Saturday, June 30, 2007

Movie Reviews

I've decided to post a list of film reviews I've written. Most of these also appear on the IMDb. (If you go to the film on IMDb and click on "External Reviews," that's where you'll find the reviews.)

This list goes from most recent review to oldest. I'm sure you'll see a progression in the quality of the reviews. The earliest ones are really only a few sentences long, a paragraph at most. The newer ones get into more depth. At the bottom you will find essays I've written about movies, the movie going experience and the film industry.

The Watchmen (2009)
The Mindscape of Alan Moore (2003)
Burn After Reading (2008)
The Clone Wars (2008)
Salvador (1986)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Wanted (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Iron Man (2008)
Shine A Light (2008)
Leatherheads (2008)
James Bond Movies (1981-2006)
There Will Be Blood (2007) (again)
Cassandra's Dream (2007)
James Bond Movies (1963-1979)
Rambo (2008)
Where in the World is Osama bin Laden (2008)
Be Kind Rewind (2008)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
El Orfanato (2007)
Top 5 of 2007
Alien vs. Predator 2 (2007)
Sweeney Todd (2007)
Margot At The Wedding (2007)
Juno (2007)
I Am Legend (2007)
Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)
Solo con tu pareja (1991)

Across the Universe (2007)
Before the Devil Know's You're Dead (2007)
No Country For Old Men (2007)
Beowulf (2007)
American Gangster (2007)
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982, 2007)
The Comedians (1967)
Psycho (1960)
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Michael Clayton (2007)
Blood, Boobs and Beast (2007)
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
City Lights (1931)
Easy Street (1917)
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)
Jaws (1975)

Rocket Science (2007)
Death at a Funeral (2007)
Sunshine (2007)
Angel-A (2005)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Transformers (2007)
Sicko (2007)
Seven Samurai (1954) #3
Stardust (2007)
Wonder Bar (1934)
Topkapi (1964)

Ratatouille (2007)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Ocean's 13 (2007)
Paris je'taime (2006)

Knocked Up (2007)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
28 Weeks Later (2007)
Spider-man 3 (2007)
Hot Fuzz (2007)

The Fallen Idol (1948)
Lifeboat (1944)
Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)
Zelig (1983)

The Host (2006)
Grindhouse (2007)
TMNT (2007)
Night at the Museum (2006)
300 (2007)
Zodiac (2007)
Venus (2006)
Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
Autism Every Day (2006)
Miss Navajo (2007)
Enemies of Happiness (2006)

Robotech: Shadow Chronicles (2006)
The Good German (2006)
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Children of Men (2006)
Y tu mama tambien (2001)
Top 5 of 2006
Seven Samurai (1954) #2
Notorious (1946)
Mother Night (1996)

Rocky Balboa (2006)
Apocolypto (2006)
Blood Diamond (2006)

Take the Money and Run (1969)
The Fountain (2006)
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)
Death of a President (2006)
The Prestige (2006)
Flags of our Fathers (2006)
5 Scary Movies for Friday the 13th
The Departed (2006)
The Illusionist (2006)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Road to Guantanamo (2006)

Who Killed the Electric Car (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005)
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
The Young Lions (1958)
Superman Returns (2006)
Hard Candy (2005)
Match Point (2005)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
The Notorious Bettie Page (2006)
Brick (2005)
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
V for Vendetta (2005)
Network (1976) #2
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
New York Doll (2005)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
TV Junkie (2006)
Top Five of 2005
Munich (2005)
Raging Bull (1980)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
King Kong (2005)
Syriana (2005)
Elizabethtown (2005)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) (Part 2)
Serenity (2005)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Jarhead (2005)
The Brothers Grimm (2005)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Godfather (1972)
Seven Samurai (1954)
E.T. (1982)
American Graffitti (1973)
THX 1138 (1971)
Network (1976)
The Spectre of Marxism (educational video)
Broken Flowers (2005)
Torn Curtain (1966)
Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Howl's Moving Castle (2005)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Fantastic Four (2005)
War of the Worlds (2005)

Essays about the movies, the film industry and the movie-going experience:

10 Movies That Need DVD Releases
Classic Movie Theatres.
Ron Howard's "East of Eden" Remake
Return of the Overture and Intermission
Advice to Hollywood concerning remakes
Digital Projection

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Much Ado About Nothing

Hello everyone. It seems as though you've found my blog of Short Stories.

It seems as though there has been much to do about a short story Jason wrote and that I posted.

I would hope that you've come here, not to read just that, but all the material I have to offer here and to see what I've been up to.

Click here for the official "About Me."

Click here
for the complete list of stories on the blog.

And as far as Jason's story goes, you have to admit, it was pretty funny and the facts contained therein were pretty funny, too. If anyone has a short story response, I'd be happy to post it, otherwise feel free to leave a comment. The free flow of ideas and criticism is encouraged in this artistic space.

Love,

Bryan

Saturday, June 16, 2007

GUEST STORY: To Hell and Back Again: A Jason's Journey


Okay. This is the first guest story here on the short story blog. This is the first short story my little brother, Jason, has seen through to completion and I told him when (and if) he finished it to his liking, I would post it here.


Yes, this stuff all happened.

So, without further ado, here's Jason:

This is a story about Memorial Day weekend, when I went to my father’s house with my little sister, and he threw a party for his friends. It is also a story describing how and what my father is. He thinks farts are funny but he’s upset by people talking with their mouth full. It is rare that you have a conversation with him where he doesn’t interrupt it with a burp but talking on a cell phone at the dinner table is an atrocity. I talked to a friend, and told him some things about my father and he said that I gave him a completely different impression of him then my brother had. His impressions based on what he heard from my brother made him sound like a red neck. The impression I gave was of an upper-middle classed jackass who wears ridiculously expensive, stupid-looking shirts going through a mid-life crisis. I am telling this story based on my point of view, of real events. Some might ask, “Are you worried your dad might read this story?”
The answer to that question is, “Not in the least.”
If my dad were to read this story, his only response might be, “Yeah I did that. I said those things.”
Also he is such a colossal jackass that he might just think that he comes out of it looking good.
* * *
Today, I got on a plane with my little sister Kimberley going to Los Angeles. I read a book the duration of the flight and there were almost no incidents, except for the fact that I got my toothpaste confiscated. I was told that it might be made into a bomb.
My dad picked us up from the airport with his cyclopean wife. My dad is 5'8” weighs about 200 pounds and, as far as I can tell, wears almost exclusively Hawaiian shirts and short-shorts. His wife’s proper name is Connie, but for the rest of this story I will refer to her only as Cyclops. She is 5'10” and weighs about 300 pounds. She works at a bank as a vice-president, and has only one living eye.
We got into their S.U.V. whose license plate number is “CON N ME” that has only four seats. We started driving towards the city of Orange. (In my dad and Cyclops’ defense apparently there S.U.V. can have six seats, but 98% of the time there is only one passenger.)
We got to his house around 9 o’clock. He gave us a short tour of what was new. First on the tour were his cars: he has a red 1971 steel muscle car, my guess is that it gets 10 mpg, and a huge truck. Next he showed us his pool and then his new ping pong table that he had in his garage.
He asked if I wanted to try out the new table.
“Sure,” I said.
So we hit the ball back and forth for a while. He then started to hit the ball to the Far left and right side of the table every shot. Not that these are hard to get, they’re just annoying because I'm wearing sandals and they make you move for every ball. After a few of these I go to get one that he hits far to the right, and I slip on the garage floor because my sandals can’t get any traction. I slide three feet and hit my foot on a crate. My foot feels like it’s broken and I am bellowing obscenities under my breath like “God damn it” and “holy fucking Christ.”
It takes me two minutes to get back up and walk around. This is when he asks if I want to play a tournament.
“Whatever.”
Then we begin to play a game, all he is doing is sending them way off to the right or way off to the left, even on his serves tries to make me go after them.
I told him, “You know, the rules we play, the serve is just to get the game started. So trick serves aren’t aloud because, what fun is that?”
He said, “Anything that hits both sides of the table is fair.” In other words, “This is war!”
For some reason I tried to go for these stupid shots for the first two games, after that I gave up because my foot was hurting so bad I could barely walk.
This takes me back to my childhood.
We continue playing and I completely stop trying to go after these. I don’t even look like I’ll go after his side shots and trick serves. I just stood there squinting and nodding. He still continued playing this way for a half an hour.
I just got injured going after one of these, why even hit one more like that?
So we play three more games. He’s hitting them off toward Mount Vesuvius and I’m still not going after them.
What’s the point?
He never stopped and, in fact, started bragging and goading me. For example: He would hit one way off to the right where I would have to take two steps to get it. Instead I stand completely still without swinging my paddle and he says, “Ewww, I love it when they do that.”
Then he hits the next one way off to the left and says, “Yeah! That’s my favorite shot.”
Then another to the right, “That’s my second favorite shot.”
I was trying to make it painfully obvious that I would not be going after any that he would make me run for and, when I did go after them, it should have been painfully obvious to an orangutan that it hurt my injured foot.
To my amazement it never stopped.
How fun is this for anyone?
We finally stopped playing and he had me help him move the ping pong table so he could move his muscle car into the garage. While he pulled into the garage he revved the engine loudly and peeled out the tires so that he left a black rubber streak on the pavement. I believe he was trying to say, “This is what I have in common with high school children.”
We went inside where he decided he wanted to play cards. We played a game called “Hand and Foot”. It’s a game played with four decks and two partnerships. Partners compete to match their cards in sets of seven.
He decided it would be girls versus guys so Cyclops and Kimberley were our opponents. As we played, I began small-talking about people who drive hummers and consume excessive amounts of gas to get around. He admitted to me that he pays at least $700 dollars a month in gas in his vehicles, but that this was justified to him because he needs to drive that much for work.
Team Cyclops was ahead before the last hand by about two thousand points, so it was very unlikely for us to win at that point. He was being a very sore loser and wanted to quit before the last round.
“Don’t be mad, just because you’re losing,” Cyclops told him,
His reply? “I’m just grumpy because I’m tired.”
Q: You know who else is grumpy when they're tired?
A: Two year old children.
We played the last round. We caught up quite a bit, but still lost.
Everyone went to bed at that point but I wasn’t really tired. I thought perhaps I might want to watch a movie so I decided to check out my dad’s movie collection. He must have a thousand movies, including two copies of “Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever”.
So I went to bed instead.
They have me staying in a guest bedroom decorated with jazz musician wall paper. A futon serves as a bed. The only other furniture in the room is a chair and a piano that no one in his house can play.
The only reason I assume that no one can play it is because the only book sitting on the piano was “Piano for Dummies”.
The other decoration on the piano was a framed piece of paper that said “Connie’s Song”. I have committed never to read the lyrics. Six inches above that and twelve inches to the right there is a giant picture frame with a picture of my dad cheek to cheek with the Cyclops. This was the room I was being told to sleep in?
I awoke around ten in the morning. But I didn't get up at this time, even though I could hear everyone else moving about the house, getting ready. I could hear voices outside my door, “Is Jason awake yet?”
“Where’s Jason?”
And so on.
I laid in the room for the next twenty minutes pretending to sleep, not because I was tired, but because I was afraid that if I did wake up that my dad would start blaring seventies music through the house. You see, he has a stereo system wired with speakers into every room in the house and unless someone is sleeping, he’ll turn on his system and set it to play bad seventies music for the rest of the day.
Eventually, I got up and took a shower. The second I left the room, the seventies music began. Obviously, he assumed that I would want to sing along to “We Are the Champions” while I washed behind my ears. When I got out of the bathroom he suggested that we go to Denny’s for breakfast.
I said that this was okay by me.
We drove his S.U.V. less than a mile to Denny’s.
We walked in and my dad said to the maitre d’, “We have three people, and him.” He then pointed to me.
I then pointed out that he just butchered one of my childhood jokes that goes, “We have two people and two women.” Sexist as it may be, it’s still my material.
We got to our table and ordered our breakfast. My dad ordered a Grand Slam breakfast with over easy eggs. Cyclops ordered a meat lovers breakfast and that prompted me to talk about the problem with obesity in America. “I watched a documentary the other day where there was a hospital filled with fat people and there was even one guy that was so fat that he had narcolepsy.”
She said, “Yeah. That is a big problem”
Apparently, ignorance is bliss, even when you’re a 300 pound, one-eyed creature.
The breakfast came and my dad had scrambled eggs on his plate instead of over-easy. He didn’t notice when they first brought the food. Mid-way through our feast, he mentioned that the eggs were scrambled instead of over easy and began to tell a story about something that he felt was a very similar situation to what was going on with his eggs.
He went out with a group of friends to a nice restaurant. One of his lady friends ordered a steak, and when they brought it, it was, in fact, overcooked. They told the waiter that the steak was unacceptable and that he would have to get them a new one. The waiter forgot to get a new steak cooked and when she asked where it was several minutes later, he said that he would go tell the chef right then.
“It’s too late now!” They said. The entire party finished eating and they were brought the bill. As a courtesy, their meal was left off the bill but they asked to speak to a manager all the same.
“My experience is ruined here, and everyone that came with me had their experience ruined as well. We came here to eat together, and I did not get to eat at all. I demand that not only is my meal free but everyone that was trying to eat with me should eat free as well. Not only that but I should get a certificate to come here again”
The manager agreed to these demands and that was the end of the story.
My dad said that this story made perfect sense to him, that eating out was not just about the food but the service, “After all,” he said, “I could cook a steak at my house.”
We were getting done eating at this point my dad ate at least half the eggs, and offered me the rest.
I declined.
The waitress came to the table to fill the coffee and my dad mentioned that his eggs were scrambled and not over easy. She said she would bring him some over easy eggs and left. She came back just a minute later and had the bill, and she wanted to confirm that he still wanted her to bring him the eggs.
“It’s too late now!” he said smugly as he grabbed the bill. He went to the cash register and demanded to see a manager.
We left shortly after without having paying the bill.
We went back to his house listened to some seventies music for a while and then we left once again.
This time, we left in his red muscle car without Cyclops. We were heading to Costco. It was a ten-minute drive on the freeway.
We started a conversation about car air conditioning. “I hardly use mine I just roll the windows down,” I said.
He told me that he absolutely always uses his because it gets more efficient gas mileage than driving with the windows rolled down.
I told him that I watched an episode of “Mythbusters” that actually explored that myth and cars with their windows down were getting better gas mileage.
He then asked me “What type of cars did they test them on”
“I believe they were testing them on S.U.V.’s.”
He had an epiphany “AH HA! I was talking about cars!”
“Well, I still think that the air takes more gas, but it’s probably not all that much.”
For some reason, he got really defensive, “Well in some cars you can’t roll the windows down while you’re driving because of the harmonics damage your ears.”
I ended the conversation, “I see.”
We got to Costco and proceeded to walk down every aisle in the store. He slowed down near the racks were they sell shorts and said, “These shorts would be nice if they weren’t so damn long. This is your fault. Your generation is what makes them make shorts so long now a day.”
“A fact I am very proud of,” I replied.
We were there for about thirty minutes longer and then left without buying anything.
As we walked back to the car, I asked, “Why did we go to Costco?”
“I wanted to see how much Gatorade was.”
We got back to his place and when I asked what we were going to do next the answer was “swim.”
Little did I know he meant for the next four hours. I also want to mention at this time that he also has seventies music speakers at the pool, in the bathroom and also on the front porch. Even the postman has to listen to seventies music while he delivers mail.
Most the time while I was swimming I would think of places that I could go to get away from the speakers, the only answer I could come up with was underwater, but I could only stay there for 30 seconds. That won’t even get me around one monster ballad.
After we finished swimming, my dad suggested that we go out for lunch. He quickly decided on Red Robin because it’s right across the street from his house so he suggested that we walk.
I agreed.
We began to walk, but he spotted his S.U.V. on the corner on our way out. He stopped in the middle of the street and said, “Lets just drive instead.” He walked back into the house for his keys and we made our way across the street.
The Red Robin is attached to a mall, so we walked through it to get there. My dad, kept a decent pace and when he got to Red Robin he didn’t slow down at all. He opened the front door of the restaurant and proceeded right past the sign that said, “Please Wait to be Seated”.
Maybe he didn’t see it.
The maitre d’, menus in her hand, threw her arms up, expecting him to stop so that he could tell her how many of us there were. He avoided her gaze and walked straight past her. I was a few steps behind him and saw that the maitre d’ didn’t know what was going on,
I gave her the “sorry, my dads an asshole,” look, shrugging my shoulders on my way by. He found his table that he always sits at and sat down.
Embarrassed, I asked, “Do we need to tell someone we are here or something?”
He didn’t even answer the question. After a few minutes someone that was waiting tables around that area came to the table and asked if we needed menus.
In a vain attempt to be funny, my dad said, “They do,” implying that he knew the menu so well he would never have to look at another one again.
He giggled at himself slightly while the waitress went to get the maitre d’. This was the same maitre d’ that he would not acknowledge on the way in. She was now at our table, offering us menus a second time. “We only need two menus. I know what I’m getting.”
This comment also seemed to be funny to him. She gave us menus and went back to her position at the front. The waitress came to take our orders a moment later, I ordered The Garden Burger®, Kimberley got a grilled cheese sandwich, my dad ordered something called the “Asshole Salad.”
No, really. That’s what he called it. The reason he called it that was simple, it was a salad off the menu, but he changed every thing that was on the salad into a different ingredient.
We ate.
He left a four dollar tip. Which begs the following questions: Does my dad own this place? Do the servers think it is worth four dollars to put up with him? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
The world will never know.
When we got back to his house, Kimberly decided that she wanted to play a game called “Doodle Tales.” It’s fairly simple, there are cards with pictures on them and in the picture there are blank spaces. One player is designated the judge and everyone else draws in a secret pad what he thinks should go in that blank space. After everyone draws a picture you trade pads randomly and everyone makes up a caption for that picture. After this is done you give all the pictures to the judge and they decide which one they think is best, you get points if they choose yours.
My dad lost the game.
We immediately stopped playing.
He pulled out another game called “Pictionary”. In “Pictionary,” you draw pictures based on what a card tells you to draw. You have a partner, and if your partner guesses the object on the card before time runs out you proceed on the board, first one to the end wins. We switched the teams every round.
How my dad plays Pictionary:
1. Watches what the other team is drawing.
2. Listens to how the other team is guessing.
3. When he hears something that sounds like a correct answer coming from the opponent he will try and say what they were about to say faster then them.
4. Defend his talking faster ways until you give up and let him move his piece.
He would play in this horrible manner even if his opponent were Shirley Temple in the 1930’s.
Another house rule of his is that you are allowed to write words down after the person says them provided that they are part of the answer. I don’t like this rule but agreed to play by it. Problems arose when my dad started doing it with syllables instead of full words. I told him that I thought it was lame that he is doing it with syllables.
“There’s a little something called a house rule, and that’s how we play,” he said, “it’s perfectly fair.”
So be it.
After playing a few rounds he ended up ordering some pizza for dinner. I had a few slices of pizza but there was a lot leftover.
He asked, “Do you think that it would be okay if you ate pizza for breakfast tomorrow?”
I replied, “I'm not eating pizza for breakfast.”
He said, “Not much of a pizza breakfast person, huh?”
I said, “Not much of a pizza person at all.”
He said, “You have to learn that when you get older, you get to the point where you should just eat what you want.”
I said, “I don’t see any need to eat unhealthy.”
He said, “I don’t want to live forever anyway.”
I explained to him that It's not about living forever but to live life in less pain and maybe to die with less problems as well. I used my grandma as an example, who now has diabetes and can barely eat anything at all. She also can’t leave her house without help. I told him a story about how my brother Bryan was on a business trip in California and went to visit her a few months back and no one had helped her get food for a few weeks. All the food she had in her house was rotten. Luckily she has a service for old people called “meals on wheels” and they bring her one meal a day. She was surviving on these alone for at least a week. My brother took her to the store and got rid of all the rotten food for her.
My dad’s reply to this story was, “She could just call and have her groceries delivered.”
“But she didn’t and she wasn’t going to, and the point is that she now has to depend on other people.”
Fact: My dads cranium is made out of a futuristic super space aged solid alloy that prevents the escape of alpha brainwaves.
After dinner we played more “Pictionary.” I was informed that it was my turn to play on team Cyclops.
Fact: Cyclops is a mythological creature of brutish proportions with only one optic nerve. They have been known to swallow men whole.
Fact: I would rather spend eternity in the great pit of Tartarus than to play on team Cyclops.
Fact: I would rather swan dive into the river Styx with lead boots on than to spend another night in this house, but here we are. So let's get started.
Mid-way through the game Cyclops leaned back on her chair too far, she was in front of a wall and she had a look of horror on her face as she was leaning further and further back. Soon, she fell all the way down and hit her head on the back wall. I watched all of this as if it were in slow motion.
I thought it might be a heart attack.
My dad rushed to her side and tried to help her up. I looked away for the next three minutes. Once she was up again, I pretended to forget that she had even fallen, “So are we playing again, or what?”
We finished playing and went to sleep.

I woke up the next day, ate breakfast, took a shower and got ready. This was the day of the party and it apparently was suppose to be an all day event. I went into the guest bedroom to read my book in solitude.
My dad, with some sort of “asshole” spider-sense, knew that I was relaxing, so he start yelling over the seventies music, “Jason! Where are you, Jason?”
I put the book down, went into the kitchen and asked what he wanted. He asked if I could put the coolers outside, he showed me where they were and I did it. Then I went back into the guest room to read.
The door bell rang.
It was a man delivering groceries for the party. Apparently, my dad knows all about being so helpless that you require someone to deliver groceries for you. The man dropped them off and my dad start calling me again, “Jason, where did you go?!”
Reluctantly, I went out to see what he wanted this time.
“Fill the coolers with soda, beer, and ice.”
I said, “okay,” and then he gave me a warning that he was going to need a lot of help and that I shouldn’t sit down to read again until everything was done. I filled the coolers, and then helped him move some tables around.
After that, I went into his living room and start reading my book for the next few hours. Seventies music blared the whole time.
Soon, the first guests arrived. Apparently they were some of my dad’s clients. My dad gave them a tour of the house while I went into the backyard to read some more.
Eventually there were a lot of guests there and they took over the backyard including fifteen kids swimming in his pool. One of my dad’s friends, Fred, approached me because he recognized me from years back and began a conversation with me. Fred is a bald 54 year old man that brought a personnel cooler that he carried around his neck. In it was at least a six-pack of beer. We were talking about politics and about religion for a while when another one of my dad’s friends approached and joined in the conversation.
His name is Mark. He is 6’5”, a high school history teacher and is also 54 years of age. I was talking to them for a while when I made an observation that my dads dogs where being fed and eating vast amounts of cheese and potato chips. So I excused myself from the conversation and walked over to the pool, where my dad was, to report that his dogs were eating what seemed to be too much garbage. He told me that there was no way to stop them, and that was that.
I went back to where I was sitting when my uncle Steven showed up, I have not seen him in about 10 years, and in fact didn’t even recognize him. He might have turned into a Republican.
I had an awkward conversation with him about not seeing each other in a long time. My dad’s dogs saved me from the conversation by both throwing up, one after the other in the center of the backyard. The dogs traded vomit piles and started sniffing and licking them.
Dogs will be dogs.
Mark decided to play the role of the hero and grabbed paper towels and began to clean it up. He got everything but the little chunks.
I was disgusted by the dog vomit and went inside.
My dad found me and said to me, “I’ll give you ten dollars to clean up the rest of that…”
I told him that I would, but that it was not about the money, he said that he just wanted it clean so that it wouldn’t ruin anyone’s time at the party. My time at the party was immaterial.
I got some rags and cleaned up the chunks.
When I finished I sat down near the barbeque, put my book down and started talking to Fred again. He was clearly inebriated at this point.
A man named Pierre, whom I have never seen before, walked right behind me and grabbed my book. I gave him a look that said, “What the fuck are you doing with my book?”
He asked me, “Good book?” with an accent that you would have to assume a man named Pierre would have.
“So far, I like it”
And without another word, he walked away with my book. I have never seen Pierre again.
I asked Fred, “Do you know who that is?”
Pierre
Another one of my dad’s friends showed up at his party, this time it was a gypsy woman named Heidi. I think she thinks that she has psychic powers. I also think that she has a mustache.
She started talking to me about life, apparently she is wealthy, I told her that I didn’t care for money and she went into a psychic tantrum.
This is the woman that complained about the steak.
What she does is actually quite funny, she gives you gypsy tests to tell if you are lying or not, she has you put your thumb and pinky together, and she pulls on them, if she wants you to be lying she will pull them apart, if she wants you to be telling the truth she will say, “Hold them as tight as you can,” and not be able to pull them apart.
She said to me, “Do you really think that money is evil?”
I put my thumb and pinky together. She said, “Money is evil,” and she could not pull them apart.
Then she said, “Money can help people as well, don’t you think so?”
I said I did.
Then she had me put my thumb and pinky back together and said the same thing again, “Money is evil,” then she easily pulls my fingers apart.
She explained that the reason that I thought money was evil is because I had never considered that money could be used for good.
Now I'm cured!
Next, she told me that there is a certain gene in your body that makes it so you can have cancer. “If you lack this gene,” she said, “you can not get any form of cancer. Ever.”
So she asked me to put my thumb and pinky together, then said the magic words, “Do you have the cancer gene?”
I said, “No.”
She pulled my fingers apart, proving that I could still get cancer by my enemy the sun, or so I thought.
She asked me if I wanted to get rid of the cancer gene, and I was forced to beg, “Please?”
Then she explained to me that she could simply get rid of this gene by meditating it out of my body. She gave me a warning, “I will be in a meditative state for the next five minutes or so, so if anyone is wondering what I am doing, tell them.”
For the next five minutes I stood by her while she had her head bowed and her eyes closed. The meditation seemed to make the seventies music louder.
After a ballad and a half she popped out of her trance and said, “Put your thumb and pinky together!”
Immediately I did so.
“Do you have the cancer gene,” she continued.
I said, “No,” and she could not pull my fingers apart.
I declared that the first chance I get I would go fake baking with a tuft of chewing tobacco.
She was telling me more about the gypsy stuff, apparently she has patients and they pay her $100 an hour, she said that she gets at least $500 a week. She said that I should learn to be a gypsy and rake in the cash as well.
As soon as I could break off my conversation with her, I went looking for my book.
I found it on a table in the house, Pierre was nowhere in sight. They started to barbeque the food and so I ate dinner in the kitchen, where my dad was having a conversation with his friends.
He was defending Oil Companies, saying things like, “We’ll never run out of oil. It’s a myth that it’s even possible to run out of oil.”
I decided to make a point about corrupt oil companies I told him that there was a battery company that keeps making batteries better and better. There was one created that can go 300 miles at 70mph on a single charge. Texaco bought this company and shut it down.
He could not find anything wrong with this.
His reply? “That’s how it should be, free market capitalism!”
He raised his glass for a toast and I left the room.
What a dick face.
After dinner I went into the guest bedroom to get away and read for a while. Shortly after I started reading, Fred opened the door stumbled in, said he was drunk, and then sat down at the piano. He started trying to play but I paid him no mind and continued to read. After a few minutes he started talking to himself, “Come on, you can do this, Fred.”
After talking to himself for a minute, he stood up and said, “Jason, I'm so drunk, this is the drunkest I have been for a really long time.”
“Are you going to be sick?”
“No.”
“Do you need some water?”
“No. I just want to go home but my wife won’t let me leave for a while longer.”
I got back to my book. He just stared at the piano again for five full minutes wavering, to the point I thought he was going to fall. He sat back down and tried playing some more.
I left the room after that.
It was almost 10 o’clock and the party had died down considerably. Most the children had been taken home, so I asked my dad if he could start the hot-tub up for me so that I could take a soak.
He did, I got into swimming attire waited for the hot-tub to heat up then got in. There were still two children in the pool, one my little sister and the other one of my dads friends rapscallions. The little ragamuffin in the pool started to have a little girl talk with me about the circle of life.
“Every sister has a brother and brothers and sisters have brothers and sisters, and when they grow up they have boyfriends and girlfriends, then they get married, and have more brothers and sisters.”
My sister got out of the pool, followed by the little girl.
The only people left at the party were a few drunk guys sitting around the barbeque smoking cigars, and a few women left in the kitchen. It would have been nice, relaxing and quiet in the hot-tub except for the speaker right behind my head disguised as a rock, blaring Kenny Rogers music and the colored pool light that kept rotating, GREEN-BLUE-RED-PURPLE-YELLOW-GREEN off into infinity.
I got out of the hot-tub and dried myself with a towel. The next few hours consisted of a board game and drunk ping-pong
Everyone eventually left and I went to bed.
I awoke the next day, ate breakfast then played password until lunch. I brought a camera on the trip just in case there was something to take a picture of worth remembering. I didn’t even take the camera out of the bag. Looking back I wish I had snapped at least a few photos just to offer some proof of these events.
We left for the airport which was quite a relief since I’d been held captive at the house since we’d got back from Red Robin.
We traveled in his S.U.V. towards L.A.X.
We got about half way there when they got a call from the airport and said that our flight was delayed until 10 o’clock. They made some quick calls and they got us on a plane from Orange County direct to Salt Lake City, but we had to hurry to the other airport.
It was a little stuffy in the car so I rolled down the window. The wind passing through the window made a noise that sounded like a child gently blowing on the top of an empty root beer bottle.
Panicked, my dad instantly grabbed his ears and shouted, “ROLL THE WINDOW UP, THE HARMONICS ARE HURTING MY EARS!”
He was not kidding.
We got to the airport with plenty of time before the flight departed. We were walking to the line to get through security. There was a man that was rudely trying to get around us that caught his bag on a stanchion and dropped it. We got to the back of the line, he got behind us.
There were a few Asian ladies that were in front of us in line, they had a pile of kids with them and a giant stroller.
Eventually, it got to be their turn at security and the staff told them they needed to get the stroller through the x-ray machine. Kimberly and I got our bags ready to push through the machine while we waited for them to finish. The bald, old man behind us walked in front of me scooted our bins back and threw his in front of ours.
I said “What do you think you’re doing?”
He said, “I’m in a hurry.”
I said, “This is a line, and those ladies are in front of us. We ‘re waiting for them.”
He said, “Those ladies don’t know what they're doing.”
As he said that he began shoving all the bins through the x-ray really fast, the woman that was running the machine gave him a squinty nod. The ladies were still getting their stroller ready but the kids had already walked through the metal detector.
One of them put the stroller on the conveyor belt and walked through the metal detector. The man ran to the metal detector and tried to cross as she was mid-way through.
Security finally stepped in.
A security guard pushed him back through the metal detector and said, “It’s these ladies turns to go through. You will wait behind this red line until it’s your turn.”
The man said, “I’m in a hurry.”
“You’ll have to wait for them to finish.”
The man said, “These ladies don’t know what they're doing.”
“Sir, do you need to talk to a supervisor about this?”
The man got louder, “I would talk to a supervisor, but I'm in a hurry.”
Then he asked for the security guards name and told him that he needs it so that he could complain.
The security guard said, “What’s your name, sir?”
He said, “I don’t have to give you my name.”
“So, you’re going to write a complaint and not give me your name, so that I don’t have a chance to rebuke?”
The man said, “I don’t have time for this,” and went through the metal detector and is undoubtedly being a jerk somewhere else in the world even now.
The security guard gave me a mean look after he passed through and I said, “I don’t even know that asshole.”
He immediately lightened up and said, “That’s a good thing.”
We got on the plane made like a tree and got out of there. Ever since I got back from California I have been seriously thinking about changing my last name back to my mom’s maiden name.
It’s Caponigro.


POSTSCRIPT:

This short story was written for a selected audience Picked by Jason, to make them laugh. I feel as though it would take spies to find this and read it without me telling them too. I have posted other short stories on the internet, that were not about my father, and I would bet that he has not read them, although I am sure a friend of his has worded through them to make sure that it doesn’t contain any Cyclops heavy materiel.
I did not write this piece for my dad or his wife to read, and I had no intention of anyone that even knew him or would ever have contact with him to read it. The hits on the web page before my dad got a hold of it, were a few people from Utah, then one person from Hunington Beach, whom I name as my dad’s spy.
I admit in this story that it focuses on negative or funny events, and not on anything that didn’t go wrong. I will not apologize for anything that is written in the short story because it had no intention of hurting anyone’s feelings, coupled with the fact that if my dad didn’t have a spy looking at someone’s personal Myspace page without their knowledge, he would have never known about it in the first place. I would also like to add that upon reading any of it, it should have been clear that it was not my intention for them to read it, and they could have thought of my privacy at any point past that.
With that said. I should also say that if my dad thinks that the worst part of the story is that I called his wife, whom in fact only has one eye, a Cyclops, He should read a little closer.
I think that the worst part is that he had me fly down to California, where the only condition I said that I would go is if he took me or let me go see a movie called Angel-A, which we didn’t do. I was locked in his house for the whole trip and the only times we left were to go out to eat, which was embarrassing.
Who else has an expectation of denny’s so high that they would even talk to a manager about eggs being cooked wrong. I left out of the story that they left the girl a horrible tip. I think it was a mere dollar, and then complained to the manager, and didn’t pay for the meal.
Red robin was also very embarrassing for me, He ignored a human being. I’m sure she would have let him sit anywhere he wanted, she looked nice enough. Why is he so important?
It is a fact that he always has to win at games, and he is a baby when he is not winning them, and he cheats to win them. Sometimes when we were kids if we would win him at something he would get violent.
Cyclops is a joke, get over it.
My brother went to live with my dad for an entire summer before my dad and mom got divorced, he said that Cyclops and my dad were more then friends at that time, and he made him live with him and watch it. I think that's a horrible thing.
I had nothing to do the entire time I was out there on the trip just read and write, most of the short-story was written while out there. If he would have kept me busy, then I'm confident that this story would have never been made. I have nothing against my uncle Steven. I also have nothing against my dad or his wife, they are who they are.
I don’t think things like references to him listening to seventies music all the time is a bad thing, it is just annoying to me.
Someone watched the episode of “Mythbusters” I was talking about in the story and said that the car with the windows rolled down went something like 30 miles farther, and then they stopped the myth because it was obvious that it was better to have the windows rolled down.
I trust the Mythbusters with my life!
I think that my dad should not be surprised by anything in the short story, because I gave him sufficient warnings that I disagreed with him almost all the time.
As an example, when he was cheating at Pictionary, I told him that I thought he was cheating. When he was being a baby playing hand and foot, I told him that losing isn’t the end of the world. When we went to Red Robin, I asked if we needed to ask a waitress if she could help us where we sat. When he ordered the “asshole salad,” I did not laugh. I clearly told him that I oppose his views on global warming and oil.
I never indicated that I was having a fun time there, and why would anyone assume that it would be fun to stay at his house for a few days without leaving?
He believes that shutting down a company that is trying to better technology to help make the earth a better place is okay. That doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would you not care about the earth that your grandkids will grow up in? Let alone your own kid’s personal health.
When his dogs vomited, right after I warned him about them eating too much, he asked me to clean it up because he didn’t want anyone at the party’s time ruined. I flew in from another state, and stayed there a few days without anything to look forward other then this party, well and of course leaving.
I was not trying to make my dad’s friends look bad at all. Fred, Mark, and Heidi are all right by me. With the exception that Mark tried to drive home drunk, which I omitted from the story. As far as Fred goes, I think he thinks for himself, puts thought into what he says. I can respect that.
Heidi is really nice, and entertaining. I don’t have anything against her. She said I can’t get cancer anymore, and I believe her. Maybe some people would think she's a little crazy. Who isn’t?
This story was not meant to hurt even one persons feelings, except for the jerk at the airport.
Maybe some of you will think that I am a hypocrite because I am saying that I try to treat people with dignity and respect, but the short story obviously says some hurtful things. These are all realities or jokes, for the purpose of entertainment. I would also like to reiterate that this was not meant to be read by anyone that would be harmed by it. I am proud of this short story, and would love to hear anybody’s objective opinion about it. Leave a comment.
I will not apologize for this piece of art. If anything my father should apologize to me.
“Moralists have no place in an art gallery.” –Han Suyin

Friday, June 08, 2007

Editorials (From the Huffington Post and otherwise)

Here's a pretty comprehensive list of editorials I've written about various things. I'll be sure to keep it updated. Feel free to comment about any favorites below