April 2003 Archives


On Buffy: Very well done episode. They've been setting up this one for a while now.

On Angel: Even though I knew she was bad news, I wanted to believe in Jasmine so badly (when she first appeared). Just like the team. Then tonight, I felt so bad for her. Good writing on that one, too.

On Nathan and Monica: You guys rock so hardcore!!!!

Passive aggression


Bob Harris makes a very keen observation over at TMW regarding the use of the passive voice as a manipulative tool in headlines.

I found it particularly interesting, as I have often been accused of writing too much in the passive voice. (*cough*)

Pole Dance

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You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear; To-morrow ’ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year; Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day, For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

Are you ready for May Day? Tomorrow is The International Workers' Holiday. It is also Beltane (or Walpurgisnacht if you wish.) (psst, that last link has an embedded midi, but a really cool Green Man graphic.)

Put up the May Pole, give someone some flowers, or maybe have a rally. Do what feels right.

Let's dance!


Hey, you! Is you who I think you is?


Happy Dance

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Guess who's Dream CD is being played tomorrow? Guess who won tickets to see Suzanne Vega?

Uh-ha. Oh yeah.

Groceries in Amber

While driving this afternoon, I heard a story on All Things Considered that just tickled me. The Fifth Avenue Grocery in Roundup, Montana closed it's doors in 1952, and they were not opened again for fifty years. What was unusal was that everything was left in the store the whole time.

‘‘One of the problems was that they had so much stuff gathered around them,’’ Braun said of Louis and Ann Pluth. ‘‘They apparently didn’t throw anything away.’’ Braun said he didn’t enter the store until after Louis’ death, and he had no idea why the family never reopened it or tried to sell off the belongings. It may have been that Louis and Ann were too busy.

One of the auctioneers was interviewed by NPR, and he mentioned that the money was left in the till, and the heat was left on in the basement (I'd hate to imagine the utility bill). In the basement, they also found the remains of a Prohibition-era speakeasy bar, complete with alcohol and a player piano with about 200 rolls of music.

The auction will be tomorrow at 1 PM (RMST). Take a peek at the stuff!

Today's chuckle

Spring Cleaning

The day is sunny and warm, so the windows are open. I've got laundry drying on the line out back (hand washed, as I'm out of quarters). I'm going through my winter clothes to determine what will come out next year and what will be given away. It's a good day to get things done.

Quiz Time


I scored a 88% on the "How much of a Wisconsinite are you?" Quizie! What about you?

No, Lambeau Field is NOT holy ground. (Maybe Camp Randall, though.)

Oh, btw, if you take this quiz there will be pop-ups everywhere. Be prepared.


In His Own Words: Santorum's Interview

SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold -- Griswold was the contraceptive case -- and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you -- this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality --

AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.


Through the screendoor of discretion

I just got back from the Dar Williams show. It was as wonderful as they always are, though it seemed a little short. (It wasn't, but it sure felt that way.) She has such marvelous stage presence, which is one of my favorite parts about seeing her live. I do like her better wen she plays solo, but the band was pretty good this time. In case you are interested, here's a really great Dar Williams interview from a couple years back.

Ben Taylor opened the show. His voice sounds just like his dad.

Since we're learning something new...

How-to-bow. Super fun flash lessons in Japanese ettiquette, for the tourist or business traveler. (Mostly for the business traveler, though.)

via Metafilter

You learn something new everyday.


I just found out that actor Mark Metcalf (you may know him from Buffy, Sienfeld or Animal House) co-owns a restaurant, Libby Montana in Mequon, WI. A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal review makes it sound quite popular, too. Maybe I'll stop in, next time I'm over that way.

Sunny Day, Sweeping the Clouds Away

Today would have been the perfect day for a bike ride. I say "would have been" because I work up this morning feeling very stiff and bruised from yesterday's Jeep pushing episode. (Why did I ever think that was a good idea?) I actually have a good-sized welt in the middle of my spine, from where I leaned up against the hood while pushing it backwards. I decided that limited movement would be the theme of the day. Sore body aside, the sunshine was terribly pleasant to sit in as I read The New Yorker.

Sunnyside Up

Virtual attraction

Staying Totally Current

Michael's Modern Blog totally fascinates me.

Smuggling who?

While over at This Modern World, I saw the folloing headline:

"Fox News Engineer Charged With Smuggling CURT ANDERSON"

It took a bit of head scratching before I realized that CURT ANDERSON was the author of the article, rather than what was smuggled.

Someday, they will make a movie of my life. I think it will be a dark comedy.

You just don't know what fun is until you have single handedly pushed a Jeep, in neutral, through an x-turn in a tight space, then down a long driveway for an unsuccessful attempt at a push start. Guess who got to do that?

As if needing a new clutch were not enough, our heroine left the lights on for two hours after getting the car back from the garage. (Gotta stop that!!) Not long enough to completely kill it, but long enough for the engine to not quite turn over. As one would expect, my pushing it down the driveway wasn't enough to get it going.

A couple of guys drove by in a truck just as I was sitting futilely out of the end of my driveway. (First people I'd seen in almost 45 mintues.) They stopped and helped me get it back up the driveway for a second attempt at a push start, this time with them pushing and me already behind the wheel. It still didn't work, but we did end up all the way across the street in the next driveway.

At that point, Good Samaritan #3 popped his head out the window and askedif I needed a jumpstart. GSs #1 and 2 pushed the Jeep up by GS #3s car, and then took off. Within four minutes, we had the Jeep up and running. I thanked my kind neighbor, and took off to catch the last five minutes of my Tai Chi class, and to let the engine do some running.

Lessons learned:

1. Turn. Off. The. Lights.
2. Never underestimate the power of the kindness of strangers.
3. See #1.
4. I am She-ra!! (Did I mention I pushed the Jeep all by myself?)

Ok, now it's time to take some Tylenol and let my body recover.

The Unmentionable.

There are somethings that you just can't blog. No matter how interesting or time-consuming or life altering, you just can't put it out there. Maybe because you don't want the people who read your blog to see it. Maybe because the people you that really want to see it don't read your blog anyway. Maybe because there is no way to boil down the naval-gazing and verbage to an acceptable point. Maybe because you need to can't change the names to protect the innocent. Maybe you just aren't the sort of person who can blog those things. (I know plenty out the that have no problem blogging the unbloggable.)

At some point, the line must be drawn between public diary and weblog.

This is not a diary.

It is going to cost $1100 to repair my clutch, which is about 1/3 of what I just bought the vehicle for. So much for getting out of credit card debt.

I really need to think about moving to a city were public transportation isn't such a joke.


Words of wisdom from my Tai Chi instructor tonight:

"Whenever you have any sort of change, things always get worse before they get better."

This was in reference to our aching knees, but can really apply to most situations in life if you think about it. (oh, my knees!)

In other news, there is something wrong with my clutch. You can bet your boot buttons that whatever it is won't be cheap.

Eggs and whatnot

It's amazing how quickly things can change. You can be heading merrily along in one direction and suddenly everything has been turned upside-down, and every which way. Sometime big change can creep up on you, but more often than not it hits you out of the blue.

Spring is the time of rebirth and renewal. It's time for a resurrection.

In my best black dress...

Word of advice for attending shows at Luther's Blues: bring a sweater. I've gone to two shows there and it was freezing both times. Nice atmosphere otherwise.

The Nields were great, as usual. The show was a little shorter than I am accustomed to, but I imagine that was because there was a second show taking place later that night—Marques Bovre and the Evil Twins are playing their last show tonight at 10 (looks at watch....started about 15 minutes ago), featuring the return of Linus. So, the Nields couldn't linger. Neither could their fans, as the staff cleared the room immediately post-show. There was quite a line outside waiting to get in.

I think I'd perfer to see the Nields at the Pres House. It seems a more friendly venue for the folkie crowd.


I'm going to see The Nields tonight. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Also, yesterday I discovered that one of my co-workers likes the Nields. It was quite a change to be able to put on a cd, and not have to explain who they were, as most people I know respond with, "Who?"

I should note, that once again it will be a "probe" tour show, with only the two sisters. Having seen the full band twice, I'd love to see them come back to Madison with the boys sometime.

All better

I guess it was just the server being slow. Goody.

My brain is stuck.

I've just designed a new template, but I can't seem to get it to replace my old one. I know there is something I've forgotten to do, but at this hour, I can't remember what it it. My brain's gone to mush.

Or, maybe my server has just gone slow.

Either way, I think it is bedtime.

In case anyone is wondering...

Tai chi is really hard work at first! It really works the lower body muscles in new and different ways. Soooooo soooooore.

A good chuckle


Yesterday it was 80 degrees. Today it was 40. Welcome to the Wisconsin Sping Yo-yo.

Slow Moving Vehicle

I started my Tai Chi class tonight. Most of the class was spent slowly shifting weight from one leg to the other, which is a lot more tiring than you'd think. The teacher delas mostly with the technical aspects of the forms, with no talk of chi itself. He doesn't seem like a very natural teach (I sense of public speaking difficulty) but it should be a good intro to the basics.

Between this new class and choir rehersals, posting is going to be pretty sparse the next week or so. It's it funny how the more you have to write about, the less time to have to write it?

More on Lola


A few thoughts occurred to me last night. For one thing, somebody should be courting Lola with a track or cross country scholarship. That girl has major speed and endurance. Any team would be lucky to have her.

I was also thinking about the two "fade to red" conversations in bed. During the movie, I kind of thought that they weresomething that took place sometimebefore the events of the running day. I'm not sure why I thought that, but I did. After the movie, it occurred to me that they happened that night, after the running.

Don't read on if you haven't seen the movie, but may want to in the future.

In the first scenario, Lola gets there too late, and without the money. She helps out Manni with his robbery, but gets shot shortly after, we can assume fatally. That fades to red with Lola asking Mani if he loves her, and what he means, and Manni thinking that she wants to leave him.

In the second scenario, Lola gets to Manni on time, and with the money, but Manni is run over by an abulance before she give it to him. In that fade, Manni is talking to Lola about what would happen if he died, expressing fear that she would forget about him.

In the third scenario, no one commits a crime and no one is injured. Everything works out for the best. It occurredto me in an "oh, duh!" moment about an hour after the movie that this is the "what really happened", and the other two were Lola and Manni imagining other, more dire possblities that reflect their own personal fears about themselves, each other, and their world. "Do you love me?" "Would you come through for me?" "Would other people in the world be willing to help me?" "What would happen if I died?" "How easy would it have been for everything today to go wrong?" Even though everything worked out, it involved so many close calls and quirks of chance, and they have to realize that. Life is a fragile construst of a billion what if's, and their minds are full of those dreadful what if's as they wind down from the stress and drama of their morning.

Well, at least that's my take on it, and I'm sticking to it. So neener.

She was a Showgirl, her name was....

Having just seen Run Lola Run I now have both "Copacabana" and "Whatever Lola Wants" (from Damn Yankees) running through my head, along with a little bit of that German techno. It's an odd combo.

The movie lived up to all the hype I'd heard about it. Now, how often does that happen? I was enthralled by each scenario as it unfolded, although the lack of death and devastation in the third and final run through (pun not intended, but used none-the-less) made it my favorite.

(Does admitting that I was fascinated by the fact that the credit crawl rolled up from the bottom of the screen, rather than the top, make me a bigger dork than I already am?)

Not inflammable.

Today I made my first attempt at making Banana's Foster. It didn't go exactly as planned. I couldn't get the spirits to ignite. What does it say about a person when they can't get a pan of hot alcohol to light on fire? Pathetic, no? Still, the end result was very tasty over a dish of vanilla ice cream, even without the flaming excitement.


The sound of breaking glass


I'm so pissed off right now I could cry. I'm such a klutz. I just dropped my heavy old glass blender into the sink and shattered it. I was rinsing it out, and it got slippery. BAM! Fuck. My family had had that blender forever, and when I moved out it was bequeathed to me. Maybe I can find a replacement for the pitcher if I hang out at St. Vinnie's or something, but I doubt it. I think I may just have to get myself a new blender. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

(Ok, probably not that cry worthy, but supremely irritating at the very least.)

American Pie

Well, I'll have to say that my high school experience was a lot more PG than that. On the "behind the scenes" bit on the DVD, all of the young actors were talking about how realistic it was, based on their high school experience. That could be, I wouldn't know. Maybe it was because I went to a Lutheran high school. Maybe it was because I was one of the geeky kids. (Yes, I did go to band camp. No, I do not play the flute.)

One thing I did get out of the movie was prom, and the fact that I never went to one. My school didn't have one. Every year, a group of the rich, popular seniors would organize one somewhere, but it was always an expensive, private affair. What everyone else had was "Junior-Senior Farewell", a dance that was free to all juniors and senior (but no guests) and somewhat casual as far as dress went. I've never worn a formal (other than trying one on at a store for fun) and I've never had a date in a tux. Bummer, eh?

Still, even if the high school that I remember was nothing like the high school of TV and the movies (thank heavens it was nothing like Sunnydale High!), my memories of it are mostly fond. I certainly wouldn't want to have to do it again, and I've lost touch with all but a small few of my high school buddies, but the nostalgia is definitely there.


Sunny. Warm. Beautiful. I grilled out for the first time this year, and dinner was quite superb, consequently. I also have a stack of DVDs from the public library. (Why rent?I can get so many of the things I want to see for free from the library, and I get them for a whole week.)

I shall be seeing:

*American Pie

*Run Lola Run
(neither of which have I seen yet)
*The Matrix (the first one, of course)
*Three Kings (it seemed timely)

With the promise of more beautiful weather for the days, and a bunch of movies for the nights, this should be a good weekend.


Protestor's usually do not intend to make everyone happy. There is, however, a particular kind of protestor whose actions are actully conter-productive for their chosen cause. The sort of action that makes even the most sympathetic roll their eyes, turns the moderate away, and convinces the opposition that they were right about all those fools. These protestors are the sort the ruin it for everybody.

These protestors are the sort that would lie down in a main thoroughfare, at rush hour, in the middle of a low-visibility snowstorm, in a small midwestern college town, and expect to have any effect on the war, besides making people question their sanity.




It occurs to me, now that I've seen Phone Booth that it was quite appropriate and considerate for the filmmakers to have delayed its release after the DC sniper killing. Also, it is incredibly lucky for the filmmakers that the movie did not come out *before* the killings.

More previews

I just remembered two other previews from yesterday, one hilarious, one horrifying.

Christopher Guest's A Mighty Wind seems like it will be Spinal Tap meets Down from the Mountain.

MTV's The Real Cancun seems like it will be reality TV, only you have to drive to a theater and pay $8 to watch. Um, yeah. Isn't reality TV bad enough on the small screen?

On that note: for the love of God, why?


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So, seeing three movies exposed me to a wealth of trailers. Some good, some bad. Some old, some new. Some memorable, some not so much.

Those that stuck with me in a good way are:

*Down with Love

I've seen this one before, and it still strikes me as interesting.

*Shaolin Soccer.

Of course they'd call it soccer and not football. Why does that annoy me? This looks fun in a cheesy, badly dubbed sort of way. Hey, it's a kung-fu movie *and* a sports movie, how can you possibly go wrong?


I've also seen this one before. It intrigues me, but I doubt I will see it. I'm not very big on "they all die, one by one" movies, no matter how well done they are. (Hey! Clea Du Vall is in it.)


I was quite excited by this trailer (though I loathe the name they've given it...can't someone in Hollywood start coming up with more creative names for sequels?) as I am eagerly awaiting the movie, and loved getting even a little X-men fix.

On a side note, Bend it Like Beckham will indeed be playing in Madison, starting next week. Woo-hoo.


As the weather went from beautiful on Tuesday to absolute crap the rest of the week, I decided to spend the day at the movies. I saw:

Phone Booth, which starred Colin Farrell, Keifer Sutherland's voice, and a NYC phone booth. It was an interesting concept, taking place in real-time, primarily in only one small location. True, it was a little bit ridiculous and"high concept" (especially the "mwa-hah-hah" ending).

Farrell was pretty convincing both as a complete asshole and as a guy frightened out of his mind. Sutherland (recently of the high concept, real-time TV drama 24) was suitably psychotically creepy, yet had me rolling my eyes once or twice (whether it was the script or his delivery is hard to say. The supporting cast was decent, though they neither made nor broke the show.

All and all, fairly gripping, but see it as a matinee.

On a side note, the website seems to have been designed by whomever did theDonnie Darko website. It has the same look and feel, though not nearly as intiguing or compelling (just like the movie itself).

Following Phone Booth, I hopped over to see View from the Top, comedy so lightweight that it would blow away in a stiff wind. There was a degree of cuteness that kept me in the theater, but overall it was a lot of really good actors with not much to do. It streched believability like a Hooters' t-shirt played for cheap laughs. I'd have to say that the "hits of the 80's" soundtrack had me longing for earplugs.

I liked it, because I saw it for free. If you really want to see, might I suggest waiting until it airs on USA, or what ever cable station takes it. Some people need to have a chat with their agents, and maybe consider reading the scripts carefully before signing on.

Incidentally, for fans of The West Wing, both Rob Lowe and Joshua Malina had bit parts. OK, Joshua had a bit part, Rob had a microscopic cameo.

After that, I also went and re-saw Chicago, and liked it just as much the second time around.



Lord help me

Besides HTML and the gajillion other things I am trying to cram into my brain at the moment, I am about to add fonts to that list. I am still hoping to take Typography at MATC (well, not to much hoping and planning), but in the meantime, I am going to do whatI can on my own.

I must be a glutton for punishment.

Wisconsin Film Festival....last review

The last film I saw at the festival was The Real Old Testament, which screened with Antiquities Roadshow (another short by Aaron Yonda).

Antiquities... was an amusing little spoof of Antiques Roadshow, though overall, it wasn't as funny as Yonda's Questions had been. The joke started out very funny, but proceeded to grow less so as the short wore on. Never-the-less, anyone who is familiar with the format and style of the original Roadshow would have to at least crack a smile at its spoof.

RTO, by Curtis Hannum and Paul Hannum, similarly riffed on MTV's The Real World and the Biblical Old Testament. "Find out what happens when Biblical patriarchs stop being hallowed religious figures, and start getting real!"

Extremely low budget, and entirely improvised by its cast, RTO did have quite a few moments of hilarity, but I also found it a little long, at almost two hours. The film spanned the Old Testament from Creation to Jacob and his wives. They did stick fairly close to the source material as far as the "what happened", veering off into comedy for the why and how.

The filmmakers were present at the screening, and spoke to the audience while the staff sorted out a numer of problems concerning the projection equipment. They spoke of the sheer amount of material they had to work with going into editing (I think they said something in the neighborhood of 59 hours?). Yet, I think the movie would be improved with a little more trimming. The story skipped from Ambraham's sacrafice to Jacob meeting Laban's daughters. Rebekah and Esau were left out, which was probably for the best, yet the sequences with Abraham streched on for-----ev-----er. They also included a rather extensive scene of Lot and his family fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah including the "sin of Lot's daughters". Granted, it is a story in the Bible, but the whole effect was pretty much one big Faralley brothers' style gross out. It kind of lost me at that point.

I have to say, the best sequence was at the very end when they staged the "Reunion Show". That was a Real World parody in fine form. I especially loved it when "God" became upset at the rest of the cast and stormed off the set. Classic.

That's it. That's all I saw at the festival this year. By the by, it seems to have been a good year for the festival, and a record number of tickets were sold, and most shows sold out early. Festival organizers are talking of further expansion next year. I'm sure it will be great.



The Elect

We've got a new mayor:Dave. Yay! Of course that frivolous constitutional amendment about hunting passed, and Pat Roggensack won Supreme Court....ew.

And so it continues

Meigs Field in Chicago torn up in the dead of night in the name of "security". Never mind that fear of terrorism from Meigs was probably unfounded. Nevermind that the airport was rather useful. Never mind that there was an agreement in place to keep it open another 25 years. And nevermind that there were planes at the airport needing to take off and employees expecting to go to work in the morning. It had to be done.

Just as civil liberties need to be infringed upon. Just as war needed to be waged. We must do what they want...in the name of security. If we don't, the terrorists will get us. Terrorists have become the boogeymen the government uses to scare us, its wee ones. Behave, or else!

I find it disgusting that so many are using these threats to their own politcal and financial advantage. This sort of attitude turns the terrorist (or the idea of a terrorist) into a government enoforcer. The actual terrorist needs to nothing more, as our government will do it for them.

Life goes on. I refuse to be cowed into submission by a heightened (yet vague) security alert or by accusations that objecting to these "safety" measures makes me un-American. I refuse to be afraid. Instead, I'm going to be angry.

The Jackson Myth

The other night, I found myself watching VH1 while at a friend's house. They were showing something about rock stars beauty routines or whatnot, and it was revealed that Janet Jackson goes to a very expensive spray-tanning salon. I thought, huh? Why would she need a spray on tan, let alone an expensive one? Those are for pasty-people. Then it hit me...maybe she's turning white, just like Michael.


On Sunday, the first film I saw was Unprecedented: The 2000 Election. As one would gather, it concerns the voting irregularities of the Florida vote, from the purge of "felons" from the voter rolls, to the confusion at the polls on election day, to the turmoil of the recount.

Even though I'd followed those events but a short time ago, the documentary added to my understanding of them by laying out the chronology, and explaining the more obscure detail. It was well made, and though the bias was obviously not for Bush and his people (the audience actually hissed at Katherine Harris) its tone was mostly one of calling things as they were. Gore's camp was not let entirely off the hook, either. They made a big mistake in asking for manual recounts in only four heavily Democratic counties rather than the entire state, and the filmmakers did not hesitate in calling them on it.

I am still outraged at the whole affair, and the way the right is so ready to dismiss any examination of it. This film might go a long way to convince some of the more moderate and broad minded on the right of the legitimacy of these concerns. However, as a member of the audience pointed out, it is mostly preaching to the choir. Those who seek this documentary out will generally be those who are already convinced. Those who really need to see it will probably pass it by...unless we can bring it to them?



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