Thursday, September 24, 2009

Song of the Day: Send the Pain Below (Chevelle)

There's something about a low, low bass line that rings out cleanly rather than rumbling in the mud under the rest of the band or rattling car windows like those damn subwoofer systems. Granted, it takes a decent subwoofer--or at least a system with decent low-range response--to get the full effect. Back around the time it was released, I was doing deliveries in an otherwise crappy Ford Ranger with exactly the sort of stereo to make this song sound great without bothering the neighbors.

This track is off Chevelle's 2002 disc "Wonder What's Next," and I don't remember it getting a great deal of airplay--not nearly as much as the first single, 'The Red,' which is a rare song in that it grabbed me instantly the first time I heard it. 'Pain' didn't grab me at first, but over a few weeks or months in 2004, I started listening more and more for that bass line.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Two's Apartment: The Mess

Imagine a little 1-bedroom apartment, maybe 300 square feet--living room, bedroom, bathroom, a narrow kitchen. I don't know how much her rent was, but I hope it was cheap, given the size of the place.

Just her and her long-haired cat.

She had recently thrown out her last boyfriend, excuse the mess please.

The Mess. Wow. Let me just say that while I can still be angry at this woman 13 years after getting away from her and her crazy mood swings, I still don't hate her. I still feel sorry for her, because of The Mess. I'm doing this post to try to show her in a more sympathetic light.

Remember that Two is legally blind--maybe 5% of "normal" vision, and even then everything is upside down. She lived in this place with The Mess for months before I ever met her. She can't cook, and given The Mess (in a minute, in a minute!), I'm guessing she's not big on cleaning, either.

As you enter the apartment, there's a short hallway--maybe 6 feet long--with a closet on the right. Straight ahead to the living room, maybe 10 by 10. Couch, two foam fold-up chair beds, TV, her rocking chair. Bedroom's maybe 8x10. Bed, dresser...and The Mess.

I didn't really understand how big The Mess was until we were moving her out, the last of August 1996--barely 3 weeks after I met her. She wanted to move to a 14' x 80' trailer on a lot about 15 miles outside of town.

So it's moving day and I grab some big trash bags, thinking I'll just toss in what looks like a pile of dirty laundry. I end up filling more than 10 of those buggers, and I discover that The Mess has some treats, like a box of Cracker Jack! Cleverly hidden throughout this mound of clothes, bedding, and towels are hairballs and turds from Two's cat. Nice.

When I got all this stuff bagged, I had to get it to my car, parked at the roadside. Nice, long hike, several times, and then my little '83 Citation was as overstuffed as one of those damn bags. Then I cleaned the place up and left.

What? No help? Nope. Her relatives showed up, grabbed a whole mess of stuff in one trip, and vanished. They didn't come back to help. They were waiting at the trailer--"Where have you been?" Nice.

Unloading The Mess was much easier; I just threw the bags up on the front porch, then moved it all into one of the spare bedrooms. I swear, it all multiplied at some point--now it was several feet deep in one corner of the room!

I had plans to wash all that stuff, but in the 3 months I was there, I hardly made a dent, even doing laundry several times a week.

I wonder if she ever managed to sort it out.

*sniff* My baby's growing up!

The X-11 just rolled the odometer to 99,900.0...and she keeps breaking her previous record of consecutive days without breaking down. Previous was 28; as of today it's 45.

She keeps this up, there's an oil change. And a wash.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Movie: Long Goodbye, The (1973)

Rating: 1
Year: 1973
Genre: Detective
Watch again? Nope, nope, nope. It's not okay with me.

Scorethefilm and I watched this last night. About the only things it's got in common with Raymond Chandler's original is:

1) Phillip Marlowe is the name of the main character.
2) Marlowe is a detective.
3) Marlowe lives in California.
4) Marlowe drives a 1940's car, convertible.

For this Elliot Gould vehicle, the screenwriter (Liegh Brackett) moved Marlowe to 1973 Los Angeles, put him in what's GOT to be an expensive apartment (across the way from a small army of yoga chicks who walk around topless), gave him a finicky Morris the Cat (apparently the actual cat), and gave him a tag line: "It's okay with me."

Marlowe gives a pal a ride down to Tijuana. Cops are waiting for him when he gets back home, and they take him downtown. He's released after 3 days to find that his pal has killed himself in remorse for murdering his wife.

Phone call. A woman in Malibu wants to hire him--$50 a day plus expenses--to find her boozer husband. He finds hubby--an amateur Hemmingway look-alike, brings him home.

The local mobster shows up at Marlowe's, wants the money Marlowe's dead pal was supposed to take to Mexico City.

Then things fail to get interesting. This flick disappointed at every turn, really. Gould doesn't carry the character well (we were expecting maybe Humphrey Bogart?), and out of the supporting cast only Sterling "Drunk Hubby" Hayden is really on the set and working. Everyone else was phoning it in long-distance.

There were a couple of surprises that livened things up: first, there's a young Arnold Schwarzenneger as a heavy for the mobster; second--and this would be a spoiler if the movie wasn't so bad--Marlowe just shoots his pal after figuring out the guy faked his death.

If you're looking for any Robert Altman magic, go find "M*A*S*H."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pic of the Day: The President.

In the face of Joe "You lie!" Wilson's heckling during his September 9th, 2009 speech before Congress, President Obama was particularly presidential even as his heckler's behavior was particularly inexcusable.

He simply stared the childish idiot down the way a grownup does. Hold it a beat and move on.

Of course, Wilson apologized the way a child does--after being MADE to.

Republicans. *sigh*

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9-11: invasion of the goposaurs!

I make no secret of my atheism; nor do I go out of my way to make it the main topic in this Blog. I'm a regular in the newsgroup alt.atheism (aka "a.a."), where I take rather bloodthirsty pleasure in simply insulting the invading hordes of religious imbeciles bent on conversion or irritation.

When I first joined a.a., I waded in and started swinging, and my favorite target for invective was the invincibly dishonest "Pastor Frank." He's the one who gave me the name I post by: Dr. Smartass.

Then there was georgann, an entirely different species of religious whack-job. She's some sort of graphic artist, and she's put together some funky diagram that she says proves that Jesus is coming back really really soon, and he'll put his throne atop the Great Pyramid at Giza. The capstone was left off for that purpose by the Egyptians! Even THEY knew thousands of years before he was born that he'd die and come back!

Couple of crazies, good for punching bags, but otherwise uninteresting.

Until September 11, 2001.

Both of them took the events of that day as their cue to set all us atheists straight and bring us in. georgann's effort was especially tacky (link goes to the Google Groups archive of the entire thread). She got double-barreled fury from most of the regulars, including me.

I kept the posts from that thread so I could look at them every now and then. I'm always surprised that my swipe at her and her fellow asshole was so good. I don't think I could manage it these days:

Georgann and Pastor Frank should both be taken by the scruff of their necks
and dragged all the way to New York City. They should be made to move rubble,
look into the faces of the dead, slip on their blood, feel their remains with
their own bare hands. As I understand it, there are not many whole
bodies...but a lot of body parts. Not surprising, when a fragile human
traveling at more than 200 miles per hour in a little aluminum tube slams into
a large concrete-and-steel structure. They should see the hundreds of
volunteers working themselves past exhaustion, facing the very real
possibility of being crushed by still-falling debris, working till their hands
bleed, falling over from heat exhaustion, breathing smoke and concrete dust
and asbestos particles.

Look into their eyes and talk about your fucking gods.

Tell them your god did it to signal the coming of the end of the world.

Tell them it happened because they weren't christian enough.

Tell them it was because they didn't believe.

And then they should be taken north, to where families and friends of missing
people are gathered. There, they can look every one of those people in the eye
and talk their shit to them.

Assuming they survive this experience, they'll be taken from there to the
Pentagon to repeat the process--move rubble, look the hundreds of dead in the
eyes, slip on their blood, preach to their survivors.

From there, it's off to Pennsylvania. Same thing there.

For you two miserable children of perdition--for both of you and all the other
theists reading this who prefer to talk your shit instead of expressing some
fucking human decency, some pain at the loss, some sympathy for the dead and
those who are working to find survivors...if you can do those things and still
preach your don't deserve to live.

I would add some people to this; not just those two idiots, but also to the scumbags from President Fratboy on down who shat all over the legacy of September 11th, using it to garner political power, using it to frighten people into voting for them, using it to take us to a meaningless war in Iraq. Six months after going all John Wayne and announcing that we wanted Osama bin Ladin dead or alive, President Fratboy told a reporter that he didn't know where bin Ladin was--and he didn't care.


No, going to Iraq was more important. George Bush and the GOP shat 9-11 into meaninglessness. And we still don't have bin Ladin. We have 5,000-plus dead soldiers, thousands more injured, hundreds of thousands or more dead Iraqis.

And this is also for the scumbags who are still shitting all over 9-11, the ones who screech that we must NEVER FORGET!!, like Glenn Beck, who in 2005 was fed up with the families of 9-11 victims, wanted them to shut up. Now he's embracing it again and using the imagery of that dark day to further his own agenda, to stir up those insane teabaggers and birthers and deathers who adore him. His new evil is called the 9-12 project ( going to link directly to it). It's just another things for teabaggers to do, screeching their standard idiocies, demanding secession from the evil United States (funny how they take federal aid money, isn't it?), trying to incite revolution.

None of them learned a damn thing from September 11th--but then, they weren't even there.

Here's someone who remembers 9-12 and after--our government telling the people of Manhattan not to worry about breathing the air (without mentioning that asbestos and dioxin were well above 'safe' levels), the flag-waving idiots (with flags made in Taiwan and China) and their nationalistic fervor (including country singers who proudly admit they don't know the difference between Iraq and Iran), and this country losing its freaking mind. If the Glenn Becks, teabaggers, birthers and other insane right-wingers have their way, this country will never regain its sanity.

A few months ago, one of the crazies was screeshing about "re-education camps" for her and her fellow crazies. I'm starting to think that it wouldn't be a bad thing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Song of the Day: Rock of Ages (Def Leppard)

One of the staples of Top-40 rock in the mid-80s, and still one of my favorite songs after all this time. It's the 7th track on Def Lep's "Pyromania" album--their best work overall.

When I went into Basic Training in 1986, I carried the entire album around in my head. When we were marched to a mandatory chorale performance in November of that year, I cued up my mental record player and probably started with "Rock of Ages."

Phil Collen and Steve "Steamin' " Clark trade guitar duties. I've never learned enough about the band to know which of them is playing the solo, but I saw Collen play it in a live gig. Let's just say it was him.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The X passes a milestone...!

It's been 28 days since I got it back on the road. That's the previous record--28 days after I got the new carb and distributor installed, the car quit and wouldn't start. Took me 6 weeks of testing, tinkering, and replacing stuff to figure out that it was just a buck's worth of rubber fuel hose. Before all that, the best performance I got was 2-3 days between fixing an engine problem and having to fix it again.

So now...every day she runs will be a new record.

Can she break 29?

How to Drive a Model T

Amazing how cars have evolved.