I finally put together all my finances and handed in a HUGE packet of receipts, print outs, and forms to my boss.

mike d: “Tom, I’ve finally put my expense reports together.” (pulls out huge stack of papers and throws them on desk)
Tom: “oh God!”
mike d: “this one’s from Kentucky, this one’s from Georgia, this is another one from Georgia, and these two are phone bills from last October and August respectively.”
Doug (from adjacent cube): “tell him that you were planning on investing in gas futures with the money before the explosion in Texas and that for every day that passes until he gets your refund, you are demanding 500% interest to compensate for lost profits”


I had a dream last night. And it was bizarre.

I was in a stadium. I was there with Jill and my family, and I have no idea what we were planning to see.

While we were there, a newscast came on informing us that the Earth was being invaded by aliens. Suddenly a huge alien bomb explosion ripped apart part of the Earth and gravity got all weird. The Aliens, wearing creepy white space masks, started landing and pouring through the stadium which had turned into a strange steel tubing compound.

Enter the USArmy.

An epic firefight began. Aliens killing Americans, Americans killing Aliens. But, then something unexpected happened. The moon crashed into the Earth.

Every once in awhile there’s a scene in a movie that is so awesomely explosive that everyone remembers it. The destruction of the death star in Star Wars, the Aliens destroying the White House in Independence day, the tragic death of Jack in Titanic… really the examples are endless. But nothing compares with this dream. Never have I seen something so awesome as the Moon crashing into Earth. I tried making an MSPaint image of the action, and I couldn’t do it justice. So you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Anyway, back to the dream.

The Earth broke up into pieces, with lava exploding forth all around us, and chunks of earth flying off into space. The continent sized chunk that we were on broke off and started flying through space. As we hurtled away I couldn’t help but wonder why the atmosphere hadn’t desolved. And with that, I woke up.

"Born into Brothels" and "Gunner Palace"

Today I'd like to review and compare two documentaries that I've recently seen, “Born Into Brothels” and “Gunner Palace”, hereby referred to as BIB and GP.

BIB caught my attention even before the Oscars. I saw the preview before “Hotel Rwanda” and thought it looked fascinating: woman goes to Calcutta, teaches children of the lowest caste to take artistic photos. Will the children rise up and out of their poverty?

If only for the exploration of how art brings beauty into life, it looked worthwhile.

So Nancy, Hadas, and I checked it out after a fine meal at Pho Lemon (spicy curry tofu, yum).

I left the theater with more complaints that praise, however. BIB did show that art lifts us up. But the documentary was not art itself: shaky camera work made it hard to view, and incomplete background information made for confusion during the first half of the show. Where exactly was this taking place? How long had the filmmaker been there? And differentiating between the children became a little difficult, especially when some of the girls happened to look alike.

Believe it or not, I don't feel that BIB truly showed the destitution of the brothels of Calcutta. The shots were not wide and didn't fully encompass the area. One did become emotionally involved with the kids, though, especially with Avijit, the boy whose artistic talent brings him prizes and good fortune, only to be held back by the confusion of the Indian bureaucracy. (By the way, at first I totally online casino spelled bureaucracy wrong. That's a tricky word to spell!) The ending was not quite an ending, since life never has an ending when you're right in the middle of it; I was saddened but not surprised by some of the epilogues. On the other hand, there were a few children who surprised me in their tenacity and ability to get out of their situations. Even though BIB won the Oscar for best documentary, I wouldn't recommend seeing it, unless it's on video and you really, really enjoy photography.

GP was a movie I didn't expect to enjoy, but I actually did. It was made a year ago, and thus it was filmed before most of the American casualties in Iraq had occurred. GP is a picture of the lives of soldiers in Iraq, one that hadn't been presented as well in “Fahrenheit 9/11.” This was less of a political missive and more of a video diary of Charlie Battery, a group of soldiers who live in and work out of a decrepit old palace in Baghdad. They have a pool, a band, and some parties, but for the most part, they spend their days in fear that an IED on the street will blow up their poorly armored vehicles. They break into houses at night, searching out members of Hussein's party; sometimes civilly, sometimes violently. The variety of people serving over there was fascinating: women and men, people of all ethnic backgrounds. I thought the film portrayed quite well the different reactions the soldiers receive from the Iraqi people — some help and serve as translators and informants, some join groups that are being trained to police Baghdad (“Only for the money,” said one soldier), some throw rocks and build bombs and aim to get Americans out.

I got bored a couple times during the movie, but I think that's because the soldiers' lives actually get a little rote at times. There were a couple things that stuck with me — first, a soldier commented that he doesn't feel like he's protecting the USA anymore – he's now concerned with protecting himself. And at the end of the documentary, we learn that a few soldiers we met in the previous eighty minutes have died in various altercations.

I recommend “Gunner Palace.” It's very easy to forget that 1500 American military have died in Iraq already — these are our fellow citizens, and their stories should be heard, whether one agrees with the war or not.


Don’t mess with mike d’s food.

last night I went food shopping. I was in the produce section filling up one of those little plastic bags with broccoli crowns, when I turned around and my shopping cart was gone.

Did someone take my food?

Instead there was another cart, with different food; notably, a pineapple and a bag full of poorly chosen bananas. I looked around, no one was in sight.

Was my food abducted?

I hastily rushed down the aisles surrounding the produce section. nothing…? I only had my back turned for a moment, how could someone have so skillfully switched carts with me. I speed walked down aisle after aisle looking in people’s carts. Wait! There! by the toothpaste. A cart filled with produce including two ripe bananas and a bag of 8 perfect oranges.

“excuse me, I don’t mean to be a bother,” I said, “but I think you may have taken my cart by mistake?”
“oh! I’m sorry! I do that all the time,” the confused woman replied, “where did I leave mine?”
“back in produce.”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. produce… imagine that.”

I really don’t know how she was so speedy in escaping the produce section. Perhaps my broccoli selection process is more in depth than I imagined, or perhaps this cart switch was no mistake at all. Perhaps she recognized my superior skills in the art of produce selection and wanted to rob me of the highest quality fruits and veggies. If so, she underestimated the bond I share with my cart. I am a shopping fiend.

a wedding

Evie and Micah (aren’t they Vermont? cute?) have invited me to play guitar at their upcoming wedding.

They are expecting me to play a nice quiet Pachabel’s Cannon. But I think it’d be much cooler to bust out Led Zepplin’s “whole lotta love” (MP3) during the procession. Not only is the song fitting, but I think it would make the whole wedding more memorable.

Then, after the vows are exchanged, I whip out Barry White’s “Can’t get enough of your love” (MP3) for the recessional. Just close your eyes for a second and picture the audience congregation swaying to the sweet musical rhythms of B.White. Oh man. That’d be great.

Best of luck to Micah and Evie!
(interesting fact: The website that reached its peak in 2001,, put Evie and I at a 94% compatability after we took the relationship quiz. For this reason, we consider each other soulmates. Should that day arise when Evie gets frustrated with Micah, I will be there waiting.)

climbing for cash

I’m thinking about talking to the rock climbing gym manager guy to see if they need any extra workers on weekends.

Pluses & Minuses

PLUS! I think they do need extra people on the weekends
PLUS! working at a rockclimbing gym would instantly increase my coolness by 2 points
MINUS! Work already takes a huge amount of time and is obviously my first priority. Would I have time for rock responsibilities?
MINUS! I would hate for this job to intefere with my Jill visits
MINUS! I would also hate for this job to intefere with future band gigs
PLUS! workers get free membership, thus providing a potential for HUGE savings (upwards of $700 a year)
PLUS! I love rockclimbing so much

those are my thoughts.