10.28.2008

Scene

"I'm making a list of all the reasons you're bad for me."

"There's only one. I don't think you're as funny as you do."

Showtune Tuesday: Sweeney Todd...

Careful what you eat when you trick-or-treat on Fleet Street!

(Alas, old links are broken.)

10.27.2008

Dear Michael

Dear Michael,

Many months have passed since my last letter. As your courtship of Miss Hancock has grown more serious, I have been pleased to spend time with you. I often think fondly of this summer's adventures: the Renaissance Festival we attended for Andrea's birthday celebration, the hamburgers you grilled to perfection in the outdoor roof garden in Brooklyn, or the simple evenings of your strumming jaunty tunes on a colorful plastic guitar.

Thus it was with a mixture of confusion and sadness that I learned you could not dine with us Friday last. Our companions prepared a delicious meal, but you declined, and for what? Laundry. This is what we were told. Only later did I discover that you were not, in fact, "doing laundry." If you were "doing laundry," perhaps I could understand. Household chores like laundry can consume much time, with the washing, drying, and folding. No! You were sorting and pre-treating your garments. How ashamed I felt that I was not worthy enough to be considered more important than a stain on your collar! You have been false at worst, Michael, and at best misleading.

It is my sincere hope that your absence was not a sign of vengeance. I concede that I have declined several extended invitations to the performances of your improvisational troupes. I hope we are of one mind in the belief that no friendship could survive such tit-for-tat accounting. Search your heart, and you will know my true feelings.

As winter approaches in these troubled times, I long for the comfort of my dearest friends. I only write to unburden myself of these thoughts, so that they do not poison any future meeting.

With kindest regards to you and your family.
Always truly yours,
Brian

10.26.2008

Harry Potter

In the last month, I've read Harry Potter installments 2-4. I don't really remember that much about Chamber of Secrets, but here are a few things I've been mulling over. There are spoilers if you are on the Trig Track like me and haven't read the books yet.

Because I had seen the movie of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I ruined one of the major developments that is revealed in #3. Still, I enjoyed the book. I think it's brilliant that the action centers around a school because any kid (and any adult) can relate to that. In fact, one of my favorite things about The Prisoner of Azkaban is the interactions with teachers. I love that McGonagall is dismissive of Divination as a subject. I like that we have more reason to understand why Snape is so cruel to Harry. I like that they have a real Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for once. I appreciated some new fantastical items, like boggarts, animagi, and the Marauder's Map.

Of the books so far, I've liked Goblet of Fire best because everything is growing up. I laughed out loud at the "Unexpected Task" chapter chronicling how the kids all end up coupled for the Yule Ball. But more than in the previous books, the danger feels more dangerous. I liked this one the best because V. Diddy is back and bad. We've been through three books at this point, and we know everyone fears Voldemort so much so that they don't use his name, and we have some knowledge of his history, but we have not been witness to much. I was skeptical! He proves himself in his resurrection scene, and you can't walk away from this installment doubting him.

The books are page turners, which makes the reading experience itself pretty fun. I do not like the way that major parts of the story are vomited up through some kind of monologue during the final chapters (Tom Riddle in #2, the Shrieking Shack scene in #3, Veritaserum in #4), but I overlook this because getting to those final chapters has been a good time. (And another point for #4 is that the real climax happens before that stage, so it isn't as bothersome.)

Harry himself leaves me thinking. He's a pretty passive character. Everything happens to him, but how many times does he show initiative? He likes Quidditch and excels at it, and he does get Lupin to teach him to defend himself, but most of the time he is thrown into situations and deals. (How could he possibly have been a potential Slytherin?) Maybe I'm just hating on him because I'm into the fifth book now, and in the opening chapters you just want to tell him to stop whining. In general, I find him likable but not as interesting as his friends. This surprised me in a protagonist.

10.22.2008

Ellen versus Palin

We need to invite her over for Sunday Night Dinner.

10.21.2008

Showtune Tuesday: Ragtime

This song is awesome. Unfortunately I could not find a good video. This is the Broadway recording by Audra McDonald (I don't follow Private Practice, but she is Dr. Naomi Bennett) set to a user-generated photo montage. I'd recommend closing your eyes and just listening.

(Alas, old links are broken.)

10.16.2008

Project Runway

I've been carefully avoiding the Internets all day so I could watch my DVR. Congratulations, Judy Noodles!!!

10.14.2008

Showtune Tuesday: The Sound of Music

Let's get this classic out of our systems. I'm partially going to blame this on hiking near Boulder...


Lake Isabelle at Brainard Lake Recreation Area



10.08.2008

Dirty Pop

On "My So-Called Life" Angela observes, "Walking into someone else's house for the first time is like entering another country." A friend echoed this sentiment when clicking through someone else's mp3 player.

A warning: the list below is highly influenced by songs that a) I listen to while running, and b) I listen to while trying to fall asleep on a plane. Welcome to my country. The top 25 most played songs on my iPod as of 10/8/08:

25. The Rat - The Walkmen
24. Le vent nous portera - Noir Desir
23. Phantom of the Opera Song - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
22. Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
21. Talk to Me, Dance With Me - Hot Hot Heat
20. Tell Him - The Exciters
19. Once Around the Block - Badly Drawn Boy
18. Ocean Avenue - Yellowcard
17. Heartbreaker - Mariah Carey
16. You Look So Young - The Jayhawks
15. Airport Song - Guster
14. Edge Of Seventeen - Stevie Nicks
13. Total Eclipse Of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler
12. Philosophy - Ben Folds Five
11. Favorite Things - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
10. Dancing In The Dark - Bruce Springsteen
9. Michael - Franz Ferdinand
8. Delicate - Damien Rice
7. Stickshifts and Safety Belts - Cake
6. Toxic - Britney Spears
5. Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado & Timbaland
4. Me Gustas Tu - Manu Chao
3. Why Don't We Do It In the Road - The Beatles
2. Casimir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens
1. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - The Arcade Fire

What about you?

10.07.2008

Showtune Tuesday: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

This week was tough because I wanted to post something from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, but I had a difficult time narrowing down my choice.

So if you feel trapped, go here.

If you're in the mood for a sing-along, go here.

And for anyone who wants to know where love came from, watch and learn:

10.04.2008

Thinking About It

I am an independent voter that leans left. I am voting for Barack Obama.

I believe that some wars are necessary, but no wars are good. I believe the war launched in 2003 was not necessary. It is my prerogative to use my vote to throw the incumbent party out of the White House.

I do not believe my opposition to the war in Iraq in any way reflects on my support for the armed forces. They are two separate issues that should not be confused.

I am impressed by Hillary Clinton and think she would make a good president. I believe she is extremely intelligent. I do not believe, in her heart of hearts, that she thought there were WMD in Iraq in 2003, or that there was any link between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein; she is too smart to be misled by George Bush. I think her vote for war was a calculated move that she thought she needed in order to run for the presidency. It is a sticking point, and I could not fully support her candidacy. I hope she has a long political future ahead, though.

I don’t think it’s wise to wage war and cut taxes at the same time.

I believe free markets are not the solution to every problem, namely health care.

I believe that people who are more intelligent, responsible, experienced, educated, creative, and open-minded than me should be running the country. I don’t believe “everyday folks” like me is qualification enough, I don’t believe having children is qualification enough. If that makes me an elitist, I will wear that label happily.

I am conservative in the sense that I don’t believe the government should have a say in reproductive decisions, in end-of-life decisions, and in who-am-I-going-to-fuck-tonight decisions.

I believe abstinence-only education is a pipe dream. I think some studies support this. I believe in birth control.

On education in general, I haven’t worked it all out.

I would vote a thousand times over if I could to counteract the votes of the people who say, "I'm a Democrat, but I could never vote for a black man." They exist. They're your neighbors.

I’m sure we should be investing in alternative energy right about now!

I hope in my lifetime one major candidate can say, “Yes, I believe in same-sex marriage” without cost to their party’s election chances. I believe in same-sex marriage. I believe I do not talk often with friends and relatives about it because I am afraid to hear what their opinions are. I believe no one has offered any convincing argument against same-sex marriage or gays serving openly in the military.

I believe in God. I am not that into Church these days but I still pray.

I believe the economy is going down the tubes, and I trust Obama’s economic team more than McCain’s. In general, I would sleep easier at night with Obama and Biden in charge, not McCain and Palin.

Until McCain’s vice presidential selection, I didn’t have much feeling about him one way or the other. I think he was the best Republican candidate for his party's nomination. The choice of Sarah Palin leads me to question his judgment and whether he actually puts his country first. Sarah Palin’s performance in debate and in interviews with Katie Couric (granted that is not much to go on, but whose fault is that?) demonstrates how blatantly and dangerously unqualified she is for the vice presidency. The possibility is very scary to me. I hope we all seriously considers the implications of our votes next month.