Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quit Being Like Me

I hate it when people are like me, in that they collect very heavy books, are short and thus need large clunky shoes, are quiet and rabbity and thus don't like to ask for help, and then need help moving.

I helped my niece Katie, the Littlest Oncology Nurse, move to a house on the edge of the Hawthorne district that she will be sharing with a couple of friends.

Since all her friends seemed to be involved in a complicated apartment-shuffling procedure this weekend, she had to scrape the bottom of the barrel of available warm bodies and came up with me, her parents and her grandparents. Poor thing. She deserved a better crew. But we got the job done.

I always feel sorry for her when both her mom and I are around, because her mom can't help but revert to calling her Janice. Or Janice/Katie. It must be hard to look at me (at a hard-living 45) when you're 23 and say to yourself, yeah, I guess I can see the resemblance.

Three flights up to move out and 1 1/2 flights up to move in.

Calgon, take me away!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spring Blog Cleaning

I have spent the last week spring cleaning and spring fixing, and all that do-gooding has left me empty-brained and stupid. So to leave my reader with something as opposed to nothing, I will do one last bit of spring cleaning, and empty out my Raspberry, and all the bits of paper I've written crap on that has not been worthy of blog posting up until now. So you can probably skip this one and re-read the bunny story.

  • Scribbled on scratch paper: If pancake houses gave their customers only as much butter as he or she actually needs, as opposed to the amount necessary to grease a slip-n-slide, we could use the savings to bio-fuel the country's fleet of trucks carrying Big-n-Tall and "Woman's" clothing.
  • Also scribbled on scratch paper: the names of the main TAPS team dudes: Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson and Steve Gonsalves. I think I was planning to do a whole post on how obsessed I am about their Sci Fi Channel show Ghost Hunters, but that idea fizzled out. But you should still watch the show. They are (or were, in the early seasons of the show) plumbers by day and ghost investigators by night (really), and do not have a problem calling bogus when there are only bad pipes or faulty wiring in a house instead of the ghost that the home owners were kind of hoping for. The early seasons were so awesomely homemade, with deliciously stilted set-ups and a wonderfully nasty trailer as the TAPS "headquarters," but they have smoothed things out now, which kind of takes some of the fun out of it.
  • Oh, yes, and TAPS stands for The Atlantic Paranormal Society. Yes, they make use of the "The." I think I like that most of all.
  • On my Raspberry: a note to myself that my new glasses seem to be an exact match of the ones worn by Leonard on the nerd sitcom Big Bang Theory (or is it The Big Bang Theory?), which horrified me and made me happy at the same time. Why do I identify with those guys? That's when I realized I have all the social awkwardness of a geek without the Gatesian technical or scientific skill.
  • And finally: a note about the fact that - no, I'll save that for seed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday is Show & Tell Day

I'm not sure this one is done, but I'm done with it for now. This is a bad photo. I had to take it at an angle to cut down on glare (too lazy to take it off the wall where it is drying and place it in an area with better lighting), then I whacked some of it off with the crop tool to make it a rectangle again. If it looks like there is a lot of glare in the bushes at the lower left, it's because there is. This one is the biggest yet, maybe four feet by five feet, all by palette knife, so I'm tired. So lay off.

This is Phase One of the new one, in case you want to watch it develop (like a Polaroid picture - shake it, shake it - sorry). I'm picking the brushes back up for this one, because it's bear time again. I decided to use this long, thin canvas to highlight the reach. I bought it thinking "panorama," but I think turning it on its side for this effect will be more fun.

This one is based on this news photo from the Denver Post. I decided to use a less moustached fire fighter and a different house, and fewer of the crazy ropes and pulleys the Colorado fire dudes thought they needed for one small fluffy bear cub. It looks like they were trying to lynch him. Actually, it looks like they are doing a good job of capturing his ear. I skipped the ropes for now. They're cluttery. Besides, my fire dude's got it under control. What could possibly go wrong?

Are you still humming the "Shake it like a Polaroid Picture" song?

You're welcome.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Scotty's Bunny Part 2: The Bunlet

As illustration, here is a picture of a baby bunny I stole from another blog.

Scotty caught another bunny, but this time it wasn't much of a challenge, since this one wasn't even ripe yet. Maybe the size of a fuzzy tangerine with a head. I stopped mowing in the front yard when I noticed Scotty on the other side of the backyard chain-link fence with that intense concentration face on; he was focusing on something in his paws.

I pushed him back and found the tiny baby bunny, too scared to move. I picked her up and wiped away some of the dog spit. Scotty sat at my feet as if he expected me to pop the morsel into his mouth as a treat.

I turned off my iPod - a Studio 360 discussion about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - just irrelevant noise compared to this tiny bit of pure beauty, terrified but quiet in my hand.

I wanted to go in and get my camera. I wanted to take it into the house and make it a pet. But enacting either of those dumb ideas would have met with extreme disapproval by the bun and would not have heightened or lengthened this minute of bliss. And isn't that what we crave? We try to catch it, own it, but it's not the same as the thrill of riding through a new, unexpected moment of it.

Her little heart beat in my hand. Her little eyes looked up at me without a shred of trust. But she knew she was out of options, so she waited for her fate. Her fur was so soft.

I put her down on the non-dog side of the fence. It took her a moment to realize that her presence was no longer required, so I gave her tiny little booty a nudge and away she went.

It takes a while for a new house to acquire enough of those little moments that meld in your memory so that when you think of your house, you think of those moments. Two and a half years into living in this house, I still feel that this building is still far from earning an acceptable stack of those place-rooted memories.

But this was one of those moments.

Scotty is still pacing and whining in the house, wishing for another chance at it. So I'm guessing that we did not get the same thing out of the experience.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Aging Skull: The Diagnosis

So I guess all those headaches may have stemmed partly from having the equivalent of a hose nozzle on the pressure-wash setting in my brain veins.

It turns out that the high blood pressure that I tried to treat with a strict regimen of denial is now only higher and I get to take old-lady water pills and eat bananas therapeutically.

I asked the doctor if my blood pressure would go back down if I lost twenty pounds. She said no because I am old and have bad genes.

I am not ready to be old.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Oozing Skull: Reviewing the Snarkers

Seems like the crew from MST3K has split into two camps - the Joel Hodgson contingent and the Mike Nelson, um, 3-hand pinochle game. Both have independently produced independent DVD releases of snarked-over bad movies in the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV show mold, only with fewer cute robots and more adult words.

Mike Nelson's pinochle buddies, working as The Film Crew, produced four (ish) DVDs last year that held to the formula of finding old, bad movies, now in the public domain, and recording on top of the original soundtrack the funny thoughts that we would all say if we were a lot faster on our feet.

This year, the Joel Hodgson contingent, five strong, but late to the DVD idea (and late to the next idea as I'll explain later), presented Cinematic Titanic: same idea, different voices, also with alumni from MST3K.

For those of you who are still reading after that scintillating gob of exposition, I am here to exact judgment. First, a little more about the contenders.

Killers From Space, offered by Mike Nelson's Film Crew (2007): A good choice of bad movies. Completely lacking competent editing, acting, or dialogue. Oh, and featuring giant insects (in a cameo role) and bad costumes. The comments started slowly, but warmed up to some funny running gags ("Mittens!"), possible new product ideas ("Action Bathrobe!"), and a silly montage of the director's penchant for unnecessary close-ups.

The Oozing Skull, recently released by Joel Hodgson's Cinematic Titanic (2008): The title is hard to beat. And although there was plenty of circa-1972 gore, I'm not sure I caught an oozing skull, although I did notice a latex bald-head cap oozing the owner's hair, and although I have to admit, during the initial screening, I dozed off a little. Yes, "initial screening." To be fair, I tried it again a few days later. I'm not sure why I felt obliged to be fair. Nevertheless, on second viewing, I found the movie to be awful in the most delicious way, however I can't say that the comments kept up with the awfulness. In fact, I was compelled to start scribbling my own comments, since the Captain avoids these bad movie nights like grass during hay fever season, so I had no one to vent to.

For instance, one annoyance that went unnoticed by the Cinematic Titanic bunch: what was it about the late 60's and early 70's that made it okay for women to wear fake eyelashes that looked like black poodles pasted on their eyelids? In what world is that considered a beauty asset? But I digress.

Lastly, the "humorous" intermissions were not. And I don't mean that as a curmudgeon, I mean that as a human.

The envelope please...I choose...The Film Crew.

Which is a pity because they are no more. Which is not really a pity because they have moved on to producing funny tracks for currently popular movies (such as I Am Legend, Cloverfield and Point Break) under the name RiffTrax. Since copyright laws do not allow them to record voice overs directly onto these movies, they sell mp3s for download, which you are able (with their free software) to sync up to the DVDs that you own or rent. Better explained here. Brilliant, no?

But then, I was always partial to Mike Nelson.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sometimes Goth Is Just Not Gothy Enough.

And maybe you have a bit of a problem with obsessing and maybe you can't sit still. Then you have the choice of remaking yourself into a steampunk,

which seems to be equal parts geeky, pathetic, and hip. Geeky because you can't care what other people think of you when you tool around town in your tophat with your iphone encased in turn-of-last-century brass fittings, pathetic because you are forced to spend most of your otherwise social time making brass fittings for your tophat, scooter,

iphone, computer, and underwear (I can only guess), and hip, because of this.

I just don't have the energy.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Robin 9 From Outer Space

Here is a robin. This robin sees himself in the window between himself and my camera. This robin is really mad that this other robin just sits there and stares at him. This robin takes action.

Action Robin.

If this robin did not have brain damage before whacking himself repeatedly on my windows, I'm sure he does by now, which is why he continues to go after his reflection day after day, leaving a ribbon of robin gunk that parallels the grape vine conveniently (for him) trained along the top of the sun room window.

And no, he didn't mind me taking pictures of him beating himself up.

I spent several hours cleaning the windows yesterday, and yes, he was back at it this morning.

Ed Wood: Voice of the Future, Futuristically

Here are some of the best lines from Plan 9 From Outer Space for your edification and Dean's amusement.

Remember friends, future events such as these will affect you in the future.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Oozing Skulls: Funny, Right?

Today I received this email message from "The Folks at DVD Wagon":

Shipping The Oozing Skull DVD: Order #40404

At first I thought they made a horrible mistake, but then I remembered that I ordered it. I just remember ordering it by its title (Cinematic Titanic) and not its subtitle (The, you know, Oozing Skull), from which the funny is made. It's from the same "folks" who brought us Mystery Science Theater 3000, but without the cute puppets. Just people being snarky and (with any luck) funny while watching a so-bad-its-funny movie.

I'll report back with judgment.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bucket List : Not Quite Clear on the Concept

I would start a bucket list if I didn't have a fundamental problem with the concept, which is, essentially, why?

If you believe this life is all we get and nothing lies beyond, then the moment you kick said bucket it will no longer matter to your pile of bones left behind what they spent their time doing whilst animated.

If you believe God has a lovely room prepared for you in heaven with a bed made of kitten angels and fluffy cloud pillows weighed down by nightly piles of pillow chocolates, why would you then care, while you chat with Lincoln and Shakespeare, whether you managed to squeeze in that trip to the Smithsonian?

That said, it's still fun to make lists of things, especially lists of things that would be fun. Here's a start. A small start because as long as I have the Captain, wine and chocolate, every thing else is gravy.

  • More dogs. Smaller, cuter ones.
  • More trampolining.
  • Karaoke. Once, while drunk, and never again.
  • Scotland.
  • New Zealand.
  • James Joyce.
  • One of those wicked spendy spa vacations with tiny, exquisite meals, yoga or something cutting-edge and trendy called like Ting-Bao or something, sea salt scrubs or mud baths, and massages.
  • More hot tubbing.