Thursday, January 04, 2007

Brief Life Update No. 9: Happy New Year (Belatedly)!

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Happy New Year, everybody!

I know, it's a little late in coming, and one of these days I'll sit down and try to write an extensive post reflecting on 2006. Maybe two, in fact: one about the year in the life of Kenji in 2006, and one about film in the year 2006 as I saw it. (I was initially going to unveil my first-ever "10 Favorite Films of 2006" list, but perhaps I might hold off on publishing it until I at least get a chance to see Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima, which has gotten its share of acclaim and buzz so far, with the L.A. film critics crowning it their movie of the year. Personally, I highly doubt it'll challenge either Inland Empire or Hou Hsiao-hsien's spare yet profound Three Times---yes, I did catch it on DVD after all, and I'm glad I did---as my favorite of 2006, but, if Letters is the improvement over the earnest but frankly rather dull Flags of Our Fathers that some have suggested it is, it might at least break my personal Top 10.)

I celebrated the ushering in of 2007 the same way I did last year: with my Rockoff Hall apartment mates---two of them, anyway---and their friends. I drank a little bit---a bottle of Heineken, some mixed drinks that included vodka---but apparently not enough to even get buzzed. Has my tolerance been built up that much---ever since that fateful night early in 2006 when I got sick from drinking too much wine and not eating enough cheese at an Inside Beat wine and cheese party? At Sunday night's party, I took one sip of champagne and it reminded me so much of that experience---I ended up barfing at some frat house and forcing a friend to drag me back to Rockoff, where I barfed some more into my toilet with one of my roommates sitting next to me---that my stomach immediately tightened up and I turned to other drinks for my fill. After the ball had dropped in Times Square, most of the party denizen ended up watching John Waters' 1974 trash classic Female Trouble (actually a pretty damn good movie---for all its rough technique and deliberate gross-out moments, satirically sharper and deeper than you'd expect---if all you know about John Waters is Hairspray and Divine eating dog shit at the end of Pink Flamingos). All in all, it was a fun night, and I didn't have to get piss drunk to enjoy it. (At least I know, now that I'm 21, that I legally can get piss drunk, hehe.)


I've been working at Megamovies again, and on my second day back---last Tuesday evening, to be exact---I made a mistake that got me in trouble with management and cost me free movie passes for a whole month.

A lady came in with 10 other kids. She showed me a Screen Actors' Guild card. Now, in hindsight, perhaps a red flag should have popped up in my mind simply because of the fact that she came in with 10 other kids in the first place and implicitly desired to get them all in for free because of her SAG card. Maybe I'm an idiot, but frankly, that red flag never popped up for me when I printed out 11 special tickets for her---until after my evening shift was over, and one of the floor managers took a look at a log sheet I had her fill out and saw that she was an SAG member. Apparently I was only supposed to allow her and one other guest in for free instead of 10 others.

Thankfully, I didn't get fired for the incident, but the head manager of Megamovies suspended my free movie passes for a month. Not a week, as even that floor manager initially thought---an entire month! A little extreme, don't you think? Especially because I honestly didn't know better, and at least that floor manager was able to defend me because I explained the mix-up to him. But I guess there's not much I can do now, lest I risk putting my job on the line or something. Besides, I only have one more week to go.


Why can't Democrats and Republicans just get along???

Yesterday, I was listening to NPR's "All Things Considered" and one of the anchors was reporting on some of the measures the Democrats---now that they have control of Congress---were thinking about trying to pass in the beginning of their new term. One of the things that jumped out at me was the fact that the Democrats were planning to impose some kind of sanction on Republicans' ability to add clauses or argue about certain pieces of legislation, at least for the first 100 hours. (Please, someone correct me if I'm getting details wrong here.)

Is this the way to foster a spirit of bipartisanship in Congress? Methinks probably not!

Oh, but apparently the Republicans did the same thing early on in the previous Congressional term, curbing Democrats' ability to challenge legislation the Republicans wanted to get passed. So what is this---revenge? Just desserts?

I would have thought that maybe a better approach might be to show that you're the better, uh, party by showing the kind of inclusive spirit that perhaps the Republicans didn't extend to you when they were the majority. But that's just me. As someone who doesn't profess to be the most politically knowledgeable or involved, what do I know, right?


Anonymous said...

Republicans will be barred from adding ammendments to bills during the first 100 HOURS of the new Congress. They did this to the Democrats in the past. The purpose is so the Democrats have a chance to move their legislation such as higher minimum wage, health care, etc, without being hampered by the Republicans. After this inital period the Republicans can go back to hampering the Democrats all they want. If they (the Dems) did not do this, they would not have the freedom to push their legislation, i.e. the issues which they campaigned for. It sounds like a nasty tactic, but it is necessary. I am glad the election went as it did and it is a good thing that the Democrats are in control of both houses of Congress now.

Kenji Fujishima said...

Boy, for a potential copy editor, I'd say it's bad that I've written two entries in a row which have had major factual errors. (I guess laziness precluded me from looking up the info online, something which I could have easily done. Bad bad bad!) I've corrected the "100 days"/"100 hours" thing in the entry.

Don't have much to say about nasty vs. necessary; I guess it is necessary for the Democrats. Maybe I'm just insufferably naive and idealistic, but still, the fairly exclusive spirit of the move is what bothers me.

Anonymous said...

The legislation that they hope to pass in the first "100 hours" (there is some debate on how to calculate that by the way) is material that has been debated, discussed and ultimately shelved by the Republicans in the past. None of it is new. They had their chance, now the Democrats won and these bills include issues central to the Democrats platform. They feel an obligation to the people who voted them in to try and accomplish, unhindered, what they said they were going to do. After this inital 100 hours is up, its back to business as usual. Nasty vs Necessary? Politics is a nasty business thats for sure. There is no "nice" in politics and if the Dems tried to be "inclusive" from the start, nothing would be accomplished--none of their Agenda would get passed.

Kenji Fujishima said...

Politics is a nasty business thats for sure. There is no "nice" in politics...

That's for sure. And I guess it's too naive of me to expect that to change anytime soon.

But hey, raising the minimum wage? Sounds good to me! If they can pass that without too much fuss, good deal.