Tuesday, December 30, 2003

"Bringing It All Back Home"

Well, back in Norman finally, and so much to catch up on. Need to unpack everything, get my new home theatre system hooked up (probably have to purchase speaker wire first), and things of that nature. Also have to catch up on all the things I missed while I was away from the computer, mostly comic-related. For instance, I read something like 60 different webcomics, which update anywhere from seven days a week to five, to three, to once a week, or just sporadically (a great number of them seem sporadic lately). I've been gone for a week, so I haven't read any of them. Which means lots and lots of comics to go through.

I also need to draw, scan, and upload a few more Crooked Halo comics. I have one for tomorrow, but that's the end of my buffer. I also have to draw the next two Troubled Times comics...actually, I have to draw four of them, since we're doing the omake/outtakes thing, and putting up two of them per Saturday. So I have to do those as well, which will be difficult, since I'm not used to drawing the characters and still don't really know how to draw Teran's hair. Ah well.

Anyway, Christmas was great fun, but I'm glad to be back in Norman, where I have access to the outside world. Without a computer at home, I feel rather isolated from everyone I know, since I communicate with most of them via the Internet (whether it be email, IM, or whatever). Craziness.

Well, off to unpack. Wooooo.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: George Harrison, "All Things Must Pass"

Saturday, December 27, 2003

"I Will Go Down With This Ship"

Well, I watched Pirates of the Caribbean this evening with my parents and grandparents. I'd never seen the movie before, oddly enough, but I'd heard very good things about it from everyone I talked to, so I asked for it (and received it) for Christmas. We watched it on the DVD player my parents bought my grandparents for Christmas. Very quality flick, I decided. The CGI was just right; had they used the moonlight/undead effect any more than they did, it would have been too much, and any less would have been pointless. But as it stands, they did it just right. Mom did bring up one glaring plothole, though--if Jack Sparrow had been carrying around that pistol for 10 years, and it had gotten wet several times, how in the world did it still fire? Water would have rendered the powder useless, not to mention the effect salt water has on metal. Ah well--it was still a fun movie, with great performances all around (though Johnny Depp steals the show, of course).

Clif, Scott, and I went bowling this afternoon. I've been bowling twice in the past few weeks, though before that I hadn't been bowling in a year or two I think. I didn't do very well either time--last time, with Jess, Dom, and Beth, I bowled consistently in the 70-90 range. Today, I bowled in the 70-90 range. I may suck, but at least I suck consistently.

I also played some basketball today. A couple of games of Twenty-one, both of which Clif won, and a little one-on-one with Scott, which I won. The freethrow contest we had afterwards we've both vowed to never speak of again, because it was simply embarassing for all involved.

Anyway, not much of excitement or note going on up here in Ponca City. We're heading home tomorrow, from the sound of it. I'm actually going to go to church on Sunday for the first time since my pastor retired several months ago. We apparently have a woman interum pastor, which has led to problems not within the congregation, but with the praise band we had playing at our early morning services (because they were Baptist and apparently did not like the idea of a woman holding a position of authority in the church...so much so that they'd leave the room when she was preaching, which we thought was rather tacky. But they've left now, so it's all a moot point). Sometime middle of next week, I'll head back to Norman, where I can resume more regular internet access. Oh, to have high-speed internet again. The first thing I'm going to do is download music. Not because I'm in desperate need of new music, but just because I can.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: None, and I'm really starting to miss music

Thursday, December 25, 2003

"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"

Well, a Merry Christmas to everyone out there. It's been a good couple of days. Got home Tuesday, got the oil changed in the car because it was in dire need. Yesterday, got a haircut (there were certain elements of my family--namely, my mother--who felt I needed a bit of a trim), and then we celebrated Christmas Eve with my paternal grandparents, paternal aunt and uncle and their son, his wife, and his daughter. I spent a good portion of the evening entertaining Bailey, my cousin's daughter. Then this morning, we got up, did the presents thing at home, and came up to Ponca City to visit the maternal grandparents. We also joined some old family friends, the Counters, for dinner, where I again entertained a small child; this time it was Taylor, the Counters' granddaughter.

So yeah, I played babysitter. Weeeeee. Actually, I like kids. They tend to like me, too. Never really understood why.

But it's been a good Christmas. Also got some nifty stuff, such as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (which has me feeling warm and fuzzy in very personal places), Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition (very groovy), Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Nemo (good stuff, good stuff), and, perhaps most impressive, a new home theatre system.

Anyway, I hope everyone's had a great holiday, and that you all got to be with those who matter most to you. I'm headin' back home this weekend, and back to Norman a few days later. See folks soon.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Taxman (Live)"

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

"Three, Two, One: Let's Jam"

Yeah, I meant to go home this evening. Honest.

Instead, I'm still in Norman. I decided I wanted to come back to an at least semi-clean apartment after Christmas, so I stuck around to clean. And then decided to watch a movie halfway through cleaning. Because I'm an idiot like that.

Ah well. I'll get most everything cleaned before bed, hopefully, and take off nice and early tomorrow and head on home. Sounds like I have lots to do while there--most go mail a package back to a company that arrived at home instead of here. See, I've been waiting for it for like a month, and it never arrived. So I emailed the company, they sent me another. Then, while talking to mom on the phone this evening, I discover it's been sitting at home for over a week and she just kept forgetting to tell me. Well, in the meantime, the other copy that the company sent me has arrived, so I now have two when I only paid for one. So I'm going to mail the one back that arrived at my folks' house.

Anyway, returning to topic from tangent...I also need to see about getting a haircut and getting my oil changed while at home. Thankfully, I don't have any Christmas shopping that needs to be done (dad's present arrived in the mail tonight, thankfully). That means I get to asiduously avoid the mall for the next three or four weeks. Joy.

Anyway, I really should get back to cleaning. The living room is still a pit. So's the bedroom. Oddly enough, the bathroom and the computer room are both quite clean, which is a truly rare and wonderful thing.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Badly Drawn Boy, "Something to Talk About"

Monday, December 22, 2003

"We're Going Home"

Well, here in an hour or two, I'll be heading home for ye ol' holidays. I'll be in Shawnee until Thursday, when we're going up to visit the grandparents in Ponca City. Up there for a couple of days, then back down to Shawnee for a couple more, then back here to Norman where we have something resembling civilization (well, my computer and stuff, at least, and that's close enough to civilization for me).

Anyway, I'm sorta torn about going home. On the one hand, free laundry, good food, no worries, and family. On the other, no real bed, very little to do (it's Shawnee, and no one's going to be around except family), and my family is there. That family, always such a double-edged sword.

Granted, just because I'm torn over going home doesn't mean I'm not going home. I think I'd never live it down if I missed Christmas. Besides, I'd get bored sleeping, eating, watching anime, and reading books here in Norman by myself after a while. A week or two, tops, I'm sure.

Meh, not that any of it matters. I'm still going after I've jogged, showered, and the mail arrives (hopefully with my father's Christmas present in it. I'd really have to have to give him an IOU for his Christmas present).

Anyway, off for adventure and really wild things! Well, running, at least. That's really about it. Yes, I'm a boring person.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Glen Phillips, "Greer Zoller"

Sunday, December 21, 2003

"You just insulted the Holy Trilogy. Oh, it’s on now."

It's a rather lazy day. I should probably be cleaning the apartment, or doing something constructive. But I don't really feel like it. Instead, I'm lounging around, as I have ever since I woke up at 11.30 this morning to my cellphone ringing (it was Wendy, so I didn't mind, though she probably thinks I've taken up smoking a pack of unfiltered cigarettes a day, because I still had my "I just woke up and having had a chance for my throat to start operating like normal" voice. I always sound awful first thing in the morning, especially since I've been sick). I think I'm going to go jog here in a minute (something I've been lax about for the past two weeks, though it's not entirely my fault--inclement weather and illness have played a big part in all but two missed running days. Those other two days were missed due to laziness, though).

Anyway, I'm probably heading homeward tomorrow. Home, where my thoughts escape me, home, where my music's playin', home, where my...well, not love, but probably my mom is waiting, and probably not silently, for me. Kudos and ten bonus points to anyone who can identify the song I'm riffing on here.

Actually, this weekend, now that I think about it, has been very, very good, despite the fact that I was not in Arkansas as I desperately wanted to be. Why did I want to be in AR? Well, for the gathering. Chris and JP were there. The two Amandas were there, of course, since they're apparently stuck at work in ye ol' hellhole (read: Wal-Mart) until something like Christmas Eve. James was there. Heather was there, though she left today (because she done graduated, yup). I wanted to be there because it's rare that my group of Ozarks friends are actually all gathered at once anymore. It shall become even more rare, as so many of them graduate and finish up and otherwise depart this year. As previously mentioned, Heather's done. Chris and JP I'll get to see (got to talk to them on the phone a bit last night, and they're going to be in Oklahoma for New Year's), but the rest of them...not for a while, probably. Hell, I don't even get to see Wendy this Christmas--she has to work (curse her theatre for having a show on Christmas Even and Christmas Day. What the hell?). Amanda Erisman departs in May, as does Bob. I think Adam does as well, though I think he'll still be around Clarksville. That leaves...Adam, Amanda Webster, Monica, and Clif, who won't be around this coming semester 'cause he'll be in France, making fun of the French. It's sad seeing circles disperse, and even broken in a way. Though I also know the circle will remain unbroken, just...broader. Now the circle emcompasses the majority of this nation. I have friends from coast to coast. North and South, East and West. Yes, my friends are cast to the four winds, as it were, but that just means new and exciting places I get to visit them in when I can find the funds.

This is not the ending of things, it is the beginning of something new. Like I said early early this morning, a journey or a new adventure has to begin with a parting.

Doesn't make it easier, of course, but I think I'll survive.

Oh, and if anyone is looking for what to get me for a late Christmas or early birthday gift, this would be cool. They had a set of posters from a tour he did with Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell available, but apparently those are sold out. Which is too bad, because those were the ones I really wanted. I'd have invaded a small country and single-handedly conquered it for those.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Yoko Kanno & the Seatbelts, "The Egg and I"
"Recovering The Satellites"

I've been thinking alot about Hero Journeys lately. Well, I say "lately," but what I really mean is "ever since I started discussing Return of the King with Everett this afternoon" (yesterday afternoon, I guess it is now...cursed early a.m. hours).

As I said earlier, I really think Sam is the hero of Lord of the Rings. He's not the only hero, of course--you can't swing a dead orc without hitting a hero in Lord of the Rings--but he's the one that I indentify with most, I guess. So many of the characters take a hero journey, something I have not the proper vocabulary to describe (though I've read some Joseph Campbell, so I'm familiar with the idea). Many hero journeys start with a mentor or father figure or guide pointing the way for the hero, and then a parting of ways. The hero must strike out on his or her own in hopes of growing and becoming a man/woman/fill-in-the-blank-alien-gender. Then the hero returns to his home carrying the knowledge and wisdom he has gained on his journey. It's one of those nice archetypal cycles that Campbell always drooled over. That Ev drools over. That Tolkein loaded his books with.

And all this has got me wondering--am I on my own journey? Have I set other people on theirs? I know Ev was talking about rediscovering a part of himself in recent weeks, and I've discussed it with him at length. A rather conceited part of me likes to think that I'm somehow parly responsible for this. I'm probably not, though. I also like to think I've been a mentor to a few of my friends, who probably thought I've just been overbearing and overprotective.

Mostly, the hero journey idea has got me thinking about partings. I hate saying goodbye, I always have. I don't like lettig go. I bawled the day I left Ozarks. I don't even want to think about what this coming May will be like. I haven't been here long, and I only know a few people, but I think I've gotten rather close to those few in that short time, and they're an important part of my life now. Hell, it was tough enough saying goodbye to Beth at the airport this afternoon, and that's only for a few weeks.

What happens when or if I have to say goodbye for good? I hate that idea.

One of the more touching scenes in the early Terry Pratchett Discworld books comes at the end of Mort. In context, it doesn't seem very touching; it's a conversation between Death and his former apprentice, Mort, over deviled eggs at a wedding reception. But taken by itself:

"Goodbye," Mort said, and was surprised to find a lump in his throat. "It's such an unpleasant word, isn't it?"
QUITE SO. Death grinned because, as has so often been remarked, he didn't have much option. But possibly he meant it, this time.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Yoko Kanno & the Seatbelts, "Tank!"

Saturday, December 20, 2003

"One Ring To Rule The Boxoffice...Or Something"

It's 3.20am. Guess what movie I just got back from seeing?

I'll give you a hint--it wasn't Gothika.

That's right--I finally got to see Return of the King. Words...well, words simply fail. I can't say anything about this movie that hasn't already been said by someone infinitely more eloquent than I. Suffice to say it actually brought tears to my eyes at a few points, and for a movie to do that--for anything to do that--is impressive indeed. And these weren't tears of rage or frustration or dying dreams, such as were wept during Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, or Matrix Revolutions. No, these were tears of bittersweet joy. Joy for realizing that Peter Jackson was my new hero for not screwing up his remarkable trilogy, and bittersweet because I know it's over now and there's nothing left of it except the extended version to come out this time next year.

Oh yes, I shall be purchasing that, and referring to it as "precious" in a most gratuotous manner.

So yeah, ROTK rocked my tiny middle America world. As stated, it actually made me cry. Only a few things can make me actually cry, for one reason or another. They are:

(1) Getting kicked in the wedding tackle (this will make even the strongest man tear up, trust me)
(2) Highly emotional music or moment in a movie/TV series. The song "Blue" from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack always brings a lump to my throat, and I get all misty-eyed. Likewise, the ending of Cowboy Bebop (the anime) really got to me, as did the final strains of the Beatles' "The End," wherein McCartney sings, "And in the end, the love you take/is equal to the love you make." Such a fitting end to their final album (well, the last one recorded, though not the last one released--Let it Be has that distinction).
(3) Extreme, intense emotion. Perfect example was when I graduated from Ozarks. I was fine until I actually got out on I40, and it hit me that I was gone. Cried like a baby all the way to Ft. Smith.

ROTK fit into category 2 and 3, in a way. The last hour was just so damn poignant, even amidst battle scenes.

Also, it occurred to me--not for the first time--that the hero of the story is not Frodo. Nor is it Aragorn or Gandalf or any of them. It's Sam. Sam is, in a word, the Man. Without him, Frodo never would have made it, the Ring would not have been destroyed, and the whole story would have taken a drastically different turn. But he was along for the ol' ride, carrying Frodo when Frodo could no longer carry himself. Sam is the heart and soul of the books and the films, the emotional and spiritual glue that holds the whole edifice together.

In closing, ROTK is a wonderful, wonderful movie. I can't wait to see it again. I can't wait for the extended version, which is rumored to be something like 5 hours long. Dear God, five hours. That's a big chunk of your day there. With the other two extended versions, that'll be one hell of a movie marathon. I, for one, can't wait to do it.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Anything from the Return of the King Soundtrack

Friday, December 19, 2003

"Junk's Piling Up, Taking Up Space"

My apartment is a bloody pit.

Which is sad, considering I just cleaned most of it up earlier this week. Or was it late last week? I can't actually remember now. I don't really know how I build up clutter so fast. I mean, there's just one of me. I spend most of my time at work or otherwise out of the apartment. And when I am in the apartment, I spend a good amount of time at the computer or asleep. So how does crap get piled up everywhere?

I'd like to say that the apartment will be cleaned sometime in the near future. And that may very well be true, but I'm not going to bet a lot of money on it. I do at least need to take the trash out and clean up the living room again, so that it's...er...liveable.

Tomorrow is going to be a marathon day. Up at a decent hour, to campus to return books and pick up paycheck, then off to the bank and the movie theatre to get movie tickets for ye ol' Return of the King. Then over to Beth's at some point in the afternoon, where she's hosting a showing of the first two Lord of the Rings films. The extended versions, naturally. Which, oddly enough, I still have not seen either of. I'm sure I'm remiss in my duties as a geek because of this. I know I'm terrible, and will have my geek status revoked or something, but I've been busy, honest.

Anyway, it's going to be a busy weekend, I know that. Saturday, I'm taking Beth to the airport so she can go home for Christmas. Then I'm showing Ev disc three of Blue Seed. Then on Sunday, I'm possibly taking Dom to the airport so he can go home to Boston, then I'm going to try and see Bubba-Ho Tep, which is apparently playing out at the Lloyd Noble Center (the university's basketball arena down the street). Seeing Bubba-Ho Tep would rock, as I've heard only good things about it. And because Bruce "Don't Call Me Ash" Campbell is like a tiny, manly-chinned god. That, and I never did get to see Bob Dylan's Masked and Anonymous, so I feel I ought to get to see one semi-obscure film this year, dammit.

Speaking of "obscure" films, I watched the Great Escape tonight. It's not obscure, but it's a bit older (1963), and has Steve McQueen, James Gardner, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson in it. Very quality film. I really want to find a copy of Papillion, which features McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. I saw a couple of years ago while working for my dad. It was on one of those Classic Movie channels one night while we were sitting in the hotel with nothing to do, and there were no decent baseball games on. So I watched it, and it kicked ass. Steve McQueen is the man.

Anyway, Long Live the King! He Returns! Woo!

Yeah, I'm excited about finally seeing this damn film. It'll be nice to have a trilogy that doesn't disappoint me.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Sheryl Crow, "Mississippi"

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

"You Can Ponder Perpetual Motion"

Today's been a damn fine day. There is little to complain about, really, which just makes me wonder when the other boot will fall.

I actually got sleep last night, unlike the previous night when I was troubled by body aches. Nothing of that sort last night, no-sirree. Nothin' but good, honest-to-God sleep!

And then I worked this morning. But that was okay, because it wasn't much work, really. It's gotten quiet at work now, as I knew it would as finals week progresses. Most of the papers and such are completed, so we're pretty quiet.

Then I got to go have lunch with Libbie "Pixie" Okey, whom I haven't seen since like April. And we attend the same bloody school. That should never be the case, y'know? If you go to the same school as someone, you should see them occasionally. But such is life. I'm always busy with work and research and the like, and she's a theatre major. I think that ought to tell you all you need to know.

Anyway, after a good lunch with her, I went home and slept. I slept like a demon, though how demons sleep is beyond me. Rather uncomfortably, I'd think, given that they're demons and in Hell and it's rather uncomfortable in Hell. Okay, so I didn't sleep like a demon, per se, but I slept well for like three more hours. It was nice. Then a call from the insurance company comes, and it turns out that there'll be no hassle involved in getting my car repaired, for which I am very joyful. Hell, it's even possible there could be negative hassle, that this will actually be more convenient for me than if my car hadn't been hit.

Okay, that's a lie. But it's still going to be relatively painless, which I like.

Oh, and I finally tracked down both Dirk Gently novels last night, and went ahead and purchased them (working under the assumption that I should probably grab them before someone else did, because Lord knows when I'll be able to find them again).

So yeah, it's been a good day, I guess. And last night was a good night. Everything's just comin' up Millhouse, I guess. Or something similar, anyway.

And tomorrow and Friday, I don't have to work. I get to sleep in. That, my friends, is pure bliss.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: CCR, "Around the Bend"

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

"Waiting For The Other Boot To Fall"

I think I'm getting sick. This obviously annoys me. I don't get sick very often, for which I am very thankful. But I only slept a total of about two hours last night--and those nonconsecutive--because of a bizzare ache in my right shoulder. An ache I'm associating with the flu, possibly. As it stands, my throat's been a bit sore, I've been coughing, and there's more phlem in my throat than I really want to think about. Not only that, but I'm feeling very, very warm right now...though that's probably because my boss left the thermostats set at about 76 or so yesterday afternoon, so it's just bloody warm here at work.

But anyway, no matter how I slept last night, I was uncomfortable. That wasn't fun. I don't plan on a repeat of that tonight or anytime soon.

On to other exciting things! I did laundry last night. If I keep doing laundry at the pace I have been (I did a couple of loads Saturday night and one load last night), I'll eventually have more clean clothes than dirty. This is currently not the case, but we're getting to about half and half.

Currently I feel like a character out of a story Dav's been writing. The character has this superpower that causes him to heat up under certain circumstances...and when I say "heat up," I mean "raise body temperature to the point that it melts metal and fries eggs at twenty paces." I feel like that right now. I don't know if it's because I have a fever or because my boss had the heat cranked up to 77 (not 76, as I originally thought) by the end of the day yesterday.

Which was really kinda ridiculous, I think, since it was in the 60s outside yesterday.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Glen Phillips, "Easier (Live Acoustic)"

Monday, December 15, 2003

"Can I Be Electric Too?"

So I woke up this morning with a strange urge to listen to Oasis.

I know, I'm a bad, terrible person. But I can't help it--sure, they're Britpop knock-offs, ripping off Beatles tunes and tropes left and right, with nary an original thought in their little pinheads, but damn, they can make some decent-sounding music. I mean, when you decided to consciously "borrow" from the greatest band ever (the Beatles, for those of you not keeping track), it's hard not to sound good, if just a wee bit derivative.

Admittedly, I really only wanted to hear one of their songs, which actually sounds more like Dylan channeled through the Beatles--"She's Electric." A good tune, to be sure, and sounds an awful lot like Dylan circa Highway 61 Revisited.

I've never understood why I like Oasis. I mean, they make decent pop-rock, but there's little substance to it. I guess they just "write" catchy pop songs. It's hard not to enjoy the music, really, even if it's derivative as hell and completely unoriginal. It still sounds good.

But I'm making up for it by listening to Van Morrison next. And probably Dylan as well (I'm hooked on Time out of Mind...again).

Meanwhile, I'm still in the middle of Terry Pratchett's Small Gods. It occurs to me that I really need to get some new books. I'd like Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently books, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul. Sadly, all I can find at any bookstore is the latter. I also need to pick up a new copy of Ursla K. LeGuinn's Wizard of Earthsea, as someone borrowed my original copy and never returned it (and damned if I know who it was, exactly). There are also other, new Earthsea books I don't have (I have all the original four except the aforementioned first book, Wizard). Those shall be mine someday. Oh yeah, and the rest of the New Jedi Order books. I started reading those several years ago when they first came out, but lost track when they released one of them in hardback (I'm cheap--I usually only buy books in paperback), so I got behind. Then I started reading Pratchett, and never got the chance to go back. Well, now they've just released the final book in the series, though it's admittedly in hardback. That's okay, though--I still have over a dozen books in paperback to read between where I stopped in the series and where they are currently.

Anyway, back to Small Gods. Remember--the Turtle Moves!

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Oasis, "She's Electric"

Sunday, December 14, 2003

"The Turtle Moves!"

Well, it was a rather successful weekend...aside from, like, the nasty weather Friday. I spent most of Friday doing not much of anything except cleaning up around the apartment (something that desperately needed to happen).

Saturday was spent basically hanging out with friends. From noon until 6.00, I hung out with Ev and his circle o' friends (of whom I only knew a couple when I first got there, but that was okay, because it was still fun). After that, I ran home for a bit to wrap presents for Jess and Dom. Beth came over to assist (and wrap her own presents for Rink y Dink), and gave me my Christmas present--a Newsboys Greatest Hits CD. I'm not overly familiar with the band, though I have heard of them (contemporary Christian pop-rock stuff). What I've heard of it thusfar, I've liked.

Anyway, after we got presents wrapped, we headed over to Jess and Dom's, got them, and went to eat dinner at Tarahamaru's, our favorite Mexican restaurant. After stuffing ourselves beyond reasonable capacity, we headed back to Jess and Dom's place for a quick game of Trival Pursuit. After that, we went out bowling. I haven't been bowling in a year or two. Hence, I didn't play too well (never broke 100...hell, never broke 90, and we played like four games). Also discovered I'm a terrible bowler left handed (something Beth and I tried out on a whim--turns out she's actually just as good if not better with her left hand than with her right). So that lasted until about 2.00am, then we headed back to Jess and Dom's, sat and chatted for like an hour, then headed home. Then sleep, my dear companion sleep. I slept until noon today, when I was rudely called from bed by the telephone. Mom. So I sat and chatted with her for half an hour, got up, eventually drug myself to the shower, cleaned up, and came to work. And here I sit. Woo, work. We're hoping it'll be quiet here tonight. I mean really hoping. I have to be here for eight full hours (2.00 to 10.00), and don't really feel like exerting myself any more than what it takes to occasionally type or turn the pages of the book I'm reading (Terry Pratchett's Small Gods, a wonderful book that I think everyone going into the clergy or some religious-related field ought to read). Yes, I'm lazy, but mom said to do things you're good at, and I've had lots of practice.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Newsboys, "Shine"

Friday, December 12, 2003

"Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than The Last"

Mmmm... lukewarm chocolate. Y'know, you go in expecting to be able to get hot chocolate, only the water isn't hot, so it's really more of cold or lukewarm chocolate. Then you have to find a microwave to heat it up, only you can't heat it up too much or the cup will melt (damn styrofoam). So your chocloate is now marginally warmer, only still kinda cold, and not as rich and creamy as you'd like because it's made with water and has no milk in it. So you're left with sort-okay chocolate, but you drink it anyway because it's free and because you have nothing else to drink and no money to purchase something else until after work when you can go pick up your paycheck.

Such is my morning thusfar. I think it says, everything, really.

It probably doesn't help that the last time I had hot chocolate (a couple of weeks ago, the Monday after Thanksgiving, actually), it was homemade by Beth and very, very tasty. Guess I got spoiled.

Wow. All that's left of this semester is Finals Week. Craziness. I can't believe the semster is already over. One more, and I'm done at this school. God only knows where I'll be next. This frightens me a bit. I'm not usually one for planning things far in advance, but I do like to know I'll have somewhere to go and be this time next year. And by "someplace" I mean "someplace other than the gutter."

Oh, and I'm ashamed to say that in today's comic, that is quite possibly the worst drawing of a baby ever.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Jack Johnson, "Taylor"

Thursday, December 11, 2003

"Secret Marriage"

So I attended a wedding last night at 1.00am. Seriously. No, it wasn't mine, and no, it didn't occur in Las Vegas. It occurred in the Norman Regional Hospital Chapel, which was the closest church-like place we could find at that hour.

But yeah, a couple of my dear friends here at OU tied the ol' knot last night, and I was there as a witness. The circumstances around why we had to do it at 1.00am are rather simple, actually--the guy doing the ceremony didn't get off work up in the city until midnight or so, so we had to wait for him (apparently my claim to be the Mitten Pope does not necessarily confer upon me special Jesus Powers).

But anyway, it was a nice little ceremony, only took a few minutes. It amazes me how those few little minutes will change these two persons' lives. I mean, they've been dating for like six years, engaged for the past two (and cohabitating, too, though it's out of financial necessity rather than the need for nookie), and yet...a quick little ceremony, and suddenly it'll all be just slighty different. Yet significantly different, I'm sure. It always makes me feel good to see two people who've found each other amidst all the chaos of this life, especially the chaos of college. Makes me hope I'll find something like that myself someday.

Enough introspection. If I start thinking about that, I'll start thinking about the dearth of dates in recent years, and that'll just get me started on a tangent that none of us want to to take. I've walked that road too many times, and all I ever find are potholes the size of Texas. Besides, I'm content with my relationship circumstances, for once. I know that's hard to believe, but I really don't mind being single right now. What would I have to offer a girl? "Hey, I proofread papers like a mo-fo, baby. Does that turn your crank?" Admittedly, using the phrase "turn your crank" when trying to pick up a lady is probably a swift route to a head injury, but hey, we're speaking hypothetically here.

In completely unrelated news that is apropos of absolutely nothing, I had lunch with my friend Audrey today. She, like myself, is an Ozarks alum, and now attending grad school here at OU. Like me, she's having a difficult time adjusting to the intensity of grad-level work. And being in a big school. And not knowing many people. And wondering "how the hell am I gonna make it through this?" Though I doubt she'd use the word "hell," because she's much more devout and pure person than I. I am a terrible person, to be honest, just not in ways that really show. Ev insists I'm not a nice guy at all, though I think it's more than I'm just evil to him. Which I am. But he deserves it, honest, and it's not like he can't give as well as he takes.

Now that we've ended up somewhere completely different from where we started, I'll end this farce. I'm gonna go run before it gets too cold. Running in sub-zero weather is not unakin to going through puberty in reverse--everything gets sucked back up into your body, and you have to wait for your balls to drop again after you thaw out. I honestly think my voice goes up about an octave, too.

The preceeding was more information that you could possibly have wanted. For more disturbing visuals and concepts, stay tuned to this station.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Byrds, "My Back Pages"

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

"Thingama Jigsaw Puzzled"

I got to have Indian food last night. I haven't had Indian food since I was in London a few years back, and man did I miss the stuff.

You have to understand, curry is one of my favorite dishes. I've had several types of curry--two different Indian curries (the one I had last night was called Chicken Vindaloo, and damn was it spicy), Thai curry, Chinese curry, and my mom's version of curry. They're all different, and I love them all.

I've never been able to adequately explain my love for the stuff. By all rights, I should hate curry--it's spicy, most recipies have lots of vegetables and the like in them, and it's just...foreign, y'know? A major part of my basic personality is my intrinsic distrust of anything new and different. Curry ought to fit that exactly. Yet I love the stuff. It's weird.

Ah well. Suffice to say, I had some damn spicy curry last night, and loved it. If only the Indian restaurant weren't so expensive, I could eat there more often.

I've been pretty lazy since I finished my paper yesterday morning. I spent most of yesterday afternoon asleep on the couch, waking up occasionally to hear the wind howling outside around my poorly-insulated apartment building. Then I went to class and out to dinner with said class, then back to ye ol' apartment. Nothing particularly exciting, I guess.

I did have an interesting conversation with my professor, though. I was mentioning that I'd noticed most graduate students are very serious, almost somber and dour people. They rarely smile, and they never talk about anything that isn't history-related. Now mind you, I love history, too, and I want to spend the rest of my life doing it, but I also have other interests, and I still smile and laugh a lot. I think some of our grad students have forgotten how to laugh. Dr. Lewis thought it had to do with the fact that they're all studying American history, because she thought that would make her pretty boring, too.

But Dr. Lewis pointed out something that Ev had noticed when he and I first had a similar conversation a few months ago--I'm a goofy son of a bitch (those weren't the words she used, but that was the gist). I grin at the drop of a hat, I laugh at life, and I generally don't let a little thing like reality stand in my way of having a good time. I am, in short, goofy, and have a heart that won't allow me to be consumed by the weight of my major. Thus, there's little danger of me becoming like the other grad students in my field.

Now admittedly, as Ev and I first noticed, this might give them more focus than I have. It might give them some sort of "edge" over me professionally. But I'll have a life to look back on which is full of wonderful moments and laughter. They'll have dust and musty rooms full of forgotten words. Admittedly, I'll have the rooms full of dust and forgotten words, too, but I'll have more.

And I'll still be laughing when they're dead on the inside at 35.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Bruce Springsteen, "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

"Contemporary Music Lacks Zeitgeist"

Well, I got my paper finished this morning, finally. This was despite the world's best efforts to prevent it from being completed, which included having me act like an empty-headed moron and forgetting the most recent version of the paper on Sunday and having my car hit in the damn parking garage while I was at work last night (car is still drivable, I'm just pissed about it is all). Anyway, in light of not having much energy or much to talk about, I'll instead give you the opinion article I wrote which appeared in today's school paper. The one thing that annoyed me about the article was that they changed my title, so I present to you the original title of the piece: "Contemporary Music Lacks Zeitgeist" (I'm guessing they probably had to look up Zeitgeist, and that's what annoyed them).

Contemporary music is in a deplorable state.

Look at the evidence—the top pop albums on the charts are by the likes of Britney Spears, who wouldn’t know a decent song if it smacked her in the face and made lewd remarks about her mother. Or it’s some rap album with lyrics that you can’t understand because they are muttered too fast, though when you can hear them, you wish you couldn’t. Why? Because nine times out of ten, the lyrics are about hate, rage, greed, or subjugating women.

When did this happen to music? When did we sacrifice substance and depth for a shiny, glossy finish? Most contemporary music is about as substantial as cotton candy. Where are the meat and potatoes of our mothers and fathers?

We have nu-metal, we have bubblegum pop, we have rap-rock and post-grunge and God knows what else available, and 99.9% of it is all crap. When Britney cranks out a new single called “Me Against the Music,” she really means it. Her “songs” are like sonic fingernails across the blackboard of my inner ear. I think Britney is in a vanguard of “artists” who are attempting to actually destroy music, one empty song at a time.

I’d like to be able to say that it’s the RIAA’s fault. And, in part, it is—they keep cranking out cookie-cutter artists who all sound alike, all make the same meaningless music, and all have the same no-talent, all physical appearance appeal as the one before them.

But it’s also the consumer’s fault for continuing to buy the crap they put out. When was the last time you bought a CD and actually liked more than one or two songs on it? Can you remember what songs were popular two or three months ago? A year ago? I can remember what songs were popular in 1965, but not what the top song was last week. Why is this? Because the songs in those decades before I was born were actually good.

Not only is the dearth of good music the fault of the record industry and the consumer, but it’s also the fault of the artists themselves. Few artists are willing to take risks, to break the formulae they establish when they hit it big. They plod along with the same sound, virtually the same song, for album after album. Why? Because the record companies tell them to, and because they don’t want to lose record sales. It’s all for the nookie, or for the bling-bling, but never for the music or for the fans.

All told, there’s not much to be happy about with contemporary popular music. It’s devoid of intelligence or substance, with few redeeming qualities or bands. I weep, for we lack latter-day Dylans, Van Morrisons, and Lennon & McCartneys.

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go listen to my Sgt. Pepper’s LP and remember when music was worth listening to.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Led Zeppelin, "Rock and Roll"

Monday, December 08, 2003

"Folk With A Beat"

I was noticing something last night, and I'm not even sure why it occurred to me or if there's any sort of etemological connection or not. The word "music" seems to have the word "muse" at its core, if you ask me. Is there some tenuous connection there, a link between the idea of personified inspiration and what is often one of mankind's most inspired forms of self-expression? Perhaps music is the chasing of the muse, following our inspiration where it leads us, down the road behind the great bluesmen.

Ever wonder where music really came from? Who figured out, centuries and centuries ago, that if you blew into this hollow thing just right, and covered these specific holes that happened to be in it, it would make a pleasing sound? Or that you could make noise with your mouth and throat that would also sound pleasing, which could express such emotion and life that you could lose yourself in it? Music almost can't be put into words. The lyricist's job, as with the job of the poet or the writer of any sort, is to attempt to put into words that which cannot be said, to express the ideas and emotions that all of us feel and yet cannot ever adequately explain to another human being. Theirs is a nigh impossible job, though occasionally you get someone--Lennon and McCartney, Harrison, Van Morrison, Dylan, Louis Armstrong and the like--who can tap into something basic in the human psyche and become an Everyman, the troubadore who carries the message of the people to the people.

I hope myself to be able to do that through my various artistic enterprises. If artists of words and pictures are the ones chasing the muse, expressing human inspiration and human longings, then I want to follow that path myself. I want to say what cannot be said, and instill the sense of wonder and awe in the world that I feel in others as well. I want to be the messenger who cannot be ignored or turned away, not just a voice crying out in the wilderness.

I want the world to see the muse dancing in my mind, and to follow the tune I set.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Gorillaz, "19/2000 (Soulchild Remix)"

Sunday, December 07, 2003

"The Whole F*ckin' World's Against Us, Dude"

I swear, it's true. This evening, at work, I fully intended to write several pages on my twenty page paper due Tuesday. So, I insert my disk, pull up its contents, load up my paper...

...and discover that the version that's on the disk is an old, incomplete version of the paper. Dammit.

That totally kills my ability to work on the damn thing, because I don't remember what corrections/adjustments/changes I've made since this version was made. I've got the most recent version saved on my computer back at the apartment, but that really doesn't help me in the next three and a half hours of work. Dammit.

Beyond that, things aren't too bad. There's the distinct possibility that I will own the Opinion page in tomorrow's school newspaper, with both a comic and an article about the state of pop music. The comic is virtually guaranteed, the article is still in question. We'll see what happens. Could be fun if it ends up in there.

In other news, I am listening to Led Zeppelin, the greatest straight rock band ever (the Beatles are pop-rock, and in a genre all their own. Zep is straight ahead, no holds barred rock and roll). Their fourth album, known colloquially as "Zoso" (for one of the symbols in its inocuous title), is one of the greatest albums ever committed to a sound recording. Every song on it is a classic, with the exception of the boring and just plain blah "Battle of Evermore," which of course runs on for much longer than it has any business or reason to last. But we can forgive that, because it has "Black Dog," "Rock and Roll," "Stairway to Heaven," "Going to California," "Misty Mountain Hop," and "When the Levee Breaks." Those six songs, along with the acceptable "Four Sticks," make this an amazing album (how many CDs in the past decade or so can you say at least 3/4 of was absolutely brilliant? I thought so).

Ah well. Maybe I'll go back to working on that short story I started earlier. Got nothing else to do, it would seem. Dammit.

Addendum: I am indeed going to have an article in the school paper tomorrow. Should be interesting.

Addendum Redux: Apparently I was misled. My stuff will not appear Monday, but Tuesday, I believe. Yes, Tuesday. I mean, they made me come over and get my damn picture taken for this stupid article, so it damn well better run.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Led Zeppelin, "Stairway to Heaven"

Saturday, December 06, 2003

"I Sighed A Million Sighs, I Told A Million Lies To Myself"

Lots of random ground to cover. Let's see how it goes.

Ran in another race with Dad this morning. Unlike the Thanksgiving Day race, this one was only 5K (a little over three miles), which is about what I run every day anyway. Which is why I was so annoyed with myself for not doing well in it. I should have been able to finish the thing in under 30 minutes. I think we pulled a 33 1/2 minute time, and then I threw up. Literally. I've only thrown up once in the pastabout six years before today. That time was at Pike's Peak, when altitude sickness played merry hell on my body.

Anyway, the point is, I should not have struggled with a race this short. But I did. I think it was a combination of things. First, we were running faster than I have been of late. I've been managing a terrible mile time, and I know it. Second, it was early in the morning. I hate morning runs. I never do well in them, regardless of the distance. My legs just can't get loosened up; they stay tight and uncooperative. Third, it was pretty damn cold, which really affected me at first because it made it tough to breath when I was still able to run at a reasonable pace. My first two kilometers were actually right on pace--six minutes apiece--but the next one was more like eight and a half minutes.

Long story short, I struggled through a three mile run that I should have done without breathing hard. Instead, I not only was breathing hard, but having to stop and walk, having to puke at the end, and now my legs hurt like hell. All I can say is that I really need to shape back up. I wouldn't have any problem with distance or the speed at which we needed to run if I were in better shape, and that's really all there is to it. The other things--the earliness of the run, the pace, the cold--would have had negligible impact if I were in better shape. Hopefully Clif can get me back on track during Christmas Break.

I'm not particularly happy with the way my rant yesterday turned out. I was sorta distracted when I wrote it, and only worked on it in bits and pieces. I'll try re-writing it in the next few days, when I get the chance.

I've noticed that my two Wal-Mart bookshelves are sagging a bit. Granted, they're both completely full of history books. I guess particle board just can't handle the weight of history.

I appear to have gotten my friend Dav hooked on webcomics. I'd feel bad about it if I weren't cackling with glee. See, I'm of the impression that the only thing standing between humanity and total humorlessness in sequential art is the webcomic. We are the last bastion of humor in a world of comic strips which have decided they'd rather play it safe with jokes that are so watered down that they appeal to the lowest common denominator but no longer make us laugh. This, my friends, is a sad state. The print comic seems to be dying. They are printed smaller and smaller, meaning comic artists have less space to work with. People get offended if any view other than that of the conservative WASP of middle America is expressed in a comic. When was the last time a comic you saw in the newspaper made you genuinely laugh out loud? Back when Calvin and Hobbes and the Far Side were in print, wasn't it?

Webcomics are great, though, because they do not have the restrictions which traditional print comics have on them. If your work offends someone in a webcomic, chances are, they can just stop reading the thing. It's not like they paid money to read it, usually (there are exceptions, but I don't like paying money for webcomics, because I get the feeling that no one would pay money to read mine). Webcomics have a huge amount of space to play with, and can utilize a full-page format if so desired. Plus, we have the advantage of archives--you can go back and read the old comics without having to purchase a book, though more and more webcomics are printing and publishing their work in book collections now because they can include all sorts of nifty extras with it (I know Megatokyo, Sinfest, Sluggy Freelance, and many others all have books collecting past strips available, though said strips are also still available in the website archives). In short, webcomics are superior to print comics. Well, the good webcomics are. There's also a lot of crap out there, since anyone can slap together a website and publish their work, regardless of its quality (and with free hosting sites such as Keenspace out there allowing anyone and everyone a place for their "work," it's sometimes difficult to sift through the crap to find the gems). But despite the glut of webcomics, it's still possible to find a good number which are excellent. My favorites include:

Penny Arcade: the first webcomic I started reading, and still one of my favorites
College Roomies From Hell!!!!: the best college comic out there, period
It's Walky!: epic Sci-Fi adventure, and funny to boot
Something Positive: disturbingly funny, and so very, very wrong. Not for those who are easily offended
Count Your Sheep: a Keenspace comic that has the whimsy of Calvin and Hobbes and one of the cutest premises I've ever seen
Ignorance Deserves Death: the title says it all. Another comic for mature audiences only. Really
Shaw Island: this guy has an amazing thing for dialogue. And talking hamsters. Also does American Animetion, which is also really cool
Life of Riley: it features a succubus. It features the vampire son of Al Gore. It features an artist named Dan who gains power by learning how to do math
8-Bit Theatre: the only sprite comic I truly love
The Jaded: a gritty tale of a mercenary group based out of London. Ping rocks your socks
Applegeeks: brilliantly written and drawn, and punctual. Just wish it updated more than once a week...
Blade Kitten: just...wow. This guy's art rocks.
Mac Hall: another brilliantly drawn and written comic. It never fails to make me laugh out loud. If only it updated consistantly
Mixed Myth: a wonderfully whimsical look at mythology, fantasy, and the conventions thereof
Dim Bulb Comics: simply the best comics on the internet. Period ;-)

There are others that I read that I didn't list here, not because I don't like them, but because I read something like sixty different webcomics, and if I listed them all, we'd be here all day. There are some big ones on the list, such as Penny Arcade and Mac Hall and 8-Bit Theatre, but most of these you probably haven't heard of (unless you're like me or James). There was a point to that--I wanted to introduce some of the lesser-known comics that're out there so they could get some more notice. They deserve it, let me tell you.

Besides, maybe karma will work for me, and if I send readers to other comics, more readers will come my way. It's worth a shot.

Oh, and never shop at Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's just...not worth it. At all.

~chaos cricket

Van Morrison, "I Wanna Roo You (Scottish Derivative)"

Friday, December 05, 2003

"But The Moment Never Came"

Ever notice how we spend so much of our lives waiting for the right moment to come along? Lord knows it's been one of the defining characteristics of my life. I'm always waiting for just the right time--to do something, to ask a girl out, to actually make my life something. And, ironically, while I wait for life to begin, or for something to signal that this is the moment when my life should begin, my life is actually slipping away, one "wrong" moment at a time.

You know, there are actually people out there who make their own right moments. Who do things, who make active choices. Guess you could call them Neitzsche's ubermensch, actualized human beings who are masters of their own will and destiny. Me, I keep letting the flow of the day to day carry me along in the drifting current, never really doing anything that bucks the trend or the current. Sure, it makes me kinda Taoist, but it doesn't help me ever change my situation in life, does it?

And that's probably what needs to happen. I become very complacent very quick. It explains my weight problems--as soon as I get comfortable, and stop pushing myself, I start eating a lot, I stop watching what I eat and when I eat it, and I balloon up like Oprah. That's like a physical, tangible metaphor for my entire existence, I think, which is rather disturbing.

Thing is, I'm not really even sure how to go about making drastic changes in my life anymore. I guess going far off for grad school is a big step. Just have to get accepted first, really. But that change really scares me--the thought that I might be heading off for a place where I know no one, and end up spending all my time sitting in my apartment, or class, or the library, doing nothing social, never meeting people or making new friends. I mean, sure, once I actually start meeting people, I have no problems making friends. I'm a very amiable person, really, and I like to think that I can get along with almost anyone and that I'm rather likeable. It's just a matter of putting myself out there. Really, the only reason I had a lot of friends in both high school and college was that other people grabbed hold of me first, and I just sort of got dragged into circles.

But I guess I'll just have to see how all that turns out. As much as I want to be a master of my own destiny and make all sorts of important decisions, grad school is sorta out of my hands with the applications sent off.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Flaming Lips, "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell"

Thursday, December 04, 2003

"The Outside Might Just Bleed Its Way In"

One thing above all others really annoys me. Yes, stupidity does, but I can accept that as just something the stupid person has no control over; after all, if they had control over it, they wouldn't be stupid. No, what truly pushes my buttons, every single time, is when someone makes an assumption.

Admittedly, I make them quite often. That's probably part of why they bother me so much. But what I'm really talking about are assumptions about generosity and the like.

For instance, yesterday, a student-athlete was trying to print something. He didn't know how to install our printer to his user profile, so instead, he just walked over to the computer I was logged on to (I was sitting at the desk at the time proofreading a paper), closed down the file I had open and proceeded to try and access his disk. About this time, I became aware of what he was doing, and berated him for messing with a computer that was clearly in use. He muttered something, and I told him to ask next time. He couldn't understand why it bothered me so much.

Why does it bother me so much? I'm not really sure. I don't mind doing things for people, being generous to damn near anyone who asks for generosity. But it rubs me the wrong way whenever someone just assumes I will generous without asking first. They assume I won't mind if they use my computer, or give them a ride (the particular incident that refers to has been resolved, though, so no worries, Ev--this isn't a personal attack), or anything like that. I reiterate--I don't mind being generous. In fact, I'm more than willing. But I have to be asked, or I have to offer--someone just assuming that I'll do fill in the blank action for them is the quickest way to get me in a bad mood.

Really, I think my distaste for stupidty stems from this as well. The type of stupidity that really annoys me is learned helplessness, where people are incapable of doing or thinking for themselves and instead become dependent on someone else to do it all for them. Willful ignorance, if you will. They just assume someone else will take care of their problems for them. The biggest example of this is that some of the athletes I have to deal with assume that just because we're here to proofread their papers, they don't need to perform any proofreading of their own, that we're just machines to do their work for them. And that always leaves me mad. I don't mind working with a student and a paper that the student has put time and effort into. On the contrary, I am more than happy to put forth effort if the student has. But not if the student doesn't care about the paper. If they don't, why should I?

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Van Morrison, "Somerset"

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

"A Long December"

It's hard to believe that it's already December. Finals are in about a week and a half. Granted, I don't have finals (I have a 20 page paper to turn in, but that's due the week before, so that doesn't really count). But it's almost finals week. It's almost the end of the semester already. Eesh.

It never ceases to amaze me how time seems to move faster now than it did when I was younger. As a small child, minutes seemed to drag by for an eternity. Hours were like the migration of glaciers. An ice age could come and go during a full day. The weekend always seemed eons away, unreachable except by someone with Methusalah-like age who managed to survive the hundreds of years each weekday seemed to last.

Granted, the weekends still went by like the blink of the proverbial eye, even as a child, but that's relativity for you.

Now, of course, there never seem to be enough hours in the day. Maybe it's because I'm trying to cram more into each day, whereas when I was a child, there weren't that many demands on my time--school, homework (when I bothered with it), play, eat, sleep. That was about it, right? And there's so much more to life now, which is good, of course. But sometimes I miss those halcyon days of youth. Sometimes I miss the fact that a year felt like a year. Now, it feels like no time at all. I mean, I shouldn't be about to finish my third semester here at OU. Hell, as far as my internal body clock is concerned, I really should still be at Ozarks. Which just goes to show, I guess, that my biological clock needs to be wound.

I guess time only seems to move faster. I've never read anything that says time really does go faster as you get older. That'd be kind of weird. Your grandparents aging faster than you do, so that they have two birthdays for each one of yours or something. But I guess it makes sense that time feels like it's moving quicker as I get older. I mean, each year is a smaller and smaller chunk of my total life. When you're ten, a year is a big chunk of your total time on the planet. Now, it's not even half as big a piece. Soon, a year will just be a drop in the bucket. Which means my life will be going "plunk" very gently.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Van Morrison, "Meaning of Loneliness"

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

"If You Know The Words, Try To Sing Along"

The day didn't start out on a good note. First, I overslept (by like thirty minutes), which meant I arrived at work late. I hate being late. It's as though I'm showing contempt and disdain for my job. And even though there are times when my job annoys me to no end, I still rather like it, and don't hold it in contempt at all. No, just some of the athletes, that's all.

But I got lucky, because my boss was not yet here, and she wouldn't have cared if I had been late. C'est la vie (watch me butcher not one, but two languages! Woo!).

Anyway, second annoying thing of the morning--my CD player wasn't working. Turns out it just didn't like the CD I was trying to play, but it still frustrated me, because it was the CD I really wanted to listen to. Blarg. I eventually got it to play a different CD, so I won't be without music today, it just points out that my discman is getting old and decrepit (I've had it since like Senior year of high school. I don't know that portable technology like that is supposed to last that long...especially if you accidentally drop the damn thing as much as I have). Sadly, I won't have the funding to purchase a new one anytime soon.

And my left eye hurts, and I don't know why. It feels like there's an eyelash or something in there, but there isn't. No, it just hurts for no apparent reason.

So the morning didn't start out all that well. I'm hoping that means it can only improve, but I know better than to expect that from life.

On the positive side, I had a good evening last night. I went with Jessica to pick up Dominic from the airport, then we all went over to Beth's place to check out her Christmas tree and drink hot chocolate and just hang out. We arrived there a little before 11:00pm, and left around 1:30am. It was much fun, and much silliness and merriment was made. I also went ahead and gave Beth her Christmas present--a CD for a band she's going to see in concert on Friday (Jars of Clay, if you must know). She seemed genuinely excited about the present, so that's good. And in fact, she's really seemed to warm up to me since this past Thursday. I wonder just what sort of nefarious effect my family had on her. Anyway, we also got to meet her friend Shane, a fellow Meterology major, who I think is probably afraid of me now because I was at my most hyperactive and manic last night (it was that or fall asleep, really). He seems nice enough, though. I think Beth, Jess, Dom, and myself are getting together next weekend (all four of us haven't gotten to do anything together since like the beginning of October, really...well, until last night) to celebrate Jess's birthday and her and Dom's anniversary. They've been going out like six years now or something. I know marriages that haven't lasted that long, so they have my congratulations.

Oh, random update--I figured out why my discman wouldn't play that CD earlier--I had the CD upside down, so that it was trying to read the label side. In my defense, this particular CD looks the same on both sides, so it's an easy mistake to make. Honest. My damn eye still hurts, though.

I hope today doesn't continue yesterday's disturbing trend. I don't want to look at another 40 page Business paper. There's just something intrinsically wrong about reading 40 pages and knowing no more at the end of the paper than you did at the beginning. Damn Business papers.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Jars of Clay, "Revolution"

Monday, December 01, 2003

"And Still They Lead Me Back"

So I've been listening to the Beatles pretty much non-stop since Friday night. Why? I can't really explain (though I feel no need to explain why I'm listening to the Beatles--they just make good music. It's pretty self-explanatory).

The trick is that I've only been wanting to listen to very specific albums and very specific versions of certain songs.

Lemme explain--the final Beatles album released, Let It Be, has a song on it called "The Long and Winding Road." This is actually one of the more contentious songs in the Beatles' catalogue. Why? Because of what Phil Spector, one of their producer/mixer guys did to it.

See, the original tune was recorded during the ill-fated Get Back/Let It Be sessions, which means it was supposed to be a very back-to-basics song. Fair enough. Piano, bass, guitar, drums, vocals. Simple, right? Well, then Phil Spector got hold of it during post-production, and made a mess of the whole thing by adding strings, horns, and a freakin' choir. Spector managed to turn what was an emotional, honestly-delivered song with poignant lyrics and a beautiful melody into overly-sentimental clap-trap. Which isn't to say the Spector version is bad, per se; with the exception of Revolution #9, which is less a song and more a sonic collage of some sort (or whatever the hell you want to call that experimental crap Lennon did). It's just that the un-Spectored version is far superior, yet was never released until the Anthology series came out back in 1995. Thankfully, Anthology 3 contains the un-altered original version of "The Long and Winding Road," and it's great. Damn-near perfect, you could even say.

Anyway, the point of that rambling historical account was that I've been wanting to hear the original version of "The Long and Winding Road" ever since Friday, when I watched a Paul McCartney Live DVD I got for Christmas last year. It's the companion piece to his Back in the U.S. double-disc live set (yes, this is the concert I didn't get to go to back in October 2002. Yes, I'm still pissed). It's got a version of "The Long and Winding Road" that he did on the last night of the tour and choked up because of his crew being all sentimental and stuff. Very touching and affecting, but I wanted more than ever to hear the original version after that.

Well, I dug out Anthology 3 and got my proverbial shwerve on. But, as often happens with the Beatles (and many other groups I'm obsessed with), that one song was not enough. I wanted more latter-day Beatles now. So I started playing Abbey Road and Let it Be relentlessly, and gave the ol' White Album (aka The Beatles) a couple of spins over the weekend. All of this adds up to two things:

(1) I'm really, really ready to hear the new Let it Be...Naked that was released a few weeks ago. Sadly, I have to wait until Christmas, when dad or I one gets it.

(2) I'm in the mood to listen to early Harrision solo stuff. Why? "The Long and Winding Road" isn't a Harrison tune, it's a McCartney tune through and through. Well, in the process of listening to Anthology 3, I heard a couple of Harrison's late Beatles tunes, and a couple of songs that wouldn't surface until George's solo debut, All Things Must Pass. So now I really want to listen to All Things Must Pass. This would be just fine, except that Clif swiped my copy of it (which I'd copied off of Dad's original CDs a couple of years ago, and habitually listened to like a crack addict going back for another hit day after day) the last time I was in Clarksville, and I forgot to grab Dad's while I was at home Thursday. So I'm George-less, which is annoying as hell.

The moral of the story--I really need to get all the Beatles/solo Beatles stuff on CD for myself so I don't have to keep borrowing from Dad, and so Clif will stop stealing my copies. As it stands, he stole all my copies of the Beatles albums (I still own a couple of the albums myself, and still miraculously have my old copies of Let it Be and Magical Mystery Tour) a couple of years ago. Well, now that he has them, he can't steal them again, right? Perfect time to get my own original copies.

Besides, I'll be heading off to another grad school soon. Who knows exactly where that school will be. All I know for sure is that it won't be close. Long story short, I'll be too far away to borrow many of Dad's CDs anymore, and that's sad in a way. It's always been nice to be able to dig through his collection when I'm at home; I won't be able to do that anymore if I'm going to school half a country (or across an ocean) away.

So, to recap--"The Long and Winding Road" is a good song, if you can find the un-adulterated version. Latter-day Beatles work is really good, if you like the very precise production they used and can stand the rather meloncholy sense you get by listening to it and realizing they were falling apart at the seams as a band and that there's no chance of them ever making music again.

Now that everyone's thoroughly depressed (or at least, I am), I'm gonna go back to listening to Anthology 3. "Glass Onion" is next. Woo!

Oh, on a semi-related note, I got new headphones last night after work, so that crisis has been weathered. Say what you will about the faceless corporate machine, 24-hour Wal-Marts are convenient.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "Glass Onion"