Monday, September 29, 2008

Beautiful green babies

These are the first tomatoes on our plants in Marshall's garden. I got so excited when I discovered them, I felt like a proud parent. I've never had much faith in my ability to grow tomatoes, so the presence of these perfect green spheres feels like a vote of confidence in my gardening skills. Hooray!

Another thing to hooray about: Last Friday I bought two separate plane tickets to Denver and Chicago, respectively. After I got my receipts from Priceline, I felt flush with purchasing power and the excitement of increased human mobility. (Let's not talk about my carbon footprint, okay? I'm excited.) I'm having an influx of disposable income via my freelancing piece mentioned below, so I decided it was time to do the things I've been wanting to do. Which means seeing friends dearly missed in Denver and looking at and hopefully experiencing some nice mountains again. And visiting Marshall's family in Chicago: how couple-ish. I think visiting one another's family over Halloween is the alternative to dressing up in complimentary costumes to cement this status. My parents will be visiting Austin the previous week so it will indeed be a family bonanza. Yeehaw.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Friday

I found this video in a collection of videos to make you happy. It's a perfectly synced Bert & Ernie rap video. It's awesome.

And then there's this. I can't really explain why I searched for a review of the 1998 Carrot Top vehicle, "Chairman of the Board," except to say it involved a long internet trail of procrastination. What follows is perhaps the only funny thing to come out of Carrot Top's prolonged career. The review is viciously hilarious, and almost lyrical in its utter hatred for what Carrot Top has brought upon humanity.

It is blood in your stool on the eve of your wedding day. It is an unaccounted-for prosthetic eyeball swimming languidly in your vegetable pad thai. It is happiness itself blotted forever from the cosmos.

It's completely brilliant and you need to read it.

113 out of 128 people found the following comment useful :-
The end of decency, 15 June 2004
Author: tbreuer from Appleton, Wis.

A few weeks ago I watched Carrot Top's Chairman of the Board on HBO.

This is not just the worst movie I've ever seen, it's the worst movie that's ever been or ever could be.

There's a notorious scene in John Waters' Pink Flamingos where the drag queen Divine picks up an actual piece of dog feces and eats it. That is a Capraesque delight compared to the moment in COTB when Carrot Top leans in to kiss actress Courtney Thorne-Smith. Indeed, Thorne-Smith deserves an honorary Oscar for not vomiting her small intestines the second Top's fish-underbelly skin came within Taser range of her lips.

I have spent the better part of my life a happy-go-lucky atheist, endlessly circling an epistemological cul-de-sac, foolishly content in the delusion that naught but unremarkable randomness and the caprice of evolution govern our planet and our lives.

I write this now as a careworn and grudging theist, cursed with the metaphysical certainty that God exists and that there must indeed be a reckoning. Only a literal hell can restore to the universe a sense of order and return to our souls - souls thirsting for justice for humanity, for cable subscribers everywhere, and not least of all for Courtney Thorne-Smith - a small measure of peace.

Indeed, Mr. Top's crushingly unfunny "film" is a long, jagged scar across our collective unconscious. It is your hopes and dreams replaced by a dying, weeping child crushed and all at once bereft of breath in your unconsoling - and inconsolable - embrace. It is blood in your stool on the eve of your wedding day. It is an unaccounted-for prosthetic eyeball swimming languidly in your vegetable pad thai. It is happiness itself blotted forever from the cosmos.

Carrot Top is the worst human being who has ever lived or ever will live. Stalin? What's a pogrom here or there? Pol Pot? The killing fields are the sweet songs of seraphim heard within the fragrant bosom of your lover compared to this dread offering. Hitler? Europe, she recovered by and by. There is no Marshall Plan for the pain and ruin we Chairman of the Board survivors must endure the sad remainder of our now-squalid lives.

Not only are there no - no - laughs in this movie, this film will steal laughs from the rest of your life. It represents a debt that can't be repaid - not now, not here, not in Superman's Bizarro World, not in a far, future galaxy run by countless trillions of nanorobots singularly programmed to wipe away forever the stain of this film, a film that is now irretrievably etched in thousands of banshee-screaming layers of space-time.

What's done is done. Though every cell of your body may cry out in anguish and every ribbon of DNA struggle mightily against an unslakeable urge to rip itself asunder, there can be no peace - not for you, not for your children, not for your children's children. Satan, to put it all too bluntly, has won. The collective efforts of millions of preachers, doctors, philanthropists, inventors, kings, queens, philosophers and humble servants of God throughout history are but piffle and dreck.

At Carrot Top's official Web site, www.oh-my-god-why-am-i-typing-this/someone-please-take-my-e yes-out-with-a-melon-baller/and-fill-the-raw-moist-sockets-with-m olten-pig-iron/lest-the-next-thing-i-see-be-carrot-tops-shiny-disgus, Carrot Top offers 8-by-10 glossies of himself for 10 bucks apiece.

If deep within the 342 pages of legislation comprising the USA PATRIOT Act there had been a provision for abolishing the civil liberties and reproductive rights of all purchasers of the graven image of this execrable amalgam of Ed Gein-lampshade skin and circus peanut-colored horror, I for one would have been happy to donate every last dollop of fat and tallow in my belly, buttocks, thighs and shanks to grease the skids for fascism once and for all.

But alas, the right to be screamingly unfunny and to slobber to horrifying effect on attractive blond actresses is a long-recognized pillar of our democracy. The right to enjoy watching this sort of thing is similarly entrenched, as is the right to watch dwarf-tossing, to view pornography in which midgets peeing is the central theme, and to stare at the noonday sun.

Still, though I've never met a Carrot Top fan, they are presumably out there. According to his Web site, he performs in Las Vegas a lot. Believe me, I would prefer to see a Siegfried and Roy show in which their tigers break loose and devour half the audience and the better part of my lower torso.

In fact, Carrot Top came to my home town earlier this year. Some poor reporter at our local paper had to write a feature story on him. Knowing that writing anything about Carrot Top that doesn't completely savage him is akin to being one of the PR flacks assigned to spin the Bhopal thing for Union Carbide, I can sympathize with this poor fellow. But not that much.

For when it comes to Carrot Top, his stupid AT&T commercials, or that steaming pile of offal Chairman of the Board, you are either with us or you are with the terrorist. Suffice to say, you're better dead than red.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blinds and bailouts

"I never wanted to take them off, though I would have needed a federal bailout after buying them."

- The New York Times, in reference to a pair of leather riding leggings

Last night someone finally came over to install blinds on my windows. Since I moved into my apartment in June, I've likely exposed myself everyday to my neighbors through two sets of bay windows. I finally wrote a letter to the elderly landlords about how I was going to buy blinds and take it out of my rent, because this really would not do. They were so impressed with my handwriting that they wrote back in old-peoples' fancy script, "Of course you need blinds. (P.S. You have lovely print.)" And they basically gave me a blank check to do it.

So six trips to Lowe's and a dozen phone calls later, I had some nice faux-wood blinds in my posession. The guy who called me to install them said he was a student. I expected a 20 year old kid from UT, but he arrived (after trying to cancel and reschedule) as a 40 year old perpetual student. He was going to community college and planned to transfer to UT and major in Radio Film and Television. He acted like a 20 year old college student. I stuck to my original conclusion that the reason he tried to reschedule on me was to hang out at a friend's house and get stoned.

We listened to NPR on my clock radio. The news is nothing but the federal bailout. The guy who was installing my blinds started to bitch about it. "Man, I can't believe that we're doing this!" he said. "This is socialism!"

"I know," I said. "It's like the least Republican thing ever."

"It's practically fascism," said the guy, drilling holes into my walls. "But my Republican friends in Wimberley think fascism is something on the left. Did they ever take a civics class? Everybody should take a civics class. Do they even have those anymore?"

"The thing that's most ridiculous to me is that they're talking about whether or not CEOs of these ruined companies should get huge severances," I said. "I mean, that shouldn't even be a question. I can't believe we have to talk about it."

"I know, man. It's ridiculous."

A commentator on NPR said people might riot.

I felt doubt that anyone would riot about anything national, and then a moment of hope that they would.

And by the way, what is all this Wall Street versus Main Street talk? I'm assuming that the campaign's Main Street/ Town Hall Meeting/ small town archaisms that don't exist in any salient meaningful form has transferred over to this bailout debacle. But look, I don't live on Main Street. I don't think Austin has a Main Street? I am not relating to this phrase. For some reason, it is beginning to make me angry.

Anyhow, the guy installing my blinds finished doing it in half the time he had estimated over the phone. In the meantime we talked about why he moved apartments, the time this lady he was installing blinds for made him stay for her kid's piano lesson to play, "Maybe I'm Amazed," and China. At the end, I was very pleased with my blinds. And went off to dig a new guerrilla garden on the east side.

We are going to have a Garden Posse documentary after all. My favorite comment of the night, from a white girl who drove up to our traffic triangle in a largely black neighborhood: "Some people knocked on my door and said, 'There's a group of white people digging down the street. Are you associated with them?'"

Friday, September 19, 2008

What have I been doing with myself?

I've been ignoring this blog, that's for sure. I've never thought of myself as a "blogger," per se. It's a label that I reserve for people who design their own banners, aren't really put off by Twitter, and have an estimated readership of more than two.

And then one day you look around, take stock of things, and realize that you currently possess three blogs. And then you must admit that blogging is maybe a part of your life right now. You too, have been swept up in the progress of communication technology, via the internet.

As for this blog, I'm afraid I've lost my two readers over a summer of neglect and the possibility that they have better things to do than check a consistently static website. But I like having a place for personal rambling. I mean, not too personal. I think it's very dumb when people air all their gossip and negative feelings about people in their lives and then act surprised when those people want to alienate them from their lives. And then commentators have another golden opportunity to talk about how self-indulgent and stupid my generation is. (I'm referring to Emily Gould's cover story in the NYT magazine this summer, and this stupid web series I've been watching, quarterlife.)

I will instead take this opportunity to be self-indulgent in a positive way, and write about what I've been doing since I have not been writing in this blog.


I've been hammering away at my bizarre science beat on Earth & Sky. Each week I think to myself, what science story can be more weird and gross than last week? This week I got away with saying, "Babykilling ant nannies" on the radio. And doing away with a script. I'm excited about that.

And today, my product of blood, sweat, and.... well, not blood and sweat, but long scheduling conflicts and file uploading frustrations, my piece with Jeff Lieberman talking about Arthur Ganson is finally on Studio360. Here, I am trying to upload the audio:

Yay! I think it worked. The piece is a very heavy edit of my interview with Lieberman, an incredibly smart and talented man for whom I will one day buy a beer. And then we will watch his TV show together.

I have to figure out how to use my recording equipment properly before I freelance again, which I am keen to do.

Guerrilla gardening

After returning from Peru, I organized a guerrilla gardening group. We're called the Garden Posse. We have a not-neglected blogspot blog in which I've chronicled all of our adventures and gardens as of yet. Guerrilla gardening is even better than I thought. It's wonderful that so many people are excited about it and show up to dig, people that see us doing it come over to watch, and we've been receiving a far amount of attention just for posting craigslist ads. A film student wrote me yesterday to ask if she could make the Garden Posse the focus of her documentary. Sure, guerrilla gardening is interesting, but I don't see a compelling narrative. Unless we got arrested. Which is unlikely. Because people like gardens.


I like this picture because it looks like Marshall's mustache is making a comma over his mouth. I don't know what to say other than we're both really, really happy, and there are many, many reasons why, and we intend for it to stay that way for a very, very long time. Such things have been agreed upon.

Also, Marshall's band has a new EP and it's gotten nice reviews around the blogosphere (see, I use that word casually, I must be a little bit of a blogger). For example, See what you hear, said the gramophone. I love it and you will too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Things I don't get

  • Little bikes ridden by grown men
  • Why you can't eat okra after it's bigger than your pinky
  • Sarah Palin's support for abstinence-only education after her 17-year old daughter became pregnant, and her hesitant belief in global warming when the ground beneath her Alaskan feet is melting
  • Why I might interview Bruce Springsteen
  • People who continue to drive Hummers
  • Why the people selling us office furniture say "We hate kittens." on their business cards
  • Women wearing uncomfortable shoes with high flimsy heels who look like they are in pain/about to fall over at any second
  • How Marshall got to be so ridiculously wonderful
  • Why I am so lucky