Monday, February 28, 2005

Thank the lord for tact and silence

Remember that money problem? The one I wanted to rant about, which I didn't, because there were others involved who might take offense?

Glad I bit my tongue, because everthing has apparently worked out in the end, which makes me a very, very, very happy blogger.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Goddamn my conscience

There's something I want to write about. Something I *need* to RANT about. And I can't do it, because it involves somebody else, a very personal situation, and money.

Even if that person remained nameless, the nature of the situation leaves them easily identified to anyone with half a brain.

So I will refrain from ranting about it. Will refrain from writing about it in general. And instead, I'll have to sit and stew on it, let it burn in my mind and knot my guts.

Because I hate money. Or, at least, the strain and stresses that money brings. Are financial reasons the first or second most common inspiration for suicide? God knows, they must be one or the other in a society bred by capitalism.

I have a dream one day of leave civilization, and finding an abandoned plot of land somewhere, if not undiscovered then at least somewhere that people have forgotten about, and start a farm. Go luddite. Drop the computers and the cell phones and the iPods and all the trappings of technology that only fill voids and add nothing of any actual substance to our lives. I'll bring a manual typwriter with me and pound out ranting manifestos. But I won't send bombs to anyone -- that, I promise. That's rude.

It'll be a commune to, and anyone who wants to come and help work the farm is welcome to. And when the work is done we'll hold hands and sing songs around the campfire, and we'll try to remake society out of a better mould, and we'll probably even almost succeed until someone gets a better idea into their heads, and a little feud starts, which eventually breaks into an all-out war that will leave my poor communal farm littered with broken bodies and soaked in the pints of blood spilled in the needless conflict.

Maybe the commune isn't such a great idea after all.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

It's about a sock.

It starts with a sock, but it doesn't end there. Over the next few days it involves the mob, the police, a frozen lake, ice cream, and a hole to another dimension inside of someone's dryer.

The blog I'm talking about doesn't have a name...well, I suppose it does, but it's not a very good one, so I won't mention it...but you can find it here.

I'm not only mentioning it because it's written by a friend of mine. It's also really, really funny.

Oscar Picks 2005

Pull up a chair, bring a nice hot cup of cocoa, and settle in for a bit of reading – as promised in my column, it’s time for my third annual Super-Crappy Oscar picks.

The rules are simple. Choices are made, whenever possible, based on everything except having seen the film. And as this year has been an even dryer one that last when it comes to my watching movies, there shouldn’t be any difficulty with that.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: The Incredibles, Shark Tale, Shrek 2.

And the winner is: Everything I’ve heard seems to indicate that Shrek can do no wrong, which is why I’m going to pick The Incredibles.

ART DIRECTION: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Phantom of the Opera, A Very Long Engagement.

And the winner is: You can’t go wrong with a lavishly adapted musical directed by the guy who gave Batman and Robin codpieces. I’m picking Phantom of the Opera.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: The Aviator, House of Flying Daggers, The Passion of the Christ, The Phantom of the Opera, A Very Long Engagement.

And the winner is: Why isn’t Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow on this list? Based on the trailers, I’d been completely certain that it would be. Nonetheless, I’m torn between The Passion and Phantom on this, but lean towards Phantom of the Opera as I think the academy voters will avoid crazy, obsessive, nut-job directors.

COSTUME DESIGN: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Ray, Troy.

And the winner is: You usually can’t go wrong with period pieces. Unfortunately, there’s four of them in that list. So I’ll give it to Troy, because I imagine had a lot more costumes to design than any other film, what with all those armies and stuff.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Born into Brothels, The Story of the Weeeping Camel, Super Size Me, Tupac: Resurrrection, Twist of Faith.

And the winner is: I love the Documentary category, because you’re sure to have heard of almost none of the films. And if there is a film in the list that you’ve heard of, it’s sure to win. So, of course, my prediction goes with Super Size Me.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: Autism is a World, The Children of Leningradsky, Hardwood, Mighty Times: The Children’s March, Sister Rose’s Passion.

And the winner is: I haven’t heard a thing about any of them, so I’ll pick Autism is a World, because it’s a topic that probably made people cry when they watched the film.

FILM EDITING: The Aviator, Collateral, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray.

And the winner is: This award seems, more often than not, to attach itself to the Best Director and Best Picture categories, so I’ll give this one to The Aviator.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: As It Is In Heaven, The Chorus, Downfall, The Sea Inside, Yesterday.

And the winner is: Why are there never any foreign language titles in the foreign language film category? Whatever the reason, I think it would be really funny if The Sea Inside won, but I can’t tell you why. That’s my pick.

MAKEUP: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Passion of the Christ, The Sea Inside

And the winner is: Much as I hate to admit it, if the 90-minute gorefest that was The Passion of the Christ doesn’t take the award, there’s something wrong with the world.

MUSIC (SCORE): Finding Neverland, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events, The Passion of the Christ, The Village

And the winner is: I would side with Danny Elfman as a composer any and every time he is nominated. Unfortunately he wasn’t nominated this year, so I’ll pick The Passion of the Christ instead, because it’s a little different from traditional film scores and might get noticed for that very reason.

MUSIC (SONG): Accidentally In Love (Shrek 2), Al Otro Lado Del Rio (The Motorcycle Diaries), Believe (The Polar Express), Learn to be Lonely (The Phantom of the Opera), Look To Your Path (The Chorus).

And the winner is: I actually hate this category. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. “Songs” used in films tend to steal too much of the spotlight from the real talents – those composers who write the film’s score – and are only used to get a song on the radio in order to help promote the film. Having said that, you can’t go wrong with picking a song from a musical, so I’ll give it to Learn to be Lonely from the Phantom of the Opera.

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED): Birthday Boy, Gopher Broke, Guard Dog, Lorenzo, Ryan.

And the winner is: Gopher Broke…hee hee…go for broke…hee hee…it’s funny because it’s a play on words!

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): Everything In This Country Must, Little Terrorist, 7:35 in the Morning, Two Cars, One Night, Wasp

And the winner is: Haven’t seen or heard of any of them, but I like the title Little Terrorist, so there’s my pick. Everything In This Country Must might’ve had a chance if they’d just bothered to finish their goddamn sentence. Must what? End? Improve? Go for pizza?

SOUND EDITING: The Incredibles, The Polar Express, Spider-Man 2

And the winner is: I can never figure out the difference between sound editing and sound mixing, but I’ll give this one to The Incredibles, because it was animated and so every sound in the film was kind of made up from scratch.

SOUND MIXING: The Aviator, The Incredibles, The Polar Express, Ray, Spider-Man 2

And the winner is: Ray. Why not? The film needs another award beyond Jamie Foxx’s, and this seems like as good an award as any.

VISUAL EFFECTS: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I, Robot, Spiderman 2.

And the winner is: I shudder at the realization, but I’m gonna have to give the award to I, Robot. Damn you, Will Smith, you win this round!

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY): Before Sunset, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, The Motorcycle Diaries

And the winner is: Million Dollar Baby – this is the big creative nod it will get when it doesn’t win Best Picture.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY): The Aviator, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Hotel Rwanda, The Incredibles, Vera Drake.

And the winner is: How about a little love for Charlie Kaufman? Let’s give this one to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

And that, my friends, is that. If you’ve read past Oscar picks, you know this might be a bit brief compared to them, but I put it off for too long and needed to do it all in one she-bang. I’ll be watching the web site Sunday night to see how close my inane predictions come to the truth.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Slippery slope

I didn't write as much as I intended too last night. The Wild Turkey vanished quickly and I had to leave the house in search of alternative liquor, which brought me to my former in-laws' house, where drinks were consumed until 4:00 a.m. at which point I staggered home, letting the dog lead me in the correct direction.

Smoked my guts out last night too, which is unfortunate as I'd gone 10 days without one. Back on the wagon today though, and left my remaining cigarettes at my in-laws' just so that temptation wouldn't be too nearby.

As for the eulogizing of Hunter S., in retrospect it seems to me that the best way to honour his memory is to do the sorts of things that he would do, and I don't mean drink and eat mescaline and make a mess of your body. I mean kick at the system, scream at the powers-that-be, and just generally be a nuisance to those in places of power, demanding accountability from them, and demanding better from the world we live in.

Hunter was a brutally vicious watchdog, and while we might not all have the opportunity to scream and shout as loudly as he did, we all do still have a voice of some kind with which we can make noise. And make noise we must, and for always, because complacenty and indifference is the road to ruin and damnation.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Say hello to hollywood

I had a chat on the way home with a coworker (not, for the record, the same that helped me consume the wild turkey -- she was drinking official, company, home-brew wine) about films, and about the upcoming oscars. It was an interesting converation because I hadn't previously known she'd had much of an interest in film and filmmaking, but based on the way she was dropping the names of directors and composers left my speechless.

I have to compile my annual oscar prediction list by Friday so we can compare notes.

She dropped Danny Elfman's name, and I was reminded of the fantastic rock band he fronted from, I think, the late-70s to the mid-90s called Oingo Boingo. I'm not good with music classification, so I'll call the kind of work they produced "Neuveau-Jazz-Punk" because it sounds cool to me right now.

It's 7:00, and I wanna rock...

Thanks, in part, to the efforts of a coworker, I'm now 2/3 of the way through a bottle of Wild Turkey, consumed in part to eulogize the loss of Hunter Thompson this past weekend.

My finger is bleeding from an overpicked hangnail.

As of press time, I'm not quite drunk enough, and can only hope that the remaining 1/3 of the bottle tips me over into the realm that I so desperately want to visit.

I am boycotting World of Warcraft tonight and, instead, will be listening to loud rock and roll and trying my guts out to blog four or five times in the hours between now and when I run out of liquor, because I can think of no better way of eulogizing Mr. Thompson than by simply getting gooned and slinging some goddamn words around.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Goodnight, Doctor.

It's over. He's gone.

Hunter S. Thompson shot himself sunday night at the age of 67, forever ending the era of journalism that he had helped usher in decades before, leaving us with content on televisions and in newspapers that has as much in common with journalism as it does with pudding.

My eye caught the headline in Yahoo's top news list, on the side of their home page, and I felt the shock go through my, from the top of my head down to the base of my spine. I was dizzy. i was nautious. The world spun wildly around me. It wasn't true. It couldn't be true.

The doctor is gone.

If I was a better writer, I'd try to use a gonzo style to say something profound, but I'm not that better writer. I'm a hack who writes often enough to maintain a certain level of quality, but not often enough to actually improve. I can string together a sentence, but most of the time I can't make it sing.

And all I can do right now, all I can say, is that I'm sad and I'm hurt and I'm angry and I wish to fuck I had a drink right now.

Goodnight, Doctor. Farewell and Godspeed.

And stay weird, wherever you are.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Stickage '05

Keen-eyed readers will notice there has actually been an update to this page -- Stick Figure Drama links have finally been updated to include #28 to #37, which is the most recently published strip.

To all those who thought you would never see another drop of content at this site, nya nya nya.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Has anyone checked out this Blogshares thing?

Near as I can tell, it's a kind-of online game that involves the buying and selling of shares in blogs -- like people do on the stock market with companies. Blogs are valued based in part on the number of links going out, the number of links coming back, and at least to a small degree who much buying and selling has been going on lately.

Or maybe that's a bigger degree than I would have guessed, as it seems the last week of a friend buying and selling shares in Caught in the Blog has driven the price from $0.29 to $17.00.

If you'd like to see it for yourself, there's a handy graph located right here. If you want to buy some shares in the ol' Caught in the Blog, now would be the time to do it, before their value goes up any further.