Foster child

One of the most "adult" things I've ever done is taking care of a foster child for ten months. This was something that Cheri wanted to do for our church, and I was completely against it at first (since we were deep in debt), but now looking back at the experience I think it's one of the best things I've ever done.

His name was Christopher, and he was just under three years old at the time. His mom was in a minimum security prison for drugs and hot checks, but because of his age and some bizarre Tulsa legislation, he was going to be put up for adoption without someone to care for him. This was brought up in church, and Cheri wanted to help out, and eventually convinced me. When we picked him up he wasn't completely potty trained, and talked like Tarzan ("Me hungry").
Very soon, Chris started changing into a normal kid. He liked wearing new clothes, and I liked buying him toys (so I could play with them, too). Cheri worked with him a long time and he started talking normally, too. We had to take him to visit his mom every week or so, and he also had an older brother (who was old enough to not be threatened by the adoption thing) that he liked visiting. I was taking a lot of business trips at the time, so Cheri was the only one who had to deal with temper tantrums and things like that - I was lucky!

My favorite memories of Chris are very simple ones. We would get up very early on Saturday morning to watch cartoons - he loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We both would sit there in our tighty-whities watching TV while Cheri slept, talking about the show. He even drank coffee with me! My other favorite memory is of Chris copying me as I went though my getting dressed activities - brushing his teeth with me, and using mouthwash even though he hated it.
When his mom's sentence was up after 10 months, we had to say good bye. It was a pretty sad day, but happy for his mom and brother. I have no idea where any of them are now - hopefully his mom went straight and Chris could continue being a happy kid in a good family. I don't remember much from when I was three years old, so Chris may not have memories of Cheri and I at all, but I like to think that on Saturday mornings he might think of me.


Pokemon 2000 : 3 of 5

I must confess that my Pokemon lust has decreased quite a bit since Pokemon: The First Movie, but I still completely enjoyed this one (released in Japan a year ago, I hear). This is actually the better of the two movies, with much more action, better use of Team Rocket, and a cooler story. However, it had less emotional involvement that I used to love about the series (I miss Brock!), although Misty does admit she has feelings for Ash - finally! No Pikachu tears in this one, so leave your Kleenex at home.

What Lies Beneath : 3 of 5

This was a movie I wouldn't have seen on my own, but I enjoyed it with my family. My biggest complaint with this film is actually the preview, which reveals every single plot twist and development in the film until the last half hour! Literally, whenever a tense scene would begin, I found myself remembering exactly what scary or interesting thing was going to happen - very annoying. The movie itself is pretty good - lots of suspense, but I'm sad to say that Catwoman has some of the ugliest toes I've ever seen.


Perfect songs

Some songs are truly perfect - meaning they fit a genre and style exactly, providing everything you could possibly want in a song. Perfect songs are not necessarily favorite songs - preference has nothing to do with it, only form. These are songs that could not be improved in any way. Some perfect songs that come to mind are Yesterday by the Beatles (the bridge is flawless), God Only Knows by the Beach Boys (name another song that uses sleighbells so wisely), and Say You'll Be There by the Spice Girls (I know you think I'm crazy, but no other song perfectly typifies 90's pop - and whoever decided to put a harmonica solo in the bridge is a genius!).

Hot Shot

Sometimes I like to drink tea, either Japanese green tea or herbal (usually something like Lemon Zinger from Celestial Seasonings). Like everyone else, I used to use a teakettle and wait for water to boil. Mom likes hot tea every morning, and she discovered this amazing kitchen appliance called Hot Shot, and got me one for Christmas one year. This thing is amazing - pour water in the top (enough for one big mug of tea) and push the button - I don't know how it does it, but this thing gets the water boiling in under 20 seconds! Talk about supercharged! Do they give Nobel Prizes for Achievement in Kitchen Science?


Star Wars Journals: Darth Maul / Jude Watson, Judy Blundell : 3 of 5

I read this on recommendation from an Amazon.com review - it's basically a kiddie book that pretends to be the diary of Darth Maul before and during the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This book couldn't have been more surprising - it's actually great! Lots of obscure talk of Maul's childhood, and very clever events squeezed into the movie's timeline (did you know Maul had a huge fight with Sandpeople while he was waiting for the probe droids to find Qui-Gon?).


Saint Etienne / Sound of Water : 4 of 5

Thanks to my pal Dae, I am a Saint Etienne lover. This is their first full length CD after the phenomenal Good Humor (which holds the Mikey record for most days in the car CD player without getting tired of it), but it sounds much more like the EP Places to Visit (which holds the Mikey record for the most times I could listen to a single song in a row, We're in the City, without getting tired of it). Anyway, it's Saint Etienne, so I love it. Very mellow, nice to read to.


To Die For : 4 of 5

I remember seeing this in the theater - I went on my own because no one was interested. Most reviewers didn't seem to "get" this movie, but I sat there and laughed out loud. I'm pretty sure this is an adaptation of a novel, and I have no idea if the novel is told in this biographical style, but the film uses this to great effect - the ultra-closeups of Nicole with her fuschia eyeshadow talking innocently about life, love and the TV business are absolutely hilarious. I should also say that she looks better in this film than any other, without getting naked. Anyway, the plot is so twisted that the hilarity of it all overshadows the grimness of the deed, so anyone can enjoy this movie if you just give it a chance.


Tokyo Babylon : 3 of 5

I don't even remember putting this DVD in my NetFlix queue, so I guess it was recommended somewhere. This is a decent anime, although old and showing its age. The story is a about a family of mediums (or at least a boy and his sister) who protect Tokyo from bizarre spirits and curses. The idea is cool, but the drama is over the top, even for anime, and it just isn't all that engaging. There are two episodes on the disc, and the second is quite a bit better than the first, so if you watch it, don't give up on the first episode. The sister likes to wear cat outfits with kitty ears, so Josie and the Pussycats fans like me should stay awake!


Toy Story : 5 of 5

What can be said about the first computer animated feature film? Just like Snow White, this is a groundbreaker. The development of the technology is so fascinating, especially how the animators never actually sketch anything - they just manipulate avars (articulated variables). With all that coolness, what actually makes the movie is the story and characters themselves. The premise is so clever and fun that I get completely swept up in it and laugh out loud everytime I see it! This movie makes me want to do creative things - how much fun can those Pixar guys stand?

Northern California

Soon after my separation from Cheri, CITGO sent Trey and I to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose for a whole week. On the company's cash, we went out two days early, rented a red convertible, and drove up and down Highway 1, spending lots of time at Stinson Beach, seeing a John Gorka concert at Berkeley, and just living it up. I was in the middle of serious soul searching, and this trip sparked my habit of writing poetry as well as songs (I wrote some of my earliest song lyrics on this trip, putting them to music when I returned to Tulsa). I don't remember anything about the conference, but the times with Trey learning how to be myself again will last forever.


Toy Story 2 : 5 of 5

The Toy Story boxed set is excellent! I watched the disc of supplemental material the night before I went to Japan, and now I have re-watched both films. Toy Story 2 is truly amazing - there's no other way to state it. I was a little skeptical about a sequel to Toy Story (and now I find out that Pixar was, too - TS2 was originally set for a video release), but they really pulled it together and delivered a great story along with just enough improvements in the animation to keep the feel of TS1 while still impressing me. Anyone who doesn't cry during Jessie's song has no heart and should be ground into hamburger.


Trainspotting : 4 of 5

I mainly rented this DVD to see young Obi-Wan get stoned - actually, I was a bit worried about it being too disturbing or violent. One hallucination aside, Trainspotting wasn't difficult to take and in fact was excellent. The plot really only happens at the end of the movie, while the rest of it is just a collection of episodes in which junk-heads try to kick, shoot up again, try to kick, shoot up again, and so on. I was especially "impressed" with the young school girl who seduces Ewan by concealing her age - what an angel. About that "one hallucination" - I don't ever want to see a dead baby crawling on the ceiling over my bed, so I'll pass on the junk, thank you.


Trigun Vol 1 : 4 of 5

Another anime series I decided to try out just from reviews, and it wasn't a bad choice. First rate animation and action - nothing ground breaking, but excellent quality. The setting is unusual - kind of the old west with just a few futuristic touches (not full blown like Cowboy Bebop). The premise is the search for Vash X, an outlaw so devastating that there's a billion dollars on his head. The problem is Vash is really a bungler (or so we think) and everyone ends up thinking the real crook is someone else. The only female element consists of two insurance agents trying to find Vash before their company goes broke from paying for his damage! Kind of cute, but we'll see how things shape up in the next volume.


Trigun Vol 2 : 4 of 5

Trigun is proving to be an interesting series, full of mystery that keeps me wanting to rent the next DVD (if Netflix can keep them in stock!). This volume, like the first, contains three episodes, which is just about right for a viewing (too many episodes all at once get monotonous). Along with the regular "handling the situation without shooting" plots, we get to see Vash actually fire his gun, plus find out quite a bit about his past and his first city destruction that earned him the name "Vash the Stampede". There's also a hot babe out for vengeance - this futuristic Old West is getting very intriguing!


Trigun Vol 3 : 3 of 5

It's been so long since I continued with this series that I forgot the last volume ended in a cliffhanger! Luckily, it all came back to me, and I really enjoyed this volume. Besides the first episode, I think this set of stories is pretty laid back, but that allows more character interaction. I'm enjoying how Vash refuses to kill anyone, and a new traveling preacher (who carries a cross full of pistols!) is introduced with great results. Actually, the insurance girls are suffering a bit - I really couldn't care less about them now as a viewer. Hope I can watch another volume soon - Netflix availability sucks sometimes.


Tron : 4 of 5

When geeks of my generation grew up, there were two big, big movies before Star Wars: The Black Hole and Tron. I rented The Black Hole to watch with a friend for our first DVD experience, so now I needed to see Tron again. Man, this movie looks amazing on DVD! The colors and garish wireframes are so sharp that you don't even want to see the scenes in the real world. Plus, the plot wasn't as goofball as I thought it would be. Totally worthwhile reminiscing.


Early 1999 poetry

From March to June 1999, I wrote a huge mess of poems. Here are three involving women - some real, some imagined.

Talk to me again and make yourself whole
Already you are dismembering in your silence

Your eyes are disconnected from your brow
I thought they looked better on someone else
When your hair flew away
It landed on someone in a magazine
I haven't found your mouth yet

If you would speak, words would assemble
What my heart deconstructs
Only you can
Leave a blind woman, a bald actress, a quiet girl
And take back what is yours


I want a schizophrenic girlfriend
Who takes her cat on the subway
Who wears only black, gray, and red clothes
And runs after taxis in the rain
Drenching her hair

She doesn't know how to do taxes
But quotes lines from The Simpsons all day
Making a mess eating Turkish food
Teasing with unspoken thought
Always between jobs

She knows what she likes, but not why
Disillusioned, disinterested, sullen, afraid
Disappearing behind a glass of bourbon
She rolls over and sleeps until 11:00
Never understanding me


Too dark for shadows
Yet the moonlight lit the chateau
So we stood in its path
Shivering in our dinner-best
Minds wine-clouded

The breeze was chilled by the river
And embraced us, so we, too
Needed to embrace
We felt again the security of arms
And at last braved
The gaze of eyes

A moment of motions
Our lips meeting, practiced as ritual
And suddenly letting go for an instant
Reveling in the place and time
Trying to hold on, yet pushing away

And then we both saw it
A kind of goodbye and bittersweet hello
We strolled to a bar to forget
Both changed forever
And held back tears

The Twelve Chairs : 2 of 5

This is Mel Brook's first film, which I had never heard of until he mentioned it on the Spaceballs DVD commentary. This was a pretty funny movie, thought it seemed a little long and drug a little. Mel has a very small role - the main character is actually Frank Langella, who had nice comedic timing for a vampire. The DVD has absolutely no special features, which is a shame since Mel does such a great job with directory commentaries. I wouldn't really recommend The Twelve Chairs unless you're just interested in seeing Mel's first work, which is the only reason I rented it.