Holy crap

7 09 2007

I forgot to mention that I saw Kevin Sorbo (that Hercules dude) in the flesh. I can die happy now. OK, not really.

Bleed American

7 09 2007

So where have I been all my life? Or at least this past week or so. That’s a good question. The answer is I’m currently ready to start sleeping off a long week. See, it’s Labor Day week and that means … you know what that means. So recent highlights include:

  • Working some heavy hours due to reduced holiday staffing and a desire to keep things at a reasonably productive level
  • Celebrating the contributions of the Working Man to the United States of America over Labor Day weekend by
    • A. Working (To be honest, everything is either closed or crowded, so I don’t mind working on this kind of holiday.)
    • B. Checking out the Dragon*Con (sci-fi/fantasy/anime/Star Trek/everything convention).
  • Riding the train home from work on Sunday and meeting a guy covered in fake blood holding a sign that says “free hugs”
  • Watching that guy and another guy not only engage in physical contact of the friendly-male sort, but also eat some of the bloodstuff
  • Finding out that the blood has a strawberry-mint essence
  • Getting “evil energy” drinks for free
  • Waiting in line
  • Fighting my way through crowds
  • Eating tasty Willy’s Mexican Grille chow in an eating area full of Storm Troopers
  • Watching a storm trooper trying to buy sundries in the souvenir shop without removing their costume.
  • Watching a storm trooper rip his helmet off in disgust and say to the security guard telling him to go to the other door: “Awwww, man!”
  • Not being able to tell friend from foe from security guard because everybody looks evil and weapons-equipped
  • That guy dressed as a robot with a cardboard codpiece made out of an Apple Macintosh box.

I like codpieces. They’re the best part of Ren Faires, which are otherwise typically hot, dusty, expensive and generally difficult, with often nightmarish traffic.

There’s a certain society in these Cons (at least this one) and it can be a little odd for people like me who feel sort of like outsiders. On the other hand, I saw a good deal of people doing Cosplay that wasn’t really true sci-fi or fantasy. There were Spartan cheerleaders, and I couldn’t count the number of “Clerks 2” work uniforms and Silent Bob wannabes. (Granted, there is a tiny bit of geekery present in these fandoms)

I think a funny storyline for a movie (of the cheesy romantic comedy sort) would be a person who tries to geek themself out to attract someone. I mean think about the humorous possibilities of Joe Cool…

[Pause to kill speedy roach intruder. Seriously.]

…trying to learn about D&D and putting on a fur suit at a convention. I think it would be totally sweet. Hell, I’m going to write it up.

It’s about time I got back to work on the Great American Novel. Until later, I bid you adieu. Anyway why am I dinking around on teh Internets at 3 a.m.? Shame on me.

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.

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


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.

Commuter hell

9 07 2007

Pardon me, this entire entry is a big ol’ rant. Fair warning. If you don’t like a good rant, go **** yourself. No, just kidding, just skip this entry. 🙂 By the way, is it possible to have italic smileys? I guess it kind of is, and it kind of isn’t. 

Sunday for me is commuter hell. It’s probably a good day to drive in Atlanta but it’s a bad day to be going to work at 6 a.m. via train. On the plus side, I’ve actually been getting some *sleep* lately, for a change… so let’s begin this story for today, shall we? It’s kind of like a storybook tale. Let us begin…

Once upon a time, there was a wise King named Arthur, who ruled a vast kingdom called Atlanta along with his nagging wife, Queen Marta. Everything was peachy keen in this peach-infested land until one day, Marta decided she’d had enough of the faulty trains. She called for track work all through the kingdom, especially on the north-south lines. But she wasn’t sure how to do it without disrupting service, so she hit up her homegirls for some ideas. When they failed her, she called on MC Merlin, Wizard of Funk, to share his ideas. Unfortunately, Merlin had had some of that “special” mushroom pizza that day. Still, he had some flashes of brilliance left in him, even through all the psychedelic colors that were flying through his brain.

“Why don’t you just run all the trains on one track? They’ll just take turns. Sure, there’ll be some delays, but you can always thank people for their consideration and/or understanding if things get too bad,” he said, and Marta was thrilled. “That’s so wonderful!” she said.

So from then on, trains were delayed at off hours. At certain points where routes split off in two, travelers were required to transfer to another train for the split-off part to keep the track segments as short as possible. Thus it remains today. The problem is they’re not very vigilant about making sure you have a train to switch to when you get to one of the transfer points, especially not on Sunday morning at 5:30 a.m. (They try much harder at busy times) So not only do trains run every 20 minutes, but you have to get off and wait another 20 minutes for your transfer.

So I get on there and get to a transfer point, and I sit around for a long time. (Keep in mind, it’s literally the plumber-butt crack of dawn and I really need to get to work.) And then, a northbound train arrives, but I need to go southbound. Logically, I should wait for a southbound train to come, right? Wrong! The platform operator, one of the Knights of Marta, directs everyone on the center platform to get on the northbound train to go southbound. OK, “directs” is more like “hollers and shouts.” OK, all right. So I get on the northbound train to go southbound, and the driver announces that we’ll be going northbound. So then some people ask the operator whether we’ll really be going northbound, and she’s like, get on this train to go southbound. And I’m like, you better tell the driver that. The doors on one side start to close and we end up blocking the doors on the other side so the train can’t leave until we get some answers. “Southbound!” they continue to say, gesturing at the northbound train.

So a southbound train appears and we’re all jazzed to get on it, but we’re informed that although this train has stopped here and opened its doors for us, we are not to get on it. It’s out of service. So we wait for the empty train to leave southbound so we can catch another train directly behind it. *shrug* And that’s it. Finally, I got out and walked the rest of the way instead of bothering to wait for my final transfer.

The moral of this story is I need to hurry up and figure out some other way of getting around! First, I need to change out my driver’s license, and then we’ll move from there. Of course, I still think I’ll take the train a lot during rushy-rushy-hour situations; I just hope to not be dependent on it so much.

Wackiness timeline

7 07 2007

So today was pretty wacky, man. Let’s go over the timeline here:

08:30 — awaken from slumber in the morning. As in por la manyana. Something ain’t right about this. Proceed to dink around on the Internet and read Canadian advice columns. That they are Canadian is merely coincidental, but it does hold my attention a bit longer.

09:30 — discover fairly large and apparently dead frog on steps to apartment. This is not a typical thing to see. I’m not sure if it was a pet or something that lives in one of the trees or what. We do have a lot of cats roaming around and they might have found some prey. It was a pretty sad sight, actually. As I’m looking at it, a maintenance man drives by and says, “It’s dead. We just found it there. It looks like a frog.” I can see that everyone else who walks by it is stopping to examine the body. I wasn’t sure whether I should call the frog police or what. I just left it there. It’s gone now.

12:30 — finally start doing laundry. Proceed to drop various items of clothing at inopportune times.

5:30 — finish laundry. Attempt to head downtown to complete errands. This proves futile.

17:00 — Mud pie at Dairy Queen and then a smoothie from Orange Julius. Odd conversation with the Julius guy, who announces to me and two other guys near me, “It’s getting hot in here! So buy a smoothie!” And I’m like, huh? And he’s like, “You know Nelly, who sings ‘It’s getting hot in here?’ You know that song? He wasn’t singing about girls, he was singing about smoothies!” And then he proceeds to sing the song. Meanwhile, there is a convention for the blind going on, and there are blind people EVERYWHERE. I almost trip over their guide polls, they almost trip over each other and the guide dogs make new friends. Look, I don’t want to make light of blind people and disability, but it was getting a little chaotic in there. So then I see this guy walk straight into a bench, which shifts position like two feet, and then he grabs his knee in pain. I thought it was a blind guy at first, but he was actually sighted, and I started to chuckle, but I quickly switched to an uber-fake cough. And he’s like, “You’re laughing at me, aren’t you?” And I’m like, “No, I’m not *giggle* I’m not laughing you *giggle*” And then I tried to pretend like I wasn’t laughing some more and finally I looked away and pretended to be laughing at something else, like the, uh, blind people over there… umm…. never mind.

18:30 — attempt to head down Ponce de Leon to a museum exhibit. Fail miserably and end up visiting some nice parks and bike paths and thinking to myself, “That would be a great place to stash a body.” Hitch a bus eastward to Avondale station (in/near Decatur, an eastern suburb) and ride the train westbound back into Atlanta proper.

21:00 — I am on a train and I see a clown. He is scary because he is only half of a clown really. He evokes the “uncanny valley” effect by being mostly human, but also being slightly “off.” (FYI for those who are not familiar: The uncanny valley is a theory that objects have certain thresholds for humanness in which they are more and less positively perceived. The chart shows neutral or even more positive reception when dealing with healthy humans and robots like R2-D2 that are obviously not human, but have positive human traits. Most negatively perceived are corpses and other things that are kind of human, but not quite. This “valley” of perception ratings is the “uncanny valley” if you draw it out as a line chart. Well sort of. You get the idea. Those faceless people in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and the zombies from “Silent Hill” video games come to mind…) So this clown has a greasy ponytail, smeared pink (grease?) makeup all over his face (it’s hard to take off such makeup without a concerted effort not to smear it into a mess, as I recall from my limited experience as a mime), white/red striped overalls and a plain T-shirt. He looks like a normal human dressed up in messed-up clown’s clothes. People were visibly creeped out on the train.

Sometime later in the evening: I’m on the train and a father is teasing his kids by making them guess what MARTA stands for. Winner gets a dollar. I want to yell out METROPOLITAN ATLANTA REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY, but alas, he warns the kids not to ask me or they’ll be disqualified. I start to laugh mainly out of tension and frustration. The kids were really struggling. “Main area!” “Is this Spanish?” “Main Atlanta!” And so on, so forth. They’re going to be in the funny farm by the end of the weeklong trip. They’re too young to figure this out without asking someone. My guess is they’ll find a way to ask somebody. They were trying the newspaper, which is a good start, what with MARTA being in the news for accidentally marking July as having 30 days instead of 31 (for monthly passes) — of course, it should be noted that cards will work for the 31st day anyway. But the bottom line is, even I almost was going insane, and I knew the answer. Maybe it’s because I knew the answer. One of the kids was like, “I’m going to go nuts if I don’t get the answer!” And then, while he was walking out of the train, the dad whispered to me, “I think my dollar is safe!”