Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Personality?

If you are in need of a simple way to amuse yourself in a few empty moments (as I often am at work), then head over to www.blogthings.com where you can take a bunch of random and meaningless quizzes designed to tell you everything about yourself based upon four or five stupid questions. It's hardly sound physchological evaluation, but I was surprised by the number of times it seemed to be dead on. I reprint the more successful and/or amusing results here for your passing amusement.

QUIZZES ABOUT ME IN GENERAL

How Open Minded Are You?
You Are 52% Open Minded

You are a very open minded person, but you're also well grounded.
Tolerant and flexible, you appreciate most lifestyles and viewpoints.
But you also know where you stand firm, and you can draw that line.
You're open to considering every possibility - but in the end, you stand true to yourself.

How American Are You?
You Are 49% American

America: You don't love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn't mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you'll fly a freak flag instead...
And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!


Who Were You In High School?
Arty Kid

Whether you were a drama freak or an emo poet, you definitely were expressive and unique.

You're probably a little less weird these days - but even more talented!


How Boyish or Girlish are you?
You Are 30% Boyish and 70% Girlish

Even if you're not a girl, you're very feminine.
You're in touch with your feelings, and your heart rules you.
A bit of a emotional roller coaster, one moment you're up and the next you're down.
But no matter what, you try to be as cute and perky as possible.


What Simpsons Character are You?
You Are Barney

You could have been an intellectual leader...

Instead, your whole life is an homage to beer

You will be remembered for: your beautiful singing voice and your burps

Your life philosophy: "There's nothing like beer to give you that inflated sense of self-esteem."


Which Muppet character are you?
You Are Miss Piggy

A total princess and diva, you're totally in charge - even if people don't know it.
You want to be loved, adored, and worshiped. And you won't settle for anything less.
You're going to be a total star, and you won't let any of the "little people" get in your way.
Just remember, piggy, never eat more than you can lift!


QUIZZES ABOUT ME AND LOVE

What Does Your Candy Heart Say?
Your Candy Heart Says "Hug Me"

A total sweetheart, you always have a lot of love to give out.
Your heart is open to where ever love takes you!

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a surprise romantic evening that you've planned out

Your flirting style: lots of listening and talking

What turns you off: fighting and conflict

Why you're hot: you're fearless about falling in love


What Kind of Flirt Are You?
You Are a Fun Flirt

You just can't help yourself... you flirt with everyone you know.
Guys, girls, crushes, and friends. They're all victims to your charm.
You're into silly innuendos, sexy jokes, and playful touches.
You are a huge flirt, yet you never make anyone (too) uncomfortable!



What Kind of Seducer Are You?

Your Seduction Style: Fantasy Lover

You know that ideal love that each of us dreams of from childhood? That's you!
Not because you posess all of the ideal characteristics, but because you are a savvy shape shifter.
You have the uncanny ability to detect someone's particular fantasy... and make it you.

You inspire each person to be an idealist and passionate, and you make each moment memorable
Even a simple coffee date with you can be the most romantic moment of someone's life
By giving your date exactly what he or she desires, you quickly become the ideal lover.

Your abilities to make dreams come true is so strong, that you are often the love of many people's lives.
Your ex's (and even people you have simply met or been friends with) long to be yours.
No doubt you are the one others have dreamed of... your biggest challenge is finding *your* dream lover.


What Are the Keys to Your Heart?

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.

In love, you feel the most alive when your lover is creative and never lets you feel bored.

You'd like to your lover to think you are loyal and faithful... that you'll never change.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You would never break a commitment.

In this moment, you think of love as something you don't need. You just feel like flirting around and playing right now.


How Are You In Love?

How You Are In Love

You take a while to fall in love with someone. Trust takes time.

You tend to take more than give in relationships.

You need your space and privacy. You don't like to be smothered.

You love your partner unconditionally and don't try to make them change.

You are fickle and tend to fall out of love easily. You bounce from romance to romance.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Xanadu or Xanadon't?

What is Xanadu? Boy, am I glad you asked! It's a place where nobody dares to go. Its “A Fantasy, A Musical, A Place Where Dreams Come True.” It defies definition and expectations. Its an experience unlike any other. Anybody who attended the wild and crazy Hamlet cast party last Saturday night would agree: its life-changing. Like they say in the song, “they needed the world to know they are in XANADU.”

In more mundane terms, Xanadu is a “movie” (I use the term loosely) made in 1980 starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. It's difficult to accurately express what it is like. Its the most impossibly and fantastically bad movie ever made. I mean, some films are just bad and you watch them and you're merely bored or irritated. Its takes a rare moment of movie magic for all the bad elements to combine so perfectly to make something so thoroughly and thrillingly entertaining.


Olivia Newton-John (whats with TWO surnames anyway? Seems greedy) stars as Kira, a glowing, groovy, roller-skating bombshell of a Greek muse who uses her technicolor powers to bring hope and love back into the life of depressed artist Sonny Malone (“Ah, what the hell... guys like me shouldn't dream anyway.”) They meet the impossibly cheery and probably insane Danny McGuire, a has-been musician frittering away his final days playing the clarinet on the beach. Together, they open a new club - a choreographed, fully costumed, 40s meets the 80s paradise of roller skating / dancing called Xanadu. Magic ensues. Dreams are fulfilled. Hearts are touched, testimonies are strengthened. And something completely unexpected happens! Kira falls in love with Sonny, even though thats forbidden by Zeus, the god of neon lights. I totally didn't see that coming!

It's hard to say whats best about this movie. Is it the amazing costumes? The natural acting? The groovy ELO soundtrack (which is actually on my iPod)? Watching Olivia Newton-John try to dance? The sudden cuts from summer with people in swimsuits to fall with people in coats? The dancers in creepy and bizarre costumes bursting out of nowhere? The Don Bluth animation sequence where Sonny and Kira turn into a variety of different animals that still somehow possess 70s hair and leg warmers? The interesting and distinct supporting characters (the grumpy boss, the wormy sidekick, the chronically nervous female co-workers, the ethnically diverse muses)? Could it be the witty and complex dialogue?

Kira: Have you ever heard the expression "kissed by a muse"? Well, that's what I am. I'm a muse.
Sonny: Well, I'm glad someone's having a good time.
Kira: Oh, don't make jokes; I'm serious.


I can't imagine how anybody could watch this movie and NOT be entertained, but I know all too well that its possible. I was invited to bring a movie to a “bad movie night” hosted by a friend and attended my many people who I did not know. Having had such a wonderful experience on several occasions watching Xanadu, I brought it along. They hated it. We only made it about a third of the way through the movie, during which time nobody laughed and nobody enjoyed themselves. So I realized that there are certain things you must do in order to enjoy this movie fully:

1.Watch it with Chris Clark. His running commentary and complete mastery of all continuity problems in the film are guaranteed to keep you laughing. As an extra bonus, you'll get to hear his wife quip about how many times he's watched the blasted thing.

2.You must pretend that Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly) is in love with Sonny Malone and interpret all of his lines accordingly. It's adds oh so much to the experience.

3.You just have to watch it with somebody who has never seen it before. Their shock and disbelief that such a movie is even possible will greatly enhance your enjoyment.

4.Very important! You MUST watch certain scenes in slow-motion. Particularly when Kira takes a very quick sip from a glass of beer in the final sequence.

5.By all means, fast forward through Olivia's song when she's standing alone in Zeus-land, that mythical place brought to life in stunning special effects. Its really boring, and you know you can't wait until the climatic finale!

6.Knowing all the words to the good songs and singing along never hurt either!


The movie was supposed to be Olivia's big follow-up to Grease, but it bombed at the box office (even though some of the songs did well in the charts) and pretty much ruined her career. My parents say they vaguely remember seeing it when it came out and enjoying it somewhat. But that was a more innocent, less cynical age. Now we watch and mock and yet (how can I explain this?) we love the movie. Its so bad in all the right ways that our mocking and our laughing contains as much affection as disdain. But at least we recognize that its horrible, which is more than we can say for some people. Read this review:

What is there to hate about this movie, anyway?
8 out of 10 stars
Author: DallasPeggy from Texas
The first time I saw this movie, I was entranced. At the time, buying a copy of the movie was not an option, but I would have bought a copy if I could have. I spent many happy hours roller skating to the pulsing beats of the soundtrack. Later, I learned that the "critics" had panned it, and I was shocked. Well, what do THEY know, anyway? As ONJ said, in the movie, '…use your imagination.'

What is there to hate about this movie, anyway? ;) The movie contains: people following their dreams, roller skating (and roller dancing), love, the beauty of the California coast, talented artists (painters, musicians, actors, singers, dancers, etc.), a wide variety of cultural experiences, a sound track that is the ultimate in great music, energetic dancing in many different forms, vivid colors, interesting special effects, good-looking people, an upbeat and positive message, and a general appreciation for all forms of art. There's even something for the intellectual in the crowd - the mythical city of Xanadu, discussed in many cultures, was always a place of sparkling jewels, art and beauty. I admit that the acting could have been better. For that, I lowered the rating from a 10 to an 8. But, come on - it wasn't THAT bad.

To me, Xanadu is a piece of art to be appreciated. This is quite a fitting tribute to muses, when you think about it. Now that I own a copy, I will let the beauty of the art surround me whenever I enter the world of Xanadu.

Enough said. You tell 'em, Peggy!

A place
where nobody dared to go
the love that we came to know
They call it Xanadu

And now,
open your eyes and see
what we have made is real
We are in Xanadu

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Allegory of the Eyebrow

I can remember quite vividly the exact moment when I first looked at eyebrows. I mean, really looked at them and thought about them. I was sitting the passenger seat of a jeepney, the dominant form of public transportation in the Philippines, looking at myself in the side view mirror. I realized suddenly that there was hair growing on my forehead. All my life I had never given a second thought to these two strange patches perching confidently above my eyes, but now they seemed alien and bizarre. I began looking at the people around me – the Filipino driver next to me, the other passengers seated in the back waiting stoically for their destination to at last arrive, various people on the side of the road. They all had eyebrows! For some reason I found this incredibly odd.

When you think about it, the bottom of your forehead seems a bit of an unlikely place for two distinctly shaped growths of hair to inhabit. I recognize, of course, their functional purpose. Not only do they block stuff like sweat, but they actually help you sense when something is getting uncomfortably close to your eyes. I had no idea! I'm grateful for the protection they've given me. Without my eyes, I wouldn't be able to see all sorts of things that I love, like “The West Wing” or those cool Magic Eye posters. But honestly, helpful or not, they just look weird.

While far from being the most disgusting part of the external body (a title which indisputedly belongs to the feet), eyebrows can really be distracting. After all, its hair on your face! And not facial hair that might make you look sexy in a rugged way when stubbly, or creepy in a crazy man / false prophet way when long. No, this is the kind of facial hair that has the potential to make you look like a wolfman or a goat. And no matter what anybody might say to the contrary, you ain't gonna get no lovin' if you look like that.

Like most men, for many years I did not think that my eyebrows required any upkeep. I would have to say that out of all my readily accessible body parts, my eyebrows definitely receive the least amount of attention. I brush my teeth every day, wash and scrub the dirt from my skin, keep my hair groomed, clip my nails, and even occasionally clean the wax out my ears. And yet my eyebrows get no attention! Because, really, what can you do with eyebrows?

Well, according to my friends Eleka and Mr. MG, turns out there's plenty to be done. A lot of us guys let our eyebrows grow wild, like an untended garden or vineyard. (We love vineyard allegories in our culture so I'll go with that). If the vines go without attention, if they are not shaped or guided by the hand of a loving master, then they'll turn into a wild mess that cannot produce good fruit. Are you following me here? You're grasping the metaphor? Good.

One of the most common problems is that the eyebrows,perhaps feeling lonely or isolated, all too often reach out for one another, creating a very unsightly union just above your nose. Now, I don't know about you, but for me nothing says “neanderthal” quite like the infamous unibrow. I may just be paranoid but I feel like no matter how witty or clever I may be, people will still think I'm stupid if my eyebrows cannot be distinguished from each other. The problem is that for many years I, like so many other members of my gender, never even noticed that this was happening! Once pointed out to me, I reacted with justifiable horror and indignation. The unibrow had to go.

Apart from that, the brows had just begun to creep beyond their natural borders with the result that a few straggling hairs were popping up here or there in a messy and disordered way. Remember the vineyard analogy; the vines must be guided and organized. So I did what had to be done. I got out the hot wax. What more could I have done for my vineyard?

Yes, I was skeptical. After all, real men do not wax. However, as it seemed the quickest and most efficient option (and those are big sticking points for me, since I'm so lazy), I sucked it up and gave it a shot. And I'm here to testify that it wasn't all that bad and the results were highly impressive. I was amazed at how much such a small adjustment to the often ignored eyebrows altered and improved the aesthetics of my entire face. I was quite pleased, and have resolved to give my poor neglected brows a little more attention on the future. I have seen the light and have repented, and shall go my way and sin no more.

And blessed am I; for because I have been diligent in laboring in my vineyard, and have brought again the good fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold I shall have joy because of the fruit of my vineyard.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Quiz Time

Ok, everybody. Somebody started this fad of creating quizzes about yourself, so here's mine. I couldn't bring myself to take it too seriously. Good luck.

Matt's Quiz

If you score badly, you obviously aren't a very good friend.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Four Months Left!

In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine
Can't you just feel the moonshine
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Yes I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind

Dark and silent late last night
I think I might've heard the highway calling
Geese in flight and dogs that bite
Signs that might be omens say I'm going
I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind

With a holy host of others standing 'round me
Still I'm on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me
If I'm up and goin' to Carolina in my mind

In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine
Can't you just feel the moonshine
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Yes I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind

Goin' to Carolina in my mind
And I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind
Goin' to Carolina in my mind

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

An Open Letter: Revised & Submitted Version

One website I like to visit frequently is mcsweeneys.net, where erudite and expressive people contribute short articles about varied subjects for the general amusement of all. One feature that you can contribute to is called "Open Letters to People or Entities That Are Unlikely To Respond." I suggest you check it out, I'm a big fan. I have written my own contribution based on a situation in my own life, slightly exagerated of course for comedic effect. I have now revised it and submitted it to the website. Thanks to everybody who gave me input! (4/6/06 Note: The editors "decided to pass" on my submission. Oh well.)


An Open Letter to My Persistent Yet Unwelcome Arch-Nemesis

Dear Arch-Nemesis,

When I was three-to-five years old, I loved the movie "Superman II." In my childish innocence I regarded it as far superior to its predecessor, a blatant example of the inability of young minds to make informed value judgments. Nevertheless, I could quote all the lines in the film and was known to run about the house in my underwear pretending to fly. Since that time, however, I have never really cast myself as the archetypical superhero. I don't tend to think of myself as the star of my own comic book series. You will understand, then, my confusion at your startling determination to become my arch-nemesis and foil me at every turn.

I'm flattered by the attention, of course, but frankly I don't have time to deal with an arch-villain in my life right now. When I make a list of my daily priorities, I don't particularly want you to show up next to more important items such as washing my underwear or finding some purpose in a fragmented world . In fact, I feel I have done as much as possible to relegate you to a position of non-importance and obscurity in all of my mental maneuvering. I would be more than happy to let you go about your evil and petty life without interference of any kind. Live and let live, I say. Yet, for reasons that I cannot fully understand, you are clearly unsatisfied with any arrangement short of a battle to the death.

Not that you've been openly antagonistic. On the contrary, you've taken great care to treat me with warmth and congeniality whenever we actually meet in person. I can see right through you, Arch-Nemesis. I know what you say about me when I'm not around. I know how you actively seek my downfall through whatever means lie within your power. Oh, I know too well; I've got people. This false pretense of kindness, therefore, only makes you more reprehensible and bizarre. At least General Zod was straightforward. He never told Superman how happy he was for him, or how he hoped things would work out for the best. He just openly tried to kill him on several occasions. I can admire that kind of frankness. And when an exiled Kryptonian criminal bent on world-domination seems somehow more likeable than you, I think its time for some urgent self-evaluation.

I've spent some time lately trying to fathom your motives. As far as I can tell, I've done no egregious wrong to you or someone close to you. I've made no attempt to interfere with your elaborate and self-serving plans. When we first met each other in that acting class almost three years ago, there were never any signs of strained feelings between us. My interactions with you since then have always been limited and brief. You must understand that, from my point of view, your apparent hatred of me and everything I stand for seems a bit rash and unfounded. Perhaps you were simply in need of somebody to focus all the negative energies of your life on and I was in the right place at the right time. Am I just your emotional punching bag? If so, maybe you should focus on practicing the techniques you learned when you inexplicably started showing up to the yoga class I was taking. You'll feel much better, believe me.

Alternatively, it is possible, I suppose, that this ill-will is simply a cover for other, more complicated feelings that frighten you. After all, the strong passions you apparently hold for me indicate some kind of attachment beyond the friendly antagonism of Clark Kent and Perry White, if you catch my drift. Forgive my intrusion on such a delicate matter, but if you are experiencing confusion with your sexuality then I suggest you seek guidance from friends and qualified professionals rather than venting your frustrations in my direction. Maybe if you are honest with yourself, you'll realize that it's not me you are trying to hurt - it's yourself. It's nothing to be ashamed about. As far as I can tell, many of the greatest arch-rivalries in history have been based on exactly the same kind of repressed sexual desire channeled through aggression. Think about it.

Whatever the motive, this really has got to stop. Like I said, I'm honestly flattered at the amount of energy you have been putting into ruining my life, but it's been pretty damn inconvenient to tell you the truth. And more than that, I'm worried about you, Arch-Nemesis. It's simply not healthy, what you're doing. Lex Luthor ended up in a bad way and so could you.

Regards,
Matt Haws