Happy New Year!

Headin' out in a bit. Hope everyone has a fun, and safe, evening.



How resolute are you?

New Year's Resolutions - 2006

1. Go to the gym at least three times a week.

2. Continue to get good grades.

3. Get out of the house more, provided it doesn't interfere with resolution number 2.

And that's all I got so far. Possibly more to come.


Oy to the world

Perhaps I was mistaken when I wrote in an earlier post that I liked people...

Tonight, my brother-in-law's family had their annual (or so I hear) Hanukkah/Christmas/Whatever party, which I'm fairly certain I'd never before attended. I spent the evening sitting around talking with my father, brother-in-law, and his brother-in-law, for the most part, all of whom I like and get along well with. Nearly everyone else at the party, however, meh.

Maybe it's wrong to say that I dislike people. I think it's more that I simply don't care enough to get to know anyone, least of all people I'll more than likely never see again. I just don't feel the need, let alone desire, to make small talk with strangers, even if they're mishpocha.

I think this feeling stems from the fact that I don't have very much in the way of family, myself. I have my immediate family, of course, my parents, my brother and his family, my sister and her family, and other than them, there's not much else. My father's mother lives in Pittsburgh, as does a cousin of mine and his wife (whom I've never met), and my mother's brother lives in California with his wife...at least, I think they got remarried, while their son, my other cousin, goes to school at NYU. That's it. That's the list.

I didn't grow up with a vast network of doting grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My family has always been spread out pretty thinly from sea to shining sea, and so the little family I do have, I hardly saw while growing up.

A lot of family died before I was born, so I never even had a chance to get to know many of them. My father's father died when Dad was thirteen, and my mother's father died...god, I don't even know. Sometime in the early 70s, I want to say, but don't quote me. Hell, my father's mother (my only remaining grandparent) is technically his stepmom, as his birth mother died shortly after he was born.

In the years since I was born, my family has seen the death of my father's sister and her husband, and my mother's mother and her second husband. I won't even try to figure out how many other, more distant, aunts, uncles, and cousins have died, though I know there's been a handful.

Getting to know, even for five minutes, someone else's family...it just doesn't appeal to me. I hardly have any extended family of my own and I really don't want anyone else's, no matter how nice they may be.

Maybe I feel cheated...


Steven Spielberg has made some of the most popular popcorn films ever, from Jaws and E.T. to the Indiana Jones trilogy (eventually a quadrilogy?) and Jurassic Park. It is precisely because he knows how to entertain us with thrills and chills that has given him the ability, and freedom, to make, perhaps, some of the most important films as well.

Starting with Schindler's List in '93 (the same year as the aforementioned Park), Spielberg has created some astonishingly, hauntingly, beautiful, personal films. Following List was Saving Private Ryan, which begat HBO's Band of Brothers, and now, Munich, the story of Israeli retribution against the Palestinian terrorist group Black September after the murder of eleven Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic Games.

Using Israel's vengeance as a backdrop, Munich is the story of Avner, the Mossad agent charged with tracking down eleven terrorist leaders and killing them, to show that Israel is strong, and isn't going away any time soon. As one of the Mossad agents says in the film, "Don't fuck with the Jews."

The film chronicles Avner's descension from a loving husband and new father to a paranoid, haunted man, a shell of his former self, as the blood on his hands thickens. It's a wonder his wife was able to recognize him at the end. Death takes more of its toll from those who pull the trigger, rather than those whom the bullet finds.

What, Munich asks, is the final cost of peace? How much war, how much death, must be meted out before it's enough?

It's late, so I think I'll save the film's technical merits, of which there are many, for another time. I will say, however, that Munich is, by far, one of Spielberg's best-looking films in recent memory, if not ever. This is the work of a master who knows his craft inside and out, backwards and forwards. Absolutely one of the year's best, and most important, films.


Got Nothin'

This has really been a pretty boring week. I had class on Monday, and that's it until the day after New Year's. I've been reading, catching up on my Stargate SG-1 viewing (almost done with season 1), and that's pretty much it. The roads are clogged with holiday shoppers, so who would even want to leave the house only to fight through all that traffic. It's just not worth it.

It never ceases to boggle the mind how people let themselves get so crazy this time of year. For Jews, Hanukkah isn't anywhere close to being a major holiday, and for gentiles, I mean, here. The month of December has just become an excuse to purchase overpriced stuff for people who don't need any more overpriced stuff. The holidays have lost all of their original meaning. December is corporate America's biggest wet dream.

There are people who will say that this isn't true, that it's a time for families to get together, which is fine. Family is important, after all, and it's not like you didn't just see everybody a month ago for Thanksgiving. But why can't everyone get together without maxing out their credit cards?

Anyway. Merry Chrismukkah or Hannimastice, or whatever it is you celebrate.


Sounds about right

You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.

You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life. You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace. You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life. Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you. You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.

You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.



Because of the two A's I got at Metro this past quarter, I made the Dean's List.

Strikes me as a rather dubious honor, like Crash Davis setting the record for most home runs hit in the minors, though perhaps I'm simply too cynical.


Kong is King

I wonder how many reviews have used the same title for their headlines...

As many of you already know, Peter Jackson's King Kong is three hours long. I'm not sure if it necessarily had to be three hours long, and, at times, it certainly felt three hours long, but overall, I'd say it's worth your time and money. You definitely get a lot of bang for your buck.

You can really tell how much Jackson absolutely loves the original film. His adoration is visible in every meticulous frame, from the opening credits that evoke the Hollywood of old that made his beloved original, to the minute details of the big ape himself.

And what a creation that monkey truly is. Gollum, from the Lord of the Rings, set the standard for CGI acting, and Kong vaults that bar like it was nothing. I mean, with Gollum, a creature like that doesn't exist in nature. But Kong is just a huge gorilla, and if you didn't know better, you wouldn't know better. He looks amazingly real.

I've never been a huge Kong fan. The original film never did much for me, and I doubt I'd have seen this remake had it not been made by Peter Jackson, but I'm very glad he decided to make it (or, rather, Universal let him make it). He and his partners crafted a beautiful story, very touching, both funny and sad at the same time, because even though you know how it's going to end, you wish it wouldn't.

The entire cast did a great job. I'm sure it was insanely difficult performing with all the CGI animals and dinosaurs and more disgusting insects than you would care to imagine. Naomi Watts has this look, it'll just break your heart. It's obvious how the great ape could fall for her Ann Darrow. Adrien Brody was a very convincing playwright, though I'm wondering how a writer could become such an action/adventure hero at the drop of a hat. And Jack Black's Carl Denham...he's always been funny, but there was some real acting going on here. He's the ultimate showman, Peter Jackson's on-screen persona, his alter ego, displaying all the joy and ambition that Jackson himself must feel when he creates one of his masterpieces.

And a masterpiece it is. King Kong is an exciting, heartwrenching, action-packed extravaganza. It's truly something you've never seen before, and neither Carl Denham or Peter Jackson would have it any other way.

Dream a little dream

I seem to have my most bizarre and vivid dreams after I wake up and then fall back asleep. I dunno why. And they seem to linger just a bit longer after I wake up for good, though it's not like I could make heads or tails of them.

Well, maybe tales...

In this morning's dream, I was on the run. From who, I've no idea. And I was bringing someone with me, someone I busted out of prison, but I don't remember who they were. I think he started out as Donovan McNabb, but he became someone else once we got out of the prison. The cops were after us, or maybe the feds. I kept wondering why they hadn't tried to call my cell phone yet, because they had to have known it was me who did it, and they had my number, because I was friends with one of them. Maybe I was one of them. It was all very weird.

How 'bout y'all? Any strange dreams recently?


Blah blah blah

Tuesday night was my World Civ I final exam, dealing with the first people in Central and South America, the fall of the Roman Empire, the Crusades, and, last but not least, Islam, which was the topic for the essay question. I must admit, had I known, prior to taking the test, that I was getting 151.5 out of 150 available points, I may not have busted my butt in studying quite as much as I did. I just checked my grade online and I officially received an A+, for the first time in my life, I'm sure.

UNO is done for the semester. First day of the next semester starts up the day after New Year's Day, I believe. Also, I have one day left at Metro, Monday, before break, with classes resuming the same week that UNO begins.

Not much else is going on, really. King Kong opened yesterday. I think I'm shooting for a noon show tomorrow, because I figure it won't be super crowded in the early afternoon.

I've been thinking about my life a lot lately, how empty it is, relatively speaking. I mean, I don't do anything. I go to class and I study and I read books and comics and watch downloaded TV shows on my laptop. I suppose I've never been much of a social person, which has generally been okay with me. The occasional party at Becky's, or wherever, is fine, but being around people on a more consistant basis, I just sort of shrug my shoulders and go, "Meh."

It's not that I don't like people, because I do. Some of them, anyway. My friends. And it's not that I don't have anything to talk about, because if there's one thing I am, it's opinionated. About a wide variety of topics. But there's something about just hanging out and getting a beer or something that doesn't appeal to me in the slightest anymore. Not very often, at any rate.

Every once in a while, though, I get this weird longing for something I haven't had in years, this ghost memory skipping across my mind, like when you skip a stone across a lake.

I tell myself, though, and I'm pretty convincing about it, that I'm not planning on being here very long. That once I'm finally done with college, once I have that piece of paper, I'm out of here. Again. Back to the West Coast. L.A. San Diego. San Francisco. Seattle. Portland. Away from the ice and snow and chill of winter. So what would be the point, were I so inclined, to start up any new relationships if I just want to leave town?

It's a decent enough excuse, I suppose, to not let anyone get close to me (were they so inclined). That way, more often than not, lies pain and heartache, too, and who wants to go through all that crap again?

It's all a game of "What if...", and no one knows what will happen in the next couple of years. I could meet the love of my life in one of my new UNO classes next semester, someone for whom I'd willingly stay in Omaha. Or I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Who knows?

This is the part where I'd say, "The point is...", but I don't think I necessarily have one right now. Just mumbling out loud to myself. It feels like it's been a while since I babbled.

I had the strangest dream last night, and now I don't remember a thing. I kept waking up slightly because the idiot dog would bark, and I'd slowly fall back into REM, and these weird images would jump out at me...it was more a dream that felt weird. Wrong, somehow. Askew. I dunno. Whatever. Dream's just a dream. Until it comes true, anyway.


Jesus is Magic

I just got home from Sarah Silverman's new concert film. Oh my god, I laughed so hard I thought I was gonna plotz.

From my father I always hear, "Why don't you meet a nice Jewish girl?" And I always tell him that there aren't any (just kidding, Jennie), but, man, Sarah Silverman...she is a nice Jewish girl.

1) She's smart.

2) She's funny.

3) She's beautiful.

4) She can sing.

5) And she's got a filthy mouth.

What's not to love?


Too bad she's shtupping Jimmy Kimmel...


What Hit Song of 2005 Are You?

New quiz, Jamie's fault.

Your 2005 Song Is

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

"My shadow's the only one that walks beside me.
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating."

In 2005, you bummed everyone out. Like you care.


Black & Gold

The Steelers finally won.
First time in four games.
Still might miss playoffs.

The price of oil

Syriana is an important film, given the times in which we live. It deals with America's dependence on foreign (Middle Eastern) oil, and the lengths the U.S. will go to protect its interests. It is a complicated, convoluted story, and more than one viewing is probably necessary to fully understand the subtle nuances of Stephen Gaghan (writer of Traffic)'s directorial debut.

The story is told from four seemingly disparate points of view, a grizzled CIA spook, an energy analyst who finds himself consulting for oil-rich Mid East royalty, Texas oil company executives, and a poor, Middle Eastern oil field worker who finds himself out of work. Each would be a compelling tale on its own, and thrown together like this makes for a bit of a jumble, but it's a movie worth puzzling out.

This is a film that makes you think, that doesn't talk down to its audience. It assumes your intelligence and at least a cursory knowledge of the subject matter, and it just might change your opinion about America's influence in the region, whether we've truly been helpful, or a hinderence.



In Good Company didn't turn out quite the way I was expecting it to, which I appreciate to no end. It's a refreshing change when a movie actually surprises me.

And it has an awesome soundtrack.

End of 2005 wrap-up

Feel free to blame Sarah for the following. I do.

1) Was 2005 a good year for you?
Didn't start out that way, but it seems to be ending on an up note.

2) What was your favorite moment of the year?
Might've been getting the A's in last quarter/semester's classes.

3) What was your least favorite moment of the year?
Probably that god-awful drive home from SoCal.

4) Where were you when 2005 began?
In a movie theatre at Disneyland watching The Life Aquatic.

5) Who were you with?
The aforementioned Sarah and her then-fiance Josh.

6) Where will you be when 2005 ends?
At Becky's, I imagine.

7) Who will you be with when 2005 ends?
Um, whomever else decides to go to Becky's.

8) Did you keep your new years resolution of 2005?
Don't do resolutions.

9) Do you have a new years resolution for 2006?

10) Did you fall in love in 2005?
Surprisingly, no.

11) If yes, with who?

12) If yes, do they know?

13) Are you still in love with them?:

14) You regret it?

15) Did you breakup with anyone in 2005?

16) Did you make any new friends in 2005?
None that immediately come to mind.

17) Who are your favorite new friends?

18) What was your favorite month of 2005?
Maybe June, when I started going back to school.

19) Did you travel outside of the US in 2005?

20) How many different states did you travel to in 2005?
Started in California and drove to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and back to Nebraska. Since then, I've been in Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota, too. So...eight.

21) Did you lose anybody in 2005?
Not in the sense that anybody died.

22) Did you miss anybody in the past year?
Yeah, I think so.

23) What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2005?
Batman Begins.

24) What was your favorite song from 2005?
"Breakfast Club," by DJ Z-Trip, featuring Murs and Supernatural.

25) What was your favorite record from 2005?
Shifting Gears, by Z-Trip

26) How many concerts did you see in 2005?
No idea. Not many.

27) Did you have a favorite concert in 2005?
The only concert I can actually remember going to was the Faint/Bright Eyes show, so that one, I guess. I went for the Faint.

28) Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2005?
Not really.

29) Did you do a lot of drugs in 2005?

30) How many people did you sleep with in 2005?
None yet.

31) Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
Ashamed? No. Regret? Sure.

33) What was the worst lie someone told you in 2005?
Can't think of any. They must have been really good liars.

34) Did you treat somebody badly in 2005?

35) Did somebody treat you badly in 2005?

36) How much money did you spend in 2005?
Not much, seeing as how I don't have any.

37) What was your proudest moment of 2005?
Getting those aforementioned A's.

38) What was your most embarrassing moment of 2005?

39) If you could go back in time to any moment of 2005 and change something, what would it be?
The way things were left when I left CA.

40) What are your plans for 2006?
Just to continue going to school and getting closer to my degree.


Havi Haiku

The dog started barking like crazy at, like, six this morning.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...Havi Haiku.

Shut the hell up, dog.
Why the fuck are you barking?
I'll throw you outside.


It's still dark outside.
Dear lord, why am I awake?
I will kill that dog.


I wake with a start.
It's too early to be up.
Motherfuckin' dog.


What is it, Havi?
Do you want to go outside?
Can't it fuckin' wait?


Snow blankets the yard.
Why is some of it moving?
Oh, that is the dog.


All she does is bark.
The slightest thing sets her off.
She is so nervous.

Everybody now, write a haiku. They're fun.


Home again

Got back from Minneapolis a couple of hours ago. It was an uneventful drive with very little traffic, seventy-five MPH the whole way.

It was nice to see Ryan and Jami again, though it'd only been a week since I saw them last, rather than the usual two or three months in-between visits. Got a chance to see their apartment before they start moving into their new house at the end of the month.

The reading/signing at Dreamhaven was fun, though it made for a bit of a long day. It started around two. Neil spoke for a bit, then read a little from his new novel, Anansi Boys, followed by a brief Q&A before the "signing" portion of the day began. From the end of the Q&A to Ryan, Jami, and I getting our books signed was about three hours, give or take. That's a lot of standing around in a bookstore, lemme tell ya.

Also, I think I'm starting to run out of things to ask Neil to sign for me.

Not much else to write about at the moment. Got a short essay I need to write for my philosophy class, so I suppose I should get started.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.


Gone Fishin'

Okay, not exactly fishing, as it's winter...and I've never fished before in my life, for that matter...

Headin' to Minneapolis in a bit, to see Ryan & Jami, and Neil. Hopefully it won't snow too much during the trip.

Cell phone will be on if you have anything interesting to say. I'll be back in Omaha Sunday evening.

Be good while I'm away.


Which superhero are you?

Your results:
You are Spider-Man
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
The Flash
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...