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    • Fundamental Optimism

    • Posted by Luke on 10 Feb 08
    • Those moments where you react without deciding how you're going to are great, a direct line into what you're like underneath.

      Went for a real 6.0 gold-medal pratfall today, going from walking along a frozen street to a perfect horizontal landing - nought to ninety degrees in one second - somehow slamming into the very small of my back. Which hurt.

      My first thought was I was lucky I didn't land on my tailbone because that was a real coccyx-shattering fall, which I'm told is right up there with knife-in-the-eye on the "things that suck" scale. Never mind the massive pain and the weeks as a simulated cripple, you've got the hassle of finding plural for coccyx. Or considering how hard I fell, the collective noun. An agony of cocci?

      Stood up thinking "Well, if that's my reaction to back shattering hurt-impacts, I'm doing pretty good."
    • Filming Again

    • Posted by hmobius on 10 Feb 08
    • I got invited back onto a film set for the first time in two years yesterday. Not anything big you understand, just a no-budget no-frills shoot at the house of the director. Three crew plus me and two actors.

      And damn if I hadn't forgotten how much I enjoyed making films. It's even more fun than watching the finished product once it's all been cut and mixed.
    • 3 a.m. pot of coffee II

    • Posted by Don Kelly on 10 Feb 08
    • Long ago I drank vast amounts of alcohol at a Long Island dive called Someplace Else. The name appealed to my esthetic; the very same esthetic that had me describing the random piece of Flash inked to my left deltoid as my soul. This poetry yielded a varying scope of sexual experience with an array of quality ladies willing to paddle in my shallow depths.

      The chimes at midnight ring in my ears like Tinnitus some times.

      I shared a table and cigarettes with a friend named Maureen. As old then as I am now, she spoke of disappointment with great expertise. It encompassed all facets of her tales of blown opportunities. This is not a judgement, merely an account of what passed over bad wine and full ashtrays.

      A couple of very bad decisions mark the time we spent together. I will not account for them here. They are the private beginning of a sociopathic descent misplaced in a public forum. I prefer to remember Maureen for her optimism.

      "If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing," she'd say or slur depending on the hour.

      Really?

      Occasionally, I wax depressively about where I am at 36 and wonder what would I change if I could conference with my younger self. Some days I cannot get out of bed because the world feels too inclement and I ponder what I could have done to belay this grievous hurt. They come less often now, but a quality depression trumps quantity, bringing hours of gridlocked regret.

      This is what I would say to that young man sitting alone on a barstool to help ease his burden.

      There is no secret knowledge. All you have to do is ask.
      Fight harder for Jen and if you still lose her...
      Be nicer to Elizabeth. She really did love you.
      Decide what you want.
      Always, I mean ALWAYS wear a condom. Especially when you think you don't have to.
      There's no need to be afraid. Honestly.
      And, finally...
      Decide what you are willing to shave and stick with that plan. It's a lifetime commitment.

      The sad thing is the arrogant fucker would only want to argue the flaws in my thinking.
    • 3 a.m. pot of coffee

    • Posted by Don Kelly on 10 Feb 08
    • Seemed like a good idea at the time...the coffee. Doesn't really fall under the purview of unwinding after a shift, but, I don't know, I really like coffee. More than sleep evidently.

      Nocturnal. That's me. Have been for as long as history. Being a bartender is one of the few legal ways to make a living at this hour. There's been offers for the less than legal ones. Those entrepreneurs tend to cross a bartender's path. We all love the night and its danger and magic. But not everyone has a code.

      Last night a few of us went to IHOP for a group unwind after our shift. Sassy arrived last. Her proper name is long and Russian, so she named herself Sassy and adopted a fitting personality.

      She's the type of woman easy to adore, tall and lovely. To add intrigue to the night she competes with me in terms of our sales. Alas, she always loses for Sassy was but a little girl when my legendary career began in much larger bars than I now patrol. But, it's fun to watch her try.

      She trembled when she sat, and we wondered why. Five guys accosted her on the walk over from her car. Nothing physical...just bullshit catcalls by drunken fools trying to feel hard. But, they scared her because it only takes one fool to lead the others to terrible things.

      A kind of resignation overtook me and I wanted out of the booth. When queried I replied that I wanted to find them. Sassy said they'd vanished not to bother, but it took some talking down. I had already deputized my mate beside me.

      Treating women properly has always been part of the code. It's a patchwork nobility gleaned from too many comics and lots of science fiction. I haven't always lived up to it. During a bad time a few years back I nearly forgot it completely. But, once remembered, the damn thing saved my soul. So, no matter how inconvenient, it will do just fine.
    • Movie Review - Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 10 Feb 08


    • I had to watch this movie twice, with a four month interval, to stomach it. The first time, I was left dazzled. I was completely unprepared. This second time, I watched it knowing what to expect... and I have just seen another masterpiece from the same director of the magnificent "Oldboy", Chan-Wook Park.

      Geum-ja Lee was forced to stay in prison for thirteen years after confessing to a murder she didn't commit (for reasons I can't say in a spoiler-free review). Now, she's looking for a revenge. Against who and why is slowly revealed by the movie, and it requires attention. Park has a surreal, almost bizarre way to tell a story: he manages to show every scene decorated with some kind of emotion. They're evocative. Which is why Park's movies are always an emotional blow to your stomach. "Oldboy" might be my favorite movie ever (except for "Carlito's Way"), but I have a hard time watching it again. It breaks me.

      Geum-ja is played by Yeong-ae Lee... probably the most beautiful asian actress I've ever seen. Her beauty left me stunned. She's also a fantastic actress. In the fabulous scene where she talks to her daughter via an interpreter, the camera focuses all the time in her face... and what she says and how she says it is absolutely perfect. There's also an incredible moment near the ending where the camera focuses on her, and she grins trying to hold back laughter for a reason I can't reveal. The rest of the cast is also amazing, with a special mention to the brilliant Min-sik Choi, the protagonist of "Oldboy", as Mr. Baek.

      And how Park extracts humor from this story is a mystery, and proof of what a gifted director he is. You laugh and you cry when he wants you to. He can film a sequence with hilarious potential and make you cry instead, and vice-versa. And the humor somehow never breaks the drama. Park also poses a very important question in the movie: in which case is violence acceptable? And he answers this question with a violently depressing third act. And in Geum-ja's case specifically, he answers it when she meets a little boy in the end of the movie. I can't reveal more.

      Filled with beautiful, unforgettable moments and perfect music by Seung-hyeon Choi, Yeong-wook Jo (who brilliantly composed "Oldboy") and Seok-joo Na, "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" is another movie by Chan-Wook Park that left me emotionally broken in a corner. And that's my favorite kind of movie. When it tells the story without holding back, when the story's fully told, no matter how much it hurts. It's the third installment of the "Vengeance" trilogy. The first is "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" and the second is "Oldboy". All these movies have in common is the vengeance, not their characters, so you can watch them in whatever order you like. For me, there's only "Mr. Vengeance" left. And I'm looking forward to it.

      UPDATE: To listen to part of this movie's beautiful soundtrack, here's the official site.
    • Z: TBH: Morning, Day 14

    • Posted by Z on 10 Feb 08
    • Good morning, WhiteChapel.

      It's 1:20 where I am.

      ...

      Insomnia.

      Going to sit here a bit, try to feel tired.

      * * *

      2:20am now.

      Indecision. Screw in the lightbulb, see clearly into the furthest dark corners or unscrew the damned lightbulb and throw it at the closest wall- hold it in my fist and ram it against the closest wall until the shards are embedded in my palm. Indecision leads to neither. Indecision causes the lightbulb to remain in the socket, loose and in danger of causing a spark that ignites and burns brightly for a short time, a nice bright show with smoke and flames.

      Get your stick, kids, roast some marshmallows. It's all over soon. Fires don't burn forever.

      This time of day, this time of ... the morning, the night, what have you.. makes me idiotic. Makes me babble stupid random bullshit. I remember this one night, years and years ago, I stayed up too late answering e-mails and making phone calls, and at 2am a small stone struck the window next to me and they were calling me out. It was late and dark and I figured it was about money or about knives, someone's knife got swapped with my knife or my knife was left in someone's car and won't you come down and sort this all out since you're underage and less likely to get rightly fucked for having such a thing in your possession. Right right, be right down, down I went like an unthinking dumbfuck, out into the snow where the whole bunch were standing around in dark coats, me in mine, figuring we'd get things sorted and I could wrap up a few more things before going to bed. Wasn't the case, it was about sending a message, it was about making an example of me, and before I'd paid close enough attention to who's sleeve they fell out of or who's arm had been behind their back there were bats and pipes and heavy blows and my nose was gushing blood and my fingers were clutching the crown of my head. Went down hard on a concrete patio curled in a ball, kicked in the ribs wind knocked out of stomach, waiting waiting for it all to end with unconsciousness or spittle in the face or whatever dramatic result would convince them the work was done and there was nothing more for it. Bit of a black out. Woke up torn up went up to the second floor of the house, staggered into the bathroom, shoeprint on my cheek blood drying over my lips. Tried to rub the blood off with the back of my hand, could smell the metal and sweat on my palm from grabbing at one of the pipes aimed for my face. Breathing through my mouth I could see two teeth had been chipped, still are matter of fact. People like me, we don't bother getting a bucket of paint, an ounce of liquid porcelain, quick fixes and cover-ups. What's the fucking point. It'll never cover up all the scars, and you can't mask the scent of what's been defeated broken and beaten. The desperation, the running, the fear, the guilt, the disgust, the loathing, the anger, the frustration, the sickness has a stink.

      These are the things I'm reminded of at this hour.

      I'm tired now. Again.

      Good night, WhiteChapel. Good morning, and good night.

      - Z
    • Taking back the iPod

    • Posted by tedcroland on 10 Feb 08
    • So in the time I've had an iPod, I have discovered a few things that have opened its shiny doors to me in ways that have improved its usefulness exponentially. First, I noticed that if you format it for Windows, you can pull music off either Windows or Mac OS machines. It's a product of Apple's want/need to adopt Windows properties to stay competitive, so a Mac OS machine can read things formatted for Windows, whereas Microsoft doesn't have this drive, so they simply don't care. As an addendum to this, if you turn sync off completely and do everything manually, you can take music of any computer you want. I've noticed that when I try to give music to friends who have their 'Pods synced to their own computers, I can't give them music for some reason. This also enables me to 'steal' things bought on other people's iTunes accounts, including music, TV shows (with a $10 cable I can also hook the whole thing into any TV with RCA inputs), movies, etc.

      The thing that I realized recently that makes me laugh and sing at the same time is that the way Apple tries to keep people from taking music directly off the device is simply hidden directory folders. I'm not sure how this would work on a Mac, but on a Windows machine all you have to do is set the iPod for disk use in iTunes, then set folder settings to show hidden files and folders, then search through the directories (it really doesn't take long) and look for the folders that contain your music. After finding them, just set the folder to show tags (artist, album, etc) and start a-copying!

      The files will be randomly placed in some number of folders, so it's best to just copy them in bulk into one folder and work everything out from there. My laptop is running Vista (don't ask me why) and media organization is actually really easy with it (not a strong redeeming quality compared to the irritation and frustration that comes with trying to do just about anything else), so I just set it up that I would copy all the files and it would list them by artist, and now I've transferred an iPod's worth of music on to my computer.

      Fuck you, Steve Jobs; I fucking win.
    • Woo-hoo!

    • Posted by jaredrourke on 9 Feb 08
    • Just received an update from Barack Obama's campaign. Won all three states today. That's fucking fantastic. Fucking brilliant.

      And an artist sent me seven pages of thumbnails that could easily be finished pages. And I just gave him the script yesterday.

      It's been a brilliant day.