Wednesday, June 28, 2006

'My Date With Drew' ...

I don't read movie reviews. I don't want to know anything about a movie before I see it. The trailers already reveal too much.

I had heard about the existence of "My Date with Drew" but beyond that, I had no clue. I figured it was a movie about a guy who wanted to get a date with Drew Barrymore, but that Drew wouldn't actually figure into the film in any way.

So imagine my delight when I popped the movie in and discovered that the premise was about a guy named Brian who had had a crush on Drew since he was a little kid, who had recently won $1,100 on a game show, and was giving himself 30 days to get a date with the love of his young life, all shot on a video camera bought from Circuit City, which would be returned at the end of the 30-day shoot.

It's a fabulous film. I really found myself rooting for Brian. And the cameos - which aren't cameos in the traditional sense - are fabulous: Corey Feldman, Eric Roberts. Andy Dick turned them down. He didn't want to dilute himself by appearing in too many projects. Make of that what you will.

If you rent the DVD, and you'd be silly not to, be sure to watch the featurette about finding a distributor for the film. It's as entertaining as the movie.

And the whole experience will make you want to do something bold. Even if you don't film it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Master Of My Domain ...

My backyard is a metaphor.

There's nothing like having a party on the horizon to kick my keister into gear. There's always plenty to do around the house, but knowing that people are coming over makes me tackle the to-do list. I love making places that bring me joy.

So after power-washing the deck again and power-washing the house and putting down that funky grass-seed-and-fertlizer stuff that looks like cellulose insulation, I started pulling weeds. I have a big backyard. Things grow. Some things had gotten out of control. I worked my way around the yard, clearing weeds and small trees, hauling the debris out to the curb for tomorrow's pick-up.

But part of the yard remained. The south part of my yard against the fence. Ugh. It was overgrown with plants I can't even identify. Vines, trees, weeds, though mom points out that there are no weeds in nature. They're all plants. We're the ones who deem some plants worthy and others un.

I thought I'd get out the handheld pruners and trim a few things. Snip, snip. I started a pile of prunings on the lawn. The pile grew. The more I pruned, the more determined I became. The fence was back there somewhere. The mass of green looked formidable. But as I cut plants away, I realized that the vines had woven themselves into a mesh over the trees. The actual brush to be cut away was much less than it seemed. For a moment, I felt bad, slicing into the trunks of trees, ripping vines off the fence, piling all the cuttings on my lawn. But then I thought, "They're just in the wrong place."

Some of the trees required more than my pruners, so I got out a saw. There was one particularly gnarled stem that had been the host for many now-felled branches. Mini-trees. It seemed large and well-rooted. I thought the best I could do would be to saw it close to the ground. I pushed it to the side, to position the saw as close to the base as possible. To my surprise, I was able to push it almost all the way over. I pulled and the roots came free. They were surprisingly shallow.

Other trunks, stems, whatever they should be called at that size, needed to be sawed off. I detest bugs and God only knows what was living in the weeds I was stepping into, but I didn't care. I was much more focused on the clearing. My hands were getting sore. I was breathing heavily. And I felt great.

The pile got bigger than I had planned on. I bundled it with twine in many places and dragged it out to the curb. I returned to the yard and surveyed the empty space smugly.

When I set my mind to something, I can accomplish even more than I originally expect of myself.

These pictures are part of my yard. Ah, nature.

Monday, June 26, 2006

'The Chronicles Of Narnia' ...

"The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" is one of my favorite books. "Lazy Sunday" is one of my favorite "SNL" moments. And so, tonight, I finally got around to watching the film.

Eeesh. How was that a PG film? I mean, the battle scene wasn't quite as bad as "Braveheart," there wasn't all the spattering blood, but it was still pretty violent for a PG film. Not even PG-13? Nope.

I've Got The Power ...

I like to shovel snow. Not a blizzard's worth, but when there's an inch of new-fallen snow on the ground, it's nice to shovel it away, clearing paths, clearing my driveway in wide, sweeping arcs. The cold, crisp air, the sparkle on the snow, the drone of snowblowers up and down the block.

First, I laugh. And then I wonder: What's with men and anything with an engine? They just can't resist an opportunity to fire 'em up, can't they? Would it kill them to break out a shovel to clear an inch of snow?

But yesterday, I got in touch with my inner Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor. Yesterday, I power-washed my deck. I spent part of the morning, armed with a paint scraper, cleaning out leaves and dirt from between deck boards. Then, I vacuumed up the schmutz. Yes, I vacuumed my deck. No, I am not Bree Van De Kamp. And then I hooked up the power-washer. And I turned on the water. And I pulled the trigger. And what the hell is that? My garden hose has more pressure. So I called my brother, who advised me how to get the power, and ho boy!

I could get addicted to that thing. I'd never power-washed anything before. I totally dig being able to just blast things away. And I totally dig doing something I've never done. If I can power-wash my deck, hell, I can do anything.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Fromage Chaud ...

On the heels of a post about the perils of waiting too long to see a friend, I have this to share:

Last night, I went to my pal Chris's place to finally - finally! - meet his wife Ginger (and have dinner). They've been married, what?, oh?, five years now? We've had several attempts at meet-ups. They've all failed. But last night was the night. Ginger, unsurprisingly, is completely delightful. She and Chris are very well matched.

Chris's former roommate, Chris, was going to be there, too. (My roommate my sophomore year in college was named Beth. Ever live with anyone with the same name? Oh, it's a hoot. Give it a try.) And speaking of hoots, Chris and Chris together are like The Smothers Brothers, if The Smothers Brothers were one-time Lincoln Park roommates and actually funny.

I was a bit late - traffic, you know - but Chris was a bit later, so we started on the appetizer without him.

It was a cheesy concoction inspired by a first course that Chris and Ginger had in Sonoma on a recent vacation. Not quite fondue, not quite a spread. Just a vat of various hot cheeses in various stages of meltiness. With bread and apple wedges and red, yellow, and green peppers, and blue corn tortilla chips for dipping, scooping, slathering, whatever. Vehicles for cheese.

So Chris arrived. I hadn't seen him in, what?, oh?, six years? We hugged. "Look at you!" he said, stepping back. "You look great!"

He sidled up to the counter of snacks.

"Hot cheese, Chris?"

"You're the hot cheese! Look at you! You are some hot fuckin' cheese!"

I blushed. I laughed. "Thanks, Chris. No one's ever called me 'hot cheese' before."

That's right, dammit. I don't typically take compliments very well, but I'm gonna own this one: I am hot fuckin' cheese.

I was looking at him last night and trying to think of who he reminds me of. I can usually ascribe a celebrity to just about anyone. On the way home after dropping him off, it hit me: David Lynch. He reminds me of David Lynch. Which is pretty damn perfect, because Chris, while not even close to as old as David Lynch in this picture, has a definite warped side - and cool hair - that will someday be of great advantage in Hollywood, I'm sure. (And I found this image, I kid you not, at

In the interest of not letting too much time elapse before seeing each other again, we're meeting up to catch Jay's band ... tonight.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My Friend Charles ...

I have a list. A list of "memoir ideas," inspired by Sting, who thinks we should all write our memoirs, a list that I open from time to time when I'm stumped for an entry idea. Sure, I could write about the deep-fried bacon double Quarter Pounder that Marc IMed me about today, but I won't. You can see it for yourself. Let me know if your heart slows down when you read the post, too.

I hadn't mined the list for an idea since April, but tonight, I opened the list and my eyes immediately fell on the name Charles Barile.

I met Charles on the phone. I was working at the Tribune. He was a publicist. He was a very good publicist. Good phone voice. Charming as all get out. He'd call. He'd pitch. He'd send. He'd call again. Sometimes we'd bite. Sometimes we wouldn't. He kept calling, kept pitching. We became friends, me in Chicago, he in L.A. He had a sarcastic streak to bridge the distance. I liked our snappy banter, looked forward to his calls. We developed a routine. Whenever we'd talk, I'd ask, "How's the weather, Charles?" And he'd always reply, without missing a beat, a lilt in his voice, "Seventy-two degrees and sunny with a light breeze out of the west."

Another publicist friend invited me out to Pasadena one year during press tour. I was going as a friend, not a Tribunite. I called Charles to tell him I was coming out. We decided we'd have lunch before my return flight to Chicago. I called him from the Ritz the morning of. He suggested meeting at Musso & Frank in Hollywood. I suggested meeting downstairs. He demurred, had to "take a meeting at Paramount" that afternoon. Pasadena was out of his way. Oh, fine. It's not like it was a date or anything.

So I got in a cab and, $40 later, found myself and my luggage standing in front of Musso & Frank, the gate pulled across the entrance and locked. There was a note about it being closed for filming. I didn't put it past Charles to have set the whole thing up somehow.

I walked around the back and found no one. I walk around the front and found more of the same. And then I saw him walking down the street, suit jacket hooked over his shoulder on his index finger, crisp white shirt, pinstriped pants. And Ray-Bans. I kid you not. Ray-Bans set off by strawberry-blonde hair.

I'd never seen a picture of him, but I knew. I pointed to the gate. "The restaurant is closed, Charles," I said as he neared. "I blow $40 on a cab and the restaurant is closed?"

"I know, I know, I forgot," he said in his don't-give-me-any-shit-about-it voice, stopping in front of me. "It's Monday."

He took my luggage from me and tossed it in his trunk. We went and parked the car and changed the plan. Later, in the half-round booth, after we ordered and started talking about nothing in particular, he leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. He was nothing if not unpredictable, that one.

"So, Charles," I said. "What's a guy with a last name like Barile doing with blue eyes and strawberry-blonde hair?"

He replied, "My father used to say to me, 'Don't worry, Charles. You're Italian. Below the belt. Where it counts.' "

Oh. My. God. From any other man, in any other setting, I would have rolled my eyes and walked away. But from Charles, it was funny. It was campy. It was probably true.

Lunch was over. His meeting and my flight loomed. We walked back to his car. He drove me to a hotel to get a cab. He put my luggage in the next trunk and turned to me. Kissed me on the cheek again. Put his hands on my upper arms and leaned in and kissed me. On the mouth.

So maybe it was kind of a date.

He put me in the cab and told the driver where I was going. LAX. United. And we drove away.

I left the Tribune. He left the PR firm for another PR gig. We stayed in touch. The phone calls were always electric. The barbs flew. I was at my parents' house the night after we had our first serious conversation. It was very confessional on his part. I had earned his trust, I suppose. But the next night, at my parents' house, I don't remember why I was there, but I remember exactly where I was sitting and I can still hear the near-panic in his voice. "You can't tell anyone what I told you last night," he said. I reassured him that I never would. "Who would I tell, Charles?" It was personal. It was no one's business but his. And, I suppose, then, mine.

The phone calls would wax and wane. Christmas cards would arrive. One year, a gift. A double-CD of The Beatles, Live at the BBC and a card that read, "Happily dating myself with this item. Merry Christmas, Charles." I'd sent him a Robert Kennedy biography that year. He'd said he wanted it. He was a Kennedy fanatic.

He called me at home once, after not getting me at the office. "Are you sick?" he wanted to know. As a matter of fact, I was. And I was whiny. "Are you on the couch?" he asked. "Do you have 'Casablanca'? Then what are you complaining about?" Charles didn't believe in self-pity. Even after a break-up with a boy that left me more shaken than it should, I wasn't allowed to brood. I was in a conference room, sulking on the phone, defying his attempts to make me laugh. But he finally broke through. "I'm trying to be in a bad mood, Charles." He was having none of it.

We made plans to get together again in L.A. It had been six years since we'd seen each other. He plotted our alcoholic tour. And then I found out I had to travel for work. And he had to travel, too. We'd only be able to see each other on a Sunday night, a school night as it were, not a night for fun. We nixed our plans. "We'll do it another time," we said.

Three weeks later, he died.

He was on vacation. I never did find out what happened, officially, but he was scuba diving at the time.

L.A. Dave is the one who told me. He found out from a press release (fitting, huh?) and wanted me to hear it from a friend before I read it anywhere online.

I got in touch with the PR contact, Charles' colleague. We traded stories. Charles had an unnatural affinity for Jack Lord. Once, at a previous job, he called in the middle of a bad day. Our conversation was short. He called back and said, "Go to your fax machine right now." So I did. And I was greeted by a grinning cut-out picture of Jack Lord and text below it that read, "Hi, Beth. It's me, the Lord, and I'm ordering you to have a good day." It was framed, there, on my desk. Paul, on the phone, said, "That's on the bulletin board in his office." And I told him about the headshot I'd recently signed to him. Charles had instructed me to write, "To Charles, In commemoration of our successful campaign in the Sudan."

"That's hanging next to the Jack Lord picture," Paul said. "I can't believe I never put two and two together. I always meant to ask him, about the Jack Lord thing, 'Who's Beth?' You're the Beth."

"I'm the Beth."

Paul told me that every night at 6:30, he would wheel into Charles' office on his chair and they'd watch "The Simpsons." "If anyone needed anything," he said, "they just had to wait." He said he didn't think he'd be able to watch "The Simpsons" again. "Charles would hate that," I said.

I wrote a letter to his daughters, whom I'd never met. And I ended it saying, "He changed my life for the better. He'll always have a place in my heart. And even though we haven't had the chance to meet, I wanted you both to know that there's one more person out here who loves your dad."

I couldn't make it to L.A. for his memorial service. But I did buy a bottle of Absolut Mandarin (he drank it on the rocks) and poured myself a drink and made a toast to him and watched "Casablanca."

I still talk to him. And sometimes when someone asks me about the weather, I'll reply "Seventy-two degrees and sunny with a light breeze out of the west."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Red State, Blue State, My Fate, Your Fate ...

Politics, schmolitics, people. This isn't political. As Whoorl points out, this is a moral issue. We all have an obligation to take care of this big blue marble we call home.

I'm right proud of the fact that every week when I haul my disposables to the curb, my recyclable volume is greater than my trash. And I try to trip chain my errands to minimize my car's emissions. And I don't leave lights on all over the house. But there's always more to be done.

And considering that Stephen Hawking has just told us that we better get our butts in gear and start figuring out how to colonize the moon and Mars (new orbs to screw up?) if we don't want to the human race to die out any time soon, well, there's no time like the present to start doing our parts and then some. It's pretty crazy to contemplate that we're living on the tail end of the Earth's existence. But just in case the planet is going to stick around for another few thousand years, we should take care now, since, as the saying goes, we're not inheriting it from our ancestors but borrowing it from our children.

In that spirit, in case you haven't seen this handy dandy reference, take a gander. (Click here to see a readable PDF.) Read it. Live it. And then do more. I will, too.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Snakes On A Motherf**kin' Book ...

Because he's surely too damn humble to post this on his own blog, and because I'm so damn proud of him, and because this is so damn cool, I bring you glad tidings of preorder information for L.A. Dave's book! And if you're not an Amazon customer, you can get it at Barnes & Noble's site, too. Note the cool metallic effect on the font. Aw, Samuel L. Jackson would be proud. Sam and the snakes are coming to a theater near you on August 18, but you can get your grubby little mitts on the book in July and start the party early.

'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' ...

My initial reaction to this film, as written to L.A. Dave, is too profane for a family-friendly blog.

But suffice it to say if you haven't seen this movie and your taste in cinema runs more toward the clever than the inane, you must stop what you are doing and rent this film. The writing is some of the best I've heard in a movie EVER. Yeah, OK, it's a wee bit ripe with the naughty words, but there are moments of G-rated brilliance, like this gem that didn't make the cut on the IMDb quote page:

Generic blonde at stereotypical Hollywood party, looking for anyone important: "What do you do?"

Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.), a petty thief from the East Coast who's up for his first film, quite by accident, and who doesn't play the Hollywood game: "I'm retired. I invented dice when I was a kid."

That this film didn't earn back even a third of its very meager budget is a damn shame. And I'm partly to blame. Despite much encouragement from people whose opinions I greatly respect, I didn't see it when it was in theaters. Now, having seen it, I don't know how much more motivation I thought I needed. So to all of you who haven't seen it (and since it fairly tanked at the box office, that's most of you), go. Go on. Git. I mean, where else are you gonna find a movie that stars a real-life recovered drug addict hanging off a corpse in a coffin over a freeway *and* Corbin Bernsen? Nowhere, that's where. Go rent it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

World Cup Junkie ...


Well, I didn't see that coming.

I just spent most of the day watching World Cup matches.

I didn't realized I cared.

Maybe it's from reading Ethan's site which has become all World Cup analysis all the time. Or maybe it's from watching my niece and nephew play soccer and experiencing a bit of withdrawl since Nick's season ended last week (his team came in second, losers of the championship match, a tough day for a very driven 11-year-old).

But I turned on the TV this morning to get a weather report and learned that the first of three World Cup games would be on at 8 a.m. Well, hell, who needs to read the Sunday paper when I can watch a field full of hunky Croatian guys running around? (I'm half Serbian. Serbs are supposed to hate Croats - don't ask me, history ain't my thing - but hey, most of Yugoslavia is gone now, so I think everyone should be over their grudges.)

So I tuned in. And I surprised even myself with how much I cared. After mom and dad left (after Father's Day breakfast), I looked at the clock and realized I could catch the last 15 minutes of Brazil and Australia. Happily, there was almost 30 minutes to go when I tuned in. And then I watched all of France and Korea. Rooting for Korea, of course.

I didn't care when the World Cup was in Chicago. It barely registered on my radar, except for the traffic nightmares it created. But I'm sucked in now. Though the official logo strikes me as a bit odd. And the lion mascot, well, he's kinda dull, isn't he? L.A. Dave wants him to wear some pants.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Playing With Myself ...

Yes, I know that's a very suggestive title for a blog post, but you're reading it, aren't you?

To be accurate, I was playing with my computer, with GarageBand, which makes it oh so easy to create podcasts! Vive le Mac, people! Vive le Mac!

Sure, you can do podcasts on Windows machines, but are they gonna be as fun to produce? I think not. Is the software interface gonna look as cool as it does on a Mac? I think not.

This is life-changing, people. Because I like me some blog entries, but I really like the sound of my own voice, so podcasts? Oh, baby. It's like unleashing the commentator that's been trapped inside. I used to do some radio. I had friends who had radio shows and sometimes I'd go on and goof off behind the mic for a few minutes. It was fun, albeit kinda weird to contemplate that while I was just sitting in a studio talking to a friend, there were thousands of people listening to our conversation.

And then I was a volunteer newsreader for CRIS Radio, the Chicagoland Radio Information Service, a substation of WBEZ, but you need a special receiver to pick up the signal. Every Monday night, I'd head to the studio (in the pedway underneath the Cultural Center) and sign on for an hour and a half of reading first the TV Guide's listings for the night, and then news from the Tribune and Sun-Times and local papers. My partners changed over time, but when I stopped reading (because I was moving and it just wasn't going to gel logistically anymore), my partner was Nick, the sweetest guy, very fun. We weren't supposed to editorialize on the air - we were there to read the news, all serious-like - but sometimes we just couldn't help ourselves and I like to think that our listeners had a good time right along with us.

Or, if they didn't, they were nice enough not to call and complain.

And I have two voiceover demos, though I've never gotten any work from either of them. It's the auditioning that does me in. I get to nervous. I don't audition well. You only get one or two takes.

But with a podcast? Well, I can tweak as much as I want. I can have all the do-overs in the world. I can lay in my own music beds. I can conduct like a mad woman, much like John Cusack in "Better Off Dead" when he gets the job at Pig Burger and there's that odd fantasy Claymation sequence with the little hamburger dude and Van Halen's "Everybody Wants Some" and Lane, Cusack's character, ends up "conducting" with his spatula as the pig burgers burn.

Yeah, like that.

(And damn, I need to watch that movie again.)

So I'll still blog, but I'm gonna have to put some serious time into figuring out GarageBand well enough to start creating podcasts. And I'll have to buy a mic, which I've been meaning to do anyway, because the folks at Explore Your Voice (which has a podcast!) recommend it if you're going to be doing open-mic nights so that you can eliminate one variable out of the evening: at least you'll know what your mic is gonna sound like.

And yes, I'm gonna get back to open-mic nights. And I have some recording time scheduled in July to lay down some tracks. Finding my voice, indeed.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

'Yes'? ...


L.A. Dave, who has a rather unsurpassed track record when it comes to recommending movies, sent me an earnest e-mail the other day about this movie, insisting that I immediately put it in my Netflix queue.

The description held promise. Food (one of the characters is a chef), sex (there's more than one affair going on), Big Life Issues (nothing says entertainment like a debate on when life beings for the purposes of stem cells and scientific research).

So I not only put it in my queue, I sent it right to the top. It arrived today. I started watching it tonight. The audio mix sucks. I had to turn on the closed captioning on my TV, more than once, to understand what was being said. (The DVD subtitles are only in French.) The photography is absurd. Jerky, slow-motion shots, would-be surveillance footage shots, odd camera angles so sets seem askew, "Hey, let's shoot Joan Allen through a drinking glass on a conference table" shots.

And symbolism? Ouch. My skull hurts from being beat over the head with it. The cold, austere home in which there is no love. The heartless husband who can only experience emotion through his collection of blues music. The cleaning woman (remember Jude from "Bridget Jones's Diary," the investment banker with the squeaky voice?) whose job it is to keep the home free of any human traces and who serves as a one-woman Greek chorus or deliverer of soliloquies, a la Shakespeare, to make sure we're getting the point.

But "Shakespeare" here is the key: The script is written in iambic pentameter. Sam Neill is doing a good job of delivering his lines in such a way that you don't notice the rhyme scheme as much, but it's there. Oh, it's there. And it comes off more like Dr. Seuss than Willie the Shake (as English Teacher Dave used to call him ... or maybe he still does).

It's paused right now, and the captured frame happens to be of Sam Neill playing air guitar. Sigh.

I'm debating whether or not to keep watching. I rarely leave a film half-watched. I feel compelled to watch and wait for it to get better, and then, as with books, by the time I realize "better" is not in the cards, I've invested enough time that I feel further compelled to see it through. But I've already taken to skipping through the movie by scene. At this rate, I should be done in about 10 more minutes.

But first, let's see what Rog had to say ...

Rog gave it four stars. He admires it for being daring and different.

I don't. I think it's trying too hard.

Bruce And The Seeger Sessions Band ...

Logging in to Blogger just now, I started to type "Bruce" instead of my user name. I have Bruce on the brain.

I have Bruce on iTunes, too. Post-concert Bruce immersion.

Where oh where to begin? Mom and I arrived at (deep breath) the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater (the worst name for a venue .... EVER), formerly The Tweeter Center, formerly The World Music Theater, and parked with amazing ease, picked up our tickets with amazing ease, and then got in line. The gates weren't open yet and those of us with space in the pit were in a queue. A man with a megaphone and a folding chair worked his way down the line announcing the procedure for filing in.

Into the grounds, not into the actual venue. No, not yet. Why? Because Bruce was onstage, doing the soundcheck. How cool is that? We could hear him loud and clear. The concert before the concert. So we made it through the gates, got our tickets scanned, showed our wristbands, and the guy in charge of security eyed us and asked, "Any knives or cameras?" and didn't wait for a reply. I guess we don't look like the knife- or camera-wielding types.

So we formed a new queue, right outside the amphitheater. The soundcheck continued. There were plenty of T-shirts for sale, and $10 beers. We were being allowed into the pit in the order we were in line. "Lottery!" some people yelled outside the gates earlier. The staff put the kibosh to that, basically told the "Lottery!" yellers that they were nuts.

Soundcheck over, we were allowed in. Several people checked wristbands and tickets along the way, and then there we were. About 8 people deep from the barrier in front of the stage. Center stage. I mean center. I mean, I was centered exactly on Bruce's mic stand.

Doreen and Bill, former work pals, showed up and people were nice enough to let them stand with us. We chatted with the people nearby. At one point, I saw mom talking to a group of people and commented to Bill, "I've lost her for the night." She was already having a great time. She can talk to absolutely anyone.

The tickets said showtime was 7:30. Yeah, right. We know better. Bruce took the stage - a stage crammed with instruments - about 8:20. After the first song, I leaned into Doreen and said (you'll excuse my language), "FUCK, he's gorgeous." Matt, one of our new concert friends, smiled at me. "He looks like a legend," I said to him, which I've said before, but not to Matt.

I have never been so close to Bruce before. From our initial positions, he was less than 30 feet away. Later, toward the end of the show, space cleared as people left. (Presumably to beat traffic. What's up with that? Priorities, people!) We moved up, so that when Bruce came to the front of the stage, he was probably 15 feet from us. Or we were 15 feet from him. We were 15 feet from each other. And he was even better-looking.

I glanced up at the monitors from time to time, giddy that I didn't have any need to watch them. I turned around and took in the house. The sea of people was deep and wide.

He played a lot of songs from The Seeger Sessions, but he played some true Bruce, too. But Bruce, showman to the core, created arrangements like you've never heard before. Songs that were nearly unidentifiable until he got to the hook. "Oh," I thought to myself, "*that's* 'Further on Up the Road.' I'll be damned."

Mom, a couple people up and over, was swaying and clapping. She's the hippest 64-year-old you'll ever meet. In my view of the side of her face, I could see smile lines next to her eye. Mom has not had a lot to smile about for the past couple years. But Bruce changed that. It's what he does.

Alone on his guitar, he began a song, starting to stroll around the stage, when his banjo player walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. Bruce stopped and walked back to his mic. "When they tap me on the shoulder, that means I'm in the wrong fuckin' key!", he laughed. "I've done that once before. Bad things happened!" He adjusted his guitar and started again.

He worked the crowd like only Bruce can, whipping everyone into a near-frenzy one moment and leaving us standing stock still the next as he sang solemn anthems dedicated to the citizens of New Orleans and the troops abroad.

But by and large, it was a rockin' good time. Sixteen musicians shared his stage and he let every one of them shine. He played until about 11, stopping only briefly at the very beginning of the show to let a roadie apply some gaffer's tape to his hand, which he pulled off later and threw on the stage. He was sweating. It wouldn't stick.

This was Bruce Concert No. 6 for me, my sixth in three and a half years. You'd think the guy would maybe want to stay home and catch a nap, but I couldn't be more glad that he doesn't.

Word is he has more than enough material written for another album with The E Street Band. When do tickets go on sale?

And in case you haven't read enough, here's the review and setlist from

June 13 / Tinley Park, IL / First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Notes: A beautiful Chicago night, my first show since DC, and this thing just keeps getting better and better. First of all, you've got Bruce playing so hard he rubs his hand raw -- he had to call for a masking tape wrap after the "John Henry"/"O Mary" openers. And then move on to some knockout songs I hadn't heard yet -- like the complete overhaul of "Atlantic City," which has been a nightly staple since Indy. It starts with banjo and Bruce on some lead acoustic guitar, before Larry Eagle's booming bass drum brings the whole band crashing in with a barrage of sound; by the end, we've got gospel vocals calling out "meet me tonight" over and over, with a "li li li" refrain. As with all of the originals on this tour, it's a completely different take on the song, and a real marvel. "Long Black Veil" was a new one for me as well, a vocal harmony tour de force with the second verse sung by the always-welcome Chocolate Genius. And then there's the one no one had heard before (unless you were lucky enough to catch the extensive work on it at the St. Paul soundcheck). Those magic words "This is a song we haven't quite worked out yet -- let's give it a shot" introduced the tour debut of "Further On (Up the Road)." Again, a total revamp, with a completely different melody. Bruce and the band gave this Rising song an Irish lilt, thanks in great part to Art Baron trading in his tuba for the flute. "Art is king of the highest instrument and the lowest instrument in the band," says Bruce, "He's known as Art Hi-Lo." Spotlight on Cindy Mizell's beautiful vocal to kick it off, and by the end of the song we also got solo vocal turns from CG, Lisa, Curtis, and Frank. "Further On" still needs a little work, as Bruce suggested, but it's a great addition to the set, and further stunning evidence of this band's capacity for reinvention. Along those lines, "Oklahoma Home" continued in the new arrangement Bruce tried out in St. Paul, adding some nice dynamic variation with a sparser, solo beginning before building to that crazy Dixieland horn business. "Erie Canal," the only time I thought previous shows dragged, dropped out tonight -- so at this point I'd be hard pressed to find a low point. Larry's mama, in the crowd tonight, must have been proud.

Setlist: John Henry/O Mary Don't You Weep/Atlantic City/Old Dan Tucker/Further On (Up the Road)/Jesse James/Johnny 99/Eyes on the Prize/My Oklahoma Home/Long Black Veil/Mrs. McGrath/How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?/Jacob's Ladder/We Shall Overcome/Open All Night/Pay Me My Money Down

Encore: Bring Them Home/Ramrod/You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)/When the Saints Go Marching In/Buffalo Gals

Monday, June 12, 2006

Double Bacon Cheeseburger Vs. Twig ...

There, in my mailbox today, was an envelope emblazoned with the message: "10 Foods You Should NEVER Eat." The offenders?

☞ Pepperidge Farm Original Flaky Crust Roasted Chicken Pot Pie
☞ McDonald's Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips
☞ The Cheesecake Factory's 6 Carb Original Cheesecake
☞ Marie Callender's Herb Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli Florets & Carrots
☞ Mrs. Fields Milk Chocolate & Walnut cookie
☞ Starbucks Venti Strawberries & Cream Frappuccino Blended Creme
☞ Burger King King-Size French Fries
☞ Campbell's red-and-white label condensed soups
☞ Swoops
☞ Haagen-Dazs Mint Chip Dazzler

You don't have to read the reasoning behind all of their choices. ("They" are the folks behind the "Nutrition Action Healthletter: An Independent, Nonprofit Newsletter on Nutrition, Diet, and Food Safety - for Your Better Health.") The message is pretty obvious for each: They're loaded with fat or they're loaded with sodium or they're loaded with calories.

Oh, but what joy! The flyer I was reading proclaimed: "Far better alternatives are available to you. Turn the page for some healthier choices!"


And? And?! What are the healthier choices?!

☞ Sweet Potatoes.
☞ Grape Tomatoes.
☞ Fat-free (Skim) or 1% Milk (but NOT 2%).
☞ Blueberries (fresh or frozen).
☞ Wild Salmon.
☞ Crispbreads.
☞ Microwaveable or "10-minute" Brown Rice.
☞ Oranges.
☞ Diced Butternut Squash.
☞ Pre-washed, Pre-cut Bags of Greens.


Aside from the editorial annoyance of putting periods on words and phrases that shouldn't be so punctuated, I ask: What the hell? Yes, we know these foods are good for us. Ostensibly. Don't get me started about what's in our milk supply. I don't drink the stuff. And our government has done a good job of watering down the meaning of "organic" for our fruits and vegetables, and who knows what our salmon friends are storing in their flesh, thanks to all the contaminated water. But hey, we have to eat *something,* right?

Still, it seems pretty stupid to swat a king-size order of french fries out of someone's hand and say, "That's BAD for you. Here, have some diced butternut squash instead."

I'm all for adopting a healthier lifestyle. But bad habits aren't formed overnight and they're not broken thusly, either. How about educating people about "transitional" foods?

If we're ever going to do anything about the obesity and health epidemics in this country, we have to accept that people don't do the right things just because we tell them they should, and if what we're telling them to do is radical, they're probably not going to do it at all. But we can make shifts in smaller ways. I applaud Bill Clinton for getting the pop machines out of schools. If that means kids are drinking one less soda a day, that's a good start.

I have an acquaintance who drinks WAY too much diet soda. Sheesh. Do you *know* how bad aspartame is for you? I don't expect him to stop drinking it tomorrow and only pick up bottles of water from now on. But if he can cut out one a day, and then another, and then another, and shift the diet soda / water ratio in favor of water over time, that'd be good for his health.

It's like my transition to veganism. I've been eating meat for nearly 36 years. It's hard to flip a switch and never eat meat again. But I can include more and more vegan recipes in my repertoire. I gave my mom my lovely hunk of Parmesan cheese. I don't buy "real" milk. I've stopped eating butter. (Well, as straight butter. I still eat things baked with butter in them. For now.) Cheese is no longer part of my life. And I don't miss it. But change is made slowly. And there need to be steps along the way.

A Woman Possessed ...

When I get an idea in my head, it's very hard for me to let it go.

Last night (that'd be Saturday night), I went to Elbo Room to catch a couple bands, The New Invaders and Pet Lover. I have friends in those bands. And I've resolved to get to more live music this year. (Springsteen Tuesday! Woo hoo!) So I went.

Dave is the lead singer and keyboardist of The New Invaders. After his set, once he'd piled all his gear by the stairs (Elbo Room's stage is in the basement), I asked him if I could help. He readily accepted.

We hauled the first batch and the second, up the stairs, down the block, and across the street to his SUV. The amp was the last piece. It took the two of us to carry it up the stairs. So up we went, down the block, and then waited to cross the street. Dave was hunched over the amp (it's on casters), and turned to look up and me and said, "There should be an 'amp crossing,' you know, with a little guy, wearing Beatle boots and pushing his amp."

Funny thought. Which I couldn't get out of my head tonight. I don't have Illustrator, and even if I did, I wouldn't know how to use it, but I was able to make do with AppleWorks. And I sent this to him:

© Beth Kujawski 2006

My word, I'm clever! Yeah, I wasn't able to pull off the Beatle boots, but for a freehand, hunched-over roadie, I think I did OK.

Friday, June 09, 2006

'Winter Passing' ...

What a difference an "Elf" makes.

Zooey Deschanel and Will Ferrell star together in "Winter Passing," which is miles away from the North Pole and New York City.

If dysfunctional families are ubiquitous film fodder, this cast is a garbage salad. The dad's a washed-up writer drunk, the daughter is bitter and prone to self-harm, the mother is dead, and a former student and ex-Christian rocker have taken up residence in the dad's house, since he decided to move into the dilapidated garage. Bitter daughter, an actress in New York City, comes home to Detroit to find the letters shared between mom and dad, both reknowned novelists, that a New York book editor wants to buy for $100,000.

Healing ensues.

It's very odd to watch Will and Zooey acting in such earnest, after watching them romp as department-store elves. Ed Harris, the has-been dad, is unsurprisingly brilliant. I can't think of a role of his I haven't loved. He was in "The Hours" for all of 10 minutes and stole the show.

I don't know if I liked this movie, exactly. The performances are all solid. The story is sweet. But, like a key bit of dialogue late in the film, it borders on sentimental. Maybe these characters find their inner sentiment, long supressed. Maybe. If so, it's well-deserved and hard-won.

Let's see what Roger Ebert had to say:

"This is the kind of movie routinely dismissed as too slow and quiet by those who don't know it is more exciting to listen than to hear." That's a damn fine sentence. And he gave the film three and a half stars.

I suspect its Netflix rating is much lower. As L.A. Dave and I would say, this one was too smart for the room. Let's take a look, shall we? Average Netflix rating is three out of five stars. Which is like a C to Roger's B+/A-. And the sentence I pulled from Rog's review is the sentence Netflix culled, as well.

You won't laugh. You probably won't cry. You might feel Reese's omnipresent emptiness. You might want to give her a hug. But at the end of the day, she'll be OK. Dad, too.

Causes Celebre ...

My Internet wanderings reminded me that today's the day that People offically published the picture of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. As I expected, Shiloh looks exactly like a baby. But as I clicked through the photos on People's site, I ran across this one which reminded me that I've been meaning to hear Paris' song (she's carrying - nay, displaying - a copy of her CD, see?). It's not on iTunes. Odd. But I found it for free elsewhere, downloaded it, and iTunes did its duty and played it for me. If you haven't heard it, allow me to be the eight-bazillionth person to say that she kinda sounds like Gwen Stefani, except that the vocal is so obviously over-produced that we have no sense of what kind of a singer she really is until she does something live.

When I first heard Lisa Marie Presley's CD, I thought, "Well, damn! Good for her!" Then I caught her at the House of Blues. Yeah, she can't really sing. You can do magical things with voices and computers, but the proof is in the pudding when you're onstage. There's only so much technology on those boards, right?, so you've gotta have some goods.

No doubt (no pun intended) Paris will refrain from performing on Jay or Dave or Conan or Jimmy or Craig. I don't forsee her touring. I suspect music is yet another vanity project, like her pink hotels. As for the song, it's yet another overly electronic piece of pop candy. As one commenter on so eloquently put it:

Those are some quality lyrics...
"if you show me real love baby, i'll show you mine"

Thanks Paris, but we've already seen yours...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Quarter Notes ...

♪ Lydia of Purple, online purveyor of modest clothing, has always struck me as a wee bit odd. Still, to each his or her own, right? Until I saw this outfit. Um, it's John Deere fabric. But it's an outfit for girls. Lil' Dykes, anyone? Grace Hemingway, Ernest's mother, always wanted twins. Instead she has Marcelline, and two years later, Ernest. No matter. Grace dressed them alike anyway. Sometimes as boys, sometimes as girls. And we all know how well that turned out. Maybe save the tractor garb for boys. Tractors and lace. Just say no.

♪ I just saw a trailer for the sequel to "Garfield." One wonders what Bill Murray must be pulling down to return to the booth to voice "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties." What's that I'm hearing? Is that the sound of Charles Dickens turning over in his grave? Oh .... No ... Nope, it's just the sound of Charles Dickens groaning at the bastardization of his book's title.

♪ WOW. Letterman just had this joke about Ann Coulter. "She's blonde and she's single. Maybe someone will set her up with O.J." WOW. Kinda not exactly "joke" territory. Still, WOW. My hat's off to Dave. That woman is evil personified. It's no wonder her big "Today" show interview was on 6-6-06.

♪ I can't shake the feeling that I should be crafting a blog entry of substance. But tonight is not the night.

Playtime's A Gay Time ...

It's a bit of a long story, how I happened upon this toy site, and I won't bore you with the details. But I spent more time than I expected clicking through to see the toys in question. Many are made of wood or felt and hail from Germany. Those Germans. They know how to have fun. With wood. I have no idea what that means.

I found this item particularly amusing: Remember the opening credits in "Arthur," when he picks up the hooker and they're driving to the Plaza and he busts out laughing and she asks, "What's so funny?" and he says, "Sometimes I just think funny things!"? I was cracking myself up today over this item, wondering what would happen if you accidentally knocked the wooden toaster into a wooden sink filled with wood shavings. Yeah, I know, it was funnier in my head at the time. But the kicker is that if you're really into authenticity, you can buy wooden "butter" for your wooden "toast." The wooden "butter" is a chunk of wood. For $4.95. It's description on the site: "An adorable chunk of butter in a decorative tin. Butter measures 1 1/4" by 1 3/4". Tin is a little larger. Essential for proper toast according to our kids! Germany." I don't tend to think of even real butter as in any way "adorable."

Also on the site (like I said, I spent a lot of time there) was this knitted chef's salad. I'm guessing that's wool, which is an excellent source of fiber. Dee-licious. And hand-knit right here in the U.S. of A. But perhaps the most disturbing food-like items (from Nepal) I found on the site were the felted breakfast foods, particularly the bacon. Not because I'm eschewing animal products these days, but because I can't stop thinking that these "strips" of bacon look like freshly harvested kidneys. Not that I have a lot of first-hand knowledge of the appearance of harvested organs, but I have a pretty good imagination, and I was a pre-med major, so I've pored over a number of medical texts. Tell me I'm wrong. Good times.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hair! ...

Since Marc has commented in the past that I write about my haircuts but never provide photos, tonight's the night, having visited J-D, my "hair architect," today. That's what I call him, not what he calls himself. He's more modest than that. But he's more than a stylist. He's brilliant. It's more blonde than I expected, but, as with everything he does with my tresses, I love it. L.A. Dave said it reminds him of Veronica Lake. I suggested that it's more bed-heady rock star, but it was really sweet of him to say. Online pal Lance asked if this is the photo we'll use for the iTunes album cover. Eh, probably not. But it might be a good guideline for the photographer. : o ) I guess I better get crackin' on those demo tunes.

Snack! ...

Behold the wonderment that is the ingenuity of those who wish to be healthful yet, um, not: vegan Twinkes!

Many, many kudos to former-work-pal-now-just-pal Marc who sent me the link yesterday!

On a recent evening walk, I was walkin' and talkin' with L.A. Dave when the talk turned to Twinkies, and their insidious snack-cake memories. As I arrived at home, I opened the door, grabbed some cash from my wallet, locked the door, and kept walking to the store. When I'm hankerin' for some junk food, I make myself walk to the store to get it. I reason that I'm allowed to eat the crap if I'm walking to and from the store and burning calories in its quest.

So I continued walkin' and talkin', right into the store, right to the Hostess display, still on the phone, picked up a package of Twinkies, flipped 'em over, and promptly said to Dave, "I can't eat these." And walked home.

A sure-fire way to prevent me from eating crap is to read the label. In this case, the Twinkie lust was quickly overcome by my rational mind: There's no way anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle can justify cramming a Twinkie in her mouth. Too much potential long-term damage for the few seconds of Twinkie bliss.

I once craved a Haagen-Dazs chocolate almond bar. This was many years ago, when I lived in my studio by Wrigley Field. On the next block is a 7-Eleven, so I marched on over, found said bar in the freezer, picked it up, flipped it over, and saw that one bar had 27 grams of fat. Or was it 28? No matter. I put it back and left the store and haven't had one since.

Mind you, I'm well aware that a vegan Twinkie, albeit vegan, is still not "health" food.

But I'm no saint. Clif bars go a long way toward satisfying my craving for something sweet, but the day will come when I'll want something nostalgic and vegan Twinkies will be there.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Symbolism II ...

I awoke this morning to the sound of a chainsaw.

The city tree guys were out front with their bucket truck, cutting up the large limb that neighbor Shane and his pal Travis had rolled onto the grass. I put on clothes and shoes and headed outside.

As one tree guy went up in the bucket to cut down the cracked-off limb, the other guy told me that this happens all the time and that odds are good that they wouldn't have to bring down the whole tree. Someone else would be out to evaluate it, he said, but that was his best guess.

The guy with the chainsaw cut off chunks of limb that fell to the ground with big thuds. As he started to cut the last piece closest to the trunk, the guy next to me said, "If it's hollow going into the trunk, we'll have a problem."

The wood fell. The trunk looks solid. My tree should be OK.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Things We Do For Blogs ...

Yes, I'm trying to make the shift to veganism. It's going well. But sometimes, I'm so drawn to something so seemingly repulsive, I have to set my ideals aside for a moment in the interest of social experimentation.

How disgusting, I thought, when I saw the commerical for KFC's mashed potato bowls. Mashed potatoes? Sure. Chicken? Sure? Gravy? Sure. Corn? Uh, maybe ... Cheese? Um, why?

So tonight was the night. I bought a mashed potato bowl. Um, why, indeed?

The cheese is superfluous. The corn plays no enjoyable role. Take away those two ingredients and you're left with pretty standard KFC fare. Which ain't sayin' much to begin with.

What I can't figure is, these products are tested before they're rolled out to wider markets. So who are the people who gave this item a thumbs up? My one-word review? Blech.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Symbolism ...

When I was in college, I had to take certain classes. One class, the name of which escapes me now, was dedicated to interpreting poetry. I hated that class. I hated that we were expected to find all this hidden meaning in the poems in the anthology with the tissue-paper pages.

Why, I often wondered, couldn't a poem about a tree just be about a tree?

I love trees. I have many of them on my property. Some are deciduous, some are evergreen. In the summertime, I feel bad for trees, bearing the brunt of the sun, offering us shade. We hardly seem grateful enough.

Today, I was puttering about the house when I heard a loud noise outside. It sounded a bit like firecrackers, but in a more sustained way. I looked out my living room window just in time to see a ginormous tree limb fall onto my sidewalk.

I rushed outside and found my neighbor and his friend standing on my lawn, staring up at the place where the limb once was.

Shane, the neighbor, the doll, told me he had heard it beginning to crack and was about to knock on my door to tell me not to go underneath the tree, in case the limb didn't fall until later. He went back to his house and returned with a chainsaw and started to dissect it so we could haul it to the curb. He told me to call the city's streets department and let them know what happened, so that I'm on the city's books with a report, in the event that the tree needs to be felled. Hopefully, since it's in the parkway, the city will drop it and save me the cash.

I hope the entire tree doesn't have to come down. It's a three-trunked tree, actually, and it's huge. It's a pain in the ass as trees go. Messy. It leafs out in May and starts dropping leaves in June. I have to rake in August, so many are down. But the front of my house would look very strange without it, and the icon I tell first-time visitors to look for would be gone.

The funny thing is, the limb that came down was in full leaf. There was nothing outward to suggest that the inside of it was rotted. Which makes me realize anew that no matter how normal things look, superficially, we often have no idea what's really going on in the heart of matters.

Love My Way ...

Don't even get me started on our fuckwit president and his pathetic right-wing pandering with reviving the gay-marriage amendment, even though he knows it's never going to pass. But it's an election year and his numbers are in the toilet and the GOP is worried that Americans are finally waking up and are gonna boot their sorry asses out of Congress. Time to throw the red-staters a bone. Right on, Georgie. Let's write discrimination into the Constitution. Ah, the founding fathers would be proud. Someone?, Anyone?, Bueller?, please, tell me how allowing gays to marry weakens the institution of marriage. I've asked before and I'm asking again because no one seems to have an answer for me. And remember, we're not talking about marriage as a religious rite. If churches want to ban same-sex marriage on religious grounds, they can do whatever they please. I'm talking about marriage as a legal entity. The kind that any heterosexual couple can buy with a few bucks and a blood test. The kind that's so sacred that it can be performed in a drive-thru in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator in a gold lamé suit. The kind that's cast aside, year after year, by half the population, what with our sky-high divorce rates.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blogthings! ...

Another batch of goofy crap!

Your Musical Tastes Match: Nicole Kidman

See her whole playlist here (iTunes required)

If you don't have iTunes, or don't feel like clicking through see her playlist, it includes these songs (some of which were recommended by her daughter):

* Walking on the Moon by The Police (Yup, I dig this, too.)
* Where The Streets Have No Name by U2 (One of my all-time favorites.)
* Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
* Lips Like Sugar by Echo and The Bunnymen (Ah, The Bunnymen. Have loved 'em since high school.)
* Trigger Hippie by Morcheeba
* Heaven by Talking Heads (I have an Iva Davies cover of this song that I like better.)
* One Love/People Get Ready by Bob Marley (I can't hear this song without thinking of the Jamaican tourism commercials.)
* 18 Wheeler by Pink
* Pink & Blue by OutKast
* The Wind Cries Mary by The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Ah, Jimi.)
* The One Thing by INXS (My nephew thought INXS was a new band. He had no knowledge of the Michael Hutchence days. Yikes.)
* Lady by Lenny Kravitz (Funny inclusion, given their history.)
* Heroes by David Bowie (I have two Iva Davies covers of this song that I like better than Bowie's, sorry to say.)
* Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani (Not my flavor, but I admire her. This is one of Bella's picks. Which makes sense.)
* Don't Phunk With My Heart by Black Eyed Peas (Bella)
* Jesus Walks by Kanye West (Bella)
* Lean Back by Terror Squad (Bella)
* Ms. Jackson by OutKast (Bella)

Wow! This quiz is only three questions long and it lines up perfectly with my Myers-Briggs Type, INFJ:

Your Personality Is

Idealist (NF)

You are a passionate, caring, and unique person.
You are good at expressing yourself and sharing your ideals.

You are the most compassionate of all types and connect with others easily.
Your heart tends to rule you. You can't make decisions without considering feelings.

You seek out other empathetic people to befriend.
Truth and authenticity matters in your friendships.

In love, you give everything you have to relationships. You fall in love easily.

At work, you crave personal expression and meaning in your career.

With others, you communicate well. You can spend all night talking with someone.

As far as your looks go, you've likely taken the time to develop your own personal style.

On weekends, you like to be with others. Charity work is also a favorite pastime of yours.

I do indeed hope to be remembered for evading the police:
You Are Marge Simpson

You're a devoted family member who loves unconditionally.

Sometimes, though, you dream about living a wild secret life!

You will be remembered for: your good cooking and evading the police.

Your life philosophy: "You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head."

The following assessment is based on a single word: Writer. Though I'd like to think I died of starvation.

In a Past Life...

You Were: A Forlorn Cannibal.

Where You Lived: Poland.

How You Died: Suicide.

I don't agree with this assessment - I don't like the label "chick rocker" - but I'm not sure what the other options are:

You Are a Chick Rocker!

You're living proof that chicks can rock
You're inspired by Joan Jett and the Donnas
And when you rock, you rock hard
(Plus, you get all the cute guy groupies you want!)

Once, for Halloween, I was Big Bird. But I can relate to Bert:

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you.

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil. [I remember loving a "Bert is Evil" web site years ago.]

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others.