Saturday, August 14, 2004

I was walking around downtown last night, after the sushi, and I had a couple of really conflicting thoughts. I had just finished a terrific meal, was walking around a pretty clean and young city, enjoying a cool summer night. Things were... good. Almost immediately, I started to think about all kinds of things that aren't "good": yeah but I'm walking around by myself; it's almost 9 and I will probably spend the rest of Friday night in my house reading; a feel a certain age inside, but look a completely different and, unfortunately, more accurate age outside; etc etc etc. I started to notice how strange disconnected thoughts were suddenly brought together.

I almost stopped on the sidewalk about half-way home and asked myself, outloud, "What is it inside me that doesn't allow myself to be satisfied with a situation. Why do I end up being so insatiable?" I've not been able to stop thinking about that since. I sat on the steps last night, literally doing nothing but thinking about that.

So I'm riding my bike this morning. It's a beautiful morning. I got up early, fixed some eggs and english muffins (yes, they appear AGAIN in a post) and started some laundry. Then I went out and rode around for about an hour. As I was pulling back on to my block, I felt that feeling again. Right as I was feeling really grateful for the morning, I think about all the things that are opposite. I was frustrated. I was carrying the bike up the steps to my place and I realized something pretty big: I feel guilty being happy.

I realize that I don't let myself enjoy life--there is this part of me that sees the tough life other people have and I feel guilty that mine is better. I did nothing to deserve a better or easier or happier life. So I don't let myself stay happy--I try to "balance" it out with thoughts about what is "negative."

I hate that. I have a good life--and I don't need to feel guilty about that. I want to love what should be loved and enjoy the enjoyable things. I want to change--I want to be happy more often and feel guilty less.

Those of you who know me, I encourage you to push and challenge me about this. I want to be a different (and hopefully better) person. I'm not exactly sure how to change a deeply ingrained habit and way of thinking, but I'm ready to move ahead.

I decided I was going to keep track of the things that make me genuinely happy.

Folding clothes right out of the dryer.
The first drink or taste of a drink or meal.
Uninterrupted minutes of reading when I lose track of time.
An unexpected smile or nod of the head from a stranger.

I do admit that the folding clothes things is strange...

Here's to being happy--and being ok with it.


Two separate posts today--one light and easy; the other more introspective and revealing. This post will be the former, with the latter coming, obviously, later. (Disclaimer for those who don't care about one type of post or the other.)

Current song: "Everybody's Cool" by Darryl Ann.

Finally made it to the new sushi place last night: Mara Do. Some of the best miso soup I have ever had--by far! I decided to go with a combo, with the chef's choice, as my first experience there. Overall, I was really pleased. The spicy tuna rolls were a little tame and more like hand-rolled than I typically like, but still tasty and really filling. The mackrel and yellowfish were decent, but everything else was very good. The real test for me--unagi--was outstanding. It's definitely a place I'll frequent. The staff isn't quick--they all seem really new at waiting tables, beyond being open just a week. And one guy actually dropped a tray of ice waters on a guy. All the same, I was really happy with it and can't wait to take someone there.

I understand that I will leave out excellent movies when I give my alphabetical listings--American History X, for example. And I also anticipate disagreements! Neither of those factors discourage me from moving forward though. Keep the comments coming and I'll keep leaving out good movies--that's what you call a partnership!

Top "B" Movies:
1. Best In Show (I'm a sucker for the Guest/Levy combination and have a good chunk of my life laughing about and sharing lines from these movies. I recently watched this again with my friend Suzie and was reminded how much joy the performances bring me. It also made me think a lot more about getting a dog--but that's for another post.)

2. Better Off Dead (John Cusak--what more needs to be said? Along with a couple of my most memorable 80s lines, this movie holds a special place in my heart: I once got to hold hands with a girl I thought was the GREATEST GIRL EVER CREATED while watching this movie--I still get chills and butterflies when Lloyd is on the top of the mountain, for that is when our fingers made contact under the blanket..... Sad but true.)

3. Big Lebowski (Krass and foul, but unbelievable nonetheless. The main three characters are an excellent combo and I find myself laughing at their silent interaction as much as the words they say. Unfortunately, the language is pretty bad and I can't watch this with enough people, but for those who have seen it, they know this movie does exist on another plane!)

4. Blow (Of course, I have to feature some kind of more serious/dark film. This movie affected me when I saw it the first time--I remember sitting in the theater not being sure what to do now. I'm still not sure what exactly struck me so deeply--I'm only sure that Johnny Depp was amazing and Penélope Cruz wasn't ugly. FYI--she is only 4 days younger than me. I think that keeps things still within the realm of possibility, doesn't it?)

5. Breakfast Club (Chances are this is my #1 favorite movie of all time. I can still watch it and feel the same things I did when I saw it the first time. I remember seeing this and thinking "that is how I feel!!" It turns out I connect with each character in some way--and that is what ends up being so powerful for me. There is that part inside me that recognizes that I am sort of an "outsider" in every group of people. This movie helped to validate that and help me to laugh about it.)

[honorable mention: "Being John Malkovich" "Benny and Joon" "Billy Madison" "Boogie Nights" "Bowfinger"]

Bottom "B" Movies:
1. Baby Geniuses
2. Barb Wire (two words: Pamela Anderson)
3. Baseketball (two words: Jenny Macarthy)
4. Big Momma's House (three words: BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE!! This is up there as one of the worst things I have ever experienced!)
5. Bringing Down The House

I'm deciding that I want to own all of these movies I am slating as my favorites. I own all of the A's and B's, but I know that won't stay consistent. That would mean 120 movies... I could do that.

Means less sushi probably though. Hmmmm.... dilemma!

Exit music: "Eden" by Hooverphonic.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Current song: "Shattered" by Remy Zero.

Amish Aaron is in town. We are going to dinner and hang out tonight and tomorrow. I think I'm taking him to the new sushi place tonight. I didn't get to go the other night--got hung up reading and didn't feel like going alone.

Thanks to the peeps who have been leaving comments. Looks like the movie discussion is one that people feel strongly about. I'm glad because it's important to me also! I'll do the "B" Movies tomorrow.

My friend Steve sent me a picture that I want to share but I'm selfish. I'll describe instead--it's a close-up of Eric Estrada in his Ponch uniform from C.H.I.P.S pointing right at me (?) and the bottom of the pic says "You're A Homo!" It's my desktop photo right now--makes me laugh everytime I look at it.

I hope your imagination can produce something that makes you at least smile!

Exit music: "The Rolling People" by The Verve.


Monday, August 09, 2004

I think I'm heading for some sushi tonight. A new place is opening in downtown GR--tonight is the opening night. I think I need to be there to christen the place. From the look of the actual location and menu I am expecting it to be good. The selection is good, decently priced and looks like it has a great vibe. I need a good sushi place close to me--I'm discovering how important (and shallow???) that really is to me.

OK--another installment of movie listings:

Top 5 "A" Movies:
1. About Schmidt (Even the fleshly appearance of Kathy Bates in this movie almost made me cry. I felt like I was holding back tears a good majority of this movie. In a bizarre way, I felt very inspired by the life of Nicholson's character.)
2. Adaptation (Spike Jonez does it again--as bizarrely as ever! I know many people who were sure this movie was a joke--and I'm wondering if that's part of the point actually. The inclusion of "Being John Malcovich" was a nice touch!)
3. Airplane! ("... and don't call me Shirley." "I speak jive!" "..a broach, a teredactyl..." What more needs to be said??)
4. Amelie (A beautiful movie all around. If you haven't seen this movie, visit the website and it will hopefully tempt you into renting/purchasing this. Be prepared for subtitles!!)
5. Annie Hall (I'm a big Woody Allen fan--this is the seminal Allen film, though not my favorite of his. Definitely worth watching if you love intelligent humor!!)

[honorable mention: Acid House; Adventures In Babysitting (mmm.. Elizabeth Shue!!); Almost Famous; Amadeus; As Good As It Gets]

And now, just for grins and giggles:

Bottom 5 "A" Movies:
1. A.I.
2. Abyss
3. Ace Ventura (I know--accuse me of being unable to laugh....)
4. Against All Odds (mostly cuz of Phil Collins' song)
5. Air Force One

Been listening to a particular set of music the past couple days. I've recently re-read a great book "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" and a common theme in the book is a tape he made for someone. So I decided to listen to the same "tape" for the past couple of days. I give you now, the playlist:

"Asleep" (The Smiths)
"Vapour Trail" (Ride)
"Scarborough Faire" (Simon & Garfunkle)
"White Shade Of Pale" (Procol Harum)
"Time Of No Reply" (Nick Drake)
"Dear Prudence" (The Beatles)
"Gypsy" (Suzanne Vega)
"Nights In White Satin" (The Moody Blues)
"Daydream" (Smashing Pumpkins)
"Dusk" (Genesis)
"MLK" (U2)
"Blackbird" (The Beatles)
"Landslide" (Fleetwood Mac)
"Asleep" (The Smiths)

I'm on my second play through the list today.

Couple quick baldfacts:
:: I sleep with one single VERY THIN pillow
:: Amish Aaron calls it "the wafer"
:: I never liked the band Creed
:: I'm confident I won't like the "new" Creed
:: I DESPISE Nickelback (I think I have probably mentioned that before)

Sushi time. Domo!


Sunday, August 08, 2004

Currently playing: "Army Corps Of Architects" by Death Cab For Cutie.

I know there is plenty of criticism floating out there about Death Cab (including the negative phrase "cabification" I recently read at one of my favorite music sites), but there just remains something about the music that I can't get past. I know it's "wuss rock"--I have heard it all before. All the same, I can't listen to it enough sometimes. I just recently downloaded the exclusive EP they are offering via iTunes--some great re-workings of songs. For those who are fans of the piano, these songs have the piano dominantly featured in the mix.

I tried to post this past Friday. I'm still without internet capabilities at my place--I'm sure readers of this post are as tired of reading that as I am writing it. I had the day off and PROTECTED to do three things:

1. Pick up my new bike
2. Get my oil changed
3. Catch up on internet stuff

I got my bike.

I visited 4 places in the GR area, trying to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi so generously offered by the litany of coffee shops here, all trying to set themselves apart from one another. They were all the same to me Friday--ALL of them were having "internet problems" and I couldn't get on. Maybe the worst part was my daily coffee consumption. The self-conscious people-pleasing side of thebaldtrain made a grandiose appearance that day. Instead of stopping in to use the wireless, I feel bad and insist on purchasing something EVERY time. So I go straight to the counter, place an order and then go sit. I'll give myself a little credit--the first two times, there was no way I could know about the whole wireless dilemna. After those two though, I should have checked that out first, before buying more coffee. Instead, I ended up buying four drinks from four different places. I felt like GARBAGE most of the night Friday. By about 4:30 I was so frustrated with my unsuccesful meanderings, I ended up heading straight to the grocery store and purchasing an adult beverage. Then I talked on the phone for a while, rented two movies and bought Chinese. I wasted the night re-watching a couple great performances and eating Lo Mein.

I didn't have the emotional energy to get my oil changed. (Does that sound extreme enough?)

I decided to start giving an alphabetical listing of my favorite movies. I started working on the A's when I realized I could be a little more creative with the first installment. So...

Top 5 "American" Movies:
1. American Beauty (Kevin Spacey--unreal! Funny but sobering. Something inside me connects with Spacey's performance--his search and desire for happiness and fulfillment. I'm a fan of movies that are realistic)
2. American Movie (If you like documentaries, this is in the top couple ever. Be prepared--and afraid!)
3. American Psycho (The second of three movies based on books by Bret Easton Ellis. Violent and krass, yet crazy funny. Those who know me and my movie tastes aren't suprised to know I like this.... It's also an early picture of a metro-sexual's consumption with himself. Movie isn't for everyone!)
4. American Splendor (Based on the life of Harvey Pekar, comic book creator and everyman. It combines real life interviews, film and animation techniques that are all captivating. Good story--even for the person not a fan of comics)
5. American Tail (What?!?! I'm not allowed to like a kiddie movie?!?!)

[Honorable mention: "American History X" and "American Werewolf In London"]

Heading to see "Napoleon Dynamite" in a little while--I'm hoping to have positive reviews next time.

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