Saturday, May 29, 2004

Brilliant, Disastrous Disaster

This summer's hot apocalyptic fantasy is everything I expected: bad, bad, worse, and rife with cliches. In other words, AWESOME.

I mean. Just. Wow. For one thing, I always find it amusing when a movie features Los Angeles getting destroyed. I like L.A.'s self-destructive fantasies. If I'm ever a grad student in film, I'll write a masturbatory research/analysis paper on the subject.

Rupert Murdoch evidently financed the movie. You can tell, not only from checking the IMDb listings, because every fake news clip is a FOX News channel. Even funnier is that the movie is quite heavy-handed in its anti-global warming stance, and conservatives are all Skeptical Environmentalist on us lately. The explanation for this I see? Perhaps Murdoch took into consideration the utter uneblievability of the film when he paid into it, thinking that people might be swayed to the opposite point of view. The global warming stance is portrayed, in the eyes of the discerning moviegoer, as completely unreal.

Dennis Quaid is a terrible actor.

Plus, they used the exhausted cliche of a main character making a pointless journey to "save" a family member, and in the process finds affection once more with an estranged ex-spouse. Couple that with the lone scientist who has the explanation for the problem that no one else believes except one other dude, but then it's TRUE, only by the time they figure that out they're all doomed, anyway, and you have the major plotline of any disaster movie.

But this had even less motivation than most I've seen. The fact that it has characters is almost incidental.

The cgi wolves were terrible. The tidal wave that swallowed Manhattan was really terrible, because anyone who has ever seen a regular wave knows that the ocean wouldn't move like a big pile of sludge like it did here. It moves fast and it moves hard. You can't really outrun it like they did.

I don't want to write spoilers (although, really, who cares? You don't see this crap to be surprised if you see it at all), but what happened with the scientists in Scotland was insanely stupid.

I went with a big group--including Jana, who normally dislikes it when I ruin movies by mocking them, but in this case, she mocked right along with me--and we got shushed at least once. Dude, who takes this seriously? Half the theater was laughing at all the badness, too, so it wasn't like we were lone assholes.

But anyway, I loved this because it was so incredibly bad. If you like to watch bad movies and laugh at them, watch it. Otherwise, skip it.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Jebus Lord

I finally saw the real Jesus movie: Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Thanks to a theatrical re-release, I've finally not slept through a Python film. I think I've mentioned this before, but until last night, I've never stayed awake during a Monty Python movie, no matter how amusing. And I do find them funny, I just... can't... stay... awake... couch so comfy... mmmmssffghhzzz.

So, I saw it. The whole thing. That's about all I have to say, because everyone else, everywhere, has already seen it and can quote multiple lines and would recognize the whistling from "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" after two notes and I'm spent.


Tonight I have plans to see The Day After Tomorrow with Haremites who also enjoy bad disaster movies. My only concern is the audience at Mountlake, Jana's favorite theater. Will they be snark-friendly, or honestly horrified at the havoc "global warming" wreaks on Earth depicted in the film? (Not that I'm a global warming doubter, I just know this is fake to the hilt. I'd be disappointed if it weren't.)

It's Memorial weekend, so lots of stuff is going on. Jana's celebrating her birthday, Graylan's hosting a barbecue, my sister's flying up (and will give me some paperwork regarding a place in SF)...

My projects are damn near complete. The copyediting/layout final might require some further nitpicking or rearranging, but I could leave it alone, come in on Wednesday, hit 'print,' and be done. It was about two solid hours of layout work, and I think it looks all right. I don't have much to contribute to my other group project at the moment, but I'm sure I'll help finish it up. We present on Wednesday.

I am still contemplating this whole moving thing. As I see it, I have three major options: One, stay in Seattle, find a job that pays but isn't what I want to do forever (like working at Trader Joe's), and see what I can do to pick up some useful experience on the side. Two, stay in Seattle until I can find a place in California that will hire me, then move. Three, move to San Francisco in a month or so and get a job from there. I don't really like the first option unless I can find something semi-good up here, like doing editing for Amazon. Still not what I want to do forever, but it's closer. The trouble with the other two is that I don't even know if I can get a job doing what I want, if I could get a job that would pay the bills in the meantime, or how to build up sufficient experience to get hired anywhere. So, anyway, I don't know. But I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


I'm almost sure I'm moving. Margot found a place that sounds absolutely lovely: a block from Golden Gate Park, backyard we can plant edibles in, pets are allowed so we can so get a bunny, big rooms and lots of space, reasonable (for SF) rent, landlords about to renovate the place a bit so it's even more inhabitable.

I don't have a job landed or anything, but I will. I'm sure of it. I'll figure something out. So far I've made out seven cover letters and resumes, with and without writing samples. I'm sure I'll need to do a lot more fishing before something bites, but it's a good start.

I'm almost done with school, forever. Not an absolute forever, maybe, but probably permanent. One project is nearly finished--I'll post a link when it's up on the school server instead of my home box, which I don't want Google to cache--and another will be done shortly because it's fricking easy. I have to copyedit five stories, trim two, and stick them (up to four can jump) on a broadsheet layout in InDesign and on a paper dummy. With photos that she'll send us. And write headlines and captions. And print out the full copyedited originals. It's nothing compared to the insanity of the other.

I am almost really fucking bored of work.

I am not even almost off work, though. And I'm hungry.

I am almost sure I'll listen to Sufjan Stevens when I get home, though.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Sunsets and Silhouettes

It struck me tonight as I was driving home: I love the look of traffic at dusk in Seattle. There's something about the slowly deepening blue sky as it meets the black pavement swarming with a dizzying sea of lights, marked by the occasional tree silhouette. I'm sure it's just as romantic elsewhere, but nowhere like Seattle.

Everything about Seattle and the Pacific Northwest has me contemplating sadness today. Yesterday I made somewhat of a decision about my future--it's looking increasingly like I'll end up moving to San Francisco this summer and getting a place with my sister.

I'm still coming to terms with this idea.

I'm not sure if it excites me, or if it just terrifies me. The more I look for a job, the more jobs I see in the Bay Area. Pretty much a handful there to none here, as far as jobs I'd actually want go. And really, I have wanted to live there for awhile. I just didn't think it would be so soon.

On Saturday, I wrote five cover letters and sent emails to the appropriate persons. All were jobs in California and all were jobs I think I'd actually want. The jobs in Seattle are either crap or require more experience than I have.

Of course, I don't know if this means I actually have a shot at gainful employment in San Francisco. I just know my options are by far less limited. I didn't even know what kind of job, exactly, I was looking for until I found a half dozen postings for it on the SF Craigslist.

To answer your next question, it's likely Kevin would move back to his home state as well. His landlords are selling the apartment he's lived in for the last year and a half and the new owner might kick him out within a month. Besides, he hasn't found a job here yet, anyway.

We both like Seattle more--but realize we may have to wait 'til we're older to be able to appreciate it. With jobs and things. Is California truly the land of opportunity? I don't know. But for me, it's sure looking that way.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Satire Disobeys

I received some peculiar spam on my seldom-checked account:

From: roberta
Subject: -
Date: Sun, 16 May 2004 02:09:58 +0000
Show Full Headers Back To [INBOX]

veze strook somer.
asshen neigh, eldres themsel twyes.
anthiocho stanch noot
satire disobeys.

Maybe I'm getting hexed over the intarchathexweb.

(Also, double entendre!)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I Only Blog When I Am Bored

That's right. Because I am a serious writer. I write to fill the gaps in activity. And I am sorta busy these days.

So, I figured out one thing in Flash. This came after two afternoons and several hours of futzing around and pulling our hair out, trying to get Flash to do one stupid thing: Fade in and out of each picture in a slide show without requiring buttons to advance, etc. Sounds like a simple animation, right? But it took us until Wednesday afternoon to find the right help file that made any sense or actually worked at all.

I officially hate Flash, but the thing is basically done, so that's all right.

Last night we got a lesson in Avid from the same guy who showed us how to use audio and video recording equipment. He is great. But it's going to be a complete bitch to crank out the video by Monday.

All the cool shit is happening right now, too. It's SIFF, so a bunch of movies I wanted to see but don't have time are closing early, not to mention the stuff actually at SIFF. Lauren organized a weekend trip to her uncle's cabin in the San Juans that would be awesome, except I can't go. Even if I'm not bogged down with editing all fucking weekend, I'm obligated to go to Portland for my niece's one-month birthday. (Not that I MIND, mom, if you're reading this--I want to go.) And there are a handful of shows I wouldn't mind seeing, but, you know, time and money.

I'm looking for jobs and have a couple that are vaguely promising. Not really, though. Just jobs.

Also! Gilmore Girls season finale? My FUCKING god. If you don't know, you don't care, but god-DAMN. Total 180 there with the Luke and Lorelai kiss to Dean and Rory cheat-o-rama. The real cliffhanger is: Will it actually jump the shark? It's pretty clear something will happen between Luke and Lorelai, and that was supposed to end the series.

Now that the doubters have lost all respect for my intelligence, I'll just go cry in a corner that is experiencing technical difficulties and I can't get my crossword on.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Who Am I Gonna Be?

What am I gonna do?
I've been foolin' everybody.
I've been uptown at the zoo.
I have seen the chimpanzees in the afternoon sun.
It's quiet in the snake house, and my legs have turned to jelly...

(Luna, Double Feature)

I'm enjoying my last weekend of doing nothing before the hell begins.

Did you know I am about to graduate from college? I mean, yeah, what the fuck? College? Done? In, like, a couple weeks? Fuckin'... yeah. Yeah.

You'd think I would've learned some better vocab by now, but no.

I've been killing time and enjoying it. Yesterday I futzed around with my website more than necessary, ever, then I went to Value Village with Kevin. I found some nice stuff, too: a chocolate brown jacket that I think flatters me, a soft white cotton blouse, and a brown/tan plaid skirt that is cute. If I actually shaved my legs and learned to walk un-gimpily in my high-heeled boots, I could look sorta hot. Not that Kevin would give me the satisfaction of saying so; when I don this outfit, all he can say is that it's funny how much taller I look in heels. Thanks, dear.

In all fairness, he's not one for comments on looks.

Every time I wear something that isn't just jeans and a T-shirt, I feel like a little kid playing dress-up. I am usually too self-conscious to wear these combinations out of the house, but I've had my moments. (Green "Don't Be A Dick" shirt with red plaid skirt to the '02 Bumbershoot Gossip show, for example, where the door stamp lady recognized me from my ridiculous get-up... hee.)

Today I hung out with Chris. We made a field trip to Shoreline to visit the Big Lots! so I could buy plastic storage tubs for my closet/pantry. In that respect, it was a success. I also managed to not buy a huge bag of M&M's or box of "fancy" chocolates; also a success. I got a small tube of mini-Reese's Pieces, which is much better because it is extremely limited. I know I'm weak, so I won't buy more than I feel I should be allowed to eat.

The new plan for the Aspen trip is that mom will drive to San Francisco with me so she can keep her van and not have to do a ton of driving on her own later this summer. I think this is a perfectly reasonable compromise, plus it saves me the pain of buying train/plane tickets to San Francisco, then home. My sister may also be moving while we're there, so we could help her out. And I'd like to show mom Monterey and Point Lobos. They're purty. We also might go to Zion on the road trip over, or something.

And, holy shit, I will be celebrating my graduation in less than a goddamn month. This coming week will be busy: Monday and Tuesday are Flash project work time with Marilee; Wednesday is video editing workshop; Thursday through Monday is editing the shit out of the video and making sure Kim gets sufficient quotes for the companion story. My mom wants me to go to Portland on Saturday for the baby niece's one-month birthday party, but I'm not sure yet if I can. I know I'd like to. The following week, many things must be done. I think I also have projects in copyediting lurking on the back burner. Memorial Day weekend brings Jana's birthday party at Deception Pass, which should be great.

By the time July rolls around, things should settle down and I can go out into the world, really. I need nicer shoes for hte job hunt, that's all.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Blogger's Many Uses

I just reorganized and updated my writing page using Blogger. It's a silly template, but it looks better than what I felt like whipping up today. That contains several things I wrote in high school and some in college--very few academic papers, mostly newswriting; don't worry. Anyway, if you ever wondered what the hell I've actually been doing over the past few years, take a gander. It's not great, but it's something.


I was talking to my brother last night about Jason Webley. My brother, who's six and a half years younger than me, went to see him last night in Olympia. He took his girlfriend, who was apparently enthralled by the experience. Paul's seen him perform before, but it's been a few years. He said Webley was as excellent as ever.

For a couple years, I saw Webley every chance I could. In total, I think I saw him a dozen times. I'd never before and haven't since felt such a personal connection with a performer I didn't actually know personally. The reasons surrounding my departure from the Webley flock still confuse and sadden me.

Every Halloween, he died. The first Halloween, I was a freshman in college. My then-boyfriend, KK, best friend, Becky, and I saw him at the now-defunct Pearl Cafe on the Ave. We followed the carrot to Sylvan Grove on the UW campus, a gorgeous spot for what was about to occur: his clothing was stripped and hung on a stick structure, then burned. Jason was carried off in a coffin to the crowd's riveting chorus. We all knew the words, even if we'd never been before, even if we didn't know what was going on.

In the spring, I'd convinced my friends to go with me to his re-birth. It remains, perhaps, one of the best live music experiences I've had: the feeling of love, joy, community was so strong, I felt compelled to give him a hug afterwards.

The following Halloween, he died again, this time "lost at sea" as we burned an effigy of Time and set paper boats containing tealights afloat in Portage Bay. In the spring, he returned in a glorious performance upon a crowded boat anchored near Gasworks Park.

But something happened the next Halloween. We had a big group this time--the crowd was overall immense. The show was typically theatrical and entertaining, but the air was a little different, somehow off... I can't explain it.

Jason died by Damocles' sword and was carried off on a slab of wood, all the way to Ravenna Park, where he was tied to a tree all night. I felt tired and was pretty turned off by this sudden change in tone and so didn't follow the crowd, but my friends who went said it was eerie, chilly, and deathly quiet. No love, just hushed awe, which is totally wrong, to me. My friends seemed to agree, as no one else has gone to see him since then, either.

My emotional relationship with this performer was pretty deep, all things considered. I felt almost betrayed. We broke up immediately, in my mind. The more I thought about the end of that show, the sicker I felt. The more I realized there were people who took it painfully serious, the more disturbed I was. We'd always joked that the whole thing was a cult, but then it felt like it sort of actually was.

I still feel I'm missing a piece. I haven't gotten over it. But I was glad to hear he still has the same power over his audience: even Paul's girlfriend danced and sang along, he told me, no matter how ridiculous the requests. It's a power I admire and always used to enjoy, until that one night I feel it was abused.

And I can't go back, and I won't get resolution.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Drip, Drip, Drip

Something's falling from the sky, and it isn't all rain. It's beginning to smell of deadlines, a rotten stench indeed.

Today is Christine's birthday. We're celebrating with dinner at Cedar's and crepes at my house. It's going to be lovely. We'll put birthday candles in her crepe.

I looked at the calendar and as of next Wednesday, after receiving training on video editing, we'll have effectively three days to edit down our footage to a five-minute pearl for the website.

So it's sort of insane. The anticipation, anyway; as of now, we're not doing a whole hell of a lot. A lot of planning and getting frustrated with roadblocks like time conflicts and inability to reserve equipment at the necessary times and such. But I think we'll be okay.

I am basically over my cold and drinking coffee again. Thank goodness. I found a bag that I can use to carry a tripod over my shoulder. I'm sleeping regularly. I don't have much to say.

I went to Costco last night with Kevin and Chris, and Kevin wanted to get a bunch of more expensive things--a blender, a compact flash card, a bunch of 9V batteries--which, combined with my pitas, Clif bars, and basmati rice made Costco earn its nickname "The $100 Store." Except, and I forgot this lovely bit, they don't take credit cards besides AmEx, so I had to use my debit card which is annoying for several reasons. Grr. Whatever.

Some people at work today are mildly stupid and I am irritable, but I am off in a few minutes, so I can stop this infernal typing and try not to kill myself on the way home.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

A Week Without Coffee

(But plenty of tea. Green or peppermint, spiked with honey.)

I am so tired. And for what? I don't know. I'm still getting over a cold, which I didn't mention because I haven't been particularly loquacious this week.

I woke up Monday with a nasty cold. I got my ass off to school only after pumping it full of ibuprofen and cough drops. I filled several snotrags with grossness over the course of my two-hour lecture. Then I met my groupmate in the faraway lands of the Montlake parking lot to haul gear up a steep hill and to the third floor of the building where equipment lives and bailed. I told her I was going home and not to expect me in class.

I thought it was just baaad allergies or the beginnings of a sinus infection, but it wasn't painful enough.

I took a nap. It sucked, because there was a show Kevin and I wanted to go to Monday night, but neither of us were up for sitting in a loud, smoke-filled room until the wee hours of the morning. And I had to work opening on Tuesday.

Tuesday was equally hellish. By that point, I'd procured groceries after my weekend away and off-brand nondrowsy antihistamine (without pseudoephedrine, which makes me feel unpleasant) and was drinking water nonstop. Usually I don't drink nearly enough water, so having to pee all the time comes as somewhat of a shock. Heh. At least all I had to do Tuesday was sit at work, and even then, I went home before the second half of my shift. To nap. Perchance to dream.

It's hard to sleep when you're breathing through your mouth and wake up every couple hours with a need to expel mucous and drink water and wish your nasal passages were clear enough to breathe so you would've wake up with such a sore throat. But it's worse if you're on drowsy meds.

By Wednesday, my symptoms were cleared up enough that I made it through the long-ass day without bailing on anyone.

However, eating was somewhat difficult because in addition to the now-raging sore throat, I'd managed to bite my tongue in at least three places and get a cold sore on the roof of my mouth and on the gum between my tongue and a back molar. Yuck. The cold drops, which were nice for the throat, stung the sores; everything that required effort from my tongue hurt the bites.

You sure like my details, right? I knew you did.

I came home on Wednesday night and was the first person there. That never happens, since I work until 9 p.m. So I was stuck with garbage duty and I had to do a huge pile of dishes since I was finally conscious enough to do it, but Kevin decided to reorganize my freezer at the same time because he wanted to store his nine tubs of organic tofu in there until he went home, and it's a federal disaster area so that wasn't possible as-is, so I had a pissy little meltdown, got over it, and did the fucking dishes.

Also, Kevin stupidly let his car run out of gas completely--the second time I've known him to do this--and took my car home again. Which annoys me, even though I don't use the car *that* much, but I could've needed it.

And did. Because on Thursday, I ended up having my mom, brother, and brother's girlfriend up after my brother's lesson for a sort of mother's day brunch and had to go to Whole Foods and buy supplies to make brie and apple stuffed french toast. On the fucking bus. Meaning it took an hour and a shit-ton of walking when it would've taken 20 minutes by car. Grrr.

But that's okay because driving is bad for the envirrrrronment and gas is expensive and I have a bus pass! Why do I feel guilty for not wanting to waste that much time? Why?

The food was all right, though. It was nice to host dinner; I enjoy doing that. I don't have many opportunities to do so. I think the last time was when I lived in the apartment with Jenny and I made mom salmon on the George Foreman with tzatziki, which she loved. The french toast could have been improved upon, flavor-wise; the wonderful brie was out of place. It came out like more of a french grilled cheese than anything; it was bland.

After dinner, though, I put on Johnny Cash's Live from Fulsom Prison record--mom loves it--and mom started singing aloud the line: "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die." Which elicited confused looks from the brother, of course. When the side was finished, he told me, "Uh, your Johnny Carson CD is broken." Hee.

Friday I dragged my ass again because I knew I had to pick up equipment, but we didn't have specific plans to use it. I'd wanted to cancel it, but I hadn't been able to consult with my groupmates. So I picked it up anyway, and we decided to go back to the Muslim Student Association. The guy took photos--he's quit being a slacker and takes direction well--and the artist and I talked to two of the sisters and got a lot of footage (or at least audio) of one girl saying a lot of great stuff.

We were going to drop by the Northgate Mosque Community picnic this afternoon, but the weather is less than grand and our interviewer didn't feel the need to interview more people. All we'd definitely like to get now is video from the Northgate Mosque, or at least some video of our tour guide from last Friday, who was great.

There's still this terrible elephant in the corner of learning to use the editing suites and looking at our footage. I'm afraid it's all going to look and sound unusable and I won't be able to handle the editing or anything... but we'll cobble something together, I'm sure. I should get some cut-away footage of the mosque and Northgate area or something, just in case the interviews look terrible but the sound is good, so we can have v.o. or something. I don't know. This is hard; I've never done it before! But I did want to learn, so there you go.

I was so tired this morning that I woke up after 8 and even still felt so tired that I went back to sleep until 11 or so. At which point I fully awoke so I could listen to This American Life, of course. The last story told of a boy who can't eat. I think that's the saddest thing I've ever heard.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Freedom Isn't Free

Or so they tell me.

I have a friend who's lived her life in pursuit of freedom. She's a refugee from Cambodia--or, rather, she was born to Cambodian refugee parents in a camp on the Thai border. She's now been in the United States for ten years, long enough to qualify for citizenship. Those who were under age 18 when the ten-year anniversary rolls around, like her two younger brothers, are automatically granted citizenship. My friend, and both her parents, must take a test to demonstrate their knowledge of this country they've chosen as home. A test that the average American might have a difficult time passing, but immigrants do it all the time.

They overcame the struggles of their homeland, travel, sickness, employment, language, culture, and time to reach this.

And now, they have to pony up $300 to get it.

My friend has grown to be a beautiful, intelligent girl. A straight-A's student at her suburban high school. She was awarded a scholarship to a local university (close enough that her mother will permit her to attend).

But for all the benefits she retains as a permanent resident, she still lacks the full privilege of being American. For all citizenships' guarantees, there is one that affects us all: she won't be able to vote, either, and at a time we should all make our voices heard.

I want to help her out. (She doesn't know it yet.) Anyone with me?