Thursday, August 17, 2006

Recent stuff

We saw The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio and A Day Without a Mexican this weekend. They were both pretty good. Coincidentally, they both had intrusive narration breaking the fourth wall. Prize Winner is about a woman who supported her family in the 50s by entering ad copy contests, trying to hold it together despite her husband's budget-breaking alcoholism. The soundtrack has soloists from the best band, Nickel Creek. A Day Without a Mexican is about a mysterious fog that encases the state of California, preventing entry or exit, and makes all the Mexicans (and other Hispanics? the movie was not totally clear on this point) disappear in the middle of the night. With hilarious consequences.

I've been spending a lot of time at a site for writers: Evil Editor. The Evil Editor runs two contests, Guess the Plot and New Beginnings, by requesting actual queries and story openings from novelists. In the former, readers are invited to invent fake plots for the queries based only on the title. In the latter, readers are invited to read the first 150 words of the novel and write the next 75. Hilarity ensues, and so do some interesting critiques of the queries and openings that come over the transom.

I've been thinking about recording some of my songs onto the computer and putting them on Myspace, but just as I worked up the courage to do it, my sound card appears to have busted. Stupid Dell. Don't buy a Dell.

I found out there's a poker club at USU with fun prizes and no entry fees, so maybe I'll play more this year.

I got Cobra II from the library after returning some books. I guess it's the insider's look at the invasion and occupation of Iraq. I haven't even gotten to the text yet, just looked at the maps. There is a pretty funny one that says "Suspected Iraqi WMD sites". There are about 100 dots all over the country. I looked with interest to see the actual locations of cities around Baghdad that I hear so much about: Fallujah, Najaf, Tikrit. And there is a very interesting map showing where the major oil fields are. There are only two clusters. One is down south near the Kuwait border. The other is centered on the Kurdish city of Kirkuk. The same map also shows the Kurdish area, which starts in northern Iraq and extends into Iran and Turkey. This really showed me how volatile the political situation is in Iraq. The Kurds want a decentralized government and their hands on all that oil money, the Shiites want a strong government for the opposite reason, and the Sunnis are disaffected, and in the middle of a shooting war with the Shiites.

What a nightmare.

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