Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A New Favorite

Formerly I thought "Mansquito" was the most amazing title for a SciFi Original Movie that anyone could ever have thought up. However I now believe the latest one, "Frankenfish," may be even better.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


so i turned 22 on monday and it made me realize that i hate life and my job and my apartment and my car and los angeles and anyone and everyone i've ever encountered here (not including ellen degeneres, she seemed nice). so in the spirit of sanity, i'm cutting back on one of my jobs and purging my life of everything irksome. it's strange because i'm simultaneously on the brink of self destruction and bored out of my mind. things have to change. i need a tattoo or a piercing or some blue hair. maybe i'll paint my room or learn to sew or just ask someone to add another dent to my car. maybe i'll just move back home and live in the basement of my parents house and sneak out to buy beer and fancy cakes with simon.

that would be quite nice.

Friday, August 19, 2005

WARNING: This gum is NOT to be used as a substitute for sleep.

do you think speed is an acceptable substitute? crack? i need something...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In Which: Simon Vows Never to Watch the News Again

Top three things news broadcasters habitually do that annoy the bloody hell out of me:

1. That thing where they cut from the anchor to a close-up of a correspondant and then zoom away, revealing that the correspondant is crouched, often holding some strange object he or she has felt compelled to pick up, being so close to the ground and all. The correspondant then stands up, chucks the object aside (litterbug!) and starts walking toward the camera. I just don't understand what this brings to the relation of factual information on a news broadcast. Why why why?

2. When anchors make questions out of statements so that you'll stay tuned to be assured that the answer to the question is, as always, exactly what you knew it would be. For example: "Is there a reason gas prices have gone up so much?" Yes. Next story. "Will Christian video games sell as well as Grand Theft Auto?" No. Next. "What's it like inside the mind of a serial killer?" Ugly. And I'd rather watch CSI to learn about it. Duh, people.

3. When anyone anywhere uses the phrase "women and children." I feel like there's something odd about that phrase, like something's missing. Women, children, and your pet goat named Ron? No... Women, children, and the three-piece dining room set? No... what is it... oh yes. MEN. It was my understanding that the term we use for innocent and defenseless people is "civilian." In case any of us have managed never to come across this word in the 170 years since its invention, that word was civ-il-ian. It means non-combatant. It does not specify gender, and the reason it does not specify gender is not all men go to war. Even in ancient and medieval civilizations, not all men went to war, and back then, as now, male civilians were just as innocent and defenseless and female civilians, young and old civilians, hircine civilians (that's the adjective for goat, I had to look it up), and civilian dining sets. Removing male civilians from the group of people who are innocent and defenseless implies that women and children have equal capabilities, while men are more able. In other words, women are weak. Why this perception persists, I do not know, but I would appreciate it if it was not spread by the evening news anchor of a major television network. Not only does it degrade women and men, but it implies that gender can make the death of one civilian more regrettable than the death of another, a conclusion I find appalling.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


The people for whom I was house sitting have hedgehog-themed items all over their house. Adam counted them once. I don't remember what number he got to, but there were a whole lot. So many that this is what I am prone to hear when I invite people over: "This hedgehog is great -- what is that?"

Actually, it's more like, "What the hell is with all of the hedghogs . . . and what the fuck is that?!"

They are referring to the other noteworthy decoration of the house, which is a postcard standing against the books in the bookcase. It's a picture of a bleak room empty except for a small TV in the corner and a man wearing only a shirt hanging from the ceiling (although you can only see him from the waist down, which includes, indeed, his naked buttocks). It's in black and white and at the bottom it says, "Den ganzen Tag vor der Glotze hängen."

Oh hell, I'll just put it in here. This blog is now rated PG-13.

With the bleakness and the black-and-whiteness and the German at the bottom, it gives you the feeling it's supposed to be tragic social commentary on the plight of East Germany or something. I guess that may be true if East Germans were subjected to television propaganda. But probably not. The German translates to, "Hanging all day in front of the TV." Hanging, get it? Hahaha . . . ha ha . . . no, it's still disturbing. Curse my addiction to six-hour BBC costume dramas!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Wegmans, Magic, and Existential Crises: a Hedgehog Reunion

My co-blogger has returned to her native coast. Tradition dictates that the Hedgehogs of Fabulous Destiny eat Fancy Cakes, but these delectable delicacies are nowhere to be found. Fortunately the other tradition dictates nothing more specific than going to Wegmans and buying whatever looks good. Some Wegmans employee, or at least I think he was an employee, recommended the large chocolate chip cookie cake and continued to put in his two cents after we had moved on to consider the virtues of the old fashioned double fudge cake. When we returned to the cake section jealously guarding a six pack of Magic Hat #9, this same man offered the further counsel that alcohol and chocolate do not really go together. Doubter! The Magic Hat and the cupcakes we finally settled on went very well together.

It was under the power of the magical hat and the sugar that we decided that when our fabulous destinies lead to us being old, white-haired cat ladies, we will name one of our feline friends Richard Taylor; R.T. for short. And you never know; this could happen. After all, Magic Hat reminds us that the Universe Always has Other plans. Since it also advises us to Enjoy a 9 when you Dine, which is so true, I feel confident in trusting Magic Hat bottlecaps with my future. Much more confidant than, say, this Magic 8-Ball I found in my room makes me feel:

That's what you call a real existential dilemma, when your 8-Ball can't decide between answering with gusto and not answering at all. Magic Hat, you not-quite-pale-ale, you--you've saved us!

The Well-Dressed Cat: An Essay on Style and Sensitivity

This is Rhubarb, a Well-Dressed Cat. Rhubarb’s real name is Lord Randall Smythe Marjoriebanks and the question of why he is being referred to as a vegetable is constantly perplexing to him. Perhaps this nickname, Rhubarb, has been assigned to him because of his bittersweet personality and the tendency of the fruit to wake people up at 5:07, 5:09, 5:11, 5:12, 5:19, 5:26 every single morning by jumping on their bed and meowing loudly, but he still finds it a shocking affront and hopes that if he never answers to the name, it will fall into disuse.

Lord Randall Smythe Marjoriebanks patently ignoring the photographer.

Lord Marjoriebanks never allows himself to be seen in his dressing-gown; he consistently goes about in the silk-lined tuxedo with the starched shirt, gloves, and breeches that give him such a trim appearance. He finds that this modish yet dignified clothing goes over just as well when he is hunting mice in meadows and dashing across the street in front of enormous dump trucks as when he is enjoying cocktails in the city.

Inclement weather sometimes forces Lord Randall Smythe Marjoriebanks to cancel evening plans.

His Lordship is often disappointed by the quality of service his people provide at home. Sometimes he has to use his stentorian meow for ten whole minutes before his people realize that his food dish is not completely full and cannot, thus, be eaten from. He hates it when the other cats leave evidence that they all feed from the same bowl; his mother always told him it was an ignominy to share dinnerware.

Lord Randall Smythe Marjoriebanks out of temper because of the poor presentation of his supper.

If you find that his exacting behavior and raffishly crooked jaw, a war wound which popular myth says was dealt to Lord Marjoriebanks by Napoleon, make him seem heroically formidable, you may not wish to be disillusioned by the knowledge that while he will not answer to Rhubarb, he does come to the door when he hears the sound of a fork banging on a can of cat food. Not to mention that when he is very sleepy he likes his ears to be scratched.

Lord Randall Smythe Marjoriebanks at rest.

Nevertheless, he would wish you to know that it is still true that he will creep across your sleeping body to meow in your face every morning at 5:07 and 5:09 and 5:11 and 5:12 and 5:19 and 5:26 . . . If Lord Randall Smythe Marjoriebanks is never indolent, neither should you be.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The name on everybody's lips is gonna be . . . Rosie.

Chew, Lucy! Now fluids, Lucy!

So I’ve been house- and pet-sitting for the past two and a half weeks. This is what house-sitting means: no Internet, no cable, and a very effective feline alarm clock that goes off before the sun is up. Fortunately it also means I have had a lot of time to read, write, watch BBC adaptations of classic novels, and play with many very adorable animals. I shall comment on each in turn.

I spent most of the first week reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I will forever love Michael Chabon for the speech he gave when he visited my school, in which he talked about how he was having trouble with a certain scene in one of his novels and came up with the solution when he passed a man on the street with a nosebleed. He said, “Either chance favors the prepared mind or God smacked that man on the nose.” In that case, Kavalier & Clay is 656 pages of God smiting people for the benefit of Michael Chabon. It’s every bit as great as Adam has been insisting for the past four years. Everyone should go buy it. Now.

Then I went through a phase of watching BBC adaptations of classic novels. Curiously enough, I have also met Andrew Davies, who does a lot of the BBC’s adaptations. Andrew Davies is the man responsible for the bathtub and wet-shirt scenes in Pride and Prejudice. For those of you who have never watched the miniseries, both of these scenes are completely superfluous to the plot and seem to be there solely to showcase Colin Firth’s considerable physical charm. In fact, Davies’s script originally did not include the shirt itself in the infamous wet-shirt scene, which is all the more reason to revere him. But really, Davies is a brilliant adaptor, and I can attest to this because he made Middlemarch absolutely absorbing, which not even George Elliot could do, and the fact that the combination of Jane Eyre and Timothy Dalton could not save the BBC’s production of that excellent novel only further proves that the BBC should never adapt anything without first consulting Andrew Davies. Also, they should have abstained in general from functioning in the 1980s, because the entire decade’s productions are casted horribly, acted lifelessly, and lit like a soap opera.

Then I actually did some writing, and no, I will not discuss it.

And all along I have been a dedicated animal wrangler, the most taxing part of which involves going running with Lucy every day. If I go up the road, there is absolutely no shade and both of us want to die when we get back. If I go the other way and turn left, there is a medium-sized vicious dog with whom Lucy does not appear to be friends. If I turn right, there is a bear-sized vicious dog, and if you thought this dog was behind and invisible fence, you’d be wrong about that. And whichever route I take, I come home and have to deal with the fact that the dog, who is always very hot and thirsty by this point, will not drink from her bowl unless I stand there and give her moral support.

Robin Williams has this routine about George W. Bush choking on the pretzel that nearly killed him a few years ago . . . let’s pause for a moment as we ponder that . . . So Robin Williams has this bit about how we’re spending all this money on national security and the President’s choking on snack food and he says, “What do we have to do? Does someone have to sit with him and go “Chew sir! . . . Now fluids, sir!” Well, this is roughly how I feel about Lucy since she started doing the same thing with food. The other day I had to go stand by her bowl while she ate because she’d stop if I left. I think she might be eating cat food on the sly, which would account for her being less hungry, but come on. Millions of years of evolution and the dog is such a slave to human company that she’d rather die of thirst and hunger than risk missing something.

Fortunately, those millions of years of evolution did make her irresistibly adorable. (Photo taken after second bath necessitated by dog rolling in own poo for second time.)