Friday, May 23, 2008

Oh Shit They're Back

When I was couch surfing at one of my brothers' apartment in Oakland, I learned a lesson in patience and suffering. My brother lived in a loft building within spitting distance of the rebuilt Highway 80, near the off-ramp for 880, I think. If you had the windows open, you were subjected to an aural assault of zooming cars, downshifting trucks, and struggling transmissions. A fine, black grit would drift in and settle on any still surface. This detritus of the road consisted of tire dust and engine exhaust. If the wind was right, this foul breeze would blend with the odors of the coffee roasting factory down the road and the vending machine pastry factory next adjacent to the former building in which I suffered. These strange mixtures warped my senses and I was unable to enjoy a cup of coffee while I rode the foam in Oakland nor have I eaten a vending pastry since.

All of the previous was minor compared to the upstairs neighbors. The floors of the lofts were hardwood, as it was a converted warehouse, and the heathen bastards residing in the apartment above were kind souls and take in every dog they saw abandoned on the highway. These dogs would bark and yowl, yip and growl, whine and howl all the live long day. These dogs would scrape and scramble across the hardwood floor in a pack and it was difficult to retain my Zen-like calm at being an unemployed college dropout. In addition to the noise, the new dogs to the pack would urinate on the floor or disrupt the collective water sources and liquids would percolate through the ceiling into my brother's unit. This was bad but it was not the worst for these neighbors had another bad habit.

The upstairs neighbors also liked to watch the TV at volumes one does not hear outside of assisted living facilities full of stubborn old biddies who don't want to turn on their hearing aids because the batteries will run down. I can recall a night, within a month of the premiere of The Two Towers, when I was watching The Fellowship of the Ring on television at the same time the neighbors were. I heard a strange echo and checked the speaker connections and settings. After checking everything, I realized that the echo was coming from upstairs. I wasn't hearing an echo of the TV and stereo output, I was hearing the echo of the the neighbor's system upstairs. I muted our television and was able to continue watching the movie with the sound muted and not miss any of the audio. My brother walked out of his room and asked me to turn it down during one of the commercials that was particularly loud. When I explained the situation, I recall him looking at the ceiling and saying, "oh, those assholes." This was not the worst.

One of the upstairs neighbors broke a leg shortly before The Dog deposited me in Oakland. The genius got the idea that rolling around his apartment in an office chair would be easier than limping around on crutches. I imagine that all the dogs would be more likely to stay away from a careening chair than a disabled guy hobbling around on sticks. Their hardwood floor and the eighteen foot ceiling in my brother's unit created a lovely acoustic effect that magnified the rumbling noise of the neighbor's office chair into an earthquake sensor affecting and insanity inducing clatter. If the man in the poem had hear such a clatter, he would have called the National Guard to complain about the tank division that had landed on his lawn. This was not the worst.

These upstairs neighbors were also artists. One of them worked with canvas, paints, and textures. The other worked with rocks, chainsaws, and power drills. I can not be certain, but I think he dropped a chunk of rock on his leg shortly before I slouched into town. Every morning at 9:15 am after his leg had healed enough to work, he would open the throttle on his chainsaw and get to work. He would hack and carve and make such a racket. The chunks of stone would slam onto the ceiling with a mighty thump. The drills would whine and scream. The dogs would bark and howl. I was never able to sleep through this clamorous creation process. Could I reasonably ask them to be quiet? This was his sole source of income as far as I knew, and despite my newfound propensity for art criticism, I also felt that as an unregistered and unpaid tenant of the building, my concerns were less likely to improve the situation as they were to improve my immediate need for a new residence. The situation could not have been less accommodating to sanity but I suffered through it and would bitch, moan, and complain as soon as I found a sympathetic ear. I hope that I was humorous in my retelling of the trials of Job but I doubt it.

These trials are now more than five years in the past. I have moved past and through the shattering cacophony into a mind of peace. I tell you all this now not as a warning to those that might move into that residence but as a warning to those visiting my current residence BECAUSE I THINK THESE FUCKERS MOVED IN UPSTAIRS! I woke this morning to a pounding, clattering, thumping such as I have not heard since the stonecarver in Oakland. This time it shall be different. This time I will not sit nor stand for the aural abuse. HAHAHAHA THIS TIME I HAVE A HAMMER, JACKASS! AND ALL OF MY PROBLEMS LOOK LIKE NAILS!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Might Be On To Something...

I bet that if I wrote a movie about three brothers that were the owners and sole employees of a landscaping company and had Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and Gerard Butler as the stars, speaking with their native accents, I would make a killing. Literally. Women would explode while watching this movie.

Incidentally, I think I know a woman who already has her tickets for the Wolverine movie.

One Friday night while I was still working at the video store, a couple of recently single women, or married women on a ladies night, came into the store looking for a movie to watch with a couple bottles of mediocre wine. They wanted a movie that was entertaining but not too girly. There was something in their voices, something that tickled the dark reaches of my mind.

I pulled Beowolf & Grendel off the shelf and said, "it's a little gory and a little odd, but it does have Gerard Butler running around in a loincloth or shirtless for most of the movie."

"Who's Gerard Butler?" they asked.

I pointed to his picture on the back of the box and they both said, "oooohhh" like they hadn't had decent sex for longer than should be legal.

The next night when one of them returned the movie, she slid it across the counter as if it were some illicit substance, looked me in the eyes, and whispered, "thank you." By the time I recovered, she had left.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Unstimulating Simulations

I am working on a monstrously thorough post for Well Rounded Nerds about video games but I feel safe that I can throw this tidbit out into the internets:

The fishing mechanic in the World of Warcraft has got to be the best simulation of any activity ever. It is boring as hell. I would post a screenie but I wouldn't want to cause any bodily harm. My ears bleed when I try to level fishing.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Middle Ground

I know two people who act like all of their interactions must be as cordial as every interaction between Israel and Palestine. The only difference between these two friends of mine and that conflict is that my friends can work shit out, if only they would grow the fuck up.

Seriously, GROW THE FUCK UP.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Disposable Income Dreams, #XN-3892

I would totally build one of these. If I knew a damn thing about electronics and had a workshop. That table beats the hell out of my homemade bed platform/storage trunk/bookshelf. The table has probably also produced more happiness and euphoria than my bed, too.


Phone Inspirations

Has the term "jumped the shark" jumped the shark?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

It Works, So I'm Stealing It

How about Ask A Genius? I'm also kind of a bastard, ask most women in DC. Besides, I could use some inspiration.

Here's a Confession For You, Or Me

I have a man-crush on Psych.

I uh yeah um so

COMPLETELY UNRELATED UPDATE: I made some pb&js for lunch. After eating the sandwiches and wondering why they tasted a little funny, I realized that the peanut butter was more than two years old. I feel awful but have to go off to class in an hour.

Poeticly Licensed Justice

Life goes on in a rather similar fashion to much as it ever has.

I am trying my hand at wingnut poetry. The above sentence is a good example of pointless complexity. It could say everything it says with only three words: Life goes on.

I Feel Victimized

Someone opened the dryer door on my last load and did not restart the cycle when they closed to door. The time ran out and I had to pay for another dryer cycle. I am not amused.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Time To Face Facts

The results from the two primaries, the largest remaining Democratic ones, assured that Obama would widen his lead in pledged delegates over Clinton, providing him with new ammunition as he seeks to persuade Democratic leaders to coalesce around his campaign. He also increased his lead in the popular vote in winning North Carolina by more than 200,000 votes.

1735 vs 1602 in pledged delegates. Check out those calculators.

The most important aspect, more than numbers and calculators, is how this struggle is dividing the Democratic voters. Look at the vehemence and unkindness of the comments in my previous post. This race has been important for America but it is now over. Vastly more people support one candidate. The discussion of the candidacy has become divisive. We're squabbling while our political opposites are consolidating their support. We need unity in order to clarify and promote our ideals to the greater voting public and win in the fall.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Man, I sure hope Obama is able to back up his words when he kicks the shit out of McCain in the fall.

Thursday, May 01, 2008