Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Quote of the Day: "A little more than kin, and less than kind."

So my girl Natasha was in the final two last week on America's Next Top Model, as in she was second to the worst. And now the other two consider her the absolute worst of the remaining girls.

Suddenly, she's being outshined by both NeNe and Jaslene, both of whom started out the show below par. Suddenly, I'm almost more enthusiastic about NeNe rather than Natasha. Even Jaslene has been more impressive than my favorite Russian. C'mon, Natasha, you're pissing off the guy who is perhaps the then only straight male fan of America's Next Top Model. Work with me, babe.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Natural Slide

Quote of the Day: "You walked around
said yourself beautiful
just too bad they stare."
-TV On The Radio, "Hours"

This morning the weather was gorgeous and warm, so my neighbor, my brother, and I went on a hike. For two hours, we pulled ourselves over and through cacti, loose dirt and rock, and slick rock faces that struck us as impossible manage had it been raining.

We climbed to the highest point we could get to and looked out over the city and surveyed the trail we'd just blazed, and we stood, prepared to head back down. Then came the first drops of rain.

There was no established trail to guide us, so we hurried our way down the side of the mountain, often sitting on our asses and sliding to the canyon below, hoping to not take a rock to the groin or worse, a cactus. Then we arrived at the rock faces.

By this point, they were wet and, therefore, slicker. The downpour was coming down harder and harder, and we were to decide whether or not to take the long way, around the slick rock, or the quicker, more dangerous way--using the rock face as a waterslide. Being the irresponsible hikers we are, we chose the latter.

I went first. I sat on my ass and pushed off. For about twenty feet, I slid, gaining in speed. Slowing down, let alone stopping, was an impossibility, until I reached the bottom, where a pile of boulders ended, rather quickly, my slide to the base of the mountain. It hurt like hell and I got soaked, but man, what a rush.

Simon's Current Obsessions:

TV On The Radio
These guys are so weird. But strangely appealing.

Zombie movies.
There is aren't many vehicles for an allegory better than a zombie film. And it helps to be a gore junky.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Welcome to Texas

Quote of the Day: "Every Elvis has his army
Every rattlesnake its charm."
-Elvis Costello, "Episode of Blonde"

My uncle has returned back to Albuquerque from Houston's M.D. Anderson, and has begun his chemo treatments. My brother and I visited him today to find him expressing vehement disgust over our dipshit president. Happy to see the same uncle that left for Houston is the same one that returned. God bless the doctors at Anderson, but I do have my reservations about what Texas will do to a person.

For example:

I rest my case.

Ok, Ok, I apologize to any Texans out there (except, of course, for the one pictured above). But honestly, folks...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I Must be a Zombie Movie Zombie

Quote of the Day: " When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth."
-Dawn of the Dead

I have a growing obsession with zombie films. At first, I thought George Romero's Dawn of the Dead was one of the stupidest movies I'd ever seen. But lately I've been thinking about its critique of consumer culture--zombies milling around a mall, "survivors" insulating themselves from the outside world with material objects, and I'm realizing that I should have originally taken the film on a more satirical level.

The other night I watched Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. While not as smart as Dawn, Boyle's is worth noting if only for the image of "zombies" congregating in a church. What a compelling idea.

What is with this new obsession? It probably has something to do with the following two factors:

1. Business has picked up at work; and
2. it's finals week.

So I've been very active working and putting together portfolios and writing papers and taking tests. And watching zombie movies.

I get little sleep and I keep hydrated with coffee (by the way, my recent attempt at cutting down my coffee intake is an official failure).

At work, I trudge through my duties (a la Shaun of the Dead, another clever movie) like one of those walking corpses, and I've got the same ugly disposition. I almost made one of the counter girls cry. Hey, at least I didn't tear her open and eat her shiny intestines.

But as of today the semester's over, and my attitudes improved. Now that I have time, I'll be renting the Evil Dead films and Army of Darkness. Sitting in front of my TV, I'll get sunken eyes and maybe even develop a disturbing pallor...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tying One On

Quote of the Day: "Not only do I think marijuana should be legalized, I think it should be mandatory."
-Bill Hicks

Ty Pennington, the wholesome host of Extreme Home Makeover, was arrested for driving under the influence. I have mixed feelings towards the show--it's generous, and it seems that there is even a glimmer of good intention in the show's premise (God, how naive am I?). But isn't there something overtly exploitative about using the sick, the dying, the despondent to draw tears from T.V. viewers? And isn't their something overtly funny that this guy, this representation of redemption and family unity, was arrested for driving inebriated with an open container in his vehicle?

In his defense, he was very apologetic for the incident, and he'll probably catch more flack than he deserves. But still, I'm consumed by cynicism, so much so that I fear it may be unhealthy.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

So Many Uses For The 'F' Word, So Little Time...

Quote of the Day: "I'm ahead, I'm a man
I'm the first mammal to wear pants, yeah
I'm at peace with my lust
I can kill 'cause in God I trust, yeah
It's evolution, baby"
-Pearl Jam, "Do The Evolution"

Holy shit! The Sopranos really kicked it up a notch tonight! For anybody that criticized the "first half" of this season, I think it's time to reassess those opinions. Things are building quite nicely, and it looks like this brilliant show is building to an epic conclusion of Goodfellas or The Godfather proportions.

I'm interested in writing for television. It's something I want to make a living doing. Damn you, Sopranos, for creating something like this. How can I ever live up to the complexities of this series?

By the way, I haven't been a very good blogger lately, but my last final is on Wednesday--can I get a hollaback! Wow, I must be giddy, for I've never used that phrase. I don't think I will be using again either. Ick.

Friday, May 04, 2007

One more week...

Quote of the Day: "Wish we could give 'em a proper burial."
"The hell with 'em. Buzzards need food, same as the worms."
-The Outlaw Josey Wales

There's a light at the end of the tunnel. I've turned in yet another final paper today, leaving one more and a portfolio and one final exam. Then the semester's over. I feel that yes, I've learned and gained a lot from this semester, and it has built character and made me a better person, etc., etc., but thank God it's coming to an end.

Simon's Current Obsessions:

The Outlaw Josie Wales
Most quotable movie ever.

The Bible, from a feminist perspective.
This semester, I took "Women of the Bible" on a whim. A very enlightening experience.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Astronomical Ambition

Quote of the Day: "War, children, its just a shot away."
-The Rolling Stones, "Gimme Shelter"

When I was younger, much younger, I thought I'd enjoy being an astronaut, not realizing that there was lots of science and schooling involved. I must've thought that astronauts were on-a-whim adventurers, not the scientific scholars that they most likely are. I think I had a similar attitude towards doctors and lawyers.

Now, I'm going to school to be a writer, and every time I tell somebody I'm an English major the response is a befuddled "why?" It's as if I've set an equally unrealistic goal for myself.

So the astronaut thing isn't going to happen, and I've accepted this. As far as my other goals are concerned, I've settled on a baby-step approach, beginning with a smaller set of ambitions for the summer:

1. Finish a short story and submit it to various magazines (I've never done this, and I'm a little intimidated by the idea).

2. Begin a collection of rejection letters (I need to stay realistic in my ambitions).

3. Get the "Sexy Chemists" writing trio so we can re-evaluate and polish our script.

4. Find somebody to shoot the script.

5. Play some tennis.

6. Write a novel.

Just kidding on that last one. So it's a short list, but these are baby steps, and I'm feeling pretty enthusiastic about these new goals. I'd probably get claustrophobic in rocket anyway. I have everything I need on my laptop: Microsoft Word, iTunes, a scriptwriting program, and even access to images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Squarish Hole

Quote of the Day: "A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand."

When I was in elementary school, there was a little yellow house across the street from the school that was notorious for gang activity. My kindergarten classroom was on the side of the school that faced the house, and I remember quite distinctly an afternoon in which we heard several cracking sounds. Then, two classmates, a boy and a girl who had been doing some class activity just outside the classroom door, came running in, red-faced and breathless after having just witnessed a drive-by shooting.

That evening, the nightly news aired a small, squarish hole in the home's cheap yellow siding, and the hole went unrepaired for at least as long as I remained at the shool. Every morning and every afternoon, my young classmates and I saw that small hole and remembered the crack crack cracks of the gunshots.

It never scared us, I don't think, in fact I remember being quite excited and eager to tell friends and relatives about the incident, as if I'd encountered something amazing and unique, and to an extent I had. But this was when there was at least a street-width distance between the danger and the school, in a pre-Columbine era.

So now I remember our reaction, our childish "Wow!"--my year in kindergarten being the same that Die Hard 2 was released in theaters. The incident perhaps offered a glimpse of certain danger that could possibly even allow me to be a hero, or at least tell my friends and family a good yarn. But now, seventeen or so years later, if I were sitting in a classroom and I heard those ominous cracks, I'd probably soil myself.