MAY 2003

Thursday, May 29, 2003
Tomorrow is my last day of work until the end of August! The kids are excited, but I keep telling them I'm more excited than they are. Why? Because not only do I get to sit around all summer, I collect a paycheck too. Yeah!

Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Wow, long weekend away! I went to both Chicago and Detroit, did a lot of driving, and didn't get enough sleep, but it was fun. I spent all day Sunday shooting video at Movement, which is the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. I'm not a huge techno fan, but the beat is good for a few hours. I don't know about listening to it for three days and nights in a row, but I enjoyed it while I was there. I noticed that the crowd seems to really enjoy the breaks, or when the beat changes. A dj would be spinning the same record for a minute or two, and then cross it over to a different record with a different beat but the same tempo, and people would go nuts. So every minute or two, there would be a big burst of applause, and then everyone would go back to dancing. I also wound up editing a few short pieces that got shown on the four big screens in front of everyone, so that was cool. I'm exhausted from everything, but it was a good time.

Oh, and I went to IKEA when I was in Chicago and got this super sweet half pod chair!

Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Update on post from May 13: I got all revved up to make a telemarketer cry on Saturday morning, and -- would you believe it? -- I didn't get any calls. Now I really hate them. Fortunately, I don't think I'll have to deal with it ever again, as I'll be out of town this Saturday, and then I'm moving next week and will no longer have a land line. As far as I know, it's illegal for telemarketers to call you on a cell phone. For now, anyway.

(I did, however, get woken up early on Saturday morning by someone ringing my doorbell at nine. I didn't answer it and later found out that it was someone who was supposed to meet my landlord, but she never showed up. Bitch.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Holy crap. Where did the last few days go?

Actually, I know exactly where they went. I played three nights in a row, my students have their final shows this week, and on top of all this, my landlord decides that she wants to start replastering the ceiling in my living room, so I had to move all of my couches and stuff out. And I decided that I shoud probably steam clean them before I move them, so I did that. And I figured, as long as I have the steam cleaner, I should clean my rugs too. Pain in the ass.

So today I feel lousy; just tired and out of it and achy and alternating between too warm and too cold.. I had some coffee, but it made me shaky and uncomfortable rather than wake me up.

But I've been thinking about how my landlord is trying to make my life hell for the next two weeks until I move, and how she just had to start doing plaster work before I move out. Then I started thinking about all the bats in the walls, and I decided that all of her nonsense and deliberate attempts to piss me off will all be okay if a big pile of bat guano falls on her head as she's fixing the ceiling. Or even better, a partially decayed bat corpse. Or two! I really think that would make me feel better.

Thursday, May 15, 2003
Cool project: America 24/7 is accepting digital photos for inclusion in the next series of the Day in the Life of America books. Photos have to be taken this week and can be uploaded through the 25th. If they put your photo in, you get a copy of the book and a pretty nice software package. Not bad for a snapshot.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003
I am now addicted to PixelTees. Coolest site ever! (For now.) You can make a doodle and stick it on a tshirt. I got to doing it this afternoon and made my own little store.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Something that's been bothering me for a while now: When did the icky telemarketing powers that unfortunately be decide that it's okay to start calling people on Saturday mornings? I've been getting these calls for a while now, and while I'm usually up by 9ish on weekends, sometimes I'm not. Once or twice a month, I'm out playing until midnight or later on Friday nights (I play drums -- I don't mean playing like partying), and am therefore sleeping in the following morning. But these fuckers keep calling and, occasionally, waking me up. And I am getting sick of it. In fact, I'm a little infuriated.

This past Saturday was especially bad. I got four phone calls from telemarketers before noon! Four! I was polite to the first three, but I was flat-out mad when I got the fourth and used some very un-ladylike language to let the poor sap on the other end know that I didn't want to fucking be called on Saturdays ever fucking again ever, you stupid fucking fuck. Ever! Ever!

So I'll be playing this coming Friday night (again -- drums, not partying), and I know I'll be sleeping in on Saturday morning. Part of me wants to just turn the ringer off the phone and go on sleeping undisturbed. That would be the civil thing to do. But of course, part of me is just like, why the hell should I be civil to them when they are so unapologetically uncivil to me? Part of me is just like, try me. Go ahead. Call me at 9 on Saturday morning and ask me if I'd like to save on the long distance bill that I don't even have. Do it. Because I will rip you a new asshole so goddamn big that your colon will fall onto your shoes. I mean it: I am ready. Go ahead and call. And you'd better be wearing thick socks, you dumb fuck.

Alright. Really now. I know I shouldn't be ripping a new anything on some underpaid, non-union hourly worker who probably hates her job anyway and really resents having to now work on Saturday mornings. I know she's just trying to make a living, and that telemarketing is slightly better than exotic dancing or selling crack to school kids. She probably didn't go to college, and the economy's bad, and here's a way for her to pay her rent without doing anything illegal or nasty. But I seriously question her personal set of ethics. I worked as a telemarketer for a week and was beyond bad at it because I felt horrible disturbing people. I quit after fewer than five days on the job and have felt much better about myself ever since. So with regards to the telemarketer that will call me on Saturday morning (and I know she will call), I feel that if I make her feel bad enough about waking me up and bugging the hell out of me to rethink her job choice, she won't come to work next Saturday, and that's one less call I'll have to deal with. Now imagine if everyone who got bothered on Saturdays by telemarketers made their callers cry. We'd make all of them miserable, and then none of them would come to work on Saturdays! And the supervisors wouldn't be able to hire new people, because they've bothered all of their potential work force by calling them early on Saturday mornings, and these people can always get jobs slinging McMuffins anyway.

So I say: Bitch out your Saturday morning telemarketers! Make them feel awful! Awful! Just plain awful! Make them hate their jobs so much that they go find a less obnoxious one! Keep bitching until there are no more Saturday morning telemarketers! It will be a long and turbulent road, but we can follow it, my friends! Those assholes deserve every nasty word we throw at them! Together, we can take back the mornings and our phone lines, and there will be enough McMuffins for all of us!

(Oh I really fucking hope they call on Saturday. Bastards.)

Monday, May 12, 2003
While it wasn't as good as Best in Show, A Mighty Wind was pretty funny. I guess if there's one thing I could point to as the reason it was lacking, it's the development of some of the characters. Most of the movie was done by improv, so I suppose fleshing out characters is hard when you don't have a script. Still, a lot of it was grin-worthy, if not laugh-out-loud funny, and I think they got a lot of the folk music parody right on. The songs themselves were even good in a slightly Weird Al kind of way. And I really liked Christopher Guest's Art Garfunkel haircut. It's one thing to be bald and have that weird math teacher hair around the circumference of your head, but it's quite another to purposely style it that way just for a giggle. Go see it for the humor and to support a movie like this getting a wider release.

Sunday, May 11, 2003
Yesterday's ethical dilemma: My friend down the street was giving a birthday party for her six-year-old, but was worried that with all the stuff she had to do, she wouldn't have time to make a cake. I knew that by "make a cake," she meant follow the directions on the box of a cake mix and then add a can of frosting, so I offered to make it for her. So yesterday I woke up early, all set to get the cake going. I mixed in all the eggs and oil and stuff, poured it into the pans, and stuck it in the oven. Then, of course, I went to lick the bowl.

So I'm eating the leftover batter and I realize that it tastes kind of bland. Not bad, just less chocolately than chocolate cake batter should be. I checked the box to make sure I didn't do anything wrong, but I had followed the directions exactly. Then I saw the date stamped on the top of the box: Best if used by November 2001. Fuck! This box had obviously been in my cabinet a while.

And of course, the cake is in the oven, and I can't very well take it out now, so I had to let it cook all the way. The whole time, I'm thinking, will they know? Can I just bring this cake over and hope they won't notice it's not very chocolatey? After about a half hour of this, I decided that the right thing to do would be to go to the store and buy another box of cake mix. So I threw the original cake out after it was done (I tasted it -- it wasn't bad, but it was bland) and made a second one, which, judging by the taste of the batter, was much better. Then I put a whole can of chocolate fudge frosting on it and decorated the top and sides with M&Ms to give the kids an extra sugar blast.

I brought it to the party, and all the little kids were screaming "Yay!" at the top of their lungs when they saw that there was chocolate cake. We cut it into chunks and gave it to them, and they were all complaining that he got more M&Ms than me, so I put out the rest of them M&Ms and they ate all of them. The also scraped all the frosting off the cake and got it all over their faces trying to eat it. All but one of them threw away the cake part of the cake.

Lesson learned: As long as there's frosting and M&Ms, you could put a cake made of broccoli and wheat germ under it and kids won't notice.

Thursday, May 8, 2003
One Hour Photo was effectively creepy throughout. Not the best movie ever, but I liked it a lot, especially all of the sweeping shots of the Target-like store. There's something about looking at pictures of store shelves that is pleasing to me. You could tell that the shelves were "dressed" for the set rather than real store shelves, too, because the same product was stocked vertically on three or four different shelves, whereas in a real store, shelf space is valuable and each product gets only a few feet on one shelf and is stocked to the back. There is a photographer who takes enormous photos and has some of store shelves, but I can't think of his name. Drop me an email if you know who it is, because I might like to pick up a poster of his work if I can find one. Anyway.

But the movie was good, and Robin Williams was remarkably low key while still being Robin Williams -- though they must have shaved him or waxed him or something. When you see him on a tv show or at some awards ceremony, he's got hair coming out of everywhere, but in one shower scene in the movie, he was completely hairless. Oh, right, so the plot was good but a little predictable. Umm, and there were lots of cool shots of the store, and I could tell that the furniture they had for sale was really IKEA furniture. Okay, this isn't working. My mind is obviously somewhere else right now. I'm going to Target.

Wednesday, May 7, 2003
If you're looking for something to do over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and you're in the Great Lakes region, you might consier Movement, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. It runs all weekend (day and night if you count the afterhours stuff, which you probably should), it's free, and I'll be running around exhausted and taking lots of pictures courtesy of this gig I got wrangled up in. Just a thought.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003
The City of Kalamazoo is in the process of leveling my street and digging up the concrete surface. In five weeks, it will be all finished and paved with brick, and we'll have new streetlights and it will look really nice. But for now, it's a mess. It's beyond a dirt road -- it's a mud road. There's like a six inch drop from the driveways to the mud trench, and everyone's bitching about how it's slippery and how their shoes are all caked with gunk and how it smells like dog poo and how it's a total mess. Of course, it doesn't help that it's rained for most of the past week so nothing can dry out.

They've dug up the sidewalks, too, and the people who have grass facing the street don't want everyone walking on it, so they've boarded it off, forcing everyone to walk in the mud. Well, everyone except for half of the people on the street who have realized that my driveway goes through to the street behind us, and that they can walk through to their cars without getting their feet all muddy. Which is great for those people, but now I feel like I have no privacy because everyone keeps walking by and, as human nature would dictate, looking in the big window on my living room wall. So now I keep my blinds shut. I haven't stopped anyone, and only one person has asked if I mind (I didn't), and I don't want to be a bad neighbor, but I will be very happy when this street project is done.

(For the curious, this has nothing to do with yesterday's landlord incident. For the further curious, I will eventually get around to putting up a picture of said mud street.)

Monday, May 5, 2003
Bad day. I blame my moneygrubbing landlord, who totally went psychotic on my ass.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Not quite an American holiday, but a good excuse to drink Coronas.

Saturday, May 3, 2003
Sold a bunch of my stuff at a garage sale today, and I am unbelievably tired. I don't think I want to do anything tonight besides lay on the couch and nap and maybe watch some weird Saturday night episode of the Price is Right. Too bad, because I sold most of the stuff I wanted to sell and I have a pocketful of cash and could really go out right if I wanted to.

Thursday, May 1, 2003
In defiance of all of this freedom-this and freedom-that bullshit, I've been watching French movies! (If I knew French, I'd put some witty comment in French here. Alas, I do not know French.) Anyway:

Belle de Jour: So let me see if I understand this correctly, because I want to understand this correctly. A seemingly timid French housewife gets a little bored sitting around all day waiting for her boring doctor husband to get home, so to kill time, she gets a day job at a brothel and discovers that -- surprise! -- she really likes having sex with random gross men. Bunuel, you dog. And the men who are currently in charge of America hate the French because...why? Yeah. Anyway, I actually thought it was really good and even funny.

Day for Night: A movie about movies before making a movie about movies became cool and then cliche and then retro. Clever because real actors are playing the actors (well duh) and the real director (Truffaut) plays the director. Oh, I'll bet film crit types have a field day with this one. I really liked this movie too, but it was dubbed in English rather than subtitled, and there's something about foreign movies dubbed in English that I really can't stand. It's like watching a bad kung fu movie: none of the words line up with the actors' mouths. It reminds me of the time when I was in the eighth grade and my Spanish teacher made us watch E.T. dubbed in Spanish. Apparently the DVD has subtitles, and maybe one day I'll watch it that way, but the local hip video rental place had it on VHS only. Dang.

Breathless: Basically: A guy steals a car and kills a cop, then spends the majority of the rest of the movie sitting in his American girlfriend's apartment pouting and chain smoking and talking existential mumbojumbo and asking her can we just have sex now already. (Yes, I did grandly oversimplify the entire plot, you very observant Goddard fan. It's what I do. Thanks for noticing.) Very detatched, but I kind of liked it in a weird way.

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