Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Still crazy after all these days. (See below.)

We're still working on the glitch, which Blogger has already sent me an apology over. I hope that some of you are still reading, in spite of the white space separating the title from the rest of the text.

I miss the discussions we've had on here lately, and I've missed the opportunity to gab endlessly about what books I'm reading and just what's wrong with my personal life.

Trust me. I have every inclination that this glitch is going to end soon, and then we can get back to the usual stuff.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Damn it. (See below.)

It's Sunday night, and the glitch isn't fixed. We're going to do something completely different instead.

I love my template, though. I hate this.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Nightmares of Henny Penny. (See below.)

The following exchange just occurred between me and Jenipher:

RILEY: Have you seen the preview for CHICKEN LITTLE, complete with the dance number, yet?
JENIPHER: No ... I heard there was a CHICKEN LITTLE movie coming out, though ... I’m scared of Chicken Little and Henny Penny ... I don’t think I’ll see it.
RILEY: The ad looks really really funny. And, um, why would Chicken Little and Henny Penny scare you?
JENIPHER: They scared me when I was little ... I used to have recurring nightmares about a giant Henny Penny coming in my room ... it was from a read-along record I had.
RILEY: Um, I'm sitting here at my desk, laughing at you.
JENIPHER: I know ... it’s totally stupid. I can’t believe I never told you about it ... I even mentioned it in my college entrance essay.
RILEY: How did you manage to work your recurring nightmare about a giant Henny Penny into your college admissions essay? No, wait, that question deserves its own film.
JENIPHER: The subject was childhood fears. And, excuse me, but I was accepted at every school I applied to. UGA was the only one I could afford.

Later ...

JENIPHER: Arrrrrgh! Look what I just found on Ebay. This is the exact record I had. WHY are they selling it for $9.99? That’s a rip-off! Anyway, Henny Penny wore this pink sweater when she would come in my room at night. And she was huge…like, I had to jump over her to get out of the room. Then I would hide in our pink bathroom (the one with the Sears & Roebuck catalog print wallpaper). Believe me or not, I’m telling you she was there.

Look down the page.

There are errors on the site coding we're trying to figure out. In the meantime, to read the latest post, look all the way past the sidebar on the blog. Thanks.

Things to do if you love (or hate) a parade.

- It's Pride weekend, and it's going to be hot. Damn hot. Beyond damn hot. Or, at least, it usually is. Even when it rains and gets so humid that you feel like you're going to die. If you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, bicurious, straight-but-not-narrow or intending to protest in the name of "saving the American family" while carrying around posters and the Bible, bring lots of sunscreen when you head toward Piedmont Park. Lots. (Just don't put any on your forehead, or it will get into your eyes when you sweat. And then all the people think you're either having a stroke or winking at them. And, except in the case of gym-bodied hotties with surprisingly large bank accounts, usually the attention you'll warrant from that is not the kind you'd like.) Bring earplugs for when you walk by Outwrite or Blake's, because, girl, the music is loud. And bring lots of money, for those bottles of water are expensive. And wear an ironic T-shirt, if you're going to wear a shirt at all, and comfortable shoes. And bring condoms from home, for the free ones they give you are usually flimsy and not the best lubricated. Try not to laugh at anyone wearing a visor. Or anyone sweating in black leather in the middle of June. Or at any of the bare-chested lesbians. If you're from out of town and/or really young, you'll probably enjoy Pride more than if you're local and, um, not new at this, and that's the way it's supposed to be, I think. Have as much fun as possible. Be safe. Be nice. Don't be too bitter. Go to the parade. Hold hands with a boy, if you've got one. (Or girl, if that applies.) Say hello to a friend of yours who's working a booth, for they're stuck there. Try not to get on too many mailing lists, for those people at the ACLU are relentless with their mailouts. And try to remember people's names if you see them naked.
- Lucas Miré is playing at Pride on Saturday. He's part of the QueerStock block on the QTV stage, and he goes on at 6 p.m. sharp. You should go see him perform. I like Lucas. He's nice.
- Write your senator to tell them that you vehemently oppose any flag-burning amendment, like the one that just passed through the House of Representatives. Mention the First Amendment. Quote Michael Douglas in THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT if you have to. (Or Thomas Jefferson, if you prefer actual history to Hollywood's Capraesque movies.) The flag is a symbol of our freedoms, but a symbol should not be more important that the freedoms it represents. Burning the flag remains a valid, legal way of showing you're unhappy with things. Though I clearly don't support jingoism masked as patriotism, I would not burn a flag myself because I respect what it represents. Still, I don't want to have the law mandate that no one can protest in such a manner.

- My friend Stephen at the Tara really, really wants you to go see Miyazaki's new film HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE, and every one of my friends who's seen it tells me that it's excellent and easier to understand than other Miyazaki films. I intend to see HOWL myself this weekend. I don't want to be the only one. Meet me at the Tara on Sunday night, if you want, or go to the Tara some other time this weekend and catch it. It's animated. Disney brought it over from Japan. People like it. See it. See it. See it.
- If you're looking for a goofy, light read, Lupo recommends the new Nancy Drew tell-all CONFESSIONS OF A TEEN SLEUTH, which contains shocking secrets about her extramarital affair with one of the Hardy Boys and lots of dish about the Bobbsey Twins and such. Apparently, Carolyn Keene, the writer of the original NANCY DREW books, was the real Nancy's pudgy, jealous roommate at Bryn Mawr, and her versions of Nancy's real stories got a lot wrong. The new book clarifies things.
- Ex-Klansman Edgar Ray Killen was just given 60 years for murdering three civil rights workers in 1964. To learn more about the case, watch MISSISSIPPI BURNING.
- As I've mentioned before, the Center for Puppetry Arts is continuing its hit show AVANTI, DA VINCI! for a couple weeks, and you can get your tickets on their website. (Hey, Sydney, I mentioned your site again. Isn't it fun how I manage to always mention it? I'm not the least bit subtle about it, either. Isn't that great? AVANTI, DA VINCI! was really great, by the way. Thanks again.)
- MY SUMMER OF LOVE, which looks like a lesbian romance-turned-psycho thriller, is playing at the Landmark. Since it's Pride weekend, go see it. Pssst, some lesbian couples I know are totally like this. They're all in love and moving in together one minute. Then, the next minute, someone's slept with someone else or stolen somebody's money or flirted with someone new on the Internet or one of the cats dies, and it's like FATAL ATTRACTION starring Anne Heche. Yikes ... (My friend Beth, who's sane, nice, smart and beautiful, probably wouldn't like that I just wrote that, considering that I can be just as psycho crazy, but it's Pride weekend - so I reserve the right to tell mean, horrible lesbian jokes.) If you're not into lesbians or Aishwarya Rai, you could go see MYSTERIOUS SKIN at the Landmark, too.
- Jeffrey Deaver, who writes the Lincoln Rhyme books - like THE BONE COLLECTOR, will be doing a signing at the Margaret Mitchell House on June 28. His new book is THE TWELFTH CARD.
- Flirt with someone. Shamelessly. For an example, see below.
- Do your chores.
- Fixate on some issue until you sound atypically politically minded and angry.
- Finish all that stuff from last week's list.
- I got the Pride photo from this guy Brandon's website. I don't know who he is, but I think he's cute. I found the Pride photo through a random Google search, and he's got a good portfolio. Maybe he won't get mad at me for using the photo if I link to his site. For the heck of it, let's all go to his website, then see if he notices. I'm probably violating copyright, but maybe he's a good sport. Who knows? I e-mailed him for permission. He's cool with it. And he's in town this weekend.
- The American Film Institute just released its "100 Years ... 100 Movie Quotes" list, and GONE WITH THE WIND's "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" is at the top of it. What's your favorite movie quote? Post it in the comments below, citing the movie. My favorite, underrated movie quote comes from Hannibal Lecter in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, when he's talking about his patient Benjamin Raspell's murder: "Best thing for him, really. His therapy was going nowhere."
- Meanwhile, has anyone ever actually read GONE WITH THE WIND?
- Finally, instead of watching a good movie you've never seen before (like last week), go all MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 on a really, really awful movie, like SHOWGIRLS, CROSSROADS, THE TRANSPORTER , ANYTHING ELSE or anything else. If you're watching SHOWGIRLS, please memorize the exact, acrobatic movements of Elizabeth Berkeley during the whiplash pool sex scene, then go into a restaurant and recreate them yourself. People will think that you're either imitating a dolphin on crack or that you're having a seizure.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mental note. See below.

Save your dramatic tone in phone calls to friends for emergencies other than "Oh my God, my blog's screwed up." Because there's something wrong with that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Hey Leonardo.

So Edmondson and I just left the opening night of AVANTI, DA VINCI! at the Center for Puppetry Arts, and, I will admit it, I didn't know what to expect from the show. It was well-reviewed by better critics than me last year, so I figured it would be fun. But everything I've seen at the Center since Puppetgate has been experimental and a little off-the-wall.

Frankly, I didn't know if I'd see a show that reminded me of the puppet shows of my youth ever again. You know, something like THE MUPPET SHOW. Or, hell, something where the puppeteers remained completely out-of-sight.

I was telling Edmondson earlier that I probably first went to the Center when I was in elementary school. He'd never been before tonight. That's what happens when you spend your childhood out of Atlanta. You miss out on the best field trips. Like Zoo Atlanta when Willie B. was alive ... and you didn't notice the smell. Or the Alliance Theatre when Tom Key starred in everything. Or the narrated constellation exhibit at the old Fernbank, before they got dinosaurs and martinis. Or the Human Body exhibit at the High Museum, complete with the ear that you could ride. Or the laser show at Stone Mountain, when they played "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Or the Cyclorama before you were old enough to notice that the turntable seats weren't the coolest thing on Earth and that the figurines weren't creepy.

Damn it, Edmondson just said that, at his elementary school on the U.S. military base in Germany, they went on a field trip to Vienna. Oh, and then there was that time he was a hostage in that Tehran hotel when he was, like, 4. So his field trips, I guess, beat the crap out of the Cyclorama.

Anyway, so we saw AVANTI, DA VINCI!, and it was hilarious. And there were five different stages all at once. And it was like THE DA VINCI CODE meets the cheesy, Joel Schumacher take on BATMAN (except it was cool). And there was sex. Lots and lots of kinky puppet sex. Incestuous sex. Wicked bondage sex. Sex with animals. Sex with a giant snake.

So now we're sitting at a Buckhead sidewalk cafe, discussing the show while people discuss other things all around us on their cell phones. (One Mexican man is picking up some random woman on Lavalife, methinks, wooing her with talk of three-ways with his wife. And another guy is talking about how BATMAN BEGINS is about George W. Bush. Seriously. I wish I was at a Parisian café instead. That way, if the conversation were still stupid, I wouldn't be able to understand it. My French isn't good.)

Edmondson just said he doesn't want to be quoted. So instead, I'll just say that he laughed a lot during the show. And, at one point, the show's blacklight made Edmondson's shirt glow blue during one of the dungeon scenes.

Anyway, so the plot of AVANTI, DA VINCI! lets for the show to be informative, creative and ridiculous, all at the same time.

During his life, the show supposes, artist-scientist-artisan-playwright Leonardo da Vinci also took time off from studying and writing everything down to save Florence from the forces of evil as masked super-hero Renaissance Man!

Da Vinci's primary foes are the Borgia family in Rome, including the slutty Lucretia Borgia, her brother Cesare, and her father, the Pope. Leonardo has to save his favorite actress, Mona Lisa, from perpetual kidnappers and the dungeon in the Vatican.

The music is good. The story is mostly lively. Even though there are some slow parts, the show never feels bogged down. And there's always something new or interesting to see.

Fighting evil allows Da Vinci to fly, drive the DaVinciMobile, take out enemy ships, and perform BMX stunts.

Da Vinci's actual blueprints and inventions make for some excellent puppet models, which allow the show to be both beautiful and really, really funny at the same time.

But the best part of AVANTI, DA VINCI! to me was that it creates its own world, a world with an entirely different set of rules, and it brings its audience into that world. You get lost in it enough to eventually forget that it's a puppet show. You see only characters. The puppeteers remain out of sight. The show's focus is its story. And, because of that, it just becomes fun, entirely convincing theater.

For me, it was like when Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy were alive, not just felt designed by really brilliant artists.

It's a puppet show that made me feel like a little kid - while, at the same time, it kept me alert with tons of dirty jokes.

AVANTI, DA VINCI!, aside from being visually amazing and incredibly clever, just wants to entertain. And that's a great thing.

Oh wait, there was just a car accident on Peachtree in front of us. God, I wish I was in Paris.


Edmondson helped me by posting this from his house after we left the scene of the accident. Thanks to Sydney for the tickets to the show, and thanks to Edmondson for being Statler to my Waldorf.

Experiments in butter creme.

These are (admittedly dark) photos of the fantastic black forest layer cake that David Marshall made for me for my birthday.

It was anointed with 29 miniature sparklers, rather than candles, so it almost exploded. But, dear God, it was beautiful. And delicious.

It had chocolate, butter-creme icing. In between each layer was more icing and cherries, and the edge of the cake had more icing and a chocolate candy shell.

Help wanted.

I'm seeing AVANTI, DA VINCI! tonight, and I've got a spare ticket.

I wanted to do another back-and-forth blog entry about it, like I did with THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY, but Brad's unavailable.

So sorry for the short notice, but anyone wanna be Statler to my Waldorf?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

My Blimpie Bollywood birthday.

Mom and I went to lunch at a Cajun restaurant. Then, afterward, she wanted to break a $20 bill, so we walked down to Blimpie.

Now, Riyaz owns Blimpie, and he and his wife Feroza know me. I eat there practically everyday, which my mom knows. So she tells them, while she's ordering two brownies so that we can break the $20, that it's my birthday.

So Riyaz insists that the brownies should be free. And then, because he didn't know we'd just eaten, he offered me a free sandwich. And so, of course, I said, "No need. She needs to break the $20." But Riyaz starts bagging up the desserts, saying that it would be his pleasure because I eat there all the time and they love me.

Meanwhile, Feroza asks my mom how old I am. And my mother tells her 29, then says there will be black balloons and such next year.

So Feroza says, rejoicing like an Indian grandmother, "Oh, next year, he should be married! It's time for him to settle down!!! Next year, he'll have a wife!!!"

My mom's eyes got huge, and her face turned red. She confessed to me later that she held herself back from asking Feroza if I'd marry a man or a woman.

Riyaz insisted that the brownies be free, but he broke my mom's $20 anyway.

Then, as we got into the car, my mom just cracked up, then she went on about how nice Riyaz and Feroza are.

"So they don't know you're gay," she asserted. "That's really sweet."

"Well, there's never been an opportunity to tell them," I said. "Usually I just order a sandwich. You'd think they'd know, though. Every day, I go there. They change the channel on the TV, and they let me watch DAYS OF OUR LIVES."

It was like a Bollywood spectacle at the Blimpie. Riyaz and Feroza are fantastic.

And there ain't no nothing we can't love each other through.

So it's my birthday, and it's been eventful. And it's only going to get busier. And busy is something I'm happy to be today.

Yesterday, when my friend Kim asked me how old I was going to be, I told her 29. Then, she asked me if it was my first time turning 29. I confirmed that it was.

My friend Marianne from writing class has e-mailed me to tell me that life only gets better, that your worth only grows and that the thing to do is to have fun with your time.

Lindsay, of course, was the first birthday e-mail that I received this morning, and it was terrific to hear from her. I also received birthday notes from Lupo, Christina, Marley and others. (Sorry if I don't name you. Writing this is like writing an Oscar speech for Hilary Swank.)

Miss Gibson and I waxed philosophical about approaching 30, and that led me to tell her that you can't find enlightenment while you're seeking it. It's something that's achieved probably while you're doing something else with your time.

Meanwhile, E! Online wrote me to tell me that an array of celebrities, including Gay Matt from MELROSE PLACE, Prince William and Juliette Lewis, share my birthday.

Then, they also let it be known that both Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter turn 58 today. So Mom and Dad Keaton from FAMILY TIES were born on the exact same day, which is just creepy. I thought it was just because they were acid-dropping former hippies living in Columbus, Ohio, but, no, this birthday twist is mystically weird. No wonder Mallory came off as so retarded, while Jennifer seemed like the "quiet girl" most likely to slaughter campers in their sleep. At least Alex made Republicans seem attractive. No, wait, that's even creepier. There was something wrong with that family.

Repeat after me, it was just a TV show. It was just a TV show.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Lacking Pride.

I'm not going to the parade this year. Or to the park. I'm going to do my best to avoid the bars, too. (It was cool on Saturday. I went into three gay bars this weekend with the general idea that I wouldn't stick around any of them if I didn't run into anybody I knew. I didn't see anybody I knew, so I didn't end up drinking alone, like that time at Christmas Eve. I got done with the whole barhopping trek in an hour, and I headed home, worked on my resume and read Faulkner. It was spectacularly efficient.)

I'm scheduled to work at the bookstore during a lot of next weekend's rainbow-colored madness, and I don't think I'll be missing much. I think the Indigo Girls are playing. Oh well.

Is anyone actually "into" Pride anymore?

Smiles of a summer night.

It takes work for me to be happy. And I want to be happy. So I'm going to have to work.

Saturday was a good night for me. I wrote a two-page resume that included everything I wanted to include, but it's two pages.

And I talked to a nice man, someone browsing in my store who asked me for THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, which is the quickest way to my heart.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Things to do if you're into redneck people-watching.

- Apparently, some days during the week, you can head down to the Alliance Theater and attend tapings of Jeff Foxworthy's BLUE COLLAR TV. I was tempted to take Brad with me to criticize the show existential-puppet-style, but I'm scared that, if I ask him, I'll sound like I've actually seen an episode or that I want to actually see this. I just thought it would be fun to do. You know, break out the overalls, borrow somebody's pickup truck and enjoy good Waffle House humor. (My friend Dena admits she goes to tractor pulls and monster-truck shows. But she says she goes for the people-watching. I figure attending a BLUE COLLAR TV taping is like that.)
- BATMAN BEGINS, which is really excellent, is playing at the Mall of Georgia on IMAX, and it's completely worth a trip down. The experience is amazing. Whenever the tank-style Batmobile rolls on the screen, the seats in the theater shake. Oh, and Christian Bale is gorgeous. The cast features two Oscar winners, three other Oscar nominees, Gary Oldman and Cillian Murphy. And, years from now, you'll want to remember this film as the one that promising actress Katie Holmes did right before her entire life was hit with a publicity-stunt disaster that ruined everything.
- My 29th birthday's on Tuesday. My friends are going to spend some time with me for that, which will be fun. Of course, I've been really, really moody and mean this week, so I don't know how that will turn out. It's probably better if I don't think about it. It's bummed me out far more than I thought it would. (I'm never actually going to lie about my age, by the way. I just thought things would be different by now.) On the bright side, this is not a big deal.
- I should watch CITIZEN KANE again. It's something you should do once every two years, at least, and it's a good movie to help you re-examine priorities.
- Last week's HONEYMOONERS diatribe is nothing compared to the movie I have to bitch about this week. This week, Hollywood sees fit to give us THE PERFECT MAN, where an idealistic, sunny woman who looks like Heather Locklear can't find a good man to date. Um, you know what my complaint is, probably, without me even having to say it. But, if someone who looks like Heather Locklear can't find a date, what on Earth does this say about the rest of us? (I realize the movie argues that she can't find a good man, but it's still a movie where Heather Locklear can't find a date. That's worse than the time Hollywood tried to tell us that Rachael Leigh Cook was ugly.) Beyond that, the movie has Hilary Duff in it. Box office numbers are reportedly down for the year. With films like this, I'm surprised audiences don't burst from the doors of the theater, screaming in fear.
- In celebration of the Michael Jackson verdict, read Tom Perrotta's LITTLE CHILDREN, or take a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Skee-ball still rocks.
- Janet Evanovich's new Stephanie Plum book, ELEVEN ON TOP, comes out on Tuesday. So, if you've hypothetically screamed at your mother this week about how unhappy you are at your job or something, you may want to get it for her because that series always makes her laugh out loud.
- Speaking of the puppets, the Center for Puppetry Arts is opening up a second run of one of its most popular shows beginning Tuesday. It's called AVANTI, DA VINCI!, and the reviews from the original run were really, really good. The show's supposed to be hilarious, and I'm seeing it next week. It's got Leonardo DaVinci as a Batman-style superhero, fighting for "truth, justice and the Italian way."
- Pride is coming next week. Brace yourself.
- Do the usual chores.
- Check last week's list.
- The weather's been really nice lately. Go outside. Go swimming.
- ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW is the closing night film for the Atlanta Film Festival on Saturday, and reviews for it have been really, really good.
- Listen to a CD from a favorite band that you discovered in college, like Soul Coughing. Former lead singer Mike Doughty's new solo album is fun, anyway.
- Finally, watch a movie that you should've seen before now, but, for whatever reason, you've never watched it. I've never seen SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. My friend Edmondson's never seen THE GODFATHER. Everybody has a movie like that. Watch one of them this week.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The complicated way of doing nothing.

I regret that I've been mean and pissy to anyone who tried to help me with job suggestions or with questions about how I might narrow my job search. My resume, for five years, has existed somewhere between "weak" and "hypothetical." I have tremendous skepticism that I'll find any work that actually resembles anything that I'd actually want to do. (I asked a guy for advice on how to find a job today, and he told me that it required insider friends and luck and then said, "Oh yeah, I'd be lucky to work there myself.")

Everyone agrees with me that it's time for me to move on. Larry said "Headhunters." Someone else asked me, "What do you want to do with your life?" I treated that question with unnecessary derision.

I've spent the last five years asking people for minor information, sitting in a cube on the phone or looking at the Internet. I feel trapped, like there's no way out.

"Apply for a job you would really like. Do something."

I don't know if such work exists.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bat anyway.

BATMAN BEGINS is supposed to be completely awesome. I totally want to see it. I even e-mailed Hennessy about it because Batman is, like, his thing.

And Christian Bale is hot.

What I want.

I want to have enough money to not worry about it. I don't want to work seven days a week. I want to have vacation time and be able to take it without fear about how it will affect my "scorecard" or my "overall quality rating" or my "meets expectations" notation. I want to be able to shop for something about $50 without having to worry if I'm going to break the bank. I want to save money. I want to fix the brakes on my car before I get into an accident or just get a new car. I want to be able to renew my license and my tag on the same paycheck without worry. If someone asks me about exercise or a gym membership, I don't want to say either "I don't have the money" or "I don't have the time" and seriously mean it. I want American Express to stop calling me. I want to be able to get a phone line at my apartment so that I can use the Internet. I want to go back to London someday, and I don't want my mom to pay for it. I want to be able to travel to Ohio for my family reunion and be able to pay for it. I want to visit Jenipher and be able to pay for it. I want to visit Marley and be able to pay for it. I want to pay Larry back the money I owe him. I want to pay Black back the money I owe him. I want a refrigerator that doesn't freeze milk, or I want to be able to call the super and know that he's going to replace it, rather than just put me off with another useless service visit that doesn't fix the problem. I want my mom to stop asking me about whether I had the refrigerator fixed, for only Ash knows that I called them five times about it during our three-month relationship. I want to go to Phipps and do more than just browse. I want to stop deferring payments on my student loan. I want to stop working until 6 p.m. when I'm only supposed to work until 5:15, yet I still can't manage to get ahead. I want to work at a job that I enjoy, where I'm seen as a creative, equal, intelligent contributor.

That's what I want, and I don't think any of that is particularly unreasonable, except maybe the shopping at Phipps.

It's more than just putting my resume out there. (Put it on Monster, I've been told, and they'll beat down your goddamn door to try and get you a job. I don't think it's quite like that.)

Working at my job for the last five years has left me uniquely qualified to do nothing, I feel like. Nothing. Maybe data entry. Some other $25K job. Oh, and it's not supposed to be about the money. I have big ideas. Of course, at the same time, I'm in perpetual debt, and I feel like I work all the damn time.

I haven't had a job since my work at the college newspaper that I've completely enjoyed. I've felt like every job was this exercise in slow, painful soul-killing. I worked as an obit editor, and that wasn't my worst job. I worked in a highly competitive, divisive environment where I was regularly written up for inappropriate behavior because I did things like "seemed to enjoy a backrub given by a co-worker." Every new job just feels like another exercise in how to slowly, painfully, efficiently kill myself, and I'm sorry if I look at it like that. It makes writing all the enthusiasm into that killer resume really, really hard.

I'm sure it's all me. God, I feel like I'm having a fucking breakdown. Again. And it's the same old shit that I'm complaining about.

It's like I've come up with a really elaborate trick that helps me keep spinning my wheels.

Now, my mom wants to help me find a job. My mom.

I'm turning 29. I'm working at the same jobs I started at five years ago.

During both of those interviews, they asked me where I saw myself five years from then.

They probably wouldn't have hired me if I'd said, "Oh, I see myself here. Right here. The same goddamn place."

I'm not in a good mood today.

The one before I start lying about my age.

My 29th birthday's in less than a week, some gifts have already started arriving, and I'm not sure what I want to do for it. A couple months ago, Lupo suggested that, if I wanted an excuse to wear a tux, I should throw my own formal for my birthday. While everyone since has conceded that a formal would be a lot of fun, I don't really have the funding or the time to throw that kind of event together.

It'd be fun to rent out a movie theater for some kind of private screening of a favorite film or something new, but I don't know how much that would cost or how much arrangement that would involve.

I want no strip clubs. No gay bars. No amount of scoping guys. No desperation cruising.

I would like to get me and my friends all dressed up, then go out to a really nice dinner, at least, but I don't know if we'd be able to arrange it. (And I don't know if it makes me look pathetic to arrange something like that myself.)

My birthday, in the meantime, collides with several other events for some people, for it always falls on Pride week and near Father's Day.

What I would like for my 29th birthday is, I don't know, something different.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Things to do if you don't have Music Midtown tickets.

- So Music Midtown and the new VIBE MusicFest hit the city this weekend, so there's an embarrassment of riches regarding things to do this week in Atlanta. Of course, Chris knows way more about Music Midtown than I do, and you can read his knowledge of it here. I don't have tickets, but, for those of you going, enjoy that fantastic lineup. All I know is that traffic will be really, really bad all over the city and that my friends who live near the Music Midtown stages have fled for less congested pastures.
- The Atlanta Film Festival actually occurs this week, too, and my friend from the Landmark clued me in to some good movies that are supposed to be playing as part of it. The film I'm most looking forward to is called THE DYING GAUL, which has the fantastic Peter Sarsgaard, Patricia Clarkson and Campbell Scott in it. (I've got this ridiculous schoolboy crush on Campbell Scott, and I've had one ever since I saw DYING YOUNG when I was a kid. Cool, from DYING YOUNG to DYING GAUL.) I've never been much of a fan of the Atlanta Film Fest before, even when they screened my college friend's locally-made vampire movie with Faye Dunaway. But I'm willing to participate if Campbell Scott's involved. Even the salt-and-pepper hair hasn't hurt him.
- Aimee Mann and Rufus Wainwright are playing at the Botanical Gardens later this week. Find someone who has tickets to either show, and sleep with them so they'll take you along to the concerts. Or you could just buy tickets. But my way gets you laid.
- HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE is opening at the Tara, which would excite the Diana Wynne Jones fan in Jenipher. But she lives in Chicago. Earlier this week, I admitted to a new friend that I don't "get" the films of Miyazaki, including SPIRITED AWAY (even though I tried to like it). He has yet to write me back, and I think that's probably why.
- THE HONEYMOONERS remake also opens in theaters this weekend, but I can't get past that casting. And, exactly, why in the hell would they remake something that classic and put Cedric the Entertainer in the Jackie Gleason role? And Mike Epps is no Art Carney. It's like making a movie of THE JEFFERSONS with Ashton Kutcher as Lionel. What's with this race reversal trend, anyway? I kinda understand it with GUESS WHO since they took the story from an entirely different angle, but why mess with THE HONEYMOONERS, which had nothing to do with race in the first place? This strikes me as a worse remake idea than that horrible-looking BEWITCHED movie.

- Dude, Doug's coming to town on Saturday, and we're going to see MR. AND MRS. SMITH. The plot's probably crap, but, you know what, I completely don't care. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie look fucking amazing, and I'm on this movie like it's crack dipped in chocolate. I can't even use complete sentences in regard to it, I'm so excited. Love love love love me some Angelina. And Brad's in boxer shorts. Can't wait.
- The Tonys were on Sunday, and they were mostly boring. Hugh Jackman wore a tux and danced and all, but, other than that, you didn't miss much. Still, the shows were good. DOUBT won best play. The music of THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA won a prize, and the songwriter was cute. Oh, and MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT won best musical. It's more fun to actually read the play or hear the music from the show than it is to watch the Tonys - aside from all the same-sex kissing that goes on there.
- Do more laundry.
- Check last week's list.
- Clean your damn kitchen.
- Take out the damn garbage already.
- Clean out your car. Passersby think you live out of it.
- Anne Bancroft died, so I should probably get around to watching THE MIRACLE WORKER sometime.
- They've added 10 percent to my store discount this week, so I can finally get the new Coldplay album.
- Also, THE HISTORIAN, which I mentioned before as "DRACULA meets THE DAVINCI CODE," comes out on Tuesday. I think it's the next book that "everybody" is going to read. Be a trendsetter. Buy it first. Also available are Alexander McCall Smith's 44 SCOTLAND STREET, which is the mystery writer's take on the TALES OF THE CITY format, and the new Nick Hornby book, A LONG WAY DOWN.
- Finally, find a movie where some movie star plays a character who has the same job you do. Watch the movie, then compare and contrast how your job is portrayed and how well the movie star does your job with what your job is really like and how well you do it. Using myself as an example, I found that the Barnes & Noble bookseller that Kate Winslet plays in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND is allowed to openly violate the corporate dress code and change her hair constantly. Beyond that, she really doesn't know how to properly hold that handheld computer monitor, the PDT, and she's kinda rude to customers. Plus, how's Kate able to afford memory-erasing procedures? Some booksellers I know barely make enough to buy candy bars. I'd get written up if I did my job her way. Kate, of course, got an Oscar nomination for it. Seriously, do a comparison. No self-respecting copy editor would behave at all the way Drew Barrymore does in NEVER BEEN KISSED. Trust me, I know.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

What's the frequency, Jenipher?

Jenipher just wrote me the following diatribe about R.E.M. Does anyone else have this concern?

While I do feel a particular fondness for R.E.M. because of the Athens connection, they are still really creepy. I must admit that I LOVE “Automatic For the People,” like, the whole album, including “Everybody Hurts,” which I know you hate (personally, I hate “Losing My Religion”). But as I was just listening to that song whose only line I know goes, “Sorry! Sorry!” I realized that I don’t like them because I CAN’T SING THEIR SONGS. They play a lot of them on Sirius First Wave. Here is my synopsis of all the R.E.M. songs I know and the portion of the lyrics I know from those songs:

Song 1:

Don’t go back to Rockville
Waste another year.
At night I drink myself to sleep
Mumble mumble, what did he say? Mumble

Song 2:

That’s great it starts with an earthquake,
Birds and snakes and airplanes.
And Lenny Bruce is not Mumble
Mumble mumble, what did he say? Mumble
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
And I feel fine.

Song 3:

Driver 8, driver 8.

Song 4:

Mumble mumble, what did he say? Mumble
Listen to your finest worksong.
Aagh! Mumble.
Finest hour.

Song 5:

What’s the frequency, Kenneth?
Mumble it’s a dream.

Song 6:

I’ve got my spine
I’ve got my orange crush

Song 7:

Stand in the place where you live!

Song 8:

Shiny happy people holding hands!
(Shiny happy people holding hands!) arrrrrgh!

Song 9:

Radio free Europe.
Radio free Europe.

Song 10:

Fall on me.

Do you see a pattern? What is their deal, anyway?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

How does this affect the price of beer in Romania?

The monthly scorecard, which governs the whole "how I'm doing" aspect of my job, came out today. I did as well as I did the previous month, though collectively that's not as well as they'd like for me to do or, arguably, as well as I can do.

I want to be at a 3.0. For the past two months, I've scored a 2.6. Cumulatively, though, I'm a 2.3.

Is it some sort of modern innovation that I'm able to talk about this stuff with any degree of understanding?

I don't even want to talk like this anymore. I don't want to know the formulaic breakdown of how each individual merit is weighed.

I'm judged so much by "performance numbers" that I feel like Nadia at the '76 Olympics. Except she was significantly better at her job. (And I'm not going to drink bleach like she did in that TV-movie they made about her.)

I, movie watcher.

Last night, I had an nice, interesting exchange at my store with this robotics specialist named Patrick. We discussed some robotics-infused, unmanned helicopters that he's helping design for the military through some university in Sweden and Georgia Tech.

I mentioned Isaac Asimov's Laws of Robotics to him, then mentioned the questionable ethics behind robots becoming too smart for our own good.

He and his team seemed actually impressed. Even after I mentioned that I adapted my philosophy on developing military technology from repeated viewings of THE TERMINATOR movies.

Patrick said they were actually going to use Asimov's rules to determine legitimate science as the technology evolves.

I said, "But all of Asimov's stories exist to show how Asimov's rules can be broken."

Before the group left, this hot, Italian aerospace engineer named Gianpablo told me he was originally from Turin. He talked to me about bluegrass music and The Police. He told me I ought to see Italy before I die.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Horrible things I've said to my mother.

In 1997, while I was home from school one weekend, I told my mother that the University theater troupe was staging "Hair" and that I wanted to see it.

"Oh right," my mom said. "I know you're only going for the nudity."

And, for a moment, I think I forgot who I was talking to because this was my reply:

"Oh Mom, I've dated members of the cast, and I know what they have to offer. Trust me, that's not why I'm going."

Her face went paler than usual.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Family trees that don't split.

This will reveal me as a giant hypocrite, but Friday's OPRAH pick made me curious about Faulkner. I deride him, though I've never read him.

So I picked up AS I LAY DYING, doing the one thing that my "Things to Do" list said not to do, and I've read 120 pages of it.

It's fun to read it out loud, using the accents I learned growing up in Buford around my stepfather and his backwater kin.

I thought it would be difficult to understand. Instead, with a little work, it reminds me of when I used to translate my stepfather's racist, redneck, ignorant ramblings into English.

Jenipher was telling me today, in light of my comparison between Faulkner's characters and my stepfather and stepbrother, that she used to be afraid to call my house.

"BINGY - BIIII-I-NGY!!!!!!!," I remember them calling to me. "TELL-UHHH-PHO-OOONE!"

Standing here solidly on my own two hands and going crazy.

My "insanity" comes to me on occasion, in waves, and it keeps me from sleeping. It hit me yesterday, and it's affected my mood today. It's passing now, but please keep talking to me. My mind tends to wander, and I get sorta paranoid.

It starts when I, for some reason, can't get my mind off of some slight that happened to me or some small thing that I did to someone 10 or 20 years ago.

Like when I told my friend John Thurman that it wasn't a good idea to come as a "Christian witness and Bible study guide" to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Student Union meeting in college and then asked him if he was in the closet. Or when I told my art teacher in the fourth grade that none of the students liked her, which caused her to cry and run to the principal's office.

Where are these people now? Why do they even matter to me? They're not thinking about me. Why am I wasting my energy thinking about them?

Then I wonder the cause of it, fearing that it might be envy or dissatisfaction with my own life.

I remember that, as part of my therapy, I'm learning to let things go and let people go and let past slights go and let myself focus on the future.

It's maddening to think you're backsliding ever. Or to think that you're never going to be the person that you wanted to be.

Last night, I was watching the Tonys, and I started to envy the people who got to kiss and openly acknowledge their "partners" in public. And I had to remind myself that, um, I don't want or need that. And, if it happens, it happens.

And I'm fine. I hate having to remind myself that I'm fine.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The essence of cool.

Seriously, I'm asking you guys, who is cooler, James Dean ...

or Steve McQueen?

Who interests you more? Who's sexier? Who would you rather have a drink with? Who made better movies?

Things to do while yentas read the new OPRAH book.

- See Russell Crowe take his shirt off and beat up people in CINDERELLA MAN. Granted, Russell's not been as fun since he became a movie star, but he's still a good actor. (If you rent the Australian movies PROOF or ROMPER STOMPER, you'll get what I mean.)
- Go to the Landmark and see MAD HOT BALLROOM, a documentary about city kids in a dancing competition. The previews have been really, really funny.
- I've heard Oprah's picking a new book today, and I don't know what it is yet. Chances are, it'll be some lengthy, pretentious classic since that's what she's into these days. So, at my bookstore this weekend, housewives with strollers will likely approach me, asking me if we still have any copies of Proust's SWANN'S WAY, Stowe's UNCLE TOM'S CABIN or Dostoevsky's CRIME AND PUNISHMENT or whatever she picks. Instead, if you're gonna read a classic, I suggest you not follow Oprah's pick. Go to the Summer Reading Table, pick up something the local high school is recommending to 14-year-olds and read that. Something fun-yet-challenging like FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON or THE CHOCOLATE WAR. Oh my God, it's worse. She's picked Faulkner! All my Southern lit friends will either be overjoyed or aghast!!!
- Use the new DVD box sets of Steve McQueen and James Dean to determine who was cooler. I mean, McQueen could drive and do his own stunts and get any woman he wanted, but, then, he goes and marries Ali McGraw. Meanwhile, Dean was prettier, bisexual, angry, became more of a legend and, most notably, couldn't drive. The man was able to romance both Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo on the set of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, according to rumors. That takes skill.

- Pay your rent.
- Take out the trash.
- Finish last week's list.
- Read Chuck Klosterman's SEX, DRUGS AND COCOA PUFFS because it's pop-culture-infused and way funny. And Jenipher sent it to you for your birthday with homemade wrapping paper made from photos of really hot guys.
- Talk to a friend about the Runaway Bride's new haircut, which she sported on her day in court.
- Rent the films of director John Cassavetes from Movies Worth Seeing.
- Try to talk Kacoon out of circumcising her unborn son by pulling up "uncut" photos on the Internet and telling fun anecdotes from your own sex life.
- Emily Giffin, a local author I've met a couple times who's really, really nice, has just written a superior chick-lit book called SOMETHING BLUE, which I devoured last weekend in about a day. The book is a sequel to Giffin's SOMETHING BORROWED, which is really good, but SOMETHING BLUE is even better. Giffin's even doing a book signing on Thursday at the Margaret Mitchell House, which I plan to attend.
- This week, I guess I feel like a complete girl because, in addition to reading chick-lit, I'll admit that I went to see THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS by myself. I repeat, I was by myself. And, I swear to God, I was the only guy in the room. There were, like, 60 women in there all giggling and crying and bonding and sharing special moments, and I'm the sole Y-chromosome in the entire room. I was embarassed because, well, I was there to see Alexis Bledel because I unapologetically adore GILMORE GIRLS, but I thought all the mothers and pre-teen girls would think that I'm just some creepy guy walking around with his hands in his pockets. My experience at the movie was odd. I sat in that front section and crouched down below a wall so that no one would actually see me in there. Then, um, the movie started. And, well, I laughed. I almost cried. I thought, "Gosh, Alexis Bledel doesn't look the least bit Greek at all, but that fisherman guy she hooks up with is hella hot." I thought, "Gosh, the music in this is sappy." I thought, "Wow, this acting isn't bad, even though the story's a little trite." And then it ended, and I hid in the theater until all the women had cleared out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Notes from abroad.

Jenipher in Chicagoland writes:

Oh, I thought I would tell you that I finished watching all episodes of “Higher Ground.” It just kind of ended with some kind of prom episode that they called a MORP, since they wanted it to be opposite of a real prom (no drinking, no stress of dates, etc.)…no one knew what a MORP was until the dyslexic guy walked in and saw the MORP sign…he said, we’re having a prom? Cool. It was kind of funny, for Canadian humor.

I will miss “Higher Ground.” I guess they were anticipating a second season, but never got one.

Meanwhile, the once-missing Miss Gibson in the Dominican Republic writes:

Sorry I´ve been so quiet, but email is slightly more sporadic here etc. Have been following the blog when possible. you´ve taken to this puppet stuff, haven´t you?? anyway, i have one week left before i´m back in my office. can´t really face it. ugh. but the trip has been good, if somewhat exhausting. this is a crazy country, but quite likeable. anyway thanks for your thoughts. more emails soon. xx

And Lupo, en route from Tallahassee to Idaho and Wyoming, writes:

Got your resume. Looks good - I have a couple of suggestions and some ideas for
cover letters that frame your experience of the last few years (think
undercover spy, j/k....)

I'll share them with you when I get back and, if you still need it and are
still interested, help you out with posting it online. ONWARDS!

Birth and Sea Inside over the past few days. The first was an interesting
failure, and the other one was fantastic in my opinion.

Have a great few weeks....