Thursday, August 27, 2009


-I want to get employed in a highly technical field where my work produces some kind of potentially-dangerous waste product that has to be disposed of in a particular way. Why? So I can tell people "You're not even qualified to take out my GARBAGE!" and have it literally be true.

-I want to become very serious about the broadcasting industry, dedicating my time to becoming a great on screen personality, so that one day I'm finally working on a live national show. Why? So I can break from the script in my first appearance and tell the whole audience what a big jerk this one guy at my high school was.

-I want to write an elaborate set of fantasy fiction where cannons are referenced heavily. Then I want to get someone else to write an "extended universe" book about a particular, especially powerful cannon. I'll get him to title his book "The Cannon." Why? So geeks will have to argue about whether "The Cannon' cannon is cononical."

-I want to go to the wedding of someone I don't know, meet a whole bunch of their friends and family and hear stories about things they did. Then I'd do a fake testimonial on the wedding video, and reference all the fun things we did together, making sure to include the names of the people I'd met. Why? So they'd spend WEEKS trying to figure out who the heck I was.

*Because I'm a dork like that:)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Art's aim"

Ever since my discovery that "hotel channels" can be interpreted as a circle of hell, I've been applying the principle to all forms of advertising, public service announcements, and any other corporate "sanitized" message.

The result? They're all far more compelling!

When you simply watch an ad, your brain is dragged down, grasping for significance at a production that has no real relevance.*

But when you attempt to view the whole thing as hell's sick puppet show, a dark punishment reserved for only the worst souls who are reconstituted as clean-faced model/actors . . . you flip the whole advertising paradigm on it's head! Suddenly their forced smiles and feigned indifference are merely thin masks hiding a web of desperation and regret.

The best are the little mailings I get from clothing stores. That guy who looks like he's effortlessly cool? He's not effortlessly cool, he's some ancient, ruthless warlord bound for eternity to pose on a couch and pretend like he doesn't care. But he cares. He cares a lot. And he wants OUT.

Go ahead, pull up the website of your favorite boutique and see what I mean.

It's a fun game, but there's an even better one for enjoying bad movies. Oh sure, you could go get the Rifftrax for a bad movie (in fact you probably should). But if you don't have the time, there's an easier way.

Just turn on the director commentary.

There's really nothing quite like listening to a human being defend their worst work. It's fascinating and hilarious at the same time. No matter how terrible the final product is, it seems like every director of a bad film considers himself a poor, misunderstood artist who's work is unfairly bashed.

Just once, I'd like to start up a commentary and hear the following:

"Ok, I'm gonna be honest, this thing is a steaming pile. It's the worst thing I've ever made. Sending it off to be reproduced was painful, and I'm sorry I brought it into the world. I'd like to use this opportunity to take you though the production and enumerate all the problems and mistakes along the way. Perhaps, if nothing else, this movie can serve as a warning to others."

*Drink Coke

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Really more of a fluttering

A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon, they say, and it causes a hurricane half a world away. One tiny change can set off a series of events that culminate in a gigantic outcome.

It's a marker of human thought, I believe, that when we see a hurricane we blame a theoretical insect, rather than the warm, moist air that fuels it, the sunlight that warms the air, or the coreolis effect that starts the whole thing spinning.

For some reason, we love to blame all the little details that led to a thing, rather than the large-scale forces at work. The exception, of course, is when one of the large-scale forces involved is an entity that can be sued for money. Then the fault lies in exactly one place, the defendant.

Butterflies just don't have the bankroll your insurance company would like, nor the lifespan for a lengthy trial.

The "butterfly effect" bothers me, in the same way that the concepts of "fate," and "determinism,"* and even "everything happens for a reason" bother me. It all sounds an awful lot like surrender. If the world is out of our control, we've got an excuse to give up.

It's a marker of human thought, I believe, that the idea of being enslaved by causation is considered comforting, rather than terrifying.

*"Imagine all the events that led up to someone inventing determinism." Would people get that joke? Or is it too high-concept?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Salisbury Sadness

There's something inheriantly tradjic about a frozen dinner.

Frozen food is one thing, where the aim is purely to preserve. But a whole meal, fully constructed, mostly cooked, and held in stasis for highway transport . . . somehow that process is robbed of integrity.

Certainly, as a child, frozen dinners were an exciting prospect. Those rare nights when the parents were going out, and I was given license to roam that humming tundrant of the supermarket, choosing for myself what I would eat. I clearly remember the process, weighing the appeal of the main course with the quality of the desert. And then, microwave! No longer is it reserved for the making of popcorn!

But time brings perspective. Having tried the vast range of culinary options in the world, a frozen dinner no longer represents a fun choice. It represents a complete lack of effort.*

*Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go get some cereal.