Saturday, December 31, 2005

she's alive!!!

i present to you, a post in bits.

* on vacation in seattle
* apologetic about lack of posts. i blame finals.
* just read a graphic novel version of kafka's "the metamorphosis" (grazi, erin). reminded me of the gregors in my apartment, but unfortunately i am neither as kind nor as beautiful a young woman as grete; thus i am unsympathetic to their plight. i swear if i find another one i am going to bitch to my f-ing weird-ass landlord.
* currently navigating my way through james frey's "a million little pieces." haunting, riveting.

to come...
* photo blog about my metro commute.
* a rare personal post about my complete breakdown during finals period. you know i don't do personal stuff often. i'm still trying to decide if i want to post it.
* a great, in-depth post about why i love comic books. people have heard various bits of this on and off, but i wanted to compile it all...i am so nerdy. you love it. don't hide it.
* flickr updates on the Haircut and donation.

happy new beard, people.

Friday, November 25, 2005

i was an indie in my other, successful, life - article

Hung Up on Tentpoles, Studios Think Too Big
November 22, 2005
By Anne Thompson

Because the studios are trying to respond to a clear audience demand for more material that's fresh and unpredictable, they are greenlighting riskier fare. The results this fall were disastrous. A spate of fall movies crashed and burned, movies that if they had been produced and marketed at the independent level might have worked.

Twentieth Century Fox released Curtis Hanson's family drama "In Her Shoes," starring Cameron Diaz, and the twisted Marc Forster thriller "Stay," starring Ewan McGregor; Warner Bros. Pictures failed with Niki Caro's feminist drama "North Country," starring Charlize Theron, and Shane Black's well-reviewed "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang"; Paramount Pictures released Cameron Crowe's $54 million "Elizabethtown," starring Orlando Bloom, and "The Weather Man," starring Nicolas Cage. None are working at the boxoffice.

These films were all worth making. But they were too expensive for what they were. And the studios don't know how to market them. "They can get away with marketing tentpoles," says one marketing maven, "but with the smaller pictures, they don't have a clue."

Personal filmmakers such as Crowe, Wes Anderson ("The Royal Tenenbaums") and Paul Thomas Anderson ("Punch Drunk Love") shouldn't be making movies at the studio level. (And even a proven commercial writer-director like James L. Brooks shouldn't spend $80 million on a movie like "Spanglish.") They should be doing it the hard way on the indie side, with the right cast and shooting schedule. They're spoiled. No filmmaker in his right mind wants to give up the fat studio gravy train. But the studios need to wake up and recognize what business they're in.

What makes 2005 a watershed year is that the message of the marketplace, where the boxoffice is down some 8% over last year, rang loud and clear. And the smartest people in Hollywood are scrambling for answers. (The others are insisting that nothing is wrong.) "Fundamentally, this is an industry in transition," ICM chairman Jeff Berg says. "Every studio has to rethink itself. Change is hard when existing systems are in place that are used to doing business a certain way."

The heads of the studios are paid to figure out where the market is going and what audiences want to see two years in advance. Each studio has $1 billion allocated, more or less, to plunk down on producing about 20 movies a year. They bet their stacks of chips on the movies that will go forward.

The heart of the problem is that the studios do one thing really well. They know how to throw their enormous resources at making and marketing event movies. Their primary job is to find tentpoles. These are the powerful drivers for the rest of their slate. Warners has Harry Potter, Batman and Superman. Universal Pictures has "The Bourne Identity." Paramount has the "Mission: Impossible" series. Sony Pictures has Spider-Man and now MGM's James Bond. Fox has its X-Men. Disney has its animated family features like "Chicken Little."

It is justifiable for a studio to spend hundreds of millions on a real potential revenue generator, banking that it will surely satisfy the masses of moviegoers around the world. The trick, though, is to launch the tentpole in the first place: a movie that is so satisfying to all four audience quadrants (men and women, old and young) that it generates a franchise. In order to get that movie, the studios will put the best writers, directors, stars, effects and creative teams on board. And they will shower the marketplace with advertising, promotion and hype to get people to see it. The problem now is that, as one agent puts it, "a generation of viewers is not buying the dog food."

Once a studio actually launches a tentpole -- which is a bitch to do -- they can ride it for a few films assuming they don't mess it up. For example, if Sony wanted to turn the sequel to a sexy romp like "The Mask of Zorro" into the PG family film "The Legend of Zorro," they should have telegraphed that to the audience instead of selling Catherine Zeta-Jones busting out of her bodice. Audiences were confused. The studio also should have recognized that selling "Zathura" as a sequel to the 10-year-old "Jumanji" was a mistake. Whoever argued in favor of changing the title and selling the movie as an original was right. But it's always much harder to start from scratch. The trouble with such would-be blockbusters as Sony's "Stealth" and DreamWorks' "The Island" is that they don't always work.

So many movies try to be tentpoles -- and fail. It's the equivalent of striking out when you're trying to hit a home run. You can't afford to do that every time at bat. Tom Pollock, the ex-chairman of Universal Pictures (who now runs Montecito Pictures with Ivan Reitman), tells his students at the University of California at Santa Barbara that the studios invest too much in one-shot movies that never will yield any sequels.

That's because the studios have become so accustomed to throwing money at the movies they want to score with that it's impossible for them to give up their free-spending ways. They also rely on foreign boxoffice and DVD sales to pull them out of the red. And instead of cutting back on costs and banking on what they really believe in, they bring in partners to cut their risk.

Sony justifies spending $85 million on "Memoirs of a Geisha" -- which could well be an Oscar contender but is an unlikely cash cow or sequel generator -- by bringing in Spyglass Entertainment as a partner.

To follow Pollock's argument, only tentpoles justify outlays of serious studio cash. Everything else should be cheap genre fare: comedies, thrillers and horror movies. Basically, that's the business that the wildly successful Lions Gate and Dimension are in. But these indies do what they do for a price. They and the studio "indie" subsidiaries, such as Fox Searchlight and Focus Features, are equipped to pay less for everything.

As Paramount reconfigures its specialty film division, which John Lesher is taking over, it should be able to take a movie like "Elizabethtown" and shrink its budget in half.

In Hollywood, there's a studio price and an indie price. There's a two-tiered system in place. On the studio side, the top movie stars cost $20 million against a share of the gross, and the top directors command $10 million (unless you're Peter Jackson coming off "The Lord of the Rings").

Movie stars know the rules today: Sucker the studios into paying your price and go to the indies for the quality parts that will sustain your career. If you're George Clooney, you recognize the value of putting yourself in quality work that will stand the test of time.

No studio is going to admit the obvious: They can't afford to make all their movies at top-tier prices. And if they only make a few tentpoles a year, what are they going to do with the rest of their slate? None of the studios is willing to slash the fat from their motion picture divisions. When Warners instituted job cuts, they got rid of two top people from Warner Independent Pictures, the one division they should be beefing up.

The best way for the studios to make the tricky one-shot movies in the "middle" that are neither tentpoles nor genre flicks is to beef up their acquisitions departments and let the indies make those movies for a price. They can pick up movies from studio suppliers like Mandate Pictures ("The Grudge," starring Sarah Michelle Gellar) or Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (the upcoming "Trust the Man," starring Julianne Moore), which can produce commercial movies at far less than studio rates. For the studios, indie producers who can consistently deliver low-cost commercial movies, such as Mandate's Joe Drake, SKE's Bill Horberg and Michael London ("Sideways"), are worth their weight in gold.

Friday, November 18, 2005

harry potter!!!!!!!!!

harry potter 4 is awesome!!

quick review -
- best of the 4 movies, i think. direction was great.
- the entire thing is very FAST, in particular the beginning. i think this is a bit of a necessary evil, when there is so much to get done, and really very limited amount of time to do it in. maybe 10 seconds at most on the portkey, ~3 minutes on the world cup, ~1 1/2 minutes on the death eater terrorizing...
- the images are great - really nice shots, and the magic is looking more seamless.
- cho chang! whoo hoo scottish asian girls! she didn't have enough lines, though, but she was so cute.
- no veela! ;_;
- generally good acting. it's always a bit touch and go with the kids -- daniel radcliffe does an overall good job in this one, better than the other movies i think, especially since the book calls for a ton of range from him and he has to carry the whole thing. rupert grint is getting a liiittle too big (too tall, too old looking) to be fussy and sad lipped and pulling the covers up while he simmers, all -mad- at harry. and emma watson, while getting to be quite pretty, is also the Queen of Overacting and Stylized Voice. as in the previous movies, the adults are all much, much better - mad-eye moody is the primary force here, just enough quirkyness and lunacy to make his character tick, plus miranda richardson as rita skeeter is lovely even without some of the finer plot details that the book gives her. i love alan rickman, enough said. and as for the triwizards...holy ****, cedric diggory is so f-ing hot! eek! i have always imagined pavel as krum (jess, you are with me on that one, right?), so i was "meh" on him...and overall disappointed in fleur. the plot is structured so that she is the weakest contestant already, she wasn't particularly striking in any way, or impressive, and since they didn't introduce veela, there was no explanation for ron finding her so incredible.
- ray fiennes as voldemort? perfect. so, so good.
- midnight movie audience choice quotes:

(at 12.06am, 5 mins past when the movie was supposed to start, and the slideshow ads looped for the billionth time) "this is...torture!"

(in response to the slew of girls in the audience who hooted when harry took off his shirt in the bathtub scene) "HE'S FOURTEEN!"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


overthinking has made me nauseous...

sometimes i wish things could be easy.
easier. easier for me.

i'm my own worst enemy...i want it to come naturally.

no, i want it to appear to come naturally. i don't want people to suspect.

and as a result, when i'm at my breaking point, i have no one to go to. since in the end i'm just a damn girl.

Monday, November 07, 2005

photo blog 1 - halloween, pt. 1

erin and i, dressed to go out to west hollywood on halloween night. i've never been to mardi gras, but i have heard it is essentially the same kind of riotous party in the streets.

saw this, thought of marcos, HAD to get the photo!

always a bridesmaid, never a ... transvestite bride?

OMFG i f-ing freaked out when i saw them. literally, screamed across the street to ask if i could get a photo. LOOK at her gail costume, it is PERFECT, i am having my own little frank miller-induced personal thrill right now...

i love this photo - these guys were dancing together, and with the colors it looked simply incredible.

now that's one big fairy.

we actually got drinks at fiesta cantina.

our waiter offered to shoot us with an arrow so we could get some lovin'.

LOL so pleased in this moment.

more photos here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

grab bag 1 - mcsweeney's, jello art, chickens

a little grab bag of things today, to tie over the scant but loyal readership - stay tuned for scandalous halloween photos to be posted...

an old post from mcsweeney's, but possibly my favorite, from "open letters to people or entities who are unlikely to respond":


March 22, 2005

To you people,


PULL the door open. Turn the handle any old way you want. But then PULL. Don't push. Stop pushing the door. Pull. Pull it. The door will open if you pull it. I can't stand that banging sound. No, it's not locked. It's unlocked. I unlocked it. Yes, I see you there. And I unlocked it. It works. The battery is not dead. I checked. I'm not playing a trick on you. Stop looking at me like that. And stop ringing the doorbell. Just pull. Pull the door.


Kurt Chiang

[lol. i think he has the perfect rhythm there.]

check this out - san francisco in jello!!! awesome.

look at those colors.

doesn't that remind you of full house? (shut up. marcos, you know it does.) see the full album here, and espeically check out the cooooool bay bridge photo. (did someone say...earthquake?)

and finally, a little bit of web sillyness borrowed from miss meiris:

chicken aerobics. dance, puppet, dance!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


i adore my books. currently they are all affectionately crammed three-deep into my mid-height lame ass billy bookshelf, but as soon as i have enough money to not have to begin sentences with, "as soon as i have enough money," i am going to purchase at least two more, maybe a tall one with opaque glass doors and certainly a nice big wooden one (real wooden, not ikea particleboard wooden, though that's working fine for me for now).

alas, at this time i shall be content to merely pine. i think a lot of it is erin's influence - her (unhealthy) obsession with furniture design has rubbed off on me to an extent, and i'm enjoying thinking about not only the different ways form and function can work together (or not), but how they can also be real design strengths.

(okay, can you tell i'm sick of law reading and just ready to go back to analyzing useless crap again? give me chekhov! bf skinner, godard! f, i'll even do an essay on f-ing bookshelves and herman miller, just NO MORE CIV PRO).

anyway, bookshelves.

this is neat, huh?? tilt, tilt... i can imagine putting all my plays into these, or, um, my cliff's notes.

i also love this:

that's f-ing badass, man! i probably wouldn't want it for my house, but those lines are so nice and crisp, and i love how it just pops. (not to mention that titanic lamp kind of tricks out your eyes...)

now, see, this on the other hand is a bad idea. there is no respect! no organization! i am not a fan.

and this is just impractical and ugly.

you sick of these yet? i want to end on the best one. ladies and gentlemen, i give you:

what, not impressed, you say?? well, i'll admit, empty, this design makes little sense. looks a bit like tigger's stripes or something, but they are a little irrelevant.

until you put books on there.

i am not kidding:

holy shit, man!!!!!! was i not kidding?!?! look at what this design does - it creates open space, not just on the sides of the books but above them, too. (granted, there aren't that many in here, but the way the shelves go it *does* create that negative space.) it accomodates varying heights and thicknesses of volumes, and it's all tilt-y, which breaks up the lines at soft angles. i fucking love it, man, i am not kidding. plus, it's crazy enough to catch the eye, but it's not absolutely atrocious to have in a home. neat, right?!?!

*[blogger's note: the site changed the photos, so there's no longer a full-length shot with books on the shelves. =( sorry, kids! i'll keep checking back, and upload the handsomer ones if they ever get put back online. meanwhile, apologies for the comments not really fitting the photos...]

Sunday, October 23, 2005

put what where? - article

from the times (london)

Put what where? 2,000 years of bizarre sex advice

Tight corsets cause nymphomania, orgasms can kill and wasps are a turn-on. John Naish looks at the top sex tips over the ages

Mating. Reproduction. Nothing is more crucial to humanity’s survival, so it would be logical to expect us to have got it sussed early in our evolution. But since the start of civilisation, the fundamentals of human sex — where to put it, how and when — have been absurdly confused by a parade of moralists, pundits and visionaries all claiming to know the magic secrets and only too happy to pass them on at a very reasonable price.

Just as every generation thinks that it invented sex, we also think we invented lovemaking manuals, or at least based them on a few prototypes such as the Kamasutra and Marie Stopes’s 1918 Married Love. But today’s maelstrom of books, videos and DVDs has a far richer, more twisted heritage than that.

The tradition of bestselling love guides goes back to the Ancient Chinese. [blogger's note: we are so racy!] Our earliest known manuals were first written in 300BC and buried in a family tomb at Mawangdui, in Hunan province. Recent translation reveals the timeless nature of the subjects they tackled.

Written as Cosmo coverlines, they would look like this: Four Seasons of Sex — and Why Autumn is Hot, Hot, Hot; Wild New Positions; Tiger Roving, Gibbon Grabbing and Fish Gobbling; Aphrodisiacs to Keep You Up All Night! Plus Exclusive! Your Love Route to Immortality.

As ever, it was all nonsense: home-made Viagra recipes involved ingredients such as beetle larvae, wasps and dried snails. The books also promised that any man who had sex with a different virgin every night for 100 nights without ejaculating would live for ever (albeit rather uncomfortably).

These odd beginnings set a trend: weird tips from strange authors, many of whom became manual martyrs. Ovid, the Roman poet, advised women on the best positions to suit their bodies in his poem Ars Amatoria. For example: “If you are short, go on top/If you’re conspicuously tall, kneel with your head turned slightly sideways.” The prudish Emperor Augustus banished poor Ovid to a chilly outpost of empire (a small town on the Black Sea in modern Romania).

Medieval European sex advice followed the strait-laced trend: most of it said “don’t”. Pleasure paved Hell’s roads and misogynistic manuals such as De Secretis Mulierum (The Secrets of Women) claimed that females used sex to drain men of their power and that some hid sharp shards of iron inside themselves to injure innocent lovers.

A technological breakthrough in the Renaissance put us back on our lascivious tracks. The printing press enabled publishers to churn out dodgy books faster than the Church authorities could ban them. Readers were treated to gems such as Mrs Isabella Cortes’s handy hint from 1561 that a mixture of quail testicles, large-winged ants, musk and amber was perfect for straightening bent penises. The era also brought us the earliest recorded recommendation of slippers as a sex aid (“Cold feet are a powerful hindrance to coition,” warned Giovanni Sinibaldi in his 1658 book Rare Verities.) But to find history’s oddest advisers, we must look to the Victorians and Edwardians. William Chidley, for example, believed that he could best promote his ideas by walking around in a toga. Chidley, an Australian, advised readers in his 1911 pamphlet The Answer that heavy clothing caused erections, which would lead to sexual overexcitement, illness and death, as well as being “ugly things” of which “we are all ashamed”.

He urged people to live on fruit and nuts and to practise a method of flaccid intercourse apparently based on horses’ sex lives. Yet it wasn’t his ideas that got him repeatedly arrested, but his silk toga, which the authorities thought indecent. After his death, supporters continued propounding his theories into the 1920s.

For the ultimate proof that you don’t need relevant qualifications to become a world expert, we turn to Marie Stopes. She was married and in her late thirties when she wrote one of Britain’s most enduring sex guides, Married Love. But she was also a virgin.

Stopes was inspired by her betrothal to Reginald “Ruggles” Gates, who, she told a divorce court, had failed ever to become “effectively rigid”. When Married Love hit the shelves early in 1918 it outsold the bestselling contemporary novels by a huge margin. By 1925, sales had passed the half-million mark.

Stopes was a fan of Hitler’s eugenics and arrogant enough to offer Rudyard Kipling and George Bernard Shaw advice on writing. Her main sex-manual innovation was a theory that women have a “sex tide” of passion that ebbs and flows on a fortnightly basis — and woe betide the man who didn’t understand this. In case her second husband, the manufacturing magnate Humphrey Verdon Roe, got it wrong, she made him sign a contract releasing her to have sex with other men.

So that’s our sexual forebears, a weird lot with funny ideas. Compared with them we might appear at the zenith of sexual enlightenment. Our age is remarkable for the sheer volume of sex advice being consumed: one woman in four now owns a sex manual, says a survey by the publishers Dorling Kindersley. Everyone from porn stars to the car-manual firm Haynes has one out. Well, I wonder. In 50 years’ time, I foresee the students at a university faculty of s exual semiotics studying the early Twenty-Ohs with the same mirth, incredulity and horror that shake us when we consider our ancestors’ obsessions. Perhaps they will wonder why we bought so many manuals, videos and DVDs but seemed to have so little time or energy left for sex. Maybe they will link our obsession with orgasms to our endless need to go shopping. They might also connect our avid consumption of sex advice to our growing terror of personal embarrassment and “getting it wrong”. They may even have a name for us; perhaps the erotic neurotics.

Put What Where? Over 2,000 Years of Bizarre Sex Advice, by John Naish (HarperElement £9.99), is available from Times Books First at £9.49 p&p free. Call 0870 1608080 or visit

Wisdom of the ancients

How to pull
“Pick the woman’s worst feature and then make it appear desirable. Tell an older woman that she looks young. Tell an ugly woman that she looks ‘fascinating’.” Philaenis, papyrus sex manual (2BC)

Go blondes!
“All women are lascivious but auburn blondes the most. A little straight forehead denotes an unbridled appetite in lust.” Giovanni Sinibaldi, Rare Verities: the Cabinet of Venus Unlock’d (1658)

Buns and corsets cause nymphomania
“Constricting the waist by corsets prevents the return of blood to the heart, overloads sexual organs and causes unnatural excitement of the sexual system. The majority of women follow the goddess Fashion and so also wear their hair in a heavy knot. This great pressure on their small brains produces great heat and chronic inflammation of their sexual organs. It is almost impossible that such women should lead other than a life of sexual excess.” Dr John Cowan, The Science of a New Life (1888)

On the other hand . . .
“The majority of women (happily for them) are not very much troubled with sexual feelings of any kind.” Dr William Acton, Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs (1858)

Indian enlargement
“Rub your penis with the bristles of certain insects that live in trees, and then, after rubbing it for ten nights with oils, rub it with the bristles as before. Swelling will be gradually produced. Then lie on a hammock with a hole in it and hang the penis through the hole. Take away the pain from the swelling by using cool concoctions. The swelling lasts for life.” Kamasutra, translated by Sir Richard Burton and F. F. “Bunny” Arbuthnot (1883)

Climaxes can kill
“Fainting, vomiting, involuntary urination, epilepsy and defecation have occurred in young men after first coitus. Lesions of various organs have taken place. In men of mature age the arteries have been unable to resist the high blood pressure and cerebral haemorrhage with paralysis has occurred. In elderly men the excitement of intercourse with young wives or prostitutes has caused death.” Havelock Ellis, Psychology of Sex: a Manual for Students (1933)

How often?
“The ordinary man can safely indulge about four times a month. More than that would be excess for a large majority of civilised men and women.” Lyman B. Sperry, Confidential Talks with Husband and Wife: a Book of Information and Advice for the Married and Marriageable (1900)

Single-handed signs
“Look at the habitual masturbator! See how thin, pale and haggard he appears; how his eyes are sunken; how long and cadaverous is his cast of countenance; how irritable he is and how sluggish, mentally and physically; how afraid he is to meet the eye of his fellow, feel his damp and chilling hand, so characteristic of great vital exhaustion.” Dr Henry Guernsey, Plain Talks on Avoided Subjects (1882)

Never marry these women
“Redheads. Any girl named after a mountain, a tree, a river or a bird. Ones with rough hands or feet. Ones who sigh, laugh or cry at meals. Any girl with inverted nipples, a beard, uneven breasts, flap ears, spindle legs or who is scrawny. Girls whose big toes are disproportionately small. Girls who make the ground shake when they walk past.” Koka Shastra, The Indian Scripture of Koka (12th century)

And, if you can’t find it, don’t worry
“The clitoris, while important, is not nearly as important as many of us have been taught or led to believe.” Edward Podolsky, Sex Technique for Husband and Wife (1947)

But whatever you do ...
“Never fool around sexually with a vacuum cleaner.” Dr Alex Comfort, The Joy of Sex (1972)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

non-recommendations 2 - microsoft word

i fucking hate word with the loathing that most reserve for puppy kickers. i hate it so much my delicate facial features start to twitch when i think too much about it.

fucking presumptuous, piece of shit software, that thinks it knows what i want but only serves to FUCK UP MY COURSE OUTLINE. don't autoformat me, fucking bitch! no, i don't mean "torturous" when i write "tortious"! no, i dont mean "iii." indented halfway in the middle of the page when i write "2)" on the left!!

AND FUCK YOU for RETROACTIVELY CHANGING ALL MY NUMBERS TO "1." and all my LETTERS TO "a." WHEN I AM NEARLY FINISHED YOU ASSHOLE! (weeps) when i need to memorize a 5 step process, it does me no good to have all the steps labeled one!!!!

all right. in all fairness, i have a midterm on saturday, and in addition to completely ignoring my emails (that's you jess, alana, ari, em, response is coming...) i have been shunning daylight and naps as well, so i am a tad grumpy, and part of this post is that. also, i will admit that word does not proclaim to be an outlining software, only a word processing one.

THAT SAID, I STILL FUCKING HATE IT. you do NOT know what i want, so stop changing things without at least labelling what you're changing and checking with me first. this is the second time i've had to go back over the entire thing and relabel my numbers/indentations. i know you are confused by my disorganized style of outlining, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY LEAVE ME ALONE!!

you know what else bothers me, is that i am actually quite proficient at word. i know how to work it with relative dexterity, and i can fix most formatting problems that other people can't, just by virtue of having used it specifically for formatting purposes, etc. so, it just drives me nuts that there's no, i dunno, loyalty reciprocated at all, like, word doesn't appreciate that i know its ins and outs, it just wants to f-ing dupe me along with all the other suckers. well fuck you! word! you friggin bastard.

...i am calming down now, and adding addendums that are less screaming but not less irritated. word should let me "lock" pages. like, the first fifteen pages of my outline? i should be able to "lock" them and not let the program just shuffle margins and labels as it pleases, since, i dunno, it took me the better part of three weeks to get this shit done, and i dont think some fucking program should be allowed to fuck around with it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

admit it. you're bored.

here's my tank!
Originally uploaded by jadis.
so, explore my fish tank. click the photo to learn more.

Friday, October 07, 2005

what if? - article

from the washington post...

What If Gene Were a Genius?
Oh, never mind . . .

By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, October 2, 2005; W32

Critics sometimes complain that my columns lack intellectual depth. So today I thought I would examine fundamental epistemological questions of life in a contextual fashion, by postulating alternative realities and extrapolating likely results.

What if Freud had been a woman?

Sex would not be considered the primary force that drives human behavior. Instead, it would be Fear of Having a Large Behind. All men would be haunted by a condition known as "penis shame." The mind would not be divided into the Id, the Ego and the Superego but the Shoe-Desire Region, the Weeping Center, and the If-You-Don't-Know-What-You-Did-Wrong-I'm-Not-Going-to-Tell-You Lobe. Also, sometimes a dried apricot is just a dried apricot.

What if wishes were horses?

Then beggars would ride. But so would everyone else. We would each have, like, 7,000 horses. They would completely paralyze civilization, consuming all vegetable matter in a week or less. Continents would rise several feet, just from accumulated poo. And anytime anyone wished for no more horses, another horse would appear. The world would end in a terrifying, thundering apocalypse of horses, is what would happen.

What if Hitler had beaten us to the bomb?

Humor wäre heutzutage verboten, und Humoristen würde man in der Öffentlichkeit erschiessen.*

What if Shakespeare had been born in Teaneck, N.J., in 1973?

He would call himself Spear Daddy. His rap would exhibit a profound, nuanced understanding of the frailty of the human condition, exploring the personality in all its bewildering complexity: pretension, pride, vulnerability, emotional treachery, as well as the enduring triumph of love. Spear Daddy would disappear from the charts in about six weeks.

What if our thoughts scrolled across our foreheads, like a TV news crawl?

All men would be incarcerated for public lewdness, conspiracy, fraud and crimes against humanity.

What if, as originally predicted, heavier-than-air flight had actually been impossible?

Rocket-propelled blimps. Travel would take a little longer, but the 9/11 plot would have failed, comically.

What if celebrities were punished by God every time they took money to endorse a product they don't use?

It's happening already! Consider Rafael Palmeiro, who did those obnoxious ads for Viagra even though he claimed he didn't need it and hadn't used it. Now he's ruined.

Is this, finally, empirical evidence for the existence of the deity?

It is hard to deny.

What if all snowmen could walk and talk, like Frosty?

They'd be gone as soon as we made them. You think snowmen would sit around here just to entertain kids, waiting until the first warm spell melted them? No way. Responding to some primitive instinct for survival, they'd hoof it for Antarctica, or climb Kilimanjaro. The only time anyone would ever see a snowman is by climbing a mountain. We'd expect them to be gurus, and ask them about the meaning of life. But they would just say things like, "Me want toy." Snowmen are idiots.

What if you could smell air? And it smelled like B.O.?

That would be real bad.

What if the wheel had never been invented?

Even worse mileage for SUVs.

What if the U.S. Constitution required presidential candidates to campaign wearing only a sombrero and a cummerbund?

The only people who would run for president would be shameless, contemptible, power-mad, ego-crazed, narcissistic exhibitionists. So, basically, this one's a wash.

What if dogs were as dumb as chickens, but chickens were as smart as chimpanzees?

No one would notice the difference in dogs, but we'd feel a lot worse about continuing to eat all those plump, delicious chickens.

What if there were a doomsday Web site, where if any-one logged on, it would instantly annihilate the world in a fiery inferno? And what if the url were published in a news-paper? You know, something like "Log on to and the world will end?" How long would it take some irresponsible jackass to do that?

Probably no more than three sec

*Humor would be illegal today, and humor writers would be taken out back and shot.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

my perfect sunday

if i had my way, i would spend sundays just devouring the new york times.

i'd start at the crossword puzzle, and do every answer i could, snuggled in bed, letting the sunlight and strain of thought wake me up. i'd spill egg whites on the grey pages of arts & leisure, and sip my coffee while taking in the full-page color cinema ads & off-broadway theatre descriptions. i'd give my boyfriend the sports section and take a shower while he read out unfinished crossword clues and summarized book review titles. i'd flip through the food & travel sections in my towel, and clip coupons, and check television listings as i dried my hair. and when half the day is gone, after i'd dress and pat my hair dry and feel ready to greet the world outside my world, i'd read the front page: headlines and photo captions first. national news, then global. and all the sadness, and all the past, and all the news that some editor deemed fit to be printed would soak through my narrow life as i left my week behind.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

take me out tonight

To days of inspiration,
Playing hookie,
Making something out of nothing.

The need to express, to communicate

To going against the grain - going insane, going mad

To loving tension,
No pension,
To more than one dimension,
To starving for attention,
Hating convention, hating pretension
Not to mention (of course), hating dear old mom and dad

To riding your bike midday past the three-piece suits,
To fruits,
To no absolutes!
To Absolut.
To choice,
To the Village Voice
To any passing fad...

To hand-crafted beers made in local breweries
To yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese
To leather, to dildos, to curry vindaloo
To huevos rancheros and Maya Angelou

Emotion, devotion, to causing a commotion
Creation, vacation, mucho masturbation


To fashion,

To passion when it's new

To Sontag, to Sondheim, to anything taboo
Ginsberg, Dylan, Cunningham and Cage
Lenny Bruce, Langston Hughes,

To the stage!

To Uta, to Buddha, Pablo Neruda, too

Why Dorothy and Toto went over the rainbow? To blow off Auntie Em

La vie Boheme.

Bisexuals, trisexuals, homo sapiens,
Carcinogens, hallucinogens,
Men, Pee Wee Herman
German wine, turpentine, Gertrude Stein
Antonioni, Bertolucci, Kurosawa, Carmina Burana

To apathy, to entropy, to empathy,


Vaclav Havel - The Sex Pistols, 8BC,
To no shame,
Never playing the Fame Game
To marijuana!
To sodomy (it's between God and me)
To S and M!

La vie Boheme...

Monday, September 26, 2005

when trailers are better than their films

am i crazy for thinking this? there are definitely examples of movie trailers that outshine the films they advertise. i'm one of those people who must be at the theater early enough that i get to see all the trailers, cause it's neat to get excited about an upcoming feature, but it's just disappointing when the movie doesn't live up to it...and ever since i discovered apple's movie trailer page a couple years ago, my predicament has gotten worse b/c i'll obsess over the trailers that i like, only to build up to a full length that makes me wish i could just have seen a, well, longer trailer.

a primary example:

the most notable is sin city. now, i enjoyed this movie, and i think robert rodriguez did a freaking incredible job bringing frank miller's artwork directly from the page to the screen. (i know some people will disagree with me on how good this movie is, but i would argue with those who dispute the second point - it looks simply incredible, like the panels just came alive.) still, even though i liked the film, it was just .nothing. compared to the trailer (#1).

there are two main reasons for why this trailer is stunning. (1) the music ("cells" by the servant). i've heard, briefly, the full song with words, but the instrumental version used in the trailer is so much better - i really think the beat makes your heart and breath synch with the rhythm (yeeeees i know that's hokey), but the music is helped out a LOT by (2) the PERFECT editing. this is a great example of EXACTLY what editing should be like - how it works with the music, how it introduces the visual elements and the noir, how it chooses which color shots to use and when. you get glimpses of all 3 story lines and all the major characters. it's just a really fine piece of work, that trailer.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

theatre pretentiousness - post from a sister blog

doing theatre in a very restrictive department at williams meant that i heard the gist of the below sentiment quite often. unfortunately, it was often accompanied by a bit of anger, which always finds a way to mar good argument.

jess's testimony below, i think, strikes a great balance between the expression of her thought and her reaction to that thought...i don't agree with her on all points, but a great majority of them are dead-on, and i think she's hit the exact right pitch with her tone. it's a very good post.

visit her site here, and a link to her direct post here.

I am rebelling.

I am, first and foremost, rebelling against the idea that theatre cannot succeed simply by being enjoyable. When I say enjoyable, I don't mean catered to the lowest common denominator, but I do mean accessible, I mean funny, I mean uplifting, I mean (dare I say it) entertaining.

I think, if theatre can make you smile, can make you laugh, can make you realize for a moment a good feeling or a better feeling than the one you walked in with, that can be considered a success.

I think, too, that if theatre can bring you to some other moment of emotion--if it can stir you to anger, if it can bring you to tears, if it can give you some peace or clarity, that is successful theatre.

And, quite frankly, if that end is achieved despite a straightforward structure, simple dialogue, unoriginal ideas, predictable music, basic sets, shoddy costumes, ineffective blocking, odd direction, or mere lack of pretension--I don't care.

I'm taking a stand. I got into theatre because nothing gave me more pleasure in elementary school than to stand on the stage of my coffee table and sing--gasp--The Sound of Music. And quite honestly, I don't know if I've gotten that much pure joy from theatre since then. I've had fun, I've learned a lot, and I think that that's great. But I find the notion of theatre as Art And Only Art to be...bizarre. Experimenting with forms and ideas and theories is immensely interesting on an intellectual level and often results in some really amazing, thought-provoking, emotion-eliciting, beautiful work. But to judge everything else in the realm of theatre against whatever idea of "Good" is in vogue at the moment is to discard so much of value.

I'll let you in on a little secret, one that could get me kicked out of all Theatredom. I still adore Sound of Music. I still cherish Annie. I think that Evita--the Madonna version, 'cause Patti LuPone scares the crap out of me--is fantastic. I think Les Mis is great and I sing On My Own all the time. And I will say this and I will say it loud and clear. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ANY OF THAT.

For years, I've been taught by jeers, jests, comments, and criticisms of the other theatre folk to whom I have been exposed that things like Andrew Lloyd Weber and Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals are, essentially, worthless. That's snobbish, that's pretentious, and that's untrue. They are simple, they are straightforward, some of them due to time period, etc, are sexist/racist. That last is unfortunate, but generally society does not dismiss Lear because Goneril and Regan are crappy women, or Othello because people look down on his race. Producing plays from other times is not typically seen as an endorsement of the values of those times. But really, when it comes down to it, it's the simplicity, the predictability, and the familiarity of shows like that that are most criticized. Beckett it ain't, but Sound of Music is, legitimately, good theatre when performed with joy.

I never want to be someone who scoffs when they mention musical theatre, or sneers at the name "Neil Simon." If you don't care for something, that's a matter of personal opinion, and not something that should be dictated by anyone else's ideas of what constitutes Art or Theatre or Good or whatever. I appreciate very much being in an academic environment where I'm exposed to so many ideas and theories about what can be good, and where people try things and do obscure theatre and not just what is familiar and safe. At the same time, I think a lot of people here (faculty and students alike) tend to categorically reject pieces that are more popular simply because of their popularity. It's that attitude, and not individual preference, that bothers me.

I'm fairly certain that anyone working or studying in the field got into it because at some point they just did it because it was fun. That's what this comes down to for me--I'm not against hard work, challenging, frustrating creative processes, strange, obscure plays or choices, or straying from the beaten path. I am against the view so very neatly encapsulated for us (however facetiously) by none other than William Finn, that "If you're having a good time, you're not doing theatre." He was half-joking, and had been put on the spot when he walked into our workshop the other day, but some part of him meant it. My burning question: Why the hell not?

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." PLAYERS. Theatre is something, at its most basic, that must be done out of joy, out of love, out of passion. I'm absolutely not putting forward the notion that every show must be one big tap number or a screaming laugh riot, but even when working on the sharpest, darkest tragedy, in order for it to be worth anything, it has to be somehow about the joy of creating and the intense, overwhelming need to communicate on a level other than the analytical, intellectual one that so many of us tend toward. It's possible for every level--design, tech, directing, performing--to be technically perfect, and for a play to fail because it does not inspire something in its audience. I've seen children of ten imbue performances with an intensity and passion that make a half-hour day camp musical genuinely riveting and hilarious, and I've seen adult actors on gorgeous sets in famous venues give performances that move me to look at my watch almost more often than I look at the stage.

This is theatre. If it's not, on some level, "a good time", then WHY would any of us be here? Theatre can have important messages, absolutely, but most kids don't get into theatre for political reasons. We got here because it was fun, it was intense, it was a real challenge artistically and intellectually but also's not brain surgery. It's not feeding the homeless. It's not saving the rainforest and it's not keeping the peace. It can occasionally try to work towards things like that...I think that's great, actually. But if that was all it was, people would just become brain surgeons or work for non-profits or whatever. It's something bigger. Theatre has the power to affect people personally by connecting with something deep and internal. If it lacks that, it's sunk. If it lacks that, it's a bunch of grown-ups playing dress-up and spending lots of money to create gigantic visual art installments that, in and of themselves, lack their final layer.

So, going forward, that's how I'll judge theatre. If it genuinely affects me, then it's successful for me. If it's theatre I'm making, I damn well better find a way to connect with it and with the audience, or I'm really not interested. Theatre for its own or, worse, for pretension's sake, is really not worth anything to me, and I no longer intend to let anyone tell me what's good theatre or to participate in any way that I can't find any passion for. I know that's not the way to make a living at it, and that's ok with me. I've realized that, as much as I love performing, I want my life's work to be bigger than that and to match more closely with all of this that's been percolating in my brain for the last few weeks. I want to keep doing theatre with kids--as a camp counselor, as a classroom teacher, or in an outside theatre group that I someday aspire to start. In my ideal world, this would be a program in a city that would allow kids of all ages to play on the stage, free of charge, simply for love of it. I really think that theatre with kids is one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed. For the last six summers I worked at a plain, ordinary YMCA day camp, helping to run the drama program. We got 25 kids every Monday, and by Friday, without fail, those kids would put on a show (almost always a musical) that was leagues beyond what could possibly have been expected of them. Their desire to express the fun they were having and share it with the other campers, the staff, their parents--while perhaps not consciously expressed in their minds--absolutely shone through every second of their shows. And THAT is why I got into this business, and for me, THAT is where the whole value of it still lies.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mass rejects gay marriage ban - article

Gay Marriage Ban Is Rejected in Mass.

BOSTON (AP) -- The Massachusetts Legislature on Wednesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that sought to ban gay marriage but legalize civil unions, a year after the state performed the nation's first government-sanctioned same-sex weddings.

It was the second time the Legislature had confronted the measure, which was intended to be put before voters on a statewide ballot in 2006. Under state law, lawmakers were required to approve it in two consecutive sessions before it could move forward.

After less than two hours of debate Wednesday, a joint session of the House and Senate voted 157-39 against the measure.

It was a striking departure from a year earlier, when hundreds of protesters converged on Beacon Hill and sharply divided legislators spent long hours debating the issue. In that session, in March 2004, lawmakers voted 105-92 in favor of the amendment.

This year, the crowds were tamer and some legislators who had initially supported the proposed change to the state constitution said they no longer felt right about denying the right of marriage to thousands of same-sex couples.

''Gay marriage has begun, and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry,'' said state Sen. Brian Lees, a Republican who had been a co-sponsor of the amendment. ''This amendment which was an appropriate measure or compromise a year ago, is no longer, I feel, a compromise today.''

The proposal also was opposed by critics of gay marriage, who want to push for a more restrictive measure.

''The union of two women and two men can never consummate a marriage. It's physically impossible,'' said state Rep. Phil Travis, a Democrat. ''The other 49 states are right and we are wrong.''

Lawmakers already are preparing for a battle over another proposed amendment that would ban both gay marriage and civil unions. The earliest that initiative could end up on the ballot is 2008.

The state's highest court ruled in November 2003 that same-sex couples had a right under the state constitution to marry. The first weddings took place on May 17, 2004 -- two months after lawmakers began the process of trying to change the constitution to reverse the court's ruling.

Since then, more than 6,100 couples have married.

Within a year of the first Massachusetts marriages, 11 states pushed through constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, joining six others that had done so earlier.

The Connecticut Legislature approved civil unions in April, joining Vermont in creating the designation that creates the same legal rights as marriage without calling it such. Earlier this month, California lawmakers passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, though Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has promised to veto it.

Although more than 6,100 same-sex couples were married in Massachusetts, the state barred out-of-state couples from getting married here, citing a 1913 law that prohibits couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their union would be illegal in their home states. A lawsuit challenging the legality of that law is pending before the SJC.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

my favorite monologue from dogma

Bartleby: The humans have besmirched everything bestowed on them. They were given Paradise, they threw it away. They were given this planet, they destroyed it! They were favored best among all His endeavors, and some of them don't even believe He exists! And in spite of it all, He's shown them infinite fucking patience at every turn. What about us? I asked you, once, to lay down the sword because I felt sorry for them. What was the result? Our expulsion from Paradise! WHERE WAS HIS INFINITE FUCKING PATIENCE THEN?! It's not right - it's not FAIR! We've paid our debt. Don't you think it's time?

Don't you think its time we went home?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

i love mcsweeney's - 2

Things My Brother Has That I Don't.

- - - -

A driver's license
My parents' love
A doctorate
A sense of pride and dignity
Checking account
Ballerina as a girlfriend

i am *such* a nerd!! i love this:

Klingon Fairy Tales.

- - - -

"Goldilocks Dies With Honor at the Hands of the Three Bears"

"Snow White and the Six Dwarves She Killed With Her Bare Hands and the Seventh Dwarf She Let Get Away as a Warning to Others"

"There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe With a Big Spike on It"

"The Three Little Pigs Build an Improvised Explosive Device and Deal With That Damned Wolf Once and for All"

"Jack and the Giant Settle Their Differences With Flaming Knives"

"Old Mother Hubbard, Lacking the Means to Support Herself With Honor, Sets Her Disruptor on Self-Destruct and Waits for the Inevitable"

"Mary Had a Little Lamb. It Was Delicious"

"Little Red Riding Hood Strays Into the Neutral Zone and Is Never Heard From Again, Although There Are Rumors ... Awful, Awful Rumors"

"Hansel and Gretel Offend Vlad the Impaler"

"The Hare Foolishly Lowers His Guard and Is Devastated by the Tortoise, Whose Prowess in Battle Attracts Many Desirable Mates"

Friday, September 02, 2005

this weekend.

very. very. stressed.

not handling it well.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

katrina & CL

i was trolling craigslist and, for the first time in a long time, checked out the rants and raves. the topic of choice right now for fucking insane people is hurricane katrina, and - heartbreakingly - the majority of posts involve arguments over comments like, "THERE IS NO KATRINA BUSH IS JUST TRYING TO DIVERT ATTENTION FROM HIS FAILURE IN IRAQ" and "KATRINA = GOD'S PUNISHMENT OF HOMOSEXUALS".

nothing. makes me madder than shit like this. nothing.

i fucking think bush is a narrow-minded idiot, but...honestly, to imagine all those people, husbands, wives, children, businesses, and *hisotry* in louisiana and mississippi, completely devastated, lives lost, families with nothing...and then to turn around and say that it's something the government made up? are you seriously writing that?? how can you assholes SAY something like that, it's so insensitive - even if it's a joke, it's heartless, there is real tragedy happening.

and, bringing back memories of crazy talk back in christmastime when the popular hate theory was that god was punishing the southeast asian nations (oh, and sweden.) for, i dont even know, for whatever, with the tsunami, we have the radical right saying this is a big God is punishing gays/decadence/deviance issue. fuck you. god did this to punish homosexuals? i don't fucking think so, and how dare you. there are people homeless, spouseless, penniless, hungry, scared, and hopeless out there, and you choose to make this a gay thing? FUCK. YOU.

*sigh* my heart goes out to all those in the gulf states. donate where you can, guys.

stop by flickr to see more of hurricane katrina photos.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

things breaking

y aquel relojand the clockface
cuyo sonidowhose cadences
la voz de nuestras vidas,our lifetimes,
el secretothe serective
de las semanasof the weeks,
que una a unaone after another,
ataba tantas horasyoking the hours
a la miel, al silencio,to the honey and quietude,
a tantos nacimientos y trabajos,the travails and births without end -
aquel reloj tambiéneven the clock
cayó y vibraronplunges downward, the delicate blues
entre los vidrios rotosof its viscera
sus delicadas vísceras azules,pulse in the splintering glass
su largo corazónand its great heart
desenrollado.springs open.

from pablo neruda's " oda a las cosas rotas (ode to things breaking)"

Saturday, August 27, 2005

non-recommendations 1 - the brothers grimm

the brothers grimm

terry gilliam, WHY?! *weeps* matt damon & heath ledger - this movie is horrible:

it's too long.
it's not interesting.
characters are annoying.
the love plotline makes no sense.
the accents (the french accents) are cringe-inducing.
moves too slowly.
it's not funny, but thinks it is.

on the upside...the women are beautiful, lena headey as the reluctant ally to the boys, and monica bellucci as the mirror queen. and, um, some of the sets are quite nice, good job props guy. that's probably it, though. avoid this one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

criminal law blurb.

Though law and morality are not the same,

and many things may be immoral which are not necessarily illegal,

yet the absolute divorce of law from morality would be of fatal consequence;

and such divorce would follow if the temptation to murder in this case

were to be held by law an absolute defence of it.

*sigh* so there is some hope...and poetry in this after all.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

steve & jeff explain to patrick...

Patrick: It was just so embarassing. I didn't know what to do.
Steve: Happens to us all, mate.
Jeff: All of us, in our time, are visited by the Melty Man.
Patrick: The what?
Jeff: Don't say his name, Patrick. Don't even think his name or he will rise from the shadow dimensions to do his evil work on your terrified pants.
Patrick: [chuckle] Terrified pants?
Steve: [gravely] There's nothing funny about the Melty Man, Patrick.
Patrick: [face falls] You know about the Melty Man, too?
Steve: We all know the Melty Man.

Patrick: Who is he?
Steve: The archenemy of trouser confidence.
Jeff: Professor Moriarty. In groin form.
Steve: Darth Vader.
Jeff: Without the helmet.

Patrick: [terrified and shocked] What does he do?!
Jeff: Patrick, you *know* what he does.
Patrick: [looks down] Oh... right.
Jeff: You're in bed with a woman. Everything's going fine. That's when the Melty Man strikes.

Steve: Suddenly you find yourself thinking, "Maybe she's really bored."
Jeff: Maybe you're licking her neck too much. Are you over-wetting her neck?!
Steve: Are you spending an equal amount of time on each breast? I mean, what if one breast gets ahead?
Jeff: Should you be switching between them really quickly or should you squish 'em both together and do them at once?! [demonstrates. Patrick frowns.]
Steve: Or should you skip one breast completely just to save time?
Jeff: She's wriggling about! Is that a good sign - or is she just trying to draw her neck?!
Steve: Should you kiss her now or does that mean you gotta start from the top again?
Jeff: Should you be making noises yet? Is it too soon to grunt?

Steve: [snaps fingers] And then, the killer - out of nowhere, for no reason you can think of, you call her *huskily* "baby."
Jeff: You never called her baby before.
Steve: You've never called anyone baby before.
Jeff: So why did you just call her baby? - Suddenly, you're starting to blush.
Steve: Now, you're blushing *and* you've got and erection. NO ONE'S got enough blood!
Jeff: The engines cut. They can't take it.

Steve: Then the Melty Man hits you with his secret weapon.
Jeff: Just one single thought is placed in your mind at this crucial time.
Steve: Please God! Don't let me lose my erection!
Jeff: [hand goes down] Pufff.

Patrick: [with terror and disblief] How do you guys manage to have sex?
Steve: We don't.
Jeff: I haven't had sex in years.
Steve: It's just not possible anymore.
Jeff: We are followers of the Melty Man.
Steve: And you're one of us now.

Coupling, 2x04, "the melty man cometh"

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

recommendations 3 - zb, jg, and tv

garden state

gorgeously shot film. zach braff is so talented i want to buy him dinner, let him tell me all about his life, make me laugh, and then make out for a couple of hours. in addition to being a joy to look at (oops, the movie now, not the boy), there are scenes of such quiet meaningfulness in this movie that just resonate so well with me. it's like the graduate: lite, it's got the same sense of, where do we as young people fit in to this world, and with each other? what grounds us?

jean grey

red hair. tall, gorgeous. telekinetic. mildly telepathic, but in a way that's cooler than deanna troi. attracts the good boys (scott, ugh, sooo boring) and the bad ones (hell-o logan). not as much baggage as rogue (until the phoenix/cloning stuff).

on a related note, i gotta recommend gambit, too. hot accent. wildly mysterious. badass power, nice choice with the playing cards. and supersexy relationship with rogue.

television without pity

i know it's the off season for tv, but i freaking love this site, and you should too. the genius writers at twop obsess about tv pretty much as much as i do, only then they'll take an episode, recap it, and inject enough snark to make your mouth pucker. the very first time i read an episode recap, i loved that i had mentally made a bunch of the same criticisms that they harped on. some of the writers are funnier than others, and some shows just lend themselves better to being made fun of (the oc, alias, most reality tv...24's isn't as good, for example).

side notes: the recaps are by episode, and it's much better if you've just seen the episode you're reading about. the pull-out quotes are for some reason much more hilarious than the same words are in context! and finally, it's awesome when the writer thinks the show they are recapping is good tv; they're hard on it, but they acknowledge all the elements done well, too. check it out.

Friday, August 12, 2005

al qaeda - article

Al-Qaeda Sitcom Filmed Before Live Studio Hostages

AL BHURBAN'Q, AFGHANISTAN — Filming of the second season of al-Qaeda's surprise hit situation comedy Ba'athtime For Abdul will take place before live studio hostages. "We shall not rest until the vassals of the Great Satan know what it is to live, love, and learn as a member of al-Qaeda," said a spokesman for the show, who assured fans that the laugh- and scream-tracks would not be sweetened in post-production. The videotaped statement, like the episodes of the show itself, was delivered to Al-Jazeera's Afghanistan headquarters in a plain box containing the tape and three severed heads of studio hostages.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

girl crush - article

...oh my god. they are on to me.

She's So Cool, So Smart, So Beautiful: Must Be a Girl Crush


THE woman's long black hair whipped across her pale face as she danced to punk rock at the bar. She seemed to be the life of the party. Little did she know that she was igniting a girl crush. Susan Buice was watching, and she was smitten.

Ms. Buice, 26, and the dancer (actually a clothing designer) happen to live in the same Brooklyn apartment building, so Ms. Buice, a filmmaker, was later able to soak up many other aspects of her neighbor's gritty yet feminine style: her layered gold necklaces; her fitted jackets; her dark, oversize sunglasses; and her Christian Dior perfume.

"I'm immediately nervous around her," Ms Buice said. "I stammer around her, and it's definitely because I think she's supercool."

Ms. Buice, who lives with her boyfriend, calls her attraction a girl crush, a phrase that many women in their 20's and 30's use in conversation, post on blogs and read in magazines. It refers to that fervent infatuation that one heterosexual woman develops for another woman who may seem impossibly sophisticated, gifted, beautiful or accomplished. And while a girl crush is, by its informal definition, not sexual in nature, the feelings that it triggers - excitement, nervousness, a sense of novelty - are very much like those that accompany a new romance.

This is not a new phenomenon. Women, especially young women, have always had such feelings of adoration for each other. Social scientists suspect such emotions are part of women's nature, feelings that evolution may have favored because they helped women bond with one another and work cooperatively. What's new is the current generation's willingness to express their ardor frankly.

"Historically, talking about these kinds of feelings has gone in and out of fashion," said Paula J. Caplan, a sociologist who this fall will teach a course about the psychology of sex and gender at Harvard. Women have not been this blunt in expressing their crushes for several generations, Dr. Caplan said.

The phenomenon has been little studied, but some social scientists say they are glad that it is being discussed more, because it can be a window into how women mature emotionally.

"It's a little bit like when you're in elementary school and you first fall in love with someone," said Leslie Hunt, 34, who manages an arts internship program in New York and who once had such a potent crush on woman that she became sweaty in her presence.

Still, a crush is a relatively mild form of infatuation. People have killed themselves over true love, said Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University who has written extensively on human love. Think of Romeo and Juliet. With a girl crush, Dr. Fisher said, "you won't kill yourself if she doesn't want to jump rope with you." For that reason, girl crushes can give women safe and valuable experience in the emotions of love.

Dr. Fisher, the author of "Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love," said girl crushes are as natural as any other kind of love. But they are romantic without being sexual. Love and lust are distinct urges, Dr. Fisher said.

This was one of the findings she and colleagues from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the State University at Stony Brook made when they analyzed brain scans of people 18- to 26-years-old who were experiencing new love. Love and lust, it turned out, could be mapped to several separate parts of the brain.

"The brain system for romantic love is associated with intense energy, focused energy, obsessive things - a host of characteristics that you can feel not just toward a mating sweetheart," Dr. Fisher said, adding that "there's every reason to think that girls can fall in love with other girls without feeling sexual towards them, without the intention to marry them."

Wendy Lim, 26, a student at Harvard Business School, experienced such feelings about a year ago when she met another young woman in a Boston bar. The woman was open and outgoing, and when the evening was over, Ms. Lim very much wanted to talk to her again. "I remember at the end of the night wanting her phone number," Ms. Lim said, who felt awkward about asking. "I wouldn't ask a guy for his number."

As it turned out, the woman asked Ms. Lim for her number. The two saw each other again, and Ms. Lim's crush quickly blossomed into friendship, a friendship the women now cherish.

Crushes are typically fleeting, and infatuation often turns to friendship in this way. Lisa Lerer, a journalist, and Laila Hlass, a law student, both 25 and both of New York, started their friendship several years ago with a mutual crush. "We're still in love," Ms. Lerer said, "but the wooing period is over."

Tammea Tyler, 28, assistant director of child development services at the Y.M.C.A. of Greater New York, has a crush that looks as if it soon will make the change. The object of her infatuation is a colleague, Denise Zimmer, senior executive for government operation, who is 48.

Ms. Tyler said she admires Ms. Zimmer's intellect and her inner strength. "She really knows her stuff, and there's something almost sexy about that," Ms. Tyler said. "There's just something really sexy and powerful."

Ms. Zimmer, when a reporter told her about Ms. Tyler's feelings, said: "I was very surprised. Sometimes, when you don't have a direct relationship with someone, you don't really understand how they're observing you."

And while Ms. Zimmer did not say she had a reciprocal crush, she did say that she considers Ms. Tyler talented and grounded and that "it's exciting to work with someone who has shown that kind of interest." She added, "It's a mutual respect."

Once a crush is revealed, it can change the dynamics of a relationship. "I think that I will be more sensitive and more focused on sharing things with her that I think will help her achieve some of the goals that she has," Ms. Zimmer said.

Sometimes, though, a girl crush is so strong it makes the object of affection uneasy, killing the possibility of friendship.

Jane Weeks, 44, a freelance art and creative director in Truckee, Calif., knows what it is like to be the object of another woman's crush. She has encountered a few women who have eagerly adopted her tastes in food and interior design, her favorite colors, even her hairdresser. "At first it's flattering you're inspiring them," she said. "When they parrot back parts of yourself, it's extremely uncomfortable."

Ms. Weeks, an outdoorswoman who has hiked through the Andes from Argentina to Chile, said some women are more enamored with what she represents - "some National Geographic chick" - than with who she is. "When you're on a pedestal, there's no way but down," she said. "And it's lonely up there. You can't share your weaknesses."

Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington and the relationship expert at, said she also has been a frequent subject of girl crushes - from her students. Some have made it obvious by bringing gifts, including earrings, flowers and even poems. But Dr. Schwartz does not encourage her students to look at her with starry eyes. She would rather they look to her for guidance on developing their careers.

"You're a hero because they think you've done something unimaginably powerful," Dr. Schwartz said. "Your job is to show them that they own something equally special."

Perhaps the last time that young women were as willing as they are now to admit to their attraction to each other was in the 19th century. "Back when Louisa May Alcott was writing, women were writing these letters to each other," Dr. Caplan said. "They wrote: 'I miss you desperately. I long to hug you and talk to you all night.' " Referring to another woman as a girl crush, she said, is not dissimilar to that 19th century behavior.

But such impassioned expressions of affection were uncommon, for instance, in the 1960's and 70's, when homophobia was even more rampant than it is today, Dr. Caplan said. Women were often uncomfortable admitting to strong feelings for other women, fearing that their emotions would seem lesbian, she said. And those same women, older now, can still be shy about expressing their emotions for each other. "Women my age are more likely to say 'I adore' or 'I value' my women friends,' not girl crush," she said.

As for men, to the extent they may feel such emotions for each other, Dr. Caplan said they are less likely than women to express them. They are not reared to show their emotions. "A man talking about emotions about another man? Everybody's homophobic feelings are elicited by that, and that's because men aren't supposed to talk about feelings at all," Dr. Caplan said.

Susan Malsbury, 24, who lives in Brooklyn and is a booking agent for bands, said that because a girl crush has the potential to become an important part of one's life, she cannot help but feel a tinge of excitement whenever she meets a fascinating woman to add to her collection of crushes.

"They're better than boy crushes," Ms. Malsbury said, with more than a hint of mischief in her voice. "You don't have to break up with them after two weeks."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

sex and drugs - article

Sex and drugs
Jul 21st 2005
From The Economist print edition

Men and women seem to perceive pain in different ways. That may mean they sometimes need different pain-relief drugs

MALES and females respond to pain differently, even as children. In most places, boys are expected to show a stiff upper lip when they get hurt, while in girls wailing is, well, girlie. In part, this difference is learnt—or, at least, reinforced by learning. But partly, it is innate. It is hard, for instance, to blame upbringing for the finding that boy and girl babies show different responses to pain six hours after birth, or that male rats are more long-suffering than females. It is also life-long. Ed Keogh of the University of Bath, in England, and his colleagues have found that women report feeling pain in more bodily areas than men, and also feel it more often over the course of their lives.

Jeffrey Mogil, director of the pain genetics laboratory at McGill University in Montreal, is one of the leading advocates of such “pink and blue” painkillers. Pick a disease at random, he says, and the chances are that females and males will handle the pain associated with it differently. That seems to be true in mice, at least. When new mouse “models” of human disease are created by genetic engineers, Dr Mogil and his colleagues are often asked to test the engineered mice for their responses to pain. They consistently find differences in the way the mutant, diseased mice and their non-mutation-carrying brethren respond to painful stimuli. But, generally, those differences are seen more strongly in one sex than the other.

A prescribing headache

The latest example of such a difference is in migraine, a condition that is three times more common in women than in men. In 2004, a group of researchers led by Michel Ferrari of Leiden University in the Netherlands reported that they had created what they believed to be the first mouse model of migraine. Since some researchers argue that migraine is associated with heightened sensitivity to pain, they sent their creation to Dr Mogil for testing. He stresses that his data are preliminary. However, he does find a lowered pain threshold in the mouse migraine model compared with healthy mice—but only in females.

Dr Mogil is now convinced that the pain response in men and women is mediated by different brain circuits—and not only because of his own observations. Obstetricians and gynaecologists have long known that certain drugs are particularly effective in women. Mothers in childbirth prefer nalbuphine to morphine, for instance. Men, however, report the opposite preference when they are in pain.

Both nalbuphine and morphine work by stimulating the brain's endogenous-opioid receptors (endogenous opioids are the molecules that opium-derived drugs mimic). But opioid receptors come in several varieties, two of the most important of which are known as mu and kappa. Morphine binds to the mu receptors, while nalbuphine stimulates the less well-studied kappa receptors. Kappa-receptor agonists, as molecules such as nalbuphine are known, appear to have little or no pain-relieving effect in men.

Two years ago, Dr Mogil identified the first gene known to be involved in modulating pain thresholds in women. Variations in this gene have no effect on men's responses to a kappa-receptor agonist called pentazocine, but they do affect the response in women. The protein produced by this gene, melanocortin-1 receptor, also affects hair and skin colour. Working in collaboration with Roger Fillingim of the University of Florida, Gainesville, Dr Mogil found that redheaded women with fair skin—who have a particular version of the receptor—have a heightened response to pentazocine.

Jon Levine and Robert Gear, of the National Institutes of Health Pain Centre at the University of California, San Francisco, also think that there are fundamental differences between the sexes when it comes to pain. They have explored the effects of nalbuphine on post-operative pain in men and women who have had their wisdom teeth removed. The results suggest that kappa-opioid agonists not only fail to alleviate pain in men, they can actually make it worse.

Dr Gear and Dr Levine believe that as well as an analgesia (ie, pain-suppression) circuit, the brain contains what they call an anti-analgesia circuit—one which, when activated, pumps pain up. They have shown that which circuit is activated depends not only on the type of receptor a drug acts on, but also the dose given. Among their dental patients, low doses of nalbuphine had a short-lasting analgesic effect in the women, but profoundly enhanced pain in the men. However, when they added a low dose of naloxone—a drug that blocks all types of opioid receptor—to the nalbuphine, the sex difference disappeared and pain relief was significantly enhanced in everyone. After refining the relative proportions of the two drugs in the mixture, they have succeeded in finding (and patenting) a combination that is effective in both sexes.

Nor is it only the mechanism of pain perception that differs between the sexes. Dr Keogh and his colleagues argue that there are significant differences in the ways men and women cope with pain, as well.

This conclusion is based on studies involving hospital patients, as well as others on volunteers who were exposed to a painful stimulus, such as an ice-water arm-bath. Using this, the researchers were able to measure the point at which people first notice pain, as well as their tolerance—the point at which they can no longer stand it. Men were able to minimise their experience of pain by concentrating on the sensory aspects—their actual physical sensations. But this strategy did not help women, who focused more on the emotional aspects. Since the emotions associated with pain, such as fear and anxiety, tend to be negative, the researchers suggest that the female approach may actually exacerbate pain rather than alleviating it.

Dr Keogh, a psychologist, sees this difference as an effect of social conditioning—and uses it to point up the dangers of under-estimating social influences in favour of those of the genes. But it is not obvious why such male and female “coping strategies” should not be underpinned by genetics, in the same way that perceptions are.

The evolutionary reason why men resist pain better than women is, however, a mystery. After all, pain is there to stop you doing bad things to yourself. Perhaps it is because males and females are exposed to different sorts of pain. Males, for instance, get into fights much more often than females do, and thus get wounded more often. On the other hand, they do not have to undergo the visceral pain of childbirth. And perhaps a willingness to tolerate less pain than men do helps to explain why women live longer than their menfolk.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

the 3 variable humor test

the Ham

(43% dark, 52% spontaneous, 22% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your style's mostly goofy, innocent and feel-good. Perfect for parties and for the dads who chaperone them. You can actually get away with corny jokes, and I bet your sense of humor is a guilty pleasure for your friends. People of your type are often the most approachable and popular people in their circle. Your simple & silly good-naturedness is immediately recognizable, and it sets you apart in this sarcastic world.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Will Ferrell - Will Smith

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 20% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 68% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 22% on vulgar

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid Free Online Dating

happy birthday, craig

On 8/2/05, cyndi wrote:
ps. dont forget to tell craig happy birthday today, you bastard. you forgot!

On 8/2/05, marcos wrote:
i so totally, i emailed him this morning and IM'ed him


Monday, July 25, 2005

zombies, the pill, and anniversaries

i woke up this morning after having spent all night battling zombies in my dreams. somehow claudia (my coworker girlfriend) and i were at the remains of a completely destroyed degrassi high (lol), slaying badguys with automatic weapons (and even syringes at one point – that’s badass! except the zombie pulled it out and chucked it back at me, which sucked). i do admit that i felt a bit like a videogame heroine when i wasn’t scared out of my wits, but i was in the middle of the climactic scene when my alarm went off, and even when you’re having a bad dream, you still want to see how it plays out…so there were several snooze sessions that involved my attempted regression into the battlefield of my mind to try to finish my adventure (it didn't work).

anyway, a couple hours later i was at work, and started feeling super sore in my shoulders, my back and my ribs (which is practically your whole body when you’re talking about places to be sore). i figured it was either all the laps i did over the weekend, or that i had slept really fitfully in some strange position and freaked out my system. basically, my body just feels uncomfortable in my skin today. everything is sore, my eye is a little irritated, it’s freezing at work so my fingers and toes are twenty well-polished little ice cubes, and my stomach is hurting.

which should be a clue, right ladies? of course the first thing claudia suggests is that my time of the month is coming up. instantly, i know she’s right, but it hadn’t occurred to me b/c i’ve been on the pill for so long that i’m used to (1) knowing exactly when everything is going to happen, (2) if i’m not feeling like it, skipping this part of my cycle entirely, (3) oh, i dunno, not having stomach cramps and full-body aches when i haven’t done the requisite mis-eating or exercise to deserve it.

but since toyota doesn’t give full health benefits to us humble interns, and i’m certainly not going to pay $50 a month for birth control when, um, there’s really nothing to control at this point, i decided to do without it until september when i start school again.

here’s some fun facts you may not know:

1) pms-ing sucks. yeeeees, it sucks for guys that have to deal with us (i am sorry), and yeeeees i do know girls who use it as an excuse to be fussy. but honestly? i feel just ridiculously icky in my body right now—everything hurts, no matter how i sit i can’t get my back pain to go away, etc, etc. i don’t know if it’s just my body recoiling from the lack of the drugs for the first time in a year, but pms-ing is like a full-blown body rebellion! so guys! have some sympathy. it’s not great.

2) the pill is great! it is great, great, great. there are many subreasons for this! they include:

3) it prevents children! this is great when you are 22!

4) it clears up your skin! i am not kidding. i’m starting to break out again on my forehead and it’s like….*sigh* nooooot thiiiis agaaaaaaaain. i thought i was dooooone with thiiiiis.

5) it prevents serious cramping. not such a big deal when your cramping was not serious to begin with. very big deal when you had very serious, work-stopping, can’t focus on anything else, i would cut out my uterus and give it to a homeless guy except i think he wouldn’t appreciate it very much cramps.

6) YOU CAN SKIP YOUR PERIOD. THIS IS MAGIC. you can do this at NO harm to your body, INDEFINITELY.

there’s one more item that belongs on this list, but not for me. the pill will also increase your bust size! oh, yes, great for many of you, not so much something i want—i can’t have my boobs any bigger! i’ll fall over! so i went the low-estrogen route, which is supposed to minimize that effect.

anyway, the point of all this was: i had a crazy dream, and i miss the pill.

confidential…to those who find it: today marks 4 years. i like to think she’d be in med school by now, probably a really good one, and probably on a scholarship! dearest miss k…she was so awesome. if i could tell her, i would thank her for always being such an awesome girlfriend to me. i miss you so, so, so much.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

star wars hunger

From: Rudy
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 9:54 AM
To: Wesley
Subject: hungry

Can u hear my stomach rumbling from over there? It’s goin crazy man!

From: Wesley
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 9:56 AM
To: Rudy
Subject: RE: hungry

I don’t hear it, but I sense a disturbance in the force.

From: Rudy
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 9:59 AM
To: Wesley
Subject: RE: hungry

I can FEEL your hunger! It gives you focus!

From: Wesley
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 10:06 AM
To: Rudy
Subject: RE: hungry

“I shouldn’t have eaten that. It’s not the Jedi way.”

From: Rudy
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 10:08 AM
To: Wesley
Subject: RE: hungry

You must defeat your hunger! Then, and only then, a Jedi will you be.

From: Cyndi
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 11:04 AM
To: Wesley
Subject: Re: FW: hungry

omg, that's hilarious. This is his most desperate hour! Help him, Wesley Lee Kano-lee, you're his only hope!

From: Wesley
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 11:11 AM
To: Cyndi
Cc: Rudy
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

If you devour me, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

From: Rudy
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 11:14 AM
To: Wesley
Cc: Cyndi
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

Your powers are weak, old man. When I left you I was the student, but now I am the master!

From: Cyndi
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 11:15 AM
To: Rudy
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

cyndi: "your quotes are only funny if they pertain to food."
rudy: "my quotes are only funny if they pertain to food."
cyndi: "your next joke will be better."
rudy: "my next joke will be better."

From: Rudy
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 11:20 AM
To: 'Cyndi’
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

Don’t underestimate the hunger in my stomach!
It will be your undoing.

From: Wesley
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 11:50 AM
To: Rudy
Cc: Cyndi
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

Red wing standing by. Chicken wing standing by. Buffalo wing standing by. Locking wings in S(auce)-foil position. We’re going in!

From: Rudy
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 11:53 AM
To: Wesley
Cc: Cyndi
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

My stomach can’t hold it, she’s gonna blow!

From: Cyndi
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 3:02 PM
To: Rudy
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

Search your feelings. You know your fullness to be true.

From: Rudy
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 7:01 AM
To: Cyndi
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry


From: Wesley
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 8:33 AM
To: Rudy
Cc: Cyndi
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

“You ate that thing? You’re braver than I thought.”

From: Rudy
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 8:35 AM
To: Cyndi
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

You’ll find my stomach is full of surprises.

From: Cyndi
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 8:43 AM
To: Rudy
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

I don't like this email thread. It's hard, and rough.

Not like you.

You're soft...and smooth...

From: Wesley
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 8:50 AM
To: Cyndi
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

Ok, that one made me laugh out loud.

From: Rudy
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 8:48 AM
To: Cyndi
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

It’s all Wesley’s fault! He’s jealous of me. He’s holding me back from my DVD’s! I hate him!!! I HATE HIM!!!!

From: Cyndi
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 8:54 AM
To: Rudy
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

You'd better apologize to Wesley, for your sake. He is not as forgiving as I am.

From: Rudy
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 8:59 AM
To: Cyndi
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

I can destroy Wesley. He has forseen it. It is my destiny!

From: Wesley
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 10:35 AM
To: Rudy
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

You cannot! The Fooood is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all cooked things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.

From: Rudy
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2005 10:38 AM
To: Wesley
Cc: Cyndi
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

I find your lack of food disturbing…

From: Cyndi
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 10:51 AM
To: Rudy
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

What, you couldn't tell me about your lunch plans? Did you tell Wes? Is that who you could tell?

From: Rudy
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2005 10:53 AM
To: Cyndi
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

No, it’s not like that. It’s not like that at all… He’s my waiter.

From: Cyndi
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 10:56 AM
To: Rudy
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry

OMG that's hilarious, LOL

From: Rudy
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 11:00 AM
To: Cyndi
Cc: Wesley
Subject: RE: FW: hungry