Friday, August 29, 2008

Walked into Wal-Mart to buy water and beer. Had to reach around doe-eyed shoppers to grab the big $2.17 pint of Heineken. Cradled the water in the other. Bought it, drove home. Sitting at the desk drinking the pint. Mapped out the outline for my next novel and I'm not done with the first, yet. Got a title for the new one, too. Tentative. "Guijarra". This first book, "BTTWLHWBF" is a straightforward kind of thing, at least by my standards. "Guijarra" is a mindfuck. Lynchian shit, with maybe a little Jodorowsky in there. I'm excited to write it and it's actually jazzed me to finish the first one.

I really cannot explain how hard it is to write a novel. When I wrote short stories, that shit was easy. Had a rough draft in a couple weeks, finished product in a month. This has taken forever, but I really love the book and want to see it done.

Anyone who wants to start a Norman writer's workshop, let me know, and we'll talk about it. It's insanely hard to write in a vaccuum.

From Emerson's "Scanners" blog:

"...without a sufficiently lively critical culture to encourage discussion and appreciation (including evaluation), they [in this case, filmmakers] feel their work simply disappears into a vacuum. It can become popular or not, but it doesn't matter unless somebody cares enough to engage with it."*

So, yeah. Back to writing the first book.

*From "Yes, But is it Art?"

new music

It's not the end of the year, but here's a list of the shit I've been listening to, lately. All are strongly recommended.

Wale - "The Mixtape About Nothing". This unsigned (sort of) D.C. rapper has best flow I've heard in a while. Intricate and clever and fresh sounding. Pro-woman. Contains a few classic punchlines and metaphors, ex: "I keep my chin high like a Japanese pilot."

Walkmen - "You & Me" and "Hundred Miles Off". Dylanesque sound that's at its best when it's quiet.

Tom Waits - "Orphans" and "Mule Variations". Tom Waits is sort of like a god, I think, but I'm new to his shit. The production is dirty, like I like it.

MGMT - "Oracular Spectacular". This album actually chokes me up a little bit. They've managed to create this record about growing up, in which they make the music itself sound like an entire era is dying. Listen to the synth lines on "Time to Pretend" and "Kids" and you'll see what I mean. Fucking epic accomplishment.

The Roots - "Rising Down". Angry rap with big, aggressive beats. I likes.

Beck - "Modern Guilt". I picked this up for the Danger Mouse credit, and surprise surprise, it sounds like Danger Mouse. Artists like Beck are wise for just sitting back and letting DM do his thing. He makes records sound timeless.

Go check this shit out.

There is nothing cuter than watching a dog that's too big to lay on the top of the couch try to balance and fall asleep at the same time.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

i got annoyed at a restaurant

Skip this if you don't want to read a fucking petty rant.

This afternoon Rios and I ate at a nice little place on Main, by Atomik Pop. It's all stone and Tuscan pictures on the inside, really nice place. I ordered two sandwiches and two drinks. The girl wrote out the order and handed me a slip of paper, which I brought to an elderly gentleman, whom I'm assuming is the proprietor of the establishment. He rang me up for one sandwich, and I corrected him, fucking myself on a chance to get a free $7.25 French dip. In addition to the $18 tab, I paid out a $3 tip. The gentleman thanked me.

We sat in the comfy seats and drank our Cokes, and the girl who brought us our food (they aren't waitresses, they take your order and bring you food and that's it) offered to refill my Coke, and I said sure. I drink a lot when I'm eating to refresh my palate, so I go through a lot of Coke.

That said, I get through half of this giant, delicious sandwich and my cup is empty. I bring the cup to the counter to ask for a refill, and find that since I've recieved my food the place has become overrun with high school kids. Norman High is right across the street. Since I'm not going to stand in a line stretching out of the store for a refill, I inch close to the counter and after waiting about five minutes manage to slip up to the old gentleman running the register. He looks at me and I ask if I could get a refill and he waves his hand at me and says "This is for orders only." It's not that they don't give free refills, it's just that he's not going to do it. He's above it, I guess. And as for the waitresses, they've seen me standing there, and have already decided, "Fuck this refill wanting pain in the ass motherfucker, I'm fucking busy," and have gone about their business trying desperately not to make eye contact with me, so that I'll go away.

Fuck that shit up the fucking ass. I saw those highschool kids pay. Not one of them left a tip. If I'm polite and leave $3 for basically nothing, considering there ARE NO fucking waiters, the least the old guy could do is turn around to the machine behind him and fill the fucking cup. The least the women could do is reach over the high school kids and help me. The guy who runs the Subway where I work does it all the time. Why make someone wait for a refill? Hook them up so they can be happy and fuck off.

Now, I understand. I work in retail, and some days are busy as hell. The women working there, they're trying to take orders and serve food at the same time, and it can be busy. They have a million things on their mind, and a guy like me is their worst nightmare. The old guy had numbers to punch in and money to put away, so he's busy, too. But it's little things like ignoring the guy standing around with an empty cup that keep people from coming back. I could be a douche and I should still be helped, that's the nature of the beast, but if I tip and pay for something I could have let slide then I deserve a FUCKING REFILL, sharpish. Shitty as it is, if you make your customer feel that they are under-appreciated or a nuisance, they won't come back. Even if it's off of some petty shit like this. Life's kind of a bitch like that.

Anyway that bugged me. Felt good to get it off my chest, in a way, but at the same time I feel very small.

Monday, August 25, 2008

is "the wire" sexist?

Sophie Jones has an article over at Popmatters, in which she complains that The Wire is sexist, or at the very least doesn't call much attention to women's issues.

She has her points. The Wire's staff of writers and directors is mostly a boy's club.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/61210/women-and-the-wire/

Sunday, August 24, 2008

my dog fell out of the car window

Kahlua, my pooch, likes to feel the breeze when we drive in the car. Can't blame her, there's no AC. Most of the time she puts her whole top half outside the car, little chicken legs frantically trying to balance on the carseat.

Making a sharp left turn onto Main, physics kicked in I heard the fumbling of dog nails on the car door and looked over in time to see Kahlua's unbalanced ass tumble out of the window and into traffic. I slammed on the brakes and opened my door to oncoming cars, which thankfuly stopped. A woman in a stopped car yelled "Did you throw that dog out of your window?" I chased Kahlua, tail between her legs, leash clinking behind her, all the way to the curb. I picked her up and felt tears in my eyes. Holy shit people, I don't know if I've ever been that scared. She is fine. Unscathed. Another woman, the one who stopped to avoid hitting my car door said, "Did he jump out?" I nodded at her and she said, "Well, bless his heart."

Everybody thinks the pooch is a man.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

8/23/08

Drunk again.

When I was parking to drink at campus corner, some band was playing in the alley between University and Asp. Didn't know the name. Almost ran over some hippies cradling skateboards.

Went to Louie's Too, on the corner of Asp and Boyd. Nice place, had a Blue Moon. Then we went to Logan's, and I had a big fucking stein of Old Style, topped off with a bottle of Old Style. It tastes like shit out of the bottle, but good from the tap. So you know.

I sat at the bar and watched an Indians vs. Rangers game. I don't even watch baseball, normally, but I was fucking rapt. Fucking pissed when they stopped the game to show a Ciara music video. People still listen to her?

Stopped at Taco Bell on the way home. Making typos a lot. Keep having to backspace.

Going to eat my tacos. Goodnight.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Here's a little equation for you:

"The Dark Knight" is the shit and everyone wants a piece of its nuts.

Plus:

"The Dark Knight" is dark.

Plus

"Superman Returns" flopped at the box office.

Equals

Retard studio suits greenlight a "dark" Superman movie.

Somehow they are going to fuck this up. They always milk things the wrong way. "Jaws" had an explosion and was huge, so we got twenty years of explosions, minus the solid acting and plot that "Jaws" had. "The Dark Knight" is moody, so now we're going to get twenty years of brooding emo superheroes.

I can't wait for the Thor movie, now. Probably be something like this:

Malekith: Thor. I have come to battle.

Thor: Not now, Malekith. I am wallowing in darkness.

Malekith: Pick up your mighty hammer, Mjolnir, and fight me.

Thor: What is the nature of this violence? (looks longingly out of a window)

Malekith: Fuck this. I'm out.

(It begins to rain outside. Thor takes off his helmet.)

Or what about the Captain America movie? I'm sure we'll have a whole bunch of "dark WWII scenes" where a shit ton of soldiers die and not one of them bleeds. Then the director can cram fifteen shots into one minute of a three hour movie.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

problems with "the dark knight"

Drunk rant:

I saw this movie opening night at the Warren (no beer seats). There was a kid there who was dressed like the Joker, and he had a wonderful costume. There was a bald man who introduced the flick as "the best movie of all time" and the whole crowd went crazy.

I watched it and I liked it. You can go online and read probably a million reviews about why the movie was awesome. The funny opening robbery, the magic trick, the scene with the Joker and Two-Face in the hospital, the giant burning pile of money, the lights in the interrogation room coming on and OH SHIT BATMAN, all awesome. The score is great, the look of the movie is perfect.

But...there are some flaws that I noticed, though, that I feel like I have to put out there. I doubt I can rain on a a half-billion-dollar (think about that) parade too much, but here are some things that really kept me from digging it as much as I could have.

1) The fight scenes are shit. Every last one of them. Nolan cannot direct action to save his life. You see the flailing of limbs, somebody gets hit, somebody gets tossed, Batman wins. I gave up on trying to understand the action scenes halfway through. For a clinic on how to direct a proper action scene, watch Hellboy 2.

2) The introduction of Two-Face late in the game. Too much, too late. I went into the film expecting Dent to MAYBE get disfigured at the end...I didn't figure his entire villainous arc to play out in thirty minutes. And then the big finale: Dent gets tackled off of a high place! I've heard rumors that he's coming back for the next one, so it sucks both ways: Either I feel cheated if he comes back (I hate fake deaths in movies) or I feel cheated if he's dead (really? he fell?)

3) The fake death of Gordon. I fucking hate that shit as a plot device. Fake deaths are in the same category as "IT WAS ALL A DREAM" or "HE'S THE SAME PERSON" (which is excused in the case of "Fight Club", which was the first movie I saw that used that trick).

4)The Bat-Growl is hilarious and horrible. Every time Bale does it it makes me giggle.

5) The lack of sex, blood, or profanity. I understand that Batman is for kids, too. I get that. PG-13. $500 million. Sure. But I get pulled violently out of the movie every time Batman is talking to a gangster and not a single "Fuck" is dropped, or Joker caps some fool without even a little blood leaking out, or Batman develops sonar-spying shit which has like a million screens and on not one of them is someone fucking or shitting or beating their meat. That mess is whack.

That's about it. I'm done drinking for the night. Sleep well.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

i can't fit in a laundry basket...but rios can

Today, I tried to fit myself into a laundry basket. My attempts were unsuccessful.

Some pictures:





And a video:

video

Then, Rios tried and succeeded. Video evidence:

video

Here are some pictures, because she rules:





I love her.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

keep it shiny

My dog is running. On the couch. On the carpet. In the kennel, little toenails on the pebbled tray floor, scraping until she's back out and running some more.

I am more tired right now than I have been in a while.

I'd like this watch:


And this chain:




This pen:



Except not a fountain. Rollerball would be fine.

This shoe:




This T-shirt:



And so far I can afford...the t-shirt. Upper Playground ftw.

The Mont Blanc shit is out of my league right now. Shallow though it may seem, it helps to have concrete capital-oriented goals. It's hard to get the words flowing if you're typing for something nebulous, like respect, but it's pretty easy when you're doing it for shiny shit. The end result is self-gratification either way, so why the hell not? Good words + hard work = shiny. Keep it simple.

Friday, August 1, 2008

8/1/08

I didn't so much decide to quit drinking soda. Whenever I put it in my mind like that, all bolded and grounded and firm, it never sticks. I don't like being told what to do, even by myself. But Wal-Mart had Tropicana Berry Punch on sale, 4 for $3, so I picked it up and drank it out of principle and now I'm hooked. Soda, why? Why, when there's Berry Punch?

I'm a grower-into-er, not a changer. I won't start rigorously exercising tomorrow, carefully monitoring my carb and saturated fat intake, but what I will do, is maybe today I'll do some crunches and drink some OJ. Maybe scoop a little of my powdered "vanilla" protein into a cupful of tap water and choke it down. And it might become a routine, but not one that I plan for.

I rollercoaster up and down this line graph, the valleys being a day wasted reading a geek forum on the Watchmen movie ("There's no way it can adequately translate, Moore's already said that the story is tailor-made for graphic sequential storytelling"/"Give it a chance"/"But Zack Snyder makes juvenile films"/"So did Peter Jackson" etc.), the peaks being a day where Pooch and I run and I do a load of laundry, wash dishes, dust, clean, exercise, and unload ten thousand words into my novel.

Normally, I can't sit down at my computer and just write for hours on end, every day. Introspection is the hardest thing to do, so I either don't or refuse to know why I can't. What makes me happy, though, is that every once in a while, randomly, instead of sitting down and being blocked and bombarded by thoughts that snort and snarl and kick up all this dust but never break out of the stable, sometimes I shrug and start to write, and it's like a fucking snowball, and I can't stop until it's three in the morning. Pooch makes sure to wake me up at 8 AM for a walk, don't worry.

Does anybody live a regimented life outside of the military? They say laziness is encoded in the genes, and I can feel it, flecked like paint on my DNA, a morse code of productivity and vegetation.

I'm thirsty for Berry Punch.