new media
June 18. 2000

I got up way too late yesterday morning, but I had an excuse, I had been indulging in my once weekly social life with none other than one John Kuhn. I hadn't planned on doing anything on Friday, but was going to stay at home and torture myself with Photoshop and these graphics for The Centralia Project that will not do what I wish them to.

He called around 6, and we decided to go to a movie, rangling as we always did over what to see. He likes violent, shoot em up action movies, I am more into the artsy foreign film realm. He almost always wins. I reminded him of this, and we decided to see "East is East" at the Allen, the only place in the area that plays relatively obscure and interesting pictures.

It was a really charming picture - British, I think. It was about a Pakistani man and a British woman marrying and having kids, and then the kids have to endure the culture confusion between where they grew up in Manchester and the traditional Pakistani culture their father tries to impose on them. The whole texture and color of that working class Manchester neighborhood in the early 70's was very interesting. The only problem I had with it was it had no ending. Nothing, nada. A great emotional climax between the father, mother and children, and then it was the next day, the wife offers husband tea, and it's over. Does the father change his dominating and abusive ways? Does he force his sons to marry?

I'll never know. Arrgh. I hate when that happens.

We went back to John's house and watched "Fight Club". I had heard a lot about this movie, and my impressions of it were a bunch of guys beating each other up. It started out as a sort of violent dystopian fantasy, and then at some point, morphed into something deeper and pyschological. Ed Norton's constant voice over could have gotten annoying, and although it came close to that line several times, never crossed it.

It was odd, because the first part of the movie, where the men are beating up each other in order to find meaning in their otherwise empty lives, reminded me, in a way, of "American Beauty". In that movie, the guy quits his life and the status quo, except in that movie, instead of getting violent, he becomes apathetic.

I do know "Fight Club" was an excellent movie, because right after seeing it, I got home and started writing like mad. What resulted was a story with definite overtones of Ed Norton's narration, but hey, I am not complaining. Anything getting me to write is a good thing.


Mom and Lauren were going to the bookstore on Saturday afternoon, so I tagged along, to use up the 3 or 4 dollars left on my giftcard for Waldenbooks. No such thing as a Barnes and Noble or Borders in Lebanon. Which is actually a thing I'm grateful for, in a way, because going to a place like that is overwhelming for me. The best I can do is stare and drool and think about how I can't possibly go through this huge catalogue of books in the short time I spend there. The two times I've been to the huge Barnes and Noble near Lincoln Center in NYC, I've gotten a little weak in the knees and generally incoherent.

Which is why I like my bookstores in bite size chunks. Waldenbooks is a little storefront, a room maybe 20 by 30 feet. That I can deal with. And as luck would have it, my mother was in one of those rare "I'll buy you anything you want" moods. It's a ten to fifteen minute window, this mood, so I've learned to take advantage of it. I got "Fight Club" by Chuck Palahniuk, and "Girl, Interrupted" by Susanna Kaysen and "The Handmaid's Tale", by Margaret Atwood. All paid for by Mommy. How nice.

Ah, new books. Nothing like them. I walked around the mall for the rest of time, feeling the heaviness of the bag in my hand, the heaviness of words, ideas and secrets locked away in their pages. We spent way too much time in Claire's, Lauren musing over 50 different pairs of silver earrings. Meanwhile I was itching to sit down on a bench outside the store and open one up. Which one first?

I started with "Girl, Interrupted". It's history already, finished it the same day I got it. It has a lot of things in it the movie missed, but the things it missed I don't think are very translatable into a cinematic medium. Now I'm onto "The Handmaid's Tale", more than halfway through. I love it.

Love it love it love it.

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