Friday, May 20, 2005

So, tomorrow morning, I'm headed off to Seattle for a week. This means that, unless I am attacked by thoughts and cannot sleep, this will be my last update for a week. When I come back, expect a thing about the film festival, which will hopefully translate to a list of films to look out for, and not a general statement of disgust about the state of filmmaking in the world. I'm blaming a lot on the tyranny of old white women in regards to the art-house set. This has more to do with my teachers' taste than anything. I really disagree with them about pretty much everything.

But you know what is good? Music. Holy crap. The upcoming Sufjan Stevens record, Illinois, is very strong for what it is, but the thing to most fill me with excitement is the new Deerhoof EP, Green Cosmos. Most of the lyrics are in Japanese. It sounds like Deerhoof, but the sound palette is expanded to include samples and synths and all kinds of good things. I love it.

What I've heard from the Need New Body record is really good as well. Right now, it's in weird territory, but mostly, it's just such a feel-good record. Just this joyous summertime hoo-hah. It's not a transcendent Neutral Milk Hotel kind of joy, it's a summertime parties on the roof of Philadelphia, eating BBQ and drinking and smoking weed, sun is shining, everybody's funny and enjoyable and all about being awesome. It's happiness more than joy, I suppose, but it's a cartwheel kind of record. So's the Deerhoof EP. I can't do cartwheels. But these records make me want to do them, to express my feelings of happiness. And I mean: there's elements of weirdness to both, because that's the kind of person I am. But there's an emphasis on rhythm and good times. So I vote yes.

Oh, and that Sleater-Kinney record's about to come out, and that's pretty good too. It's a good year for music. But I mean, it's springtime and school's out and sure there's a lot of vibes to any given time, but if you have the vibes conducive to listening to a lot of Need New Body and Deerhoof, it's going to be a good summer.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Also: Going to college with dreams of being some super-genius novelist is more likely and less pathetic than someone attending the same college, then going for an MFA in poetry, right?
And once again we are left with no future at all.

The one class I wanted to get into for next year, the only one that held any appeal, that I could take and not feel like I was regressing, the only class where I could learn about things that I didn't know about but wanted to did not accept me. Where I'm at right now, taking classes on writing or literature is dead and wasted to me. I want to learn film-editing techniques, to be able to create film, to produce work. There's one class that teaches these skills. And as such, it's a popular class at Evergreen. So of course, it's harder to get into, requiring an application process. Some of the blame for not getting the class falls on me, but maybe not all of it.

So yeah, I'm completely fucked. There's no reason for me to attend Evergreen in the fall. Honestly, for me to do such a thing would actually be regrettable. And if I don't go here in the fall, than I do not know what I will be doing in the fall. Will I be in Philadelphia, working a shit job? I don't know. I'd like to be in Olympia, working, writing, maybe filming on the side. Which would probably require me to get a job right now.

And I've got this film festival, which defers that, and I need for full credit. Another thing I need for full credit is to complete this group project by Wednesday, and I can't get in contact with the people in my group.

Furthering the McSweeney's nerding: Issue 17 sounds awesome awesome awesome and you know maybe a renewal of subscription would be in order, although obviously not immediately, but sometime before the issue ships. Also, the book by Salvador Plascencia, The People Of Paper, looks like it will be very good indeed. There's also a book of photography of bicycles locked to poles, which is the kind of thing I would get someone for a gift and watch them be befuddled, and then maybe come around to thinking is pretty awesome.

I've got this group project for class that is due on wednesday, and hasn't been done, because of the nature of group projects. Hopefully, we will end up pounding it out powered by desperation and panic.
So, I'm deleting music off my hard drive, as it is approaching fullness. Here's what band folders I've ditched so far:

The Fiery Furnaces
The Advantage
Thunderbirds Are Now!
Twilight Singers

More updates to come as they happen. Comets On Fire, Dead Meadow, Death From Above 1979, The Clientele, and Nervous Cop all seem likely. Some things should get more close listens, some are deleted by the fact that I'm never interested enough to do such a thing. I gave that Thunderbirds Are Now! the most listens to see if it did anything interesting ever, and no, not really.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I spent the day working on my Amazon wishlist, which is admittedly a pretty disgusting way to spend a day. There will be no link to said list, as I don't expect anyone to buy me anything. I will, however, mention one thing on the list: Michael Kupperman's Snake And Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret, which is less than three dollars when bought from the used and new section. I first heard of this when McSweeney's offered free copies to everyone who ordered more than thirty dollars worth of product from their store one week, and guaranteed enjoyment. Then I did some investigation, where people with tastes seemingly similar to mine called it the funniest comic they've ever read. I also heard Kupperman wrote some bits for the TV Funhouse show, the stuff that was funny and weird and different from the rest of the show. I found out that he also drew one-page comics for The Believer sometimes, and then I read one of those comics, "The life of Pablo Picasso, as narrated by a hamburger." So, yes, if anyone wants to buy this for me, it might run around five bucks after shipping's included. I'd buy it for myself, had I not decided not to buy anything until I had a job. Who knows how I'll feel after I have a job, though? I'm sure it's good, but enthusiasm is a slippery sort of fish.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Apparently there are some Life Aquatic DVDs that come with a Team Zissou beanie?

I would wear a Team Zissou beanie. And I would watch a Life Aquatic DVD.

I guess it's probably only the special edition two-disc Criterions, but maybe there's some kind of super-special package.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

In my film class, there are small groups of five that we break up into to watch a third movie every week. In my group, there's this guy who cheers pretty much every time a woman gets hit, or shot, by a man. This is odd at best and disturbing at worst. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and think he's just responding to something that doesn't happen too frequently in movies due to decorum, but actually: It happens all the time in movies. It happens rather frequently. It happens in pretty much every noir ever. In most instances where a movie creates a scenario to get the viewer on the side opposed to the woman, that woman will get her comeuppance, and usually at the hand of a man.

In other news: I want to start reading something again, a novel, and The Sound In The Fury is unread, but I just don't have the energy yet for something that starts off difficult. Also: I'm not exactly going through a Faulkner phase. There's nothing to get me excited about that book besides it's classic status, which never really gets me excited for anything. I've got more modern stuff (Jonathan Lethem) that I'm excited to read, but I don't want to do that when I have a classic of American literature sitting on a bookshelf. Honestly: I need to read The Sound And The Fury, and I'm putting off reading other things until I do it, but all that's really doing is stopping me from doing anything.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Complete Calvin And Hobbes, dudes! Eep!

I've got all the paperbacks, but they've been damaged over a lifetime. Some are probably in great shape, the others I kind of want to pick up over the future from remainder tables where they are frequently found.

It's a slipcase with three hardcovers. It doesn't say anything about the bonus material, the full-color stuff from the treasury editions. All of those really should be in there.

But the main thing is that the image on Amazon showing this thing for sale is Calvin and Hobbes, and they're just hugging, and there's no background to speak of, just white negative space.

Seriously: If you don't like Calvin And Hobbes, I don't even want to know you. I say that for a lot of things, but the other things in question aren't nearly as popular. (I've said it about The Triplets Of Belleville, to name but one example.) If you never had one of the collections in your youth which you've spent bored evenings and the holidays you received them poring over, I recommend going and buying one post-haste. It's amazing how much I've read these and how often I can find a joke that still makes me laugh when I look back over them. Really, you should all have all the material to your name already.

The stuff in the Snow Goons book (abbreviated solely because I can't remember the full title) never got the good treatment. The first six books that were in the squat square format had treasury editions, but the Snow Goons book existed after those were stopped being made, but before the conversion to the ideal format, of two strips per elongated page. Those later books also printed them at the biggest size. I really hope that's the format for these hardcovers.

How much great art is friendly to both children and the elderly? There's a handful of comic strips which are great art: Notably Krazy Kat and The Far Side, but both of those are frequently kind of inpenetrable. Honestly, Calvin And Hobbes is one of the best things ever, and it really bums me out that my books are in New Jersey, and not here, in my dorm, where I live. And I mean, sure, my one roommate has all the books. But hoo, but for my own. Honestly, it some ways, that comic strip is like a stuffed animal that comes to life in your mind and talks to you. That's not even a stretch to say. The books themselves, as a physical prescence, are the stuffed animal, and I'm pretty sure I have the days spent in bed to prove it, whereas the comics and the content and all the jokes and ideas and all of that forms a dialogue with the reader. The same could be said of any book or any piece of art with intense connections to one's personal history, but very few things from my childhood hold up as well, and so it wins. Over and over again, it wins.
Good God, but film class is lame. Today we watched Rio Bravo, a Howard Hawks piece of shit featuring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and stereotypical Mexicans. The idea was to understand the genre of the western.

Before I went to class, I watched Ingmar Bergman's Persona, which was amazing. It's the kind of film that could be examined shot for shot for meaning, not just for its excellent expressive photography.

Another film with excellent photography was Orson Welles' The Trial, adapted from the Kafka novel, which I just finished watching. It might be better than Citizen Kane. If not, it's still better than Touch Of Evil and The Magnificent Ambersons. It's a fucking masterpiece.

This weekend I also saw Luis Bunuel's That Obscure Object Of Desire. It was great. All of these are great films, and they're film nerd films, movies to be studied. It's really sad how much greater the syllabus I assign myself is then what I'm assigned. I bet when I go to that film festival, and am watching at least three movies a day (Which I did today, in case you weren't paying close attention) I will still not see as many fucking great, best movies ever that entire week than I would were I to stay home with a carefully chosen Netflix queue.

The thing is, of course, is I have to write a paper about Rio Bravo. Kind of a pain in the ass, as it's a film about which I have nothing to say. I'm just writing down the greatness of the other films here, but honestly, I mean it when I say I could go through Persona shot for shot.

There's more movies for me to watch before the week is done. I've got a paper to write about Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, a western I picked to view for class- it's not on the syllabus, my seminar leader hasn't even seen it because she avoids violent films- and I should watch it again, as my viewing group got bored halfway through and then watched it at at least double speed with subtitles on. There's 2046 and Dazed And Confused, the last entries in my queue. Sullivan's Travels waits on Alex's computer to be burned. Then there's Lost In La Mancha, and there's still more movies arriving on Friday, although that's mostly discs of the first season of The Wire, but I Fidantzi is in there as well.

If I didn't have class at ten, I'd be watching Dazed And Confused right now. The class at ten won't even feature either of my teachers, but a woman from the film festival, along with someone from the program I'm trying to get into for next year. I need to write three essays for that application, all on vague criteria. I will do this tomorrow, in between movies and sleep.

Also: My seminar leader hasn't seen anything directed by Michel Gondry. This feels like some kind of cardinal sin to me. I don't expect her to be familar with The White Stripes Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground video, but that when taken in conjunction with not having seen Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind just makes my neurons pop. And not in the way that, say, the aforementioned Gondry films made my neurons pop. No, this makes my neurons pop with rage.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Got an e-mail from my stepdad asking what I was going to do for my mom for mother's day.

I think everyone reading this knows me well enough to know the answer to that question.

I'm a bad son.

You know what I gave her for her birthday? A phone call.

Mother's Day doesn't even exist in my headspace.