29 May 2008

Sad, Sad News

I honestly hate being the bearer of bad news, although maybe you all will have heard this by the time you read this. On the way home tonight (during a break from what was a very illuminating Love Line), I heard the news that Harvey Korman has died.

I have to admit that I've never been a big Blazing Saddles fan (to quote my brother Ryan/Jimmy, "I get it, I just don't think it's funny"). But I loved, loved, loved Korman on the Carol Burnett Show--which used to rerun on Saturday or Sunday nights when I was a kid. I have a fondness for comedians who can't stay in character (this explains my weird thing for Jimmy Fallon too), particularly when they are being cracked up by someone they share the stage with who is even funnier than they are. It's totally unprofessional, I know. But it was always clear to me that Tim Conway just really, really cracked Harvey Korman up. And that is very sweet. It always made Korman seem like a good guy--that he didn't begrudge Conway the greater share of the laughter.

And I know that you know what I'm talking about. If you are Jimmy Fallon it is impossible to be professional. No amount of rehearsal can prepare you-- it doesn't matter how many times you've heard that freakshow Christopher Walken say, "I gotta have more cow bell" or how many times you've seen Will Ferrell jump up and down, beating on the cowbell, exposing his hairy belly, you can't freaking keep yourself from laughing. Every subsequent time I see that skit, the thing that always really gets me going is watching Fallon in the background.

Nothing is a testament to a comedian's talent like the laughter of other comedians, and nothing is a testament to a man like his deep appreciation of that which is funny. There is something beautiful and generous about that kind of relationship between funny people. And this is what I loved about watching Tim Conway and Harvey Korman together.

28 May 2008

Thoughts, which maybe I should have kept to myself

You'd think that I'd have been living away from Portland long enough that I wouldn't run into people all the damn time when I'm here, but it just isn't true. Is Portland that small? Do I know that many people? Neither of those things seems possible. But when I ventured into the big world this afternoon--to read a little Bakhtin and drink a little coffee--I ran into Andy Z, whom I love, but have seen little of in the last few years. It was weird too--because I walked into this newish coffeeshop (the Albina Press outlet on Hawthorne, which, by the way, does have coffee worth the ridiculous hype that these people have received) and there he was, facing me, looking like he was just waiting for me to walk in the door. He seemed not at all surprised, and not all that happy either, although he invited me to sit with him. I did. We hung out and talked, mostly teaching, excitedly, for about 2 hours.

It was nice to see the guy. He's enthusiastic as hell, which I appreciate. And he's pretty upbeat. I wonder if he's still upset about the time I yelled at him for freaking out about a grade mix up in Ray Mariels's class. I hope not. I was probably too hard on him.

Anyway, I didn't get any reading of Bakhtin done. And then I was driving toward downtown and I saw one of my least favorite PSU profs (name withheld) walking down the street. Again with the people I know!

Wow. I just realized that this is really, really lame content. Sorry about that.

Now, follow up notes about the Indiana Jones post. Thank you all for reading it, even though I was sort of bitchy and long-winded. And for commenting. I like it when you comment. It makes me feel loved, because, frankly, I am needy for your affirmation.

1. Cecil is my grandfather's name. I think that he's been mentioned a few times on the blog, but maybe not introduced. He's the world's cutest grandpa--even my 3-year-old niece knows that.

2. It is probably true that only every other Indiana Jones film is good. That's not really good enough, considering the resources available to these jackasses. I mean, I'm no David Mamet or whatever, but put me in a room with a couple friends and I could write a better screenplay. (Perhaps I shouldn't tell you this, but I just made myself laugh with the David Mamet thing. Because, really?)

3. J-bro: calm down. Did I once say anything about not enjoying the film? Because I totally did. Enjoy it. My enjoyment then spilled over into a day of thinking and then writing about it. If the fact that I ask critical questions about the film (and let's face it--they aren't really that thoughtful or critical) makes you enjoy it less, then I think that is your problem and not mine. Also, I will have you know that Bruce totally read your comment about wanting to take a dump on my head. C'mon!

Even little G, who is just 5.75 years old, knows how much fun it is to be critical--even about cultural products that you love. A couple of weeks ago we spent an afternoon reading The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back for the 40 millionth time and then making a list of important questions that we'd like to ask the Seuss about the books. They are as follows:

1. Why is the talking fish in the first book and not in the second?

2. Why doesn't the boy have a name? His sister has a name (Sally) even though she isn't really all that involved in the plot. 2a. What should the boy's name be and why?

3. Why does the mother of Sally and the boy keep leaving them home alone? Aren't they a little young for that? What is she doing that she can't take them with?

4. In the second book, why is it not good enough to expel the pink cat cake ring from the house? Once the stain is out on the snow, why can't they leave it? After all, pink snow is just going to melt anyway.

5. What is "VOOM" exactly, and what else can it do other than make pink snow white again? This is, as I am sure we all can agree, not a function one would have to employ often.

Now, you can't tell me, J-bro, that these questions do anything other than enhance the experience of reading the Seuss.

Tonight I was listening to a mix I made several years ago for the Monster's birthday. You know that Wilco song "Heavy Metal Drummer" from YHF? I love that song. But I just realized tonight that it always reminds me of Chuck Klosterman. It's like my Chuck Klosterman song. Perhaps my Chuck Klosterman song should be an actual KISS song, and not just one that references KISS, but that would mean having to actually listen to KISS, which I don't want to do just to think about Chuckie K. (Oh yeah, to bring it full circle, that song is on this mix I made for the Monster. Which is weird. Because I don't think that he likes Wilco, KISS, Chuck K, or heavy metal drummers/drumming. Why did I ever hang out with that guy?)

27 May 2008

Speaking of Baby Boomers

This should be funny to those of you who know my mother.

Today, as we were crossing over Mt. Hood on our way back from the chalet, she made this completely ridiculous statement:

"Usually I pop in some Rod Stewart or Rolling Stones, and I just fly home."

Rock on, Karen.

Why, oh why? (Some I.J. Spoilers)

Before I begin with the actual topic of this post, I want to thank the lovely FSG for having my back about the Yumm! bowls (well, delicious bowls in general). If you know her, you know that she only talks when she feels something needs saying, which means that we should all listen to her when she speaks (or types, or whatever). Because she is usually reasonable and right. And it makes me feel like I have spoken something important and true when she agrees with me. Because, as we all know, I do not choose my moments to speak as carefully as she.

By the way, F, I am going to be in town when you are here. YAAAAAY. Perhaps we should get a crew together and have some Dots? Mmmmm. Grilled cheesy goodness.


Alright, and now on to more important things, like how I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie last night at the Redmond theater with my sister-in-law. I have been sort of curious about it, but I don't know if I would have made myself see it if it were not for Joy wanting to see it. It has brought up many questions for me. Maybe someone out there can shed light on some, or all, of these mysteries.

1) Why is it that people in Hollywood don't understand that George Lucas can't write? Because if they did understand this simple fact, they wouldn't let him write screenplays anymore. Or, more to the point, they would put him in a home somewhere and let him write to his heart's content, but they wouldn't bother to actually produce anything that he wrote. He stinks on all fronts--dialogue, story and pace. But especially dialogue. There were several moments when Joy and I actually laughed out loud (like the moment, and I'm not ruining anything here for those of you who have not yet seen the film, when "Dr." Jones makes the profound statement that the word for "gold" in Mayan or whatever is also the word for "knowledge". This occurs in the last 30 seconds of the film. Thank you for that. I would have never understood the theme of the film otherwise.). I should note, sadly, that we were often alone in our laughter, which may explain why George Lucas's screenplays do keep getting produced. Of course, we were also in Redmond.

Could this movie have been more conservative? (Ok, this is actually a rhetorical question. I am actually telling you that this film could not have been more conservative.) And here is why--first, even though the film ostensibly has a knowledge-is-power message, it actually delivers a strongly Promethean warning. There are several moments toward the end of the film in which the Jones character advocates stepping back from knowledge while the evil Commie Dr. Spalko (poor Cate Blanchett, by the way--she's a great actress, really, but she can't do a Ukrainian accent to save her life) is destroyed in her quest for knowledge. (Oh wait. Haven't I read that story somewhere before? In Genesis?!?) Second, does the film have to end with a wedding? Really? Does the Indiana Jones franchise scream heteronormative closure to everyone but me? Does anyone want Indy married off? NO. It's ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that Lucas is just lamely alluding to the Odyssey at the end of the film. Let me spell it out for you--Karen Allen is his Penelope, Shia LeBeouf his Telemachus, and the fact that he puts his hat on as he is leaving the church is our indication that he has not returned to Ithaca to stay, but rather that he will live to roam the Mediterranean another day. Listen, trying to marry (literally) wanderlust and the nuclear family didn't work for Homer, and it doesn't work for Spielberg/Lucas.

3) Why pay royalties to Elvis's family? I mean, seriously. It can't be cheap to get the rights to play the entirety of "Hound Dog". But if you are going to go to the effort and expense of using it in the opening scene of the film, along with a drag race in the desert, why insult our intelligence by scrawling "Nevada, 1957" across the screen three minutes in? We can't figure it out from the elaborate and expensive context you have just provided? Shame on you, Steven Spielberg, you should know better.

4) What is with the geriatric sequel? This is a trend that I just don't understand. I didn't see the last Rambo (I figured, "why start now?" I've never seen one of those films all the way through.), but I did see Rocky Balboa--in the theater no less--and this Indiana Jones film (and I guess that we should probably also sort of consider Star Wars Episodes I-III). Who is the audience for these films? Is it us? And by us, I mean those of us who are old enough to have grown up with the original films in the franchise. And if so, do we really want to see our favorite characters aged and subjected to lame plots (protecting a legacy and proving your worth to your estranged child)? Is this an attempt to bring new viewers--a younger audience--to the franchise? This seems sort of unlikely. Is Harrison Ford that cool to a 10-year-old?

No, my guess is this: these films are really about Baby Boomers trying to convince all the rest of us that 1) they are ok with aging because 2) they can still kick ass and take names even if 3) they have to take steroids and naps (or finance films themselves) in order to do it. Oh yeah, and they don't mind taking a few on the chin if in the end they still look good. So bring on the "grandpa" jokes, because they'll have the last laugh.

What happened to aging gracefully? I guess I should have expected Sly and Bruce Willis to fight it, but I expected more of Han Solo.

23 May 2008

Oh yeah--

I do realize that I need to wean myself off the parentheses. It's so hard though.

"You didn't tell me you were a hippie"

So my dad (known to and loved by most of you as "Bruce") was really excited to take me to this fairly new restaurant chain called "Cafe Yumm!", which has evidently become sort of a phenomenon in the Eugene/Springfield area. There are currently five here, and one in Bend, and one coming to Corvallis. My mom and I were fairly skeptical about this culinary experience, but several hours later I'm starting to fear that Cafe Yumm!'s food is a little like crack in a bowl, covered in Tillamook cheddar. Now that I've picked up the bowl, I might not ever be able to put it back down. (My mother stuck with a turkey sandwich and has not been won over by the Yumm!)

So what is it? You may ask. Well, to quote Monkey James, "I am glad that you've asked that." Yumm! Bowls (the exclamation point is part of the trademark) are bowls of rice with some kind of bean, cheddar, diced tomato, fresh avocado (which I forgo, as I am not a fan of the avocado), sour cream, black olives, cilantro, and some mystery condiment known as "Yumm! sauce." I don't know what "Yumm! sauce IS, exactly, other than that it IS delicious.

So this is a fairly simple concept, but the actual execution is waaaaay better than you could imagine. It shouldn't work, actually, since there are lots of competing flavors. But it is marvelous. I had the "Smoky" bowl which is brown rice and vegetarian chipotle chili and salsa. I also had one of their barbecue tofu skewers.

This is another great reason to move to Eugene.

After dinner we made the traditional pilgrimages to all the Dorsey-related Eugene haunts--my mom's freshman dorm and my dad's seedy basement apartment. We talked about movies they saw (I think all of them in 1970) here, and we tried to find a particular Dairy Queen that my mom remembers (but that seems to be gone now). And, of course, we went up to Hendrick park so that we could pay homage to the corner where we lost Pre (bow your head for a moment of silence and think about what Pre has done for you).

We also went through the university so that we could look at the outside of Mac Court, Hayward Field, and so that my dad could show us where he parks when he comes down for the Oregon boys' basketball tourney every March.

Eugene is a totally charming town. And, for the record, I prefer forest green O's to burnt orange longhorns any day of the week.

Feels Like Vacation

I'm having a slightly hard time with the transition from Austin to Portland. It's hard to go from 95 and sunny to 62 and rainy (even if you LOVE the rain, as I do). I went to pick up Mikey for drinks tonight (on Foster--THAT is awesome) and he made fun of the fact that I was wearing flip flops.

The truth is, I didn't even get out of bed for most of the day because every time I tried, I nearly froze. It turns out that the air conditioning was on in the house. On accident. It was seriously cold, but it was also a good excuse for watching back-to-back episodes of Nanny 911 while curled up in a quilt, eating toast with strawberry jam.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Eugene--my dad's there to see a track meet this weekend--and then my parents and I are going to the chalet, and Ryan, Joy and the kids will meet up with us there later in the weekend. Good times.

I brought my niece, the lovely Lady E, two pairs of hello kitty socks (I like to have something in my carry-on to bring her when I get into town). She was really excited about them, and told me that she, "loves hello kitty" and has a new hello kitty toothbrush.

I am so proud.

That's about all the news. If you can even call it that.

19 May 2008

Personal Update (Not for Entertainment, I'm Afraid)

Mike recently pointed out to me that this blog is sort of useless for anyone who might be looking for any kind of personal, newsy sort of information about yours truly. I guess I assume that that is not very interesting to anyone (although I do think that people eating giant hunks of cheese in public is interesting, and many of you have voiced an opinion otherwise on that score. So maybe I don't know best.)

So here is personal news, an update, if you will: I am headed home early tomorrow morning to the City of Roses (just in time for Rose Festival, you'll note. I missed last year for the first time in my entire life. I hope that is a one-time fluke. God knows that I need my yearly fleet week fix.)

My dear ones here in Austin seem to believe that I won't be coming back. That may be true. While I'm in Portland I'm going to look really hard for a job there. I'm tired of being away from gray skies and rocky beaches and mountains and my family. But it may also be that something will work out here in Austin, at least for another year or two, which would be slightly less preferable, but probably more financially responsible. As one hater reminded me--several times last week--Portland is not the easiest place in the world to find employment.

So, for now, things are up in the air. And I mean that. I don't know what happens next. Hopefully, I'll know better in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I appreciate your good wishes and patience. And I will reward those things with a long, long post about Patrick Lunch. It will all be worth it.

15 May 2008

I'm Woman Enough

to explain J-Bro's last comment. She sent my brother this you tube clip of scenes from The Notebook set to the the song "Right Here Waiting" and then he sent it to me and to Mikey J. I didn't watch it for awhile, but when I did, it made me cry.

Ok, listen, I'm not proud of that. But the song came out my freshman or sophomore year of high school and it reminds me of being 13 and of dances (because I still went to school dances then--it was before I "graduated" to hanging out at Red Robin after games with friends who drove). And it is a truly emotionally manipulative song to boot.

Also, for the record, I have never seen The Notebook, because I have sort of a policy against films made from NYT bestsellers. It's almost never a good idea. BUT, Ryan Gosling also makes me cry. As J-Bro is well aware, I couldn't even watch the end of Half Nelson because I was so upset and disturbed by it. I saw Lars and the Real Girl 3 times in the theater. But the thing that really gets me is The Believer--in which he plays a self-hating Jewish neo-Nazi. (If you know me well enough you probably understand why this is one of my favorite movies ever.)

Bottom line: I can't take Richard Marx AND Ryan Gosling at the same time.

And, really? Blake actually likes G. E. Smith? For all these years I thought he was being ironic. When we were kids we'd watch SNL and he'd get really excited when they would show G. E. Smith playing on the outros. He'd get even more excited if G. E. Smith was actually in a scene (which would happen every now and again).

God, we are a family of people with really bad taste.

12 May 2008

That Dude From Luna

As promised, I have read, and carefully chosen bits to share with you from, Dean Wareham's autobiography Black Postcards: A Rock and Roll Romance. I loved this book. I loved Luna before I read the book, and now I love Luna even more. I loved Dean Wareham before I read the book, but now I love Dean Wareham even more.

But it isn't because I think I would like the guy. I'm pretty sure I would not. He's kind of a dick. And he does a lot of drugs--very casually--which makes me nervous. And he's smart, but he sort of spends a lot of time and energy trying to pretend like he's just a rock guy. Which I find sort of disingenuous. But he is also funny, and confessional in a way that is sort of endearing.

Most of the book is a history of Galaxie/Luna--time on the road and in the studio. There is precious little about his personal life and marriage to first wife Claudia, until he begins to detail his affair with bandmate Britta Phillips. At that point, the book becomes much more about his personal life. A chapter called "The Worst Moment of my Life" details, brutally, and somewhat self-indulgently, the day that he left his wife and toddler son. It's an odd departure from the rest of the material of the book, given how little he lets the reader know about his married life.

Still, it's a good read for the live-on-the-road sections. (I'm always a sucker for that, which explains how I can read so much Rollins.)

Here are some of the high points, so that you can get a feel for the book, but not have to read it yourself. Not surprisingly, I've had a hard time not commenting on the selections, so most of them are accompanied by a little analysis by yours truly. Enjoy, and listen to a little Luna if you have not recently, or (horror of horrors!) have not at all.

***I learned a lot of new things from reading this book, like about all the cars that Dean Wareham has ever driven (he's got a thing about cars), and about how there are Galaxie songs that are based on Star Trek episodes (this theme will return later). But I also learned about the existence of this:

[Talking about a friend in Germany] Armin invited me to eat with him and his girlfriend. We drank beer from large brown bottles, and he showed me his collection of Donald Duck toys (he owned three hundred). He was not only a drummer and a postman but also a Donaldist. He belonged to an organization called DONALD--and acronym for Deutsche Organisation Nichtkomerzieller Anhanger des Lauteren Donaldismus (the German Organization of Non-commercial Devotees of True Donaldism). (189)

***Here's an example of Dean's willingness to tell a pretty embarrassing story about himself, if it is a good story. This comes at the end of a long story about picking up and having a one night stand with a super beautiful woman named Marina in Majorca. This is a pretty awful way for something like that to end . . .

Then we talked about music. Mariana offered to sing her favorite song for me.
"Do you know it?" she asked, and sang softly into my ear.
Oh, no. I did know that song. "More than Words," the ballad by those dudes with the really long hair--Extreme. I hated that song. I remember the video that went with it--I hated that too. Yet there I lay with a stupid smile on my face while she sang it for me. This was my punishment. Or at least the beginning of it.

The story wouldn't work as well if it were any other song.

***Not only did Dean write a Galaxie song about ST, but it is clearly a cultural reference that comes often and easily to him. After an inexplicable digression about Afghanistan (?!?) he writes:

It is okay to stone adulterous women if that is just part of your culture? Shouldn't everyone be allowed to learn how to read? These were the kinds of moral problems that Captain James T. Kirk faced in his travels around the galaxy. (245)


***Dean has some weird opinions. Here are a couple of examples:

[In Bordeaux, with Luna. Note the understatement, which he doesn't seem to mean ironically.]
Our hotel was a little odd. It had a nautical theme going, and the little rooms were decked out like a ship's cabins with round portholes instead of windows. I had my own room that night, and watched an excellent pornographic film on the free TV. Everyone was wearing masks and white wigs, and they were dancing and singing madly and having anal sex, and it was really very funny. It's fun hanging out in the hotel room, drinking a cold Kronenbourg and quietly watching French porn. (207)

[In France (again)] I spent a little time in the cell where Robespierre was held before his execution. I wasn't there long--unlike Marie Antoinette, who practically lived there. Marie Antoinette's cell had been re-created too, but I've never really been a fan of hers. Her head needed chopping off. (281)

I suppose that I shouldn't throw stones, since I believe that everyone should have a favorite economist (my is Malthus, who is yours?), but Dean has some issues with Marie Antoinette.

***I can't often disagree with Dean's opinions and observations about rock and roll though. Here are some highlights:

[At the Lorelei Festival in Germany] All the bands hung out in the amazing backstage area, enjoying the barbecue and the sun and scenery. All except the Ramones, who stayed in their trailer and had pizza sent up from town. This was very punk rock of them. The mountain, the cliff, the sunshine, the barbecue--they were against it. Since punk is a celebration of all things ugly, how can punk rockers enjoy the beautiful Rhine Valley? (88)

[A gig in Cincinnati] Sudsy Malone's was a bar, a rock club, and a laundry. You got a discount on the ticket to see the band if you brought your laundry as well. We were able to wash our clothes, and the club was packed. But it was a bit depressing to play at a laundry, no matter how punk rock it was. You could smell the fabric softener from the stage, and it didn't smell like rock and roll. (147)

[About hating SxSW] In March the band flew down to Texas to play shows at South by Southwest in Austin and at the Ridglea Theater in Forth Worth. It was our first time at SXSW and we didn't much like it. First of all, they don't pay you for performing there. We could earn $5,000 doing a show in Austin at any other time, so why were we playing there for free? Second, we were treated rudely by the staff at Emo's. They refused to give us any beer, and they rushed us off the stage just as we were hitting our stride. (254)

[This is funny, but maybe only to be and my youngest sib. B-this one is for you--I know that you will appreciate it.] Our final stop was the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. They had a terrific lineup, spread out over five different stages. I saw the Cramps and the Cure and Nick Cave and Bob Dylan. The first half of Dylan's show was awful. He had that dolt G. E. Smth on lead guitar. G. E. Smith was the bandleader on Saturday Night Live, and he was best known for making too many rock faces. Maybe his playing would be tolerable if he put a paper bag over his head.
I am opposed to rock-guitar faces. I am not turned on by guitarists who shake and stick out their tongue and drool during guitar solos. I prefer to let the guitar speak for itself. No need to sell the guitar solo with overly expressive facial expressions.

***This is what I mean when I say that he's smart, but tries to act like he's just a rock guy. I mean, he knows Adorno and Althusser, and it isn't like he chose totally mainstream pop icons. And he went to Harvard, which he reminds us in another section of the book where he starts in on something about a class he took his sophomore year about Kant. See, disingenuous.

But I don't know culture from counterculture. Questions like that confuse me, and they don't help when writing songs. Let the rock critics read Adorno and Althusser. I will study Pops Staples and the Chocolate Watchband.

***And this is what I mean by funny. These two sentences have made me laugh out loud like four times now. It's part of a story Dean tells about Neil Hagerty, a guitarist for the D.C. band Pussy Galore.

His eyes were pinned and he stood by the side of the stage, scratching his legs and telling me about the suede pants he had picked up on the street for $5. Admittedly, that is a very good price for suede pants. (58)

***I don't really have much to say about this one. It's just funny. And it is sort of poseur-y too.

[From Galaxie 500's first European tour in '89] Every French interviewer asked us about the Pixes. They figured that since we were from Boston, we must love the Pixies. Nonsense. We had no love for the Pixies. (71)

***Finally, a observation that makes a lot of sense. Again, a little self-deprecating, which is nice, considering a few of the more snarky comments above.

[On costume choice for the final Luna show in LA] I wore a striped purple Paul Smith shirt for the final Luna show, which I regretted when I saw it in the Luna documentary--because it's purple. (322)

09 May 2008


It is so humid outside that you can see the air.

Is it any wonder that I'm counting down the days until I get to go to PDX?

08 May 2008

Thursday Night

Thai food. "Cute and skirty." Warm and healing Jesus hands. Driving through North Austin neighborhoods. "Bohemian Like You." Rock star parking. Juicy limes and a bartender who knows how to squeeze them. Rooftop lounge. Boy energy and green shirts. "Won't it be sad when?" Pinning a dress. Perfect temperature. Not seeing the band we were seeing. Toes out the window. Phish food and half baked. "Are your toes waving at me?" Big Daddy. Sleepy, home, future, now, future.

07 May 2008

In Progress

Friends: I am going to tell you what I am doing right now because I am that excited about it. After being on a library waitlist for four weeks, I was finally able to pick up Dean Wareham's autobiography Black Postcards today. And, although I have a lot of other, much more important things that I need to be doing (since I leave for Portland in just 2 weeks!), I have decided that I cannot do anything for the next hour and a half while I read this book.

I've begun it. I think I'm about 3 chapters in. And now Dean is talking about his deep and abiding interest in Trotsky. This is what I imagined it would be--Dean is pretentious and obnoxious and smart, but not a tremendous writer. But I don't care. He is the most beautiful man in rock. Ever. Beautiful. And he makes music that makes me want to cry and sway and kiss people all at the same time. And so, strangely, I find myself caring about everything that he has to say. This includes utterances like absolute nonsense statements (calling David Thomas from Pere Ubu "the greatest Jehovah's Witness in punk rock") and horrific navel-gazing moments ("Graham said that Satan is happy when you put yourself first, that Satanism is essentially selfishness. If that's true, then I am an occasional Satanist, because there certainly are times in my life when I have put me first.").*

But I am still driven to distraction by having this book, unread, in my possession.

If you do not know who Dean Wareham is, well, that is just sad.

More on this once the reading is complete.

*This is also an example of some of the bad foreshadowing Dean does in the first few chapters of the book. As if we don't know already that he left his wife for Britta Phillips and he has a history of doing too many drugs.

01 May 2008

Postscript to Uncle Moo

I just read the blogs. I'd give you all the prizes just for not being a giant effing windbag like the rest of those guys. God, I hate hunters (Cecil excepted, but just because, as my niece has pointed out, he is a "cute man.").

And that poem did make me cry. Because it was hilarious.

But you are disturbed. You do know that, right?

Reply to Uncle Moo

Ok Marcus. I could swear that I told you to shut your trap about If Lucy Fell. I'm not SJP's greatest fan or anything, but I love that film. Get over the fact that you watched it on my recommendation and hated it. That Eric Shaeffer guy is interesting. I like the stuff he does. And I do think that Bwick Elias is a good Ben Stiller character.

Now that I am done being pissy with you--one thing that is interesting about your comments on my blog is this: you often challenge my own sense of what the editorial policy of The Make-Ready is and should be. #1: you asked me to write on a specific topic (that piece of crap movie Legends of the Fall). Do I take requests? I have decided that I do. This has proven to be a hard post to write, because I have come around to your way of thinking on the matter. I am going to have to watch the film again in order to do the topic justice. And that is NOT something that I look forward to. Additionally, Qwanty has registered some mild objections to this topic, because she knows that I can't talk about the film without talking about her. The writing that I have already started on this subject does indeed discuss the circumstances under which I saw it, which does implicate Qwanty. I'm still working through this. But rest assured that I have not forgotten the request, and I will fill it at some point in the future.

Challenge #2: This has been brought up by your last post. Do I allow comment-ers to plug their own sites or posts? I've decided that, yes, I do. But I will also state here, for the record, that I have not yet read Marcus's contest blogs, and thus cannot recommend them. So, while I will allow you to drum up interest, I will not authorize or legitimize the product. I think that this is a reasonable policy going forward. (Of course, I will indeed read these gems. We are family, after all.)

In closing, Secretary as Christian allegory? Hmm. I may not think about that too hard. It sort of ruins the effect for me. Is that what you were trying to do? Is this some kind of perverse psychology trick? If so, you are a bad, bad preacher man. I invoke the voice of Beavis here (and I do think it is both apt and appropriate) when I ask, "Butthead, why do you have to ruin everything that is good in my life?"

(By the way--I'm TOTALLY in "training" and I hope that by the end of the summer I'm up to actually taking a run with you. I finally finished Bowerman and the Men of Oregon and it totally inspired me. Have you read it yet? If not, borrow my dad's copy and read it. It will make you proud to be a freaking Oregonian!)

In the interest

of full disclosure, I feel like I should admit that I went to see Baby Mama with Nikki last weekend. She had good reasons for wanting to see it--particularly in terms of wanting to see how the film dealt with race. I had no such critical curiosity. I just went because she suggested it, and it looked sort of funny.

Now, I'm not going to spend a lot of time really "reviewing" this film, but I thought that I would share with you some of the impressions/experiences that accompanied seeing the film.

1. What is truly great is about this film is seeing 2 women who have serious on-screen chemistry and are funny. This is a very, very rare thing. I read a review that suggested that this was a "chick flick" which actually surprised me. I didn't think of it as such when I saw the trailer, although I can understand that categorization now that I've seen the film. That said, I think that it does Fey/Poehler a disservice as a comedy team because I'm pretty sure that they can make dudes laugh. And everyone (guys and lesbians alike) seems to understand that Tina Fey has that smart/sexy thing going on. (Like someone I know who occasionally reads this blog, so I will not call her out, but I think that most of us know who I am talking about. OR like a certain short, brunette, bespectacled and nervous PSU prof--)

2. I found too much of the humor in the beginning of the film uncomfortable because I realized I was laughing because it felt true. In one scene, Tina Fey, who now knows that her t-shaped uterus is not conducive to conceiving and bearing a child, coos and waves to a baby looking at her over its mother's shoulder. Then she leans in and actually makes contact with the baby. I have done this. I have, for my own gratification, talked to, made eyes at, and even touched, some stranger's baby. It's disturbing, I know, but it's like I can't help it. (And apparently I am not the only woman to have done so.) Anyway, I can assure you that this is not a comfortable thing to see reflected back to you in a film.

3. The film makes fun of Whole Foods. And that is funny. Steve Martin is integral to the humor surrounding this storyline, and that makes it even funnier.

4. This was much more of a romantic comedy than either of us expected. I don't know if that is good or bad. Since I generally hate romantic comedies (except Secretary--which I know some of you don't consider a romantic comedy, and If Lucy Fell--shut your damn trap, Marcus), I suppose that is mostly bad.

5. (And this is actually the thing that I most want to say about the experience of this film.) The worst part of Baby Mama, for me, was having to buy my ticket to it. Because I had to say the name of the film. Out loud. And that turned out to be a problem. There are two issues here: first, I think that I was a little embarrassed to be seeing the film in the first place. And I am somewhat concerned about my "cool" in that I DO, on occasion, worry that the book or music that I am buying, or the film that I am renting or seeing somehow makes me not look at all cool. I am guilty of trying to pass some of this consumption off as "ironic". It is because I do actually care what people who work around these particular cultural products think about me. It's lame. I know it is lame. I know that people who work at bookstores aren't all that cool (given the fact that I have worked at bookstores myself, and know lots of other people who have too), but I'm still weirdly worried about it.

This, of course, all goes back to the horrible over-identification I (and many others--c'mon, a lot of you do this too) have with my "things." I know in my head that I am not my CD collection, my library, my DVDs (oh god, I wonder what 8 seasons worth of Charmed really says about me--), my jewelry and barrettes, but part of me does believe that these things are who I am. And, frankly, there are some possessions that do, in fact, seem to stand in for me to the world outside. (I am thinking specifically about my hello kitty traveler's mug, which I am starting to develop a bit of a complex about.) What all of this means is that I am quite susceptible to the judgment of others about these things, particularly to the judgment of those who pedal the crap with which I surround myself.

But maybe that is a bit of a digression. The second reason that buying the ticket pained me was that I had to utter the phrase "baby mama" aloud, to a stranger. I am not linguistically daring. This is part of the reason why I suck at foreign languages. I don't like to sound stupid. And saying a phrase like "baby mama", which has no business coming out of my mouth, ever, for any reason, makes me feel stupid. And, frankly, I can't say it without sounding really uptight and awkward and, well, white. The phrase sticks in my mouth, I feel and sound self-conscious using it, and it ends up sounding that much more ridiculous. It is very much like when I try to say something in French, which also comes out sounding really uptight, awkward, and, well, American.

Ultimately it is probably good for me to have to use language that I am not comfortable with and that I don't own. But I couldn't help thinking that someone was out there laughing at me for doing it--and paying to do it--in this case--