Thursday, March 31, 2005


Dear God, a TV movie about Mork & Mindy is airing next week.

The ad for it was 15 seconds long and my level of disbelief increased at a geometric rate throughout. The ultimate whatthefuck?! moment was when I realized the music playing underneath, "Don't Fear the Reaper". Yes, a song about a boy trying to convince his girlfriend to commit suicide with him is perfect for the unauthorized story of what went on behind the scenes at Mork & fuckin' Mindy.

Grrr! Rassafracka and the gnashing of teeth.

Watch the clips for yourself, I guess.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My head: redux

Today, two more strangers stopped me to compliment the back of my head. As you might recall, it looks like this

redd kross

except with three weeks of dark brown roots showing.

I'm really quite taken aback with how much attention it's getting. Not just nudge-your-friend-and-point attention either, it's risen to stop-me-and-talk attention. Everybody says some variation on either "I just had to say, I love your hair" or "What's with the cross man?"

Surprisingly, no one has said, "You look stupid" or "Faggot!" At least, to my face.

I mentioned before why I did it, but I've grown tired of explaining it, so now I just shrug and say "Why not?" or "Seemed like the thing to do".

Maybe it's the tsunami/Red Cross thing, but I'm beginning to think that iconography has a more powerful effect than I'd previously imagined, especially when featured on the dorsal surface of the cranium.

What symbol should I do next year? And peace, anarchy, and smiley face are right out. Here's some ideas I'm toying with:

[Can you tell I suck at HTML? Can't even get the images on the same line]

So frickin' cool

Man do I love nature.

Some octopuses (I read somewhere that this is the correct plural since octopus isn't a Latin word) may disguise themselves and then run away on two tentacles. Check out this sweetness.

*props to the perfectduluthdayers for the rad link and photo

Sunday, March 27, 2005

SXSW: notes on music

It was an off year for SXSW music. Normally I get psyched about several bands that are coming and then discover a few during the week, but not this year. I saw many bands during the conference, but only a few stood out.

Honorable mentions go to VHS or Beta and Supersystem. VHS or Beta worked a huge crowd at Stubb's and seemed rather awe-struck by how well they were doing. They do the dancey rock thing better than most of the dancey rock bands (oh Gang of Four what you have inspired) and the singer's spot-on Robert Smith vocals were both cool and creepy. I had my hopes way up for Supersystem and they kind of delivered. The energy in the room was off and they were clearly nervous, but about halfway through their set they turned it around and ended well.

Third prize goes to Jim & Jennie and the Pine Tops for their day show at B.D. Riley's. Damn but they can get me going. Piercing vocals and furious strumming are wonderful in the afternoon. I was less enthused by their recent move toward electric instruments, but the day show was all traditional bluegrass.

Second prize goes to Calexico. I've seen them something like 5 times before, but I swear they're one of the best live bands around and are not to be missed. They didn't disappoint. During their day show at Emo's and their regular showcase at Antone's, they impressed me all over again with brilliantly textured songs and a zeal for performing. "Crystal Frontier" rocked my lame ass, as witnessed by those standing behind me.

First prize is easily earned by Kings of Convenience. From the moment they started their quiet set of acoustic folk-pop, they had the audience in the palm of their hand. They began by hushing the crowd, which actually worked, despite the overabundance of music industry types. Then they requested that photographers get picture-taking out of the way and helpfully posed smiling, then "rocking out". Then, they just started to play. Beautiful. Highly recommend picking up their albums. The highlights were a version of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" where they got the audience to sing the backup chorus and a song performed with a guest female vocalist, Feist (thanks mybloodyself). I walked out of the show smiling, glad that I'd had at least one perfect moment during SXSW this year.

SXSW: notes on film

This is a bit late, but I was too busy during SXSW and too sick immediately after to recap the festivals.

Our Brand Is Crisis is a doc about the last Presidential election in Bolivia where James Carville's political consulting firm worked for one of the candidates. While not a great film, it's a solid work from a young filmmaker, Rachel Boynton. The access she got was incredible. She was able to follow the candidate, Goni, everywhere and sit in on all the political strategizing by the Greenburg, Carville, Shrum (GCS) firm.

At documenting the events and thought process of the campaign, the film succeeds. It also raises good questions about GCS going to Bolivia and applying their American brand of campaigning (something they've done in something like 15 other countries). I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more of specific critique of GCS not only taking American "innovations" like negative campaigning and focus groups into a quite different culture, but also GCS' history of working for monied, slightly-to-the-left mainstream candidates and acting like they are the saviors of progressive politics. Nevertheless, it's a solid political doc and has inspired me to find out more about GCS' global activities.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a doc developed from the book of the same name (minus the Enron: part) by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. While it is informative and has fantastic talking heads, it ultimately fails for me due to its profound artlessness.

There is a common critique of documentaries made up mostly of people sitting in a chair, talking. The rather static nature makes them visually monotonous, so most docs that, as a matter of course, have to feature talking heads cut away to more dymanic shots from time to time. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is colossally heavy-handed with its cutaways. When the talking heads compare Enron's schemes to gambling, there's a cutaway to a casino table. When the heads speak about the bull market? A statue of a bull. Duh.

More egregious was the music. The amount of the music budget could have alone financed a whole 'nother documentary, and every cue was crushingly obvious. When a talking head noted that Enron head Ken Lay was the son of a Baptist preacher, in comes "Son of a Preacher Man". When the film shows how California got fucked by Enron during the blackouts, "Californication" plays underneath. And on and on and on. Really annoying.

Ultimately, the film lays out well a fascinating subject with incredibly compelling characters, but is damaged by a relentless beat-you-over-the-headedness. Still, see it for an great examination of corporate greed, especially if you'd rather not read the book.

180 degrees away is The Devil and Daniel Johnston, an incredibly heartfelt, beautiful, and most of all respectful doc about the musician and his struggles with mental illness. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but this film moved me to tears several times.

I have always felt a connection to Daniel Johnston's music. It has a naive yet powerful quality that touches me. I defy anyone to listen to him sing "Going Down" without feeling something break inside. The film honors Johnston's ability to channel the emotional spectrum into deceptively simple pop songs, an ability that many people recognize despite his off-key voice and ragged guitar playing.

The director, Jeff Feuerzeig, has done a fantastic job of assembling a portrait of Johnston crafted from interviews with his friends and family, as well as selections from the hours of audio and video tapes that Johnston and his friends made through the years. Just one example of priceless material is the audio tape of Johnston being arrested by Park Police for drawing Christian fish symbols all over the inside of the Statue of Liberty, a tape made by Johnston himself.

Granted, being from Austin, having previous knowledge of principle interviewees (e.g. friends of Johnston Louis Black, publisher of the Austin Chronicle weekly paper, and Kathy McCarty, Austin musician formally of the band Glass Eye for whom Johnston used to open), and personally advocating for the continued existence of the alien frog mural at 21st & Guadalupe helps to establish a closer tie to the film than the average viewer. Still, I believe that anyone who watches it, whatever their familiarity with Daniel Johnston, will gain from the experience. Well, unless you're an asshole who laughs during scenes of Johnston's mental breakdown and therefore prompt me to dearly wish to beat you about the head and neck.

I wish I could have seen the end of Code 33, a procedural doc about the search for a serial rapist in Miami. While the look of the film is decidedly low-end, this only enhances the you-are-there quality to the manhunt, which is compelling. Unfortunately, I had to go to work, so I missed the end. Someday. Oh, and the filmmakers Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley are lovely people with an adorable daughter.

The audience was psyched for Jesus is Magic, basically a filmed performance of comic Sarah Silverman. Unless she's performing live in your town, the film is the only way to see comedian Sarah Silverman do her whole act, since much of it is decidely TV unfriendly. Starting with the standard standup comic concert film formula, Silverman and director Liam Lynch add fresh elements like an odd musical framing device and an on-stage backup band (who knew Silverman could sing?). The material is hilarious, but only if you like Sarah Silverman's brand of edgy comedy. Here's a test, one of her jokes goes something like this:

SS: When I was 9 I was raped. I'm very conflicted about it though because I'm Jewish and he was a doctor.

Did you laugh? Then you'll love her. Did you groan? Then not so much. Were you offended? Then avoid all contact with her.

Besides the previous written about The Comedians of Comedy (wonderful and frickin' funny) that's all the films I saw (that I care to mention). If you noted that I wrote only about docs, good on you, that's where the quality tends to be at SXSW. In what is an ongoing issue, the festival attracts quality doc submissions and just so-so narrative ones. I chalk it up to reinforcing feedback. People see that it's a great place to premiere docs and which later get picked up for distribution, so the quality of docs goes up. SXSW Film isn't known as a showcase for quality narratives, so the great ones go elsewhere. Others who know more than I about the industry have made similar arguments, so I think it has merit. I just hope that in the future, some gem gets submitted to SXSW and not Sundance or Toronto therefore breaking the cycle.

A post while sobering up

Tonight I accompanied my roommates to a party of what was to be fellow grad students. It was great; white trash food, multiple games of darts, and two enormous, friendly Alaskan Malamutes. Then the undergrad boys showed up and I was roped into drinking games for the first time in something like eight years. Yes, I know, ludicrous.

So there I was with kids nine years younger than me making rules against saying the word "drink" in any tense. I did get a "cheers!" for making a Talking Heads reference, and the host of the party was playing a mix of almost exclusively college music of the early nineties. Waves of nostalgia washed over me as early Superchunk, Liz Phair, and Pavement wafted through the air and beer was quaffed all around. A decidedly odd experience at age almost-31.

Unfortunately, Jack in the Box was cleaning their milkshake machine, so no Oreo cookie shakes on the way home. Bastards. Grandma's house was doing a brisk business though.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Son you got a cross on the back o' yo head

Every year for SXSW, I do something to my hair. This year I went with an icon. I wanted something vaguely medical and the caduceus would have been difficult. So...

redd kross

It was a big hit with my SXSW volunteer friends and I was continually stopped by people in town for the festival/conference. Never would have thought a pattern instead of an all-over color would be such a conversation starter. Eh, live and learn.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

My face hurts

Today my cheeks are sore from all the laughing I did last night. The Comedians of Comedy show was frickin' awesome. A sold-out, packed-in crowd of Emo's ate it up and in turn made the performers incredibly happy. Patton Oswalt complained asked how he could ever go back to comedy clubs after this. Despite being time to end, he ended up continuing for 15 more minutes. For a comedian, I'm sure it's hard to walk away from an audience that adores you.

MC for the evening was Eugene Mirman impressed me. I know him mostly from his association with other comics and as the Russian kid (Eugene) on Home Movies. Funny guy and I'll see him again later this week at the SXSW music conference.

Maria Bamford did some of her great older material with a couple new jokes thrown in. She was a little off, maybe a little tired. Not a huge surprise, she connected better with the woman in the crowd.

Zach Galifianakis killed. The crowd was familiar with him, probably some from his show at UT last year, and ate it up. It's hard to single out anything in particular, he was just on and connected with the crowd well. Did his normal one-liners while playing piano and his "characters", a few I hadn't seen before.

Brian Posehn did a great set, heavy on the geek, sex, and poop jokes which endeared him at least to the men in the room. He tried out a few new jokes which, while needing a little work, seemed to work well. Funny guy.

Patton Oswalt closed the show with an amazing set. He clearly ran out of newer material and pulled out older stuff (he's incredibly prolific) to satisfy the appreciative audience. I think he should record his next album in Austin. At one point he had a, well, not a heckler per se, but a guy interrupting him drunkenly shouting, "Retarded Chewbacca!"

Patton responded, "What?! I don't... That's the weirdest heckle ever. How do you even respond to that?" Then he tried to actually do a retarded Chewbacca which didn't really work but was funny anyway. After a bit more pondering on the whole situation, the drunk guy climbs on stage and puts his arm around Patton. Security approached but Patton was handling it okay and the guy wasn't angry or violent. Slurring mightily he kept saying, "This guy. This guy," while pointing at Patton. After security gently ushered him offstage, Patton cracks, "Ladies and Gentlemen, my publicist." Then, Zach comes out, staggering and says, "What am I, on stage or something?" Lovely.

I can't summarize Patton's act completely (though I totally fell in love with him because of it), I do want to touch on one bit at the very end. He sets it up by explaining that he flew his and his fiancee's parents to Las Vegas and they all went to a Cirque Du Soleil show. He'd never seen it before and was stunned to see all these red state folks loving, "The gayest thing I've ever seen! There's a hoop on fire and a tiger dressed as a butler and three clowns jerking off on a ghost. It's French and wet and on fire. Why do these conservatives love it?! Apparently this is the way for the gay people to make progress. Can we put on tuxes, kiss, and make a life-long pledge to each other? No faggot! How about I blow my boyfriend on this trapeze? Great! We'll bring the kids."

Soooo good.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Al Franken in Austin to launch Air America

Al Franken just spoke at a SXSW panel. The timing of SXSW coincided with the launching of the Air America affiliate in Austin, or perhaps it was coordinated. The first part of the panel was a interview with Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith for airing on PBS, then audience questions. It was fairly ordinary, nothing Franken (and many others) haven't said before. In addition to the Corpus Cristi station already airing it, Air America will debut soon in Dallas, San Antonio, and Brownsville.

The most amusing part of the panel was when Franken noted, ruefully, the call letters of the Austin station: KOKE. This after the San Diego station yukked it up with K-Liberal San Diego, or KLSD.

Wocka wocka wocka.

SXSW: unseemly offers

Last Thursday I was explaining to fellow volunteers that when coming in for a work shift at the convention center, parking on the east side (of the highway) is readily available. There were many doubtful looks as the east side is the beginning of the "bad part of town", as if that really applied in Austin. So I explained that in all my many years of parking over there, only once had I been offered oral gratification in exchange for crack money. She asked, I demurred, encounter over. Easy as that. Despite this, my fellow volunteers remained largely unconvinced. More parking for me I guess.

Friday night marked encounter number two. As I walked down the street back to my car, a shuddering, clanking rust-pile that could be charitably referred to as a car pulled up beside me. The following conversation occurred.

Woman: Hey man, wanna buy some trees?

Me: No.

Woman: You know what that is right? It's weed.

Me (entirely in my head as I wordlessly walk away from her): I know what trees are. I just don't want to buy your crappy skunk weed at outrageously inflated "SXSW" prices.

Woman: Whatever man.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Make with the funny

Here is the article I wrote about the Comedians of Comedy tour and documentary coming to Austin next week featuring Maria Bamford (superduper), Zach Galifianakis, Patton Oswalt, and Brian Posehn. These are some of my favorite comics and I'm trying to be cool and not spazz out over this bounty. I'll post the full transcript of my interviews with Maria, Zach, and Patton as time permits.

I first saw Maria Bamford on the Tonight Show something like 5 years ago and was blown away. I'd never laughed so hard at a from-out-of-nowhere comic. Soon after, her Comedy Central special aired and I fell in comedic love. That is, love of a comic, not funny love. On her next trip to Austin, I went to see her live with a couple friends and we suffered extreme stomach and facial muscle ache. That's a good thing. We make it a point to see her every time she performs in town and my Tivo is set to automatically record all her appearances. I actually sat through more of Charlotte's Web 2 (a sacrilege) that I ever care to again because Maria was the voice of Charlotte's daughter Joy. Ah Tivo, you show me more minor guest appearances than I ever thought possible.

I first saw Zach Galifianakis on Conan one night and the sheer oddity was enough to interest me. He was also hilarious, so that helped. Later, I fortuitously saw him at Bumbershoot in Seattle and his set was so frickin' amazing that I went back again for his next one. I must admit that because of this I was prepared for the audience participation bit and in a rather Martin Prince-ish fashion willed him to call on me. So I sat in a chair on stage (because Zach gets lonely) and laughed. Zach called up a young girl as well who, by all appearances, not only got his jokes, but loved them; just howled. On stage though, she sat totally silent and looked bored. Zach would do a joke, then turn around and look at her, nothing. It was priceless, couldn't have been planned better. Afterwards, Zach took the time to chat with me and we marvelled at the difference between her off-stage and on. His Comedy Central special is also great and I dearly wish I had tapes of his short-lived VH1 talk show Late World with Zach. I watched Bubble Boy and can confirm that Zach's two minutes of screentime are the best two minutes of the entire movie.

I've never seen Brian Posehn do a long set, just clips and then his work on Mr. Show. So I'm looking forward to seeing more of him.

I think the first time I heard of Patton Oswalt was because he was doing staged readings of the script for The Day the Clown Cried, the infamous film where Jerry Lewis plays a clown in a Nazi concentration camp (read the Spy magazine story about this incredible, uh, thing). What a great idea (the readings, not so much the movie). Anyway, I saw Patton at Bumbershoot as well (different year from Zach) and laughed my ass off. Patton Oswalt is an incredibly gracious person. After the show, I stopped to express my appreciation and he actually listened and genuinely thanked me. He's definitely acerbic and puts on a grumpy attitude on stage, but off stage? Adorable and sweet, like a puppy. His Comedy Central special last year killed me. Tibecian scream singers? Yes please.

Dear lord I'm being gushy. Well, I can't help it. If someone consistently makes me laugh, the love must be shown.

Maria Bamford interview

Here's the email interview I did with Maria Bamford. Email afforded her the time and focus to think of truly bizarre responses that are nevertheless so very Maria.

St. Murse: Why did you want to be part of the Comedians of Comedy documentary? Why do you think you were asked to be part of it?

Maria Bamford: My main reason for being in the documentary was the money. And the prestige. I love money and prestige. And I think I was asked to be a part of it because the producers knew I was pro-money and pro-prestige. That's what I've always stood for and I've never wavered.

St. M: Why does the kind of comedy you four do seem to work well in rock clubs?

MB: The Rock club audience is non-sedentary - it stands and has freedom of movement. It has to get its own drinks. It's this kind of mass pioneer spirit that canappreciate the likes of Patton Oswalt and Co.

St. M: What unites you as performers? What divides you?

MB: What unites me with the performers is the excitement/fear that- if there were some sort of natural disaster or emergency quarantine while we were at the club and we were stuck together for 7 or 8 days, trapped in a green room with just some Crystal Geyser water and Twizzlers, then the comedy masks might fall and while performing the tasks of human survival - washing eachother's hair andmaintaining long periods of eye contact - we decide to start a family.

St. M: Tell me about the experience of riding around in a van of, presumably, somewhat stinky guys?

MB: Well, let me tell you, I'm a bit of a stinkpot myself sometimes! I dribble skim milk and oats on my shirt front to start the day off, then I fart around (literally!) and recite my Oprah affirmiations. There are some things that Allure (by Chanel) can't cover up! I also - much like my dog- have overfunctioning anal glands that sometimes secrete during overexcitement(morning radio shows, scarf-knitting).

St. M: Pitch me your dream sitcom.

MB: After having a nervous breakdown on stage at the Detroit Comedy Castle, I move back in with my parents in Duluth, MN. I play every character (including the love interest and dog). It will be called "Homeward Hound".

St. M: Your Tivo score was impressive this week (Dennis Miller, Dharma & Greg, Charlotte's Web 2). Is there a critical mass of appearances that will trigger an explosion of Maria Bamforditude that will sweep the nation?

MB: To reach critical mass, we need to have a core group of volunteers who are willing, on March 15th, to ride their bikes (skateboards welcome) to the Capitol. For 12 hours, a circling vortex of people who really care about the future of our world will perform bits from my 1999 Comedy Central Special in unison. No registration, just show up!

St. M: What makes you laugh?

MB: My dad, sister, mom, friends. My neices and nephews. Funny words and faces. Loud noises. Tickling around my soft areas. Ellen Degeneres. 12-step groupshares. My own foibles.

St. M: How long does it take a joke to cycle from when you write first write it and think it's funny to when you've said it so many times that it's not funny back around to funny again? (illustrative example: the Sideshow Bob rake scene from the Simpsons) Or is it a linear sequence so that it just keeps getting unfunnier the more you tell it?

MB: It is funny the first time I tell it. The second time - almost as funny. The third through 22nd time I tell it it is confusing and nobody knows what I'm getting at. The 23rd time, I have it memorized and my confidence and voice inflection convince others that it is funny - or that I have obviously worked very hard on it and deserve an applause break.

Zach Galifianakis interview

Here's the email interview I did with Zach. He was a bit busy, so we conducted it by email.

St. Murse: Why did you want to be part of the Comedians of Comedy documentary? Why do you think you were asked to be part of it?

Zach Galifianakis: I was forced to be part of the documentary by Mr. Patton Oswalt. There was a kidnapping and promises of meeting Wayne Brady. I never got to meet Wayne and the kidnapping involved a bow and arrow. I am part of it because of my of my 9-13 year old demographic pull.

St. M: Why does the kind of comedy you four do seem to work well in rock clubs?

ZG: I am not sure. Sometimes regular comedy clubs like Uncle Chuckles, SirLaughs Alot, Talk to the Hands and such tend to bring in a crowd that expects a certain stand up form. And the rock venues seem to have more of an anything goes feel. Maybe I am wrong.

St. M: What unites you as performers? What divides you?

ZG: What unites me with these particular performers is that we all share a love for Summer Stock. What divides us the fact that these guys do angel dust most afternoons while speaking admiringly about Laura Bush. I on the other hand enjoy a 20 year Tawny to unwind whilst waxing poetic about composting.

St. M: How close are you to going off on the next industry person who suggests that you'd get more work if you shaved your beard? (I assume that this happens, though maybe not)

ZG: I have been told by some members of "Team Galifianakis" to get rid of it. But if I shave it off I look just like Jude Law and it gets confusing.

St. M: Pitch me your dream sitcom.

ZG: I just want to be superimposed into old episodes of "Full House". So I could say things like, "Trust me you guys, when you get to be adults you will be such tools for Teen People. Get out why you can. Please just trust me on this one." Or maybe I would say, "I know the both of you are only two, but in about sixteen years, Bob Saget is going to talk about you guys in a very sexual way in his stand up routine in and it will creep you out."

St. M: What makes you laugh?ZG: Guys wearing two cell phones on their belts. And Entertainment Tonight.

St. M: With the repeated showings of Bubble Boy and Out Cold on Comedy Central, how long before you amass enough wealth and influence to be a viable candidate for public office?

ZG: I wasn't in those movies. All my movies have been really smart foreign films. Stories about an old Hindu canoe maker. My films usually involve plot lines where perhaps a kite saves an orphanage. I would never be in a snowboarding [movie] with Lee Majors where one's penis gets stuck in a jacuzzi jet.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

SXSW previews

I've written a few previews of SXSW bands for my school paper, yesterday it was The Ditty Bops and Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.

I want to like The Ditty Bops, but I'm also suspicious of them. It's an odd feeling, I've not been able to suss it out.

TFSP are great fun live, especially in an audience of people who know nothing about them. Here's that radio documentary they did for BBC Radio 1 during SXSW 2004. It's fun, for me anyway, to listen to musicians interviewing musicians about SXSW and Austin, both of which I have no distance from.

Today's paper had bits I wrote about Enon, Supersystem, and Calexico (scroll all the way down).

Enon has consistently gotten better over time.

Supersystem are my #1 gotta-see band for this year. I love pleasant surprises and their CD was one. I hypothesize that the amount of rump-shakin' I engage in at their show will be more than at the Moving Units show and less than the Junior Senior show. So that's pretty high up there. If only I were far enough along in my statistics class to calculate the likelihood of my hypothesis.

Calexico are magnificent and I dearly love them. I want to have Joey Burns' baby. Not because I'm hot for him, but just as a measure of how much I respect and his songwriting and voice. And if John Convertino wants to...

You know I'm torn here. At first it was going to be about if John Convertino wants to teach the little tyke to play drums. Then I had a sudden desire to get a little blue and make an untoward suggestion about how John Convertino could be more, ahem, intimately involved. Then I was apalled at my lasciviousness and trailed off, hence the ellipse. Then I became weirdly confessional and so wrote this paragraph. Which though blatantly obvious, I've just pointed out. ~How very metatextual.~*

Wow. I really need to go home and stop wasting your and my time.

*Some time, years ago, some friends and I decided that we needed a way to denote sarcasm over email because we engaged it in so often. We settled on surrounding the sarcastic text with tildes. So there you are, ~as if you cared.~

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

An over-the-top declaration

Several weeks ago, I was playing poker with my regular poker buddies. Todd had bet all his money and I was trying to figure out whether to call him. This took a bit of time and so the conversation moved on among the other players. Gay-ness came up somehow and also that I am full of it, gay-ness that is. Todd said with (turns out fake) surprise,

"I didn't know John was gay."

I quickly saw this as an opportunity to simultaneously gather information on his poker hand and maybe crack up my friends, so I grabbed my Flaming Lips hat which reads

the FlAminG lipS

jammed it on my head and loudly proclaimed,

"Yes Todd, I like cock!"

Not only did the table erupt in wild enthusiasm (laughter, palm slapping, hooting), but I got my read and called Todd. Turns out we split the pot, but the exchange will live on in infamy within our poker circle.

Lord do I love the flipping and the spinning

This semester of school is much harder than I anticipated, so I haven't had much time to write. I could fill this page with tales of academic woe, but I can't have this turn into a emoto-blog. Er, a whiny emoto-blog that is. I think it's fairly clear that this has a fair dose of righteous indignation emoto-blogging.

Anyway, a newspaper article I wrote about Cirque Du Soleil's show Varekai was published today. If you'd like, read it here. I profiled an act that involves tremendous amounts of flipping and spinning, my favorite athletic thing to watch.

I was initially resistant to Cirque when I heard about it years ago. When I saw it on TV, I was of two minds. The costumes and music are ridiculous, but look at what they're doing! Incredible! Eventually the sense-of-wonderment side triumphed. So I've travelled to Dallas to see Dralion and Varekai, and saw Allegria in Austin. My main motivation in wanting to go to Las Vegas is not to play poker, but to see the Cirque shows there. So I guess I'm a fan. Still not buying those damn CDs though.