We act guest first.

I noticed a strange sign in Fresh Choice last night. It was a listing of their core “values” for service. I found the first one to be the most interesting. It read:

1) We act guest first.

And so, when the waiter came by the next time, I asked him what it meant.

“What do you mean?” he said, his 18 year old afro jiggling like the jell-o in my bowl.

“‘We act guest first.’ I mean, it is your prime directive. El numero uno. And we have no idea what it means. Do you guys act like guests before we do, or what?”

Gosh, I just realized I’m a horrible customer.

I guess you could say that I’ve watched a few movies lately. This is in sharp contrast to almost any other point in my college career, when I just… don’t. This has really nothing to do with the quality of movies, but rather the depth and breadth of my wallet.

Tonight’s movie, In Good Company, with Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and Scarlett Johansson was a quirky movie that had many memorable funny moments, but in the end felt too real. Real as in… sometimes a bit boring. Because the movie was about the sterility of the corporate business environment, I can tell they were trying to reproduce that in the cinematography… but it didn’t make it that interesting to look at. There was very little texture… and so, in between the extremely funny moments and heartwarming and exposing one-liners, there was little to keep my attention between the sterile visuals and boring dialogue recycled from a bunch of other movies. It was enjoyable, but I’ll definitely wait until rental to see it again.

A week or two ago, it was A Very Long Engagement, Jean-Pierre Jeunets newest film, which was definitely a feast for the eyes. Now, before I discuss this film, I’d like to say I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jeunet. Every one of his films has a completely different look and style, yet he keeps it all distinctly his. Other films he has directed include Amelie, City of the Lost Children, Alien Resurection, and Delicatessen. So, when I saw the previews for this film, it looked like another Amelie, but with a war story. I guess it had that. There were many great parts… but the problem with this one was that, just as the title implies, it’s long. Kinda like this blog post, except… longer. It was a fun jaunt, though, with Audrey Tautou stealing the show yet again.

Before that, was Sideways, which is being talked about by everyone, and rightfully so. I think I was drawn to this movie initially because of the fact that it takes place all along Southern and Central California, and nearly every moment was a “I’ve been there!” moment, with the characters driving from San Diego to Westwood and Buellton and Santa Maria. The actors were great, the laughs were heartfelt and the shocks were great. See this one. Now.

Whew. Now, that was a long post. Geez.

Pitchfork has just reopened their site with a new design and plenty of new indie music reviews for crazy fools like me. What’s new, though, is that they’ve got a quite interesting list of the 50 best singles of 2004. On it, at number six, is The Walkmen’s “The Rat,” which they say

In a year when “indie rock” encompassed both major label darlings and mainstream favorites, “The Rat” compelled us away from fruitless narrow classification and toward a more universal form of musical bliss. But while Hamilton Leithauser’s snarling exasperation in the anthemic first verse perfectly matches the song’s bookend intensity, ultimately his bravado is a red herring. “The Rat”, at its core, is about ambivalence, loneliness, and disappointment. In so expressively articulating the frustration of being alone, The Walkmen speak to anyone who’s ever felt disenchanted, disenfranchised, or generally lost. There’s a lot of it going around, and plenty of people are eager to shout along. –David Moore

I can’t tell you how many times over the last year I’ve stood in my room in my skivvies, air guitaring and shouting with the Walkmen at the top of my lungs

“When I used to go out, I’d know everyone I saw
now I go out alone, if I go out at all!
Can’t you see me? I’m pounding on your door!!!”

And so I sit here, with Flogging Molly’s “Drunken Lullabies” quietly skipping in my CD player.

Today’s picture is of the beautiful 101, taken around King City a very long time ago. As many of you know, it’s been closed in two places between Santa Barbara and L.A. for almost a week now because of landslides, leaving many an irate driver to drive on the 5 to the 166 or the 46 to get to the Central Coast.

Here’s to those drivers. I feel your pain.

ekkyklema (the destination of the blade)

ekkyklema (the destination of the blade)
Written 09.29.01 by a me that knew no better

death pointed at my temples
on the edge of a knife, three inches away
and the sweat hovers in mid-drop
flying from warrior and prey alike

I know this, but this time
I am blind
but also a seer, and I know the destination of the blade

the curtain has been drawn
the deed has been done
and darkness falls again

Buses and classes

The bus system in San Luis isn’t so bad, once you get the hang of it. Rather, once you spend about an hour trying to interpret the printed schedule they have. You see, they show all the routes, times, maps, and stops all on one foldout pamphlet. It can get a little confusing. But after you unfold its secrets and discover the holy grail of the information you wanted within, it’s not so bad.

Waking up at 6 every morning is tiring, but welcome. For the past four years I’ve been telling myself I’d wake up and get to school early, discovering free time and reading in the library before class. Unhurried. The sun rises. The flowers bloom. And God, do I need caffeine!

My classes are going to be tremendously fun, from the upbeat and wide-open fields of Advanced Typography to the knuckle-clenching, ferocity of Book Design. From the fun and fancy free feeling of Screen Printing to the once-thought-boring-but-actually-quite-lovely Technology of Web Printing, this is going to be perhaps my last completely fun quarter. If only I could stay alive for it.