Archive for June, 2010

Comics 1

June 29, 2010

As Henry is running around getting his dose of superheroes – even though we don’t watch the stuff at home.  (He must be getting it from other kids while he’s at school.) He’s all about being Robin or Ironman with the occasional foray into Spiderman.

It’s funny that there just seemed a whole universe of superheroes when I was a kid – everybody on television:   Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, Adam West as Batman, Superman and the whole Justice League and of course the characters I could relate to most – the Wonder Twins.

I loved the idea of transformations, even though I thought the power of the boy twin was lame – I mean, forms of water?  And not even really impressive forms of water – like a glacier that was only as big as he was?  (I know some people will quibble over transfer/creation of mass – but geez, a glacier as big as a man isn’t a glacier – it’s a block of ice.  I knew that even as a kid, pre-geology degree.)  But that monkey.  Eesh.  I despised funny little side-kick animals even then.

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dry matters

June 23, 2010

I like clothes drying in the sun.  It smells better, supposedly helps get out particularly hard to remove stains, uses no electricity, and you can feel virtuous while being really cheap.

I really look forward to the warmer weather and this is one of the reasons.  I think living in Australia and having one of their clothes lines – a real Hill’s Hoist, an umbrella style (rotary) drying rack – contributed to this.  The Aussies love theirs Hill’s Hoists – and I can see why.  (It moves up and down to accommodate height and rotates so you don’t have to move around.  Awesome bit of drying technology.  Too bad they’re really expensive, otherwise I’d buy and install it.)  Also, drying clothes in the sun feels more leisurely – you just hang stuff up and go about your day.  When you’re ready for the clothes, they’re ready for you.

Only if the weather was as cooperative today – but got to take some of that in stride.  We do a load every other day (more in winter) and putting that off is okay.  I try to think that it adds to the leisurely feel of the season.

My mother prefers the mechanical clothes drier.  I think because she line-dried much of her early life, she’s over the outside line.  Which I do understand – there’s a difference between choosing to line dry and not.

And so, after 31 years, my mother’s clothes drier died.  She’s a bit upset about it – really, she’s annoyed about having to get a new one.

My sister commented that the drier was down to two settings – hot and off.  It was so worn by the time it needed to be replaced, all the manufacturer’s enamel coating had been worn off the inside of the drum – the result of decades of zippers and buttons rubbing and banging. ( Sounds dirty – but it’s totally not.  It’s very clean.)

sports writing

June 15, 2010

Some of the best nonfiction writing I’ve ever come across is sports writing.  I do not watch, follow, or have hardly any interest in sports whatsoever.  It just happens that some of the best writers/commentators do their work in sports.  Sure, the numbers make sense – a lot of people like sports, there’s a fair number of jobs in sports, there’s going to be some subset that can really write to the point where it reaches to non-sports people like me.  (That is some reach, by the way.)

Alan Richman (among my favorite food writers) and Wilton Barnhardt (he wrote “Emma who saved my life” which is pretty funny) both started in sports.  Joe McGuinness wrote “The Miracle of Castel di Sangro” which was really interesting.  Joe Queenan wrote a book (when he was still trying to write books that wouldn’t require 20 pt font to fill the space between the covers – take that Joe, much as I love your stuff) ostensibly about golf.  Hell, even George Will wrote a baseball book.

Keith Olberman (very funny when he’s not going bonkers), Bob Costas, Bryant Gumbel, all started in sports.  Charlie Pierce (who comments on NPR Saturday morning “Only a game”) is hilarious.   Ray Romano played one (I couldn’t resist – because I simultaneously loved and cringed at that show).  Also, the Yes channel interview show Centerstage is really interesting – Michael Kay gives a great interview.

Never mind all the books and movies that use sports metaphors – A River Runs Through It, Bull Durham,  Shoeless Joe (Field of Dreams).

Maybe because of that simplicity that they make such great metaphors.

Also, maybe the way sports are generally set up make for easy writing.  I don’t mean great – I mean easy.  There’s two sides – mine and yours.  Star players.  Egos vs teams.  Heartwarming backstory of rising over adversity.  But maybe the writers just make it easy because they are that good.  I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of flat-footed sports prose out there – I’m saying that even to me, who could care beans about sports, find it very interesting because of its sheer quality of storytelling.

Anyway, that’s all my way of apologizing to sports in general – I’m sorry I didn’t find you interesting earlier, because there is good work in there and I need some of your metaphors/similes for writing now.

ex¢hange money

June 9, 2010

I wish, many many times, that the cent sign were still as prevalent as it used to be – because I find its lack sad.  For example, in the title of the post.

This is because my parents, for the second or third time, have given me a whack of change in a cloth bag somewhere between a quart and gallon ziploc size.  Upon a quick inspection, no coin is more recently minted than 1984 – mostly dimes and quarters with a sprinkling of 50¢ (see what I did there?) pieces and the stray penny or nickel.

I receive this gift, they say, because I will use it.  My siblings would also use it, I think.  They just wouldn’t go through the hassle of rolling it.  Last time, it took the a couple hours for better part of a week to net something like a couple hundred dollars.  With the kids, I don’t know that I can do any rolling either.

And my bank, stuck 30 years behind the times (like the change) won’t count it (like my siblings).  I have to  do it.  No money without work.

Makes me wonder where these sacks come from, and if they’re doling them out based on when the bags are found (my parents have been retired from running a retail store for nearly a decade), or what they think is normal human tolerance for change rolling.  (Like there’s a hidden stash somewhere and they’re laughing their butts off just thinking about the next time….Where are the pennies and nickels, Mom and Dad?)

It’s really nice, you know?  I’m don’t mean to complain.  But, geez.  Really?  (You know?)

memes

June 9, 2010

There’s a lot of ways of getting the writing pump primed – a lot of exercises, a family of which is called “20 things” or “1 story in 10 sentences,” etc.  Some of that would be called memes – but I’m a little uncertain of usage outside the phase “kink meme” so forgive my failure here.  (I am a dork and super vanilla, whatever my external complexion may be.  Even if I did look the word up.  Nerd.)

Depending on how you apply such things, it can end up a list of ideas.  Which is awesome, in a way, if you’re running low on ideas.  Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy reading them sometimes.

The problem being, of course, that lack of ideas are not actually my problem.  Most of the time, it’s a combination of lack of time (I like a set time of at least a couple of hours where I KNOW I’m going to be left alone, which is hard to get), overwhelmed with details/editing, laziness, and just fear of writing poorly.

So I get a little irrationally sad/envious when other people get tons of awesome reviews for having such things for what is essentially a 1-k  outline, when I am killing myself writing thousands of words about a single series of ideas with a plot and everything.  And not get particularly much attention for it.  Maybe it’s too linear?  Maybe because it doesn’t excite the same kind of brain thrill that a much of ideas do – you know, the whole “a movie is most perfect in pitch form” syndrome.  Maybe my writing just isn’t very exciting.  Sigh.

Because ideas is easy, writing is hard.  Woe is me, all writey.

More for your dollar

June 2, 2010

This is getting to be a regular feature here on my blog – what I think about the dollar store. Even my unconsciousness is getting into the act.

Yes, I had a dollar store dream. I was wandering around with my cart and stuff just didn’t seem right. The brands weren’t right, the amount stuff cost didn’t seem right. And then….I realized, I was in an alternate dimension (no, not of savings – literally twilight zone alternate dimension). It was really weird, but really funny.  (And this is a plot bunny right there, folks.  I’m going to work on that story next.  Interested in reading it?)

And I was thinking about going to the dollar store, actually.  For beachy stuff – sand rakes and buckets and molds and more of that dollar store septic tank maintainer (whoopee).  We’re probably going to the beach, sometime this summer.

And in other news, I got my money back for the last time that soda machine and I wrangled.

More than meets the eye

June 1, 2010

I loved the Transformers cartoon as a kid.   I didn’t care it was to sell toys.  We never actually had the real toys.  Maybe some knock-offs.  I can’t remember.  (No GoBots!  Forget the GoBots!  Oh, so sorry.  I don’t know where that came from – perhaps the well of memories of my childhood.)

Anyway, after they killed off Optimus Prime – the series was dead to me.  It really made me sad.  I couldn’t believe it.  How could you kill off the most unbelievably awesome character in the entire show?!  This might have been my “Bambi’s Mom” moment equivalent –  except for, you know,  it being about alien robots fighting a seemingly unending civil war.  Anyway, it scarred me sufficiently that I’m complaining about it now.

They tried to bring him back – and I even remember seeing the episode – but my hopes were crushed.  It was a poor example of bringing somebody back who wasn’t really the original guy.  (I can’t remember exactly what happened, only that it wasn’t MY Optimus Prime, hence, this character was nobody.)

Even with all the stuff about “Where does that load for the back of Optimus Prime’s semi-truck come from?” which I knew, even as a kid, was sort of random and out of place in a cartoon.  Optimus Prime didn’t need to be hauling a load.  But he was so awesome, he chose to haul loads.  He’s a total father figure.  (Like Mufasa in the Lion King – whose death, to me, was a faint echo of the terribleness that was Optimus Prime’s death.)  I imagine the Autobots were in total disarray after that.  I stopped watching.

I can still even hear the voice of Optimus Prime in my head if I concentrate – he was so awesome.  A great voice.  Hell, I can even recall parts of the theme song – especially the last line – “Autobots something something to destroy the evil forces of the DECEPTICONS”  (I know those words are wrong, but that last way of saying Decepticons makes the whole line worth it.)

I even made a joke about it recently to W – he was commenting on something that had “Optimus” in the name – and I said the only “Optimus” I’m interested in was “Optimus Prime.”  Which he found funny, thank goodness.  He is my partner in all ways, even nerdiness.

But there seems to have been several series of it since I last paid attention.  It’s not like they’re robbing my childhood – I can’t be bothered to watch them, so I don’t even know anything about them.  I just have a picture in my head of how the series and the characters go and that’s it.  Never mind the fanfic that’s out there – I am willfully blind to it.  Don’t want it, won’t go looking for it, probably wouldn’t understand it anyway.  As for any whispers of shhhh sex shhhh – they’re robots!  Can’t happen in my head, no way.  la la la la can’t hear you.  Period.

So, this makes the recent movies sort of troubling.  Because the ads are all over the place.  And I kind of want to see them because they look *cool* – but it’s Michael Bay and he’s sort of an entertainment whore – and when W tried to explain the plot to me, I was annoyed at how poorly it was logicked out.

Plus, with all Bumblebee being in the promos – I got annoyed.  Bumblebee doesn’t play a big part in the original series!  The hell is he doing in this movie as the main character?  Where is my Optimus Prime?  There shouldn’t really be humans in this either – this series is not about people!  It’s about unbelievably cool transforming sentient alien robots!  (And if I ever paused to think about it,  that is an unbelievable load of junk to throw together into a single cartoon, but whatever.)

My brother, in his usual way, bought the movie and I’ll probably watch it anyway because it’s so convenient.

This rant is a million years too late, but I decided to put my reservations down before I finally give in and watch it.

Edited to Add:  I think have to watch it now.  The same dude that was Optimus Prime’s voice in the 80’s is also his voice in the new movie – as well as a million other things.  (That’s a dude who’s made a good living on his voice, boy-howdy.)