Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Did anyone else know Chris Pozzi's a model?



Hoping to fit this post into my spring break agenda, I decided to cut my evening nap short. It's okay though, I took a longer post-lunch nap than usual so I'll be fine. Anywho, Chris is on this random assortment of pictures. I was looking at a friend's picture on a list of 18 Portland Private High School pictures, and when I browsed the others, he was #1.

My spring break's been kinda slow, but at least I'm learning new things. For example, did you know that dreams get really strange after 14 hours of sleep for four nights in a row? I was in my suite in Antarctica with some sex goddess practicing yoga next to my bed when the President called me asking me if I'd seen his puppy. I defy somebody to name the reference. Callate Quen.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Whoever built a platform between platforms 9 and 10 must have been high

I have now lost all faith in Harry Potter. Whoever thought that a platform could exist there is a total idiot. I'll load a picture eventually, but i'm lazy... But King's Cross is in a horrible area of London, there are, or at least used to be drugs and prostitutes everywhere. I actually didn't see much of this, just one really bad transvestite. Anyway, platforms 9 and 10 are off on the side of the station, in a very not-busy part of the station, where anybody would notice hundreds of kids passing through a solid wall. Plus, there is a cart in the way prohibiting anyone from just walking through. I did however, attempt to gain access to the platform by running head first into the wall, but failed and split my head open. BTW, I'm not joking, I really did split my head open. More on this later. Other HP-related news: Cannon Athletic Club is on Chudleigh (Chudley) St. and Fawkes is the name of a gunpowder export who ploted to overthrow the British government. Dublin was... Dublalicious. Pretty touristy. Pretty much the only shops that were open downtown were Irish gift shops... and PUBS. Hellua pubs. Basically non-stop pubbage. The worst part of Ireland was the 6:45 flight after St. Paddy's. That sucked. At least the hotel was nice. Much better than this shit-hole I'm stuck in in London. We have 4 people in a 2 person room. And the hotel is so cheap that it advertises the basic amendaties that it cuts to save money. Plus, the hotel is near King's Cross, which, as I said, is shitty. Plus, London is Hellua expensive. The rugby was fun. It is really nice to play again. We lost by a ton, though. It was bad. We lost to old men, it was kinda embarassing. I started to play well again about 10 minutes into the second game. I had three tackles in a row. It was great. Tackle, up, tackle, etc. I got up for the fourth tackle, hit heads with somebody else trying to tackle him. I'm down for about a second, but get up and try to ruck. I see blood dripping down everywhere, but I figured it was just my nose, which had been bleeding since the first play. As usual, I just shoved grass up there, and kept playing. Well, it turned out that I had split my head knocking heads, and was bleeding quite profusely. Some guy from the other team took me and the other guy, who got a concussion to the hospital, where I got 3 stitches. Luckily, health care is free in England. I heart Socialism. That was yesterday. Today, went on the London tour. Took one of those sight-seeing buses, then toured Tower of London. That was about it. Won't see any more than that, though, we leave for Amsterdam tomorrow.
I'm back in Ithaca now, I wrote that earlier part before and am too lazy to change it. My friend told me to tell people that I split my head open trying to run into platform 9 3/4, so that's why I said that... Anyway, Amsterdam. Uh.... Amsterdam was fun. Went to the Van Gogh mueseum, which also had a exhibit with Rembrandt and some Italian, Cavarggio or something. Then we went to this really cheap free market thing, which is a bunch of cheap clothing and stolen shit. And fries with mayonasie. Then the Anne Frank house, which was really creepy and really depressing. It makes her diary so much more powerful being in the place where she wrote it. We then decided to relieve this tension by going to the Red Light district, which was really close by. Pretty much what you'd expect from a Red Light district, lots of porn stores, strip joints, and prostitutes in the windows of the stores in the alleys. Yay prostitutes. Anyway, that was about all. We only spent 1 full day in Amsterdam, so we didn't get much time to see everything. Bad thing about the hotel, though. The room was pretty much the size of the 4 beds that were in the room, so It was pretty packed. Also, my room was the only one with a balcony, so all the potheads smoked on the balcony all night, causing the room to smell very strongly of pot. I was kinda suprised we didn't get stopped at the airport for just reeking of the stuff, but we made it, and now I have to wash the smell of weed out of all my clothes. I also have to get the stitches removed from my head today, and some homework, but if I think of anything else that happened and I neglected to mention, I'll post a comment.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Adam who?

UCLA 73-Gonzaga 71...At least JJ didn't cry.

JJ who?

LSU 62-Duke 54.

Okay, So Tell Me If This Creeps You Out (As We All Wait Impatiently For Doug's Tales Of European Debauchery)

At the radio station, we don't get a ton of calls. In fact, at least a quarter of them are from the same dozen or so folks. Consequently, I haven't been concerned as I have gotten at least one call every Thursday morning from the same guy. Sure, it was a little weird when he called and asked me to repeat a story on scholarships for gay students, which we proceeded to discuss, with the conversation somehow turning to me answering questions about the guy who had the slot last semester (who I don't know.) But most of the regulars are pretty eccentric and this was tame compared to what regulars like Truck Driver Rick, Donna the cat lady, or Captain Marvel talk about. However, today he called to talk about a joke I had made on my rock show two weeks ago, and ask me about my grades. He called back ten minutes later and told me he had an extra ticket to the Glee Club Spring concert tomorrow and asked if I wanted to go. Now ordinarily I don't date older men, but a couple of my best friends here, one being my future roommate, are in Glee Club and I hadn't gotten a ticket before they sold out. And you guys know how devoted a friend I am. I mean, who else would donate a testicle to Ken? So I said sure. We talked about where to meet and he asked what color my hair was. I told him I was 5'11 and pretty goofy looking. He said, and I quote: "Oh, a tall boy, very good." Then after a second he asked me how goofy looking. I told him fairly goofy, but not a circus freak (agree/disagree?). Anyway, that tall boy thing seemed sort of strange. I tell ya, there's nothing nicer than getting calls from people who really like what you're playing, but sometimes I wish we didn't have a telephone in the studio. Especially when Captain Marvel gets drunk. Really I have no reason to be posting. I guess you guys could help me: what should I wear?

{He called a third time to confirm}

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Spring Break '06: The Revenge of Sally Ann Furnace

Well, I just got back to Brew City after what amounted to a whirlwind 10-day tour of the East Coast by my buddy chum ol-pal Kate Sko(czalek). Emphasis on the whirlwind. We covered at least 800 miles, including the Appalacian mountains, Washington DC, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and a whoooole lotta Philly. As I speak Kate is currently sleeping somewhere. I'm not sure. I should probably go find her at some point and poke her with things, because that is my job here in Cobeen. Along the way I met some crazy people, some not-so-crazy people, and some absoultely batshit insane people. And Nancy Tsang. Anyway, because you busy college people enjoy pretty pictures instead of words:


Kate Sko and some juice in the airport, shortly before she was patted down by a very burly woman because she lost her photo ID.



Kate's block in the Mayfair neighborhood of Philadelphia. A whole bunch of little identical row homes made up every block. Kate's boyfriend/fiancee lives a block up.



Kate's grandpa's Christmas tree farm. He's a retired civil engineer and one of his daughters is also a civil, so we talked shop (well, granpa was kinda sleepy/on painkillers for a broken sternum, so we just kinda sat around with him).



Kate's in the Army. I made her promise me that she wouldn't make me go back to Arlington.



A really pretty sunset behind the Washington Monument in DC.



The White House, complete with some security dude looking at us.



Me taking a picture of Kate taking a picture of someone taking a picture (not pictured). We were bored?



This one's called: "IT WAS 80 DEGREES OUT YESTERDAY WHY ARE WE WEARING SWEATERS *confused*."



NANCY TSANG, with whom I watched "V for Vendetta" a second time. In two nights. Ah good times.



We stole chalk. Rebels.



Highlights not pictured above:

-Driving to the Jersey shore at 3 AM to watch the sun rise. (IT WAS COLD. But pretty. No pics becasue I left my camera in the car and was too busy spooning for warmth to go run back.)
-Tastycakes!
-Almost but not quite stealing food from the UPenn business school with Nancy.
-Bubble tea place!
-Watching Dan's video of "that time we got bored, happed to know someone who had some dynamite, and blew up Kate's TV"
-Getting lost in the foothills of the Appalacians for two hours after eating at someplace called "Snuzzle's" on Sally Ann Furnace Road. BEST ROAD NAME EVER. However, we still do not know how it intersected with itself and then became another road entirely.
-Hanging out at Chris's house. The Engmans fed us well.
-Figuring out just what the hell a Wawa is.
-5 mile run around some big lake in Virginia.
-The 100-mph return from DC in post rush-hour traffic. ("I SEE A HOLE!" "ohmygodi'mgonnadiecrazyeastcoastdrivers")
-Matt just kind of showing up one day. He's from Detroit. Go figure.

And a whole bunch of other stories that are either bizzare, incriminating, hilarious, or all three. Mostly all three. But that's my spring break in a nutshell. I have more pictures which will wind up places. For now I must figure out what my chemlab is all about and try to fix my iPod, which apparently hates airplanes or me or both... yeee-haaaa!

V FOR VENDETTA

I read the comic book (“graphic novel” is a term for people who don’t want to admit they read comic books) on which this film was based a few months back so that I could better know the story, judge it as an adaptation, et cetera. It completely blew me away. It has a scope and range that few stories have, and I knew instantly, if only for its length, that it’d be nearly impossible to adapt to the big screen.

But as an adaptation, it’s fantastic work. The Wachowski Brothers somehow managed to not necessarily work in all the intricacies (some of which I miss dearly, including a much longer flashback and V playing the piano and singing "The Vicious Cabaret"), but put enough in to make you believe they’re there. One of the things Alan Moore did in the comic so well (as he always does) is show how V’s actions affect EVERYBODY, from himself to Evey to the government to the police, and that was all maintained. And it was sold in the murder scenes, because even the first one, which happens early on in the film, you can tell this guy has concerns, worries, cares of his own. And the scene with the doctor, who’s in the film for probably no more than ten minutes, was just as beautiful as it was on the page.

Scott Foundas, film critic at LA Weekly, says, “As an action movie V For Vendetta is a dud,” and surely he’s right. There’s one impressive fight scene towards the end, which has MATRIX written all over it, but by and large this is not an action story, and I’m glad they kept it that way. There’s enough action an intrigue to keep the general population in place, but the Wachowskis, as screenwriters, have moved far beyond their days of settling matters in bloodless battles.

This is, in fact, their best writing. Not only are the ideas and narrative of V kept intact, but the heart is as well. Evey’s time in jail, though I knew the outcome, moved me deeply, and they kept one important detail of her time there that completely sells that section of the film. This, of course, was equally helped by Natalie Portman’s fantastic work here, probably the best of her career, and actually a really daring choice having just come off an Oscar nomination for CLOSER.

And Hugo Weaving’s work as V is just fantastic. There’s been some talk, rightfully so, as to how much he’s actually under the mask, but at any rate the character works extraordinarily well onscreen.

I’m really interested to see how this gets received in the next few weeks. Critics are by and large digging it (a solid 74 at Rotten Tomatoes), and I ended up having to go to the 11:20 as the 9:40 was completely sold out. I think, by and large, people will be open to the message it has, that violent overthrows are at times necessary, and there’s some really jarring imagery, especially for a major studio release (the ending says it all for that).

As for me, I do not see it as a criticism of the Bush administration. There’s a slight allusion that the current Iraq War led to the downfall of the United States, but I think the similarities between the British government in V and the current American one are few and far between. The two strongest are the anti-homosexual tendencies, which played just as large a role in the original comic (published in the early 80s), and the mention of phone tapping (which is pretty standard sci-fi governmental stuff). No, the only form of government the story is commenting on is the kind that happens when people stop thinking for themselves and lay it all at the government’s feet. That, and fascism. In fact, one guy who sent a review into Ain’t it Cool News pointed out that the government of V has more in common with the Saddam Hussein regime than anything else, the two strongest links there being the murder of thousands of his own people and the censorship of media, controlling not only creative television but also what is released as news.

But I’m very interested the see how audiences take this. I was in a fairly crowded theater, and I had everything from the guy in front of me who made sure prior to the movie that I wouldn’t be disrupting his experience by eating my potato chips to the guy in the back row who laughed at lethal injection, never mind the growing number of people who cheered with each person V killed. It’s really tough, dense material, and it was successfully adapted as such. I think the film does a great job in getting you to take V’s side, but at the same time making you ask yourself why that is.

So feel free to talk back about it; I know a lot of you were planning on seeing it/saw it (if you haven’t, I of course highly recommend it, though honestly I’d give the edge to Thank You For Smoking), and it’s definitely a discussion-oriented film.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING

Over the last few years, the Sundance Film Festival has changed from a champion of true independent film to a venue for the latest star-laden $5 million production that is just waiting for distribution from Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, or Sony Pictures (most recently, one could point to “The Squid and the Whale” and “Garden State” as the best recent examples of this principle, whereas I could just as easily point to “Primer” as the best example of how the old system is still thankfully somewhat in place). In the case of “Thank You For Smoking,” it had a distribution deal months before Sundance, and I even saw the trailer for it running before “Munich” in December.

So while part of me wants to lash out at it for being the perfect example of how there’s hardly such a thing as an old-fashioned independent success story (see “Clerks”), I really can’t deny that “Thank You For Smoking” is one of the funniest, smartest movies of the past few years. As a satire, it’s brilliant, because it expects almost no prior knowledge to get many of the jokes, yet is still biting enough to have something to say.

And the cast IS amazing. Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, David Koechner, J.K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson from “Spider-Man”), Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, a surprisingly-not-awful Katie Holmes, Sam Elliot, Rob Lowe, Todd Louiso (Dick from “High Fidelity”!), and Adam Brody (best cameo of the year…one line of dialogue will have you laughing for hours). I don’t know if they had anyone else in mind for the parts, but all of these were so perfectly cast (well, Katie Holmes will never be truly perfect casting, but she’s decent enough as…a slut).

It’s tough to review humor, and the laughs aren’t constant in it (but neither are they intended to be), but the small jokes work and the big ones soar. And, as was my fear, it’s not a one-note joke about cigarettes or big tobacco, but there’s a lot of fun to be had with Hollywood, congress, education, alcohol, and firearms. The closest thing I can compare it to in a comical sense is “South Park,” not only for making us laugh at serious issues, but especially for making us laugh at both sides. The guys trying to cut down on tobacco use have methods just as bad as the guys trying to get America on a pack a day. The other comparison to “South Park” is the humor has almost no subtlety (but try to name the most recent comedy that does) – It’s bright, loud, and fast-paced, but it packs a lot for its running time. At 92 minutes, it feels like you’ve gotten a full 2-hour experience without a hint of boredom.

I'm not sure what the release schedule is for this...I caught it at a free press screening (no, not as a member of the press, just a lucky bastard). I'm almost positive it's in New York and LA right now, and I think it opens in Boston next Friday, so keep an eye out for when it comes to wherever you may be.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

Paris, OR Land of the Incredibly Small Hotel Beds

Yeah, so that's where I went over Spring Break. The hotel room was ridiculously small, though the housekeeping was nice...but seriously, when you have two hotel beds smaller than your college mattress, and half a foot of room between them...it makes me gain a new appreciation for my personal space. And the bars of soap? I wouldn't be surprised if somebody confused it for a white chocolate mint and ate it, because it was miniscule.

I was immensely disappointed that Paris drives on the same side of the road that we do back in the States. However, traffic in the city was bad enough that my disappointment quickly gave way to relief that being a pedestrian downtown was slightly less dangerous than in DC, because at least there people will stop for you (DC drivers are the worst I've ever seen, and to steal from Dave Barry, "DEATH BEFORE YIELDING" Seems to be their motto).

However, once I got over the strange quirks of Europe, and the porn being sold on every other street, and the physical adaptation one has to endure in which one's body derives energy from Nicotene rather than oxygen, and that apparently pedestrians share the sidewalks with the occasional moped, sedan, and a rare six-wheeler, it was amazing.

No, really; the trip was wonderful, so don't let my skepticism fool you. Our hotel was about 4 blocks away from the Eiffel Tower (We were on the Left Bank), the Metro had a stop less than two minutes away from us, and hey--it's PARIS. You can go to buildings that have been around for centuries, not just generations. The metro, though complicated at first, is amazingly efficient and easy. I know the Paris metro better than the DC metro. You get to EAT FRENCH PASTRIES. Actually, I don't ever think I ate a pastry more exotic than a croissant. But there are like patisseries on every block of the city, which makes for a nice window-shopping experience.

If you get to go over there, be warned: Parisians don't believe in hydration. They believe in lots of wine and carbonated beverages. Water fountains don't exist. But you can get by pretty easily; Just drink a lot of water and orange juice and stuff in the morning, (my hotel had amazing breakfasts) drink lots of fluid at meals, and you'll be good to go. This is, of course, assuming you're taking the same rigorous approach to France that the group I was with did.

We went all over, but naturally, we went to the Louvre, Notre Dame, Versailles, and we also went out to Chartres to see its cathedral (magnificent, better than ND, I think), Montmartre to see Sacre C...Well, I don't know how to insert the character that would let me spell "Heart" in French, so "Sacred Heart" and, because of COURSE there were girls in our group who wanted to see it, The Moulin Rouge. We saw the Orsay Museum, some old French neighborhoods, the Latin Quarter...twas awesome.

Best Part: Seeing the Eiffel Tower at night and hanging around near it until 3ish AM. Just awesome to get to know some of the folks in the honors program better.

Worst Part: The Louvre. On Ash Wednesday. So...fasting combined with lots of walking, small beds and sore backs combined with lots and LOTS of standing...all of it culminating in getting to eat some fish burger thing at a restaurant in the Louvre food court. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome seeing the art and sculptures (yes, saw the Mona Lisa...nice, but not the crowning point of my life), but it was just kind of painful. But I'd do it again in a minute, because that week was awesome.

I realize this is sort of lackluster, but I started out trying to avoid doing a paper, and I very quickly realized that I need to get it done so I can start and finish ANOTHER paper by Friday. Take care, guys. Those of you on Spring Break: enjoy!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I Woke Up in a Car

Hey ho children, it's been awhile.

I am writing this to tell you that, 24 hours from now, I will begin my spring break adventure on the East Coast. This will consist of:

1) Driving to Virginia and New York City
2) Hiking around some hills
3) Trying not to get killed in Inner City Philadelphia
4) Meeting up with Nancy at UPenn
5) Sleeping in a car because my friend Kate has a very small house and cannot fit me in it
6) Eating a Philly cheesesteak
7) Getting my heart restarted after the cheesesteak stuffs up my arteries
8) Sleeping not much
9) Eating a lot

I will post pictures of my weeklong adventure when I get back into town next Sunday. It should be tres sweet. Hope everyone has a safe and restful spring break!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Come See "Getting Out" at UP, SAT and SUN!!!

If you happen to in portland this weekend for spring break or whatever, you really should come see the play that I am in at the University of Portland, Getting Out. I portray "The Doctor" and am a really mean guy that beats up on the main character. It it deffinatly not a feel-good play but its fun and its only 10 dollars. Anyone who can come really should. The basic outline is that the main character Arlene has just been released from prison after 8 years and has to confront her past in varieing ways, whether it be her former pimp, her mother, or the series of flashbacks that take place in which she is portrayed by a different actress. The acting is very intense and I highly recomend it to all of you. So tonight and tommorow are our last two performances (Sat the 4th at 7:30 and Sun the 5th at 2:00) and I appologize for not posting earlier, but I have been quite busy. I hope anyone who is in town can make it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Fiery Furnances

I'm not sure if any of you besides Nancy have heard of them, but they are a indie rock band. I'm sure Shakeer has, but other than that... Anyway, concert was tonight. I am far too tired to review them properly, but I figure I might as well give it a shot now instead of waiting longer and then not doing it ever. If there is anything this blog doesn't need, is another day without a post. Anyway, The first opening band sounded like any opening band. Guitar was too loud to hear the vocals, which were okay, the usual. The second opening band was better. I had actually didn't know that they were not the fiery furances until the girl I was with told me so. But she didn't know until most of the way through herself, so I don't feel that bad, but still. Anyway, I think that made me to enjoy them much more. Anyway, on to the fiery furnaces. They started off with a bunch of stuff off of their earlier cd's, which was cool, 'cause I knew the songs and could still here. They were much more mainstream in concert than they are on their cd's. They are a fairly typical rock band live. A lot of the weird, indieness comes from editing and really, weird lyrics, which you really can't always make out with really loud music. The guitars pretty much took the place of the random instruments and sounds that they usually have with their music, but the guitars were really good, so made up for sounding normal. I sounded like an pretensious indie asshole there, and I apologize. So overall, the concert was really great. There were also only like 200 people there, so it kinda felt like coffee house, which y'know, is sweet. Oh! There was this crazy hippie couple there, too. The guy was like 60 something, and they were just in their little world, dancing, spinning, totally lost in whatever it was that they smoked before the show. It was really funny. Oh, Ithaca, you and your crazy hippies.

PS: I just found out that Ben has heard of them, too. So... sweet...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It'll be our Woodstock, except with candy for drugs and Twister for sex

So basically God said to Jesus, "Hey, you know that Ben kid? Yeah, let's put together all his favorite bands at one music festival and make it within driving distance over a weekend he can definitely attend. That'd be nice of us."

(Click link about now)

I was already excited for Sasquatch this year, but when I read who was in it (a full week after it was announced, the ND server must have stopped the mailing list thing from getting through) I would have soiled myself, had I not just come from the lavatory.

So Rocinante will definitely be driving up there, dibs on seats start...NOW!

{I have four seats, but will find a way to cram you in if Ken is the only alternative. Legally I can take six. This is going to be awesome, don't let me go up there by myself. Okay, Friday might not look great, but Trail of Dead is actually pretty good and I'm sure the surprise will be good. Plus some people might have to work that day anyway.}