Friday, June 30, 2006

Bastards, Version 2.5, And A Trip Down Memory Lane

I must obviously open this evening with a huge thank you to my brother from another mother, late of Metalwhoredotcom, my comrade over at Big Suck Loser, Mistah Creepy himself for the Extreme Blog Makeover. It's quite luxurious, to say the least.

Thank you, my friend.

Talking of Creepy, I also want to make specific mention of his recent post about what he's dubbed 'The Polaroid Project', which is in actuality a set of amazingly bad and cheesy staged photos he, myself and Daveyyojimbo took around 10+ years ago, which at the time was good for nothing beyond killing our weekend evenings. If you have any curiousity about what your humble narrator looked like a decade ago, give it a look, and know that not a lot has changed, save for a few pounds for everyone involved, I've cut the long hair, and grown a goatee, whilst Creepy has shaved the head, tattooed everything, and Davey has grown a beard.

That aside, we're the same three members of a family of choice, and I'd do anything for them if they asked, including taking some more dumbass mock martial arts-themed photos.

A short handed day at work was successfully whiled away with several episodes of the Indie Spinner Rack Podcast, the most recent ones being a series about their coverage of the MoCCA Art Festival in NYC. I'm in a weird place with the whole comic book scene, as I don't follow anything at all, save for a few graphic novels here and there, yet I still have a few favorite writers that I kind of try to keep track of, just out of curiousity. The Indie Spinner Rack show is well-suited to someone of my age group, as the two guys doing it seem to have a similar frame of reference for their reading habits that I do, in that they have nostalgic memories about the same type of geeky shit. Note to self, there's been a lot of writing of late about 'nostalgic' things, I may have finally become as old as I've always felt inside....weird, that.

What you have here is the weird instance of me actually listening to a show each week, and possibly checking out a few of their links, with little to no intention of actually getting back into that hobby. I can't honestly say if that's a good thing or bad, but it's certianly something I never thought would happen considering my 'collector' nature. I suppose DVD's have replaced the buzz comic books used to give me, but it's still interesting to know what might be out there waiting for me, if I ever decided to get back into it.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Why I'm Glad I Don't Keep In Touch With My Own Family

There are any number of reasons why I don't keep in better touch with members of my own family, but the main ones remain the same, aside from a bit of shared blood, for the most part, we have very little in common. When one second or third cousin turned out to be friends with someone I work with (talk about a small fucking world) and was in the store, said hi and kinda fished for my phone number, saying "...aaaand if we need to get in touch with you...?"

I actually told her, quite politely, "Well, you know the number here, and I actually work a lot, so just give me a shout here at the shop."

Dick move, right? Except that we have fuck-all in common except for a few vague memories of childhood visits at my Grandmother's house.

This is all leading to the following connection that I made this evening: I'm glad I don't really have any family drama of my own, because if I did, I'd have no strength left over to fuck around with my in-laws.

Witness: This evening, we had a birthday party for one of K's uncles, which was totally cool, but then her two sisters threw a bit of bullshit at the wall just to see what might stick. Specifically, her older sis came in, with her static smile that doesn't quite reach the eyes (which has been her custom since our return from the honeymoon, for no apparent reason), and basically greeted everyone through near-gritted teeth, as if offended because nobody ran up and hugged her, a custom I can assure she would've hated as well. Then, the middle sister left us with this parting gift, dead serious: "I'll see you guys later, I'm having a psychotic episode right now." Now, unless that's your way of warning me that you're about to jab a steak knife into my forehead, how the hell does one respond to that? If I had to put up with this type of shit from both sides, instead of just one, I'd probably start taking a bottle of Scotch to these gatherings, just for moral support.

Or, as Patton Oswalt calls it, 'pain-go-bye-bye-juice'.

Spent the day with various errands, hair appointment so I don't look like a shaggy jack-ass on this cruise we leave for next week, had lunch with Daveyyojimbo, and caught a film with him in the afternoon, Down In The Valley, with Edward Norton, which was pretty cool, and I'm actually planning to write a review for my pal Reese's 2 Minute Movie Reviews, since I've at long last actually made my way into a fucking theatre rather than just renting or buying a film. The movie going experience was rather enhanced by the only two other humans in the theatre, who both spoke in glorious deep monotone, at full volume to one another about the goings on onscreen, as if they were in their living room or something rather than a public place commonly known for it's quiet atmosphere. It was like hearing a film commentary by Isaac Hayes and James Earl Jones recorded for the blind, since they continually stated descriptions of what was happening onscreen, I suppose in case the other blinked and missed details. Ironically, when the credits rolled, they gave no comment what-so-fucking-ever, which left me a little unfulfilled, as I was dying to hear their dull monotone reflections on the ramifications of the film.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Linka Dinka Doo, Bastards

Having spent last evening setting up a new version of the links, which is still a work in progress, let me just say how happy I am with the way they've come out so far, and that the order they're in is nothing more than my own personal preference. This is broken down by affiliates, sites that I'm involved with, associates, which is made up of personal friends, and then acquaintances, comprised of people I've met online. Audio is pretty self-explanatory, populated by a weird little cross-section of the various podcasts that I use to kill the workday. If you're looking for something new to put in your earhole, give this stuff a spin.

In my internet travels this afternoon I ran across a post dedicated to the the Japanese film Death Trance on the (Cool) Shite On The Tube Forums , courtesy of one D. Davis of Seattle, Washington, who writes for the Genre Busters website. The official US site for the film alleges to have a synopsis, trailer and all the usual bells and whistles, but I was unable to ever get the damned trailer to actually play. I did find a trailer on a different site, and there is a longer one available on You Tube, if you simply search the film title. Being a fan of Versus, and considering that the film can be had from Amazon, for less than $15, I can totally see me dropping the bucks for this one, basically sight unseen, based strictly on the glowing review on the (Cool) Shite forum and the trailers that I've seen.

I'm also happy to announce that my good friend and recent groomsman Derek, future husband to the webitrix of the Wine When Drunk From A Mug blog has agreed to join Creepy and I over at the Big Suck Loser catch-all entertainment media review site in the near future, for our very own little pop-culture bukkake.

Actually, maybe we should just call it Pop Culture Bukkake: Reviews Of Things We Really, Really Love, I'm sure we'd get a trippy bunch of traffic, to say the very least.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Re-Vamp: (Or, Bastards, Version 2.0)

I've been in discussions recently about a return to a fun little project that my friend and recent best man Creeping Darkness (or Creepy to his friends) and I used to play around with, around five years or so ago, when all he had to show for it was a cheesy little free website furnished by his cable provider. The two of us, along with a few other friends had blast writing reviews of what ever we happened to be into at the time, which evolved into a weird little free form site that he eventually closed down in favor of his full-on, raging dark metal site, the late, lamented, Metalwhore.com.

Rising from its Satanic ashes is the blogging entity that we've come to know and love as Creeping Darkness, whose reviews of music and cinema can now be found alongside mine at Big Suck Loser. Check it out and tell us why we're wrong, or shower us with praise for our astute observations on your favorite and soon to be favorite films and music.

And Reese, the main reason I've never done any reviews for your site is the sheer fact that you want topical, new movie reviews, and the best I can offer right now is recent DVD releases.

Don't hate me.

I've also decided to finally re-arrange the links into something resembling an order of sorts, which includes personal friends, internet friends, and since over half my posts are dedicated to something about what I've been listening to, a section specifically devoted to the podcasts that I'd recommend.

Not that any of this matters one whit to anyone reading this, but it was an interesting way to spend an evening, splitting things up into their various categories.

Today's iPod listening included the tenth episode of the C.H.U.D. Show, which tipped me to the weird factoid that the utterly Gawd-fucking-awful Daredevil picture, as well as the forthcoming presumably Gawd-fuckin-awful Ghost Rider film were both directed by the man that gave us the heartwarming, well received, generally not sucking Simon Birch. How the fuck did this happen, I ask you, considering that usually things go in the reverse order, with directors finding their legs on cheesy projects before moving on to decent films, whereas Mark Steven Johnson seems determined to ride this bitch straight into the ground. And don't get me started on Nicholas Cage, who I generally love, who's dead set on fucking me over with both The Wicker Man re-make and fuggin' Ghost Rider this year, as well as Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, in which he sports a silly-ass mustache while tugging at our heartstrings.

New on the horizon, we also have the newly released Spiderman 3 trailer, which looks pretty cool and has my inner 10 yr-old salivating. You can take the child out of the dorky environment and the bad clothes, but you'll never take the dork out of the child, apparently. Raimi has certianly done the fans proud with this series, and it hasn't been handed over to some hack to finish, ala the poor X-Men franchise, thank God.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Please Feel Free To Volunteer Nothing At All

I seem to have a strange knack for finding the one person who wants to tell you much more than you could ever possibly need to know in any given situation. For example, when we go and take down an event, we will generally give some of the leftover flowers to some of the waitstaff if they are interested, which today involved us taking apart a wedding reception from this past Saturday. During the process, I was actually wearing the iPod headphones, as I've decided that simply warding off the entreaties of co-workers is not enough for a curmudgeon like me, I want to keep the world at an icey arms' distance as well. As a fairly average looking guy, while I think I can be fairly charming if I put any effort into a conversation, women as a general rule have no interest in me, so I was suspicious of the little janitorial girl who kept smiling at me and greeted me quite warmly when I met her on the stairs of the club.

My suspicions where confirmed when she asked the boy for some of the flowers we were taking to toss in the dumpster, which was no big deal, and I actually encouraged her to take more than she had selected. Then her co-worker started comically grousing that she wanted half of what she'd selected while she had been 'doing all the work inside'. I gathered some roses and presented them to the second girl, saying somewhat sarcastro: "Here, I wanted you to make sure you had these, since I was afraid you might end up spraying her in the eyes with Windex or something if she didn't share with ya."

Ha ha, right?

Um, no...this crazy gal, after graciously accepting my offered flowers, which I gave to her as she and the boy were getting into the elevator to go back upstairs, she says, and I qoute:

"Oh, no, I could never spray her in the face with something, I'd get fired and my fiance wouldn't like that one bit, and I'd have to--"

And this shit trailed off as the elevator door closed and I wandered away, shaking my head and not giving a fuck. Upstairs, the boy apparently jogged out of the elevator with the delivery cart, trying desperately to avoid the story she started boring him with, something about how she's not allowed to smoke in her own apartment?!?

Here's some flowers.

Thanks, here's my life story.

This is why I don't mingle well with the humans.

While not mingling today, I listened to the last two (Cool) Shite On The Tube Podcasts, which successfully took up my morning and gave me a review of Ultraviolet, which was stunningly Gawd-awful according to the Aussies. I may still give it a look as a rental, as I love me some Milla, but I don't see owning it. Also checked out the newest Cinemaslave, # 50, which was cool as usual, Joe did a great review of In The Company Of Men, by the recently mentioned Wicker Man re-make director, Neil LaBute.

Enough for now.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Weird Catch-All Kind Of Post

Generally speaking, when I sit down to write this bullshit, I have some kind of idea what I want to cover, and what the title of the post will be. I know, all 9 of you that comprise my readership are saying to yourselves, "Bullshit, and this is the best you can come up with everyday?" I need you to realize, today, we have no planning whatsoever, so proceed with that caveat, there is no point to any of this shit this evening, all my planning can be summed up with me sitting on the couch watching a couple of films and trying to clear some of the sitcom and dramas from the TiVo before we go out of town at the end of the month, lest I lose any of my precious programming.

Interesting fact about returning wedding gifts, if you do more of it than Dillard's feels comfortable with, they'll happily 'red-flag' your driver's license number, so that when you try to do another exchange, the poor clerk will have to make a call to the home office and describe you to the internal affairs drone who can then make the call as to whether or not they will give you your fucking return or not.

Regardless of the fact that our family and friends have given them God knows how much money in the past few months and that we don't want anything beyond store credit.

A cash refund would require a ski-mask and a handgun in retail America.

I'm still listening to week or even weeks old podasts, which today included a few of the (Cool) Shite On The Tube Movie Podcasts, which are their shorter daily shows that basically cover movie news tidbits, as opposed to their weekly show that usually runs a couple hours, and has reviews, banter and listener mail. Among the more notable stories this past week was a piece about one of my favorite comic writers, Warren Ellis writing a pilot for a show to air on AMC. This is pretty exciting, though considering the fairly controversial nature of a great deal of his work, I'm curious how well Ellis will adapt to network television. A quick Google search led me to (God help me) Ain't It Cool News which had this story.

Not exactly being a huge fan of Fast & The Furious thespian Paul Walker, I was a little dicey on checking out the film Running Scared, but having seen a few clips from it online, gave it a shot this afternoon. While the film is far from perfect, what with several moments in the film that can only be accepted with a heroic suspension of disbelief, and some interesting camera-work that becomes near distracting from over-use, this is still a very worthwhile film. I'm put in the mind of the work of Guy Ritchie, as far as tone and general coloring and feel of the film, which for the most part has a bleak and gritty violence that works quite well. This won't replace anything in your existing collection as a new favorite film, but I think it pays enough homage to gritty crime cinema with style and panache that it deserves your rental dollar.

Since we are going to be out of town, I think we've nailed down a co-worker of mine who is willing to actually spend the week at the house and keep the dog company, which is pretty nice, we think she'll respond better to our absense in her home environment rather than at a stranger's house. More on this as she backs out on us like our last dog-sitter, at the last minute, as it develops.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

If I Had You Where I Wanted You, They'd Be Pumping Your Ass Full Of Formaldehyde!

The above quote taken from Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, courtesy of the cable this evening, after a long day it was nice to just relax and have a drink and turn off the brain and watch a bunch of dated 80's teens get butchered in fairly predictable ways.

Long workday that actually found me working (as K pointed out) on the wedding that actually stole our originally chosen wedding date, which she'd wanted to be the 24th, but someone had already booked the church. Amusingly, since we'd been planning ours for a year or so, I had actually forgotten that we'd had a different date in mind to begin with.

K holds more of a grudge on this one than I do, it would appear.

Listened to around four of the Mondo Movie Podcasts this afternoon, still trying to get caught up on my daily listening. As mentioned in a previous post, they have recently interviewed effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen in episode # 25, and now have done a series of shows from the 5th Fantastic Films Weekend, most of which have included interviews with cult film directors. I was happy to find included in this series an interview with Robin Hardy, director of The Wicker Man. It was amusing to hear his efforts in having his name taken off the re-make, which is to be directed by Neil LaBute and starring Nicholas Cage. After viewing the trailer here, I can't imagine what this film hopes to add to the original, even though I am a fan of both director and star. The trailer looks interesting, with some decent visuals, but I'm at a loss as to why this has been re-worked for no apparent reason, since it's not really that huge of a cult hit.

Tired, off to bed.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Today, I've Got Nothing

The workday was long as hell and as boring to match, we have a wedding to prepare for tomorrow, so we ended up staying late, as is our new norm, so that meant a 13 hour workday. I was allowed a brief respite from the drudgery to go and drape a staircase at the reception site with fabric, the only problem being that this venue is in a fucking atrium, so it was a nice sweaty afternoon.

Ever since one of my internet daisy chain-links sent me to the Site Meter website, I've had an ego driven ball checking each day to see what kind of traffic has been subjected to my Bastardtry (If that word catches on, I want residuals...) that day, stats which include how they navigated to the site. I had to laugh the fuck out loud yesterday, when I found out that someone made their way here because Google directed them to my post in which I described the funniest title in the Parisian porn store, which was Extreme Anal Fisting: My Shit In Your Ass. Some poor bastard had searched that phrase, and been sent to my page, only to spend a bit of time puzzling why there weren't any pictures of fisting, just some whiny prick bitching about his life and talking about movies and iPods.

I'm also profoundly disturbed that my site is number seven on that list of links, I'd have thought there were more perverts in the world to take up the top ten.

I also wanted to share this link with you people, courtesy of one of my recent groomsmen, Derek, who described it quite well as a furniture store that could furnish a Tim Burton film. While I love the strange, arty design of it all, I don't think I'll ever be able to pay over $700 dollars for a weirdly shaped bookcase, regardless of how cool it looks. For that kind of money, someone better be blowing me before and after they install the damned thing.

The chickens show little to no suspect activity, and the red hen actually submitted to a few light strokes when I fed them, only to then realize she was being petted and peck at me. I treat the chickens as if we were on a date, if I feed and water you, I should get to pet you a few times, Lord knows I don't ask you for much.

Like I said above, today, I've really got nothing for you, I'm tired, and I'm gonna call this one.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Horror Of It All

Perhaps inspired by this week's involvement with Rue Morgue's question week, I've been spending a lot of time watching more horror related stuff than in recent weeks. With yesterday's long-awaited viewing of Aja's The Hills Have Eyes, and then today I had decided to sit down with something that's been floating around the TiVo for around a week, The Eye 2, The Pang Brothers sequel to their 2002 film, this time around starring Shu Qi as a pregnant woman who begins to see spirits after she attempts suicide. Though the majority of the scares consist of jarring music that makes you jump, overall, it was a pretty decent film, even though our main character seems pretty dim about things even after she has someone spell out why she's seeing ghosts. I have to admit to yelling at the screen at a few points, just because she refuses to accept what's going on as explained to her. Decent plotting ideas are drawn out a little too far, and the film feels a little overlong, but it was still way better than some Asian horror I've seen recently.

I also have been spending some time on memory lane, courtesy of the boot-legged copy of the complete Werewolf television series I bought awhile back on eBay. Since this series is apparently never to be released on legitimate DVD, I dropped the bucks for this set, which are burned off of someone's old VHS tapes, giving the show a kinda blurred grainy feel, much like the crappy television I probably watched it on originally. Basically The Incredible Hulk television program with a werewolf in the place of the Hulk, it follows a character trying to find and kill the werewolf responsible for him being a wolf, while on the run from a bounty hunter trying to bring him to justice for the murder of the hero's room-mate. The room-mate, of course, was a werewolf and changed our hero before he died, setting everything in motion. This is actually why I've never had a room-mate, you can't trust the fuckers, if they're not eating your food that's clearly labelled with your name, they're going to be turning you into a shape-changing beast and generally ruining your life. Fun campy nostalgia crap for me, it may not be for everyone, but I'm still digging the hell out of it.

In other news...

The chickens, who may be leading a life closer to Chicken Run than I originally thought, seem to have organized, as their feeder was moved from one end of their little eight foot run to the other today. I'm a bit alarmed that they seem to be moving such a large item in what can only be construed as a teamwork manner. It drizzled rain late in the afternoon, I looked outside fully expecting to see them building an ark of some description. More on this as their plot against us develops.

In my internet travels this evening, I did run across something interesting while voting for a couple of shows over at Podcast Alley. Since I've been pretty well comsumed with the whole psychobilly thing, I'd been looking at the rankings for the Psychobilly Deluxe Podcast, as well as the Hellbilly Nightmare Podcast (who apparently aren't listed at all, unfortunately), and ended up looking at the general music page. This led me to discover something I will need to check out when my tastes come full circle, as they always do, and some of you nice folks might be interested in the Industrial Radio Podcast. Check out their listing and stats on Podcast Alley, and then hit their main site here. I'll always have a soft spot in my black heart for any tracks with a German guy growling unintelligible lyrics over a dancey grinding industrial/techno beat.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Things Seen Today, Wanted And Unwanted

A nice do-nothing kind of day, again seemingly falling back into the routine of the months preceding the wedding and honeymoon. We had several gift-items to return from the wedding, all bought from a locally owned store, which was something we anticipated resistance about, considering we were registered for some of the same items at Dillards. Both of us expecting to be given grief because we figured the owner would assume we preferred to shop a major department store over her, we braved the store and left with a nice in-store credit, with no hassles.

A nice change of pace, actually.

Of the things seen today that I could have lived without, let me speak briefly of our lunch at our local Chili's. I don't know what possessed these folks at an adjacent table, but after we overhear them sending back chips and salsa because they claimed the chips to be stale, I glance over and see them pantomiming out several key bits from the Ryan Reynolds film Waiting, which, for those who don't know, basically covers the hijinks of a group of vindictive waiters as they deal with shitty customers, usually involving them fucking around with their food. While I'm sure this happens, because people are vindictive and petty (myself included), it's the last fucking thing I want to be thinking about when I'm eating in a restaraunt, let alone see re-enactments of the more choice behavior being conducted at the next table. You don't see people re-enacting a car accident at a person's funeral, do you? Keep this shit out of my head, okay?

I did finally get to see something I'd wanted to see for awhile now, which was Alexandre Aja's brutal re-make of Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes. Having loved his previous film, High Tension, even forgiving it the 'what the fuck?' twist ending, I was really looking forward to this one, and of course missed it completely while it was in theatres. Bought the DVD today, and K and I gave it a spin this afternoon, and we both loved it. Weird side note, I think I've successfully exposed her to what could be considered too much of the horror genre, as she commented on the recurring theme of severed fingers in the recent horror films we've watched, including House Of Wax, Hostel, and this film.

I think I may be tainting her, ever so slightly.

Fair play, as I caught myself giving a fuck about humanity the other day, which I totally blame her for.

The Hills Have Eyes is pretty much the same film, slightly updated for our era with a bit more plotting to explain away the inbred cannibals as being victims of mutation due to exposure to radiation testing. The violence is fast and furious, gritty and brutal, Aja hasn't softened his approach to horror for his first American film. Great stuff, not for the sqeamish, give it a look and wince occasionally.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Normalcy, Or As Close To It As I Usually Get

A return to form today, as work finally settled down enough to allow me to actually be at my desk, arranging flowers and doing daily orders, rather than sweating through my clothes somewhere in the blistering heat, either putting up or taking down a party or event.

Plowing headlong into the backlog of the iPod, I listened to several episodes of the Reel Horror Podcast, which covered, for the most part, the recent Fangoria convention. They also pointed me in the direction of a film from the creator of many horror themed children's books, Gris Grimly, an artist who I'd discovered awhile back in Rue Morgue Magazine. The film, called Cannibal Flesh Riot, has a couple trailers up, and looks to have a bit of animation involved as well. Given the man's artwork, it's sure to be an interesting looking film, give the site a look.

Speaking of artwork, Reel Horror also plugged the hell out of a couple of artists, whose work can be found here and here. Really great looking work, somewhat in the vein of the aforementioned Grimly's stuff. Check it out.

I have around 4 of the latest Mondo Movie Podcasts to make my way through, tackled a couple of them this afternoon, interesting stuff as always, they actually scored an interview last month with Ray Harryhausen, and will apparently be doing another themed film festival of reviews this month. The theme is the cinema of Pedro Almodovar, who I'm personally not that familiar with, save for his recent film, Bad Education, which I caught on cable and dug well enough. He seems to have an interesting color-saturated eye, much in the same vein as Wong Kar Wai or some of Takeshi Kitano's films. Give them a listen, it's a fun, informative little broadcast about a lot of little-seen films that deserve a wider audience.

There's been a little more activity on the 'question week' thread over at the Rue Mortuary, which has been pretty easy to keep up with, thus far. I was a little worried that I'd be barraged with too many sets of stuff to respond to so that the nightly blog ritual bullshit might suffer, but that thankfully has not been the case.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Plugs, Creepiness, and Arson

First of all, I need to give a big plug to Bella Rossa, a woman I exchanged the links with around a month ago, which I'm sure has sent at least six or seven hits her way. She recently asked me to be a part of an ongoing project she's been doing, which consists of an e-mail interview conducted with different people about why they blog, what they hope to accomplish with it, etc. Check out my little q& a here, and wonder why anyone would really care about my ulterior motives for boring you poor, excuse me, Dear Bastards each and every day for the past four months.

Creepy molester delivery guy has now been driven indoors by our characteristically scorching summer heat, and has taken to making himself a little nest in our storage area in the back of the store, in which he curls up and naps during his lunch break. It reminds me of that X-Files episode that had the weird fucking guy nesting in the ductwork of a highrise building, I can't give you any more information than that, as I never really followed the series, but if two government agents arrived to look into it, I'd be completely unsurprised. He even has two pieces of the egg-crate foam stuff you'd use to cushion a bed with that he's magic-markered his name on and leaves in back for this specific purpose, he uses these to fashion a pillow for himself. I have no joke here, I'm just simply reporting the latest in a series of puzzling events that I hope will soon lead to someone finally getting fired before he tries to start rubbing on the women in the shop.

I've been amused that the post yesterday has had such a galvanizing effect in bringing the readers together to hate the monopolizing bullies that Wal-Mart appear to be. Perhaps we can all get together in a central location, perhaps somewhere in the Mid-West and burn down one of their stores, just for the bonding experience. It'd be like a field-trip, only we'd want to go...most school field trips consisted of going to a zoo to look at miserable animals; if you've seen one polar bear on a suicide watch, you've seen them all. At least on my field trip, we'd get to see the great unwashed in their natural element, and then set them alight with an assortment of multi-colored Bic lighters that we could buy in the very store we're burning down, for an everyday low price.

How fucking cool is that?

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Question Week

This may be a strange week here at the Dear Bastards site, as I'd signed up months ago to be a part of the Rue Morgue Magazine forum, The Rue Mortuary's 'question week', in which members of their forums can ask any question, about any subject, usually relating to your tastes in horror, etc.

So far, as I'm writing this, there has been around four or five sets of questions that have been posed on the forums, and I've successfully responded to all of them, but I'm wondering if I'll be able to keep up with the sheer number of questions asked, along with keeping up with my usual schedule here, since it seems that the average question week has between 50-60 responses. I can only hope that the q & a will bring in a few new readers, just for the hell of it, or possibly turn a few new people on to some of my linked writers. Hell, as far as that goes, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a couple of my questioners had blogs of their own, which can be seen here and here.

Still a couple of weeks behind, I'm listening to another episode of the Cinemaslave Podcast as I type this, and wondering if I'm ever going to get caught up on my listening, since most of the stuff I'm usually trying to do while online doesn't really lend itself to paying attention to something playing in the background besides music. Trying to compose sentences and digest someone's opinion about movies at the same time just doesn't work for me, and unfortunately, work hasn't been exactly conducive to the enjoyment of my beloved podcasts.

Afternoon spent trying to recover from yesterday's sweaty misery, I actually woke up this morning and drank an entire bottle of Gatorade in one sitting just trying to get myself back to normal.

Watched a couple of films this afternoon, first up: the film I knew I shouldn't bother with, considering that none of the fucking cable channels wanted to run it, Man-Thing, based on the Swamp Thing contemporary published by Marvel Comics. This film was so exciting that I slept through about 30 minutes of it and didn't even feel as though I missed anything. The effects on the Man-Thing itself were kind of interesting, but the director, suffering from some cinematic form of AADD felt compelled to periodically show us a random montage of fast cut weirdness, twitching trees and whatnot, which would have suited some kind of techno from that MTV Amp show from back in the hey-day of dance music, but not a 'horror' film. Boring story and shitty direction, don't bother unless you're really, really bored.

Speaking of horror, we did get to watch the Wal-Mart promotional piece, Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price, which was pretty stunning. I generally have a low opinion of the Wal-Mart environment just for the sheer fact that shopping there is a baffling ordeal, unless you bring your entire family and a sack lunch, because you can't get in and out of there in what I'd consider a timely manner. I feel the same about this film as I did about the Fahrenheit 9/11 film by Michael Moore: if even a quarter of the claims made are true, the people involved should be crucified on general principal alone. Well worth your rental, especially if you are in a small town like I am, which is fairly dependant on stores like this.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink

Merle Haggard, you said a mouthful, baby.

Jesus balls on toast, with a side of 'what in the fuck next?', today was as close to a clusterfuck as I think I'll ever come to seeing considering I'm off the market and married and all nice and domesticated now.

Let me try to paint you a portrait of frustration. As bitched about in the last post, we had a party to prepare for that was to be outdoors, in a tent. I think I can say with no ego, since we live in a pretty small town, when we had an enclosed, air-conditioned tent for the wedding reception a couple of weeks back, we may have set a weird 'bar' for local entertaining. The tent in question today had several small air-conditioning units that were doing absolutely fuck-all; we were sweating buckets the moment we entered the tent, which was completely enclosed with canvas walls. I had another party that we had to go and set up, when I returned to the tent fiasco, the walls were completely gone and a runner had been sent to a local Wal-Mart to buy fucking fans to move around the hot air, because the air-conditioning units had been tripping breakers in the club, apparently, and were not going to be an option.

"Now, we are fucked."

So now we have a party that was to be protected from the elements, such as, oh, the West Texas wind, now completely at their mercy. Table decorations included a ring of flowers, a clear acrylic pole supporting a faux hot air balloon thingy formed by a small container, a picture mini-standee of a celebrity couple (this was an engagement party), and a series of ribbons that led up to and corralled a large helium balloon. All of this bullshit now being whipped about and buffeted by the wind gusts in our newly open-air environment. Cue arrival of rich bastards throwing the party, who want us to begin redoing the table arrangements with their guests arriving.

At what fucking point does all this bullshit become someone else's problem, become set in stone, no fuck you, we can't change that, it's too late? I mean, really.

Fucked around in the heat and misery for around a 12 hour workday, and finally went home to the new bride, completely exhausted, ate dinner, started a slow and steady series of cocktail injections that I hoped would serve me well for the evening.

Watched a Dateline special on MSNBC called To Catch A Predator 4, which was a lot of fun to watch these sick fuckers twist in the wind when lured to a house to meet underage kids and then be confronted by a news reporter. It could've only been better if they'd just attacked them with night-sticks when they try to flee the house. It's sick stuff, but damn if I don't have to laugh out loud when they say that shit like "Do you do anal?" is just, and I qoute, "normal chat stuff?". In what world, ya baby-raping freak? I don't have that kinda conversation with people I've known for years, let alone 13 year olds on fucking Myspace. I remember the guys over at the Hot Buttered Popculture Podcast talking about this show, and it's every bit as ludicrous as they had said, with one guy who's driven across state lines with, like, an 18 pack of beer, and a six pack of wine coolers and a sixer of that Mike's Hard Lemonade shit, saying with a straight face, "Yeah, this is all for me."

I mean, come the fuck on, game over, bitch, just come clean, don't look as though you're hallucinatory on national television.

I also managed to squeeze in a couple of episodes each of the (Cool) Shite On the Tube Podcast, as well some stuff from Cinemaslave.

A productive iPod day, if a little miserable on every other level.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Dropping Like Flies

Worked a 12 hour day today, welcome back, bend over, if you please.

First day back at work finds me wrapping poles under a tent with ribbon so the tent won't look like a tent.

Here's a tip: hold your fucking event indoors.

Just a lil' something from me to you.

Spend around four hours sweating under this tent before it's all said and done, and then have to realize, this is just the preliminary bullshit, all the actual decoration will take place tomorrow, along with the wedding that the boss-lady finally decided to farm out to the assistant manager at the last minute.

I also found out today that we had one woman walk out, and another finally managed to get fired (no mean feat around here, I think I could probably get away with anything shy of pissing on the boss' desk) in the past two weeks, which puts us down 2 designers, which means, to qoute Turkish from Snatch:

"Now, we are fucked."

I also got to hear everyone's stories and impressions of the wedding and reception, which included Chatty Cathy somehow managing to rip off one of her toenails while tearing down the party after the wedding, and our creepy molester delivery guy (who inexplicably has a girlfriend) hitting on one of our married co-workers, and dropping a portion of the wedding cake on the floor of the museum during the clean-up, then crawling around on all fours desperately trying to scoop it up with his fucking hands.

Oh, and our 18 year old flower processor? He ended up picking up on a waitress, who turned out to have a couple of kids, and be, oh, 28. Then the next time he saw her, she had a couple more kids hanging around, "Oh, let me introduce you to my other two children."

I don't think he's been back for fear of how many kids she'll be able to produce with each visit. Apparently it was very Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood: "What do you say when you meet a nice man?"

All children in unison: "Are you my daddy?"

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Return To The Dealership (Or: Now With 27% Less Of That 'Screwed' Feeling)

I'd made an appointment for this morning to drop off the new car to have the windows tinted, which was a service offered to me for the favor of sending a dozen roses to someone's girlfriend who was working in the financial office when we closed on the car this past Monday. Having never been able to leverage my floral muscle into anything worthwhile, I took a great amount of pleasure in actually being able to barter my connections for something that I really wanted for a very small investment on my part.

I was told I could just get a loaner vehicle when I dropped off the car, but the service-center guy openly balked at the concept, saying he "Wasn't sure about the legalities of their being able to give me a car to drive."

"Then we're gonna need to talk to the salesman, because I have no interest in hanging out here in the service area all afternoon, sorry."

Quickly sorted after talking to the salesguy, I set out in a Nissan XTerra for the afternoon, met Daveyyojimbo for lunch, and we eventually drove back to Midland to pick up K after she got out of a meeting, then spent the afternoon hanging out and watching a few episodes from the second season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I have a spooky feeling that my life is going to end up mirroring that show in a lot of ways, in that I have the perky sweet wife who wants to do charity work, and I'd just as soon watch it all burn, most of the time. I would have to say that I don't have quite the number of run-ins with random passers-by that Larry David seems to, I just have a rogues gallery of people that I seem to find annoyance with on a daily basis.

Back to work tomorrow, time to charge the iPod for the big day, because I have no interest in getting fished in to all the drama I might have missed over the past two weeks.

In closing, I'd like to draw your attention to creeping darKness, a new endeavor from the artist formerly known as Satan's Lil Helper. This marks what I'm rather proud to say is something like the 6th personal friend to be fished into my blogging circle jerk, in either their registering of a profile for posting purposes, or in two cases now, starting a blog of their own. Is this common, or does the average person blogging seem to do it in a more private arena? Am I crazy for letting my friends in on my internet life, or is that a decent way to find a bit of a built-in 'fanbase', for lack of a better term? This has been a discussion around the blogs recently, so I'm just curious what the general vibe is from others toiling in the same kind of anonymity.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

All Over The Place

There's a great deal of oddball stuff I wanted to cover today, most of it completely unrelated, save for the fact that it's stuff that I've had going on here recently.

We got a bit of a late start today, and we both braved the slow draining shower, which was something of an adventure, considering that I've been fighting with this damned thing for about 24 hours at this point. Liquid-Plumr and Drano be damned, I still found myself shampooing my hair in standing water up to my upper calves. I'm just loathe to drag in a plumber at this point, considering how much I've been pissing and moaning the past couple of days about how much I feel that service people are screwing me. I'm going to give it one more bottle of drain cleaner before I throw in the towel and ask for professional help.

Dropped off a couple of plates to her sister for reasons unknown to me, in that I've been unaware of any reason we needed to get her a gift, but my life has such a hallucinatory, eccentric nature recently, I just smiled and said that yes I'd drive, and so we went a'deliverin'. Her sister gave us some stuff that their father, my new father-in-law had left behind from his rented tux, which we returned, only to find out that they don't want their rented socks back, regardless of the fact that they weren't worn. So now we have this weird keepsake from the wedding that I don't quite know what we're supposed to do with.

I see the trashcan in their immediate future.

I'm filled with a large amount of trepidation over the sheer amount of crap that's accumulated on the old iTunes while we were out of town for the honeymoon. I had been going on for a few weeks about needing just a few more shows to subscribe to so I could fill the miserable hours at work each week, which has now translated into me having a plethora of stuff backlogged to listen to. If I wasn't the nerdy comic-booky continuity freak that I am, I'd simply delete this stuff, but I am compelled beyond my will to digest each and every episode of this beloved crap that was probably topical a couple weeks ago.

I'm actually afraid to plug in the iPod until I go through some of this stuff, I'm worrying that the little fella might actually rupture from too much information.

Out of curiousity, what do you people (as I like to think of you) call your iPod's? Given the option of naming it, I settled on Agador Spartacus, after Hank Azaria's character in The Birdcage.

Closing with a sad note today, as I had a plug for my friend's site yesterday, I received word today that another good friend is officially shutting down his website of the past two years, due to his general stress of keeping it going. Run over there and get yer Satanism on one last time before it's all gone, because soon it'll be all over but the crying.

I'd also like to welcome creeping darKness to the fold, the artist formerly known as Satan's Lil Helper.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Comedic Stylings

The day was spent running errands to replenish the provisions around the home, including a trip to the grocery store which apparently involved us forgetting half the items on the list, which we typically discovered upon returning home.

We also got to take the new mother-in-law with us to see the preliminary set of wedding photos, which turned out to be surprisingly well-done. I personally hadn't had very high hopes, since the local guy is very much into the posed, stagey, static shots that you see in everyone's wedding album. There wasn't actually a lot of his stuff that I was unhappy with, surprisingly, and we even have a few shots of K's dad smiling, or at the very least showing the camera his teeth possibly out of aggression, which will pass for a smile.

Transported more of the wedding gifts to our house from her mother's where they'd been displayed, finding myself wondering why the hell anyone needs this much china or crystal, but I guess it's what you do for your wedding, y'know? I see that type of crap in her mother's house all over the place, and we eat from paper plates out of convenience. Go figure.

Spent the evening with a few TiVo'd shows, the first in a series featuring Dane Cook and his friends in a show on HBO called Tourgasm, which was fairly entertaining, if a little more behind the scenes than I was prepared for. I'm a little less interested in the bickering that goes on between shows and was hoping for more stand-up, but oh well...it's still pretty entertaining. Though watching these guys rip on the 'newbie' as he's called makes me wonder if they even like the fucker, I mean, if you barely get along, why invite the guy along, y'know?

Next up was the new Lewis Black HBO special Red, White and Screwed, which was funny as hell. I could watch him go into his conniptions all night as he does when confronted with the stupidity of daily life. Great stuff, give it a look if you have the chance, I think it debuted pretty recently, so it should be in their constant rotation for a little while at least.

I need to close this evening with a shameless plug for the newest addition to my list of links to the left there, Sweet Candy Marys, which is the newly inaugurated site hosted by my recent groomsman, longtime friend and all around great guy Robbb68, a man with as many stories as you could ever want to hear, and a few he might tell you more than once. If he starts getting back into something you've heard, simply tug on your earlobe, and let him know you've already heard it. He's also uploading a lot of his artwork, which is annoying, because it makes me want to start painting again, the simple act of which would require me to somehow add hours to the day so I could try working on art around 15 o'clock in the afternoon or something.

I seem to be averaging around a steady 60 or so hits each day, which I find very intriguing, considering I have about 6-8 people who comment regularly, about 5 of which know me personally. This makes me truly curious about who the hell I have stumbling across this crap, and if these strangers would trust me to send them to another strangers house, or if they'd just blow the whole thing off.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Various Rat-Killing

When I offend what will probably turn out to be half my readership (all seven of you) by saying the following, please bear in mind that I don't judge everyone on face value, I try to hate you on each of your own merits.

That said, why is it that I automatically feel as though anyone selling me a car is royally fucking me in some unknown way? How many other occupations are there that engender this same fear in their respective customers? I can attest to the same phobia with mechanics, politicians, lawyers, and to be honest, most service industry people, from the cable guy to the plumber.

We set out this morning to run a few errands, most of which involved either dropping off or picking up stuff from the one-hour photo place, and me needing to take care of my ticket for the accident that ended the Saturn's short life. The ticket had gone to a warrant, since I hadn't been timely in taking care of it, I refuse to even discuss the insanely exorbitant amount of money this stupid mistake ended up costing me, suffice to say it wasn't an amount I left the house prepared to piss away this morning. We ended up in Odessa, which seemed to have a better variety of Nissans available to me, and after much negotiation and name-calling, I'm now the proudly financed eventual owner of a new Maxima, which I have to say is quite a little car. After having a discussion with K while they took forever to get the paperwork together, I had to mention the fact that, regardless of whatever I might think of the car, I did still leave the car-lot with a vaguely screwed feeling, there's just something about the scenario that makes me think I'm getting hosed somehow. Maybe I've watched that episode of Seinfeld set in the car dealership too many times, but I think I've always felt this way.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't fucking you over.

I checked in with the workplace, just to let them know I had stuff to get in order before I become their flower-bitch again, which didn't seem to make the boss happy, but she seemed resigned to the fact that I did specifically ask for June 1st through the 15th off, so what is she gonna do?

Watched and was pleasantly surprised by the Aussie stalk and kill flick Wolf Creek, which I wasn't expecting a lot from. The film has a loose basis in reality, in the same vein as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in that both seemed to employ fairly fictionalized versions of the original inspiration. This film had a somewhat documentary style approach to its camera-work, and mined a lot of the territory that Hostel tried to and failed, in that we do actually care about these characters when the shit hits the fan. Worth a look.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Very Own After-Wedding Party

Here's a nice after-wedding side effect I didn't know about:

Upon our return to the house last evening, I was rather pleasantly surprised to discover a large amount of liquor awaiting me, as we apparently had to commit to a specific number of bottles of whatever for the reception, so we ended up with many a half-bottle of whatever, or even unopened bottles of a lot of stuff, and innumerable bottles of beer (domestic, damn the luck), so now we have a nice bar to start off the married life with, and are covered for any kind of house-warming type festivities we want to throw. I've been quite enjoying a Crown and Coke-filled evening, which isn't necessarily my preferred mixed drink, but we had very little in the house in the way of mixers, and I had zero interest in leaving the house again.

I slept for 12 hours last evening, and am still a little off my game today. We did go and run some film by the photo place this afternoon, and actually drove by the Nissan lot, which is kind of what I'm leaning towards this time around. More on that as it develops, the two I'm intrigued by are the new Maxima, which has a look sort of like that boxy-assed Cadillac from a few years back that was featured in the second Matrix film, which I didn't really like the style of, but is somehow appealing on this car. The second choice is the Nissan Z, which is possibly too sporty for my tastes, considering I'm over 30, married, and not looking to be picking anyone up, why would I need a cute little sporty car, y'know?

I have to start getting back into the swing of the normal life this week, paying bills, all the usual workaday stuff that's been curiously absent since I left work this past Wednesday. Thankfully, I did make a point of telling the boss that I wouldn't be back until at least the 16th or so of the month, so that gives us a couple days to try and sort out the new married life-type stuff, get the thank-you cards started, the car thing sorted (hopefully) and make certian that the house is in order now that we're settling into the marriage proper.

Spent some quality time with the couch this afternoon, watched a few of the movies that the rental throttling pricks at Netflix delivered while we were out of town, including Date Movie, which I'd heard got horrible reviews, but I actually enjoyed quite a bit. Yes, it's stupid, and like most movies of that ilk does go a bit too deep into the gross-out, juvenile humor for my tastes, but Alyson Hannigan is charming, and most of the parodies work pretty well.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Paris Wrap Up

We find ourselves home at last, after getting up at 7-something to catch our flight out of Charles de Gaulle at 11, which did indeed take nearly that entire time to travel to the airport, hit customs, immigration etc., though we did have about 20 minutes to kill before boarding. I've come to the realization that I generally loathe at least one other fellow traveller just by the way they look, or behave in any given travel situation. I'm sure I'm the prick in question for many strangers on our trips, but today's victim for me turned out to be some loud bitch, upper middle class, with a husband pushing a huge cart of 7 or 8 suitcases and a child in tow, who she told to "Just wait here in this line, I'm gonna see if there's an expedited line somewhere further down here."

First off, may I make it abundantly clear that there was nothing special about this woman that said she deserved any expedition, in fact, her annoying manner screamed for nothing but hindrance and obstruction.

Same group of fuckers of course end up directly behind us on the plane, and thankfully are drowned out for the most part by the whine of the jet engines, but I did get to hear them 'bonding' with the stewardesses about their travel experiences. Just at a guess, the stewardess doesn't give a raw red fuck where you've come from, nor where you're going, she wants to know if you want the fish or the fucking chicken, next question please. Nine hours of this type of niggling bothersome shit, standing in the galley, asking for extra this or could you maybe find me a whatever, and I was ready to strangle this bitch with the in-flight headset cord. As they virtually jogged by us to try and collect their entire collection of luggage, I pointed to them and expressed my hope that they die in a car fire, I want the last thing they see to be blood, glass and fire.

I don't travel internationally well, apparently.

For a less than brief wrap up, let me try and bullet point out a few highs and lows from the week.

* The pigeons in the European cities will virtually walk up and take your wallet. They have more balls than the daily lottery.
* I am not a very good tourist, in that the lines usually involved with anything known as a tourist attraction make me recoil with the same horror that Frankenstein reserved for the villagers and their torches.
* I generally seem to hate most people in a plane cabin with me who aren't wearing a ring I bought for them.
* A quiet, reserved manner has its benefits: The stewardess who had to put up with the bitch family today actually gave K and I a bottle of Shiraz, because it was what I'd sampled with lunch on the flight, saying that she appreciated us being so easy to deal with.
* While K and I noted that the French women are all thin from walking everywhere, I had to comment that their sex appeal will be cut short when their rampant smoking cuts them down in their prime with any number of cancers or lymphoma. Seriously, everyone was smoking in Paris, like twelve year old kids and shit, which is pretty disconcerting considering you practically have to leave the Earth to smoke in America anymore.
* It was our experience that the train attandants were way hotter than their airline contemporaries. We were served on the flight over to Paris by the world's oldest living stewardess in captivity, which was interesting, but she had a grouchy Grandma demeanor that was offputting.
* We had more trouble finding a private avaition terminal in Dallas upon our return than we did with anything we tried to find in a foreign country. The guy at the 'airport information' desk actually said, and I qoute "I've never heard of General Avaition, you should go ask someone out there...", indicating the vicinity of the taxi stands and shuttle buses. I suppose the desk is just called that out of quaint habit rather than actual description of services.

I think that's going to do it for the honeymoon week of things, we'll be getting back into the usual schedule of rants and iPod related bullshit soon enough, as well as my pursuit of a car.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Paris, Day Five

After the long day yesterday, we slept in until around 3 in the afternoon, which leads me to believe if we travel internationally again, we need to do it for 2 weeks rather than one, just to allow our poor miserable bodies to adjust to the time difference. We've both spent the entire week in a weird state of fatigue that has made both of us oddly irritable at strange moments. Nothing to the point of ruining the honeymoon, but just more tension than one expects on the happiest week of their lives.


Out of bed midafternoon, we headed out immediately to the Chanel store, because we needed to find out if there was any type of handbag that K couldn't live without. There was not, alas.

We took a walking tour of the general vicinity of our hotel, and found an interesting Brentano's store in one little hole in the wall location, that turned out to meander throughout the entire building, with a basement section, and a different entrance that spat us out on a completely different side of the block. Quite the experience for a store that I'd previously only experienced, with some disappointment, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

We had pizza in an Italian place that had people taking our orders in Italian, which had me a little nervy, as I'd just become accustomed to bluffing my way through one language to order food, now I have to try a second? Jesus, what next?

We wandered a bit more, eventually stopping into Harry's Bar, which is known to fans of Hemingway as one of his favorite haunts, apparently. Having never read any Hemingway, I was mildly curious just for the sheer fact that the bar is name-checked several times in the American Psycho book and film, so we sat for a bit, soaked up the old-world atmosphere. There wasn't, however, any Guinness to be had, which I've been fairly surprised by, while I know we aren't in Ireland, the European locale would seem a more likely area to find my favorite beer, but I've honestly had an easier time finding it in Bumfuck, Texas than in bars here, save for the English tavern adjacent to the Moulin Rouge.

There was, however, Guinness to be had in the Bar Hemingway, in the downstairs of the very Ritz Hotel we're staying in. A haunt for both Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, this was a tiny, cool little nook in the back of the hotel, and we got there early enough to secure a decent table, and a nice view of the loud group of Eurotrash yammering in the corner. Once enough people filled the place to sufficiently drown out the offending table, all was well, and quite enjoyable, just having a nice drink, taking in the foreign culture. Drinks were served with flowers as garnish, quite lovely, I must say.

Our (rather) short final day in Paris ending in something of a one-man bar-crawl, but we had a nice relaxing afternoon and evening.

We leave tomorrow at 11:something for the States, and with all the new jetlag, will arrive in Midland at 5-6 in the evening, barring any complications. I'm planning my little bullet pointed wrap-up for the week tomorrow evening, before I fall asleep in my own bed and don't wake up for 14 hours or so.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Paris, Day Four

We ended up getting up later than was ideal to catch our train to London, and had to take a later departure. This ended up working out better anyway, as with the hour lost entering the UK we ended up only having to wait around for about 20 minutes to meet our blind date, Ultra. As we stood in front of Harrod's, searching the passing faces of anyone who looked as if they might be around 28, tall, dark hair, dark eyes. K asked me several times if I wanted to start asking people if they might be meeting someone, and I assured her that since I'd given him a better description of the two of us, more distinguishing characteristics and the like, he could damn well approach us, rather than me bothering the random passerby.

Ultra did indeed approach us, and we were suitably relieved, in that he wasn't a psychopath, nor a 14 yr old girl involved in some sort of internet scam that would bring the bobbies down on us with all their wrath. Ultra turned out to be every bit as charming as his writings would indicate, a tall, thin/athletically built fellow who took great delight in showing us the basics of the London Underground and a few of the local sights during his very brief visit with us. During our lunch we were treated to some rich bastard fighting with his alarm system to his Bentley, which kept going off every time he tried to lock the vehicle, much to everyone's amusement. We were quite entertained by his antics.

I can't thank Ultra enough for spending a day off just traveling to meet two strangers for a short lunch and about an hour of hurried sight-seeing before popping off to catch his train home. Thanks to his impromptu tour-guiding, we saw Big Ben, and the London Eye, and stumbled across a Salvador Dali exhibit at the County Hall on London's South Bank, which was super cool to get a chance to see a collection of his sculptures and drawings in such an extensive detail. I was kind of excited to have the option of seeing an anime exhibit within the same building, until we learned that this happened about six months ago, and I suppose the guy who changes the 20+ signs they have for it posted all around the perimeter of the building has fucking quit or something.

I have to say how much I enjoyed putting a face to the name that's been corresponding with me for around three months now, and to get to know the man behind the screen-name, who also expressed interest in visiting us, though I'd almost feel crazy hosting him in Midland, Texas...perhaps if we did Dallas or something, just to make it worth his trip, culturally speaking.

Both K and myself feeling tired and slightly irritable due to the still present time change, we ended up at the train station way early, I mean we couldn't even check in with the boarding people because there were still two trains departing ahead of us, so we had a chance to hang out in a small food court and watch the people come and go, which is a sort of sport in and of itself. The most entertaining of all this was a blustery English businessman who spent the better part of 20 minutes berating his wife because he'd missed a train, even going so far as to call who the fuck ever he was meeting and give her the phone demanding that she explain it to them. He finally sulked off with his briefcase and she followed a few paces behind, dragging his rolling suitcase in defeated silence.

I told K, "See, this is why I absolutely refuse to argue in public, because you look like a total asshole, and become entertainment for pricks like me."

Upon returning to Paris' Eurostar station, we had to stand online for a taxi for the better part of an hour, during which a small blond girl fell out, smacking her head on the guide rail with a small 'bong' on her way down, which, while sad, her dumbass boyfriend actually seemed unfazed, only going so far as to kneel and ask if she was okay. Sorry, kids, but if my lover hits the fucking dirt, I'm going to be a little panicky, y'know? She then proceeded to stand in line for another 30 minutes or so for a taxi, so I suppose she wasn't too bad off, but damn.

Just damn.

We got in quite late, and I was mortified to find the Blogger site down again for repairs, so I fought with it until I was able to open the post in the proper day, and finally went to bed.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Paris, Day Three

I'm going to be trying to keep this somewhat brief, since the jetlag is still playing hell with my sleep patterns, as I write this near 2:00 AM in Paris, it's only near 7:00 PM in the States.

We tried to kinda hit the major stuff today, since tomorrow will be taken up most of the day with the London jaunt, and made it to the Catacombs, which was pretty interesting, though we did have an amusing moment when we got a little off-course trying to find the entrance, and K was asking a couple of guys for directions, who both got amusingly protective of her when I walked up and just stood there, listening to their conversation.

We finally found our way to the Underground, and trudged through the cold, dank tunnels, snapped a bunch of photos, and got the hell out of there, back up a vertigo-inducing spiralling staircase that left me with a burning desire to get the fuck back into the rowing on a regular basis, just so I don't feel so damned winded. We took a train to a spot near the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was quite impressive, beautifully built, covered up with tour groups, and at least one screaming child, who I thought might've been Damian, yesterday being the dreaded 06/06/06, but it turned out to be a female two-year old, instead. We lit a candle and began a walk down the Siene to the Louvre.

I can now say that I've seen the Mona Lisa, and that after the sweaty grueling ordeal that was our Louvre visit, I understand why someone would be murdered there, I certianly felt ready to kill someone like they'd never been killed before. The awesome looking little pyramid thing visible over the entrance to the musuem? Think magnifying glass, people...I felt like the overlords were punishing me for not finding the experience more exciting. K and I both agreed that this was a severe case of sensory overload, in that yes, it's an amazing, magnificent accomplishment to gather all this art in one place, but who the fuck can possibly take it all in? I'd be hard pressed to do it, living inside the Museum and sleeping in shifts on a cot for a week.

We also heard a woman (possibly American, accent hard to judge) telling a group of children who were trying to figure out their tipping percentage that she had been told that the French don't like to be tipped, it's somehow insulting. We found this quite amusing, considering I personally would take free money if you wanted to give it to me, and would possibly expect it if I'd just gone to a small amount of trouble to serve you your fucking dinner. I'd be curious to know who posited this asinine theory to her, and if they just wanted her to get bad service?

Back to the hotel, napped for awhile, then tried to start updating this crap while K slept in, only to discover that the Blogger server was down, hence my late hours here. All in all another great day, though briefly punctuated by a squabble amongst ourselves when we were both getting irritable, she out of fatigue, myself out of not being fed properly until mid-afternoon, so to head this off tomorrow, we've already ordered an early breakfast and sent her to bed early.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Paris, Day Two

Okay, first things first. Today I managed to sleep until 4 in the afternoon, due to the jetlag I'd been desperately trying to avoid. So we got up late, I returned e-mails, made tentative plans to meet a fellow blogger in London for lunch on Thursday, so if I don't return, Daveyyojimbo and Satan's Lil Helper, avenge my death. Sorry, but you can never be too careful, right?

Getting a late start on the day, we braved the Metro again, this time for a longer journey to the general area of the Eiffel Tower, then made our way back over several stops and a transfer(!) to the Montmarte area for a scheduled Moulin Rouge experience.

Those of you living in a metropolitan area may find my excitement at our small miracle of using public transit and not getting lost to be fairly silly, but keep in mind that we come from an area that only recently got in the bus business, and not even real buses, more like small, glorified mini-vans.

The Eiffel Tower was cool, if a little in the feel of a fair, in that there was such a strange congregation of people, concessions and a small carousel for the children. Can I just go on record now and say that I'm a shitty tourist, and had no desire to go to the top for the view, etc., nor any big need to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, or probably any of the other things I'll get comments for not doing. My biggest reason for a lot of it is my Grumpier Old Men like nature, which makes me dread group activities like most people dread root canals. I had zero interest in standing in line to see the same view as the other thousand fuckers who'd been there today alone before me, let alone document it with photos. I did take a handful of photos, which I'll long treasure, as they reflect my personal experience of the tourist trap, and my own personal views of it. I'm quite lucky in that K has an equally laid back take on most things touristy.

The Metro was pretty good to us and spit us out at the very door to the Moulin Rouge, and we had some time too kill, and set off in the direction of away. This led us to a strange red-light district, wich featured two sides of the street lined with porn shops, which I had to document with photos, and we ventured into a couple, which was quite entertaining.

My favorite video title, hands down?

Extreme Anal Fisting: My Shit In Your Ass!

(Italics mine.)

Made me laugh out loud, and I had to borrow a pen from K to write it down, when we were at a pub later, just so I wouldn't forget it.

The Moulin Rouge was very cool, more Cirque du Soliel than nudie show, which was kinda what I was expecting, a tired old burlesque thing with a few boobs. The actual show actually was quite theatrical, and had everything from boobs to clowns and juggling, shetland ponies onstage and a topless woman being tossed into a glass box that rose from the floor, splashing us and upsetting the several boa constrictors that were floating in its waters. I spent most of the night trying to keep the dancers sequins and boa feathers out of my champaigne, because we happened to be lucky enough to get quite close to the stage, and in the first row. I think we only made it that far because we weren't part of a tour group, which seemed to relegate you to the back, because of the size of your party. Leaving the show, we made our way to the taxi stand, like good tourists, and had a random guy who we at first assumed was waiting for a taxi himself, offer to get us a ride for $24 Euros back to the hotel, which sounded fishy, but I wasn't going to start telling the guy his business. A taxi pulled up and we got in, not realizing it wasn't the one he'd prescribed, and the Korean guy inside took us to our hotel, for less than $7 Euros, so we tipped the shit out of him, as he told us a story that the men we'd been speaking with basically screw tourists out of money by offering flat fees off the meters when taking a cab ride, when they're actually sticking it to you. At least the Metro people don't have the option of fucking you out of too much money if they just want to. Obviously a higher power continues to look after me and mine, otherwise we'd probably be on our way to a hostel in some Godforsaken country right about now.

All in all, I'd have to say it wasn't a bad day, especially when you consider that we didn't even leave the hotel until near 7 in the evening. The City Of Lights doesn't even get dark until around 11 right now, with sunrise at about 5 in the AM, so the short nights are kinda trippy for this West Texas boy.

We've set the alarms for tomorrow, so we can get an early start on the Catacombs, and the Louvre.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Paris, Day One

Okay, first things first, beyond the architecture of the rooftops and the difference in language, I'm beginning to think that the line in American Splendor about how his wife finds all metropolitan cities depressing in the same general way is kinda dead-on, in that a lot of this looks as if it could be an older part of any urban sprawl I've ever visited (which isn't much).

That said, this is an amazing looking city, aged and beautiful with a real charisma that I've never felt before. Strange how that works, huh? Regardless of how it might remind me of anything else, it's Paris, right?

First impressions would include that this city is lousy with motorbikes and Vespas and the like, lousy in both connotations, in that there's a fucking lot of them, and in that nearly every one of them is dinged up from some of the traffic tricks I saw several pull as we were driven in. More than one crazy cyclist was seen zipping down the center line between two cars or trucks, and when we got off the freeway and into the center of town, and most traffic lines blurred or disappeared altogether, holy shit, don't get me started. Definitely a charming change of pace from my day to day West Texas experience, but I'm glad that I'm not driving us anywhere, we're taking a car from the hotel or the Metro.

Highlights of the day included a walk that led down the Avenue Des Champs Elysees, to the Arc de Triomphe and spotting a homeless man surrounded by his army of pigeons, all congregating at his feet, as if awaiting orders.

"Fly my pretties, fly! On my order, unleash hell."

After an evening meal on our walk back at L'Alsace, which we stopped at to enjoy the outside dining, we encountered our only truly grousy person in a country notorious for its attitude. In The Metro station, the ticket agent seemed truly annoyed that we had no idea which stop we needed a ticket to, which I found odd, considering that even a guy like me from Bumfuck, Texas has heard of the Ritz Hotel in Paris, and she hadn't, but I guess it's completely understandable, since Paris rarely has any tourists who might've lost their way, I'm certian we were the first she's ever encountered and we probably ruined her whole fucking day. Interesting side note so far, most people here seem to start out in French, but if you respond with a 'hello' to their 'Bonjour', they drop into English pretty easily, thank God.

K was able to visit the mother ship, aka the Louis Vuitton flagship store, and was called down for trying to take a photo of a display, so when we were leaving she remarked "Okay, I can't take a photo but it's okay for the employees to stand around chatting with their greasy fucking hands leaning all over the luggage? That makes a lot of sense."

I have to make a personal aside here, and Daveyyojimbo can back me up, I love the fact that the fuckers who work in these boutique-type stores always give you attitude like the own the motherfucker rather than opening boxes and running credit cards for them. Kiss my ass, counter man, if you're taking my money, smile when you do it, don't act as if you're doing me a favor.

Thursday we will take the train to London, which I'm really looking forward to. Ultra, if you're interested in lunch, K and I would be game, though I have no idea what London's location means to your actual position in the UK. If it's do-able, shoot me an e-mail via the profile. It would be totally worth it to see you arrive on a dinged up motorcycle, narrowly avoiding traffic. And if I'm suggesting that you drive from one end of the country to the other for lunch, forgive me, but I am horrible with geography and any number of other subjects from my grade school years.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sitting In A Hotel, Waiting For A Plane

Thank Christ for the simplicity of the cable connection in your hotel room, which will end up making this whole blogging on the fly a much simpler process. If it is this easy in Paris as well, I'll be tickled shitless.

The wedding was positively hitchless, with no missed lines, no children getting out of hand, and the church decorations were spec-fucking-tacular. The only possible downer to the whole process was that the groomsmen and ushers were relegated to an upstairs room that they didn't bother to turn air-conditioning on in until apparently 12 minutes or so before we walked in, so it was nice and steamy for the guys in their formal wear. The only thing sweating more than we were was the cheese tray that they put out for us to nibble on.

The reception was a madhouse compared to the relatively quiet church, though K only ballparks the head count to be around 400, rather than the expected 500 who RSVP'd. I saw exactly 2 rooms of the building, and never made my way into the back portion of the museum, so I completely missed the martini bar and the actual installation of my friends' art, but what I did see was amazing, the gals from work really transformed the place.

The photography was by a fantastic photographer, whose work can be seen here, by the name of Jay Conlon. He has an amazingly cinematic approach to his work, that really captures the small moments in an event that one might otherwise miss. He and his wife were both mingling, taking candid shots and even a few semi-staged ones just to spice things up. He was a real pleasure to work with, and would be highly recommended if you are in the Dallas area.

The band was a personal favorite of mine that I was really a little nervous about, because I wasn't sure how the crowd would respond to them, but they certianly made an impact on the crowd, everyone was asking us about them. The Reverend Horton Heat, who were nice enough to make their way to the middle of nowhere to play at our little wedding, really blew the crowd away with two great sets of rockabilly that had a pretty universal appeal to all age groups. While we missed the first set completely while we were inside pressing the flesh with all the guests, we did finally make our way out to the tent on the west lawn to actually lay eyes on the band, which had become my goal for the evening, to at least see the band before they packed up their shit and left. We got to meet the guys during their break, get a photo taken, and the second song of the next set was my personal favorite by them, Spend A Night In The Box, and my lovely bride and I got to slow dance later to In Your Wildest Dreams off their Liqour In The Front album.

We left after 11 in the evening, and flew to Dallas in the family's jet.

Wow, sentences like that certianly make me take stock of the strange path this life has led me on. I was raised in a house that had no sheet rock in the ceilings, because the roof leaked and they fell in, so we had portions of the house that showed exposed rafters, including the area over my bed.

Family jet.

Yeah, imagine how bizarre this whole process is to me.

One of her bridesmaids had an appointment in Dallas today, so she actually hitched a ride with us, so I also have the fratboy-style bragging rights of having two women in the plane on my wedding night.

It was a wonderful day, and evening, I truly think everyone had a good time, and that there wasn't any real drama to speak of. K's estranged father was here for the wedding, and was actually decent to everyone, which probably doesn't sound like any big achievement, but actually is when you consider that he seems to say shitty things to people at the family gatherings as if for sport. Perhaps the man has some kind of respect for my not being totally cowed by him, as I get the impression that he's used to having people, particularly relatives, be a little obsequious to him as a general rule, and as we all know, I don't give a fuck who you are, y'know? I'm respectful, but I'm not going to be kissing anybody's ass at this point in my life.

So now we're lounging in the hotel until the mid-afternoon, when we catch a plane for Paris, both of us more interested in catching up on our rest after the hectic week than being the giddy newlyweds.

I'm sure giddiness is coming, once we get back into our normal groove.

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