May 2nd, 2005

flavored with age

Things, from the weekend and otherwise, things.

- Sometimes, thaitea and I go to the Golden Nugget down the street for breakfast. It's always a pleasant experience, but my favorite part is that they have these little flip cards on the table. Some are pretty straightforward -- describing the specials, featuring new menu items, and so on. But there's one that boasts about their homemade pancakes (no mix is used), and it closes with this really nasty-sounding dig at other restaurants: "Next time you eat someplace else, ask them what's in the mix they use for the pancakes you just ordered." Not only is this amusingly mean, but it always makes me wonder if anyone ever actually does this.

- We went to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Saturday afternoon; the theatre (Webster Place, also known as the Theatre Leonard Always Gets Lost Trying to Find) was surprisingly deserted given that the weather was nice, it was a weekend, and supposedly the flick was #1 at the box office, but you'll never find me complaining about an uncrowded theatre and easy parking. I made the mistake of ordering a hot dog, having inexplicably forgotten that the phrase "movie theatre hot dog" is inevitably followed by either the phrase "paralyzing chest pains" or the phrase "weltering stomach cramps" and ultimately by the phrase "deep sense of regret". The movie itself I liked but didn't love; the performances were universally solid, the animations were well-done, and it had its share of big laughs, but a few jokes fell flat, there was too much BIG and LOUD, and two of the best-realized characters (Marvin and Ford) weren't given much to do. Some of the new elements I rather liked (especially the character of Hama Kavula and the scenes on the Vogon homeworld), some were hit-and-miss (the upgraded Arthur/Trillian romance angle), and some were pretty ineffective (the whole subplot involving Jennifer Taylor-Clarke from "The Office"). It was fun, though, a nice sunny afternoon movie, and that's what I wanted out of it.

- Thanks as always to rollick for being a swell host on Saturday night. Witch Hunt is a fun game, neatly blending three of my favorite elements (logic, social interaction, and unrestricted smartassery), and it's always good to take a shot at it. I tend to get killed very early on in the game, which means either (a) people fear my brilliant deductive powers and want me out of the way as soon as possible, or (b) people are very annoyed by me and want me out of the way as soon as possible. I'm sure I can't begin to guess which is the case.

- I was a guest on Kevin Fullam's fine "Under Surveillance" show on Sunday (part one was last night; part two will be broadcast on Sunday the 15th at 8:30PM on WLUW, which you can hear at 88.7FM in Chicago or live via the internet at their website). Of particular interests to you geeks, the topic this time around was THE FUTURE -- specifically, in my apparent role as a pop-culture critic, how people have imagined the future in popular culture, from sci-fi and film to serious literature and philosophy, and how our portrayal of what the future will be like has changed as we've gotten farther into it. I'll try and get this up on my website as soon as I get the CDs.

- On the way back, I stopped at the City Bookstore, a new used book shop not too far from our apartment (or, at least, our current apartment; it's for-real-this-time been bought by people who are gonna wreck it and build ugly new condos as soon as our lease is up, so come August, we gotta find a new stompin' ground here in the Big Town; your advice welcome). It's not great -- it's new, and their selection is still pretty skeletal, but I still managed to grab a couple of books. Which I suppose is less of a testament to the quality of the bookstore than it is a testament to my inability to go into anyplace that sells books without buying some. Anyway, among other things, I picked up Georges Perec's A Void (ho ho, clever title there, you dead copperhead freak), which is the novel he wrote without using the letter 'e'. I'm curious to see if even the ultimate formalist can pull off such a ballsy conceit and make it worth reading, particularly since this is an English translation, adding a whole 'nother layer of ballsy to it.

- Speaking of books, in the last couple of months, I've read The Second World War by Martin Gilbert, The Man in the High Castle by Phil Dick, and The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad, as well as rereading Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer. All very salutary, and did a fine job of bringing me up to speed on the most important event of the 20th century, but JESUS FUCKING CHRIST is that shit depressing. I need about six weeks worth of really light reading full of sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and true love to counterbalance the effect of hearing about the same poor ten million fuckers getting killed over and over again. Man! Nazis!

- Finally, and not to go overboard with this true love thing, but I need to say that taken for all in all, my gal ninafarina is fantastic. She's patient and wise and sensible and sensitive and she puts up with a lot of crap from hysterical crazy me. She's smarter than me and good thing, too. I love her, and am ridiculously lucky to be with her, and for that I am very grateful.
flavored with age

Icons! ah-aaaaaaaaaah! They'll save every one of us!

Yeah, yeah, so this is late because the first of the month fell on a Sunday and I'm lazy and I actually went outside and did things this weekend. What are you gonna do, sue me? Kill me? Unfriend me? Well, okay, I guess you could do any or all of those things, although killing me would frustrate the purpose of suing me. Anyway, instead of doing those things, why not VOTE on what icon set I should use next? Here are your choices for what to look next to my stupid entries and comments throughout the month of May:

- Pictures of male porn stars taken out of context
- Guns I have owned or would like someday to own
- Further forgotten cereal mascots of the past
- Strange and unusal book covers or titles
- Heroic athletes of the Soviet Union and affiliated satellite slave-states

Vote early, so I don't get bored.

Poll #486132 May Ikonzet!

What icon set should I used in May?

Porn, porn and more porn
6(13.6%)
My favorite firearms
8(18.2%)
More goddamn cereal
2(4.5%)
Bizarre books
13(29.5%)
Soviet super-sports
10(22.7%)
Some other thing, which I will specify in Comments
2(4.5%)
This is the token "I don't care about your icon sets" selection, even though we all know you totally do care
1(2.3%)
I'm not allowed to vote because either I'm not a citizen or I once killed a shitload of precinct workers
1(2.3%)
The crap singers should remain for another month
0(0.0%)
BRB AFK WTF LOL NFW
1(2.3%)
flavored with age

DREAM POST- PLEASE SKIP

Last night was plagued with fitful sleep and plentiful dreams, but the good thing was, all the dreams were thematic: they followed the adventures (sometimes funny, sometimes thrilling, sometimes disturbing) of minor-league superheroes, with little links and everything. It was one of those rare dreams I have that's incredibly cinematic, fascinating, well-told, and not possessed of "dreamlike" qualities -- that is, not surreal or irrational or disjointed in any way, but playing out in a linear way like a tightly scripted movie. As is the case in all interesting dreams that I have, I wasn't in any of them; but the really odd thing is that they picked up where they left off. I woke up several times during the night, and even if I turned on a light or got up and went to the can, when I went back to sleep, they resumed from exactly where they had been interrupted. My dreams have TiVo!

Anyway, I figure if my brain wanted me to experience and remember these so badly, the least I could do is make something out of them. I'm gonna kick them around as short stories/one-shot comic ideas/future Dargerverse fodder: there was

- the final adventure of an old, well-respected Superman type, where he had to save some of his closest allies from certain death at the cost of sacrificing himself, and was torn between success and an anonymous, lonely death or failure and a glorious, public one

- a highly creepy story about a woman with a Batman-style motif and m.o. who goes after a ring of pederasts/child pornographers operating in a run-down old motel; it ends with her two teenage children staying behind to run the motel in an attempt to reclaim it from the horrible things that happened there

- a big, noisy, brawling epic battle between two opposing mini-armies of super-types; at first it's carried out passionately and without quarter, as if it's some Crisis-ish battle to the death, but in the end it turns out to be a completely bogus fake battle they've staged for pay-per-view to raise money for various charities

- a road trip in which a bad-ass black superhero and his sidekick, who ride around in a giant tricked-out Bigfoot-style monster truck, discover a strip club that uses Russian slave labor, and bust it up using some kind of crazy ice powers; it ends with the main villain, an enormously fat hillbilly who ran the club, being beaten so badly he needs surgery, and thus playing out an extremely gross Meaning-of-Life-level gag so disgusting I dare not even mention it.

Thanks, my brain, for the ridiculous entertainment!
flavored with age

CALL'D!

Despite a strong showing for Soviet super-sports and even my favorite firearms, I'm calling the voting for May's icon set so I can get on with my goddamn life. The winner, squeaking by with 13 votes, is "stupid, strange, or comical book covers", but don't worry if you didn't vote for these -- as usual (and as borne witness by the ever-pathetic forgotten cereal mascots), losers have to keep coming back until they win.

This one was, unfortunately, almost as bad as my detourned "Love Is" comics, because thanks to LiveJournal's crappy rule that all user icons have to be 100x100 pixels in size maximum, a lot of the funny subtext gets reduced to unreadable size, and I had to dump a handful of my favorites. Oh well, it doesn't matter now, we're all stuck with them until June.

As always, click on comments for the full set.