March 2010

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Apparently, Glenn Beck had some asshole on his show today who actually made the argument that the tanning salon tax in the new health care bill is racist.  He argues that since mostly white people will use tanning salons, then it’s racist.  Jesus fucking christ!!  Really?  Really!!!  You have got to be fucking kidding me.

More here.

It only took me 30 seconds of Googling to find out that half of all states already regulate tanning salons.  And if you haven’t heard that excessive sunlight causes certain skin cancers (and sunlamps are believe to do it too!), then you live in a cave or you are a willfully ignorant robot.

I am so fucking sick and tired of the conservatives in this country.  They will SAY ANYTHING just to that they can be right and the liberals can be wrong.  The state of the Rupublican party in this country is 2 + 2 = 5.  They just want to win.  They don’t give a shit about reality, they just want power.  If the Republicans take back a majority and even win the next presidential election, does anyone really think anything will change?  Really?  Those assholes just ran the show for eight years, and they left us with the highest deficit in history.  When you register as a Republican, do they wipe your brain?  Seriously, how fucking short can people’s memories be!!

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Wow, is it almost April already? Been running on E the past few weeks, and my mental energy has been directed either at crisis aversion at work or crunching financial numbers at home as I prepare to start shopping for a house. But I’ve got a minute now. There’s plenty that I could wax philosophical about from my weekend: the amazing Mexican cuisine at Miguel’s in Silo Point; the thunderous excitement of a CCRG bout; the corned beef disaster that occurred in my kitchen; the long hours I put in at the office that are building towards a down payment on a house…

But instead let’s wax on about dating.

I broke things off with the girl I’ve been seeing lately. It hadn’t gone on for very long, so it wasn’t like some sort of huge breakup or anything. You could even debate whether or not to call it a breakup when it’s only been a couple weeks, but whatever. I’ve always been a one girl at a time kinda guy, and when I want things to stop with a lady I will just stop it. I guess what most guys do is they just stop returning phone calls, and keep distancing themselves until eventually it’s either clear that nothing is going on or they summon the balls to deliver the text message breakup. Apparently, this is one of my strengths when it comes to dating. I’m not the string em along type.

Anyway, so I’ve had dating on the brain.

One of the things that I said during our little conversation was “you’re awesome” or something like it, and my ladyfriend noted that two of my contentions were counterintuitive to each other: how can you call someone awesome and be breaking it off with them?

For me it’s pretty much always like this. I guess girls, and well guys too, probably hear that a lot in breakups: you’re awesome. Or hear it played out to its trite logical conclusion: it’s not you, it’s me. But most of the time when I break it off with someone, it’s much more like: it’s not you or me, it’s us.

So in the past couple years, pretty much all the girls I’ve dated have been awesome. In one way or another. And in these breakup conversations, I find myself telling people that they really are amazing, such a catch, and all of that. And I have to wonder if they believe me when they hear it. I hope they do.

Part of being the deliberate type, the don’t string em along type, is that you also don’t date anyone who you don’t respect. So, for me to even date someone, I already have to think they’re awesome. Why would I want to date someone who isn’t awesome? And I guess I’m perceptive enough to figure that much out pretty quickly about someone. That I will say: I’m pretty good at sizing people up quickly. (Not that there aren’t those out there who don’t fool me or trip me up now and again, but…)

One of the things about this recent one is that we had a big age gap. So to hear her call me out for being duplicitous, well, it reminded me of when I was that young. Ten years ago, when I was into someone and dating them, man I was so into them. Yeah, it sounds stupid to hear someone say “you’re awesome but let’s not date” when your head’s in a place like that.

I debate how much I miss that. I miss falling head over heels for girls all the time, but at the same time I don’t miss the subsequent heartbreak. Emotionally, my life is very tranquil right now. And I value that. But I wonder sometimes if I should fear it as well. I don’t want to become too complacent, you know.

In either case, right now I don’t know if I even have the time or energy to be dating anyone at all. Which was really my main reason for wanting to be single right now. I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to be getting to know a lady when I’m so preoccupied with work at the moment.

Watch, like tomorrow, I’m gonna be in the grocery store and I’m gonna spill a gallon of milk on someone’s foot, and then I’ll look up, and there will be my soul mate….. and I’ll fuck it up because I’m trying to buy a house in two months.

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I have to be honest, it’s been rough these past few years being a Democrat. All through the Bush years, I had to watch my party bend over backwards for the Republicans, voting almost unanimously to send us into a bullshit war, voting on the Fourth Amendment trampling Patriot Act, and too many other things to name. Even in the past year+, it still hasn’t been easy. I haven’t been 100% happy with Obama (his endorsement of ACTA has me really worried), and watching the Democrats squabble with the Republicans has been nauseating. This past year of debate has left me utterly disgusted with Republicans and running out of hope for the Dems.

So today was a good day. For a rundown of what the health care bill will do, with a timeline, see this piece here. All in all, I think it’s a step in the right direction. Like many, I was hoping that we’d get a non-profit, government run option to keep the competition in the market fair and healthy. But there’s still a lot of good stuff in there, and I’m happy that the further left leaning Democrats came around.

The Republicans are already crying bloody murder, but I mean, looking at the provisions of the bill, not only is it nowhere near socialist, but the thing is more center right than it is center left. To someone on the left (or to a socialist), the bill could easily be construed as little more than a veiled insurance industry subsidy. I don’t feel that way about it, but hearing Republicans with the gall to call this a socialist government takeover sends me over the edge. That’s not a lie. That’s a damn lie.

I think this will be good for the Democrats in two ways.

1) This country loves a winner. And the Democrats just won. I think most of the disapproval we’ve seen in the polls is just from people fed up with the debate. With people’s interest flagging, all it takes is a few Republican lies to change someone’s vote from “pro” to “maybe.” But them Dems have just proved that they can get things done, and right now that’s what people in this country want.

2) As the Republicans howl and scream over this perceived loss for them, the crazies on the far right are going to get even louder. How much caterwauling will it take for Republicans to get sick of the birthers and secessionists and capital L libertarians (who too often preach borderline anarchy)? The far right is taking the Republican party so far from the center that it’s losing its sense of itself. This is a good thing. The Republican party desperately needs a reboot right now, and I’d very much like to see them pushing a center right policy that would (or could conceivably) work in harmonious tandem to the center left Dems who are in the majority at the present. That’s the kind of back and forth healthy political debate that I want to see in Congress.

For a long, long time now I’ve been strongly considering changing my registration to Independent. It still might happen. But for right now, it feels good to be a Democrat. Today I’ve managed to recapture a glimmer of what I felt when Obama won the election not so long ago: pride.

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My week has completely wiped me out, and I can’t focus on a damn thing here at work. So in the interest of unproductivity, here are a few things I’ve been listening to lately.

Surfer Blood – Astro Coast

Astro Coast 

Man, I could listen to these guitar riffs all damn day. I tried briefly to decide whether these riffs sounded derivitive of or inspired by a whole catalogue of classic indy rock, but quickly decided that I didn’t care. I love this CD. Go check it out. Highly recommended.

Freelance Whales – Weathervanes

Weathervanes 

Another Brooklyn group that nobody’s heard of (yet, anyway). At first listen I thought these guys were gonna be another Owl City (I’m not particularly into Owl City, personally), but they really do have their own sound going on here. Lots of layers, some catchy riffs, and some nice percussion work. The CD/vinyl release of this isn’t until next month, but you can get it in mp3 format on Amazon. This has been at the top of my playlist for weeks now. Great stuff.

Broken Bells

Broken Bells 

Danger Mouse plus James Mercer (The Shins)? Yes please! I keep trying to decide if I’m tired of The Shins or faithful to them, but this work here with Danger Mouse is great. If The Shins’ next ablum is as fresh as this, then they might win me back.

Best of Pavement

Quarantine the Past: The Best of Pavement 

Have you ever had that moment where you’re talking music with someone and you’re on the subject of indy rock and (almost inevitably) Pavement comes up… and whoever you’re talking to has never listened to them? Yeah, I hate that too. I was never even the biggest Pavement fan, and hell I got into them waaaaay after the fact. But still, there’s stuff here that anyone into music should know. At last there’s a best of to recommend the newcomer. It seems like a pretty good mix of Pavement tracks, complete with classics and lesser knowns.

On the subject of Pavement, I feel compelled to link this interview I read a week or so ago with Stephen Malkmus. They’re doing a reunion tour. I don’t know how I feel about that. And apparently, neither does Malkmus. To me Pavement seems a band so rooted to its era that a reunion tour just sounds cheap. I guess you can say that about all bands to an extent, but Pavement was very, very much a reaction to the rock of its day. They’re a band that should stay broken up if you ask me. They should still do the tour, I think. But instead of calling the band Pavement, they should call it Stephen Malkmus and the Former Members of Pavement.

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I do so love reading David Byrne’s blog.  Here he talks about recent collaborations, sorta focused on what he’s working on with St Vincent, but then turning around and talking about collaborations in general.  I find it somewhat disheartening to see that someone over at Pitchfork was panning him for collaborating so much.  As far as I’m concerned, David Byrne has made his mark on modern music–even successful working musicians, whose albums never score below 8.0 on Pitchfork, would be so lucky as to be as remembered as Byrne will be.  Anyway, Byrne doesn’t seem to bothered by some snarky criticism, which is one of the things I like about him.  Anyway interesting read.  And as far as I’m concerned if Byrne wants to spend his later days collaborating with anyone he feels inspired to, then more power to him.

Oh, and how about this St Vincent show!  St Vincent, plus David Byrne, plus Justin Vernon, plus one of the dudes from The National!  Man I wish I lived in NYC sometimes.  I’m not even that big of a St Vincent fan, but that would have been a cool show.

Anyway, not much else to say.  It’s been an extremelly long and trying week.  Very, very tired.  Really stressed.  Had some crap go down last weekend with my downstairs neighbors, and it’s got me kinda stressed.  And work has me worn out.  Last night, I celebrated St Paddy’s day by going to bed at 9:30.  Lame!  Not that I’d have wanted to get shitty with the amatuers that take the holiday as an excuse to get crappy, but a Guiness to mark the occassion still would have been nice.

In either case, right now I must get back to work.

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So, I should say first, that you should probably go see it.  It’s pretty.  Tim Burton is good at pretty things.  But I hated it.  And that’s what I keep telling people when it comes up.  Hated it.

The movie delights the visual senses in every frame.  Even in the film’s beginning, before we descend into Underland, as they call it.  It’s amazing.  Every fabric begs to be stroked, each flower begs to be smelled, each ray of light begs one to pierce the veil and step onto the screen.  There were so many frames where I wish I could have paused the film to soak it all in.  The rich synthesis of color and imagery is truly one of Burton’s best.  The film is sexy.

And the cast:  bravo!  It really was cast perfectly.  Depp’s Hatter enchants, Bonham Carter’s Red Queen enthralls, and who wouldn’t want to follow Mia Wasikowska into the rabbit hole?  Even the voice acting was spot on.  I was expecting a little more from Alan Rickman, to be honest, but it could have just been that all his lines sucked.  And I want to be clear that playing these characters was no easy feat.  Consider Bonham Carter’s Red Queen.  Who doesn’t remember the queen from the Disney classic, with her her grim, absolute sentencing:  “Off with her head!”  Bonham Carter did not attempt to out-bellow the classic character that we all know.  Her performance was more subdued and emphasized the queen’s puerile brattishness.

So we had a lot of good things on the table.

But the story… oh the filthy story.  Looking back over Tim Burton’s films, I realize that storytelling was never his strongest suit.  His best films follow an earlier work, be it play or novel, as closely as they can.  I think that Sleepy Hollow compares with Alice best.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but I remember the scenario being similar:  amazing cast, amazing visuals, complete afterthought of a story.

But this story is one I hold rather dear.  The fact is very simple:  The last thing Alice in Wonderland ever needed was a plot.  In fact, its lack of plot is if not part of the point, then at least tangential to it.  Carroll’s classic was an episodic narrative game.  Its puzzles and logical inversions engage the reader, just as they engage the book’s hapless protagonist.  While some puzzles have solutions, and some are clearly playful parodies of cultural realities, so many of them are simply beautiful nonsense.  Attempting to corral these episodes and sew them into a good old fashioned three act structure is a vulgar insult to one of the few books in history that has always, since its inception, been in print.

The only saving grace that I can find with the film is that Burton loves his Alice just as much as Carroll loved his.  This, I think, is the one thing that makes me hesitate from condemning the movie as outright shit.  (I think a lot of people will like the movie.)  And while, I’m fine with Tim Burton bringing his very own, very special Alice back into this world, I can’t help but feel that it’s our Wonderland.  A grown up Alice lost in the strange, beautiful, and utterly non-sequitur Wonderland might make an interesting film indeed.

But Burton instead brought us into an echo of that familiar world.  And while it might have sprung to life as a most beautiful verisimilitude, it is as hollow as the bluescreen that most of the damn thing was filmed on.

Like I said, you should probably go see it.  But seriously:  fuck that movie.  I hated it.

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Did not make it to work today.  This is not a good thing, since I am running the training room all week and teaching a rather technical lesson.  Luckily it seems that my backup is going to be okay with covering me.

Also, supposed to have a date tonight, and really not so sure that that’ll be happening.  Yeah, bad time to come down with a cold.

Gonna try and get some things done around here though, which will include some posting on this page.  I need to inveigh against Tim Burton.

I was a little surprised by the ending to last night’s Lost.  Guess I won’t spoil it here, but we’re not used to seeing Ben Linus episodes end that way.  Ben is at the end of the day a tragic character.  It was nice, though, to see Tania Raymonde return to the show.  I find her almost supernaturally beautiful.  I wish that I could call her, and that she would go out with me, and that I could put my mouth on her mouth.

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Gonna try and make some more posts later, but thought I would upload this now.

Here is a whole heeping load of Lost theorycraft.  Lots of neat ideas that I haven’t considered.  Then again, I’m not getting paid by a magazine to sit around and research possible relevant mythology.

A couple of this guy’s ideas, though, are pretty interesting.  What if Jacob was searching for a candidate to replace Smokey?  Interesting.  What if Dogen knew that Smokey can’t harm the candidates and vice versa when he sent Sayid after him (or even the suggestion of this idea to begin with)?  Very interesting.  It goes on.

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– You go on a date with someone who, turns out, has been to half of the shows you’ve been to lately.  Also graduated from your own college, same year you did.  Perhaps you should have taken more mass comm classes?

– You meet someone and add each other on Facebook.  You note that x number of your friends are already “mutual.”  There’s probably an equation for this.

– You wind up at some random party, during a snowstorm, and as you look around the house you realize that you almost moved into it once.  Turns out one of your friends, who also randomly showed up with you, has connections to it as well.  A snowball fight occurs, the neighbors complain.  Good thing you never moved there.

– You sit down and order a drink at a bar, and someone from one of your favorite bands pours it for you.  You tip well.

– You join a dating site, and within a week get emailed by an ex-girlfriend.

– You turn a corner in the grocery store, rushing, and nearly knock over one of your old best friends from high school who you haven’t seen in years.  Uncontrollable reminiscing ensues.

– A few minutes later, at the checkout, you end up in line next to that cute girl from your office, whose name you never knew.  You strike up a conversation.

I’ve got more of these, but it’s been a long day and I’m foggy.  Maybe I’ll update this post more later.

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It’s hard to find a better start to the week than one of your coworkers just breaking out a giant plate of berries and cream for everyone to share.  Talk about spring being here.

Last week was actually full of positive spontaneous energy, and I barely found the time to post anything.  This week might be starting off the same.  This seems to be a trend, or at least I hope it’s a trend, after the pall of negative energy that fell over the last few months.

I’ve been great about logging lots of hours at work, so all I need to do is keep that up and be good about a few other things, and we’ll be back on track.  I think my goal for this week is to get some reading done.

This weekend I managed to check out Sam’s Kid and Tapas Adela, and both were amazing.  Recommended!  Go to Sam’s Kid when it’s not busy, though.  They seem to be a little short staffed.

I have a post about Alice in Wonderland, but wanted to give it its due.  The short review:  imagine the hottest, cutest art school girl/boy you ever dated (or crushed on).  Tattoos, skinny jeans, amazing taste in music, and soooo god damn gorgeous that it was almost unbearable.  But as soon as this crush of yours opened his/her mouth and started talking, you just wished they would stop talking (and preferably start making out).  Because as soon as their lips start moving, their aching beauty is sullied by the complete nonsense that spills from their mouth.  Hot and stupid.  That’s what Alice in Wonderland is.

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