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2005-06-13 3:49 a.m.

jetlagged, i am

Moving and thorough cleaning always depress me. I'm both a packrat and a minimalist. These two tendencies are always fighting each other. And whichever wins out, I'm not happy. I hate throwing stuff away and I hate having stuff around. What's a boy to do?

I'm in Vegas. We leave for Happy Valley tomorrow. And I can't sleep.

Let's do some movie reviews! The first two I saw on the plane, the third I saw in the theatre almost as soon as I got in (after a short nap) and the last two I rented right after seeing the third.

Be Cool Oh, what a piece of shit. They dragged out every cliche imaginable. Ugh. I can't believe I watched the whole thing. That's 90 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. I could have spent that time doing something more intellectually stimulating, like staring at the ceiling. The Rock was amusing, but in the end... 0 stars (I haven't given out one of those in a long time. Usually I know not to see such films beforehand.)

The Cat Leaves Home A Japanese movie. I think the Japanese title is Kenbyou. It was very student filmy. They were trying really hard to fill it with artsy shots, and to say something fundamental yet subtle about the human condition, but the end result was a really, really boring movie. 1 star

Episode III It was awesome. He pulled it off. He didn't hold back in presenting Anakin's dark side switcheroo; he took it all the way. I really appreciate that. The coughing robot was a little weird, though. Beautifully depressing and heart-rending. (Though it would have been more so if Episodes I and II had done a better job of building sympathy for Anakin. They did alright, really. But they could have done better.) 4 stars

The Incredibles It was great. Not only funny, but the action sequences were really cool. And I loved the Sarah Vowell! Definitely my favorite Pixar piece to date. I think I'll hand this one 4 stars, as well.

Garden State I really liked it, but I can't quite say why. It was certainly interesting timing, as the main character in this film is returning home for four days to a place he doesn't really want to go back to in order to attend a funeral, whereas I'm currently returning home for a week to a place I don't really want to go back to in order to attend a wedding. We've both turned our backs on cerain aspects of our past, and now we have to deal with them again. Andrew Largeman is the same age as me, too. I feel like the film was trying to tell me something about myself, but I don't know what. The ending made me feel guilty, 'cause... well, I wouldn't have done what he did, were I in his position. ... (Well, maybe if it was Natalie Portman.) That Shins song, which I don't even own, is still stuck in my head. It's gotta get 4 stars.

(Zach Braff apparently had a Broadway musicals theme for his bar mitzvah. That's hilarious.)

(I seem to give high ratings to a lot of the films I see, but I think that's mostly because I generally only watch films I expect to like. Except on an airplane.)

So, yes. It feels a little weird to be back. Back to the past, in more ways than one. Sitting in the San Jose airport, surrounded by fat white people, American English, and the smell of cinnamon, I just had the distinct feeling of "This is not where I live!" But then I heard a kid command his little sister to "take a chill pill," and that's when the ice broke and I knew, "Oh. Right. THIS is where I'm from."

Thumbing through Sarah Vowell's The Partly Cloudy Patriot on the plane to Vegas (I read it the first time on the plane to Japan last July) really stirred my feelings for home, too. On the plane from Tokyo I had been a little pessimistic about coming back, even thinking that Japan is where I really belong, but... That's a good book. It's required reading for any left-leaning American citizen who has doubts about our great nation now that Dubya is driving (particularly "The Nerd Voice" essays and the title essay "The Partly Cloudy Patriot"). The book was written after 9/11 but before Iraq, though, so I'd be curious how that and Dubya's legitimate reelection have affected her views...

Sometimes I wish I could live in both Japan and America at the same time. And sometimes I think I already do.

only a sith speaks in absolutes,