Tuesday, August 31, 2004

golly! good God! good gracious! good grief! good Lord! goodness! goodness gracious! goodness me! good night! gosh! gracious! great Scott!

Somebody has taken the time to make a nice list of euphemisms, so we don't accidentally take the Lord's name in vain.

Did you know that "cheese" is a euphemism for "Jesus"? That's cool. I like cheese.

Top 5 Favorite Movies (filmed after 1990)

1. Royal Tenenbaums ~ I love house dramas, as a genre it is sorely overlooked and misunderstood. Such stories really depend on the interest of the characters and Wes Anderson created the most exciting characters. Everything about this story is entertaining.
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ~ Did Charlie Kaufman write my favorite love story ever? Maybe. I love surrealism and magic realism in storytelling. Often times, it's the strange moments that make the stories seem more real.
3. 12 Monkeys ~ This is sci-fi the way I think it should be done-- quirky, surreal (there's that word again), mysterious, and slightly terrifying. Terry Gilliam throws his audience for a loop. The music, incredible.
4. Leon, The Professional ~ trailer, I love stories about hit-men and con artists, especially when they become these endearing outcasts. Luc Besson tests our comfort zone-- we know how Mathilda feels. But what about Leon? Is he a father figure? A friend? A teacher? A lover? Nothing is more bad ass than seeing these two characters simply walk down the street.
5. High Fidelity ~ Who doesn't love John Cusack? And of course, the top five lists. One of the most quotable films. "Charlie, you f***ing bitch. Let's work it out." His character is obsessive and a great narrator for his adventures in bad dating.

Top 5 Favorite Foreign Movies (filmed before 1990)

1. Seven Samurai ~ This is a house drama disguised as a samurai epic. This movie reveals the basic template for any and all hero stories-- all the archetypes are present, all the motivations. I have to watch this movie at least two or three times a year.
2. Solaris ~ This movie is beautiful, haunting, and tragic. The story itself is amazing. The director's patience really tests the audience's patience, but the pay-off is a complete experience from beginning to end.
3. The Conformist ~ Why can't I find a decent DVD of this film, noted to have some of the greatest cinematography ever?! Oh well, VHS. I think a good story makes the audience fall in love with the characters, even the ones you hate. The Conformist is a textbook of good visual storytelling.
4. Ikiru ~ If someone asked me what the meaning of life was, I might show them this film instead. I'm thinking of making Ikiru an annual New Year's Eve tradition. Another Akira Kurosawa classic.
5. 400 Blows ~ One of the great coming of age stories. Filmed by Francois Truffaut, 400 Blows is a sneak peek into the world of a youth who longs to be free, and when he finally gets it... where now?

Top 5 Favorite Filmmakers

1. Akira Kurosawa ~ I've learned more about visual storytelling from Kurosawa than anyone else, and I know I'm not alone. He is the model, the ideal, for how stories should be told.
2. Alfred Hitchcock ~ Hitchcock's sensibilities aren't too different from Kurosawa's. While Kurosawa was the humanist, Hitchcock is the cynic. He explores the darker nature, and his understanding of human psychology makes him films powerful, even today.
3. Wes Anderson ~ His playful and detail-oriented approach to filmmaking is so much fun. He fixates on music, costumes, locations, and it all pays off.
4. Anyone and Charlie Kaufman ~ Whether it's Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, or George Clooney for that matter, every film Kaufman has worked on instantly becomes my next favorite film. He creates these impossible films, that just work really well.
5. Cameron Crowe ~ All his stories seem to focus on men who are lost, and desperately need to be found. I enjoy these redemption stories.

Monday, August 30, 2004

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."
George W. Bush. Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Over two years ago, I was interviewed by Fred Peatross on my thoughts concerning the current state of the church. I was surprised to re-discover the interview while I google searched for an old bio I wrote.

For the most part, my interview was nothing spectacular. The observations were predictable and overstated. But I still find solace in this idea...

With the previous generation, the enemy was the "lies" of liberal theology and other theological agendas. God is dead, etc. So pastors raised their Bibles high and said, "God is Truth. God is Truth. God is Truth." If you understand THIS, you will be a Christian.

However with my generation, the enemy is the "ugliness" of conservative agendas and other fundamental intolerance. So the pastors of my generation seem to emphasize, "God is Beautiful. God is Beautiful. God is Beautiful." If you understand THIS, you will be a Christian.

Honestly? I don't know if pastors of "my generation" emphasize the beauty of God. More than likely, most of the pastors who are my age are generic products of their seminary. They wear a polo shirt, slacks, smile too much, and would gut you like a pig if you disagreed with their theology. Well, may not the last part, I hope. Please. I really hope they wouldn't.

Quotable movies - Falling Down

Golfer: Fore!
[Hits a golf ball at Foster]
Bill Foster: [Takes out a shotgun] Five!


Bill Foster: What are you trying to do? Kill me with a golf ball? It's not enough you have all these beautiful acres fenced in for your little game, but you gotta kill me with a golf ball? You should have children playing here, you should have families having picnics, you should have a goddamn petting zoo. But instead you've got these stupid electric carts for you old men with nothing better to do.
[Shoots a golf cart]
Bill Foster: Now aren't you ashamed?


Bill Foster: [to The Golfer that is having a heart attack] Yeah. And now you're gonna die, wearing that stupid little hat. How does it feel?


Bill Foster: What about the briefcase? You forgot the briefcase.


Panhandler: That's a hell of a way to treat a vet, man.
Bill Foster: You're an animal doctor?
Panhandler: No, a vet. A veteran. I was in 'Nam, man.
Bill Foster: What were you - a drummer boy? You must've been 10 years old.
Panhandler: I meant the Gulf. I meant to say the Gulf. Jesus. Come on. All I'm asking for is a little change. I haven't eaten in three days.
[has a sandwhich in hand]
Panhandler: Well, I mean, except for this.


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Today's American Elf ("Luck Cracker") is too cute.

James Kochalka is the coolest. One of the few people on the internet worth subscribing to and reading daily. His sketchbook diary made a real impact on me during the last few days of Melissa's pregnancy. I think in some odd way, it prepared me for being a dad.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Each year in the U.S. there are 33 skydiving related deaths (source). Since 1978, in the U.S. there have been 37 vending machine related deaths (source).

You take your risks. I take mine.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Missionary honesty, lesson #1:
God has a wonderful plan for your life...
unless He doesn't.

Date to Save (via Dan)

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I've updated the stories section on Antihero Comics. Check it out.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

U.S. Military Clears A-Team of Charges

WASHINGTON, DC—After more than 30 years spent hiding in the Los Angeles underground as wanted criminals, the members of the crack commando unit Alpha Team, commonly known as the A-Team, were cleared of all charges brought against them by the U.S. military, an army official announced Monday.

Monday, August 16, 2004

What happened to them?

**Leave It To Beaver**

Jerry Mathers (Beaver)
1972-1976: Earned philosophy degree from Berkeley

Tony Dow (Wally)
60's - 80's: Suffered from clinical depression

Frank Bank (Lumpy)
1980s: Is a successful bonds broker, drives a DeLorean with license plate, "IMLUMPY"

Jeri Weil (Judy)
1980s: was working as a hairdresser

Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskel)
1970: Joins Los Angeles Police Department as traffic officer
1980: shot three times in the line of duty, saved by bullet proof vest and metal belt buckle

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Watched Dr.Strangelove tonight...

[Turgidson advocates a further nuclear attack to prevent a Soviet response to Ripper's attack]
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.
President Merkin Muffley: You're talking about mass murder, General, not war!
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.
Do the sum total of one's interests and hobbies equate to an "identity"? Maybe not twenty years ago. But now, our interests and hobbies have become much more sophiscated and nuanced-- with magazines, role models, mass consumption, 24 hour media, communal and solitary expressions. These interests become linked to our fashion sense, our values, and perspective. We no longer identify; we advertise our identity.

Friday, August 13, 2004

From the dEUS website:

2004 sees the return of Belgian band dEUS on stages throughout Europe, thus ending what frontman Tom Barman calls: "A pretty long sabbatical." After they completed their greatly attended Ideal Crash Tour, dEUS took a four year stop, which allowed each member of the Belgian five piece to pursue different interests. During this long interval, the band's only sign of life was the majestic single 'Nothing Really Ends', which, along with ten other popular dEUS tracks, eventually wound up on the 2001 compilation 'No More Loud Music' and the accompanying DVD 'No More Video'. Both collections clearly demonstrated that a world without dEUS would be a barren place, so the good news is that Antwerp's finest are finally ready to give it another go. The band is currently in the studio, recording new material set for a possible release in the fall. 'Please expect a straightforward and up-tempo rock album', singer-guitarist Tom Barman says. 'What we're after is an energetic, live sounding record, although it looks like it's going to be pretty eclectic and experimental too. We can't help it, we're just inclined that way.' As further proof of their renewed vitality, the guys are about to showcase some of their new material on stage. They'll be playing big festivals soon, in ten European countries end of the summer.

It's been four years since their last full length album. They did release a "singles" collection and DVD with one obligatory new single. The rumbling among fans was that dEUS had called it quits. But here they are, making a come back and still staying far, far away from the United States.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Coming soon.

A few days ago, I went to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. There was an incredible exhibit by French artist Pierre Huyghe. If you are anywhere in the DFW metroplex, it's well worth the drive. Consequently, Huyghe had also collaborated on a book called "School Spirit" with Douglas Coupland. And to my delight... the book was available in the giftshop. I own every book that Coupland has printed and published in the United States. However, some of his books are only sold in Canada. (Or in the case of "God Hates Japan", it's ironically only available in Japan. And is written in Japanese, which Coupland is also fluent in.) Thanks to the internet, I've been able to track down most of his rarer books. However, I didn't have "School Spirit", so this really was exciting.

Walking out of the Modern with book in hand, happy as can be, I realized that Douglas Coupland's work has been one of the more consistant things in my life. What do I mean?

Over the years, my preferences with movies, food, music, and activities have all changed. My location, my appearance, and my demeanor have all changed. My thoughts on religion and greater purpose have changed. My friends have changed-- and the dynamics of those friendships have changed. The people I've loved, the things I cared about, over the years, they've changed. But ever since 8th grade, I've been reading Douglas Coupland's books. For all these years, my inner voice has been decidedly Coupland-esque.

That must mean something.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

This guy looks kinda creepy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I've returned to school. Preparing my classroom, my lessons for another year of sophomore English.

Our school's computer tech person wants to take my laptop (issued by the district) and look over it for "bad memory". Which it doesn't have, but nevermind. She's trying desperately to justify her job and this is how she does it: fixing things that don't need fixing and breaking things, so she can fix 'em. Her answer to any computer problem? Reimage the entire computer. Wipe the slate clean and just load everything back on. Nevermind how big or small the problem is. Reimage. Sometimes she reimages our computers, just because. As if it were the same as regularly running a virus check or defragging it. Our computers also tend to have a short lifespan in her hands.

My classroom PC is fried. (It even smelled like something has burned up inside.) So she sent in a work order to the district computer tech person. This is what she does when there is an actual problem, which she is, of course, untraining for.

All of these foibles could be looked over, if she wasn't also mean. She's mean to all the staff and the students. She assumes hackers and random cycles of fate to be the problem that plagues the majority of our computers. And her solution is to keep our luddite teachers in a state of fear, while she either reimages or calls in reinforcements from the district.

So I currently do not have a computer in my classroom, one is cursed with "bad memory" (although it's been running beautifully all year long and she's never seen it until now... she just knows) and the other is fried. Great.

Lesson plans?
Checking school e-mail?
Setting up my gradebook?
Looking at my class roster?

Nada. Can't do it. I'm stuck decorating and rearranging my room.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Ordered Chinese food. My fortune cookie says:
You have great physical powers and an iron constitution.

Cool. I have powers.

Melissa and I met five years ago.

A lot has happened in five years.

Friday, August 06, 2004

George W. Bush makes a joke about WMDs. (quicktime file)

To be read after you watch (no peeking!):
I'm not really sure how I feel about this video. Clearly, it's a dark satire of Bush's smug attitude toward his responsibilities as a world leader. However, using the images of deceased soldiers feels a little bit explotive. Obviously, it makes its point, but the music used and the clownish font isn't nearly as effective. If you really want to piss people off, use serious music and a more professional font-- cross cut it with Bush laughing and the applauses while showing the soldiers-- and then you've got some harsh satire. Just a thought.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

McMansion invasion
+ an update
+ and another update

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

A friend (Justin) sent this to me. It's from the San Diego Con.

Dead@17: Rough Cut is available today. Find it at any local comic book store.
Comic Book Store Locator

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Kennedy is watching her "Baby Einstein" DVD. She's absolutely enamored by the images.

I just got an e-mail, one of the publishers turned down my story proposal. They're good people, completely professional. However, I'd be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed. I spent a lot of time on it. I'm tired of people saying I'm a "good writer". While I appreciate the sentiment, I don't need a pat on the back. Clearly, I'm not good enough. Good writer? Compared to Charlie Kaufman? Douglas Coupland? Brian Bendis? What I need is to get better. I need to get something published. I can't keep deceiving myself to think that my script writing is on par with the people who are doing this professionally. I can't blame the publisher. It's me. I'm not there yet.

Today sucks. :)

Looked like a fun party; happy belated, Emily!
Normally, I have a rule about dressing up as a super hero... only in times of great peril do I don my cape and take to the skies.

"You and I are so much the same. You have so many layers, that you can peel away a few, and everyone's so shocked or impressed that you're baring your soul, while to you it's nothing, because you know you've twenty more layers to go. But we're the ones that are most scared, and need the most love."
-Hillevi, from Craig Thompson's Carnet de Voyage

Monday, August 02, 2004

Ben Kweller wrote a song called "Commerce, TX"-- which is weird, because I lived in Commerce, Texas for four years while going to college. I met Melissa in Commerce. So odd.

It's an interesting town. After awhile, it grows on you. I miss it from time to time. Commerce is the "inside story" that only your friends really get.

The Arlington Museum of Art has been remodelled, and it looks beautiful. Once we get our money in order, I'll probably get a "household" membership to the AMA. I probably spend more charitable dollars supporting the Arts than I do humanitarian causes. I don't know how I should feel about that. From a strictly utilitarian perspective, I'm a jerk. However, artists and art organizations do need support... so I don't feel guilty about it.

Two specific organizations which see my money...

* A Commitment to Our Roots (A.C.T.O.R.)
* Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Just an observation...
The ability to do different accents does not make someone a thespian.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

What next? A secret handshake and a tree house?

Two Pepper Sprayed Over Phone Call At Fla. Movie Pair Arrested At Theater

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A college student who took a cell phone call from her mother in a movie theater was pepper sprayed by an officer and charged with disorderly conduct, along with her boyfriend.

Warronnica Harris, 23, was at the Muvico theater at BayWalk Saturday night, watching the opening credits to Catwoman when her cell phone rang.

"It was my mom calling me," Harris said. "It was a family emergency."

Harris said she spoke so quietly that her mother couldn't hear her. Then Officer John Douglas shone a flashlight in her eyes.

He asked Harris and her boyfriend, Terrell "KC" Tolson, 25, to leave. He pushed Harris in the hallway, then pepper sprayed both of them in the lobby, the couple said. Neither Harris nor Tolson has a criminal record.

Police denied their account, saying Harris refused to end her cell phone conversation, yelled at the Douglas and refused to leave the theater. Her boyfriend also refused to leave and threatened the officer, police said.

Witnesses said the pair did nothing wrong.

Marcia Gray, a 49-year-old Tampa accountant, was in the lobby when the couple were pepper sprayed.

"The man turned and asked the officer why he was making them leave and the cop just maced him in the face," Gray said. "They weren't yelling or touching him. The man bent over and the girl asked why he maced her boyfriend. Then the cop maced her, and she dropped her soda."

more info from http://www.sptimes.com/2004/07/28/Southpinellas/Police__Belligerence_.shtml

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