Sunday, March 30, 2008

Longing for Less Information.

I kinda miss the days when people wouldn't know a movie was getting made until the actual trailer came out in theaters. Ever since the Internet became a household tool, I've been filling my head with information about every movie in every possible stage of development. I don't even know why I do it. It's one of the first things I ever naturally found myself doing online. I mean, it's because I love movies. But I'm also robbing myself of a certain measure of joy. A joy that maybe doesn't even exist anymore thanks to the virus-like proliferation of entertainment news all over the place.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of one night when I was in my living room and a commercial for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze came on the TV. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were of course my entire life in elementary school, and the first movie was basically my primary object of worship. So when this commercial came on out of nowhere, I very clearly remember being beside myself with euphoria. And I also very clearly remember having no idea what had just happened on the commercial I saw. Like, as soon as it was over, I had a vision of Leonardo or someone in a giant room doing something, and I couldn't tell you what. I hadn't been able to retain anything concrete from the commercial because of how happy I was to see it. The pure thrill of seeing an unexpected movie trailer for the first time is quite simply unmatched by the mundane experience of reading about a pending deal on a movie news website.

I still find myself overwhelmed by certain trailers. The teasers for Superman Returns and The Dark Knight, for example, took my breath away despite the fact that I had long already known those movies existed. But there is nothing like a trailer for something you love taking you completely by surprise. I think the last time a movie caught me by surprise was in 2003, when I went to see Bad Boys II and they showed a trailer for Once Upon a Time in Mexico. As I slowly realized that I was seeing a trailer for a sequel to Desperado, I was shocked. I love Desperado! How the hell did this get made without my knowing about it? I've been looking at movie news on the Internet since the mid-90's.

I don't know if that will ever happen to me again. But I hope so.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

American Idol 7 Picks.

So Chikezie went home tonight. He wouldn't have been my pick, but I suppose it could've been worse.

Here's who I think should get voted off next, in order:

1. Jason Castro. Who should have gone home long before the Top 12, let alone the Top 9.
2. Ramiele Malubay. Not bad, but never really wows me.
3. Kristy Lee Cook. Because enough is enough.
4. David Archuleta. The only realistic threat whose success I would have a problem with.
5. Syesha Mercado. Although it looks like she might already be gone by this point.
6. Michael Johns. Seems to get shit on a lot, but has already proven his greatness (usually with Queen).

Then, as long as the Top 3 are Brooke White, Carly Smithson, and David Cook, I don't care who wins. I think they've been the standouts for a while.


Friday, March 21, 2008


Today I saw a homeless guy walking through traffic with a sign that said, "WHY LIE? I WANT A BEER." And wherever there was free space left over, he wrote in stuff like "CIGGS" and "SKUNK WEED." I had to take pause to decide whether or not I found this admirable, and it occurred to me that gauging one's reaction to this sign would be an interesting social Rorchach test.

Personally, I'd like to think that if my life fell completely apart and I resigned myself to a slow, public suicide, I would still maintain a sense of humor about it.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Double Yellow Lines.

Today I saw someone do the exact thing that I got busted for last year. Merge over double yellow lines to stay on the 110 N when the car pool lane turned into an exit. In about eight years of driving, it was my only traffic violation.

I would never do that today, because I'm very familiar with the road, but at the time, I did it out of fear that it would take me forever to find my way back onto the 110, and I guarantee you I pulled it off a hell of a lot more safely than this guy today did. But the guy today did not have to pay a $300+ ticket and go to online traffic school. I had to do those things. And every day, I see people stopping traffic so they can make illegal turns over double yellow lines. Double yellow lines should be treated like walls, not the suggestion of walls, to be acknowledged only when it's convenient. Maybe they should start building real walls.

I'm not sure if there is a point to this post.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Sandwich Stories.

Last week, I went to a Steak Escapes and started to say my order. Before I could finish, the woman at the register interrupted and predicted what the rest of the order would be.

I kinda don't like being recognized like this. I enjoy anonymity when it comes to stupid things like sandwich orders. I guess it's because I'd rather be recognized for more noteworthy things. Like, one time I was interning at a place and they asked me to photocopy a 400-page book about the Trail of Tears. They showed me how to lay it down on the Xerox machine and press down just right so the pages wouldn't come out crooked, and the binding wouldn't cut off any of the words. So I did it exactly how they told me. For the rest of the day, people were complimenting me on how well I photocopied this book. The receptionist introduced me to someone who worked there, and she said, "Diego? Oh, you photocopied the Trail of Tears!" And she started raving about how usually their book photocopies are terrible, but that the one I did was awesome. What I had done was not really a big deal, but I completely appreciated the recognition. If someone sees me and is like, "Oh, this guy. He's going to get turkey philly. Watch." That just makes me never want to go to that place ever again.

Then today, I went to a Quizno, and I got the two sammies from Celebrity Apprentice.

See, last week, their task on the show was to create a new sandwich for Quizno. Team Hydra (Lennox Lewis, Piers Morgan, Carol Alt) created the Champ (turkey, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, Chipotle Mayo), and Team Empresario (Trace Adkins, Stephen Baldwin) created the Cowboy Club (prime rib, Mozzarella, bacon, sautéed onions, Chipotle Mayo). They are only available for the rest of this week. But I bet if I go in next week and tell them the ingredients, they'll make me the goddamn discontinued reality show sammies.

So I ordered these babies, a guy made them, and the woman at the register said, "Sammies meal?" I could barely tell what she was saying because of her heavy accent, so I nodded, she rang me up, and I paid. But then I was given a beverage cup. I hadn't ordered a beverage. I then realized "sammy meal" is the name of a combo. I didn't want a combo. I just thought she was asking me if the two sammies were the meal I had ordered. The lesson here is don't assume you know what someone with a heavy accent is saying, because they may be putting extraneous items on your debit card.

The drink came in handy later because the Chipotle Mayo was a little spicy. As for which sammie I prefer, I'm gonna have to give the edge to the Cowboy Club. But I take it without onions.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

People Telling Me Where Not to Sit: A Story in Two Parts.


Some months back, I took my brother to a job interview at Disney Interactive. We drove up to a building at the end of a cul de sac (really more of a dead end). In front were some picnic tables and a general patio area. We walked up to the building and there seemed to be no reception area. He peered in a glass door and said it looked like a break room, so we walked around to try to find the entrance. We found some doors propped open by a loading area, so we entered the building. We passed through an area with cubicles and asked someone where to go. They directed us to the break room. Oh. So there is no reception area.

My brother sat next to a couple other people who were filling out forms and started to fill one out himself. One of the other applicants asked me if I needed a form, or a pen or something, and I told them no. I sat there peacefully reading my magazines that I had brought in a bag.

Later, a woman came up to us and asked if we both had an appointment. My brother said no, just him. She asked about me, and my brother said I was with him. She then asked me if I drove, I nodded my head, and she asked me if I could go wait in my car, because this was a "secure building." You mean this warehouse full of computer game workers in cubicles with the doors propped open on the side is a secure building? And my sitting in the break room reading my own magazine while my brother does a scheduled interview makes the building no longer secure? And I should go out past the outdoor patio area and sit in my car? You think that's gonna make your world safer? Or is it just that you need to tell people what to do? It's gotta be one of those.


Today, I took my brother to do his driving test at the DMV. We got there early and parked in the driving test lane on the side of the building. This is where cars line up to do the test. There was nobody there to tell us what to do, so we turned off the car and stepped outside to wait for someone. After a bit, a guy walked by and started berating us. "What are you doing? You just gonna leave your car there? Wait inside the car. You gotta learn how we do things around here. See, those guys behind you got the right idea, but they're not done yet. Sir! Turn your car off! Turn it off! Save some gas." Then he went inside.

Learn how things are done around here? How many driving tests does he think I intend to take in the coming days? So my brother sat in the car and I, anticipating the arrival of the driving test evaluator, sat on one of the two benches they had there by the side of the building. While I was sitting there peacefully reading another piece from my bag of magazines, a woman told me I couldn't sit there, and to wait in the car with my brother. Why? She didn't explain. In the car, I was able to help in handing my brother all the necessary documentation he needed to show; driver's license, insurance, registration. Then I of course got out of the car so the evaluator could get in and they drove off. So I sat back down on the bench and continued reading my magazine. A man stood next to me, apparently waiting for his son, who was doing the test as well. The woman came around again and told us both that we could only wait either inside the building or in front of it, but not where we were.

Oh, so we can never sit on these benches. I just thought we were allowed to wait there, because our cars were being used for driving tests, and that's the exact spot where they would be coming back, and if my brother failed the test, it would actually be illegal for him to drive the car anywhere to find me. That was the only reason.

So I moved all my stuff to a bench in front of the building that was identical to the bench on which I wasn't allowed to sit. I read my magazine there, and eventually I got a phone call from my brother, asking me where I was. I told him, in front of the building. He was confused, but then, so was I.

There seems to be this unsettling thing going on where people go to work, and they don't run the company, and they don't own any of the property there, but they enjoy exercising meaningless authority. It doesn't make much of a difference either way, but I guess I understand why they do it. The weird thing is that the side of the building is only used for driving tests. So here's my question.

Why the fuck do they have benches there?