Perhaps he's lookin' for answers
No,'s got to be your bull.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Know when to walk away. Know when to run.
*alt-title: I said poker's an honest trade. Only suckers buck the tiger. The odds are all with the house.*

For anyone who thought that blindness to the whole "he's just not that into you" thing was the exclusive provenance of the fairer sex, rest assured that it's not only women who can't read the cards. Allow me to paraphrase for you today's cringe-inducing AskMetaFilter post:
But...but...but...we had such a great conversation! Sure, she declined a coffee date, and okay, she would not give me her phone number, and yes, well, she did mention she had a boyfriend 5 minutes into the conversation, and I admit it, she did seem as though she was more than a bit disappointed that I was so obviously trying to pick her up, but are you *sure* that it's such a bad idea to move to her town and pursue her? I mean, we had such a great conversation! And she's absolutely perfect for me! Surely she wants me to pursue her, right guys? Right?
So what's the over-under on this guy being served with a restraining order?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The correct answer will describe "the absolute boundaries of what a lawyer is permitted to do" rather than "the morally correct behaviour"
Which might explain why I failed the legal ethics exam (a pre-requisite for obtaining membership in the state bar) the first time I took it back in 2001. I prefer to blame a sleepless night before the exam for my poor performance (sleeplessness caused by a night at the city jail trying to keep a friend and classmate out of the slammer). The most likely cause of my failure, though, was lack of preparation. In any event, I passed the second time with flying colors, but because of my cross country move I am forced to take the exam for a third time. I will spend the wee hours of Saturday driving to the test site, 2 hours taking the exam, and the rest of the day driving home. Wish me luck, because I don't have Mike to blame this time.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Call off the search party
I'm alive. I'll post something soon.

Friday, September 15, 2006

An agitation in the air
And just like that summer is over. A cold wind ushered in autumn overnight and the first dusting of snow sparkled on the foothills to the west as the sun climbed into this morning's sky. Only a week ago the daytime temperatures hovered in the nineties and the sky was hued in that incandescent blue of high summer. Now, thick, puffy clouds obscure the mountain tops and it won't be long before I'll have to don a sweatshirt for my morning runs.

Summer's end makes me a little sad. I love the slanted light of autumn's late evenings but I dread the bleakness, the greyness, the oppressiveness of impending winter. I'm especially sad because this overnight transition from green to grey makes me think about how my writing here recently came to such a screeching halt. I've never thought my writing was anything special, but there was a time when I had ideas and thoughts and stories that needed expression, experiences that I wanted to share. All of that has dried up though, and I have been unable to find a way to get back to that place where the ideas and words flowed. Despite my best efforts, I cannot make the words come.

I don't really like the open thread/all-request style posts. I despise blogging about blogging. And if it were only about blogging, I probably wouldn't have written this entry. But the word-drought also afflicts non-blog writing. Story ideas and aborted essays stand unfinished on my computer like dry, cracked stalks in a parched and dusty field. I don't want to abandon this site or any of my writing, but I've reached a point where I don't know how to salvage my work. I would really like some help or advice from anyone who bothers to read here. Do you have any advice on how to revive my creativity or how to push through this barren time? Do you have ideas on how to reinvigorate my blog writing or what direction to take with my writing? I could really use a pep talk, a kick in the ass, or some words of wisdom right now.

(the title of this post comes from the Stanley Kunitz poem "End of Summer")

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

He was the strongest of men alive in that day, mighty and noble
Having finished reading Scott Smith's "The Ruins" (a great story, flawed in the execution) I have started in reading Seamus Haney's translation of "Beowulf". I picked up the book in part spurred on by the trailer for "Pathfinder" (am dying to see this movie!) and in part because the book was on the discount shelf at Borders. In looking up reviews and criticisms of Haney's book I came across two new movies based on the story of Beowulf, the Icelandic film "Beowulf and Grendel", starring Gerard Butler, Stellan Skarsgard and Sarah Polley, which is supposed to be seeing a U.S. release soon (though probably only on DVD) and the upcoming motion-capture/CGI "Beowulf" starring Anthony Hopkins, Brendan Gleason, Crispin Glover, John Malkovich, and Angelina Jolie as Grendel's Mother (You can read a little background on the script at Neil Gaiman's blog/journal/thing). I hope to see both movies this fall. I am excited to compare these two very different approaches to telling the story of that magnificent monster-slayer Beowulf, the one told without the use of any CGI or computer-assisted special effects and the other using the envelope-pushing motion-capture animation technique that was last used to tell the story of "The Polar Express".

But back to Haney's book. This is an excellent translation of one of my favourite stories. Some critics have taken issue with Haney's deliberate politicalization of the ancient text by his intrusive substitution of Celtic and Irish words for the original Anglo-Saxon words. Meh. I cannot muster the will to care whether Haney's harkening to his Ulster upbringing perverts the poem. I like his translation heaps; it is more poetic than most (not surprising, I guess when the translator is himself a poet), and it is presented side-by-side with the Old English text which I really enjoy reading aloud to hear the words and their cadence. My only complaint is that I like the multitudinous descriptions of weapons of war and implements of death, all of which Haney simplifies to the basics - "sword" and "shield." He explains in the preface that he did this to make the work more accessible to a broad audience and I guess I cannot really fault him for it. But aside from that, there is much about this translation to recommend it to any fan of the story of the great king of the Geats.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I want her to live. I want her to breathe. I want her to aerobicize.
In a comment over at Begging the Question, Sebastian Haff asked Milbarge to describe, Weird Science-style, his perfect woman. I'm shamelessly stealing the idea.

When you close your eyes and think about the perfect fantasy person, who do you think about? Is it a real person from your real life? A celebrity? A character from a movie or book? My fantasy is someone of my own creation. For as long as I can remember, I have fantasized about a very particular girl. I've seen her very vividly in my mind's eye for more than 20 years. In that time, I've dated a few girls who exhibited some of her traits and in a fit of lunacy married (then divorced) one who exhibited none of them.

I don't know where my fantasy girl came from exactly. She has no obvious counterpart in my past nor in the movies or books of my early adolescence when she first came into my life. I am too young to have been influenced by the Farrah Fawcett poster (or, if not too young at least too sheltered by my fundamentalist Christian parents to have seen that posted until I was in my twenties) and too old to have been influenced by Britney and Christina. She has been fully formed in my imagination since I was 11 and she has not changed since. She's been a constant influence on my entire adult life.

Until recently, I would have told you that she was too perfect to actually exist. But somehow, some way, the perfect girl was created. Maybe in a secret government lab. Maybe in Wyatt's bedroom. Maybe...well, I don't even know where she came from, but I can tell you what data they used to construct her. And I can tell you that I am the luckiest man in the world to have found her. So, if you want to continue reading about how to create the perfect girl, strap a bra to your head and prepare yourself. There's going to be sex, drugs, rock and roll. Chips, dips, chains, and whips.

The Perfect Girl

  • Her hair is long, thick, and sun-kissed blonde. It often frames her face in wild, windblown waves, though sometimes it falls straight past her graceful shoulders like an impossibly high tropical waterfall. For her hair, Wyatt and Gary would feed pictures of Shakira into the computer:

  • The tropical theme continues with her big, beautiful eyes. They are startlingly blue and flecked with emerald green, like the lagoons that surround Bora Bora. The closest Wyatt and Gary could come to replicating her eyes would be Carmen Electra's eyes. In size and shape they very closely approximate my fantasy girl's eyes. But, as bright as Carmen Electra's eyes are, they don't quite have the right color. Maybe Gary could jam a pair of emeralds into the disk drive.

  • Her mouth is full and pouty. Her lips are very soft and very kissable. They taste like cotton candy and they inspire lustful thoughts that you feel like you should bury deep, deep inside for fear of shocking anyone who hasn't experienced her slow, soft kisses. There is really no question whose lips should be added to the data.

  • Her arms and shoulders are toned but not wiry, feminine but not squishy. Brooke Burke's arms would do nicely.

  • My perfect girl's breasts are real, firm, perky, and full - identical to Keeley Hazell's breasts.

  • Her stomach is sleek and toned and perfectly replicated by Jessica Alba.

  • Her ass is a wonderous thing, round and firm and tight. Quite possibly her sexiest feature. It was made for bikinis. Rather, bikinis were made for this ass. My fantasy girl could get work in Hollywood as a butt double for Stacy Kiebler, Jessica Alba, or Jessica Biel.

  • Her legs are strong and defined, shaped into long, lean lengths from years of sports. Their graceful lines belie their power. They are equally sexy in running shorts and miniskirts. Anna Kournikova's legs are the perfect match.

  • Her personality, intelligence, sense of humor, and sense of style are equal parts Mademoiselle Claudine, Jessica Alba (SFW video), and Indiana Jones (with whom, in addition to sharing his sense of adventure, she shares a penchant for messenger bags).

  • So, say hello to the perfect girl. She is my fantasy girl come to life. Be nice to her because like Lisa in Weird Science, she can be a real serious bitch if she doesn't get what she wants.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Brittany Murphy broke my iPod
    Stereo Fuse, a generic rock-pop act from Dallas, has a song in heavy rotation on the local radio stations called "Beautiful (Now)." The tune is catchy enough, but not until yesterday did I pay any attention to the lyrics. And now, having studied the words, I think this is one of the worst love songs ever written.

    Ostensibly the song is about how beautiful the singer finds his girl. Says the singer to the girl, "You're beautiful now, so much more than yesterday." The "so much more than yesterday" is a bit of a backhanded compliment, don't you think? Well, it gets better. The whole story told by the lyrics begins with a verse about how the girl was picked on by the cool, pretty girls when she was younger. They told her she was ugly. And she took it to heart. But in the chorus the singer consoles his girl. She doesn't have to believe them anymore! She's grown and changed and she's now ready to spread her wings. She's finally come into her own. She's And now, now that she's beautiful, she doesn't have to listen to those hurtful words from her past.

    I know I am applying too much thought to the lyrics of a cheesy top-40 song, but what kind of guy says that to his girl? What guy tells his girl that she's finally turned into the graceful swan, that she's no longer the ugly duckling? Does he not realize that by telling her she's "beautiful now" he is implicitly endorsing the hurtful things said to her when she was younger? That he agrees with the mean girls from grade school who thought she was ugly? Look out, Cassanova, Stereo Fuse is going to teach you a thing or two about how to compliment a lady!

    Another annoying lyricist is Timbaland, whose lines in Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous" simply don't make sense to me. But before I get to the offending lyrics, an aside. I am not pleased that this song about promiscuity and hookin' up at the club is performed by a woman who looks like a 45-year old stunt double from the Real Housewives of the OC. The song is unnecessary, but if we're going to be subjected to it, could we please have it sung by someone who doesn't look like she picks up her 3 kids from soccer practice in a Volvo wagon, gets tipsy on chardonnay at Tuesday Night Book Club, and accessorizes with botox?

    Back to the song. However catchy the hook is, the lyrics are so stupid and contradictory as to render the song a disaster. I could take issue with every line from the song, but the ones that irritate me the most are those Furtado's paramour sings in the early stanzas, "I'm curious about you, girl, you seem so innocent." And then 2 lines later he sings, "Promiscuous girl, wherever you are, I'm all alone and it's you that I want." Now, if Timbaland knows she's a slut, then how can he be intrigued by her alleged innocent look? Can a girl who you openly refer to as "promiscuous" look innocent? Again, I know I'm overly concerned with lyrical consistency, but I can't quite see it. Maybe he's curious because he's heard that she's a ho-bag but she looks very demur. (But if that's the case, why would he insult her with the label he only knows from second-hand rumour?) Maybe he's just sweet talkin' her, I don't know. I do know that in a song full of stupid lyrics, those two lines are the ones that most bother me. Especially when he's singing those lines to Janice Dickinson Teri Hatcher Ms. Furtado.

    I've been looking for some mood music lately and came across a song by Brittany Murphy that I really like. Yes, that Brittany Murphy. (Cal: You know how I know you're gay? David: How? Cal: Because you have Brittany Murphy on your iPod.) The song is "Faster Kill Pussycat" and it's produced by Paul Oakenfold. The song has a nice beat and Brittany's voice is surprisingly strong and sexy. I thought the tune would be a nice addition to my iPod playlist for gym. And it is a good song to run to. But every time the song plays, my iPod dies. It's happened 4 times now. Maybe my iPod is trying to tell me something. C.C. DeVille singing "Nothing but a Good Time?" Cool. The mousy chick from Clueless singing some trance-rave club song? Good day, sir. I said good day.

    Friday, June 30, 2006

    How can a man that weighs over 600 pounds have the balls to teach people about self discipline?
    Today's list - the soundtrack from my run last night:

    1. "Lowrider" - War
    2. "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" - The Darkness
    3. "Cold Hard Bitch" - Jet
    4. "Cradle of Love" - Billy Idol
    5. "Boys of Summer" - The Ataris
    6. "The Way You Move" - Outkast
    7. "My Sharona" - The Knack
    8. "Tush" - ZZ Top
    9. "Nothin' But a Good Time" - Poison
    10. "Photograph" - Def Leppard

    We've had something of a heat wave recently, with the temperatures pushing past the 100 degree mark. The heat lingers well into the evening and makes running outside really unpleasant. So, I did my run at the gym last night. Because of recent suggestions that the 9/11 hijackers were using the gym as a meeting place, I tried to distract myself from the pain and boredom of running by scoping out the weight room to see whether any al Qaeda were lurking about. Conclusion? We seem to be al Qaeda free. For now. There are a lot of angry young men at my gym, but I think their anger stems more from sexual frustration and being stuck in this dump of a town than from any complaints against the Great Satan. And the one Arab guy? He is definitely not a jihadist. He drives a Porsche Cayenne and you just don't pack a car bomb into a $90,000 symbol of Western excess.

    Speaking of excesses, how do you feel about a personal trainer who is overweight and out of shape? Me, I would feel like Jerry Seinfeld when he saw Milos take to the tennis court. You buy a $300 tennis racket based on the recommendation of the guy in the pro shop because you expect that he is competent and knows how to play the game. When you see him stumbling and bumbling you feel like maybe you've been had. I'm not suggesting that a chunky personal trainer might not have the knowledge to help someone get fit. I'm just saying that I can't respect a professional who says, "Do as I say, not as I do." Someone like the pediatrician who treated my childhood asthma as he smoked himself to death on 3 packs a day. Or the portly trainer in the ill-advised lycra shorts who was dispensing advice at the gym. It's not her weight that bothered me as much as it was the juxtaposition of her sipping a milkshake while admonishing her client that diet is just as important as exercise in sculpting a tight tummy.

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