Saturday, April 20, 2002
And if you see Johnny Football Hero in the Hall:
Draft Day started about thirty minutes ago and if you go to ESPN's Draft Day site you can follow it live. I don't know anything about college football, so I have no idea how good David Carr is or any other player in the draft for that matter. But since the Ravens (my team) have fired pretty much all of their players, this year's draft is very important if they want to be able to build a competitive team for next season. So I'm following the draft hoping that they'll select talented players. And because ESPN's live radio coverage is pretty entertaining (the just referred to Cincinnati as the graveyard for football players), I'll probably hang in there until I have to go see Cecil B. Demented.
- John Fogde 6:39 PM [+]
Friday, April 19, 2002
And We Were Never Being Boring:
I’ve read quite a few blogs during the last year or so and not surprisingly they haven’t all been good. I think that is the main reason it took me so long before I started writing my own blog. I’ve been part of a small blogging community called Interesting Stuff since August last year (it’s in Danish in case you were thinking of following the link) and when I found out how easy it was to create a blog I immediately started thinking about creating my own. But I kept putting it off, because I was convinced that my life was so incredibly boring that I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to read about it. But I kept thinking about it and reading more and more blogs and I got really fascinated by the fact that I’d go back every day to check up on the doings of complete strangers.
But I realized that I didn’t think about writing a blog in a very focused way until I read an essay called Why Web Journals Suck by Diane Patterson. In the essay she lists a lot of reasons why most people shouldn’t be writing blogs and she gives a lot of helpful advice to people, who decide to do so anyway. The main thing the essay made me think about was why I wanted to write a blog in the first place. And the conclusion was that I wanted to write again. I didn’t want to write a diary and I don’t feel the need to reveal my dark secrets to strangers. I want to write about things I’m interested in and fascinated by with the hope that others might read what I’ve written and perhaps discovery something they didn’t know about. I’ve written a lot of articles in the past on music and movies and I really get a kick out of it. As tough as it can be to meet a deadline for a review of an album that you can’t stand listening to twice I always felt like I’d done my best, when I sent it to my editor and no matter what I’d written about I felt like I’d worked hard to put something interesting out there.
The cool thing for me about publishing my thoughts on the net is that it pushes me to read, re-read, and re-write what I’ve written, so whoever reads it doesn’t think I’m an illiterate jackass. I get annoyed, when I visit blogs where the author obviously hasn’t read through what he or she has written in order to weed out errors in spelling and grammar. And even more so when there are complete sentences, which are so ineptly written that they don’t make sense thereby depriving you the point of the story. I try to make sure that whatever I put up here has been read through and checked for spelling errors and that it’s fairly comprehensible for whoever might read it (you might not notice that, but that’s because you haven’t read the horrible first drafts I’ve written).
So I started writing again and almost immediately I started looking forward to doing so every day. I try to make time for writing every day and I try to write while whatever I want to talk about is still fresh in my memory. The first weeks I just wrote for myself. Nobody visited the site and Google hadn’t picked it up, but I didn’t really care. I felt confident in the old saying: “If you build it, they will come” and besides I was writing more just to get into the habit of writing again every day. Then suddenly I got mentioned on the Blogger site and people started coming by. And my friends suddenly noticed that I’d been writing here for a while without mentioning it and they started coming by. And that’s great. It really is. But at the same time it has made me aware of some of the things that I have to stay away from, because my blog is actually getting visited now.
There are two things I hate, when bloggers do:
1) Make entries without content added to let readers know that the blogger is bored, but still around.
- I can imagine that at some point I will have to start prioritizing my time, so I don’t spend hours every day writing. But hopefully I’ll never be so unimaginative that I won’t have something to say about a story I’ve read, a show I’ve seen, an album I’ve heard, or a person I’ve met. If my life was so boring that the only comment I had to make about my life was that I was bored, I’d reconsider wasting people’s bandwidth and time with my entries. If you're bored living your life, how do you think we feel reading about it?
2) Make entries mentioning life changing events, but then saying that they’re not ready to talk about them yet.
- I met a guy last year, who had a blog that he’d been updating for a while. I checked it a few days after we’d met and then I checked it again this week. The blog has been discontinued, but the last entries are filled with references to changes in his life, but no hints as to what they might be. Maybe I’m being selfish, but I find it annoying that someone would hint at an interesting story and then not tell it. If you know you’re not going to tell the story, then don’t mention it in the first place.
You might find these two points idiotic, self-righteous, and condescending, and you might even be right. But if you are a blogger, or you’re thinking about becoming one I suggest you read Why Web Journals Suck all the same (I also enjoyed reading this article). If nothing else it’ll make you think about, why you are writing or thinking about writing and what someone visiting your blog might be looking for from your writing. A blog isn’t a secret diary. It’s public and eventually someone will read it and when that happens I think it would be nice if they enjoyed it enough that they’d like to come back some other time. Don't you?
- John Fogde 3:26 PM [+]
I Feel Like Jackson Pollock Looks:
Today I went to see The Business of Strangers and Pollock with my sister. Both movies were good, but we agreed that Strangers was the better of the two and that it was actually a quite impressive movie. It stars Stockard Channing and Julia Stiles and besides a guy they met in a bar they’re pretty much the only people with lines in this movie. It’s filmed in a lot of neutral locations (hotels, airports, a company meeting room and so on) and could just as easily have worked as a play. The movie focuses on the relationship between the two women and is both funny and engaging the whole way through. Channing is pretty incredible in this movie and Stiles is also very believable. The plot is interesting enough that you’re hanging in there to see where it’ll take the characters. But the real strength of the movie lies in the dialogue between the two women. They’re constantly trying to figure out the other one’s strengths and weaknesses and at the same time their actions are reflections of their own strengths and weaknesses. They’re two interesting people and although they do some pretty disturbing things you’re not repelled by them, but rather getting still more interested in why they act like they do.
After that we saw Pollock, which started out good, but couldn’t sustain the intensity and got a bit meaningless towards the end. The movie begins with Pollock signing autographs in 1950 and then it goes back to 1941, when he was a struggling artist living in his brother’s apartment. Pollock was a real man’s man. He listened to jazz, smoked like a fish and drank like a chimney, and made sure to repress all his emotions until he snapped like a twig. But since he managed to stay out of the loony bin long enough to become a successful painter this only makes his life story more interesting. The problem is that after about an hour and ten minutes we’re back to 1950 and from then on Pollock’s life deteriorates until his untimely death in 1956. This part of the movie isn’t nearly as interesting as his development as an artist and his transformation into a respected painter. So the movie falls flat towards the end, which is a shame because for the most part the movie was actually pretty good. Ed Harris gives his all in the portrayal of the alcoholic and deeply troubled painter and Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden is perfect as his wife Lee Krasner, who tries to help him and supports him unconditionally.
After the movies we went for pizza and had a loud discussion in the pizza place about the merits of abstract art. My sister likes his work and the work of other abstract artists and claims that she gets something from looking at it. In the movie Pollock says that his art doesn’t have a message. It’s like looking at a meadow and asking what message does the meadow have. You should just look at it and enjoy it. I can appreciate that, but when I look at abstract art I just see colours and I can’t recall ever getting something from it other than being amazed at their technique. I like Pop Art, because I understand the language they’re painted in. I understand the choice of objects and fascination with brand names and consumer culture. I mean I like people like Francis Bacon, Magritte, and Dali, but generally I just like Pop. Everything else I just look at and then judge it based on whether I get fascinated by it or not. But it rarely affects me on a deeper level, because I don’t get it.
I just realized that there hasn’t been made a movie about Salvador Dali and that’s actually a bit strange. There are movies about Bacon, Warhol, Basquiat, Van Gogh, Goya, Picasso, Pollock, and probably a lot of others that I haven’t seen. You’d think with the crazy life Dali had someone would be dying to make a movie about him. Someone probably will someday though.
On an unrelated note I just remembered that a friend of mine recently found a song he’d been trying to find for almost 20 years. Tonight I found a song that I have been trying to find for a couple of months. It’s not quite the same, but it was still nice to get that of my mind. The song is Summer Sun by Koop and I actually found it, because I was reading an article over at Parallax View. So once again thanks goes out to Dead Kenny.
I had to change the archives today, because some of the posts were missing. I guess there’s a limit to the length of the main page, so quite a few dates had gotten cut of. But that should be fixed now.
I totally forgot that I'd been to see The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and The Royal Tenenbaums last night. It's gotten really late now, so I won't go into details, but I thought both movies were really funny. Scorpion was very much like an old fashioned slapstick comedy and Tenenbaums was just so bizarre that we laughed through the whole movie. They were both very good and I'm looking forward to seeing Tenenbaums again, because the first half hour was just so packed with jokes and information about the characters I'm sure I missed some stuff.
- John Fogde 2:10 AM [+]
Wednesday, April 17, 2002
If You Take a Walk, I'll Tax Your Feet:
I’m back from Tax Hell and the movies, so now it’s time for me to get my blog on (imagine me flashing fake gang signs while saying that). The tax situation was actually worse than expected. I owe about $3300 dollars and I had about $2900 worth of deductions. If all goes well (and when does all really go well?) I’ll probably end up having to pay about $2200 in back taxes this year. I have no idea how I’ll get my mitts on that kind of money, so I’ve been contemplating changing my name to J-Fo and entering a line of work that’ll include me saying either “Stick ‘em up, punk!” or “Everybody be cool! This is a robbery!” on a regular basis, but nothing’s set in stone yet. But at least I’ve sent in the forms and the deductions today, so now all there is to do is play The Waiting Game.
I actually got to see both 24 and The Practice with my Dad last night. 24 was cool and they’ve added a new element, which will take the excitement up another notch. The Practice was a bit of a disappointment though. The Jimmy Berluti high roller story that’s been playing out over the last couple of episodes is pretty stupid, and in last nights' episode Jimmy messed up again. Jimbo breaks attorney-client privilege by telling a little boy that he has a brain tumour (the boy, not Jimbo although there’s room for a handful of tumours in his huge noggin), which in turn saves the boy’s life. He then threatens the client (an insurance company) with making a big scene thus creating a lot of bad press, which makes them decide not to turn Jimmy in to the bar association (I think that’s what it’s called). However, Eugene has had it with Jimmy screwing up, and turns him in himself. This leads to the Jimster using every opportunity to preach about ethics and how sometimes you have to break the law to do the right thing. The climax is the court hearing, where Jimmy bangs on about not being sorry and says that he’d do the same thing in a heartbeat if he had to even though he knows this might cost him his license.
Well, since we can’t have lawyers break attorney-client privilege when they feel like it Jimmy obviously got disbarred and since he already quit the company, he’ll be serving burgers at McDonald’s in the next episode. Wrong! They made up some wussy slap-on-the-wrist judgment, where he was banned from the court rooms for three whole weeks. I guess the writers needed to believe that there’s room in the American judicial system for people, who break the law because their morale tells them it is okay. That might be so, but it sure makes for lousy television. Jimmy and Rebecca are already my least favourite characters on the show, so having to listen to him lecturing three judges for half an hour didn’t exactly make me like him more.
I saw Things Behind the Sun this afternoon with two of my friends and it’s a pretty rough movie. I have to leave
- John Fogde 6:25 PM [+]
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Papa was a Rodeo:
Today I will join the thousands of people, who for the last couple of weeks have been cursing and sweating over their tax returns. I’m going out to my parents’ house, so I can sit undisturbed and sort through a year's worth of receipts, bank statements, pay slips, and all the other junk that got thrown into the bottom drawer instead of being sorted right away. The plan is that I’ll sort through all the paper work and then I’ll have my Mom go over the numbers, while I watch 24 with my Dad. We’ll see how that works out later.
For the last couple of years I’ve had a freelance writing job for opasia.dk and for some reason the money I make isn’t automatically declared, so I have to declare it myself. That means I have to put away the money that I’ll later have to pay in taxes. That worked out great last year, but this time not so much. Actually, I had put quite a bit of money away, but because I had to move last November and because I stopped getting writing assignments around August I had to start spending the money I had saved. So now I have to pay $3000 in back taxes and I haven’t saved up anything. That means that I have to get my receipts sorted out, so I can get as many deductions as possible, so I won’t have to pay the full amount. I had a bunch of deductions last year and they were all approved, so hopefully it’ll be the same this year.
I received a wedding invitation in the mail today. I knew it was coming and as I expected the wedding is scheduled for the 29th of June, which basically means that I won’t be going to the Roskilde Festival this year. This would have been my tenth time since 1992, but I guess it’s just not going to happen. However, I’m considering going to the Midtfyns Festival instead, because my brother wants to go there and Coldplay and Muse will play there. I’ve been there three times before and it’s just not the same as Roskilde. It’s much smaller, usually the bands aren’t as cool, and it’s very much a festival for the locals instead of being an international festival like Roskilde. After last year I’d actually pretty much sworn I’d never go back to Midtfyns, but now we’ll just have to see.
- John Fogde 1:54 PM [+]
Who Took the Ram from the Ramalamading Dong?
Microcontent News directed me to an interesting article called Blog Nation. The article does a fine job of summarizing some of the things going on in the world of blogging (and how can you not be impressed by someone who uses the term "highfalutin"?). However, I found it extremely odd that the author, who mentions a lot of blogs and articles, only links to three sites in the entire article, two of those being Salon.com and Amazon.com. Like we couldn't have figured out those out ourselves? Whereas for instance the blog of Virginia Postrel, which is a lot harder to find, is not linked to.
And if Tim Cavanaugh's essay Let Slip the Blogs of War is so interesting that he can spend a paragraph refering to it, you'd think he would want to help people find the article, so they can read it themselves. Just a thought.
I think his best point comes towards the end, where he notes: "More sorely missing -- to my taste, anyway -- are blogs dedicated to cultural pursuits written with the same enthusiastic, hobbyhorse zeal as the breaking-news blogs." I totally agree! I've linked to a couple of blogs, which deal with television, but I've yet to find sites that deal with music and movies other than sporadically (like this one). Hopefully they'll appear eventually.
Apropos nothing I've been listening to Le Tigre, The Moldy Peaches, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs lately and I'm not sure I get them. I think I've come to the conclusion that I don't like the Yeahs and that the Peaches are too weird. I mean Who's Got The Crack and D.2. Boyfriend are pretty funny, but the rest of the songs are just so bizarre that I can't stand listening to them. Le Tigre are fairly weird as well, but Deceptacon is one of the catchiest song I've heard in a long time, so I'm giving them an another chance.
- John Fogde 12:15 AM [+]
Monday, April 15, 2002
Gold Star For Robot Boy:
Just thought I'd mention that I saw a fun article about "customer service" over at What Do I Know. It reminds me of the service I've gotten at a local record store, where any record they don't have is "temporarily sold out" or "only available on vinyl" and if you ask for the new James record they go "James who?".
Oh, and I'm listening to Rival Schools' United By Fate, which I didn't dig two hours ago, but now it's growing on me in a big way.
- John Fogde 7:40 PM [+]
Girls on Film:
This week the annual Natfilm Festival (translates into Nightfilm Festival) begins here and so far I’m going to see the following movies:
I might not see all the movies, or maybe friends of mine will want to see something else and we’ll do that. But this is the movies I plan on seeing.
I saw Hedwig last year in New York and I thought it was so good that I’m going to see it again. I didn’t really know a lot about the movie before I saw it, so I was totally blown away by the weird story, the characters, and the music. Oddly enough, besides Tenenbaums, it’s probably the movie I’m most excited about seeing. Most of the movies are chosen mainly because of the directors (Anders, Allen, Anderson, Linklater, Waters, and Solondz), but also because a fair share of them received favourable reviews. I rarely watch movies because of actors, but I often watch movies because of directors (in the same way I also try to avoid movies made by certain directors... Michael Bay, I'm looking in your direction). And I usually prefer dialogue driven movies as opposed to action driven movies, which I guess is obvious since my list doesn’t include Panic Room, We Were Soldiers, and The Mothman Prophecies, which were also on the programme. So it looks like I’m heading into a pretty great week although The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is on at the same time as Denmark plays their last friendly before the World Cup.
- John Fogde 6:27 PM [+]
Whatever Happened To My Rock and Roll?
I actually had a huge rant prepared about the recent rash of Rolling Stone Magazine covers featuring teen pop sensations, but as it turns out there’s only been pop stars on six of the fifteen covers featuring musicians in the last year (counting Alicia Keys, but not No Doubt and Staind). I guess it was just the sight of Shakira that made me flip out a little. But it still creases me that the people at RS would put her on the cover instead of The Strokes, who are featured in a large article in the same magazine. The same goes for the two occasions during the last year, where Britney made the cover instead of first Weezer or Nirvana on the ten year anniversary of Nevermind and later instead of pretty much anyone else mentioned in the People of the Year issue. And Alicia Keys on the cover instead of Ryan Adams? Give me a break!
But even so, it’s still a pretty good magazine (although I'd wish they'd cool it with the 9-11 articles already), who’ll put both Slipknot and Bob Dylan on the cover, which I think is great.
On the weekend of the 10th and 11th of May there’s this thing here called the Spot 08 Festival. It’s a festival, which showcases new bands, but there are also more well-known bands on the bill to draw in the crowds. But the thing I’m most excited about is that RS writer David Fricke will be speaking there. I just found this out, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to get tickets yet, but I’ll definitely try. He’s a good writer and a cool guy, so I bet he has some interesting things to say. But even if I can’t get in to hear him speak there’ll still be a lot of cool, new bands playing here that weekend, so chances are it’ll be a lot of fun.
- John Fogde 5:43 PM [+]
Date With IKEA:
I just found out today that I might have to move out of my apartment in two and a half months. I hate moving! It’s the pits and I just hate it. A lot. I’ve moved seven times in as many years, and the thought of packing all my stuff in boxes, schlepping it up and down stairs, getting people together to help me, driving a moving van (I crashed the last one I rented), going to IKEA to get new stuff for the new place, and all the logistics of changing addresses, moving magazine subscriptions, cable, internet, phones, and so on for the eight time just drives me nuts. And I haven’t even mentioned the hassle of actually finding a new place to live. That’s the reason I’ve moved so many times in the first place. This is the third time my lease has been terminated and because I wasn’t able to find a new place the two first times, I’ve had to move in somewhere temporarily until I could find a place I could afford, which wasn’t located in the middle of nowhere. So in conclusion: Moving is a major bummer!
Okay, with that out of the way I actually have a major decision to make now. Should I stay here in beautiful Aarhus or should I move to wonderful Copenhagen? I’ve said for the last couple of years that I’d move to Copenhagen, when I finished with University, because I figured chances of finding a job in the media industry would be better there. But I won’t have finished my master thesis by July, so if I move there I’d still be a student (in other words: I'll still be broke) and I’m not sure that moving to Copenhagen would necessarily make it easier for me to finish my thesis. The main reason I wanted to leave this city wasn’t really so much jobs or access to concerts, art, movies, or cooler shops as the fact that some of my best friends live there now. The people I travel with, go to the Roskilde Festival with, go to concerts with, and generally just talk to the most live in Copenhagen, and it bugs me that I can’t visit them, whenever I feel like it.
But on the other hand my family lives here and especially my brother, who I see several times a week. We hang out all the time, and I’ll miss that a lot if I move. I still have a couple of good friends here, who, ironically, I don’t see as mush as I’d like even though we live in the same city. Oddly enough one of the things that I dislike the most about this city is probably also one of the things I’ll miss the most. I’m talking about the fact that because this is actually a fairly small place (there are 286.000 people in the entire county) we miss out on a lot of things. But at the same time you always seem to run into your friends, whenever you go out, which is cool.
So I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ll definitely look into finding a place in Copenhagen, but chances are I’ll stay here for awhile until I’m ready to start looking for a job. So if you have access to an apartment in Copenhagen or Aarhus feel free to drop me a line.
And a Thank You goes out to Dead Kenny over at Parallax View for mentioning my site. I go there every day for movie news and interesting titbits and you should too.
- John Fogde 3:03 PM [+]