25 August 2009

What Would You Think About

I really like to write, and I really like you for reading what I really write. I write to please you and you and you and you with what I write. And hence, I am pleading for your input on my blog. Since October is my favorite month, and since this October will be the eighteen month anniversary of “David’s Holla Atchya Blog” (also known as “Wallace’s Holla Atchya Blog”) I want to make some changes to better facilitate your enjoyment. Some things I am considering, for your consideration:
· A new ‘template’ or ‘skin.’ I have received some complaints that the white on black makes readers dizzy. I almost got sued last Winter when one of my three readers got in an accident because she saw stars after reading my white-on-black post. Everything turned out alright, but just imagine if she had hit one of my other two fans? I’d be the only Holla Atchya Fan!
· Guest Appearances. I enjoy many other blogs, and find several of them to be quite provoking, provocative and prolific. With owners’ permission I might feature some posts by guest authors. That way my readers get some variety and other bloggers get more exposure, if they want it in a legal way.
· What would you like to read more about? How do you feel about the content on my blog? Would you like more commentary on current events? How about more sports commentary? Would you like me to include more stories, or more opinions? Would you like more spiritual, reverent posts? What would YOU like me to write about? Controversies? Maybe I could learn how to put videos on my bog (Wow, that’s stretching it)? Would you like pictures attached to each post? Some things will still be off limits, such as my opinion on ice cream (it will forever be a mystery), but mostly I’m willing to open up.
· Are you against advertisements on the side of my blog? What do you expect when you open up my blog?
· Are there themes you like to see, or skip over? Thus far I have described my posts as analogous to a weekly newspaper column. Do you like that? Do you only read my blog because I read yours? These are the questions I want you to truthfully answer and give me feedback on. Please let me know how I can be better! If you are nervous about leaving critical feedback (you shouldn't be) then leave your comments as anonymous.
I am going on a vacation to Yellowstone/Jackson Hole today, and will be away for a week. In that week I would invite you to think about how I could make this blog better- in your opinion- and leave a comment telling me how. You readers are the best! Get ready for David's Holla Atchya Blog 2.0 in October!

24 August 2009

Movies I Have Seen This Summer

FREEDOM! That will forever remind me of New Hampshire and Braveheart.
You will not regret this movie. Unless you are French.
Hugh Grant, you have done it again.

As you may recall, I like to watch movies. Especially over religious holidays such as Ramadan and at Bar Mitzvahs. Summertime is also great for movies, mostly only because the rental store (aka the library) has year round air conditioning and it gets quite cold in the Winter months. Anywho, I have analyzed my Summer movies, giving them each a brief review, and a scale from zero ‘Hollas’ to five ‘Hollas.’ A half of a ‘Holla’ is represented by a ‘Hi’ (I was going to use ‘Ho’ but my gardener told me it was offensive).
Cheaper by the Dozen “Steve Martin could be in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it would be funny. This one was slightly reminiscent of an experience I had at my grocery store recently, while purchasing eggs.” Holla Holla Holla Hi
The Fantastic Four “A fine addition to the Marvel series, although the only thing worth marveling over is Jessica Alba.” Holla Holla Holla
Look Both Ways “An independent film that probably should have remained that way. Its company was not appreciated, although the Australian accents and scenery were fun to watch. It’s about pessimistic people that don’t do anything with their lives but think about death. It sort of reminded me of Al-Queda.” Hi
The Medallion “Jackie Chan as a jeweler. It had potential, but all in all Jackie just wasn’t that great selling pendants for a living. If I want to see a jeweler I’ll go back to Provo.” Holla Hi
The Forgotten “I won’t forget this one for awhile. You shouldn’t forget this review for at least the rest of today. A thriller about motherhood. Yes, that’s truthfully what it’s about. It makes you thankful for your own mother and her alien fighting powers, judging of course that she is Juliana Moore and legitimately has Martian marshalling abilities. ” Holla Holla Holla Holla
The Longest Yard “With the exception of The Greatest Invention Since Sliced Bread: A Documentary on The Rolodex, this was the most offensive movie I have seen. I had to turn it off at the twenty minute mark. I think maybe it was about my walk from King Henry to the Talmage Building on a cold December morning, but I didn’t watch it long enough to find out.” This one doesn’t even deserve a complimentary hand wave, never mind a Hi or Holla.
Super Size Me “It was about food; how could I not like it? Watching a healthy man with a fu-manchu destroy his innards on McDonald’s was surprisingly quite entertaining.” Holla Holla Holla
Mel Brooks in Silent Film “Yes, this was a parody on silent films in the form of a silent film. It was very quiet, and not very good.” Hi
Braveheart’This is three times you have saved me… Why? Because of the way you are looking at me right now.’ Wow; lines like that made this a phenomenal movie. I LOVED it. I felt such an allegiance to William Wallace that I’m considering changing my name to Wallace. I want to be like him, minus the killing involved with his line of work.” Holla Holla Holla Holla Hi
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas “Well done, but somewhat flat. A sad, winding, ending. In an effort to not spoil anything, I will just say it’s about a boy in pajamas. You’ll have to watch it to find out if they were polka-dotted, Superman, or whatever else kind of pajamas there are.” Holla Holla
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins “If I were Black and from the Derrty South I would have probably understood this movie a little more. It had Martin Lawrence, however, who I find hilarious. I laughed out loud a little.” Holla Holla
Stealth “This movie felt like Seventh Heaven meets Behind Enemy Lines. Sound intriguing? It was. My favorite part was the Thailand scenes.” Holla Holla Hi
X2: X-Men United “’Nuff said. It had Wolverine- my idol. If the X-Men were in Confessions of a Shopoholic, I would see that too. Actually, that gives me a good idea.” Holla Holla Holla Hi
Les Miserables “A brilliantly performed rendition (sans singing) of Victor Hugo’s invincible story. It far exceeded my expectations, and was definitely the best drama I have seen in many years. Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush were inspiring, terrifying, and spectacular as Jean Valjean and Javre (spelling?).” Holla Holla Holla Holla Holla
Music and Lyrics “Once again, Hugh Grant did not disappoint. He was funnier than Jerry Seinfeld on The Simpsons (that didn’t actually happen, but it would be rip-roaringly hilarious if it did). Drew Barrymore was entertaining and well cast.” Holla Holla Holla Holla
My top three movies to recommend after this summer of movies are: Braveheart (edited), Les Miserables (1998), and Music and Lyrics.If you are still reading this post, you must be a movie junkie. I can’t believe I just listed all those movies. I think I’ll go relax with a good flick.

21 August 2009

Boston Heat Wave 2009

This week marked the first heat wave of the 2009 Summer in Boston. I can verify firsthand that it is pretty hot outside. Hotter than two grizzly bears having a sprinting race while on fire (and chewing jalapenos). Hotter than hot chocolate wrapped in a down-comforter, in a kiln. Hotter than Giesele Bundchen having hot flashes in a cashmere sweater, on the equator. Yes, it really is that hot.
The great thing about heat waves in Boston is that not only do you have mercury rising absurdly, but you should also expect to be stuck to just about anything you come within six yards of, on account of the humidity. Everything is so sticky and wet that human encounters can get awkward and you may need to pack your squeegee in your purse to wipe the sweat off your face; even if you have a small, cute face. Just yesterday in the stultifying sun I was seeking solace under a parked Mack truck, and found fourteen other well-mannered humans also temporarily lodging under the oversized truck in an effort to escape the sun. Unfortunately, due to the humidity, they were all stuck together under there, like prisoners awaiting execution. There wasn’t any room for me, and plus someone called them in thinking they were illegal immigrants being trafficked (wouldn’t you think the same if you saw fourteen people huddled together under a truck?). Consequently, I chose a different location for my shade. It’s hard to come by, but I found some next to a lamppost. I had to suck in real tight and shuffle slowly along as the sun rose and the shade moved, but to escape the heat wave it was worth it. I will say it made for a slow afternoon, though.
The term ‘heat wave’ seems so endearing, like a cool ocean wave lapping between your toes in the warm, sauna-like sun. To all you Minnesotans and non-English speaking Canadians, it’s a deceitful lie! Don’t ever, ever, associate the words ‘heat wave’ with ‘lapping’ or ‘cool’ or ‘toes.’ If I were the president of the National Association of Temperature Naming Committees of North America I would not use such friendly terms to describe the death days described by consecutive afternoons of 90°F temperatures. I would prefer a term more along the lines of ‘Crippling, Crusty, Cycles’ or ‘So Hot You Wish You Were An Emperor Penguin in Antarctica.’ I realize that term is a little bit longer than the others approved by the NANCNM but I still find it significantly more accurate than ‘heat wave.’
Luckily, after much thought and after having lost some brain cells (they melted), I have come up with the solution to Boston’s current So Hot You Wish You Were An Emperor Penguin in Antarctica. My solution is twofold: 1.) Ice cream 2.) Eliminate cats
Ice cream solves everything. It doesn’t have anything to do with a frozen treat on a simmering day; it could fix a cold spell as well. Now, the elimination of cats is so obvious I’m surprised my affiliates in the NANCNM haven’t thought of it before. For starters, cats breathe a lot, and they breathe hot air. We just can’t deal with that under these circumstances. Secondly, cats have a lot of fur. That encourages heat. Thirdly, cats love to lie in the sun, and hence without them there would be less sun and ergo cooler temperatures. Something tells me PETA would take issue with my twofold solution, but maybe if we could somehow turn cats into ice cream, they would settle for it. If you want to come visit Boston please do, just be aware that we can’t have a welcoming hug because we would never be able to separate after that. Physically, literally.

16 August 2009

Newburyport, Kittery, Ogunquit

Ogunquit- the home of Quitting Oguns.
ME, quitting Ogun, in Ogunquit, ME. (Do you get the pseudo palindrome?)

Oh How I Love New England.
Saturdays are really great days- especially when you get to spend them with your family on the beach. I mean, you know, they are fun to spend with other families, but spending time with your own blood is spectacular. In Wyoming, you can drive for hours and still see the amazing... rocks and barren wasteland that constitues a 'landscape.' In New England, you can drive for a mere 1.5 hours and travel through 3 states. Such was the case last week. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine were the three M N M's we visited on our beach/shopping/seafood tour. Newburyport is on the North Shore of Massachusetts- a quaint town next to Salisbury, a town better known for its steaks than its cornbread.
Relaxing on the beach makes me think of... nothing. And that's just how I like it.
Shopping in Kittery makes me think of... sisters. They like to shop more than brothers.
Eating seafood in Ogunquit makes me think of... the Planet Earth segment when the Great White Shark devours a seal straight out of the ocean.
I had the "All You Can Eat Clams" which was more like the "All You Can Handle Cholesterol Before Your Arteries Coagulate With Fear And Dimish As The Moon In The Morning Sun." Those Maine-iacs are very artsy. The clams were preceeded by mussels (a bivalve mollusk), which could be appropriately called "Nasty Looking, Seawater Tasting Boogers, That Once Dipped In Fatty Garlic Butter Become Indecipherable From McDonald's Fries, But Are Still Twice The Price And Double The Artery-Clogging Power." Yum! Seafood is so great.
To perorate this doctrinally rich post, allow me to exclaim with extreme boldness: New England is the greatest region of the Great United States. Now discuss amongst yourselves.

15 August 2009

The Comedy of Errors: Part II

The Comedy of Errors: Part I did not appear on this blog. In fact, I don't believe it appeared anywhere, but it did happen. It happened in London. After reading and studying The Comedy of Errors I was honored to see it performed before my virginal eyes at Shakespeare's The Globe Theatre. Although some bowdlerizing would have been appropriate, I found it gut-tighteningly hilarious. The plot is bizarre and befuddling for one who is not familiar with the farcical nature of the text, but enjoyment may still be gleaned by any sophomoric audience.
This week, The Comedy of Errors was being performed on Boston Common free of charge. Seeing a warm evening unfold before me and an eleventh-hour opportunity on Friday, I chose to carpe diem and mosey on downtown to see the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's rendition of the nonsensical production. This version was established in a 1930's Miami/South Beach locale, complete with a sandy beach, neon lights, greyhounds, and a lifeguard chair. (Of all the cues, the greyhounds were what gave the setting away.) The play was nothing I would call brilliant, though I would classify it as charming and merry. Something strangely staggering seems to have sublimely taken over my id (of late) because ever since I was in London I like going to see shows, and I understand them. I know what themes to look for, and what to notice in the lightening, although I still have no explanation why. Perhaps a genetic injection while I slept? Maybe an osmotic 'theatre loving' micro-wave emitted from a microwave? Was it that strange odor in my sixth floor flat that changed me?
The real highlight of the evening was lounging in a beach chair on The Common with a picnic dinner, catching up with a good friend and listening to the pre-show show (jazz music provided by the New England Conservatory). The jazz music set the stage for the play, which featured some tremendous samba music. I wanted to get up an dance, but then I remembered I had a sandwich in my bag, and eating usually takes preference over dancing in my life.

Whenever I write a blog entry I think to myself, "If I were to comment on this post, what would I write that would be meaningful for the author?" Upon wrapping this post up, I really don't know what comment I would write, which is a signal to me that it's not a very good entry. Darn; I'll seek repentance.

14 August 2009

An American Classic

Ashley looking glam on the Cobalt. That boat in the background was the Marine Patrol coming to cuff her for looking too good on the front of the boat. It's permitted on the back, but not up front. Kind of like a mullet.
Me slalom skiing. The 'water' coming off my ski is actually smoke from a fire. I was bending over to try and put it out, but unfortunately I left my extinguisher in my other swim trunks.
Taking a bite out of waterskiing. The handle tasted a bit like lobster with mustard sauce. I know, not at all what I expected.

Is there anything more classic Americana than waterskiing on Lake Winnipesaukee in the late, Wolfborough Summer? The only thing that comes to mind is eating watermelon while boating under some fireworks, on Lake Winnipesaukee in the late, Wolfborough Summer. I guess I was most of the way there, but not entirely. Maybe that's why I'm not President. I bet Obama's waterskiied with watermelon under fireworks on Lake Winnipesaukee in the late, Wolfborough Summer.
I am blessed to vacation.
I have two friends who conveniently invited me to crash their family reunions this week, both occuring in New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee (hereafter 'Lake Winnipesaukee' will be simply referred to as 'The Lake'). Since there's two sides to every story, allow me to explain how the invitation went:
ME: Hey Man, I going for a drive in my Mom's minivan on Monday. Want to come?
FRIEND: Oh yea? Where are you going? Oh wait, I just remembered, I can't go. I have a family reunion on Monday!
ME: No way? I had no idea... Well, I was going to drive to 'The Lake.' Where's your reunion?
FRIEND: That's ironic, my reunion is on 'The Lake' too. I'd invite you, but it's going to be all family and I don't think we have room.
ME: Oh that's not a problem, I'll just sleep in my car! I'll be there by lunch on Monday! Gosh, thanks for inviting me! You know I just love your family! Your Mom, your Dad, your brother, your sister...
FRIEND: Ahhhh, I'm an only child, remember?
ME: Huh, I actually don't recall that. What, are you Matt? No? Ooooh, well that's embarassing. I guess I mistook you for another friend. Well, no matter! I'll see you at the reunion on Monday!
And thus I crashed two reunions.
On Monday it was Alton Bay for some pontoon boat action and beaching, followed by a midweek excursion to Tuftonborough for some waterskiing and wave running. The highlight of my two family jaunt was the togetherness by families other than my own. At the Starcks, my first destination, there were ten other people staying at their house- and me. At the Hafens, my second excursion, there were fifteen other people staying at their compound- and me. Some people party hop, some people bar hop, and I family-reunion hop! I regret nothing. 'The Lake' is a great place to get to know other families and relaxing on the beach or lake deck make for a cynosure of the Summer. There's much more to write about 'The Lake' but frankly I am feeling tremendous pressure from my editor to post this, so it will have to end there.

04 August 2009

The Library

I foolishly went to the library this afternoon by myself, with an hour of nothing on my docket. It was only foolish because Bozo the Clown was there, and I waited in line for 45 minutes to get my balloon dog that looks more like a German U-Boat that it does a Dachshund. It doesn't bark either, which was a bit of a disappointment. However, with my remaining ten minutes (I had to hurry home to roll my quarters, a task that was long overdue) I successfully crammed three digital video discs into the slot to save time filing them in individually, which allowed me a few precious moments to ponder the Utopian concept of libraries.
Allow the recapturing to begin: I concluded today- after six microseconds- that the library has everything I need in life, and all for free nonetheless. For entertainment, there are movies, books, music, and occasionally Bozo the Clown. To stay up with current events there are newspapers, magazines, and often televisions. For food, there is a waterfountain, an address which accommodates deliverymen (unless your library only has a PO box and therefore no address), and a staff fridge which is always stocked full of brown bag lunches (the circulation librarian brings the best sandwiches, or so I've heard on the DL). For sociality, there are plenty of patrons to chat with, and love, as long as you use whispered tones (which could contribute to a friend becoming a lover. Whispered tones always do that. It's amazing more people don't fall in love in the library). For exercise, there are stairs and plenty of encyclopedias to lift. For sleep, there are very comfy chairs in the newspaper room. If you ever doubt that, just ask one of the senior citizens snoozing in one on any given day. Really, the library has everything I need. I love it there, and if you are ever discouraged during Finals week when it's 11:52 and you are still studying away, just remember what brio you could have for the fine institution known as a Book Building. Like America, love it or leave it.

03 August 2009

Jude The Obscure- A Book Opinion

One of the unforseen side effects, perhaps, of a television-less upbringing is a love for reading. Researchers never saw that one coming! When you don't have a television and you are 11 years old and it's a Saturday, and you've already sharpened every pencil in the house (including mechanical, manical ones, and even a few pens by accident), and you have fed the fish several times out of boredom- almost to the point of their death- then there's not much else to do but pull out a great book and start bringing the characters to life. Now that I am older, and I understand that pens don't need to be sharpened and that fish can't remember when to stop eating because their memory is shorter than a reality show romance, I still have the ablility to enjoy reading. Each Summer I take the sacred opportunity as a literate American to delve into great books- last year it was short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald and this year, so far, it has been Jude the Obscure by 'the greatest tragic writer among English novelists'- Thomas Hardy*. Out of the one novel I have read by one tragic English novelist, I would whole-heartedly agree with Miss Woolf.
My Mother recommended this 1895 novel to me in June as I was embarking for Europe. I began on my plane ride over there, but her ultimate plan of raising me without a television backfired because there was a movie showing that I chose to watch instead of reading (seeing as I have 23 years of rotting to catch up with). Anywho, I dragged this novel around three nations, hardly dipping into its majesty until I came full circle back home. I decided to really give this book a chance since the author and my brother share a first given name. I was not disappointed.
The novel was written with such poise that it was an enlightening delight to open each day. The protagonist is an impecunious and acquisitive man seeking to accomplish ecclesiastical excellence early in his years. But, his heart unintentionally follows a different stroke and he falls in love with a barmaiden. They two of them enter a shallow, official marriage and he is forced to work as a stonemason to suppory their prematurely wilting arrangement. Eventually they agree to separate and Jude continues on in his pursuit of the Priesthood until he meets another lady, this one a consanguineous cousin called Carla. (No, her name was Sue. But Sue doesn't start with a C, so I went with Carla.) I'll admit, I kind of fell in love with Sue at first becuase of Hardy's romantic description of her. She must have been beautiful... The novel appears to progress nicely from there, except that Sue is betrothed to Jude's childhood idol (David Beckham), further throwing confusion into the mele. Tragedies unfold, lives twist like ivy on a rose, and life comes back to where it started. I won't spoil the ending, but I will give you further reasons to read this book:
  1. It has endnotes- a guarantee that you are smart if you are reading it. Footnotes would be one thing, but endnotes are the ultimate sign of intellegentsia. I actually read them, and they taught me about many desultory items that you too could learn if you read them. I would recommed reading the endnotes in the context of the novel, however. They are a little dry when naked.

  2. Several times as I was reading I would stop in severe amazement at a sentence and think to myself, 'That alone could be the cornerstone of this novel.' Hardy treated every line like it was a precious mineral behind protective glass. His superhuman descriptions used a vernacular that would impress even Samuel Johnson.

  3. The cover of my paperback edition has a portrait by John Singer Sargent, equating two respective masters of artistry. That's a good reason to read it if I ever heard one.

  4. As a late nineteenth century English novel, it really helped me escape today's America and teleport to an alternate lifestyle. I loved the archaic spelling and the traditional customs of Jude and his lovers. This novel portrays Sue as a feminist, and it challenges the formal thinking of its day. I thought it was very tastefully done and applicable to our crazy world today.

The world today is filled to the brim- yea, overflowing- with great literature. It's hard to know what is the best option to persue, and frankly it differs person by person. I'm not sure if there is a best book list for any one person. But, Jude the Obscure has an official David's Holla Atchya! recommendation, and if you choose (or chose) to read it I would love to discuss it with you. Let me know what you liked or didn't like about it.

* Virginia Woolf quote

01 August 2009

Sticking With My Team- The Boston Red Sox

My roommate, David Ortiz, getting out of the shower. He's hustling as usual, to make sure there is enough hot water for me (what a great guy).
David and David sharing a moment. We are hugging, in case it wasn't abundantly clear.
My roommate, David Oritz. He's quiet, friendly, and I have never seen any sketchy behavior out of him- and certainly no steroid use.

When I began this blog sixteen months ago, I clearly stated in the preamble: "Some things that interest me that will probably be hashed and hashed over again until I pass out include the presidential election, the Red Sox & baseball in general, college, food, movies, current events, religion, exercising, and my convivial social life." (Yes, all of those are egotistical links to my own blog, thus proving what I started out to do last year. It took me about seventy-three days to create all those hyperlinks that no one is going to follow anyway, but I find it very important to be a man of my word, so if nothing else they are hollow proof that I have accomplished the feats of an honest man.) I found it surprising that the only one of my original topics yet to be postulated is religion. However, seeing as it's Saturday, we'll talk about baseball.
If you aren't much of a baseball devotee you may not be aware that my roommate, David Ortiz, was just listed as a steroid user in 2003. The headlines on the Boston Globe the next day pronounced, "Steroid Scandal Hits Home" and there were three misanthropic, cynical articles ripping the Boston hero apart like a good Michael Scott roast. Ortiz did not even know he tested positive that year, and he didn't know what he tested positive for! Maybe he ate a poppyseed bagel that morning! Maybe he was being secretly given supplements in the Dominican Republic that he thought were just "Flintstones's Kids Multivitamins." Seriously, give the guy the benefit of the doubt! Dan Shaughnessy wrote an animus article against a Red Sox Championship in '04 and '07, nearly denouncing the titles and claiming, "We were better cheaters than you." Does he know that steroids were not illegial in the MLB in 2003 and that there is a dearth of evidence against Big Papi since then? I don't deny that there was (and still is) a plague of 'roids milling around the incestuous clubhouses of American's Pasttime, but we need to stick with our boys until the evidence is abundently clear! For the time being, I am a huge David Ortiz fan, especially seeing as he is my roommate. I have a cut out of him in the room across from mine, where he sleeps. The whole time he's been there I've never seen him use any steroids or do anything suspicious. He's just as friendly as ever, although he often sneaks up on my and makes me jump a little, out of fright for his 6'4", 230 lbs frame. He is a large man. Anyway, our titles in 2004 and 2007 are no more tainted than anyone else's, and they came about through a different kind of chemistry, that of team building and a relaxed clubhouse. Way to go Red Sox, Way to go. Seriously, Way to Go.