Friday, September 02, 2005

Things to do while the Big Easy has it bad.

- Some friends of mine were planning to go to Southern Decadence for Labor Day weekend, but Katrina and the waves have ruined their New Orleans plans. And pretty much ruined New Orleans, which is completely horrible. In spite of how much this situation calls for tact, though, I can't get these lyrics to "New Orleans" from THE SIMPSONS "Oh Streetcar!" musical out of my head.

New Orleans!
Home of pirates, drunks and whores
New Orleans!
Tacky overpriced souvenir stores

If you want to go to hell, you should take a trip
To the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Mississip'

Even though cities have been destroyed and people have been killed and gas prices will likely skyrocket, the first thought I had was about my friends' thwarted circuit party trip and funny song lyrics. What the hell is wrong with me? I feel like the world's ending, and my response to that is detached amusement. Wow, I should really go back to therapy. Of course, in my defense, that is a really good episode of THE SIMPSONS.
- Of course, you may be able to help out New Orleans by donating clothes, money or blood through the Red Cross - if they'll let you donate blood. Or you could open up your home to a friend of yours from there who needs a place to stay for about a month. Or you could use this as an opportunity to recall New Orleans during simpler times by reading books about the city, like Walker Percy's THE MOVIEGOER, John Kennedy Toole's A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES or, if you want to be really escapist with your New Orleans reminiscence, Anne Rice's INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE.

- THE CONSTANT GARDENER, which has received across-the-board fantastic reviews with many critics calling it the best movie so far this year, opened this week at the Landmark. It's based on a John LeCarre novel, and I've heard LeCarre is able to do spy and intrigue stories like no one else can. The cast is strong, and the previews - though they gave away a lot of the plot - are intriguing. The movie stars Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, which is also a plus.

- This past week, I became addicted to the logic puzzle Sudoku after picking up a book on it for beginners. Larry had a dinner party on Sunday, and I brought my Sudoku book to it. While everyone else was engaged in conversation, I was busy filling in numbers on my Sudoku puzzle. Eventually, Brad became annoyed at me, saying that I should just take up quilting if I was going to become an old lady. But this game is simple to learn, helps you hone your logic skills, and it's seriously addictive. All you really have to know how to do is count to nine. Find a puzzle, or just do the one above. Try it. I dare you.

- Kacoon and I are sure to head to the movies sometime this week, for our hero, Jason Statham, has returned in THE TRANSPORTER 2. If there's any justice in the world, the sequel will be just as horrible and just as preposterous as the first movie, if not worse. I just want more spectacular car chases, more ridiculous plots, more horrible dialogue and more skin. The first movie had a scene where Statham, shirtless and covered in oil, dispatched two villains with his sweatshirt. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it looks like the first movie's Miss Broken-English Asian Stereotype has been replaced by Amber Valletta and some annoying kid. But I'll be satisfied as long as Statham's shirt comes off for no reason while he's killing people. I'm a man of simple tastes.

- I became persona non grata in my office this week while co-workers were discussing the UPN reality show, "R U The Girl?" They were talking about TLC and how the group is played out. But when I asked if T-Boz still had sickle cell and if it keeps her from doing the new dance routines, they got all mad at me. (Yeah, I know sickle cell doesn't go away. I didn't know that it's not funny to tell sickle cell jokes.) The women also were not pleased when I suggested that, to replace Left Eye, TLC should have all the new girls compete by setting fire to bathtubs and/or hitting on members of the Falcons lineup. And when I said TLC should run credit reports on the new girls to see who had a history of bankruptcy and then said Pebbles should come on the show and try to make the competitors cry and then asked if they were making the new girls wear condom wrappers on their clothes, well, the women in my office stopped speaking to me. (For the record, TLC had the best "VH1 Behind the Music" maybe ever.)
- After reading all of the coverage of the VMAs last week, I came to the realization that I've not watched MTV in at least a year, in spite of Jenipher's pleas that I tune in to LAGUNA BEACH and MY SUPER SWEET 16. I don't get why they hold the VMAs anymore. I mean, they don't show uninterrupted music videos on MTV anymore, do they? Flipping through channels, I only ever see moments of things called VIVA LA BAM or PUNK'D. (Oh wow, using Amazon, I found there's a softcore gay movie called LAGUNA BEACH, too.)
- Clean your apartment, seriously.
- Check last week's list.

- JUNEBUG opens at the Tara, and I've already seen it. The cast, particularly Amy Adams, is fantastic, playing all the characters that make up a Southern family without turning them into cariacature. Alessandro Nivola, Celia Weston, Benjamin McKenzie and the underrated, brilliant Embeth Davidtz are in it, and I highly recommend it.
- I bought the Gorillaz album "Demon Days" this weekend, but I only ever listen to the one song on it that I already know, "Feel Good Inc." This reminds me of an old argument Ash and I used to have. Ash, you see, was an album person. Driving in his car, he could just put on a CD and let it play, going from songs he knew to songs he didn't. He appreciated the skill that went into crafting an entire album and longed for the glory days of concept albums, when a band would use a full record to communicate a mood or idea. Examples of this kind of album are everywhere in the earlier days of rock, of course, from The Beatles' "White Album" to Carole King's "Tapestry" or The Who's "Tommy." Concept albums still exist today, like Green Day's "American Idiot" or Sufjan Stevens' "Illinois," but they're no longer the trend. Nowadays, the music industry is all about the single. And, fittingly, I consider myself a song person. (I was going to call myself a 'single person,' but I realized that's pretty well understood by the readers of this blog already.) Being a song person, I'm all about the instant gratification. I buy my CD, put it in my car stereo and skip track after track until I get to something I know or something I like. And I can listen to the same song over and over in my car without much bother. Very rarely do I ever listen to a full CD, and I don't think that I could ever listen to one album in one sitting without going insane from all that passive listening. We're in the iPod age, though I don't have one, so we're all becoming song-oriented. So, to this week's question, are you an 'album person' or a 'song person'? Even if you're a song person, is there an album that you could sit and listen to without skipping around on it?

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