february 2003

click here for permalink February 21, 2003

Yesterday I braved the traffic and rain and rode Mr. Pink's bike out into the world to do my errands... ugh. What hell. It was freezing, raining and, naturally, I'm about three years out of shape...

Every time I stopped, I had to wait for five minutes before I could walk anywhere because my lungs would have to depressurize back to normal body temperature after inhaling zero degree wind at high speed. I thought surely they, or my heart, were going to explode before the day was over.

I managed to get lots of stuff done, though, including making a long-avoided trip to my storage locker to find a big, warm furry coat that I bought during the summer. I began to despair, though, when I opened the door and saw that there was less than one square foot of empty space in which to stand and somehow find, extricate and rescue my coat.

In a karmic twist that must have been payback for the whole breathing incident, I shortly discovered two serendipitous things: 1) our coats are stored in a suitcase that was wedged under and between three others with a big, heavy box resting on half of it but I was able to unzip it (!) and miraculously wrestle my coat (which was on top!) out of it without moving anything else.

2) I had forgotten to remove my bike helmet before entering the storage locker but this ended up being a very good thing when my struggle with the suitcase brought me to a dangerous position crouching under a bag full of ski poles, a set of golf clubs and wooden chair frame that had been wedged in after all the nicely fitting square items.

The last leg of the journey was me trying not to get killed in rush hour traffic, cold rain and twilight visibility as the sun had unexpectedly set while I was in the storage locker. I arrived home panting and angry, with my hair in little matted icicles around my helmet.

Moments later, I slumped on the couch in my huge, snuggly coat with a cup of coffee between my frozen hands, and vowed never to step foot outside again. Mr. Pink looked at me with something between pity and disgust and said, if I remember correctly, "you really need to get more exercise."

One of the funnier moments of my little trip was in the library; I was scanning the shelves in the Astrology section for something interesting (that I hadn't read yet) and a bright, yellow book from the shelf above caught my eye: "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Witchcraft."

I couldn't help thinking, do we really want complete idiots practicing witchcraft? I mean, what possible good can come of that? It's like that correspondence school that used to include "Aircraft Maintenance" and "Gun Repair" among its offered courses, right between "Paralegal" and "Dental Assistant." It sort of does explain a lot, though...

click here for permalink February 17, 2003

I've just realized — perhaps to my horror, I'm not sure yet — that 90% of the games I have in my closet (yes, there's a whole shelf) were invented before the fifties... How weird is that?

Checkers, Chess, Scrabble, Clue, Backgammon (not that I play it but I have it), Monopoly... my Magic 8 Ball... which can no longer be read legibly through all the perma-bubbles caused by people who insisted on shaking the life out of it while asking their questions. Even Twister was in circulation by the early sixties. Just in time for the sexual revolution, heh.

Good ol' Boggle is the same age as me... I won't read too much into that. Well, except for maybe this; Yesterdayland describes Boggle as, "what happens when Scrabble gets too much sugar in its system." Heh heh.

I once played Boggle for three hours straight because my friend couldn't accept that she was losing and every time we'd get to the next point limit that we'd set, she'd go, "Oh come on! Let's play to 100!" And 150... 200... and so on.

God, my brain was turning to mush by the time we stopped. I was writing down, like, three words per turn in an attempt to let her win. I'd be all, "Cat. Car. Track. Oh well, that's it!" I couldn't lose. It was hell! Anyway...

click here for permalink February 13, 2003

Thanks to my friend Monica, I'm quasi-obsessed with a new magazine (I'm reserving full judgment until my free trial issue arrives 6-8 weeks from now); it's called ReadyMade and, apparently, it's made for freaks just like me...

They have features on how to make your own gifts, clothing and furniture, an editorial style that is part Vice/part pre-Mark Golin-era Details, and do-it-yourself instructions like this:

"Nostalgia comes in strange packages: the Slayer T-shirt, the Dukes of Hazzard sleeping bag, the Care Bears beach towel. Can't bring yourself to deposit the past at the local Goodwill? Do something useful with it. Even the most embarrassing relic can be torn apart, stuffed with cotton, and sewn into a pillow."

Not that I would ever follow those particular instructions, mind you, but it's got me all intrigued and excited! Yep... now all I have to do is wait... six to eight weeks.

click here for permalink February 12, 2003

Until now, if you wanted to know who's had the most Oscar nominations of all time, in any category — or maybe just in the major categories, or... or maybe you wanted to know what percentage of the time Best Director and Best Picture awards have gone to the same movie — well, until now you pretty much had to call and ask me.

But not anymore! Now you can go to LittleGoldenGuy.com and ask for any Oscar statistic you can think of and get the answer in seconds! God damn, that is cool! For a while there, I thought maybe I was only one who got overwhelming urges to know those things... but now that I know there are actual calculators designed for that purpose, I don't feel so alone. Heh.

Oh, and the answers to those questions in the first paragraph are Walk Disney, Billy Wilder and a whopping 74.3%. If anyone wants me, I'll be over there filling my head with useless statistics...

click here for permalink February 10, 2003

According to an article in the latest issue of the Georgia Straight, Vancouver's free weekly paper, the International Criminal Court could charge Canada's Prime Minister Jean Cretien for war crimes if he decides to join the United States in a non-NATO-approved attack on Iraq.

To my knowledge, he has refused to comment on the warning letter but in public statements he continues to indicate that Canada will probably do whatever Bush tells it to do.

For more information on the International Criminal Court, check out the BBC News' Q & A sheet. One of their aims is "establishing criminal and legal responsibility for people who conduct and authorize illegal military actions."

If you think that sounds like a utopian, Roddenberian fantasy, well, it has been ratified by 76 world governments... that's right... with the significant exception of the United States. Others who have not signed include China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq and Turkey.

The Bush Administration has adamantly refused to ratify the Treaty, effectively reversing one of Clinton's last acts in office (dontcha find a new reason to miss that guy every day?).

click here for permalink February 8, 2003

I went to see "The Hours" last week. I went in a pack with four other chicks because I think there's some kind of rule prohibiting men from actually entering a theater that's playing it...

The acting, first and foremost, was phenomenal. I mean, I just sat there during the opening credits thinking, "oh my god, s/he's in this too?" over and over. Ed Harris was amazing. Allison Janney can do no wrong... Meryl, obviously, was her unimpeachable self... Julianne Moore, who I love, was great... oh, and John C. Reilly. He's always good and so underrated... he's in "Chicago," too, which I might see next week so I'm not the last person to see it before the Oscars.

Anyway, it was good; it's just not the kind of movie that you walk out of with a really strong reaction... which surprised me because all week the late night guys have been joking about groups of chicks leaving the theater in tears. I fully expected to be a mess by the end of it — after all, I'm the one who cries at the end of T2 every time — but it didn't really affect me like that.

The gals and I speculated afterwards that maybe we were missing a key element that would enable us to fully appreciate the story (and it's not having read the book because one of us had). We figured it was either; 1) we're not in our forties 2) none of us really knew enough about Virginia Woolf going into it.

I always tend to think that knowing more about the subject will solve the problem of not connecting with the heart of a good movie... After all, when I was completely confused — and borderline angry — at the end of "Mulholland Drive," I read everything I could find about it on the Internet until I was satisfied that I understood what the hell it was about... heh, and now I love that movie.

But even with a solid background on V.W.'s life and work, it's still unclear whether "The Hours" is meant to be understood as pure, biographical mythology, where all the characters and their actions are meant to represent aspects of the subject's personality, or if it can be more universally applied, like other character-driven ensemble pieces (e.g. "Magnolia").

That might depend on the audience's interpretation of insanity and whether or not there is a clear boundary where creativity ends and madness begins. Unfortunately, that still doesn't make "The Hours" any more accessible. But I think the resulting film is, ultimately, true to what the author and director intended. This reviewer has an interesting interpretation.

Anyway, enough about that! Check out my latest article over at ignorance.tv... heh, it's about sex... well, sort of.

click here for permalink February 7, 2003

I strayed from the usual NBC Thursday Friends/Will & Grace lineup last night to watch the big Michael Jackson special on "20/20." It was certainly the most intimate, perhaps invasive, interview he's ever done...

The interviewer followed him for eight months to get close enough to ask the kinds of questions everyone has wanted to ask Jackson since his much-publicized dive off the deep end over a decade ago. I hear he's furious with the guy now that he's seen the interview and who could blame him? It shatters any illusions the public might have had about Jackson having a "normal life" behind all the tabloid stories.

But I found myself feeling more than the pity-through-revulsion I had expected, watching him answer obviously painful questions about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his tyrant stage-father and the various humiliations that marked his adolescence and presumably, irreparably damaged his development into an adult.

The special was a two hour combination of scenes like that and scenes of him at home at the Neverland Ranch, where he was filmed happily leading a group of visiting kids on a tour and climbing trees, where he goes to think and write songs. These scenes were utterly engrossing and as I watched, I found myself becoming increasing sympathetic.

Don't get me wrong — the closest I'll ever come to condoning child pornography is enjoying "The Professional" a little too much — but I found it hard to see him in a threatening light, even when he admitted that he routinely invites young children to spend the night at his home.

When the interviewer spoke with one of Jackson's twelve-year old friends about the "sleep overs" at the Ranch, the boy insisted that it was all very innocent and friendly, while Jackson looked on nervously. He had to interrupt at one point with the assurance that he had slept on the floor after offering the boy and his brother the bed — a fact that hadn't been 100% clear the way the boy told it.

This revelation was definitely the creepiest part of the show although he seems genuinely oblivious to the fact that nobody sees it the way he does. He described the sleep overs as "loving" and "charming," trying without any success to diffuse the obvious overtones of impropriety. Then he dug the hole even deeper, laughingly recalling the good ol' days when Macaulay and Kieran Culkin used to sleep over, in his bed, one on either side of him.

As they talked about sleeping arrangements, the camera panned down to linger on the two holding hands. They zoomed in so close that it was impossible not to notice that Jackson's hand, tightly intertwined with the boy's, was severely dry and cracked and his nails were flat and yellow and deeply scarred, like old wood. [shudder]

In subsequent footage, three fingertips on one of his hands are bandaged. No mention is made of this and no admission is forthcoming when the interviewer badgers Jackson to talk about his obvious plastic surgery. He insists that nothing more than two nose jobs has been done and that the drastic change in his appearance is the result of "growing up," nothing more.

I never said he wasn't nuts but I still felt sorry for him by the end of the two hour ordeal.

Tonight, in a fortuitous coincidence of programming, NBC ran an episode of "Law & Order: SVU" about a child pornography ring where they catch a father who publishes nude photos of his preschool-aged daughter. I guess it wasn't hard to predict that audiences would be all revved up the night after Jackson's special, and eager to crucify a fictional scapegoat pedophile.