Running commentary

29 07 2007

Some commentary on life as of late.

  1. Finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was a good read. The ending was satisfying. I just felt the pacing was off (much too slow to start) and the ending could have been better conceived and executed. Still, a pretty darn good read and a decent way to finish. I think adapting this book to film will be a fairly easy process if they cut out all the flotsam for the beginning and maybe play up the ending a little more. I’m really excited to see the 6th and 7th books adapted for the big screen. They’ll make excellent movies. The 6th book, by the way, is awesome. So at this point, I’ve read the 1st, 6th and 7th books and seen all the movies thus far. If I decide to backtrack on the reading, I might just skip (or skim) the second and go straight to the third.
  2. This has not been a good weekend for air travel. Check the news.
  3. I’m beginning to rethink the romanticism I sometimes feel about the college years. Those were pretty savage times. Did it have to be that way? I don’t think so. Knowing what I know now, there are different approaches I could have taken. But to what end? Maybe those occasionally fruitless or painful experiences were essential. In fact, they are essential. And the funny thing is, the journalism landscape now is totally different than it was when I was just starting out. It’s a lot more me-friendly now. Maybe ridiculously so. ALSO: The West has a different attitude from the South and from the East. The people I went to college with are almost a world away from the people I currently work with. People out here, whether from the area or from somewhere else, are just a lot more chill. Relaxed. No hurry. No rush. No pretense (relatively speaking). Be that good or bad, I’m not sure. But this attitude is less prevalent in Arizona, which picks up on the fast-paced nature of Los Angeles, although to a lesser degree. Image is of greater importance in Arizona. People are more sarcastic. Sometimes bitter, in fact. I don’t know why, but I know I had to tone it down a little when I moved here so that I fit in a little better. Somehow the traditionalism of the South cuts down on a lot of things: women wearing clothing that is too revealing, use of bad words, use of sarcasm, etc. But you know… for the most part, it’s that same sun-belt mentality of sunshine and possibility. That I like.
  4. Went out, bought a vacuum and two area rugs, and then took them to Starbucks with me. And then I carried both these items on the train.

Let me make a comment for Chrissakes

21 07 2007

I can’t make comments for the current time period. This sucks. It says I’m making them “too quickly.” Hmmm. Well it *is* my blog.

In Iowa news: They’re going to have a Harry Potter carved out of butter at the state fair this year. Unfortunately, I’m planning to be in Arizona rather than illustrious Iowa at that time. Hey, if I were going to Iowa, I could get my dingblasted birth certificate AND stare at fictional characters gloriously represented in butter at the same time. Dang. In Arizona, of course, they do have a cactus carved out of butter most years, so I guess it’s a tradeoff.

The Chinese Takeout Ninja is back again. Yesterday, while in the middle of a really suspenseful Harry Potter passage, as rain beat down pretty hard outside, I heard a sort of faint scratching noise, and then I looked back into the kitchen and was surprised to see one of those folded takeout menus moving in and out of my door crack in a sort of a sawing motion. It was like some wizard (or maybe just a jerk) on the other side was like, “Hahaha, I bet we can really annoy her by doing this!” Finally the person or thing or whatever left it jammed in the door and booked it. I never saw who or what it was. Whoever it is is driving me batty because I can’t use any more of these. I’ve got so many. And it’s not just one restaurant. It’s practically every restaurant on Roswell Road. Sigh.

I had a post office adventure to go pick up that iPod Nano that mom sent me. I like it. I’m using it right now. This is my fourth MP3 player. The ones that came before it died after two months or less due to cheap construction. The iPod Nano feels solid and the click-wheel thing is really nice once you get used to how it works. My only gripe is that Apple has rigged this thing to babysit you to some degree; you can’t just drag and drop music, but you can drag and drop other kinds of files. To gain access to the music, you have to search around the Internet for one of the many workarounds that have been created. For example, I wanted to save the music that was already on it, so used a third-party app to extract it before my first sync. (I’m not stealing music per se; it belongs in the family and we have the original CDs). Otherwise, illustrious iTunes would have wiped the iPod clean before copying a new set of files to the device.

I ate at the World Peace Cafe. I’m not a big vegetarian-vegan type person, but I enjoyed the food. (Unfortunately, I was very tempted to stop at Burger King immediately afterward.) This place rocks. They even have mint juleps. I also went to this noodle place that has great iced tea selections and decent food.

I wanted to shop at Psycho Sisters, but it was closed. This is a consignment store that sells all kinds of retro stuff. It’s cool.

I attended a Harry Potter party thingy at Barnes & Noble. Yeah. Quiet down there in the peanut gallery, please. The one nearest me had costumed people from local radio theater reading parts of the book. At the stroke of midnight, the players received the new book and began reading the first few pages. They did a good job reading the passages in character, given that none of them appeared to have seen this new book before. The guy dressed as Snape was particularly impressive. His cape was long and imposing. People had to step out of his way to avoid tripping him. It was a good look for him.

I have not bought the new book yet. I will do it eventually, but I’m still on the sixth book. I already heard a little bit about how the last book ends and I guess it can wait until I’ve spent the time reading the book before it. The fun isn’t the destination, but the journey.

I think it’s impressive that this book has developed such a following and that people dig it so much. I hope it does a bit of good for our collective psyches. Honestly, watching some parts reminded me of the feeling I got the first time I saw the Star Wars movies. It’s beyond comprehension, really. And for once, it really lives up to the lofty hype.


20 07 2007

People are coming to my blog with some very INTERESTING KEYWORDS lately, most of them involving Harry and/or Draco.  Ahem. And then some crap about clowns.

I’ve just been … not in the mood to blog as much as I have been. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s good to get away from the computer every now and then. I certainly don’t want to be chained to this thing.

I really feel that things are looking up in Real Life. Granted, I still hate Iowa its their bureaucracy, but I can at least deal with it. 30 days minimum to process my birth certificate request? Were that many people actually born in Iowa that it takes that long? Whatever, I’m in a zen state.
I’m really fascinated with Harry Potter now as an example of a cohesive work of art. I am studying Rowling’s text very carefully because I intend to do some writing someday. Maybe someday soon.

Last night I bit the bullet and saw the fifth movie and I’m now in the process of reading the Half-Blood Prince. My favorite movie is the fourth movie. The fifth is very suspenseful though and I dig the whole deal about the mind stuff and youknowwhatImean.

My latest train story is a few days ago, I sat down and then this ogre-ish guy sat next to me. He was just really icky, like an ogre. Like something out of a storybook. Sorry but it’s true. And then, he spots a mousy mother pushing her cute little blonde daughter in a stroller, and he offers her his seat and just keeps going out of his way to be nice to her. She’s like, yeah, that’s OK, I’m fine, Mr. Ogre. And so she stands in the baggage area. And then the ogre just keeps making cutesy little faces at the little girl, and then he finally walks over toward the mother and tries to make conversation. “What’s her name? XXXX you say? That’s the prettiest name I’ve ever heard!” And he just keeps on talking to them and it’s just really creepy. I dunno. And then he eventually goes back to the seat by me but he continues to make cutesy faces at the little girl, and he takes his shoe off and starts itching his sock foot. And then at some point I got off and breathed a sigh of relief.

Oh, and then there’s the problem of rain/condensation. Today, the train made a sudden stop and water poured out of the air conditioner and onto the floor. Like a ton of it, like someone turned over a bucket. I’ve seen this happen before and unfortunately, if you’re unlucky you might get a surprise bath. Just somethin’ weird.

Thank Godness for the weekend.


16 07 2007

I’ve been sucked into the black hole of work and sleep and the popular culture abyss, hence no writing for the last couple of days. And really, there’s nothing to report. Which is a good thing, right? Let me dig around…

Let’s see… Well now I’ve made it through a few Harry Potter movies and I think I’m starting to like the whole storyline, and I’m a little surprised at myself, to be honest.

Also, I am going to have to try to see if the great state of Iowa will send me a birth certificate to prove that I do in fact exist. This means I have to send them a notarized photocopy of my ID card. I’ll have to find someone who can do that. Oh by the way, I was born in Iowa and I can tell you there is more there than corn fields. Like, uh, gosh I don’t know. There’s a couple of good schools, a state fair, a botanical garden and the charming German Pietists of the Amana colonies. It doesn’t get much better than that. Except in Arizona.

The meaning of life and rubber chickens

14 07 2007

On Friday, yesterday, I faced a major conundrum: to buy a rubber chicken or not to buy a rubber chicken. (I’m pretty sure Shakespeare had a few situations like this in his day.) I opted not to, and now I regret it.

This happened to me before in Vegas. I was in a magic shop and I came close to buying a rubber chicken but I just couldn’t do it. Every time I get the chance, it’s like I freak out and I can’t go through with it.

In a way, rubber chickens are a metaphor for life. Do you seize the moment and grab that rubber chicken by his spindly neck, or you, uh, chicken out? How many times have you missed out on the rubber chickens of your life because you thought it was too indulgent, too trivial?

Seriously though, one of these days I’ll buy one and walk through the city so that for once, I can be the freekazoid in someone else’s blog.

In other news, the train operator kind of forgot to stop at the station before the one where I get off. Without apologizing, the operator simply said, “Those of you who were going to get off at the last stop can get off at the next stop and catch the train going back in the other direction. It should be coming soon.” Well I should hope so. (I once had an experience where I got to my station and then the doors near me wouldn’t open. By the time I realized what had happened, we were off to the next station and it took me forever to get back. And then I got the same defective train door situation and almost missed getting out *again*… heh. And then there was the time when I got off the train and trudged up the long, broken escalator, only to find that all the doors out of the station were locked. Running up the side stairwells (5 or 6 stories high) was to no avail as they had a grate covering the front of them as well. The only solution was to run back to the platform and wait for a train to come, at which point I asked an operator to buzz for help.)

[WARNING: THIS IS KINDA GROSS] Oh, and to get rid of that thing on my face, that two-in-one tunneling cyst of doom, I’m on (pricey!) antibiotics and the occasional delightful hydrocortisone shot right in the bullseye. Apparently there is a slim-to-none chance that it will go away on its own. So far, so good. It’s already a lot less noticeable and it’s only day 1 of treatment. A funny thing happened on the way out of the doc’s office as I tried to run out before someone saw the bulging, pulsating sack of cortisone on my reddened cheek: A woman approached me and asked, “Are you here for your skin?” Uh, yes. “Is it expensive?” Heh. [END GROSSNESS]

Your general direction

14 07 2007

OK, multiple individuals are coming here looking for an “I fart in your general direction” T-Shirt. Now, this blog isn’t just a platform for me to spew so-called humor and rants and whatnot tidbits of my so-called life. This is a public service that I am performing here. So I thought I would better the world for humanity by doing a little searching myself. (Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone wore “I fart in your general direction” T-shirts? Pretty much everyone but the French would be thrilled. Heck, they might like it too. I think it would be difficult to fight wars if everyone was … you know … in each other’s general direction, too.) Anyways. From what I’ve seen, you have a few options:

  • Google searching (recommended)
  • Try some of the merchants from that list. They can sell you the shirt.
  • Actually farting in someone’s general direction, seeing the hilarious results and then using that as the inspiration for drawing your own shirt
  • Going to see the Python show in Vegas at the Wynn, finding someone there wearing the shirt and then farting in their general direction until they’re begging for mercy
  • This is a really ridiculous post

Harry and Kumar go to White Castle

13 07 2007

You know you would watch it.

Searching for Harry Potter on the Internets is a perilous journey paved with teasing innuendo for a lack of better wording, as well as plenty of bad puns. And Hairy Potters. And Harry and the Potters. (Don’t forget the cute animal reenactments either.) And, at one point, and at work to boot, I turned up a Harry Potter in an inappropriate state of dress. WHOOPS! What a travesty. Sorry, I’m not linking to it.

Really, it was unintentional.

I don’t know what my point is, but I’m definitely having a good movie night.


12 07 2007

Wow, today was … pleasant! Imagine that. I walked out the door and birds were singing. It was sort of like “It’s a Small World” without the insano-dolls, annoying music and boat ride. I got on the train, and it was surprisingly devoid of craziness. And then I went to work and it was pleasant. Just very, very pleasant. Smile.

You won’t find me waiting in line to see Harry Potter at midnight. But I wish those that do so the best of luck, and I hope something crazy and nonviolent happens to make the evening more fun. Like what, I don’t know.

One thing I thought I would touch on, since it’s a quiet day, is the popularity of that “I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?” site, which is consistently trading top positions with more serious blogs in my top blogs list on my dashboard. This site features cats (“lolcats”) with amusing somesense/nonsense captions placed on the images. Look, I can’t just sit around and let this opportunity pass me by. I gotta get me some o’ deez hits…. thinking…. thinking…. ideas?

  • iCan have cheeseburgr?

By the way, it sometimes amuses me that all the McDonalds food now has a picture of an exercising and fit Ronald McDonald on it. You gotta admit, he looks good. I mean *good* …. drool. Back to regularly scheduled programming.



11 07 2007

I got another weird train story for ya. Eventually I’m going to have to find something else to write about but these are pretty funny so I’m gonna telling ’em as long as I gots ’em. So I’m riding on a crowded to the gills train this morning and I spot one open seat next to an odd guy. We’ll call him OG for short. He was slightly odd. And so am I. So I have sympathy. So he seems relatively harmless; I mean he’s making nervous gestures and wiping himself feverishly with a white washcloth, but that’s nothing I can’t handle.

Then I notice that he’s sneezing and blowing his nose or wiping his nose/mouth area with this cloth, and then, for some inconceivable reason, he’s wiping this cloth on an empty seat to the side of him. Essentially, he is smearing gook from his oral-nasal area onto the seat via washcloth. This is kind of driving me nuts. And then, he proceeds to pas gas in a very obvious manner. It made a funny-sounding noise, and I kind of smiled and giggled. WHOOPS! Oops! I shouldn’t have done that. Dang. I haven’t evolved to the point where I can remain maintain stoic countenance even as flatulence occurs around me. So I pull a book out and proceed to attempt to read it and distract myself from this guy and his wiping. As I’m reading, I feel little drops of wetness dripping on me. My first thought is, Oh, God, is he leaking bodily fluids on me? And then I realized it was just condensation from the air conditioner. Whew. Wait. Actually, ick. This is a train we’re talking about.

And… that’s the story. Sorry folks, that’s all for now. Tune in next time for Train Stories II: The Passenger of Azkaban.

Never look at a balloon animal the same way again

10 07 2007

Warning: This entry touches on sexual and adult themes that I consider to be PG or possible PG-13 in the context of storytelling, but nothing too offensive or gratuitous. Still, reader discretion is advised.

I guess I should write about the bizarre references to piracy of the “aarrrrrhh” sort that I saw during the day that was. I saw a girl dressed in an actual pirate costume during the morning commute. A girl across from her, not related or in the same party, was wearing a head wrap that looked like something a pirate maiden would wear. There was a guy wearing something of that sort a few seats down. And then, when I walked out of the train into the station, I saw a guy with a black eye patch. How many guys have you seen with an eye patch in the last year? I think it’s been a couple years since I have seen an actual eye patch being used for eye purposes and not “aaarrrrhhh” or “aye” purposes.

Pretty eerie, I tell ya.

Oh, on the way back? Ballroom dancing during the lengthy wait at the transfer point (off hours).

This makes me want to write about my “costumes on a train” experiences. Whenever there is a convention or big event, one will encounter these kinds of characters. For example, during the dragon conning thing, a girl in a full vintage pirate costume accompanied me on the way home. (There was an odd mixture of intentionally/unintentionally costumed geeks along with jocks from various sporting events.) I’ve sat with balloon handlers from parades and others of the sort. On the street, I’ve encountered fully costumed patrons of Santa conventions in the middle of February and the occasional HEADLESS EASTER BUNNY at the mall.

But possibly the strangest transit-character experience I’ve ever had (not including “Mr. Happy Hands,” the day-after-Christmas committer of lewd acts) is this one clown that sat with me on a bus in Phoenix during Mardi Gras in 2006. I was riding home late one evening after staying late at work in Tempe. This was during a weird time when I was staying up in North Phoenix and commuting (by bus! or car occasionally) to my job in Tempe, shortly before I made the Southern Migration. So this clown gets on the bus and he sits near me — I think next to me — and I’m like, oh geez. Not a clown. And he’s like, hi, I’m a clown, haha, and I’m like, yech. He’s got this mobile balloon-blowing unit with him and it’s taking up part of the aisle.

So we talk a little about the clown life, about makin’ balloon animals and whatnot, and I’m like, gotta keep him happy. Gotta keep him talking. Smiling with that little clown smile and little clown nose. And so then, we get talking about working the Mardi Gras and the craziness of it all. Wow, Mr. Clown, that must be wild. All that debauchery. Whoops, now he’s talking about how he likes to please the crowds and so on and so forth, and how he often will make adult-oriented balloon animals with sexual themes. People request them. Isn’t that hilarious? Haha. The most popular isn’t what you would think; it’s of dogs. Two of them. Of course, he only makes them after 9 p.m., because they’re not appropriate for the kiddies and they ought not to get lessons about the inflatable sorts of birds and bees too soon. Would I like one? Haha, no thanks. Oh, you’ve got to get going so soon? It was nice meeting you, Mr. Clown. Have a good evening!

I’ve never been able to look at a balloon animal the same way again.