Sunday, October 7, 2007

Oct 7

Two for the price of one.
Category: Music

To commemorate my making it one full week into Blog-a-day month without missing a day and without cheating either, I'm going to present two different blogs in this one blog. Yay!

Blog 1
Music has been a strange, yet driving force for much of my life. I was a band geek all through school, a music major (turned minor) in college. I often pride myself with liking good music and hating sucky music and reasonably understanding why. And songs, many good but some sucky, tend to bring back memories, many good but some sucky. This summer I tried to regain my music roots by purchasing a piano. More on that in another blog, methinks.

But sometimes music goes weird on me. What I mean by that is that I need to do something that I hate when other people do it. It's song repetition. I like to hear a good variety of songs. When there's a new song that I hear and enjoy, I might listen to it a couple times to get the feel for it, but I don't like to overplay it and kill it. For example, there is no possible way that I could count the number of times I sat through "Satellite" by the Dave Mathews Band while visiting certain friends in college. Not that it's a horrible song, but it's already a repetitive song. And they played it over and over every time we were there. And there was also another song by Sophie B. Hawkings (or something like that - google could clear it up for me, but I'd rather type this thought) with lyrics that went something like "Now I lay me down to sleep, blah blah blah, you can hold me tight, blah blah" (Those that know me know that I rarely know the words to songs. I prefer to make them up as I go). They played that song over and over and over. And it was certainly a sucky song.

So every once in a while, I have to play out a song. I hate it when others do it, so I don't subject others to that. I prefer to do it in the solitude of my car. Once in college it was "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" by Elton John. That was a weird week. It's often triggered by some emotion, but that's something for another blog, or perhaps for none of you to hear.

Right now, I have two songs. And that's making it kinda weird, since I play one for awhile, then switch to the other, then back to the other, and back, and back. So join me, if you will, in listening to these songs over and over with me:
Weezer "Burndt Jamb" (from Maladroit)
The Strokes "12:51" (from Room on Fire)

Blog 2
I like reading, as well. It's good for you. Possibly more healthy than veggies, and tastes better than that vile weed broccoli. But you shouldn't eat books, you should read them. And in reading them, that is what makes them better. But I tend to find that I need to get into that "reading mood" sometimes. Last few months, it just hasn't been there. When Potter 7 came out, I finished that off pretty quickly, though I wanted to stretch it out more. So I have a list of a bunch of books that I'm trying to read. And since Blog-a-day month was my excuse to force me to start writing, I'm going to use it to force me to start reading, as well. That's right - it's now Book-a-day month as well. Wait... that's a bit extreme... OK, how about here's my list of books that I have started in the past, 6 months (OK, more for some, but who's counting?), and I am pledging right here to finish 8 of these 14 books by the end of 2007. Why 8? Because it's one more than half. Also, if I try to figure three a month, and October is already close to 1/3 done, it works out. Here are the books. Wanna join the reading club?

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

1776 – David McCullough

His Excellency – Joseph J. Ellis

Little Children – Tom Perrotta

Alexander Hamilton – Ron Chernow

Breakfast of Champions – Kurt Vonnegut

Until I Find You – John Irving

The Taking – Dean Koontz

The Killing of Reinhard Heyorich, the SS "Butcher of Prague" - Callum MacDonald

Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

And these last three I haven't started yet, but they look interesting to me, and they are sitting next to my bed:

This Is Your Brain On Music - Daniel Levitin

Fiasco - Thomas E. Ricks

1491 - Charles C. Mann

Oct 6

High Def
Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities

High Def is pretty sweet, but it depends on the channel. Many of the network channels show some pretty lousy HD. That's one of the (few) negatives about a 62-inch screen. When the HD is weak, you notice. Now when I'm not watching HD, such as when I watch me some TiVo, that part of my brain turns off. I have to learn to watch TV with the expectation that the image won't be as purdy. But when I'm watching something that should be in HD, the emphasis is on the H. I just finished watching SW:EPIII:ROTS on HDHBO. Since I pay extra money for it, I'm glad that it's such a purdy picture. But while watching a few HD shows on NBC or ABC or FOX, some things have extra bits and pieces around them. However, bad HD is like having a wrinkly thousand dollar bill. It's still better than a penny. Take that to the bank and smoke it. Something slightly cool about HD is that Astound HD just got the History Channel in HD. But then I was reminded that it's now the Modern Marvels channel instead of actually showing cool history stuff. "You don't know me; you've just seen my penis."

Oct 5

Turning to drugs to help you sleep will only lead to sleep.
Category: Parties and Nightlife

'Tis late. It's about 10 minutes after 10 as I begin to write this. Friday night. Now I wasn't a party person in college by any stretch of the imagination, but I remember back at SDSU when 10 o'clock Friday night would be the beginning. Certainly in high school, 10 would be the start of the second movie in a stupid movie night. Now here I am, 33 1/2. And I'm spent from the week. In fact, if it wasn't for blog-a-day month, I would have been in bed about 2 minutes ago now, but I feel that I must rant about something. And for those of you without the joy of insomnia, as tired as I am, i have no idea if I'll even sleep tonight. I've had some uneasy nights recently, but I've mostly been sleeping. The insomnia usually hits me about once every five weeks or so. Then it's often four or five nights in a row. Good times. Last summer it happened at the same time that I got the flu, making that even more miserable. Now that I'm getting a bit sick (though I'm not sure if I'm getting sick of just allergies - TO THE EXTREME!) , and I think it's been a little while since I've had the insomnia, it's going to hit me soon. Yeah, this super cool hacking cough is sure to keep me up. Remember kids, always think positively!

I've been forgetting...

I haven't been forgetting to blog-a-day during Blog-a-day month; I've been forgetting to copy the blog-a-days to this blog. So I'll just plan to do it every few days and if you want to be up to date, find the other blog.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

2007 movies so far?

For the past few years, I've been listing my top 10 movies for the year. I usually start on 1/1 and list them for the next 10 days on my blog. Not that anyone else is actually anticipating the exciting order and I need to drag it out for 10 days, but I like to write about each movie. That gives me the chance to do so.

In each of those years, there has been one movie that stood out as my obvious number 1. And I saw all of them in the Spring. They all left me a bit excited to see a movie that would beat them, but then mildly disappointed when nothing quite did. But then again, by that point, those movies would be out on DVD, so I could enjoy them again. The three top winners the last few years were Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sin City, and Thank You For Smoking. This year, I was REALLY hoping to like 300 a lot more than I did. But it just didn't click with me.

This year, I've seen a lot of good movies. If you look at my myspace, I keep track of them and give them a grade. Lots of A- movies, because I enjoyed them while watching. But I'm not sure if any of them are sticking out as the top movie. In fact, of the 13 movies I've seen (which is really low, considering there's less than 3 months to go), 5 are A- movies. I'm not sure what order I'll even rank them.

So I'm going to be optimistic that I will see several EXCELLENT movies between now and 12/31. I haven't seen any movies since Superbad, so it's probably time to head back to the theaters. There isn't anything out there that is really drawing me out, and I haven't seen anything upcoming that has me too excited.

And as a side note, with this being Thursday, I think I can honestly say that I've enjoyed The Office more than any movies for the past year and a half. I don't think of that as a knock on movies. I just think The Office has been that damn good.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Allow me to preface this with a disclaimer that I have no idea where I'm going with this. I don't have a specific point; I just want to throw out some thoughts and see what sticks.
Today we covered the Declaration of Independence, day 1. The idea that I need to get across is that those words, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," are seven of the most important words ever. As a properly socialized citizen of the United States, I'm supposed to have that embedded inside of me. And to be honest? I believe it. It defines the cornerstone of what this nation is supposed to be about. And in choosing to live here, it's the cornerstone of what we want for ourselves. While it's only a partial reality for most and not real for some, that's what we still have. Life and Liberty are the easy part. We aren't shooting our protesters and cutting off their access to the outside world to tell the story (Myanmar - I'm looking at you, you sick bastards.) Yeah, we got started totally off the track with the whole slavery and Indian slaughters and Women's Suffrage (and everyone who wasn't a white man). But we were headed in the right direction. And yeah, we complained about the immigrants, about how they took everyone's jobs, how they wouldn't learn to speak English, and how they brought their strange customs, rituals and foods and refused to assimilate into American culture. But we got over that stupid argument a couple hundred years ago, right? It's the "Pursuit of Happiness" part that tends to throw people off. We only see the words we want, so we skip the "Pursuit of" part. I tried to emphasize that in class today, that no one is guaranteeing Happiness to anyone, just the chance to go get it. (And for the record, there is no Y in Happiness. Movie grammar and spelling doesn't count, kids.) But throughout my emphasis and discussion, I think that most of the little punks were taking advantage of their Liberty. There's a Simpson's scene (and several similar ones) where they show the thoughts inside Homer's head and the song "Turkey in the Straw" is about all that's going on. I doubt these kids know that song. I always remember it as the "Murphy's Oil" song from way back in the day, as the kids refer to history. (Quick internets search: "I've been using Murphy's Oil on this hardwood floor of mine. Now the dirt is finished, but the finish is fine.") And then it's the same song that plays in Steamboat Willie when Mickey cranks the cows tail, I believe. What song is going on in their heads these days? That could be a topic for another day. What's my point? There isn't one.

Greatest. Moment. Ever.

I forgot to copy this post from my other blog yesterday:

A blog EVERY day? Whose stupid ass idea was this? And what's with all these rules? Lame. I did appreciate the suggestions that some of you sent for me to blog about. There were four or five ideas that I will actually use.

There's this show Beauty and the Geek. I watched an episode this summer. The idea is that these dumb hot chicks team up with these super geeks and then it's reality show action from there. Not any more lame than any of the other reality shows, I guess. On this episode I saw, I was taking a look at the clothes that the geeks were wearing when I noticed that the shirt that one of them was wearing looked familiar. And then I recognized it as a shirt that I also had. And then I noticed that I was wearing that shirt. Greatest moment ever? Possibly.

Monday, October 1, 2007

No more Mascots

Dressing up as a team mascot seems like something that has passed its time. I had always thought that mascots on Pro teams was pretty lame, with the obvious exception of the Phili Phanatic. This is something that I had thought about writing about some time ago, and it was going to cover NFL team mascots, which just look lame. At the time, I didn't think it was enough of a rant to write about. I was reminded of this while watching this MNF game where there is this stupid Bengal banging its head against the goal post when the opposite team scored. Not stupid - lame. A pro team just shouldn't have a live cartoon character representing its team. It distracts from watching the cheerleaders.
But while that reminded me that I wanted to write about it, that's not what I want to focus on here. This weekend, I came to the conclusion that not even amateur teams should have mascots. I came to this particular realization soon after watching an idiot in a Concord High Minuteman costume get picked up, turned over, and dropped by a moron in a Northgate Bronco costume. He got suplexed by a donkey.The CHS Minuteman decided to wander over to the Northgate side, even though CHS was losing to NHS. And the mascots fought. Just like in the game, Northgate won. Not only that, but the Minuteman had his costume confiscated by a Northgate VP.
Let's save the costumes for costume parties and Halloween. NO MORE MASCOTS.