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Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
 
For my few but faithful readers who were wondering, I am alive. I have simply been moving. It amazes me just how many things I own, even without being very materialistic or wealthy. While I was packing, little objects would pop up all over the place. I always felt that the one-bedroom apartment was too big for me, but I never really knew the extent of its space until I took everything out. Suddenly, I realized that I could have invested in some other items, such as a Slip-and-Slide, or a shuffleboard court.

But now, I am in a tiny room (really, a perfect place for me) in a spacious house (again, perfect). Everything is less, both on the fiscal side and the anxiety side. And one of my roommates has promised to make my computer worlds better than it is now (which will be some kind of small miracle if he can actually do it. I bought my computer as a high school graduation gift to myself).

Okay, before I proceed, I have to say that I am listening to Rufus Wainwright's song "Memphis Skyline" on his album "Want Two" (which I haven't been able to put down for two weeks now. It's really an amazing piece of work), and this is the first time I really listened to it, giving attention to every instrument, every note. I'm almost in tears. It's almost unbelievably beautiful.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. It is amazing to me how my outlook on life can shift suddenly. I went from the misery of moving (I love the IDEA of moving, but I despise the PROCESS a great deal) and being constantly tired to being well-rested and moved.

Consequently, all of these revelations came to me this morning after having recovered from post-moving and cold weather chest pains and congestion. I'm going to have money again! I have a wonderful girl who I adore! I'm living with incredible people! "This Is Our Youth" auditions are on Saturday! I'm going to have a short play of mine performed in the Last Chance Fest at Hunger Artists on December 17th and 18th (shameless plug)! There could be a good job prospect opening up for me soon (for you reading this who may have some personal interest in this bit of news, know that I'll be hankering for some freelance work soon)! I have a new nickname (Spence)! Rufus Wainwright rocks! Life is pretty diggity dang good!

So yeah. I'm back. Probably not better than ever (for really, what's better than an angry, cynical guy with a sense of humor?), but better than not at all.

Monday, November 22, 2004
 
In the last 48 hours, happiness came to me in several forms. Those forms were:

* Spending 24 hours in a theater I love, with people I adore, pumping out shows that were written in a tired, almost delusional state.

* Doritos, Gatorade and "The Straight Story" soundtrack at 1:30 in the morning.

* Fatima shouting "Slurpee!!!"

* Finding an incredible acting partner in Darcy Hogan, whose acting and writing style reflects mine in many ways. If we had a Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy-type thing where we acted together in numerous projects in the future, that would make me very happy.

* "Big" Mike Burgess walking into a room with the idea for his play: "A couple is renewing their vows in a temple in Greece, and they're interrupted by a assassin who just killed Nicolas Cage!"

* Brandon Kasper's noble try.

* Spending two full days with my girlfriend, whom I adore.

* Watching my sister rock the hizzy as Catherine Earnshaw in "Wuthering Heights" at Insurgo Theater Movement. It's playing through December 19th, it's a concise, well-acted adaptation of the Bronte novel, and it's the first good show I've seen in a while. I highly recommend it.

* "Troll 2". Perhaps the worst movie ever made. One of the greatest lines ever in the history of cinema comes after a little boy asks the ghost of his grandfather if he is from Hell: "No, but I know a trick that a friend of mine who went there taught me!" The father garbles his lines, the mother looks at the camera, the daughter has to constantly keep from laughing, the son looks like he needs to poop, the horny guys are closeted homosexuals, the leader of the trolls wears too much blush, and if that isn't enough, I have three words: popcorn seduction scene.

* Seeing "Sideways", which is one of those movies that is hard to find a fault with. If you want a character study that is both very funny and very sad without once becoming manipulative, then this movie will be a godsend for you. And Paul Giamatti just gets better with every role he does.

So, yeah. Life is good for me right now.

Oh, and this post is dedicated to Eric (is it Eric or Erik...or possibly even Erich?), one of my very few faithful readers. It was nice meeting you and talking to you after the show.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
 
The thrill that I get from a really great album or a really great movie is one of the strongest emotional reactions I have to anything. I'm not sure if this is a good thing, considering that music and film are simply entertainment that rarely achieve the life-changing heights that they could aspire to get to. But entertainment is my passion, and so I unapologetically immerse myself in it, falling completely under its spell.

2003 and 2004 were really exciting years for me entertainment-wise, and two brave though wildly different men are responsible for it: Rufus Wainwright and Quentin Tarantino. Both made epic, ambitious works that they split into two parts, releasing the first half in 2003 and the second half in 2004.

Yesterday marked the release of Rufus Wainwright's "Want Two", the follow-up to "Want One". It was originally meant to be released last Spring, and to apologize, Wainwright included a full-length concert DVD with the album (well done, Mr. Wainwright, although the DVD should have kept in the witty banter that is a highlight of your shows).

Wainwright is one of my favorite musicians. His life has been filled with several different influences - from the folk sounds of his father Loudon Wainwright III to opera to world music - and he incorporates all of them into his music. With each album, his voice becomes more assured and his orchestrations become more lush. Like his contemporaries The White Stripes, Bjork and Radiohead, it almost seems as if he is going to explode at any moment from the epic heights his music achieves.

And "Want", parts one and two, is his greatest achievement. Like David Bowie's "Low", it was made in a time of reform from a lifestyle fraught with drug abuse and high sexual activity, and like "Low", it is a mess of emotions and musical styles.

When I say "mess", I do not mean it in a negative way. The messiness is what I love. While most albums follow a predictable path in which track one indicates what the rest of the album is going to sound like, Wainwright jerks you around, throwing a variety of melodies and themes in your way (or as he says, "to confuse the prey before killing it"). Perhaps his greatest asset is his ability to employ sadness and humor simultaneously in his songs (the extra time taken after the line "thinking about the art teacher", and yawning the line "Now can I finally sleep again?" being two examples).

From the modern sound of "The One You Love" (which I can see becoming a minor hit) to the beauty of "The Art Teacher" - which is told from the point of view of "a 16 year-old girl, i.e. me" - to the wit of "Gay Messiah" ("He will fall from a star/Studio 54/And appear on the sand/Of Fire Island's shore"), it - along with "Want One" - is one of the most moving, unpredictable and emotional musical experiences I have ever had.

On an equal though entirely different level, Quentin Tarantino made "Kill Bill", which is arguably one of the great cinematic achievements ever seen. The two-part, three-hour film centers around a character referred to simply as The Bride, who is gunned down on her wedding day, along with her fiancee and closest friends. After spending several years in a coma, she awakes, ready to take revenge on the band of assassins that wronged her. The destination of the movie is not very important (she says at the beginning of "Volume 2", in a flash forward, that she has killed everyone except Bill, who she is on her way to see). Instead, the real treat is watching the journey.

The decision to split the movie into two parts was not only profitable, but it made for one of the neatest tricks in recent cinema. "Volume 1" was a big, loud piece of entertainment, as Uma Thurman (in an career-best, award-worthy performance) slashed her way through countless foes to defeat two of the five assassins. It started out at 110% and never let up for the entire 90 minutes. It was brutally violent, consistently surprising and extremely funny.

Six months later, Tarantino invited audiences back into the theaters for the conclusion of his tale, and those who did were surprised to find "Volume 2" to be rather different. Without losing its fun or its edge, the second half of the story contained a level of depth not thought possible for such a project. We learned about the relationship between Bill and The Bride. We learn of one of the assassins' fall from grace, as he now lives in a trailer in Barstow. We learn of The Bride's previous martial arts training. And a surprise emerges that makes her quest for revenge all the more crucial.

Suddenly, this silly kung-fu movie became an experience that hit you emotionally as well as stylistically, and the climax, which most people expected to be of the "kick-ass" variety, turned out surprisingly moving.

The two volumes, when put together, is perhaps as good of a film as we are going to get for a long time. It is ingeniously plotted, flawlessly acted and directed by the hand of a true genius. It is also perhaps the greatest love letter to the movies that I have seen, as Tarantino simultaneously embraces and elevates the kung-fu genre to something approaching art.

Perhaps what I love the most about both "Want" and "Kill Bill" is that they are large, epic stories that were not condensed or toned down because the artists desperately needed to tell them. These - along with Kushner's play "Angels in America" (presented in two parts) and the television show "The Office" (presented over two short seasons) - have turned the two-part series into one of my favorite storytelling devices.

Monday, November 15, 2004
 
I have the solution on how we can take the next election away from whatever ultra-conservative candidate Karl Rove is going to give us in 2008. We need to find a candidate who can combine the progressive ideas that the blue states love and the down-home-boy religious ideals that the red states seem to go for. So I present to you, the next President of the United States...BILLY JOE HANSON!

HANSON: Howwwwwwwwdy, y'all! You done got Billy Joe here, and I's wanna be your nexx Pres'dent of Amer'ca! WOO HAH!!! That's excitin' stuff, ain't it? I just loves sayin' it. I'S GONNA BE PRES'DENT!!! Now I know y'all's are wond'rin' what I's all about, huh? Well, lemme jus hitch up my overalls and I'll tell y'all.

Now, I know that y'all's ain't gonna agree with all's I got to say, now. For instant, I don't mind the gays. They's wants to be gays and get all married and all, I's got no problem with that. That's they business. Don't affect me none. 'Sides, they's all up north, anywho. Not doin' us no harm no how.

I also gots some problems with having some guns. Nows, I'm not sayin' take away all the guns. I's jus talkin' 'bout not having BIG guns. 'Sides, y'all's don't need big guns. Y'all's can still defend your land wit a small gun. 'Sides, big gun's not as easy to shoot in the air when y'all's celebratin'. WOO HOO!!!

(Fires handgun into the air while dancing a jig)

But although I's a Democrat, I's got lots in common with you. Much more than them's Republicans. Y'all voted for that Bush feller twice, 'cause you think he's like y'all and knows what y'all need. That jus ain't true.

Bush is a big millionaire billionaire pansy mama. He's all lightin' his cigars with hunnerd dollar bills. He and all his millionaire billionaire friends jus be makin' more money for each other. They don't care about us.

Look at me. I ain't gots no teeth. That's 'cause I can't afford no dental care with Bush bein' the Pres'dent. Just like y'all. Heck, I can't even chew straw anymore. None of us ain't got no money, right? That's 'cause of Bush. He's a business-type man, and he ain't a good business-type man. He don't know how to make money. 'Member your Uncle Neil who kept his earnings in a coffee can? 'Member how Cousin Hank came in and jus took it one day? Bush is like Uncle Neil and his business-type friends is like Cousin Hank.

How many of y'all here because y'ain't got no jobs? C'mon, now, don't be shy. There y'are, there's one. And you, sir. And you, ma'am. Jee howdy, good golly miss molly, done look like most people here ain't got no jobs. Me, neither. Bush took 'em all away. Can't give a guy a job if y'ain't got no money to pays him, right? And they's givin' them to guys in other countries what can't speak English as good as us, jus so they's can pay 'em less than they's payin' us.

Now I know what y'all's are sayin'. Bush is goin' after those terrorists. Nah, he ain't. We still ain't got that Osama Bin Whoosy guy that done attacked New York. And that Saddam guy? He never done attacked us. Heck, he never threatened to attack us until we's start messin' with him. Thas jus fightin' back. Shore, Saddam ain't a good guy, but they's other worse guys we ain't goin' after. Y'all know that North Korea gots nucular-type stuff that they's makin' to blow us up? Thas 'cause Bush ain't tellin' y'all's that, and he's lyin' to you 'bout Saddam.

So he's sendin' your boys and girls to somewhere they shouldn't be, and he don't know how to get 'em out. It's like when your brother-in-law Jed done borrowed your truck, then said that he was fixin' it up to make it all nice and shiny, but really he done sold it to the Stevenson's 'cross the street. That ain't right!

Y'all's are also sayin' that Bush is a religious man. Bush ain't that religious. He done don't go to church all that much. I goes to church all's the time. I loves Jesus. He's my main man. My buddy. My compadre. Jesus is jus alright with me.

So if y'all's are electin' me to be y'all's Pres'dent, I's gonna do some things for you. First off, I's gonna bring your jobs back to you. Ain't gonna let no foreign guys take your jobs away from you no more. Also, I's done not gonna give no more tax breaks to them millionaire billionaires. They done don't need it. And if I don't keep that promise, I'll eat my straw hat.

I'm gonna also work to get your boys back to you from Iraq. Granted, it'll take a lil' while, 'cause my mamma always said you gotta leave a place cleaner than you found it. But I'll bring 'em back, and then we're gonna go hunting for Osama. Woo wee, terrorists make good eatin'!

'Sides, can your Pres'dent right now do this?

(Does a mean jig while playing the washboard and singing:)

The G.O.P. went walkin'
One rainy summer night.
A terrorist came up to 'em
And gave 'em quite a fright.
They's shakin' at the shins.
They jumped out of they skins.
They all ran off like sissies,
'Cause you know the Right ain't right.

(Does a yodel)

So now when Bush and those other Republicans done give you some slick guy in a suit says he wants your vote, think of your ole friend, Billy Joe Hanson. 'Cause who do you want running the country? Some guy who follows Bush's ideas of taking away your money, jobs and children...or a guy who can play the spoons like a Heavenly choir? God Bless y'all, and Amer'ca!

Friday, November 12, 2004
 
"I got the perfect set of golf clubs, a tent, and I even got diamond earrings for the wife!"

How come we're still hearing shit like that? That was a direct quote from a radio commercial I heard for a store. It shows that, even in these politically correct times, sexism is still in the mainstream.

Sure, sure, there are guys out there, I'm sure, who buy golf clubs and tents, and then proceed to get diamond earrings for their wives, who would be very happy to receive such a gift. However, to hear this yuppie tell me that he got diamond earrings for "the" wife - as if to say, "This is my trophy, and this is how I keep it happy" - made me ill (well, technically, it was the coffee in my stomach that made me ill, but the yuppie didn't help).

I had a similar experience when I lived in Barstow (don't ask), and I received a call telling me the benefits of subscribing to the Desert Dispatch newspaper. The person said, "On a daily basis, your family can get the news, classifieds, comics, and for you, the sports section." What? Just because I have a penis means I want instantly want to read the sports section? I'll let you in on a secret. I don't want to read the sports section (although, oddly enough, I actually worked for the Desert Dispatch sports section for a time). And I can't help but think that if I were a woman, the same person would have said, "And for you, coupons!"

Not all men like sports. Not all women like jewelry. So next time you're going to be in a position like our friend selling me newspapers or the advertiser writing about the various products of a store, be more creative. Try something less stereotypical and more random like, "And for you, the lost pets section" or "I was able to buy lingerie for my accountant and a sniper rifle for my gay lover."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
 
How come our society is so obsessed with the "New"? What ever happened to fixing a minor defect rather than throwing the whole thing away and buying a new one?

I have a keyboard at my work desk that has served me well for almost two years now. Every key works, and I like the feel of the keys (that may seem weird, and perhaps it is, but I type 100 words per minute, and that kind of thing is important to me).

However, one of the legs on the keyboard broke off. Just a small piece of plastic. So I put a Sobe cap under that part of the keyboard, and there's been nary a wobble from it since. This was a couple of months ago.

Today, one of my coworkers comes over and makes a big deal about it, asking me why I don't ask for a new keyboard. I answer that I don't need one, seeing as this one works just fine, but he doesn't even listen to me as he continues to tease me about it.

A couple of hours later, he comes back, because apparently one talk about getting a new keyboard isn't enough for him. There is a battle in Fallujah, Yasser Arafat is dying, John Ashcroft is resigning from his position, and the most pressing issue for this guy is the broken leg on a keyboard that only I use. While talking to me about it (and by talking to me, I mean him talking and me shrugging and saying, "I'm fine with it") an administrative assistant walks by. He flags her down and requests that I get a new keyboard.

Fine, conflict resolved. The keyboard will be replaced. But then an hour later, I pass by his desk and he inquires about the keyboard. For a third time. Need I remind you that all of this fuss is over a small piece of plastic that disappeared two months ago. He proceeds to tell the woman sitting next to him about my keyboard.

And she starts laughing!

Her first response is just pure unbridled laughter. Now I don't have high standards for comedy. I find several things very funny. But really I fail to see why a drink lid placed under a keyboard would inspire such an unapologetic response. She turns to me and says through the laughter, "So, you're ghetto now, huh?"

Is that what this is all about? That I've apparently become "ghetto"? Well, here's a bit of shocking news. Take a look at me. Both my work shirt and my slacks are missing buttons, my hair hasn't been cut since May, I'm wearing the same wrist watch I wore in junior high, my work shoes have holes in them, my computer is from 2000, and I play old Nintendo and Sega Genesis games. I've been ghetto for a loooong time.

So now I'm going to embrace my ghetto label. Apparently, not lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills makes me this way. My desire to not waste money must mean that I have none to waste. Because surely if I had the money, then I would buy a new shirt, upgrade my computer, get a Gamecube and a haircut, and oh yeah, replace my keyboard.

Here's why I haven't done those things: I...don't...care! My shirt is wearable, the shoes are comfortable, the watch tells time, Tetris and Sonic the Hedgehog are still two of the greatest video games ever, and most importantly, the keyboard doesn't wobble when I type on it.

I refuse to show off my income, and I refuse to go out and "buy another one" when the original one can be fixed. I don't care if there's drink lids under my keyboard and duct tape on my shower rod. Hell, I'm proud to have those. So come to me if there's a real problem from now on.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004
 
"President" Bush has asked for our support and unity. So to easier comply, I have made a guide that you and your friends can use to make Bush's job easier for the next four years. As we all know, it's hard work being President. So here's how you can do your part...

PEOPLE 18 TO 26:

Enlist in the Army. This way Bush can veto Senate Bill S89 (currently in legislation) and keep his promise that he will not reinstate the draft. C'mon, kids, put down your bongs and rap records! Halliburton needs you to go and kill people who never attacked us!

RICHEST ONE PERCENT OF THE NATION:

Mug everyone who makes less money than you and take their wallets. This will save Bush the trouble of having to give you more tax cuts. All that paperwork is just going to slow him down.

MIDDLE- OR LOWER-CLASS:

If you see a well-groomed man in a suit running at you with a gun, just suck it up and hand over your wallet.

CEO'S:

Fire all of your employees and learn to speak Hindi. Trust me, you won't regret it.

OFFICE WORKERS:

Don't get too attached to your cubicle. Best to take down your wall decorations.

CITIZENS OF INDIA:

Take some typing lessons. Your economy's about to get a whole lot better. Oh, and keep making those funny Bollywood movies.

MEDIA:

Your president is going to hold "super exclusive press conferences" in which you will have a chance to personally fellate your Commander-in-Chief. Even the leader of the free world needs a good B.J. every so often. And please keep his ejaculate in your mouth so as not to ask probing questions.

DEMOCRATS, PROTESTORS, ARTISTS, AIR AMERICA, DAILY SHOW, MICHAEL MOORE, ETC.:

Shut the hell up, you unpatriotic bastards! You're tearing our nation apart, you damn hippies! No, I'm not listening! Not listening! La la la la la la la la!

HOMOSEXUALS:

You made the choice to be gay. Now make the choice to go back to being straight. It's that easy, bummers.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS:

Just keep chasing your dream. It makes us laugh.

TERRORISTS:

Please do not try to attack us. And please do not set up headquarters in Iraq by taking advantage of the shoddy border patrol. Then please do not sneak into the U.S. using our slightly less shoddy border patrol. And please, please do not let your plans leak out so that the White House can receive a memo one month before you attack. Lord help me, if they receive a memo like that, they're just going to ignore it.

IRAQIS:

Just kill yourself. Frankly, it will make everything much easier.

FUNDAMENTALISTS, CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS:

Keep praying. Your president won two elections by what can only be divine intervention, so who's to say he can't win a THIRD? Sure, it's not legal, but neither is getting a federal court to settle a state matter, and that's how you won the first time!

REPUBLICANS:

Repeat after me: 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, terrorism, terrorism, terrorism, gay marriage, gay marriage, gay marriage, Amen, Amen, Amen. Now just keep repeating that.

JESUS CHRIST:

We're waiting for your endorsement of Bush. His address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC. We know you're talking directly to him already, so now it's time to talk directly to his supporters. C'mon, J.C., you don't want us invading Heaven, do you?

CRAWFORD RANCH EMPLOYEES:

Bush is going to want to spend another 44% of his presidency at the ranch. Make sure to keep it clean.

LEADERS OF NORTH KOREA, IRAN AND SAUDI ARABIA:

Whatever. Keep doing what your doing. We don't give a shit.

KARL ROVE AND DICK CHENEY:

Just keep fucking up our nation so that you and your friends can own the world.

So now you know what to do. Get to it, people of America! There are countries to invade, people to kill, money to make (not for you, of course, but SOMEONE has to take possession of it). Bush bless America!

Monday, November 08, 2004
 
I think I want to hold on as long as possible to my teenage days. My place of work is nearing the end of their Annual Enrollment Period for the company benefits. Among these benefits is a 401k plan which, over the two years that I have worked here, I have been told repeatedly by several people that I NEED to sign up for.

This, of course, would be the wise thing for someone to do, especially if they decided to stay with the company. At this point in my life (and the economy being what it is), I'm staying put until something better comes along or they outsource my job. So it would be a good idea for me to have something nice to fall back on when I retire from whatever job I'm going to have in the future, right?

And yet I continually refuse to sign up for it. Right now, the reason that I use is my dwindling finances, but that wasn't a problem until this year, and it won't be a problem when I move at the end of this month. So why am I so adamant against such a fiscally responsible investment?

I think the reason is because of those two words: RETIREMENT FUND. This scares me. I don't want to think about retirement. I shouldn't. I'm twenty-two years old. I should be thinking about beer bongs and term papers. I don't, of course, but I should. Saving up for retirement almost seems like a death sentence. Like I am saying, "Well, this is the road I'm traveling down until I die."

What I love about my current life situation is that it is very open. I have no clue what the future holds for me. While other people my age are getting married, having children and settling into careers, I am still pursuing the crazy dreams that I had in high school, when we all thought we would change the world. Thinking about retirement is only going to depress me and slow me down. I am keeping a death grip on being young.

This could be why the company that I've been keeping lately have been teenagers. This could also be why I have started adopting a hippie-esque lifestyle, growing my hair long and sticking an American flag sticker upside down on my car.

And it could be why I saw "The Incredibles" twice this weekend (Subject Change Alert! Subject Change Alert!) "The Incredibles" is a phenomenol film (I almost wrote "an incredible film". I'm quickly becoming one of those critics that twist the title around to comment on the film. "Jamie Foxx is a 'Ray' of light! I hope I never see-'Saw' again! I have a grudge against 'The Grudge'!" I could do this all day). The movie (the sixth by the geniuses at Pixar Studios) is extremely fun with a well-balanced blend of humor and action. It manages to convey its message without the slightest hint of cheesiness or preachiness (which, if they weren't words before, are words now).

Leaving my second viewing of "The Incredibles", I noticed a trend in the film industry. I thought about my list of the best films of 2003, which was dominated by independent fare such as "Elephant", "City of God", "American Splendor", "Lost in Translation", "Thirteen" and "The Triplets of Belleville".

This year, everything is different. "Kill Bill, Vol. 2", "The Incredibles", "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", "Spiderman 2" and "Anchorman" are taking the top spots. Granted, independent fare is still surviving, thanks to "The Dreamers", "Sideways" and "Fahrenheit 9/11". But I never thought I'd see the day that superhero movies and Will Ferrell comedies would be better than the latest offerings from Jim Jarmusch and David O. Russell.

I think that, flim-wise, this is a year of fun, when mainstream studios went the extra mile to bring us quality films while the independent studios, for the most part, took a nap. While this is an interesting switch, it only contributes to the independent/mainstream segregation that Hollywood has held for so long. I wish that the industry could continue in the direction it was going in 1999, when independent-style films were being met with big studio budgets (20th Century Fox made "Fight Club", Dreamworks made "American Beauty", Warner Bros. made "Three Kings" and Touchstone made "The Sixth Sense"). Until that happens, I guess we'll just have to look to Pixar and Charlie Kaufman (whose "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is hands-down the best movie so far this year) for hope.

In other news, I'm apparently on a suicide kick. I say "apparently" because I did not realize this until last night. I haven't been thinking about suicide. My life is very good right now. My writing is going places, I have a middle-class income and I'm dating a wonderful girl. Plus, the political climate being what it is, I'm almost required to stay alive just to see how it plays out. Besides, I think suicide is a sign of weakness, an inability to cope with the problems in your life that, while certainly daunting, are most certainly worth facing and overcoming.

But still, I've always been fascinated by the idea of it, and I think it unconsciously showed itself last night in a trip to "Borders". I was inclined for most of the day to make two purchases, and I didn't even see the connection until late that night, after having made said purchases.

The first was "The Complete Plays of Sarah Kane". Ms. Kane was an English playwright who made one of the most shocking and controversial debuts in modern theatre with her play "Blasted". She wrote about a half-dozen pieces that were either violent and bleak or surreal and cerebral. In 1999, at the age of 28, she wrote her last play "4:48 Psychosis", and hung herself one week later.

I read "4:48 Psychosis" last night, and it is the most personal, beautiful and haunting suicide note I have ever read. I can only imagine what it must be like on stage. I can't wait to read more of her books, and I kick myself that I missed the touring production of "4:48 Psychosis" that was playing in L.A. this past weekend.

The second item I bought was Elliott Smith's "From a Basement on the Hill". Smith, best known for his Oscar-nominated songs in the movie "Good Will Hunting" killed himself last year at the age of 34. This was the album that he was working on at the time, and it was recently released. I'm in the process of listening to it. It, too, is beautiful and haunting, though probably no more than Smith's previous works. However, knowing that I am listening to the voice of a ghost, I have listened to the words with more scrutiny (there's a lyric handwritten in the liner notes that reads "I'm floating in a black balloon/A long shadow in the afternoon").

Again, I didn't make the "young artists comitting suicide" connection until late last night, and it makes me wonder why I was inclined to buy these items. It also makes me glad that the guy who rang my items up didn't seem to know much about Sarah Kane or Elliott Smith. Don't worry, faithful readers, I won't be doing anything rash. Except maybe start thinking about how I would direct "4:48 Psychosis" (step one: Get my sister and Jessica Beane in on the project).

Thursday, November 04, 2004
 
A joke for you...

Q: Why do Kerry voters live on the coasts?

A: It makes it easier to swim to another country.

So, as the sun rose on Thursday, John Kerry became a footnote in history, George W. Bush will be seen on our televisions for the next four years, Michael Moore - who sent several group e-mails of support and encouragement before and during Election Day - is M.I.A., an upside down American flag sticker is the newest addition to my car (as well as a California flag sticker. I love my blue, 55 electoral vote state), and we received the following statement from our "President" yesterday:

"America has spoken, and I'm humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens."

He, of course, neglects to mention that only 52% of America's citizens have truly spoken. The other 48% were left screaming on the sidelines while the other players (who all lean to the right like people who haven't had enough V-8) took the field again.

So what do we do? According to our top politicians, we should stop being so divided, and unite with the victors. Bush said in his victory speech:

"To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America."

And Kerry, in his concession speech, also made mention of the great divide that is our nation:

"In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort, without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion."

And his next sentence is very crucial to why our nation is divided in the first place:

"I hope President Bush will advance those values in the coming years."

This is where the division lies. Though I was never enthusiastic about Bush, I gave him my support for the first couple years of his administration. I remember telling my sister on 9/11 that I was actually glad Bush was our president, as I could picture him taking the bull (terrorism) by the horns (Bin Laden). I had the mental image (that was later stolen from my subconscious and put in that famous "This Land" cartoon on the Internet) of Bush pulling a Slim Pickens in "Dr. Strangelove", riding a bomb with cowboy hat in hand, whooping and hollering.

But then he betrayed me. He chased after another bull (Iraq), and either neglected or oppressed several other bulls in the process (economics, the job market, gay rights, environmentalism, free speech, etc.). He eschews intelligence for faith, which is not a way to run a country.

So here's the deal. I do not like a divided nation, and I want unity as much as the next man. But I will not unite with our President until I am given a reason to. I blindly followed him at one time, and I was horribly misled. His second term should be a period of understanding, honesty and rational thought.

Bush said, "I will do all I can do to deserve your trust." For a start, he can admit that the country is in a state of distress and that he has made a lot of mistakes (because, as anyone who has been through any sort of rehab will tell you, the first step toward progress is to admit that you have a problem), show that he cares about providing our troops with proper supplies and getting them out of Iraq as soon as possible, state that an alternative lifestyle is not a sin, stop pandering to the corporations and show more attention to the lower and middle classes, and resume the fight against Al-Qaeda.

Only then will he win back my support. But if he continues down the path that he paved during his first term, then I will continue to fight. Uniting with Bush in his current state is not only betraying my own beliefs, but is detrimental to the country that I love. I live in a democracy, and as such, I am given the right to speak my mind if I feel that something is wrong.

So to everyone else who is as disappointed as I am, I beg you not to give up the fight. Do not move to another country. If you love something, you do not turn your back on it. We must continue to fight for the virtues of America.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
 
Well, it's official. You won. Senator John Kerry just called "President" George W. Bush to concede, despite the provisional and absentee ballots in Ohio that have yet to be counted.

To all of you who voted for George W. Bush, I'd like to point out what you voted for:

* Four more years of deficit. We went from a huge surplus to a record deficit in only four years. Who knows how far we're going to fall in the next four?

* Four more years of job loss. Jobs at the corporation I work for are already being outsourced to other countries. I'll be surprised if I still have my job at the end of Bush's second term.

* Four more years of war. We had two wars in the last four years. Only one was justified, and neither were handled correctly. And now every nation in the world (and half of our own nation) hates us, and what we stand for.

* Four more years of terrorism. As long as Bush distracts us with Iraq, and continues to ignore North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran, our country will continue to be unsafe.

* Four more years of rights being taken away. With Patriot Act 2 and the threat of a Constitutional Amendment against gay marriage, the creed that "all men are created equal" will be flushed down the toilet.

* The privitization of Social Security, as Bush invests our Social Security in the stock market.

* A reinstatement of the draft. House Bill HR 163 and Senate Bill S89 are going through legislation, and while Bush said that he would not reinstate the draft, he has never had a problem lying in the past.

So, congratulations. You have fucked your country over. I have normally been very tolerant of Bush supporters. I've been trying to get them to see the light and realize that Bush is a dishonest, lying, stealing, childish, hypocritical bigot.

I tried pointing out that Bush flip-flopped on statements made about Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, and the wars on terrorism and Iraq. I pointed out his mishandling of both Afghanistan and Iraq. I pointed out his lies on WMD's and Saddam's link with Al-Qaeda. I pointed out the memo that proves that the White House should have known about 9/11. I pointed out the record deficit and the largest number of jobs lost since Hoover. I pointed out that he neglects facts and information in favor of his instincts and faith. But nothing can sway these supporters.

So now the gloves are off, and I'll say it: ANYONE WHO VOTED FOR BUSH IS EITHER STUPID OR UNPATRIOTIC! You didn't take the time to research the facts, or you didn't care. And now we're going to have an even worse economy, an even worse job market and even worse security.

Congratulations, you fucking morons! With your ill-researched and entirely foolish vote, you have directly threatened my job and my life. Our nation is in distress, and we had a chance to change it. But you made the wrong choice, and YOU are to blame. When my job is outsourced to India, I am going to blame YOU! When my draft notice comes in the mail, I am going to blame YOU! You are fucking assholes, and if you think I am going to forget what you have done to me, you are wrong.

Tonight, I am buying an American flag, and it is going to fly upside down. Because our nation is in a state of distress. And YOU are to blame!

So fuck you, Bush voters! You have pissed on me and my nation, and I will never forgive you for it.

 
You're kidding, right?

After the record number of voters (which leans in favor of Democrats), and the high number of newly registered young voters (who vote Democrat)...

After the pre-election projections and exit polls were indicating Kerry in the lead...

After the CNN polls showed that women, who were voting in larger numbers than men, were voting Democrat, and that Democrats and Independents, who were voting in much larger numbers than Republicans, were voting Democrat...

After hundreds of tons of explosives going missing, and Osama Bin Laden releasing a video basically saying, "Neener neener neener, you can't catch me"...

After reports saying that there are no WMD's in Iraq, and no connection to Al-Qaeda...

After a memo showing that the White House knew about 9/11 a month before it happened...

After the President's failure on the economy...

After the President's failure on jobs...

After the President's failure on terrorism...

After the President's failure on Iraq...


IT'S STILL TOO CLOSE TO CALL???


What else do you people need to see that Bush is not a good President? If he took away your gun, THEN would you vote against them?

California voted against a measure requiring large- to medium-sized companies to provide healthcare for all of their employees. Eleven states voted for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage.

I have no more confidence in the political system. Even if Kerry wins (God, I have my fingers crossed for Ohio), the fact that someone like Bush is able to fool half of the country, when he is unable to fool the rest of the entire world, is inexcusable.

I'm looking toward the provisional and absentee ballots in Ohio to give me hope.


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