Tuesday, August 05, 2003

  • THE THING: The graffiti in the bathroom.
          Writing on the wall.
              Are they artists or vandals?
                  Probably neither.
    Yes, I am about to do a review of what some fellows wrote while taking a poop.

    What is it about being in a toilet stall that causes people to feel inspired to write on the wall? Can someone tell me, please?

    Of course, the writing is usually vile, sometimes interesting, and occasionally cryptic.

    Here's a couple of writings I've noticed --

    Someone wrote:
    Only thru [sic] pain are we truly alive.

    Someone else decided to respond:
    Pain is only an illusion.

    And a final answer, which appeared, due to its placement and sentiment, to be directed at both of them:
    You are SO cliché.

    I thought it was some intrepid conversation for a bathroom stall wall. I mean, this is deep stuff... deeper than the bowl next to which it is written...

    Another quick one before I go... someone had written, quite a while ago, the following:
    Celine Dion is beautiful.

    For weeks that stood there, unadulterated on the bathroom wall. It was high up, in a very reverent position as graffiti goes. I couldn't imagine how people could just let that stay there, and not place a witty, abusive rejoinder!

    Finally, I noticed that someone had written some advice for the author of the above message:
    Kill yourself.

    That's better.

Monday, August 04, 2003

  • THE THING: Trying to find a kid-friendly myth.
          Looking for a tale
              related to the night sky
                  that is G-rated.
    Why do all the myths and legends of the night sky have to do with violence and horror and perverse sexuality??

    Every other month I do a storytellting show for little kids in the Planetarium... I have to search around for kid-safe stories. When it comes to classic myths and legends, there are VERY few. It doesn't matter what culture it was, the ancient people's had exclusively adult content when it came to constellation stories.

    Here's a couple examples:

    A Native American story goes like this:
    "The Coyote liked to show off to the girls by juggling his eyeballs. One day he threw one so high it stuck in the sky."

    You just can't tell that to 3 year olds!

    We could go with the standard Greek stories, but those are filled with adultery, incest, murder and lies! Vicious murders and lies! AND, apparently the major Greek gods were members of NAMBLA:
    "Ganymede is the young, beautiful boy that became one of Zeus’ lovers."

    I really don't want to support man-god-boy love in my shows.

    The Asian cultures were just as bad. They have tons of stories, as well. Many are interesting, of course, but I just can't use them. Like this:
    "A particular myth tells of when the man in the moon (Kidili) attempted to rape the first woman, Wati-kutjara threw a magical boomerang which severed the rapist's genitals."

    For a children's show, I try to avoid the words 'severed', 'rapist', AND 'genitals'.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

  • THE THING: Finding an apartment.
          An aprtment hunt
              which may have ended quickly...
                  I hope not too quick!
    So I have to find myself a place to live! Looks like the house is closing on September 18th. We just had a home inspection; as long a Mr. Inspector Man doesn't suggest we should tear down and rebuild, I think it's on!

    So I'm looking... the ad that caught my eye said the following:

    1 Br lakefrt, Fplc, W/D,
    Utils incl for one prof'l. $975

    There was also a location and a phone number listed, but with all my problems with stalkers lately, I figured I'd leave that info off.

    The only thing that was concerning me was the "...for one prof'l." bit. What does that mean? I checked my Electronic Pocket Oxford English Dictionary, and the only word that starts with 'prof' and ends with 'l' is "professional". I might not fit into that category. Am I a professional? I'm an astronomer... does that qualify me as a professional? I can't be sure.

    The only other word that it could have stood for that I could find in there was "profiterole"... but that seems to be a chocolate-covered cream puff. I might be considered a cream puff, in the athletic sense.

    Anyway, the ad sounded perfect! Lakefront... I live by a lake now! Fireplace... it was a household requirement when I was house shopping before!

    So I called the guy and went over to check it out. I really like a bunch of things, but I am in the middle of a little mental debate.

    A good thing: It's easy to get to, and certainly no further away from work than I am now.

    A bad thing: The apartment is kind of small. The kitchen is very galley. Almost a closet. I will need to buy a little island to have some counter space.

    A good thing: It is right on the water, the view of the lake is amazing. There is a wide deck onto which you are led by double doors flanked by tall windows. And I have access to the lake! I can bring the boat!! And no lake fees! I can even swim right off the dock behind the house. Oh, and the owner has a jacuzzi on the deck that I am free to use. And there is plenty of room on the deck for my yard furniture (I built that table! Sort of...) and the grill.

    A bad thing: It's somewhat small. It has an eat-in living room.

    A good thing: It has a bar in the living room. A BAR! Also, there is a liquor store and an Italian restaurant within easy walking distance. If you know me, you're probably wondering why I haven't moved in already.

    A bad thing: It's quite small. The bedroom is really a raised area without full-sized walls around it. There are half-high divider walls.

    A good thing: It has a fireplace. Well, really a wood-burning stove. But that's FINE! Might even be better... the more contained the fire is, the better. And the guy who owns the place (he lives in the top half of the house) gets wood that apparently I can use! Sweet.

    A bad thing: It's rather small. I'm not exactly sure where the couch would go. Loveseat -- no problem! I might be able to put the couch on the bar...

    A good thing: It's just a single apartment. I get to park in the driveway. There are no neighbors, except for the guy upstairs. He lives alone and seems real laid back.

    A bad thing: It's really small. I will need a storage unit or two to hang on to most of my stuff. You know, I always though I had too much stuff, anyway. But it is seriously small, even for having little stuff. Apparently, there used to be a couple living there. They must have been conjoined twins.

    A good thing: All is included in the rental price. Electric, heat, water, cable, everything. The only thing that is not is the phone. Maybe I'll just get a cell phone with unlimited minutes. *-gulp-* I ditched my cell phone a while back -- I don't know if I can return to the land of the cellular zombies.

    A bad thing: It is small. The cat will think she is still in her cat carrier once I let her out.

    It seems that there are a ton of GOODs and just one decent-sized BAD. I think I can overcome it. Also, it will be a month-to-month lease, so if it is way too much for me to handle, I can always bail after 6 months or something.

    I shall keep us posted...

  • THE THING: This little story: The Poacher, by Ursula LeGuin.
          A brief adventure
              of a boy leaving his life
                  to tunnel elsewhere.
    I don't think I've read any Ursula LeGuin before! I've read SciFi/Fantasy stuff my whole life, and I always saw her stuff creeping around, but never picked anything up.

    This was a nice tale of a boy trying to tunnel his way out of his miserable life. He lives with an abusive father that forces him to steal mushrooms and trap animals from private lands. One day, he stumbles upon a wall of brambles... he spends years cutting his way through to see what is on the other side. He finds a sort of secret garden back there -- there is a castle inside, but everyone is asleep, as if under some spell.

    Hey, living among a bunch of somnolent folks is better than being with abusive, awake people.

    He decides to stay.

    It was a great story for sitting outside on a summer day. It went quickly, and was a bit epic, which is surprising for a story that took me about an hour to read, and only had one character who wasn't comatose.

Final Score on the Chris Worth Scale: $2.00. No explanation, except for what I've poked in up above.

  • THE THING: This radio station: WDST, Radio Woodstock -- World Class Rock

          Always employing
              music that I'm enjoying.
                  Never annoying.

    [I wonder if that is the first rhyming haiku in history. Sorry about that.]

    WDST is from Woodstock, NY. Not exactly where the big ol' concert was held, but it is its namesake.

    It is, I'm pretty sure, the last independently owned radio station on the planet. If you are listening to another station, it is probably owned and homogenized by Clear Channel... 25% of the ears directed towards a radio are directed to a station owned by one company. Hey, whatever -- it's capitalism, right?

    I just have to say that WDST has the best music and DJs I have ever heard. I used to live close enough to tune in live, but now I have to stream them via the Internet (gotta love this Internet thing.... I hope it sticks around...).

    In the time that I have been sitting here, I jotted down a bunch of bands I've heard -- There was David Bowie, Widespread Panic, Ben Harper, Blondie, Lifehouse, Erin McKeown, REM, The Who, Coldplay, Natalie Imbruglia, and the Gin Blossoms. Those are the ones I recognized... there were a few others whose names I failed to catch. Ryan Adams just ended a song. Right now there is something on I don't know, but I LOVE IT. Something about a painkiller. The line that just went by was "You give me so much love that it blows my brains out..." OK... Hang on...

    I'm back!! I just looked up that line on Google -- the band is apparently "Turin Brakes". They are wonderful. I love this station.

    If you like music you'll like this station. "What kind of music?" you ask? Just music. They just play music. What a refreshing change... there's not really a format. I think they most closely fit into what is called "adult alternative" but they are NOT limited by that at all. Just check it out...

    Edwyn Collins just came on...

  • THE THING: This movie: The 13th Warrior.

          Action, adventure,
              arabs, norsemen, cannibals.
                  lots of big battles!

    This movie was on SciFi yesterday afternoon... I usually don't watch movies on TV, but I seem to be on a TV movie kick lately.

    This was a perfect TV movie! Not too deep, but with enough action and mystery to move things along.

    Antonio Banderas gets drawn into an excursion to help some Norse fellows (12 of them, plus him -- the 13th Warrior! Get it?) take care of some cannabalistic demon dudes who are ravaging some northern city.

    The intro is brief and concise. The plot is trim and ever-forward. The characters are grim and purposeful. No one is terribly likeable, but are certainly duty-bound. There's a lot of honor being bandied about. Basically, the whole thing is about Antonio going from sissy-boy to butt-kicker. It made for a fun afternoon.

  • THE THING: This movie: The Importance of Being Earnest.

          Tries to be clever,
              and surprising and funny.
                  Doesn't pull it off.

    I'm sort of on a Reese Witherspoon kick, I guess, since I Haiku Reviewed Pleasantville a few Blogs ago!

    In this movie, she's crazy.

    The show follows some guy who lives in the coutryside, and pretends to have a brother named "Earnest" so he can run off and play in the city on a regular basis. [Why can't he just say, "I wanna go play in the city!"?]

    He visits his friend, who pretends to have a sick buddy named "Bumbry" so that he can run off and skip out of social engagements. This dude also seems to have some furious monetary issues -- he doesn't pay for anything. He doesn't even pay his butler.

    The first guy (I don't remember anyone's name) is in charge of his cousin, who seems to have fallen in love with the made up person named Earnest. Check this out: She loves someone she has never met. And is her cousin. Yikes.

    Basically, all the people are either lying or in love with someone who is lying.

    Well, the whole thing comes to head when all the people who pretended to be someone else come together. Everyone's trying to marry their cousins, and people are related all over the place. It seems to try so hard to be funny and clever, but it just seems muddled and incestuous.

    On the good side: The acting seems pretty good, and the sets and costumes required some effort!

    But, it was not my favorite film ever, I must say...

  • THE THING: This book: Ariel, by Steven R. Boyett

          Sounds silly at first,
              then gets dark and dangerous,
                  no happy ending.

    If someone had told me what this book was about before I grabbed it on a whim from Fictionwise, I would have never read it. And, though I guess I would have not been the wiser, I would have been missing out on a great one.

    With that known, I am still going to lay out a brief overview for the rest of the world...

    It takes place somewhere near present day. For some reason, all of a sudden, all machines (basically) and electronics and explosions stop working. No phones, no lights, no motorcars, not a single luxury. At the same time, magical things begin to work. Wizards appear, as well as mythical creatures like griffons and dragons. Of course, unicorns show up, as well.

    The story mainly follows the journey of a boy named Pete, and his unicorn, titularly named Ariel. Normally, one might think that a magical world without the disruption of industry might be a nice place. I mean I know there's not a lot of the things we take for granted, but there's MAGIC! You can do whatever you want! Sounds pretty sweet to me, anyway. Some things are nice -- when The Change occurred, all the air and water pollution seemed to go away. But aside from a few niceties, mostly the world is a sort of post-apocalyptic nightmare. It definitely has a scrounge-and-horde Mad-Max-style feel to it.

    When I found out this dude penned his book when he was 18, I was quite impressed. And the afterword for this e-book reissue has a lot about his "creative process". It reminded me of how I write, and legitimized (in my brain) my own writing style. NOT my Blog-writing style -- that's quite a bit different than my fiction work. Nothing legitimizes my Blogs... :)

    Anyhoo, it's a dandy of a book -- the plotline sounds as if it belongs in the "Young Adult" section, but the violence and horror keeps it out of there, for sure.

Final Score on the Chris Worth Scale: $14.95. If they print this thing in trade paperback, buy it for your collection. Otherwise, Buy eBooks!