less charming and more strange than your average blog

September 30, 2003

Batten down yer sloop, ye black-hearted sons of bilge-rats! 

A while ago Luke ended up with a shitload of 50 cent pieces. He had no idea where they came from, they were suddenly in his coin drawer for no reason at all. Perhaps 50 Cent climbed down our chimney and deposited them there, like Santa except less a benign symbol of the Christmas season and more like a menacing thug entering our home as we slept peacefully in our beds. Even if he did break in, instead of leaving piles of 50 cent pieces he would more likely shoot us both in the mouth. Nine times. And then he would collaborate with Lil' Kim on a song that referred to his cock as "the magic stick." No wait, that last one really happened.

But I digress. I was showing Laura my new collection of 50 cent pieces (Luke had no use for them, as they could not be used in any vending machines, just kidding I meant in the washing machine or dryer), and I said, "I like having big coins. It makes me feel like I'm a pirate." What I'm trying to say is, it's a shame there aren't pirates anymore.

September 25, 2003

Last night 

It's almost 11 PM on the last night I will ever spend in this apartment. Luke is finishing the last of his packing (which includes all the plates, bowls, and silverware, so I'm looking forward to drinking my cereal out of an old Slurpee cup tomorrow). What little of my belongings are still here have been gathered in a corner in the bedroom. They look so small and pitiful next to Luke's massive piles of boxes, and I'm reminded just how much of everything we owned was his. I'm working on conning him out of some of his stuff, though, because he's not going to have room for all of it in his new bedroom: "Oh, Luke, you won't have room for that entertainment center in your new apartment, but you could store it in my bedroom at home if you want. I am just that giving."

When it comes to days like this -- "Today is the last day of _____," or "Tomorrow, _____ will be over" -- I can never wrap my mind around it and even at this very second, it's impossible for me to believe that after tomorrow, Luke's and my relationship will truly be over. Maybe not forever, but for a significant amount of time, it will be over. We can't kiss, or sleep together, or have sex with each other anymore. Personal boundaries will have to start applying once again. We'll have to refrain from most types of physical affection, because remaining in that gray zone will only make it that much more wrenching when one of us starts seeing someone, or gets over the other, or grows uncomfortable with that stuff and politely requests that it stop.

Tonight, Luke and I held each other and professed that we weren't ready to this, not for real. Not so soon. Not so extreme a separation. But we made this decision almost a month ago, and the process is too far in motion to stop it. It's not so obvious to me anymore that we're doing the right thing.

Tomorrow, everything will be different.

September 24, 2003

I always liked the British 

Item on David Blaine, second story from the top. Apparently British passers-by are pelting him with eggs, golf balls, and food and Blaine might be forced to quit his latest "amazing" feat. These celebrity news columns are totally sketchy, but an alleged "insider" says, "Blaine's management are beyond livid. Basically, in their view, the British TV people didn't seem to care what happened to him as long as the ratings were up. This isn't Big Brother. Frankly, he could die in there and they wouldn't give a shit."

I don't even know where to start with how stupid this is. First of all, I don't really need to explain to you why David Blaine sucks, right? But his management being so indignant that the British TV people only care about ratings is a whole new breed of idiotic. Hey, David Blaine's management? The man makes a living out of risking his life (or appearing to). And you make money off the fact that he "could die." That's all fine and good because I think you're all douche bags, but at least don't act all offended that people don't give a crap about David Blaine's physical safety, because he's a circus act. Don't bitch about how his life is in danger because people are throwing shit at him, because YOU PUT HIM IN A PERSPEX BOX WITH NO FOOD FOR 44 DAYS!

And don't get all high and mighty about how the "British TV people" only care about ratings, as if in America, we Really Care about those who participate in stunts like this. America is where people who only care about ratings go to die. Two words: Fear Factor. Now shut the hell up and let Paul McCartney throw shit at David Blaine.

September 23, 2003

Diary of an insomniac 

I know it'll timestamp this entry when it's posted, but just for the record, it's 3:36 AM right now and I just spent the last three and a half hours lying in bed, tossing and turning and trying very hard to not try at all to fall asleep. Nothing felt right. Too hot. Too cold. Pajamas are irritating me. Nakedness is distracting, my equipment just can't get comfortable. My hands are dry, everything I touch feels like paper and I can't think about anything else. For some reason all I can think about is Brittany Murphy and how horrendous she looks as a blonde. Lying on my side is no good. Lying on my back? Also no good. Lying on my stomach is worst of all. What the hell is left? I imagined hanging from the ceiling from a noose would have been welcome right about then.

When I finally gave up the fight and came out to the living room, my eyes didn't even need to adjust when I turned on the light. It's like my body knew it wasn't going to get any sleep, so it didn't bother making the necessary preparations. Is this a cause or an effect? I've been feeling creatively bankrupt for the last several months, and now all of a sudden, the one night in over a month that I actually need to get sleep (I have to be somewhere at 10 AM tomorrow -- oh wait, "tomorrow"), ideas just start exploding out of nowhere and writing themselves into articles right there in my brain. Seriously, the full texts of three new articles are sitting in my head as I'm writing this entry right now, and you just know that as soon as I try to get it all out, my mind will go blank and I will remember nothing except that I was unable to write my VMA predictions this year and this somehow makes me a failure at everything.

Well, that's where I stand right now. I'm probably going to make an attempt at some real writing before trying to get to sleep again. Either that, or I'll stay up all night so I can get to sleep at a normal hour tomorrow. In high school, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning every night, and took a six-hour nap every afternoon from 2:30 PM to 8:30 PM. It was the weirdest sleep cycle I ever kept, but at least it worked.

September 21, 2003

Laura: Do you realize that when you get old, you have absolutely no privacy anymore? I mean, if you're one of those old people that needs to be helped across the street, or requires a full-time nurse or something.

Eric: Yeah, can they even shower by themselves? I can not imagine being a wrinkled sack of oldness and being okay with someone washing me. Like I'm a vintage car or some shit.

Laura: Your anus won't even be your own. A doctor will have to put his finger in it every once in a while to feel for prostate cancer.


Laura: At least you can do the testicle examination thing yourself.

Eric: When are you supposed to start doing that, anyway?

Laura: Well, I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to start anytime soon. You, I'm not sure. I know I'm supposed to check my breasts for lumps every month.

Eric: I don't even know what a lump in my testicle would feel like.

Laura: How could you not know? Don't you know what your testicles feel like without lumps?

Eric: How would I?

Laura: Don't you feel your testicles all the time?

Eric: Why would I feel my own testicles?

Laura: Well, why would I feel my own breasts?

Eric: I don't know, because you're a big old pervert?

Laura: At the dorms, they had signs all over the girls showers telling you to feel your breasts for lumps once a month. They had diagrams and shit explaining exactly how to do it, like any girl doesn't know how to feel her own breasts.

Eric: You obviously lived in the Porn Star wing of the dormitories, you saucy tramp.

Laura: For your information, people besides porn stars know what their breasts feel like. Do you really not know what your testicles feel like?

Eric: No, but I know Luke's testicles inside and out.

Laura: Oh, you really can't say that sentence to me ever again.

Eric: No, really. I don't know my own testicles, I know Luke's. I mean, I would be able to tell for sure if Luke had a lump in his testicle.

Laura: And only he would be able to tell if you had one?

Eric: Exactly.

Laura: You can never not be in a relationship. It is life-threatening for you to be single.

Eric: Well, that's what I said. But now I have a good reason.

Laura: If you wanted to, you could use this as your final defense for saving this relationship.

Eric: "If we break up, I'll never know if I get balls cancer."

Laura: "Do you really want that hanging over your head, you murderer?"

Eric: "That's what I--"

Laura: Wait, stop. "Balls cancer"?

Eric: What?

Laura: Ew.

Eric: Oh, sorry. We can't all be doctors.

Laura: You better watch it. I might put my finger in your ass.

Eric: EW!

Laura: Sorry.

September 18, 2003

[just after getting food at Dick's Drive-In]

Luke: [takes a sip of milkshake] "That's a pretty fuckin' good five-dollar milkshake!"

Eric: [small laugh] [long pause] What?

Luke: What?

Eric: That shake didn't cost five dollars.

Luke: Didn't you see Pulp Fiction?

Eric: Not all of it.

Luke: Did you see the part with the five-dollar milkshake?

Eric: No. I mean, if I had, I probably would have laughed at your joke.

Luke: Oh. Well, it was really funny.

Eric: The movie?

Luke: No, my joke.

[long pause]

Eric: Oh. [polite smile]

September 16, 2003

Matinee crazy 

Between the month of travel, then the month of full-time employment, for most of the summer there's been some factor or another preventing me from seeing all the movies I've wanted to. Summer is such a rich time of year for independent or foreign flicks because, while the multiplexes are clogged with excrement featuring one or more colons in their titles (which is appropriate, considering that most of them were totally ass), the smaller art-house theaters quietly swell with an unusual abundance of quality films that provide refuge for those of us who didn't need another movie based on a video game or comic book.

So finally, last week I started having enough spare time to run out and catch up on all the little movies everyone has been talking about. Having no job, school, or friends, I am now free to spend all day at the cheap matinees, if by "cheap" you mean "still costing more than full evening prices used to cost when I was in high school." But I can still pretend that I'm not totally being ripped off. Even though I am.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Okay, this is a big movie everyone has been talking about. But a quality summer blockbuster is definitely something I had to go out and see for myself. I resisted it for so long, for the following reasons: (a) it is based on a theme park ride, (b) it is a pirate movie, (c) it has yet another bloated colon-title, and (d) it is based on a theme park ride. But of course I loved it as much as everyone else did. Jack Sparrow was channeling Guy Pearce's character from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. This is a total compliment.

Dirty Pretty Things. It was weird to hear Audrey Tautou speaking English, albeit not very well. This is one of my favorite flicks from this last week. When we finally saw white people in the movie, I was like, "Damn! They have white people in London?" It really brings you to another world. This dark, character-driven thriller takes you to places that will make you shudder.

Whale Rider. I didn't cry like a little girl with a skinned knee the way everyone at SIFF did (get it together, people!), but I did very much like this one. Structurally, it's not terribly different from most "believing in yourself and overcoming obstacles" movies, but it has such rich cultural content and heartfelt performances all around. It definitely doesn't hit you over the head with its message like most of these movies do.

Lost in Translation. See Sunday's entry.

Winged Migration. I am a firm believer that all birds possess innate and flawless comic timing. They know how to bring the funny! Birds are simultaneously so ridiculous and so majestic. Every shot in this movie is so gorgeous, I forgot to feel silly that I was watching birds fly around for an hour and a half.

Swimming Pool. They don't make enough movies about writers. This one perfectly captures the elusive nature of the muse, and multi-tasks as a mesmerizingly atmospheric thriller along the way. Like Identity (which I DID like), the surprise ending changes the way you have to think about everything that has happened before. Some people hate this. I love it. Also, Ludivine Sagnier's breasts should have gotten top billing for how prominent they are in the film. Ludivine Sagnier's breasts should win an honorary Oscar for being so flawless. Ludivine Sagnier's breasts for President in 2004.

Spellbound. This documentary was so hilarious, the friend I was with thought it was fake a la Christopher Guest for the first hour until I informed him that it was, in fact, real. The reason it's so funny, just like a Christopher Guest movie, is because instead of making fun of its subjects, it simply presents them and lets their words and actions speak for themselves. You may find these kids (and their parents) sweet, funny, creepy, or whatever. Me, I laughed until I swear I peed a little.

September 15, 2003

From Orestes 2.0, by Charles L. Mee 

"There are certain people who, in earlier times we might think: well, these people are confused, they can't make up their own minds in a healthy way, we must stop them. Now, we think: no, if that's their way of thinking, what right have we to say ours is superior? We may think they are confused, but they have the facts as we do and they have their own way of reasoning, and they have to live with themselves, so it's up to them, really. The same thing with euthanasia: we say, well, if a person is suffering and would rather be released from the suffering, that seems only right.

And, take for instance the example of a person suffering but in a coma, a person who would decide on suicide if he or she were fully conscious, and if life in the future is going to be nothing but suffering: well, then, we say, the family ought to be able to make the decision for that person, to put her out of her suffering. We all accept that now, and I can see why. Or, take hookers. We all think that's a terrible thing to do, from our own point of view, but there's nothing less terrible, really, about putting your mind at someone else's service, even, when you think of it, it might be worse, but you can't despise it if that's what she has to use, you know, and not even for necessities, really, but even if she wants to use it for getting some luxuries or pleasures or comforts. And I can see the point of view of terrorists, too. I don't happen to think you can say terrorists are all bad or that their actions aren't, really, in some sense, a form of political expression, who are suffering enormously and have no alternative, no way to get what they want, usually, and it seems to me that they are really, though they may not quite know it, in the same position as the terminal cancer patient, that if they were fully conscious that they would recognize that, and that since they aren't fully conscious, we ought really to make that decision for them, just as we do for others who are in pain..."

There's no special reason why I'm posting this now. I saw this play for my DRAMA 101 class last year, and today I was reading through some old bookmarks and discovered its entire text available online. It's a good read (assuming you can't go out and actually see the play), if your mind has grown completely indolent over the summer and you feel like jump starting it with a slew of Abstract, Heavy Issues.

September 14, 2003

Lost in Translation 

I just got back from seeing Lost in Translation, the new Sofia Coppola flick starring Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson. (This is how much of a dork I am: this is the new Sofia Coppola flick, not the new Bill Murray flick.) Sometimes you set yourself up so much for a movie, expecting it to be the greatest thing in the entire world, based on what you've seen, heard, and read, so as you're sitting there in your big red seat telling yourself, There's no way it's going to be as good as you think it's going to be, so just stop expecting to love it and you'll love it.

These are the kinds of astronomical expectations I had for Lost in Translation. And I still could never have prepared myself for how much it moved me, how a film could touch upon such beauty and honesty so subtly. I walked out of the theater almost ready to burst into tears without really knowing why, except that I totally believed and invested in Bob and Charlotte, and the deep wells of loneliness they carry with them. This loneliness is ultimately what allows them to form a bond as they each float aimlessly through life, occasionally bouncing off things they ought to connect with, but never really sticking until they meet each other.

I guess I'm just sort of speechless. I don't know if I expect everyone to be as floored by this movie as I was, but there are definitely things about it that connected with me on a deep, deep emotional level. The feeling of being alone despite being surrounded -- crowded, even -- by people. The feeling of being lost, invisible, ubiquitous, in a world that you don't seem to be speaking the same language as (in this case, the characters happen to be in a location that, in fact, doesn't speak the same language). Ghost World, also starring Johansson, and set in America, explored similar themes, and I liked it almost as much.

There is pure pleasure in watching Bob and Charlotte's friendship deepen, and sometimes we simply witness their conversations for far longer than most films care to allow their characters. The comfort they find in each other is beyond the romantic; Lost in Translation is too good to simply turn this into a story about sex. I'm not even sure it's about love, so much as the value of human contact, and how little meaning we are able to find in our everyday lives without it, and how much meaning we are able to find in our everyday lives when we do find it. Bob and Charlotte's friendship is an exquisite and overwhelming combination of sweet and sad, and the film is almost a lock for the #1 spot on my "Best of 2003" list.

In other words: see this movie now.

September 13, 2003

You could be homeless and not even know it! 

Chris: I got yelled at for no reason by a homeless guy the other day. But I still I felt guilty so I apologized and ran away.

Eric: Maybe he was pissed because you didn't give him money.

Chris: No, he yells at everybody, even when they give him money. He lives in this little trailer--

Eric: Wait, he lives somewhere? So he isn't actually homeless, is he?

Chris: Well, it's a really small place, like way smaller than this apartment.

Eric: My apartment is smaller than your place. Am I homeless?

Chris: I don't know. Maybe.

September 11, 2003

Idol confession 

Friends, I have to get something off my chest.

Some of you probably know that I became a traitor to good taste last year when I became addicted to American Idol. I use the word "addicted" because that way it doesn't really sound like it's my fault. I'm a victim, people! Nobody blames alcoholics. I don't see why I should be treated any differently.

Significantly fewer of you know that I actually attended the American Idols Live! concert that took place in Seattle a few weeks ago. I can already feel the regret setting in. Not that I went to the concert, but that I'm admitting this on the damn internet. But it's true. Fortunately, I went incognito, with the big hat and the sunglasses and everything. No, that's a lie. Luke and I bolted to our seats as soon as we were in the door and covered our faces with our hands until the lights went down. Although come to think of it, isn't being gay reason enough to be into American Idol? Isn't that in our contract? I'll have to check that out when I get the chance.

Luke was seated next to a couple of 15-year-old girls dressed like 30-year-old prostitutes who kept on screaming, "CLAAAAAAAAAAYYY!!!" and trying to dance, but falling over all the time because their prostitute shoes were quite cumbersome. I sat next to an 8-year-old girl (who, thankfully, was not dressed like a prostitute of any age) who looked completely nonplussed throughout the entire show. My hypothesis? Her parents were sucked into the show just like I was, but luckily they had a child handy to use as an excuse to see CLAAAAAAAAAAYYY!!! live. Bastards! Why didn't I think of that?

Actually, it was hideously comforting to be around so many other people who were Idol fans as well. Mostly, they boosted mine and Luke's self-esteem by being shrill and fangirly, making us feel like we had a right to scoff at their lame and stupid interests. "Well, we paid $40 for decent seats and all, but at least we didn't make t-shirts. How laaame. Well, we declined a dinner party invitation so we could come here, but at least we're not clapping. God."

The whole event had this weird underground feel to it, since there is so much shame inherently related to being a fan of the show. Like everyone gathered in the stadium was finally able to stop living a lie and bask in their addiction together. Ooh, kind of like the masked orgy in Eyes Wide Shut. But without the masks. And the sex. And Tom Cruise wasn't there, although I wouldn't be surprised if he secretly watched the show religiously. Oh my god, I bet this is why he and Nicole got divorced! American Idol ruins marriages, y'all! Stay away!

So that's my confession for the day. I'm not going to describe the concert itself, because if you're the kind of person who even cares, YOU WERE PROBABLY THERE!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to do my penance: watching From Justin to Kelly. They usually reserve that kind of suffering for the worst of the worst offenders, but I have a feeling I deserve it.

September 10, 2003

A blog is born 

Hello, y'all. Welcome to the very first entry in my brand-spanking-new blog! What is a blog, you ask? Well, it's kind of like what my website is, except bite-size. Portable. Quasi-disposable. Sometimes I have moments of inspiration that don't warrant a full-on update. Sometimes I just have to share some stupid story about my day with you. Sometimes I find crap on the internet that is simply too cool to keep to myself. That's what a blog is for. It's what this blog is for, anyway. I can't really speak for whatever pervy ends other peoples' blogs may be serving. No, I'm just kidding. I have reluctantly come to regard blogging as "legitimate" after being exposed to several great examples of how it can be done right (thank you, Pamie, Velcrometer, and others). Besides, I've been suffering from the worst freakin' case of Writer's Block for the past several months and I'm pretty much terrified that if I don't post any and all bright ideas that strike me immediately, they will fade away and never be heard from again. Part of the reason I don't write more often is because whenever I have an idea, I obsess over whether or not it's interesting enough to bother writing about, and before I know it the inspiration has come and gone and I feel uncreative and useless all over again. (Yes, writers are as crazy as Nicolas Cage in Adaptation.) Hopefully, this blog will fix me and entertain you. Sound good? Here's praying this experiment turns out the way it's supposed to! Now bring on the bloggin'!

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