Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins 1944-2007

Probably the best link to go to is the NY Times so far...
I can say that any time I saw a column by her, I read it. A truly authentic voice in journalism


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lone Wolves

I'm saving up for a slew of new releases coming up: Bloc Party, Lucinda Williams, Deerhoof (already out) and The Arcade Fire. So, it was a lean weekend. I saw Last King of Scotland - Forrest Whitaker gave one of the most chilling performances I have ever seen on film. Unfortunately, the friend I went with emailed me afterward, harping about the relationship between Amin and his doctor (a composite made up of about three real characters). She complained that gay writers were trying to use the movie to prove that Amin had homosexual tendencies. She basically said that gays were "ruining it" for the rest of the viewers - telling the audience that Amin was gay. A few things raised my internal alarms:
First one: Where the hell did she get her information? I GOOGLED 'Amin' and 'gay' and didn't find any major articles. She was basically saying that this was a mainstream belief. From what I researched, it amounted to a few stray bloggers. Hardly a mainstream belief.
Second: True, I feel a bit alienated from the gay community, but last time I checked, the gay folks I know who know who Idi Amin even is - aren't exactly chomping at the bits to claim him as "one of their own."

On to another subject - I had coffee today and my favorite coffee slinger in Omaha was moving. She had five or six guys and gals helping her move. It was hellishly cold today - so that's a huge statement. I remember when I moved: five people volunteered - and I had to struggle to get that number. Two eventually showed up.

The more I try to be sociable, the more desperate I appear. I've had this struggle all my life. But as I was reading the paper, sort of jealous of the outpouring of support this coffee slinger was getting on a Sunday, I thought of my circle of friends: and all of them tend to be on the 'loner' side. Not the "creepy 'he always kept to himself'" loner - more like the quirkyalone syle of loner.

One of my friends intentionally spent New Year's Eve alone - listening to LastFM. A few other of my friends take an almost Hurculean effort to get them out to see a show on a weeknight. As I turn 32 (I need to update my blog bio) - and a new move comes up hopefully to either Austin or Portland - I seriously think about the growing difficulty of forming a new circle of friends at this age. Most folks this age are settled (though more and more are not getting married), and you're at that age where you're too old to hang out with the scenesters (those early 20-somethings).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Workouts postponed due to 24, Zelda

So the first four hours of 24 are in the can - and I've seen folks on both the right and the left claim the show as their own. Rush Limbaugh, a professed fan of 24, has hosted roundtable discussions about the show - and actors and producers have appeared. The producers have been on his show and he says the show is needed to remind people we are at war (funny, I thought that gaping hole in the Manhattan skyline was enough of a reminder, but that may just be me).

The folks on the left point to Season 2 - where President David Palmer refused to go to war with a corrupt nation because he was not completely sure that nation was behind a plot to detonate a nuclear device on U.S. soil - it was a cautionary tale of jumping to war without exhausting all other means - and as the show was coming out in 2002 - it was chilling to watch.

The right point to Season 4 to justify torture. And true, 24 did have a shift to the right during this season as Jack stripped the wiring off a lamp and proceeded to get friendly with his girlfriend's ex. An innocent person was tortured at CTU, but within a few hours, she was back at her post - a bit shaken, but otherwise fine. Sort of like being in a fender bender.

It's a great show as far as escapism goes. And it will be interesting to see how both sides try to fit the show into their own political agenda.

Now, on to the other topic for the blog - Legend of Zelda - The Twilight Princess. I know the PS3 will improve. I know XBox 360 is great, but right now, I'm totally fine with my GameCube. Legend of Zelda - The Twilight Princess is fun as hell and has proven to be a swashbuckling bloody good time to stave off cabin fever during a weekend of winter weather advisories and -20 wind chills. The graphics may not be Gears of War-quality, but the characters (two geek icons have gotten hottie makeovers these past months - first Chloe in 24 and now a grown-up Link in Zelda), general gameplay, bosses (great design, though almost too easy to beat) and jaw-dropping castles have made this a game that you almost don't want to beat to prolong the gaming experience. Fan f**king tastic.


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Saturday, January 13, 2007


I'm watching the Saints/Eagles game right now with three minutes left in the game and a catastrophic turnover may have cost the Saints their storybook season.

I'm waiting for snow to blanket Omaha. Tomorrow is the return of 24. Needless to say, things are a bit slow now. One thing I love about winter is the music associated with snowstorms. I was at the Blue Line Coffee House this morning with headphones donned - working a New York Times crossword puzzle and thinking about the perfect soundtrack to a snowstorm that pretty much confides you to your apartment:

Bjork - Homogenic
Sigur Ros - ( )
Bob Dylan - Time Out of Mind
The Arcade Fire - Funeral

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Job opportunity (with costs)

I saw a reporting job in Oregon that I stand a good chance of getting. The only problem is that it pays about 2/3 of what I get paid now. That's bad. But, because I'm in a wee higher tax bracket, I'll probably not miss the paycheck as much with a lower tax bracket. I'm concerned about moving somewhere where I'll know one or two people by general association, but absolutely no one (immediately) in the "help, my car just broke down, can I bum a ride?" help.

I've been out of the game for so long, except for here and there freelance jobs. I have four more months on my lease. Still, when I was checking out in Whole Foods (a luxury I will NOT have at this job), I saw two magazines - one said "Life's too Short!" one said "the Dream Issue!" I know I'm looking for a sign - so that may have been a stretch. Still, it was right in front of me.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oscar (talk) and Lucinda

Saw Little Children Friday. Kate Winslet is on my short list for best actress, though I have yet to see The Queen. For females, 2006 was a pretty thin year for roles. It seems for the past few years, many critics have lamented about how hard it was to pick five Best Actor noms while it was a struggle to come up with five noms for the Best Actress category (though this is not the case for Supporting Actress). Anyway - Little Children was like an uneasy marriage between Happiness and American Beauty.

Lost Highway is posting a few songs from Lucinda Williams' upcoming album, West

I managed to drag my tired butt out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to make it to what I thought was a pilates/yoga class at the gym. I was wrong, it was an aerobics class. After biking a few hours on Sunday, I was in no shape for the 'butts and glutes' class. At 6 a.m. I also wasn't in the mood to get yelled at by an aerobics instructor over loud, pulsating bad 80s music (think Whitney Houston's "I Want to Dance With Somebody"). I have no problems with a stern teacher, hell, one of the things I miss most about the newspaper is the psychotic editors and copy desk chiefs. But I'm going to get pushed, I'd much rather have it be by someone who doesn't follow every statement with a cherry "ohhhhhhh, can you feel that burn! C'mon!"

Speaking of harsh teachers, just after I sent my resume to a magazine for consideration, I turned on TBS to catch Pai Mai's brutal teachings in Kill Bill Vol. 2. One of the few movies that, I can easily watch again and again and not get bored. Despite a weak ending (compared to the other hour-and-a-half), it still a cinematic blast to watch. Uma Thurman does NOT deserve the roles she's been getting.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Free Association Friday

I'm fairly anxious to catch Little Children tonight. I'm fairly accustomed to dark suburbian satires ala American Beauty and the Ice Storm, but I've heard Kate Winslet is amazing in this.

Free association 1: The departure of For Better or Worse from the comic strip world in '07

I'll be the first to say that this isn't on par with some of the better comic strips out there. But sometimes, you have to drop your smug armor and admit that in terms of consistency, Lynn has written a strip that is one of five strips that's flagged on my Yahoo comics. Come late '07, it looks like my list will narrow to four. I don't know if this comic ever reached a creative 'peak', but it hasn't had a marked dropoff in overall 'good' quality in decades. So, if you're going to retire, may as well do it while you're still producing a decent product.

Free association 2: The Go-Gos "Head Over Heels" came on either Pandora or LastFM a few days ago. My love for that song hasn't wavered since I heard it in the '80s. But much like "She Bop" - the song now takes on an entirely new meaning once I actually read the lyrics. At first, the chorus of the song, sung by a peppy Belinda Carlisle, sounds like a tale of puppy love. But if memory serves me correctly, I think I remember Carlisle said the song was an autobiographical tale of being in the throws of a cocaine addiction.

Ok, I spent this blog lauding the Go-Gos and For Better or Worse. Before I start sounding like a West Omahan, here's my list of the day - a fairly moody selection...

Last FM mix:
"Cowgirl" - Underworld ****

"The Walk" - Imogen Heap ***
"The New Pollution" - Beck ****
"Daylight" - Coldplay *****
"Commissioning" - CAKE ***
"The 59th Street Bridge Song" - Simon un Garfunkle ****
"Sweet Leaf" - Black Sabbath ****
"Damage" - Dirty Vegas ** (must...go...clubbing...)
"Anxiety" - Bad Religion ***
"My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist" - The Decemberists ****
"PDA" - Interpol *****
"Atoms for Peace" - Thom Yorke ****
"Prayer" - Miles Davis *****
"Longwall" - Early Day Miners ****

My iPod (Whitey) list
"Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" - De La Soul *****
"Outdoor Miner" - Wire ***
"The Valley of Malls" - Fountains of Wayne ***
"Lucinda" - Tom Waits ****
"State Trooper" - Bruce Springsteen *****
"Here For You" - Neil Young ***
"It's the Life" - Grant Lee Buffalo *****
"Epic Problem" - Fugazi ****
"Clap Your Hands!" - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ** (good album, tho)
"Monster in the Parasol" - Queens of the Stone Age ****
"Good Old-Fashined Lover Boy" - Queen *** (feel free to withhold any snickering)
"Lightness" - Death Cab For Cutie ***
"How Beautiful You Are" - The Cure ****
"Candy Perfume Girl" - Madonna ****
"Provisional" - Fugazi ****
"Even Flow" - Pearl Jam **** (docked for the overplayed to death aspect of it)
"Tired Hippo" - Yo La Tengo ****
"Black Man" - Stevie Wonder ****
"Shiny Things" - Tom Waits ****
"Love Potion #9 (produced by anthony Marinelli)" - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass Band **"Coffee & TV" - Blur ****
"What Comes Around" - The Beastie Boys ****
"Ghetto Musick" - Big Boi ***

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Great live performance from Pulp

I've been on a serious Pulp kick as of late. Most likely from picking up Jarvis Cocker's latest. Good stuff...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Where Do I Start Where Do I Begin?

I don't consider myself an Omaha hater. To be honest, virtually every band I've wanted to see in the past four years has rolled into Omaha: Neko Case, Yo La Tengo, Ghostface Killah, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (twice!) and Modest Mouse to name a few. But at work today, all I did was stare at a computer screen and think about my upcoming 33rd birthday. A third of my thirties will be gone in a year.

One of my friends just moved to New York. He actually was lucky enough to get a job so he does not fall in the category of the romantic who moves to New York to either become a writer or an actor. He wants me to move up there. And to be honest, it sounds nice. But I'm juggling between two hard-core desires: the desire to up and move and start anew in a new location of my choosing or going where the market takes me. But what market? Technical writing (boring as hell, but I sure love knocking out that rent) or journalism (wonderful profession - can't wait to get back - until you start getting fed assignments like covering city council meetings and getting a paycheck that's *just* above what you were making full-time during your 'summer' jobs).

I have a few months to figure this out. First off - I was going to toss out the locations...

Albuquerque: Don't laugh. It's actually a fairly up-and-coming town. Great tech hub, OK music scene and a good mix of the blue collar and the quirky and artistic. Decent weather as well.

Tucson: Yes you have to don oven mitts to drive to work if you leave your car out. Still, nothing beats the city's freaky energy like being there in the summer when all the students and snowbirds retreat. Bonus - the University of Arizona for a possible graduate program.

Lakehurst: New Jersey. New York City's not too far away. I have some friends there. It could work...

Olympia: Portland became the refuge for those who couldn't afford Seattle. Now Olympia has become the refuge for those who can't afford Portland. Great tech hub. Awesome scenery. An OK drive to the coast.

Still, I need to get my finances in order. I need to get in better shape. And so far, I'm not off to a good start: I blew off working out to play the new Zelda game on the GameCube.