Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Pschitt Book

The "Pschitt Book" is now officially online for your viewing pleasure. No longer will it have to remain stuffed away in some box which I can no longer locate. Now the whole world can see it, meaning the world of people who read my blog (population: 2).

What is the Pschitt Book?
It is a short "book" of photographs I took four years ago while living in France. When I got home, I scanned the photos and fixed them up in Photoshop.

What is Pschitt?!
It's a French soda.

What does Pschitt mean?
In French it is pronounced "psheet," or the noise a soda can makes when you open it. But in English, it is pronounced "pshit," or the stuff you deposit when you visit the restroom.

Who are in the photographs?
Me (at age 20), a couple friends, and of course the lovely Pschitt himself.

This is dumb. Why would you waste your time?
Shut up, you.

Click Here to See the Book!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Silence, the Anti-Quote

I don't think it's right that great movies are always getting raped by quote junkies. It happens all the time: some funny movie comes out, and before you even see it, you've heard it quoted 40,000 times. Wow, you think, this movie sounds dumb as hell.

But it's actually a GOOD movie, it has just been distorted by bad-quoting; people flinging out lines that sound nothing at all like how the actor said it, and usually only vaguely close to the actual line.

Or, after seeing a movie, you want to relish in the fond memories of a great flick, but instead have to relive it through constant, painful quoting.

Shame on you Excessive Movie Quoters. You know who you are.

This happened recently to me with Napoleon Dynamite. This is an absurd comedy about a nerdy guy from Preston, Idaho. It's whacky, it's original, it's entertaining. But, man, is it over quoted. I hear it quoted at work, among friends, at gatherings, and even in the theatre before the lines are delivered!

Just because the film was funny, doesn't make YOU funny by endlessly repeating lines. Sure, once in a while, here and there. But not ALL THE TIME. It's obnoxious, it's annoying. It's what Satan wants.

Another example is Monty Python. You really have to be in a silly British-humor sort of mood to laugh at Python. But when it's quoted, you are usually not in that mood. Plus, the high-pitched cockney accents are always way off. Eric Idle would turn over in his grave. (No he's not dead, but if he were, he would turn.)

Not only has over-quoting ruined many movies, it has also damaged people's ability to distinguish between original humor and scripted humor. You know you're in a sad, sad situation when you're with a group of people and someone says something absurdly funny and someone else asks, “Where's that from?” Sometimes I want to smack that person.

It's all an interesting paradox, really. Yes, constant quoting can make a good movie seem bad, but it also has the reverse effect. Terrible movies, when quoted often enough, seem a whole lot funnier. Take Event Horizon for example. This movie is perhaps one of the worst I have ever seen. Yet there are so many delightfully horrid lines, I could quote it all day. Dune, the original movie adaptation of the old Sci-Fi novel, can be hilarious when quoted.

So there you have it. Don't quote great movies; they can stand on their own. It's the bad ones that need a boost. So, in conclusion, if you're ever in the mood to rent the American Idle classic “From Justin to Kelly,” do us a favor: quote away.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Curiously Strong Beef

Yesterday I went to the Curiosa festival in Salt Lake. I went, of course, to see the Cure and take the opportunity to enjoy Robert Smith before he starts to decompose (having passed away from old age years ago). The Usana amphitheatre was at capacity, brimming with all kinds of interesting people, although the majority seemed to be severely colorblind (not being able to differentiate between colors other than black). Goth or not, they were all fairly young, yet still rabid fans, even though the Cure has been around for a long, long time--since the Twenties, I think.

It's in these exploration years that young adults tend to experiment with harmful and often destructive practices—like rampant hedonism, drugs, and/or vegetarianism. Yes, PETA, everyone's favorite animal defenders and veggie-lifestyle advocates had a booth at the festival. PETA is known for protesting everything from the cruel slaughter of bovine to the cruel practice of staring down geese.

These days, vegetarians like to pretend they're hip, socially conscious do-gooders, and not just spacey hippies. Boy, do they have their work cut out for them. Yet I joke. I actually quite respect vegetarians, although it is not my lifestyle of choice.

But what vegetarians certainly don't need is PETA on their side. Let's be honest: PETA is whacky. It almost feels like they get some kind of sadistic pleasure out of barraging us with images of animals being viciously abused come slaughter-time. I just don't want to think about THAT while I’m chomping on a cheeseburger. Do you see me trying to ruin your soy yogurt by revealing to you what soy is really made of? (chalk dust).

The answer is no, PETA. Leave me alone. And please leave the teenage goth kids alone too, who want nothing more than to come see the Cure, smoke pot, and contemplate suicide. And yet you insist on distracting them. That's just cruel.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Love Letter

Dear Mr. Macintosh,

I have a confession to make. I think I have feelings for you. This wasn't supposed to happen. I was content to smugly downplay you as an inferior machine. I scoffed at your one-button mouse, your unfamiliar operating system, your goofy, sleek design.

But spending hours with you every day for the past few months has changed me forever. At first it was difficult to admit it to myself, having been against you for so long. I felt like a NRA member having to admit Charlton Heston is hopelessly insane. It's not easy, but it's the truth. I couldn't help but fall for you. You're simple and stylish. You're smooth, easy to navigate, and charmingly practical.

Do me a favor. Don't tell old man IBM. He wouldn't understand. How could he? We've been together so long, he just wouldn't be able to deal with someone new in my life. Besides, he doesn't suspect a thing. Let's leave him happy and ignorant. You'll have me at work and he'll have me at home. It's best this way.

Affectionately Yours,

I hope this letter was sufficiently creepy.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Toilet Bowl of Doom

I’ve often heard the phrase “that’s money down the drain.” It’s not supposed to be literal. It’s an expression like…”Who’s your Daddy?” (Which people say even when they know perfectly well who your father is.) Tell that to my toilet. I was rushing to get ready for a wedding reception, and was late as usual (see my “Marriage-a-Thon” post in the June Archives if you don’t believe me). I’ve decided to stop blaming myself that I’m always late to these kinds of things and just accept that the fact that tardiness to wedding receptions was coded into my DNA at birth.

So I was rushing, and in the process of changing pants I threw everything from my pockets onto the bed. I went to the bathroom to visit the toilet and as I was flushing, I noticed something fall into the swirling water. “What’s that,” I asked myself casually. Then I noticed it was green and looked like money. Oh Crap! It was the $10 I had just gotten from my debit card not 15 minutes before. And there it went, down to wherever toilets take your bodily waste—which is to San Bernardino, I think.

Looks like when I was tossing everything out of my pockets, it got stuck on the very edge and flew out as I reached to flush. I’ve used pay toilets before, but this was ridiculous. Most expensive trip to the bathroom ever!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

I, Cellphone

Movies whose plots involve sinister, murderous androids, like “I, Robot,” “Terminator,” or “Sense and Sensibility” are really not that far-fetched. In these kinds of movies, humans become too dependent on electronic things and, in turn, are overwhelmed by technology. We deal with this reality every day—being way too dependent on technology, that is (not being gutted by metal men with Austrian accents). Most of us couldn’t function without modern conveniences. I mean, how could we live without our talking dishwashers, personal jet packs or robot butlers?

Or better yet, how could we live without our cell phones? A recent scientific study found that 85% of adults that are separated from their cell phones for more than 6 hours quickly succumb to madness and literally claw their own faces to the bone.

I barely escaped this fate Saturday when I found that my cell phone was missing. I woke up to knocks at the door by someone who had been trying to reach me by phone but had to end up stopping by after leaving three messages. When the visitor was gone, and I was awake enough to think coherently, I began to wonder why the sound of the phone hadn’t woken me. Then, after frantically searching about, I realized my phone was gone. [Gasp!]

This is not the first time I’ve misplaced my phone. But usually after a few minutes of panic, I end up finding it, albeit in strange places like the refrigerator. This time, though, my search came up empty. What was I to do? I felt so cut off from the rest of the world. I live alone and I don’t have a house line, so I couldn’t call anybody. Plus, I wouldn’t know anyone's number, since they’re all in my phone. These days, memorizing numbers is pointless when a machine can do it for you.

So where could the phone be? The last time I remember using it was the night before. But since then, I had gone to three different houses and been in three different vehicles. Heck, it could be anywhere! (Well, not really anywhere, just somewhere in those six locations).

So I drove to my friend’s house and used his cell phone to call around. Finally, after several long, excruciating MINUTES, I tracked the darn thing down. It was at some girl’s house which I had visited the night before in the a.m’s. I didn’t even remember her name, but she was nice enough wait for me to drive over and pick the phone up.

Sweet joy! We were at last reunited. I was complete again, no longer a stranger in this scary, empty world of ours. The whole ordeal only lasted a few hours, but now I am fully cognizant of how much I rely on this silly electronic device, how much I depend on its ability to connect me with people. I have no idea how, only a year ago, I was able to live and function as a productive human being without a cell phone. I can only guess it was a dreary, Amish-like existence, filled with nightmarish pay phone visits.

So yes, having a cell phone clearly indicates a powerful dependency on technology; an addiction to convenience, if you will. So what. Pass me the heroine, some Tab and a conference call. I’m riding this addiction to the end.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Dog Hungry

No, the title of this post does not refer to any sudden cravings for certain menu items from the Korean restaurant down the street. Nor is it a commentary on the malnutrition of house pets. It's just this: today I realized what was missing in my life. It's not fame, it's not glory, it's not a wife. It's a dog.

I miss having a dog. I had a dog growing up, one that was grossly neglected and probably led a miserable existence, but dangit I loved it in the few instances I gave it attention.

But now that I'm grown (vertically if not horizontally), I'd like to think I'd be able to take care of one responsibly and give it the attention and affection it deserves.

It's just that I don't trust myself. I have the tendency to love animals only when it's convenient. My pet fish knows that I only take care of him because he makes a good decoration in my livingroom. He knows it, and accepts it, so I guess he's not a good example.

But gerbils are a good example. I owned gerbils a couple years ago and when I say gerbils, I don't mean two or three, I mean twenty-one. I started out with two, but then I decided it would be "cute" if I brought in a female and they had babies. (Reason #314 I think I may have been dropped at birth) Long story short: she kept popping out the babies, 7 or 8 at a time, even after I separated her from her mating partner (how was I supposed to know they go into heat immediately after giving birth?).

My room was overtaken by a maze of plastic tubes connecting cages, activity zones, bathing areas, and digging areas. My poor roommates. Not only were they subjected to the smell (despite the weekly 3-hour cage cleanings I did), but also the possibility of finding a gerbil chewing on their hand during one of their frequent "jail breaks." I was kind of like the crazy cat-lady but I didn't run around screaming and throwing them at people.

Eventually I had to get rid of the gerbils. I was going to study in Africa and I certainly couldn't take them with me. I tried putting up fliers, even offering the cages for free, but in a college town gerbils are not a hot item. So, one cold night, I released them into the mountains where they likely were eaten by snakes or just died from hunger or exposure to the elements, rotting under some bush.

So you see, I can't trust myself with animals. And since a dog is like 40 gerbils put together, that's just too much responsibility. Yes, the void in my life that should have been filled by a dog will have to remain empty, at least for now. Sorry Rover, no home for you.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

High School

I was sorting through some old photos and I came across this one. I had to laugh! This picture pretty much single handedly summarizes high school, at least what I remember of it (which isn't much, since I have alzheimers). Oh what a silly life that was. Good times. Good times.

(left to right: Raina, Alice, Jean, Jeremy).

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Berlin, Baby!

On Saturday I went to see Berlin perform in Springville. It must be noted that this wasn’t truly Berlin, as the only original band member there was the lead singer, Terri Nunn. All the other original band members are now middle-aged, overweight, and definitely not in touring shape. (As seen on VH1’s “Bands Reunited”). Terri Nunn, however, has avoided the pitfalls of old age by living in a cryogenic freezer for the past 20 years. She looks good--almost exactly like she did in the eighties, although her hair is noticeably smaller.

Berlin, as you may or may not know, is the originator of very good songs (“The Metro”) and very bad songs (“Take My Breath Away”). Why Jessica Simpson has decided to revive the latter, I don’t pretend to understand, but I think it has something to do with the fact she likes to sing crappy rock ballads.

Terri’s concert was a nice contrast to other eighties concerts I’ve seen in the not-so-distant past. For example, a couple years ago I saw a concert by Midnight Oil. They’re one of those one-hit-wonders that the eighties were infamous for. Unlike Berlin, everything but that one hit was horrific. And they tortured us by playing all their awful screechings, the lead singer prancing around, his bald head gushing out sweat, for the entire concert. Only after chantings of “Play the song,” did they finally perform their one chart topper. In their defense, they claim they’re a “band with a message,” preaching about the evils of whatnot, so I guess that excuses them somewhat from sucking. That, and the fact the concert was free.

Berlin, on the other hand, was a lot of fun. Highlights of the night included her moving through the crowd on the shoulders of a security guard and her inviting people to come and dance on the stage with her. My sister and I were able to squeeze to the front and dance five feet from Terri to some song I’ve never heard of…but it was catchy!

We hung out like nerdy groupies afterwards to see if she would come out and chat, but only the unknown new band members graced us with their presence. My sister likes men who dress like Boy George for some reason, so she wanted the keyboard player to sign her forehead. He refused, but he did finally agree to sign her arm. One body part is better than none, I suppose.

Thank you Terri. Now it’s back in the freezer with you! I want you around by the time I reach my mid-life crisis. I suspect by then I’ll want to reconnect with some of my teenage music loves, instead of buying a Harley and going to conventions, like most men at that age.