Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2006. What a watershed year you were. I got engaged, made some new friends, made a shit load of money over the summer, read a crap load of books, ruined quite a few parties, quit smoking, picked it back up again, then quit again, went to Tennesse, went to New Mexico, went to Chicago, of course....went to St. Louis, got some good grades, got one shitty grade, I won an essay contest and was published twice! (in crappy school magazines), I made more love than war--which is more than Bush can say. Overall it was a good year, I hope to do it all again (and more) next year.


And for crying out loud, if you a fucking cab!!!


So I've been doing a little reading. I read one of my new books, A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby and currently I'm in the middle of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I love reading, really I do. The only reason that I'm able to think clearly and hold a semi decent conversation with people is all due to the education I recieved from books. I'm not sure what happened to me as a child or that magic watershed moment was...but I'm glad it happened, I'm glad I turned into a reader. Some people read on occasion, for class or because they see Oprah raving about something...and then there are others who truly lose themselves to novels and autobiographies. They get both very happy and very sad when they have to say goodbye to characters on that last page of a particularly good read.

School is a corrupt, misguided form of daycare. School only taught me one thing and that was the mechanics of reading. How to do it--the alphabet and the like. After that, everything (okay nearly everything) I ever learned that was of any interest or value I learned on my own from a book. I have two sisters. One is a year younger than me, and unlike me--she's only just now discovered books. She isn't dumb or anything...I can just see a difference between myself and her...and that difference is reading (and books). She reads now to escape...these really awful, crappy romance books. But that's okay, because escapism is exactly what I wanted when I first began my descent into los libros all those years ago. I hope I'm not coming off as too arrogant. There have been times when I thought I was the smartest person I knew...those days, I'm sad to report are long over. Actually, I'm not too sad about that. It's good to know you aren't always the best and brightest. It makes you humble...and it makes you work harder.

Anyway, I worry about my youngest sister (who is 11) because she doesn't like to read. Oh, she loves collecting books--she has a huge pile of them, but my parents have to twist her arm to get her to read. I tell her over and over, "The only reason I'm as smart as I am is because when I was little I read books." I say this to encourage her, but it's not working. And frankly, it wouldn't have worked on me when I was her age. I just know that if I could find the right formula of author, subject, whatever...she'd go ga-ga for the world of books just like me. I care about her and I see how much my other sister has struggled with school because she didn't dip her feet into the land of books.

I'm reminded of "A Prayer for My Daughter" by William Butler Yeats. We read it last semester in British Literature. To summarize Yeats, the world is going to hell in a hand basket...soon! The only thing that will stave off the darkness is culture and tradition. So Yeats hopes his daughter will marry a man of class and sophistication so that she'll be safe in his garden of high society. At the time I didn't understand where Yeats was coming from. Now I think I do. The world is a competitive, scary place. It really freaks me out. Even if I never amount to anything, I'll always have books to help keep me sane and happy. I want my little sister to have that same safety net.

I'm wrong, of course. Just like Yeats was wrong about the upper class and their traditions being the only thing that can save society and keep the torch of civilization burning. What a crock of shit. But I still can't help wanting my sister to take comfort in the thing that gives me comfort (like Yeats wanting his daughter to hide in comfortable society, the thing that made him feel safe). Still, I'm going to try and be more "pro-active" about this whole reading thing. I think I'm going to start reading to her some, before bed. That's how I think it all started for me. Maybe we'll take turns reading chapters or something. It can't hurt any. Anyway, I'm going to go back to my little book.

My island.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Video Blog Week #12

Well these video blogs from KC haven't been all that great...this one is no exception. I'm thinking about doing one on New Year's Eve, something fun. Maybe with fireworks(?). Until then, enojy the last regular video blog for the year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Day Outside

I spent the day outside today (rather than just staying in my PJ's play video games). Me, Amber, and Leah went downtown to this great place called the Blue Coi. Best noodles and dumplings in town, period. The bubble tea is good too (though not as good as St. Louis). I'm a sucker for this sort of food...then we went to the mall...which you'll here about tomorrow in my video blog tomorrow(which I filmed early in the parking lot). Until then, enjoy the pictures...

Hollywood rapes my childhood once again...

First it was STAR WARS, now this...

It's true what they say Ponyboy--nothing can stay gold. The movies are so lame today. What made the Ninja Turtles cool was how unique they were. Instead of trying to cash in on a dated, irrelavent franchise Hollywood should cook up something...oh, I don't!? Even my ROCKY movie from last week is just another example of the problem. Human beings are a bunch of backward looking fools. Look ahead once and a while! There is a future, just like there was a past.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

These things tend to come in threes...

Rest in peace James Brown...Godfather of Soul. May you continue to "feel good" up there in that venue in the sky. Rest in peace Gerald Ford...I would say "give my regards to Nixon" but your pardon only works here on earth. So unless you've been a real son of a bitch in your personal life, I guess you won't be seeing him in hell.

Everyone be extra careful until the third person dies (as my pappy always says, these things tend to run in 3's). Hopefully he's wrong. Anyway, the end of 2006 is nearly upon us. Another year has gone by...can you believe it? Seems like only yesterday they were trying to explain Y2K to me. Now we're seven years into the new millenium (or six if you're a douche bag literallist).

The hole I've been in...

I just crawled out of an electronic hole (and then promptly jumped into this one). See, I got an XBOX 360 for that's about all I've been doing. Of the three games I have, the one that was free (Call of Duty 2) is the one I like the best. It's a terrific WWII shooter. Who knew killing Nazis could be so much fun? Anyway, I got a mountain of books I need to be reading (which reminds me...I need to find a way to get back to writing).

Yesterday was fun. Leah and my sister went shopping near Independence Center and ended up getting into a road rage situation. I guess these people were blocking the intersection, Leah they flipped my girls off and threw two cans (one was full) of Red Bull at MY CAR (which I was letting Leah borrow). So now I have two nasty chips in the hood of my car. Leah called my insurance agent and I guess if the damages exceed $500, they'll go after these chumps (Leah got their plate numbers and filed a police report).

So that's what's up with me. Just bumming around out here in KC. My friend Jaimie might be coming out to visit sometimes next year. Leah is working on her scrap book. My sister named her new dog "Rocky" by the way. That's better than "Sgt. Brown" which was her first choice.

Monday, December 25, 2006

So this is Christmas...and what have you done?

Happy Christmas (War is Over)

Lyrics by John Lennon

So this is X-mas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is X-mas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry X-mas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is X-mas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy X-mas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

A very Merry X-mas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is X-mas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy X-mas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry X-mas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now

Happy X-mas

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Jason Update

Last night me and Leah went and saw the new Rocky movie. It was decent. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone not a hardcore Rocky fan. Or an old person. I think old people will like it. The whole idea of an aged Rocky still having a place in society/things left to do is nice. We live in a youth obsessed culture, so a movie like this is probably needed. The whole thing is basically a trip down memory lane, both for Stallone the actor and Balboa the character. Moviegoers take this trip as well. It didn't really work as well on me and Leah...neither of us had seen a Rocky movie in the theatre. Maybe if we had we'd have been able to relate to where Rocky finds himself (which is basically right back where he started in Rocky one). The thing that dissapointed me the most was the final fight scene. It was over directed/edited. It looked like it was put together for the MTV/video game generation. Lots of quick cuts, flashy filters, slow motion, etc.

I guess that's what happens when you let an actor direct. I suspect the whole thing would have turned out better had an actual director been in charge. The movie didn't make me hate Rocky or worked. But man is Sly looking old. It worked for this movie, but there is no way in hell he's going to be able to pull off another Rambo (which I hear is his next project). I'd rather he work on this Edgar Allen Poe biopic he's been talking about (for years). I think Johnny Depp or someone like that could really do that part justice.

Anyway, I'm just sitting here...enjoying not having to do anything. Leah is baking her last batch of cookies...Amber and Lindsey are watch HELP! the second Beatles movie. We're all supposed to watch the Chiefs game is grand.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The holidays at my house..

...are crazy...

Here is my sister's new dog. She doesn't have a name picked out yet...but I'm sure it will be disgustingly sweet.

Video Blog Week #11

Happy Holidays everybody! My weekly video blog isn't nearly as crappy as I thought it would be...and once again it looks like I've flimed too much. Luckily for me, I was smart and filmed in two parts. Enjoy!

I took a bunch of pictures today (including pics of my sisters new parents bought it for her for X-mas) I'll probably post them later tonight or tomorrow.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Another Holiday Break Update

It's been a few days since I've written here goes a quickie. I've been having a pretty good break. I have gotten to do all the things I love: read, write, cook, drive, and play video games. Sad that is all I need to be happy, huh? I played a shit load of Resident Evil 4 today (holly crap is that game getting intense/impossible) as well as the DS game I bought Leah of Hanukkah (it's a cooking game called Cooking Mama). I've been getting up (fairly) early and driving to the library where I hunker down in the quiet area and write. Thus far I've managed to churn out about 27 pages. Not too shabby for three days worth of work.

Me and Amber went shopping. Then me and my mom went shopping. The holidays suck. The stores are packed with people, but not with merchandise. I hate not having any damn money. Oh well. I still need to go and see the new Rocky movie (which has gotten glowing reviews thank you very much).

I also spent parts of today going through my old library, sorting my books into piles of what I want and what I don't want anymore. Me and Leah have been swapping books on this great site (that I've mentioned here before) called

You should go and check it out. I just unloaded three textbooks the school wouldn't buy back about 2 semesters ago. Plus I just received a book I need for a class next semester. Go up there, request one of my old John Grisham books...please! A really sweet lady police officer I worked with over the summer told me about it. I miss that job and (some) those people. I miss Ron and the gang in blue. I wonder how they are all doing sometimes. I wonder if my replacement is as well read as I am. Probably not. Part of me dreads going back this summer, and part of me yearns for it. And it's not just the money I yearn for. It's like a cigarette addiction. It's a dull ache deep within you...a itch that feels so good when you scratch it--with a razor blade.

Tomorrow I need to do a video blog. It's probably going to be really fucking boring. Don't watch it! I'll try to think up something fun for you all (all three of you). Well, that's about it. I promise to take some pictures while I have my camera out there will at least be something interesting to look at. In the meantime, Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Jason Update--Winter Break fever! Ow-ow!!

Well it's a little after 11:00pm and I just finished up a little writing. I woke up today, had a little breakfast...played with my sister's Rubik cube (no that's not a euphemism for anything) and then packed up my computer and went to the library. I got to work right away on my novella. I am happy to report that I just completed the first segment. Outstanding! Who knew that if you treat writing like a job (i.e. set goals for your self, made yourself get up and write at a specific time) that you'd actually...well...write! I'm not 100% certain that I can keep this up (tomorrow I have to wake up and take Amber to the auto repair shop...then my baby sister is having a 1/2 day so I get to babysit her and two of her friends for four hours). Then Leah's coming out. I miss her, but I know that when she comes out I'm going to be...distracted. We'll see. I still have a month to get the first draft out. I currently have high hopes.

P.S. I got my grades today. Looks like I'm going to be taking that Grammar test so I won't have to take that class again. I think it's fucked up that my grades are almost as crappy as Amber and Leah's (just joking! I'm happy Leah got good grades this semester). I turned an F in Spanish II into a C (the Advising people begged me to drop out of that one...but I was like "fuck you..."). I can't wait to B.S. my way through Spanish III.

P.P.S. Hey DUMSL...I keep passing your stupid language classes...but guess what?!?! I can't even speak English(see Grammar class)!! Ha!! Ha!! Ha!! Ha!!! Ha!!

Graduation Post

So there was an important graduation over the weekend. Rusty, Leah's dog (and I guess he's mine now too) graduated from the intermediate obedience class at PetSmart. He has come a long way (I guess). It's hard to tell with dogs. Are they really learning or are you the one being "trained"? He doesn't freak out as much when he sees other dogs, and he can meet strangers without biting them. And, as you can see here, he can hell pretty well. I still wish he was better behaved, but he's leaps and bounds the best dog I've ever been associated with. My parents don't think he needed the class, but I think he did. Everyone needs improvement, right? Anyway, Leah worked pretty hard (but not as hard as she could) getting him ready for the big day. I think if we take him further in these classes we BOTH need to do more work with him. I'm not sure if I like the PetSmart training program. I don't like that all the classes take place in the middle of a busy store. I know the dogs need to be able to handle distrations...but even I get distracted when people are staring at me...making faces.

Anyway, don't get me wrong, the dog did great...I just can't remember too far back so it's hard for me to judge on how far he's come.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ho Ho Show #2

Last night me and Leah went down to the Pageant for the Point's "Ho Ho Show 2." We got there about thirty minutes before the show, and it was already packed. I was really excited because the last time I'd been to a concert was back in January (The Rolling Stones). So it had been nearly a year, I was ready to go! A couple of things happened concerning Leah. One, I decided that I need to start driving more, because as much as I love her...the girl can't drive very well when she's tired. Me...I'm the fucking energizer bunny. I've driven 30 miles on two hours of sleep. Used to do it all the time--work a 20 hour shift, then spend forty minutes driving home. Leah, God bless her, just can't do it. I feel like shit every time I harp at her to stop at red lights, go at green ones...not slam into other cars, etc.

Anyway, the other weird thing was the floor. Now, as most of you know, I'm a "get there early and stand in the front row" kind of guy. Last night, though, I was scared to go on the floor. I didn't want to take Leah down where she might get hurt. Now, I've taken many a lady to concerts. Many that were older, less able to handle themselves than Leah. But for some reason, I worry about her getting hurt more than anyone I've ever been with. Anyway, I opted (at her annoyance) to play it safer and hang tight on the side. We had a bar right in front of us so we could sit in between sets. It turned out to be a great spot because the lead singer of Jet ended up walking on it (and practically right up to us).

So yeah, I worry a lot...and worry even more about Leah's safety. Strange. Also, I am getting to damn old. The crowd was a bunch of little kids and I felt really old with my denim jacket and gray hair. Man time's a bitch. The show was great. The first act was local, Autovein. They sounded pretty good. I liked the bassist and the drummer...the vocals were just okay. The second band, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus sucked. They were terrible. Just a lot of screaming and noise. I can't reccomend them for anything but torture. I don't usually go for that sort of thing, but even still there are a couple of scream-o bands that I can say to myself "Self...even though that's just noise I can see how some people might like that." Anyway, all the little kiddies were there to see them. As soon as they finished their set 1/3 of the people started to trickle out. The next act was the best of the night--Angels and Airwaves. Headed up by Tom from Blink 182, this band was great. Sonically, I found them to be close to 1987 U2 (though Leah disagrees). They had a huge backdrop and these giant white flags all over the stage. It was impressive. They came out, and promised to give us all they had...and they did. The best part though, was that the set really did have a message. The band seemed hell bent on freeing us all. Twice we were told (once at the begining and then again at the end) that we weren't "stuck" and that if we really wanted to, we could do anything. This part of the show also reminded me of the U2 show me and my Dad went to back in 2001. That was the first (and only up until last night) time I ever went to a concert and got more than just music. As cheesy as it is, I think it's cool when musicians even pretend to care about the lives of their audience. I really want the CD this band put out. I know I won't get it, because everyone I know has no taste (or even shops in record stores) but I will have it one way or another by next semster. You would be wise to go out and find it yourself.

JET was a bit of a let down. The Angels and Airwaves set was so great, it wasn't really their fault. Not much could have topped that. The audience seemed bored and more people left. I can't believe people would pay $34 and not care about the headliner. Oh well. They played all the songs I wanted to hear: "Cold Heart Bitch," "Shine On," "Holiday," "Rollover DJ," and of course their hit "Are You Gonna Be My Girl." JET sounded great, but they lacked a lot of the charisma of Angels and Airwaves. It was cool though, the lead singer liked to jump around and on top of things. He even got ontop of the drum kit! Awesome! All hopes of an encore were squashed when the same kit was knocked over. An amp fell on top of was pretty bitchen. All in all, the show was good.

I'm now back home in KC. I drove home this afternoon and am sitting in my parents basement (where creeps like me belong). I came home and prompty put the daddy pants back on. I picked Lindsey up from school, did the dishes, and cooked dinner (we had breakfast for lunch...I made biscuits and gravy, bacon, and hash browns). It's almost as if I never left. Tomorrow I plan on waking up early and doing some writing. Life is grand.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Video Blog Week #10

Well today is my last day in the dorms. The semester is over (for better and for worse). I have a shite load of things to do today, so I filmed my weekly video blog a few days it is. Enjoy St. Louis!!

Goodbye DUMSL...see ya next year!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ouch Part II

Yeah, so I've been sitting here packing and cleaning my dorm up. I was leafing through my Grammar tests and it looks like I sucked it up on about 1/2 of the test. And about 34% (or so) of my daily quizzes (which are a big part of you grade). SO depending on how I did on the final...and how her math is...there is a slight (read nearly non-existent) chance I could squeak by.

But I'm not holding my breath. I have, however, made peace with my suckitude. Pretty much everyone I know has taken this class 2 or more times. Not that this makes it okay...but more palatable that I have not done so well. But then again, I go through this every semester. I always expect shitty grades and then someone I end up on the Dean's List. I am a terrible judge of myself. I guess I'm just way to hard on myself.

Sucking in eternal suckitude. Suckkity, suck, suck...


Today sucked. I am 99.99% certain that I got a D+ in Traditional Grammar. I know 100% that I failed that fucking final. It was a monster of a thing...10 pages, 50 questions. Damn...what pisses me off is, last night while I was studying the old tests I couldn't believe how easy they were. Too bad I did so poorly on them at the time. Anyway, I'm not taking that shit again...screw I'm changing my major...

just kidding! Me and my amigo Paul are going to study together next semester and just take the stupid exam and test out of it. Pathetic, huh? I am so ashamed right now. I think I did okay in my other classes (Espanol included). Ah well...such is life. At least I was on the Dean's List once out here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Am I crazy to be excited about this?

So it hasn't come out yet (2 weeks and counting)...but I'm already quoting the new ROCKY movie. Okay, technically I've been quoting the trailer...but still...I'm freakishly excited about ROCKY BALBOA. My favorite trashy movie news/rumor website Ain't It Cool has been running an extensive Q&A with Stallone. It's been enlightening, learning about how the man thinks. How he got into the movie biz. Stranger yet...learning how he writes! Yes. Like most people, I always thought of Stallone as this muscle bound meat head...I didn't realize that he wrote screenplays. Stallone wrote the script for a movie that one Best Picture 1976 (the original ROCKY). I know the series is a little...shall we say, long in the tooth--but I recently watched the first one (one of two I've seen in the series) and I was once again surprised at how good it is.

The thing about the film (and the character) that's so great is how human it is. The first mistake people make is thinking that they're about boxing. ROCKY is not about boxing. ROCKY is about underdogs. About people like you and me. Ever had a dream? Then you can relate to Rocky Balboa. Ever wished you could get the chance to prove your worth? Then you can relate to Rocky. Most people, sadly, live their entire lives without ever having a chance to prove themselves--to everyone else and to themselves. Most people don't know (or remember) that Rocky doesn't win at the end of the first movie. He loses! Rocky scores an even greater, more important victory by simply lasting 15 rounds against Apollo Creed. That's all he wanted to do just "go the distance." I actually love the fact that he doesn't win, it makes the movie all the better.

The new movie in theory sounds terrible. Stallone is like...60 years old. How the hell can he fight a boxing match? In real life, he couldn't. Look at Ali...he's a shell of a man. Most professional althletes (football players especially) are practically invalids by the time they reach 50. The stress and strain on the body is too much. But the ROCKY movies aren't about sports, they're about more. They're about people that are discounted, written off before they even start. An aged Rocky, one that is the butt of jokes...told that he's "too old" is exactly the sort of movie I want to see. The latter ones weren't as good because Rocky was too successful by the end of the series. Old Rocky is a true underdog again. I can't wait, I hope he loses again...but I hope he goes the distance.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


So I stayed up last night and read the last 175 pages of CELL by Stephen King. I've been reading so much real literature that I decided to let my mind have a little "snack." That's a pretty good way of describing this book. Lots of interesting ideas, but in the end there is little nutritional value. The plot of the book is simple. On October 1 the world ends. A strange (never explained) pulse hits the worlds cell phone systems and everyone using one has his/her brains wiped. This (naturally) turns them all into blood thirsty zombies. The book is dedicated to George Romero (a good friend of King's) who bascially did this whole thing decades ago in his film DAWN OF THE DEAD. The book's characters even mention this film by name several tims (so rather than pretend what he's doing is orignial King gives us a big ole wink). The book isn't really about zombies though, it's about surviving in a world gone mad.

The people not turned into flesh eaters ("normies" as they call themselves) scurry around at night searching for food and a clean place to sleep. The daylight hours of King's book are a nightmare world where huge flocks of mindless people shuffle around killing. Sound familiar? The whole thing is an attack on modern, Western culture...specifically the cell phone culture. One ironic thing about yesterday--a few hours before I finished the book, I was re-inducted into the land of cell phones. Every since August I've been without one, but last night me and Leah of our new, shiny Sprint phones. I thought it was a little odd being sucked back into that world while being on the cusp of finishing King's book. I can't say that I hate them as much as King (which he does...if you have any doubts of this after reading the book, the back jacket informs us that King does not own a cell phone). I hate how they make people act, and I hate how they make me act sometimes. Then there are the health issues. Sure, cell phones probably won't turn you into a flesh eating monster...but what about cancer? I'd take the zombie-ism over "THE BIG C" anyday.

It is scary outside, but not because of any horror monsters. People are drawing further and further inside themselves. When I was a kid it seemed that people were friendly. Service at stores was better. When you went to the movies, people didn't talk loudly as if they owned the place. True, it did occur, but it was the exception...not the rule. Cell phones, internet, cable, GPS, OnStar...we don't need these things. When I gave up my cell phone (so Leah could have one) at the end of the summer I was bumming. But I survived just fine. We don't need these things to get by (or be happy). I'm not sure how plausible King's story is...however the more I think about it, the more I wonder...could the cell phones be turned into some sort of brainwashing device? Buy more...text more...grraawwrrr!!!

JASON's NOTE: It may seem like I didn't enjoy this book...but I did. As an english major I know I shouldn't--but to be frank, I couldn't but it down. I was up till 4:00AM reading this thing. If that's not good writing, I don't know what is. Damn you King. Damn you...

Monday, December 11, 2006

My new addiction...

Resident Evil 4 rules!!!

I went the distance...

Today I took my Math placement test today. For the past two weeks I've been training...studying hard with my friend Jaimie. At 4:20 tonight I went to Clark Hall and took my test (Jaimie waited for my outside). I went in...all I needed was a 16 out of 30 to test into Contemporary Math (the last and final math class I need to take). I was worried...I haven't studied math for nearly 3 years. I was scared that I'd test into the super-remedial math. I actually tested into College Algebra! I got a 22 out of 30. Me and Jaimie were super excited because we thought that since I'd "tested out" of Contemporary Math that I wouldn't have to take ANY class. So, we promptly went to the Guidence office where I found out that hell no...I still had to take math. I opted to just take Contemporary Math anyway, because it was easier. Which means that I probably won't have much trouble with my last and final 3 math credits. How sweet it is. I signed up my classes and have a pretty sweet set up next semester...only one early class...two night classes. Yeah.

Anyway, I'm impressed with myself. I did way better than I thought I could on this test. As I've stated previously, most of it is thanks to Jaimie (I bought him and Leah dinner at Cicero's on the Loop to celebrate). At first I was sad that I wasn't going to be able to skip math...but then I thought about it...and really...I'm just happy that I was able to "go the distance" with the test.

Friday, December 08, 2006

L4yer Cake is crap, the plague

...however if faced with both--choose the plague (they have a cure for that). I had Leah Netflix L4YER CAKE because it the was the film that made the Bond producers pick Daniel Craig to play the new 007. I read the plot online, it sounded interested. A drug dealer decides to stop but can't until his last (very screwed up) last deal is resolved. Now, this dealer isn't some cracked out drop-out standing outside a 7-11. No, this man is refined and smart. He lives in a posh section of England. He doesn't like getting his hands dirty...he's never even used a gun. So far, this should be great.

The reality is, this film is a mess. Because it's a very, very British's very hard to follow the dialogue. Okay, fine. I can handle a little anglo confusion...but the plot is like a ping pong ball. There are several interesting developments that go nowhere. Craig's character (who isn't ever really named) is assigned with the task of finding his boss's boss's daughter. Great, on top of everything this poor guy has to track down a rich drugged out runaway. This never happens, it's a farce. A red herring. This thing is an hour and forty minutes and it drags...and fact, as I write's still going on. How is it possible for me to be this bored/apathetic about the movie described above? I don't know. The movie is very similar to Guy Richie's (you know Madonna's boy) cinematic abortions (minus the quaint, somewhat entertaining humor and quirky characters). Chief O'brien from Star Trek is in this movie. That should be warning enough (sorry Colm).

I thought I'd be able to reccomend this film to my little sister (who is currently infatuated with Craig)...but honestly, you get to see the guy without his shirt off...and that's about it. You see more of him in CASINO ROYALE. Go see that (or go see it again). Skip L4YER CAKE, there is a reason you've probably never heard of this film.

Video Blog Week #9

Here it is! My weekly video blog...hard to believe that this is my ninth week of these. Seems like only yesterday I figured out I could do these. Most have been lame, embarassing, and/or's is no exception. Enjoy.

Also, this random bit that will make your head explode...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Last Day of Class

Tomorrow is my last day of classes for the fall semester. Next week is finals, which is really freaking me out. Today was my last day of American Literature and British Literature. I've taken both parts of each now, which means I'm probably not going to have Professor Mayhan anymore (he teachers a Victorian poetry class...but ugh...poetry). He's about the only teacher I've had out here that was worth a damn. The man is a giant (intellectually I mean...he's actually sort of short in stature), in total command of his subject (British Literature) and his classroom. His lectures were insightful, thought provoking, and most importantly--about more than just literature. Mayhan found a way to make our assigned readings mean more than just pretty words on a page. He injects life into dead men's words. I've never had a class that left me pondering the "big" questions of life as frequently as his did. I liked how he always found a way to play opera (his other great love) for us. I will miss his way to relate everything to gay sex. Everyone else in the English department is such a stiff, so boring. My American literature teacher nearly puts me to sleep. All we ever did was just go over the readings. No in-depth discussions, no real life applications. She never tries to make anything more than just English. So, though I'm happy the semester is nearly over (so I can be done with Traditional Grammar once and for all) I will miss Mayhan.

I know I said I was going to read Stephen King's CELL this week, but I lied and found my copy of SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut. I'm nearly half-way through it and it's great. I can't wait to finish it. But...thanks to finals that may be awhile from now. We'll see. We read this really great/weird short story in American Lit last week called "Entropy" by Thomas was a total and complete mind fuck. There is no other way to describe it. I've read it twice now, and I can barely tell what it's about. What's amazing about this story though, is that when Pynchon wrote it he WAS 21 years old!!! This story is being read by college students and is included in an anthology that includes Twain, Crane, Hawthorne, Hemmingway...all the greats. Amazing. Some people operate at a level that is beyond normal people, clearly this guy Pynchon is way the hell above you and me. I really want to read one of his novels, I hear they're uber hard (and long 1000+ pages). I really want to go and pick up one of his books (I guess he just put out a new one like last week?? That's what my teacher said).

Lastly, I have to tip my hat to my friend Jaimie who has been tutoring me so I can (hopefully) test into Contemporary Math (yeah I know...fuck you I'm bad at math). He's the best Math teacher I've ever had. He has the patiences of a saint. I wish I had money or something so I could pay him when I get a 16 on the test (which I'm taking next Monday afternoon). It really sucks I have to take this test if I didn't have enough to do with finals! Anyway, thanks Jimu! (and thanks for the gas...and the "stolen" Nosh lunch the other day...).

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Jealous of Steinbeck

I just spent the night reading John Stienbeck's novella THE PEARL. I picked it up at a bookstore over the break (along with Salinger's FRANNY AND ZOOEY which I read last week (it was great)). THE PEARL is great because of how simple it is. I'm jealous of this kind of writing because it's so effective and streamlined. Basically the total opposite of all the writing going on today. Writer's seem to think that complication is always a good thing. Layers of dense vocabulary, gnarled plotting, and complex structure can often bury a writer's connection to the reader. Steinbeck's stuff isn't simple by any means. There is a complex theme and subtle symbolism/allegory...the scenes are painted clearly and the characters are well established with a minimum of words/gimmicks. I wish I could do that. Every time I try, it just seems like I'm leaving things out. Or worse, it makes it seem like I don't know what I'm doing (which, of course, I don't...but I don't need to hang a sign).

There's some irony about me buying/reading/enjoying this book. Just a week before the Thanksgiving break we had to read THE GRAPES OF WRATH for American Literature II. Of course, I didn't. Weird because in theory I should want to read this book...but for some reason Steinbeck's long fiction is of no interest to me. Kinda like Fitzgerald's work...I love THE GREAT GATSBY (it's my favorite book) but I have no interest whatsoever in the rest of his work. I'm not sure why that is. Anyway, some authors just seem to have better short stories...Stephen King is like that. I hate his novels (for the most part) but his short stuff is great. Speaking of which, my next read is CELL which will probably be long and bloody. But I'm a sucker, I have to read it (it's going to be a movie in year or so).

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My two front teeth...

I found out recently that one of my old instructors has a blog. Snowed in and trapped...I found my self reading it. It's interesting to see. As a student, I forget sometimes that my teachers are real people too. In a classroom, the teacher can seem like a god. Not the God, per say, but a god (like one of the Greek gods--lively and full of human flaws). I haven't hated a teacher in a really, really long time...but reading her blog made me feel bad anyways. I think all students need to remember that teachers, like everyone else have complicated lives...just like you and me.

Anyway, one thing Terri was always good at was prompts. In class she had use do these little exercises that help generate creativity. I saw on her blog that she and her daughter had made a list of 100 things they wanted. So, I decided to do one too.

Things I want:

1. I want to get through school
2. I want to be able to support myself and my soon-to-be wife
3. I want to not worry about money
4. I want a new car for Leah
5. I want to take a (real) vacation
6. I want to pay off my credit card
7. I want to read more
8. I want to write more
9. I want no more war
10. I want a cure for all diseases
11. I want to understand my parents
12. I want my parents to understand me
13. I want Amber to graduate college
14. I want Amber to be happy
15. I want a dinosaur--for a pet
16. I want a house
17. I want a maid (see above)
18. I want to be a writer
19. I want to be a better big brother
20. I want Lindsey to grow up...slower
21. I want a better camera
22. I want to someone to clean up David and Roza's yard
23. I want Leah to go to Grad school
24. I want a little office where I can write
25. I want my friend Jaimie to get laid
26. I want my friend Jaimie to visit Isreal
27. I want Becky and Johnny to get married and live happily ever after
28. I want to visit my grandparents graves
29. I want to have the Wendleton's to get together this X-Mas
30. I want Lindsey to grow up and be the President like she's supposed to
31. I want to stop getting so much gray hair
32. I want a better looking beard
33. I want Leah's family to get along better
34. I want Bush to leave office
35. I want those boys to come home
36. I want China to play fair
37. I want the Rolling Stones to play at my 50th birthday
38. I want Guns N' Roses to get back together
39. I want to pass Math next semester
40. I want to be able to actually speak Spanish
41. I want to be on the Dean's list again
42. I want to win that Wednesday Club contest
43. I want to be on TV again
44. I want to everyone to forget what an asshole I can be
45. I want THE HOBBIT movie to be
46. I want to finish what I start
47. I want someone to solve world hunger
48. I want more music on MTV
49. I want to live a long (but not too long) life
50. I want a better wardrobe
51. I want more friends
52. I want to be more tolerant
53. I want to be funnier
54. I want to be stronger
55. I want to fly an airplane
56. I want my job to matter
57. I want to be middle class
58. I want to understand "The Sound and the Thunder"
59. I want to write a blurb on Spencer's first bookjacket
60. I want to direct a film
61. I want to write a play
62. I want to meet J.D. Salinger
63. I want to meet Charles Dickens (but not for a while)
64. I want to cook a big meal for some homeless people
65. I want Mike to tell me what his deal is
66. I want Paul to put down the reefer
67. I want Melissa to be happy (among other things)
68. I want to play guitar (more than the 12-bar blues)
69. I want to be a better conversationalist
70. I want to meet God
71. I want to shake Clapton's hand (see above)
72. I want to live in a bigger telephone booth
73. I want an adventure in the Congo
74. I want to write for Rolling Stone (even though it's all ads)
75. I want Terri to stop smoking
76. I want my Dad to stop too
77. I want my Mom to feel better
78. I want a bigger room for Lindsey
79. I want Jews and Muslims to get along
80. I want to go camping with my friends
81. I want to walk across America (still)
82. I want to be that guy that can get away with wearig a blazer in class (with jeans)
83. I want an oil painting of myself
84. I want one of those chinese cat/good luck statues
85. I want a Wii
86. I want a big screen TV for my dorm that's as big as the wall
87. I want a better computer
88. I want Leah to have a better computer
89. I want a cell phone again!
90. I want to be able to buy everyone "holiday" presents
91. I want to stop being a burden on my folks
92. I want to leave the dorms
93. I want to move to Wyoming
94. I want to visit Ireland
95. I want a pair of really thick, warm socks
96. I want to apologize to all my ex-girlfriends
97. I want to visit France
98. I want Amber to be a mother
99. I want Leah to be a mother
100. I want to be as good a father as my dad.

Final Score: Ice 2, Trees 0

So I just spent about 20 minutes freeing my car's rear tires from this nasty ice. The roads are clear and the power is back on (last night me and Leah were driving and noticed that several houses in the surrounding area were were two gas stations). The trees are still suffering though. The huge tree near our parking lot is going to have to be cut down. There are several trees down on Natural Bridge as well. A tree at the edge of her parent's property was fully up-rooted by the sheer weight of all the ice.

We played with Rusty in her backyard, chasing him around in the snow. It was fun. Also a bit dangerous too, as the warm sun rays melted the ice. I wish I had taken my camera with me...the falling ice was surreal. I'm amazed not by the trees that are damaged, but rather by the ones that aren't. There are several trees right outside my window that are rather tiny, thin little things...and they've stoically held up the ice.

All this snow and ice came at the right time. I was begining to forget that it was winter. In fact, the 70 degree weather on Wednesday was making me consider taking my shorts out of storage. Amazing what a difference a day can make. Al Gore's Global Warming movie came out this week on DVD (which is funny because mass producing something like a DVD must make all sorts of pollution). The hurricane season ended without much fanfare...and then we have this weird week of weather. I'm torn on all of it. How much of Global Warming is real? How much is over blown? I'm annoyed that only time will tell (I want to know now!).

Anyway, I hope this isn't the last winter storm...but I hope the next one is more snow and less ice.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Video Blog 7

Okay, once again I went outside and shot a great, funny video blog...and once again it was rejected by YOUTUBE for being over 100MB. Grrrr...I need to get my hands on some video editing software so this won't be a problem (and so my videos will be of a higher quality). I'm posting this normally un-postable video just so I have something up for my weekly posting. Enjoy

The Day After

Well folks we just got back inside. It ain't pretty out there...acutally, it is...I filmed by video blog (to be posted soon) and we thawed out Leah's car. My friend Jaimie ended up having to stay over (his car is dead). Mine is frozen shut 100%. Oh well, thankfully there is no place we have to be today (or tonight).