Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday's Title: Avoid Me

I'm still living in Chaosland. Not a place I enjoy.

The title is a Newsboys reference, by the way. I frequently refer to Breathe as "my daily devotional song". It's one I need far too often.

Ever have one of those days where your contempt for humanity festers and grows to such an overwhelming degree that you can't stand to deal with other human beings for another moment, and you start planning ways to completely isolate yourself from society? I have days like that eight, sometimes nine times a week.

Oh, all right, maybe it's not that bad most of the time. But sometimes it is. I had one of those days on Wednesday, the culmination of the last couple of weeks. I've spent too much of my time lately in limbo, waiting for other people to do something or at least tell me something. As an Olympic-level curmudgeon with an advanced degree in misanthropy, I don't relish dealing with other people at the best of times. I go into overload very quickly when I'm stuck depending completely on those other people - which I strenuously try to avoid - and they leave me dangling in the wind, which happens almost every time.

I don't often agree with the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, but "Hell is other people"... yeah, I'm all over that one.

Most of the problems have been professional. Stuff at work, and stuff with the prospective new job I recently mentioned. Those wheels are still turning, although they were mired in some pretty deep mud for a while this week. Others are personal. Remember that contractor who was coming to look at my house? I was very pleasantly surprised when he actually showed up.


That single visit ended with a promise to come back in a few days with a ladder to look more closely at the roof. It's been over a month. He hasn't been back, and he doesn't return my calls. I've left him voicemails, and left messages with a nice lady who answers his phone. Good thing I didn't give him any money yet, although I'd happily hand over a stack of twenties and fifties if he'd show up and do his job.

I've given up on him. I sent out a team of cryptozoologists to see if they could confirm another sighting, and although they tell me there may be a plesiosaurus in the drainage ditch out back, they couldn't find a trace of this guy.

So, I started calling other contractors. Each number was answered by a very pleasant and enthusiastic lady who took down my information and promised that somebody who knows something would call me back ASAP. Nobody has called back.

I'm planning a full entry one of these days on the history of trying to get people to come fix my house in exchange for money. I've been taking notes over the years. This is not that entry, and I'll stop now before it turns into it.

Anyway, yesterday and today have been much better. It's even been relatively safe for people to speak to me. However, I have to get on a plane this weekend. Let's see what dealing with the airlines does for my view of humanity.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of the second shelf down, left side, on Bookshelf # 1. Another slushpile. This one is a complete mixed bag of books both read and unread, among other debris. Highlights include C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Hobbes, Sigmund Freud, doctrinal volumes from religions other than my own (The Book of Mormon, The Catechism of the Catholic Church), and a Late Night with David Letterman mug full of writing implements. The colourful cellophane-wrapped package in the upper right is a bundle of apologetics tracts from Catholic Answers. I may blog my way through them one of these days if I feel like alienating a whole lot of people. Suffice it for now to say that I've read their arguments and given them careful (and prayerful) consideration, and the reasons why I've chosen Protestantism remain.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quick Notes

Some hither-and-yon ramblings in lieu of a real entry. Things are still hectic.

My son and I went to see Up. It was good, if surprisingly melancholy. He appreciated the floating house and talking dogs. I appreciated the theme that we will all inevitably lose everything and everyone we ever loved. This movie was fun for the whole bipolar family.

Spoiler time. If I had been in charge of the movie, the photo montage over the end credits would have included a shot of the kid (sorry, I forget his name and am far too lazy to look it up) sitting alone in the funeral home, in a throwback to the earlier shot of the old guy (see what I said about the kid a very short time ago) sitting alone at his wife's wake. That shot seemed like an obvious capper to me, and I was disappointed that it wasn't included.

I also liked that Pixar made a movie with virtually no merchandising potential. Nobody is going to want action figures of the old guy or the chubby kid. It's almost as though the Pixar crew were thumbing their collective nose at the Disney machine to which they were tethered. Now that the Pixar/Disney split is imminent, I know which side I'm on. My son and I will probably be at the next Pixar movie. The next Disney movie, not so much.

While at the theatre for Up, I picked up the free movie magazine in the lobby. Trendy Nitwit Monthly or somesuch. Most of it was of course vacuous fluff. I take perverse pleasure in flipping through it without reading the captions to see how few of the stars-du-summer-blockbuster I recognize. My ratio is down to about one in ten.

Anyway, one article (the movie started late, so I actually read a good chunk of the magazine) caught my interest. Not for a good reason. In an article about an upcoming werewolf movie, this passage appeared (sadly, the link means I now know the actual title of the magazine. I preferred Trendy Nitwit Monthly):
Director Chris Weitz told USA Today the requirements included having Native American or First Nation ancestry, because their characters belong to the Quileute tribe, based in La Push, Washington. “They had to have papers that proved their heritage,” says Weitz.
See the problem? If not, I'll wait.

OK. Anybody who doesn't think there's a problem with that needs to consider the logical outcome of this sort of thinking. I foresee a World War II movie in which the director insists that all Nazi characters be played by actors who are purely Aryan and have the papers to prove it. After all, racial purity is important in filmmaking, right?

When that happens, I don't want to hear any whining from anybody who doesn't acknowledge the problem with demanding racial papers from actors playing Native American werewolves.

Now there's a sentence that has probably never been written before.

Michael Jackson is still dead. Just throwin' that out there.

Actually, I've got a couple of other notes on the matter.

First up, I feel especially bad for poor old Latoya being tossed into the spotlight again. I think most of us had forgotten about her, which was the best thing for her reputation. It's pretty rough when Janet Jackson is your sister, but you're still considered the trampy one.

Second, Michael is on the cover of every tabloid this week, and most mainstream "news" outlets are still running factoids about him as their top stories. Farrah Fawcett is getting thrown an occasional bone. (Don't snicker at that phrasing. Show some class.) Ed McMahon has been largely forgotten already.

There's a worse omission, though. Where's the love for Karl Malden? The guy was in Patton, for crying out loud! That alone should be worth any number of swimsuit posters, "Hey-Yo"-s, and child molestation allegations.

Driving things further into the sewer, let's play a round of America's fastest growing quiz sensation, Choose Your Own Punchline! Today's episode is rated For Mature Audiences due to immaturity.

Today I noticed that a co-worker's wristwatch was loose. Having my watch sliding around on my arm like that would drive me crazy. He said, "I lost some weight, and now my watch is loose. I need to readjust the strap sometime."

I replied, "I don't think losing a few pounds should make your forearms shrink that much. That's a loss of muscle tone."

Knowing full well what he was getting into, he said, "Do you have any suggestions how I could build up my wrist muscles?"

Which brings us to that time again...Choose Your Own Punchline!

(A) "Get a divorce."


(B) "Stay married a while longer."

As always, your votes will be tabulated by Price-Waterhouse-Cooper! Well, Price and Cooper. Waterhouse is off somewhere building up his wrist muscles.

Hey, did a U.S. Supreme Court Justice actually say something this revealing while discussing Roe v. Wade?
Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.
Why, yes. Yes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg did.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you don't see the problem here, I can't help you.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of the top left shelf of bookshelf # 1. This shelf is a slushpile of stuff that I haven't sorted away in a proper place yet. Highlights include several photo albums / scrapbooks (the last three on the right are full of Beatles clippings), unread books by B.F. Skinner, Ayn Rand, and Richard Matheson (I like to imagine those three hanging out together when they were alive, perhaps at one of those old drive-in burger joints with the waitresses on roller skates), and my beloved three-hole punch. It's under the monkey. No, the other monkey. No, the one in the middle with the Santa hat.