Monday, December 29, 2003

My sister Amy and I helped my 8 year-old niece Alexis take the much-beloved personality color quiz. Here our her results:

you are lavender

Your dominant hue is blue, making you a good friend who people love and trust. You're good in social situations and want to fit in. Just be careful not to compromise who you are to make them happy.

Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

With the word "inventive," Alexis turned to Amy and I and informed us that she is indeed inventive. She told us, "I'm that. I came up with a new kind of leash." Then there was pause. And then she added, "... For cats."

God love Professor Alexis.

Oh, yeah... check out my new links. (to the right)
These are the results of a GENUINE, AUTHENTIC, INTERNATIONALLY-ACCEPTED personality disorder text. After all, personality disorder tests should only rely on the subject him/herself to provide the answers (without any outside insight whatsoever). Indeed, these tests could not possibly be swayed by how somebody would want to be perceived (both negatively and positively) by others in a public sphere (especially on the internet). And, of course, all professional personality tests conclude with an offer to save 92% on magazine subscriptions and misspell "describe," right? I thought so.

Keeping this in mind, here are my results:

Histrionic:Very High

-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --

People with histrionic personality disorder are constant attention seekers. They need to be the center of attention all the time, often interrupting others in order to dominate the conversation. They use grandiose language to discribe everyday events and seek constant praise. They may dress provacatively or exaggerate illnesses in order to gain attention. They also tend to exaggerate friendships and relationships, believing that everyone loves them. They are often manipulative.

I like the fact that I tear something down and then gleefully partake in it - for all to see.

How histrionic of me.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

I don't have to visit relatives today. I thought I was going to have to, but my ma said I didn't, so instead... me, Jake, and DJ are recording songs for a new "My Business Failed in Three Weeks" album.

We're recording them in DJ's basement. His poppa bought a whole bunch of new recording equipment within the past few months. We'll be putting it to proper use.

First order of... business (ha ha)? Re-recording our original rock opera. We were never really satisfied with the original recordings (despite the fact that we sold many copies to people over the past couple years). The mix wasn't very dynamic or interesting (i.e. it was boring as hell). Plus, there was just some really shitty songs on there as well. So... we're cutting out the fat and boosting the juices. If you're interested... here's the songs we're going to re-record (this will also be the sequencing of the album)...

1. Oh, How Those Days Draaag!
2. Office Chair
3. Love is a Flame (Where's the Fire Extinguisher?) [Somebody Help Love]
4. Tonight There's a Hurricane
5. Johnny Infomercial
6. Givin' 110%
7. (I Am A) Candy Store
8. My Business Failed in Three Weeks

Now, I know what you're thinking. An 8-track album? Talk about rip-off! Well, it is in my mind that we may record some more songs and release everything together as a sort of split-album. What new songs would I like to record? They are (in no particular order):

1. Welcome to the Show
2. Rock-and-Roll
3. Bachelor Pad
4. Drugs (Are Bad for You)
5. It's the Wednesday/Thursday Song!
6. Bubblegum Brigade
7. Why Do You Cry All The Time?
8. I Live in That Haunted House

Speaking of albums, I've been listening to Belle and Sebastian's most recent record lately. I like it. "If You Find Yourself Caught in Love" is my new "listen-to-this-song-repeatedly/once-it's-over-start-it-up-all-over-again" song.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

you are darkviolet

Your dominant hues are blue and magenta. You're the one who goes to all the parties but doesn't quite fit in at every one... you know what you want, but are afraid of what the world might think of it. You're a little different and that's okay with them, and if you're smart it's okay with you too.

Your saturation level is very high - you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right.

Your outlook on life is brighter than most people's. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You're not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.
the html color quiz

My first inclination was to be: "Yes! That is spot-on! I am dark violet!" But then I remembered that old study with horoscopes. You know... how people would get the exact opposite of their actual horoscope and they would find a way to apply it to their lives? Well, maybe I am dark violet. It seems true.

Do you want to know something that's not true? Read this Iowa City Press Citizen article about me. The writer was a nice guy and all, but there's a lot of Miss Stakes and Miss Representations in there. They are as follows:

1) I am 22. Not 21.
2) My upcoming movie (which was discussed repeatedly during the interview) is entitled "David Mows Yards," not "Don Mows Yards." In fact, "Don Mows Yards" already exists. It featured Meg Tilly and Dennis Quad as African explorers.
3) "Paul's Imagination File" was a project that lasted for only one year when I was 9 years old. I have not kept it up into my current age. The article makes me sound like a re-tard who still draws logos for movies. I mean, honestly... I only do that now when I'm bored in class. Sheesh.
4) In terms of the "one percent" mentioned throughout the article... it was brought up in this fashion...
INTERVIEWER: So what's it like to be famous in Iowa City?
ME: Well... I'm not... really... famous. There's maybe, like, 1% of the entire student population that happen to know me. But there's 99% of people who have no idea who I am.
Unfortunately, the original intent of that statement did not make the article. Instead, its exact opposite did. Now I sound like an arrogant ass. Which maybe true, but I didn't mean it to.

Eh, maybe I shouldn't be bitching. The writer was a good guy and like it or not, being in the newspaper still excites me - no matter what the case.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Yesterday wasn't as long as I had anticipated. I took a brief nap on the way to Sioux City. In my mind, I was like, "Paul, this is a bad idea. This napping will only tease you and you'll be cranky." On the contrary! It gave me power! I was up and running for the rest of the afternoon.

After shopping... my ma, sistahs, Scott, niecey Alex-o, and me went to space opera "Stuck on You." It sucked! Bad! Whew!

The worst part? It felt like it had to "explain" for its existence. It tried to place the conjoined brothers in a realistic world and provide detailed reasons for how this has happened. What's the fun in that? Why couldn't they just exist in their own world with their own rules? This happened throughout the entire film. Seriously. Watch it. Every joke is met with an attempt at verisimilitude. Blargh.

Before the movie, I was urinating in the multiplex's bathroom. A father and his son walked in. The dad was a big, gruff guy with one of those faux-Southern accents that men like him often co-opt because they think its in their nature - although it was not in their nurture. The son was a small, 8 year-old-ish boy with a teeny-girl voice. They both went to the urinals and the son saw those one of those framed ads hanging on the wall above the urinal. The following exchange occured:

SON: Why are there posters on the wall?
DAD: So you can read 'em while you're pissin'.
SON: Did you like the movie?
DAD: It was alright.
SON: "The Haunted Mansion?"
DAD: Yeah. Was Funny.
SON: I liked the lady in the ball.
DAD: ... Huh.
SON: That was cool.

Then the door opened and a lady-voice asked for Eric. No one responded. I wanted to see what person had asked for Eric, so I quickly washed my hands and exited the bathroom. The only person I saw? A chubby, little boy with a Miami Dolphins team jacket. It was then that I suspected the "lady-voice" was just a "prepubescent-boy-voice."

But why didn't he come into the bathroom to look for Eric? Miami Dolphin Chubbs is a boy. He's allowed. Then I thought.... maybe Eric is a strict friend. Maybe Eric said, "Don't you ever come into bathroom looking for me."

If so, where was Eric then? Maybe Eric ditched Miami Chubbs. Maybe Eric had been followed into a bathroom one too many times by Miami Chubbs and decided to call it quits once and for all.

I hope Eric and Miami Chubbs get back together. They're too good of friends to throw in the towel now. Especially with the holidays and all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

I'm struggling with splitting time between editing the movie and spending time with friends/family. The thing is... I really enjoy editing, but I also really enjoy hanging out with friends/family. For instance, my friend Matt was visiting town (and leaving tomorrow) and I rarely get to see him, so I hung out with him last night. Likewise, I love chillin' with my sister Amy and her boyfriend Scott. But they'll be outta' here within a week, so I want to be with them as much as possible.

However, I desperately need to get this movie done. I'm a little over halfway right now, but I need to focus on that alone. I've set a personal deadline. The pressure's on. So is the heat.

So, basically... my problem is... whenever I'm editing, I wish I was spending time with folks. And whenever I'm spending time with folks, I wish I was editing. A pair-of-docks in the mist.

In a couple hours, my momma, my sisters, Scott, my niece Alexis, and I are heading to the Sioux(er) City mall. I still need to buy Christmas gifts.

The thing is... I haven't gone to sleep yet. And busy, busy malls on small, small amounts of sleep mean long, long days for Li'l Pauly.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

I'm b-b-b-back in LeMars now. I rode back with my pal Ricky. His car was packed full, so I had to put all my stuff in my pal Ellen's car. And since I arrived in LeMars on Saturday night and Ellen didn't come home until Sunday afternoon, this meant that I had to...

Wear my father's underpants.

It was strange. Once I put them on, I had the uncontrollable urge to clean out the garage. And turn the TV on really loud. And fall asleep on the basement couch before my son's friends come over.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

I just completed the fourth (and hopefully, final) draft of "Bubblegum Brigade." I thought the third draft was going to be the last, but then... I saw problems that needed to be addressed and addressed they were.

It's a difficult thing, this ol' "Bubblegum Brigade" play. The last couple scenes is when stuff sort of "goes off-the-rails." I mean, it's purposely supposed to. But you don't want the writing to "go off-the-rails" either. So it's a complicated balance between writing-and-tone and execution-and-themes. Does that make sense? I don't know. I'm tired.

In the end, I may not have achieved that balance. But I've tried my hardest and now it's up to the cast and director to make sense of it all. Is that irresponsible of me as a writer? I don't know. I'm tired.

Later today, I'm heading to my hometown of LeMars, IA. What juicy rumors will I hear upon my return, I wonder? What well-regarded male citizen will be having a steamy love affair with his secretary's secretary? What young high school girl will be pregnant with twins? What deliquent adolescent boys will have vandalized such a thing and such a that?

All these questions will be answered before midnight tonight!

Perhaps YOU will be in one of these rumors!

Friday, December 19, 2003

Tonight, my friends and I watched "Rounders." They were going to play poker that night, so they decided to get amped up with a poker epic beforehand. I, with no knowledge of the game (and no interest in learning), opted out afterwards for more movie editing.

Anyway, while we were watching the movie, I realized something. "Rounders" star Matt Damon is a better-looking version of my friend Rick Herbst. Likewise, co-star Edward Norton is a better-looking version of me. I informed my other friends of this insight. Soon enough, we were planning on recreating "Rounders" scenes with me and Rick.

Fortunately, Rick's coming into town later today, so I will inform him of these plans and perhaps we can shoot it over Christmas break. I'm sure he'll be up for it. Rick's just that kind of spirited guy.

And if we do it, it's gonna' be great. The best part? We're going to do it completely straight-faced. None of this "wink-and-nod" bullshit. We'll be absolutely committed to making it an identical performance.

Except, you know...

Uglier and less cool.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

While editing my movie, I realized that for an entire scene, my crappy camera's sound dropped out. No worries though. I'll edit it as if it had sound and then have the actress (who lives in LeMars) and me loop 'em in later. I'll be in LeMars within days, so it won't be hard to track her down. Plus, it's just a few lines.

The pressure's on for me to finish editing this movie. I'd like to have it done by January 10th, so I can show it in my hometown before I head back to school on the 12th or so. That means I have 55 minutes to completely edit within three weeks. During Thanksgiving break, I got 17 minutes edited in 3 days, so maybe it can be done. We shall see. If anything, I'll just screen a better-than-rough edit. Then I can go back and make corrections as I see fit for the Iowa City screening.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I just got back from purchasing tickets for "Return of the King" with pals Adam and Jake. The hightlight? Eating sausage bisquits from McDonald's. I love me some McDonald's breakfast.

Truth be told, I'm not really looking forward to "Return of the King." I've never really enjoyed the "Lord of the Rings" movies. In fact, this summer, when I went to "Gigli," I found myself being bored and restless - and I realized it's the same feeling I get while watching "Fellowship..." and "The Two Towers." I don't know. That sort of stuff just doesn't appeal to me. But I'm happy it makes other folks happy.

Why am I going then, you ask? Basically, I figure I should see these movies since I consider myself a "fan of the talkies" and these films are no doubt important in terms of their cultural significance and impact and whatnot. And if I am going to see them, I might as well see them at their most "culturally vibrant" (i.e. on opening day with a full house). That part excites me at least. I get the blockbuster fever.

Two other random thoughts:

1) Last night, after I completed my last bit of work for the semester, I again had one of those moments where I felt like I was wasting my youth. You know? Perhaps I've been too much of a "stuffed shirt." Perhaps I should be cutting loose and drinking and drugging and having casual sex. After all, it's only now when that sort of hedonism is socially excusable. If I did that sort of stuff around the age of 26 or whatever, then it's pretty pathetic. But right now, I'm allowed - maybe even expected. And instead, I'm concentrating on my work and acting well-and-proper and being upright. Of course, in the end, I wouldn't want it any other way. I know I'd be pretty depressed and unhappy if I did engage in drinking and drugs and casual sex, but still... there's moments where I consider other things.


2) I'm disappointed when people's political "progressiveness" is born out of a feeling of hostility - as opposed to a genuine desire for change. So many times, I feel like the people who bang their heads against institutions (or more specifically, the war on Iraq or Bush) are simply doing it because they have frustration with the world or their lives in general - and "protesting" is an acceptable avenue for extinguishing their anger. Don't get me wrong. I don't like the war. I get upset by Bush's actions. I'm passionate for the world to be a better place. But when people get so ANGERED and OUTRAGED by such things, it makes me pause and wonder where that's stemming from. I don't know. Maybe it's a sense of passion I'm unfamilar with. But I've never been able to get my head around anger in general.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I've developed the bad habit of peeing in my dorm-room sink. You see, the few feet from my room to the floor's bathroom is too long of a distance for me to travel. I ain't no Magellan, people!

Plus, with the heavy amount of water I drink throughout the day, I'm constantly having to urinate. Simple science: lots of water = lots of pee. That equation was developed by one man in the mid-1950's. That man? Magellan!

When will I execute the comedy "rule of threes" and repeat "Magellan" one more time? Only time will tell, folks. Only... time... will... MAGELLAN!

Last night, I learned how to play Big Star's "Holocaust" on guitar.

You're a wasted face. You're a sad-eyed lie. You're a holocaust.

Monday, December 15, 2003

DJ Ruden has fixed my computer. It is now running right as rain.

Three cheers for the Dr.

I just got an email from my mom with a photo attachment. It was of my sister, my niece, and Santa Claus. The strange part? My niece looks so much older. It's crazy. She doesn't look like a "little girl" anymore, but a... well, not a "young woman" either. But somewhere in the middle. I'll be seeing her in a few days, so I'll see what she's like in person.

Last night, I was eating nachos at 5:30am and thinking, "Paul, you got to quit eating nachos." Every night, I eat, like, 3 plates. And when I'm done, I feel gross and fat and out-of-shape. And whether you believe it or not, I have "BODY IMAGE" issues (i.e. I don't want to be a fatty). Well, I'm sure, in that sense, everybody has "BODY IMAGE" issues, but whatever.

Anyway, I thought, "What would be a good way to get myself off these nachos?" Then I started thinking about aversions. You know... how if you have a bad experience with a certain type of food, you stay away from it forever? For example, for the longest time, I couldn't eat Doritos because this kid named Matt Oren once came out of a lake and stuck his lake-water hand in a bag of Doritos and grossed me out. Eventually, I got over it. Thank God. Doritos are delicious.

So I was like, "I'll force an aversion to nachos." While I eat them, I'll have somebody fart on my face or wipe their boogers on my arm. I don't know. Something. Anything.

Then I realized how similar this is to when you're with somebdoy (romantic or otherwise) and you realize you shouldn't be spending time with them (for whatever reason), so you think of them in certain, unfavorable terms as a way to extinguish the desire.

And then I realized how immature this was.

... I will continue to eat nachos.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Final project for Advanced Video is done. Final paper for Television Criticism is done.

One more thing left...

It's a super-easy take-home final for Television Criticism that's due on Wednesday through email. It's just three softball questions. The instructor said if we can answer questions in one paragraph, we should feel free to do so.

Also, I got the screening time for my final video project as well. It's 9:30-ish in Room 101 of Becker Communications Building. It'll be screening with my classmates' work. You should come.

Lately, I do this thing when I watch "Full House." I try to guess the conflict within the first minute of the show. Since their problems are so well-defined, you can figure out what the main conflict will be. Last night, within seconds, I knew Uncle Jessie didn't want to tell anyone that he was a high-school drop-out. I should keep records. And try to break them.

I should also find better stuff to do at 4am.

Goddamn loser.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I'm in the library right now - as I wait for my "Advanced Video" final project to export into a Quicktime format.

That final project was crazy. At the last minute (or at least, the last 31 hours), I scrapped my entire project (and the 2 hours of raw footage + many days of work) and decided to embark on something new. My challenge would be to shoot and edit an entire final project into 24 hours. Plus, the subject matter was something challenging and uncomfortable for me to confront, so it had that going for it as well.

In the end, I like it. If you're interested in seeing it, I believe it will be screening Saturday night in Becker Communications Building room 101 with some of my fellow students' projects. I think it'll be around 9pm or so. Maybe 10. If I find out for sure, I'll post it.

So, now... I have a 10-12 page paper due on Friday (tomorrow) that I have not yet started. I am, of course, writing it today/tonight. It'll be three all-nighters in a row.

But I'm actually excited about the paper. I'm thinking about going "experimental" and having fun with it (i.e. more opinionated (sp?), cracking wise, all that). This is because:

1) My instructor is a pretty open-minded and equally wise-cracking guy and will probably not hate it.
2) I'm doing alright in the course and won't suffer from a less-than-stellar grade (if that should - and probably will - occur).
3) IT'S MY LAST PAPER OF MY COLLEGE CAREER (I'm pretty sure all my classes next semester do not include a paper), and...
4) I'm sick and tired of writing papers

Reason #4 is probably most at play on this one.

It's 8:30am. I'm going to throw my project on tape and get some shut-eye.

Ciao, Francisco.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

This article was written by a feller from the Writer's Workshop and sent to my town's newspaper. It's about me. Enjoy!

Monday, December 08, 2003

Early Saturday morning, my computer pooped. So now I'm using the one in the Becker computer lab. I'm editing my Advanced Video final project (the documentary "You All Have the Power to Make Change") at Becker, so I'm taking a break. And writing in my blog.

The project's due on Wednesday and I'm just capturing footage now. On Friday, I have a 10-12 page paper due for "Television Criticism." This will be my toughest week of the semester. Why am I writing in my blog then? It's probably because I want to share some...


Last night (December 7th), I once again had the wind taken out of my romantic sails. As I write this, there's a tiny pang in my tiny heart. Bleh. Shut up.

Without getting too far into details... I had my hopes up with a lady and these hopes were dashed.

The funny thing is... EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO... on December 7th, 2002... I awoke with the promise of a new relationship that really excited me. A few days later (Dec. 10th), the lady said, "I don't want to hang out again." Since it was the first time in nearly two years where I felt the excitement of exchanging mutual sentiments with someone, it hurt pretty badly. Very badly, actually. Even worse, this news was broken to me at the very beginning of a 6-day span where I had 5 final projects due. I don't know how I got through it. No sleep and a lot of "Pet Sounds," I suppose. I was a wreck.

And here I am again... having to deal with personal, melancholy-heart bullshit right in the eye of a homework hurricane. A homework-icane.

Needless to say, I'm getting pretty fed up on making attempts for a dating relationship. I haven't had a girlfriend in two-and-a-half years and try as I might, things aren't getting better. Why do I keep trying? I'm sick of trying. It's a constant cycle of getting my hopes up and then getting them crushed. I'm worn out. I'm exhausted.

Ten bucks says... in one month, I'll have my hopes up again.

This entry is why Dr. Robert D. Blog invented blogs.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Yesterday, my friend Ellen emailed "Daily Iowan" columnist Drew Bixby. I found it amusing, so Ellen's letting me post it in my weblog. Enjoy:

Stop writing. I'm the 6477729 person to tell you so. Stop posing with
puppies. Put on a shirt. Shirts with a girl's initials are not as stupid as
your articles. I'm your BIGGEST critic. I love critics! They tell me what
I'm doing good and bad. You are bad. Stop doing what you do. Improve. Then
maybe write (that's me being constructive). You are inflamatory, but not in
the way you ever intend to be. You are NOT as attractive as you think.
Puppies do not make you cute either.

Improve or stop.

Stop angering masochistic people.

Merry Christmas.

A Reluctant reader,
Ellen Flaherty

The "masochistic people" line is a reference to our friend Adam - who continually reads Drew Bixby's columns, knowing full well that they will anger him greatly.

Afterwards, Ellen put the screw back in my glasses and fixed 'em good.

Friends are nice.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

"Surrender" by Cheap Trick is the best rock song in the world! ***

First of all, it rocks. Like an anthem should! No one writes anthems anymore. Why is that? Because they know it would pale in comparison to "Surrender" by Cheap Trick!

Second of all, it's used in the montage of army-brat teen-sex-romp classic "Up the Academy." It was the only movie that MAD Magazine put their name on (and later took off due to its shittiness). Note: This shittiness was NOT caused by the inclusion of "Surrender" by Cheap Trick because "Surrender" by Cheap Trick rocks!

Third of all... the song's message? That your parents are going through a tough time, so try to empathize with them and don't get upset. What a great message! And that's not irony on my part either, folks. I sincerely and earnestly love this message... this message in "Surrender" by Cheap Trick, which rocks!

Fourth of all... "surrender" is the most beautiful word in the English lexicon. What song predominantly uses this word "surrender?" That would be "Surrender" by Cheap Trick!

And fifth of all.... a third-verse key change. Always a sure-fire way to rock... which "Surrender" by Cheap Trick does! Seems like "Man in the Mirror" has been cribbing Cheap Trick's tests.

Surrender to "Surrender!"

Writer's Note: This entire blog was written while listening to "Surrender" by Cheap Trick.

*** for now

Monday, December 01, 2003

With the exception of a brief one-hour nap this afternoon, I've been up for 33 hours.

This'll happen again. And again. And again.

I run my body raw and tired.

And then I bitch about it like some sort of martyr.

You do it to yourself, Paul. You do.

And maybe that's why it really hurts?

No sleep 'till Brooklyn.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

I reached my goal and edited one more sequence. In this sequence, two different scenes are intercut. Originally, it was written as two separate scenes, but I realized during the editing process that the scene-after-scene format was growing pretty stale and predictable, so I squashed 'em together. Hopefully, it'll SPICE THINGS UP!

Intercutting is pretty neat. I was able to cut out expository lines from each scene - simply because the juxtaposition of two scenes provided its own information. Weeee!

It's 6:30am. Is Hamburg Inn open yet? I feel like treating myself to a delicious breakfast. It'll SPICE THINGS UP!

After I was done editing, I turned on the TV. "Beat the Geeks" was on Comedy Central. I really liked that show when it was on (as in, not at 6:00am). It was funny. One contestant was asked to name the 1995 Adam Sandler comedy in which Sandler had to repeat grades 1-through-12. Her answer?

"Momma's Boy."

What the hell?

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Tonight, Jamal, Michele, Spencer, and I were supposed to meet up and rehearse our new sketch-comedy show "Saturday Night Live 2," but Spencer wasn't able to make it back from Des Moines on time, so it got cancelled. Which means...

Editing (and my self-imposed exile) continues.

In the end, my goal is to get one more sequence edited. Then I need to do work on the second draft of "Bubblegum Brigade."

I'm unshowered and I stink.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Editing continues....

I've scrapped that troublesome "job hunting montage." I don't care if it would have "big laugh" moments. The humor didn't match the rest of the movie's tone. It's for the better.

Now I'm happy to say that the video's first 35 minutes has consistent comic sensibilities. Nobody may actually consider them "comic," but at least, it's consistent.

I've been in my dorm room for 38 hours straight now (with a few trips down the hall to go the bathroom). I'll probably be in here until 6pm tomorrow. That'd be 55 hours in the same space. Gouche.

I edit. I take a break to eat sandwiches. I edit some more. Then I go to sleep. Repeat this.

Not that I'm bitchin'. I'm likin' this. A lot.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving.

I'm in my dorm room right now. I decided to not go home for Thanksgiving. It's 5-and-a-half hours away, so driving there sort of blows a holiday. And although I love my family dearly, I wanted to spend my holiday by myself and do stuff that personally satisfies me, which means editing my movie.

It's pretty peaceful. No one's in the dorms right now and I'm enjoying my time alone.

Last night, I went to "Bad Santa" with Michele. It disappointed me. I'm a pretty big fan of Terry Zwigoff's ("Crumb," "Ghost World"), but it wasn't nearly as good as those films. I don't know. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for misanthropy. Besides, that sort of misanthropy isn't my cup of tea in any case. I like the type that's bubbling under the surface rather than being flat-out and blatant.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: Black comedy is an excellent genre, but most of the time, it's done wrong. I hate it when people think "black comedy" means just being mean-spirited - or even worse, focusing on explicitly dark subject matter (death, violence, etc.). For me, true black comedy is "The King of Comedy" or "Election." It's the ugly side of human personality and behavior.

After "Bad Santa," Michele and I watched "The Man Who Wasn't There." I wanted to see a great Billy Bob Thorton movie. And goddamn, it's so great. It ranks up there with "Fargo" and "The Hudsucker Proxy" as one of my favorite Coen brothers movies. Why do people like "The Big Lebowski" so much? Or "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" I mean, they're good, but nothing to go nuts about.

This blog has been fiercely pissy towards things that don't share my own opinion. I am an open-minded individual!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

So, I had this running "motif" (you could call it that, I guess) through my movie. At three different points, the characters of David, Joan, and David's mother were going to have a moment where they sang a little song to themselves. They were songs they made up on the spot (to concentrate on their surroundings and distract themselves from the stuff going around them) David's song, for instance, was: "I'm in my room. I'm in my room. There's nothing to do and I'm in my room." Joan's was: "It's a beautiful day outside. It's a beautiful day outside. It's a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful day outside." Etc, etc, etc. You get the idea. People make up songs to themselves all the time.

But that's all gone now. Edited out.

I felt I was tipping my hand too much. Showing the characters inner-thoughts a little too broadly. So it's no longer in the movie.

This has been a consistent occurence during the editing process. I realized that in the writing and shooting, I had a lot of character-defining lines and actions, but now, as it the movie is being assembled, I'm realizing how unnecessary that is. Those ideas are being expressed naturally as the story is being told.

Of course, there's a danger of some stuff (i.e. motives, behaviors) being unclear and unexplained to viewers, but I'd rather have things be a little too vague rather than a little too obvious.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I just deleted the first 15 minutes of my video - on purpose. Now, I've gained some more space on my hard-drive and I can capture more footage to keep on editing. It's a continuing process. You capture footage. You edit it. You save it. Then you delete it to make more room. On and on.

The reason I didn't delete the first 30 minutes is because I'm still debating on a montage. I don't want to delete it because I may want to make some changes later. It's a tonal thing. I don't know if the jokes are too "over-the-top" - especially considering that the first 15 minutes are pretty dry.

But the first "act" of the video is done and now I begin editing the next "act." In total, the movie probably has 4 acts/sections: 1) David needs a job and finds a job, 2) David meets his clients, 3) David meets Natalie, and 4) the finale.

Tonight, I'm going to "Yes, Shame." I haven't been able to go at all this semester b/c of a Tuesday night class. But I'm going now!

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I've been steadily re-tooling "David Mows Yards." I printed it to DV tape and just watched the first 30 minutes on my TV. Seeing it on a larger screen with better sound makes the mistakes more apparent. In the viewing, I found about 19 mistakes that I need to fix (both aesthecially and tonally/thematically) before I can commit to a final version. Once I move all the files to the final version, I delete all the orginal files. This is good because it frees all the drive-space on my computer, which I desperately need, but it sucks because then I'm stuck with the version I have - with no future retooling and virtually no "turning back." So it's a little scary.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

My thanksgiving break officially started... YESTERDAY!

That's right. I got no classes on Thursdays and my Friday classes were cancelled.

So it's 11 days of freedom for me.

I'm staying here in Iowa City all during the break to do some video-editin' and playwritin'. It'll be fun.

Also? The weather is beautiful today. I'm going out runnin'.

And don't forget that the 11-Minute Play Festival (featuring a play I wrote and a play I'm acting in) is going on at Public Space One tonight and Friday night at 8pm.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Last night, a friend was looking through my photo album and noted how attractive my "high school sweetheart" was. My friend joked (?), "Why on earth did she date you then?"

It's funny this was asked because it has been a question at the crux of all my dating relationships.

Of the three girls I seriously dated as a girlfriend, I have believed they were all substantially more attractive than me. And this isn't, "Well, in his eyes, Paul just thinks his girlfriends are pretty" or "Paul just has a low self-esteem" because across the board, according to everyone, all of them would be considered more attractive than me.

And so while I'm dating them, I'm often asking myself, "Why on earth is she dating me?"

I've got my answers and all. They like my personality. We're compatible. She's not, you know, shallow. Stuff like that. And I'm confident that's all true, but still... it gives me pause.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

The official cast for "Bubblegum Brigade" has been announced!

Zach -- Lucas Salazar
Buzz -- Chris Witaske
Laptop -- Alex Elliot-Funk
Jennifer -- Danielle Santangelo-Kovalick

It opens on January 30th. Rehearsals begin December 1st.

I am excited.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I ripped this survey off from Emily Yoshida's web-blog. I, of course, added my own answers. Because I am not Emily Yoshida. Enjoy!

My profile
-- Name: Paul
-- Birthdate: 4/12/81
-- Birthplace: LeMars, IA
-- Current Location: Iowa City, IA
-- Eye Color: blue
-- Hair Color: dark brown
-- Height: 5'9"
-- Righty or Lefty: Lefty
-- Zodiac Sign: Aries

-- Your heritage: German? French? Why have I never asked these questions?
-- The shoes you wore today: Velcro Wal-Mart shoes (the ones that my mother claims make me look 'tarded)
-- Your weakness: Worrying about strangers
-- Your fears: Failure (Yoshida had this down already, but I dig it as well)
-- Goal you'd like to achieve: Make an audience cry

-- Your most overused phrase: "Sorry." (cheesy, but true)
-- Your thoughts first waking up: What's bleeding this time?
-- Your best physical feature: nose
-- Your bedtime: 4am/5am

-- Pepsi or Coke: Coke
-- McDonalds or Burger King: Burger King
-- Single or group dates: What? I'm not on "Friends"
-- Adidas or Nike: Nike (1991 Air Jordans)
-- Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Neither. Although during boat trips, my dad likes to take a Nestea plunge into the lake.
-- Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate!
-- Cappuccino or coffee: Blarg! Both suck!

-- Smoke: Yuck! No!
-- Cuss: Pussy!
-- Sing: Yay!
-- Take a shower everyday: Haven't showered since Tuesday (it's early Friday)
-- Have a crush(es): Yes'um
-- Do you think you've been in love: Yeah!
-- Excited to go to college or university?: I'm at college already, professor!
-- Like high school: Loved it!
-- Want to get married: ... No.
-- Believe in yourself: Yes, until I see people believe in themselves better
-- Get motion sickness: No, but my dad did on "Star Tours" at Disney World
-- Think you're attractive: Only when other people do (goddamn, this survey sucks)
-- Think you're a health freak: I likes to run. I likes to eat cheeseburgers. They cancel each other out.
-- Get along with your parents: Yes
-- Like thunderstorms: 13 boners for windows open on a summer night
-- Play an instrument: I play bass and piano like a second grader

LEVEL SIX: In the past month...
-- Drank alcohol: NO!
-- Smoked: NO!
-- Made Out: Yeah!
-- Gone on a date: Alright!
-- Gone to the mall?: Yes! Looked at "fat lady" greeting cards at Spencer's Gifts with Ellen
-- Eaten an entire box of Oreos: Oreos are the single most overrated candy/junk food thing ever
-- Eaten sushi: NO!
-- Been on stage: I'm a star!
-- Been dumped: No
-- Gone skating: Gone fishin' with Danny Glover and Joe Pesci
-- Made homemade cookies: No
-- Gone skinny dipping: This, "Spin the Bottle," and "Seven Minutes in Heaven" have unfortunately alluded me throughout my entire life
-- Dyed your hair: Weird! No!
-- Stolen anything: No

-- Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: No! Stop asking me!
-- Been caught "doing something": What?
-- Been called a tease: Huh?
-- Gotten beaten up: Almost, but I repeated "man" over and over and briskly walked away
-- Changed who you were to fit in: Yeah

-- Age you hope to be married: 9
-- Numbers and Names of Children: I hate children's names. So lame.
-- Describe your dream wedding: Me parachuting until I land in a tree and my three nieces have to bail me out
-- How do you want to die: Buried alive
-- Where you want to go to college/university?: Teikyo Westmar (LeMars' joke, sucka!)
-- What do you want to be when you grow up: Filmmaker
-- What country would you most like to visit: Your country!

LEVEL NINE: In a guy/girl...
-- Best eye color? Whateva'.
-- Best hair color? Brunette
-- Short or long hair: Short
-- Height: Mine
-- Best weight: Bones painted the color of skin (jokes - just jokes)
-- Best articles of clothing: Sundress (you are lame, paul rust)
-- Best first date location: The movies
-- Best first kiss location: On my butt

-- Number of drugs taken illegally: 0
-- Number of people I could trust with my life: How many actors were on "Hee-Haw?"
-- Number of CDs: close to 300
-- Number of piercings: 0
-- Number of tattoos: 0
-- Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper?: A bunch
-- number of scars on my body: 3 (eyebrow, corner of eye, right pinky)
-- Number of things in my past that I regret: Now that I've filled out this survey? 0.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Last year, while I was making "America's Funniest American," I didn't show it to anybody - save for the few actors who appeared in it.

But now, with "David Mows Yards," I've been showing it to a few more people. I've gotten some feeback, which is helpful and confirmed the concerns I had with it.

As a result, I'm going back to re-edit some scenes. The initial scene between David and his mother is being shortened. For one thing, it was too long as it is and secondly, it cuts out a question the mom asks David about his personal life. Originally, the question was to show how little she knows about his personal life, but then I realized... her not asking at all speaks a lot more. So it's gone.

I'm also cutting down the "job hunting montage." Although it's fun and brings some comic relief, it goes on too long and thus, destroys the whole point of it being there - tonally speaking.

I've also cut out an entire two scenes where David meets his first two lawnmowing clients. From the very beginning, I knew they weren't very essential to the plot, but I had them in there, so it didn't seem like the viewer was being drug along by the plot (the idea being that by taking moments to get distracted and chill out with characters would be satisfying). Turns out... it just makes you antsy for the movie to keep moving along. The thing is... you were 27 minutes into the movie and you still hadn't met the second-billed character. Now, instead, you meet that character 22 minutes into the movie, which is a little better.

And so continues the editing...

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

"Bubblegum Brigade," a full-length play I wrote, is going to be put on in the University of Iowa theatre department during the last week of January. Spencer Griffin will be directing.

As such, Spencer and I have been sitting in on general auditions, looking for our cast. There's been some good auditions... which are good. And there's been some bad... which are BETTER!

There was this one audition that was so bad that it made me want to laugh. Hysterically. But I couldn't do that because it would be rude (as opposed to secretly making fun of somebody, which is fine and acceptable). But as you know, stuff is 100 times funnier when you can't laugh. And then stuff gets even funnier when the person beside you starts to chuckle. I had my head down on my lap, biting my lip.

So I planned to do the thing where I would laugh at a joke said within the audition. That way, I could extinguish all my laughter AND it would be approrpriate. The thing is... even the comedic monologue wasn't good enough to constitute a laugh, so I had to keep it in.

I held the laugh so long that my shoes blew off my feet and my toupee spun on my head.


Friday, November 07, 2003

So I've been watching "Full House" on Nick at Nite. A lot.

And I've notcied that Jodie Sweetin (a.k.a. "Stephanie") looks and acts a lot like my niece Alexis. Similar face. Similar speech patterns. This is intensified by the fact that in these episodes, Stephanie is the same age as Alexis is now.

The thing that worries me is... I've heard that old Jodie Sweetin (present-day age) is now fugly. Some friends saw her on a talk show or something and they said she totally lost her cuteness and is just plain hideous.

I hope my niece doesn't follow the same fate.

Because who wants an ugly niece?

Not me!

And not you either.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I need a haircut. My hair is getting big and poofy.

I don't like it when my hair is poofy. I don't like it when you slip me a rufie.

There's no such thing as Panama Jack.

In an hour, DJ, Jake, and I are recording a video to submit for the "Battle of the Bands." We've been rejected two years in a row. Will we be rejected a third year? Let's hope so!

Gotta' go! Gonna' getcha!

Monday, November 03, 2003

I'm in the computer lab of Becker Communications Building, waiting for 3:30pm to roll around. That's when I can pick up a mini-DV camera I reserved. You see, I have to check out University equipment since my camera is "in the shop" getting fixed. I'm supposed to be using school equipment for class-related projects (not my own personal movie), but we'll keep that a secret. Right? Or I'll tell everyone how you had to sleep with your parents for a week after you saw "The Howling 2."

I'm hoping to edit some more of "David Mows Yards" tonight. I showed a couple friends the first 22 minutes and they responded well (i.e. laughed and whatnot). I had some concerns regarding tone beforehand. I felt like it shifted in moods too quickly and seemed off-kilter. The strange thing is... that's what I often like about some movies (i.e. "Punch Drunk Love"), so I don't know why I wouldn't want it in mine. Maybe it's not appropriate or something. I don't know.

Well, the reason I already was in the Becker building was because... I just got done editing a project for Advanced Video. It had to be a "collage" piece - meaning it puts together different pieces of found footage. I used "Strong Kids, Safe Kids" (a video from the 1980's about prevention from child abduction and molestation), a copy of my Public Space One "Sex Night" performance, a home video of our 1990 family vacaction to Florida, and my first movie "The Single Man," which I made in 1992. In the end, the collage explores issues of performance, public humiliation, sexuality, and childhood. The ending falls a little flat, but all in all, I like it.

It's almost 3:30 now. We should all meet and check out equipment together.

On Friday afternoon, I saw "Lost in Translation." It was great. I'd dare say that it's been the best movie I've seen so far this year. The acting was great and it looked pretty and... the sound was incredible! You could hear the sound of dry skin on bedsheets and the sound of fabric being tied to a tree branch. Really, really beautiful stuff.

I just got done watching "Harvey" with my friend Adam. That Jimmy Stewart is quite the guy. How someone could so perfectly walk the line of sincerity without ever crossing over into schmaltziness is beyond me.

I am gushing. Why am I gushing?

I think it's because Halloween is over and all the skeletons are gone. Now it's nothing, but red leaves and gravy.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Remember that ear-ache I was complaining about? Turns out it was just a big zit! Gross! It popped last night while I was watching "Soul Man" with my friends Adam and Ellen. Right when James Earl Jones was telling C. Thomas Howell that he's not going to let him slide through college just because he's black, I touched the inside of my ear and felt a bunch of liquidy stuff. I looked down at my fingernail and on it was a big, long glob of yellow pus. And blood.

I put some hydrogen peroxide on a q-tip and cleaned out my ear. This took about 8 q-tips. Afterwards, they were all covered in blood and pus and other gunk. It was yucky. Adam and Ellen took gleeful (and digusted) joy in it. I thought about saving the q-tips and doing a puppet show with them, but I figured that was too predictable.

I haven't written my No Shame piece yet. This year, I've usually had it done by Wednesday, but that's not the case this week. It's because I had to scrape my original idea (a valentine's day sketch), but yesterday, I came across something new and I'll try to do that. Actually, it's not totally new. I came up with the basic concept a few weeks ago when I was reading an essay about haunted house films as representative anecdotes. It just wasn't until yesterday that I figured out a way to make the basic concept workable. I'm writing it this evening.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

I went to the dentist. Apparently, the tubes in one of my teeth are frayed or broken. The dentist rubbed sensitivity-paste all over my tooth to make it better. It's been a day or so and my tooth still hurts. I've been told that it may take 3-4 weeks to see any improvement.

Today, I went to the doctor for the ear-ache. Apparently, I scraped some protective tissue out of my ear canal and bacteria caused an infection. I'm taking antibiotics to fight it.

On the way home from the doctor, my nose started to bleed. Heavily. I walked a few blocks, holding my hand to my nose until I reached a bathroom to take care of it (i.e. cleaning my face, shoving a tissue in my nostril). For the next hour, I was splitting out globs of blood.

I'm falling apart.

One interesting thing... when I got into the bathroom to take care of my bloody nose, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my bloody-smeary face. I must say... it looked pretty cool. I was reminded of one of my favorite parts of "Catcher in the Rye." It's after Holden gets in a fight and he looks in the mirror and admires his newly-marred face. I always thought that was a really honest moment. I bet a lot of people do that.

Because we all know it's cool to look/be damaged.

That's why I write an entire blog about my tooth-ache, ear-ache, and bloody nose.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

On Tuesday night, I went to a screening of the silent film "The Last Days of Pompeii." All in all, I was pretty bored by it, but I did like one concept that I've enjoyed in other films like "Magnolia," "The Ice Storm," and "Short Cuts." And that is... the irrelevance of human disarray in the face of uncontrollable nature.

In all these movies, they lay out a plot that's filled with characters who have their own problems and obstacles and whatnot and you as an audience member get engrossed and concerned by them... and then... bam! A volcano erupts. Or the sky rain flogs. Or ice covers your city. Or an earthquake shakes the ground. And all these problems are leveled (and I'd argue - humbled) by something no one could ever control. Your little, inconsequential problems take a backseat to the greater power of chance.

It's a pretty beautiful concept.

And an awfully honest one, too, if you ask me. It's weird. This corresponds with an essay I just read that criticized conventional Hollywood plots. The essayist referenced Epes Winthrop Sargent who wrote that the most exciting thing in theatre is when a cat comes out onstage. Because no one in the audience knows what that cat's going to do because it isn't privy to the plot. It doesn't have to follow some pre-determined arc. Anything can happen. And then the essayist suggested that film plots in total should "let the cat out of the bag."

I myself have tried to do stuff in my work that does this, but often times, it just becomes a criticism of how art tries to have "spotaneity," but ends up controlling it even more. Like... I literally put a dog onstage just to make the commentary that trying to get it to do what you want it to do is impossible - similar to when you're in a relationship and you try to force your significant other to be how you want them to be. It can't happen.

But maybe I'll actually try to "put a cat onstage" as opposed to just saying it's impossible.

For a week, I've had a tooth ache. I can't eat anything solid (especially if it's cold) on the left side of my mouth. This has seriously affected my way of life.

For instance, I love to drink water. Lots of it. I don't know if you've seen me do this or not, but I'll down an entire 20 oz. of water in one chug. That's the only way I can do it, so that it ends my thirst. But with this tooth ache, I haven't been able to do that. I feel groggy and dehydrated. It's the pits.

In addition... within the past day, my tongue tastes like I've been eating soap - plus I've developed an ear ache. I think it is all related to this tooth problem.

Fortunately, I'm going to see a dentist this afternoon. Maybe that will end my pain. My constant, constant pain.

I'm peforming at the Talent Show at Public Space One tonight at 8pm! Come one, come all!

Monday, October 27, 2003

Yesterday (October 27th), my niece Alexis turned 8 years old. I called her up on the phone to wish her a happy birthday. She was having her party at the time, so she seemed a little distracted. That's understandable. If I had a bunch of friends over and was just about to open a bunch of presents, I'd find it hard to talk on the phone, too. Even today.

I remember the day Alexis was born. It was a Friday and I was in 8th grade. It was the opening night of my first-ever play (as Artie in a community theatre production of "Lost in Yonkers"). I was just heading to the theatre when my sister Anne went into labor. It wasn't until I got off the stage after the show and talked to my sister Amy and my grandma Joan that I found out Anne had a baby girl named Alexis. It was a really big, memorable night.

Those were weird times back then. Anne was a senior in high school and if having a baby at that time wasn't a taboo enough, it was at a small Catholic school, too. Of course, every kid had sex there, but a pregnancy was a rarity. I remember this awkward time (right when the rumors were circulating) when these older kids came up to me in the locker room and they were like, "Paul. I want to ask you something." And I'm like, "Uh, okay" (knowing full well that they wanted to ask about my sister). And then they said, "Ah, forget it." And everybody in the locker room snickered and exchanged knowing glances. That happened quite a few times. It made me feel helpless. It isolated me.

Of course, I can't complain too much. I'm sure it was 100 times tougher for Anne. But she was really strong and got through it. And she's doing very well for herself. I'm proud of her.

As can be expected, it was tough for the family, too. But in the end, Alexis brought us together. With a new child in our presence, it sort of forced everybody to "get their shit together." Because, you know, you want a new life to be surrounded by love. And not dysfunction.

I've always been extremely grateful to have Alexis around. Not only is she super-funny and cool, she's also given me the opportunity to know what it's like to be around little kids (since I was the youngest child). And getting to influence somebody positively and have them influence you with their innocence and grace is pretty great.

That's my niece Alexis. 8 years old.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Since schoolwork has decreased within the past week, I've had some time to edit more of "David Mows Yards." So far, I got the first 20 minutes edited.

On Thursday-into-Friday, I edited a "job-hunting" montage. It's mostly there for comic relief. The first 15 minutes contain more observational/behavioral type of jokes whereas the montage has more set-up/punchline obvious type of jokes. So, it comes in at a good time - as far as structure is concerned.

It was the same with "America's Funniest American." In retrospect, I've noticed that all the "big joke" moments came right after the "small boring" moments - as if to snatch back the audience's attention. And I'm sure that's what's going on here.

Now, I'm editing a scene that features my dad. He did a good job. I'd give him a line and he'd re-word it and make it his own. He even improvised a few lines. Originally, he wanted to wear a "Goofy" ballcap he got at Disney World in 1990, but I nixed the idea.

This will cripple the movie.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Yesterday, I found out Elliot Smith was dead. That's too bad. I wasn't his #1 fan or anything like that, but I enjoyed his songs when I heard them. And obviously, in general, it's unfortunate when somebody dies.

He killed himself by sticking a knife into his chest. Goddamn. The strange thing is... for about a year now, I've been thinking how the most extreme/passionate/poetic way to kill yourself would be a knife in the chest.

By the way, loved ones should not worry. I'm not having "bad thoughts." It's just been in my mind since I saw "The Piano Teacher," which features such a thing.

Anyway, some friends and I were talking about how somebody would have to be awfully tormented to commit suicide in such a manner. And how Elliot Smith - who seemingly was a pretty tormented guy in his songs - chose something like that.

Then we talked about how if Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes) committed suicide, he would never stick a knife in his chest. He'd probably take a bottle of Aspirin.

I like Conor Oberst's music and all, but... his "torment" can be a little phoney from time to time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Have you heard Quasi? They are a band. A good band.

Actually, they are one of my favorite bands still making music today. Since... you know, Pixies and Big Star are dead. For now.

Anyhow, Quasi is playing in Iowa City at Gabe's on November 6th. I tried my hardest to get "My Business Failed in Three Weeks" to open for them, but it fell through. That's too bad. Still, I'll get to see them rock out.

I just bought their new record "Hot Shit." It's fantastic. My favorite song so far is this one called "No One." It's got this chord progression on a keyboard that's... well, it's like how you've wanted a chord progression on a keyboard to sound for a long time, but nobody ever has done it.

Until now.

And the lyrics are terrific. It starts off with Sam Coomes repeating, "No one will hurt you" and then, in the chorus, he sings, "I won't allow them to." So you - as a listener - think, "Okay, he's singing a love song. That's nice." But in the second verse, he repeats, "No one will help you" and finishes it off with, "I won't allow them to." A simple sentiment gone dark. It's great.

If you're looking to download a Quasi song to get a taste, I suggest "It's Raining." It's probably their most accessible.

Monday, October 20, 2003

A couple hours ago, Rick and I had a conversation about those who represent "the left" (or "progressive" politics) in the media and how they can be frustrating.

Like Michael Moore, for instance. In general, I agree with his politics. I, too, get upset with abuses by the corporate world or the war in Iraq or institutionalized racism - just to name a few. But I have problems with how Michael Moore expresses those viewpoints. His oscar accpetance speech, for example, really irked me. He just came off as this ranting lunatic who was getting off on his own subversiveness.

And that bothers me because... if he's one of the few people representing progressive political thought in the mainstream media, then he gives mainstream audiences the impression that all of those who share his beliefs are also "ranting lunatics who get off on their own subversiveness."

As a result, I want to thumb my nose at Michael Moore. Furthermore, I want other progressive thinkers in the media to criticize him. But you can't do that because in the end, all you're doing is giving power to "the right." After all, in mainstream discourse, things are basically separated between "the left" and "the right." There is no "left of the left." So, in effect, by descrediting Moore, you inadverntly agree with the right.

It's like how when a black person criticizes others in the black community, it allows racists to stand back, fold their arms, and say, "See! Even black people agree with us!"

So, all I can do with Michael Moore is shrug and think, "At least those viewpoints are getting out someway."

But I just wish it could be done better.

Friday, October 17, 2003

My friend Rick is visiting tonight from Notre Dame. He's one of the funniest fellers I know. Just know, I got off the phone with him and I was a-howlin'. Topics ranged from an episode of "Head of the Class" during the "Billy" era, 4th grade student-made rosaries, and a volleyball coach's favorite romance novelist. I'm hoping he writes a piece for No Shame tonight.

Tomorrow, my ma and pa are visiting. This is the first time I've seen them since early August. I go long stretches without seeing my folks. For instance, if they hadn't come this weekend, I wouldn't have seen them until this Christmas. But we're all cool with that.

Of course, seeing them more wouldn't be awful either. I get along with my parents really well. In fact, just yesterday, I was telling somebody how I think I've only had five arguments with my parents in my entire life. And that's not us repressing anger either. We just genuinely get along well.

My mom told me I should have something planned for all of us to do on Saturday night. I'm thinking we'll go to "Mystic River." It's a mystery-suspensey film, which I think is my parents' favorite genre. And I want to see it, so it's good for everybody. My mom mentioned how she really wants to see "Kill Bill." I warned her that it's really violent and she may not like it. But she said, "But I hear it's stylized. I think I'd like that." This makes my mom cool.

I'm not too surprised about her interest though. She really liked "Pulp Fiction." Even more than "Forrest Gump!" In fact, here's a conversation my mom and dad once had:

DAD: So, what did you like more: "Pulp Fiction" or "Forrest Gump?"

MOM: ... Probably "Pulp Fiction."

DAD: More than "Forrest Gump?"

MOM: Yeah.

DAD: But "Forrest Gump?" (in Forest voice) Mama always said... life is like a box of chocolates...

This is how my dad convinces people that "Forrest Gump" is a good movie. He just repeats the catchphrases. For instance, when he wants the family to watch "Forrest Gump," he'll be like:

DAD: Do you guys want to watch "Forrest Gump?"

FAMILY: Geeze, dad, we don't know ---

DAD: (in Forrest voice) Momma always said... life is like a box of chocolates.

FAMILY: Can't we watch something else?

DAD: (in Forrest voice) Stupid is as stupid does.

FAMILY: There has to be another movie we can watch.

DAD: (in Forrest voice) Me and Jenny are like peas and carrots.

FAMILY: Fine, dad. We'll watch "Forrest Gump."

God bless my dad. God bless my mom. God bless you for reading my blog!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I just saw Billy Corgan sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch of the Cubs game.

He concluded it with an awkward "Let's get some runs!"

My first amplitheatre rock show was the Smashing Pumpkins in 8th grade. They opened with "Tonight, Tonight" and closed with... you guessed it... "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

It was nice hearing his rendition again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I've been lazy for the past day. I slept from 1pm to 8pm yesterday, then stayed up all last night watching movies with friends. Those movies? The shot-on-video Full Moon Pictures classic "Dead and Rotting" and the shot-on-film Miramax bomb "Jackie Brown."

I recently used sarcasm in the previous paragraph. Can you see where? If so, sign my guestbook and you will receive a free t-shirt.

I suppose I'm being lazy because the day before was all stressy-out with the paper I had to write (read Mon, October 13th) and I'm just recovering. Tomorrow is another big day. Class presentation and then a midterm in another class. You get stressed, then you recover. You get stressed again, then you recover again. Repeat for 87 years.

Tomorrow, for the class presentation, my friend Nate and I have to lead a discussion on a reading. I think we're going to write up a quiz and force our fellow classmates to take it. And then we're going to grade it and force the instructor to figure them into their final grades.

Classtime is playtime!

Monday, October 13, 2003

I just pulled another all-nighter - easily my 8th this year alone.

I wrote a 10-page paper in 8 hours.

I'm tired now and I'm going to sleep.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Last night, I had a good, old-fashioned double feature. At 4pm, I went to see "Kill Bill" and at 7pm, I saw "Intolerable Cruelty." It's weird. These are a couple of movies that I've been anticipating for a year now and they both open on the same date. And yet, for the entire year, I've been routinely disappointed by the movies.

Why can't those Hollywood show biz fat-cats schedule their movies better? It's probably because they're too busy snorting cocaine through 100-dollar bills. Hollywood show biz fat-cats love to snort cocaine through 100-dollar bills. Their movies tell me this.

Apparently, this is my weekend of "Entertain me NOW!" because tonight I'm going to see awesome, awesome rock band Local H in Cedar Falls. I've never seen them live, but their records are some of the best hard-rock records being made today. If you wanted the Pixies or Nirvana to still be making albums, Local H would be the ones to do it. Of course, they're not as great as the Pixies or Nirvana, but they fill that void.

And their albums are indeed great. They're really conceptual. Songs bleed into one another, riffs pop back up here and there, and similar thematic material is explored throughout. I do love me the concept album. It's probably because of my insatiable hunger for narrative in everything.

Speaking of insatiable hungers...

I'm going to take a shower!

Thursday, October 09, 2003

I'm listening to Jonathan Richman's "Rockin' and Romance," an early-80's LP of his. Of all his records, it's my favorite. Strangely enough, it's his only album that hasn't been put on CD yet. I lucked out and found a used vinyl copy a few years ago and snatched it up.

The album's great. The backing band is excellent. It's basically an acoustic guitar, drums, and female vocals - with occasional backing male vocals. And the production's really sparse, but focused and vibrant.

And the songs are great, too. Like "The Beach" and "My Jeans" and "Down in Bermuda" and "Vincent Van Gogh" and "Chewing Gum Wrapper."

My favorite is "I Must Be King." The lyrics go like this:

I easy laugh
I easy cry
I soft inside
She partly why

I used to yearn
And now I sing
Since she's my queen
Well, that makes me king

And she and I are like brother and sister
I get to be her companion
And share her secrets
They've put us side by side to live

These days of joy
I stand and weep
Cuz I'm so grateful
to watch her smile when she's asleep

Since we're like birdies
Well this must be spring
And since she's my queen
Well, I must be king

And she and I are like brother and sister
I get to be her companion
And share her secrets
They've put us side by side to live

These days of joy
I stand and weep
I sometimes get grateful
when I watch her smile when she's asleep

Since we're like birdies,
well, this must be spring
And since she's my queen,
I must be king

I don't know. I just like the logic. The idea that, "Well, I don't think too much of myself, but this person I'm with? She's really great. And she likes me. So that must mean... I'm great, too."

And that maybe dangerous in the sense that you're only finding confidence because somebody accepted you, but... you could also see it as... somebody's love giving you strength and happiness. And that's a really beautiful sentiment.

And the best part about the song is that it's playful and fun and you tap your foot and you sing along and in the end, you're left with this incredible love song.

Download it if you like.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

So, for awhile, I've been trying to write comedy sketches that are more "joyful" and "fun-loving." I don't know. Something that just gives you some sort of euphoria - like when I watch "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" or screwball comedies from the 30's.

Tall task... which could certainly not be done by me.

In the end, I just ended up writing comedy sketches about how you can't force things to happen - you know, kind of like how you can't write a "joyful" comedy sketch if you're not feeling particularly joyful.

Recently, I think I discovered why I've been struggling with this. It basically comes down to how I regard comedy at its core level. And that is?

The best form of comedy comes from a place of frustration. If something's bothering you and you want change, you write a comedy sketch about it. Anything else is soul-less and inconsequential. Silly. Bad.

As a result, I write comedy sketches that are pissy and frustrated and decidedly not joyful. But hopefully, in the end, I can find a way to write comedy with an idea that I feel is important and valuable - without it being gloomy. Because in the end... for me... I think the most difficult thing to write is something that expresses joy and gives people joy.

It's like... it's easy to write a song about how you're depressed and then make people depressed, but there's only a handful of songs that truly lift your spirits.

And these songs include "I Saw Her Standing There," "All I Want for Chirstmas is You," and "Red Red Robin." That's it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Random memory...

When I was in third grade, I found out what menstration was from an episode of "Blossom." I didn't totally understand it, so my older sister Amy explained it to me in full. Blood and tampons and all that.

For some reason or another, I felt that this had tainted me. Like I had knowledge of some horrible thing.

Later that night, when my mom came home, I embraced her as soon as she walked through the door. I said, "Mom, Amy... told... me..." and then I broke down into tears.

Fortunately, my mom forgave me.

.... I'm so Catholic.

Monday, October 06, 2003

On Saturday afternoon, I went to see "School of Rock" with Jake. It was really entertaining and sweet-hearted. For two hours, it helped me forget a lot of the stuff that had been on my mind. I guess that's one of those things that films can do.

God bless "escapist cinema" and its patron saints, Spielberg and Zemeckis.

Truth be told, however, there isn't enough "escapist cinema" going on these days. There's certainly mindless blockbusters everywhere, but "mindless" doesn't necesarily have to mean "soul-less."

I don't know. Movies like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" wanted nothing more than to entertain you. And it was earnest. And smart.

Everyday, I consider making "ET" my favorite movie of all-time. But I realize this is a major step for a cinephile, so I hold back until I'm completely sure. But still... the movie's amazing. It's one of the few honest portraits of childhood that I can think of. Kids talk like kids. And get pissed off like kids. And care like kids.

And there's so many great ideas running through it: Finding strength in yourself after others having disappointed you. Loneliness. Abandonment. Letting go of things you love because you know it's the right thing to do.

And despite all this, it's as inspiring as anything could be.

Hm. Maybe it is my favorite movie.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Wednesday was a day where I had to present 4 seperate projects in class:

1) Fake Self-Portrait Video (for Advanced Video)

Originally, this video was going to be about me and my "girlfriend." Throughout the video, it was going to be gradually revealed that I had hired an actress to portray my girlfriend and she would be uncomfortable when I ask her to do "boyfriend and girlfriend" things with me (i.e. sharing pet names, singing our songs, kissing on camera, etc.). Instead, it ended up seeming like this person was actually my girlfriend, but wasn't into the relationship as much as me. I like how it ended up better than the original idea. It seems more honest.

2) "Six Feet Under" Presentation (for Television Criticism)

In this class presentation, I argued that the pilot episode of "Six Feet Under" exemplified the tension between "ironic detachment" and "emotional expression" in the 21st Century (or post "Age of Irony"). I was too dry and boring. At least, that's what the glazed-over eyes of my fellow classmates told me.

3) Discussion with advisor (on Honors Thesis project)

During this discussion, my advisor and I talked about the screenplay I wrote for my Honors Thesis Project. He seemed to be cool with the major ideas and the themes and the whatnot, so I'm okay there, but he had some problems with how I presented it. He suggeted new tactics and I liked what he had to say. There's a "secret" in the piece and the new plan of action is to wait in revealing it until the end. I'll try it in the second draft, which is due in a week or so.

4) "Bubblegum Brigade" play (for Undergraduate Playwrights Workshop)

Arlen Lawson, Michael Tabor, Emily Happe, and I read my play "Bubblegum Brigade" aloud for the others in my workshop class. Afterwards, I received some nice feedback. My instructor told me that she saw the structure shaped like an "N." It goes straight, takes a sharp turn, then goes straight again, and takes another sharp turn. I agreed. She suggested that I make those straight lines a little more curvy - with subplots and more secret motives. She's right. It was too bare bones. It needs higher stakes and more flava'.

On Thursday, after presenting all these projects, I felt a sense of post-mortum (sp?) depression with it all. In general, I've been kinda down since then. You get all worked up for stuff and then it's over and you feel empty. And tired. And bored.


Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Yesterday, I got interviewed for an upcoming "Daily Iowan" article on the 17th anniversary No Shame show that's this Friday. The interviewer was asking me about my past work and I was talking to him about it. He mentioned how (based on my previous pieces), he didn't know if I loved TV or hated it.

This is something I think about a lot. Not just in the realm of TV either. I have a love-hate relationship with a lot of things. Not people. With people, I'm usually on a sliding scale of mild-dislike-to-love. But with things, I can love it and hate it at the same time.

I compared it to that scene in "Raging Bull" where Jake LaMotta boxes the good-looking boxer and he bashes his face in. Afterwards, LaMotta tells a group of people that when faced with the boxer, he didn't know if he should... and pardon my french... "fuck him or fight him." That basically sums up my feelings towards a lot of things.

For instance, when faced with something like a magic act, I don't know if it's the best form of entertianment or the worst form of entertainment. It's such a schmaltzy, dorky thing and yet... it entertains me to no end. I suppose this sort of ambivalence shows up in my No Shame pieces. I do a lot of things where I celebrate something - just to tear it down.

It's sort form of irony, I'm sure.

And irony... well, that's 500 blogs right there, but... I've been accused of using it in my No Shame pieces a lot. And I'll admit that it is way too prevalent at No Shame. It's irritating for me to see a lack of commitment in performances. I hate - no, mildly dislike - it when "standing outside the piece" is just an excuse for poor writing.

But as for proper irony.... last night, I read some essays on irony and I came across this: Charles Gordon said, "The skillful ironist, one who uses the form as a weapon rather than an instrument of self-amusement, does society a service." And I hate to call myself "skillfull" or see myself as doing society "a service," BUT I know that when I use irony, it's because I'm frustrated with something and I want change. And that's a lot more passionate than some form of bemused apathy.

Besides, my pieces last year at No Shame were nothing but painfully earnest and it wore me out.

Monday, September 29, 2003

A few minutes ago, I finished writing my full-length play "Bubblegum Brigade." It's due on Wednesday for my playwriting class. I started writing PAGE ONE on Sunday evening at 8pm and I just completed the FINAL PAGE right now. So, basically... I wrote the entire thing in 12 hours straight.

The loneliness of a long-distance writer.

I don't know if it'll be any good. I'll give it one more look-sy before I print it out for class. Obviously, it's a first draft of... what? Two, maybe.


Hopefully, it will get produced sometime next semester. I believe my pal Spencer Griffin will direct it. Probably at Public Space One. Hopefully. Probably. Godonaly.

For those of you who are interested, it takes place in a clubhouse. The characters consist of three 12 year-old boys and a 23 year-old woman. There are pranks and such.

I have class in an hour and a half.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

"My Business Failed in Three Weeks" has got another hour before our show. In the meantime, we are playing "Rocky" the videogame. I am not one for videogames. This is evidenced by me recently getting beat four times in a row. Badly. Like my boxer was a really strong guy and the other boxer was an old man. And I still got beat. Super-beat.

This afternoon, "My Business Failed in Three Weeks" spent a $100 gift certificate at West Music. We received it as "pay" for playing a show. That meant we got to spend $100 however we wished. I bought a bass tuner. Jake bought some drum-heads. DJ bought a guitar book.

Also, we all bought white gloves - you know, the kind that conductors wear. We're going to wear them for the show. Everybody will think we're fancy.

If they don't already.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

When I was 7 years old, one of my favorite songs was "Parents Just Don't Understand" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. I don't know why it spoke to me so much. At that age, I thought my parents understood me pretty well. Still do, actually.

Anyway, I recently downloaded and listened to it. I noticed some things I hadn't before. Like... as a kid, when I used to sing/rap along with it, I used to say, "in end of the blue" when Fresh Prince said, "inevitably." I WAS SUCH A STUPID 7 YEAR-OLD!

One of the highlights of downloading the song was that I found another version of it. It was Li'l Bow-Wow and some other junior rapper. Of course, since it was intended for kids in the 21st century, some changes had to be made. The whole section about picking up a 12 year-old runaway was inexcusably exercised. And instead of complaining how his mom bought him clothes from 1963, it's now... 1993. To me, this can only mean: "Jurassic Park" t-shirts and Z-Cavarichi jeans. And I don't know what the problem with that is.

So, yeah... I'm a little disappointed that the original song had to be changed. I'm sure, however, that it was inevitable.

Or in this case, "in end of the blue."

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Whoops. I guess I let this go without updating for a few days. I had gotten better with that, but now I've failed again. New Year's Resolution? Keep up with Weblog. Second New Year's Resolution? Don't make New Year's Resolutions until it's actually New Year's.

Tomorrow, I have to hand in the script for my senior thesis video. As usual, I let it go until the last minute. But also, as usual, I planned out everything in my head, so that when the time came to write it, I'd know what to do. It's not the best plan of action, but it gets me by.

Anyway, my senior thesis is a short fictional video called "Janitor." It's about a man who's only escape from his unsatisfied life is pitying the janitor in his office. It's a comedy.

However... last night at 6am, I decided I totally hate that idea. It sucks. The office thing is PLAYED OUT. And it's all saddy mucky-mook. Blargh. No. I hate that. Blargh... again.

So... I came up with a new idea. It's a culmination of things that I've been thinking about for the past few months. It's about Lost Child centers. And abadonment. And children with their mothers. And men who refuse to grow up.

I'm working on the script right now. I think I can get it done by tomorrow morning - after Intermedia class and the "My Business Failed in Three Weeks" show. Of course, that will take some burnin' of the ol' midnight oil... or as I like to call it, "takin' Meth."

Happy New Year's!

Friday, September 19, 2003

MY BUSINESS FAILED IN THREE WEEKS (the band I play bass and sing for)
at GABE'S OASIS (Iowa City)

You should come to this.

Although I don't think we'll be playing these songs on Tuesday's show, I'll just mention that we've recently written a couple new ditties. One's called "Let's Make This the Best Century Ever!" It's loose and loud. It also has, in my opinion, the best drum part Jake's ever done.

We also got one song in the works called "Three Wolves." The beginning sounds like "House of the Rising Sun." Plus, it's about wolves. Which are the coolest animals in the planet.

Speaking of wolves, if you want to see something of true beauty, do an "images" search of "wolf sketch" in Google. You will be reduced to tears.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

In a few minutes, I'm going to see the documentary "Spellbound" for a second time. I saw it last June in San Francisco and it was incredible. From the first scene to the last, my eyes were all gooey with sad-juice. This isn't a sign of its quality or anything - it's great in addition to the fact that it had the ability to make me cry. But I don't know. It touched me for some unexplainable reason. Maybe it is its mix of optimism and heartbreak. That's quite a combination... and one you don't experience everyday.

It's funny. We were talking about "Spellbound" in my Advanced Video class last week and the instructor commented on how she had the same experience when she saw it. That was kind of neat. I like shared experiences that occur at separate times in separate spaces. It's probably one of the reasons that I like film in general.

For instance, last spring, I found out that my friend Chris and I both saw lady-boobs for the first time in the same movie (long before we ever knew each other). That movie? Rodney Dangerfield's "Back to School," of course.

It is also notable for being the first movie I heard the f-word in. Ah, "Back to School" - thief of my innocence.

Monday, September 15, 2003

On Saturday, I shot some footage for a project in my Advanced Video class. We have to make a "fake self-portrait." I decided to do one where I sit with my girlriend and I talk about how much we are in love. However, as the video progresses, it gradually becomes clear that she is not into the relationship as much as me. And I try to get her enthused.

I, of course, had to ask someone to portray my girlfriend since... you know, I don't have a girlfriend. Her name was Erin - a girl I somewhat knew. But I didn't know her a whole lot, which was good because it added to her awkwardness and discomfort onscreen portraying a disinterested girlfriend. She did a really great job.

This project really appeals to me because lately the thing I've been most fascinated by is people's desire to create/control experiences/feelings/emotions. And since love is arguably one of the most rewarding of spontaneous emotions, it's funny to think that you could force it. But people try.

I mean, I'm sure we've all been in relationships where either: A) we're into the relationship more than the partner or B) the partner's into it more than we are. And I think there's probably a lot of convincing and manipulating and coercing and kidding yourself that goes into that.

"Kidding yourself" along with "People trying to be liked" are the two major ideas that EVERYTHING I'VE EVER DONE has been based on. It's true.

In the end, Satuday's shooting was one of the most fun and satisfying experiences I've had in my short time as a video-maker. It was loose and improvisational and really allowed a sort of freedom.

Also, it was about me - a subject I'm so in love with - as evidenced by these blogs.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Yesterday, I found out that John, one of my best friends (EVER!), and his wife Denise are having a baby.

"Congratulations," I say to them.

If there's one guy who I think would be an excellent father, it's my pal Johnny. He's one of the most decent and genuine fellers I've ever known.

Knowing that some kid is going to have such great parents makes me smile, nod, and fold my arms in satisfaction.

So... John Ritter's dead. And that bums me out.

Because over the past few years, I've grown to appreciate John Ritter more and more. I'd watch reruns of "Three's Company" on Nick at Nite and just laugh my ass off. The guy was so funny. And it was great because it was a really "classical" form of comedy, too - like punchlines delivered in the most perfect timing and pratfalls done so precisely.

And the best part was that he wasn't doing it with a sly wink or a nudge-nudge. This man earnestly made you want to laugh. And he'd commit to it. Fully. And that's really rare to find in comedy after the 1960's.

Don't get me wrong. I love Bill Murray and Steve Martin as much as the next guy (in fact, I probably like those actors more than John Ritter), but it was just refreshing to see somebody who has no hang-ups about wanting to entertain you.

Plus, I can't find a more charismatic actor in films or television. Seriously. I dare you to find another actor who made you want to be friends with his characters as much as John Ritter did.

So, a few nights ago, a friend and I were watching this video called "Strong Kids, Safe Kids," which happened to feature John Ritter. During the video, my friend turned to me and said, "John Ritter seems like a really nice guy." And I replied, "I know!" Then we both agreed how what he was saying was really cheesy and corny, but John Ritter made you believe it. This, in my opinion, is the ideal actor.

Also... this is the most I've ever written about somebody's death in my entire life.

Sorry, Grandpa Ted.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I got the first two scenes edited for "David Mows Yards."

Originally, I had a 45-second bridge between the first two scenes. It was all edited and ready to be in the movie, but I cut it. For one reason, it didn't work rhythmically and secondly, it was this weird excursion trying to explain David's mood/state.

And in my opinion, no audience should get that close to a film's principal character after just two minutes of the movie. Keep 'em at arm's length as long as you can, I say. Just look at "Raging Bull." Why's that boxer so angry? Why's he want to punch things (i.e. other boxers, prison walls, his wife's face)? You don't know! But you get a feeling or a sense of feeling and holy crap if that don't power the entire film.

Goddamn. Watching all those "Rocky" movies made me really want to watch "Raging Bull" again.

I also want to watch "The Ice Storm" again. I've seen it a bunch, but... I'll watch it again. Have you seen it? It's DEAD-ON in its recreation of that weird zone between childhood and full-fledged adulthood where sex is intriguing and scary and gross and exciting.

Because you know, once you become an adult, sex quits becomming those things. Right?


I just realized that I (in a round-about-way) compared my movie to "Raging Bull." Well, that's just not true. These two movies are incomparable.

"David Mows Yards" is sooooo much better than "Raging Bull."

Monday, September 08, 2003

Today, I bought the first two seasons of "Saved by the Bell" on DVD.

5 discs. 40 episodes. 750 minutes.

God is a TV and tonight, I will sit on His lap.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

If you go into Calvin Hall on the University of Iowa campus - to drop a class or get a new photo ID card or whatever - check out the door on the way to the lower level. On the door, there is a sign that reads "Emergency Exit to the Right" or something like that. Anyway, below it, there is this odd clip-art of cartoon children smiling and waving. It's weird.

Anyway, a year ago, last fall, I saw this sign and I scrawled a word bubble above the children's heads. It said, "We didn't make it!" In essence, I was helping Calvin Hall. I was finally making sense of them using such a ridiculous clip-art - you know, suggesting that all those cartoon children died in a horrible fire or something.

My point is... that sign (with my addition)... is still up! After a year! You'd think somebody would take that down by now. Not that I mind. In fact, it's exciting to think that hundreds and hundreds of people have probably read that sign - especially considering that they are standing in a line and when you stand in a line, you look at everything just to pass the time.

More people have probably seen that sign than all my No Shame pieces combined. This makes me proud.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Last night, No Shame was awesome. Great pieces. Big crowd. Energy. Enthusiasm. I loved it.

Since most people find my webpage through its link on the No Shame website... if you're new here, sign my guestbook (there's a link for it at the bottom of the homepage). Or even if that's not the case, sign my guestbook. It's nice to know who's reading this.

Yesterday, I talked to my dad on the phone. I called him to say thanks because he sent me some money in the mail. It was $20 in an envelope marked - "Paul, Here's Some Beer Money - Love, Dad." My dad is funny. In case you didn't know, I don't drink and stuff and my dad's aware of this. In fact, last winter, he sent me $20 in an envelople marked - "Paul - Here's Some Money to Buy Beer and Drugs With - Love, Dad." My dad - what a goof.

So when I called him on the phone, I found out that there's a good chance that my mom, dad, sister, and niece will be going to San Francisco on Thanksgiving to visit my sister Amy. I, however, will not be going. My dad asked me if I was okay with this.

I honestly have no problem with it. It's just the way it works out. You see, my parents were originally going to go (so it'd be a little getaway for them), but then my sister and her daughter got interested in going (which is understandable since they've never been out there). So if I went along, too, it'd end up being this big trip that was never intended.

I just realized that I'm sounding like a total martyr. You know, like, "No, no, no. You guys go and have your fun. I'll just stay back and bum around, I guess." But that's not the case. I'd be perfectly happy just staying here in Iowa City for a week of vacation - with no school work and just working on the movie. I want that.

Of course, by November, I will obviously haven gotten a girlfriend, right? And at Thanksgiving, I will go home with her. And on the car-ride there, we'll take pictures outside crumby truck stops. And we'll talk about the times our grandparents died. And we'll make out while she drives - even if it is in snowy weather.

And then at dinner, I'll have to fake that I like her mother's mashed potatos more than my own mother's. And I'll bullshit my way through a conversation regarding the Minnesota Vikings with her father. And I'll force myself to grin when her little brother points out my big nose.

And as we head back to Iowa City, I'll realize that... yes, I'm a little closer to falling in love with this girl.

Or... I'll find myself in some zany "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles"-like scenario. All the while, I'll be saying, "I want to get home, but this fat guy keeps farting on me!"