Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Customary Every Other Year Party

I decided to start this now since I was already online polishing up a review to submit tomorrow and have no idea how the evening will play out as far as people hanging around. We've already had one cancellation for this evening, and it's not even gone five o'clock yet.

I also noticed that when I looked back over the blog, we seem to have these New Year's parties every other year, which means we're on for this one, but will most likely take next year off and stay in.

The wife got up early and ran the Yorkie to the scheduled visit to the groomer, while I slept in because I'm a lazy tosser and I was fully expecting the maid to show up around 9:00 and wake me anyway. The maid completely stood us up, so what woke me was the sounds of the wife putting away groceries that she'd bought for tonight's gathering in the kitchen. I got up and helped her with that, then I hopped online for a few and was about to start dusting the den a bit for this evening since no one else is here to do it when the wife suggested lunch.

We ended up meeting Robbb and Brian for burgers, confirmed Robbb's plan to crash here this evening, grabbed a post lunch coffee and then the wife and I headed home.

We'd no sooner walked in than the groomer calls saying that the dog is good to go, so we drove back across town to get her, then the wife caught a nap from her early morning while I hopped on the computer in the office to finish up a movie review and get a jump on this crap for the day.

More later, as time permits...

Okay kids, it's now 2:18 AM in the New Year and we've officially sent everyone packing except for our house guest Robbb. I'm rather drunk after imbibing a heroic amount of Maker's Mark and cola for the evening's festivities.

Here's how the shit breaks down: I spent a short period of time picking up the house while the wife got the little selection of dips together, then headed to the shower.

I made the queso we'd planned to serve, browning the hamburger/sausage combo and then adding it to the cheese and chiles in the crock pot, thinning it with milk as needd to get the correct consistency.

Our guests trickled in around 8:00 or so, with a couple of them set to leave for other plans around 10-ish. We fed everyone and visited for awhile, but the one truly alarming moment of the evening was when I left to take a piss and stepped into the office to update Twitter. I was in mid-Tweet when I heard the wife drunk Uncle arrive, which was about the last person I actually thought would show up, but there you go. He'd called earlier, but I figured he'd forget about the notion or lose interest, but hell no, here he comes...

Drunk Uncle proceeds to hit on every lesbian in the room, as well as every married woman we have on hand for the rest of the evening. It's sort of comical and mostly sad at the same time.

We finally have everyone out the door by 2:00 or so, save for Robbb, who is staying over for the night to avoid the possibilty of the DUI.

I kiss the wife goodnight and then stumble to the web to polish up this post for the night, because I'm so fucking dedicated to the blog, then head to bed myself.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Workday And Chickeny Goodness

Days with nothing happening like today make me question why I committed myself to doing this crap every day, but whatever, let's just slog our way through this shit and get on with our lives, eh?

I thankfully slept well last night and got up mid-morning. The wife showered while I headed to the kitchen, both to get the house opened up for the day and get some coffee made.

I headed to the web and checked e-mail, then did some writing on a review for later in the week while the wife sorted through mail at the kitchen table. Around 1:00 we both started to realize we hadn't eaten yet, so I got dressed and ran a few errands before picking up some lunch for us and heading back home.

We ate and watched some re-run television, then I sat down to get some work done around 4:00 and let the wife catch a nap.

I listened to the newest episode of Destroy The Brain while I got the prep work finished on the second project I have to work on, then called it a day.Magical Unicorn Mayonnaise

I was online poking around a bit when the wife got up, and I eventually joined her in the bedroom and ended up watching the rest of Robot Chicken season 3 that the wife got me for Christmas, as well as looking through some of the bonus material. That process filled up the rest of the evening, and I spent a few minutes filing away some movies in the media closet and a couple books in the Library before heading to the web to write this up.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

What Is That Damnable Noise?

I slept badly last night, waking up about 5 or 6 times, which isn't like me at all. If I don't sleep straight through the night, I may wake up once at most, to go piss or something, but that's it. Last night I felt like all I did was toss and turn, and I'm currently blaming the new air purifier that the wife started using. It's supposed to keep our allergens down, but it has a strange low hum that reminds me of an old VHS cassette rewinder. It's also the size of a small filing cabinet, which is a little more obtrusive than I was expecting when she said she was buying one, but I recently put the recumbent bike in the other corner of the bedroom, which is a much larger distraction, so who am I to judge?

I'm going to see how I sleep this evening before I make an enemy of this thing, because maybe the dull roar wasn't what was keeping me awake, but it was the only change from the norm, so I find it suspect at the very least.

I slept in like a lazy fucker after my lousy night of not sleeping, so by the time I got up and had a few cups of coffee and checked out the interweb, it's pushing towards 1:00 in the afternoon.

I went and mailed a bill since I'd already missed our mail ma'am (as I call our mail lady) and then picked up deli sandwiches for lunch. The wife and I watched a couple of Venture Brothers re-runs while we ate, then I decided to try and get some actual work done considering that we'll have Morris in town later in the week, as well as at least two, possibly three overnight houseguests on New Year's Eve from a party we're throwing. I figure if I try to get a little work done today and tomorrow I won't feel so bad about fucking around and drinking like a fish for the duration of Wednesday and then dicking around the day after.

I listened to most of another episode of The Gentlemen's Guide To Midnite Cinema while I worked, as I'm still trying to get caught up with my podcast listening, with a bit of limited success.

I helped the wife stuff some envelopes after I finished the prep work on the first project, then played with the Yorkie for almost an hour. That little dog has been very fascinated with the idea of playing fetch with a set of tiny tennis balls that she got in her Christmas stocking. I have seldom looked down the past week without finding one of them beside my foot, just waiting to be thrown. The envelopes we'd stuffed were ready to mail, so I took the wife's order for some takeout Chinese, then drove by the post office again to drop the bulk mailing in the box for tomorrow, picked up some dinner and headed home.

In The Folds Of Pop PsychologyThe wife and I ate while watching a movie I have to review for Pop Syndicate, a Giallo-ish sleaze fest called In The Folds Of The Flesh, which wasn't necessarily as sleazy as the box might imply, but certainly more than was necessary to tell the rather convoluted story. I enjoyed it and would recommend it, although it sports more red herrings in the last half hour than a fucking fish market, which is going to either amuse an audience, or just piss them off, so proceed with caution. If you're a fan of 60's and 70's Italian stuff, you'll love this.

The wife headed to bed while I popped into the office to get started on this and perhaps write a couple of reviews, unless my morning caffiene completely abandons me. This will also give me a chance to catch up on at least one episode of Hellbilly Wreckhouse, a show I still listen to each week even though I haven't actually bought a psychobilly or rockabilly CD in forever. I do still jot down band names if I hear something catchy as I listen, because ya never know when the mood will strike me to grab something new to listen to in the car.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cinematic Sunday Sixty-Nine

I figured that since exactly two things have happened today, I might as well get a jump on transcribing that shit into my online journal so that I can cry myself to sleep a few hours earlier than usual this evening.

Kiss My Ass 2008!We got up amazingly late, like, early afternoon for God's sake. I lay in bed with the wife and Yorkie and talked for a bit about her friend Blather and all the bullshit we heard from her last night. I eventually dressed and went to pick us up some lunch, listening to a couple of weeks old episode of The Gentlemen's Guide To Midnite Cinema while I drove, as the burger joint was way the hell across town.

Back at the house, we ate and watched a flick from those rental throttling pricks at Netfux, a French film called Too Beautiful For You. Directed by Bertrand Blier, it's another one of his puzzlingly paced and shot films, always more of an exercise in style than linear narrative.

Characters give monologues in the presence of other characters just to cue the audience into what they're thinking, ala a stage production, timelines blur within the same scene from a couples wedding to a dinner party 14 years later in which his mistress crashes things, it's a bizarre viewing experience, and one I'd compare to the films of Hal Hartley if I had to compare the directorial style to an American director. Essentially a story about a businessman who eschews his marriage to a beautiful socialite and starts an affair with his Plain Jane secretary, it peels away layers of motivation on both sides, eventually revealing nothing much at all, but it's an interesting ride, as with other films by the same director. I'd honestly say that I find his films interesting more than I enjoy them, but they've never bored me.

Then the wife caught a nap after the film and I looked around online and wrote out a top ten/bottom five list for Stefan over at Pop Syndicate that he'd asked for last week in anticipation of the New Year.

That's my day today, burgers, movie, then the list, so let's say three things happened today.

The trailers I happened upon this week include:

First we have the sequel to the French action flick District B-13, which will be called District B-13: Ultimatum and again stars Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle, reprising their roles from the first film. The first available trailer is in the native language with no subtitles, but it looks to include a lot more of the Parkour roof running shit, explosions and martial arts fun, so what's not to like?

Next we find something in the same vein, but with bigger named actors who manage to look like they're in a straight to video flick instead of a feature film. Directed by Pierre Morel, who just so happens to be the guy who gave us the original District B-13, we have From Paris With Love, which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and John Travolta, who evidently thought he'd be auditioning for the role of a leather daddy when he turned up for the role, because holy shit is that an odd look for him. At least this teaser is in English, right?

Continuing 'why the fuck not' night here at Dear Bastards, I also wanted to mention a little movie coming out that stars Steven Seagal as a man fighting vampires in a post apocalyptic environment. The common snarky consensus online seems to be that Against The Dark will either be the greatest action flick ever, or the greatest comedy, depending on one's point of view. Given the tagline "He lives by the sword. They die by it." I'm leaning towards comedy, because who could take that seriously?

Finally we have Spooner, which looks like a generic indie dramedy in the mold that I would've eaten up in the early 90's but now just strikes me as a little cloying. Why am I bringing it up? It just so happens to star Matthew Lillard, a man I'm always happy to see working, if only because he still has good faith left over with me from SLC Punk from nearly ten years ago. I just love the guy, and I'm always happy to catch him in a new flick. This time around he's playing a guy who's being forced into life at the age of 30 by parents who've had enough of his socially retarded crap, and lo and behold he hooks up with a cute quirky girl who wants to be wacky with him. Cue indie rock...sorry, I'm really trying to have a positive outlook here, but this looks SO paint by number.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Blah Blah Blah, Divorce, Blah Blah Blah, Something Else About Me, Blah Blah Blah, Repeat For The Next 2 Hours

I woke up around 9:30 this morning, hit the bathroom and tried valiantly to go back to bed, but the Yorkie wasn't about to stand for that shit, so after she bothered both I and the wife for a good 15 minutes, I gave up and went into the kitchen to feed her to see if she'd fuck off for a while once she had food in her dish.

I returned to the bed, but the magic was gone and I gave up entirely and finally just made coffee and resented the dog for a few hours while I looked at stuff on the interweb.

The wife had a lunch planned with one of her out of town friends again today, but that fell through, so we ended up just basically hanging out around the house, which was really nice. She spent some time cleaning up some stuff in the office, sorting old mail and catalogs, that sort of thing. I cleared the kitchen counter of all the remaining Christmas gift and stocking stuff that still hadn't found a place in the house yet and eventually chilled out in the den with some of the several graphic novels the wife had gotten for my from the Amazon wishlist.

I'll Fuckin' Have You SunshineThe wife caught a nap with the Yorkie in the bedroom while I read the first three volumes of The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, which is a skewed take of superheroes in which a group of 'hard cunts' (to borrow the phrase Trainspotting used to such vivid and glorious effect) spend their time policing the activities of the superheroes in their world. The 'heroes' are all degenerates of varying stripes, with one possible exception that's set up as a possible redeeming factor for one of the Boys. It's an interesting read, though as with most monthly books, worth the wait to read in one sitting in my opinion, I just don't get the same charge from the single issues anymore. It'd probably help to have even a remotely decent comic store locally, but I actually now prefer the book for the shelf instead of boxes upon boxes of shit I have to move each time we change homes.

I was somewhat reminded of Warren Ellis' work on The Authority with The Boys, which was something of a more cynical take on the concept of the superhero and what they would do when confronted with super-villians, which in Ellis' world the solution generally seems to be fucking kill them rather than cart them off to the super-jail or asylum. Relentless The Boys is published by an independent (after a brief stint at DC), so things may be a bit more adult-themed than The Authority was in its original incarnation.

The wife's friend Blather is in town for the holidays, so she has been bugging the wife about when we can drop everything we're doing and meet her for lunch or dinner for a few days now, so the wife had finally made a dinner plan for this evening. The idea there was to see her and pacify her so we don't have to fuck with it on Sunday, our day of rest where all others fuck off from our lives and leave us in peace. I'd agreed to accompany her, in spite of the fact that I would be biting my tongue the whole time as she badmouths her soon to be ex-husband, as he has turned into Satan as the marriage ends and she is the completely innocent and wronged party in every single way, something I just don't buy.

We picked her up, I returned a few calls in the car while the wife went in to get her, just because I couldn't be bothered to go in and make nice with Blather's children and Grandparents that I don't even know. We headed downtown to a packed Italian restaurant, where we waited for 30 minutes for a table, then the serving time took at least another hour. During this time Blather ran through all the latest updates on her personal drama, which was as wearying as I anticipated, but she finally ran out of steam mid-entree and finally started quizzing the wife about her relatives and life, which I thought was mighty nice of her to include us in the conversation at long last.

We drove through Starbuck's for a late coffee afterward where I watched an employee at the window hold up the two fives and a one I just handed him and repeat several times that my total is eleven dollars, as if that's not what I just fucking handed him. I have no idea what he thought the two fives were, but he eventually snapped out of it and realized his mistake, apologized and gave us our drinks. He obviously needs more of their product in his life.

We finally dropped Blather off, who started trying to fish her way into our life tomorrow afternoon, wanting us to come by for some kind of cake that they're having for her 3 yr. old daughter. I don't know if this is a birthday thing or what, but Jesus Christ, haven't we done our time with you on this trip lady? The wife was vague about her commitment, but who knows what she could get sucked into tomorrow afternoon? I'm fucking done on this one, as I don't really care for her kids either and I would rather die in a fire than have to meet and socialize with her relatives just because we don't happen to have plans on a Sunday afternoon.

We headed home finally and I hit the web to work on this stuff for the evening.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

There Has To Be A Morning After

I woke up post-Christmas a bit later than I intended to hear the wife in the shower, so I got up and made coffee to put the Dunder Mifflin travel mug the wife got me to use. Scranton Rocks! The wife was getting ready to head to lunch with an out of town friend who had called over the holiday, so I hopped online and checked e-mail while she did that, then started tidying up in the kitchen area from the Christmas overflow of gifts and other junk.

The wife split to meet her friend and I loaded up the various boxes from yesterday to be recycled, then ran those by and dropped them off and picked up some Chinese for lunch. I was back at the house eating and watching a Venture Brothers re-run when the wife got home. We watched this week's episode of Summer Heights High, then she took a nap and I got online again to pay a few bills and balance the checkbook.

I spent some time on the phone with Anastasia Beaverhouszen, catching up on the holidays and making plans to see them for out New Year's Eve party this coming week.

I eventually headed to the bedroom to play around with the PS3 a bit more and see what (if any) interesting things they BD-Live options on a given disc might offer. I was also curious about the option of 'registering' a Blu-ray disc using the BD-Live function, as an account created during that process is alleged to build some kind of points for you with Sony that can be redeemed for other movies or something of that nature. I dicked around with the BD-Live function on two different discs, and was never prompted to register anything, so I gave up and decided to dick with it another day when I was feeling more patient.

The wife joined me in the bedroom and I halfway watched a few things on the television while looking around on the laptop, since the internet seemed to be sucking up my entire day anyway.

I was finally able to get Macguffin on the phone, so I asked him over so that we could take him out for a birthday dinner, which he agreed to. We had Italian for dinner and then headed back home to chill a bit. We watched a little television and Mac eventually split, so I headed to the web while the wife went to bed with the Yorkie.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Lovely Time Was Had By All

This was a very nice Christmas, with no real drama or anyone making a scene.

I'm frankly, in a word, STUNNED.

The wife and I slept in until 9:00, then I got up and checked e-mail before heading to the shower since the idea was that we'd be at the Mother In Law's for breakfast and presents with the extended family at 10:00. We loaded up the Yorkie and headed that way around 10:30, but weren't actually the last to arrive, as the Middle Sister and her brood were also running late. We ate breakfast burritos and did the stocking routine, then the kids drug everyone into the den to open presents.

It's at this point that I noticed that the MIL had a raging fire going in the fireplace, even though it's about 70 degrees outside. I'm all for ambiance, but Jesus Sweaty Christ, what goes through this woman's mind?

The gift feeding frenzy came and went, the relatives were surprisingly generous given the flagging economy, both nationwide and more recently here locally. The idea was that once we'd cleaned up the house a bit to clear out all the wrapping detritus, we'd all go our separate ways for a few hours, then reconvene for 'lunch' around 3:00 in the afternoon.

The wife, dog and I headed home, where we looked through the newspaper and the wife fielded a few calls from friends, then we decided to go ahead and go through the stockings we'd prepared for each other, as well as a single gift to tide us over until later in the evening.

Coming Soon: The Trouble With Ken And Rear Window Skipper DollsThe wife was quite happy with her Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds version of Barbie, I shopped wisely on that one. It's a weird mix, but I knew she liked Barbie, and The Birds is a movie I've seen her watch on television by herself on at least two different occasions, so I figured that it was meant to be.

We headed back to the MIL's shortly before 3:00 because the wife had a side dish that she needed to throw in the oven for a few to warm it up. The In-Laws trickled in and we eventually sat down to eat around 3:45 or so, but the meal was good and worth the wait. We chilled in our various little groups, chatting in the kitchen or watching television in the den until nearly 6:00, then the wife and I finally called it a day and headed for the house to do our own Christmas exchange.

The wife was very happy with her loot this year, which included a few surprises that I don't think she was expecting, so that made me happy. She had gone through a lot of the stuff I had on my Amazon wishlist and loaded me up with a good sized stack of graphic novels that I'd been hesitant to sink the cash into. The topper for my Christmas was a PS3 for the bedroom to replace the profile 1.0 player we'd bought not even a year ago. The PS3 is largely future-proofed from all accounts online, as it is BD-Live compatible and will automatically download its own updates, as opposed to the previous player which I had to burn updates to a disc for and would never support interweb connectivity due to the lack of proper hardware.

I'm still pretty fucking annoyed to replace a player that we've had for 10 months, but I figure it can maybe live in the guest side of the house for use if an over night person wants to check out something from the media closet. I also would have to say that so far I'm impressed with the PS3, but I haven't really started dicking around with any of the BD-Live options, which I understand (from some message boards online) still has some kinks to work through.

The wife and I spent the rest of the evening setting that up in the bedroom and of course updating the firmware for the player, because why the fuck would something be user ready fresh out of the box, right? I got the little controller charged up and the remote linked in and then called it a night to come to the web and play with this stuff for a bit while the wife relaxed and watched some television.

All in all, I would have to say that this was the least stressful Christmas we've had in a few years, so maybe we've finally turned some kind of corner with the In-Laws and all their accompanying drama.

I hope your own holiday was equally enjoyable.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Much Less Painful Than Last Year, That's For Goddamned Sure...

I actually went back into the archives to see what was up this time last year, what with the estranged Father In Law visiting and other family dramas, and all in all, this holiday season has been much more laid back than 2007 was. The wife was up early this morning, I slept in another hour or so, then went to see what she and the Yorkie were up to.

The wife was doing a load of laundry and piddling around in the kitchen, so I made coffee and checked e-mail, then she and I decided to drop off the family gifts at the Mother In Law's house and grab some lunch. We loaded up all that nonsense, then picked up a bag of ice for later use and dropped the gifts and ice at the MIL's place, then sat in the McDonald's drive-thru for 20 minutes for some chicken nuggets.

Robbb called after we got home to see what our afternoon was looking like, so we had him over so that we could give him his Christmas gift (a coffee press) and catch up a bit before the holiday. I'm thinking that since he's wrapping his job here before New Year's, maybe we'll try to have him over along with a few other friends to have a combo New Year's Eve's/Going Away party next week.

He headed home to grab a nap before heading to his Mom's for dinner, I chilled on the couch and dozed through most of an episode of Friday The 13th: The Series while the wife baked some muffins in the kitchen. Santa Always Causes More Trouble Than He's Worth... We were able to squeeze in a re-watch of Christmas Evil before we had to head over to the MIL's house for dinner. I dropped off the wife, Yorkie and a couple bags of gift stuff for stockings, then went and gassed up the car, as I didn't want to have to do it later in the evening when it had actually gotten cold.

Dinner with the family was fine, though the MIL's Mexican dinner (enchiladas, beans, etc.) is always okay but nothing to really blow your skirt up, so this being thier family tradition is a bit beyond me, but whatever. The Middle Sister did take a spill when she headed out into the garage and slid on a doormat placed in front of the door on the garage side. She seemed pretty shaken, but was moving around okay when she left. I'm curious if this will be her excuse to skip the family get-together tomorrow in favor of staying home. I suppose we'll see.

The MIL had finally gotten her cable situation sorted out in the den at her home, so once everyone split after dinner I found The Bourne Ultimatum on her free On Demand service and skimmed through that to re-watch some of the cooler action sequences while the wife and the MIL (mostly the wife, to be honest) put the stockings together for the family for tomorrow morning.

The wife and I gathered the Yorkie and headed home, where I hit the office to start on this while the wife went to the guest side of the house to wrap a few last minute items for me, presumably stuff she'd kept under wraps for fear of it being an obvious item due to size or whatever.

Once she was finished, she headed to bed to watch the customary marathon of A Christmas Story that's on every year. I went and gathered up her stocking items and placed that near the tree, then came back here to finish this up.

Curious what tomorrow will bring, both gift-wise as well as family drama, because there's always time for someone to show their ass for no real reason.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let's Light This Bitch Up

We stayed up late last night watching another flick in the Drive In Cult Classics set that I'd sidelined a few months back. We watched a film called Cindy And Donna, which was about a boozy couple with two teen daughters who are also experimenting with sex, drugs and liquor themselves in an effort to have a good time as the 60's come to an end. The upshot is a bunch of clumsily filmed softcore sex and an eventual 'shock' ending to show the girls the error of their ways, which glosses over (or at least never really addresses) an instance of incest (!) in the middle of the film between the older daughter and the sleazy father. Weird stuff.

Oh, speaking of movies, there's new stuff over at the Big Suck Loser, just in time for the holidays, so don't say I never do anything for you ungrateful pricks.

I got up a little late today and looked around the web while drinking my coffee until the wife got up around 11:00. We mapped out the day so that we could have lunch, then I'd drop her off for a manicure while I ran around a bit and looked into a few last minute stocking stuffer items, then we'd go and run a few errands together. We had lunch, then I left her to get her manicure while I went to poke around at a few stores, then ran back by the house to change clothes, as it's gone from slightly chilled to around 72 degrees outside.

I was also happy to get off the road for a few minutes, as I'd almost been hit by two separate idiots in various parking lots who just threw the car in reverse and hoped for the best.

I hit the local books, music and video outlet to kill some more time until the wife called, then headed back to pick her up. We ran her errands and finally made it home around 5:00. I checked e-mail and then lay on the couch dozing for a few minutes before Brian popped in.

We'd made plans to have dinner with him and then go do our usual Christmas routine in which I drive them around a bit to look at Christmas lights. Dinner was at a steak place downtown, and Brian was kind enough to pick up the tab, presumably as a Christmas gesture, then we drove through Starbuck's for some coffee and made our way across town to check out the lighting situation in some of the swankier neighborhoods.

All Is Bright...We were kinda surprised to see how few houses seemed lit up, though the one neighborhood that's somewhat notorious for going overboard was still in full swing, recession be damned, with a line of cars bumper to bumper heading in and out. There's one 'look at me' douchebag who actually has all his information about how many strands, bulbs, etc he's used in his obnoxious Vegas-esque display, and stands in his front lawn waving to people and talking on his cellphone, presumably to a faraway friend about how important his overblown Christmas display is to the community. He also has signs up saying that the passersby are being videotaped, presumably as a deterrent to vandals who might return under cover of night to destroy his monstrous Santa fuckfest in a fit of decency and good taste.

We eventually cruised through another neighborhood on the way home, but my patience was wearing thin and I got a little snippy with the wife when she suggested another diversion from our route home. We smoothed that over, but I was definitely at a saturation point and ready to be out of the car, so we made our way back to the house where the wife and Brian exchanged their Christmas gifts and then Brian split. The wife and I called it a night and she headed to the bedroom to hop on her laptop while I hit the office to do this junk and try to get in bed early for a change.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Uh, Yeah, Like, I'm Sooo Sure

I slept like a rock last night, heading to bed just in time to miss a new Robot Chicken by mere minutes, which was frustrating, but oh well. I went straight to sleep and woke with the alarm this morning. The wife was already up and about, stamping Christmas cards, and I greeted her and then made a large pot of coffee.

I'd already decided to get caught up today on the writing I'd meant to do over the weekend, so I hopped online and started poking around, as is my morning routine. I helped the wife load a few gifts she had to drop off at the office, then settled into the office with some coffee and wrote four reviews back to back from about 10:30 to 3:30, which sounds worse than it actually was, as I end up surfing a bit between reviews, or checking up on different information for the review, shit like that. I honestly think if I have my notes in front of me for the synopsis and anecdotes, I can usually knock out the average review in 45 minutes to an hour, so that's not so bad.

I finally got off the computer in the late afternoon to realize that I'd never eaten and was actually a little jittery from the coffee. I called the wife and put in a late lunch request, then chilled with some television while I waited for her to get home.

We ate and watched some more re-run junk off the TiVo as I wasn't feeling in the mood to commit to a movie at the time. We both actually dozed on the couches after the meal, then I snapped awake when the timers turned on the Christmas lights in the front room and behind me on the main tree.

He's Totally Tubular!Having enjoyed our 80's fun last night with Silent Night, Deadly Night, I popped in another 80's flick that I hadn't seen in forever: Valley Girl. I'd actually forgotten most of the film, so it was almost like watching it for the first time. One thing I sure as hell didn't remember was the inexplicably manicured chest hair Cage sports, he some out of the ocean and as he towels off it looks as if he's had his chest shaved using a goat's head stencil, as the shape is this weird 'V' that I've never seen before. The movie was fun, the wife and I enjoyed it and then I watched a Lewis Black comedy special that was on cable while the wife played solitaire on her iPhone.

We watched this week's episode of The Girls Next Door and then I called it a night while the wife wrapped some presents and did some other Christmas-related stuff in the other part of the house.

I headed to the office to get to work on this junk for today, then submit the reviews and call it a night.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cinematic Sunday Sixty-Eight

The wife and I slept in until shortly after 10:00 this morning, then she started doing some odds and ends around the house, laundry and whatnot while I got dressed and fetched the newspaper.

I went and grabbed some breakfast in burrito form at a Mexican food place while the wife worked on addressing Christmas cards (yeah, I know the holiday is four days away) and held down the fort here.

We ate and I read through the newspaper, then checked e-mail and got together all the stuff to be run to the recycle place. I braved the somewhat biting cold to do that, listening to this past week's episode of Outside The Cinema on the drive. Once I got back to the house the wife was coming to a stopping point with her project, so she and I actually retired to the bedroom for a nap, something I rarely do.

Two hours later I got up and headed to the den where I cleared a few things off the TiVo, then popped in a movie I had to review for Pop Syndicate. I was only vaguely familiar with The New Centurions because a friend of mine from my teenage years was a fan of the source novel by Joseph Wambaugh. The film starred George C. Scott and Stacy Keach and was pretty interesting, some fairly average cop action from the early 70's made interesting by the leads and the slightly nihilistic approach that the beat cops have to the Los Angeles ghettos. I enjoyed it and actually wished the DVD had more features instead of just the trailer for the film.

The wife got up while I was watching that and went to buy some pens to finish out the Christmas card thing and stop by Starbuck's on her way home. When she got back I asked her if she'd mind moving her project from the dining table to the den, so that I could watch the movie and help her at the same time, so we finished that up while the movie played out.

We made a Digiorno pizza and watched the recently purchased copy of Silent Night, Deadly Night, a film neither one of us had seen before. It was a great 80's time capsule, complete with the backdrop of 80's toys in the store that the murderous Santa works in. I hooted with joy at the Return Of The Jedi Jabba the Hutt playset prominently displayed behind the characters in one scene, as well as a G.I. Joe Halloween costume inexplicably on display in spite of it being the Christmas holiday in the story. Fun stuff, I'm glad I finally got around to seeing it.

I came to the web a little early with the intention of getting an early start on this, but here it as pushing midnight as I write.

This week's trailer's include:

I finally said fuck it and decided to throw the X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer up here just because I'll end up seeing it, most likely in the theater, hip deep in nerds in the early summer. The film is directed by Gavin Hood and stars Hugh Jackman in the role he gruffly originated in the X-Men films.

Next we have I Love You, Man, a new comedy coming out next year directed by John Hamburg. It stars Paul Rudd as a man about to marry the gorgeous Rashida Jones, who finds himself in need of a best man, as he's always been more apt to spend time with female friends. Enter Jason Segel as his Realtor and possible new best bud. I laughed a few times during the trailer, which rarely happens with most comedies, so I consider that a good sign.

Finally we have Abundant Sunshine, a film from director Gerard Collette which is another film supposedly consisting of found footage that reveals that a serial killer operating around the Beaumont, Texas area from 1987 through 1997 taped his killings, as well as the interactions with his wife and son, which make the footage all the more unsettling in the trailer. I like the lo-tech feel, and the setting and use of multiple weapons reminds me of the creepier video scenes used in Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer. I'm very curious to see this, it's apparently been on the boil for awhile now, but I couldn't find a release date for it at this time.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Most Surreal Afternoon

I forced myself to get to bed last night around 1:00 AM, as I'd set the alarm for 7:00 this morning to allow enough time for a shower and to try and wake up before we went to the airport.

The Father In Law lives in a small town in Arkansas, and the Older Sister and my wife had got the idea that instead of trying to invite him here (considering the recently finalized divorce) and make things 100% more complicated for everyone, they should try to visit him there for an afternoon, take him to lunch and open gifts, then get the hell out of Dodge before things had enough time to get weird or an argument break out. The two Sisters and their families would make the trip, since the Middle Sister (his favorite) has plans to spend the week after Christmas with him.

A Reasonable Facsimile Of The Plane We Flew In...They had chartered a plane that would take us from the private field here to the tiny airport in Arkansas. The flight there was pretty quick, though the little prop planes are always a bit spooky, as I feel like we're buzzing along inside a soup can. The FIL met us shortly after we arrived, as a tail wind had put us there early. We were actually relieved to be able to land, as a heavy fog had threatened to send us to the next available airport to wait out the weather, but had cleared enough for us to make it in. We loaded into the suburban and the FIL drove us the ten minutes to the family's nearby ranch, which I'd always heard a lot about but had never visited with the wife due to the estranged relationship the FIL has had with the family since I've been in the picture.

The family gave me a tour of the main house, a large and rambling two story affair, then we went across the driveway to the workshop/office that the ranch hands use as an office and eating area, which is also filled with various pieces of local artists work and antique items. The tour next took us to the 'antique house', which is immediately adjacent and is a large open floor plan two story house that is filled with a cafeteria-like set-up of numerous tables for entertaining and has five bedrooms and sleeping areas in the upstairs. It is filled with larger scale antique furniture that dominates all of the sitting areas and displays a large collection of pottery. Down the lawn closer to the road is yet another house of a more modest scale, though it is still a three bedroom affair. It looks to be from the 70's era, if the decoration and size is any indication.

We finished the tour with the chapel that is located across the property, past the main house. It's dedicated to the Mother In Law's biological father, who was killed in WW2, and was something that she was quite proud of, and now stands on a piece of land that she'll most likely never visit again now that she's divorced. Life is full of fucked up curve-balls.

After the walking tour, we loaded up to head into town to have lunch, which was a pretty decent meal at a Mexican food place favored by the locals. The FIL drove us around a bit afterward to show me a bit more of the tiny town, which was an interesting look into small town life. I did get to see the main offices of the bank chain they own, as well as one of the satellite locations, and then we headed back to the ranch where we drove around the circumference of the three man-made lakes that were created and named in honor of the three grandchildren. The Older Sister's kids were happy to see that 'their' lakes were frequented by both ducks and the cattle that roam the grounds.

We eventually headed back to the main house and the Older Sister gave the FIL his Christmas gift, which was one of the Kindle readers that Amazon has been pushing, only to discover that the wireless connection required for it to operate to its fullest capacity doesn't exist in the small town that her Father lives in, or at least not at the ranch. The FIL seemed fairly unimpressed, which is kind of shitty, but that seems to be par for the course for his dealings with his family and children, so whatever. I mean, it's not a technology that he will immediately understand, but I honestly do think he'd enjoy using it if he took the time, but who knows if he'll bother or not? This is why the wife and I send fruit and salmon or some other kind of food product to him for Christmas, at least it's nothing he has to try and learn how to use.

The FIL has always seemed like a pretty stand-offish person, not very outgoing, and there's always long and borderline uncomfortable silences as no one speaks, presumably for fear of having him snap at them about whatever. This afternoon was no exception, though I did try to engage the conversation more often than I normally would, just because I felt like it would take pressure off the two Sisters and I did have a few questions because the entire area was a new experience to me. Considering the sorta tense relationship that the Sisters have with the FIL, I have also made a point when he's around of trying to draw him into conversation, or just to get a laugh out of him (which usually works, he seems to get my sense of humor pretty easily) rather than let the odd silences lie and have him suddenly pop off with some kind of shitty question to the women, or make some kind of snide comment. I noticed today that the Brother In Law was fairly quiet most of the time, which kind of surprised me, as I guess I was expecting him to maybe take some of the pressure off his wife as well, but it really didn't happen. I suppose technically I'm just projecting my own feelings onto him, he may just have no interest in being involved in the situation because he's been in the family much longer than I have. Who knows?

I also have the luxury of not having been around this man when he was younger and more of an intimidating figure, so I don't know how I'd react now had I been around 10 or 15 years ago when he was a bit more full of piss and vinegar. I think a lot of how people deal with him now is based on residual feelings from past encounters rather than current situations.

The entire afternoon ws very surreal, from the fog covered landing, to the overcast day exploring the grounds of their enormous estate and the odd drive through town, it all had a crazy off-kilter feeling to it. I wasn't necessarily put off by it, but just had to keep telling myself that it was happening and I wasn't having some fucked up drawn from the wife's memories or something.

The gift thing having fallenl somewhat flat, we all started looking at the clock a bit, as we'd told the pilots that we'd be heading back between 3 and 4, and it was around 3:30 at this point. The FIL had actually wandered off somewhere else in the house, so we had to kind of track him down after they gave up on trying to get the Kindle thing set up and let him know that we had to start heading back. The general idea was that perhaps the Middle Sister or the Idiot Brother In Law could perhaps have greater success in showing him how to get started using the device.

The FIL drove us to the airport, we unloaded and said our goodbyes, then boarded the small plane and flew out around 4:00 in the afternoon The whole visit lasted about four and a half hours and had a much greater toll on the Older Sister than it did on the wife, thankfully. The Older Sister had definitely had a few choice remarks thrown her way over the course of the afternoon, but the wife had seemed to escape unscathed, which made me feel as though I'd done my job for the day. I haven't ever heard the man say anything too pointed to her in my presence, and what little he has said I spoke up to defend her, at which point he has laughed off what he'd said as if he were joking, which I let lie. That's something else about some of the passive agressive comments that get thrown around with him, if you call him on it or kinda zing him back, he seems to back off, which defuses it enough for things to not get ugly.

The flight home went pretty smooth, we landed safely and headed to the house to check on tentative plans for dinner that'd been made with the Hairdressers. The plans fell through, so we called in an order for Thai food and picked it up, taking the Yorkie along for the ride just because she'd been left alone all day.

We ate and watched a few Venture Brothers re-runs and a Ron White performance on Comedy Central before the wife called it a night and headed to the bedroom. I popped in the earbuds and listened to an older episode of Mail Order Zombie on the iPhone while I wrapped a couple of Christmas gifts for the wife. The wife unfortunately proved to be unable to sleep after a brief nap during the television time earlier, so she got up and we talked some more about the day while I picked up the kitchen a bit and got some recycling stuff ready to go for tomorrow afternoon.

I finally head to the office to work on this while the wife headed back to bed to chill and hopefully get some rest.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

The Errand That Ate My Day And Then Dinner

I went to bed last night thinking that I would get up at 9:00 this morning, drive to Odessa, pick up Macguffin and then head to the court house. I was supposed to get some sort of affidavit/form/bullshit there that I would then drive back to town to have my insurance agent sign off on to indicate that I did indeed have insurance the day that the asshole cops caught me in their cheesy speed trap, then we'd eat lunch and drive back to Odessa and pay the fine for the speeding before possibly looking around at some DVD's at the usual haunts.

All of the above happened, except it happened eventually, spread out over most of the Goddamned day and I thought I'd lose my mind after awhile.

I got out of town late, grabbed Mac around 11:00, though he had to get ready as he'd overslept and wasn't fully awake when I arrived. We hit the courthouse, no problems there, but that put us back over here shortly after noon. This of course meant that the insurance agent was 'running errands' on her lunch hour, so I left the form and my cell number so that she could call me when she had it filled out. Mac and I go to a very crowded fast food Mexican restaurant for lunch, find the only real seating available, which happened to be in a table bathed in direct sunlight, so it was like eating in a tanning booth, which was kind of a drag. The restaurant hadn't noted the 70 degree temperatures outside, so the place was stiflingly hot to boot. A miserable experience all the way around.

We killed some more time at Barnes & Noble, then drove by the local books, music and video outlet, which happens to be near the insurance agent's office. We poked around there for a bit, saw the stinky bum kid who lives in the chair near the humor section, then I finally said fuckit, these people have had almost 2 hours, I'm going by there and raising a stink if this paper isn't signed. The woman was at her desk, supposedly "just about to call me" when I walked in, so she filled it out and we were back on the road. Mac was cratering on me with a headache as we drove back into Odessa, so I dropped him off and then hit the courthouse, which took very little time and charged me about twice what I was hoping the ticket might be, but fuck it, the last speeding ticket I got was at least 10 years ago, and I speed just about every day, so it all evens out in the end I suppose.

I stopped into the Odessa location of the books, music and video chain to see what they might have different from their store here. He Knows Where You Sleep... I killed almost an hour in there and found a couple of movies that I figured haven't been slated for Blu-ray and probably won't look that much better if they do get released in the format, so I went ahead and picked them up. I can now watch both Maniac and Christmas Evil at my leisure between now and the Christmas holiday, so that's pretty cool.

I headed home, listening to another episode of The Gentlemen's Guide To Midnite Cinema on the drive. I finally walked back in the house here at 4:30. The ticket errand had lasted five solid hours from start to finish. I gave up on life and tried to lay down and catch a little cat nap since the wife was asleep in the bedroom. The Yorkie bugged me and wouldn't let me relax, so I finally gave up and checked e-mail.

The wife got up around 6:00, I suggested that we go and take the Mother In Law to dinner, so we picked her up at Grandmother's where she was visiting, then we had dinner, met Brian to tour his newly purchased apartment and then looked around in Barnes & Noble for the MIL's amusement. I bit my tongue when she suggested it, not having the heart to tell her I'd been in there wasting tie for an hour earlier today and would rather die than walk around there like every other asshole in our small town on a Friday night.

We dropped her back at her car and then headed home finally. I headed tot he office to get this written and posted for the day while the wife and the Yorkie went to the bedroom to watch television.

Tomorrow we fly at the crack of dawn to Arkansas to visit the Father In Law with the Oldest Sister and her family, just to kind of get Christmas out of the way with him and be able to concentrate on things here next week. We'll see how smoothly that shit goes.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

These Are Not The Titties You Seek

Since the theme this week is to open with a paragraph about some random thought, then backtrack to go over the day in detail, I'll open with a bit about the search that's been drawing people here all week long. I don't know who has started celebrating a holiday called 'titties day', but I've had no less than 2 or 3 hits a day for the past week with searches based on those words or variations of 'happy titty day' etc., and it irks me think that I'm missing out on some cool new holiday. All of the traffic is based on a post about a bachelor party from a few years ago called State Fair And Titties Day Two because we'd made a weekend of it and were on the second day of our trip, thus 'titties day' is forever lodged in the Google porn loop leading people into this sinkhole of pop culture and useless personal minutiae that appears daily, sans titties.

So I apologize to all of you who happen to pop by with your pants around your ankles looking for strange boobs, but realistically, what part of Dear Bastards implies nipples for your viewing pleasure?

I slept a little poorly last night due to some weird sinus issues, but still rolled out of bed at 9:00 sharp to get to work because I wanted to make sure I got the second project finished and turned in to the Bossman. I was adamant about this because A) I felt bad for leaving him hanging and B) If he was going to give me static about it and me decide to tell him to suck it, I wanted that over sooner than later, because to hell with waiting for the other shoe to drop. The wife had food to work on for her family's company Christmas party that the Older Sister was hosting at her house, so she was cooking as I worked on my stuff and listened to another (Cool) Shite as well as a new Dead Lantern Splattercast from my perch at the kitchen counter.

The wife split with her two dishes for the luncheon, I promised to dress and follow her as soon as I came to a stopping point, so I was about 30 minutes behind her.

The luncheon was fine, the people that run their family's corporation are all very nice, though there was one new gal who I didn't quite know what to make of. She had an expression of slight distaste or pain on her face at all times, she just never looked very pleasant, even when I could hear her telling someone a story that was obviously funny by the way they were reacting, it was very disconcerting. Which isn't to say that I always look like a giddy tween girl, but I don't think I look generally unpleasant either. The mingling and meal went pretty fast, and I eventually excused myself after about an hour and a half, as I wanted to mail the movies back to those rental throttling pricks at Netfux and then get back to work.

I finished up the second project in the early afternoon, listening to this week's DVD Weekly Podcast while I did so. I called the Bossman and left a message for him, then piddled around the house waiting to hear back from him. I got a bunch of boxes broken down for recycling, and spoke to Macguffin about possibly running around with me tomorrow since I have to be in Odessa to pay that fucking speeding ticket from last week, which he seemed sort of agreeable to, even though he's been feeling a little under the weather this week. I nailed him down to a 'maybe' and agreed to call him when I got into town tomorrow morning.

I eventually decided to run the recycle stuff over and drop it off, taking the two projects with me just to see if a second call might catch him at home on the off-chance he wasn't checking his messages. This ploy was successful, and the drop off was pretty hassle-free, I mentioned the back as being my reason for taking a month to do what I normally do in a week to ten days, which wasn't a lie, I hadn't been very inclined to slump over the counter to work on this stuff when I was first doing the Chiropractor routine. I got a check and more stuff to work on (which I assured him wouldn't be finished any time before January just to give him realistic expectations) and ran by the bank to deposit the check before heading home.

Back at the house the wife was catching a nap before two functions she was set to attend this evening, so I lay down with she and the Yorkie for a few, then she got up and had to leave, so I was surprised to find myself taking an hour long nap without really intending to. I suppose the tired eyes got the better of me.

I've Come Here To Chew Bubblegum And Kick Ass...I ate some leftover pizza for dinner and watched The Foot Fist Way courtesy of those rental throttling pricks at Netfux. The movie was pretty amusing, played very straight in spite of the utterly corn-ball deadly serious martial arts dorks in the film. I was reminded of a few friend of friends and other oddball acquaintances that Macguffin, Buckaroo Banzai and I have had over the years as I watched the flick, and while it builds to not much of a climax, there's some good laughs to be had in there, it's worth a rental for sure.

I noticed a voicemail at some point during the flick, which was from the husband of one of the wife's friends. His wife was hosting a wine-tasting for she and her girlfriends, my wife included, and he was leaving his house to go and have a few beers at the bar with a few friends and was kind enough to call and invite me. I was surprised that he thought of me, but of course got the message an hour and change after he left it and decided to skip it. I may try to call him in the AM to thank him for the invite as a courtesy.

The wife came home as I was looking through the special features on the Foot Fist DVD, we caught up a bit, then I headed to the web to poke around and get started on this for the evening while she curled up in bed with the dog and some bad television.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Playing The Extended Version Of Catch Up

The maid was scheduled for this morning and I had work to finish up, so I was up shortly after 9:00 to stumble to the kitchen and make coffee. The wife was on the computer in the office, so I piddled around in the kitchen until she was finished and then checked e-mail while she got dressed to run a couple of errands.

I got started on my stuff, finishing up the first project entirely while I listened to this week's episode of Cinema Diabolica. The maid arrived and set to her tasks while I continued working on the next project. I made a concerted effort to work my way through some of the backlog on the iPhone, so I worked my way alphabetically down the line, listening to a show apiece from (Cool) Shite, Destroy The Brain, Dread Media and another episode of The Gentlemen's Guide To Midnite Cinema over the course of the afternoon.

The wife came back from her errands in the early afternoon, we caught up a little bit, then I got back to work as the maid split and the wife busied herself in the office some more.

The lawn guys were here in different groups no less than three different times today, I guess this is their final hurrah for cleaning up the beds and taking care of the leaves until the end of the year. I have no idea why they had to come three different times though, that seemed excessive.

The wife and I ordered in a pizza for dinner and watched a couple of movies that'd arrived via those rental throttling pricks at Netfux. We actually sat down to watch something on the DVR only to find out that it had somehow changed channels in mid-film and recorded some other bullshit from the 15 minute mark of the film, so we gave up on that and grabbed one of the rental flicks instead.Curiosity Killed My Cat

The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor looked pretty decent on Blu-ray, but my interest in Jet Li shot me in the foot by making me sit through this corny-ass CGI nightmare. The CGI ranged from decent to Gawdawful, mostly the latter and we got to see Michelle Yeoh command computer generated Yetis (!) as though they were her little helper monkeys. Ridiculous.

Wild Turkey...We also watched a Scottish werewolf flick called Wild Country in which a group of kids camping overnight on the moors find a baby (?) in a nearby abandoned building, and then are pursued by a werewolf puppet. And puppet is putting it kindly, the thing looks amazingly fake and awful, and for whatever reason they insist on showing it in full light for a lot of the time, which does it absolutely no favors at all. I'd say that you can probably pass on this one as well, even though I usually try to give a new werewolf flick a break, this one just loses itself along the way with low-budget effects and little happening. Plus they have a 'werewolf' out and about during the day, which goes against anything lunar-related we might be accustomed to.

The wife and I managed to get into a weirdly tense area, as her piling stuff (Mail, boxes, shopping detritus, etc.) on the kitchen counters had finally reached a point that I had to make some passive aggressive snide remarks and piss her off. I don't know what it is about her personality that makes it okay to junk up every available flat surface in the home, but we've come to this point several times before, so I don't know why she always acts so shocked that it's irritating me. She did take the time to clear up the front room (which was also stacked with her recently delivered Christmas shopping for the family) and the kitchen counters, so that's cool, but I get so fucking tired of feeling like a Dad nagging a child to pick up after herself. Plus, I don't understand how it doesn't bother her, I mean if I had my entire DVD collection piled all over the living room, I'd like to think that she'd wonder what the fuck was going through my mind, not just shrug and walk past it, which is evidently what she expects me to do when she completely junks up any given area of the house.

I'm way too anal retentive to live like that, and it drives me absolutely batshit crazy that she doesn't 'get' why it irritates me.

We talked a bit more about it, but the bottom line is that her 'live and let live' attitude always makes me feel like I'm some kind of uptight controlling dick for being frustrated by this, which in turn makes me more irritated because I know there's a place for this stupid shit somewhere in the house and it's not the kitchen table.

I'm off to beat my head against the headboard of the bed until I pass out, as I don't know if I'll sleep otherwise, because Jesus Christ.

Be seeing you.

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