Thursday, January 31, 2008

Days of Future Passed

I'm sitting in my apartment right now, depressed because I don't have a DVD player so that I can watch the Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby, of course, being an excellent book and great movie starring Mia Farrow, Sam Waterston and that guy whose name you don't know but would recognize if you saw him. Anyway, I was just thinking of the irony of the situation. Of course, you don't know why that's ironic, but that's OK, we'll get there.

I was trying to immerse myself in the 20's. I really wish we would return to times like that. Everyone just seems so much more civilized back then. Everything just seemed so much more classy. People dressed up to fly on planes. Men still held doors open for women. Your "Sunday Best" was actually your Sunday best. And Mia Farrow, Sam Waterston, and that other guy epitomized that for me.

Anyway, the reason this whole situation's ironic is because my reminiscing is being stopped by a piece of modern technology. Understand? Anyway, I've said my piece, and I don't care whether you enjoyed it or not.

Monday, January 28, 2008


I'm noticing a disturbing trend in my blog writing--mainly that I'm no longer doing it. This is disappointing because I don't like not writing. It makes me feel uncreative and boring. Also, if I was to make a New Year's resolution, it would be to write in the old blog more. I had a brilliant thought while I was walking today, though I'm struggling to remember what it was. Perhaps I'll think of it later.

I leave you with this passage I snagged from the Science of Sleep. I encountered it randomly and found great truth in it:
P. S. R. Parallel Synchronized Randomness. An interesting brain rarity and our subject for today. Two people walk in opposite directions at the same time and then they make the same decision at the same time. Then they correct it, and then they correct it, and then they correct it, and then they correct it, and then they correct it. Basically, in a mathematical world these two little guys will stay looped for the end of time. The brain is the most complex thing in the universe and it's right behind the nose. Fascinating!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Science of Sleep

Everybody loves The Science of Sleep, Michel Gondry's new(ish) fantasy film about, well to be honest, I'm not entirely sure. This is not the point. This is also not the point: see it. If you've already seen it and don't like it, well then I think we're all done here.

Moving on! I love when the fourth wall (the wall between film and viewer) is breached. Especially when it's unintentional. Obviously, this happened in The Science of Sleep, otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned the movie.

Theres this one scene where our hero, Stephane (it's French, what can I say), is dancing with this random girl, and she looks right into the camera--for like 3 or 4 seconds. You may not think that's a lot of time, but it is. Looking into the camera is one of the major no-no's in film making.

I love it because the film crew probably just went into a random bar one night said, "This looks good," and then just set up their stuff and got to work. They probably gave the people in the bar a few directions, don't talk to the camera, don't look to the camera, don't talk to the actors. Several cocktails later, our hero is dancing with one of the regular patrons and she looks right into the camera before blatantly catching herself a few seconds later.

If this was a high budget American film--well if this was a high budget American film this predicament would never have happened because everyone would have been actors--but they would have probably re shot the scene. I mean it's so blatant, and so awkward. I don't know if it's that its an indie film, or that it's French, or some combination of the two, but for some reason, I love it. Brilliant!

Now I'm not insinuating that all films should be Ed Wood style, but its nice to see a film come around and not take itself so seriously. It's refreshing.

That's all for now, stay tuned next week for: Flying Pigs or Hell Freezing Over, Which Will Happen First: A Discussion

Jens Lekman

Jens Lekman: my new favorite person. Jens (pronounced: Jens) is an indie Swedish musician, according to Wikipedia. God I love that shit. Anyway, I just downloaded his new album "Night Falls Over Kortedala", and I must say, I am a huge fan.

His music is not cool. Really, if I had to use a word to describe his sound, cool would certainly be at the bottom of the list. But Jens has something else, passion. And a certain campyness that may or may not just be part of Swedish pop. Either way, it's awesome. To me, it sounds like Jens is genuinely really happy with what he does, something I don't often see in American musicians. Maybe that's why I like him, because he's campy, and weird, and fun, and out there, and I don't particularly think he cares what other people think of him.

I've taken the liberty and identified some of the more bizarre instruments that I've heard in his songs. They include: a flute, an accordion, French horn (I think), the thing that simulates the "clip-clop" of a horse, a harp, a bunch of people snapping slightly out of sync, and a little girl saying something in Swedish. This is just one example of the carefree, have fun attitude that makes me keep coming back for more.

So if you've got a minute, give Jens a listen, you probably won't like him. But just remember, I do, and that is why you can never really trust the awesome* tag.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Holistic Medicine...What a Scam

I talked to this holistic medicine guy recently. Not by choice. He and I were at the same dinner party (how frou-frou) and the host so graciously introduced us. Please note: I call him a holistic medicine guy, not a holistic medicine doctor. That's because he's not a doctor, he holds no M.D., as a matter of fact, he's a chiropractor. What a quack.

I should preface this by saying that I actually came into this with an open mind. I mean the shit I've been suffering from is rather bizarre and I was open to getting fixed. Clearly I had no idea what this guy did.

Mistake #1: Talking to this guy in the first place. He was dressed entirely in black. He had a pony tail, two earrings in one ear (none in the other), and a facial hair style that I can only describe as "never fashionable". But I'm a nice guy, I don't judge right away, I wait until after I don't like you.

Mistake #2: Telling him my relevant medical history. Like any good fortune teller, this guy was excellent at reading his surroundings. We made it a billion times easier for him by telling him what was wrong with me in the first place. Damn.

Mistake #3: Letting him "ask my body a few questions." Before you even ask, this is 100% as awkward as it sounds. Let me walk you through this little disaster. He had me stand directly across from him with my arm straight out to my side. It was that scene in Titanic where Kate Winslett is standing in the front of the boat with her arms out. Except she would only have one arm. And Leonardo Di Caprio wouldn't be behind her. He would then push my arm down towards the side of my body, apparently this was the Q&A period. He moved very fast, and had me place my hand in various places on my torso, apparently diagnosing me.

A quick aside: I think one of the reasons he moved so fast was so that I didn't have time to figure out what exactly he was doing. I mean anything is nifty, but if you have enough time, you can figure anything out.

Anyway, there were times where I could withstand his pushes and areas where I could not. This clearly meant that I had problems with certain parts of my anatomy and not others. Whether he could push my arm down. Right. Anyway, I started to notice a disturbing trend. When he was unable to push my arm down, he would pull his elbow in and grunt, in a concerted show of strength. Okay....thats believable. He finally decided that I had a problem with the bacteria in my stomach and that I should take this supplement. He confirmed this by being able to push my arm down, but not being able to push it down when he produced a jar of some supplement and put that next to my chest.

Let me just clarify the audacity of this. He had me point to my stomach (apparently where I was being questioned) and then pushed my arm down. It went down. He then put a closed glass bottle where my finger was and pushed my arm again. It didn't go down, and he happily proclaimed that he could "walk on that arm." So let me get this straight. My stomach somehow recognized that the substance I was deficient in was in close proximity to my body. Let's say my eyes told it. It, in turn, was kind enough to relay this information to my arm muscle, essentially saying "you can be strong now, the objective is in sight." What a bunch of bullshit. I mean oh yeah, it looks good if you are a monkey, or have an IQ below 70, but if any person put any amount of thought into this, you would see how utterly ridiculous this proposition was.

OK, now that I've been rambling for quite some time, let me wrap this up quickly

Mistake #4: Not punching him in the mouth.

So holistic medicine, the art of studying the entire body, or something like that. As far as I can tell, it's like communism, great on paper but pretty shitty in practice. Stay tuned next week for a discussion with Gore Vidal.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Oh Facebook, Where art Thou

Tonight's question of the hour. Scratch that, tonight's question of the night: Why am I still getting UK ads on Facebook?

I would assume that it's based on where you log on from, explaining how they started popping up in the first place. But now that I'm back in America, why do they keep popping up? I got another one on my feed for help with "UK debt relief".

How does Facebook know of my secret desires to be a citizen of the Empire?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Ultimate Jewish Question

Don't entirely know what made me think this one up.

OK, I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but this is what I know: Almost all Jewish holidays involve meals. During one particular meal-involving holiday, the phrase "Next year in Jerusalem" is spoken, meaning next year, we'll meet in Jerusalem.

Now I understand for like a million years of our heritage, we weren't able to go to Jerusalem, as it was controlled by various unfriendly factions until 1948, when Jews started living there regularly. Blah blah blah.

My question is, what do you say when you're actually in/from Jerusalem. "Next"?

The end.

The Wrought Iron Age of Air Travel

Perhaps it should be called the Gilded Age of Air Travel instead. Just regular steel for Economy, but coated in gold for anything higher. Everyone hassles through security, everyone has to wait to get their luggage, and delays and cancellations plague everyone, but the airline staff are so much nicer and more accommodating when you're ticket isn't marked "Economy". Anyway, I just got back from London the other day, and I managed to weasel my way into Premium Economy (Virgin Atlantic's version of Business Class) on the flight home. Although I didn't even get the full bump to Upper Class, the stewardesses were like a thousand times nicer to me than when I sat in plain-old-economy. This is absurdly cliche.

Don't get me wrong, Virgin is a great airline no matter what price point. But I must say, they really step it up a notch for the upper classes. For one thing, I was literally plied with booze the entire time in Premium Economy. Glass of champagne before we took off, and three glasses of pre-dinner wine before we were in the air. Another two glasses of wine with dinner, and a glass of Bailey's Irish Cream as an aperitif. Total cost to me: $0. Also, the seats were much nicer. They had substantially more leg room, reclined a lot more, and were much more comfortable. All-in-all, a very pleasurable ambiance indeed.

Or so it would appear. One thing you can't escape from in any kind of travel is the people. In my experiences, my seatmate has usually been good or neutral. Which is great, I usually sit next to interesting people, or at least someone who has the courtesy to leave their iPod in the entire time rather than say they don't want to talk to me. (Full disclosure: I am guilty of the latter behavior myself.) Let's take a minute to visualize the plane. The rows were set up in a 2-3-2 configuration, and I was sitting in the right most seat in the middle. Got it? Good. The two nitwits I sat next to were quite possibly the most socially retarded people I've ever met.

I mean for one, (and this is going back to me being insanely judgmental), they were dressed like shit. Cheap ratty sneakers, jeans that looked like they were of the K-Mart persuasion and hoodies that looked like they hadn't been taken off in a week, let alone washed. They were in college. We were sitting at a bulkhead, so everything had to be stowed in the overhead bins. Our two compatriots clearly had a lot of shit with them sitting at their feet. After being told repeatedly that they needed to put their stuff in the overhead bins and barely responding, the flight attendant asked for each item to be handed to her as she put it in the bins. She didn't look happy.

When the flight took off, they got all their shit out of the overhead bins and splayed it back out where it was. Being the nosy bastard I am, I couldn't help but look over and check on them. The kid next to me was watching this soccer simulation. It involved red and blue dots moving around in no particular fashion. Whatever. When he was tired with that (after about an hour) he switched over to the in-flight entertainment system. Our young friend then proceeded to watch The Simpsons Movie in fast forward in its entirety, then proceeded to watch it again in normal speed. The two oddballs would whisper short sayings to each other, and would generally act weird. By this point, I stopped paying attention.

I guess my point is that you'd think that the more expensive your ticket, the more normal your fellow passengers would be. I have found that more often than not the complete opposite is true. Maybe paying more means that people get to act more eccentric, more bizarre than usual.

As usual, now that I have completely lost my train of thought and the end of the post is completely different than the beginning, it is time for me to depart. Goodbye!