I’ve learned some interesting things about Henry, John and David this year. Henry – he gets huffy when people are acknowledged that aren’t him, even when it’s obvious that they are more worthy than he. For example, he was angry that he wasn’t one of David’s “quality” people, and that he didn’t get one of John’s Barnabus awards. Come on, Henry. You? Win an award for being encouraging? Don’t be ridiculous. Just kidding.

David is an angry human being. The fact that he needs a vents page disturbs me. I used to have a lowlight of my day page but I dropped it because it was too negative. Anyway, far too many things bother Dave, and it’s worse because his page makes it seem like the people who annoy his are wrong, whereas in several cases, he’s clearly wrong for getting annoyed. To wit – so what if frosh celebrate their first final? Let them have fun. What the heck does he have against people having fun? Just because he’s a bitter withered old man whom life has beaten down to a bloody pulp? Dave says: “Grow up. Get over it.” Indeed, David. Grow up. Get over it.

Anyway, his vents lack any semblance of peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. Which of course is the hallmark of this page. Ha.

I do love it though when he slams me without naming my name. When Dave slams me, I smile. I love it. I treasure it.

John has absolutely no taste in music. Go look in his car and see what he listens to. Guh. He listens to super cheesed up versions of already cheesy praise songs. Remember when I told you how I listened to the Christian radio stations in LA and wondered where they got those super sterile versions of songs? John apparently found their supplier. And bought out their supply.

The other thing is John doesn’t take care of his CDs. I was once is his car and found a CD just lying around, with a band-aid stuck on the bottom. Not even a new Band-Aid, which, although strange, might in some bizarro alternate reality be explainable. No, it was a used, bloody one. What was he thinking? “Gosh, this CD is skipping so much. I know! I’ll stick on a bloody Band-Aid to the bottom! That should do the trick!” Just kidding John. I love you.

I had an interesting talk with Jieun about Ebonics and abortion last night. Anyway, it reminded me of one time me and Henry and I think John and David were talking, shooting the crap, and the subject of abortion came up. Because Henry researches everything on the web, he found some statistics, and they were shocking.

So how many abortions do you think take place in the U.S. each year? How about percentages? That is, how many pregnancies end in abortion?

OK, I looked again, and maybe it’s because I remember that I’m not shocked, but I was. About 1/4 of all pregnancies end up in abortion. I don’t know, regardless of where you stand, that’s just a shocking statistic to me.

For one of the first times ever, Mark wrote something interesting. Just kidding! Kind of. Anyway, he writes, regarding consulting: “I don’t think that’s so much the issue, because it’s not like the typical Valley engineer’s life is very Godly either. =)” Notice the effeminate smiley face which annoys me to no end, and which, by virtue of me saying it, you can expect to see in abundance in David and Henry’s upcoming thoughts pages.

Anyway, he’s right. I think I pretty much hate consulting, and everything about it, though not the people themselves. But it’s not like some kind of engineering job is that much better, in terms of holy living. So I guess it doesn’t matter. There is a slight difference though. The feeling I get (and what the heck to I know, I’m just an ignorant bigot) is that what bothers me about consulting is that consultants all think they’re important, and that in a sense they’ve made it, where really, they’re lame.

I’ve only visited Boston / Harvard once, but the whole time I was there, I got this feeling, I can’t totally explain it, but it’s like every single person there was thinking to themselves, “I am at Harvard.” I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before. But it was the most annoying thing ever.

Anyway, it’s annoying enough when dope people are arrogant about it, but it’s far worse when undope people are arrogant about it. Again, this is the 3rd tier, those who aren’t smart enough to realize they’re not in the 1st tier. It just annoys me.

And, of course, the best people are the 1st tier people, the truly brilliant people, who remain humble and all around good guys. I would put in this category, Beverly, Eric Mao, and both of the professors I am working for. I spent the day grading CS 121 finals, and I can say it was truly a pleasure working with Profs. Nilsson and Manning this quarter. Because they are absolutely brilliant and absolutely nice people. Nilsson, of course, is one of the fathers of AI. He helped develop all these different subfields. Brilliant, almost to a fault (he has no idea when he’s talking way over peoples’ heads). Professor Manning is a new professor in the CS department, and you can take a look at his homepage – the man is smart. He triple majored in Math, Lingistics, and Computer Science. Ugga. And again, a truly nice guy.

Anyway, I’ll never make it to the first tier, but I do hope to someday become as nice guys as the brilliant people I’ve worked with this quarter.

I saw the Little Mermaid last night, and I was wrong. It is the best modern Disney movie. The animation quite frankly sucks, and the color is pretty bad, but it’s still the best movie. First of all, it has the best songs of any film. Challenge me on this. The only movie that comes close is Beauty and the Beast, but I think the songs in TLM are catchier, and more varied.

Plus, it’s the funniest movie after Aladdin. Maybe it’s just me, but I just think it’s hilarious. Of course I’m a softie. Which reminds me of a great line, spoken by Sebastian: “What a soft-shell I’ve turned out to be.”

And it’s got great themes. All modern Disney movies, every single one, has the theme of the rebellious child. It’s a sign of our times, I think. Anyway, it started with TLM. You have the father who is so stern but also so insecure and in the end, willing to give up anything for her daughter. A great character. Sebastian is just a great character. He rocks. Then you have the forbidden love theme, where love conquers all and helps change the perspective of a group. The theme of love conquering separation, like Romeo/Juliet/West Side Story.

All these great things about it. I love this movie. I could watch it over and over again.

Anyway, there’s a fundamental difference between me and Henry and Dave. I think we’re all cynical, but I’m far less fundamentally cynical than them. There’s some part of me that’s still willing to suspend my disbelief for a maybe sappy or cheesy story that David and Henry can’t do. Maybe at heart I’m an idealist. I don’t know. But it means I like different movies than them, I think. It’s really interesting to see what they like and what it reveals about their character, and how that differs from mine.

For example, David, in saying why he likes Casablanca, asserts that in any good love story (I haven’t read it in a while, I’m just kind of pulling this out of my anus) there needs to be some type of crisis, or something like that. And that they must change. The point is, they need to prove their love to him, because until they’ve done that, he’s cynical about it. Plus he likes Bogart because he’s a cynical character.

For me, while I agree that you know, that’s probably true, especially in real life, it’s not a necessary thing – I’m willing to suspend my disbelief and just accept that they love each other, and see how that works in the story. Unless of course they give no indication of loving each other in the movie. Which is why both My Fair Lady and Roman Holiday just totally confuse me. I have no idea what the characters are thinking in the end.

The point is, with me, I think I’m far more willing to suspend disbelief and just accept whatever the filmmaker gives me than either David or Henry, and my guess is it’s because they’re essentially more cynical than I am, so on some level they need the movie to prove it to them. I don’t konw, though. Maybe they’ll slam me and give a far more compelling analysis.

I can’t understand why Henry doesn’t like the first Austin Powers. It kills me. Like the scene where he’s in the casino. So many witty comments.

Austin (pointing): There you are!
Random man: Do I know you?
Austin: No, but that’s where you are. You’re there!

In the bathroom, he meets Tom Arnold, in full cowboy gear.

Tom Arnold, seeing his getup: Are you in the show?
Austin: No, I’m English
Tom: Oh… sorry…

Come on, that’s witty!

At any rate, I really like The Little Mermaid. What a great movie. Here’s another reason why I like it better than the Disney movies since. Maybe it’s just me, but every time I watch a Disney movie, I mean, it’s cool and all, and I am sometimes entertained, but a part of me feels like it’s forced. Does this make sense? Like there’s some kind of agenda they need to push, and they do, which gives it a forced feeling. I don’t know if you understand. But like some of the recent ones have had like a politically correct agenda feel to it, like they need to push that, and it feels forced. Or, they need to like push the established formula. Rebellious teen – check. Romance – check. Over the top animal characters for comic relief – check. I don’t know, kind of formulaic, and kind of forced.

Whereas, with the Little Mermaid, it was the start of the modern Disney cartoon era, and there is (at least to me) this total feeling of freedom to it. They didn’t follow the formulas of Disney past. For example, look at how they animate the humans, and compare that to like Cinderella or Snow White (especially). In the past, Disney humans were really lifelike, it was just the weirdo characters or animals (Dwarfs, the mice in Cinderella) that were animated bouncy and fluidly. With TLM, they really changed that, so the physics of the humans is a lot more fluid and bouncy, if this makes any sense. In my mind, it’s significant – it indicates the feeling of freedom they had in this film, just deciding things as they went along. Again, maybe I’m just a freak, but I watch the movie and I feel free.

Another intereresting thing to me is why the rebellious teen is such a universal theme in Disney movies. Why is that? And they (obviously) always turn out to be right. Is this just a sign of the times? That the child / teen is always right? That the young are always more hip and more wise than the dowdy old folks? I don’t know, it’s just interesting.

And insidious. Think about the message that kids who watch this get at a young age. Always go with your feelings, even if your parents and everyone else is against it, because your feelings are what’s most important, your feelings are what’s right, and they’ll either come around or they don’t matter. I don’t know, maybe this is just a message of movies in general. But to me at least, it’s interesting.

I could talk forever about the Little Mermaid. But I’ll just watch it instead.

(9:00 PM)
David is wrong about Belle not being rebellious. Perhaps I should have clarified, but they are always rebellious, it’s just sometimes they are rebellious against society rather than against their parents. Belle is not rebellious? The whole opening song is about how she wishes she could rebel against the standard provincial life! That’s not rebellious?

As I correctly stated, every single modern Disney movie is about a rebellious teen, somewhere. Or at least includes one.

One good thing about Beauty and the Beast – usually movies of this type, teaching it’s what’s on the inside that counts, are kind of lame, because they show it by some guy on the inside getting some super hot girl or vice versa. Actually, I guess B&TB does the same thing. Belle is supposed to be the hottest chick in town. Lame. But at least it doesn’t go the other way. You know, some would cop out and say it’s only the inside that counts, but then still get the Beast to turn into some hot hunk of man. I think it’s pretty much a consensus that at the end of B&TB, the Beast turns into a human that is butt ugly. So for that, bravo Disney.

Interesting thing, Steve Taylor on his album Squint has a song called Sock Heaven. It’s a really really interesting song. It’s a song about misfits – those who don’t fit into the Christianese (not Christian) mold. Genuine followers, but not cookie cutter Christians. Where do they belong? If you’ve ever felt like you wanted to follow God but never fit in to what people say you’re supposed to be, I think you may enjoy this song. Try and read it. Here are the lyrics:

Sock Heaven
Steve Taylor

Out of the wringer, into the dryer
Spins the clothes higher
Squeezing out the static and shocks
Little stockings tumbling ’round together
Couldn’t cling forever
Now I’m missing one of my socks

Lord, where do they go?

One pile waits with their God in a box
The other pile nervously mocks heaven
Misfits lost in the dryer, take heart
Maybe there’s a place up in sock heaven

Out of the wringer, into the dryer
Couldn’t just retire
Had to try tempting the fates
One little band spinning round together
Couldn’t cling forever
God, I think I’m losing my mates

Seven good years, followed by a feeling, I’d hit the glass ceiling
Maybe I’d best disappear
Pick any market
Pick a straitjacket
If you can’t act it
Misfit you don’t belong here

Lord, where do we go?

Didn’t want a platform to build a new church
Didn’t want a mansion in rock heaven
Didn’t want more than to be understood
Maybe there’s a place up in sock heaven

Lord, where do we go?

We’ve gathered here to ask the Lord’s blessing
Maybe not His blessing
Maybe we’re not asking at all
Out of the box with every good intention
Did you fail to mention
This time we were destined to crawl
And every day that we died just a little more
I was sure you were sovereignly watching us dangle
I don’t get it now
But I’ll see it when
In sock heaven I see it all from your angle

One pile waits with their God in a box…
God’s got His saints up in sock heaven

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