Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ten Quote Movie Meme

Swiped from Sarah:
Hereinafter are ten quotes from ten different movies. I love these particular quotes and the movies they come from. The fun part is you play along and comment if you know which movie the quote is from.

1. "Sherif Ali, so long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are."

2. "The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules."

3. "I used to be in a barbershop quartet in Skokie, Illinois. The baritone was this guy named Kip Diskin, big fat guy, I mean, like, orca fat."

4. "I was just nowhere near your neighborhood."

5. "It's alright to be afraid, David, because this part won't be like a comic book. Real life doesn't fit into little boxes that were drawn for it."

6. "I've never seen that. I've never seen anyone drive thier garbage down to the curb and bang the hell out of it with a stick."

7. "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops."

8. "There are children throwing snowballs here instead of throwing heads."

9. "I lost my gun today when I left you, and I'm the laughingstock of a lot of people."

10. "You are what you choose to be." "Superman."

Update (Feb. 11):
OK, here are the corresponding movies (highlight the empty space below).
1. T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole), Lawrence of Arabia
2. Rob Gordon (John Cusack), High Fidelity
3. Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), The Usual Suspects
4. Steve Dunne (Campbell Scott), Singles
5. Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), Unbreakable
6. Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks), The 'Burbs
7. General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott), Dr. Strangelove
8. Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman), The Nightmare Before Christmas
9. Officer Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly), Magnolia
10. Hogarth Hughes / the Iron Giant (Eli Marienthal / Vin Diesel), The Iron Giant
Kudos to Jeff, Jeff, Yancey, Chez, Wendi, and Daniel for the answers they got correct.

Learning lessons the hard way

Along with all the fun stuff that's been going on for me lately, there's been a dose of not-so-fun stuff as well. Or, more aptly put, stuff that's frustrating, unnerving, and makes me want to beat the shit out of somebody (one person in particular).

I got a letter from the Alabama Department of Revenue last week warning me of "impending collection action." Supposedly, I owed around $2400. At first, I just figured that my mortgage company had neglected to pay my taxes from escrow — that should be easy to take care of. But there was something in the letter about rental tax, so I called the state tax department to figure out what exactly was going on.

As it turns out, they have me and my ex-wife owing several months worth of sales and rental taxes from our former business in late 2004. However, I sold Haven in October 2003. It seems that the guy I sold the store to continued to use my tax ID number without my knowledge or authorization. He charged his customers sales tax, but never paid it to the state. Not only did he not pay it, but he didn't file it either, so the state estimated the taxes (at numbers that seem to me to be higher than they should) and tacked on a $50 late fee for each month. Then, of couse, the fees have been collecing interest all this time.

I actually had to get in touch with my ex-wife and work with her to sort out the whole debacle — that alone should signify that the situation was dire. I told her first-off when I called that I had no more interest in talking to her than she did with me, but that my call was unfortunately necessary. As I learned from The Godfather: Part II, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Anyway, my ex-wife and I have to proove to the state that we didn't own the business during 2004. Even then, the state isn't much concerned with whose fault the situation is -- all they care is that our social security numbers are attached to the tax ID number, so as far as they're concerned, we're liable. I sent them a batch of documentation showing that we weren't connected to the store (including a bill of sale in which our successor specifically states that he's responsible for all the store's debts and taxes from October 1, 2003 to December 31, 2004), but if they don't rule in our favor, we'll have to pony up the money then take this jackass to court to make him pay us back. It'll be easy to proove our case in court, at least, but that would also be a big hassle. I really hope the state will take care of it without having to get to that point.

In the meantime, my ex tracked down the guy who bought the store and hounded him with phone calls until he finally got back to her. He supposedly apologized for the problem and promised to take care of paying the delinquent taxes. I'll believe it when I see it. Considering the difficultly I encountered in wrangling the money from him when I sold the store, I don't anticipate an easy transaction this time either.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Mo Show

The main reason I've been absent from posting over the past couple weeks is that I've been really busy at work. That's not to say that I would otherwise use my time at the office for writing in my blog (oh no, of course not), it's just that things have been go-go-go at work, so when I get home I'm tired. Nevertheless, I enjoy the more stressful environment that has emerged from some exciting things that have been going on.

Two projects in particlar have kept me on my toes: The Sidewalk @ Sundance blog and a guest chat with Mo Rocca. The later was a primer for Rocca's appearance at the Alys Stephens Center this past weekend. I hadn't realized it before I began working on setting up the chat, but it turns out that Misty has quite the crush on him.

The frenzy began when Misty learned about the chat event and hatched a plan to secure herself a lunch date with Mo Rocca. Her plan was thus: Drive me crazy by repeatedly suggesting that I e-mail Mo and ask him if he'd have lunch with her. Needless to say, I was not about to follow through with this. Misty wasn't phased, though. She maintained high hopes that the lunch date would somehow happen.

The day of the chat arrived, and things went fairly smoothly. I would have liked for more people to have been in the room, but Mo told us later that he probably would have been overwhelmed trying to keep up with it all. Misty managed to find a way to log on for a few minutes (despite not having an Internet connection at work) and act like a giddy schoolgirl. When she found out that I'd spoken to Mo on the phone, though, she was beside herself. A barrage of questions was hurled at me: "What did he sound like? Was he nice? What did he say? Did you ask him about lunch?" (And, in case you're wondering, the answers are: Just like he does on TV... Yes... He wanted to make sure he understood the chat software before we began... And no.)

Because of's participation in marketing and advertising the chat (which essentially served as a prelude for Rocca's performance in Birmingham), the Alys Stephens Center comped us a few tickets. I was lucky enough to get a pair, so of course, Misty had to bug me relentlessly about that, too. Friday morning she called to ask if I'd gotten the tickets yet.

"No," I told her, "but it's not even 8 a.m. Most of the staff isn't in the office yet."

"What time will someone be there to give you the tickets?" she wanted to know.

"I don't know. Probably at 9:00," I said.

"I'll call back at 9:01," she told me. "I want to find out where our seats are."

It turned out that our tickets were being held at will call anyway, so I had no way of knowing our seating assignment. When Misty learned this, she decided to call the ticket office and see if they could tell her where we'd be sitting. She called me back in a frenzy. "We have to go to the box office before lunch," she told me. "Will call tickets are handed out first-come, first-served."

When we arrived she explained her Mo Rocca obsession to the bewildered folks at the ticket window. She pleaded with them to help her get "as close to his flesh as possible." She told them, "I want to smell his breath mints." They asked her if the front row would be suitable, which, of course, put Misty on cloud nine. Then, because they were so amused by her antics, they comped us tickets to the after-party as well. At that point, Misty came unglued and bounced back to the car squealing repeatedly.

So anyway, we saw his show — it was more like a funny lecture than a stand-up routine. It was obvious that he'd put a lot of time into researching his material, tailoring it to the audience with humor relating to Alabama and UAB in particular. My favorite part was an un-aired Daily Show clip he showed of himself "interviewing" someone after the Gore/Bradley debates. It made me laugh until I cried.

Unfortunately, Misty found herself too starstruck to volunteer to go on stage for the quizzes Mo presented... or to ask him a question during the Q&A... or to utter a word when she got her copy of All the Presidents' Pets signed after the show. Finally at the after-party though, with a couple glasses of wine in her, Misty worked up the nerve to say something to him. Just before he left, she asked him about Spy on the Wild, a show he hosts on Animal Planet, and they talked briefly about the star-nosed mole, which Misty had stuttered studied in her animal behavior class.

Later at dinner, Misty declared the day "the greatest day of my life... right after the birth of Emily and our wedding day." It's nice to know that I rank slightly higher than Mo Rocca.

You'd think the story would end there, but I've had no such luck. Every day, Misty has presented me with new questions such as: "Do you think Mo is still in Alabama?," "Do you think we'll ever get to talk to him again?," and "Do you think I should have told him about the baloon fly instead?" Then there's her plan to get me glasses like Mo's and her theory that we need to go to Memphis in March to see him again. I haven't looked in her backpack, but I'll bet her notebooks have got "I ♥ Mo" written on them.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

That says it all

Last night, Misty and I attended Duncan Sheik's concert at WorkPlay.

It was really weird that at 30 years old, I felt like I was at the lower end of the age spectrum at the show. I think that's probably why a substantial portion of the crowd had left by the time Sheik was half way through his set. I guess a concert that lasts from 9 p.m. until almost 1 a.m. (there were two openers) is just too much for his audience. I know I was getting pretty tired toward the end — I'm just not cut out for that sort of thing anymore.

I'm glad we made it to the end, though, because the band closed with a cool cover of "Fake Plastic Trees." I'd share a video clip of the song if I knew how. Anyone know the best way to post a 4-minute .MOV file? I tried zipping it, but that only took the file from 56 MB to 53 MB.

In the meantime, I put together a slideshow of various concert photos I've taken.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Slow day at the clinic, apparently

This is an actual phone conversation from this morning between my wife and me...


Me:, this is Matt.

Misty: Hey, what are you doing?

Me: Putting together our new City Scene section for The News.

Photo lifted from Wikipedia.orgMisty: Did you know that there's a bird called the great tit?

Me: Yes. There's also one called the tiny titmouse.

Misty: Think about it — if you had some as pets, you could tell people, "I've got great tits."

Me: I've got to go.

Misty: No, wait! Wait!