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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Le cinéma

A friend was telling a story about a girl.

"So later the next day she calls me and asks me if I want to come over to her house and watch a movie."

"Wait a minute. Did you say that she asked you to 'watch a movie' with her?" I asked.


"Doesn't that mean, in international girl-boy terms, means "fuck the shit out of me"?"

"I don't know, does it?"



"In fact, a lot of kids in Belgium are saying things like 'Watch a movie with me on and on and on till the break-a break-a dawn, baby' during intercourse."

"I thought they spoke French in Belgium."

"It's a rough translation."


I recently retold the tale of how a close friend proposed marriage.

"That sounds pretty cheesy," the listener said.

"You know what else would sound pretty cheesy?" I growled. "Me kicking your ass."



Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Oh--added a couple of new links to the sidebar:

- The blog of one Lil' Ticket, which is full of humor that Minnesotans, twenty-something year-old females, liberals, and people of Swedish ancestry will appreciate.
- Winds of Change, a political blog by liberals who are also badasses at thinking about stuff.
- Mice-Merica, the political cartoon page by my ex-colleague of comics Jose-Luis Olivares.
- Just Kiss Me, another Jose-Luis Olivares page.
-The New York Review of Books, which has some really good book reviews and in-depth politcal articles, including (currently) a way-more-thought-out-than-usual article about Terri Schiavo and one called "What's Wrong With Liberals?"

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

We've been traveling for the last four or five days with this guy A, who is black and British. (The former of these two facts elicits stares from locals who in many cases have never seen a black guy before.) He's also extremely well-built. I personally have a frame that usually has no problem in eliciting stares from all the fly honeys, but this guy makes me look like Olive Oil.

Last night we went out and had a few drinks at a Westernized bar. After a few drinks, some Western (read: white) girls show up and we all start chatting. They're all English, about nineteen years old, and pretty vacuous. To exemplify what we're dealing with here: they were all wearing matching denim skirts that had their names monogrammed on the ass.

A had previously been describing why he doesn't cheat on his girlfriend. ("I fucking hate condoms, mate. I can have sex with my girl any time I want and not wear one. Why would I sleep with another girl and have to wear one? It's a pain in the arse." Seems fair.) We play a couple of games of pool with the slags, and as we're walking to the next bar, me and the other two normally-endowed guys I'm traveling with decide that after one more drink we'd go back to the hotel. In this walk it becomes clear that A would have no problem at all if he wanted to bang any one of these denim-clad college-bound ladies.1 Long story short: He doesn't come back to the hotel that night, and was sparse on the details in the morning.

A couple of things to consider:

- A is a pretty nice guy. He's friendly, easy-going, and a decent conversationalist.
- The second that people start feeling the effects of alcohol they become different people.
- The second immediately after people feel the effects of alcohol and become different people, they begin to operate on some kind of base evolutionary level. That is, pretty much all we want to do is eat and fuck.
- As it was, A showed himself to be the Alpha male, and sent the Beta, Gamma, and Delta males slinking back to the cave, clubs dragging behind us shamefully.

1A preferred method of choice would be to blindfold him, put them in a circle around him, turn him around and around until he's dizzy, and then have him point his finger.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I recently visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

"They were so big on security there," I said. "I had my hands crossed in front of me, and the guard yelled at me and made me put them by my sides. Then me and the guards got into a fight and afterwards I began spreading Democracy."

"Like from a wand?" Lan asked.

"Yeah, a wand and one of those portable fans."

"Did it emerge like a huge rainbow?"

I nodded. "Yes, and at the end of the rainbow was the pot of gold: freedom."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I've spent the last couple of days hiking in rural parts of Northern Vietnam. There's a bunch of different ethnic minorities that live in real, actual villages1 in the area, although if someone told me they were just Vietnamese people who live out in the country and wear crazy clothes I wouldn't know the difference.

One interesting fact about these people: They love to craft things like blankets, bags, hats, shirts, bracelets, etc. out of hemp and other materials and then bug the shit out of tourists until they break down in tears of frustration and madness and buy whatever it is they're selling. The children in these villages are well-schooled in this, and speak really good English:

"You buy from me?"

"No thank you."

"I have bracelet 2000."2

"No thank you, I already bought some."

"You buy from me?"




"Where you from?"


"You buy from me?"

(Heavy breathing since I'm carrying a heavy backpack up a mountain. The child skips along merrily wearing no more than what looks like a hemp blanket and plastic sandals.)

"No (gasp) thank you."

"Have you considered the socioeconomic climate in which I've been raised? It's very difficult to break free of the kind of environment in which I've been raised. You, as an American should understand this since there are a variety of social classes in the States and know that even for children in say, urban Brooklyn, New York would find it hard to live out of the cycle of poverty and little education that they may find themselves in even though they live near an area of great affluence and greater opportunity. I live in rural Viet Nam, and there's almost no chance that I'll ever see anything better than this. I haven't eaten a decent meal. Ever. Ever in my life. Think about that. Also, look at this little puppy dog I have. Isn't it cute? I'll probably have to eat it for dinner if I don't get some money. I've already eaten several of his siblings. Look too, at my little brother, who is about fourteen months old. Even though I'm only five, I'm forced to carry him around on my back while my parents work cultivating rice in our meager farm. So how about a fuckin' bracelet, huh?"

"No thank you."

Alright, this is a picture of a Chinese ethnic minority, but they look pretty similar, unless you know what you're talking about.

1The Mirriam-Webster definition of "village": "Place where there's huts and no internet access."
22000 dong, or about twelve cents

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A minute ago, while I was taking a shower, I realized that I hadn't jerked off in about nine days. This is not something I usually overlook. In some countries I believe witholding masturbation is a punishment for stealing bread and/or murder. As a result, I decided to squeeze one off while rinsing off the dirt and sweat from the day. There was only one problem.

A tiny kitten, no bigger than my foot, was tied underneath a stairwell directly across from my shower. It was a very cute kitten, and I thought it even cuter when I noticed its tiny bowl and ball-with-a-bell-in-it. Its name might've been Muffins.

"Meow," the kitten said. "Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow, etc."

For some reason, this sound made it impossible for me to enjoy myself, and therefore I move forward to day ten.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Good Morning Local Scheisters

"How much to take me to this hotel?" I asked the taxi driver, pointing to the paper. My shirt was soaked through with sweat. It was about ninety-five degrees outside, but with the humidity it felt more like about 280. It was 6:40 in the morning.

He smiled and shook his head.

"We figure out later. It OK."

"No, how much?"

"I have meter."

"Oh, OK."

I showed him the map again, the one with the big smiling face on it and the arrow that pointed to where I wanted to go. Then I pulled out a piece of paper I had. The paper read:

The second street name had a big circle around it. I pointed to it.

"Ah!" he said with a smile.

Then he took me to the wrong street, the one with the line through it. I looked at the meter: 22,000 dong1. I showed him the map again, pointing to it, and then showed him the circle/strikethrough paper just for good measure.

"Ah!" he said, smiling again. Now I'm no racist, but this guy had a set of teeth that he could have paid about fifty-nine cents for in a novelty shop in late October.2

Then he arrived at the correct street 10,000 dong later and helped me take my bags out of the taxi.

I handed him 20,000 dong, since he didn't take me to the right place the first time even after I showed him in every way I knew how. He frowned, and then pointed to a 50,000 dong note.

"You must be crazy," I said. "I can see on the meter right there it says 32,000. Plus you took me to the wrong place." I put the 20,000 dong in his hands, and he pulled his hands away like I was branding him with a cattle iron. I took an additional 10,000 out and pressed them into his hand and walked away.

"Fi-ty! Fi-ty!"

I turned around, stupidly.3

"It says thirty on the gauge, that's it. That's all."

Then he followed me a bit further, calling out to me and attracting stares from people who were cooking and hanging out in the alleyways nearby.

The airconditioning in the hotel was quite refreshing.

116,000 ≈ $1 US

2It's OK for me to say that because a friend of mine, who is Asian, commented on a similar pair of teeth the day before.

3A few people already know of my foolishness regarding local merchants in South-East Asia (incidents which will be detailed later on this site), and I consider my turning around stupid only because I should have learned from those initial happenings.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hello friends,

Remember that time about two months ago that I mentioned that I was going to Australia, so I wouldn't be posting very much and then I posted like every three days anyway?

Well, this time I'm going to South-East Asia, so I won't be posting as much for the next thirty-five days or so.

The big question on everyone's lips is "Are you going to bring back a stable of the finest Thai prostitutes that will earn you a fortune of Hefnerian proportions?" The answer to that question, my friends, remains to be seen.

At least when I return home I can say things like "Back in 'Nam . . .", which will incite forced but polite laughter from my company.


Christopher Zane

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

My hot debut hip-hop album on No Limit records came out today. It's called A Review of Michel Houellebecq's Atomised, and it's in the "Essays" section.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"[I]n my line of work you gotta keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kinda catapult the propaganda."

Making jokes about George Bush being a bad speaker is like making jokes about how women are bad drivers or that men leave the toilet seat up.

Yes, George Bush isn't very eloquent, yes men leave the seat up. And white people can't dance.

If I wasn't trying to avoid polemicism I'd say something like "I'm less worried about how he misspeaks than I am about protecting Social Security and bringing home our troops." I am worried about those things, but in truth I'm more annoyed at people beating a dead horse than I am about the fact that people have their priorities fucked up.

Which reminds me of that Seinfeld episode:

JERRY: I have a suspicion that he's converted to Judaism just for the jokes!

FATHER: And this offends you as a Jewish person.

JERRY: No, it offends me as a comedian.
Tonight as I was putting away deck furniture at work, I overheard a guy talking to some local jazz musicians:

"I really liked you guys. You did a great job tonight. You know, in some ways you made me think of this album I heard. You really ought to check it out. It's by this band, they're called Pink Floyd? The album is called Dark Side of the Moon. Really, check this album out."

"Oh? OK, sounds good," said the balding jazz musician.

"Really, it's really good. Oh--you know that song "it's just another brick in the wall . . . " (singing)? That's Pink Floyd. The album doesn't sound like that song at all, but it's really good. Check it out."

"Thanks, we will."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a new action/romantic-comedy movie starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, opened up at the top of the heap this week, earning $51 million in its first weekend.

The film seems to be about two good-looking people who blow things up, which, according to everything I've read, is pretty much true.

"When you see this movie," says David Denby of The New Yorker, "you can understand why the rest of the world thinks Americans are crazy. . . . The movie was made in the evident belief that if violence comes off as insouciant and zippy it will be taken as the latest in sophisticated fun."

Retired film critic Pauline Kael discussed in an interview why she quit her job:
They were just so terrible, and I'd already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them—when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. . . . But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I'd written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I've got nothing to share from this.

I've been reviewing movies and music for the site for about six months now, which is a very short time. I do it for several reasons: I'm interested in writing as a career, and I wanted to get some experience; I enjoy music and film; writing about music/film forces me to look closer at what I've just seen/heard, and helps me understand it more.

The prospect of watching movies, listening to music, or covering events that I'm not interested in as a journalist makes me think that writing for myself may be the happiest I'll be in this field. Now the only option is to become famous so I can write about whatever the hell I want to without having to deal with editors as much.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hayden Christensen: Who Cares?

I bought the movie Shattered Glass new the other day for the equivalent of about seven American dollars. It was worth slightly less than that.
Just a brief update to those of you who are frequently entertained and amused by the exploits of Life of Zane:

Now, anyone can post a comment! You don't have to be a member or anything like that!

You may all comment to your heart's delight! But please don't do it anonymously because that's really annoying! Just write in your name at the bottom or something!

1This post is in no way related to the fact that not a soul has commented on my last few posts.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dear Diary,

I'm afraid I may have caught Poker Fever, which is different than Pel-Ebstein fever in that instead of being an unusual lymphoma that can manifest in symptoms such as fever, weight loss, and night sweats, it's actually just a strong desire to play online poker all the time.

I figure if I dedicate myself and practice enough, one day I can be a Rounder, just like in that movie.

Q: Which movie, Rounders?

A: What the hell is Rounders? I'm starving; you got any pie around here?

So long for now, Diary.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The other day I was swimming laps at the pool. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a female ass in the lane next to me. It was wearing a thong. In the public swimming pool.

'Woah,' I thought, 'a female ass wearing a thong in the swimming pool.' So I paused for a minute to see if she was good-looking or not.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that she was topless.

Imagine my further surprise when I found out that she was about eight years old.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

U.S. News & World Report reported that "Nearly half of American women, according to a 1999 survey, regularly have some type of sexual dysfunction—lack of desire, pain during intercourse, or difficulty achieving orgasm," and that instead of being a symptom of practice or comfort that it ". . . might instead be related to her genetics."

In other words, it might be her parents' fault that she can't come?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

In November of 2000, when I was eighteen years old, I campaigned for Ralph Nader. I was going to community college in a rural town outside of Houston, and was finding it difficult to convince people that he was the best candidate.

"Would you like a flyer?"

"I ain't voting for no damn Socialist."

"He's not a Socialist. Granted, he is a proponent of--"

"Shutup, faggot."

And so on.

On election day, I went to Texas Green Party headquarters to watch what would be the disappointing returns for everyone left of center. Most of the people, I noticed, were either ex-hippies, very nerdy types, or wore some kind of patchouli fragrance. I was chatting with a party official, an older man who had big hopes for the future of the party. He was tall, had gray hair, and wore glasses and paint-spattered jeans.

"You know, we need names to put on the ballot for state congressional elections in 2002 and 2004. It'll help us create a presence for the party."

"How old do you have to be?" I asked him.


"I'm eighteen."

He exhaled deeply, closing his eyes. "Eighteen."

"But I'll be twenty-one by 2004."

We continued our chat about this and that, and about what classes it would be helpful to take if looking towards a career in politics. Economics, he said, was a good one, as well as classes in political science.

As the night wore on, people got drunker and drunker. One of the nerdy types was talking very loudly and abrasively about civil rights. Eventually I found myself chatting with Paint Pants again. By this point he was getting very familiar with me, putting his arm around my shoulder, and being very friendly, complimenting my intelligence, etc. I went to the toilet a little weirded out, but pleased that I was getting along with new people within the party.

"Have you, uh, known Gary for long?" a woman behind me in the line asked me.

"No, I just met him tonight," I said.

"Oh, so you're not together?"

"What?! No! Ha ha!"

"You do know that he's gay though, right?"

"No, no I did not know that."

I went to the toilet, and when I came out, I stayed away from the guy for the rest of the night. It was in those remaining couple of hours that I stayed there that I think I really lost a bit of the idealism that brought me to the Greens (strangely, only shortly after I gained it).

Maybe it was because it was my first election-night fête, and it was at the headquarters of a state political party, but the fact that no one really seemed to care about the results and cared more about getting drunk and trying to have gay sex with a bright-eyed eighteen-year-old kid was sobering and off-putting.

Four years later, I cursed and made fun of people who voted for Ralph.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Rebel Yell


A tree branch slapped me in the face, dazing me and recalling an excursion with a particularly slap-happy and modelesque brunette I'd been in acquaintance with some weeks back in my luxurious mansion in a very exotic and famous location. Anna? Annika? Anita? I shook off the memory and headed on.

I was hiking through the jungles of Bolivia with my guide, Umberto. He led the way, chopping tree branches down with his rusty old machete. We were heading towards a village, where I had been called to by the Bolivian government to assist in bargaining with the rebels.

"Dear Mr. Zane:" the letter began,
We require your assistance in bargaining with the rebels here in Bolivia.


The Bolivian Government

The Rebels were really being a pain in the ass this time, and it was mainly due to the sexified charisma of their leader, Rosetta Chiriguano. She was very sexy, but also very deadly, kind of like Courtney Love, but good-looking.

The Bolivians hired the right man for the job. I am, of course, a millionaire playboy who lives in a mansion in an exotic location with many impossibly beautiful naked ladies, but I also enjoy the chase. This was one commodity I wouldn't mind making my own no matter how much work it took. According to the intelligence reports, she had an ass that wouldn't quit.

When we reached the clearing that lead to the village, I thanked Umberto, and, with a wink, tipped him a few roubles, or in his language, рубль, for his trouble.

"Thanks Umberto," I said.

"My name is Ted," he replied.

I walked up to the guard at the front gate, and using my patented charm, demanded to see the mistress.

"Listen here Charlie," I said, "let me see the mistress." I chuckled to myself, and put my hands in my pockets, surveying the undeveloped landscape of the unfortunate country, and waited for my orders to be carried out.

When I woke up, I was in some sort of under-lit dungeon, my hands tied behind my back, stripped naked, and gagged with what I suspected to be my underpants, which I recognized because of an unfortunate and unrelated bowel problem that I was long familiar with.

I could really use a soy latte, I thought.

Then suddenly, there she was, surrounded by guards, who were surveying me with the scopes on their rifles. The darkness was absorbed by a beautiful light that seemed to emanate from her breasts, which seemed to me like two very full and delicious udders.

"Moo," I said.

She kicked me in the forehead with some kind of erotic steel-toed boot. We both felt the connection: me in my forehead, and she in her toes, which were protected by, as I suspected, iron. When I woke up, she had ordered the guards away, and we were alone with an army cot that looked like it was broken in during the Crimean War, which as I recalled, occurred in this area.

"I must make love to you," I croaked.

"And I you," she whispered softly, polishing the blood off the lead on the toe of her boot.

Both of us began levitating, and we were transported to a beautiful place--a dungeon that that housed a cot with all four legs. Somewhere in the background, Marvin Gaye's "Between the Sheets" began playing. She leaned back on the cot, spreading her legs. As if by magic, her panties magically disappeared. Underneath was a very sexy sequined thong. I took off the thong. Then I took off her flak jacket, and tenderly began making love to her.

"Make love to me," she said.

"I am," I told her.

When I was finished, I picked up a small rodent that was scurrying by and cleaned myself off. Was I good? Well, on a scale of one to ten, I was about a 480 million, so yeah. She called in a guard who she asked to continue to satisfy her until she felt sated.

"Where are my clothes?" I asked.

"We burned them. They were beginning to attract flies," she said, panting as the well-built guard pummeled her. Soon, she began making some sort of strange moaning sound, and was soon joined by the guard, who I was beginning to suspect had more in mind than just guarding the camp. When they both stopped the noises, the guard reached for a fresh towel that was hanging on the wall, dipped it in a bowl of warm water that was sitting nearby, and gently cleaned them both off. Then he checked himself out in the mirror and left.

"Marry me, Rosalita," I said.


"I can take you away to my mansion in an exotic location, where we can make love on a new cot, and be looked after by my hundreds of impossibly beautiful naked, uh, servants. I have Showtime."

"Yeah, alright," she said. "We were only revolting over the price of our dial-up internet anyway."

"You've made me the happiest man in the world."

But we were soon divorced when she saw the outrageous amount I was paying for internet access.

"But they don't have the wiring for high-speed in exotic locations like the one we live in," I pleaded to her as she slipped her birth control pills into her purse. I thought this was strange, as I had undergone a vasectomy.

But she wouldn't listen; she has the heart of a rebel.
Some art, or at least some parts of all art, is about relating the human experience.

Listening to The Flaming Lips relates feelings of happiness and off-kilter joy.

Listening to Joy Division relates feelings of alienation and haunting loneliness.

Listening to Lil' John relates to feelings of loudly saying "Yeah!" and being an overpaid bastard.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

In an op/ed piece for the LA Times, Morris Dickstein mentions that
A "senior advisor" to President Bush told (New York Times journalist) Ron Suskind that journalists and scholars belong to "what we call the reality-based community," devoted to "the judicious study of discernible reality." They have no larger vision, no sense of the openings created by American dominance. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

A review for Jonathan Lethem's 2003 novel The Fortress of Solitude is in the "Essays" section.

A review for Woody Allen's 1993 film Manhattan Murder Mystery is in the "Movies" section.

A review of The Rolling Stones' 1972 album Exile on Main St. is in the "Music" section.

A review of Bruce Springsteen's 1986 box-set Live 1975-1985 is in the "Music" section.
Here is my totally awesome quiz about hobby farms. Please take it.

Friday, June 03, 2005


"just saw this cute picture!!!(sic) its a painting of kittens saying speak no evil hear no evil see no evil!!!(sic) it was so cute i just HAD to download it...(sic)"

This picture is bullshit. Kittens have no concept of evil.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

As promised, reviews for:

- Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 film Spellbound
- Todd Solondz's 1995 film Welcome to the Dollhouse
- Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange

are in the "Movies" section. Still more to come in the following week.
Sadly, women are anticipated to know very little about things besides, you know, cooking, sewing, and what it's like to have a uterus.

I can't really say much for this except for the fact that it's another stereotype that's been grinded in with generally good reason. I don't mean to say that women can't know or don't know about things besides how to breathe when going into labor, but that men are generally more obsessive about things like music and film (as is evidenced by the gender of people who hang out in vinyl record stores, pop-culture reviewers, and those whose penises enjoy the music of Electric Prunes or Red Krayola).1

On the bright side, it makes certain girls all the more valuable in the dating marketplace--girls with good music/film taste are nineteen times more likely to have a stud for a boyfriend.2

1Of course, there's always the possibility that we live in a patriarchal society that caters to the interests of men and excludes that of women, but this theory fits into the category I like to call "feminist hogwash" and "incovenient to my point".

2Source: Where da Good Hoes at? Monthly.

Exile on Rentone St.

I was listening to the Rolling Stones today as I was walking down the street; the song was "Rip This Joint". The sky was clear and blue, the sun was shining, and I was playing air guitar, drums, and piano throughout the song as I walked along.

It's so wonderful to me that music can totally transform the way you feel in an instant. I had been feeling kind of anxious because I was going to the bank to deposit money into the travel agent's account, and it was leaving me pretty broke. Putting that song on was like two shots of adrenaline--one straight to the brain and one to the scrotum. All of a sudden I wanted to scream, and twist and thrash my body erratically until I either collapsed or the song ended. God bless Mick and Keith circa 1972.
Went totally nuts on Roadrunner Review today:

- Updated "Lists" section with a couple of lists.
- Updated "Links and Recommendations" section, including a recommendation for Asians.
- Added a review of the 1984 Woody Allen film Broadway Danny Rose to the "Movies" section.
- Plus the aforementioned short story.
- Began reviews of several other films, books, and albums that will be forthcoming throughout the week.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Added a short story, Christopher Zane and the Exploding Fence, to the "Essays" section.
From Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude:
"Dorothy is John Lennon, the Scarecrow is Paul McCartney, the Tin Woodman is George Harrison, the Lion's Ringo."

"Star Trek," commands Dylan over the lousy twangy country CB's is playing between sets.

"Easy," Linus shouts back. "Kirk's John, Spock's Paul, Bones is George, Scotty is Ringo. Or Chekov, after the first season. Doesn't matter, it's like a Scotty-Chekov-combination for Ringo. Spare parts are always surplus Georges or Ringos."

"But isn't Spock-lacks-a-heart and McCoy-lacks-a-brain like Woodsman and Scarecrow? So Dorothy's Kirk?"

"You don't get it. That's just a superficial coincidence. The Beatle thing is an archetype, it's like the basic human formation. Everything naturally forms into a Beatles, people can't help it."

"Say the types again."

"Responsible-parent Genius-parent Genius-child Clown-child."

"Okay, do Star Wars."

"Luke Paul, Han Solo John, Chewbacca George, the robots Ringo."

"Tonight Show."

"Uh, Johnny Carson Paul, the guest John, Ed McMahon Ringo, whatisname George."

"Doc Severinson."

"Yeah, right. See, everything revolves around John, even Paul. That's why John's the guest."

"And Severinson's quiet but talented, like a Wookie."

"You begin to understand."