Friday, March 11, 2005

No Longer at Large

Dave Allen passed away last night at age 68. I grew up watching his very old-school one-man show "Dave Allen at Large" late at night on PBS. When my parents would let me stay up late enough, that is.

Good night, thank you, and may your God go with you.

Some collected Dave Allen quotes

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Music to Start a Cult To

You should be downloading Gram Rabbit mp3s.

Cool, kooky, hypnotic music from a little Joshua Tree band.

Also, bunny ears.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Physical Fits

Once again, we have begun to plunge healthward in the Kafkaesque household. Roughly every other day, we wake up at five thirty in the morning (or even earlier, depending on who we are trying to impress with the story) and go for a half-hour jog.

And we are not even being chased by bears or anything.

I've discovered something fantastic about jogging, and I think it's probably why most joggers jog: you can complain about it whenever you want. And any time is the right time to complain about jogging, I assure you. Any lull in the conversation is ideal to issue a low groan and say pathetically (yet impressively) "Ohhh. I woke up at five-thirty this morning to go jogging." [obviously, you may embellish with any time up to 3 am. Earlier than three may stretch plausibility.]

On the days we don't go jogging, I do exercises in the morning. These exercises consist entirely of pushups and crunches, ensuring a minimum of actual results. I call them "crunches" because it sounds really important and rough and tumble. "Situps" doesn't sound anywhere near impressive enough.

I do fifty of each in our guest room, choosing to perform the mighty crunches with my toes hooked under one of our Ikea Billy bookcases with really heavy glass doors. A couple of factors make this placement enjoyable:

1. Each time I struggle to a near-sitting position, I am eye-level with the philosophy and religion shelf, so my thought process is kind of like this: "Aaaaaaagh - oh, the Baghavad Gita As It Is - Aaaaaaagh - I should really finish Violence and the Sacred - Aaaaaaagh - I bet Joseph Campbell can't do fifty crunches - Aaaaaaagh - If he were alive I mean - Aaaaaaagh!" and so on.

2. Every crunch exerts a little more upward force on the heavy bookshelf, and makes me wonder if I correctly installed the little safety strap to the wall. By about crunch #43, I secretly wish for the sweet release of death, crushed under a weighty pile of New German Cinema texts and travel guides for places we haven't been yet.

All of this madcap exercising is occasioned by our desire to be slightly less flabby when we go to Maui next month. I feel confident I won't be much less flabby but at least, when I am gazing at the sunrise from Haleakala, I can groan and say "Ohhhh man. I was up at three am jogging," and put all the other tourists to shame.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Things I Learned from Watching John Carpenter's "The Fog"

So the wifely friend and I were out hiking this weekend. It was a beautiful day and we hiked about 5 miles, up a mountain ridge to the San Francisco Bay Area Discovery Site, where hundreds of years ago, intrepid explorers looked down on the San Francisco Bay and said to themselves "I think the real estate here is going to be very, very expensive."

And of course, as so often happens when surrounded by Nature's rich pageant, we were seized with the urge to stop off at the mall, buy horror movies, and eat popcorn. This was perhaps a byproduct of our discussion that Pacifica is a pretty likely place to find some fishpeople.

I selected The Fog, a movie I remembered as being truly frightening. Of course, I hadn't seen the film in some twenty years, but I felt confident it must be good. I remembered undead shambling and...well, that's about it. Having watched The Fog, I was astonished at how poor my memory can be.

And what did I learn from John Carpenter's The Fog?

If zombie leper pirates show up at your house after midnight, and start banging on the door with their giant zombie leper pirate fish hooks, don't let them in. You should probably think for just a minute before letting them in, at least. You could think, for example, "Did I invite the zombie leper pirates over?" and maybe "Even if I did invite the zombie leper pirates over, it's frankly a little rude for them to show up after midnight. And what's with the banging on the door? Zombie leper pirates should knock politely, especially at this late hour. I have half a mind to never invite the zombie leper pirates over again."

That's about all I learned, honestly. Except that, again, my memory had made The Fog much better than it really was. I remembered a great sequence in which some luckless drunken fisherman gets his throat ripped out by one of the aforementioned giant zombie leper pirate fish hooks. This did not happen. Maybe it was in Escape from Witch Mountain? I can't be sure.

The Fog, incidentally, goes against my theory that seventies horror movies are as a rule very good. Because it's not.

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