Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Before I get too far into this, I'd like to give a big thanks to the fair & lovely Amy of Badgroove for watching over the place. My apologies for the tardiness of the kudos, Amy. You're aces!
I was looking through the junk that I tranferred over to the new computer (about six months ago - I'm nothing if not a procrastinator) & found the following works of art, commissioned during some slow periods at work & I thought I'd share them with you.
'Cause I'm just that kind of guy.
Now, I've mentioned my Laser Scanner/Pointer Thingie of Death (LS/PToD) that resides on my desk before. Here is a rendering of myself with said Implement of Doom. I call it "Laser Jay":
I figured that since my two dimensional alterego couldn't get in a whole lot of trouble, I'd live vicariously through him & have some fun with the LS/PToD. And make a few bucks on the side performing Lasik surgery:
No, the person's head is not on fire. Nor am I performing laser surgery on Larry from the Three Stooges.
I decided long ago that if I ever gained super powers through some industrial accident involving radiation or came into possession of a super powerful object, I'd use it for the betterment of mankind. (Well, after the initial wasting of my power showing off & being really obnoxious with it) This drawing shows me in action, saving Puerto Rican goat farmers from the heartache of finding their livestock drained of their life fluids.
Yes, Loyal readers, I'm talking 'bout El Chupacabra:
And now Latin American goat farmers can rest soundly knowing that Laser Jay & his trusty LS/PToD is on the job.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I have to tell you all of an experience...I had to use the restroom at work. And now that I am in a large high volume building I decided to use the restroom at the opposite end of where I usually go. I went in and was doing my thing...when KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK on the bathroom door (now this is a large five seater so to speak so I thought that was odd...and then I hear it:
Now what to do? Do I hollar out: YO! WOMAN INSIDE???
Instead I coughed and that seemed to be enough...
When I came out, right outside of the door was a bucket and plunger...and not far from that a friendly looking maintenance man.
He said: Is there anyone else in there?
As he asked this..another girl walks into the bathroom...
I said JUST HER.
I left for my car...to get some stuff out of the back that I bought to festivize the office...and on my way back the poor maintenance guy was still waiting...every time someone would walk out...three more would walk in!!
Friday, December 01, 2006
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...wait. It is a plane. And we're going to be on it.
That's right, Loyal Readers, it's time once again for Thanksmas. And because of that, T & I are catching a redeye out of Dodge tonight. But don't you worry, never fear! We'll be back soon & I'm sure that I'll have all sorts of tales of fun & frivolity to regale you with. Yes, all two of you.
Be good while I'm away. There's cookies on the counter & sodas in the fridge.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
A few weeks ago, the outside door handle on T's clowncar broke off. Just snapped, right in her hand. So, her being her, she promptly set about locating a replacement piece, finding out the hard way that finding parts for discontinued, non-classic variety cars is quite the task. She finally found one online & within a few days we had in our hot l'il hands a brand spankin' new handle.
And, me being me, it took me about two weeks to finally get around to installing it.
This is when I found out that her car was apparently designed by evil, sadistic, cranky, flatulent gnomes with teeny, tiny little hands, suffering from hemorrhoids. The same ones, in fact, that designed the engine compartment for my clowncar. I found this out when, after finally figuring out how to take the door panel off, I discovered that, while the makers of the car were kind enough to provide access holes to see the door handle, they neglected to actually place the hole where I could get my hands in to reach the bolts. Yes, I could see almost the entire inside of the door, but the one place that I needed to get to was blocked by a piece of sheet metal.
After fighting to get the last bolt removed (& pretty much destroying the old handle, thus mandating that I had to get the new one installed at all costs), the new handle was set in place, the lock was clipped in & the opening mechanism (that could not, under any circumstances, be removed without destroying the new handle) was attached. It was at this point that another cruel joke was played upon us by the gassy wee folk: one of the bolt eyelets either was bent as I fought to extrude the hidden bolt or came that way as a factory option.
I'm leaning toward the option idea. Stupid farting gnomes...
Needless to say, the handle wouldn't fit properly with only one bolt holding it in. So, what started out as a supposedly simple repair turned into a tug-o'-war with the inside of the driver's side door. Imagine, if you will, trying to fit your hand, while holding a pair of pliers, into a small metal coffee can that had been opened with an old fashioned can opener, so that you felt every single, jagged piece of metal stab into your wrist as you tried to turn your hand around. I'm surprised that T & I didn't lose consciousness due to the severe bloodloss we experienced. I know we were both a little woosy after we finished.
Anyway, after about three hours of pushing, pulling, bending, twisting & praying, we finally, FINALLY got the stupid holes to line up & finished the installation of the doorhandle from Hell. After many test openings & closings, I can, for possibly the first time in my entire life, claim that a job that I did on the car is 100%, completely finished.
I am Man; hear me whine!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
If you're coming here for your weekly Heroes ramblings & are simply beside yourself with grief over the fact that your usual Wednesday fix isn't here, fret not, Loyal Reader! I was sick yesterday, so the weekly meeting of the Tuesday Morning Heroes Club was postponed & then today, my employer actually wanted me to work on schtuff.
I know! I could hardly believe it myself!
Anyway, I'll have what will no doubt be another long, meandering &, ultimately, pointless post about a TV show up & ready for your perusal shortly.
I know! I can't wait either!
In the meantime, why don't you tell me what you're going to do with the two & a half hours you'd normally be spending reading my blatherings, hmm?
It may have been the copius amounts of codeine that I'd ingested over the course of the day in a vain attempt to stop my brains from liquefying & running out of my nose, but I voted for Richard 'Dick' Mountjoy for some office last night...
...just because his name made me giggle.
Ladies & Gentlemen, this is the reason that there should be sobriety check points at the polling place.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Spoilers, spoilers, blah, blah, blah...
Last week's episode showed the heroes all starting to come together. This week, they seemed to be drifting apart again.
Hiro & Peter finally talk (with Ando acting as translator). Peter informs him that FN Hiro came to him with the message "Save the Cheerleader, save the world," which seems to have the same affect on Hiro that it did on Peter: a confused look. The Dynamic Duo decide to head to New York, but are sidetracked when the guy that they'd screwed over at the casino comes looking for them again (what, beating the snot out of two foreigners wasn't enough for the guy?). The high rollers eventually end up toast & Hiro & Ando escape through the bathroom window.
Peter & Isaac are trying to put together Isaac's paintings to figure out what they're saying. These are put together like the panels in a comic book, with the first, &, of course, most important piece, missing. Isaac can't remember what it was (see what drug use does to you, kiddies?), but does know that Simone had taken it with a bunch of other paintings to sell. So, off goes Peter to try to locate the missing piece.
Mohinder makes to skeedaddle, telling Eden that, basically, he thinks Peter's wheel is spinning but his hamster's dead & that Isaac is, well...a junkie & he has doubts about his precog abilities. Eden tries to get Mo to stay, apparently by trying to suck his tonsils out of his throat. Mo takes his leave as Eden tells him that he'll be back. Later, we find out that Eden's working with CD. She's given orders to bring in Isaac, showing up at his studio later in the episode.
Claire gears up to meet her 'bio-parents' & tries to get some idea as to whether they're supers as well. The whole thing is awkward for all involved, especially when Claire's mom gets territorial. The parents leave, but not before having a conversation with CD that reveals - gasp! - that they're not really Claire's biological parents. If my theory about CD being a red herring & not really being a bad guy pans out, this here is a prime example of how heavy handed the writers can be sometimes. One of my chief complaints about the show from the get go has been the way that the audience is clobbered over the head with the "Get it? GET IT? GET IT?!?" type of 'subtle' writing.
Writers of Heroes? My head's starting to hurt from being pummeled every week. Please stop it.
The Niki-arc continues with her reunion with DL, which dominates a good portion of the show. Since Niki's not one of my favorite characters, this proved to try my attention span. And, yet again, the writers brought out the Baseball Bat o' Subtlety to beat me over the head with. DL keeps telling Niki that he's going to figure out who it was that set him up & who killed his crew & all that. It comes as absolutely no surprise that it's Evil Niki who's behind it all. I mean, all they needed was a music 'sting' & the scene would've been complete. DL finally puts everything together when he finds Good Niki with a suitcase full of stolen money. DL phases into Niki's abdomen, gives her spleen a squeeze & bolts with the money & Micah. We end this week's episode, pulling away from Niki's apparently lifeless body laying on the floor & some gobbledy-gook about evolution.
Gripes? I got 'em
My main gripe this week is, as I'd mentioned above, with the writers (looking back at my previous reviews, this seems to be a running gripe). I know that myself & the thousands of other comic geeks out there have a good idea of where things are going in each episode, so we have a bit of an unfair advantage. But, c'mon, some of the points that we're kicked in our collective nads with every week are a bit much. Peoples Evidence Exhibit 1: Claire's fake biological parents. The guy playing her 'father' all but put his finger to the side of his nose & slyly winked at CD to indicate that he's in on the deception. Peoples Evidence Exhibit 2: Every time DL talked about "the person" that set him up & stole his stolen money, he'd look right at Good Niki. And I don't mean that he looked at her like people having a normal conversation look at each other. I'm talking about the kind where he practically leans in close to her, stares at her intently & says "When I find the person, Niki, who set me up, Niki, & let me rot in prison, Niki, etc."
C'mon guys, give the audience a little credit.
Well, other than this universe's crummy Las Vegas police department (Niki & DL are sitting out on the back patio having breakfast; the officer standing watch outside the night before thought her heard talking in the house - from his cruiser! Yet, the next morning, Niki & DL are having breakfast on the back patio & the police don't hear anything? And what about the commotion when Evil Niki & DL rearranged the furniture in her bedroom? Maybe the cop on the overnight watch has super hearing or something.), there weren't many problems this episode.
I guess if I want to pick some nits, I could say, according to all I've ever learned in comic books & just basic logic, that DL reaching into Evil Niki & doing whatever it was he did to her insides just wouldn't work.
Just humor the comic geek & work with me here, OK? I'm about to go all psuedo-science uber-geek on y'all.
DL's power is the ability to phase through material, basically separating his molecules enough so that they pass in between the molecules of another object. That's the good part. The bad part is that if you solidify while in another object, it'll cause massive shock to your body, killing you. Now, as we saw in the scene where DL comes out of the wall & grabs Niki, it is possible for him to phase parts of his body while other parts remain solid, which I agree with.
The part that doesn't work is later, when DL reaches into Evil Niki. Phasing into her wouldn't cause a problem. In fact, since he can evidentally phase his clothes along with him, he could probably phase another person if he's in contact with them. But it looks like he phases into Evil Niki & strangles her from the inside. This just would not work. I mean, have you ever seen just how compact everything is in a typical human torso? If DL solidified inside of Evil Niki, he would have become one with her intestinal tract, causing, if not a death dealing shock to DL's system (not to mention Evil Niki's guts), then at least enough of a shock to 'short' him out for awhile. This is why teleporters like Nightcrawler of The X-Men are reluctant to 'port into places that they don't have a line-of-sight with or somewhere that they've never seen before.
Teleport or Phase + Wall = Ouch!
Now on to my favorite part of these reviews!
And, wouldn't you know it, I'm having a dickens of a time thinking of any new ones.
I'm sticking with the theory that CD isn't bad, but rather is Claire's protector.
Miguelito's still sticking with his incredible shrinking MM theory.
I'm also sticking with my theory that Good Niki will struggle with Evil Niki, culminating in her eventual heroic, sacrificial death. Fueling this is the end of this week's episode. I'm thinking that Evil Niki's going to have more control over Good Niki for a bit, due to all of the drama going on around her. Good/Evil Niki's been compared to Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk. Now, we all know that we don't want to make Dr. Banner angry, because we wouldn't like him when he's angry. Evil Niki seems to manifest herself in much the same way: Good Niki gets stressed out or something traumatic happens & out pops Evil Niki to reap vengeance on those who would dare to screw with her. Now that DL's absconded with Micah, she's going to be in mega-torqued, out-for-blood mode.
Nice knowing you, DL. Hope you have your funeral plans in order.
Next up, the (not so) surprising revelation that Eden's working with CD. Yeah, we didn't see this coming. Anyway, in keeping with the whole CD-is-Claire's-protector theory, I'm guessing that Eden's not a bad guy...er, girl, despite what the writers want us to think. I'm also betting that she's not going to be the one to kill Isaac.
What? Kill Isaac?
Yep. Look at the date. Remember back early on when Hiro found Isaac's brainless body in his loft? Remember when this was all supposed to happen?
That's right - about five weeks into the future. Since Election Day is this next Tuesday, & Hiro saw a newspaper headline proclaiming that Nathan won the election, New York City's about to go BOOM!
Think back again to the episode where Eden startled Mohinder by coming into his dad's apartment unexpectedly. He pulled a gun on her, right? A gun that looks to be the exact same one that Hiro picked up in Isaac's studio.
So, here's my thought: Eden, working for the good guys (& not having an incredible shrinking MM in her pocket for back up), has been sent to bring in Isaac. She pulls the gun that Mohinder left behind on him to 'persuade' him to come along. But, before that goes any further, Sylar ambushes them & Eden uses (or tries to use) the gun &, in the timeline that was established before the outbreak of super powered humans started, Eden escapes & Sylar has Isaac brains with a nice bernaise sauce for lunch. Of course, now that Hiro knows what's going to happen, the course of time can be altered so as to upset Sylar's lunch date.
This next one sounds a bit far fetched, but, hey - we're dealing with a show about people who can fly & read minds; give me a break! Anyway, after the whole Claire-meets-the-BioParents scene, Claire's mom talks about how they tried to find her biological parents when she was an infant, because she had something a serious cough going on, but never could locate them. My theory is that there never were any parents. Yes, I'm thinking that Claire was 'made', not 'born'. CD obviously knows this, as he's involved with whatever it is that's going on. She was placed with him to monitor her growth & progress. The cough that her mother refers to could have been some glitch in the whole test-tube/cloning bit.
It's possible that the other supers were also 'created'. This would explain CD's comment about Matt having come along farther than they expected when Matt read his mind. It would also possibly explain how CD knows about Isaac, Niki, Peter & Nathan.
And finally, this is a theory (well, more of a prediction, actually) that's still in the seedling stage: Hiro's going to finally get tired of Ando rationalizing all of the compromises that he gets Hiro to make. Hiro wants to be honorable & do the right thing. I get the feeling, for awhile, at least, that the two of them may split. And they won't make up as quick & easy as they did after Ando went looking for Niki.
I've noticed, in looking back through these reviews, that I sound like I'm a little hard on the show. That couldn't be further from the truth, though. So, I'm going to add one more section to this beast, something I'll call:
Kudos or something stupid like that
Overall, this episode was a little...well...boring, I guess would be a good choice of words, although it doesn't quite feel strong enough. Niki's just not one of my favorite characters (someone told me something to the effect of you know the character's boring when no matter how many skanky outfits or states of undress you put the person in, they still can't hold your attention. Too true). The parts that had to do with her (which constituted most of the episode) dragged on like a soap opera. It was a boring storyline for a boring character.
I know what you're thinking: "This is what he considers a kudo?"
Well, you didn't let me finish.
The best part of this &, so far, every episode, has had to do with Hiro. He's the only character on here that you really care for. Well, Claire, too, but mainly because she's the central focus of this whole thing. Hiro, to me, represents the kid in us. Or, more to the point, the kid in all of us comic geeks. C'mon, all you geeks out there, be honest - when you were younger & read comic books, you dreamed of what it would be like to fly or swing from webs or to have super strength & whatnot. We all wondered what we'd do if we were suddenly granted these abilities (shoot, I tried to design a wall crawling rig using electromagnets - yes, I'm a geek). And I'll bet you a shiny new penny that, for those of us leaning more toward the Light Side of the Force, we wanted to be the hero & save the world.
He's idealistic, thinking that he's been given this ability for a reason (which he has) & that he's destined to be a hero. Having fed his imagination with comics, he wants to be like Superman, to do good & to help others. He wants Ando to be his sidekick. Whether he says so or not, he wants a cool costume (the look on his face when Ando told him that FN Hiro had a sword was priceless). The look of sadness on his face after the massacre at the poker party is the look of someone growing & realizing that he can't save everyone, no matter how much he wants to. It's a truth that every superhero, from Superman to Mighty Mouse, has to realize at some point. It means that, inspite of being able to teleport & bend time & space, he's human.
I'll give the writers a hearty pat on the back for some mighty fine writing where Hiro is concerned.
Now, if they just do something about Niki...
Monday, October 30, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
The shadows are turning blue & the sunlight's being filtered through smoke, turning the light a weird orange hue & making it look like sunset all day long.
Yep, we've got us another big fire, this time about 20 miles to the southeast of us in Cabazon. It's close enough to be able to see at night. The sound of air tankers going over & the smell of smoke in the air conjure up images of WW II movies.
I just wish this was only a movie.
I'm sure that a lot of you have seen the reports on TV (it's actually made the national news). Over 24,000 acres scorched in just over a day & a half. The last I heard, ten structures, including homes, had been destroyed. And, sadly, four firefighters have died & one's in critical condition with burns over 95% of his body. The authorities have determined that it was set by an arsonist & was set in just the right place to insure that the Santa Ana winds would fan it, optimizing the damage potential.
Send your well wishes & prayers to the people who've lost their homes, the ones at risk of losing their homes, the families of the four firefighters who lost their lives yesterday & the firefighters still out there.
Great...I just heard on the radio that some idiot is driving along Highway 18 (one of the main routes up into the San Bernardino mountains) setting cardboard boxes on fire & throwing them out his truck window. Fortunately, motorists have stopped to put out the boxes & have given the police a good description of the moron.
Sigh...what is wrong with people?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Being the geek that I am (not to be confused with being a ‘dork’ or a ‘dweeb’ or even [shudder] a ‘nerd’), I’ve been trying to figure out what my super power is. So, I’ve made a list of super powers that I don’t have & a list of ones that I do.
First up, the powers that I’m lacking:
The ability to make my work complete itself just by staring at it
Time/space warping (although, I can do the ‘Time Warp’)
The ability to burp on command
Now, the powers that I do possess:
Super good looks
Superhumanly strong, nigh invulnerable chin whiskers
Super flatus so powerful that it can rattle the windows & peel the paint off the walls – of the neighbor’s apartment
A super leadfoot
Super human belly button lint production
Super ability to shut my brain off & not have a single thought cross my mind at any given time
Super ability to grow hair in weird & completely useless places
Super strong stomach
Super annoying ability to draw super annoying people to my general vicinity
That’s a pretty impressive list. I think I’ll start designing my costume tonight - made completely from my super belly button lint!
Obligatory spoiler alert *** Obligatory spoiler alert *** Obligatory spoiler alert
I actually took notes while watching this episode, instead of relying on my memory to write this. I found this to be a big mistake, as A) I’m a horrible note taker & B) I suck at following the crappy notes that I do take. So, this week’s Highlights section will be less of a blow-by-blow, like last week, & more of a general overview. Let me know in the comments section which format you prefer, Loyal Readers – short & sweet or long & ridiculously detailed.
With this episode, the heroes are all starting to meet up: Future Ninja Hiro relays his vague (of course) message to Peter on the subway (“Save the Cheerleader, save the world.” No names. No telling Peter where to find her. Some messenger you are. Thanks for clearing things up, FN Hiro); Hiro sees Nathan come in for a landing (in his pajamas!) after Nathan escapes from CD & MM; Nathan & Good Niki discuss their interlude from last week & the blackmail attempt on Nathan; Isaac & Peter collaborate to try to put together the paintings; Peter then finishes one of Isaac’s precog paintings, this one showing a menacing shadow figure looming over Claire’s body, laying in a pool of blood sans the top of her head; & Ando, whose powers seem to be super horndogginess & the ability to track down Internet strippers, shows up on Niki’s doorstep.
Oh yeah, & we have a bit of a family reunion as DL finally makes an appearance at Niki’s.
Yes, everything seems to be coming together.
We also get to see some of the characters stretching out with their new abilities starting with Nathan learning that he can fly at supersonic speeds. Peter finds that he’s able to mimic Isaac’s precog painter ability without the use of mind altering drugs. And Matt the PsiCop’s mind reading talent seems to be a bit hard for him to control, as his head nearly explodes when he becomes overwhelmed by the thoughts of everyone in a local Qwik-E-Mart where he went to get some ice cream for his wife after some sweet lovin’. (Maybe it was just the oxytocin & he was really tired)
And the show wouldn’t be complete without leaving us all hanging as Peter talks to Present Day (PD) Hiro for the first time, telling him that he has a message for him.
Again with the vagueness!
Gripes? I got 'em
Let’s start with something that I touched on last week: the whole ‘seeing or being from the future & leaving cryptic messages’ routine. I realize that the drama & tension have to be ratcheted up every now & then, but once, just once, I’d like to see someone come from the future (I’m looking at you, FN Hiro) & actually tell someone something of worth. “Save the Cheerleader, save the world?” What kind of crap is that? What cheerleader? Where? How about a school, at least?
Somebody throw me a frickin’ bone, here! (I love that line!)
I also get that telling too much about the future could cause big problems with the whole time/space continuum & rend the Universe in half, but, c’mon…at least give Peter something to go on! Yeesh!
Next, I’ve been noticing that as the show goes on (but more so in this episode), there are a lot of coincidences going on. Case in point: Hiro & Ando are unceremoniously dumped outside of a diner in the literal middle of nowhere. This just happens to be the same diner in the literal middle of nowhere that Nathan decides to land at just moments later. Hmph…what are the odds?
I guess accepting the coincidences are just part of the suspension of disbelief needed to be able to swallow a story about people spontaneously bustin’ out with super powers. And really, I guess that, given the story that the writers are trying to tell, there has to be a certain amount of coincidence.
OK, I’ll let it slide. This time.
This last moan is directed at whoever put together the previews montage at the end of the show: please be careful with what you show in the previews. Yes, all of us who have been following the show closely, probably at the cost of our mental health & coolness quotients, know that DL can phase. A lot of people figured it out from the get-go. But, since you didn’t show him using this ability in this episode, it may have kinda ruined the surprise for those viewers who spent their formative years going out on dates & to football games rather than staying at home on a Saturday night, cataloging their comic book collection in a Trapper Keeper, in great detail, by series, volume, date, cross-over, condition, cost & estimated value.
Not that I knew anyone like that.
My catalog was kept in a blue denim notebook. So there.
This one’s less a problem & more of a head scratcher.
It involves the point in the show when Claire is wheeled into the hospital ER & later when CD is there by her side. During our Tuesday morning Heroes roundtable, Miguelito & I noticed that Claire’s ‘accident’ happened at, say, 10p local time. But, CD was shown a little bit later in Vegas, manhandling Nathan – in broad daylight.
So, we set about trying to figure out if this was a simple case of a Plan 9-esque day-night-day editing error or…something else. Here’s the timeline that we constructed:
Claire leaves the school with QB no later than 930p (football practice, so I’ve been told, usually wouldn’t last beyond 9p). They tool around town a bit, and then Claire introduces QB to his car’s dashboard. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that this occurs at about 10p (the streets were empty; I don’t know how big Odessa, TX is*, but I’m guessing that it quiets down after sunset). Now, someone more than likely saw or heard the accident, so let’s be generous & say that the accident is reported at about 1005p. It’d take about five minutes for the medics to get there & probably another ten to twenty minutes to extract them from the car. So, we’re at about 1025-1030p. A trip to the ER would probably be about five to fifteen minutes, maybe, depending on the distance & traffic. Now we’re up to about 1045p or so. In that time, the police could have found Claire’s ID & contacted her mother, who could’ve been to the ER before the ambulance. So, let’s just say that Claire’s mom calls CD somewhere around 11p.
Now, when we catch up with CD & hear his phone ring, he’s at the airstrip with Nathan, at a time that’s obviously after sunrise. If the phone call is from his wife, then, geez! She’s been trying to reach him all night long. Then, he’s all the sudden there at Claire’s bedside.
(I’ve just figured out what CD’s power is – the ability to book flights on short notice! Keen!)
Another question brought up, related to the time displacement problem this show has, is just how long was Good/Evil Niki left sleeping in Nathan’s bed before his lackey came in & booted her out? Nathan was abducted, flew away to BFE for breakfast, came back to the hotel (I believe it's the same one, The Montecito from NBC’s ‘Las Vegas’ [as pointed out by the ever vigilant ETS] that Hiro & Ando were ejected from) & then ran into Good Niki. I guess this is feasible, if Good Niki chose to hang around the hotel for a few hours after she got up. Maybe she was looking around for Nathan. Maybe the hotel had a great all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet & she was trying to get her $8.95 worth (she is eating for two, in a manner of speaking). Who knows?
Again, the writers seem to be taking advantage of the audience’s willingness to let some things slide. However, even the most ardent fan will eventually say “Oh, come on!” & give up on the show when forced to fill in so many holes in the plot. Are you listening Lost?
This one involves CD.
So far, he’s been portrayed as, if not completely eee-vil, then at least sketchy & underhanded. We know what he’s capable of &, as was evidenced by his having MM scrub QB’s brainbox clean, what lengths he’ll go to in order to reach his goals.
My theory, though, is that he’s the ‘red herring’ of the show (a red herring being a character or object that is used to mislead the audience into thinking that they are the villain of the story, when, in actuality, they aren’t). I’m thinking that he’s not out to harm Claire, though, or, even the other Supers. Think about it: although he’s played as eee-vil & like he’s a gub’ment spOOk type, have we actually seen him do anything against the Supers to warrant that? The most he apparently did to Matt was to wipe out the memory of his abduction. He hesitated to shoot Nathan when he bolted. He’s not done anything to Claire & is awfully protective of her (I still think that he & his wife didn’t choose to adopt Claire; more that she was placed with him & his family by whatever agency he works for). I dunno…I’m thinking that he may be the key to bringing the Supers together.
Another thing: I missed it, but Miguelito noticed that the hilt on FN Hiro’s katana had the helix insignia emblazoned on it. And we all know that MM has the insignia on his necklace. Why would FN Hiro, who we are assuming to be a good guy, & MM have the same symbol on them? My thought is that the symbol is the heroes’ insignia &, that CD, having MM working with him, is really working for the good side.
Another theory that’s been brought to the table, & this goes back to CD getting around the country really quick, is that he’s not one person, but more like an Agent Smith from The Matrix, only without the mad kung-fu skilz. I know that Texas, Nevada & California aren’t all that far apart, but the guy’s really rackin’ up the frequent flyer miles with all the traveling he does. And if he’s gone so much, how would he be able to keep an eye on Claire? That could be remedied if he’s a clone.
It wouldn’t explain, though, how MM is always with him. Unless Miguelito’s theory that CD’s power is the ability to shrink MM & carry him in his pocket is correct.
Hey, it could happen!
*I looked up the stats on Odessa, TX. At a population of 93,546 as of July 2005, it’s bigger than I thought.
Yes, I put waaaay too much effort into that & am now paying for it with a headache & the scorn & ridicule of normal people everywhere. The love & adoration of the legions of geeks watching the show & reading this (OK, the three of you who might read this if I ask nicely) will make it all worthwhile, though.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
*Note: this was typed up before working out (see previous post), hence the complete words, proper spelling & use of capital letters
Little things I've learned over the years (usually involving fire or pain):
Cat litter is combustible
Trying to recharge a 9-volt battery by touching the terminals to a lamp plug with bare wires & plugging it in to the wall doesn't work (it's also how I found out that cat litter burns)
Windex isn't a very effective wasp repellant
Wasps are a lot smarter than they look
They're vindictive little so & so's, too
Mixing chlorine & pool cleaner together isn't really a good idea, but it makes a wicked cool looking green cloud
Mixing bleach & cleaning chemicals is an even worse idea
Just because you find a food for really cheap at the store doesn't mean it's a good idea to eat it
Doritos can be ignited
So can the little plastic ends of shoelaces
Lizards can jump
I don't like lizards, jumping or otherwise
In a battle between your nose & the rear spoiler of a 1974 Pinto stationwagon, the spoiler will always win
The results are the same in a fight between your head & a cinder block
Whole limes have a very high resistance to being torched with hairspray & a lighter
Human forearm hair, on the other hand, burns down to nothing in a split second
The warning on the spraypaint can's not kidding when it says not to puncture the can
I can say, with perfect confidence, that almost anything is better than being poked in the eye with a sharp stick
Earwigs pop when exposed to massive amounts of fire
You can't make a fire alarm stop going off by spraying it with air freshener
You can, however, make it stop by ripping it off the ceiling
Holding a cat while walking into a room with a dog is a bad, bad idea
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(Translation: can't type...worked out tonight...arms not happy...threatening to team up with hands & poke brain with a Q-Tip if it ever gets the bright idea to do that again...help...)
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The episode as a whole was fairly well done. The opening with Matt the PsiCop (possibly my least favorite character on the show) in the clutches of Claire's dad (CD) & the Mystery Man (MM) was OK (although, it was a lazy way to connect Matt with Claire). The general consensus amongst some people I've talked to & the forums is that MM is not Sylar, but maybe D.L., Niki's husband & Micah's father. I'd read in one forum that it's thought that D.L. is also a Super with the power to phase (walk through walls for all you non-geek [read: normal] people) & that's how he escaped from prison. I'm thinking, though, that if this is indeed D.L., then maybe his power isn't phasing, but something more along the lines of power siphoning, with a little bit of being able to shield himself (& people within a certain proximity to him) from mind reading thrown in there for good measure & that he didn't escape from prison, but the eee-vil organization that CD works for got him out to work for them.
(My cubemate, Miguelito, apparently found some evidence against MM being D.L. While searching through the forums, he found posts stating that D.L. is supposed to show up in the 6th episode. Also, he looked for pix of the actor playing D.L., Leonard Roberts, & concluded that he looks nothing like MM. Good going Miguelito; way to crush the theory!)
There's the indication that whoever CD works for has been watching Matt &, maybe, the others. Is it possible that Claire wasn't chosen to be adopted by CD, but rather was assigned to him in order to monitor her & possibly ferret out her biological family? Hmm...
Speaking of Claire, she seems to have bounced back nicely from her little accident & date with the coroner. (For more on that, see the gripes section) (Oh yeah, I gots me a bone to pick!)
We got to see a bit more of Niki's alter ego in action, lending more credence to the similarities between her & Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk. I haven't figured out yet if Good Niki has any control over when Evil Niki shows up. I'm thinking that, like the Hulk, Evil Niki manifests herself when Good Niki is stressed out or in danger, although, not because she's trying to protect Good Niki, but rather out of self-preservation. Think about it: Evil Niki's in a bit of a bind if Good Niki kicks the oxygen habit. I'm still thinking that Good Niki will end up being overpowered by Evil Niki, possibly joining up with the bad guys in some way, & then will redeem herself with a sacrificial, heroic death.
My favorite part of the show of course involved my favorite Super, Hiro (Super. Hiro. Super Hiro! Ha! I'm so clever!) & Ando in Vegas. After Ando figures out that they can cheat the casino & other players (& convinces Hiro to go along with it), they rake in money left & right, ending with them being thrown out of the casino. Shortly after that, they run into one of the high rollers that they cheated (by stealing his cards). Ando, trying to bluff their way out of the situation, I guess, tells the guy & his entourage that Hiro has great powers & not to mess with them. The end result is Hiro, not understanding what Ando just said, getting his clock punched & the two of them being carried off.
Peter finally finds Mohinder (inadvertently, as he was actually looking for Mohinder's father) & confirms what the geeks had suspected - he's a mimic. This was hinted at early in the series by the fact that Peter couldn't fly when he jumped off the building until he was close enough to Nathan & (as was pointed out to me by Miguelito) when he was in the hospital, on morphine, he began drawing a picture of him walking on air after having been around Isaac, the Junkie Precog, that later came to pass. Score one for the geeks!
Meanwhile, over at Isaac's, he tries to convince his ex that he's painting the future, has seen the destruction of New York & has to do something to stop it. To be a hero. Later, he shoots up & starts seeing future events, this one involving Claire being chased by a big shadow. Now, what gets me with Isaac & precogs in comics & fantasy in general, is that they always manage to see what's going on just before 'something' happens. They never seem to be able to see who's doing it. Lousy precogs...
We later see Claire, back at school, confronting the quarterback who, it turns out, has a bit of a history of not understanding the word 'No'. Claire meets up with him in the same place that Isaac had painted earlier. I guess we were supposed the think that this was his vision coming true, but this proves to not be the case. Claire turns on her come hither charms & we next find her driving the QB's car at ludicrous speed, confronting him about the other night. He, being the slime bucket that he is, tries to blame it on her. She responds to his inability to accept responsibility for his actions by driving his car into a wall at Warp 10.
The end? Well, Future Ninja Hiro looked rockin' & had quite the firm grasp of the English language.
And I was completely baffled.
A fine, confusing ending, in typical Heroes fashion.
Gripes? I got 'em
OK, let's get the gripes out of the way.
First up, Claire. When we last saw her, she was splayed open on an examination table with a branch still poking out of her head. The branch was removed & she came to almost immediately. This week, we see the beginning of the autopsy & are given a (rather feeble) reason for the procedure: it seems that after her school's star quarterback got a little grabby & she accidentally impaled her head on a stick, he stripped her down & left her body in a nearby creek. She was found & taken to the morgue as a Jane Doe (which is why nobody - family-wise, at least - noticed she was missing), where the coroner determined that her death was by drowning & the stick in her head was a secondary injury, explaining, I guess, why it wasn't removed initially & why the autopsy was necessary. The stick is pulled out & the wound heals.
Now, as I said earlier, on last week's episode, Claire came to immediately after the stickectomy. This week, it takes her just long enough to allow the medical examiner to leave the room & not see Claire come back to the land of the living.
To me, that's just sloppy scripting &/or pacing. I can buy that Claire's body had to start repairing itself &, given the damage that she'd sustained, it'd take a little longer than, say, mending a broken finger. But with the way that the previous episode ended...well, it was horribly inconsistent. I mean, last week the examiner pulled the stick out & left like she'd pulled the pin on a grenade & was running for cover! This time, she had time to pull the stick out, look it over, make a note about it, wipe her hands off & then go tend to a telephone call. I've got two words for the makers of Heroes - Continuity Director.
Next up...um...well, I guess that's it for the gripes. Wow, short & sweet this week.
I've really only one to add to my previously expressed list: things are becoming a wee bit predictable.
I brought this up to T after Monday's episode, saying that either A) the writers are lazy, B) the storyline's just waaay too predictable or C) I (& the rest of the geeks out there figuring out what's been going on) have read waaay too many comic books over time. Her response?
"It's just you. Not all of us have read a thousand comic books."
Yes, I do have a new one, thanks for asking.
This one involves Isaac. OK, we know he's a junkie. We know he gets these 'visions' when he's high & then he paints them or puts them into comic book form. What if the whole reality that's going on around him, with all of these people gaining fantastic powers, doesn't really exist? More to the point, what if that reality is all his making? What if this all turns out to be one of his 'trips'? Yes, just like St. Elsewhere. Or Newhart.
Boy, won't he be surprised when he wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette?
Or what if reality isn't one of his drug induced hallucinations, but he is actually creating all of the strange things going on in the world with his magic Paintbrush o' Omnipotence?
Or maybe I'm looking too hard into this.
That might be it...
Monday, October 16, 2006
My birthday weekend:
Drive, drive, drive, brake, brake, brake, curse under breath, brake, curse under breath, drive, drive, miss the entrance to Knott's Berry Farm, curse under breath, drive, drive, drive, pass parking lot on the back-forty, drive, find entrance to Knott's, miss picnic area parking, curse under breath, drive, park in the back-forty parking, curse under breath, walk, walk, walk, get in line, get on ride, up, up, up, downdownscreamdownscreamcorkscrewscreamscreamloopcorkscrewturn, up, up, up, dropscreamtwiststop, walk, walk, walk, eat, eat, eat, drink, drink, drink, walk, walk, walk, drive, drive, drive, Battlefront II, sleep, wake up, drive, drive, drive, eat, eat, eat, shop, shop, shop, Empire At War, sleep.
Turning 35 takes a lot out of a person...
Thanks for all the well wishes, gifts & forwarded emails from celebrities - y'all are the best!
Here's looking to another year!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
According to the many restraining orders I've lodged against you over the length of our indirect acquaintance, I see that today is your birthday. My lawyers have advised against this e-mail contact but, in light of my current "new leaf" status, I'm choosing to take this opportunity to explain a few things to you in the hopes that you fall over from shock, take a knock to the head, and miraculously come to realize that I'm not a god and you don't need to worship me. (At least not quite as much as you do now.)
First though, please know that I do recognize you as a long-standing and immensely loyal fan, all the way from my days as Blackie Parrish through those as Lance Stargrove, from Jake Phillips to Tony Gates, and I do thank you for your continued support. I imagine that you are the only man on the face of the planet who not only considers his Uncle Jesse "action figure" to have been a sound investment, you actually tell people about it. Proudly. (I would suggest, however, that you take it down off the mantle when you have friends over or, at the very least, turn the spotlights off for the length of their stay. House-guests should be your priority, Jay, not your mulleted obsessions from the 80s.) That being said, I'm fairly certain that no one has any doubts about your fandom at all. How could they?
However, I must stress that I do have a steady job now. It's a good one, too. In fact, it's an awesome job that doesn't show any signs of going away, not now, not ever, so there's no need to continue mourning the loss of my career. My career isn't dead, Jay; it's both alive and kicking, so please quit sending condolence cards to my mother. You're freaking her out, and I'm getting tired of having to drop whatever I'm doing to rush over to her house as soon as the mailman arrives in order to convince her that I really am me, I am alive and that the voice on the other end of the phone line isn't some evil villain impersonating me after having done away with her bouncing baby boy. (How did you get her address, anyway?)
I am going to continue declining your requests for a sample of my chest hair. I thought it flattering at one point; you wouldn't be the first man to have asked and I'd drawn certain...assumptions based upon your requests, but you've consistently insisted that you are not gay, which scares me more than anything else, Jay. It's one thing to imagine you as a lonely, friendless little man sitting in his rocking chair sewing together throw pillows filled with my chest hair, but as you've vetoed that idea so vehemently I can only imagine one other reason for your continued requests: hoodoo. I'm not stupid, Jay - I've seen "The Skeleton Key," and there's no way you're getting your hands on any of my DNA, so stop asking already! (If, however, you are making little chest hair sachets for resale to other rabid "ER" fans, please have your lawyer contact mine so that we can come to an amicable arrangement regarding my percentage of the gross sales.)
I do have to refute one of your most blatant misconceptions, though: I once wore a USC sweatshirt in a random photo published in a Tiger Beat magazine while in the throes of the 80s, but wearing a sweatshirt does not mean that I am an alumni, nor does it mean that I am a "Trojan" spokesperson. I do not hold stock in the company either and, if I did, I still wouldn't send you free samples. (Although perhaps I should become a stockholder and get some samples for myself; have you seen how hot the Olsen twins have turned out? "Come to Uncle Jesse, babies...." Yeah.)
In closing, Jay, my birthday wish for you is that you find something else in life with which to occupy your time, something that doesn't involve spending your every waking moment concerned about what I eat for breakfast or how I get my eyebrows to do that incredibly handsome Greek furrow thing. In fact, Dave Coulier and I have been talking about you, and we've decided that perhaps you might be interested in transferring your attentions to Bob Saget. He seems to be the only member of the "Full House" family whose fan club you don't run, and he tells one heck of a twisted version of "The Aristocrats," so he'd definitely be worth your time! Think about it. (Also: Dave would like it very much if you'd quit referring to him as "Big Daddy Dave." It creeps him out.) (Come to think about it, it creeps me out too, so stop already!)
Happy birthday Jay, and please quit calling me.
You ARE crazy. Why would I get you a birthday present. I will NOT appear in an apparition like I did to Anakin. You would not warrant such an action. The lightsaber you claim I left for you last year? It is not genuine. If it were it would not have that little gold Made in China sticker on it. I am not China. I do not even know what china is you fool. I don't care if it is your birthday or not.
Stay Away, Darth Maul (nee Kahmeir Sarin).
PS. I will not give you a Sith Infiltrator for your birthday, you wanna be stormtrooper.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
OK, I've watched the new show Heroes for three weeks now. And I've got some questions, gripes & theories. (For those of you who haven't watched the episodes I'm going to reference - or the show at all - spoilers follow. Ye've been warned, matey!)
First - in the second episode, Matt the psychic cop finds the little girl because he can hear her thoughts. Using this new found ability, he locates her hiding in a closet under the stairs. He's then arrested WITHOUT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE!
Let's go over what the scene in the house: the mother was pinned to the handrail on the staircase like a butterfly in a bug exhibit. The father had his brain removed via the top of his head & was frozen solid. The FBI agent who arrested Matt even said herself that it'd take like three people to lift the mother up onto the handrail & impale her with about five knives. The cop was, I assume, with his partner all day &, I'm pretty sure, lacks the ability to FREEZE SOMEONE SOLID! I'd hate to be anywhere near someone getting so much as a speeding ticket in this universe - I'd probably be charged with the Lindbergh Baby kidnapping.
Next up, the scenes involving my personal favorite, Hiro the Japanese time/space bender. If I understand correctly, he has a comic book that shows everything that's going to happen (in that issue, at least) to him. Yet, everything that happens is always some big surprise to him. I dunno, if I had an inkling that I was holding a graphic novel about the upcoming events in my life, I think I'd read the whole thing. Even the adds for GRIT & Captain 'O' (kids, ask your parents). He keeps referring to it as he goes along. Is he unable to read ahead? Is it written as things happen? Is he just not that bright?
Take, f'rinstance, the event that he uses to convince his friend that he's not completely crazy. He looks in the comic & finds that they're supposed to save a little girl from being hit by a truck. it turns out that they inadvertently cause her to be put in danger by flagging the truck, which causes it to careen toward the girl. Now, granted, Hiro ends up stopping time & moving the girl out of the way, but I had to wonder, if he'd looked at the comic & saw that the girl was in danger, couldn't he have seen what caused it as well?
The in-show advertisement for the new Nissan Versa at the end of their piece was a little annoying, as well.
The part that had my little B-movie lovin' heart all a'pitterpatter involved Niki the stripper with the homicidal mirror self. In last week's episode, a cherry 50's type land yacht is left outside her house, with the title in her name (do you have any idea how long it takes to get the pink slip for your car? I'm supposed to believe that her murderous mirror image convinced the DMV to hurry the process along?) & the dead bodies of the two goons sent to collect some loan money from her. She's given a map (is there anything that Mirror Niki can't do?), drives off into the night to the Nevada desert & finds a shovel. She finds more bodies buried out there, apparently connected to her escaped convict husband. This I can accept.
What made me roll my eyes was the fact that not once, driving out there with the top down, making noise while digging & pulling the bodies out of the trunk of her car (not to mention the smell that those rotting corpses must've been cranking out) did her son, in the back seat, wake up. Judging by the fact that, by the time she finished, the sun was directly overhead, he's not only a very heavy sleeper, but also a very long sleeper. He conveniently wakes up just as she finishes.
Later, she's driving along some lonely desert highway when she's pulled over by a Nevada State Trooper. Turns out, he actually works for the loan shark who's after her. Now, how in the Sam Hill did they find her? First off, she's not driving her little Gremlin that she had in the first episode. Second, SHE'S IN THE MIDDLE OF FREAKIN' NOWHERE!!! How in the world did the goon/cop find her? Suspects get through police dragnets all the time & this guy, who I'm assuming may not even be a cop, finds her. Do you have any idea how much desert there is surrounding Las Vegas? Better yet, do the writers?
Finally, at the end of last night's episode (if you've Tivo'd or taped this to watch later, you'll probably want to skip down a paragraph or two). Super Cheerleader Claire's cranium is poked by a large stick, effectively shutting her down. As I had pretty much figured (c'mon, they're not going to off one of the main characters yet), once the stick was removed, she came back to life - only to find that she'd been autopsied.
(hangs head in disbelief)
Alright, I understand this was done to ratchet up the suspense &, more than likely, to show off the extent of her Wolverine-esque powers, but...Wha...? They autopsied her? She had a friggin' branch sticking out the back of her head - I'd say that cause of death was pretty frickin' obvious!
Then, there's the fact that she comes to about two seconds after the branch was removed (which, you'd think they would've removed earlier in the examination process). Did the coroner pull the stick out & then run out of the room? Shouldn't they have noticed her waking up mere seconds after the branchectomy?
This does, however, fit nicely into one of my theories. When you've watched enough bad movies, you learn a thing or two - there's weather in space; a surprising number of alien races look just like us; & the pituitary gland is the source of a lot of human mutations. Yes, the pituitary gland. The 'Master Gland'. Hit it with transmissions from space & raise the dead. Eat one & gain the powers of its previous owner. Yep, you read that right.
My theory, based on Claire's resurrection & Sylar's predilection for brains, is that everyone's powers are connected to their pituitary. Claire's was temporarily cut off from the rest of her body & when it was reconnected, voila!, everything was back to normal. Well, except for that whole autopsy thing. And Sylar seems to be opening people's heads like cans of tuna & making off with their grey matter.
C'mon, people - it all adds up!
Anyway, contrary to what the above rantings may imply, I'm actually digging this show.It's moving along at a nice clip, keeping me interested without giving too much away (hellooo, creators of Lost? Are you paying attention here?). Apart from the completely boneheaded things that I've written about here, it's a good show that's kept me coming back for the past three weeks, even though I'd much rather be playing Civ IV (ask T - that really does say something).
Here's to hoping they don't run out of steam too quickly, though.
My Eyes! MY EYES!!!
T & I joined the gym at the local Y in an attempt to finally get to that resolution to get into shape from about 1997.
I learned a hard lesson last night: whatever you do, when you're in the men's locker room, do not, I repeat, DO NOT look into the mirror while washing your hands.
I didn't get a good look, but I do believe that the cop from the Village People was showering in there. Or a Sasquatch, maybe, I dunno...All I remember is hair. Lots & lots of hair. It is something that I never, ever want to see again.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
While we're on the subject of the restroom at work, here's a little snippet of a conversation overheard there last week. This is the reason for the 'No speaking while leaking rule':
Co-Worker 1 (CW1) enters the lavatory, whistling, as usual. CW1 is quite the scofflaw when it comes to the bathroom rules.
Co-Worker 2 (CW2) enters shortly after, having to use the stall next to me to conduct his business.
Neither of them know I'm in the adjoining stall.
CW1: How're things, CW2?
CW2 (trying to adhere to the 'No speaking...' rule): Uh, fine. Just have had to go a lot today. (Why he felt the need to share this morsel of information, I don't know) Hope it's not diabetes or something. Heh, heh.
CW1: What color is it?
Me - trying to stifle my laughter while not entirely sure I'm hearing all of this
CW1: Is it clear?
CW2: Umm...no...it's regular.
At this point it was almost impossible for me to hold back. I think I may have cleared my throat in an attempt to let them know that their conversation was not entirely private. At any rate, they both eventually left, possibly to continue their discourse on the color of healthy pee in a more secluded setting.
There are just things about people that I really never, ever want to know. The color of one's pee is pretty high up there.
This morning, I walked into the nastier of the two men's rooms here at work. Unfortunately, someone was preparing the place for my arrival.
Apparently, this involves fermenting asparagus, because that's the only thing I can think of that could've made the stench that assaulted my nostrils when I entered. It didn't smell like, y'know...stuff. Nothing inside of the human body, dead or alive, should be able to make a smell like that.
I couldn't finish my business fast enough. I considered trying to cut things short, but decided to tough it out, all while holding my breath. I didn't want to breathe through my nose, for obvious reasons, & I didn't want to breathe through my mouth for fear of actually ingesting the offending particulates. I held my breath for as long as I could, but had to resort to breathing through a wet paper towel after I'd washed my hands in an effort to filter out that whatever it was that died in this person's alimentary tract.
I think I'm going to suggest investing in air fresheners at our next meeting. Or gas masks.
Note To Pedestrians
Dear Joggers, Dog Walkers, Baby Stroller Pushers & that guy that does that queer looking speed walking in short shorts that I unfortunately see every morning on the way to work -
I don't drive on the sidewalk; please quit walking in the street.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Torque Wrenches & TV Dinners
Have I ever told you how much I hate Maul-Mart?
I have? Well, sit down & listen to me anyway.
Yesterday, reluctantly, T & I went to the local Maul-Mart to get tires & an oil change for the clown car (despite my pleas - OK, whines - to pleasepleasePLEEEEEASE go toTarget or Goodyear or even to the dentist for a root canal, using unsterilized, dull drills - sans novacaine!). Making the trip there even more fun was the fact that no one had sent me the memo saying that October 1st was International Idiot Drivers in the Parking Lot Day. It just so happens that the parade for the Inland Empire Idiots Union Local 42 was going on right in front of me. The highlight of the parade was a demonstration by two carfuls of morons who couldn't navigate a two-way stop sign. And, to my sheer, immesureable delight, the Grand Marshall of the whole thing decided to stop his SUV in the intersection & talk to a friend walking across the lot, effectively throwing the rest of the idiot parade into a state of utter higgledy-piggledy because no one could figure out how to go around their leader. It was truly a spectacle to behold.
Have I ever told you how much I hate parades?
Anyway, having finally navigated through all that (& getting my blood pressure down to a more manageable level), we made our way to the Maul-Mart Auto Service Center, where we were greeted by not only a full parking lot, but also the sight of every bay in the service area being full. You can just imagine my joy when we were told that an oil change & new tires would take an hour & a half - each. Since the mere thought being in that store for more than five minutes turns me into a whiney baby, the idea of being stuck there for three hours was less than desireable. So, we opted just to get the tires. Having been assured that they'd be done in the stated ninety minutes, we headed into Hell's shopping center.
To be honest, our time spent in the store itself was more or less uneventful. I was followed around by the usual gang of idiots whose jobs are to park shopping carts two abreast in the aisle, to walk reeeeal sloooow down the center of the aisle or the ever popular people that stand in the middle of the row & when you say "Excuse me," they move exactly one inch from where they were. (This usually results in me nudging them & their cart over with mine; they don't say anthing to me, though, because as I'm squeezing my way through, I'm usually growling at them. I guess they at least have their sense of self-preservation intact) Surprisingly, even the lawaway department wasn't even that bad. No, the highlight of the in-store experience was at the check-out. What follows is a somewhat embellished account of what happened:
Cashier grabs one item, scans it & sets it aside.
Cashier grabs another item, scans it & sets it aside, also.
Cashier grabs a third item & repeats the process, including setting the item aside.
Cashier then opens grocery bag & proceeds to place items in said bag.
Cashier repeats steps one through four. With all twenty plus items we have to purchase.
I start looking at my ATM card, wondering how long it would take me to slit my wrists with it.
Cashier rings up all seven TV dinners, all but two of which are the same price, individually.
Cashier has to scan several dinners twice, as she couldn't get the scanner to read the barcode.
Cashier changes things up a bit when she realizes that hair gel & frozen dinners probably shouldn't go in the same bag.
I start calculating how long it would take to suffocate myself with one of the grocery bags; determine that banging my head against the floor would be quicker.
Cashier opens a second bag for the hair care product &, as the next few items are food items, puts nothing else in the bag.
Cashier gets confused as she apparently forgets what bag she put the friggin' gel in!!!
At this point my head starts pounding & I'm sure that my brain will shoot itself out the top of my skull in a vain attempt to escape with what little sanity it has left.
Cashier inspects package of lunchmeat. In great detail.
I start grabbing other non-edible items from back of conveyor belt (the existence of the button which would advance the belt was evidently a mystery to the cashier) & hand them to the cashier so she can finish filling the frickin' bag with the gel in it!!!
Cashier comments on how good the air freshener we picked out smells.
I start twitching.
Cashier finally totals everything up.
T helps me up from fetal position on floor.
You think it was painful reading that - try living it.
Twenty minutes later, with receipt in hand & a cart full of expertly packed groceries, we make our way back to the automotive department, a full two hours after we dropped off the car. Imagine my complete & utter rapture upon seeing the clown car up on the hoist with all four wheels still off!!! I nearly squirted fire at this point. When we brought up the point that our car was still in a state of undoneness, we were informed that a meeting was called at some point within the past two hours, requiring everyones attendance.
So, with the same mix of fascination & disgust that one has while watching chimps at the zoo pick their butts & then sniff their finger, we watched as not one, not two, nay, not even three, but four techs put the wheels back on the car. One walked around the car (apparently confirming that, yes, indeed, the tires needed to be put back on), another put the tires on, another tightened the lugnuts &, finally, one of them took a torque wrench, attached it to one of the lugnuts - & then walked away, joining his co-horts as they watched yet another tech
sniff his finger load a hose into a takeup reel attached to the ceiling. This must've been terribly intriguing for them, as they all stood at the base of the ladder, completely engrossed by what was going on overhead.
Finally, one of the techs
took time out of his busy schedule of flinging poo around his cage came into the waiting room, where he encountered a very irate, tired, Maul-Mart hatin' Jay & his equally irate & tired wife, who was threatening to "go all Southern" on them (& believe me, you do not want T to "go all Southern" on you). When I asked him when they planned on actually, y'know, using the torque wrench that was currently hanging off my tire (I think I even asked him if it was a self torquing wrench), we were told that the manager had to do that.
My brain actually made an audible 'Pop!' sound at this revelation. I'm getting dizzy just recalling it.
Soooo, we proceeded to find out just who this manager, this Keeper of the Secret & Arcane Knowledge of All Things Torque Wrench, was. I honestly expected to see someone looking a bit like Gandalf the Grey, only covered in grease. Instead, we were chagrined to find out that the manager had been in the waiting room - twice - to tell another customer - a cute, young & quite unmarried woman in short shorts - the bad news about her ailing rear axle. Waitaminute...I take that back. He attempted, in some feeble manner, using hand gestures & small words, to describe the inner workings of the wheel bearings to a person who probably had never seen under the hood of her car, much less the rear wheel assembly. It was T who actually told the woman that her rear axle was probably about to go to Rear Axle Heaven, how it worked & about how much longer it had. Again, he came in twice to tell someone who A) had a car problem that the grease monkeys at Maul-Mart weren't equipped to handle & B) had no intention of getting it fixed in the first place. He never once came in to say "Hey, we're a bit behind on your car, but will have it ready shortly" or "Sorry, we had a meeting that set us back" or even "Ook ook, eek ekk!"
We cornered Mr. Bubbles & asked him why he, & only he, was allowed to use the Holy Torque Wrench of Antioch. His reply didn't exactly fill me with a great deal of confidence. It seems that a couple months ago, someone drove out of that very Maul-Mart, entered the freeway - & had one of their WHEELS FALL OFF!!! In light of this, a mandate came down from on high (ie the lawyers who worked out a settlement with the person who sued the living snot out of Maul-Mart) that only a highly trained & certified manager would be allowed to torque down the lugnuts.
(Now, I don't claim to know a lot about fixing cars. I mean, I frequently have trouble remembering what side of the car the gas tank's on. But even I know how to use a torque wrench! It's all very simple - on a breakaway type wrench, you set the foot pounds that you want the nut torqued to with a little adjuster on the handle. When you reach the proper torque, voila! the wrench breaks away, making it so you can't tighten the nut anymore. I know this & I'm the type who believes that there's nothing I can't fix with a vise-grip & a reeeally big hammer. Shouldn't these supposed 'certified experts' know how to do this? Did the guy who worked on the other car miss Lugnut Tightening Day at Tire Changing School?)
I pointed to the big banner that had some schpeil about "100% Satisfaction!" & whatnot & told him that I was far, far less than 100% satisfied. We gave him a lesson on good customer service, telling him that, when a meeting is called in the middle of the workday, it might be nice to clue in the customer who's expecting that their car will be ready within a certain amount of time, so that the customer doesn't have frozen TV dinners & milk going bad in their shopping cart while Bonzo & Cheetah are picking nits & ticks out of each others fur. In an effort to appease us, he gave us free something or another on the tires, but, since I don't plan on ever buying tires there again, it's pretty moot.Deciding that we'd had enough fun for one day, T & I headed home & took a much deserved nap.
I still never got the oil changed.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
It's In The Air
I noticed something this morning as I walked out to the car, but couldn't quite put my finger on what it was exactly. There was something different. The atmosphere just seemed to have changed. Then, as I was driving in to work, it hit me -
Fall is just a couple days away!
Why is that cause for rejoicing? Well, just look at all the nifty schtuff to look forward to:
Cooler days (around about November, at least) & crisp, clear nights
The turning of the leaves
Dusk comes earlier
Fresh apple pies & cinnamon apples (far better than cinnamon chili)
Lunch up at Oak Glen on a cool day (& more apple pie!)
The opening of my beloved Pumpkin Patch at Live Oak
Scary movies all through October on AMC
Daylight Savings Time ends (ahh! I loves me my extra hour of sleep!)
Just look at all those things! Is it not the most wonderful time of the year?
Join me in doing the 'Yay, Autumn's Here' dance - c'mon, you know how!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Closet Monsters: 0, Jay: 34
T gets a kick out of the fact that I close the closet doors before going to bed, teasing me about the closet monster.
The way I see it, in 34+ years, I've not been eaten by a monster & I still have both hands & feet (by not hanging them over the edge of the bed), so I must be doing something right.
OK, Allow Me To Explain
A little history behind the previous post.
I had some time to kill yesterday morning, so I stopped by the local Starbucks (& by local, I mean one of the 40 trillion located in a two mile radius of my office) & purchased a pumpkin spice latte (yes, I said 'pumpkin spice latte'; do you have something to say about it? I didn't think so). The drone behind the couter asked me if I wanted an extra shot, which I readily accepted.
The rest of my morning was a sucky blur of growling, yelling, banging on things & death threats, directed at everything from co-workers to customers to the air conditioner vent.
Now that my mind has cleared a little, I've been trying to figure out what triggered my Hulk-like transformation, since the Starbucks that I went to was located nowhere near a Maul-Mart. I've narrowed it down to the following possibilities:
1) I need to find a happy espresso level medium:
One shot = higher than usual prickliness, Fuzzy Brain Syndrome, Sarlacc-with-a-toothache level crankiness
Four shots = uncontrollable shaking, speed talking, swatting at imaginary flying elves, time/space displacement, waking up naked in the supply cabinet
2) Starbucks gave me a shot of Grumpy Juice instead of the stimulant that I wanted
3) The day just sucked in general
I'll let you know when I figure out which one.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Last night, T & I were watching Jeopardy! (No, I'm not excited about watching the show. That's just the way they spell it. Yes, with the '!'). It's a well known fact that I'm a vault of completely worthless information, making Jeopardy! my game. That is, until they break out the sports categories. Which is just what they did last night.
One of the categories was something like 'Famous Football Coaches'. Being a complete retard when it comes to sports trivia, the only name I could think of was Bear Bryant, which I used as a response to every answer in the category. And have since used as my 'go to' answer for every answer Jeopardy! & puzzle on Wheel of Fortune that I haven't known.
My wife now hates me.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Even though I have a birthday coming up rather soon (& I'm having a little bit of trouble grasping the fact that I'm going to be mid-30somethingish), I don't feel like I'm really getting 'older'. Though my body has been starting a revolution against me in response to years of mass pizza, cheeseburger & hot sauce consumption, my mind still feels young. All in all, I feel pretty good.
Or I did until this past weekend.
VH1 was playing a marathon of the documentary 'Heavy: The Story of Metal', which I subjected T to many an hour of viewing (she's such a trooper!). It was fun walking down Memory Lane, seeing all the bands that I loved in my teen years.
That is, until they started showing them now.
Most of them looked like they'd been beaten with an ugly stick before. Now they looked like they'd fallen out of the ugly tree itself & hit every single branch on the way down to the floor of the Ugly Forest. I guess years of hard livin' will do that to a person, but sheesh! The most depressing part was when they showed what I thought at first was archive footage of a Twisted Sister concert. It was when they showed the drummer from behind, arms a'flailin' behind his kit, & then panned around to the side that I realized, to my unmitigated horror, that the clip was of a more recent vintage, for, upon swinging the camera around to the right side of the drummer, we were given a glimpse of his enormous gut!
Not a slam against TS (goodness knows I wouldn't want Dee Snider banging on my front door), but Spandex is flattering on a select few bodies. 40+ year old drummers with an unfortunate case of beer gut are not among those elite few.
A memory flashed through my mind after that of some people I knew while growing up. They were children of the 60's. Not hippies or flower children, mind you, but they had grown up during that era. I remembered that every time I rode somewhere with them, they always had the radio tuned to an oldies station. I swore up & down that I'd never be like that, holding on to the remains of "the good old days" & becoming a pop culture dinosaur. I was not going to feel dated by the music I listened to because metal ruuuuuled!
Yeah, well, the best laid plans, etc...
I look back on the groups & people that I listened to (& still do on occasion) & feel...old. Three quarters of the original Ramones are dead - & only one was due to drugs! Eddie Van Halen's had hip surgery - before Barry frickin' Manilow! Axl Rose looks like someone put their foot on the back of his head, grabbed his ears & pulled really hard. David Lee Roth's got a cul-de-sac goin' on! Sammy Hagar's the only one who still seems to be having any fun (though he still puts out some crappy songs - c'mon, Sammy; does every song have to reference Mexico?). But he's 50something years old. If he weren't a world famous musician, he'd just be that weird guy who lives down the street who wears Hawaiian shirts & black socks pulled up to his calves with Birkenstocks, trying to talk to kids using their own slang, who always smells like he crawled out of a vat of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
You know who I'm talking about.
One of the most depressing interviews was with Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, who was modelling the latest in the 'Crocodile Hunter' line from Banana Republic, complete with an Aussie-style hat. It made me want to cry. I didn't expect (nor would I want) him to be wearing studded leather & swinging a broadsword around. But...Bruce Dickinson! Iron Maiden! Many a metalhead screamed themself raw trying to sing along with 'Run To the Hills', attempting in vain to match the note that Dickinson hits at the end of the song!
And here he was, looking like a guest host on 'Brian Fellow's Safari Planet'.
So now, as I look through my old tapes, albums & CD's, thumbing through Cinderella & Kix & Van Halen & Priest & all the rest, I think back to "the good old days," with its screaming guitar solos, hammer-ons, screaching vocals & mindless lyrics about vikings, girls, cars, girls & Icarus. I smile, remembering my youth. I might even try an air guitar riff or seeing if I can sing along with 'Screaming For Vengeance'.
Then I find The Boy looking & laughing at the old guy listening to his oldies.
And I promptly ground him.
Laugh at the old folks, will he? He's got another thing comin'!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
2-Ply Quilted Vengeance
Yet another story from my childhood. Enjoy!
Waaaay back when I was in 7th grade, my best friend lived in a fairly rural part of Riverside County. Unfortunately, so did a bunch of girls from our class. Now, one might think that having cute girls living nearby would be a plus in the eyes of two adolescent boys. One would be wrong, for these girls were of the annoying, pesky variety. And when annoying, pesky girls get together, trouble cannot be far behind. This was proven to be true when my friend came to school one day & told me that his parents had been TP'd by this same group of annoying, pesky girls. And, boy, did they do a number on his house.
The next time I stayed at his house, his parents charged us with the task of reaping vengeance against one of the offenders houses. Yes, we were actually encouraged to vandalize someone's home. A dream come true, yes?
Well, yes & no.
We were given black hooded sweatshirts to blend in with the night & armed with many rolls of quilted comeuppance. Knowing that the honor of the family was on the line, we hopped the back fence with a sense of pride, avenging my friend's father & the humiliation that had been wrought upon his castle &, probably more importantly, his new Mustang.
Our target was about a quarter mile away up one of the many hilly streets in the area. Excitement & adrenaline made our hearts pound with anticipation (or maybe it was just, in my case, my heart ready to explode from having ran up the hill to the girls house). We each pulled out a 2-ply, 400 sheet count grenade & cocked our arms back, ready to rain down angel soft retaliation on the offender's home.
We got exactly one roll tossed halfway into a tree when we noticed headlights making their way up the street. Panicking, we rounded up the toilet paper & hid next to a dividing wall, on the neighbor's side, which was, to our benefit, covered with iceplant.
Then things started turning against us. For you see, the headlights belonged not to the girl's parent's car, nor even to someone further up the street. No, the car that the headlights were eminating from belonged to their neighbor - the one whose iceplant we were cowering in. They pulled in to their driveway & opened the garagedoor, which flooded the previously dark yard in bright light. In addition to lighting up the whole area, the opening of the garage also released their dog.
Their big dog.
My friend & I froze, daring not even to breathe, for fear that the dog would smell the fear on our breath. To make things even worse, the people started to remove groceries from the car - outside the garage instead of pulling in. And they must've not been shopping for months, as it took what seemed like forever for them to unload the car. Many, many times we thougt the dog noticed us & were ready to run as far & as fast as we could before a) our hearts shot out of our chests or b) the dog took us down & ate us.
Just when I was sure the the pounding of my heart was going to alert the dog to our presence, the people pulled the car into to garage, called in Fido & closed the door. We stayed in the iceplant until the outside light went off & we were certain that the dog & the people, probably armed with a 12-guage, weren't coming back out. Finally summoning up the courage, we quietly climbed out back over the wall, readied another volley of flower printed vidictiveness. It was at this time that we heard a door open & someone pop out, calling for their cat.
That was it. The mission was aborted & we ran back to base, tails between our legs, having failed to restore the honor of my friend's family name.
As we were running, another car passed us going the opposite way. We stopped long enough to see the car park in front of the girl's house & her parents get out to inspect the whole one roll of toilet paper strung halfway up the tree.
Yeah. We showed 'em.
Her: I had the weirdest dream last night with you in it.
Me: Really? What about? Was I fighting aliens with a big gun?
Her: Um, no. I was being punished.
Me: Uh, OK...great. What were you being punished for?
Her: I'd gotten my third citation for speeding & had to wear some kind of piece of metal in my mouth.
Me: For speeding? It must've been a dream. I mean, I could see you getting a third citation for driving too slow, but...
Me: Rubbing my arm after being slugged three times
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The Coolest Kid On The Block
Growing up, I was the oldest kid on the block. And one of the biggest. I was also an incredibly slow runner, which the smaller kids exploited by mouthing off to me while just out of arm's reach. What they never caught on to was that I was also one of the most patient kids with the longest memory for betrayal & would wait until they forgot about their treasonous act of defiance & would then pummel them into submission. It was an effective brand of street justice that worked quite well in my favor.
One thing that was also pretty well known was the fact that I couldn't ride a skateboard if my life depended on it (unfortunately, The Boy seems to have inherited this quality from me). But, as bad & uncoordinated as I was on a board, I was a master of the bike. I'd race anything & anyone. I'd take corners so hard that I'd nearly lay the bike down, just to zip past an opponent. I was the master of two wheels.
My friends, however, were all skaters. I don't know if it was economics or that they just preferred four wheels to two, but few of my friends rode (or even owned) bikes. This worked to their benefit, though, as they always had me around to give them a boost when jumping a ramp.
One day, my friends had constructed a crude launch ramp made of a cinderblock, a very thin piece of plywood & the curb. Having had their fill of being towed & sent flying off the ramp, they challenged me to try jumping on my bike. I was only too happy to oblige.
I was a very stupid child.
The street we were on sloped downward just enough to add some speed to my approach. I took aim & hit the ramp, probably doing a good 20+ miles an hour when I made contact. To my surprise, the ramp did not snap in two, as I had feared. In fact, the whole set-up held together beautifully. There was a slight flaw in the planning of the jump, though. You see, my friends on their boards hit the ramp at about two to five MPH, went about three feet in the air & landed about five feet from the base of the ramp. I, on the other hand, hit the ramp at the aforementioned 20+ MPH & launched about five feet in the air - right into the branches of a mulberry tree. This, unfortunately, was not the worst part of my jump. No, that would be when, as everything moved in slow motion, I heard one of my friends say "Heee's gonna hiiiit the waaaaall!!!"
Yes, just past the tree was a block wall.
As I made my way, waist-deep, through the branches, I spent what seemed like an eternity trying to figure out what to do when I hit the ground. Do I try to bail? Do I try to turn as soon as I make contact with the earth? No. What I opted to do was to hang on for dear life.
My tires hit the ground, leaving 1 1/2 inch deep impressions in the dirt. I somehow managed to land with both tires hitting around the same time & squeezed my brakes for all they were worth (I had a free-wheel dirtbike). When I did that, the front wheel caught somehow & twisted, catching my shirt with the handlebars. This caused me to endo toward the wall. I closed my eyes, waiting for the excruciating combining of the molecules of my face to become one with the wall.
When I opened my eyes, the tip of my nose was about a quarter inch from the wall.
That jump was spoken of in reverent tones for years to come, thus cementing my status as the Coolest Kid on the Block.