Monday, December 23, 2002

It's been some time since I've written here...School has kept me busy, and I've kept myself busy, trying to get in shape, swimming, running and what-not. I've lost about 7 pounds, just so you know. Anyway, I've been meaning to write in this again with school being over and all, but found reasons not to, then I was quite sick for the last couple of days. Meant to get back in the swing of things now, when I get the news today that my father has about two days to live. So I don't think I'll be writing a whole lot tonight, but wanted to just jot a few things down in note of this news. It's very bizarre to think I won't have a dad anymore. I was never particularly close to my father, but I loved him and will miss him. And I really don't like this waiting, especially since he doesn't know he's dying (I mean, he knows, I think, but he hasn't been told the full extent of his illness). Anyway, looks like it will be a depressing Christmas this year.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Miss-the-point Comics.
Pauline Kael's final interviews.
Nothing like not going to a class for awhile, showing up, and finding yourself assigned to do a group presentation that day. Fortunately it was just on a short story (I hadn't read), so I was able to quickly read it and our presentation went well (turns out none of us had read it). It is ridiculous how much I've been skipping class this quarter. I'll be glad when this quarter is over and I can start with a clean slate. Though I must say my classes for next quarter do not thrill me.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Keith Olbermann's mea culpa to ESPN (I didn't know there was actually a sports show called "SportsNight" on ESPN 2).

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Some tasty-sounding polenta recipies, if I ever get around to cooking for myself again.
Articles from back issues of Parking Today. ("With a name like Meyers, you have to park cars!" I don't like the sound (or spelling) of that!)
Some example sentences from a sixth-grade grammer book.
What a gorgeous day. I just got back from lunch, the view was breathtaking. Low tides always seem to make the ocean more interesting, the cove is more reflective and you can see the tips of the kelp forest. And the sky reminds me of when I was a child and would look up and think I was under some Truman Show-esque dome in an alien zoo, a dome which today seemed to be creaking open along the horizon, where the smog line looks like the dark shadows of another world. Or Hawaii, I like to think I'm looking across the ocean. The sunset tonight should be a something, I think I'll walk up to the Scripps Ecological Preserve and watch it after work. Puts me in a good mood. I think I'll go kayaking tomorrow, if it stays nice.
Notable Walkers Veerabadran and Bourglay.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Pee-Wee's latest arrest is upsetting, but at least it is presumable that a man with an extensive collection of vintage erotica and kitch artwork might have one picture that would run afoul of our nation's puritanical laws that can't differentiate between art and exploitation. Jeffrey Jones' arrest, however, is more unsettling. Soliciting a 14-year-old to pose in pornographic pictures is a bit more clear-cut. And I rather like him, his performance in the oft-overlooked Ravenous would have to be his best work. Unfortunate news...and unfortunate that "all I did was take pictures" seems to be the gist of his defense.
Marxist's apartment a microcosm of why Marxism doesn't work.
Next quarter isn't looking to be a lot of fun...but I think, after much trying, I was able to come up with a schedule which works with my work schedule and will actually advance me closer to graduation. I work Tuesday and Thursday, but it seems most of the classes I could use were offered Tuesday and Thursday. Further, all these classes were boring, so the longer twice-a-week sessions would have made them even more unbearable (not that the Mon/Wed/Fri classes were much better; one was actually on the topic of dullness in 19th century literature). And Latin is only offered M/W/F, so I couldn't just swap work with school, because it looked like I'd have to take classes all five days. But I worked it out, I think; I'll take Latin and Geology (!) M/W/F, and Shakespeare Tu/Th mornings until 9:20, and just work it out with work that I'll come in an hour late. I don't anticipate it being a problem, but if for some reason my work won't go for that, I'll take a class on Medieval literature and the Crusades, which will be interesting but will not advance me any closer to graduation (it would help me very much if it was offered under the Literatures in English banner, but instead they call it European Literature which for some reason makes it totally unfit to meet my requirement for one more medieval literature class). I'm not entirely looking forward to next quarter; I'm doing poorly this quarter, with classes I for the most part enjoy and a nice M/W/F schedule. Oh, well.
While the FBI issues warnings regarding a catastrophic attack, the Army is busy firing Arabic translators for being gay. And we're going to go to war in December against a secular Islamic dictatorship, whose performance in the last war made them a punchline on par with the French, just in case Al Qaeda doesn't have enough recruitment material. It's going to be a rough two years, methinks. (Yahoo news seemed awfully depressing today, though at least the Total Information Awareness system is getting more scrutiny).

Thursday, November 14, 2002

William Safire on the latest attack on our civil liberties, coming from a blast from the past.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Nice to know war with Iraq is looming, with Bin Laden now believed alive, and Afghanistan being blessed with stability.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Some fun Hey Arnold! cartoons (there's a marathon, with a new episode, on tomorrow). It's an old link (thanks to the third installment of Lemony Snicket, that its/it's differentiation will no longer haunt my dreams), but Sundays are my cartoon nights (Futurama/Simpsons/King of the Hill/Adult Swim), and it makes my thoughts turn to such matters.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

I don't know why the times are off on my posts...I checked and it is set to Pacific time...if you wanted something as a reference, I am posting this 11/9 at 12:27 PM.
With the somewhat nasty weather last night, I consider myself blessed that I got to drive all over the damn place. I said I would drop Chad off at the airport at 7, so I did that. Then I drove out to James' to play ping-pong (yet another exciting Friday night). Apparently that is all James and Pat do now, is play ping-pong until the wee hours. Then I get a call from Chad, who had agreed to give up his seat on the flight for $260 in credit with Southwest that expires in a year. Doesn't sound like that good a deal considering his friend had driven out to Sacremento to pick him up, and his luggage was already en route. But that was the decision he made, and I agreed to come back and pick him up again. The airport wasn't bad picking him up, but dropping him off the first time was brutal. I wouldn't think Veteran's Day would be that crazy, as three-day weekends go, but it looked like everyone was trying to get away, and the people dropping people off all were absolute morons. It was the first time I really understood why people hate the airport.

Anyway, eventually I got Chad back, and then went and played a rousing game of Spades with James and two people whose names I could not bother to learn (I really need to work on that, for some reason when I hear someone introducing someone it just doesn't occur to me to listen to what they're saying). James and I lost, but only because the other team was able to "shoot the moon" (to borrow a term from Hearts, I don't know if that's what it is referred to in Spades). Spades is fun, I hadn't played it in some time. Playing a card game with teams raises interesting strategies I don't consider when playing poker. I must get a poker night going sometime (which of course here means, "get someone to start a poker night, since it wouldn't be much fun playing poker in my parent's kitchen"). Chad was supposedly going to have one, but seems to have forgotten about it, I'll have to remind him.

First to follow up on my last post, I studied for Latin and did okay on the miniquiz, I think, forgot some macrons, but he usually only takes off about a quarter-point for that sort of nonsense. I have a nice long, long weekend (except for work, of course) to prepare for the next major quiz, and if I get a good grade on that, I have enough of a cushion that, as long as I keep up on the subject reasonably, I will definately pass the course. Planning my next quarter at school depressed me. I planned to complete the Econ sequence and continue Latin, and by doing both it will be impossible to have an all M/W/F or all Tu/Th schedule. Putting off Econ, I eventually developed an all M/W/F schedule, which works the best with work and all, but after reviewing the Literature major requirements, realized that, except for Latin, I would not really advance any closer to a degree with that schedule. So I think I'll end up with one 10:00 class M/W/F, and Econ and Literary Theory on Tu/Th. I absolutely hate the idea of having two such boring classes twice a week, which means they meet for an hour and a half. But I don't know what I can do. Damn, labor me vocat. More later.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Love that rain...took me an hour to get to La Jolla today, ended up missing my first class (which is why I am in the computer lab writing this). Some jackass in a huge truck tried to cut in line on the 8 West getting on the 5 North, I was having none of it. He tried to intimidate me, with his fucking hydralics or something, but I held my ground. I hoped he'd hit me, so he'd have to get out of his truck and I could shove "The Club" up his ass. This is why I don't own a gun, I have rage issues. But no one will convince me that the world would not be better off if that man were dead. I hate driving. Actually, I like driving, I just hate the other cars. Of course, because of the traffic, I now have nothing to do until 3, and I can't hang out underneath my favorite trees because of the weather, so I am going to have to kill a little time in the computer lab, maybe have an early lunch, then try to find a dry yet secluded place to do my Latin homework and study for the mini-quiz we have today. I wished I'd just stayed home until Latin, would've made things easier. But I actually was looking forward to my Lit class today, we were discussing The Cheviot, The Stag, and the Black, Black Oil, which I rather enjoyed and will probably base my final paper for the course on. But no point showing up 20 minutes late, that's rather rude. So now I just have to fill time and hopefully not put off my Latin too long, my grade is really suffering in that class.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Garrison Keillor on the Minnesota Senate race (subscription required).
So apparently my concerns regarding my first paper for Modern Scottish Literature were unfounded. I got an A/A-, the split grade being something the professor does, apparently, to give him the leeway to change our grade should he not like our future work. Which seems odd, but I won't complain. The professor described my writing style as "cautious but lively." He was also rather forgiving of some major typos I let slip by. So with this latest development, I am now quite hopeful for my grade in Scottish Literature, and plan to work very hard on the main paper for that course, am not too hopeful about Econ, though I got a B+ on the midterm, but I don't really care; as long as I pass, I'll be happy. Latin is the wildcard, but I think I'll swing a B- or so (maybe a B if I shape up, but that won't happen).

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Quite an election, clearly shows the bankruptcy of the Democratic party. Hopefully this will envigorate the Democratic party, put them back on track as an opposition party. Of course, I don't know if its a good reflection on the voters that Democrats win in New Jersey, despite their blatant cheating, and Gray Davis wins (maybe we'll get some impeachment fun in the next year or two, though not likely with the Democrats controlling the State Assembly and Senate by such wide margins). I voted for Davis, but it really is sickening. Maybe this will shake up the Republicans, too, let them know that if they weren't being led by the nose by the fringe right, they would have won this election handily. I can assure you Riordan would have won (between him and Davis, I'd have voted for him in a heartbeat). But I image its too happy a day for the Republicans to reflect on such matters. Democrats didn't seem to learn from the Newt Gingrich "revolution," lets see if they learn this time. It's not over yet, lets hope Mondale eeks out a victory. Max Cleland lost, that's disgusting. My father asked me whose side I was on this election. The only guy I could come up with was dead. Oh, well. Maybe someone will come out of the woodwork by 2004. Bradley's about the only Democrat presidential possiblity I could see supporting; pretty sad if that's the best they got. But no point worrying about that now.
I have a rich and varied fantasy life. One common daydream involves me being a fairly high-up government official in some alternate universe, who eventually is jailed in a Watergate-esque conspiracy (I would be the John Dean of the story, except I'd serve a year in a medium-security prison). Fortunately, its an alternate universe, so there was no Watergate, so no smartass reporter can dub it Intern-gate or Improper-Tax-Filing-gate, or what have you. This all is probably a sign that there are little red pills nice men in white coats should be administering me, but it does give me something to pass the time. Oh, I also think about that episode of Law & Order where the son frames the father for arson and murder and then the father figures it out and turns on the son. That's gripping drama there. "I remember what it felt like when I realized my father was a sonofabitch," McCoy observes. "I can't imagine realizing I raised one." That's must-see-TV for ya.
I got a C (dangerously close to C-) on my Latin midterm. I didn't think I did too good, but was actually surprised, I totally tanked on the adjective agreement section, which I hoped would boost my grade a bit. I would have done okay, except I forgot the word "deus" is irregular in the plural ablative, and so when I saw "dis," I had no idea what they were talking about, and actually thought, "to the Gods," which would have made sense, but managed to take about 30 minutes on that one question and work it around my brain until it made no sense at all. Time would've been better spent reviewing the rest of the exam and finding other more obvious errors I made. C'est la vie. I'm still in a fairly good position in the class, as long as I do okay on the remaining quizzes, my grade will basically be decided by the final exam. A solid B should be had without too much difficulty. Allowing me to focus my attention on Scottish Literature. I'll get my first paper back tomorrow; I wasn't happy with it, but it was not a paper demanding deep analysis, more a check of basic comprehension of some of the basic concepts of the first novels we read. I'm hoping for a B, I don't deserve better. This paper is only 25% of our grade, the main paper is 50%, and will require a lot more outside research and analysis. So I'm just hoping everything else will come together well enough this quarter that I can devote most of my energy (what little there is) towards that paper. But I think that's enough school talk, my apologies for wasting your time, dear reader.

Monday, November 04, 2002

I'm beginning to feel like the pied there's a mouse running around my parent's house. My dad saw it first, described it as being huge, covered in fur, practically a rat. I just saw it a few seconds ago, its a baby, cute little guy, and he was hopping in a weird way, like he might be sick or poisoned, in which case I don't want Tanner to get a hold of him and get sick himself. So I chased the mouse out of the house, but he was still wandering around outside the door, so I have a feeling he'll make his way back in. Poor guy. Too bad their poop can cause brain damage or something (which I was thinking about as I moved my stuff in storage amongst droppings).
Wilfred Owen was killed by German macine-gun fire on this date in 1918, one week before the Armistice (his mother received the telegram as the bells were ringing). I thought I would post a poem or two in commemoration. Dulce Et Decorum Est Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind. GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime.-- Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-- My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. * * * The Parable of the Old Man and the Young So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went, And took the fire with him, and a knife. And as they sojourned both of them together, Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father, Behold the preparations, fire and iron, But where the lamb for this burnt-offering? Then Abram bound the youth with belts and strops, And builded parapets and trenches there, And stretched forth the knife to slay his son. When lo! an angel called him out of heaven, Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, Neither do anything to him. Behold, A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns; Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him. But the old man would not so, but slew his son, And half the seed of Europe, one by one.
I tried to buy some Peanuttles out of a vending machine today, but apparently the machine decided I would rather have Red Vines. I think the machine may have been right.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

I just saw a commercial advising me that if I used Clorox bleach, my child can play with her toys in the toilet. I think that's right up there with the "verbs: It's what you do" commericals (reaching young people with grammer...perhaps it can expand into the war on drugs...instead of "Just say no," its now "Adverbs: they're what you say.") Though I suppose sitting through such inanities is a small price to pay for countless hours of top-notch entertainment.
I ran in the Race for the Cure this morning. 28:42. Granted I didn't get a good start due to the crowd, but still, this course was flatter than the Chanceller's Challenge, and my time has slipped by three minutes. I haven't been feeling good this week, though, and I've been a bit lethargic. Still, I was disappointed with my time, though I actually showed better stamina than the previous run. Perhaps I'll run some of the upcoming runs I got brochures for, like a Thanksgiving 5K for the food bank, a Christmas run for the food bank/toys for tots, and some Embarcadero run apparently raising money for balloon animals (I believe I may pass on that one).

Following the run (and a brief perusal of the booths...100% pure promegranate juice, not a good idea, apparently made for people who think cranberry juice is too indulgent), I proceded to A-1 Self-Storage. Today was the day I had to move upstairs. Fun times. Actually wasn't too bad at all. I managed to do almost all of it myself, in about an hour and a half. A brief interruption while I had to go find a dustpan, after finding a dead mouse (with a copious amount of his "business") which had obviously been there a LONG time. But with that unpleasantness behind me, I got the rest of my stuff upstairs, expect for a heavy endtable, a biggish-screen TV, and a couch. Then Cecily helped me get two of the three upstairs, and then we moved the couch to her house. It was actually a good thing, in a way. I save a month's rent, for one. And it gave me a chance to rearrange everything extensively. I had moved stuff around within my existing space, but by moving to a new unit, I was able to make much better use of my space. Even considering the missing couch, I was able to store the same amount of stuff in about half the space, with the things I am most likely to need readily available. Perhaps I'll move into a smaller unit, but I think the savings would have to be substantial before I'd do that again. So I ran, I moved, and I took a nice bath. And now I'm winding down for a nice Sunday evening of television (Futurama, Simpsons, Adult Swim).

Saturday, November 02, 2002

I've been getting headaches lately, not bad ones, but I never used to get them at all, so it is rather annoying. Probably worrying about my car and school and stuff, I imagine. I saw a shadow puppet show about ants yesterday, that made me happy. Michael Proft is one of a kind. The show wasn't exactly fluid, and it didn't help when they lost a puppet and later set fire to the script, but that all added to the charm. Michael Proft rapping was a sound to behear.

Craig's back from lunch, time to relinquish the computer and go back to The Reptile Room.

Friday, November 01, 2002

The storage facility where much of my belongings currently reside called me the other day. I was sure they were calling to report a burglary, so I was rather relieved when they told me I had to move to another unit due to construction. They would either pay someone to move me, or I could move myself and get a free month's rent. I elected to move myself, more because I didn't want strangers touching my stuff than any economic incentive (though free rent is nice, too). I asked Cecily to help me move stuff (figure it'd be easist to guilt her into it), and ended up giving her my couch. I would've been reluctant before, but now with the car situation and all its obvious I'm not leaving my parents' house for a long time. Going back to school just looks more and more like the most brilliantly bad idea I've had in some time. But that's okay. School itself is okay, if I could just get my act together a bit. And as I've learned in my economics class, the opportunity cost of something is the next best alternative foregone. So I suppose I've foregone my own home and financial sufficency, but really, what was my next best alternative? Staying at a job that was grating on me at an establishment that is now soon to close? I really don't know what other jobs there are that interest me and I am qualified for that would put me in a better financial position than I am now. So basically, I might have been able to choose a path that would let me live apart from my parents, with enough money to meet my needs and stay out of debt, but my life would still suck, so I'll stop my whining.
I read the first book in the Series of Unfortunate Events novels, rather enjoyed it. I had vaguely heard of them before, but I think I just figured they were on the same level as Harry Potter and never bothered to consider them. But the first one, at least, was really quite good. Reminded me of Edward Gorey in spirit. I rather enjoyed the asides to the reader offering practical definitions of certain words (like a post-modern Encyclopedia Brown), and the mysterious author's repeated admonitions to the reader to put away the novel. Nice to see that there's a good popular series of children's books on the market today. Looking forward to reading the next one (though of course I'm still three books behind in my Scottish Lit class and all...but today I'm better off worrying about my Latin exam, Lit can wait for Sunday).

Thursday, October 31, 2002

So, the credit union turned down my car loan, and so has everyone else I've tried. Insufficient income, not enough time at current position. So here's another perk of going back to school: I'm going to have to take out loans on existing credit accounts at much higher rates than I would if I got a car loan. It's not the end of the world, but it means I'll be heavily in debt for a very long time. I was going to cash in my 401(k), but its dwindled quite a bit, and after taxes and penalties, its not worth it. I do have some balance transfer offers at good fixed rates, but that won't cover all of it. I imagine I'll probably end up paying an average of 12% or so, which is not terrible, but is pretty damn high for a car loan. Its just frustrating that I don't see anything in the future that'll turn things around; graduation's far away (and then there's grad school), and I can't even hope to go to Vegas and eke out some cash counting cards because my seed money is gone. Grrr...should've bought a car before quitting my old job, but no, I was sure they would loan me the money when I needed it, I have great credit...what am I worried about? Oh, well. C'est la vie.

Had swim last night, went okay, I hadn't been in a week (I skipped class on my birthday). First class since daylight savings ended, its rather cold out to be swimming at 6:00, but I'll manage. The pool closes at the end of November, so I figure I'll go ahead and tough out one more month, then I'll have to start swimming on my own. I signed up for the Walk for the Cure Sunday, that should be fun.

Went to the movies last night, saw In Praise of Love, left about an hour into it. Not necessarily that I didn't like it (though I didn't very much), just was too tired to survive the Ken's seats any longer.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

How come, when I'm walking and I hear someone shout my name, I get excited, even though its almost a guarantee I'm not going to be happy to see whoever it is? Today it was Al, a homeless guy who used to come into the theatre I worked at before the Cove, and was a sort of mascot (not to be disparaging) until, by virtue of his lack of social skills and willingness to ramble on for hours and ask annoying questions, managed to alienate about everyone at the theatre and was eventually banned. Actually, I wasn't unhappy to see him, just knew it would be difficult to get away and that I would be late for class (which I wasn't unhappy about, either). Somewhat annoying to have him relay "news" about the Cove he got from the newspaper article which I had already read and which I knew before reading. But I was glad he's okay, and funny to hear gossip about people from the Village I worked with about four years ago. Al can be a nuisance, but he's also a reminder of my early days in the motion picture exhibition industry, before the Cove, and of the fun times that are usually overshadowed by my fond memories of the cove. Besides, I was more happy to see Al than I was the other guy who called out my name and said hello as I walked across campus, since I have no idea who he was. I know so few people, you'd think I could remember them.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Here's some good, comprehensive coverage of the Wellstone tragedy. Sorry if I keep coming back to this, but its stories like this, that combine my political leanings with my family's morbid traditions, that really get to me. Incidentally, from the coverage of Wellstone's death, I realized that there is something inordinately creepy about seeing someone's name, someone you care about, followed by two sets of years. Paul Wellstone, 1944-2002. It just looks wrong.
I test-drove a Toyota Prius yesterday (one thing I accomplished this weekend). I was not impressed. A bit cramped for me, though not as bad as the Honda Civic Hybrid. As the salesman explained, the Honda Civic is an electric car with a gas engine to help, the Toyota Prius is a gas-powered car with an electric engine to help. Which doesn't mean one is superior absolutely, but for someone who mostly does freeway driving, the Prius seems a bad choice. He did steer me to the (much cheaper) Toyota Corrola, which I really liked. 39 mpg freeway, I think it was, not much worse than the Prius. Ultra Low Emission vehicle as well. I'm still considering the Honda Accord as well, but I like the Corrola better and don't see how the Honda Accord, at about $5000 more, will win me over. So I think in the next week or two, after chatting with my friends at the Credit Union, I'll have a new car. No more adding power steering fluid twice a day!
I got very little accomplished this weekend, but that's okay. I've had the feeling that I've been losing my mind for the last week or two. I've had it before, it comes somewhat cyclically. I'm always tempted to call it a nervous breakdown, but since I never actually break down (well, only once I did), that's not exactly accurate. It just feels as if my brain and my emotions are betraying me and I know they are but can't do anything about it. This time it was rather minor, I think my recent efforts at staying physically active helped a lot. But I felt myself getting moody, depressed and angry at nothing in particular, and an obsession with rather unimportant matters while I could not tend to important matters (I believe I've had three late payments on credit cards in the last month or so, not because I didn't have the money but couldn't bother to simply pay them...I got one past due notice and the previous month's payment was in an envelope sitting next to my door, where I saw it several times a day but didn't bother to mail it). I think this weekend was good for me, I had (and have) several legitimate problems to deal with, and be sad over, and I think may have created some sort of psychic rift in my head that broke me out of whatever state I was in. Wellstone dead, Cove closing, my dad barely sleeps or eats. Puts things in perspective. Of course, I'm ditching two classes today, and only going to Latin because if I miss another one my grade drops one level. But I figure I let myself have a weekend to mope, now its time to get down to work. Besides, today's my birthday, I'm entitled to be a bit flaky for a bit more.
So I never did make it to Latin on Friday. I ended up going to Torrey Pines State Park and exploring a bit. Took the Broken Hill trail down to flat rock, then back up via beach trail. I don't go there too often, since California State Parks forbid dogs, but Tanner wasn't with me and it seemed a good place to get away. Broken Hill trail is very secluded, itself; I only saw two hikers, and the chapparel is high enough for much of the way to almost obscure the golf course to the south. Of course, it could not block the sights and sounds of the military maneuvers going on overhead, just what I wanted to see while coming to terms with Wellstone's death. Maybe its because I was more stationarily located in the East County during the Gulf War, but I don't remember military transport planes and fighter jets and helicopters being such a common sight back then. Some days I see one or two, some days I see three or four an hour, or more. Last September 10th, I saw a huge transport plane flying right over the aquarium, very low, with several fighter jet escorts. From my vantage point in the ticket booth, I just barely saw it, looked like a commercial aircraft with a military escort, was rather frightening. They now say 1/4 million reservists might be called up for Iraq. Meanwhile, it appears we've left Afghanistan to fend for itself (subscription required for the article). Sigh...

Friday, October 25, 2002

When it rains, it pours...I learned today the Cove Theatre of La Jolla, California, built in 1948, one of the few remaining single-screen theatres in the country, will go dark January 16th. Very sad news. I suppose I'll always have many fond memories of my years at the Cove, but knowing that I will soon no longer be able to return, to walk in the projection booth, watch the curtains part for another film, is truly depressing (just what I needed today). I'm sure by January I will have a more fitting tribute to offer, but for now, its just been too much today.
I send this e-mail to some friends, meant to say about the same thing I'd already posted here, but it became more of a rant, so I thought I would post it here as well:

What an unpleasant day. I get out of econ early, decide to have a nice sit-down meal for a change, and as I sit down and begin to eat, the "breaking news" logo catches my eye. I wouldn't have moved to watch it had I not seen the Minnesota logo. Horrible news. 51 Senators, and its the only one with reelection in jeopardy who voted against invading Iraq alone, that's the one who dies? I guess it doesn't matter, the Democratic party proved itself useless yet again, and its just a question of when, now. But hey, maybe Wellstone could've voted against invading North Korea next year, or Afganistan when it spirals out of control thanks to the American-armed Taliban (oops). Gotta fight the Soviets, how many Americans did they kill? John Birch the only name that springs to mind, though there were probably more (spies mostly, and they get what they deserve). Okay, I'm ranting a bit, I'm just upset that the Democrats are going along with a plan to kill Americans and Iraqis with no explanation as to what will come once Saddam is dead. Iraq might get weapons of mass destruction some day...India HAS THEM NOW. Pakistan HAS THEM NOW. North Korea BUILDS THEM WITH OUR SUPPORT, because our intelligence community is too busy finding out which library books dark-skinned people check out. Israel HAS THEM NOW. South Africa HAD THEM, THEN DEMOLISHED THEIR PROGRAM, and no one in our intelligence community knew about it until many years later, only then because the post-apartheid government came clean. WE ACTUALLY USED THEM! And I'm only talking nuclear, you can do a hell of a lot of damage with a gun or a bomb or an airplane, paid for by our Saudi friends and our own tax dollars.

Okay, I did not mean for this to be a rant, I meant to just say I'm sad. But there it is. I suppose someone will come up to the plate. When the obituaries mention Ted Kennedy as Wellstone's closest ally in the Senate, that really makes me sad. But I'm sure something better will come around sometime. Now I have to go try to study Latin, that'll be a hoot.

CNN has a good article on the "happy warrior." Regarding Iraq:

The senator said his position against the congressional resolution on Iraq might prove unpopular with voters, but he said he had to vote his conscience.

"I love being here and I love the chance at being a senator, but it's not worth it to me," Wellstone said of the prospect of supporting the resolution.

My econ class adjurned early to facilitate handing out the mid-terms, so with extra time I decided to have a nice sit-down meal at Round Table for a change. I get my food and sit down, when the "breaking news" logo on the big-screen TV grabs my eye. I wouldn't have moved (I've had enough sniper news), had I not seen the Minnesota logo. Paul Wellstone, wife and daughter dead in plane crash. Absolutely shocking beyond words, a terrible loss of a great man. I just sent him a few bucks this weekend via Move On. The only Democrat in a tight race to vote against Bush's Iraq resolution. Most of my lunch is now in a bag in my knapsack getting cold. I tend not to get too enraptured with politicians these days, and surely Wellstone wasn't perfect. But he was the best we had in the legislature, and will be deeply missed. I'm stunned. With the string of death and destruction on the news, I really didn't need this rotten cherry topper. Okay, that metaphor is horrible, I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

So it turns out they were all laughing at me after all.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

I saw Bowling for Columbine tonight. I like Michael Moore and the attention he brings to important issues, but I must admit his TV shows, in particular, could make me cringe. Never quite understood how embarassing a string of PR flacks was supposed to improve things. And from the things I'd heard about Columbine (the framing device of Charlton Heston, culminating in an interview of Heston by Moore; two survivors of Columbine try to return the bullets they were shot with to K-Mart, with the bullets still inside them), I was afraid it might be more gotcha journalism, not much better than the local news "problem-solvers" he himselve ridicules in one scene, which might be cathartic for some, but ultimately amounts to preaching to the converted.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Bowling for Columbine, Moore's greatest achievement in any medium, is a well-reasoned, impassioned examination of our violent culture and its possible roots. Columbine, September 11th, a school shooting in Moore's hometown of Flint, and more are all presented with a humanity (and a lack of exploitation) that only a master documentarian could manage. He doesn't pretend to have all the answers; though the media is a popular target (especially "Cops"), I think if you asked Moore what exactly is to blame for the overwealming amount of violence in our nation, he'd say he doesn't know. But he does know that we need to acknowledge that we have a major problem, and that marching to the site of the latest massacre to shout with a smirk, "My cold dead hands!" solves nothing (the most amazing aspect of the film is that it actually made me hate Charlton Heston more than before). I'm glad the film is doing so well, it deserves to be seen; I understand that Roger and Me is required viewing in many French schools, perhaps Bowling for Columbine will make its way to our schools. I'm sure it would do more good than more metal detectors or drug-sniffing dogs.

I also went to Dave & Busters today, before the movie (avoided the violent games for fear of guilt during the film, though it turns out the Canucks like violent games, too). I've always felt them a bit expensive, but its really not that bad a deal. The food is expensive, but the drinks on happy hour are a damn good deal, and I had a coupon, get $40 in credits for $20. And seeing as I'm a bit of a master of the one sliding game they have (I can get 3 7s almost every time, if I wanted to), and the prizes for the tickets are pretty nice (I actually got my PS2 there), its not a bad deal, especially if you can get a coupon, which seem to come out fairly regularly if you're on their mailing list. Anyway, I think I used to tell people, "That D&B, it looks fun, but its so damn expensive!" So I figured I should say I was might cost a fair amount of money just for an evening out, but overall, especially if you hit them during happy hour, its a pretty good value for the money. Of course, I did get humiliated on one of the two pinball machines (if they had more pinball, and real pinball, not that 3-D nonsense, then it would rock), but I did give some stranger a whopping on the Tennis game. Fun times...another day not spent studying...

Monday, October 21, 2002

I'm pretty sure this is just a joke, but it amused me.
Another fun swim class...moved on to the backstroke now. The pool was actually fairly warm today, which is nice since the air was a bit nippy. I had a little trouble with the backstroke, my left sholder doesn't want to go back far enough, but by the end of class I was getting the hang of it.

Watched My Neighbor Totoro today (rather than attending my Latin class), rather enjoyed it, though its probably my least favorite of the Miyazaki films I've seen. The Totoro closing theme is catchy, though. Its also nice to see children in one of his films that grows up with real childhood trauma (an ailing mother), rather than working in a bathhouse for ghosts or exploring their budding witching skills (though since I liked both Spirited Away and Kiki's Delivery Service, maybe he's better off sticking to these allegorical examples of growing up). Totoro's cute (he's become Studio Ghibli's mascot), though I found the cat/bus a little disturbing. I think my final verdict on this film isn't that its inferior to Miyazaki's other work, just that its more thoroughly aimed at children, and while an adult audience can appreciate the craftsmanship, its harder to relate to then some of his other films.

Finally, here's an artice from the UCSD Guardian about the Chancellor's Challenge. Weird that Jenn Brown is so evasive with her time...I should run against her next year, make this a major issue. You can now see the results on-line as well, I came in 334th. They also are reporting my time as 25:40, and who am I to argue?

My professor for Modern Scottish Literature is also apparently in charge of overseeing the curriculum for next year, and has decided to be an activist in that position, or so he puts it. Seems to me more reactionary, in the sense that he is reacting to low enrollment in literature classes; not many non-majors cross over, apparently. He shared his idea to create a sense of community in the department, which is for the faculty to present the undergrads with a "gift" (his word) of a reading list that all students should have read by the time they receive their diploma. Not a terribly bad idea, but undoable in the literary community's current anti-canonical state. Besides, I think most students have plenty of ideas for topics for outside readings, both from personal exploration and culled from suggestions of various professors, suggested reading that could not be accomodated during the quarter, or simply asides during lectures about authors of tangental relation to the course work but nevertheless of value. I just found it interesting that a professor would devote time in class to discuss the fostering of the literature department as a community, something which is sorely lacking.

He didn't mention the major scandal in the literature department, however. Unfortunate a very well-thought-of faculty member (I've met him but never had a class taught by him) would fall under such negative scrutiny, but lying about degrees, even if you were hired for your abilities and not your education, strikes me as a major transgression. Strange this seems to come up so often lately, in universities. I would think fabricating a college degree would be harder to do. Maybe I should give more credence to those e-mails offering me an instant college degree.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Went kayaking today, it was fun, but I think I should probably take a class, I can't seem to paddle straight. I tend to drift to my right, which does not seem to be related to the currents in the bay or anything. Also, I don't seem to be paddling in a very efficient manner, and when I tried to paddle in what I believe is a more proper manner, I found myself splashing sea-water in my face every time I pulled the paddle out of the water on my left side, so I guess I wasn't doing it right. Good exercise, though, and I saw a lot of birds, heading south I suppose. A rather huge flock of what I believe are called brown birds flew right over my head. Plenty of excitement for one day.

I had a coupon book to drop off for my old roommate (I get a discount on them...see, free movies...$20 off coupon books...the perks of my current and previous job are about the same), so I swung by their on the way home. Just ran in, ran out. She's an odd one. I always feel a little better about myself when I compare myself to her, though I image she also relies on me to boost her self-esteem. But hey, she had some shirtless fellow on her couch...I haven't had a nice young lady to make out with on my parents' couch in some time...but I digress. At least I don't think she met this one on the internet. That's one thing Cecily and I have in common, we both dated men on the internet (though I called myself "Diane"). Ah, fun times.

My father spoke to me briefly this evening, always nice how he can take about 20 seconds out of his day to put me in a psychopathic mood. Bastard.

I saw Lewis Black this evening. Although I count on him weekly to bring me the news that falls between the cracks, his political material was rather hit or miss this evening; his attack on Dick Cheney was predictable, when it wasn't just confusing. He had some amusing observations about San Diego and Southern California; his diatribe against Bakersfield was warmly received. Later, when he bashed Fresno (you can't fly directly between San Diego and Fresno, of course; "you don' t have a treaty with them"), saying he hears it's as bad as Bakersfield, someone shouted out, "It's worse," to which Black laughed for about a minute straight before wondering, "How?" He then went off on a stream-of-conscience rant about the giant lizards of Fresno, and hilarity ensued. He was a bit over-the-top, but what do you expect? The opening acts, whose names escape me, ranged from not-to-bad to god-awful (he claimed to be drunk; I believe him). Something about how the sniper must just have bad vision, everyone looks like Bush from a distance. That's hi-larious.

Speaking of hi-larious, I thought it odd I found Lewis Black's bit about candy corn would make me laugh so hard, especially seeing as I'd heard it before. It reminded me of how hard I laughed when I saw Paula Poundstone recently, when she talked about the slogan on the side of the bag of raisin bread: "Twice the raisins required by law." I like to think myself a sophisticated sort, yet its candy corn, raisin bread, and Fresno which really gets me in the gut.

See Paula Poundstone if you can, incidentally. I've seen her twice in person, both post-arrest. The first time was her second performance as a parolee, and she had a lot of directed rage and dealt in-depth with her legal issues, in a very funny manner. The second time I heard her, the first hour or so was just whining, not much different from the first performance, but she was trying a little too hard to push herself into the role of victim. Not to the point that you wanted to turn on her, but it didn't lead to much laughter. But once she got into a more normal comedian routine, with occasional references to parole officers and alcoholism, of course, she is really hilarious, and a dynamo. She "joked" about her obsessive-compulsive tendencies leading her to never shut up, so she's found the perfect job, and its really true. They practically had to pull her from the stage. Over two and a half hours of just her. Hard worker.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

I see Dick Armey hasn't officially gone into retirement yet.
Today felt like a rather weird day at work, I'm not sure why, though. There was one annoying, crazy guy who wanted us to give him a ride to the main campus, and just kept coming around and being a bother, until we managed to get the campus security patrol to agree to come give him a ride, but apparently he set out on his own before they arrived. Then some old couple wanted to know how the ocean currents off the Eastern U.S. work, since they were quite certain the map showing ocean currents we have on display is wrong, but when we were unable to offer any information that refuted the map, they were rather annoyed. But nothing too eventful happened, it just seemed weird (and I suppose the day isn't over yet). I am a little sore from the run yesterday, which I suppose is not suprising. Well, back to work.
Just to clarify a previous post, when I refered to the Cove Theatre as being "out of my hands," I did not mean to imply that the theatre is not in fully capable hands now. I was simply reflecting on the fact that when I go there, I am reminded that it is no longer a defining factor in my life, that I am no longer involved in the motion picture exhibition industry, more specifically the operation of a single-screen arthouse theatre (one with a fully-functioning Proscenium Arch, no less). My days (well, some of them, anyway) at the Cove were some of the happiest days of my life (which reflects rather poorly on the rest of my life). Anyway, just wanted to say that monkeY is doing a bang-up job (Incidentally, Monika, I just noticed your journal's user name, "threaditup," cute).

Friday, October 18, 2002

I finished reading Oh, The Things I know! by Al Franken today. It's been my bathroom reading for awhile, and is a good read, though not Al Franken's best. Still, worth a read.

I was sad to notice when I was looking for a link, that I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone it, People Like Me is out of print. That is a hilarious book, that was turned into an almost-as-hilarious movie, Stuart Saves His Family. Its a shame it never found its audience, being labled a SNL product, up there with the Coneheads and Night at the Roxberry guys. The book and movie both have a lot of humanity in them, worth a look-see.

I saw 8 Women today. I liked it, though not as much as Under the Sand. For the most part, the musical numbers were fun, and though the family soap-opera gets a little out-of-hand, I still recommend it. And I enjoyed seeing it at my old stomping grounds, the Cove Theatre, which I used to manage. Kind of sad to see it out of my hands, but its a centering experience to go and see that it still exists.
I ran in the Chancellor's Challenge 5K today. My time was 25:50. The chancellor kicked my ass, but that was to be expected. My goal was just to run the entire course at a reasonable pace, and I did. I probably could've made it under 25 if it wasn't so crowded, and if I hadn't pulled back a little at the beginning for fear of getting in the more experienced runners' way. I had a rather negative attitude going in, didn't think I'd make it, but lo and behold, I did. So don't let anyone tell you a bad attitude won't get you anywhere.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

I watched an episode of Birds of Prey tonight...this may be hard to believe, but it was a pretty stupid show. I'm actually had surprisingly high hopes for it for some reason. The back-story was interesting, but its rather frustrating to watch a show willing to make such bizarre leaps in crafting a premise and then just borrow every convention of every WB show. Though I'm sure the show's producers were taking quite a risk in the episode I saw, having Huntress get stuck in a steam-bath, shedding clothing, as did the guy trapped with her, for the sake of the ladies. I don't think I'll be watching again.
An okay review of Secretary, which I particularly liked for its mention of the fine film Kissed.
Interesting site: You can read transcripts of oral arguments before the Supreme Court.
Lawrence Lessig on his oral arguments before the Supreme Court.
I thought this cartoon summed up the Supreme Court's New Jersey ruling pretty well.
Thomas Carlyle and Jane Welsh wed on this date in 1826, to mixed results.
Bon chance, Dick Armey; the Congress was not meant for one as sweet as you.
I saw Secretary last night, and enjoyed it immensely. First off, its not particulary dirty, if that's been keeping you from seeing it. It seems like Indie films presenting the coming-together of two rather unhinged individuals whom eventually find their own quixotic brand of love come out every weekend. This is the first I've seen in a long time that could tell the story with humor and compassion, and make a viewer like myself who never particulary understood the impulse to self-mutilation or D/S role-playing sympathize with the characters. I didn't care for the final act, especially Lee's public "hunger strike" and the stream of people coming through to pass or withhold judgement on her. I would've much rather they kept their relationship between themselves, though I imagine a filmmaker feels an obligation to provide as much conflict as possible. It's still a great film, though, and the opening scene alone is a classic.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

My swim class tonight was great. It was the first class where I really felt like I knew what I was doing from the time I got in the pool, so I could spend the whole class swimming. Considering I was rather worried that I wouldn't be able to take to it when I first signed up for the class, its a bit of a confidence-boost. Of course, most people learn to swim when they're toddlers, but I'll take what I can get. My only complaint with class today was it was overcast and gray and cold, and the sunset wasn't as stellar to watch as on Monday. But how can I complain when I live somewhere where I can take swim lessons outdoors in October?

Oh, and my Latin exam went very well, I think.

When I worked at a movie theatre, I always figured the next step down was splooge-mopper at a porno theatre. I actually would've enjoyed it a bit, if they still had real porno theatres in San Diego, instead of those arcade boxes or whatever they call them in porno bookstores. The Pussycat, I think the last free-standing porno theatre in San Diego was called. Or Pussykat, I think it was spelled. Anyway, that, along with my dismal short-term career prospects, is probably why I enjoyed this porno video clerk's blog. Though I must say, despite her claims, I never exactly considered video store clerk the pinnacle of cool.
Some happy news out of the Middle East for a change: The Bilbiotheca Alexandrina opened officially today.
Overslept today because Tanner was itching all night; is that the gratitude I get for taking him for a walk? At least I saw a flea today, I thought he was having paranoid delusions the way he was constantly itching and I never saw a flea. Hopefully the advantage should kick in soon and all will be well again. He has to go to the vet in a month or so for his booster shots and all, so maybe he can do something about the itching.

So I was ten minutes late to my first class, so I just didn't go, I'm in the computer lab instead. Have to go to Econ in a bit, then study Latin until my exam at 3. Fun times.

But yes, I did take Tanner for a walk for the first time in like two weeks. We went about a mile up Cowles Mountain and back down. I think Tanner could've gone the distance, but it was getting dark and since he's not in the best shape, I didn't want to overdo it. I don't really like Cowles Mountain, its too crowded. I'll have to try one of the alternate routes up next time. Tanner doesn't share the trail very well, and all the joggers are a wee bit annoying, though I imagine they think the same of me.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

I see now that hiking isn't the only way I can exercise with my dog...Next time I break out the Dance Dance Revolution, I'll bring Tanner in for some drag/karaoke.
I suppose no blog is complete without a link regarding copyright law. The Internet Bookmobile is helping to combine the sensory experience of reading a book with the public-domain literature already available on the net.
Gotta love the election cycle...where else can you see ads calling a one-armed no-legged veteran a coward? At least I now have Ralph Reed to deflect some of my anger towards Jerry Falwell onto.
For those of you wondering about Hormel's position on internet marketing.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Looking up True Stories on the IMDB, I noticed their suggestions feature suggests that, if one enjoyed David Byrne's film, one must be sure not to miss a film called Jingle All the Way. I laughed, but now I'm thinking I should give it a try. As Paula Poundstone once observed, The Wizard of Oz was poorly reviewed when it was realeased, after all, so isn't it possible that (to stick to our example here) Jingle All the Way is really good, and we'll all watch it every Christmas.
I think my last post deserves some illumination, lest you get the wrong idea about me. And in fairness to my dog, I should say I'm in about the same shape he is. I've been working on it a bit, though. I've even gotten beyond the point of buying exercise equipment and actually exercising. My bike gathers dust, but I use my "Dance Dance Revolution" home version on my Playstation from time to time. I'm actually on my second DDR pad, so I must have just danced the hell out of that first pad. Oh, and a warning for those thinking of buying the Disney home version after playing it in the arcade: The home version does not include "Johnny Be Good." But I digress. The point is, I've been working on self-improvement a bit, and found out the shocking fact that I don't have to feel like shit all the time. Shocking how better you feel when you just up your activity level a little bit.

So I'm gradually shedding my heretofore-consistent panda-bear shape. So far I'm enjoying the journey. And if I'm not absolutely ripped in a month or two, I'll realize I've wasted my time and give heavy drinking another go.

Nothing like having a fat dog to make you feel guilty...I slimmed him down (somewhat) this summer, after he got fat from eating puppy chow too long. A regular hiking regimen did the trick, and worked well with my schedule, just take him after I got home from work, since its too hot to walk him much before 6 or so in the summer. But now school's started, the days are shorter, and Tanner's just not getting the exercise he needs. I've got swimming lessons twice a week, I'm trying to get up a routine kayaking on Sundays, and Tanner is falling to the wayside. And I have a rolly-polly puppy to greet me when I get home to remind me what a horrible person I am. I'm taking him up Cowles Mt. tomorrow after work (that's about 3 miles round trip, moderately steep), dark or not. I used to climb it from time to time around midnight with my old roommate, when I worked evenings, and she worked the night shift, so our biological clocks were used to that sort of thing, so I don't mind the dark, and Tanner's as sure-footed as a mountain goat day or night. The only problem is its rather rocky terrain, I have to watch my footing in the dark, and Tanner tries to barrel down the mountain, so the whole way down I have visions of my head cracked open on a rock, with my coyote-ravaged remains to be discovered the following morning by an early-bird hiker. But I suppose the fear's part of the fun. It's walking the dog...TO THE EXTREME!!!

I reek...I should really go bathe...

Saturday, October 12, 2002

I should talk a bit about myself. A few choice biographical tidbits, so that those who diligently follow the development of my blog will marvel as I slowly take form in the primordial mist before you. Won't that be exciting? What more reason do you need to postpone that suicide pact you'd been discussing with your sociopathic significant other? I'm 23 years old, live in Southern California, and am a student. I recently returned to school after a three year absence. I often claimed, while out of school, that school is for losers. I now feel vindicated in that assessment. Actually, school itself is reasonably satisfying. It is just painfully obvious that my quality of life has vastly deteriorated since I left my job as a movie theatre projectionist and manager. Cruel fate has played a role, and after my new living arrangements fell apart, I was forced to move in with my parents. So I'm a wee bit bitter, stripped of my self-sufficency and all. But the dude abides. And what have I learned? If you ever find yourself thinking, "I've gotten to a point where I reasonably enjoy my life, things finally are going pretty good, and I'm somewhat happy, for the most part. May things never change," take cover.
My mother collects obituaries. Celebrity obituaries primarily, but also the interesting. My father's family once was quite a dynasty in the LA cemetery industry. So I suppose its natural this article on New York's potter's field would peak my interest.
Hello there. Welcome to my blog. Why am I writing a blog? Isn't it true I've never even felt particularly moved to read a blog, yet I somehow think people want to here what I had for lunch today? Yes, its true, its all true (though my choice of words impels me to make an early confession: I'm a compulsive liar...but that's another blog--which leads to a question: is "blog" a term for the entire apparatus of this journal, or does it also refer to an individual entry?). But I'll be damned if that'll stop me. Here's my blog. Relevance be damned. It seems like I can't scribble some words in a notebook without worrying what people would think if they read them; perhaps now that my words are being made available to millions (and may be read by 3 or 4), I'll no longer give a shit if anyone finds them interesting. So that's that. Perhaps I'll write something substantive later tonight, but now I simply wish to christen thee the S.S. Blogger. All hail the queen!