Friday, April 12, 2013

Maybe They Were Filled With Cocaine

People are fucking weird.

I was at work today - working at yoga, checking people in and pretending I am SUPER excited to get them water and towels and the occasional rental mat. I had just checked in a class, and while instruction is going on I usually have the place to myself. Get some work done, answer some emails, realize I've been staring at Facebook for far too long and all that great stuff.

What I am saying is it is nice to have the place to myself to get back to square one.

So I'm there, enjoying my solitude, and two randoms walk in.

Now, I am used to random walk ins, but they are usually coming in to ask about the yoga. I give my two cents about how awesome the yoga is, the intro special price and that if you need anything I will be MORE than happy to rent you a towel or a mat and sell you water - coconut or regular.

However, these were not my usual clientele. The first guy through the door had on an odd pair of khaki pants, a poorly chosen plaid/checkered shirt with a HORRIBLE bow tie and this weird, overly product-ed, limp, curly hair. And he was a white guy.

Second guy was an Indian (from India) fellow, dressed in a gray (or grey, if you're in Britain) v-neck sweater and, again, khakis. He was a little more put together than gentleman #1.

The next thing I notice about this pair is gentleman #1 seems to have a little trouble walking. Now, I don't exactly mean that he was drunk, but he could have been. But he also could have had a disability.

Gentleman #2 was walking behind him, in an almost body guard-esque capacity.

Gentleman #1 to me, "Hi, how are you today?"

Please note it was in a cheesy, sleazy, car salesman voice.

Me, "I'm well, how are you?"

Him, "I'm blessed, I'm blessed. Look what I've got here."

He holds out a package with one of those weird looking bubble guns in it.

He held it out with the intention of me taking it. And I know why that fucker did it that way. If I had taken that package, he would have had an excuse to stay longer.

I'm from New York, motherfucker. People try to hand me shit all the time, and I am the master of the pivot, avoid, continue with my day move.

So he holds it out and I ignore whats in his hand until he is forced to place it on the counter in front of me.

In his other hand, he has another one of these devices, just out of the package.  He proceeds to demonstrate this toy in MY PLACE OF WORK by shooting the bubbles all over.

He tells me he just got these toys from the store for $10 each, but he'll sell them to me for $7 each.

I'm working in a fucking yoga studio.

What the hell do I need elaborate bubble toys for?

Is this a preschool?

Another toy store?

A play ground?

A kinky sex shop?

It is NONE of these things.

I give him my biggest, warmest, fuck you smile and tell him he needs to leave.

He says ok, and heads out.

Gentleman #2 never says a word, and quickly scurries out after Gent #1.

I still cannot figure out what G#2 was doing with the quirky hipster sleaze ball, or G#1.

Not to mention that this strange duo must have been walking from store to store trying to move these toys.

All I know is when they left, I had no idea what had just happened.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Cats Are Jerks Too

I'd like to talk about dogs for a moment.

No, not ugly females you sexist pig. But I'll probably end up talking about that at some point, just hang on.

Canines. Man's best friend. Purse rats.

So often you hear people talk about their dogs - My dog is so great, he loves everyone, she saved my son from drowning, my cancer would never have been detected if not for my dog.  Everyone's got that perfect dog.

Not me.

My dog's name is Murphy, but he has other names. His Orc name is Pig Snort after the nasty growling/snorting noise he makes when he plays and his Scottish name is Grumbles MacAngryFur, after his angry bark and the way his hackles look when his hair stands on end.

He hates strangers. When we have people come visit the house, we always have to tell them to just ignore him until he calms down, don't look him directly in the eyes at first cause he'll take it as a challenge to his alpha-ness and that he is a nibbler, but don't freak out, its just the way he communicates.

You canNOT wake him up. I mean, seriously, if you walk into the bedroom and he's sleeping on the bed and he looks at you out of the corner of his eye DO. NOT. TOUCH. HIM. He will fuck your shit UP. I don't know if it's because he's scared or just a huge grump, but he will make sure you know how unhappy he is about being touched. For example, he is sleeping behind me on my chair right now and I know that if I pet him or move too much, he will let me know that I am irritating him and must quickly stop.

None of the "experts" advice works on him. My James play wrestles with him and we read in numerous places that his play biting could be caused by this. So, for a day in a half we played with him very politely. Lots of, Go get this! Bring it back! Good boy! Sit! Good boy! Give me that toy! Good boy! Repeat. After a day in a half I have never seen a dog more miserable and nasty. Finally I told James to just go ahead and fight with him again. He was the sweetest, nicest boy after that.

He chases the cats (on occasion), steals food (with sometimes epic, Mission Impossible-like style), howls at sirens in the middle of the night out of a dead sleep, he scratches at the drywall and pilfers shoes.

But he has the most distinct personality of any dog I have ever met. He is loyal and protective (sometimes overly so, but whatever) and has an adorable fear of heights. When we come home we lay on the floor and he celebrates us returning by rubbing his whole body over our faces and heads while wagging his whole body. Instead of lifting his leg to pee, he squats like a girl and because he has a penis he has a tendency to pee on his front feet. When he gets to run at the dog park, he runs flat out as fast as he can and you can see the pure joy and insanity in his adorable muppet face. He has a massive under bite and does a perfect upward and downward dog when he stretches when he wakes up. He sits like an old man and has the best dog smile.

So, yeah, he may not be the most ideal dog for the average American family with 2.5 kids, the minivan and the crippling regrets - but I knew from the minute I saw him that he was the perfect dog for my strange family.

Now excuse me, I need to go eat dinner and guard it with my life.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

One Tough Old Bird

Just watched The King's Speech again.

One of my all time favorite movies. I cannot say enough about the story and the script and the acting and the direction. Its magnificent.

I'm not here to pontificate on the grandness of the film.

As some of you know, my grandmother - my father's mother - was born and raised in Liverpool, England. She was born Florence Hilda Dingwall in the early 1921 as one of the youngest of 9 children. Her father's name was Jack and he was a merchant seaman. He loved his children, but she was his particular favorite. He often told his family that women were the best thing the God ever did.

Nanny (as we call her) hates her given name 'Florence'. She never wanted to be known as 'Flossy' or 'Flo', so she goes by Hilda. She hated being a girl, she wanted to be a boy and go to school.

She talks a lot.

When she was very little, she was playing with a friend from down the street - a young Greek boy who lived in their neighborhood. I have misplaced his name. They were jumping off a small step in her mother's kitchen. At one point, Nanny fell and her friend fell on top of her and she bit clear through her tongue. She was rushed to hospital and it was sown back together and all was well. In later years with the amount of talking she did and has done since then, her father often remarked they could have just left that piece off.

Like everyone of age in Britain at the time of World War II, she was drafted.

A placement test assigned her to the Royal Corps of Signals. Churchill's special pet project that was one of the first employments of what would become radar. There were bunkers sixty feet underground. A huge map of Europe took up the middle of the room, while a line of women on radios encircled it, speaking to friendly pilots who would report the positions of the enemies planes, and the women would relay that information to their COs and other counterparts who would place it all out on the map.

Nanny was one of the women speaking with the pilots.

She always said Americans were the worst. Because of her initials - F.D. - her call sign was Fox Dog. After identifying herself as Fox Dog, the Americans would inevitably reply, "Oh, I bet you are." She always wanted to say something back, but with her CO right behind her she never could.

To this day, because of those bunkers, Nanny is a bit claustrophobic.

There are many stories she tells about the war. When I was growing up, it was a very present part of history. I exist because she met an American soldier who convinced her to marry him.

Before my Granddad died, I remember one Thanksgiving when I was chatting with Nanny about Liverpool. She was telling me again about all the things to do and to see and all that. At one point, Granddad came up behind her, kissed her on the cheek and said, "And they have such pretty girls there!"

It was the only time I ever saw my Nanny speechless.

She didn't want to marry him at first - she had a boyfriend (Fred) who was in the European theater at the time she met Hugh Currie at a dance. From the first time he saw her, he turned to his friend and said, "You stay away from that one, she's mine." He asked her again and again to marry him. He even asked her mother to convince her to marry him, to which her mother very firmly replied, "My children make up their own minds."

Granddad was a plane radio operator, and when Europe was invaded he had to go over with the rest. It was then that Nanny realized how much she missed him.

The first thing she did was write to her boyfriend, Fred, and tell him that she had fallen in love with someone else.

Then she wrote Hugh and said, "If you still want to marry me, ok."

When the war ended they were married. She borrowed a friend's wedding dress that was too big for her. Granddad wore his uniform.

She came over on what she describes as "a big ship full of wives." Granddad met her in New York City, took her out to dinner.

Britain had been rationing food for years.

She ordered the roast beef.

The waiter brought her a huge plate of meat. She was confused. She called the waiter over and asked him if he was going to cut her portion off of the piece that was brought to her, or if she did that. The waiter said, "No, that is all for you."

She promptly burst into tears.

It would have fed her family for a month.

She has never become a US citizen, always saying everything is better in England.

She has always been the matriarch around which my family has gathered. I grew up with the Second World War as a very present piece of history in our household. Growing up I always knew about the mistakes that Neville Chamberlain made, and how wonderful Churchill was. I knew about Nanny's homesickness when she was called up, and how fleeting life could be when the friend who walked her home one evening was blown up in his home that night. About the children who lost their parents - who were so young they often didn't even know what their last name was. About how Nanny was so little that they didn't have a uniform big enough for her, so when she walked up her family's garden path looking quite comical wearing a skirt that just about hit the ground and a jacket with sleeves too big, her father quipped, "Why does England tremble?"

She will be turning 91 in April.

She still lives by herself, and whenever I have an hour to spare (you need at least that much) I call her, and we talk about everything.

I am so lucky to be like her.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Random Subway Thoughts #1

When I'm riding the subway and I see someone with an odd hat, I always assume that its religious in nature. I'm not a completely ignorant person, I am aware of the religious dress for Hasidic Jews and even the occasional Mennonites that come to sing to us heathens. However, once in a while I will see a hat that throws me for a loop.

The other day I saw a man wearing a conical fur hat. It was like a smaller version of a dunce cap, made of a really dark, glossy fur. It was one of the most curious, silly looking things I've ever seen. It didn't even cover the guy's ears! Why wear a hat in the winter if it doesn't cover your ears?

To keep myself from being sent to Hell or some other less than desirable place after I die, I immediately think that it has to be a religious something-or-other. That way I can't think that it was just a ridiculous looking head-wear. Cause it wasn't someone making a terrible decision in hats, it's a person who is so devoted to their chosen religion that despite the ornamentation being silly, they are still completely into their God of choice.

That's something to be admired, not scoffed at!

But then again, it could just be someone with a very silly hat.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

So This Is Marriage

To make up for my lack of posts, I give you an example of what my James and I do when we are bored.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My First Attempt At One Space After A Period. How'd I Do?

An infinite amount of puking kept me from posting this week, and I was just going to say fuck it for today and go have a cup of tea, maybe take a nice bath and read Dune (how many nerds out there just got a boner?) - but then I saw some things on this glorious internet of ours, and I couldn't do anything except comment and write a ridiculous run on sentence.

Keep up, everyone.

I have a system when I get on a computer where I can just fuck around. After checking my email and Facebook, I head to my other websites to read other stupid shit that's been going on. I try to balance it out with a few news websites as well, just so I feel like I'm not a completely ignorant asshole. One of the news sites I peruse is, just to get a different slant on stories.  One story today was completely bananas.

It was a story about this medical team in Mexico getting a heart transplant to its recipient. It was all being done perfectly - it had two doctors accompanying it for its entire journey, it had to be flown on a private jet, then airlifted by helicopter to the hospital where the 20 year old girl was waiting for be given a new lease on life. As they were speed walking from the helicopter to the hospital, one of the guys tipped the cooler over and dumped the fucking heart out onto the pavement.

What the fuck, man?!?!

Ok, the heart was all wrapped in all kinds of crazy protection, it wasn't just laying on the street in the hot sun like a fucking dead fish. Everything was ok and they scooped up the organ, which was undamaged, and stuck it in the girl and it was all good. But how fucking pissed would you be? God knows how long this kid had been waiting to get a new heart. She had probably been put under way before the heart even landed so she would be ready for surgery as soon as the thing got there. They had probably already started the surgery! You can't just wait for the heart to get there before you start hacking someone open, that chest has got to be open and ready for precious cargo!

So you wake up, and you're all cut up and stitched and stapled and everything hurts and maybe for a second you're all, "My ordeal is over. I can start to live a normal life!"  Then you go, "Wait, what the what? This is still the old heart!" (I am assuming you can kinda tell when you have a brand new heart in, it seems like something that would register.) Then the doctor comes over to your bed and goes, "Sooo....Yeah. We were gonna give you a new heart, but we had a little too much to drink last night and we might have been a little stoned and we wanted to see who could throw the heart the farthest. Turns out, it was Juan. His heart-throwing arm is the BEST."

Honestly, for me, I would have preferred that to, "We were idiots and knocked the cooler over, and now you are back to the bottom of the list."  You couldn't even beat the shit outta them, cause you'd be all weak from having a fucked up heart!

If you are interested in seeing the video, its here.

I tell ya, made my heart skip a beat.


I admit, not my best.

The next website I stumbled upon made me really excited. The page title is "10 Kids About To Be Devoured By Zoo Animals [VIDEOS]". That's like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one!

Just to be clear, none of the videos showed any child being eaten. I don't want to have your hopes dashed like mine were. I saw the words "kids", "devoured" and "zoo animals" and I was so excited that no other words mattered. Apparently, when I get excited to see a child die a gruesome death in the jaws of something big and hairy, my reading comprehension goes down the shitter.

But it is a page of ten videos of kids, probably years 7 and younger, who are ambling around the glass enclosures of huge predators, and said predators being absolutely clear what they would do to these delicious morsels.

One things I don't understand is that in most of the videos the parents are laughing behind the camera as the lions paw and snap at the glass and are saying things like, "Oh, Abby, he wants to eat you!" in that fucking awful, parent-talking-to-child voice. That's a great idea, parents. Make it a cute situation. Yeah, its FUN when an animal that could easily bite your fucking head clean off is clearly threatening your safety. And don't bother getting in between your baby and the animal. Teach your child that if put in serious danger, you're gonna stand off to the side with your fucking smart phone, giggling and recording the whole thing, so maybe you can have a viral video on YouTube. You're gonna say, "Oh, Ashley, but there's glass between the kid and the ravenous monster." When a kid is 5 and below, that's not something that is easily understood. Kids brains take a while to develop into something that can process complex thought.

And I need to know where these zoos are, cause no zoo I have ever been to has a pane of glass between me and a fucking lion, tiger, gorilla or polar bear. Every zoo I've visited has a wrought-iron fence, followed by a moat that's, like, 90 feet deep with spikes at the bottom and sniper towers all over the place, just in case something awful happens.

Let's add to the fact that these poor animals are fucking crazy. They've all lost their minds. They are in an enclosure that is a SHITTY interpretation of the wild places they acutally come from, just so assholes like you and your kids can come and gawk at them. The first video of the page is a huge gorilla going after a kid, and after he realizes that he can't get to him, the animal sits down and you see him process the fact that he just lost his shit. He is humiliated. And he has no where to hide to deal with the shame of going crazy in public, he has to sit in his PEN and deal with it in front of over-evolved chimps.

See, we shouldn't keep animals in zoos. We don't need to anymore. Now that we have cameras, we should let all the animals go. There used to be pride in having gone to a far off land and having seen an exotic animal in its natural habitat. Now we drag our idiot kids to the saddest place on earth to watch beautiful animals slowly go mad, while our offspring are more excited about an over-priced gift shop then the fact that they just experience a magical creature. Not that long ago, most of the world had no idea animals like this existed! You think in the 1800s an Native American had any idea what a fucking kangaroo was?

If we want to see these animals, we should have to make the trek, to go the Africa, India and everywhere else. We should have to sleep in a shitty tent and get a nasty local bacteria from drinking bad water and only just catch a glimpse of a majestic creature vanishing into the wilds. Then you could come home and say, "I think I saw something incredible."

If you want to see those videos, its here.

I may have gotten a little carried away.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Let Me Know When You Figure Out My Rating System

A couple quick reviews for ya . . .

In the last two-ish weeks, I've been lucky enough to get to the movies a couple times, and I thought I'd share my experience to help you make an informed decision on what to see at the theater.

Or whatever.

For my bachelorette party (Ashley style), my dear friend and maid of honor took me to acupuncture, Thai food and to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  I had been itching to see this movie ever since I heard it was being made.  I grew up with British television and movies, and I have to admit, they contain a subtly that very few American movies and performances obtain.  I won't lie to you and tell you every second is riveting.  It is slow in places.  But, interestingly enough, I would imagine the things that go on in this movie - the research, the espionage and whatnot - are actually more true to what real life spy work is, rather than the Mission Impossibles and James Bonds.  One of the great triumphs of this movie is that the director never sat you down and had someone explain what was happening.  There was no prolonged exposition or pontification on exactly what was going on.  Thomas Alfredson (the director) trusted his audience enough to know he didn't need someone to come out now and then and make sure everyone was still on board.  He trusted that his story and his actors were compelling enough to keep you hooked on the tiny hints each character was giving, to see if YOU could figure it out before Gary Oldman.  I cannot stress enough how beautiful the performances were.  Mark Strong and Colin Firth in particular had some truly beautiful moments.  And I was so pleased to see Benedict Cumberbatch in a different kind of role for him.  If you are scratching your head as to who this gentleman is, you should first be ashamed and then be directed to the first season of the BBC show Sherlock.  He plays a modern Sherlock Holmes, and he does it brilliantly.  In that show, he is hugely intelligent, on top of his game and without a doubt a force to be reckoned with.  The character he plays in this film is smaller, more subtle and not very sure of himself.  It was really intriguing to see him in situations where he had none of his trademark confidence. 

If nothing else, every actor should see this movie to see how to tell an audience something without saying a word.  I highly appreciate that in films, and I give Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a resounding Awesome Sauce.

This past Wednesday my James and I went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  Have to say, I was disappointed.  And mostly I was let down by the lack of motivation.  No one really knew why they were doing anything, but they just kept doing stuff.  It was never even completely clear why Moriarty was doing the things he was doing, he just did them.  At one point he alluded to money being the driving force behind his evilness, and I have to call bullshit on that one.  After chatting with my resident Sir Arthur Conan Doyle expert, I have confirmed that Moriarty is the perfect foil to Sherlock.  Very often we are reminded that Sherlock is behind in the rent, needs money, etc.  He doesn't do what he does for the money, he does it for the thrill of the chase, in order to be the one who discovers the truth behind the lie that initially stumps him.  Moriarty is evil, because he is evil.  Money is nice, and he would get money as a result of being evil, but it would never be his sole aim.  Think of The Joker as a proper British man.  And a little quieter.  He just likes to make things terrible, you know?  He would never kill, maim or destroy just for a paycheck.  He is more sinister, more conniving.  And in the end, that is a much more terrifying villain than someone who just wants to add to his bank account.  If he just wanted that, why didn't he just rob a bank?  He could probably very easily have it done, and get away with it.  There was one interesting moment in the film, when Sherlock and Moriarty were about to fight, and Sherlock goes through the fight ahead of time in slo-mo.  Moriarty then does it back to him, to show him that he can play that game just as well as our dashing hero.  It was intriguing and exciting to see Sherlock stumped. 

So, this movie gets a Could Have Been Worse, Could Have Been Better label.  Definitely needed a better villain.

Now, last night I went to see The Artist.  I have to say, this movie was wonderful.  In case you haven't heard of it, its a silent movie, in that old style of silent movies.  No dialogue at all.  This movie relies solely on the expressiveness of the performers and a few sparsely placed frames of dialogue (like in the old fashion silent movies) to get the story across to the audience.  Jean Dejardin and Bérénice Bejo accomplish this perfectly.  They are beautifully watchable, and talk about a movie that doesn't over-explain!  By giving himself the challenge of not using dialogue, the director, Michel Hazanavicius, ensures that there cannot be any moment that is burdened with heavy handed exposition.  I found myself more willing to interact with this movie, too.  By interact, I don't mean that I was speaking to the figures on the screen.  I mean that by knowing I wasn't going to miss any dialogue, I felt more freedom to laugh, to sigh, to have a moment.  I left the theater feeling really good.  My best good lady friend (who was with me) and I wanted to dance down the street afterward.  It was a glorious return to Old Hollywood, and I loved every second.  Those of you who have seen Singing in the Rain will see similarities - a silent movie actor dealing with the rise of the talkies - but it was just different enough to keep me thoroughly engaged and excited for the characters. 

I have to award this movie not only with Awesome Sauce, but also with Deliciously Charming.

Fun fact, my maid of honor, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle expert and best good lady friend are all the same person. 

Hows that for a fucking twist, M. Night?