august 2001

All glory to the Hypno Toad!

The most foreboding fortune cookie fortune I have ever received:

Be cautious while walking in darkness alone.

I have updated my SirCam page with three more documents that I received over the weekend, bringing the total up to 10. This is just so fascinating to me; I hope they never kill this virus off.

Last Friday morning, I went with CO2 Jeff and Max to see Planet of the Apes, and then, because I'm both a Planet of the Apes and a Tim Burton freak, I went to see it again Saturday morning with Julie. It was okay, but not great. If I hadn't known going in that it was a Tim Burton film, I wouldn't have guessed it—it doesn't have as much quirky charm as his pictures normally do.

The apes were amazingly done. I'm sure you've seen one of the seemingly dozens of behind-the-scenes specials running on Fox, MTV, etc., that show the 4 hour process of applying the ape makeup, but when you watch the movie, you can see that it was well worth it. You forget very quickly that you aren't actually watching advanced primates—you just think of them as characters, not people in ape costumes (for the most part anyway—Helena Bonham Carter's Ari still retained a little bit too much of the look of the original Planet of the Apes masks). The slave-trading ape Limbo, who was played by the same guy who did the Pig Vomit character in Private Parts, stole every scene he was in, and was one of the few truly Burton-esque characters in the film.

Mark Wahlberg is getting hammered in the reviews, but I think he was a good choice for the part. He's not exactly a hero—the only reason he wants to help the humans overthrow their ape masters is so that he can get the hell off the planet. They really don't develop his character enough for you to understand why he thinks the way he does and why he makes some of the decisions that he does, but that's not really his fault. In general, they didn't spend enough time on any of the human characters—it would have been nice to get a glimpse of the human villages and see what their lives were like on that planet.

The last 20 minutes of the movie feel a little forced (which they likely were—Fox imposed a deadline without asking Burton if that was enough time, and he was reportedly still editing it a week before its release). Adding one or two little scenes could have tied together the events in the final part of the movie a lot tighter. And the final, final ending was just plain ridiculous. It seems such an obvious attempt to open the door for a sequel that you have to wonder if it was a trick. You know that Burton's not going to direct it, and without him Wahlberg probably won't star in it, so what would be the point in setting up a sequel? Maybe because, after seeing the travesty that the Batman franchise became after he left it, he wanted to make sure that no sequel would get made even though Fox would clearly want to turn this into a franchise if this one does well at the box office. So Burton tacked on an ending that was so ridiculous that nobody else would want to pick up the story where he left it. That's the only way I can justify that ending, though—it leaves a terrible taste in your mouth no matter how much you might have enjoyed the rest of the film.

I'll probably go see it again some time, but I was hoping to be obsessed with this one. And I'm not. If you like Tim Burton, or Planet of the Apes, or a good sci-fi/action flick, then you should check this one out. But for god's sake, ignore the last five minutes.

I haven't been able to get to sleep lately until 2:00 in the morning at the earliest. But I'm not really all that tired.

Last night I ended up watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks on the Disney Channel. I remember liking it a lot as a kid, but I had really forgotten the plot completely. Roddy McDowell plays a money grubbing priest, the father from Mary Poppins does his standard stuffy Englishman role, and Angela Lansbury plays a witch in training (you know, she doesn't look that much younger in the film than she does now, even though it was made 30 years ago).

I fell asleep about halfway through, so I'm still not really sure what the plot was, although it seemed to involve three orphans who had been sent to the country from London to protect them from the Nazi bombing raids and Angela Lansbury's witch character having to take them in, get them to protect her secret about being a witch, and also get to London to complete her witch training because her witch correspondence college had been closed because of the war.

The one thing that pissed me off was that the quality of the print they were showing was cleaner and sharper than the DVD I just bought of Crouching Tiger, which has dust speckles galore, especially in the early part of the film. And we don't have digital cable, either. It's hard for me to understand how a print from a mildly popular Disney movie made 30 years ago can look better than the DVD of a movie that was released less than a year ago, especially when Sony knows that the DVD is going to be wildly popular. I guess they'll just digitally remaster it later, call it "The Ultimate Edition" or whater and sell us the product that we really wanted at an increased cost.

Each single digit number is strongly associated with a particular color in my head:

0 = white
1 = white
2 = yellow
3 = green
4 = brown
5 = red
6 = dark blue
7 = light blue
8 = brown
9 = black

Similarly, the months of the year each have a particular color:

January = white
February = pink
March = dark green
April = brown
May = yellow
June = dark blue
July = light blue
August = reddish-brown
September = light blue
October = black
November = brown
December = green

I have no idea why I associate certain colors with certain numbers, but I can piece together theories for the months. It seems that they fall into two categories: either the color associated with the month has something to do with the weather or a holiday that is celebrated that month, or it relates back to the color for the number of that month. White for January may be because it is traditionally associated with cold and snow; pink for February is because of Valentine's day; dark green for March is because of St. Patrick's Day; yellow for May is because of Spring and flowers; black for October is because of Halloween; brown for November is because of Thanksgiving (which always seems to have decorations in brown and orange); and green for December is because of Christmas. April, June, July, and August all correspond to the color of the number of that month (August being a slight exception: the number is brown but the month is reddish-brown). September might seem like the lone outcast, but I think that the "sept", which is latin for seven, may be the reason that it is light blue in my mind.

I don't know if other people think about months or numbers or other types of words in this way, but it is something that I have done for as long as I can remember. The numbers just came that way in my head; I can't imagine them any other way. The reason that I like certain numbers, or why I can remember some phone numbers more easily than others is in large part a result of the way the colors of those numbers fit together.

I am fascinated with accounts of people with a condition known as synesthesia, where the brain takes input from one sense and interprets it with another, so that people with this condition can quite literally see noise or smell colors. I always thought it would be interesting to live a day in their shoes, to experience the world with their distorted senses. I'm guessing that my way of visualizing numbers and months is a very mild form of that.

Mmmm...Code Red slurpee.

Weird. A few days ago I posted a quote from Futurama referencing the Hypno Toad. A couple of days after that I found this site linked off of

I'm no hero. I just like to hit people in the head.

If I had a cable channel, this is the way I would do it: no original programming, just a selected list of movies that would play all the time:

Fletch Lives
The Burbs
Batman Returns
Raising Arizona
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Any of the Star Trek: Next Generation movies
Star Wars trilogy
A Fish Called Wanda
Uncle Buck
Office Space
Dude, Where's My Car?
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
L.A. Story
Crocodile Dundee
Crocodile Dundee 2
Time Bandits
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
My Blue Heaven
Happy Gilmore
What About Bob?
Field of Dreams
The Untouchables
Sixteen Candles
Better Off Dead
One Crazy Summer
Dumb & Dumber
The Great Outdoors
Groundhog Day
Grosse Point Blank
A Bug's Life
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Beavis and Butthead Do America
Trading Places
Tommy Boy
Wayne's World
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Pee Wee's Big Adventure
Mars Attacks!
Teen Wolf
Back to the Future
The Hard Way
Hunt for the Red October
Die Hard
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Die Hard: With a Vengeance
Hudson Hawk
Jurassic Park
Independence Day
Buckaroo Banzai
Men in Black
Cop Land
Midnight Run
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
The Jerk
Terminator 2
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Total Recall
Animal House
Predator 2
This Is Spinal Tap
The Princess Bride
pretty much any James Bond movie

Special Christmas additions to the lineup:
It's a Wonderful Life
A Christmas Story
Christmas Vacation
Nightmare Before Christmas

Mix in episodes of The Critic, The Tick, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Simpsons, and Beavis and Butthead, and I think you'd have a network that about 80% of American males would watch whenever there was nothing else on. Some would argue that we already have this if you take an amalgamation of the programming on TBS, Comedy Central, USA, and TNT (there's a reason that these networks all show these movies over and over: they're a relatively inexpensive source of content and they consistently pull an audience). The trouble is that they mix in a bunch of other programming on those networks so that you're not guaranteed to see one of the movies or shows I listed above; at any given time, you're more likely to find something that you're really not interested in watching on these networks. This lineup would eliminate all the other stuff, and would admittedly also limit the number and type of viewers that would tune in. But I would bet that the audience would be fairly loyal as long as you didn't screw with this formula too much, so that there would never be any risk to advertisers in terms of how many and what type of people their ads would be shown to. When they bought time on this network, they could pretty much bank on their ads being shown to a consistent number of a particular demographic.

Tori and Rachel are in Paris this week, as part of Tori's graduation present. They got there a day or two ago, I guess, and will spend about a week in Paris along with a couple of days in Tours. Tori called me from the airport right before her flight left, and I was trying to remember some of the more interesting things I'd done on my visits to Paris. The Louvre, of course, and the Musee d'Orsay. The Pompidou, more for its entertainment value and pop icon status than because the stuff inside is really compelling. Eating crepes from a street vendor. A little museum on the outskirts of town with a lot of cool impressionist stuff. Notre Dame. The Pere Lachaise cemetery.

I also remember standing at the base of the Arc d'Triumph, but I don't remember actually going up in it. Same story with the Eiffel Tower (although that may have been closed due to the weather). We also spent a lot of time just walking around, looking at the huge, wide boulevards and admiring the slightly obsessive rigidity of the straight lines of trees in the parks. There were probably other museums that we visited, but I don't really remember what we did besides the things I've mentioned. We visited the city twice while on our midterm break when we were studying in England, for three or four days at the beginning of our trip and then again for a couple of days on our way back to Le Havre.

I was really hoping that Tori would be able to convince her mother to go down to Nice, which we had only planned to visit for one day but where we ended up staying for several. It was just so beautiful there, and they had a bunch of cool museums nearby, including a Matisse museum (which was closed while we were there), a collection of Chagall's works based on the bible, and a little museum up on a mountain that had a bunch of stuff by Chagall, Picasso, and Miro.

midnight feels like 4 am
an hour staring at the ceiling is only 10 minutes
there are no stars out tonight

anxiety gnaws a hole in my chest
something is missing for me
something is missing for her

i'm thinking of a hole in the ground
i'm thinking of a box as small as a bible
and more dense than a collapsed star

everyone is wearing sunglasses but me

the universe folds in on itself
six dimensions looped inside space and time
vibrating stings tuned by invisible realities

we all move at the speed of light
but spend all of our motion on time
photons know when you're watching them

the chatter from the bluebox drowns out the babble in my head
only tv boredom can make me sleep
only writing these words can make me forget

You're the worst character ever Towelie.

Goddamn, Melon Collie still kicks ass. What the hell happened to the Pumpkins after that record?

What if Mozart had only been allowed to write music with eight notes? Or Van Gogh paint only in black and white? Or the Jesus and Mary Chain make songs with only three chords? Oh...wait a minute. Never mind.

So I've been reviewing my log, and it seems to me that I haven't written that much about myself recently. That's probably because I'm still obsessed/panicked/worried about the CO2 situation. Max and Jeff are supposed to sit down with me today to go over our current status, but from their rough estimates after talking to the accountant on Friday, they're thinking that CO2 will run out of money by the end of September.

Which is pretty much the same thing they thought four or five months ago.

I don't know. It just seems like they're in denial mode, especially Max. We haven't gotten any new significant contracts since May, and the two or three possibilities we have right now don't look like they're going to pan out by the end of September, if at all. It makes me a little sad, but I don't really know what I could have done differently. It's not my business (I mean that literally, in that I am not an owner of the business), and it just seems like they haven't really taken the marketing seriously even though they've known for a while that doing more marketing was going to be key to the long term survival of the company. Max was supposed to be making phone calls, setting up meetings, and going to give demos to potential customers for the past month. Instead, he has worked exclusively on the MICA CD project (including the last two weeks on the fifteen second opening sequence). Originally, Jeff and I were going to work on that in order to free up Max's time, but instead everyone has worked on it and we really haven't done any marketing in the past few weeks (and the little we have done has come in the form of emails we sent out to announce our new site, which we never followed up on). It's depressing to me. I really enjoy working on challenging projects like the MICA CD, but the fervor with which they have attacked this project at the expense of marketing may well mean that this will be our last project together.

A few weeks ago, I was extremely anxious about the possibility of going out on the market in the current economic climate, but since I've begun to let people know that I might need a job in a few weeks, I've gotten a couple of positive responses that give me encouragement that I'll be able to find something relatively quickly. But now instead of being anxious about that aspect of the possible end of CO2, I'm just sad that something with as rich a history and with as much potential as it still has may have to end soon. It's no longer a matter of months, or even weeks. Each day that goes by is one more big step closer to the end.

I haven't completely lost hope yet. But I lose a little more every day.

The Chris Wylde Show sucks. Insomniac with Dave Attell rules.

My shoes don't feel right today.

I got a bunch more SirCam documents yesterday in the CO2 account. Unfortunately, almost all of them were Excel spreadsheets or in Spanish or both. But there was one fascinating document in English on how tires are made. Check it out here, along with all the other SirCam documents I have received.

Driving to work this morning, it was dark and overcast and foggy. It didn't feel like it was really going to rain, but i felt like it was just going to hang there menacingly, threatening rain all day long. Then, cresting over a hill, the sky suddenly turned blue and there was sun everywhere. It was almost blinding.

I think I prefer the way they do dark and overcast days in England to the shock of having to deal with sunlight when my brain has already gone into cloudy day mode. In England, when a day starts dark and gloomy, it stays dark and gloomy.

No red lights on the way home last night...

I swear, Emeril must take up a full third of the Food Network's daily programming hours.

The really disturbing thing about seeing long-forgotten 80s dinosaurs like Pat Benetar and REO Speedwagon on Behind the Music is that their appearance means there is a distinct possibility of new material from them in the near future.

Tori and Rachel got back from France a couple of days ago. It sounds like they had a lot of fun, even though they barely left Paris and didn't even do some of the more obvious things like the Sacre Coeur.

Dad and Rachel are coming up to visit next week for a few days, but I was still hoping that we'd get to stop by and see them for a night on our way down to Atlantic Beach to see my mom. It turns out that our cat sitter (no, we don't pamper our pets; one of our cats has diabetes that requires two insulin shots a day) is out of town and won't be back until Sunday afternoon, so we can't leave until Sunday morning after the cat has had his morning shot and feeding. I think we'll get to see Tori a little bit, though; she has Tuesday and Wednesday off, and so I'm planning on driving up Monday night to pick her up and bring her back to the beach for a couple of days. She's trying to come and see us in early September, too, but we're still trying to figure out if we can work around her needing to get ready to head off to school and me potentially looking for a new job.

Anyway, this will probably be my last post for a while. I don't get back until Wednesday night, and I don't plan on having any kind of internet access while I'm gone. If you're looking for some new content, check out the daily photo archives (I've already added the pictures that were assigned to the days that I'll be gone), or have a look at the SirCam text page or one of my side projects like the CO2 site.

A lot has happened in the week since I lasted posted. I went to the beach for a couple of days to visit my mom and my godmother Jane, Tori came to visit us there for a day, my nine year old iguana died, and my dad and stepmother came to visit for the weekend. I'm going to try to chronicle all of this in detail over the next few days, starting with the beach trip. I had heard stories of people getting addicted to writing entries for their logs, but I didn't really think it would happen to me until I felt compelled to buy a pen and notebook at a convenience store shortly after arriving at the beach (they were nice and cheap: 99 cents for the Bic pen and $1.50 for a 70 sheet wide rule notebook).

Day 1
We left on Sunday to go and visit my mom. The drive down to Atlantic Beach was mostly uneventful. When we got off the interstate in North Carolina and started using the state highways, I was quickly reminded of why I love the landscape there so much: flat land, pine trees, green growing fields of cotton and tobacco, and clear blue skies.

Maryland just doesn't do it for me. Too hilly. I can't see the horizon. I think that's why I love the coastal plains of North Carolina so much: the land is just so flat, like the sea itself, and the horizon is always an easy to find straight line.

I saw a bunch of things that I wanted to take pictures of but didn't: an ancient, almost rusted through Coca Cola sign on a long-abandoned general store; the copper green of a bridge over the highway framed by the green pines, blue sky, and white concrete of the road; a field of plants that I couldn't identify that looked like they were just green, thorny sticks; a tractor sitting alone in an unharvested field; the yellow of the tobacco plants dying from lack of water; and a fenced-off mound by the side of the road that might have once been the site of the local dump.

We got to the condo around 5:30 and had a dinner of barbecue, coleslaw, and hush puppies that Jane had picked up on the way down. Julie and I went for a walk on the beach after dinner while Jane and mom watched a movie, and later we all went out to Dairy Queen before calling it a night.

Mom is looking a lot better. Now that all of her treatments are finished, she has her eyelashes and eyebrows back, and even her normal hair is growing back peppery grey, although it is still pretty short. When we got there, mom was so excited about seeing Jane and being at the beach and us coming to see her that she was very hyper and talkative, almost like a little kid at her own birthday party. It's a little weird for me, because the more she acts like a kid, the more I feel compelled to be the adult, and I'm not much fun when I'm acting like the grown up.

Day 2
End of the first real day and I'm exhausted. I slept in until about 9:30 and got up just as mom and Jane were heading down to the beach. Then it started to thunder and lightning and rain, so they continued watching Finding Forrester (which they had begun the night before) to pass the time until the weather cleared. About an hour later, the rain stopped and you could see patches of sunlight through the clouds, so mom and Jane decided to go down to the beach and hope for the best. After another hour, the rain started again, but by then it was time for lunch anyway.

Luckily, right after lunch it cleared again, and it stayed bright and sunny for the rest of the afternoon. Julie and I had earlier agreed to run a few errands and pick up some fresh shrimp for dinner that night, so we went to do those things while mom and Jane headed back to the beach. When we got back we took a very long walk on the beach and collected a few small shells. There were surprisingly few people on the beach—I remember it being much more crowded when we came here when I was a kid.

For dinner we had a salad of mixed greens with freshly made olive and balsamic vinegar dressing, corn on the cob, shrimp steamed in a bath of beer and Old Bay seasoning, and cheesy garlic bread. Afterwards we taught mom and Jane how to play Hearts (Jane lost, but just barely), and then we all decided that we were more tired than we thought and headed to bed.

At the last minute, Julie and I decided to take one more short walk on the beach. It was cool; the lights from the houses and hotels gave off just enough light so that you could see your way, but otherwise it was just the stars and the light reflecting off the white foam of the crashing waves.

Wow, only one day back and I'm already slacking. It's because we're finishing up a big CD-ROM project at work. I'll be better next week, I promise. In the meantime, I have posted four new documents to the SirCam text page, including a confession from shoplifter. Enjoy.

if I could swim in the sea
for 300 days straight
I would be as healthy and strong
as the gods of Olympus
december 2001
november 2001
october 2001
september 2001
august 2001
july 2001
june 2001
may 2001
april 2001
march 2001
february 2001
january 2001

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