Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Speaking of Bad Luck

I'm in the market for a car again. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dictation is a lost art. Executives is the '50's dictated everything.

I've determined the manner I would write a book, if one day I suddenly developed an unquenchable desire to write a book (which I think someday might happen). I wouldn't sit in front of my computer all night, I would dictate the book. To myself.

Every time I'm doing something mindless - cleaning the kitchen, painting, going out for a walk, working out, etc - my mind is always going a million miles an hour. Since my brain is normally doing a sedate thirty, this is usually the point where I get all my good ideas ("what if I designed a car that could travel on land, water, and air? You could call it 'The Everywhere Rover' and it could run on it's own momentum.") and mentally write all my posts for this site. The remainder of the time, my mental muscle is usually tied up with trying to remember what's on television that night and deciding whether or not to get the chip in my front tooth fixed (I'm still undecided).

The problem is, that whenever I'm sitting down to write a post, I usually end up staring at the screen for a moment, and then saying "hey, didn't I have an idea for a post an hour ago while I was taking the dog for a walk?" But by then, the idea, in all its luminous glory, is gone. So nothing gets done.

So my schedule would be this: I would travel with a little tape recorder, like the verbose writers in movies that are trying to avoid a voiceover. Every night, I would stay up very, very late, just like Edgar Allen Poe, or a coke dealer. I would spend my time doing some brainless activity - I might paint my apartment, or practice my putting, or do bicep curls, or play darts, or build toothpick replicas of Paris in the 1840's, or just doodle endlessly on a sketch pad out on my balcony. And I would dictate.

The next morning I would wake up and do "the morning pages," as writers call them (or so I hear). But I wouldn't be writing, as much as I would be just editing the crap I had written the night before in a tired stupor, cursing my inanity. I would then leave for work, and that night I would sit down at my computer, read what I had written that morning, figure out where I had left off the night before, and start the process over. It's a perfect system - the endless dreaminess and clarity of vision of your words as you whisper them to the night sky, the clear-thinking detail of writing something in the harsh light of morning. A balance of your left and right hemispheres, of reason and passion. I love it.

Hmmm. Someday, I should pick something to write about.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A New Leaf

I've decided this blog is going to be less about movie review and long stories from my life, and more shorter posts filled with idle musings on movie news and such. I always mean to write and just never get around to it, and so nothing ever gets posted. So I'm gonna work on my short game for a while, and see if that leads me into putting together some longer posts. For example, I had a whole bit about liberalism and The Bourne Ultimatum that I never posted on, and that's something I felt pretty strongly about. So sometimes it just doesn't happen.

For example - Dr. Ed Robb is the head pastor of the church I work at, and usually every sermon he delivers some sort of Robb-ism that has all of us in the production room going "Wha- hey! That doesn't make any sense!" He'll incorrectly quote things, stitch words together in a bizarre fashion ("unforsakenalism"), and butcher celebrity news stories beyond recognition. As you can imagine, this deeply endears him to me .

Today while preaching, Ed's exhorted the parishioners not to try to force their children to be "Tiger Woodses or Vanessa Williamses." I'm pretty sure he meant this person:

But instead he referred to this person, a former Miss America:

I don't think you need to twist a parent's arm to try to keep them from forcing their children to fit into this mold.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Correspondence Enclosed

To: The owners of Briarcrest Apartment Complex
(where I unfortunately now reside)

I had already finished up my final paperwork with your landlady and was on my way out the door when she called out, "stop by on Friday night, the day before you check in - what's that - the seventeenth? Perfect. Stop by that night and pick up your key. You can start moving in that night, get a little bit of a leg up."

I bring this pointless little tidbit up because I want to make it known that at least somebody at your establishment knew that I was moving into my new apartment. I didn't just show up, break down the door of the nearest empty space, and start moving armchairs and dishes in. There was, at some point, a plan to all of this. In fact, after signing paperwork, one of your employees even handed me a key for this apartment (the fact that the key didn't end up fitting in the lock is unimportant). Clearly, there was an indication from your staff that I should move into this apartment.

Of course, there was almost no other effort made on the apartment outside of this one gesture. When we opened the door to the apartment (it was unlocked, thank you, this is just the sort of security effort that we're looking for) we discovered that the previous tenant had exited the apartment after a 15 year stay, and hadn't bothered to pick up after himself on the way out. And neither had you.

No A/C, no stove, no fridge, toilet broken, showers broken, lights broken, trash left everywhere. A disaster area. So we show back up and demand help, explaining that we can't move in until this happens, and explaining that we won't pay rent until everything is fixed. And still, nothing happens. Three days later the A/C gets fixed, 5 days later we get a fridge, we got a stove yesterday. We're over a week into this little adventure and our light fixtures and toilets still look like props from Seven.

I've threatened, cajoled, begged, harassed, and come damn near close to weeping and gnashing my teeth outside the office doors. Please, please, please come fix the rest of the apartment. All will be forgiven.

In the meantime, you can know that I truly, deeply, ardently hate you.

Ben Wyman

Friday, August 10, 2007


As most people who read this blog already know, I grew up without a television. When I was a young child, my parents would occasionally rent a television, or borrow the one at our church for a week (we went to an incredibly trusting church). We always tried to work it so that the television would stay for more than a week, and we became so good at it that we often succeeded in keeping the television for upwards of a month during the summer.

The trick was working it so that whatever movie our parents wanted to watch - there was always one or two movies they wanted to get around to watching - it just happened there would be "no time" to get them watched that first week. You know, something would always come up at the last minute, they'd lose their chance to watch the movie they wanted to, and so the television would stay for another week so that this parent could finally get a chance to watch the film.

Naturally, sometimes these films were for our own edification, a movie Dad wanted to watch with us, or perhaps something Mom wanted to experience along with her children. As a result, I once watched the A&E's 6-hour re-telling of "Pride and Prejudice" twice within a 48-hour period (boy, that Colin Firth was something, huh?). But it was all worth it.

One of these moments was during Family Movie Night. I don't think we ever had a family movie night outside of this one occasion, and it was a memorable one. We had rented Sleuth, starring Laurence Olivier as the bitter genius who invites his ex-wife's lover, Michael Caine, over and engages him in a life-or-death battle of wits, but the VHS tape was so poorly made that the audio couldn't be heard outside a one-and-a-half foot radius from the television. A normal family would've returned to the video store and traded the movie in for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but not us. We soldiered on.

We turned everything in our house that could possibly make noise off (fans, air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines, killed the family pets, etc.) and huddled around the television. As I recall, we had Keith, our "Fresh Air Kid" from New York out with us that summer, who just stared in disbelief at our technological desperation and disappeared up the stairs for the evening - in fact, come to think of it, it's possible Family Movie Night was supposedly entirely for his benefit, not that this stopped us. We had spent good money renting a movie, and by God, we were going to watch that movie. We cranked the volume to maximum (Stage Whisper Mode) and breathed shallowly for two hours. And you know what? It was worth it. I was so engrossed that fifteen years later, I still remember details from the movie, all the way up to its exciting, barely audible finale.

So imagine my glee to discover that Kenneth Branagh has directed a remake of Sleuth, which will be premiering later this fall. Michael Caine returns to play Olivier's role, and his former role is being played by Jude Law, who - say what you will, tabloid hawks - is a tremendously talented, brainy actor, despite his mysterious penchant for cheating on arguably the most beautiful actress alive. Also, the adaptation is written by Harold Pinter, who has won a Nobel Laureate for Literature, though admitted for one of the shittiest poem collections ever written ("War"). Still, this is the guy they turn to for adaptations of Kafka and Proust, and he's written a number of Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning screenplays (The French Lieutenant's Woman, for instance), which I think legitimately qualifies him to write a brainy enough thriller to satisfy the masses.

Check out the new trailer here.

While you're at it, check out the trailer for the original here.

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I meant to finish my Bourne Ultimatum review today, but instead I took this picture:

And Simpsonized it:

Which, interestingly enough, does not look all that different from this picture:

Art imitating life, it seems. That's me in front of the Dallas Kwik-E-Mart, by the way, one of 12 Kwik-E-Marts in the world right now. I made a special journey to see it. A pilgrimage, perhaps.

While in Dallas, I also visited the Mary Kay building with a friend on a pilgrimage of her own, though for me I felt a bit like I was part of the fellowship in Lord of the Rings, entering the heart of evil and hoping not to get noticed. I'll post pictures of that later if I get a chance.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Charlie The Unicorn

I haven't really posted anything interesting in a while, but I finished The Deathly Hallows today, the Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett, I'm moving in with my younger brother, and I'll see the Bourne Ultimatum in a day or two. I'm sure I can find something to stitch together.

In the meantime, enjoy the sugary goodness that is Charlie the Unicorn: