Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Let Me Tell You About the Best TV Show in the World.

So, I enjoy TV. I watch a fair amount of reality TV, incuding The People's Court, and assorted other shows. Up to this point, I probably would have dubbed The Apprentice my favorite show. But then I went to Philadelphia with Speed, and I discovered something fantastic.

Something groundbreaking.

Something on late at night.

No, not that something.

Something manned by a hipster.

Something...called Cheaters.

First of all, Cheaters believes in charity, and in giving people chances, and I know this because the graphics on the show are clearly designed by monkeys who just graduated from online graphics arts schools. This is not a slam on graphics arts schools, online or other wise, or the people who attend them. What I am saying is that ACTUAL MONKEYS who went to an online graphics arts school quickly found their start at Cheaters, where they promptly layered EVERY screen with eight times the amount of overlay and color and movement required. Further evidence of charity and kindness can be found in the introductory screen that explains that Cheaters is dedicated to the faithful, and goes on to exhort the UNfaithful to reexamine their lives and decisions. Fantastic.

The rest of the staff of Cheaters is comprised of the A-Team and the most awesome TV show host in the world, Joey Greco. Joey Greco cares. He cares about YOU. And he got SHANKED ON NATIONAL TV. That's right, shanked. ON A BOAT. He has a very new-age hipster-yuppie hybrid look, and a soul patch that has the most immaculate grooming I have ever seen on something that is probably comprised of less than 25 hairs. Black outfits, salt and mostly pepper hair, soothing voice, full range of "I am showing concern" facial expressions...this man was made for this job. The key aspect, however, is the undercurrent of shit-stirring tendencies. And this is where it gets awesome.

The show opens with Joey describing the case. Cheaters is apparently a detective agency - whether or not it existed before the show, I don't know. Remember when spy movies were REALLY in, like...three to one, spy movie releases to ALL other releases? And you know the graphics? Where they zoom in with the little crosshair binoculars and there's excessive use of nightvision and all that? Any graphics I mention from here on in are like that, only if you came up with them when you were in your adolescence and kind of went overboard with everything. So Joey's explaining the case, and there's a little dossier graphic where the person is describing why they think their significant other is cheating in one corner of the screen and their age and occupation are listed on the other side. The bottom is taken up by a summary of the case that's apparently written by The People's Court's Voice of Condemnation ("He's accused of....taking a friend to the cleaners."). The clients are generally comprised of the "classy" echelon of Jerry Springer guests, and about half of them are unemployed.

The Cheaters folks then trail the suspected cheater, taking pictures and video. There is always a recorded phone call between the client and the cheater where the cheater lies to the client all "I'm just staying late at work." This portion of the show is peppered with more awesome graphics, including night vision shots and quasi-dossier screens. The best thing is the commentary, some of which I will transcribe below. These people should be writing soap operas, is my point. And then, Joey meets up with the client, usually somewhere sort of strange like a parking lot. He shows the client the (beatiful bean) footage, which often includes tape as caught by hidden cameras of the cheater having sex, which raises a variety of questions as to whether or not it's legal to be showing people porn in random parking lots. I'm guessing not.

Then...the confrontation. Oh yes. Joey then gets VERY excited and I AM A SPY about the whole thing, and the A-Team, comprised of a small army of cameramen and security, drives Joey and the client to where the cheater is with the Other Woman/Man RIGHT NOW! They leap out, and what happens, basically, is Jerry Springer. There's yelling and shrieking and hitting and freaking out and menacing, and it's all INCREDIBLY awesome, because after the intitial bout of accusations/curses/interrogation, Joey starts stirring the shit. "Why are you doing this? Can't you just talk to her? Give her the answers she deserves. Don't you think she deserves that?" More or less running through the list of every question you are totally not willing to deal with from someone who just showed up with the person you're cheating on and stole your juice in front of the person you were cheating with. This, obviously, is what got our hero shanked on a boat. They did the confrontation on the boat, and the cheater got pissed about the juice-stealing and flipped out and stabbed Joey with some sort of fish-gutting knife after sending a member of the A-Team over the side of the boat. Awesome!

Cheaters is on at 11:30 on the WB.

You can thank me later.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Quickie Good article but extremely NSFW text (profanity).

Had a good weekend, more on that later.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I AM the Undiscovered Green Thumb. Word.

So it was Major Gardening/Front Yard Facelift Weekend number two, and it was good times. Weekend number one, of course, was in fall, when I attacked the side yard, which was a waist high - no, seriously - tangle of brambles. Even though I Round-Upped the bejesus out of that side of the house, the day lilies, lily of the valley, and raspberry vines came back, so I'll be yanking out those nefarious raspberries and moving the Day Lily Outpost Number Two from the back yard to the side to fill in the bed, and then I am going to LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE and revel in the day lilies. In the front, I have a...rock "garden" which up until yesterday featured mostly weeds and half buried, iceberg-style rocks. I spent yesterday ripping out the weeds, moving some of the rocks, and digging up and transplanting the larger clumps of siberian iris and trillium that I want to keep. Unfortunately, some of the trillium bit the dust, but that's how it goes. I need to get some more Round-Up, preferably with a more aggressive sprayer than the pull-squeeze-trigger-dribble one that I have now, and then I'll burn everything in there, wait, and put the iris and trillum back in, along with some cute ground cover, the varigated iris I bought from the Holden Garden Club ladies at their Perennial Sale this weekend, and other assorted items.

I also will be edging the garden and possibly putting in a small fountain. I like the idea of using the rocks for a calming little dribulet, and you can hook up solar powered ones now, so hopefully I can do that without too much major engineering required. We'll see. I also went over to the dark side and bought a hosta this weekend (as well as an oriental lily and an AWESOME hanging fuchia. It is a BEAST and I bought it at the Holden Garden and Dead Plant Center, so I was quite excited to see something a.) living and b.) that I wanted there.), so that will go in the shadier back yard when the time comes. The HGaDPC also has the newer gazing balls that look sort of like soap bubbles that I secretly covet, as opposed to the icky different colors of chrome gazing balls that I hate with a burning passion (which they also have, but I ignore). However, they want $65 or so for them, so to them I say "EBAY".

I am hoping that I have in fact inherited the Gustafson Green Thumb from Mormor and Mom. My bonsai seem to indicate that I have done so, barring the one I rescued from Home Depot (*shakes fist*) which is having a fit of some kind. However, even that one is not dead, so that's a good sign. I do not seem to be particularly good at transplating and repotting things, but I am improving. Speed's SNOTTY COMMENTS do not help, but what can you do. THOSE WHO MOCK ONLY DO SO BECAUSE THEY CANNOT HANDLE ANYTHING ABOVE PLASTIC PLANTS. We'll see how this goes.

So, the battle plan is as follows. Remove as many smaller-than-very-heavy-and-unmovable rocks to somewhere else, use garden claw (I got a mini one this weekend - AWESOME - and hope to borrow Speed's parents' full size one) to till soil, Round Up the hell out of any and all weeds and hangers-on, wait three days, Round-Up again, wait three days, Round-Up again (I have a lot of violets which I do not want in the front. They are pretty but insidious and tough.), then till soil again, throw in some good new soil, install fountain if possible while rearranging rocks, edge garden, put new and old plants back in, and water the hell out of the whole thing. It's a totally foolproof plan!

And then...the front beds next to the stairs. Sigh. Including a major surgery of a rhododendron bush from the foot of the driveway to the other side of the stairs.

Well, we're behind on the news, so here's the brief rundown. Things that have happened to, around, and in the house recently:
1. Garden Avenging as explained above.
2. Driveway widened and repaved.
3. Trees in front yard taken down by Fat Freddie Mercury and the Crew That Kind of Probably Totally Fired Him Within a Week.
4. Trees taken down in side yard by Fat Freddie Mercury and Crew.
5. American flag installed next to front door.
6. New fish bought. One new fish went kaput.
7. Cady and Flyboy discovered the Joy of Paper Goods Destruction, necessiting a lot of crankiness and stern "NOs."
8. Wheels changed on Stratus to low profile tires made out of pure awesome.
9. Speed busted out mad construction skills to build model of fortepiano, which the Columbia, SC guy agreed to sell to us.
10. We tried to fit it in both the Durango (alllllllmost) and the Cirrus (no).
11. Speed got to use the mower he bought to avenge the lawn. It was awesome.
12. The back yard was cleared enough to provide a clear view of the dry dock marina in our neighbors' yard, so that we can put up a fence so we don't have to look at it.

There were also two trips. The first was to Tacoma, Washington to visit with Anna Karenina, her two kitties, her mom, and her sister, who may be in need of an exorcism. It's always sad to me to see a kid who obviously HAS the skills to act like a human being but clearly thinks that those skills are wasted on parents. Although they do have a point, I mean...they only gave you LIFE, for God's sake. Jeez. Why BOTHER. AK looks good, and has a ROCKIN' apartment with the coolest bathroom in the WORLD. Got to see the sights around Tacoma and Seattle, which was so, so cool, and so gorgeous, and also got to meet the cool kids she coaches on the swim team. It was awesome to see AK and hopefully provide some moral support and such, since life was kind of like "let's play a game..." and dumped nineteen different very major and very exhausting problems/situations on her at once. Went to Safeco Field, too, which was fun for a variety of reasons, in no particular order: retractable roof, SUSHI for sale in concourse, unexpectedly gorgeous day, beautiful field, actually fun megatron games, doofy headshots, and surprisingly awesome seats considering we walked up maybe three minutes before the game.

Trip number two was to Pennsylvania for a Grandpa Gus memorial service and family reunion. Speed braved not only several bridges, which he does NOT like, but the experience of meeting extended family on BOTH sides, since we stopped in New Jersey to have breakfast with Nerdly and the Shaman, a good start to the day since they are calm and do not live in an ant farm, which speaking of...and visit Grandma and Granddad at home, where Speed and Granddad chatted baseball and Grandma gave us a tour of the house and "grounds" as it were. Speed brought an old sewing machine for the Collection, which was a total hit. He is so thoughtful, and perfectly summed up the pros and cons of bringing said sewing machine with the analogy - "if I gave a crack addict a bunch of crack, they'd probably love me, but..." We then proceeded on to Norristown, PA for the family reunion, and THAT was madness. Cool madness but madness nonetheless. He met everyone - EVERYONE - and had fun, and we had a great discussion about Quakerism and how that all worked, since he was there for the Quaker memorial service for Grandpa Gus. It was wonderful to hear everyone's stories about GG and to see everyone remember him so fondly, and I think it was a good crash course for Speed, who's been curious but not quite ready to make the Checking Out Meeting Sometime jump. I think it was good for him to see that it was a very accepting religion and in fact that many of the people present were NOT practicing Friends, but a healthy mix of protestants and Catholics and whatever else. GG's daughter also was able to make it, which was nice, although Jill and her son (by GG) did not show. It was a really fun getogether, and a nice time spent with Speed, and we stayed in an AWESOME hotel suite. Good times.

Also, as mentioned before, WE GOT THE FORTEPIANO! We're paying $7000 plus transportation, which will be about $1000 at best, but I am very very glad that we're getting it, and so is Speed, and so is the family, so although it's aspensive, it's worth it.

We've jokingly mentioned taking the model Speed built and burning it on her lawn. Heh.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

In A Dusty Black Coat and a Red Right Hand

Take a litle walk to the edge of town,
Go across the tracks, where the viaduct looms like a bird of doom.
As it shifts and cracks where secrets lie in the border fires, in the humming wires -
Hey man, you know you're never coming back.
Past the square, past the bridge, past the mills, past the stacks.
On a gathering storm comes a tall handsome man,
In a dusty black coat with a red right hand.

He'll wrap you in his arms,tell you that you've been a good boy.
He'll rekindle all the dreams it took you a lifetime to destroy.
He'll reach deep into the hole, heal your shrinking soul -
Hey buddy, you know you're never ever coming back.
He's a god, he's a man, he's a ghost, he's a guru.
They're whispering his name through this disappearing land,
But hidden in his coat is a red right hand.

You ain't got no money? He'll get you some.
You ain't got no car? He'll get you one.
You ain't got no self-respect; you feel like an insect.
Well don't you worry buddy,cause here he comes,
Through the ghettos and the barrio and the bowery and the slum -
A shadow is cast wherever he stands;
Stacks of green paper in his red right hand.

You'll see him in your nightmares,you'll see him in your dreams;
He'll appear out of nowhere, but he ain't what he seems.
You'll see him in your head,on the TV screen, and hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off -
He's a ghost, he's a god,he's a man, he's a guru.
You're one microscopic cogin, his catastrophic plan;
Designed and directed by his red right hand..."

If you haven't heard that song, by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, get to it as soon as you can. I associate it strongly with one of the Two Things I Think Are Awesome Even Though Most People Find That Creepy, political machines (the other is Machiavelli as Leadership Example), which I have been thinking quite fondly of in the past few years. I can't remember who it was on NPR talking about how really, no matter what your political affiliation is, it's been a depressing five years - economic havoc, National Debt chaos, war, terrorist attacks, etc. I wish I could, because they put it very well. It's sad to see America in such a chaotic domestic state...I'm not wild about the foreign policy aspect, either, but the domestic one is the saddest part. America is the Land of Opportunity, right? Yay! So why is the Debt so insane and funding for the public good getting picked away at? I guess the root cause is that no one seems to give a shit about anyone but themselves any more, which is fine on the face, but...sad. It's truly sad when people don't care about their fellow man, and I think that's a lot to do with why I like living in Holden - you might not be able to rake your leaves into the street, but people interact here. They say hi and care about your house being empty when you go away, and ask about your pets. If only that could exist on a grand scale, it would be so much better. No one is supposed to be an island unto themselves.

On the current list of Things I Like a Whole Bunch...Avis has a commercial now with various Normal People driving in "hip" cars like a Hummer, and that wacky looking new Chevy HHR critter while the Ruff Ryders Anthem plays. Maybe I'm just easily amused, but I am in full and enthusiastic support of anything featuring velour-sweatsuit-wearing senior citizens strutting away from their Hummer while clicking their car lock remote over their shoulder while DMX growls about how he's gonna "stop, drop, shut 'em down open up shop."