Sunday, February 29, 2004


Best Actor: Sean Penn, Mystic River. Although seeing Johnny Depp win would finally validate my unadulterated faith in him since the days of 21 Jump Street. Hey, half the time, even I thought he was in high school.

Best Actor, Supporting: Tim Robbins, Mystic River. Let's be realistic; if you can't pronounce the guy's name (Dijmon Hounsou, In America), he ain't winning.

Best Actress: Charlize Theron, Monster. No, we don't need to condone her acting career but unfortunately, Keisha Castle-Hughes is too much of a longshot. And Diane Keaton's glove habit it just too creepy for mainstream America. Show us your hands, woman.

Best Actress, Supporting: Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain. If Harvey doesn't get this one, rumor has it he is going to kill a puppy.

Animated Feature: Finding Nemo. But it's not like this is a real category. They couldn't even find five films to fill out the nominees.

Director: Peter Jackson, Lord of the Rings. Because hell hath no fury like three and a half million D&D geeks scorned.

Documentary Feature: Capturing the Friendmans. Best film of 2003 about pedophiles, for sure.

Foreign Language Film: The Barbarian Invasion.

Best Picture: LOTR. This franchise has made over a billion dollars already. And considering I have contributed to some of that, I would like to see my investment reap the benefits.

Screenplay, Adapted: American Splendor. An award ceremony awarding drama needs to have some of its own.

Screenplay, Original: Lost In Translation. Rumor has it, if Sofia loses this one, Francis is going to kill a puppy.

Original Song: Honestly, there are no winners in this category. Only losers.

Cinematography: Master and Commander. It ain't easy shooting a film in the ocean...or so I'm told.

Thursday, February 26, 2004


I think the most important word in the world is "hi." I am only saying this because so few people say it and when they do finally say it, it makes such a difference.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Dear Imaginary Friend,

I haven't seen you in a very long time. It's actually sad that you have abandoned me in my time of need. And I will tell you this; that your intentions are so completely transparent. I mean, why couldn't you just show your self to me already?

You know, I was thinking about when we first met, when I first saw you...well, actually, I think I recall that I saw right through you and your tricks. But then, after that, I couldn't avoid you. You were everywhere I went. In the bathroom, in my bedroom, in the street. Everywhere I turned, you were there. O' my imaginary friend! The way you snuck up on me and the way you would never announce yourself or show yourself to others. My friends never met you. They would always ask me, where is this friend of yours? How come he never shows himself in public, they would ask? And I would call you and you would answer your imaginary phone but you would say you were shy. You wouldn't come meet me with my friends and that always made me look bad in public.

I'm just going to say this one last time: you need to show yourself to me, Imaginary Friend. You need to come back and be more of a presence in my life. You have been too quiet nowadays and we need to talk more. Things used to be out of sight....but now, your love is completely undetectable. It's clear to me: I need to see you soon.


Saturday, February 14, 2004


"What are you doing?"
"Not much, it's Valentine's Day, ya know."
"Yeah, I know. I was trying to ignore that. What an odd day."
"Yup. It's like this day when you're forced to realize the relationships you're in..."
"...Or not in. Ha."
"Yeah. It sucks, doesn't it? I was thinking about it last night. Had trouble sleeping."
"Really? Why?"
"Dunno. I wish I could understand it. I was staring up at the ceiling, wondering God, even saying that word is weird to me. Wouldn't it be nice to be famous?"
"Why would you say that?"
"I mean, you're always surrounded by people. You're never alone. There's always something to do, something going on."
"Ahh, but isn't it lonely at the top?"
"I don't believe that at all. That's a cliche."
"See, here's what I'm thinking; knowing more people is not our problem. With the internet making the world as small as it is, we know plenty of people. It's just....when you think about, are those relationships we have quality?"
"I wonder if everyone in the world at one point feels lonely. Like is it inherent in our nature? Is it a part of our DNA?"
"Yeah, I think so. Look, apart from schitzos, in our minds, in our essence, we are alone."
"That's a heavy way of looking at things, no?"
"Adam was the first person created and he was created by himself. Eve was only created because Adam was lonely. The first person on this planet felt lonely. What kind of example does that set for the rest of humanity, for eternity?"
"You're listening to emo, aren't you?
"Ha. Nah. That would be dangerous on a day like today. Too many emotions, too much feeling."
"The thing that frustrates me the most about being alone, like we said before, is that most people feel that way. We're too afraid to admit, that we need people. We try to be independent and develop this facade that we don't need company but we do."
"It's so odd to me that in a city such as ours, with so many people around us..."
"Yeah but that's what I'm saying; you feel a certain way and for all you know that girl sitting next to you on the subway feels exactly the same exact way. But neither of you will ever admit it to one another. We aren't expressive enough."
"When I say "romance," what's the first thing that pops into your head?"
"Isn't that what we base our expectations on? The movies we've seen, the TV shows we're watched? I read this annoying/interesting essay about how John Cusack has ruined the concept of romance for every man. How we could never live up to the bar he set in "Say Anything."
"Are you serious?"
"Look, it's not so crazy. We have such high standards. Maybe most of the time we don't even try because we're afraid of being disappointed. We're self-defeatest. We get in our own way."
"So, you're saying that we don't take risks in romance because we're just afraid that it won't be "Say Anything"?"
"....Or "Amelie." Or "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Yeah. That's what I'm saying."
"You can think it's absurd all you want. I'm sure there are beautiful stories out there about airports, flowers, long distance, love letters...all that...but why aren't we hearing about them, seeing them outside the context of a movie theater?"
"I was talking to someone the other day who just ended a relationship and he is a mess. He tells me he feels so incomplete and he's so confused."
"Damned if you do..."
"So, I say to him that to feel something, whether it's pain or's still feeling. Staying in practice. Being emotionally accesible. When you go so long without being in a relationship in any capacity...that's a problem. You become a tin man, of sorts. No heart."
"A Hollywood reference."
"How do we change all of this? How do we make people feel less lonely?"
"I don't know. Do you think I would be on the phone with you talking about this if I had the answer to that?"
"Good point. Man...Happy Valentine's Day. What're you going to do now?"
"I think I'm going to rent "Say Anything."
"You remember those Reebok Pump sneakers?"
"Yeah....I do."
"I wish I still had some of those."

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Talkie Walkie

The French make everything look so damn easy. For an American, being sexy takes a significant amount of time. For the French, all they have to do is get out of bed. Listen to a Parisian woman say, "where is the bathroom" and she has said the most beautiful and poetic phrase you have ever heard. On the other hand, when a New Yorker says, "I love you," it sounds like "where is the bathroom."

So then, why should their music be any different? Shouldn’t it sound effortless like a Sunday afternoon, yet simultaneously as seductive and sensuous as a Saturday night? Jean-Benoit Dunkel and Nicolas Godin, the duo otherwise known as Air, know this to be the true. In fact, on their brilliant debut, Moon Safari, Air introduced the les’ctronica sound en masse to make-out sessions everywhere. With an album full of synth-illating songs like "Sexy Boy" and "Kelly Watch the Stars," Air became the best French musical import since Les Miserbles.

Now, with Talkie Walkie, their first proper album in three years, Godin and Dunkel are back and hotter than Freedom Toast. After a disappointing 10,000 HZ Legend, their second album of self-indulgent poop, they return to churning out fluffy rice cake pop. Songs like "Run" and "Universe Traveler" could pass as outtakes from a 70’s science fiction film soundtrack; short on special effects yet seamlessly floating in zero gravity. Then the distorted colorful hues of "Alpha Beta Gaga" and "Alone In Kyoto" create a muted atmosphere of delicateness. They are audible aquariums, full of wave-like reflections and swimming notes poured out from their instruments. Inevitably, these are the songs that Sofia Coppola listened to while she was parting ways with Spike Jonze. Because these songs tends to relax, arouse, sooth, seduce, depress and decompress. Moreover, despite uber-producer, Nigel Godrich, at the helm, Talkie Walkie never challenges or burdens. It’s that effortlessness that makes this an album one to fall in love with.

Damn the French. Looks like they’ve done it again.

Thursday, February 05, 2004


Ehhh...I'll do it later.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


"In the darkness of this grave rests the body of my father. All the treasures which were mine from days of yore are sunk here. The holy spirit of my dear father has soared into the eternal world."

This morning I visited the gravesite of my father on the Yarzteit of his death. This is the Jewish date of his passing, in accordance to the Jewish calendar (a lunar calendar). I had much to say to him in the ominous setting of this barren cemetery on a cold winter day, the snow draping the tombstones like a collective solid blanket of the tears once cried there. I opened my prayer book and read from the writings of those wiser and more eloquent than me. They are the words that felt more appropriate than the small talk I had floating in my head. Especially on a day with so much significance (my father having been a rabbi), their words felt more urgent than mine did.

""From the time that his days were completed and he was laid to rest, I have not rested, been tranquil or calm from being comforted over his death, when I remember all the good he bestowed upon me from the day I was born. He was a partner in my creation. He faithfully provided me with my bread and my water, my wool. I felt his love at all times. He comforted me and alleviated my heart when any distress or misfortune came upon me. And it tears would stream down my eyes, he would wipe them dry and sympathetically nod to me."

I stood on the unshoveled path with near-frozen feet. I had wrongly assumed that there would be clear passage to his grave and had come unprepared. In my sneakers and soaked socks, I read the ancient words compiled from many sources--oddly enough, words written for the masses but still more personal and articulate than anything I could ever say.

I thought about the Yarzeit candle burning at home on our kitchen counter, a tradition I had seen my father perform for his parents on their respective memorial days. The dancing, flickering flame, a replacement for the soul that was extinguished too soon.

I thought about that morning, how I had gotten up and for some strange reason, opened his medicine cabinet to find that this was the only place left untouched since his death. Every thing had been left as it was. His comb without a hair to touch. His dental floss, his deodorant. A time capsule, an unadulterated testament to a life once lived. Eerie thoughts entered my mind, a time travel of sorts, to the last time my father had opened that cabinet. How he had grabbed his after-shave, taken his cholesterol medicine. How he had never known that that would be the last time he had used his mouthwash.

"I remember the days of yore when he was still in the fullness of life, when I was tender and alone before him, when he guided me. My heart is full of thanksgiving yet I cannot utter a word. My father who is buried here in the grave, whose pure soul radiates like a candle that I lit in his memory."

My sister and mother stood by my side. I wondered what they were thinking about, which story popped into their heads. What picture had they conjured up of my father. I thought of him walking upstairs, the creaking through the ceiling, while I sat in the den watching TV. The way he would call me from his room even though the noise emanating from the television would drown him out. Then how he would pick up the phone and call me on the other line. He had something to tell me. It's going to rain tomorrow, he would say. Make sure you take an umbrella.

He would have yelled at me for standing in the snow without having boots on. What are you doing for me, I imagined him asking. Say the prayers and get into the car. Quickly.

I smiled. I missed him. I thought about the medicine cabinet. So odd how little gestures, little habits, items that lack any inherent importantance become so much more relevant when its owner is no where to be found. His clip-on sunglasses (how nerdy they were) still sitting in my glove compartment of my car. His style-less straw hat that sat on my dresser in my room at home. All of them, ownerless.

"My treasure was taken, my glory and my splendor, and the treasure of my eyes and heart is missing from me. I am bent and crushed to the utmost...As long as he was with us, I did not realize the fullness of his worth, to appreciate him and honor him, as a son should to a father."

I asked my father for forgiveness. The imposing chill was getting to me. The silence of no one around us made me uncomfortable and anxious. I told him I was not always the perfect son, something he had probably suspected. I told him that I was not being the best son to his wife, either. I have disappointed you, I thought. I am sorry and I miss you.

At home, the flickering candle would inevitably burn out. Not far, hung the abandoned medicine cabinet. All of it, in a half empty home. The uncreaking floor.

I closed my prayer book. Looked at his name etched on the stone. I could not believe it was his tombstone. I could not believe that he was a mere six feet beneath us. The thought of a loved one being buried in the ground seemed barbarian and poetic at the same time. I resented the tradition, imagining him there but also thought of his wonderful soul and personality. How nothing of a physical nature could ever contain that beauty.

"Dust I am in my life, and dust is where I will return."

My sister said that she still couldn't believe he was gone despite the fact that it felt like years since he had been.

We walked back to the car and got in, the left over chill climbing in with us. I immediatley turned the floor heat on high.