Feb 272006

The title of this post refers to this. This guy wrote When I Grow Up, a hysterical comic. Coincidentally, he went to the same college as me. I figured this out when one of his comics had an OU shirt in it or something, and then I thought I’d email him to ask if he went to school there, and he had an @ou.edu address or something.

Anyway, I’m posting again tonight because I was a humongous fool. I forgot to mention the second coolest film I saw this glorious weekend-where-I-was-on-travel-but-not-working: Battle Royale. A Japanese movie (not anime) that is a serious contender for the “Most senselessly violent film in the history of senselessly violent films” award. The premise is that for some crazy reason, the Japanese government decides to pick one middle school class a year to put in free-for-all deathmatch. They’re all stuck on an island together and given three days to kill everyone, except one, who will be allowed to live if all the others are dead. If more than one is still alive after three days, all of them get killed. Throw in a sociopathic 7th grade teacher, and you’ve got filmic gold.

I also thought I’d share my odd dinner experience. After leaving Ben’s house, I discovered I was hungry, and figured I’d find something to eat. I get awfully sick of chain restaurants, eating out as often as I do, so I went to some local bar. It was very local. Everyone there knew everyone else by name. They recognized me as an outsider, of course, and even knew which car was mine, because it wasn’t one of theirs. It reminded me of home, even though I’ve never been to a bar there.

I ordered a Philly Cheese steak. The only employee there didn’t really have time to make it. The cook was out because his wife was in labor. So there’s only the bartender, who is actually pretty busy trying to serve drinks to all the drunks drinking on a Sunday night. Which was fine, since one of the customers made the sandwich for me. Which is fine, because he “used to work there.” No explanation. Was he fired for spitting in food? Wiping deodorant on them? Did he quit because he thought the kitchen conditions were inhospitable? Did he have some pathological aversion to preparing any food but Philly Cheese Steaks? Hard to tell. He was telling his bar companion that his medical history was so cumbersome he spent days scanning it so he could burn it to CDs to be given to doctors.

Feb 262006

Monocular Ben has been gracious enough to let me use his washer and dryer, as well as his wireless network, and his TV, and his bathroom, couch, and cinnamon buns. He was also generous enough to give me a table dance at a Dairy Queen and gave me my one dollar tip back.

He made me watch Two For the Money, practically against my will. It wasn’t as unpleasant as I thought. In fact, it was pretty engaging. Al Pacino did well. Not a whole lot to say about that one, though. It was pretty much what it sounds like. The explosion count was a depressingly zero.

Today, we watched Serenity. Aside from killing off characters that could have used a little more attention, and an energy bow and arrow that made no sense and had no place in the past, present, or future. But, the story finally reaches some kind of a conclusion, and you get more of all the characters you loved from the series.

The jewel of the weekend, however, has been Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York. It’s mere existence is enough for me. Ben blindsided me. I was sitting on his couch doing a Sudoku puzzle, and then he hit play (he had recorded it off the SciFi Channel). The title was enough to make me laugh harder than I can really explain. I cried and choked on my cinnamon bun.

I’m watching DZVNY right now. It’s awesome. I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD.

Feb 232006

So, I’ve been on travel most of the year so far, which reduces numbers of opportunities to spend money, and increases amount of money to spend. And I haven’t bought music in months. And I accidentally ended up in a Wherehouse Music (used/new CD store) with lots of spare time today (okay, I hoped it would happen). And so I ended up spending $150 on CDs. Here they are, in the order in which I took them out of the bag:
Beulah: The Coast is Never Clear. I started listening to this band because I searched for “Beulah” on Napster (back when Napster was cool and free and illegal), and found out I liked the band. Since then, I’ve seen them live once in LA, and they’ve broken up.
Smashing Pumpkins: Adore. The Smashing Pumpkins are just awesome, so no wonder why I bought this. I didn’t have it.
Butch Walker: Letters. Formerly of Floyd’s Funk Revival, Butch is the kind of quirky cynic with whom I can identify. I’ve already listened to this CD, and while it’s not as upbeat and obnoxiously cheerfully pessimistic as his others, I still like it.
My Chemical Romance: Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. I’ve never really listened to them, but it was a good price and I’ve heard they’re good. I’m listening to them now. Not genuinely impressed, but also not put off. That probably means I’ll come to like it more after listening to it a few times.
Weezer: Maladroit. Weezer’s pretty cool, although they seem to be getting lamer. However, I actually own this CD. Considering how many I bought and how many I own (130+ before today), I’m surprised it didn’t happen more than once. I can’t remember all the ones I own.
Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine. I like Trent Reznor, and Nine Inch Nails, and I didn’t know this album well. So I got it.
Ben Folds Five: Ben Folds Five. I’ve liked the Ben Folds I’ve heard so far.
Suicide Machines: A Match and Some Gasoline. KrisDi got me into them. We saw them once. I got my band knowledge smacked down by a pre-teen.
Soundgarden: Badmotorfinger. I like Soundgarden, and know some of the songs on this album, but not all of them. So I got it.
Ataris: So Long, Astoria. Another album where I know a lot of the songs but not all of them. They’re silly. I don’t know if I like their newer stuff, though.
Local H: Whatever Happened to PJ Soles?. They have a few songs I really like, and their CDs are generally cheap since they’re relatively unknown.
Local H: As Good as Dead. See above.
Barenaked Ladies: Everything to Everyone. KrisDi and previous roommates got me into them.
Sublime: 40 Oz to Freedom. Sublime was one of the first albums I ever bought, and I still love it, so I thought I’d probably like this one, too.
Start: Shakedown. KrisDi and I saw them open for Goldfinger (another cool band).
NOFX: Liberal Animation. I’ve listened to a live album of theirs a few times and thought the music was good, even though I didn’t like the recordings (I don’t usually like live recordings).
Ben Folds Five: Whatever and Ever Amen. See above.
Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense. The Talking Heads are WAY cooler than you think. David Byrne is, too.

Now that WordPress has fought me every step of the way, writing that short little thing above has taken me a couple hours. First it deleted everything I wrote, then it screwed up every link after I re-wrote it, so I had to fix each one individually. And there’s lots of links up there. But it’s time for me to press on.

I finally finished (finally, I only started it a little while ago) There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo. This one doesn’t classify as “Space Opera”, like Deathstalker. The setting is utopia. In the year four thousand something or other, no one is required to work, no one gets sick or injured or has to think, and then suddenly the technology which supports such a “lotus-eating” life style collapses beneath them. “Re-enactors”, people who re-enact the past by learning how to do things like smithing and farming and whatnot as a hobby, suddenly become the salvation of humanity, as the only people who know how to do anything without technology. I think Andi would love the elf character Bast. Overall, it was thoughtful and interesting. Not a great book, but good and interesting. Very detailed. Again, I have Monocular Ben to thank for it this one, since he lent it to me.

My hotel room is very strange here. Check out the key. Check out the rest of the room.

I had a nice time before this portion of the trip started. As probably most of you know, I was in Virginia last week, and then flew straight here. However, I had a couple days off, so I got to visit Monocular Ben and the Pope of Djibouti (and Mrs. Pope). All at once! I had a great time with them. Ben had to run off to play Legends of the Five Rings. However, Mr. and Mrs. Pope were kind enough to allow me to come to their house and chat (as well as watch their small furry critters [guinea pigs, not ferrets or weasels or anything]). The Pope gave me some Glenkinchie, which is quite tasty.

After all that, I went to Mom’s, where I discovered that the computer I had worked so hard to get running for Mom’s charity case was broken. The heat sink had fallen off in shipping, and when it got turned on, the processor just heated up and burned. And it’s old enough that it seems impossible to find a replacement (AMD Athlon XP 1600+ 133 or something within a few models would be great, if you feel like donating or cheaply selling a functional one). So that was a bummer.

And that’s it for tonight. I’m sure it’s way more than any of you wanted to read. Sorry. But that’s what happens when I drink beer and listen to music in front of a computer.

Feb 152006

Okay. KrisDi has finally noticed that people never call me. In fact, in order to invite me to things or see what I’m up to or whatever, people usually go through KrisDi. So, the question is, do people dislike me, or are they intimidated by me? I have enough confidence to think that people do like me, and even if they didn’t, I can not only handle that, but I can think of several reasons why they wouldn’t. So why are they intimidated? Am I scary? I’ve had people tell me that I’m scary, but no one’s ever said why. So, blog audience of approximately four, why am I scary? I’m interested in your answers. Feel free to be creative (“snaotheus is rumored to feed on the blood of newborn puppies while running under ladders with scissors” would be a good explanation, for example).

Last night I finished Deathstalker, by Simon R. Green, which was lent to me by my good friend Monocular Ben (also known as the Plaid Amoeba). I enjoyed it. Much of it was cheesy and the editor wasn’t all that great (I probably saw at least one spelling or grammar error per chapter). The setting is the feudal future, with sharp separation between the Noble families and the peons, with a ridiculously caricaturized Empress running the gigantic intergalactic empire. Technology is greatly advanced (interstellar travel, energy weapons, cyborgs, etc), but swords are still common weapons for nobles and fighters. There’s an interesting take on elves and vampires and other such things. There’s a great class conflict involving the espers (people with ESP abilities) and clones (copies of people, if you’ve been living under a rock and never heard of Dolly). The main character, Owen Deathstalker (good lord is that a cheesy stupid name) is the head of a famous noble family, and the Empress decides to have him killed, and so starts the story. Aliens and technology and silly dialog and sword fighting and betrayals and practically no romance at all, so it’s a good guy book. Consider it light reading, I suppose. Ridiculous bad-assness is common for the nobles, because they can afford awesome drugs and training and augmentation and stuff.

What else? I’m in Norfolk, as probably most of you already know, staying in a hotel. Yesterday morning, my breakfast was made interesting by a group of old Christian men. They had checked out a conference room in the hotel for a morning prayer meeting or something, but their reservation was screwed up, so they used the lobby where the complimentary breakfast is served. By the time I got down there, the only place to sit was directly in front of the podium. They’ve got flyers and prayer lists (categorized by why you should pray for the names: cancer, other health problems, alcoholism, salvation, financial problems, death in the family, etc) all over the tables. They’ve obviously assumed that since they pray, talk about God and Jesus and salvation, and read the Bible, they’re good Christian folks. I’m sure it helps that they’re white.

So the main fogey gets up to start talking, and somehow he gets on the topic of Katrina victims, and starts bitching about how they’re getting so much federal aid, and how when he was young, they had floods every other year and the feds never helped them out, they either helped themselves or didn’t, obviously intimating that they should all be on their own. I’m not retarded, so I realize there has been much waste and abuse in the aid system, but I wanted to ask, “How would our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ feel about your position of refusing to help people in need?” But I wasn’t in the mood for an argument. Nor did I really have the time, even though it is funny to see opinionated old bigoted men turn red and huff and puff self-righteously.

Anyway, that whole situation is one of the factors that disillusioned me. People who like to be Christian, but don’t really know (or care) what it means, and just use it as a justification for getting what they want, doing what they want, and frowning on what other people do. I know some great Christians whom I like and admire, but not many of them. Most people fall under the category of “people”, meaning someone who is just living life, doing their best to be a good person. This is not to say they aren’t religious, but religion isn’t the deciding factor behind each decision. “Christians,” people who are trying to live life with God/Jesus/Bible as the guiding light, often seem misguided, inflexible, and unforgiving to me. I don’t mean to say that they’re wrong. Well, I do mean to say that, but with the caveat that it’s only my opinion. I have no doubt that most of them are well-intentioned. But I digress. I could ramble for even longer without making any point (or sense).

Lecture mode: So, in conclusion, think about what you’re doing, rather than following directions from a book. End lecture mode.

And, finally, The Chronicles of Narnia. I watched that the other day. I enjoyed it. I like the books better, but that’s usually true. I thought Tilda Swinton was the perfect White Witch. I don’t know who they could have cast to play it better. I enjoyed it, but I won’t go on for too long, because most of you have probably already seen it or read the books.

Feb 102006

This is the coolest movie idea ever. Bruce Campbell as Bruce Campbell, mistaken for Bruce Campbell’s character Ash, so the real Bruce Campbell (as played by Bruce Campbell) has to fight real monsters. Bruce Campbell.