Saturday, January 5, 2008

How I Learned to Stop Smoking and Love the Resolutions

The Date is 01/22/08. Today is officially my New Year's Day. Sure everyone else recognizes the New Year as 01/01, but I just wasn't ready to let go of some things. It was too soon.

22 extra days later, I think I'm ready. It's time for change.

So Long Cigarettes: Here is an open letter to my love:

Cigga Rette,

I know we kind of moved fast and I acted like I was ready to go the distance with you, but I think we were fooling each other. What we had in Austin WAS real and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I knew we should have ended it there, but you helped me through a rough patch in September and I will never forget that. I think that made us go too hard and too fast. We're fooling ourselves. This isn't working. We need to make a clean break. I love you but I hate you. You'll find someone knew and it will crush me when you do but its the right thing for us. Ciga Rette, in the words of Chicago (sans the immortal Peter Cetera):

If we meet on the street some day, and I don't know what to say, look away, baby, look away.

Always and forever,

Deltron 3030

Hello Gym: There was a healthy living stretch of time in my life in 2007 (lets ball park it at January-August) where I was hitting the gym on average four times a week. An amazing feat when you consider these two major facts about me:
  1. I'm a binge drinker.
  2. Before January 1st 2007 I had NEVER set foot in a gym.
Knowing that, 4-5 days a week of working out was pretty impressive.

<-By no means was I in tip top "River Hudson" post-steroids shape, but I had no gut and was not sporting the concave chest that I'm currently rocking. Now that I've broken off the long engagement with Lady Tobacco, I should have more free time to spend at the gym. I prepped for it by hitting GNC for a case of vanilla protein shakes. Not only are they surprisingly delicious but they are an amazing substitute for egg whites. Hungover egg whites very well might be the worst tasting breakfast food known to mankind.

Sans Soda:
I don't really love it. Why not drink water instead? Truth be told, the only time I really seek it out is when I'm finishing off a Wendy's order with "I'll take a Biggie Coke with that!" So I guess it stands to reason if I avoid "combo meals" (lets face it, I'm not giving up fast food!) I can avoid soda. My question: If i replace soda with Snapple Iced Teas, am I really improving anything?

Bastard up: I'm not 100% sure if I can fully elaborate on this yet, but don't worry I will only "bastard up" when it is warranted. I still very much fear the retribution of Lady Karma.

Blogging more:
There have been plenty of great events and stories that went unblogged in '07 out of sheer laziness. I'll try and correct this. I think my recent disdain for myspace should directly aid in this endeavor. Although, I have noticed I've been spending far too much time on Facebook of late so this might be a push. I need to cram in as much as I can before baseball season starts.

Now that we have all that out of the way, I can bring you my top ten movie list of 2007. I started writing this on the 5th of January and I never got past the first sentence. Here it is now, coming out appropriately enough on New Year's Del.

10) Talk to Me - The anti "The Great Debaters" . Hmm, that might not be the best way to describe it. Anti-"Great Debaters" sounds a bit racist. Allow me to elaborate. "Talk To Me" centers on the story of a man overcoming personal demons to become a success in a time and place when no one expected it from him. Yes he is black, but the movie doesn't stoop to pushing the race card that the "Remember the Titans," "Pride" and "The Great Debaters" push. Are those movies even trying? I like to think that if I were African-American I'd find "Talk To Me" as uplifting as that Hallmark schlock, but twice as refreshing. It just offers up so much more. Cheadle can do no wrong in my eyes too.

9) Air Guitar Nation - Following the trials and turbulations of such characters as David "C-Diddy" Jung and Dan "Bjorn Turoque" Crane, I couldn't help but wonder how it took me this long to hear about the World Air Guitar Championships. Bjorn Turoque was a sickening case study in plucky, obsessive determination meets a blatant inability to accept failure. Granted, he was far superior to the one trick pony he kept losing to, but at what point do you admit failure? If you are Bjorn Turoque (great name btw) then the answer would be never!

8) Breach - I'd pretty much see anything Chris Cooper is in, so I was an easy sell for this movie. Even still, I had my doubts as it also starred Ryan Phillippe. I should have known better. The writer /director of this movie is Billy Ray, the same guy who did "Shattered Glass." If he could pull a great performance out of that waste of life named Hayden Christensen, then he could certainly get a tour de force out of Phillippe. Have I mentioned how much I love Shattered Glass? If there's ever a "Del" movie, I'd like Billy Ray to direct and Peter Sarsgaard to act. As my love interest, Rachel Bilson.

7) No End in Sight - A fine companion piece to last years "Why We Fight" and 2007's book "Imperial Life in the Emerald City. Watching this documentary is approximately 1000 times more terrifying than any "Saw"movie. "A scare fest that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the very end" is how you could easily describe this or "Jesus Camp." I didn't watch the credits, but I wonder if everyone who voted for Bush (TWICE!) was listed as "best boys" or "producers". Jackasses.

6) Knocked Up - Sure it was as a bit sappy, but it was pretty relentless with its filth. In my opinion, Kristen Wiig stole this movie with an assist from Charlyne Yi (i.e. the stoned Asian girl). To all the people who praise Judd Apatow and Company let me ask you: Where the fuck were you when he was floundering for ratings on two TV shows??? "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared" deserved two seasons. Maybe if you stopped watching "Touched by an Angel" or "ER," it could have happened. The same goes for anyone who did not watch "Arrested Development." I guess it all worked out as the creative teams for all three shows have gone on to some pretty good projects. You are forgiven Neilsen households. However I can not forgive you for keeping "According to Jim" for seven fucking seasons.

5) Eastern Promises - I went into this knowing exactly zero about the plot. I have a strict code of avoiding all reviews of a movie until AFTER I've seen said movie. Like Frank Costanza, I prefer to go into a movie fresh. I expected "A History of Violence" 2.0, but I got so much more. Mind you, there was far too much male frontal nudity for my taste. Let's say the threshold for such a scene of this nature were one second. That threshold gets shattered in this movie. Shattered isn't even a strong enough word for it, besides that it's a great friggin movie. Hard to believe that this is the same director who brought us "The Fly" and "Scanners." Sure those are great movies....but a different kind of great. This is an ACTUAL great movie. Something you wouldn't be slightly ashamed to have in your DVD collection
(I swear on my life that copy of "Crossroads" was my roommates!")

4) Superbad - Michael Cera is a one trick pony. That said, his one trick is one helluva trick. I could really relate to the character of Evan, especially the almost getting vomited on in bed. Mind you, he's playing a high school student on the verge of graduation and I'm 30 years old. Time to re-evaluate some life choices, Mr. LeFevre. The irony of this sad rant is that the life mirroring film incident occurred on the very same night I saw this movie. What are the chances? I wonder...if I go see "Cloverfield" will a monster attack Santa Monica? If I go see "There Will Be Blood," will I then be bludgeoned to death in a mansion's private bowling alley by a mad with power oil tycoon? I should probably put this theory to test and rent "The Girl Next Door,"or even better "Showgirls."

3) Juno - Michael Cera again. Doing his thing. I wanted to slot this lower because the smugness of the screenwriter, Diablo Cody, left a bad taste in my mouth. I read an EW interview with her and she came across as a snobby, manufactured kitschy, madly in love with herself, douche. So bad that I considered not seeing it. I put my hate on hold and saw it anyway and loved every second of it. Once you get past her forced overly smarmy and verbose teen chatter (think a funnier Dawson's Creek) and embrace that pacing for the movie, you're in for a treat. Added bonus is that the movie has a great soundtrack. How often does a person get to hear TWO Belle and Sebastian songs in one movie? It was a rhetorical question but I'll humor you, not often.

2) Once - This is my bitch boy* movie of the year. Something about it struck a chord in me and my mind lingered on it long after it was over. It was literally the last movie I saw of the year. A friend highly recommend it without divulging any plot points. A high recommendation is usually a curse as a movie can NEVER match the hype once the ball gets rolling (I'm looking at you Cloverfield). Luckily, this person didn't go overboard. If she did, I don't think it would have mattered as I loved this film. It received the rarest of rares in my Netflix rating history: 5 stars*. I'm not sure what struck me so strongly about the movie, but I think it had something to do with the organic feel of it. Made on a shoestring budget ($150,000) in 17 days by real musicians, acting for the very first time (who ended up falling in love as they shot the movie) gave it a realness that no other movie could come close to recreating. It doesn't hurt that the soundtrack written by the two leads is amazing. The soundtrack has been in my car for two solid weeks and I'd leave it in there for two more but I think I'm beginning to grow ovaries.

1) No Country For Old Men - It is a flawless movie. Never did I think I'd love a Western, a Neo-Western at that.....but I did. The Cohen Brothers paint a bleak, yet at the same time, vivid picture of the west. The cinematography is amazing. Dark in parts, funny in others, painful in many, this movie runs the gamut of emotions without ever really switching gears. Impressive work. I became so engaged with what I was watching that I couldn't recall if there ever was a score to the movie. Certainly a movie that needs to be experienced on the big screen...regardless of how big your TV is. Even better, the ending leaves it up to the audience to really decide what you've just watched. I have my thoughts and I'm sticking with them.

added bonus: Josh Brolin's wife in the film is played by Kelly Macdonald. I don't think I've see her since Trainspotting...but I'm still very much smitten.

NOTE (the following movies will have to make 2008's list)
  • Before the Devil Knows Your Dead - didn't see it
  • The Assassination of Jesse James - didn't see it
  • There Will Be Blood - saw it drunk.
*Bitch boy - Bitch boy movies are movies that get me choked up. Not to the point of tears mind you. I guess if I watched one of these, and then I found out my dog got run over, I might lose my shit. You get the idea. The comprehensive list is:
  • Field of Dreams - This is the defacto man tear jerker. Baseball. It's in our blood.
  • Big Fish- That end scene when everyone is there to meet Albert Finney by the lake gets me every time.
  • Once - Not so much a tear jerker, it just leaves you feeling something.
  • The Notebook - Alzheimer's was never sadder... and sexier.

Now playing: Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová - Falling Slowly

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Delta Delta Delta, Can I help Ya Help Ya Help Ya or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being "Off the Grid"

Let's start this blog off the way my sister Melissa would start off EVERY school paper and or speech during her entire scholastic career:

"Webster's Dictionary defines a jackass as a male donkey or a stupid person. I can certainly think of another way to define jackass, Del LeFevre. Throughout this essay I will compare and contrast..."

Killer opening! Thanks Melissa.

On to the blog. I've managed to be quite less of a jackass of late. Sure it's taken a lot of work and it has required me to throw a bit less caution to the wind. The end result being less blogs. I've been quite neglectful. Some blame would certainly have to go to my purchase of Rockband. It's kind of a big deal in the 621 Strand Studio. Mind you I'm God awful. Let's chalk that up to my gypsy lifestyle over the past two months. Ok I'm throwing excuses on top of excuses here, let's move on.

I, and the God damn airlines, must have subconsciously realized my blog laziness and rewarded my sloth-like behavior.

As I've stated in the past I'm a kick ass traveler. I haven't gotten up out of my seat on an airplane since August of 2001. That's an amazing feat in and of itself. During that time period I've cultivated a zen approach to flying. Nothing bothers me. Kids screaming? Fine. Fat people pouring over the seat? I'm okay. Old foreign married couple about to dig into two week old foreign leftovers? Enjoy. Nothing rattles me.

On December 30th, I realized I was living a lie. You see all those flights I'd been as healthy as a horse. This flight not so much. Since coming back to NY, I'd been going out more and drinking for longer periods of time (old friends and later last calls = Drunk Del). This had my immune system on the ropes and of course the day before my flight I got trashed for the Giants game. I headed to the terminal with my customary 2 hour window of prep time. All good. I had a layover in Cincy. No big deal. One hour in Cincy wouldn't kill me. In Cincy, the gate announced that the flight was oversold and they'd offer a $400 voucher for anyone who changed their flight to a morning flight. Obviously, a free hotel would be included in the deal. Seemed like a good deal but I had two concerns...
  1. Hmm, if I didn't stay the course I thought my luggage would end up lost for sure.
  2. My pals John and Annie were preparing to pick me up from the airport after they landed. They were currently on a plane of their own so I could not call off the airport pickup. (Compounding point two was the fact that my blackberry was on its last legs for there was no guarantee of getting a call off when I landed.
I had to pass. It seemed like the most logical thing. What occurred next was the perfect storm of traveling fiascoes.
  • The flight was delayed.
  • I was a middle seat between an old fat man, and a younger fat man. Said younger fat man may or may not have had some form of tourette's and LOVED death metal. The only thing he loved more was air drumming to the death metal...while sweating. A LOT!
  • Hairspray was the in-flight movie.
  • The old man had an old man bladder. He was the inside seat. That meant a lot of up and downs for me. This required me to interrupt my neighbor's killer drum solo. Even more troublesome was the constant up and down. It was like Satan tempting Jesus in the desert. Getting up and into the aisle. Normally this wouldn't have an effect on me but...
  • Due to turbulence they were not serving drinks for the ENTIRE fucking flight. I was sick and hungover and my throat was torn to shit. I just needed a little water. I cracked and went into the bathroom and splashed water into my mouth from the low pressure sink. It was a low point. That is till I forgot to lock the door while i was urinating. I blindly slammed the door back shut when someone tried to come in mid stream. Sadly the invader was a tiny toddler with his dad. I crushed the toddler's hand. I had officially lost my zen. Thank God that kid and his angry father were not sitting near me.
All and all a terrible experience. My ipod and my book were little to no solace. Chubby's death metal was overpowering them. I made it through the flight in one piece but I think I looked like Walken at the end of "The Deer Hunter." It seemed as if the worst was over.

I was wrong.

My friends got delayed and would not be able to pick me up at the airport. Worse things could happen I thought as i waited for my luggage.

and waited.
and waited.
and waited.

After sitting at the baggage carousal for an embarrassing amount of time I went in and reported my baggage missing.

So lets go back to Cincy. Remember I passed on getting a free flight voucher and a hotel room because I was concerned about losing my luggage and screwing up my pals. Now I was in San Francisco with no ride and no luggage. Freaking sweet. I headed out to the Super Shuttle and waited to get to The Marina. While waiting, my friends called and said they'd be ordering pizza. I was beyond excited as all that I had during the day was some dirty ass airplane tap water. I literally had nothing else. Sure enough I was the last person to be dropped off. As the van began to approach the apartment I started to text my pal to buzz me in. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the pizza guy getting buzzed in and like a ravenous third world peasant I ran for him. All dignity was officially out the window. I shared my miserable story with John and Annie over some pizza and then went to go charge my phone.

"Hmm...I was kind of in a daze when I came here. I definetly had it though. I wonder where i put it." I said this over and over until I realized I was so excited about the pizza that I bolted out of the Super Shuttle mid text and left my blackberry on the seat.

My name is Del LeFevre, King of the Jackasses.

It was now 3am EST and I was without clothes, a toothbrush, or a phone. Good times. I called the shuttle dispatch office and gave them a timeline of the events and my buddy's number where they could reach me. At this point all I wanted to do was sleep but my buddy INSISTED he show me how sweet "Mario Galaxy" was for the wii. For the record, watching someone play Wii while you're dying of misery is "sweet!" He finally gave up and went to bed and I was able to hit the couch and do the same.

Not 15 minutes later his phone rang. This is what I heard:

John: Hello
Mystery caller: rlkrmkmrk korjgorjnmro
John: Hello
Mystery Caller: gmklrmgrkl lrmfklgmrkl
John Who is this?

Mind you it CLEARLY says "Del LeFevre" on his caller id. It could've really only been one person, my old friend the shuttle driver. I have to take some blame as in my tired haze I forgot to prep my buddy on the driver's thick African/Chinese accent in the off chance that he called.

At this point I felt like George Costanza yelling "Vandelay Industries!" because I was powerless to save the call. I knew it was the driver trying to do the right thing but having a hard time with the language and my friend's lack of help. "Hello. Hello, Who is this" could easily be translated into "Don't ever call here this late ever again or I will have your ass deported!. "

The driver hung up. I got the phone from John and tried calling it back but it was now going to voice mail. The driver was terrified. Rightfully so.

Good times. I did get my luggage the next day so it wasn't a total lost cause. The phone is still missing in action. I'm currently suffering through the early stages of withdrawal from text deprivation - Heightened by my choice to stop smoking cigarettes. (I really embraced the smoker lifestyle in the last few months of 2007. Classy!)

NYE was real solid. The band, which consisted of members of Vertical Horizon and Stroke 9, did a killer cover of the theme song to "National Lampoon's Vacation." I know, I know. Reading that sentence it doesn't add up, but you had to be there. The place went nuts.

note: My one hour flight on Jan 1st was delayed four hours. No phone and a dead laptop forced me to use a pay phone. I now have ear herpes.

note II: I saw this down in "The Mission". Genius really. Who wouldn't want to order some spicy chicken and broccoli with a few glazed donuts on the side
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