Friday, June 27, 2008

Yup, I'm Prince Hamlet

I don't know folks, I just ain't feelin' it and I haven't been for a while. The urge to blog that is. Certainly it goes hand in hand with other things...outside of getting up to go to work I haven't been accomplishing much lately, that's for sure. I just don't have the energy for it. After slacking off for a couple of years I actually went back to school and finished university which is something most people (including myself) didn't think I'd do. My mother believed I would, I will say that. At any rate it gave me a reprieve and now I'm done and once I get all the paperwork done, will have some sort of degree. Yes it's an undergraduate English degree, but at least it's from Canada's top university. So even though I may have gotten to it a few years behind most people I've got it or will, once I figure out all the procedural stuff.

That's actually pretty positive, once I actually figure out how to physically obtain that all-important piece of paper. But as the name of this blog would suggest there is of course a downside. My life now seems to have no purpose, at least for the present. Of course once one is finished university the next logical step should be to parlay that degree into some sort of semi-meaningful career.

That just ain't happening. I am stuck and confused and lost and frustrated and bored and directionless and depressed and altogether a mess. Granted things were often miserable at this end all through the last several years (as is evident from reading this thing) but at all times I had something that served as a distraction, that at least allowed for some sort of forced distraction that took my mind off of other things, a goal that I was working towards. I HAD to focus on it, after all it was something I was spending thousands of dollars a year on.

But now I'm done with it. I don't have that convenient escape anymore. I would wake up at a certain time at a certain day because I felt compelled to attend a class that I was spending a lot of money on. I suppose I still do that when I have to show up for my crappy, menial jobs but somehow it's just not the same. With them I'm not working towards any sort of goal, which is something I could probably use at this point. Get resume together, find decent job that justifies the time and money spent on higher education, get own place, gain independence and get life together. Get a life, period. I guess that would be it from here on in. It just seems so daunting. Dammit. If I were stronger I'd be able to cope with all this and have the ability to get it in motion. Right now though I'm scared shitless, constantly tired, unable to get moving and altogether a nervous mess. I'm stuck. Look at the subject line above and that's pretty much me. As an English major and a Shakespeare fan, I can honestly tell you that there's a reason why Hamlet is the most famous of The Bard's plays. It actually is his best work and really does deserve its reputation. Even though I can relate I say this without bias, I swear.

But I digress.

I'm miserable. As usual. And more than usual. Plus I also had a bunch of other shit that I really wanted to talk about (and probably won't get around to) but I let myself get trapped into this stream-of-consciousness thing. So this is that you get. I'll try to update sooner rather than later but I can't make any promises.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The cool nights do help me sleep lately at least

It has now been a solid week since I updated this thing. Nice! Does anyone still care, does anyone still read? I'm not really sure, but I suppose the fact that even I am reading or writing on this very little (and therefore probably don't care much at present) can't bode well...yet again I'm wondering if I should shut the damned thing down or perhaps simply stop updating. Less dramatic that way, though it would take less effort. I am putting very little effort into anything these days actually....yes I've been working quite a bit, but that's pretty much the extent of it. I wake up, go to work, come home and....well, let's say nothing even remotely productive gets done.

I have made ZERO progress in regards to polishing up a resume, let alone finding some sort of meaningful employment. Something that comes close to justifying the five years and thousands of dollars I spent on this lousy degree. Speaking of which, I'm still waiting on that. I passed all my courses, have the required number of credits, met all the distribution requirements, fulfilled the qualifications of my major and two minors....I really just want that piece of paper. It's looking more and more likely that they're not just going to send it to me. I think I have to talk to someone, declare some sort of intentions, something like that. I really don't know what the process is, though I suspect it can't be THAT difficult. Yet just like everything else, it seems like too much of an effort right now. Nothing, no motivation. Stalled, stuck in neutral, some stupid automotive metaphor like that.

The Blue Jays officially such. A great month of May gave me a glimmer of hope but now I'm finally beginning to see reality. I have less desire to watch baseball now seeing as my team only seems to lose. It wasn't much but it did give me something to do from 7:07 until around 10:00 every night. I still have free tickets for a couple of upcoming games in July though. Just another excuse to drink at this point. If I can find someone to go with me that is.

That's it. I haven't anything else important to say. Not that the above really counts for much. At least it was something. A crappy post nonetheless, one that I did just for the sake of posting something. Depressed as I usually am (and was) at least I could objectively look at the old blog and say that it was interesting. Perhaps no more. Or maybe I just need more to drink is all.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh summer, why do you hate me so?!

No real reason for a lack of updates lately, other than the fact I've been working a lot over the last little bit. Same pathetic jobs, ones which are probably beneath me and certainly not worth the five years and thousands of dollars I invested into higher education. But I've yet to even get cracking on a proper resume so I guess there's no immediate end in sight, regardless of how much I hate them. I suppose they pay the bills, which I actually do have, believe it or not. Plus were it not for them (no money = no booze) I'd probably be sober right now, which is something I don't care to even think about.

Furthermore, I don't really have anything exciting to talk about. I guess if I tried I could go through the news and comment on various issues from politics to sports to the price of gas to the useless and quirky. But it's all been done before and I'm sure you all know by now pretty much where I'd stand on any given topic. Go ahead, skim through the paper and pick one at random. Then just try to imagine what I'd have to say about it. I bet you that whatever comes to mind probably wouldn't be too far off from actuality.

Also have precious little to look forward to in the next little while. Am working quite a lot for the next week or so, more than I'd like to. Again it's nice to be earning at least some money, but it leaves me little time for to get cracking on my resume / 'real job' search (ha!) and also less time for the endless self-pity to which I'm accustomed. Okay, perhaps avoiding that last part is a good thing but I really do need to get on with things...ever been stuck in a rut? Well this may be the rut to end all ruts. Need to get out....NOW!!........... didn't happen. I'm still here.

Oh, I just remembered something. Seeing that awful concert on Sunday (OneRepublic and some other bands I know even less about) also got me quite down. There were oh-so-many really hot young women at the show and I'm pretty sure that a great many of them go there with the vain thoughts of "oh, if I tart myself up all nice, I'm sure one of the guys in the band will notice me and want to sleep with me". Or something like that. I'm sure I'm not too far off. I miss that one, brief, fleeting moment that I was in a band. So long as you're on stage and playing rock music, there will be attractive women who will want to fuck you, no matter how much you suck or how ugly you are. It gave me hope and it was nice. Now I have to try to get by on whatever charm and confidence I can muster. Plus I have to make the effort to look as good as I can. That's also not easy. Every five minutes I worry about how I look and as I've said (one of my better quotes) "there is a fine line between vanity and insecurity and I'm not quite sure upon which side I fall". But if you've been paying any attention, I think you can figure it out for yourself.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Because I have nothing better to do at this moment, here's a post

Seeing as I'm in no shape to compose a proper post, I'll try and piece something together, just because I feel like getting a little bit of writing done.

It was very hot today. And yesterday. And likely will be tomorrow. It's because of days like today that I consider Willis Carrier among the greatest human beings to have ever lived. Nonetheless, I will still probably sleep on the couch in the basement. I will trade coolness for total area in this case.

As usual I am, for the most part, quite miserable. I've sort of begun the online dating thing (Hot or Not and Lavalife) again in earnest and so far I'm having limited success. Things were going quite well (or so I thought) with one young lady, but it seems to have taken a turn for the worst. At first she seemed quite open to at least the possibility of a nice casual drink or something, but suddenly that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. This is after I stayed up chatting with her until the wee hours on several occasions. I don't know where I went wrong, but I'm sure I'll analyze it until it drives me insane. I may have found another definite maybe (I hope) and pray that I don't fuck this one up and at least get the chance at something, ANYTHING. I'm not asking for marriage, all I want is a shot at buying them a drink. It's not much but to me it would mean the world.

I've agreed to see a concert with a friend tomorrow, she's actually someone I wrote about here before on several occasions and am too lazy to link to. We went out a few times (I think they were dates) but nothing ever came of that, however it does look like we've become friends, which is not such a bad deal I suppose. In fact I actually think she's more into me than I am her, something I find remarkable. Anyways, we're going to see the band OneRepublic who are best known for the semi-decent song "Apologize" (featuring Timbaland). That song isn't so bad, but I've just listened to some of their other stuff and it's pretty bad. Plus it's at a venue with no seats. Who the hell thought that up? She did say she'd buy me lunch though (I payed last time) so I guess it's not a total loss.

Finally on a very random note, I really like the song "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" by Herman's Hermits. Some people might consider it just a trite oldie, but I really think it's a quite moving little number with a really heartfelt vocal from Peter Noone. Yeah it's just a song, but somehow he really manages to put some real emotion into it, this great sense of melancholy heartbreak. And he was only 17 when he sang it! That little bitch David Archuleta couldn't even come close to this. This is real singing. If you're not familiar with it (shame on you) or haven't heard it in a while, give it a spin and listen to a fine vocalist who understands that there's more to singing than being loud and trying to stretch notes beyond the point of reason.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Now back to business

Well that was quite something. As an obsessive compulsive list maker I've come up with quite a few here over the years, most of them usually having to do with music. There was the list of great Cold War songs and TV themes and Christmas songs plus the hottest women ones I did a could of time. Most were pretty much a simple top-ten with the exception of the Best Songs of the 1980s I did way back when, one which I'd probably revise quite heavily if I were to redo it. But this Top 100 Films of All-Time was pretty hardcore and I think that I'll take it easy on the list-making for now. At any rate I hope everyone enjoyed it.

Anyways things fucking suck. To get back to my miserable life, I have been completely miserable as of late. All my marks are in and as far as I can tell, I have now semi-officially graduated university. I say 'semi' because I suppose it's not official, i.e. I don't have anything in writing, a diploma or whatever. I have all the number of credits I need and am quite confident that I have all the bases covered in regards to having completed my major and two minors, plus the distribution (science and social-science) credits I need. I truly don't give a shit about going to any sort of convocation, I just want my damned diploma. I suppose I have to fill something in or make some sort of declaration or request or something but I'm not sure how it works. I should get on that. Again I just want it in writing that I finally have my lousy B.A. from the University of Toronto. Then I can make my next move, take the next step, whatever.

And what would that be?

I need a job. Great. Like a real job. One which at least somewhat justifies the five years and thousands of dollars I've spent on this. I'm certainly not expecting great things right away but at the very least I need to start turning a profit. But of course I have no idea what to do, no idea where to even start? Of course I'm sure you've all gone through this but that doesn't really help me out...I have no idea where to even start. Nice! So for now I'm just going to drink.

Yet amazingly all this isn't even what's getting me the most down. Yeah there's something else, something I haven't really focused on for quite a while but is now starting to weigh ever more heavily on my mind. What is that thing? I'm sure you could probably guess if you tried but seeing as this post is running long, I'll save it for next time.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Baseball is back! (on the blog that is)

If I may actually post some good news here on my depressing blog (for a change) I have come into possession of FREE tickets to see the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre (AKA SkyDome) on two separate occasions! They must be getting desperate because we received two sets of comps mailed to us at the old cigar store in an attempt to sell the 'company' on buying some sort of corporate entertainment package (or something) and sent along a couple of freebies as a token of goodwill (or whatever). Needless to say that's not going to happen but that doesn't concern me. What does is that since I'm the biggest baseball fan there by far (and was quick to open the mail) meaning I now have FREE tickets to see the Jays on July 10th and again on July 25th! Now the trick is finding people to go with me. Yes even with FREE stuff I have the fear of not being able to find folks to hang out with me.

Anyways this doesn't really make up for the fact that my life sucks and that I've been beyond miserable lately (for reasons I'll go into soon) but it's still a pleasant surprise.

And it actually got me to talking about baseball here after a fairly lengthy (by my standards) absence. The Jays beat up on the Yankees tonight in the Bronx and 20 - 10 May does give me just that little bit of hope...perhaps if I now shut up about baseball once again they may just keep on winning. Insignificant as I am, I wouldn't be surprised if I were some sort of curse. Then again perhaps I flatter myself too much.

As a neat little aside, it seems that Roy Halladay has a fan in George W. Bush! Say what you will about the man, but he sure does know his baseball!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The best of the best...this is it folks

This is it. We've finally reached the end. These are the twenty greatest films, EVER. This has been a massive undertaking on my part and I can only hope that each of my faithful readers has thoroughly enjoyed this epic list. I first talked about doing this about a month ago but in reality it's something that's been on my mind for quite some time now. I'm amazed I actually completed it! At last I've completed the list to end all lists and can take a break from this compulsive behavior for at least a while. Hopefully this has been enjoyable and rewarding for all of you who have been keeping track. At the very least I hope that it might inspire you to check out some quality pics that you perhaps haven't seen and really should take the time to check out.

Anyways, I might take a few days off after this but rest assured I'll be back and more depressing than ever. My life really sucks right now, you have no idea. But in the mean time do enjoy the final entry of the Top 100 Films of All-Time. Thanks for reading!


Films # 20-1

20. JFK (1991) dir. Oliver Stone- Never mind a grain, you have to take this movie with a whole block of salt. Oliver Stone’s examination of the Kennedy assassination was a cultural phenomenon and rightfully so. It’s bizarre, ponderous, intellectual, paranoid, ludicrous, logical and so many other adjectives that don’t immediately spring to mind. While spurious at best as a historical document, it is fantastic entertainment. Three hours plus of talking and it’s not boring for a second. Wow, two Kevin Costner films on the list. Crazy!

19. Blazing Saddles (1974) dir. Mel Brooks- Good comedy is very hard to achieve, especially in trying to amuse a miserable sot like me. And epic comedy? Well, that’s damned near impossible. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World tried (but didn’t quite succeed) and The Blues Brothers also takes a decent stab at it, but as far as I’m concerned this is the only film in history that really gets the job done. It is insanely funny and could never be made today. The scene where Cleavon Little holds himself hostage? Riotous. Laugh for laugh, the funniest movie ever made.

18. Sunset Blvd. (1950) dir. Billy Wilder- Hugely entertaining, this is Hollywood about Hollywood at its perfection. Gloria Swanson is tragically riotous as the faded and deluded former starlet opposite William Holden who is equally great as the down-and-out young screenwriter. If any movie captures the horrible bitch-goddess that is Hollywood, this is it. Incredibly stylistic, this is also one of those movies that makes you wonder why they don’t shoot in black & white anymore. A revolutionary film on so many levels, it fun or relevant than it was almost sixty years ago. Just so much fun.

17. Chinatown (1974) dir. Roman Polanski- A triumphant return to the great film-noir traditions of classic Hollywood, Jack is spot on in this densely layered mystery based on the remarkable real-life development of California of the 1930s. Cerebral, downbeat and ultimately tragic, this is a true thinking man’s movie. Just brilliant movie making, even if Roman Polanski is a child molester. But I can forget that, seeing as this is a mystery that you never get tired of, even after you know all the many twists and turns.

16. The Seventh Seal (1957) dir. Ingmar Bergman- Of course you know the classic image of Max von Sydow as the knight returning from the Crusades playing chess with Death for his very life. But the actual movie? Breathtaking. Bergman’s breakthrough film has lost none of its impact after fifty years. We may never come close to answering any questions about life and death and God and man, and all that shit but this is as good as an examination as will ever exist on celluloid.

15. The Searchers (1956) dir. John Ford- Absolutely the peak of the John Wayne – John Ford collaboration, Both of these amazing talents were at the height of their powers with this often downbeat but always mesmerizing Western, gorgeously shot in Monument Valley. Wayne is remarkable as a man driven by his insane hatred of Indians and you question his motives throughout. Does he want to save his niece…or does he now want to kill her? The scene after he “finds” Lucy is riveting, as is the iconic final shot.

14. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) dir. Michael Curtiz & William Keighley- Forget Kevin Costner or any other feeble attempts at swashbuckling for that matter (this means you Johnny Depp). Errol Flynn is the ultimate action star, totally radiating charm in glorious Technicolor. The final sword fight with the devious Sir Guy of Gisbourne (played by Basil Rathbone) is a stunner, in fact so is the whole movie! They advertise 'adventure' in the title and this one delivers like no other!

13. North by Northwest (1959) dir. Alfred Hitchcock- The title is cribbed from Hamlet, but the film is all Hitchcock. Cary Grant is the victim of the worst mistaken identity ever and then the fun starts. A James Bond film before they even had them, it keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing throughout. The crop duster scene is a killer (no wonder From Russia With Love ripped it off) and Grant is as smooth as silk. The Master at his best.

12. The Godfather Part II (1974) dir. Francis Ford Coppola- IMDB and the AFI get it wrong already at number one and two (respectively). How can you place The Godfather ahead of its obviously superior sequel? Of course it’s a fine film and a worthy entrant on my list, but it pales in comparison to Part II. The Juxtaposition between Michael and the young Vito, the Senate subcommittee hearings, the interweaving of the historical fall of the Batista government, Pacino’s chilling performance…it’s all here. The Godfather is a great film, but it’s all just setting us up for this amazing epic.

11. Singin' in the Rain (1952) dir. Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen- Y’know, it may surprise some people that there is MUCH more to this flick than Gene Kelly’s beloved song and dance during a downpour. It’s a brilliant parable about the transition from silents to talkies, with great musical numbers that never seem forced one bit. Every single music number works perfectly, the story is great and the performances spot on. It’s funny, sweet and altogether a total upper of a motion picture, so why not watch it on a rainy day?

10. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) dir. Stanley Kubrick- Yes, the threat of nuclear war can be funny, with Peter Sellers brilliant in three roles and Sterling Hayden and George C. Scott also great in support. The whole thing is fucking insane, probably rather apropos in regards to the subject matter. The Doomsday Device, the alien hand, the sapping of "precious bodily fluids" and the hilarious final line…what is there not to love?

9. Modern Times (1936) dir. Charles Chaplin- While there are some scenes with sound, this was in essence the last real silent film. The Tramp faces a world in which he may no longer belong, but at the end of things he walks off into the future with a smile on his face and hope in his heart. As an amazing sign of how great this film is, I remember watching it a few years ago in my first year English class. It was a big class and throughout, all these kids (younger than I) were killing themselves laughing at a movie that was seventy years old. At the end everyone actually applauded, they loved it so much. If that isn’t a sign of a film’s greatness, I don’t know what is. But guess what? It's not even my favorite Chaplin film.

8. The Bicycle Thieves (1948) dir. Vittorio De Sica- De Sica is the undisputed master of Italian neo-realism and this is his pinnacle. Beautiful and touching, but ultimately depressing, this is the kind of movie that could never be made today and certainly not in Hollywood. In fact it’s totally un-Hollywood, a movie that could only be made in post World War II Europe, it’s a flawless example of hope, despair and morality. If you want life through rose coloured glasses look elsewhere, but if you want great filmmaking, look here.

7. Yellow Submarine (1968) dir. George Dunning- I love this movie and have ever since I was a kid. If you’re ever really down in the dumps (like I am frequently) just go put on Yellow Submarine and you’ll forget your troubles for at least an hour and a half. The (animated) Fab Four have to rescue the undersea paradise of Pepperland from the music hating, Blue Meanies, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s great fun and even greater music. My ultimate feel good movie.

6. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) dir. David Lean- “What is your name?” “My name is for my friends…none of my friends is a murderer…Sherif Ali, so long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people…greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are”. That’s all’s I have to say about that. If you don’t know the scene, you don’t know nothing. In fact I feel sorry for you if you've never seen it.

5. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) dir. John Huston- I’ve randomly written about it here before, just to say how great it is. Bogart gives his best performance and that’s saying a lot. Tim Holt is fine as well and Walter Huston wins the all-time award for Best Supporting Actor. Everything works, from the music to director John Huston’s droll cameo to those lovably menacing banditos. The final scene is perhaps the best in movie history, where they just keep laughing and laughing at their terrible misfortune. Another movie I’ve seen at least twenty times and still it doesn’t seem enough.

4. Rashomon (1950) dir. Akira Kurosawa- Kurosawa’s masterpiece, an outstanding examination of perspective and the eternal search for truth. The camerawork is incredible, the story has been (understandably) copied a million times and Toshiro Mifune proves why he is one of the greatest actors of all. It’s under an hour and a half, so forget that it’s all in subtitles and go rent it NOW! It’ll restore your faith in mankind, I guarantee it.

3. Casablanca (1942) dir. Michael Curtiz- Well, duh. I can pretty much quote the entire movie from memory as I’m watching, waiting for all my favorite lines to come up again. The cast is perfect and so is the script, even though they apparently made it up as they went along! Pretty much every scene is iconic, but if the "La Marseilles" scene doesn’t stir you, you’re probably a Nazi. I really don't need to explain this one any further.

2. Citizen Kane (1941) dir. Orson Welles- Roger Ebert once said that it’s amazing that in a world where no one can seem to agree on any two things, most people generally agree that Citizen Kane is the best film of all-time and those who don’t can’t seem to come to any other consensus. Anyways, it’s my runner-up, but to argue against it is damned hard. Orson Welles was the greatest talent to ever come out of Hollywood and they had to ruin him, because he was so far ahead of everyone else. Yet still he endures and he would have made my favorite film of all-time if not for...

1. City Lights (1931) dir. Charles Chaplin- My all-time favorite. Every single other spot on the list was up for grabs in one-way or another. I knew that some would be top-ten etc, but this was the only one whose position was always certain, seeing as it’s my favorite movie. I’ve known that for a long time now and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Absolutely the sweetest and most heartfelt film ever made, perhaps this means that I really am a romantic at heart in placing it where I do. If there were ever a case for unconditional love, this is it. I’ve seen it over fifty times and every time I still lose it at the final scene, which has to be the most touching ever committed to celluloid. This is a beautiful motion picture, proof of film as art.


So I guess that's it. I can now return to the utterly depressing saga that is my life. Hopefully this has been a nice diversion. This was fun, but for the next while do expect a return to the good old days when I hated life and wished I was dead. Stay tuned for that now!
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