Somebody just found my site by searching on Yahoo for the phrase "oral herpes on tongue looks like."

Looks like Santa brought someone more than coal.

Well, the telephone lines are officially closed on DC's Pre-18th Birthday "It's Still Legal" Underage Love-A-Thon as of, oh, two hours ago. The pledge drive was a success, by one standard. The same standard that would judge Waterloo a victory for Napoleon or would deny that Jennifer Lopez is, indeed, still "Jenny From The Block." But hey, it wasn't a total loss. While I was sitting by the phone waiting for the phone to ring and the caller ID to say "ST MARYS SCHOOL FOR PROMISCUOUS GIRLS," I composed a list of things I will do now that I have reached the big diez y ocho:

Trade in my Lisa Frank folders, featuring pictures of big-eyed unicorns and kittens dancing on stars, for ones from the new Lisa Frank "Masculinity" series, featuring pictures of big-eyed unicorns and kitties recreating the storming of Normandy beach.

File for independence from my parents and go live with a family of wolves. Then, for my nineteenth birthday, I'll file for independence from my wolf family. Then I will have the two families fight, tooth and nail, for my love. It will be awesome.

Get my name legally changed to "Jean Fillipe Fuck-You-Up," or possibly "Pontiac Trans-Am." I haven't decided yet.

Buy nicer clothes. Seriously, what the fuck.

Build long-anticipated "Replica Of The Parthenon Made Entirely Of Marlboro Light 100's," now that I can legally purchase the main building material.

Find a devastatingly attractive 28-year-old year old who can now touch me without it being statutory rape and likes movies and conversation and thinks my copious personality flaws are cute. Quit while I'm ahead.

Yea, that sounds about right.

I'm well on my way to a successful legal-adulthood: Tonight at midnight, I walked into Gila River Casino with thirteen dollars, and walked out with forty-seven. And my name on a card reading "Player's Club." Most of the other Players were cigarette-y old people blowing their children's inheritance. Needless to say, I feel like I'm in illustrious company.

Legal, smoky, and thirty-four dollars richer. Eighteen and life to go.


If jealousy were a color, it would be whatever color Alecia's new digital camera is.

Actually, it's silver. I saw it tonight when a bunch of us went to see Catch Me If You Can. More on that later.

So silver is the color of jealousy. Color me it at will. I know that Christmas is the season of sharing and brotherly love and is not about material things. But we wants that camera. We wants it. We had one, we did, but we broke it because we are stupid, stupid, stupid...

We hates the redhead...hates it...

Just playin', y'all. But you can't fill a day with shiny expensive fun things, ownership of which are clearly defined by the words "To" and "From," and expect everyone to behave exactly like the man whose birthday we're celebrating. There will be a conflict of interest. You can't tell me the poorer of the wiseman, walking up to the manger with a shitty ceramic crock full of myrrh, didn't look over at one of the ritzier kings, laden with gifts, and think, "Hmm...who's to say there wasn't an unfortunate accident with a rock? Who's to say there aren't only two kings and one of them is so generous as to have brought myrrh AND frankincense? Huh? Who?"

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't a fourth king who ended up floating in Bethlehem Municipal Canal. Nothing impresses the Christ-child like a good myrrh-motivated whacking.

Man, and you thought the Bible sold well when it was written by the Apostles.

Every gift I opened today, someone would say, "You'll need that when you go back East!"

So, needless to say, I got a lot of things that were warm and soft.

And no, they weren't bunnies or virgins. That was Christmas '98. It was a good time to be thirteen.

But as annoying as the chorus of "you'll need that in New York" got, I couldn't deny it. They were right. I will need a down bomber jacket (got it) and jeans and sweaters upon sweaters upon sweaters (can never have too many Christmas sweaters), and I will also need hats and long underwear and numerous other implements that seem foreign to me but people are quite familiar with, oh, everywhere else. Anywhere but here. Here, where people think we live in teepees and skirmish with Comanches on the way to school. Here where it gets down to 30 and everyone from Arizona says "I'm freezing" and everyone not from Arizona says "Shut up, ya pansy," and everyone from Arizona says "How 'bout I break off one of my frozen limbs and shove it up your condescending East-Coast ass?"

Yea, that will be me. I will have a condescending East-Coast ass. 90 bucks of my Christmas money pays for six months of gym membership, so hopefully it will be a nicely toned condescending ass by that time.

Or maybe I'll need this fat to keep my warm back East. Who the hell knows.

If I sound bitter, it is, for once, a false impression. It's just the fear mixing with the sheer excitement. It's the fact that, for once, I took a chance, knowing that the payoff, however great, would result in me being crippled financially and estranged from my childhood home for months at a time. The reward is worth it. Learning who I am and what I'm going to do with that knowledge in the cultural epicenter of the world. Is it scary? Oh yes. But that's half the fun. The other half of fun is falafel. Mmmm. Falafel.

I know it's contrary to all the naked greed above, but how old should I feel when I'm starting to think that the meaning of the holiday really IS your family? Because last night and all through today, I have enjoyed talking and laughing with relatives I don't see often enough far more than I have MechAssault or the four-disc Fellowship Of The Ring. Not that those things aren't great, holy fuck, are they ever great, but not as great as my new grandparents from Pittsburgh cooking for my old grandparents from Phoenix, talking and laughing and sharing stories. Not as great as my mom's dad pulling out a picture of their family back in the sixties, when my mom, my aunts, the uncle I never met, were all my little brothers' ages, and dammit, my grandparents really WERE that young once. Not as great as the British guy my Aunt met over the Internet, who is now my uncle, and his twentysomething daughter, and her three-year-old daughter, all in our living room thanks to some wonderful twist of fate.

Not as great as that same British three-year-old playing with my brother she just met, or grabbing my ankle and saying, inexplicably, "Got ya, monkey-man." Or minutes later when she says, "I'm gonna hit eem in the bum" then goes marching up the stairs to give Matthew (the seven-year-old brother) the biggest most unwarranted hit in the back anybody's ever gotten from a three-year-old. That was priceless.

You've read enough heartwarming holiday articles from lazy columnists, you know where this is going. This is the part where we realize that Christmas isn't in the bows or the lights or the roast beast, but in all of our hearts, etc., etc., etc. And I'm ironically detached enough to note that it is a tired cliche that gets dragged out of its Cliche-Hole every December, but I'm not too cynical to realize that it gets dragged out for a reason.

Dammit, it's true.

Merry Christmas, kids.


Joe Strummer

The kids in the halls and the pipes in the walls
Make me noises for company
Long distance callers make long distance calls
And the silence makes me lonely

All I can say is it's a good year for British rock in heaven.

the story
Achewood tribute


Hey there all you crazy kids out in Radioland.

First, The News:


- You're not a bitch. Really. I'm sorry. No, I didn't mean it. It's just a figure of speech.

- Where are you going? I said I was sorry!

- But school really is out. And I REALLY am happy about it. On Friday I got up and did nothing. Bumpkis. Multiply what I did by any number and you still get zero. It was beautiful. I showered and I flopped around on the couch and I read and I watched TV and my new Italian grandma doted on me and...

- My Italian grandma is in town. The reason I say she's new is because she's my stepmom's mother, and my stepmom has only been such for three, four years maybe. I have had all my other grandmothers for pushing eighteen years now, so comparatively speaking, she's factory-fresh. And she makes up for her fifteen year absence from my life by constant offers of delicious Italian food and drinks and laundry service and oh, is it beautiful. She really does try to curry our favor, often by directly contradicting everything Lori (stepmom) says. "You let him have that. He's a good boy." If I were Lori, I might strangle her. But I'm not. So I just accept about half the offers for sandwiches and things.

- My grandpa is also here. He doesn't hear very well and doesn't talk much. We get along great.

- Their visit was a surprise, and Lori's sister (New-Aunt Leslie) is flying in on Christmas Eve. That was supposed to be a surprise too, until New Grandma spilled the beans. This is why I don't trust her with any of my military secrets.

- Saw The Two Towers and Gangs Of New York. First things first.

I was surprised at myself, because I opted out of going to the midnight show of Two Towers. So not hardcore of me. So, so not hardcore. If I had not gone because I was too busy redefining some Swedish supermodel's idea of Good Love, that might be okay. But no. I didn't go because I had all my three finals the next day, I had slept not a wink the previous night, and I actually, for once, needed to study. I know. I'm just as shocked and disgusted as you are, but fear not. Next semester will bring a return to hardcore-ness the likes of which you ain't never seen.

Anyway, the movie.

When you say to Peter Jackson, make a sequel to one of my favorite movies of all time with a thousand priceless moments and replace its sense of wonderment and adventure with a creeping feeling of inevitable doom, well, you can't expect Pete to pull it off flawlessly.

The funny thing is, though, he did. It doesn't rate as highly with me as Fellowship as far as favoritest things ever go, but it might prove to be technically a better movie. The story it has to tell is darker. We don't get all the fun expositionary antics, we don't get Pip and Merry stealing from Farmer Maggot's crop or any of that fun stuff. War is brewing, for chrissakes. And it's not fun. It's not whimsical or light-of-heart. Our protagonist is slowly succumbing to an evil whose previous works he can see right in front of him, in the form of Gollum.

Oh, and Gollum? BEST. CHARACTER. EVER. Digital or otherwise. He could've potentially been a Jar Jar, but he was instead perhaps the most emotionally compelling part of the movie, with the possible exception of Arwen coming to terms with the fact that the man she loves is mortal and she, well, isn't. Heavy stuff.

It's leaps and bounds ahead of just about every movie in the world just because of Gollum and Helm's Deep, oh, and the Ents (as Matt and Jack informed me after the movie they were called, not "those sweet-ass fucking tree things"). Good times.

And then there was Gangs of New York.

The message of this movie isn't what you think it is. It isn't, as the tagline would have you believe, "America Was Born In The Streets." It isn't that New York City was built on the bloodied bodies of immigrants. No, no, dear friends. The message of Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York is:

Bring back the top hat.

Well, Marty, I heard you loud and clear. You're right. That is what we've been missing in America all these years: a foot-and-a-half of headgear a man could be proud of. Something he could toss up in the air before jumping headlong into bloody combat with some fresh-off-the-boat Irish hooligans. He delivers this message by putting beneath one of these hats the baddest ass in recent film history: Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill The Butcher.

Hot damn. Never before has a single performance by an actor made me want so badly to be a xenophobic double-crossing sneaky manipulative DiCaprio-father-murdering crime-lord. But there's a first time for everything.

The Butcher is worth the price of admission, plus a couple of extra bucks just for sheer ass-kicking. The clever writing, the window to a brutally fascinating (if not entirely accurate) place in history, the gorgeous cinematography, the bad-ass fight scenes, the presence of John C. Reilly, Cameron Diaz, and Liam Neeson, this is all gravy next to the character Day-Lewis paints. No one has rocked a handlebar moustache quite so hard in all of history.

It wouldn't be my Best Picture. It feels abbreviated (which is weird for a three-hour movie), and we don't really invest at all in Amsterdam Vallon (Leo). One second he's a rough-and-tumble orphan, the next minute he's the Butcher's unlikely svengali, and a few minutes later he's leading an immigrant rebellion. Not that the ride isn't fun, it's just that we don't really sympathize with the man taking it.

But still, too much epic fun for its own good. It's been an excellent week for engaging three-hour-plus movies, that's for sure.

I still have to see Adaption.

- All I want for Christmas is a Madpony girl. Not necessarily the ones featured on the site, they seem to be perfectly happy with their Oklahoman existences and I wouldn't want to disturb that just for the sake of my selfish Christmas wish. But the same type of girl would be nice. Pretty. Funny. Good writer. Uses the word harefooted. You know, that kind of girl. We don't even have to do anything. I would settle for the occasional game of Scrabble.

- I turn eighteen on Friday, so if you're young, naughty, and have something to prove...seek leadership roles in extracurricular activities and participate in athletics, it will not only spruce up the college applications you'll be filling out in a year or two, it will allow you to focuse your energy into something productive and rewarding.

What did you think I was going to say?

- The Elephant Revolution starts here. Alcohol loosens your inhibitions. In some cases, it makes you more honest. What elephants honestly want to do is stomp the fuck out of everything that could be classified human. All these Indian elephants did was get drunk and jump the gun a little on the global plan. Although now that their hand is tipped, I expect the Great Gore-and-Trampling to begin any day now. I pity those of you who live next to peanut factories.

Link via guess who?

Oh, that was another great thing about Two Towers. Badass elephants. As if there were any other kind.

You don't update for days on end, and this is what you get. Things build up. Better to purge them daily than this, this whatever this is. But oh well. I like the posts to be as long as...say...a top hat.

Those things are awesome.