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Friday, April 29, 2005

An internet advertisement fighting marijuana use among kids asks

"DO YOU KNOW TODAY'S FACTS?

Kids who smoke marijuana can develop symptoms of what psychologists call an "amotivational syndrome."

I wanted to find out more, and after clicking the ad, found out that symptoms of "amotivational syndrome" include

- Decreased energy and ambition
- Shortened attention span
- Impaired ability to relate and communicate with others

Which is all well and good to point out, but it isn't anything new, and it doesn't point out the most disturbing facts about pot usage and "amotivational syndrome":

- Eating several bags of Doritos
- Saying "dude" at excessive levels
- Watching Half Baked multiple times in one night
- Supporting terrorists

The sooner these things get mentioned to parents, the better.

Christopher Zane: The anti-drug.
I went skydiving with my sister recently.

"I'm going to get licensed in skydiving," she announced.

"Why?" I asked.

"It's always been a dream of mine."

"I didn't know your dream was to be a licensed skydiver."

"No no--to be licensed in something," she corrected.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Communication Breakdown

It all makes sense now.

My parents aren't moving to gayville for some uncomfortable reason after all.

My dad has been brushing up on investment ideas, etc. recently and it's apparently a combination of property investment and living in an area that is, in truth, way cooler than the suburbs of Northwest Houston.

The main problem, I told my dad after he read my last post (I didn't even know the 'rents read it--it's a good thing I don't detail my pill-popping/girl-fucking/convenience-store-robbing exploits here), was that I had no more information after two days of asking than the fact that they were moving there and I grew more uncomfortable the more I thought about it.

Hi, Dad.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

La Cage Aux Folles

My sister just sent me the following e-mail:
Dad just told me that he's looking to sell the house by next spring (sic) and move downtown (in) montrose (sic) to some multiplex.

Montrose, which is a district in Houston, Texas, is an area that is characterized by a few things:

1. Good restaurants
2. Tattoo parlors
3. Vintage clothing stores
4. An enormous homosexual community

My parents, for the last eight years or so, have lived an "alternative" lifestyle that I won't go into further here and now, and I won't make any conclusions about why they're considering this.

What I can conclude at the moment is that they often come up with half-baked ideas that aren't purused in the end, and that I don't feel entirely comfortable with the idea of them living in some multiplex (commune?) in gayville.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

God Bless America

Advice from a random British girl that I met last night:

"Don't tell them you're American when you go to Vietnam. They'll treat you like crap."

Which I understand, but kind of resent. In honesty, I've always loved America, but am never more of a patriot than when I'm traveling. I mean, my distaste for Bush is just as strong as the next non-American, but just because he and the Congress and the Senate and the Cabinet and the Texas legislature and the state legislature of every state in the Midwest and the Vice President and most of our diplomats and well pretty much anyone who officially represents our country is an asshole means that I am, which a lot of people in foreign countries1 don't seem to understand.

Before I left for my travels in the South Pacific, some people asked me if I was going to put a Canadian patch on my backpack so people wouldn't hassle me about being an American.

"Fuck no," I said.

I don't think I should have to lie about where I'm from--just as I don't think that anyone from any country should have to lie about where they're from, nor should they be ashamed of it.2

Nationalism is pretty stupid, and in my opinion, the kind of thinking that it stems from is the same that inspires things like racism, sexism, and soccer riots.3 I really believe that one of the most important things we can learn as humans is to see the world through another person's eyes, to understand a point of view other than our own. Nationalism denies this goal, and the sooner we can defeat it, the closer we'll be to world peace.

Conclusion: I've decided to get a bald eagle clutching missiles taking a shit on Osama bin Laden's head with the caption "WE WILL NEVER FORGET" tattooed on my face.

1Just to cover my bases here, I fully admit that the people of Vietnam have about 3600% more validity in their dislike of my homeland than the people of fucking France or England, for example.

2Unless they're from Iraq, those filthy terrorists. They better lie about where they're from, because if I find out, it's curtains for them.

3But who doesn't enjoy a good racist, sexist, or soccer-riot joke every now and then?

FOUR SONGS THAT SHOULD NOT BE LISTENED TO HAPHAZARDLY

1. The Velvet Underground, "Heroin"
2. John Lennon, "Imagine"
3. Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, "The Girl From the North County"
4. Lou Reed, "Metal Machine Music, Pt. 3"

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

HEARD RECENTLY:

Irish Guy: So I end up banging this fat girl on a train in Vietnam.

Us: (Laughter.)

IG: She stunk. The next day the other people in the cabin didn't talk to us. The day before they were all chatty, but the next day they were just like (silence).

Us: (Laughter.)

IG: Pickins were slim. I mean, what else are you going to find on a train in Vietnam at 11:30 at night?

Me: You act like you're going out for a late-night meal!

People: (Laughter.)

Me: (Slight revulsion, but I kind of know what he means.)
HEARD RECENTLY:

Scene: Whole Foods Market, Austin, TX.

Fat lady: Do y'all sell cigarettes?
Cashier: No...that's kind of not our thing.
Fat lady: Well, they make natural ones.

Thanks to KG for the look into Austin life.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Hello!

I'm going to be doing some traveling for the next month or so, so updates will be less frequent. I'll be traveling around the South Island of New Zealand for the next week, and then taking a flight from Christchurch into Melbourne, Australia. After a couple of days there, I'll make my way around the east coast of Australia (by way of Sydney, Surfer's Paradise, Cannes, etc.)over the next three weeks and make a flight back to Christchurch from Brisbane.

I'll update when possible, because there's no doubt that some interesting things will happen along the way. People always seem to behave their most ridiculous when they're away from home, like an old spinster dressing up in her finest evening gown when she leaves the house, in the hopes that someone will notice her.

Love,

Christopher Zane

Friday, April 15, 2005

Do it to Me One More Time

I woke up early yesterday morning to pick up a friend coming into town. When I walked into the kitchen to make myself a bowl of cornflakes, I found a girl standing in the middle of the kitchen, wearing a white oversized t-shirt with neon green and black lettering. She was pudgy and unattractive, and I had absolutely no idea what she was doing there.

I walked past her and got out my big green cereal bowl.

"How's it going?" I asked, unsure.

"Pretty good," she said.

Then it hit me. This is the girl that was in the bar last night. RA had the night off, but came into the pub we work at to have a drink and, I assume, to work on some paperwork or something. He sat down at a corner table, and there were two girls sitting next to him, chatting and having a drink. After awhile, I noticed the three of them talking, but then I got busy making coffees and didn't notice what happened next.

As RA was walking out, he mentioned to me that he was going down the street to another pub we go to every once in awhile, and asked if I'd like to meet him there later. I told him I'd have to see what time I finished work. It turns out that I got off a little later than usual, and I decided to go straight home.

After I went back into my room and changed clothes, I came out, poured my cereal, and sat down. She sat down next to me.

"Is RA still asleep?" I asked her, wondering where her more attractive friend ended up.

"No," she said bitterly. "He's not still asleep. He's laying in bed with my friend."

"Oh--oh. Oooh."

"I CAN HEAR YOU," her friend called from upstairs. RA laughed.

"Where--where did you sleep last night?" I asked the girl sitting next to me.

"On the floor," she seethed. "In the same room as them."

"Oh."

"I didn't get very much sleep."

"Hm."

Then I was really impressed. In the span of thirty seconds, I went from the opinion that RA had shagged some unattractive Swedish traveler to the understanding that RA had shagged a relatively attractive Swedish traveler with her friend sleeping in the same room. When he was asking me out for a drink, he was actually asking me to be his wingman. I was suddenly glad that I hadn't been out with them, as I almost surely would have been taking one for the team that night.

"I really wish you would have been out with us," she said suddenly.

"Well, I--"

"BUT I GUESS YOU HAVE TO MAKE SACRIFICES FOR YOUR FRIENDS SOMETIMES," she said loudly.

The friend upstairs in bed with RA started yelling something in Swedish, and then the girl next to me started yelling in Swedish. Eventually they stopped, and I went to go pick up my friend.

"Nice to meet you," I said.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A love letter to my iPod can be found here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

"Is he a homosexual?"

Added a review of the 1952 Ed Wood film Glen or Glenda to the "Movies" section.

Monday, April 11, 2005

"I came!"

Added a review of the 1998 Todd Solondz film Happiness to the "Movies" section.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Dum Dum Ditty

The Associated Press reported today that Rep. Chris Shays, a Connecticut Republican, announced that
"Tom [DeLay]'s conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election."
Shays also called for DeLay to step down as majority leader.

I'm not naive enough to think that getting rid of Tom DeLay would be the end of the most wily and underhanded kind of politicking in Washington, but it'll definitely be a step in the right direction. The trouble surrounding DeLay at the moment is mostly due to the fact that he was
admonished by the House ethics committee last year, [and] has been dogged in recent months by new reports about his overseas travel funded by special interests, campaign payments to family members and connections to a lobbyist who is under criminal investigation.

For the longest time, DeLay was basically invincible, and got away with whatever he wanted to because he had almost unanimous Republican support. He was also clever enough to manage things in such a way that whatever scheme he was launching registered just low enough under the radar so that most people wouldn't become aware of it. And that's just the stuff that was only questionable in its ethics, not its legality.

I'll be especially pleased to see DeLay leave his position (if he goes), because he was the architect behind the 2002 Texas redistricting fiasco, which indirectly cost me a job in Washington. That, of course, is just an aside to the trouble of how damned smart he is with regards to how he carries out his far-right policies (which are the real trouble, obviously).

But what happens when he goes? Rick Santorum or someone else who is just as bad will take his place. The re-emergence of the Democrats is still going to rely on them having something to say other than the fact that Republicans are evil.
"We should compete in impromptu sketch comedy," Lan said. "We would take home gold trophy after gold trophy."

"There's such a thing as competitive impromptu sketch comedy?" I asked.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

RA and I met DS and AG for a drink after I got off work last night.

"You guys just missed us getting colossally fucked over," DA said.

"Yeah for sixty bucks," added AG.

It seems that the moment the two guys walked into the bar, two attractive girls approached them and began flirting.

"They were pretty hot," said AG.

"Yeah, then they ordered some drinks, mojitos. She tells the bartender she wants four of them. I asked her who was paying for them, and she mumbles something about a tab. So they take the drinks and wander off, and then the bartender asks who's paying for them."

"And then I ask about the tab and the bartender says he doesn't know what I'm talking about. Of course he wants his money, and I throw down my card. I get the receipt back and find out it was fucking sixty dollars!"

"So me and AG go to the table they're sitting at and tell them that they're getting the next round. They act coy and say OK. A few minutes later we go out for a smoke and they're fucking gone!"

"You guys got fucking played," I said.

"They orchestrated that from the very beginning," said RA.

"Sixty fucking bucks!" said AG.

"Fucking played," said DS.

Friday, April 08, 2005

I was finishing up a swim at the pool yesterday when I saw Mike, this sixteen-year-old kid who washes dishes at the pub I work at. He was walking in with some friends, I assume, to go for a swim.

I got out of the pool, and walked into the locker room, where I had a shower. I finished up and I was drying myself when Mike walked by.

"Hi Mike," I said as he walked around the corner. I was butt-naked and toweling off my arms.

He seemed surprised. "Uh, hi." Then he and his friends hurried out the door.

"Mike saw me naked today at the gym," I announced to the kitchen when we got to work. The kitchen staff, which is mostly composed of lesbian women, laughed loudly. As I was walking out of the kitchen, he pulled me aside.

"Listen, will you please stop saying that to people!" he whispered fiercely.

I laughed and pretended to grab his ass, which made him freak out and run away.
I was watching television the other day.

"Hey girl, I'm fat!" said Kirstie Alley in a Jenny Craig commercial. She looked really fat.

"Boy Kirstie Alley," I said. "I guess you'll just do anything for a dollar."

Then I found out she was doing a reality show called I'm a Big Fat Actress or something.

"Boy Kirstie Alley," I said. "Good cross-promotion."

Thursday, April 07, 2005

"If we're gonna go steady we're going to need to get a small truck."

Reviews for

- A Night in Casablanca
- The Elephant Man
- Dr. Strangelove

are in the "Movies" section.

A review for Dr. Octagon's Dr. Octagonecologyst is in the "Music" section.
The best way to tell someone you're not attracted to them:

"You're not my type."

It's a win-win situation! They don't feel personally insulted (unless they ask what your type is and you say "Someone who doesn't make me want to retch.") and you get out of dealing with it!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Time Warp

The New Zealand Press Association reported today that the New Zealand government will fund $170,000 worth of sex-change operations.

The transgender community is enthralled.
Maria Welborn, 20, said some people could not cope with thier body being a gender they did not want to be.

"They feel as if it's not their body. It feels as if it doesn't fit. It's almost painful in a way and they have to live with it every day."

Christchurch reconstructive Surgeon Peter Walker supports the measure. ". . . I have patients from every walk of life," he says. "But unfortunately there are a few who have left school because they have been ridiculed. They have no education and gone on to the streets as prostitutes. They have no chance at all of getting $30,000 together . . ."

Maybe it's just me, but this just seems like a problem waiting to happen. Can't you just picture a surgery of this kind going wrong and the person undergoing it suing for millions? What if they change their mind? There's pretty much no going back on this one. Who's liable for that? Not to mention the idea that you're opening a veritable floodgate of other unnecessary surgeries for people who "almost" feel pain. Hey, you know what? I think my girlfriend's tits aren't big enough. In fact, it's almost painful and I have to live with it every day. She has no education and may become a prostitute. The kids called her "mosquito-bite chest" in school and she was accused of stuffing her bra. Can't you get her a titty job?

Also, aren't there like, a number of measures they could have taken to support transgendered people besides just going right on ahead and paying for their surgeries? Couldn't they just have bought them some other-gendered clothes or something? Maybe the government should have spent $170,000 on a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to show their support for transvestites. A production the likes of which has never been seen before . . .

Make it Clap

When I was in third grade, I got in trouble for wearing an inappropriate t-shirt to school. As I remember it, I was about a third of the way through the day when my teacher pulled me aside and told me that I'd have to go to the office. I was drawing pictures of rappers with words shaved into their heads at the time. One of them read "DJ ICE". I know this because my black friend Joshua and I used to always draw pictures of DJs and rappers with words shaved into their heads. DJ ICE was my favorite.

Anyway, I was excorted to the office by my teacher. The principal took a look at my shirt, and pronounced that I wouldn't be allowed to wear it.

"He won't be allowed to wear this," he said.

"What else will he wear?" my teacher asked. "We have no other clothes for him."

"Call his parents and tell them to bring him another shirt."

"But my mom works on the other side of town," I told them. "Can't I just turn it inside out?"

"Hm," said the principal. "You'll just have to turn the shirt inside out."

I looked down at my shirt. It read "I WENT TO LAS VEGAS AND ALL I GOT WAS THE CLAP". I thought it was a musical reference. I turned the shirt inside out and my parents were lectured by my teacher when they came to pick me up from school.

In retrospect I have a few questions:

1. Why would my parents have this shirt in the first place?
2. Why didn't the teacher realize that I could have just turned the t-shirt inside out in the first place, and spared eight-year-old me the puzzlement and guilt of wondering what I did wrong?
3. Is it lucrative in this day and age to launch a professional DJ career with the pseudonym DJ ICE?

Monday, April 04, 2005

Added a review of the 1941 Frank Capra film Meet John Doe to the "Movies" section.

"I coulda been a contender!"

Added a review of the 1954 film On the Waterfront to the "Movies" section.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Updated the "Links and Reccomendations" section with stuff you've probably already heard of.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Babe I'm Gonna Leave You

One of my roommates/co-workers, the seventeen-year-old girl, has been having problems with her boyfriend, the enormous Maori guy who lives with us. Apparently, he left for work last Thursday, and hasn't been in any kind of contact since.

"My boyfriend's run away from home," she lamented.

I tried consoling her, but she seemed pretty intent on being bummed out. I guess I've never had a girlfriend run away from home before so I really don't know how it is.

"I'm never trusting anyone ever again," she said.

"Certainly some people are more trustworthy than others," I told her. "Look at every relationship as a learning experience, blah blah blah."

"No. Everyone will always let you down. My dad cheated on my mom, and now he's getting married to this girl who's twenty-two years old. My last boyfriend cheated on me. I hate guys."

Desperate times call for awful metaphors.

"If you're cooking, and you burn your hand on the stove, you stop putting your hand on the stove. You wouldn't stop cooking," I said. Luckily, she's seventeen, and didn't call me out for being a stooge.

This girl's had a pretty rough life. Her parents split a couple of years ago after the aformentioned cheating (which she actually walked in on, and had to force her dad to tell her mom), and then she dropped out of school when she was like fifteen. She grew up on a farm, and has had little decent education even when she was in school.

It's weird knowing someone like this who you would otherwise never have any contact with. It's this whole different world--a mentality in which you're trapped in your circumstances and there's no way out. The only thing you know is bad things, and as a result you never believe that you can do anything good. Even now that she's moved away from both of her parents (whose boyfriends and girlfriends have taken all precedence over her and her brother), she's trapped herself in this cycle of dating guys who are basically fucking bums and losers. I know she's only seventeen, but it seems to me like the beginning of what will, unless a miracle occurs, become a lifelong trend of shitty occurances that seem everyday to her.

It could obviously be worse--she doesn't do drugs or a lot of drinking, and she's relatively responsible for her age. I don't know, it's just kind of strange and depressing to see someone live their life that way. What can you possibly do to help them? I can only tell her what I think makes sense, but to her it sounds completely alien.
Film critic Pauline Kael said that ". . . [M]ovies are a popular art form, and they can mean a great deal to us at the time—mean something new—but they get stale very quickly, as what they do is imitated. "

Friday, April 01, 2005

I always enjoy having my suspicions and allegations confirmed.

Conor Oberst is still a pretentious and underwhelming fuck.

In the Ghetto

The Maori (indigenous people of NZ) call themselves black, which is interesting to me.

"If they filled out a form," I said to myself, "they would definitely have to check off "Pacific Islander" or something, not "Black"." I learned this while talking to a black (Maori) woman last night who told me she had a sixteen-year-old son who's always getting into trouble with the police.

"They just bother him because he's black," she said. I'd already told her where I was from, and I could tell she felt the need to clarify her use of the word. "You know what I mean. It's tough being black in a white society."

"Hm," I said.

I admit that it must be hard to be a minority. I, of course, will never know this, because I am a white male who is very good-looking.1

Despite the inherent difficulty in being born with colored skin in a white society, I still find it hard to justify the kind of lamenting the woman was doing about her son. My sympathies for people who talk of being targeted by authority because of their race are always in conflict with my belief in personal responsibility and accountability for one's actions.

I'm always especially turned off by blaming race for poor social status when I think of one ethnicity that has been persecuted just as much as Hispanics or Blacks, but has still somehow managed to consistently succeed: Asians.

Not just like "ching-chong", but Asians like "people from Asia." That is, dot-head Indians (but not bow-and-arrow Indians), Ragheads, Japs, and Slants of all kinds.

I grew up in kind of a melting pot neighborhood. My bus to middle school had Indians, Asians, White, Black, and Hispanic kids on it. The kids who got the most shit and who were the least popular were by far the Indian kids, or the "Ghandis" as they were called. They got made fun of, beaten up, and were excluded from social activity at the hands of every other group, especially the whites (preps, kickers, or headbangers), blacks (gangsters), and hispanics (gangsters).

Know what those Indian kids are doing now? They're working as accountants, engineers, and technicians. Know what Doran and Fabian and DeShawn are doing now? Smoking pot in their mom's kitchen.

I know, I know. It's a larger social problem that exceeds experiences in middle school. I believe those experiences are indicative of the larger picture that does exist all over the world, and makes me wonder if it actually is a cultural dilemma, and not simply one of societal pressures.

There was a Chinese kid called Woo that I vaguely recall from third grade. He transferred to our class in the middle of the year, and he barely spoke any English, but damn could that kid do math. He was at least two or three levels above everyone else, doing difficult long division problems while we were still learning our multiplication tables. Gabe, this kid in my class whose shirt I eventually ripped and whose head I eventually shoved into a metal bar after he kept picking on me, would try to trick Woo while he was doing addition flashcards. Every once in awhile he would throw in a multiplication card, in the hopes that Woo would miss it and get one wrong. He never did.

"How the hell does he know?" we all wondered. "Must be something about being Chinese."

Eventually I asked the Maori woman if her son actually did anything to provoke attention from the police, besides just being black.

"He's a smart aleck, and he's got a little mouth on him, but that's it."

"Hm."

She then launched into a story about how he was wrongly accused of stealing a car, and how difficult it was for her to deal with it, because she had to wake up in the middle of the night and had just gotten home from working a long shift at the bar.

"Did he steal the car?" I asked.

"No! They just thought he did!"

"Why would they think he was stealing a car if he wasn't?"

"His friend was stealing it, he wasn't. He was just there, and the police accused him of it, and he got in more trouble because he mouthed off to them."

Ah, the sweet naïveté of a mother's love.

1I guess I could find out what it's like to be a minority if I went to some kind of crazy backwards land, where whites are minorities and hot snow falls up, but that's just crazy talk.