Entries from August 2005

Roger & Me

RogerebertAbout a month ago, I received an email via this site asking me questions about a memoir I had written for Quebec filmmaker Jean-Claude Lauzon. After a quick flurry of emails, I confirmed that it was from Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert, who was doing some research on Lauzon for an upcoming article on Lauzon’s masterpiece Léolo.

That in itself was yet another affirmation that the web rocks harder than Kiss Alive. Imagine my nearly-peeing-myself-in-shock surprise when I was looking at his web site today and came across his recent article on Léolo. Not only does he hat-tip me, he also quotes from my article.

I know this is total self-pimpin’, but I don’t care. I’ve been gradually sinking into a mild funk as the writing for The Book progresses (the usual writer’s self-flagellation of I suck, I’m a terrible writer, I’m a fraud, I don’t know my ass from a pomegranate, etc.), and this little pick-me-up comes at an opportune time.

So, thanks Internets, and thanks Roger Ebert, for so completely making my week. I’ll try to not let this idiotic grin plastered all over my face get too obnoxious. If you haven’t seen Léolo yet, run to your local video store / NetFlix account (update: Netflix doesn’t carry it) and rent it. It’s absolutely incredible.

Google Talk

Google Talk, the ultra-hyped Google instant messaging service that every tech reporter and his dog was writing about this week, is now live. No official announcement yet, but apparently something is due out on Tuesday.

It’s based on Jabber, but there’s also voice chat (computer-to-computer - you can’t dial out to landlines, at least not yet), and the rumour is you’ll be able to use their voice chat with iChat, AIM, MSN, and other users at some point soon. I have no idea if they support Jabber gateways that allow you to connect to other services such as MSN, ICQ, AOL, etc., using existing service logins, but my guess is it should work.

I’m not sure how this is going to distinguish itself in the already very crowded IM landscape, but I’m sure Google has some crazy-ass feature in their back pockets that they’re just waiting to whip out to beat the crap out of MSN messenger with. The fact that you should be able to connect to other services already makes it a trillion times better than seriously weak MSN, but that can’t be all of the goodies.

I was about to post a how-to for configuring Adiumx, my IM client of choice, to access Google Talk, but I just found the set-up instructions for Adiumx on the Google Talk help site. It looks like Google means to keep Google Talk open and easy to access - here’s what they said:

We can say this, though: we believe strongly in user choice and open standards, and we are committed to letting users access Google Talk using the client and platform of their choice, as well as to enabling our users to talk with users from other service providers.

The big just keep getting bigger and bigger.

A path strewn with banana peels and razor blades

whoopsI don’t know why — maybe there’s a full moon tonight, I got up on the proverbial “wrong” side of the bed, there’s a disturbance in the Force, or someone secretly changed my Livejournal mood to “Crankypants” — but I’ve been feeling unusually stressed out today.

No, scratch that. Stressed out isn’t quite the right way to describe it. It’s more like the mild level of panic, like I’m sensing that an airplane engine is about to come crashing down on our house, or I’m about to get a call from a long-lost fling with news that I’m the father of mutated. angry quintuplets. I would almost say it’s like my spidey-sense is tingling, but that makes me think about Kirsten Durst, and then I start to feel the rumblings of borborygmus deep in my bowels — so I won’t.

I suppose it could stem in part from writer’s anxiety, but that’s not it, really. Today I got into not one, but two arguments on the same mailing list about stuff that really is quite inconsequential; arguments I know better to avoid. A car cut me off as I was riding my bike up to one of the cafés that I write at, and I almost took out the guy’s rear window with my lock. A screaming match nearly ensued. I never get into screaming matches. All day the cats have been keeping their distance from me, like they smell a disaster that they want nothing to do with.

charliebrownI even bought a freaking ice cream cone and dropped the damn thing on the ground like I was part of some kind of Charlie Brown reality performance art piece. SIGH.

So, yeah. I’m going to turn the computer off and back away slowly. It’s time to soak in the tub, put on some early Frank Sinatra, hang out with my sweetie, and ignore the world for a bit in the hopes that it’s all just a phase, and that tomorrow will, as the cliché goes, just be another (hopefully normal) day.

Burning Bottoms and Broken Flowers

"I'm a stalker in a Taurus"

Well, that’s more like it. Had a fairly productive writing day, though the heat is being applied to my buttocks in higher and higher temperatures. The plan this weekend is to hide off in the bush somewhere and write my ass, well, off. Actually caught myself feeling a slight tinge of confidence about the whole project, though it could just be that chicken satay I ate for lunch playing tricks with my self-esteem…

Mood is back to its vaguely crabby but relatively normal self, which is also nice. I got enough work done today that I rewarded myself with a date with Renée to see a matinee of the new Jim Jarmusch movie Broken Flowers. It’s great. After watching the 75% steaming pile that was Coffee and Cigarettes, it’s nice to have the dead-pan, sardonic Jarmusch back again that we know and love.

Bill Murray gives a performance that could only be summed up as spartan. He strips away any excessive movement or facial expression and distills his performance down to the barest of essentials. It’s like the best use of white space you’ve ever seen in a movie; it’s not what’s being shown as much as what isn’t.

» Burning Bottoms and Broken Flowers continues...

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