Thursday, July 31, 2003

I was looking through my archives this morning to show Mari my post about the professor of education who gave me the batshit-crazy religious literature when I left my Cal. U temp job back in March. In the process I came across this quotation from March 20:

I just got word that next week I'll be starting a paralegal assignment in downtown Pittsburgh. The commute will be a bitch and blogging will probably suffer, but the tradeoff is employment in my future field, a gig that should last until I move, and a much better chance to accumulate the resources with which to move. So good times.

Now, I know it doesn't exactly make me Jeanne Dixon, but out of four predictions there, three were dead on, and I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader as to whether or not blogging has suffered. I'm quite confident that my readers have suffered, but that's a different story.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I just wrote a note to myself that reads, "Return Eminem and King Leopold." I looked at it again and that, man, that's an odd note. Worth blogging about.

I have been on a mini shopping spree lately, which is what a year of almost no discretionary income will do to you when it lets up. I've picked up some DVDs, clothes, CDs--the basics. I went CD shopping at lunch yesterday at a mixed new/used store and got 11 discs for $77. The only thing I paid full price for new was The Eminem Show, since I figured I was one of three white guys in America in his 20s who didn't own it already. I was happy with myself for mixing in some contemporary with the fogey music I often go in for, and all in all it was a strange mix (Eminem, Roy Orbison, Concrete Blonde, Sugar Ray just to name a few).

So this morning I popped Eminem into the CD player in the car and discovered that I had accidentally purchased the radio edit version. Ironically, this caused me to release a nasty string of curse words, because this is not the type of revelation you want on a foggy U.S. 40 at 6:15 in the a.m. Fortunately, I called the CD place and they will trade it in. But since tomorrow's my last day at work, I need to do it tomorrow.

For the same reason, I need to return my last outstanding (in both senses) library book, King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild. This is a very good read on colonial rule in the Belgian Congo, and it is highly suggestive of how ongoing exploitation of colonies has divvied up the world into haves and haven'ts. It's worth noting too that this is high praise from me, because I rarely like (or even bother with) history written by non-professional historians--whether they're buffs writing Civil War minutiae or Steven Ambrose-style hacks who write a book a year about presidents, kings, and wars. Hochschild (a journalist by trade) actually has an advantage over many social historians who would write this book, because he is willing and able to transition back and forth between what's happening on the ground in the Congo and what's going on in Laeken, the royal palace in Belgium. Juggling both stories is no mean feat, and Hochschild truly gets it right.

As I noted above, tomorrow is my last day at work. Last days are weird. I am less ambivalent about this one than usual because I'm really happy to be moving on, but of course I will miss people and familiar settings and routines. We are going to my boss's apartment to celebrate, which may or may not be fraught; time will tell. At least it's a happy send-off--the type where I'm not leaving on bad terms and their not happy to see me go, but they're happy for me and I'm especially happy for me. It'll be a bittersweet day, but it should be a mostly pleasant one.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Have you ever wondered which would be more evil--a sports franchise owned by a murderer or a sports franchise owned by Disney? How about both? (OK, for libel purposes, alleged murderer.)

Monday, July 28, 2003

This seems like a good time to talk about the old job and the new job a bit. The old job is winding down this week, as I try to clean up a few little messes and outstanding projects, while preparing Mari to take over what I do (except, of course, this). Jacob, who wrote that article about our job I linked to a while back, left last Friday to take a job with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. I must say that the three of us were a nice little over-educated team here. We got our work done efficiently and with a minimum of trouble, and we had good chats about anything and everything. The two of them (and my boss Julie) are what I will miss about this job.

While the work itself has often been dull and repetitive, I also credit this job for pulling me out of the doldrums and getting me re-established in the world in a lot of ways. I was truly floundering for a long time when I moved home, and while I had other local temp jobs, getting back into the city every day and working with professionals (and holding my own, in a way) has been the boost I've needed to take control of my life again. I also reminded myself that I can work long days and long weeks if I have to (or just want to), and that I can do odious things such as commute three hours a day if it serves a greater goal.

As for the new job, I will be a paralegal for a pair of lawyers in Downtown L.A. working on one complex death penalty appeal. It is understood by both sides that I will be there for one year because I'll be starting law school in fall 2004. The pay is solid, the hours are flexible, and it's a 15-minute bus ride from the new apartment. In short, it's everything I could hope for over the next year as I transition back to the West Coast and prepare for law school.

I hope things don't end up like my favorite power ballad, but right now the immediate future is looking up in a big way.

Friday, July 25, 2003

When not played by Andy Kaufman or Bob Zmuda, Tony Clifton was apparently played by Max "Jethro" Baer!

Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima seems to be widely hailed as the forerunner of most Chicano/a and Southwest fiction, and in fact I can see its fingerprints all over Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams, which I reviewed back in April. While Kingsolver's book was about coming home again, Anaya's is a coming-of-age story about 7-year-old Antonio, who is caught between two ways of life (will he be a priest or a farmer?), two religions (Catholicism and the native religion embodied by the Golden Carp), two identities (Antonio at home, Tony at school) and a whole series of intra- and inter-family struggles.

In some ways the novel is brilliant; New Mexico in its complexity absolutely comes to life. The greater world available to those who move away is portrayed in its absence by brothers who leave for war, return, and then leave again for the cities, but the variety of the countryside is clear as well. The school Christmas pageant is brilliant comic relief. More than anything else, however, the symbolism is poured on more thickly yet consistently than in just about anything I've ever read.

Yet, I still have a lot of reservations about this book, because I cannot relate to its central theme of the multiplicity of sprirtuality. As someone who is basically (for lack of a better term) a secular humanist, the basic battle between Catholicism and "pagan" religions for Tony's soul just isn't compelling to me. Ultima is an old bruja (witch) from the llano rangelands, and she is the spiritual center of the book. But at the end of a day I just can't abide by a book where the strong suggestion is that the witch actually has powers, as opposed to the type of the book that suggests earthly causes of the apparently supernatural. Because of the overwhelming presence of the supernatural here, I couldn't help but drift in and out of interest in places.

I highly recommend this book for its prose and its portrayal of Chicano/a culture; I would have reservations, however, about recommending it to people who just aren't that interested in the spiritual and supernatural.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

So of course, DEK and I went to the semifinal clash between the Lake Charles Land Sharks and YOUR Ohio Valley Greyhounds this past Friday night at the Wheeling Civic Center. As always, the action was NIFL-riffic, but this was a little extra special. If Bill Walton had been on hand, he might have said, "This may have been the greatest game in the history of indoor sporting events since the Cretaceous Period." I don't know about that, but I think you could make the case that this was the 1958 Baltimore-New York NFL Championship Game of minor league arena football. Here's the recap. The action was actually so exciting that, for a few moments, our football watching wasn't the least bit ironic.

A few digressions...

  1. Since the Greyhounds prevailed, I pointed out to DEK that the Lake Charles players can now resume their careers delivering Candygrams, or just being a plumber, ma'am.
  2. I can't report from the Wheeling Civic Center without telling my favorite story from that building. I was there in 1989 for a WWF TV taping, and at the time the Ultimate Warrior and Dino Bravo were feuding. So one bit involved calling the biggest guy in the building out of the audience so the Warrior and Bravo could compete to see who could do more pushups with him on their back. They bring out this hick-looking guy who seems a bit shy and acts all reluctant. They ask him his name and he says, "John", and then they start the contest, but mid-pushup he attacks the Warrior and, with Bravo's help, beats the hell out of him.
    Now, since this was a "Superstars" taping, they were doing four weeks worth of shows, so later in the night they filmed this interview bit where "John" is unveiled as "The Canadian Earthquake", Bravo's new tag team partner and a new force in the WWF.
    None of this is particularly funny, except for one thing. This, of course, was before the "behind the curtain" era of the WWF, when there was no acknowledgement that there were people outside of wrestling, a real world, personal lives, etc. (Film geeks might say that there was no non-diegetic material.) So a month later I get my copy of WWF Magazine and I read about this taping that I had actually attended. They tell the same story, except that in the story, when they ask the big guy his name, it says that he responded, "The Canadian Earthquake" at that moment.
    Now the Ultimate Warrior was no brain surgeon, but even he would have been smart enough to follow Joe's Iron Law of Pushup Contests: Don't do pushups with someone named The Canadian Earthquake on your back.
  3. Sub-digressions:
    • When I have told this story in the past, I have always reported that it was Ravishing Rick Rude in the contest with the Warrior, but deep down I suspected my memory was flawed because I couldn't reconcile the fact that Jimmy Hart was at the unveiling as the Canadian Earthquake with the fact that Rude was managed by Bobby Heenan in that era. I gave it a lot of thought, and suddenly the Canada connection occurred to me and I realized my error. Yes, I know, I need to seek help.
    • It was a bad TV taping for Heenan, however, because The Brain Busters lost the tag team belts to Demolition the same night, one of two title changes I have seen live. (The other was Hogan vs. Yokozuna at King of the Ring '93, Hogan's last pre-WCW match in the WWF.) Yes, I know, I really need to seek help.
    • Dino Bravo has the surprisingly heavily contested honor of strangest death of a major wrestler. Nationality slurs aside, this is the best account of it I've read.
    • If it's any consolation, I've been cold turkey from wrestling for a good 10 months now.
  4. End sub-digressions
  5. Sadly, I will not be at the finale of the NIFL playoffs (thanks Mike) because of the Burns (thanks for that too, Mike!). I do assume, though, that Buonicotti, Griese, Csonka, Shula, et al will be quaking in their boots.

Finally, Tom reports on this article about some Jackass. I didn't really care about most of the article, but the final paragraph answers the question that many a NIFL fan has pondered: What exactly would I have to do to get BANNED FROM HOUMA FOR LIFE??!!

Not a ferret, but willing to introduce friends to Our Good Friend The Conditional Mood as needed...

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

I had a good day today.

This is a picture of the apartment for which Jeff and I were officially approved today. This is where it is located.

Oh yes, and pending a solid recommendation from my boss tomorrow (who will give one if she wants a tour guide for the La Brea Tar Pits, the Museum of Death, and Hollywood Forever Cemetery when she visits in November), I also got a permanent L.A. job today.

If I had a video camera and blogger had the functionality, this would be a picture of me doing the happy dance.

Yes, it was a very good day.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

When I was in grad school, my advisor referred to Lizabeth Cohen's Making a New Deal as the most important work of American social history published in the 1990s. I just finished her long-awaited second book A Consumer's Republic, and this one might be better than the first. It was written to a wider audience, I believe, and I hope it finds that audience.

Cohen's premise is that the post-WWII period can be fruitfully reconsidered by examining the history of consumption and consumer movements in this period. She describes two kinds of consumer-based citizenship--one in which consumers actively fight for their rights in the marketplace, and a more passive kind in which consumption in and of itself is good citizenship because it helps the nation grow. The former is the more radical possibility, and while it gained widespread acceptance during the Depression and WWII, and has occasionally made headway since, the latter ideal has truly won out over most of the past 50 years, and particularly the critical 1945-75 period.

Cohen's book looks at a wide variety of phenomena in light of this notion of consumer history and America as a "Consumer Republic": suburbanization, target marketing, unequal school funding, and most stimulatingly the civil rights movement. Cohen shows that African-Americans used the consumer ideology and the idea of an open market as a wedge into freeing up places of consumption--think, for instance, about department stores and lunch counters as the sites of important sit-ins--an important battle given the increasing folding together of the ideas of "citizen" and "consumer". Conversely, suburbanization and the development of suburban shopping center tended to reinscribe segregation--either explicitly or only somewhat indirectly, as the presence of minorities in a neighborhood (regardless of their wealth or social status) led to both perceived and real declines in property values. The federal government was complicit in this until the practice of "redlining" neighborhoods was outlawed in the late '60s; by then, however, patterns were already established that would be difficult to overcome.

This book is not without some minor faults. While it admirably blows apart received wisdom that the story post-war history is national and state and localities don't matter, her focus on Northern New Jersey for the local parts of the story is limiting. (She does note that this region was more prototypical than typical.) For instance, at one point she mentions that some of the suburban tract land used to be farmland; beyond that brief comment, however, this is the story exclusively of urban vs. suburban America, with rural America nowhere to be found. (This is, sadly, not unusual in American historiography.) Also, the extent to which the patterns of the Northeast matched those of the South, Midwest, and West is left an open question. Finally, while this book seemlessly integrates race, gender, and class analysis--not as afterthoughts or narrow perspectives but as fundamental to the story--it is a little too comfortable with equating "race" to "African-American" and only passingly discusses other minorities or the importance of "whiteness" studies.

Regardless, I recommend this book highly to historians and others alike. For historians, this has the feel of a major, field-shifting book. For non-historians, this book is an excellent example of the best work historians do. It is almost wholly jargon-free, and the debates of narrow scholarly interest are largely relegated to the footnotes. Also, it shows how historians can view and reinterpret events through a new lens. Some may call this "revisionism", but this is not the type of book people who use that label as a smear have in mind. This is not a "victim" book or a whiny tract, but a nuanced, well-argued, and well-written book (better edited than her brilliant but at times confusing first book) that can't help but be influential in academic circles, and from which progressive activists will also benefit if it crosses over to a mainstream audience.

Friday, July 18, 2003

If you ever feel disappointed with your own site (or this one, for that matter), take heart that it is not the dullest blog in the world.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

My mother (yeah, that's the ticket) had Miss Congeniality on last night, and I plunked down in front of it for half an hour or so, specifically the first half hour. After the first five minutes, however, all I was thinking about was this credit:

Music Supervisor
Steve Schnur

Being the sports geek that I am, I couldn't stop thinking: That can't be the same Steve Schnur who quarterbacked Northwestern to its improbable Big Ten title and Rose Bowl in 1994, can it? But there can't be two Steve Schnurs of note, can there? I dithered between these two questions for the next half hour of the movie, probably in my sleep, and through my shower and commute this morning.
I finally tried some google searching and found little conclusive evidence either way until I found this resume for the musical Schnur. I am fairly confident that no one who quarterbacked a college team in the 1990s could've had anything to do with the Cocktail soundtrack. OK, maybe Chris Weinke, but the point still stands.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

One of the cool parts of the West Toluca Lake idea (which is also the Toluca Lake/North Hollywood/Studio City idea--I swear they're all one place) is the prospect of living on or very near Magnolia Boulevard. Then again, a movie reference is probably not a good basis for choosing an apartment. And then there's the whole frog problem...

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Neal Gabler's Life: The Movie shows how all aspects of twentieth-century life have been infused by the phenomenon of entertainment. The comment entitled "Another flop of a Life" pretty much gets it right--Gabler has taken the subject of infotainment and written an infotaining book about it that never bothers to engage any of the extensive literature on the subject, or do something as bothersome as primary research. Kudos to Gabler on one note: He does not just take sides with the people who see the expansion of entertainment as unquestionably a bad thing that destroys culture and essence without any possibility for good, or happiness, or anything positive. In that regard, I prefer Gabler to such serious writers as Guy Debord, whose Society of the Spectacle is a strong candidate for Joe's Least Favorite Book Ever. But that doesn't change the book that this book is pretty useless if you've ever read anything else even remotely on this subject.

Monday, July 14, 2003

I have been spending a lot of time over the past week at this site. It's strange apartment hunting from afar--all I can really do is pine from a distance at different pictures, descriptions, and neighborhoods. The pictures all look roughly the same--taken from too close to see how bad the surrounding neighborhood is, or from too far away to see how bad the building is. The descriptions all basically run together, and are presumably full of PR lies anyway. But the neighborhood fantasies are what really get me going.

We've talked about Pasadena, we've talked about Highland Park, we've talked about Koreatown and some others. My current infatuation is with West Toluca Lake, although I'm now disheartened to find that it anagrams to "Lotsa luck ta ewe", which just sounds like it's taunting me. I'm also trying not to bug poor Jefferson (i.e. the future roommate) to death with all my dreaming, since he's doing all the work. It's been fun having my head in the clouds about this for a while, even though I know that on some level reality will necessarily disappoint, which it couldn't help but do given all the build-up I've had in my own head toward this impending move. That said, it's still the right move, it's still going to be great--I just hope that the day-to-day reality doesn't blind me to the fact that I'll be living the dream.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

I read this editorial by my least favorite political columnist yesterday in the local newspaper. I was livid that this trash was printed for several reasons. One is that the controversy involved is over a year old and nothing new has happened. So the column simply stirs up culture war antagonisms that have been fought and are now being revisited in spite of no new information. And of course, he takes cheap shots at both France and California because that's what you do when you're a right-wing culture warrior.

More importantly, of course, Greenberg gets this totally wrong. First off, he talks about "censoring the pledge" which is a prepostrous reading of the situation. Preventing something from being mandatory is completely different from censoring it. Furthermore, he makes no effort to explain why one might think this was a good or bad decision--he assumes that "everybody" knows it's a bad decision, and goes from there.

In the whole Pledge of Allegiance debate that has gone on for years, and which sprung up again around this decision a year ago, why is it that nobody makes what, to my mind, is the only point truly worth making--isn't it antithetical to a free society to indoctrinate 6-to-17 years olds by making them mouth a political catechism that they don't even understand?!

I don't consider myself a prude about cultural trends. I'm not the type to think the world is coming to an end because some TV show is popular, or because people are doing something to themselves. But absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt--no good can come of this!!(Link courtesy of little yellow different.)

Now, I'm also not the type to attribute all new weirdness in the world to California, but somehow I'm not shocked that that place is operating in San Diego, although I would have guessed Bay Area.

Friday, July 11, 2003

I spent last night at Bill and Terri's because my dad in his infinite wisdom managed to get the electric shut off. I should say that Dad is the type of guy who--regardless of his momentary financial condition--doesn't believe in paying any bill until he's gotten the second past due notice. Sometimes this bites him in the ass, when he misses or forgets that late notice. The power company claims they put two notices on our door; we didn't get either, though it's entirely possible Dad actually did see them, put them aside, and forgot about them.

Now it appears that they might not turn it back on until Monday for weird technical reasons. I really needed a weekend without electricity as I try to do things like update my resumes, write some cover letters, and sort stuff for the move. Now I'll at least get some hours at work this weekend, since I'll have nothing better to do at home, and I might stay with Bill and Terri some more. I swear that if I ever get even moderately flush I'm going to owe those guys a car or something.

The Beallsvonian Captivity countdown is at 28 days and counting.

Update: The lights are on! Please disregard most of the above. Except the 28 days.

Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist is undoubtedly the finest novel about rival elevator inspector factions that I have ever read. Oh, and it's also one of the best novels about race and about cities, and it's a cool mystery to boot. It's just a damn fine first novel. Its premise is quirky brilliance, and the follow-through is very satisfying as well. Very highly recommended to all.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

All I can say is, the next time the Brewers come to town, Jalapeno Hanna had better watch her ass.

P.S.: this comes up as the first hit if you google "Pittsburgh pierogi race".

P.S.S.: I never thought I'd see this sentence in print: A charge of $125 per hour per Pierogie is added for appearances of more than one hour in length.

In honor of the road-tripping and thus temporarily not blogging Craig, may I present this installment of "I am shocked, Louie, just quite simply shocked":
Britney not that innocent.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I think we can all agree that there's something not quite right about Vikings' coach Mike Tice. DEK and I took to referring to him as Unfrozen Caveman Football Coach last season, and for a reason. But this story (the "Bitter Rivals" note) gives me pause--it's always tough to choose between respecting or being creeped out by this kind of single-mindedness.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

This essay is excellent. My favorite quote (as you'd learn by reading the comments) is: "Idiocy can generate ten words without breaking a sweat. " But the whole thing makes for great reading.

Monday, July 07, 2003


  • The highlight of the family festivities this weekend was my cousin talking about some woman on the news complaining about library funding being slashed in Pennsylvania. The woman on the news said something like, "It's a shame we have money to fight this war, but not the money the fund our libraries." My cousin indignantly replied, "Yeah, and if we didn't fight that war, you might not have those libraries." I hope this doesn't filter upward, or we'll start seeing news reports where the president says we "liberated" Iraq to save our precious public libraries. Somehow.
    Even my dad, a lifelong GOP supporter, spoke up at this point to say that this is the stupidest war we've ever fought and that it has nothing to do with anything. I was thus able to stay smug and silent rather than forced to make a scene, which would've sucked since that cousin was the one cooking the steaks.
  • For the curious, my upcoming moving schedule looks somethings like this: July 31, last day of work; August 1-3, go to Michigan for the Burns; August 8, start driving with the one-day goal of Chicago and Mr. Jureller's couch; August 9, drive to Madison and the hospitality of the Infield-Harms; August 11, drive like hell across South Dakota with a Rapid City-ish goal; August 12, either drive mostly west to the Salt Lake area or mostly south to Albuquerque-Santa Fe (I haven't decided yet); August 13, hopefully arrive at a new apartment somewhere in L.A. (or pull up just short and arrive around noon the next day).
  • Jefferson and I have started looking at places now, focusing largely in the Koreatown section and other places near/easily accessible to both Downtown L.A. and USC. Watch this space as news unfolds.
  • If Margaret Cho were a recently laid off gay guy, her blog would probably look a lot like this. Be sure to go to the personal stuff, the favorites, and ultimately the stuff about Ernie's mom.
  • Many of you have probably heard DEK or myself talk about Steamer, the Altoona Curve Bong. Here's a picture of Steamer, along with an amusing anecdote about Al Roker. Scroll down to June 8th.
  • Speaking of DEK and driving like hell across across South Dakota, Barker (et al) Across America should be well on its way to Vegas right now, though their connectivity must be low-to-non-existent, as no one has posted any updates yet.
  • The latest book to come off the checklist in my head is Steven Bach's Final Cut. This is one of the great Hollywood books of all time, and it tells a fascinating story--the debacle that was Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, as told by a top insider at United Artists. The book works for several reasons--Bach is an engaging writer, he legitimately has widespread behind-the-scenes insight, and most importantly he is willing to contemplate his enemies and criticize his friends and himself, as well as vice versa. Admittedly, that can lull you into forgetting that this is still one man's perspective on what is surely a more complex story; sadly, for instance, we get little direct insight into Cimino himself or into the day-to-day realities of the filming, since Bach was close to neither. To his credit, though, Bach makes it pretty clear that he is telling his story of Heaven's Gate rather than the story.
    For those of you who don't know, Heaven's Gate is the most infamous bomb in movie history. Starting as a mid-budget film, Heaven's Gate's production costs and schedule spiraled out of control due to the perfectionism of its director, the ever-expanding scope (or hubris) of his vision, and UA's inability to control Cimino combined with its unwillingness to pull the plug. All this added up to a movie that cost over $40 million to make (after initial budgets of $7.5 and later $11.9 million) and grossed less than $2 million despite re-cuts, multiple releases, and at least a few supporters. In the process it sank the careers of many executives, of Cimino himself, and ultimately led to the demise of United Artists as an independent company. "Unqualified disaster" (as Vincent Canby called the film) only scratches the surface.
    If any of this sounds interesting to you, I would heartily recommend Final Cut as a witty and insightful account.
  • Obviously, since The Beallsvonian Captivity is ending 32 days from today, this space will need to be renamed in the near future. I have some thoughts, though if I go with another geographic moniker I'll obviously have to wait until I figure out exactly where I'm moving. But by all means if you have any thoughts on the naming issue, let me know. I may post some ideas at some point and ask for feedback as well.

Friday, July 04, 2003

This week, on the suggestion of several Beallsvonian commenters, I read Bill Bryson's The Mother Tongue. This is a neat book about the history of the English language, written more as a popular conversation piece than an academic history. The comments give me pause, as people who know more about this than I do seem to suggest that Bryson's research is shoddy or even wildly inaccurate. Regardless, it's a fun read; my personal favorite part being the 18th-century grammarian who wrote a book imposing his own quirky on English grammar, and those rules somehow stuck, which is why for instance we are not supposed to split infinitives, even though there's no good reason not to do so.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

I keep seeing versions of this story, describing the dearly departed Kevin Young as the Pirates' "team leader". I keep thinking that's true, but only to the extent that it refers to that obligatory but basically useless piece at the beginning of a reel of film or a videotape.

This article sounds suspiciously like where I work. Oh, wait, that's because it is, Jacob being one of my fellow temps.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Since I'm a temp in a law firm, several people had told me to see Haiku Tunnel which is (I suppose I gave this away) about a temp in a law firm. Now that I've seen it, rest assured that my life is almost but not entirely unlike "Josh Kornbluth" 's (and, presumably, Josh Kornbluth's). For instance, I have minimal supervision or contact with the people in the main area of the law firm, as they are 13 floors away from me. Also, I tend to get my work done without agonizing over each little bit. Finally, during the course of the movie, Kornbluth actually has sex.

As for the film, it's right in the 2.25 to 2.5 star range. It has its funny moments, but it drags in places even at a slim 88 minutes. This Onion AV club review pretty much hits the mark, except that I tend to like Jon Lovitz. Kornbluth is a poor man's Woody Allen or perhaps a destitute man's Spalding Gray. Some of the office culture stuff translated, but it's no Dilbert or Office Space.