Mars Life


The biggest party on Ridge Hill Rd. Bar none.

Well, I thought I’d give a little update on my dear old mom. I talked with her on the phone last night, to get what’s turned into a welcome semi-weekly update on her poarty planning. In her classic way, she’s started to go completely crazy planning this party. She was telling me that all the family is coming, and when I say all, I mean the 8 siblings my father has that I really never saw all too regularly growing up. It’s a Sanford Watson family hoedown! They all can’t wait to see me, and meet Kerri, or so the legend from my mom goes. Quote of the conversation: “I think I may have to get 2 kegs!”

So I can’t wait, of course. It’ll be good to see mass amounts of family, now I hope some of my old hometown friends stop by for a bit, it should be a great shin-dig. Can you say karaoke machine (ok, now can you say it in tune)? The countdown’s at about 1.5 weeks. Whoop-tee-freakin-yay.


So here’s a nice little article about how TV and screen writers are getting boned these days. Damn reality shows, damn greedy studio execs, damn the economy, and of course, where would we be without damning dubya.

Well I just wanted to drop a note so peeps knew I was still alive. Expect another review coming up soon, enjoy the summer in the meantime!

More to come. I promise.


All righty, here's another review for Once I actually break into the template for this blog, I'll probably post a permanent link to the site. In the meantime, read on about Nufonia must Fall.

The Fall of Nufonia, the Rise of the Independent Robot

To say Kid Koala is diverse would be as obvious as saying he likes using turntables. HeÂ’s been quite busy lately as well ( He's one of many DJ acts that will be featured at this weekend's Bonnaroo festival (related post by Eric Olsen), and his work is worth checking for anyone who may be into hip hop DJ and breakbeats.

His list of credits includes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Deltron 3030, and solo cuts on several ninja tune mix cds. No, you're not mistaken, this is indeed a book review, read on.

Kid Koala's most recent creation exhibits his rough, raw drawing style while also showing his appreciation for a good, ironic love story. "Nufonia must Fall" is a 300 page graphic novel chronicling an incredibly sweet love story between a defeated, almost-obsolete robot, and an overworked, lonely office worker. The two are star-crossed lovers of sorts, and their happenchance meetings and what develops is a delight to watch play out.

Watch truly is the operative word in this piece, as Kid Koala uses virtually no dialogue in his piece, relying on signs, scenery, and emotions of his characters to move his plot forward. The only verbal communication even documented in the book is in email form. His drawings are delightful. Very scratchy, gritty, rough, grayscale images are enough to tell well over a thousand words apiece.

Another notable feature of this project is the accompanying cd Kid Koala includes as a soundtrack. Tracks titled with page numbers help the reader understand that Koala's focus is the story that unfolds in the book, and that the music is just a stimulus to aid the reader in finding the emotions of the characters involved. Sitting back and digesting both simultaneously, one begins to appreciate the artist even more.

Having made note of the dominance of the story, Kid Koala fans should not purchase Nufonia must Fall strictly for the music alone. The cuts Koala creates are not exactly entertaining on their own two feet. However, graphic novel fans and hip hop fans of the nerdy comic book variety will most likely find several readings worth of enjoyment from this beatiful piece of work, only to be enhanced by the musical accompaniment.


I figured I'd post a review I posted today over at It's a pretty nice blog that keeps reviews of all things in popular culture. You can reaqd it here, or you can read it there. Over there, it's at this link.

Prince Paul gets Political

Well, Paul’s at it again. The artist formerly known as Chest Rockwell put out an album featuring many big name hip-hop artists entitled “Politics of the Business,” which has been receiving mixed reviews since it first started being downloaded off of leaked copies put up on the internet several months ago.

Prince Paul, a long time veteran in the hip-hop scene, has previously handled production for such classics as De La Soul, 3rd Bass, and Gravediggas in the past. On top of his collaborations with established artists, he has also produced a few concept albums of his own, most notably Prince Among Thieves, and Handsome Boy Modeling School (co–produced by Dan the Automator). Paul is most notable for his tendencies to stay off the beaten path. If Kool Kieth can say, “He just thrives to be different” that’s usually a good indication of some innovative sounds.

It’s that innovation, as a matter of fact, that’s been causing most of the divergent opinions of his most recent contribution. On strictly listening to the album, it appears that Paul has given up his musical rebellion and surrendered to the flow. The beats are a bit “jiggy” for Paul, R & B singers abound on the hooks, and verses tend to be more based on image. However, the “joke” behind this change, as hinted to in skits “The Drive By”, “A Life In The Day”, and “Politics of the Business”, is one that Paul hopes is not lost on his fans.

All in all, the change in style is actually well executed. Though he’s obviously practicing outside his expertise with these beats, they still come out sounding good. The guitar on “So What” (featuring Masta Ace and Kokane), the xylophone on “Chryme Pays” (featuring Tash, the Beatunuts, and Tony Touch), and the piano on “Controversial Headlines Pt1” (featuring Horror City) all are well executed and complementary, even in their jestful use as cliché mainstream devices. Similarly, the juxtaposition of the hackneyed lyrics being spitted by emcees that are obviously out of their realm as well can’t help but make some conscious fans crack a smile.

Fans of Prince Paul may generally feel out of place on first listen of this album, but as usual, the long-standing producer manages to deliver some quality material with a sense of humor on this long awaited album.


SARS-a-palooza 2003!!!

Yup, I know how thrilling it must have been to read about how much the new PDA has been organizing my life lately (if not, check it out 5/6/2003!!), so why not write up another entry on planning?!?!

I'm getting very excited for an upcoming road trip Kerri and I will be going on in about a month. We're going on a weeklong road trip through the northeast. We've been planning on doing it since about a year ago, so now that it's only a month away, it's that much more exciting since we've hyped it up for so long. Kind of like the way a Pixar children’s film debuts at number one. Yup, just that much hype.

Now I realize some of you may be concerned with the title of the road trip (mom, I'm looking in your direction), but we feel pretty ok with the whole thing, and as self-involved as Kerri and I are, isn't that all that matters? (in a preventative manner, I'll clarify the jest in that last statement just in case... damn you text!) Now our road trip obviously goes through Toronto, but let me outline the rest for you to follow along!!

Fri 7/4/03 – Kerri attends a wedding in Indiana; Mars attends a wedding in Connecticut
Sat 7/5/03 – Kerri arrives in CT, and mama Sanford (aka parental unit 1) throws an enormous bash for us… aren’t we special??
Sun 7/6/03 – we say hi to some Connecticut heads Kerri hasn’t met yet, or I haven’t seen in a while.
Mon 7/7/03 – we take a windy trip through Massachusetts, stop off to see the Appalachian Trail in Eastern VT, then end up in Burlington for the evening
Tues 7/8/03 – See as much of Burlington as possible, lake Champlain, Ben and Jerry’s, the Magic Hat Brewery (you Midwesterners don’t know what you’re missing beer-wise)
Wed 7/9/03 – leave VT to head to Niagara Falls, NY in the morning, get to campsite and Camp at night
Thurs 7/10/03 – see the falls, go to some local attractions, camp again
Fri 7/11/03 – arrive in the Western SARS capital of Toronto, ON!!!
Sat 7/12/03 – Increase our likelihood of contracting SARS by staying in Toronto another day
Sun 7/13/03 – finally leave SARonto, barely making it out alive, and head back to Chi-town

So that’s the trip. Kerri and I went to the library this past weekend to look at travel guides and start getting routes and destinations planned out. We pulled out the Mobil and Fodor travel guides to Canada, New York, and New England, sat around a table, and whispered about our trip for an hour or so. It did wonders for building up the anticipation, that’s for sure!!

OK, now this may shock those who know me, but I LOVE TO PLAN! It’s a newfound obsession of mine. I’ve never really been that anal of a person, so planning never really did anything for me. However, recently I’ve loved planning things. I guess this trip is a perfect case in point in how I’m learning to adjust to it. I guess I like the façade of organization (I use façade because I still haven’t conquered tidiness… that’s also a current project), the anticipation I mentioned earlier, and hey, less scheduling conflicts is always a good thing. Do you need something to drink? This monologue may be getting a bit dry.

The thing about planning is that I just have to actually remember to do it. It’s not a problem if I do, but it’s when I don’t tackle it right away that it begins to kill me. I think I’ve mentioned before that I can get easily overwhelmed sometimes. Lately though, it seems like my tolerance for more and more tasks is going up. I know this may contrast with my recent post about being bogged down, but I do believe that was an exceptionally stressful time with extra tasks looming. A lot of those have evaporated, and I’m feeling better, but I’m definitely juggling more than I used to. Viva la PDA!

I’ll keep you posted on all of these plans, and of course I’ll let you know if I get buried again. When have I not?

Until then, more to come!!


Also, some people may have either a) noticed the different subscription box at the top of the screen, or b) received what looked like a spam from Reason for that is that I’ve given up on trying to get an answer from, and I’ve moved to for subscriptions. If you want one, enter your name up in the box and press the button. You’re that close to me invading your privacy continuously. Don’t you love this age we live in?


Oh yeah, she's the one all right.

So I thought I'd take a moment to talk to you about the girl I'm going to be with for the rest of my life (whoever you are... I'm still not convinced you're reading).

When I moved here to Chicago it was for a change of scenery. I chose this particular locale because I had met a small group of theater involved people through a friend, Dan DeVito (no, not from Taxi, he's a friend originally from Connecticut). So when I got here, I immediately seeked out this small group of friends who liked to party and be creative and needed attention as much as I did. It's a little thing I do. Enter one friend of particular interest at this time, Kerri Van Auken (here's a picture of her from the site sorry no Bio yet (ugh... see last entry)).

So it only took a month until we realized that we were really attracted to each other, had similar interests such as TV, hippy music, independence, that little song from the old saturday morning cartoons about drowning your food, you name it, we really are pretty damn similar. So we also figured out that we were both single, and that we owed it to ourselves to investigate this thing between us. We did. It was just about two years ago now, too.

We fell for each other hard. We're both pretty emotional people, which made it that much easier to fall so fast. It also makes the lows a little lower, and the anger a little more intense (ahem... foreshadowing... ahem), but the highs are dizzyingly worth it. Let me tell you, never have I ever been more sure of anything, I will be with this woman forever.

Now let me give you a small example of how great she is, which may not seem like it at first. This morning was awful, for several reasons. First off it's a monday in the SanfAuken (Sanford/Van Auken) household, so neither of us are really happy about having to wake up and haul our asses off to the day jobs that we aren't that fond of in the first place. Secondly, it was a busy weekend that only promises to lead into a busy day/week and we are feeling a little ragged. Third, one of the reasons it's been so busy is because of a shoot RoxBox is helping out with, however communication and organization hasn't been the best, so Kerri was left completely off some important scheduling emails, and it's made her feel justifiably insignificant as of late (film-wise). Lastly, I wanted some affection from my girl (as I wasn't aware she had given me said affection the night before whilst I was sleeping (calm down pervs, I'm not talking sex here... that's strictly off-line conversation)) to cap off the weekend. So, I tried to get her to give me a kiss while I was laying with her in bed. OK, got all that?

Well, here's a little Van Auken history that's pretty much common knowledge to all those in her close circle of family and friends. Kerri likes her sleep. If you wake her up on a good day, she'll growl at you and spit venom in your face. This is somewhere the boyfriend of KVA should know to tread lightly. However, I felt a little entitled, so I flat out requested she roll over and give me a kiss.

OK, now I may have exaggerated a bit in my earlier description, but given the circumstances, she definitely showed her frustration. Still feeling entitled, I wasn't having any bit of that. It escalated quickly and eventually words were being thrown around about insignificance, reactions were getting extremely heated, we started arguing about arguing, not just plain stopping, you know, all the textbook ways not to end an argument.

Eventually, we managed to settle down and reach a good stopping point so that we could walk away not mad at the other. This is key, and we have gotten a pretty good hold on it.

OK, so, yeah, about making my girlfriend look good. Here’s what makes me so sure she’s mine for good, if I have anything to say about it. As I mentioned, the lack of communication in this recent short film has made her feel a bit insignificant. Now, being her partner, there are no holds barred in what she tells me about how she feels. So I’ve been listening to these complaints like a good boyfriend does, but have been feeling helpless, as a normal boyfriend doesn’t like. Now what does a boyfriend do when he can’t help? Tries to lead the girlfriend to the place that could help her. So, one of my mantras throughout these complaints has been, “I wish I wasn’t the only one who would hear this,” implying that if she was as candid about these feelings of insignificance with the rest of the people involved, it may actually lead to a better process in the future. I say it repeatedly, but knowing how nice she is (not saying I’m not guilty of over-accommodating. We are after all, very similar), I never actually expected her to tell anyone, and would have harbored no resentment if she never said a word. I did make the same remark again, though at the end of the nice period we had at the end of our argument.

This is Kerri’s time to shine. I get to work, and what is in my email? An email to the film company explaining exactly what she’s had a problem with lately, including this tear-invoking quote:

I know none of you is responsible for this, I just really need to share with all of you what I'm feeling. (I know I sound a little gay.) Plus, it's not fair for one man to take the brunt of my Irish lassie temper.

See? She listens. She tries to change. I listen. I try to change. We have what it takes, and there’s no doubt that we’ll be together forever. I’ve finally found her.

Love you baby! Now comment!

More to come!

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