Along with the sporadically updated main blog here, and the ever dwindling in quality and content entertainment sidebar, and with my insanely prolific work over at Rack Raids (203 reviews in 10 months!), I’ve started a new blog.
It’s called Buy Nothing Year and it chronicles my journey of going cold turkey on the purchasing (but not acquisition) of comics, DVDs, cds, junk food and other such vices for the year of 2008. I realize it’s not 2008 yet, but with only 95 days left to go, it’s not that far off either. Plus, a lot of preparation is taking place in anticipation of BNY.
The site is basically in “BETA” mode at the moment, with Toast taking on the task of helping out with the design for when it goes live (and when it goes live, this blog and the sidebar will go kaput, and BNY will become “geekent.com”). There are about 16 posts there right now, and it’s actually updated regularly (moreso than here even). Take a look, feel free to comment, and believe that an entertainment junkie can cut himself off from the source… or watch as he fails.
Along with the sporadically updated main blog here, and the ever dwindling in quality and content entertainment sidebar, and with my insanely prolific work over at Rack Raids (203 reviews in 10 months!), I’ve started a new blog.
The wee one doesn’t like meat… he likes chicken nuggets from McDonalds and the trashy microwaveable roast beef we get from the grocery store (I really need to learn how to cook a roast properly… have to consult Mom2 on that one). He especially doesn’t like pork, and it’s always a struggle to get him to eat the tiniest of bites.
Last night, as he sat there pouting about eating his supper (having downed all his apple sauce, veggies and rice, in that order) I came up with this little ditty:
Eat, eat, eat your meat
It’s, it’s a tasty treat
Eat it up, it wont hurt
And when you’re done, you’ll get dessert
It made him smile an he ate a little better, although he did take off for a 10 minute bathroom break (he sits down and gets distracted, talking away to himself) and it took much prodding to get him to return and finish up, but he eventually did.
Dancing on the ceiling
A couple of days ago, Sunday night I suppose, I noticed grubs crawling around on the ceiling… little white caterpillars just making a trail. I pulled them down and plopped them in the composting (where I’m sure they’ll be happy) and wondered… wondered where they were coming from. The next morning, more of them, not a lot, maybe four or five, but still, they were heading off in vastly different directions along the ceiling. I pegged them down, composted and, again, wondered.
A few weeks ago, I prepped dinner, some pasta and sauce, while Aden was occupied elsewhere. I was feeling good about making dinner (not that I don’t often make dinner or assist when Aden is) but I was especially happy to do so that night. As I had everyone’s plates ready at the table I sat down and noticed something not-so-pasta-like in my pasta. A little spiral of a grub boiled up an edible should you wish. One dinner scratched, pizza ordered.
A few months ago I began to notice moths flying around the house. Oh not many, but a few. And despite killing them, there always seemed to be more. Often when I would open up one of the cupboards a moth would come flying out at me, either agitated from the light or the suction of opening the door. Always that cupboard too…
So a few days ago I put 3 and 2 and 1 together and got 6. The moths found something in the cupboard to breed and cocoon in. A quick examination of the top shelf and lo, there’s the culprit, a bag of sesame seeds teeming with life like an overturned rotting log in the woods. I did a cursory look around and didn’t notice anything else out of the ordinary so I just tossed the bag and washed my hands (both literally and figuratively).
We had one day of a grub free ceiling.
But last night, they were back, and I was confused. I opened the cupboard and another moth got into my face. So I started checking everything. A box of rice with seasoning… nothing in the box, but a hole eaten into the bag of seasoning. A bag of dried chick peas… nothing apparent but turn it upside down and the thin silken threads were apparent. Pulled down a couple bags of muffin mix, unrolled the opening and had empty cocoons spill down never mind the things moving about inside the bag. I cleared off the top shelf, noticing many eggs all over the place an a few grubs rolling around. Tossed most of the contents out and hosed down the shelf… that should be it, I thought.
But I decided to check the next shelves just to be sure. A box of tea… oh, there’s a cocooned caterpillar in the lid. A relatively new bag of cookies… oh there’s a live one rolling around in there. I dumped out all the unopened boxes of pasta (only one showed signs of life). I opened up some sealed boxes of cake mix (no obvious problems but taking no chances… toss) and pudding mix (whole villages were being built in there).
Eventually the entire cupboard was cleared out. Anything not in a sealed plastic or glass jar was tossed (food products into the green bin, boxes into recycling, cause I’m semi-eco-conscious), and now, like old mother Hubbard, the cupboard is bare. I checked the other cupboards just to be sure and no signs of life at all. No silken threads, no moths, no grubs, no cocoons, no eggs… the kitchen is safe, for now. Well, not that it wasn’t before, but we really didn’t want the extra protein in our diets, not that way anyhow.
Amazon.ca currently has a fairly alluring sale on Warner Brothers products right now, including the entire Batman Animated, Superman Animated, Teen Titans, Justice League, and others. What’s got my blood rushing is the +50% off on all the Babylon 5 titles. I’ve figured it out and seasons 1-5 plus the movies box set would come to a total of $252 (appx) plus taxes. As tempting as it is, I can’t really justify it. I loved Babylon 5 when I was watching it daily on Space during my university days and wound up taping most of season 1 through 4 (which still reside in my parents basement). The show was the first I’d ever seen with such tightly wound continuity, and the political intrigue and espionage were enthralling, certainly more than I typically expected from sci-fi at that time.
But, still, how much will I enjoy it today, and when will I have time to watch it. It’s a lot of TV to plow through, and seeing as how Adrienne is definitely not interested in it, it’ll be even harder to find the time to watch it. But I’ve been wanting to revisit the show for years (I never did catch the 5th season although I saw the Crusade spin-off series which, despite Gary Cole taking lead, wasn’t all that intriguing. By the time the subsequent movies came along I was so far removed from the show I didn’t bother to watch them.
Perhaps I’ll recover my tapes from home and give them a spin again. If the intrigue is still there then maybe I’ll buy or rent or borrow the DVDs for a cleaner viewing experience. But for now I think I’ll have to let them pass… or sleep on it and see how I feel tomorrow.
To make my decision a little easier, I’m telling myself that I have a $252 (plus tax) DVD budget remaining for this year. This means, obviously, if I splurge on the B5 DVDs, I’m starting my DVD buy nothing year 3 full months early! But since that’s highly unlikely (I already see Ratatouille and Lost Season 3 on DVD in December which are vying for my dollars, as well as Aquaman in October and of course my random HMV 2/$20 or 2/$30 splurges…
Something else to keep track of …
Caught the premiere of the Bionic Womanyesterday and, holy cow, it was not good, not good at all. First impressions, especially where TV shows are involved, count for a lot, and sometimes if a show has a weak start it takes much cajoling to get me back on board. It happened with both Battlestar Galactica and Heroes, and given that Battlestar eventually wound up being one of the best shows on TV for a year and a half and this show (again a 70’s genre remake) is brought to you by one of Battlestar’s champions, it’s the only reason I’m going to give it another shot.
But it pains me. It pains me so. We meet Jamie Sommers, a hyper-intelligent bartender dating a college professor and caring for her troubled teenaged sister who was abandoned by their father. Jamie and her boyfriend, Will deal with some impromptu relationship issues such as him moving to France and wanting her to come along (”but I have a job” she says) and Jamie telling him she’s pregnant in turn. It’s an overwrought and thankfully brief ten minute lull before Jamie and Will are pinballed around between a transport truck and a telephone pole. Will survives with cuts and bruises, Jamie loses an eye, an arm, and both legs (from the severity of the stunt crash they show, they should both really be dead). Of course Will isn’t what he seems, working for an underground organization (presumably governmental) where he’s developed nano-technology that regrows Jamie’s eye, legs and arm, but imbuing her with speed and strength and bionic sight and hearing, and oh yes, digital rewiring of her brain so that she’s combat-ready.
There’s drama and intrigue, as Jamie, having escaped, must face her new condition by going back to her bartending job, oh and having sex with Will despite being really unsure of who he really is and what his motivations are. Then there’s Sarah Corvus, the mentally unstable, emotionally needy first Bionic Woman, who is on a mission to kill Will and to either befriend Jamie or kill her (she was also, coincidentally, driving the transport that kick started the show). And that’s a large part of the problem with this show is there’s no understanding the characters or their motivations as they all seem to turn on a dime. Jamie and her sister are at each other’s throats one moment, and best friends the next. Will’s superiors in the organization all act like hard-asses but never seem to go the distance. Everyone in the show bandies between nefarious and amiable so there’s no being sure, aside from Jamie, who’s really good or bad or what they’re really after.
The scenes where Jamie discovers her bionic powers steal quite liberally from the first Superman and Spiderman films, and Jamie’s reaction to having speed and strength is borderline apathetic. Her first fight scene, so cheesily staged, finds her squaring off against a thug with a knife in a back alley, when suddenly she kicks his ass. And her shaky-cam fight with Sarah Corvis is equally difficult to embrace, especially as it first seems Sarah’s toying with her, and by no logic other than she’s the protagonist does Jamie get the upper hand. After the fight she agrees to work for the organization, but on her own terms, of course.
There’s no plot threads that cry out for more explanation (some side plots introduced just seem out of place in this pilot) and the show is perhaps too tightly wound in its own circular logic to escape into something more interesting down the road. The cast is decent but left with a horrendous script to try and emote. Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck on Battlestar) seems to relish her role as the rather insane anti-Bionic Woman, but teeters the ham-fisted line. Star Michelle Ryan does better than I thought she would, but the drastic shifts the script demands of her character - between demure and confident, meek and hyper-intelligent - just make her come off looking uneven. As for the rest, they’re all dispensable. Get rid of them and few will even notice their absence.
Pushing Daisies airs before Bionic Woman next Wednesday and so I’ll give this show at least one more shot before giving up on it (but if Pushing Daisies turns up to be a loser as well, Wednesday nights will prove dead to me until Lost gets going).
Sat down last night to the season premiere of Heroes and Journeyman and I have to say I’m already hating this weekly structured TV format.
Heroes, to start, is already proving difficult to watch (oh, the season premiere isn’t nearly as rough as the pilot episode, thankfully) mainly because I watched the first season in such a concentrated dose. I realized while watching the season one DVDs that each episode doesn’t often give enough to each character’s storyline, but when watching them in quick succession it’s not as noticeable. This first episode of season two was basically a 40 minute teaser, and it seemed to be over before it even began.
Claire has found herself a new “hero” (what the show calls anyone with superpowers, regardless of how they use them) at school (who I suspect is an alien). Bennett is large an in charge in his situation. We’re getting some background on the senior “heroes” (Mrs. Petrelli, Hiro’s dad…they say there are 9 left, meaning after Mr. Petrelli, Simone’s dad and Linderman, there were 12 to start) as one of their ranks (looking an awful lot like Sylar early in season one) is killing off the others, taking Mr. Nakamoura off the top of the roof. Hiro is in feudal Japan, meeting his hero and being disappointed, unaware that his dad is dead (kind of puts a damper on his lighthearted counterpoint story). The wonder twins (a South American brother and sister duo, one with murderous power she can’t control) are trying to find their way out of their homeland to Suresh, who himself is working with Bennett to try and infiltrate the remains of the Organization. Matt, now divorced (his pregnant wife = dead weight apparently) has adopted the “tracking system”, but the “more sinister than Sylar” guy is peering into her mind. In the most unfortunate part of the storyline, Nathan Petrelli has, somehow, survived his brother’s explosion, grown a beard, and taken on very Tony Stark-esque habits (maybe Micah could build him a suit of armor?). His wife and kids have left him and he wont give Claire the time of day. There’s a strange scene where he looks in the mirror and sees a hideously burn-scarred reflection, which I thought meant that Peter, having come into contact with Candice (the illusionist) last season, was pretending to be Nathan, and having some split personality disorder in the same vein as Niki/Jessica. Unfortunately Peter pops up at the end, found shackled inside a cargo container by the lads from Fight Club.
Was it good? Not really. Interesting, sure. Frustrating, definitely. It seems to be much more of a TV show this year, as opposed to the comic-book affair it was last year. There was no sign of Niki, DL and Micah, which is unfortunate, cause I think DL rocks. Of all of them, he seems the most human… fragile, uncertain, but also not without strength. Anyway…
Following immediately after was Journeyman which I was afraid by the commercials I had seen that it was going to be a chick-flick version of science fiction, where the time travelling protagonist encounters his dead ex-fiancee in the past and tussles with the decision of saving her (or having an affair with her) or protecting his marriage. Thankfully it wasn’t (totally) like that, as Dan intriguingly finds himself thrust back and forth in time between the now and various pasts (where he goes missing for lengths of time in the now, causing his wife and coworkers much distress, going so far as to think he’s doing drugs). Dan, and investigative journalist, seems to observe the chance encounters with the same man as a sign as to what he’s supposed to be doing and settles into his whole “time travel” thing with relative ease. When a more mature version of his ex-fiancee appears, throwing him for a loop, at guiding him on his journey, it became clear to me that this is just Quantum Leap revisited. It’s decent, and the acting is fine (although the lead, Scottish actor Kevin McKidd, sounds unusually like Ray Romano, which throws me off), but it’s not very unique. It’ll make for perfect serialized television, but beyond this pilot, I’m not really engaged to watch more.
So, that’s one hour of television I can wipe off the slate (phew). I really need to learn how to bit torrent… and then I’ll need a computer that can burn DVDs… so that I can have my own TV watching schedule as opposed to what the networks decide.
I’m not a huge fan of the television. Oh, I love TV shows (as witnessed by my voluminous TV on DVD collection), but I’m not a lover of TV schedules and commercials. Commercial breaks are inefficient and time-wasting for the man who likes to consume as much story, information and entertainment as possible, as quickly as possible. Why watch a tv show in 1 hour at the rigidly scheduled period of 9 PM on Tuesdays when I can record it and watch it at my leisure, skipping past the commercials, in under 45 minutes (I miss TiVo), or, better yet, watching entire seasons in 5 days, like Aden and I just did with Heroes thanks to DVD.
But, at the same time, with my 1-year moratorium on new DVD purchases, I’m going to be a bit stuck for fresh entertainment, so I’ll have to consume only what I have available to me. And even though the BNY doesn’t start until January 1, 2008, I have to prepare for it now and invest in some programs, or else just watch nothing at all.
Aden and I devoured season one of Heroes quickly so that we might catch the second season premiere, which airs tonight. This of course will tear us away from any sort of movie (theatre) watching which I’ve been awfully neglectful of (we were planning on one of the nu-Western flicks).
Journeyman also starts tonight, and thanks to it’s genre trappings, I’ll give it a shot (it’s a time-travel show, because, thanks to Heroes the big thing this fall is paranormal and/or super-powers). I don’t think Aden will be into it (she doesn’t like time travel or sci-fi much) but who knows. I’m not expecting much.
There’s Carpoolers (October 2, ABC @ 8:30), from Kids in the Hall alum Bruce McCulloch, and a couple of Arrested Development producers. The previews I’ve seen are generally cute and or amusing, but not necessarily funny. McCulloch’s post-Kids output (mainly sub-par Hollywood studio comedies) has been abysmal, and I can’t say I expect much out of this either. Here’s hoping. In general, network sit-coms aren’t worth any sort of investment. Even The Office and My Name Is Earl find themselves played out after only their second seasons, and once smart comedies like Scrubs start to become routine, their humour expected. America loves Two and A Half Men, and I feel ill (previews for the new nerd comedy from the 21/2Men creators looks stomach churningly awful… I’m sure it’ll be a hit). Carpoolers, if it’s any good, should be a good occasional show, since I don’t really feel like dedicating myself to a sitcom.
The Bionic Woman (Wed. Sept. 26 @ 9:00 on NBC) looks like it could be really good or yet more by-the-numbers “running-man” sci-fi. From the resurrectors of Battlestar Galactica, I’ll give it a shot, since they did good things there, but, again, not expecting much.
Pushing Daisies (Wed Oct. 3 @ 8:00 on ABC) sounds intriguing but whether it has any legs or not, we’ll find out after the first half dozen episodes. The conceit is a man discovers he can bring the dead back to life with one touch, but one touch again and their dead. A Private Investigator discovers his abilities and coaxes him to help him on his cases. On one case he discovers and resurrects his childhood sweetheart, they find themselves enchanted once again, only if they touch he’ll lose her forever. It looks sweet and charming but I don’t see a lot of potential for storylines. It’s shows like this that make me wish the US made programming more like the BBC, shorter seasons with better quality episodes… and with creators who know when to quit and move on.
Battlestar Galactica and Lost don’t begin again until January (sigh), which should fit into my schedule nicely, and by that point some of the above should be tanked, meaning my schedule should be freed up to actually do something productive for a change.
As it stands the start of the week is pretty top-heavy for me, with Mondays and Wednesdays being fairly busy days (and if Lost is back on Wednesdays at 10:00, that’s three hours of TV plunkerdome to fill in the hole that having no New Comic Book Day will leave behind).
Freaks and Geeks
A little late on the bandwagon, the F&G fans of old (mainly hipsters and TV critics) either proud of the show’s alum (notably Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen), wishing their successes had come before F&G, or else stating (dryly and with disinterest) that it was the last good thing they ever did. I can see it either way as the sophomoric humor of subsequent films like the 40-Year-Old Virgin and Superbad seem to overwhelm the more genuine moments which is where F&G’s real strength lies. The core of the show surrounds the book-smart Lindsay as she flirts with teenage rebellion, casting aside her more studious activities to instead hang out with the potheads whose only real fault is a lack of motivation. The flipside of the show involves Lindsay’s brother, Sam, and his two geeky friends. They’re the power trio of nerds, the loud one, the shy one and the almost normal one. Set in 1980, the show portrays a reality that most American television tends to avoid, but DeGrassi it is not, as it’s not without its deus ex machinas employed for the sake of entertainment, and it never really tackles anything very serious. It is highly entertaining, with a great cast (starring, supporting and guest) and sharply written, with fleshed out characters that no doubt reflect much of the actors who portray them.
Apatow’s follow-up to F&G, Undeclared sits much more in the vein of his subsequent movies, where the frat humor can fly even more fast and furious as the setting demands it. The key to this show is in the casting, whereby the actors were hired for their ability to improvise and given the leeway to do so. A half hour, as opposed to F&G’s hour length, Apatow has joked that the challenge was to be always funny, whereas on F&G if it wasn’t funny, then they just called it “drama”. This series, unlike Apatow’s previous, pushes the believability button a lot, which for most sitcoms isn’t an issue, but expectations for those chasing up F&G might make it one. Make no mistake, though, the show is funny, but often it feels too cute in what it tries to get away with on a broadcast program, and other times it seems to lack structure, likely because of its improv leanings. Overall, though, it delivers on laughs and charm, and that’s more than I can say for most TV comedy.
Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law vol 3
The final season of Harvey Birdman begins brilliantly, with a mocking of the show’s roots, splicing together segments of old Birdman cartoons, redubbing the vocals, and only occasionally changing the actual dialogue. It’s what Space Ghost: Coast To Coast and Sealab 2021 did for years, but this is the first time that an Adult Swim has done it so overtly. Subsequent episodes return to typical Attorney At Law format (a classic cartoon character comes to Harvey to defend them in a lawsuit, and Harvey’s boss, assistant, coworkers and enemies do everything in their power to disrupt the proceedings). The show slows its pace from previous seasons, though, and in its 12 minute episodes presents more of a story than it ever has before, with the final three episodes (the last one extra-length and taking up some honest-to-gosh action) actually presenting a full on story-arc. There’s an apt side trip wherein the audience is treated to the Sebben & Sebben orientation video, which is a dizzying whirlwind of comedy. As always the voice cast is gold (Gary Cole, Stephen Colbert, John Michael Higgins etc) and the ever-roaming spotlight on the supporting cast gives the show the legs its rather one-note original premise needs. I’m going to miss it now that it’s over.
Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show
Nostalgia is both a funny and dangerous thing. Sometimes looking back on the things we remember from youth with fresh eyes yields pleasing results, like the discovery of depths previously overlooked, or a primal, uncontrollable stirring of glee. But all too often, revisiting the objects, music, or stories of our childhoods yields disappointment, and what’s more, tarnishes once happy memories. I wish everything could have the same longevity as the Muppets or the A*Team, but for every item revisited that meets or exceeds my memories, there are ten more that yield nothing but disappointment. The Legendary Super Powers Show is one of the latter. Even as a child I didn’t care too much for the original Super Friends show, and yet, for some reason, I believed there was a cartoon called “Super Powers”, launched at the same time as the (fondly remembered and still cool) toy line of the same name, all based around DC’s pantheon of super-heroes. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the Super Powers show was just another extension of the long running Super Friends cartoon. Why this is bad? Well, for one, it’s characterless… each hero is completely interchangeable with the others, and the story takes no account the heroes individual power when a villain overwhelms them. Everything that happens in the show happens to serve the plot, regarless of logic, and the plots, quite frankly, are insulting, but also are a product of the time when TV watchdog groups were extremely uptight about violence and children’s programming. The relative genericness as well as the pandering to children by the inclusion of teen heroes (Wonder Twins) and goofy animal sidekicks (Gleek) and the patronizing and somewhat insulting racially stereotypical “multicultural” heroes (Black Vulcan, Apache Chief) make it an awkward pill to swallow. That, and there’s less punching here than in Superman Returns, which makes for a dull show. That said, my stepson, at 5 1/2, loves it.
Kids In The Hall: The Pilot Episode
I should be miffed that the Pilot Episode wasn’t included with any of the previous season sets, (especially given that they were not-exactly-cheap, and yet, at $50 for 400 minutes of material versus $20 for this 50 minute episode they were bargains), but I can’t help but be elated. It’s the rarely-aired-in-its-entirety Kids In The Hall pilot episode containing a half dozen sketches I’ve never seen before, ever! The Kids are perhaps, next to Monty Python, the greatest sketch comedy troupe to have ever existed so discovering anything that I’ve never seen before is like finding a 5 or 20 dollar bill in your pockets while doing laundry… it’s unexpected and kind of exciting. With a new audio commentary (including a unnecessary visual commentary) it’s a nice look at the Kids, well into their sketch comedy careers, but just starting their their television careers, and hey, most of it’s still pretty funny. Really only for the die-hards (I’d much more recommend one of the season sets), but still a worthy purchase.
The Tick vs. Season 2
I was going to refer back to my Tick vs. Season 1 review, but apparently I never got around to writing one… okay, then. Well, let’s just say that I found the first season of the Tick cartoon to be, well, less than it had been built up to be. It was silly, somewhat charming but equally annoying and trying a little too hard. Season 2, on the other hand, manages to balance the silly with sharpness, the absurdity is ingenious (the dude has a pig for a foot!), it oozes charm, and the voice actors (and scriptwriters too) seem to have found the characters voices and got into the groove perfectly. The show builds upon itself subtly, as previous events begin to seep back into the stories, or even just as visual gags in the background. Highlights include Tick being abducted by aliens whose language is completely based around the word “Hey”, in mortal combat with their enemies, all looking remarkably like Arthur, whose language is based around the word “What”, all brilliantly executed by the actors. The final episode of the set, featuring flashbacks with a team of absurd WWII era heroes, now geriatric and being called into action once again to stop the Terror. A marked improvement over the first season (however akin to The Tick vs Season 1, an episode, “Alone Together”, has been cut from the set with no word on if it will be released in the future).
For those that don’t know, Diamond Comics has, essentially, a monopoly on the comics distribution market. I won’t go into the long and storied manner in which this came about but what you need to know is that the bulk of comic books, graphic novels and related paraphernalia is distributed through this solitary company, and that once a month it unloads a 700 page catalog upon the comic shoppes of North America called Previews. Previews features every item Diamond is expecting to distribute in two months time, and while only comic book stores can order via Previews, consumers can buy the $4 tome and make their “want lists” which they can then give to their store of preference to ensure they get their might preciouses.
I was a Previews slave throughout most of my teenage years, spending more money than I can actually recall earning on comics, books, toys, games, statues, clothing and more 2 months ahead of time all the time. I never budgeted and some months were lighter than others but yeah, I was a full-fledged geek and I didn’t really mind.
I don’t look at Previews anymore, it’s better for my sanity that I don’t, but sites like CBR and Newsarama still run the major publishers (DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image) solicitations, and I like the chump I am, still read them, spoiling plot points for myself and spending my money before I earn it.
The latest lists are up now for DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse, which are solicitations for december… below the cut are the books I will be getting, and the books I would be getting were I still buying books in 2008.
Part of my experiment, which is why I’m starting this a month early, is to see how much my interest dwindles, if at all, during ‘08, and how my desires will change during this time. Will I still be making lists like these 6 months down the road?
The moratorium is still trucking along. No new additions to report of but I did manage to sneak in three servings of chocolate cake over the past two days. It was in honor of Aden’s forthcoming birthday so I don’t feel too bad about it… plus I went for a bunch of extra walks and an additional run this morning with the loan-a-dog so I should be okay. (Also, a couple of my sammiches over the past few days have mayo… uh oh).
I’ve been noticing that with all the moving of stuffs and exercise I’ve been getting as well as limiting my snack intake to, primarily, nuts and seeds (my salt intake has probably octoupled) that either I’ve lost weight everywhere or just on my wedding ring finger, because my ring, now about 2 months old (whereas my marriage is barrelling towards 1 month) is suddenly a lot looser on my finger. It’s not falling off, so that’s okay, and a triple dose of chocolate cake isn’t probably quite a setback.
So my store credit was chopped in half last week thanks to an unwise and yet utterly desired purchase on my part. I mean I could have coasted for months (if not weeks) had I just bought comics and avoided and evaded the peripherals, but no, I the beauty of plaster replicas of ladies in spandex was too much for me.
If we look back at this classic geekent post (geekent retro!), you can see me ranking statues on the tamale meter between “eh”, and “hawt soss”… and the two statues I acquired received the following rankings:
Batgirl bust: the classic costume, classic Barbara Gordon, a powerful pose, and hot… reminds me of Aden (probably because she uses Batgirl as an avatar on occasion). Beautiful without being flaunty.
Donna Troy bust: I was walking Aden through the various “Women of the DC Universe” busts yesterday, and when I told her that this is the one that most reminds me of her, and she was offended, because she LOATHES Donna Troy. But it’s true. Though Donna’s perhaps got way too much makeup on, the hair and the body just remind me of my special lady. Red spandex sweetie… :) I don’t know why Aden hates Donna so much. I’m a little fond of her because Phil Jimenez likes her so much, and Phil’s a cool guy.
As you can see, this wasn’t strictly hormone-driven lust for imaginary figures, but rather hormone-driven lust for imaginary figures who remind me of my wife, which cosmically must be okay and inoffensive to everyone… well except Aden who get compared to Donna Troy.
Anyway… these little (and I do mean little… they’re about 5 inches tall) busts/statuettes now sit on our newly erected shelves next to Adrienne’s plentiful statues of Robin and Nightwing and Magneto and Flash and Impulse and…
It’s never reassuring to hear that from your doctor. Your doctor should at least have some suspicion when you tell him something is wrong with you, not say “hmm, I’ve never heard of that before.”
Let me tell you another thing… the internet will make you paranoid. The internet is breeding hypochondriacs. With all that information available at the touch of your vaguely phrased Google search you will find many many sites telling you that you are very very ill.
Regular readers of this here blog will recall my regular ramblings about my regular illnesses. Surely, one would think, that my blood’s turned to sand or something, like in the Andromeda Strain (frickin’ cool movie that), but no. I’m just hyper-exposed, methinks, to germs via work, public transit, and 5-year-olds. But my latest trick had nothing to do with boils or sore throats or fevers or diarrhea, but instead, a sharp and poignant shift in body odor. Not all body odor, mind you, but one armpit. One armpit that one day (my first day working the Fan Expo, to be precise) decided to elicit a twinge of a vinegar/formaldehyde/ammonia-like odor.
At first I thought it was the t-shirt, fresh from the factory, that I was forced to wear as serviceman behind the convention tables, but it was there the next day, and the day after that. Deodorant/antiperspirant would cover it up but it would smell the moment I showered it off. I could scrub and scrub with no effect. Some days were worse than others… and by worse I mean there were more odoriferous emanations that would traverse from beyond the safety of my being and fill up a room with the sweet, sweet smell of staving off decay.
I at first thought it might be a side effect of the antibiotics I took for my boil, but no… I stopped taking those about 10 days before the odor arrived. I looked it up on-line, remembering that a sudden change in body odor could be indicative of something more serious. Like kidney or liver disease. Or diabetes.
Erm… only, I don’t have any other symptoms for those, just one stinky armpit.
Needing to book a physical anyway, I called the clinic and was given the option to wait another month or wait another two months. I chose the one-month option and decided, well, it could wait a month. But then, one day, at work, the odor was overwhelming me, and I forgot to deodorize, and I said “never again”. Well, with my pro-active attitude I waited another week and the got my ass into the doctor to see what was wrong, thinking, “my health is important”.
So, I tell the doctor what’s wrong and he gives me the puzzled look like I’m a freak (he didn’t even ask to smell my pit… what’s up doc?). He hems, he haws. I tell him that the internet was no help, except that it mentioned some serious ailments that could cause a shift in body odor… but no, there’s no blood or discolouration in my urine, and my thighs haven’t swelled and there’s no abdominal pain, and I don’t have jaundice, and I went for a run this morning without trouble and I sleep fine without having to pee every forty minutes etc.
He hems and haws again and says it might be a bacterial infection in my armpit…
Any cracks in the skin?
Do you shave your armpits?
Do you use deodorant regularly?
Have you used an antibacterial soap?
No, I use my friend’s soap
(here, he actually did a squinty look at me an told me I shouldn’t use homemade soaps because they’re high in fat and sugar content or something or other… I got a little cross with him, as he was talking out his ass… all-natural as opposed to chemical, yes thanks. And anyway, I’ve been using these for a year now without issue, and in fact, beneficial results tyvm)
Well, try an antibacterial soap… get (scritch scratch on the doctopad) this over the counter and use it on your pits and groin for a few weeks… and maybe use deodorant to keep yourself from sweating and stop any bacteria from culturizing (paraphrased).
So there you go. In summary:
1. doctors don’t know everything
2. don’t trust what you read on the internet (wait, does that invalidate #1?)
This is JT, the 3-year-old mutt that came to stay with us this weekend. As you can see he’s a happy chap with a sense of sophistication about him, crossed legs and all.
JT came to us Saturday morning with a few instructions and some notes on personality and whatnot. My first surprise was that he was so much bigger than my sister’s dog Whistler (a black lab), who, I think, I use as a benchmark for every dog (I’d call him “medium”). He’s not quite as big as Aden’s parent’s dogs (a Bernese Mountain dog and an Irish Wolfhound/mini-horse), but yes, a large fella. He instantly started sniffing around, but really not disrupting anything except the wee one’s play a little. The wee one isn’t fond of dogs (doesn’t hate them and isn’t afraid of them, just indifferent… mainly doesn’t like to have his face licked, but JT isn’t a licker) so this was a test to see how he would do around one. JT proceeded to inadvertently stomp all over his WeeTown where his cars were set up so that didn’t go over well…
Anyway, Aden left me and the boys alone for a few hours while she did some grocery shopping and keeping the pup away from the wee one’s stuffed animals while he played with them was more than a challenge. Apparently JT does have some commands to keep him from doing bad things, just I guess I wasn’t applying them properly. After 90 minutes I had a headache and the distinct realization that both these beings were vying for my attention (as opposed to, say, playing with each other) and also that my stepson and I haven’t yet had enough time to bond, nor has our family really had enough time to become a family unit. I knew, in a snap, that this wasn’t going to work.
My sister and Whistler came by and the dogs had a hearty play (as documented on Flickr) and then my sis and I had errands to run (so it became Aden’s turn with the boys, plus one… thankfully I think Whistler and JT kept each other busy rather than pestering Aden too much… but I dunno, I wasn’t there).
Supper time came around and with two dogs roaming the main floor of our bungalow, plus three adults and a child, it felt like chaos. I gave Aden a hug and said “I don’t think we’re ready”. She laughed a tired laugh and said, “I totally agree.”
We kept JT for another day and a half (he went home today) and it’s a little sad. With the hectic pace of Saturday, it could be we didn’t give JT a fair chance before making up our mind, and having a calm Sunday with the wee man off at his fathers and just JT hanging about, it seemed almost easy to rethink the decision. But I know that my relationship with my stepson is very important to me and to Aden, and hopefully to him, and that I don’t want to jeopardize that by splitting my attention between him and a dog. It will be better if we, in a year or two, can get a puppy and get the wee one involved in the training of the dog so that he knows how to handle it as well as wee can, and even better, he can bond with the dog seeing it through up from its infancy… at least in theory.
So, there’s a sweet, lovable, friendly, quiet dog that will be needing a good home. If you know of anyone looking for that… let me know and I can put you in touch with the owner.
Completing the trifecta, we’ve gotten married, moved in together (mostly, still some stuff to vacate from BOBTown before November) and now we’re getting a dog. Well, we’re actually getting a loaner with option to keep.
A coworker bought her daughter a puppy a few years ago, although never really wanted it herself. Her daughter’s grown and gone to university and now can’t manage work, school and a dog, and my co-worker doesn’t want it herself, so this poor mutt needs a home. The wife and I had been talking up dogs and dog breeds long before marriage was even a glint in our eyes, and though we’ve narrowed the breeds down, the reality of getting a dog hadn’t actually surfaced, not until this opportunity was put before us. The dog has been through many training courses, is very friendly and docile, affectionate with other animals and small children, doesn’t bark and is well toilet trained. To me, it sounded like the perfect starter dog.
The wee one isn’t too keen on dogs, not that he hates them but he’s rather indifferent on them, so I figure a friendly dog that’s trained well enough will be good for him and this way we’re not having to commit a whack of time to training when we don’t really have the time yet. This dog come ready made, so to speak, and if he’s not a Boston Terrier or Malamute or Great Dane or Boxer, so what, he sounds incredibly sweet, much like my beloved “nephew” Whistler. That I can deal with no problem.
Best yet we get to spend a weekend with him to see how he’ll fit in with our little family unit, and if he doesn’t he has somewhere to go back to. Money back guarantee. I’m looking forward to this, as I haven’t had a dog of my own since I was 8, when Griffer ran away (there are some conflicting stories on the accuracy of the “ran away” theory…), but I love dogs a lot, so this makes me happy.
The only real issue is how will Lex handle it?
Lex is the schizoid cat that belongs to Aden’s cellar-dwelling brother. This cat is bipolar… half evil, half not-as-evil-as-the-evil-half-but-still-evil. He doesn’t get along with anyone except Aden’s brother, and even then he has to spend an hour diffusing him by letting the cat attack the hell out of his arm wrapped in a towel or puffy winter jacket. Psycho.
He’s hissed at Aden’s mother’s Irish Wolfhound, and fled in terror when Whistler comes around, so it’ll be intriguing to see how he reacts. Apparently the new dog is used to having cats around to chum around with so this may not work out so well… we’ll see.
While I was cleaning up the basement I found this picture frame holder still sealed in its box. I asked Aden about it, about where she might want it hanged and she said to just pitch it. I laughed but saw she was serious and said “well, at the very least it can go on the yard sale pile”.
I popped open the box and unwrapped its contents and thought aloud “I wonder if this will fit comics”? The click of the lightbulb sent me scurrying to one of the sections of comics scattered throughout the basement and, lo and behold, they fit perfectly. I said to my wife “this would be perfect for beside the bed” where there’s not a lot of room between the bed and the closet door for a side table to hold my stack of unreads.
I grabbed the drill, grabbed some screws and rushed towards the bedroom and yes, it’s awesome. Capacity is about 80 books (20 per “shelf”) but it’s perfect and induces fits of self-satisfied giggles every time I see it. Aden calls this the “best reuse of something useless ever”, and I’m in full agreement. I half joked “where’d you get this? We should fill a wall with them”.
(pictured from top to bottom, most of the books acquired at Toronto Fan Expo this year: The Thing #1 - 10, Captain America: Sentinel Of Liberty #1-4, Ms. Tree Quarterly #1-4, Atari Force #1-20… no pictured but also on the rack Green Arrow 1980’s mini-series #1-4, Phantom Stranger mini #1-4)
Getting married and moving in with the wife into her bungalow posed a challenge… how and where would all my stuff fit? Having the furnishings of my own for a full two storied apartment, and Aden having her place pretty much already completely furnished, the spacial challenges were mind boggling. Not only do I have many a furnishing, but also a massive collection of DVDs, graphic novels, and comic books. Aden’s DVD collection is pretty meager in comparison, but still a decent size for a non-obsessive, and her graphic novels still two up two rows of shelves. Her main crutch is books, and her collection eclipse mine handily.
We were going to need shelving, and lots of it.
Her place also is a little shy on closets and my current wardrobe runs along 8 feet of closet space, so something had to be done there too, as the suggestion that most of my clothes would have to reside in the basement didn’t sit very well with me.
Many monies and trips to the land of Swedish design later, we had ourselves a brand new, gorgeous-looking wall’o’shelving, a shiny white wardrobe and four cushy new dining room chairs. But all that screwdrivering and allen-keying and, quite frankly, two very annoying trips has me way burned out on IKEA. I don’t see any need for anything else at “Swedish for Common Sense’” for the foreseeable future but I’m going to be adding a new category, “Shopping Boycott”, mainly so that I can solidify my non-reliance on certain places and avoid shopping there for a good long while….
Starting today I’m taking six months off from IKEA.
You hear me…? No more “Common Sense” until March 6, 2008.
This moratorium thing is a beeyotch. Monitoring what one eats and trying to restrict things from one’s diet may be easy for those who have lived with allergies or insensitivities, or are diabetic, but I’m just not used to such an ordeal. I was kind of used to it when I was living with one of my exes and they were allergic to pretty much everything, but it’s been years since then and the habit is no longer in place. And it would seem I violate my moratorium either just from not thinking or from buying things that contain the boycotted foods without realizing it.
Case 1: Monday, the actual labor day holiday… after being cooped up most of Sunday and Monday, the wife and I headed over to the strip mall to check if the grocery store was open. No dice, but the Dairy Queen was. The temperature, much hotter than we expected, demanded ice cream, and the demand was met. Unfortunately I ordered a DQ Blizzard and in trying to find a non-chocolate substance to mix into it, I chose the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, thinking for a second that it was Reese’s Pieces. The guilt laid into me seconds later, and then again a minute later as I realized I’d love me a DQ cherry shake even more than a Blizzard. I think we have a new contestant for the moratorium…
Case 2: Eating my Yoplait Yoptimal Immuni+ (anything to help my wonky immune system) this morning I decided to actually read the label and discovered that this yogurt has trans fat! Seriously. Trans fat in yogurt. I thought trans fat was strictly caused by superheating oils and then turning them into solids, but apparently not. I have no idea how yogurt gets trans fat (and even at .1 grams it’s 10% of your Daily Value … or something) but there it is. So much for healthy eating. How bizarre.
- ice cream