Friday, December 05, 2003

Apparently, I am "irksome."
Leaguers, I can't say enough about R.O.T.O.R.

R.O.T.O.R. was filmed in Dallas in 1989, but you'd think it was, at the latest, 1982 from the look of the film. It's a weird and extremely poorly planned knock-off of Terminator/ RoboCop, I guess. It's hard to say what it's a knock-off of, because, really, R.O.T.O.R. is more or less a knock-off of many better knock-offs involving a dude who is supposed to be a robot. Maybe Heartbeeps? It's difficult to say.

Last night R.O.T.O.R. played on some movie channel I have simply called "Action", I believe, and while I have seen R.O.T.O.R. all the way through before, I could not stop myself from watching it yet again. Beyond any allusion to the collision of any automobile or even a freight train accident, this movie defies all expectations for utter and complete low-budget crappiness. And for some reason I simply could not shake the feeling that the producers of this movie had played just waaaaayyyy too much Dungeons and Dragons. Although the film has not a single allusion to swords and mysticism, those who have been around folks who play too much D&D will know what I mean. It's a genre I like to refer to as "White Trash Sci-Fi." Basic elements include
(1) a working knowledge of the world based upon science fiction/ fantasy novels including (but not limited to) an inflated sense of understanding of all sorts of science based upon principles learned in viewing Star Trek
(2) an emotionally crippling misunderstanding of basic male-female relationships. Usually resulting in bizarre dialogue for women and a perpensity for writer, director, producers to wear their personal fetish on their sleeve. (See Dr. Steele)
(3) a perpensity to quote from lofty sources both inappropriately and lacking any real context, but done so in order to somehow try to suggest their own work is of the same mind.

I can't do this movie any better justice here, and so I will simply provide Loyal Leaguers with some links in which they can read up on R.O.T.O.R.

An excellent synopsis and review is here.

a Yahoo! review is here.

A diatribe in which Captain Coldyron (I do not make this name up) is wrongly placed in Houston instead of Dallas (clearly shit like this happens in Dallas, but not Houston) can be found here.


Looking for the film's star, Richard Geisswein, actually turns up a hell of a lot of stuff about R.O.T.O.R.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Jill departed my house at 7:00am today, and I am a little sad to see her go. She's a cool chick, and with her living in Georgia, I imagine it will be quite a while until she graces my presence yet again.

I am wearing a Christmas tie today at work. It is adorned with puppies and presents, and I regard it as having no small amount of kitsch value, but I am fairly certain I am in on this joke all alone.

What shall I miss by not being in Austin during the Christmas Season?

1) Rainy, cold weather
2) Highland Mall's craptacular busy-ness
3) Garland, lights and wreaths crossing each block on Congress from South to North
4) The tree on the Capitol grounds
5) Getting boozy in the cold on Congress
6) The conical strings of lights conjoined to form a "tree" at Zilker
7) The trail of lights at Zilker
8) Hearing my brother bitch endlessly about not knowing what to buy anyone
9) The emptying of Austin as all the 20-somethings go home to their folks' places

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Wanted to clear something up here.

It's League of Melbotis. Melbotis is NOT pronounced "Mel Bought Iss" or "Mel Bought Us". It is pronounced "Mel-boh-tus". The name came from Mel's original owners who thought good names for a dog could include "Melba" and "Otis" and combined them into "Melbotis".

Look, i didn't name the dog, i just feed him.
A little something from Shoemaker.
now that's a shame...

Jim's post on the many, many varieties of Texas license plates is worth taking a look at. Arizona has only a few sample choices, and all of them are pretty dumb. The standard license plate is blue, pink and purple to reflect the desert sunset. Boy, there's a color scheme which works on a lot of cars.

Jim asks that I recommend some topics for license plates. In all seriousness, I don't think the license plates memorializing 9/11 or calling for patrotism are silly, but as the ever increasing number of flags on everything (including boxes of Corn Flakes) threatens to turn our national symbol into wall-paper, I do prefer the simplicity of the "Enjoy Texas Music" license plate. There's nothing wrong with any of the license plates, and their design is generally pretty good. I guess my recommendation is to know when you've crossed the line to being untasteful. One flag license plate = ok. one flag license plate + 2 flags hanging off windows + 4 flag stickers doesn't make you more patriotic. It means you look like you just left a parade, Uncle Sam.

Do I have any additional suggestions? Not really. Barbara Jordan? LBJ? Tommy Tune? Hank Hill? Indeed, what makes a Texan great enough to earn a place on a license plate?

Hopefully it's something more than what it takes to be the model for the silver silhouette girl on truck mudflaps.

My high school chum Jill Hermann-Wilmarth, whom I have not seen in more than 5 years, is staying with us out here in the desert while she attends a conference in Scottsdale. Jill is all grown up and is teaching at Univ. of Georgia and earning her PhD in, uh... you know, she told me, but it sounded complicated. Something to do with education. Anyway, she's still an A#1 gal, and I couldn't be more pleased to have her taking up space in our guestroom.

They are showing all the Christmas specials this week. Charlie Brown Christmas was on last night, and, indeed, gave me my first real taste of Christmas Fever. THanks, Sparky.

I would take this opportunity to remind everyone to prepare your entries for the Holiday Heckstravaganza. Rules and Regulations are posted in the left-hand column below Superman.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

...and just when you thought we couldn't get any stupider...
Jim noted that his site is devoid of any "Hello Kitty" or "Sanrio" characters in his note about Randy's site.

Folks, this can change. Go to Jim's site and petition him for a one day celebration of all things Sanrio.

Jim was also kind enough to e-mail me an archived e-mail he had from UT's now defunct "Roller Skate Party".

> editor...
the rollerskate party international would like to re-extend our challenge to all other candidates in the upcoming student government elections to a knock-down drag-out game of four square on the west mall next tuesday at 12:50. we made this challenge publicly today, february 19, at 1:00 p.m. on the west mall. we at the rollerskate party international all agree that far better than a snoozer of a debate, an action packed game of four square would help voters decide who truly is the candidate most deserving of their vote. if any of you aren't too yellow, show up at the west mall with nothing but your four square shoes on and get ready for the rollerskate party to represent all over your stuffed shirt asses.
> we are also sending a copy of this message to the daily texan to invite all students to attend, and if they so desire, to join in the four squares of fun.
> oh, and one more thing. to all of you "smart" candidates....
> we know you've been tearing down our propaganda, and we want you to issue a public apology or we are going to tell everyone what a bunch
of chowderheads the "smart" party really are. thats not a threat. its a promise. you have three days.
> thats all for now. see you suckas at the west mall....
> love,
> rollerskate crew

Truly, this is democracy in action....

Monday, December 01, 2003

Thanks to Jim for the shout out.

Jim's reporting on the Bombs Over Baghdad frat party fiasco at UT has led to him relating a byzantine and very UT'ish plotline.

In reading it, I wonder what became of the hilarious and oft-inebriated "Roller Skate" party from UT circa 1998. (They ran on the premise that President Faulkner was hording hundreds of thousands of roller skates in the upper floors of the UT Tower, and were demanding the release of the roller skates.) They appeared at an actual televised debate for student council completely lit, and proceeded to (unintenionally?) deconstruct the student council debate until it was drunk hipsters v. confused and angry wanna-be anchorlady v. unamused resume padders. I wish I'd taped it. Funniest thirty minutes of TV ever shown on UT's useless TV channel.

Turkey Day Weekend in Review, 2003:

The Texas Longhorns, to nobody's surprise (but that of Reed T. Shaw), were victorious over the lowly Texas A&M Aggies this year, clinching a #6 in BCS standings and coming close to securing some sort of chance for a real bowl game this year. Let's not screw it up, Longhorns.

But, of course, the Dallas Cowboys lost.

Turkey dinner went well. I managed to maintain my vegetarian diet through Thanksgiving dinner and also a wedding reception. No meat for this boy. So very dizzy...

Jamie's cousin Jeff got married to his longtime lady-friend, Shelley, sometime back in August. They got married in Hawaii, and so had a very nice official ceremony here in Phoenix where family could attend, and followed with a reception at a country club somehwere out in the mountians. I was terribly out of place among the golf-set, but I could get used to country club life. I just need to make another $300K a year and learn what the holes are for in golf courses.

In 1989 I, and a few friends, forcibly took the 14th hole at the Spicewood Golf Course in Austin. It was freezing out and we wanted to play football there, and so we bombarded the golfers with gourds we found growing on the bottom of the hill. I am sure it was the most alarming golf game ever played on that course. Long live the heroes of Gourd Hill.

Played and lost a few rounds of the surprisingly un-geeky table-top game "Settlers of Catan". I needed clay. Clay and wood. Curse you unlucky dice rolls!

Last night I met with my group from my class. We're doing a project and will be presenting a week from today. In the usual chatting that occurs off-topic, one of the girls remarked upon how she knew I was from Texas, and how her boyfriend was travelling to Waco for a month on business and started asking me some general questions about Waco, but I was honestly a little hard-pressed for answers, not having ever lived in Waco. But what alarmed me was when she told me how she knew how racist Texas was, and as a precaution, her boyfriend, who has a Spanish surname, would be travelling under a pseudonym in order to avoid any discrimination.

"That's, uh... that's completely unnecessary," I insisted.
"Well, you know, we know how it is out in Texas."
And it really, really bothered me that this is the reputation the state I consider home has somehow garnered. So danergous is the place considered to be, so racist, that people coming in from out of state believe they must travel under a false name in order to do business and avoid discrimination. But with cities like Vidor and cases like that of James Byrd, is it really any wonder?, I asked myself.
But the truth, which i did not share with her (and probably should have) is that these "good 'ol boys" (as she referred to her boyfriend's clients) will be ultimately more suspicious of a 20-something kid from California coming to wheel-and-deal with them than anyone not of anglo appearance or heritage.
But who knows...? Waco is it's own place, and has people of many mindsets, just like anywhere else. Sure, it's got the Baylor influence, or the influence has Baylor (you decide!), but assuming conservativism equates with racism is, at it's best, silly and in no small way discriminatory in itself.
Texas is a vast place geographically, ethnically and culturally. To assume Beaumont holds to the same norms as Austin or Abilene, South Padre, Dallas or El Paso is a pretty bold assertion. Let alone Waco, which sits at the epicenter of the Texas Bible Belt and is large enough yet to accomodate hundreds of thousands of points of view.
But Texas is huge, legendary for it's orneriness in the minds of outsiders. In it's way, Texas is like unto California in a mythical sense. No movie stars here, but isn't it a place run by bible thumpers and cowboys and outlaws, too? Yeah. Sure it is. But that's half the fun now, isn't it? It can live up to the legend and still be a place where that accomodates a million off-shoots of the sterotypes. Hippie cowboys and outlaw politicians running for governor... And why is football so all-encompassing from August to January?
Can you tell today I'm feeling a bit misty for the Lone Star State?
God Bless you, Texas. For you never fail to surprise nor to live up to surpass the dourest of expectations. And you always do it in the most ostentatious way possible.
Man, i need to get back to Texas, just for a little while.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

I saw Master and Commander yesterday. Here is my review:

I now feel hopelessly less manly and significantly more land-locked. I should have seen Love Actually to reinforce my false sense of superiority.