Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One-Line Movie Reviews, September 29, 2009

I was going to wait until I had seen 10 films, but as I'm packing up for a move, I figure I might as well do this now.

The Bank Job (2008) - a very competent film based on London's infamous Baker Street Robbery of 1971. Although heavily fictionalized, the film purports to reveal "more truth" than the government of the United Kingdom has so far revealed about what went down. Engaging performances by Jason Statham (finally in a movie he belongs in) and Saffron Burrows (mmm...) carry the movie, and the plot twists and turns are no so convoluted as to be eye-rolling unbelievable (see most recent crime movies... ugh... enough already).Verdict: SEE it.

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) - a lesser known movie (for some odd reason) that consistently makes it on "best horror of all time" lists, and it's easy to see why. Surprisingly subtle, which only makes its disturbing scenes (of which there are plenty) all the more disturbing. Michael Rooker in an early role... one of the creepiest serial killer performances ever. Verdict: SEE it (horror and non-horror fans alike).

The Last Legion (2007) - the King Arthur legend made its latest significant foray into theaters with this absolutely ghastly clunker of a movie. Yet another version attempting to tie in the Arthur myth with the fall of the Roman Empire, this one hails an amazing cast (Colin Firth, Sir Ben Kingsley, Kevin McKidd, Peter Mullan) who apparently all showed up for the paycheck and the opportunity to ogle Aishwarya Rai. Cliche is too nice a word for this crap. Verdict: SKIP it.

P2 (2007) - fairly attractive less-than-stellar actress gets accosted by a perverted and lonely security guard in a parking garage on Christmas Eve. Wes Bentley is as good as he can be given the script, but the lead actress (Rachel Nichols) craps up her already shoddy lines. I really don't have anything else to say about it, except to skip it. Verdict: SKIP it (yes, it needed to be written twice).

Miyamoto Musashi (1954), Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: Ichijôji no kettô (1955), Miyamoto Musashi kanketsuhen: kettô Ganryûjima (1956) - fans of Japanese samurai films, I daresay that these films, a trilogy about one of Japan's most renowned swordsmen, is better than Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Okay, I dared, and I don't really believe that, but this is awesome. The pacing is unusual for films of this type (they're usually very plodding and heavy on dialogue on drama) and it moves along briskly. So much so that I watched all three films in one sitting (well, almost). Starring the great Toshiro Mifune, it's surprising that no American director has yet decided to adapt these tales into a Western. Verdict: SEE it (part I), SEE it (part II), SEE it (part III).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Writer's Mood Revoked

Wow. My mind is a blank. The wilderness of my imagination has apparently been tamed. Nada. Nothing. Neither near nor far. The distance from where I stand and the horizon of creative (or even uncreative) thought is measured in inches. Yes, the curve of my Earth is short, and the moon is revolving around next to nothing. Go figure.

For quite a long while I've been, well, inspired... but the forest fires of emotion appear to have burned out. Miles of scorched landscape the only evidence of a thought process once fertile. No real anger to feed the carnivorous musings of pack animals; no real sadness to cut rivers from the Winter melt. Just... nothing.

Ah, well... all good things must end. Wild eventually domesticates. It was a good run.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One-Line Movie Reviews, September 20, 2009

Some more movies I've watched as of late (yes, I've been glued to the TV a lot):

Auto Focus (2002) - a biopic concerning the life of Bob Crane (of Hogan's Heroes fame), it's at once hilarious and disturbing. Greg Kinnear and Willem Dafoe are unlikely perfection. I understand that those alive when the real events happen might not think the revelations in this film are such a big deal, but for the rest of us... who knew? Verdict: SEE it.

Body of Lies (2008) - a Ridley Scott-helmed spy thriller with Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio. A very solid film with very solid acting (Mark Strong, in particular, steals his scenes - he's fast becoming one of my favorite actors... see Stardust and RocknRolla for more performances), Body of Lies still falls a bit short of Ridley's brother's CIA thriller, Spy Game. Verdict: SEE it.

Changeling (2008) - the first of Eastwood's one-two punch for 2008 (the other being Gran Torino), this film is excellent, if subdued. In addition to being a good movie, it's a refreshing return to the days when historic Los Angeles itself was a character in films and not just a location (something The Black Dahlia tried, but failed at). Eastwood IS one of the best directors of our time, and Angelina Jolie IS a good actress. Verdict: SEE it.

La Fleur du Mal (2003) - a French film very reminiscent of both French aesthetic and, somewhat surprisingly, Edgar Allan Poe. A stepbrother and stepsister fall hopelessly in love, while the stepmother runs for political office and the stepfather tries subversively to derail the campaign. Plenty of tragic intrigue here, and the actress who plays Michèle (Mélanie Doutey) is astoundingly gorgeous... just had to say that. Verdict: SEE it (if you have at least half a brain... otherwise, you'll be clueless, hate the film, and inadvertently admit just how limited your artistic appreciation actually is... yes, I'm insulting stupid people).

Havoc (2005) -a "dark, gritty" film about the real life of privileged teens in affluent Los Angeles. Notable for its popular nude scene feature Anne Hathaway, the film itself is pretty droll. An assault of cliche after cliche, and pretty formulaic for the "wrong side of the tracks" genre. Verdict: SKIP it, unless you really just want to see Hathaway's nipples.

Mamma Mia! (2008) - for whatever reason, I've been imbibing in musicals lately. Mamma Mia!, an adaptation of the stage play, is a charming love story revolving around the music of Abba. Much better as a narrative than Across the Universe (which used songs from The Beatles, often awkwardly so), it's easy to see why Abba is often described as a theatrical band. Fair warning: there's A LOT of estrogen packed into this film, but that's sort of the point. Verdict: SEE it (fans of musicals, ABBA, and/or family films).

Moulin Rouge! (2001) - yes, I am admitting that I've not seen Moulin Rouge! (what's with musical titles ending in exclamation?) in its entirety until recently. I must say, I absolutely loved it. While a bit chaotic, the story does find its pulse and maintains it for the most part. Beautifully shot, the soundtrack works amazingly well, and it's no wonder this one was so critically popular. And Nicole Kidman has never been so enticing. Verdict: SEE it (if you haven't already... I'm probably one of the last on the planet who hadn't).

Quarantine (2008) - this is apparently a shot-for-shot remake of the Spanish horror film, [Rec]. One of the better "first person" entries in the horror genre, it still suffered from allowing itself to rely too much on the "chaos of the moment" aspect that many mock-documentary films allow themselves to rely on. As a result, some of the most tense moments come across as boring and too long. This version also ostensibly fails to properly explain the events that led up to the events of the film. Verdict: SEE it if a fan of horror (particularly zombie films), SKIP it otherwise.

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) - a quiet coming of age film set in the American South in the 60s. A competent film that suffers from its various attempts to "get things out of the way" quickly, leaving us with several scenes with clear intention, but cliche and/or hasty execution. There's nothing spectacular or memorable here, and it's nearly by-the-numbers and rather predictable. Alicia Keys is a pleasant surprise as an actress, however, though I fear Dakota Fanning's days of charming an audience are fading quickly. Verdict: whatever.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) - Walter Matthau in a thriller? Holy smokes. I've not seen the recent remake (starring Denzel Washington), but the original is. fucking. awesome. I must confess that I'm rarely a fan of 70s thrillers (I don't know what it is... the aesthetic, perhaps?), but this one rocked. Rocked, I say. Rocked. Verdict: SEE it.

On a side note, I'm thinking "One-Line Movie Reviews" needs a new title (it's a holdover from my old movie review website, long defunct). Any ideas?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Grammar War VII: Words from Poe

For a rather unusual reason, I've been reading a lot of Edgar Allan Poe lately and can't help but notice the plethora of words that many probably don't recognize. Maybe I'm being paranoid (as with "sagacious), but I just feel the need to share some definitions here.

Long story short, this is less a traditional "Grammar War" entry and more just a list of uncommon words that were apparently beloved by the great Poe.

beetling - to scurry like a beetle

ephemeron - something short-lived or of no lasting significance

habiliments - the dress characteristic of an occupation or occasion - usually used in plural

ineffable - incapable of being expressed in words

lustrum - a period of five years (the Roman census)

mummer - a performer in pantomime

pertinacity - adhering resolutely to an opinion, purpose, or design (perversely pertinent; stubbornly tenacious)

sagacious - keen in sense perception

tinctured - to tint or stain with a color; to instill or infuse with a property or entity

And, for a bonus word, a word I learned from Mr. Alan Burnett (and not from Poe):

cordwainer - shoemaker

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2009 Chargers Season Opener: A Raider Scare

And we're off! And what a way to start the season... the butt-of-all-jokes Oakland Raiders almost (almost) upset the San Diego Chargers. In fact, the Raiders opened up the game with a 7-0 lead, continued with a 10-7 lead, wound up with a 13-10 lead in the 4th quarter. The Chargers, however, went ahead 17-13, only to fall behind Oakland 20-17, and pulled off a 24-20 victory with 18 seconds left in the game.

Here it comes: Hey, Oakland fans, YOU SUCK!

Okay, not really. I, for one, am a huge fan of parity in the NFL, and feel that the Raiders have been in the league's basement long enough... so, well played Raiders. That stated, I do prefer for the Chargers to always kick some serious ass. I endured enough losing seasons, you know?

Go Chargers!

Game One Heroes

- Congratulations to LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles for each scoring a rushing touchdown.

- Congratulations to Quentin Jammer (who just might be my favorite Charger) for getting an interception (those who are in the know realize just how rare a QJ INT actually is, despite him being one of the best cover corners in the game).

- Congratulations to new Charger Ogemdi Nwagbuo for recording the first sack of the season.

Former Charger Musings

 - Michael Turner didn't fare so well with the Falcons in their game opener, but he did enough to keep Atlanta in the win column (22 rushes for 65 yards). I don't really like the Atlanta Falcons, but I like Turner, so kudos.

- Drew Brees, are you kidding me? 26 of 34 for 358 yards and SIX (SIX? SIX?) touchdowns??? I've come around on Philip Rivers, yes, but Brees is still the better quarterback. Six touchdown passes in one game???

- Ben Leber, currently a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings, was second on his team with 5 tackles and 1 assist. I'm still trying to figure out why the Chargers let him go following the 2005 season, but I can't really complain about the linebackers San Diego has now, so... whatever.

- For the first time in a very long time, neither Rodney Harrison nor Junior Seau suited up for a football game this weekend. Both are retired, and both belong in the Hall of Fame (wearing Chargers jerseys, I hope, but I've a feeling Harrison will opt for a Patriots jersey).

Monday, September 14, 2009

One-Line Movie Reviews, September 14, 2009

Unlike my previous "one-line movie reviews," this one was inspired not from a lack of inspiration, but from the simple fact that I've been catching up on movies.

Across the Universe (2007) - an intriguing musical set to the songs of The Beatles. Both a love story and a glance at the social chaos of the 60s, this film is worth watching simply for its creativity. While the second act meanders in what is a clear and simple attempt at filling a movie with the Fab Four's songbook (including a less-than-successful cameo by Bono of U2), the first and third acts of the film are solid. Verdict: SEE it (especially if you're a fan of The Beatles).

Birth (2004) - an excellent and almost hypnotic film about a woman who meets a 10 year-old boy who claims to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. While such a plot device could have easily lent itself to a farce, this movie pulls it off. Nicole Kidman headlines a stellar cast that includes Danny Huston, Anne Heche, Lauren Bacall, and Peter Stormare. Verdict: SEE it.

Bunshinsaba (2004) - a Korean horror film that, in typical Asian fashion, is a bit hard to describe. Basically, an outcast girl at a local school invokes an evil spirit and havoc ensues. Also in typical Asian fashion, the plot involves a guilt complex. I got a kick out of this one because it starred a Korean favorite of mine, Gyu-ri Kim. Other than that, however, there's nothing new here... although the most popular murder technique in the film is rather disturbing. Verdict: SEE it if you like Asian horror, or horror in general, SKIP it otherwise.

Ghost Town (2008) - a charming little romantic comedy starring Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, and Tea Leoni. One part Ghost and one part It's a Wonderful Life, it's a solid movie that stands out only because it's Gervais' first American star vehicle. Personally, I think he's overrated as a comedian, but his humor is a bit refreshing in this day and age of "rock star" comics (cough, Dane Cook, cough). Verdict: SEE it, but only because I can't think of anything overtly negative about it.

Into the Wild (2007) - a Sean Penn-helmed tale of the true story of Chris McCandless, who set off on a great adventure following his college graduation, only to starve to death in the Alaskan wilderness at the age of 24. A brilliant, brilliant movie (not perfect, but brilliant). I honestly hate myself for not seeing this one the big screen. Verdict: SEE it. SEE it. SEE it.

Sheitan (2006) - a French horror film. A group of teens meet a gorgeous girl (Roxane Mesquida) in a nightclub and accompany her to her country home. The film is typically French and progresses extremely slowly until the final act... a final act which is disturbing in its intensity and intense in its disturbance. Verdict: SEE it (fans of horror and European film).

The Situation (2006) - supposedly a film about Iraq, highlighted by a love-triangle between an American diplomat, an American journalist, and a Christian Iraqi photographer. I couldn't even get 45 minutes into it. Why? It's boring, preachy, and poorly acted (which is odd, considering the two leads were Connie Nielsen and Damien Lewis). Verdict: SKIP it.

Stateside (2004) - a love story that is purportedly based on a true story, but is rife (and I do mean rife) with cliche. The cast is surprisingly good (Val Kilmer, Joe Mantegna, Carrie Fisher, Diane Venora, Rachel Leigh Cook, Jonathan Tucker), but the story is remarkably flat. Which is odd, because the story had everything. Which might be why it came across as so cliche, now that I think about it. Not entirely bad, but you're not missing much. Verdict: whatever.

They (2002) - a "Wes Craven presentation," which means that he neither had the time nor the desire to write, direct, or produce this thing. It sucked. Very lame. Decent cast, too, including some of my "obscure favorites" (Ethan Embry and Dagmara Dominiczyk... mmm... Dagmara). Unfortunately, it sucked... or did I mention that already? Verdict: SKIP it.

Touch the Sound (2004) - a documentary film about a partially deaf Scottish percussionist (Evelyn Glennie) who travels the world searching for sound. I'm a sound geek, so I loved it. Musicians, documentary fans, and biography fans would love this one. Verdict: SEE it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wanderlust

"What are you thinking?"

The question popped him out of his trance. The wide expanse of West Coast sand had hypnotized him the way only a collection of memories and dreams could. The rolling of Pacific waves during high tide reminded him of years wasted in the wrong parts of the world and the crashing water seemed to taunt him for seeking out calmer seas. His mind was born violently quiet, and it seemed that every part of the world knew it. A pity it had taken him so long to come to the same conclusion. Nature is nothing but progress through chaos, and  he was trying very hard to live up to its example.

"Nothing," he finally responded. Not entirely untrue was the answer, for he could not recall a single word hidden in his mind. Merely emotion. Thought was sometimes a bane to him, and such a sometime was happening now. He hated having to be pragmatic, to make a decision based on logic and not on desire.

"Then what are you feeling?"

He laughed to himself. For a woman he hadn't known very long, practically speaking, she held a lot of insight into him. Then again, he found himself appreciating the opinions of strangers more and more, often over the opinions of people he'd known for years. There's something refreshing about listening to people who have no vested interest in something they're criticizing. Friends and family, with rare exception, usually try to soften any blow. But not him. He liked it blunt, so he gave it blunt. Made a lot of enemies that way, but he'd argue that his friends were better friends than anyone else ever had. The ones who were still around, anyway.

"Everything."

She smiled, knowing that such a vague response was also the dedicated truth. He smiled, too, at the brief realization that she would recognize his honesty when she heard it. She had no idea what she meant to him. In her mind, she was just a supportive friend who happened to be in the right place at the wrong time. In his, she was both a reason to stay and the motivation to move on. A past and future in a single moment about to be shattered by the requirements of the present.

"I'm in love with this place," he continued. "The now more than the here. But I'm in love with it."

Her smile disappeared, almost imperceptibly turning into a frown. She knew the stories. He wasn't doing what he wanted to do, nor was he living where he wanted to live. Life, as it does to most, interfered so cruelly with his dreams and almost awakened him from them entirely. When she had discovered him - or rather, when he had discovered her - he was a stagnant mess, making mistakes that he had already made. Worse, he had been preparing to make them again, and almost willingly. Complacency had almost killed him and who he wanted to be.

"Maybe you shouldn't fall in love with anything for a while," she said, scolding softly, recognizing that such a course of action would also deprive her of something she may have desired. "You need to keep moving. And forward."

He nodded. He hated being pragmatic. Logic was necessary, but it was boring. Chasing magic was all he really wanted to do.

"Let it go," she said, not entirely convinced that he should. She, too, was aware of her own desire to throw caution to the wind. "It'll be there when you get back."

"But will I?" he asked, in a voice that could not be clearly identified.

She didn't understand the question.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Seven and Eight Septembers

September 11th once again. I must be honest, the date doesn't really inspire me to write. Not because I don't have anything to say, mind you, but because I don't feel like writing about... it.

Like most of you, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and four airliners fell victim to a terrorist plot.

So... Where was I? I was in South Korea on a small Army camp called Camp Castle. What was I doing? I was getting ready to go to 121 Army Hospital in Seoul. How was I told? A soldier named Miguel Figueroa knocked on my door and told me to change from civilian clothes I was wearing into my uniform. It was almost comical the way he told me how the planes ended so many lives... he was in so much disbelief himself, that I couldn't believe him... much less a plot so... cinematic.

Needless to say, I had to check for myself, so I went up to my company's office (in my civilian clothes, naturally) and just about shit my pants when I saw the televisions and computer monitors.

Anyway, the rest of that particular anecdote is unimportant to everyone else but me, and it's not the point of my rambling tonight (or this morning, depending on perspective). The point is that I just noticed that I turned in my packet to rejoin the Army yesterday. On 9/10. Which means my processing will start on 9/11. I doubt there's any significance behind that, other than subtext falling into the cracks of a skewed imagination.

Where there is significance, however, is that I can finally rejoin the friends and colleagues whom I somewhat selfishly left behind. I've asked them to do what I haven't been doing for long enough. I no longer feel as though I've earned the past seven years of relative comfort. 9/2/02 is when I left active duty the first time... September has it out for me, I suppose.

Or something like that.

Perhaps I'm just crazy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Linger

A foot falls, then another. Timed to the breathing of approaching surprise. Ambient sound creates shadows in which to safely exhale. The gentle beating of a ceiling fan whips the air, further inhibiting the long-obsolesced ability to feel movement. Her silhouette, perfectly curved in the dark, tunes itself to the music of this silent dance. A foot falls... then another.

Hands reach around her body and one rests above her heart. Beats skip between a sudden inhalation, then gradually relax. The smell of temporary fear escapes her neck and is tasted. She attempts to turn, but the embrace holds firm and she closes her eyes in the dark. A free hand feels its way and lifts too many folds of a dress. The spider feels its prey struggle in its web, vibrations eliciting a sensation akin to hunger. Thumb and forefinger intrude cloth seams and revel for a moment in enveloping moisture. Beats skip... then relax.

Bodies dance to a song of breath and gasp, almost in unison, but one a half-beat behind the other. Hands rest above the hips of a lover, still hidden beneath her dress. A delicate push followed by gentle pull. She smiles as she tenses, hearing a heartbeat behind her and feeling it between her. Slowly, she adds a sway to the tango. Vertigo replaces balance as movement becomes an exercise in chaotic futility. Delicate push... gentle pull.

Spasms replace vertigo and there's a final pull accompanied by two final gasps. More beats skip, then relax. A foot falls, then another. By the time she turns around and opens her eyes, she's alone again... a silhouette in love with a rhythm of far away.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Potential Energy

Leg's trying to kick, but it's hard to throw a foot when sitting down. The night air is crisp and the lights of the local excuse for a city beckon with false promises of forgetful adventure. There's music I haven't heard somewhere, but I'll be damned to know what it is. Today's cigarette didn't help... my lungs still want to scream and I want to run. It's time to go, but who the fuck knows where?

Dan Black's kicking on the radio, but nobody here knows who he is. The night air envelops the truck and a breeze that lacks humidity feels good across the side of your face. There's a new restaurant on the corner of a new building in a shopping center, and the restaurant next to that one is closed for business. Japanese food. It might be good, but you've already driven by. Nicotine gum is a piss-poor replacement for a friendly burn. Self-destruction can be fun if done properly.

The Merlot's been chilled a little too much, but who gives a shit? The night brings moths and spiders to the artificial light above your head and below your ceiling. There's a new book that has to be read, even before the other book that's been started but not yet finished. Why worry if the plots will mesh together in your mind? You briefly find it funny that growing marijuana is slowly gaining legality, while growing tobacco is quickly becoming a futile exercise. The water at the beach is undeniably warm, and it's a wonder the desire to go swimming in the moonlight hasn't been succumbed to yet. Writing in the passive voice sure adds a lot of forms of "to be" to a paragraph, doesn't it?

Life's picking up speed, and people you don't want to leave behind are going to be left behind. Hell, people you didn't want to leave you behind have left you behind. Everything's too kinetic these days. What's wrong with having a conversation behind smoke-filled eyes? Sure, your clothes will stink, but if everybody does it, no one will notice. There sure are a lot of beautiful women in life. And their legs are kicking. You'd better behave, asshole.

It's time to go. Have a cigarette across state lines. It might taste better there.

"They annoy me, those who employ me. They could destroy me. They should enjoy me." - Dan Black

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One-Line Movie Reviews, September 8, 2009

Okay, so these reviews are not reviews of new releases, nor are they even one-line. I merely noticed that I haven't shared any opinions of films I've seen as of late, so I've decided to do so.

In other words, I'm having some difficulties writing, and this is the best I can come up with.

Without further adieu:

District 9 - a low-budget South African science fiction movie that, well, kicks ass. The special effects are pretty damned good, and the relatively unknown (in the United States, anyway) cast lends to the mockumentary effect. There's a nice bit of relevance in the film, but something tells me it'll be lost on most. Verdict: SEE it.

Pineapple Express - much was made of James Franco's turn as a pothead. In other words, there was much ado about nothing. And I have to be honest, I wasn't understanding Hollywood's Seth Rogen backlash until I saw this movie. Now I get it completely. He's irritating. Verdict: SKIP it.

RocknRolla - Guy Ritchie's much anticipated return-to-form following the Madonna debacle. Not quite up to the level of Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, but definitely enjoyable. And (should we believe the notice at the beginning of the end credits) a perfect set-up for the further adventures of One Two, Mumbles, and Handsome Bob. Verdict: SEE it.

Watchmen - the long-awaited film adaptation of the greatest graphic novel of all time. Yes, A LOT was missed in translation, but the movie definitely comes as close as one can hope for (short of another hour of run-time, anyway). Verdict: SEE it.

That's really all I can remember right now. If I remain in a writing funk, there will probably be more of these to follow... and rather frequently, I'm afraid.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Internet Writers - Quick Blog Reviews

Remember a while back when I claimed that I can't write for shit when I'm in a good mood? Yeah, well, the past few days are proving that the claim is true. Since A River in Epirus, pretty much everything has been written with the assistance of alcohol (Barefoot Merlot, to be specific... try some!) and any "happy/sober" mood of mine has prevented the creation of anything worth reading. And regardless of what some might claim, I have been "happy/sober" for the most of the past few days.

In light of this inability to construct anything poetic/prosaic/worth reading, I've decided to point you (my rare loyal reader) to a few other Internet writers. What follows is not, by any means, a comprehensive list of Internet writers/bloggers that I follow... merely blogs that don't currently have a large number of followers and clearly deserve more exposure. I'm sure I'll be ranting and raving about other blogs in the near future.

Without further adieu, here they are:

Caffeinated Joe - probably the only "variety blog" I follow, there's a little something for almost everybody. All-too-rare examples (in my opinion) of fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry are separated by rampant entries concerning pop culture and reactions to news that can only be described as aesthetic milieu. That may not make much sense to the casual observer, but will undoubtedly make sense to any who already follow Caffeinated Joe. With this one, despite the prevalence of "Theme Days," you never really know what you're going to get.

Death's Conspiracies - a reluctant blog written by an excellent writer who belongs in the world of memoir, but vehemently refuses to partake in it (the author is the dictionary definition of curmudgeon - Hell, I had to set up the blog for him). Death's Conspiracies can come across as a tad conservative, but is undeniably the result of a life lived with eyes wide open and a thought process that is both hardened by painful experience and softened by hopeless romanticism. Much more successful when being straightforward than when occasionally attempting poetic thought, it's still a great read.

News from Nowhere - probably written by the most thoughtful of all the Internet writers I regularly follow, this blog site is written by what I would refer to as a "friendly curmudgeon." There are great glimpses of obscure and long-forgotten moments in British history, touching (and sometimes disconcerting) anecdotes of a life long-lived, and rants and raves concerning progress in the face of nostalgia. Not only that, the author of News to Nowhere reads quite a bit, and if your blog is worth even half-a-shit, News from Nowhere just might even provide a link to your own ramblings.

Not for Jellyfish - a relatively new Internet writer who made the shift from repetitive (and not entirely open) poetry to interesting (and far less inhibited) autobiography. Believe me, this life is built for storytelling. Though perhaps a little too heavy on colorful language that leads to run-on ramblings, the openness of emotion creates an engaging narrative that is hard to dislike.

Tales From a Motherless Daughter - similar to Not for Jellyfish in its unabashed criticism of its author's life, this is another compelling look into a life full of creativity and self-deprecation. This particular author claims that she is a piss-poor writer (based upon an, I believe, misinterpreted criticism from an old college professor), but is quickly revealed to be otherwise. Strangely, she manages quite a bit of honest assessment and revelation in her self-deprecation, which makes her confessions all the more interesting... and sometimes confusing.

Undiluted Expression - a hesitant blog that is interesting for the same reasons as Not for Jellyfish and Tales From a Motherless Daughter. There's not much to go on just yet, but since I'm one of the first followers, I figured I'd pimp it out.

Yoork - undoubtedly the least depressing of the blogs I follow, this one just screams of creativity trying to break out of its shell. Yoork waxes artistic, covering everything from film (mostly independent), cooking, television (usually of some British soap opera called Coronation Street), photography, and illustration. There are also many brief glimpses into the life of a youthful citizen of Toronto who seems to get bored easily and is always on the lookout for something and someone interesting.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Once a Time

dust covers the house you grew up in
the street you grew up on
winds of change kept nothing clean
and merely carry memory away
familiar smile amid unfamiliar place
somehow she's found you
in time to watch you spread your wings
there's no wave goodbye, because you'll fall

dust covers the love you grew up in
the wind you grew up on
desert roads tell no secrets
and take you nowhere
familiar song below unfamiliar skies
somehow she's remembered you
in time to listen to you leave

sidewalks disappear beyond horizon
destinations unknown
there's only one way to begin this journey
a foot in front of the other
one at a time, upon a time
and there's no time for dust

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oft-Delayed Random Musings

Okay, so I've not mused randomly lately, but I saw some things in the news recently and have the urge.

Oh, I'm also imbibing in Merlot. Big surprise, right?

Anyhoo...

- Disney is acquiring Marvel Comics. This just seems... profound to me. Like, too good to be true, or too dangerous to be true. I can't decide which. I think I'd have liked it better had Paramount, Universal, or some other studio purchased Marvel. No clue why I feel that, but I do. Bite me.

- Yeah, I've not blogged about the San Diego Padres this season, because, well, it's just too sad.

- So Brett Favre finally did it and signed with the Vikings. Whoopedy-doo... wait until next year when he signs with the Lions. Now THAT will be newsworthy.

- While we're on the NFL: an 18-game season is a BAD idea. Pre-set scaled contracts for draft picks is a GOOD idea.

- Obama just recommended that people should get a shot for the swine flu. Fuck that. Is anybody else wondering why all these "super-flu" strains started cropping up AFTER flu shots became en vogue? I'm all for modern medicine, but damn... let the immune system do its job, no?

- Avid bloggers should check out The Tenth Daughter of Memory in case they're bored.

- I've probably mentioned this before, but Bob Schneider's "King of the World" is one of the best songs ever written.

- Books I've read (or re-read) recently: Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Larry McMurtry's The Last Picture Show, Dan Simmons' The Terror, Neil Gaiman's Stardust. All are heavily recommended. I'm currently reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and I've been assigned to read Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain. Anybody have any recommendations for what to read after those are done?

- People confuse me. Particularly women. Then again, I suppose that's what we get for Eve pulling the apple off the tree. And stealing a rib. Actually, archaeologists are saying that the apple was really a fig. Which makes sense, given that Adam and Eve wore fig leaves. Yeah? And who still believes that women have more ribs than men? Ugh.

-  Oh, damn! I just read that red wine helps alleviate some of the harmful effects of radiation therapies. I'm all set!

- Er... never mind... it's only for people drinking ONE glass of wine a day.

Enough for now, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Help Wanted

It's the start of FY 2010 for much of the corporate world. In honor of that, I've decided to post some job listings for those of you out of work. Merely trying to help.

Position: Cleaning Lady
Description: My house is kinda messy and I'm moving out on the 30th of this month. So come clean it. Previous experience isn't necessary... just show up looking gorgeous. Hiring will be done based upon how you look in a sweaty maid's outfit.
Compensation: Free shower after you're done mopping my floors.

Position: Lawnmower
Description: It's been raining a lot here, and the grass grows remarkably fast as a result. Since I'm a lazy bastard, I don't want to do it myself. You can use my lawnmower. Hiring will be done based upon how you look in Daisy Dukes, since I will no doubt be watching from the living room window.
Compensation: The hose will be connected to the spigot, so you can stay hydrated.

Position: Masseuse
Description: Massage my scalp, my back, and everywhere else. Also, "draw" on my back, kiss my back, and find the sensitive spot just above the right side of my pelvis. Hiring will be done based upon how soft your hands and lips are.
Compensation: The air conditioner will be on to keep the house from getting too humid, and I'll let you watch whatever you want on TV.

Position: Chauffeur
Description: Drive me around. Stunt, combat, and race driving experience preferred, but not required. Knowledge of standard transmissions is a must, unless you're superbly gorgeous... then we can negotiate.
Compensation: If you can convince me, I'll teach you how to parallel park. If you already know how, consider yourself pre-compensated.

Position: Bather
Description: Get me wet, lather me up, and rinse me off.
Compensation: Getting me wet, lathering me up, and rinsing me off.

Position: To-Sleep-Singer
Description: Sing me to sleep. I like lullabies. And Dido... but don't tell anyone that.
Compensation: You can crash in the bed.

 The above listed positions will remain open until filled. We are not an equal opportunity employer.