Friday, December 30, 2005

This Will Be Our Year

Have a happy new year, everyone.

We're celebrating the new year, rather than the conclusion of the old one. We're interested in beginnings, and the romantic optimism that surrounds them - a first kiss, a wedding, opening day. Beginnings are easier to celebrate, because endings are unpredictable.

Morning Edition aired an interview with Mike Wallace on Thursday:
Steve Inskeep: You write that you angered Mel Brooks at the age of 75 or so when you told him, "It's all downhill from now on."

Mike Wallace: That's correct. And he hated it!

SI: Let me ask you - is it all downhill from now on?

MW: Well, yes...I mean, come on. When you've been on 60 Minutes for 37 or 38 years...when you've been around the world and talked to all manner of individuals and you have the energy - psychic and physical - to do that kind of thing, and then suddenly, you prefer to nap in the's different. And when you say "downhill", that doesn't mean that you don't have the same energy in your mind about the stories that you would like to cover, but you don't have, really, the physical capacity.
It's not just the calendar that's changing; you are changing, and everyone around you is changing. (Look at the list of contacts in your cell phone or your email. How many of those people did you speak with this year?)

Relish the one night we consciously note and encourage the time to go by. Your relationships are constantly changing, the globe is revolving, the tectonic plates beneath you are shifting, your opportunities are shrinking; there's not much you can do about it. Lift a glass of champagne - it's all married ex-crushes, pregnant ex-girlfriends, and fighting your eyelids after a light lunch from here on out.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Richest Man In Town

On Christmas Eve, after mom and I made it through a few episodes of The Muppet Show on DVD, we caught the last hour of It's a Wonderful Life was on television. I noticed a few things in this viewing that I hadn't caught previously.

As you'll recall, George Bailey gets hammered, wrecks his car into a tree, stumbles over to a bridge, and considers jumping in the river to kill himself. Before he can take the plunge, his guardian angel, Clarence, intentionally falls into the river; George dives down to save Clarence instead of killing himself.

I'm no physicist, but isn't there a serious problem with this scenario? If the bridge is low enough so that neither individual died after diving into the river below, why did George pick that spot to kill himself in the first place? He's lived in Bedford Falls his whole life and he doesn't know that the bridge is a glorified diving board?

Speaking of Bedford Falls, we're to believe that if George Bailey had never existed, the town itself would be named Potterville, and its downtown would consist of a dozen or so trashy bars. But wasn't this town - whatever it's called - relatively small? How can such a medium-sized town support so many houses of ill repute? And why does it have so many taxis? Best I can tell, there's only one main street in Beford Falls - do the taxis just drive up and down that one street?

If I'd never existed...

...My elementary school has a different logo, and one of my classmates
receives the Gambino's Pizza gift certificate as a reward for the winning design.

...Ryan is the chess champion of the 7th grade.

...My 8th grade basketball team commits about 6 fewer turnovers during the championship game, winning easily.

...Kristina is Senior Class President, nothing different happens, except maybe a different 10-year reunion.

...One less game of Chug-It occurs, everyone involved probably better off.

...Floyd is convinced he is the greatest EA Sports NCAA Football player/coach ever.

...Website readers are alerted to Lazy Sunday a few days late.

...Four thousand fewer broken hearts.

...Riots in the streets. Lots of riots.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Holiday Photos Full of Cheer

Back from Wichita and the Xmas extravaganza. There was boredom. And coldness. Dear old dad decided to put the thermostat at 56 degrees, and 4 blankets couldn't protect from the chill. I received useful gifts that don't warrant mentioning.

But I did have some laughs, as documented in the photos on my Flickr account.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hello Goodbye

I've been absent, entertaining Serpentine, who has returned to his homeland for the birth of our Lord. And now I'm leaving again, going home for the holiday.

I guess I'm the only one that finds himself bored over these breaks, browsing the internet for something to read or do. Just in case I'm not alone in my holiday boredom, I invite you to ponder this question:

What statement(s) would a stranger have to make to convince you that you could not be friends with him or her?

Rules for your answer:
The statement(s) can not be objectively offensive (i.e. "The races shouldn't mix").
The statement(s) can not be political.

Basically, we're looking for a mildly to highly trivial statement of opinion that you find unforgivable.

My answer is subject to change, but since it's the statement I had in mind when I thought of the question, I feel obligated to share it.

I can't be friends with a stranger that remarks, "The Beatles are overrated."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bad Back

Gizmodo had a post today about a body dryer. This image showed how the product works:

Something disturbed me about the model - I see now that a Gizmodo commenter noticed it, too.

Did she have a tail once?

* * *

If you missed SNL this week, I can't blame you. But this video, entitled "Lazy Sunday", is dope.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Dear Mr. President

I am not interested in hearing your plan for Iraq; I was interested several years ago, but not tonight. Tonight, I am interested in watching Family Guy. Family Guy is not on. You are on, going on and on just like the war is going on and on. I want to watch Family Guy. Get off my fucking television. I hate you.

Did you know you've done this to me before? You decided to start the goddamn war on the same day that March Madness began. I took that day off, George. I took the day off so I could enjoy some roundball with my pals. You pushed the war coverage off CBS and onto cable. I didn't have cable, George. Jeff didn't have cable. Ryan didn't have cable. We had to go to a bar, George. We had to abandon the chips and beers we'd already rationed for ourselves, and we had to go to a bar and pay for our seats. And sure, we got to see the games OK, and sure, we got to eat a pretty good cheese and cracker plate, and sure, we got to drink some decent beers - but George, I didn't wanna. I wanted to sit on Jeff's couch and drink the cheapers beers. And watch CBS. But CBS was showing bombs.

Get off my fucking television, George. Get the fuck off.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Wikipedia for Kids

Astronauts are people that fly into SPACE. They fly on a SPACE SHUTTLE, which is like a PLANE but a lot bigger and it has big TANKS for FUEL. The fuel tanks give it a big boost and let the space shuttle go five thousand MILES PER HOUR. It would have to keep going that fast for a year to get all the way to the MARS, which is one million LIGHT YEARS away. The tanks fall off after they're done and the space shuttle is in space. They should RECYCLE the old ones.

When you're in space, you can float around and all of the stuff in the shuttle with you floats around, too. You have to tie yourself down to your BED to SLEEP. This is because there is no GRAVITY in space. There is this video that shows astronauts floating around and doing SOMERSAULTS and other tricks like eating a spinning BANANA in mid-air. Lots of other food is eaten by astronauts. They get their own ICE CREAM that is made by NASA that is different than normal ice cream, because normal ice cream can't work in space.

Many different missions are done by astronauts. They can SPACEWALK
around the shuttle to fix things or just look around space. Astronauts have to install SATELLITES so TVs and RADIOS can send signals to everyone's houses. If a satellite gets too old if becomes SPACE JUNK, and they have to drive around it or blow it up. Sometimes they meet with other astronauts at the SPACE STATION, where they try to make PLANTS grow and do other experiments.

All the time they have to wear a SPACE SUIT, because they would die if they didn't wear it. If they're hand was outside of the suit it would get so cold that it would break into tiny pieces if a hammer hit it.

You have to be in good shape to be able to go on the space shuttle, though, and NASA makes you go around and around on a spinning chair so they know you are good enough. There have been like a hundred astronauts. Only a couple were GIRLS because most girls aren't strong enough to go to space, and if you stay in space for a while, you will be taller when you get back to the ground. An astronaut won't get as tall as SHAQ but he will get a little taller, because space makes your SPINE stretch out. If you get to be an astronaut you make a million DOLLARS a year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

2005 Recap - Film

I went to the theater eight times in 2005, to see:

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Wedding Crashers
Layer Cake
Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith
Batman Begins
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Me & You & Everyone We Know
Corpse Bride

The 40 Year Old Virgin was my favorite by a landslide.

The other films were, at the worst, decent. I'm proud that I didn't sit through any stinkers this year, unlike 2004 (Hello, The Punisher!). And since I don't have much to say about the other films, let's calculate what I spent on movie tickets:

$2.50 (Corpse Bride was at the discount theater) + 3($5.00) matinees + 4($8.50) features = $51.50

Not too shabby.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The State of Saturday Night Live

[I couldn't find "The State" sketch online, so I had to watch the video myself and type out the transcript. Michael Ian Black plays Jerry, the coma patient; Kerri Kenney is his wife; Ken Marino is the doctor; Ben Garant is his nurse; Michael Patrick Jann is Dan.]

NURSE: "He's waking up, doctor."

DOCTOR: "Relax, Jerry. Don't try to get up just yet. You've been in an accident. Do you remember?"

JERRY: (bewildered) "Well, I remember I was changing to papers on the Xerox machine and I stood up and I hit my head on the file cabinet and…"

DOCTOR: "Yes, Jerry, and you've been in a bit of a coma ever since--"

JERRY: (seriously) "How long?"

DOCTOR: "Well, prepare yourself, Jerry. You've been asleep for almost one hundred and nineteen...well, almost two hours."

JERRY: (relieved) "Oh. Is my wife here?"

DOCTOR: "Yes, but--"

JERRY'S WIFE: (walking into the hospital room) "Jerry, we heard you were waking up. We came straight over from the apartment."

JERRY: "What apartment?"


JERRY: "We don't have an apartment."

JERRY'S WIFE: "Well, I had to sell the house, Jerry, it just held too many memories. I live in an apartment now with my new husband, Dan."

DAN: "Hey."

JERRY: "Husband? You remarried?"

JERRY'S WIFE: "Well how long was I supposed to wait for you, Don?"

JERRY: "Jerry."

JERRY'S WIFE: "Whatever. I've moved on with my life. Oh, which reminds me, your parents are dead. Here." (Jerry's wife hands Jerry an urn)

DOCTOR: "After tedious and painful therapy, you should regain partial use of your limbs."

JERRY: "How soon can I return to work?"

DOCTOR: "Oh, Jerry, you don't have a job anymore! (laughing) Computer programming has sort of been 'phased out'."

JERRY: "Phased out?"

DOCTOR: "Yes, we don't use 'computers' anymore, Jerry, now that we can all read minds."

JERRY'S WIFE: (angrily) "Some of us had to keep evolving while you got to sleep, Jerry!"

DOCTOR: "And without telepathy, we wouldn't be able to communicate with the Martians that now rule our planet. Jerry, your coma stretched across one of the most eventful early afternoons in history. (upbeat) But with hard work, therapy, and drugs, I bet you can readjust yourself, huh?"

NURSE: (bringing Jerry his plate of food) "Dinner, Mr. Johnson!"
(orderly hits Jerry on head with dish cover, Jerry is knocked unconscious, the heart monitor flatlines)

DOCTOR: "Jerry!" (the doctor shakes his limp body) Jerry! ...Ah, hell. Unplug him."


Now read this SNL sketch from two weeks ago, which is similar in many ways, except that it's not very funny. At all.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Better Together

If you're curious to know what album Amazon recommended as a companion to the latest from Oasis, click here. You'll want to listen to the sample tracks, too.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Nineteen Dollar Steak

Went back to Mirth - things have changed. Just goes to show, there's no such thing as a free lunch or a nine dollar steak.

I had a brownie, too. Recommended.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Winter Warning

I saw a woman from a distance today and thought, "Oh, she's pretty cute." Then I realized that she was almost entirely hidden beneath winter clothes. Heads up out there, people - winter fogs the senses. Something as simple as a scarf can make a girl 15% more attractive. Add a cap with a fluffy ball on top, add 5%. Adjust accordingly.

* * *

Speaking of fogged senses, Hollywood has decided to make a CHiPs movie starring Wilmer Valderrama. You know, I never saw the Dukes of Hazzard movie, but I gather that it sucked. Why would CHiPs be any better? That show always sucked - at least the Duke boys would jump over shit in the General Lee. Erik Estrada and that white dude just rode lame motorcyles around.

Case in point: I only remember one scene from CHiPs. Some underage kids were driving a station wagon. They couldn't stop the car, because the driver kid's skateboard had wedged itself under the brake pedal. Estrada pulled up alongside and told them to turn off the ignition. The car rolled to a stop.

Good luck making a movie out of that.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Humps, Revisited

So "My Humps" is terrible. Really, really bad. I wonder, has anything been worse? The worst songs I can think of:

Lou Bega - Mambo #5

An oldie (by somebody named Lou Christie) that had a chorus repeated, "LIIIIGHTNING STRIIIIIIKES MEEEE AGAINNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!"
Buster Poindexter - Hot Hot Hot

Things I would rather listen to than "My Humps":

A Creed album
A Nickelback album
A crying baby
Several hours of bad talk radio
Five minutes of a fire alarm

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

This Dude is Correct

Follow the "parody videos" link, too.

Oh, and Fergie is gross.

I hope they all die. Or become much less popular.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Nine Dollar Steak

Look. I've told this story about two dozen times since it happened, so bear with me. I ate a steak Friday night. It was a KC strip steak, maybe 12 ounces, and it was exquisite. There was some gorgonzola goodness happening, and some twice baked potato action, and even some spinach/pear salad. It was nine dollars. It cost me nine dollars. The bill came, and I asked the waitress, "What gives? The menu says $19. This says $9. Do you just want to fuck me or something?"

"No," she said. "I don't just want to fuck you or anything. It's the price of the perfectly grilled steak you just ate. It's nine dollars. It's a nine dollar steak."

"Well, now I just want to fuck you!"

"Ha ha," she said.

"Ha ha," I said.

They call it Mirth, but they should call it Nine Dollar Steak.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

2005 Soundtrack

Iron and Wine - Waitin' for a Superman
Flaming Lips - Waitin' for a Superman

I bought the Morning Becomes Eclectic compliation for a lot of reasons. It had Damien Rice, Franz Ferdinand, Radiohead, Jem - and it was on sale, and I'm cheap. The Iron and Wine track caught my attention one day, and some time later I learned it was a Flaming Lips cover, and some time after that Shawn implored me to buy the Lips' album that originally featured "Waitin' for a Superman". I love how that works. Pay attention to what you're hearing, do a little reading, and the music you didn't know you liked will reveal itself. When I hear these songs, I'm at work, headphones on, typing.

The Arcade Fire - Wake Up

I'm normally about a year behind when it comes to new music, but at least I bought this album before U2 started playing "Wake Up" at the beginning of their concerts, and before I started hearing it at Henry's. When I hear this album, I'm renting cheap DVDs from the supermarket; I'm driving to the airport.

Stars - Your Ex-Lover is Dead

Gavin is driving us home from a softball doubleheader. We're headed north on Wakarusa; the light is red. "I'll write you a postcard, I'll send you the news," Gavin sings half-heartedly.

Elliott Smith - Coast to Coast

"I should grab an Elliott Smith CD to listen to in case she breaks up with me," I think. "From a Basement on a Hill is already in the car," I remember. Always prepared, I drive away from her apartment listening to track #1.

Josh Rouse - My Love has Gone
Rhett Miller - Come Around

I had considered buying the Rouse album one day at the record store, but thought, "I shouldn't buy any more sad bastard music." Corinne made me a CD for my 26th birthday, and these two songs were stuck in the middle. I asked her if she had them side-by-side because Rouse sings, "when you come around..." and Miller sings, "unless you come around." She denied the intentional placement. I'm working, working, working - the birthday CD was kept in my cubicle for months.

Death Cab for Cutie - Summer Skin

There are catchier songs on the album, and there are more plaintive songs on the album, but this is the one keeps me coming back. The lyric "on the night you left I came over" blew my mind several times over.

The Shins - One By One All Day

I am in Albuquerque, home of The Shins, for a conference. I'm at their Liberty Hall concert, listening to them rock an extended outro.

Nirvana - Aneurysm (demo)

I got the box set for Christmas, gave each of the CDs and the DVD a listen, and ignored it until the fall. Then, I realized that the unpolished version of this song is superior to the final version heard on Incesticide. I'm pretty sure if you turn this up loud enough, you'll see God. I'm driving to Manhattan to give a presentation.

Snow Patrol - Wow

I heard "Run". I liked it. I heard "How to Be Dead". I liked it, too. I heard "Spitting Games". I liked it. Still, I was worried the album would be fit for a sissy. I bought it anyway, and "Wow" proved my suspicions were unfounded. I'm at work, in front of my computer.

Spoon - I Turn My Camera On

This was the year I stopped using file-sharing networks and started reaping mp3 blogs. gave me Spoon, and I am grateful. I am at work. Still.

The White Stripes - Denial Twist

Sometimes, you have to fight through a CD to find the great moments. You listen casually, you listen carefully, you listen to it LOUD on decent speakers. Most important, you activate shuffle mode and see what strikes you. "Denial Twist" is special when it's removed from the center of Get Behind Me Satan. It's also my favorite song with the word "rumpus" in the lyrics. I'm at work, and the Classic brand personal CD player I bought 5 years ago for $10 at a Twin Cities area Circuit City is on shuffle.

Coldplay - Low

I'm in the car, "White Shadows" has finished playing, and I'm still looking to rock. I'm at home, sick, realizing that I don't feel well enough to attend the Coldplay concert.

Beck - E-Pro

There's a scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when Joel realizes he doesn't want to lose all of his memories of Clementine. As he relives one experience with Clementine - I think they're in bed, joking - he begs to save this single memory from deletion.

It's April 16, 2005. I've left the bars early to meet Ali at her place. I'm emptying my pockets, placing my phone, wallet, and keys on the glass dining table. She tells me that Beck just performed on Saturday Night Live. I ask what song he played. She doesn't know the song's title, so she sings the chorus instead.

Joel has his moment, and I have mine: Ali, near the door, half-shrugging, half-dancing, half-singing, "Na-na naa na naa na naaaah!"

We go to bed. She twitches, then falls asleep. I watch terrible comedy featuring Tom Brady, then power off the television and close my eyes.

The Fiery Furnaces - Sweet Spots

I'm in Chicago, the home of The Fiery Furnaces, for a conference.

The Golden Republic - You Almost Had It

I'm playing darts.

The Decemberists - Engine Driver

It's May 26, 2005. I just woke up from a dream, in which I was listening to this song. In said dream, I explained to someone that I used to think The Decemberists suck, but the song had grown on me. It has, in fact, grown on me, despite the fact that I had committed only 2 of the song's lines to memory prior to May 26 - those lines just looped in my dream, but I somehow still enjoyed the tune.