Monday, August 22, 2005


- A few weeks ago one of the managers at my current theatre resigned, so the other two managers convinced me to apply for the position. So, not really sure of my chances, I sent it in, and last week I drove up to Cleveland for an interview. Yesterday I got the call from him, and he offered me the spot. So I'm pretty happy about that. I was a little uneasy at first, since the theatre is somewhat understaffed, and given that I'm usually scheduled the most hours of anyone who isn't a manager I wondered if it might cause trouble if I were to vacate my staff spot. But my head manager assured me that it shouldn't cause too much trouble, and more importantly if they (now meaning we) are to build up the staff the management team needs to be on solid ground. If the foundation is weak, the rest will crumble- I'm paraphrasing here- so I can be of greatest help in a position of greater responsibility. Anyway, I'm stoked.

- Tonight, driving home from work, I decided to take the scenic route, and on the road I hit an opossum. The funny thing is that, though I probably killed a living thing, I don't feel bad. Setting aside the fact that opossums are nasty creatures, I think my lack of remorse comes from the details of the incident. It was dark, but I was driving the speed limit on a straight road with my headlights on, and the animal clearly saw me (I noticed its head turn toward the light well in advance). Here's the kicker- the opossum made absolutely no effort to move out of the way. What the fuck kind of survival instinct is that? Say you're sitting there, minding your business, when something much bigger than you comes roaring at you with its lights on at a fairly high speed (in relation to how small you are anyway). What do you do: (A) get the blue fuck out of the way, or (B) sit there and stare? Maybe I'm anthropomorphizing (spelling?) but any little thing that chooses (B) gets no sympathy from me. A deer, on the other hand, is a different story. Those things can do damage, and no amount of free venison could pay for the repairs I'd need.

- I'm getting reallyreallyreallyreally tired of this creationism/evolution hubbub. Let's get this clear: science requires proof, and religion requires faith. I'm sure there's a place where the two can be rectified, but a science classroom is not that place. Teach the Bible on your own time in my opinion.

- I stopped drinking caffeinated beverages a few years ago, mostly because they contributed to the migraines that have plagued me all my life- I still get them, but not nearly so frequently- but also because they made me edgy. But sometimes I still crave the taste of cola, and since I don't like artificial sweeteners, I'm pretty much out of luck. Why is it that Coke and Pepsi have caffeine-free diet varieties, but not caffeine-free non-diet? Or do they exist in places where I haven't yet looked? If anyone knows where I could find caffeine-free cola that has sugar in it, please let me know.

- I dropped by DiVitis' Italian Market the other day for the first time since I moved home. Man, that place is great. They make their own sausage- I plan to try the new Sicilian sausage next time I visit- and they also have a good selection of other stuff, Italian and otherwise. I would have gotten a cannoli had any been made at the time. It's just a little locally-owned place, but every time I've gone in the past it's been pretty busy, which warms my heart. I love to see little stores like DiVitis' maintain a consistent level of success.

- THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN is awesome. More to come.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

"Sitting on the hillside / watching all the people die"

A rare and rather pleasurable thing happened to me this afternoon- the theatre called me at home and actually told me I didn't have to come in for work. I suppose I should explain further. Normally, I wouldn't be scheduled in the projection booth on Saturday night because that's when the union projectionist comes in. However, he took a vacation this week sort of at the last minute, so I was somewhat easily persuaded to take over his shift this evening (I had no plans, so why not?). But at 3:30 this afternoon I got a call from my manager, informing me that the union guy had gotten one of his fellow union projectionists to take over the shift, and so I could have the night off. So hey, cool.

But that's merely a lead-in to what's on my mind right now. When I mentioned the turn of fortune to my dad, he suggested I go out and do something tonight. Perhaps, he mused, I should call a woman I went out with once a few months ago, last time I came home. Now, I didn't have a bad time with her or anything. We sat and talked for a few hours, I liked her and I hope she didn't find me objectionable. However, aside from this one date, we've kept in contact exclusively via e-Mail for the past couple of months, and have never spoken over the telephone. So I semi-demurred, stating that I have several Netflix and NicheFlix DVDs sitting in my room that won't watch themselves (for the curious: Chushingura, Cool Hand Luke, Come Drink With Me, and Turning Gate).

But what troubles me is that maybe I've fallen into a pattern that finds almost no room for interpersonal contact. As a more cinephilic Max Fischer might say, "perhaps I should be spending less time working and watching nerdy movies and more time trying to score chicks." Is my love for cinema legitimate, or is it emblematic of a retreat I've made from the outside world? To put it more bluntly, am I afraid of the biggest unknown of all, other people?

As I said before, I had a good time on my semi-date a few months back. So it's not like I find the idea of talking to this woman unpleasant. And she gave me her telephone number in case I had to contact her last time, so obviously she's not horrified about the idea of my telephoning her either. But part of me just isn't comfortable calling her out of the blue like this. Since we've never spoken on the telephone, I don't want to commit some social breach with her by calling her when she doesn't know I'm going to, but is this a case of me being polite, or is it fear masquerading as decorum?

A final thought: what does it mean when your own parents are encouraging you to get a social life?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Under One Roof

I've been getting a distinct ROYAL TENENBAUMS vibe since last night, when my younger brother moved back into the basement temporarily. I guess he had some issues with his apartment and his job and his roommate and his car, so now he's crashing here for a few weeks while he hunts for a new job and a new place to live. I don't have a problem with him moving home per se- lord knows I'm in no position to- but I don't look forward to his time here either.

A lot of this has to do with his relationship with my mother, which is, to put it mildly, strained. More to the point, they've been antagonistic toward each other for years. While she's never been the smothering type or a disciplinarian, she's very strong of will and free to offer strong suggestions. I'm cool with that, but my brother is not, and he is incapable of just saying "yeah, uh-huh" and letting it go. Another problem is that my brother is actively lazy, to the point one can be without actually putting any effort into it. Leave him to his own devices, and he'll sleep fourteen hours every night and leave a stack of filthy dishes on the floor of his bedroom (I'm not hypothesizing here). So whenever he moves home, my mother feels the need to impose strict rules on him- she and my dad are in charge, after all- and since he clearly wants to feel grown-up and independent despite not having a job, an apartment, etc., he protests loudly. What really gets my goat is that his ideas of grown-up life are so unformed, yet he so resolutely refuses to change them to accomodate the outside world. He's like a six-year-old who looks forward to being an adult so that he can drive, watch dirty movies, and move out of the house, but can't quite grasp the responsibility that comes with this increased freedom. My experience living away from home was hardly a rousing success, but at least I got my bills paid on time.

My personal relationship with my brother hasn't always been rosy either. We're civil now, but it hasn't always been so. Back when we were both still living at home before I went to college, he seemed to equate me with mom because I wasn't exactly receptive to his shenanigans, and this was compounded by the fact that he was a few years behind me in school. Because of this, he had several teachers who had previously taught me, and they would sometimes approach him as my little brother, with the expectations that came with that. I was a good student once upon a time, and maybe there was some pressure on his part to live up to the expectations I set (a friend once dubbed him "LIPS"- meaning "lives in Paul's shadow"). But I wasn't off the hook either. Maybe because he has never been the kind of guy to do his own legwork, he participated in many of the same activities (Boy Scouts, marching band, choir, and so on) as I did, which became quite the annoyance for me, since he wasn't very good at most of them and was hanging around largely because I was there. If he was any other kid, he might have taken the hint that the activity wasn't for him, but because I was there, I suppose he figured that since I could do it so could he, and so he tried to coast on the goodwill I had built over the years.

My brother has always been mouthy, but ever since he served in the Navy he's gotten pretty unbearable. He seems to lack the capacity for empathy, and whenever he meets someone with whom he could establish some common ground, he instead adopts an antagonistic stance. For example, at a wedding we both attended in January, he met a girl who had served in the Army, but instead of commiserating about their service experiences he gave her crap about how the Army supposedly sucks compared to the Navy. Yeah, real cool. He's one of the most self-centered people I've ever met, to be honest, and it's this selfish outlook on life that causes him to learn precisely the wrong lessons from his bad experiences. Mom disciplines him not because he needs to shape up, but because she's a bitch (his word). The Navy cracked down on him not because he was averse to discipline but because they're a bunch of assholes. And so on.

So there it is, my brother. I know that he's not as entertaining a topic as Barry Manilow-themed license plates or Cameron Diaz's scrawny tush, but life isn't all sunshine and roses. I don't mean to sounds like I hate the guy, but maybe if I vent now I'll get it out of my system so I can just ignore him for these next few weeks.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Funniest. License. Plate. Ever.

So I didn't work today, and when I went to the grocery store (alone, so don't expect a shopping rant) I saw a minivan with a license plate reading "FANILOW." Honest, I did. Now, I've listened to some sappy stuff in my time, but seriously, what kind of person actually proclaims himself a Manilow fan on his/her license plate, so that every snarky-ass person can chuckle to himself and maybe even write an otherwise pointless blog entry about it?

Heh heh. FANILOW.

Summer in the country

- Sweet jeebus it's hot outside. On top of that there are gnats everywhere. Honestly I can take these things outside, where I expect them to be, but when they're flying around inside the house it gets pretty annoying. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad except that they dive into my drink and die there, making it all a bit too morbid to drink. And yes, I know that insects crawl into everyone's mouth while they sleep, but at least I'm not awake when that happens. Plus if I partake of any more flying critters during my waking hours I might exceed my recommended daily allowance thereof. And I'm only willing to exceed RDA when it comes to fatty stuff that tastes good (see previous post).

- Seems like some local kids were out riding dirt bikes on the nearby farm for nearly the entire evening. Kind of annoying, but what can ya do. I can't help but think of the (earmuffs Jason) crappy second CHARLIE'S ANGELS movie and that lame dirt bike race. And come to think of it, I find Cameron Diaz pretty ugly and highly grating. Especially when she doesn't get strong direction, she gives off the vibe of a girl who would do something highly off-putting and even offensive and then put on an "ain't I a stinker" grin to try to get away with it. Yeah, I hate girls like that. I also hate when she tries to shake her scrawny ass. It's like watching a skeleton wiggle into disco pants, only not remotely as funny. Methinks she learned the WRONG lessons from THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY- people like her in that because the character is sweet and grounded, not because she hams it up.

- Finished Cain's SERENADE tonight, despite the dirt bikes. Awesome, of course, with less crime plot in it than I was expecting. The Sharp/Juana relationship has real complexity to it, and becomes more emotionally involving as the book progresses. The gay-panic stuff in the book was a little dated, but no more so than anything similar from that period, and Cain doesn't make it overbearing. I'm curious to see the allegedly awful Mario Lanza movie version, which jettisons a great deal of the story, and even turns the flamboyant patron into Joan Fontaine.

- Yeah, I know I haven't written about movies lately. Maybe tomorrow, or if not tomorrow then Thursday.