Dinner with mom and then the opera. I have a life. No really.

To make it even more exciting, it's La Boheme, my father's favorite.

On the other hand, Pitch Black is on the sci fi channel tonight. I lovee that movie. I have it on DVD, but somehow watching on DVD makes me feel like it's cheating, I have to wait and see it on cable.

"Did not know who he was fuckin' with." Vin Deisil Pitch Black

"Do you notice how horror films start to sound like your mother? Don't go in the attic. Don't go to sleep. Don't go in the water after you eat. Don't go out with the boy next door, he's killed before, he can kill again." Stand-up comedian Bobby Slade

So yesterday my friend Rich and his girlfriend and I did a creature double feature, we saw The House of 1,000 Corpses and Identity (I posted the link for it in yesterday's posts). I would like to say it was almost a scary afternoon. I mean House of 1,000 Corpses started off well. For Six Feet Under fans, the actor who plays Arthur, the new mortuary assistant, is in this film. Oh c'mon you know you love him. There is something irresistable about the way he is creepy, the slinking around the funeral home, his utter lack of passion, absence of anything like a life (isolating a melody from classical music and then enhancing it while using a computer synthesizer, even Yanni has better ways to spend free time). Even if you don't like Arthur now, he does apparently grow on people. So anyway our good friend Arthur (I really should find out the actor's name) is in House of 1000 Corpses, he does a very good attempting to be a literary college student in the seventies.

So the movie starts off rather well. Good humor. The style is actually great. There have been very "stylish" horror films in the last ten years or so (The last American one was The Blair Witch Project, which received mixed reviews. I think the film was great, but then a lot of that had to do with WHERE I saw it-rural upstate new york. But I digress.) The opening was classic. It opens with an ad for Captain Spaulding's Murder Ride and Fried Chicken. The first piece of dialogue we get is between two male characters are in a car talking about which of the Manson chicks they find sexy. Great writing. But it committed too serious errors. It made the same mistake as Jeepers Creepers (a film so bad that I came out wanting a refund on my two hours), it made the evil too powerful. Once it is clear that there is no escape, I lose interest. Once there is no hope, there is no suspense. Once suspense is gone it because simply watching something gross and not being invested in a story. I have no problem with the monster winning, I just want there to be a chance that the "hero" can prevail. The other serious error that the film committed was the "too many evils" problem. This particular problem I first identified in the film Event Horizon (another film so bad that I felt used). Event Horizon wasn't even real horror movie, it was closer to a whole bunch of typical horror film premises somehow all shoved into one film. (I won't go into it now, partially because I do not want to waste useful neuronal synapses recalling and then re-analyzing the film. I have blocked most of it from memory and this is a good thing, people, a very good thing.) Anway, it resurfaced again in the re-make The House on Haunted Hill (it is a remake of a Vincent Price films in which the big scare is quite literally a skeleton hung by a visible wire). Here is a film that had a pretty good premise, a group of people trapped in a creepy former insane asylum (one of the problems I had was the main floor, which had been converted into a house, was way too cozy for a place that had been abandoned. I mean look at the decadence of the bedrooms. Don't you think they would have taken the crystal decanters before closing the place up? Of course, the counter arguement is that they spiffed it up for the party. I can't believe I wasted that much thought on that movie.). The host is known for his scare tactics and particularly elaborate practical jokes (set up well in the beginning of the movie.) The wife wants to kill her husband. And so the movie begins-is the place haunted or not? Now that is actually a great horror premise, because the viewer doesn't even know what to be scared of. (The film Alien demonstrates how keeping the actual source of the fear unidentified for as long as possible is a great technique for scaring the hell out of the audience. It was on the sci-fi channel today. It is truly one of the great horror films of all times-it was also nominated for some academy awards!) Anyway, the film does not make the best use out of the premise. It makes it very clear very early on that the place IS haunted. That would be fine. There is also the wife plot that has a minor, but predictable twist. My problem comes when they start talking about the OTHER EVIL in the basement. Oh yes, there are the malevolent ghosties, but there is the unnamable evil that sudden pops up in the last twenty minutes of the film. Totally unnecessary. The bad ghosties were enough. The other evil, on top of just being really awful special effects-a kind of moving ink blot (which is kind of funny,all I could think of when I saw it whooshing through the house is that it should be chasing the survivor around howling "What do you see when you look at this? What about this? Interesting." Shrink humor. Dig it.) it was just too over the top.There is such a thing as too much evil. House of 1000 Corpses is another film with the too much evil problem. Here you have a perfectly good premise (very much like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre) a demented red neck family torturing some young college kids. The problem comes in with the Doctor Satan angle. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM AND DO PLAN TO SEE IT, DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH. STOP HERE. Like the House on Haunted Hill, the demented family is enough, but the Rod Zombie mucked it up by making Dr Satan not just a ruse to lure young travelers into the family's demented clutches, but real. And like the House on Haunted Hill, Dr. Satan falls miserably short, he basically looks like the crypt keeper kitted out with arm braces. So not scary. (Also his henchman, who looks like a rip off the leechman from the X-Files, is mentally ill. This mental instability helps our hero to escape. You see, that's the problem with crazy henchman, always "accidentally" letting the victim escape.) I would like to say that there is some excellent symbolic content in the film, and I'm sure some enterprising young American Studies or Film Analysis Ph.D. candidate will write a fine dissertation on it.

Identity had different problems. It was an interesting film, it uses and interweaves a lot of classic horror film premises. IF YOU INTEND TO SEE THE FILM, DO NOT READ. There is the one premise of a single personality systematically eliminating the "weaker" personalities (the film Psycho, based on the fine novel by Robert Bloch of the same title-interestingly enough Psycho was based on serial killer Ed Gein, the same killer who inspired the film the Texas Chainsaw Massacre-it's fun, it's a fact, it's a fun serial killer fact). The idea of different aspects of a personality turning on itself it, I have to admit, a horrifying idea. Then there is the other "premise" of the film, which is essentially a whodunnit. There are ten characters, which one is the killer? Since this premise is manufactured in the imagination of a single man, it is taken from one of the books he has read in the past, namely an Agatha Christy novel, I believe entitled Ten Little Indians (I do not have the energy to research if this is the actual title-someone want to help me out?) All the characters, seemingly strangers, are linked together. On top of it someone is killing them, in order to find the killer, the connection must be discovered. Then top of that there is another layer, no one is who they appear to be. These alternate personalities are also all pretending to be different people. Ed, played by John Cusack, who does rain spattered somberness very well as we all know from Say Anything, is a limo driver who actually was a cop. Ray Liotta (AGAIN IF YOU PLAN TO SEE THE FILM DO NOT READ THIS) is actually an escaped convict posing as a cop. Amanda Peet is predictably a murderous con woman. Larry, the hotel concierge, is actually a defunct gambler who found the owner of the motel dead and just took over the position. Etc. etc. So on top of all these characters not being actual characters ,but seperate personalities, these personalities are actually pretenses. Confused yet? Wait there's more. For the final twist, almost all of the main characters are guilty of murder. Ray Liotta is a violent con, John Cusack feels responsible for the suicide of a young mexican girl, Larry the gamber probably killed the motel manager instead of finding him dead, Amanda Peet probably killed her sugar daddy. So there you go. A deceptive cast all capable of murder, but which one is the homicidal lunatic? And the answer takes its cue from such films as Children of the Corn, The Ring, and the Omen. Apparently little kids are the new scary.

I'll say this, it was a well done film, but not, unfortunately, scary. There is hope however in the form of trailers. I particularly interested in 28 Days Later.

Now I've wasted all that time on film analysis, there is some personal business I should write about from yesterday as well, but oh look at that I don't have the time. I'll have to put it off until later. Drat.

I would like to take this moment to apologize for the lack of quality commentary this week. I've been exhausted. It's the end of the semester, I have all these papers I should be grading. It's nice out so suddenly everyone wants to hang out. I have to make the apartment presentable and my anxiety has been so off the charts lately that I almost never sleep anymore. (I didn't sleep at all monday night. I stayed for about 36 hours. Last night I only got about four hours of sleep.) As a result even though I am often a wake and online, I am not nearly lucid enough to write anything vaguely ressembling a coherent sentence, never mind an inciteful observation.

I do have a great deal of mateial. In fact tuesday night was quite an evening. I should write about it, but it would take so much energy. Energy I don't have because I have frittered it away on worrying about ridiculous things. Not quite as ridiculous as my former friend T who was constantly worried that his cat was depressed because "all he does is lie around and sleep, but ridiculous nonetheless. I will hopefully post details on tuesday's outing later today, when I have had a red bull or seven.

"Remember this...you used to be fun. You used to be warped and twisted and hilarious. And I mean that in the best possible way. I mean that as a compliment." John Cusack (as Llyod Dobler) in Say Anything More Quotes From "Say Anything" Here

So the film Identity comes out today, starring, among others, John Cusack. Now I remember when Cusack was doing movies like the above mentioned Say Anything or the classic Better Off Dead. I have respected many of his choices including his appearance in films like Bob Robertsand Grosse Pointe Blank. Because of his age and the type of work he has done, I identified with his characters whether it be the "loser" in Better Off Dead or as the "morally flexible" hero of Grosse Point Blank. Now it's bad enough that I feel old because my students refer to As Good As It Gets as an old movie (see rant on 4/21), but when I see a trailer for a the film Identity and John Cusack looks old, I feel old. What happened? Why the sudden aging? How old is the guy anyway? He can't be that much older than I am. And I begin to feel that panic, that panic that a person feels when one begins to realize that aging isn't something that just happens to parents. I mean, people keep telling me how young I look, but I'm not being carded at movie theaters (that's right, I was carded going into Snatch, the Blair With Project, AND Seven) or bars anymore. Which means that at best I only six or seven years younger than I really am. There is no justice!

In other news, I included the Beast in a mass email about My Cat Hates You Dot Com (see links on the right) and HE EMAILED BACK. It was just one line inquiring if I had uploaded any pics of my cat yet. I responded with a very snarky one liner, "Because I have so much free time to be taking pictures of my cat. right." And I kind of thought that would end it. But no, he emailed a one liner back, about how she needs to preserved for posterity. So I emailed him back maybe I should have her bronzed. So he emails me back "But would that really do justice to her furry potentail." I hate him. Handsome, smart, witty, strong, accomplished. Is there anything this guy can't do? Oh yes, I remember now HAVE A RELATIONSHIP. Of course. Or maybe I should make that more specific, he can't have a relationship with me (after all remember from blog entries long past he was living with and engaged to some girl in California at one point.) Anyway, so I gave up. The wit won me over. That and he was a really good kisser and I do miss that. (Hey, I have needs over here, do you mind?) So I emailed him back in a flirty manner (because I can't imagine why else he would bother to email me three days in a row unless he is trying to put me in a good mood in order to suggest we hang out or something-otherwise what would be the point of his effort-especially after three months of silence?) "Ok, you got me. Do I have to roll over and let you rub my tummy?" I knew that he would probably respond in a ambivalent manner, making him even more aggravating and yet attractive. Well the Beast is not one to disappoint. he emailed me back that he was unaware that I had taken on so much of my cat's personality. Well my cat is asexual. I WISH I had more of her personality. Life would be so much easier. I would get so much more done instead of mooning around waiting for the likes of the Beast to pick up the phone. So there it is he emailed for the first time in history four days in a row. On the other hand he is just as unreadable and distant as ever. Isn't it nice to know that in this world of constant change, there are some things that remain the same?

No, it isn't.

"You have to transcend the dead dog in the puddle." -One of my theater history teachers talking about the symbolic content of Come Back, Little Sheba

I forgot to post an uplifting quote of the day "And me at the wheel of a car actually prayed. Not to G-d above, but to you, waiting for me in your dress of blue." Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Until the End of the World (you can download the entire song at the website-it is under the section titled "Audio")

Ok here is the proposed final version of the email to eric

Arbitrary greeting,

I'm assuming that you are graduating this May, and I wanted to congratulate you. I remember what it was like when I graduated. Of course now you are probably dealing with all those amazingly stressful details, getting through finals, handing in papers, finding apartments, sending out job applications. As I recall you were concerned about what you were going to do. I remember my senior year the question I most feared was "So what are you going to do now?" I didn't have a clue. Maybe you know by now, maybe you don't. Don't worry. Most people don't know what they are doing. (John Cusack in "Say Anything" said it best "Most people think they know what they're doing, but they don't. I don't know what I'm doing. But at least I know that I don't know what I'm doing.")

Anyway back to your graduation. As I said I wanted to congratulate you. You probably think that this letter is to get some sort of response from you. I don't want you to write back. I have in a way convinced myself that you don't really exist. I find it upsetting when I accidentally see you because it reminds me that you actually continue to exist. I think of you now more as an abstract, like a character in literature. It jars me to see you in the same way it be jarring to see Holden Caufield walking around.

Then why do I write? Well because I still care about you. That's the problem with being a writer, you always want to know the end of the story. Every crappy 2 am HBO movie I have to stay up and watch the end because I always want to know what happens. I guess I never quite figured out how to let go of things. This is not to say that I am sitting around pining for you. I still wonder about what happened to my first boyfriend, not because I want to get back together with him, but because I cared for him for so long. We were very close friends, and I still wonder if he is ok or happy. One of my friends from high school died recently, a few months short of our ten years anniversary. I hadn't spoken to her in ten years, but I still was upset by her death. I still cared about her. You thought that you kill my care for you with your silence, but if Chris couldn't do it in ten years of silence, what makes you think that you can?

So I don't want to actually hear from you personally, but I would like to know, from time to time that you are still alive and hopefully doing well. I have a kind of inverted solution. I have a weblog where you can go and see if I am still alive. Just to see if I posted that day. And don't worry, this is not a hate site. I spend more time bitching about my job and my students and my current life. Don't trust me? Go visit the site http://misslapin.blogspot.com.

Well, that's all that I have to say. I hope that you are looking forward to graduation. I remember when I finished grad school. I was so proud of myself. It was a wonderful feeling. Even the fear of going into the world again was exhilerating. I remember the two weeks I didn't have a phone or bed or really any furniture to speak of. My friend Phil saw me at a poetry reading and asked me why I was so stressed out and I explaiend to him about the apartment. He said, "Relax, this is the only time in your life you will be without a bed or phone ENJOY IT." He was right. How I long for life without a phone now. The key is to remember to enjoy everything. Good luck.

According to a recent article in the , "Native American elders...urge that no decision should be made or action taken without considering how it will affect the coming seven generations." Unfortunately we no longer are dealing with generation Y, we are dealing with generation Y wait? My students think of films that came out five years ago as old whereas I grew up watching Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Tony Curtis films. I know not only who Ingrid Bergman is (Notorious is one of my favorite films) but who Ingmar Bergman is. My students are like five year olds, they have no concept of past or future only this present here and now. They have a very limited conceptualization of consequence. They have not yet accepted that one can not have everything, but there must be some sort of trade off. Last year when I asked my student about their career goals they were surprisingly naive. Many of the female students aimed for careers in politics, but also wanted to have children and be involved mothers. They don't understand that these women who are high ranking politicl officials can not spend that much time with their children. Something has to be sacrificed. That is the way of all decisions, something is going to be cut, some item or person or goal or drem must be put up on the block.

Today I was watching La Strada, a Fellini film. "The Fool" in the film, played by Richard Basehart (for those people who loved MST3K, as I did, you will remember that Gypsy loved Richard Basehart) baehart's character, the Fool, espouses a theory that everything has a purpose, has a use. This is how I view learning. I spent two hours in the computer lab this frieday working on some minor reformatting on the template of this blog: two hours to figure out this little thing, but I thought it was worth it. Most of kids don't have that kind of patience. But I figure that everything is worth learning. Richard Basehart's character would agree. He tells the female lead, Gelsomina, that even a pebble has a purpose in the universe. Of course, he talks her into stayed with her abusive husband ("If you don't stick with him, who will?" He asks. He further convinces her by saying "He is like a dog who wants to talk, but can only bark.") In the end, the Fool is murdered by Gelsomina's husband, and Gelsomina, driven to madness by the murder, is abandoned by her husband and eventually dies. Another uplifting film by Fellini.

You know I hve been realizing that most people don't spend this much time online. I thought it was normal. A lot of people I know check their email at least once a day, but I would say a large majority (if we take the popultion outside of large cities) check their email a couple of times a week. It's just another odd thing that makes me feel seperate from other people. Sometime I think if I didn't feel like I had to check my email and update my blog every day (and somehow those tasks seem to take hours) I would get a lot more done. But I feel an obligation to do these things. Especially since my students have come to expect it.
I used to look down on those cam girls-those girls who live every moment on live feed. I used to think it was humuliating and demeaning to be that exposed even if it voluntary, even if there is compensation in the form of money or attention. But really how is what I do any different. I'm voluntary broadcasting the inner details of my depression, my thoughts, my moods. Ideas that only flicker across my mind are "permanently" recorded here. So saddle up for the next installment of "Bloggers Gone Wild."

I have more notes on the eric letter. I have decided to post it here and then send him a link to the post-that wau the decision is his, I have to finish the letter quickly as it is almost graduation (three weeks).

You wanted me to move on. I did so many things and there was this thought in the back of my mind that I wanted you to know. I wanted to show you. I took boxing, went to the gym, started ballroom dancing. I became absolutely determined to have the best time every second of the day. And at first it was not for me, but to show you. I was so worried about showing you i almost forgot to have a good time. Almost.I have however shown myself. Have I moved on? Yes. I have a different life now, and life I would not have chosen, but a useful like nonetheless (Remember Candide?). But I still remember that you were proud of me when I graduated. I miss that. Having someone be proud of me. So I suppose I just have to be happy with being proud of myself.

It seemed like a good idea to put that in at the time, but now I'm thinking maybe not. Of course feed back would be useful.

"Those who are laughed at by the multitudes are blessed." Tonight's episode of Six Feet Under

Well I knew I had something going for me.

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