Monday, November 25, 2002
Better living through chemistry? In cleaning my house for a party yesterday, I realized that I have what might be considered an unhealthy amount of household cleaners. Let's see: Windex for glass surfaces and cleaning the metal things on the gas range, Clorox Clean-up for the nasty bathroom gunk and anything that looks slimy, Murphy's Oil Soap for the hardwood floors, Lysol Household Disinfectant for the bathroom floor and any walls that might need freshening, Resolve Carpet Cleaner for not only carpet and couch stains but also for tough laundry stains (it works!), some super-strong stuff in a bottle with a green label that makes me lightheaded for cleaning the tub, Goo Gone for dissolving sticky stuff, All's version of Oxy Clean for miscellaneous fabrics, and Orange Clean for everything else. And then there's Tide for the laundry, Palmolive for the pots and pans, Electrasol tabs for the dishwasher, and antibacterial soap that smells like Jolly Ranchers near all the sinks for hand washin'. The scary thing is, if you asked me to give one of them up, I don't know which one I'd choose. (Definitely not the Orange Clean.)

Oh, is my house clean? Nah, not really. My roommate leaves crumbs on the floor, slimy dishes in the sink, and hair in the tub (though she's getting better about that). And we don't use the above-mentioned products all that much. I just have them.

I'm leaving for home tomorrow to see my family for Thanksgiving and show my very cool Uncle Mitchell (who is very cool) some Photoshop tricks. Back in December! Which is like a few days away. No wonder it's so cold.

Saturday, November 23, 2002
I like to think I'm fairly adventurous when it comes to food, but it's only been in the past year or two that I've become completely enamored with Indian food. I think I could eat saag paneer with basmati rice every day. Sooooo taaaasty.

I also tend to avoid chain restaurants, but last night I went to an Applebee's for the first time in five or six years. I remembered it being kind of gross; icky cafeteria-style food and bad atmosphere. But my friend wanted to go there, and I wanted a margarita, and it was near his house, so we went. And I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it was actually okay. Not great, but much improved over my last visit. The ambiance was better, the drinks were good and reasonably priced, and the food was decent. I don't think I'll rush back, but I won't avoid going there at all costs like I used to, and I will definitely stop making fun of the place. But it makes me wonder how much they paid to a consultant to tell them how awful they used to me.

Friday, November 22, 2002
It's cold in Michigan, so in the winter I wear a lot of wool sweaters. But like just about everyone else, I hate wearing wool next to my skin; itchy, etc. But I find that I'm always doing laundry to wash the few white tshirts I have to wear under my sweaters. So a few days ago, I went out to buy some v-neck tshirts to wear under my sweaters.

I went to the women's section at Target, but the white tshirts were like eight or ten bucks each. Not bad, I guess, and they're more at the Armani Exchange, but it's just a white tshirt. I've had tshirts printed, I know what they cost, and it's much less than eight dollars. So, I wasn't interested in spending a whole lot for a plain shirt, and I didn't think there was anyplace cheaper to get them (not anyplace I'd want to go, anyway).

But then I thought about the cost of women's undergarments as a whole, and then I started thinking about the cost of women's undergarments as compared to men's undergarments. You know how it stacks up. So, I walked over to the men's section and bought a package of three Hanes v-neck undershirts for six and change. They work just fine.

Thursday, November 21, 2002
End-of-the-world-y. In trying to come up with a creative holiday gift for my brother, I combined two snaps in Photoshop to come up with this image. The buildings are apartment towers on the river in Chicago; their first 18 floors (I think) are for parking, so you see the cars practically hanging off the edges. The sky is from along the I-80 somewhere in Pennsylvania about a year ago, and is not retouched or brightened (ie. it really was that color). Overall, I like it and think it's what the cover of the new Wilco album would have looked like if they were trying to appeal to a younger audience.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002
I added a Segway to my wishlist at Amazon. Not that anyone has ever bought anything for me off said wishlist. But if one were to decide that one wanted to buy something for me off said wishlist and one had five stacks to spend and decided to spend it on me, one might consider buying said Segway for me.

Monday, November 18, 2002
As seen in the New York Times: Black People Love Us! It's funny in a way that's not entirely funny once you think about it a little.

Sunday, November 17, 2002
Whirlwind weekend! Today I was in Detroit for a documentary film festival to basically sit next to a monitor looping a trailer for a video I'm working on. was more interesting than that. Met some quirky people and learned some stuff too. And had some good huevos rancheros. All in all, a decent day.

Friday I went to check out Fountains of Wayne in Chicago. They were great, and the lead singer looks a lot like David Hyde Pierce, so it was like Niles Crane was on stage playing nerdy power pop. My only quibble with the show is that they sounded virtually indistinguishable from their recordings. And it was really late. But other than that, good rocknroll. Recommended: Fountains of Wayne and Utopia Parkway.

Thursday, November 14, 2002
Ever have one of those weeks when it feels like the week just started but it's Thursday already? I am having one of those weeks this week.

Last night I videotaped a panel discussion for my boss. It was held at a private dinner club where everyone was very polite and they graciously waited on you hand and foot. It was strange, but actually kind of nice. The panel itself was boring, but what I did find interesting was our server. He was in his late 40s, I'd guess, and his name was Bonney. He didn't say if that was a nickname; maybe his parents are British or Scottish or something. He was one of those very genuine and obliging and friendly and polite people, more like a fictional character than a real person. I understand that a person needs to be this way in order to work at a place where people pay a lot of money to join and then pay a lot more money to eat, but this Bonney guy was really good at it. So rather than the panel I was asked to tape, this is what I remember from last night.

Auto Focus was deceptively boring. Skip it.

Monday, November 11, 2002
Woke up early. Went to the gym and nearly fell of the treadmill from a cramp. Work was slow. Felt tired. Had an espresso around three, and did you know that when you down caffeine like that you can get like a lot of stuff done and edit a whole video and call all those people you've been meaning to call and catch up on email and clean up the office a little and wow look at all this stuff I'm getting done and it's 9 now but I'm ready to go to Barnes and Noble and do some shopping shopping shopping and Christ on a bike I am so goddamn wired right now stopitstopitstopit whoa when I crash I'm really gonna crash good.

Saturday, November 9, 2002
I don't know who all of these people are who actually liked 8 Mile, but I thought it sucked. It was basically a lot of bad hip-hop posturing, bad acting, and people calling each other "dog" and beating the crap out of each other. I also have a hard time with movies with a big star playing someone who's trying really hard to make it big and has to "suffer" through a lot, mainly because you know before going in that they'll end up on top before the credits roll. And the freestyling in it wasn't all that great either. Oh, and Kim Basinger was terrible. There was one cool scene with a burning house. But besides that, it was completely lame.

I did, however, see Real Life last night on the recommendation of a friend, and it was quite good. It's about a camera crew that follows one family around for the purposes of making a feature film about their real life. This isn't all that inventive in 2002, but when you consider that the film was made in 1978, the concept is impressive. And it's funny: Albert Brooks is good for more than a few laughs, Charles Grodin (with hair!) is so deadpan, and the visuals, including a space-helmet-like camera that the camera-men wear, are great. Forget 8 Mile and go rent this.

Friday, November 8, 2002
I really wanted to like Michael Moore's new film Bowling For Columbine, but I'm not completely sure I did. The movie did bring up a lot of good points about guns and fear and race and the media in this country. It also pointed out a lot of the overseas injustices that the U.S. government is responsible for. It also had its funny parts, including a short piece of animation that I liked a lot. However, it was way too heavy handed at times. Moore also has a tendency to harrass people who are defenseless, like PR people and counter workers. And the end (don't worry, I won't give it away) was pathos gone bad bad bad. He also bought a lot of footage, which isn't bad in and of itself, but the parts that he and his crew did shoot were grainy, shaky, mostly exposed wrong, and generally bad on the technical side. If I were able to rethink this, I'd wait for the DVD.

On a related topic, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have become part of the current cinematic frenzy and have already purchased my tickets for a showing of 8 Mile tomorrow afternoon. I wasn't going to, but I just think the theatre would feel so empty without...oh, forget it.

Thursday, November 7, 2002

  1. I got a lot done today.
  2. I have tomorrow off.
  3. I get paid tomorrow.
  4. I'm getting a massage in an hour.
  1. I still have a lot to do.
  2. My roommate is messy bordering on gross messy, and it's getting kind of nasty.
Wednesday, November 6, 2002
Came down the stairs after a shower tonight and heard -- guess what? -- a bat squeaking somewhere in the front room of my house. I immediately ran to the kitchen on the other side of the house and called my neighbor. She, along with her husband and another guy down the street, came over and searched while I cowered in a corner with her two kids. They found nothing, which means I get to be paranoid all night. Yay.

Before all that, I was at the gym. I hadn't planned on watching the Country Music Awards, but it came on the screen while I was on the treadmill, so I watched the first ten minutes. Based on what I saw, I think they should rename it the Country Pimps and Hos night. Take Shania Twain, for example, and her cowboy disco reject band. I really don't know what to say, except that the skank factor of Ms. Twain's attire rivals that of Britney Spears. What's with all the leather and skin-tight stretchy mesh? I understand wanting to ride the coattails of MTV-ish sluttiness, but when country music tries to get all bootyliscious-like, it's really disturbing. Shania, baby, you're not a ho, so stop shaking your can like you're someone's baby's mama. The hooker look barely works for Christina Aguilera...and she is kind of skanky.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002
The local state senate race has been close, and there's been lots of mudslinging, but I was still impressed when I saw one of the candidates standing on the corner of one of the busier intersections in town waving to passersby in the pouring rain. I thought that was some serious dedication. If I hadn't voted already, I might have been persuaded to vote for him. Might. He is, after all, Republican, and I usually vote mostly Democrat, a few Green, and one or two Libertarians for good measure.

Watched Igby Goes Down the other day. On the whole, I thought it was very good and worth a look. Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, and that Culkin kid are all excellent.

Sunday, November 3, 2002
Just got back from a Herbie Hancock show, and I have to say, I wasn't blown away. It's not that the man can't play, and it's not that his accompanying musicians weren't good, but for the most part, they played a lot of new stuff that didn't seem to have a whole lot of structure. They did a few of the older tunes, like "Maiden Voyage," but for the most part, it was a lot of stuff with no discernible rhythm. (I coudn't latch on to one, anyway.) But I had kickass seats, and I'm glad I went.

What is blowing me away musically these days is Demolition, the new Ryan Adams CD. I don't know why I held off on buying this for almost a month after it came out. I guess it's because a lot of the reviews I read were kind of mediocre, so I didn't feel compelled to rush right out and pick it up. But I've been doing housework to it all weekend, and I think it might be my favorite one by him yet. With one or two minor exceptions, it's a very crisp collection of pop songs, neat and well-crafted.

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