November 2005 Archives

I Owe, I owe

As mentioned in a previous post, I am overdue for a review of March of the Penguins, which I saw several weeks ago.

I suppose it was a documentary, but I didn't think of it as a documentary while I was watching it. I thought of it as a well-filmed drama starring real penguins. It was beautifully photographed. The courtship and mating ritual scenes where particularly touching.

My number one reaction to it was, "Wow, it must really suck to be a penguin." While they have adapted well to their environment, I just find it difficult to believe that they find living in Antarctica particularly enjoyable. I mean, everyone has to live somewhere, but life in a place where it seems that the environment is actively trying to kill you has to be rough on the psyche, even the an animal psyche. Sure, life on the Serengeti can be a struggle, but there is daylight and warmth.

It was a very relaxing film, in spite of the harsh conditions depicted. I wouldn't recommend seeing it if you are sleepy or are the type to nod off in the theater.

Well, Happy Birthday to me


"I think from this article -- -- MirrorMask will definitely be out on DVD in Region 1 on February the 7th, although it appears that it'll be out in PSP format on January the 10th."

What an excellent coincidence.

Who gave this the green light?

Before the first showing of MirrorMask that I saw, was the following preview:

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World

"The hilarious story of what happens when the U.S. Government sends comedian Albert Brooks to India and Pakistan to find out what makes the over 300 million Muslims in the region laugh. Brooks, accompanied by two state department handlers and his trusted assistant, goes on a journey that takes him from a concert stage in New Delhi, to the Taj Mahal, to a secret location in the mountains of Pakistan."

Um, yeah. At one point during the trailer I turned to my friend and asked, "This can't be a real movie, right? I mean, no one would really make something that terrible." It seems, dear friends, that someone did. Just from the bits revealed in the trailer (which are often the best of the film) it looks to be unfunny at best, insulting at worst. Needless to say, I don't believe I shall be checking it out in the theaters.


Reports and reviews on:

March of the Penguins
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Pride and Prejudice
Wisconsin Chamber Halloween Concert (yeah, I'm running a little late)
Vienna Choir Boys at the Overture Center
And probably a few other things. It seems that when my life gets interesting, I also run out of time with which to write about it. (And I'm lazy.)

We'll see how many of those I get to.

911, Not for Fun

At least, that's what they told us in grade school.

Lately I've been giving some thought about looking into becoming an emergency dispatcher (or Communicator, as they say in Dane County HR). I know it isn't something where you just show up and they hand you a phone, so there are prereqs that I'd have to take care of. Also, they aren't hiring right now, so I have time to ponder.

So I have to give some thought as to whether it would be a job that I could do, a job that I could handle. I know that it would be high stress combined wih boredom. I know that the shifts would rather suck when I started. I'll probably start by making a pros and cons list.

MirrorMask review

Now that I've seen the movie four times and had a bit to think on it, I'm ready to review it. Keep in mind that I am not a movie reviewer, just a person rattling about what I thought. If you want a plot summary, you'll have to check elsewhere. Of course, talking about the plot to this movie is on the line of talking about the plot to the dream you had last night. Dream logic rules.

First off, the opening credit sequence is about the most visually captivating that I have ever seen. Dave McKean really knows his stuff. From the first moments of the film, I was unable to tear my eyes away from the screen for a second. All thoughts of fidgeting or settling in fled and I was transfixed. The rest of the movie continued in that vein.

The framing story, set in the circus and in Brighton, England is beautifully photographed. The council flats, the tumbledown remains of the burnt Brighton Peir, and the circus are all very real and filmed realistically as a grounding point for "real life". The images are crisp and vivid. The pier and the block of flats in particular made me want to be there with my camera.

The computer images section of the film had so much going on that even after 4 viewings of the film I was discovering new things every time I saw it. (Watch closely when Helena is reaching for a book on the shelf at the library...try to read the titles.) You can get lost in the visuals. The design aspect of the costumes is also wonderful. I'm trying to decide if I could pull off the Queen of Shadows or Dark Helena for Halloween next year.

Of course, there is more to MirrorMask than just looks. Stephanie Leonidas keeps the film moving as Helena with a very self-assured performance. She gives the right blend of confidence and confusion for both the waking and dreaming segments: in "real life" she is a teenager who simulateously wants to rebel against her parents and cling to them for comfort, the the dream world she is a dreamer who lucidly knows that she is dreaming and can effect things ("This is *my* dream.") and someone who doesn't quite know the answers...or even the questions.

Jason Barry, as the charming and shifty Valentine, keeps us guessing. He's only looking out for number one, or is he? If we are drawing parallels to Labyrinth, he is our Hoggle. A more handsome, albeit masked, Hoggle.

Gina McKee plays Helena's mother, as well as both the Queen of Light and the Queen of Shadows. Most of her screen time is as the Queen of Shadows, and she really works the darkness. I must say, the air quotes on "quality time" killed me every time I saw them.

I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite sequence in the film, but one that sticks with me the most is Helena's transformation scene. After watching it, it is very difficult to get "Close to You" out of your head. I'm also rather fond of every scene with the sphinxs.

It's theatrical release has been very limited, though I think it is one of those movies best seen for the first time on the big screne. If you haven't seen it yet but would like to, I'd suggest calling the managers of any local movie theaters that play the more "arty" films. Ask them if they can get it. Otherwsie, look for it to be coming out on DVD.

Strange, how these things work.

Tonight I went to a Pat McCurdy show. It's really been way too long, especially since I used to be a regular. Anyway, at one point during a song he was asking questions of the audience: raise your hand if you are in school, raise your hand if you think you are the best looking one here, etc. Suddenly he asked, "Raise your hand if you have Bonnie Bell Dr. Pepper flavored lipgloss."

Well, what should happen to be in my pocket but that very thing? I was sitting up front, so I grabbed it out of my pocket and held it up. He grabbed it and we all kind of laughed in amazement. It was kind of random. The odds were just as good that I would have had bubblegum or raspberry flavor with me. Wacky coincidence, I thought.

Bell ringing extortionists

I'm not giving the Salvation Army a single penny this holiday season. Here's why:

They now have a pot and some bell ringers set up in the newly remodeled entrance of the mall where I work. They were there last year, too, but the carpeting muffled the sound a bit, so they were only a little annoying. This year, it is all tile and how it echoes.

They are set up in the doorway of the big department store, but they are so close to the entrance of my store that I can easily hear them. When I arrived for my shift yesterday, I asked the woman ringing the bell if she could ring it quietly, for the sake of the people who can't just walk on by. She was very sweet about it, and even moved the bell to her other hand so tha her body was between it and my store. I thanked her very much and walked back to the store. For the next two hours, I had the bells ringing constantly, but it was at a low level so I could tune it out from time to time.

After two hours, she left and a mother and son arrived to take over. Now there were two bells being rung, and they were being rung quite vigorously. There was no way to tune it out now, and my head started to ache. During a brief quiet moment in my store, I went out and politely asked them if they could ring a little less aggressively. I explained how long I had been there, and what the previous woman had done to help me. They didn't get it.

"This is were we are supposed to be," the woman said, still ringing her bell with all her might. I assured her that I wasn't asking them to leave and that I appreciated what they were doing for charity. All I needed, was for them to reduce the volume a little, as I had no choice but to be near the bells and they were starting to give me a headache. The woman kept telling me that they were ringing the bells for charity and I kept telling her that I understood that, but that they could ring them for charity at a lower volume and that they would still get donations from passersby.

When I thought she'd finally gotten it, I thanked her and turned to walk back the the store. As soon as my back was turn, the ringing increased. I looked over my shoulder and they were grinning at me, while shaking the bells with all their power. Over the next hour, I did my best to not notice the sound and the increasing pain in my skull, but it was impossible. Sometimes they would pace away from the kettle stand and closer to my doorway.

At one point, I noticed that the boy wasn't there, and that now the woman was ringing both bells herself. I went to the doorway and asked her if she would mind ringing just the one bell it was just her.

"My son has gone to the bathroom," she replied, "and will be back." Yes, but in the meantime, did she have to ring both bells? The sound, I told her, was causing me physical pain.

"We are doing this to raise money for the homeless," she smugged. That's wonderful, but the homeess will still get money if you ring just the one bell, and it will help stop my head from hurting so terribly. She assured me that the Salvation Army was a Christian organization, but when I pointed out the Christian charity would be to help the person who was in pain right in front of her, she just smiled and kept ringing the bell.

I started to beg and plead. Please, my head hurts so much. I'm not asking you to stop, just to do that a little more lightly. All I got in return was smugness and my ringing. She indicated that I was interfering with the wellfare of the homeless by asking her to change her behavoir one jot. "Why are you doing this to me?" I begged, close to tears. More smug platitudes about how she would pray for me. At one point, I think I may have shouted. She told me that I was just embarrassing myself and that I should call my manager.

I realized that she wasn't going to listen to anything I said, but that calling my manager was probably a good idea. My manager might be able to tell me who in the mall I could call to deal with the sitution. Unfortunately, I only got an answering machine.

I gritted my teeth and tried to get through the last of my shift. It was difficult. I could barely think. I had to ask people to repeat their orders several times, and I made a lot of mistakes. I noticed that the sound was slightly less in the back room, so I spent as much time there as I could. I also noticed that they seemed to be tiring a bit, as the ringing became a little more erractic. At times it would flag to a level that would have been acceptable from the beginning. However, whenever I looked out into the mall, if one of them saw me they would grin at me and shake the bell is if to summon the fire brigade.

About 15 minutes before closing, my manager called back. I told her what was going on, and she said she would see about talking to someone in the mall about it. I thanked her and told her how glad I was that it was almost closing time, because I was close to cracking.

Finally, the time came for me to close the store. I pulled down the gate and began to try to count the money. It wasn't easy, since I was having a hard time keeping numbers straight. I looked across the cash register and made eye contact with the boy. He gave me a sneering gring and raised his bell up into the air to shake it higher. I snapped and gave him the finger.

Less than a minute later the woman was at my gate, telling me what a good thing for me that the gate was down, since I had just given the finger to her seven year old son. Her tone implied that it was a good thing for me physically. She blah blah blahed at me how they were trying to do some good in the world and they were part of a Christian organization and it was obvious that I wasn't a Christian since I was trying to hurt people and she had witnesses to my earlier outburst and blah blah blah. Once more, I tried to ask her what part of Christianity allowed her do something that caused someone physical pain even while they pleaded with her to stop. Of course, she didn't listen. She told me she was going to call my manager and get me fired.

"Fine," I snapped, "you do that. I'd rather be fired than to spend another day trapped next to horrible people like you." She tried to tell me again how horrible I was and how she was going to pray for me, but I told her to fuck off and turned my back on her. My head hurt so much and I was so upset that I really was crying at the point. I called my manager right away to tell her what had happened. I told her there was going to be a complaint about me, and that I would happily quit if she needed me to. She told me not to worry about it.

Even if I never see that vile woman and her ugly son again, they are the bad apples that have spoiled the bunch for me. I am not giving one penny to the Salvation Army, and I'm encouraging those I know to do the same. Find some other charity for Christmas and don't encourage the bell ringers.


I have now seen MirrorMask four times since Wednesday. I also saw this obscure little indie film about a boy wizard. Will report more after I've gotten some sleep.

Visual Feast and then some

I saw MirrorMask tonight and I am still recovering. It was truly the most beautiful and intriguing movie I've ever seen. Like a dream in a way that movies that are dreams never are.

At this point, I really don't have words to adequately write about the film that I experienced. All I know is that I want to go back and see it again as soon and as often as I can. You should, too.

More good news

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I've gotten another photograph accepted into a juried show. This one will be going up in January. More details will be posted as I get them.

Telling it

RLPDV - An Explanation

Real Live Preacher Dramatized Version, or RLPDV, is my silly name for my dramatic versions of bible stories. I enjoy imagining the stories from the gospels as they might have happened. I use modern language and description in an attempt to capture the humanity in the bible stories

I want to say something to my friends who stand outside of the Christian tradition - atheists, agnostics, and others. You do not need to be a Christian to appreciate the stories of Jesus. These stories have been formative for our culture, and a passing knowledge of them is desirable for any educated person.

The synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, use the same basic framework to tell the story of Jesus. They are also alike in their brevity. The gospel accounts of Jesus are skeleton stories, stripped of the flesh of their immediate context. We do not see the faces or the body language. We don’t see what happened before and after. The gospel writers are minimal, giving us just the facts and trusting that we will flesh out the story.

There was good reason for this. These stories were born of an oral tradition, and only written down when those who knew Jesus began to die. They may have been intended as memory aids in storytelling. They are about as long as they could be and still fit on an average sized scroll. They were pocket stories, meant to be carried around and copied.

When I add dramatized context and flesh, I do this only to bring these bones to life again. The details I add are modernized and absolutely fiction. But there were real, live details once. There was flesh on these bones, and that makes all the difference.

The stories that he has so far are pretty good.


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The question was asked, "Where are you going?"

Runs With Scissors said:

I have no idea where I'm going but I'm having a great time getting there.

Barbara said:

I'm going where I'm supposed to be going, swimming the tides wherever
they're going, riding the horse in the direction it's going, going straight
to my grave. I'll be back.

Jennifer Dorn said:

We'll start with the glib answers and then go to the real ones.

Spiritually: Hell. Or not, since I don't actually believe in it. But I've been told. Plus, I'm a lawyer.

Physically: Probably the grocery store. And in a month to the Dominican Republic.

Where do I want to go? All over the world - I want to see people, places, and cultures that I've never seen and would like to. I want to see the wonders of the world. I want to help rebuild post-conflict societies, piece back together what was lost. I really think that the only way we survive as a human race is that there are people willing to do work for human rights and humanitarian assistance even if it never balances out the tide of destruction and death. So, I guess there's only one answer to "Where am I going?" -

I'm going to work.

Christopher Staab said:

They're comming to take me away, haha!
They're comming to take me away, hoho!
To a happy home, with trees and flowers
And Basket weavers, who twiddle their thumbs
Hoho, hehe, haha, they're comming to take me away!

Monica Awe said:

Funny question as I have been asking that a lot lately. I am on the verge of
changing my identity in many ways. I will be graduating from law school soon,
so I will no longer be “a scientist” or “a student” instead I will be
a “lawyer.” Additionally, I am getting married soon. I will no longer be
checking “single” on my taxes, and I will be changing my name. Finally, I am
contemplating becoming a mother in a few years which will change my position
in my family and society in general. In fact so much is changing soon that
think it is very appropriate that I will be getting a new name, hopefully it
will help me to make the necessary psychological transitions. So where am I
going? I have no idea. I frankly have no idea where I will be going
literally, as I may need to move to work. I frankly have no idea where I will
be going figuratively either. I have never been a lawyer, or a wife, or a
mother. All I know is that I have good friends and familythat are not about
to change and so this is not too scary. I am ready. Life: bring it on!
-Monica Awe (soon to be Hall)

Mary said:

"Where are you going?"


"Out where?"


"oh ok, buy me some deodorant will you? The unscented stick in the blue container...well you know what kind I use"


"Oh and a candy bar"


"love ya!"

"you too"

"While you're out, will you drop this in the mailbox for me? thanks"

Betty Jo said:

To the booby hatch, hopefully later rather than sooner.

Jackie Winkelman said:

Out of all the places I've lived or visited, I was always going home.

Carl Klinger said:

So, Where am I going?

I am travelling in concentric circles, looking outwards. I am spiralling inwards towards a central point which I cannot see, only percieve. I see the same things pass before me all the time as I look outwards; the same friends, the same job, the same everything, but I know I am travelling to a new position. I'm still not sure if the central point will be a fixed and safe one, or the end of all motion and momentum, but the ride is interesting either way.

Lots of people try to plot out where they are going, and a few do not care. I don't feel a lot of control at the moment, and can only hope the powers that be are guiding me towards something good. Cling to the strongest thing within reach.

Nathan Ferch said:

i'm going, or more accurately, rapidly approaching something many people abhor
and a very few look forward to: middle age. while it seems it was a mere bat
of the
eyelash when i was excited about being able to stay out until midnight with my
parents' car, i'm faced with the fact that i have less than two years until
the big 3-0-- i've most likely lived over a third of my life.

whereas the pressures of the 20's are to mature as a person, establish a
career, and potentially find a mate, the societal pressures of the 30's are
completely new. you're expected to settle down, get married (if you don't have
a few years of matrimony under your belt), and have kids. your career (you DO have a career, right?) has gained enough stability and fiduciary legitimacy to
make this possible. you have an extensive network of friends and family to
support this venture.

my path, as unconventional as it may be, has followed the blueprint of the One
True Life Path (tm) well enough to quell my parents' worries and be smalltalk
fodder at social events without raising too many eyebrows. i'm not going as
fast as some people, but i'm still heading in the same direction.

earlier in life i thought these decisions would become easier as i got older.
i'd find a way of life that suited me and i'd have no reason to diverge.
but it's become evident that there's no such thing as momentum in life;
decisions are getting harder, not easier. i'm left with fundamentally the same
problem-solving tools i had years ago, and the experience i've picked up only
seems to be relevant in the scope of what society thinks i should do.

the outcome of the decisions seem rather arbitrary. is the city i live in
going to make much more of a difference than the color of my bedroom? will my
children care for the homeless or be homeless? how much of a difference will
it make if i clean filesystems or toilets?

Katherine Olson said:

I don't really know if there is a where. I'm on a journey, to be sure, but I can't see very far ahead of myself. I do my best to make the most of where ever I am on the path at any given time and to enjoy the view of where I have been. However, if I ever get "there", I'll be sure to send a postcard if I can.

What is better?

What could be better than going to see Dar Williams in concert? Going to see her for free, of course! Tonight, M and I (not the bank, btw) went to see her with the tickets I had won with my Dream CD on Triple M.

What could be better than going to see Dar Williams in concert? Sitting next to her and one of her bandmates in Monty's Blue Plate Diner before the show. They were right next to us at the counter while we ate our dinner. I did my best not to stare, because who needs that? I also wrestled with whether to say anything to her as she was leaving, but decided against it. A small part of me wishes I had said hi, but most of me is glad that I didn't do that fan thin, and let her eat in peace. She got mobbed when she got the the door.

What could be better than seeing Dar Williams in concert with a friend? Joining up with two more friends in the theater. A and J joined up with us shortly after we arrived, and expressed envy at our dinner experience. We also were in excellent seats down in the fourth row.

What could be better than seeing Dar Williams in concert? Getting to see Dar Williams plus a great opening act. Dar has introduced me to so many of my other favorite artists, so I always look forward to hearing who she is traveling with. Girlyman was no exception. Tight harmonies, fun lyrics, and terrific stage presence--I'll happily check out this trio again if they return to Madison. All I can say is, "Son of a Preacher Man" has always been one of my favorite songs, but it takes on a new and possibly cooler dimension when it is sung (as is) by a man.

Other good things:

1. I managed to beat the crowd to the ladies room at intermission, and therefore avoided having to wait in the mile long line or risk the men's room.

2. I got a few decent cameraphone pictures, which I may put up here at some point.

3. I managed to score rockstar parking very close to the Barrymore. Practicallt right in front.

It's a good night.

Considering the fact that I sometimes go for days without updating, the fact that you frequently visit this blog several times a day is downright wierd. Maybe it's time to cut back, okay?

Also, to the person who keeps getting here by googling "", I'm starting to wonder about your thought processes. After all, you have the URL so you really don't need to google it to find where to go. Right?

Any for the rest of you that keep getting here while searching for creepy pr0n...fuck off.

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