I can now be found at http://www.textualintercourse.wordpress.com.
Several months ago, we were over at my sister-in-law’s house for something, a birthday party most likely, and A was having a good time with her cousin playing Nintendo Wii. They were playing High School Musical: Sing It. This is a game where songs from the movie are played and you sing along with them into a microphone and the game judges you on your pitch and durations of the notes. Despite the fact that A isn’t into High School Musical, she had an absolutely great time singing along with the songs.
Since the movie Mamma Mia came out, A has been totally digging on ABBA. She loved the Mamma Mia soundtrack and asked us to get ABBA albums out of the library. She’d walk around the house with her headphones on singing ABBA. We’d be in the van listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack and she’d be singing the songs.
Three weeks ago, we went to Target to look for a birthday present for one of her friends. A went to the toys to look around while L and I went around to get some things that we needed (dishwasher soap, Capri Suns, etc). When we got to the toy department, A wasn’t there. Not to worry, though. She wasn’t far off. She was in the video game section, just standing before the cabinet with eyes wide as wide could be.
There, on the top shelf behind the glass, was a game. Singstar: ABBA. It’s the same kind of game as the High School Musical one I talked about earlier, only it’s on the PS2. And it’s ABBA. And her birthday was coming up.
“That’s what I want for my birthday,” she said. “That right there.” I told her that we’d have to do some research on the game to see what songs were on it and read reviews and what not in order to see if it was really something she wanted. We also informed her that it was going to be much more than the $30 (the cost of the game) because we would also have to purchase the microphones, which were going to be another $25.
I knew that she REALLY wanted this game when she said, “I could use some of my Christmas money to buy the microphones!”
I gave her the text-book parent answer. “We’ll see.”
Well, her birthday came and one of the presents she opened up was Singstar: ABBA. She hugged it and didn’t want to put the box down.
“Can we put it in?” she asked.
“Uhhh, I guess. But we don’t have the microphones.”
“So? I just want to hear the songs. There are some I don’t know and I want to at least listen to them before I have to sing them.”
So we put the game in and set it up with a throwaway profile so she could listen to the songs. Two days later, it was the weekend and all she kept asking was, “When can we go to GameStop to get the microphones? Can we go now? What about now? What about after lunch? When can we go?”
We went after dinner and she bought the microphones. We arrived at home and she was on the floor opening the box before she had even taken her coat off.
The next 3 hours was as close to an ABBA concert as I’ll ever get. Or want to get. She was having the time of her life, belting out Dancing Queen, The Winner Takes It All, Mamma Mia, and others.
And you know what? It looked like one hell of a good time. We set up S.O.S. as a duet and I sang with her. Her sister sang songs with her. L sang songs with her. And even Z sang with her. Everyone was having a good time. So good, in fact, that I’ll be purchasing SingStar: 80’s on payday.
I’m looking forward to singing Culture Club, Wham, and Flock of Seagulls.
Yes. I am a dork.
I’m an avid reader. I always have a book to read. I think the longest time I’ve spent between finishing one book and starting another is 2 or 3 days.
I like watching movies, too. After a day of working and an evening with the kids, there’s nothing better than spending a couple of hours “decompressing” in front of a TV screen.
Sometimes, these two things become intertwined, for there are plenty of movies out there in the world that are based on a book.
For years and years, I’ve been of the opinion that, if a movie is a based on a book, I should read the book first. It’s taken me 38 years to realize that this, in my humble, vacuous opinion, has been a mistake.
The beginnings of this conclusion began with Harry Potter. I had no interest in reading Sorcerer’s Stone when it first came out. I had glanced at it in the bookstore and immediately put it down when I saw the word “wizard.” I’ve never been able to really get into books with wizards, trolls, elves, orcs, etc. (However, I WILL read The Lord of the Rings before I die. I’ve been trying to read those books since I was 16, but that’s a completely different story.)
In 2003, my family saw the movie Sorcerer’s Stone. And we loved it. We bought that movie and Chamber of Secrets and we loved that one too. I was sold. We bought the books and I began reading them to my daughter. When the movie version of Prisoner of Azkaban came out, we had already read that book. When we saw the movie, we were disappointed. We didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous 2 movies. So much had been left out of the story. At the time, it was easy to blame it on the change of directors. Chris Columbus directed the first 2 movies. Alfonso Cuaron directed the third. Every Potter film as initially been disappointing, but after subsequent viewings they have become more enjoyable.
More recently, there were the movies Hostage and Gone Baby Gone. I really enjoyed the books, but as for the movies……not so much.
Which brings me to The Ruins. The Ruins is a 2008 horror film. The DVD looked promising, but I didn’t have high hopes because a) I had never heard of it before and b) it’s a horror film. Typically, that’s a recipe for bad. But I borrowed it from the library and was surprised at how good it actually was. To be clear, this will never be a classic and it won’t win any type of award or anything, but it was pretty good (and graphic) for what it was.
A few weeks later, I was at the library again and I saw a book called The Ruins. It jumped out at me because I recently saw the movie. As I read the description, I thought it sounded WAY too much like the movie to be a coincidence. A quick check of the DVD box confirmed that the movie was based on the book. Screenplay for the movie was done by the book’s author. So I checked out the book and read it. It was a pretty darn, good book.
Now, the thing is, this is a book I would never have read. In fact, if I knew the movie was based on the book, I don’t think I would have ended up seeing the movie knowing what the book was about. And if, by some chance, I did read the book before seeing the movie, I would not have liked the movie (for there were many, many changes).
So…the movie (which I enjoyed) helped me enjoy the book as well. Had I read the book first, the best scenario would have been that I liked the book but hated the movie.
So, my long standing rule is changing. When it comes to movies based on books, I will see the movie before reading the book. Maybe that will help me get through The Lord of the Rings. Although I’ve tried watching Fellowship of the Ring several times and can’t seem to make it though without getting completely confused.
Being a picky eater, I’ve never enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner....and more and more often, Thanksgiving as a whole.
When I was a kid, the table would be filled with all sorts of Thanksgiving food and I’d be eating a bowl of cereal. As time passed, special concessions weren’t made for me anymore (rightly so!) and I had to eat what was available.
My Thanksgiving dinner, since I was about 12 or so, has been dinner rolls. Maybe a small slice of turkey (think Post-It note size). Maybe a couple spoonfuls of corn.
And every year, it’s like it’s some sort of surprise.
“Is that all you’re going to eat?”
“But there’s stuffing and sweet potatoes and gravy and green beans and turkey and beets and cranberry sauce…”
“Nope, this roll is all I need.”
“I’ve never heard of someone eating rolls for Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Sure you have. Every year for the last 15 this is what I’ve eaten.”
And the rest of the day, it’s more of the same.
“You sure you don’t want any (insert food item here)?”
“Nope, I’m good thanks.”
It just keeps going until I get upset and say something like, “Look…if I wanted (food item), I’d have eaten it. I don’t want any. Stop asking me about it, ok?”
“I just wanted to make sure you didn’t go hungry.”
“I’m 38 years old. I don’t need anyone to make sure that I eat. I don’t need to be reminded that there’s food here. I’m not going to leave the house and say ‘but nobody told me there was…whatever’. It’s Thanksgiving. There’s food here. I get it. I’ve eaten what I want, so just let it go.”
That conversation, in some form or other, happens. Every. Single. Year.
I don’t like Thanksgiving.
The passage of time is an interesting thing. It's funny how some things so far away while other things, that may have happened earlier, seem like yesterday.
Recently, through the magic that is Facebook, I have become "friends" with people whom I haven't seen in...well...decades; former classmates, ex girlfriends, people I used to work with, etc.
In some instances, people I went to Jr. High School with don't seem as long ago as some ex co-workers. An ex-girlfriend seems like a lifetime ago, but my next door neighbor from 1977 only seems like a few years.
Regardless of how little or how much time has passed, I find it interesting to be able to see people who have been in my life at one point or another. Some have had a dramatic impact on my life, some less so. But all are people I am proud to have known.
I hate the goddamn U-SCAN machines at my local grocery store. I have never been able to use these “convenient” devices without it becoming necessary for an attendant to get involved.
Take the other day, for example. That morning, my daughter was making oatmeal and discovered that we were out of milk. So I ran up to the store to get some. I ended up getting 2 gallons of milk and two small boxes of donuts. There was 1 checkout lane open and there were 6 people in line. I didn’t want to wait, so I thought I’d give the U-SCAN a try. I hadn’t used the U-SCAN in about 6 months because of previous less-than-satisfactory experiences, but I thought “what the hell.”
So I scan my first gallon of milk and it tells me to place the item in the bag. I do. It tells me (again) to place the item in the bag. At this point, my shoulders slumped. I looked to the sky and heaved a sigh that unmistakably said, “For the sake of all that is holy in this god-awful world….WHY?” Meanwhile the machine repeated its request: “Please place the item in the bag.” I lifted the milk out of the bag and set it down again. The U-SCAN continued with, “Please place the item in the bag.” Again, I lifted the milk and set it down again. This did nothing, for the U-SCAN still wished for me to “place the item in the bag.”
Now, even though these are U-SCAN machines, there is an employee of the store stationed in the area to help customers in need, to accept checks as payment, etc. I signaled for help. He came over and asked what the problem was. I told him. The machine, ever so politely, made its request again: “Please place the item in the bag.” You know what the employee did? He picked up the milk in the bag and set it down again. And it fucking worked.
“Sometimes you have to pick it up and set it down again,” he explained.
“Gosh, really? Thanks, I’ll remember that from now on.” He smiled and went back to his employee station. I turned back to machine and scanned my next gallon of milk.
“Please place the item in the bag.” I set it in the bag and nothing happened. After a few moments, the U-SCAN said, “Please place the item in the bag.” So I lift the milk up and set it down again. This time, however, the U-SCAN said, “Please wait for an attendant.”
What. The. HELL.
I turned to signal the attendant and found that he was already walking in my direction with some hand-held thing in his hands. He looked at my screen, pressed a few buttons on his hand-held and my scan registered. I started to thank him, but he was already walking back to his station. I scanned the first box of donuts.
“Please wait for an attendant.”
I stood there and shook my head in resignation. The attendant appeared at my shoulder, looking at my screen and pressing buttons on his hand-held. My scan registered. “Please place the item in the bag.” I did so, fully expecting no confirmation that I had done so. However, in a stunning turn of events, it did not repeat its request and was patiently waiting for me to scan my next item. I scanned the second box of donuts.
“Please wait for an attendant.”
“Suck on my dick.”
The attendant reappeared again, looking at my screen and pressing buttons. The scan registered, he disappeared. “Please place the item in the bag.” I put the box on top of the other box of donuts and pressed the PAY NOW button. Of course, there was NO ISSUE WHATSOEVER the payment process. That’s not surprising, really. It’ll take your money just fine.
I left the store with a strengthened resolve to not use the U-SCAN again. But I’m sure, in a future moment of weakness, I’ll forget the intensity of my current feelings and I’ll be lured into giving it another shot.
Anybody ever have a microwave oven that actually defrosts well?
I've never seen one that can. The two we had when I was a kid, the one we had in our first apartment, the one that came with the house that we bought, and the new one I just installed a week ago...none have been able to defrost in anything close to a convenient time.
Saturday night, my wife wanted to make lettuce wraps. As with all recipies, she doubles or triples the batch, so we had to defrost 6 frozen chicken breasts. I figured I'd do 3 in the microwave, and I'd do 3 by hand under the kitchen faucet (or tap, for all my British readers). The 3 I did by hand were defrosted in about 10 minutes. In the microwave, it took about 35 minutes.
That just seems weird to me.
This actually could have been about me. It totally hits the nail right on the head.