27 April 2007

Things I have learned this week.

-There's a new planet! It's the first to be discovered that has the potential for an Earth-like atmosphere. It's in the constellation of Libra, and it has a temperature (on average) of 32-104 degrees. That sounds nicer than Chicago. Scientists theorized that watr could exist in liquid form, so everyone's excited about that. Unfortunately, it's like 170 trillion light years away, or some ridiculous distance.

-Good thing we've found a new planet, cause this one's going down the drain. Apparently somewhere close to 25% of the word's bee population has disappeared. Now, it's somewhat well know that I've got a phobia about bees. I don't want them anywhere near where I can hear or see them, but that doesn't mean I don't want them on my planet. See, we need them to make the plants grow, and we need those things to eat. A friend told me yesterday that Einstein said that 'After the bees go, we've got four years left.' Scary thought.

-'This American Life' is the greatest thing around. I've been getting it on podcast from NPR, and I'm addicted. I'm not sure what day it comes on, and so I check each day to see if I've got a new episode. Ira Glass did a voice on 'Mr. Sprinkles' on Acceptable TV this week, which is really bizzare (according to their blog, he's a fan of 'Who Farted,' and is embarassed to admit that on NPR). Here's the link to Mr. Sprinkles 5: http://acceptable.tv/contest/tv/videos/1546-Mr-Sprinkles-5

You should watch all of them. they're really disturbing.

-Mormons wear special underwear. Are you aware of this? They're called Temple Garments, and they are a very personal thing to those wacky Utah residents. What's really weird is that the male version appears to have a codpiece, and both men's and women's have what seems to be masonic imagry on them.

That's all for now.

17 April 2007

13 April 2007

God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut has passed away.

I received this news on a night that was already dismal, and the news of his passing brought tears to my eyes. Many of us have read at least a few of his books, probably Slaughterhouse-5 or Cat's Cradle or Welcome to the Monkey House. Some of us have read more. I mentioned his death yesterday at my job to one of the cooks, who was unfamiliar with Mr. Vonnegut’s work, and it led me to think: Why was he so important?

Right off of the bat, I’d have to say that Vonnegut was the single biggest influence on my writing that I’ve encountered. Trained as a public relations man, he understood about getting to the point. He didn’t write a lot of flowery pose, and his characters generally talked like people, without great flourishes or grandiose speeches. His books were deceptively easy to read, which led some to dismiss his work as simplistic.

That was not the case.

I made a short film in college based on his short story “The Big Space Fuck.” When I first thought of the idea, I just thought it’d be funny to base a film on a story he wrote as a laugh (it was the first published story to feature the word ‘fuck’ in a title), but as I tried to explain the story to my fellow students, it became apparent to me that this silly story about firing a rocket full of ‘jism’ into space had more layers than an onion. He had the ability to compress metaphor and subtext into a form that made it apparent if you were looking and unobtrusive if you weren’t.

The fist book I read by him was, I believe, Slaughterhouse-5. I read the book in hours (like most of his books, it’s pretty short), went to the used bookstore in the next couple of days, bought perhaps another six or seven of his books, and read them all within days. It took a couple of weeks to work my way though all of his books, but by now I’ve probably reread his books hundreds of times.

Not only do I respect the man for his secular humanistic views (a stance that has become more and more rare), for his basic decency (he adopted his sister’s children after she died young), or his humor, but the fact that he was able to convey such a friendliness in his words. He just seemed to be the type of guy you could have a beer and a smoke with, shoot the shit about any number of topics, and feel like he was listening. I bet he was a great listener.

God Bless You Mr. Vonnegut. You’ve brought so much joy and creativity to my life. I can only hope that one day I’ll do you proud.

11 April 2007

Weather in Chicago

This is what I wake up to this morning. I don't approve.


Strike another item off of the To Do List:2007 edition. I've gone and done yoga.

If you're reading a blog, chances are that you've already done yoga at least once, but if you haven't, allow me to tell you about my experience. I went to do Bikram yoga at a studio on Ravenswood, Om on the Range (even though it has that cutesy name). A friend/co-worker of mine goes there regularly, and recommended it. You may have images of skinny people in sweatpants performing poses called things like Camel or Bowstring, and you wouldn't be off. But it's also HOT. They pump the room up to about 100 degrees, with the humidity in the 30-45% range. The session was taught by a very nice guy named Terry, and lasted 90 minutes. I've rarely sweated so much in my life, but when I left, I had not only the satisfaction of completing another item on my to-do list, but a feeling of accomplishment as well. I tend to have a somewhat constantly sore back and neck, and for once I didn't. I've also been having what some know to be an incredibly stressful week, and for 90 minutes, I barely thought about it. That in itself made it worth it.

I'll be back. I can't wait.

03 April 2007


--I am now able to strike something else off of my To Do List for 2007, get a bed. I've got one. My lovely roommate traded four bottles of wine for a sofa bed, a full mattress and box springs, and a funky late 70's hexagonal end table (perfect for storing board games in).

--As I haven't had a bed at all in five months, and a comfortable one in over four years, this is quite a change for me. I slept on it last night, and can I tell you, it's much better than sleeping on the floor.

--What else...I started to learn how to use Flash this morning. I was able to make a circle travel across a screen. Very exciting. Following this, an epic. Just as soon as I learn the software.

--This is turning into a very mundane entry. What should I say next? That I ate food today, and wore clothes?

--'SLC Vice!' is written, and if I do say so myself, it is pretty funny. Cieslak mentioned once how in real life, he is far more offensive in his humor than I am, but when it comes to making movies, he finds my humor a little dark. Funny how that is. I don't see it myself, but perhaps that's why we're a good team.

--I've been blogged about. It's very exciting. I have been making videos for the acceptable.tv site, and been somehat active in the site. I've managed to have someone write a quite nice blog about me (another contributer who goes by WorstShowsHere, which would make sense if you've been to the site), and one that insults me not once, but twice (although the author doesn't realize I'm the same person. This is what it must feel like to be famous. Now I just have to work on that whole 'rich' thing.