Jeepers

In the midst of all the drama and schadenfreude, I forgot to mention that I managed to pen reviews for Alone in the Dark and H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

Then again, given the quality of these flicks, that may not be such a surprising thing.

Unholy Glee

There has been much drama around here of late, though on such a rarefied, general level that it hardly seems worthy of inclusion here. Still, I haven’t done anything here in a longish time, so I should likely bore you with details, anyway.

I believe we’ve already gone over the storms of the last few weeks – after the last dramatic outage I spoke of (Iron Giant vs the Power Station, indeed, thanoseid) there was another outage, this time during the day. Lightning strike on a pole, apparently. Unconnected with that was a major freaking outage that put much of the area northeast of Houston in darkness for the entire night, and that was due to an entire dynamo going down.

That’s not what I’m here to preach about today, brothers, oh no. A little over a week ago, we returned from dinner to find a fire truck parked in front of our neighbor’s house. My wife, Lisa, being the demure, quiet type, immediately leaped out of the car and bellowed to a nearby fireman, “What happened?” Turns out there was quite a gas leak from the neighbor’s meter – the hiss was audible, nearly sixty feet away, and the fire fighter opined that since the repair crew had not yet shown up, it might be, um, wise for my family and myself to make ourselves scarce for the next hour or so. Just to be safe.

Safe is a good thing, so we gathered up our other neighbor, crazy Ronnie, and got back into the car. Where to go for an hour? Lisa went to her defaults, declaring that we should go to Garden Ridge Pottery, so she and Ronnie could ooh and aah over cheap, mass-produced folk art for an hour – especially since there was a Best Buy next door, so my son and I wouldn’t be too bored. I said that could work, since I haven’t been to Best Buy since a Fry’s Electronics – or as I refer to it, “The Man Mall” – opened much closer (and with a far better DVD selection) than Best Buy.

Well, Ronnie had never been to the Man Mall, and the kid was now chanting “Man Mall! Man Mall!” so we went there instead.

Now, much has been written, and in a far more scholarly manner, about the difference between men and women shopping. The hunter vs the gatherer mentality. Suffice to say that even confronted by the incredible bounty of the Man Mall, I was hard pressed to find enough to ooh and aah over for an hour. When I finally caught up with the women folk in the CD section after 55 minutes, and asked “Are you ready?” I was greeted with a disgruntled “We’ve been ready.”

I’m sorry. I will pay for this for the next… oh, however many years I have left… but I immediately flashed on every time I’ve sat, useless and morose, on one of those uncomfortable laundromat chairs that stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s have at the front, for useless and morose husbands. The trip to Walmart for wood screws and twine that turned into a two hour search for bathing suits. The many times my wife has brandished the tenth grotesque wood and paint creation at me, brightly asking, “Isn’t this cute?”

And I replied, in my best Abe Simpson, “Welcome to my world.”

As I said, I’ll pay for that for years.

It was worth it.

The Media Blender

I’ve not had much time to watch TV the last few weeks, and I’ll wager you can tell how much that saddens me. Especially when I was walking through a living room last weekend and saw the previews for two of the last gasps of the reality TV craze, which were so completely odious my mind wiped them clean from memory, leaving only a mental Post-It Note: not watching TV is a good thing, it seems.

This means that, by and large, I missed the Michael Jackson trial, or, more appropriately, the media coverage of the Michael Jackson trial, except for those pithy, essential parts published in the inverted pyramid of the newspaper stories. That, in and of itself, is a good thing for my quality of life issues. But the aftermath has caused two things to flicker across my screen, seemingly unconnected, yet not:

First, there is this editorial from the Houston Chronicle, about supposed news anchors injecting their personal opinions about the then-impending verdict into the media. To be sure, Court TV’s Nancy Grace is a commentator, not an anchor, but the other perp, Fox News’ (oh what a surprise) Shepard Smith, has no such distinction on his side. The not-so-obvious flip side of this coin is an Associated Press story detailing a poll which shows the sampled Americans consider Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh to be journalists, but not Bob Woodward.

Good God, people get the popular media they deserve, don’t they?

Summertime

As the spouse of a teacher, summer always blindsides me. It makes my life seem so schizophrenic; nine months of being left to myself, followed by three months of “Whatcha doing?” “Wanna go to the store?” “Just checking on you.”

Other things occupying my life:

Remember the storms I mentioned earlier? Lightning struck a tree in my back yard and sheared off the top half. Luckily, given the fact that I love trees, the rest of the tree seems to have survived, but I discovered it is simply amazing that I have managed to get to this point in my adult life, living in a Gulf Coast state, without owning a chainsaw.

Returning to the summer disruption trope, I have also discovered that a simple trip to the store to purchase wood screws and twine can suddenly turn into a two hour shopping expedition.

Lisa also decided it was time once again for a pool in the back yard (luckily, after clearing out the half-a-tree) and splurged on one of those largish inflatables that actually has a circulation/filtration pump. When summer is over, it is going to look like a flying saucer landed, leaving a perfect circle of crushed, dead grass. I have informed Lisa that when my father, aka The Lawn Nazi, comes over for Thanksgiving, she gets to deal with him about that.

I visited the set for one of the video games I scripted; that is to say, the one where the cut scenes are being shot with live actors on a bluescreen soundstage. Many familiar faces there, from my days of jobbing into video shoots as a teleprompter, so I got to play catchup during the ebb and flow of Setting Up The First Shot. This is fairly exciting for a while, but unless you have a specific job to do, a movie set is one of the most boring places on Earth. I was mainly there to record a couple of lines of dialogue, since apparently I do the Airport PA Voice very well.

Oh, yeah, that and I’m researching for a new script that’s due the end of this month. Nope, can’t go into details about that, either.

Yep, I am The Exciting Guy.