"You sound to me as though you don't believe in free will," said Billy Pilgrim. "If I hadn't spent so much time studying Earthlings," said the Tralfamadorian, "I wouldn't have any idea what was meant by free will. I've visited 31 inhabited planets in the universe...Only on Earth is there any talk of free will." -- K. Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Monday, August 30, 2004

Roll out the barrel, roll out the barrel of fun

The annual trip to the Minnesota State Fair is really exciting, and at the same time a definite sign that summer is ending. The anticipation of the fair used to make up for the sinking dread that came with those first September days of school. Granted, instead of starting school next week I get to go to the same job. Hmmm. Somebody should have explained that school was way better than most jobs. Not that I would have listened.

Regardless, the fair was great. A combination of a total freak show, people who don't make it off the farm too often, good old Minnesotan liberals out to campaign, kids who had way too much sugar, and your assortment of pigs, cows, sheep, poultry, and even the dreaded horses. We did make the mistake of going into the 4-H building, which featured several "displays" by teenagers, explaining why *they* believed that evolution is a lie. I mean, seriously? ARE THEY SERIOUS? Of course, this was countered by a sixth grader's summary of what her wedding will be like. It even included a budget and pictures of the shoes her bridesmaids would wear. Are there really adults out there encouraging this type of behavior? What happened to progress?

Rant over. I had an excellent day making fun times with the polaroid camera (with some excellent assistance from Nellie). You can check out some of the results here.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

not so coherent

How many years of your life can you get away with waking up too early on Sunday and wasting the morning away with coffee and newspapers? When I wake up vaguely confused as to what I had been doing 5 hours previous, the first thing that tips me off that something may be wrong is that I never know if it's too early or way later than it should be. More than likely, it's too early. Oh, I try to go back to sleep. Maybe there is a greater purpose for my awake state? Then again, if free will is out of my hands, I guess I should just go with it. There is a reason coffee tastes good, and I don't think it's because of the caffeine. Is there a purpose in questioning things if you will never get an answer?

I'm going to have start keeping a list of books/articles/magazines that I read right before I go to sleep and when I wake up. I'm beginning to realize there is only so much attention I can give any written material at these times of day - but I'm addicted. Last night (is 3 am night?) and this morning (a mere 4 hours later) I read Jeffrey Brown's graphic novel Clumsy. I had to put it down every 10 minutes or so because it was so real. I think I need to lay off the relationship-examination graphic novels for awhile, or at least between the hours of midnight and 10am. Something about brain structure changing.

One last thing: does anyone ever feel like *living* in a song (or a whole album)? Listening to music can be such a passive experience - when it is so good, and says exactly what you want to, it's hard to do anything but sit back and try to internalize it. How do you use it beyond that? Wes Anderson does a fantastic job of incorporating music into life (see the Royal Tenenbaums - every song in that movie is so alive). But I hate talking about movies. Really.

Off to find some other early morning rabble rousers at a coffee shop. Should I wash yesterday's makeup off first? Eh, can't be bothered.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Will Ferrell. So hot right now.

The best part of having an awful president is good comedians mimicking them.


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Things I once needed, circa 2001

Tonight I found a piece of paper that included two things: the first is a list I had started to make to go to Target. I actually do remember making this list - it was August, 2001. I had just moved into the Los Feliz apartment with Ariel. I had just graduated from college. I had just gotten my first real job. I was full of independence, confusion, fear, and excitement. The bottom half of the paper has a line chart following my emotions for the year, thus far. Check out this vintage (primitive) chart here.

It actually didn't take me long to fill that list out. Turns out that collecting various material goods, people, legal documents and art supplies can only bring you so much happiness. As an experiment, I'll try to make a new list. Here we go:

Things I need - August, 2004

Around the world airline ticket
U of M Library Card
more polaroid film
summer to last longer than normal
studio space
all my friends to live closer together
a new president
corner Indian restaurant, like in England where all the corner shops sell curries
improved batting average, or any batting average at all
a trip down south
apartment by a body of water
wood floors, colorful walls, clawfoot bathtub, urban surroundings
greater knowledge of things I don't really care about (e.g. "space", "planets", "animals")
to see The Life Aquatic

Ask me how this turned out in another three years. I should have it all figured out by then....

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Morrissey's Viva Hate has been replaced by Neil Young Decade.

Although it's sad to let Morrissey go, I welcome back Neil Young into the summer lexicon. Of course, it makes me want to put the top down on the car (turns out you can't do that with a Volvo station wagon) and smoke a pack of Camels (put it down, Justin).

Sunday, August 15, 2004

A Shout Out to the Parents (Go Carol and Srinivasan)

Yesterday I was excited because I got so many sweet books for $1.50. Today? I am even more excited because I found even more awesome books in my parents basement. Really, I have probably looked at these books hundreds of times in my life, never really registering how great some of them are. I remember wandering into that room when I was in Junior High, looking for something to read. I picked up Cat's Cradle (there were two copies, meaning both of my parents are awesome). Not only did reading Cat's Cradle, along with the rest of the Vonnegut "library" that lived in that room, change my life, it made me realize that I come from good stock. I think tonight's random venture into the room proved more fruitful than the library sale. Price? $0!!

After Many a Summer Dies the Swan - Aldous Huxley
Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon (I said - 'Dad, have you read this?' He said 'Oh yeah! That was a good one.')
The Outsider - Richard Wright
The Favorite Game - Leonard Cohen
The Soviet Union Today - Kenneth R. Whiting ("Today" refers to 1962, so it will either be ridiculously Cold War, or extremely insightful. Or maybe just bad. I'll let you know.)

The sun came out this morning

The books I bought at the library sale this morning:

Black Boy - Richard Wright
Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes
Being and Nothingness - Jean-Paul Sartre
The Origin of Species - Darwin
3 Issues of Granta
Political Ideology - Cox

all for a total of $1.50. Possibly the best feeling a Saturday morning has to offer.

Listening to:

Mountain Goats - All Hail West Texas
The Replacements - Unsatisfied

Friday, August 13, 2004

I am pretty sure there is no one in my office right now.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Sun on Your Face is the Reason I Wanted to Hold On

The Summer Soundtrack Project

I'm compiling a multi-CD volume of songs that have made this summer memorable, to accompany a show of photos and polaroids that I am putting together in a few weeks (stay tuned for details). Until then, I want everyone to send (or post) the top one or two songs they have been listening to on repeat this summer. They don't have to be new, or cool, or even anything anyone has ever heard of before. They can be the time you sang Tiny Dancer at Karoke back in June or your favorite song of summer 1999 ("He's just my baby's daddy"?) I want the songs you can't get enough of, the ones that will make you think of summer long after fall has descended. Hook me up, and I'll hook you up with a copy of the finished project.

To get you started, here are some of mine:

These Days - Nico
The Sea and The Rhythm - Iron and Wine
Holland - Sufjan Stevens
I Don't Care If You Forget Me - Morrissey (from Viva Hate, of course)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

True Myths

Warning! Weather related post! (I'm a Minnesotan, I can't help it)

I wake up this morning, Wednesday, August 11, and I'm cold. I mean, really cold. How could this be? Is it really 46 DEGREES in the middle of August? I mean, we're talking 14 degrees from snowing. I can see my breath. I bought a new sweater yesterday (I had to - it has elbow patches). I know all you non-Minnesotans are thinking, "Well, of course. You live in Minnesota." But this is not right. August is usually hot hot hot, waves of humidity taking over your soul. When I got to Minnesota in August last year, it was so hot that I missed the relative comfort of temperate Los Angeles. I bought a high powered fan. I spent days by the lake. This year? They're having a frost Up North. I saw someone biking on Lyndale this morning, wearing mittens - and I couldn't blame him. That wind is cold. Will it snow before the State Fair? If it does, I've officially seen it all. What ever happened to global warming?

Monday, August 09, 2004

Am I employed?

How to Forget About Workaday Issues Over the Course of a Weekend

1. Always have a stack of magazines by your bed
2. Go to a BBQ
3. Forget what time it is on a regular basis
4. Meet a princess (with a convertible) and consider living in her castle
5. Watch High Fidelity before going to a party at 12:30am
6. Spend some time holding up drunk friends/acquaintances
7. Stand in the backyard of a party on a hot summer night - look at the time, realize it's 3am and that everyone around you in making out with someone, while you are talking to someone about James Joyce's The Dubliners and Thomas Mann's Death in Venice
8. Keep leftover pizza in your refrigerator at all times
9. Keep vitamins next to pizza
10. Stay up late enough Saturday night to
a. see the sun rise
b. forget that you have a job by Sunday morning
11. Wake up with fan blowing on your face, pick up aforementioned magazines,
sit on a porch (any will do), read away your morning
12. Play pinball/skeeball/air-hockey
13. See a movie, maybe two
14. Constant CD rotation: [ie. Nico, Lauryn Hill, the Weakerthans, Can, Joy Divison]
15. Sunglasses

Saturday, August 07, 2004

living in the pluperfect

Wednesday was the City Page's 25th Anniversary Party at First Ave. Three hours of open bar and free Pizza Luce (bins of veggie nuggets!) leads to way too much consumption. Sitting in the entry holding three drinks each, talking at rapid speeds wearing out my vocal cords, watching everyone file into the shows - there was some screamo in the Entry and Brother Ali rap-a-tapping in the Main Room. Dancing, rock and roll haircuts, drinks spilled all over.

While sitting in the Entry, someone commented to me "It's just that no one I know is happy". I looked at him and said, "But I am!" Although I was shocked that those words came out of my mouth, they weren't untrue. I feel like I am caught in an upward momentum - I don't know if I have ever felt this mobile before. I used to be hesitant to do things that I couldn't "picture" in my head. I always assumed that there was a way I was supposed to do things, that there were other lives I should mirror. It's become much clearer that if I spend this time in my life worried about what will happen in 5 years, I will never enjoy now.

So right now I am going to sit in the chair by the window, watch this morning storm approach, drink some coffee, read White Teeth, and listen to Nico.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Check out Dina's sweet Minnesota attitude.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I am so glad I'm not in London today

If they threw some horse eyeballs into the Thames, also, it may be the apocalypse.

The headline reads A boy and thousands of fish are killed in Britain

A 14-year-old boy was killed in a lightning strike during sudden thunderstorms that sent 600,000 tons of raw sewage into the Thames, killing thousands of fish, officials said Wednesday.
Separate lightening strikes injured four 15-year-old girls in Hyde Park as heavy rains caused flooding and transportation headaches Tuesday.

The discharge was in floodwater that was allowed into the river to prevent the capital from flooding during storms on Tuesday, the Environment Agency said. It has ordered Thames Water to add hydrogen peroxide to affected areas of the waterway to save more fish.
"The sudden downpour meant that London's drainage network could not cope and was overloaded," the agency said in a statement.

"The storm sewage has resulted in vital oxygen reserves being used up, causing the fish kill."
The agency said the city's drainage network could not cope with even moderate rainfall and similar, smaller discharges happened 50-60 times a year.

Thames Water said it may take some days for the water to clear as the Thames is tidal and the sewage will move up and down the river with the current.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Why I left Los Angeles

Everyone knows that I hate talking about movies. One of the main reasons I dropped out of film school was because I didn't like talking about movies. Which isn' t to say that I don't appreciate a good movie. Lost in Translation? Good. The Royal Tenenbaums? Fucking good. Rushmore? So very, very good. Being John Malkovich? I didn't know movies could be that good. Which is why I feel obligated to make sure everyone knows: this summer's "hit movie" Napoleon Dynamite? SO AWFUL. Not funny. It was, at best, a very shallow character sketch which I forgot as soon as the movie ended. Both the story and the characters had no depth, they were over dramatic - not to mention ripped straight from daytime talk shows. The reason anyone should like a movie is because they can relate to some aspect of it - not because it makes fun of "weird" people who are currently very hip. See Welcome to the Dollhouse as a very good example as to how to portray a 'loser' in a nostalgic yet empathetic manner. It is driving me crazy that this "film" is receiving any attention at all. I can just imagine the room full of hipsters in Silverlake or East Hollywood (sorry Nate and Ariel) laughing at the thought of a "poor" "dork" wearing moon boots and "learning hip-hop moves". Is this what passes for "cool" now"? It insults me as a person in my mid-20s. It insults me as a movie viewer. It insults me as a human being.

Note to producers: please don't finance these projects anymore. Your audiences may be dumb, but if you choose the smart, weird screenplay, it will be oh so much better. Thank you.

Sunday, August 01, 2004


If you ask how I got so bitter
I'll ask how you got so vain
And all our questions blur together
The answers always sound the same.
-- The Weakerthans, None of the Above

I wish there was a switch you could hit to step outside of yourself. Issues that seem so important are so minimal when they aren't yours. Living in the moment always seems so important, until it's over and there is a new one to embrace. Maybe that's one of the reasons that friends are so important - they can tell you when you are becoming too obsessed in your own issues. This is why it is so important to be involved in other people's lives; so that you remember that you are only one small person in a huge world. It is one thing to theorize everything, and a completely different thing to realize them. Action. Is. The. Key.

Passiveness gets you nowhere.