Conversations at 8508

"What number Rambo is this?"
"Wasn't the first one called 'First Blood'?"
"When did they just start calling them Rambo?"
"Technically the third installment, which was Rambo 3."
"What was number 2 called?"
"Rambo: First Blood Part 2."
"Wouldn't that make it 'Second Blood'? So shouldn't this one be 'Fourth Blood'?"



Pool party

Just a quick note -

If you're not doing anything this weekend, please stop by Temple Billiards in Pioneer Square tomorrow for a billiards tournament. The proceeds raised will go to help Risa's step-brother pay for his leukemia treatment.
This, I believe, is Patrick's second time dealing with the disease. The medical bills are surely outrageously expensive. Every bit donated will help lessen his burden.
So come out for a good time!!!
In case the image below isn't loading, Temple Billiards is located at 126 S. Jackson

Hope to see you there!


Coachella '08

These would be the reasons I would go to Coachella this year

Danny Tenaglia

Sasha and Digweed

Booka Shade


Simian Mobile Disco

Hot Chip


Architecture in Helsinki



The Breeders





Unfortunately, the list of reasons to not go is substantially longer.


This is what I wrote to my mother regarding the film Brokeback Mountain:

I also thought I'd tell you why Brokeback has been getting such
acclaim. You saw it, however, when it was super-saturated by the media.
First of all, the film is part-Western (screenplay by the guy who wrote Lonesome
Dove) and Hollywood's love affair with the Western is well-chronicled. By
showing the love between Jack and Ennis, we finally get to see what movies like
Red River (with Montgomery Clift) only hint at. Secondly, the film is
unbelievably subtle. Normally, Ang Lee, the director, is ham-fisted with
his symbolism, but he was pretty restrained in this film. The real
centerpiece of the movie is living life in the closet and how it ruins
lives. The end of the film (which is actually the climax) has two literal
closets--Jack's boyhood closet which contains the two shirts from their time on
the mountain, and Ennis' closet where he keeps the shirts. The latter
closet also has a window in it which looks out onto a field of yellow
flowers. This is the visual contrast Lee has constructed for the film.
Visually, the movie contrasts openness and nature with structures and
society--which is exactly the struggle every gay man must face. Lots of
critics say that this film could be about people of two different races or two
different religions who are star-crossed lovers, but realistically, it couldn't
be. If it were about religion or race, then the audience would be allowed
to feel outrage that the constructs of society are what is keeping the couple
apart. The couple would never despise themselves or their love. The
tragedy of Ennis and Jack begins before either of them meet. We learn that
Ennis was shown a man who was beaten to death because he was gay. He was
taught early on to despise his very nature. Heath Ledger, the actor who
played Ennis, said of his character, —"Fear was instilled in him at an early
age, and so the way he loved disgusted him." He shows that in every frame
of the film, with every mumbled word and every silence. The way their lives fall
apart and the way they hurt those around them (unintentionally or otherwise) is
directly a result of their inability to understand the way they feel. So really,
even though the movie is unbearbly slow at times, it is definitely
intentional--Lee wants the film to sink into the audience's subconscious the way
that the image of a man beaten because he was gay must have stuck in Ennis'
psyche. Also, the fact that the film is about cowboys serves to both
Americanize and de-stereotype the lives of gay men. So that's why its getting
all of its praise.

I'm not gonna lie--I'm sure that I pilfered a line or two of that directly from a couple other sources. This was a letter I was writing to my mom, so forgive me the occasional plagiarism. My relationship with my mother has been strenuous since I came out to her, but occasionally we are afforded moments of understanding. Brokeback Mountain provided one of those moments for us. Since the heart of the film lie in Ledger's performance, I just wanted to take this space to thank him.
Rest In Peace


Thank christ

Two posts in one day? What could warrant that?

Eddie Vedder getting overlooked for his "work" on Into the Wild.
Eff you Sean Penn.
Eff you Jon Krakauer.
Eff you Emile Hirsch.
Eff you Christopher McCandless,
but most of all,
Fuck you Eddie Vedder. Your crappy songs are as irrelevant now as they were when you ruined my senior year of high school (dick).

Improving my money

I've stated on here before that this year is all about cutting back and finally taking some steps to secure my financial future.
Right now, 15% of my income goes into a 401(k). The first 6% is matched dollar for dollar by my employer. I've got a good amount in a Roth IRA, to which I need to contribute more money.
In lieu of a CD, I've got a Money Market Account that is slowly accumulating money.
To give you an idea of how much money I am saving this year--
I spent over $650 on restaurants in December.
This January I've spent around $70 on restaurants.
In December, I spent around $400 on groceries.
So far, I've spent around $140.
I've achieved these goals fairy easily. Given, I'm only three weeks in, but there is a sense of accomplishment. There's less beer in the house and more Balance bars. My lunches are predictable and stops to the local falafel/burger/hot dog/pizza joint on the way to work have ceased. All of this, plus some other stuff, and my finances are turning around.
(Oh yeah, and I don't owe the city for that pesky DUI anymore. It only cost me 6 years of my life and around 20 thousand dollars to keep it off my record.)
So, now I'm looking to invest. And what better time plunk down some money for stocks than now? I mean, there's some real bargains out there right now! So, how do I find a broker? How do I pick what to invest in?
Why is becoming an adult so difficult?

So, the big thing I wanted to do this year is invest in stocks.


Crazy is as crazy does

By now, I'm sure you've watched the Tom Cruise video. If you haven't, I direct you to Gawker.
Now, I'd like to direct you to Manya Brachear's piece in the Chicago Tribune. I think the piece irks me because it is essentially an apologist's take on his rant. Her ending query asking the reader would they be as uncomfortable if it were a celebrity hawking a more palatable religion smacks of "Makes You Think" knowingness.
Do I think that Tom Cruise finds happiness and fulfillment through his religion? Yes, most definitely. In fact, as I was relaying to Risa and Keith this past Sunday, religion tops the polls on what makes people happiest. It surpasses family, friends, food, and other f words.
And why wouldn't you be happy? Religion offers simple history, a plethora of morals,--the good ones we observe, the bad ones we dismiss--and most importantly direction and purpose. A life lived with purpose and all that junk . . .
What turns me off to the whole affair, besides looking as crazy as Tom Cruise, is the willful ignorance necessary to finding that purpose. You have to be willing to supplant fact with fiction (or science fiction). You have to be willing to hold this fantasy up against all others--Thetans vs. Jesus vs. Buddha--and claim its correctness. It is just that sort of effrontery that has caused many of the horrible things that have been done (and are still being done) in the name of religion.
For years I fell back on easy prayers and simple verses because they were comforting and brought a degree of happiness, but I think the calm happiness that accompanies curiosity and thirst for knowledge far surpasses the crazy happniess of the believer.


Riced potatoes

I know my guy loves me. He's bought me a meat tenderizer and, more recently a potato ricer. Maybe he just loves me cooking for him. I've been talking about making gnocchi forever, but all the recipes I read recommend a ricer for good consistency. And isn't that what good gnocchi's all about?
I'm also excited to make mashed potatoes with it. I loves me some mashed potatoes. Plain. With roasted garlic. With bleu cheese and caramelized onions. With pancetta and parsley . . .
But the mashed potatoes will come later, this Saturday I'll attempt my first gnocchi run.
Maybe I'll video it and post the results up here.

If I weren't being hermit this year, I'd probably be going to the Northwest Film Forum to see Crispin Hellion Glover present his film What Is It?

Instead, I'll be at home playing with my new cooking gadget. Maybe I'll flatten out some chicken breats and make chicken parmigiana with gnocchi in marinara.

Oh, I'll probably also watch this documentary that I've wanted to see for a while called Red Without Blue. Its about these twins from Missoula, Montana. One is transgendered, the other is gay, and I guess they have a lot of other family issues piled on top of that. It won the audience award for best documentary last year at Sundance. (Man, my life is exciting! Dinner at home AND a movie!?!?)

Speaking of Sundance--this year's festival starts in 6 days. During the run, and even a bit after if they operate the site like they did last year, you can view many of the short films in competition. Also, many of the workshops and lectures are podcast. So check that site next week for all kinds of movie goodness.
Films that sound interesting this year--
Adventures of Power, written, directed and starring Ari Gold with Michael McKean and Jane Lynch tells the silly story of an "air drummer."
Be Kind Rewind, the Michel Gondry flick starring Jack Black and Mos Def as they try to recreate all the films that got demagnetized at their video store.
Donkey Punch--its a horror film. That title and its a horror film? Sign me up. Interesting fact, another film called Donkey Punch came out in 1992.
I'm most looking forward to Tom Kalin's return to feature length cinema, Savage Grace starring Julianne Moore. His debut feature, Swoon in 1992, was a great crime-drama based on the Leopold and Loeb murder. He also penned the underrated Office Killer starring Molly Ringwald and Carol Kane.

There's some more, too, but go check 'em out yourself.


I miss Marilyn McCoo

And because I can't listen to Marilyn without thinking of the dancers . . .


While I was out

I started 2008 with a cold. Definitely not the best way to start a new year, but I did have 7 days off in a row which was lovely.

During that time I watched a plethora of bad movies.

Here is my two-second reviews of films that do not merit even a two-second review.

Live Free or Die Hard -- Ridiculous and long.
Shoot 'Em Up -- Ridiculous and loud.
The Final Cut -- Awesome idea, horrible everything else.

Now back to the previously planned year of hard work and fiscal responsibility.