I'll see you after the new year.

I leave for Cincinnati early Thursday morning, partially to watch two friends be joined together in the sacrament of holy matrimony, but mostly for the free food. Also, I hear the 'Nati is lovely this time of year.

Since I don't know when I'll be near a computer for a while, and don't know when I'll get a chance to do this again, I thought I'd leave a few anecdotes from the past few days that've stuck out in my mind .

Last year, I'd just started my blog, and I did a short post expressing my discontent with Christmas. I thought I'd continue that with a short note about this year, just to let you know that I like it much better this year, it really was lovely, but... strange. Owing to the fact that it fell on a Sunday, we found it impossible to re-create the traditions of our previous years, and so we opened all our presents and stockings Christmas Eve, then went to bed. We roused ourselves at various times the next morning, and some of us went off, in separate cars, to church, though we didn't all actually end up going to the same church. We met up again at lunch, caravanned down to Massachusetts, had a great time visitng the family, and drove back. But we never actually opened any presents, which was sort of a first for Christmas day. The next day we went to visit other relatives, and had a lovely round of family dinner and gift-giving, and everything seemed normal again. So while Christmas was sandwiched between two days with perfectly appropriate levels of gift-giving (and therefore, appropriate gift-receiving), the actual day felt strangely blank - it's as if Super Bowl Sunday featured great pre-game build-up, a slightly scandalous half-time show, and a lot of beer commercials, but no actual game. Sure, you might be so interested in the party and the camaraderie that it barely matters, but there's no question that the whole event would just feel lacking.

I've decided that if you ever want to get an honest opinion about your films, show them to your little brothers. Or, barring that, my little brothers. No one is going to be less worried about hiding the fact that they aren't impressed. The following is a segment, essentially word-for-word, from an actual conversation I had with JA last night:
"Hey, do you want to finally watch my films tonight?"
"Yeah. Sure. But after that, can we watch something, um...."
"Yeah! That's what I was thinking, but I wasn't gonna say it if you weren't. Besides, I already saw your films."
"Really...? When'd.... when'd you see them?"
"Remember? You showed them to me last year."
"Oh, uh... I have new films now. I went to film school this semester. In Los Angeles."
"Oh. Yeah. Well, how long are they?"
"Three are five minutes, and one is eight minutes."
"Oh, okay! Well, I could do that. I mean, I thought they were gonna be like an hour each. That's only like a half hour, total. And then we can watch a real movie afterwards."

JA did manage to watch all four movies, but he only survived by teaching himself to juggle during all the boring parts, which apparently is every point after I explained which number film it was. He did make a number of helpful comments, though, such as "this is really slow," and "why isn't anyone talking?" which I think only adds to the viewing experience. He got more involved in the boxing film, and asked how I managed to get permission to film the fight. I told him that we'd hired the actors, rented the ring, and correographed the fight, but I don't think he really believed me.

Chris had it tougher because he watched the films with all the rest of the family, and so I also showed a couple other films that I acted in. My family loved those better than my actual films, I think, especially the part where I'm naked in the tub during Matt Boyd's film. Chris, though, finally ran out of patience after about forty-five minutes, and said, "so are we going to watch the boxing film or what?" Having finally gotten that out of the way, he went off and played on the computer for a while, and so never got to see Excerpts From A Michael Bay Interview, which is a shame, because everyone else enjoyed it, and wanted to know where I found the Michael Bay interview. So, where ever you are, Seth, apparently you do a one-hundred-percent completely believable impression of what a crappy self-absorbed director sounds like. Oh, and they loved Beauties in the Wilderness better than anything I made. But they just don't understand why the monks are wearing sneakers.

And finally, not that anyone could possibly care for an update, but I chose some ringtones. I discovered that hip-hop sounds much better than modern rock when translated into a crappy synthesizer, and a million times better than punk music. I ended up using Kanye and D12 as ringtones, but I assigned Death Cab to play when good friends call, while Keane's assigned to people I hate. So if you call me on my cell phone, and you're also standing right next to me, you'll know where you stand.