Friday, August 31, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I ended up liking the movie, but Al Gore’s voice and humor ran a little long for me. He thinks he is a comedian at times, but I didn't know if he would bust jokes during this movie besides the now infamous, “I am Al Gore. I used to be the next president of the United States.”

The jokes do continue, at least into the seventh minute. There are some jokes after that, they just aren't good.

I believe in global warming. It is tragic. There is no doubt about that. I appreciate what Al Gore is doing. His presentation is, surprisingly, somewhat entertaining and only at times all about Al.

His presentation on the increasing strength of hurricanes is essential, but his focus on Hurricane Katrina is a bit lopsided. The reason Katrina was so destructive, at least to New Orleans, was due to the Big Easy’s spectacularly crappy hurricane defenses. Katrina was not nearly as strong as Hurricane Dean. In August of 2005, when Katrina came ashore, New Orleans didn’t even have protection against a 100-year storm, protection which is now being built, but it won’t come close to Amsterdam’s protection against a 10,000-year-storm. True story. That’s impressive.

Gore’s bit of the slideshow when he talks about an ice shelf in Antarctica and ice in Greenland that if melted would raise the sea level by twenty feet is frightening.

An Inconvenient Truth isn’t the “sudden jolt” Gore talks about us needing before we commit whole heartedly to saving the environment. I wish it was, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough. Unfortunately, Hollywood has raised most of the country. We only seem to be awakened to action by catastrophes. The catastrophe of global warming doesn’t move fast enough to scare a huge portion of the population into action. It should. It hasn't yet, and that is what scares me the most.

Gore leaves it at this: there is hope. We have the capacity to reduce our carbon emissions; it is the political will of the United States that needs to change. He points out that when that will has changed in the past the United States has done some awesome things. He hopes that the change happens before it is too late. I can agree with that.

Watch the movie. Check the site. Turn your computer off at night. Do something.

www.climatecrisis.net

I Heart Libraries

Today is a documentary day. Kate is at work until 10:30. I am at home with An Inconvenient Truth, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Super Size Me.

Right now I am finally watching Super Size Me. Obesity was already under scrutiny before this movie, but this film must have put the fast food industry under even more pressure because it seems to be a lot of rehash to me. I think this is the case because I read most of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and because fast food, and its unhealthy side effects, has come under so much scrutiny that it is hard to go a week without seeing a report about said subject somewhere in the media.

I don’t know if he is going to make it all thirty days. It is day 21 and poor Mr. Spurlock is having heart pain and gaining layers of fat with each day. You can tell the poor bloke is seriously concerned about this experiment.

I knew it was coming. He is finally trying to contact McDonalds. This isn’t going to go well.

Wow. Day 27. He is going to make it. This is disgusting.

After 13 calls to McDonalds Mr. Spurlock is finally able to get a hold of a lady he was looking for. She isn’t helpful.

Day 30. He has made it to the last McSupper. He gained 24.5 pounds in this time.

After he was done it took him over a year, I think, to lose that weight.

The film was powerful, depressing, and it gives you a reason to detest regular consumption of McDonalds, if you didn’t have one already.

I want to know what Mr. Spurlock is doing now. He had some show about him doing something different for 30 days at a time. I haven’t seen a commercial for that show in well over a year. I don’t think that show was successful. This isn’t that surprising. Mr. Spurlock threw his whole life into this experiment. You can tell he is seriously concerned about the fast food industry and obesity. To expect the same effort and success in a television show covering, I assume, a wide range of subjects, is too much.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

He looks at pictures

There are a lot of reasons he enjoys Facebook. First among them: pictures. He loves looking at pictures of friends, old and new. There is nothing like doing some fine quality stalking by taking a flip through someone's photo album. He can bypass all that silly conversation and awkward messaging and go straight to the good stuff, the visual update.

He gets visual updates a lot from college friends. However, this is where he often gets confused. There don’t seem to be that many people leaving his college town. This seems a bit sad, unless they are all going into med school. On the bright side, UW doesn’t have a med school, so that can’t be the case. What is the case? He doesn’t know. It might be a case of too many drinks at 3rd Street, or too many Stones (as in thirty Keystone Lights, or 30 Stones).

All he knows for sure is that he saw some of these people for the first time his freshman year. He himself took five years to graduate and has been gone a year and a half. So, he wonders, what the hell is that dude still doing in Laramie? Look, he says, you don’t need to grow up, but you do need to move on.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Winning, it turns out, isn't the only thing

I don’t know what sparked the thought, but I was thinking today about those infamous lectures you get from coaches after a bad loss or something similar. Now, I know that coaches have to get stern every once in a while. I am fine with that. And, throughout my swimming career I developed a high level of tolerance for their bullshit. The first time I really saw the shit hit the fan was when I was a sophomore in high school. The coach, Scott, sat us down in an isolated corner of the pool deck so we were walled in by a couple of diving boards. We were just a bunch of wet high school boys that were 90% naked and out for a swim. We were looking for fun. Swimming, at this point in any one of our lives, should not have been treated as a job. Scott seemed to disagree. He blew up, telling us we should be ashamed of our performance and that he thought we were so much better than that. He wasn’t proud to be a Lambkin (yes, that was our mascot) that day and he told us we shouldn’t be either. The best part, this was after a win. We almost doubled the score of the team we swam against that day. We were unstoppable that year, easily winning every dual meet and going on to win conference. I wasn’t really sure what Scott was looking for. He never said. He just said that we sucked that day. I guess it was a performance because we didn’t 1-2-3 our opponents in every event.

Scott became a notorious yeller. I hated feeling his wrath from across the pool with a glare or from a foot away when he would be foaming at the mouth during his oral tirade against my swimming abilities. So, when I qualified for State that year at Conference and even got the Lambkins a few points in the meantime, one of the reasons I was ecstatic was that I wouldn’t have to face Scott’s wrath after I got out of the pool. Actually, he was jumping up and down on the side of the pool for me. He was so happy. And, I loved seeing him so happy, even if he was only happy because he only cared about winning.

My tolerance level wasn’t tested again until college, and then many times, but I want to focus on one lecture my college coach gave us after a meet against UCSB. We were back in Mission Viejo after a long ride and the coach let the girls off the bus. He told the guys to stay where we were. I prepped myself and took a deep breath thinking it might prepare me for the absurdity of his words. Usually it did, but not this time.

The rant he launched into was easily the most morale-breaking, disgraceful outburst I have ever heard from a coach. He was really pissed we didn’t swim best in-season times up in Santa Barbara. He was pissed we lost. Blah, blah, blah. It went on for quite a while and I could see the girls out of the corner of my eye standing in the doorways of their rooms, watching it all go down.

I know he said he was ashamed to have any gear on his body representative of the school. He was also ashamed to call us a men’s team. He called us all women. Oh God, I checked between the legs just to make sure. Phew. I know there was more, but at one point it got so ugly that I just couldn’t bare it anymore. I must have thought about something else for a while like sleep, but I know I eventually was contemplating ending my swimming career right then and there.

I don’t know what he exited the bus with. I looked up after a moment and he was gone. One of the captains stood up and preached in a roundabout way that the coach was justified in saying those things. I wasn’t buying it. I still don’t buy it. I couldn’t believe this teammate was saying that we were deserving of such horrible words.

Surely, nothing the coach just said made any of us want to keep on swimming, at least for him, right? Wrong. There were several that thought otherwise. I guess what I am saying, is that some of us justified the verbal abuse in the name of sport and winning and we honestly thought the coach was justified in ripping into us like that. How incredibly stupid and ignorant to follow a coach after that kind of eruption. That was the last straw for me. He would never again be a leader for me. It was an awakening of sorts. All I needed were my teammates. I would never let him lead the team for me from then on. I know that I wasn’t seen as a leader on the team because I didn’t respect the coach after that, but I didn’t care, I wanted the team to establish expectations of a coach, and that was something that those who justified his lecture didn’t have. Perhaps I saw them as beyond saving, but I was done showering any praise on a coach to win a recruit, to calm my teammates, or to paint a pretty picture of the coach-athlete dynamic at the university.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Opinions of the Day

Worst marriage advice actually given to me:

Keep separate checking accounts.

Worst interview question asked of me:

Why are manhole covers round?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

St. Vrain Road

Sweet. I'm just testing out Blogger's new video upload feature. This video is from the summer of 2005, the summer we discovered St. Vrain Road, a nasty 40 mph ride. Erik and Kyle lead the way on their boards. Next is Wes and Collin. And, yes. The volume is up all the way. This was taken with an old digital camera that didn't record sound. Classic.

video

Friday, August 24, 2007

Delicious

One of the best segments I have ever seen on The Daily Show. A history lesson. Observe.

Shock Effect

A horrible crime has been committed in Merseyside, England. An 11-year-old boy was shot for no reason besides maybe a show of power by one of two local gangs. It is sad, really, but something stood out in this Guardian article. It was Gordon Brown’s description of the killing as a “heinous crime that shocked the whole of the country”.

It was one murder, and yet gang violence like this in America is rarely the focus of the entire country, and when it is, it never shocks the whole country. It happens every day because we love our guns.

Wouldn’t you want to be shocked?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And....action!

I was in a movie today. You might be confused; I was—most of the day. My acting career was launched by one line as an extra in a movie that is being shot here in town. Yep. It’s true. The director needed some people for a classroom shoot. I emailed the director. The director emailed back. Ah, the wonders of craigslist.

I have no acting experience whatsoever. The most, I guess you could say, was a drama class my freshman year of high school. I have always wanted to give it a try, which may stun most of you because acting, I think, goes against the grain of my entire being. I don’t consider myself to be loud, boisterous, or one that loves cracking jokes and breaking into monologues for the entertainment of anyone within earshot. I keep to myself mostly. I am shy in large groups. I don’t speak loudly. In fact, I mumble a lot and you would not want me addressing a graduating class. Ever.

Try I did today though, to act that is. I had one line. “Why do you want to know that?” I am sure I looked the fool, but I didn’t really care. I think this movie has bigger things to worry about than my line screwing up its popularity, success, impact, or whatever you want to call it. Honestly, I loved being there. It was fascinating to see the work that goes into filming a movie. I admit it, at times it was extremely boring. There are swaths of nothingness that the actors, and especially the extras, are subjected to, but I amused myself with constant observation and a running commentary in my head.

The commentary went something like this.

God it’s early. It’s 8 am. I’ve been here an hour and haven’t done anything.

When the actors look at me do they know I am sort of scared about this? Do they know I don’t know crap about acting?

Are we really filming in this classroom? This place is a dump.

Who are these people? Who makes movies in Milwaukee?

Why did that guy just laugh…? That wasn’t funny. Wow, do all actors have a bad sense of humor?

Stop talking to me, really. I don’t know you and you aren’t very good at telling stories. Shouldn’t you be better at that because you are sort of trying to do that for a living?

What? You have a career doing shoots for Kohl’s? Crazy. I didn’t think that was possible.

That’s a nice camera. Can I ask how much that costs? No. That would be rude.

Free soda, chips, coffee, and pizza. That’s nice since I’m not getting a dollar for this and spending nine bucks on parking.

Oh my gosh. The director just gave me a line. Do I have to speak? I bet he can see my pulse from across the room. I can feel it bloating my neck out with every beat. Please calm down before you have to talk.

It went on like that most of the day. I ended up being quite impressed by the abilities of the actors around me that were in lead roles. Having been there today I know I couldn’t have delivered those lines like they did. They sounded good, but they may look horrible onscreen. I don’t really know. The crew impressed me too. The cameraman had this idea about how every line should sound and whenever he spoke up about it he was always right. The way he said it just struck a “duh” through me. The director even has a role. He had a few lines today and made each take sound different but good.

I don’t know if my experience today was what I expected it to be. It seemed to fit in perfectly at times with my imagination, but at other times, not so much. I think it kept me interested enough to try something like this again. Maybe it is too early to say such things. Well, I just did.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Are you looking for something?

I am going to take a break now from writing and finish Bill Bryson’s I’m A Stranger Here Myself. Once again, Bryson hasn’t failed to make me laugh out loud several times. He makes the ordinary extraordinarily funny for me. He is a genius. I envy his abilities at times. After I finish it I am going to the library to pick up I Am Legend, a vampire tale that has been made into a movie with Will Smith.

Okay, I am reading now...

…Haggis. *Writing to self* Don’t forget this word. It is sheep intestine. You had a Braveheart Burger at some pub so old that Rob Roy used to drink there. The Braveheart Burger was like any other burger except the patty was made of Haggis.

A great quote. “To ensure that no one buys anything, they generally leave these sections unmanned. I believe there are whole floors at John Lewis of Oxford Street that have not seen a member of staff since just before the war.” Bryson on shopping for furniture in London. I realize this might not make any sense to you if you haven't been inside a John Lewis store, a Selfridges, or a Harrods, or, for that matter, been on Oxford Street. Sorry. I can't help you there.

Where’s your primary shut-off then?

They forgot that, too.”

You’re joking.”

I wish I was.”

Well, what would you do if you had a burst pipe?

Now this I knew. First, I would hop around excitedly, going “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” as you might if, say, you looked down and unexpectedly found your legs on fire. Then I would try to stuff something like a sofa cushion into the leak, making it worse. Then I would hop about some more. Finally, I would dash out into the street and flag down passing vehicles.

…The above passage is Bryson’s imagined conversation with a washer repairman. Bryson absolutely fears confronting the handy man who knows Bryson doesn’t know anything about the problem, whether it be cars, appliances, or a computer. I have that same fear when it comes to cars.

…In the last chapter Bryson addresses why they moved to America from England.

There is a great deal about America that is deeply appealing. There are all the obvious things that outsiders always remark on—the ease and convenience of life, the friendliness of the people, the astoundingly abundant portions, the intoxicating sense of space, the cheerfulness of nearly everyone who serves you, the notion that almost any desire or whim can be simply and instantly gratified.

My problem was that I had grown up with all this, so it didn’t fill me with quite the same sense of novelty and wonder. I failed to be enchanted, for instance, when people urged me to have a nice day.

He goes on, but the whole of the last chapter was a fabulous end to another good Bryson tale.

Tonight on TV

The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Well, whatever he is, Barack Obama is on The Daily Show tonight. Just a heads up for those of you out there that have cable television.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dirty Dean

I was watching the news this morning and some CNN correspondent was riding out Hurricane Dean at a resort south of Cancun. In the background I saw waves and wind battering the exact place Kate and I honeymooned almost two months ago. The CNN guy was riding the storm out at our honeymoon location.

At first I was like, yeah, Aventura Spa Palace. Oh, wait. This isn't cool. We really enjoyed everything about that place and the people that work there and now it is all getting destroyed.

It was a bit surreal to see the landscape of the resort transformed into a raging sea. I have been trying to find footage of it on YouTube. No luck yet.

*I've been waiting for over two years to use this blog title.

Monday, August 20, 2007

He lives in Wisconsin

Standing in the Pick N Save parking lot a thought occurred to him. He lives in Wisconsin. He isn’t just visiting this place. This is where he makes his residence with his new wife who is rooting herself here with her new job.

As far as he can tell, his approach to Wisconsin has been similar to his approach to a new country. He may be here for a little bit, but he isn’t about to call it home. He’ll pick and choose through Wisconsin’s offerings and weigh later the benefits of a life lived here versus a life lived where he feels at home in Colorado.

There are a few benefits. He enjoys the new physical landscape of the earth. The air is different. The forests are thick. The water meanders more casually in this flat ground than the jagged surface of his home. He is told that people here are amiable for the most part, but his situation has led him to believe otherwise. His situation being: a general frustration with most things Wisconsin, which leads to a nitpicky, highly critical evaluation of most things Wisconsin.

I don’t know how much I can blame him. However, I am worried about him focusing too much on the negative and denying Milwaukee its right to be explored, folded, prodded, and experimented with. I also am worried about you reading this and saying out loud to yourself, “Oh damn, Bryce. Just get over it already” or “Not this again. Click.” I can’t blame you for that either, but a man’s got to vent, right? Even if it is to a keyboard.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Padilla

First read this over at The Daily Dish.

Then read this.

It is all incredibly disturbing. When I was writing about what I saw on the news yesterday, the Padilla verdict was read. To be honest, I had forgotten a lot about that trial and didn't feel I could write about it with any insight, not to mention humor. I knew I could count on Mr. Sullivan jogging my memory a bit.

Cable News Roundup

Right now Anne Coulter is on Fox News in a round table discussion of OJ’s book being published. I hope that Fox News is the only 24-hour news channel that still gives this woman air time. I say this because there isn’t anything that Coulter could do that Fox News would banish her for.

MSNBC is hitting the weather report strong right now. They are showing Houston right now being dumped on by tropical depression Erin. There are stranded cars, people wading through the water, and thick clouds. Nothing appears to be severe or life threatening, but we love disaster, don’t we? I mean, if there is anything that can bring us all together, it’s a disaster of some relation to the weather, the earth, terrorism, etc.

Whatever happened to Headline News? I remember it actually covering the news back in the day when they would loop the stories they have and then work in new ones as the news came to them. It was very straight forward, not that much bullshit for a cable news channel. Now I rarely find worthy news on the channel. Instead I can rely on Headline News now to give me updates on Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, K-Fed, Paris Hilton, and Nicole Richie. If it is not that, then it is Nancy Grace or Glenn Beck. Nancy is always running her mouth about another kidnapping or disappearances as if she is going to solve all the cases by talking them to death. Beck, well, I can’t watch his show. I get my Beck clips on The Daily Show.

Now all the cable news channels are paying close attention to Hurricane Dean. “This storm means business,” the CNN Weatherman says. The channels all want so desperately for a horrible hurricane season. They talked it up last year—the first hurricane season since Katrina—but the season sputtered out without even moderate damage to the Caribbean region. That was one of the media’s biggest embarrassments last year. Nothing has changed. This season is supposed to be intense, severe, and extremely taxing on all those living in the paths of hurricanes. I just hope it is so cable news can use all their cool storm-tracking tools, display neat storm graphics, compose new hurricane theme music, and get there word-sleuths on the job by coming up with something like “Hurricane Hysteria”, “Katrina Part Deux”, or “Disaster in Daytona.”

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Running for office?

"You don't want to use the word "outsider" too much in your campaign, however. So feel free to have your team of seasoned campaign managers, political operatives, and speech writers use synonyms like "grassroots", "maverick", and "populace". Just make sure no one looks at your business cards and decides to use "Billionaire Financier". The important thing is you know nothing about Washington and don't have a clue how the system operates." - Jon Stewart, America

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Memories of Summer

The days growing longer.

Hot afternoons of disc golf at the Loo. Losing discs. A toothless grin finding them.

Going on a run with Wes.

Trips to Chipotle.

Redbox rentals.

Knowing that the summer was going to come to an abrupt, unusual ending.

Work coming to a close at Starbucks.

Freshly cut grass.

Beautiful, dry, Colorado days.

Desire for change.

Resisting change.

Short reunions.

Long goodbyes.

And a long road ahead of us.


*A nod to mPb. I am not stealing a blog title, but as soon as I wrote memories of I thought of Warmy blog titles.

Seriously, Dick



Ah. Years ago the University of Wyoming was proud to be the alma mater of the Veep. I would be too, if Cheney didn't pull a 180.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cribs - Milwaukee Edition



This is for all of you that might not be able to view this video on facebook because you don't have an account. So, Mom and Dad, I hope you enjoy. We took a longer, more in-depth look at the apartment in another video, but I have been having trouble uploading it.

Attacked Again

As the country watches and waits for news from Huntington, Utah, where six miners are believed trapped since Monday, the Middle East has erupted in cheers over the second successful terrorist attack in two weeks in the United States.

From the Anbar Province to the residence of Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, members of Just Into Hating All ‘Dem Independent Steamrollers of Truth from the States, or J.I.H.A.D.I.S.T.S, celebrated word of the collapsed mine by stomping on effigies of President Bush and chanting “Death to America” all while firing their Kalashnikovs into the air.

Shortly after the mine collapse Osama Bin Laden released a tape, apparently made months ago, in which he details the history of the making of the I-35W Bridge over the Mississippi River in 1967. Bin Laden’s first illegitimate son, Ahmed, born to Bin Laden when he was just three-years-old, is believed to have been smuggled into the United States in an opium crate early in 1967. At that time, Ahmed was just shy of his seventh birthday, but already had a devout hatred of the free world.

“Praise be to Ahmed!” Bin Laden says at the end of the video. “My son is the true mastermind of this glorious act.”

But just how did Ahmed bring the bridge down? Experts say that the reinforcing gussets of the I-35W Bridge were put under extraordinary pressure, but they should have held despite extra weight from ongoing construction on the bridge. This is where the mystery begins. No one knows for sure, but it is rumored that Ahmed, after making his way to the Midwest, was fishing by the Mississippi that fateful day in 1967. In his pack he only had a rationed amount of falafel (enough to enable completion of the mission), a vest laden with C4, and a few structurally deficient gussets. Sometime that day Ahmed was able to make the switch, putting his gussets in the real gusset pile, and being sure to put them at the top.

U.S. Intelligence reports have come up with nothing on Ahmed or his whereabouts. It is rumored in the Middle East that if Ahmed could have made it east, he was to use the C4 in another attack. Superstition among locals in Afghanistan is that he failed to make it to New York City, and that his C4 was found decades later by Timothy McVeigh in his hometown of Pendleton, NY, thus, sparking McVeigh’s interest in bomb-making. Not until the most recent Bin Laden tape had authorities begun to investigate the McVeigh-Al Qaeda connection.

Regardless of how the attacks were carried out, it has become clear to this nation’s citizens that the Heartland of America is now under attack. Al Qaeda has struck a popular destination for millions of Midwesterners and has now lashed out at the heart of the coal industry, thus making America rely even more on the oil in the hands of its enemies.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I like IMDB.com

The Goonies is an American classic. What do I think of when I hear The Goonies?

The truffle shuffle.

Sloth.

Chunk.

A bad ass Jeep killing some monster trucks in an ocean side race.

The Fratellis.

Rocky road ice cream.

A cool water slide that I have always wanted to go on.

And, One-Eyed Willy.

I found myself at IMDB.com today. I said hello. We chatted a little and I got to doing what I went there to do, that was looking up The Journey of Natty Gann. It’s an old Disney movie that I watched many times as a kid. I wanted to see if the girl who played Natty was still acting. She sure is. I could tell from the extensive list below “Filmography” she stays pretty busy. My curiosity was quenched, but I took a look around on the site bumping into old friends like Star Wars, Denzel Washington, and finally, The Goonies.

As I was scrolling down the cast list I clicked on John Matuszak. Mr. Matuszak played Sloth in The Goonies. Well, John used to play in the NFL. His makeup for The Goonies took five hours to put on. He died from heart failure due to extensive steroid use in 1989. He is now buried in Milwaukee. Rest in peace, Sloth.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Email Overload

I have a little project I need to get working on.

Kate has used her UW email address since I met her. All my emails have been going there ever since. She has deleted the worthless ones I think, but that still leaves 550 emails from me that I need to email to myself now or save on my computer so they don't get deleted. UW is going to shut her email address down in a month or a little more.

I better get started.

The Read

I don’t think anyone has noticed, but I took a link off the blogroll a few days back. I would love to keep you all on there. I would love for there to be more people on there.

However, to be on there you need to do some blogging. Most of you are much more generous than I am with your blogrolls. That's great. I know why that is…for the most part. But this is my blog, and if you haven’t blogged in over two months you will definitely get the ax. It makes sense though. Your blog can't be on "The Read" if it's not on your write.

Toodles.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mulholland Drive....what?

Bryce watched Mulholland Drive last night. Well, he finished it at least. He watched the first twenty minutes while he was eating lunch yesterday. That is beside the point. The point being: what is the big deal about this movie? He knew it was going to be weird, but he still expected a good movie.

Later today he read its Wikipedia entry, a reliable source for such investigations. It turns out that Mulholland Drive came out to critical acclaim, didn’t perform well at the box office, and now has a cult following. Bryce leaned back in his chair. This is where all the movies end up that just are too weird for their own good.

The director did his job. He was creative; creative enough to win some awards for the movie, but creative enough to make Bryce just laugh when it was all over. Bryce is sorry. He isn’t going to be amazed by the cult classic just because it is that. It still has to be a good movie. There can’t be completely random crap thrown into the movie to make it cool. Ooh. Ah. That scene was so weird. Bryce isn’t going to buy that.

What is the glue of this movie? What, if anything, keeps it from falling into a jumbled mess of storyline with no possible connection? Well, Bryce would say, “Nothing holds it together. Well, maybe the soundtrack. From the opening credits the soundtrack is gripping. I thought the subwoofer was going to shake its way through the floor.” Honestly though, after reading the Wikipedia entry Bryce was astonished. He couldn’t explain the popularity. According to many, the director pulled the oldest trick in the book. The first two thirds of the movie was a dream. Isn’t that cute? What a copout.

Finally, the copout. The copout is a failure to fulfill a commitment or responsibility or to face a difficulty squarely. The real copout is by the fans, Bryce figured out. They like the movie because they can watch it and not be accused of having a girl-on-girl porno fetish.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Miscellany of His Mind

His wife is studying in the other room while listening to the Milwaukee country station.

He finished The Historian last night. He couldn’t set it down once he broke into the last one-hundred pages. The book ended nicely. Not everything fell together, but that is a little more realistic, he thought. Were the preceding 678 pages necessary to achieve the same feeling at the end? He doesn’t think so, but they were entertaining none the less.

He is still unemployed and doing what he can. He told me he is sick of talking about it with people. Just sick. He knows people want to know, but don’t ask him. That is my job. When he has something to report he will tell me and I will relay the information. Got it? Good. Until then let’s talk about books, movies, America’s Dairyland, and Colorado sunsets.

He has never had the library system of a big city at his fingertips. It exhilarates him. Sometimes I have to keep him on task because he searches for books on the online catalog. He found one today. He told me it wasn’t at the nearest library though. I told him to look again. Lo and behold, there is a way to select a book and have it shipped to the nearest library. We discovered that together. We reserved one copy of I Am Legend for pick up at the Oak Creek branch.

Before he reads I Am Legend he needs to finish I’m A Stranger Here Myself, by Bill Bryson. Bryson is one of his favorite authors. This book is a collection of short essays that Bryson wrote upon returning to the United States—his homeland—after a 20-year hiatus in England. Bryson’s sense of humor is so dry and cynical it makes Bryce burst out in laughter in front of anyone and no one. Bryce says it isn’t that long of a book, but he will finish it soon. It is certainly not like The Historian.

He is on a vampire kick. That’s what I Am Legend is about. It is being made into a movie. Will Smith is in it. You might have seen the preview, he says. Smith is left on Manhattan Island. He is the only human. Everyone else is undead. He thinks that Smith fights off the vampires. He doesn’t know. There is an itch to find out, and he will when Oak Creek gets the book in.

His new favorite place to rent movies is the library. They are free, and you get them for a week. He is going to go watch the rest of Mulholland Drive later.

His eyes get dried out by the ceiling fan above him. He ends up blinking a lot. I can tell he is getting annoyed by it. I think we should go now. He is waving goodbye to the computer. Goodbye.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Wisconsin State Fair

The Wisconsin State Fair may be about a lot of things, but mainly it's about food. Lining every walkway of the fairgrounds are booths selling almost anything edible, that is, if you aren’t a vegan or vegetarian. This is meat eating country. And since Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, you’d be hard pressed to find something lactose-free or with half the fat.

Actually, Wisconsin’s products don’t come fattening enough for fair-goers. Everything is deep-fried. The health nuts get the deep-fried pickle spears or eggplant. The more liberal mouths chomp on deep-fried mozzarella bits or cheese curds.

Everyone indulges in the most famous treat of the fair, the Crème Puff. The line for them is a good five minutes long. The Crème Puff starts as an ordinary, thin pastry. An assembly line of teenagers build the pastries non-stop for the hordes of fans who have come from every corner of the state and beyond for the main attraction. The pastry is cut in half and the bottom half receives a four inch high tower of whipped cream. The top half is lightly pressed onto the whipped cream. The final touch is a blizzard of powdered sugar. That’s it. Once you scarf your Wisconsin State Fair Crème Puff down you can safely go home. If you do one thing at the fair, you do that.

If you fancy the homegrown products the fair offers a Wisconsin Products tent. Everything under this roof is born, bred, raised, and slaughtered in Wisconsin. The tent has the fair staples, but it also features Wisconsin milk, meat, candied apples, grilled cheese sandwiches made with Real Wisconsin Cheese, and the sausages and bratwursts.

And what would a Wisconsin event be without a wide selection of beer. The only problem…they all have Miller somewhere in the name. Damn.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

This one's for the Mick

We went to the Wisconsin State Fair today. There will be more about that later, but for now, I have a picture for a good friend of mine. I wish you were with us to get a pint of the Irish brew.

Friday, August 03, 2007

My Favorite Picture

Guardian Films

The Guardian's Sean Smith's videos of life in Iraq for our troops and their citizens won't be shown in the US all that much, if at all, so click on the links and watch them yourself. The videos are graphic, gut-wrenching, and saddening. They are what our news media can't report...honesty.

Part I

Part II

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Today at Barnes and Noble

While strolling around the store I gravitated toward the bargain books. This aisle is always filled with huge photography books of world famous cities, landmarks, and countries.

I picked up a book on Scotland and flipped through its enormous, heavy pages. As familiar places flickered by, the corners of my mouth would twinge slightly in a pseudo-smile or I would let out a deep sigh of joy and reflection. As I set that book down, another one caught my eye. This one was on London. I’m a sucker. I picked it up.

Why do I love London so much? Beyond the museums, people, pubs, churches, and history, why am I still obsessed with the place? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense sometimes. I was there for four months. I would rather visit London a second, third, and fourth time before visiting elsewhere first.

London makes me feel like someone. Longmont didn’t necessarily make me feel like a nobody. London put me on the map, not the map of popularity or success, but the map of independence. Perhaps London put me on the map of importance. I felt an incredible sense of pride and joy as I strolled along those streets hardened by hundreds of years of history. History happens in London, it always will. I knew this throughout my soul and mind by the time I had to leave. I was one of 7 million in a city that was one.

London is built up and has no room for expansion. Unlike in the U.S., where there is so much space planners see no need to put things next to each other, in London the planners have no room to build because the place is 1,000 years old. There is a true heart of the city, perhaps a heart more recognizable than the center of any city I have visited in the United States.

As I travel into that heart I am transported to the epicenter of the Western world and modern civilization. At its core London can enlighten the most un-expecting traveler. I wasn’t un-expecting. I knew the city would teach me, but how much? I had no idea.

And in the midst of London teaching me I became enchanted with its architecture, culture, people, beauty, and its transportation system. London has taken a piece of me and I have of it. I want more. Ideally, I want more by going back and living there. For now, I have to take the old-fashioned approach by following London in word, audio, and film, in order to live there because a part of me always will.


*This is not my photo. Don't use it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

You say that I'm a dreamer, I say you're a non-believer

LOS ANGELES(AP) After months of rumors, Nicole Richie confirmed Tuesday that she is pregnant. "Yes I am. We are," Richie told ABC News' Diane Sawyer for an interview to be aired this week. "I'm almost four months." Richie's boyfriend, Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden, is the father, she told ABC, which issued a news release about the interview.

"When I speak, it's like no one understands..." - "Screamer" - Joel - Good Charlotte

Not surprising, Joel. Not surprising.