Thursday, March 30, 2006

Nightmares and dreamscapes.

To dream that your limbs are amputated, signifies abandoned talents and serious, permanent loss. It indicates your feelings of frustration, powerlessness and helplessness. Sometimes amputation may also represent a situation that you have been ignoring and has finally reached a crisis point. In particular, to dream that your arms are amputated, suggests that you lack motivation. Dreaming that you legs are amputated suggests that you are limited in movements and where you want to go in life.

To dream that you injured or hurt your foot, signifies a lack of progress, freedom, and independence. Alternatively, the dream may suggests that you have taken a step in the wrong direction. In particular, to dream that your foot gets cut by glass, then it indicates passivity. You are hesitant or reluctant in taking the first step toward a goal or decision.

I had a rather unsettling dream last night in which I accidentally cut off my foot with a chainsaw. Of course, this didn't cause me much concern initially, and I simply stuck the foot back onto my leg stump, continuing on with my day.

But as time went on, I became more and more convinced that I should seek medical attention for this little ailment. I headed for the hospital, but by then, it seemed it would be next to impossible to get anyone to help me. Panic began to set in as it began to seem that I would not make it into surgery before the foot had reached a state where reattachment would no longer be an option.

Strangely, bleeding to death was at no point a concern.

When I woke from the dream, the sense that my foot was only marginally attached to my body remained. I spun it in circles, and probed the skin around the spot where it had been severed in the dream. I was also unable to return to sleep, convinced that I was going to return to my desperate and ultimately hopeless attempts to seek medical attention.

I'm not necessarily sure that those dream interpretations (which are courtesy of the Dream Moods web site) are an accurate interpretation of the symbols in my own dream, but I provide them for trivia's sake.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The explanation

I think I've always had a kind of love / hate relationship with spam. Hate because, of course, it's invasive, annoying, and ultimately ineffective to the people who are trying to make their millions by selling products people don't want to a public that couldn't begin to care.

And love because...well, because at the very least, you've got to at least kind of respect their dedication and admire their perserverance.

Last year, spam seemed to go through a phase where the composition of the emails seemed to have been outsourced to a company located in Japan, where the employees only had a very, very limited grasp of the english language. These sorts of spam messages were an amazing amount of fun to read, simply for their language mangling qualities.

Here's an example (yes, I kept one of these messages in my junk mail folder, because I love the stuff so much):

Our pills is a foremost fatbinding addendum that moves grease from the foods you eat!
It assistances you grow thin applying a quite various assumption than the spacious majority of diet medical products on the market.

Funny, no?

The broken english spam of last year, though, appears to be currently passe. Sadly, 2006's spam seems to, for the most part, be made up of messages containing jpg images of products and prices. Unfortunately, most spam blockers seem to be onto this, filing messages that contain only an image and no text as "junk mail."

And so more and more junk mail messages are arriving with text preceding the inevitable sales image. And, more and more often, that text is just random gibberish. Kind of like what I quoted yesterday, straight from a spam message.

But there's something appealingly random about the text. It's like the 21st century, marketing-based version of Williams S. Burroughs' cut-up technique. It's random, but if you stare at it long enough, can you find the unintended meaning? Is there a hidden truth that the author was not even remotely aware of?

No, probably not, but it's brilliantly fun to read the stuff anyway.

Monday, March 27, 2006

If you don't get it, I'll explain tomorrow...

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Learning to be happy.

I think it's safe to say that just about everyone wants to be happy. Mind your, the pursuit of happiness does not offer a guaranteed success rate and, in fact, actual results vary dramatically from person to person.

However, if you're one of the ones whose success has been less than fantastic, there may be hope, at least if you're willing to attend Tal Ben-Shahar's Harvard University Course "Positive Psychology."

The program has quickly become one of the most popular on campus -- for obvious reasons, I think and while I'm sure the actual course involves a whole lot more than there, Ben-Shahar offers these six tips to the internet crowd looking to be happier:

1. Give yourself permission to be human. When we accept emotions -- such as fear, sadness, or anxiety -- as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness.

2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning.

3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?

4. Simplify! We are, generally, too busy, trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much.

5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do -- or don't do -- with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health.

6. Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.

There you go, the secret to happiness. Or at the very least, a few secrets towards maybe being a little bit happier. And every little bit counts, no doesn't it?

The full story's available over at NPR. Site discovered courtesy of the always awesome LifeHacker.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rediscovering dreck.

Okay, so I sat down tonight to start reading "The Amityville Horror" again (reasearch...) for the first time since, well, probably the tenth grade at the latest, and more than likely closer to the seventh or eight. In the years since I first experienced the novel my perspective on the story has drifted from one of slack-jawed terror at the prospect of such an event being *true* to the realization that, at the very least, the tale was probably heavily embellished and, at the very worst, was an outright fabrication (regardless of George Lutz's continued claims that story is, in fact, true).

Of course whether the story is true is neither here nor there. I wasn't reading the book to prove or debunk anything. Like I said, it was a straight research outing, plain and simple.

I made it about 50 pages through before I put the book down, partly because I was getting tired, and partly because...well, to put it simply, I couldn't believe how dreadfully written it was.

Like really, honestly, brutally badly written. Like the author -- Jay Anson -- had never put together a novel before.

Which, in fact, he hadn't. Though he had been a journalist previous to penning The Amityville Horror, so one would've hoped he'd have some experience stringing information together in a way that made sense.

The first chapter alone made me dizzy. It jumped around chronologically so many times that I couldn't keep track of what day it actually was in the narrative until the family was actually moving into the house -- the only moment that had a date associated with it (Dec. 18, 1975).

In later chapters the narrator's voice shifts from the third person, to a first person narrative from George Lutz's perspective, though only for half a paragraph before switching back to the third again.

Lord, it made my head hurt.

The most interesting thing about it was that I recognized a lot of my adolescent writing style in it. Now I'm not sure if that means that the structure and storytelling style of the Amityville Horror was actually quite influential on me as a young writer, or if it was simply that my skills, as an adolescent, were almost on par with Jay Anson. Either way, I'm already dreading having to push through the next 250 pages of research.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Passing it on...

Picked this up from the Slacktivist blog, which is actually long overdue in its inclusion in my linkage section (I'll get to it one day soon -- promise)

When you see this, go to your own blog and post an anti-war song. Why? Because stuff like this can spread like a virus. And that can only be a good thing.

Each Small Candle
by Roger Waters

Not the torturer will scare me
Nor the body's final fall
Nor the barrels of death's rifles
Nor the shadows on the wall
Nor the night when to the ground
The last dim star of pain, is hurled
But the blind indifference
Of a merciless, unfeeling world

Lying in the burnt out shell
Of some Albanian farm
An old Babushka
Holds a crying baby in her arms
A soldier from the other side
A man of heart and pride
Breaks ranks, lays down his rifle
To kneel by her side

He gives her water
Binds her wounds
And calms the crying child
A touch gives absolution then
Across the great divide
He picks his way back through the broken
China of her life
And there at the curb
The samaritan Serb turns and waves ... goodbye

And each small candle
Lights a corner of the dark
Each small candle
Lights a corner of the dark
Each small candle lights a corner of the dark

When the wheel of pain stops turning
And the branding iron stops burning
When the children can be children
When the desperados weaken
When the tide rolls into greet them
And the natural law of science
Greets the humble and the mighty
And the billion candles burning
Lights the dark side of every human mind
Each small candle
Each small candle (repeated)
Each small candles lights the dark side of every human mind
And each small candle
Lights a corner of the dark

Rest In Peace, Mr. Chocolate Salty Balls...

I’m not sure if it’s just that I haven’t seen South Park in a long, long time, or if it’s the fact that Trey Parker and Matt Stone were ridiculously “on” this last week, for the premier episode of their tenth season, but…holy crap, I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a long, long time.

I’ve said for years that Parker and Stone are the finest satirists alive today, and nothing could make this fact more obvious than this past episode of South Park, wherein they satirize their own internal conflict following Isaac Hayes’ apparent decision to quit the show after last season’s skewering of Scientology.

I say “apparent” because, as more and more of the story comes to light (,3566,188463,00.html) it seems like things might not be quite so simple.

And yet, even in the situation gets increasingly complicated, Parker and Stone hit the nail right on the head with their response to the whole situation. Criticizing Isaac Hayes through Chef, while still leaving him enough wiggle room to say, “Hey, I didn’t say that!”

You can find the original, apparently inflammatory, anti-Scientology episode at

This week’s episode might be a little tougher to track down, but if you’re running BitTorrent, you could possibly find something over at

Friday, March 24, 2006

Also, return of the Stickage

In the interest of nurturing new fans of this crappy little comic strip (Hi Elise!) I've finally gotten around to posting the six Stick Figure Drama strips that will bring the online archive up to date with this week's newspaper strip.

If I can share a little secret...I've actually had a lot of fun with these last six strips. Weird Bob is so fun to write for, particularly as the narrator of the story. The weirdest stuff just comes out of his mouth, and sounds completely natural.

He's actually bordering on my favourite character in the strip, actually.

Just wait until you meet his brother, Lefty...

Return of the Crap (Also, 10 Random Songs)

So I’m nervous.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did one of these. Thanks to the play and all the corresponding stresses and business, so there’s that.

And then last night, just for fun, I loaded up and listened to a random playlist…and I’m not sure if it was my mindset or what, but it seemed like nothing but *crap* came out of Winamp. Which makes me nervous about tonight.

Is this going to be 10 songs of crap, for real? I mean, I’ve been using the word crap for awhile, in conjunction with the Friday Random 10, but is tonight the night that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I guess we’ll find out shortly.

  1. Beck – Lost Cause – I’ve gotten on a crazy Beck downloading frenzy lately, having heard almost none of his stuff except this song and Guero. I’m still lacking the album that contains this song, which is about the only one left that I’m desperate to get my hands on. Because if the whole album is as good as this song is, I’d have a hard time imagining a better album.

  2. Sinead O’Connor & Sharon Shannon and Friends – Anachie Gordon – Clearly from the massive 10-CD O’Connor thingy that I downloaded. Peacefully acoustic. Or acoustically peaceful, depending on your approach.

  3. U2 – Bad (Live) – This sounds like some classic U2 that I’ve never heard before. The name seems familiar, so I have the sense that I’ve known that this song exists, but it doesn’t sound familiar, exactly. Only to the extent that many U2 songs from certain eras simply sound like U2 songs from that era.

  4. The Beatles – Polythene Pam – Don’t know this one. Doesn’t seem to do much for me either, actually.

  5. Richard Ashcroft – Science of Silence – Wow, haven’t heard this in awhile. I think this came from some kind of “best of the year” download, of which I only kept a few songs. But this is a great one. “We are on a rock, spinning silently; won’t you get close to me.” Good stuff.

  6. Onion Radio News – A New Starbucks Opens in the Restroom of an Existing Starbucks – Not technically a song, but whatever. The Onion is freaking brilliant.

  7. Depeche Mode – Any Second Now - Sounds like older Depeche Mode that I haven’t heard before, as opposed to newer Depeche Mode that I haven’t heard before.

  8. Information Society – Come With Me – A bizarre 80s techno band from Minneapolis that had some success with their first album, a moderate hit with their second (which I actually preferred), then kind of disappeared from view from their third. I think there was maybe a fourth, but people stopped caring by then. This is one of two or three of my favourite songs from from the “Hack” album. It’s good to hear it again.

  9. Roxette – (I Could Never) Give You Up – You know, I’m not ashamed when cheesy early-90s crap like this comes up, as long as it’s cheesy early-90s crap that I’ve heard before, and actually enjoyed.

  10. The Beatles – Another Hard Day’s Night – I don’t think I’ve ever heard this before, but holy cow is it brilliant. The early hit “Hard Day’s Night” approached as an instrumental with Indian instrumentation. Wild.

  11. Alanis Morissette – Hands Clean – I kind of like this song, in spite of spending a few years working with an anti-Alanis co-worker, and the fact that it’s apparently pseudo-biographical about an affair she had with an older man.

Okay, well, that actually wasn’t too shabby. And hey, what do you know, it’s actually Friday night too. Who’d have thunk it!?


  1. A3 – Disneyland Is Burning – Okay, I had to tack this #11 track on, because A3 is pretty much my current favourite band, is this is among the songs that I’ve only acquired in the last week or so, so it’s still novel and amazing and brilliant. And it just happened to pop up as #11. I’m sure I’ve said it before – If you haven’t heard A3 (or Alabama 3, technically) then you’re doing yourself a massive disservice. Too often referred to as “The best band you’ve never heard,” which would be kind of cheesy if it wasn’t for the fact that it was so incredibly true.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Random TMBG Random 10 (or 15)

So a friend asked me the other day to make her a They Might Be Giants mix CD, because she’d never heard their stuff, and was only familiar with their work through my occasional references during the Friday Random 10.

So, bored tonight, with too much time to kill now that the play is over, I decided this would be a fine time to start compiling the songs. Which, I’ll admit, is going to be a challenge, as she has requested an audio CD and not an MP3 CD, which limits the amount of songs I can use. Given that TMBG tend to write shorter than average songs, I could probably get 20, maybe 25 on a disc, but that’s still only a tiny slice of their back catalogue. How, I wondered, would I choose the songs to best represent them?

Loading my entire TMBG folder into an MP3 playlist seemed the easiest idea. And then, I thought, if I was going to do that anyway, why not have a random random 10 at the same time?

I’ll likely listen to far more than 10 songs, of course, but I’ll likely cut this list off at 10, for fear of becoming bored. Or – worse yet – becoming boring.

1. Man, It’s So Loud In Here – A personal favourite. Satirizes the growth of annoying dance music in the strangest of places by being a song that uses a lot of annoying dance music tricks. Probably the best – or, at the very least, the most layered – example of musical satire I can think of. This one is definitely on the list.

2. Meet James Ensor – “Meet James Ensor, Belgium’s famous painter…” are the words the song begins with. Who else would write a song about an obscure, Belgian painter? Anyone? No, didn’t think so.

3. Hello Radio – Vibraphones and weird crunchy guitars playing what sounds like sulphuric acid jazz…

4. Yeh Yeh – A catchy tune from one of their later albums, but nowhere near good enough to make the short list for the CD.

5. Hypnotist of Ladies – And what hypnotist wouldn’t be?

6. S-E-X-X-Y Remix – The irony is that a TMBG remix sounds exactly like the sort of music they were busy satirizing in “Man, It’s So Loud In Here.” Is it possible they were making fun of their own remixes?

7. Purple Toupee – Sometimes a TMBG song is just so far over my head, or so far into the bizarre, that I have little say about it. A song about a purple toupee? Uh, yeah, okay. Still, great song.

8. Lie Still, Little Bottle – Very bluesy. An ode to a bottle of pills held in a shaky hand. Kind of sad, in a way.

9. I Should Be Allowed To Think – A call to freedom of thought. In a very TMBG way.

10. Dig My Grave – I love this song, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you why. It’s going on the CD.

11. I Palindrome I – How weird is that? This is actually the track that’s supposed to follow “Dig My Grave” on the Apollo 18 album. Not as good as “Grave” in my opinion.

12. Twisting – “She wants to see you again, slowly twisting, in the wind.” Kind of a painful, angry, lost love song. Which is sort of how most relationships end, I fear.

13. ’85 Radio Special Thank You – This thing is just indescribably weird. It’s TMBG talking about themselves, except I think everything they say is a lie. Also, it sounds like the tape that recorded this radio special was eaten by a wildebeest.

14. Kiss Me, Son of God (Alternate Version) – I’m not sure entirely why, but I *adore* this song. I’m not entirely sure what it’s about, except that it might be an attack on exploitational TV evangelicals. Plus there’s an accordion in it.

15. Whistling in the Dark – The chorus of this song has an annoying habit of getting stuck in my brain, and refusing to leave for days on end. I’m putting on the CD if only to see if others get the same curse that I do…

Okay, so I went to 15 instead of ten, because they were short. But now I’m definitely running the risk of boring both myself and everyone else, so I’ll cut this short. Cheerios.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


“Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

Those of you familiar with Hunter Thompson are likely familiar with the quote – which comes, if memory serves me correctly, from his most known piece, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” But, hopefully, even those of you who aren’t familiar with Dr. Thompson find a certain truth in those words.

The first time I read those words – and, beyond that, probably the first dozen times I read those words – the meaning was this: If you want to walk on the edge of life, be prepared to fall off the cliff. Because Thompson walked on the edge. It was where he was the most comfortable, and in his own way, it was where I think he wanted to ultimately see all of if from. Because you can see a lot of really fantastic things from the edge.

But right now, tonight, I feel like there’s an entirely different take to that quote. And I’m not sure if it’s one that Thompson intended and I’ve been too thick to get until now, or if it’s one that Thompson never saw coming and only exists in my head because I’m reading between the lines and applying to my own life philosophies.

But the take is this.

You buy the ticket when you’re born. It’s not an option – much like it’s not an option in the Thompson quote. You buy the ticket, whether you like it or not. And, having gotten your hands on the ticket, you’ve got not choice but to take the ride.

And that ride, of course, is life.

Life being – if I can get muddy and mix my quotes up – what happens when you’re making other plans.

I can even begin to guess why the Hunter quote has been in my brain lately. It’s a bit like a song you hear on the radio, that you can’t shake for the rest of the day, no matter how hard you try. I’m stuck. I can’t shake the words. And I can’t shake the truth behind them either.

Sometimes I get tired of the ride. Sometimes I want to cash in the ticket and get some money that I can dump on the hot dog stand, because sometimes you just want a hot dog, with lots of mustard. And some onions.

But you’re not allowed to do that. Because you bought the ticket at conception, at a point when no one asked you whether you wanted the ticket. Whether you wanted to play the game, or take the ride. And this ticket, my friends, is unrefundable.

You ride that train to its destination whether you like it or not.

This is the unfinished and unpublished piece that was almost (until I thought better of it) last week's "Offline" column.

It was written after the Wednesday night performance of "Welcome to the Monkey House" and after a few hours of drinking in the bar later. It also followed an hour or two of drinking at home, after the bar.

I didn't finish it because at the time I was sober enough to know that I was too drunk to send it without having given it a read the next morning while sober.

I didn't send it the next morning, when sober, because It was a little too close to the truth of what I've been feeling lately. And, within that, it was a little bit too sad sounding.

As a general rule, I'm not against sharing my thoughts and feelings in my column. I've opened up about a lot of different things, in a lot of ways that have been kind of scary at the time. But this time...this time I wasn't comfortable letting people into *this* particular feeling.

So there wasn't a column at all last week, becuase by the time I realized I couldn't submit this one, I didn't have time to write another one.

The "Buy the ticket, take the ride," thought is still with me, quite heavily. I'm still feeling, very much, like I should be living my life a bit more like that. Not wanting things, not striving for things, not making plans, simply taking the ride, letting life hand me what it hands me, and following that. Because I've had some very good things happen to me this year by living my life that way.

But it's a hard thing to do. And it can be very, very terrifying.

Though, I suppose you could argue too, the best parts of life are usually like that.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Waiting for the bus

Sometimes I think:

You're killing yourself.

As surely as if you had a gun in your mouth, or a noose around your neck, or a bottle full of pills in your belly. You're killing yourself. You're just choosing to do it in a way that's slow, and acceptable by society. You're killing yourself with liquor and cigarettes and food. You're living a suicidal, self-destructive lifestyle. Which is sort of the only way that someone who is terrified of death can kill themselves.

Sometimes, this is what I think.

And it's stupid, because I don't want to die. Death holds nothing for me. And yet, it's also *not* stupid, because in so many ways, life holds nothing for me.

I had an argument with a friend the other night, in which I explained that I felt that I was fated to a life of failure and misery because I lack the capacity for selfishness.

He told me that there was no such thing as fate.

I told him we were arguing semantics.

He told me that the most successful people he knew were the ones who cared about nothing but their own success, who were selfish, who were willing to go after what they wanted with a single minded ferocity.

I told him he was making my point for me.

For some reason, I can't shake the notion I have that what *I* want is the least important thing in the world. That what everyone else wants is far, far more important. That if there is a sacrifice to be made, the sacrifice should be mine.

I can't shake that.

No reason to stress, though, because in a way all of this is suddenly irrelevant. Because life is what happens when you're making other plans.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Song lyric of the moment

Don't know if i miss you
Do you miss the part of me that used to feel?
Maybe if i kissed you
You'd miss the part of you that used to need me
Maybe if i held you
Took some time to tell you
The only time i hold you now is in my dreams
Schemes we shared together
Sweet sunsets, rocking chairs,
Are looking just as faded as my jeans
- Alabama 3
The Thrills are Gone

Sunday, March 05, 2006

That which doesn't kill you pretty much just doesn't kill you

“That which doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.”

I’ve always kind of hated that line. I mean, it’s optimistic enough, sure. It’s a nice thing to think when bad things happen to you, which is why, I guess, some people tend to spout it at you when things go bad. But it makes what I think is ultimately a false supposition. And that is that self-improvement will always come as a result of adversity.

Personally, I think it’s perfectly conceivable to react to adversity with confusion: “What the fuck was that all about?” I think there are plenty of adverse moments that simply leave us broken, battered, and confused beyond belief.

Particularly if we’re seeking some kind of answer that might be contained in the adverse moment.

In literature, unlike in life, the lessons are often a whole lot easier to wrap your mind around, and perhaps it is because of literature that we’ve come to expect that lessons are contained in those sorts of adverse moments. In children’s books, the lessons are spelled out for you quite plainly. There is a very obvious “moral of the story” moment. Think of the story of the boy who cried wolf, as a really obvious example.

In adult literature, it can sometimes be a little more difficult to isolate the moral of the story. It sometimes requires some reading between the lines, because it would be considered kind of a literary sin to be too obvious with stuff like that. But quite often it’s there, and quite often you can find it without too much work. In Stephen King’s “The Shining” for example, the moral seems to pretty much be that it’s bad to be an alcoholic that tries to murder his family. Which, yeah, okay, solid moral.

But then you find an odd thing happens.

There are some examples of adult literature that don’t really seem have a moral at all. They’re kind of vacant, kind of empty, in that regard. They’re still entertaining reads, but because they are, in some way, about life – and because life quite often has no obvious moral to provide – there is no moral to be found between any of the lines. Except, maybe, that sometimes life is random and painful and meaningless.

Which, I guess, is kind of a moral in its own way.

When I was younger I used to prefer the first kind of story – the kind that had a moral of some kind, however hidden amongst the text it might be. Nowadays I tend to prefer the latter, because on some level I think it’s more honest. I tend to favour those sorts of films too (as in Magnolia – which has recently been upgraded to my second favourite film of all time) which, I think, is ultimately about the sometimes random, sometimes painful, and sometimes meaninglessness of life.

Of course, it’s equally about the sometimes random, sometimes wonderful, and sometimes jubilant sides of life as well. Because life is about both.

But one thing that life is not always about is meaning. Which is frustrating, because in spite of my fondness for ultimately meaningless art, I have a hard time applying that sort of approach to my life. When bad things happen, I ask myself, “What does this mean?” I ask myself, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” I find myself asking, “What the fuck was that about?”

And more often than not, there isn’t an answer.

And I want to tell myself that it’s because life is random and painful and meaningless, but I can’t because something inside of is convinced that if I look hard enough, if I try hard enough, I can yank a meaning out of it somehow. And then that random, painful, meaningless moment will have meaning, thus justifying my having experienced it.

Stupid. Futile. But a hard habit to break.

So the people who are inclined to say, “That which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” I say, thanks, but not thanks. My subconscious is already convinced of this, regardless of how ridiculous it is. I don’t need any help thinking this way.

It’s a heck of a lot less optimistic, but I’d take, “That which doesn’t kill you only prolongs the inevitable,” any day. At least it’s a whole lot more honest.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Random 10 on Friday Part 5

I can not even begin to tell you how fuzzled my brain is right now. Less than a week to go until “Monkey House” opens, and it feels like there’s still a kazillion things to do. The program is about 90% complete now, having just done a bunch of work on it. I’ll need to track down some details from my Producer, and from cast and crew, before sending to press, but the majority of the ugly work is done.

Sitting here, post program work, I realize that it’s Friday night. And ka-boom, I realize I haven’t done a random 10. So, okay, it’s technically past midnight, but I haven’t slept yet, so as far as I’m concerned it’s still Friday.

  1. Alabama 3 – R-E-H-A-B – After much searching, I finally tracked down the third A3 album, and while my initial reaction was a little bit cold, I’m starting to warm up to it. This is probably my favorite song on the album, thus far, and given that I can’t seem to get enough A3 lately, it’s no surprise that this is track zero.

  2. Evanescence – Haunted – Early demo-ish sounding version of the song from their debut album. I think I must’ve downloaded far too much early demo-ish sounding stuff from them, as it’s just about the only thing that ever seems to come up during a random 10. Oh, and I guess I should as the question I think I’ve asked just about every time their stuff has come up – Is there going to be a second studio album? C’mon! Get to work!

  3. They Might Be Giants – Critic Intro – This song is, to be frank, completely fucked. And I love it. The whole thing is just TMBG pretending to quote music reviews from magazines that don’t exist like “Aquarian Weekly.” These guys, really, are just too fucked up for words.

  4. They Might Be Giants – Robot Parade – Two in a row, nice. This is apparently from their children’s album, but this version is apparently all adult-ized and stuff, by adding loud crunching guitars, would be my guess. Whatever the case, good song.

  5. Shakira – Eyes Like Yours – I know she’s just put out a new album, but my bet is on the whole “One Hit Wonder” thing (or one album wonder, as the case may be). The song “Underneath your Clothes” from this album still kind of stick in the back of my mind, as it will be forever associated with a not-so-stellar date with a stripper / escort I met online. And that date failure will always kind of haunt me, because she was pretty goddamn hot.

  6. Depeche Mode – Somebody – This is kind of a weird song. It starts kind of sweetly…like a traditional love song, where the singer lists all the things he’s looking for in a partner. But by the time you get to the end of it, it’s something completely different. In the last few lines, it’s almost like every kind thought and gesture in the rest of the song had just been thrown out the window. One of the better DM songs, in my opinion.

  7. Peter Gabriel – Here Comes the Flood – Can’t say I’ve heard this song before (wow, like that’s a surprise).

  8. Shania Twain – Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You) – Damn, you know, I made it so long without any embarrassments in this list, and now they creep in two weeks in a row. What can I say, I’m a download whore.

  9. Fiona Apple – I Know – A coworker I had a few years back turned me on to Fiona Apple’s stuff, and it was only later that I realized that she had, at one point, been dating a director I’m quite fond of – Paul Thomas Anderson. Which is not to say that I’d have been more inclined to like her music if I’d known she was involved with a filmmaker whom I thought made fantastic films, just that coincidences are weird sometimes.

  10. The Smashing Pumpkins – Muzzle – Album downloaded for a song or two. Nuff said.

  11. Alexander Brandon – Duclare Chateau / Paris – Ah, music from the video game “Deus Ex.” Hearing this stuff always makes me want to play it again. Hands down the best game I ever played. Ever. Period.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oscars 2006: Okay, so I did it

Good Lord, it's too late for this. I should be in bed.

Unfortunately, I made promises to a friend to convert some audio from a minidisc to a CD. Well, three minidiscs to three CDs. One is done, one is in progress, and one -- I think -- will be done tomorrow morning.

What that means, though, is I'm, sitting here with at least another hour to kill, and not a heck of a lot to do. So, in spite of the fact that I really didn't think I was going to get this out, here it is.

If you want to see my pics for the top six awards (best actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, director, picture) you'll have to check the column. This blog post is for every other category.

And so, let's begin, in no particular order.

Howl's Moving Castle
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Winner: Wallace & Gromit
I haven't heard of "Howl's Moving Castle" but I seem to recall hearing at some point that this was an odd year for the animated feature category, because none of the films had been traditionally animated. Which, I've gotta admit, is pretty cool. I have huge support for anyone doing something non-traditionally. Traditions are made to be broken just as much as rules are. Having said all of that, I'm putting my support behing Wallace & Gromit because, I dunno, they seem to have quite a following. I've never seen any of their stuff myself, so I can't speak with any conviction, but apparently it involves cheese, so there's bonus points there, as far as I'm concerned. Plus, I hear "Corpse Bride" wasn't quite as good as "Nightmare Before Christmas" so...well, "A" for effort, I guess, but try again.

Good Night, and Good Luck
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
King King
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice
Winner: Good Night, and Good Luck
Okay, I might as well get this out of my system now. I'm not seeing much going in King Kong's favour at the Oscars. Peter Jackson has already had his massive love-fest with the third Lord of the Rings film, and while I'm sure it's an honour just to be nominated, I don't see too many awards heading his way anytime soon. Quite frankly, I'd be kind of pissed if he had a major Oscar clean-up again. Or am I maybe one of the few that thinks he might be just a *little* overrated. What was I talking about? Oh, right, the award for Art Direction. "Good Night, and Good Luck" creates a paranoid, McCarthy-esque, early-60s feel, complete with the oh-so-artsy black and white photography. Haven't seen the film, but I heard it looks very much like a 60s-ish live television drama, with limited sets, which in a way is probably perfect for the material. With an artistic approach like that, risks were clearly taken, and sometimes those risks are honoured.

Batman Begins
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World
Winner: The New World
Terrance Mallick is one of those funny filmmakers who often has years between projects. His last film -- "The Thin Red Line" -- hit theatres seven years ago, and before that it was twenty years back to "Days of Heaven." He's clearly the type who's very careful with his work, and doesn't do something until it's completely, perfectly ready. He'd also be the type to be very careful, and very particular with his cinematography. Though I suppose it's possible that it might go to "Good Night..." just because it's black and white. But that'd be kind of sad.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
Walk the Line
Winner: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
It's usually a good bet to go with the historical epics in the costume design category, because they tend to really stand out in their era-accurate costumes. "Charlie" seems to be the underdog in this category, but I'm gonna support it. Tim Burton had a fantastic vision for this film, and it was a vision that -- by necessity -- found its way into the costumes. They're weird, but they're wonderful, and I'm willing to bet that they'll win.

Darwin's Nightmare
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
March of the Penguins
Street Fight
Winnter: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
I made a mistake last year by picking the popular documentary (Super Size Me) following the win of Fahrenheit 911 the previous year. This year's popular pick would have to be "March of the Penguins" which took a lot of people by surprise, but I'm not going to be tricked two years in a row. As for my "Enron" pick...well, what could possible be more interesting or topical than a film about that company, really?

The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club
God Sleeps in Rwanda
The Mushroom Club
A Note of Trumph: The Gold Age of Norman Corwin
Winner: The Death of Kevin Carter
Okay, c'mon, it's the documentary short category -- you haven't heard of any of these films either. So let's just accept that any prediction is going to be yanked out of your arse. Having said, that I stumbled upon Kevin Carter's name a day or two after making this prediction, and read a little bit about his story, and am now convinced that, at the very least, this would probably a very, very interesting film. As for why I picked it...well, it seemed like an interesting title.

Cinderella Man
The Constant Gardener
Walk the Line
Winner: Munich
Okay, so Munich is going to be mostly passed over by the Oscars. Sorry Steve. Good try, maybe next time. Still, I'm inclined to think they'll have a hard time passing over the film entirely, so this is one of those categories where they could toss the film a bone and say, "Hey, thanks for being there."

Don't Tell
Joyeux Noel
Paradise Now
Sophie Scholl - The Final Days
Winner: Sophie School - The Final Days
I don' tknow who Sophie Scholl is, but any film about someone's final days simply has to be interesting on at least some level.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Cinderella Man
Stars Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Winner: Narnia
I can' really make any logical, sensible judgement about whether or not Star Wars' makeup was better because the movie just sucked so much ass. Massive amounts of ass. There was so much ass sucking going on it was unbelievable. So, fine, Narnia wins.

Brokeback Mountain
The Constant gardener
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice
Winner: Munich
Well, there's no Danny Elfman in the list of nominees this year, so I'll give it to John Williams. And I'll give it to Munich because the music is probably all emotional and complicated and stuff. Like the film. Yeah.

"In the Deep" - Crash
"It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" - Hustle and Flow
"Travellin' Thru" - Transamerica
Winner: "In the Deep"
I actually saw this film, but have no recollection of the song. But, you know, there'll probably be an award or two tossed in its direction, and this one of the places where they could get away with the toss.

The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
One Man Band
Winner: Badgered
Because badgers are funny. If not this one, then "9" because numbers as title as funny, especially if they're not spelled out.

Ausreisser )The Runaway)
The Last Farm
Our Time is Up
Six Shooter
Winner: Six Shooter
Mostly just becauese it sounds kind of violent.

King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
War of the Worlds
Winner: War of the Worlds
This is one that could easily go to Kong, but I'm still predicting that the Academy is going to pretend like Peter Jackson simply doesn't exist after devouring the Oscars last year.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
King Koong
Memoirs of a Geisha
Walk the Line
War of the Worlds
Winner: Narnia
Have I mentioned that I've seen this film? Have I mentioned that I found it spectacularly average? And really, that's kind of the worst thing a film can be. I mean, if you're going to be good, then be *good*. And if you're going to be bad, you know, be *bad*. Still, mixing together all that battle sound probably gives it the upper hand.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
King Kong
War of the Worlds
Winner: War of the Worlds
Same as with Sound Editing -- I think they're gonna ignore Kong.

Brokback Mountain
The Constant Gardener
A History of Violence
Winner: The Constant Gardener
As much as I'd love to see "Violence" get it, because it's adapted from a comic book, and because it's a Cronenberg film, I think this'll be another tip of the hat to "Gardener." But what do I know...

Good Night, and Good Luck
Match Point
The Squid and the Whale
Winner: Crash
Having seen this film, I've got to admit that it's only real strong point is the screenplay. In so many ways it just seemed like an average, trying to make a profound point, kind of film. But the screenplay is fantastic. It manages to just kind dabble in the interconnectedness of things without going over the top. And did you know that the screenplay was written by the guy who created the slightly cheese-ball "Canada-Meets-US" television drama "Due South"? I shit you not.

And so there it is. My crappy Oscar predicitions, now officially released to the general public so I can mocked and scorned and ridiculed when my predicitons turn out to be completely false. But I'm okay with that. As I think I've mentioned a time or two in the past, it's been a real long time since I cared much what other people thought of me or, apparently, my opinions about the Oscars.

Seeya later.