Monthly Archives: January 2006

Little help?

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I don’t know what I did to cause this, and I don’t know how to make it stop, so if anyone knows how to hack the iTunes store so it could please just stop suggesting that the number one absolute next song I should buy is “Sister Golden Hair” by America, I would really appreciate it because I wouldn’t buy that song if it were the last song on earth, I wouldn’t willingly listen to it, I don’t appreciate it even for its awfulness, and I would really really like to stop ever thinking about it so that it will never enter my brain again. Ever.

Two of us skied yesterday — busiest day at Mount Snow ever. Lift lines were awful. But we had fun anyway, and the conditions were great. It’s hard not to have fun when you’re whipping down a hill through the bumps. Conditions have generally been awful this winter, and we haven’t been in three weeks. Met someone on the lift who confirmed that we made a great choice not going on MLK weekend — it was a combination of cold and hot and windy that left the mountain skied off and icy and no fun whatsoever. So I was glad to hear it. But dammit, we need some winter around here!

New favorite movie

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This weekend, we saw a movie that effortlessly combines ’70s nostalgia, social and family drama, athleticism and some really fine performances into one flawless gem of a movie — Roll Bounce, a very sweet coming-of-age movie about semi-urban teens in the age of roller disco. I’m not kidding — this movie doesn’t hit a single wrong note. The fashions, the phrases, the world depicted are perfect late ’70s. The acting is spot-on, and features one of the most real father-son relationships I’ve ever seen on film. Chi McBride, as the father, brings a quiet but heavy dignity to the role, and his interaction with Bow Wow is just real. No cliches, no nonsense, and at one point an explosive violence in the relationship that was both so surprising and so right that it really set the girls back a little as we were watching it (not to worry, no one gets hurt). That makes it all sound heavy when in fact it’s beautiful — and the movie is very very funny, not afraid to play up the silliest sides of the ’70s soul and disco scenes with some characters that would have been at home in the heyday of Parliament, an outlandish appearance by Wayne Brady (and a lesser one by DMC, or, as my kids now know, “D’s for never Dirty, MC’s for Mostly Clean.”). Plus, a couple of scenes with Charlie Murphy that were happily expanded in the “gag reel,” which is the only part of the disc really not suitable for children. Let me put it this way — it’s been a LONG time since I watched a movie two nights in a row.

No suitable weather for skiing this weekend — it’s been an awful January. But we did buy up the last new ice skates in the Capital District yesterday and I finally made good on my promise to take the girls skating. (Sporting goods stores seem to think we’re all ready to buy softball equipment. At these temperatures, perhaps we are.) I had tried teaching them to skate when they were younger, and Bek needed a lot more assistance, and my old skates just killed my achilles tendon, so I hadn’t been in a few years. But now they’ve both been rollerblading, and it was much easier. And soft-booted skates rule. So now we’ve got yet another sport in our quiver, which is just absurd. As someone who really abhors team sports, I never imagined that I would have an entire garage full of sporting equipment, but here I am, EMS’s favorite customer.

We got some snow today, but we’re gonna need more if I’m going to put those snowshoes to use at all this year!

Scanning, scanning, scanning

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Film and envelopes

Spent an afternoon last weekend puttering around in the boxes in my wife’s mother’s basement. There are pluses and minuses to people who keep everything. The pluses, of course, are that there are many, many surprises, even for people who have poked their noses around down there many times before. Included among those surprises were an Arab matchbox, random camera parts, military service memorabilia from The Big One, and many, many negatives, stored curled up in the film cans shown above. I’m slowly getting through scanning them and posting them on a separate Flickr account. Have a look — some of them are amazing.

Bizarre search request

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I’m getting flooded with searches for “Kirsten Gum” these days — must be the brunette shag. But the oddest request in a while came yesterday: “Why did Wally Cox stop being Marlon Brando.”

Hmmm. If all those stories that their ashes were blended together and cast to the winds are true, I’m not sure we could say he ever stopped.

Again, I need a lie-down.

Wanna start a panic?

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Here’s what it takes, at least for me: Turn off my internet connection. Even for just a second. I’ll get antsy. Then, if you want to make it really worse, let two of our three computers reconnect, but keep the one I’m on in some kind of Airport limbo in which it can’t even find the network, let alone join it. So, that was the last forty minutes of my life. Now I’m anxiously watching the little Airport symbol in the toolbar, just like I used to stare at the battery charge level in my Fuego, because at any moment it could slip back into the negative and the next thing you know I’m on my back with another rebuilt alternator in my hands, trying to stuff it up into that little tiny space. I owned a belt-tensioner, that’s how bad things were.

Phenomenally lazy weekend, abetted by extreme, nasty, bone-chilling cold and winds, plus a little bit of snow and ice. Picking through old things, finding more old family photos that need scanning and sharing, all that sort of thing. Must be what put me a bit on the edge, emotionally, because this afternoon I harangued Hannah into joining me for a little trip to the State Museum — my kids have pretty much grown up there, so it’s not exactly a special event — and as we walked through the World Trade Center exhibit, it all became way too much for me. She, for once, was curious and interested in the whole thing — she normally doesn’t want to talk about it — and so I had to answer her questions with what I know, which is a bit more than I want to know. One of the crushed fire trucks is there, and that was more than I could take, so it was either get out of there or surrender to weeping. We got out. Finished up with a carousel ride and sandwiches up on the terrace. They’ve moved the old salt column up there among the neat little exhibits that inhabit that space, with a sign that says that that museum visitors used to be allowed to lick the salt. In fact, it seems to me more like visitors were required to lick the salt, which resulted in a number of tongue grooves and memories that are now, in an age of germphobia, very, very disturbing indeed.

Precision advertising

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On the subway today. Three subway cards in a row over the seats. On one end, an ad for The Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” that says “there are 1.4 million porta-potties and they don’t empty themselves.” On the other end, another ad for the show that says, “NYC has 900 miles of sewers. They don’t inspect themselves.”

In the middle, an ad for “Airborne” cold remedy. In case you catch something.