Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Poor Craftsman Blames His Tools

Apologies to my regular readers (Hi Mom and Dad!), but this post will be photo and cat heavy.

As part of her continuing education program, my cat has recently learned how to open cabinets in the kitchen.  As fun as it is to hear scratching and doors slamming at all hours of the day, and as much as I love the, "which door will the cat jump out of?" game, I do have some concerns.

These concerns are twofold:  Neko does not reseal the corn chips, causing precious tostitos to become stale when I most need a snack.  And two, the cat can not read.

Hard to believe, but the cat is completely unable to read the safety warnings denoting various poisons underneath the sink.  Perhaps if the manufacturers of bleach had thought to include tiny pictures of vomiting cats I wouldn't need to worry, but until Clorox considers all potential consumers of their product, Professor Meowmers must be prevented from gaining access to the houses cleaning supplies, old grocery bags, sponges, and assorted dirty dishes that Annie and I try to hide from guests.

To this end, I purchased child safe door latches.  Presumably, babies are not any more intelligent than house cats and must be prevented from trapping their tails underneath falling pots and pans.  I picked these latches up at the local hardware store after gazing longingly at the axes and muttering under my breath until asked if I could be helped.  They were the only door latches at the Maple Leaf Tru-Value, so I presume that they are the top of the line in child safety.

Hmm, or maybe not.  Well, it's not like you have to touch these every time you use them... Anyway, I'll just hope that it's only one chemical in the latches that causes cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm, and that the side effects will be laser eyes for any future offspring of mine.  Otherwise, if my unborn children or I get cancer, I'm coming for you S-4463 Child Safe Door and Cabinet Latch.  Ok, with those safety concerns out of the way, it's time to install the door latches.  This shouldn't be too hard, with the proper tools.

Not pictured is the bottle opener I needed to get started.  After carefully measuring out the distance for the mounting piece, pre-drilling the holes, swearing as I drilled through the side of the cabinet, more carefully pre-drilling the holes, screwing in the bracket backwards, struggling to find reverse on the drill, screwing in the bracket forwards, and attempting for over an hour to get the latch piece to line up, my work was done.  Yep, it's just that easy.  I also hit upon an alternate solution about 65 minutes in that fits more with the overall aesthetic look of Annie and my apartment.

Friday, September 16, 2011

While I'm Thinking About It...

Why has this franchise not been rebooted?

Are they waiting until they can clone dinosaurs so it looks even more awesome?  That must be it.  There is no other explanation for neglecting dinosaurs being turned into tanks.

Life Imitating Leisure

More Like Bored Games

Film studios seem to be adopting an awful lot of board games into movies these days.  Maybe the intellectual property rights to the Dark Tower series are too difficult to acquire.  Perhaps the supply of comic books has been finally exhausted.  The average theme park ride can only sustain fifteen feature films. And I suppose there's a finite number of Fast and Furious action movies you can crank out over a decade without affecting quality, because that's the only way I can imagine someone daring to pitch a film based on a board game.

I'll concede that basing a motion picture on a board game is not the worst idea in the history of cinema (hello, Triumph of the Will II: Electric Boogaloo).  Clue managed to gain a cult following.  It's probably more tolerable than the game it's based on.  And it's a little known fact that Citizen Kane was based on Monopoly.  But some of the previews I've seen lately have led me to question the sanity of the average green-lighter.


Yes.  Battleship.  The board game, Battleship.  The one where you place tiny plastic ships already riddled with holes on a grid to try to stick them with shells the size of Saturn V rockets.  Well, it's going to be a major motion picture in 2012.  Starring Liam Neeson.  The trailer leads me to believe that aliens invade earth during a naval exercise in an alternate future where the world's battleships have not been mothballed.  And it appears that there's no radar, so the aliens and Liam Neeson don't know where they are, and have to randomly fire shells and wait for the other side to announce if they've been hit.  I can't wait for the scene where humanity cannily hides its patrol boat next to its cruiser, so that the Aliens move on to shelling J12 and F8, never imaging that Admiral Liam Neeson had the balls to put a group of ships so close together.  This movie will be so full of action that it will have to come with a warning from the Surgeon General that your knuckles may explode from the tension of gripping your arm rest as you discover that the aliens looked at America's fleet deployment when America went to the bathroom.  I can't wait.

Two Machines Enter, One Machine Leaves

Let me be clear: it is hard to have a bad movie where robots fight other robots.  If Sex and the City III has a five minute clip in the middle where two robots start wailing on each other in a Roman gladiator arena, I will see that movie.  I would pay fifty bucks to watch  Honda's ASIMO suplex IBM's Deep Blue through a Ms. Pacman table.   Wait, no, I would pay several hundred dollars to see that. So it wasn't entirely distressing to see the trailer for Real Steel, a movie starring Hugh Jackman that looks to be based on Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots.  I guess in the future, robot boxing has left real boxers with few opportunities to suffer long term brain damage.  So one guy disguises himself as a robot, probably by building some kind of mech suit during a montage.  Or they build a scrappy robot that can take on the rich boys robot during a montage.  And, if they're true to the game, the protagonist and his mechanical opponent will have a dramatic title bout where they flail wildly for forty seconds until one of their heads pops back without having suffered any discernible blow.  Then both of them are sold at a garage sale years later where people try to remember why they thought they seemed fun.  I guess that could be ok.  I hope Michael Bay isn't attached though.  That man knows how to ruin robots fighting.

 Candy Regicide: Life On The Streets

Good heavens!  The kindly King Kandy (Sean Connery) has been kidnapped by the evil Lord Licorice (Gary Oldman).  It's up to a ragtag group of kids to traverse a treacherous path to free him and restore order to Candy Land.  As they travel along through the peppermint forest, they run into the overly stimulated Mr. Mint (Jim Carey), who teaches them to channel the power of the double red card.  They skip on ahead on the rainbow road to the peanut brittle hut of Gramma Nut (Betty White).  After suffering excruciating cut gums, they move on and reach the haunting beauty of the realm of Queen Frostine (Cate Blanchett).  She sees them to the edge of the molasses morass of Gloppy (Seth Rogen), a friendly monster who imparts several messages about the importance of family.  Finally, the children and their companions are able to see the gates of Candy Land.  As they steel themselves to cast down the bonbon usurper they, wait, what?  The Plumpy the Plumpa card!?!  God dammit.  All the way back to the beginning.  God dammit.  What the hell is a plumpa?  I hate this movie.

And here's my best guess at the future of board game based films:

-Settlers of Catan - Hardy frontiersmen seek to carve a sheep empire out of the rough, odly hexagonal island of Catan.  Kurt Russell stars as The Robber.

-Jenga - A documentary on the collapse of Dubai's Wooden Financial Enterprise Center.

-Hi Ho! Cherry O - Obviously, this will be a porno.

-Hungry Hungry Hippos - This project was cancelled in the planning phases when Marlon Brando died.  Advances in digital imaging will allow him to join Orson Welles, Chris Farley, and Eddie Murphy in a comedy about the world of competitive marble eating.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sharing is caring; caring is the first step to oppressive socialism

You know when you're watching a movie with someone and enjoying a delicious bucket of popcorn, and you both reach for a handful together and your hands meet together in the tub for a tender and buttery embrace? Me neither. Any time you are sharing food, you should be engaged in a zero-sum game of resource and heartburn maximization. If someone else manages to get their hand into the bucket, they'd best emerge with it a bloody stump as you triumphantly scream for more butter.  To do less would be to admit that you cannot marshal and defend resources and would make a poor mate.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Growing up in the rural Midwest, I didn't have that much experience talking to the homeless* before moving to Seattle. Since moving west, I've been approached for change by people more times than I can count. Why if I had a nickel for every time someone approached me asking fo... never mind. Anyway, there are a number of ways people will ask for money, all with varying degrees of effectiveness at making me feel incredibly guilty that I've avoided eye contact with whoever's talking while fondly remembering the $7 sandwich I just ate (I assume this is the goal of every panhandler). My personal favorite way to be asked for money is the incredibly complex and implausible story. Here are a couple of the ones I've heard:

-I live around the corner and I've locked my keys in my house. I called a locksmith, but he says he needs $15 to open my door and my wallet is inside and he won't start working on the door until he's paid.

-I'm a sailor on a carrier docked in Bremerton and I lost my ferry pass. If I don't get $8.25, the ship is going to sail without me and I'll be kicked out of the navy.

-My wife and I just had a fight. She drove off in the car with my wallet, and I'm several miles from home. Now, I'm happy to walk, but I think it'd be best if I showed up with some flowers for her. Do you know where a florist is, and may I borrow $15 to get a dozen roses?

-Do you know anything about cars? No? Ok, well I'm out of motor oil and I need $2.79 to get a quart so I can get the car fixed and drive my kids home from school.

-Hey, I'm a recovering drug addict and my P.O. is going to test me tomorrow. Unfortunately, I need to get to Spokane by train for the test, otherwise I'm going to jail even though I'm clean. Can I get some money for a train ticket?

-Jason, it's Annie. I left my wallet at work and we need flour and eggs. I can't go back to work because I left my keys at home, and there won't be anyone there to open the door until after the co-op is closed. Can I borrow $20 from you?

*And when I say homeless, I mean people living outdoors. I'm sure Northern Iowa has its fair share of people who have unstable housing situations and are living in their cars or other people's houses, but I don't recal to many people curled up in the doorway of the farm implement dealer. Just wanted to be clear.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And I shall love him and pet him and call him George

So, my roommate and I adopted a kitten. Which pretty much means that I'm required to frequently mention to anyone that I have now adopted an adorable kitten. And since dumbshitmycatdid.blospot was already taken, I thought I'd take a break from the regular programing to force anyone reading to listen to me talk about Neko... So, what's it like to have added a small mammal to the apartment? Why, I'm glad you asked!

Acquiring the cat
The most important part of getting a cat is realizing that your girlfriend is serious when she says she will move out if you don't get a cat this weekend, and by god does she mean it. The second most important part is taking a careful survey of yourself and realizing that you are the sort of responsible adult who can take care of a creature that cannot open doors, food bags, or discover how to exit the bottom of your couch. Once you've decided to get a cat, you can choose between an older cat or a kitten. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. Kittens are adorable and energetic. Adult cats have a more settled personality and are less rambunctious. Unfortunately, their settled personality is often scared shitless because they have been abandoned to a crowded animal shelter. Annie and I opted for a kitten.

Buying things for the cat
A cat requires a box to crap in, sand to fill it, and food to provide the eventual crap for that box. And apparently a scratching post, because even a two pound kitten is capable of converting your already low quality couch into a pile of yarn within three days. I assume cats also would like a bed, though I have not yet observed my cat to sleep so much as to take short breaks from racing back and forth.

Naming the cat

Try to start by suggesting clearly unacceptable names for the cat, like Rasputin, Megatron, or naming it after your ex-girlfriends until "Professor Meowmers" sounds like a perfectly reasonable name. My cat's name is Neko, because I did not follow my own advice.

Making your home safe for a cat
Many common household items are toxic to cats and should be removed or put away before you bring your cat home. These items include:
-most plants
-and chocolate

Playing with your cat
You might be surprised how many things in your house a cat is willing to play with. Especially at three in the morning, when decent animals are resting so that they can get up for their JOBS and use their money to buy free-range cat food for their lazy pets, who apparently spent the entire day sleeping so that they would have the energy needed to stay up all night swatting spoons around the sink. Also, cats sometimes don't realize that not everything moving is asking to be pounced on. Especially fingers while writing about the cat. I mean, cats are adorable when they chase string. Really adorable.

Well, that's all for this week. Join me next week when I discuss how to profit from pet ownership, both emotionally and fiscally. That's right, underground cat fighting league, watch out for 3.4 lbs of teeth and claws from Seattle, Washington.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And Alexander wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.

I offer, with no further comment, the names and plot summaries for the first season of Steven Seagal: Lawman -

1 "The Way of the Gun" December 2, 2009 (2009-12-02)
Sheriff's Deputy Steven Seagal and his team capture an armed carjacker after a high-speed chase and tackle a convicted felon packing a pistol. In between these impressive busts, Seagal, the world-class marksman, teaches a fellow team member amazing Zen shooting techniques--techniques everyone on his team will need to survive the dangerous streets of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
2 "The Deadly Hand" December 2, 2009 (2009-12-02)
After a close call chasing a suspect with a gun, Aikido master Steven Seagal teaches his team of sheriff's deputies some self-defense and weapons retention techniques. Back out on patrol, they get called to a parking lot brawl. They detain the suspects, but one resists arrest and kicks out a patrol car window. Later, Steven encounters two belligerent men with a gun. The members of Steven's team are glad they've been trained by the best.
3 "Killer Canines" December 9, 2009 (2009-12-09)
Deputy Chief Steven Seagal and his team get a call for a burglary-in-progress and rush to the scene. They call in the K-9 Unit to search for a suspect who may still be in the home. Later, Steven apprehends a man who broke into a woman's house while fleeing from the police. Steven takes measures to defend his own home: guard dogs. If Steven can get his two aggressive, alpha males to work well together, he knows he'll have a canine protection team that can take on any intruder.
4 "Too Young to Die" December 9, 2009 (2009-12-09)
Steven and his team get a call to the scene of car accident involving a two-year-old but they discover that things aren't quite what they seem. Later, Steven shows some tough-love to a teenager hiding a deadly sawed-off shotgun. While off-duty, Steven visits the New Orleans Children's Hospital cancer ward and is so touched by the kids that he straps on his blues guitar and throws a benefit concert to raise money for the hospital.
5 "Firearms of Fury" December 16, 2009 (2009-12-16)
Steven and his team bust a suspect fleeing with a loaded .44 magnum and are called to the scene of a young man shot with a shotgun. With all these guns around, Steven and his team know they need to sharpen their street skills. They head to the best training they can get: a comprehensive computerized crime simulator and "real world" shoot house. Later, when a routine traffic stop takes a potentially deadly turn, Steven is glad he and his team are so well prepared.
6 "The Student Becomes the Master" December 16, 2009 (2009-12-16)
Be it apprehending suspects or making sure a woman is safe in her home, Deputy Chief Steven Seagal and his team patrol the streets of Jefferson Parish in honor of their former boss, the late Harry Lee. When a man is beaten by an intruder, the team catches the suspect and works to soothe the community, just as Harry would have wanted. Later, the time has come to induct the new sheriff, Newell Normand, and Steven is confident that Newell is the right man for the job.
7 "To Live or Die" December 23, 2009 (2009-12-23)
Deputy Chief Steven Seagal and his team find themselves in a desperate situation when two men are robbed and shot. Steven tries to keep the victims calm until the ambulance gets there but it's not clear if the men will live. While not chasing down bad guys, Steven and his partner Johnny find themselves in another desperate situation when they help rebuild a home for a family who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina.
8 "Medicine Man" December 30, 2009 (2009-12-30)
Deputy Chief Steven Seagal's on patrol so all the criminals run and hide. That's exactly what happens when a suspicious person call leads to an exciting chase that has Steven and his team scouring yards. Later, they face a cat and mouse game as they search a dark neighborhood for two more runners. All the running leaves Colonel John Fortunato with a knee injury. Steven takes him to a Chinese acupuncturist where he shares his knowledge of Chinese medicine and tries to make a skeptical cop into a true believer.
9 "Crack War" January 6, 2010 (2010-01-06)
The war on drugs continues on two fronts. First, Deputy Chief Steven Seagal and his team, responding to routine disturbance call, find a huge stash of drugs and take a big bite out of a drug dealer's business. Second, Steven and the guys cheer for a fellow officer as he competes in a best legs contest to raise money for a local drug rehabilitation center.
10 "A Parish Under Siege" January 13, 2010 (2010-01-13)
It's Friday night in Jefferson Parish and a call comes in for a near fatal car crash. Two men are rushed to the hospital while Steven and his guys search for other possible victims. Steven tries to prevent another horrendous crash by sending a couple of men walking home when he finds a bottle of rum in their car. And later, the squad meets up with SWAT to help deal with an equally dangerous threat: rodents that are undermining the Parish's all important levee system.
11 "Street Justice" January 20, 2010 (2010-01-20)
Deputy Chief Steven Seagal and his team get word that there may be some drug use at a local motel and there is: crack cocaine. It's a busy night, first the motel bust and then two other crack-related stops. The next day Steven teaches martial arts to a group of young people. He hopes to instill in them the discipline and self-confidence they need to stay away from the drugs he sees on the streets every day.
12 "Narc Force" January 27, 2010 (2010-01-27)
Deputy Chief Steven Seagal and his team join with the narcotics unit for an undercover sting on a drug dealer. But not everyone is bad. Later, when three suspicious young men prove themselves to be law-abiding citizens, Steven invites them to a big Sheriff's office picnic where he and the SWAT team demonstrate an exciting hostage rescue.
13 "Ruthless Judgment" February 3, 2010 (2010-02-03)
The night starts off badly as Deputy Chief Steven Seagal and his team rush to the scene of a man killed in a drive-by. Minutes later they race to another shooting: a man found dead in his car. Two homicides in less than an hour puts the unit on high alert and when they catch four young men out late, Steven has some stern words. But he gets down right harsh, the next night, when he finds two of them carrying drugs. But Steven has to get back to Los Angeles, it's time to make his next movie.

Ok, maybe one comment - Really?!? How in on the joke is Steven Seagal?

A favorable review of the show!