i saw....

...the most amazing-looking woman in the casino today, not as in amazingly beautiful, just dressed and groomed in a noir-ish style that seemed impossibly elegant and dramatic. She was Korean of course. She wore a white leather trenchcoat, black scarf, blue-striped dress shirt over a white sweater, and a grey fedora, all of them expensively detailed, tastefully patterned, and immaculately fit to her body. I've never been in the presence of clothes used to such maximum effect, whispering both of new money and old mystery. She had short platinum-dyed hair and a face with so many surgical modifications it actually appeared to be a mask - the Phantom of the Opera mask, with eyes slightly receded behind a bloodless surface. She looked like Blade Runner and the Lupin III anime rolled up in Switch from the Matrix and Brigitte Lin in Chungking Express. She totally had a hidden gun, or a husband that she needs you to kill, or a bionic forked tentacle-tongue, or something. I am sure that her chewing gum cost more than I make in a week. I do not have a picture.

ho ho ho

The minimum bet on our baccarat table is $200. But we always get people who want to bet $100 or less and we have to remind them. The other day, some back-line papa placed a single $100 chip on the betting circle next to me. For some reason I didn't say the simple reminder. Instead I turned to J-, the player sitting next to me, and said "J-, bet a thousand there." This was a bit irregular because as a practical matter we never advise players when, where, or how much to bet, although many of them are superstitiously convinced that we know which spots will win because we are, after all, professionals. So for no real good reason I violated this policy. I didn't really expect her to listen to me, anyway. I just wanted someone to bet more on top of the $100.
....So she does it; she places $1000 in chips on top of the $100 chip, making it a legal bet. Now I'm in the soup; this is a player that I sort of like, she winked at me once, and has a generally good nature. And, if there's one superstition I've gained from working in the casino, it is this: The Players I Like Always Lose. The only way I can ASSURE that someone will lose, it seems, is when I hope in my heart that they will win. So, as the cards come out, I'm really ill about this, because I don't want her to lose the bet on my silly advice. Not because I'll get yelled at, but because she is the kind of player nice enough to not yell about it.
....And she's more a $300-400 bettor typically, so a $1000 bet is kind of a big event in her day. She wouldn't make it unless she had a Very Strong Feeling, or otherwise felt it ordained by someone with Professional Gambling Superpowers, i.e. me.
....But she won! The bank overhit, player bets won, and I looked like a genius. I both couldn't believe it, and was completely relieved. At last someone I was rooting for had won a hand! I felt like Santa Claus. I quickly told her that would be my only advice for the day (lest she hound me for further groundless predictions) and went back to work, that is, back to being professionally indifferent towards every single outcome.

whoo hoo hoo ooh

I'm going to write a song called "My Ex-Girlfriend Just Got A Movie Into Sundance."

Not today. Today I'm just going to skulk around, maybe eat some Oreos. But one of these days. A bittersweet pop anthem. With lots of defiant "whoo hoo hoos" in it. Oh yeah.

A big Michael Bolton day.

So while watching football today I saw 2 Michael Bolton references in the space of 3 commercials. The first ad was for the Ford Focus (or "Vehicle-Mounted MP3 Player" as the ad would apparently like you to think of it) in which one guy mocked the other guy for having "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" on his car stereo. Then followed another Ford ad. Then there was an Etrade ad set, again, to "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You," not even sung by Michael Bolton but covered by some histrionic throat-wrenching man-diva who sounded almost exactly like Michael Bolton.

I mean, how did this HAPPEN? Now the advertisers are using our own collective embarassment over the Michael Bolton Era against us? Both ads were ironically riffing on the song as the syrupy embodiment of cheese, not as "the cool song that makes you want to buy the Ipod because it will somehow enable you to find out what the song is."

But on the flipside....whenever I hear the big MB wail, I'm reminded of that night in I was DJing in a foreigner bar in Taiwan, and my slightly-drunk Pakistani youth-hostel-mate staggered over to my little booth and said, trembling, "Come ON man! GIVE me the Michael Bolton!"

Unfortunately, I didn't have any to play. But those were some good times.

Lars & The Real Girl

Sometimes it is awesome to see a movie from the front row of the theater. On Friday night I went with a friend to see "Lars & The Real Girl" in Pasadena. Due to my parking ineptitude, we got there late and ended up in the last two adjoining seats, in the front row of a small packed house.

The only two movies I'd seen previously from this position were the first "Mission: Impossible" and "He Got Game." both of them fairly cutty, stylized and loud. At close range, the audiovisual effect was headache-inducing. I think MTV was invented for its venue, that is, the TV, and experiencing that style on a screen that is very much larger than you and very near your head is probably not healthful.

But seeing "Lars" down in the front was fantastic. There was something about seeing these HUGE heads enact these very small sad/funny moments that was really compelling. There is no flashy editing, and there are enough long takes to let the eye wander around on that vast plain of screen, and explore, and get lost. It probably is my new favorite movie anyways, because it's wonderfully written, acted, filmed, and all that stuff, but I suspect that on a smaller screen, at a safe distance, it would be less whelming, more easily confused with all the other bittersweet indie movies. But because it was way too close, its intimate ordinariness was really uplifting, it was like a rock concert of ordinariness: long pauses, pores and all.

the weather channel

My friend was watching the fire on TV today, a static shot of a dark hillside burning.
At first they showed the path of the fire as slivers, later the slivers became blankets.
Outside, it's warm, summery. I went to the beach, saw the ocean. The sky was mottled, then matted, with purple and grey.

clarity sometimes comes....

....at 6 in the AM, drinking whiskey and eating seaweed outside in the dark near-wintry morning.

For better or for worse, that clarity is: hey, you could be in Iraq. Things really are going pretty well.

heard in the casino today....

...from shoeshiner master Don:

"This game, dommah, (the Vietnamese cuss word, not me. -ed.) crazy, huh? Evil and ghost, evil and ghost.
They want to come evil is evil.
They want to come ghost is ghost, dommah."

....OK, maybe he was saying "good" in his strong ESL brogue, but it seems like much more mysterious wisdom this way.

there should be a word for....

....that thing when you're talking to someone you don't know very well and they're all cagey and cold, until they find a way to drop the words "my boyfriend" or "my fiance" into the conversation, and THEN they start talking to you. Usually it's women, who are understandably worried about getting hit on, but guys have given me the same tipoff, because, I dunno, I have a gay-looking upper lip or something. Most stange women, or women strangers, have no way to know that I am So Ridiculously Bad at hitting on people, and am actually relieved when they oh-so-subtly mention their attachment, because it drops the expectations even lower and affords the chance for a real conversation. Recently in a bar I was chatting awkwardly with someone, and after she got the "my husband" name-drop out of the way, she really opened up, rambling stories, expressive body language and everything. So I think there really should be a word for this little anti-pickup maneuver. There probably is one in some dating book. Just like there probably is a single word for "politely dropping the hammer on your dreams."


And then there is nothing
but at work and asleep
loud and quiet
here and home.

There is no tomorrow
on which to worry
because it is tomorrow.

No one judges you
they already are sentenced.

At this hour when no one lives
it is not what you make,
what you lack, or what you should be doing.
You could not be doing anything else.
This is the brilliance of grave shift;
it kills the imagination.

4 AM is my favorite hour:
it always feels like
a strong possibility.

This fish is 31 years old.

That is, a year younger than me.
He lives in a restaurant near my house and eats carrots.
The place is called Bahooka and is a good joint to go to for a flaming cocktail and a yam.


Today, in the casino, was the first time I have ever heard someone say the word "Goomba" in real life. (As an actual form of address, too, not just describing the name of his clever new search engine startup) Marvelously, this man also says "youse" and "fuhgeddaboutit" and talks about the old days in Atlantic City.

Off at the adjacent table, the theme from "The Godfather" played as some Chinese punk gambler's ringtone.


...did a little repair today, on bodily health, on relationships, on state of mind. it was sort of like doing nothing and sort of doing a lot. wanted to note it for the record.

gee whiz

....this kinda cute player winked at me from across the table the other night. Not an earth-shattering social development, but I don't get too many winks, so it was sort of encouraging. She's one of the regulars, a smiley Vietnamese woman who, being Asian, could be anywhere in age from 28 to 55.

plans within plans

Having slacked off most of the day watching the 3-hour recut of David Lynch's "Dune," i realized that I needed a plan lest I succumb to the temptation to spend the Rest of My Life sitting on a futon watching that masterpiece of a movie over and over again. Because that's what "Dune" is about -- having a complicated, devious plan to control all life/spice in the universe, and that's what I'm lacking. So I came up with six different plans, each a potential fallback of the other.

PLAN A: conform screenplay-writing and filmmaking to commercial/intelligible standards, risk financial ruin, make big movie, receive big accolades, quit job, find chick, become disgracefully-well-paid cog in Hollywood ego machine

PLAN B: maintain job, fret over financial security, devote efforts to making more money, buy snazzy household appliances, find normal chick, become normal

PLAN C: get back into theater, make stressful but spiritually-rewarding art, let house fall into ruin full of rehearsals and scraps of sets and props, probably find some really insane chick, repeat emotional failures of the years circa 1994-2001

PLAN D: maintain job, maintain casino- and Los Angeles-induced neuroses, and write novel about them (the novel being the most cost-effective and relationship-free art form that I can see)

PLAN E: concentrate all efforts on finding chick, which is probably the area in which I need the most improvement anyway. And by chick I mean...you know...soulmate.

PLAN F: learn how to play bitchin' guitar solos

I feel on much better footing now that these 6 practical, executable, totally contradictory plans are in place. And now when something falls through, instead of having existential crisis, I can just utter the magic words, "Well I guess it's time for Plan B/C/D/E/F." I've always really wanted to say that, anyway.

heard in the casino today....

....from this older Persian lady:

"How come you get in the middle of a problem that has nothing to do with you? It's between the two of them! Why do you get involved when it's not your problem? Why don't you just let them work it out themselves? I don't understand why you have to open your mouth for something that doesn't concern you...."

Yes, the lady was scolding the floorman for intervening in a dispute between two players that had absolutely nothing to do with her. She went on and on about this, how ridiculous it was for people to get involved in other people's problems that are none of their business, for what seemed like forever.

supermarket blues

Every time I go to the supermarket, I feel poor. The price of bathtub cleaner and breakfast cereal has gone up, what, like four dollars in my lifetime? That's an exaggeration because it would mean I was getting Crispix for free at the time of my birth, but I think you know what I'm talking about. I mean, macaroni and cheeze is almost three bucks a box now, and you still have to cook it and provide your own milk and butter. You'd think it would be self-custardizing by now, or at least would come in handy mac-cheeze enriched energy bar form. Also, I used to love Ritz crackers, but I never noticed that those are some salty little bastards. Was that always the case? Did they invent the low-sodium version so that they could make the regular ones entirely encrusted in salt crystal? It's harder to appreciate their buttery goodness when your whole mouth is seizing up.

This blog is clearly due for a post about some monumental change in my life, but this is not it.

new game

Baccarat has a nice rhythm to it, and so far is much calmer and more comfortable to play than our other game. There's no brass dice cup, so it's also a lot easier on the ears. Whereas pan-9 feels like a linear game (one dealer hand vs. seven player hands) baccarat is has one dealer hand side by side with one player hand, and the betting is also set up in this lateral (if I'm using that word correctly) fashion. So it took a while to adjust the thinking to this spatial arrangement, but now that i'm getting the hang of it, it's fairly fun. The corporation player is involved in every hand so time goes by much quicker. We do the payouts as well, and I gotta say it's more rewarding to hand players their winnings rather than just watch the chips be taken away by the dealer. Also, it is the only game in the casino that has a video monitor tracking the hand results on a chart with lots of little blue, green and red dots. Call me easily amused.

epiphany of the week

If not too many people are attracted to you, it's cool, because you have much less chance of accidentally ending up with someone who is into you for one of the usual stupid reasons (you're hot, you have money, you're over 6'2", you are small and Asian, etc.) and so you spend less time confused by the confusing people who want you, and in theory you then have more time and brain-power to figure out who or what you really want.

"do you play baccarat, Mr. Bond?"

We're going to start playing this new baccarat game at work this week. It's sort of exciting in the sense that baccarat is a real game they they play in Vegas, unlike pan-9, so playing it feels less arcane and more approaching an actual job skill. Plus, of course, it's James Bond's game. A high-roller secret-agent serious-money kind of game. And we get to sit in the floorman's box (that is, seat 4 on a regular blackjack table) and do the payouts on every hand, so in theory it will be harder to get bored.

It's not exciting in the sense that, well, it's something else to do, and we're already understaffed and overworked as it is. So we're trying to provide a new service with fewer and less-satisfied people. But, having asked around among my friends, including my lawyer cousin who specializes in workplace issues, it seems that this is the case with most actual jobs. Which makes me feel a little better, if not wiser, and most definitely older.


It's my birthday today, and unfortunately I lost my wallet, but who really gives a pho.

I spent it with some people I love, and some people I hate, and that is what life is really aboot, noh?

I am drunk. I saw the Transformers movie. It kept transforming between a really awesome movie and an unbearably stupid movie. It was a headache that way. I wish they had used the transforming sound to indicate the shifts. Anyway, the most hilarious thing about it was that they killed the Black robot. Yes, as we all know, in American movies there's this trope where the African-American guy always dies, because the institutional racists fear the Black guy who is too useful or pivotal or whatever, but c'mon. You kill the Black ROBOT? And the four other separate-yet-entirely-equal White robots are left standing to chill in the aftermath? What the pho is that?

Jazz was the first Transformer I ever bought (with my parents' money). 'Nuff said.

well that was a nice dream

....in which, for some reason, you collapsed on my lap, and in an entirely literal manner we slept together, without congress but rather a sharing of weight and warmth, sort of like the ending of that Donald Barthelme story that I never read the beginning of. A dream about sleeping.

...and then I woke up.
Entangled with a pillow.
And it's July.
And hot.
And a spider bit me.

geek summer

I think the problem lately is I've been trying too hard to be an adult (whatever that means) and not giving in to the old geekdom. All this anxiety over Housing and Career and Money blah BLAH blah BLAH....I mean, I'm childless and 30something, what do I really care about all that stuff? That's so not keeping it real. It feels like a pretentious front. A masquerade, if you will. Liked a mid-sized sedan that is really a robot from another planet. That was my weak segue into saying that I'm really thrilled about this new Transformers movie coming out. I'm pleased that there is a Skrull conspiracy going on in Marvel Comics. I am cautiously excited the original creators are remaking Neon Genesis Evangelion into a tetrology of new feature animes, because as we all know, the only thing better than a trilogy is a motherf-in' tetrology.

It's nerdy little otaku enthusiasms like these that have kept me going in the past, and there's really no reason to give up on them now. It has not been a good year, but it could get better.


Poor you on a plastic bed
with so many painkillers
and full recollection

Yeah you in a cul de sac
almost to Ontario,
close to home, far from the bar

Brave you in a Vegas hospital
sad and strong, sucking in new life,
after all that gambling
it is a relief to see you sleep.

going to vegas....

....tomorrow, to visit ailing co-worker. Going to try not to gamble at all, leaving the question, what else do you do in Vegas? I'm not sure. There seems to be a De La Soul show at the Hard Rock, which sounds promising. Also probably some sort of exhorbitant steak will be involved.


A co-worker friend got in a pretty bad accident last week. Thankfully she survived, but she was seriously injured. I'm writing this not to gossip, just to say that it's the kind of thing that puts it all into perspective. All my complaining about moodswings, career, bills, the X-Men movie franchise, and bad grammar really doesn't mean shit. Having food to eat and a basically healthy body are indulgences of the very lucky. Because bad things are always happening to good people.

kindergarten cafeteria utopia

All I have to say today is that my condo-mate is hosting two Chilean friends at our place, and in the spirit of spoiling them with true American food, she made home-made Sloppy Joes, which were PHENOMENALLY DELICIOUS. Meaty, saucy, chunky with corn and onions and cheese and bell peppers on a soft toasty bun....just like they used to have in the school cafeteria....and just as they are served, I'm sure, in the eternal amber-hued mess hall of the Hereafter.

damn it!

The question for the day is, is sexual frustration really going to help the writing/artistic career? Or is libido one of those things that must be tended to before the deeply-felt writing can begin?

The first person (as if anyone reads this) to mention Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs gets hit with a brick.

So if Burt Bacharach is writing protest songs...

....(which he is, on his new album) doesn't that mean that the situation is worse than it ever has been? I mean, the guy is like 80, and has been writing songs about love and raindrops for his whole life. He's lived through all the wars and all the administrations of the past century, but Only Now feels so compelled by the dire state of the country that he would, in his own words, write a song about it.

Where have all the protest songs gone anyway? I mean the ones that we all know, not just scattered fan bases.

The corollary thought is, there is an Old Wisdom that assures us, "Sure, things seem bad right now, but it has always been thus, and you are only now of the age to acknowledge it." Or, put another way, "In MY day, we had to walk to school, through the snow, six miles, uphill, both ways..." etc. It's this cozening thought which urges us to put things in perspective, and not act like such a victim of society.

It occurs to me that this Old Wisdom might, too, be a part of the vast right-wing corporate conspiracy. Because perhaps things have been bad before, but they were never so bad that Burt Bacharach felt he had to take a break from writing love songs and comment on it. It's to the bad guys' advantage when people say, "they're bad, true, but they're no worse than the past bad administrations, and certainly no worse than (...blank...)"

It's something else when qualitative information suggests that "Actually, even in comparison to other regimes, THESE Current Bastards ARE the most evil conniving vicious bunch of Bastards to EVER HOLD POWER."

2 Gig or 4 Gig?

A short play, based on conversations had and overheard.

GUY 1: Nano, eh? 2 gig or 4 gig?
GUY 2: 2 gig.
GUY 1: They have 8 gig too.
GUY 2: I know.
GUY 1: I have the 60 gig video Ipod.
GUY 2: Good.
GUY 1: But it doesn't work! I try the AutoFill, it never works. I have to buy a new computer.
GUY 2: I have to buy a new computer too.
GUY 1: Also, not enough space! I downloaded a movie, but I can't watch the movie over and over again! So I have to take it off so I can download a new movie. That's how they get you.
GUY 2: "They?"
GUY 1: I know one guy, he was lost in the jungle with no food. His Ipod saved his life!
GUY 2: How?
GUY 1: I don't know. I think, software, or something.
GUY 2: I see.
GUY 1: Maybe you should upgrade to 12 gigs.
GUY 2: I hope. Someday.


GUY 1: Nice weather today.
GUY 2: Could you please GO AWAY? I'm trying to listen to my Ipod!

The End.

i don't mind being blue....

...what pisses me off is being blue and in the same day receiving 10 MySpace friend invites from fake hot babe profiles who like computers and don't want kids.

It feels like rubbing salt in the wound, somehow.

frakkin' A.

I don't know if this is an appropriate thing to talk about on Memorial Day, but I love Battlestar Galactica. I haven't watched hardly any of Season 3, either. I was just watching Season 2 on DVD today, and rediscovering how great it is.

I love the allegories for everything. I love the tough-guy dialogues. ("Go go go!") I love Mary McDonnell as the sick stoned prophet president. I love that people are always dying and coming back to life. I love the zero-g Viper maneuvers in space. I love that Starbuck looks and acts kind of like the line producer on my movie. I love the battle between monotheism and polytheism. I love the political references to everything from Jack Ruby to the War on Terror. I love Grace Park for excelling in the most ridiculously complicated actor role ever written. (She's a human. She's an alien. She's in love. She's a spy. She's a prisoner of war. She's in a love triangle. She has Ethernet ports in her arm. She's happy, she's sad, she gets killed, and reincarnated, and pregnant, and gives birth to a messiah? And you thought you had issues?) I love it for exploring a militaristic culture without jingoistically championing it. I love that Baltar is basically motivated by sex. I love that they used the original "Battlestar" theme in the episode with the reality show made by Xena. I love how everyone's hair remains perfect. And, all pretensions aside, I love Big Things in Space Blowing Up.

Also, I readily admit to loving how much some people do not love it. But AFAIK it is the only good show on TV.

The Culture of Fear...

...that we're currently living in is nowhere more evident, I feel, than in the telephone customer service from major banks.

Those people, in India or Omaha or whathaveyou, are so afraid of saying the wrong thing that they can't do ANYTHING. They recite nonsense dutifully off the script, do not listen to anything you have to say, and are always weirdly tense, probably because the conversation is being recorded to insure that they can be fired at any moment. Yesterday one of them asked me how the weather was, in California. I wanted to say:

"The WEATHER? The weather is freaking awesome in California, even when it's cold it's AWESOME. Could you please attend to my problem and not a) give me the wrong information b) connect me to someone else with the wrong information or c) attempt to connect me to someone else that ends with my line going completely dead so I have no option but to start this whole futile process again for the fifth time??!!??"

...but I didn't. Why? Because at heart, I'm a capitalist pig.

overheard at my friend's wedding

This is the DJ, complaining about a change in the program order:

"That was COMPLETELY unexpected! We didn't have the song ready! No more changes like that! You HAVE to keep us in the loop!"

Other than that, it was nice for once spending the weekend with some Asian people who are not pathological gamblers.

Also, someone brought McDonald's to the after-party, which I haven't had in like six months.


Now and then I get a friend request on MySpace from somebody who is not obviously a fake/pornbot/pyramid marketer, but rather has a profile like this:

"HI. My name is Sarah-Nicole. I love to smell flowers before I see them. I heart watching silent black and white films from a projector. I watch the discovery health cannel (sic) at 3 in the morning, when I can’t sleep. When I am sick I like to watch my favorite family films, like Ghostbusters, The Labyrinth, Ninja Turtles, The Never Ending Story, and Disney movies. I like the smell of new clothes. My heart belongs to classic horror movies. I love to finger paint on walls. I fancy anything dealing with outdurrr space. I love Greek and Roman history, like the Persian Wars. I love to sing show tunes, like Wicked. I love the way a camera feels on you’re eye, and how you can see your visions through the lens. Japan is amazing, I love Asians. I love the taste of coca cola in the glass bottle. Sunflowers are my favorite because they are like the sun, they bring warmth and joy. Comic books are amazing. I like full composition notebooks. I want to be a director. I want to go to Emerson."

In Theory, this could be a real person, but it's extremely unlikely. But how good is that algorithm they've got writing this shit? Or is it some wannabe screenwriter's side job? I really am curious. Because unlike the nonsense jabber that distinguishes most Spam, this one has a few little touches that are clearly aimed at me, or someone categorically like me. To wit:

- "...at 3 in the morning, when I can't sleep..." (They KNOW that I take Lunesta!)
- "I love Greek and Roman history, like the Persian Wars." (NO REAL GIRL likes the Persian Wars. But they know that I MIGHT like Frank Miller and '300'".)
- "I love Asians." (Good God, I'M Asian!)
- "I love the taste of coca cola in the glass bottle." (That's ALMOST something peculiar enough for a real person to say.)
- "Comic books are amazing." (Well, duh.)

Maybe I'm ignorant of all the recent advances in marketing technology, but I think this stuff is really amazing. And, of course, horrifying. Unless it is a real person, who just happens to be 12 and that's why they can't spell "outdoor." But that would mean a whole different kind of big problem.

How many penguin movies do we need, exactly?

There's another one coming out this year. Someone finally figured out that penguins = surefire box-office gold. And that's the last thing I'm going to say about movies for a while.

"No, Spider-Man, no!"

There might be something very wrong with me, because I kind of liked that "Spider-Man 3" flick. Critical opinion, both mainstream press and fanboy, seems to say that it sucks. There's no reason for it NOT to suck. It certainly gives off that sucky ambiance from the ad campaign. And yet, those same legit critics and fanboys mainly agreed that the first two movies ranged between "okay" and "pretty good," while I would not. Those first two movies BLEW, IMHO, ANITGW (And Not In That Good Way). So of course, with null expectation, I sorta like this one that everyone else has been complaining about.

Why Spider-Man 3 Was Sort Of Good
--a treatise of utter importance by me--

* There was more acting. It did resemble a Korean soap opera at times, but I like Korean soap operas. The first two flicks skated by on cute looks and a sort of vague hopefulness by the three main actors. In this one, we see Peter and Harry literally fighting over Mary Jane, and betraying each other, and feeling the impact of that, and that stuff, in Ye Olde Acting School, is GOOD. Mary Jane did NOTHING in the first two movies, I'm not sure if anyone noticed that. She had an ostensible action to play in the 2nd movie (finding out if Peter really wants her) but she walked through it like she was going shopping. In "3", she gets punked, she gets dissed, she has diva fits, she cries, she seduces, she even throws a brick at somebody. She was actually fun to watch, as opposed to just cutely dressed.

* The fight scenes were better. Although they were not as meticulously-animated, they were better-composed. The NewGoblin/Spidey chase through that narrow alleyway was exactly the kind of fight Spider-Man should be having. In the last fight with Venom, Spider-Man won with speed and ingenuity, which is, hello, How Spider-Man Wins Fights (as opposed to with brute force and mawkish displays of humanity). True, the fights with Dock Ock in "2" were more elegant, but I could never get over the problem that the superhumanly-strong Spidey couldn't beat Ock by simply punching him in the face one or twelve times. And don't get me started on those Spidey/Original Goblin bouts. Embarrassing.
....Also, there was a giant sand monster in this last fight. 'Nuff said.

* The dialogue, while not good, was not HORRIBLE. Let's recap, shall we, some of the gems from "1" and "2":

Goblin: You never know when some maniac is going to come along with a sadistic choice! (No one, no matter how evil, ever says this.)

Aunt May: People love heroes. Blah blah blah. They cheer for them. Etc etc. Heroes (n. pl.) are people who save people who, ad nauseum. (This has to be one of the worst speeches ever.)

MJ: You can't get off if you never got on! (What?)

"3" was at least lacking in cringing moments. There were even a few cute lines, like Spidey's "Where do all these guys come from...?" which at least hinted at the snappy wit that is Spider-Man's most endearing trait, and yet has been notably lacking from this whole movie adaptation business.

* Gwen Stacy was great. I'm not a big fan of the Director's Daughter Is Famous Now syndrome, but I'll concede that, within her limited role, Bryce Howard nailed it. Intriguing but not TOO intriguing. Beautiful but not SO beautiful. Exactly the kind of normal but dreamy girl that would end up in Peter Parker's life.

* It had one part that choked me up. Backstory: my thrills from the first two flicks derived almost entirely from the trailers. The inferences and the teasing shots of Spider-Man coming to save the day. Because, for pho's sake, all I really want out of a superhero movie, No Matter How Bad It Is, is to get choked up once. For one moment to be swept up in the fantasy of an alternate world where someone shows up to do something when the 9/11s and the Columbines of the real world happen (or even before they happen).
....This never happened in the first two flicks. Due to some clumsy handling of the stakes, the dialogue, and those pesky plot mechanics, it never seemed Important that Spider-Man showed up. It was Pretty, watching him swing in, but not Affecting. Maybe 'cause the Green Goblin was just not scary, and no one believed that crazy contraption of Ock's was going to work anyway.
....BUT, at the climax of "3", MJ's clearly in big trouble, the citizenry is afraid, and the bad guys hold extremely high ground. And then, there's about 10 seconds where, despite long odds, Spider-Man comes swinging in with no intention other than Handling It. Pretty dope. If it hadn't been for that tweaky faux-Brit reporter talking through the whole thing, it might even have been moving.

...That was a kind of long rant, and I guess someday I should devote equivalent time to some Subject That Really Matters, but whatever, I'm a geek. I just hope the next one has The Scorpion in it.

We win, we win, we win.

The Bay Area hasn't had a sports team with a big win since the 80's, when the Niners ruled the world. And back then, the Niners were kind of like the bullies on the playground, they kicked so much ass. As a sports fan I find it hard to root for a dynasty. I want to root for an underdog. But over the past two decades the Bay Area's had not so much underdogs, but good teams that choke in a big game. The Giants in the World Series, the Raiders in various playoff games....betraying perhaps a certain Northern Californian whatever-ness about winning, a lack of killer instinct. It's like, who cares about getting a championship when you're already eating the best fruit and cheese plate in the world?

So the Warriors beating the Mavericks is just impossibly great, because the Warriors were huge underdogs, they were up against the "best" team in the NBA, and they did not choke. I'm still amazed by it.

Steve Kerr wrote this, which gave my heart a tug:

"The Oracle Arena crowd was the best I have ever seen in the NBA. In 15 years of playing and four years as a commentator, I have never, ever seen 20,000 fans standing as one for an entire second half. That's what Golden State's fans did in Game 6, and it was amazing to witness. The Mavs seemed to be in good shape starting the third quarter, with Davis hurting and the pace of the game in their favor. But the Warriors' crowd was so rowdy, so loud, that Dallas never looked comfortable on the floor. The momentum swung Golden State's way as soon as Jackson started making threes, and the crowd took it from there."

How badly we wanted to win, for once, and for once, how sweet to fail at being disappointed.

ode to Chinese women who draw women with one eye

Because the Warriors, heartbreakingly, did not win, I was reduced to making bad conversation with the Chinese girl sitting next to me in the sports/oyster bar.

Now, I've spent a fair amount of time in "Chinese" bars, both here and in Taiwan. And I know there's a certain kind of girl who spends most of her time in the bar doodling freely, yet intently, on her placemat and/or napkin, while her boyfriend and his pals are busy talking. Or by herself, because for whatever reason no one is talking to her. The doodling usually takes the form of a) soul-searching Cure-esque poetry or b) slinky women with one eye. Invariably a large, double-eyelidded, Bette-Davis-type eye with huge peacock-feather eyelashes.

I get the poetry thing. I also get that many women have a repressed interest in fashion design and/or the world of couture that inclines them toward drawing slinky-looking women with long hair in evening gowns. But my question is, why only the one eye? This woman's doodlings strongly resembled a Marvel Comics femme fatale called Madame Hydra, who wore her hair draped over one eye because the other side of her face had been HORRIBLY SCARRED BY ACID. But she didn't look like much of a comics reader. So, in the moment where her boyfriend had gone to the bathroom, and the TV was recapping the Warriors' humiliating collapse at the hands of Aryan Officer Nowitski, I lunged up and asked her, "Why only the one eye?"

She said, "I don't know how to draw the other eye."

This was satisfactory to me, and I laughed. We made a little more clumsy convo in my bad Chinese and her bad-but-far-superior-English, and then her boyfriend came back from the bathroom, and I left the bar.

ode to one good thing happening


Shooting at the walls of heartache,
Bang, bang!
I am the Warrior!
A Golden State Warrior!
And heart to heart you'll win....
....if you survive......

Baron Davis also went to UCLA, my alma mater, that year WE WON IT ALL.
Also, I don't like that Dirk Nowitzki fellow. He has a macabre Germanic stare.

Just a few thoughts....

....on things that have not changed at all in the past few weeks.

- Creative writing is a wonderful, therapeutic, freeing thing.
- Mental health care in this country is really really bad. Thank you Ronald Reagan, et al.
- Mental health care, and for that matter all health care in this country, is so bad that guns shouldn't be sold at all. Why do we have a system for killing that is so much more effective, organized and user-friendly than our system for healing?
- Our educational system also has a few holes.
- Some terrible shit is going on all around. It is so sad, so many things lost.
- Dr. Phil does not know anything.
- We are in the middle of a pointless, revengeful war that only profits the already-rich and powerful, and kills everybody else.

Julie loves her Japanese dancers

Just in case anyone was worried that she might be selling out, it does appear that there will be people painted like
Butoh dancers in Julie Taymor's upcoming Beatles movie. Because that's the one thing that Cirque du Soleil forgot to include in their show. Still, this movie looks kind of awesome. I hope the Blue Meanies are in it.


Charles, a dayshift dealer, says that this guy sounds like me.

I kind of agree. Makes me wish I had a cool motorcycle. And lived in Taiwan.

2007: First Quarter

Days passing , a long time,
a day wasted, waiting for
what could probably happen,
a safe distance to close
by itself, by yourself, besides you
there's nothing else to express.

What I say you know already
so slow or so what
fear of too quickly
something happening and if then
a new ruthless dream to dream about.

Can I wait this out
hypnotize myself with
a candle and snap
awake when the
feeling of flame subsides?

a time to speak out

I fear the Anna Nicole Smith crisis will tear this country apart. Through the Anna Nicole Smith crisis, my eyes have opened to a vast conspiracy of greed and corruption. Fox News, CNN, Access Hollywood all deserve equal credit for uncovering this network of lies. Only now are the true villains behind the suffering, like the doctor who prescribed her those drugs, being investigated for their evil-doings. I can't believe that so many people feel the need to terrorize this poor blonde woman's struggle for truth. I hope that we as a people can summon the strength to survive this crisis. But I don't know, it's looking pretty bad.

assorted self-promotional updates:

- This site is now also dommah.com.
- I have a couple poems in the latest issue of Beeswax magazine. Instead of pestering me to drive up to your house and try to slip them under your doorway late at night, you might try buying a copy. Lots of good lit and art in there.
- "Iphigenia" is nominated in several categories for the LA Weekly Theater Awards including the stuff I worked on (the multimedia installations, that is).
- Our movie "Target Audience 9.1" is now pretty much done. All rights are available, should you or someone you know wish to distribute it, mass-produce DVDs of it, sell the remake rights to Dreamworks, or whathaveyou. Here's a preliminary trailer.
- I recently finished a screenplay which contains not even one giant robot or alien. For me, it's an achievement.

Cut the Chatter, Red Two _or_ Communication Etiquettes

(CONT) I have this love/hate relationship with text messages, as I did with email when it first came out. But complaining that new forms of communication are somehow making things "worse" is such an Old-Fogey, Luddite thing to say. It's almost as bad as using the word, "Luddite." The new telecom is not in itself bad, it's merely a matter of how it's applied. Actually, with all the options, it can make traditional forms of communication more efficient and rewarding. If I were the Minister of All Communication on Earth, I would propose the following guidelines.

TEXT MESSAGES: Should be used when you are in a loud crowded environment (as I usually am) which will make attempts to talk on the phone fruitless. Can be used when you have a bad phone connection (as I usually do, you Cingular arseholes) for same reason. Absolutely should be used for little essential communications like (Are you free on such n such a date) or (What's the address), etc....where a proper conversation is not really necessary but some key bit of information has to get across. Hence, an ideal tool for the film production lifestyle, in which one is always too busy to speak or hear, but one always needs the address or the call time for something, preferably already written down within your phone. ALSO: you should be at least 100 yards away from the person.

CELL PHONE TALKING: This is the tricky one. I really believe that cell phones have destroyed any joy that was once found in phone conversations. Gone is the intimacy of knowing that both parties are in their homes, maybe curled up in bed, in a dark corner, talking out into to the ether. Now you never know if the person's driving, eating, looking for a hammer, out with their boyfriend/family, or whatnot. Cell phone talking usually feels like an interruption of your life, which it usually is; hence cell phone conversations have that quality where someone sounds like they're trying to get off the phone quickly, in order to Resume Their Day or Not Use Up Their Minutes. Or simply because it's too much work to hear the other person through the squawking and garbling that the Cingular arseholes pass off as "connection."
.....That said, cell phone talking is good for the convos that are a little more involved, but not Too involved. Since you are always struggling to hear the other person and/or at risk of losing them altogether, the practical thing is to get to the point very succinctly. I call people when I have a question and would like an answer that contains detail and nuance, two elements totally lacking from text messages. However, out of necessity, the convo becomes terse, efficient; it makes you realize how much blah-blah-blah you usually do when you're ramping up to say something.
....ALSO: Cell talk is great for finding out where people are. Unless you're in a club or a casino, in which case you should text.
....And that's pretty much all cell phones are good for, talking-wise. Most of my cell phone convos are shorter than the ringtone, or should be.

EMAIL: Email used to be the great passive-agressive way of contacting people without really contacting them, but now there are text messages for that. And, in light of the miserable quality of cells (above), email has been elevated to that medium in which you can actually express yourself, albeit one-way-only. Emails can be works of art involving pictures, music, the subtle poetry of language. However: since people do not read more than one sentence of any email that they did not themselves write, email will eventually be phased out as a form of communication, to be replaced with its more popular and exhibitionistic cousin, the Myspace Comment.
....Email used to be a good way to Get Things Done, but unfortunately the combination of the Spam Kings and the Spam Filters have sent that the way of the dodo.

LAND-LINE TALKING: This used to be a great thing (above, again) and now, well. A whole generation will never know the scandalous thrill of talking til late at night on the house phone, the other person's voice clear as Ma Bell, both of you a little afraid that the parents might pick up at any moment to check on you.

FACE-TO-FACE CONVERSATION: This is the one mode that has improved, I believe. With all the liabilties of the other methods, it seems there is a tacit understanding that personal contact is a richer experience, largely (but not solely) because there's always the underlying chance that you can jump the other person's bones. Because we now have the other methods to take care of the strictly practical ticky-tacky stuff, verbal interchange is now even riper for potential, because, whether the conversants realize it or not, it is something they have been missing for a long time.
....Still the preferred vehicle for: telling secrets, conducting important business, sizing up the other person, getting what you want, making friends, being decent.

MAIL: Should be eliminated, or at least limited to the functions of a) communicating from a tropical paradise or b) sending money.

visualizing, visioning

dinner, lunch, sometimes breakfast, coffee, cocktails, watching TV, watching movies, warm place in bed, neck and shoulders, belly and feet, coming home, nowhere else to go, conversation, silence, talking shit, someone to sings songs to, singing along, staying calm, learning, forgetting, laughing, secrets, doing capers, buying little doodads for, going on separate trips and circling around to inspire and not get sick of each other.

we can do it!

The other day, after winning a $100 bet, this Mexican lady started chanting "Si se puede! Si se puede!"

Am I a big hippie for thinking that is kind of retarded?

dough ma!


In case anyone wants to hire me to edit or direct anything, I've posted a reel which can also be found on the sidebar. ==>

It is a fussily large 45-meg quicktime file. I'll post a more tastefully-compressed version later.

I also do weddings and bar mitzvahs.

i'm so in love

with this Korean actor Bae Doo Na. I just saw "The Host," in which she plays a gritty cross between Legolas and Michelle Wie. She was also in "Linda Linda Linda," which I ranted about previously. She is excellent. She seems kind of dorky and yet is heart-rendingly beautiful. She is way better than My Sassy Girl, or my previous crush, My Tutor Friend. She is neither affectedly tough nor cloylingly girly. That is, she seems sort of tough, and also sort of girly. She has a funny nose. She has a nice voice. She seems like she would be a pleasant person to eat mul naengmyon with. I am going to write poems about her. I am going to build a boat out of discarded SIM cards for her. I am going to fix a bowl of noodles and leave it on my altar of her. I am going to exterminate all the roaches in my garage for her. I am going to assasinate Justin Timberlake for her. I am being ironic now, of course, but she will be mine. Oh yes. She will be.

drunk dialing

It's not that one should never get drunk. It's just that one should never get drunk next to a phone. A phone gives you too much temptation to express your pure inebriated incoherent gibberish to too many people. And, having been on the receiving end of a few drunken phone calls, I know for a truth that no one really truly cares what you have to say after having one too many Sapporos.

every now and then i know you'll always be the only boy who loved me for the way that i am

There aren't too many famous artists whom I'd want to meet or know personally. I'm just not that interested in that kind of thing. But I have to say, I really want to meet whoever the hell it was who wrote "Total Eclipse of the Heart." I (sortof) picked it out on the guitar today, after decades of it floating around in the back of me pop-consciousness. I'm not sure if the words or the music are weirder, but that song is definitely CRAZY.

where are you going can i come too?

I don't know why, but i have this big abandonment complex. Particularly with people I like. And, to be sure, I don't like that many people. But I'm wondering now if that misanthropic tendency is due to my fear that people I like will leave me behind. If that were the case, it would be safer to not like anyone who is not physically chained to me. But it's not really the case. My family's never left me in the lurch. I can't point to a major case of actually being abandoned. It's just this thing that I worry about.
....I don't have many close male friends now. In high school and college, I had a very close-knit group of guy friends. Then, as life proceeded, dudes moved to different cities/countries, dudes got married, dudes fell off the map. Seems to be a normal part of adulthood, slightly amplified by the forces of globalization (it is possible to travel anywhere!) and technological insularity (it is possible to focus only on myself and not need any other human beings!).
...But I believe the seeds of my desertion problem root back to this guy clique, when, in the course of natural hormonal activity, the dude group occasionally splintered so that members of the group could Go Make Out With Girls. This is something I've never been good at, but my dude friends were pretty good at it. So, while they pursued various chicks with varying degrees of success, I took to biding my time, writing bitter poems, talking up the other wallflowers, feeling left out.
...The other thing is, based on one embarassing experience, I have this fear that people I like will come to believe that I'm stalking them, and then not want to be my friend no more. Or have anything to do with me. For the good of our relationship.
...Again, it's not like this has happened enough times that it is rational fear. It's just me being a wuss at the potential of estrangement, or, as the song goes, once bitten twice shy.
....Also, I have this weird thing with time lately. It's not that I'm scared of dying, or being 40, or whatever. It just makes me anxious that I have no idea who I'm going to know when I'm 64, as the other song goes.
...Of course, No One Knows That. Which is why the conventional wisdom says that more enlightened people Live In The Moment. But not me. I'm worried about the moment that the person I'm talking to has to excuse themself and go home to feed the dog. I'm worried that the person who's making me laugh right now will later have to go find where they parked their car. I'm worried that the person I'm sharing a meal with will eventually finish the meal.
....I'm worried, basically, that I will never again be anyone's job, obligation, or end-of-the-day destination.

this year, i kind of want to....

(...but don't necessarily have to, so it's not like a new year's resolution or anything that i can feel guilty about failing to live up to, and anyway it's a little late for that isn't it?....)

....get this TA91 movie going somewhere, as in to festivals or distributors....
....do a staged reading of this musical.....
....write this novella, of which so far i just have an outline....
....shoot this short.....
....prep this feature script either to be "sold" or made independently by me next year....
....make some more money....
....stop drinking Monster energy drinks.....
...,go to Japan to see this new Evangelion movie because it will never be on a big screen here...
....find a DVD copy of "Yellow Submarine" and avoid paying the bastard-ish "out-of-print" price for it....
....find a different job or a way of doing my current job that will not lead to me being insane and deaf....
....have some dude friends....
....have a girl friend.....
....see Julie Taymor's "Across The Universe".....
....see that Transformers movie about 100 times, with or without a strong muscle relaxant....
....see Prince in Vegas....
....stop the war....
....stop the idiocracy....
....figure out how to stay in a good mood....

what the hell was i talking about in that last post?

I'm not sure. Anyways, thinking about arguments. Arguments can be kind of fun, being that they are passionate and much more "in the moment" than the rest of one's overplotted, underfelt life. In my experience they often end up drawing close friends closer together. They have some of the same visceral energy as flirting and sexual interaction. The only problem is, if you have an argument with someone and then don't see them again for several days or weeks or years, you're left wondering if the other person is still stewing. And then, in turn, you are the stewing one, because you're stewing about whether they're stewing or not. This is why having no short-term memory is a good thing.

Let It Play Out.

There are times when one is blessed with a winning streak. Not necessarily in wins of gold or favor, but instead a serious of synchronicitous lucky events that cause one to have to work less hard, because things are falling in one's favor, and the things are all remarkably clumped together. In my absurd job, the chips fall in advantageous places, the cards come, and the transactions are performed cleanly. Somehow no one is screaming nonsense, vlillifying me, or asking stupid questions. This is unusual enough to be considered a very lucky day, and a big Win in the Not-Going-Insane Column.
.....Other events pile up, some done by me, some happening to me; the cut of our movie is refreshed by a new editing ploy; a breakthrough for a character I'm trying to write in a screenplay seems to arise effortlessly and inevitably; i find a quick route to a good restaurant; i get housewarming gifts from the parents and from my brother, including the David Mamet book about Hollywood, which is a massively entertaining thing that i would never spend money myself. Phone calls and emails from friends long thought lost touches, asking if we can meet up and good god, we actually can; "could you help me with this?" and amazingly, it is within my capacity. The unusal sights are right on my way to the next appointment, the right piece of clothing is exactly where it should be, the rain falls just when i would like some rain. People offer events and scenarios which fill the calendar with Things To Look Forward To.
....And then, there's a glitch. The Plan, which was proceeding so flawlessly by virtue of its own non-creation, reaches a snag at which point the Thing Looked Forward To seems unlikely to happen. This aberration, recently, is almost always female or female-by-association.
....Panic sets in, This is the gambler's panic, because the gambler's folly is that a winning streak lasts indefinitely until a losing bet is placed, and he can't help but try to keep making that losing bet, its purpose being to inform him that the gods have stopped making goo-goo eyes at him. It's all downhill from here, and we'll soon be back into that familar lengthy streak of losing and pushing and everything happening at the wrong time. All 'cause of one girl doing something or not doing something.
....While brushing my teeth, the conciliatory ligthbulb was this: with all the elements of a winning streak in place, maybe you should let things play out. Do not try anything to maintain the synchronicitous streak. This type of working with diligence towards futility comprises the better part of your normal unstreaking life anyway. Instead, trust that your streak does not have a finite end, but the maddening girl situation is just abother thing which may be developing on a different pace, with no intent for harm, but something potentially to look forward to, if only see the way that it will play out.

way too fast

today: submitted to a film festival, exchanged cards and pleasantries with a young woman in the elevator, went to check out a screening room, got a lovely, well-chosen present from my brother in the mail, ate dumplings with the parents, went to buy cream puffs, revised a screenplay, submitted screenplay to contest, bought envelopes and CD cases, sent inquiry letter to an editing job, did some business at hotels.com, watched parents take half an hour to send an email (collaborative writing is a tricky art), felt a rush of possibility and then of panic, thinking of the cold spot on the back of my neck wher your regular breathing touched me and i did not get up to use the bathroom. tomorrow, with the parents, museums in OC, rock collections in Santa Monica, brazillian steakhouse on Restaurant Row. Friday have to learn some baccarat game they're starting in the Dragon Room.
Cost Of Being Alive Adjustment for Wednesday: about $185 (gas, office supplies, cream puffs, contest submission fees).
Sure am glad I figured out how to use my credit card's 0% introduction APR offer.
And maybe, on Saturday, a nap.

give you everyhing i got for a little piece of mind

Today, with the help of the Internets, I figured out how to play the Beatles' "I'm So Tired" on guitar, It's a trickly little bastard with a G# major chord where an F#minor would usually suffice, an E augmented that I wasn't sure how to voice, and also cute aternating betwen major and minor on the 4 chord, It's one of my favorite songs and also fits my recurring state, that is, love-inspired sleep deprivation, So that was a happy accomplishment.

It's a kick too because once you actually play that unusual progression all the way through and hear how perfectly it sustains the melody and the vibe, it doesn't seem so complicated. Every piece fits together perfectly as if there were no other way the song counld be constructed.

I'm not sure what's up with the Beatles revival this year. The Cirque du Soleil show was great, and this Julie Taymor movie "Across the Universe" looks kind of exciting, Arguments about purity aside, I always thought it was strange how Beatles songs aren't constantly at the forefront of our popculture mix, given that they are the best songs in the universe. I'd think that four out of every five movies would want to have a Beatles soundtrack, every TV show should have a Beatles opening theme, and all band should be required to do a Beatles cover at every live gig. And every Beatles song should be mashed-up into a hip-hop jam and a club mix. Hearing a badly-done Beatles song is till better than hearing 98% of all other songs. And they were the last ones to write about peace and love and actually mean it. We still can learn a lot from those four blokes.

again heard in the casino

it's always disturbing when someone uses an expression like "it was like being stabbed in the face" and they actually have a big noticeable scar on their nose. i imagine it's like if an amputee says something about having an itch you just can't scratch. and the person speaking is not a fluent English speaker, so she doesn't exactly bombard you with English metaphors in casual conversation. the scar i was looking at today was probably just from plastic surgery or something (it's a really cute nose) but still, made me wonder about the word choice.

text me

i guess i'm just slow, because i did not realize til just now that text messages were invented so that the cell phone companies could make money off the fact that their products do not work very well. i mean, i can't hear ANYBODY on my cell phone. it's much more efficient to text people. and of course, great at rock concerts. especially if you're seeing, like, Nickelback.

what my boss said to me at the casino the other day:

"So do you want to hear the good news first or the bad news?.....Oh wait, there is no good news."

And she was correct. There wasn't.

what happened?

what's wrong?
why don't you just be related to someone famous and tell everyone about it?
why don't you just make six figures and forget about it?
have you tried spending sixteen thousand on figurines and jeans?
why don't you quit your job and live in the woods?
why don't you make fun of others? you'll feel much better.
what are you crying about now?
why don't you just take some time off?
where's your self-confidence?
what are you scared of?
are you scared to see me?
what's the worst that could happen?


I recently picked up my guitar for the first time in, oh, five years. I was expecting not to remember anything, and to be further impeded by the fact that my ears have definitely worsened over the past five years of doing the casino job (eight hours a day of people screaming and shaking a brass dice cup take their toll). But surprisingly, although my hearing is measurably worse, my musical ear seems to be a little bit better. I managed to pick out a few Beatles songs that I never would have attempted before, since I am afraid of those songs written by actual musicians who use tricky chords and stuff. Of course, it's possible that with the weakened hearing, my pickings just sound acceptable because I can't discern that they are wrong.

I also notice that my habit of thinking too much often gets in the way of my listening. I'm trying to amend this by watching old movies and paying attention to what's happening. This sounds like duh, but it's more of an exercise with the old movies because the spoken dialogue tends to be richer and more pointful, and also one has to take into account the cultural differences of the period.