Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dad in Name Only?

I visited David a short while ago, whose father had a mild heart attack. It got me to thinking to the point where I totally vomited in his comments. I cut it off and figured I'd drop it here instead. So, quite on the serious side now, I finish my thought.

My father was, and still is, a wreck of a human being. He was an alcoholic and a substance abuser. He has been off alcohol for 25 years. Off the narcotics too, though after a back injury he struggled with Vicodin and had to be detoxed. Yet he still counts 25 years of sobriety.

It's so strange. Just before I clicked the link to his blog, I was thinking that I was going to read something that really affected me, then I thought I was being silly, and lo and behold.

My father is at least a weekly (almost typed weakly... Freudian slip?) burden to me. Not financially. He's struggling for money, but I won't go there with him. My brother and I are pretty successful, but we won't 'co' him, if you know what I mean.

He turns 64 this year. I was very fortunate that my mother was an incredible woman, who got herself sober (a couple years before Dad), got her act together, finished school, and put a career together to support her two decent, if a little ungrateful, boys.

It's such a contrast. My mother really took responsibility for herself. She worked for the postal service for 27 years, worked her way up, and just retired a couple years ago.

My father is looking for another job. He has an interview at fucking Home Depot. Home Depot.

I mentioned he left when I was seven. He was completely lost to us for seven years. Heard from him maybe three times, maybe four. A couple phone calls and one letter... maybe two.

When I was fourteen I saw him again. During that time he's had somewhere in excess of 50 jobs. I'm not exaggerating. Every one of them is the same. First it's the thing he's been looking for. He's finally landed, finally found IT. Within a week of starting he says the boss really loves him and has him on the fast track. He'll really be moving up fast. Everyone else has to go A-B-C, but he's going straight to Q and maybe right past it. After a month there's some mid-authority person whom everyone knows is a complete fuckwit, but has the boss's ear, and is out to get him. Within another month, despite his stellar performance, he is on the outs because of this evil person, and it's usually over in a matter of days after that phone call.

Fifty fucking times plus.

Did I mention that I have two other half-brothers. One is in his early twenties, from wife #2 (technically a bigamist at that time, since he never bothered to actually divorce my mother before remarrying) and while he called me once and left a message, I've never spoken to him. The other is 13 and is severely autistic. He's from wife #4. Dad's in the process of getting way fucking behind on that child support too.

Wife #3 was a Russian woman he married for $10K and a year's free rent.

He calls me one to five times a week. He asks perfunctorally how we're doing, but it's all one-sided. Why do I do it? In contrast to David, it's because I do still love him, despite everything. I don't know why, because I really understand how David got to where he is. In some ways it makes more sense.

The core issue is that my father is a man who wishes he was better but won't take responsiblity for who he is and how he perpetuates his self-destructive patterns.

I think I feel this way because I see some of him in me. I've been fortunate to have had the people in my life that I have, who saw some of those patterns early and verbally beat them out of me (lovingly, I must stress.) I have been surrounded by immense volumes of love from so many quarters, which makes a potential trainwreck like me into a pretty passable family guy and successful business dude.

Dad didn't have that. He was mentally and physically abused by his father, brutally. His two older brothers and an instructor at a boarding school he went to sexually abused him. He had nobody to love him. His mother was a hopeless codependent and an alcoholic herself and just watched him get steamrolled by the sickness in her house.

He was definitely the saddest of victims.

Now he's stuck there. He's still a victim. When he calls, he often regurgitates all of the blame-shifting he's indulged in this last forty or fifty years that's allowed him to avoid taking responsibility for the momentous failure that his overall life has been. He tells me how awful my mother and her family were, how everyone was out to get him, how he didn't abuse the Vicodin... Oh yeah, got a detailed account of how he sometimes got to the end of a prescription period a couple pills short, realizing that he must have forgotten from time to time that he'd taken his pill and took a second. But he didn't abuse it.

Keep in mind that nobody even mentioned anything about this. He just started in on it out of the blue.

Why am I trashing on my Dad like this right now? I don't know. David's post just brought up all of what I've been thinking but not saying.

I love him. I love him to death and, with only a couple decades left at the most, I want nothing more than for him to end well, to put the past behind him and just go for broke and make a real life for a little while at least.

Long shot? Not even that. No shot.

But who cares? I've been thinking for the last few days that it's time I wrote him a letter that honestly says what I think. If I was a wreck too, there'd be nothing to say, but I think I've managed to build a pretty good life, and I've experienced the blessings of a good and kind God. I don't think we ever have a conversation where I don't try to encourage him to just forget the ugly past and just fucking move forward. But he'd rather weep and cry and tell me how sorry he is about everything and lament not being able to look at one thing in the past that he can be proud of, and wonder why my mother won't forgive him (she has, but that's just another aspect of his lunacy.)

I think I'm going to put it in writing, in hand-writing, and just say what I mean. If I didn't make the attempt, I'd think that I let my own fear of a broken relationship stop me from making every effort to help him. I can't make him do anything. All I can do is tell him the truth as I see it and hope that something gets through to him.

And isn't there some of that sickness right there? Thirty-two years later I'm afraid to tell him what I think because, somehow, in all this mess, I'm afraid he'll leave me again.

Now This Here is Funny Stuff

I've added the Fifth Column to my blogroll.

You must go there now. Some friend of JennyJinx's I've never heard of, but every post is a riot. I've just spent the last half hour reading it and it's the bomb. Absolute.

Anyway, if you're reading it, and you're too lazy to get a few down to the Cop Invasion post, then you're missing out. Completely.

Go there now. Too damn funny.

UPDATE: Well ho-lee-cee-rap, it's a collective! There's three of those bad boys! I wasn't paying close enough attention, until I went back up and realized that I read one poster who spoke of being Irish and found myself thinking "I thought he said he was black..." Guess I could have read the "About" page, but I was too busy with the rilly-rilly great poasties.

Go there now.


UPDATE #2: Is a blog that's a collective actually a Blorg?

I coin that now. It's mine. You may not use it unless you secure permission from me.

Let's see, that will cost a hunnerd dollars, a copy of Dork Tower #8, and a Three Musketeers Bar (shut UP!)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Reviewnytoons #1 - Damn thee to Chanel!

Well, I'm watching so many freakin' movies these days, it seems I ought to be writing some reviews, just to get my own thoughts around it anyway.

My lovely wife and I watched The Devil Wears Prada the other night.

On the whole I enjoyed this movie. It made me laugh in all the right places, had some very nice moments of social commentary and satire, and Meryl Streep was, as usual, perfect.

The movie, however, was not.

It seemed not to know quite what it was. Now, I have not read the book from which it was adapted. I didn't even know it was adapted from a book. Of course, it's chick lit. Given the boyfriend's sensitivity and... well, he was a fucking girl with chest hair, I should have realized exactly what it was.

Really it's too bad.

You see, Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a brill writer-chick who graduated from New York university and gave up a prelaw scholarship to Stanford to get a job in the New York journalism field. As if. She hopes one day to write for the New Yorker.

How does prelaw at Stanford screw that up? I have no idea.

So after getting rejected at seven thousand other pubs, she finally gets a job working for the Dragon Lady of publishing, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) as a second assistant, a job thousands of chicks would "kill for."

Now Andy is a fashion disaster in Uggs and has to work for a semi-sane beyotch Emily (Emily Blunt) Did I get that right? Anyway, they play up the imperious nature of this Miranda to the hilt and beyond. If you'd been stabbed with this sword, the swordsman's elbow would be stuck in your spine. The only thing that saves the ridiculousness of it is Meryl herself. Anyone else would have surely overplayed it, but she toned it down and was so consistently believable that I forgot that this woman doesn't exist. That's why she was up for an Oscar last night despite a mediocre movie. That icy "That's all" of dismissal will stick with you after this movie has quite faded away.

Miranda takes a chance on the dumpy Andy because all of the fashion plates she'd hired before were a disaster. Maybe someone with more brains than bulimia would do a better job.

Of course, size 6 Andy is immediately singled out as fat. Whatever. She's hotter than rocket fuel, and certainly way hotter than Emily.

So after getting run through the ringer and verging on failure, she gets a little help from the other bright spot in the movie, Nigel (Stanley Tucci.) Stanley is pitch perfect as the effeminate yet manly Nigel, Miranda's second-in-command at the mag, and Andy's mentor-figure.

So what's her first step. Nigel turns her into a fashion plate. Amazing how that happens in these movies. Suddenly she's a damn runway model herself. All you need is to blow $15K at I. Magnin or whatever the heck. As soon as she's wearing Chanel and some fuck-me pumps, she's a perfect assistant.

The rest is the natural and somewhat predictable progression of getting to know thyself and deciding what to do about it. I won't blow the plot, but if I did, you wouldn't be surprised.

This movie could have been a lot more, could have been a little deeper look at the fashion world and the personalities without losing its funny-bone. Instead everything wraps up a little too nicely all around.

That said, it was fun, and certainly enjoyable and the ending does make you feel pretty good. I can't stress enough that Streep's run in this film is brilliant. The one moment of weakness you see in her character is captivating and very revealing. Of all the parts, Miranda rises above the level of caricature and finds real believability. If the rest of the movie had been written as well, and acted as well by the rest of the cast, this might have been a very different movie.

In all I give it 3 out of 5 Quacks.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

GPoW #7 - Get Your Own Box

I admit it. There are moments when my health means even less to me than it normally does.

It starts with a glimpse of that red box on top of the fridge. I try to ignore it, because dinner is in an hour. But the little wheedling voice starts in.

At first I can't understand it. Too quiet. But after while it's those same words.

"That is your own box!"

I attack the box like a starved hyena (including the laughing) and power through half of it before I remember my own name.

My Guilty Pleasure of the Week? Cheez-Its

I. Love. Cheez-Its.


And you know, don't go f***ing it up with different little stupid extra flavors. They're already perfect. If you buy one of those other boxes, your a Cheathen and don't deserve to taste the goodness of the holy Cheez-It.

So go on, tell me what's in your own box.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: If Only I Were So Clever

I never do the Thursday Thirteen. Never.

Okay, almost never.

But I was tired of looking at the same dang poastie. I thought of a couple of political ones, but I don't like doing those very often (clearly!)

Then I figured, what the 'ell, today's Thursday, let's go out on a limb. I may as well stick with what I've got on the brain.

So here are Thirteen Movies I Wish I Had Written.

This is a little different from my favorite movies, I suppose, because this is more about the writing, the clever dialogue, the sharp twists, the economy... Plus there are some I probably would like, but wouldn't want to write, especially some adaptations.

So here's the list, and in no particular order. I might change that line after I write the list :-)

1. Casablanca: Of all the gin joints in all the world, she walks into mine. Hell, any screenwriter would have been proud to write just one of the dozen lines all over this beauty.

2. Chinatown: Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown. Some of the coolest lines ever are in this one, and reading the screenplay makes you feel like you're watching the movie. Some of the lines are great, even without Jack's particular rhythm ringing in your ears.

3. Pulp Fiction: I'm sorry, did I break your concentration? Sharp, bang-bang, spot on dialogue everywhere. You got the feeling these people were just saying what comes to mind.

4. Fargo: And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. This script is pitch perfect, almost too simple, yet biting and raw.

5. A Few Good Men: You can't handle the truth! That quote was easy. I love this screenplay because there is almost no action. It is all about the dialogue. Of course it was first a stage play, but there's a reason stage plays often don't make it on the big screen. This one did, in a big way.

6. On the Waterfront: I coulda been a contender. Marlon Brando is such a powerful figure that it's easy to miss just how good the writing is in this movie.

7. As Good as it Gets: You make me want to be a better man. I love the wit and honesty in this screenplay. Each phrase is keyed to reveal a little bit more of each character without a word wasted.

8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Sometimes I think people don't understand how lonely it is to be a kid. This is beautiful to me because it has to be one of the most piercing accounts of the importance of pain in relationships as well as pleasure, about how we often focus on the pain and forget the long ropes of pleasure that tie the painful moments together.

9. Northfork: We are all angels. It is what we do with our wings that separates us. This haunting fantasy of death and transition is an underrated masterpiece in my book. More people need to watch this film, and more than once.

10. Memento: Nice shot, Liebowitz. I include this one because the movie was just freakin' cool. There are a lot of good lines in this puppy as well, but the concept and execution are amazing.

11. Galaxy Quest: By Grabthar's hammer, by the sons of Worvan, you shall be avenged. This is a movie with a great concept that could have been a disaster. Instead it was cleverly written, a perfect satire, especially for Trekkies/ers everywhere.

12. The Truman Show: Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night! Still the best commentary out there on reality TV. The writing here is tight, right down to Truman's name. True Man, in Burbank (the studio location.) An all around favorite for me.

13. The Maltese Falcon: Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be. Start with Bogey, end with Bogey. This movie is chock full of clever, Sam Spade trademark lines that I had a terrible time picking just one.

So, what would you like to have written, if you could slap your name on any movie around?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

GPoW #6 Checkmate!

I'm a bit of a gameplayer. I like competition. I like to work out puzzles and find the unknown. I like to stretch my mind.

In 1993 or so, my brother took me to see Searching for Bobby Fischer, which I still consider one of my top 3 favorite movies.

As I'm guessing a lot of other people did, my brother and I went to home and got an old chess set out of the closet. We played several games over the next couple weeks, each winning as many as we lost. We were not nearly good enough to draw.

My interest waxing, I decided to find some lit and learn a little more about the game rather than playing haphazardly. I went down to the used bookstore and bought a book called "Beginning Chess" by Fred Reinfeld for a mere $.60.

That was the beginning of my Guilty Pleasure of the Week #6: Chess

My passion for chess ruled quite a few of the last fourteen years. I was convinced that I could become an expert or even a master with enough work. Actually, it might be possible, but only if I didn't want any other sort of life. Instead of stayed quite mediocre. If you haven't studied or aren't just a natural chess genius, I'll probably make short work of you. But if you know your chess, I'll likely find a way to lose as much as win.

After some study with a chess master, I started going to a few tournaments, at which I had middling results. I've beat and been beaten by septugenarians, and I've beat and been beaten by elementary school children.

At my first tournament I met one of my best friends in the world, Kevin, who even went so far as to make me a little chess website, which I haven't edited in over a year.

I still play some correspondence chess online, and I've pared down my library to a few key tomes. I still have training and database software that I use on occasion, and every now and then I toy with the idea of really going into training on tactics to see if I can take a step up...

Then I realize that I have a family whom I simply don't wish to ignore for the next year or so.

Therefore chess will have to simply remain my Guilty Pleasure of the Week.

So, what's your gaming poison (computer games do NOT count!!)?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine Vibes

Well, since our evening was munged up, I planned the morning out instead. I took off work through noon (not that it really matters) and started by leaving her in bed and getting the kids off to school on my own (no mean feat, if I may say so myself!)

Then I gave her a little time and worked from home. So I didn't exactly take off... sue me.

Then I cooked up a nice breakfast and made her a Swiss Mocha and took it to her in bed (and not till around 9:30am.)

According to her I'd already surpassed expectations. But I wasn't done.

I scattered a dozen and a half candles about the bathroom (she's got the TV on, so she can't hear me fussing about. That's good, cause I'm a loud fusserer) and drew her a bath with Vanilla bubblies. I set up a nice little playlist on the iPod with about an hour's worth of String quartet music interspersed with Evgeny Kissin playing Chopin and Liszt (yes, there is lighter Liszt, not just crazy stuff.)

I sent her to the bath and left her there in peace, the house to herself.

Too bad it couldn't have been all day for her. Got a call from the school. 100.8 fever and coughing like a hyena. I guess that cough medicine didn't work, eh? And who takes their kid's temp in the AM anyway? I mean unless they're all flushed, listless, and sweating? To hear the nurse tell it you'd think I'd sent him to play football(soccer) with two broken legs.

So anyway, one happy little mate with a few hours of bliss when she deserves quite more...

What did YOU do for your sweetie this Valentine's?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

GPoW #5 - Party On, Dudes!

I think I'm pretty picky about my movie tastes. For the most part I know when I'm getting bamboozled and I know when I'm seeing substance.

I'm not a complete snob, however. I can enjoy a lighthearted movie now and then. If it's well plotted, well acted, and tight, then I can have a good time.

But there's one movie that will never make it into anyone else's top 100 that will always be in mine.

Guilty Pleasure of the Week #5: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

There is just something about this movie that makes me feel good about my own youth. These two lugs are likeable knuckleheads with low self-esteem and big dreams. There are two fantastic tropes in it. One is the obvious time-travel story, putting together their history report by kidnapping important individuals from history and bringing them to San Dimas. But the other is the accidental messiah aspect. There's a crazy innocence in the way they just accept what they're told, even when they go into the future, and just deal with what's happening right there, no matter how outlandish.

It's a clever, silly, yet ultimately satisfying romp, seeing the way they overcome their own poor self-images and the low expectations of the adults around them.

And who can argue with the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln?

"Be excellent to each other, and... party on, dudes!"

Your turn...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Obi-Wan Builds a Bridge

In my quest to become a better screenwriter, I have been watching more movies than ever before in my life.

In an effort to ensure quality and avoid randomness, I've decided to wind my way through the AFI 100.

It certainly isn't a perfect list. There are many deserving movies left off, in my opinion.

Of course, it is, for the most part, an American list, but then how do you explain Lawrence of Arabia?

Anyway, today it was time for The Bridge on the River Kwai. What do you know? Another David Lean picture.

What a fantastic movie. Alec Guiness is truly brilliant. As a kid who had to be told how great Sir Alec was by my mom after seeing Star Wars for the first time, it was tough to find a trace of the old Jedi in Colonel Nicholson. I was struck by how skillfully David Lean had you rooting for and against nearly every character in this flick.

But I don't wish to just say what you can hear nearly anyone say about this movie. After watching Lawrence and Kwai, I was struck by the sheer indulgence of the director. Though there seems to be a move back to that sort of moviemaking, most of today's directors would certainly have dragged you breakneck from building to bombing in one hour and fifty minutes, cutting from scene to scene, rushing the action, and might even have made a good movie.

But a beautiful, stunning movie like this? Never.

My screenplay will still have to be under 120 pages, and truly the story I'm working on now doesn't demand more, but I wonder if someday there's an epic in my future, one that will hold people's attention for two hours and forty minutes, or even three hours and forty-five, as David Lean did with Lawrence.

This is something I should have done years ago, but no time like the present, eh?

So, of the AFI 100 linked above, what is your favorite?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pre-ee-ee-pare Ye the Way of the Looooooord

So, I'm doing something I haven't done in many a long year. In fact, it may have been twenty years ago...

Can you say Community Theater?

I knew you could.

Those of you who know me know that I'm a classically trained singer, and that I can hold my own okay. Most of you same folks also know that I lurve my Broadway theater quite a lot.

As for me, I haven't done community theater since I was in high school. I did participate in and direct several large scale church productions with adults and kids during the interim, but nothing outside of that.

People lampoon community theater sometimes, which is sad. When you live in a town of 12,000 people, as far away from metro areas as my town is, you often have to indulge in cultural activities on whatever scale you can. The goal is just to take joy in singing and dancing and carrying on, entertaining your neighbors and friends, and just having a good time.

There's a show I've wanted to do since I was a teenager and just a budding singer. Because I'm so busy with so much else in life, I have not felt I could commit to doing a show, even as a chorus member.

Then my friend Carol called me and asked me about this particular show they're thinking of doing, as she'd never heard of it (folks are pretty sheltered 'round here!) I got goosebumps. Then she said she'd told the director that she had this friend who might want to be in it (that's me, for those of you not following along.) So I said I'd audition.

Oh, what show?

This show:


I happend to be a Stephen Schwartz fan, and I have always luuuuurrrved this musical. So I auditioned.

And I'm playing Jesus.

Holy smokes. I'm really excited to get involved. It's taken us some time to assimilate into this community over the past few years, but it seems like it's really home now. We've had a couple rehearsals and I feel like I'm among friends already.

I'll see if I can make some clips and take some pics when we do the show in April! It ain't gonna be no Cameron Mackintosh production, but it will be good fun.

Wish me luck... or a broken leg!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Inflagrante Predicto #1

Youse guys are lucky little louts. Luck-ee.


Because you can say you were here for not only the Loon's first regular feature, but also his second!


Inflagrante Predicto!

You see, I was watching the Discovery Channel, or one of its imitators, and they had consecutive programs on Edgar Cayce and Nostradamus.

Now I don't know where you fall in on fellas like these good ol' boys, but I fall somewhere between horseshit and hooey. Programs like those I watched are horrific, especially when they're on a channel designed to help one Discover what is true, presumably. They do give a few moments to the naysayers, but only a few snippets, and really don't go far enough into why these guys ought to be forgotten and left to obscurity in death. Instead they glorify those few predictions which seem to have been fairly accurate, and make statements such as, "There's no way in *such-n-such-a-year* Cayce could have known that."

For instance, Cayce apparently predicted in 1935 that Germany would ally with Austria and Japan and threaten world domination.

[Kentucky Accent]
Why, there's just no WAY ol' Edgar coulda known sumpin' like daa-at!
[/Kentucky Accent]

Are you kidding me? Japan was already on an expansion spree in the Pacific, and Germany had been a totalitarian state for two years and was gearing its industry toward military production. Nazi sympathy in Austria was running hot. It would just take a little bit of political savvy to see these lines linking up in the near future. Ol' Neville saw it himself not long afterward, trying to tidy up his ill-fated appeasement deal.

It's all hooey.

And so, in that spirit, it's time for the Loon and his good brothers and sisters to join in the hooey, take a nap (wait, finish reading this first, you schlmiel!) and come up with your predictions for the month of February. Yes, it isn't just me, though I'll come up with one. I'm begging each reader to post their prediciton.

Some ground rules:

1.) Your prediction must concern something on a national, public scale, outside of your sphere of influence, and be easily provable. So "My child is going to crap their pants at preschool" is not going to cut it.

2.) It has to be specific. Saying "Britney Spears is going to do something stupid" is not gonna work. However, saying "Britney Spears will be caught on camera boffing the bag boy at a Piggly-Wiggly" will work just fine.

2.5) it does not, of course, have to be celebrity related. It can relate to business, politics, or any other public arena that will allow us to prove the predicted event took place.

3.) The date range for IP#1 is for the month of February, ending 12:00am March 1, 2007.

4.) The event must take place no sooner than 48 hours after the time stamp on your comment, just because I'm not entirely trusting of time stamps.

5.) The event must take place by 23:59:59, February 28, 2007.

6.) If the event is reported on March 1, but can be proved to have taken place within the above time window, that counts.

7.) I am the sole judge if someone nails one, though if it's close, I might be open to some minor cajoling.

8.) If someone really does nail one, I'll arrange a prize of some sort, of a value no greater than US$20.00. I'm also the sole judge of what a good prize is, so don't bitch if I send you an Edgar Cayce bobblehead.

9.) Ah, yes! Almost forgot. NO DUPLICATES! If someone beat you to it, they beat you to it. Think up a new one.

Okay, that's it. Get your predictions in.

Mine? Well, I'll just stick with Britney and the bag boy.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 01, 2007

T & A

Troy, Michigan, has a problem.

Too many Hooters. Or should I say Two Many? They had one already. They tried to deny an expansion effort by not giving them a liquor license for a new, larger location. Didn't work. So Hooters kept the old one open and opened the new one, two miles away, sans alcohol, and told the council they won't close the old one until the new one is granted a license.

The council thinks that Hooters doesn't fit into the nice city of Troy.

Too funny, right? But even funnier was the following, delivered in all seriousness:

Critics are concerned that the restaurants' scantily clad servers don't fit the image the city seeks to project in its Big Beaver commercial district.


Can you hear the conversations among the councilmen?

Tits just aren't what we're lookin' fer, gentlemen...

Ah, you just can't beat real life.


It's about me, dummy!!!


Patzer's Progress
Movie Magic Screenwriter
Film Freaks Film Club
Collingwood FC

Newcastle United

Oakland Raiders

San Jose Sharks


Light Motifs
Yeah Whatever
Under the Bridge
Much That is Hidden
Grapes 2.0
Quotidian Vicissitudes
The Fifth Column
Out of Me Head
Ole Blue the Heretic
Stab Film
What is Hip



Looney Mail



Add to Technorati Favorites