25 October, 2006

Perpetually Tired Boy and Real Life Bobblehead Girl

No, I am not starting up a new comic book with the characters Perpetually Tired Boy and Real Life Bobblehead Girl as the characters. These are two fictional students in two different fictional classes that I made up in my mind who I imagine would keep my occupied during boring classes. I'll begin with Perpetually Tired Boy (PTB from here on). (Keep in mind all the "fictionals" and the conditional text I already wrote as I switch to a different tense, as if if these students really existed, which of course, they do not) In the class that PTB and I share, we both sit in the front row. I sit in the second to last chair all the way to the right of the row, and he sits in the very last chair on the left in the row, so we're pretty far from each other, but being that it's a small class, I can still see him. PTB can usually be seen dozing off. I'm talking some seriously hardcore dozing off. Severe head jerks as he falls into a deep slumber that look like they could cause brain damage. The progression from alert to totally asleep is the best to watch though. PTB will begin sitting upright, then a few minutes into the class I'll notice his eyes looking very heavy. Slowly, blinks become longer and soon are becoming full scale eye shuts. Once they make it to the point of completely shut, the head slowly begins to look downward. And as the head falls and PTB falls into a deeper sleep, the movement of the head downward gets faster until it completely crashes as low as it can go...and PTB is out cold. Usually he regains consciousness in a few seconds, but he can't manage to stay awake for much longer before it all happens again. And as this is just about an everyday occurence, he is dubbed Perpetually Tired Boy. Thank you PTB for keeping me occupied during class. Real Life Bobblehead Girl (RLBG from here on) sits two rows in front of me in a reasonably large lecture (approx. 100-200 students), in the front row, and for those of you keeping up, that puts me in the third row. RLBG will often be sitting in the front row, seemingly listening to the professor's lecture or completely zoned out; I'm not always sure as I'm usually directly behind her. But then, a student will raise a point that RLBG approves of and is in love with wholeheartedly. At this point, as the student is often behind RLBG, she turns her around as far as she can as to potentially make eye contact with the student who had made the point she agreed with. Then, RLBG begins nodding her head with approval very harshly. Not a few subtle nods, but seriously about a minute of up and down head nods. So much so that it seems like the brain would be bouncing around and causing a headache, but apparently it doesn't as she looks to give her approval to select students in this fashion almost every class period. It's as if at the instant that a student raises a good point, someone hits her on the head, and she is a real life bobblehead doll, whose head will continue to nod for 30 seconds or so. Thus, she is known as Real Life Bobblehead Girl. These two students are completely ficticious and no attempts to make contact with them for interviews, conversations or demonstrations of their abilities should be made, because they are not real.

22 October, 2006

Gimme Shelter

Fresh off of my second viewing of The Departed in one week, I'm listening to the songs from the film pretty obsessively. The most prominent songs in the film for me are Dropkick Murphy's cover of Arlo Guthrie's "I'm Shipping up to Boston," the Allman Brothers Band's "One Way Out," a cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" by The Band and Van Morrison, which upon second viewing of the film I liked much more and last but not least (obviously as it's the title of this post) the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." I've seen the legendary film of the same name but not until I saw The Departed did I fall in love with the song. The song is somewhat of a staple of Scorsese's crime films, as it was used in both Goodfellas and Casino as well. The song works particularly well in the new film, especially in the first couple of minutes with Jack Nicholson's character establishing monologue. Certainly, until you've seen The Departed, you won't fully appreciate the song in context. However, it's a damn good song on its own. The sheer intensity of guest vocalist Merry Clayton's backing vocals have to be the best part. At the points when she's singing and it goes so high her voice does this cracking sort of thing, it's quintessential rock and roll. In fact, according to the always-correct-source-of-info, Wikipedia, Clayton suffered a miscarriage because of how intense her performance in this song was. Rock and roll is incredible.

16 October, 2006

Dearly Departed

Martin Scorsese's newest film, The Departed, is going to go down as one of the peaks of his career. In my opinion, he's been gold since him and Leonardo DiCaprio started collaborating two pictures ago on Gangs of New York. The Aviator was a great film too, but it's loss for Best Picture and Best Director didn't come as a surprise for me. This new one could have been Scorsese's ticket to his long absent Oscar, but since it's a remake, I see little chance in that. This was easily the strongest film I've seen in 2006 and I'll have to see some mind blowing cinema over the next few months for this one to be dethroned. This cop-and-mouse cop drama is much more than that three word description would suggest. We see stellar performances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon (both giving two consecutive career performances with The Aviator and Syriana before this one), Jack Nicholson (could definetely be another Oscar for this veteran) and Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg. I was so impressed by Mark Wahlberg's...performance...in Boogie Nights but hadn't seen anything since then that was that great from him, but this is another great performance, although it is in a supporting role. This is going to be one of the best of the year, and let's just hope the Academy rewards it deservingly come awards season. At least one of the following will have to exceed the anticipation I have for them to see this one not be my favorite of the year: Inland Empire, The Prestige, The Fountain, Pan's Labyrinth, or Flags of our Fathers. This will be a damn good year for the movies if The Departed is not the best one of the year.

10 October, 2006

North Korea: You are Making Me (Kim Jong) Ill

I'm sitting at my desk, skipping some class and I'm completely taken aback by North Korea going for it and doing a nuclear test this week. Sure, there is speculation that the "underground test" may have been a dud or didn't happen at all, but I'm buying into those pointing to the fact that it did happen. Either way, North Korea (DPRK from here on) wants to provoke the entire world flexing their fledling nuclear muscle. In terms of nuclear muscle, the U.S. ranks at a Pumping Iron-era Schwarzenegger whereas DPRK ranks at about Mike O'Leary (maybe I'm giving myself too much credit), but the point is that they are relatively weak and don't pose an immediate threat. However, any nuclear capability of a rogue nation is a problem. I'm hopeful on this matter. China, yes, the crazy commie bastards of China, are warning DPRK agains further nuclear actions. That is a very good sign, in that if the international community can for once put aside long held political differences and multilaterally take on this problem it can be solved. Action like this is important but these countries can't dance around the problem forever, they have to get in there and do something. China is the only hold out for things to get underway, but they do seem interested in doing something. They have explicitly ruled out war against DPRK, which is good because we don't need another one right now. China has not ruled out sanctions however, most likely the first move to be taken up by the international community. I feel encouraged that many countries want to fix this problem together especially since DPRK likes so say things like, "We hope the situation will be resolved before an unfortunate incident of us firing a nuclear missile comes" (that's a direct quote). For now, keep your fallout shelter close and keep your faith in the international community closer. I've got to get to class.

08 October, 2006

Thoughts on the Status of the World

Call me annoying, say I have an agenda, do your worst that these humble writings could provoke you to do, but if you are reading this and you are not registered to vote and are eligible to be registered then you are either a fool or a Republican too ashamed to even try to get things together for that grand ol' bunch. Different things get people excited but I'm gearing up for a Tuesday night party come November 7. I figure that either the Democrats will get out there and kick some serious elephant ass (I was going to attempt a pun somewhere in this sentence using "ass" as a synonym for the "donkey" that represents the Democratic party, but I couldn't manage it smoothly so instead I just put in this long awkward parenthetical notification) or the whole thing will tank somehow because of the injustices of the world but I'll have felt better having spent some time hanging out with people on a Tuesday night. Seriously though now, voting is really important and the election is coming up real soon, so arm yourself with my favorite weapon of guerilla campaigns/revolutions, a Molotov Cocktail. Shit. I mean a ballot. Ballots not bullets. I've got my absentee ballot ready to be sent and to make a difference. I'm pretty sure times need to change considering the damage that has been done by our current leaders, at home, abroad and online to underage pages (for a good "this is so uncomfortable all I can do is laugh" laugh, followed by a sick feeling in your stomach, check out the Foley transcript).

Other thoughts that I'm going to let bleed into this post: If you have any appreciation for popular music right now you should really check out The Raconteurs covering Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" at Lollapalooza. Also, I feel very incompetent as a hardcore Martin Scorsese fan in not having seen The Departed already, but godamn, it got awesome reviews. I'll be seeing that very soon and if you want to love life, you probably should too. If you'd like to live a better life, seriously consider all I've said here.