Thursday, August 30, 2007

All is frustration

I'm utterly alone on the job. No allies, no friends in-house. Short-term, I'm making way more money than I was, them throwing it at me to keep my fingers in the dam. But I can go a whole day without talking to anybody, now. For an extrovert like me, that's soul-hurting. Sigh.

I teased Leona this morning, asking her if she'll go work at Skippy's new place, once he's ensconced there. She gave one of her usual guarded nonresponses; I could see her doing it, frankly. If she ended up there, I'd be unsurprised, just like if she and Skippy ever married (haha, but you know), I'd also be unsurprised.

There's just me, myself, and I. I'm the only one I trust here, now, in-house. That's not a pleasant place to be. I miss my buddies, my friends and allies, people I could rely on. Now it's just nutjobs, nancies, neurotics, and nabobs of negativity. No!!

I need something to cheer me up...

Ahhh, that's better. Barely.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kate Jackson

Not THAT Kate Jackson, but the singer of The Long Blondes. She reminds me of all of my eternal crushes on musician chicks. And I'm always a sucker for a New Wave girl; everybody knows that punk boys always liked the New Wave girls, because they always looked better...

Not that the Long Blondes are New Wave, but that look of hers in that picture rocks! And I like the guitar babe in the background, too, despite all those pedals she's using. Just so long as one of them is a flanger pedal.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A picture's worth...

I've always been haunted by this statue from WWII Stalingrad. What does it mean? I'd love to know the story behind it.


I'm pleased that a few others agreed with my general dislike of LMS (bolded, below); this is from Wikipedia; I love the line about the bamboo under the fingernails...

The film has a "92% fresh" rating from critics and 96% fresh from users at Rotten Tomatoes.[10]

Michael Medved gave Little Miss Sunshine four stars (out of four) saying that "…this startling and irresistible dark comedy counts as one of the very best films of the year…" and that directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the movie itself, and actors Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin and Steve Carell deserve Oscar nominations.[11]

Joel Siegel gave Little Miss Sunshine a rarely-awarded 'A' rating, saying that "Orson Welles would have to come back to life for this not to make my year-end Top 10 list."[12] Breslin's depiction of Olive Hoover has also moved many critics, with USA Today's Claudia Puig saying "If Olive had been played by any other little girl, she would not have affected us as mightily as it did." [13]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C rating, calling the characters "walking, talking catalogs of screenwriter index-card data."[14] Jim Ridley of The Village Voice called the movie a "rickety vehicle that travels mostly downhill" and a "Sundance clunker."[15] Anna Nimouse of the National Review writes that the "film is praised as a 'feel-good' film; perhaps for moviegoers who like bamboo under their fingernails. If you are miserable, then Little Miss Sunshine is the film for you."[16]

On the December 22, 2006 edition of The Tonight Show, Dustin Hoffman, who was on the show along with Abigail Breslin, said, "It's[specify] one of the best performances that I have seen in my entire life."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine of a bitch

I'm still not talking about California, yet. Sorry!

But I had to mention that I saw Little Miss Sunshine over the week off, among other movies (The Wedding Crashers, Borat, and a couple of others I've already forgotten). I had a very Elaine-watching-English-Patient moment with Little Miss Sunshine (LMS). I hated that fucking movie. Wow, I don't even know where to begin with it. It's like a big dungheap of contrivances passing for funny, and empty windbagging passing for meaning. Overrated! Overrated! J'accuse!

There's some general thematic thread about winners and losers that runs through it, but the pat ending kind of cheapens that, I guess. But the setup for it, lordy -- like anybody would even want their daughter to try out for a beauty pageant at all, let alone a little chubby, cherubic girl like Olive Hoover was. C'mon. But they go with it because otherwise there's no movie there. Grandpa snorts heroin -- why? I guess so he can OD on it later and end up carried out of the hospital to make the trip with them (hey, National Lampoon's Vacation did it better -- the minute Grandpa turned up in the story, I was like "Oh, I bet he'll die en route and they'll have to transport him. Wow.) Why is Steve Carrell's (sic) character a gay suicide survivor? How does that actually serve the plot in any way, shape, or form? In no way, except for him to whine about being the world's foremost Proust scholar (overlooked by the guy who stole his man from him, but that's incidental to being passed over for a MacArthur Fellowship gained by his rival). Why is the freak Nietzsche-reading misfit deliberately mute in his quest for the Air Force Academy? Just something quirky for him to do, which is cast aside when, quite by accident, he discovers he's colorblind. Meh. Greg Kinnear's character is asshole du jour, another failure (reminded me a lot of my stepdad, actually -- even how he dressed), but that's not really very relevant -- I mean, he has an epiphany that a girlie beauty pageant's not good for his kid? No shit, Sherlock. And the mom realizes it, too, I guess -- she's mostly a cipher, filling in the Shelley Duvall (sic) role, I guess. And why does the bus crap out near the beginning -- oh, because it's a quirky thing to happen, gives the characters something to do.

The actors did well with the parts, and the girl playing Olive was cute as a button, in her geeky way, but Arkin was given a freebie for his teensy, largely pointless role in that movie -- I mean, he won an Oscar for that, didn't it? Didn't that movie with a bunch of Oscars?

Sure, the family comes together at the end, but it's all so much tinsel masquerading as gold. I know like 90% of the country/world loves this movie, but I was shocked by how much I didn't like it. I was searching for explanations, like trying to see what else the writer and directors did -- turns out, not much (they've directed music videos, the writer wrote a couple other things, but not much). And it showed. Spousette didn't like it much, either, although she was gentler with it than I was. I guess I write too much to cut a writer any slack in a story. But I'm very glad I only saw it on DVD, didn't pay cash-money for it.

For those who love it, what do they love about it? What are the lessons in it? I want to look it up on Wikipedia, see what people say about it. I remember deriding Donnie Darko as a "deep movie for shallow people." LMS had that kind of quality to it, like awkwardness pretending to be funny, and emptiness for depth.

The Wedding Crashers was somewhat more amusing, although it was surprisingly thinly written. I want my comedies served up with thick slabs of Funny, and while TWC had some bits that I liked (including Rachel McAdams -- drool), but overall it was pretty weak, went on a trifle too long -- but it still managed, in its own slobbery way, more depth than smirking LMS clearly thought it had.

And that's my piss-and-vinegar film review for today!

Monday, August 6, 2007

When I get back...

...then it'll be agent time. Busily trying to get people interested in my book. The long slog from late summer through winter. I hope I can make it work. I'm overdue for some good writing-luck, don'tcha think?


Tomorrow we're on our way to California, visiting the folks. Hopefully that'll go well. It'll be the one time you hear me quoting an Indigo Girls song ("Airplane")...

Up on the airplane nearer my god to thee
i start making a deal inspired by gravity

if i did wrong i won't do it again
i can be sweet and good and nice
and if i had
enemies they're friends
i hold onto my life with the grip of a vice
up on the airplane
nearer my god to thee
i start making a deal inspired by gravity
that little spot on
the ground
is my hometown
i like to call it my home and it's sweet
i'd rather take
a seat
down there than a throne up here
up above 30,000 feet and i'm up on
the airplane
i never should've read my horoscope
or the fortune on the bubble gum
saying what you think won't happen will
great thing to read before a trip
on an
airplane pilot says the big blue sky's like a swimming pool
big fluffy clouds like
a feather bed
i'd rather have a real pillow underneath my head
lying in my bed

which is in my hometown
which is on the ground
far from an airplane
far from an
up on the airplane up on the
(i'll be making a deal)
up on the
(i'll be making a deal)
up on the (i'll be making a deal)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Major "King" Kong

This is me, bronco-busting the Bomb... "Waaaahooooooo---* (I made it a clickable link to YouTube; how cool is that?)

I am Boxer

This is me versus Bizarroworld

Remember "Animal Farm" my lovelies? I'm Boxer -- except I don't have blind faith in the leadership (below, from Wikipedia)...

Boxer is a fictional horse from George Orwell's Animal Farm. He is the farm's most hard-working and loyal worker. He serves as an allegory for the Russian working class who helped oust the Czar and establish the Soviet Union, but were eventually betrayed by the Stalinist deformation of Marxism.

Boxer is one of the most popular characters. Boxer is the tragic avatar of the working class, or proletariat: loyal, kind, dedicated, and strong. By contrast, he is not very clever and seldom progresses beyond the fourth letter of the alphabet. His major flaw, however, is his blind trust in the leaders, and his inability to see corruption, leading to his manipulation and abuse by the pigs in more or less the same manner as he was by Jones. His two mottos, seen below, sum up the double side of his character.

He fights bravely in the Battle of the Cowshed and the Battle of the Windmill but is upset when he thinks he has killed a stable lad when, in fact, he had only stunned the poor boy. His death serves to show just how far the pigs are willing to go — when he collapses after overstraining himself, the pigs supposedly send him to a veterinarian, when in fact he was sent to the knacker's yard to be slaughtered and boiled out into glue, in exchange for money to buy a case of whiskey for the pigs. A strong and loyal draft horse, Boxer played a huge part in keeping the Farm together prior to his death.

Ironically, during Old Major's speech which inspired the principles of animalism a specific reference is made to how he would be turned into glue under Jones rule, thus implying that it would not happen to him under Animalism. This is possibly a further decline from animalism to Napoleon's government.

Boxer may have been inspired by Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov, a miner in the Soviet Union who became a hero in 1935 for his great productivity, or the Soviet Stakhanovite movement named after him, which was aimed at increasing worker productivity. His name was possibly based upon the Boxer Uprising in China.

Ah, Animal Farm....

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Whole Enchilada

Music: "Take the Money and Run," Steve Miller Band

Well, that's it, then.

I got an end-of-day call-in from 3-D, with Tsarina lurking in a chair. I'm expected to do the whole deal, now that Splints is leaving. On the bright side, they're going to pay me extra per page for the additional work until the conversion occurs; on the dark side, there's NFW I can do it for long -- I told them as much, that all I could do was try, that I wasn't sure if it could actually be done. Supposedly it'll be for the next couple of months, as they continue to try to ramrod Red Tide through the works.

I told 3-D: "You know, I've always been the good soldier at this place, always tried to do the job efficiently, and I got things done, but I don't want to be forgotten when this work's finished, expected to fall on my sword as a reward for my hard work."

3-D acknowledged that in his typically dirtbaggy way, like without giving anything in return, of course. 3-D said this and that, but it was clear to me that they have no other option right now; I could've probably dicked them, but as I see it, I'm going to escape as soon as I can, and as soon as something better comes, I'm on it, and they can stuff it.

Meantime, there was also noise made that even as our workgroup (Tsunami and Tide) get assimilated by the New Order, I'd be moved to doing my current work to the Miscellaneous Group, doing what CHA used to do, since they're not planning any more conversions anytime soon, until they get our current group converted, and that they'd try to find me something afterward, didn't want me to leave, blah blah blah.

I didn't lose my temper or anything, just played it cool, will keep to my plan of getting the f*ck out of there as soon as I can, regardless. I told 3-D that I had been greatly disappointed when I'd gotten passed up for [managerial spot] after having done my job well, being told that I was too valuable in my current position to be moved, and that I didn't want a repeat of that with this.

Supposedly I'll get final say on the work that I do, with Jungle not able to tweak things. But we'll see how that goes. I'm sure Jungle will hate that.

Short-term, it'll mean I'll make far more money than I'm currently making. It'll also mean a shitload more work -- I made it clear to 3-D and Tsarina that I truly doubted that it could be done, that I'd be juggling four plates from the end of canes, and that I doubted I'd be able to keep all four running on schedule.

I don't intend to work overtime; I'll just be Johnny Fucking Paycheck and get as much work done as I can during the day. I'm not going to get stressed about it, I'll just work and get my ass out of there. I'm so hardened, so jaded, all I thought about while this went on was "Great, more fodder for the resumé."

They probably think I'm an icecube, because I was nearly emotionless in the exchange, largely unfazed. It's because I have no respect for Bizarroworld, for 3-D, Tsarina, or their whole New Order plan.

Sun and sweat

Pretty good ride in this morning, although damn is it humid! And I kept hitting little clouds of teenaged mosquitoes or midges or something that would stick to me. What a nightmare! Ptht! (me spitting out bugs)

Six more days until the trip to California. It's a wedge driven in my summer schedule -- an interruption. I'm sure my folks will love seeing the kids, and the kids ought to have fun, but the trip'll be kinda hellish, I imagine, although hopefully the novelty of it will inspire the boys to behave!

But I'm hell-bent on getting the book pitched to agents, and this week-long hiatus is an interruption for me, kind of breaks my stride.

I'm making some additional changes to the story, for a stronger ending. Nothing wholesale, just some more tweaks and tightenings of it. I decided I'm going to kill a major character in the story; normally, I avoid that, since I think it's kind of lame, like "Ohhh, somebody has to die" -- but I thought that him surviving the story sort of weakened it, weirdly enough, whereas his death would positively impact several other character groups -- like if he died, he'd provide strong motivations to three other major characters, and would propel the story forward into another realm. It just works better that way, I think. It raises the stakes of the story, and I like that.

Otherwise, if everybody survives, it's like the end of a sitcom, where they freeze-frame it with everybody smiling and laughing, and the music and credits come up. And I hate that. So, I think he will likely perish!

This quote reminds me of many people I work with...

"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." — Robert E. Howard, The Tower of the Elephant

I'm an honorable savage in a dishonorable time!