less charming and more strange than your average blog

August 07, 2005

I live here now.

September 07, 2004

Before I go go 

I posted one last entry before I leave in two hours. There are a bunch of things I've been meaning to tell you about, and the last several weeks have been way too crazy for me to have been able to keep the posts coming as fast and furious as I would have liked. But now I would like to share these things with you, really quick, before I ditch this blog for the new one. (For now, at least.)

1) I was at my local UPS to send in my visa application, and after I filled out the delivery form, the woman scrutinized the destination address and pointed to the letter n in Los Angeles. "Is that an n or an r?" she demanded. I told her it was an n, but she wouldn't let it go. "IT LOOKS LIKE AN R," she said critically. Besides the fact that there is no city of "Los Argeles," I found it kind of amazing that she was so reluctant to take my word for it.

2) Ewwwwwwwwwww.

3) I cancelled my Netflix account last week, but here's the up-to-date remainder of my rental history:
8 1/2 (1963)
Detour (1945)
Burnt by the Sun (1994)
jackass the movie (2002)
Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
Chinatown (1974)
Basic Instinct (1992)
Roger & Me (1989)
Urbania (2000)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
The Producers (1968)
All the Queen's Men (2001)
Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! (2004)
Nine to Five (1980)
Xanadu (1980)
Modern Times (1936)
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
Annie Hall (1977)
Brazil (1985)
Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A Leuchter, Jr. (1999)
Zelig (1983)
Manhattan (1979)
The First Wives Club (1996)
Amarcord (1973)
Nurse Betty (2000)
Bad Santa (2003)
Bananas (1971)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Small Time Crooks (2000)
Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953)
Die Mommie Die! (2003)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
Taking Lives (2004)

4) Eric: Is anybody named Rita anymore?

Andrew: I know a Rita.

Mom: Arita Franklin?

5) Linda G passed my name along to the folks in charge of the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and I wrote a handful of blurbs for their official program. It will be the first time I've actually been published, although I came close a few years ago when Linda G passed my name along to the SIFF programmers, who strung me along but never actually used me. Anyway, I stopped by the SLGFF office a few weeks ago to pick up some screeners and the guy I was talking to seemed to be smiling an awful lot. I was like, "Ooh, maybe I look really hot today. I'm feeling attractive now. I should wear these pants more often." When I got to the car, I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw there was leftover clown makeup on my face from a party the night before, at which Nun-Clown had made a special appearance. Now it looked as though I had recently bitten into a live animal. I'm sure I made a great impression.

There's so much more, but I have to leave for the airport right this second. I'll post again once I reach the UK. Oh, the excitement. Hooray for a year of this blog and hooray for you people for reading it. Until next summer, change your bookmarks to http://ericinscotland.blogspot.com/ because that's where I'll be! See you there!

August 27, 2004

This sucks 

Aaaaaand the hoops continue to present themselves in front of me, taunting, "Ha, ha, ha! If you don't jump through us, you'll NEVER LEAVE AMERICA."

August 17, 2004

How I learned to start worrying and hate the prof 

Filling you in on the odyssey that has become my attempt to do something as seemingly simple as go to school in a foreign country for a year.

That blog is going a little haywire on me, not to mention most of my comments were just deleted for no reason at all. I hope this doesn't become a regular thing while I'm over there, because I really like hearing from you guys and sometimes a one-sentence comment doesn't warrant a whole email.

Less than a month to go!

August 15, 2004

However the subject came up... 

Chris: I don't think I've ever seen a shantytown.

Eric: Me neither. But I saw a tent city once.

Chris: Really?

Eric: Yeah, in a church parking lot.

Chris: Which church?

Eric: St. Joseph's. Where I used to go to elementary school. [shudder]

Chris: You went to elementary school with a bunch of homeless people?

August 10, 2004

Goodbye, part one 

Phase one of saying goodbye to everyone: Luke moves to Los Angeles.

August 06, 2004

No mole drama 

The plot thickens, and I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we don't have moles. Find out the bad news here!

August 03, 2004

Blast from the past 

Today I found something I wrote all the way back when I was in junior high school, right when Titanic first came out. I thought I would share it with y'all, because with all the pre-Scotland confusion it might be a awhile before I have enough time to write something new again.

Alternate Endings to Titanic
by Eric Rogge, age 14

1. Soon after Rose recovers from her ordeal on the Titanic, Jack returns from the grave and stalks her with an ax. He wears a black overcoat and eventually he kills her, chops up her body, and pastes the pieces in a precious memory book. He lives happily ever after until her rotting corpse is resurrected and kills him.

2. Rose, having enjoyed being sketched nude, becomes a high-class porn star and stars in the entire "Rose the Porn Star" movie series. Soon she gets into drugs and, in an attempt to fix up her life, becomes a nun and gives up meat, sex, brand names, and small dogs.

3. Rose permanently scared of water and avoids it at all costs. She never bathes and gets very dirty and smelly. Soon she gets so smelly that she dies.

4. Rose becomes a hermit and lives in a shack in the woods. Her only friend is her rifle that she named "Mr. Happy." She spends her days as an old woman blowing away small children and animals with her shotgun. She long ago forgot English and now speaks in gibberish. Her diet consists of tree bark and mud. She smells.

5. Rose is a lesbian.

July 30, 2004

The Village / ***1/2 

M. Night Shyamalan's new film, The Village, is creepy as hell. It is also a great showcase for audience rudeness, as the bunch I was unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity of during the show did not quiet down even for a second as the commercials and previews gave way to the actual film. For two hours, I juggled the twin adrenaline rushes of bloodlust toward my fellow theater patrons, and my reaction to the film itself.

(Before I continue with this review, I would like to throw it out there that if you happen to be one of the obnoxious audience members I just mentioned [Redmond Town Center, 11:59 PM on Thursday night, July 29th], I hope you are devoured by an anaconda very, very soon. And then I hope the anaconda gets syphilis. I hate you.)

Shyamalan's films never take the obvious route, which is remarkable because he chooses subject matter that so invites it. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, and now The Village all take seemingly simple and potentially schlocky concepts and elevate them with dense atmosphere and complex layers of emotion. Shyamalan has become famous for his "final twists," but these are not the only ways in which his films turn out to be about something completely different than you thought. A simple but immediate example of this: the title of his last film, and the multiple meanings you realize it has only after you have seen the whole movie.

One of the surefire marks of a good director is that you cannot imagine anyone else making their movies. Can you imagine someone other than Shyamalan creating a film about a small village surrounded by woods that are inhabited by monsters? I mean, making it so anyone would want to watch it. I sure can't.

He is aided in this outing, as usual, by a stellar cast. Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt are "elders" with buried feelings for each other; Joaquin Phoenix is the quietly brave Lucius drawn to the mystery of the woods; Adrien Brody is a mentally retarded man who cannot control his jealousy; Bryce Dallas Howard is luminous and riveting as the blind girl Ivy who must carry her terrible burden alone.

The citizens of the village have always had a truce with the creatures residing in the woods, but lately these beings appear to be entering the village more and more frequently, leaving mutilated livestock in the yards and large, blood-red slashes across the doors. And, well, to say anything else would be to say too much, except that on top of everything else the cinematography is breathtaking. And that, even knowing what I do, I am going to have me some nightmares tonight.

What I can tell you is that there is a pivotal plot development toward the middle of the film that you will either go with, or you won't. Most of the audience I was with did not go with it, and unfairly ridiculed the movie afterward with such off-the-mark taunts as, "WORST HORROR MOVIE EVER!" If you are willing to realize that The Village is NOT a horror movie, you may love this film as much as I did.

The Village does, of course, have its big plot twist. By now, this so-called "gimmick" is getting old to those who refuse to look beyond their expectations. The rest of us can see that Shyamalan has ALWAYS placed his plot twists' primary importance not in how it affects your understanding of the plot, but your understanding of the characters. It is because of this new world of implication and dimension lent the characters after these plot twists are revealed that you will want to see The Village again.

July 26, 2004


Someone got to my blog by searching for the phrase "the fantanas naked." Is this what our world has come to? Do we turn to soft drinks for sexual arousal now?

The longest hangover 

Follow-up to the last blog entry, in which things get much better, then worse. But not "much" worse, so it's all good.

July 24, 2004

All in the family 

Can you guess where I am right now? Can you? I'll give you a hint: it rhymes with "Atlanta, Georgia." (Which is actually not very surprising because Atlanta, Georgia is exactly where I am.)

My father's cousin's daughter is getting married here tomorrow. I guess that would make her my second cousin. Or cousin-once-removed. Or cousin to the second power. Or something. It's all very confusing. And rather futile, since the amount of family gathered here would make Nia Vardalos run in the opposite direction. Titles like "aunt," "uncle," and "cousin" are assigned less according genealogy and more on age proximity.

I had no idea I was part of anything like this.

Living in the Pacific Northwest has posed something of a barrier for keeping in touch with my father's side of the family tree. He grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and that's about as far west as most of his relatives will call home. Fortunately, Molly, my second-cousin-removed-at-least-once who is getting married, is moving to the Seattle area, so we can add her to our team.

Fun fact: Atlanta is HOT, yo. David and my dad and I landed here early in the morning, so I didn't realize this until later in the day, when we left the air-conditioned confines of the hotel and emerged into the relentless gaze of the sun, sweating out the 80% of our bodies that are made up of water almost immediately. The family, all staying at the same hotel, has been spending most of its time socializing in or beside the pool.

Like I said, there are a lot of us. For the most part, I am a stranger to these people. The number of times I have met most of them ranges from a whopping 1 to zero. They're partying their asses off three floors directly below me as I write this, and I really should be joining them, but even in a room filled to capacity with family I feel alone.

I guess it's appropriate that as I don't have a clue what to say to them, I don't have a clue what to say about them. I know these past few days really have been a lot of fun, though. I'm not sure I could have picked a finer bunch of people to be related to, I just wish I had spent more time around them before now. The running gag here is that we're never all together anymore unless there's a wedding or a funeral, so everyone is pointing fingers trying to figure out who's going to get married next. At least nobody's placing bets on whose funeral is coming up next.

The wedding is tomorrow, which is pretty exciting. Last night at dinner, Aunt Emily, who is really my dad's aunt, put her arms around me and David and hollered, "We put down the money for an open bar at the reception, so if you guys don't make it worth it, we're going to be pretty pissed!" There are times when it doesn't take knowing a lot about another person to feel like family.

July 20, 2004

The underneath 

Said my mom to the bastard moles destroying our backyard: It's go time, bitches.

July 12, 2004

I love you, Lindsay, but please don't make me hate you.

July 09, 2004

Eric: David, why does life have to be so hard?

David: I know...why do people have to hate?


Eric: I was talking more about, "Why can't I eat a second piece of this pie and not get fat"?

David: Oh.

Eric: Yours was good too, though.

July 08, 2004

David: Would you say someone "is a lesbian," or "is lesbian"?

Eric: Either one. It can be a noun or an adjective.

David: So it's bi-curious?

Eric: Have you been drinking?

July 05, 2004

Spider-Man 2 

You knew it was coming.

July 04, 2004


My number one preparation for my year studying abroad? Not getting bored on the flight over there.

July 02, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 

Well, since nobody else on the Moviepie staff was up for waiting in line for a gazillion hours to see it on opening weekend...

June 30, 2004


This entry has been extremely popular for the past several weeks, thanks to the sequel, which opens today. To this day, I am at a loss to explain why I was not quoted in more newspaper ads for the film.

June 29, 2004

I was lying in my bed this morning, just making my way back to consciousness, when somebody stabbed me in the chest.

At least, that's exactly what it felt like. All I did was roll over on my side, but for several minutes, I actually believed I was having a heart attack. What a stupid way to die, I thought. I totally saw this coming. Would it have killed me to get some fucking exercise once in a while? It occurred to me that if the problem was actually my heart, the pain wouldn't be so synchronized with my breathing, so I decided that if I lived through whatever was happening to me, it would probably be okay to continue not exercising.

I waited several minutes to see if the (excruciating) pain would subside on its own, only to find it increasingly difficult to breathe. Not only had someone stabbed me in the chest, they were hanging around and doing it again every time I inhaled. I sort of stumbled up to my mother and asked her to drive me to the hospital. Actually, I stumbled up to her bedroom door and yelled at her to "take me to the fucking emergency room." She was getting ready for work and didn't hear what I was saying so I sort of had to put my foot down.

About halfway through the car ride to the emergency room, during which I actually asked myself if I had somehow inhaled shards of broken glass recently, the pain abruptly disappeared. Just like that. Instead of relief, I felt a little pissed off that I was now going to look like a big old drama queen. A physician took a look at me and, of course, there was nothing wrong. After asking me a series of questions, she informed me that it had most likely been an air bubble on the surface of my lung, which had exploded when I rolled over. This particular type of blister, I found out, was called...a bleb.

"Bleb." It sounds like the home planet of some invading alien species, but that's what I had on my lung, and it exploded this morning. What causes a bleb? What can I do to prevent future blebs? Nobody seems to have any answers, and both of my parents are doctors. Also, for some reason, the word "bleb" seems to diminish the impact of my experience. My visit to the hospital was a source of unending amusement at the dinner table tonight, as my family could barely contain their snickering when I reached the final revelation. They tried, though, god bless them.

Bleb. Blebbity Bleb Bleb. What a fucking stupid word.

June 27, 2004

I don't think any of us are surprised 

We went out and saw The Corporation the other day, and you should all go see it too because it's amazing, but there was one part of it that shed new light on the Fantanas' sinister nature. During World War II, American company Coca-Cola couldn't market its more recognizable products in Nazi Germany, so it invented Fanta Orange for the sole purpose of selling over there so it could still make a profit without looking like they were just dandy with providing the Nazis cool, delicious refreshment. Even though they were.

There you have it, y'all. David says, "No wonder Kiki is the leader. Shit."

June 25, 2004


From Roger Ebert's review of White Chicks:

Because they look so odd in makeup, the effect is quease-inducing. They fall victims, indeed, to the Uncanny Valley Effect. This phenomenon, named in 1978 by the Japanese robot expert Masahiro Mori, refers to the ways in which humans relate emotionally with robots. Up to a certain point, he found, our feelings grow more positive the more the robots resemble humans. But beyond a certain stage of reality, it works the other way: The closer they get to humans, the more we notice the differences and are repelled by them. In the same way, the not-quite convincing faces of the two white chicks provide a distraction every moment they're on the screen. We're staring at them, not liking them, and paying no attention to the plot. Not that attention would help.

Ebert also used the Uncanny Valley Effect to explain why the Final Fantasy movie bombed, which I find incredibly interesting and accurate. I mean, there are human characters in other CG movies, like Shrek 2, but they don't produce the same discomfort in me because they're not trying to renounce their animated heritage.

Don't you wanta? 

Most of us are far more acquainted with the so-called "Fantanas" than we would like to be. The exception would be if you are dead, or perhaps living under a rock of some sort. If this is the case, consider yourself lucky because these bitches really want you to drink their soda and if they find you, they are going to sing at you until you do it. Then they will probably do it some more, because they want to make sure you drink it until the day you die.

The Fantanas are a pop group invented to advertise for Fanta sodas, which is the worst idea that has ever been thought of. Their music video is shown in movie theaters right before or right after the Fandango paper bag puppets. If you go to their official site, you can read bios for each of the girls, like Lola, the pineapple flavored one:

Lola did very well in school. She was offered scholarships to attend Ivy-League schools, but she opted to stay on Fantana Island and earned an online degree...Lola served as editor of her high school newspaper and literary magazine and loves to write poetry. It only makes sense that she writes most of the lyrics for the Fantanas.

It should be noted that the Fantana's song consists of exactly one phrase, "Don't you wanta." I hope Harvard doesn't think it's missing much. The Fantanas explode out of every conceivable location and chant this phrase over and over until your brain explodes, at which point the Fantanas emerge from the screen and drag your corpse back to Fantana Island to be their friend.

Anyway, I don't know how David ended up at the official Fanta website of Denmark, but apparently there is a special feature on this site where you can add your own kooky subtitles to actual news footage, which I have done here.

Doesn't news footage with wacky subtitles make you want to DRINK SO MUCH FANTA?

June 24, 2004

SIFF '04 leftover reviews 

I have decided to stop kidding myself and admit that I will never get around to writing the rest of my SIFF reviews. Toward the end of the festival, my movie reviewing duties took a back seat to things like term papers and goodbyes and dental work and graduations and spending time with Luke and catching up on sleep and I'm starting to forget all the things I liked or didn't like about these movies. But just in case these movies pop up in a theater near you, I thought you should at least have something to go on!

Danny Deckchair / ***
Why do I feel bad for liking this movie so much? Because it's a romantic comedy called "Danny Deckchair"? Whatever. The slightly loopy Danny, fed up with his trivial existence and bitchy wife, ties helium balloons to a deckchair and floats across Australia, landing in a small town and building a new and fulfilling life for himself there, oblivious to the fact that he is not only missing, but a media sensation. Clever and funny, with memorable performances across the board, especially the two leads (Rhys Ifans and the gorgeous Miranda Otto). Hilarious supporting characters include a cocky anchorman and Danny's famewhore wife (who appears to very nearly have an orgasm whenever cameras are pointed in her direction).

Primer / ****
Perhaps the only movie about time travel (besides Donnie Darko) that I have not hated. Two friends who find they have invented a device capable of moving them back in time grapple with the implications and possibilities of their invention. Thrilling, astoundingly well thought-out, and with a budget that almost goes beyond "shoestring" into "nonexistent," Primer is somehow a hundred times better-looking than many big-budget studio films. Expect big things from Shane Carruth, who not only stars in the movie, but acted as writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, and composer. He is also so hot it's not even funny. I'm just saying.

The Python / ***
Absurd Latvian comedy taking place in a post-Soviet school. A monkey, a beaver, and a python are on the loose in the building while a Hitleresque headmistress is demanding that all the students poop in matchboxes. Utilizes Bazinian long takes and deep focus brilliantly to achieve meticulous bursts of insanity that approach actual comic genius. One of the more bizarre movies I saw at SIFF this year, and I could very easily see this film driving someone insane rather than cracking them up, but it had me rolling in the aisles, dude.

Bright Young Things / ***1/2

Twin Sisters / **1/2
Based on a premise that comes across as inspired and contrived at various times in the film: a pair of young twin sisters in 1930's Germany are separated, one growing up in Holland and the other remaining in Germany. Eventually, one marries a Jew and the other a Nazi. Powerful moments here, but suffers from a clumsy framing device (the women run into each other at a present-day spa) and broad, simplistic characterizations. Raises plenty of interesting questions, but tries to answer them with awkward, heavy-handed dialogue between the present-day sisters. More interesting to think about later than to watch, but intriguing in the way it shows the war from the perspective of ordinary people on both sides.

June 22, 2004

Because I really needed more reasons to buy this DVD. What are they trying to do to me?

"Music is worthless unless it can make a complete stranger break down and cry..." 

Loving the hell out of this CD at the moment. Imagine "Joni Mitchell sings Bjork." But as a good thing.

You've probably already heard their song "Let Go" in the Garden State trailer. They also did "Holding Out for a Hero" over the Shrek 2 credits, the randomness of which boggles the mind yet makes you want to dance.

The talented Mr. Cunningham? 

I can only read your website periodically, when SONIC WALL doesn't pop up all blue and angry, letting me know that your site is forbidden and a record of my visit to your site has been created. SONIC WALL is angry and petulant, but also inconsistent. Naked East Indian men? Not a problem. Your site? All that's evil in the world.

But I digress.

I understand you're excited about Michael Cunningham's
A Home at the End
of the World. "It's promising," you write, "unless he sucks at writing

He does. Or at least I'm assuming he will. Just like he sucks at all writing. 'Course, I'm basing this solely on my intense, fever-like hatred of
The Hours, a book title deceptive in its brevity. Years. That novel cost me years. In some ways it feels like I'm still reading it. And I have to pee.

The problem for me is I read
Mrs. Dalloway before I read The Hours. I
wanted to make sure that I was able to plumb Cunningham's richness and not miss any literary allusions. That was a mistake. Virginia Woolf is hands-off so much better of a writer than Cunningham that, when I sadly closed the cover on
Mrs. Dalloway and picked up The Hours, there was no way he could compete.

I take it back. Maybe he could have competed. Only he really, really sucks as a writer. His prose is both leaden and deeply irritating. His variations on a theme sound instead like a 8-year-old with a Casio keyboard and a spastic condition. And he telegraphs far too much. Did you know that women have tough lives? And that they have to make tough choices? And that it's tough to be a woman?

What made
Mrs. Dalloway so amazing was the delicate but sure hand of Woolf, leading us through Clarissa's day and showing us a lifetime in a single day. There's nothing heavy-handed. It's all dreamy and lyrical and lovely. Cunningham is heavy, trenchant, and prone to overtyping.

But maybe you know something different. What is it about Cunningham that you think shows promise, especially in this movie? I'm assuming you enjoyed
A Home at the End of the World. Would you think it was on par with -- or different from (different than? I can never remember) The Hours? I've admired your writing for, well, ever. At least ever since I found your site. And I mostly agree with or at least understand your film critique. But this Michael Cunningham love has me flummoxed.

In closing, the hell?



The word "flummoxed" rules. But anyway.

It's been a while since I read The Hours or A Home At The End Of The World, so after reading your email I took them down off the shelf and flipped through them again to remind myself what made me feel so strongly the first time I read them. Disagreement (for intelligent reasons) is always interesting because it makes you ask yourself why you think the things you do; however, it also scares the crap out of me because I have the hardest time explaining something as intuitive as why I enjoy something like a movie, or a song, or a book. (It's why I don't write more movie reviews.)

Well, I don't believe I know anything different about Michael Cunningham's writing than you do, except that it works for me and it doesn't work for you. To me, his writing style isn't leaden or heavy-handed, it's dreamy and lyrical and lovely the way you described Virginia Woolf's style. After taking a peek at a random page from A Home At The End Of The World, I didn't remember to look up again until 30 pages later. I remember reading The Hours for the first time in one sitting, going back and re-reading nearly every sentence just to experience it again. I don't shut up about these two books because they made me realize for the first time, as unforgivably corny as it sounds, that literature can change your life.

I have to explain how the books affected me because it's the only actual evidence that they're any good (even then, your mileage may vary). I feel that Cunningham's writing touches on truths about the way people think and act that I didn't know language had the capacity to convey. He writes characters with the kind of ugliness to their personality that renders them not ugly, but human. I don't know if you read A Home at the End of the World or gave up on Cunningham after suffering through The Hours, but it's a completely different style of novel, not least because it features an actual plot, and a wider variety of characters. The way the same narrative is written so intimately from four different first-person perspectives amazes me. I still don't know what kind of screenwriter Cunningham is, but his vivid and profound understanding of his characters is what strikes me as promising.

In closing, that's the hell. According to me, anyway.


June 20, 2004

A Home at the End of the World 

And we have a trailer at last! If they don't screw this up, I'll be the happiest boy in the whole world. It's promising that Michael Cunningham himself wrote the screenplay, unless he sucks at writing screenplays, in which case it's not promising. The IMDb boasts a glowing review of the film, but I'm almost certain internet access is the only qualification for having your review posted there. But it's all there is to go on right now, so of course I'm all for it.

June 19, 2004

Calendar girl 

A few weeks ago, I noticed that one of my favorite shirts had a small rip in it, along the seam at the bottom of the right sleeve. After letting it sit in my closet for a long time and observing that it did not in fact heal itself, I decided to take it to a drycleaning place on Wednesday and see if they could fix it up.

When I got there, a young woman was talking her cel phone in the very back of the store, behind the racks of drycleaned clothing. "I'LL BE RIGHT THERE," she yelled, proceeding to talk on her phone for several more minutes. When she arrived at the counter, I asked her how much it would cost to fix my shirt. "Five dollars," she announced, which took me by surprise because that's more than a dollar per inch of rip and if that's her going rate for repairs, I'm surprised the woman is still in business. Inside my head, I stood my ground and said loftily, "That, madam, is bullshit and I will be taking my business elsewhere, thank you very much!" In reality, if someone gives me a free sample in a food court I have to eat there because I don't want to hurt their feelings by leading them on.

So I was slightly put off by the cost, but I supposed I could deal with it if that was how much it was going to cost for me to be able to wear the shirt to an important event that night. "When do you think it'll be ready?" I asked. The young woman proceeded to pull out a pocket calendar and studied it intently, as if I had suggested that we go out of town together for the weekend. She took out a pen and hovered the tip over Saturday, and then Friday. Then she looked at me and said completely seriously, "The absolute soonest I can get this done is Friday, and that's pushing it."

As I glanced over at the three-inch-long rip in my shirt, the woman put a large, dark circle around the date on her calendar. I almost felt a little bit guilty. Maybe I should have just given her the five dollars and fixed the shirt myself.

9/11: Just the facts? 

Very interesting article by Roger Ebert about the new Michael Moore film.

"The conservative group Move America Forward...has launched a campaign to discourage theaters from showing Fahrenheit 9/11. The campaign will amount to nothing and disgraces Move America Forward by showing it trying to suppress disagreement instead of engaging it. The R rating may stand; there is a real beheading in the film, and only fictional beheadings get the PG-13. Disney and Miramax will survive."

Attack of the feline-themed bondage queen 

Eric: I think there's something I'm missing from the Catwoman trailer.

David: Besides the desire to see it?

Eric: Yes. I understand that she starts out all mild-mannered and shit--

David: Her character's name is "Patience," by the way, in case we're not able to discern her mild-manneredness from Halle Berry's performance.

Eric: How much should they have just run with it and named her "Catherine Woman"?

David: A lot.

Eric: Anyway, I understand that she starts out as this mild-mannered woman who takes shit from everyone. And I understand that she ends up as...whatever.

David: Feline-themed bondage queen.

Eric: So what the hell? How does she get from Point A to Point B? In the trailer, it just says, "From a life that was taken...a new one will be born." What does that mean?

David: I don't know. I think she's dead, and some cats come and sniff her, and then she's Catwoman.

Eric: That's it? They sniff her?

David: I don't know. Maybe they bite her. They could be radioactive.

Eric: Maybe you can fill me in on how the fuck cats become radioactive.

David: Maybe they ate nuclear waste first.

Eric: I can't even tell you how many more questions than answers are raised by that explanation.

David: And maybe the radioactive cats tried to give her a haircut and that's why her new hairdo looks like shit.

Eric: It's just so random. What if, I don't know, rats had come and sniffed her instead? Isn't that way more likely?

David: "RATWOMAN"!

Eric: Heh, heh, heh.

David: I would totally pay to see that! The movie would be Halle Berry wearing a big furry costume and spreading plague. Box office gold.

Eric: I'm so not even buying this "Catwoman" business. They're just going to focus on the "sexy" aspects of her catness and ignore the interesting stuff, like whether she poops in a toilet or buries it in the yard.


David: I have to leave right now.

June 18, 2004

The only thing missing is a title... 

After I make it big in the film industry and have the kind of clout where I can work on whatever projects I want, I'm going to make a movie about a gang of crazy old people who survive unnaturally long by periodically cornering a young person, cutting them open while they're still alive, distributing the young healthy organs amongst themselves, and replacing them with their old broken down ones. Then a few months later the young person dies of old age and NOBODY KNOWS WHY.

Morgan Freeman will solve the case by using Ashley Judd as bait, which will be so thrilling it's not even funny. Frankly, I'm amazed Hollywood is managing without me as well as it is. Shit.

The truth about Seattle 

Right now, I want to dispel some myths about Seattle. More specifically, a single myth. And that myth is that it's always raining in Seattle. My principal evidence supporting this claim is the blazing hot sun that makes me want to hibernate in a meat locker from June to September each year.

That's right, it gets hot in Seattle. Not "nice." HOT. Hot, like the bus I spent an hour and a half on this afternoon, whose metal was nearly corrugated by the combined B.O. of all the baking passengers. Hot, like you can't move during the day or sleep through the night. Hot, like it's 1:44 AM and the sky is alive with heat lightning. Now, I have no idea how hot it has to be to create heat lightning (fun fact: I am not knowledgeable about anything) (another fun fact: I have had quite a few drinks tonight), but I know this kind of weather is never taken into account when people evoke the stereotype of a wet, cold, rainy Seattle.

My father has this old t-shirt that says, "People from Seattle don't tan...they rust!"

There are a lot of things wrong with this. First of all, we're not made of metal. That's just preposterous. And if we were, everyone would probably be talking about that a lot more a little bit of rain. They would say, "There's a city populated by metal people? That's weird. How did this happen? Are they a threat?" Nobody would give a shit about the weather. Unless you were one of the metal people -- then you would have to be careful and stay out of the rain, otherwise you would rust and die. Which makes that t-shirt just rude and insensitive. That would be like a t-shirt that read, "People from Australia get tan...but they also get skin cancer! How about that?"

Now I'm starting to question everything I think I know about major American cities. Perhaps "The Windy City" isn't windy at all! Perhaps New York City is more than just an enormous apple! And perhaps the people there do sleep!

What I'm trying to say is, you can't believe everything you read on t-shirts.

June 17, 2004

The graduate 

Guess who just graduated from high school! No, not me. David did. Congratulations, David and all his friends!

Sleeping it off 

I'm having some problems updating the website, but I now present to you an entry I wrote on Monday. This doesn't really excuse the derelict I've allowed this blog to become, but the people will return, won't they? Won't you?

June 14, 2004

SIFF / Sky Blue / ** 

There must be a reason why anime films are so fond of stories set in post-apocalyptic wastelands. Or, if not post-apocalyptic, at least in an unfathomably vast metropolis, enduring beneath an inky black layer of polluted cloud cover. The damned remains of humanity struggle below, wallowing in psychological darkness and out-of-control technology.

The good news is, it usually looks great. The Korean Sky Blue is no exception, opening with a promising sequence in which a mysterious rider navigates something resembling an armored motorcycle through the ruined landscape. So it's disappointing that the filmmakers have made the unfortunate decision to replace the original dialogue track with some painful English-language dubbing that undermines its grandiose thematic ambition.

The rundown: after the world as we know it was destroyed by something or other, a bunch of survivors came together and built the shielded city of Ecoban. This would be just wonderful except for the fact that they only allowed a certain number of people inside and then sealed it off, leaving everyone else to suffer in a polluted hellhole. Not only that, Ecoban is "powered by pollution." When pollution levels begin to decrease and it looks like the skies may finally clear, the leaders of Ecoban decide to perpetuate the outside pollution in order that their city may continue to thrive.

Now, even taking into account that we are dealing with a fantastical setup like this, there is a gaping plot hole here. If Ecoban consumes all the pollution from the surrounding environment, to the point where the rest of the planet will be a decent place to live for the first time in ages, isn't it in everyone's best interests to let this happen, even the Ecobanians'? The closest Sky Blue comes to explaining this is its suggestion that the leaders of Ecoban are Evil And Greedy, denoted by their angry eyebrows and flying chairs.

In any case, the narrative follows Jay and Suha, a pair of star-crossed lovers who grew up together in Ecoban but were separated when Suha was wrongly accused of murder and escaped to the outside world, joining a group of rebels planning an attack on Ecoban. (They are star-crossed because Jay has become a member of city security by the time they meet again.)

The thing is, movies like this usually don't rely on convincing characters or believable plot developments, they hinge on killer visuals and sustained atmosphere. When animes are dubbed badly instead of subtitled, it only breaks the atmosphere and reveals the inherent silliness underneath. There are some wonderful sights to be seen in Sky Blue, but too often you may find yourself feeling like you're watching a Saturday morning cartoon.

June 08, 2004

A long night 

I'm sitting here in Odegaard, the undergraduate library here at the University of Washington, and I'm thinking about how glad I am that it's open 24 hours, because no matter how stressed out I get over term papers or final exams, no matter what ungodly hour of the night, I can come here and find someone freaking out over something way worse. Sometimes I like to sit next to these people and stifle vindictive laughter for hours on end.

How many hours of my three college years have I spent here? I edited Guns of Religion here. I've researched and written papers on such topics as Scottish folklore, film noir, Sylvia Plath, German cinema, and demographic transition theory. These things always seem so unbearable at the time. I couldn't count upon how many instances I have wished I never had to pull another all-nighter.

But earlier today, I looked back on all that suffering, and I must admit to feeling more than a twinge of sadness that it was over.

Then I remembered that I have one more paper to write before I'm actually finished with this quarter. And as I walked back into the library tonight, I thought, This is some fucking bullshit right here.

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