Sunday, November 30, 2003

And the beat goes on... and the beat goes on...

Bloggy bloggy dee. Bloggy, bloggy daa.

Five hours since my last post. I'm going nutsy in here, i tell ya.

I'm not even halfway through my list of stuff to finish. At this rate (and I only checked email once in the meantime), I would probably finish my list at around 3:30 this morning. Dave don't dig all-nighters. Not anymore. "I jus' can't do it, cap'n. I cannoh ge' the power."

As it stands, I have five protocols that I haven't touched. Out of twelve. I'm not doing so hot.

I could lie to myself, and say that if I go home now, and get a "good night's sleep", I can come to work bright and early tomorrow and "crank out" the leftovers in record time, and still be "fully rested" for the day ahead. I've tried this before. Which is part of the reason why I got fired from my first job--trying this too much, and not coming through with the anticipated results. The phrase "grading papers" still makes me shudder.

So here we are. Dave, doing his typical Dave dance (though unlike all the times before, Dave has really been trying to keep up with everything all along, and this latest back-up is an unfortunate intersection of several uncontrollable events), has a choice to make. Does he--a)do the usual thing, and pack it up earlier than he might, and *swear* by all the stars in the heavens that this time will be different; or, b)suck it up, swig some Coke, and press onward?

Well, kids, in the words of the Christian pop-punk song whose creator's name suddenly escapes me--I'm pressing on.

Don't expect a victory post later on. Victory is hoping too much. I'm looking for a "Rocky" type of ending. Just gotta make it through Round 15.
What do you do when you don't want to work?

You blog.

It's Sunday, kids. And I'm here at the hospital because I have to catch up from the two days off for Thanksgiving. I was here yesterday too. *growl*

I should be hitting my work hardcore (I have roughly seven or eight hours of it to do by tomorrow) but instead I'm writing to you all. Why? (Do you really have to ask?) Cuz work sucks.

That's right kids, I'm still a child, and work sucks. I'm actually looking forward to that magical age of maturity (I'm still not sure when that kicks in, I mean, I'm 23 now... so what, 35?) when you get all this fun fuzzy satisfaction out of work, but I'm not really feeling it now.

Truthfully, I think that's all a sham, this "work bringing fulfillment" business. My father never looks fulfilled when he comes home from work. Just tired. Poor guy. Fred Jones, Willy Loman, and Don Quixote all rolled into one.

Anyway. Here I am. I'm gonna get started soon. But I wanted to chat for a while. It's lonely here, by myself.

So how are you. And the kids? That's good.

First on the announcement agenda: I want to offically name David Shook as my "Favorite Student of All Time." After a nice visit with Shook, Kevin, and Mr. Andrews (stay out of trouble, you), Mr. Shook gave me an autographed hardcover copy of "Sacrament (You Shall Know Our Velocity!)" by Mr. Dave Eggers. I had just finished reading it recently (tres bonne, as the French kids would say). So thank you, Dave. Keep writing, go to Columbia, and change the world. That's my last admonition to you.

Second item: I went to the River Oaks moviehouse last night (closest thing to an "art-house cinema" in Houston) and saw the amusing and well-done "BUBBA HO-TEP" starring Bruce "Don't Call Me Ash" Campbell as a seventy year old Elvis who, with a black elderly JFK, fights an Egyptian soul-sucking mummy who's dressed like a cowboy and killing codgers in an East Texas nursing home. (Really, it's too much to go into here. Trust me when I say that it's destined to be a cult classic, and if you see the video on the shelf in the future, rent it.)

Item Three: Did I mention I saw "Kill Bill"??? Dude. The most violent, blood-splattered movie I've ever seen. All I can say is "wicked cool." Nearly knocked off Pulp Fiction as my favorite Tarentino picture, after only one viewing. I'll be ready opening night for Volume 2 in February.

Number 4 with a Smile: Speaking of movies, I also pre-bought my tickets for Return of the King (seventeen days, man). My sister and I are going to the midnight opening of the film (her first midnight movie, my...ninth or tenth). I'm very pleased about this.

Fifth and lastly: I have mentioned this before, but I was thinking about it yesterday, so I thought I'd bring it up again. I've been keeping a list of all the books I've read this year. It's an interesting thing, to look back on what you've read and why. I'll post the list and my brief analysis, sometime in early January. As I said, I finished "YSKOV" a couple of days ago. Right now, I'm just getting into "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" by David Foster Wallace, and (in an ironic bit of juxtaposition) "The Sacred Romance" by Eldridge and "Not Even a Hint" by Josh Harris (who kissed dating goodbye, and now is married with two children--bravo him). "Not Even a Hint" is really really good so far--so I recommend that for one and all.

A side note. That post about the Angelika was the first original thing I've written in a while, as I said. I don't know what's happened to me lately, the creative well has been dusty these many days. But I'm now feeling like I'm on the verge of something creative. Those of you who pray, please pray for me in this. While not as monumental or world-changing as missions or evangelism, I still feel deep-down that literature is my calling, and any movement in that direction is one I'm excited and anxious about taking. Thanks.

Well that's it kids. I've wasted (not really wasted, so much as just *spent*) about twenty minutes on this. I have to get this bidness done.

Or as elderly mummy-fighting Elvis would say, "Let's TCB, baby. Take care-a business."

Peace to my homies.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House...

Yes, I admit I played "MASH" on occasion in the past.

Yes, I played it as recently as high school.

Yes, I played it just now.

Yes, you can too.

My results: I will live in an apartment with Steve Jones' mom. (Nothing like an old Steve's mom joke, for nostalgic value.) I will drive our two kids around in my former clunker (the silver beast) which will be repainted black. And fortunately, we will live in Houston, where I can continue my dream career of being a writer.

Though clearly not a very good one, if we're in an apartment, and I went back to driving that dear "defeated car".

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

There will be a guest appearance by Luna Moth? Awesome...

For all you fans of good books and comics, this should make you smile.
Spoiler Alert

Just found out something about Return of the King, which frankly makes me very upset.

If you don't want to know, don't read this. Or the link that follows.

You ready?

Peter Jackson, the brilliant man that he is, cut out the last three or four chapters of the book. There is no mention or reference to the Scouring of the Shire, removing the usurper Saruman from his position of power in Bag End, or any of it. Jackson "never liked the section" and didn't even shoot scenes for it, so it won't even be on the forthcoming DVD. And this distresses me greatly.

Doesn't he understand the importance of the section? The shock and sadness that evil isn't something you can always keep at a distance, and fight on foreign shores. Sometimes evil creeps into your own borders when you don't expect it to, taking up residence in your very own house.

Didn't Jackson realize the importance of comparing the four hobbits as they left the Shire, to the Hobbits as they returned (as Warriors)? How this contrast is so monumental that it speaks volumes as to the deep down quality of the Hobbits that is finally revealed?

How could he do this to us?!?!?!?

I found this out in a really interesting Newsweek article. Check it out. There are a few more spoilers also, scenes that aren't on the theatrical release but will be on the DVD.

Monday, November 24, 2003

And the point of that was...

I'm not sure. It was an interesting post to be sure, as far as my writing it.

I've been reading a lot of blogs where people drop a half dozen names in each post about what they and their friends did, who they met, and what a wonderful wonderful time they had together, as a group. I wanted to try my hand at it, even if it's all bs. So I started out with that first paragraph, planning to recount an evening of meeting interesting girls at bars and dancing and goofing around Houston.

But instead of forcing the narrative, I let it roll out. And instead of being a terribly interesting account of new faces, intrigue, and possibly romance, it became more and more like my actual life. Two friends. One flaking out and not calling. Going home bored and lonely, and nothing much happens.

These are not actual friends, I must insist. Buck and Will are fake. I got the name Will from a character in the book i'm reading. Another character is named Hand, but I changed it to Buck, which is still an obvious nickname. Because really, who names their child Buck?

So yes, this narrative, which i meant to be an adventurous and exciting account, began to imitate life.

And that amuses me, I guess.

For the record, there really is an Angelika Cafe/Movie Theater in Houston (one of three, the others being in Dallas and NYC), they do indeed have a Russia House coffee (though I've never had it, as I don't really drink), and they are (or, at least, were) showing those three movies. I think they may have six screens though. Check your local listings, i suppose. The cafe menu does include bruschetta and chicken quesadillas, at exorbitant prices. You'd have to be a doctor, I think.

What does one learn from this exercise? That Dave's imagination has atrophied. Or that his subconscious won this round. It's the judges' decision.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the winner, and still mentalweight champion, is Dave's subconscious."
This event never happened.

So after work last Friday, I was supposed to meet Will and Buck at The Angelika Cafe/Movie Theater. We were gonna catch Lost in Translation, which Holly had told us was "outstanding, in an indie-film way". I'm not really sure what she meant. But it had Bill Murray (who is a genius) and was directed by Sophia Coppola (who was unjustly maligned for Godfather III), so we decided we were going to go.

So I got to the Angelika Cafe at about six and sat down with a Russia House "adult" coffee (read: vodka), and waited for about twenty minutes until the guys became officially late. Finally, Buck arrived and walked over to the table. I turned to face the bar, and waited for his excuse. "Traffic" was the best he came up with, but since I'm not, you know, a girl, I let it go. "Well, to atone for your sins, you must buy me some bruschetta."

He laughed. "Whatever dude."

I turned back to him. "No seriously, buy me something."

"The last time I checked, you weren't my girlfriend. Buy it yourself, you cheapskate."

"See if I ever do anything nice for you again," I replied acidly as I got up and went to the bathroom. I heard him grunt as I walked away. It's so easy to throw him off like that.

Anyway, I get back from washing my hands, and Will still hadn't shown up. Buck had ordered some chicken quesadillas and was already greasy-fingered. I sat across from him and reached out to snag one. "Hey, hey, hey," Buck mumbled through the chicken and cheese, as he pulled the plate away.

"You are such a punk, dude."

"Buy your own, Dave. Geez, we're all working men here."

"Oh I'm sorry, what do you do again? Doctor?"

"I'm in my first year of residency, Dave. I drive a Honda for crying out loud."

"A snazzy Honda. Very hip."

"And I have about sixty thousand in very snazzy student loans. So I can't afford to buy anything else."

"You could afford that." I indicated the plate with my coffee cup, before taking another sip.

Shoving the last two quesadillas in his mouth at the same time, Buck tried to make the "pensive" face. As best as he could, with chipmunk cheeks full of tortilla and pollo. "Yes. Yes, I could." Grease started to drip from the corner of his mouth. "Nice" I replied, handing him a napkin.

We waited for a few more minutes, and then gave up on Will and went to the movie. At the box office, we hit the rock hard hand of fate. The show was sold out.

"What? It's been out for months. This is the only theatre in town that's showing the movie. Gimme a break" Buck said. The box office "attendant" (I'm not sure how much mental "attending" the ticket pusher was doing that evening) just shrugged.

"Is there anything else good?" I asked.

Buck scanned the board that listed the showtimes for the four screens. "Matrix?"

"Seen it."

"The Station Agent?"

"What's that?"

"Something with a midget."


"Nothing else. Oh, Monty Python is showing tomorrow night."

"Good for tomorrow night. Worthless now."

Buck shrugged. "Well, what do you suggest?"

I looked at my watch. It was already sevenish. And suddenly I wanted to be very far away from there. I can't explain it. Sometimes, I get these sudden violent urges to find a quiet place and sit silently, allowing myself to just be. This type of behavior can make maintaining a social life a bit difficult, but normally my friends understand. I'm "the quiet one" according to Will. I'm okay with that, I think.

"I'm gonna bug out, man."

"No, Dave, come on, we'll find something else to do."

"I'm thinking I'll go home and get some stuff done."

"Dude. It's Friday. Quit being an old man."

"I'm tired, Buck. Gimme a break."

"Fine. Tomorrow--Monty Python."

"Okay, okay. Gimme a call."

"All right. Later."

I went home and sat on my couch for two hours. The funny thing about these times of "being alone" is that I'm never satisfied after I follow the impulse to be alone. I just end up being lonely.

I didn't get a call Saturday from Buck. Or from Will, who was gradually inching up my Crap List.

Sunday afternoon, I get home from church and lunch, and there's a message from Will on my machine. He decided to go to Dallas for the weekend, out of the blue. A friend from college was about to get married, and Will didn't want to miss the bachelor party. He asked if we were still planning on catching the movie next Friday, and told me to give him a call. I didn't.

Friday, November 21, 2003

How is this for the coolest thing on the internet?

Yes, that's right, I have officially found the second coolest site on the internet. (After, of course, Perfect Blue Buildings.)

The offical "Ed" fan site.

You laugh because you don't understand how freakin rad this is.
Now THIS is not cool man... not cool at all...

Children of the late eighties and early nineties, today is a day of sadness.

One of our own has apparently died of a possible suicide.

I think i'm going to have to rent Neverending Story 2 and Sidekicks tonight.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

A Good Cause

Although I'm not down with some of Adbusters' ideology, I think that this is a good cause. I plan on participating. Maybe you should too.

The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest consumer feeding frenzy in our society, bringing out the absolute worst in people as they move from store to store like pack animals, buying and buying and buying. They snarl and curse at each other in the store aisles, in the parking lot, on the highway. And somehow, everyone thinks this is normal.

Buy Nothing Day was begun a few years ago to combat this false normal. People who participate make a conscious choice not to buy anything--gas, food, Christmas presents--on the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, you'll miss the "big sale" that "everyone else" will take advantage of. Yes, your Christmas shopping may cost you a few dollars more. But what will you gain? Keeping your sanity, for one. A few extra hours to sleep in that day (if you don't have to work). And maybe having a little more peace instead of stress.

Like I said, I'm not totally down with Adbusters...yet. I'm not anti-capitalist, and I'm not a reactionary. I don't protest, I drink Coke, I eat at McDonalds once in a while.

But this feels right to me. Thanksgiving is about recognizing the blessings of who and what you have, not what you can buy the next day. Being content is worth more than getting a TV for twenty bucks less than retail price. My contentment is worth more than that.

Do what you want on BND. It's cool. Personally, I think I'm going to sleep in, have PBJ for lunch, and read until sunset. And that, my friends, will be a good day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

A Beautiful Thing

I think Will Ledesma, at least, will agree with me in saying: This is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
I think Michael Ian Black raises a good point

So have you? Have you???
Welcome to Our Town... Welcome to Our Town...

I think this gets funnier the more I think about it. And especially when you think about the OBU production of the play. Part of me wants to shake my head and chuckle, "That's wrong, that's just wrong." But then again part of me also shakes my head and chuckles, "It's about time, cuz that freakin show deserves it." Lots of head shaking and chuckling going on over here.

My question is, what month was Constable Warren? Hmmmm???

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Perverse enjoyment

You know those stupid church signs with the lame slogans? (For example, Living Word church in Shawnee.)

Have you ever wanted to write something...well, less than appropriate, on such a sign?

Now you can, and the only ones who will know are you and your comp.

And God.

So you should be ashamed regardless.
Hey! Hey!!! LOOK!!!!

I've got COMMENTS!

I've got COMMENTS!!!

... Okay, so it's sad that I'm this jazzed about it, right? I thought so.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Troubling Developments

According to reports from Sarah Hatter and others, there's a lot of this going around. I should probably be concerned. You should too, if you fall into this category.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Anything worth reading... worth reading twice. Sometimes.

When I find a book I really enjoy, I often tend to read it again later on down the road. Right now, I going through High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. It's a fantastic book, if you haven't read it. I read it...two years ago, I think. Actually, it was the spring before that. But yes. I'm reading it again, because I'm wondering if the passage of these two plus years has left me with any more...perspective on the novel. Time will tell. It always does, that rat.

Other books I've read at least a second time recreationally (i.e. not coerced by school assignments):

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis--I read the entire series four times when I was ten or so.
Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
1984 by George Orwell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Generation X by Douglas Coupland
Hamlet by Shakespeare

I'm sure there's more, but I can't think of any right now. There are some that I read twice or more specifically for school, but it's your garden-variety reading list stuff.

Friday, November 07, 2003

And now the real Matrix post...

Not quite real. I won't spoil anything important. I'll politely wait until after Christmas before I start discussing major details.

So yeah, the movie. Here's my official recommendation: If you loved the second one, you MUST see this one. If you loved the first one, and thought the second one was "okay" or "interesting", it would still be worth your while to see this third one. If you liked or didn't like the first one, or hated the second one, don't bother, cuz "Revolutions" is like "Reloaded" on speed. It's all the strengths and weaknesses of Reloaded, but amplified.

As to how it ends, because we all know it must (or do we?), it's not what I expected. No, Mike, you don't get the steak dinner I promised you for being right. Okay, folks, small spoiler ahead, so beware:

I'm going to dispel an internet myth about the plot: The real world is *really* the real world. It's not another part of the Matrix. There was a theory, that I thought was pretty good, that Neo could control the machines in the "real world" because it was really still part of the Matrix, that the trick played on humanity was even more insidious than we thought. But no, that's not the case. Being "the One" just has a LOT more perks than we expected.

Okay that's it, only spoiler. Look for another amazing fight sequence between Neo and Smith (my favorite character by far), which almost plays like a comic book or Dragonball Z (I can hear Trevor giggling with glee now). And that's not an insult by any means, it's really really cool. But Smith becomes... well, you'll see.

And the ending that everyone complains about? That's rubbish. What you must understand (and if you're a REAL fan, you would know this anyway) is that no matter what kinds of crazy, seemingly unjustified things happen in the movies, it all works together under the system it sets up. Like a machine, the trilogy consistently follows its own rules. And that's what makes every subsequent viewing worthwhile.

In "obligatory Jar-Jar-type character news", the stupid kid from Animatrix and that one scene in Reloaded, has a larger role to play in the end of this movie. Sorry kids, we'll all have to just get through it.

Finally, the special effects. Oh. My. Gosh. Like I said, Reloaded but on speed. Although there is no cool highway scene or Smith-clone war, the defense of Zion is one of the most visually stimulating scenes i've ever seen in film... almost to the point of causing epileptic fits. It's breath-taking. Make sure to see the movie at a good theater. Big screen and clear picture are vital.

Okay that's all for now. Any more, and I'll tell you too much.

Or will I...?
Everything that has a beginning...

...must have sequels. And usually those sequels are attacked from all sides. And though the attacks are usually justified, in some cases, the attacks are knee-jerk reactions as a result of unfulfilled astronomical expectations.

You know what I'm talking about. The critics are, by and large, lambasting Matrix: Revolutions, as if they had personally invested a month's paycheck in it.

But like all wise people, you have come to me for direction. So, if you'll indulge me as I play Oracle, I will tell you absolutely nothing about the movie and still compel you to see it.

You: Hello, Dave.

Me: Good afternoon. You want to know about Matrix: Revolutions.

You: Yes I do. How did you-- nevermind. So is it as bad as the critics say?

Me: What do you know about the critics?

You: Um... that I usually disagree with them.

Me: And?

You: That they despise franchises, and always complain that it's all about the money. But I don't believe that.

Me: Of course you don't. Because you believe in something else.

You: I do? What is it?

Me: You know.

You: No I don't.

Me: Well, if you don't know now, then you must not be ready to know. And if you're not ready to know, I'm not ready to tell. And if I'm not ready to tell, then I must not be ready to know fully.

You: I beg your pardon?

Me: Because the essence of knowing fully is telling fully to reinforce the knowledge. So to tell fully is the culmination of knowing in full. But the lack of readiness for fully hearing is the true sign of not being ready for full understanding.

You: Um...sure. So is Zion saved? Do they survive?

Me: What do you think?

You: I don't know, that's why I asked you.

Me: Are you sure that's why you asked? Or did you ask because you already knew the truth?

You: I'm totally confused now.

Me: No you're not.

You: Believe me. I am.

Me: You simply refuse to know what you know. If you accepted the knowledge of what you know, you would not ask questions that you can provide your own answers to. Yet if I asked you the same question, you could give me the answer.

You: I'm lost again.

Me: Do you think Zion survives?

You: ...yes?

Me: Why?

You: Because otherwise the movie would suck.

Me: And wouldn't it be easier for the movie to suck? Why do you think the movie would strive to be better?


Me: Perhaps. Or perhaps, the true "must" is that it must suck. That "sucking" is its purpose.

You: But that makes no sense.

Me: But yet it makes no nonsense. So therefore it must be.

You: I hate you.

Me: Or do you really love me, and the love is confused, so that it feels like hate?

You: I'm leaving.

Me: Or are you really staying? That by leaving, you are instead staying in spirit, or that your leaving leaves a meaning that stays? ... Hey, wait. Come back... I'm not done prophesying yet...


Okay, so that sequence seemed a lot funnier in my head than it's coming out in dialogue.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Thought of the Day

I'm not really sure how I feel about this. I guess the more I identify with it, the more it depresses me.

"For my part, I'm willing to admit to an almost physical craving for the comforts of the suburban mall. Natural opiates flood my neural receptors when I step from the parking lot into the airlock. Inside, the lighting is subdued, and every voice sounds far away. Never mind that Waldenbooks doesn't stock Denis Johnson and that Sam Goody has no Myra Melford; I have cash in my wallet, my skin is white, and I feel utterly, utterly welcome. Is this a community? Is the reality artificial, or am I part of a genuine promenade? I don't know. When I'm not being actively repelled by the purple and teal that are this year's favored suburban leisure-wear colors, I'm too busy enjoying the rush of purchase to pay much attention."

--Jonathan Franzen, "First City", from How to Be Alone

Monday, November 03, 2003

Does this mean I'm a Lean Mean Grilling Machine?

The Completely Pointless Personality Quiz
The Completely Pointless Personality Quiz

Thanks, Manders, for that.
Book Notes and a Top Five

All that being said, I wanted to bring up some interesting books I've discovered recently.

First, I read "The Turn of the Screw" over the weekend, which I found interesting, but uneven. (What gall I have, to call Henry James uneven. However...uh, there it is.) James begins this ghost story with a narrative frame: the sharing of ghost stories during a Christmas evening by the fire. One of the guests in attendance sends to his home for a manuscript that he begins reading to the group, and this ushers in the main narrative of the story. However, this frame is never closed. I probably wouldn't have noticed this as glaringly if I hadn't recently read House of Leaves, with it's frame within a frame within a frame structure.

While the main narrative of the novel was interesting, it just seemed rushed and incomplete at the end.

This is the only time I would ever say this, but if you want a good old-school scare, leave "Turn of the Screw" on the shelf, and watch "The Others" with Nicole Kidman. It uses a similar (BUT NOT IDENTICAL) set of circumstances to carry off the effect. If you try to watch this movie instead of reading Turn of the Screw, you are stupid stupid stupid and will fail your exam. They are completely different works, but I was associating the desired effect of the one with the other.

So there's that.

I'm currently reading How to be Alone, a collection of essays by Jonathan Franzen. Which I recommend to English majors, because there are a few essays on the state of the modern novel and the transition from a print culture to a digital one, which provide a lot of food for thought.

Next up on the ol' bookshelf: Delillo's Underworld, then The Poisonwood Bible, Empire Falls, and finally Infinite Jest. Wish me luck.

And now the top five...


If I were a freshman English Major, and I found a grad who earned a degree in my field (like myself), I would ask him(me) what are five novels I shouldn't miss while I'm in college. And he(I) would respond: "Why that's a very perceptive and well-put question, my brilliant young friend. You are quite a sharp lad, aren't you? And quite handsome, to boot! Why, I'd wager the ladies are clamoring to gain the attentions and affections of a dashing young genius such as yourself, and if they're not, well, they're fools. But to address your question, here are five books that I would recommend. Understand that there are many I'd recommend, but these five come to mind.

--Generation X by Douglas Coupland, besides coining the eponymous term, was a breakthrough debut novel for Coupland, and can really be called a true novel of its time. However, that makes it no less relevant to today's audience. The characters are entertaining and empathetic.
--White Noise by Don Delillo, arguably Delillo's best work, is a beautifully written narrative that, while odd at times, is certainly enjoyable. The first two pages melt like Hershey's chocolate on the tongue, when read aloud.
--Six Characters in Search of an Author is a fascinating play that examines the line between the literal and the literary. Do characters really live when written down? What is the relationship between author and character? A very entertaining dramatic work.
--If on a Winters Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino challenges the notion of what makes a story and its structure. This experimental novel defies the reader to consider the concept of narrative the same way ever again.

"That's four," the Freshman English major would say. "What about the fifth?"

"That's for you to find," says the graduate (me) with a wink.

The freshman then grabs the graduate by the throat and begins to strangle him(me) until the grad throws up his(my) hands in surrender. "Okay, okay. My my, aren't we(you) high strung? Very well, the fifth work. It's hard to say really. If you haven't read Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, you owe it to yourself as a reader to read that vital work. I really like "The Wasteland" by T.S. Eliot. That may just be because of my intense love of footnotes and esoteric poetry. I loved A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by the smug but justifiably so Dave Eggers. There are several I could suggest."

The freshman begins walking toward him(me) with a blood-thirsty look in his eye. "Tell me what I should read."

The graduate, back-pedalling, begins to sputter. "But there are so many--"

"Say it."

"I couldn't just pick one--"

"Say it."

"After all, each has--"

"SAY IT!!!!"

In a fit of exasperation, the graduate cries out, "FINE, READ BEOWULF!!!!" and then turns and sprints off, knocking over a TA laden down with exams and vanishing behind the explosion of fluttering blue books filling the air.
Blanket statement

I want to make this an official policy of "Perfect Blue Buildings."

When I discuss movies, books, or other pieces of art, I am loath to put moral constrictions on what I judge "good" or "bad." Based on solely aesthetic and intellectual value, most Christian literature and film is crap, while several interesting, provocative, and extremely secular works are the most engaging and intellectually stimulating.

As such, I cannot honestly give a creative work the blanket stamp of approval, knowing that one of my loyal and loving readers may take my "good" at face value and dive right into it.

So, from this point on, when I recommend any work of art or entertainment, please remember to take my recommendation with a grain of salt, and examine the facts and your own conscience before engaging the culture in this manner.

I know I probably don't need to go into all of this, and that you all are more spiritually mature than this statement would indicate. However, I hope you'll indulge my need to cover all bases and avoid any negative effects of my words.

I feel that I should make a statement at this point, to my loyal readership.

In my last post or two, I wrote about the novel House of Leaves. While I raved about the novel's structure and ambiguous nature, I barely mentioned any objectionable content. This, I think, was a mistake.

While it embarrasses me to do so, I think I should go into this now.

I have to confess my standards about what I read have lowered dramatically since I was young. Long gone are the days when a single foul word would cause me, in zealous rage, to throw the book down and never pick it up again. (Case in point: Harriet the Spy, chapter 5. Not kidding.)

So thus we have House of Leaves. While it is, as I said, one of the most engaging and fascinating novels I've read in a while, it is also one of the most perverse. There are quite a few references, both implicit and explicit, to sexual situations that no one needs to read about. I was able to skip over most of these, once I realized what was happening. There is also R-rated language throughout.

Like I said, this is a bit embarrassing. Some who read this may lose respect for me. But I am willing to lose the respect of my Christian brothers and sisters, if it means not leading any of you into sin.