Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Week I Learned Some Polish Words

Once upon a time the 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge was a Wikipedia Wildcard. I had to go to Wikipedia and hit random article, and write about whatever came up. I got 2009 Speedway Ekstraliga. I had no idea what that was, despite being one of those girls who would rather leave on X-Games than many other things, but thanks to glorious Wikipedia, I was able to pull off something that made me so happy my vocal cords seized up.

Hello and welcome to the 2009 Speedway Ekstraliga! It is jam-packed tonight! Poles from pole to pole have come to witness an exciting rematch between Atlas Wroclaw and Lotos Gdansk! Neither team did very well last season, but they don't that stop them!

As they round the far turn--what's this? Jason Crump has stood up on his motorbike
and is turning to drive directly into the path of the other riders!

He's holding's a sports drink! The other riders are grabbing
the bottles tossed by Crump. I seem to be watching an advertisement. The race
hasn't started yet.

To me, I figured the voice just added to the character of an announcer that had just gone too long without coffee. Sure. Hey, it hurts my ears too. For the podcast and 10 other nuggets of random goodness go here. You will like.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Commercials That Make Me Want To Lock Myself In The Bathroom

Bears don't use toilet paper.

I know what bears are legendary for doing, and it is not using toilet paper.

No, damn you, Charmin.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Walk Between The Raindrops

People who know me and have witnessed me professing my love for Steely Dan BEFORE I knew the name had an origin will not be surprised Walk Between Raindrops by Donald Fagen made it onto my list of songs I've heard at memorable moments in my life.

I always liked the song, so hearing it the morning I let the dog out to wee and the cat out to eat some grass only to find a continuous stream of carpenter ants going into and coming out of my house calmed me a bit. As did taking a swatter to the ants. 1997 was not the first year of the carpenter ants, and it wasn't the last time I'd find something eating my house*, but that humid morning, exercising futility to the max with my puny swatter in hand, the cat and dog even following some of the ants, that was...quite a moment. It was just starting to rain, too.

Seeing that video reminds me that a great deal of my time was not wasted at all playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with Nan and Mum, m'man stretched out across my lap, purring and rubbing on my elbow every time I had to stop petting him to do paramedic missions. I don't do paramedic missions in GTA anymore, you know. My elbow doesn't feel the same.

*Hey kids, if you see insects eating your home, don't let anyone tell you you're crazy and annoying and to just wait until your foot goes through the floor. Anyone who says that doesn't really love you and will probably die before the house gets eaten badly enough, leaving you with a big buggy mess to clean up.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gandhi Would Listen To Everyone's Stories.

Yet another past entry for a 100 Word Stories weekly challenge. You love these, admit it. You love them because I love them, right? ...Hmph.

I went into full ditz mode for the theme of challenge #151, What Would Gandhi Do? because I have met too many people like this that get their minds all confused and I wanna lock 'em up and throw away the key before they kill more braincells. In my case I could just put the key down and I'd totally forget where it was in a few seconds.

I love Ben Kingsley SO much. He made me appreciate that Gandhi guy and what he did for the world and all. I mean, I learned more about Gandhi from that movie than I ever learned in whatever that class was I took with Chelsea, back when we were first learning to text.

Ben Kingsley had me arrested after I jumped out of his shower to ask why he had all those men shooting at Robert Redford in Sneakers when Robert Redford just wants to save the arctic.

I’m not mad, though, I think Gandhi wouldn’t be mad, I guess.

If you go to the page and listen to the challenge, you can hear me totally do a character, and you can hear 12 other characters reading their stories. It's all good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Commercials That Make Me Want To Kill

I don't have rollover minutes with my phone plan. It's okay, because I can't speak half the time. No, really, it's okay because only two people in my directory are still living.

But there's these commercials where the non-existant entity known as rollover minutes take on a life of their own, Chucky-style, and become fascinating to people I don't care about.

Daft asses selling bowls of kitchen timers being chided by their mothers as a device for learning why some phone plans are better than others is very confusing. These timers, they aren't things you can actually buy and plug into your phone. I HAD TO TELL THIS TO SOMEONE VERY DEAR TO ME.

THEY DON'T EXIST. They aren't real. Say it with me. It's okay, I see things that aren't there too, but I don't go attributing characteristics to crap and making other people believe in my psychosis, do I?

Oh, right.

But I don't put it on TV morning, noon, and night, do I?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Army Of Me

Would I trade the misspent time in my life? No. So this week I'll hone in on all the times I had to use anything, including Army of Me by Björk, to get myself to stand up. Is taking total responsibility for every single one of my moods and not expecting anyone else to fix me a bad thing? Not for me, but I wouldn't say anyone else should do it. So when you see Björk wearing some crazy dress or talking about what her television is doing to her brain, remember she made angsty girls in the '90s do stuff they might not have otherwise, and so all that time wasn't really wasted.

Stand up
You've got to manage
I won't sympathize

And if you complain once more
You'll meet an army of me

You're alright
There's nothing wrong
Self sufficience please!
And get to work

And if you complain once more
You'll meet an army of me

You're on your own now
We won't save you
Your rescue squad
Is too exshausted

And if you complain once more
You'll meet an army of me


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't Hug Bombs, Kids.

Time for another re-post of my entry into 100 Word Stories' weekly challenges of the past.

The theme was Just Let Me Touch It and while I could have just sent in another very personal memoir of Stewie Norton, I had something else in mind.

“Just let me touch it,” you said.

“It's so cute,” you said.

“I'll be really careful,” you said.

Back in my day, bombs had fierce shit painted on them. Tigers, sharks, naked broads, things with teeth! We could insult the bastards we were gonna kill, none of this cutesy pastel non-threatening shit like big-eyed bunnies and daisies. “Have a nice afterlife!”

Can't have menacing looking instruments of doom these days.

A bomb’s a bomb, Jenkins. Triggers and wires and death. Totally non-huggable.

I hope you're happy.

Oh that's right, you're fried to a crisp.

Where the hell is my leg?

Unfortunately I never realized that the mic built into the computer would pick up the computer itself, so if you swing by to listen to the challenge, you'll hear this horrendous sound in amongst 11 other entertaining stories. That muffled whining thing is me. I fix it the next week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Commercials That Make Me Choke

I can't say I've never smoked, because until the age of seventeen I had so much second-hand smoke it's a wonder I don't sound...oh wait, I do sound a bit scratchy from time to time, don't I? Anyway, as a kid I did all the sensible things to try to help people in my family quit smoking: hide the expensive buggers, crush them, wet them and put them all back into the pack, poke holes in the filters...and ask, time and time again, just stop.

Price hikes managed to succeed where I failed at causing the last smoker in my family to quit. Or something. Iron will. She stopped 11 years ago and never looked back. I think it's kind of awesome, actually, but then...the anti-smoking ad with the multiple amputee was airing around the time Mum's leg ulcer was at its worst. The shmuck in the commercial, inexplicably hanging out in a children's playground, refused to quit even when his circulation was compromised. I found that out from Google. I guess a lot of people found that out because the ad was replaced with something more disturbing, a man who plays a doctor on TV showing the insides of a lung riddled with cancer. Those ads hit around the time I was losing friends and relatives left and right to respiratory diseases. Fie, late-night television.

I said last week I don't really give a flip about commercials, and I don't, I don't watch TV for commercials, I watch it...when I watch it, to forget reality.

So now there's this crying little boy in an airport or something. I don't know why he's crying, kids tend to crack up over anything--I know, I spent years as one of those--and you know what happens next in my version? Either a creepy wheezing man lurches over to show the little boy his dead fly collection or mumsie returns ten puffs closer to doom only to be, "WHY DIDN'T YOU KEEP UP?!" And that weeping toddler will take up smoking to cope with the PTSD he incurred when some weird camera crew watched it all AND DID NOTHING.

Or not. He'll grow up, have a few kids of his own, and one will require an asthma inhaler while he and his equally polluting wife yuk it up at whatever the hell they're watching. Beer ads, maybe. That's the other new PSA, some kid who totally doesn't appear to be having any kind of asthma attack pauses his Godzilla/GI Joe makeout session to take a hit of the inhaler. Bad parents, filling the air the carcinogens. Tsk.

Don't smoke kids, it's not as cool as you think it is and you'll probably end up making people who love you sad. Seriously. I don't want to watch those awful PSAs, stop now before they make a new one. One even weirder than the one where time runs backwards and roaches decompose around where the cigarette butt some hot chick puts in her mouth falls.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: I'll Take New York

I listen to the radio in bed. Hot, eh? Wait, I should tell you in this much of story I'm underage. 15, to be exact. One night, I happened upon a song the likes of which I'd never heard before. And yes, Jersey Girl was technically the first Tom Waits song I heard but some dude named Bruce was singing it and the videos for In The Neighborhood and Downtown Train also came before this precise moment I'm writing about, but the greatness did not set into my young mind until I'll Take New York by Tom Waits was on WFUV, way way down the dial. Now, by "night," I mean around three in the morning. It's called chronic insomnia for a reason. Creaking around looking for a pen to scrawl "TOM WAITE" did not wake my family, and that was not a misspent moment at all, come to think of it.

Neither was the afternoon in April of '90 when I put Frank's Wild Years on for my Poppy to hear:

The time I brought my Tom Waits tapes with me on the trip to California and then fell asleep two seconds into Rain Dogs because I was exhausted, that could be the misspent bit. Or all the time I wasted not being me, until I heard Tom Waits and realized holy moly it's cool to not be a cookie cutter run-of-the-mill person, that time was wasted. Different is good, kids. Different rules.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Have I Ever Mentioned I Love Mothballs

A while back I mentioned that I've been sending entries into 100 Word Stories for the weekly challenge where everyone gets a theme and writes 100 words about it. (Hullo peoples visiting from over there!) This week I was finally able to log back into BlogRolling so I added the link along the left sidebar so you can go listen to Laurence Simon's neat stories after you're done reading my stuff. I HAVE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE PLANNED.

I thought I'd post some of my past entries, being I ain't got nothin' new for all y'all and I'm doing ScriptFrenzy this month so I think you'll enjoy these stories better than NOTHING.

The first challenge I took part in was #149 and the theme was Mothballs. This is what wrote. Not my usual fare, I realize, and entirely fictional (I'm allergic to apples, after all).

The apple falls from my hand as the familiar smell brings it all back to me, Stewie Norton fumbling with my blouse in the dark, the pawing of his grandmother's cat at the door.

Nearly given away by the meows of a tabby.

I pick my fruit up off the floor of aisle seven with one last glance at the box of mothballs next to the Yahrtzeit candles under the mop display and turn away from my dark, dirty past.

Things were so much simpler then, no courtship, just a quickie in the closet.

Young love behind old men's suits.

You can hear the story read, along with nine great tales of mothballs here.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Commercials That Make My Mind Weep.

I apologize for my recent mopey posts, but real life tends to suck some of the time. I would also prefer it not to. This month, however, I decided to go with a theme to amuse you with, and that theme is why the hell are some commercials so mind-numbingly stupid?

I thought I'd start with Cialis.

Yeah, I went there. Mind you, I don't care one way or the other about commercials, but the TV's on a lot, and people tend to ask me what the hell is up with certain ad campaigns, like my secret knowledge of Internet clues me into why people are wasting time taking baths on a mountain top when they could be doing what that pill they're advertising is said to help them do.

For those of you who haven't witnessed the ads, you could look them up on YouTube, but then again, maybe you don't want to. The gist of every one of the ads is a couple is getting overly friendly with each other and then the neighbors show up. After a list of ways the pill can kill you and everyone in the vicinity of your home, the couple have been transformed into Cylon hybrids are in tubs, separate tubs, watching the sunset. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY, AND NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE.

There are theories, though. I Googled "Cialis bathtub" and came up with endless speculation on WHAT...THE...HELL.

It's times like that, when I'm faced with a problem that has no solution, that I start editing--only in my mind, officer--alternate realities where Norman Bate pays a visit to the two utter twits bathing in the frikkin' woods. Or Harvey Keitel's character from Point Of No Return, even, with the jug of acid. Yeah, that's right, I don't care if you enjoy getting together with your men friends in a shack out in the middle of nowhere singing Elvis filks about rival remedies to having to live with what you live with, and I don't care if you made a college student that can't do their own laundry and therefore has to interrupt your sexy times, just don't make me have to try to explain what the hell you're doing on the beach in a bathtub. The ocean is two feet away!

While near the ocean, toss in the Enzyte ads with that sick grinning bastard and those giggling women who all seem to have bought the same vibrator. Then throw in a live grenade. The god of testosterone demands it.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Running In The Family

The 1987 trifecta of my radio-listening habits closes with Running In The Family by Level 42. A song I first heard on Rock Over London, but was thrilled to hear playing on New York radio when Scott Muni's Things From England debuted it...the day my aunt went into the hospital for a ruptured aneurysm. I was 14, I was self-absorbed, much better to focus on music that what may or may not be. A week later I very happily told my aunt I'd picked up the album in Crazy Eddie's on the way up to the hospital. At the time she was giving recitals of West Side Story to the nurses but later on in the year did we ever have fun listening to this album.

That's the good memory this song brings to mind.

The other ones, the confusing memories, those are just intertwined with the good ones until they become not quite so bad as I thought they were. I could have picked any song off this album and arrived at the same destination, I lived teen angst and runaway stories through music because I was too chicken to actually strike out my own path myself. So I'd listen to Level 42 while re-organizing my closet and thinking of all the things I'd love to do if only I didn't have that headache, or if only whatever was in my eyes wasn't annoying me, or if I was thinner, or if I had an entirely different genetic structure. But as it turns out, and that 14-year-old I was would not be able to cope with this, I am exactly what I was then. I haven't changed a single person's life for the better, my closet is disorganized, and by the self-imposed standards I drove myself insane with back then I'm a complete and utter failure, but I'm much happier now. It's so bizarre.

YouTube has embedding for this video disabled, and...some of you who made fun of my love for Level 42 back then are probably thrilled about that. :P

Thursday, April 02, 2009

One Year.

When I was 17, I got it into my head to call up my Aunt Bubbles from 3000 miles away, just to hear her voice. I got the area code wrong, and ended up having an awkward moment with a woman who spoke only Spanish. My Aunt Bubbles loved butterflies. When I see them, I tell them to say hi. Butterflies can go where phones don't, I've found.