Saturday, December 27, 2008

I wish the smoke alarm on my building's enclosed back stairs was still going off, just so Maintenance Man Leo doesn't think I'm full of shit after I called him this morning to tell him the alarm has been going on and off since midnight. Nothing is on fire, and the only thing smoking is my hot bod (licks index finger, touches thigh, goes "tssssss").

And no, it's not the once a minute chirp it makes when the battery is low.

The alarm was going off and I can't reach it. I can poke it with a broom handle. I guess that's some accomplishment.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

xmas eve

I thought I had a conversation with my sister about how we should watch Gremlins this year because it's a great Christmas movie; anytime I hear "Do You Hear What I Hear?" I think of the scene where the mom kills multiple gremlins in the kitchen, including microwaving one until it explodes. My sister does not remember having a conversation about watching Gremlins. Either her memory is bad, or I had that conversation with myself, out loud or in my head, not sure.

I'm off to the suburbs, after I dig my yellow car out. I'm armed with a shovel and a bag of cat litter for traction, and if I have to pee bad I'm all set. A minute after I took this picture, that black car in front of mine attempted to escape and spun its wheels, rocking back and forth for 5 minutes, until a man emerged from the apartment building and gave them a push. I hope that was not a glimpse into my future.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Who's the cat that won't cop out when there's danger all about? (Shaft!)

ukulele orchestra of great britain performs the theme to "shaft"

I don't want to live on the moon

How many songs are there about what you don't want. I guess there are a few. The Aerosmith song "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" from craptastic Armageddon where I was praying for Ben Affleck to be left on the asteroid and then for the asteroid to land on Liv Tyler. "I Won't Grow Up" from Peter Pan and similarly "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" from Tom Waits, also songs from the LOLcats school of DON'T WANT. But most songs (stories, plays, movies) are about what you do want. Love, money, a new drug. "I Don't Want To Live On The Moon" is subversive -- and a children's song too! It's about the downside of pursing a dream, fantastical or not. You'll miss what you already have, the comforts of home, the security of family and friends. Ernie's argument for not wanting to live on the moon is very practical.*

But but but -- children aren't supposed to be practical. And isn't this story undramatic? Aren't we all about the pursuit of big dreams, and don't we root for the people who pursue them at all cost, even dumbass cost? Nobody watches Rudy to see him fail to play football for Notre Dame, proving everybody right, everybody who said he couldn't do it, especially his jerk brother. No, we watch that movie to see Rudy achieve his dream and play for the Fighting Irish. I guess "I Don't Want To Live On The Moon" isn't about that sort of feel-good thing. It's no hero's quest and you are no hero. It's to help all those astronaut dreaming kids brace for a stable career doing something that's kinda blah, but it pays the rent. That's pretty much everybody.

I sometimes want to live in a different decade or century. But I put a restriction on it. Like, I want to live in 1893 so I can visit the Columbian Exposition. (pause) BUT I DON'T WANT TO GET CHOLERA! Nope, sorry, I can't pick and choose. If I am going to time travel to 1893, I may shit myself dead with Cholera because that's what happened to some people in 1893. There's going to be a downside to dreams, especially dreams involving time travel (Have we learned nothing from the debacle of the Back to the Future trilogy?) That's what Ernie is saying here. It shouldn't stop me from wanting to visit 1893, but I need to know that I am going to miss a world where the Chicago River was reversed and I don't have to drink my next door neighbor's poop from Lake Michigan. Modern plumbing and water treatment is great. I would miss it.

I wonder what is on Ernie's mind that propells him from his bed? Does the crescent moon stir the Muppet subsconscious? Is he contemplating, gulp, death? All the things he would miss if he were to shuffle off Sesame Street's mortal coil. Hey, bummer.

You Muppets, always throwing a wrench in life with your sad, obliquely hopeful songs. Stop making so much sense. It's too much. Please. Stop. My shoulder popped from its emotional socket and I'm screaming uncle.

* clearly the most practical argument for not living on the moon is there is no oxygen and your eyeballs would bulge out of your face like what happens to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. This was not included in the song because it is difficult to rhyme anything with Schwarzenegger. I'm off to edit Wikipedia with this fact, brb.

Friday, December 19, 2008

snowpocalypse: epilogue

Color me disappointed. It's a shade of puce.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the answer: dinosaurs, snow, football, books; the question: what is "things that are distracting me right now"?

I don't know much about prehistoric times, but this is preposterous. Preposterously awesome.


If I believe what the Local News stations tell me -- and I do, every word of it -- tonight is Snowpocalypse. The only time I ever wish to have a neighbor with a 10 year old kid is when it snows; a kid I could give a few bucks to dig out my car and scrape the ice off the windshield.


I'm playing in my Fantasy Football league finals. This weekend. Smoking Babies (me) vs. the Well-Hung Ninjas (former roommate Charlie). Not since the early 1980s "Battle of the Network Stars" has there been a more anticipated fake athletic contest.


I made a small, one-book-sized dent in that list of novels you all recommended. Like a Hole in the Head by Jen Banbury is everything Eric promised it would be: "It's like if Raymond Chandler worked for minimum wage at a used book store and did lots of inhalants." The style was on par with The Big Lebowski, a neo-noir where a simple misunderstanding spins out of control and the hero is ill-equipped but goes for the ride because she just needs to get something back. The narrator is a woman who is an underachieving loner who is kind of a jerk and also very funny. I wasn't fully satisfied with the adventure by the time it was over. The plot rips along and never gets boring; it's also, at times, whip-lash exhausting. A great book to take on a 4 hour flight. I would read another Jen Banbury book, but this is her only novel (published in 1999).

I went back to the library fully intending to find another recommended book and then got distracted. Don't go to the Lincoln Square branch of the Chicago Library and expect to find what you are looking for. Sure, you may find your book. You also may get hit by a wealthy dude in an SUV and get a million dollar settlement which is great because you weren't even hurt that badly, but suffer an occasional bout of vertigo due to head trauma that doesn't bother you -- because you have a million bucks! These things happen. I'm most content when I go with a long list of acceptable finds, because chances are, I won't find most of them. Or better yet, leave it to my whim and the ransacked shelves. I picked up Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down and looked at the front page with this quote.

"The cure for unhappiness is happiness, I don't care what anybody says." -Elizabeth McCracken, Niagara Falls All Over Again
I put the Hornby down and found the McCracken because I wanted to read the story with that sentence in it. Katherine Dunn (author of Geek Love, great book) gave one of the praise quotes on back of Niagara Falls All Over Again. Well! If Katherine Dunn likes it! It's the life-story of a vaudevillian, the "straight man" of a comedy duo. The time it covers is almost too expansive for a 300 page book, and parts of the story felt glossed-over. But Elizabeth McCracken's writing is so good and compassionate and full of humor that you're with it the whole way. I've moved on to her first novel The Giant's House: A Romance, a story set in Cape Cod in the 1950s about a spinster librarian and her relationship with the world's tallest boy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

  • Whenever I get the urge to delete myself from the internet, I'll rearrange the furniture. Move the couch from here to there. Get a new set of coasters. Throw out that bullet lamp, finally (it's been broken for 7 months!). Also, I vacuumed. Like new! Will it make me feel more share-y. TBD.

  • Don't pretend to care: I'm in Fantasy Football playoffs. Unless Geoffrey's kicker kicks 5 field goals and somehow runs one in for a touchdown tonight, I'm going for the gold next week. And by gold, I mean $60.

  • I am trying to finish a draft of a play by the end of the year. That is soon. So to all who are trying to finish something by the end of the year, we're in the same boat. If it seems the boat has a hole in it, don't worry. There are plenty of buckets to bail out the water. If your bucket has a hole in it, don't worry: bail faster. And if you end up in the water, don't worry. There are worse ways to go than drowning. Hooray for the silver lining. Hip hip.
  • things bears love

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    You will get your retro 1980's Xmas fix here: Go on.

    This is one of those things where you can have your name inserted into the video. I didn't feel like using my name. I used an alias and giggled every time the name came up. I would embed it, but the video starts automatically, and that's annoying. Click this instead:

    Tuesday, December 09, 2008

    Sunday, December 07, 2008

    It worked. Derek dropped that link in the comments eons ago, but I didn't try it until I saw the mouse dash into my stove right before I was about to preheat my oven for a frozen pizza Tuesday night. If I had anything else to eat for dinner, I might have had second thoughts about using the oven with a mouse somewhere in the stove top. But no. If it gets too hot, he'll find his way out. For the next two nights, I set a snap trap on the floor baited with a Cheeto covered in peanut butter. Two nights in a row the peanut butter Cheeto disappeared without the trap going off. So I was feeding peanut butter Cheetos to a mouse because I'm nice like that. On Friday, I unrolled half a roll of toilet paper to get the tube for the no-kill technique. Two more days went by and no mouse. Despair. Then this afternoon, while I was watching an episode of Dexter, I heard a *Thump* in the kitchen. Could it be?
    GREAT SUCCESS! Awwww. He's a lot cuter than if he'd been beheaded by a snap trap, still too traumatized by the fall from the kitchen counter to eat the Cheeto. I bundled up and took the garbage can outside and into the Prairie Grass garden in the park across the street. I don't know if the people waiting for the bus thought it was sketchy that I walked into and out of the park with a tall garbage can. I like to think the mouse will find his mouse friends in the snowy grass. They'll be having an early holiday mouse-party with hot chocolate and Peppermint Schnapps. The mouse will tell a harrowing tale about how he was almost incinerated with a frozen Tombstone pizza, and then fell off a 30 story building five days later. One of his friends will clap him on the back, glad he could make it because he sure has some crazy stories.

    But the warm holiday party with mouse friends is just a figment of the mouse's imagination as he slowly freezes to death. It's like drifting off to sleep, really. That's the part I try not to think about too much.

    Thursday, December 04, 2008

    the best cover of Blitzkrieg Bop you'll ever hear. on a ukulele.


    You know what's going to happen the second it starts, yet you can't... stop... watching.

    Monday, December 01, 2008

    yeah snow

    From Fargo. I like the fit William H. Macy has while he's scraping the windshield. That's how I feel when I have to scrape ice off my windshield; I would like to beat the hell out of the windshield with the scraper. My problem is I'm too short or my arms aren't long enough or a sad combination of both. Trying to scrape the center of the windshield is difficult. Unless I really lean into the car. But it's snowy and my car is dirty, and I don't need a dirty snow mix on the front of my coat that will melt and soak me while I'm driving. A part of my windshield remains unscraped. I'm not perfect, I assure you. I assure you with an icy line down the middle of the windshield.