Friday, August 31, 2007

I Understand.

Sometimes tastelessness is the only path to sanity.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Sound of Going Crazy

Yesterday, I was in the middle of lots of technical difficulties, and off in the distance, I heard the sound of two Mr. Softee trucks, playing their music...just a little out of sync.

Then my older computer decided to join in with its alarm, signalling that it was overheating, and it wanted ice cream.

I think that's what it wanted, anyway.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Lunatic Is On The Grass.

Well, actually...I don't want to think about grass...I want to think about eclipses! I was up in the window for this most recent lunar event, because not only was I in the middle of a game, it was 4AM and by that time the only way to see the moon over the trees and rooftops was from the window.

(Clicking on the pictures gets the full-size versions, I highly recommend the first one.)

So there was a full moon on Monday:

Then there was an eclipse:

Then it got cloudy:

But the eclipsed moon peeked out just long enough to say goodnight before it fell into the neighbor's chimney:

It could be that my drooling love for the moon comes from the sign I was born under, or possibly from the multiple dog bites over the years, but I love eclipses. Throw one of those at me twice a year or so and I can live happily for at least two weeks.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

You Can't See It, It's Electric.

Hey Home Depot! Yeah, I'm talking to you, you big bastards that took over Pergament and Rickel and Channel and basically any place I could have gone ten years ago to buy a lawn mower. Not everyone wants a lawn mower that runs on gas. Not everyone wants a lawn mower they need to sit on to control. Crazy, I know, I mean, what kind of American am I to not want to feel the hum of lawn care at work under my ass on a hot sunny day as I cross my 20x50 yard? Those hedges and rock gardens have it coming to them if I should just drive over them. No, maintaining an engine on something I use once a week ain't my style baby, just ask the car I drive three times a year.

When I perused your online selection of mulching mowers yesterday, I must have hallucinated those four Black & Decker models you had listed alongside the John Deere equipment, because somehow they all disappeared the next day! How can that be? I wasn't able to mow our mushrooms into an inhalable dust, how could I possibly have imagined that you had what I wanted in stock for three hours? What was I comparing? I think I was clicking around on your website, after all, there were huge ads telling me I wouldn't have to pay six months if I used my Home Depot card. Hey, do you know some other mysterious place selling electric mowers is offering to accept payments with the Home Depot card?

Your employees in New Rochelle require instruction as to what department they actually work in, because after the fourth person got on the phone and did not know why they were talking to us, we decided that probably none of them had ever seen a lawn much less a mower. After all, your Bronx staff has never seen a storm door, and don't know why the glass would ever need replacement.

Can it be that in all of the Bronx, Yonkers, and New Rochelle, no one has a lawn that continues to grow until November? Is it just me? Am I the only person who recognizes that grass will continue to grow even after the kids have gone back to school and it's time to stock the snowblowers? What the hell are you trying to pull, Home Depot? You have taken something as simple as purchasing a lawn mower and turned it into the equivalent of walking into Rite Aid and asking for an iron lung. You know what? Even if you did find a mower that runs on electricity, I wouldn't buy it from you now. You have fun selling your emission-spewing tractors to the borough that has the highest rate of mentally handicapped people and the smallest back yards, I'll be giving my money to some .com that'll be out of business by the time I'm ready for my next mower, just like I did last time.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dear Neighbor With The Weedwhacker, August Edition.

I bet you laughed when my mower died and I had to finish the lawn with my trimmer.

Did you laugh when the yellow jacket got in my shoe and I smashed it as it stung me? I didn't. I had visions of having to find my way out of Antarctica with an unconscious FBI agent and a serious case of frostbite.

MM525, RIP. I have never written better than when I mowed with you. The Black and Decker designer of your power handle ought to be thrown under a properly functioning version of you, because if not for the cheesy plastic, you would still be here with me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Windin' Your Way Down on Baker Street

I first noticed the Gerry Rafferty song Baker Street on a hot August day in 1988 riding to the White Plains Galleria in a car with no air conditioner. Towards the end, my radio kept getting interference from the parking garage we were in, so for a long while I never knew how it ended. The sax was mind-blowing enough, but the story grabbed me. That, and, hell, I was crazy about Sherlock Holmes. The Jeremy Brett series was just running on PBS in those days and so this song was like some crazy trifecta of, "How did I not hear this before?"

I didn't know Gerry Rafferty was from Stealer's Wheel, as a matter of fact I had yet to hear Stuck In The Middle with You and I didn't know Raphael Ravenscroft was the sax player on The Final Cut, because I hadn't heard that yet, either.

I didn't take the words literally, because I was going through all the mental things a 14-year-old goes through...with metal in their eyes, and I took the end as a sign that things would be okay, you get to go home.

It's been getting a lot of plays on the local smooth jazz station, and the recently returned CBS-FM, and I don't mind it at all. The fact that it keeps turning up in movies and TV shows just makes me take solace in all the other kids who heard it a long time ago, and included it in their work.

The Foo Fighters version ain't too shabby, either.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

You Know What They Say About Food And Art

This video was meant to go up yesterday, Pa's actual birthday, but due to progress and technology, and that I only started encoding it yesterday because I mistakenly thought progress and technology would make things faster instead of making me learn new things, the world had to wait one more day for this.

When we got our first video camera, we made about ten art house movies in the first day. There was a nature documentary about cats and boxes, a documentary about the parts of the canine, a trippy reel of everyone turning into Geraldo Rivera, which had its sequel in the blockbuster, "Is the zoom working?"

The Man Who Has to Hurry Up and Eat was by far the funniest. I mean, listen to us. You don't hear the Zucker Brothers enjoying the making of Airplane! as much as this, do you?


Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Do Not Support Scaring The Children.

I grew up with fear. Fear instilled in me by the mistake I made sitting in front of the television the night The Day After played. OMG, everyone could just totally die! The '80s were big on that, I used to listen to Dancing With Tears In My Eyes and feel ill because, Midge Ure, he was going to blow up. No, dammit, it wasn't fair. Sting became my friend the second I heard that Russians song, and it was there, being exposed to the movies and songs about the fears of people who were out there living in the world but had the same fears as me that the seeds of my hippie peacenik non-proliferation beliefs were planted.

But twenty years down the line, I realize my fears, and the fear that was thrown at my mom's generation ("Get under your desks and kiss your ass goodbye, kids!"), are nothing compared to what kids have to look at now, because the idea that something bad is going to happen is everywhere.

Over my coffee cup today, during one of the cooking shows, after a reminder that kids need to sit in booster seats if they aren't 4'9" because they have a future, and they should ride into that future safely strapped into whatever monstrosity their parents drive, comes a PSA very much like the booster seat one. At first it was all, "Mom, what do I do if you're not there to pick me up from soccer?" and I think anti-drugs. "What if something happens?" okay, maybe it's an ad about not getting into cars with strangers. I'm all for that. But then creepy voiceover guy tells everyone to come up with a plan in the event of a terrorist strike.

It was the first time I'd seen this, and Paula Deen was back on eating whatever she'd cooked before the ad really hit me. These kids don't need a movie, they just have to be near a TV over the next few weeks and they'll see IT happened. IT could happen again. There's no one assuring them IT can't happen again. Cripes, no wonder everyone overeats and takes pills for nerves.

I feel bad for kids growing up now. Sure, they're kids and they'll figure it out and most of them will do a better job of it than I did--sooner, most likely--but it still makes me mad that somewhere, some kid is out in her backyard, looking at the sky, twitching and thinking she probably isn't going to live to the age of 13, because she has seen no proof that it's all going to be okay.

I never would have made it past the eyes in the jungle on the Ready Kids website, you know. The majority of the website has nothing to do with the terrars, though, it's basically the same as the ads that used to tell kids to have a plan for getting out of the house during a fire which...yeah, those were well-meaning. "Not now, you just get out of the house, that's all you need to do."

Did anybody else really ever do that? Because I think I'm the only person who had a bag packed ready to go if the house caught fire. I should update the underwear in there, the clothes are probably size 8, too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Did It All For The German Intersexed New Romantic.

I'm not lying when I say Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is a difficult game. The ratio of missions that were handed over to me in disgust was higher than possibly any other video game we've ever played, and even I had to play a mission over a few times. The other night I spent over an hour cleaning the Mendez mansion with Domestobot because I didn't think to look in the basement. Generally I would see that as fun, but towards the end of that hour? It wasn't fun anymore. I was driving around the mansion with the lighter out, intent on burning the entire house down just to find the safe. Saving Lance's ass every three missions isn't much fun, either. I'm not going to spoil the games for anyone who hasn't played them yet, but when Lance shows up, it's very much like knowing you have papercuts but also knowing you need to wash your hands. You will hurt.

The early missions are given by totally unlikable scum--not that anyone in the GTA universe is wholly lovable--and if I hoped to see the end of the game, someone better show up and interest my family, fast.

One of the highlights of Liberty City Stories was noticing that one of the DJs was voiced by Barbara Rosenblat, the very voice of the Amelia Peabody series. So when we got a mission in Vice City Stories that involved meeting a contact called Reni Wassulmaier, I damn near lost my mind. Never mind that we keep flying the wrong direction in the helicopters, never mind that we can't navigate the back alleys to rescue injured women, Barbara Rosenblat was playing that which I wanted to be in the '80s, an adndrogynous European with good taste in music, Geisha makeup and a tendency to make weird movies.

I should mention that when everyone else was putting on "proper" makeup, I was coating my face in baby powder and piling on eyeshadow and dark lipstick. I have no idea where it came from, as I didn't spend much time in clubs when I was 12, unless you count Club In Mah Head. Imagine my delight some twenty years later when I heard the term "New Romantic" on Echoes and realized I actually had something there.

Last night I flew Reni to the airport. It was sad to see her go. To me, that's where the game ended. Yes, the Phil Collins concert was hilariously fabulous, and I think Phil's involvement in this game more than makes up for him being left out of the original Vice City, but Reni, Reni makes me feel all special.

Tonight I think we finish the game. "We" can at times mean all three of us, such as "We" couldn't catch up to Lance before he burned to death, but tonight "We" means I will be flying Vic Vance's ass accross the city to get medieval for the tenth time because it involves a helicopter, and I'm the only one who can fly the helicopters in the right direction.

Even though it was at times not fun, I'm totally glad I saved up for this one. Not only for Reni, but Phil Oakey's Together In Electric Dreams and Nik Kershaw 's Wouldn't It Be Good are songs on the radio! That's worth blowing stuff up for any day.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Things I Have Learned This Weekend: August Edition

If a cat is sitting on a desk, and there is then a small worm on the desk, there is a 99% chance that the worm has come out of the cat.

When faced with a small worm on your desk, fight the natural urge to run away screaming and/or vomit. Also, throwing the worm away does not cure the cat.

Tapeworm will present itself as small white wiggling worms. These are not in fact worms, but only the equipment needed to make more worms.

Fleas must ingest tapeworm segments, and then in turn be eaten by a cat, dog, or human in order to get to the business of being a proper tapeworm.

Tapeworm takes three weeks to show up on the butt of your pet.

A magical flea must have wandered onto my property three weeks ago.

I cannot recall three weeks ago.

Cats will let you know when a worm is trying to leave their butt. They may even show you their butt, so you have time to grab a tissue or something.

When a cat freaks out because you are pawing at their butt, they will back into things on your desk.

When a cat has a worm on them when they back into things on your desk, yet the worm is not present on the cat when he runs away, the worm in on your desk. Look closely.

Do not leave headphones that are going on your ears in the path of cats who may leave a worm there.

The best way to preserve a tapeworm segement for the vet to look at is by placing it in a bag with a bit of wet paper towel.

Do not expect your cat to accompany you or the worm segement it previously housed to the vet for examination.

Expect your vet tech to believe you are making your cat up.

Expect your vet to believe you are denying the existance of fleas, just because you have not seen any evidence to support the existance fleas in half a decade.

The information on the Internet is more accurate than that of your vet's receptionist.

Mosquitoes do not transmit tapeworm.

If you are convincing, your vet will give you dewormer for a cat he has never seen.

Driving in the rain is preferable to driving in the sun.

Cats who will eat any insect in creation are hesitant to take pills.

If your cat has arms and legs, and at the ends of those arms and legs are claws, do not think administering a pill to said cat will be easy based on the history of the permanent smile on the cat's face and reputation for being a floppy, soft, friendly cat.

Do not administer pills to one pet while the other two are in the area.

Twin cats generally stick up for each other and whichever one is not wrapped in a towel will try to kill you from the ground for causing their brother so much annoyance.

Healthy cats will not get in the carrier.

Content cats will cut you if you throw them off their peaceful vibe.

It's best not to watch The Wall very late at night at an impressionable age if at some point in your life you will be faced with the idea that there are worms inside of something that sleeps on your face.

Most importantly, I learned that once again, as with the tick bonanza of 2000, I am capaple of handling seriously gross things if they are attached to cute furry things.

Sleep deprivation causes 600-word posts, yo.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Because You Know I'm All About Ice.

I admit the closest I've ever come to driving a big rig, hauling who-knows-what up steep hills for crap pay was the time I played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I kept losing my trailer down the mountains, and even though I only had 15 seconds to re-attach it, I never gave up...until the damn thing exploded.

So when Nan started watching Ice Road Truckers, I cracked a few jokes about, "You have 29 seconds to reattach the trailer!"

But then trucks started going through the ice and all kinda crazy stuff. And now I'm obsessed. There's a marathon on the History channel Sunday that starts at 1PM eastern time if you want to have your mind blown over what some people will drive on.

I can't even drive when there are flurries, man!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

This is My Week For Movie News!

Ridley Scott, I love his movies. Blade Runner, Gladiator, Alien (Al, you horrible bastard), Legend (Unicorns + Bryan Ferry & David Gilmour ÷ Tim Curry = awesome), Kingdom of Heaven, and now...Monopoly.

Yes, I'm for real. Yes, it's going to be about owning property. There's a rather fun plot idea on the IMDB board.

I don't know about you, but I have plans for watching a lot of movies next year.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Calming Effect of Not Being Unique.

I get seasick watching bad camerawork, we know this. This earthbound version of the space stupids frequently spills over into my personal life and while it should delight me to feel drunk without actually having to ingest anything that might erode my innards, the other people on the road don't like it.

I bring this up again only to point out other people who get it. I was shocked almost to the point of tears when I found a post called Michael Bay Doesn't Get Motion Sickness over at Movies No One Should See.

In the article, there's a link to a video on YouTube entitled, Michael Bay Goes To Wendy's, and the camerawork is actually better than most Michael Bay films, but the video made me laugh, so here it is:

Matt Damon quoting the Paul Greengrass steady-cam fund also made me smile.

Nothing on YouTube will ever put into perspective what life in my head is like while watching high-speed extreme close-up daftness on TV because on the computer the framerate is knocked down to something I can actually process, but I have found my people, and the only action they feel part of is the action of the wall jumping out to greet them as they leave theaters.

This post brought to you by my fear that Indy IV will be filmed badly.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I Wiped a Tear in My Head.

A movie is being made about Eddie the Eagle.

You know Eddie the Eagle, don't you? You should...if you watched the 1988 winter Olympics.

I love him. This should surprise no one.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

My Game Skills Are Better Than My Building These Days

Oh Lego, you plastic demon. I swore off Lego sets after the tragic move away from yellow as the universal color for everyone in Legoland (yes, I'm a brickist, there I said it), and maybe deep down that had a little to do with my inability to hold Lego bricks anymore, and maybe it came from my inability to blow money that could go to emergency house repairs. But no, I still say making a Lego set (#10123, for the geeks) where Han, Leia and Luke were still universal yellow while Lando was brown was just half-assed lazy Lego making, and that's maybe too deep a look into what matters to me, so I'll move on to the next thing, which I think will catch on way better.

Lego is making an Indiana Jones game. It will be called Lego Indiana Jones. You know in your heart there will be tie-in sets.

There is going to be a little Lego Professor Henry Jones. I can feel it. will there be Lego Nazis? I don't know, I don't want to think about that and all it entails, but a little Lego Dad with a Lego hat and Lego diary, and Junior, and maybe a little Lego Marcus and Sallah. I can't wait.

Until then, I found a fan-made Grand Theft Auto: Lego City trailer that I'm in love with, because the way my life with video games progressed was Pong, Magnavox Odyssey, Atari, Pitfall Harry, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Sega, Kid Chameleon, Where's Waldo,, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, The Lost Vikings, Sony Playstation, Tomb Raider, and then Grand Theft Auto. Throw Lego into any of that, and I start looking alert and moving around a little.


News from Excitement Central.

Lightning hit a transformer near our house and there was a power outage at 10 o'clock, it lasted until 12:55. The fascinating part of this was that of the three-blocks-worth of houses in the dark, we seemed to be the only ones calling Con Ed. The woman we got on the phone said, "Don't tell me it's raining, I have to go to the Bronx later!"

Um, yeah, well, okay, lady. You be careful on the streets in the rain.

The next woman we got at about 12 told us our food going bad was the least of our worries. Maybe we really were in the dark. Maybe there be tripods in them thar streets.

To be fair, I agreed with her to the extent that the food wasn't going to go bad in a couple of hours or anything, that I was more likely to vomit all over the house from the flickering candles sooner than the milk in the fridge would turn room temperature, but who wants to hear that? Not you, I bet! HAHA. Vomit. Heh.

The power's back on now, it's not something I'd like to do often, but there it is. News. News that not one local news station covered. Pfft.

And yes, I turned the light switch on every time I walked into the room. What a dumbass.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dear Neighbor with the Weedwhacker,

It's a really hot day. For summer, I guess it's about average but I have to say that for the three hours you've been going over that same 10x10 area with that weedwhacker, you must be beat. Why don't you put down the weedwhacker for a little while, sit down, stop making so damn much noise you psycho, what the hell kind of enchanted acreage do you have in that little lot? THREE HOURS?! Buy a mower! Your arms will thank you, and I will thank you, because it makes me a little nervous to know I'm living near someone crazier than me!

Sincerely, that girl with the squeaky swing rope.