Sunday, February 29, 2004

Say Hello to My Boring Friend!

I had never seen Scarface before. I had heard for so long how great it is, how groundbreaking and exciting and violent and profane and on and on, so we put it on our NetFlix queue and watched a few days ago.

My conclusion: that was one of the most bejeezusly boring movies I have ever seen. They really could have made about a 90 minute movie and everything would have been fine. The first hour, after all, was entertaining. People said "mang!" a lot, which is a tried and true benefit for so many movies, like Remains of the Day, Witness and Nell.

We got to see lots of cocaine, lots of Al Pacino setting new records in overacting achievement, Michelle Pfeiffer dancing like a sedated outpatient, a guy getting in touch with his inner chainsaw sculptor. All that was well and good. Also, Tony Montana having really miserable luck with the ladies.

But they had to stretch this thing out for over two and a half hours, with pacing that would have tested Jim Jarmusch's patience. I thought of all the young toughs who crow about the greatness of this movie, in much the same way they espouse the benefits of, you know, Red Bull and those tiny tires that stick out the sides of their cars in a touching tribute to legos. I can't believe these gangster wannabes really like this film.

So again, just give us the first hour and then the exciting finale scene. They can just bust right in to the scene where Pacino has coke dripping off his nose. That would be fine. It would save us all a lot of aggravation and pink and green neon.

Incidentally, with a nice name like Tony Montana, I'm sure there were other career paths open to Pacino's character. I mean, look how well Tony Roma has done for himself with that rib thing. Perhaps a used car lot? I don't know, but for god's sake I wouldn't have had to put up with the movie if he had just listened to his career counselor a little more acutely.

Also also, I don't know what gang of lower mammals did the soundtrack for Scarface, but it sounds like someone with a Casio, a built in beat, and little or no imagination.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Oh my, is this addictive

Dyson vacuum cleaner flash game.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Finally, a dog wedding dress we can all be proud of.
...And Here My Troubles Began

I have been deeply embroiled in the sordid world of management training at work, where the heady scent of employee empowerment leaves us breathless and reeling. We are the opium eaters drunk on the sweet ambrosia of efficiency. Lost and giddy, we spin in this dance of regular appraisals, and to our subjects we give what? What? A sense of entitlement! Of belonging to a team that cares about them and doesn't think about sandwiches when they are talking.

And what did I learn in this golden castle in the sky, besides don't eat the puffy cake-like doughnuts?

How to effectively humiliate your employees, that's what. Sure, you may think it's enough to snigger at them for no reason, and constantly remind them how much more money you make than they do, or indeed ever will, but that's just not enough these days. The world is changing. Men are rising in the east and the, no wait. Let's start that again.

It's not enough these days to make them feel small, alone and friendless. You've got to cut right to the quick. Probe deep for childhood trauma. Did they wet the bed? Were they laughed at ever by members of the opposite sex? Do they have psoriasis? An extra toe? Use that power! Remember, if your employees ever feel good about themselves, they may realize that they're smarter than you, and then everybody might find out!

Saturday, February 21, 2004

All She Left Behind - A moving story of man and hairdryer.

[via Cardhouse]

Friday, February 20, 2004

Justly Married - Derek Powazek of San Francisco is raising money for Don't Amend by selling a poster of his photo taken at City Hall.

or, why not

Donate money to buy flowers for a random gay couple waiting to get married?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Walk On the Rice Paper, and Leave No Mark

AH! Oh my dear lord!

Must pre-order...Kung...Fu....

Especially that one where he gets bitten by the scorpion and he's having all those crazy visions and....oh, man. I can't wait.

I love Kung Fu. It was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid, and I don't care if David Carradine doesn't look particularly Asian. That show was really formative for me. It gave me a different view of things than the everyday, inspired my lasting enjoyment of martial arts and westerns both. And resulted in some truly incredible fake-fighting, the level of which is seldom witnessed outside the arena of professional wrestling.

I may have told this story before, but when I toiled away as a bagel shop worker under the steely gaze of Julio the Suicidal Bagel Shop Manager, I burned the holy hell out of my upper arms one day while carrying a tray of fresh bialies through a doorway. What happened was I had just taken the tray out of the gigantic, walk-in size oven and as I went through the doorway to the counter area, the tray caught on the doorframe, pushing it back into my biceps.

This hurt.

But in that moment of burning the crap out of my arms (I would have large repulsive blisters there for a couple of weeks), I saw myself as Kwai Chang Cain, lifting the steaming kettle, branding the dragons into his arms.

Somehow, it's not quite as street-credible when you're carrying bialies in the Capitola mall.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

I felt the slowdown coming, like the icy onset of old age. The hourglass staying longer. The sands of time fleeting, serving as a warning.

I should have known. I put graphics in. And the table. Then I was splitting the cells.

Too many splits. Too many cells.

The scrolling slowed. Slowed. Like too many Octoroks moving on the screen at once.

And then, the beautiful moment of extinguishing.

You, Microsoft Word.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Give Until It Hurts, Old Man

Something terrible happened this week.

Of course, terrible things are happening all over the world all the time, especially with this administration in office (Ha! Zing! Pow! Please, tip your server).

No, something terrible. Truly awful. Worse than an Eagles Rock Block. Worse than having the Growing Pains theme song stuck in your head. Marginally worse than going to the store at seven in the morning because you're out of milk for your coffee and buying buttermilk by accident. Or acidophilus, which is frankly a silly word which I promise never again to use in this weblog (or "webl" as the cool kids call it).

What happened was that my university alumni club (UC Santa Cruz, home of the Fighting Banana Slugs, patchouli, and mildew) called me for some dough. That's fine. I can understand how they need the money, what with Arnold Very-Big-Liar as our governor here in California. I have given them donations before, but this time, I opted out by telling the nice young lady on the phone that I would have to wait until my tax return.

This is technically not true. It's just something that came out instead of "I just don't feel like it right now." As a result, they'll call me back in a few months, and I'll have to come up with another excuse.

Then, she sprung it on me: "You know, this would be a great time to get involved with the school again*. Your ten year reunion is coming up."

I had a soap opera moment. I held the receiver away from my ear and looked at the earpiece, as if removing the source of the grim news could somehow pull the memory of the words from my head.

Ten. Year. Reunion.

And not a ten year high school reunion! A ten year college reunion! Jesus Christ. I went to work this morning feeling spry and youthful, and with only a few words, this person had turned me into freaking Methuselah. Should I be thinking of retirement? Moving to Florida? Shaking my cane at gangs of young toughs? Or even, since this how I originally misspelled the last sentence, shaking my can at gangs of young toughs?

How can this be? Have ten years flown by so fast?

OK. I'm done whining about that.

But on the subject of giving, I gave to KCRW for the first time yesterday. I didn't give enough to get any of the "free" gifts that come along with pledging, but they did tell me that I had earned the right to be smug about listening to NPR, so I'll be looking down my nose at people just that much more this year, I can tell you.

Also, I gave them money to help defer the cost of their new Super Duper Studios, so they entered me in a drawing to win a Jaguar. I don't usually enter contests of any sort, but immediately my brain took the thought of me winning this car as a given. "A Jaguar!" I scoffed. "Who the hell would want a Jaguar? They're owned by Ford now, for one thing, and they're starting to resemble some unholy union of a Jaguar and a Taurus. So what am I going to do with my Jaguar? I'll sell it. And I'll buy something cool. Like that Lexus Sport Wagon...Maybe a Volvo."

And then it rang true. I'm thinking of selling my Jag and buying a Volvo.

I'm lucky it's not my twenty-fifth reunion. It's all over. I'll just be over here, in the corner, drinking my acidophilus.

*I was not very involved in the college experience. I transferred in from a community college, lived off campus and graduated after two years, with a BA in Modern Literature, which is great if you're into Henry Miller and semiotics, but not that great if you're into being employed or knowing anything even tangentially useful. My final exam was of the oral variety. I talked about Don Delillo and Dostoyevsky and Faulkner in a satisfactorily vague way until they agreed to give me my degree.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Added a Thelonious Monk show and a Can show to the boot trading list, if you are so inclined.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

There has been an ugly trend toward physical fitness in the Kafkaesque household lately.

Yesterday, tennis. Today, a ten mile hike. That's right. Ten miles. It's not enough for us to hike ten miles, either. It was necessary that we hike a trail designed by a cruel sadist, filled with unreasonably steep ascents and populated by mountain bikers intent on forcing us from the trail into patches of cactus.

As a result, my feet have fallen off.

But that's OK, because we made it home just in time for the ultimate couch potato event: the Super Bowl. The game itself was pretty good, and the halftime show lived up to the terrible heights of all Super Bowl halftime shows. The lineup was like an ascending ranking of awfulness: P. Diddy. Fair enough. P. Diddy is awful, but you can just say "OK, it's a halftime show. It's going to suck." And your suspicions are well-founded when you see P. Diddy. But just as you ease into that level of crappiness, out comes Nelly!

Nelly is a new low. You long for the carefree days of only P. Diddy on stage, as the two cavort around on stage and the cheerleaders sing "Oh Mickey", cutely substituting "Diddy" for "Mickey". It is clear that P. Diddy is a musical genius.

But then, there's more! It's Kid Rock! Kid Rock is surely the sign that the bottom has been reached. He's wearing an American Flag poncho of some sort. He's blathering about something and saying his own name a lot. They pay him for this. His appearance is proof positive that anything can be made worse by a Kid Rock number.

Anyway, There was also Janet Jackson. Janet Jackson is par for the course on halftime shows as far as I'm concerned. Janet Jackson is awful, yes, but at least it's not Christina Aguilera. Or that opera-singing cop. And there was Justin Timberlake, and frankly I don't really know who that is.

I'm sure everyone has heard about the super-duper outrageous and in-no-way-planned-for-publicity move in which this Timberlake fellow bared Janet Jackson's boob for the seven people out there who haven't already seen Janet Jackson's boob.

OK, now we've all seen Janet Jackson's boob. We can sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that Janet Jackson has a boob.

And really, we've got Nelly singing "Take off all your clothes!" to prepubescent teens. How hypocritical is it that when someone actually does take off some clothes, the censors lose it?

That's all the insightful boob commentary I have for you. I have to try to grow some new feet.


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