Thursday, August 28, 2003


There is virtually nothing in the realm of possibility which can happen which will top what just happened on the VMAs. I mean, don't get me wrong, the VMAs have a long history of incredible performances. I could list them, and probably will at some point. The point however is that the show opened and the curtain raised while we hear the recognizable melody of the classic "Like a Virgin." We are all excited at this point if for no other reason than that we know Madonna will be performing.

Madonna mixing something up with "Like a Virgin" is already cool. Who knows what could go down. Then MTV was like "check this shit out" so the lyrics begin obviously not sung by Madonna. If you are me, or if you are much like me, you already know who it is. If not, it will be only another second before the veiled woman in a wedding dress reveals herself as BRITNEY MOTHERFUCKING SPEARS!!! This is without question the coolest moment in many many years. Britney is singing Madonna, it doesn't get much better. We have some suspicions, but we just enjoy Britney's rendition of the first verse. Before the second verse can begin however, Britney steps aside to allow another veiled woman onto the stage. She begins the second verse and reveals herself as the less astonishing but still important Christina Aguilera. Pretty sweet huh, Britney and Christina on stage singing one of the greatest pop songs of all time.

They do a verse or so and moan "Touched for the very first time" a couple rounds. Then what we have all been expecting takes place. Even though we all saw it coming, it blows us away. We move to the edge of the couch, clapping and cheering as the only female artist in human history who arguably tops Britney Spears ascends the wedding cake. In a black corseted suit, Madonna herself appears in contrast to the be-dressed damsels of the girl-pop universe. She begins to sing Hollywood and removes her own jacket as the younger women dismantle their gowns down to bustiers with a skirt or shorts. They dance around, Madonna sings a verse or two. I am really just paying attention to the dancing and Madonna is paying attention to the ladies with her. She grinds a litte with them, she gives Britney her hat, which, I must add, Britney plays with adorably.

Now we get down to the nitty gritty. Madonna is kneeling down between the women after they accompany her down to the front of the stage. She leans to her left and sensually rubbing Christina's leg, she removes her garter and tosses it to the lucky front row fans. Those fans are lucky for only a second as the distraction may cause them to miss the greatest TV moment of all time. Madonna turns to Britney spears and FUCKING PLANTS ONE ON HER!! MADONA AND BRITNEY SPEARS KISSED ON TELEVISION!!! ARE YOU NOT LISTENING TO ME!! MADONNA AND BRITNEY SPEARS FUCKING KISSED!! THEY SHOWED IT LIKE THREE TIMES!! THEY KISSED!!! OH MY GOD GET WITH IT!!! FUCKING A PEOPLE!! BRITNEY AND MADONNA KISSED !!! IT IS NO LONGER SIMPLY HAPPENING IN OUR DREAMS, IT IS AN HONEST TO GOODNESS BUTTFUCKINGLY REAL OCCURRENCE!!!

Even though you may have known some of this is coming its still like the moment before your dinner comes at a really good restaurant and you are fucking hungry as shit. Its not a surprise or anything. You ordered it and now it is here. All your experience suggests that this outcome will follow this process. It was a foregone conclusion that someday Britney and Madonna would at least jam together, if not record a single. I didnt see the kiss coming, but its like when the wait-person drops the news that you get a free dessert and that dessert is incredible. Enough with the fucking dinner analogy.

Beyond that the show has so far been good. I am typing as I watch, so I apologize if this becomes somewhat excessive. Chris Rock had a pretty funny monologue, I won't rehash all the jokes. A classic Olsen twins R. Kelly comment which always gets a laugh from me, no matter how many times its suggested. Lebron James was awful in his dialogue with Ashanti. Good Charlotte was okay but their performance was way overshadowed by Chris Rock's follow up joke: "Good Charlotte, more like a mediocre Green Day." Great line and overall his quips were solid.

After that there were no significant moments until Christina peformed. She was okay but 1) she chose the wrong first song-opening with "Dirty" but correctly following it up with a version of "Fighter" 2) she was out of breath the whole time and couldnt really catch up. I don't know if that is just how she performs or if it was the fucking corsety thing constricting her lungs. Regardless, it didnt even stack up to even the lamest Britney track. Not that Britney has any lame tracks, but still. Britney doing a Celine Dion cover would still be cooler than this.

There have not been any significant surprises since then. I mean its a standard VMA and I am just not as in tune with the hip kids anymore. Good Charlotte isn't that exciting and to be honest, neither is 50 Cent or Mary J Blige. I have always tried to like Ms. J Blige, but I just haven't succeeded. Its alot like trying to like the new blue Froot Loops. I mean, why wouldnt I like them, they are still Froot Loops, they just don't taste that good.

Alright, I am just going to post this. I will talk further if warranted by the circumstances. Lets see if they come strong with a GNR style return to close down the show.



Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Good Things About Matthew McConaughey That Don't Involve Bongo Drums

These things include the movie Frailty. I watched it today between my two classes. School began yesterday but I really didnt have anything. I technically had a course with Ernesto, but as he likes to do, he has not arrived for the beginning of the semester. According to everyone official he will be here next week, but I guess we shall wait and see. At least there is no reason he wouldnt this year.

Anyway, that class was cancelled, but Tuesday is my busy day and it is actually pretty fucking packed. I teach at 9:30, which means I have to get up at like 8 to get there on time and squeeze in some SportsCenter to start the day off right. Anywho, after that I have like an hour and a half to get some work done before my course on Heidegger and Tragedy taught by Rodolphe Gasche (accent on the last "e", but I dont know how to get that thingie) and then Joan and Ernesto's seminar on Affectivity and Political Radicalism. Its overall a very cool schedule, but it means that Tuesday will be going pretty much solid from 8am to about 7 pm which is a long day in anyone's book.

Today was not nearly as bad, since my class went for only about 40 minutes and then I had like 2 hours plus until Rodolphe's class. I read for a while and stuff, there was some administrative shit that I can always take care of. We went over the basic idea of the course, he explained to all the new people how he conducts his classes, and that was about it. 15 minutes was perfect to open things up and then I sat in my office for the next while. I read the handout that he gave us and then talked to Katie for a little while. I watched Frailty in the interim before Joan and will get to that in a second.

Joan's class was a little longer than I would expect on the first day of classes, but it was very very good. Basically she recapitulated her argument from last fall when this seminar discussion with Laclau began. I guess I technically have a head start on how this is constructed and stuff, but I still think it was solid and helpful. She is now reading it in light of Freud's Group Psychology, which I know almost nothing about, but still, it looks interesting. That class took the whole period, more in fact, but it was groundwork that needed to be set for the rest of the semester.

I will talk more about specific components of these classes later. This was just a brief overview. I am positive that you are very very concerned.

On a note that is much more interesting, you all should see Frailty. The movie is good, really really good. I like it alot. The film is really explicitly Hitchcockian in many ways. You will see some other obvious references, to Severn, The Usual Suspects, etc. Beyond all the cool parts about the various versions of homage it pays to suspense and horror classics the conclusion of the story is executed almost perfectly. Parts of it you will likely see coming but, in true Hitchcock style, even if you see it coming, it is completely satisfying. I want to say more, but I don't know how many people are likely to have it ruined by my commentary, and I know that Katie may still want a chance tomorrow. I will warn you before I talk too much, but if Katie decides against watching it, I will be back with much to say.

That was obviously a boring ass bloggification, but thats the sit sometimes, dig me. Hopefully I will have some humorous observations about my brake pad replacement tomorrow or something.



Sunday, August 24, 2003

MOA and the High School Conundrum

So I like going home because it give me the opportunity to see people who I never get to see when I am in Minneapolis. The downside of this situation is that it puts me in the position to see people I have not seen since high school.

This situation was not bad at all, but a little weird, and is emblematic of many worse potential situations. Katie and I went to the MOA on Sunday and had some shopping to do along with the walking around which is usually the hallmark of our visits. We hit up the Banana Republic for a pair of pants, looked at some crystal, looked at some china, looked at some other clothes, Katie made me look at shoes, the usual deal. There are only two good things about Katie looking at shoes 1) I have a good concrete argument as to why she shouldnt buy them (she has approximately 400 billion pairs) 2) there are always plenty of seating devices in the shoe areas. The exception to these rules is the Designer Shoe Warehouse, a store I had not encountered until one very very sad day at the Walden Galleria here in Buffalo.

Here's a thought experiment designed to simulate the Designer Shoe Warehouse. I stole most of it from Douglas Adams. Here is the idea, imagine the biggest thing ever. Now discard it, you cannot even begin to imagine the size of the DSW. Gigantic times huge times enormous is the sort of thing we are getting at here. There is another Douglas Adams reference to an immense workshop where this ancient race of people builds custom planets. The workshop then has to be larger than a planet. The DSW is large enough to build several planets. Its fucking huge. They just put walls around all the space they could possibly find and then filled the entirety of that space with shoes. Incredible amounts of mostly butt ugly shoes. No one could ever need this many shoes. Let me tell you how many pairs of shoes you need. One. One fucking pair of shoes. Here is the criteria you need to use to select shoes. 1) Are they comfortable and 2) Do they adequately cover your feet. End of fucking story. I will even allow those shoe fetishists among you to have some more shoes, as long as you recognize that you are indulging in a ridiculous and extravagant excercise. You can have a pair of brown shoes, a pair of black shoes, a pair of red shoes, a pair of sandals, a pair of flip flops, a pair of boots, and a pair of sneakers. Thats all. Seriously, that is it. I may make some exception if you have a job that necessitates a different pair, like you need golf shoes or cleats or whatev, but besides that call it quits. If you want some of these shoes to be high heels, thats fine. I don't know why you wear high heels, I would imagine they hurt like fucking hell, but wear them if you want.

The biggest probelm about the DSW is that you don't get to sit somewhere while Katie wanders and looks at shoes because you would never find each other again. So you have to roam up and down these supermarket like aisles of heels and boots and sneakers and clogs and blah blah blah blah blah. The only thing I have found to entertain myself in the DSW is to grab a shoe horn and smack things with it as you walk down the aisle. Its not that amusing but its leagues better than the alternative.

Why the fuck did I go off on the DSW, fuck, MOA. Alright, so we were shopping. We are just about to leave and we walk by a Bath and Body Works. Katie decides to pop in for a pumice stone and some lotion or something and we are standing in front of the foot area (I am quite sure that Bath and Body Works used to be organized around different flavors, there were only like 5 products and they each came in like 20 different scents, and that is how the store broke down) and all of a sudden I here "Mike, how are you."

I turn around and there is Carly Roetter. I haven't seen Carly in a long time, literally I dont think I have laid eyes on the woman since the day we graduated. I like Carly, she was a nice chick and a pretty incredible actress who is apparently now managing one of the two MOA Bath and Body Works. If you do a google search on her I think you can find some pictures back from when she was the lead in Rosemount Theater production of Cabaret. I really liked that play and Carly was good in it. I think I saw every show, it gets two thumbs up the butt, which is the highest rating possible from the Mike Baxter Academy of Dramatic Review.

So I talked to Carly for a couple minutes, told her I was working on my PhD and was getting married and shit. I mentioned the people I still saw, she mentioned the ones she did. She told me a little about the reunion. She remarked that Katie Kauf looks a little like Katie Lord, which is somewhat true, and we discussed the fact that she and Kos just get married (or so we had both heard, neither of us was there).

Anyway, nothing bad happened, it was just a conversation between two people whom hadn't seen each other in a long time. It was nice to talk to her, it was just really weird. That same shit is always possible when I am back in the TC, I mean, I don't know how often it will happen, but it always could, and that is fucked up. Running into people you haven't seen in a long time is fucked off, especially when you didnt know them that well in the first place.

I cannot really imagine going to a high school reunion for that exact reason. I was in MPLS-SP for like 6 days, one friend got married, one parent came out of the closet, and I ran into one person from high school and that fucking wore me out. Imagine what it will be like when the weddings ramp up and I go back to high school. I doubt I will have many more sexual orientation changes, but I guess you never know.

That was alot more random than I imagined it would be, my bizad.



Saturday, August 23, 2003

Sticky Keys

It really pisses me off that any time I press the shift key five times this little message about Sticky Keys. Seriously try it, just press the shift key five times.

Isn't that fucking annoying. I am not even speaking about the Sticky Keys option, maybe that rocks, I don't know. Its just annoying that if I press shift five times the computer is all like "Hey check out what I can do, aren't I sweet." I know that all ya'll are like "you can just deactivate the combination" but fuck, I don't think that should be my job. Besides, that would just make the combination something else. I mean, come on, what the fuck. If I wanted Sticky Keys and shit I could go into some options or whatever and find it, dont make my shift key your "turn on sticky keys button."

If I wanted a "turn on sticky keys" button I would have had one especially installed. If I did want shift to turn on sticky keys I wouldn't want to press it five times. Maybe I would want to press it twice, since I can imagine that pressing it only once would be a problem with the whole capital letters and shit.

I had nothing to say. I just figured Katie didnt want to listen to me rant about sticky keys. Sorry about the length of shit yesterday, it was like a full week. So yeah, check yourself.



Friday, August 22, 2003

Break it Down For Me Fellas...

So its been like a week since I posted anything very substantive. I apologize for that, but admittedly this is the first real time I have had my laptop on the internet in over two weeks. I will get to the part where we are back in Buffalo and stuff, but let me break it down one time.

I left my house at the climax of the West Wing repeat last Wednesday night, about 9:43. Katie's plane was arriving just after 10 and we had decided to simply wing it from the airport. If we got tired really early we could snag a hotel or a couple of Zs on the side of the rizoad. This did not end up being necessary. I drove like a motherfucker for about 8 hours and we were just exiting the Indiana tollway about 6:00. Now, I am not too knowledgeable about Chicago traffic. Basically what I know about it can be summarized by the statement that "it sucks a nut." I drove through the city once at about 3 in the morning and there was no traffic, I was able to drive right through, besides that one time I have never been in Chicago when the traffic could not be described as some level of dead fucking stopped.

So while I thought that 6 am was a little early for rush hour to have begun, who knows when you are dealing with the Windy-ass City. We decided not to risk it and opted to continue on I-80 then take the 294 back where it met up with 90 slightly outside Chicago. I figured that once we got to that side the rush hour thing wouldnt be too much of an issue. This was the wrong decision, very very much the wrong decision. Actually, I don't know that it was the wrong decision, it may have been exactly the right decision. Nonetheless, the drive sucked. We made it a couple miles into Illinois before traffic simply ceased to function. I don't understand how this shit happens. I mean, the trucks dont help the situation and there are too many people, but if you learn how to fucking merge and shit this should not happen. Its like a 4 fucking lane highway in each direction, what do you want. Anyway, we spent a good 90 minutes getting to the actual 90. At this point I had driven way way too long and was very close to passing out. We stopped for coffee and Katie took over the wheel.

Katie drove us to Madison fairly uneventfully. That was really what we were looking for in the drive from Chicago to Madison, so we were pleased. We called my bro just before we got there and shockingly, he was awake and lively. Apparently he was moving out that day so he had plenty of time. He wasnt getting his U-Haul until that night so we decided to meet up and go out for breakfast. It was a very good time.

The shitty part is that the last two times I have seen my bro have been in a fucking Perkins and neither of them has really lasted more than an hour and a half. I havent seen the dude for any significant amount of time since Christmastime and that blows. Especially since we have more and more shit in common and stuff. I mean, he likes beer now, he seems to hang out more. He would appreciate the Turf Club and Sweeneys and Nye's etc. Not that this is anything in common with me, but he has also lost an incredible amount of weight. I mean, he has been losing weight for a while, he had when I saw him this Spring, but after an entire summer of working outside, fetilizing and such, he is incredibly tanned and most likely the skinniest Baxter. If not entirely, he is very close to my mom. We had lunch, talked about shit, school, Japanese, his friends Rachelle and Ally (sic and sic) (whom, for that matter, he is not dating, contrary to common opinion) and so on. I hope we at least get to go home for Thanksgiving or something so I can spend more than a lunch at Perkins with him.

Anyway, I was exhausted but managed to drive the rest of the way into Minneapolis. We stopped at some fabric store so we could get stuff to finish up Pete's punk rock pillow. It was a brilliant creation, a blue back with a front that had a green frog playing a guitar labeled "Bob" and the last two lines from "Celebrated Summer" cross-stitched on the front. It was really really cool and only took her like 2 days. She is an outrageously skilled cross stitcher and I think Pete thought it was cool. Hopefully the kitsch value will last the test of time. So we got home at like 4:45 and hit the sack pretty much instantly. I left messages for my rents, but we went to sleep around 5 and didnt wake up until about 8.

So I woke up then and wandered downstairs. It was really really fucking hot, since my parents don't seem to believe in air conditioning, so I wasnt able to stay asleep any longer, no matter how tired I was. I went looking for some food, failed, and instead wandered into my mom's room to say hello. She was sitting on the couch, watching Will and Grace, and I sat down to say hi. Katie was still asleep and would likely stay that way either until the morning or until I woke her up. So my mom and I exchanged our pleasantries, how was the job, how are you doing, how was the drive, how is Katie, when did you leave, when does work start, are you ready for school, so on and so on and so on. That conversation was about 20 minutes long or whatever.

So then my mom starts talking in some fashion about the whole divorce situation. She is not being very specific and its very obvious that she is nervous or uncomfortable about something. Earlier that day my bro and I had been speculating about whether or not either mom or dad were dating anyone, and I suspected that maybe she was going to tell me that she was. We had both concluded that there was virtually no chance that dad was with someone else, but I guess that was a possiblity to. Instead she told me that she was gay.

It was an odd experience primarily because I simply had never thought of that possibility. I guess she had never really given me any reason to believe that she was and the whole heterosexual marriage and children thing sort of led me in the other direction. We talked about the thing for a while and as long as she and my dad are both okay I am genuinely happy for her. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be in the closet for 40ish years. The world is obviously a very different place than it was when she decided that marriage would be an easier and safer route than being a gay woman. It was and is a little weird, but in the end I am glad she is happy.

I haven't really had the chance to talk to anyone besides Katie about the situation. I have the feeling Andy will be a little pissed that I didnt tell him in person, but the last night I saw him he was way too fucking wasted to have any serious discussion. Regardless, we have had some nice conversations with my mother, its very obvious that she is a much happier person these days. I am glad she has friends and support that she didnt have before.

We went out that night to Andy J's new place. His parents moved into a townhouse which is right behind the Culver's in the AV. Its a pretty decent looking townhome actually. There is a gigantic lofted ceiling in the living room that I like and he pretty much has the whole basement to himself, a psuedo apartment. He doesnt have a kitchen, but theres a TV, a couch, a card table, and his bedroom. Its not just any TV either, its fucking Andy J's kick ass television, which he got for a steal because his bro worked at Best Buy. Regardless, it appears to be the place where everybody chills nowadays and I can understand why. They play alot of poker, I mean a fucking lot of poker.

Sanjay was in town and so Thursday night, after Katie and I had a long discussion, we headed to Andy J's basement to see all the folks. Reuter, Kevin, Sanjay, Andy J, Andy K., Dobs, Maroney, and Nermy were all in full motherfuckin effizect. We played poker for a couple hours and caught up on old times. I was extraordinarily worried that I wouldnt be able to keep up my non smoking thing, but I did regardless of all the times I wanted one. I can smell cigarettes so much more distinctly than I ever could before and holy shit does tobacco rock. I miss my lovely cigarettes, maybe I will have a cigar around my birthday or something. I got a little drunk that first night and Katie drove me home. I was very impressed with my ability to drink without smoking, something I am now confident I have down.

Friday night was the wedding, which I have said a little about before. Katie was in charge of Sanjay, Andy Kemp, and I. I spent the afternoon helping Andy pick out a present and dealing with the ideological difficulties he encountered in the form of the Wedding Registry. We had smoked a little bit before we went to Target and Andy was not his normally sober and together self. He asked every young and beautiful woman in the store if they thought that Wedding Registries distanced people from each other and if they destroyed the bond between wedding couple and the wedding guests. Regardless, it was very funny. We ran into Mrs. Wilking and her youngest daughter in the new SuperTarget and I think they could figure that we were not the most in touch of gentlemen. After a number of ridiculous debacles we got out of there with a legitimately nice vase and a set of bowls with lids which Andy purchased only because he was pissed that Katie and I had gotten Pete and Meg two presents and didnt want to be shown up.

We arrived at the wedding, Sanjay and Andy toked up in the parking garage, and we ran into James, Moody, and Cassie. Thank God that we did, because my attempt to carry the present was a failure, I am simply too weak. James helped me out. I won't say exactly what the present was in case the happy couple hasn't opened it, but trust me, it was heavy as fucking hell and I hadn't counted on carrying it up a hill into the Union Depot place. We ran into all sorts of people after we entered the door, and thankfully there was a young woman to take the present from me. We talked to the Tara Lucinda Tate, who is looking very well, about her exciting new job in charge of one of the most prestigous debate programs in the country. We talked to Fishy, who Katie had seen recently but hadn't entered my vision since sections, and saw Erin K. who I correctly assumed would be sloppy sloppy sloppy ass drunk by the end of the evening.

The ceremony was nice and very very quick. It was cute and romantic without being over the top. I think me and Andy were the only ones who caught it, but we both started to giggle when part of the vows was "To play with each other." The bridesmaid's dressers were classy, the whole trend of the same fabric and colors in different dress styles. That worked especially well given Claire's (Meg's sister) clothing constraints. Meg's dress was very pretty and I really like her hair, especially since I am not traditionally given to updos. The physical space of the Union Depot place was very good for a wedding as well. It was a little hot, but I was wearing a shirt and tie and it is a Minnesota August. There were large vaulted ceilings and good lighting and a very pretty bar. I already spoke about the food, but it rocked. There was a tasty dessert which was similar to a apple and cheese filled baklava, lots of the flaky phylo layers, you know what I mean.

Andy, Sanjay, and I drank alot of booze. I mean, we drank alot of booze. There was beer from the moment the ceremony ended to the moment dinner started. I had a beer with me during dinner, but we drank wine as well. We were at the table which I prefer to call the "people who can tolerate Andy Kemp" table and of course had to act like it. Hannah and Kaya were at the table with us, so at least I got to spend some time with the big K. I never see the dude, but holy fuck has he grown. I cannot even explain how much older he is now nor can I explain how much he looks like his dad. Fuck, he is a little AJ, which is slightly scary, but also kinda cool. Everyone at our table had to act like they were at the table they were at however, including badly hitting on a waitress and drinking wine out of coffee cups. What the fuck people, there were wine glasses on the table, why don't you use them. They just seem to have disappeared or something. Fucking minors, buck up and get a wine glass. If it was later and we had been drinking for three hours, that is one thing, but we couldnt have had more than a couple drinks each.

Regardless, we went on to drink up to those expectations, though I never got quite drunk enough to dance. I did get to see Cort and Carol dance to Digital Underground, so at least that was good. Dobs was getting down by the end of the evening, about the time that Andy started to buy shots of Crown Royal for everyone. That also solidified my drunkenness and luckily the bar closed shortly afterwards. We said goodbye to everyone and eventually made our way back to the parking garage for another round of puffing out of a mickey-frickin Coke can. I forget to mention that no one had a piece on them, and since I quit smoking papers were not available. So we hit it up with Hannah and AJ and Katie endured the long and extraordinarily difficult process of driving us home. Andy was loud and obnoxious (surprise) and Sanjay had an extensive argument with his mother about whether or not we had a sober driver and whether or not he himself had been drinking.

We eventually did make it down to Andy J's house, where we hung around for a minute before going home. I was able to sleep all day so I woke up with only a moderate hang over. We sat around the house and had a tasty dinner on Saturday night, an old fashioned Minnesota family barbecue. Some homemade bratwurst (not homemade in my home, but homemade by the butcher my parents bought it from), sweet corn on the cob, and baked beans. Yummy yum yum. I hadn't had brats all summer, partially because I dont have a que, partially because they aren't as big out here, and partially because there weren't homies to que it up with.

We actually had lunch with my mother that day as well. We went to Culver's and rolled Butterburer style. Their turtle sundaes are mighty tasty, even if they don't match up to those served at the Tasty Treat down the street from my house. It was good. Even though we didnt spend as much time with my dad as I would have liked, I guess it was reasonable that there was more time with my mom this time around. Saturday night we went to Fishy's place, saw his daugher Lexy again, and played some poker. We also admired Fishy's DVD collection and watched both Jackass and Old School. I forgot how fucking hilarious Will Farrell can be.

We left Fishy's place late and I dropped Andy and Sanjay off at B-Dubs before taking Katie home to sleep. She had drank a good deal of wine and needed some rest. I left as she fell asleep and went back to Andy's. We played poker and Mario Golf Toadstool Tour (a fantastic fucking game and the inspiration for my plan to get a GameCube) till the sunset. Andy managed to get himself fucking wasted in the 45 minutes I was gone, but we still had a good time. I was scared Andy and Kevin were about to kill each other, but that kinda shit happens.

Alright, that is way more than enough updating. I will check y'iz'all on the flizzle.



Sunday, August 17, 2003

Brief Shout Outs

First of all, to the happy newlyweds, Meg and Pete. The wedding this Friday evening, for which I came back to the TC, was fantastic. Alot of people I had not seen in many moons were in attendance. The drinking was good, I have no idea how much alcohol I consumed, but based on the behavior of myself, Sanjay, and Andy on the ride back from the reception, I would estimate about 1 buttload. The food was fantastico. Christo's, a greek restaurant, was in charge and they came strong. I don't know exactly how much say Pete and Meg personally had over the menu, but whoever made the final decisions shares my palate. There was a solid Greek salad with beaucoup de feta and olives, there were some green beans and some baby red potatoes. There was a really tasty beef tenderloin dish in a tomato sauce-it was excellent. Very Northern Greece, right in the mountains on the Italian border. Mario did a show there once, though I can't remember the taste of the region. It mixes the Italian appearnce of a pasta sauce with some very distinctly Greek flavors in the beef. It was rounded out by a phylo pastry wrapped chicken breast. Very very good. I will talk more about the food and the wedding at some point. This is just a brief shout out. Congrats to the honeymooners.

Others on the brief shout out list-Sanjay, for winning last night's poker tournament; Katie for finishing the largest glass of wine ever poured by a human being; Leslie Fishbein for some incredible bruschetta; and my parents, specifically my mother, for reasons that an entirely different, much longer post will have to tackle when I retrun to Suckalo. I think we are heading to the MOA now, Katie has to get the shopping fix, even if I am counting on my parents to buy Chipotle for lunch.



Sunday, August 10, 2003

Denis Leary Tribeuce

So tonight is the Comedy Central Roast of Denis Leary and besides the fact that Comedy Central has been promoting the fuck out of this show, they have also had alot of Denis Leary stuff on all weekend. I haven't exactly loved his movies and I dont think I ever saw an episode of The Job, which from everything I have heard, is definitively one of the worst shows ever made.

Nonetheless, having not seen this Roast, I must give Mr. Leary his props. It might just be because I had this routine both on CD and video tape but No Cure for Cancer is one of the best acts ever. There are so many classic bits included, the NyQuil bit, the asshole song, the restaurant with two smoking sections. I think almost everyone knows at least a couple lines from No Cure for Cancer:

"Oh yeah, the filter's the best part. Thats where they keep the heroin. Only us real good smokers know that fuckin secret."

"I built a bong out of my head!! Stick the pot in this ear smoke it out of this one."

"NyQuil, NyQuil, NyQuil, we love you, you giant fucking Q."

"I had a six-foot erection with a giant cheeseburger on the end."

I could go on and on, but I am sure it would just bore you.

Anyway. Maybe at some point I had enough in common with Denis Leary politically that this was alot funnier for me than it was for others. Even though I no longer agree with him on almost anything, his bits are so well done, so perfectly timed and arranged and have the kind of staying power that you rarely see in stand up. To some extent No Cure for Cancer might be referred to as a "one-person show" rather than simply stand up. Its filmed in that fashion, everything is even meore rehearsed than your average Comedy Central special. I need that DVD too, I gotta get on top of these DVDs that I need.

Regardless, I just wanted to give some mad props to Denis Leary on his roast day. It will probably always be my favorite routine and I doubt I will ever lose the ability to do the rant at the end of Asshole. "And when I'm done suckin down those greaseball burgers I'm gonna wipe my mouth on the American flag, then I'm gonna toss the styrofoam container right out the side, and their ain't a goddam thing you can do about it, you know why? Because we got the bombs okay. Russia, Germany, Romania, they can have all the democracy they want, they can have a big democracy cakewalk right through the middle of Tianneman square and it won't make a lick of difference because we got the bombs."

As an actual argument about the political order of the world at the end of the Cold War, this may be pure nonsense. But it is brilliantly written and "democracy cakewalk through Tianneman Sqaure" is fucking comic gold.



Saturday, August 09, 2003

Annabel Continued...

So here is the deal, it may get a little complicated, and I probably won’t go through and actively edit this enough to make it perfectly clear. The most interesting part of the movie, at least in my opinion, is when the documentary maker appears to hand Ron Jeremy and the producer of Annabel’s Gangbang a piece of Annabel’s collegiate writing. They read it over and both appear pretty stunned, Ron especially, commenting first on how different she sounds on paper from what she says in person. The director says the most incredible thing in the whole film:

“Her intellect, her persona, is that of a delicate flower. Doesn’t that in itself become more obscene knowing that she can write and think like a human being, in fact, better than most.”

Wow, it blows me away. Seriously it does, out of all the speeches and interviews and college classrooms shown in this film, there is no question that the best line in the whole movie is spoken by a 50-something porn producer in a crappy hotel room. We will go through a couple parts about the quote and talk about it, probably in relation to Lacan, but lets note first of all, that it is exactly in contradiction to anything like Concordia's naked argument and, depending on how we see Ms. Chong’s comments, completely contradicts the on-face message of the film. This fact should become clear as we go through the statement itself.

First off, her body is in no way involved in the statement. The only lines which precede the quote I have above are discussing the fact that when she is in the spotlight she gets too nervous to talk in the same way that she writes. We have her intellect and her persona. Now, obviously, the fact that she is a porn star involved in the World’s Biggest GangBang is the assumed background here, so we won’t ignore that. The point of this fact is that it changes what we may assume is the object of the second sentence (at least it’s the second sentence as I have written the movie out) from her body or the pornographic material to “her intellect, her persona.” It is these elements that are referred to by the “that” in “Doesn’t THAT itself become more obscene.”

Reading her body back into the statement we can add the context of the quote in. Here is how I would formulate it: “Doesn’t the fact that the woman involved in the world’s biggest gangbang is smarter than most people make her (not the video, not her body, not the sex acts involed) even more obscene.” There is no question, none at all, that if read this way the quote is directly against any sort of project by which the incorporation of nudity and intellectualism subverts the demeaning tones of the sexual element. In fact, this quote is pretty much a straight turn. Nudity and sexuality are not brought into line, are not transformative, are not less exploitative towards women, but intellect is sexualized and obscenity dominates her thought.

Without going into the Lacanian blah-bitty-blah (I really like that spelling of blabbity blah by the way) that I plan to do shortly, there are some other ways we can tell this pretty easily. To start, Annabel’s gangbang is the best selling porno video of all time, selling more than 40,000 copies at the time this documentary was made and still going strong. That is apparently about 3 times as many copies as what would be considered a runaway blockbuster in the pornographic world. Annabel’s popularity in the intellectual arena happens to be a whole hell of a lot lower than her popularity in the world of masturbatory videography. What she interpreted as a project to show feminine involvement in the sexual act has become the most whacked-off-to thing ever created. Furthermore, the end of the film (though there are some sad moments) is ultimately not Annabel’s success in the academy. She does graduate from USC, but ultimately elects to return to the world of pornography. Where she apparently still resides. The conversation she has with the documentary maker at the end of the film is revealing. She is in the car smoking and speaking about how she feels going back to work, 1 year or more since she last made porn.

“Yeah, I am feeling nervous. I am more nervous now than I am, like, the first time I did it. I got nothing to prove, right, nothing to live up or down to, so. I guess, hell, I’ll just go in and have fun. But now, I mean, you remember that bitchy phone call, you know, “I AM ANNABEL CHONG!” Today I am just sitting here thinking “Am I Annabel Chong? Can I still do it? Do I still have what I need? After all that has happened, you know, have I once and for all lost my balls?””

The attitude we are seeing here is no question different than what we had back in the days where the woman responding to the “reverse patriarchy” went to get fucked on screen for fun. She explicitly compares for us how she feels today versus how she felt back in those days. Why is nervousness a component of the story now? The next sentence answers this question, SHE HAS NOTHING TO PROVE!! Without the ideological element of the equation there a “regular” reaction to pornography arises. She doesn’t have anything she has to live either up or down to and only then is she nervous. Pornography is more threatening, involves more questions about identity and the like, sans the intellectual bullshit.

Okay, I have to keep this in small chunks. I can do like 40ish hours of work a week, but Wal Mart has eaten up most of those hours. Serious preliminary writing about film will have to wait. On the brightside, we got a section of a paper/book coming along here. Now I just need season 3 of CSI on DVD.



Friday, August 08, 2003

Annabel Chong

So Netflix recommended this documentary to me called Sex: The Annabel Chong story. Annable Chong apparently started the trend of the "World's Biggest GangBang" genre of pornography and set the world's record for continuous sex when she did 251 guys in 1995. I don't know how exactly the decision to document her was made, but I would imagine she had something to do with it. Very quickly the film indicates that the reason this is interesting is because Annabel Chong was a 22 year old undergraduate student at USC studying Anthropology and Gender Studies.

Now in some ways this is not entirely interesting; alot of the interviews are stupid and with stupid people saying cliched shit about the porn industry that even people who don't care about porn could know or figure out. It also has alot of the lame-ass indie-College-girl things to say about sexuality and such that don't intereest me at all. The woman, whose actual name is Grace something, appears pretty intelligent. Everything she says is better done than the majority of the population, its not brilliant or anything, but certainly not something any random person could come up with.

Yes, women should not be considered passive sex objects in the face of male-dominant sexual activity. Yes, it is ridiculous that while it is considered masculine to have many sex partners as a man it is considered anti-feminine for a woman to emjoy and participate in alot of sex. Yes, sexuality is often repressed or ignored even in "enlightened Western democracies." I don't want to get into the Foucauldian question of repression or expression but you get the point. This film spends a good majority of its length exploring those three issues and they are not fantastic or anything. If the Concordia women are reading this maybe they will really get a kick out of it or whatever. It was not a bad film certainly and at the very least it was interesting. A better way to spend the afternoon than watching reruns of SNL episodes I have seen at least 20 times.

There are a couple times during the film where there actually are some really really cool things done or said. I will mention them briefly, but you can check out the flick if you want to see more. First off, there are a number of other people who are interviewed who are also in the porn industry. Obviously the producers and directors of Annabel's gangbang are there as is Ron Jeremy, who apparently works for this company and was the MC for the event. Well, Jeremy is on her side for no particular reason, he is all like, she is a very intelligent and talented young woman and she should be able to do whatever she wants and I respect her and blah blah blah. Ron Jeremy, regardless of what you think about what he does, has always seemed to just be a nice guy who is generally concerned about other people. Most of the other people are competing porn stars. The only other porn star I can remember saying anything supportive about this woman's decision to do 251 other guys is an obvious drag queen guy who is the star of "Chicks With Dicks."

Everyone else interviewed at this giant porn convention in Las Vegas pretty much said that she was slapping them in the face. One dude said really explicitly that she was re-exposing that porn wasn't as dignified as he thought it was and instead she was exposing porn as the dirty thing that it is. Seriously, there were a bunch of people who were pissed, who said this kind of shit. The film was really explicitly making fun of them, ridiculing the idea that people considered porn something other than sex for money in several ways. First of all, all the people commenting on this were listed as "Mark Johnson-Star of Anal Police 1-4" or whatever on the bottom of the screen. The point of the documentary of course was not to make fun of porn stars or to indicate that they were not intelligent, since Annabel herself was marked as really really smart, but rather that the woman who tried to distinguish herself as an actress in film noirs etc. was upset only because Annabel made it impossible for her to identify herself as something other than someone who fucked for a living.

There was also a segment in which Annabel comes back to porn after a brief hiatus due to the efforts of a new porn director to get her back into the biz. This guy is the "new porn director" who is not pretending to be a real actor director etc. but intsead is the real explicit version of what these other porn stars had accused Annabel of doing. His negotiations with his actors included the phrases "fuck and suck" and "piss and fist" which quite literally made me laugh out loud. The interview with him turned into the conversation about how once you put a camera in the room prostitution becomes legal. Then he simply explained how ridiculous he thought it was that you couldnt "Pay someone to suck your dick. I mean, tell me why not. Why can't you pay someone to suck your dick?" Hilarious and well done. Unfortunately, this portion of the film's argument was only about 5 minutes of the overall run time.

I wrote longer about this than I expected to, so hopefully I will return to the other interesting argument later tonight. Its pretty complicated as well and I am nervous that it may result in a complicated discussion about the encounter with the real. Anyway, I am going to watch Trading Spaces now. Katie tribeuce.



Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Pros and Cons and Whatev...

So a brief continuation of the pros and cons:

pro-I have a bigger computer monitor to use
con-katie has my laptop

pro-I can watch the TV shows that I always like, regardless of what Katie would watch
con-its really kinda fun to see her react to the shows she doenst like and its cute to watch the shows she likes

pro-I didnt have to work on Monday
con-I was really really lonely

That is enough of the whole pros and cons thing. It was a great idea on Monday and I really was just gonna run with it, but eventually it just didnt work anymore so I gave up on the whole fucking thing. No more pros and cons.

So on Monday early afternoon I got a call from the Dobs. The Dobs was like, I am in New York City and I am driving home, I will stop by. I was all like sure, whatev the Dobs. So he said he would call me when he got close, probably around 7 that night. I got no call from the Dobs that day and that was no surprise, since Dobs has told me he would be here three different times and has never shown. Sometimes he calls me from wherever it is he was going and informs me that he accidentally drove by. Sometimes he misses his turn, sometimes it was too early or too late, sometimes his phone breaks. Sometimes he doesnt realize how far it is to Buffalo, etc. etc.

Well, imagine my surprise when the Dobs called me the next day to say he didnt leave on Monday but would actually be leaving that day. I got the messages when I woke up to go to work, as I obviously wasn't going to wake up to answer a call from a number I didnt know at like 9:30 am. I was still all like, believe that shit when I be seein that shit and shit.

The ultimate point is that the Dobs called me that evening and actually showed up at my apartment. We didn't really do anything, we just sat here, smoked a little stuff that the Dobs brought with him and chilled. It is a little ridiculous that I havent really hung around with anyone besides Katie in like 2 1/2 months. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to just chill out in the old apartment with the Katie bear and watch reruns of Dawson's Creek or the Gilmore Girls or any of the WB's other quality programs. Nonetheless, I miss the occassional chillin night with the old folks from the TC.

Anyway, that was my night with the Dobs. He apparently got these tattoos, one of which is okay though it is some Japanese characters that mean bravery or whatever with a Japanese fighting fish in front of them. It actually looks pretty good, regardless of your personal feelings about tattooing Japanese characters on yourself and the value of the words those characters represent. It is just a decent looking tattoo, I like the "font" (or whatever its called in the tattooing world) and the design etc. You may have specific feelings about tattoos of Japanese fighting fish too but I have virtually no experience with them, so go fuck yourself. I think they are kinda cool, even though I have never actually seen them fight.

So on the less cool side, the Dobs got another tattoo. That tattoo is his initials, which isnt inherently loserific, but he did get it on his ankle. Seriously, the Dobs has a tattoo on his ankle, its so lame and so loserish and so fucked up. Its absolutely ridiclous. I mean, the Dobs recognizes that at this point, he was not sober and made a mistake. None the less, it is funny as hell when you see the Dobs and his ankle tat. The Dobs just has to pray that he never goes to jail with a tatoo on his ankle, it is really lame. Make sure no woman ever sees him with his socks off. Poor Dobs.

So the Dobs is driving back to Minnesota now. I bought him some gas this morning, but I dont think he has nearly enough money to get back to Minnesota. He had like 50 bucks, he didnt have any cigarettes, any food, anything to drink, and had to pay for both gasoline and tolls. Tolls alone back to Minnesota are like 20 bucks and gas is simply more than 30. Unless the Dobs' fucking car became a hybrid in the last month or two, I mean, if you get 400 miles per tank you only need 2 1/4 tanks to get home. Fundamentally, the point is that it can't be done. The Dobs was obviously going to buy cigarettes. The Dobs was high, the Dobs was obviously going to buy food and drink. My guess is that he made it somewhere in Ohio before he either called someone he knew in the area or started stealing golf clubs or whatever. I guess we will hear about it later. Maybe from prison, where his ankle tatt gets him some hardcore loving.



Monday, August 04, 2003

It Was The Best of Times... was also, of course, the worst of times.

We will do this in some sort of pro and con list.

Pro: The NFL Season is underway

This rocks for several reasons obviously, first of all, its just a great fucking sport. It is fun to watch no matter who is playing, it is the best fucking game in the world and there ain't no answer to that shit. I get to watch football highlights every morning on SportsCenter, there is new shit on everyday, overall things are just much better. I have occassionally been looking at the Green Bay Gazette online to read their Packers coverage, which is always wonderful and extensive. Most importantly, I get to watch the Packers play.

Preseason is preseason obviously, we all understand that its not real football and the scores don't mean anything or whatever, but still, its like football. Even if its only for 2 series I got to watch Favre play the game tonight and it don't get much better than that shit. The Packers offense did not look well in a couple respects, the O Line especially, who let my boy Vonnie through and gave someone who was not an ex-Packer their own chance to hit Brett Favre. I was screaming at Sherman to get him out of there at that point, you dont let Brett Fucking Farve get hit twice in a preseason game. Its not like he forgot how to be the best quarterback I have ever seen play the game in the offseason. Still, I understand that Sherman needs the offense, especially with so many new players at the skill positions, get some game situation reps together.

I also don't need to explain to anyone who listened to or watched any of the game tonight how strained the Pack offensive attack was. We were missing both of our high caliber tackles and the first timers we have backing them up are simply no good. Tauscher and Clifton are both pro-bowl quality takcles if they are healthy all year and shit, but regardless, we will see about that. Neither of them are playing until week three of the preseason, which is the Packers first game on grass. By that point at least Favre will be playing the first entire quarter and we will see how the offense looks. We were also of course missing both Driver and Ferguson, meaning that Carston Bailey and this Hicks dude and Javon Walker were starting at wideout, so that also eliminates some options. Favre got hit twice because of these combinations. Ahman Green played a little bit and didnt look either bad or spectacular. He took a really nicely set up screen pass for like 18 yards and it looked like the good old days back in 1997. Even without a legitimate tackle the blocking was well done.

Favre also made one classic play. With the pocket collapsing on a seven step drop Favre stepped up in the center and fired a 23 yard completion to Javon Walker. He slung it about 3/4 arm and he still has the fucking mustard. I believe he finished 4 for 6 with 54 yards, not bad at all for the preseason. Far too many passes, even those of Doug Pederson, are going to tight ends who don't have the skills. I suppose they are prepping for the fact that with the potentially probable signing of Wesley Walls tomorrow, if the young wide outs don't develop most of the plays will be 7 yard flashes over the middle, since at least we know Bubba and Wes can catch the ball.

The other side of the ball presented some alternate conundrums. To begin with, we have reason to be questioning the linebackers, starting a rookie and some brand new people. No matter how good this Nick Barnett kid is gonna be, I don't know if he has the nuts this early in his career. Sherman says he looks fucking great in practice and that even if he doesnt have it this year, he is the future leader of this defence. The d-line stays pretty strong, though we lose Vonnie, we have KGB and Joe Johnson, who I think are both still on the way up.

The secondary looks great, we have awesome corners. Also, our corners are identical, they both have those long ass dark braids which cover their names and similar body structures. Their numbers are also a little close. None the less, they both made at least one sweet play. McKenzie should be the fucking stud in a world where there is another true shut down corner on the other side. Anyway, I like at least our pass defense once we get our junior linebackers together.

I will save further commentary about how much Brett Favre rocks for later on. There is at least one more entire season of this discussion.

Con: Katie left for the Wyoming Debate Co-Operative today

I have nothing against the Wyoming Debate Co-Operative, except for the fact that it is a bunch of hippie communists living in some communal love fest in the mountains. I know that Katie really likes being there and has been there for every year of its existence. A little debate work every now and then is probably much more exciting than sitting at home watching TLC all day. I mean, I dont know that the amount of work Katie tends to do at this institute is better than watching TLC all day, but a little bit would be. She gets to see Dave and her other friends out there and overall I am for it.

Nonetheless, it leaves me lonely here, and still having to work at Wal-Mart. I can handle it for the last week and a half, but I dont know that I could have done any more. I do not like working there and I do not like being alone. It is a very shitty combination.

Most importantly, it just sucks to get used to someone being here and then have them gone for a significant amout of time. Thankfully Katie will be home before we take our road trip back to the MSP. Can't wait for that shit. Pro and Con list will continue later on, there are more, but I am sick of writing.

Going to watch this American Chopper show instead, I have heard its cool.