Friday, April 25, 2008

Real "Change"

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - "Change" is a word that seems to be bandied about by the two Democratic presidential candidates during this current election campaign like an increasingly meaningless buzzword, another in a long line of appealing-sounding promises---like George H.W. Bush's infamous "Read my lips: no new taxes" pledge during his election campaign in 1988---that may end up blowing up in their faces once cold, hard reality sets in.

Want to see real change, though? You can see it---or at least get a sense of it---at The Wall Street Journal.

(Photo courtesy of Bloomberg News)

As many of you may have heard, Marcus Brauchli resigned from his position as managing editor after less than a year on the job. Being that I'm a lowly monitor-desk employee with little interaction with the bigwigs up in the World Financial Center in New York, I didn't really know Mr. Brauchli all that well---but by all accounts he was a very likable and well-respected man with a laudable backlog of experience both here and abroad. But according to what I have read from news reports, Mr. Brauchli had become frustrated with the direction his superior, News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch, was taking the paper, as well as with the feeling that he was not being allowed the control he had been promised. Thus, according to Mr. Brauchli in a letter he sent around to employees on Tuesday, he said that it was time for him to step aside and, I guess one would assume, let Mr. Murdoch pick a managing director of his own choosing to go forward with his vision for the Journal.

If one didn't realize that real change was coming to this prestigious newspaper, Mr. Brauchli's resignation, I think, pretty much jolted one out of blissful ignorance.

Not that I've been ignorant or blissful about any of this. In fact, I'm already starting to sense the winds of change at the monitor desk. Sure, there was that meeting a couple of weeks ago in which my supervisors tried to convince us that there was nothing to worry about, that even though no one had any idea what Mr. Murdoch had in mind for the paper, everything possible was being done to try to make a smooth transition for all of us. But last week, one of our employees left the monitor desk after working here for only about three or four months and took up a News Assistant position up in the paper's New York headquarters. And after this week, chalk up another monitor-desk employee headed for the supposedly greener pastures of the World Financial Center. The ranks of the monitor desk are gradually thinning out as I write this: I think another one is leaving in a matter of days to be working in a different department within the South Brunswick office.

All of this can't help but remind me of a portentous bit of closing dialogue at the end of "Tooms," the first-season X-Files episode (thanks to Red Wolf's X-Files Episode Guide for the transcript):

Mulder: "It's amazing how things change isn't it?" [staring at chrysalis]
Scully: "The caterpillar?"
Mulder: "No, a change for us. It's coming."
Scully: "How do you know?"
Mulder: "A hunch."

The only difference between the open-endedness of that bit of dialogue and my all-too-real situation is that, in my case, it feels like more than a hunch. A couple days ago, I got an email from someone I know who works in New York; she opened her message with something along the lines of "I'm sorry to hear about what's going on with the monitor desk." What's going on? Are we on the verge of extinction? More importantly, am I on the verge of losing a job? (This week, apparently she's going to come in to the South Brunswick to "pick my brain," so to speak, about what I do during the day on the monitor desk.)

Amazingly, I'm not feeling all that panicky about any of this. Maybe it's just that I'm worrying about other (arguably less important) things at this time...but right now, I'm seeing and sensing change swirling around me and, instead of hyperventilating over what may or may not be next, I'm kinda taking everything in stride. Heck, I'm almost finding all of this rather exciting---I'm a part of an organization in transition, and I'm fascinated to see how it all turns out. The drama! The twists! 24 ain't got nothing on this! (Okay, now you're exaggerating...)

Actually, the work of art I'm most thinking about these days, as I continue to do my job while noticing and reflecting on these current changes and possible future shifts, is Li Tien-lu, the Taiwanese puppetmaster from Hou Hsiao-hsien's 1993 epic of the same name. (Aside: no, I'm not throwing out a Hou Hsiao-hsien title just to be smug and elitist, as Armond White would have you believe in this breathtakingly hypocritical, if perversely compelling, screed published two days ago in the New York Press.) Li, as he describes and justifies the way he worked for both the Taiwanese and the Japanese during World War II, is someone who gets swept up and carried along by great historical and political forces, who doesn't so much actively participate in trying to master these forces as try to adapt within them in order to persevere with his own art. In some ways, I see myself like that---politics has never particularly interested me either; I just want to continue doing what I'm doing, any way I can. And if continuing what I'm doing---that is, trying to earn money while keeping up with my interests on the side---means having to perhaps relocate or travel farther than usual...well, so be it, I guess. Maybe real adulthood---trying to make it on my own, that is---is around the corner sooner than I expected.

A part of me feels nervous about some of this---who wouldn't be, with so much up in the air?---but a part of me embraces all of this, or at least tries to force myself to do so. A change for me is coming. Not sure what it is, but for once, I feel more interested than anxious to find out.

Of course, maybe it's just that I've become too comfortable (read: sheltered) here at home. If I was living on my own and had a job conceivably hanging in the balance like mine quite possibly is, maybe I would be feeling much different, and less optimistic, right now. That said, enough with negativity; I've already had my fill of it in the endless Clinton vs. Obama political death match.

In the meantime, however, maybe a bit of reflection on my future is in order---especially now that it looks like print film criticism isn't the most profitable way to go. (On the other hand, was it ever "profitable" in the sense of earning reasonable sums of money? Probably not.) Perhaps such reflections will fill up a future entry; for now, though, I think I'll just stick to the present, and take things as they come---although maybe a visit to a site like may be in order as well.

I open things up to you readers: a good approach, or hopelessly naive and not far-thinking enough? Call it, friend-os.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Endless Waiting Game, or A Day of Style Without Content

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - For this week's entry, I was originally planning to expound upon the intellectual and visceral revelations of Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman (to put it in drooling-fanboy terms, yes, it is as amazing and perception-altering as you've heard) and maybe put in a mild defense of the new Martin Scorsese concert documentary Shine a Light, which some critics seem to be complaining about because: a) it isn't The Last Waltz in tone; b) the Rolling Stones are way past their prime and are more or less on autopilot in this movie; and c) Scorsese, visually speaking at least, seems to put Mick Jagger & co. on a pedestal too much. (Short version: I agree with a lot of those criticisms, but I was exhilarated by the film anyway, and even found something rather transcendent about the group's refusal to let their age show onstage even as Scorsese's constantly roving camera scans the members closely for even a whisper of their individual 60-some years.)

But I think I'm going to set that aside for now and steer My Life, at 24 Frames Per Second---at least, for this one entry---back to diary mode. Because...what a day I had yesterday! And not exactly in a good way.

First, to set this story up. If I haven't informed you faithful readers, hear hear: I, and members of my family, will be embarking on an 8-day trip through parts of China toward the end of May, with---for me, at least---an all-too-brief 8-hour stop in Hong Kong and a couple days or so in Taiwan at the tail end.

But, of course, in order to get into China, we need visas.

Apparently, it costs a bit too much extra for my mother's taste to try to put in visa applications through our travel agent, so she thought it'd be better to just go to the Chinese Consulate in New York and give them the papers there. But my mother has been having foot problems of late, so she asked me to go into the city to do it.

So that's what I did yesterday. My mother and I drove up to Jersey City (she's thinking about buying a house up there, so because she had a day off from work, she figured it'd be as good a time as any to check out the area), and I took a PATH train into the city to the Chinese Consulate.

Then the nightmare started.

I got to the consulate at around 11:55 a.m.---after being mocked by a paid-parking cashier when I asked him for directions and said "New York Consulate" instead of "Chinese Consulate," not knowing that there are different consulates in different parts of the city---and then I saw the huge waiting room swarming with people.

I wasn't worried about that at first; previous waiting experiences at the DMV have conditioned me to expect, and endure, long waiting times. But then, I got my ticket and looked up at the display of the ticket numbers being served at the front of the room.

Of the four windows servicing visa applicants, the highest number was somewhere in the V0020s.

My ticket was V0301.

My impatience soared when, about an hour later, the highest number was something like V0029.

"Having fun yet?" I said sardonically to the man next to me, sensing that he---a big traveler, from what I gathered from talking to him---was feeling the same frustration that I was.

Readers, I ended up spending a little less than five hours in the same room waiting to put in those visa applications (mine, my mother's and one of my younger brothers'). Worse, I was without food (I hadn't packed any lunch, and I was afraid to leave the building lest they decided to open up another window or something), without water (I had finished up my bottle), and with only my iPod and an occasional conversation to make me feel less bored. I've never applied for visas before---and apparently my mother hasn't either, so the extraordinarily long wait surprised the both of us. I can imagine that this is what being stranded in an airport feels like (the measure of how sheltered I've been most of my life is in the fact that that is something I can only imagine). Actually, with the lack of food and water---I didn't end up eating anything 'til I got home at around 7:15 p.m.---I might as well have been trapped in a desert, sans the stifling heat.

And yet I haven't even gotten to the really good part yet (read: it's not good at all).

Well, first, the actual good part: after the consulate closed its doors at 2:30 p.m., the queue numbers started going up at a quicker rate than before---so now, instead of, oh, 8 numbers in a couple of hours, one could see 20 numbers pass by in maybe half an hour. It looked like a lot of people got impatient and left. Not that I was wondering too loudly.

I eventually got to speak to someone at about probably 4:30ish...

...and then I find out that, after all that waiting...after all the gum-chewing attempts to convince myself that I wasn't all that hungry...after wearing down the battery life on my iPod considerably---after all that, I find out from the lady I speak to that our applications are incomplete. Suffice it to say, there are bank statements and employer letters that all three applications still need.

Thus, after playing the American-Idol-results-show version of the Waiting Game, I leave the consulate with all the papers I came in with---in this case, not a good thing.

I can see some of you now, clucking your tongues at me and saying, You should have been prepared with everything when you came in, obviously. First of all: my mother's been doing pretty much all the planning of this upcoming trip, so I relied on her to know exactly what was needed for the visa applications. (If you're going to say I should have been more involved in the first place, fine, that's a fair point.) Second: it's quite possible that the things that were missing from the applications were the result of recent new requirements that not even our travel agent knew about until today. (My mother called our travel agent after I told her that our applications had been rejected for the time being, and apparently the agent said she received a bunch of rejected applications at her office too.) So I'd like to think that this near-waste of a day for me was not the fault of anyone in particular.

Still, when all is said and done, it was, to put it lightly, supremely annoying.

Live and learn, though. I had no idea about how notorious the wait times are in the Chinese consulate going in, so if I have to do this again, I'll actually know what I'm getting into.

Either that, or a) next time I pay whatever is necessary to get a travel agent to put in the visa application for me; or b) just don't ever go to China again. (I haven't even stepped foot in Hong Kong, and already I'm dying to spend a lot more time there.) Heck, if there is truth to some of the horror stories my parents were telling me in the car about the Chinese government's ruthlessness---and, judging from what I hear every day about China and Tibet, I have no reason to doubt their stories---maybe it'd just be better not to step foot there at least until the country becomes less, uh, Red.

Despite all that, I'm trying to look on the bright side of this lost day in New York City. Here's what I got for the bright side: it was a lovely 80 degrees or so out today. (So you know what that means for sex-starved gentlemen like myself: exposed female flesh and a reasonable amount of covert gawking opportunities. Sorry, I just had to say it.) I got to walk outdoors in New York City for a bit, while listening to my iPod. It was a nice day weather-wise: warm, but with a decent breeze and without an excess of sticky humidity. Near-perfect for me, in other words.

The style of the day looked good, but the content underneath turned out to be a grave disappointment, because the story eventually went nowhere except back to Square One.

And no, that is not a review of Wong Kar-Wai's latest film (which I have not yet seen, and am dying to, in spite of its generally middling reviews).

I just wonder if I'll have to do this again...

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Few Thought Bubbles

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Hello again, readers!

For the most part, this weekend will basically consist of me finishing up my federal tax return before the forthcoming April 15 deadline. Really, it shouldn't take too long---I don't earn that much, and I don't have a lot of property or anything like that to report)---but I'm trying to fit it in between personal movie (and Wire) screenings. Hopefully I'll find enough time to get it done and send it out this weekend (because, at this point, I pretty much have no choice).

Thus, for this particular installment of My Life, at 24 Frames Per Second, instead of an in-depth entry into something intensely occupying my mind, I'm going to simply throw out a few sketches, if you will, of ideas I may want to develop in future entries. Consider these "thought bubbles" of sorts...


One of the movie screenings I'm catching this weekend---barring any unforeseen circumstances---is my first-ever encounter with Chantal Akerman's famous 1975 experimental/feminist feature Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. I'm pumped! It's at Rutgers University's own New Jersey Film Festival tonight; not sure why the organizers decided to show the film at this particular point in time, but, as there is no Region 1 DVD edition of this film available (it's included in a Region 2 DVD box set of Akerman films that I'm too cheap to invest in right now), I'll go for it, no questions asked---even if the "print" turns out to be a relatively cheap VHS source.

I'll let you all know what I think next week; I'm sure the movie will merit more than a passing paragraph or two!


A few weeks ago, Nathan Lee, one of the Village Voice's most well-known and well-respected film critics, was unceremoniously fired from his job there. Couple that with a slew of other film-critic firings at even smaller newspapers over the past few months, and it's all gotten me rethinking by initial professional film-critic plans. As many have suggested in the blogosphere, it is increasingly looking like the future of film criticism will be in the hands of people writing more out of passion than trying to do it regularly for a living---as more newspapers cut out individual film-critic voices (mostly for cost-cutting reasons, I'm fairly certain) and replace them with, say, undistinguished Associated Press wire reviews, the future for incisive, intelligent, informed film writing may well be online. And so far, few people have actually been able to figure out how to make a living strictly blogging online. So I'm not sure I want to take that risk just yet...

So maybe copy editing and/or reporting really is where my future is headed, with film writing---like the kind I occasionally contribute to The House Next Door---relegated to a side hobby. If so...well, in a way, that would validate exactly what my mother has been saying to me all these years.

I think I just felt a chill go up my spine in writing that. Not sure if I'm ready to face that harsh truth just yet...


Another slap-in-the-face reality check this past week came in the form of a meeting after work in which the full force of Rupert Murdoch's takeover of Dow Jones hit me like a kid swatting a fly. No, there were no warnings of layoffs at this meeting, thank goodness---but what one of our supervisors offered was arguably more unnerving: uncertainty. Essentially, no one really has a clear idea what Murdoch has in store for us, so all we can hope for now is possibly a smooth transition to a different kind of job within the company, just in case Murdoch has it in his mind to shut down the South Brunswick branch altogether and relocate all of us to the News Corp. building in New York. Something like that.

My only real regret here is a selfish one: my plans for spending two years at the monitor desk while educating myself artistically on the side may be ending sooner than I had hoped for. Adulthood, here I come---and I must confess, I'm nervous about meeting you, Adulthood, face to face, secluded as I have been here in quiet old East Brunswick, N.J. for the past few months.


You know what I haven't written about much recently? Politics---specifically the ongoing presidential race. I should probably say something about it, if only just to add a bit of variety to this blog. On the other hand, do I really have anything to say at all? I don't find myself all that enthusiastic about either Democratic candidate; despite her formidable intelligence, I've never really trusted Hillary Clinton's sincerity about anything; and while temperamentally I should be more enthused about Barack Obama than I am (and I was impressed with his candid speech on race a few weeks back), I'm equally suspicious of his rampant hope-mongering, especially how it'll all look if he gets into office and runs up against, you know, political interests and all sorts of avenues toward compromise. As for the so-called "presumptive Republican nominee" John McCain---well, I have to admit I have a more favorable view of him as a person based on his TV appearances and what I've heard about his record in Congress (anyone who stands up against torture as he has over the years is admirable in my book). I'm not sure, however, that I really want to stay in Iraq as long as it takes, as he has publicly pledged.

But then, I also have to admit that I haven't really done all my research on these candidates, so maybe I shouldn't say anything more on the subject (for now). The only other thing I'll say right now, then, is: I hate politics. I really wish I could just stay indifferent to it all. I can't, of course; to do so would be to forsake my duty as an American citizen. But I just wish I could say to myself, and to others, "screw politics" without being tarred and feathered as a lamentable example of what is wrong with young Americans today. I just don't like to talk about it, and I could do without it, personally. But there's no avoiding it, so I have to be involved, in some way. As Sheriff Bell says in No Country for Old Men, "Okay. I'll be a part of this world."

Here's the Obama speech I referred to earlier:


On a more upbeat note: after taking in Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le fou again last weekend (on the recently released Criterion Collection DVD), and remembering that the first spoken word in the film is "Velázquez"---as in the 17th-century Spanish painter---I decided to briefly surf online for some of his paintings. (Yes, my art knowledge is so deficient that I'm not sure if I've ever actually seen a Velázquez painting anywhere.) And I struck a minor personal revelation that ties somewhat to the intellect-versus-emotion stuff I wrote about a few weeks go here on this blog.

Take a look at Velázquez's "The Lady with a Fan":

Now, one may certainly look at this painting on a formalistic level and admire, say, the accuracy of fleshtones, the interplay between light and dark, the intimate atmosphere, etc. But when you get right down to it, what does one really respond to in this portrait, putting inside technical concerns? The subject itself. What is going on in this lady's face? What might she be thinking? She doesn't exactly look all too happy; is she in a hurry? Who knows? All human beings have their mysteries, and the real brilliance of portraits like these, it seems to me, is in preserving that mystery even while depicting its surface particulars. I look at this painting, and I don't necessarily find an earth-shatteringly fresh way of perceiving the world around me, philosophically or emotionally. Does that even have to be a prerequisite for what distinguishes great art from merely serviceable craftsmanship? The artwork is all there is, in the end. If it makes you feel or reflect on something---whether that reflection is as minor as how it corresponds with a mood you or someone else has felt previously---maybe that is all one really needs to know in order to gauge one's reaction to that work. The deep intellectual contemplation can come later.

All of these thoughts swirled around my head as I sat down a couple days ago with the newly released DVD of Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, a film that I've gone back and forth on for months now (just look at my previous posts about it here and here), but which resolutely refuses to depart from my mind, even as I've taken in great films like 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and The Flight of the Red Balloon in recent months. Does it add to my understanding of the corrupting force of unchecked capitalism and ambition to the human soul? Maybe, maybe not. (Again, I'm not convinced it has anything revelatory to say on the subjects of capitalism or religion---at least nothing that hasn't been broached by Welles or Kubrick films that Anderson so lovingly recalls.) But there is still the mystery of Daniel Plainview, that force of misanthropic, bullying nature at the heart of the film. What, for example, is his real reason for slapping the tar out of Eli Sunday soon after his "son" loses his hearing? Is he really just venting his frustrations, or is he simply and fearsomely showing his secular dominance over this supposedly holy preacher? Maybe it's both. Anyway, such mysteries of one man's human consciousness are arguably much narrower than the mysteries of fate and chance in a godless universe posited by the Coen brothers in No Country for Old Men---but should that necessarily mean one film is worth prizing more than another? Because one gets me thinking about the world I live in, and another gets me thinking just about another (fictional) human being? I guess I used to think so, which is why I've so baldly voiced my intellectual ambivalence about There Will Be Blood on this blog before. But maybe I've been too narrowly focused in my artistic concerns all along. (Or maybe I'm just trying to justify my sheer visceral exhilaration of watching Blood, which I felt all over again watching it on DVD.)

Still, am I simply lowering my standards here? I wonder...

But that, as with all these other sketches of ideas, is for possible future discussion.

Heck, if you want to discuss all or any of these right now, feel free to post comments. I welcome the discussion, always!

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - My apologies for the lack of update last weekend; I was busy working on my Flight of the Red Balloon review in addition to picking up some extra hours at the State Theatre in New Brunswick (yes, I still usher there, at least whenever they really need staff for a show).

Thus I hope this update will suffice, even though this weekend might bring its share of busy-ness as well: in addition to finally delving in-depth into the recent Criterion DVD release of Godard's Pierrot le fou (maybe I'll fully embrace the film wholesale this time instead of loving its first hour and admiring the rest of it from a dispassionate intellectual distance), I figure I'll probably have to file at least one of my 2007 tax returns (I'll probably do the state return first). Shouldn't be too much work for me---it's not like I own a lot of property or a small business or anything---but we'll see...

Anyway, a brief life update this weekend rather than another one of my solipsistic examinations of my movie taste.


First: starting next week (barring any last-minute surprises), I will officially become a full-time employee at The Wall Street Journal instead of the regular part-time worker I am now. Though I will still be working my usual day shift, starting next week I'll actually be staying all the way through the first Europe lock-up, at 4:30 p.m.

For the first few months at the monitor desk, I didn't really mind working part-time; I felt like I was getting enough time outside of work to do my reading, music-listening, movie-watching, etc. Maybe I've just been accomplishing less of that lately---it's been probably a week since I cracked open a book---but these days, whenever I've left at 3:30 p.m., I've felt weird about doing so. Perhaps I've become so attached to my job that I almost can't bear to leave it just before the Europe paper locks up first. It's more likely that my willingness to become a full-time worker comes mostly from the realization that that extra hour at home hasn't really transpired into anything particularly productive recently. So why not go full-time and pick up some extra money?

Really, though, the main reason for jumping to full-time status was for practical reasons: I found out that, with the Aetna health plan I picked as a regular part-time employee, I wasn't eligible for prescription drug benefits. I could have picked another available plan, but that other plan required you to seek referrals from a primary care physician---and I found that a sufficiently annoying prospect (I can pick my own doctors, dammit!) that I decided that it was just time to become a full-time employee.

I'm actually rather lucky I was able to go full-time so soon. At Dow Jones, if you want to jump from part-time to full-time in the same department, you have to wait until someone else leaves; then the department manager will place a listing on the company's internal job listings database, which will allow a part-time employee to apply for it. (Side note: this process is apparently called "posting," although that has always confused me; I've always associated "posting" with the putting up of a job listing, not of applying to one.) As ever in life, it isn't as easy as saying "I wanna work full-time now" and that's that. (This is business, people!) Lucky for me, someone left the monitor desk a lot earlier than I expected, which left the door open for me.

Now there's something to be fairly happy about...


...unlike an argument at home that popped up between me and my mother over---not future plans, not job issues. No, it was about our family dog.

Readers, Dusty, our beloved shih tzu, is still peeing around the house randomly. And even after the floors have started to get a little sticky and the house has started to smell like piss, my mother refuses to get him checked out by a veterinarian. "Oh, he's just getting old," my mother has said repeatedly. "Not much you can do about it."

Well yes, he is old---about 10 years old. But if a human were relieving himself uncontrollably around the house, wouldn't you get him checked out by a doctor to see what may be the problem? If there isn't one, then okay, we'll deal. But I figure, at least get a professional opinion; that's what a doctor is there for. Why should it be any different with a dog? Because he's a dog?

Personally, I'd rather find out if there was problem than passive-aggressively clean up his sticky, smelly messes nearly every day. I'd much rather not keep stepping in sticky residue and smelling piss every day.

Apparently my mother is willing to do just that. Is it possible that she is so damn unwilling to spend her time and money to make an appointment with a veterinarian that she'll just rationalize it away and suffer the consequences? I don't have actual proof that that is her way of thinking---but I wouldn't be surprised, having lived through her extremely frugal ways for, oh, 22 years now. If this is actually the case, then I can't help but think that her frugality has reached a new peak.

That's what we argued about earlier in the week: I kept (gracelessly, I'll admit) insinuating that he should be taken to a vet, and finally my mother got fed up with my insinuations. "Why do I need to take him to a vet?" she said. "He still begs for food; he doesn't look sick. He's healthy!"

It seems my opinion counts for less than ever in this house. So what if he seems normal in every other respect? If it's a urinary tract infection, for instance, would that affect a pet's appetite?

This just frustrates the heck out of me: I feel like, in this matter, I'm the only sane one around. (My dad, as usual, refuses to argue with my mother about it, and my youngest brother remains indifferent to it all.) Honestly, it's the kind of thing that might make me move the hell out if---well, if I wasn't a) so afraid to live out there on my own, and b) so bent on trying to save as much as possible right out of college.

What do you say readers: am I being too irrational here, to think that a trip to a veterinarian wouldn't be too daft an idea? I mean, maybe he/she would basically confirm what my mother has been saying all along, that Dusty is too old and he just needs to be fed less water or something like that; but I'd rather hear it from a professional than from an arrogant mother who seems to distrust most doctors in the first place. Or is she being arrogant at all? Is she, in fact, being reasonable? (Everyone I talk to agrees with me; my mother, of course, said, "Of course they'll agree; they don't know the real situation.")


Finally, on a more positive note, that Flight of the Red Balloon review I worked on last weekend? Read it here. Feel free to leave me feedback over at The House Next Door or here, if you wish. I'd love to hear from y'all!