impossible odds, the battle with the darkest evil, and the fact that life goes on (i.e. debts, love, shitty transportation, annoying muppet dudes) in spite of said tribulations, that burns these movies directly into the worlds' hearts, and rightly so.

4. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King)

    Another trilogy, I know, but LOTR can be considered one very long movie.  And also, this is my list, so shut your face.  I will admit that I hadn't read the books when I first saw The Fellowship of the Ring (but after that I was completely hooked and read them before The Two Towers came out, so all you book snobs can just... continue to judge me because you're right I should have read the books when I was 15 like most people that like to read books do.  I'm sorry).  Like with Star Wars, this is an entire universe created by one  man's imagination about an unlikely and reclutant hero.  What sets it apart from Star Wars:

1. the wonderfully talented and respected cast of actors (Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortenson, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving! Come on!). 

2. A faithful, carefully written script based on an incredibly in-depth and well written story by Tolken.

3. The visual effects technology to give Middle Earth the justice it deserves.

This is the above and beyond any fantasy lovers possible expectations. All the chain mail was real and made by hand! Watch even a fraction of the hours and hours of special features and see how the dedication and love of this world by every person involved is dripping from the scenery.

*Geekish Anecdote: The only time I've ever waited in line for several hours to see the midnight showing of a movie was The Two Towers.  It was cold (January in Colorado), uncomfortable and lame.  Some of the fellow waitees were in costumes, capes and stuff.  At one point, some jockish-type dude that was leaving the theater in an over-sized truck yelled something mean out his window that I can't remember, "get a life, nerds," or something.  I remember at the time thinking, 'what a rude thing to say to these nice geeks', before realizing that I was among this group of movie waiters and therefore the insult was also meant for me.  The absolute best part was that by the time the movie started, I had a terrible headache and couldn't enjoy it*

5. Back to the Future

    I was a little conflicted whether or not to include the entire trilogy, but after some thought, I really do like the first one much more than the other two.  As a kid, I was hooked from the very first scene with the elaborate automated dog food dispenser, and as an adult I was surprised by the tounge-in-cheek enuendos and the traveling through time logistics.

    Michael J. Fox was at his most charming, Crispin Glover was still likeably creepy (instead of fucked up creepy), Christopher Lloyd was the perfect eccentric scientist, and no one has quite relished the job of playing a bad dude like Thomas Wilson did as the shit-eating sexual predator,  Biff Tannen (the best part of BTTF III was Buford 'Mad Eye' Tannen).

6. Mary Poppins

    Another Julie Andrew gem.  Another musical full of catchy tunes, magic and the precociousness of youth.  Except this one takes place in early 20th century England (I loves me those British accents), features cartoons meshing with real life, and Dick Van Dyke secretly playing a really old dude that dies from laughing at this joke: "I know a man with a wooden leg named Smith" says one bloke to another.  "What's the name of his other leg?"

Come ON, that shit is funny! But the fact that some old, serious banker dude DIED because he thought it was so funny makes it epic on a whole other level.  Who wouldn't want to live in a world with tea parties on the ceiling, talking parrots attached to flying umbrellas and endless carpet bags of delight?  No one, that's who.

7. Napoleon Dynamite

    This movie is small scale in every sense of the word.  No elaborate costumes, sets, musical score, actors etc.  It's a quiet, simple movie that doesn't answer many questions (What year is  it?, why do Napoleon and Kip live with Grandma? Who exactly is Uncle Rico? How can someone dance so crazy-awesomely whist wearing snow boots?) which sets the obscure tone for the entire movie.  Napoleon is a young version of the oblivious man-child that I love so much, but he seems aware of it on at least some level, and so is perpetually frustrated with himself and his environment.  He copes with being a weirdo by sneaking tater tots into class, drawing fantastical creatures, and dancing it the fuck out.  You know, like normal teenagers do.

8. The Big Lebowski

    The Cohen brothers make many movies, and most of them are good.  This one has an actual totally awesome film noir-type plot so convoluted by its own colorful characters that it's hardly noticeable.  Jeff Bridges is an aging, Californian pot head that doesn't ask for much.  He enjoys bowling, white Russians and rugs that really tie a room together.  He's the victim of circumstances, each one more outlandish than the next.  There's no real reason why the Dude continues to be involved in so many shenanigans, and there in lies the awesome.  The hilarious, traumatized 'Nam vet Walter (John Goodman) and poor, sweet Donnie (Steve Buscemi) are comedic icing on a funny cake.

Plus John Turturro as Jesus.  You don't fuck with the Jesus.

9. The Royal Tenenbaums

     Wes Anderson hasn't made a bad movie yet (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zoussu is my least favorite, but I still like it).  It seems I'm drawn to movies about weirdos, and most of Wes' creations are a little off-center, flawed, but have the best of intentions and that's why I love them.  The Royal Tenebaums is my favorite because it's about a remarkable family that is no longer remarkable.  They've all been heartbroken and/or traumatized in one way or another, and end up under the same roof again, brokenly dealing with the deadbeat Dad/husband that has returned to make amends before he dies (but actually he just needs a place to crash and isn't dying at all and is generally a giant asshole, but he is actually trying to make amends in his own fucked up way so it's ok).  It's a compact film, I guess.  Not too many sets or fast-paced, complex plot twists.  It flows comfortingly through the difficult times, blanketed by the Matriarch's love and concern, while life's complications continue within.  Makes me optimistic about my family, and families in general.  There's also the best epitaph ever: "Died tragically saving his family from the wreckage of a destroyed sinking battleship."

10. Star Trek (2010)

      I know this may seem blasphemous to those faithful to the orginal movies, but I don't give a crap what you turds think (just kidding, please don't stop reading)!  It's smart, funny, action-packed, emotional and for you purists out there, has Lenoard Nemoy in it.  I don't like the original TV show, and I haven't seen all of the movies, but I LOVE Star Trek the Next Generation; Kirk, Spock and McCoy just never interested me like Picard and Riker did (the sexy bastards).  J.J Abrams is an amazing and original filmmaker, and the shiny new cast playing these well-known and beloved characters sucked me right in.  There's something about catching a movie/band/TV show right at the beginning that makes us feel special and included, than simply watching history.

And if you aren't emotional invested and doomed to love this movie after you watch the first 10 minutes, you are a terrible person.  There, I said it.

11 (yeah, there's more than 10 in my top ten list). Amelie

      Most adorable movie ever, filled with quirkiness and romance.  Amelie is a shy introvert that has grand ideas of romance and decides to use her complicated schemes for good (and a little evil) and falls in love with another quiet weirdo.  And it's in French with subtitles, so you feel more smarter when you watch/read it!

12. Nightmare before Xmas

      Tim Burton, clay-mation, singing, nasty monsters, Halloween, Santa being kind of an asshole = awesome.  It's become some kind of counter-culture symbol, popular among goth kids that are all different because they're just like all the other goth kids.  I mostly like it because of the songs and sweet love story.  But a clay-mation skeleton and a Frankenstein's monster-girl are certainly a plus.

13. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

     If I need to explain why this movie is awesome, maybe you shouldn't be reading this blog.  Hmm, perhaps I should have put this as number one so as not to have wasted so much time of your time.  Oh, well.  Ni!

So, there it is.  I left a bunch off because it was only supposed to be 10, and I change my mind a lot.  But I am finally done with this infernal list and shall never mention it again! 

Until I inevitably mention it again....

*Edited on 11/11/12.  This post vexes me.*

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"It Was The Greatest Movie I've Ever Seen in my Life!"

"And you wouldn't believe the celebrities who did cameos: Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson.  Of course they didn't use their real names, but you could tell it was them."

I mentioned in one of these posts several months ago that I was going to try and compile a top 10 movie list.  As someone suffering from a massive infestation of geekteria (there is no cure), this turned out to be way more goddamn complicated than it should have been.  So I gave up.  But now, being the brave and valiant blogger that I am (and also not being able to think of anything else to write about), I shall try again.  Here we go:

Some of the choices for my top 10 movie list were super easy: Star Wars? Check. The Sound of Music? Of course.  Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy? You bet your smelly pirate hooker ass!  But then things started to get difficult.  As you can see from my no brainers, I have a bit of an eclectic palate. I do lean towards comedies, but that is far from the only genre in which I partake.  So, I started asking myself some difficult questions about this seemingly straight forward, quick and easy topic:

1. Should I create some kind of subsection for each genre, and list my top 10 of each of those? 

      Tempting, but I foresee problems:

That would be quite a few movies to list, and some of them would be embarrassingly short (would some lines in Klingon from a Star Trek movie count as a foreign film? If so, can I use it twice?).  What school of genre category should I adhere to? For example, most award shows have Drama, Comedy, Animated, and Short films.  Ok, yeah, that sounds good, you say.  Use those parameters.  Oh, how sweetly naive you are, you stupid, stupid, dummy.

How can we forget about the video store (and by 'video store', I mean 'netflix') categorization matrix?! Action & Adventure, Family & Children, Gay & Lesbian, Special Interest (these are actual Netflix genres...  for serious), Classics, Musicals, Independents, etc.?  That would be just too tedious, and many of the lists would overlap. I mean, isn't 'Musicals' and 'Gay & Lesbian' essentially the same genre anyway? Tee hee hee!  The cheekiness!*
        *the views of the writer of this blog are not necessarily represented by the terrible quality    
         and borderline discriminatory nature of the preceding joke.  But my dead dad would have 
         thought it was fucking hilarious so I just had to leave it in.

The conclusion I came up with was no; multiple lists covering many genres was not going to be fun.  Not fun to read, and, more importantly, not fun to write.

Hurdle #2:  Everything changes, dude (I know it isn't a question, gimme a minute).

        My favorites from childhood or even my teen years are certainly not my favorites now (though some of you may be not believe it based on my current taste in movies).  So here's the question (see, if you were a little more patient, everything would have been fine, Gee Whiz!): Should I look back and try to remember all the movies I loved throughout my life and come up with some kind of rating system based on number of viewings divided by the age I was at the time, assuming, of course, that the younger I was, the more often I would watch a movie out of an innate need for repetition and/or the rapturousness of pretty colors rather than an actual love of the films story arc, character development, cinematography, musical score and/or emotional evocations from the actors?

Sounds complicated.  And also, impossible.

An overall, life-spanning favorite movie list is out (and for obvious reasons, my future favorite movie list is also out.  Unless... I have invented a time machine at some point during my life and my future self comes back to their past, which is currently my present, and gives me a list of future-me's top 10.  IF I did invent such a machine, I think that the perfect moment for future-me to contact present-me would be to show up... right.... NOW!  Nope, I am not responsible for time travel.  Wait ....Thought I heard something that sounded like the space-time continuum being ripped, but alas, it was just my dog farting.  Not me.  My dog).

Hurray, another piece of this ridiculous and unnecessary puzzle has fallen into place! Let's recap:

Decision one: Top 10 list will be all-genre-encompassing and not several smaller lists ranked by genre.  I mean, which one would you even list first? No, no, I'm not going down that road.  No need.  It would totally be Snuff films though, right? Yeah, it would!

Decision two: this top 10 will be a reflection of my current favorites only and not involve time travel in anyway (I know, I'm as crushed as you are).

Alright, imaginary readers, my brain has officially overloaded ("by all medical logic, steam should be shooting out of his ears!").  I'm going to have to karate chop this post in half like the belligerent cinder block that it is and take a break to go gently weep in the corner.  Or, you know, play Farmville or something.

Stayed tuned for Part two.... 
     More shit exactly like this.  Sorry. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

"Oh, shut up! I'm Trying to READ!"

"Oh, reeeeally?! I learned to do that years ago! And what is it you're reading? A bit of Petrarchian verse, is it? A little bit of French drama?"

As a person that, until recently, has never had a gluttonous, insatiable compulsion to self-educate, I have come to the conclusion that my repository of important historical events, artwork, literature and sciences is more hollow and dusty than I would ideally prefer it.  In other words, I don't know shit 'bout nothin'. At least it feels that way to me.

I've already taken some steps to intelligsize myself (one of which is obviously not discontinuing my use of made-up words): I read some books about astrophysics (fancy talk for astronomy), I've gone back to school, I've stopped smashing cans into my forehead for money (and fun!).  

But, since I am trying to develop my writing skills, and you know, fulfill my lifelong dream of become a professional writer, I thought it was time that I began to stuff my brain with writing relevancies instead of random movie quotes, obscure British T.V shows from the 80's factoids, and entire Simpson's episodes.  Seriously, I know SO much Simpson's dialogue, it's both the coolest and the most geekiest thing in the Universe.

I did some googlin' and some yahooin' and some... ask jeevesin', I guess, and found that in 1998 a place called the Modern Library made a list of the 100 best novels in modern literature.  Then they did some kind of readers poll, because it's a 'free country' and everyone's 'entitled to their own opinion'.  Pff! I didn't use that amateur-hour list full of crap!  I used the one complied by professionals, acting professionally. Can you even imagine?!

Anyway, I took a look at this list, and was shocked that I wasn't even aware of most of these titles and authors, let alone the fact that I haven't read them!  Nothing makes you feel stupider than staring a list of 100 of the best books ever written (in English and published after 1900, of course) and not having any idea what's going on.  So guess what?  I'm gonna read 'em.  Yessiree, I am.  

Now, I have read a few, 4 counts as a few, dammit! I really don't remember them though, so I may have to re-read.  I've seen some movies based on a couple of these books, that totally counts, right?  No, it doesn't, you're right.  You're always right and it makes me sick inside!!

I've been wondering how to tackle this list, which is a daunting dilemma since I am obsessed with organization and spreadsheets and stuff.  Yeah, I'm going to make a spreadsheet.  And, also yes, I am ashamed at my spreadsheet geektasticness.  So, do I read 1-100? 100-1? By Author?  There are several authors listed more than once.  

Number one is James Joyce's Ulysses, which I recently got from the library.  I've read about 10-15 pages, and I think it's going to consume massive amounts of brain power in order to get through it.  I'm starting to think I'll go the 100-1 route.  Or just do it randomly by what interests me most.  Whatevs. 

But don't despair, this blog won't turn into my personal English class, with constant book reports and blatant attempts at flattery and gift-giving in order to receive the A+ that will simultaneously validate my existence and leave me desperate for more just like that first hit of sweet, sweet candy (candy being a slang term for crack cocaine, if anyone isn't as street as I).  Awwww, yeah.  


There'll still be weird posts whenever I can think of something weird to post about.  I'll just stick in my two cents about a book when I happen to finish one.  Since I'm a parent, full-time college student, and generally lazy to a point where it couldn't possibly be healthy blogger that is also trying to author some fiction and create my own brand of martial arts (spoonitsu: the ancient art of scooping out someone's eyes with a spoon.  Then probably taunting them until they commit suicide or something.  I don't know, I haven't worked out all the kinks yet), I probably won't burning through these books too fast.  Not literally burning them, in case anyone was worried. Or stupid. 

I won't show you my spreadsheet though.  Some things are private. 

Updated 12/9/12- changed an improper 'to' to a 'too'.  I disgust myself.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DA NA NA NA NA NA, You Say It's Your Birthday...

... It's my Birthday too!

My birthday is in a few days.  I'll be 31 and I feel old.  Remember when you were young and birthdays were so exciting and awesome?! I remember what a huge deal it was to hit the big 1-0, double digits! And it was SO LONG to wait in between birthdays. Now it's like, "What the fuck?  Didn't we just do this?"

I was dreading turning 30, but once it happened, it was no big whoop.  I think the problem is that I feel like I haven't accomplished anything, at least nothing that I feel is significant enough to count.  I have been feeling an increased sense of urgency lately to get a move on and do all the things I want to do.  But I'm not old old yet, and I don't have (or am at least not aware of) any terminal illnesses, so what's my problem?

I've been spending a lot of time reading and thinking about Atheism and Humanism lately, so maybe that's it (I'm a Humanist).  This is the time we have, right now, and there is nothing else.  There is only going to be so many days until my body and mind start to degenerate, and then I'll have to instigate some sort of Anarchist Revolution to compensate for all the missed chances I could have taken in my life.  Who am I kidding? I am not organized enough to pull off something like that.  The pamphlet distribution alone would be a nightmare!  And, I might add, a waste of paper.  I mean, sure, many people will be killed, and life as we know it will be extinguished, but we shouldn't take it out on the trees!

So, I guess I need to start working harder to accomplish my goals, as seemingly impossible as they may be.  Maybe then I'll be able to look back at my life and think, "At least I tried, Dammit," before I hit the send all button on my (non-tree murdering) email with my instructions on toppling the government.  Here's a thought: I bet by the time I'm really old, we'll be able to send emails and stuff straight from a chip implanted in our brains!  And there should also be jet packs.  I've been waiting so long for a fucking jet pack, it's not even funny.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Back to the Grindstone

I've gone back to school, and I got about 10 books for Xmas, so I've been woefully neglecting my blog.  I'm sorry, no-one-who's-reading.  But I have still been writing, and I've actually come up with 2 or 3 ideas for stories that I think have some potential.  At least I haven't abandoned them yet, so that's definitely a step in the right direction.

My first semester back at school was uneventful.  I've decided to get my Bachelor's degree because my Associates wasn't getting me any jobs.  I'm at the community college taking some prerequisites: Statistics, Accounting and Sociology.  All 101's.  All online.   All boring.  Classes are over for now, but Summer starts in two weeks with Biology and Economics.  Then I'll transfer to the University in the Fall.

I don't think I've ever had good study habits.  There have always been subjects that I thought were interesting, so I'd read the textbook, listen to the lectures, and just remember everything.  No notes, no studying for tests, it was easy.  Some classes were so easy they were boring and I didn't bother turning in assignments.

But on the other hand, the classes that I weren't interested in were torturous.  I would read the books and listen to the teachers and not retain any of it.  I'd space out and glaze over, and the entire lesson would be lost.  Was it boring because they were challenging to me, and I didn't want to put in any effort to learn? On the rare occasions when I have been able to focus and put in the time to take notes, and like, re-read them before the tests, and even work on the review questions at the end of the chapter, I've gotten good grades, so I don't think it's due to incompetence.

I do have little patience with my own sluggishness and get frustrated almost immediately when I don't instantly comprehend what my brain is ingesting.  I guess it doesn't really matter whether or not the incomprehension is due to un-interest or un-telligence, but since my quick brain is pretty much the only thing I'm proud of about myself, I'd prefer to think it's the former.

Old habits are hard to break, and I've been struggling with the same problems.  This term, Sociology is so easy that I've blown off some assignments, and my grade is almost un-salvageable.  I think accounting is tedious and redundant, so chapters have to be read and re-read, and I don't allow myself enough time to finish the assignments before they're due.  Incomplete assignments make for low scores.  Math class is, surprisingly, the class I've done the best at this semester.  Math was always my worst subject, and Statistics isn't easy, but at least most of it is done on the fancy calculator.

Do you have or know someone who has excellent study habits?  What's the process, and how did it develop? Parents having good study habits?  School lessons?  It'd be interesting to know how people consistently getting A's do it.

Later, Skaters!

Edited 12/9/12- there was a misplaced contraction