Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top Ten Films to See in 2011

Paul Dano in Meek's Cuttoff
Where would I start for my Top Ten list of 2011? At least two of the films on last years have been pushed back into this year (Paul and Rum Diary). Hæven I haven't heard or seen anything on or about in months. And I had that listed as my number one. So I am stuck on 2011 which I am dubbing the year of comic book films, for there is almost one a month released all year long. I love comic book movies, but what am I to do with such a quantity?! Even The Beaver, which I mentioned last year, has sat long enough to make me very curious about it.

Also, what should be mentioned is a blog post that never happened. The Venice film Festival saw the release of some of the best films of 2010. Black Swan, Miral, I'm Still Here, Meek's Cutoff, Somewhere, Promises Written in Water, The Town, and Machete to name a few. I would have loved to attend and look forward to seeing everyone of these films. There were also many shorts that would have been lovely to see. This one event marked a huge dent in film for the year. One that trickled down in the following months and even into the next year.

Well, all excuses aside, I think I am ready to get down to the actual list. And, more than a list this year, I want to comment a bit on my choices.

Mickey Rourke in Immortals
1. Miral - Julian Schnabel
I love everything he has done (Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Before Night Falls, Basquiat). Miral is just the latest in his line of suffering artists. And although I could guess at the story line and the film is probably nothing new, I still can't wait to see it.

2. Meek's Cutoff - Kelly Reitchardt
I wasn't too impressed with her last (Wendy and Lucy), but Old Joy still lists as one of my favs. I can't wait to see what she does with these actor's abilities at her fingertips. Especially, Paul Dano.

3. The Dilemma - Ron Howard
This film may set a new standard for American humor. All I can think is what Arrested Development would have been with Opie at the helm instead of behind the narrators microphone. I actually think this will be funnier than Hangover 2. And that's why this made the list and that did not.

4. Paul - Greg Motalla
This actually made two years lists. And for good reason! I can't wait to see this film. It's going to be everything that we expect from the makers of Shaun of the Dead. In fact, I think it will make Shaun of the Dead fans proud. More proud than Zombieland did or Aliens & Cowboys will.

5. Immortals - Tarsem Singh
The Cell was an unsung masterpiece and The Fall was a cinematic wonderment. This can only be of the same caliber. And Micky Rourke just adds to the mystery and excitement.

And a little break to explain some things. You may ask why certain films are not on this list. All I can say is my God the remakes this year! Footloose, Three Musketeers, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo just to name a few. And the sequels! Cars 2, Hangover 2, X-Men, Rise of the Apes, well those last two are prequels. But there is a new Pirates film, the final Harry Potter, and, after a long well deserved rest, Scream 4. I don't even think I caught them all. In fact, I know I didn't. It's crazy what the film industry has become. But many underground directors have started to get enough notice to get a real budget film.

6. Hugo Cabret - Martin Scorsese
I don't need to say anything here. I guess the only question is why isn't it higher on the list.

7. Rango - Gore Verbinski
This is the director of the Pirates films. And it's with Johnny Depp again. Is this one of those director/actor relationships that we can look forward to?

8. I am Number Four - D.J. Caruso
This is not a comic book movie. But it is a sci-fi flick that isn't Transformers or Avitar. Avitar disappointed me. I wanted more. Transformers is just another movie working on a fad and taking advantage of my childhood. Note that the Smurfs film didn't make the list. This actually looks like the T.V. series Roswell made into a film. And this comes from the director of the Salton Sea and Eagle Eye. I want to see this so it makes the list.

9. The Beaver - Jodie Foster
I mentioned this last year and now I really want to see it. I changed my mind, I believe in Mel Gibson as a crazy. He might not even need to act.

Alex Pettyfer in Beastly
10. Beastly - Daniel Barnz
I am a sucker for coming of age films, which normally coincide with teen dramas. This is a new take on the Beauty and the Beast story line. In this the Beast looks quite cool. I actually want to see this film. Just like Scott Pilgrim was a film that, for me, had more priority than Inception in theater, I expect I will see this film in it's opening week.

Honorable Mention:
Super 8 - J.J. Abrams
Hangover 2 - Todd Phillips
Cowboys & Aliens - Jon Favreau
X-Men: First Class - Matthew Vaughn
Born to Be a Star - Tom Brady
War Horse - Steven Spielberg

These get honorable mention for many reasons. There are sequels, prequels, comic book films, and some films whose directors just didn't make the list. I would bet that some of the films that didn't make the list will ultimately be my favorite from the year. That was the case this year. I mean if my Top Ten of 2010 now would look very different. And just because Rum Diary didn't make this year's list doesn't mean it won't be seen. It is already on a list, I just don't think it deserved to be on two.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Long Time, No Post

Well, it's been a while since I posted anything here. And not really for any good reasons. The truth is that I have been spending most of my time on the Internet using my iPad, which is not all that compatible with the Blogger website. And since Blogger doesn't have an App it makes it more of a task to update my blog. But I am working on a way to make it happen. At least until I get a new laptop, which hopefully will be soon.

Although it has been a while, I have a few blogs that should have been posted throughout these forgotten months. And though I will be posting those, like one on all the vinyl I have been buying and another on my good friend Ryan's new website for his business A Boy Named Coy, I will be taking this time now to blog on about some new music that I find worth sharing.

All these groups are all female. And much like that sweet video that spread like wild fire across the internet of those two sweet Swedish girls, First Aid Kit, singing a cover of Fleet Foxes' Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, the melodies and harmonies here are sheer pleasures for the ears.

First is Mountain Man, which gives one the aural pleasure equal to the visual experience of Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson. These three girls sing a cappella songs that you swear were accompanied by symphonies conducted by Van Dyke Parks. Even the songs with the simple instrumentation of an acoustic guitar are filled with hocketing and soulful background vocals that rival the tribal and Appalachian folk influences that make the Dirty Projectors one of the best bands out there right now.

NPR has done a couple of interviews with them. Even one of my favorite musical blogs did a piece on them. Their one album Made the Harbor is well worth buying. I am currently waiting on my vinyl in the mail. This video shows a glimpse of their prowess. Enjoy!

Mountain Man - Play It Right from Bella Union on Vimeo.

Next is Warpaint. Warpaint has been around for a while. And I am thankful to my good friend Pete for introducing me to them. I got their first album the way of true musical sharing, a burned copy from a friend. Which in our time is as good as a cassette tape (which I still love by the way). This all female shoegaze band has more hype behind them then I think they know what to do with. And what I mean by that is that they have so much hype, but it lacks the touring and radio play behind them to make them popular. Only with their latest release has their hype started to make its way public and is making them known. All I can is give these girls a chance. You may like what you hear.

Finally, Alela Diane and Alina Hardin have done an EP under the name Alela and Alina. One of the best songs is a Townes Van Zandt cover of Rake. This was a vinyl and download only release. Which is really a great way to go when it comes to music nowadays. I mean not a whole lot of people want to fill up their shelves with space along with their hard drives. But there is always room for more vinyl. At lease that is what I believe.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I love thrift stores. And I am known, on occasion, to patron some for no other reason than that it helps makes me feel normal. Today was on of those such days where I did that exact thing. When I walked into this thrift store I noticed two things. One was an E.T. doll like the one featured above. Which I immediately cradled underarm and did not let go of. The second was a circa eight year old boy who was doing his best to annoy the living shit out of his mother, and every other person in the store. His antics included a non stop verbal assault. Asking the most asinine questions bent only to tweak a response from his mother. He even demitted a manikin claiming it would not let go of him. Until the hand fell on the ground after his hand stopped supporting it.

I loved the kid. And as I continued my shopping and perusal of random goodies he continued his antics. Our one interaction came when I was looking over the books. He looked and saw what I had in my hand and asked, "Is that E.T.?" And I replied yes it is. Then he retorted. "You look like E.T." To which I thanked him for the comparison.

The best part was yet to come. He went over to his mother, who was literally less than ten feet away from me in this tiny store, and whispered quite audibly He's creepy. To which his mother said, "What?!"

He's creepy.
He's creepy.
And then he leaned in and whispered, still audibly to me, He's creepy.
That's rude! You should apologize."
"He didn't hear me."
Looking his mother in the face. "Sorry."

I could barely contain myself. I have never been more entertained while in a thrift store. It was awesome.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Movies Revisited

Summertime at the Yuba
Well, with the Nevada City Film Festival coming up I am getting more and more excited for films. Especially the ones that I had forgot I put on that top ten list all those months back. Honestly, I haven't even thought of this blog all that much in the last few months. But that is more due to my brain being ravaged by chemotherapy and my body slowly deteriorating under the constant intravenous poisonings that I had scheduled in place of my grandiose Summer adventures.

I did see the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and can say that I will be sad if it truly is Terry Gilliam's last and final film. It was good. It was great on some levels, but I still want to see what he has to create over the next years of his life. Almost all the other films on that list haven't even been released yet. Some, like Paul, won't even make it out until next year. I have yet to see Inception and opted out of Alice in Wonderland. Both seemed over hyped or under rated in the moment for me to make the effort.

But now I must make some amendments to the list. Not for films that I have seen, but ones that just need to be added. Even if it no longer makes it a "top ten." Julian Schnabel's Miral will be added if for nothing else than out of respect for his previous films. Sofia Coppola's Somewhere could be added for the same reason. Also of note, Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Green Hornet, The Social Network, and TRON.

Most of all I am excited at the prospect of one of my favorite actors, Kieren Culken, getting back into the acting biz. I didn't even know he had done something new until I saw his name in the credits for Scott Pilgrim. He was in a great indie flick with his younger brother called Lymelife last year. Now he has a few more movies in the works. After seeing him in the Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys and Igby Goes Down I was convinced of his acting prowess. I would dare say I hadn't seen anything that beat it until Paul Dano started showing off his skills in There Will Be Blood and Gigantic.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Flood Tide

FLOOD TIDE (TEASER) from flood tide on Vimeo.

Lord knows I love music. And as of late some of that music that I love has been coming from the collaborative tunes of a band named Dark Dark Dark. And one of their members made a film called Flood Tide. Their bassist to be precise. And this coincided with another artistic venture that Swoon and many other artists were involved. A project that is a love child of the Miss Rockaway Armada. That led to an instillation at the Mass MOCA. Which led to this project in the Hudson. Where a movie was made and now this movie needs funding.

That's where Kickstarter comes in. Kickstarter is like an online telethon that you don't need to call in for. You can just donate money to a cause. But if that cause doesn't reach it's quota than any and all pledges count as nil towards whatever thing was going to happen. And with Flood Tide's Kickstarter having only 48 hours left and $2000 of 10k to go. I don't know if he will make it.

The same thing happened to a friend of mine who tried to raise money for his tickets to a musical tour in Europe. He raised 1k of 1.5 and lost all the sponsors he might have had. I hope that by some miracle Tod makes the money to keep the project alive. If not through Kickstarter than by some other means. I will be supporting it either way, but it would be nice to see such a beautiful film make its quota.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


View of the Sound from Orcas Island
I catch my snaggletooth rotting
as I glide my jaw from left to right,
grinding my teeth to try to tear
canine against canine, in a futile attempt
to bring symmetry to my mouth.

I tug down on my left ear nervously.
A tic left over from infancy.
When I would thrust my thumb to suckle
and self-sooth myself into sensible submission.
Now an empty endeavor exerting my inner
need to have both ears sit evenly on my head.

I find my conscious slipping.
Wandering from question to question
and judgment to judgment.
A fevered frantic failure streamed.
Until I pull the needle and string
the thread of my thoughts to stitch
the folds of my brain together into
one smooth cohesive quilt.
A patchwork of perfectly placed
motives and memories; a balanced ballast
of cerebral serenity.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Face Time

Well I have to thank my friend Mat for introducing me to this marvel of the internet.
Music Go Music performing on the infamous Face Time! Their new album is out now on Secretly Canadian and you can see it all with the links below. I actually think that the songs live are better than the album, but they are still awesome. Give a good view/listen to an amazing new band.

1. I Walk Alone
2. 1000 Crazy Nights
3. Light of Love
4. Reach Out
5. Explorers of the Heart
6. Love, Violent Love
7. Just Me
8. Warm in the Shadows
9. Goodbye, Everybody

Monday, February 15, 2010


My mother and I were walking out of the grocery store recently and she unknowingly stepped in front of a man who was also exiting the store. He was dressed in full army fatigues and had to stutter his steps as he jockeyed his way around my mother. She was honestly surprised of her cultural faux pas saying, "I didn't even see him." But I reassured her, he had no problem with her walking in front of him. He was used to people doing that all the time. His problem was that she was weaving in her steps. She confused him by not walking in a straight line.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Single Take Obsession

Brock at Cranberry Lake

I, notably, have a certain obsession with single take recordings. Both in music and in film, I have a fascination with the beautiful and natural flaws that exist in the process of creation. It marvels me how much production goes into removing all the tiny errors that we take for granted in life. I don't always understand why we choose to edit out what our memory already does for us.

I can rarely tell you of a time when watching a concert that the musician flubbed. In fact, when it does happen, I think I like it more and mistake it for the way that the song was meant to be sung or played. In music people use field recordings to enhance an already great song. In film people use the way film burns, slips, and double exposes intentionally as an artistic expression. Isn't it just as beautiful when it happens by mistake?

I love found photographs for the same reason. To see the beautiful mistakes that others unintentionally made. I find these mistakes inspiring. I have a drawer full of photos from found wallets, albums, and ones bought in thrift or antique stores. It is this fascination that led me to seek out and find all these awesome internet sites.

Shoot the Player, La Blogotheque, Black Cab Sessions, They Shoot Music, and Southern Souls are all great websites that document such great convergences of music and film, well video really. I first got hooked on these sites after Arcade Fire played for Vincent Moon in an elevator. The rest I found sometime later. I don't know which came first, but I am glad that the all exist.

Many of these sites show their obvious reference to such great documentarians such as Alan Lomax and John Peel. And maybe even a more obscure reference to Pete Seeger's documenting efforts. Or maybe that is just my obscure reference. Anywho, there are those before us who pioneered the documenting of live performances in their natural locations. I think that Bob Boilen even tosses his hat in the ring with his Tiny Desk Concerts for NPR. Which is probably the closest modern example of the Peel Sessions displayed visually.

I want to give a great example of these awesome websites that all deserve their own time dedicating to exploring, but for now I will just show a favorite. Bill Callahan from his Black Cab Session.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I don't know if I could ever create something as awesome as this.
"Bad Mutha Wizard" by Dave MacDowell

I don't usually put to much weight on New Year's Resolutions. I never actually participated in the practice on any regular occasion. A few years ago, however, I did in fact make a resolution that I liked. I don't know if it was all that close to the New Year when I made it, but it counted as one anyways. I decided that I would experience a wider variety of the arts.

Arts that were on that list were things like dance performances, plays, art opening, poetry readings, operas, and the orchestra. The list incorporated many things that I had either never been to or had not been to in a very long time. Without that resolution, I would have never have found out how much I love dance. I also found a couple composers though the process that I currently love.

For this year I tried to think of something that would be equally awesome to that of the previous resolution. One that would stick, but also be beneficial to my being. So with risk of copying myself, I decided that this year I would create in a wider variety of the arts. Hopefully, this will include my cobbling adventure. Which got put on pause after I found an amazing pair of dear skin soft soled moccasins that was better than what I wanted to make anyways. The list will also include wood working, ink making, book binding, tailoring, puppet making, and hopefully ceramics. I also want to do a little home brewing, but that is a whole different type of art.

I will try to keep every aspect of these new adventures up to date on here. But the reality is that, just like the previous list, there are going to be some of these new things that I find I don't like. With some of these new arts, I might not want to keep doing them. We will see which of them survive to become regular practices and which lie by the wayside.

Season's Change

Tiny white hairs start to grow all over my body after a full season of intentional poisoning and fatigue left me alopecian in appearance. Now I begin the slow process of detoxifying my body while trying to build up my weakened immune system. I start to think about what I can accomplish in enhancing my health to defend against the incessant cancerous growth, to delay its inevitable return.

I daydream of how many things I can do before it comes back. How many places I can go, people I can see, experiences I can have before I have to sit back in those chairs with an IV pumping poison back into my veins. How long will my hair get this time? How many road trips will there be? Poems written? Songs sung? Memories made?

I try to keep at bay the worst thoughts. Will I ever again have a significant other? What will I leave my family other than a load for the thrift store and a funeral bill? How do you tell a friend goodbye, should that time ever come? I might joke about such things and treat them light. But that is just to show my true fear of giving these thoughts any bit of the weight that they deserve.

For now I try to find peace the simple things. Reading poetry by the fire while drinking tea. Having a long hot shower right before bed. Dreaming simple dreams of simple moments to be shared with my friends. Hopefully, this next season will last longer than the one before. We will see, and I will take it as it comes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Most Anticipated Movies of 2010

I have made quite a few more Top Ten lists since I posted my last one. "Top ten nicknames for your privates," "Top Ten reasons I should be disabled," "Top Ten thoughts one shouldn't have when one is showed a picture of one's significant other as a baby." But here is a reprise of the last TT list only a year later.

Top Ten Films to Watch in 2010

1. Imaginarium of Doctor Parnasus - Terry Gilliam
2. Hævnen - Susanne Bier
3. Black Swan - Darren Aranofsky
4. Due Date - Todd Philips
5. Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond - Jodie Markell
6. The Rum Diary - Bruce Robinson
7. Alice in Wonderland - Tm Burton
8. Inception - Christopher Nolan
9. Paul - Greg Mottola
10. Buried - Rodrigo Cortes

Also of good note is Robin Hood - Ridley Scott, Iron Man 2 - Jon Favreau, The Green Hornet - Michel Gondry, The Beaver - Jodie Foster, but they are either passed up because I am sick of remakes/sequals/superhero movies or because its hard to believe in Mel Gibson as a comedic actor anymore until I see it. But these will probably be watched too.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm With Coco

With Conan's time slot now in impending peril, I have decided to show my support for the beloved Coco. NBC has contracts with Conan, Leno, and Fallon. So they are required to provide a time slot for all of them. But with Leno's ratings doing so poorly in his 10pm time slot NBC wants to put him back in the Late Show's time slot of 11:35. This would push Conan back to 12:05 and Jimmy back and so forth. Well this just seems to be jerking Conan around after his long awaited and well deserved promotion to the Tonight Show. (I might also say a little long overdue) This brings back feelings of the Leno/Letterman feud that left Letterman with CBS. FOX has already said that it would take Conan if he decided to leave. But I think that we are all hoping that Leno will just retire.

Leno will go off the air during the Olympics and then will be brought back afterward with his old time slot. Conan has promised to continue to put on a great show even if he doesn't know the where and when. Barring a few other salty comments this is all Conan has had to say so far. We will see how the events present themselves. At the very least we will have Leno off the air for a limited time.

Post Post

I have just read that Conan says he will leave NBC if they change his time slot. GO COCO! I will watch you anywhere anytime.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Best Finds of 2009

I love lists. Already I am composing a Most Anticipated Films of 2010. But before I get too far ahead of myself, I have to duly note that this is now a time for reflection as well as foresight. Hence, I will do my best to compose the best things that came into my knowledge, possession, and attention over the past year. In no certain order...

Grouper - Liz Harris has rocked my world when it comes to new tunes. I was even graced with the ability to see her play at Heck Fest in July. Many other musicians and albums will follow on this list, but getting Dragging a Dead Deer on vinyl was a true highlight of the past year.

The Kitchen - While on Orcas Island up in the Sound of Washington State we got to eat twice at a moderately fast Asian food restaurant called The Kitchen. Serving all local produce and supporting all the Organic farms in the area (even using edible flowers to garnish the dishes) the food brought out the best of the Northwestern Banana Belt. They used completely recyclable utensils and dishes and even gave discounts for bringing your own plates and silverware. A note that will not be forgotten when we return. Also, the food was amazing! Sesame topped rice cakes, crispy kale, and garlic ginger noodle soup. The place did not only challenge the way I view the possibilities of eating out, but also my palate. I have done my best to mimic those meals and have never quite succeeded. But I have savored every attempt.

Rouge Spruce Gin - enough said.

Silver Lake/Echo Park - I will admit that in the past I could be vast quoted for saying that L.A. is a shit hole. But times change and so have my opinions. This year I decided to challenge my beliefs about L.A. and take a couple chances on a city that I never thought had any redeeming value. And I was pleasantly surprised. Especially with the Silver Lake/Echo Park area. Honestly, there were times when in this rare nook of L.A. that I felt like I was in Portland or Minneapolis. It was not what I expected from L.A. It was not like Hollywood or Downtown. I found comfort in some sweet quaint little shops. Soap Plant, Echo Curio, and Intelligentsia all welcomed me in and helped change my opinion of a town that I would, now, gladly return to and visit in the future.

Dead Western
- Troy Mighty exemplifies many of the ideals that I have when it comes to music. His songs are low-fi with broad landscapes and have beautifully poetic lyrics. His vocals may sound like you have your vinyl speed setting set too slow and his facial expressions are more dramatic than edarem, but that makes his performances all the more memorable.

Max Richter
- I had heard of him before, but I had never ventured into his music. 24 Post Cards in Full Colour drew me in on it's premise of being intended to be played as cell phone ring tones. (Although, in my opinion, it sounds better on vinyl.) The vignettes are beautifully composed. This album almost gets as much play from me as Rachel's Systems/Layers did when I first got that. And it has led me to Richter's other work, which is reason enough to put it on this list.

Mushroom Hunting - I have been mushroom hunting before in MN, but never with such tenacity and base knowledge as I have taken with me into the Berkeley hills to dig out multiple pounds of chanterelles and hen of the woods. I can't wait to get some morels, candy caps, or black trumpets.

Le Merle - This North Coast Brewery ale is honestly one of the best beers I have ever tasted. A Belgian Style Saison Farmhouse Ale that was smooth and refreshing while still being complex and flavorful. It's finish was also one that I was not expecting to be as clean as it was. A truly great beer.

Midleton - Very Rare, indeed, is it that you ever find a whiskey such as this. Now, I love myself a good Scotch and even some Bourbon. I love single malts and blended alike, but when I ventured out enough to buy a shot of Midleton Irish Whiskey I was more than pleasantly surprised. This actually beat out the Bushmills 16 year that was still lingering on my tongue. This blended whiskey was masterfully blended and has only a limited quantity every year. Each bottle is hand signed. Each drop should was simply savored.

Found Poetry - This relates to an earlier post. But from all the time that I have spent copying and pasting posts from message boards, or transcribing overheard conversations into stanzas I know that the poems I "find" are awesome. And I am so glad that I read a NY Times article that opened my eyes to the amazing and unintentional beauty of everyday life.

Good Poems - After a long time coming, I finally picked up Garrison Kiellor's first book of collected poems. I am so glad that I did. Had I not, I would have not discovered the beautiful poetry of Tom Hennen, Kenneth Rexroth, WCW, and Raymond Carver. All names I had heard or seen, but never read. Now, I love them and can't get enough.

RAR Files, Third Party Video Streaming Websites, Webseries, Blogs, etc. - Thank you internet. Without you I would be drowning in a sea of boredom. These arbitrary things have given me entertainment through countless nights of solitude and sleeplessness. There are too many things to list individually so this compressed form will have to do.

The Magic Theater - This is more of a symbol than a physical place for me. This small art house theater exemplifies all the things, people, and places that have made returning to a small town enjoyable. I still love the city, but I also love the small town of my origins. And this little theater is one of those main reasons why I do.

There are many more things that could be listed here. Things that I may have not discovered in 2009, but did obsess over in the past year. There are certainly things that I forgot and things that should have been. But this list is about as long of one that I would want to read, so I will cut it off here and hope that 2010 has similar inspiring attractions.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mmmerry Christmas

Mmm... Christmas

I remember the first days back at school from Winter Break. When the childhood standards of how good that time off was was judged not by how many snow forts were built or how many snow ball fights were won, but by the amount and quality of Christmas gifts that were received.

The pièce de résistance changed every year. A Radio Flyer wagon, a Nintendo Gameboy, Air Jordan sneakers, or even a car. You didn't even bother asking the kid with the macrame monogrammed sweater covered with glittery puff paint and hot glued on puff balls. This person didn't even want you to ask them. They wanted you to push them in the dirt or throw your food at them so the sweater could be "ruined" and their social status could rise back to one that was above absolute zero.

I was never the kid who got the Teddy Ruxbin, Tickle-Me-Elmo, or the '94 Fender Jag-stang. But I would like to think that I held my own in that inevitable wintry back to school conversation. I think back to the years I got my first Ninja Turtle or how much my brother and I played Zelda: Link's Awakening on Gameboy. The year my dad bought me my .22 rifle and my Kabar knife. In my mind I can see the picture of me wearing my stocking on my head like a hat, standing there in footie pajamas, wondering if there was any more treasures to be had in its well knit wonderness.

This year I thought of continuing the childhood conversation. If for nothing else than to indulge being childish.

For Christmas I got Michael Pollan's Botany of Desire, Galway Kinnell's New Selected Poems, Henry Nouwen's The Way of the Heart, a package of smudge sticks and drawing charcoal, a bamboo utensil set, a puzzle, a handmade coffee cup sleeve, a tea thermos, an electric kettle, a microcosm publication, and a shirt that exceeds awesomeness. I also got a vest, some tea and tea bags, and a nice dress shirt.

Truly, I am sided to get to reading, drawing, puzzling, brewing, and sporting all my new gifts. And if you see me anytime soon it would be safe to assume that you will see me with some application of my new found treasures. It might not be tickets to the Nintendo DS with Scribblenauts, a breeding pair of Naked African Mole Rats, a pet Aye-Aye, or the reanimated body Egon Schiele, but I'll take it.