Archive for March, 2006

You can use a potion on South Beach…

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

When nerds become weight conscious, weird things like this are said.

Well, this wasn’t as much “said” as “heard”.

I’m a bit silly at the moment. I really should be getting more work done.

Not that I set out expecting to be disappointed…

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

“V for Vendetta” was not what it should have been.

I understand why Alan Moore (the author of the book) had his name removed from the movie altogether. I am disappointed that the Wachowski brothers would sell out so badly on this.

The manufactured love story absolutely destroyed everything the character V was supposed to be.

The cry for support and the common man’s march destroyed everything the character V was supposed to be.
Evey’s strength from the start ruined the coolness of her evolution.

The world was underdeveloped.

The choice of V’s music was prosaic, as opposed to the clever, thoroughly thought out choices in the book.
The virus threat and allusions to American society were contrived and lame. Can’t anybody be subtle anymore?
The artificial character of Gordon was ridiculous.

Finch was very cool.

Valerie’s story and Evey’s capture were very cool.

That’s all I can say. I don’t want to be angry about this. I had been warned ahead of time that it was shit, but I figured it wouldn’t be so bad.

Even William Gibson gave it a positive review, but that dude put his name on New Rose Hotel, which is probably even worse than Eight Crazy Nights and just behind Star Wars Christmas Special as the worst movie of all time.

My apologies. I departed for 15 minutes to bitch about how awful Marie Antoinette is going to be (Kirsten Dunst is poo-poo in frosting). I am overheating with cinematic fury. But SteelBuddha has reassured me that life will still go on. Everything will be ok…

By God, I think the Devil shits Dutchmen

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Stayed up all night reading a book about The German Peasants’ War and Anabaptism for a presentation today. I’m a little punchy.
We’d all be immortal if Death came from Madrid.

I’m Going Far In Life…Via Bus

Monday, March 20th, 2006

After class today, I took the bus home.

I was the only one waiting for the bus until it pulled up, when some squirrelly undergrad boys clammered around. Since I was at the front on the line, I let the doors open, counted about 3 seconds in my head while waiting to see if anyone was going to get off, and I climbed the steps. I put my change in the slot and the driver gave me a dirty look and said, “You’ll have to back out so that these people can get off.” Hmmm, so what were these people doing while I was waiting for them to exit the bus? Thumb-in-butt, I suppose.

So now I’m the bad guy for not letting people off. I back out, pushing to college dudes out as well. Two people meander down, and I climb back up. Since I’ve already paid, I just walk right past the driver. He grunts as if he’s going to stop me, but I keep walking.

The bus is crowded, of course. I walk as far back as I can. I only have to wait a stop or two before a seat frees up and I sit down. After a little while, the fellow on the inside seat next to me pulls the cord and said, “Excuse me.” I asked him, “Are you going to the front exit or back?” He looks stunned a second, and then said, “The back.” I get up and step forward so that I’m not obstructing his path to the back door. He climbed out and said, “Thank you.” As the door opened for him to exit, he turned to me and said, “You are going to go far in life.”

I like that. This story would have a happy ending in my brain, except the driver grunted snidely at me when I said “Thank you” as I exited the bus. So instead, it has a moral- for every polite person, there’s a busload of pricks.

In Honor of his Birthday…

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

I would like to share this photo with everyone- SteelBuddha rendered in cheeseball form:

This photo is from one of his coworkers, and the cheeseball was from a company function. It is too funny.

Happy Birthday!

Just Visiting: 10 Year Reunion

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

I’m sure everyone’s reunion is weird. My class of 1995 didn’t have one. SteelBuddha’s class of 1995 did, however, and it was last Saturday. It is weird in a different way to be a participant in the current life colliding with the past life.

I am a glitchy person. I am not so bad when I don’t care, but when it is important to me to make a good impression (whether or not I know why I want to make a good impression or whether or not I should care) I become a dork. I’m sure everyone feels the same way, except for those who don’t (you cocky bastards).

I was fortunate enough to have the mutual support of Sixpence, whose husband was in SB’s class. She knew a few more people than I because she came from their college era, which had mild high school carryover, whereas I was post-college, at which point high school relationships are solidified or severed… mostly severed.

I was happy to meet Don, who I had heard about on many occassions. I also briefly met Kreg, who was an important character, but there is drama there, so I didn’t really say much. Met Joe, who had been SB’s friend since elementary school. Met his first real girlfriend, if that’s not nerve-wracking enough on its own (though she reminded me of my aunt). And so on…

I have weird issues. I like positive attention but I hate negative attention. So if I don’t look good, I don’t want to be seen. If I don’t dance well, I want to stand off to the side and chat. If I don’t have anyone to chat with, I want to look like it doesn’t bother me. If I have someone to chat with, I want to be interesting and cool. This doesn’t usually work out in my favor. But at the same time, it’s probably worse in my head.

Issue #1: The Hulk. I am a bit of a hulk. Since high school, I’ve been busting my clothes and such inadvertently. So at the reunion, I jokingly did a headbang, flexed my neck and bust my very cute choker (I am a big fan of chokers because my neck is one of my more feminie features… but not when I hulk out.) I also made a lame joke about “Sweet Home Alabama” making the redneck in me want to start a fight. Semi-uncomfortable dancey scenerios tend to make me a bit punchy, literally. My ex used to call me a brute, and I don’t think he was entirely wrong. (Could it it stem from my bulkiness and anger issues?)
Issue #2: Dancing. I like to dance somewhat. But I don’t really know how. I can jump around or headbang or mosh or even fake a few very passe’ steps from 1990. But I can’t “club” dance; you know, that dance chicks do to pretend like don’t realize they are swerving their goodies around. I taken some lessons in bellydancing, so I can almost fake goody-shaking, but it still looks slightly more like folk dancing than anything cool.

So here’s the thing. I have rhythm. I really do. I just don’t have moves. I’m very much a left-right-left-right marcher. But dancing can be more complex than that. Don was sweet enough to pull me out on the dancefloor (as a let’s-be-friends gesture) to swing. He’s actually taught some dancing, so he was patient. I am not very good at being led; I am somewhat rigid and have a difficult time connecting and reading the lead. I can pick up a repeated movement fairly easily, but if you change things up, I get caught up on myself. So when Don would try to spin me, I would go the wrong way or the foam rubber soles of my shoes would stick solid to the floor, so I’d have to pick my feet up in a sort of skamper to make it around in a circle. Anyway, I was somewhat worried about looking silly, but even more worried that my nervousness would make Don feel weird. I certainly didn’t want to leave a negative impression on him

Issue #3: Image. Like every woman (whether you want to admit it or not) I want to be attractive. Of course, I want to be attractive to my mate, but there is also the need for a positive self-image. I’ve been working on that for a long time, and it’s still not up to snuff. But hints of feedback, though not specifically solicited, help. So attempting to look good and present oneself well is stage one toward *knowing* you make good impression.

Anyway, I like having a somewhat unique style and yet I don’t want to be a freak. That’s a difficult balance. If I were unique and smooth, that would be one thing. But I’m pretty much a goober. Once you get to know me, I suppose it can be endearing, but it’s not the first thing you want everyone to think about you. At the same time, I don’t really want to be known only for having dyed hair. But in brief superficial encounters such as this, it’s hard to have anything else more defining than unnatural hair. And what would I want people to remember, if not my hair? I suppose it’s better than being a goober, or a hulk, or a lame dancer. It’s a tough one, because if you bring up “good” things about you, you sound like you’re bragging. I could’ve said “I own a kick-ass store” but it seemed cheesy or cocky or too me-centric. I was easier to say “I am a grad student” because it gives the impression that education is important to me and either explains or contradicts my appearance in a potentially interesting way. School seems like more of an accomplishment and you don’t have to explain it to death; people understand what a student is and yet they don’t know enough of the details to seem boring.

So, this didn’t really say much about the reunion, mostly about the innerworkings of a reunion attendee. I have to address one more thing though…

Issue #4: Female pettiness. I did suffer from this at one point or another. A comment made by Sixpence rubbed me the wrong way and I was bitchy in return. Six was enjoying the fact that her dieting is paying off. She made a comment about people looking at her, which is my broken brain seems like something you don’t say out loud. So I made a comment about it being her spike heels and fishnets (because when she made the comment, a guy at the table we were passing was looking at her boots). Now, of course every chick there wanted to be noticed; I could’ve worn a jogging suit, but no, I tried on several outfits and eventually bought a cute sundress from the mall. I just take it the wrong way when something like that is brought up because it seems like comparison or bragging or something when that isn’t necessarily the case. And in my under-developed positive self-image, someone talking themselves up translates directly to talking me down. Female pettiness. Is it genetic or just socially ingrained from a young age?

Now I may come off as a hypocrite, and maybe I am, but there are so many levels and stipulations and complexities in the female psyche that make us ridiculous creatures. Talking about everything we do to look the way we do is expected; it’s a bonding thing for gals to talk about all the crap they go through to meet some randomly-assigned standards. Talking about “how good you look” is fine; talking about “how good we look” is good; talking about “how good I look” is a pettiness trigger. Talking about how “those guys are checking you out” is fine; talking about how “those guys are checking us out” is good; talking about how “those guys are checking me out” is a pettiness trigger. Confidence needs to be expressed in a non-confrontational, non-competetive way and, ideally, inspires confidence in others. How does one differentiate between “I have a postive self-image” and “I am better than you.” It’s a woman’s lot to love and hate. This is not meant to offend anyone at all. And not to single anyone out. I used an example to explain how messed up it is, and I’m darn near positive it’s not just me. I’m just saying it.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not oblivious. Sure I dye my hair because it gives me a boost of self-esteem, but I am also aware that it can draw attention. Not that I always want it to. Most of the time, I just want people to shut up about it; my hair is for me dammit, because I like it. And I’m sure on more than one occassion another lady has thought about me- “Look at her, trying so hard to get everyone to notice her.” Now this is double-edged. First, that other woman is poo-poo-ing my attempt at attention. Second, that other woman is jealous that something is drawing attention away from her. This is how it is. What makes us care so much? Even the “I don’t care” attitude is a way to draw attention. It’s crazy. I can’t even explain it.

Well, this turned into a freakin’ sermon. And it’s not like it’s something that contunually bothers me. It just came up because I felt guilty about being bitchy when someone was feeling good about themselves.

Chat Up Raggedy Android Day – Sunday March 12

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

Ok, Sunday was just plain weird. Saturday night I got home at 4am (yeah, yeah, Sunday morning, let’s not worry about semantics). I had to leave Sunday morning at 11am to make a 1pm rehearsal 2 hours away (yes, the math adds up). I was feeling very unpleasant, but I knew I *had* to go because I had missed the previous rehearsal and I had no class on Monday or homework due. No excuses.

I am driving through the Chicago area, which is riddled with toll booths. I pull through a automatic toll booth and see the lady attedent just jamming out to her boombox. It makes me smile inside.The arm went up and I split.

The next toll booth, I need to use paper money, so I pull up to the manual booth. The attendent asks me in a crazy hyper morning radio show host voice- “Hey, where did you get your red hair?” (My hair is burgundy with orange bangs.) I thought he was just being hypothetical, but then I noticed he was waiting for an answer. I said in as peppy a voice I must muster- “From a box.” (This is technically untrue; it should be ‘from a jar’.) Then the attendent tilted his head back and howled; not laughter, but like a wolf. The arm went up and I split.

Sunday morning Chicago-land crack people.

Anyway, I get to rehearsal. We have a meeting, then rehearse. At 5pm, I am on my way home. At the first toll booth, the attendent ask me- “Big party?” I must have looked really confused. Then I thought he must have been refering to my drum in the back seat. I thought he thought it was a keg or something. I said- “No, it’s a drum.” He said- “Yeah, I know. Does your band need a singer?” I said- “No we’re only instrumental, a marching band.” He said- “I’ve been singing for 9 years and any people standing behind me will be lucky!” I said in as peppy (not snotty) a voice I must muster- “I bet!” The arm went up and I split.

The next booth, the guy wouldn’t look at me, as if I offended he senses. He grumpily gave me my change. The arm went up and I split.
Sunday evening Chicago-land crack people.

I am shockingly adept at being polite and convincing people I am interested in what they are saying. Sometimes it is a curse. (Don’t take offense at this; this applies mostly to strangers, extended family, little old ladies at church, etc. You know what I mean.) Hint: Listen to what they say and comment or ask about specifics. If you get interrupted, ask them to continue and remind them of where they were in their story. No matter what color your hair is, little old ladies will think you are the best thing in the world. Anyway, I digress.

At 7pm, I make it back to my neighborhood. I decide to stop at Chipotle to pick up burritos for dinner. There are three guys behind the counter. The tortilla warmer guy asks me what I want. He tries to act smooth, but he’s very unsmooth. The toppings guy is an outgoing goob. He said- “Your hair is very red.” (Note: burgundy and red must be the same thing in the minds of men.) I said- “But your hair is also very red.” (It was, carrot-top red.) He said- “Mine is au naturale.” I said- “Mine is not.” He makes a melodramtic fake shocked face and said- “It’s not?” Meanwhile I was trying to get him to finish making my damn dinner. I got to the cash register and am greeted my a grubby hippy. He asked- “Which one is yours?” I said- “The veggie.” He puts his hand up for a high five. Then he said- “I’ll put the other one on the bottom, so that no meat can leak onto your veggie. I hate that.” (I didn’t have the heart to tell him I like meat.) He slipped me a card for free chips and guac. As I was leaving, the guys commented that their behavior is due to them being bored on a Sunday night. Being who I am, I did not say- “Nah, you guys are just using your food service job as a way to chat up eastside girls. Who can blame you?

Spring Break: In Review

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

Last weekend was the beginning of my spring break. First of all, I planned on catching up on my schoolwork over spring break. At this point, Wednesday night, I have yet to touch a schoolbook except to move it out of the way. But I have been productive in other ways…

Sunday, I had a rehearsal for the music group in which I participate. I have not quite finished everything I’ve committed to do for the group, so I decided after rehearsal to kick myself into gear. I polished up the arrangements of two medleys I had mostly finished. I still have to write drum parts, but at least the fifers have the music. Plus, the drumline picks up new music a lot faster because we have fewer newbies. I also wrote harmonies for another song on a whim, and I think it sounds pretty good.

Loricious is getting married in August. She asked if I could arrange an organ piece that theĀ  groom’s grandfather (I think) composed for string quartet. I think she may have given this to me back over Xmas break. In any case, I knew spring break would be my only time to buckle down, so I whipped that out today. Besides that an organ pieces fleshes out to be more of a five-part arrangement rather than four I squeezed it into, it soinds pretty good. Steelbuddha mentioned that in midi form, it sounds like video game music. I guess in midi form, *everything* sounds like video game music.

I’ve also taken advantage of my “free time” to shop for better food and cook. I’m just hoping I can keep it up. It helped a lot that bagged salad was on sale this week, because chopping veggies seems to syphon the years right out of me.

“V for Vendetta” comes out Friday. It is a movie based on a graphic novel. SteelBuddha has read the novel and says it’s great, and so I am trying to read it before Friday. Good luck to me… I am 7.34% finished
SB and I had been trying to have a Big Lebowski get together for quite a while. When we couldn’t hammer down plans with anyone, we decided to “celebrate” his birthday with a Lebowski party. Watch the movie, drink White Russians, go bowling, etc. So a bit of my week (and last) has gone into planning.

Tomorrow is SB’s birthday. Since it is also his grandmother’s birthday, we are going to visit her for lunch. For dinner, we are going to visit friends of SB. Hopefully, with all the riding in cars, I can finish “V”. Yes, I will make him drive even though it’s his birthday. I need to finish “V” so I have all of Friday to finish my schoolwork due Monday (and then Sunday to finish everything due Wednesday).

I should go to campus Friday to pick up my inter-library books…

Tune of the Day

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Evangelion: Engel

omg hot!

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Matrix

Friday, March 10th, 2006

I am a big fan of Jet Li. That fact is not lessened by his decision to turn down the part of Seriph in The Matrix or the lead in CR,HD. Why would he turn down such roles..?

But there was a reason why I couldn’t do Crouching Tiger, and it dates back to ten years ago.

When I first met Nina in 1989, on the set of Dragon Fight, we fell in love right away. Our feelings for each other were very strong. People wondered how long it would last.

We wondered about this as well. One day, when we were talking, I said to Nina: “Let’s not rush into anything. What I mean is, if we still feel this way about each other ten years from now, I think we should get married then.”

And she replied: “Alright. If you ask me then, I promise that the answer will be yes.”

“Well, if that’s the case,” I said, “then let me make another promise to you. If we ever decide to start a family, I will take a break from my career. Through every month of your pregnancy I give my word that I will not make any movies, until the child is born. I plan to be by your side the whole time.” It was a man’s promise.