Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What I did last week

Hamvention. Ham. Vention. A Convention. For Ham Radio Operators. I'll wait a moment for that to sink in. Go ahead, let the thought of me going to a convention like that wash all over you. Done? O.k., we'll move on so that I may let you revel in my adventures at the Hamvention. Enjoy my little recap and rejoice in the fact that you didn't have to be there.

The three days spent at Hamvention went something like this: Song and dance, pony show, song and dance, pony show. "So what is the legal number of radios you can have strapped to your backpack anyway?" "I believe it's five." "Interesting." Song and Dance, Song and Dance. Marvelled at the parade of off-kilter humanity that stands before you. Recited my theory that everyone I've met so far is a variation on various people in my life; my high school science teacher, curmudgenly great-uncle, uncle, other uncle, father, that cool professor in college that Fighting Nun and I ended up drinking and talking about theoretical physics with, my ex-boyfriend, the comic-book guy on The Simpsons and a whole smattering of other people I've known. Uttered said theory to guys working booth. Got hit on by a seventy-five year old man who looks not unlike my grandfather (God rest his soul). HaD him lay it on thick for a good fifteen minutes. Felt thoroughly skeeved out by it. Threw previous theory out. Went to Lunch. Saw the Haagan Das counter and the Haagan Das guy. Swore off ice cream for the trip. Dog and Pony show. "Oh my God, that guy has on a Schroedinger's Cat T-shirt. That man is awesome." "Schrodinger's What?" "I... Well you see... You know what, too hard to explain. Let's just say I spent a leeeeetle too much time with Fighting Nun's Physics buddies back in college and leave it at that?" Song and Dance. Saw some amusing hats involving antennas and helmets. Marvelled at them. Pony Show, pony show pony show. Finished the show, ate, went back to the hotel, tried to explain my glee at the Schrodinger's Cat T-shirt to Fighting Nun only to be left out to dry. Slept.

Woke up to do the whole pony show over again. Pony Show, song and dance. Skeevy old dude. Again. Got skeeved out, again. Walked around rest of trade show. Pony Show. Took a lunch and inadvertantly stumbled upon the second coolest thing that day. Middle-aged Tron. That's right. Middle-aged Tron. He looked like the guy in Office Space who gets canned and then tries to kill himself and ends up in a bad car-wreck but also makes his jump-to-conclusions mat in all his mustache-twitching glory but in a Tron suit. And he didn't bail out either. Most guys in his position would've at least felt somewhat shamed by this display but he went full fledged into it, arms akimbo, smug smile. In the immortal works of Eddie in Empire Records "Well outlaw man. We salute you." Took a picture of Middle-Aged Tron with camera phone and pressed Store button, or thought I pressed store button. Got lunch. Ate Lunch. Discovered THE COOLEST thing that day. Cheesecake. On a stick. A slice of cheesecake, pie crust and all. Dipped (DIPPED!) in chocolate and frozen!!! The person who came up with that might soon find a marriage proposal addressed from me in the mail, just as soon as I figure out who he or she is. Now, before anybody gets indignant or upset that I'd leave Fighting Nun for someone who makes chocolate dipped cheesecake (ON A STICK!!!), know that I would never leave Fighting Nun for a desert-wielding person or persons. There would just be an arrangement see? An open arrangement where I am still with Fighting Nun but the cheesecake-on-a-stick person provides me with all the cheesecake (on a stick!) that I can manage. Although I'm not sure Fighting Nun would be happy with the arrangement, I'm sure we could come up with a compromise. Song and dance, pony show. Reveledl in the simulatneous glory if the delicious aftermath of the Cheesecake (ON A STICK!) and having seen the middle-aged Tron guy. Openned my cell phone to procur picture of middle-aged Tron to show to fellow pony show workers. Looked at cellphone incredulously when that the picture was not (WAS NOT) there. Went through the five stages of grief regarding not having a picture of middle-aged Tron. Recieved no comfort whatsoever from the fact that you can google middle-aged Tron on the internet. "It's not the same." Went back to booth and realize middle-aged Tron was gone!!! Pouted. Finished Dog and Pony show for the day. Ate with sales guys. Listened to them argue about The Sopranos for all of dinner. Went back to hotel, watched the end of The Sixth Sense and cried big buckets at that scene with Tony Collette. Don't have any good excuse for it either. Slept.
Woke up for one more day of the Dog and Pony show. Listened as the sales guys come up with an estimate as to how much I was worth. To wit, found out that my presence at said show brought in approximately $3,000 more than if I'd stayed home. Muttered under breath that I should've sandbagged it because this means I'll have to go back next year. Despite my better judgement, went back to the cheesecake on a stick guy, only to realize he was all sold out of cheesecake (On a stick!) and experienced the five stages of grief regarding the loss of said cheesecake (on a stick!), tried to convince myself that I'd be better off without said cheesecake (on a stick!) but whimpered because I knew it is untrue. Cheesecake makes all things better. Considered begging and pleading but thought better of it and took in the rest of the tradeshow. Considered, however fleetingly, of buying a three-hundred-dollar ladder. Had inner monologue about said ladder, to wit "You know, Fighting Nun said we need one and our anniversary is coming up...." "You'd actually buy your husband a ladder for your anniversary? Are you out of your mind????" "But if I buy it today, I can get the workbench and autoleveler thrown in. For Free!" "You disgust me." Marvelled at the fact that someone happens to be selling laptops for three-hundred dollars at the show and wondered if said laptops actually still had visible serial numbers or if they had been filed off. Counted the hours, minutes and seconds left before I could pack up the show and go home. Packed up the show and went home. Sat in airport and read book for a long, long time. Got home late and considered never speaking of the Hamvention ever again. Hugged the husband, hugged the dog and prayed to the powers that be I never have to go travelling for work again. Dreamt of Cheesecake (On a Stick!!!).

Friday, May 11, 2007

What I'm currently wasting time on...

The Daily Puppy. I'm sorry, but if you don't like a daily dose of cute puppage, you don't have blood in your veins.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Book Review: Kushiel's Scion

So I'll start out by saying that I liked the book. But I didn't love it. And I didn't love it for one reason, having to do with knowing what the author produced in the past and feeling that this book didn't really live up to that. If it was a stand alone book, meaning that if it wasn't a book in a series of books dealing with the same characters, I might've been willing to accept it on its own, but as it is, being a follow up to the books that came before it, I had a hard time accepting it.

Let me explain. Once upon a time there was this book see? Sitting in a corner of the local conglomo bookstore, see? And it peeked my interest because it had this awesome cover on it, with a beautiful girl with this awesome back tattoo exposed and I was intrigued. I picked it up and I immediately got hooked. That book was Kushiel's Dart, and I ate it up, every single word. Yes, it can be considered a rooooooooomance novel and yes there were some very explicit scenes. Fine I admit it, FIGHTING NUN, but there was a lot more to it than that, if you'd just let me explain, FIGHTING NUN. Beneath the desire and passion lied a truly amazing, sprawling tale, and Carey painted a very visual picture of court intrigue and war and of fierce loyalty that just took me by surprise. So I read the other two books and ate it up.

Then I heard about Kushiel's Scion, which picks up with the same characters, years later but under different narration. The first three were written in first person, under the voice of the main character, Phedre. This fourth book is narrated by her adopted son Imriel as he navigates his way through court intrigue and also through his adolescence. The book, as the other books did, does a great job of framing and shaping the main character. But the other books also succeeded in telling a very sprawling, intriguing story with lots of build-up and intensity, where I feel this one failed. Not for lack of trying, but it did. The set up was all there, but when I got to the end, all I could think of was "That's it?" All that work, all the build-up and anticipation for... that? And before you start, I know what you're going to say. That it's the first book in a new series with this narrator and there's more to it. And I agree with you and I truly want to get Kushiel's Justice in my grubby little mitts to continue the story. But if you compare this story arc versus the story arc covered in the first book, it kind of pales in comparison. *Spoiler Alert for those of you who haven't read Kushiel's Dart and want to* Phedre thwarted a full scale war of nations! *Spoiler Alert for those you who haven't read Kushiel's Scion* All Imriel did was fight in a little city-state siege. If I hadn't been aware of the story Carey was capable of telling from the first three books, this book as a stand-alone would be fine, but having read the first three, I'm aware of what she's capable of and this one felt like a mild let down. She laid out the ground work for a great follow-up book, but this one still felt lacking somehow. My rating: B, almost a B+

More proof of my spiral into insanity

As if anybody needed any. Heh.

Bloody Munchkin: *Gasp* There's a white sock coupling with a pair of my panties! Wonder what all the militant white socks think about this. And I'm sure that pair of panties is getting mocked for her relationship. I. Am. Shocked.

Fighing Nun, paused in disbelief, frowning and squinting: What?!?

Bloody Munchkin: I just wonder what all the socks in the sock drawer think about this turn of events.

Fighting Nun, eyeing me fiercely, can't even manage and suitably sized eyeroll: I...

Bloody Munchkin: I feel bad for cutting their relationship off so soon before it even had a chance to fully bloom and grow.

Fighting Nun, shaking head, leaves room.

Friday, May 04, 2007

An open letter to persons and things of note I saw during the Warriors/Mavericks series

Dear Baron Davis's Hamstring;

Don't ever do that to me again!!! You had me legitimately worried for the better part of a quarter. Baron deserves better than that.
Peace Out;
The Bloody Munchkin

Dear Don Nelson's Nose;

Oh how much I admire and respect you and the bulbous trajectory in which you are heading. There were several times the good film archive people decided to show clips of you from back in the day, when the course in which you were heading was just a glint in your nose hair, and then the good camera guys would pan back to you, in the present, and I could truly behold the wonder and beauty in the new path you are taking. You're trying for W. C. Fields territory and I have to say I appreciate it.

With deep respect and admiration;

The Bloody Munchkin

Dear Matt Barnes;
I have to say I didn't get it at first. Truth is, I kind of totally disliked you all season. I have this weird dislike for basketball players with visible arm and neck tattoos that I can't explain or articulate. It just bugs. No, I don't know why either. And then? You decide to sport a faux-hawk for the playoffs. At first I totally guffawed and openly mocked you. But now? I totally get it and I fully support the faux-hawk. I know. It makes no sense right? Non at all, but somehow, with all the visible tattoos and the little ruffian hawk, I'm totally into it. Maybe I was at odds with your random bowl cut you seemed to sport all season, as if the hair style plus tattoos didn't make any sense. But now? I'm digging it man. Don't change it. Go with it. You have my approval.
Stay Cool Dude;
The Munchkin

You mind if I call you Beedee? Cause That's what I've been calling you all season... anyhoo. You're awesome dude. I ain't here to refute that. You kick ass. What I am here to do is plead with you to lay off the spray-on tanner and to back down on the abuse of the L.A. Looks Extra Hold hair gel. And it's not that I don't understand. I totally do. You're a pasty Latvian in sunny California. You're trying to adapt. I get that. It's just that.... Well you see... With your hair the way it is and all, the spray on tan is totally obvious. Your face color before your hair line... A darker than necessary bronze color. The skin color in your hair line, pinkish-pasty white.

And if your hair maintains its current course... Well, I hate to say this, but Dolph Lundgren will have you on speed dial demanding you return his hairstyle of the Rocky props closet where it belongs. The NBA already has one Dolph Lundgren hair-style sporting person, and his head (and heeeee-uge pimple) happen to be big enough to handle the weight and responsibility that comes with the Lundgren.

Just sayin;

Charles Barkley;

I have to say the second to best part of this whole series has been to self-satisfyingly watch you have to eat your words against my team bit by bit. I still haven't recovered from the reaction shot of you, after game four, after the Warriors took a 3-1 lead in the series. It started with a wide shot of you and the rest of your Inside the NBA cohorts. Slowly, the camera panned into you, wearing a Mavs jersey, with your eyes looking down, a down trodden look on your face as you shake your head in disbelief and shock. I have to say, I'm totally revelling in that. Thanks dude.

Also, It's really lame when you decide to wear the Warriors shirt at the end of game six, like you actually were on the band wagon the whole time. Don't think I didn't notice and that I'm not utterly perturbed by this turn of events. Best check yourself before you wreck yourself Barkley. That's all I'm saying. (Yeah I have no idea what I meant by that either.)

P.S. Could you tell the pasty white guy on the end there that when they do a wide shot of you anchors, he looks, for some reason, uncannily like John Waters, and it kinda totally freaks me out. Thanks. I appreciate it.

Dear Mark Cuban;
Heh. *Trying to stifle a giggle* Hehehehehehehe. *Trying to stifle it again* BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Excuse me. I'm sorry. I know it's wrong of me to kick a man when he's down but I have to say there are few emotions better than the laughter that comes from watching someone truly begging for it get their comeuppance. While watching the last quarter of the game, any time they would pan to you, I couldn't help but want to scream at my t.v. "That's right Mark Cuban. Suck it! Take your greasy hair, the bad molester facial pubes you're sporting, your stupid looking Mavs shirts and go home." I have since tempered that emotion now... who am I kidding. No I haven't. See ya next season Cuban. I know you'll have long hours of bitter tears ahead of you but take comfort that you can console yourself in your giant man boobs.
I'm truly very for your loss *Snicker* Heh;

P.S. Shut up about the arbitration and just give Nellie his due, jerkwad.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

All's fair in love and Scrabble

If anybody ever tries to tell you that marriage is a compromise, or marraige is sacrafice or any of those other platitudes is either A) trying to sell you something or B) obviously not married. You want to know what marriage is? Marriage is a competition. And everything in the relationship actually consists of several smaller competitions. Who gets to take out the dog is usually settled by a highly contested game of 1-2-3 Not It! The nightly battle of "Who makes sure if the door is locked downstairs is usually decided by a best 2-out-of-3 (highly contested) round of rock-paper-scissors, closely followed by an argument about cheating and that you can't change from rock to paper a SECOND after you clearly chose ROCK (FIGHTING NUN!). Who gets to wash dishes, who gets to cook, who mows the lawn, all part of the competition that is marriage. And the good thing about this competition is that there's at least of 50% likely hood of pulled hair. But still sportsmanlike. Definate sportsmanlike hair-pulling going on.

But when the competition of marriage actually involves an actual competition? The gloves come O-F-F. You wouldn't think so. You'd think a friendly game of Scrabble would be just a friendly game of Scrabble. You sir, would be wrong. How wrong? I once saw Fighting Nun accuse my own mother of cheating because she used the triple word score. That's how wrong. Awhile back, for example, I think I was officially written out of Fighting Nun's will because I used all my tiles (worth a 50 pt. bonus!) to spell "wrinkled". He was trying to burst me into flames with his eyes.

"How dare you."
"I was thiiiiiiis close to catching up and then you spell 'Wrinkled'. Wrinkled?"
"Let’s do a quick game recap, shall we? You put frozen down, which was on a double word score, then you put vacant down, now there’s wrinkled? You’re cheating."
"How am I cheating? I’m just using big words. It’s allowable. Not against Scrabble rules."
"You’re getting all the consonants, with high scoring value. Meanwhile, I’m stuck in vowel-land. You rigged the tile bag."
"I rigged the tile bag? How could I possibly rig the tile bag? Like I put little tracking devices on all the consonant chips? Besides, vowels are important."
"Actually yeah, I do believe you could’ve done that. Also, vowels are only important if I wanted to put e-i-e-i-o down on the board. Which I don’t."
"I’m sure you can use all your vowels."
"Shut up. Wrinkled? Jesus."

A few turns later, now Fighting Nun won’t admit this if you ask him, but he admitted defeat and asked if we could quit the game before the carnage got too great. As soon as I accepted his white flag, with only a mild gloating grin on my face, he tossed the tiles over the bed and said "Winner gets to put it up." You win some. You lose some.

Civility isn’t one of our strong suits during game night. Civility definately doesn’t have a place when the in-laws come over for a "friendly" game of parchessi. Civility is usually in the other room where people aren’t threatening physical violence against other people because of two doubles in a row. The insults and accusations run rampant in the both families, which makes playing games with extended family fun, if by fun you mean utter mayhem. There is something to be said about watching your brother-in-law openly accuse his wife's grandmother, a frail lady who can't go anywhere without her oxygen support, of outright cheating (which it turns out, she actually does), but what is to be said I don't quite know yet.

Also not one of our strong suits; losing gracefully. See the aforementioned example of 'Winner gets to pick it up'. Also, we don't win gracefully either. Do yourself a favor and don't ever smugly eat a cookie after winning a game of chinese checkers because you will only get looks of disdain and disgust from the other family members. Not that I would know from experience... cough.

I know what you're going to say. You're going to convince me that it's all fun and games and we as an extended family unit shouldn't take it seriously. Well it is, but it isn't, and we don't but we totally do. Hey if the Scrabble board doesn't get flung around at least once during a family gathering, than we as family members, neigh, as people, are not doing our job.

Snarking the Trailer: All the trailers shown before Hott Fuzz (excluding Delta Farce)

Not since the trailers before the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the original (yes I saw it. In the the theatres. I was a teenager and very susesptible to Corey Feldman in all his forms. No I don't have a better excuse than that, unless Elias Koteas counts as an excuse, but I was too young to register him then, so no.) have the trailors before a movie been so tailored, so hand-picked to my tastes, my needs. Well, that's excluding Delta Farce, which I am strongly averse to, because Larry the Cable Guy. Larry + a movie role does not, I repeat, DOES NOT an enjoyable cinematic experience make, no matter how much I like DJ Qualls and Danny Trejo. And the Trejo rules, we all know that by now. But even I have my limits (I Know! I'm just as shocked as you are!).

Ahem. But the other trailers before Hott Fuzz? Awesome. Utterly awesome. Killer awesome. Starting with....

Knocked Up. The buzz on this movie has been very palpable, but up until now, I've kept my trap shut, because what did I know? Yes, It's a Judd Apatow movie, he gets a pass from me for Freaks and Geeks and I'm still beating myself up for not watching Undeclared (dude, I'm sorry!). This looks utterly awesome. Maybe it's the Paul Rudd (Clueless, 'Nuf said). Maybe it's the Jason Segal, who keeps growing in esteem in my mind. I mean, first off Freaks and Geeks, second off SLC Punk ('The rain forests man. SOMEONE has to do something about the rain forests.') And now How I Met Your Mother, which I absolutely love, not least of which for the Marshall. Also, Martin Starr. Martin 'Bill Haverchuck' Starr. Martin 'Remember that time in civics when I had to fart, and it came out, well, a poop? And I had to flush my undies down the toilet? Do you think I wanted to tell you that?' Starr. I realize that Apatow reuses all his favorites and therefore I shouldn't be that surprised, but love!!! Big Ball O' Love for this silly movie. Must Watch Eeet!!

And then, and then, and then... Superbad. My love for high school romcoms makes it a statistical inevitability that I have to see this movie. Micheal Cera people!!!! I'm not sure what else I can say other than that scene? Where he accidently touches the girl's breast because he was bumped into her? Genius. Sheer genius and if the movie is one tenth as funny as that scene? I'm in. Sign me up!

And lastly: Balls of Fury. I think I mentioned sometime back when I first heard about this movie that Christopher Walken + Ping Pong = Awesome, and after seeing the trailer, I have to say, the equation still stands. It's ping pong, it's Christopher Walken. What's not to understand and love? Yes, the movie will probably be one tired joke after the other followed immediately by a crotch shot or three, but let's be honest with ourselves, do crotch shots ever get old? No. No they do not.

So yeah. The genius trailer putter-together-ers couldn't have hand-picked a better set of trailers to try and sell me on if they had tried. Or maybe they like to see Fighting Nun rolls his eyes even more while I sit there giddily jumping in my seat and trying not to squeal.