Saturday, June 19, 2004

Today a group of us went on a hike in Deer Creek. Deer Creek is about a forty minute drive in some direction from here. Then there's a three mile hike in hilly regions to get to some falls.
We hiked out there. It was an easy hike for me, but I was told that it was considered a "Moderate" level hike by hiking standards. But then I walk everywhere.
The falls were nice and it wasn't long before three of us guys went in the ice cold water. The extreme temperature wasn't so bad as far as I was concerned. The bad part was how hard it is to stay standing on mossy, underwater rocks. But fun was had and my skin turned bright pink for the hike back.
I came back here and watched the next movie up for review and hold on to your hats. It's going to be a good one.
And I'm house sitting for my brother again. So, instead of being alone in my little, Paul sized, two room house, I'm all alone in my little, Paul sized, two room house and my brother's large family of six sized house. The nice part is that they left many cookies. The scary part is that they left me in charge of the fish again and since one died on my watch the last time they went out of town, I'm really hoping another doesn't kick it when they're gone. I'll look sinister.
But it's nice to sit and read in the quiet house.

Friday, June 18, 2004

And I also don't know why Blogger keeps dropping the last couple of letters from my postings.

But I also thought of American Splendor. That was a great adaptation.
I meant to write last night, but the night got away from me as it so often does.
Yesterday morning I met Crazy Horse. He was drinking on a curb and had me come over and talk to him. You know, if you put me in the middle of a room of a hundred other sane people and let one crazy person in the room, they would come straight to me. I know why too. I talked to Crazy Horse for a good twenty minutes. He spoke to me in Apache (which was strange because he told me he was Sioux) and told me that the sky went with me. Then he went through a big list of famous Native Americans and asked me if I'd heard of them as if he was then going to tell me something mind-blowing about them. But he never did. He just kept asking "You ever hear of Geronimo?"
"Yes."
Pause. "You ever hear of Chief Joseph?"
After about five of these I told him I was going to move on and I wished him well.
Later I asked Pat about him and Pat told me he knew of Crazy Horse because he'd been banned from the Jesus Center. Pat said Crazy Horse gets terribly violent when he gets really drunk. I told Pat I must have gotten out of there just in time.

Those are the kind of people I meet when I'm walking around. I never seem to meet, say, the girl I had a crush on who used to work in the Barnes and Noble when I lived in Orange County. If I'd met her yesterday morning, my whole day might have been different. Maybe much worse or maybe much better of a day. Of course, if that had happened I might not have seen the yo-yo, so I guess meeting Crazy Horse instead of the Orange County Barnes and Noble girl was providential.
I'd only meet her in the Barnes and Noble and I know better than to ask out people who are working when I'm a customer. There's a great scene in Adaptation in a restaurant that's happened to me once or twice before. One girlfriend I met when she was working in a Hallmark store and she ended up highly ranked among the more abusive women I've dated.
So beware. Make sure you don't become the enamoured consumer. Take it from me.

And speaking of Adaptation, I think we can all agree that it's time to put a ban on the books of adapting literature into film. Adaptation kind of seemed like the last word on turning books into films, but then they keep doing it. It's almost always a bad idea and yet Hollywood keeps churning them out. That's because there are so few ideas out there. I think there are two or three good examples of this in theaters right now if I'm not mistaken.
There have been a few good adaptations out there. I think Adaptation is one. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Godfather, sure but these are the exceptions that prove the rule.
We should hop to it and do this before the film version of Neil Gaiman's Death series goes into production (I think it's to be based on the less good one about the whiney grunge boy instead of the really good one about the lesbian couple.) You'd think Gaiman would have learned from his friend Alan Moore. But I don't blame the author. If somebody offered me a million dollars to make an idea of mine into something that I knew would die out long before my book did, I'd do it in a heart beat. I'd sell out in a second if somebody was buying. I could easily live the rest of my life on a million dollars.

But I'm way way off track now. I was talking about my day.

Yesterday afternoon I was starting to get a little down and lonely when I stumbled on the information that the world's largest yo-yo is on display at the National Yo-Yo Museum here in Chico. I thought, "Well, what am I doing sitting around here?"
It's wood and about four and a half feet tall. There's a picture of when they dropped it from a crane to show it really works. Then there are a lot of yo-yos in display cases. I'd hazard a guess that there's also the world's largest public display of autographs from Tom Smothers too. I don't know why that trip cheered me up so much. I guess there's a little magic in things like that. There's hope in the unique and bizzar

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I suppose the big secret can now be reveiled. My brother quit his job at the Jesus Center and now works as a pastor. The reason he was sworn to secrecy was that somebody lost their job because of it.
This really doesn't mean much of a change for me I guess. He's making a little more money now, so I guess we'll have less stew for dinner. And the good news for me is that now he can work out with me as late as 7:45 in the morning! Which gives me much more sleep on workout days. But other than that, it's not really much to me. Except that it's really cool to see him doing something that makes him happy. My job makes me happy. Jobs should make people happy.

I got a package from my folks today that contained (among other things) some old Iraqi money with Saddam's face on it. He didn't look happy, but he looked proud.

The heat is supposed to break tomorrow. It's supposed to go down to the lower 90's tomorrow. Everyone laughs when I say that but we all seem to agree that it'll be a vast and noticable improvement.
On the way back from the post office this morning I stopped in at Chico Natural Foods and bought myself a cold strawberry lemonade. Drinking that on my hot walk home was blis

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Ugh. It is hot.

I've started drinking tap water because I was walking home from the store with my two gallon bottles of water the other day and I did a little math. I also figured that everybody in Chico swears by how pure the tap water is. Still tastes funny to me though. But if I don't get horribly ill I suppose I'll save a lot of money.
The good news is that the cockeyed heat is getting me to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. I put ice in my gallon bottle each hour and just swig on it. The ice melts in seconds. I'm thinking about going down to the major chain hardware store and getting a "Boiler Room" sign for my door. I might do that. I don't mind spending money when it's for something funny.
It doesn't get hot like this in Orange County or at least not in the part I come from. Not that close to the ocean. And certainly not in June. I told Charles that when I go down to Orange County in July I'm going to bottle up a jar of ocean water and bring it back up here to take smells of when I need to. Like bottling dandelion wine for the winter.

Sorry to vent so much about the weather. I'd say "Get used to it" but I'll really try and restrain myself.

Monday, June 14, 2004

1) Film review ammendment the first:

AMELIE

The great thing about this film is that it's a romantic comedy that actually pulls off a lucid and fresh study of human relationships. So few ever try that. On top of that, it also discusses how humans react to life in general, how we imprint on likes and dislikes, our idiosynracies. In doing so it becomes somewhat of a celebration and in doing that it becomes highly entertaining.

There's your actual review of the film in a nut shell.

2) Film review ammendment the second:

THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE

Plus, if you get the DVD of this film, you also get to see what has become my favorite music video. That title was long held by Tom Waits' I Don't Want To Grow Up video.

3) I had a talk with Poster Nutbag today. I apologized for trapping the kittens. I explained that any kitten found in the garage spends a night in the box.
Poster didn't seem to care. She's tired from raising four of her kittens and one that she adopted after it got evicted from the garage. The kittens have moved on now to other parts of the neighborhood.
The good news is that Poster seems to be hanging around now. She's very mellow. She'll sit right next to me when I'm reading alone (she still makes herself scarce when the nieces are around and I don't blame her. I often do as well.) But she still wont let me pet her.

4) The heat has begun and I'm told it's only going to spike from here. It's in the upper 90's right now (10:36pm by my clock.)

5) The long kept surprise news can be told on Wednesday. So stay tuned for that

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Wow! That was just barely a film review at all!
AMELIE

You know, I've had a favorite movie since about late junior high that usually seems to reflect where I am at that point in my life. First let me say by no means do I think my favorite film is the greatest film ever made. Those are completely different distinctions. My favorite film is simply the one I get a lot of joy out of, show to a lot of people, and watch about four or five times a year.
In late Junior High my favorite was the great Marx Brothers film Duck Soup. In early high school The Hudsucker Proxy. Then Brazil in college during my really dark years. Then The Third Man (which I might argue still as the greatest movie ever made depending on how I feel that day.)
Now that I've moved up here I've shed my cynicism like... Well, like I've shed my fat from my alcoholic years (although, also like the slimming down, I seem to have hit a plateau.) And in my new found joie de vivre I've come to embrace some things that I would have terribly sentimental. For example, I've started listening to The Prairie Home Companion every week, I've dug back into my Alexander Woollcott collection, and as of this last week my new favorite film is Amelie.
Let's get one thing straight, first of all. As far as genres go, my least favorite is romantic comedy. It's an ugly and, as a rule, contrived style of film. The closest I have to a romantic comedy in my vast film library is An American in Paris.

The Graduate was pretty good too though.

Well, if I keep it up I'll just sit and think about good and bad romantic comedies for an hour and never get to the review proper.

Usually there's a girl who we're supposed to fall in love with and she's got a guy who is perfect for her as a friend and some guy who is a rotten human being as a lover. Hijinx and then she gets with the good guy.
But this is a French film and they know from romance. Plus they saved our butts from King George the 3rd so we should be grateful to them.
The plot of Amelie isn't too much a departure from romantic comedies as we know them, but it's in the telling of the story. First of all the narrative and editing finally push the genre into something interesting stylistically. Then there's the fact that things are seen as romantic that would be used in American films to show that people are mentally ill. It rang too true for me because in relationships I'm often called obsessive in things I would call myself passionate in. But that's what I get for dating bourgeois pigs.

Good Lord. What is with me this evening?

While the style is used heavily at the beginning to hook us into the film, it doesn't disappear entirely in the film proper. There's a nice through line. The character archs are nice and the couple in the restaurant (one of whom starred in Delicatessen) isn't tied up in a neat little package. I won't spoil anything but it's nice to have some rough edges in a romantic comedy. Some ugliness too, like the produce stand fellow. Some tragedy like the glass man. Some truimphs in the end.
Something for everyone. A comedy tonight.
It's that well made and it's also entertaining as all get out.

I told you. Staying up here has made me joyful. I'm enjoying things without guilt and without tempering it with snide or self deprecating jokes. You'd hardly know me