Sunday, August 30, 2009

Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty - his excessive freedom.

Well, it's been a month since we've been down here, and things aren't really anymore interesting. When I last wrote, I mentioned my trip to the local employment center, which actually ended up bearing fruit. So when I'm not attending to my luxurious new job, I have been busy busy BUSY!

Well, not really. My Xbox E74'd on me, which kind of ruined me for awhile, and led to insane projects that went nowhere (like this reworking of the college football system based on this series, or this reworking of the college football system based on my own lack of anything else to do, or this attempt to aggregate fantasy football rankings from a wide selection of sources).

When I wasn't edging closer to complete mental breakdown, the lady did get me out of the house to take in some of the local flavor. Our first weekend here, her parents came down, and we ate out at a local joint called Our Place. My girlfriend, her dad, and I all had the ribs, which I must say may be the highlight of the town thus far. The meat fell of the bone (I ate mine with just a fork) and the sauce was the perfect balance between tangy and sweet. The only other local eatery we've frequented so far is the Purple Turtle, which is more of a coffee shop than a restaurant. We each had an Italian soda (she had cookie dough/pecan while I just stuck with cherry) and cookies and cinnamon rolls. We will probably go back for their tasty sounding Strombolis (they have an artichoke and pepperoni one that sounds hella swell.)

As we've made our way around town, we have noticed there are several (SEVERAL) war memorials, the most impressive of which is a large bronze fountain in the cemetery. There are also a bunch at the new high school, as well as a few around the actual courthouse, and I'm sure there are still more we haven't seen yet. Beyond that, there really hasn't been much to see, which is unfortunate since I don't think there is much more town to be explored.

So, seeing as how the town is so boring and we have found much of our entertainment via the Internet, Netflix, and library books, I figured I'd give you a little taste of what has helped to stem off brain atrophy down here. Since everyone likes lists, here's a series of them.


  • How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer: Looks at the brain science behind the decisions people make without getting too bogged down in the technical aspects of it. The book is written in a manner that makes the subject matter easy to grasp, first presenting a concept through real-world applications (for instance, an NFL quarterback deciding which wide receiver to throw the ball to), then explaining what exactly is going on in the brain when that decision is being made, and finally showing how scientists and doctors discovered those, um, brain happenings. Each concept is then built upon the previous one, making the book a surprising page-turner.

  • American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century, by Howard Blum: A narrative history of the 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times building that left 21 dead and brought the nation to the brink of a second civil war, this time between labor and capital. The book tells the story through the intertwining lives of three central figures: the private investigator Billy Burns, the American Sherlock Holmes; Clarence Darrow, the eminent attorney of his time and champion of the little man; and D.W. Griffith, the first true visionary filmmaker. The book is entertaining enough, but none of the events or people it portrays seem as important as the author would want you to believe. If you are going to read a narrative history of a landmark event entwined with a shocking crime, read The Devil In The White City, one of the best books I've ever read.


  • Inglorious Basterds: The new Quentin Tarantino film about a troupe of Jewish-American soldiers led by Brad Pitt who hunt down and kill Nazis in an alternate universe World War II. Of course, the movie is really about a Nazi movie premiere being held at a Paris theater owned by an escaped Jewish woman who's family was slaughtered before her eyes. Actually, like all Tarantino movies, the movie is really about revenge. In reality, it doesn't really matter what the movie is about. Come for Brad Pitt and the gore, stay for the dialogue (delivered in at least 4 languages!), the spectacle of the finale, and the performance of Christopher Waltz as Nazi Colonel Hans Landa, the Jew Hunter, which will surely be mentioned come Oscar time.

  • Gran Torino: Clint Eastwood snarls his way through Detroit in the best performance of a crotchety old man you will ever see.

  • Revolutionary Road: Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslett get married, move to the suburbs, have kids, then decide they hate each other. Brilliantly acted and shot, this movie serves little purpose but to make you think twice about getting married and settling down.

  • Waltz With Bashir: An animated Israeli film that deals with the director's lost memories of his time in the Israeli army during the 1982 Lebanon War. The animation is quite unique, but the subject matter is so depressing that you almost want to look away. Definitely not the most uplifting movie of the year.

  • Tyson: A documentary about Mike Tyson that basically consists of Mike Tyson talking to the camera while images and clips of his former glory is shown around him. When my life is drawing to a close and I look back at the (hopefully) 80 or so years I have lived, I think I will be hard-pressed to imagine a more compelling figure than Mike Tyson. No one else comes to mind who has been so foolish, so arrogant, and, sometimes, so mean, and yet still so deserving of sympathy.


  • Shark Tank, ABC, Sundays at 9: A new reality show that allows entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in front of five investors. I would have never even glanced at this show if we had cable in our living room; as it is, it's my favorite show on TV right now.

  • The Soup, E!, Fridays at 10: The perfect Friday show, The Soup makes me laugh without thinking too much. Plus, my girlfriend likes it, too, so we can enjoy it together.

  • Top Chef: Since we don't get Bravo, we had to download the first episode off the Internet, which worked alright. The second episode, however, had no sound, and when I tried to stream it, I got bombarded with pop ups and other things that I have avoided on my computer for the past 4 years. From now on, we're just going to watch the DVR'ed episodes at my mom's when we go home.


MORE WILLY! from Everything Is Terrible on Vimeo.





K-Os "I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman"

Two Hours Traffic "Territory"

Frightened Rabbits "The Twist"

We Were Promised Jetpacks "It's Thunder And It's Lightning"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day One: I'm Already Lying To You

This is not actually Day One. Day One was Monday, but it was spent mostly driving, unpacking, and making the first of many trips to Walmart. Day Two was filled with another trip to Walmart and then a lot of sleeping, while Day Three included Internet installation and two coats of paint in the bedroom. Day Four involved another coat of paint (done entirely by my girlfriend, either because I suck at painting or she couldn't stand me swearing at myself for how much I suck at painting), as well as a little project of mine that required a lot of coaxial cable (the bundling). Day Four is also when we made our first trip to the Community Market, a small grocery store that sells overpriced canned and boxed goods as well as locally grown produce, which is the bomb (if you ever have a chance to eat corn grown in [on?] Poverty Acres, gobble gobble gobble it up as fast as your little hands can rotate the cob). In addition to the locally grown produce, the Community Market boasts two other features of note: really high shopping carts (which fascinated my girlfriend), and an extremely outgoing mentally retarded bag boy (which tickled me and terrified me at the same time). This guy talked to everyone in line, and even gave a few of the patrons a cheerful slap on the back. I dreaded the friendly facade I was going to have to put up as the bag boy slapped my back and yelled something incoherently at me. As we checked out, however, he slipped away, perhaps sensing my apprehension the same way a dog would. I didn't escape the Community Market completely unscathed, however, as the cheery fellow followed me out the door (literally on my heels), whispered "Be careful" as I stepped off the curb, and then broke into a dead sprint (again, literally) toward a stray cart at the end of the sidewalk. In hindsight, a slap on the back would not have been so bad.

Which brings us to today. For the first time since we've moved down here, I'm on my own for an extended period of time. My girlfriend had to go to a seminar-type to-do for her job, so I've been left to my own devices all day. After watching a man fix our garbage disposal while wearing only a towel (when you make these maintenance calls, they only give you a day and not a time, or I would have at least put on my cutoff shorts), I decided to get productive and head down to the employment center to look for a job. Unfortunately, all I could do today was fill out a form (with lies) and get a list of websites that list jobs (which I could have done at home), so it was pretty much a wasted trip. After messing around on the Xbox and the Internet for a bit, I decided to start typing, and you are now reading the result of said typing. I'm going to try to chronicle my experience as I try to transition from life in Streetsboro--a small town filled with white trash, pot heads, and guys who live with their parents that is no further than 40 minutes from somewhere you'd want to be--to Washington Court House, a small town seemingly filled with old people, retards, and meth-heads that is an hour from anywhere you would ever want to be. And although I haven't read anything official on it yet, I have a sneaking suspicion that dancing is outlawed here. All I know is if I end up playing chicken on a tractor, I have come out waaaaaayyyyyyyyy ahead.

Footloose-Scene (I Need A Hero) :) - Click here for the funniest movie of the week

  • Washington Courthouse has an absurd amount of Marathon gas stations. There are at least four, and two of them are within 2 blocks of each other. I am pretty sure that if you were pumping gas at one, you could see the other one.
  • When we first found out we were moving down here, I was afraid that the only music anyone would listen to would be country (and the radio didn't help soothe my fears as at least 70 percent of the FM stations are country western [with 20 more percent being "positive"]. Unfortunately, the music scene is much more dire. It seems that there is a large contingent of Juggalos here. I fear for my life.
  • This is a truly small town. We had to return our U-Haul to a local auto mechanic, and while there he chatted us up about the town and such. After leaving the mechanic's, we stopped at Donato's for some edge-to-edge 'za, and guess who should walk in behind us, but the mechanic! So of course, I shot him (not really; he was quite nice).