Tuesday, May 31, 2005

PostSecret (Still Awesome!)

Sometimes you read or see or hear something and it affects you and you don't understand how or why, it's a little distrubing how close to your heart it's reached, but you're grateful for it's inclusion in your life.

There is power in truth.

This site is amazing. Go to it. Don't rush it.


Thanks to Shawn for sharing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Dark Side of Chocolate

This would be so cute if it wasn't so disgustingly capitalist and commercial.

(Okay. Still pretty cute.)

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Not-Dreaded-At-All Music Meme

1. The person (or persons) who passed the baton to you.


2. Total volume of music files on your computer.

6.6 gigs. (cheap!)

3. The title and artist of the last CD you bought.

Beck - Guero

3a. The title and artist of the last CD you (cough) downloaded.

The Hold Steady - Seperation Sunday

4. Song playing at the moment of writing.


5. Five songs you have been listening to of late (or all-time favorites, or particularly personally meaningful songs)

"Positive Tension" Bloc Party
"Pioneers" Bloc Party
"Belle and Sebastian" Belle and Sebastian
"Secret Meeting" The National
"We Both Go Down Together" The Decemberists

6. The five victims people to whom you will 'pass the musical baton.' Apologies in advance:

Don't think I know enough people to pass the baton, except one.

Tag, Sting, you're it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Oh, Georgie boy. Everyone's saying you've redeemed yourself with Episode III. I saw it and I liked it. But you're still not off the hook as far as I'm concerned, you swarmy bastard.

I'll never forget when you broke my heart. You hurt me, George, and you demeaned me and my generation with your joke of a film, The Phantom Idiocy. What were you thinking? Why did you let yourself be convinced that you were a genius of some kind? You actually believed your own hype and for that, you deserve to be fired or fined or something.

And then you tried again. You learned from a few mistakes, you ramped up the Jedi numbers, you pushed and pulled every little thing to an extreme and you almost fooled me. I almost liked Attack of the Clones. There were some cool moments, some definitely cool battles. Ultimately flat, though. The simple things that made the first trilogy so awesome: character, scope, thought behind everything (in science fiction we call that World Building), was absent from these movies. The plot was so slapdash and unfocused, it was impossible to follow so you just whistled and waited for the next battle sequence.

And then you learned more. You cut the fat, stuck to battle sequences, focused your energy on a little bit character and the inevitable plot. And it worked, fucker. You got lucky! You got lucky that the story behind your main character was interesting enough to propel a first, plodding, half of the film. And then, miracriously, clever enough to craft some chilling scenes.

Revenge of the Sith is the most gorgeous, eye-dropping, film I've ever seen. (Shame about the title, though.) The detail on the spacefighters, the strength and length of the massive capital ships, and all the exotic scenery was perfect. Huge kudos to those overworked slaves over at ILM. Like others, I feel like the constant sunset and sunrises was over the top, but, thankfully, for the first time in this trilogy, the plot was good enough to forgive the over the top visual theatrics. And then you got lucky again! With Ewan McGregor, who pulled off a fascinating performance, with nuance and power, a big contrast to the bland facial expressions of your other actors.

The movie is not perfect, of course. (The smattering of applause at the end of the Wenesday night, midnight showing, proved that.) As I walked out, I felt underwhelmed. But a few days later, I think about positively about the film. The visuals stand out in my memory as bold and beautiful, the drama of Anakin's inner conflict resonated with me. The best part about enjoying a Star Wars film again is that I want to go back and rewatch the films with Anakin's full journey in mind.

I believe this new trilogy could have been approached in a completely different light. I think the neverending blue screen was unnecessary. I think the multiple villains was superfluous. And the inevitable plot twists in the final film could have been changed to actually create real drama. Oh, and different titles.

But, this is the new Star Wars we got. And I'm glad it ended on a high note. You saved yourself an bad ending, George, but you still deserve to be exiled, just like Obi-Wan. So, go. Go to some hut (or mansion) in the desert, put someone with some real imagination in charge of Star Wars, and save us all from future disasters.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Heartbreaking news mixed with good news: HBO has decided not to renew one of my favorite shows to ever grace a TV, Carnivale, for a third season. On the flip side, HBO has renewed The Wire - another wonderful show and another of my favorites - for a fourth season. I'm happy for The Wire but quite disillusioned by the Carnivale news. The last episode of the second season left a huge playing field of possibilites open for the story and some of the work in the latter half of the season was brilliant beyond anything HBO has ever done (a big statement), meanwhile, The Wire's last season was equally awesome and seemed to come to a logical conclusion. All the badguys were either dead or back in jail and a lot of the good guys came to the end of their story arcs, practically the main character, McNulty. Just like in previous seasons, I have no doubt that the incredibly gifted writers at The Wire will take what feels like a firm ending and expand it to add more interesting layers. Still, I wish the Carnivale team would have had the same chance.

In other news, the new website for the company I work launched yesterday. I've been working on this thing since the first week I started at the company. I didn't design the site but I did upload every single piece of art up there. I also wrote the short "colorful" bios for all the artists. Kinda cool to check out. A lot of the work is very interesting, too. Worth a look: http://smart-publishing.com

Friday, May 13, 2005

Good News! Pindelyboz has decided to publish my story, "Halfway Down The Hole," in an upcoming issue. This is a big moment for me, since this will be the first published story that isn't a fairytale retelling. It's also a very personal story, the only story I've written (so far) about the most tragic events in my life: the death of my stepfather and the subsequent alienation of the family I grew up with. When I wrote it, I didn't think it lived up to the massive amounts of emotion in that sort of situation. It's a very short piece, sketching out a bunch of emotions and past events in a simple context, and so I sat on it for awhile not sure if I would even try to publish it. Revisited it months later, reading it with fresh eyes, I thought, "hey, that's pretty good. It doesn't do justice to the whole experience, but then again, it doesn't try to." So, to sum up, I'm happy. Can't wait till the story comes out (though it may be awhile).

Also, I hereby offically retract any degoratory comments I may have said about Bloc Party's Silent Alarm. I see now that it is a fucking wonderful album, possibly the best of the year. Highly recommended.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Big thunderstorm last night. Rain fell without a stop - maybe a pause for breathe once or twice - a continuous downpour mixed with blasts of lightning and the belchy roars of thunder. And, of course, last night was also the first time I took a long drive down to Miami. To pick up my newly arrived Israeli cousin with my mom.

It was a nervous experience. First of all, driving with my mom is always a little tense. She's crazy. And reacts badly to any imperfections she sees in my driving. Also, I'm not driving her car anymore, I'm driving mine. And I'm very protective of my new baby, who I've nicknamed "MJ." So I drove slowly.

As we went south, the rain worsened. The roads turned to construction-strewn obstacle courses, with hundreds of other cars in the foggy dim. I couldn't see two cars in front of me! The windshield wipers sluiced back and forth with a grating nail-on-chalk echo. I tried to concentrate on the music (and ignore whatever the hell my mom was talking about). Lightning strikes lit up the clouds, snake-like tree branches that stretched from one distant point to another a county away, always eliciting a "whoa" or a "wow" from us.

This tropical weather is as moody as my mom. A week ago, the final days of spring brought calm wind, breezes, and muted sunshine, now the fangs of summer are outstretched and ready to strike. Humidity, sunshowers, and long, dreary, days are ahead.

But, last night, amidst the apocalyptic rain, I felt a sudden sense of well-being. The rain reminded me of the worst nights in San Francisco and the angry thunderstorms of New York City, and yet, with its own vile Floridian flavor. And it was kinda cool.

When I arrived here last summer, I couldn't stand the heat. One day I took a short walk and came home feeling like I'd just run a marathon in Hell. Shawn would tell me, "Don't worry. The weather will get better." I didn't believe her. Until the winter came, and hot days were replaced by bright days, a little wind, maybe even a little windchill. It was nice. I wish it would be like that all year round, but this isn't calm and year-round-beautiful Northern California, it's Tropical Florida. And it's my home now. And I'm learning to live with it.

Give me violent rain over 110 degree heat any day of the week!