Personal: June 2008 Archives

Fat Cell

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And so the weekend has really been a sort of lull. Any number of things that I could expand on, but we'll see if that happens. I think I'm going to have a moratorium on the writing plan. I just want to have some time not to think about it.

Just been watching more and more of Jon and Kate, which was initially traumatic, but which is now quite compelling. The hourlong format can be a little taxing. Planet Green has similarly been fun watching. A much more palatable form of remodelling shows.

Went to watch Wall-E. I with the crap bits weren't paired with some otherwise rather lovely filmaking. So much was so leaden.

Tomorrow is back to getting car bits looked at. But it'll be nice once my locks work again and my front squirter works. The MCA was fantastic and Jeff Koons was good fun.Will go to the smart home some time next week.

We bought a Fat Cell. Called Anna.

Still feeling some anxiety about the fact that my OPT card still hasn't arrived. If it's not here or there by tomorrow, it's going to get annoying. Also having to wait on parts for my car, which means waiting on how much it's all going to cost. Planning to go to the Jeff Koons exhibit at the MCA today. We'll see if it happens.

Cable modem got swapped out yesterday, hopefully that fixes things. I suppose there's a chance it could be the router, but then the phone would still work.

Was hoping to get interested in Wimbledon, but just found out Sharapova's been ousted. Ivanovic looks interesting though. Politics has been more boring than usual, if that's possible.

Cookie monster on Colbert was hilarious.

Can't seem to get past watching Family Guy, just downloaded Back to the Future in case I decide to watch it. Am halfway through Rosemary's Baby. Must find/queue up more features to watch. Tempted to watch Star Wars and Star Trek. But the discs are buried somewhere and I'm not in a digging mood. Feel silly downloading them again.

Am finding ways to make peace with utorrent's auto upload limit feature. Can't be bothered with links or pictures with this post, but may change my mind later. The anonymous online lit mag sounds interesting.

Republicans get a bad rap. They have allowed themselves to be thought of as the party of hate and fear. They hate brown immigrants because they are racist, just as they were racist against blacks. They hate gay people with their evil sneaky sodomy. They also win elections only by preying on the fears of naive (stupid, redneck, etc.) voters, constantly talking about how the evil terrorists (much like the black and brown gay immigrants) are out to get you.

But when it comes to hate and fear, the Democrats rolled up their sleeves and said: "Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you." And they do it better because they are presumed to be the "halo" party, the party of inclusion, the party of economic justice and hugging everyone. How better to use that image than to prey on people's hate and fear? It's almost breathtaking how the Democrats, and in particular the putative leader of their party, has so conveniently found ways to legitimise jingoistic rhetoric into their populist vernacular.

Whenever they talk about all their money being sent to China, that's what they're doing. Anytime they talk about wanting to be free from "foreign oil," that's what they're doing. "I will not allow a single dollar of taxpayer money ot subsidise sending American jobs overseas." They're saying these are the same foreigners who take Americans hostage, come into our border to blow things up, steal our jobs, and even when they are being strange far away, they're still rubbing their hands together to steal our jobs and manipulate their currency.

Free Trade stops wars. Free trade stops wars because economies become too intricately bound to one another so that to even think of engaging in some kind of military aggression would be like pulling on ends of a rope. What is more, free trade is incumbent on free interactions of people, rather than the ghetto-ization of people by geographic origin.

So what if you "owe money to China?" As with all relationships between borrowers and lenders, the tension cuts both ways. Yes you have obligations to the people who are lending you money, but the people who are lending you money are also vulnerable since all their money is with you. They're as afraid you will renege on your debts as you are afraid you won't be able to pay them back. As long as that relationship exists, it's just yet another powerful deterrent to either side going too far off the reservation.

Businesses know how useful foreign things (including people) are. You get things better and cheaper now than if you didn't have foreign things. I trust a pro-business party to be inclusive in a way a patriarchal party finds much more difficult. Pro-business individuals are more likely to put aside predjudice in order to get what they want/need for their business - it is in their self interest. 

In contrast, people who want to paint themselves as being "inclusive" have this rather woolly soft-headed notion that we should be nice to everyone because "it's the right thing to do," that things should be "fair" and there should be an "even playing field." I trust people who have their own self-interest in mind, not people who have this flexible notion of right and wrong; who can "include" people to feel good about themselves, but damn all things foreign with the same breath.

You can feel good about yourselves all you want for rubber stamping a symbol of progress, but that does not annoint you as holy. It's a peculiar kind of self-deception to lionise the symbol of something that has none of it at its base. You might as well have the Maltese Falcon as the nominee of your party.

God damn those Belgians, with their capital, global distribution network and greater economies of scale. Such are the tools of the heathen bastards that are so rudely and deviously attempting to colonise an icon of American (sic) cultural imperialist hegemony. Shame on them.

Paltry things, I suspect, lead the Economist to lapse into journalistic cliches:

In fact, InBev's impressive distribution network outside America would probably lead to a sharp increase in the number of foreigners guzzling Bud. So, as the stars of one popular Bud advert might ask, "Wassup?"

I suppose in what is a considerably amount of writing per week, not all of their articles can be winners. You can also read about the charming face of xenophobia on the streets of St Louis.

Motherfucking foreigners, with their oil and resources and goods and services that we put so much energy into bringing into this country.

I always go back to the headline and first sentence of probably my most frequently referenced Economist article, "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break":

"THERE is something drearily predictable about xenophobic protectionism."

For fuller coverage from the mouthpiece of global capitalism, you can read "Hands off our Bud."

Now when I watch the Hulk (2003), I can't help but think of Kellie Wells (who I still secretly want to be my new best friend). If only because I mentioned it was my favorite Ang Lee film, and really how he would never make a film that was better than that. I stand by that, having watched it again.

I will say that James Schamus should just do Ang Lee the biggest favour and stop pretending he's any kind of a screenwriter. Some of his writing is so leaden it's not even true. That said, almost every other aspect of the film exudes a sense of detail and attention that is always synonymous with good cinema. The use of wipes and the editing between shots I must say is particularly well done, and the sense of rage you get from the Hulk is magnificent.

I remember reading how Ang Lee had to step in and take Eric Bana's place when modelling for the animatronics guys, so that it would come out right. There's nothing quite like the look of bliss on the Hulk's face when it's flying free through the air. Similarly him falling out of the sky when the F16 takes him up so high. It's as if the travesty that is Crouching Tiger never happened.

In comparison Iron Man is just the epitome of popcorn sales. Enough depth not to be entirely shallow, but no real rhetorical force whatsoever. Stuff in it is cool, but that is the extent of the experience. No ambition, no depth. With the Hulk, the psychological drama literally plays out as such. And if it weren't for James Schamus, it would have done so in a way that was much more subtle and pleasing, rather than being so very leaden at points. Oy with the expositional dialogue already.

I've said before, that if it's a film about family and responsibility, it's an Ang Lee film, and not always in a good way. But with the Hulk, all the heaviness of the subject matter seemed to dissipate, so that the treatment of family was pitch perfect rather than heavy handed. Nick Nolte is particularly good, and especially funny when he does his little mock jerking as if he were the Hulk in the final denouemont. The allegory of family in the film just plays out so much better than it does in say The Ice Storm (which I don't mind so much) or The Wedding Banquet (which is awful).

Oh, and Jennifer Connolly is lovely beyond measure. monkey and I used to refer to certain women as "nummy", but Jennifer Connolly we always talked about as "marriage material". Sigh. And I don't care what she says about Career Opportunities being the nadir of her career, I think it's a good film, and she's lovely in it.

So. Yes. That's why I'm not going near the new Hulk with a ten foot pole.

And at some time while I was posting my last few posts, I managed to join BlogBurst: 

I'm imagining to myself, if you will, what would be an incredibly insensitive and politically incorrect sketch about pairing tornado victims and home makeover shows. I'm thinking of a show in the UK called "Life Laundry", where it's still about the same things, it's about producing a manifestly better quality of life for someone by improving their physical surroundings. In this case by cleaning out their house of all their accumulated stuff.

But in the UK, unlike the US, they don't have an emoting Leonardo DiCaprio at the beginning and up front chest clasping about the tragedy of all this. Life Laundry always begins as if it were a bitchy scoldy show before resolving in some life affirming way. It's always about the "tough love": "How could you hold on to this old thing that has no meaning or significance or use?"

So. Walking around the wreckage of the town, pointing at things: "How do you people live like this?" "How could you do this to yourselves?" "Living in this kind of squalid shithole?" "I mean, is that a fallen beam in the middle of the street?" "Is the wall of that building lying on its side in the middle of the road?" "I'll bet the homeowner's association's gonna have something to say about that."

Yeah, maybe not so much for me with the comedy.

Outside Fucking Standing

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So. Yes. This is what I'm doing instead of any kind of useful writing. I'm tempted to start on something just for it not to be what I'm currently working on.

Internet connection being fixed is a wonderful thing. I should try and max it out when I'm back from Kalamazoo. Me and my clandestine mission.

Turns out the digital camera that I thought had been stolen from my car? That I could have sworn I had brought to Singapore? Opened my luggage just now, there it is. Win already.

Opera has a new default skin. I wasn't so sure about it, but it's very much a Vista default skin, which works out find on the desktop. I think I'm going to stick with a native Windows skin on my laptop.

Sent my lovely IKEA ergonomic chair to have the fabric fixed up. May be going to that dry cleaners significantly more. I should find something to put underneath my printer to the paper tray doesn't drag on the carpet.

Once Arnie's letter gets to my Folio service, I can go apply for the Wright College adjunct thing. For a moment I wondered if economies of scale demanded I teach at least 2 sections, but then it struck me that I would then have to mark for 2 sections. We'll see.

Finally bit the bullet and installed SP1 on my Dell. All seems fine, as far as I can tell. Don't really want to think about packing in any significant way. I'm sure we'll make leaving by one. I should give the Port Drive-In a call to make sure they're open.

Added another Vertical Skyscraper Ad to my secondary column. When you have a history of posts stretching down to the bottom, there's just not a reason not to. Am going to have to return to Target and exhange the trash bags for those without Odorshield.

I must say I'm liking Beth's writing more and more. I've always been a sucker for enjambement and caesura - Yeats will do that to you - but I think she's found a particularly female way of using that form in a way I find endlessly interesting. I just get a sense of a great deal happening as a result of form in a way that can betray otherwise "ordinary" content.

But yes, also been having lots of fun with the later two seasons of American Dad. The writing really did get a lot better. The HIMYM people are idiots. For the most part. Some of their writers less so - Brenda Hsueh I remember doing good work.

Internet connection seems less problematic, but I think a consultation is still going to be useful. Looking forward to going to Kalamazoo. I dug out finally my USB switch, so that I can now use my left hand mouse with my Biffing computer. My main machine I named Inside. My laptop is Fallingbeam.

Blah blah, first African American nominee of a major party, blah blah. Where's the shame? Where's the acknowledgement that the import of this thing is due of the immense sins of the past? You cannot have "progress" without knowing where you came from, and you cannot have "progress" if you don't understand how small some things are. And what of the subtler, more insidious problems of gender? A little less celebration, a little more shame - would just be useful.

Caffeine is evil. I should really do a "Contact Louis" page. Allow myself to use Spammagnet again.

God bless you PeerGuardian 2.

My Tongue is Meat

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Wow, you never know how much caffeine fucks you up until you have too much of it - especially after such a long period of not having it. Made the mistake of thinking, because they didn't have to golden label Coke without caffeine, that I should try out Coke Zero. Hence awake at 5 in the morning when I've been going beddy-bysies before midnight for weeks now, if not months.

Doesn't help that I've fallen into one of my spirals where something doesn't work and I obsess about fixing it. There's so much about trial and error that involves doing the same thing over and over again like you're crazy. But only a little bit different each time, trying to see if it makes things better.

An appointment's been scheduled with Comcast for Thursday for someone to come over, but it appears I'm able to connect for a while after I restart the modem.

Had tacos from La Pasadita. Every taco they serve appears to be some kind of religious experience. The Chile Rellenos in particular is outstanding. But both their Carne Asada and Barbacos tacos are similarly lovely. They serve it on two tortillas with cilantro and onions. Superb. I don't know what they do to the meat, but it's to die for.

There are 3 places on Ashland, and basically the one on 1141 N Ashland is the oldest, and I suspect the most old-school. It was the first one we tried, and it's likely the best we've had so far. Also the one that's smallest, dirtiest looking, and smells most funny. The one at 1132 is the nicer (relative term) sit-down place that serves a wider menu (chicken tacos, platters etc.), but the Carne Asada from there isn't as good as the rest. 1140 is basically in between.

It's a sight just watching one of them carving up the large hunk of meat. When you take out they ball each taco up into a little foil ball with a layer of paper around the tortilla. The burritos are basically just more meat in a bigger tortilla. I wonder if their super taco thing with sour cream and other stuff would make it gross. It's a pity that their menu and website in no way accurately represent the experience of their place, nor the aesthetics of their lovely tacos.

I'm wondering to myself whether it was the remote modem restart from talking to the tech support people, or was it the same issue as before with the connection crapping out after a particular amount of time.

When I bought soda, I also bought Honey Nut Cheerios. The kind Omar likes on the Wire. May be going to Target tomorrow (the posh one in the South Loop) to buy soda that won't keep me up. Have been making the most of my soda dispenser. Even though it took me forever to untangle it from it having been curled up so as to be unusable. It had been on sale at dealspl.us, but I didn't get it. Had to pay full price and full shipping to get it from cooking.com.

The American Race

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I suppose at some point you just have to say to yourself there's no blood to be squeezed out of the stone. Stuff just happens, eventually. How shall I stall Beth tomorrow?

Tomorrow I go and mail off an application to Columbia College, though I'm not holding my breath. I like my writing sample though. I'm pretty sure my Staples experience will be better this time round. I'm hoping there's no way Kendall College wouldn't want me to at least teach adjunct - I really do like the idea of teaching at a (at least partly) culinary school. And, well, it's practically next door.

I also wouldn't mind crunching data for an ad agency, but we'll see. In the end I wonder if it was just irrational exuberance that led me to sign up with Interfolio. I suppose it's my insurance policy in case I get to a point where I'm qualified. I'm sure teaching at Facets will do wonders as well.

Had a lot of fun watching Tommy Walsh's Eco House. Almost as much fun as watching Family Guy, and untill recently, probably more fun than watching American Dad, which is getting better in the second season. No doubt due to those duds going off to do HIMYM.

Readjusted the central air so that my room gets more blowing. But in between it still gets stuffy, as I'm finding out right now.

If you were wondering if the oil companies and speculators are really responsible in their greedy (and lets face it, probably jewish) ways for jacking up the price of oil, it's always nice for common sense and sophisticated analysis to overtake the simplicity of not knowing what you're talking about. Oh, and oil could also be running out, like food is. Isn't knowing shit wonderful?





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