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Monday, 30 June
Chompin' At The Savoy

Last night, I spent a bit of the evening with the inlaws and new brother-in-law; it was the first time we'd hung out since we'd returned from Belgium, and they were itchy to see pictures and all that. It was also ostensibly to post-celebrate the brother-in-law's recent graduation and my birthday, but that was slightly dimmed by the forgetting of several crucial parcels back home. Oh well; the in-laws are actually lovely people and really like me a lot or do a really brilliant job of feigning affection.

I'm not entirely clear on whose choice it was to go to a jazz club, however; I hate jazz. I know, I know: I'm a philistine, but listen: I don't hate every single jazz song out there--just almost all of them. Think what you may, it's cool, I've heard every possible variant on the it's-impossible-to-hate-jazz theme, and probably the only thing I can say in my defense is that I also hate reggae, which generally makes people give up on talking to me altogether. He probably steals from cripples, too!

With that said, I did have a reasonably good time; not for the music, which was, I was informed, swing-based jazz, but mainly for the musicians. There's something refreshing about the way they watch each other and grin and shout out things like "Damn!" or "Here we go!" or simply make gestures to indicate that that other guy over there is totally blowing my mind right now! I've been weaned on so much rock music, which seems to have brutally conditioned its every star not to dare to enjoy their own music, except in a vaguely glacial way, that to see people actively encouraging each other was really a treat.

Unfortunately, that sort of looseness was largely absent whenever the music stopped. There was a lot of sententious bunkum about how we--the audience--was doing something special with our time, by coming out and supporting this very important music, all with the rather gooey undertone that somewhere, a lot of people not quite as cool as us were unfortunately enjoying baser stuff, like TV or sports. It sounded like something I'd hear on a public television pledge drive: a little desperate, like maybe everyone was thinking, "Is our art form in danger or what?" Being involved in live theater, I've heard this tone of voice before.

Then there was the food. Having earlier spoiled my appetite with a Polish dog before watching Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, a fucking catastrophe of a movie that really destroyed my appetite*, I wasn't in the mood for anything heavy, so I ordered the Caesar's salad. It arrived--suspiciously--almost immediately, and it looked like something recently punched viciously in the face. It lay on the plate, oozing dressing wanly, and seemed to be composed mainly of Romaine spines denuded of actual leaf material. I stabbed it to put it out of its misery and absently shoved it into my mouth while the band softly did something weird to a Stevie Wonder tune. The piano player was making some entertaining taking-a-dump faces into his keyboard, but occasionally he'd cast a look out over the audience that was rather hunted. He looked like he suspected angry bill collectors were massing behind the bar, preparing to rush him at any time. "That would be so cool," I thought. I scooped up another forkful of the salad corpse.

A Claymore mine exploded in my mouth, cracking my teeth and rending my palate into tatters. "AAAAAHHH!" I howled like beaten geek. The waitress came rushing over. "Ssssh! Ssssh!" she hissed. "I bid indo a croudon!" She didn't care. "You'll have to be quiet! This is jazz!" I whimpered while blood pooled in my lap. "By boud willy huts," I whispered to the table, but they were engrossed in a really ripping trumpet solo that sounded like a car horn caught under a freight train.

But soon the set ended and I tortured my weeping tissues with a nice scotch--fuck you, mouth. Pictures were viewed, and all were happy, and as we made our way out, I saw a really cool thing: the musicians were hanging out near the bar talking to the fans. Chatting nicely, graciously accepting compliments, actually talking about music AND they had another set in half an hour . . . well, shit. I'd go back again just for that sometime.

*Seriously. This movie is astoundingly terrible. Don't be stupid. Stay away.

Thursday, 26 June
Bad Acts

Tomorrow night I'll be performing at Seattle's own Union Garage theater (the venue for bipolars! It's either blazing hot or colder than Neptune!) doing a little thing called XTL: eXtreme Theater League. It's a one-night event that I've done before; basically, the idea is a sketch comedy beatdown night a la the WWF, where sketches or performers are pitted against one another to the audience's pitiless boos or riotous accolades, sometimes in the same sketch, and the point of most of the sketches is that they be wretched. Deliberately wretched, so the contest is: who can suck the most the fastest and the funniest? It's all in good fun, and since the thing starts at eleven, you're basically guaranteed actors who have been drinking, adding to the general atmosphere of teetering mayhem. Sort of like Guy Fawkes directing Paul Lynde in Star Spangled Girl: unthinkably terrible, but certainly mesmerizing.

I (and the wife) are teamed up with my friend V. (the same V. who routinely perpetrates shattering horrors on innocent karaoke songs); she has gamely dug up a 10-minute show she wrote in college about her sexual issues, and if that doesn't already have you reaching for the Vicodin, let me just tell you: you have no idea. It's simply incredible, and it's a testament to V.'s good sense of humor that she is allowing this horror to be unleashed, because when I say it is bad, I mean it is Bad; Badness permeates its every line, its every page; it is End of Days Bad; it is apocalyptically bad. What I'm trying to say is, it's pretty bad.

(In the unlikely event that some of my tens of readers are XTL participants, you might want to read this later, but I'm not really spoiling anything. I just couldn't wait to get this down.)

Like I said, it was V. "working through" some sexual issues at the time--that hazy-dazy college time where boys discovered Better Falling Down Through Chemistry and girls discovered that they Had Issues. Hence, it has no less than 4 (four) gratuitous menstrual references. It has Barbie Allegories. It has Horrible Windy Monologues. And, my favorite, it has a character named Skeeter.

But there's no way I can do it justice by just describing it . . . for one thing, the thing possesses a kind of multivariate badness: it is bad on so many levels and in so many different ways . . . Christ, I don't know. It's like a colony of badness, all living there desolately on the page.

Hopeless woman-bonding-with-her-body prose?

Ow ow ow cramp! Bad cramp. Bad! Ea-sy . . . easy does it. Ahhh, good cramp. I will end the desire to make a [booty] run with a period. It will flow out of me by way of vagina.

Check! Incomprehensible purple imagery?

I am lying with an android. I will peel off his flesh-colored fake mechanical arm and slink back home.

Check! Hilariously clanking "natural" dialogue?

Kyle: Wanda, I hope you don't mind that I am indulging in some of your Apple Jacks.

Wanda: That's fine. So how are they?

Kyle: These Apple Jacks are crunchy and delicious.

Holy fuck you better say Check!

And honestly, this is only the merest of sips from these brackish waters, and those waters run very, very deep, and tomorrow night, I'll be drowning in it.

Should be fun.

Tuesday, 24 June
Tonight I Celebrate My Love For Me

It's my birthday today, the totally unmomentous big 3-4, so I'll be expecting a flood of gifts from all you rotten bastards.*

In truth, it's not that big a deal. 34? Fuck that! I'm young at heart! Actually, considering the smoking and poor diet, I imagine that I have a weary, miserably chugging heart. But I've still got my mind! Which I of course am sadly ruining by watching wretched horsehit like Jason X or poisoning with drink. But I've got a good job! Which involves a lot of dead people.

Hmmmm.

Well, here's what I do got: a good wife who is taking me out on the town for a nice dinner, and some good friends whom I'm meeting afterwards for some cocktails at the lovely (and soon to be extinct) Cloud Room. And that's good enough for me.

*God, I'm kidding! Chill out, you rotten bastards!

Monday, 23 June
Voorhees A Jolly Good Fellow

A confession: for reasons that defy all comprehension, the wife and I actually spent time yesterday watching--o my heart--Jason X. Yes, that would be Friday the 13th Mows Down Teen Space Meat, its lesser-known working title. Why did we do this? I don't know; we were free to leave, take a walk, go get a drink, make love, conquer small equatorial dictator states, anything but watch that movie. But watch it we did.

Trying to describe it is a useless affair. I mean, the best scene in the movie featured good old Jason beating a girl to death in her sleeping bag using another girl in another sleeping bag to bludgeon her on a campground. But then you'll say, "In space?" And I'll have to mumble something stupid about holograms, and you'll say, "So he's killing fake women? Who cares?" And I'll reply, "You know who's been pissing me off lately? Equatorial dictator states."

I don't think I'll be impressing anyone by saying that I was a few steps ahead of this movie. At one point, some soldier idiots are trying to track Jason down, and are, unfortunately for them of course finding him. One guy I see walk by a gigantic vertical augur-bit thing (because in THE FUTURE people will have DUMB ARCHITECTURAL IDEAS that people like filmmakers don't feel the need to EXPLAIN), and I say, "You know that guy is going to wind up impaled on that stupid-ass thing." Duh. Three minutes later, Jason has tossed him onto the bit like a crudite, and with that loving gore-porn kind of tracking shot, I'm treated to him slowly spinning down the bit. Moments later, he is discovered and reported by another female corpse-to-be, and the commander asks his condition. "Screwed!" I howl. "He's screwed," the aspiring cadaverette dutifully repeats. "I could write these things!" I yell, and then realize that this is the artistic equivalent of claiming to have mastered the gas pump.

It must be said that the Friday the 13th movies more or less adhere to Joe Bob Briggs' dictum regarding sequels: If you're going to make a sequel, make the exact same movie all over again. Ft13 has taken pains not to mess with this structure: gather a bunch of hot youngsters (please include one stoner dolt), one or two older adults (who will be stupid and evil) and a virtuous heroine. Make sure everyone gets good and poled early on in the film except the virtuous heroine just so everyone remembers that hearty fucking = a well-deserved death. Then mixmaster everyone into pate except the virtuous heroine and maybe one other person, before the final ambiguous ending showing the "death" of our Favorite Unkillable Goalie. I assume these films really give our Canadian friends up north the shrieking whim-whams. I'm surprised they haven't sent Jason to Flin Flon yet. Jason Pucks Shit Up. Or Highschticking.

Jesus. I may have my first screenplay here. What the fuck am I doing pumping gas?

Friday, 20 June
Overview Of My Amazon Gold Box

Mad About You - The Complete Second Season - [DVD]

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHH! AAAHHHHHHHHH!

OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner - [Kitchen]

I actually have one of these already. I have an unhealthy fantasy about putting a cat in it and letting it rip, for some reason.

Koss PP260 Slim Digital AM/FM Armband Radio with Clock, 20 Pre-Set Station Memory and Blue, Yellow and Red Interchangeable Faces - [Electronics]

This just hurts my mind. In this age of iPods, portable CD players and the like, they're trying to sex up a fucking radio? This seems like trying to hawk tricked-out unicycles at a muscle car rally. Although I do like the concept of "interchangeable faces." I could use some more interesting faces myself.

Maid in Manhattan - [DVD]

God, Amazon, YOU DON'T KNOW ME AT ALL! Is Ralph Fiennes the worst possible choice for the lead in a romantic comedy?

A: Yes.

Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer - [Electronics]

An almost narcoleptically boring proposition. Plus, an "intellimouse" sounds like something Alan Moore might craft a graphic novel around. Which, perversely, I would conceivably buy.

Motorola T5820 2-Way Radio AA (Sunstreak Yellow/Pair) - [Electronics]

It's just like a phone that you can only call one person with! How can I not buy them?

And here's another bonus, from its info page: "This radio requires an FCC license." Fuck, man, is there any downside to this product at ALL?

Linksys WCF12 Wireless-B Network CompactFlash Card (Type I) - [Electronics]

Hey, cool! I have no idea what this is.

Memorex MVD2029 Ultra Thin DVD Player - [Electronics]

The words "Ultra Thin" (a) make me think of girly cigarettes and (b) make me wonder what they've left out of the thing. I tend, probably stupidly, to prefer my home electronics thick and chunky, with lots of buttons and dials and crap that I don't understand.

Sony M-100MC Microcassette Voice Recorder - [Electronics]

What would I possibly do with this? Take it to business meetings? I generally have a fervent desire to forget everything I hear at those. Do you have one of those, Amazon? A mental voice-destroyer?

Atomix 541 - 12" Natural Finish Atomic Clock - [Electronics]

Our society's total nerdification is nearly complete. I frankly never want to be that on time.

Thursday, 19 June
Today's Consuming Stupid Idea

I spent a simply tragic amount of time today trying to craft the following into something even remotely resembling funny or interesting:

Phone Call of Cthulhu

In which the Elder Gods become increasingly frustrated in their attempts to order a pizza, as all the humans on the other end of the line immediately become raving lunatics the moment the Deep Ones say "Pepperoni and sausage."

NOTICE TO FUTURE GENERATIONS: This is a really terrible idea. I assume it will one day be a show on FOX.

Tuesday, 17 June
Mild Horses

This Saturday, my friend C. celebrated his birthday, and what he wanted to do was go to Emerald Downs, the local horse track. That none of us had ever done any horse race betting ever before was no deterrent; neither were our agonized reminders of his last birthday, where we all went to Las Vegas and C. lost, in order, his sobriety, all his money, and finally his consciousness. No dice; C. was adamant: "I want to be broke and drunk by 3:00 PM!" You have to admire his will. We went.

Getting up at the unearthly hour of 11:00 on a Saturday wasn't much fun--in fact, it was like being lashed by an angry octopus--but we had a duty: to make sure C. coughed up next month's rent on the ponies. We got there at around noon and met everyone--of course--in the bar "Champions," a name that fooled nobody, least of all the other patrons, who were in no way reminiscent of any known form of championship. They were almost all men, lint-trap grey, and all clutching complicated-looking racing forms on which they scrawled heiroglyphics in the margins in between drags off their cigarettes and pulls off their drinks. I never could read anything they had written, but by their demeanor, I can only assume they were personal reminders to themselves: "Don't forget! You're scheduled to lose this race! Post time at 2:05." "Continue to alienate family with profligate drink and catastrophic life decisions." "Weep piteously in bathroom."

We clutched our $2 "Racing Form Lite for Ridiculous Newbies" and wandered out towards the track, opting not to pay for the "Grand Admission" seats, or whatever they were called, as the entire privilege seemed to consist of the fact that you were slightly higher than everyone else. It was a lovely day, so we all sat down with our drinks--Bloody Marys to start, of course--and began the long process of losing all our money, acting like dolts, and achieving heroic, multihued sunburns. Most of us were dressed in typical actor high fashion: khakis and t-shirts. Some of the guys tried to capture some of that Southern Gentleman at the Track feel, but having neither white suits nor bushy moustaches nor the knowledge of where to procure mint juleps, had settled on the rather more unsettling tactic of wearing gaudy Hawaiian shirts and unpocketing other affectations like cigarillos and straw hats. This had the net effect of making us look like the aftermath of some terrible cultural collision site, like a Tongan Airliner crashing into a Taco Bell in Chinatown. At one point, my friend K. donned a pair of ghastly sunglasses--dubbed the "J-Lo glasses"--and put on the straw hat and munched unconvincingly on a cigarillo. "You look like Hunter Thompson's corpse," I told him, and he let his jaw slacken convincingly. "Perfect," I said.

Presently, the races began. The tiny, toylike jockeys were bedecked in the usual awful bright, silvery, geometric-design outfits, looking exactly like Teletubby prostitutes, and jabbered with the horses, who looked prepared to eat the little morsel-men. We all scrambled to bet, and ran up to the sour-faced people at the betting counter. We were, of course, embarrassingly dumb and trying way too hard to affect an air of knowing, well, anything. We emphasized our words strangely, hopelessly feigning routine: "I'd like FIVE DOLLARS on NUMBER FIVE in the THIRD, please." Big toothy smile. "To do what?" "What?" "To do what? Win? Place? Show? Not be eaten by cougars?" "Ah . . . yes. I would like it to come in third. Or better than third! Ha!" Terrible. Here's another one I liked: "I'd like to bet the two-dollar exacta in the fifth, please." Pause as I take in a flat stare. Finally, the response: "What horses?" I hadn't gotten that far; I desperately pick two at random, noticing later that one, I'm pretty sure, immediately died two steps out of the gate.

We employed a time-honored betting strategy, you see, one used by amateurs since the dawn of the sport: we picked horses with funny or weird names, which are abundant in the slightly aphasic world of horse racing. The first race had a horse named Matlock, which was too tempting for many; when the cheering erupted in the home stretch as the horse actually raced to a win, it was like being in a stadium filled with thousands of Abe Simpsons. "MAAATLOOOCK!" Needless to say, I did not bet on him. Another favorite of the day was a horse called, inexplicably, Vanna Whitesox, who was exactly as beautiful as the game show hostess and as awful as the baseball team. I lost five bucks on some legless toboggan named Toobusytocall before finally declaring myself Toostupidtobet. Certainly the racing forms were no help: they were filled with the kind of pompous declarations of purest bonehead opinion that anyone who has spent time following sports is familiar with: it was all sportscaster-speak, which is to say, utter horseshit. "EUCLID'S CHUNDER raced very well her last time out, and will certainly make a spot in this race." Which turns out to be a horse that was raised on the low-gravity rings of Spacepost Gamma, and who instantly succumbs to four broken legs on Earth's killing surface. People who make their livings by opining about the outcomes of sporting events are cheerful sociopaths, inveterate lying drunks, and leather-palmed jerkoff artists. They should all be put to the sword.

But having said that, we had a blast! As you might infer from the less-than-mighty examples given, nobody was betting anything like real money, and we lounged and drank beer and cheered pointlessly. 3:00 PM rolled around, and C. was, happily, broke and drunk. Not to mention radioactive: C. has a shaved head, and the sun was roasting his skull like a ham. We left, and then we made the worst bet of all, the one that would destroy us at day's end: we asked C. where he wanted to go for a meal. Would C. pay off with an inspired suggestion? We waited breathlessly. C. gaily declared, "Let's go to T.G.I. Friday's!"

Nope. Lost again.

Monday, 16 June
Words To Die By

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Worst Album Review Ever Written. It simply must be read to be believed. Your mind will rave at you: "Is this a joke? Was it written by hive-mind algae? Is it a garbled transmission from Polaris? What the fuck is this?" No answers will be forthcoming, and the empty world will howl around you while your brain burns in a massive cellular suicide.

Samples, in case you think I'm engaging in hyperbole:

Fittingly, Ulrich's scrapyard racket rang senselessly like quickening, imploding industry under filtered, stream-of-cliché riffing.

Imploding industry? What? Never mind, there's more:

ProTools never snorted ants up his FireWire from the side of the pool while urinating down a woman's dress.

Noted.

Friday, 13 June
I Love You, Bruce Willis

Now that the DVD of Tears of the Sun are out, commercials have once again started running, cajoling me to buy this film that nobody wanted to see in the first place. At one point in the commercial, Bruce Willis screams out to his soldiers, "HOLD THE LINE!" And, of course, because of my appalling and apparently unkillable fascination with all things Toto, I have to scream right back at Bruce, "LOVE ISN'T ALWAYS ON TIME!"

Whoa whoa whoa.

Thursday, 12 June
Man Alive!

I've been seeing ads recently for a new cable channel coming soon called "Spike." It bills itself as a "channel for men," which I think is fucking peachy: we men have been fucked out of decent programming for years, haven't we? I mean, there you are, trying to watch a baseball game, and then all of a sudden, "We now take our viewers to 'Murder, She Wrote,' already in progress." It happens all the time. We guys can't catch a damn break when it comes to TV programming.

It's kind of icky to me, this new resurgence of what I more or less lazily call the Maxim effect: it's perfectly okay to be a dumbass pig as long as you wink hard enough while you do it. Sure, I'm a shallow creep, but it's okay, because I'm acknowledging that I'm a shallow creep! (I know I'm using a wide-ass brush here, and that all guys who take a look at Maxim or whatever aren't all assholes, but I'm talking epiphenomena here, or whatever ten-cent word actually belongs at the end of that phrase.)

Seeming to take its cues from horrible tripe like The Man Show, which more honestly would be called The Idiot Man-Child Show, it looks certain to jump up and down on familiar guy themes: tits, sports, drinking, and farting. Now, as a man, I happen to like at least three of those things, and am ambivalent about the fourth--does the world need more butt-humor?--but it's pretty thin gruel as any kind of regular diet. And for this we needed a whole channel? Right; up until now, men have been frozen out of modern programming altogether. All that Buffy-watching made our chest hair fall out.

Weirdly, one show they are heavily promoting is an animated comedy--something else the world was certainly crying out for more of--featuring that paragon of manliness . . . Kelsey Grammer. Yes, Kelsey Grammer, who rose to stardom playing a pretentious, prissy, bumbling windbaguette of a man; an actor who seemingly defines "mid-life crisis" as a condition that begins at age 29 and ends at death; a C-list talent who consistently proved himself outshone by the comic lights of people such as Woody Harrelson. Also, he perpetrated the Geneva Convention-violating Down Periscope, for which he of course will burn like a Salem midwife. This is their heavy hitter?

I might be worrying over nothing.

Wednesday, 11 June
Office Support

To: AllStaff
From: Skot

Subject: Goodbye Creul World

i can't take it anymore. i can't take it. i'm going to end it all now.

----

To: Skot
From: Diana

Subject: Out Of Office Notice RE: Goodbye Creul World

Sorry I missed you! I will be on vacation from June 9 through June 16. Have a great day!

----

To: AllStaff
Cc: Skot
From: Kelly

Subject: RE: Goodbye Creul World

What are you closing down? Do we need to exit any applications?

----

To: Skot
From: Laura

Subject: RE: Goodbye Creul World

I think you mean "cruel," right? :D Just so you know, there is a spellcheck function in Outlook. I can help you out with that if you don't know where it is! :D

"How may goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is!"
--Shakespeare

----

To: AllStaff
From: Skot

Subject: RE: Goodbye Creul World

you don't have to do anything i'm going to kill myself

----

To: Skot
From: Diana

Subject: Out Of Office Notice RE: Goodbye Creul World

Sorry I missed you! I will be on vacation from June 9 through June 16. Have a great day!

----

To: AllStaff
From: Christine

Subject: RE: Goodbye Creul World

A polite reminder that hitting "reply to all" spams everyone. Please consider using "reply" when appropriate. I get tired of deleting messages I don't need to see. Thank you.

And can we shut off Diana's autoreplier?

----

To: AllStaff
From: Skot

Subject: RE: Goodbye Creul World

sorry

----

To: Skot
From: Diana

Subject: Out Of Office Notice RE: Goodbye Creul World

Sorry I missed you! I will be on vacation from June 9 through June 16. Have a great day!

----

To: Skot
From: Remi

Subject: RE: Goodbye Creul World

awwww we all get like that sometime.s i hate work too. {{{{{{{{skot}}}}}}}} hope you feel better soon

----

To: AllStaff
From: Skot

Subject: RE: Goodbye Creul World

NO NO NO stop emailing me you freaks i have a gun in my mouth RIGHT NOW shut UP

----

To: Skot
From: Diana

Subject: Out Of Office Notice RE: Goodbye Creul World

Sorry I missed you! I will be on vacation from June 9 through June 16. Have a great day!

----

To: AllStaff
From: Skot

Subject: RE: Goodbye Creul World

GOD DAMN IT

----

To: Skot
From: Diana

Subject: Out Of Office Notice RE: Goodbye Creul World

Sorry I missed you! I will be on vacation from June 9 through June 16. Have a great day!

----

To: Skot
From: Lori

Subject: Error message

Hi Skot. The Chart Manager program is being really weird and I can't commit any changes. Can you come down and help me?

----

To: Lori
From: Skot

Subject: RE: Error message

ok. i'll be right down.

Sorry About The Assiness

It seems that our host went on a ketamine bender; site access and commenting were both botched for the last day or so. My tens of readers who responded with several emails congratulating me on my sudden discovery of restraint will be disappointed to know that posting will resume in the near future.

Monday, 09 June
Here There Be Spoylers

I'm sure most of you blog-readin' geeks have already seen The Matrix: Reloaded, but if not, fair warning: I saw it yesterday, and I'm going to jabber about it, so if you might want to skip this if you want your movie viewings pristine and uncluttered by my clucks and titters about it.

Okay. When it comes to movies, I'm basically either really hard to please or extraordinarily easy to please, depending. For example, if we're talking a Serious Drama or an Art Film or a Smart Comedy, I'm extremely hard to please; I tend to pick at these sorts of movies pretty minutely, because the filmmakers ostensibly are putting forth considerable effort, and I figure that merits serious attention, and that attention can sometimes reveal some pretty glaring holes or chancres or fuck-alls; art is hard.

On the other hand, when I'm going for a good summer popcornholing, I am extremely easy to please: I am in this way very much a guy. Make stuff go boom and look cool! Fine. Movies that have no real (or, let's say, very easily dismissed) pretensions I can let wash over me pretty easily; I'm pretty forgiving, even when, as in TM:R, those pretensions are pretty bongwater-sticky. So while I didn't appreciate the dorm-room smell, it eventually washed off.

Because honestly: did they learn nothing from the first one? Did they ask any of the millions of people who bought the DVD how they were used? "We just skip around to the fight scenes." No, they had to get all soggy-dick fake philosophical again on our poor asses, with bafflingly dotty exchanges between Neo and Morpheus and the Architect and whomever. And watching poor Keanu attempting cagey ripostes is a lot like watching a fashion designer trying to be relevant. It's always going to be a rotten failure.

Architect: No, Neo, you are here to see to the fall of Zion. It has always been thus.

Neo: I exist to save Zion. I know your code, I've seen the heart of the Matrix.

Architect: Neo, you have seen Trinity in your dreams. You know I am right. I resemble Donald Sutherland.

Neo: You are a bake sale. I'm the hungry ants.

Architect: Child. You are enameled bakeware in the back of the store. I am a lonely porch swing. You know this.

Neo: (Thinking hard.) I thought that other guy was John Voight for a second.

Architect: We all did.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm pretty sure they just took a bunch of the dialogue outtakes from the first one and rammed them into this one, because it all makes about as much sense: not much. But who cares? One thing about the Matrix movies is, you always know when it's safe to go to the bathroom. "What did I miss?" "Nothing. They're still talking."

The less said about the terrifying hippie orgie, the better. If they wanted to show footage of Keanu and Carrie-Anne squonking it, I can't think of anyone who would object: why ruin it by intercutting it with what appears to be Burning Man as imagined by Maxfield Parrish?

But fuck all that; what I was there for of course were the effects and fights and ignoring that little voice in my head that asks, "Why do they sometimes use guns and other times not use guns? And why do the agents dodge bullets so effortlessly, but they can't dodge a punch?" Shut up, voice! Lookit the hundreds of Agent Smiths (and they let Hugo get kinda cheeky, didn't they?)! Lookit the cooool tracking shots on the freeway that go under axles and stuff! I mean come on! This is good CGI! (I'm so easy, I know. Well, that, and I don't get people who complain about stuff that looks "too CGI-ey" when it comes to movies like this. Do people go to Italian restaurants and complain about all the pasta everywhere?)

So I liked it. But I was primed to like it, and as I said, I'm easy on these types of movies. And everyone knows it's just a waiting game until the real show hits town. You know the one. The one in December.

Yes, I'm talking about Dumb and Dumberest.

Thursday, 05 June
Tune In, Turn On, Creep Out

A friend of mine, in a hopeless attempt at trying to introduce me to some high culture, recently sent me a couple CDs that he had burned featuring 20th century "classical" music. I've been enjoying them, mostly; they're certainly a far cry from the Fruit Bats or Alpinestars.

Tonight I was listening to them with the TV muted, just hanging out watching the Mariners fuck the Phillies out of their third game straight, which was kind of surreal. Stadiums and ESPN have, over time, made watching sports in general associated mostly with whomping arena rock; "We Will Rock You" and the like, so it's definitely a brain-whack to be listening to the tinkling of Debussy while watching Mike Cameron hit a monster three-run homer. BOO YA! I wanted to scream, while gently waving around a martini, pinky extended. It was almost like some weird experiment in generative synesthesia. Or something. So I kept the CDs going while watching SportsCenter, skipping tracks around for maximum weirdness effect.

There's footage of KOBE GOING UP FOR A BIG JAM! while Tcherepin plonks around in the air. I see a KNEE-BUCKLING STRIKE THREE FASTBALL by Woody Williams while Schoenberg grinds away weirdly. And possibly the creepiest thing of all, I listen to one of Philip Glass's uniquely sinuous ibbidibibbidi melodies while staring at a couple hockey teams I don't care about skitter around like ice spiders, until I finally have to turn the music off when a fight breaks out right as Glass comes to a cold-metal crescendo. The whole thing was wonderful, but deeply weird; like two things to be enjoyed equally but separately. You never drink a glass of milk and think, "Boy, a cigarette would sure go well with this."

With that said, I think I'm going to specify in my will that at my funeral, Orff's "Carmina Burana" must be played at top volume, and that all eulogies must be given in rap form, bellowed along with the awful din. It certainly should make for a short service, something I think everyone would appreciate. And I'm all for doing everything I can to keep the weirdness alive.

(Man, these posts have been weird and choppy lately. Don't mind me. Without boring you with any details, suffice it to say that work is in full freak-out mode lately, with multiple ghastly events all converging on this approaching Tuesday. After Tuesday, my posts will probably assume their more familiar forms of confused gabbling and loony hectoring. Won't that be nice?)

Wednesday, 04 June
I Am Conflicted About My Doublethink

This past week walking home, I've noticed a new fixture on the old home street: a bum, who has nestled into a new home in some bushes about thirty feet from my front gate. He's always sleeping there when I walk by, dozing peacefully on a pizza box, and it has freaked me out any number of times. First of all, most of the time walking around in the neighborhood, I generally expect the humans I encounter to be standing erect rather than in a recumbent position. So every time I catch a glance of him lying there, I think, "AAAAH! Lurking pygmies!" or "Fuck! Cheetahs in the greenery!" before I wise up and then amend it to "Oh. Bum in the bushes." And second of all, even once I realize what the prone figure actually is, I then proceed to torture myself with mental scenarios where he springs awake and snatches at my pants leg. "Vote LaRouche," I hear him croaking in my mind, "and I'll let go." "LaRouche! LaRouche for Emperor!" I mentally scream, but then I'm past him and at my gate, and I calm down.

Now here's the thing: I am pretty much a total pinko when it comes to a lot (though not all) of issues, and this is true of The Plight Of The Homeless in general. I regularly inveigh against the continued lawnmowing of social services for the needy; I howl at the ridiculous "no sitting on sidewalks" targeting legislation; and most importantly, I am endlessly generous about doling out cigarettes to those who ask (yeah, I'm all fucking heart). I try to be a good person, because it's a problem, and there are people genuinely hurting. I think in some ways we should help them a helluva lot more than we do.

So when I got home the other day, I mentioned to the wife that we had a new neighbor: a bum had found a little haven in the bushes one building over. Did I say, "Great news! The Plight Of The Homeless is setting up house in our neighborhood bushes! Let's go bring him a cheese plate." Well, no. I believe what I said was, "Some scuzzy fucker is sleeping down the street."

Classy. It's a pain in the ass to have one's abstracted ideals get into a fender-bender with NIMBY syndrome, isn't it? I don't feel particularly good about myself for saying that, but I'm not going to let it get to me much either. I didn't curse at him, or beat him up, or hassle him until he left. I just said something nasty out of earshot. But I can do better. And I will. I'm going to vote LaRouche.

Tuesday, 03 June
I've Unfortunately Got Mail

I collected the mail when I got home today like normal, and also like normal, it was a bunch of crap. One item was one of those free weekly circulars or whatever, you know: YourFocus or Spotlight! or The Weekly Whack-Off, something like that, filled with dull celebrity blowjobs and "Know Your Town Parks!" puffery. As I was mirthlessly adding it to the pile of future recyclo-corpses, my eyes skimmed over the back page, and I saw the very odd headline:

Q & A: Roller Blades

What the fuck? I looked again: duh. It of course really said "Q & A: Ruben Blades," and my brain had just gone wobbly for a moment. But then I got to thinking that it would be kind of funny to read what I had originally imagined, so I'm taking a stab at it.

Q & A: Roller Blades

Skot: So, Roller Blades, how's life treating you these days?

Roller Blades: This is the single worst idea you have ever had in your life, and you should stop now.

Skot: Yeah, I'm going to go fall in a crevasse now.

The End.

Monday, 02 June
I Am Swiftly Punished

Lights up on SKOT, seated at his desk at work. He is puzzling over some BAFFLING HORSESHIT on his computer.

Skot: What a bunch of baffling horseshit.

An INTRUDING COWORKER enters.

Intruding Coworker: Hey, Skot? Got a minute?

S: Sure, come on in.

(As this is a cubicle, there is no "in" to come to, but the IC declines to point out Skot's demented fantasy of having a real office.)

IC: Thanks. We've pretty much got the site worked up in the test database, and we were wondering . . . *

Skot's Brain: I'd like a cigarette now.

IC: . . . anyway, the mockups for the tracking system have been coded and . . .

SB: Hey. Stupid. I want a cigarette.

IC: . . . because the site visit is coming and people are stressed . . .

SB: All right. Have it your way. Enjoy.

IC: . . . the database people are going to move it into production . . .

SKOT suddenly is blindsided by a massive sneeze, and barely gets his hand to his mouth in time to catch a large handful of warm, clingy snot.

IC: Wow! Bless you!

S: Thanks.

IC: Uh, anyway, like I said, once it gets into production, you'll want to . . .

SB: Yum! Yum! A big handful of mucus! Feels kind of squishy, doesn't it? Man, that stuff really sticks!

IC: . . . so I've been drinking before work a lot lately . . .

SB: Not much you can do with a couple ounces of snot in your hands, is there? Want to wipe it on your pants? No? And you don't want to get a tissue and wipe it off in front of this guy? Huh! Golly, what a dilemma!

IC: . . . I mean, a pistol's no good without bullets, you know? I don't even see them as people any more, really . . .

SB: You're probably really glad you didn't give me that cigarette, huh? Because now you can sit here while this guy babbles and do nothing but think about that little horror in your palm! That's almost as good as a cigarette!

IC: . . . a killing rain is a cleansing rain after all . . .

SB: Well, I'll let you get back to your office chat. Sounds like he's winding up. Enjoy your befouled hand! Think of that the next time I ask for something!

IC: . . . just like in Isaiah. So, sorry to ramble at you, man. So is Wednesday good for you for getting this done?

Skot: Yeah, no problem, man.

IC: Thanks.

(Exit INTRUDING COWORKER. SKOT sits, regarding his hand.)

Skot: Man, do I need a cigarette.

Blackout.

*All coworker dialogue is approximated for obvious reasons, and I don't generally understand what the hell they're talking about most of the time even in the best of circumstances.










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