Sunday, May 22, 2005

Twirling the baton

As if the Caesar's Bath Meme wasn't enough, now Jacob has passed me the musical baton. I suppose if nothing else, it gives me something to post about while I'm in Virginia.

Total volume of music files on my computer

As I am not currently using my own computer, I can't be certain, but my iPod has about 12 gigs. It's probably more telling that I own about 160 CDs.

The last CD I bought

I'm guessing the answer to this is "Day Two" by Endochine, assuming Aaron completed his mission. The last CD I bought personally was "This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About" by Modest Mouse. It seemed appropriate for my impending road trip.

Song playing right now

"Bleed" by Gone Again (an obscure New York band my roommate Ben introduced me to, sadly now defunct).

Five songs I listen to a lot, or mean a lot to me

It's easier for me to go with songs I play on guitar a lot, so...

"No Excuses" by Alice in Chains - still my favorite song of all time.

"New Slang" by the Shins - Natalie Portman overexaggerated in "Garden State", but still an amazing song.

"3rd Planet" by Modest Mouse - just fun to play.

"Black" by Pearl Jam - I do love singing that bridge.

"Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones - don't ask me why, but I love playing it. Occasionally I throw "Angie" in the middle just for grins.

Five people to whom I'm passing the baton

Just about everyone I know has been taken, so I'll just send it to Aaron and Bob, both of whom should have a field day with it.

Incidentally, soon I will post my full review of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Which, if you have not seen, you must. In the immortal words of Kevin Smith, it was "fucking awesome".

Song lyric of the day:
"What would you be if you could see
That all along it's been hands on
The training's there, but you don't care
And you don't need a cut to bleed
On and on, I'll steer you wrong"
- Gone Again, Bleed

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Slant history and Star Wars

In Stafford, VA at the moment. Just wanted to take a brief moment to point out a couple of things. First off, The Slant has printed a brief history lesson discussing the origins of Vanderbilt's most infamous humor paper. Among other results, the article has inspired me to refer to myself as a roustabout from now on. You can read it here.

In other news, I am going to see a midnight showing of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith tonight at midnight. Yes, I admit that I am a dork. But hey, I get to see the movie before you do, so there.

The remainder of my stay in Virginia will consist of: Jacob's party, golfing, boating, drinking, and probably a few other movies. If you would like to be added to the agenda, let me know.

Song lyric of the day:
"Even though I'm not as cool as Han
I still wanna be your man
You're exactly the kind of Alderanian that I need
But when you were available
I was drinking Colt 45s with Lando
I was hanging out in a cantina on Mos Eisley..."
- blink-182, A New Hope

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: Democracy simply doesn't work"

Those of you who recognize my Simpsons reference in the title know what I'm referring to. Picture the scenario: a comet hurtling towards a city, experts certain it will kill the entire populace. Congress votes on an emergency bill to evacuate the city. One Congressman decides to tack on a rider in support of the perverted arts. The bill is, as a result, defeated.

Well, in reality, the city is the entire United States. The comet is the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the perverted arts is this so-called "real I.D.". Yesterday, the Senate passed (100-0, for God's sake) an emergency defense spending bill, with a rider that includes provisions for a new national identification system.

I don't really know much about what this entails. Most news coverage is focusing on the issue of making it harder for illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses and such. But if you believe some rumors, the Real ID will have a scanning mechanism that records personal information into a database. If that doesn't scare you, better read the Bill of Rights sometime.

I'd rant more, but I have to pack up and head to Nashville now. If you know anything more about this, please post comments (preferably to ease my mind, but also feel free to incite me to rigorous protest).

Song lyric of the day:
"Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people..."
- Refreshments, Banditos

Monday, May 09, 2005

It's a sick sick world...

...when even your guest book can be invaded by spam. Oh well.

Happy belated Mother's Day to all moms out there. Because so many read this blog and everything.

Amusing headline alert: "Iraq Extremists Become Target" at The Washington Post. Makes you wonder who the hell we were targeting before. Also, honorable mention in the "no shit" category goes to "D.C. Area One of Worst for Traffic".

Since brevity is the soul of wit, and since I need to study for my afternoon exam, I'm signing off.

Song lyric of the day:
"She leans closer to me
I heed a warning of higher calling
Must go over with me
We're not happy in the place we are"
- Guster, Getting Even

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Uh oh...

This could be dangerous. The final member of the original Chaffin 316 corps has finally started a blog. Yes, Ben has begun a new blog called "What Would People Think?", in which he will no doubt shamelessly promote leftist Christian propaganda, describe the many nuances of Dave Barry, and verbally bow to the recommendations of Roger Ebert. All while remaining very cool.

By contrast, Aaron Coyner of Rice physics fame has also been blogrolled. His blog "Cosmic Rantings" will likely feature many musical references that only he and I and maybe two other people on the planet will get, as well as exhibit the fact that he has more knowledge about the world of sports than all human beings combined. Due to his recent hungerstrike of sorts protesting the suckage of the Astros, his postings may get very interesting real soon as he goes through withdrawal symptoms.

Substantial posts will be forthcoming, I hope. I still hold to my promise of updating regularly, just gotta get through exams first. Nashville-bound on Wednesday!

Song lyric of the day:
"Underneath it all
You yourself are free
Floating high above the Nashville skyline..."
- Dishwalla, Nashville Skyline

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The worst bill ever -- plus phallic phame

Picture if you will members of the state legislature waving pompons during a debate. Apparently, that's just what happened in the state of Texas recently. According to a USA Today article, the Texas state legislature just approved a bill to govern the content of cheerleading routines in Texas public schools. This has the potential to be dangerous for two reasons: first, it will represent yet another intrusion of the government into something they shouldn't be involved in; and second, perhaps more importantly, it will ruin adolescence for teenage boys everywhere. My favorite thing about the bill might just be the "you know it when you see it" line. That's about as subjective as you get. If you must make something this ridiculous into a bill, at least make it mean something.

(This is, naturally, not the first move by the state of Texas to move backward instead of forward - see my previous post on a return to 1950s values for just one example. I'm sure there are countless others.)

On a happier note, Jacob, who also brought the artocity of the cheerleader bill to my attention, recently posted our unpublished "Penis Dialogues" to his blog, in all its 7 line glory. It was, of course, meant to be a parody of Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monologues", which I unfortunately never got to see myself. The opportunity for parody is somewhat limited when the authors have no knowledge of the source material. Hence the result. You can read the full post here.

Song lyric of the day:
"I wake up scared, I wake up strange
I wake up wondering if anything in my life is ever gonna change"
- Barenaked Ladies, What a Good Boy

Monday, May 02, 2005

Review: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

I'm anticipating the release of a lot of movies this summer, and the first hit theaters this past weekend. I've never been a diehard "Hitchhiker's Guide" fan, but I have read all the books and enjoyed them. Those who know me well are aware that I make moderately frequent references to the number 42 and the phrase "Don't Panic". So I was fairly excited about the movie.

WARNING: If you haven't seen the movie, there are some spoilers ahead, and even if you've read the book, anyone who intends to see HHG should probably not read on. My short-and-sweet review of the movie is that it's hit-or-miss, but the hits are so powerful they make it worth it. For a more detailed account, read on...

For starters, the introduction about the dolphins was fantastic, capped off by the "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish" theme song. This was one of the most ingenious moments of the film, and paved the way for more to come.

One flaw of the movie was the build-up to the demolition of Earth. The introduction of Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), the human hero of the movie, was fine, though I would have liked it to be a little longer, and to have seen more with the bulldozers. But Ford Prefect (Mos Def), Arthur's friend who happens to be an alien, arrives quickly to take Arthur to a pub and inform him that the world is about to be destroyed. While there, Arthur tells Ford a story about the one who got away, a woman named Tricia McMillan (Zooey Deschanel) he met at a party. For fans familiar with the story, this is amusing because we know what it's setting up, but I imagine for novices it will come out of nowhere (hell, it sorta did for me).

Anyway, long story short, Ford and Arthur hitch a ride on the Vogon spaceship just before they blow up Earth. I personally thought the scenes on the Vogon spaceship didn't last quite long enough. However, the brief scene of Arthur and Ford in the airlock just before they get ejected into space is really funny.

They get picked up by the Heart of Gold, a universally-renowned spaceship with an Infinite Improbability Drive. The odd things that happen each time the improbability drive is engaged lead to some of the funniest moments in the film. Aboard the Heart of Gold, Arthur reunites with Tricia (now called Trillian), along with meeting her new beau Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), who happens to be president of the galaxy. A brief newscast tells of how he defeated Humma Kuvula (John Malkovich) to attain the position. We also meet Marvin the Robot (body by Warwick Davis, voice by Alan Rickman). This character is hilarious and garners laughs every time he is on-screen, but is sadly somewhat underused.

Zaphod explains his life plan to Arthur and Ford: millions of years ago, a computer called Deep Thought was commissioned to find the Answer to the Ultimate Question. When it revealed the answer, people were disappointed, and began wondering what the Question was. Now Zaphod wants to return to Deep Thought's home planet of Magrathea to find out what the Question is and secure his place in the history books (no doubt fearful he might instead go the way of Millard Fillmore).

On the way to Magrathea, there's a brief sojourn to Humma Kavula's planet. This is a new idea created by Douglas Adams specifically for the movie. The scene where Kavula preaches mass (of sorts) is hilarious, but the character exits the movie too quickly. I would have liked to see more.

Long story short, Trillian gets kidnapped, the guys rescue her, make it to Magrathea (where the scene with the sperm whale, the absolute highlight of the movie, is so funny I actually cried), and the movie reaches its climax. The easter egg in the middle of the credits is also pretty funny.

So here's what didn't work for me: first, the entire character of Zaphod seemed somehow off (I like Sam Rockwell as an actor, but I'm not sure he fit in this role); the romance between Arthur and Tricia (not so much that it didn't work, I guess, but I didn't feel like it added anything); the scene of Tricia's abduction; the first half of the scene on Vogsphere; the scene with the mice on Magrathea (the buildup could have been better).

Like I said, the movie was hit-or-miss. But the Guide is handled very well, and the moments of hilarity make this a worthwhile movie for fans and novices alike. I'll give it a 7/10.

Song lyric of the day:
"You've got your head in the clouds
And your world's upside down
Get away from the life you're living
Get away from the man who's stealing your life"
- Velvet Revolver, Dirty Little Thing

Sunday, May 01, 2005


If you look to the sidebar, you will see that I've rearranged some stuff, and more importantly, I've made my "What I'm Listening To" and "What I'm Reading" lists much more spiffy. This is thanks to, which was brought to my attention by the infamous Mr. Jacob Grier. These updates really serve no other purpose than to make the blog look nicer.

A brief note on the "What I'm Reading" list: you may notice that it does not get updated very often. This isn't because I'm a slow reader (although I am), it's just that between doing schoolwork, exercising, trying to have something that vaguely resembles a social life, etc., I don't have much time to sit down and read. I'm trying to get better about this, because I love reading. Oh well, we'll see.