Saturday, February 2, 2013
Friday, February 1, 2013
In honor of all the crap already going wrong this month I re-present 'February: The Month That’s Trying to Kill Me'
But for me February is the Month That Dripped Blood.
Fact: I was working at Nice Shopper, and it was the coldest day that Albany had seen in a lifetime and a half. It was close to -20 with the wind chill, so naturally I was sent out to get carts. The wind had blown all the carts to the far end of the parking lot and I could only retrieve them in sets of three because anything more would get blown over. By the time I had finished my hair was swept back from my reddened face and I felt like a character from a Robert London story. There were lines at every cash register so I threw off my coat and set to work. It took my cold-addled mind a few moments realize that everyone one was staring at me. Finally one of the cuter cashiers said to me, “Al. Your nose.”
Visions of frostbite filling my head I grabbed for my face- and my fingers brushed the stalactite of frozen boogers dangling from my right nostril. Sure some of you out there might think that was pretty funny but it’s snot.
(…Auuuuugh yourself this is quality material here.)
That was the start of a long week.
Fact: It was my Junior year of high school, and I was trying to play the field, trying to romance both my beloved Lilly as well as a sophomore girl of dubious sanity but considerable cleavage. I figured my brother and father could do it, why not me? And besides if I was going to try and get my friends to call me ‘The Love Machine’ I damn well better be sure to back it up.
Of course I hadn’t actually told either girl that I was playing the field, I guess I was trying to be more or less the stealth bomber of love. It was the afternoon of Valentine’s Day that most of my friends started trying to beat me up. Now with my friends this wasn’t necessarily a rare occurrence but they had never been so organized before. Finally I confronted them, hoping to reassert my position as the Alpha Nerd with a combination of guts and memorized dialogue from Doctor Who. Then I saw each and every one of those sneaky bastards standing around Lily. Now this was too much. They were trying to move in on my main squeeze! I barged in the middle of them and asked what the Hell was going on.
That was when Lily confronted me with her Valentine’s card. Well, actually it wasn’t her Valentine’s Day card, it was the other girl’s but I had accidentally switched them.
Yeah, that the start of a long week.
Fact: My first bout with kidney stones came the same week that my beloved mother-in-law had a heart attack. (And that is no sarcasm, I do love her bunches.) I tried to stick it out, hoping the whole thing would literally pass but no luck there. So I had to have my wife drop me off at the emergency room so I could get better while she took care of our daughter, they were both exhausted by the ordeal.
To this day I am not sure what route my wife took to the Emergency Room but I can only assume somewhere she took a side trip to the Twilight Zone because that night was one of the strangest of my life. It began simply enough with lots of waiting then when they finally admitted me they had me dress in one of those drafty hospital gowns and left me sitting on a bed in the hallway.
Why you might ask? Because it was another cold February and all the local homeless people were checking themselves in for phantom ailments so they could stay warm. The place was packed; it was standing room only, or in my case trying to sleep in the hallway with your ass hanging out room only. The hobo sitting on a bed closest to me decided to strike up a conversation, and if I hadn’t been so tired and miserable I might have asked him what Tom Waits song he had escaped from to torment me.
Instead I just listened to his tale of travel, of his Native American wife he only got to see twice a year or so because she lived in Canada.
And by the way, Canadian women? Between this and all the nerds who say that have girlfriends up there I have to say get some standards for heavens sake.
Apparently my hobo friend took my bleary eyed indifference as a sign of friendship so he tried to give me one of his less filthy hats as a present but that was when the doctor showed up to get me the medical care I so desperately needed. I was never so happy for a painful and invasive prostate exam and yes that includes the one at the Eden Studios Christmas party.
With a prescription in hand I called a cab to take me home and wouldn’t you know it of all the cabbies I could have ended up with I got the one who wanted to try and get me to invest in the television pilot he was trying to film in Vermont. This was not what I needed because I can honestly say as that as a wannabe writer that loves to talk up his latest hopeless project there is nothing more annoying than a wannabe writer trying to talk up his latest hopeless project.
The cab ride ended before he could get into the intricacies of his series bible but when you’ve heard the pitch for one series that combines elements from Lovejoy and GI JOE you’ve heard them all.
So I got home and unlocked the front door, only to find my wife had put the door chain on as well. I chuckled over this and knocked on the door about ten minutes later I remember my wife mentioning that she wanted nothing more than to take a sleeping pill and turn in. After another ten minutes of homeless knocking I started walking to the local 24 hour diner so I could use the payphone and wake my missus up.
It was going to be a long walk.
So, where does that leave us today? First things off I woke up feeling profoundly squishy inside and I spent most of my shift trying not to erupt into a series of farts that would sound like an AMC Hornet drag racing with a tank full of bad gas. Then I had a training seminar in the afternoon, I believe it was focused on budgeting our time more effectively to improve shareholder value… well at least that’s what I think it was about. I fell asleep ten minutes in because I had been up all night writing blog entries.
Somehow I made it through my shift without skidmarking my underwear so I headed home, but first ironically enough, I had to stop for gas. I’d been putting off refueling because it had been so darn cold out the last few days but there was no putting it off any longer. I got to the gas station, popped open the tank and then realized I was on the wrong side of the pump so I spent a few moments dodging other cars and getting my car lined up correctly. Then I went in and bought twenty dollars worth of gas. And I started pumping.
But there was something wrong with all the pumps on that side of the station, and it was pumping gas at about the speed of a penny a second. As I stood there shivering, watching my twenty dollars of gas move like twenty dollars of molasses I thought to myself- it’s gonna be another long February.
But aren’t they all?
Thursday, January 31, 2013
In a fast-paced, self-contained adventure, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill thrillingly expand on one of Century’s most memorable characters, venturing into dazzling polar territories and fictional domains including those of Edgar Allen Poe and H. P. Lovecraft, with all of these vectors headed for an unforgettable encounter at the living, beating and appallingly inhuman HEART OF ICE...
If there’s one classic movie star I’d love to have met, it’s Boris Karloff. Now, he’s mostly remembered for his breakthrough role in Universal’s 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein: if you close your eyes right now and imagine Karloff, chances are it’s in green face paint with bolts in either side of his neck. But there was a hell of a lot more to him than that.
Karloff was an amazingly talented actor who brought something special to just about every role he played, and it would have been amazing to get the chance to sit down and talk to him about his life and career, to get his perspective on fame, Hollywood, horror, acting, and all the rest of it. Unfortunately for me, though, Karloff died long before I was born. He passed away 44 years ago, at the age of 81. The only consolation, really, is that he made a hell of a lot of films before then, and many of them are fantastic...
...Kohfeldt pointed out to me that the toilet has all the traits of a toilet from a ship—including an open side slot for seawater to be pumped in. The knobs on the faucet bear text written in Blackletter—the famous and classically German family of typefaces that Hitler adored. (The Nazis, in 1933, chased typographer Jan Tschichold out of Germany for advocating use of sans-serif fonts instead of Blackletter, among other design travesties.) The toilet has been a “functional tourist attraction” since 1952, Kohfeldt said. People would take road trips—as I had—just to see it. (Indeed, the toilet is listed in Roadside America’s online guide.)...
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Our cats may be cuddly pals and adorable internet memes, but they are also destroying the environment more efficiently than humans. They have been called one of the "worst" invasive species. And a new study published today in Nature Communications suggests that cats are responsible for killing several endangered bird species in the United States, and decimating bird populations on islands all over the world. In the US, cats kill as many as 3.7 billion native birds annually, making them a bigger threat to these creatures than buildings, towers, windows, poison, and cars. But there is a solution to the problem.
The biologists who worked on the new study pored over research culled over the past several years to estimate how many cats live in the US, and what their killing habits might be. They estimate that roughly 84 million owned cats live in the US, and that there are 30-80 million un-owned cats, which include feral cats, barn cats, and cats who are not allowed inside. The researchers "estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.4–3.7 billion birds and 6.9–20.7 billion mammals annually." They emphasize that "un-owned cats" are the culprits here. Though the numbers may be shocking, their discovery isn't particularly startling. Un-owned cats have already been implicated in 33 modern bird, mammal, and reptile extinctions, write the researchers in Nature Communications...