August 31, 2005

The Brothers Grimm

I am sad to say that this movie comes across not like a Terry Gilliam film, but a film made by a director who's a really big fan of his.

All the trademark elements have been included - very dark-humored fantasy, ingenious medieval torture devices (again with accompanying musicians), those super-wide angle lens shots, a few Gilliam regulars in the cast - but the movie meanders like none of his earlier work.

Amongst other problems, instead of following the single most interesting thread (There is an evil, centuries-old Bathory-like witch Queen in the Dark Tower who is stealing the village's children to restore her youth), the movie gets distracted and bogged down by the multiple references to other Grimm stories. You know those references will be there, and you want them, but they should be woven into the story, not competing with it. Monica Belucci is perfectly cast as the Queen, and deserves more time as the primary antagonist. I would have liked less or no werewolf, no gingerbread man, no evil horse, and more Mirror Queen.

And I won't say the movie isn't interested in the "Magic Beans" tension between the brothers, which should be the solid underpinning of the whole affair - but the scenes dealing with it were as clumsily staged as much of the slapstick.

(I should also mention that the part where Belluci is assaulted in an underground tunnel and brutally, anally raped in an unbroken nine-minute shot seemed, well, a little over the top. Oh wait - that's another film, sorry, my bad.)

Peter Stormare ONCE AGAIN provides the highlight performance of a fantasy movie. Was he overdoing it? Maybe, but on the strength of his Cavaldi he should be invited into Gilliam's regular ensemble, and in fact everyone's regular ensemble. Matt Damon, Lord love him, might be slightly out of place in this movie, but as always he is doing everything he can to be at the service of the story. Heath Ledger, though, seems as if he is in a totally different film. It feels as if he was not a big fan of Python or Gilliam but did a quick study beforehand to get the mannerisms. He seems just as pasted in as the unfortunate CG werewolf.

But the trees are moving, the trees are moving, don't you see that the TREES are moving. Yes. I saw them. And saw them and saw them. The movie is over-enamored of its malevolent moving trees. I got the point long after Gilliam kept showing them to us.

It pains me to say it, but all that is left for this film is the inevitable book or documentary dissecting its making, from what has become the What Went Wrong With This Gilliam Film cottage industry. I'm afraid he has only himself to blame for this one.

Oh well- there's always "Tideland." I'll be there opening day for that one too.

Posted by Chris on 08/31/05

Being a fan of this sort of film, I was really excited to see it and hoped to be delighted. I've yet to see it, as yet, and after this review I think I'll wait for the DVD. Glad to hear Damon pulled his weight, however. What a different road the boys from Good Will Hunting took...

Posted by: Foley at September 1, 2005 9:59 AM

August 30, 2005

Retail ends

I was in a Barnes and Noble this weekend and witnessed the kid behind the DVD / music counter being given holy hell by someone trying to return a CD. The kid was asking all the usual questions, the ones they have to ask, but the customer had detected an accusation of deliberate sabotage, and was livid. The manager had been called.

The customer, a pure creep, was already raising his voice to the kid when I walked in, already asking HOW DARE HE and WHERE DID HE GET OFF. And then I believe he called the kid an asshole. Which in my mind made it seem all the more likely that he HAD somehow screwed his CD up.

Well, the kid held out a bit more under the abuse and then, oops, he told the creep to fuck off. Amusingly, he did so in the same calm, professional tone of voice he'd used when assuring the man he was not accusing him of anything, but the payload had been dropped.

But it really wasn't amusing at all. I felt bad for the kid before and after he unfortunately let the F-bomb fly. Occasionally I'll see this same scene play out and I just want to help the poor guy or gal behind the counter in some way. I want to step up and tell the customer off, I want to insist to the manager that I saw the whole thing and the customer's a jerk, I want to deck the creep, I want to be the hero of someone going through exactly what I occasionally went through.

Mainly I wanted to assure the kid that one day he'll look back on this as just a crappy job he had when he was young, and don't sweat it. One day you do get out of retail. And although there will be creeps at every level of your professional life, in my experience none of them have the vitality of the little red-faced Ayatollahs that lurk around bookstores and movie theatres and restaurants, ready to sputter and foam over some imagined infraction, delighted to find a kid to unload on.

But it always seems like really any rescue attempt is just going to make things worse. The scene unfolds like cruel Nature itself taking its course, and I don't dare interfere for the same reason I wouldn't stop a cat from killing a mouse; even if I knew that the cat was an asshole.

Also: there is always the hideous possibility that I'd step in only to find out that I possess an additional superpower beyond clouding men's minds, the ability to Make Something Bad Much Worse.

I lingered to see how it would turn out. Finally the manager arrived and sent the kid to do some inventory task, maybe to be fired later. Then he proceeded to give the cretin something for free, when what he should have been given was a three-month sentence waiting on people like himself.

Posted by Chris on 08/30/05

Ah, I waited all day for my fix and alas you post and you do not disappoint! A new photo and a long goodie! Remind me to tell you this weekend some of my best retial adventures....

Posted by: Vickery at August 30, 2005 4:58 PM

I did step in once, to this woman in line @ a bank teller (TCF mind remember TCF's don't your Chris? Perhaps not, you may have banked somewhere human, and humane.) This woman was bitching about something and the teller was just standing there taking it. I told the woman to "Just shut up already." She turned to me and said, "Do you mind? This is my life." I replied, "Yeah, well the rest of us have to hear it." That was the end of it, but I looked @ the long line behind me, and they had satisfied grins on their faces. The woman did not nag the teller for the rest of her transaction. Yeah! I felt great for the rest of the day.

Posted by: klugula at August 30, 2005 6:31 PM

My God! You would have been my hero if I saw that. I'm not surprised at all that you did it!

Posted by: Chris at August 30, 2005 10:28 PM

A nice thing to do, after Mr Asshole leaves, is to approach the manager and let him/her know what you saw to defend the bookseller. But... after he dropped the F-Bomb, it's kinda hard to stand up for him.

I had someone nice do that for me once when I was working at Borders. Someone was really going after me about not having a particular book in stock. I did everything i could to help. But this asshole just wasn't going to be happy with anything. Manager was called, discount was given, asshole left, blah blah blah... And another customer who was patiently waiting went directly to the manager and said that I should be rewarded for having to deal with such a difficult person and for keeping my cool the whole time. She didn't have to do that. I know that there was nothing else I could do. But still... that was really nice. And I still remember what she looks like.

I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for retail folks just working to get that paycheck. I did it for quite a long time. It ain't easy.

Oh... and here's a note to all you assholes out there... telling that book store clerk that you're never going to shop there again only makes them happy that they're never going to have to see your stupid-ass face ever again. They still get paid.

Posted by: Big Fat Brian at August 31, 2005 6:35 AM

Y'know, sometimes in life, some people need to be told to f-off. I say bravo to the clerk who did just that. Let's face it, he's a kid, he's not doing this for the rest of his life, he's going to have a profession some day where he can't tell people to f-off anymore, I say take your moral victory while you can. Trust me, if I didn't need my paychecks, health benefits, etc, there's LOTS of people I'd LOVE to drop an f-bomb on.

Posted by: Foley at August 31, 2005 9:33 AM

Don't get me wrong. I completely agree that some folks need to be told to f-off.

Word of advice though... If you're gonna do it, make it count! Don't mutter it under your breath. Stand on the counter and scream it at that asshole customer if it's well-deserved. It feels better. Then they'll all think you're crazy and they'll leave you alone.

Since when are we not allowed to say "fuck" in Chris' journal?

Fuck. Fuck. Fucketty-Fuckfuck.

There. I said it. And I made it count.

Posted by: Big Fat Brian at August 31, 2005 10:36 AM


Posted by: Chris at August 31, 2005 3:13 PM

August 29, 2005

Another innovation I'd like to see

I like to think of myself as a sort of Friend of the Court, but for technological innovations. I don't know what the title would be for someone who writes independent, unsolicited tech Amicus Briefs for the world of business, but if you know what it is let me know, because that's what I am. I hope it's a strange term like "ombudsman," or perhaps something in Latin.

Anyway, today's open-source innovation is that I need someone to do something about this tangled cord I have around my cell phone, STAT.

Because I'm a hands-free kind of guy, because I hate to walk around holding a metal thing to my face while screaming into it, I always use the earbud / microphone attachment when I'm gabbin' on the cell phone, sold separately at fine cellular stores near you. But then this thing is always a hassle to get untangled, and I'm pulling not only my cell phone out of my pocket but whatever keys and doodads are in there that got caught in the cord.

I am not ready for the Uhura from Star Trek thingy that just hangs out of my ear. In fact, I'm still at the stage of holding the microphone closer to my mouth when I speak. Sometimes at moments of poor reception, like, always, I'll actually compulsively point the phone in different directions to try to get a better fix on the bird, as if that does a goddam thing.

So I need a phone where the earbud / microphone piece pulls out of the phone, and then retracts back in when I am done. Much as one might pull out a tape measure or a set of keys on a line.

Posted by Chris on 08/29/05

I like your ideas. I'll expect a prototype on my desk in the morning.

Now... to take over your blog entirely... I have an innovation of my own that I'd like to see that I will share.

One would think that from the thousands of times that I've used my particular ATM card, and from the incredible amounts of information that can be stored on that little black stripe on the back that there could be one little extra 0 or 1 indicating that I am NEVER going to want to transact my business in any other language than English. In fact, if I ever choose Spanish, it's probably not me choosing that option. And I'd like you to keep the card at that point and not return it to the supposed "me" that is operating your machine.

Thank you

Posted by: Big Fat Brian at August 30, 2005 6:44 AM

I agree with you, but someone, somewhere, with an ACLU ankle bracelet, will say that this is a kind of profiling.

Posted by: friend jessica at August 30, 2005 7:39 AM

Now hold up. I am planning on taking Spanish classes soon, so I can prepare for my second visit to Puerto Rico. What if I actually do learn the language, and want to shake things up a bit when I withdraw cash? Huh? Let's not jump the gun here.

Posted by: KLUGULA at August 30, 2005 8:17 AM

To Chris. We have the Uhura thing. It is nice and convenient. And when we first got it, I called Elwood and told him, "We are being hailed." If that is not a reason to get it, then nothing is.

Posted by: klugula at August 30, 2005 8:19 AM

"Uhura" ?

I'm sorry. I speak neither Gay-Geek, NOR Spanish.



Posted by: Big Fat Brian at August 30, 2005 9:35 AM

This reminds me of that bit of dialogue between Vincent and Jules in "Pulp Fiction," where Jules is talking about the pilot Mia did.

What's a pilot?

Well, you know the shows on TV?

I don't watch TV.

Yes, but you're aware that there's an invention called television, and on that invention they show shows?

I know you're not a big sci-fi fan, but you're saying that in 2005 you're not even peripherally aware who "Uhura" is on that old show? I mean, even with the image of a phone-thing hanging out of someone's ear, no distant bells going off? Never saw any SNL parodies? Nothin'? OK, just checkin'.

I'm not saying it's not possible!

And I like the idea of that extra "1" telling the ATM what my language preference is. Make it so.

(Oops - you won't get that reference)

Posted by: Chris at August 30, 2005 10:58 AM

I'll confess... I know who Uhura is. Although, I wouldn't have known how to spell her name.

I just wanted to make a Gay/Geek reference. You sniffed me out.

And I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!

Posted by: Big Fat Brian at August 30, 2005 11:13 AM

So what is the Latin title we'd give to people like ourselves who offer up these freebies to business? Amicus Technicas?

Posted by: Chris at August 30, 2005 11:17 AM

Poor person.

Posted by: Rich at August 30, 2005 11:51 AM

Poor person or Poorus Personae.

Posted by: Rich at August 30, 2005 11:53 AM

August 26, 2005

I just can't let this "Irreversible" thing go from two years ago

I still can't get over people even giving it the time of day. And when I saw that Roger Ebert was slamming a new hyper-violent murder n' rape film called "Chaos" after giving "Irreversible" a good review, I had to write him:

Roger –

If only the "Chaos" filmmakers had chosen to tell their story chronologically backwards, then it could have been a three-star tale of morality - at least at a structural level. Too bad!

It also would have helped if their film was French, but we can't all be cinematically unassailable.

In fact! "Unassailable" would be a good title for a new, backwards, French-dubbed re-release of "Chaos," should Bernheim and DeFalco choose to do so. It could open up a whole new market for them on the art-house circuit. Just a freebie I’m throwing out there for them.

Posted by Chris on 08/26/05


Given ROG the beat down. SNAP.

Posted by: friend jessica at August 26, 2005 1:38 PM

I guess what I'm saying to Roger is, STEP OFF.

Posted by: Chris at August 26, 2005 2:19 PM

August 25, 2005

Hustle and Flow

This movie spoke to me on a deep level, illustrating something I have said again and again within these very virtual pages - people, it's hard out here for a pimp. When you're trying to make the money for the rent.

And who amongst us, with the cadillac and gas money spent, hasn't noticed a whole lot of bitches jumpin' ship?

This is an excellent film, and I was honestly, intensely interested in the story of a Memphis pimp struggling to make a rap demo. It's a world that could hardly be farther away from my own experience, but I was riveted the whole time. The characters were solid, flawed, and earnest. Much credit is due Terrence Howard in the lead and writer / director Craig Brewer. We're hearing tons of accolades about Howard right now, and don't be one of those people that can't see this because everyone loves it. He deserves the compliments.

Would you believe me if I said it has one of the best movie kisses in recent memory? The next time the Academy does a montage of romantic moments for the Oscars, this one better be there. And you'd think casting D.J. Qualls as the sound engineer would be only to cash in on the joke of a skinny white kid that knows the rap world. Yep, that joke is there, and then they get right past it and he's a real character.

I had a bit of an issue with the end, though it wasn't a killer for me. Warning - SPOILERS AHEAD. Despite the fact that DJay lived in a rough world, I felt the violence at the end was out of place. I felt if they were going to bring it in, it needed to make the story completely tragic. In other words, if DJay could not rise above his pimp world at the end, then I wanted him to fail completely.

What I would have preferred would have been him realizing that Skinny Black had betrayed him, but then rise above it to realize it wasn't going to stop him. He didn't need Skinny to make it. I wanted him to smack Skinny around, yes, but then I wanted him to walk away, maybe give up a bit, and then cut right to Nola turning it around by getting his track airplay. This movie takes the easy way out at the end that another rap-to-riches story, "8 Mile," did not.

Posted by Chris on 08/25/05

Haven't seen the movie, because you know I don't care for 'different' cultures, but I just wanted to drop in and say: 'hey fella, what's life bringin' to your table these days?'

Posted by: friend jessica at August 26, 2005 8:42 AM

August 24, 2005

Custom Names for Various Rock Climbing Routes

My confidence with the rock climbing thing does not grow, it comes and goes in waves. Last week I was up, which meant I was boldly leaping to new heights, balancing without fear, clinging to tiny plastic outcroppings with confidence. This week I am breaking out into a sweat and muttering unseemly curses all the way up the wall.

Each climb, or route, has a name given to it by the person who plotted it out, and a rating. Like "All The Way," 5.8. Or "Touch the Ceiling," 5.9. Yesterday from the depths of my cravenness I came up with several new names for some of these routes.

It Looked Easier From Down There

The Emasculator

Ol' Sweaty Palms

Squirrels Couldn't Climb This

That's OK, You Tried

Dear Abby*

You'll Feel Good About This One Until You Hear It's Considered the Kids' Wall

Which Foothold Is Loose?

Pure Bullshit

HandHolds For Lemurs

* So named because of the unsolicited advice I receive from those around me when I attempt it.

Posted by Chris on 08/24/05

I feel exactly the same way when i lift weights - some days, bring it on! and some days a kitten to kick my ass. Must be some how linked to my cheese intake... hum.

Posted by: Vickery at August 25, 2005 12:07 PM

The "name" of the trail that I would take would not be a name, but a sound. It would be just some sort of horrible, mocking laughter as soon as I stepped on the first "stone". Either that, or a gasping sound like I am stealing away precious oxygen by thrusting my immense bulk upon it.

Posted by: klugula at August 25, 2005 2:29 PM

Open Source freebie - because I'm a friend to business

Note to Entourage on the Mac:

How about you somehow sync up behind the scenes with the Post Office, so I can press one button and you'll print out a postage-paid mailing label?

It doesn't have to be an adhesive label, but if it's not, I'll also need this feature to locate where the Scotch Tape was last put in my house.

Posted by Chris on 08/24/05

Holy shit, you're funny. And I get to be married to you!

Posted by: Wife Ami at August 25, 2005 10:19 PM

I think he's funny, and I am not married to him. What does this make me? How do I fit in?

Posted by: klugula at August 29, 2005 1:20 PM

August 23, 2005

New Rules

Bill Maher on Intelligent Design:

And the reason there is no real debate, is that intelligent design isn't real science. It's the equivalent of saying that the thermos keeps hot things hot and cold things cold, because it's a god. It's so willfully ignorant you might as well worship the U.S. Mail. It came again! Praise, Jesus!

Posted by Chris on 08/23/05

Chivalry Circuit Misfire

There are people I know with whom the simple act of walking together down the street is a chore.

Instead of being able to just walk along with me, talking, interacting, but still walking somewhere, these folks engage in a sort of Lockstep Mode, slaving their movements to mine. It's like they're trying to stay in formation, but their rudder is stuck.

The general effect is that I am the one "driving" the walk all the time. OK, but this is also for those times when I don't know where we're going. I'm not kidding.

It's still workable, but the big issues arise when we come to a doorway or a turn on their side. If I don't jump out ahead of them and sort of forcibly steer - or to be more precise, herd - them in, then we're going to be making a very sharp, belated turn.

Put bluntly, what it comes down to is a problem walking and talking at the same time.

There is also much awkwardness around doorways. These people, you see, cannot under any circumstances go in first. They would explode if they did that. They seem to be afflicted with some reverse Dracula curse, where instead of having to be invited into a home, they must always invite YOU into a home. They must "offer" the doorway to you while holding it open, because that is Polite, even if you got there first, even if you're already "offering" the entrance to them, even if other parties are right behind you and waiting. The potential pleasant, gentlemanly effect is always nullified by the interminable seconds of everyone shuffling around, getting out of the way of this one person who just won't go in for the love of Jesus.

As you might imagine, intersections with street lights require much direction and pointing and herding on my part, and if at all possible I just try to avoid them.

I attribute it to a misfire of the Chivalry Circuit in their head. They mean well, but it's all very tiresome.

Posted by Chris on 08/23/05

Noted, for the next time I see you. Chivalry is dead. But I sure don't want to hear a peep when I shove past you to get indoors first. Then there will be a problem.

Posted by: klugula at August 24, 2005 2:06 PM

No, no, let me get that for you! No, I insist, please go ahead! No, really I insist! Please! I INSIST!


Posted by: Chris at August 24, 2005 5:12 PM

I always insist on other people going in first. That way the take the brunt of the attack.

Posted by: Rich at August 30, 2005 11:58 AM

August 22, 2005

Broken Flowers

One of the aspects of "indy" films that I sometimes enjoy, even if it takes a few scenes to get into, is that the pacing is not beholden to what you usually see in movies. In mainstream films there is a very standard sort of timing that is used in different genres - comedies let their jokes and payoffs build up in the same way, horror films often telegraph their scares, etc. In most films you can tell when it's about the time for the hero and the girl to stop with the misunderstandings and start gettin' it on.

It's not the same with some indy filmmakers. Some, like Jim Jarmusch, tell their story with a completely different pace. But it's not always a good thing.

In "Broken Flowers" we go along on a journey with the main character, quite literally. Bill Murray flies across the country visiting ex-girlfriends, and an enormous amount of screen time is spent with him in the car, glancing at MapQuest printouts, driving down back roads, coming out of airports, sitting alone in his living room, sitting uncomfortably in coach, lather, rinse, repeat.

Why? I don't know. I don't need dialogue and action in every scene. I think to observe a moment of silence with a character can be a good thing. But "Broken Flowers" is a festival of such moments. It's a celebration of the interstitial.

This is what fans of this kind of filmmaking call "deliberate" pacing. You could make an argument for minimalism, but in this movie it is more like literalism. The main character has to travel to see his old girlfriends, so we see him traveling, and traveling, and traveling. It is not quite the screensaver movie that Gus Van Sant's "Elephant" was; I really enjoyed the interaction between the characters, when it came, and a FEW of the finely observed moments with Bill Murray alone. But feel free to visit the concession stand and the bathroom during this film as needed.

Posted by Chris on 08/22/05

I'm going to go visit the bathroom right now...

Posted by: Ben Jammin at August 23, 2005 6:29 AM

Godspeed, sir.

Posted by: Chris at August 23, 2005 7:33 AM

August 18, 2005

What first crossed my mind when I saw the van advertising a "Babyproof Your Home" service

I pictured a group of guys in exterminator outfits in the van, sprayers in their hands connected by hoses to tanks on their backs. They must be on their way to a job, I imagined.

When they get there, they'll first spray the lawn to make sure babies don't infest the place, and then they'll go in the house and make sure to get in the corners and up in the duct-work, ESPECIALLY the duct-work, because once those babies get a foothold up in there there's no getting them out.

I see them with the owner going over how to put up plastic sheeting around the window sill, sealing it with duct tape in the case of a particularly bad baby problem. In cases like this they'd advise the installation of a knee-high fence around the property so babies can't get in and start toddling all over the place, trying to roll over on their backs but not yet able to, always with that cute gurgling and cooing, and that wonderful baby smell.

"Yeah, you got to be careful and not leave any food out," one of them says to the lady of the house, who was the one who finally made the call because her husband never got around to it. "Once they find something sweet there'll be a line of babies right under the foundation."

She nods, a bit angry because she is the neat one and always makes sure to carefully put the lids back on the jars of strained carrots when she is done, unlike OTHER people in this house she could name.

"'Specially don't leave any o' them black-and-red toys out, the ones that make 'em smarter," another Babyproofer chimes in. "Last thing you need, is 'em gettin' smarter."

Then I imagine Tippi Hedron sitting on a bench, and slowly, in a classic example of cinematic suspense, the playpen behind her ominously fills up with... babies. You could not Babyproof enough against that nightmare swarm.

Later in a horrific scene Jessica Tandy will find a man dead in his house, but instead of his eyes having been pecked out, he's covered with spit-up and talcum powder.

Even though these Babyproofers are earning an honest day's wage, there's a dark side to it. According to Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, "Willful barrenness," or, purposefully avoiding parenting, is "a moral rebellion with a new face:"

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Joe and Deb Schum of Atlanta aren't worried about baby proofing their house or buying a car seat. As a matter of fact, the couple doesn't ever intend to have children, and they are proud of their childlessness.

Proud of it! Albert goes on to note that the Godless Schums

just don't want kids to get in the way of their lifestyle. They enjoy cruising to the Georgia mountains on their matching Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They love their gourmet kitchen, outfitted with the very latest stainless steel appliances and trendy countertops. Deb Schum explains, "If we had kids, we would need a table where the kids could do homework." Clearly, children aren't a part of their interior design plan.

Ouch! Albert has also found that for other trendy yet morally bankrupt couples such as this,

the bottom line is simply financial. One woman asked: "What would the return be on the investment? Are there any laws that would require my children to pay for my nursing home when I am old? Are they going to be a sufficient hedge against poverty and loneliness?" A return on investment?

Albert has seen right into the greedy heartlessness of my own family. What can I say? We ran the numbers and it just didn't look like kids were going to pay off. Not when we had all those ACLU meetings to go to on our shiny matching Harleys.

To the debate on 'deliberate childlessness,' Al adds that

Christians must recognize that this rebellion against parenthood represents nothing less than an absolute revolt against God's design."

What a shock, that someone from the fundamentalist camp would consider himself under seige from the godless heathens. The armies of the childless are on all sides, pressing in to destroy the faithful! Be strong, good sir Albert - soon the Rapture will be here and you'll be gone from all this! While all the yuppies are... Left Behind.

Thanks to FattyFat for the link.

Posted by Chris on 08/18/05

So please let me get this straight - I have been married nealy 10 years and we are childless by choice. Yet, my counter tops are bottom of the line and I am afraid of motorcycles. According to Albert's math, just how deep into hell I am going? Should I bring a snack?

Posted by: Vickery at August 19, 2005 10:43 AM

Your freedom of choice probably does seem like a moral rebellion to those who'd prefer to make the choice for you. I wonder what other democratic elements also go against the "master plan".

Posted by: simon at August 20, 2005 2:57 PM

August 17, 2005

What I Imagine the Apartment of the Girl Who Climbs Up The Hardest Walls And Across the Ceiling of Rockreation Without the Slightest Hesitation Looks Like

Spidergirl's apartment looks just like ours except that the cabinets, her clothes, her books about climbing, her T.V. and all her things are not just on the ground but also on the ceiling and every wall, fastened there with hooks and bungees. When she arrives home I imagine that she clips into a caribiner and swings over to the wall, where she then climbs up to the ceiling and sorts through the mail. She might then climb up the big central boulder that serves as her kitchen area, to get to her Power Bars and rice cakes.

Of course hand- and footholds would be on every surface, some there as shelves but some there to help her get to the bathroom which is ten feet up one wall. I'm guessing she may sleep secured in a net of ropes on one wall, and probably her microwave is suspended from the ceiling.

I don't think she even knows what "upside-down" is anymore.

She started out in my mind as Catwoman, and then Batgirl, but at some point, maybe when I realized that she and her partner never really spoke a word but went right up the walls almost without breaking stride, it got a little TOO much and she became Spidergirl; not totally in the sense of a buxom super-heroine, also in the sense of someone who has become slightly insectile in my view. The way she crawls up the wall and then across the ceiling, then descends almost without brakes on her line, put me in mind of someone that might exude webbing from some part of their body.

Posted by Chris on 08/17/05

Now, is this the classic red and yellow Spider-Woman from the seventies or the updated black and white Spider-Woman from the eighties. My I really this big of a nerd?

Posted by: S. William Foley at August 17, 2005 4:35 PM

Pomade Truisms

There is that certain extra amount of pomade that will take you over the line between looking kempt and looking unwashed and greasy.

This amount changes during the life of your haircut, as more pomade is naturally needed to tame the mane.

Combine this unfortunate extra amount of pomade with unshavenness and unironedness, as I have today, and let's just say that you are no longer, as they say in the business world, Client Ready.

Posted by Chris on 08/17/05

Are you a Dapper Dan man?

Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at August 17, 2005 11:15 AM

I am, and if you have any spare hairnets in yon bureau I'd be obliged, thank ya kindly.

Posted by: Chris at August 17, 2005 12:15 PM

That is why I live in Phoenix - more good hair days then anywhere else in the continental US! Life is hard enough with out adding my BIG hair - each level of increased volume is directly linking to a decrease in my credibility.

Posted by: Vickery at August 19, 2005 10:41 AM

August 16, 2005

Voices I can do

  1. James Mason. I cannot do impressions unless they come to me spontaneously, and this one came to me all at once, unbidden one day, and I could not have been happier. Suddenly I had an impression! I could make James Mason say anything, and the funnier if it was something that he would never have said, like "I'm just keepin' it real, holmes."

    The problem was, James Mason had come to friend Rich at the exact same time, and he was not only about 70% better at the voice, he was about 150% better at inventing things for James Mason to say. For a while when I saw Rich we would speak together as Mason, but after awhile he outpaced me to such a degree that I just tacitly acknowledged that I'd only be Masoning in his absence. This is the real reason I moved away from Chicago. It was a West Coast Mason vs. Midwest Mason thing.

    The origin of the James Mason voice: we were going down into an underground parking lot, and since it felt like we were going down forever, one of us mentioned that it was like going to the center of the earth. From that one moment a whole complex routine of how Mason was in love with co-star Pat Boone sprang forth.

  2. The Emperor. No surprise that I'd be able to imitate one of the Star Wars characters. Probably the easiest to imitate, and also a lot of fun to say things completely not in the millieu.

    I don't know when I ever "practice" these impressions; I think I just open my mouth one day and it comes out.

  3. Khan, as in "Wrath of." How could I not, I've probably seen that movie one thousand times. Not really a good impression, just a lot of inflection and melodrama. I really only do it for friend Anna, the only person that finds it amusing.

  4. Sydney Greenstreet, but only his lines from "Maltese Falcon."

  5. Carol Channing. Don't ask how this bit of comedy magic came about, which amuses exactly one other person than me. (Something which you can see is a theme with these voices). Not really an impression, since I don't think I've ever seen Carol Channing actually in anything.

Voices I'd like to be able to do:

  1. Connery, like everyone. I can do exactly two words. When an old Bond film comes on I find myself unconsciously repeating his lines back to the screen, practicing for that day when something clicks in my head.

  2. Walken. Oh God to have a Walken impression. I sincerely yearn for one. I'm not sure I'd ever leave the house if I could do this. You'd never hear my real voice again.

    How to even work on it? How does ANYONE study for an impression? Would you watch Walken himself, or Kevin Spacey? Or Jay Mohr, or Kevin Pollak?

    Posted by Chris on 08/16/05

    I can do exactly Zero voices - your blog is a very bright spot in my day!

    Posted by: Vickery at August 17, 2005 9:08 AM

    I do a pretty good Napoleon D. A can also do a pretty good "pedophile old man w/ walker" from Family Guy. My Chris Griffin is ok too. But only specific lines. I have not yet mastered conversation w/ these voices.
    That's it. And it's all pretty current. That kinda sucks!
    A friend of mine does an excellent George C. Scott from Exorcist III. You want comedy, there you go. "It is not in the file!" It's Roachy. Ask him to do it if you see him.

    Posted by: klugula at August 17, 2005 1:36 PM

    I just tried to type in Napoleon w/ the entire last name, not just D., and it would not let me. Is that some type of terrorist alert or something? That is wacky!

    Posted by: klugula at August 17, 2005 1:44 PM

When America Was On Its Knees (Again)... man gave them hope:


As Francis Ouimet. In...


He's restoring America's spirit through... um... (checking something) it's GOLF this time! Yay golf!

Posted by Chris on 08/16/05

Hey! Don't knock golf. It's about time they made some "sport" films for the geriatric crowd.

Posted by: simon at August 17, 2005 12:25 PM

August 15, 2005

Four things for the Vault

Here are some things I'm ready to put away:

1. Jokes about how old the Rolling Stones are. This joke can be stored in the Vault right next to the band itself.

2. Jokes about how old Harrison Ford is, usually triggered by talk of the Indiana Jones sequel.

3. "The Boys Are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy. Move over, Elton.

4. "Radar Love" by anyone that chooses to cover it, and the list is surprisingly huge.

Posted by Chris on 08/15/05

Looks like the Germans really dig Radar Love. And why not?

However, in my opinion, "Twilight Zone" is a fifty times better song.

Posted by: friend jessica at August 15, 2005 12:17 PM

You know what, they are kinda old...

Posted by: klugula at August 15, 2005 12:53 PM

I think that anyone that gives us a "Sympathy for the Devil" or a "Paint it Black" has earned the right to play for as long as they want.

Posted by: S. William Foley at August 16, 2005 6:50 AM

Oh, they can play as long as they want - IN THE SOUND-PROOF VAULT. They can jam with Peter Frampton in there all day long. I just need a break.

Posted by: Chris at August 16, 2005 11:15 AM


The difference in my reaction to this film versus its predecessor "In the Mood for Love" is that during "2046" I was detached enough to make mental notes on how you would make a parody of Wong Kar Wai: no establishing shots, a hotel with very very narrow corridors, extremely small rooms, lots of thoughtful cigarette smoking, and the occasional bowl of noodles. Very disjointed. Outside there is the one rainy street. Occasionally a beautiful woman will let a single tear spill down.

It's a gorgeous movie, but it feels like an expanded coda to "In the Mood for Love" rather than its own distinct story. I'm still very interested in Chow, (maybe because Tony Leung is one charming MF) but the line of women he's with in this film feel like an afterthought to the great missed love of his life from the last film. Perhaps that's the whole point of "2046" - that he's trying to find Su again, and Ziyi Zhang, Gong Li, and Faye Wong are just substitutes. That's fine, but without Maggie Cheung it makes this film dependent on the other.

The previous film was disjointed but the throughline was unmistakable. "2046" lacks that strong throughline mainly - and I wince to write this - because of the extended Ziyi section. It should probably have been jettisoned in favor of fleshing out the more interesting relationship and story-collaboration with Faye Wong. It is only with her that Chow is ready to move past the memory of room 2046, by starting its sequel, 2047. But overall the movie itself is not ready to move on.

The three brief glimpses of Maggie Cheung in the movie make it seem less like a choice and more like the fact that the actress may not have wanted to spend years on a mysterious, meandering movie production. Again, I wince to write it, but maybe she should have been left out altogether as well.

I still count this as a strong, beautiful movie, and if any element of the promotion - the actors, the images, the ideas - are even halfway intriguing to you, start with "In the Mood for Love." It has a lot to do, I'm finding, with who introduced you to the movie, and how.

Posted by Chris on 08/15/05

Very insightful review, C. I just swam in the images, myself. That train!

Posted by: Jennifer at August 18, 2005 2:40 PM

August 12, 2005

More fun with radio

Not to pick on the world of radio, but what must it have been like for that first D.J. that stumbled onto the awesome power of combining the ECHO CHAMBER and the BASSO VOICE filters on air? What a day that must have been. Suddenly listeners everywhere must have wanted to go down to that car dealership sponsor 36% more. The sheer power! No wonder we have an FCC to regulate these things.

It's also amazing to me how the concept of a "song intro" is completely trampled on the radio. Like some people, I enjoy "songs," and consider a musical intro a part of the "song." If I have queued up "Castles Made of Sand" on my iPod, for instance, it doesn't just get interesting the moment I hear Jimi's voice - amazingly, I actually think there's something to the "guitar playing" that leads into the vocal, too.

But for a DJ, that's the space where you slip in those last, vital, bullshit babblings that make up your job. Like telling us which concerts we can't go to because they sold out in one minute.

I used to think this "hitting the post" was my top radio peeve, but now it's been replaced by another misuse of the intro - when a station will string together about six or seven famous intros as a part of their interstitial station promo. Oh great, they're playing Zeppelin's "Kashmir," I love that song - oh no, it's "Sargeant Pepper," well OK, that's cool too, oh no, this is "Heart of Glass." It's a little like having the rug pulled out from under you.

I'm just counting the days until XM makes it all obsolete.

Posted by Chris on 08/12/05

It used to piss me off more when I was a kid and I was trying to record my favorite songs off the radio by sitting my casette recorder/player as close to the speaker as possible will reminding everyone in the house that they had to be QUIET because I was RECORDING in the other room.

Then... those stupid DJs would just keep talking and talking until the lyrics started. I wished that I could tell them to be quiet too. Not that the recording was very good in the first place, but the talking was just too much for me to handle.

Posted by: Big Fat Brian at August 15, 2005 8:29 AM

All of my first soundtrack tapes were recorded in the same style! I could never get my dad to stop rustling the newspaper during a SESSION.

Posted by: Chris at August 15, 2005 8:33 AM

God I love brian so much. I LOVE YOU. The thought of you with a tape recorder taping your favorite songs just makes me want to cuddle you right now.


Oh, Chris, you're cute too.

Posted by: friend jessica at August 15, 2005 9:42 AM

hang the dj hang the dj hang the dj
hang the dj

Posted by: Morrissey at August 15, 2005 12:26 PM

That is all so scary. I used to do the same things. The stupid thing is that I usually already had the tape, but wanted to hear the stupid crap the DJ would say, especially if it was about Madonna. Would it be nice, or not so nice? Be quiet, Into the Groove is coming on the radio in the next hour or two! I am recording!

Posted by: klugula at August 15, 2005 12:57 PM

Even sadder than this! I had a couple of movies I wanted to "watch" or rather listen to, on my many road trips to and from college; a 10 hour drive one way. So I recorded them onto a tape. You think having your family be quiet for one song was hard? Try a whole movie w/ the recorder right up against the tv speaker. F***ing amazing sound too. You want the titles of the two movies I recorded? Haven't I been embarassed enough by what I have already admitted?

Posted by: klugula at August 15, 2005 1:00 PM

it sounds like to me that as a college kid you basically invented radio drama all on your own - pretty impressive! So what were the two titles?

Posted by: Chris at August 15, 2005 1:51 PM

LET US GUESS!!! That will be fun!

My guesses...

#1 Thruth or Dare
#2 Grease


Posted by: Big Fat Brian at August 16, 2005 6:15 AM

Hey Klugster, I was all about that. I have cassette tapes FILLED with my favorite scenes from Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, L.A. Story and my favorite: MST3K lines.

I basically invented the clever soundbyte insertion into mix tapes.

Not to toot my own horn or anything.

Posted by: friend jessica at August 16, 2005 6:51 AM

I used take a song and sing the back up part. Then I would sing the song and play back the back up and record both. It worked well with 50s songs that didn't need the music. I made a three track. It always sounded like crap, not because the sound quality, but because I couldn't sing worth a lick. I guess I invented a type of karaoke.

Posted by: Rich at August 16, 2005 1:35 PM

I will let it out.
Day of the Dead...and. I am scared to admit it.
Big Business. That's right.

Posted by: klugula at August 17, 2005 1:31 PM

It's interesting that one of the films was fairly action-oriented, one that wouldn't (I'd think) lend itself to audio-only. What must the people that pulled up next to you have thought, when the groans of the undead and screams of their victims were coming out of your windows?

Posted by: Chris at August 17, 2005 1:36 PM

First off, my drive to and from college took me across the barren landscape of North Dakota. There were no people there. Second, Day of the Dead (by that time) was so engrained in my head, that I did not need to see, cuz I already knew exactly what was happening w/ each sound and music cue. Obsession... I needed help then, and I need help now!

Posted by: klugula at August 18, 2005 5:49 AM

August 10, 2005

Dr. James Dobson and the Frog

One day a frog hopped down to the river, and to his surprise, found Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family there at the bank, weeping to himself.

"Why, whatever is the matter, Dr. Dobson?" asked the frog.

"I'm trying to get to Justice Sunday," explained Dr. Dobson. "And I cannot swim! Oh Mr. Frog, would you carry me across the river on your back?"

The frog hesitated. He was a very sensitive frog, but he was also wary of predators.

"I would like to," said the frog. "But how do I know you won't accuse me of living an immoral lifestyle? I am a very sensitive frog and if you said that I would just die."

"Why would I do that!" exclaimed Dobson. "For if I did we would BOTH surely perish!"

And so the frog allowed Dr. James Dobson to climb on his back. He began swimming across the river, careful to keep the Focus on the Family founder above the water.

Midstream, Dr. James Dobson said to the frog, "You are a deviant and an abomination before God."

Shocked, the frog began to die. Both he and Dr. James Dobson began to sink below the water.

"Why did you do that?" asked the frog. "Now we will both die!"

Replied Dr. James Dobson, "It is my nature!"

Posted by Chris on 08/10/05

Democracy Marches East II

Six months ago, I posted:

Democracy Marches East

Today, I read:

Rumsfeld: Iraq bombs 'clearly from Iran'

And so it continues, almost exactly on schedule.

Posted by Chris on 08/10/05

Perhaps we should invade Iran, we could use a distraction from: the Iraq 'mission accomplished' mess, Karl traitor Rove, bin laden still free, and that pesky woman disturbing Mr. Bush's five week vacation. Another crusade would do wonders for news ratings during silly season.

And also the only Iranian girl I know is a pain in the arse.

Posted by: simon at August 11, 2005 6:49 AM

Two Yearly Memberships

  • After much consideration we signed up for a year at the rock climbing place. The worry was that we wouldn't like it in a month or two, and then there's all that gear you have to buy, the fancyshoes and the harness and the caribiner and the stuff that lets you hang there safely. But there's still that excitement to go, (countered instantly with the punishing cruelty of how bad I am the minute I start to climb, but still exciting) and I've always wanted some activity where I could have clinking metal things hanging off my belt.

    My fantasy that this activity would take the place of going to gym has quickly dissolved, as after each day I feel like my arms have been beaten by thugs. And it's not the good kind of pain that means GOOD WORKOUT! it's the bad kind that means YOU MAY HAVE PULLED SOMETHING!

    The only way I could remove the gym from the equation would be if I had to run to the climbing place, uphill, and then swim the last mile, all while being forced to wear weights on my body.

  • In other yearly membership news, I finally joined up with the IFP (Independent Film Project) branch out here, since I'm always going on and on about making movies and whatnot. For about 10 minutes in their offices I have clarity of mind on what my "filmmaking strategy" should be - it's all there in my mind. And then, as always, it fades.

    I leave that epicenter of excitement, and then my mind wanders to what's for lunch, what's going on over there with those people, isn't she cute, I bet he likes his hair, and OOO that's a shiny thing on the sidewalk.

    Posted by Chris on 08/10/05

    He DOES like his hair.

    It's a TRUE.

    Posted by: Big Fat Brian at August 10, 2005 2:00 PM

    From my own well worn spot in the sea of mediocrity, and from a place of love, please allow me to say, "Shit or get off the Pot!" This ain't no dress rehersal! And as much as I look forward to joining you at the Oscar's when you accept your best director award - I hope not to be 90 at the time! OK, I will rant no more, How can I help you, help us, get to the Oscars?

    Posted by: Vickery at August 10, 2005 2:47 PM

    How dare you speak in such a manner? And on America's #1 family website?!?

    Seriously, I am aware that the clock, she is ticking. Hence, joining up with the rest of the indy losers here. (Although I suspect that I belong to yet a lower strata of indy losers, those that actually have 9-5 jobs and have to take care of this stuff after hours and on weekends)

    How can you help? I need an assistant, a manager, an advisor, and of course I need some expensive sunglasses, the correct cigars, and the car Ewan Macgregor drove in "The Island." Can you get me any of those?

    Posted by: Chris at August 10, 2005 3:55 PM

    Yes, I will mail you some knock off fabulous sunglasses. Yes, I will assist you - how to we start?

    Posted by: Vickery at August 11, 2005 9:01 AM

    Can I be the Rick McCallum-esque producer to your George Lucas? I only want it so I can get interviewed by fan magazines, get my kids sweet cameos in you sure-to-be-generation-defining movies, and get in early on what *I* am certain will be the "Next Big Thing". Really.

    I don't to go to Tunisia or spend months in some smelly foreign place (like LA) tho, so can we shoot it in Chicago? Or preferably out here in the burbs, so it's easy to get there for me? I figure if I'm producing you movie, I get to tell you what to do and where to shoot it, right?

    Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at August 11, 2005 11:47 AM

    Chris, I'd like to offer you a quote by T.S. Eliot that always motivates me when I'm getting distracted by 75 research papers to grade, dishes to wash, lawns to mow, and life in general: "The process of an artist requires the continual surrender of himself so he is to something more valuable. The process of an artist is continual self-sacrifice."

    Posted by: S. William Foley at August 12, 2005 8:55 AM

    Thanks for the Eliot quote! This sounds like the kind of thing I'm going to mention to people going forward when they're asking me to make the bed, show up to work on time, etc.

    Posted by: Chris at August 15, 2005 8:37 AM
  • August 8, 2005


    Several of my Mac friends have informed my matter of factly that Apple is now making a two-button mouse:

    It's got lots of buttons, it's got a scroll-wheel, and most importantly, it will match the chassis of your other Mac products.

    I'm not sure I understand the hubbub. Is this going to be like Exposé, where something everyone else has been able to do for a very long time suddenly becomes shiny and special because it's got the Apple brand on it?

    Posted by Chris on 08/ 8/05

    I gladly bow down to the superiority of Macs, from design to advertising.

    But I'm with you. Am I a villain for not running out to replace my non-Mac multi-button mouse? Couldn't they have just put it on the shelves without the trumpets and revolutionizing rollout?

    Macs are still nice though, and great.

    Posted by: simon at August 8, 2005 11:14 AM

    We are both damned, my friend. Damned to a hodge-podge collection of non-revolutionary peripherals and input devices that just don't match the overall "look."

    Posted by: Chris at August 8, 2005 11:27 AM

    Convene fiddler crab conclave!
    Its signficant for reasons both of you cite. Specifically, this marks a symbolic shift that started a few months ago publicly. Apple moves more towards USB and away from its own Firewire standard. Apple strikes a deal with Intel to make chips for its hardware. Apple has also added a few minor feature/commands that windows users enjoy and are useful. The two-button/one-button mouse thing has been part of an imaginary argument mac zealots have with themselves about superiority, when really, two-buttons are handy and mac users quietly purchase them for themselves and their own computer departments. So, in this case, it's an appropriate signal that Apple is dropping symbols from its old market share "war" it lost in the early 90's is over. What they are focusing on, and winning on, is user centric design, with an eye towards superior asethics, while closing the gap on technical differences with wintel machines. Apple always wins on design, especially with the IPod. So, if the hardware differences are comparable, which companies will "win" then?
    Now I must steel myself for the husband/wife comedy team to blow their mighty "nerd" horn at me.
    I'm ready.

    Posted by: fattyfat at August 8, 2005 2:09 PM

    And Expose is cool too! And with the marketing campaign you'd be amazed how many "power users" left themselves behind and aren't aware of three new button commands.


    Posted by: fattyfat at August 8, 2005 2:12 PM

    Blow ye nerd horn, blow! I will admit that I am a card-carrying member of the Fiddler Crab Conclave now that you have admitted yourself to be one of the Mac Zealots that have imaginary arguments with yourselves, and that secretly purchase third-party, unsanctioned products in dark alleys, far from the stark white light of the Apple Store.

    Do you have to pay extra for a peripheral if it is also a symbol of Mac superiority?

    But never fear, for you have laid out an ingenious logical diagram that we boggled and botched can follow, which shows us how the triumphant release of a two-button mouse in 2005 proves that Apple is winning the Game.

    Posted by: Chris at August 8, 2005 3:44 PM

    So it's a bit of a retreat from a previous position? But couldn't it have been handled surreptitiously, and quietly placed on the shelves of the Apple Store (the best shop on Michigan Avenue) instead of given the fanfare we reserve for Jaguar and the next big fierce cat upgrade?

    Or is the big rollout an effort to deny the perception of defeat by gloriously embracing it, saying "here's my face, bring me that egg,"?

    Posted by: simon at August 9, 2005 7:59 AM

    Simon, I think you nailed it. Although, given the tone of Apple's advertising, it could also have been large type on a white background:
    "Okay, so we were a little stubborn."

    But, yeah, I think its an effort to blow past the ancient 1-button dogma and pretend that its not a big reversal.

    Posted by: Fattyfat at August 9, 2005 2:13 PM

    I'm no one to laugh at the One Button Dogma. I used to insist on using only my elbows to type - as a political statement - and when I finally went to the Two-Finger method I issued a big press release and pretended I'd invented it.

    Posted by: Chris at August 9, 2005 2:30 PM

    So that thing with your nose, resting on the homekey of 'G'? Was that a keyboarding method, or were you sleeping? I so should have fired you.

    Posted by: fattyfat at August 9, 2005 4:23 PM

    My mouse has 5 buttons. And a thumbwheel.

    Neener, neener, neener!

    Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at August 10, 2005 12:36 PM

    Five buttons? AND a thumbwheel? At some point a device stops being a mouse and becomes a retarded keyboard.

    Posted by: Chris at August 10, 2005 1:24 PM


    Posted by: Just Pete at August 10, 2005 1:47 PM

    Well, I won't tell you about the INSANE number of programmable buttons, hat switches, knobs and sliders on my flight stick then. But you would learn of all of this were you ever to come to SWG and try your hand at the space side of the game...


    You can NEVER have too many buttons within reach. Who needs a keyboard.

    Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at August 11, 2005 11:44 AM

    August 5, 2005

    Spams o' the Week

    watching at these wonderful watches is not enough. make them yours.

    What a simple, elegant truth: watching at something is not enough. You have to really make these watches YOURS to truly appreciate them. It's about commitment.

    A strong, timely sentiment for those of us still on the fence about these fine watches.

    Get ready to find local fucks in your area!

    This is hardly a service offering to get excited about. I mean, I can just walk down the street and find local fucks without even trying. That guy that cut me off in traffic last night? He was a local fuck. The man at the coffee shop up the street that sighed bigly when I changed my order? He was one. The people leaving old couches outside in the alley? The jerks next door that won't shut up? The early A.M. drag racers? Fucks, all!

    Well hello there. its of course Sara,...dung

    My initial joy at getting a message from Sara is dashed milliseconds later when she refers to me in such a derogatory way.

    Well, that's Sara for you - one minute all hearts and flowers, the next minute she's putting you down in front of your friends. But she's always a woman... to me.

    It seems you wish to have sex longer, but without any results… vn

    I loved this one for how the grammatical awkwardness opened it up to two different meanings. Because often people DO want to have sex without results, if by results you mean progeny. It could have been an offer for the Extender, or it could have been an offer for a chemical vasectomy - I'll never know.

    And it made me picture someone tenting their fingers thoughtfully while saying it, as if they had an idea of how it just... might... work.

    healing Power in ancient crocodile

    Perhaps this ancient croc also holds the secret to having sex longer without results? Whatever the nature of its powers, note the irony of a vicious, prehistoric reptile also having the power to heal... and probably also the ability to sense local fucks.

    original big penis delivered to your door

    The first thing I pictured was going to the door and finding a guy dressed like Steve Martin in the seventies with an arrow through his head. I'm not kidding.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this week's spam... dung.

    Posted by Chris on 08/ 5/05

    August 4, 2005

    Begone, truck! Truly, ye shall not be had here!

    Something I will have no truck with:

    The word "methinks" used anytime after the Elizabethan period in literature.

    Give me a goddam break. This word has no place in the 21st century, much less on your website. Do me a favor. Look down at your legs. Are you wearing tights? No? Well, is there a doublet around your torso? Corset all laced up nice and tight, only to be undone by your betrothed? Are you writing thine website with a quill pen, and using Ye Olde HTML?

    No? Then lose the fancy-talk, Shakespeare, and join the rest of the groundlings.

    What an annoying little bit of fancy-lad prissiness this word is. Just know that if you use it I immediately picture you in a page-boy haircut.

    Here's the rule of thumb: if you are using this word, and you were born after 1603, then shut up.



    Posted by Chris on 08/ 4/05

    Methinks thou shouldst have no *cart* with such base, scurrilous knaves as those who wouldst murder thy most beloved Queen's English thusly. Indeed.


    Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at August 5, 2005 12:36 AM

    what, you egg!

    truly, methinks thou dost never had the pleasure of a roundel and a fairy song.

    undoubtedly, you're not exposed enough to common uses of the word "methinks."

    to open your horizons beyond your frog perspective, check out:

    you can search the entire works of shakespeare for the word "methinks"

    have at it you egg.

    Posted by: olmy at August 5, 2005 4:49 AM

    I enjoy your non-truckwiths, not least because I abuse the comments field to attach one of my own. But I'm curious, who said "methinks"? Who's the swine?

    My own abusive non-truckwith: "rock n' roll" is music, not a phrase to be spoken enthusiastically at the close of a conversation.

    Posted by: simon at August 5, 2005 7:04 AM

    And, from a grammar perspective, shouldn't it be "ithinks" anyway? Or is "ithinks" a registered trademark of Apple?

    Posted by: Just Pete at August 5, 2005 8:12 AM

    You fry of treachery! What a drunken knave was the sea to cast thee in our way!

    The only way I can have truck with "methinks" is if it is used in a band name. How about "Fancy-Lad and the Methinks?"

    To Simon: I don't have the bunch-back'd toad's name that wrote it - but if you scroll through the comments of any given entry of Metafilter or other sites I feel confident you'll find the offendors.

    And surely there IS an iThink on somebody's drawing board at Apple.

    Posted by: Chris at August 5, 2005 10:43 AM

    Last time I went to church people there were saying "thou" and "thine" a lot.

    That's why I've stayed away. That and the fellow in the dress behind the altar.

    Posted by: simon at August 5, 2005 10:59 AM

    haha! you caught the egg reference. I don't know if you noticed, but Shakespeare heaped a whole bunch of abuse on Macduff's little boy before killing him off a few lines later. in just one part of the play, he's called an egg, a young fry of treachery, a poor monkey, a prattler, a poor bird living off worms and flies, and then he's stabbed to death.

    methinks rarely was a young fry so maligned before expiring ignobly at the hands of murderers. alack for woe!

    Posted by: olmy at August 5, 2005 11:13 AM

    I think Tom Stoppard should do for Macduff's kid what he did for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and write a play concerned solely with him.

    My guess is he was a real brat to Lady MacBeth offstage, which accounts for his particularly cruel and involved degredation and death.

    Posted by: Chris at August 5, 2005 12:16 PM

    August 3, 2005

    The Yellow Brick Road of Radio

    I see that Chicago shock-jock Mancow is now featured on an AM station in the Los Angeles market. Similarly, when I was young there were two jerks on the radio in Birmingham named Mark and Brian, and I believe they ended up out here too.

    There must be some alternate Yellow Brick Road for zany radio personalities - and it leads right here, the Emerald City for assholes.

    Posted by Chris on 08/ 3/05

    My enduring memory of Mark & Brian in B'ham is a lyric sung to the tune of "My Girl" that memorialized the Auburn career of pre-Heisman trophy-winning (and pre-baseball playing) Bo Jackson when he ran the wrong way and scored a touchdown for the wrong team. "I guess you'd say, that Bo Jackson ran the wrong way, but he didn't... he's my BO...MY BO!" But the real question is why the hell was I listening to Mark & Brian in the first place? I must have been stoned.

    Posted by: Long Lost Leigh at August 4, 2005 12:12 PM

    Luckily I have no enduring memories of Mark n' Brian, just this vague recollection that I was missing out on what made them worthy of any attention. But I'm not surprised they would have made forays into that most edgy of genres, the sports-themed parody song. Kudos, Mark n' Brian. YEARS ahead of your time.

    Posted by: Chris at August 4, 2005 2:09 PM

    August 2, 2005

    The Island

    Michael Bay is the sort of director that spends his hefty fees on $100 cigars and a garage full of muscle cars. He dates playmates. He is the sort of man who shoots a million feet of film during production. He is a man of the music video and the beer commercial. I have not even read anything about him and I already know this.

    I like to think of "The Island" as his "message" film. And that message is, "I, Michael Bay, really liked Logan's Run, Coma, THX-1138, and Blade Runner."

    Although I bet one of his assistants helped him with the "THX" part.

    The story of "The Island" concerns the ethical dilemma of cloning, although I doubt Bay realizes that. I would not bother to extrapolate his views on the stem cell debate from the film, because I don't think he has any views, other than Cars Are SO Cool.

    But all this is neither here nor there. After all, this is the director of "Bad Boys," "The Rock," "Armageddon," "More Bad Boys," and "Pearl Harbor." Even bothering to spend time on a negative review is like blaming P.T. Barnum for trivializing wild animals.

    I assume for actors like Ewan MacGregor or Scarlett Johansen, being in this movie is like Yale graduates going down to Gulf Shores, AL for Spring Break and riding the mechanical bull at some redneck bar. There is a certain kitchiness to it, I suppose. Hey, now they can say they were in a Michael Bay film.

    The movie's set-up is cool, if standard sci-fi fare. But in Acts II and III it unravels faster than any movie I've ever seen. It's as if Bay and his screenwriters wrote the first 30 pages as a standard screenplay, and then for the rest of it got bored and just made a list of cool things they'd like to do.

    Flying machine chase through downtown, cars demolished by giant train axles, giant fan blades collapsing, throngs of people in gleaming white suits in a vast desert, shot from a helicopter circling overhead, slow-motion images of characters in dark, dripping hallways... it's all there.

    And does the soundtrack feature Fatima Ululating Mournfully? Come on. Does the Pope wear a funny hat? Does a bear shit in the woods? Does Michael Bay personally own the car Ewan MacGregor drove in the film?

    But you know, it's so easy to trivialize this guy. Sure, the story is less than fluff, but the visuals truly are fantastic, and I know that doesn't just happen. It takes real skill, it takes being able to marshall thousands of people, it takes patience, it takes the right kind of sunglasses and only the finest cigars, it takes knowing when to push a 2nd AD's face into the mud and when to just knee him in the groin, oops, there I go again. Seriously - if you turned the sound off and just happened to catch the film out of the corner of your eye on a bar TV, it would be amazing.

    Interesting Michael Bay trivia from IMDB: He claimed director John Frankenheimer was his father, and when DNA tests disproved it, Bay claimed that the tests weren't sophisticated enough at the time. Ah, and here's an interesting quote: "Actors have often noted that he places more importance on the visuals than on his characters and actors. He is also known to do very few takes of intimate character-driven scenes, as he prefers to spend more time on action sequences and visually-interesting moments."

    Posted by Chris on 08/ 2/05

    I didn't know Mr Bay was claiming he's Frankenheimer's son, how funny. Perhaps he put down his cigar and scratched his permanent five o'clock shadow, pushed the playmate off and, after a moment of soul-searching, decided only nepotism could explain his career.

    Posted by: simon at August 3, 2005 8:31 AM

    Thanks for the review, I will add it the the very bottom of out Netflix list when avaible.

    Posted by: Vickery at August 3, 2005 2:26 PM

    I actually loved it. I knew it would be fluff, so I was not at all disappointed. I enjoyed every loud, overbearing, ridiculous moment. The only scene I had to keep from vomiting was the final exodus. A bit much. Stupid, cheesy fun. Plus; Scarlett and Ewan were wonderful eye candy!

    Posted by: KLUGULA at August 4, 2005 9:06 AM

    Well, obviously I went to the movie knowing it was Michael Bay fare. I knew what I was getting into, but even with that reduced expectation, after a certain point I couldn't even enjoy its fluff levels.

    Were you more interested in the idea that Lincoln-6 apparently had the knowledge of how to drive cars embedded in his DNA, or the fact that he, Jordan, and all those other clones had never discussed or thought about sex? How about the idea that they were "owned" by their sponsors?

    Wasn't it weird that two clones "with the minds of 15 year olds" on foot in the desert managed to evade Black Ops with helicopters? Didn't Jordan give up on the idea of the Island awfully fast? Wasn't Lincoln 6 fairly cavelier about his sponsor being shot? COME ON.

    Posted by: Chris at August 4, 2005 2:04 PM

    August 1, 2005

    The "Memento" of web pages

    I don't want to raise the Hand of Smacking on this one - but I'm close. And what a surprise - it's an internal tool.

    I am trying to submit a purchase requisition for a much-needed expendable here at work. The web form asks me for a category for this purchase, provides no way to browse through a list of potential categories, and none of the terms I use to search for the category have yielded anything. Obviously this information, like so much else, is meant to be passed down in oral tradition.

    Better yet: after an unsuccessful search for this elusive category, when I am returned to the main page, all the information I entered there previously is gone.

    Posted by Chris on 08/ 1/05

    Psssst... I hear if you leave the search box blank and do a search, it returns a list of the possible items to pick from...

    Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at August 2, 2005 2:19 PM