Friday, August 29, 2008

West Seattle as best I remember it

Individual sections of a city can be quite unique, and when they're separated by a great divide: economic, cultural, or a big offshoot of the Pacific; they can become like different cities entirely.

If you visit West Seattle, it's probably by accident, because you drove south out of downtown trying to get a picture "like in the Frasier logo," but suddenly you were on the West Seattle bridge and couldn't turn around. So here's how you can identify the area from the rest of Seattle.

-There are places to park
-These places to park do not cost $12
-Every couple of miles, you reach a hill that you can't go up with more than two people in the car*
-No one appears to be talking to themselves while leaning against the side of a building -7-Eleven's are, somehow, even more populous

The neighborhoods of West Seattle feel like the great American small town, as though you just stepped onto the set of "The Sandlot" or "The Goonies." (Upon further research, "Goonies" was shot partly in Oregon, which is pretty darn close.) If the weather weren't caught in a perpetual loop of rainy day-cold day-slightly less cold day-rainy day, it would be entirely livable.

*Let me be clear, it is very difficult to park in downtown Seattle

Friday, August 22, 2008

Any Given Monday

Ask me at the start of the week what I did over the weekend, and I probably won't be able to tell you.

I pause here to stress that this phenomenon is in no way chemically influenced.

I have some kind of natural weekend amnesia. Sometimes I'll have a vague recollection that I did something, but divining out the particulars is far beyond me.

Course lately my weekends have been dominated by Burnout Paradise, so that simplifies the whole thing.

The same problem crops up with my life in general. I can remember the major events of the past few years, but beyond that it's all hazy. Somehow, the way things are now is the way they've always been. When Vance moved to Athens and lived on my couch for three months, when I ate dinner every night in Bolton Hall with Amanda, David, and Jeremy, when I "worked" at STS doing tech support for the dorms . . . these are like movies I saw once or TV shows that came on after The Simpsons in syndication.

And speaking of movies, I'll never be able to tell you what "TRON" is about, even though I've seen it plenty of times. I followed the plot just fine, mind you, but my memory won't latch onto it in any sort of permanent way. There's a guy, some glowing stuff, someone threw this thing at someone, and the rest was light cycles.

I'm the same way with a handful of other movies, and it's especially weird since there are plenty of films (Flight of the Navigator, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and Wayne's World come immediately to mind) that I have an uncanny memory for, despite not seeing them for years.

But all of that pales in comparison to a couple of weeks ago, when I had to search my own blog to see if I'd already written a post about something.*

*And I HAD.

Friday, August 15, 2008

RIP little chipmunk

Every time I watch a cat pace though someone's house, I wonder what's going on inside his tiny, kitty brain.

Some would say that thinking creatures come into this world as a blank slate, their consciousness a kind of clay that gets shaped by experience. But that can't be exactly true, because no matter how much "personality" cats have, they seem to agree on a lot.

-Scratching noises are extremely suspicious.
-Small movements must be studied carefully
-The magic red dot can be, and must be, destroyed at all costs.

So then maybe our minds are like mold on your leftovers. They grow freely, and are affected by the environment, but generally they come out in the shape of their container. (And here I'm comparing the genetic predispositions of a cat brain to tupperware.)

There must be something, then, that gets passed down. Some piece of that cat brain is running some very old code, indeed. Down in the most fundamental of processes, something stirs that wants to be on the plains again, tracking a zebra.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Non Sequitur

People often say "It's easier to criticize the work of others than to go out and create something yourself."

And to that I reply, "Yeah, I know, that's what I like about it. It's easy. Really, really easy. You don't even have to leave your house."

I mean, think about it for like five seconds. Creating something takes a lot of time and effort, even if the thing you make comes out all crummy. And even when comes out really good, you're still going to have some jerk who never bothers to make anything for himself telling you how crummy it is.

Criticizing someone's work, though, can be done with almost no effort, thought, or time. And when you're done, no one is there to tell you that you're wrong except the person who created it in the first place, and you can always say that he's just mad because you pointed out how crummy his stupid thing is.

And it's not like you have to create things in order to know if they're good or not. I don't know much about cooking, but I can tell when something tastes bad. And once I've determined that something tastes bad, I can expound on how terrible it is at length, even if it does make the free sample lady at Sam's Club cry.*

*No, not really.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ex-crucio detail

You think the book was better than the movie? Really?

Are you some kind of idiot?

Do you not understand that print and film are completely different mediums? That you can't really compare them?

You know yesterday I saw some chalk drawings on the sidewalk, then later watched a Japanese kabuki* play, would you like to weigh in on the clear leader of that match-up?

That skywriting ad versus "The Simpsons," season four episode twelve! Go!

*end of mocking other people's opinions*

It seems like anytime a person complains about a book-movie treatment, it's always the same story. Actually it's usually Harry Potter, so I guess in that sense it's LITERALLY "the same story."

But what I'm talking about is the nature of the complaints. Book fans walk into the theater expecting a 1:1 visual companion to the thing they read, not a solid movie that's inspired by a novel. It's as though they want movies to require homework for most of the viewing audience.

My favorite complaint was that the "Sorcerer's Stone" film cut out the "potion test" challenge in the final act, yet it left in the "chessboard" sequence. This person couldn't understand why GIANT STONE CHESS PIECES battling one another would be more visually interesting than two people deciding on a beverage.

I think I'd respect this sort of opinion more if it just went full-bore and demanded an excruciating level of detail:

"Why was I not able to hear the main character's thoughts in this movie? Someone should have walked on-screen and read those thoughts aloud."

"The great part about the book was that I could stop and take a break whenever I wanted, so why didn't they put that in the movie? I don't understand why that projectionist was so mad when I climbed up into his little booth."

"How come the copyright information didn't make the cut? I enjoyed seeing what other editions had been published, and if they're going to make a movie they should have acted that out somehow."

*Spelled it correctly on the first try!