Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

30 January 2005

Scorsese Riff

So I had posted this whole riff on Scorsese yesterday, but I can't seem to find it. It doesn't show up on my page and I can't find it saved anywhere on my computer.

The gist of my post was spawned by watching The Last Temptation of Christ yesterday, a movie I found boring and far too David Lynch for my tastes. I see why Scorsese got an Academy Award nomination for the film, but in the 80s, the Academy was all about David Lynch (I guess they still are to a certain extent for some odd reason.) At any rate, my question comes from a conversation that and I had a couple of days ago. We all say we like Scorsese, and he is a lot of people's "favorite" director etc. But when we say that, what are we substantially talking about? Do we really like his films?

Who's That Knocking at My Door?
Boxcar Bertha
Mean Streets
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Taxi Driver
New York, New York
Raging Bull
The King of Comedy
After Hours
The Color of Money
The Last Temptation of Christ
New York Stories
Cape Fear
The Age of Innocence
Bringing Out the Dead
Gangs of New York
The Aviator

Okay, there are twenty films on that list: those are all of his narrative features. Now, honestly, how many of those movies do you like? How many do you love? How many would you watch again? How many have you even seen? Seriously.
I have seen twelve of the above twenty features. Of those twelve, I like nine. Of those nine, I would be willing to re-watch three for fun.

My personal verdict for Scorsese is that while I really respect a lot of his films, I think of him as a first-rate, though uneven director, whose choice in subject matter is hit or miss. And though he has made twenty narrative films, I only really love three of them.

That's not really that good of a track-record.

We Be Clubbin'

"Lick my pussy and my crack." This is an actual song that they played at the club I went to tonight. She must say "lick my pussy," like, 500 times.

Wahima, Elizabeth, Justin and I went to Bang! and then when the three of them got tired of it (y'all know me: I coulda danced another 2 hours), we went to The Abbey where they all decided they were gonna set me up with some booze-hound there. That didn't happen.

I had a GREAT night. Hooray for three of my favorite people of all time and hooray for nights where I get to dance for more than an hour.

27 January 2005

Give Me a Buzz. No, Give ME a Buzz.

If you don't ever call me and you are unaware, my outgoing voicemail message (which rotates on my whim) is currently "This is Aaron Thomas reminding you to remember the Alamo." With that in mind...

Actual voicemail message I received yesterday:

I remember the Alamo. I remember that a bunch of uh... fuckin'... queer Texas cowboys lost to a bunch of Mexicans with lawn mowers and fucking garden hoses. Uh... just called to say hi and um... give you a bit of an update... on things. Uh... if you get this message tonight give me a buzz, if not, give me a buzz whenever you feel like it. Alright buddy, talk to you soon. Hope things are well. Later.
The person who left this was not trying to be offensive (to Mexicans or to homosexuals). I just think he can't really help himself.


Okay, I'm going to stop hating on Jan A.P. Kaczmarak's score for Finding Neverland. I'm listening to it right now and it's beautiful.

For the Soul

Felt like crap today as I went into work, but that cleared up after a few hours, I guess. When I first started at this job, there was a lot of work to do at all times. I feel like we're kind of caught up now. There are times when I have to figure out something to do. I guess this tends to happen at the end of the month, and it can be that way frequently in accounting, but it sucks. I like being totally busy. I would prefer to have stacks of work on my desk that need to get done. I shouldn't complain. This job isn't that hard and everybody there likes me.

So after I got home from work I watched Maria Full of Grace and then I decided that I needed to go shopping. I bought myself a green tee at Banana and three candles at Illuminations (buy 2 get 1 free). Shopping always makes me feel so much better. I ought to do my own accounting for home. I probably have more money than I think I do and then I can do even more shopping. I want to try to get something for that main wall by night of the Oscar party. I might even paint the dining room. Maybe. If I'm not too lazy.

I came home and finished off the Tom Kha Gai instead of going to In & Out (a victory). And then I ate some of those frozen cream puffs from Costco (a defeat).

Maria Full of Grace is an excellent first film. I expect very good things from director Joshua Marston. But it plays like a freshman effort. It's an earnest, hopeful bit of filmmaking that is often contrived and somewhat unrealistic. It tries to be a gritty film about the exploitation of young, poverty-stricken Colombian girls but it ends up being a bit of a fairy tale. It's still pretty good, though, and it has a few money scenes (my favorite being the scene with Maria in the airplane lavatory). After seeing the film, I'm surprised more than ever that Catalina Sandino Moreno got an Oscar nomination—not that she's not good in the movie—but I'm surprised that the film played so well with Academy voters. She doesn't really do much serious emoting in the film, and the character is not well-drawn at all. The nomination is a boost for the film though, and by association, awareness about it's subject matter, and that's definitely a good thing.

I'm adding Downfall to my list of flicks to see before Oscar night, since it will be released the Friday before the big awards show. So... one down, six to go.

Phoning In

I seriously considered calling in sick to work today. Mostly because I'm tired from hanging out at Justin and Elizabeth's casa far later than I should have last night. I guess I don't really need a reason to call in sick. People do it all the time at this company. And I do have 2 sick days earned since I started working there.

I guess I just kind of felt dishonest calling. So I didn't. I'll take one in the next couple of weeks and go to the dentist and shit, I guess. Yeah.

I have made a list of films I want to see before the Academy Awards. They are as follows:

The Last Temptation of Christ
Maria Full of Grace
Before Sunrise
Before Sunset
Street Smart
The Polar Express
(probably not gonna happen)

25 January 2005

My Take on the Oscar Nominations: Part II


ART DIRECTION. Why do I keep seeing Finding Neverland everywhere I turn? Did I miss something? All of the other films deserve to be here (that is Long Engagement, Phantom, Aviator, and Lemony Snicket.) Too bad The Incredibles didn't squeeze in here... or Kill Bill: Vol. 2, or even The Terminal. Aviator wins.

CINEMATOGRAPHY. A good list. Caleb Deschanel for The Passion (bad movie, but beautifully shot.) Zhao Xiaoding for House of Flying Daggers, the awesome Bruno Delbonnel for A Very Long Engagement, and John Mathieson for Phantom. I probably would've passed on Robert Richardson for Aviator, but the Academy is crazy for it, so... whatever. Please also note the absence of Tom Stern for Baby. Maybe he should spend his time buying a few more light bulbs. Winner could be Xiaoding, but will probably be Richardson again. Bleh.

COSTUME. Also a fine list. My favorite inclusion is the costuming for Troy, which was excellent even though the film was really bad. Bob Ringwood deserved this nomination, and hasn't been nominated since Empire of the Sun! Geez. Other nominees: Lemony Snicket (excellent), Ray (excellent), Finding Neverland (sick of reading this name, and the costumes were nothing better than what Beavan and Bright were doing in the 1980s), and Aviator (again.) Does Neverland take this one or does Sandy Powell win again?

EDITING. Don't care. Collateral is there at least. Expect Aviator to win.

FX. Don't really care. Hellboy wuz robbed for makeup.

SOUND. A good list.

SCREENPLAYS. Good lists all around, I think. I am very happy to see the inclusion of Motorcycle Diaries and Vera Drake. And I actually haven't seen Before Sunset (gasp!) Once again I could do without all the Neverland nonsense. I would've favored Garden State, personally, as well as The Door in the Floor and The Sea Inside. Smart money would bet on Sideways and Sunshine.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE. I was in shock that House of Flying Daggers wasn't on the list, but then, I didn't really like the film, so I can't complain about that. Les Choristes and Sea Inside were easy picks and are good films. Downfall is about Hitler (of course they nominated it: they're obsessed). I've no idea what the Swedish film is about, but Sweden's films always intrigue me. Yesterday is South Africa's first submission ever and the nomination is a coup for that country. Sea Inside should win this one, but who knows?

ANIMATED FEATURE. Shark Tale?!?!?!? That movie sucked. Whatever. The Incredibles is gonna win anyway, so who cares? It just surprises me because Polar Express got so many other nominations. Hmm.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE. IS A FUCKING TRAVESTY and no mistake. This is the only category to really piss me off. I can't believe they nominated John Williams AGAIN for ANOTHER Harry Potter movie. I liked the movie and I liked his score (vast improvements on Sorcerer's Stone) don't get me wrong, but does he really need another nomination when you choose to flat out IGNORE important musical contributers like Michael Giacchino's fabulous score for The Incredibles and Alexandre Desplat's gorgeous score for Birth?!?!?! Also ignored: Marcelo Zarvos's beautiful score for The Door in the Floor, Gustavo Santaolalla's intriguing score for Motorcycle Diaries and Alberto Iglesias for Bad Education. WHAT THE FUCK? Instead, we get Finding Neverland AGAIN, The Passion of the Christ, Lemony Snicket (the score is good but by no means amazing) and James Newton Howard's score for The Village?!??!?! This just makes me mad. I don't even care who wins this one, but I guess I'll root for John Debney. Expect Kaczmarak to win.

Then we come to BEST ORIGINAL SONG, where order seems restored. Two of the songs are in foreign languages (!) It's like the people who nominate the songs are actually doing their work and figuring out which songs really are the best. This is almost as good as last year's lineup. This category used to be a category of shame and it's becoming one with actual principles. Hmm. I am sad that Wyclef Jean's song for Hotel Rwanda didn't make it. I love that tune. My favorite of the nominees is "Voir sur Ton Chemin" from Les Choristes. "Believe" from Polar Express, I guess.

That's it for me. I take the good with the bad. Your invitations to the party are in the (e-)mail.

My Take on the Oscar Nominations

This might take a while...

BEST PICTURE fell out exactly as expected. They aren't my favorite 5 pictures of the year, but they are all okay (actually only one—Million Dollar Baby—is in my Top 25.) I also have a good deal of respect for Ray, Sideways and The Aviator, though I have pronounced the latter "boring" more than once in the last three weeks. I am hoping Baby wins it, and I think it will (in an upset.)

BEST DIRECTOR makes me a little happy. For one, there's the presence of Mike Leigh. For another, there's the absence of Marc Forster. Scorsese was expected to be nominated. Eastwood definitely deserves to be here. I think the presence of Hackford is questionable, and for me, Alexander Payne is this year's Sofia Coppola (not an insult: she made a film I respect but don't like, just like Payne) , but overall, this is okay. I do wish Lars Von Trier had been included, or Kim Ki-duk. Hopefully one of these days Walter Salles will be nominated, too. Expect Marty for the win. It's about fucking time, anyway.

BEST ACTOR is pretty silly. Depp gave one of his easiest performances ever and they threw him a nomination. He's way overdue—Hello! Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, Benny and Joon, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, From Hell—but really. The Academy can be so slow sometimes. Foxx deserves this nomination like crazy, I'm very glad to see Don Cheadle, who is wonderful in his film, and I'm also excited that Clint Eastwood is being recognized for his acting. But Leo? He maybe should've been nominated for Titanic and I sometimes think him talented, but he spends The Aviator being slightly better than Hayden Christensen in Star Wars Episode II. Whatever. And where the fuck is Paul Giamatti? I guess the Academy thinks that his characters are too close to his real-life persona. He's been snubbed two years in a row now! That's bullshit. Also, my top three picks are nowhere to be found. Lame. If Foxx doesn't win, there is no justice in the world.

BEST ACTRESS looks really good. Bening, Staunton and Swank were considered shoo-ins and Winslet and Sandino Moreno were both nominated by SAG, so their nominations are not unexpected, but I think the inclusion of both of these speaks very well for the Academy. It means they went out and saw some films that people didn't expect them to see. For some reason I also feel good when people my own age are nominated for things. Cheers, Academy. (I still haven't seen Maria Full of Grace, so I moved that to the top of my Netflix queue. Shame on me.) Bening deserves this one, but it's looking like Swank might take it home.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Boo to this category, too. Thomas Haden Church was not good in Sideways, IMO. He's one of the reasons I don't like the film. And while I think Jamie Foxx's performance in Collateral was one of the best of the year, this is just plain category fraud. He was the lead in that film—no question. I am very happy for Clive Owen and for Morgan Freeman, and Alan Alda is a nice surprise. He is very good in The Aviator, though I expect he got nominated on his film's coattails. Often that's what getting a supporting nomination comes down to (see John C. Reilly.) Once again my top three picks are absent. It's a shame. Wahlberg was nothing short of brilliant in Huckabees. Morgan Freeman should win this one easily. He's never won and this is his fourth nomination.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS I'm very happy about the Sophie Okonedo factor. I loved her in Dirty Pretty Things and I think she gives a sturdy, emotionally powerful performance in Hotel Rwanda. Blanchett and Madsen are both wonderful in their films: they carry them, in fact, and I think Portman is fairly good in Closer. I never really like Laura Linney, but Oscar does love a longsuffering wife, and that Kinsey woman sure put up with a lot. But damn I am sad that Regina King's name wasn't announced this morning. Blanchett will win this one, I think, but they should probably give it to Madsen: they might never get the chance to reward her again, and Blanchett will certainly be nominated for Best Actress again.


It might come as a surprise to you that I really really liked Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. But it shouldn't. I was laughing so hard... and out loud, too. My god, that shit was funny.

I want to get high.

24 January 2005

Fly Me to the Moon

I've been listening to Tori Amos all day (except for the whole part where I was at work.) For some reason, I put in her album Strange Little Girls on my way to the airport this morning and I just haven't looked back. I never listen to To Venus and Back anymore, and I really do love that album, so I'm giving it a listen right now. Cheers.

I really need to go to bed. I have to be up at 5:30a for the OSCAR NOMINATIONS. I am so fucking keyed up about this. I know, I know: I ought to relax.

I met Jaime, John and Jason for Margarita Mondays and drank 3. Chris and Zach both showed up too: good times. I love my friends so much (the non-dramatic ones.) I love the dramatic ones too, but it's so much easier to be chill when there are no expectations and everyone's cool like Fonzie.

I had a very helpful, uplifting conversation with Ashley. Thanks, Ash. I needed your encouragement. (By the way, I said hi at the beginning of my last post because I felt like it had been a while and I needed to reintroduce the idea of me speaking... I guess. I can't speak for the wicked one.)

Much love. I'm a little buzzed.

Kaffir Leaves and Fish Sauce


So I guess I had a relaxing weekend.

I caught up on all the movies out in my Netflix queue (e.g. The Cardinal, Infernal Affairs, and Short Cuts). I made potato salad for Brantley's birthday party yesterday, went to BevMo (Heaven), my sister taped me for the video we're giving our parents for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and then I taped her. Today I went to an Asian supermarket (I'll tell the story in a bit...) and then I made Tom Kha Gai (a Thai chicken soup with lots of chilis, some coconut milk, lemongrass and other fun stuff.) PLUS, I did laundry. And gosh, it's midnight and I need to get up for work in the mañana.

The Asian market was an odd experience, mostly because I can barely make out what everything in the market is and I have no idea how to talk to any of the employees there. Plus, everyone in the market is Asian and I looked like a crazy man (I also had on the shirt that says "I got my girlfriend pregnant and all I got is half a paycheck" which probably didn't help matters.) And Asian old people are no nicer than caucasian old people. Old people suck. As usual, the old people in the supermarket pushed me and did not ask my pardon when they needed to pass. Typical elderly behavior, I guess, and I shouldn't be surprised.

Infernal Affairs rocks, which should be no surprise to anyone. Tony Leung and Andy Lau are both great. It is a great thriller with a nice beat to it and a cool look, it boasts two very attractive men as the stars and it has a good screenplay with a gripping plot. I am surprised there isn't an American remake in the works. It will suck, of course, but Hollywood always remakes really good suspense movies. Remember Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens)? It was a great Argentinian thriller that became a stupid American remake called Criminal or some such shit.

Whenever I go to Brantley and Madison's I am always introduced as a director. Always. That is my career as far as they are concerned, and it's fine when I'm there because almost everyone there works in theatre or film and introducing me as a director automatically opens channels of discussion (I guess). But I disappoint Madison. Actually neither of them wants me to go back to school. The thing is, I'm not really a director. What I mean is, I want to be an educator. My goal is no longer to be a successful director, but to be a successful teacher. That is what I want to do.
Nick DeGruccio was at the party, too. If you haven't heard of him, it's because you don't go to the theatre in Los Angeles. The man works non-stop. He directed a hugely-lauded production of Side Show a couple years ago and has worked steadily almost everywhere in the city since then. His production of The Laramie Project down at the Laguna Playhouse was nothing short of genius. The man is brilliant. At any rate, I sat with Nick the whole night and we chatted stories. He is such a great guy and I haven't seen him in, like, a year or so, so that was really cool.
When he left, though, Maddie says to me that I ought to hit Nick up for some help getting work. "Why?" I asked. "To get work," Maddie said. "I don't want to get work," I responded and meant it. Of course I could do this if I wanted to. I could call Nick up and he would hire me for very little money as his A.D. I could probably do the same thing with a couple other directors around town too if I really wanted. But I was serious when I answered Madison's question. I don't want to work. I want to teach. It isn't Madison's plan for my life, but it is my plan. I know it doesn't fit in with the whole working/Hollywood/"the business" thing (which is a fine career path: one I encourage and laud), but I believe that I am meant for a different kind of service.

It's weird to have to defend a career-choice like education. Most people, I suppose, don't want to be teachers, and for them it is Plan B, but for me it isn't.

20 January 2005

Question of the day...

Does anyone miss that game here at Sarcasm with a Light Cream Sauce?

Well, I thought of this provocative question yesterday and I was wondering what others think about it:

How do we feel about gay incest? A bad idea generally? Gross? Is it simply repulsive to us as a thought or is it morally wrong?
Religious answers welcome (please cite scripture.)

I'm personally not so sure I think it's morally criminal between consenting adults... for that matter, I'm not necessarily opposed to heterosexual incest between consenting adults. Mind you, I find the concept is rather revolting personally, but not particularly reprehensible from a moral standpoint.

Then again, I'm not exactly a paragon of moral standards.

Thoughts? Please? Anyone?

Finally, Some Theatre Work

So I talked to my old boss at CSUP, Bill Morse and he is still go for hiring me in Spring quarter to direct. He suggested that Bernardo Solano (the playwriting and community-based theatre teacher at CSUP) send me a few plays and that I pick the final two to go up with a play by Matthew Guerra. Bill asked how many Bernardo should send me. I responded, "As many as Bernardo thinks have potential." I quickly added that I wanted him to send me Wahima's play for sure. (I already have it, but I want them to be aware that I want to do it.)

Bill: Would Wahima be willing to work with you on it.
Aaron: I know she would. We are very close.
Bill: Ok.
Aaron: We're sleeping together.
Bill: Oh. I see.

This is getting closer and I am getting excited.
Can someone tell me when A Breeze from the Gulf goes up so's I can block out time to attend it? I am very excited about it as well.


As an athiest, I believe that attaining happiness (whatever that means to any one person, be it thrills or comfort or elation or quiet bliss) is paramount during our existence on Earth as humans. Sometimes, achieving lasting happiness means suffering for a period of time (e.g. going on the South Beach Diet for a month and a half). Sometimes, achieving momentary happiness becomes important. When a craving for lemon pie hit me today at 2:00p, I told myself I would head over to a bakery and order myself a slice of pie before the evening was over.

Moments ago, I finished doing just that. I took the book I'm reading to Marie Callendar's (ghastly place, but I knew for a fact they would have the pie I wanted) and ordered myself a coffee and a slice of pie. It was lovely.

I had a shitty day at work, too, and I deserved a little comfort. The reasons my day was shitty were many. There is a long story about receiving a seemingly-benign email meant as a gesture of friendship (?) with the word "faggot" in it. (Seems like there's something every single day, doesn't it?) There is also the story of me getting very little sleep and feeling incontinent this morning.

I pay my property taxes through the bank that handles my mortgage (i.e. World Savings). I pay them a monthly allotment which they hold in an escrow account until they have to pay my property taxes. It's not that great of a system, but Mick set it up for me when I bought the house, so I decided to leave it. Well, by Federal law, the bank has to reconcile the escrow account bi-annually. This time, the reassessment meant that the bank had to cut me a check for property taxes I've paid in excess. A Really. Big. Check. Needless to say, that cheered me up.

Peace out, homies. Tell yourselves I love you even if you know I despise you. It'll make you feel better.

Chris, thanks for reading. I was genuinely surprised to get your note. I'll drop you an email soon.
Allan, I am very grateful for you, even if I don't say it.
Wahima, In parallel to you hating other black people in the theatre, I think I tend to dislike other homos at CSUP... maybe it's just Pomona weighing down on you.

Two Days in the Valley

Seeing the 10:00p show of Les Choristes at the Royal in Westwood seemed like a do-able idea last night. This morning it seems like the suggestion of Satan. I am so fucking tired I want to murder someone, and instead of commiting homicide, I have to get my ass to the Burbank airport.

I havent seen La Cage aux Rossignoles, the film on which it is based, but Les Choristes works in exactly the way in which it intends. It is a charming movie about a reform school and the supervisor who teaches them to sing. There's nothing to take very seriously in the film, but it has some magical moments and one scene that is superb and moving.

Oh yeah, and Hotel Rwanda is a well-meaning, if manipulative and Spielbergian piece of cinema. Don Cheadle is absolutely great, but the film is edited poorly and the director has no style. I get frustrated, too, when a movie about genocide has hardly any killing and death in it. A million Rwandans died a decade ago in the genocide/civil war there, the film should have been a bit more horrific in my view. There's no reason to soften the horror for us. The world needs to know. Still, it's a story that needs to be told, and Hotel Rwanda is at least getting the word out.

18 January 2005

Oscars Are So Soon!

The Academy Award nominations will be announced by Academy President Frank Pierson and Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody a week from today at 5:30am PST. I cannot wait. It will be like Christmas morning in this house.

I won't be predicting the nominees, but I will be rooting for my favorites.

In other news, the trailer for The Fantastic Four is online here. Visit if comic books are your thing.

Gotta catch a screening. Peace out.

Someone's Touchy

So as not to keep you in suspense about the "formal complaint" that my lazy co-worker filed with my immediate supervisor on Friday, I will post all of the lurid details.

A little background: I have a lot of friends at work. As far as I can tell, most of the people like me. I think this is generally the case with any community into which I am thrust. Most of the women immediately like me because I'm funny (women love to laugh more than anything else) and the men (read, all the straight men) either like me outright because I'm cruel or funny or tall or handsome or they like me because they're afraid. By this I mean: all the women like me and if the men profess that they don't like me, then the women will dislike them or think them un-cosmopolitan or label them "homophobic."

Now, I am very close with three of my co-workers: I eat lunch with these women almost every day. They are all married, all older than me, and are all very, very nice. I wouldn't damage my relationship with a single one of them for a month's pay. Seriously. I forget why I started this long diatribe...

At any rate, I am hardly ever serious when I'm at work. I constantly play the prankster, joke with passersby, and tease the people in the other departments. I even flirt with most of the guys in other departments simply because it amuses me. I call myself alternately shallow, a whore, vain, a genius, a fairy, and brilliantly talented. You get the drift. I am crazy when I am at work. It's motherfucking accounting and if I don't behave insanely I will find myself a lunatic at the end of the day.

So on Thursday I made an off-the-cuff remark about hating straight people which I (naturally) meant with all my heart. I suppose I don't hate them per se, I just resent their social status, their ubiquity, and their absolute huge fucking majority in our political system. My remark to the room, "I hate straight people," contains all of this political reasoning and the emotional weight of my entire life, and it also contains none of it, because in truth, I resent none of my friends and colleagues for being straight people and I love them very much (not as much as I would if they were queer, but...) The point, from which I am clearly drifting, is that it was a joke, easily cubbyholed as a joke by everyone in the office and forgotten by everyone in the office. There was even some funny banter from the Controller, who asked if I disliked her along with all of the other breeders (I told her "no." After all, she's my boss.)

At least I thought my joke was forgotten... my lazy co-worker was either hugely offended by my statement or dislikes me enough to feign being hugely offended by my statement. So she told the office on Friday that she thought I was awfully prejudiced and that if she had said the opposite statement ("I hate fags" ?) we would have all been offended.

Talk about a tempest in a teacup! I was really worried that it was something serious I had done. This is less than nothing. This isn't the least bit offensive to anyone, and I was worrying about nothing at all. The lazy one said that if I said anything like that again she would report me to Human Resources. I guess that's a little scary, but mostly I just think this is really petty of her.

And hey, if you're straight and you're offended that I pretended to hate you for, like, three minutes, feel free to console yourself in the American reality that you can get married and I can't, that your rights and freedoms are not constantly in danger, and that you can walk down a street without fear of being beaten to death by a psychotic homo-hater on a drinking binge.

17 January 2005

Oh yeah, I forgot to post this. She sent it to me last week

I am writing this letter in support of Aaron Thomas's application to your graduate program.

I have known Aaron well for a number of years. I am a specialist in Shakespeare, with an interest in theatre history and performance studies, and first met Aaron in connection with a staged reading of Henry VI-a condensed version of all three plays. I was immediately impressed with his professionalism, his beautiful voice control, and his sense of humor.

Aaron later was a student in my upper-division Shakespeare class, and in this capacity wrote two excellent papers and prepared a scene from The Winter's Tale, performing the role of Leontes.

In the year or so since his graduation, I have continued to work with Aaron, mostly through the series of staged Shakespeare readings the Cal Poly Theatre Department sponsors at the Pomona Downtown Center. The staged readings are a pressure cooker, with very little preparation time. I have seen him working as an actor, as an assistant, and once as a director on extremely short notice. Aaron was asked to direct Love's Labors Lost, quite literally at the last minute, and managed to do an excellent job while retaining the above-mentioned professionalism and sense of humor, not an easy task.

I was a stage manager before receiving my Ph.D in English. I know what working with a difficult actor or director can be like, and I can honestly say that I always look forward to working with Aaron. I am quite sure that he has the intellectual capacity, ability, and self-discipline necessary to attain an advanced degree in Dramatic Art.

Please contact me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx if you have any further questions, as I enthusiastically support Aaron's application and would be happy to talk to the committee about his qualifications.


MD Aaron
Associate Professor
Department of English and Foreign Languages


Feel free to ease on down the road.

Just watched The Wiz. Good times.

I have no car right now because I dropped off the rental this evening and I'm not picking up my vehicle until the morning.

There was drama at work when i was gone, I guess. I really have no idea what happened, but evidently the one at work who I think is lazy made a "formal complaint" about me to our immediate supervisor. Who knows what it's about, but the three bosses I have who are above my immediate supervisor all seemed just fine with me today, so I guess no one told them about said "formal complaint." I can't help but worry about it, I suppose, if only because it means that I (or a perception of me) caused uneasiness in my place of employment.

I didn't hear about all of this until noon when I asked one of the co-workers why the lazy one wasn't speaking to me. This girl didn't speak to me all morning. After I heard about the "formal complaint" I made it my business to be extra-nice to her: inquisitive, asking her for help when I didn't need it, asking about her hair, etc. (y'all know the drill). After I did that for about an hour, this girl was fine and dandy: making jokes, telling me I was funny, asking me about my vacation, etc. So we'll see how it goes down tomorrow.

Goddamn I hate drama... unless it's somebody else's.

16 January 2005

Chinese New Year Resolution 1

Spend more time with other gay people.

My Weekend in Sin City

Now, bear in mind that Aaron, dear readers, has never before visited the much-famed city of Las Vegas. My friends have never gone before on a weekend when I could attend (mostly owing to my crap previous job.) So...

After work, I immediately headed over to Jaime's house in Montclair. We were met by John and Jason and began the drive to Nevada. We arrived in Stateline and we checked into our hotel (Wild Bill's) around 9:30p. We immediately purchased beers for ourselves, Jaime and I headed to the roulette table and John and Jason moved in on the craps table. We played for a while and I lost rather a lot of money on roulette (made some back on blackjack, but not enough.) Jaime spent most of her time with me, thankfully, so I didn't have time feeling uncomfortable or bored in the casino and I made a friend at the table who actually gave me money (I know; I'm hot.) Anna, Lisa, Julie, Chris and Anita showed up around 1:15a, I guess, and they started playing slot machines. I was really shocked. I mean, I had just been gambling with over $100, and they wanted to play nickel slots! They drive miles and miles to Nevad to play nickel slots?! They're not even fun. Ah well. Anyway, Chris asked me to play blackjack with him so I could teach him about the game, so Jason, Chris and I played that a while and after everyone but Jason deserted me I decided to go to bed around 3:15a.

Got 7 hours of sleep, woke up, checked out of Buffalo Bill's and then waited while most everyone rode the roller coaster there. We got some cheap food and then headed off to Vegas proper. We got to the hotel around 3:00p I guess. We stayed at the Imperial Palace (cheap, kinda trashy, right on the strip, therefore: perfect). But when we got to the hotel, all everyone wanted to do was rest. Mind you, we just got up at 10:30a, it was now 3:00p and HELLO I've never been to Vegas before. I have no interest in sleeping in my hotel room when I can be outside checking shit out. Jaime finally took me down to the bar. We did shots, and then I had two gin and tonics (yum). EVERYONE else went back to their rooms, including Derek (who lives in Vegas and decided to come stay with the girls in their hotel room) to "rest." I wasn't having it. Jason, Chris, Anita and I went across the street to Caesar's Palace and lo and behold! the Forum Shops, which no one has ever told me about. It's basically the most upscale mall you could ever hope to see and it extends seemingly forever. There is store after store of nice clothes, handbags, art, shoes, toys, jewelry: I almost passed out. I was like a kid in a candy store the whole time. Chris and Jason were laughing so hard at me because I was so excited.
I bought a pair of the coolest plaid slip-ons (green, yellow and red stripes on navy canvas with white soles) from Ralph Lauren Polo for $30!!! They didn't have Jason's size and he was pissed.
After my first site-seeing adventure, which extended to the Bellagio and their watershow, we went back to the hotel, changed and then we all went to the Rio together for their buffet for Anita's birthday. After that, we went to the MGM Grand's Fat Tuesday so we could each get a huge blended drink with an added shot of everclear (have I mentioned yet that I had been drunk since around 4:00p?) I was also exhausted by this point from all the walking, but after we gambled at the Grand for at least 2 hours, we went to New York, New York to gamble some more and find a lounge. I did not gamble more than $20 after my fiasco-sized losses at Wild Bill's. After a while, Chris, Jason, Anita and I decided to walk up the strip from NYNY to the Imperial. Went to bad around 3:00a.

Sidenote: at this point, I had really lost patience with the Julie/Anna/Lisa/Derek contigent, because all they want to do is sit around. They don't want to do anything except drink and sit... and I can drink at my house in Pasadena. Ain't no reason to drive for 4 hours and get a hotel room to drink. Plus they take forever to go anywhere. AND they don't want to do anything Anita wants to do... and it's her birthday we're supposed to be celebrating for chrissakes.

In the morning everyone in my room decided to ditch the Julie/Anna/Lisa/Derek contingent and go to the Mandalay Bay to see the shark exhibit which was SO FUCKING COOL. Then we went to NYNY to ride the roller coaster there, which was awesome, but a tad expensive I thought. We met Julie/Lisa/Anna/Derek at MGM Grand again for Fat Tuesday and some more gambling (plus pictures with weirdos at the hotel there.)
Then we went back to The Forum Shops to buy more shoes for me: HELLO $30.00! Need I say more? I bought two more pair and John bought a pair too.
We got more 2-for-1 drinks at Tequila Joe's (this place is great if only for the price... the Imperial Palace is a nice location for a lot of reasons.)
After this, Chris and Anita went to see Céline Dion (lame) and since I couldn't get tickets to any of the Cirque du Soleil shows last minute (silly me), I decided to go clubbing with J/A/L while Derek, Jason, John and Jaime went to Barbary Coast to gamble (they like table games). We left for the club at NYNY called the Big Apple around 11:15 and stopped again at Fat Tuesday and then walked to NYNY from MGM (geez). I was in a good mood by the time I got into the club and the dancer that the girls are obsessed with is gorgeous though this is not uncommon for dancers. In the club, the girls did not want to dance, so I got up and left them at some point and made my way onto the floor where I danced by myself to the hip-hop (thumbs down) for at least forty minutes before one of them came to get me. They kind of joined me on the floor but didn't really dance at all, which was frustrating... they crowded the floor and didn't move.

I know I should learn patience with these girls, but I am learning that they have bad taste in clubs (nothing underground or risky) and can't seem to get their asses in gear to do anything that I like to do. We just have hugely different tastes. If I am going to a club I want to DANCE and if I am in the biggest shopping mall on earth I want to SHOP and if I am in a city where no one sleeps I definitely do not want to be in my ROOM. They have no sense of risk. Same fucking drink place, same damn drinks, same buffet (buffets are kind of white-trash, I think).

At any rate I continued to dance for at least 2 hours and then their dancer left and they got bored so we went back to the Imperial.

We left for Los Angeles today around 2:30p. I had the GREATEST time and Vegas is definitely my town. There is so much to do that I didn't do and so many shows that I want to see.

The 3 pairs of shoes for $110.00 alone makes the weekend badass, but the shark exhibit, all of the drunken craziness, and the utter majesty of this town made the weekend unforgettable. I had such a fabulous time.

Love to all.
Call me.
There are still a few movies to see.

P.S.: the Golden Globes are pregnant with meaning, but have no effect whatever on the coming Oscar nominations since the polls closed Saturday at 5:00p.

12 January 2005

Best Supporting Actress

My favorites:


LOLA DUEÑAS, The Sea Inside

LILY TOMLIN, I [Heart] Huckabees

CATE BLANCHETT, The Aviator & The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou & Coffee & Cigarettes


Runners-up: Jodie Foster, A Very Long Engagement; Daryl Hannah, Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Natalie Portman, Garden State; Kirsten Dunst, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Meryl Streep, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events; Lynn Collins, The Merchant of Venice.

11 January 2005

Best Supporting Actor

My favorites:

MARK WAHLBERG, I [Heart] Huckabees

PETER SARSGAARD, Garden State & Kinsey

RODRIGO DE LA SERNA, The Motorcycle Diaries


MORGAN FREEMAN, Million Dollar Baby

Runners-up: Jim Broadbent, Vanity Fair; Phil Davis, Vera Drake; David Carradine, Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Jon Foster, The Door in the Floor.

10 January 2005

Best Actress

My favorites:


LAURA DERN, We Don't Live Here Anymore

KIM BASINGER, The Door in the Floor


HILARY SWANK, Million Dollar Baby

Runners-up: Nicole Kidman, Birth & Dogville; Julia Roberts, Closer; Bryce Dallas Howard, The Village; Reese Witherspoon, Vanity Fair; Uma Thurman, Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Irma P. Hall The Ladykillers

I hate this fucking rain.

I got sales calls today from the Geffen Playhouse and South Coast Rep. I know I'm not interested in giving any more money to the Geffen, but I will think about SCR, considering they have a deal for us youngsters under the age of 25. It's just that Costa Mesa is so goddamn far.

Can we say Productive Evening?

I finished all of my graduate applications. Finished all of them. They are mailed. Done. Now all there is to do is wait.

Good thing I have the Academy Awards to keep me giddy and obsessed for the next two months while I wait to see if I'm cool enough to be in the Ph.D. club.

I also cooked (!)
I made the most delicious chicken. I browned 5 chicken fillets in butter after covering them in kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. To the pot, I then added some pinot grigot, a liberal dose of fresh thyme, 2 chopped white onions, a half a pound of sliced mushrooms, a bay leaf (yum) and 2 sliced sour apples. Chicken can cook like this in very little liquid if you cover it. It took about 25 minutes and then I had some delicious chicken. At the last minute, I added some heavy cream and let that simmer for a moment for a nice touch. Yum.

Not Sore; Just Happy

Yesterday was the most fulfilling day I had in a very long time. Linda Bisesti randomly invited me over to CSUP for a 6-hour contact improv class and I randomly decided to go. (All of those workshops on auditioning and how to be an actor in the "business" make me want to kill myself.) But contact improv is contact improv and I've had enough of it to know it's great.

We did about 2 hours of "Viewpoints" which I hope is a lot different than what we did. If it is similar to the work we did yesterday, it's nonsense. That having been said, he split up the class at one point (there were about 30 people there, I would guess) and had half of us be witnesses to the other half who had the whole stage to move... and I got a bit emotional. I haven't witnessed movement in a really long time... probably since the Voice Intensive in 2002. It's such interesting work to me and I never do it anymore.

After our 2 hours of "Viewpoints," the instructor moved on to contact improv, which most of the class described as "sexual" or "erotic." I've done it before and I never had a sexual experience, and I have to admit to not having any kind of sexual experience yesterday either, so I'm not sure what the actors were talking about. Contact improv is tough to describe, but it's very dance-y. It is physical improvisation based on two partners or more exchanging their weight back and forth in various positions. It's fucking exhausting, but very cool to experience.

We seriously did this for the better part of four hours. We finished at six, I went and had a pizza and then went home and crashed.

I can't remember when I spent that long in a studio. It was awesome and I was so grateful to Linda for giving me the opportunity and to all of the students for being as open to the work as they were. There was still a lot of silliness and masturbation (as is usual with university students) and you would not believe the ridiculousness of Nathan Weaver (why did he even show--to sabotage other people's experiences?), but I think overall the students really gave themselves over to the work and had a beneficial experience.

09 January 2005

Best Actor

The deadline for Academy ballots is the end of this week, so I want to get my choices in before then. I'll try to do one every night. So... my favorites of the year and the order in which I would place them if I got to vote at the Academy:

JEFF BRIDGES, The Door in the Floor

AL PACINO, The Merchant of Venice

GAEL GARCÍA BERNAL Bad Education & The Motorcycle Diaries

JAMIE FOXX, Collateral & Ray


Runners-up: Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda; Mark Ruffalo, We Don't Live Here Anymore; Matt Damon, The Bourne Supremacy; Jim Carrey, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events; Tom Hanks, The Terminal; Topher Grace, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! & (I'll assume) In Good Company.

07 January 2005

Top Twenty-Five for 2004

I have decided to release this list without having seen (most notably) Hotel Rwanda and The Polar Express. I should also duly note that there are probably at least ten other movies that I missed and that I will definitely see in the next year. These include but are not limited to Man on Fire, 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Son Frère, Tarnation, Goodbye Dragon Inn, The Polar Express, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Crimson Gold and Alfie. If you have any movies to add after reading my complete list, feel free to comment and say "Check this movie out, you bastard."

Without further ado, from the bottom up:

25. Good Bye, Lenin! A very funny, bittersweet film from German director Wolfgang Becker that has farcical tendencies but is definitely in the right place politically.

24. Bon Voyage Part war-flick, part noir, part glamorous movie-star vehicle, this film from Jean-Paul Rappeneau (Cyrano de Bergerac, The Horseman on the Roof) may be all over the place, but it is thrilling to watch and a load of fun.

23. Vanity Fair Mira Nair's adaptation of William Thackeray's 19th century novel is almost always entertaining and gorgeous to look at. It is a story with an anti-heroine, and how often do you find those? (If I had been spared every single scene with Romala Garai, I would have rated this movie much higher.)

22. Being Julia Loads of fun, especially if you're a gay man who works in the theatre. This film, from Hungarian auteur István Szabó (Mephisto, Colonel Redl) is All About Eve if Margo Channing had fabulously defeated Eve by publicly humiliating the little tramp and to frenzied acclaim from adoring New Yorkers.

21. Bad Education I've been waiting for this film, but I qualify my recommendation of it. Bad Education is a damn smart film, and one seemingly obsessed with Douglas Sirk and Billy Wilder (?), but it's many layers left me emotionally detached from the story, and I think in the end, Almodóvar misses the boat if he's trying to make a film about love... or maybe that's just what I wanted to see.

20. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events I loved this children's film from Brad Silberling. It's performances are spot-on, the comedy is riotous. Jim Carrey seems to fit in perfectly, and the art direction is nothing short of perfect: intricate and ancient without ever being really horrifying. There's a brilliant scene where a toddler is nuzzled by an absolutely enormous python: if that's not love...

19. The Bourne Supremacy Badass filmmaking from Paul Greengrass, whose Bloody Sunday was a powerful, stunning debut a couple years ago. Supremacy is the sequel to The Bourne Identity, and part two is easily better than the first. This film is faster, riskier and more violent with one of the best car chases I have ever seen on a movie screen in my life: on the level of Ronin and The French Connection. Seriously. This movie rocked.

18. Želary A beautiful film from Czech director Ondrej Trojan. This is a WWII film about social mores and small town sensibilities. Excellent.

17. I [Heart] Huckabees Full of non-sequitors and abusively funny. I have a fierce affection for this movie from infamous taskmaster David O. Russell. I love its politics, its jokes, and especially its performances. Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin do their best work in years. Jude Law is hilarious and Mark Wahlberg is an absolute revelation.

16. The Incredibles Magic. Absolute magic. This should be higher on my list, but I am prejudiced against animation. Something to work on.

15. Collateral This is how Los Angeles really looks. With a sobering performance by Jamie Foxx, and an energetic one from Tom Cruise, Collateral is an excellent film from Michael Mann, who makes me believe we're running around the city in which I live.

14. We Don't Live Here Anymore This is the kind of film I am a sucker for... the kind of film I would probably direct if I directed films. It's a cold film set in New England about university professors and their wives, all of whom hate their lives. It's not a date movie, but director John Curran understands adult relationships the way few people do.

13. The Twilight Samurai See this movie as an antidote to this year's soulless offerings from Zhang Yimou. The Twilight Samurai from director Yoji Yamada is a beautiful movie about a middle-aged man earning the respect of his children and the love of a woman.

12. I'm Not Scared This Italian movie is a thriller set in the 1970s and stars the gorgeous Aitana Sanchez-Gijon. The real story is about a young boy finding another young boy in a secret ditch in the middle of nowhere and befriending him. This is a movie about a son's love for his father and the power of friendship. (I can be a sucker for movies about small children, never having been one myself.)

11. A Very Long Engagement A World War I film that is also a powerful love story and an effective mystery from the French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie). I've gone into it here recently, so I won't retread.

10. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 The best western since Unforgiven and the fitting conclusion to last year's Vol. 1. Part two is not as uproariously funny or incredibly violent as part one, but it's ending is transcendent and Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah and David Carradine are all wonderful.

9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind See it. This is a film about the memories we treasure and the inevitability of true love. It also explores the things that we have to give up and put up with for love to succeed. Love is as much a sacrifice as it is a rapture, and this film by director Michel Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman captures this perfectly.

8. The Motorcycle Diaries An empathetic, human film about two men (one of whom happens to be Ché Guevara) traveling the South American continent to explore its wonders and its people. Director Walter Salles (a Brazilian) and a cast from a whole host of Spanish-speaking nations would have made Ernesto Guevara proud. This is a film about the unity of South Americans: a unity of which they are perhaps unaware, and the journey of a man from an idealist into an idealogue. This is a beautiful, haunting film with brilliant performances from Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna.

7. Dogville This movie packs a wallop, and whatever its detractors say, this movie from anti-American director/sadist Lars von Trier is chilling, uncomfortable and horrifying. I alternately squirmed in my seat and sat with my mouth agape. He borrows (steals) from Thornton Wilder, Bertholt Brecht and Mark Twain and comes up with a film that made me feel like a million bucks walking out. I think this film has the biggest emotional payoff of the year.

6. Million Dollar Baby An excellent film from Clint Eastwood about boxing, love, parenthood, and what we do for the people we love. This is a film about chasing down dreams, achieving them, and knowing when to quit. I can't do it justice. This is an extremely powerful work by a director who wants to probe man's capability to behave humanely. This is also one of the most emotionally stirring films of the year.

5. The Door in the Floor A very funny and cold film from director Tod Williams that boasts the best performance of the year (from actor Jeff Bridges). This is a film that reminded me in a lot of ways of Woody Allen: except that Door has elements of Interiors as well as some from Broadway Danny Rose. This is a film about grief and about our selfishness and inability to be generous with those closest to us no matter how much they need us.

4. The Return Fascinating father/son drama from Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev. This movie plays like a mystery, but is really about the growth of two young boys and how their father (whom they despise) forms them into men.

3. The Sea Inside An uplifting, emotional film that is so life-affirming you wouldn't know it's about a quadraplegic fighting for the right to end his own life. This movie, from Spanish director Alejandor Amenábar and starring Javier Bardem is powerful and complete. Calling it a biopic might be stretching the genre a bit, but this is the best movie based on tru events I have seen in a long time.

2. Garden State You either get it or you don't. If you are over thirty, you probably don't get it. All I can say is that for me and every other person I have spoken to in my age bracket, Garden State expresses something we have been trying to put into words for a while now. I don't want to call it angst (I feel like I'm putting myself down if I do that), but it is a kind of spiritual displacement or perhaps a lack of faith in society that my generation seems to feel keenly and that Garden State just understands. I do think that the film is unfairly biased against our parents' generation, but I forgive that, because, well Hell, I am unfairly biased against my parents' generation as well.

1. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ...and Spring My favorite film of the year. This one is from Korean director Kim Ki-duk. It's a Buddhist fable that is set in five stages of a man's life as he achieves harmony with the universe and forgives himself for the things he does. This film is inexpressibly beautiful to look at as well as emotionally powerful. Awesome.

I have a worst of the year list, too, that I can post eventually.

Happy movie-going. Please comment if you feel the urge.

05 January 2005

Feels Like So Much

I really ought to be going to sleep now, considering that I haven't got much sleep the last couple of days (movie-watching and visiting people from other states have taken precedence over sawing Z's). That said...

I have been trying avoiding finishing my applications for Davis and Santa Barbara. There's really not much left to do; I'm just bad at getting up the gumption to do this stuff, plus... I owed a phone call, I had to pick up the photos of Xmas & New Year's Eve at Target, and I had to go locate someone to sign the checks for my HOA. I also worked overtime, which never helps when I want to get things accomplished in the evening.

I want to release my top 25 movies of the year as well as my "best of" actor list, but I still have Hotel Rwanda to see before I do this. Also, I have been reading Movie Club over at Slate and they make me want to see some other movies I still haven't seen: I'll be Netflixing Moolaadé, Goodbye Dragon Inn, Notre Musique, Son Frère and Tarnation.

At work today I guess you could say we had drama. I try to stay out of it, that is, above it, but that rarely works as you all know me to be a rabid chismoso. I love gossip; mostly because it's so trashy and you can get in trouble if you get caught and you have to weasel out of things. Fun! My favorite person at work (Miss Weng) is kind of above the gossip, though, and she made me feel a little guilty for partaking. Ah well. But the girl who I told you about (the girl who never works and who grates on my nerves like an Ashlee Simpson song in the middle of the afternoon) vowed today that she would never. ever. speak to me. again.
Hilarious. I try so hard to be nice, y'all, but you know I am evil (well, more like Darwinist or Randian/Objectivist) at heart and I just can't abide nonsense like pretending to work and taking one's self too seriously.

Shout out to Weng. Hi! I opened your chocolates a day or two ago, by the way, and they are all in perfect condition. Hmm.

I'm sure I had other dirt to post on here, but it's not coming to me. Shit.

Oh I know! I bought two very fun shirts yesterday.
The first is a light pink tee with a silkscreen print that says "I got my girlfriend pregnant and all I got was half my paycheck." So gay.
The second is the most hilarious tee I have ever seen and I don't think my description will do it justice, but I seriously start to laugh every time I even think of this t-shirt. It is one of those shirts that has like "Joe's Diner" or something in huge letters, and underneath that it says "Scranton, NJ." Underneath that is a giant picture of a steak sandwich. Beneath that is the phrase "I ate the whole thing." All of this is silkscreened.

This shirt, though, has the word "ate" crossed out with a felt "x" and in raised felt words the phrase "DIDN'T EAT" is written next to the word "ate." The entire effect is really quite genius.

I didn't eat the whole thing.
Urban outfitters also had a shirt that said "Everyone loves an Asian guy" which seemed appropriate for me.

I could wear it clubbing.

If I went clubbing.

'Night mother.

The Jewish Dog of Venice Who Was Made to Be a Christian

In case you were wondering, The Merchant of Venice is still a profoundly bigoted piece of writing and Michael Radford's film is not—even in the year of our Lord 2004—able to overcome the play's inherent bigotry.
I watched my screener's copy tonight after hanging out with Jai in Old Town Pas.
Al Pacino is wonderful, simply put, and this woman who plays Portia (her name is Lynn Collins) is completely alluring and totally hot.
I loved the costumes, but I have to say I just still hate this play. It makes me incredibly upset and almost sick to my stomach. The injustice in this play is equal for me to the injustice in a hit-'em-over-the-head piece like The Crucible: it's that level of injustice. I was seriously saying "fuck you" over and over and over to my screen. There's no way around it. I don't ever want to do this play; I don't think I ever want to even see this play again. And if anyone ever tells me they want to mount a production I will ask them why with a look of complete incredulity on my face and then politely refuse to be a part of it.

03 January 2005

How Many Friends Can You Fit into One Night?

I meant to come home and watch The Merchant of Venice (The CFO is lending me her screener copy, so I get to see it for free and I don't have to drive all the way to the Checchi Gori Fine Arts Theatre). I didn't watch the movie, though... maybe tomorrow.

Instead I drove to Diamond Bar and celebrated Margarita Mondays with John and Jaime. We had a very fun time and I ran into Jen of Jeremy fame. She misses everyone, she said to say, and she also says please invite her to shit and she promises she will come. Okay, Margaraitas are $1.95 apiece on Margarita Mondays! Awesome. Their food is really shitty, but hey... we're there for the Tequila anyway.

John and Jaime and I had a lengthy conversation about teaching Creationism in schools. John is very intelligent and he and I went back and forth for a long while about all kinds of things. It was fun.

Then I drove to meet Jill in Montclair before she flies back to Ohio in the morning.

P.S. I want my car back.
P.P.S. I meant to add In Good Company to the list of films I'd still like to see from 2004. It looks like frivolous fun, but ever since Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! I have faith in that Topher Grace as a new and rising talent.

02 January 2005

Three to Go

Tonight I saw A Very Long Engagement (Un Long Dimanche des Fiançailles), the new film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Jeunet uses the same tactic he used in 2001's Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulin, which is basically giving us loads and loads of information ancillary to the central story in order both to show the interconnectedness of all life and to add emotional weight to his tale. I thought that Cuarón did something similar with Y Tu Mamá También to great success. This storytelling device worked splendidly in Amélie, which I'm sure everyone has seen. The additional information made the story even more charming than it already was and served to point out how we can often take small, very precious things for granted. This tangential information serves pretty much the same purpose in Engagement and has an equally successful effect. Engagement is a charming film in its own way but is as far from a comedy as genre gets. It's a war movie through and through. It's also a fascinating mystery and an intelligent, gripping, love story that is never schmaltzy or sentimental.
This is a film that is never boring, incredibly charming, though surprisingly sober, and still manages to show the horrors and evils of war. It's not All Quiet on the Western Front and it doesn't want to be, but it's also an excellent film about World War I. Definitely recommended.

All that is left are The Polar Express, The Merchant of Venice and Hotel Rwanda.

Bad Grammar

When I had a cd player at my desk at American Accounting, I mostly listened to my own music collection, which is quite varied (say, The Lion King to Cesaria Evora to Cristián Castro to Rufus Wainwright to Igor Stravinsky) If I listened to the radio I almost always listened to KPCC 89.3 (which is NPR) or if someone I didn't like was talking, KUSC 89.3 (which is classical public radio.)
In my department at Avjet, however, we are forced to listen to the DJ's choices on KBIG 104.3 out here in Los Angeles. It is the absolute worst kind of pop music: Ashlee Simpson, Cristina Aguilera, Céline Dion, 98 Degrees, you get the picture. Most of the singers are people I had never even heard of before this job. It's not like KOST 103.5, which plays sappy love songs from primarily the 1980s: REO Speedwagon, Air Supply, Tina Turner, etc. Those at least I could sing along with. KBIG plays drek drek and more drek, punctuated occasionally by a Madonna song or something good by Prince.
I put up with this, though, because the girls in accounting seem to need it to keep awake.
On Monday, however, it took a turn for the even worse. They started announcing the following before every commercial break: "More music; less commercials." That's right: "More music; less commercials."

I responded out loud "Less commercials?!" "Less commercials?!" Can they not even speak English on this radio station? I shook my head and went back to work, but the folks at KBIG were not to be corrected. They continued their slogan every thirty minutes on the hour and half-hour: "More music; less commercials."

By 4:00p I had had enough. I told the girls I was switching the station. I just couldn't take the abuse of my language. And sure enough, KOST had a slogan of their own: "More music...

fewer commercials."

The music still sucks, but at least they remember how to speak English.

Public Service Announcement

I watched some Fox News today and most of it was utter nonsense, but there was this one PSA that I am still thinking about... they have commercials on Fox News, by the way... I thought you already paid to get the channel. I guess you also have to watch commercials.... Sucks. How come they don't do that on TCM or HBO? How come the dumbfucks who watch Fox News aren't more mad about this?

At any rate... There was this PSA on for "the troops" and such. There were a few women wishing their husbands or whatever a nice holiday and a safe (and quick) trip home to them, which is all good and well.
And THEN this young (very cute, but that's beside the point) twenty-something gets on camera and says some nonsense about "If the troops weren't over there doing what they're doing, we couldn't be here doing what we're doing" IS HE SERIOUS? I mean really? What utter nonsense.

Bad Reviews?

I just saw Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and I loved it. Really. I thought it pushed exactly the right emotional buttons when it needed to, boasted very funny performances from Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep and Billy Connolly. The movie is cast perfectly. I thought that the kids were excellent (especially that Liam Aiken kid--give me him over Freddie Highmore and his huge tears any day). Thomas Newman's score is wonderful, the visual effects are great, and the writing is absolutely terrific. If you're thinking about seeing this movie but aren't sure, take it from me: go. It's even got this really fun Edward Gorey-inspired end credits sequence that is one of the best of the year.

For New Years this year, I was invited to the Keri Boling wedding that Kim attended, but I decided I didn't really care to go. I had planned on spending the evening with Jaime. We were gonna get a hotel room close to the wedding so that our friends could come by after they were sick of wedding. But the hotel thing fell through, so I decided to ditch my high school friends altogether and go to the party thrown by my man Danny and spend the New Year with my other group of close friends. I think it is important always to remind the people whom we love that we love them. They need to hear it even if they don't think they do. It can mean a lot. So I spent New Years with Danny and Ashley and Wahima and Justin and Kirsten and Becca and Elizabeth and some other cat named Keith. We had a great time (sorry about the game, Wa, but I'm just not competitive).

In other news, I sent in my application for UC Davis a day or two ago, and today I decided not to apply to Cornell and UWashington, but instead to try UC Santa Barbara. UCSB has a 1/15/05 deadline, too, so I should be okay, I think. It just really hit me so hard today: if I am not accepted to school in the fall I will be so depressed. I want to move on with my life. I like my job and I like my house but this is not where I am supposed to be and I know it. So I want to move on and do what I am supposed to be doing. I have created a nice little life for myself, and if I ended up doing this for a couple more years before going back to school, it honestly wouldn't be the end of the world, but this is just not the right path and to continue on it seems foolish. I need to get a move on on the path that is my real life.
In the damned-if-I-do-damned-if-I-don't category, if I do get into school I will have to quit my job and move away from everyone I love. Lovely thoughts for the New Year.

Love and Kisses,