Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You Stay Classy

We were at a rural Illinois winery this weekend for a wedding. This photograph hung above the urinals. (Click to enlarge.)

Prints are only $20? That's great news, because I have a lot of empty wall space in my VOMITORIUM.

The only thing more gross than this "art" is my imagining of the "artist".

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2010-2011 Winter Recap - Netflix

You guys, I have not read a single book since the calendar turned. But at least I've watched a bunch of shit on my TV and through my Netflix account! Here are those items, in reverse chronological order, not including movies covered in my 2010 motion picture recaps (1) (2).

Quick Change

Bill Murray robs a bank while dressed as a clown? How did this exist beyond my awareness? Funny throughout, with supporting roles by then-famous Geena Davis then-sane Randy Quaid. Small roles filled by greats like Tony Shaloub, Phil Hartman, and Kurtwood Smith.

The Kid Stays in the Picture

If you hear Patton Oswalt's impression of 1970's movie producer extraordinaire Robert Evans, you're kind of obligated to watch this. It's okay. Evans' narration is most certainly the selling point.

Cool Hand Luke

Finally, nearly 20 years after first enjoying Guns 'N Roses "Civil War", I watched the origin of its sampled dialogue! This was one of those movie experiences where lots of other things make more sense, from the GNR song (well, not really) to the great Stella episode where the guys call their farm supervisors "Boss", just like Paul Newman and company.

It's Kind of a Funny Story

Pretty much what you'd think it is. Fine.

The Night of the Hunter

I rented this because it's the movie that originated the much repeated idea of a convict labeling his knuckles with "LOVE" and "HATE". Not bad, not great. I guess you could say I didn't LOVE or HATE it. Get it?

Inside Job

Won the Oscar for Best Documentary, although Exit Through The Gift Shop was clearly better. This kept economics interesting, I suppose, but I can't forgive it for playing Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" in its entirety over the opening credits. God I hate that song.


Recommended if you want to get depressed about the process of fracturing underground shale to produce natural gas. But you only need to watch the first hour - it starts to repeat itself, and the ending isn't current anymore. You can read the latest fracturing news from Pennsylvania with the time you save.


An Instant Watch movie recommended by some friends. Low budget, but not embarrassingly so. It's breezy with a sci-fi twist. Not a lot of breezy sci-fi out there, yeah? Recommended for the ladies. Caution, gentlemen: romance ahead!

Never Let Me Go

Based on the book I read, the book Time Magazine called the finest of its decade. Kim had not read the book, and the movie made her cry. Would she recommend it? She would. She just said so just now, after I prompted her. I would too. It's got Keira Knightly, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, AND it's directed by the same guy who gave us the music video for Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" - you remember, the one with the crucified monkey and the hog's head rotating on a spike?

Animal Kingdom

Meh. It was Australian, I guess? I'm having a hard time remembering the plot, which is a bad sign for a movie I saw a few months ago.

Ken Burns' America: Thomas Hart Benton

Benton's my favorite muralist. His old home is now a museum in Kansas City and I keep meaning to go someday. This show taught me pretty much everything I'd learn at the museum, though, right? I should probably just stay home and look at junk on my laptop instead.

The Amish: People of Preservation

I had to spend some time among the Amish a few months ago - did I tell you that? No? I spent a lot of time thinking about their hats. Of all the hats in the world to choose from, this group picked a real stinker! An especially bad decision, since they're stuck with it and can't go out and buy a cowboy hat or a floppy beach hat instead. Right. So this was available on Instant Watch and I had it on while I did some work around the house. It focused on the Pennsylvania Amish, and maybe isn't as recommended as the occasional Amish-related docs you can find on the National Geographic Channel (which I also watched around this time).


I can't recommend this beyond those who worship with me at John C Reilly's altar.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

A documentary about one comedian. I was curious to know where the hell she came from, how she got popular enough to be a serious candidate for "The Tonight Show". This pretty much answered those questions. Solid.

I Am Comic

A documentary about comedians, a very broad topic covered broadly here. Very interesting in parts and tedious in others.

The Other Guys

Should have been better? Right?

The Ricky Gervais Show: Season 1

Podcasts on TV! A dumb idea that works fine in this instance but probably shouldn't start a trend.


Who watches the watchmen a year and a half after it's released? Me! From the perspective of a male who doesn't read graphic novels, I liked it. Rorshach's character was kind of silly to me, but the film looked amazing and Malin Akerman didn't look too bad either if you know what I mean of course you do I just wrote it explicitly.

Bored to Death: Season 1

I love noir detective stuff so much, but I was prepared to be disappointed by this HBO series. Thankfully (and in hindsight, obviously), Ted Danson + Zack Galafanakis + Jason Schwartzman = great. Not so great that I finally order HBO, but great enough to make me wish I wasn't so cheap about ordering HBO.

The Third Man

I think so highly of this masterpiece I introduced it to the lady of my life. But don't take my word for it. Take John Hodgman's podcast words for it.

The Wrong Guy

Newsradio's Dave Foley wrote and starred in this spoof of Hitchcock-style "wrongly accused man" stories. Plenty of hilarious dialogue more than makes up for the presence of Jennifer Tilly. Highly recommended.


If you type "IMDB Laura" into Google, this is the first result, because it's a top-rate noir mystery! The second result is "That 70's Show" alum Laura Prepon, beating out Laura Linney in a stunning upset. Laura Dern is predictably an also-ran. Anyway, check out this movie and see how ordinary Vincent Price looked before he entered the creepy mustache phase of his career.

The Conversation

Gene Hackman and Fredo are hired to spy on a CONVERSATION. Intrigue ensues. Very slowly. The ending is worth the wait.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Goin' Phrasey

A long time ago I typed a pun into my phone, and saved it there. I hoped the idea would incubate into something hilarious, but it's been years now and the yield is nothing.

I find it curious that Google showed ZERO results for the phrase, so I am at least pleased to claim it as my original idea for perpetuity:

"Write what ewe know."

Baa baa people confuse me with goats and shear my wool for textiles. One of us was a clone. Mutton.

See? There's nowhere to go with this. But it's mine!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An Office And A Gentleman And Another Gentleman

I failed to mention one amazing/terrible thing about my new digs.

Some mornings I don't hear a bird's peaceful chirping. Instead, I hear the shouting of The Downtown Dancer, who must live across the street from my building. His antics also inspire honking from passing vehicles.

Here's the link you just didn't click on:

Q&A With The Downtown Dancer

Topekan dances to shed light on Jesus, troops

You probably have seen him in downtown Topeka, on S.W. Wanamaker Road and at S.W. 29th Street dancing with one of his many lamps. Sometimes he gets funny glances, and at other times, he chats with passers-by.

On Thursday, The Topeka Capital-Journal caught up with this dancer at S.E. 6th and Quincy. Dressed in blue-jean shorts, a red shirt, bright-white tennis shoes, black gloves and with a fanny pack around his waist, he danced and held a small light. He waved and smiled as people drove by and honked. But he never lost his rhythm.

His name is Rickie Hite. The 50-year-old said he dances to raise awareness.

So, Rickie, where do you live?

"I stay here in Topeka. I'm from Merriam, Kansas. The Lord led me here."

I've seen you out here rain and shine, hot and cold. What are you doing with the lamp?

"Holding up the light for Jesus. We can all love one another. I'm holding up the light for our troops, for our judicial system, too."

And why do you dance?

"I go on the spur of the moment with the Lord. I've been doing this for three years. The spirit of the Lord moves me."

How many lamps do you have?

"I own 12 of them. I get some from the thrift stores. I buy them, or they let me borrow them. My favorite is the one with the American flag. I dance for the soldiers. To me, there is no greater dance than what they are doing for us."

What type of music do you usually listen to while you're dancing?

"I listen to country a lot. Right now, I'm listening to 'I Love a Rainy Night.' I listen to a little bit of everything."

Do you just dance downtown?

"No I dance all over the city. I dance here. I dance at other places downtown. I dance over on 29th."

How long do you usually dance?

"Sometimes I dance for five hours. I really don't need a gym. It's a great workout."

You've became somewhat of an icon in Topeka. You're on several YouTube videos and are mentioned on the Internet?

"That's what people have told me. I don't have a computer, so I've never looked. I'm just out here dancing."

At the end of the interview, he shook our hands, placed his headphones back on his ears, plugged into his hand-held CD player and began dancing again. He mouthed the words to one of the songs playing in his ears and thrust his lamp into the air. A car passed and honked.

He smiled, waved in acknowledgement and kept on dancing.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

An Office And A Gentleman

It's been just over two years since Cara's favorite post. Let's update!

You know how you read about workspaces at leading tech companies, and it's all nap-pods and ping-pong facilities? I don't work at a place like that.

The whole building looks like this, with sepia-tinted cubicle walls bordered by offices. The cubicles you see in this picture have been empty for the past four months or so, due to a hiring freeze. Which is good for me, because that open door in the background is my office, surrounded by the quiet.

As I mentioned earlier, I chose the furniture. And I chose that cork board, which was ordered from a different supplier, but matches the cherry finish pretty closely! I didn't use a mousepad in my cubicle, but now that I have a new veneer finish to look after, the mouse rests on a thin book. See also: coasters under the mug. The window means I never, ever turn the fluorescent overhead lights on, even when a storm blocks all the sunlight. The window blind is broken, and won't stay raised on its own. I stuck a 3M adhesive hook upside down so I could secure the cord. I also tied a lanyard to the blind cord to make it longer, so I could actually reach it when the blinds are down without standing on a chair. Speaking of chairs, that office chair used to have arms, which would hit the desk when I wheeled up close to type. I brought an Allan wrench from home and removed them - now they're in a box behind my door.

Those are some guest chairs, also without arms, this time by design. Now that I work in a box with real walls and no workers nearby beyond those walls, I listen to music through computer speakers instead of my beloved Grado headphones. I can't believe how loud I'm allowed to play music. I keep asking coworkers if I need to turn down the mp3s but they say they don't hear it. I should bring in a subwoofer.

Guys, having a window is so much better than having no window, even if your window hasn't been cleaned since the building was assembled, and even if your view is just low-income housing. ENHANCE:

That guy in the overalls is out there most of the time. He loves the outdoors, and he loves to smoke. And eat, I'd guess. The view does include a few trees, at least. Some mornings, when I'm enjoying the quiet that only a horrible economy and late-running coworkers can provide, I can hear birds singing in those trees below my window! The other week there was a cardinal down there, chirpin' away.