Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yay! New Miyazaki film!!

I am a massive, massive fan of genius filmmaker/animator Hayao Miyazaki, and you should be, too. If you haven't seen the master's films -- and I don't use the term "master" lightly; he is absolutely, without question, the finest animator working today -- you need to, now. Every one's a gem, from his 80s masterwork "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" to the gloriously adorable "My Neighbor Totoro" to the magnificent "Princess Mononoke" to my personal favorite, 2004's "Howl's Moving Castle" and everywhere in between, he doesn't have a single dud in his catalog, nor is he likely to, ever. His attention to detail is astounding -- every texture, every cloud, every mountain is lovingly rendered with absolute care, and it makes his films a joy unparalleled.

His new film is called "Ponyo On A Cliff By The Sea," and it's due to be released domestically sometime in 2009, though it was already a runaway hit in Japan. I've read that Miyazaki took special care to render water and waves in this one, which takes place mostly at sea. It's the story of a goldfish princess who wants to be human -- kind of a twist on the "Little Mermaid" myth. It is heart-meltingly adorable.

When it comes out, go see it. And rent every single one of his other films, if you haven't already.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I Hated Hellboy 2

Let me preface by saying what a willing audience I was for this film -- I love literally EVERY OTHER FILM Guillermo Del Toro has done (except I haven't seen "Pan's Labyrinth" 'cause, well, I'm fragile, sorta, and i *know* it's gonna make me bawl, but c'mon -- we can all agree that its great, even if I haven't seen it, right?). I loved "Mimic" even, I've seen it like ten times. I loved the first Hellboy movie. I loved all of Mike Mignola's Hellboy comics. I even have all the ANIMATED Hellboys that came out between the movies. AND you guys know me -- I'm the guy that finds something positive to say about *loads* of crappy films. I *like* crappy films, even -- hell, how many times did I see "Flash Gordon?"

And yet -- I wrenched the film out of our DVD player halfway through. 'Cause, see, the mix of humor and dark superhero action was ALL WRONG, like jarringly horrifically gut-wrenchingly wrong. The first film was dark -- not, like, BATMAN dark, but it had a moody surreality, and you had the feeling there was some genuinely menacing spirituality going on, y'know? Like -- you wanted to believe Hellboy was gonna kick some serious ass, 'cause the freaky Nazi guy with the metal mask was fucking terrifying and if he was gonna fuck with you, you were GOING DOWN, in a really ugly way. But it was still funny, y'know? It had plenty of laughs, and they felt like RELIEF when they happened.

THIS time, though, the EMPHASIS was on the laughs. I mean, any film that starts with a teenage Hellboy on Christmas Eve is already starting on a kind of bum note (and wtf with the shitty makeup in the ENTIRE MOVIE???) but then to make whatsisname from Arrested Development a MORE MAJOR CHARACTER and frame the thing with his desire to get Hellboy to like him? Yuk yuk yuk, only not really. None of the humor is actually funny -- witness Hellboy and Liz Sherman's jarringly awful fight at the beginning, or the introduction of Krauss' character, played with the most ridiculously off-pitch German accent EVER (performed by Seth McFarlane, that should have been a no-no RIGHT THERE).

And none of the darkness felt -- well, DARK. The elf-dude was lame, and LOOKED lame, and all the sort of underworld stuff felt really CLEAN and muppety, like the stuff in Return of the Jedi, and while I appreciate makeup effects instead of shitty CGI, this stuff didn't feel DIRTY enough, or GRUNGY enough, and every five-minutes there's a horribly ill-timed attempt at a joke, and by about halfway through we were like "do we care about ANY of the characters? Is this as horrible as I think it is?" And yeah, it WAS.

So we didn't get all the way through, but man, if it gets SUDDENLY REALLY LOTS BETTER halfway through, maybe I'll be sorry, but WOW.

I still love Del Toro and Hellboy as a kind of concept or whatever, I hope he can do a third, but MAN ALIVE, that almost was bad enough to ruin everything for me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend Photo Bolg

Ahh -- a relaxing weekend for once! I could blog about the strange gig we played on Friday at 2AM at a gallery downtown that smelled like fresh spray paint but I think the brain cells covering that memory were killed by the fumes. So let us move onto the REST of the weekend, which was lovely.

First off, we hit the Schindler House, a fantastic 1920s residence a few blocks from us which has the distinction of being the first piece of architecture built in the Modern style in America. It was designed by Rudolf Schindler, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright and nemesis of Richard Neutra. It's been lovingly cared-for and restored, and is used currently as an art gallery. Fans of modern architecture, check this out (all photos, of course, by the talented Miss Trixi B, except the ones she's in):

This is an awesome view of the back of the house. Notice all the wood -- and notice how low-hanging everything is, the ceilings were only about 6'5", meaning my friend Jay Hurley would be banging his head all the time if he lived there.

'nother view of the back. That viney thing up near the top left? That's the SLEEPING QUARTERS. They're open air, up on the roof of the building.

This fantastic shot is one of the open-air fireplaces in the backyard.

For Trixi fans (and there are many): The lovely Miss Trixi B in the kitchen of the Schindler House.

...and in amongst the bamboo in back of the house!

On our walks 'round the neighborhood, we also discovered THIS house, about which I know absolutely nothing:

...then, we visited the set of The United States of Tara, the Spielberg/Cody program for which Trixi works. Here she is sitting in the chair of one John Corbett, whom you may remember from Sex In The City and Northern Exposure:

Coming soon: my review of the HALF of Hellboy 2 that we made it through before WRENCHING the fucking thing out of the DVD player.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Relationship Post #423456: Healing From Shit

Dear folks who've been dumped, been through a divorce, a breakup, or some other horrible relationship-ending explosion of shit,

How often have you heard this phrase: "Why can't you just get over it?"

If you're like me, or everybody else I know that's been through a divorce, or a breakup, or a death, or getting dumped outta a long-term relationship, the answer is "a fuck of a lot, all the time, from just about everybody you know."

It usually comes from someone with the best intentions -- like, you've just got done with time #2034 of bitching about the ex and you're either angry or sad or some wicked combination of the two, and somebody who hates seeing you like that lets fly with that phrase. It's out of concern, usually (usually -- I'd say that Trix's boss who said to her, snarkily, "it's been a month now, why can't you just get over it" was probably slightly less than concerned for her well being) and its certainly almost never meant maliciously but --

-- here's the thing. It's not like you can switch on a switch and "get over it." That's not the way it works.

As I've mentioned before, the breakup leaves everybody with a list of fucking outstanding issues. Since nobody ever follows my advice on "how to properly break up with people," most of the time they think the best thing to do is to be quote-unquote "honest" and tell the other person just exactly why they're breaking up with 'em, and those psychological scars, combined, mind you, with feelings of abandonment and fear and depression and two thousand other emotions that just come along with any breakup, no matter how big or small, run fucking DEEP.

And the way it works is: you have to work through every single one of them, one at a time, painfully, before you can heal. And just so everybody knows: that can take a really long time. How long? They say that you can't fully heal from a relationship until HALF AS MUCH TIME HAS PASSED AS THE RELATIONSHIP LASTS. Did you hear that? Half as much time as the relationship lasts.

Now, that's just a general rule of thumb. That's obviously not hard-and-fast by any means. Some people heal faster than others, obviously, and some people heal slower. There's people out there who've been through a divorce or death or breakup or whatever who never heal. And sometimes they heal outwardly but are still suffering like damn inwardly. Like: I "healed" from my breakup with The Ex Before Last, outwardly, really quickly. Like I was glad I was out of the relationship, really glad. But I spent three years -- THREE YEARS, and that's just about exactly half the length of the relationship -- having pretend arguments with her in my head. Going over ALL the hurt, all the bad feelings, all the stupid crap I went through bit by bit by bit until somehow, magically, I finally worked it out to my satisfaction.

That's how I do it. Pretend arguments in my head. Or "draft" emails that I never send, that's my current M.O. But other people do it differently.

And this where I get really condescending -- to the folks who say "why can't you get over it," you honestly can't know until you've been through it. You say to yourself "but I've been through all kinds of breakups!" Yes, maybe you have. But every breakup effects everybody differently. And the length of a relationship makes a HUGE HUGE HUGE difference. And how the breakup happened makes a huge difference too, like a really huge one. A mutual "parting of the ways" hurts far less than getting dumped for a supermodel or even a totally normal average person, y'know?

And even if the person you're concerned about is currently happy in a NEW relationship? Honestly, that doesn't make a bit of difference. Again, speaking of the Ex-Before-Last, I was VERY happy in a relationship the entire time I was carrying on arguments with my ex in my head. I know there's some of you out there who feel me -- yeah, you KNOW you should be focusing on the positive, you know you should have your head 100% in the relationship you're in 'cause it's awesome and rad and whatever else, but guess wha? You can't because there's still some healing to do, and it takes how long it takes.

(And furthermore: even if the person you're healing from SUCKS BALL-SACK? Doesn't matter one bit. Just doesn't. Because it isn't about the quality or quantity of the person. It's about PAIN and HEALING and SCARS and all that stuff cannot be rationalized away by saying "well, I'm better off now, aren't I?" Although it certainly HELPS to tell yourself that, sometimes, it is not a cure-all by any means).

So people? Be patient with the healing folks, okay? Honestly. It takes how long it takes. Sometimes it takes a scary amount of time. But it does happen.

Ronnie James Dio (or, why I think shrieky voiced lead singers are awesome)

On the way into work this morning, I was cranking Black Sabbath's "The Dio Years."

Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking -- Dio? Seriously? But yeah -- honestly, there's something about the Dio era of that band that I really like. My buddy Dave Beckner swears by it, and I have to say he has a point. There's more actual pop songs on "Heaven and Hell" than there is on the entire first ten years of Ozzy's administration. And yeah -- there's a part of me, the part that was raised on Halen and Leppard, the fucking Beavis and Butthead that still lives inside my head, that thinks songs about dragons and wizards and kings and scantily-clad barbarian women are just COOL, huh huh huh. Y'know? Its the kind of stupid crap that you draw pictures of on your high-school notebook, and also it rocks, and you can bang your head to it, and at 7 AM stuck in traffic on the way into Venice for another day where my comps that I worked for days on will get killed or at least changed beyond recognition, it seemed a little transcendent. That's not to say that Ozzy isn't, well, Ozzy, and there's no question that, like, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is a BETTER record fundamentally than "Heaven and Hell," but let's just not totally write off the Dio tenure, shall we?


There was some point in the late 90s/early 00s where every american metal singer in the world decided that shrieky voices were, like, for PUSSIES, and started singing like that asshole from Pearl Jam. 'Cause, y'know, its easier to find people to sing like that, because Bob down the street has a pretty good voice and he has a bitchin Camaro we can take to gigs so Julie from high school will finally fuck me, and he's not gonna get all fucking EGO about this shit, 'cause this is MY BAND, and let's not forget it. Any idiot can sing like the guy from Pearl Jam. I'd give you a sound clip to prove it -- I'M an idiot, and I can sing like that. It's low. You don't have to have any chops. You dont' have to have a range. All you have to have is a lotta testosterone and the ability to write shitty lyrics about how crappy stuff is.And what does that get you? Well, Nickelback is what. And that is, by no means, a good thing. I'll take Poison ANY FUCKING DAY over Nickelback. ANY FUCKING DAY.

Because okay, that's the thing, right? Shrieky voiced lead singers write about chicks and dragons and wizards and more chicks and going to California and how Love Hurts and shit like that (I know he didn't write that, but let me riff, here), and all the low-voiced assholes can do is write about how much shit sucks. What's up with that? Is there something about the ability to sing high that makes you HAPPIER ABOUT LIFE? At any rate -- I will posit that metal written by shrieky guys always always trumps metal written by the low guys.

And that brings me to Justin Hawkins. You may remember a band called The Darkness from a few years back. They had a hit called "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" which featured the ULTIMATE shrieky-voiced lead singer, a stringy British dude with a wicked sense of humor called Justin Hawkins, who whooped and shrieked like nobody's business. He was almost Freddie Mercury-like in sheer range, and he was AWESOME.

Then at some point he went into rehab, and then quit the Darkness. And so what do they do? They replace him with a LOW-VOICED GUY, who immediately gets all serious and singing about life sucking and stuff and then the band BLOWS. You see? You see?

Well, the good news is that Justin Hawkins is back, with a COMPLETELY AWESOME BAND called Hot Leg (yes, just the one of them!) and he's just as shrieky and amazing and hilariously over-the-top as he was before. So low guy that joined what's left of the Darkness? You may go to hades, my friend, because here comes Hot Leg. Enjoy.

I've Met Jesus

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Give me some solace, but just a quantum, they sell big bags of solace, but I don't want 'em!

I'm just gonna get it out of the way right up front: I never, at any point during Quantum of Solace, had any trouble figuring out what was going on. That's one of the main complaints I've heard over and over about this film: that the editing style -- quick, fuzzy cuts mixed with odd symbolic cutaways -- makes it impossible to follow. Dunno -- maybe I'm just used to that style from my years watching music videos (see especially Mark Romanek and Sam Bayer) or maybe I'm just so BORED with the slickitty slick style of the Brosnan-era Bond movies that I'll take anything that's different. Anyway -- got it, followed it, done and dusted.

Also: I keep hearing over and over again that there's "no plot." Huh? There's just the right amount of plot. Plenty of plot. I mean, it's a BOND PLOT. There's a guy, he's up to no good, he's trying to fuck with the world, Bond figures out his complicated scheme and stops him. Right? Is there typically more plot in a Bond film? A subplot featuring a gay love affair between two of the Bond girls? Some kind of subtlety that I normally miss? It features the usual amount of plot. And just a note: the more you say the word "plot" the funnier it sounds.

That all said: I liked it. I fully went in expecting it to be a flawed film, after reading so many reviews bitching about the previous two complaints, but I found myself completely captivated. Its relentless, to be sure -- the action starts right atop and never lets up for even a second. Okay, for a second -- we get the redemption of the Mathis character from the last film -- but other than that, there isn't any pause to reflect at any moment during the film. Which to me is great because I'm not sure I want a let-up, here. It just keeps going, bashes you in the face over and over, and then it wraps up neatly. It's fun.

And it isn't completely po-faced, either. There's plenty of humor, it isn't relentlessly dark -- see especially the growing relationship between Bond and Judy Dench's M, which this time 'round is played for laughs as Bond racks up the body count to Dench's great and vocal dismay. The audience I was with guffawed in all the right spots, too, so it isn't like the beats miss their mark.

Daniel Craig continues to be excellent -- he smoulders. We're not used to a smouldering Bond -- Moore fucking DRIPPED with irritating, winking charm; Connery was a little harder and more rapist-y; Brosnan was just plain HOT and knew it and acted like he knew YOU knew it. Craig's a funny-looking, jug-eared freak, but he fucking smoulders. He walks into a scene and he's SEXY even when he's not. His sexy catches you off guard, which seems more like the kind of sexy a blunt instrument is supposed to have. He's supposed to be a SECRET agent. If he walks through the world being smarmy, everyone's gonna know who he is. Y'know?

Oh, and the opening titles sequence was magnificent. But then, I'm a White Stripes fan.

I've never felt more like I was watching a different film than the critics. I say: go see it, pronto.

(Oh yeah -- the STAR TREK TRAILER -- I feel like that's almost a post in and of itself, but holy wow Jesus was it cool.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bond. JAMES...Bond.

If you know me, you know I'm a huge Bond fan. Always have been. The first Bond film I ever saw was "For Your Eyes Only" -- I can't remember if I saw it in the theater or on TV, but I've seen every film since then in the theater, usually on the day they're released (it takes an act of God to keep me away, frankly). My favorites, if you must know -- you're all dying for a geek-list, right? -- are, in this order, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (yes, the Lazenby one! Its a tremendous film first and foremost, and he's a lot better than you remember), "Dr. No," "Casino Royale," "From Russia With Love" and the still-awesome, action-packed Moore departure "For Your Eyes Only."

You'll notice the absence of one particular film from my favorites list, there -- "Goldfinger." That's not to say I don't ENJOY "Goldfinger" -- hell, there's something I like about every Bond film, and that includes "Moonraker" -- but, you see, I am, first and foremost, a fan of a slightly different Bond: Ian Fleming's literary version. "Goldfinger" is adapted from a book, yes, but it also serves as the template for every Bond film for almost twenty years. Gadgetry galore, hot chicks galore (or Galore), a Big Cartoon Villain With A Massive Base And A Plan To Destroy The World, and lots and lots of quips. Roger Ebert, in his review of the newly-released "Quantum of Solace," declares his preference for this Bond, and I couldn't disagree more.

The reason I prefer films like "From Russia With Love" and "For Your Eyes Only" is that they exist in the real world. This is not the fantasy world of "Goldfinger," but an actual world filled with border disputes and angry superpowers and druglord clashes and fucked-up brutal fist-fights. Fleming's superspy always existed in the real world, too. He was human. He was a brutal thug with mad skillz. He liked his drinks a particular way, he liked fancy clothes and fast cars and hot women, but only because those were the small pleasures he could take in a life filled with brutality and ugliness. He drank too much and took too many damn pills to dull the pain of his work. He enjoyed himself, he took pleasure in his occupation, but it HURT HIM. He felt. He was real.

We watched "Die Another Day" -- which I kind of see as the nadir of the Brosnan era -- the other night, to drive this point home. The Bond we get at the beginning of the film is almost the literary Bond. He's captured, he's tortured, he just about loses his life and it DRIVES him. It pushes him. He feels. He's angry. He's a real guy. Then, about halfway through the film, the invisible car is introduced by John Cleese as Q, and we drop right out of the real world. We're now in Sci Fi Fantasy Land again, and for the remainder of the film we get cliche after cliche taken straight from "Goldfinger" -- big villain. Hot chicks with funny names. A satellite that can destroy the world. Gadgets that couldn't possibly exist. Quips and stupidity.

Which is why I'm so happy about the reinvention of the film series, starting with "Casino Royale." The "Goldfinger" template is nowhere in sight. Daniel Craig's Bond is as close to the literary Bond as we could possibly get in 2008's blockbuster-driven cinema. He is that brutal thug with mad skillz, and he's living in a world that's pretty much our own. He has gadgets, but they're simple and practical -- he has a car thingy that diagnoses poison, that's about it. Other than that, this Bond relies on his wits and his fightin' skills. He's still charming as hell, but his repartee isn't filled with ludicrous puns and ridiculous single-entendres. For chrissake, he sleeps with trashy married women -- that's all he can get, at first, and that's totally believable.

Most of all, he FEELS. He's MOTIVATED by something. A complaint I heard a while back (from someone who probably caught a few of the Moore films on TV, not a fan by any means) was that "Bond would never fall in love" like he did with Vesper Lynd. Uh uh, Charlie. Go back and read or watch "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." He not only falls in love, he gets married, and when Tracy Bond is brutally shot by Blofeld's thugs, his desire to avenge her death drives him; a single-minded desire to kill the man who murdered his wife in cold blood. THIS is the same Bond we get in "Casino Royale" and, from what I hear, "Quantum of Solace." He's a real guy. He's not just a haircut and some quips and a martini, shaken-not-stirred.

Of course, there will always be folks -- Roger Ebert among them -- who prefer the "Goldfinger" Bond. Or these guys, who wish that Roger Moore would come back:

For them, I recommend a movie called "Austin Powers," 'cause that's pretty much what the Bond films became. Me? I'm gonna be in the front row for "Quantum of Solace" tonight, cheering the best Bond we've had in years and years.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A brief discussion about genetics

Consider, if you will, the genetic factors behind the curious Munster family.

Grandpa Munster and Lily Munster are, quite clearly, Vampires or, as they're popularly known, "Draculas." This means that they're dead people who have been reanimated by whatever spiritual or supernatural force creates Draculas; however, they have, oddly, retained their ability to reproduce -- Lily is clearly Grandpa's offspring, though it is unclear who the mother is. Herman Munster, however, is clearly a monster, or as they're popularly known, "Frankensteins." He, too, is a reanimated corpse, though presumably through the means of electrical infusion of the tissues via some unnamed evil scientist. He, too, retains the ability to produce sperm.

Where the confusion comes in is with the offspring, Eddie and Marilyn. Now, Eddie is clearly an aberration like his parents -- however, he is a werewolf or, as they're popularly known, a "Woofman." Marilyn is quite clearly a normal human girl -- she retains none of the characteristics of her mother's side. What does this say about the crossbreeding between a vampire and a reanimated corpse?

Clearly the wild card here is Lily's mother. Draculaism must not be a dominant gene -- one presumes that Lily's mother was part Dracula and part Woofman and through breeding with a Frankenstein -- simply a reanimated corpse, but basically a normal human, one assumes, BEFORE the reanimation -- the Dracula gene became recessive and the Woofman gene and human gene became dominant. One shudders to think of a Dracula with the lycanthropic tendency -- the thirst for human blood must have made euthanasia essential. Grandpa presumably killed her for her own good, and it is this sorrow which informs him in his daily life.

I would seriously advise Marilyn -- who can "pass" as human -- to notify any potential breeding partners that she has the capability of producing Dracula or Woofman offspring, in case he's not aware of her forebears prior to breeding.

Our next discussion: the Addams Family -- clearly a case of nuclear mutation gone haywire.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New music! New music! New music!

Okay, this is just a LITTLE teaser for the album I'm working on, okay? This kind of doesn't really represent the direction I'm working in, or maybe it DOES in the sense that its darker, fuzzier and more fucked up than the old stuff I did, but its such a cheerful little ditty (unlike many of the others) and there's a nifty story attached to it and so I felt like I should share. Just to get everybody excited about whatever new band I eventually put together around these songs.

The story is this: about a week ago, I had this REALLY vivid dream. In it, I was arguing with my former bandmate and dear friend Mr. Jay Hurley. The argument went like this:

Jay: Dude, it takes WEEKS to write a really good song.
Me: No it doesn't. I can write a song in like four minutes flat.
Jay: Yeah?
Me: Seriously. What's that girl's name you wanted to write a song about forever?
Jay: Matilda.
Me: Okay, I'm gonna write "Matilda." Be right back.

And then I went downstairs, and grabbed a guitar, and WROTE A SONG CALLED MATILDA, in a dream. In a dream. And then the cool thing was? I woke up and remembered every bit of the song, from the chords to the words to everything. And I rushed over to my computer at 5AM and sang the song into it. And the next morning? It still didn't suck. So that night I recorded the song as a full demo with instruments and everything.

And here it is, now retitled "When Trixi Smiles." Enjoy!

"When I'm with you, it feels like home." Somehow in my dream, that sentiment came though, and its absolutely true of the subject of the song.

Weekend Cheese and Onions Clearinghouse

First off, a little old business -- this is Halloween In West Hollywood, a decadent insanity featuring about 400,000 (seriously!) costumed, drunk freaks staggering up and down Santa Monica Avenue and groping each other. Here we see Trixi dressed as Trixie from Speed Racer, touching the extremely rock-hard boobie of Paul Stanley, who looks mayyyybe a little worse-for-wear alcohol-wise -- but man, he's more ripped than Real Paul Stanely ever was, and straighter, too, methinks, if you know what I'm saying.

Yes, I'm saying I think Paul Stanley is gay. No proof, of course, but there it is.

This last weekend, Trix and I went to the desert again. Yeah, we have kind of a thing for the desert. Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Joshua Tree -- we frickin' love it out there. The people are kind of a little batshit crazy and the architecture is insane and the MOUNTAINS IN THE BACKGROUND are staggeringly beautiful. There's something so peaceful about it compared to the "spend seventeen hours in traffic and then slit your wrists" insanity that is Los Angeles.

This time, however, we had a REASON to go -- the B-52s!

Trix loves 'em more than anything, and I dig 'em too -- I was at the Northrop Auditorium show where they, like, literally brought down the house in the sense of "caused the entire infrastructure of the building to collapse." They're in, what, their fifties? Probably? I mean, it was 20-some years since *I* first liked 'em, and they were around for ten years at that point already, so yeah, they have to be, but there's NO way you'd be able to tell. Fred's still talkin' smack, the girls still sing like angels, and everybody's still pretty goddamn hot. We even waited by the tour bus afterwards, and Trix got to talk to Cindy a lil' bit. It was fun as hell.

Then the next day we visited this awesome zoo in Palm Desert called The Living Desert. This is Trix with her "appropriate" shoes, as we headed into the desert for a bit of a hike. Yesterday, oddly, VERY oddly, it was like 60 degrees, windy and rainy. The ONE DAY we planned a nature hike, it frickin' rained in the desert. I kept joking that Kyle McLachlan must be around. "HOW CAN THIS BE? FOR HE IS THE KWISATZ HADERACH!" But then, that's a "Dune" joke and near as I can tell, I'm the only one that ever gets my Dune jokes.

I have more fun to post later, including -- perhaps -- some new music? Should I? Should I?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is it really possible?

Sexy pic of Obama pretending to be Ursula Andress from Dr. No

...we actually won? By a freakin' landslide? Well, at least an electoral landslide? I'm so used to being a member of the Party of Perennial Whiffers and Professional Underdogs that it caught me completely off guard. The energy last night was palpable, all over West Hollywood. Trix and I took to our local watering hole to watch the coverage and imbibe with the locals. When Obama finally took to the podium to give his speech, there was -- seriously -- not a dry eye in the bar. I'll admit fully, I was one of 'em -- I welled up at least three different times during his speech, as well as when they showed Jesse Jackson with tears running down his face. Whatever you might think of the Rev. Jackson, it's been a long, hard struggle to get where we are today, and the man's been at the front lines the whole time. He paved the way for last night, even with "Hymietown." And seriously -- it has nothing to do with policy or social issues or really anything at all except the heart of the man, but how amazing was it that Obama referred to his wife as "his best friend for sixteen years?"

And isn't it nice to have a President Elect who can actually move you with his words? Rather than send you scurrying behind the couch in embarrassment and/or fear? I'll take "articulate." ** It's been eight years of "folksy," believe me, I will take "articulate." Not that McCain wasn't articulate -- I thought his speech last night was more than adequate, and a little charmingly self-effacing. They're both smart guys -- isn't it nice to bloody well force the country to choose between two smart guys, rather than one brainiac east-coast robot and one backwoods hick?

Random thoughts:

- Notice the difference: when McCain mentioned Barack Obama during his speech, the crowd either booed or began chanting angrily. When Obama mentioned McCain during his speech, the crowd applauded. I guess that just says the Democrats on hand were more polite than the Republicans on hand, maybe nothing larger, but hey -- at this point, I'm all for a little politesse.

- I felt a little smug, because I had to endure eight fucking years of people saying, of the VERY close race in 2000 and the semi-closeish race in 2004 "Well, if your guy was GOOD ENOUGH, he would have been able to beat the opposition by a landslide." Um -- HA. HA HA HA HA HA HA. HA. HA. HA.

- In Texas -- TEXAS, where apparently polls showed that 30% of people believed Obama was a Muslim -- McCain only won by 55% - 44%. Notice the county breakdowns. Obama won in the south of Texas -- where he undoubtedly scored oddly huge with Mexican immigrant voters -- and in the Big Cities. I mean, you HAVE to call it a landslide when Texas actually plumps that much for the Democrat. Nothing against Texas -- I actually really dig the state, and have a lotta great things to say about time spent there -- but that's just a little bit of wow.

- I had to doink TWO MySpace friends this morning. One guy posted a bulletin about how he thought Obama was the Antichrist -- like the actual, biblical Antichrist -- and how we hadn't learned enough from Hitler and Stalin. His actual page claimed that we were now officially in "the great tribulation." DOINK. The other guy posted a thing about how "now we know who will bring about the end of the world in 2012 as foretold by the Mayans." DOINK.

- I'm FUCKING PISSED, however, that Prop 8 passed. My friend Ashley posted the most articulate thing I've yet read on the matter, so go there and read that. I'm just too angry at the moment, especially after seeing the pictures of the pro-Prop 8 people actually CHEERING that they took the right to marry away from people, and watching the TV ads the "Yes on 8" people ran, with a kid coming home from school saying she'd learned at school that a "prince could marry another prince." Dear frightened parents: I am going to teach my child that equality is the most important thing ever and that its totally okay for princes to marry other princes and princesses to marry other princesses. And then my child is going to totally infect your child with free thinking and there's nothing you can do about it. You can only fight against common sense and equality for so long. I think this election is proof of that.

- I'm kinda psyched about the Democratic president and the Democratic majority in the House AND the Senate right now. I want New Deal Liberalism, dammit, and I want it now. Also, I'm psyched that hemlines will now rise like they did during the Johnson and Clinton administrations. Yay on all that.

Morning in America, folks. I have to say, I feel pretty good about it all.

** I just wanna point out -- I'm using the word "articulate" in the sense of "compared to President Bush, who is exactly the opposite." It didn't even occur to me until this morning that using "articulate" to describe an African-American man can have severe racist overtones, so if anybody took it that way, I apologize. There's gotta be a better choice of words to describe someone who's able to put together cogent, interesting thoughts with words and speak them in public.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hells yes, I voted.

...NO on Prop 8, and YES on Barack Obama. Also YES on the less-publicized prop 2, which prevents cruelty to farm animals, and NO on the libertarian screenwriter running for Senate.

Overheard at the polling place: "I'm voting for change, yo!"

Also overheard at the polling place: a poor barking dog who was terrified by the HUNDREDS of people waiting in line. Heartening that there were so many people turning out to vote, but people: don't bring your frickin' DOGS to vote, okay? That right's a few years off yet.

If you haven't voted yet -- VOTE. Okay?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Explorers Club Video!!

Okay, remember a month or so back when I was ranting and raving about the Explorers Club? Check out their first video, an absolutely exuberant little clip for their tune "Do You Love Me."

Do You Love Me?