Lars von Try-er and My Weekend

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I finally got around to finishing a viewing of the film "Manderlay" last night. Yeah, it was provocative. Kinda like that guy I saw this past weekend outside Quentin's in CoMo who, in Riddler pants, sucked down a bottle of Jim Beam, then spit on a few frat guys. He provoked his way into a one night visit at the University Hospital from the looks of it.

What I mean is, it's not as pretty as Dogville, and Bryce Dallas Howard isn't fit to screw in Nichole Kidman's makeup mirror's lightbulbs. Also, there seems to be a little bit of a community theater type feel to the whole thing that Dogville didn't have. Maybe it's the Shakespearean accents?

I guess after Dogville and Breaking the Waves, it was hard for Lars von Trier to both change it up and still amaze me. Kinda like the guy at James's party this weekend who was going to set his scrotum on fire, and yet couldn't find an appropriate fuel. Apparently he was all out of something called "white gas."

But the movie did have a saving grace. The best damn end credits I've ever seen. Rent it for the end credits. David Bowie and a commentary on black-white relations in the US. And a reminder why when I was chanting "USA! USA!" out Matt's car window on Broadway on Saturday night, I was doing it ironically.

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Take a suggestion and check out Breaking the Waves. Just look at this photo, and ignore the lame DVD art. Honestly, whoever took a movie about a girl who talks to God and gets it on with sailors in a religious town and tried to market it like "Gone with the Wind" should be tossed overboard.



I like to take two things that you don't think would go together and see how they mix. Heck, I even tried that gin and milk at Rachel's wedding, and it was pretty good. If you see me in my pickup truck, I'll be more likely to be playing Boot Camp Clik than Creedence Clearwater Revival. I think it all started with ice cream on my waffles.

Anyways, sometimes I come across things like this blog and I say, hey at least they're mixing it up. But rape fantasies involving Bob Villa posted next to entries on gangster rap?


Do the Evolution, 50 year old woman style!

Blog. Stupid word. You know why? Because if you go to a random blog you're going to find something about Little Miss Sunshine, Snakes on a Plane, or Gnarls Barkley. Not here. Today I'm just going to talk about an issue that would bring a tear of joy to both Oprah and Charles Darwin. Yep, you guessed it, MENOPAUSE!

So I'm reading The Third Chimpanzee. It's about how humans became humans, about that tiny little genetic bit, the 2% makes us do things like commit atrocities, create artistic masterworks and wear bucket hats. Okay, you got me, the book says nothing about bucket hats. I haven't read it all, but I think it's a safe assumption that the Pulitzer Prize-winning book doesn't go into Korn-inspired fashion.

The most interesting thing so far has been an investigation into menopause and how humans are one of only a couple species on earth to undergo menopause. I think some male kangaroo rat does too, oddly enough. The interesting thing was that the author of the book asserts that after menopause, women began having children earlier, and the children they had survived. In other words, before menopause, there was no biological clock.

Sex and the City? Try Sex and the Cave? It wouldn't have been a hit. What's the danger in waiting til you're 50 to crank 'em out back then, if you die, you were only going to live ten more years anyway. So what happened was our ancestors started reproducing earlier and multiplying like googles. The menopausal society knocked off the non-menopausal society, and look at where we are today.

PS The book told me that ducks commit rape though. Not cool, ducks.

PPS I was going to put up a picture of Sally Field but she seems to have found the fountain of youth. HGH? Botox?



So my bro gave me his old laptop, with the reasoning that "it's slow." Well, computers aren't like people, they don't lose processing speed as they get older. What happens is you install this, or click ok to this box and soon enough things start getting bogged down. The point is, the computer isn't that bad, and since I was actually considering buying one just like it, it's a done deal. It's a tablet PC, which means you can swivel around the top screen and snap it over the keyboard, then use a pen to write on the monitor like a notebook. It's convenient at work since I make a sketch for people now and then.

The point is, when I get a new computer, some things happen. One is, once I clean the thing up I start bogging it down with some programs that replicate old video game systems like the NES, SNES, Genesis- even one for the Apple //e computer and one that handles arcade games (MAME).

Now that's where the fun comes in. You can come across crazy versions of old classics like Zelda: Outlands or games we used to play in school like Lemonade Stand. But my favorite of any game right now is a little game called "Bullfight."

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Anybody who knows me knows that someday I want to fight a bull. Sorry if you think it's animal cruelty, but if being cruel to animals is this pretty than PETA can just tar and feather me now. Just look at the title screen. Back in the day when one genuine American quarter dollar piece got you in on the action, here's what you got.

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You have two buttons. One aims your cape, the other delivers the heat. The obvious strategy is to stay in the center of the stadium, and to be cautious but not too much so.

The first bull is for little kids and beginners. That's not to say I don't have some fun with Charger. Yeah, that's right, I give my bulls names. It doesn't make it any easier when I dispose of them, but when they take me out I have a name to salute. Basically, my strategy for Charger is to wait for him to approach, then slice IN FRONT of him rather than away. Then I drop the hammer. Dangerous, and daring, but I still only get 3200 points. I think the crowd loves it more though, and it's all about the show, right?

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Now onto the second bull, Papa San Cristobal. This guy has a temper, and you can usually use that to your advantage. He is very strong, too, and sometimes he can even manage to pop your dagger out from his own back by relying on the strength of the Lady of Guadalupe.

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Luckily, the town is on your side, as they give you a second dagger and you can finish your deed and move on to Poquita, as I call her, the third bull. She's gorgeous and it's definitely a misnomer and this is where my bullfighting career usually ends. How this happens is the old arcade two-step. Step one, a murder.

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Second step: eight letters, two words.

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Now sometimes you get lucky, sometimes your little compadre comes running in from the gate because he just can't bear to see you get flung out of the stadium. I like this guy, he's got style.

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But, the bulls, they have friends too. The fourth bull, Hector the Terrible, has a friend that I haven't even named yet, Bull X. I've only seen him once but I have this shot of the two of them together right before they took my life. Check this out. I think Hector the Terrible and Mr. X make the stadium look like the bathroom stalls at a Mexican restaurant, if you know what I mean.

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And of course, as in any game you put in your initials when you get the high score. And if you have cojones, like me, you put a dirty word in.

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But, if you notice, this game has cojones too. For the cabron in all of us, there's the kissing lips instead of a letter. What a game.

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talk about a haystack!

Thrift stores. You've all been to them, smelled the unique disinfectant on the garments, looked at the rows of pastel paintings of dogs and the piles of board games. Some of you have even bought a t-shirt or two, pulling the tag off and its universally-agreed dual staple job out. Well, let me tell you something, I'm what you'd call a conisseur of thrift stores. I don't know if a month has gone by in the past 7 or 8 years when I haven't been to a budget conscious store. Why? Because some of my best clothes have been found there. There was the brown coat with black faux fur, the rodman jersey, even my Bayless class of 93 Senior lock in shirt. I've found presents such as the jack o lantern orange shirt and a shirt that had an image of a camera with a neck strap superimposed on it.

The point is, you never know what you're going to find at a thrift store. So when I heard that the supposed "best thrift store in St Louis" was a place I'd never been, you know I was going to hit it up. Located near Northwest Plaza on St Charles Rock Road, this place was in a Latino section of St Louis. I never could find a Latin spot. Now, there was one thing the place did right, that I'd never seen done before. Separating the clothes by size! Why didn't anybody think of that sooner! No more XXXL Brett Hull jerseys from 94 to sift through. Suffice to say I scored some loot, tops among the gear was a shirt with the alphabet in sign language and a tee with bingo cards all over the belly.

PS The San Diego wrap up is posted, down two entries! It got predated because I had done a draft before I actually posted it.


Like a Pack of Wild Monkeys!

All I'm going to say about today's work is this... what separates us from monkeys is your opposable thumbs. Sorry to say, but that's it. Thank God for opposable thumbs.

In other news, I saw Little Miss Sunshine last night, and it was pretty fun seeing a wacky movie for free. But it seemed like too many people were over-laughing, like they wanted the movie to be funny. This has happened before at concerts or a play where I get the feeling people are sort of trying to be in the show themselves. Maybe it was just the lady next to me, I don't know. But it was pretty good, I think it's just been hyped a little too much.

Also, Eugene is on McSweeney's today. I sent emails to everybody, a tip to Deadspin, and even let a comment on Barry Bonds's site. Congrats man, since you're reading this you should let the world know how you feel now that you're published.


A Weekend in the Whale's Va Jay Jay

Ah San Diego, where to begin. Well, probably the weather. As someone remarked, living in St Louis this summer, people have become accustomed to cringing everytime they exit doors. It's a Pavlovian-response, conditioned in both myself and Cassidy. But on Thursday morning the salty sea air, 70 degree weather felt so unreal that I think we almost got hit by a few cars walking to the minivan my parents had rented to drive all the deadbeats (who didn't rent cars, like us) around.

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Rachel and Mike's pad, although not touching the beach and featuring a pool like their last place (I know, I know, I never saw it), was still amazing, with a view of an expansive waterfront and beautiful on the inside. They rent the upper unit above a family, but since the landlord was vacationing on Catalina off the coast of LA, we got to sleep at their place, with their dog Petra and bizarre lighting scheme.

Thursday night was the wedding rehearsal, and the church was one of those tiny classic beauties that girls get weepy about, no surprise Rachel picked it, haha.

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Smack dab in the middle of La Jolla, there was some local flavor on the block, such as a Ferrari dealership, a grocery store with iPods in vending machines, even a lovable tramp across the street who acted like he'd seen too many weddings to count. After a quick run through at Mary Star of the Sea, we headed to a beach (no I don't know which one, we went to four and I couldn't keep them straight). The luau was nice, I got to talk with some neighbors and relatives, and even got into some good discussions with Mike's family, my soon-to-be-relatives. I offered my cousin a quarter if he caught a bird on the beach, and he tried all night. I drank a little wine, and talked engineering with one of Rachel's high school friends who works as an Electrical Engineer at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories (I think) in San Francisco and her husband (I think) who works with Astra-Zeneca. Basically we talked about ethics in science and how undeniably nerdy engineers can be. World of Warcraft addiction is an embarassment to us all, as far as I'm concerned. Cassidy and I were tired after the long flight, we called it a night and got some sleep before the wedding the next day.

The next day the girls ran off to get their hair done while the guys did things like ate cereal and drank beer on the beach.

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The wedding was nice and surprisingly unemotional, mostly because I think people like Mike, he's a pretty good guy, and his family is cool too. We spilled out for pictures and some partying in a stretch Escalade, and I felt like I was at prom for a few, especially when we hit the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

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The photographers got creative here, so much so that random passerbys kept taking pictures. One little Hispanic man even started directing people like he was the photographer. Classic.

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We hit the reception all a little buzzed and so when my cousin Kevin asked me "how they (got) lights all the way up (a) tree" I gave him a long winded explanation on Mexican-American relations, NAFTA, border patrols, and even bring in the Mexican that somebody gave a beer to from our party bus. He was hanging out in the alley by the reception place, Old Venice. Anyway, after a few nice toasts, one each from my little sister, my dad and great aunt, a couple from Mike's brothers and his dad and insurance agent (yep, haha), we had some good food and some laughs.

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Rachel even had the wedding cake maker create a birthday wedding cake for me that was the most sugary substance I've ever consumed. We packed into a car after seeing the newlyweds off and another fun night.

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Saturday morning we finally got to have some fun. We hit the beach in full force, about 15 or 20 of us. Mike and Rachel took Cassidy and I out for some surfing lessons, and let me say I love the Endless Summer, but you can't truly appreciate riding a wave until you're on a board trying to do it.

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After an ice cream sandwich and a sunburn and a few hours of relaxing, though, we were ready to try out something new, in this case just sitting on our asses for awhile. Thank god I brought my GBA loaded up with Zelda: Outlands, that's all I'm going to say about that.

Sunday we hit a nice little breakfast spot where I ate a big ass breakfast. Carmelized bananas on top of a waffle, with a little maple syrup and butter. Throw some hash browns and bacon in, and a glass of water and one of fresh 100 percent apple juice. Ahh, it was good. Then my parents headed off and we went to Ocean Beach, which is CA at it's finest. It's where Emily (my little sis) and Jon (her husband) live, and I swear it's where they shoot Pimp my Ride.

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We walked down to the beach and stopped in at a few bong shops for laughs and stopped at this art gallery called Rock Paper Scissors that had some unreal things. We picked up a picture of a seagull carrying an octopus for Rachel and Mike's wedding present and headed to the beach where the newlyweds were.

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After some more fun in the sun, we decided to make an evening show of Talladega Nights, which put the whole weekend into perspective just as we were all starting to get a little moody. After some late-night Ali G, we headed to bed. What a trip.

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Time is like a snake that eats its tail

Remember that part in Clueless where the stoner says something about how his kids are going to think Nine Inch Nails are nerdy and not dangerous at all? I remember hearing that and thinking, no way man, keyboards and electric guitars and screaming about slavery and rough sex will never stop terrifying people. Well flash forward to this past weekend when I plugged my iPod into my sister's comp and took a look at what she had... 90's 90's and more 90's. Beck's Mellow Gold, the first CD I ever had? Check. Ill Communication, the sound of my 16th birthday? Check. Even Blind Melon, the band that existed like a cool breeze blowing out of my brother and sister's rooms for a few years in Jr High, until Shannon Hoon bit it. Another thing in my mind was how my dad gave me a gift certificate to iTunes for my birthday, and tearing up the charts now are the usual "I'm in Love with a Stripper"-esque ditties. Are the 90's coming back like the 80's did? I don't know... But I do know that I just gave a listen to Hole's first CD and I don't remember it sounding half this good. I doubt my kids will ever like it, though... too soft for them haha.

EDIT: Here's an article today that summarizes how I feel about it. A 40 year old takes on the top 40. I guess I just took on the top 25... notice how SOS and the new Jessica Simpson song are just rehashes of the 80's. Are hip hop versions of NIN and nirvana around the corner? Well, maybe that's why I like Girl Talk. Can you hear the Elastica mashed up with the Big Boi?


Talkin Bout Girl Talk

So I'm back from San Diego, aka "Whale's Vagina" if you don't speak Spanish, and I'm going to wait to tell the story of the journey until I have all the pictures from the wedding and the beach and the parties, etc. But it went well enough that I think I'm going to plan my next trip, a little Megabus-aided jaunt to Chicago to see Ratatat and Girl Talk in September. Aside from catching DJ Shadow and David Banner performing their new song, I can't think of an act I'd rather see.* Ratatat is a couple dudes who like to make wha wha whaaa noises with guitars in lots of weird ways and put cougars in their songs and pose by Ferraris in press photos. Girl Talk is this dude who just mashes up things like Dem Franchise Boys and Weezer with Biggie and the Verve and Elton John and Elastica and Nirvana and Lil Wayne. Both I heard about through mp3 blogs, and call me late to the party, but I had no idea there were so many out there.

Anyway, speaking of internet hype, Cassidy and I are headed to see Little Miss Sunshine this week, it should be pretty funny if the internet journal globe is spot on. HA!

*EDIT: DJ Shadow, October 6th at the Pageant, just announced! Who's coming with me?
*EDIT 2: I almost said Muse instead of DJ Shadow... Now they're coming to town Sep 14! That's a badass month of concerts!


Beach Time!

I was all prepared to make like Daryl Doran last night. I got a call from Fudge that a friend's indoor soccer team needed fill-ins because of a 21st birthday party. So I called up my boy Geoff and headed over to the Soccerdome. I planned on hammering along the boards, dropping a few in along the top shelf, orchestrating a nice 2-3-1 from the bench (no not really). But turns out that somebody got the time wrong from an email, and we all missed the game by 15 minutes, so the whole team forfeited. Crock of shit.

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Anyway, I just played a little pointless 5-on-5 with some buddies from my first high school and then was recouperating (sad, I know) when I saw an interesting interview on Leno with some guy about princess Di. He claimed that one time she did cartwheels in a leopard print bikini for the paparazzi on top of a boat to overshadow her husband's mistress's 53rd birthday. Of course that's going to get the front cover over some meaningless birthday. Anyway, it was fitting that I saw this because I'm headed to La Jolla, California for a wedding and it just seems like crazy fun stuff always happens on vacation, and you just can't plan it. So cheers to cartwheels and birthdays and weddings. The planned stuff will be great, but I'm sure I'll end up with a great story or two when I get back.

P.S. Fudge (real name Eugene Tucker) got his story in line to be on McSweeney's front page! Congrats, man! As for what it's about, I'm not going to spoil the surprise except to say it's about Barry Bonds. Look for it in the next couple weeks. Maybe we can get it on Deadspin, although they didn't print the last link I gave them, presumably because it questioned their reporting tactics and the resumee of their editor!


Pirate Booty

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So I was reading "Under the Black Flag" last night and there were lots of interesting details. One stood out, however. There was a section on Life at Sea, and how the Pirates were actually very organized, having contracts and even a rudimentary Workers' Compensation fund. For example, if you lost your right arm taking a ship you got 600 pieces of eight. If you lost your left arm, 500. If you lost your right eye, only 100. Basically, I think this is why so many pirates were walking around with some sweet-ass eyepatches and hooks. They'd just got a bunch of money, why not blow it on some fashion accessories, and turn a negative into a positive, eh matey? There was probably enough left over for a couple jugs of wine and a wench's company too. It makes me wonder about modern day gangs, that I just read about in "Can't Stop, Won't Stop". If they'd had some type of Workers' Comp system like this, I bet youd see all these dudes with iced out legs.

"Yeah man, it's platinum."