Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Hello, and goodbye

A few years ago I experienced a brief moment of internet fame thanks to a ranting, passionate post I wrote about the fact that hot mustard sauce was no longer available for Chicken McNuggets at McDonald's.

It was just one of those weird, random quirks of fate which the Internet seems to love so much. For reasons unknown to me, someone decided to post a link to the blog entry at, which prompted a sudden surge in traffic to the tune of about 20,000 people over the course of two days.

This was sort of exciting, even though I couldn't begin to explain exactly why that particular entry was so weirdly appealing.

I bring this up because I discovered yesterday that Hot Mustard sauce has made its triumphant return to McDonald's restaurants, and I couldn't possibly be happier to have learned that. It's been a little bit more than four years since I learned of the loss, and now the world is as it should be again.

And so that's why I'm ending this blog.

Well, no, I suppose that's not really all there is too it. To be perfectly honest, this blog has been pretty untouched for a very long time (barring the occasional pre-Academy Award post), and was only missing having someone come in and officially close the doors. But as I thought back on that original Hot Mustard post, and then further back on the blog in general, I discovered two things -- first, I felt a sudden surge of desire to start blogging again. And second, I realized that this blog had run its course.

This blog is an artifact from a particular time in my life. It's not a time in my life I'm ashamed of or embarrassed of, it's not something I feel a need to hide from anyone, so I certainly have no intention of taking this blog down. Just the same, it's a particular time in my life that has passed.

I always find it troubling when when an online presence just sort of stops without any word. It makes you wonder what happened. Did the blogger have a heart attack and keel over next to his computer? Did he decide he had better things to do with his time? Did he just forget his password? It felt, after writing here for so many years, that it would be a disservice to just let the site become a ghost town without any mention of what had happened.

And so that's why this is goodbye.

Goodbye, Caught In The Blog. You were good to me for quite a long time, but it's time to move on to the next thing. My life is no longer the life I led when I called this site home. It's time to find someplace new.

I'll be sure to let you know when I get there.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Time to dust off the ol' blog for the annual Oscar predictions

So here we are, the night before the Oscars, and I realized I hadn't done my predictions yet. Which, come to think of it, has pretty much been the norm for the last few years.

I briefly considered doing this as a "note" on Facebook (because Facebook has pretty much been where I've stored all my digital life these days), but it just seemed the wrong way to do it. And I know this blog doesn't get too much use any more, and god knows it probably won't see a sudden spike in use after that, but it still seemed like the right place to do it.

So, as is tradition, here is my list of predictions for the 2009 Academy Awards.

Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)
Frank Langella (Frost / Nixon)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

And the Winner Is...
MICKEY ROURKE! This is a performance that has been raved about ever since the film premiered at festivals last year. If it doesn't go to Rourke, it'll probably go to Penn for Milk, but the story of Rourke's comeback to the film industry is just as compelling as the story of the film he's in, so it's a pretty safe bet.

Josh Brolin (Milk)
Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)

And the Winner Is...
HEATH LEDGER! This has been a pretty hotly debated category, with a lot of critics looking back to other posthumous winners -- and there haven't been many. In the end, I don't see Ledger getting it so much for his work on The Dark Knight (as much as his performance was great), but as a "Lifetime Achievement Award" kind of thing, given that, you know, he won't be offering any more performances, at all, ever.

Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Melissa Leo (Frozen River)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)

And the Winner Is...
KATE WINSLET! She's cleaned up in a bunch of the pre-Oscar awards (including snagging both Leading Female *and* Supporting Female, for two different films, at one awards ceremony) so she seems like a pretty safe bet. Also, this year's crop of Winslet films may be the last time we get to see her boobies on the screen, as she's recently admitted that she may retire the nude clause in her contract. A sad day...

Amy Adams (Doubt)
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Viola Davis (Doubt)
Taraki P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)

And the Winner Is...
AMY ADAMS! Actually, okay, I don't really have any idea who's going to take this category. If it were me, I'd probably give it Marisa Tomei and her boobies in The Wrestler, but I'm not sure the Academy thinks the same way I do.

Kung Fu Panda

And the Winner Is...
WALL-E! Come on, this is a film that many critics had pegged for a best-picture nominee. There's no way it doesn't take the Animated Feature award.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

And the Winner Is...
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON! It's a film that span's the entire life of it's title character (from the day's he's born an old man, to the day he dies as an infant) -- if spanning a character's entire life doesn't give your art direction team enough stuff to work with, you probably hired the wrong team.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

And the Winner Is...
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON! Fincher's films are always gorgeous. I haven't seen this one yet, but I'm willing to be it lives up to the rest of his work.

The Curiosu Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

And the Winner Is...
AUSTRALIA! Too many period pieces to choose from on here, but I'm going to lean towards Baz Luhrmann, as his films tend to be pretty lavish. Though, again, I haven't seen this one, so maybe he decided to go a bit more reserved this time out.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost / Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

And the Winner Is...
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE! Is there any pre-Oscar award that this film hasn't won in this category? I made the same call on Brokeback Mountain a few years ago, for the same reason, and was disappointed. Here's hoping I get it right this time.

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

And the Winner Is...
MAN ON WIRE! Because...well, because I've heard about it. And it looks pretty cool, actually. I'd watch it.

The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smilke Pinki
The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

And the Winner Is...
THE WITNESS - FROM THE BALCONY OF ROOM 306! I have no idea why. But it sounds gripping. Like someone saw something from the balcony of Room 306. Something terrible and dangerous.

The Baader Meinhof Complex
The Class
Waltz with Bashir

And the Winner Is...
REVANCHE! Because its title sounds like it's in a foreign language.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

And the Winner Is...
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY! Could go to Mr. Button, for making Mr. Pitt look so goddamn old, but I'm siding with the vast array of creatures in Hellboy to take the trophy.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire

And the Winner Is...
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON! I kind of wanted to say The Dark Knight, but that's not an option I guess. C'est la vie.

"Down to Earth" (Wall-E)
"Jai Ho" (Slumdog Millionaire)
"O Saya" (Slumdog Millionaire)

And the Winner Is...
"DOWN TO EARTH"! Because it's Peter Gabrial. He rocks.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost / Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

And the Winner Is...
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE! Because it's won every other best picture category its come across.

La Maison En Petits Cubes
Lavatory - Lovestory
This Way Up

And the Winner Is...
LAVATORY - LOVESTORY! Because, how can you not love that title?

Auf Der Strecke (On The Line)
Manon On The Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

And the Winnter Is...
THE PIG! Because, how can you not love that title?

The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire

And the Winner Is...
WALL-E! I still have no idea what the difference is between sound editing and sound mixing, but I think editing is more about the creation of sounds, which is probably way more important in an animated feature.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

And the Winner Is...
THE DARK KNIGHT! Because it had lots of sounds mixed together, like whooshes and punches and explosions, and then the Joker laughs at something.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Night
Iron Man

And the Winner Is...
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON! Because here's a case where subtle actually pays off. It might not be a great big iron suit flying through the air, or Batman on his kickass Batpod, but making Brad Pitt into an 80 year old baby is probably pretty impressive, from a visual effects perspective.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost / Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

And the Winner Is...
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON! Some serious adapting had to go into turning what is essentially a short story into a full length, 3-ish-hour movie, so I figure there will be some tipping of the hat to that sort of work. Plus it's apparently all heartwarming and stuff. Plus, Slumdog is already getting to major awards, no reason to be a dick to Ben Button.

Frozen River
In Bruges

And the Winer Is...
MILK! Because it's not easy turning one guy's whole life into a feature length film.

That's it for this year. Tune in on Sunday to see just how far off base I was!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Time for the semi-seasonal blog update

No point in even talking about how long it's been since I wrote here, so we'll just slide right past that and get right to why I'm writing. And it's because I haven't got anywhere else to write.

I've spent the better part of the night sitting in front of this computer. Because, for once, for a change, I didn't want to sit in front of the television and play video games. Admittedly, I didn't know exactly what it is that I wanted to do, but I knew it wasn't that. I knew I didn't want to be around people. I knew wanted to have a beer in my hand. All of these things, under ordinary circumstances, should have told me, "What you want to do is write." So I sat down here, in front of the computer, and I waited to start writing.

The fact that I avoided the actual writing for so long should have been a sign.

I read Digg. I read my gaming sites. I got distracted by a bunch of not-terribly-funny videos at College Humor. I read a couple of articles at the Onion AV Club. Eventually, I ran out of shit to read and thought, "Well, you think you want to write. So just fucking write, you retard."

So I opened up the new play I've been working on, and spent, I dunno, maybe an hour on it. Got some stuff out, but it wasn't...good. It was just...just there. Just words on a page. Just slogging forward. Getting shit done. But it wasn't...good.

When I bored of that, I still had the need to write, so I opened this thing I've been working on about my cat. My dead cat. My dead cat who was about 12 years old who I had to put down last month, and who -- in the putting down -- led me to realize for the first time in my life that there was no God. This is something that's been haunting me for awhile now. I mean, I haven't been a practicing Christian in more years than I can count, but there was always something in the back of my mind that clung to the idea of a creator, of someone out there who, even if he didn't love us unconditionally, would at least give us some place to hang out after we were dead, even if that place wasn't completely awesome.

But then when I put the cat down, it just went. That whole idea just vanished. Suddenly, God was the most ridiculous idea on the planet.

And the truth is, I'm not really sure how one thing even really led to the other, and that's part of why I've been trying to write this thing -- to make some sense of it. To figure out how a dead cat would lead me to conclude that there is no God. But I can't make sense of it. Tonight was no different. I spent some time with that, and it went nowhere good, so I closed that one down too. And then realized...that was it. I had nothing else to work on. And still, this burning desire to write something.

So I came here.

There's another play I could be working on right now, I guess. I want to have two one-acts done for next March, for submission as ACToberfest shows for next season. I want to have two done so there are options. So it's not just trying to push one through because it's the only one available. I want to have two so I can actually go with the best one, or the one that feels right, or whatever.

But this other play is about suicide and loneliness and isolation, and to be completely frank, I'm really not feeling depressed enough right now to properly work on it.

So again, I came here.

Writing about the act of not writing is one of the weirdest, most counter-productive things I can imagine. I'm also pretty sure, in this blog's long, storied history, it's something I've done once or twice in the past. Because when you have that burning need to write something, even writing about not writing is writing. In some horrible, twisted way. Even if it just leaves you wishing that you were doing something actually productive, instead of just wasting a few more bytes in cyberspace.

I'm not completely sure, but I think that the last time I time did any serious, substantial writing -- on the play, most likely -- was before we put the cat down. And I really think that's because, since then, since I've realized that God is a joke and a fantasy, that I'm profoundly changed.

As it should be, I guess. One doesn't go from being a semi-Christian to being an atheist without a few bumps along the way.

It feels like I need to re-evaluate my whole life. Like the things I do, and why I do them, will have to be different now. When I write, it will no longer be because i feel a need to share a gift I was lucky enough to receive from some creator. It will be because...well, I'm not entirely sure why, actually. Which is probably why I'm having so much trouble actually writing anything write now.

I feel like this revelation should have freed me. Like I should be able to do anything I want now, that I'm no longer forced to live up to a set of standards created by an imaginary father figure. I should be able to do anything. I should be able to be anything.

Instead, I only feel like I'm nothing at all.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's depressing

It seems to me that when even taking a nap is depressing, things are getting pretty close to the bottom.

Okay, it wasn't so much the nap itself that was depressing. Being in bed, hiding from the world, okay, yeah, that was good. That's always good. But somewhere in the middle of the nap I had a dream. I don't really remember much from it, except that I felt terribly alone, and then I noticed that across the street was my family's house, and my dad was there, and my brother. And I waved at them and I tried to call them over to come hang out with me and hopefully send some of my loneliness away, but they just waved a hello to me and went back into their house, leaving me alone.

And then I woke up, and I was even more depressed.

According to my commonly consulted dream dictionary, this is what it means to dream of your family: to see your own family in your dream, represents security, warmth and love. Consider also the significance of a particular family member or the relationship you have with them.

It's a nice thought, but I don't think that's a broad analysis. Having your family turn your back on you and walk into their own house could not, in any way, represent "security, warmth and love." So fuck you, dream dictionary. Guess I'm on my own for this one.

Not that it's terribly hard to figure out. Watching your family turn your back on your represents isolation and loneliness, pretty obviously. After all, if there's one group you should be able to turn to when things are at their worst, it's your family, right?

So why so depressed? Plenty of reasons, I guess, but none of them terribly good. Certain parts of life are being spun around in the turmoil of change, and I'm having a tough time with some of it.

The feeling of stagnation in other parts of life, and the feeling like it's my own unwillingness to move forward in anything, unwilling to change or improve or even just try something new, is what keeps me back, keeps me stagnant, keeps me miserable. I keep seeing opportunities -- opportunities that might be good or interesting or fun -- slide by in front of me, and instead of reaching out for them, I let them pass by and I crawl into bed and pretend the world doesn't exist.

I know it's not the best approach. It's just the only one I have.

Which isn't true, of course. There are plenty of options. I could force a smile onto my face, and fake it for everyone around me until I actually started to feel happy. I could get medicated. I could go to therapy. I could admit myself to a hospital for treatment. I could quit my job and move to some faraway place and start all over again. There are plenty of options.

But, as always, actually *doing* something when you feel this way is just about impossible.

Far easier to just lay around in bed, miserable, suffering, waiting for death to descend upon you.

Way easier.

I really don't believe in medicating depression, for the most part -- I think, as a society, we're far too overmedicated already, I don't really feel like doing my part to add to the problem. But sometimes I can't help but feel like, at least with medication in play, I might be able to start taking steps towards some kind of improvement. Because right now, I really don't have the energy to do much except lie in bed, pretend the world doesn't exist, and slip into the arm arms of a sleep that is peppered with dreams of being isolated, alone, and ignored.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Been dabbling with lyrics to a song I'm thinking I might end this current play with (I'm not 100% sold on it, because it really is a way-the-fuck-out-there, over-the-top sort of ending, and I'm not sure I'm cool with that), and I have to admit, I'm kind of fond of this bit here:

He murdered his wife and his baby
Which is odd, cuz he's usually lazy
What is he, batshit crazy?
Uh uh, he's just a drunk

That is all.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Is it spring yet?

The weather was actually warm enough last night that I was able to bring the laptop out onto the deck to spend a bit time of working on the new play. It was nice.

For the last couple of days, I've had the laptop set up on my desk, next to the desktop PC, mostly so I could juggle two different jobs at once (ripping CDs on the desktop, while I worked on a poster on the laptop). This was incredibly handy at the time, but it got me thinking that the reason I had picked up the laptop in the first place was so that I could actually do some work in locations that *weren't* my desk. Last night, I believe, marked the first time I'd taken it to the out of doors, which was pretty cool. Will likely try it again tonight.

I also stuffed a couple of the solar-charged lights in the planters out on the deck, to hopefully provide some evening illumination for my outdoor writing projects. They hadn't had time to charge, but still gave off a faint glow. I'm hoping their substantially brighter after a day charging -- they really didn't do much last night.

I bought a ten-pack of the lights a few weeks ago, mostly just because I liked them. I had no idea where I planned to use them, and I still don't really, though there are a couple of options. The first is to use them to light the path down to the central area of the backyard where I'd like to get a Gazebo put, hopefully this spring / summer (though heaven knows if that's even likely). Although with only eight lights left, I may need another pack to light the entire path (I've got a fairly long, windy back yard).

The second option is to light the various garden landings that are scattered periodically down the backyard. After, of course, putting some work into fixing them up.

The yard has seen some neglect. Actually, the last few years, the yard has pretty much *only* seen neglect. I'm hoping to change that this year. Fixing up the backyard is weekend project #1 for the spring and summer. Which is all well and good as an idea, but knowing me, once it gets to be time to do the actual work...well, the yard may very well be able to add yet another year of neglect to its list.

Monday, April 14, 2008

You're older than you've ever been.

April 14th, 2008. Almost halfway through the fourth month of the year, nearly a quarter of the way through this year. Wasn't it just Christmas? What the fuck.

In another four months I'll be 35. Where does the time go? When did it start flying by so quickly. I'm getting old. This is insane. When do I have to start worrying about bowel and prostate cancer? When do I have to start getting scared that I'm still a smoker? When do heart attacks and strokes suddenly become a tangible possibility? Am I already there?

Good Lord, how did this happen?

I'm a wreck today. Only slept a handful of hours. Spent most of the night convinced that I was going to die in my sleep. No idea why. Arms hurt, and I had the shakes. Thought it was maybe a hangover from some intense drinking the night before, but I didn't feel *that* bad throughout the day. Seemed odd that it would hit me so hard at the end of it.

Death is everywhere today. It clings to my mind from last night's paranoia, then reading a story on the 'Net about 47 year old university professor dying of pancreatic cancer, then news of a man I had known briefly a few years ago killing himself. Death is everywhere.

I should be working on that play, the new play. Not much time to get it done -- the end of April is my deadline if I want to have a hope of putting it on for Actoberfest. Time slipping through my hands again. Time flying by faster than I can keep up. Two weeks to finish a 60 page play. Should be conceivable, but I won't get any work done today. Head is too thick, too tired, can't think straight.

Four months to 35. Fucking madness. 35 and then 40, and then 50, and then 60. Blink and it's over. Blink and you're on your deathbed.

More death.

Haunting me today.

I wish I knew why.

What waits for us after this life is over? Is this it? Close your eyes, rattle out your last breath, and then nothing. Just like you never were. Just like none of it ever was. That terrifies me. Incredibly.

Can't keep thinking like this. It's depressing.

If I don't get a decent night's sleep tonight, I will go insane.