Thursday, November 30, 2006

Make It Hurt So Good

Around the time the kids needed to be put to bed, tonight, I got in the car and headed downtown. It's snowy here with a temperature between 1-10 degrees but Chad was waiting for me in the parking lot, smoking a cigarette.

I said, "Sorry, I'm late. My wife actually wanted to see me some time this week."

Chad said, "That's okay. I understand. Except my wife told me I suck and likes it when I leave. Do you want help carrying your guitars?" Chad is technically separated, even though he and his wife and their kids all live together in the house they bought as a family. His wife just has boyfriends now.

We walked through the tangled halls of a run down building. The hall had an odor. My guess is that it is the same odor that is on the subway cars in New York City. Maybe someday I will find out. Every door in the hallway had stickers on it, displaying dumb band names of the previous tennants who came to jam in these music studios.

The studio that Chad uses has secondhand carpet and furniture. The ceiling looks gross and the walls are covered in Iron Maiden banners. This is where I met Mike. Years ago, Mike inherited some money from a dead relative. Mike took the opportunity to stop working and all he did was learn to play music.

Over the years I have learned not to be intimidated by musicians. Most of them aren't very good. Chad and I have been playing guitars together on our breaks at work ever since I blogged about it earlier. It made me think we were at about the same playing level. Sometimes I think of musical talent as a fancy car. Just because you have the means of getting somewhere, possibly even with style, it doesn't mean you have any idea of where you are going. A lot of good musicians will still seem lost in music. If you are in a place with no road then I guess it is up to you to blaze a trail.

Mike is a good trail blazer. My guitar came out of tune during the drive. I was in the middle of tuning it and I strummed two chords, just to see how they sounded. As soon as the chords hit the air, Mike struck out a strong beat. I didn't have any choice but to build a song out of it. Mike wasn't going to wait and Chad came right bounding along on his bass.

It was like that the entire time we played. Chad was being silly and started tapping one of his bass strings with his beer can. I played a simple little riff to go with it and half a second later the drums were running and we were in the middle of a new impromptu song. It is hard to make an impromptu song because you want at least two parts to a song. Me and Chad did fine at creating two parts but we were not good at switching between parts A and B at the same. Once I figure out the difference between a bar and a measure, maybe I will think about counting while I'm playing. Chad seems to follow me through a song okay but it is hard for me to follow him because his six-string bass goes a whole string (5 notes) lower than my guitar does.

Chad had a song he wrote. Mike said, "Yeah, I can imagine a nice jazz scale being played to this song." They looked at me like, "The song is in G. Play a jazz scale." I am so out of practice that I can only remember about 3 scales off the top of my head and I'm certainly not at a point where I can zip through the notes like running your fingernail down the teeth of a comb. I tried to play along but I'm pretty sure I used the wrong scale. I basically hijacked the song, making it unrecognizable from what it started as. It was so bad that I felt embarrassed but when we finished that song, Mike still said, "That was cool."

After that, we spent the rest of the night listening to songs that Mike composed on his keyboard. It is pretty amazing. Mike could give Danny Elfman a run for his money. It all sounds like professional movie music. It was weird to switch from hard rock to movie music so quickly. The awesome thing about Mike is that even though he COULD do the complete songs by himself, he still likes to ask other musicians to come in and add to his songs. Chad has done the bass to many of the songs. Mike wanted Chad to record the bass for another song before we ended the night. I watched Chad listen to one of Mike's songs and quickly find the right key and an appropriate scale without any hint from Mike. In a matter of minutes he came up with a respectable bassline for an entire song that he had never heard before.

That is when I realized that I found what I have been looking for: A bass player and a drummer who are way, WAY better than me. I never thought I would be able to get myself into this situation and now my fear is that they will cast me out and rightly accuse me of wasting their time by trying to play with them. In the last few minutes before the studio closed, Mike told me he already had a recording of him and Chad playing the song in G that needed some jazz guitar. He wanted me to sit down and record a track for it before I left. I kept trying to refuse and Mike kept trying to make me. I didn't want to ruin the song, letalone have recorded evidence of me ruining the song. Luckily, the place closed before we got the equipment set up to record. I guess I have one week to practice my scales.

It was strange being in that studio. Mike and Chad are not wannabe rock stars dreaming about MTV, touring or getting a song on the radio. It is different with them. They just want to make music. They don't care about popularity or unwritten rules. I think Chad and Mike are both suffering in their personal lives right now. I think that is why it is easy for them to be so nice to me. You see it in their faces and you can hear it in the music. It is pain coming out. Pain being immortalized. Every song is a personal issue. The drum sticks pound across the rototoms. Chad slaps and pops the bass, the same pattern being yanked out of the guitar with little details falling out like crumbs. Getting it out. The issues don't go away but, when the song is over, the issues have at least been dealt with and then we are ready to start a new song and deal with the next issue.

Mike and I were talking about the wide range of music that he plays and how his style makes it impossible to predict what type of song you will hear next. He is proud of that. He says his goal is to make music that is grounded but still takes you to a mystical place; a foot in two different realms. He had been drinking, so I think he meant it. It is funny to have a drummer tell me, "I think it would work if you used a diminished chord right there." And my response as a guitarist, "That means take a note out, right?" I really need to get practicing again.

It was the first time in my life that I felt like MY views on music were cheap and shallow. It was the first time I felt like other people understood the beauty of music and I didn't. It made me feel like I was wooden like so many other musicians I have met. It made me feel like I have a lot to learn. I hope they will keep inviting me back.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Where are you going with beards all a'waggin?

The next installment of books my schools recommended to me in my youth:

The Hobbit

The Hobbit is awesome. I was assigned to read it for school by Ms. Howe in Seventh Grade.

All of a sudden, The Hobbit didn't seem fun anymore. If I called the teacher Broomhilda, then that would probably give you a better visual of her: round body, curly orange hair, drawn on eyebrows. One time she put us in groups and told us to choose someone in the class and write a poem about that person so the rest of the class could guess who the poem was about. She told the class it was "all in fun" so not to be offended by unflattering remarks.

Big mistake! Of course, we chose to write about the teacher. I can't remember the actual rhyme, but I distinctly remember the line "She looks like a corpse from Alcatraz." All in good fun. Anyway, just because I really like The Hobbit does not mean that I would like to discuss my enthusiasm with Ms. Hag and some dumb-and-ugly classmate in a focus group.

I think that the Hobbit should have been the first book of the actual "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy. Some of the books read like this: They walked, they ate, they slept. They walked, they ate, they slept. They walked, they ate, they slept. Then Strider said, "I am Aragorn, Son of Arathorn, but my friends just call me 'The King'."

If you cut out 60% of the walking, eating and sleeping, you can easily cut the number of books from 4 to 3. But really, I grew up on that old Rankin-Bass cartoon version of The Hobbit. The book had little to add to the story, just a few clarifying details. But the movie is a masterpiece. The characters don't move very good, but the drawing style is cool, their interpretation of Gollum is the coolest character of all time and captivated me as a kid, but the best thing of all is the way they adapted Tolkiens words into songs.

Fifteen birds in five fir trees. Their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze.

When my wife was pregnant with our first son she told me about a study where you can sing to the baby in the womb and then, later in life, that same song will be calming to your offspring. So when Ethan was in the womb, I often sang to him the song from the opening of The Hobbit:

"The Greatest Adventure is what lies ahead
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said
The chances, the changes are all yours to make
The mold of your life is in your hands to break...

A man who's a dreamer and never takes leave
Who thinks of a world that is just make believe
Will never know passion, will never know pain
Who sits by the window, will one day see rain"

Then I slapped Ethan on the butt and pushed him out the door.

I think that even Peter Jackson knew that he could not top the Rankin-Bass Gollum. Thinking of the growling upright salamnder as a former hobbit/human was a trip. The only part of the book I read for Ms. Howe was the chapter "Riddles in the Dark" where Gollum and Bilbo face off with riddles and Gollum plans to eat Bilbo regardless of Bilbo's sharp intellect and luck. Coolest. Character. Ever. My Precious. We loves it, forever.

The Red Badge of Courage

More like "The Red Badge of Boring." I've been trying to force myself to read this book for the past three months. I couldn't do it when I was twelve and I still can't do it now. Who knew war could be so boring? If I remember my literature, Stephen Crane also received criticism for writing a book about a prostitute, Maggie of the Streets. He TRIED to be interesting but I think he summed it up best with his own poem:

A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

So maybe I did not publish any books, let alone classics, by my mid-20's, but I did live to see my 30th birthday. Maybe Crane would admire ME for that.

The White Mountains

I was not assigned to read this book. My 5th grade teacher chose to read it to us and I think of it as a book that shaped my life. It kind of smacks of "War of the Worlds" but I didn't know that at the time.

For those who are unfamiliar, "The White Mountains" is the first book of a trilogy. It seems like the setting is the past but it is actually the future after aliens have taken over the world. Technology is scarce.

At the age of twelve, the aliens hold a large ceremony where they take up the birthday kids, shave their heads and fuse a brainwashing web of wires to their skulls. The main character, Will, is apprehensive to have this done to him but everyone, even his parents, tell him it's the greatest thing ever. That it will make him a man.

Will has a cousin who he deeply admires. After his cousin is "capped" it seems to have sucked the life out of him. After some thought, Will decides he will go against everything and everyone he knows and run away to avoid the lobotomy and maintain his own identity and values.

When I was young, the thought of leaving a loving family and a comfortable future for the sake of your own freedom-of-thought blew my mind. What if he was wrong? But then again, what if he wasn't wrong? Will was right to run away.

He faces a greater challenge later, when he becomes very ill from mal-nourishment. He is warmly received into a small society: A small royal family that lives in a castle. A castle where young men become knights and have jousts and spend their days hunting. The princess is Will's caretaker. They become fond of eachother. While Will is there, the princess becomes "capped." The promise of this situation tempts Will to become capped himself and continue living in the castle as the kings adopted son, or son-in-law. It is a very hard decision for Will but is soon resolved when the princess wins a beauty pageant. Her prize is to be taken to the alien city, never to return. So Will continues his journey to The White Mountains (The Swiss Alps) to find the rumored haven of freethinkers. In a later book, Will finds the princess's preserved but dead body on display in an alien museum of Earth stuff.

The Red Badge of Courage is about some lame kid who endlessly debates with himself whether or not he will run from war. Wuss. But I still get nervous reading the White Mountains and I always hope that I would have the courage to do what the character in The White Mountains does. A very good book. I would especially recommend it to kids in Utah, where freethinking tends to lead to "excommunication" and head-shaking looks of disgust by all of those who are in The Club.

In Utah, I frequently hear statements along the lines of:

"He is so spiritual. He does everything he's told without questioning it."

Those aren't the words people use, but that it is the truth beneath their words and there is nothing admirable about it. Maybe it's just easier to see that when you are 12.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Game of Life is Hard to Play, I'm Gonna Lose It Anyway

Here are some conversations of note from the holiday. Between working extra hours and visiting family there is little time to blog.

My Wife's family has a tradition of playing a stock-market card game called "Pit" during camping trips and holidays. My brother-in-law, Phil, and I had the lowest scores in the game. At one time, Phil was down to -160 points but then won a hand to bring him up to -105. My score was -100.

Phil: "I think you are going to win the title of Biggest Loser, Emmett. I'm still losing but I think you will overtake me."

Me: "Only a true loser would be excited that they are not going to be the Biggest Loser in the game. I'm going to set the bar really high and shoot for getting zero points this hand." (I failed at that)

Phil: "I'm losing but overall you are way more of a losery loser than I am..."

Emilee (Phil's wife): "Phil! You are being so rude. Do you even hear what you are saying? You are being SO rude."

Phil: "I'm being rude? Didn't you hear what he said to me a minute ago? He said that he only loses gradually but that I COME ON STRONG AS A LOSER..."

Eleanor (my wife): "Are you worried that Phil will offend Emmett? Don't worry about it. Emmett can take it."

By this point I was laughing so hard I lost track of the conversation. I AM the Biggest Loser.

Here are some sweet tidbits from my daughter:


Eleanor: "Are you ready to go, Olivia?"

Olivia: "I'm getting ready. I have to hurry. I'm pretending I'm late for work."


Eleanor (to my brother Joel): "Did Olivia just tell you that you have girl-hair?"

Joel: "Yeah."

Eleanor: "Don't worry about her. She told you that you have girl-hair because you have a ponytail, she told her cousin Aaron that he has girl-hair because he is blond and she tells Emmett that he has Dora-the-Explorer-hair."

Joel (to Olivia): "We are ALL boys, Olivia."

olivia: "Yeah. Boys with girly hair."

Ethan has already decided that he wants to be a bat for Halloween next year. It turns out that his grandmother has an old bat costume that one of Ethan's uncles used for Halloween years and years ago. Now when we visit grandma, Ethan likes to hang out in the bat costume. After wearing the costume for a few hours, Ethan got a pen and paper and scribbled out this message:

"I'm not a frade. I got my (he drew a picture of a CAPE) and my (he drew a picture of vampire TEETH). I got v.nokalrs (BINOCULARS) looking for Jracula."

We are going to keep that paper until we die.

The other night I had to work with the brain-damaged guy again. At 4 am he turned to me and said:

"I wish I was working with you the other night when I fell asleep and crashed my truck. I feel awake tonight. Talking to you is better than listening to the radio."

Another landmark compliment in my life:

Talking to me is BETTER than listening to the radio.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Status Quo Things Utah and Sketch Comedy

I used to get about 4 hours of sleep each night during the work week. I would wake up and give the kids some food and then I would sort of pass out on the living room floor for awhile with the TV going. I would usually start to regain consciousness around the time that a local daytime talk show was on. The show is called “Good Things Utah.”

The show is hosted by a few local TV reporters who sit around gabbing about things they read in magazines and such. I meant to blog about this show a long time ago but I didn’t have the heart. I was going to be very mean but after some time I have gained a little sympathy (maybe it’s because I get more sleep now).

Don’t get me wrong, the show is still not good by any means. They follow a weekly format where they waste vast amounts of time talking about scrap-booking, homeless pets, gardening and clipping coupons. They also do “health-tips” where they showcase new cosmetic surgery procedures that are available in Utah. It’s quite a service. They spend ten minutes of the show cooking fatty foods and stuffing their faces and about 30 seconds a day talking about news articles on diets that look hopeful. They do makeovers where the final result looks the same as the before picture.

Watching the show leads a person to believe that every woman under the age of 30 is a quiet, humble seminary student. While the show is running, you forget that women can do things like ride a bike or fly a plane. You forget that women know what politicians are and what they do. You forget that there is any woman past the age of puberty who has not started a brood of infants and toddlers.

Over the past year or so, I keep bumping into the blond “host” around town. I saw her at the Gateway Mall. She does this thing where she makes eye-contact with you, like you are going to recognize her and tell her what a great show she has. After she walked past, my wife said, “That was that lady from that show.”

I said, “I thought it was but I wasn’t positive. If I was certain it was her I would have yelled, ‘FIX YOUR SHOW!!’” And then one day we were eating dinner at Chick Fillet. I needed a refill on my drink but before I could get to the counter this blond lady and her family kind of rushed up so they could order before me. I had to stand there and wait while they ordered their food. During that time, I got the feeling that it was the host again, except she was in grungy workout pants, her husband looked too young for the lady on the show and her child didn’t have any socks or shoes on, on this cold and rainy day. I thought, it’s like the trailer park version of that TV lady. Despite the fact that she did that eye contact thing again, I thought it was all my imagination. When we were leaving the restaurant, my wife said, “Hey, there is that lady again.”

I told her that I was suspicious but I offered up the info about the grungy clothes and the shoeless child; Not very Showbiz. But my wife insisted that it was the host and I my wife is right 99.9% of the time about these things. The lady in the restaurant seemed like a completely different person than the host on TV and that is when my sympathy grew.

I’m thinking that if the format of the show was up to the hosts, it would not be quite so bad. But this is Utah and I’m sure the show has producers that want to pander to what they believe is Utah’s status quo. Basically, the show is instructional to Utah women to become scrapbook queens; To stay home, be churchy, be middle class mothers. To dream big but never leave your couch except to shop for groceries and weed the garden. To be just like everyone else in their church ward.

I saw comedian George Lopez on the show once. He finally couldn’t contain it and busted out a “mormon polygamy” joke. It was met with deathly silence and uncomfortable smiles. A cricket tried to chirp but Heavenly Father quickly sent down a seagull to eat the troublesome insect before it could acknowledge Lopez’s comment.

One night when I was loading trucks at work, I thought it would be cool if Salt Lake City had their own sketch comedy show like Seattle does in “Almost Live.” I’ll tell you some of the skit ideas I had:

Of course, Status Quo Things Utah (picture the hosts with permanent smiles):

Host 1: “… And that concludes our demonstration on Getting Your Tile Its Whitest for the educational portion of our program.”

Host 2: “Those were such wonderful tips.”

Host 1: “Yes. This magazine is full of all sorts of wonderful things. They even have Family Circle comics inside.”

Host 3: “Ooh. We used to let the children read Family Circus comics while they ate their breakfast mush but it got them bouncing off the walls. You know those days when you have to double the children’s dose of Ritalin before you send them to school?”

Host 2: “At our house, we call those WEEKDAYS. Let’s take some calls from our viewers. Go ahead caller.”

Caller 1: “Hi, I love your show. But I can’t say I cared for all that poppycock with George Lopez.”

Host 2: “Alright, we will certainly get a focus group together to talk about how to improve that aspect of the show. Go ahead next caller.”

Caller 2: “Hi. I really didn’t care for the last caller’s use of the word, poppy-you-know-what.”

Host 2: “We don’t screen our viewer’s comments before they air but we apologize and we will make it better. Go ahead next caller.”

Caller 3: “Why are these callers so mean? Why can’t we all act like a decent society?”

Host 2: “We know exactly what you mean and our viewers are the best ever. You make us so happy. Tune in tomorrow for our fashion updates… or just look outside at what your neighbors are wearing. If all you can see is hands and faces then run with it.”

Super Dell

The Totally Awesome, Gun-packing, Excited-About-A-Root-Canal, Computer Whiz is a joke in himself so I didn’t bother to expand on the idea.

Minute Men

A lot of people in Utah want to protect our society from the evils of illegal immigrants. Utah is no stranger to Minute Men watchdog groups bent on deporting all illegal immigrants. I figure this would be a recurring sketch that starts of simple and eventually leads to the rebuilding of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s our right, nay, our DUTY as Americans.

Jumpin’ Jesus (pronounced with a Spanish ‘j’)

This is a take off of the local Fox channel’s “Big Buddha” morning personality. He’s excited about everything. Look at him wiggle with excitement as he rides and escalator. By the end of the episode, Jumpin’ Jesus is wrangled into a net by the Minute Men to be deported to Mexico despite his pleas, “I’m CUBAN!”

I also thought of another skit about a married couple who has a prenuptial agreement guaranteeing the husband “regular nookie.”

Wife: “Oh no. What is SHE doing here?” (pointing at husband’s lawyer)

Husband: “I didn’t want to say anything… but as it appears you are settling in for the night, I hate to point out paragraph 7 of our prenup guaranteeing me certain rights.”

Wife: “Grrrrrrr.”

Husband: “Honey, I gave up my right to that ‘Jake the Snake’ tattoo I wanted for this. If you break the contract then that tattoo is fair game.”

Wife: “I can’t believe this is even legal.”

Husband: “You were the one who wanted to get married in Tijuana.”

Wife, flopping down: “Fine! Let’s just get it over with.”

Husband: “Ah, ah, ah. Paragraph 9 clearly states “nookie with ZEST. ZEST! Otherwise it doesn’t count.”

Wife: “Okay, okay.”

Husband (to lawyer): “Would you care to stay and witness the transaction?”

Lawyer: “Need I remind you about my ‘Don’t creep out the lawyer’ stipulation?”

Husband (Opens the door to a closet to reveal a hidden stenographer): “I would like to have that last comment stricken from the record please.”

Anyway. I wasn’t serious about the sketch comedy. Those were just the basic ideas of it as I came up with them at a boring day of work.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Alternative Spanish Speaking

It would be nice if I could speak spanish. I took a little in high school but most of what I remember were the phrases my friends and I used to goof around during class. I still like the way we spoke it better:

El Guapo - I believe it means "Handsome." Here is how we used it: Raise your hand like you are going to backhand someone and tell your target, "I will el guapo you!"

Aqui, Alli, Alla - When you are El Guapo-ing someone you can yell out, "Aqui, Alli, Alla!" I believe the direct translations for these words are , "right here, right there, over there." So the English version would ALSO be cool to yell out while you are delivering someone a three punch combination.

Arriba Vos - The direct translation is "Up yours" but apparently this is not a derogatory phrase in the Spanish language. It rolls off the tongue nicely and can easily be yelled while driving, so I think the Spanish speaking people of our world should give it a chance.

Buenos Nachos - Good nachos.

Yo tengo que baƱara mi abuela - I have to go wash my grandma.

Despite the wide acclaim that Chi Chi Rodriguez has garnered in the world of golf, my teacher told me I shouldn't call people "chi chi." I guess it means "tits." So we used words like Sabado, Sabes Que and Donkey Hotay as nicknames instead.

As an aside: There is a guy at work named Rick. He is friendly and smiles a lot but he has such a thick Spanish accent that you can barely understand him. I little while ago I was working with a mexican temp worker and he started talking to Rick in Spanish. When the conversation ended, the temp worker turned to me and said, "Ugh... his Spanish is no good."

So on paper Rick is bilingual but in real life he's barely lingual at all in any langauge. I think it's funny but soy un perdedor.

As another aside: I found out after graduating High School that my American Government teacher was having an affair with my Spanish teacher for years. Then my American Government teacher died of a drug overdose. I guess the joy of teaching made him feel like a rock star.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hooked On A Feeling

A couple of months ago I checked out some "Knight Rider" DVDs from the library. I remember thinking Knight Rider was one of the coolest shows in the world when I was a little kid. I wish I could have understood how hilarious the show was back then.

It is a strange notion that when Knight Rider made its debut people were of the attitude "That Weird Al guy is a freak but look a David Hasselhoff... he's a super stud."

I only watched had about six episodes but they were good ones that had me laughing and laughing. One episode was "The RETURN of Goliath." One of those episodes where the EVIL goat'eed David Hasselhoff breaks out of prison and comes to destroy the hero. The evil David Hasselhoff's girlfriend is only with him because she can't have the good David Hasselhoff.

I wish I could give a review of each episode but that would take too long. But another favorite on the disc was one where Michael Knight's love interest, "Stevie," from a previous episode has finished her stint in the witness protection program and has become a shining rock star. When her guitarist is murdered, it is up to Michael Knight join her on stage, singing and strumming his heart out to find the murderer.

I thought watching the DVDs would be good for an afternoon of laughs but now I keep having the urge to watch more and more.

Here is some required David Hasselhoff viewing for those who have never seen it:

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Little Hipster Dufus with a Guitar in a Coffin

It seems with every passing day life is more about what I have to do and less about what I would like to do. I think Chad feels the same way, because he called me today and told me to bring my acoustic guitar to work so we could finally JAM during our breaks.

I was hesitant for a moment because I could imagine the mofos reaction. Plus I haven't really played in about 4 months. But whether you play the guitar or not, imagine taking a guitar with you to work and that is pretty much how I felt. It's kind of like being that weird kid in high school who starts wearing a trench coat because he needs a personality and too many people are already that-kid-with-the-earring.

When we did show up for work they saw our guitars and people yelled at us to play them some music. One person said, "What the f*** is this? Woodstock?" It was my boss.

I was a little worried when Chad called me, though. He said, "We should bring our guitars tonight. Actually, let me check the strings on my guitar while I'm thinking about it..."

I dreaded that he was one of those hardnose musicians who changes his strings every couple of weeks who would lecture me about how I'm not taking good enough care of my guitar. The kind of guy who spends 90% of his time tuning the guitar instead of playing.

But then Chad said, "Yep, there's six of them. We're good." And it made me feel better. We must love music because there isn't a single girl around at work to impress by saying we are musicians.

As is common in my life, nothing works as it is supposed to. The handle on my guitar case is broken so I had to carry it around the warehouse like a rifle under my arm. It made me feel like a lame character in one of those "Once upon a time in Mexico" movies.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Power of Wrinkles

I knew a girl who had an art degree. She worked at the deskjob with me and she didn't know what kind of career to pursue with that glorious piece of paper. I told her she should go to companies like Walmart and Kmart and take better pictures of their sweaters.

I've noticed that when a higher-end company makes a catalog or a website, they layout the clothes with "stylish" wrinkles. Like this sweatshirt from J. Crew:

Doesn't it look ALIVE already? Like you would be doing it a disservice by stuffing your boring, misshapen torso into its fine fabric?

And now look at a similar sweatshirt from Target:

Doesn't it look like the merchants went out and found some gnome or druid with a metal rod for a spine and no elbows and blasted him with a liquid nitrogen canon, later to dip the victim in some kind of special chemical solution that dissolves gnomes and druids while leaving the sweatshirt and its shape intact? And then took a picture of that sweatshirt and put it in the catalog?

I think so, too. But you must also be careful with this concept. It takes a professional to create these stylish wrinkles. I once heard someone say, "This is the 90's, nobody irons anymore."

I've tried to adopt that philosophy, making adjustments to whatever year it is, but it is really just an excuse as to why I never iron, myself. My wife usually let's me get away with it but occassionally she vetos my outfit, saying, "You are not leaving the house in those wrinkly pants. At least, not with me."

It's All Relative to the Size of Your Steeple

Here is where I see Justice in the world:

Millions of americans grow up through the years and some of them find themselves very attractive. They want to bank on the notion that they are exceptionally attractive, so they pack up their suitcases and move to southern California and take on jobs ranging from restaurant servers to dancing in a chicken suit. They want to make it big in Hollywood. They sleep on floors and scrape by, hoping for a breakout audition that will land them a television pilot.

But who gets these pilots? The beautiful people? No. People like Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Ray Ramano, Roseanne, Ellen Degeneres and that Grace-Under-Fire lady. Faces to launch a thousand ships? Not at all. But they are people who can hold your interest just by talking.

Youth and Beauty can only be used as currency until someone younger and better-looking comes along. And if you don't have anything to say, you may as well be a snapshot on a wall of has-beens.

One time I worked with this lady. She was 5-foot-nothin' and about 60 years old. She had big bleached blond hair and big boobs. She kind of looked like Dolly Parton if you hacked her legs off at the knees, pulled all the stitches out from behind her ears and removed all of her plastic parts.

I forget the conversation we were having but she ended up saying something like, "... life is easier for people like you and me."

I asked, "You and me? What do you mean?"

As if I was touched in the head, she said, "People who are blessed to be good looking."

Before that moment I had no idea that she thought of us that way. All I can say is, if I am as ATTRACTIVE as my life has been EASY then I must be the most DOG-FACED boy who ever lived.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What Am I Missing?

Most of the guys I work with are single or are at least the-equivalent-of-single (ie. guys with kids they don't take care of, separated guys, guys that spend more time at the strip club than at home).

Every time I hear them talk it is a constant reminder that I am not missing anything by being married. I already mentioned how Seth and Robbie spend all of their money on cars and their ultimate goal is to drive around in aimlessly in a pack of dudes with fast cars.

The other day, I was working with Chad. We were in the middle of a conversation about Bela Fleck and the Flecktones when this nerdy guy pulls up and starts going into great detail about how he just got "Mortal Kombat: Armageddon" and how he spent a lot of time "creating" characters from "Street Fighter." He is one of those guys that has been pretending to talk like a black guy for so long that he starts to believe he is a black guy: "I went in and got the karate suit and the red bandana for Ryu and got the camo clothes and flat top for Guile. It's awesome. You really need to come check it out. No seriously. Like this weekend. For real."

Chad kept saying he would and tried to get the guy to go away. I think he was embarrassed to be associated with the video game nerd. But I like Mortal Kombat. I just can't spend my weekends rotting in front of the TV playing games.

Once, I was privy to a conversation with that guy that looks like my friend Gordon. The captain of the football team dude. All the bosses look up to him like he must have the absolute best life and I'm sure they sit around dreaming they were him.

Anyhow, the conversation went something like this:

Captain Stud: "You should have been at that party on Friday. Someone brought a case of Michelob."

Mofo#1: "Ah man. Why do they always do that at the parties I miss? We're there any hot girls there?"

Captain Stud: "Yeah. I made out with one... Well... it's that same girl I make out with at all the parties I go to... she's married."

Make out with a married girl? I can do that at home. Maybe it's just the guys that I'm around, but nothing seems to make me feel like I'm missing out by not being at the party, or not being in the car club, or not mastering Mortal Kombat.

There is this one guy at work. Everyone told me he is retarded. He is not allowed to drive the lifts or run the guns or anything like that. He always has to work with someone. The mofos are jealous of him because they don't keep stats on him and they never pester him about working faster. The mofos say that he cannot be fired from the job.

Yesterday, I worked with him. He isn't retarded. Come to find out, he's just had some brain damage. He crashed his car and was in a coma for three weeks. When he woke up, he couldn't remember his own name. It took him a year to be able to walk again. He doesn't seem stupid or slow. He just doesn't always register everything you say to him or he forgets a few things really quickly. He's kind of like Dory on Finding Nemo.

He comes from a very devout mormon family. He talked all night, ALL NIGHT, about girls. He could not stop talking about girls. About what he wants and how he can't find it and how he isn't perfect himself. He is 30 years old. He looks like a california surfer. He told me he doesn't want to date heavy girls but all the girls his age get heavy. It's something all girls do, he says. He still likes the skinny high school girls but he has trouble relating to them, considering he is 30 with partial brain damage. He tries to avoid telling girls his age because they automatically think he is creepy and that something must be wrong with him if he is that old and still single.

I felt bad for the guy. His mother takes it upon herself to drive Christ's message into his head at every opportunity: Single people pollute society.

Those are the words she uses and, oh, how he wants to make his mother happy.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

So Poor, You Can't Even Pay Attention

Now that we have just acquired massive debt, I feel it is appropriate to talk about being poor. This is actually only the second car loan I have ever had. If you buy crap piles, you may as well pay cash for them.

When we bought our first car, I said to my soon-to-be-wife, "This is it. We can't be poor anymore." No more living with mom for the summer (not that I had for a few years). No more jobs that only pay $20 per day. No living off credit cards, as students are so fond of doing. It was scary then. Now, working ourselves to death is just the way of life we all seem to fall into eventually.

But however bad my situation is, I think my kids will always have it better than I did. That is my goal anyway. My sister told me that her husband read my blog and commented, "He makes it sound like you were REALLY poor when you were kids." That's good. Because we were REALLY poor.

So poor that we had to come up with our own fun, like folding eachother up in the hide-a-bed couch. Jumping off the roof. Playing on construction sites. Writing letters to girls in my second grade class telling them I want to "hump" them, because I thought that is what normal people did.

My parents were divorced and my mother worked and went to school. The kids were on their own. When we came home from school, we felt lucky if there was a wilted head of lettuce in the fridge to pick at. Days with bread were heaven. I favored mustard sandwiches but my brother just decided to go for it and try a blend of ketchup and jelly. He ate more than one. He also didn't hesitate to grab a raw potato and gnaw it down to a powdery white stump. I usually just ate frozen peas. Occasionally, I would try to eat one of those cylinders of frozen orange juice concentrate but it would take days to eat half of it, in all it's potent sweetness.

I had seen my sister make her own "thousand island" dressing, more generically known in Utah as "fry sauce" and I tried it once. It resulted in the kitchen sink being clogged with fistfuls of soggy flour dough. And, of course, I had to endure my mother waking me up in the night to yell at me. It wasn't uncommon.

It tortured me that my sister had one of those little dipping packets from McDonalds; a little plastic cup filled with honey. She saved it and saved it. I asked her over and over if I could have it, but no. It was special and it was hers. I was too dumb to realize I could have walked one block to McDonald's and just asked for one there.

One time I found a half-drank bottle of orange juice at a bus stop and I took it home and put it in the refrigerator. I didn't drink any, because I wanted my mother to see how full it was. What a hero I would be for providing our family with this mostly-full bottle of orange juice. If only I could find some partially edible bacon and eggs laying around. I would be right up there with Jesus.

Then my mother came home and yelled at me for even touching the bottle of orange juice. Why am I being yelled at? I am a hero. It blew my mind.

One time I was walking home from a friends house and I found five one-dollar bills blowing around in the street. I ran home with them, excited to show them to mom. She would be so happy that I could by my own crap and I wouldn't have to ask her to by stuff for me. But when I showed her the money I found, she didn't get excited or happy for me. She asked if she could borrow it.

What? For food, she said. Reluctantly, I let her borrow the money. But I wanted it ALL back someday. I would not forget.

I stole candy from 7-Eleven. It didn't seem wrong. Kids were supposed to have candy and that was the only way kids like me were going to get any. My friend showed me how. Sometimes I feel bad that I stole from 7-Eleven, but when I think back I know that I only took 3 cent Bazooka Joe gum and those little Jolly Ranchers. In total, I probably only stole about a dollars worth of candy. I will make it up to them. Plus, I think the clerk in the store knew I was stealing and simply didn't care.

Our family only drove Volkswagon Bugs until I was about 10 years old or older. We didn't even have a car for years after the divorce. We had a Ford Maverik for a short period and I remember being drugged up, laying on the seat, watching my mother sweat and cry and worry about the car overheating and barely moving on the highway while she was shuttling me to the doctors between Colorado Springs and Denver.

When Ben Folds says, "In hindsight, being poor was not so bad." It only makes me think he has completely forgotten what it is really like to be poor.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rock the Casbah, Bring the Noise

It is frustrating to buy a car because you know that they are all destined to become piles of crap. Here are the cars I have considered buying:


I'm not a snob and I couldn't give two squirts about keeping up with the joneses, those are just the cars (aside from the Mazdas) that have proven themselves to be the more reliable, better-crafted autos. BMW and Acura are way out of my price range.

We ended up buying a Mazda 3. I'm taking a chance on a (sort of) american car. Please don't let me down, Ford. The price was good and it has all the crazy options: tinted windows and sunroof, leather seats, a DVD navigation system that pops up out of the dashboard. It is a nice car. It rides a lot smoother and has much more room than our civic. It has a lot more power and it's only a little lower on the gas mileage.

But I think too many gadgets are just a risk. Cars that parallel park themselves or windshield wipers that turn themselves on when they detect rain are just an annoying $1000 repair waiting to happen.

My biggest complaint about the car is the stereo system. It kind of seems like the entire dashboard is the stereo. It would be very difficult to replace the stereo with an aftermarket head unit. It has a six CD changer built into the dash, which makes me imagine having six CD's lost when it breaks and I don't care to fix it. All of the speakers in the car we bought are blown. That is okay because I want to replace them anyhow.

After looking around, I discovered that Ford has a standard of using 5X8 inch speakers in most of their cars. Our car only has 5X8 speakers in it. What's up, Ford? This alone makes me think that the company would be better off using Henry Ford's dusty old corps as their CEO rather than the current living, breathing CEO (he may be just as dusty). ROUND speakers. ROUND! Egg-shaped speakers are cheap crap that flub out at lower volumes.

The worst offense of all makes me want to swear out loud, but I won't do it here because I know that teachers across the nation read my blog entries to the fresh young minds in their classrooms. The offense: Volume that automatically adjusts to the speed of the vehicle.

I don't say I hate many things, but I HATE this feature. HATE. HATE. HATE IT. Please do me the great honor of selecting the volume of my own stereo. Pleeeeease. It does me no service to lower the volume every time I hit traffic. It creates extra work, because every time I hit traffic, I also have to reach my arm up and adjust the volume BACK to where it was. Then the cars get moving again and suddenly the radio is too loud. Maybe this is why they put stereo controls on the stearing wheel. Just in case my right arm gets shot by someone with road rage, I can still adjust the volume with my left thumb.

If Ford can't come up with a decent car with a reliable drive-train then they could at least put a respectable sound system in the car. One time, I yelled at another driver "Move it, Ford Out-of-Focus!" My wife said, "That was lamer than my joke about Butt (Butte) Montana." To which I argued, "People say Butt, Montana by accident all the time. No one has EVER accidentally said Ford Out-of-Focus. Mine was at least original."

And I think that is the plight of american car makers. They need, but refuse, to keep things simple. One knob for headlights. One knob for wipers. A basic stereo that can easily be upgraded and decent speakers. Go nuts and leave an input so people can plug in their Ipods. Maybe a bench seat so you can put your arm around your honey. That's it. It doesn't have to be any harder than that. And just not completely hideous. Why is it so hard? It would be awesome and easy to put a built-in child-seat in EVERY car. It isn't rocket science but it would make a world of difference to consumers. The Jetta that comes with a guitar is an interesting idea, but please don't use a guitar from Toys-R-Us.

We like our car despite the fact that it is fancier than we need. I doubt I will ever use the navigation system and half the options bug me more than they help me. If anyone knows how to turn off the auto-volume, please tell me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rise to Vote, Sir

The "Don't Tread On Me" flag flies for election day.

Even though we just moved, I figured out where and how to vote in my correct precinct. Who is this responsible citizen I have become?

I don't know your views, but I have had enough of the rightwing crazy train and I'm looking to unseat those pachyderms. I also liked a pamphlet we received in the mail regarding our local propositions.

Proposition 1 for Recreational Projects is cool because they include a map with every facility they plan to build or improve along with trails and other projects in the valley. Their is an itemized list of the exact work to be done and the allocated cost. The decision is to either finance the projects (locking in prices at current rates) or pay-as-we-go (in which case we are subject to higher market prices as time goes on). The proposition is well put together.

Proposition 2 is to decide if we would like the county to spend $48 million on buying "open space," basically to prevent the land from becoming completely covered in churches, Starbucks and Walmarts. For $6.50 per year, they have my vote. My kids need somewhere to play besides parking lots.

Proposition 3 is the big one they advertise on television. It is basically a request to stockpile money for future road and rail projects. No project has actually been proposed, and once there is a proposal it has to be approved through several channels. Roads and trains are convenient, but I'm afraid I cannot support this plan to stockpile money without any idea of what it will specifically be spent on. Proposition 3 should be more like Proposition 1. Then I would support it. But if you ask me, the last thing you want to do is hand a giant pile of unspoken-for money to politicians and developers. It raises the state sales tax .25% and is estimated to cost the average household over $100 per year.

Without voting, we don't have any say at all. It's worth a try.

If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding

Ethan is having his first spelling test this week. The teacher sent home his vocabulary words today. A sample of the words: I, is, fan, man. We had him spell all of the words. He got them all without any hesitation.

Just to test the waters I asked him to spell these: street, smoke, and monster. He got all of those, too. I think Ethan is too much of an introvert to be in the "accelerated learning program." He is too quiet and likes to do his own thing. But I really don't see that he is getting much out of first grade. The work is a joke. Why is there so much coloring in school? What purpose does it serve? I know phonics are involved, but I really get tired of reading mindless sentences about "pup" and "sis." Those aren't even words.

Pam was on the path. The pup was thin. Pam sat on a mat. Pam said, "It is fun on the path."

I guess it is probably working but he never seems to be challenged. There is nothing about school to make it enjoyable. Ethan says all of the kids tell him he is good at drawing. If I had a scanner I would post the picture he drew of a duck with a sledgehammer chasing an ant. Above the ant, it says, "Go ant!" The duck has a chicken beak because Ethan didn't know how to draw a duck bill. But we took some time and showed him how to draw bills and webbed feet.

I said, "You ARE a good drawer, Ethan." And he said, "I'm not as good at drawing as you are, dad."

It was a weird conversation because it felt like we were friends instead of father and son. I told him he would get bigger and then he would be better than me.

If nothing else, school is good for doodling. I hardly ever doodle anymore even though it's one of my favorite things. Ethan does doodles of me and I always have four arms. Sometimes he draws a heart in my chest. Not a heart shape. A bloody organ pumping away. It's sweet.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Watch Human Relations as they Die

More moments of note in customer service.


"I like these shoes I bought here a few years ago but now the soles are completely worn out."

I lift my shoe to show the sole.

"That's a "Vibram" sole. Those should hold up good."

She said it was her first day. You can't expect people to listen to you on the first day.


"Can you guys rotate the tires on my minivan?"

"Did you buy them at Costco?"


"Then we can't rotate them. Are you sure you didn't buy them here."


"Our computer says you bought tires for a Cherokee and a Civic..."

"I did. But I need the tires rotated on my minivan."

"Are you sure you didn't buy them here?"

What good is an Executive Membership if you can't even get your tires rotated?

Joanne Fabrics

My friend Ross and I started a softball team one year. One of the rules was that every player had to have a shirt with a number on it. We went to a fabric/craft store to find some iron-on numbers...

Ross: "Do you guys have any BIGGER iron-on numbers? These are tiny."

Clerk: "No. Those are the only numbers we have."

Ross: "You guys only sell TINY numbers?"

Clerk: "Yes."

Ross: "But you have GIANT iron-on poodles?" Pointing at poodles on the shelves.

Clerk: "Shut up." Angrily walks away.

It was one of the funniest moments in customer service ever. I guess the giant poodles are for poodle skirts. If you know what those are.

Another funny thing is when you ask a person:

"What have you been up to?"

and they say, "Fine."

or the opposite, "How's it going?"

and they say, "Nothing."

It's a deaf society.

She Doesn't Care Just as Long as His Ship's Coming In

After the pleasure of moving about 10,000 couches and a lot of deliberation, I have decided that, if I had all the time and money in the world, I would build my own couch. Just to see if I could do it. And I feel strongly enough about it to tell the world.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hit and Run, Dreams That Grind You to Dust, and Mercury

Friday wasn't fun. It wasn't particularly horrible, just not enjoyable.

Our Jeep has been breaking down ever since we bought it and we always fix it. For a long time, we have been saying "After this, we're not going to fix it anymore." So when I went in for Safety Inspection and they said it needed a $500 repair to pass we decided that was the end.

We went and found a car that we like but we are not in the best of financial situations to buy a nicer, newer car that won't leave me stranded on the highway at 3 am and doesn't have a look equivalent to walking around with your pants up to your nipples. Were are still trying to get things worked out and I spent the bulk of Friday morning dealing with car dealers. Lousy ones at that. My wife had to wait in the van with 5 kids while I wheeled and dealed and she ended up killing the battery in the van while she waited.

After that I thought I would relax by watching an episode of "Little House on the Prairie" while I ate lunch. It happened to be an episode where Albert dreams about being kidnapped by goofy stereotypical hoot-n-hollar Injuns who are trying to take over Walnut Grove and only he can stop the feathered dufuses. That didn't make me feel better about life.

Then I went outside and spent the hour and twenty minutes I had left before work, chopping down a tree in our yard with a dull, rusty axe to appease the Home Insurance Gods. You can bet our neighbor Flo was grinning from ear to ear. One regret I have in my life is that I do not own a chainsaw. I plan on telling more specific origins of my family as soon as my mother approves the story but to put things bluntly, I am an outcast on my mother's side of the family for NOT owning a chainsaw. And not just one of those wussy 12 inch blade saws. I'm talking about the 3 foot blade. I have ALWAYS thought I would own one of those by now. If not for practical purposes then just to feel like I belong to my mother's side of the family.

Anyway, I chopped down the tree until the very last minute. There is something special about your lifestyle when you regularly make statements like, "I can rest for a minute in the car while I'm driving to work." Usually while covered in sweat and gasping for breath.

At the start of the shift, I got off my mega-bumpercar and pushed a cart onto the forks of George's stock picker (he got fired from the chip job, too). I turned around and, next thing I knew, my legs were knocked out from under me, I flopped forward and ended up hugging some strange mexican dude who apparently did not see me as he was driving through. You can just call him Mofo like the rest of us.

He yelled at me, "What the Hell are you doing?" And with my arms still around his neck I said, "YOU drove into ME."

I told the details of my day to some of my coworkers and one of them said, as if it was all to be expected, "Mercury is in retrograde."

I said, "Huhhhh?"

He said, "Mercury is in retrograde. It looks like the planet is moving backwards in the Zodiac and it causes problems with money, communication, travel, business deals and all kinds of things. It's a bad time to buy a car but it's not surprising your car broke down. My good cell phone broke last week. Now I have to use this piece of crap. The retrograde lasts until November 18th."

So here I thought my financial woes all stemmed from a lifetime of improper planning and poor educational and employment decisions on MY part but it turns out the whole thing is Mercury's fault. Well screw you, you dumb planet. Though, it does feel good to know where to point the finger. Everyone pet the scapegoat. Touch him. Love him.

I don't like the idea of getting a part-time job but now I can bond with my other coworkers who do the same thing. Robbie and Seth are spending most of their income on their cars (a Neon SRT4 and a Subaru WRX). They have ad nauseum discussions about turbos and blow off valves. They talk about starting a club for guys who think they have cool cars so they can drive around together for no good reason. Maybe I can join, but I don't have a turbo so I'm probably not cool enough.

Robbie is very cool. He used to be heavy into the BMX bike riding scene but he got hurt too much so he doesn't do it anymore. Most of his teeth are fake or bridge work. I guess his shoulder is really messed up. Seth says he puts on a brave face at work but when the shift is over he goes out to his car and sits in agony. He says he can barely move his arms after work. I asked, "Did he ever go pro or do any tournaments or the X-games or anything." Seth said, "No, but he used to ride with pros."

So Robbie destroyed his body for BMX, never went pro and now drives a forklift for a (painful) living? Well, he has more to show for it than that. He has lots of face piercings, stars tattooed all over his arms, hair died like a leapord pelt. Those things aren't nothing.

You can't be scared to chase a dream, even if you're ground to dust between Earth and Mercury in the process. Bust it!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Look how productive I have been today. It's easy when you just grab stuff from elsewhere on the internet and type up a paragraph to go with it. I see a lot of news articles about how American productivity is down. Especially a lot of articles saying things like "so many millions of dollars worth of productivity are being lost each year" due to distractions like fantasy football.

I think these people have their heads in the clouds. Possibly white clouds, more likely brown. All jobs seem to like to measure productivity, despite the irony that the methods they use to measure often slow down work efficiency, not to mention destroying morale. Who likes to be lectured when they leave to use the bathroom? Nobody. But it happens everyday.

Often, employers do not offer any incentive to work faster. At my desk job, if you did the work of two people for an entire month, you would get a 7% bonus. Does that sound like a good trade off, 200% of the work for a 7% bonus?

There is something I call "Sanity time." When I do a big burst of work for a few hours, I often like to work at a relaxed pace for an hour or so immediately following. How is this met by those in authority? I remember a boss's take on one such occassion:

Boss: "Why are you guys just sitting here talking?"
Us: "We've been working. Look at our numbers. We are at 130% of productivity for the day."
Boss: "Yes. But think of how high those numbers COULD have been if you weren't sitting here talking."

And I loved one girl's response to a boss:

"Uh, could you take off of your monitor while you're giving me a lecture not to surf the internet while I work?"

It was a bad sign at the chip moving job that an employee who had been there for 5 years was all excited that she was working at 105% of the requirement. She was working in a selfish manner that slowed down those who worked around her. And THAT wasn't even the worst part of the job. I don't miss it.

The furniture warehouse is easy. You only need to meet 70% of their expectation to keep your job. Anything over 80% is accompanied by a bonus. And worse, the less work you do the better you look. It is all measured by how many loads you move, so the trick is just to put one or two pieces of furniture per load as opposed to the old style of piling stuff on as high as you could. So, in classic fashion, there is a lot of running around while little work is actually being done. And it never fails that the people with the highest percentages are the ones who are also cutting the most corners. Who cares about quality? Not your calculator.

So you can blame fantasy football if you like, but chances are that workers would come up with some other distraction if online sports weren't there. I have a friend who frequently says, "I will sit here and count holes in the ceiling before I do another shred of work for this company beyond what I am already doing." Many people who do work of quality end up with low numbers and are grouped with the slackers. It doesn't make those people very excited to be at work nor very excited to continue caring. I pointed out to coworkers from various levels at the desk job that 4 company workers committing suicide in a 4 year period was a very bad sign and something to be concerned about, but I may as well have been talking to the stapler. Nobody wants to hear stuff like that.

So the trick is fly under the radar. Get a number about 110% where no one will bug you to do more, but don't do so much that your bosses will dump big annoying projects on you that do not result in any additional pay. That is the American Way. Shine on you crazy diamonds.

These are the challenges of producivity.I think it is best to remember: Money will always come and go, but insanity is forever.

This Post Ssssss...

I think it would be a nice part-time job to be one of those guys that gets to say half a word, later to be combined to form a complete word. I can't imagine it takes any acting experience. Every 5th grader knows that the response to a scornful:


Is the sound "it." Where do you think I can apply?

I Just Came Down to Eat Some Pinecones

It's tough to be a bear, nowadays. Our local news showed some footage of a bear being tranquilized and falling 50 feet out of a tree. I tried to find the footage on their website but came up with nothing. This Craig Kilborne clip pretty much sums it up with an added twist, though.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Movie Ideas Better Than What is Currently in Theaters

Home Shopping Network: The Movie

Hear how random callers describe their elation at the deal they received on a denim jumper and other assorted items. See callers scramble to order the very last set of uncirculated state quarters. You will laugh, you will cry, you will max out your credit card.

Arches Over Auschwitz

The mostly-true story of Ronald McDonald (played by Willard Scott) in Nazi-Germany. First segregated, then placed in hiding, finally to endure a stint in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Would he survive the killing campaign to establish a restaurant chain to unite the world? Would he keep off the weight in doing so? It totally isn't self-promoting tripe.

Pimp My Tax Return

Can the greatest minds in accounting get a return for a part-time ice cream man / full-time dumpster diver who hasn't filed taxes since 2003? How will they explain the luxury cars purchased in his name? Will they receive permission from the IRS to print Schedules A-D on off-da-hook stationary? Financial hi-jinx at its best!

Clear and Present Patriot Games

Harrison Ford plays a man who stumbles onto a presidential money laundering scheme but can't reveal it to the public without first revealing his rightwing underground beefcake-webpage business. Meanwhile, the president's party-girl daughter and her meth-addict boyfriend go for a joyride in Airforce 1 and well... it all gets pretty complicated after that and doesn't really go anywhere. It's kind of like all of Tom Clancy's other books but Tara Reid takes off her top in the film so just go see it.

J is for Jailbait

A rags-to-riches story about some girl (played by Lindsay Lohan), her squabbling family and their fight over her money, her struggle with drugs and eating disorders leading down a spiral of empty-headed self-destruction. All fictitious.

Christmas Hasn't Been Completely Ruined Yet

A Santa Clause imposter attempts to steal money from innocent and trusting children via movie theaters by making a movie about Jack Frost's attempts to unseat Santa Clause as the holiday king. That's it. Oh, and annoying footage of the stars singing "ICE ICE BABY" will be played in all of the commercials worldwide. A holiday hoot for people who have never considered committing suicide because of the horrors they see happening in the world around them.

We Are Your Overlords

Dakota Fanning plays the leader of an alien race which takes over earth to stomp out abortion, gay lifestyles, poor people, black people, healthcare, unions, pension plans, economic responsibility, peace and integrity. Watch out! This film is going to be a blockbuster everywhere but California and New York!

She Went to the Grave Just a Little Too Soon and Flew Away Howling at the Yellow Moon

So here are the costumes. Jonah wouldn't wear the paws on his hands and we drew a nose and some whiskers on him after the pictures.

A beautiful butterfly.

This is Ethan marching in the parade at his school with zombie arms.

They told us we could see our kids in the classrooms after the parade. When I went to find Ethan I found him sitting quietly against the wall like this.

That's all. Go eat some candy.