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Willie's Off-Brand Web Journal: June 8-June 19, 2005

Saturday, June 18, 2005:

I've decided that this journal "is too gray and needs to be more graphical," to quote Jim's editorial response to every page layout I designed for our high school paper. So henceforth, I'm going to try to include a picture with every entry, like Doughty does. So here's a picture of Steve Knowlton and me, taken this afternoon at the headquarters of Steve and Dennis and Abe's Record Reviews (AKA the Knowlton residence):

I appear to be unintentionally striking some sort of model pose that I must've absorbed from America's Next Top Model.

I was there for Abe's birthday party, and had a lot of fun meeting Steve and Jessica's respective parents, as well as watching Abe experience the thrill of being a four-year-old around whom the entire world revolves. He's such a cool, well-behaved kid (which is saying something coming from me, as most of you know of my distaste for children). Steve told me that Abe's been going through an Alice in Wonderland phase lately, so Steve got him a copy of the book as a present. Abe was thrilled when he opened it, and when someone said, "Are you going to read that yourself, Abe?" he happily squealed, "All day!" It's rare to encounter a kid who doesn't make my uterus hurt, but the Knowlton brood is just incredibly awesome.

This afternoon, after getting some errands done, I watched Microcosmos, which is an amazing documentary about insects. It's a lot like Winged Migration (in fact, I think the latter's director was the executive producer or something on the former) in that it's really not out to explicitly teach you anything, but it anthropomorphizes the creatures it presents in the most wonderful, affectionate way that you come away with a great fondness and appreciation for the animals you've just seen. To give you some idea of how effective it is, I totally freak out at the sight of most insects, and I actually found myself saying, "Awww!" at numerous points throughout the film. It helps that the cinematography is miraculously intimate: you get so close to these bugs, and get to see their faces to a degree you never otherwise would, that it's really hard not to ascribe human characteristics to them as you watch them go about their daily business. (The music cues are also frickin' hilarious, as when a romantic opera piece suddenly swells as two snails start having their equivalent of sex.) Even without any narration, the filmmaking is expressive enough that a dung beetle becomes a working class hero, a carnivorous plant becomes a femme fatale, and a caravan of caterpillars takes on Lawrence of Arabia-esque epic proportions. You need to see it.

And because I am extremely fond of posting mix tracklists- and, indeed, lists of any stripe- here's a new CD I made for Bev, entitled The Willy Beamish Re-Enactment Society:

1. The Spacewurm: "This Person is a Man"
2. Tangerine Dream: "Cottage"
3. Pernice Brothers: "There Goes the Sun"
4. Konks: "King Kong" (thanks to Mike)
5. El Captain Funkaho: "My 2600"
6. Beatles: "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"
7. The Frogs: "Truth"
8. Dawn Landes: "Mud & Scars"
9. Books: "Be Good to Them Always"
10. Taco: "Puttin' on the Ritz"
11. The Who: "Boris the Spider"
12. X-Ecutioners (feat. Anikke): "Like This"
13. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut soundtrack: "La Resistance (medley)"
14. Adverts: "Gary Gilmore's Eyes"
15. Liars: "Mr. Your on Fire Mr."
16. Plaid: "Squance"
17. Robert Wyatt: "Masters of the Field"
18. Tangerine Dream: "The Dance"
19. Elvis Costello: "Radio Radio"
20. Nouvelle Vague: "Too Drunk to Fuck"
21. Sage Francis: "Sea Lion"
22. James Taylor: "Fire and Rain"
23. Dntel: "Anywhere Anyone"
24. Murray Attaway: "Allegory" (DGC Rarities version)

CURRENT MUSIC: Lost and Safe by the Books.
A little tipsy.
During the rain delay, Mom muttered to Bev and me, "[Dad] has been complaining all day about how his stomach hurts, and he just went and got himself a hotdog with peppers, onions, relish, and... something I don't even recognize." I sidled over to my dad to get a better look at the toppings, and as he took another huge bite of his multicolored tube of hog anus, he said to me, "It's not even good!"
11:53 PM.

Doot? | |

Wednesday, June 8, 2005:

I was driving to see my brain doctor yesterday, in this cool, woodsy subdivision off Geddes Rd. when I saw a big ol' snapping turtle hanging out in the middle of the street. He was sitting right at a bend in the road, so I got out of my car to go move him, because it would've been easy for someone whipping around the bend to smash the poor guy.

He didn't particularly want to be moved, though. I tried to nudge him along with my shoe, and every time I gently pressed him on one side, he'd push back really forcefully against my foot and not budge. (He was about the size of a steering wheel, so he had some power behind him.) At one point, he lunged and almost bit my leg. So we stared each other down for a little while, not unlike Dean Rusk's description of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 'Twas a moment every bit as fraught with peril.

Two emo high school kids drove around the corner at that point and left their car in the middle of the road so they could admire the turtle. The girl was upset she didn't have her camera, and the guy was convinced that he (the turtle) was a tortoise. I asked what the difference was (I wasn't sure he was a snapping turtle until I got home and looked it up, because he had a weird, spiky, ratlike tail that I'd never before seen) and the guy said, "Uhh..." and then took a drag off his cigarette. As they got back in their car to leave, they said goodbye and I heard the guy proclaim that the turtle was named Hammond. I wish I knew whether there was a story behind that.

Finally, I was joined by a guy my age, who was wearing sunglasses with an orange, rubber cord on the earpieces to keep them on his head, and a T-shirt that featured a photo of a line of guys mooning the camera. He lived on the corner, and told me that he initially thought I'd run over his neighbors' cat. The two of us stared at Hammond for awhile- by this point I'd tried poking him with my ice scraper, to no avail- and I asked if the guy had a shovel or something. So he went to grab one while I continued to wave cars out of the way, and we finally wound up using a plastic snow shovel to lift Hammond into a newspaper recycling bin, which the guy then carried down to a secluded drainage ditch while I hopped along uselessly behind him, still carrying the ice scraper. We let Hammond go down by the water, where he looked around thoughtfully and adorably. I then left, feeling happy, and wound up tracking mud all over my therapist's carpet.

Later in the afternoon, it occurred to me that last week, I'd removed three sleeping ducks from the middle of the road near my apartment. That was pretty easy- just had to honk. Hammond was significantly more difficult. So I'm hoping that I'm in some sort of cosmic game, to see how many increasingly stubborn animals I can remove from local roads. Like, next week it'll be a tapir, and then the week after that, it'll be a mule, and then an Asimo, and a shark, and during my last week in Michigan, I'll get to face Bowser.

CURRENT MUSIC: No P. or D. by Ms. John Soda.
TIME: 10:37 AM.

Doot? | |

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