Thursday, January 20, 2011


I love being able to watch movies. I don't think that going to a theater will ever be a let down (unless its going to a play, those can be a let down). Recently I have watched and loved - True Grit, Black Swan and the Kings Speech. Also, Tron Legacy was amusing but nothing more than an FX movie. At home I've recently watched a bunch of movies (combination of final week of freedom and being sick for a few days) some were definitely more successful than others. Anyway,
peace and love.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a moment

A while back Brittany and I found ourselves in the situation of having the entire day off together. Due to our work and school schedules this happens approximately never so we determined that we needed to make ourselves get out of the apartment and go do something. It being a gorgeous day and we being poor it was decided that we should go to the Twin Cities Rose Garden (also because it's 10 minutes from our house). The actual trip was mostly uneventful, flowers, grass, trees, several water features, pleasant conversation, ice cream, fresh bread and perfect weather. What captured my attention was a single instant in the midst of our trip. We were walking up and down the rows of roses pausing to admire the different colors and scents when I happened to notice what was going on around us. There was the skateboarder with his flat brimmed hat, graphic tee and long shorts carrying his skateboard through the roses. There was the business woman out on a power walk with her friend. The two moms bringing their little girls to the rose garden and enjoying the flowers. The couple (obviously on one of their first few dates) chatting and nervously trying out holding hands with each other. All of us were locked into one tiny perfect moment.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

So I was on my way to work today - yes, I work on Saturday's and I have every Saturday for the past three years. And as I was just finishing up my drive to Rockford I drove by a "Steak n Shake" While I can't say a whole lot for the intelligence of the people who named the restuarant I do have a lot to say for the cooks who dreamed up the menu - particularly the frisco burgers. (I am officially craving a burger right now - just so you know). But I'm not going to discuss the golden toasted sourdough bread, or the ground steak used in the burger, or the thousand island dressing (disgusting on everything except this sandwich) or the wide selection of delicious, creamy shakes that really do enhance the whole meal experience (side note: these shakes are probably my favorite chain restuarant shakes - wide variety of flavors and good, consistent quality. My favorite shake of all time is probably Union Dairy, with a close second awarded to Mullen's, both of these are local joints - one in IL the other in WI) I want to discuss Cheese Fries.

There is something inestimably perfect about the combination of cheap, processed cheese sauce that glops out of cans into a saucepan, heated and then ladled out onto a plate packed with crisp (on the outside only) golden fries and then served to you right before the cheese starts to cool and develop a skin.

Steak and Shake does a pretty decent job on their cheese fries. They give plenty of fry's, plent of cheese, serve it on a separate plate so the other food doesn't contaminate its perfection and generally contribute to obesity and heart attacks in America. The only problem is that they decided to go with the shoestring potatoes. This is a problem because it is next to impossible to eat the right amount of a shoestring potatoe. If you pick up one its a complete waste of effort. If you use your fork you get too many and you can't enjoy the taste of good fry slathered in cheese. This downside is just bad enough to pull the Steak n Shake cheese fry out of first place on the list of best cheese fries in America - a list that is headed by the Outback Cheese Fries which prove that the only thing better than eating starches and whatever cheese sauce is - is adding bacon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

on political discussion

ok, in my life the most favorite topic of conversation these days is the political race. Strange since I've gone 24 (I'm now 24 yrs old - wow) yrs without caring (to any extraordinary amount) about anything political. But now that I'm talking about it I figure I'll blog about it as well.
As with most things in life, I don't want to talk about candidates, although I will say that I shocked some people this last week by saying that I wasn't necessarily for McCain and Palin - but thats another story :)
I wish to discuss the difference between the liberal and the conservative mindset. You see, to me the difference between the two has always been one of outlook rather than policy. Most of the people that I know who lean (or are) liberal tend to view the world as a complex, multi-layered organism that is continually susceptible to the butterfly effect (if you don't know what I'm talking about I'll explain in a postscript). Conservatives tend to view the world in terms of choice A or B (sometimes C and D but not always or even often). now, as I've thought about this I've come to realize that I tend to view everything through a prism of simplicity. There are a few reasons for this: 1) the complexity of the world as seen by the left is paralyzing in its totality - nothing legitimate ever gets done because somebody always gets stepped on - creating a new area of disenfranchised, bitter people to be championed and rescued. 2) because every conflict/area of disagreement can be boiled down to a yes/no kind of vote.
The problem arises when I try to offer solutions to the great issues of the day - because no matter how simple the problem truly is, the solution is never simple.

at this point I am tempted to just say that everybody else is stupid and moronic and that I could do a far better job of running everything than the lying, two - faced monsters who pass for rulers in our farcical parody of a government. But it would add nothing significant to the discussion other than giving me a chance to truly rant and rave.

I don't think that the solution to a problem like our environment is terribly simple. Every solution that is being brought forward right now is a stopgap measure at best and in many cases will actually cause more problems than it solves (see the economic cost of a Prius or wind farms if you want an example).
In additiong to the paralyzing nature of the solutions to simple problems I am also having trouble deciding which of the two candidates will do less damage in office. Isn't it sad that the only reason I'll vote for either candidate is because he'll do less damage than the other?
The hard thing is, America as a concept is still a shining city on a hill. Its just that letting people run that city is like covering the walls in dung. But hey, enough about my sentimental, faux philisophical wannabe-ism. the real question is - what do you think?

p.s. butterfly effect: simple actions have extraordinary consequences. a butterfly flapping its wings causes a nation to fall. See also: Good Will Hunting, and The Butterfly Effect.
p.p.s for a really great discussion that prompted the writing of this article see this link.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why I like Old Movies

Where I live at this present moment I have a constant debate with Nehemiah over new movies and old movies. Now I have absolutely no problem with new movies. I enjoy some of them, I even own some of them, I will discuss them occasionally and will appreciate them for what they are worth. However, old movies hold a special place in my heart - and I believe my reason for liking them is a little unusual and so I thought that I would share it with you, also because I found this picture and it reminded me of why I like old movies

I like old movies not for the acting - although, in most cases, superb acting has gone by the wayside. Not for the stories - some of the stories are exceptional, some are pedestrian. But most of the movies that have survived to this day have one thing in common - they are originals. That is, they presented something for the first time. Whether its the "tough guy against the world" as portrayed by Bogart or proto-(and anti) feminist subtext in Gone with the Wind, from the unbearable suspense of Nosferatu and the chilling creepiness of "Rope" to the stunning portrayal of family politics (and outlandishly good acting) in "The Godfather" Or even to the archetype of the Western (A Fistful of Dollars anyone?) Yes there are cheesy films that are old, some are incredibly dated, but they all did something first or best (best is subjective I know).

I could explain that I always search for the first thing (thats why I read Classical Literature) or the best thing (Classical music here) but its all really pointless because I'm not going to write as persuasively as Thomas Paine, or as pointedly as Jonathan Swift, as complex as Joyce or with as much influence as Dante or Shakespeare. I just think that people should understand that with all of our technology - we still need a storyteller for every village.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Alone at Midnight

There is an old hymn that goes:
"Oh Jesus, my Savior, my song in the night
Come to me with thy tender love, my souls delight,
Unto thee O Lord in affliction I call
My comfort by day and my song in the night

Oh why should I wander an alien from thee,
or cry in the desert my face to see
My refuge my solace, my souls delight,
Oh Jesus my Savior my song in the night

Lord Jesus, I come to thee in lowly despair,
give strength to my fainting soul, the burdens to bare
My comfort, my joy, my souls delight
Oh, Jesus my Savior, my song in the night."

When I hear this song, I always feel like I should cry - not because the words are sorrowful, but because of the truth and beauty that are contained within those words. When you are alone at midnight, your covers on the floor due to your tossing and turning and your eyes wired open, where does your soul find refuge?

link here

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Review of things I have watched and/or read over the last couple of weeks

I have been on a movie watching kick lately. I haven't watched this many movies since I was living by myself (when I watched around 12 a week - nothing else to do, I'd already read all my books).
Recently I've watched: Forbidden Kingdom (twice), Iron Man, Speed Racer, The Darjeeling Lmtd, There Will be Blood, No Country for Old Men, An American Crime, The Proposition and The Curse of the Golden Flower (also, many parts of various retarded movies along the same line as Rush Hour 2). I have also read/am reading Fury (Rushdie), Robinson Crusoe, two Agatha Christie's, Mathilda, as well as a few other smaller books whose titles escape me. I have also been listening to/studying some great new music by Haydn, Beethoven, Lizst, and some Renaissance composer (I forget again) (coming soon in this category The Art of the Fugue, of which I recently read a fascinating article whose location on the internet has also deserted my memory - unfortunately).
In spite of the title I am not going to review any of these things (at least, not in any formal way). Others have done so and they have done a far better job describing the works respective faults and strengths. I also tend to like/dislike things for odd or even unknown reasons. For instance, Speed Racer was not a great movie, or even, really, a good movie. It was, however, interesting enough that it has provided humor and headaches since I watched it (they throw beehives and snakes at each other and they have dueling car wheels, also more colors in one 30 second scene than Willy Wonka had in the whole movie).
I would however like to discuss appeal to people - as I have grown older I find that I am appreciating things for different reasons. I find that I appreciate passion for one's craft almost as much as I appreciate talent at one's craft (although execution of a craft is still the most important). In some ways I believe this is a product of the environment that I find myself in, a place where the talent pool is lower but the desire is still present. But back to appeal, it is interesting to me to find out why people like things - even if its very banal: "It makes me happy" "It appeals to my simple side" "It makes me think of cheese" and if I can find out and partially understand the appeal that it has to someone it has become increasingly difficult for me to find fault with the work. So what do you think?