Why am I not suprised that Microsoft Encarta's entry for capitalism ends on this note: "The elusive goal for capitalist nations is to secure, simultaneously, high employment and stable prices. This is a formidable task, but given the historical flexibility of capitalism, the goal is both reasonable and attainable."? I'm wrapping up my article on capitalism for the Encyclopedia of Corruption in American Politics, suffice to say that their conclusion is not the same as my own.
This weekend has been nutty. Folklife, SIFF and friends from out of town. I think I even got a suntan. After a day out in the blazing sun on Saturday I was happy to get into a cool dark movie theater. The first film I saw was Secret Life of Girls, which I can only describe as Welcome to the Dollhouse meets Sixteen Candles, all set in 1973. The film stars Linda Hamilton and Eugene Levy [in an uncharacteristically straight role] as freaky seventies parents going through a divorce. Natalie is 15 and trying to deal. They live in Oregon somewhere. There are many standard themes: good friendships, the cute older guy, the dad sleeping with his student, the is-she-overwrought-or-actually-crazy mom. I enjoyed it but it bordered on the overly sentimental and there were maybe too many scenes that were poignantly awkward where I watched between my fingers and thought "Shit, I think I used to act like that..." Linda hamilton of Terminator fame was actually in the audience [I know this because before the film the director got up on stage and thanked each and every person involved with the film ad nauseum] but I didn't stick around for the Q&A because I had to go ogging down the street to see...
Desert Blue [please ignore crappy website, it was a good movie]. And speaking of Welcome to the Dollhouse, the pre-teen boyfriend/potential-rapist was in this movie as a grown up kid. The movie is about a little crummy town on the side of the road inthe middle of a desert with 87 people, the world's largest ice cream cone, a cola bottling factory and a giant water pipeline. The town appears to be only populated by dead end kids who drink and play video games [including Christina Ricci who likes to blow things up]. John Heard, a professor of Americana comes by with his movie star daughter to photograph the ice cream cone and learn about the crazy genius guy who lived in the town who was planning on starting up a resort with water from the pipeline. The resort turned into a pipe dream, the guy died in a hotel fire and the kid is keeping his dream alive by going to the sand pit every day to paint canoes. Then the chemical spill and the quarantine happen....Once again, this film has a lot of sentiment, some smart acting and a fairly-well telegraphed plot. If you like films with teenagers in them, this is a good one.
I woke up this morning wondering why I smelled like chlorine and then I vaguely remembered a half-naked guy in a Viking hat dancing in the living room window as I soaked in a hot tub with a bunch of clothed people. Non-naked people nonwithstanding, Karen [aka Bang Bang LaDesh] had a great birthday party.
I've had a busy few days. The other night I went out to the UW to see Tracy Kidder speak. One thing that I think has never made it onto any of my pages is that my dad was once a computer superhero. He was the subject of a Pulitzer Prize winning book Soul of a New Machine back before most people knew what computers were . It was a great book and Tracy basically lived with us on weekends for what seemed like six months doing research right about the time my parents were splitting up. It was a weird time. Tracy has written a new book about Northampton which was right near where I went to school and which he read from. It was fun and made me miss New England a wee bit.
Today I went to a crepe place in Ballard [no foolin!], gorged at the Odd Fellow's strawberry feed and retired to Hattie's for beer. Tomorrow starts Folklife where I will be giving information for free at the bike corral info booth from 12-3 or so.
There's another [living] Jessamyn West! She manages a record store in Vancover Washington. I thought it was weird enough that there's three Jessamyns in Seattle [and two go to Seattle U] but this is really odd. Perhaps it's a more popular name than I had previously imagined?
I saw a collection of short films entitled American Roadway last night. It was a crapshoot and as it turned out, one was forgettable and vaguely bad, one sucked, one was great and one was great until it sucked and in retrospect it was mostly good. The sucky part of the last movie is a woman getting run over by a bus being played for comic effect. While it fits right in to the whole "gee am I having a bad day..." vibe of the film, it still struck me as very unfunny. Or rather, funny in a sort of film-school way.
Saw a movie not on my list: After Life. It's a Japanese movie about a place people go where they die. They need to choose one memory from their entire life that they want to spend eternity with. They have three days to choose this memory. After they choose, a bunch of lackeys working in the afterlife office, or some such, make a rendition of their memory on film. Then there is a big screening at the end of the week and as everyone watches their favorite memory being replayed, they are instantly zapped to heaven, or wherever. Ths movie tracks approximately ten people as they go through this process, as well as the people that work for the afterlife office. It is completely brilliant and a lot of fun. it also forces you to consider the question: what memory would I like to spend eternity reliving? I thought of one answer right off the bat, but was quickly overwhelmed with possible runner-ups.
Then I went to the dentist and got to experience the memory I would be least likely to want to spend eternity reliving: a nice-enough dentist who looked like all those jocks who pestered me in childhood repeatedly doing pain tests on one of my teeth to see if the nerve in it was dead after all. Fortunately, the nerve really was dead, so I failed to feel the q-tip covered in refrigerant [the cold test] the rubber tipped drill [the heat test] or the electric probe [the electricity test, I am not kidding! at this point I asked "is this really necessary?" and he assured me it was]. However, my tooth still hurts somehow, defying all logical explanation. The bitchy hygenist was quick to say "well, sometimes a root canal just doesn't take and then we have no option but to pull the tooth," hell.
My my that Callum Keith Rennie is cute! He plays a guy whose response to the upcoming end of the world is to have every kind of sex he's never had before -- in a period of about two months. He's just finishing up having sex with a virgin when it all comes down. This is one of the amusing and kinda cutesy parts about Last Night. When I was in high school I really liked a band called Ultravox who sang a song called Dancing with Tears in My Eyes about the end of the world. At that point, we were completely sure we would all die in a nuclear holocaust. Anyhow, the song had a really haunting video of this couple, very much in love, having their last dance as the bombs fell. That song had a bit more real-feeling emotion in it than this movie, though the movie was fun to watch, had a lot of great acting, and a couple of pretty straighforward semi-convergent plotlines.
Yes Virginia, there is grape flavored molasses. I saw it today at the gyro hut [the only decent place to get food after 11 in this nutty town]. And that's not the only thing I learned today! I also learned that until the great aquarium craze of 1850, fish were always represented in nature drawings they way they were usually seen: washed up on the beach. It wasn't until after everyone was littering up their homes with glass tanks filled with seawater and various swimming sealife [no bubblers, the servants often had to aerate the water by hand by pouring it between buckets a few times daily] that naturalists got the idea to portray fish from the side.
I am reading Stephen Jay Gould's new book and am loving it -- I take the bus specifically just so I can read more of it. Today, I rode the 44, the 5, the 5, the 44, the 15, the 2, the 7 and the 44. I also learned about the dodo and the nasty things Columbus said about the native Bahamans [who he and his minions killed out in their entirety leaving only the word "hammock" as a legacy]. Tomorrow there is more bus riding in my future as I exchange RAM for noodles with a person I have never met "Do you have the noodles?" "Yes, do you have the RAM" and then head off to the film festival to see Last Night, a seemingly excellent movie about people who have 6 hours left until the end of the world.
Today I also went to my Folklife orientation. I will be at the bike corral info booth/outpost from 12-3 F/S/S, stop by and say hi.
Call me optimistic, but I think it might be good news that WA state legislators are finally repealing the law making anarchy illegal, or at least thinking about it.
I sold Flea a Che Guevara t-shirt today. He paid with a $100 bill.
SIFF Movie #1, The Interview, was a raging success. Featuring Hugo Weaving [better known as Agent Smith from the Matrix] it weaves a more-complicated-than-you-might-expect story of a guy being brought in for questioning by the local police. I just love Australian films. Not even a crazy long line outside. And don't forget, theater goers, that your movie tix have two for one Starbucks coupons on the back -- just in case you want to support hypercapitalist corporate coffee while you watch your documentaries.
I bought my tickets yesterday and I am going to see nine films [at least] in the Seattle Film Festival. If anyone else is going to any of these, or might consider it, let me know.
|mon 5/17 9:30||HE||The Interview||Australian talking film|
|fri 5/21 9:30||PP||Last Night||World is ending in six hours. What do you do?|
|wed 5/26 7:15||BP||American Roadway||Four short films about the American highway|
|sat 5/29 6:30||HE||The Secret Life of Girls||Upstart girl forces her family out of denial|
|sat 5/29 9:15||BP||Desert Blue||Weird rural americana quarantine story|
|mon 5/31 12:30||EG||Limbo||John Sayles's newest|
|tues 6/1 5:00||EG||The Living Museum||Documentary about the art of the mentally ill|
|tues 6/1 7:15||EG||Rabbit in the Moon||Documentary about life in Japanese internment camps|
|wed 6/2 9:30||PP||Black Cat, White Cat||Yugoslavian Gypsy movie|
I accept gifts badly and I generally dislike surprises. Despite this, my excellent Mom still tries to get me the perfect surprise gift. She gets it right on more than anyone else I know [except my sister who has the mitigating factor of getting everything to me six months late -- I do not care, my family has had to accept either handmade gifts or books from the anarchist bookstore from me for years, we are all not without faults]. I told her I had been cooking more at home lately [True! not even one of those lies you tell your far-away parents to make them worry about you less]. Yesterday I came home to find a package from Amazon.com at my door. Actually near my door, the post office has a tendency to hide my packages so they will not get stolen with the end result being that sometimes I do not find them until days or weeks later. In the box was a cookbook called The New Basics which looks kinda Betty Crocker-ish on the outside, but on the inside well... here is some email I sent to my Mom.
|Upon reflection, thanks for the cookbook, but it is the wrong cookbook for me. The reviews are right, it is designed for someone who ultimately wants to host dinner parties that Martha Stewart would be proud of, not someone like me who is trying to decide what to do with the leftover chicken in the freezer. All the recipes are silly fluffy poodle-y crap like "Lacy Potato Nests" and "Roast Goose with Madeira Peppercorn Sauce". Their "basic pantry" list has easily over 150 things in it. My Literally Basic pantry has about seventeen. I think we were both hoping this would be more like a Joy Of Cooking type thing with recipes like "Brownies" and "Roast Chicken." It isn't, it's ridiculous and deceptive and makes me feel inadequate just looking at it. I am laughing as I type this, but you get the idea. Not your fault, for sure.|
I think I need to take the name journal off of the title bar of this page. [look. is it still there? good.]. This page isn't really a journal, nor is it meant to be. It's webutainment -- a word I think I just invented even though this guy thinks he can send me to jail just for using it].
What I mean is, I know I have some sort of audience [though not an audience that invites me out for a beer often enough] and I think about that when I'm writing. I like to tell dumb stories, or point out something neat I found, or talk about upcoming stuff that is sure to be cool. You will find very little mention of sex, drugs, boredom, my hammertoe or my ongoing fight with the post office to make them deliver my Wired magazine after they read it. Actually, I am embarassed to be seen reading Wired, much less complaining to the PO about it, but I have a gift subscription, at least I should be able to cut it up and make tape covers out of it, not them. Don't you think?
At any rate, it's not that I'm so exceptionally private about my life or anything, it's that this is not my journal. I don't have a journal. I'm much happier not keeping an actual written record of what I do all day ["woke, up ... had coffee ... wrote this ..."] and most of my thoughts are better off being fleeting. "Abada abada," that noise I sound like I'm making when I get talking about something I'm excited about really fast, sums it up just fine.
This is the only time I will mention Star Wars except if I actually see the movie. I have two things to say:
Last night I went on the Ballard Art Walk and it was right nice.
Tonight I went food shopping. I like to go shopping on Friday night because the super market is filled with misfits and weirdos like me. No moms, no kids, no slow cart pushers and no cruisers. Usually. Tonight I got cruised in the frozen juice aisle by some pleasant-enough East African gentleman who started chatting me up about my hair and then walked with me as I walked off, threatening [in my mind] to promenade about the grocery store with me. I had to think fast. I opened the juice freezer and grabbed eight cans of frozen juice. "Why so many?" my chatty companion inquired. "Big family." I replied. "Okay, good luck!" he said and smiled as he diverted himself off towards the english muffins. I breathed a sigh of relief and continued on to filch more handfuls of macadamia nuts -- security is also relaxed on Friday nights.
|set one||set two||set three|
Reuben & Friend
Lesser Known Political Ass.
| Anton* |
Sarena & friend
| Jack |
Mad Monk & froggie
|* indicates first-time Odd Stocker|
Well, here's the set list. I added links to folks who I felt that I knew enough about to go look up some links. If you aren't linked, nothing personal, email me and let me know where you want your link to go. If you want, I can be like AltaVista and add so-called relevant paid links instead of my whimsical choices. Your call.
Anyhow, the party was great, though Jack and I were both agitated and veering in and out of grumpiness from time to time during the event. Jack went outside for an "attitude adjustment" and I just had another beer. We have learned something for the next party: only have two sets! After the second glorious set, which wrapped up about 12:45, people headed out in droves. This meant that third set performers had to go up in front of only 30 people or so [and appreciative drunk people at that!]. Many of them left [including the fringe fraternal order folks who were playing guitar in the lower bathroom] and I can't say as I blamed them.
I still have some leftover No Act Too Weird anthologies and some of those weird pink write-on doodley glow pads. If anyone wants 'em, email me for details.
Tonight I was learning a few salsa dance steps in someone's kitchen at a Cinco de Mayo barbecue. Winter must finally really be over. Did you know that Karl Marx was born on Cinco de Mayo?
I found this written in alphabet cookies in the dining room when I went to clean up. I had to scan it so I could eat them but I am still recovering from my weekend, so an update is likely tomorrow. Here are some small facts until I can get to the big picture...
I am still entertaining my lovely houseguest Len. Full party report sometime tomorrow. Short answer: it rocked.
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