Friday, March 26, 2004

No-One Ever Complains About Airlines

I never get the headphones on flights, because the movies are awful.

I remember watching silently some of Pay It Forward. I wished terrible and surprisingly graphic torture on Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey, my eyes drifting up to the tiny screen as I watched from my tiny chair. I think the airlines should just pull out all the stops and show Beastmaster 2 on every flight.

"Ladies and gentlemen this is your captain we'll be cruising at an altitude of 12,000 feet...we'll be serving something hideous for your inflight meal...and after we level out we'll start our feature's a special treat for you today...Akira Kurosawa directs Toshiro Mifune in Rasho-- just kidding! It's Beastmaster 2."

There also seems to be a certain despondency or inappropriateness to some of the film choices. Once, on a transatlantic flight, they showed us a couple of movies, one of which was that awful Anthony Hopkins movie about killing monkeys for fun and profit, and the other was some terrible teevee movie about a single mother dying of breast cancer. It was awful. People were crying in the aisles.

First the monkeys getting turned into ashtrays and wastebaskets, then the single mom languishing away in her hospital bed. Jesus.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the incredibly depressing films featured on this, Beastmaster 2."

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I picked up the wifely friend's wedding ring a few days ago from our dubious jeweler. I'll call him Mo (because that's his real name). He's a giant Persian guy who is clearly on a large variety of drugs. We are trusting him for reasons that are unclear even to us to recast a significant amount of platinum into the right size for the wifely friend's dainty finger. The ring has never fit just right in our three years of marriage.

The last time I saw him, he was putting tiny slivers of sapphire into a water-fountain night-light. As he tried to pick up the little jewels, his hand was shaking like it was possessed by Pzuzu and engaged in a little ecstatic dancing. He glanced up at me and his eyes looked like the Man From Atlantis, or at least The Man Who Has Either Been Swimming in a Hyperchlorinated Pool or Has Smoked Large Amount of Pot.

Also, putting sapphires into an intrinsically worthless piece of plastic like a night-light is something that would only occur to somebody who's really, really high.

"Oh wow, man. I just thought of something. What if we took the goo out of a Renuzit air freshener and filled it with 12 year old Scotch?"

That sort of thing.

Anyway, I was thinking it might be fun to ask my wife to marry me several times throughout the course of the day, in really inappropriate places. Like waiting in line at the Subway, at the bus stop or at Hot Dog on a Stick. Maybe stroll into her work with a big bunch of those crappy tinfoil balloons you see at the grocery store checkout stand and a silk rose and loudly proclaim that I want to make an honest woman of her.

As it turned out, I decided not embarrass her in this fashion, as I am embarrassing enough to her in your garden variety ways. I just got down on one knee on our patio and said "You know I love you, right?", causing just the right amount of panic in her eyes as she thought "Oh no, you've killed someone/slept with an animal/broken my precious cat with wings sculpture," and then slipped the ring on her finger.

In the moment of doing that I realized a couple of things.

One, I will never again get that heartsickeningly worried moment of "Will she say yes?"

Two, that it is important to ask her to marry me every couple of years, just to keep her on her toes.

It's so romantic, it might make her forget that I did, in fact, break her "cat with wings" sculpture.
I'm not one to complain about such things (which of course means "I am definitely, unequivocally and irrefutably one to complain about such things, and even some other things that really aren't even all that related to the first thing even in the most tangential way."), but I saw a Hummer commercial today featuring Mojave 3 music. I don't think it's the end of days, but it just seems a little incongruous. Not as bad as Godspeed You! Black Emperor advertising for Raytheon or General Dynamics or anything, but just a little off.

Monday, March 22, 2004

The New Shirt

I wore a new shirt today. It's nice.

Maybe too nice.

All day people have been stopping by my cubicle and saying things like "Wow, silk?" and "That's the kind of shirt I want to get." and "I am no longer feel worthy to be working in the same building as you." I'll be working along happily (in this case happily is a decidedly relative term), when all of a sudden, I'll become aware of a presence off to my left.

I turn quickly and catch the entire engineering staff eyeing my shirt, cautiously tiptoeing closer like squirrels shyly approaching an offered peanut. Their eyes light on the shirt, and just for a moment, they are spirited away from their humdrum existence, lifted up from the soul-crushing banality of AutoCAD. They are given wings and hope by my shirt, freed from the constraints of their lonely and meaningless existences.

In this shirt, they see their destiny. They want to become better than they are. A mere yard of cotton blend has given them a renewed gusto.

Maybe they will take up rock climbing tonight. Or learn the saxophone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

You could ask every single person you meet today what their favorite animal is, and not one of them would say "the shrimp".

Monday, March 15, 2004

The Sizzler Seduction Scenario

Notes for possible short story/novel/rock opera/religious master narrative:

- A man, Julio, lounges by the all-you-can-eat salad bar of a Sizzler, making lurid suggestions to women using a langostino and drawn butter for visual aid.

- possible love scene involving sex on the salad bar, awkward moment with sneeze guard. Could strategically place pickled beets for propriety/ R rating.

- Educational song explaining that chickpeas and garbanzos are essentially the same thing. Note: Make chickpeas represent the struggle of Native Americans in the last century. What rhymes with garbanzo?

- Can one commit suicide by drinking a gallon of Thousand Island Dressing? Must research or final revelation will be meaningless.

- A gang of langostinos save Julio the salad bar Romeo at crucial moment, teaching him about forgiveness and the redeeming power of love.

- Big closing musical number during which the entire cast pelt each other with Texas Bread and cheap steak.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Thanks to the moderate urging of astute and friendly person Waxy, I have added an RSS Feed, which you will see a link to over there on the left somewhere.

God only knows if it works.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Professional Rememberers

A few nights ago as I desultorily flipped channels, desperately seaching for the 90 minute Knife Auction paid program, I came upon the latest in the string of "wasn't that decade great, you know with the things that we all kind of remember?" show. This one was about the 90s. People were reminiscing about such sweet and distant memories as Britney Spears. It seems so long ago now.

I don't mind these shows, really. At least the 70s and 80s ones were understandable. Maybe there would be a sense of community, and that must be what the viewers are searching for in these programs, where they know they are not the only ones that remember Catch That Pigeon or Funky Phantom lunchboxes or something. And then there's that moment of "oh yeah! Those thing were great/shitty/potentially lethal to toddlers." and that's pretty much it. We move on.

When you're flashing back to the 90s, it's just not the same. Like "Oh wow, you remember PlayStation ONE?! I can't believe we were such fools! And what were those things on that show with the creepy babyhead in the sun? Tellybubbles?"

It's all lost now. We were so innocent, in those days of mobile phones that were marginally larger than the ones we have now. Movies were backwards freakshows like Toy Story, as opposed to Finding Nemo. And according to the program, there were animated television icons named Beavis and Butthead.

Who was doing this goldfish-memory reminiscing? That carpenter guy from Trading Spaces, among others. He was the only one I recognized, anyway. What was the carpenter guy doing during the 90s? Learning to lathe? I don't care about this person and his opinion of U2's Zooropa.

Make me a finely detailed coffee table and be quiet, you bastard.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Body found in East River Identified as Spalding Gray


I saw Spalding Gray live a couple of times, and he still ranks as the celebrity I have had brushes with the most often. The first time was when I was working at a coffee shop in Northern California. I was about eighteen or twenty I guess, and the coffee shop was catering live performances at an old estate in the hills above town. I made sure I was on hand for Gray's performance of Monster In a Box, having seen Swimming to Cambodia some time before.

I smoked a lot back then. Unfiltered Lucky Strikes. Maybe two packs a day. And if I finished a pack while I was driving, I'd fling the wrapper down in the car. As a result, I had a carpet of empty Lucky Strike packs all over the floor of my car.

Before the show I pulled my car up to the very front of the venue, where I'd be serving coffee before the start of the show and at intermission. I opened the passenger side door and pulled out one of the giant coffee urns I'd be using, took it over to the refreshments area. When I got back to the car to grab the decaf urn, a BMW was parked next to my car, and Spalding Gray was looking in the open passenger door, goggle-eyed.

"Thank goodness!" he said. "I thought you'd died from too many Lucky Strikes!"

"Spalding mon!" I cried in a poor imitation of one of the characters from Swimming to Cambodia "Never too many!"

That was it.

A few years later, the wifely friend and I saw him at UCSC, reading Gray's Anatomy, and the next day he was sitting at the next table at our favorite breakfast place. I remember thinking of walking up and saying hello, maybe mentioning something about the incident with the Lucky Strikes, but of course, he wouldn't have remembered.

So now Spalding Gray has washed up on the river's edge in Mahattan. Maybe there just weren't enough perfect moments, or they were too long in coming.

I didn't know him, but I admired his work. And what else can you say, really?

Friday, March 05, 2004

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Live action Photoshopped Far Side cartoons

[via my friend Durundal, who has no site and thus no link]

Monday, March 01, 2004

I did watch the Oscars last night for the first time in many years, and was glad to see Peter Jackson and The Return of the King get so much recognition.

But the thing I'll remember most from the Oscars is this: actresses are shiny.

Charlize Theron? Super shiny. Sandra Bullock? Extra shiny. Nicole Kidman? Not so shiny, but did look like the Martian commander from Mars Attacks!

I think this is going to be an exciting new trend in actress status, with the more famous expensive actresses trying to outshiny each other, until in the end the greatest actresses will be virtually unfilmable and only viewable through smoked glass, at the risk of severe retinal damage.


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