On Thanksgiving, my family took quite possibly the coolest family portrait ever. We are all doing the finger moustache.
Metroid Prime is an excellent GameCube game.
I never thought I'd say this, but I really like the new Dixie Chicks CD. You think about that.
On the other end of the musical spectrum, I just read this story about the German band Kraftwerk, who I like a lot. They got paid 40,000 Deutschmarks a few years ago to write the theme music for this big deal called "Expo 2000." Their finished piece was three seconds long, and consisted of no music, and one of their members speaking the phrase "Expo 2000" through a vocoder. That rules.
Another thing that rules is the new Bond movie. Oscar-winning actress Halle Barry actually says "Yo momma."
I have done too much moving around this year. I want to settle down. Mainly so I don't have to worry about my family moving my stuff around and losing it.
I want a Mini Cooper. Really, really badly. I would also like a job when I graduate. Maybe, one will lead to the other.
Have you ever thought about becoming a Professional Gambler?
If I could play one obscure musical instrument, it would be the melotron. Or maybe the theremin.
I think I might have enough money left after this semester to not have to do telemarketing over winter break. This would give me more time to devote to video games and alcohol.
Just like I thought it would, Super Smash Brothers kicks an enormous amount of ass on my giant HDTV.
Do you really think anyone is going to buy the Segway Scooter from amazon.com?
I'm always responsible for my parents' computer crapping out. Me. Not the months of neglect and misuse. Me.
I'll try to scan some pics for all y'all. Until then, I'll be getting ready to fly back to California on Monday. Then I'll be getting ready to fly back to Connecticut twelve days after that. And hey, does anyone have Final Draft Pro 6? How is it?
posted at 6:20 PM
Friday, November 29, 2002
Hey, everyone. I've gotten a few requests to update the site, and since the rest of the web logs I read have also recently been updated due to inactivity, I will follow suit. But, unlike them, I have a good reason for my inactivity -- surprises.
Last weekend, I flew out of LAX and into Hartford. I came home and surprised my siblings (who got pulled out of school "to help move furniture") and a large group of relatives, who were assembled at my house under the guise of eating dinner. I then travelled to Boston to surprise the SlowKids at a rehearsal, surprise any other of my friends I ran into, and visit my three favorite restaraunts -- Burrito Max, Brown Sugar and Zafdig's.
Despite the flat tire I got at the end of the trip, it was definately awesome to see the shocked looks on peoples' faces when I casually walked into wherever they happened to be sitting. Highlights included getting literally jumped on by the SlowKids, meeting the new kids (who are definately cool), and getting to see J-Hal, who I wouldn't have seen until we graduated otherwise, and Joey, who I really don't get to see enough, anyway.
At this point, I should aplogize to everyone I didn't get to see -- and there were a lot of you. Hopefully, I will get to see everyone when I come back for the Lord of the Rings premier ... or, at least, the nerdiest of everyone.
For now, I am home, playing with my youngest, most adorable relatives and my neighbor's 2-year old daughter, who I swear is one of the funniest people ever. I am also playing a ton of Metroid Prime and Super Smash Brothers on my giant-ass television, which, rest assured, is amazing.
In the GOOD SIGNS department, I got the Malcolm In The Middle DVD from the FOX lot before I left. On the DVD, there's an extra feature that shows a montage of people working behind the scenes, making the show and fooling around. I consider it a good sign that I could not only name most of the people, but found myself honestly missing being there with them. I don't think that's ever happened to me with a job I've done before ... especially not a job where I don't get paid. That's a good sign, right?
In other news, I need a Christmas List for my family. As usual, I can't think of anything I need or want, even though I know there's got to be something I wouldn't mind getting. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be more than open to them.
The time is 8:30 P.M., and I am in bed in Berekely, California.
I am here after driving for seven and a half hours from Los Angeles, because I was so sick of that city I was willing to sacrifice a weekend, a sizable sum of money, and dealing with California drivers to get somewhere, anywhere else. San Francisco! A moderately sized, well-planned city! Who’d have thought it could be done?
Driving the Interstate 5 north was supposed to be the boring compromise road. I wanted to take the Pacific Coast Highway up, but it rained in just about the entire state of California today, and if there’s one place you don’t want to be during torrential downpours, it’s on a highway at the edge of the ocean.
But still, the drive managed to be really awe-inspiring, nonetheless. Just outside of L.A. is the Angeles National “Forest,” which is really just more of the same desert scrubland bullshit I was so sick of. What makes it more interesting is that while you’re driving, you’re gliding along the sides of mountains, diving between valleys and climbing to summits. Most of the time you’re so busy admiring the scenery that you don’t notice the little sign on the side of the road that casually mentions you’ve just reached an elevation of 5000 feet.
When you start to descend, after driving past the out-of-place Pyramid Lake, you get the distinct pleasure of driving through the Tejon Pass. Two enormous peaks frame a beautiful central plain, irrigated and divided into fields of oranges, lemons, limes, cotton and almonds. There could not have been a greater contrast to the city – instead of smog and car exhaust, you get the powerful scent of citrus groves. Instead of traffic backed up for miles, you get a lightly traveled straightaway highway. Instead of the nation’s second-largest city, you get … no one.
Never before have I felt such solitude in a wide-open space. (SNOBBISH FILM REFERENCE ALERT) Hitchcock used the wide-open Midwest to create an odd juxtaposed claustrophobia in “North By Northwest.” I don’t think I’d want to live in the empty acres in the central California valleys, but it was certainly a nice place to drive through. Being alone was nice, for a change.
But here I am, in California, in San Francisco, in Berkeley. What am I doing sleeping? What the hell kind of loser am I? And with that, I am awake, putting my clothes back on, and running out the door to Telegraph Avenue. Berkeley reminds me a lot of the area around Wesleyan University, but Telegraph Avenue is a page right out of Allston. Someone even honked at me for crossing when I shouldn’t have! Finally, a California driver with guts! No matter to him, though. I learned how to cross roads in Boston. Ain’t no one gonna mess with THIS jaywalker.
posted at 8:10 PM
San Francisco Trip, Part Two
The great thing about San Francisco is that every time it’s already made you love it, you turn around and find something else to make you love the place. My adventures yesterday in the city were harsh on the feet, but a pure joy for everything else. I must have walked at least ten miles, winding my way through the city streets, climbing up hills, and jumping on streetcars.
I got to see just about everything I wanted to see, which was pretty impressive given I was only there for a day, but indeed, I managed to do it. Also thankfully, the shitty weather gave way to beautiful blue skies early in the morning and stayed that way.
Now San Francisco is a city that got it right. It’s small enough to be walkable, has a very good mass transit system, and is clean and unbelievably picturesque. I can honestly say that there was not one area of the city that I wouldn’t mind living in. With the possible exception of the Haight, where the hippies were much more nasty and aggressively uptight than they should be, being hippies.
By far, the highlights (and believe me, that’s like asking which diamond ring is the shiniest), happened toward the end of the day, when I made my way out to Ocean Beach and the Pacific Coast. The storm system that was ever-threatening to ruin my trip also provided a very impressive surf. We’re talking 20-30 foot waves, here. Fucking awesome.
After watching that for a while, I hiked another half mile up to Point Lobos and the Cliff House, which is a well-known restaurant that looks directly into Seal Rocks and the Pacific Ocean. More great views, then down some steps into the Museum Mechanique, which was, honestly, one of the main reasons I came out here in the first place. So amazing. I got to see some stereograms of the Great Quake of 1906, some mechanical executioners, and a bunch of player pianos and a VERY early electric organ. And the music was so great that I ended up buying a CD, which has also been very rewarding.
One nice little vignette that happened was right before I took the picture of the “See What the Belly Dancer Does On Her Day Off” machine. I was getting ready to take a picture of it, because it rules, when these two little girls (maybe 12 or 13 years old) came up and started looking in it. Then one of the girls looked at me and pulled the other girl away from me like I was some kind of pervert who likes to take pictures of little girls looking at early 19th century pornography. SHE’s the one who was looking in the thing, for crying out loud. Jeez.
posted at 8:04 PM
San Francisco Trip, Part Three
The next day, I went out into beautiful Sonoma Valley. The pouring rain stopped, of course, as soon as I bought an umbrella. The falling foliage and bright vineyards definitely got my Fall Fix taken care of, and I also visited the wonderful Ravenswood Vineyard and Winery. This place was, as I just said, wonderful. It was a very small tour, led by a boisterous, funny winemaker who was happy to take questions and engage us in conversation. The other tour-goers and I talked for a long time after the tour, which was very nice, considering that’s never really happened to me in a bar or anything before. During the tour, we all introduced ourselves, saying what we did and where we were from and why were came there. “Hi, I’m Casey. I’m a student from Boston, and I’m here studying TV Writing in L.A. I’m here because I really needed to get out of L.A. for a while.” After the tour, we all went back into the tasting room, where I had some delicious wines, talked some more with the winemakers and my fellow toursmen, and, of course, ended up buying two bottles of my favorite wines. The whole thing took about three hours, and I had about 8 different kinds of wine.
Perhaps what struck me the most about Ravenswood Winery, besides the picturesque landscapes and delicious wines, was the winery’s philosophy toward drinking wine. While they strive to make fine wine, their mission is to “get wine off of its pedestal and back on to the dinner table,” which is very admirable, indeed. Our tour guide was very relaxed and down-to-earth about showing us the right way to drink wine (and yes, it really does make a difference), encouraging us to describe the wine using whatever we had to go on, and reassuring us that there really isn’t any difference between the normal, everyday wine appreciator and the professional wine taster. The tour guide was also encouraged that someone “my age” was trying to learn more about wine.
The Benziger Family Winery and Vineyard in Glen Ellen was next. The vineyards were, once again, beautiful, and it was one of the very few organic AND bio-dynamic vineyards in the country, which means that the whole place is completely free of pesticides and is ecologically balanced by using only what is naturally found in the area. There’s even an insect-attracting flower area in the middle of the vineyards, to attract the so-called “good bugs.”
At the Benziger, I had five or six wines, the best of which was an estate cabernet sauvignon (made only from the grapes on site). So, of course, I bought some more bottles. I wanted to drive back to Sonoma for lunch, but I wasn’t very hungry and I wanted to see some redwoods before I went home, so I drove to Muir Woods instead. While I would have liked more time to spend in Sonoma, Muir Woods was definitely amazing. It’s like you wander into this complete other world, where nothing has changed since before people were around. It was so quiet and peaceful. Just a really nice place to be. At any time.
Then I drove down to the Golden Gate and managed to see a fantastic sunset. As I watched the sun sink into the Pacific, all I could think was, “Man, that’s amazing.” Then I saw a few couples kissing with the sunset as a backdrop and all I could think was, “Man, that’s so cliché.”
posted at 8:04 PM
San Francisco Trip, Part Four
The final day of my excursion saw me slowly and sadly rising early in the morning to check out of my hotel in Berkeley. I bid goodbye to the frozen yogurt store that had enticed me with its deliciousness every night, and hit the road, en route for the city of San Jose, where some of my cousins lived. I wasn’t planning on spending a lot of time there, but once I sat down and started talking, I ended up spending over three hours, chatting about California, our extended family’s reluctance to move out to the West Coast, and my internship and L.A. experiences. It was really great, and I got to play with my adorable little cousin Colin (who not only has the same hair color as I do, but was also, as he noted, wearing the same shirt), catch up with my other, slightly-younger-than-me-aged cousin from Switzerland, Barbara Jane, and also got fed some delicious veggie burgers from Trader Joe’s.
Then I was off, to meet up the elusive California Route 1, a.k.a. the Pacific Coast Highway. You know all those car commercials you see with that lone BMW or Mercedes driving along the side of a cliff, on a twisty road with these gigantic waves crashing alongside them? Well, that’s pretty much what it was like for me, except I was driving a Daewoo instead of a classy German car. But hey.
Yes, the road really is that twisty, and yes, the scenery really is that amazing. Pretty much the way it works is that every time the road makes another 89 degree turn, there’s another incredible vista that you just have to pull over and take a good, long, look at. And occasionally, there’s a little stairway down the side of the cliffs that take you to these little secluded beaches where you’re literally the only person on the beach. All you can hear is the crash of the waves, and an occasional California Condor or falcon screaming by overhead.
Continuing the drive home, at various points in time, I contemplated various things, including 1). Whether or not to pick up a hitchhiker, 2). What I would need to do to become a park ranger, and 3). What would happen if I decided to become a monk at a monastery I passed in Big Sur. Ultimately, none of those things happened, although I may still consider becoming a monk if those student loan payments get too harsh.
On the drive back, I got to see the sun set into the Pacific Ocean again, only this time, I was the only person around to watch it, and I got to see the stars come out, free from the interference of city lights. And there was this great moment when I was driving by a lighthouse – everything around me was pitch black, only illuminated momentarily, in large rectangular sections, by the lighthouse beam as it scanned the horizon, with the only other light reflected moonbeams from the ocean. Needless to say, it was pretty impressive.
Oh, and the offshore oil rigs near Santa Barbara look like giant Christmas Trees at night. But they still smell.
posted at 8:03 PM
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Breaking The Pattern Of One-Line Posts
... with a slightly longer post. My whole weekend was amazing. I'll write a more descriptive post later on today or tomorrow, but for now you can just look at this. It's a picture of me at the wonderful Ravenswood Winery and Vineyard in Sonoma.
I drove 1016 miles. How insane is that?
posted at 10:30 AM
Thursday, November 07, 2002
Goin' to San Francisco. See y'all on Tuesday!
posted at 7:06 PM
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Why are Republicans winning everything?
posted at 10:37 PM
Splashing The Wine With All The Rain Dogs
Yeah, so I don't know what the heck happened with the link in that last post. And Blogger won't let me edit the entry to try to fix it, so I guess it's just going to have to hang out there for a while. If you'd like to read the newest Pantomime Horse, I'd suggest just doing it the slightly-older fashioned way by just clicking on the link to them over to the left, there.
On a trip update, it's beginning to look like, if I can time this whole thing right, I can avoid the heavy rain and only be plagued with cloudiness until Sunday, when it's supposed to clear up in the Bay area. This will be very nice, because it's when I plan on spending the entire day touring wineries in Sonoma. Awwww yeah. But first, I need to ask my Dad what the laws are about bringing wine into Connecticut from out of state, because the last thing I want to happen to me is to have my wine taken away from me, and the second to last thing I want to happen to me is to be stopped at an airport security terminal to be possibly strip searched.
My Hippie Aunt, who used to live in Ben Lomond, CA (and who recently berated me for buying box wine), has also convinced me to take the Pacific Coast Highway at least through the Big Sur National Park. Some minor research suggests that the area is not nearly as barren as I thought it was, and I will, indeed, be able to stop for lunch and, more importantly, get gasoline. But if the weather still gets nasty, I will still probably be preoccupied with envisioning myself getting blown off a cliff and into the Pacific Ocean. It's fun. Try it.
Now all that remains to be done is building my itenerary for the trip (you know I need a plan), getting a list of CDs I want to bring along, and daydreaming about not being in L.A. for a while.
posted at 1:52 PM
Monday, November 04, 2002
From The National Weather Service:
...SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO CA 315 PM PST MON NOV 4 2002
...FIRST WINTER STORM OF THE SEASON TO AFFECT NORTHERN CALIFORNIA...
THE FIRST WET AND WINDY STORM OF THE SEASON IS FORECAST TO BRING RAIN AND STRONG WINDS ACROSS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BY LATE WEDNESDAY AND CONTINUE THROUGH FRIDAY. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HAS NOT RECEIVED ANY APPRECIABLE RAINFALL SINCE LAST MAY. THE LONG DRY SPELL IS EXPECTED TO COME TO AN END THIS WEEK...AS A STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM BRINGS RAIN...STRONG WINDS AND HIGH SURF CONDITIONS TO THE SAN FRANCISCO AND MONTEREY BAY REGION.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MODELS INDICATE THAT LIGHT RAINFALL MAY BEGIN AS EARLY AS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON ACROSS NORTHERN PORTIONS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA. THE RAIN IS FORECAST TO SPREAD SOUTH OVER ALL OF NORTHERN AND CENTRAL CALIFORNIA ON THURSDAY. IN ADDITION TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL...A PERIOD OF STRONG AND GUSTY WINDS WILL LIKELY OCCUR AHEAD OF AND BEHIND THE FRONTAL SYSTEM.
AFTER THE FIRST STORM MOVES OUT OF THE AREA LATE THURSDAY... ANOTHER STRONG STORM IS FORECAST TO ARRIVE BY FRIDAY WITH MORE WIND AND RAIN LIKELY. AT THIS POINT...IT LOOKS LIKE RAINFALL TOTALS COULD AVERAGE FROM 1 TO 3 INCHES ACROSS THE BAY AREA AND CENTRAL COAST THROUGH FRIDAY...WITH HIGHER AMOUNTS IN OROGRAPHICALLY FAVORED AREAS. IN ADDITION...LARGE WAVES ARE EXPECTED TO ARRIVE ALONG THE NORTHERN AND CENTRAL CALIFORNIA COAST BY LATE WEDNESDAY.
THE WIDESPREAD RAIN IS EXPECTED TO CHANGE TO A SCATTERED SHOWER SCENARIO ON SATURDAY AS THE MAIN TROUGH MOVES INLAND. IT LOOKS LIKE THE RAIN SHOULD COME TO AN END BY SUNDAY AS A HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE BUILDS INTO THE REGION BEHIND THE STORM.
PEOPLE WITH OUTDOOR INTERESTS AND TRAVEL PLANS LATER THIS WEEK SHOULD PLAN ACCORDINGLY NOW. THE STORM IS EXPECTED TO BRING RAIN AS FAR SOUTH AS THE LOS ANGELES AREA WITH SIGNIFICANT SNOW IN THE SIERRAS.
And that's that, apparently. Be sure to re-read the section where it says that this area of California has not received any appreciable rainfall since LAST MAY. And lo and behold, when Casey wants to visit the region, it gets a tagteam of winter storms.
Oh, also, just in case you missed it, you can now read my new Pantomime Horse rumination on temporary fame, posted on this site. Or, you can also click LinktoComments('84031550')