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Posted on 2017.01.26 at 12:47
Current Location: school
Current Mood: resigned
Current Music: Barry McGuire-"Eve of Destruction"
I came to school this morning, but I am kind of wondering why I bothered. The doomsday clock is 2:30 till midnight, the closest it has been since 1953. The EPA is gagged, the State Department was fired, 10 states are criminalizing PEACEFUL protest (N. Dakota authorizes drivers to run over anyone in the road, Missouri says hoods are a misdemeanor, and NC is upset people yelled at politicians). The wall, which WE are paying for, is actually the least of my worries.

And on the comment boards all people can do is say snowflakes are whining and we need to get over it. You know that clean air and water affects you too? That climate change happens to you too? That nuclear war happens to you too? I'm all for political shakeups. The Dems were obviously doing a lot of things wrong. But ignoring the truth and saying it is all political correctness? That's head in the sand for sure. It boggles the mind, what exactly are Trump voters GETTING out of these things? Just the ability to say, "We win!" We burned down the entire world, but WE did it!"

And no one is standing up against these things. No one is making the comparisons that should be made. Instead there are memes about globalization being worse that isolation. Despite every metric to the opposite. Despite the fact that toasters will cost $100 when they are made here. Despite the fact efficient manufacturing relies on automation, not people. But jobs! Mythical fantastic jobs for Ohio and Michigan! Clean water? Eh, when we have jobs we can buy all the water we need!

I am triggered and depressed and have to go to a meeting where I have to be optimistic about the state of my work. And class is actually something I am looking forward to. Because maybe I can forget about the fact that the economy is going to crash OR more likely, we are all going to be poisoned, earthquaked, or flooded.

But at least there will be no Mexicans or Muslims around! Jesus, America, be better!

years of miserypain

Posted on 2015.09.01 at 21:05
Current Location: staying home
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: Britney Spears-"Breathe On Me"
I am struggling against the urge to call in tomorrow. Loud Guy was pretty bad for the first half of the day, but eventually moved so he wasn't AS in my face. He still didn't do any work, but at least he wasn't shouting "Fewkin' Proownes" every 5 minutes from 4 feet away. But I don't know if I can face that for another day. I mean, I know I CAN, but I don't really want to. I know I need the money, but I don't have lunch and he's just sooo unbearable.

I'd much rather sleep in, order pizza, go to the library and do some reading. But I know I would get bored and lie around being miserable. I might as well be miserable and get paid for it.

I finished Isla and moved on to Lola. But I can't STAND Lola so I gave up after about 20 minutes. Jack Reacher MIGHT have been good, but I only heard about 30% over Loud Guy talking about his $60 couch AND the fact that he would never travel to South Africa. I think if you are buying $60 couches, your international travel budget is PRETTY limited. He is the WORST. I listened to some podcasts and then Sharpe's Tiger which is perfectly acceptable on audiobook.

I tried watching Narcos (because of Hollywood Prospectus AND Gaspar at work) which is fine, but not really grabbing me. I still feel completely lost and maybe I SHOULD go see Kelly this weekend. She's probably already made plans though. I'm waiting for my measles paperwork so I can register and then I can start working on pre-class homework and Excel. Maybe if I stay home I will do that to make up for it.

I feel like I should write RW/R but for the first time since making her acquaintance I don't feel like I have anything to say to her. I know I shouldn't be jealous that she has a boyfriend, but I am... a little. And that is PART of the reason, but it seems to be a large part and I don't like that about myself at all. But there just doesn't seem to be a point to continuing to write. She isn't going to fall for me, I'm not going to come to any realizations about the universe. I guess it would be practice for writing less rambling more funny emails. But she's not exactly stretching my abilities. I could write about Amy, but I'm kind of over telling others about my pain. The best thing I'VE read had been Anna and the French Kiss, which she doesn't need as a recommendation. Plus she never reads my recommendations anyway.

Also this year has been pretty terrible for reading. All the Bright Places and Extraordinary Means were the best things I've read this year. But neither was as good as We Were Liars or All Our Yesterdays. Day 4 wasn't as good as The Three (which itself wasn't all that readable) and really none of the follow-ups from last year's favorites held up (Dead Lands, Golden Son, the Deep, Firefight, Providence of Fire... though the last two were ok). And THAT is something I could write about, but I just don't care.

Posted on 2014.12.18 at 00:36
Current Location: home
Current Mood: craving
Current Music: The Vamps (feat. Demi Lovato)-"Someone to You"
At work last night I thought that I would write RW/R and tell her it has been a year that we have been writing and I still don't really know anything about her. And I that I would like to know more. And then give her a list of topics to expand upon. Like her funniest story and if that is even a thing you can ask someone for. Or summer camp. Or what qualifies as success. O r her longest pen pal experience. But the more I thought about it. the more I thought that she probably isn't interested in getting to know me more or putting more of herself out there. I just thought after a while it would be less Mischa and more Merry (or a CSG). But it just isn't. I'm not losing INTEREST, pre se, but it just seems so pointless.

After thinking about how I wasn't going to talk to Amy again even to tell her that I still missed her all the time, every day, I kind of talked myself around to wanting to write her again. I was pretty much dissuaded by the time I got home, but still.

The Ames library apparently has Far Cry 4 and AC:Unity, but I can't reserve them or even see them in the media box. Even though we had forbidden pizza tonight I want to go to Ankeny and have that pizza tomorrow, then go to the library and write my essay finally. And Drake. And Larry. So that is my plan for tomorrow. But my sleep schedule is all out of whack because I couldn't stay up today and ended up sleeping till 5. I guess I will go downstairs and hope to be tired to I can go for lunch.

I miss dogsitting not just because I liked talking to Jenessa, but I could count on BBQ and Dode bars every couple weeks. Now I have pizza and Olive Garden cravings too and no excuse to go and quench them.

I have tonight and tomorrow night off. Then next Sunday so I think the worst of work is over. I still have ideas about going to the twin cities on NYE, but I doubt they will come to anything.

Worth a Second Look? Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Posted on 2014.06.30 at 22:57
Current Location: home
Current Mood: regretful
Current Music: something by Ananamaguchi
I started a blog series called Worth a Second Look? a while ago. It only has one entry, that for Source Code, a movie I did not HATE when I first watched it, but annoyed me on second viewing. I downloaded Scott Pilgrim on XBOX and started watching the movie again to see how I felt about it in connection.

I didn't hate the movie when I watched it, but I was not impressed either. Micheal Cera is just so NOTHING in it. I get what they are going for, and he may be a perfect Scott Pilgrim. But that character as portrayed on screen is not worth rooting for. There is such a disconnect between him and the guy who is fighting 7 evil exes. I thought he was great in Superbad (even though Superbad wasn't great) and perfect in Juno. But he was totally wrong for Nick and Norah and I haven't really liked him in anything else (aside from This is the End). I don't know how much I didn't like him the first go round in Scott Pilgrim, but I had real problems with the love story and he is a major part of that.

The other part is how badly Ramona is written. I don't know what she is in the comic, but here she is a manic pixie dream girl and serves no other purpose other than to be fought over. Any characterization of a tough, self-reliant girl who moved to Canada proactively is traded in for "crazy hair colors!" I LUUURVE Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and could see how she would be worth fighting over, but the movie doesn't present her as anything BUT an object.

Visual effects are great. Kiernan Culkin and Alison Pill are both excellent. Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick are both in it. It just doesn't DO anything with that cast and those characters. It reminds me a lot OF Nick and Norah in that wasted potential and side characters being the main draw. I got about halfway through a second viewing before checking out to watch soccer news and don't have a desire to go back... except that Mary Elizabeth is so cute.

The writing is a problem, but I think the main one is Scott Pilgrim, Cera just isn't the dynamic force that the movie needs. I get that it is HIS story so Ramona can be justified as being sidelines (I don't LIKE it, but I get it). And I get that he is a slacker who doesn't want to confront hard parts of life. But that won't work for a movie with this plot. He just seems like a mopey bastard who doesn't DESERVE a dream girl. And I think that is part of the problem with the manic pixie dream girl as a trope, that they hang off useless guys who they have no business being with is they are as awesome and quirky as they are written.

If anything, this movie makes me want to re-read Nathan Rabin's review of Eizabethtown where he invented the phrase "manic pixie dream girl." And then check out his biography. He seems much more inspiring and worthwhile.

Worth Another Look?: Source Code

Posted on 2011.09.24 at 20:40
Current Location: home
Current Mood: pedantic
Current Music: Calvin Harris-"Bounce"
I watched Source Code when it released and didn't think anything much about it after walking out of the theater. I enjoyed it for the most part, schmaltzy ending aside. Tonight the roommate and I watched it and I realized that I had some major problems with the screenplay. For what it was it was a mostly acceptable way of presenting the story, but in doing so it created some real annoyance with the main character, which shouldn't be present in something as straight-forward as the story is.

So Jakey G plays a helicopter pilot recruited to take part in a cutting edge experiment in "time reassignment". His consciousness is placed in the body of a Chicago commuter with 8 minutes to live before a bomb detonates killing everyone aboard the train. In those 8 minutes lived over and over Groundhog Day-style, his mission is to find the bomber and prevent a future dirty bomb attack on Chicago. He is told over and over that he can do nothing to save the people on the train, that his mission is to identify the perpetrator and save 2 million people in the future.

Jakey G, despite being a Army pilot used to following orders, instead spends most of the movie kissing his seatmate, accosting a innocent dude on a cell phone, punching another guy in the face and acquiring a gun that has no real relevance to his mission. And asking questions. He doesn't get why he's there, how he was chosen, and if his dad knows where he is. Again 2 million people's lives are at stake, but most important is talking to his dad.

Eventually he gets it together and finds the culprit and after getting his avatar (and seatmate) killed a couple times, he stops him and turns him over to authorities. But that other hour of the movie where he has too many questions is my main problem with the movie. Upon a second viewing I just couldn't suspend my disbelief any longer and it took me right out of the movie.

I think the problem is the screenwriting. While a decent script as far as story, relatability and action goes, the imparting of information to the audience was blunt and inelegant. I'm sure there was a way to tell the audience about Source code without jakey G whining about how he didn't know WHAT WAS GOING ON! and HOW CONFUSED HE WAS! Off the top of my head I have no solutions, but there was a real failure to convey exposition without hating the main character and thinking, "Why wouldn't he just follow his orders?" "Why is his dad so necessary to him doing his job?" "why wouldn't saving 2 million people not propel him into action?" Either less information should have been provided to him, or a different way of answering the questions we are asking through Jakey G should have been devised.

In the end Source Code isn't a bad movie, but upon second viewing my enjoyment was curtailed by its crude exposition and its creation of the whiniest pilot ever.

Iowa remains stupid, but at least they're proud of it

Posted on 2011.02.18 at 11:21
Current Location: Iowa, unfortunately
Current Mood: done with this whole state
Current Music: Bruno Mars-"Grenade"
I have never heard such talk of God's plan and His glory until this last month in Iowa. I doubt I heard this much about God at CHURCH CAMP. And it's all in the paper Op-Ed pages. It feels like I live in a giant cult compound.

So the latest uproar is not about the movie Cedar Rapids, which opens today in TWO Iowa theaters... both in Cedar Rapids, a movie that depicts meth use and prostitution in association with Iowa's 2nd largest city. No, its about WRESTLING. Because more people follow that then are on the internet or care about movies. Two female wrestlers qualified for the State tournament. The opponent of one said he would not wrestle a girl because of his religious convictions. It became the biggest story in the world. The sports columnist got a front page above the fold article.

So what it boils down to is a 17-ish kid has too much principle to wrestle a girl because his religion doesn't allow it. This is not Sandy Koufax on Yom Kippur, this is a kid who knows nothing outside his home and church who believes that wrestling is a "combat sport" and that boys and girls shouldn't come into that kind of contact.

If you parse his statement it is actually saying girls should not be allowed to wrestle, without saying it. It isn't about inappropriate sexual contact, according to him, it's about hurting the girl. Well the girl is there voluntarily, she signed the waiver, she put in the work. And she's wrestled over thirty matches at that weight class without getting hurt, its pretty bombastic to think that you'd be the one to injure her.

There's no scriptural basis for his belief said his father, a PASTOR. It's on the principle of loving the women he's related to. And protecting them... by not wrestling against a girl he ISN'T related to... I guess. If a pastor can't come up with a religious argument, how should I?

Ok, the kid has principles against wrestling a girl for whatever reason. Only he doesn't, no 17 year-old has principle worthy of the word, unless they have gone through enough life experience to earn it. Until then its a closely held idea, sure. It's the way you think about things. But it isn't BASED on anything. Ironically, going through this might create some principles, but before now? He's a home-schooled kid who gets his information from his family and his church. That isn't principle, that is indoctrination. When I was 17 I thought gays were evil to the point that the only day I did not wear jeans was National Coming Out day because I didn't want to be seen as supportive. I didn't KNOW any gay people, but I knew they were bad because church told me so. Church also told me there was a wonderful plan for my life if I followed God's word. So I did for like ALL my adolescence and young adulthood. I had no real girlfriends, I got no real world experience, and I got messed up with Leah. The only thing church gave me was $70 a month for helping set up chairs before service.

You know what the real world does? It tests your principles by bringing you into contact with people who think and act differently. Unless you actually walk amongst those people, at school, at work (kid works at the church), in social situations; you aren't going to ever be tested on what you believe.

You know what changed my mind about gays? When one of my friends came out of the closet... for about 3 months. But him talking to me, explaining how he felt humanized the issue.

So God doesn't want the kid to win State then? Why else would he have put a girl in his way? I'm sure the kid will think of it as a test and be proud of himself for standing up. But let's see where that attitude gets him. See how he feels down the road when he looks back at that 35-4 year when he could have made history. See how his life turns out.

And it might be great, he might win state next year when he DOESN'T have to wrestle a girl. He might meet a nice girl in church and treat her like property (valuable property, but property nonetheless) and have babies and raise them the VERY same way. And it will be another generation of Iowans who don't know what the hell the world is about because they are kept from it by their family and their faith.

In other news, two dudes wrestled the other girl, beat her and moved on. There was NO story about that.

And what about the girl, she believes enough in her convictions to go into a, many times, hostile arena and wrestle because she believes in herself. She isn't going to get a scholarship from it. She's going to learn life lessons about standing up for what you believe in. But at least she believes in something good, equality in sports. And he believes? Girls are icky? Girls are weak, fragile flowers? Maybe they shouldn't vote either.

The girl's father was incredibly gracious about it. I'm not even involved and I'm angry.

I guess the good thing is now he knows how it feels to sacrifice for what you believe. Faith is only faithful when it has been tested. I lost my faith because believing wasn't making me a better person, it wasn't rewarding in any sense. I credit him with taking a stand, but the stand he's taking? Is kind of ridiculous. It's about how he personally believes about boy-girl relations, it isn't about equality or persecution or tolerance. It's about the exact opposite, about NOT believing in equality. THAT'S why I'm against the whole thing.

Fucking Iowa.

get confident, Stupid!

Posted on 2010.12.28 at 13:03
Current Location: work
Current Mood: disillusioned
Current Music: The 88-"At Least it Was Here"
This is the attitude that I most hate about this library and I will never miss it here as long as I remember THIS is what the patrons were like.

OG, Orbit, and Greg were chatting with me at the desk last night when an old woman walks up and asks, "Are children just allowed to chatter in the library?" I told her yes, until it bothered someone and then she could tell us and we would correct it. She stormed off I guess not liking that answer and we were all like, "Yeah, children should not be allowed to talk... ever!" And kind of dismissed it.

Today I was walking in and there was one dog leaving the library and another one coming in. I have never gotten ONE complaint about dogs in the library. DOGS in the LIBRARY! But if there are children here, and they are talking? Outrage. THAT is why Monroe sucks and always will. THAT is why we should not be a Teen Zone. THAT is what I have been telling people for 2 years now. Leadership has never seen or acknowledged that pervasive attitude that the library is no place for kids, and even though I've been saying it, no one listens to me.

The other sad part about Monroe, if not the library, is that there's this kid Greg who's always thought about things really deeply and come up with theories on education and politics. Only there's no one around here that will talk with him about it. All the other kids are so concerned with the present and their next hit and their next score and where they're sleeping tonight that Greg's theories don't have any relevance to them. So mostly they ignore him. And Greg is the sort of kid that NEEDS to go away to college and live in a dorm and have deep discussions about the meaning of life and find other kids that GET him. And he's not going to find that as easily at Community College or on the streets of Monroe. Last year he was telling me about the Oludavi Effect, this year he seems to have mostly given up on thinking about things and is running around town all night with underage girls.

So there's at least two things I won't miss.

Posted on 2010.09.28 at 13:20
Current Location: work
Current Mood: not so hungry
Current Music: Wheelz-"Big Screen"
I should not be surprised, but I am a little taken aback by this. There is a paper keeping track of all the holiday weekends we have to work to make sure it is as fair as possible. I was looking at it today, for probably the first time, and thought, "FIVE? That seems a little low for the past 3+ years." So I looked closer and yeah, I don't know what the exact critieria is, but I'm pretty sure it is wrong.

SO I've worked at LEAST 2 Super Bowls (which yeah, is NOT a holiday but is on the sheet). I did not get credit for either apparently. This is also galling because until recently I was the ONLY guy on staff. I worked last Christmas Eve and didn't get credit for that. I'm working this day after Christmas but it hasn't been attributed yet.

Veteran's Day and New Years Eve have never been attributed to anyone, but I'm not sure I've worked either. Father's Day has not since 2006. I know I didn't work it THIS year, but before that I'm hazy. Still I've worked more than FIVE.

I'm not feeling well and have nothing to do, but I will make it to the end of the month without calling in. Or eating lunch.

in which I critically analyze stories I spent maybe 4 hours writing

Posted on 2010.08.31 at 09:58
Current Location: work
Current Mood: inquisitive
Current Music: Wildstylz-"Reputation Game"
My parents gave me my old stories written for and about the Elm Street Gang when I was home. I was reluctant to do anything with them because only one is passably readable and the others pretty much embarass me. But they insisted I take them since they had paid $50 to recover them.

I broke down and reread a couple of them since I've been back and I think my instincts about their quality were spot on. There are flashes of genuine humor, but much of it is lazy or stolen from other sources, or just not funny.

But I KNEW that. What I didn't realize was how different that person who was authoring them was. Sure everyone is exaggerated, to the point of unrecongibility in some cases. (I can see why Alesha and Jenessa never really cared that much about the stories, it isn't that they weren't portrayed well, it's that I didn't do a good job of portaying them.) But it's pretty clear who is writing the stories. Someone excited to be doing it, eager to share sketches of his neighborhood and friends and humor. It's amatuerish in most cases, but it is joyful in tone. You almost have to read with a smile on your face, not because the stories are necessarily funny (though they have moments), but because somehow the fun of writing them comes through. It is only with the last two, a story about a talking racoon head and cultists and the culmination of the Bat saga with dead neighbors and what passes for a suspenseful chase (though it is towards the town's all-purpose contingency plan, a incredibly large tennis racket) that a more gritty take pervades the story. I always wondered why that racoon head story felt different since it does have its share of funny moments(or supposedly funny, a lot of the humor rests on eels which I find surprisingly humorous... and common in those stories). But it's just plain darker. Unlike the last Bat story, I don't think it's very good because of that conflict between dark and funny. I don't have a copy in front of me, but I don't think the Bat story has much humor at all (tennis racket aside). I think it not only shows who is writing it, but it also becomes almost good because of that. And it was written after college in a transitional time full of insecurity and purposelessness.

That isn't to say some stories aren't funny, but it is the stories I DON'T have copies of that stick in my head. Gang vs Squirrels, Gang saves Prom, parts of the Gang visits Cornell. Probably they're better in my mind because I remember the good parts (Lori creates a time machine, Toad-shaped nuclear device, and "Hello my name is Squanto" nametag) and leave out the terrible awkward writing that gets you there. My favorite line is from a story I'm not sure I ever finished, I know it languished for a long time because I didn't know what to do with it (and that says something because some endings as written are just...unfortunate). Lori is complaining about people at Subway asking if the tuna is dolphin safe. It is, but the Seafood and Crab is 75% dolphin. That still makes me smile. But the humor is mostly straight ahead and not subtle, and like in the racoon head story contradictory to what the rest of the story is saying (that one was about a serial killer wearing a beekeeper's mask, but started on the premise that you often see one shoe on the highway, what happens if you take it?).

So as I was walking to the car I thought about a grown up Elm Street gang story... and also about Dungeons and Dragons playing a part and us convincing protesters that it was good that we used to play after we slay a dragon... or something, it wasn't well thought out. The part that I objected to was that I am certainly NOT that person anymore. The person that wrote those stories was excited to get up in the morning, filled with promise and optimism, and found everyday things funny. Now I'm bitter and angry and sad and mostly just hate interactions with people. I'm sort of curious what THAT Elm Street Gang would look like (but would be so sad and horrible that no one but me would read it). But I also went out with perhaps the best start-to-finish story (Katie, Jenessa, and Lori vs leprechauns) with inarguably the best ending. I don't want to cheapen that... which admittedly isn't an important consideration or even probably possible. That post-apocaylptic adulthood Elm Street story would be actually interesting to others though.

I'm not entirely sure I can write funny at this point. Leprechauns was written before Jen. All my attempts at fiction since then have been totally serious. I'd LIKE to write funny, but I don't channel it well. I can still BE funny, but I don't summon that, it's inherent.

What I do know is that the joy of writing for an audience is gone, and that might be one of the main obstacles standing in my way. When I wrote those stories I didn't care if they were thematically the same or awful writing as long as they made my neighbors laugh. I'd often jsut drop them off at the neighbor's house and go on my way, but what I really liked was sitting and watching them read, discovering what they found funny. Now I write with an eye towards who is going to be judging me, how am I going to be compared to the authors which have influenced me, if their style is bleeding through. Which might make for BETTER stuff, but then again I've never finished anything with that in the back of my head.

I think what sums it up is that I wrote a 25-30 page story about NSYNC, schoolteachers, aliens, the Red Teletubby, and Woodsy the Owl. Then went back and footnoted it for a girl I talked to once. I put some TIME into that one. I wrote about what was important to my audience, and then wrote MORE to impress a girl. I can't even fathom of doing that now. All I want to write about now is how much I hate libraries in general and this one in particular.

Posted on 2010.08.29 at 14:10
Current Location: work
Current Mood: painin'
Current Music: Digital Freq-"DiscoFalls"
Legs hurt so much. I was kandistomping at 2 AM, which hasn't happened at a rave forever. I didn't exactly have fun per se, but I'm glad I went. Hyperfunk and Wheelz were great, headliner was surprisingly awesome, and Cricket wasn't terrible. In pain I hung around for Bouncy who played The Outfield remix so that was good. Left at 3 sharp because I could barely stand.

Next week is Hard Dance Nation which I'm definitely going to and then MAYBE Don't Panic in October.

I was driving howm at 3 through Seattle and I really enjoy that trip from 1st Ave to Mill Creek. But as much as it reminds me of good times (as does Bouncy's Bubble Bobble) it isn't what I want from life. I have to figure out what that is and find it.

I feel better I think since I doubled my meds. Maybe up for writing or something similar. Right now I'm still playing Mass Effect, but I have a feeling that once I put in my notice I'll be more driven to try again.

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