This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

That's right,

I posted 3 things today. And this makes it 4, beeeeeeeeatches.

I find that any sentence can be made more spicy with the word "beeeeeeeeeeeeeatches" at the end. Try it. At work. To your bosses.

A muted alternative to this would be the word "fools." Less fun, more kid-friendly.

-- expletives changed -- M.P.

My Writing Influences --

Got David Foster Wallace's book Oblivion: Stories from the library today, and it's super great. I love him, and I got to thinking about my writing influences and who they are. Maybe they don't want to be associated with this jelly, but I'll take that chance, just in case they Google themselves and happen across this blog and then compliment me on it and in so doing make my year.

Now you should know that I basically learned to read using Peanuts comic strip books when I was 5 or 6. My mom and dad can confirm this. Later on I graduated to more wordy strips -- Doonesbury and Bloom County were my favorites. Bloom County (and later Calvin & Hobbes) had timing to them, man -- comedic timing. It was my first exposure to this concept, and I still love getting out the old Tales Too Ticklish To Tell and reminiscing.

In High School I learned to love Douglas Adams, and later Dave Barry, and they remain 2 pantheonic figures in my mental word-composing. Finally, I read Infinite Jest and was wowed by Wallace and his intelligence and wit, and voice. The only other influences I can think of right now are Bill Simmons from and Gregg Easterbrook, who writes Tuesday Morning QB for Oh, and Jesus, of course. Can't forget Him.

In other news, Google advertising banned my friend Tony's website,, because of "hate speech". This, my friends, is what Absolute Tolerance has begat. Go to that website and try to find the hate speech. I dare you. You can't because it's not there. It's a sad sad day when speaking your mind gets you banned by Google.

Tolerance = intolerance. Freedom is an illusion. Don't believe the Hype!

The Wedding I Went To Last Weekend

One week ago I flew up to Wisconsin for a wedding. It wasn't just any wedding, however -- this was the one with the Groom wearing a kilt. And a sword on his back. And a big knife.

The fact that the Bride allowed this is a good sign, I believe, regarding their chances of staying married. Marriage is all about 2 things -- compromises and not pissing each other off. I guess that's really just one thing. The same thing. Tolerance is not necessarily something I value a whole lot in life...but in marriage there is no substitute for it. Obviously tolerance works better if the 2 people in question have a lot in common. There's less that you have to tolerate in that situation, and more you enjoy. Clearly, men should marry someone like their mom, because any variations on that momular model exhibited by the mate will be perceived automatically as faults to be tolerated. Unless you view your mother as a terrible witch, you should find her younger duplicate and buy an appropriate ring for her. But we're not here to talk about this, we're here to discuss my trip.

It's cold in Milwaukee, like 45 degrees and death windy -- the kind of wind that turns 45 into like, 25 or less. And I came from Dallas, takeoff temperature 80 and balmy. Even though I lived in Wisconsin for 29 years, it still was shocking. The wedding was in the Irish Cultural Center because the Bride and Groom share a love of Ireland. It wasn't as weird as you may have imagined, even with the kilt and the attractive female Minister (ordained 10 days previously over the internet) and the lack of a Mother of the Bride and the 20 minutes-short service including pro- and re- cessionals. The place looked like a church, with a huge pipe organ and uncomfortable pews. It was really, really good.

The reception was held at Paddy's Irish Pub (again with the Irish). It was also nice, and larger on the inside than it is on the outside, like the TARDIS. Got to see people that I wish I would see more, and got to watch Wisconsin beat those jerks from Purdue on a projection TV with a yellow spot on it about a foot in diameter. But you don't care about this either. One last thing before I hang up -- Guinness is sweet! I don't really like beer, but I love Guinness on tap. It's smooooth. Who says dark beer is sketchy?

Totally useless opinion of the day

Why does anyone eat peaches in heavy syrup? Extra light syrup is more refreshing, and it's like 5/8 the calories.

In honor of Brian Riggins, who may be the only person who reads this blog besides my wife and I, here's five foods that you can get away with eating the lowfat/low-cal version of:

1) Fricking milk (down to 1%, of course -- not no stinkin' skim)
2) Canned peachlets/mixed fruit (see above)
3) Cottage cheese
4) Potato Chips (Baked Lays -- mmm)
5) Lunch meat (just buy the turkey, please, instead of the ham)

And five foods you can't
1) Ranch Dressing (all lowfat ranch tastes like ranchesqe white paint)
2) Real Cheese (not Cottage)
3) Mayo
4) All snack-cake-like dessert treats
5) Ice Cream (I'm looking at you, sherbet)

Thought of the Day: People with photographic memories should be kept out of bookstores by congressional law, to guard against possible copyright violations.

Copyright is, clearly, the most important crime issue in America today, judging by how much of our FBI resources go to protecting it. It's not drugs, abortion, terrorism, burglary, organized crime, massive amounts of date rape, child molestation, the Dallas epidemic-level car theft problem, or Christina Aguilera's sense of style -- it's copyright violations. Thankfully, the people sharing their collections of material with others over the internet are being prosecuted. What would we do if there was public access to art without having to pay inflated prices for it?

Side note: I just "borrowed" a book from the library, at no charge. I have to give it back, sure, but I get to read it for free. Is this the America our ancestors worked tooth and nail to build? Shouldn't somebody be profiting off this? I'm taking food out of Big Publishing's executives' kid's mouths, for Pete's sake.

But seriously, read between the lines of the campaign to demonize file-sharing and you'll see that the RIAA probably views libraries as terrible, terrible loopholes in the legal War on Content Restriction. And that's kinda all you need to know when you pick which side of the debate to be on, isn't it?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Team America: World Police

I also saw the cuss-tacular Team America: World Police this week, and I can't decided if it was great or just good. It's a comedy, and what's the first rule of comedy, kids? That's right, comedy must be funny. And the movie is pretty dang funny. It's worth seeing just for the songs -- "America, f__ yeah!" the theme song of the Team, sounds like a commerical for action figures from the 80's. It's funny because hicks think like that. I also like how they do a "sensitive" version of the same song at the end when things are supposed to be emotionally down. The "patriotic country song" with shots of the main puppet at national monuments is a nice touch. I especially liked the final line, which went something like, "Everybody has to put their buck-o-five in for freedom -- freedom costs a buck-o-five", and then it trails off.

Maybe I should watch more South Park, since I liked the movie so much. I don't know -- I'm not one of those people who finds people cussing up a storm particularly funny. But the satire is so good, and so sharp, and so unique. Does South Park do that, too? I remember watching one South Park after the 2000 elections, where they did class elections where a girl named "Flora" couldn't make up her mind, and that was pretty funny. I'll watch some more of this show and get back to you.

The funniest thing about TA:WP is the fact that puppets, or more accurately marionettes, cannot move very well. They do a parody of that scene in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 where O-Ren and her Inner Circle are walking down the hallway with cool music playing in the background. But the puppets can't strut, they can barely even walk. They're just dangling around. So it's funny. And there's a lot of that.

The movie's satire, and straight-out desire to offend, is what's getting the most press. For example, Michael Moore is portrayed as a suicide bomber two-fisting hot dogs with mustard on his sweater. All the satire is saying is that "people are idiots", and that's a point that many many people need to hear, starting with those self-important messianic-complex-having actors who have spoken out against the war. Everyone who cringed when the Left took up arms for the Dixie Chicks when it was clear they didn't have any idea what the hell they were talking about will find a friend in this movie.

And in the end, the movie seems to be making a case (albeit not very seriously) for American intervention vs. American inaction(and UN control of things -- told through a particularly biting scene involving a Hans Blix puppet), although not the kind of intervention where we think we're the World Police and let puppets pull our strings. I never thought a movie with this much stupid crap and cheap cussy laughs could be this deep. Ok, I've decided -- it's a great movie. But one that many people will be offended by.

Like Sean Penn, who has I think taken out ad space somewhere ripping Parker and Stone, the creators of the movie, for 1) being nice to his face but then ripping him in the movie; 2) having the audacity to suggest that people who don't know anything about the candidates shouldn't vote; 3) making fun of his trip to Iraq. He even offers to take them to Iraq and then see if they still want to mock him. It's just this sort of thing (taking ad space out somewhere to defend his oh-so-important statements) that makes him the perfect target for satire. Don't these people get it?


Yeah so I've not been feeling well since I came back from my last weekend trip to Wisconsin. That's why I haven't been posting. I'm still sick but have so much to write about. I'll now probably forget something, it's been so long.

First and foremost, I saw both The Ring and Ringu in the last week. I have some advice for y'all: Don't go seein' Ringu after seeing The Ring. The second is a near-exact remake of the first, and is actually much better. It's more polished, creepier, and makes more sense. Maybe that's because it's in English and not Japanese. It's subtitled, sure, but there's more than a language barrier when it comes to understanding Japanese movies. I don't subscribe to postmodernism usually, but there's something to the idea that other cultures are difficult to understand, especially when they're this weird. In 60 years they've gone from Imperial kamikazees to films about deadly videotapes. I guess that's not so hard to understand.

Yes, these films are about a deadly video that kills you exactly one week after your watch it. The content of the video is much creepier* in The Ring than in Ringu, and there's much more on the tape for the heroine to learn about. Ringu is boring in parts, The Ring not so much. Plus, Naomi Watts is hot.

*For some reason this part of the movie -- the actual watching of the video -- creeped me way out. I should be used to the kind of stuff that was on there by now, with all my loving of David Lynch and all. But it still was really dread-inducing. That's what made the movie for me, actually. I kind of hate horror movies because most of them are lazy and just pale remakes of Halloween or Friday the 13th. Everyone knows what's going to happen, and that's just unacceptable. But occasionally one will come up with some new idea or creepy imagery that affects me. The Ring had both.

P.S. -- Ringu is only fun if you yell "Ringu!" at the screen every few minutes, at random. And pronounce it like "Ring-Goo" when you yell it, not "Ring-Oo". I'm telling you, it's great fun.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Pack is Back at 2-4

Got a lot of stuff to tell and no time to tell it. The Pack is Back, though.