31 December 2006

The picture function doesn't work well

Movies I remember seeing in the theater this year, because I'm heading towards being a full-time shut-in by keeping the stubs to each movie I saw. It's not at all depressing.

Friends With Money
The Break Up
Superman Returns
An Inconvenient Truth
Talladega Nights
Little Miss Sunshine
Man Of The Year
Jackass 2
The Departed
Science Of Sleep
Casino Royale (Twice, actually)

Also, since we’re on the topic of full-disclosure and year-end tallies, the over/under is 250 on the number of times I pooed this year [officially].

Name-dropping other people's acquaintances

Yes, I'm back from the frustrations of low-tech creativity (and selling the fucking sofas, obviously). I cannot promise it'll last beyond tonight, but let's enjoy it while I'm still here and alive.

There's a pretty big deadline coming up on Wednesday--U of Iowa Writer's Workshop deadline. No, I don't really know how to write, but if I'm to be rejected a few years in a row, I want to be able to say that it wasn't just middle-bench schools sending the short letters. The ones signed by Lan Samantha Chang look nicer on my rejection wall, too.

It doesn't look like anyone is still around to read, so I've finally found my ideal audience, I suppose. Now I can get really diary[htic] confessional (see what I did there?). I see this as my chance to share feelings, happenstances and fond memories. Like unexpected run-ins at trendy beverage shops, just as an example.

Best of 2005, revisited

If you’re going to judge something, do it more than once. Leave yourself space to back up on your initial assumptions; if you don’t you’ll look like a flip-flopping bitch. By referring to myself as a guy who isn’t Chris DeLine (and, thus, doesn’t know a thing about music) at the end of last year, I can claim inexperience and general incompetence for missing all the good albums I did.

I shat out an end-of-the-year, top-fucking-ten list last year; I feel differently about my choices now. An artist like Devendra Banhart is still fucking cool, but I don’t listen to Cripple Crow anymore. And a songwriter like Jens [Yenz] Lekman had my favorite album of this year, even though it was released in 2005. so, since you care, and since I’m a sentimental follow-the-list-making-crowd type, here’s a revised list with comments when applicable:

Jens Lekman, Oh You’re So Silent Jens
The one concert I was able to go to this year; nothing about it was disappointing [if you don’t count the one thing—the absence of “Maple Leaves”]. Every song on this album [compilation of EPs, technically] has been an appropriate four-times-per-day song at different times in the last six months. Undeniably, this is tied to my six-month (and growing) career at Sofa Mart. Awkward…

Wolf Parade, Apologies To The Queen Mary
Still listen to it regularly; picked up “Modern World” and “I’ll believe in anything” (after seeing the video) as the songs I listen to every time—to go with “Grounds for Divorce,” “Fancy Claps” and “Dear sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts.”

Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene
Nothing has changed my feeling towards this one. I simply have listened to the two above a bit more. That’s all.

Decemberists, Picaresque

Belle And Sebastian, Push Barman To Open Old Wounds
Another compilation of EPs, I listen to six or seven songs regularly; honestly, I don’t know if I’ve had the patience yet to listen through both discs more than four or five times, though.

Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
“Pioneers.” Almost solely because of it (and European trains).

Sufjan Steven, Illinois
Little Miss Sunshine has “Chicago” for one song (I think). Kept it relevant; The Avalanche bonus CD made that song great in three new ways, too.

Mountain Goats, Sunset Tree
How the fuck did I go this long without someone saying, “Hey Joe, Check out the Mountain Goats. Seriously, the guy knows how to write songs.” I started listening on this album; I’m on All Hail West Texas (an older, lo-fi album), with so many more to find reassurance in creative voice and meaningful, original lyrics.

Tapes N’ Tapes, The Loon
Everything here could be considered hipster-chic, just like anything else that gets considerable attention by enough Indie-sumers. I just really enjoyed this as an album to listen to during the summer, regardless of others' opinions of it.

Animal Collective, Feels
Still "visceral," I suppose.

Architecture In Helsinki, In Case We Die
Had creative epiphanies for awhile after I started listening to AiH. Couldn’t help but smile.

30 December 2006

I fucking changed something

Finally, some fucking progress. Am I right? I updated the douche chill of the current time period, after a few months. Someday I'll update that ugly fucking header and figure out a way to produce a nice looking page; perhaps I'll even produce some content for a wider audience. For now, you'll have to live with my high school drawing of me, with the promise to write on the following things within a week[/month]:

-Why the fuck there's a stick figure with Joe-Thiele-like biceps, and how I prophesized such a figure while still in high school.

-The funny thing about me in high school.

-The greatest things ever [within the last few moments].

-A column, to debute in 2006, entitled "Terrorists wear ties, too [you fucking asshole]"

-The best of 2005, as we've finally had a bit of time to reflect.

-The most-liked songs of 2002 as written by a mainstream high-schooler years before discovering the joys of judging things.

For now, here's a list of lines I've thought up lately that will possibly make it into future stories/columns/posts. A thousand points for each reference pointed out when used:

"You've sliced straight through the crumple zone of my heart."

"And then they have sex and a baby is born." [Later] "And then they have sex and a cabinet is born."

"Snow is basically frozen water." GENIUS!

"I was once said to be the third most attractive man in my hometown. Don’t ask how many there were to choose from; it ruins the mystique."

21 December 2006

Maybe this is why I've never "gotten" Dylan

I read somewhere just a minute ago that somebody--"what can [they] say?"--thought that Bob Dylan was "a legend in every sense of the word."

Fucking people and their fucking exaggerations. Not arguing against Dylan at all, but instead the people who idolize to the point of missing the meaning of the word they say. Sort of like David Cross' comedy bit about people who use "literally" exactly opposite of its meaning. Literally.

My response to the Dylan people (and others with the same cliched mindset), with the same half-effort: how does Bob Dylan provide an easy-to-use reference to understand maps?


13 December 2006

Who's my favorite actor?

It's Matt Damon. Not only because of 'Departed.' Not only because of the non-Hollywoodness.

A lot because of this.

08 December 2006

Better times

This morning I decided to put on my favorite Goodwill find, an Iowa "jersey" type shirt that I've worn to watch just about every Iowa game since my sophomore year of college, and that some might argue is a size too small.

Inexplicably, wearing this shirt makes me want to watch college football. Thank you, YouTube, for giving me the power to see one of the greatest games in Iowa's history. I still feel as nervous, two years after the fact, watching that last drive. Why the fuck didn't they call a timeout?? It's possible I've forgiven them.

01 December 2006

Four hours until work is too common a position.

I have to go back to work in a few hours, so I'll just dump everything I've been thinking about the last few days:

-The Wire is still an amazing fucking show. Nearly finished with season 2. Try not to spoil anything for me, and I'll try to remember to not do something unethical to you.

-You know what else is a good show? Arrested Development. You know what a good deal is? Buying the Arrested Development season 3 DVD amongst 300 other consumers on Black Friday. It's like America bonding by way of clawing a path to $200 laptops. The commentaries, as always, make the forty-five minute wait in line at Best Buy completely worth it; I think I'm over there not being another season (because, honestly, what the fuck would they do to top the three previous?). I'm more upset that the finale didn't have an extra eighteen minutes, as Mitch Hurwitz hints at in the extras. THAT would have made the final episode perfect, instead of rushed and close-enough-to-perfect-to-get-the-benefit-of-the-doubt.

-The picture at the top of this post is one of the first results for "Funny picture" on Google Image Search. I put a lot of effort into getting you the most compelling visuals I can afford, but fuck it if I'm not tired.

-"The Office" gets me through another week. This week's episode was actually written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the creators of the original British series. I didn't notice the first time through, but when I rewatched it, it was noticeable. Also, if you're one of the people who think the original series is infinitely better, and you haven't yet started listening to the Ricky Gervais podcast, you're an asshole. For the rest of you, consider yourselves a year late, but no worse off.

-I realized last Thursday that I’ve been going about this motivate-research-write blogging thing completely wrong. Instead, I really just need to watch “Inside Edition” everyday to get the most interesting fucking things out there.

For instance, the Thanksgiving episode clued me in to the fact that, although I may have seen the Black Friday ads to consumer-whore myself the next day, I had not completed my preparation. I didn’t have an entrance strategy! I didn’t have an exit strategy! Why didn’t I have a shopping vest, with enough pockets to hold my list, credit cards, munchies and itinerary? Should I have been at the store, five hours before the doors open, to ensure my parking spot?

But not only that. I should start watching on its journalistic standards as well: “And check this out—a mountain lion in the house, but he doesn’t use the door!” [It used the window! Fuck!]

-Even though I haven't completed anything resembling a good sample of my work, or gathered three references, or sent out transcripts (or test scores) or dwindled my list of possibilities to a working short list, I think I may have found the first paragraph to my personal statement. If you know me, leave a comment letting me know how well it displays my talents [or that you read this far down]. If you don't, leave a note with your first impression, and if I were the type of person you'd want to know more about [like a personal ad, but without the creepy undertone of awkward sex]. Remember, this is an introduction to my fiction writing sample and me, as a person:

I am an incredible Minesweeper player. If you haven’t recognized it as a time-killing computer game yet, you’re going to fall behind. My best times are four/twenty-four/sixty-four seconds, on the beginner-intermediate-expert settings, respectively. That means my overall time is ninety-two seconds, making me the 263rd best minesweeper player in the world, based on unreliable (though not dismissible, I argue) internet rankings. It also means if you take one second to carefully consider each word in this paragraph, I am hypothetically able to beat each difficulty of my daily excuse for not writing.

"...make that 4000 plugs."

When I saw Bonnie "Prince" Billy on Conan [a few?] months back, I decided to start listening. This, as it turns out, is my favorite song off of a very solid album.

I probably wouldn't have watched, and I wouldn't have something to listen to on my way to work in the morning, if it weren't for the omnipresent Culture Bully. Andrew WK was set to play with the band, so we were [naturally] looking for the guy with long hair and a white t-shirt. I guess listening to the actual music and hearing where all the DIG! was coming from should have been the next logical step.

His piano lead between verses more than equals its guitar counterpart--but I still love the latter on a slow morning.