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Exit ArchiveArchive for July, 2006

Believe it or not, I have updated my home page. I figured it was time, and the things I had to put up deserved to be there more so than here. I have posted the Los Angeles Times review and picture from last week, the oft-requested links to Shü und Belt shorts, and a revisitation of Food Code.

Click the Wren above to see it all, or use this boring text link.

Sorry, Robb and other mathematically-challenged individuals. The addition field is back in the comments posting section. The new spam filters were excellent at catching spam. However, I was getting hundreds a day, which means my database was filling with crap. Though the spam eventually gets deleted, I did not like all that sputum gumming up the works.

We’ll see if the addition field will slow the flow. I’d hate to bring back that ugly captcha (“enter the number shown”) as well.

A reminder: If you log in, you can skip all of those extra fields when commenting! But logging in may be just as annoying…

It seems there was a picture of me in today’s Los Angeles Times, doing the trial scene from Madwoman.

Today was also the day my copy of the Times was stolen.

Ah, life!

Well, that’s how it goes.

I did not get the check for my Disney stock sale until yesterday, which means I couldn’t deposit it until today, which means the funds won’t be available for a day or two.

In the meantime, meaning yesterday, Apple announced astounding quarterly profits and a large boost to its Mac sales. This morning, their stock is $10 up from this time last week, which is $10 over my self-set buying price.

So what now? Sit on my money until the price goes back down? The price is not going to go back down. Not to what it was last week. Not for a long while, anyway. That was a rare, rare situation that may not come back for at least a year. I can’t keep the money in my savings account that long. It’ll trickle away to pay bills and such.

It’s incredibly frustrating that I had to wait for the wheels of the financial world to get into gear so I could get at the money I needed to make the purchase I knew would be a good idea, and that that waiting has since destroyed my plan. However, it is comforting to know that my instincts were correct and that, had I indeed had the funds immediately available, I would have made a very smart purchase.

Apple is still set to announce some great stuff the second half of this year. Is it still worth buying, even at this price? Or have I truly missed the boat on this one? Darn it. This has turned from a sure thing into a gamble. I did not withdraw that moolah to gamble with it.

Makes the line my character in Madwoman says even funnier to me now: “Money sticks to me like a mustard plaster. Like on the Exchange. If you buy a stock, it goes down like a plummet, but if I buy a stock, it turns around and soars like an eagle. If I buy at thirty-three, it goes to twenty thousand! That’s how I bought my twelve chateaux, my twenty villas, my 234 farms. That’s how I endow the Opera and keep my twelve ballerinas.”

Well, that’s how it goes.

I simply had to post this, considering my run-in with the near-lunatic yesterday. Have a little listen to this woman accosting a telemarketer. Could this be the only time I will ever feel sorry for a telemarketer? No. Because he handles it brilliantly and now has a story to tell the rest of his life.

It’s almost nine minutes, but it’s quite worth your time.

Can you imagine? First off, what if this woman were allowed to drive—which she probably is? Second off, what would have happened had she been the one whose back passenger window I’d smacked? Can you, truly, imagine?

Thanks to The Consumerist for this one. For a tiny bit more context, go here.

This is what just happened to me while walking to Wahoo’s to meet Matt for dinner:

I was waiting to cross the street a half-block from my apartment. I let one SUV pass me driving right, and I saw a red car pull up going the other direction. It stopped, and I started crossing. But the red car started too. There was a momentary blind spot until the SUV cleared the intersection and the red car and I were both moving. It didn’t stop. Had I kept walking, it would have hit me. So I slowed and as it passed, I gave it a good, strong, open-handed whap on the back passenger window.

The driver started yelling, and the car stopped as I finished crossing the street. I tall, thin man with foppish hair came out, yelling. “You don’t touch the car!” He was cartoonishly livid.

He came at me fairly quickly, stopping to remove his flip-flops, I guess readying himself for some kind of tussle. He came right into my face. “You don’t touch the car!”

“You don’t run people over in the road,” I replied.

Now, of course, you know this was coming, but I’ll say it anyway: Logic was not going to be of any help here.

The man continued to provoke me. He made threats about “taking me on” between his huffy mantra, “Don’t touch the car!” I could do nothing but laugh. Of course, laughter does not do much to diffuse a situation like this. After working my way past him, I kept walking, and he headed back toward his flip-flops. “You don’t touch the car!”

“Yes, I suppose a car is more important than a human being.”

That was not what brought him back, but something did. You have to forgive me, because it’s all a blur. But he did come after me again. This time, he started doing that retarded thing where one puffs out one’s chest and butts it against one’s opponent. I laughed. He must watch Spike TV.

At this point, his wife (or girlfriend or someone) was out of the car, holding a tiny, yappy dog which, amazingly, was not making a peep. She was perhaps 15 feet away at this point. With the man butting me and telling me he could take me on right there, I just looked at her and asked, “Is he on something?” Then I used what I now realize is a line from one of the plays I’m in right now: “What’s wrong with him?”

But she was squarely in his corner. “You jerk!”

With me simply laughing at his buffoonery and not flinching from his posturing, he turned and walked away. “Just walk away,” I think he was saying to himself, not me.

I have discovered that, in moments like these, I end up saying stupid stuff that I later regret. Sort of. There was the pre-blog incident with the yappy dog neighbor and the well-documented and perhaps now-infamous battle of wits with the California Bitch. In both these cases, I began with a strong but reasonable request, and, once stricken with the first words of abuse from the incredulous, wronged party, I moved on to repeating the obvious. But then, as things were coming to a close and that last insult is hurled, I had to get in the last word, thus truly giving the innocent victim a zinger to tell their friends the next day.

I was okay so far in the car incident, but as the guy “just walked away,” I said, “Yes, walk back to your little wife and little dog. And try not to run over anyone.”

I don’t know if they even heard me. They kept the street blocked for about ten more seconds. I saw Matt waiting at the door of Wahoo’s, completely unaware of what had just happened steps away. I thought for a moment that I should just snap a phone cam picture of the car. Just in case… I don’t know. I wanted to be sure they saw me, too. Just to piss him off some more. But I missed the opportunity. As the car drove by, the woman shouted, “Jerk!” and I came back with what is surely the best capper of all time: “Dummy!”

At least I didn’t yell out, “Bitch!”

I had to tell Matt the whole thing. He saw the final exchange and was confused. I couldn’t order my dinner for a good five minutes because I was too adrenaline-infused, too flabbergasted at the violence and anger of that guy.

What was interesting was that I was not at all afraid of him hitting me. It’s not that I didn’t believe he would do it, because I do believe, had I pushed the envelope just a bit more, he would have. I think I actually wanted him to hit me. I would not have fought back, or so I tell myself now. I would have guarded myself, but not fought back. I wanted him to be so wrong and so jumpy that he would pay for his stupidity and false bravado.

But, of course, that would have caused who knows how many months of drama. So instead, I am safe and get to type this all out. And maybe mine was the false bravado to begin with. I mean, I touched his car!

People are never wrong. Definitely not in L.A. “But officer, I didn’t even see him crossing the street!” “He made the first move by hitting my car!” But you see, the pedestrian, even in car-crazy L.A., has the right of way, especially, most assuredly, and without question when at a crossing, like I was. But the man was not wrong. No way. Even had he punched me, he would have denied he was wrong.

The fire from the incident is gone now, but the lingering question that still befuddles me is this: Where do these people come from? I really don’t know. If you drive within feet of a pedestrian crossing the street and they smack your car, you flinch and realize that, yes, you were wrong just then. I tried to do the right thing when I hit that guy on Franklin. Even though I should have given him my contact info but didn’t, I didn’t claim to be right. I didn’t threaten to beat him up for my hitting him.

Oh, but that kind of responsibility does not exist with these kinds of people. No. The world is theirs and you’re just borrowing it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish this. The loud sex woman is at it again, and boy, is she getting hers tonight. I shall go watch some Scrubs. It’s funnier.

I am going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to buy stock!

Okay, so I’ve been buying stock every week since being an employee here, but it’s all been automatic, out of my paycheck, and always Disney. Today, I clicked the “SELL” button, and when I get the check, it’s going into… yes, Apple stock.

Why? Am I crazy? Am I mad?

No. Apple stock has gone down lately to the target price I set for myself. But apple will be announcing cool stuff in the next several months (replacements for the G5, a movie store online, a new, better video iPod), and the price will at some point inch its way back up. Eventually. I’m not looking for a quick buck, by any means. I’m simply wanting to, er, “diversify” and “expand my holdings.” Or something.

Maybe I should set aside some of my stock money to buy myself a top hat and a monocle as befits my new status as a captain of industry.

With Israel bombing Palestine and Lebanon, killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in the process, merely because a few soldiers were kidnapped (hey, they’re soldiers… they’re meant to be shot at, killed, kidnapped, mistreated, since they are meant to do the same to others), I’ve been in a disgusted political mood the last couple days. As I listened to the stories of the Lebanese bombing campaign on my drive into work this morning, I thought something: I am, currently, not proud to be an American. I can say that without reservation. Most of my life, I have felt very lucky, very privileged to have been born here, especially as a white male. Really, what kind of cushy luck is that?

But with my country behaving, under the leadership of rabid, greedy cretins, as a self-righteous, indignant bully with a victim complex, teasing and taunting and provoking anyone out there who might have a beef with us to begin with into some kind of rabid, self-righteous, indignant froth of their own, I am ashamed and not at all proud of what America is doing to the world.

So it’s time to bash the conservatives again. Mostly because it’s so easy, so fun, and makes me feel just a little bit better! (A war of words on a blog is nothing compared to an actual, physical war where hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent people are killed.)

I thank Alan for giving me today’s ammunition. He sent the following yesterday.

First, this video, with former White House Consel under Nixon, John Dean. Now, Dean is no liberal. He had a big hand in the Watergate thingy. Yet he’s written a book called Conservaites Without Conscience where he decries the amorality of the neoconservative leadership of the Republican party.

I have not read the book, so I can not vouch fo it in any way. But watch what he says in this video and see if it all doesn’t make some kind of sense. Concerning the bit about those in power using terrorism and even provoking terrorism in an effort to keep hold of that power, didn’t we see that from day one, when the WMD/Iraq situation was first concocted? It is certainly another “we told you so” moment.

This article includes a partial rush transcript of the video.

On the still infuriating but much lighter side is the following Flash animation: Become Republican by Brian Frisk. He’s got some other fun stuff on that site, too.

If you don’t think we should all be worried about those Americans who believe killing everyone else is in the best interest of our country, and that there are not Americans out there who fall for the Enemy of the Day bullshit, take a quick look at this unfortunate forum discussion. “The Idiotic Stand” might be more apt name for the site. This kind of mentality is exactly the same as that of many of the Islamic terrorists who do genuinely want to destroy us. The dumb-ass head-butting of two cement-craniumed ideologies only leads to disaster. Just because we happen to be stronger militarily does not make our violent and unforgivable indignation justified, moral, righteous, or correct. We do not get to claim the high road just because we are America and they are Islamic extrimists.

What gets me, too, is that people like those who comment on The Patriotic Stand don’t like our current government, either. They want us to be more belligerent, more violent, more protectionist, and more close-minded, more hateful of anything seen as different. Scary.

The simplistic reaction is to destroy. That tactic has not created a kind, peaceful, or pleasant world. I say this time and again, but as a powerful nation whose foundation is supposed to be based on freedom for mankind, we must take a higher road and not stoop to the crass bloodshed of revenge. The Patriotic Stand would call that a wussy stance. But then, they would. They can only insult that which is more civilized.

So I may not be a proud American, but I am American enough to wish that we could be a nation that others can look up to without hating us. Maybe that’s idealistic, but then, so is the dream of a close-bordered, supremely religious nation bristling with weapons of harm.

As I have mentioned, I’ve been a bit too busy to properly post as of late. Yes, it’s “the plays.” What plays? Well, if you want to come see them, we open this weekend. Then you will know what plays. The info is below. I am in the first two, but not in the kids’ show. However, the kids’ show is right before my shows each week, and it sounds like it should be pretty good. So come out earlier and see it.

THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT (FREE!)
Sunday, July 16, 23, and 30
Saturday, August 5, 12, and 19
2:00pm

THIEVES’ CARNIVAL (FREE!)
Saturday, July 15, 22, 29
Sunday, August 6, 13, 20
2:00pm

Kids’ Show: The Poet Who Wouldn’t Be King (also FREE!)
Saturdays and Sundays, July 15-August 20
12:00noon

All plays at Dr. Paul Carlson Memorial Park for FREE
Park is at Braddock Dr. and Motor Ave., south of Culver Blvd. and east of Overland Ave.
Just south of Sony Pictures Studios
Google Map Link (FREE)

Bring a blanket or some chairs, as well as some food to munch on (though there is a concession stand).

* * * * * *

I used to do work typesetting books for a publisher in Boston. That skill has come in handy quite often. I use it in my current job to make the text in presentations look good. I used it to create the program for the above-mentioned plays. And I used it to typeset both Sven’s novel and, most recently, my college friend Matt’s scholarly book.

I haven’t seen Matt’s book yet, but I decided to look for it on Amazon, and there it was. Then, while typing this, I wanted to see if Sven’s book is still on Amazon, and, lo and behold, it is. The typesetting for Matt’s book had to follow very specific style guidelines, so while I am proud of that work, it’s very, very dull to look at. Sven’s book, on the other hand, I am incredibly proud of. I think I did a bang-up job on the look and style of the typesetting.

Sometimes, tooting your own horn feels awfully nice.

* * * * * *

While doing the Amazon research above, I somehow mistyped “amazon” in my Safari address bar, and up popped this funny site: Wealthy Men. And I don’t mean funny ha-ha so much as funny what-the-hell?

Wealthy Men is a dating site for people who simply must have a significant other who makes over $100,000 a year. The site has a “Wealthy Men Verification System” to make sure the job, income, and pictures of each member are accurate. My first look around the site gave me the impression it was for straight guys and straight chicks with lesbian tendencies.

Yes, truly rich men aren’t gay, but truly rich men love it when truly rich women get it on together. Or something. It all made me want to reach for a Moon Pie. (Rich people don’t eat Moon Pies.)

Well, I could not let caste keep me from exploring this more, so I created a profile, lying that I make $100,000–$500,000 per year. (Why didn’t I lie big and say $2M+ per year? Because I do not think big. That’s why I’m a mere plebe.) Once in, I discovered you can put yourself down as straight, gay, or bi. What’s hilarious (and I don’t mean hilarious guffaw-guffaw so much as hilarious not-at-all) is that you can not do a search by sexual preference. Which, to me, is useless. I already fall for the straight guys as it is. I don’t need a bunch of rich straight guys messing with my head!

Aside from all that, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Guess rich people don’t know how to write engaging profiles, either.

* * * * * *

While I was not a huge fan of Superman Returns, I was very pleased that they used the John Williams themes from the 1978 movie. I have been listening to that original soundtrack, enjoying how complicated but accessible but clever but awesome it is. Sadly, the CD I have was released back in the day when record companies were so cheap (glad to see that’s improved so much, guys!), that formerly double-record soundtrack albums, once brought to CD, were slashed down to fit on a single disc. For years, I never bought the Empire Strikes Back soundtrack on CD because it was missing a lot of music that I used to have on my album. That error was remedied a long time ago (and multiple times, I might add).

The soundtrack for Superman was always the same way. I put off buying the CD version for years because it had been cut way back. Finally, I broke down and bought it so I could at least listen to some of it.

Amazon to the rescue again! Yes, it seems a two-disc CD of the full soundtrack came out a while ago. The slightly flat, tape-hiss-laden version I’ve been listening to on my iPod is out of date; thankfully, the new one has been re-mastered and contains more music than even my double-album set from ’78. Hooray!

I am not going to buy it on Amazon, though. It’s $44. Gulp. I’ll wait ’til I get more credit at Amoeba. Amoeba to the rescue again!

* * * * * *

I really have to go to the bathroom. Thankfully, that will end this useless post.

* * * * * *

Yes, I’m back. And no, I haven’t gone to the bathroom yet. This was simply too odd to not include. It is both funny ha-ha and funny strange:

There are more of these on YouTube, but I haven’t watched any more yet. I simply had to put this up ASAP so I could go to the bathroom.

The Onion has been pretty poorly written lately. Since I subscribed to their RSS feed a little while ago, I’ve been reading it more often. (These days, if it doesn’t have an RSS feed, I forget it even exists. Boo to me!) I’m not sure what’s going on over there Onion-side, but they’ve let the quality of just about everything drop. The writing is worse, the proof-reading is horrible, and it’s simply less clever and often more stupid.

Thankfully, The Onion has recently been running articles from the past, a different year’s collection every day. The biggest thing that has jumped at me reading these old articles is how much we, meaning smart, non-Bush likers, can say “we told you so.” The Onion immediately nailed Bush for exactly what he was. A perfect example is an article featured today, from January 2001, before the September 11th attacks. There’s also this fantastic little piece of prescience from December 2000

Back in the day, these articles’ humor was all the more clever because they contained a twinge of truth that we could recognize from what we knew of Bush at the time. Today, of course, they are still cleverly written and humorous, but considering how correct they turned out to be, they have a new edge of “oh my God” to them. Yes, they are now a bit depressing!

That, my friends, is how brilliant The Onion is. Was. Hopefully still is. Once this special run of old articles is done, I hope The Onion can get back to its higher-quality roots. I’ll still be reading.

Now, back to my long silence. I’m rehearsing for my two plays and all that jazz, so I’m a bit distracted. Thank God for work time!