Movie of the Month - August, 2005

July 20th, 2005

So I Married An Axe Murderer

So I Married an Axe MurdererComedy sensation Mike Myers stars with Nancy Travis in this hatchet-driven romantic comedy about a wedlock-shy coffee house poet who finally meets the perfect woman. When it comes to love, Charlie Mackenzie (Myers) has had his share of bad luck: Sherri was a klepto--Charlie still can't find his cat. Jill was unemployed--but Charlie knew she really worked for the Mafia. Pam smelled like soup--beef vegetable soup. Good thing for Charlie these shortcomings became apparent, if only to him. Good thing for Charlie he discovered the truth before things went too far--before he stumbled into MARRIAGE! Because to Charlie the "M" word is just one step away from the fate foretold in that chilling phrase "'Til death do us part." When Charlie meets Harriet Michaels (Travis) everything changes. Harriet's not like the others. She's smart, sexy, and crazy about Charlie. This time Charlie is determined to overcome the fears that sabotaged his past relationships. This time, he's ready for some commitment. Sure, Harriet may have her shortcomings--but so what? After all those other women, what's the worst she could be? An axe murderer?

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July 19th, 2005
GrooveGuy: Why do you do this to yourself? Don't even get paid, risk getting arrested, for what?
Ernie: You don't know?
Guy: No.
Ernie: The Nod.
Guy: The Nod?
Ernie: Happens to me at least once every party. Some guy comes up to me and says "Thank you for making this happen... I needed this. This really meant something to me." And they nod... and I nod back.
scoffs
Ernie: That's it.

Bribes.

July 19th, 2005

For the record, I do accept bribes. Oh, say you are going to be joining my family, by maybe marrying my brother. Dropping off an autographed copy of Nick Hornby's latest novel, A Long Way Down is a great start. If you are unfamiliar with the name Nick Hornby, you might be more familiar with some of his work.

High Fidelity (book - movie)
About A Boy (book - movie).

Thank you for my book, Kristen.

It's over.

July 17th, 2005

I have spent a long time trying to decide how to title this post. Many different possibilities went through my head. "Blew it." "Worst of all time." "Duuuuuude." "What a let down." "Ashamed." And the worst of all, "Regret."

Let me set the scene. There is a bar in town that I have enjoyed for some time now. Good times, bad times, I still like this place. I have liked it even more for the past few weeks as there has been this girl there. Yes, I did say that she has been there over the past few weeks, and seeing as how this is the first post I have made in regards to her, you know it is not a positive one.

I find that technically I am beyond stalker status. I know that she is only there one night a week, either Friday or Saturday. I have not seen her there both nights. I also know that I am not good at making the approach. This is a point that I am sure you have deduced from my making this post after saying she has been seen at said watering hole for an extended period of time. I have even gone to the point of trying to be there both nights so as to overlap on the night in which she is there. Wait, it gets WORSE.

Most of the times I have been there when she is there, I am in a group of friends where we are more reactive. If you have ever gone to a bar while single it may be acceptable for me to draw the line between reactive and proactive. Proactive is more on the prowl. Reactive is waiting for someone to come to me (likelihood 0%). So when I have seen her I have been in a group of "stand by the dance floor and watch" people rather than the "go do something" people. This is NOT an excuse. I accept full blame for the situation in which I find myself tonight. I point no fingers at anyone but number 1.

Tonight I went out with Mr. "go do something" himself. I had even preempted the night out by saying that things have been slow for me and I needed a night out with someone who would be more proactive with me. I tell you that tonight was that night.

If you were to graph out the level of expectation against the likelihood of talking to a person you see out socially you will know that there is a point on the graph. This point, as it equates to a "break even" point in the business world is when above said point it is now too built up. Too many weeks I have been to the bar and seen this girl. Too many nights I have gone home and told myself that I should have said something. Too many nights I have not made a move.

I wish tonight had gone differently. I would like this post to be one with a more positive outlook. I cannot, however, lie to you and tell you that I came through.

Tonight I blew it. Call the people at Guiness, this might have been the worst ever.

There are no excuses for what happened tonight. There are no "explanations" A/K/A euphemisms for excuses tonight. Mr. "go do something" set 'em up. Did I knock 'em down? Let me put it this way: Gutterball. Swing and the proverbial miss.

The level of disappointment is high. I can only imagine what is going through Mr. "go do something"'s head.

Tonight went as most nights do; we had a few drinks and we stood and watched over the crowd. We, as a group, are not above heading out to the dance floor and making fools of ourselves. The problem is when one girl is at the bar and the rest of the girls are a waste of time.

Disclaimer: Having not met this girl, my assumption that the rest of the female patrons were sub-par is nothing if not a bold one.

I was ready. Had Mr. "go do something" said that it was on, it was on...with anyone else. He however, was determined to get me off my hands and be proactive with the object I felt I desired.

The recap details on how or where she was seen at different points are irrelevant. What becomes important is that as the night wound down she was spotted on the dance floor.

We, following the lead of Mr. "go do something", put ourselves between where she went and how she would get back to her friends. She comes to walk right past me and I freeze. Who would expect less? My friend and miniature Buddha covered in hair sees that I am going to just let her walk by. He grabs her hand and introduces himself. He then introduces me. The only thing that could have improved my meeting would have been had my voice cracked like a boy becoming a man. She says her name while a foot away. The music is up just loud enough that to this moment I have not the foggiest idea what her name is.

Mr. "go do something" cracks a joke or two to her friend and allegedly even throws out the "my friend thinks your friend...." line. I did not know what he said at the time, but I remember her response, "I believe it." It is true.

The four of us now stand awkwardly in the geometric shape of your choice half-dancing. I feel that I am waiting for more of a sign to make a move, though it never comes. I can only imagine what was going through her head. Mr. "go do something" told me that all that went through his head was sheer disappointment.

I let him down. I let myself down. Did I let her down? I guess I will never know.

Was it bad? Oh, it was bad. It was more than bad. What it was, was the last time I talk to that girl. My brief action, I cannot even in good faith call that an attempt, may even make my parents think that I hold something against them to the effect that I will never give them grandchildren.

Is it worse to stand on the sidelines and see the girl you want to talk to? You come home at the end of the night and wish you had said something. Blood does not pump through your veins; regret does. Pure, liquid regret. "I wish tonight was the night." "Man, I should have said something." "I should have tried to dance with her."

Or is it worse to have waited all of this time only to put forth that failing grade?

It was bad. I apologize to all parties involved. I accept the fact that due to my actions irreparable damage was caused. I know that things are now beyond my control. I blew it. I can never go back. I now officially have to move on.

Here is to moving on to another girl. Yes, I expect that in a month or two you will see me repeat most if not all of this explanation.

To say that I blew it may be the understatement of the year.

Where do we go from here?

July 15th, 2005
What I look forward to is continued immaturity followed by death.
- Dave Barry

Maybe I will get a goldfish...

July 12th, 2005

Dog owners,

This is a quick letter in an effort to understand your mentality. Some things I am ok with; dogs smell - you get a candle or a can of air freshener, dogs shed - you get a vacuum, dogs bark - you sleep with ear plugs. There are many different complaints people may have with dog ownership that have relatively simple solutions. One, however, I cannot get past.

This morning on my way to work, as usual, I passed many early risers out for a walk with their dog. One in particular caught my eye as this one gentlemen was carrying a plastic grocery bag at arm's length from his body as he walked. This man had apparently fed his golden retriever a small child the night before.

Here he is. Walking innocently down the sidewalk with his dog on a leash as he is well within his rights to do, carrying this package. It looks like he cleaned up for a bear or maybe a small elephant, not his dog. And maybe it wasn't a small child he fed his dog, but an incredible amount of Thai food perhaps. The way he held that thing I was weary that men in biohazard suits would come and disarm the man and dispose of the remains as if they were containing a leak from a nuclear reactor.

I guess it must be a sign of affection if you are willing to walk a mile or more whilst carrying your dog's byproduct as if it is perfectly natural to do so. That is one activity that will always separate me from you dog lovers/owners.

I do salute the man for his clean up efforts, however. Too often many dog owners do not fulfill their responsibility to throw that plastic bag inside out over their hand and enjoy a level of intimacy with dog poop I hope to never experience. I am able to walk in the grass unafraid of in what I may step because of men like this. And for that I am grateful, just don't expect to see me rush out to clean up after your dog.

So yeah, maybe I will get a goldfish...

Sweating.

July 11th, 2005

File this one under the "I am intelligent" category, would you?

Today temperatures reached their apex near the mid 90s around these parts. It was hot. Now, because it gets so cold running my air conditioning over night, I turn off the a/c before I jump in the shower each morning. In turn I leave it off during the day while I am not here. I am not concerned about it being livable when I get home. I can deal with a transition period while my place cools down. Today was ridiculous however. It usually takes a few hours to get comfortable, but by the time I am ready for bed it is an acceptable temperature which is why I run the a/c at all. I cannot sleep if I am too warm.

Tonight was an interesting case, however. I am sitting at my dining room table trying to work on briefing some cases for class tomorrow night and it is just unbearably warm in my place. For awhile I deal with the heat. I tell myself that the cold front will be moving in soon; the things we tell ourselves to feel better....

The point of no return finally came and I went to address my thermostat. Why, I ask, is it 80 degrees in here when the air has been on for 5 hours? What is that I see flashing to the right? Oh, that is the temperature my a/c is set on. What the...Why does it say 82 degrees?!?!

Yes, it's true. The temperature was set to 82 degrees. That certainly explains why it never cooled off tonight.

This morning when I turned off the a/c I noticed that the time on my thermostat was showing 4:08am when the rest of the time pieces display 5:08am. Apparently I never sprung forward, if you will. I would not want to rush into something like this. Daylight savings is a big step...

From what I can gather, resetting the time on my thermostat must have triggered the a/c to a default temperature of 82 degrees. Any idea why default is 82? Anyway, it's now back to 65 where it belongs. My place is now at a liveable temperature again. And now I can go to sleep.

Goodnight.

Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer

July 7th, 2005

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran FoerWith only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man--also named Jonathan Safran Foer--sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukranian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.

As stated in the synopsis of the book, a young American (Jonathan) flies to the Ukraine in search of a woman who allegedly saved his grandfather from German soldiers. While in country he meets up with his translator (Alex) and driver (Alex's grandfather).

The book is laid out in what I understood to be three different formats. The first of which was Jonathan, the American's book which is a work of his family's history. There were some extraordinary happenings in his ancestry; many of them are then detailed on paper. The second style that at first glance may seem to be actual events as they occurred as if Alex were the main character recounting them; I interpreted as Alex's book. Both characters, then, are young authors. The third and final format (italicized) is Alex's letters to Jonathan.

The back and forth between the three different formats was annoying at first. The hardest part was Jonathan's family history. Before you realize it you are plunging generations into the past to a small village in Eastern Europe to follow the lives of characters that ultimately have little to do with the plot. Next you have Alex's narration and perspective both in his letters to Jonathan and also his telling of the story. Alex speaks English, though he struggles. Certain things he says, like many (in my experience) who are branching out into a language other than their primary, are too literal in their translation. This is funny at first as my American arrogance allows me to laugh at Alex, which is fine. I believe it was put in to be funny. After it was funny, it became tiresome. The gimmick of having someone who speaks broken English try to express himself as he tells tales of his sexual prowess only goes so far. It wore thin.

Like almost every other book, Everything is Illuminated has quotations of praise from "respectable" members of the media. There was some very high praise for author Foer. I had no problem with my expectations, they were not exalted due to the praise, but as I read I did remember the praise on the back and was disappointed...to a point. That point came with about 100 pages to go. When young Jonathan has reached his grandfather as he digs through layers of genealogy, specifically once his grandfather meets the gypsy girl, the book was transformed.

To be fair, I do need to circle back and discuss the relationship between Alex and Jonathan. The timeline of Alex's letters was: funny - tiresome - worthwhile. There is a turning point in his correspondence with our young protagonist that beyond which I viewed Alex in a new, significantly more positive, light.

(I am not positive which happened first, this specific happening or the introduction of Jonathan's grandfather to the gypsy girl. I apologize if Alex changed first, for my above comment about when the book "got good" is inaccurate.)

I had a slow time through the beginning of the book, but I was captivated towards the end. The remaining pages were though they were written by someone else. My thought was that the story was in that final 100 pages and what came before it was filler. The author had an idea and had to wrap it in story. When I saw author John Sandford speak he advised that, when writing, your last four chapters would be your best writing and it would take much editing so the level was that throughout. Maybe Sandford is right, maybe Foer just did not go back and edit. Who knows? At this point it does not matter. Foer earned his praise with Everything is Illuminated.

I was worried when I read that the book was about an incident that happened during the Nazi regime. I became apprehensive of a book that would then be too deeply rooted in the historical significance of the war. I did not want to read a book like that. As it turns out, I did not have to. The war is mentioned; but it comes to light in a way that made me wish for more.

The author set the hook and reeled me in. I recommend this book, but do ask that you be patient.

Buy Everything is Illuminated $11.16

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Church signs.

July 6th, 2005

No, not those kind of signs.

Churches are everywhere. You probably pass at least one on your morning commute; I pass two, no big deal. So each one has those little signs out front on which they place different "inspirational" messages.

Where do they get these messages? Is it based upon the creativity of whomever works at the church? Is there a committee of volunteers from the community that get together to brainstorm? One committee organizes the bake sale, the other comes up with witty God material? Or is there some e-mail listserv that goes around to the churches of the world passing out suggestions? How much would that list of e-mail addresses sell for to the marketers out there? A pretty penny I would imagine.

How do you make sure that no two churches have the same message up at the same time? Or maybe church A does not want to use a particular message because church B just used it last month. Who keeps tabs on this stuff?

Where can I sign up to write those things? I think I could do a pretty good job. I saw one not too long ago that said "God responds to knee-mail." Boy, that sure makes me want to go to church. I have to be able to come up with something better than that. I wonder what a job like that pays. What kind of benefits package would a church offer?

Oh come on, I know I am not the first to think about this stuff.

Holidays: The Trade-off.

July 5th, 2005

Holidays, I think you will all agree with me here, are great. For some you may see your family, at others people give you things, and in certain situations you may even have paid time off work. If you have ever thought about how genuinely enjoyable the holidays are, and wondered where the universe finds balance, wonder no more.

A free vacation day, drinks on the boat, a wonderful meal of turkey and mashed potatoes, stocking stuffers, you name it. You only hear about the positive side of the holidays. The negative side is nothing more than the first day back at work (oh, and the credit card bills).

I mention the first day back only as it is the worst, though you will often have a few coworkers who took an extra day or two of vacation. They are outliers.

The proverbial whistle blows at 8am. Time to get to work? No. Time to ask and be asked how your holiday was. Each person you sit near has to know. The guy to your right just heard you tell the guy to your left how your day was, but it would then be a) impolite of him not to ask you and b) then he would not get the opportunity to tell you how drunk he got out on the lake. Each person you pass in the hallway, when conversation is nothing more than "Hey" or "How are you?", today is "Hi, how was your weekend?" Suddenly we are best friends. Suddenly you are under the assumption that I am curious how you did or did not spend your time.

Me? Oh, no. I do not ask. Well, I ask the first person I see in the morning, beyond that I am fearful that we have already had this conversation. You think it is weird when you pass the same person in the hallway twice in one day? Is it appropriate to say "Hi" two times? Or how drastically could their condition have changed in the past hour, does this chance meeting warrant another "How are you?" Try asking them how their long weekend was a second time. You have only had this exact conversation with 150 other people today, why can't you keep them straight?! That is why I stay out of it.

I love having a day off from work as much as the next guy. If only I could lock myself in my office and be left alone until that first day back has passed.

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